Montreal trades Sergei Kostitsyn to Nashville for Dan Ellis and Dustin Boyd

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The Nashville Predators and the Montreal Canadiens announced a
somewhat significant trade this afternoon, with three pending free
agents changing teams. Their new teams have a little under two days of
exclusive negotiations to try and sign the pending UFA’s.

acquired forward Sergei Kostitsyn from the Canadiens, who is coming off
several tumultous seasons with the Habs and looks to be closer to being
separated from brother Andrei. After spending three seasons jumping
between the Canadiens and the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL, Sergei was
set to hit the open market as a free agent.

The return for
Montreal is what is intriguing. Dustin Boyd, if signed, could be a
definite boost for the Canadiens who
played so well defensively in the playoffs. Yet it’s Ellis that is the
focal point of this trade.

Dan Ellis, considered by many to be one the better and valuable
goaltenders set to be a free agent, could be exactly what the Habs need
in order to push Carey Price. While there’s certainly the possibility
that Ellis was looking to be a starter, those jobs are few and far
between this summer with a number of worthy goaltenders going on the
market. He also has the perfect temperament to deal with the insanity
that goes on in Montreal, and he won’t let the pressure get to him.

Boyd, if signed, could be a definite boost for the Canadiens who played
so well defensively in the playoffs.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”

Report: Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season

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Joe Vitale will not play again this season.

The Arizona Coyotes have shut Vitale down for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign due to “concussion-related issues,” according to a report from Sarah McLellan of azcentral sports on Wednesday.

Vitale, a 30-year-old veteran center, appeared in only one game for the Coyotes this season. That was back on Oct. 17, when he suffered a concussion and broken orbital bone in a fight with Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins.

Sens announce Frattin, acquired in Phaneuf deal, will stick with AHL Marlies

Matt Frattin
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Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.

But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.

On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.

Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.

Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.