Tonight's games: Test your might

Tonight’s slate of games look extremely promising – on paper, at least. There are two great games in the Western Conference, one bitter rivalry match and a few gut check opportunities to boot. Let’s take a look at Wednesday’s offerings, including the standout duo.

Today’s Best

Los Angeles Kings (39-22-4, 82 pts) at Chicago Blackhawks (43-17-5, 91 pts) 8:30 PM ET

This game puts together two teams that share some interesting similarities but also some glaring disparities. Both the Kings and Blackhawks feature mostly youthful core players along with solid veteran role players, defensive minded coaches and average goalies. Los Angeles might be a year behind Chicago, though, and their roster is as low-risk as the Blackhawks’ is now-or-nothing (we’ll discuss that later this week). This should be intriguing.

Vancouver Canucks (41-23-2, 84 pts) at Phoenix Coyotes (39-22-5, 83 pts) 10:00 PM ET

You really have to hand it to the Vancouver Canucks for playing so well in less than ideal circumstances. They’ve been hot lately (7-3) which is impressive considering the fact that they’re on a historic road trip. With the Sharks far, far ahead in first place, the light at the end of the tunnel for Phoenix would be holding onto the fourth seed.

Jump for the remaining games.

Dallas Stars (29-24-12, 70 pts) at Buffalo Sabres (35-20-9, 79 pts) 7:00 PM ET

This is a tale of two goalies. While Ryan Miller is becoming about as close to a household name as a goalie can get, Marty Turco is fighting for his future. Then again, if Turco keeps playing like he did against Washington, he might just stay in Dallas. (I still doubt that, though.)

New York Rangers (29-28-9, 67 pts) at New Jersey Devils (38-23-3, 79 pts) 7:00 PM ET

It’s good that this game gets a natural bump from being a rivalry match because the two teams aren’t bringing much to the table right now. The Rangers have slipped out of the top eight with a three game losing streak. The Devils are in a considerable slump right now, going 3-6-1 in their last 10 games.

Carolina Hurricanes (27-31-7, 61 pts) at Washington Capitals (44-13-9, 97 pts) 7:00 PM ET

OK, let’s see how hot the Carolina Hurricanes really are. Washington narrowly missed extending their home winning streak when they lost to Dallas in a thrilling game. 

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    Ducks come to terms with Lindholm, so what happens now?

    ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 14:  Hampus Lindholm #47 of the Anaheim Ducks  at Honda Center on October 14, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

    And now we wait for the other shoe to drop, because according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Anaheim Ducks have come to terms with defenseman Hampus Lindholm on a six-year contract extension with a cap hit of $5.25 million.

    It’s a win for the Ducks, who succeed in their quest to get Lindholm locked up with a lower cap hit than the Sabres got Rasmus Ristolainen ($5.4 million).

    But will the Ducks now have to make a trade? It’s been rumored for a while that Cam Fowler could be dealt once Lindholm’s deal got done. Anaheim may prefer to trade a veteran like Kevin Bieksa or Clayton Stoner, but Bieksa has a no-movement clause, and there may not be a market for those two anyway.

    The Ducks won’t get Lindholm back in the lineup right away, so there’s plenty of time for GM Bob Murray to make any moves that need to be made.

    Lindholm, 22, had 10 goals and 18 assists in 80 games last season, logging 22:00 of ice time per game.

    Pastrnak to have hearing for Girardi headshot


    Bruins forward David Pastrnak will have a hearing for his illegal check to the head of Rangers d-man Dan Girardi, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced.

    Pastrnak was whistled for a minor penalty on the play, which occurred in the second period of Boston’s 5-2 loss at MSG on Wednesday night. Girardi left the contest momentarily, but was able to return and finished with 16:15 TOI.

    “I don’t really know it makes contact with my face at first, but it is what it is, I’m kind of vulnerable,” Girardi said of the hit, per the New York Post. “He’s going to try to make a hit. He just hit me in the front of the face, so it wasn’t like it was the side-of-the-head hit or something.

    “As soon as I got up, I was fine.”

    Pastrnak, who did appear to leave his feet to make the hit, doesn’t have any history with the DoPS, and has never been subjected to supplemental discipline from the department.

    His hearing will take place on Friday.

    Former Isles goalie Kevin Poulin signs with KHL club

    GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 12:  Goaltender Kevin Poulin #60 of the New York Islanders in action during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on December 12, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Islanders 6-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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    Kevin Poulin is leaving the pro hockey scene in North America to sign with the KHL’s Astana Barys.

    It’s a one-year deal, per Igor Eronko of Sports-Express.

    The former Islanders goalie spent last season with the Stockton Heat of the AHL, where he had a 14-11-3 record with a 2.86 goals-against-average and a .909 save percentage in 29 games.

    The 26-year-old last played in the NHL during the 2014-15 season. He made one appearance with the Isles that year.

    He had a few opportunities with the Islanders, but it was usually the result of players ahead of him on the depth chart getting injured.

    Poulin leaves the NHL with a career 18-25-3 record, a 3.07 goals-against-average and a .899 save percentage in 50 games.

    He’ll join former NHLers Vitaly Kolesnik and Henrik Karlsson in Astana Barys’ crease. Nigel Dawes, Brandon Bochenski, Martin St. Pierre, Cam Barker and Kevin Dallman are also on the roster.

    PHT Morning Skate: Hockey’s spookiest goalie masks

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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    –Here are some of hockey’s all-time spookiest goalie masks. (Sports Illustrated)

    Beau Bennett‘s funny response to his name being left off the Stanley Cup. (BarDown)

    Alex Ovechkin made this young fan’s night by giving him one of his sticks. (Sportsnet)

    –Watch the highlights from last night’s game between the Rangers and Bruins. (Top)

    –Everybody remembers Grant Fuhr, Curtis Joseph, Jacques Plante, Tom Barrasso and Sean Burke, but these are the teams you don’t remember them playing for. (The Hockey News)

    –Bruins goalie Zane McIntyre honors his late grandmother on the back of his goalie mask. (The Score)

    –Former NHL goalie Niklas Svedberg made an incredible stick save in a KHL game: