There will be plenty of intrigue when the Nashville Predators host the New York Rangers on Saturday.
Jimmy Vesey isn’t exactly expecting a warm welcome from the fans in Nashville — after what transpired earlier this year when he transitioned from college to the professional ranks.
For the Predators, a team looking to get back into a Wild Card position in the Western Conference, they will be without the dynamic P.K. Subban, who is reportedly day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
In 29 games this season — his first in Nashville — Subban has seven goals and 17 points.
The Predators are four points back of the Calgary Flames for the final Wild Card spot in the West.
There was a scary moment for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Toronto on Saturday.
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury had to leave the game early in the first period after apparently getting cut near the chin or neck by the skate of James van Riemsdyk, as the Toronto forward battled in the crease.
Matt Murray was forced into the game — at least for the moment — as Fleury went to the locker room.
Updated: Good news for the Penguins, as Fleury has returned to the game.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Darcy Kuemper stopped 27 shots in his first start in nearly three weeks, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-1 on Saturday for their seventh straight win.
Ryan Suter and Tyler Graovac both ended goal-scoring droughts of at least 13 games, and Chris Stewart and Eric Staal also scored for the Wild. Minnesota has won seven in a row for the first time since March 2013.
Kuemper started for the first time since a 5-4 loss at Vancouver on Nov. 29. The Wild, who began the day six points behind Central Division-leading Chicago, haven’t lost in regulation since and have outscored opponents 25-10 in the win streak.
Brendan Perlini ended Kuemper’s shutout bid with less than two minutes remaining, and Mike Smith made 26 saves for the Coyotes, facing several close shots and at least a couple that hit off the posts.
Stewart’s fifth goal of the season made it 3-0 at 3:24 of the third, and Staal added an empty netter with 36 seconds remaining to cap the scoring.
At one point in the second, a shot by Nino Niederreiter trickled between Smith’s pads before Connor Murphy narrowly saved it from going in.
Suter’s fifth goal of the season and first in 16 games came with 3:20 left in the first on Minnesota’s second power play on a long shot just below the blue line. Then, with 8 1/2 minutes left in the second, Graovac scored unassisted on a breakaway when his shot from the right side found its way through Smith’s pads and off his skate into the net.
It was Graovac’s first goal in 13 games and third of the season.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are atop the Metropolitan Division with eight wins in their last 10 games. Sidney Crosby has been scoring at a remarkable rate.
And yet there could be tough times ahead for the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Kris Letang, the Penguins’ best defenseman, averaging more than 26 minutes of ice time per game, has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury that is expected to force him to miss a couple of weeks.
Pittsburgh has since recalled Chad Ruhwedel from the American Hockey League. Fellow Pittsburgh blue liner Trevor Daley, who was hurt during Friday’s OT loss, is now out week to week with an upper-body injury, coach Mike Sullivan said on Saturday.
Both Letang and Daley play more than 20 minutes a night. That’s also a combined 30 points between them coming out of the lineup for right now because of injury.
The next few weeks could present some difficult times for a Penguins team that had returned to form as a scoring juggernaut through the first two months of the season. At the very least, it provides a test of depth on the blue line, while putting added pressure on Brian Dumoulin, Olli Maatta, Ian Cole and Justin Schultz.
The Penguins face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
Gregory Campbell‘s time with the Columbus Blue Jackets appears at an end.
On Saturday, the Blue Jackets reportedly put the 33-year-old veteran forward on unconditional waivers. The club will terminate his contract if he clears waivers tomorrow, per Rob Mixer of the Blue Jackets. That would make Campbell an unrestricted free agent.
Campbell played only one season in Columbus, with three goals and 11 points in 82 games last season.
The club opted to put him on waivers before the start of this season. He cleared but didn’t report to the American Hockey League — his agent, Pat Morris, said his client wouldn’t go to the AHL to take a job away from a younger player — resulting in a suspension from the Blue Jackets.
Meanwhile, the red-hot Blue Jackets are on the road against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.
Columbus is searching for its ninth consecutive win. Head coach John Tortorella could also earn his 500th career win — against the same team that fired him at the end of a disastrous 2013-14 season.