Top player from Sunday in the NHL
Brian Elliott, Lightning
How cruel is it that the Flyers suffered one of their lowest moments during an eight-game losing streak against former goalie Brian Elliott?
Now, you can only sugarcoat a 7-1 loss so much. Especially when you’re desperate like the Flyers increasingly look. But Brian Elliott had to work for his spiteful loss of his former cronies. The aging backup made 38 saves to make a rough loss look even worse for Philly.
Highlights from NHL games on Sunday
In the Kings’ dominant win over the Oilers, Connor McDavid was ejected for his hit on Adrian Kempe. Could McDavid face a suspension?
The Jets and Maple Leafs combined for 52 penalty minutes in a nasty game.
On the lighter side of that Maple Leafs – Jets game, Blake Wheeler enjoyed a nice moment and milestone.
Celebrating 1,000 games with the family 💙 pic.twitter.com/p8Gh2UYZZC
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) December 6, 2021
Sometimes, Marc-Andre Fleury can be an adventure. Sometimes, that’s in a good way, though.
We love an aggressive goalie. pic.twitter.com/f6cFJXhdFd
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) December 6, 2021
Sunday’s NHL takeaways
Canucks fire Benning and Green, hire Boudreau
Phew, what a weekend for the Vancouver Canucks.
Late on Sunday, the Canucks made huge NHL news official. Bruce Boudreau replaced Travis Green as Canucks head coach. Similarly, it’s clear that the Canucks also fired GM Jim Benning. Follow those links for more on each facet of big structural changes for the Canucks.
Islanders still can’t win, losing streak extends to 11 games
Maybe the Isles should’ve tried a little harder to score in 3-on-3 overtime? Instead, Islanders – Blackhawks went to a shootout, and the Isles’ losing streak grew to 11 games. Here’s an updated recap of the Islanders’ losing streak:
Nov. 7: 5-2 to loss to the Wild in Minnesota. Closed off a back-to-back set (they beat the Jets on the road in the previous game).
Nov. 11: 4-0 loss at the Devils.
Nov. 15: A brutal Florida back-to-back set begins with a 4-1 loss in Tampa Bay.
Nov. 16: The Panthers are even less gracious as hosts, beating the Isles 6-1.
Nov. 20: Yay, the Islanders end their 13-game road trip. Less yay: the Islanders continue their losing streak, and don’t exactly open their new home arena very smoothly. First, they lost 5-2 to the Flames.
Nov. 21: A day later, the Maple Leafs beat them 3-0. Many John Tavares jokes were made; none were very nice.
Nov. 24: The hated Rangers did much like the hated Devils, beating the Isles 4-1.
Nov. 26: A 1-0 loss to the Penguins, continuing a fruitless homestand.
[The misery of the losing streak includes some COVID postponements.]
Dec. 2 (Thursday): Another home loss, but the Islanders gain their first point of this losing streak (plus their first point in their new home arena). That Karlsson OT goal pushed the Islanders’ streak to nine games.
Dec. 4 (Saturday): The Islanders factored into Saturday’s OT/shootout barrage of NHL games. So, they got a point again, but they lost. At least the Islanders scored some goals.
Dec. 5 (Sunday): Notice a pattern within a theme (wrapped in an enigma, maybe)? The Islanders earned a standings point for a third straight game, but lost to the Blackhawks, extending their losing streak to 11 games.
Now, this isn’t the worst losing streak in Islanders’ history, let alone NHL history. The league record is 17 games, shared by two teams. At 12 games, two Islanders teams (1972-73 and 1988-89) have suffered longer losing streaks.
On paper, Tuesday’s game against the Senators in Ottawa provides the Islanders with a Grade-A chance to end their losing streak. If not, they’ll try to avoid dubious franchise history with a 13-game losing streak by beating the Predators at home on Thursday.
Not far behind, the Flyers see their losing streak extend to eight games in ugly loss
As angsty as it looked in Philly before, things got even worse during Sunday’s NHL games. Where the Islanders suffered a narrow loss, the Lightning beat the Flyers 7-1 to extend Philly’s losing streak to eight discouraging games.
To be fair to the Flyers, their eight-game losing streak is littered with tough matchups, including three losses to the Lightning. Let’s give the Flyers eight-game losing streak that treatment, too.
Nov. 18: Flyers’ losing streak begins with 4-3 shootout loss at home to the Lightning.
Nov. 20: After that, they dropped a 5-2 loss at home against the Bruins. Memories of Carter Hart‘s strong start begin to fade.
Nov. 23: Uh oh, those Bolts again. In that case, it was a 4-0 loss to the Lightning in Tampa Bay.
Nov. 24: A back-to-back set in Florida isn’t an easy task. After falling to the Lightning, the Flyers saw their losing streak extend in a 2-1 OT loss to the Panthers.
Nov. 26: Another tough one against a challenging opponent. They dropped a 6-3 loss at home vs. the Hurricanes.
Nov. 28: Never feels great to lose by a nearby rival. That happened in the Flyers’ 5-2 loss to Devils in New Jersey.
Dec. 1: The Flyers dropped a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Dec. 5 (Sunday): big loss at home vs. Lightning.
With a Monday game against the deadly Avalanche, the Flyers will need to work hard to end their losing streak at eight games. With the Canucks and Canadiens making prominent coaching and/or GM changes lately, it’s fair to wonder if every key Flyers front office member will remain employed through this discouraging losing streak.
No Lehner at the Olympics
After the Golden Knights’ narrow win over the Flames, Robin Lehner announced that he won’t play for Sweden at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Robin Lehner says he turned down the opportunity to play for Team Sweden in the Olympics.
He said for health reasons, he and his psychiatrist decided it was in his best interest not to go.
— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) December 6, 2021
Monday’s big story
Edler returns to Vancouver while Canucks are in disarray
It was always going to be a heavy, emotional return for Alexander Edler (now of the Kings) when he faced his former team, the Canucks, in Vancouver.
Edler played 15 largely underrated seasons for the Canucks, appearing in 925 regular-season contests and 82 playoff games. So far, Edler’s played 22 games for Los Angeles.
But, for Edler to return in the first game after the Canucks reportedly fired Travis Green and Jim Benning? Kind of wild. It’s unclear if Bruce Boudreau will be able to slide behind the Canucks’ bench as soon as Monday, but either way, it’s a turning point for a franchise so familiar to Edler.
Sunday’s NHL scores
Lightning 7, Flyers 1
Blue Jackets 6, Sharks 4
Blackhawks 3, Islanders 2 (SO)
Jets 6, Maple Leafs 3
Kings 5, Oilers 1
Golden Knights 3, Flames 2
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.