Wheeler set to return from concussion Thursday vs. Leafs

The Winnipeg Jets expect captain Blake Wheeler to play Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs after missing the last six games with a concussion, according to NHL.com's Mitchell Clinton.

Head coach Paul Maurice said Wheeler was cleared prior to Saturday's game against the Edmonton Oilers, but with four days off before their next game, the Jets decided to give the forward more rest.

"Honestly, getting these four days in addition to the extra two days, in the long run, is going to make a world of difference," Wheeler said Tuesday. "I'm just happy to be feeling good, you know, feeling like myself."

The 34-year-old winger ranks fifth on the Jets with 32 points in 39 games this season.

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Panthers’ Knight to make 1st career start vs. Blue Jackets

Florida Panthers blue-chip prospect Spencer Knight will make his first NHL start Tuesday versus the Columbus Blue Jackets, head coach Joel Quenneville announced.

"He's ready for it. Looking forward to seeing how he handles it," Quenneville said.

The Panthers drafted Knight 13th overall in 2019. The 20-year-old has spent the past two seasons at Boston College and posted a 16-4-1 record with a sparkling .932 save percentage in 2021.

Knight also anchored the United States to a gold medal at the world juniors in January.

Florida enters Tuesday's contest second in the Central Division with 63 points in 46 games.

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Price to miss 1 week in concussion protocol

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price will be out of the lineup for a week while going through concussion protocol, head coach Dominique Ducharme said Tuesday.

Edmonton Oilers forward Alex Chiasson bumped into Price during the first period of Monday's game, and Jake Allen replaced the Canadiens starter to begin the second period. Ducharme confirmed postgame that Price's injury occurred on the play in question.

Montreal is scheduled to play four times before next Tuesday. The Canadiens will play a road contest against the Oilers on Wednesday before facing the Flames in Calgary on Friday, Saturday, and Monday to wrap up a five-game trip.

Chiasson wasn't penalized for Monday's incident.

Price was in his second game back after missing six due to a lower-body injury. The 33-year-old has a .901 save percentage through 25 games this season while also posting minus-5.63 goals saved above average and minus-8.11 goals saved above expected in 2021, according to Evolving Hockey.

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Tuesday NHL betting preview: 2 road ‘dogs worth backing

A 2-0 sweep on Monday got the week started right for us as we move to 120-110 (+7.51 units) on the season.

Here's what's on tap for Tuesday.

Hurricanes (+105) @ Lightning (-125)

I always recommend waiting for goaltending confirmations before betting a game, and that holds especially true when a team has as big of a discrepancy between starter and backup as the Lightning do. Curtis McElhinney looks to get the start in this contest after Andrei Vasilevskiy manned the net last night in a 3-2 overtime win for Tampa. The Lightning are 15-4 in Vasilevskiy starts since the beginning of March and 1-4-1 with McElhinney in the crease.

The gulf between the two is massive, and while the Lightning may opt to go back to Vasilevskiy tonight given the magnitude of this game in the Central Division race, it's also unlikely considering how strict Tampa has been when it comes to managing his load. Vasilevskiy hasn't started more than three straight since McElhinney was on the COVID list during the first week of February. The Lightning have had five back-to-backs this season, with Vasilevskiy never starting both games.

The Hurricanes have also been the better team this season, holding an edge in just about every important underlying metric - a gap that's grown even bigger over the past few weeks. Carolina's posted a 57.87 xGF% and 57.49 FF% at five-on-five since March 30, with the Lightning sitting at marks of 51.64% and 51.46%. If McElhinney starts, the Hurricanes are a steal at plus money.

Pick: Hurricanes (+105)

Rangers (+110) @ Islanders (-130)

The Islanders find themselves in a bit of a slump as they try to push for first place in the East Division, losing three of their last five and winning just twice in regulation over their last 13 games while also managing just a 44.9 CF% over those 13 contests. The club has been especially bad over the last six games and hasn't managed a single regulation win, posting a 43.1 xGF% and a 43.73 CF% at five-on-five - both are bottom-five marks in the league (excluding the Canucks, who played just one game over that span).

The Rangers, meanwhile, continue to take care of business as they desperately chase a playoff spot that may be impossible to catch with the way the teams ahead of them keep winning. After a four-game sweep of the Devils, the Rangers have now won eight of their last 11 and have taken points from 10 of those games.

Based on how these New York rivals have been playing over the past month, the Rangers are actually deserving of being slight favorites with Igor Shesterkin in net - he's been confirmed as tonight's starter - so getting them at +110 is quite the bargain.

Pick: Rangers (+110)

Alex Moretto is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, despises how the NHL handles starting goalie announcements, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

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Hockey Canada names Luongo GM for worlds, Doan to assist him

Roberto Luongo will oversee Team Canada at the upcoming men's World Hockey Championship.

Hockey Canada tabbed Luongo as general manager for its entry in the tournament on Tuesday.

Former NHLer Shane Doan and Scott Salmond, the senior vice president of national teams for Hockey Canada, will round out Canada's management group for the event.

Luongo will be in charge of all hockey operations, including selecting players and staff, and leading the evaluation process. The former NHL goaltender and current Florida Panthers front office member will make his international management debut during the 2021 worlds.

Hockey Canada named him an assistant GM for its 2022 men's Olympic team in February. Luongo played for Canada during three Olympics, four world championships, and a World Cup of Hockey. He helped the nation win two Olympic gold medals, two titles at the worlds, and one more at the World Cup.

Before retiring in 2019, the 42-year-old notched the third-most goaltending wins in NHL history with 489, though he also posted the second-most losses with 392. He ranks second all time after playing 1,044 games.

The 2021 worlds will be held May 21 through June 6 in Riga, Latvia.

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