NHL Buzz: Price expected to practice with Canadiens on Wednesday

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Welcome to the NHL Buzz. Throughout the 2020-21 season, NHL.com will have you covered with the latest news.

 
New Jersey Devils

Nico Hischier will play for the Devils against the New York Rangers on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, MSG, NHL.TV) after missing 24 games with a frontal sinus fracture.

The center, who will wear a full face shield the remainder of the season, returned to practice April 7 for the first time since he was struck in the visor with a deflected puck during a 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Feb. 27.

Hischier was placed on injured reserve March 4 and had surgery March 15.

“It feels good to be out there with the guys, getting back in battle shape, because when you’re in a game it’s battle after battle,” Hischier said. “These extra practices with the team and having those battles brings me back into battle shape and the confidence in going 1-on-1 with a guy in the corner.”

The Devils captain has scored three points (two goals, one assist) in five games this season. He missed the first 11 games because of an offseason foot injury and NHL COVID-19 protocol. — Mike G. Morreale

 
Montreal Canadiens

Carey Price is expected to practice Wednesday for the first time since he aggravated a lower-body injury April 5.

The Canadiens goalie has been out the past four games.

“The information we have tonight is that Carey will be on the ice Wednesday,” Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said after a 4-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. “We don’t expect he will be ready to play (against the Calgary Flames) Wednesday night, but in the days to follow Carey should be ready to return. Could it be Friday (against Calgary) or Saturday (against the Ottawa Senators)? We’ll see. But starting Wednesday, he’ll be on the ice.”

Jake Allen has started the past four games. He made 23 saves against the Maple Leafs to end a three-game losing streak.

“We need ‘Pricer’ to come back when he’s ready to come back and be healthy and ready to perform and be the best he can be,” Allen said. “So whenever he’s ready, you know, I’ll be here to fill the gap until then. So nothing new for me, it’s just one day at a time, one practice, one game at a time, and we’ll welcome him back with open arms whenever he’s ready to come back.”

Cayden Primeau dressed as the backup for all four games but has not played since he was recalled from Laval of the American Hockey League on April 6.

Forward Joel Armia likely will play against the Flames on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; SN, RDS, NHL.TV). It would be his first game since March 20 because of NHL COVID-19 protocol. Armia was removed from protocol Sunday.

The Canadiens (18-12-9) are fourth in the seven-team Scotia North Division, eight points ahead of the fifth-place Calgary Flames. The top four teams in the division will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. — Sean Farrell

 
Nashville Predators

Mattias Ekholm was mentioned prominently in rumors ahead of the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline on Monday, but Predators general manager David Poile said he had no interest in trading the defenseman.

Ekholm has one season remaining on a six-year, $22.5 million contract. Poile expressed his desire to keep Ekholm beyond that contract, and said he has a plan in place to keep Ekholm from being chosen by the Seattle Kraken at the NHL Expansion Draft in July.

“In terms of expansion, we have that covered,” Poile said. “I mean, I’m not losing Mattias Ekholm in expansion if that’s what you’re asking me. I’ve got that covered. Again, Mattias has been a good player for us. His name got thrown out there a lot in trade baits and different things, but my next conversation with Mattias will be after this year about how he thinks he fits into the future of this hockey club and whether he would like to be here longer, not whether we want to trade him.”

The Predators (23-19-1), who play at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN+, BSSO, BSFL, NHL.TV), are fourth in the eight-team Discover Central Division, two points ahead of the fifth-place Chicago Blackhawks. The top four teams in the division will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. — Robby Stanley

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