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Julien moves into No. 2 on Boston’s all-time wins list

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The Bruins’ 4-1 win over Florida on Thursday night did more than push them within a point of Montreal for top spot in the Eastern Conference.

The victory was No. 246 for Claude Julien behind the B’s bench, moving him past Hockey Hall of Famer Milt Schmidt for second on the franchise coaching wins list.

Not that leapfrogging coaching legends is anything new. Last season, Julien passed Gerry Cheevers (204 wins) and, earlier this season, moved passed Don Cherry (231 wins) for third spot on the list.

That said, the B’s coach acknowledged the honor associated with being in such company — though he wasn’t sure he truly belonged.

“I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for Milt, and even for Grapes,” he told CSNNE.com. “Those guys have done a lot for the game. It’s something that’s nice, to know that you’re with them in regard to the number of wins, but certainly not willing to say I’m in the same category as them yet.”

Julien still has a ways to go before hitting the franchise’s most distinguished mark: 361 wins, compiled by the legendary Art Ross over four terms as Bruins head coach.

That might seem like a tough total to reach, but Julien has a lot going for him.

As the fourth longest-tenured coach in the NHL, he’s a staple of the franchise and his list of accolades (2009 Jack Adams, 2011 Stanley Cup) has probably earned him a longer leash than others.

He also has the respect of his players, a big key to coaching survival.

“He’s the type of coach that’s always been fair during good days and bad days,” Bruins alternate captain Patrice Bergeron told CSNNE. “He’s always been fair and he always lets you know [where you stand].

“For a guy that had shorter stints in Montreal and New Jersey it shows what can happen when you have faith in him.”

Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, and Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.

From the NHL:

Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.

Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.

Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.

Related: Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse

Malkin to miss third straight game with lower-body injury

Evgeni Malkin
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Evgeni Malkin‘s “nagging” lower-body injury will keep him out at least one more game.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said this morning that the star center will sit out tonight at home against the Ducks. Malkin already missed two contests this weekend in Florida. His status is day-to-day.

The Penguins lost, 6-3, in Tampa on Friday, but rebounded Saturday with a 3-2 OT win over the Panthers.

Pittsburgh’s next game after tonight’s is Wednesday at home versus the Rangers.

McDonagh out with concussion after Saturday’s altercation with Simmonds

Ryan McDonagh
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The New York Rangers will be without Ryan McDonagh tonight at home to New Jersey, the club announcing this morning that the defenseman is out with a concussion.

McDonagh left Saturday’s game in Philadelphia following an altercation with the Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds that ended with McDonagh taking a punch to the face from Simmonds.

Simmonds received a match penalty and was thrown out of the game, but did not receive any supplemental discipline.

Given the standings, the Rangers can ill afford to lose McDonagh for long. They play in Pittsburgh Wednesday, followed by three home games against Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

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Lucic’s plan is to ‘remain a King’ for remainder of career

Milan Lucic, Alex Burrows, Dan Hamhuis
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Tuesday night, Milan Lucic will play his first game in Boston as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

It should be an emotional return for the big 27-year-old winger. In an interview with the L.A. Times, he recalled his time with his former club fondly, saying how great it was to be a “part of one of the best-ever eras to be a Bruin.”

A pending unrestricted free agent, Lucic also commented on his contract negotiations with the Kings.

“Nothing to get excited about,” he said. “There’s been two or three little talks here and there. My plan is to remain a King and hopefully finish off my career here. Like I said, I go day by day and you never know what tomorrow is going to bring.”

Lucic has 12 goals and 18 assists in 50 games this season. Though the Kings reportedly want to keep him, the question is whether they can find the cap space to make it happen.

Los Angeles already has Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik, Kyle Clifford, Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, and Jonathan Quick locked up long term. Plus, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson will require new deals after next season.

Related: Why Lucic is an interesting pending UFA