NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2022

The Blues sign Jordan Kyrou to an eight-year contract extension, the Stars re-sign general manager Jim Nill, an update on Tom Wilson and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues yesterday signed Jordan Kyrou to an eight-year, $65 million contract extension. The average annual value is $8.125 million. Kyrou is a 24-year-old right wing who is in the second season of his two-year deal with an AAV of $2.8 million.

St. Louis Blues forward Jordan Kyrou (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kyrou followed up a promising 35-point performance in 56 games during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season with 75 points in 74 games. His contract extension is similar to the one signed by teammate Robert Thomas in July.

It’s clear that Blues management sees those two as important long-term members of their roster core. Given how salaries for top players continue to rise, their identical AAVs could look like bargains in a few years if they continue to maintain or exceed last season’s point-per-game average.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars inked general manager Jim Nill to a contract extension that keeps him signed through 2023-24. He indicated the length of the deal was his idea. “Let’s do two years and let’s see where things are at after two years and just go from there,” he said, indicating he remains hopeful of staying in the role beyond ’23-’24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nill, 64, is entering his 10th season as the Stars GM. Over the past nine seasons, they’ve reached the playoffs five times with the highlight being their run to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.

THE ATHLETIC: Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson is believed to be ahead of schedule in his recovery from surgery on his left knee. The club is hopeful he’ll return to action sometime in early December.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks defenseman Jake McCabe underwent cervical spine surgery and is expected to miss 10-12 weeks. His timeline to return is sometime in late November.

NEWSDAY’s Andrew Gross took to Twitter on Tuesday to report New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield and forward Cal Clutterbuck are expected to be ready for training camp next week. Both players missed the end of last season with injuries.

TSN: Chris Tanev is expected to be ready for the start of Calgary Flames’ training camp on Sept. 22. The 32-year-old defenseman underwent offseason surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder suffered during the 2022 playoffs against the Dalla Stars.

The New Jersey Devils signed Thomas Hickey to a professional tryout offer. The 33-year-old defenseman spent the past nine seasons with the New York Islanders.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Seattle Kraken signed Daniel Sprong to a PTO. He split last season between the Washington Capitals and the Kraken.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Speaking of the Kraken, they promoted analytics director Alexandra Mandrycky to assistant general manager. She’s the first woman to hold that title while specializing primarily in analytics.

NHL.COM: Former NHL goaltender Scott Darling is trying his hand at standup comedy. He played five seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and Carolina Hurricanes from 2014-15 to 2018-19, winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2015.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 2, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 2, 2022

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff expects Mark Scheifele to return next season, an update on Vincent Trocheck plus the latest collection of Capitals speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CHEVELDAYOFF DOESN’T EXPECT TO TRADE SCHEIFELE

NHL.COM: Mike Zeisberger reports Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff expects Mark Scheifele will return with the club next season. The 29-year-old center made headlines in the Winnipeg media last month when he seemed to question his future with the club after missing the 2022 postseason.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (NHL Images).

Cheveldayoff said his exit interview with Scheifele went well, chalking up the center’s comments to the emotion of missing the playoffs. The long-time Jets forward has two years remaining on his contract.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien believes the Jets are better off retaining Scheifele than attempting to trade him. He cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on May 7 that the center hadn’t asked management to move him.

Despite a decline in Scheifele’s numbers over the past four seasons, O’Brien still believes it’s worthwhile retaining him for at least the coming season. His performance could improve under a new coach. If the Jets need to clear some cap space. O’Brien suggested moving a defenseman such as Nate Schmidt or Brenden Dillon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets wouldn’t have any problem finding trade partners to take Scheifele off their hands. He’d be much easier to move than Schmidt or Dillon.

Most of the calls for a Scheifele trade were based on the Jets’ need to change a team culture that has eroded since their franchise-best 2017-18 season. Cheveldayoff could be betting on a new bench boss addressing that issue. Former New York Islanders coach (and Manitoba native) Barry Trotz recently interviewed with the Jets and could be just what’s required to reverse their fortunes.

If the problems persist next season, however, the calls for Scheifele (and perhaps other core players) will grow louder. Cheveldayoff might not have much choice by that point. Scheifele could force the issue by calling for a trade.

WILL TROCHECK RE-SIGN WITH THE HURRICANES?

