Calvin de Haan could return from an eye injury when the Carolina Hurricanes host the Tampa Bay Lightning at PNC Arena on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, TVAS, FS-CR, SUN, NHL.TV).
"It's just a waiting game right now, so hopefully I can get back into the lineup either tomorrow or this weekend," de Haan told the Hurricanes website after an optional practice Wednesday.
The defenseman was injured at 6:47 of the third period during a 3-0 win at the Colorado Avalanche on March 11 when the blade of forward Alexander Kerfoot's stick struck him under the visor on the follow-through of a shot. De Haan left the game and was evaluated at a hospital before being released and returning home with his teammates.
"It was scary right when it happened. I couldn't really see out of my eye, so it was a little nerve wracking," de Haan said. "It was a little better the next day and has kind of progressed a little bit every day here. It was unlucky, but I was lucky at the same time. I avoided a lot of major injury, so it could have been a lot worse."
De Haan has 14 points (one goal, 13 assists), 169 hits and 96 blocked shots in 67 games this season. He signed a four-year, $18.2 million contract ($4.55 million average annual value) with the Hurricanes on July 1 after playing six seasons with the New York Islanders.
"I want to play, obviously," he said. "I sat out a long time last year (missed 49 games with a shoulder injury) and it [stinks], but it's part of the game."
Carolina (40-25-7) holds the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with 87 points, three ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets. They are two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division.