Mike Halford

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 11:  Eddie Lack #31 of the Carolina Hurricanes looks on during a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on December 11, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Lack suffers concussion at practice, ‘Canes recall Leighton

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Fairly hectic sequence of events for Carolina ahead of tomorrow’s game against the Leafs.

Netminder Eddie Lack, who has barely played over the last two weeks, suffered a concussion at Monday’s practice and was immediately placed on IR, the club announced.

In a corresponding move, the ‘Canes recalled veteran journeyman Michael Leighton from AHL Charlotte.

Acquired from Vancouver at the 2015 draft and signed to a two-year extension months later, Lack has struggled to find consistency in Carolina. It’s unlikely this recent development will help any. As mentioned, he’s all but ceded the net to Cam Ward — the NHL’s reigning second star of the week — and has played just twice in November.

One was a 4-1 loss to New Jersey, in which he allowed three goals on 20 shots. The other was a 28-second appearance against Anaheim on Nov. 10.

There’s been no word on a possible timetable for Lack’s return. As mentioned, Carolina plays tomorrow night in the first of an extremely road-heavy stretch — the Toronto game is one of nine roadies the club will play from now until Dec. 10.

Additional stops are in Montreal, Ottawa, MSG, Boston, MSG again, then a three-game West Coast trip to Anaheim, L.A. and San Jose.

 

Goalie nods: Kuemper, Kinkaid make rare starts

Darcy Kuemper
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It’s an usually busy Monday night in the NHL, with a couple of unusual starting assignments.

Let’s begin in Dallas, where the visiting Minnesota Wild will give Darcy Kuemper the nod for just the fourth time this season. Kuemper has spent most of the year watching Devan Dubnyk, and with good reason — Dubnyk has been one of the NHL’s best, posting a .948 save percentage and 1.59 GAA, with four shutouts.

Kuemper, though, has won two of his three starts, including a 35-save effort against Ottawa two weeks ago.

To be perfectly honest, it may not matter who the Wild start in goal. The team is mired in an offensive slump, which prompted head coach Bruce Boudreau to note that “we can’t win a lot of games if we only score two goals.”

Kuemper looks as though he’ll take on Antti Niemi, as he was the first goalie off at Dallas’ morning skate.

In San Jose, there’s another rare nod on the horizon as Keith Kinkaid will give Cory Schneider the evening off. Kinkaid, like Kuemper, hasn’t played much at all — this will also be just his fourth start of the season — but the New Jersey backup has fared very well in his limited body of work.

Kinkaid is 2-0-1 on the year with a .944 save percentage and 1.66 GAA, and will do battle against a Sharks team that’s struggling to score goals right now.

For the Sharks, Martin Jones is in goal.

Elsewhere…

Brian Elliott returns to the Flames’ goal, after Chad Johnson started four in a row (winning three of ’em). He’ll be up against Robin Lehner, who has lost his last five.

— It’s expected that Antti Raanta will give Henrik Lundqvist a break, and get the start in Pittsburgh. The Penguins look like they’ll go with Marc-Andre Fleury, the first goalie off at the morning skate.

— Colorado will start Semyon Varlamov, after Calvin Pickard played in Thursday’s loss to Dallas. No word yet on a Columbus starter, but head coach John Tortorella has used Sergei Bobrovsky almost exclusively this season.

— Good (and tall) matchup in Nashville: 6-foot-8 Ben Bishop and the Bolts take on 6-foot-6 Pekka Rinna and the Preds.

— After Scott Darling played great in a comeback win over Vancouver on Saturday, Corey Crawford returns to start for the ‘Hawks. He’ll be up against Cam Talbot, who goes for the host Oilers.

Another injury blow for Florida — Petrovic (ankle) out two months

DENVER, CO - MARCH 03:  Alex Petrovic #6 of the Florida Panthers awaits a face off against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on March 3, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Panthers 3-2.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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The Panthers can’t catch a break.

On the same day they finally received some good news in the health department — Nick Bjugstad is ready to make his season debut, after missing 19 games with a hand injury — the Panthers announced that d-man Alex Petrovic would miss the next eight weeks with an ankle injury, and has been placed on IR.

