NHL Buzz: Eichel playing for Golden Knights against Kings

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

Vegas Golden Knights

Jack Eichel played for the Golden Knights against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

The center left in the second period of a 5-3 win against the Florida Panthers on Thursday after blocking a shot with his hand.

“Big concern,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said Friday. “I mean, you know, it could be anywhere from a couple days to more than that, so I won’t know until we get results.”

Eichel scored 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 15 games since his Vegas debut Feb. 16, second on the Golden Knights to forward Jonathan Marchessaultwho scored 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 14 games during that span.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Auston Matthews will return from a suspension for the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Nashville Predators on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, SNO, SNW, SNP, BSSO, ESPN, NHL LIVE).

The center did not play the past two games after he was suspended for cross-checking Buffalo Sabers defenseman Rasmus Dahlin in the third period of a 5-2 loss in the 2022 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic last Sunday.

“With Auston coming in here today, it does change the dynamic of our team, no doubt,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “But who we are and what we’re about should be the same no matter what. That’s the messaging, and we’re looking forward to seeing our guys get up [for the game].”

Matthews leads the NHL with 45 goals this season and is fifth with 77 points.

Toronto won each game without Matthews, 4-0 against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday and 3-2 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.

“The messaging for our group is just that we really have to be proud of the efforts we’ve put forth here in the last couple games, especially in both getting leads against good teams and then securing those leads and playing our best defensive hockey through the third periods of those games,” Keefe said.

Montreal Canadiens

Jonathan Drouin will return to the lineup for the Canadiens against the Ottawa Senators (7 p.m. ET; SN360, CITY, SNE, TVAS, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

The forward has not played since Jan. 20 because of a wrist injury.

“It was an annoying wrist injury, similar to the one I had on the other wrist (last season),” Drouin said. “I tried to take my time and make sure I’m OK. I did everything I could to avoid an operation. I put in a lot of extra work, did a lot of cardio and I’m just happy to be back with the team especially the way we’re playing right now.”

Drouin has scored 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 32 games this season.

“If Jonathan touches the puck more, he’ll play with more confidence, and if he has more confidence he’ll have more scoring chances,” Montreal coach Martin St. Louis said. “It’s a bit of a domino effect. So I’m confident that he’s going to get on board with the concepts we’re trying to play with.”

Forward Brendan Gallagher will not play Saturday because of a lower-body injury and is day to day.

Forward Josh Anderson will be a game-time decision; he has missed two games with a lower-body injury.

Forward Ryan Poehling is out 1-2 weeks because of an upper-body injury sustained in a 4-3 overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 13. –Sean Farrell

Tampa Bay Lightning

Brandon Hagel will make his debut for the Lightning against the New York Rangers (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

The forward was acquired in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday along with two fourth-round draft picks for forwards Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddyshand two first-round draft picks that are top-10 protected.

Hagel, who has scored 37 points (21 goals, 16 assists) in 55 games this season, is expected to start on a line with Ross Colton and Matthew Joseph.

“We have to put him somewhere, right? So start there and we’ll see where we go,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “You take away the 20 goals or whatever he has, he can play in all situations — the power play, the penalty kill. He plays with a ton of energy and he’s not afraid to go into any area on the ice.” — Corey Long

St. Louis Blues

Vladimir Tarasenko did not play for the Blues against the Columbus Blue Jackets because of an illness.

The forward was second on the Blues in goals (20) and points (54), behind Jordan Kyrou (22 goals, 59 points).

St. Louis used 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Blue Jackets.

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