Around the Rink – Friday, October 15

7:00 pm

Colorado @ New Jersey

Brian Rolston’s loss seems to be New Jersey’s gain, as the team looks like it will finally dress a full roster – or close to a full roster – because of his placement on the long term injured reserve. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that they’re at “full strength” though, as they’ll be dressing minor league players instead of guys like Anton Volchenkov. Either way, the Avalanche will likely depend on Craig Anderson to outplay Martin Brodeur in this one.

Toronto @ NY Rangers

Win or lose, it’s still too early to know for sure if the 3-0 Toronto Maple Leafs are “for real.” Still, another win would embolden the team quite a bit. It’s probably asking a lot for Clarke MacArthur (four goals in three games) to keep it up, but the Maple Leafs might be onto something as a team. If Toronto beats the Rangers in their home opener tonight, it will be their first 4-0 start in 17 years

NY Islanders @ Pittsburgh

This one ranks pretty high on the “Something Has to Give-o-meter.” The Penguins began the season 0-3 at home (with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury sharing that same record), but Brent Johnson – the only Pittsburgh goalie with a win so far – might end up getting the start tonight. If the Penguins lose to the scrappy-but-still-seemingly-lowly Islanders, it might be time to get a little worried.

Chicago @ Columbus

The Blackhawks are probably pretty heavy favorites in this one, although the strong possibility of Patrick Kane missing this one with “an illness” increases the Blue Jacket’s chances of winning.

7:30 pm

Montreal @ Buffalo

Oddly enough, in some ways, Carey Price has been a bigger strength for Montreal (91.8 save percentage) than Ryan Miller has been for Buffalo (90.7 save percentage). Obviously it’s an incredibly small sample, though, but Price is keeping the Habs in games so far as they’ve been severely out-shot (they average 27.3 shots per game while giving up 36.6 per game so far).

10:00 pm

Atlanta @ Anaheim

The Ducks finally earned a win in their first home game of the season and might have the perfect tonic to keep that going against the Thrashers, who are 0-2 on the road so far. After going without a goal and -12 after three awful games on the road, the Ducks big three of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan produced three goals and four assists in their win against the Canucks.

10:30 pm

Vancouver @ Los Angeles

The Kings could get off to a quick start this season at the expense of their hated rivals in Vancouver, as Los Angeles already has a shootout win over the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season. The Sedin twins are off to a nice start themselves, with Henrik producing four assists and Daniel notching up three goals and two assists in the Canucks’ first three games.

Lehner (forearm contusion) to miss preseason game versus Maple Leafs

Matt Puempel, Alex Chiasson, Robin Lehner
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The Buffalo Sabres will not have goalie Robin Lehner in their lineup Friday versus the Toronto Maple Leafs.

As per the Sabres, Lehner is dealing with a forearm contusion and will not dress for this preseason game. Jason Kasdorf will start in net for Buffalo.

Members of the media in Buffalo have noted that if this were a regular season game, Lehner would be able to play.

Lehner had ankle surgery in March, ending his 2015-16 season. His ankle issues dated even further back, to the beginning of last season when he suffered a high-ankle sprain.

The Sabres have some exciting young players on their roster, especially up front, but they need Lehner to be healthy if they are to take a run at a playoff spot this season.

Behind him sit Linus Ullmark, Anders Nilsson and Kasdorf, who have a combined 73 games of NHL experience between them all.

Matthews to sit out preseason tilt versus Sabres, as Maple Leafs give him ‘a little break’

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Auston Matthews poses for a portrait after being selected first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in round one during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)
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The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. But No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews won’t be in the lineup, according to multiple reports.

“Sooner or later, he’s going to get in, but not tonight,” said assistant coach Jim Hiller, as per the Toronto Sun.

“The lineups are day by day. They (World Cup players such as Matthews, Milan Michalek, Leo Komarov and James van Riemsdyk) went through a solid three weeks. It’s a little break, a little down time. There are tons of games coming. They’ll get a lot of ice time. They’ll get in shortly.”

(The report also notes that Matthews is not dealing with a health issue, which is obviously good news for the Leafs.)

On a night when the No. 2 overall selection Patrik Laine is slated to make his preseason debut for the Winnipeg Jets, fans wishing to see Matthews don a Maple Leafs jersey in his anticipated debut will have to wait.

Matthews played for Team North America at the World Cup held in Toronto. He had two goals and three points in three round robin games, but the young North American team was unable to advance to the semifinal round.

The Maple Leafs play the Montreal Canadiens at home on Sunday.

McLellan: Maroon’s lower-body injury not considered serious

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It appears Patrick Maroon‘s injury from Wednesday’s preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks looked worse than it is.

The Edmonton Oilers forward was in obvious pain immediately after he went hard into the boards from an awkward hit delivered by James Sheppard just past the midway point of the third period. Maroon needed help to the bench and was unable to put much, if any, pressure on his left leg.

He left the game and didn’t return.

Good news, however, from the Oilers: Head coach Todd McLellan told reporters on Friday that the injury — lower body — is not serious, as per the team’s Twitter account.

According to Mark Spector of Sportsnet, the 28-year-old Maroon is expected to be ready for Edmonton’s season opener against the rival Calgary Flames on Oct. 12.

The Oilers acquired Maroon at last season’s trade deadline, a move that certainly added size and an element of grit to their group of forwards.

In 16 games with Edmonton, he scored eight goals and 14 points. In 56 games with Anaheim that same season, he registered only 13 points before the trade.

Patrik Laine to make highly anticipated preseason debut for Jets

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Patrik Laine gives an interview after being selected second by the Winnepeg Jets during round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images)
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Anticipation has been building since the Winnipeg Jets officially took Patrik Laine with the second overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft.

On Friday, Laine, the highly coveted Finnish forward, will make his preseason debut for the Jets when they play the Edmonton Oilers in Winnipeg, as the home fans get the chance to take in the occasion.

The Jets have done a nice job of amassing good young forwards in their organization. Laine, who has the gifts to be a prolific scorer in the NHL, is at the top of that prospect list.

Winnipeg’s roster tonight also includes forward prospects Kyle Connor, Nic Petan and Brandon Tanev, not to mention more NHL experienced forwards like Alex Burmistrov, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele.

Laine enters this season with high expectations placed on him from fans and media, after coming to the NHL following a standout career in Finland as a teenager. He’s aware of the expectations, but toned down the hype with the usual statements of just playing his game.

“Just be brave on the ice and show everybody I will earn my spot on the team,” he told reporters.

Laine has already seen game action this month. Not with the Jets, but with Finland’s entry at the World Cup of Hockey.

Following offseason knee surgery, Laine wasn’t happy with his performance in Finland’s first pre-tournament game. In three tournament games, Laine failed to register a point, despite a team-best 10 shots on goal, as Finland was quickly eliminated in the round robin.

Related:

Looking to make the leap: Patrik Laine