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman reported re-signing with the Carolina Hurricanes remains an option for Vincent Trocheck. The 28-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

The Hurricanes, however, might not be the best financial choice. Friedman said he’d heard the club made an offer to extend Trocheck but it didn’t get done. He pointed out that Hurricanes’ management rarely deviates from their view of a player’s value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trocheck is completing a six-year deal with an annual average value of $4.75 million. He’ll probably want something close to $6 million per season.

The Hurricanes could re-sign Trocheck but they might also seek a more consistent option through trade or free agency. Trocheck won’t be back if they acquire a second-line center before free agency opens on July 13.

LATEST CAPITALS SPECULATION

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Andrew Gillis recently listed the health of key players such as Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson among the big three questions facing the Washington Capitals in the offseason. Backstrom has been troubled by a nagging left-hip injury while Wilson could miss up to the first half of next season recovering from knee surgery.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber observed the Capitals could get some cap relief for next season by placing Backstrom and Wilson on long-term injury reserve. That would free up space to add an experienced starting goalie, a reliable top-six forward or more depth at center via trade or free agency.

If Backstrom were to miss significant time, Silber pondered whether Colorado’s Nazem Kadri would be a good fit if he becomes available on the free-agent market. She acknowledged there would be a cap crunch if Backstrom returned during the season after signing a player like Kadri. Silber also suggested Avs winger Valeri Nichushkin as a possible free-agent replacement for the sidelined Wilson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom’s cap hit for next season is $9.2 million while Wilson’s is $5.16 million. That’s a big chunk of change that the Capitals could free up if necessary by placing one or both on LTIR.

Backstrom could be the more likely LTIR candidate if he’s unable to play without pain going forward. He’d be all but retired by that point, alleviating any concern about a cap crunch by bringing in a replacement this summer through trade or free agency. It would be riskier if he has a timetable to return at some point next season should he undergo another offseason surgical procedure on his hip.

For now, there’s no clarity on Backstrom’s status. The Capitals really can’t make any significant moves based on his health until they determine for certain his status for next season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2022

The Blues defeat the Avalanche to stave off elimination, the latest news on the Flames-Oilers and Hurricanes-Rangers series, updates on the Panthers, Tom Wilson undergoes knee surgery & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Tyler Bozak’s overtime goal lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in Game 5 of their second-round series. The Blues overcame 3-1 and 4-3 deficits, setting the stage for Bozak’s OT heroics. Robert Thomas scored twice, Nick Leddy collected three assists and Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Nathan MacKinnon tallied a hat trick for the Avalanche, who hold a 3-2 lead in this series as it returns to St. Louis for Game 6 on Thursday.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche seemed to have this game in the bag, holding a 2-0 first-period lead and 3-1 after the second. However, they let it slip through their fingers in the third by playing to protect the lead, enabling the Blues to tie the game. MacKinnon’s breathtaking end-to-end goal late in the third restored the Avs’ lead but the Blues pulled goalie Ville Husso and tied it again with less than a minute remaining in the period.

Before the game, Blues head coach Craig Berube spoke out against the racist threats aimed at Avalanche center Nazem Kadri. Claiming he’s not on social media, Berube said he was aware that a threat had been made against Kadri but didn’t know about the “racist stuff.” The threats led to heightened security by St. Louis police around the Blues arena (Enterprise Center) and the Avalanche’s hotel before and during Game 4.

DAILY HIVE: Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane didn’t join his teammates in Calgary yesterday as he took time away to be with girlfriend Mara Teigen for the birth of their child. He’s expected to rejoin his teammates today and be in the lineup for tonight’s Game 5 against the Flames. The Oilers hold a 3-1 series lead.

CALGARY SUN: Speaking of the Flames, three Calgary businessmen have engaged with the club in hope of reviving and mediating arena talks between the club’s ownership and the city.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames are in need of a new arena to replace the nearly 40-year-old Saddledome. After talks with the city fell through, ownership indicated they will not relocate the Flames but will continue to operate out of their current arena. Nevertheless, everyone understands that’s not a viable long-term solution. Time will tell if these efforts to restart those negotiations will be successful.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour called out his struggling scorers to step up their performances. Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Teravainen, Vincent Trocheck and Martin Necas have been outplayed by the Rangers. Brind’Amour praised rookie winger Seth Jarvis for his effort during their two losses against the Rangers but felt the 20-year-old can’t be their best player.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers’ power play was a key factor in the club’s two wins to tie their series with the Carolina Hurricanes at two games apiece.

