Mike Halford

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Another major injury blow in Buffalo — Bogosian (MCL) out ‘weeks’

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First, the Sabres lost Jack Eichel to an ankle injury.

Then, Evander Kane to cracked ribs.

Now, it’s Zach Bogosian that’s joined the walking wounded.

On Thursday, Buffalo head coach Dan Bylsma revealed Bogosian suffered an MCL sprain, an ailment that would keep him out of the lineup for “weeks,” per the Times Herald.

The loss is going to sting, no doubt.

In his second full season (third overall) with the Sabres, Bogosian was looking to build upon a solid ’15-16 campaign, one in which he scored seven goals and 24 points in 64 games, while averaging over 22 minutes a night.

The former third overall pick had struggled a bit this season — pointless through nine games — and his TOI had dropped to just below 19 minutes. But he was still a vital contributor on the Sabres’ back end.

Moving forward, the Sabres will work with a d-man group comprised of Rasmus Ristolainen, Cody Franson, Josh Gorges, Dmitry Kulikov, Jake McCabe and Casey Nelson. There haven’t been any recalls from the American League — yet.

Drouin out versus B’s following big hit from de Haan

The hit that knocked Jonathan Drouin out of the Lightning’s last game will keep him out of the next, too.

On Thursday, Bolts head coach Jon Cooper announced that Drouin would be held out of tonight’s game against Boston, and will be evaluated by team doctors. The club is unsure how long Drouin will be out.

Drouin was knocked out of Tuesday’s game early in the first period, following a hit from Isles d-man Calvin de Haan. De Haan was given a five-minute interference major on the play, while Drouin left and didn’t return, finishing with just 18 seconds of ice time.

“He was in good spirits after the game,” Cooper said of Drouin, per NHL.com.

Offensively, the high-flying Bolts are more than equipped to deal with Drouin’s absence, though it will still be a significant loss. The 21-year-old, coming off last year’s impressive postseason and strong effort with Team North America at the World Cup, had five points through 10 games this year, and was averaging 16:35 TOI per night.

After tonight, the Bolts host New Jersey on Saturday before heading down to Sunrise for a Monday night tilt against the Florida Panthers.

After making NHL debut, Ducks’ Larsson returned to Swedish League

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Whirlwind start of the season for Jacob Larsson.

Larsson, taken 27th overall by Anaheim at the 2015 draft, was returned to Swedish League side Frolunda this week, a move that comes after he surprised by making the Ducks out of training camp, then proceeded to play four games for the club.

Larsson, 19, also played in four games with AHL San Diego.

So, why the move back home? Apparently Frolunda had a loan agreement in place with Anaheim that allowed for the promising young d-man’s return, to the club that groomed him through the youth and junior ranks.

Last season Larsson played in 47 games for Frolunda, scoring 14 points.

The 6-foot-2, 191-pounder probably wasn’t going to see much more time at the NHL level this year — if at all — especially with Anaheim’s defense coming into full focus. Hampus Lindholm, who recently signed a six-year, $31.5 million extension, is expected to be back next week.

Gilbert to have hearing after boarding Ritchie

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Kings blueliner Tom Gilbert will have a disciplinary hearing for his hit on Anaheim forward Nick Ritchie, the Department of Player Safety announced on Wednesday.

The play in question, which occurred during Anaheim’s 4-0 win last night:

Ritchie left the game and didn’t return. Per Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle, he underwent concussion protocol and was being re-evaluated today.

Ritchie won’t play in Anaheim’s game tonight against Pittsburgh.

As for the Kings, losing Gilbert for any length of time would hurt. The club is already down the services of Brayden McNabb, which has forced head coach Darryl Sutter to utilize the likes of Matt Greene and Derek Forbort on the blueline. The veteran Green only appeared in three games last year, missing extensive time with injury, while Forbort has just 24 games of NHL experience.

Gilbert has been a pretty steady contributor this year. He’s averaging over 16 minutes per night through eight games, and has registered three assists.

After five-game absence, Letang back for Pittsburgh

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Matt Murray isn’t the only key player the Pens will welcome back tonight.

Kris Letang, out since Oct. 18 with an upper-body injury, will return to the lineup this evening when the Pens take on the Ducks in Anaheim.

It’s a huge get for Pittsburgh, to say the least.

Prior to getting hurt, Letang averaged over 26 minutes per game, on par with the heavy workloads he’s shouldered over the last few seasons. His return also rounds out Pittsburgh’s d-man corps, as he’ll skate alongside Brian Dumoulin on the top pairing.

Olli Maatta will team up with Trevor Daley, while Ian Cole will skate alongisde Justin Schultz.