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Around the Rink – Tuesday February 22nd

There are 10 games today, so let’s take a look at them. As always, start times are all according to Eastern Standard Time (ET).

7:00 pm

NY Rangers @ Carolina

This is a big one for both teams, as the Rangers are in seventh place while the Hurricanes are right behind them in eighth. New York awaits word as Marian Gaborik visits a specialist regarding his concussion issues this evening, but they won’t play this contest against their star winger.

Nashville @ Columbus

The Predators are in fifth place (70 points) and the Blue Jackets are in 12th place (64), yet they’re only separated by six points. The two teams play twice this week, so Columbus could make up some serious ground.

NY Islanders @ Toronto

This a match between two teams doing better than they might initially seem, as the Isles are only a point behind the much-ballyhooed Devils while the Maple Leafs are only seven points behind the Hurricanes for the eighth playoff spot.

Phoenix @ Philadelphia

The Coyotes are on a seven-game winning streak but still need this game far more than the Flyers do, as their lead in the Pacific Division is paper thin.

7:30 pm

San Jose @ Detroit

The Sharks and Red Wings are both playing some of their best hockey of the season, so this rematch of last year’s second round series should be fun to watch.

8:00 pm

Colorado @ St. Louis

This is hockey’s equivalent of school kids making up a snow day, as this game was postponed because of bad weather. The game has the added intrigue of the players in the Erik Johnson-Chris Stewart trade facing their old teams less than a week after that swap.

Edmonton @ Minnesota

If the Wild want to make a legitimate playoff run – with or without injured center Mikko Koivu – they need to win games like these.

8:30 pm

New Jersey @ Dallas

Jamie Langenbrunner was the Devils’ captain early this season, now he gets to face his old team in a contest that will be important for both sides. The sliding Stars need to get their act together while New Jersey hopes to keep their crazy playoff dreams alive.

9:00 pm

Boston @ Calgary

The Bruins can thank the Flames for beating up on their Northeast Division rivals from Montreal, but they need to take care of business against red-hot Calgary after doing so. Boston still needs to integrate new players into their system, so this game will be a test for that process.

10:00 pm

Montreal @ Vancouver

If any two teams can share sob stories about injured defensemen, it’s these two teams. The Habs certainly need this game more than the Canucks, but that won’t make it much easier to nab a win in Vancouver.

Video: Henrik Sedin records 1,000th career point

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Henrik Sedin has become the 85th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 career points.

Sedin, the Canucks captain, hit the milestone Friday against the Florida Panthers and his former teammate Roberto Luongo. As you might imagine, twin brother Daniel Sedin also factored into the goal.

Daniel fed Henrik with a perfect pass off the rush, and Henrik finished the play off, sliding the puck through the legs of Luongo to tie the game 1-1 in the second period. It was another beauty, another example of what has made those two players so special for many years in Vancouver.

Henrik Sedin is the first player in Canucks history to reach 1,000 points. Daniel should also reach that number, although he may have to wait until next season. He entered Friday’s game with 967 career points.

Great touch of class, too, from Luongo, who quickly embraced his former teammate as Sedin skated back to the bench following the on-ice celebration.

Video: Tempers flare between Oilers and Predators, as Lucic and McLeod drop the gloves

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Things got feisty between the Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators on Friday.

It started in the second period after P.K. Subban took an elbow from Matt Hendricks along the end boards. Hendricks was immediately grabbed by Anthony Bitetto. Nothing really materialized from that, however the main event broke out between Milan Lucic and Nashville newcomer Cody McLeod.

Lucic landed some pretty heavy punches before the two players fell to the ice.

Video: Cam Ward loses it on Hornqvist, Hurricanes suffer ’embarrassing’ loss to Penguins

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Cam Ward had enough.

The Carolina Hurricanes goalie seemed particularly ticked off with Patric Hornqvist on Friday, twice taking out his frustrations in front of the net on the Pittsburgh Penguins forward.

Earlier in the game, Ward delivered a slash to the back of Hornqvist’s leg. In the third period, with the Hurricanes down five goals — that should give you an indication of what kind of night this was for Carolina — Ward snapped, delivering a punch with the blocker to Hornqvist after he slid into the Hurricanes puck stopper a split second after Evgeni Malkin jammed the puck in for a goal.

The final score? A 7-1 disaster of a loss to the Penguins, highlighted by Pittsburgh’s second-period offensive outburst. Ward played the entire game, allowing seven goals on 41 shots.

Carolina’s night also included star forward Jeff Skinner getting benched for the third period, after he took a pair of minor penalties — embellishment and unsportsmanlike conduct — in the second period.

“That’s pretty embarrassing. You don’t want to suffer a loss like that, especially in your home building,” Skinner told reporters.

The Hurricanes entered this game with a chance to jump into a wild card spot in the East.

Last week, the Hurricanes won four in a row, including a victory over Columbus, and continued their steady rise into the playoff hunt in the East. This week? It’s included losses to the Blue Jackets and Penguins.

The Hurricanes won’t have much time to think about this one. They travel to Columbus for a game Saturday evening.

With Claude Julien on the hot seat, Bruins lose late heartbreaker to Blackhawks

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The Boston Bruins have now lost three in a row, a losing streak that coincides with reports circulating that head coach Claude Julien’s job security is in jeopardy.

The bad news just keeps piling up for the Bruins: They’ve been shut out twice this week, as scoring continues to be an issue in Boston. They’re 22nd in the league in that category.

On Friday, the Bruins had their chances and once again held the edge in puck possession against the Chicago Blackhawks, finishing the game with 19 more shot attempts then the visitors, per hockeystats.ca.

But they couldn’t beat Scott Darling, who made 30 saves, and the real dagger came late in the third period when Marian Hossa scored off the rush with just over one minute remaining in regulation. Boston couldn’t even salvage a point out of this contest, losing 1-0.

The Bruins were all over the Blackhawks in the first period. They held a wide edge in shots on goal, but the Blackhawks were able to escape on the strength of some solid goaltending. They just hung around, and were able to break through in the third period.

The Bruins are still in a playoff position in the Atlantic Division. They are the top puck possession team in the league (although they have the second lowest shooting percentage at five-on-five) and Julien has had plenty of success behind that bench, helping guide the organization to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011 and a run to the Final in the lockout shortened campaign.

It would seem unfair to pin this roster’s shortcomings on the coach, especially given the offseason plans initially set out by Bruins management.

Though this loss likely puts Claude Julien Watch on high alert.