Author: Mike Halford

Evander Kane, Jared Cowen

Update: Evander Kane is indeed back for Sabres tonight


Update: Yes, Evander Kane is indeed in for Buffalo.


The Buffalo Sabres look as though they’ll get a big piece back in the lineup tonight when they take on the Blues.

Evander Kane, who’s been out since suffering a knee injury on a David Schlemko hit in late October, looks as though he’ll play on a line with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart.

That trio skated together some prior to Kane’s injury, so tonight’s should be exciting for Sabres fans — three of the club’s best and most exciting young forwards, playing on the same unit.

Before getting hurt, Kane had a goal and three points in eight games, averaging close to 20 minutes a night as one of Dan Bylsma’s most-used forwards.

Panthers lose Kulikov (knee) for 2-4 weeks

Colorado Avalanche v Florida Panthers
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The Panthers will be without the services of d-man Dmitry Kulikov for 2-4 weeks after he suffered a knee injury over the weekend against Tampa Bay, per the Miami Herald.

Kulikov, 25, has already missed time — he sat out Monday’s rematch against the Bolts — and while this week’s MRI showed no significant damage, the Russian rearguard could still miss up to a month of action.

Kulikov has been a lineup fixture this season, appearing in the first 17 games of the season while averaging just under 19 minutes per night.

The former first-round pick won’t require surgery to correct the injury.

Goalie nods: After Rask gets shelled by Sharks, B’s go to Gustavsson

Jonas Gustavsson, Rick Nash

Jonas Gustavsson will make his first start in two weeks when the Bruins host the Wild at TD Garden.

Gustavsson’s start comes on the heels of a rough outing from Tuukka Rask — on Tuesday, the Finnish netminder made just 23 saves on 28 shots in a 5-4 loss to the Sharks. The defeat further ballooned Rask’s numbers on the year; all told, he’s now an ugly 5-7-1 with a 3.18 GAA and .890 save percentage.

Gustavsson’s last start came on Nov. 7, when he allowed three goals on 32 shots in a loss to Montreal.

For Minnesota, Devan Dubnyk gets the call in goal.


Martin Jones, riding a three-game winning streak on San Jose’s current road swing, will start in Philadelphia. The Flyers will counter with Steve Mason, who stopped 38 of 40 shots in a strong outing (albeit a shootout loss) against L.A. on Tuesday.

Reto Berra starts again for Colorado, despite getting hooked in his last outing against Toronto. For Pittsburgh, Marc-Andre Fleury is in.

Kari Lehtonen goes for Dallas in Washington; the Caps counter with Braden Holtby.

Mike Smith starts for Arizona, his first since getting shelled for five goals against Columbus last Saturday. The Habs are starting Mike Condon (again), who will look to regain the form show early in his tenure as the club’s No. 1 netminder. He’s given up at least three goals in his last three starts.

— The Blue Jackets will give Curtis McElhinney his first start since Nov. 6 tonight against Ottawa. The Sens will counter with Craig Anderson, who’s been shaky this year with a 3.91 GAA and .890 save percentage.

— Marquee matchup in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Final: Henrik Lundqvist goes for the Rangers, Ben Bishop for the Bolts.

Frederik Andersen, fresh off getting pulled in a recent loss to Nashville, will be back in goal against Florida. The Panthers will go with Roberto Luongo, who’s coming off a brilliant 39-save shutout against Tampa earlier this week.

— Buffalo will stick with the in-form Linus Ullmark in St. Louis, while the Blues will counter with the equally in-form Jake Allen.

Hagelin responds to benching, paces Ducks to win over ‘Canes

Jakob Silfverberg, Carl Hagelin, Shawn Horcoff, Riley Nash

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Carl Hagelin was benched in his last game. The Anaheim Ducks couldn’t afford to have him off the ice for too long in this one.

Hagelin broke out of a slump with a goal and two assists, and Anaheim beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 on Monday night.

“I wanted to prove myself, that I was a better player than I was last game,” Hagelin said.

