NHL Rumor Mill – April 5, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 5, 2022

The Winnipeg Jets could face some important roster decisions this summer if they fail to qualify for the 2022 playoffs. Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre recently compared the current Jets roster to “expensive housecats”, suggesting they boast a “good pedigree, but can’t be coached, can’t be trained.” He points out there’s been little change in their inconsistent ways since Paul Maurice stepped down as head coach earlier this season and Dave Lowry took over behind the bench.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (NHL Images).

TSN analyst and former NHL general manager Craig Button recently blamed the Jets’ woes on what he considered “average coaching”, pointing out their poor defensive play. McIntyre, however, believes the fault rests with the players, singling out first-line center Mark Scheifele’s seemingly indifferent commitment to the defensive part of the game.

McIntyre suggests a “full-scale audit” of the franchise will be required if they miss the playoffs. That includes general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, who assembled the current roster.

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Ken Wiebe also believes the Jets’ performance over the remainder of this season could determine what level of changes will be necessary in the offseason.

Wiebe believes the Jets’ priority will be getting center Pierre-Luc Dubois signed to a long-term extension before giving consideration to any blockbuster deals. He doesn’t expect two-way forward Adam Lowry will be traded given his solid second-half performance.

The Jets need to ship out one or two veteran defensemen to make room for their promising prospects. Asked about whether the Jets should pursue Dallas Stars blueliner John Klingberg via free agency this summer, Wiebe doesn’t believe he’d be a good fit if the Jets attempt to shed salary from the blueline. The savings should be used to bring in a good middle-six forward.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggested Scheifele could be a doable acquisition for the Rangers as a replacement for Ryan Strome or Andrew Copp if one of them departs via free agency this summer. Scheifele is signed through 2023-24 with an annual average value of $6.125 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have steadily declined since 2017-18 when they finished with a franchise-record of 114 points and reached the Western Conference Finals. Changes could very well be in the offing if they failed to qualify for the postseason or get bounced from the opening round.

Scheifele’s become a lightning rod for criticism this season. Nevertheless, he would draw considerable interest in this summer’s trade market if management decides to shake things up. He has some measure of control with his 10-team no-trade list. His cap hit could also prove a bit of a sticking point.

Aging captain Blake Wheeler has a full no-movement clause. His age (35) and $8.25 million annual cap hit through 2023-24 would make him difficult to move.

Teams would line up for Jets forwards like Dubois, Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. However, they’re likely considered untouchable unless someone is willing to overpay for their services.

Talk of moving one or two high-salaried defensemen would start with Nate Schmidt and Josh Morrissey. Moving either guy in cost-cutting deals will be challenging with the salary cap rising by just $1 million next season.

Schmidt, 30, is signed through 2024-25 with an annual average value of $5.95 million and a 10-team no-trade clause. The 27-year-old Morrissey carries a $6.25 million cap hit through 2027-28.

It might be easier for Jets management to find a head coach who will command the players’ respect and buy into a more responsible two-way system.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2022

Recaps of Saturday’s action, updates on Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl, the Canadiens acquire Andrew Hammond, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The red-hot Calgary Flames picked up their sixth straight victory by downing the New York Islanders 5-2. Adam Ruzicka had a goal and an assist while Johnny Gaudreau collected two assists. Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin made 24 saves replacing Semyon Varlamov after the latter was placed in COVID protocol following pre-game warmups. With 58 points, the Flames sit one behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler (NHL Images)

Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler scored twice and added three assists as he rallied his club from a 2-0 deficit to a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Mark Scheifele scored and collected two assists for the Jets (48 points) as they sit seven points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth. The Predators (60 points) slid one point behind the Minnesota Wild into third place in the Central Division. Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki was ejected in the first period for elbowing Jets forward Evgeny Svechnikov in the face, who was forced to leave the game with an injury.

A 51- save performance by Thatcher Demko carried the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks while the Leafs Auston Matthews tallied his 32nd of the season. Defenseman Travis Hamonic returned to action for the first time since Dec. 8 for the Canucks (50 points), who sit five points out of the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference. The Leafs, meanwhile, remain in third place in the Atlantic Division with 63 points.

The Minnesota Wild held off the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 to extend their home points streak to 12 games. Kevin Fiala tallied a goal and an assist for the Wild while Andrei Svechnikov netted both Hurricanes goals. Wild blueliner Matt Dumba returned from an upper-body injury suffered on Jan. 30. With 61 points, the Wild sit second in the Central Division while the Hurricanes (67 points) hold a one-point lead for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

St. Louis Blues forward Brayden Schenn collected two assists and Oskar Sundqvist had a goal and an assist in a 5-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, who were held to just 16 shots in this contest. The Blues hold the first Western Conference wild-card spot with 59 points.

Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman picked up his first win since Jan. 2 with a 30-save shutout to blank the Ottawa Senators 2-0. The Bruins got first-period goals by Trent Frederic and Curtis Lazar. Matt Murray made 35 saves for the Senators. With 57 points, the Bruins are four behind the Washington Capitals for the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. Senators forward Austin Watson faces a hearing today for interference on Bruins defenseman Jack Ahcan when he appeared to catch Ahcan in the head with a high hit.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin had three assists in a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Wings goalie Thomas Greiss made 32 saves in his first game since Jan. 9 as his club sits seven points behind the Bruins, who hold the final Eastern wild-card berth.

Patrik Laine’s power-play goal in the dying seconds of regulation gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A heartbreaking loss for the Canadiens, whose performance has noticeably improved under new head coach Martin St. Louis. Cole Caufield has definitely benefited from playing for St. Louis, scoring two goals in as many games after managing just one in 30 previous contests this season.

HEADLINES

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon will return to action today against the Dallas Stars after being sidelined since Jan.26 by a broken nose and concussion.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Tomas Hertl’s agent has been in contract extension talks with the Sharks, but the 28-year-old center has yet to decide if he’s staying. Hertl is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and could cost at least $7 million annually to re-sign.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve noted in the rumor mill, much could depend on how much cap space the Sharks have for next season following the outcome of Evander Kane’s grievance over his contract termination. A date for that hearing has yet to be determined.

The Sharks did get some good news as sidelined defenseman Erik Karlsson could return from surgery on his left forearm earlier than anticipated. He was expected to be re-evaluated by mid-March. However, defenseman Jaycob Megna underwent surgery to repair a displaced fracture and is likely out for four-to-six weeks.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Montreal Canadiens traded minor-league forward Brandon Baddock to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for goaltender Andrew Hammond.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move allows the Canadiens to send struggling young goalie Cayden Primeau back to their AHL affiliate in Laval.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden will undergo knee surgery on Monday after suffering a fall shoveling out his driveway during the All-Star weekend. He’s expected to be sidelined for some time.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2021

Cross-border games are postponed until after the upcoming holiday break as the number of teams shut down by COVID outbreaks reaches seven while Olympic participation is in question. Details and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CROSS-BORDER GAMES POSTPONED, OLYMPIC PARTICIPATION IN JEOPARDY

NHL.COM: The league announced yesterday all cross-border games between Canadian and American clubs have been postponed through the upcoming holiday break period (Dec. 24-26) over COVID-19 concerns.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: 16 teams (Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets) won’t be playing this week for COVID-related reasons.

Despite the increasing number of positive COVID tests among players, the league and the NHL Players Association agreed to continue the 2021-22 schedule. That decision was based on advice by medical experts on both sides who point to the low number of cases among the players with concerning symptoms or serious illness.

Given the rising number of postponed games and its potential effect upon the schedule, the league and the PA are discussing whether players will participate in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman last night reported there’s a “real sense” the players won’t be taking part in the Olympics but there’s nothing official yet. A further announcement is expected in the coming days.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Robin Lehner made 29 saves to backstop the Vegas Golden Knights to their fifth straight win by beating the New York Islanders 4-3. Shea Theodore and Nicolas Roy scored in the shootout to give the Golden Knights the win. Theodore also scored twice in regulation. The Golden Knights have won five straight and taken over first place in the Pacific Division with 40 points. Vegas captain Mark Stone missed the game with an upper-body injury while the Islanders placed Matt Martin and Robin Salo on COVID protocol before this match.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was Lehner’s first game back on Long Island since he last played for the Islanders in 2018-19. He credits Isles fans for helping him battle bipolar disorder and addiction as he got his career back on track.

