Jason Brough

Brandon Prust

Prust out 4-6 weeks with ankle injury

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The Vancouver Canucks announced today that winger Brandon Prust will be out 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury.

Prust rolled his ankle Tuesday against Montreal. To that point, the 31-year-old winger had been a productive addition for Vancouver, registering five assists in nine games.

To replace Prust, Brendan Gaunce was called up from AHL Utica and made his NHL debut last night in Dallas.

Veteran winger Chris Higgins is also set to return shortly. He’s missed all 10 games with a foot injury.

The Canucks play tonight in Arizona.

Related: Miller finally gets a rest

And in the 11th game, Ryan Miller rested

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Ryan Miller will finally get a night off tonight when his Vancouver Canucks take on the Coyotes in Glendale. No other goalie has played a second for the Canucks this season.

Richard Bachman, the No. 3 goalie on Vancouver’s depth chart, confirmed this morning that he’ll start tonight. Miller started the first 10 games, including last night’s 4-3 overtime loss in Dallas. Backup Jacob Markstrom is still hurt.

Bachman was signed on July 1. From the club’s press release:

Bachman played the majority of last season with the Oklahoma City Barons in the American Hockey League, finishing with a 2.38 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 23 games. He also played in seven games for the Edmonton Oilers, posting a 2.84 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.

Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury got his first rest of the season last night, making Miller the only starting goalie in the NHL who’d yet to get a rest.

goalies

Johansen admits that Torts told him he was out of shape

Ryan Johansen
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Larry Brooks wasn’t making it up. John Tortorella did tell Ryan Johansen that he wasn’t in shape.

Johansen confirmed today what the New York Post reporter tweeted after Johansen was benched for the final 6:10 of Tortorella’s first game behind the Blue Jackets’ bench on Oct. 22.

“That was something that was said in the room,” the 23-year-old told the Columbus Dispatch. “That’s something that shouldn’t leave the room. You always hear (about) those codes from teams and players around the league: what’s said in the room is said in there, and that’s between us. Whatever me and coach talk about is between me and him.”

Johansen added that he had “no idea” how the leak occurred. He’ll be back in the lineup tonight in Washington, after missing two games with an undisclosed illness.

“We figured it all out; that’s why I’m back 100 percent today,” Johansen said.

Five team stats you may find interesting

Jamie McGinn, Jeff Zatkoff
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33.6 — The number of shots the Sabres are averaging. Only the Flyers (34.1) have averaged more. Last year, Buffalo averaged 24.2, the lowest in the NHL. The Sabres have also dramatically cut down the shots against, from 35.6 to 26.8. While they’ve only been rewarded with three wins, the evidence of improvement is obvious. Buffalo is no easy opponent anymore.

.892 — Washington’s team save percentage. Not what you’d expect from a team with a 6-2-0 record. But that’s how dangerous the Caps have been offensively, and also how good they’ve been defensively. Washington is surrendering just 24.3 shots per game, the lowest in the league. That’s allowed Braden Holtby to be good (.917), but not great (15 starters have a higher save percentage), and still boast a 5-2-0 record.

.923 — The Islanders’ team save percentage, tied for eighth. When was the last time the Isles ranked so highly in this stat? They were 26th last year, at .903. Individually, Jaroslav Halak (.940) has been excellent, and Thomas Greiss (.926) has been almost as good in a backup role. If there’s a concern, it’s that the Isles are giving up 32.6 shots per game, the fourth most in the league.

4 — Times the Canucks have led after two periods and failed to win. They did it again last night in Dallas, blowing a 3-1 third-period lead and falling 4-3 in overtime. It was also the fourth time they’ve lost in overtime. This early in the season, that’s a lot of points left on the table. On the bright side, Vancouver only has two regulation losses.

14.2 — Boston’s shooting percentage, the highest in the NHL. Last year, Calgary finished with the highest, at 10.4. Which is to say, it’s probably not sustainable for the Bruins. Nor for that matter is the Ducks’ insanely low rate of 3.6. Last year, Arizona finished with the lowest, at 6.9.

The Lightning are ‘frustrated,’ but coach Cooper isn’t worried yet

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After starting the season with three straight wins — and looking like the same team that nearly won the Stanley Cup in June — the Tampa Bay Lightning are 2-4-2 in their last eight.

One of those two wins in eight required overtime.

In the lone regulation victory, 2-1 at home over Buffalo on Oct. 17, goalie Ben Bishop had to be “the best player on the ice,” according to coach Jon Cooper.

Last night, the Bolts dropped a 2-1 decision at home to Colorado, a team that hadn’t won in almost two weeks.

Oh, and Tyler Johnson still hasn’t scored yet, despite putting 26 shots on goal.

“If we were like the NFL and had a 16-game season, I’d be worried,” Cooper said after the loss to the Avalanche. “But it’s an 82-game season, so I’m not worried. You watch that hockey game, we played hard. Everything we asked the guys to do, they did.”

To be fair, the Bolts did outshoot the Avs, 35-26.

But then, everyone outshoots the Avs. And the shots were pretty much even after two periods. It was only in the third, with Colorado protecting a one-goal lead, that Tampa Bay really dominated possession, against the worst possession team in the NHL.

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“The one thing about our group is that we’ve been so used to scoring goals,” said Cooper. “It’s only natural to be frustrated. If they weren’t frustrated, then I’d probably have a little bit of an issue.” 

The Lightning host the Bruins Saturday, then hit the road for four games.

“It’s gonna come,” said forward Ryan Callahan. “Look at this group we have in here. We’re not worried.”