flyersandbruinsaroundtherink

Around the Rink – Saturday, December 11th

All but four of the NHL’s teams are playing tonight, so we’ll make these summaries short and sweet. As usual, the start times are based on Eastern Standard Time (ET).

7:00 pm

NY Rangers @ Columbus

Do the Blue Jackets really hold the advantage in this one? They’re only .500 at home (7-7-1) while the Rangers are outstanding on the road (11-4-0).

Colorado @ Washington

The Avalanche have had a tough time playing a handful of games against the Southeast Division, but the Capitals pose the biggest challenge yet. Washington should come into this one angry, as they’re on a four game losing streak.

Atlanta @ NY Islanders

I wouldn’t have been shocked if these two teams were in similar spots this season, yet the Thrashers have plenty to look forward in the near and long-term future while it seems like the Islanders just face a grim reality.

Pittsburgh @ Buffalo

The Penguins go for their 12th win a row, while the Sabres seek more humble goals of going above .500 at home and winning two consecutive games.

Detroit @ New Jersey

When schedule makers drew this one up, they probably expected this match to be a “possible Stanley Cup preview.” The Red Wings are holding up their end of the bargain, but the Devils are just downright dreadful.

Philadelphia @ Boston

It just shows how consistent and impressive the Flyers have been this season that they only trail the Penguins by one point in the Atlantic despite Pittsburgh’s 11-game winning streak. Meanwhile, the Bruins continue to attempt to creep up on the Habs in the Northeast.

Montreal @ Toronto

Both teams are coming off of humbling losses, as the Canadiens were defeated by the Red Wings last night while the Maple Leafs were frustrated by Sidney Crosby and the Penguins on Thursday.

8:00 pm

Florida @ Nashville

Could this be a somewhat emotional reunion for Tomas Vokoun and his former team in Nashville? Stay tuned for starting goalies later today to find out.

Dallas @ Phoenix

I wouldn’t be surprised if reigning save of the night winner Andrew Raycroft played in back-to-back games with this one against their Pacific Division rivals, the Phoenix Coyotes.

Carolina @ St. Louis

This is a great opportunity for the Blues to earn their third win in a row, as the Hurricanes are coming off a long, tough game against the Stars last night.

10:30 pm

Chicago @ San Jose

The Blackhawks and Sharks are starting to get things together, but it hasn’t always been pretty this season. If nothing else, they’re both entertaining though.

Minnesota @ Los Angeles

The Wild square off against a Kings team that is stout at home (11-2-0) in this one. Could Los Angeles add Marco Sturm to the mix next week?

Tampa Bay @ Vancouver

The Lightning are starting to face a bit of a swoon while the Canucks’ lead in the Northwest is growing a bit more comfortable. It’s a rare opportunity for Vancouver fans to get a glimpse of scoring stud Steven Stamkos.

Canucks will be without Rodin ‘until his knee strength and function return’

SASKATOON, SK - JANUARY 3:  Anton Rodin #18 of Team Sweden skates with the puck while being defended by David Warsofsky #5 of Team USA during the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship Tournament Semifinal game on January 3, 2010 at the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.  Team USA defeated Team Sweden 5-2.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
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The last time Anton Rodin got into the Vancouver Canucks’ lineup, he sat on the bench the entire game.

Today, the Canucks announced that the 26-year-old winger has re-aggravated the same knee injury he suffered a year ago while playing in Sweden, and now he needs to rest.

“Our Canucks medical team and Anton have determined it is in his best interest to undergo a period of rest, followed by rehab, until his knee strength and function return,” said GM Jim Benning in a release. “Anton will undergo an MRI and orthopedic consult this week.”

In the same release, Benning confirmed that Rodin fell on his knee Jan. 6 against the Flames at Rogers Arena. It was the very next night in Calgary that he didn’t play a single shift, as the Canucks only had five healthy defensemen and were forced to dress 13 forwards.

