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Preseason Buzz: Drouin returns for Canadiens

Forward to face Maple Leafs on Wednesday after missing one game with upper-body injury @NHLdotcom

Welcome to the 2017 preseason!

This is a busy time, with the opening of the regular season a week away, rookies looking to make a name for themselves and veterans aiming to lock down roster spots. Each day, we will have all the updates of note right here.

Here is the preseason news for Wednesday:


Drouin to play for Canadiens against Maple Leafs

Montreal Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs in their preseason game in Quebec City on Wednesday after missing one game with an upper-body injury.

Drouin sat out the Canadiens' 5-1 loss to the Maple Leafs on Monday but will center a line with left wing Max Pacioretty and right wing Brendan Gallagher.

"I feel better today than I did earlier in the week. I'm ready to play," Drouin told the Canadiens website following the morning skate. "It wasn't anything serious. Like [coach] Claude [Julien] said, it was something muscle-related that was bothering me a bit."

Drouin said he also hopes to skate in Montreal's preseason games against the Florida Panthers on Friday and the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. The Canadiens begin their regular season on Oct. 6 at the Buffalo Sabres.

Shaw will be playing for the first time since Sept. 18 against Boston, after being sidelined with a neck injury.

Backup goaltender Al Montoya had to be helped off the ice after being hit in the neck or throat by a shot during practice. Montoya was taking part in a workout for players not dressing for the game against Toronto when he took a shot up high and fell to the ice. He was quickly attended to by a trainer and helped to the locker room by forwards Ales Hemsky and Andreas Martinsen.

The Canadiens did not immediately update his condition.


Rangers confident in Pavelec as Lundqvist's backup

Coach Alain Vigneault watched the New York Rangers' final preseason game, a 4-3 overtime loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, from the press box and liked what he saw from backup goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.

"I thought he made some key saves at the right time and gave us a chance to come back in the game," Vigneault told the Rangers website after Pavelec's 34-save performance. "I've really liked his work ethic in practice and he's spending a lot of time with [goaltending coach Benoit Allaire] on the ice early working on technical aspects of his game. So far he's been improving. 

"He's proven in the past that he's a real good goaltender and I'm confident he's going to do that again with us this year."

The Rangers signed Pavelec to a one-year, $1.3 million contract, according to, on July 1 to back up starter Henrik Lundqvist after trading Antti Raanta to the Arizona Coyotes on June 23. Pavelec, 30, spent most of last season in the American Hockey League but was 4-4-0 with a 3.55 goals-against average and .888 save percentage for the Winnipeg Jets.

Video: NYR@PHI: Pavelec kicks aside breakaway chance


Blues without Sanford for 5-6 months after shoulder surgery

The St. Louis Blues will be without forward Zach Sanford for 5-6 months after he had surgery to repair his dislocated left shoulder on Tuesday. That timetable would have him sidelined until at least the end of February.

Sanford, 22, was acquired on Feb. 27 in a trade that sent defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals. A second-round pick (No. 61) in the 2013 NHL Draft, Sanford had five points (two goals, three assists) with the Blues after the trade. 

The Blues are also missing forwards Patrik Berglund (shoulder), Robby Fabbri (knee) and Alexander Steen (hand), as well as defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (ankle). 

Berglund is expected to be out until December; Steen and Bouwmeester each is expected to be re-evaluated in two weeks; and Fabbri will miss the entire 2017-18 season after re-injuring his left knee. He tore his ACL in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 4 and missed the final 31 games of last season.


Sabres claim Nolan off waivers

Forward Jordan Nolan was claimed by the Buffalo Sabres off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.

Nolan, 28, has 42 points (20 goals, 22 assists) in 292 NHL games. The son of former Sabres coach Ted Nolan, he won the Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2012 and 2014.

"We're happy to bring Jordan into the mix," Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said in a statement. "His size and speed, along with his experience with such a successful organization like the Kings, make him an asset to the organization."

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