NHL Buzz: Barkov, Hornqvist return for Panthers

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Welcome to the NHL Buzz. Throughout the 2020-21 season, NHL.com will have you covered with the latest news.

 

Florida Panthers

Aleksander Barkov and Patric Hornqvist will return to the lineup against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; BSFL, BSOH, NHL.TV).

Barkov, a center, missed six games with a lower-body injury. He is second on the Panthers in scoring with 37 points (13 goals, 24 assists) behind Jonathan Huberdeau (42 points). 

“[Barkov] is having one of those tremendous years as far as his importance to our team, his line, the power play, penalty kill,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “It was a big void that we got through and having him return, that line has always been influential in the game.”

Hornqvist, a forward, missed four games with an undisclosed injury. He is fourth on the team with 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) and leads them with seven power-play goals.

“‘Horny’ gives you that net presence and energy, enthusiasm,” Quenneville said. “Obviously [he and Barkov] are both very important in a lot of ways.”

Quenneville also said that defenseman Matt Kierstad, who signed as a college free agent from North Dakota on Thursday, will play. — Alain Poupart

 

Montreal Canadiens

Tyler Toffoli will be a game-time decision against the Ottawa Senators (7 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, CITY, TVAS, NHL.TV).

The forward, who leads Montreal with 18 goals, practiced on a line with Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jonathan Drouin on Friday. He missed the past three games because of a lower-body injury sustained in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks on March 19. Montreal also had four games postponed due to NHL COVID-19 protocol.

“Everything seems to be heading in the right direction,” coach Dominique Ducharme said Saturday. “If that wasn’t the case, we would use the same lines we did Thursday (4-1 win in Ottawa).”

Toffoli is tied with defenseman Jeff Petry for first on the Canadiens with 27 points.

“[Toffoli is] a big part of our team and a huge part of it going forward,” forward Nick Suzuki said. “So it’s nice to have him back in the lineup. But as a team we knew we were losing a big goal scorer for us and I think we did a good job of having a lot of different guys step up and score some goals for us.” — Sean Farrell

 

Boston Bruins

Brandon Carlo is week to week with an upper-body injury.

The defenseman was injured in the first period of a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.

Carlo has scored three points (two goals, one assist) and averages 18:29 of ice time in 23 games this season. He previously missed 10 games with a concussion before returning on March 30.

“It’s been a trying year for him, obviously, injury-wise,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We went into this year with a few younger guys back in there and we wanted the Brandons and the [Matt Grzelcyks] and the [Charlie McAvoys] to take a step forward in terms of responsibility and leadership and I think Brandon was trying to do that. 

“At the end of the day, that’s the hand we’re dealt. We just missed Brandon for 10 games or so. You’ve got to put other guys in there to step up and do the job.”

Steven Kampfer will replace Carlo in the lineup when the Bruins host the Penguins on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, NESN, ATTSN-PT, SN360, NHL.TV). — Amalie Benjamin

 

Philadelphia Flyers

Carter Hart will start at the New York Islanders (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, MSG+, NBCSP, NHL.TV) after the goalie was a scratch for the past two games.

Hart was pulled 2:06 into the second period after allowing five goals on 11 shots in an 8-3 loss to the New York Rangers on March 25. He backed up Brian Elliott in a win against the Rangers on March 27 before he was scratched for two games against the Buffalo Sabres.

“He needs to work on his game,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said Monday. “He needs to work harder; he needs to work better. I’ve had a good conversation with him and [Flyers goaltending coach Kim Dillabaugh] about my expectations about his practice habits and him stopping the puck.”

Hart is 8-9-3 with a 4.04 goals-against average and an .869 save percentage in 22 games. He’s allowed at least three goals in eight consecutive starts, and in 15 of his 20 starts this season.

Forwards Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick are expected to play Saturday after each was scratched for a 6-1 loss at the Sabres on Wednesday. Vigneault said he felt Lindblom and Patrick each needed a rest.

“It’s almost 72 hours in between the last time they skated until today,” Vigneault said Friday. “They had — other than coming in to test (for COVID-19) yesterday — they had a total day off. So I’m hoping that it was a time for them to get refreshed mentally and physically and they’ll be able to help us here in the final push for the playoffs and they’ll be good contributors for us.” — Adam Kimelman

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