Rangers’ Richards, Gaborik, Eminger help clean up Sandy-devastated Queens’ community

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Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, and Steve Eminger already participated charity event to help those impacted by Hurricane Sandy and raised $10,000 in the process.

That alone was a great service to the community, but when former New York firefighter Matt Long asked Richards if he’d help clean up Breezy Point community, Richards agreed and brought Gaborik and Eminger along with him, according to an ESPN report.

Richards had previously met Long at a Rangers’ team event and at the time had offered his services to Long if he wanted to partner up.

“There were no cameras, no one was watching. It was just Brad Richards, down there getting dirty, ankle-deep in water, pouring garbage out of 100-year-old houses,” Long said.

Long’s brother, Chris, was among those who needed his house gutted and torn down. Chris is also a big Rangers fan and cheered up when Richards came to help him out.

“It was the first time he smiled since it happened,” Long said of his brother.

Richards is known for his community work and with the lockout dragging on, he’s spent some of that extra free time helping others.

“We’re doing it because we can. We’re in a position to do it and it’s fun for us,” Richards said. “A lot of us don’t like talking about it. We want awareness for it because we want to get the numbers up, [but] guys do a lot of this stuff and it goes unnoticed.

“We just want to be part of the community. It’s a tough time for these guys.”

Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)

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This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)

On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.

William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.

Hnnngmgghh indeed.

That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.

Video: Leafs’ Carrick delivers thunderous hit on Blue Jackets’ Anderson

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Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.

So far, it shows, too.

The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.

There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:

Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week

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The St. Louis Blues announced that Paul Stastny is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Stastny was limited to less than four minutes of ice time during last night’s 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Initially, head coach Mike Yeo indicated that the issue wasn’t serious.

There are only about three weeks left in the regular season, so it’s tough to tell if “week-to-week” would mean that the Blues will be without Stastny for any playoff time.

With Stastny out for an expended period of time and other injuries affecting Blues forwards, it sounds like Nail Yakupov gets another chance to prove himself:

Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.

WATCH LIVE: Islanders at Rangers – Wednesday Night Rivalry

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A night after a feisty matcuhup with the Devils, the Rangers host an even bigger rival in the Islanders at Madison Square Garden for Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBCSN.

As nasty as Tuesday’s contest got at times, this one means more.

While the Rangers seem pretty safely seated as the East’s first wild card, the Islanders stand three points behind the Maple Leafs for the final spot in the conference. They’ve seen other bubble teams stumble, so this is their chance to close in on Toronto in what might be a shrinking field of contenders.

Spiting the Islanders might just give the Rangers a little extra life on back-to-back nights … especially since their fans would probably let them have it if they sleepwalk through this one.

It should be a fun, physical and dramatic one on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.