NHL Buzz: Panarin, Copp out for Rangers against Capitals

Welcome to the NHL Buzz. Throughout the 2021-22 season, NHL.com will have you covered with the latest news.

New York Rangers

Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp each will miss his second straight game when the Rangers play their regular-season finale against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden on Friday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, NBCSWA, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

Panarin (upper body) and Copp (lower body) will be ready for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. The playoffs begin May 2.

“Just day to day, getting better, just being cautious,” Gallant said. “I fully expect them [to be ready for the playoffs]. Just being safe.”

Neither forward participated in the Rangers morning skate Friday.

New York will finish second in the Metropolitan Division and open the playoffs against either the Capitals or the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference First Round.

Panarin and Copp each left the Rangers’ game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday during the second period.

Copp also missed the Rangers’ 3-1 loss at the Boston Bruins on Saturday because of a lower-body injury he sustained during a 6-3 win at the New York Islanders on April 21. — Dan Rosen

Minnesota Wild

Jared Spurgeon and Matt Dumba will play for the Wild against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday (8 p.m. ET; BSN, BSWIX, ALT, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

Spurgeon had missed two games because of a lower-body injury. He leads Wild defensemen with 39 points (10 goals, 29 assists) in 64 games and is third on Minnesota with an average ice time of 21:08 per game.

Dumba will play after missing 12 games because of an upper-body injury. The defensemen has scored 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists) and averaged 23:11 in ice time in 56 games, second on the Wild behind defenseman Jonas Brodin (23:29).

Forward Mats Zuccarello will miss his fourth straight game because of a lower-body injury.

Minnesota general manager Bill Guerin said Thursday that he anticipates the team to be fully healthy for the start of the playoffs May 2.

The Wild will play the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference First Round. They can clinch second place in the Central Division and home-ice advantage in the series if they get at least one point against the Avalanche, or if the Blues lose to the Vegas Golden Knights in any fashion Friday. — Jessi Pierce

Nashville Predators

The Predators are hopeful Juuse Saros could be ready for Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round.

The goalie will miss his second straight game when the Predators play their regular-season finale at the Arizona Coyotes on Friday (10:30 p.m. ET; BSAZX, BSSO, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

Goalie Connor Ingram is expected to start after being recalled from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. David Rittich made 42 saves in the Predators’ 5-4 shootout win against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.

The Predators lead the Dallas Stars by one point for the first wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. They can clinch that spot and a first-round matchup against the Calgary Flames with at least one point against the Coyotes, or if the Stars lose in any fashion to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.

“I didn’t want to get into the confidence level,” coach John Hynes said of Saros prior to the game against the Avalanche. “I think it’s important right now that he’s still being evaluated and he’s still going day to day to see how he feels. And for us, we’ll take it one day at a time. … We’ll just get through these two games and then we’ll evaluate where he’s going to be.”

Saros left a 5-4 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday at 13:28 of the third period. His 67 starts lead the NHL, and his 38 wins are tied for second with Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning, one behind Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers.