Flyers Bandwagon A Welcoming Place as Philly Surges Up NHL Standings
The Oilers set a season-opening record, the Hurricanes winning streak ends, the Wild keep struggling, the Senators upset the Lightning, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers set an NHL record with their fifth straight come-from-behind season-opening victory by beating the New York Rangers 4-1. Leon Draisaitl scored twice and set up another while Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist. Rangers rookie Kaapo Kakko tallied his first NHL goal. The Oilers sit atop the league’s overall standings. Earlier in the day, the Oilers placed center Colby Cave on waivers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A surprising strong start by the Oilers. I’m interested to see how they do against tougher opposition.
Vladislav Namestnikov tallied twice and added an assist as the Ottawa Senators doubled up the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. Senators center Artem Anisimov left the game with a lower-body injury and didn’t return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bolts are blowing hot and cold. They crushed the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 the game before, split a season-opening home-and-home against the Florida Panthers, and dropped an overtime decision to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Los Angeles Kings recovered from blowing a 4-1 lead to down the Nashville Predators 7-4. Alex Iafallo scored the winner with 59 seconds remaining in the game while empty-netters by Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty sealed the deal. In other news, the Kings intend to cover up singer Taylor Swift’s “most soldout performances” banner at the Staples Center during their home games. The banner has been an eyesore for Kings fans, as their club hasn’t won playoff series since it was raised in 2015.
Mark Scheifele’s overtime goal completed a three-goal rally for the Winnipeg Jets as they edged the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and an assist.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets depleted defense remains a cause for concern but their offensive punch has powered them to four wins in their first six games.
Tuukka Rask’s 31-save shutout backstopped the Boston Bruins to a 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils, handing the latter their fifth-straight loss. Brad Marchand had the game-winner and set up another.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils are struggling despite the presence of a healthy Taylor Hall and the offseason additions of P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, Nikita Gusev, and Jack Hughes. Their lousy special teams haven’t helped. They’ve yet to tally a power-play goal while their penalty-killing percentage (50.0) is the league’s worst.
The Montreal Canadiens overcame a 3-2 deficit to upset the St. Louis Blues 6-3. Brendan Gallagher had a goal and two assists while Jonathan Drouin collected two points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drouin is silencing his critics with his early-season play. He’s tied with Gallagher (six points) for the Habs scoring lead with a five-game points streak.
Ilya Mikheyev had a goal and an assist as the Toronto Maple Leafs snapped a three-game losing skid by beating the Detroit Red Wings 5-2. Frederik Andersen kicked out 25 shots for the victory. In other Red Wings news, senior vice-president and alternate governor Jimmy Devellano will undergo surgery on Monday to remove a non-cancerous brain tumor.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Devellano on a speedy recovery. As for the Leafs, they can thank their secondary scoring for this victory. John Tavares collected an assist while Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander were held scoreless.
New York Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov turned aside 35 shots and Brock Nelson tallied the shootout winner in a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers, handing the latter their third straight loss. Panthers forward Evgenii Dadonov had a goal and an assist. Islanders winger Jordan Eberle left the game with a leg injury.
The Carolina Hurricane’ five-game win streak came to end as they fell 3-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Pierre-Luc Dubois netted the game-winner in the third period. Earlier in the day, the Hurricanes activated defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk from injured reserve.
Tom Wilson and John Carlson each had a goal and an assist as the Washington Capitals defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1. The Capitals successfully killed off six penalties to end a three-game losing streak. The Stars have dropped five of their last six games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: How long before Stars president Jim Lites publicly dumps on Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin again? Asking for a friend.
The Minnesota Wild are off to their worst start in franchise history, suffering their fourth straight loss in a 7-4 drubbing by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Rookie Sam Lafferty had a goal and two assists for the Penguins while Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Patric Hornqvist, and Adam Johnson each had a goal and an assist.
Andre Burakovsky scored in overtime as the Colorado Avalanche nipped the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. Michael Grabner and Nick Schmaltz scored for the Coyotes as they rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame. Coyotes winger Phil Kessel played his 1,000th NHL game.
