Cam Tucker

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The Sabres, who could use a spark offensively, recall Justin Bailey

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It’s been a brutal start to the season for the Buffalo Sabres.

They’re off to an 0-4-1 start. Jack Eichel, their star forward who recently signed an eight-year, $80 million contract extension, has voiced his displeasure with the team’s consistent losing.

While there was promising news earlier in the week regarding defenseman Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played a game this season because of a lower-body injury, the Sabres moved him to injured reserve on Sunday and recalled right winger Justin Bailey from the American Hockey League.

“Zach is doing quite well. He skated again today,” Sabres coach Phil Housley recently told the Buffalo News. “He’s making really good progress. He’ll continue to go on the ice and work on his game and hopefully that will mean he’s playing soon.”

The Sabres, who were also without Kyle Okposo last night due to illness, desperately need a spark on offense and Bailey may be able to help provide that.

Through five games, Buffalo has just 11 goals, which puts them in the bottom third of the league in that category. The aforementioned Eichel has been one of the few bright spots with seven points through five games, including two points in each of the first two games on this road trip through California and Las Vegas.

Bailey, Buffalo’s second-round pick in 2013, has been productive in each of his first two seasons in the minors, reaching the 20-goal plateau both times. He started this season with two goals in his first three games in Rochester. While the goal production has been there for him in the minors, it hasn’t yet translated into the NHL, with two goals in 40 games with the Sabres.

The Sabres continue their road trip tonight, when they visit the Anaheim Ducks.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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Golden Knights recall Vadim Shipachyov, who could make NHL debut vs. Bruins

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The Vegas Golden Knights have recalled forward Vadim Shipachyov from the American Hockey League, according to multiple reports.

According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, the Golden Knights placed Erik Haula on the injured list in a corresponding move, opening up a roster spot for the 30-year-old Shipachyov, who is on a two-year, $9 million deal with Vegas after lighting it up in the KHL for the past few years.

The talented Russian forward wasn’t on the Golden Knights opening night roster and has missed the first four games of their season, which raised controversy when reports surfaced that Shipachyov and his agent were looking to find a way to get back to the KHL.

General manager George McPhee denied the report, saying Shipachyov wouldn’t report to Chicago.

“This is a roster move and it’s not about performance,” McPhee told NHL.com earlier this week.

The Golden Knights have enjoyed a 3-1 start to their first season in the league, with James Neal continuing his hot streak with another goal, his sixth of the season, on Friday in what turned into a 6-3 Vegas loss to Detroit. The Red Wings entered the third period down a goal, but scored four unanswered for the win.

With a roster assembled through the expansion draft, the Golden Knights are expected to struggle at times offensively this season. The organization’s plan is geared more towards the long term, but in the case of their 2017-18 season, there is going to be a fair amount of intrigue to see what Shipachyov — who scored 26 goals and 76 points in the KHL last season — can do once he gets into the lineup and acclimatized to the NHL level.

In the midst of a seven-game home stand, the Golden Knights host the Boston Bruins on Sunday. Per Steve Carp of the Vegas Review Journal, Shipachyov is expected to make his debut tomorrow.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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Pouliot to make Canucks debut, with Edler sidelined 4-6 weeks

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The Canucks will be without Alex Edler for a significant amount of time.

On Saturday, head coach Travis Green confirmed that Edler will miss the next four to six weeks due to a sprained MCL suffered during Thursday’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

That’s a tough loss for the Canucks this early in the season, with Edler leading the team in ice time at an average of more than 24 minutes a night through the first two games, and playing a sizable role with the penalty kill and power play.

This will now provide 23-year-old Derrick Pouliot with an opportunity to get into the lineup. He’s slated to make his Canucks debut Saturday against the Calgary Flames.

Pouliot was selected eighth overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2012 NHL Draft, but has yet to make the jump to the big league on a full-time basis. He had split each of the last three seasons between the Penguins and their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before Pittsburgh finally moved on from him prior to the start of the 2017-18 campaign, trading him to Vancouver.

Trying to get his NHL career on track, Pouliot has a familiarity with the new Canucks bench boss dating back to their time together with the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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Jets turn to ‘very mature, confident’ Hellebuyck for third straight start

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This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

But after two impressive outings in net already this week, helping the Winnipeg Jets to consecutive wins, Connor Hellebuyck will make his third straight start tonight when they host the Carolina Hurricanes, as head coach Paul Maurice continues to play the hot hand.

“The first would just be play,” Maurice told reporters, explaining his decision to once again go back to Hellebuyck. “Back to back games that looked identical. He let one in there, the 3-2 goal (versus Vancouver), that he’d like to have back, and those things happen. But his play after that was just very mature and very confident.”

One of the issues that has plagued the Jets in the past has been their goaltending, and the hope had been that the signing of Steve Mason to a two-year, $8.2 million deal this summer could help remedy that.

It’s only been two games with his new team, but the 29-year-old Mason has given up 11 goals on 65 shots. He was chased from the net early in the third period in the season opener against the Maple Leafs and then gave up six goals on 45 shots a few days later against Calgary.

The Jets have defeated Edmonton and Vancouver since turning to the 24-year-old Hellebuyck, who has allowed two goals in each of those starts. That included a 39-save performance against Connor McDavid and the Oilers.

Maurice did suggest that Mason could be in consideration to start Tuesday at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Meanwhile, the Jets should get another boost tonight. Dustin Byfuglien, who has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury but caught one monster of a fish earlier this week, will be back in the lineup.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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With Niskanen on LTIR, Capitals recall prospect Madison Bowey

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Madison Bowey has been called up to join the Washington Capitals, a move that follows an injury to defenseman Matt Niskanen.

Niskanen, who sits fourth on the Capitals in ice time at just over 21 minutes per night, suffered what the team is calling an upper-body injury during last night’s 5-2 victory against the New Jersey Devils.

He left the game after the second period, and has since been placed on long-term injured reserve, considered week to week at this point.

A second round pick of the Capitals in 2013, Bowey has spent the past two seasons with the Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League, although his sophomore campaign, in which he had 14 points in 34 games, was derailed by an ankle injury.

With all the changes on the Washington blue line this summer, losing Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk in free agency and Nate Schmidt in the expansion draft, there appeared to be a potential opening for the 22-year-old Bowey on the Capitals’ opening night roster.

Having been previously mentioned as a prospect that was ready to take the next step into the NHL, Bowey appeared in three preseason games last month. He recorded one assist, while playing more than 22 minutes a game on two occasions, before he was sent back to Hershey, while still awaiting the opportunity to make his NHL debut.

The Capitals are on the road again, as they face the Philadelphia Flyers tonight.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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