The Vancouver Canucks may not be leading any categories in their penalty kill, but with a 13th-ranked special teams unit that kills off penalties at 82.9 percent, the team found itself challenged against Washington Saturday as the team was without four of its top penalty killers. The team played without Jay Beagle (hip), Brandon Sutter (groin), Tyler Motte (foot) and Alexander Edler (upper body), yet still fared quite well shutting down Washington’s power play on three separate occasions to win the game in a 2-1 shootout.
The Province’s Ben Kuzma writes that the team may be without that group for several more days and the success of the team’s battered penalty kill will likely have a big impact on the remainder of their three-game road trip throughout next week.
- The Calgary Flames could be getting back defenseman T.J. Brodie sooner than later. The blueliner, who collapsed during practice on Nov. 14, skated on his own Saturday and, according to a Sportsnet report, is expected to join practice with the Flames on Sunday. The team has done a barrage of tests, but have found no evidence that Brodie’s collapse was nothing more than him fainting. Brodie has joined the team on their road trip and may return to action as soon as Monday against Pittsburgh. The 29-year-old has eight assists in 21 games.
- Edmonton Oilers forward Joakim Nygard was brought in from the SHL to add a speedy winger who can immediately become a top-nine presence, who could help their quick-moving centers with some secondary scoring. However, despite his impressive speed in 10 games, Nygard just has one goal to show for it as he has struggled to finish around the net. Edmonton Sun’s Jim Matheson suggests that Nygard may be more of a third-line winger as opposed to a second-liner. “There’s still another level there,” said head coach Dave Tippett. “The good thing about him? He’s really determined, he’s not here to mess around. He wants to be a good player and that’s positive to see.”
- The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman (subscription required) writes that Los Angeles Kings prospect Gabe Vilardi fared well in Friday’s AHL debut. The 11th-overall pick in 2017 has barely played in the past year and a half with a back injury, having seen four games with the AHL Ontario Reign last season. While Vilardi didn’t register a point, he did have a breakaway opportunity and looked happy throughout the contest. “Now, to see him last night, he had a smile on his face,” Kings director of player personnel Glen Murray said. “We lost the game (4-1). But for him, it was successful. It was a passing grade, for sure. He’s come a long way. It’s been a long year. He did well. To be off a year – his game legs aren’t going to be there – but he made some nice plays, won a lot of faceoffs and he had this breakaway in the third period last night.”