NHL Buzz: Chychrun to make season debut, Schmaltz back for Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes

Jakob Chychrun will make his season debut when the Coyotes visit the Nashville Predators (8 pm ET; BSSO, BSAZ, ESPN+, SN NOW).

The defenseman has not played since March 12, when he sustained an ankle injury in a loss to the Boston Bruins. He also underwent wrist surgery during the offseason.

Nick Schmaltz will also return after an extended absence. The forward has not played since sustaining an upper-body injury in the Coyotes season opener Oct. 13, a 6-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said Chychrun will be paired with Shayne Gostisbeherewhile Schmaltz will play on a line with forwards Clayton Keller and Travis Boyd.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on them,” Tourigny said. “We’re really happy. They’re two really good players and we’re looking forward to having them back. But at the same time, you look at [Chychrun]he hasn’t played in eight months, so he needs a little bit of time.

“He’s a really good player. He’s important for us. But we’ll take what he will give us. I’m sure it will be plenty, but still at the same time, I don’t want to put pressure on him.

“For [Schmaltz], he was with us during training camp. He’s been with us on a lot of adjustments, a lot of things we’ve changed in the system. He’s used to it. So, [we’re] excited that both will be back.” — John Glennon

St. Louis Blues

Colton Parayko will be a game-time decision against the Anaheim Ducks (8 pm ET; BSMW, BSW, ESPN+, SN NOW).

The Blues defenseman has missed the past three games with an upper-body injury, but coach Craig Berube said he is “confident” Parayko will play.

“I think it will boil down to a game-time decision, but he’s better,” Berube said. “I want him in there all the time, but it boils down to what’s best for him, like in the long term and things like that. That really weighs into the decision, but he’s feeling a lot better. I’m confident he’ll play tonight.”

Parayko hasn’t played since a 3-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 14. He has taken part in the past two morning skates.

“I would love to play Monday,” Parayko said after the morning skate Saturday prior to a 6-2 win against the Ducks. “That’s my goal personally. We’ll aim for that.

“Not excessively [concerned], especially when we went in and looked at it and everything. Just more caution and making sure. … [I feel] great. Way better. I’m really, really close.”

Forward Vladimir Tarasenko will miss his second straight game due to illness.

“He decides where he’s feeling and how he’s doing,” Berube said of Tarasenko. — Lou Korac

Buffalo Sabres

Mattias Samuelsson and Zemgus Girgensons could each return for the Buffalo Sabers when they visit the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday (7 pm ET; NHLN, TSN2, RDS, MSG-B, SN NOW).

Samuelsson has missed 13 games with a lower-body injury. The defenseman, who signed a seven-year, $30 million contract extension Oct. 12, skated with Rasmus Dahlin at practice Monday.

“It’s a good sign and I think in all likelihood we’ll see Mattias tomorrow,” coach Don Granato said.

Girgensons was absent from practice Friday and missed the game Saturday, a 5-2 loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs, with an undisclosed injury. The forward has five points (three goals, two assists) in 17 games.

“I feel great, so now it’s just up to the doctors and coaches to decide about tomorrow,” he said.

He was injured when he took a hit in the second period Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators in a 4-1 loss.

“It was an unfortunate hit,” Girgensons said. “I finished the second and then I just didn’t feel right. So we took a precaution and I just sat out one.”

The Sabers also got good news on forward Kyle Okposo, who has missed four games with a lower-body injury. Okposo, who is the Sabers captain, has started skating on his own and is progressing. He has nine points (one goal, eight assists) in 14 games.

“Much better than he was a few days ago, so I think we’re trending in the right way there,” general manager Kevyn Adams said. “It’s more days than weeks now for Kyle, so that’s the good news there.” — Heather Engel

Toronto Maple Leafs

Ilya Samsonov will travel with the Maple Leafs on their upcoming four-game road trip which begins Wednesday at the Minnesota Wild but is not expected to play this week.

The goalie has missed seven games since sustaining a knee injury Nov. 5 in a 2-1 win against the Boston Bruins.

Samsonov did not participate in the morning skate Monday prior to Toronto’s home game against the New York Islanders (7:30 pm; SN1, SNE, SNO, SNP, MSGSN2, ESPN+, SN NOW) but is expected to practice Tuesday. He has skated with the Maple Leafs at times in practice and morning skates since sustaining the injury.

“He seems like he is taking a step positively,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “We kept him off the ice today, but he is going to come on the road and travel with us. At this point anyway, that’s more so to stay in rhythm with our group. Not expecting him to be available for us this week. “

Samsonov is 6-2-0 with a 2.23 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage in eight games this season.

TJ Brodie will not be on the road trip. The defenseman has not played since Nov. 11 in a 4-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, missing the past four games with an oblique injury.

“Brodie is not progressing as quickly as [the medical staff] would like,” Keefe said. “He will not travel with us.”

Brodie has two assists in 15 games this season. — Dave McCarthy

Washington Capitals

Forward TJ Oshie (lower body) went through a full practice with the Capitals for the second straight day, but defenseman Dmitry Orlov (lower body) did not practice Monday after being a full participant in practice Sunday.

Oshie, who has missed the past 12 games, skated again at right wing on a line with forwards Sonny Milano and Evgeny Kuznetsov .

Orlov, who has missed the past seven games, was paired with Nick Jensen on Sunday.

Coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t prepared to say Monday if either player will play in Washington’s next game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday (7:30 pm ET; TNT, SN NOW).

“I’m going to stay away from confirming anything with these guys,” Laviolette said. “We’re still trying to push these guys to get them back to where they need to be. So, I’d rather stay away from commenting one way or the other until we know for sure.”

Laviolette wouldn’t say if there is concern about Orlov missing practice with the Capitals not scheduled to practice Tuesday.

“Well, they’re both in the same boat,” he said. “They’re working every day to get back. So, it’s today he’s not out there.” — Tom Gullitti

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