NHL Talk: Blues, Senators, Sabres, Blackhawks & Kraken

In this edition of NHL Talk, these are the top storylines with quotes from players, coaches, managers, and more.

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Blackhawks’ Toews and Johnson to Return With Limited Ice Time

Chicago Blackhawks forwards Jonathan Toews and Tyler Johnson will return to the lineup against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. Toews has not played since Jan. 26 due to concussion protocol, while Johnson, who had surgery on his neck on Dec. 3, last played Oct. 29. With both players missing significant time, it is expected they will both play limited roles on the ice on Thursday as they settle back into the rhythm of things.

Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

“They won’t be happy with me,” Blackhawks head coach Derek King said. “They’re probably going to want 20-plus minutes right off the bat, but they won’t be able to handle it. So I’ll just have to monitor them and pick my spots for Toews.”

Senators Prepare to Welcome Norris Back Into Lineup

Ottawa Senators forward Josh Norris will return to the lineup against the Florida Panthers on Thursday. He leads the Senators in goal scoring, with 18 goals in 36 games, but missed the last 15 games after sustaining a shoulder injury in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 27. Ottawa gets a very important piece back on its roster with Norris’ return.

Josh Norris Ottawa Senators
Josh Norris, Ottawa Senators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

“I didn’t really know for a bit there what the timeline was going to be, so once I kind of felt more comfortable with my injury and how things were going,” Norris said after practice on Wednesday. “We just kind of set a date and it happened to be tomorrow.”

Sabres’ Losing Streak Comes to an End at Six Games

The Buffalo Sabres ended its six-game losing streak with a 5-1 win at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. The Sabres, who are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for 28th in the NHL, put together a strong performance against the Maple Leafs, who are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for fifth in the NHL. Buffalo outshot Toronto, 31-30, and found a way to capitalize on more opportunities than its rival.

Dylan Cozens Buffalo Sabres
Dylan Cozens, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“I thought our guys, all four lines, all six defensemen and [goaltender Craig Anderson], all played hard for each other,” Sabres head coach Don Granato said. “The details were there, and they mattered. They worked hard for the guys next to them. Our guys had worked really hard, and I don’t think they necessarily deserved to be on the string they were on of not winning.”

Blues Score on Three Consecutive Shots in a Span of 2:14

The St. Louis Blues stunned the New York Rangers with three goals on three shots within a 2:14 span to close out the second period of a 5-3 loss on Wednesday. The Blues trailed 2-0 until forward Ryan O’Reilly found the back of the Rangers’ net at 17:30 of the second period. His goal was shortly followed by Ivan Barbashev at 18:37 and David Perron at 19:44 to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.

Ryan O'Reilly St. Louis Blues
Ryan O’Reilly, St. Louis Blues (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

“We just needed to get one to get some confidence and tilt the ice a bit,” O’Reilly said. “We came wave after wave, got some good bounces and put the puck in the net. It left us in a good spot going into the third.”

Kraken Victorious on Inaugural Kraken Day, End Seven-Game Skid

The Seattle Kraken defeated the Nashville Predators, 4-3, on Wednesday, the same day proclaimed by Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell as “Kraken Day.” The city of Seattle was filled with Kraken-themed giveaways, deals, and more before the Kraken faced off against the Predators at night. The victory ended a seven-game winless skid for Seattle and gave fans even more reason to celebrate.

Alex Wennberg, Seattle Kraken
Alex Wennberg, Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

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“The game goes back and forth, teams have good rushes, and they are creating chances,” Kraken forward Alex Wennberg said. “They scored a goal, but just to find a way to push back there, that’s a huge part of the game, the shift after when they score. It’s a great chance to make a statement, and you either push back or you’re going to let them go. I feel like it’s great for us to come back and have that push. You see the team after one good play, you see the other line come out afterward and you’re feeding off each other, and that’s how the team works and that’s how you’ll be successful.”

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