Sabres prez: Regier will be back as GM

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Darcy’s back.

That was the story out of Buffalo on Monday as GM Darcy Regier and president Ted Black addressed the media, with Black confirming Regier would be back for his 17th year on the job.

Regier, the Sabres GM since Jun. 1997, was thought to be on thin ice after disastrous back-to-back campaigns.

The Sabres haven’t been to the playoffs since 2010 and a number of Regier’s high-profile acquisitions have failed to pan out.

In fact, it could be said things have gotten progressively worse as Regier’s tenure has gone on.

This season marked a series of lows for the Buffalo organization:

— Longtime head coach Lindy Ruff was fired

Steve Ott ripped the fans

— Captain Jason Pominville was traded

— Former Vezina-winning goalie Ryan Miller was visibly frustrated throughout the year

But, for lack of a betterm term, Regier now has a chance to clean up his own mess.

He’ll head into the 2013 NHL Entry Draft armed with two first- and second-round picks, and also has the opportunity to either extend the contract of interim head coach Ron Rolston — or go in another direction.

On Monday, Regier said he will meet with Rolston soon to evaluate the season and decide what direction the Sabres want to take behind the bench.

Rolston finished the year with a pretty decent record (15-11-5) and said he’d like the opportunity to come back and build on what he started.

“I think we’ve made progress,” Rolston told the Buffalo News. “I’m not happy that we’re not in the playoffs. We needed to do a better job there, but we made some progress I think as a team. We played better down the stretch in terms of the success that we’ve had.”

Bolts close gap on struggling Bruins in playoff race

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Well, that was quite a third period.

For the Boston Bruins, it was disastrous. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it propelled them to a critical victory in the playoff race.

Nikita Kucherov completed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final period and Jonathan Drouin scored what would eventually be the winner, as Tampa Bay snapped its own three-game losing streak in a 6-3 victory, putting the Bolts within three points of the final wild card spot — held by the Bruins — in the Eastern Conference.

The Drouin goal — his 18th of the season but first since Feb. 19, a span of 13 games — is probably one Tuukka Rask would like back.

Drouin teed up the slap shot from the faceoff circle, beating Rask under the left arm.

And just like that, the Bruins have lost four consecutive games. On Saturday, they face the New York Islanders, another team looking to catch Boston in the wild card race.

Read more: Remember this stretch if Bruins settle for a wild card spot (or worse?)

The Islanders are only two points back of Boston.

Despite the win, there was bad news for the Lightning during this game, as defenseman Jason Garrison left with an injury.

From NHL.com:

The play occurred behind the Lightning goal, Garrison appearing to get his left leg rolled up from behind by a Bruin. Garrison had to be helped off the ice by Anton Stralman and Brayden Point and headed back to the Bolts’ locker room.

The team announced during the second intermission that Garrison sustained a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.

Video: Ovechkin rocks custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.

On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.

From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

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Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

There was no call on the play.

Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

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Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

Not bad.