Adam Larsson

Will prized Devils rookie Larsson participate in the playoffs?

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The lead graph from Rich Chere’s piece in the New Jersey Star-Ledger says it all.

If the Devils opened the Stanley Cup playoffs tomorrow, Peter Harrold would be in the lineup and rookie Adam Larsson would be watching.

On the surface, this seems like a strange decision. Larsson — 6-foot-3, 220-pounds — played 64 games this season (2G-16A-18PTS) and was selected to represent the Devils at the 2012 NHL All-Star Rookie SuperSkills Competition.

Harrold — 5-foot-11, 195-pounds — has played eight after a late-season recall from AHL Albany.

While this decision might seem “unusual” (Chere’s word, not ours) Devils head coach Peter DeBoer thinks it’s a perfectly normal choice to make. Larsson has struggled returning from injury and Harrold has been part of a lineup that’s won three straight.

“It’s the NHL and we’re here to win games,” DeBoer said. “We’re going to put the best possible lineup on the ice to win games. Sentimental feelings don’t go into it a lot. I understand it’s a tough spot for [Larsson], but you’re in the best league in the world and that comes with the job.”

Larsson has been a healthy scratch for the last three games, and it appears No. 4 will happen tonight against the Islanders. If it does, that leaves DeBoer and the Devils just two more regular season games — Thursday against Detroit, Saturday against Ottawa — to figure out if the fourth overall choice at the 2011 draft will play in the 2012 postseason.

For what it’s worth, DeBoer says he hasn’t ruled out playing Larsson in the playoffs.

“I’m very confident we’re going to get back a motivated young man and I think a guy who is going to be a valuable part for us,” he told the Star-Ledger. “It’s just a matter of when.”

It should be noted that, prior to getting parked, Larsson was third among all Devils defensemen in average ice time (20:44 per game), second only to Henrik Tallinder and the recently-acquired Marek Zidlicky.

Video: Things get heated before Lightning – Islanders Game 3

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You know a playoff series is starting to rev up when teams can’t even peacefully share an ice surface during warm-ups.

The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to draw a red line in the sand between each other before Game 3, with the two sides exchanging a couple bumps and mean looks.

It’s … honestly a pretty amusing spectacle.

You can watch it all in the video above. Perhaps this GIF will fuel a meme or two:

Brian Boyle downplayed the exchange(s):

Penguins bring up Sestito and Oleksy

New Jersey Devils right wing Jordin Tootoo (22) fights with Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Tom Sestito (47) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, March 6, 2016, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled tough guys Tom Sestito and Steve Oleksy from the AHL on Tuesday.

This move makes a sense for a couple of reasons.

Most clearly, things are getting nasty between the Penguins and Washington Capitals, so Pittsburgh is bringing in a couple of brutes. Each player isn’t shy about piling up penalty minutes, whether that be in the NHL or AHL.

The other reason: with injuries and Kris Letang‘s suspension, Oleksy could provide some depth. Justin Schultz is motivated to prove himself, yet Oleksy provides a little insurance.

Is it the ideal scenario in a big playoff game? Nope, but if brute force ends up being a factor, the Penguins added some muscle.

WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Islanders – Game 3

New York Islanders left wing Matt Martin (17) flights near the net with Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan (24),center,  and defenseman Victor Hedman (77), of Sweden, during the first period of Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday, April 30, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) falls on the ice. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to take the series lead for the first time against the New York Islanders, who are trying to regain the advantage on home ice at the Barclays Center after a split in Tampa Bay. You can catch Game 3 between these teams on NBCSN (7 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

Strome saga continues, will be a healthy scratch for Game 3

Halak practices fully, hoping to be back soon

 

Anisimov out six to eight weeks after undergoing ‘successful’ wrist surgery

Chicago Blackhawks' Artem Anisimov tries to handle a rebound from Montreal Canadiens goalie Mike Condon during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Artem Anisimov on Tuesday underwent successful surgery on his injured right wrist, the Chicago Blackhawks announced.

“We anticipate his return to full hockey activities in approximately six to eight weeks,” said team physician Dr. Michael Terry in a statement.

The news comes eight days after the Blackhawks were ousted in the first round, eliminated in seven games by the St. Louis Blues.

Acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in last summer’s blockbuster deal for Brandon Saad, the 27-year-old Anisimov enjoyed the second 20-goal season of his career and fell just two points shy of his previous career best of 44 when he was with the New York Rangers.

He played the bulk of this season on a line with two highly skilled players in Patrick Kane, the league-leader in points with 106, and Artemi Panarin, named as a Calder Trophy finalist on Monday.

In March, Anisimov was named to Russia’s preliminary roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, although the recovery schedule outlined above should allow plenty of time for Anisimov to be physically ready for the tournament when it begins in September.

Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks, who won’t be champs in 2016