Jets win wild one against Preds, but is Byfuglien hurt?


What a weird one in Winnipeg.

In the grand scheme of things, the biggest development may just be a possible injury for Dustin Byfuglien. After scoring two goals, Byfuglien took an ugly-looking fall that certainly raises some concerns.

Either way, Jets – Predators is a clash between two frustrated teams that also happen to boast some serious firepower, and it showed on Thursday in Winnipeg’s eventual 5-4 OT win.

Nashville opened the scoring with Kevin Fiala’s first goal, but the Jets went on a tear in the second period.

Byfuglien scored two of those goals, sandwiched in between Bryan Little‘s tally, and it was 3-1 heading into the third. Nikolaj Ehlers 4-1 goal seemed to scream “Everyone’s really going to bury the Predators after this one.”

Instead, things just got … strange.

Ryan Johansen fed into his reputation of being something of a double-edged sword in this one.

His detractors will trash him for a surprising unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but they’ll struggle to shrug their shoulders at his three-point night.

That included an assist on James Neal‘s tying goal, which happened with just 14 seconds left.

A Predators team that’s gained a lot of scorn erased a 4-1 deficit with only 14 minutes left in the third. Oh yeah, there was even a span of 3-on-3 hockey … in regulation.

A lot to take in, right?

Winnipeg salvaged what would have been a highly embarrassing affair when Blake Wheeler scored the overtime-winner a little less than a minute into extra time. They can say “it could have been worse,” although they may only whisper such a thought if Byfuglien misses serious time.

With that, both desperate teams get something to take away from Thursday’s games, yet each coach can still go red in the face screaming about the many, many mistakes on both sides.

Seriously, though, it was an oddball game.

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

Rasmus Sandin
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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.