The Columbus Blue Jackets suffered a tough loss Friday when they blew a three-goal lead to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the final four minutes of the game only to see themselves fall in overtime, giving Toronto a chance to force a Game 5. Many point to the defensive injuries to Zach Werenski, who missed the final nine minutes of the game, as well as the missing Ryan Murray. However, Blue Jackets’ head coach John Tortorella announced today that both Werenski and Murray are expected to play in today’s matchup, according to TSN’s Kristen Shilton.
The 23-year-old Werenski was expected to be a major loss to the team, trying to stave off the offensive power of Toronto. He suffered an upper-body injury during the third period and underwent and MRI Saturday. That test must have come back positive as the blueliner is expected to return to the ice. He has averaged 26:42 of ice time for Columbus and should provide a major obstacle for Toronto. Murray was scratched for Game 4, but is also expected to return to the ice. Goaltender Jonas Korpisalo is expected to start in net.
- The Washington Capitals were without John Carlson when the team took the ice Sunday against the Boston Bruins. The team’s top defenseman has yet to make an appearance in any of the team’s round-robin games with an undisclosed injury, according to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti. There is no word on whether he will be available for Game 1 of the team’s first-round matchup. Carlson was a dominating force, posting 75 points in 69 games during the regular season and is a key piece to the team’s long-term success in the playoffs. Head coach Todd Reirden also noted that forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has returned to his usual place in the lineup after being benched in the third period, according to The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir. The center only played in three shifts in the third period due to his inconsistent play.
- NHL.com’s Dan Rosen reported that Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour said that it’s too early to tell whether defenseman Dougie Hamilton will be ready to go for Game 1 of the playoffs this week due to an undisclosed injury. However, Brind’Amour did say that if Hamilton is ready to go, he will play. Unfortunately, the coach did say that defenseman Brett Pesce, out with a shoulder injury, is not expected to play in this next series.