NHL Buzz: Thornton skating for Maple Leafs in recovery from rib fracture


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

Toronto Maple Leafs

Joe Thornton skated Monday for the first time since he sustained a fractured rib against the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 20.

The Maple Leafs forward is expected to be out for one month. He has scored two points (one goal, one assist) in five games.

Forward Nicholas Robertson also skated Monday. It was his first time on the ice since sustaining a knee injury Jan. 16. He is expected to be out at least four weeks

“The only update would be that they are making progress,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “Thornton and Robertson both skated today, that’s a good sign but they are still on the same timeline, so nothing’s changed there. But it is very positive to see them on the ice and moving, so that’s good.” — Adam Kimelman

Washington Capitals

Dmitry Orlov will play for the Capitals against the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena on Monday (7 p.m. ET; SN1, SNE, SNO, TVAS, NBCSWA, NESN, NHL.TV) after being out the past five games.

The defenseman was cleared Saturday after being in quarantine for 10 days while on the list of players unavailable to play or practice in accordance with NHL COVID-19 protocol. Orlov didn’t play in the Capitals’ 4-3 overtime win against the Bruins on Saturday to give him more time to regain his conditioning.

“We had an extra defenseman available, so we decided to hold off with [Orlov],” coach Peter Laviolette said Monday. “We had conversations with him [Monday]. The pregame skate (Saturday) and then the practice (Sunday) and then a pregame skate (Monday), he’s ready to go and so he’ll come back into the lineup tonight. But every situation’s different.”

Orlov is expected to play on the third defense pair with Nick Jensen. Jonas Siegenthaler will be scratched.

Laviolette said center Evgeny Kuznetsov and goalie Ilya Samsonov remain in quarantine in accordance with NHL COVID-19 protocol. — Tom Gulitti

Pittsburgh Penguins

Kris Letang will not be in the lineup when the Penguins play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, MSG+, ATTSN-PT).

“He’s continuing to be evaluated,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.

Letang sustained a lower-body injury when he went into the corner to defend Rangers defenseman Adam Fox in the first period of the Penguins’ 5-4 overtime win Saturday. He finished the shift but went to the dressing room after coming off the ice and did not return.

Letang joins a long list of injured Penguins defensemen that includes Brian Dumoulin (lower body), Mike Matheson (upper body), Marcus Pettersson (upper body), Juuso Riikola (upper body) and Zach Trotman (knee).

Letang, Dumoulin, Matheson and Pettersson were in the Penguins’ top six when the season opened. John Marino and Cody Ceci are the remaining two healthy defensemen from their original top six.

“It’s been pretty crazy with the injuries but there’s not much you can do about it,” Marino said. “The most we can do is have that next guy up mentality and just keep plugging away.” — Dan Rosen 

Montreal Canadiens

Josh Anderson will play for the Canadiens against the Vancouver Canucks at Bell Centre on Monday (7 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, SNP, NHL.TV).

The forward was sent home with flu-like symptoms after playing 6:06 of a 2-0 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

“Everything’s been good, he’s been testing negative and he’s been feeling great,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. “I actually congratulate and respect the fact that our medical staff did the right thing. We have to be ready as a coaching staff, as an organization, and then even as players to understand that those things may happen, and we’re going to be more cautious than we’re going to be risky. At this stage that’s what you got to be. He’s clear, he’s feeling great, he’s ready to go, so that’s great news for us.”

Carolina Hurricanes

Petr Mrazek may need surgery after the Hurricanes goalie sustained an upper-body injury 2:47 into a 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

“I’m not 100 percent sure,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It’s looking like that’s probably what’s going to happen, but I guess there’s always second opinions. It’s a more serious injury than we had hoped.”

Mrazek was injured during a collision with Hurricanes forward Max McCormick and left the game clutching his right hand. James Reimer made 10 saves in relief.

“It looks like it’s going to be a little longer than we had hoped, so a little more serious damage there,” Brind’Amour said. “Still not sure what the process is going to be. We were hoping for it to be a little better. It’s going to be longer. That’s what it looks like.”

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