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Around the rink – Thursday, November 11th

It’s Veteran’s Day in America, so remember to say thanks to anyone you know who has served their country in the military. On the hockey side of things, it’s Gaborik Day in New York as the Rangers get their top scorer back in the lineup. That’s a reason to throw a party, right? If not, there’s enough going on elsewhere to whet your appetite. All times listed are Eastern.

7:00 pm

Montreal @ Boston

Boston’s coming off a big win over Pittsburgh but dealing with the Habs always means things get interesting and with the Habs dedication to frustrating the opponents offense these rivals should have quite the reunion tonight. With Tim Thomas having started against Pittsburgh last night, could we see Tuukka Rask get the call against Carey Price?

Buffalo @ NY Rangers

Marian Gaborik makes his triumphant return to the Rangers following his shoulder injury and he gets to deal with a Sabres team that comes in after winning two in a row. Oh yeah, and Ryan Miller could be back in the lineup for the Sabres as well. All of a sudden it looks like a marquee match-up doesn’t it? Let’s hope the game can live up to the names.

Tampa Bay @ Washington

A Southeast Division battle kicks in with the Caps coming in on fire winners of five in a row. Tampa Bay comes into the game after getting off a three-game skid with a win over the slump-busting Maple Leafs. Did the Lightning get over what ails them? A red-hot Caps team should provide a good litmus test to see if that’s the case.

Philadelphia @ Carolina

If the Hurricanes are going to be seen as a playoff threat, a win over the Flyers might help convince some people. The Flyers are looking to bounce back after a loss to the Caps. They were winners of seven straight before that and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky deserves a lot of credit for that. The Hurricanes enter the game on a two-game win streak having beaten the Panthers and Oilers. Expect them to get a healthy test at the hands of the Flyers.

Minnesota @ Atlanta

Minnesota is looking to get their offense jump-started a little bit and a game with the Thrashers might just be the kind of help they’re looking for. The Thrashers have allowed the most goals in the league but if the Wild aren’t careful they could get lit up themselves with Atlanta being one of the better scoring teams in the league.

7:30 pm

Edmonton @ Detroit

Things are tough for the Oilers right now. If they hadn’t played the Blackhawks they’d be in the middle of a soul-crushing losing streak. They’ve lost nine of their last eleven games and their only two wins in there are against Chicago. With that reasoning in place, their prospects against the Red Wings don’t look good, especially with the Wings playing steady hockey of late. Detroit has won four of their last five games and it’s been Jimmy Howard they can thank for a lot of that holding opponents to six goals in those four wins.

Keep an eye on Edmonton rookie Taylor Hall in this one as he’ll be playing across the river from Windsor, Ontario where he played junior hockey. Playing in Detroit is about as much of a homecoming as he’ll get, at least until an eccentric Canadian billionaire tries to move a struggling team there.

Vancouver @ Ottawa

Vancouver’s east coast swing continues in Ottawa and they’ll be looking for a little bit more offense than they saw against Montreal the other night. As in any offense as they were shutout by the Habs. Playing a streaking Ottawa team may not be the solution they’re looking for though. The Sens are winners of four in a row and have gotten fantastic play in goal from Brian Elliott and he could get the nod again tonight. Special side highlight of the night? The Sedin twins facing off with Swedish favorite Daniel Alfredsson.

8:00 pm

Nashville @ St. Louis

So how do you come back after getting thrashed 8-1 by the Blue Jackets? For the Blues you get to shake it off right away the following night against fellow divisional foe Nashville. That might not be the best medicine as the Preds are notoriously difficult to deal with, but at least the Blues have home ice to support them. The Preds, meanwhile, will be looking to end a five game losing streak. Desperation meets reclamation. It’s got the makings of a good one in St. Louis.

10:30 pm

Dallas @ Los Angeles

The Kings are winners of four straight and are one of the league’s best teams. Meanwhile, the Stars sit just four points behind them in the standings and have been a surprise themselves so far this year. After a humbling 5-0 loss to Colorado the other night, the Stars will be looking to get back on the right track. Previous to that beat down they were on a three-game win streak. Dealing with the Kings, even with injuries to Willie Mitchell and Alexei Ponikarovsky, will make living difficult.

NY Islanders @ San Jose

Does the Isles streak end tonight? The Islanders have lost eight in a row, including two straight one-goal losses. They did just about everything but win (or score a goal) last night against Anaheim limiting the Ducks to 14 shots on goal but still managed to lose. Scoring has been their biggest issue and facing San Jose won’t help that much. The Sharks are fifth in the league in goals allowed but they’re struggling a bit themselves, losing three of their last four games. The Sharks aren’t scoring much of late either, but the Isles have been slump busters before. Unless the Isles start scoring, they don’t look to be much of a threat.

Report: Leafs in process of acquiring Brian Boyle

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 13:  Brian Boyle #11 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates a goal against Detroit Red Wings during a game at the Amalie Arena on October 13, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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The Toronto Maple Leafs are buyers.

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Leafs are in the process of acquiring forward Brian Boyle from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The deal hasn’t been finalized yet, so no word on a return for the Bolts.

Boyle, 32, is a pending unrestricted free agent. Given the Lightning are fairly well back of a playoff spot and have a number of young pending RFAs — including Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Jonathan Drouin — it makes sense for GM Steve Yzerman to trade Boyle now, a la Ben Bishop.

