Charlie Coyle

PHT Morning Skate: Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award finalists, plus more

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from the NHL and around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit for the PHT Morning Skate? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

Willie O’Ree Award finalists; bits on Rangers, Bruins, Maple Leafs

• Announcing the finalists for the 2020 Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award in its third annual rendition: Dampy Brar of Calgary, Alexandria Briggs-Blake of Oxon Hill, Maryland, and John Haferman of Columbus. [NHL.com]

Charlie Coyle‘s agent confirmed that Coyle was held out of Bruins practice Saturday because of an inconclusive COVID-19 test. Coyle was among seven Bruins who were deemed “unfit to play,” with Tuukka Rask, Torey Krug, David Krejci, Chris Wagner, and others also in that situation. In at least Coyle’s case, his agent claims that after that inconclusive test, Coyle’s follow-up test ended up being negative. Considering the speculation swirling around David Pastrnak already, it’s been a turbulent start to Bruins training camp. [NBC Sports Boston]

• Apparently, the Maple Leafs really kicked things up a notch on Sunday. That translated to mimicking actual games more, including a full 60-minute scrimmage with breaks that were a lot like intermission pauses. All of that said, the lineup choices might have been the most exciting. Imagine the anxiety a defenseman would feel having to defend John TavaresAuston MatthewsMitch Marner? Almost seems unfair. [TSN]

• Speaking of the Maple Leafs, really interesting insightful stuff from Jeff Veillette on the team being punished for “investing in themselves.” [Faceoff Circle]

• Larry Brooks writes of Kaapo Kakko bringing a new “swagger” and looking like a new man. Beyond his health risks, that’s a good thought. Because … well, frankly, Kakko quietly suffered through a crummy rookie season. [New York Post]

Like, really bad. Note: it’s not great when you see the old “double walrus” (term I just made up) on someone’s Evolving Hockey RAPM chart:

• More Rangers: after some concern, it sounds like Pavel Buchnevich will be available for the Rangers for the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers. [Blueshirts Forever]

Other hockey links

• Bryan Burns of the Lightning website zooms through the pros and cons of media “scrums” on Zoom/the Internet versus the traditional way they’ve been done in person. Reporters generally prefer the old way. What about players, and coaches, such as Jon Cooper? They are more of a mixed bag. [Lightning website]

• Deeply sad stuff from Troy Stecher on the recent passing of his father, Peter. The story is also poignant, though, as Troy discusses a loving letter Peter wrote for Troy that Peter never got to send. It’s a worthwhile, if emotional, read all around. [Sportsnet]

• Sin Bin Vegas believes the Golden Knights’ top line of Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and Paul Stastny needs a nickname. [Sin Bin Vegas]

Mikko Koivu admits that he’s not ready to make a retirement decision. Honestly, that’s good, because I think I speak for many others in hoping a Selke-caliber forward gets another stab at a truly great run. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]

• Oilers Nation’s Cam Lewis believes Edmonton will lean toward starting Mike Smith, not Mikko Koskinen, during the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers. Lewis points to Smith’s experience, in particular. Personally, I wonder if experience is overrated, at least when you consider how often Smith’s looked shaky with all of that mileage on him at age 38. [Oilers Nation]

• Why is it so difficult for defensemen to win, or even become finalists for, the Lady Byng? [The Hockey News]

• Icethetics goes deep (like, really deep) on whether leaks about a Senators rebranding might be legit. And if so, if those tweaks would be well-advised. [Icethetics]

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

The Buzzer: Hats off to Ryan, Kubalik; Granlund’s late-game heroics

Mikael Granlund #64 of the Nashville Predators celebrates his game tying last second goal
Getty Images

Three Stars

1) Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators

He struggled to fight off the tears as Senators fans chanted his name at Canadian Tire Centre late in the third period after Ryan completed his fifth career hat trick to seal Ottawa’s 5-2 victory against the Vancouver Canucks. It was Ryan’s second, and first at home, since returning from an extended absence in order to deal with an alcohol addiction problem. Ryan scored in a variety of ways including a slick redirection, a short-side snipe and an empty-net tally as Ottawa snapped a four-game losing streak.

