It’s no secret that New York Rangers forward Kaapo Kakko has had some tough injury luck this season. He was sidelined in late January with an upper-body injury, missing about two and a half months before returning. He played just four games before suffering another injury, this time lower-body in nature, but head coach Gerard Gallant believes Kakko, who was injured on April 16th against Detroit, is expected back for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs (if not sooner).
Kakko hasn’t exceeded expectations by any means on the scoresheet this season, tallying just seven goals, nine assists, and 16 points through 41 games this year. The pending restricted free agent was one of the Rangers’ best defensive forwards prior to the team’s post-deadline resurgence in that regard, so it’s not as though he hasn’t brought any real value to the table this season.
- Noel Acciari is returning to the Florida Panthers lineup once again tonight against Detroit. The veteran forward has missed most of the season due to a combination of injuries, and now, he rejoins the team after missing 10 games with an undisclosed injury. Acciari has one goal and five points in 14 games this year.
- Clinching scenarios remain boundless for tonight’s 11-game slate, with many matches still having playoff implications despite 12 out of 16 teams already clinching playoff berths. The Florida Panthers can clinch both the Atlantic Division and regular-season Eastern Conference titles with a win against Detroit, provided the Tampa Bay Lightning also defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs in any fashion. The Calgary Flames will also clinch the Pacific Division title with a win of any kind against the Dallas Stars. Toronto and Carolina can also clinch home-ice advantage in the First Round, while the Wild and Blues can lock in a First Round matchup against each other.