Shootout goals by Elias Pettersson and Tanner Pearson carried the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Jacob Markstrom made 30 saves for the win.
Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, and William Carrier each had a goal and an assist as the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Calgary Flames 6-2. Golden Knights center Cody Eakin made his season debut after suffering a lower-body injury in preseason play. They also called up Oscar Dansk to replace sidelined backup Malcolm Subban.
TSN: Former NHL defenseman and coach Ted Green died on Tuesday at age 79. He spent nearly 11 seasons with the Boston Bruins from 1960-61 to 1971-72, winning the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972. He also overcame a gruesome head injury after becoming involved in a stick-swinging incident with Wayne Maki in 1969.
Green finished his playing career with seven seasons in the World Hockey Association. He went on to win five Stanley Cups as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Green’s family, friends and former teammates.
Hurricanes defeat Rangers, James van Riemsdyk fined, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes picked up their first victory in Madison Square Garden since 2010 by blanking the New York Rangers 3-0. Petr Mrazek made 27 saves for the shutout as his teammates scored all three goals in the third period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the win, the Hurricanes move one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins, who hold the second wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
NEW YORK POST: Before the game, the Rangers celebrated the 25th anniversary of their 1994 Stanley Cup championship.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doesn’t seem like it’s been a quarter-century since the Rangers won their last Cup. There’s now a generation of their fans with no memory of their club winning hockey’s ultimate prize.
NHL.COM: Mike Keenan, who coached the Rangers to their ’94 championship, has been cleared to resume normal duties following several months of treatment for prostate cancer. “Because Keenan’s cancer wasn’t advanced, he was a candidate for the brachytherapy and did not need to have the cancer surgically removed.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Glad to hear Keenan’s treatment was successful.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The NHL’s department of player safety fined Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk $5,000.00 for high-sticking Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez.
SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars placed goaltender Ben Bishop (upper body) on injured reserve. He’s expected to return to action on Tuesday against the Florida Panthers.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (lower-body injury) is expected to miss today’s game against the Kings.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres winger Sam Reinhart clarified comments he made about his club needing more from their goaltenders following Thursday’s 6-5 loss to the Hurricanes.
“I got a call last night about what I said and at first I was rattled thinking something I said was taken the wrong way, then I watched it again and it came off the wrong way, so that’s on me, that’s not what I meant at all,” he said. Reinhart went on to praise Linus Ullmark and Carter Hutton.
Game recaps, injury updates, plus milestones for Patrik Laine and James van Riemsdyk in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators extended their points streak to 13 games by downing the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 on third-period goals by Kyle Turris and Kevin Fiala. With 102 points, the Predators hold the top spot in the overall standings. Earlier in the day, however, they learned center Calle Jarnkrok will miss the rest of the regular season with an upper-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winners of nine of their last 10 games, the Predators are the league’s hottest team right now. With the playoffs looming, they’re peaking at the right time.
The Winnipeg Jets (94 points) strengthened their grip on second place in the Central Division by thumping the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2. Jets winger Patrik Laine collected an assist to extend his point streak to 14 games, setting a record for the longest NHL points streak by a teenage player. Kyle Connor also scored twice for Winnipeg. Before the game, the Jets learned center Matt Hendricks will miss the remainder of the regular season and the opening round of the playoffs with a lower-body injury.
The Washington Capitals (87 points) maintained their hold on first in the Metropolitan Division by crushing the New York Islanders 7-3. T.J. Oshie scored two goals while Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov had three-point performances. The Isles (70 points) sit ten back of the New Jersey Devils for the final wild-card berth in the East.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring an impressive late surge by the Isles, their playoff hopes are all but dashed now. With just one victory in their last 10 games, they’ve lost too much ground in the standings.
Patrick Hornqvist scored twice and Evgeni Malkin netted his 40th goal of the season as the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame an early 2-0 deficit to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 5-3. Bryan Rust returned to the Pittsburgh lineup and collected two points. The Penguins remain tied with the Capitals for top spot in the Metro Division, though the Caps hold the advantage by having two games in hand.
