Welcome to the NHL Buzz. Throughout the 2021-22 season, NHL.com will have you covered with the latest news.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Mitchell Marner and Pierre Engvall were placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol by the Maple Leafs and are not playing at the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.
The forwards each played in a 4-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.
“In terms of timelines, Mitch was positive yesterday,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said Friday. “Pierre, not sure if his was today or yesterday, not sure about that. And I would say both have minor symptoms from what I’ve been told.”
Marner is fourth on the Maple Leafs with 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in 26 games; Engvall has scored 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 32 games.
“It’s unfortunate but everyone’s going through it,” Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly said. “So I think we have to focus on the guys who are available.”
Forwards Joey Anderson and Brett Seney were assigned to the taxi squad from Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.
Filip Forsberg was added to NHL COVID-19 protocol by the Predators prior to their game at the Arizona Coyotes.
The forward has scored 29 points in 26 games this season, including a Nashville-high 18 goals. He missed nine games in November because of an upper-body injury.
Nashville (22-11-2), which has won three straight, is in first place in the Central Division.
Bryan Rust and Brock McGinn were placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol Saturday, and the forwards did not play in a 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars.
Rust, who tested positive Saturday, according to coach Mike Sullivan, scored 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in three games since returning to the lineup after being sidelined since Nov. 24 with a lower-body injury. He has scored 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 15 games this season.
McGinn tested positive Friday, Sullivan said. He has scored 13 points (nine goals, four assists) in 33 games.
Forward Jeff Carter returned to play his first game since being removed from protocol Wednesday and had an assist. — Taylor Baird
Columbus Blue Jackets
Zach Werenski was removed from NHL COVID-19 protocol and is playing against the New Jersey Devils.
The defenseman entered protocol Monday and missed two games.
“It was one of those things I was kind of sick the week before,” Werenski said. “Head cold, didn’t feel great, then finally I started to feel good and tested positive. Obviously a little frustrated. It’s good to be back.”
Werenski’s average of 26:34 of ice time per game was tied with Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse for second in the NHL, behind defenseman Thomas Chabot of the Ottawa Senators (27:13) entering Saturday.
“He’s our No. 1 defenseman. He’s playing 26 minutes-plus a night,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “On the power play he’s playing two or three, which are important minutes. But really it’s what he brings to the rest of the game, the ice time, his ability to be elusive on exits, arrivals, the danger he brings up the ice off the rush. There’s so many elements to his game that we’ve missed.”
Werenski entered the game against New Jersey tied with Boone Jenner for third on Columbus with 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 30 games. — Craig Merz
Patric Hornqvist was placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol Saturday and is not playing against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The forward had scored four points (three goals, one assist) in his past two games and has scored 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 34 games this season.
Forward Aleksei Heponiemi, who was recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Tuesday, replaced Hornqvist in the lineup.
The Oilers placed five players into NHL COVID-19 protocol Saturday: forwards Kailer Yamamoto and Brendan Perlini, defensemen Evan Bouchard and Slater Koekkoek and goalie Ilya Konovalov. Six members of the support staff also entered protocol.
They join forwards Connor McDavid and Derek Ryan, and defenseman Tyson Barrie, who were placed in protocol Wednesday.
Bouchard leads Oilers defensemen with 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 34 games. Yamamoto has scored 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in 34 games. Perlini has scored three points (two goals, one assist) in 17 games. Koekkoek has three assists in 17 games. Konovalov has not played a game this season.
The Oilers are scheduled to play at home against the Ottawa Senators on Monday. Their home game against the New York Islanders scheduled for Saturday was postponed because of attendance restrictions in cities in Canada.