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NHL Buzz: Marner expected to return for Maple Leafs against Blues

Gallant to coach Rangers vs. Flyers; Perunovich in for Blues @NHLdotcom

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


Toronto Maple Leafs

Mitchell Marner and Pierre Engvall are expected to return to the lineup for the Maple Leafs against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN, CITY, BSMW, NHL LIVE) after each missed three games while in NHL COVID-19 protocol.

"Both guys appear to be ready," Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said Friday. "They seem to be feeling really good."

Marner has scored 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in 26 games. Engvall has scored 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 32 games.

"Good to go. Just excited to be back with the fellas," Marner said. "It's been a long time since I've been on the road, so just excited to be back."

Forwards Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie and defenseman Justin Holl were placed in protocol.

"It's tough to see some more guys leave the lineup," Keefe said. -- Mike Zeisberger


Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin played and scored an empty-net goal for the Capitals in their 2-0 win at the New York Islanders on Saturday.

The forward practiced Friday after missing practice Thursday because of an upper-body injury.

"Trying to skate today. See how it goes tomorrow," Ovechkin said Friday. "You don't want to get hurt. You don't want to feel any pain in your body."

Ovechkin is tied for the NHL lead with Edmonton Oilers forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl with 53 points and is second with 25 goals in 38 games. He has not missed a game this season.

Forward Conor Sheary was placed into NHL COVID-19 protocol Saturday and did not play. -- Harvey Valentine


New York Rangers

Gerard Gallant exited NHL COVID-19 protocol and will coach the Rangers at the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, NBCSP, MSG+, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

Gallant missed two games after entering protocol Jan. 9.

"A little flu one day, Day 3 a little bit, but 90 percent of the time I was good," Gallant said.

Kris Knoblauch, who assumed the coaching role with Gallant out, returned to his regular job as coach of Hartford of the American Hockey League.

"He did great, did an awesome job," Gallant said. "Watching the games ... power-play units, PK units, 5 on 5, I thought he did a good job. Team played well."

Forwards Ryan Reaves and Julien Gauthier and assistant Mike Kelly also exited protocol. Assistant Gord Murphy was placed in protocol.

Forward Anthony Greco was sent to the taxi squad. -- Adam Kimelman


St. Louis Blues

Scott Perunovich exited NHL COVID-19 protocol Saturday and the defenseman will play against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN, CITY, BSMW, NHL LIVE).

The defenseman missed three games.

Forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn and defenseman Colton Parayko had been in protocol and each skated Saturday but will not play. Tarasenko will miss his fourth game; Schenn and Parayko will each miss his second game.

Pavel Buchnevich was placed in protocol Friday and will miss at least the next two games.

The forward is tied for the Blues lead in goals (14) and is second in points (35) in 34 games this season.

St. Louis recalled forward Dakota Joshua under emergency conditions from Springfield of the American Hockey League on Friday, and recalled forward Alexei Toropchenko from the taxi squad on Saturday. Defenseman Calle Rosen was sent to the taxi squad Friday. -- Lou Korac


Columbus Blue Jackets

Cole Sillinger was placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol and the rookie forward will not play against the Florida Panthers on Saturday (6 p.m. ET; BSFL, BSOH, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

Sillinger, at 18 years old the youngest player in the NHL, has scored 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 35 games.

Forward Liam Foudy was recalled from the taxi squad, and if he plays would make his season debut. He has scored 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 24 games with Cleveland of the American Hockey League.


Montreal Canadiens

Josh Anderson said he expects be in the lineup when the Canadiens play at the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.

The forward has missed 11 games because of an upper-body injury sustained against the Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 2. He was expected to be out 2-4 weeks.

"Anytime you're out for any period of time it's difficult not to be out there with your teammates," Anderson said. "All you want to do is try to help them and you can't do that up in the stands. Hopefully I'll be back next game and bring a lot of energy to the lineup."

Anderson is tied with Nick Suzuki for the Canadiens lead with seven goals, and his 13 points in 25 games are fourth. Montreal is 1-7-3 since he was injured.

"I'm just hoping to bring the game that I play, the energy, being physical, being fast to the puck, and hopefully bring some other guys along with me," Anderson said. "I'm excited to get back."

Goalie Jake Allen is expected to be out one week because of an injury sustained in the first period of a 5-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday. Goalie Cayden Primeau was recalled from the taxi squad on an emergency basis.


Vancouver Canucks

Jaroslav Halak was placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol Saturday and the goalie was not available when the Canucks lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1.

Halak had been scheduled to start but instead Thatcher Demko played. Goalie Spencer Martin was recalled from the taxi squad to be his backup.

Martin's only three NHL games came with the Colorado Avalanche during the 2016-17 season. He has a 2.24 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in seven games this season with Abbotsford of the American Hockey League.

Halak is 1-4-2 with a 2.59 GAA and .915 save percentage in eight games. It would have been his first game since Dec. 30.


Anaheim Ducks

Troy Terry was placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol Friday and will miss the game at the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH+, KCOP-13, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

The forward leads Anaheim in goals (22) and points (36) in 38 games this season.

The Ducks recalled defenseman Jacob Larsson from the taxi squad. He has no points in two games this season.


Edmonton Oilers

Mike Smith will be out 1-2 weeks for the Oilers with a partial tear in a tendon in his thumb.

The goalie played in Edmonton's most recent game, a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 5, allowing three goals on 32 shots.

Smith is 2-2-1 with a 3.76 goals-against average and .898 save percentage this season. He has been limited to six games because of lower-body and upper-body injuries.

Goalie Stuart Skinner will be recalled from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League to back up Mikko Koskinen when the Oilers host the Ottawa Senators on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, CITY, TVAS, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

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