NHL: Nathan MacKinnon returns, Mrazek out 6 weeks, Keller surgery, Kotkaniemi out 2-3 weeks
Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon is back after sitting out one game with an upper-body injury.
Coach Jared Bednar confirmed during his radio show that the 26-year-old forward will be on the ice Thursday night when the Avs host the San Jose Sharks.
“He’s playing. He’s good to go,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said.NHL.com
MacKinnon did not play in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory against the Calgary Flames.
He logged nearly 20 minutes of ice time in the Avalanche’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. The Denver Post reported MacKinnon may have sustained a hand injury in his fight with Wild defenseman Matt Dumba during the third period.
MacKinnon has recorded 70 points (22 goals, 48 assists) in 51 games this season.
He has 630 points (232 goals, 398 assists) in 624 career games since the Avs selected him with the top overall pick of the 2013 NHL Draft.
Petr Mrazek out six weeks
Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Petr Mrazek will miss the rest of the regular season with a groin injury, coach Sheldon Keefe confirmed Thursday.
The Maple Leafs (42-19-5, 89 points) finish the season on April 29. Toronto entered Thursday in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, and the Stanley Cup playoffs begin on May 2.
Mrazek, 30, sustained the injury during the first period of Toronto’s 6-4 road win against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night. He stopped three of four shots before being replaced by Erik Kallgren.
Kallgren will start Thursday night against the visiting Winnipeg Jets as the Maple Leafs wait for Jack Campbell to recover from a rib injury. Campbell has been out since March 8.
Mrazek concludes his first season in Toronto with a 12-6-0 record, a 3.34 goals-against average and a .888 save percentage. He signed a three-year, $11.4 million contract last July.
He owns a 140-102-31 record with 24 shutouts, a 2.64 GAA and a .909 save percentage in 295 career games with the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes and Leafs.
Clayton Keller had surgery
Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller said he will miss the rest of the season after being stretchered off the ice with a leg injury on Wednesday night.
“Want to thank my teammates, the fans, and medical personnel for the love and support last night,” he tweeted on Thursday morning. “Unfortunately the season’s over for me, but I’m resting comfortably at the hospital in good spirits. I will be back better than ever for day 1 next season!!!!”
Neither the team nor Keller provided specifics on the injury, which occurred when he crashed feet-first into the boards behind the San Jose goal with 5:15 remaining in Arizona’s 5-2 win against the visiting Sharks.
The game was delayed for about 10 minutes as Keller was taken off the ice on a stretcher. He flashed a thumbs-up sign as he was wheeled away.
Keller, 23, leads the Coyotes in goals (career-high 28) and points (63) through 67 games in his sixth season with the franchise.
He has 256 points (96 goals, 160 assists) in 360 games since being drafted seventh overall in 2016.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi out 2 to 3 weeks
The Carolina Hurricanes provide an update on injured forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi saying he will be out at two to three weeks.
“It’s going to be at least a couple weeks to three weeks,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said Thursday. “That’s long for me, so that’s not good.”NHL.com
Kotkaniemi, 21, was injured in Monday’s 6-1 win over the capitals when he was checked by Lars Eller in the third period.
This season, he has 26 points in 63 games and just signed an 8 year contract extension with an AAV of $4.82M at the NHL Trade Deadline.
–Field Level Media contributed to this report.