2) Dominik Kubalik, Chicago Blackhawks

The Czech rookie starred in a five-goal third period for the Blackhawks as they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-2. The 24-year-old collected goals 27, 28, 29 for his first NHL hat trick while Chicago snapped a two-game losing streak. Kubalik knotted the game at 2-2 shortly after Brandon Saad opened the scoring for Chicago. The Blackhawks’ rising star relentlessly followed the puck and finally lit the lamp on his third chance of the sequence. Chicago took a two-goal advantage when Kubalik fired a blistering one-timer past Curtis McElhinney. He would complete the hat trick with an empty netter in the final minutes of the third. The playoffs are out of reach for Chicago this season, but Kubalik’s emergence will help the Blackhawks return to the postseason in the coming years.

3) Mikael Granlund, Nashville Predators

The saying “every second counts” applied to the Predators as Granlund score with one-tenth of a second remaining to force overtime against the Calgary Flames. The Predators didn’t give up during the final moments of a hectic finish and Filip Forsberg slid a puck to Granlund’s stick before the equalizer. Granlund wasn’t finished until he notched the overtime winner to send Bridgestone Arena into a frenzy. A loss would have had costly ramifications on the Predators’ playoff pursuit, but Granlund’s heroics allowed Nashville to slide into the second wild card spot for the time being.

Highlights of the Night

Charlie Coyle batted the puck out of mid-air to even the game at 1-1 late in the first period.

Evander Kane kicked the puck to himself and then fed Logan Couture, who netted the game-winning goal in his second game back from an ankle injury.

Colton Parayko finished off the Islanders with this wraparound in overtime to lead the Blues to a 3-2 victory.

Tomas Tatar stickhandled back and forth until an opening presented itself.

Auston Matthews‘ 44th of the season helped Toronto capture an important 5-3 victory against the Florida Panthers.

Mathew Dumba scored twice including this one-timer as the Wild scored seven in their victory against the Red Wings.

Alexandar Georgiev turned the puck over but recovered with this spectacular save.

Stats of the Night

Scores

New York Rangers 5, Montreal Canadiens 2

Chicago Blackhawks 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 2

Toronto Maple Leafs 5, Florida Panthers 3

Boston Bruins 4, Dallas Stars 3

Ottawa Senators 5, Vancouver Canucks 2

Minnesota Wild 7, Detroit Red Wings 1

St. Louis Blues 3, New York Islanders 2 (OT)

Nashville Predators 4, Calgary Flames 3 (OT)

Winnipeg Jets 3, Washington Capitals 0

San Jose Sharks 3, New Jersey Devils 2 (OT)


Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

Bruins get back on track with win over Stars

David Pastrnak’s NHL-leading 46th goal was the difference in the Boston Bruins’ 4-3 victory against the Dallas Stars.

The Bruins snapped a brief two-game skid and improved to 12-3-0 in their previous 15 games with the victory. Jaroslav Halak made 31 saves in his 17th win of the season.

Nick Ritchie scored his first goal in his second game since being acquired by Boston at the NHL Trade Deadline earlier this week. Charlie Coyle and Brad Marchand also found back of the net as the Bruins extended their lead in the Atlantic Division to seven points.

John Klingberg, Denis Gurianov and Miro Heiskanen scored for the Stars as their eight-game road point streak came to an end.

Charlie Coyle did what?

Klingberg opened the scoring to give Dallas a one-goal advantage but in the final seconds of the first period, Coyle showed he is ready for spring training.

The Bruins were on the power play due to Andrew Cogliano’s ill-advised slashing penalty. Torey Krug’s slap shot from the point generated a juicy rebound and Coyle swatted the puck out of mid-air to even the score. Coyle deflected the initial rebound up in the air, then batted the puck into the back of the net to show off his incredible hand-eye coordination.


Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

Bruins hold off Rangers, improve lead atop Atlantic, NHL

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The Bruins and Rangers both came into Sunday playing good hockey. It makes sense, then, that Boston needed to work hard to beat the Rangers 3-1. By persevering, the Bruins improved their lead over Tampa Bay for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, and thus the entire NHL.

