Linden meets with Neely to talk about…stuff

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From Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province:

Trevor Linden met with Boston Bruins president Cam Neely on Thursday which means, naturally, he sought permission to talk to Bruins assistant general manager Jim Benning about the vacant GM’s job in Vancouver.

But he didn’t. Or maybe he did but he didn’t make the request through official diplomatic channels. It’s hard to know.

As you might have guessed by reading that excerpt, the Canucks’ new president of hockey of operations didn’t share many specifics from his trip to Boston. In meeting with Neely, it’s possible Linden was mostly curious to learn how the Bruins run their operation, one former player in charge of a team he used to star for to another.

As guarded as Linden was in his comments, he did seem to suggest that the hiring of Benning, or any other candidate currently with another organization (like, say, Ron Hextall in Philadelphia), wouldn’t necessarily have to wait until that particular organization was no longer participating in the playoffs.

“The one thing I’ll say is I spoke to several GMs and I haven’t got any push back on timing, whether they’re playing or not,” he said.

Time is a concern for Linden, who still has to decide on the future of head coach John Tortorella. Unless, of course, Linden chooses to leave the coaching decision to the new GM, in which case Tortorella may have to twist in the wind a bit longer.

“I know from the outside people are wondering what’s going on,” said Linden. “But this isn’t a two-week project. The ripple effect of each decision is significant. I have to understand things in the full situation. not just a sliver here or a sliver there.”

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.