NHL Buzz: Carlson decision in game time for Capitals

Welcome to the NHL Buzz. The 2022-23 regular season is underway and NHL.com brings you all the latest news.

Washington Capitals

John Carlson will be the decision of the game for the Capitals when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SNE, SNW, SNP, NBCSWA, BSSUN, SN NOW).

The defender missed six games with a lower body injury.

“After every time he skates we have to wait a bit to see how he reacts, so right now it’s a game time decision,” said assistant Kevin McCarthy, who will be the coach- chief Friday with Peter Laviolette in NHL COVID-19 protocol.

Carlson hasn’t played since suffering the injury in the first period against the Nashville Predators on Oct. 29. He has six points (two goals, four assists) in nine games this season.

“It was kind of a weird game,” Carlson said after morning practice. “I turned around and stopped at the same time…I feel a lot better. I feel really good now and just trying to make sure I’m doing the right things on the way back.”

Defender Dmitry Orlov participated in morning practice but will miss his third straight game with a lower-body injury.

Laviolette will miss at least the next two games after entering the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol on Thursday.

“He has no real symptoms,” McCarthy said. “He feels good, but obviously he’s in protocol.” –Tom Gulitti

Florida Panthers

Aaron Ekblad will return for the Panthers against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday (4 p.m. ET; SN, BSFL, ESPN+, SN NOW).

“You want your best defender in your lineup for that one, don’t you?” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said Friday. “So we were pretty happy that time went the way it did because we’re going to have to skate very, very well. And even if you skate very well, that still won’t be enough for the two very special players (Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl) that [I] used to see a lot of them in Winnipeg. And they are worth watching.”

The defender, who was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury on October 19, has missed the last 11 games with a lower-body injury. Florida was 6-4-1 without Ekblad.

“Extremely excited,” Ekblad said. “These things are the worst. Sitting outside [stinks], but I’m really proud of the way the team played. Some guys stepped up in big ways. And you saw their true colors from the quality of some of the players on this team. So it was fun to watch. It will be even more fun to get back in action.”

Ekblad, who left in the second period of a 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins on Oct. 17, has one goal in three games this season. He will skate in pair with Marc Stael against the Oilers.

“I’m really happy with how we survived this injury,” Maurice said. “I would never tell you that I was worried about it, but you take [Ekblad] out of your range…we lost it in [the third game of the season]. He’s such an important part of what we’re doing right now. So I was worried. And I’m really happy. We also learned a whole bunch of things along the way. … It was a good experience, but we don’t need to relive it.” –Alain Poupart

Carolina Hurricanes

Frederic Andersen is out for the Hurricanes with a lower-body injury, and his return is unclear.

“I’m not going to say week after week because I don’t know,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said Thursday. “He won’t be back tomorrow.
Andersen, who was injured in practice Tuesday, is 5-3-0 with a 2.72 GAA and .891 save percentage in eight games. He made 18 saves in a 3-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.

“He’s just a little behind. He changed something in training (Tuesday),” Brind’Amour said. “The keepers are weird. If you don’t feel 100 per cent, it’s hard to go.”

Andersen suffered a torn MCL on April 16 and missed the rest of last season, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs, when the Hurricanes lost to the New York Rangers in seven games in the Conference Second Round. ballast.

Brind’Amour said he wasn’t sure Andersen would travel for a two-game road trip that begins at the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Piotr Kochetkov allowed two goals on 22 shots in a 7-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, and Antti Raanta served as a backup.

Kotchetkov was recalled from Chicago of the American Hockey League on Tuesday and backed Raanta in a 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Wednesday.

Raanta is 3-1-1 in five starts this season with a 2.36 GAA and .915 save percentage. Kochetkov was 3-0-0 with a 2.42 GAA and .902 save percentage in three NHL games last season. –Kurt Dusterberg

Vancouver Canucks

Tanner Pearson will be out 4-6 weeks after undergoing hand surgery, the Canucks announced Thursday.

The forward, who was placed on the injured list, sat out the third period of a 5-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
Pearson has five points (one goal, four assists) in 14 games this season, averaging 13:30 of ice time.

Forward Sheldon dry was recalled from Abbotsford of the American Hockey League. He has one assist in four games with the Canucks this season.

The Canucks next play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, SNO, SNW, SNP, ESPN+, SN NOW).

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