April 24, 2024

NHL Buzz: Hill is expected back for the Golden Knights tonight

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Vegas Golden Knights

Goaltender Adin Hill is expected to start for the Golden Knights at the New York Islanders on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SCRIPPS, MSGSN) after missing 15 straight games and 22 of 23 with a lower-body injury since Dec. 2.

It’s Hill’s first game since Dec. 17, when he left in the first period of a 6-3 win against the Ottawa Senators at T-Mobile Arena. He made two saves on three shots before being replaced by Logan Thompson.

Hill is 10-2-2 with two shutouts in 15 starts. His 1.93 goals-against average and .933 save percentage each rank first in the NHL among goaltenders who have played at least 15 games.

Last season, Hill took over in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with injuries to Thompson and Laurent Brossoit. He was 11-4 with a 2.17 GAA and a .932 save percentage in 16 games (14 starts) to help Vegas win the Stanley Cup.

Detroit Red Wings

Patrick Kane could return for the Red Wings in one of their next four games ahead of their bye week.

The forward has missed three games due to a lower-body injury suffered during his second game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 14. He has 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 19 games.

“I think he’ll probably hit the ice sometime this week,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “I hope to have him before the break. If not, I’m confident we will have him after the break.”

The Red Wings host the Dallas Stars on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; BSDET, BSSW, SNP). They then have three more games before their February 1-9 off.

Defenseman Ben Chiarot did not play in Sunday’s 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning due to an upper-body injury. He has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 45 games and could return before halftime. — Dave High

Carolina Hurricanes

Andrei Svechnikov will not play for the Hurricanes against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; MAX, TNT, NESN, TVAS-D).

The forward missed Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild due to an upper-body injury.

“I wouldn’t say it’s day-to-day, but it’s nothing major,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said after practice Tuesday. “I am hopeful that he will be able to recover quickly.”

Svechnikov has 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in 29 games. He missed the first eight games of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL in March. He also missed six games in December with an upper-body injury.

Svechnikov played on a line with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. Michael Bunting took his place on that line on Sunday.

“Now that Svechnikov is out, there certainly remains a big hole at our top,” said Brind’Amour. “We need ‘Bunts,’ or whoever we throw in there, to fill it up.”

After Wednesday, the Hurricanes play the New Jersey Devils on Thursday and the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday for their bye week, a nine-day break. — Kurt Dusterberg

Anaheim Ducks

Olen Zellweger makes his NHL debut for the Anaheim Ducks when they host the Buffalo Sabers on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, HULU).

Zellweger, a 20-year-old defenseman, was recalled from San Diego of the American Hockey League on Tuesday and competed in the morning skate and with the top power-play unit.

“This is a dream for me, so it’s pretty special to be called up to play tonight,” he said. “I look forward.”

Zellweger, a second-round pick (34th overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft, has 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in 34 games in his first season in the AHL. Last season he was named Western Hockey League Defenseman of the Year for Kamloops when he scored 52 points (22 goals, 30 assists) in 32 games.

He leads AHL rookie defensemen in goals, is tied for the lead in power play goals (three) and is second in points and assists.

“He’s a confident kid and I think if he’s going to make mistakes, he’s going to make mistakes out of aggression, and I like that,” Ducks coach Greg Cronin said. “You have guys who play defensively because they think too much. You’re putting stress on their game and that’s not going to be good for someone who is a fluid offensive player.”

The Ducks lost two of their top four defensemen earlier this month. Jamie Drysdale was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on January 8, along with a second-round selection in the 2025 NHL Draft, for forward Cutter Gauthier. Rookie Pavel Mintyukov suffered a separated shoulder in a 5-3 win against the Nashville Predators on Jan. 9 and will miss another four weeks. –Dan Arritt

Seattle Kraken

Philipp Grubauer was activated from injured reserve by the Kraken and will be available Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; MAX, TNT, SN1) against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The 32-year-old hasn’t played since leaving a 4-3 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on December 9. Grubauer allowed two goals on 23 shots in two periods before being replaced by Joey Daccord. Grubauer is 5-9-1 with a 3.25 goals-against average and .884 save percentage in 17 games during his third season with the Kraken. He signed a six-year contract with Seattle on July 28, 2021.

Grubauer was named a finalist for the 2020-21 Vezina Trophy, awarded to the best goaltender in the NHL. He was 30-9-1 with a 1.95 GAA, .922 save percentage and seven shutouts in 40 games (39 starts) for the Colorado Avalanche, finishing second in the league in wins behind Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning (31) and tied with Semyon Varlamov of the New York Islanders for the lead in shutouts.

Daccord is 13-8-8 with a 2.33 GAA, .922 save percentage and two shutouts in 30 games (27 starts) this season and 10-4-3 with a 1.88 GAA and an NHL-best .939 save percentage ( at least 10 starts) since Grubauer’s injury. His GAA is third behind Connoy Hellebuyck (1.80) and Stuart Skinner (1.85).

Goaltender Chris Driedger was transferred to Coachella Valley of the American Hockey League.

Montreal Canadians

Tanner Pearson and Arber Xhekaj will be in the lineup for the Canadiens against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN2, TSN5).

Pearson will play for the first time since Nov. 9, when he suffered an upper-body injury during a 3-2 shootout win at the Buffalo Sabres.

The forward, acquired from the Vancouver Canucks in a trade for goaltender Casey DeSmith on September 9, had eight points (four goals, four assists) in 27 games for Montreal before the injury. A hand injury limited Pearson to 14 games with Vancouver last season.

“It’s frustrating what’s happened over the last two years,” Pearson said. “It brought back old memories, which is a shame, but at the same time it’s nice to come back and hopefully 2024 will bring new life.”

Xhekaj will play his first NHL game since Nov. 16, when he was injured in a 6-5 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights and subsequently assigned to Laval of the American Hockey League. The defender played 17 games with Laval before being recalled on Monday. He has three points (one goal, two assists) and 47 penalty minutes in 17 games with the Canadiens this season.

‘Obviously I’ve been put down [in the AHL] for a reason and they thought it would be useful,” Xhekaj said. “Once I realized it was useful, I think I did a lot better.” — Sean Farrell

Buffalo sabers

Jeff Skinner is expected to return for the Sabers when they visit the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; HULU, ESPN+).

The forward has missed five games due to an upper-body injury suffered during a 5-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken on January 9. He was back in his usual spot at practice on Monday, skating on the left wing with Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch with all reps being taken on the first power play unit.

He returned to practice Friday, but skated on a different line and alternated power-play drills.

“Skinner went full-go in practice,” Sabers coach Don Granato said Monday. “It’s absolutely good. He has passed the training very well and would expect him very, very soon, if not tomorrow.”

Skinner leads Buffalo with 17 goals and is third with 33 points in 38 games.

Erik Johnson will miss his second game due to an upper-body injury suffered in the third period of a 3-0 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on January 18. Heather Angel

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