News and notes from around the NHL this evening:
- The Arizona Coyotes will give Brendan Perlini his first NHL start tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets, reports Sarah McLellan of the AZCentral. The Coyotes selected Perlini 12th overall in the 2014 draft and the pick immediately paid dividends. Perlini is tearing up the AHL, scoring 11G and 5A in 16 games while tied for the league lead in goals. The Coyotes are struggling in the goal department—they are 28th in goals for—and hope that the young forward can spark the struggling offense. To make room for Perlini both Anthony Duclair and Kevin Connauton are relegated to the pressbox.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins have scratched forwards Tom Kuhnhackl, Jake Guentzel, and defenseman Steven Oleksy, reports Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Kuhnhackl has struggled this season, scoring only 1G and 3A in 18 games for the Penguins. His ice-time has decreased considerably and this is his second scratch in two games. Jake Guentzel has missed the past two games as a healthy scratch, and the team has cooled on him considerably since his electric debut on November 21st. The rookie scored two goals in his NHL debut, but has only posted 1G and 1A since.
- The Buffalo Sabres are getting creative on their backend during a long injury drought. The team has Erik Burgdoerfer making his NHL debut after 480 minor league games, and Brendan Guhle on an emergency recall, reports the NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti. Injuries are taking its toll on the basement-dwelling Sabres as they are missing Dmitry Kulikov (back), Zach Bogosian (knee), Josh Gorges (foot) and Taylor Fedun (shoulder).
- Boston Bruins defenseman and captain Zdeno Chara returns to the team tonight after missing the last six games with a lower-body injury, reports Joe Haggerty of CSNNE. The Bruins went 3-2-1 without their veteran defenseman, and only surrendered 10 goals during that timeframe. There is worry within the fanbase that Chara is slowing down, and while he is still leading the team in playing time, that time is down almost three minutes from his 25+ minute average with Boston.