Rangers keep pace with Islanders after slipping by Leafs


Phil Kessel had his second straight two-goal game against the New York Rangers, but this time, his Toronto Maple Leafs fell short of the win.

The Rangers kept pace with the New York Islanders by notching their 44th point of the season with Wednesday’s 3-2 (SO) victory, but remain in eighth place because of the regulation/overtime win tiebreaker:

7. Islanders: 20-16-4 for 44 points, 17 ROW
8. Rangers: 20-16-4 for 44 points, 16 ROW

Ryan McDonagh and Carl Hagelin powered the win by producing one-goal, one-assist nights each, with Hagelin breaking a 10-game goal drought in the process.

The Rangers, Islanders and perhaps even the Winnipeg Jets might also be interested to chart the decline of the sixth place Ottawa Senators. While the resilient Sens currently hold that spot with 44 points because they have a game in hand, they’ve also lost five games in a row.

The Buds fell short of a victory, but with 49 standings points, they seem firmly in fifth place. Depending on how the Northeast Division race shakes out, that could mean their first playoff series in ages could come against either the Boston Bruins or (gulp) the Montreal Canadiens.

Flames release Ryan Wilson from PTO

Ryan Wilson, Sidney Crosby
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The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.

The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.

Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.

The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.

He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.

The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.

The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.

The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.

‘Yotes return Dylan Strome to OHL

Dylan Strome, Nikita Nikitin

The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.

Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.

Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.

Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.

The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.

Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.