Welcome to the NHL Buzz. Throughout the 2020-21 season, NHL.com will have you covered with the latest news.
Nathan MacKinnon will be in the lineup against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday (9 p.m. ET; PRIME, FS-SD, ALT, TVAS2, NHL.TV).
The center was injured in the third period of a 4-0 win against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday when forward Joachim Blichfeld hit his head with his shoulder. Blichfeld was assessed a match penalty on the play and was suspended for two games for an illegal check to the head.
“[MacKinnon is] obviously a big part of our team and we need him to have success,” forward Nazem Kadri said after practice. “It was a bit of a scary incident and something that might have been a little unnecessary, but at the end of the day, you just wish for good health. He woke up this morning feeling pretty good.”
Mackinnon has 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 19 games this season and is tied for the Avalanche lead in points with Mikko Rantanen. –– Rick Sadowski
New York Rangers
Kaapo Kakko will return to the lineup against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; MSG+2, MSG, ESPN+, NHL.TV) after missing six straight games, including four while in NHL COVID-19 protocol.
“I’m feeling better,” the forward said. “I wasn’t on the ice 12 days and right now I’m feeling better and ready to go.”
Kakko practiced with center Ryan Strome and left wing Chris Kreider on Friday, who he played with prior to being out of the lineup.
Kreider scored nine goals in the six games Kakko missed, including two hat tricks.
“They are both playing good right now and I think it’s easier for me to come back,” Kakko said of his linemates. “We spent more time in the offensive zone and that’s it, get more scoring chances, things like that. Try to do it again.”
Forward Colin Blackwell, who didn’t skate on a line in practice, could be scratched.
Goalie Igor Shesterkin, who was injured late in the third period of a 6-1 win against the Devils on Friday, was visiting the doctor during practice and coach David Quinn did not have an update on his status.
Alexandar Georgiev will start against New Jersey. — Dan Rosen