The Edmonton Oilers are in a deep slide, exacerbated by a 3-2 overtime loss today to the New York Islanders. Now, Sportsnet’s Mark Spector reports two pieces of bad news on the injury front. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins returned to Edmonton to get his undisclosed injury looked at, and Spector says to assume he’s “out a while.” Additionally, he notes that goalie Mike Smith, who just returned from injury, is now day-to-day with an upper-body injury separate from the one that just kept him out for over two months. Smith’s struggled this year, the first of a two-year extension he signed this summer, posting a .897 save percentage in five games. It’ll mean more action for the 23-year-old Stuart Skinner, who’s helped buoy the team with a .916 save percentage through 10 games. They’ll also be in tough with Nugent-Hopkins for the next little bit, who only has three goals but is still on a great pace with 26 points in 30 games.
Other rumblings from around the Pacific Division on New Years Day:
- Seattle Kraken forward Ryan Donato will return tonight after being activated from COVID-19 protocol. Donato last played December 18 against Edmonton, and he’s been a decent contributor for the expansion Kraken with eight goals and 13 points in 27 games. He’ll likely get back in on the team’s third line, playing left wing with Alexander Wennberg and Joonas Donskoi.
- Some good news injury-wise — Anaheim Ducks forward Max Comtois is expected to make his return to the lineup tonight against Colorado. Comtois has played just once since suffering a hand injury on November 11. It’s been a tough year for him with just one assist through 14 games, but after his 16-goal, 33-point season last year, expect some bad shooting luck to turn around for him in a short manner.