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Tavares ready for season opener

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Toronto Maple Leafs

Per sources, Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares will be ready for their season opener on Wednesday against the Montreal Canadiens.

Tavares suffered an oblique strain on Sept 27, and was originally given a three week timeline for recovery – but he has indicated he feels comfortable enough to play ahead of schedule.

The Leafs skated the following lines in their final practice of the pre-season ahead of their season-opening match against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, per TSN Hockey Insider Mark Masters:

Bunting – Matthews – Marner

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Nylander – Tavares – Malgin

Engvall – Kerfoot – Jarnkrok

Aston-Reese – Kampf – Aube-Kubel

Rielly – Brodie

Muzzin – Holl

Giordano – Sandin

Murray

Samsonov

Additionally, the power play units skating in practice looked as follows:


Vancouver Canucks

Per TSN’s Farhan Lalji, both Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes are ready to play in the Vancouver Canucks season opener against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

Boeser has been dealing with a hand/wrist problem this pre-season, but said “it’s feeling pretty good and it’s good enough to play so that’s all that matters.”

Hughes has been dealing with a non-COVID illness.

The Canucks have been skating these lines in pre-season practice:

Pearson-Miller-Boeser

Kuzmenko-Pettersson-Höglander

Podkolzin-Horvat-Garland

Joshua-Åman-Lazar


New Jersey Devils

Nico Hischier has joined the New Jersey Devils at practice for the first time this pre-season; the plan was to work him back slowly as he rehabs from a strained hamstring suffered on Sept 29.

The Devils’ captain skated with the first line and was also seen skating with the top power play unit.


Calgary Flames

Speaking to reporters ahead of their season opener on Thursday, Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter indicated it is unlikely the Flames announce a captain for this season, because there isn’t a clear-cut candidate, per TSN Hockey Inside Salim Valji.

Mikael Backlund and Chris Tanev are being identified as co-captains for now.


Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres head coach Don Granato indicated that RW Kyle Okposo will be ready for the start of the season. He practiced in a non-contact sweater with the team on Tuesday.

Okposo left the Sabres’ game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct 4 with an upper-body injury that was always thought to be a short-term issue.

The 34-year-old is in his seventh season with the Sabres, and he recorded 21 goals and 45 points in 74 games last season for the team.

He was originally drafted seventh overall by the New York Islanders in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and spent the first nine seasons of his NHL career with the team.


Edmonton Oilers

Defenceman Jason Demers was spotted skating with the Edmonton Oilers in practice on Tuesday, after being released from his professional try out on Monday. Sources have indicated he will stay with the team in the AHL on a new PTO this season.

Demers spent last season in the KHL, and his last appearance in the NHL was in 2020-21 for the Arizona Coyotes, where he amassed four assists in 41 games played.

He has a total of 45 goals and and 214 points across his 13-year NHL career; where he has played for the San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers and the Coyotes.

Forward Kailer Yamamoto skated today, but it is still unclear whether he will be ready to play in the season opener on Wednesday.


Seattle Kraken

The Seattle Kraken have announced their regular season roster, which includes fourth-overall pick Shane Wright.


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Darnell Nurse sounds off on Edmonton Oilers slow starts after Stuart Skinner faces 50 shots – TSN

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Another slow start for the Edmonton Oilers wasn’t their undoing against the Washington Capitals in Monday’s 3-2 loss, but it certainly didn’t help either.

The Oilers were outshot 22-12 in the opening frame, with Stuart Skinner turning aside all 22 in his eventual 47-save performance in the loss.

“We come in here and we talk about it every day,” Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse said of his team’s starts. “We sit here after the game, talk about it over and over and over. … We want to have good starts each and every night but, you know, we’re sitting here and it’s a part of our game. We’re almost a quarter of the way through the season.

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“The more we just talk away and pester at it, we need to just show up and play. Relax, pin our ears back and come out on the on the attack.”

The Oilers were outshot 50-30 on Monday, including 19-7 in the second period, when Skinner allowed two goals.

“We weren’t as quick and physical as we wanted to be in the defensive zone,” Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft said. “Our goalie stood tall. We’re 2-2 going into the third period. We made a critical error, and it ended up in the back of our net.”

Skinner Unfazed as Oilers Allow 50 Shots

Skinner, who has moved into the starting role ahead of Jack Campbell over the past month, saw his record drop to 7-6 on the season, with a .916 save percentage and a 2.93 goals-against average.

The 50 shots faced against the Capitals were a season high for Skinner, who said the early barrage helped put him the zone. 

“I think if you get a few [early] chances on you and make all the saves, it’s a little bit of a confidence booster,” Skinner said. “They got on the power play and I got a few shots on the power play, so after that I was ready to go.”

The loss dropped the Oilers to 14-12-0 on the season as the team currently sits in the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference. 

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‘We need to be better’: Oilers continue to fight slow starts, costly turnovers – Sportsnet.ca

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Pettersson's revenge: Canucks keep surprising with 'inexplicable' comeback vs. Canadiens – Sportsnet.ca

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