Boyle has 13 goals and nine assists in 54 games this season. He also has a ton of experience, having appeared in 100 postseason games for the Rangers and Lightning.

The Leafs are not assured of a playoff spot quite yet. Barely clinging to the second wild-card spot in the East, they kick off a three-game California trip tomorrow in San Jose.

Another Canadian team, the Edmonton Oilers, was also reportedly interested in Boyle.

Trade: Wild and Coyotes pull off another, as Pulkkinen heads to Arizona

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23:  Teemu Pulkkinen #17 of the Minnesota Wild skates against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on October 23, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders defeated the Wild 6-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Chuck Fletcher and John Chayka might want to consider a friends and family phone plan.

For the second time in as many days, the Minnesota and Arizona GMs have combined on a trade, as the Coyotes have acquired winger Teemu Pulkkinen from the Wild in exchange for future considerations.

Yesterday, in a much more significant deal, the Wild acquired forwards Ryan White and Martin Hanzal in exchange for a package of draft picks.

Pulkkinen, 25, has been a terrific scorer at the AHL level, but hasn’t seen that form carry over to the NHL. Detroit, the team that drafted him in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, waived him just prior to the start of this season. He was claimed by the Wild, but only appeared in nine games before getting waived again, and then spent most of the year in Iowa.

True to form, Pulkkinen played very well in the American League, and made this year’s All-Star team.

With the Coyotes, Pulkkinen will get another look at the NHL level, as he’ll join the team in Boston rather than report to their AHL affiliate in Tucson. Chayka has tried to find similar reclamation projects this year — Peter Holland, Alex Burmistrov — and the Coyotes could end up needing bodies should they continue to sell off veterans.

Radim Vrbata could be moved by Wednesday’s deadline, as could captain Shane Doan.

Shattenkirk has to look out for himself

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 23:  Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the St. Louis Blues skates against the San Jose Sharks in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 23, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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If the St. Louis Blues can’t turn Kevin Shattenkirk into something significant, don’t expect a warm reception whenever he returns to Scottrade Center as a member of a different team.

The 28-year-old defenseman is a pending unrestricted free agent who’s not expected to re-sign with the Blues. He may be traded prior to Wednesday’s deadline. If not, he’ll likely walk away for nothing this offseason.

Given the above, Shattenkirk understands why many Blues fans were upset that he nixed a trade with Tampa Bay by turning down the Bolts’ contract offer.

That being said, this is a big decision for the high-scoring d-man. He’s in line for a huge payday, and he wants to make the right call for the sake of his future.

“It’s not trying to hold things up or hold anything back from these guys,” Shattenirk told the Post-Dispatch, “but that’s where the tough part of this decision comes, doing what’s best for yourself and what could be your only chance with this opportunity in your entire career.”

The Blues, of course, lost two players to free agency this past summer when David Backes signed with Boston and Troy Brouwer with Calgary.

Earlier this month, after Ken Hitchcock was fired as head coach, GM Doug Armstrong said he felt the Blues had turned into a group of “independent contractors.”

“One of the things I’ve learned about being around St. Louis is the Cardinals,” Armstrong said. “They don’t have independent contractors. When they do, they get rid of them.”

It’s hard now not to see a relation between that comment and Shattenkirk’s situation, given the nixing of the trade with the Lightning apparently came a couple of weeks before Armstrong made the remark.

Trade coming? Devils healthy scratch Quincey

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 21:  Kyle Quincey #22 of the New Jersey Devils skates during an NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators at Prudential Center on February 21, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey. Senators won 2-1.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
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The writing’s on the wall for Kyle Quincey.

Quincey, the veteran defenseman on a one-year deal in New Jersey, will be a healthy scratch for tonight’s game against Montreal.

As is often the case for healthy scratches around the trade deadline, many are assuming this is a safety precaution and precursor to a move. You can count Quincey among those thinking it.

“It’s not done yet, that’s kind of where we’re at right now,” said Quincey, per NorthJersey.com. “Whatever happens, it’s out of my control. I’ve been through it. It’s another day.

“I’ve had a great year with these guys. It’s not over yet but, if it is, I’m very thankful for the opportunity with the boys here.”

Quincey, 31, carries a modest $1.25 million cap hit — that comes off the books this summer — and has been good value for the Devils this year. He’s scored four goals and 12 points through 53 contests, averaging 18:38 TOI per night, and is an ideal defensive depth addition for playoff-bound clubs.

What’s more, Quincey’s appeared in 54 career postseason contests.

Among the teams rumored to be looking at defensive help? Edmonton, and it’s worth noting that head coach Todd McLellan was an assistant in Detroit when Quincey broke in during the 2005-06 campaign, and the pair spent three seasons together.

What’s more, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has a history from his Boston days of adding depth d-men at the deadline — Andrej Meszaros in ’14, Wade Redden in ’13, Greg Zanon/Mike Mottau in ’12 and Tomas Kaberle in ’11 — and McLellan did say the club could use another body on the blueline.

Don’t forget Chiarelli has history with Devils GM Ray Shero, as the two pulled off the Taylor Hall-for-Adam Larsson trade last summer.