Try the popcorn: Penner a healthy scratch in LA, Corvo in Carolina (Update: Kreider in New York)

Two veteran NHLers will be yanked from their respective lineups on Thursday night.

In Los Angeles, Dustin Penner has been made a healthy scratch by head coach Daryl Sutter for a road date in Edmonton.

The 30-year-old winger has struggled to start the season — minus-2, four PIM, zero shots on goal last game vs. Colorado — and owned up to playing poorly.

“I wish I could say that I played better, but I haven’t,” he said prior to tonight’s contest. “It’s all on me.”

Penner took no issue with Sutter for dropping him just two games into a shortened season — one that was preceded by a brief training camp.

“[Sutter] has the best intentions for me,” he explained. “I’ve had a lot of tough love. And this is different and similar in a lot of aspects.”

Simon Gagne will draw back in for the Kings, while Kyle Clifford will move up and fill Penner’s spot on the Mike Richards-Jeff Carter line.

Elsewhere, ‘Canes blueliner Joe Corvo will be parked tonight when his club takes on the Sabres in Carolina.

The 35-year-old’s had a rough start to the year. He’s minus-2, and saw his ice time drop from 20:12 in the season opening loss to Florida to 15:23 in Tuesday’s defeat to Tampa Bay.

Jamie McBain will replace Corvo in the lineup, making his season debut. Carolina coach Kirk Muller hopes McBain will help keep the ‘Canes from falling behind early.

(They trailed Florida 4-0 after the first and Tampa Bay 2-0 after one.)

“When you trail in six periods it’s a different game,” Muller told the Raleigh News and Observer. “How you use your bench, which guys you use. But we need better first periods. We come out tentative for some reason.

“We have to come out hard tonight and just play simple and have a good first period.”

Update

ESPN New York’s Katie Strang says Kreider is a healthy scratch tonight for the Rangers.

Not a huge surprise, given Kreider was called out by head coach John Tortorella recently and is potentially facing demotion to AHL Connecticut.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.

Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus

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It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.

Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:

Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games

This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.

The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too.¬†They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.

This game was all about William Nylander‘s brilliant start:

And also Toronto surviving a long penalty kill after that Polak hit:

Nazem Kadri‘s 30th goal really put the game out of reach, helping Toronto nab a significant victory.

The Blue Jackets can wallow in this defeat and Oliver Bjorkstrand‘s injury, either, as they turn around to face the Washington Capitals in a big one tomorrow.