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NHL Buzz: Ovechkin day to day for Capitals with lower-body injury

McDonagh out for Lightning against Stars; Ducks cancel practice due to COVID-19 concerns @NHLdotcom

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Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin did not practice Tuesday because of a lower-body injury and the forward's status for Thursday against the New Jersey Devils is unknown.

"I think it's more just maintenance than anything," coach Peter Laviolette said.

Washington did not practice Sunday nor Monday following a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday. Ovechkin left the bench briefly during the second period Saturday but returned to finish the game and played 23:19, most among Capitals forwards.

Ovechkin did not score a goal Saturday for the first time in six games. The 35-year-old leads Washington with 14 goals in 27 games. He missed four games this season while in the NHL COVID-19 protocol from Jan. 20-29.

Ovechkin has missed more than four games once in his 16 NHL seasons. He was limited to 72 games in 2009-10, when he missed six games with a shoulder injury and was suspended four games.

Capitals forward T.J. Oshie did not practice Tuesday because of personal reasons. -- Tom Gulitti


Tampa Bay Lightning

Ryan McDonagh is out with a lower-body injury against the Dallas Stars (8:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-SW, SUN, NHL.TV) and the defenseman could miss the three-game road trip which ends Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes. 

"We're hopeful that he can play on the road trip," coach Jon Cooper said. "If he does it would be a plus." 

McDonagh played the first period Sunday in a 5-3 home win against the Florida Panthers but did not return to the bench. He has scored eight points (two goals, six assists) in 31 games, leads the Lightning with 64 blocked shots, and is second averaging 21:57 in ice time. 

"It's obviously a big loss," defenseman Victor Hedman said. "He and [Erik Cernak] play tough minutes against the opponent's top lines. He's great on the [penalty kill], he blocks shots. We're going to miss his presence back there." -- Corey Long


Anaheim Ducks 

The Ducks canceled their practice in Minnesota on Tuesday due to four players entering COVID-19 protocol: forward Danton Heinen, defensemen Ben Hutton and Jacob Larsson, and goalie Anthony Stolarz.

The Ducks said their game at the Wild on Wednesday (5:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, FS-N, FS-WI+, NHL.TV) is expected to be played as scheduled. 


Buffalo Sabres

Linus Ullmark was back at practice and the goalie could return to the lineup during the Sabres' four-game road trip.

Ullmark has missed 13 games because of a lower-body injury; the Sabres are 0-12-1 in those games.

"For now, there's no set timetable for me; it's more of a day-to-day basis," Ullmark said. "We have to check off a couple of those checkmarks along the way. Sometimes you can check off a couple ones and then the next day it might go back and you have to erase that and come back stronger the following day."

Sabres coach Don Granato said Dustin Tokarski will start against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS) and Michael Houser will back up.

Tokarski made 33 saves in relief of Carter Hutton in a 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers on Monday. Hutton, who sustained a lower-body injury, traveled with the Sabres to Pittsburgh but returned to Buffalo for further evaluation.

Ullmark is 5-4-2 with a 2.44 goals-against average and .919 save percentage and has five of Buffalo's six wins this season.

"You don't get anywhere in this league without great goaltending," forward Eric Staal said. "… Obviously, we missed him a lot. Missed him dearly. He was real solid for us, gave us a chance every time he was in the net and instills a lot of confidence in our team." -- Heather Engel


Ottawa Senators

Austin Watson will be out with an undisclosed injury when the Senators host the Calgary Flames on Wednesday (5 p.m. ET; TVAS, TSN5, SNW, NHL.TV).

The forward was injured in a 2-1 win against the Flames on Monday. 

"It'll hurt if he's out for any significant amount of time," Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said.

Watson has played in all 34 games this season and scored 10 points (three goals, seven assists).

Forward Alex Formenton, who has scored four goals in 12 games for Belleville of the American Hockey League, will replace Watson and make his Senators season debut. -- Mike Zeisberger


Dallas Stars

Joel Kiviranta will be out for "a while," Stars coach Rick Bowness said Tuesday.

"I can't tell you [how long]. I don't know," Bowness said. "I know he's on [injured reserve] for a week and we'll go from there."

The forward sustained a lower-body injury during a 4-3 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators on Sunday.

Kiviranta has scored seven points (three goals, four assists) in 19 games this season.

The Stars played the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday (ESPN+, FS-SW, SUN, NHL.TV).

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