Rangers’ McDonagh back in lineup after missing 2 games following Komarov hit

New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh is back, again.

The captain will play Thursday night against the St. Louis Blues after missing two games following a headshot from Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov on Feb. 18.

Related: Maple Leafs' Komarov suspended 3 games for elbowing Rangers' McDonagh

The injury came while McDonagh was playing in just his second game since being punched and concussed by Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds on Feb. 6.

Marc Staal will also return to the lineup Thursday night after missing Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils.

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Report: Penguins focused on adding defenseman at deadline

The Pittsburgh Penguins are interested in acquiring a defenseman by Monday's trade deadline, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.

Pittsburgh lost defender Ben Lovejoy indefinitely to an upper-body injury earlier in the week, and he was playing almost 19 minutes a night.

The Penguins are in the thick of the Eastern Conference wild-card race, currently holding the second spot.

Trevor Daley, acquired in a trade for Rob Scuderi earlier this season, has been a solid addition, with 13 points in 30 games. He's playing 19:11 a game, and general manager Jim Rutherford is likely hoping to find someone similar.

Calgary Flames defenseman Kris Russell and Vancouver Canucks blue-liner Dan Hamhuis are two notable rentals available, but prices are reportedly high and Hamhuis has a full no-trade clause.

Should the Penguins fail to make a move, Rutherford could turn to the club's AHL roster for depth, LeBrun notes.

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Flames’ Russell expected to play as trade rumors swirl

Kris Russell's time with the Calgary Flames may soon end, but not before a game or two in front of the home crowd.

The defender's name has been in trade rumors all month, with the Flames playing out the stretch and the 28-year-old on an expiring contract.

Russell, earning $2.6 million, hasn't played since Feb. 12 due to a lower-body injury, but is expected to return to the lineup Thursday against the New York Islanders. He's officially a game-time decision.

"I'm looking forward to getting back as quick as I can and helping this team," he said.

The rental market for defensemen is thin, but prices are reportedly high. The Los Angeles Kings have been mentioned as a potential destination for Russell, who has 15 points and averages almost 23 minutes a game.

The Flames are home Saturday to the Ottawa Senators, their final game before Monday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.

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Jets’ Bryan Little out for season with vertebrae fracture

Winnipeg Jets forward Bryan Little won't play again this season due to a compression fracture in his vertebrae, head coach Paul Maurice revealed Thursday.

Little hasn't played since being leveled by Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman last Thursday.

Related: VIDEO - Lightning's Stralman lays out Jets' Ehlers, Little in same shift

Little notched 17 goals and 25 assists in 57 games.

The Jets recalled forward Matt Halischuk from the AHL's Manitoba Moose, and also placed defenseman Mark Stuart on injured reserve, retroactive to Feb. 13.

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Parise expected to miss at least 2 games

Zach Parise won't play Thursday, and there's no telling when he'll be back in the Minnesota Wild's lineup.

The left-winger is dealing with an upper-body injury. He has 18 goals and 18 assists in 51 games, and his absence could be felt. The Wild are four points back of the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Parise has a goal and seven assists in 11 games in February.

Jordan Schroeder will hop on the top line in Parise's absence.

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Parise expected to miss at least 2 games

Zach Parise won't play Thursday, and there's no telling when he'll be back in the Minnesota Wild's lineup.

The left-winger is dealing with an upper-body injury. He has 18 goals and 18 assists in 51 games, and his absence could be felt. The Wild are four points back of the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Parise has a goal and seven assists in 11 games in February.

Jordan Schroeder will hop on the top line in Parise's absence.

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Report: Blackhawks have ‘serious interest’ in Canucks’ Hamhuis, Vrbata

The Vancouver Canucks could significantly help the Chicago Blackhawks in their quest to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

The Blackhawks have serious interest in Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis and forward Radim Vrbata, reports TSN's Farhan Lalji.

Hamhuis has a full no-trade clause, and neither he nor his team has revealed whether he'll waive it. The Canucks were reportedly expected to finalize their pre-trade deadline plans at scouting meetings last weekend.

The 33-year-old blue-liner is a pending unrestricted free agent with a cap hit of $4.5 million, and Vrbata is also a pending UFA carrying a hit of $5 million.

The Blackhawks are expected to have around $4.75 million in cap space on deadline day, according to General Fanager.

TSN's Bob McKenzie reported last week the Blackhawks were "very aggressively" looking to add a top-line winger.

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