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Slumping Devils shake things up, healthy scratch Parenteau and Bennett

Earlier this week we discussed the New Jersey Devils, who — after getting off to a 9-3-3 start — have gone 3-7-3 in their last 13 games, culminating with Sunday’s 5-0 blowout loss to the Rangers.

Now they’re shaking things up.

P.A. Parenteau and Beau Bennett, two of the club’s regulars at forward, will be healthy scratched for tonight’s game against St. Louis, per NJ.com.

The most noteworthy of the two is Parenteau, who was claimed off waivers from the Islanders just prior to the season. The veteran has been a good offensive contributor, with 11 points, and is tied for fourth on the team in goals, with six.

Parenteau has been in the lineup for all 28 games this year, averaging a healthy 15:34 TOI per. But he’s also minus-11, and his defensive play has come into question by head coach John Hynes:

As for Bennett, he’s played 24 of 28 games this year, missing a bit of time with a leg laceration. The 24-year-old has seven points and averages just under 14 minutes a night so he, too, played a fairly prominent role up front.

Hynes has taken issue with New Jersey’s physicality recently — specifically, the club’s lack of it.

“For us, there’s got to be more heaviness,” he said earlier this week. “There’s a physicality that’s missing at times. We feel, as of late, we’ve been an easy team to play against.”

In related news, the Devils are giving Luke Gazdic his regular season and team debut tonight. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound tough guy has spent the majority of this year in AHL Albany, after spending last season in the Edmonton organization.

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.