NHL Buzz: Tavares expected back for Maple Leafs against Flames

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Welcome to the NHL Buzz. Throughout the 2021-22 season, NHL.com will have you covered with the latest news.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs

John Tavares is expected to play for the Maple Leafs against the Calgary Flames on Friday (7 p.m. ET; TSN4, SNW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

The center did not play in a 3-0 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday because of a lower-body injury sustained in a 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

“Looks good, (he) felt good this morning,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “We’ll have (forward) Joey Anderson in warmup just in case but [Tavares is] preparing to play.”

Tavares was a full participant in practice Friday on a line with Alexander Kerfoot and Mitchell Marner. Tavares also occupied his usual spot on a power-play unit with Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Morgan Rielly and Marner.

Tavares is tied for the Maple Leafs lead in goals (seven) and points (13).

“Whether he’s thriving and scoring at a high clip like he is right now or whether it wasn’t going in for him earlier in the season, defensively he’s been great for us so his complete game has been great,” Keefe said. — Dave McCarthy

 

San Jose Sharks

Coach Bob Boughner and seven Sharks players were removed from NHL COVID-19 protocol are expected to join them for a full team practice on Friday.

Forwards Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Matt Nieto , and defensemen Erik Karlsson , Jacob Middleton , Radim Simek and Marc-Edouard Vlasic  skated the past three days before flying to meet the Sharks in Colorado.

San Jose, which lost 4-1 at the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, plays at the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

“It’s been a heck of a long time, ” Boughner said Wednesday, speaking for the first time since being placed in protocol on Oct. 30. “Watching the team it’s tough obviously but feeling good. … I dealt with basically a head congestion and a headache for 4-5 days and then I was fine.”

Forwards Sasha Chmelevski, Joel Kellman and John Leonard, and defensemen Artemi Kniazev, Jaycob Megna, Nicolas Meloche and Ryan Merkley were assigned the San Jose Barricuda of the American Hockey League.

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