Bruins could get Rask back remarkably soon

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Tuukka Rask might only end up missing one game for the Boston Bruins despite suffering a concussion from a nasty collision on Jan. 19.

Yes, the All-Star break and other quirks of the schedule limited the damage, but it’s still pretty surprising that Rask has recovered so quickly. While it’s not a guarantee that Rask will be able to play against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy seemed reasonably confident about it happening, as NBC Boston’s Joe Haggerty reports.

“There’s a good chance [Rask will play vs. Flyers],” Cassidy said. “We’re going to wait and see how he does in the morning after his first full practice, and that there’s no fatigue or whatnot after missing time. Assuming he’s ready to go and feels (good) about everything, there’s a good chance that he’ll get in.”

According to Haggerty, Rask said that he suffered from motion sickness and nausea after that collision with Filip Chytil, but not “too bad of a headache.”

(In case you’re wanting to argue about it, Rask also recognized that Charlie McAvoy knocked Chytil into him, with Rask describing it as “just one of those things.”)

Rask’s return also brings added attention onto something critics might have missed: the Finn’s had a pretty strong season so far.

Rask is 14-8-3 with a .919 save percentage in 2018-19, his best save percentage since 2014-15, when he managed a .922 save percentage. (It says a lot about his splendid run that .922 is also his overall career average.)

If Rask is less than 100 percent, this may also continue his very hot-and-cold run of months so far, which may explain why his overall excellence might be lost on some.

October save percentage: .902 in six games
November: .933 in six GP
December: .904 in seven GP
January: .941 in seven GP

Jaroslav Halak is just a breath behind Rask (.918 save percentage in 27 games), so the Bruins could pump the brakes if it becomes clear that Rask isn’t actually ready to come back.

Overall, Boston’s been pretty spoiled when it comes to its two goalies, and Rask’s rapid recovery might continue that run of good luck. If this team can get healthy – both in net and beyond – they could be an awfully tough out.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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.