NHL Buzz: Saros out final two games for Predators

Nashville predators

Juuse Saros will miss the last two regular season games for the Predators due to a lower body injury.

The goaltender made 30 saves before handing the Calgary Flames a 5-4 overtime loss at 1:28 p.m. of the third period on Tuesday.

David Rittich will likely begin Thursday (9:00 p.m. ET; ALT, BSSO, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) at the Colorado Avalanche, the first of a back-to-back series that will conclude the season. Goalie Connor Ingram was recalled from the American Hockey League by Milwaukee.

Saros leads the NHL with 67 starts. His 38 wins are linked to second place Andrei Vasilyevsky the Tampa Bay Lightning and the second-highest by a Predators goalie in a season (Pekka Rinne, 43 in 2011-12; 42 in 2017-18; 41 in 2014-15).

Nashville (44-29-7) will be one of the two Western Conference wildcards. It secured a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the eighth straight season as the Dallas Stars defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in a shootout on Tuesday.

New York Rangers

Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp will not play for the New York Rangers vs. the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, MSG, RDS, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

Panarin (upper body) and Copp (lower body) lost 4-3 in Tuesday’s second period to the Carolina Hurricanes. Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said the forwards have not returned as a precautionary measure, which is why they are sidelined on Wednesday. He didn’t say if they will play the regular-season finals against the Washington Capitals on Friday.

“Nothing important, obviously,” Gallant said. “I will know more today but there is no need to worry. Neither of them will play tonight but there is no concern that they will play next week.”

New York finishes second in the Metropolitan Division and opens the Stanley Cup Playoffs against either the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Capitals.

Copp also missed a 3-1 loss at the Boston Bruins on April 23 with a lower body injury sustained in the 6-3 win at the New York Islanders two days earlier.

“We’re going to rest a few players here,” said Gallant. “It’s a good opportunity to do that, so we’ll see where they go and how they get along.”

“They could play on Friday. We’ll decide that. If they don’t play on Friday, it’s not because they get injured. There are no problems. We’ll play it safe.”

Kapo Kakko will play Montreal, Gallant said. The forward has missed four games with a lower body injury. He played the last four, scoring twice in a 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on April 13 after returning from an upper-body injury that sidelined him for 31 games from January 22 to April 7.

“It’s good that I have a few more games before the playoffs,” said Kakko. “I’m feeling good. I want to go full throttle. I think I’m good now and ready to play.” – Dan Rosen

Montreal Canadiens

Carey Prize has his knee re-examined in New York, where the Canadiens are taking on the New York Rangers.

The goalie had arthroscopic knee surgery on July 23 to repair a torn meniscus. He was left out of the lineup on Sunday, a 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins after starting four of five games.

“He’ll be re-evaluated when he’s seen in New York,” Montreal coach Martin St. Louis said on Tuesday. “So I don’t know if it’s a relapse but I was happy he could play and we’ll see what the next few days bring.”

Price made 17 saves in his season debut, a 3-0 loss to the New York Islanders on April 15, his first start since Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. He has allowed six goals in each of his last two starts and is 0-4-0 with 4.03 goals against average and 0.853 percent in saves.

“Is it a blow? No, I thought it would be a big plus for him to fight and recover from a long year of treating his injury,” St. Louis said. “But we knew he was playing, it wasn’t just going to be smooth, you know, there are opportunities and I think that’s where we are and that’s why he’s being looked at.”

Sam Montembault is expected to start against the Rangers. – Sean Farrell

Toronto Maple Leafs

Michael Bunt will be reevaluated with a lower body injury ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs beginning May 2. He will not be in the regular-season finals for the Maple Leafs vs. the Boston Bruins on Friday (7:00 p.m. ET; TVAS, TSN4, NESNplus, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

The forward missed a 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday after picking up an injury in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday. He was not used in Sunday’s 4-3 shootout win over the Washington Capitals.

“He was obviously skating today, so a very positive sign,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said Tuesday. “He won’t play this week and then we’ll reassess him from there but things are looking positive.”

Bunting leads the NHL rookies with 63 points (23 goals, 40 assists) in 79 games.

Forward Ondrej KaseWho has not played since March 19 with a concussion, attended a full-team morning skate Tuesday, but Keefe said there was no timetable for his return.

goalie Peter MrazekHe, who has not played since March 29 due to a groin injury, was skating again on Tuesday. Keefe said he’s making good progress but there’s no timeline for his return just yet.

defender Jake Muzzinwho missed six games with an undisclosed injury, returned against the Red Wings running on a pair TJ Brodie. – Dave McCarthy

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