“Rodin wasn’t 100 percent and once it gets past 10 minutes, it’s hard to get him in and once you do, it’s not fair to play him,” explained head coach Willie Desjardins, per The Province.

It’s a disappointing turn of events for Rodin, who waited a long time to make his NHL debut. He’s only been able to skate in three games for the Canucks, and his ice time was limited in all three.

Rodin started the season on injured reserve after re-aggravating his knee in the preseason.

Related: Anton Rodin is looking to make the leap

Banged-up Pens lose another — Cullen out 3-4 weeks with foot injury

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 30:  Matt Cullen #7 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the San Jose Sharks in Game One of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center on May 30, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Having already lost Kris Letang to a knee injury and Brian Dumoulin to a broken jaw, the Pens received more tough news in the health department on Tuesday — in the form of veteran forward Matt Cullen.

Cullen was hurt after taking a shot to the foot in last night’s wild 8-7 win over Washington and will miss the next 3-4 weeks, Pens head coach Mike Sullivan announced.

Cullen, 40, is one of the NHL’s oldest skaters but has been remarkably durable since joining Pittsburgh. In fact, he hasn’t missed a single game — he played in all 82 last season, then all 24 en route to the Stanley Cup, and is one of just seven Penguins to appear in all 43 games this year.

The cagey vet has been steady in terms of production as well. He has eight goals and 17 points thus far, which had him on pace to match last year’s impressive effort (16 goals, 32 points).

It’s a tough break for the Pens, but there is a silver lining. Shortly after announcing Cullen’s injury, Sullivan said Dumoulin would travel for an upcoming road swing through Montreal and Carolina.

 

Jamie Benn admits the stick-snapping rampages have to stop

Fans celebrate along with Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (14) after a score by Benn in the first period of Game 3 of a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series game, Monday, April 21, 2014, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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Expect a more composed Jamie Benn when the Dallas Stars take on the Rangers tonight in New York.

At the very least, don’t expect another stick-breaking rampage like we saw yesterday in Buffalo.

“I have to do a better job with body language and my play on the ice,” Benn said, per the Dallas Morning News.

He also said of his recent play, “I wish I could say how I really feel, but it’s probably not good for TV.”

The Stars’ captain is understandably frustrated. His team is four points back of a wild-card spot, and his production, with 10 goals in 41 games, is down significantly compared to last season when he finished with 40 goals in 82 games and his team won the Central Division.

Tonight, it doesn’t get any easier. The Stars will take on a Rangers team that will have Mika Zibenajad in their lineup for the first time since Nov. 20. Meanwhile, the rest of the Blueshirts have had two days to recuperate after their 5-4 loss in Montreal on Saturday.

It’s estimated the Stars will need to go around 21-11-5 in their remaining 37 games to make the playoffs. So regardless of their frustrations, they’d best get on a roll soon. A better performance from their captain would be a good start.

Preds claim AHL All-Star Hunt off waivers from Blues

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 09:  Brad Hunt #77 of the St. Louis Blues skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 9, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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With P.K. Subban, Roman Josi and Petter Granberg all out with their respective injuries, the Nashville Predators are a little thin on the blueline.

So on Tuesday, they set about adding some depth.

Brad Hunt, the 28-year-old offensive defenseman, has been claimed off waivers from St. Louis, per TSN. Hunt has spent most of this year with the Blues’ AHL affiliate in Chicago but, in limited time with the big club, has shown pretty well.

The Bemidji State product has five points in nine games for the Blues, while averaging 13:36 TOI per night. He was widely praised for his passing ability, and how quickly he helped the Blues transition from defense to offense.

“[Hunt] just moves the puck,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcok said earlier this year, per the Post-Dispatch. “He gets himself out of trouble, he gets the team out of trouble. He’s a smart player.”

That offensive output is what Hunt’s known for — a consistently productive AHLer, Hunt recently made his fourth career All-Star Game on the strength of 29 points in 23 games for the Wolves.