THE SCORE: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov endorsed interim coach Andrew Brunette. “He did an unbelievable job,” said Barkov, stressing how much the players respected Brunette and enjoyed playing for him this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers enjoyed their best regular season in franchise history under Brunette, taking the Presidents’ Trophy for finishing atop the overall standings and winning their first postseason series since 1996. Still, there remains uncertainty over whether he’ll return on a full-time basis or be replaced by a more experienced head coach.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Joe Thornton said he hasn’t put any thought yet toward his future following the Panthers’ second-round playoff elimination. The 42-year-old forward intends to take the offseason to consider his options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton was sidelined for 20 games by injury and used sparingly by the Panthers, appearing in just 34 regular-season games and one playoff contest. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer but I think his NHL playing days are over.

Claude Giroux can see himself returning with the Panthers next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers acquired Giroux from the Philadelphia Flyers before the trade deadline. A pending free agent, he was a terrific fit with his new club. However, they might not have the cap space to bring him back unless he accepts a significant pay cut from his current $8.275 million cap hit.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Tom Wilson underwent successful surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. His recovery timeline is six-to-eight months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The earliest he could return to action is late November.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL star Jaromir Jagr was unharmed when his vehicle and a tram collided in Prague. He took responsibility for the accident, saying his view was partially obscured by traffic before crossing into the tram’s path.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Happy to hear Jagr wasn’t hurt in the accident. The photo he shared on Instagram showed his vehicle suffered significant damage.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports a new contract for Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis is expected to be announced in the near future.

Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said the knee injury suffered by Tim Stuetzle during the World Championships is the same ailment he dealt with during the regular season. He’ll require a two-week recovery period.

THE PROVINCE: The agent for Alex Chiasson denied a report his client might sign with HC Lugano in Switzerland. The Vancouver Canucks winger is eligible for unrestricted free agent status this summer. However, his agent said Chiasson wants to stay with the Canucks.

TRIBLIVE.COM: After four seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, defenseman Juuso Riikola has signed with IK Oskarshamm of the Swedish Hockey League.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2022

The Flames and Rangers advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2 in Game 7 on an overtime goal by Johnny Gaudreau to win their first-round series four games to three. Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each had a goal and an assist while Tyler Toffoli also scored for Calgary. Jamie Benn and Vladislav Namestnikov replied for Dallas while Jake Oettinger made 64 saves in a losing cause. Stars center Roope Hintz was a late scratch with an upper-body injury while Flames defenseman Chris Tanev missed this game with an undisclosed injury suffered in Game 6.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

The Flames will face off against the Edmonton Oilers in the first “Battle of Alberta” playoff series since 1991.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudreau silenced critics of his previous postseason performances by stepping up with his best playoff game in his career. The 28-year-old left winger leads the Flames with eight points in seven games. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom was superb in this series, finishing with a 1.53 goals-against average and .943 save percentage.

Oettinger, however, was outstanding, with a 1.81 GAA and .954 SP. He was the reason the Stars pushed this series to overtime in Game 7 and came close to pulling off the upset. The 23-year-old has emerged as a franchise goaltender.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin’s overtime goal lifted his club to 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of their first-round series, eliminating the Penguins four games to three. Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists, Chris Kreider and K’Andre Miller also scored and Igor Shesterkin made 42 saves for the Rangers, who will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.

Jake Guentzel, Danton Heinen and Evan Rodrigues replied for Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby, Tristan Jarry and Rickard Rakell returned from injury for this game. Crosby picked up an assist and Jarry made 26 saves. Forward Brian Boyle missed this contest with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was some controversy prior to Zibanejad’s game-tying goal in the third period as teammate Alexis Lafreniere wrestled the helmet off the head of Penguins defenseman Marcus Petterson. The incident was uncalled by the on-ice officials.

Under NHL rules, Pettersson had to immediately leave the ice as he cannot play without a helmet, leaving the Penguins scrambling to replace him and creating that scoring opportunity for Zibanejad. The Penguins were upset over that uncalled infraction, which was yet another in a seemingly endless parade of botched or missed calls by NHL officials throughout the first round.

