NHL Injury Update: Hughes returns for Devils; Cassidy in COVID protocol

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Jack Hughes will return to the Devils lineup on Tuesday after missing the last 17 games with a dislocated shoulder.

Hughes was injured following a hit by Kraken defenseman Jeremy Lauzon. After landing awkwardly, he skated to the dressing room favoring his left shoulder. After being re-evaluated a week later, the Devils announced the 20-year-old would miss another five weeks of action.

“It’s extremely exciting. It’s been a long time,” Hughes said. “I’m excited to get back out there. Starting at home and playing in front of our fans, it’ll be a lot of fun. I had this date circled. I prob got in sooner than most thought.”

Devils head coach Lindy Ruff said it’s possible Hughes opens Tuesday game against the Sharks on the wing.

Hughes has appeared in just two games for the Devils this season, scoring two goals and adding an assist.

“I started hot,” Hughes said. “And now I have 65 games to get hot again.”

Bruins to be without Cassidy vs. Red Wings

Bruce Cassidy was not on the ice for Boston’s morning skate on Tuesday. The Bruins’ head coach was placed into COVID-19 protocol and will be unavailable for their game against the Red Wings.

General manager Don Sweeney said that Cassidy is experiencing mild symptoms and that assistant coach Joe Sacco will run the bench in his absence.

The Bruins will also be without forward Brad Marchand after he was suspended three games by the NHL for slew-footing Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Senators are COVID clear

Drake Batherson rejoined his Senators teammates on Tuesday after exiting COVID-19 protocol. The forward was the last of 10 players in protocol after the team experienced an outbreak earlier this month. The COVID issues that affected the team led to three games being postponed by the NHL.

Included among the Senators who were affected was assistant coach Jack Capuano.

“I went through a stretch there that was real tough. But you know, the last four or five days, I feel really good,” Capuano told CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning. “A lot of people ask where they get it, but I wouldn’t really have any idea. If you look around the NHL right now, the New York Islanders are hit with eight or nine guys, too. You can’t really put a finger on it … it just goes to show you how careful you have to be.”

Price on the ice

Carey Price skated without pads on Monday as he continues his return from off-season knee surgery and a 30-day stay in the NHL/NHLPA’s Player Assistance Program.

The Canadiens have a four-part return plan for the 34-year-old goaltender and skating by himself is the second step. Soon he will be ready for on-ice sessions with goalie coach Eric Raymond before rejoining his teammates for practice.

Oilers cancel practice as a precaution

Cody Ceci entered COVID-19 protocol and the Oilers canceled Tuesday’s practice as a precaution. Edmonton is off until Wednesday when they welcome the Penguins to Rogers Place.

The Oilers also placed defenseman Duncan Keith on injured reserve. He suffered an upper-body injury last week against the Stars and was originally deemed “day-to-day.” Fellow blue liner Darnell Nurse skated on Monday as he nears a return from a broken finger.

“Nurse has to get cleared,” said Oilers head coach Dave Tippett. “I think he’s having another test or scan today, and then Duncan, it’s just a matter of how he feels. It’s the first time he’s skated in four days today, so we’ll see how he came out of it.”

Oilers goaltender Mike Smith has been out since Oct. 19 with a lower-body injury but he’s in line to make a return some time in the next little while.

“Smith has been on the ice four days in a row now; we’ll see where he gets to in the next few days,” Tippett said. “Today was the first day he stopped pucks.”

Doughty possibly back this week

The Kings may get back a big piece of their blue line this week as Drew Doughty inches closer to a return. The defenseman has been out since Oct. 22 with a knee injury.

During the last two Kings practices Doughty has regained his spot on the top pairing with Mikey Anderson. He remains on injured reserve but there is a chance he’s back in the lineup Tuesday against Anaheim.

“When Drew does get back into the lineup, collectively we can’t take a big sigh of relief, we’ve got to play well for him so that he can get his game going again,” said Kings head coach Todd McLellan. “That’s what we’ll be looking for.”

Barkov practices

Encouraging news for the Panthers as captain Aleskander Barkov participated in Monday’s practice. It was the first time he skated with his teammates since suffering a lower-body injury on Nov. 16.

Barkov, who was injured in a knee-on-knee collision with Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield, wore a non-contact jersey and did not take part in line rushes.

“It was great to see him,” said Panthers head coach Andrew Brunette. “It was good he’s out there for the guys too. It was nice to see him skate. … We’ll see how he makes out every day and get re-evaluated.”

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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.

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    Hughes has first NHL hat trick, Devils beat Capitals 5-1

    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
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    NEWARK, N.J. – Jack Hughes had his first career NHL hat trick, Vitek Vanecek made 38 saves against his former team and the New Jersey Devils beat the Washington Capitals 5-1 on Saturday for coach Lindy Ruff’s 800th victory.

    “It’s exciting,” Hughes said. “Couple of two-goal games in my career, so nice to cap it off with the third one tonight.”

    Ruff became the fifth NHL coach to reach the 800-victory mark. The former Buffalo player won 571 games with the Sabres from 1997-2011. He had 165 wins in five seasons with Dallas and has 64 in two-plus seasons with New Jersey.

    “It means I’ve been around a long time,” Ruff cracked. “Great to win the game. Again, you got to do a lot of right things, have good teams, and the way our team is playing I have to give them a lot of credit for getting me there.”

    The Atlantic Division-leading Devils have won two in a row after seeing their franchise-record 13-game winning streak snapped by Toronto.

    Devils captain Nico Hischier and Fabian Zetterlund also scored.

    John Carlson scored for Washington and Charlie Lindgren made 24 saves.

    “Not scoring goals, not capitalizing on our chances,” Carlson said. “We’ve had our chances, especially today, but we only walked away with one goal. We could have had five or six. It’s just not going in right now.”

    Vanecek, meanwhile, was hoping for the shutout against a familiar foe.

    “That would have been nice, but that’s hockey,” Vanecek said, “For sure you’re trying, but not every time; the win is more important.”

    Hischier opened up the scoring with his 10th goal of the season midway through the first period on a power play after Alexander Ovechkin was called for slashing.

    Hughes wrapped the puck around goalie Lindgren’s right leg and the goal post to put the Devils up 2-0 5:59 into the second period. Hughes appeared to have lost his angle on the goal when he ripped a shot off Lindgren’s face mask and into the net midway through the period for his 10th goal of the season to give New Jersey a 3-0 lead.

    The 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick added his third midway through the third period as hats rained down on the ice with New Jersey up 4-0.

    “You want to continue to play the right way, but if an opportunity comes you want to definitely put it in the back of the net with authority,” Hughes said. “So tonight, I was able to cap it off and it was nice.”

    Fabian Zetterlund capped the scoring for New Jersey late in the third period.

    NOTES: The Devils improved to 16-0-0 this season when Hischier has a point. New Jersey’s Nathan Bastain (upper body) did not return after the first period. . Ovechkin is still nine goals away from 800 and 11 from passing Gordie Howe for second place on the NHL goals list.

    UP NEXT

    Capitals: At Vancouver on Tuesday night.

    Devils: At the New York Rangers on Monday night.

    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

    TAKE NOTE

    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

    Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

    The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

    Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

    “We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

    Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

    The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

    Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

    Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

    The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

    Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.