In advance of their 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday, LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty was placed on the NHL’s COVID list. The former Norris Trophy winner joined a long list of players who went into protocol over the last couple of days across the league. The Panthers were hit hard, missing seven players from their normal lineup.
Going forward, Doughty is likely to miss the back-to-back games over the weekend. Austin Strand looked like the logical choice to recall from Ontario, but he, too, just went into COVID protocol. The Athletic‘s Lisa Dillman suggests that Jacob Moverare could get a look as the seventh defenseman this weekend or however long Doughty is out.
Guessing/ thinking that Jacob Moverare will be next up.
— lisa dillman (@reallisa) December 17, 2021
Of course, a particular defenseman in Arizona is rumored (HERE) to be available…
- I give him a lot of grief, but Olli Maatta has admittedly looked great since returning to the lineup. He’s played some big minutes when the team needed him, scoring his first goal with the LA Kings on Thursday night. Maatta has been disappointed with his tenure in Los Angeles thus far, so hopefully, he continues to build off this positive momentum.
🚨OLLI OLLI OLLI🚨
— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) December 17, 2021
- Yes, the Panthers were shorthanded on Thursday, but the LA Kings’ 4-1 victory should not have an asterisk next to it. Todd McLellan‘s group still had to show up, and despite a slow start, they played very well. The Panthers were able to open it up in the first period, leading to the game’s first goal. However, LA tightened things up in the second period, leading to Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown‘s goals.
- They took a 3-1 lead into the second intermission, and it was important for them to close out the game. In his postgame presser, McLellan spoke on his message going into the final period:
McLellan on his message going into the third period:
“We wanted to check with our legs. We thought if we could win some face offs which we were doing a pretty good job of all night, we would be fine and we wanted to be aggressive.” #GoKingsGo
— Ryan Sikes (@ryan_sikes10) December 17, 2021
- I couldn’t fit it into the character limit on Twitter, but he summed up his statement indicating that he wanted his team to keep the foot on the gas pedal. That’s exactly what they did.
- In Colorado, Cale Makar and Darcy Kuemper went into COVID protocol before Thursday’s game against the Predators. Per Elliotte Friedman, the Avs were given the option of not playing, but the players wanted to continue as planned. However, Panthers’ Anthony Duclair indicated his team was not granted a choice.
Per Anthony Duclair, the Florida Panthers were not given the chance to vote despite missing seven players. https://t.co/L4ntoxyZcg
— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) December 17, 2021
- Jonathan Quick made his fourth consecutive start on Thursday, but Cal Petersen is guaranteed to start one of the games in the back-to-back this weekend. It’ll be interesting to see which game he gets. He’s never faced the Capitals (Sunday’s opponent) in his career. He had a rough outing in his only start against Carolina, allowing five goals on 20 shots.
- Provinces in Canada are taking proactive measures to prevent the spread of COVID as Montreal did not allow any fans in the building for their game against the Flyers on Thursday:
BREAKING: There will be no fans in attendance at the Bell Centre for tonight's Montreal Canadiens game against the Philadelphia Flyers, as the province of Quebec looks to navigate a rise in COVID-19 cases seen across the country.https://t.co/fnSRA0KMPz
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 16, 2021
- In Ontario, the Maple Leafs and Senators are allowed just 50 percent capacity in what feels like March 2020 all over again:
Beginning on Saturday in Canada, Ontario health officials are reducing capacity at indoor arenas in Toronto and Ottawa to 50 percent.
I hope this doesn't happen here, but I fear we are trending in that direction again.
— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) December 16, 2021
- The Nashville Predators, down seven players, extended their winning streak to six games on Thursday while snapping the Avalanche’s winning streak at five games.
- Last week, Blues forward Nathan Walker was recalled from the AHL in an emergency situation. All he did was score his first career hat trick. A very cool, behind the scenes video following the special moment:
Great moments captured here after Blues forward Nathan Walker from Australia scores a hat trick in his first NHL game of the season. #GDayNate #TheManFromDownUnder #AussieLove pic.twitter.com/UM9MEYHFM1
— Allan Walsh (@walsha) December 16, 2021