NHL Buzz: Ekblad to return for Panthers against Oilers
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Aaron Oakleaf will return for the Panthers against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday (4 p.m. ET; SN, BSFL, ESPN+, SN NOW).
“You want your best skating defenseman in your lineup for this one, right?” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said Friday. “So we were very happy to finish the time the way he did because we’re going to have to skate really, really well. And even if you skate really well, it still won’t be enough for two very special players (Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl) what [I] i used to see a lot of things in winnipeg. And they’re worth seeing.”
The defenseman, who was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury on Oct. 19, has missed the past 11 games with a lower-body injury. Florida went 6-4-1 without Ekblad.
“Extremely excited,” Ekblad said. “These things are the worst. Sit down [stinks], but I’m very proud of the way the team played. Some guys stepped up in a big way. And you’ve seen their true colors of how good some of the players on this team are. So that’s been fun to watch. It will be even more fun to be back in action.”
Ekblad, who left in the second period of a 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins on Oct. 17, has a goal in three games this season. He will skate in pairs with Mark Steel against the Oilers.
“I’m very pleased with the way we survived this injury,” said Maurice. “I would never come out and tell you I was worried about it, but you take it [Ekblad] out of your lineup… we lost it [the third game of the season]. He’s such a big part of what we do right now. So I was worried. And I’m very happy. We also learned a lot along the way. … It was a good experience, but you don’t have to go through it again.” — Alain Poupart
Frederick Andersen was placed on injured reserve for the Hurricanes on Friday with a lower-body injury.
“I’m not going to say week-to-week because I don’t know,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said Thursday. “He’s not coming back tomorrow.”
Andersen, who was injured in practice Tuesday, is 5-3-0 with a 2.72 GAA and .891 save percentage through eight games. He made 18 saves in a 3-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.
“He’s a little off. He tweaked something in practice (Tuesday),” Brind’Amour said. “Goalkeepers are strange. If you don’t feel 100 percent, it’s hard to leave.”
Andersen suffered a torn MCL on April 16 and missed the rest of last season, including the Stanley Cup playoffs, when the Hurricanes lost to the New York Rangers in seven games in the Second Round of the Eastern Conference
Piotr Kochetkov allowed two goals on 22 shots in a 7-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday and Antti Raanta served as backup. Raanta is expected to start for the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, BSSO, ESPN+, SN NOW).
Kotchetkov was recalled by Chicago of the American Hockey League on Tuesday and backed up Raanta in a 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Wednesday.
Raanta is 3-1-1 in five starts this season with a 2.36 GAA and a .915 save percentage. Kochetkov was 3-0-0 with a 2.42 GAA and .902 save percentage in three NHL games last season.
Come in Teuvo Teravainen did not travel with the Hurricanes for their two-game road trip. He had two assists Thursday before suffering an upper-body injury in the second period and has seven assists in 14 games this season. — Kurt Dusterberg
Tanner Pearson will be out 4 to 6 weeks after having hand surgery, the Canucks announced Thursday.
The forward, who was placed on injured reserve, did not play in the third period of Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
Pearson has five points (one goal, four assists) in 14 games this season, averaging 13:30 of ice time.
Come in Sheldon Dries was retired from Abbotsford of the American Hockey League. He has one assist in four games for the Canucks this season.
The Canucks play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, SNO, SNW, SNP, ESPN+, SN NOW).
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