Canadiens' Alex Newhook out 10-12 weeks with sprained ankle

Alex Newhook is expected to miss approximately 10 to 12 weeks with a high ankle sprain, the Montreal Canadiens announced Saturday.

Newhook was driving toward the net in the third period of the Canadiens' 5-1 loss Thursday to the Florida Panthers when his angle toward the goal was taken away, leading to a collision where Newhook lost his footing and went leg-first into the net. Newhook went to the Canadiens' bench to receive treatment and did not return.

Earlier in the game, Newhook's right skate was entangled with Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour, which led to Newhook's right leg twisting as he landed on the ice.

The long-term absence means the Canadiens (10-11-2) will be without a top-nine, two-way forward who was projected to have the best season of his still relatively young career. Newhook, 22, joined the Canadiens in an offseason trade from the Colorado Avalanche, a year after the 2019 first-round pick helped the Avs win the Stanley Cup.

Newhook has scored seven goals and 13 points through 26 games, which had placed him on a trajectory to finish with career highs in both categories.