Sami Vatanen and Shawn Horcoff also scored and Ryan Getzlaf added an empty netter for his first goal of the year.

Getzlaf also had an assist for offensively challenged Anaheim – which snapped a three-game losing streak, matched a season-high for goals and earned just its second win on the road in eight tries.

“We really could have got a hell of a lot more than we actually did get,” Horcoff said.

Rookie Noah Hanifin scored his first NHL goal for Carolina, which has lost six of seven.

“Sometimes when you struggle to score goals, it seems like you just can’t quite break through,” defenseman John-Michael Liles said. “I think that’s kind of where we’re at right now. If we get one, we’re struggling to get two. If we get two, struggling to get three and put teams away. It’s not a fun feeling.”

Anton Khudobin made 24 saves to beat his former team. He spent the past two years with Carolina before he was traded to the Ducks on the same day the Hurricanes acquired Eddie Lack from Vancouver. Lack stopped 16 shots in his first start since Nov. 6 for Carolina.

Hagelin was acquired on draft day from the New York Rangers, but sat during the third period of his last game, a home loss to the New York Islanders on Friday night.

He had just one goal and one assist all season, but helped set up Anaheim’s first two goals before scoring the dagger with 3:49 left on a wraparound that slipped past Lack.

Hagelin said he spoke to friends and family members, and they all agreed on one thing.

“I just need to be … going after the puck a little more and do my thing, do what I’m good at,” he said. “Use my skating as much as possible, and don’t think too much.”

This was a matchup of two teams with sputtering offenses. The Hurricanes entered 28th in the league with 34 total goals while the Ducks entered with an NHL-worst 28 goals – a lasting remnant of a slump in which they had just six goals in their first eight games.

Horcoff put the Ducks up 1-0 with 8:37 left in the first when he parked in front of the net and Hagelin’s pass clicked off his skate and past Lack, with the call upheld after a brief video review.

Hagelin also the secondary assist on Vatanen’s go-ahead goal, which came late in the second. Vatanen took a cross-ice pass from Getzlaf, made a slick move to elude defenseman Ron Hainsey and snapped the puck past Lack to make it 2-1.

That came after Hanifin, the fifth overall pick in last June’s draft, tied it for the Hurricanes 3:38 into the second when he beat Khudobin with a slap shot from just inside the blue line. At 18 years, 295 days old, Hanifin became the youngest defenseman in club history to score a goal.

“I think it’ll take the weight of the world off his shoulders a little bit,” coach Bill Peters said.

NOTES: Carolina scratched D Ryan Murphy (concussion). … Anaheim LW Nick Ritchie, the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft, made his NHL debut. … The teams meet again Dec. 11 in Anaheim.

Floundering Jets lose sixth straight, this time to Blues

David Backes, Michael Hutchinson

Prior to tonight’s game in St. Louis, Paul Maurice said the Jets were “not a confident group.”

Wonder what he thinks now.

Winnipeg lost its sixth consecutive game on Monday, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Blues at Scottrade. The loss came after yet another slow start — the Jets allowed St. Louis to score twice within the first 15 minutes — and, once again, the Jets showed an inability to keep pucks out of their net.

Over this current losing skid, Winnipeg has surrendered a whopping 26 goals in six games.

Vladimir Tarasenko and David Backes scored for St. Louis, with the captain putting forth a terrific effort. Backes scored twice, once on the power play, and finished with his first three-point effort of the year.

Jake Allen, who’s been excellent in wrestling away the No. 1 gig from Brian Elliott, stopped 16 of 18 shots for his eighth win of the year.

Bryan Little and Dustin Byfuglien replied for the Jets, who will be glad to see this current road trip come to an end.

Winnipeg failed to secure a single point from dates Minnesota, Dallas, Nashville and St. Louis, with the Nashville game — a 7-0 blowout Maurice called “our worst game of the year” — being a major low point.

The Jets will try to regroup on Wednesday, when they host a Canucks team currently in the midst of its own lousy road swing.

The Blues, meanwhile, will play in Columbus on Tuesday.