Kings ‘plug away’ on Rob Scuderi deal

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Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi has generated a reputation for pulling off shrewd deals – Jonathan Quick’s salary was $1.7 million last season, for example – but retaining underrated defenseman Rob Scuderi represents a significant challenge this summer.

Scuderi’s agent Steve Bartlett told ESPN on Wednesday that the Kings have “shown [a] strong interest in having him return,” something Lombardi made no qualms about to Frozen Royalty.

“We’re going to continue to plug away on [trying to sign Scuderi],” Lombardi said.

Securing the 34-year-old at the right price is the stumbling point.

“I think we all would love to have [Scuderi] back, but as we say, with the cap coming down, it’s all about making things fit,” Lombardi said. “It’s not about our desire to have the player. At least now, with [the Bernier trade] off our plate, and we know we’ve got a pretty good handle on our [salary cap] space—the other thing too, don’t forget, at least getting Frattin and Scrivens up, now we know the price. It also gives us a little more certainty on how aggressive we can be.”

“We know where we stand as far as other [roster] holes, which clearly define, in most cases, what we’re going to have left to get under the cap. So it’s probably fair to say that our first call will be back to Rob here this week.”

It’s tougher to put a price on a stay-at-home defenseman – especially a distinguished one such as Scuderi – but the Kings hope to find that sweet spot.

Judging by Dustin Brown still registering a mere $3.175 million salary cap in 2013-14, the Kings are generally pretty good at this sort of thing.

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.