Nevertheless, this was a hard-fought victory by the Rangers. The aging Penguins pushed them to the limit, doing so with key players sidelined at various stretches during this series. Shesterkin shook off a couple of shaky performances and was the difference-maker in Game 7 while Panarin, Zibanejad and Kreider stepped up when it mattered most.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs begins on Tuesday, May 17 with the Florida Panthers facing off with the Tampa Bay Lightning while the Colorado Avalanche tangle with the St. Louis Blues.

The Carolina Hurricanes meet the New York Rangers while the Calgary Flames battle the Edmonton Oilers starting on May 18.

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was hampered through this season by a hip injury that caused him to miss the first two months of this season. It’s the same hip he had surgery on in 2015 and there’s some concern it could prove career-ending.

Capitals winger Tom Wilson could be facing off-season surgery to repair a knee injury suffered in Game 1 of their series against the Florida Panthers. Meanwhile, winger Carl Hagelin hopes to continue his career following an injury suffered in practice in March that nearly cost him his left eye.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Backstrom intends to explore all his options in hope of being physically comfortable to play again. The 34-year-old center had 31 points in 47 games and six points in as many games against the Panthers.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy and Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Brendan Smith each received fines from the NHL department of player safety for their actions in Game 7 of their first-round series. McAvoy was fined $5,000.00 for tripping Hurricanes rearguard Brady Skjei while Smith was tagged for $2,000.00 for tripping Bruins winger David Pastrnak.

MIAMI HERALD: Florida Panthers forward Mason Marchment could miss Game 1 of his club’s second-round series against the Lightning with an unspecified injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2022

The Panthers eliminate the Capitals while the Rangers and Stars extend their respective first-round series to Game 7, the Ted Lindsay Award finalists are announced, Bruce Boudreau returns as Canucks coach and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: For the first time since 1996, the Florida Panthers are advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Carter Verhaeghe’s overtime goal lifted Florida to 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 6 to take their first-round series four games to two. Claude Giroux had a goal and two assists while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 34 shots for the win. Washington’s T.J. Oshie scored to force overtime in the third period after his Capitals squandered 1-0 and 2-1 leads.

Florida Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Verhaeghe was the Panthers’ most valuable player in this series, leading them with six goals and six assists for 12 points and tallying three straight game-winning goals.

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin shared the view of his teammates that they gave away the series after blowing a 2-1 series lead and failing to hold leads in the final three games. “It’s on us. It’s on me, on Backy (Nicklas Backstrom), on Osh (Oshie), on Carly (John Carlson), it’s on everybody. Kind of a f**ked up situation,” said Ovechkin.

The absence of power forward Tom Wilson was another contributing factor to the Capitals’ loss. He was sidelined by a lower-body injury in Game 1 and never returned to the series.

There will be a seventh and deciding game in the opening round series between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider each scored twice and Adam Fox collected four assists in Game 6 as New York rallied to beat Pittsburgh 5-3. The Penguins led 2-0 after the first period but fell behind 3-2 before Evgeni Malkin tied it before the end of the second. Kreider got the game-winner late in the third and Andrew Copp added the insurance goal. Game 7 goes Sunday in New York.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby missed this game with an upper-body injury and remains questionable for Game 7. Rickard Rakell remained out of this contest as he’s still recovering from a concussion suffered in Game 1.

With starter Tristan Jarry finally healthy, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan must decide if he’ll put him in for that final game or stick with Louis Domingue, who’s carried the load since taking over for a sidelined Casey DeSmith during overtime in Game 1. Jarry is the better goalie but he hasn’t played since suffering a foot injury in mid-April. Domingue’s done his best but he has given up some questionable goals for the Penguins.

The Dallas Stars ensured there will be a seventh game against the Calgary Flames with a 4-2 victory in Game 6 of their series. Jake Oettinger kicked out 36 shots, Roope Hintz got a goal and an assist and Miro Heiskanen scored the game-winner for the Stars. Flames defenseman Michael Stone had a goal and an assist. The series returns to Calgary for Game 7 on Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars got it done by outshooting the Flames 30-20 in the final two periods and another outstanding performance by Oettinger, especially in the third period. Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov could face supplemental discipline after he laid out Stars forward Luke Glendening with an elbow to the head.

