Home Sports NHL Buzz: Makar back for Avalanche against Jets

NHL Buzz: Makar back for Avalanche against Jets

NHL Buzz: Makar back for Avalanche against Jets

Welcome to the NHL Buzz. Each day during the regular season, NHL.com has you covered with all the latest news.

Colorado Avalanche

Cale Makar will return to the lineup when the Avalanche host the Winnipeg Jets at Ball Arena on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, TSN3, TVAS).

Makar, who missed the past two games with a lower-body injury, is tied for first on the Avalanche with 34 points and leads the team with 27 assists in 23 games.

Forward Nathan MacKinnon, who wasn’t at the morning skate, is expected to play, but forward Valeri Nichushkin, who missed a 3-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday due to illness, is doubtful.

“Nate will play tonight,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “I don’t think Val will be in tonight.”

Nichushkin ranks second on the team with 10 goals and fourth with 21 points in 24 games.

Forward Logan O’Connor, who was promoted to the top line alongside MacKinnon on Tuesday, could play there again.

“It’s pretty cool, regardless of who you are, to be on [that] line,” O’Connor said. “[MacKinnon] plays the game at such an elite level. I think people really underestimate the hard minutes he plays at that type of speed every single night. It’s crazy the matchups he gets, the speed he plays with 20-plus minutes a night.”

Forward Andrew Cogliano will also return after missing the game Tuesday with a lower-body injury. — Ryan Boulding

Buffalo Sabres

Rasmus Dahlin will be a game-time decision for the Sabres against the Boston Bruins on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NESN, MSG-B, SNP, SNO, SNE) because a lower-body injury.

The defenseman did not participate in Buffalo’s morning skate Thursday, but was present off the ice. He did not practice Wednesday.

“I’ll talk to the medical team now, but I mentioned yesterday [there’s] some maintenance and that continues today, so we’ll see where he’s at game time,” Sabres coach Don Granato said Thursday.

Dahlin scored a power-play goal in a 5-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, giving him 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in 26 games. He had an NHL career-high 73 points (15 goals, 58 assists) in 78 games last season. — Joe Pohoryles

Toronto Maple Leafs

Joseph Woll will make his fifth straight start and Ilya Samsonov will miss his second consecutive game with an illness when the Maple Leafs visit the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; RDS2, TSN4, TSN5).

Toronto held an optional morning skate with six skaters and two goalies, including Samsonov, who missed a 4-3 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

“We just decided it was the best thing for him,” coach Sheldon Keefe said of Samsonov, “to focus on nothing but having a really good, hard day in the gym and on the ice and a good, hard skate, not thinking about or worrying about anything else.”

Samsonov is 4-1-3 with a 3.58 goals-against average and an .878 save percentage in 10 games this season; Woll is 4-1-1 in his past six starts, and is 8-5-1 with a 2.82 GAA and .915 save percentage in 14 games (12 starts) this season.

“It’s unfortunate that Samsonov has been ill in the last week or so and has fought that bug and hasn’t been able to skate or get much done on practice days,” Keefe said. “He felt he was making some good progress with his time in practices and such while Woll was playing before he was sick, but the last week has been real tough on him, and he’s certainly lost some time in the net. So, it’s important we build him back up because we’re going to need him.”

Martin Jones, who was recalled on an emergency basis from Toronto of the American Hockey League on Wednesday, will back up Woll against the Senators. Keefe said it’s possible they’ll need all three goaltenders in the weeks to come.

“Having three guys on our roster with Jones here just shows the depth that we have,” Keefe said. “I think it’s six games in the next 10 days and then nine in 17 leading into Christmas here. So, we’re going to need two goaltenders for certain and maybe three. We have the depth and we like that, but Woll himself is building some momentum here and we really like what we see from him.” — Callum Fraser

New York Rangers

Forwards Barclay Goodrow (upper body) and Chris Kreider (lower body) are each day to day for the Rangers.

Goodrow left a 6-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday midway through the first period and did not return after taking a puck to the face. He has three points (one goal, two assists) in 23 games this season.

Kreider, who did not have a point in 18:27 against the Senators, has 22 points (14 goals, eight assists) in 22 games this season.

The Rangers (18-5-1) next play at the Washington Capitals on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MNMT, MSG).

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