Paul Stastny scored twice and collected his 500th career assist and Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and three assists as the Winnipeg Jets doubled up the St. Louis Blues 4-2. Earlier in the day, the Jets announced captain Blake Wheeler (lower body) was placed on long-term injury reserve.

The Pittsburgh Penguins extended their win streak to seven games with a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils, who’ve now lost six straight.

Three unanswered goals lifted the Los Angeles Kings over the Washington Capitals 3-2. Garret Sparks made 33 saves for his first NHL win since 2019 as the Kings have won four of their last six contests. Capitals forwards T.J. Oshie and Michael Sgarbossa and Kings center Phillip Danault missed this game as they were placed on the COVID protocol list. Earlier in the day, the Capitals placed winger Tom Wilson (upper body) on injured reserve backdated to Dec. 10.

IN OTHER HEADLINES…

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher said he was hit hard by COVID-19 symptoms during the first two days after he tested positive on Dec. 2 and went into the mandatory 10-day quarantine. He’s since recovered and rejoined his teammates during practice on Sunday.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets canceled practice yesterday after Boone Jenner, Jack Roslovic and Gabriel Carlsson were placed on the COVID protocol list.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning center Brayden Point is expected to make his return to action from a shoulder injury on Dec. 28 against the Canadiens. He’s been sidelined for a month.

NHL.COM: The department of player safety suspended Chicago Blackhawks forward Brett Connolly for four games for interference against Dallas Stars forward Tanner Kero on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kero was stretchered from the ice and taken to a hospital for observation following the hit by Connolly. He’s reportedly been released and is resting at home.

THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Coyotes senior director of hockey development Matt Shott passed away Sunday following a 10-month bout with liver cancer. He was 34.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Shott’s family, friends and the Coyotes organization.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 14, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 14, 2021

COVID-19 outbreak forces postponement of three Flames games, the three stars of the week are revealed plus updates on Blake Wheeler, Aleksander Barkov and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CALGARY SUN: Three Flames games (including last night’s scheduled match against the Chicago Blackhawks) were postponed after six players (Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov, Brad Richardson and Adam Ruzicka) and one member of the training staff tested positive for COVID-19. Flames general manager Brad Treliving said the players were doing well and asymptomatic but expressed concern for them and their families.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames are the third team since mid-November to have games postponed because of COVID-19, joining the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders. Future outbreaks among other clubs resulting in postponements could adversely affect the schedule. That could jeopardize NHL participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in February. The league has until Jan. 10 to opt out without suffering financial penalties.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Winter Olympics, several NHL stars have joined Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo expressing concern over the possibility of spending a lengthy period quarantined in Beijing should they test positive for COVID-19 during the Olympics.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

Toronto Maple Leafs captain and potential Team Canada candidate John Tavares said he felt more uneasy about potentially going to Beijing than he did several weeks or months ago. Teammate Auston Matthews, who is already selected for Team USA, shared those concerns. Meanwhile, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said it would be an honor to be selected for Canada’s squad but he’d like more clarity about the COVID protocols for the Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chinese law states those who test positive for COVID-19 must quarantine for three to five weeks. There’s no word yet as to whether that will also apply to Olympic athletes from other countries. Clarification is expected in the coming weeks and could be a determining factor for some NHL stars selected to participate in the Winter Games.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to make its presence felt with some other NHL teams.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes forwards Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis entered COVID protocol yesterday. Defensemen Brett Pesce and Tony DeAngelo are expected to rejoin the roster today after being sidelined since Nov. 28 by the coronavirus.

SPORTSNET: Christian Jaros joined New Jersey Devils teammates Nico Hischier and Ryan Graves in COVID protocol. Forward Yegor Sherangovich has not entered protocol but was withheld from practice yesterday for precautionary reasons.

THE DETROIT FREE PRESS: Tyler Bertuzzi is rejoining the Red Wings after emerging from a 10-day COVID quarantine. The only unvaccinated player in the league, Bertuzzi isn’t reconsidering his position, saying he now has “natural immunity” from the coronavirus.

