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Around the Rink – Monday, December 13th

Here are previews for tonight’s six games. As always, these start times are Eastern Standard Time (ET).

7:30 pm

Atlanta @ Ottawa

With the Washington Capitals on a six-game slump, there’s the sense that both the Thrashers and Lightning could have at least a slight chance to win the Southeast. To do that, the Thrashers will need to beat teams like the Senators. Atlanta is 8-2-0 in their last 10 while Ottawa is 3-6-1 during their last 10.

Los Angeles @ Detroit

At home, the Kings and Red Wings are virtually the same team (11 wins, few losses). The difference between the two squads is that Los Angeles struggles when they’re away from sunny California, as they’re a pitiful 5-8-0 on the road.

So on paper, this could be a severe beating via Detroit. Then again, this is a chance for the Kings to turn things around against one of the league’s best, so we’ll just see.

8:00 pm

NY Islanders @ Nashville

To many, this game registers a 9.3 on the yawn-o-meter. Yet to me, it’s all about two teams in tough spots and how one perseveres (the Predators) while the other almost seems to roll over and quit (the Islanders).

9:00 pm

Chicago @ Colorado

The Avalanche are quietly the highest scoring team in the Western Conference, with 101 goals scored in only 29 games played. In fact, Colorado scored five more goals in two less games played than the much-hyped offensive force from Chicago. With two talented, young (and slightly banged up) rosters, this should be a fun one to watch.

Columbus @ Calgary

There’s a simple way for the Flames to stop the calls for Brent Sutter’s head: win. They haven’t done that very often, though, as Calgary is the worst team in the Western Conference right now. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets are an up-and-down squad that sports the third star of last week, Rick Nash.

10:30 pm

Dallas @ San Jose

A regulation win for the Sharks wouldn’t technically give San Jose the lead in the Pacific Division over the Stars, but it would make it awfully close. Then again, the Pacific lead is like a championship belt in professional wrestling; it seems to change every other week or so. Either way, this should be an intriguing fight between the two teams that have won the Pacific for ages.

Goalie nods: Coyotes turn back to Domingue for key game against Vancouver

Arizona Coyotes' Louis Domingue waves to the crowd after the Coyotes' NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. Domingue earned his first NHL shutout as the Coyotes won 1-0. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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Tonight is a big game for the Arizona Coyotes, as they host Vancouver, one of the teams they’re jockeying with for the final wild-card spot in the West.

If the Coyotes can beat the Canucks in regulation, they’ll move to within two points of Colorado for that final wild-card spot, with three games in hand on the Avs. Not only that, Vancouver’s playoff hopes would be dealt a significant blow.

Of course, that’s a pretty sizable “if” the way the Coyotes have been playing. The Desert Dogs are winless in their last four, with 21 total goals surrendered.

“We have to shore up some things and our goaltending has to be better,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett told reporters, while confirming that Louis Domingue would get the start versus the Canucks.

Domingue, the NHL’s rookie of the month in January, has struggled of late, allowing five goals in each of his last three starts. In the Coyotes’ last game, they turned to Anders Lindback, only for Lindback to surrender five goals himself in a 5-2 loss to Anaheim.

For the Canucks, Ryan Miller is expected to start, after Jacob Markstrom got the win last night in Denver.

Elsewhere…

Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers in Pittsburgh, where Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start for the Penguins.

Craig Anderson for the Senators in Detroit, where Petr Mrazek will make his third straight start for the Red Wings.

Sabres recall Justin Bailey, son of former Bills linebacker

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 30:  Justin Bailey, drafted #52 overall by the Buffalo Sabres, looks on after he was drafted in the second round during the 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center on June 30, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The Buffalo Sabres have recalled forward Justin Bailey from AHL Rochester.

It’s the first time Bailey, a second-round pick in 2013, has ever been called up to the NHL. The 20-year-old joins the big club after piling up 11 points (5G, 6A) in his last eight games for the Americans.

Most Sabres fans will know that Bailey is from Buffalo (technically, Williamsville), the son of former Bills linebacker Carlton Bailey. (To learn more, click on this Buffalo News story from July.)

The Sabres play Thursday in Philadelphia, where Bailey will reportedly make his NHL debut.

To make room for Bailey on Buffalo’s roster, Zemgus Girgensons (lower body) was placed on injured reserve.

Yeo was ‘disappointed’ to see Hoppy the rabbit holding a ‘YEO MUST GO’ sign

Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo argues a call in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Thing have gone from bad to weird in Minnesota, where embattled Wild coach Mike Yeo was “disappointed” to see Zenon Konopka’s rabbit holding a sign that read, “YEO MUST GO.”

Hey, we told you things had gotten weird.

Konopka, a former Wild player, took to Twitter last night after Minnesota’s latest loss.

Here’s what Konopka tweeted:

And what did Yeo think about that?

“I really don’t care what he says,” he told the Star Tribune, apparently adding with a laugh, “I will say I was very disappointed to see Hoppy holding that sign.”

Now, according to the newspaper’s Michael Russo, “Konopka and Yeo had a lot of issues behind the scenes and that’s why [Konopka] ended up on waivers two Januarys ago.”

Still, that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of Wild fans agree with Hoppy, er, Konopka, and it doesn’t change the fact that the Wild could really, really use a win tomorrow at home to Washington.

Video: Anisimov, Niskanen, McDavid star in Goals of the Week

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Nice work from Artem Anisimov and Matt Niskanen this week, but Connor McDavid‘s tally is on a different level.

You can pretty much bank on McDavid being in Goals of the Year, too. Just saying.