Cup Qualifiers Buzz: Ferland out rest of series for Canucks

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Vancouver Canucks

Micheal Ferland has been ruled unfit to play for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Minnesota Wild and has returned home.

The third-line forward left after the first period of Game 2 on Tuesday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the Western Conference hub city. The Canucks won 4-3 to even the best-of-5 series, the winner of which will advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information.

Ferland missed 55 games this season because of recurring concussion symptoms. He scored five points (one goal, four assists) in 14 games in his first season with the Canucks after signing a four-year contract July 10, 2019.

Vancouver hopes to get its other injured forwards back for Game 3 on Thursday (2:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, NHL.TV, SN, FS-N), but coach Travis Green wouldn’t say which ones might play. 

Tyler Toffoli, who was playing on the top line, and third-line center Adam Gaudette were ruled unfit to play in Game 2. Forward Antoine Roussel left in the third period after taking a puck to the face. 

“I’m expecting some of them to practice, to skate [Wednesday],” Green said.

If none of the injured players returns, the Canucks have forwards Zack MacEwen, Justin Bailey and Travis Graovac as options for Game 3.

Loui Eriksson and Jake Virtanen replaced Toffoli and Gaudette in Game 2. Virtanen played 8:13, but Eriksson played 20:07 on a line with center Bo Horvat and left wing Tanner Pearson, second among forwards to Horvat (22:11), including 4:20 on a penalty kill that prevented the Wild from scoring on six power plays.

Brandon Sutter shifted from right wing on the fourth line to center on the third line in place of Gaudette. Right wing Brock Boeser replaced Toffoli on a line with center Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller.

Pearson, Miller, Boeser and Horvat scored in Game 2 after the line changes.

“I think both Bo’s line played a lot better last game, and whenever we seem to put Loui there, it seems to just solidify the line a little bit,” Green said. “He’s a big part of the penalty kill.” — Kevin Woodley

 

Philadelphia Flyers

Brian Elliott will start in goal against the Washington Capitals in the Qualifiers round-robin game at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Thursday (4 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN360, TVAS, NBCSP, NBCSWA).

Elliott made 11 saves on 12 shots in the third period and overtime in a 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in an exhibition game July 28. He was 16-7-4 with a 2.87 goals-against average, a .899 save percentage and two shutouts in 31 games (27 starts) this season.

Carter Hart made 34 saves for the Flyers in a 4-1 win against the Boston Bruins in their first round-robin game Sunday. Philadelphia (1-0-0) also plays the Tampa Bay Lightning (2-0-0) on Saturday in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city, in the round-robin, which will determine seeding in the East for the playoffs. Washington is 0-0-1.

“Like we’ve said throughout the season, we’ve got a lot of confidence and faith in both our goaltenders,” coach Alain Vigneault said Wednesday. “We’ve got three games to play in [the round-robin]. Tomorrow, it’s Brian’s turn. I said he’s going to get a game in, and we feel that tomorrow is the right time to put him in.”

Forward Joel Farabee will be in the lineup against Washington in place of forward Michael Raffl, who is out after sustaining an injury when he fell into the boards during the third period against Boston. — Adam Kimelman

 

Washington Capitals

Lars Eller left the Capitals on Wednesday for the birth of his second child. 

The center said July 14 he would leave Toronto when his wife, Julie, was due to give birth. 

“That’s something that’s changing rapidly,” coach Todd Reirden said Tuesday before the Capitals announced Eller had left. “We’re waiting to see the right things … when things happen. Our intentions are to do whatever we possibly can for Lars and his family, and it’s such an important time for him. As soon as we have some news on that, we’ll have him on his way to be with his family.”

Eller, who scored 39 points (16 goals, 23 assists) in 69 regular-season games, had one assist in 17:11 of ice time in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in their first game of the round-robin portion of the Qualifiers at Scotiabank Arena on Monday.

The Capitals said when Eller returns from Washington, he will follow NHL quarantine and testing protocol before rejoining them.

Washington plays the Philadelphia Flyers in its next round-robin game Thursday (4 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN360, TVAS, NBCSP, NBCSWA) and plays its final round-robin game against the Boston Bruins on Sunday.

 

Vegas Golden Knights

Max Pacioretty‘s arrival remains “on the horizon,” according to coach Peter DeBoer, who expects the Golden Knights’ top scorer to join them in Edmonton soon.

“He’s getting a lot closer,” DeBoer said Tuesday, “and I’m sure he’ll get an appearance soon.”

Pacioretty’s status remains unknown for the round-robin game against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday (6:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, NHL.TV, SN360, FS-MW, ATTSN-RM). The Golden Knights play their final round-robin game to determine seeding in the West for the playoffs against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

The forward, who scored 66 points (32 goals, 34 assists) this season, did not travel with the Golden Knights to Edmonton while he continues to heal from a minor injury sustained during training camp. He hasn’t practiced since July 19.

Chandler Stephenson has replaced Pacioretty at left wing on the top line. Stephenson scored at 1:04 of the first period in a 5-3 win against the Dallas Stars in the opening game of the round-robin portion of the Qualifiers at Rogers Place on Monday. The Blues are 0-1-0 in the round-robin.

If Pacioretty returns, it’s unclear how the lines will look. The Golden Knights shuffled them midway through the second period Monday when they trailed 3-1. William Karlsson was reunited with former linemates Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith, and Mark Stone played with Stephenson and Nick Cousins. — Danny Webster

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