NHL Buzz: Zajac likely out for Devils against Sabres on Saturday


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Colorado Avalanche

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare will be out for an undetermined period with a lower-body injury, coach Jared Bednar said Friday.

The forward was injured during the first period of the Avalanche’s 3-0 win against the San Jose Sharks at Ball Arena on Thursday when Sharks forward Ryan Donato lost an edge and fell into him. Bellemare didn’t put any weight on his left leg when he was helped off the ice.

“He’s going to miss some time,” Bednar said. “I don’t have a timeframe exactly. We’ll see how he progresses, (see) what he’s able to do off the ice.”

Bellemare was playing center on the fourth line with left wing Tyson Jost and right wing Kiefer Sherwood, and he also was killing penalties. Sherwood has replaced Matt Calvert, who has missed the past two games with an upper-body injury and is out indefinitely.

The Avalanche, who play the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, ALT, NHL.TV) and Sunday, recalled forwards Shane Bowers and Logan O’Connor and defenseman Jacob MacDonald from Colorado of the American Hockey League and assigned them to the taxi squad.

“Whenever we go on the road, we’re going to load up that taxi squad so we have enough guys in case something happens on the road with injuries,” Bednar said. — Rick Sadowski

New Jersey Devils 

Travis Zajac was placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol Friday and the forward is doubtful to play against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, MSG-B, MSG+, NHL.TV). 

“He’s in the COVID protocol and right now will not travel,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “We’ll approach it one game at a time. I’m going to say he’s in the COVID protocol and we’ll approach it one game at a time, but I’ll give you the likelihood that he is (out for the two-game series at Buffalo).”

The Devils are scheduled to play the Sabres again Sunday.

Zajac is two games shy of 1,000 in the NHL, all with New Jersey; he would join defenseman Ken Daneyko (1,283 games), goalie Martin Brodeur (1,259) and forward Patrik Elias (1,240) as the only players to play 1,000 games with the Devils.

“As an organization we’re all looking forward to him achieving that milestone, but it’ll come soon enough,” forward Kyle Palmieri said.

New Jersey also will be without goalie Mackenzie Blackwood, who has been in COVID-19 protocol since Jan. 21. — Mike G. Morreale

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