Charlie McAvoy opened the scoring with a strange goal. Charlie Coyle collected a shorthanded game-winner, while Mika Zibanejad scored New York’s lone goal. Patrice Bergeron iced the win with a remarkably fancy empty-netter.

Jaroslav Halak continues to be a strong backup for the Bruins, stopping 25 out of 26 shots. Alexandar Georgiev took the loss for New York, allowing two goals on 33 SOG. It was likely a frustrating game for Chris Kreider, who didn’t score despite four SOG and suffered a -4 rating.

Bruins – Rangers special teams battle

New York’s power play failures told the early part of the story.

Through the first two periods, the Rangers man advantage went 0-for-4. That number only tells part of the story, really. New York squandered a four-minute power play after Ryan Lindgren was bloodied by a high stick. Coyle dug the knife in deeper with that shorthanded goal later in the middle frame.

This Rangers team boasts some dangerous scorers, though, and Mika Zibanejad made that clear by breaking through. Zibanejad scored a power-play tally to tighten things up, with assists from usual suspects Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome.

Bruins bolster Atlantic lead, Rangers see streak ended

Again, these two teams had been playing well lately.

Boston clearly hears the footsteps of the hard-charging Lightning. The Bruins extended their winning streak to three games, and have won nine of their last 10 games (9-1-0). This updated look at that battle for the top spot in the Atlantic reminds that this was a valuable, hard-fought win for the B’s:

Bruins: 86 points in 60 games played
Lightning: 83 points in 59 GP

The Bruins fattened their lead in the Atlantic, which also ranks as the current Presidents’ Trophy race. Of course, the Lightning can slim that right back down to one point with by winning their game in hand.

Meanwhile, the Rangers suffered a painful blow to their shaky playoff hopes, falling to 64 points in 58 GP. This loss ended the Rangers’ season-long four-game winning streak; it’s also merely the Rangers’ third loss in 10 games (7-3-0).

NBCSN Hockey Day in America remaining schedule

Blues at Predators – NBCSN –  6 p.m. ET (Watch live) – Chris Cuthbert will call the action from Bridgestone Arena alongside Darren Pang.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Blackhawks suffer crushing OT loss to Bruins

Jake DeBrusk #74 and Charlie McAvoy #73 of the Boston Bruins
Getty Images
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Overtime losses are not easy to swallow on a given night, but for a team trying to climb back into the playoff race, they are devastating.

Charlie McAvoy was rewarded for driving hard to the net and the Boston Bruins defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in OT. It was the second straight overtime loss for the Blackhawks.

Chicago forward Drake Caggiula thought he netted the game-winning goal with 65 seconds remaining in regulation on a delayed penalty. However, the referees decided that a hand pass took place prior to the goal and waved it off.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said after the game the referee admitted it was his mistake.

Bruins extend winning streak

While the NHL landscape is constantly changing, Boston has remained a fixture near the top of the Eastern Conference standings. The loss suffered in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final still stings, but the Bruins have done an excellent job putting themselves in a position to return. The Tampa Bay Lightning have regained their form from a season ago, but due to five straight wins and consistently strong play, the Bruins have a seven-point lead in the Atlantic Division.

The Bruins acquired Charlie Coyle in the days leading up to the NHL trade deadline last season and it will be fascinating to see if they can bring in additional reinforcements for the 2020 playoffs. Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers is one of the top rentals available and his style would be a near perfect fit for the style played in Boston. He is extremely quick and can play the heavy game which takes its toll on an opponent during an extended playoff series.

Turning point in Chicago

Self-evaluation is one of the toughest aspects of a front-office job in sports and these two OT losses could shift the strategy in Chicago as the trade deadline approaches.

One area of strength that could fetch a decent return is goaltending. The Toronto Maple Leafs’ acquisition of Jack Campbell would presumably take them out of the running, but several teams could use a quality netminder such as Corey Crawford or Robin Lehner. Both goalies will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.

Toews’ 16 points since the start of 2020 and Patrick Kane’s 12-game point streak earlier this month have masked several flaws facing the Blackhawks this season. Depth has been a major pain point in recent years, and this could be the time for Chicago to collect a few additional assets in order to reload for next season.


Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.