Cam Atkinson’s hat trick powered the surging Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. The Jackets (81 points) have won six straight games and hold the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. The Jackets also announced yesterday the signing of veteran forward Nathan Gerbe to a two-year, two-way contract.
Toronto Maple Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk had his second straight multi-goal game to lead his club to a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. He tallied twice to reach a career-best single-season mark of 31 goals. No update on the status of Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen, who remains sidelined with an upper-body injury suffered during Wednesday’s game against Dallas.
A four-point effort by Anze Kopitar gave the Los Angeles Kings (84 points) a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Kopitar had a goal and set up three others, while teammate Drew Doughty collected three assists. The Kings sit third in the Pacific Division.
Colorado Avalanche forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Miko Rantanen each scored twice to lead their club to a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues. The Avs (84 points) hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. For the Blues (79 points), the loss puts them five points out of a playoff spot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues have won only three of their last 10 contests. With 12 games remaining in the season, they’re running out of time to turn things around.
James Riemer made 46 saves as the Florida Panthers shut out the Boston Bruins 3-0. Nick Bjugstad had a goal and an assist while Evgenii Dadonov picked up two assists. The Panthers sit three points back of the Devils for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Bruins were playing without defenseman Zdeno Chara and winger Jake DeBrusk, who are both sidelined with upper-body injuries.
TSN: Over four years after a group of former players filed a lawsuit against the NHL over its perceived inability to protect them from concussion injuries, the two sides will face off Friday for the first time in court.
Game recaps plus updates on Seth Jones, Oscar Klefbom, Jared Spurgeon and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: A hat trick by James van Riemsdyk helped the Toronto Maple Leafs edge the Dallas Stars 6-5. Mitch Marner tallied the winner in a shootout. Tyler Seguin had a three-point night for the Stars. The Leafs didn’t emerge unscathed, as starting goaltender Frederik Andersen left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury. However, Toronto coach Mike Babcock suggested it might not be serious.
San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl scored twice, including the game winner in overtime, in a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Logan Couture had a three-point effort for the Sharks, who also lost winger Joonas Donskoi to an apparent shoulder injury in the third period. He will be reevaluated later today. Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected two assists.
The New Jersey Devils lit up Vegas Golden Knights goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Maxime Legace in an 8-3 victory. Blake Coleman scored twice and teammates Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier each collected two points. Erik Haula tallied twice for Vegas. The victory moved the Devils (80 points) into the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson had a 32-save shutout performance in a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks, The win gives the Ducks 82 points to sit just outside a wild-card berth in the Western Conference. It was the Canucks fifth consecutive defeat and their third straight shutout loss, tying a franchise record. Earlier in the day, the Canucks announced defenseman Erik Gudbranson will undergo shoulder surgery and has been shut down for the season.
The New York Rangers overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in overtime. Mika Zibanejad had the game-tying and winning goals and teammate Chris Kreider had a four-point game.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jacket defenseman Seth Jones, who appeared to suffer an upper-body injury against Montreal on Monday, will play in tonight’s game against Philadelphia.
TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon will miss at least a month with a partial tear in his right hamstring.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Spurgeon’s injury is a significant loss to the Wild’s defense corps, as he logs the second-highest average time on ice per game (24:32) and leads the club in blocked shots (127).
EDMONTON SUN: Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom is expected to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery early next week.
AZCENTRAL.COM: Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet will return behind the bench for tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators. He was recently granted a leave of absence to attend to a family illness.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning’s penalty kill could be their Achilles’ heel in their quest for the Stanley Cup this season. They’re currently 26th in that department.
CBC SPORTS: Charges of fraud and theft against former NHL player agent Stacey Don McAlpine have been dropped by the crown in the wake of his death. McAlpine passed away on March 5. He was accused “of defrauding former NHL players Dany Heatley and Chris Phillips of more than $12 million between January 2004 and June 2011.”