Hartnell says Flyers are frustrated: “We’re all just kind of out of sorts”

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Philadelphia forward Scott Hartnell had some interesting things to day during Friday’s conference call with media, including a glimpse into the Flyers’ mindset prior to their series with the Devils.

“I don’t think we thought we were going to win four straight,” Hartnell told reporters. “But definitely they’ve played a lot stronger and a lot harder than me personally would have thought they’d come with.”

It’s a candid admission, though not entirely surprising given how the first round unfolded. Philadelphia was viewed by many as a Cup favorite after dispatching Pittsburgh, while few gave New Jersey a shot after it barely scraped by Florida (and had just two off days before starting Round 2.)

As such, the “guilty of looking ahead” narrative has come into play. Hartnell said it’s been frustrating for him and linemates Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr, who have been silenced for most of the series.

“Everyone’s frustrated.  I know me personally, I’m frustrated,” Hartnell said. “You can tell with [Giroux] that he wants to make something happen every time he’s on the ice, and I think we all know that’s basically impossible.

“Whether it’s losing a puck battle at the wrong time or whatever, it seems like it’s almost contagious right now. Everybody’s doing it.  It’s OK to be frustrated to a point, but we’ve got to get back our focus and get back to doing what we do well, whether it’s hitting or whatever.”

Speaking of hitting, Hartnell suggested he’ll be ratcheting up the physicality in Game 4. The Flyers have been out-hit in each of the first three games and know that trend can’t continue.

“I don’t expect Claude Giroux to go in and hit Zubrus or Salvador and those guys, that’s my job,” Hartnell said. “I’ve gotta get back to hitting and those guys have got to get back to handling the puck and doing what they do with the puck with me going to the net.

“I think we’re all just kind of out of sorts with each other, and it’s good to have a couple days off between each game to get refocused again.”

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

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TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.