This much we know: New Jersey Devils star forward Ilya Kovalchuk suffered a shoulder injury in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.
Other than that, details at this time are minimal.
“Shoulder injury. I don’t know the details or the extent yet,” Devils head coach Pete DeBoer told the New York Post.
“He’s obviously probably going to be out at least a short time, so we’ll have to fill that hole.”
DeBoer added to NHL.com: “He’s going to get some testing [Saturday night] and [Sunday] morning and we’ll know more [Sunday].”
Kovalchuk left the game in obvious pain during the third period after losing an edge – as per NHL.com – and crashing into the end boards behind the Panthers’ net.
Kovalchuk, 29, had 10 goals and 27 points in 32 games this season for New Jersey. He had also gone five games, including Saturday against Florida, without a goal.
You don’t want to lose anybody,” Adam Henrique told the Star-Ledger. “(Kovalchuk) is a very important guy to this team on and off the ice.”
Goalie Martin Brodeur, who was credited with a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes earlier in the week, made 17 saves against the Panthers for career win 666.
“My brother is really excited about it. He already put in the call. He wants the stick and everything,” Brodeur told the Star-Ledger. “I guess he’s the real devil maybe.”
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.
Read more about his rise here.
In his fifth NHL game, intriguing Washington Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored his first NHL goal (and point).
Let’s be honest, though; Evgeny Kuznetsov deserves plenty of the credit, as he sent a fantastic pass for Vrana’s tap-in tally.
See it for yourself:
Even if that was mostly Kuznetsov, Vrana has been getting his chances so far.
He generated four shots on goal in two separate occasions so far in his four games of NHL action, so maybe he was due for a chance like this.
Considering he’s just 20 years old, the Capitals could get used to Kuznetsov to Vrana.
Update: The Capitals won 4-1, and Vrana’s first goal wasn’t the only noteworthy “first.” After piling on shots, John Carlson finally scored his first goal of the season:
No one’s going to confuse Dmitry Kulikov with Jack Eichel, but the Buffalo Sabres are likely happy to have him back after a long absence, too.
The Sabres have been on an upward trend lately (5-2-2 in their last nine games), and now they get a key defenseman back against the Washington Capitals on Friday night.
Kulikov last played on Nov. 9 and hasn’t recorded a point in 12 games, making for a tough start to his stint with the Sabres. Maybe he’ll begin to get a little more traction with his new team tonight?
He’s far from the only returning Buffalo player, either, as Josh Gorges and Nicolas Deslauriers are also back in the mix. Kulikov is slated to be on the Sabres’ second pairing with Cody Franson.
Buffalo sent Brendan Guhle to the AHL to make room for these tweaks.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without captain Nick Foligno because of an illness on Friday, opening up an opportunity for interesting prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand.
The team tweeted out his linemates as Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak as a solid fourth line facing the Detroit Red Wings.
He failed to generate much (zero points, two shots on goal) in three games so far with Columbus this season, receiving about 25 minutes of ice time over that span.
With eight goals and 12 points in 19 AHL games so far in 2016-17, there’s the thought that he could eventually make the next step to becoming a decent contributor for the Blue Jackets.
Perhaps this will constitute his first real step in that direction?
Apparently this is a pretty abrupt situation for the 21-year-old: