The Vancouver Canucks' push for the playoffs took a serious hit Friday.
Forward Ryan Kesler, Vancouver's second-leading point-getter this season, will miss "at least a couple of weeks" with a sprained right knee, according to coach John Tortorella. The Canucks are also missing leading scorer Daniel Sedin, Mike Santorelli and Andrew Alberts due to injury.
"You guys see how I use him and how important he is to the team," Tortorella told reporters after Friday's morning skate.
"Nothing you can do about it. It's a sprained knee and he's out at least a couple of weeks. We're not sure how it goes from there, but at least a couple of weeks. Knowing Kes -- I talked to him after the game. I talked to him last night ... after he saw the doctor back in Van -- knowing him, he wants to play tonight. But I think it's going to be at least a couple of weeks."
The oft-injured Kesler, who has managed to stay healthy this season and leads the Canucks with 22 goals, was hurt Wednesday when he collided with Winnipeg Jets forward Jim Slater in the second period. Slater was given a penalty for tripping while Kesler was forced to leave the game.
Losing Kesler is a huge blow for the Canucks, who are four points behind the Dallas Stars in the race for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. They haven't missed the playoffs since 2008.
PRICE ALMOST RIGHT
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price practiced fully Friday but is still day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Price hasn't played since leading Canada to the gold medal at the Sochi Olympics, a total of eight games, and it's unknown if he will return to the lineup Saturday against the Ottawa Senators. The Canadiens have gone 3-4-1 in Price's absence.
"He had a really good day," Habs coach Michel Therrien said on the league website. "But from our standpoint nothing's changed. When you lose your best player it's going to have an effect on you. We can't use that as an excuse; we have no excuses on our team. But Carey is our best player and one that is very important."
Price has gone 26-17-5 with a 2.33 goals-against average and .925 save percentage this season.
PENS' NEAL CONCUSSED
Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal will miss at least this weekend's home-and-home series with the Philadelphia Flyers due to a concussion.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma revealed Friday that Neal was concussed, not "dealing with bumps and bruises" as previously announced. Neal was hurt Tuesday against the Washington Capitals.
"You don't know if you're talking about one or two days or much longer," Bylsma said on the team's website. "You hope the symptoms subside and it's shorter than longer."
Neal told the Penguins Thursday that he "wasn't feeling normal" and was later diagnosed with a concussion.
The 26-year-old has 22 goals and 27 assists in 44 games this season. He's missed 20 games due to injuries or suspension.
The Columbus Blue Jackets activated defenceman Fedor Tyutin off injured reserve Friday but he might not play Saturday against the Minnesota Wild. Tyutin was hurt playing for Russia at the Olympics and has missed nine games ... The Colorado Avalanche have signed goaltender Reto Berra to a three-year contract extension even though he hasn't played a game for them yet, according to the Denver Post. The Avs acquired Berra from the Calgary Flames for a second-round pick earlier this month ... Injured Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa could play Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings or Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers. Hossa has been out with an upper-body injury since March 1.