NEW YORK -- Already thin down the middle, the Toronto Maple Leafs will now be without centre Nazem Kadri for the next three games.
Kadri was suspended by the NHL on Thursday for goaltender interference stemming from his hit on Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom in the Wild's 2-1 shootout win Wednesday night.
That compounds Toronto's already problematic situation at centre as the club is already missing injured forwards Tyler Bozak and David Bolland.
Bozak, the Leafs' first-line centre and top faceoff man, has been out since injuring his hamstring in a road game Oct. 25 versus the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Bolland, acquired from Chicago in the off-season, had six goals and four assists in 15 games before suffering a severed tendon during a Nov. 2 game in Vancouver.
Kadri, along with converted winger James van Riemsdyk, was supposed to fill the void left by the injured centres. But he put his team in a deeper hole when he hit Backstrom in the head in the first period of Wednesday's game at Minnesota.
Kadri tipped a Joffrey Lupul shot on goal, then ran into Backstrom while driving to the net after the goaltender made the save.
Backstrom stayed in the game briefly before being replaced by Josh Harding. The team says Backstrom has an upper-body injury.
Kadri received a minor penalty for goaltender interference on the play.
NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan acknowledged driving the net is part of the game and contact with goaltenders happens as a result. But he said the hit is worthy of a suspension because Kadri was in control when he made contact with Backstrom and didn't make a reasonable effort to avoid the goaltender.
Shanahan also noted the hit was a forceful blow to the head that caused an injury but agreed with Kadri there was no intent to injure on the play.
Later, Kadri received a match penalty for hitting Minnesota's Mikael Granlund in the head.
Kadri, who has 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 18 games this season, will forfeit US$44,615.37 in salary.
Eaves on waivers
DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings have placed Patrick Eaves on waivers.
The move was made Thursday, giving teams in the league a day to claim the 29-year-old forward.
Detroit coach Mike Babcock said the Red Wings hope Eaves gets a chance to play regularly for another team. Babcock says there's nothing wrong with Eaves on or off the ice, adding he does everything right.
Eaves played in just three of 19 games this season and hasn't scored a goal or made an assist. The Red Wings signed him to a $3.6-million, three-year contract in 2011 after giving him one-year deals in 2009 and 2010.
The Red Wings also assigned forward Jordin Tootoo and defenceman Xavier Ouellet to the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Valtteri Filppula had two goals and an assist, goalie Ben Bishop won his 13th game this season and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-1 in a matchup of conference leaders Thursday night.
Martin St. Louis added a goal and two assists for the Lightning, who played their first home game and second overall -- both victories -- without star Steven Stamkos. The centre, out indefinitely after breaking his right leg Monday, had surgery Tuesday in Boston and returned to Florida on Thursday.
"Nice to be back home in Tampa," Stamkos tweeted. "Can't thank all the staff at Mass General enough for all their hard work and dedication the past four days."
Bruins over Jackets in OT
BOSTON -- Milan Lucic scored on a breakaway with 49 seconds left in overtime to lift the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
Lucic blocked Cam Atkinson's shot just inside the blue-line and the puck took a big bounce toward the Columbus end with nobody between Lucic and Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobvrosky. Lucic corralled the puck and poked a shot between Bobvrosky's pads.
Loui Eriksson and Shawn Thornton also scored for the Bruins.
Boston goalie Chad Johnson stopped 32 shots playing for just the third time this season with starter Tuukka Rask getting a night off.
Bobvrosky made 28 saves for the Blue Jackets, who took a 1-0 lead in the first on Blake Comeau's second goal of the seasswon. Boston scored twice before Nick Foligno restored the tie with 3:26 left in the second period.
-- from the news services