NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2023
Bo Horvat gets his first goal as an Islander, the Oilers’ Connor McDavid extends his road points streak, the NHLPA is poised to name its next Executive Director and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Bo Horvat scored his first goal in his home debut with the New York Islanders in a 4-0 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Ilya Sorokin turned in a 31-save shutout while Jean-Gabriel Pageau collected two assists as the Islanders (27-22-5) picked up their fourth straight win to remain tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins with 59 points. The Kraken (29-16-5) remain one point behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division with 63 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Horvat was given a warm welcome by Islanders fans as they chanted his name following his goal. Kraken winger and leading scorer Andre Burakovsky left this game in the first period with a lower-body injury.
Speaking of the Penguins, they overcame a 1-0 deficit to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on an overtime goal by Kris Letang. Bryan Rust tallied the tying goal in the third period while Casey DeSmith made 41 saves for the Penguins as they improved to 25-16-9, holding the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with four games in hand over the Islanders. Nathan MacKinnon scored for the 27-18-4 Avalanche as they cling to the final Western Conference playoff spot with 58 points, holding two games in hand over the Calgary Flames.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Evgeni Malkin collected two assists for Pittsburgh in this game. The Avalanche, meanwhile, weren’t impressed over an uncalled blindside hit on Cale Makar by Penguins center Jeff Carter in the third period. Makar left the game but returned before the end of regulation play.
Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid collected an assist to extend his road points streak to 15 games in a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Warren Foegele scored two goals and Jack Campbell stopped 30 shots for the 29-18-4 Oilers as they hold the first Western wild-card spot with 62 points. The Red Wings fell to 21-20-8 and sit nine points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth.
The Vegas Golden Knights scored five straight goals to beat the Nashville Predators 5-1. Phil Kessel, Chandler Stephenson and William Carrier each had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights (30-18-4) as they remain atop the Pacific Division with 64 points. The Predators (24-19-6) are four points out of the final Western playoff spot with 54 points.
San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier’s 30th goal of the season was also the overtime winner in a 4-3 upset of the Tampa Bay Lightning, snapping the latter’s 12-game home win streak. Meier finished with two goals and an assist while Erik Karlsson had a goal and two assists for the 16-25-11 Sharks. Brayden Point tallied two goals as the Lightning (32-16-2) sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 66 points.
An overtime goal by Frank Vatrano lifted the Anaheim Ducks over the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 3-2. The Ducks are 17-29-6 on the season while the Blackhawks dropped to 15-29-5.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli broke the news that US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh will be formally installed in the coming days as the next Executive Director of the NHL Players Association. Walsh, the former mayor of Boston, is also the former head of the Laborers Union in Boston and is a Bruins season ticket holder.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli also reports that Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs made multiple donations to Walsh’s campaigns over the years. Jacobs is also the chairman of the NHL Board of Governors, raising questions over Walsh’s ability to grapple with the league during labor negotiations.
WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres yesterday announced they’ve come to terms with center Dylan Cozens on a seven-year, $49.7 million contract extension. The average annual value is $7.1 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A first-round pick (seventh overall) by the Sabres in the 2019 NHL Draft, the 21-year-old Cozens is enjoying a breakout performance this season with 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points in 49 games centering Buffalo’s second line.
Cozens is the second rising star that Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams has re-signed to a contract that could turn into a cost-effective deal over the long term. He also inked leading scorer Tage Thompson last year to a seven-year agreement worth $7.14 million annually that’s already looking like a bargain given his high-scoring performance this season.
THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen has been dumped by Swiss team EHC Visp on the eve of the playoffs. Despite leading the club in scoring, it’s reported that Virtanen’s selfishness made him unpopular with his teammates.