HEADLINES

NHLPA.COM: Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid are the 2022 finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award as this season’s most valuable player as voted by the NHLPA membership.

THE PROVINCE: Bruce Boudreau will return next season as the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks. Boudreau explained the delay in exercising the option year of his contract was due to personal arrangements, including the well-being of his 90-year-old mother in Toronto.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers star Leon Draisaitl could be nursing an injured right ankle or knee as he and his teammates prepared to face the Los Angeles Kings in Game 7 of their opening-round series tonight.

CAP FRIENDLY: A $100K performance bonus for Tyler Bozak has pushed the St. Louis Blues salary-cap bonus overage to $1.1 million. Bozak could earn another $150K bonus if the Blues reach the conference final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bonus overages are applied to next season’s salary-cap payroll.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 9, 2022

The Lightning, Bruins, Kings and Blues tie their best-of-seven first-round series at two games apiece. Check out the details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning took a 5-0 lead after two periods over the Toronto Maple Leafs on route to a 7-3 victory, tying their best-of-seven opening-round playoff series at two games apiece. Ross Colton scored twice while Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Brandon Hagel each collected two assists. William Nylander tallied two goals for the Leafs while teammate Jack Campbell was pulled after giving up five goals on 16 shots. The series returns to Toronto for Game 5 on Tuesday night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs are learning the hard way that the defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning rises to the occasion when their backs are to the wall. At least the Lightning hasn’t held a lead in this series but that could change if the Leafs come out with another flat effort in Game 5.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand (NHL Images).

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand scored twice and set up three others to lead his club over the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 to square their first-round series at two games each. Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists and David Pastrnak scored and picked up a helper. Jeremy Swayman got the win with a 24-save performance while Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy missed this game due to COVID protocol. Game 5 is in Carolina on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ill-disciplined play proved costly for the Hurricanes as the Bruins went two-for-nine on the power play. Marchand was also his usual pesky self, getting into the head of Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo by appearing to call him a racist during a heated exchange. Meanwhile, Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour was frustrated when his challenge of Jake DeBrusk’s tying goal in the second period for goalie interference was ruled as incidental contact while attempting to make a play with the puck loose in the crease.

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 31 saves to shut out the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 to tie their series at 2-2. He set the playoff shutout record (10) for American-born NHL netminders. Carl Grundstrom scored two goals and collected an assist while Trevor Moore and Troy Stecher each had a goal and an assist. The series shifts back to Edmonton on Tuesday night for Game 5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings looked done like dinner following lopsided losses in the previous two games. Quick’s superb goaltending and the Kings’ veteran leadership were crucial in this series-tying win. The Oilers played as though they were expecting another easy victory. This game should be a wake-up call that they’re facing an opponent they cannot take lightly.

The St. Louis Blues got a 28-save effort from Jordan Binnington in his 2022 postseason debut to tame the Minnesota Wild 5-2 and even their series at two games apiece. Jordan Kyrou scored two goals while Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron each picked up three points. Kirill Kaprizov and Matt Boldy replied for the Wild. The two sides face off in Minnesota for Game 5 on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues’ revolving door blueline continued in this game as Scott Perunovich returned to action for the first time since January while Marco Scandella left this game with a lower-body injury. It’s possible Nick Leddy, Robert Bortuzzo or both could return for Game 5.

HEADLINES

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper escaped a serious eye injury on Saturday but swelling could keep him out of Game 4 against the Nashville Predators on Monday. The injury occurred in Game 3 when the blade of Predators center Ryan Johansen’s stick accidentally poked through the cage of Kuemper’s mask. Johansen was remorseful over the incident and was glad to hear the Avs goalie wasn’t seriously hurt.

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Teresa Walker reports Predators coach John Hynes said starting goalie Juuse Saros will not be playing in Game 4 against the Avs. He’s been sidelined since April 26 by a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Predators down 3-0 in this series it would be folly to put Saros in net if he’s not fully recovered.

NHL.COM: Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for high-sticking Calgary Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane during Game 3 of their first-round series on Saturday.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov received the same fine for a similar infraction against Florida Panthers forward Noel Acciari in Game 3 of their series on Saturday.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Capitals, winger Tom Wilson remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. An update on his status is expected later today before Game 4 against the Panthers.