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NHL Buzz: Marner plays for Maple Leafs against Canadiens

MacKinnon in COVID-19 protocol, out for Avalanche; Boeser not in lineup for Canucks @NHLdotcom

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


Toronto Maple Leafs

Mitchell Marner had an assist and played 19:19 for the Maple Leafs in their season opener, a 2-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens at home Wednesday.

The forward played on a line with Nick Ritchie and John Tavares.

Marner was a game-time decision after he took part in an optional morning skate. He left practice early Tuesday following a hit from forward Wayne Simmonds. Marner had the puck in the slot and was trying to sidestep Simmonds, who caught Marner with a hit to the front of his body.

"Not really concerned," forward Jason Spezza said Tuesday. "I think it was just precautionary, he probably wanted a rest. I think he'll be fine, I haven't talked to him so maybe I shouldn't make light of it, but it did seem like it was a pretty minor thing." -- Dave McCarthy


Colorado Avalanche

Nathan MacKinnon did not play for the Avalanche in their season opener after the center tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

MacKinnon was not in the lineup against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday but could return against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.

"He's asymptomatic and feeling good ... but hopefully he'll be able to test out," Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said. "...We're hoping for Saturday, but we'll see."

MacKinnon finished eighth in the NHL with 65 points (20 goals, 45 assists) and was plus-22 in 48 games last season. He finished third in voting for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP.

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar was also placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol and will not be with the team against the Blackhawks.


Vancouver Canucks

Brock Boeser did not play in the season opener at the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday because of an undisclosed injury.

Boeser skated with the Canucks for the first time since Sept. 29 at their morning skate but did not take line rushes. The forward led Vancouver in goals (23) and points (49) in 56 games last season.

"He looks close," coach Travis Green said. "There's a reason he's on the trip. So not to get into it too far and I haven't got the report from how today's skate went but again … he's on the trip. He's not here to just hang out. He's here to play."

The Canucks, who begin the season with a six-game road trip, play at the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday.

Forward Alex Chiasson, who attended training camp on a professional tryout contract, signed a one-year, $750,000 contract Tuesday. The 31-year-old scored 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 45 games with the Oilers last season.

"He's a good, big body (6-foot-4, 208 pounds), he's good on the walls, in his own zone, getting pucks out," Green said. "He's known for his net front on the power play. I think he can help us there. We've got a very young group of forwards and having a guy that understands certain parts of the game, I think (he) will also help us in that area as well." -- Kevin Woodley


New York Islanders 

Semyon Varlamov won't be available when the Islanders play their season opener at the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, BSSO, MSG+, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). 

The goalie was placed on injured reserve and has been dealing with soreness, coach Barry Trotz said. Varlamov did not practice with the team during training camp.

Ilya Sorokin is expected to start against the Hurricanes, with Cory Schneider as the backup. 

"I do not think it lingered any longer," Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said Wednesday of Varlamov's injury. "We knew that we were going to give it as much possible time as necessary to be 100 percent, and that's what we're doing. But we're extremely comfortable that it won't be long." 

Varlamov was 19-11-4 with a 2.04 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in 36 games (35 starts) last season and tied for the NHL lead with seven shutouts. He was 7-7 with a 2.56 GAA and .922 save percentage in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff starts. 

Sorokin is entering his second NHL season. He was 13-6-3 with a 2.17 GAA, .918 save percentage and three shutouts in 22 games (21 starts) last season. -- Brian Compton


Ottawa Senators

Matt Murray practiced Wednesday, but the goalie's status for the season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; RDS2, TSN5, TSN4, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) is unclear.

He did not practice Tuesday because of an illness.

"We're just going to take the next day and a half and reassess," Murray said Wednesday. "I'm definitely still fighting something. Not COVID, though. I tested negative three times so that's a positive. I'm still running less than 100 percent right now. ... Get some rest today and reassess tomorrow." 

Murray was 10-13-1 with a 3.38 goals-against average, an .893 save percentage and two shutouts in 27 games (25 starts) last season, his first with the Senators.

"If he is not ready, then we have no problem, [Anton Forsberg] will go," coach D.J. Smith said. "We have the utmost trust in 'Forsy' that he can do it."

Forsberg was 3-4-1 with a 3.21 GAA and .909 save percentage in eight games with the Senators last season.


Philadelphia Flyers

Kevin Hayes was placed on long-term injured reserve, and the Flyers claimed forward Zack MacEwen on waivers from the Vancouver Canucks.

Hayes had surgery Sept. 21 to repair an abdominal injury, and the center was expected to need 6-8 weeks to recover. Hayes previously had core muscle surgery in May.

MacEwen scored two points (one goal, one assist) in 34 games with the Canucks last season. The center has scored nine points (six goals, three assists) in 55 regular-season games during three NHL seasons, all with Vancouver.

The Flyers open the season against the Canucks on Friday (7 p.m. ET; SN1, NBCSP, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).


Seattle Kraken

Marcus Johansson was placed on injured reserve by the Kraken with a lower-body injury.

The forward played 16:13 and had one shot on goal in a 4-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

Johansson signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with Seattle on Aug. 6. He has scored 378 points (135 goals, 243 assists) in 685 regular-season games with the Kraken, Minnesota Wild, Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals.


Edmonton Oilers

Colton Sceviour signed a one-year, two-way $750,000 contract with the Oilers on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old forward had been with Edmonton in training camp on a professional tryout contract. He had three assists in seven preseason games.

Sceviour scored 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 46 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season. He has scored 151 points (64 goals, 87 assists) in 500 regular-season games with the Penguins, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars, and eight points (three goals, five assists) in 19 Stanley Cup Playoff games


Winnipeg Jets

Evgeny Svechnikov signed a one-year, two-way $750,000 contract with the Jets on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old forward had been with Winnipeg in training camp on a professional tryout contract. He scored four points (one goal, three assists) in five preseason games.

Svechnikov scored eight points (three goals, five assists) in 21 games with the Detroit Red Wings last season. He has scored 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 41 games with Detroit in four seasons.

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