Ducks receive good and bad news on injury front

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First, the good news: Sami Vatanen is expected to make his season debut on the Ducks’ blue line tonight against the surging Tampa Bay Lightning, per Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register.

The 26-year-old Vatanen had shoulder surgery in May after his team was eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Nashville Predators and was initially expected back in the lineup some time around November, along with Hampus Lindholm.

The latter has already returned to game action for the Ducks, making his debut Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers. To get Vatanen and Lindholm back is a boost for Anaheim’s blue line, as this team looks to get on a hot streak after a 4-4-1 start to the season.

Another positive development is the fact Ryan Miller has also reportedly been activated from the injured reserve list and is expected to back up John Gibson tonight.

That’s the good news.

The bad news? It once again has to do with another injury to another key member of the Ducks defensive group.

Per the Ducks, Cam Fowler is expected to miss the next three to seven weeks because of a knee injury, which has already kept him out of the lineup for the last week. He initially suffered the injury on Oct. 20 versus the Habs, playing less than two minutes of that game before leaving.

That’s a significant loss for Anaheim considering Fowler leads the team in ice time, averaging just under 23 minutes per game, including duties on the penalty kill and power play.

The club also added that Kevin Bieksa will be re-evaluated for a hand injury he suffered Tuesday in Philadelphia. Bieksa was involved in a quick fight with Radko Gudas, though he caught the Flyers defenseman with a right hand, ending the scrap.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.