Drouin Returns, Pastrnak and Hornqvist Out & More News

With such a dark time in the NHL with so many superstars getting injured, there’s finally some refreshing news to be reported. While the New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames will miss Taylor Hall and Johnny Gaudreau respectively, the team that took the biggest hit due to injury was the Tampa Bay Lightning having lost Steven Stamkos for what appears to be at least four months. This isn’t to say that Stamkos himself will be missed more than Hall or Gaudreau, but the sheer length of the recovery is devastating for a Lightning team looking to make an impact this season. Fortunately for that same Lightning team, though, Jonathan Drouin is ready to check back into the lineup.

After missing the Lightning’s last seven games with an upper-body injury, Drouin is set to rejoin his team as they take on the Buffalo Sabres on the road Thursday. In 10 games with the Bolts so far this season, the former third-overall draft pick has posted tow goals and five points with a minus-4 rating. With the captain out of the lineup for the next few months, Drouin will need to play to his potential and help his team similarly to how he did in the 2015-16 playoffs.

David Pastrnak Out Against Wild

Where it rains, it pours. As mentioned, many players have been lost due to injury over the last few days (including Darren Helm of the Detroit Red Wings) and Boston Bruins’ forward David Pastrnak appears to be the next player dealing with an ailment. According to Bruins’ head coach Claude Julien, Pastrnak will miss the Bruins game Thursday against the Minnesota Wild.

In his third season in the league, the 20-year-old Pastrnak has clicked alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and is having a breakout campaign as a result. The duo of Bergeron and Marchand have been looking for a full-time player on their line for years and Pastrnak has certainly looked the part so far this year.

In 14 games this season, Pastrnak currently has 10 goals, tied for second in the league with Mark Scheifele, Michael Grabner, and Sidney Crosby, and 14 points. Additionally, among skaters who have logged at least 150 minutes of ice time this year, Pastrnak currently sits in fourth place in the league in Corsi-For percentage behind only Jordan Staal, Bergeron and Marchand.

The Bruins are currently riding a three-game winning streak and have won four of their last five games which came in a stretch of seven days.

Patric Hornqvist Day-to-Day With Concussion

Patric Hornqvist has suffered a concussion and is deemed day-to-day following the Pittsburgh Penguins game against the Washington Capitals. Hornqvist has scored five goals and 13 points in 16 games so far this season and has done a good job at flanking captain Sidney Crosby for most of the 2016-17 season so far. This injury is a tough pill to swallow for the Penguins considering everything that Hornqvist does for the team on the ice, on the bench, and in the locker room.

The Penguins are also dealing with Chris Kunitz missing practice due to a lower-body injury. Losing a regular top-six forward is never easy, and the Penguins are currently dealing with two simultaneously. As mentioned, Hornqvist is a veteran who does a lot for the team on and off the ice – Chris Kunitz brings that same sort of leadership to the team, and the reigning Stanley Cup Champions will need to quickly adapt while they wait for the two veterans to rejoin the team.

Scott Wilson skated in place of Hornqvist alongside Crosby and Conor Sheary at the Penguins latest practice with Matt Cullen skating in place of Kunitz next to Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust.

Chris Kreider Expected to Return to Lineup

New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider is set to return to the lineup Friday when the team takes on the Columbus Blue Jackets on the road. Kreider was missing time and undergoing testing related to cervical/spinal issues, but the 25-year-old forward has finally been cleared to return to the Rangers lineup, per the New York Rangers official Twitter account.

In 11 games so far this season, Kreider has recorded three goals and 11 points. In addition to Kreider returning to the lineup, Rangers’ head coach Alain Vigneault also announced that centers Derek Stepan and Kevin Hayes would also be playing against the Blue Jackets. The Rangers currently sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 13-4-0 record, good for second place in the league to only the Montreal Canadiens.

Odds & Ends

– The New York Riveters are the latest NWHL team to participate in the Mannequin Challenge that has taken the internet by storm as of late. The Riveters weren’t the only team to take part in the Mannequin Challenge as the Connecticut Whale had previously taken their attempt on Nov. 9, the Buffalo Beauts posted theirs on Nov. 11 and the Boston Pride posted their shot at the challenge on Nov. 12.

– Ander Lindback was released from his PTO with the Ontario Reign of the AHL. Lindback went 2-1-1 with a 3.40 goals against average and a .870 save percentage after allowing 14 goals on 108 shots faced.