Petrovic, 24, scored one goal and five points in 16 games this year, averaging just under 18 minutes per night. He was hurt blocking a shot during Florida’s overtime win in Montreal last Tuesday, and hasn’t played since.

With Petrovic out, the Panthers rolled a six-man defensive unit of Aaron Ekblad, Jason Demers, Mike Matheson, Keith Yandle, Mark Pysyk and Jakub Kindl in Sunday’s shootout victory over the Rangers.

It’s possible that Dylan McIlrath, acquired in a trade with the Blueshirts earlier this month, could draw back into the lineup at some point — he hasn’t played since a 6-1 drubbing in Toronto last week.

As for Bjugstad, he’s on target to play in tomorrow’s home date against the Flyers. His season debut is almost certain, given the Panthers sent Jared McCann down to AHL Springfield.

The Panthers are still without the services of former Calder winner Jonathan Huberdeau, who’s out 3-4 months with a lacerated Achilles. Jussi Jokinen also missed extended time earlier this season with a lower-body ailment.

Coyotes say Cunningham in critical condition, but stable, after on-ice collapse (Updated)

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16:  Craig Cunningham #22 of the Arizona Coyotes skates against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on November 16, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Here’s the latest on the health of Arizona Coyotes farmhand Craig Cunningham, who collapsed prior to a game with AHL Tucson on the weekend:

Cunningham, 26, fell to the ice just prior to the start of Saturday’s game against Manitoba.

More, from Tucson.com:

Cunningham collapsed just moments before the puck was scheduled to drop. He appeared to convulse after hitting the ice.

Medics worked on Cunningham, who was lying on his back, and cut away his jersey. They performed chest compressions before moving him off the ice and into an ambulance.

Late Saturday evening, the Coyotes issued a statement that Cunningham suffered “a medical emergency,” adding he was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

According to Vancouver’s News 1130 sources, it’s believed he suffered a heart attack. Cunningham was born in Trail, British Columbia and spent five seasons playing for Vancouver’s WHL team, the Giants, helping them capture the Memorial Cup in 2007.

Update: The AHL, in conjunction with Tucson, has postponed the Roadrunners’ next two games — scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 22 and Wednesday, Nov. 23.

“Craig is a highly respected player and team leader in our league,” said David Andrews, AHL President and Chief Executive Officer. “The thoughts and prayers of the entire AHL family remain with Craig, his family and his teammates.”

Still seeking offense — and now without Hertl — Sharks recall another AHL scorer

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 23:  Daniel O'Regan (L), 138th overall pick by the San Jose Sharks, poses during day two of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 23, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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We’re about to get another look at the talent San Jose’s been grooming in the minors.

Just two weeks after recalling sniper Kevin Labanc from the Barracuda, the Sharks have once again dipped into the AHL pool by recalling forward Danny O’Regan.

The move comes with Tomas Hertl (knee) going on IR, an injury that could sideline him for “weeks.”

O’Regan, 22, was San Jose’s fifth-round pick in 2012 and, like Labanc, has been a high-level scorer at nearly every level. He was a point-per-game guy in his four years at Boston University — quite literally, with 154 points in 154 games — and is off to a terrific start in his first professional campaign, with 11 points in 11 games for the Barracuda.

“He’s just really smart, and he’s fast, and he can shoot. He’s kind of the full package,” head coach Roy Sommer said, per the Gackle Report. “He’s a kid, you only have to tell him once and he does it. He’s not a tough teach.”

If Labanc is any indication, O’Regan could be contributing quickly in San Jose.

Labanc has appeared in six games since his recall, scoring his first NHL marker while averaging just under 13 minutes per night. There are minutes available, as the Hertl injury makes for big hole in the Sharks lineup.

And, as mentioned above, this is a team still looking for offense.

The Sharks sit 26th in the NHL in goals per game (2.3), and have scored just four times during their current three-game losing streak.

San Jose opens a five-game homestand tonight, when it hosts the Devils.