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NHL Buzz: Stamkos out for Lightning against Predators

Hoffman returns for Blues; Nugent-Hopkins sidelined for Oilers; Nylander out at least week for Maple Leafs @NHLdotcom

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Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos is out against the Nashville Predators on Saturday (BSSO, BSSUN, ESPN+, NHL.TV) because of an undisclosed injury.

"He's not playing tonight and he's probably doubtful for Tuesday night (against Nashville)," coach Jon Cooper said. "We probably won't see him on the rest of the road trip, and then we'll have more answers when we come back to Tampa."

The forward left a 6-4 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday 1:46 into the third period after playing one shift.

Stamkos has scored 34 points (17 goals, 17 assists) in 38 games this season. He has missed two games: Feb. 11 because of a lower-body injury and Feb. 13 while in NHL COVID-19 protocol.

"We're hopeful he's going to be back here soon," Cooper said. "A lot of this is precaution too. When you're on the road, it's a little bit different than being at home. So we're just taking it slowly, and like I said, hopefully all will be good by the time we get back to Tampa."

The Lightning host the Florida Panthers on Thursday following their two-game set against the Predators. -- Robby Stanley


St. Louis Blues

Mike Hoffman returned to the lineup against the Minnesota Wild (BSMW, BSN, BSWI, NHL.TV) after being a healthy scratch the past two games and three of the previous six.

The forward has been the subject of trade rumors after scoring three goals in his past 20 games. He has scored 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 36 games this season.

Hoffman, who signed a one-year contract prior to the season, scored at least 22 goals in six straight seasons from 2014-20.

"I took him out of the lineup a couple games and went with different people," coach Craig Berube said. "We've talked and understood what is needed from him from our standpoint. Work ethic and competing for sure a little bit harder. Obviously here to score goals for us and produce. We need more of that too. It's just like everybody else."

Hoffman replaced Robert Thomas, who is week to week with an upper-body injury. -- Louie Korac 


Edmonton Oilers

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is out at the Calgary Flames (NHLN, CBC, SN, NHL.TV) and might not play until next weekend because of an upper-body injury. 

"With 'Nuge,' we just feel like he's better if we give him tomorrow (off) and then we have a few days and we'll give him the rest he needs," coach Dave Tippett said.

Nugent-Hopkins was injured in a 4-2 win at the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday after he took a high hit from Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot with 4:53 remaining in the third period. The center did not play in a 3-1 win at Ottawa on Thursday. 

Nugent-Hopkins has scored 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists) in 40 games.

"You can't replace Nuge, so it's going to be a good test for our whole lineup," defenseman Tyson Barrie said. "He's so poised with the puck and makes little plays and is always in the right spots defensively. He's a big piece of this team and it (stinks) to see him out, but hopefully, it's a quick one and it gives other guys a chance to step up and create opportunities for themselves." -- Derek Van Diest


Toronto Maple Leafs

William Nylander is out a minimum of seven days because of NHL COVID-19 protocol, coach Sheldon Keefe said Friday.

The forward has missed two games because of his exposure to a possible positive COVID-19 case from outside the team.

Nylander has scored 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 39 games this season.

"From what I've heard, all the tests have come back negative so that's a great sign," forward Mitchell Marner said. "We're all trying to do our parts by wearing masks and keeping our distance."

The Maple Leafs played the Ottawa Senators on Saturday (CBC, SNO, SNP, TVAS2, NHL.TV). -- Mike Zeisberger

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