NHL on NBCSN Rivalry Night: Red Wings visit Flyers

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues with Wednesday Night Rivalry as the Detroit Red Wings visit the Philadelphia Flyers at 8 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here.

For the ups and downs both the Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings have had this season, they’re not too far outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

The Flyers’ down point came during a 10-game losing streak last month that had fans calling for head coach Dave Hakstol to be fired. They followed that up by winning six in a row and now look to find some consistency in order to stay in the playoff chase.

Via the Courier Post:

“Yeah the results would say streaky but we have played good hockey over the whole stretch,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said [after Monday’s loss to LA]. “Now it’s about getting results and tonight we got to look at ourselves and put our finger on a couple things we have to do better and that we are capable of doing better. Turn the page and have a good day of practice tomorrow and we go right back at it and we continue with this busy stretch. Tonight those are the areas we have to be better in.”

Meanwhile, Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill continues to try and jumpstart some of the team’s young guns like Andreas Athanasiou, Martin Frk and Anthony Mantha. Athanasiou is goalless in his last 11 games, while Frk and Mantha finally lit the lamp for the first time this month during a Tuesday night win over the New York Islanders.

Detroit started off their four-game east coast swing on a good note with that 5-3 win last night. Considering their struggles at Little Caesars Arena this season (6-6-6), gobbling up points away from home will be vital.

“It’ll be a good time (to be on the road) if we win,” Blashill said via the Detroit News. “If you had your druthers, as a team, as you’d like to spend a week at home and week on the road and mix it up, not go on really long stretches of either. But I do think, especially when you get to the Christmas holiday, it can be an advantage to get on the road and have that bunker mentality and away from some of the commitments you have when you’re at home.”

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After the game, be sure to stay on NBCSN for the second episode of Sabres-Rangers “Road to the Winter Classic” at 11:30 p.m. ET or stream it here.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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.