Goalie nods: Pens to give Murray seventh career start

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Pittsburgh, in the thick of the Eastern Conference wild card race, will turn to freshman netminder Matt Murray tonight when it hosts Carolina at Consol.

Murray, 21, is considered one of the best young goaltending prospects in hockey. He’s thrived at the AHL level and was one of three goalies selected to Team North America for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, along with Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck and Anaheim’s John Gibson.

Tonight’s start is Murray’s seventh in the NHL, and first at home since a 3-2 shootout loss to Toronto on Dec. 30. He’s since spent considerable time in AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but comes back into action with pretty solid big-league numbers on the year: 3-2-1 record, 1.82 GAA and .934 save percentage.

“We believe strongly that Matt gives us a good chance to win,” Pens head coach Mike Sullivan said, per NHL.com. “He’s played extremely well for us when he’s been in there. He’s a good goalie.”

For the ‘Canes, Eddie Lack‘s in goal.

Elsewhere…

Keith Kinkaid continues to carry the Devils’ starting load with Cory Schneider out injured. Kinkaid will face the visiting Minnesota Wild tonight, and the Wild have yet to announce a starter.

Petr Mrazek is sick, so Jimmy Howard starts against the Blue Jackets. Columbus is going with Sergei Bobrovsky.

Roberto Luongo versus Jonathan Bernier as the Panthers take on the Leafs in Toronto.

— After J-F Berube played on Tuesday night, Thomas Greiss is back in goal for the Islanders. No word yet on who’s in net for the host Preds.

Ben Bishop will go for the Lightning tonight, while it looks like Kari Lehtonen is in for Dallas.

— It’s Martin Jones versus Mike Smith as the Sharks take on the Coyotes in Arizona.

Henrik Lundqvist is in for the Rangers tonight in Los Angeles. Jonathan Quick is likely for the Kings.

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.