Goalie nods: With Ward (concussion) on IR, Lack assumes No. 1 duties in Carolina

It’s Eddie Lack time for the ‘Canes.

Lack, who’s been Cam Ward‘s understudy for most of this season — Ward’s started 30 times, Lack 15 — will now transition into the starter’s role, beginning tonight when Carolina takes on the Leafs in Toronto.

Ward was placed on IR yesterday with a concussion, which resulted in 21-year-old Czech netminder Daniel Altshuller being recalled from AHL Charlotte.

Altshuller is relatively inexperienced, in the midst of his first American League campaign after spending time with ECHL Florida.

Carolina’s third-round pick in 2012, Altshuller has played well for the Checkers this season, going 9-1-1 with a 1.71 GAA, a .941 save percentage and one shutout in 11 games.

But he likely won’t challenge Lack for minutes.

As such, this marks a real opportunity for the Swedish ‘tender to take hold of the No. 1 job, as Ward’s a pending UFA with no guarantee of returning next season. Lack, who signed a two-year extension with Carolina right before the start of the season, hasn’t been great this year — 8-9-1, 2.97 GAA, .891 save percentage — but has gone 5-2-2 in his last nine starts.

For Toronto, James Reimer gets the start in goal.

Elsewhere…

Jacob Markstrom gives the in-form Ryan Miller a rest when the Canucks take on the Bruins in Boston. Markstrom will likely be up against Tuukka Rask.

Craig Anderson versus Cory Schneider as the Sens go up against the Devils at Prudential.

— Both the Flyers and Penguins will roll with their No. 1s in the latest installment of the Battle of Pennsylvania: Steve Mason versus Marc-Andre Fleury.

Karri Ramo goes back in for the Flames tonight, after Bob Hartley went with Jonas Hiller for a brief stretch. Ramo will be up against Sergei Bobrovsky for Columbus.

— Stanley Cup Final rematch between the ‘Hawks and Bolts tonight, and each team will be going with the guys that were in goal for last June’s decisive Game 6: Corey Crawford, and Ben Bishop.

— It’s Pekka Rinne up against Connor Hellebuyck as the Preds visit Winnipeg.

— After getting a rest the other night in favor of Anders Nilsson, Cam Talbot returns to the Edmonton net. Looks like Antti Niemi will go for Dallas.

— San Jose will look to rebound from a shootout loss to Ottawa, and will do so with Martin Jones in goal. No confirmation from Arizona yet, but it looks like the Coyotes will stick with Louis Domingue.

Devan Dubnyk gets the night off after playing on Wednesday against the Ducks, so Darcy Kuemper starts in L.A. He’ll be up against Jonathan Quick.

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    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.