The US Centers for Disease Control says unvaccinated people who previously had COVID-19 are 2.34 times more likely to get reinfected than vaccinated people who’ve had it. Food for thought.

Speaking of the Red Wings, they signed Robby Fabbri to a three-year, $12 million contract extension. The annual average value is $4 million. The 25-year-old forward was slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko, Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 12.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets captain Blake Wheeler will be sidelined for weeks with an apparent right-leg injury.

THE ATHLETIC: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov has returned to injured reserve after missing the last two games with an upper-body injury. He returned to the lineup last Tuesday after missing eight games with a knee injury.

The Panthers also claimed goaltender Jonas Johansson off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bringing in Johansson likely means promising Spencer Knight could be heading to the Panthers’ AHL affiliate in Charlotte. Sergei Bobrovsky’s solid performance has limited Knight to just nine starts this season. There’s no fear of losing him to another club because he’s exempt from waivers.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers winger Zach Hyman is listed as day-to-day but hasn’t been ruled out from tonight’s game against his former club, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars placed goaltender Anton Khudobin on waivers yesterday. If he clears it’s expected he’ll be sent to their AHL affiliate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khudobin struggled this season and was a healthy scratch in several recent games as the club stuck with the tandem of Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger. Teams were reportedly interested in trading for him but wanted to see him play more games first. Sending him to the minors will allow him to get some games in while also clearing room for the Stars to recall another player if needed.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues placed David Perron, Robert Thomas and Brayden Schenn on injured reserve, activated Tyler Bozak and Justin Faulk from COVID protocol, and recalled forward Alexei Toropchenko from their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

The Los Angeles Kings recently placed defenseman Alexander Edler (lower body) on injured reserve










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2021

Brady Tkachuk reaches a milestone, Ben Bishop’s career is over, more details emerge regarding Olympic quarantine rules, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Brady Tkachuk tallied his first career NHL hat trick while Anton Forsberg made 25 saves for his first career NHL shutout as the Ottawa Senators upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0. Drake Batherson had three assists and Thomas Chabot collected two helpers.

Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk (NHL Images).

Sebastian Aho scored two goals and collected an assist to lead the Carolina Hurricanes over the Edmonton Oilers 3-1. Aho has netted multiple points in five straight games. The Hurricanes have won four straight while the Oilers’ losing skid has reached five straight. The Oilers played without defenseman Kris Russell (upper body), who was placed on injured reserve on Friday.

The New York Islanders finally picked up their first home win at UBS Arena by doubling up the New Jersey Devils 4-2. Zach Parise scored his first of the season while Mathew Barzal, Oliver Wahlstrom and Jean-Gabriel Pageau each had two points. Devils center Nico Hischier and defenseman Ryan Graves missed the game after being placed in COVID protocol yesterday.

Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark kicked out 40 shots in a 4-2 victory over the Calgary Flames, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each had two points. The Flames also honored winger Milan Lucic for his 1,000th career NHL game. He reached that milestone in April but the Flames wanted to honor him during a game against the Bruins, with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 2011.

A late goal by David Kampf gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, who had overcome a 4-1 deficit. William Nylander had a goal and two assists while Auston Matthews and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist. Leafs goalie Petr Mrazek made 31 saves in his first game since being sidelined by a groin injury in October.

James van Riemsdyk scored two goals as the Philadelphia Flyers dropped the Arizona Coyotes 5-3, winning two straight games for the first time since October. Travis Konecny picked up two assists. Arizona defenseman Jakub Chychrun and forward Ryan Dzingel missed this game as both are day-to-day with injuries. The Coyotes have lost five straight.

T.J. Oshie’s shootout goal lifted the Washington Capitals over the Buffalo Sabres 3-2, extending the latter’s losing skid to seven games. Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary returned from injury and scored the tying goal to force overtime and the shootout.

The Pittsburgh Penguins got a 33-save shutout from Casey DeSmith to blank the Anaheim Ducks 1-0. Brock McGinn tallied the only goal. Ducks goalie John Gibson left the game following the second period with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

An overtime goal by Jake Bean gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Kraken, who scored three unanswered third-period goals to force the extra frame. Max Domi had two goals and an assist for the Jackets. The Kraken were without Yanni Gourde and Riley Sheahan after they and assistant coach Jay Leach were placed in COVID protocol.

