Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov is coming off long-term injured reserve and is making his 2022 debut tonight against Calgary, according to head coach Jon Cooper. Kucherov hasn’t played since the third game of the 2021-22 season, and he’s been out with a lower-body injury ever since. He’ll likely slot back into his home on the top line alongside Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point. Save for Ross Colton, who’s currently in COVID protocol, the Lightning have a fully healthy forward group for the first time since October.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Division:
- Per ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy is out for tonight’s game against Minnesota with a lower-body injury, although he notes it’s not a long-term ailment. It goes without saying that McAvoy is the rock for Boston’s blue line, scoring 20 points in 28 games and averaging 24:22 per game. In his place, 31-year-old John Moore likely slides into the lineup for just the fifth time this season.
- The Buffalo Sabres have been without defenseman Robert Hagg since mid-December, but he could be close to returning. The Athletic’s John Vogl reports that he took part in practice with his teammates today, his first time doing so since suffering a lower-body injury on December 14. Acquired from Philadelphia this offseason, Hagg has five points in 25 games.