The Minnesota Wild’s eight-game winning streak came to an end as they fell 2-1 to the Los Angeles Kings. Brendan Lemieux snapped a 1-1 tie during the third period in his first game since serving a five-game suspension for biting the Senators’ Brady Tkachuk. Kings defenseman Alexander Edler left the game early in the first period with an injured left leg following a hit by Wild forward Brandon Duhaime. Kings coach Todd McLellan said Edler could be out “long term”.

Erik Karlsson scored what proved to be the game-winner as the San Jose Sharks held off the Dallas Stars 2-1. Sharks center Tomas Hertl scored in his fourth straight game while James Reimer made 34 saves for the win in his 400th career NHL contest. San Jose forward Kevin Labanc left the game following his first shift after being hit by the Stars’ Jani Hakanpaa.

The St. Louis Blues got a goal and an assist from Pavel Buchnevich to beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1, spoiling netminder Jake Allen’s return to St. Louis for the first time since he was traded to Montreal in 2020. Former Canadiens goalie Charlie Lindgren picked up the win with 22 stops. Before the game, the Canadiens announced Tyler Toffoli would be sidelined eight weeks following surgery on an injured hand while Jake Evans is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

HEADLINES

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars general manager Jim Nill said Ben Bishop’s playing days are over after the 35-year-old goaltender spent over 14 times attempting to rehabiliate a degenerative knee injury. The news comes after Bishop allowed eight goals on 34 shots during a game on Thursday while with the club’s AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint. He was recalled by the Stars yesterday and placed on long-term injury reserve. He will speak with the media on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a sad ending for a terrific, albeit injury-hampered career. The 6’7”, 210-pound Bishop was among the league’s elite goaltenders when healthy, winning 222 of 397 starts with a career goals-against average of 2.32, a .921 save percentage and 33 shutouts. “Big Ben” was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 2014 and 2016 with the Tampa Bay Lightning and in 2019 with the Stars. He was also a Second Team All-Star in 2016 and 2019.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are still awaiting word on the condition of captain Blake Wheeler after he left Friday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks with a possible knee injury. Jets coach Paul Maurice suspects Wheeler could be sidelined for a while.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Canucks, they placed defenseman Travis Hamonic (lower body) on injured reserve on Friday.

TSN: Chris Johnston reported the International Olympic Committee confirmed any confirmed positive COVID-19 test at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics must produce two subsequent negative tests 24 hours apart. Otherwise, the quarantine period could last from three to five weeks according to Chinese law.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would be troublesome for NHL players participating in the Games if they should contract COVID while in China. Johnston indicated there will be a call between the IOC, the International Ice Hockey Federation, NHL and the NHL Players Association medical personnel soon to review these matters.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he’d leave it up to the players to decide before the Jan. 10 opt-out deadline if they’ll still participate. The possibility of spending up to five weeks in China under quarantine could give participants a reason to reconsider taking part in the Games.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2021

The Avalanche score seven goals for the third straight game, the Flyers long winless skid is over, plus the latest on the Olympics, the Coyotes, the salary cap and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche scored seven goals for the third straight game on route to beating the Detroit Red Wings 7-3. Andre Burakovsky scored twice and Devon Toews had three assists as the Avs won their sixth straight home game. Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury and will be reevaluated today. The Avalanche are the first team to tally at least seven goals in three straight games since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins.

Colorado Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Penguins, they doubled up the Washington Capitals 4-2. Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby collected two assists to extend his points streak to seven games while Tristan Jarry made 29 saves. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin also had two assists while teammates Tom Wilson and Martin Fehervary left the game with injuries.

The Philadelphia Flyers snapped a 10-game winless skid by holding off the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. Carter Hart kicked out 41 shots and James van Riemsdyk tallied what proved to be the game-winning goal. Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty netted two goals. It’s the Flyers’ first win under interim coach Mike Yeo.

Elias Pettersson scored in a shootout as the Vancouver Canucks nipped the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 to pick up their third straight win in as many games under new coach Bruce Boudreau. Nils Hoglander potted two goals and Thatcher Demko got the win with a 34-save effort. Jets’ captain Blake Wheeler had a goal and two assists but left the game in the third period with a possible knee injury. Kyle Connor also had a goal and two assists for the Jets.

Patric Hornqvist and Sam Bennett scored 10 seconds apart in the first period as the Florida Panthers downed the Arizona Coyotes 3-1. Phil Kessel replied for the Coyotes, who’ve lost four straight games. The win vaulted the Panthers into first place in the overall standings with 40 points.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi had a goal and an assist to lead his club over the New Jersey Devils 3-2. Juuse Saros turned aside 29 shots in his return to action after missing two games with a non-COVID-related illness. The Predators have won four straight.

A 36-save performance by Alexandar Georgiev carried the New York Rangers over the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Mika Zibanejad and Alexis Lafreniere scored for the Rangers as they’ve won eight of their last nine contests. The Sabres have dropped six straight.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly met with reporters yesterday following the second and final day of the board of governors meetings.

Regarding NHL participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics, Bettman indicated he’s concerned about a host of issues, including COVID-19 testing and potential quarantine in Beijing if a player tests positive. Nevertheless, he said it’s going to be the players’ decision to go unless the league and the NHL Players Association jointly agree to the contrary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports suggest a positive test could lead to a player facing a three-week quarantine in China, raising questions as to when the player can leave the country. Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner is the only player thus far to withdraw from participation, citing mental health concerns.

The NHL is projecting hockey-related revenue will rise to $5.2 billion for this season. The salary cap will rise by $1 million to $82.5 million for 2022-23 and to $83.5 million in 2023-24 based upon last year’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) that extended the collective bargaining agreement. That will allow the players to repay the $1 billion in escrow debt owed to the owners by the end of 2023-24, meaning a significant jump in the salary cap for 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: How big a jump will depend on how much HRR rises by ’24-’25. It could reach $6 billion which could see the cap rise by $7 million, sparking a frenzy of lucrative long-term contracts for free agents in the summer of 2024.

Bettman also said there were no concerns about the Arizona Coyotes despite the recent threat of eviction from the Gila River Arena over unpaid bills and taxes. The club released a statement claiming they’ve paid those bills, blaming “human error” for the delay. The Coyotes still reportedly owe an additional $2.7 million in rent and other expenses to the city of Glendale.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: “Human error” is the business equivalent of “The dog ate my homework” or “The cheque’s in the mail.” While this raises legitimate questions over the stability of the Coyotes’ ownership, the club won’t be relocating. Put simply, the Coyotes won’t remain in Arizona until Bettman decides it’s no longer feasible.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli wondered if Bettman got a contract extension after telling reporters he planned on being in his job for a long time. “So you’re still stuck with me,” he said with a smile.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman’s helped the owners make a boatload of money over the years while bringing the NHLPA to heel. Like it or not, he’ll be the commissioner for as long as he wants.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Evander Kane is expected to make his debut today with the San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate. The Sharks assigned the 30-year-old winger to the Barracudas following the recent completion of his 21-game suspension for using a fake COVID-19 vaccine card.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are believed to be still trying to find a trade partner to take Kane off their hands. There’s no indication when he might be recalled to their lineup.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Ben Bishop gave up eight goals on 34 shots in his first game with the club’s AHL affiliate on Thursday. It was also his first game since undergoing knee surgery in October 2020. He’s with the Texas Stars on a conditioning stint as he inches his way toward a possible return with Dallas.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs goaltender Petr Mrazek is set to play tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks. It’ll be his first game since suffering a groin injury in October.

TSN: New Jersey Devils coach Lindy Ruff said he’s worried and concerned over the long-term health of goalie Jonathan Bernier due to a hip injury. Bernier was placed on injured reserve after dealing with the ailment throughout this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like it could be a career-threatening injury for Bernier. There’s no word if he’ll undergo surgery.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt underwent successful surgery for an upper-body injury. There is no timetable for his return.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets placed defenseman Adam Boqvist (upper body) on injured reserve.

THE PROVINCE: The front office purge of the Vancouver Canucks continued Friday as assistant general manager Chris Gear and senior director of hockey operations and analytics Jonathan Wall were dismissed.