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Dubinsky, Blue Jackets get last laugh vs. Crosby and Penguins

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During the first shift of Friday’s Penguins – Blue Jackets game, Sidney Crosby and Brandon Dubinsky battled it out. Dubinsky ended up getting the last laugh with a brilliant overtime game-winner in a thrilling 2-1 overtime win for Columbus.

If you love to dismiss scoring worries by saying that a 2-1 game can be exciting, you might want to bookmark this one.

For one thing, there was that physicality that makes this rivalry something that can build into the disdain between Ohio and Pennsylvania sports teams. There was also some drama, including at least one goal that maybe shouldn’t have been whistled off. Evgeni Malkin also collected his 500th assist while Matt Murray made a brilliant late third period save on Brandon Saad to at least salvage a point for the Penguins.

The two teams combined for almost 80 shots on goal, with a ton of chances coming in regulation. Here’s a pretty, video-game-like way of depicting the action:

Dubinsky’s overtime game-winner ended up being the decisive blow in a game that very well might serve as an enticing appetizer for a first-round series of conference finals quality.

Tremendous stuff. For fans of the Penguins and Blue Jackets, a first-round matchup would be less than welcome. If a series was anything like tonight’s game, it would be must-see TV for the rest of us.

Here’s an updated look at the Metro’s races for the second and third spots:

2. Penguins – 80 points in 57 games (36 wins, 34 ROW)
3. Blue Jackets – 79 points in 57 games (37 wins, 35 ROW)

Rangers – 75 points in 57 games (37 wins, 35 ROW)

The Capitals aren’t totally bulletproof for the division crown, even with 84 standings points, a game in hand and a six-game winning streak in mind. Still, at least tonight, it was tough to shake the mental picture of a possible battle between the Blue Jackets and the Penguins.

Blues name Larry Robinson as new senior consultant to hockey operations

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Larry Robinson has joined the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues made the announcement Thursday, revealing that Robinson has joined the organization as a senior consultant to hockey operations.

Based on the comments of Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, it sounds like Robinson will work closely at times with head coach Mike Yeo. It could also further help the development of an already impressive defenseman in Colton Parayko.

“Bringing someone like Larry in, I just think, helps our hockey operations from top to bottom,” said Armstrong, per the Blues website.

“His ability to talk to Mike Yeo about coaching — that’s one area that we don’t have on our staff is a former head coach. You can think you know what Mike’s going through but I don’t know what Mike’s going through. Larry does. So he’s going to be able to relate to him on a lot of the things that he’s going to go through.

“He’s coming in as a consultant. I can learn a lot from him, our assistant coaches can, Parayko can. There’s not an area of our hockey operations he can’t touch to make us a better group.”

Robinson was most recently the director of player development with the San Jose Sharks, however it was reported in May that he would not return to that organization for this season.

Looks like Matt Duchene will make preseason debut tonight vs. Stars

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According to reports, there is substantial interest from other teams in Matt Duchene. That said, he remains with the Colorado Avalanche for now and will, it appears, make his preseason debut Thursday against the Dallas Stars.

Earlier this week, Darren Dreger reported on TSN that as many as eight teams have interest in Duchene, with the Senators aggressively pursuing the 26-year-old forward.

According to Mike Chambers of The Denver Post, Duchene will be in the lineup tonight versus the Stars.

Trade speculation has been swirling around Duchene for months now. He reported to training camp last week, and has since said his status with the Avalanche is a “day-by-day” situation.

“I love playing hockey. I want to win,” Duchene told The Denver Post. “That’s the biggest thing on my mind. I’m trying to get better every time I touch the ice right now.”

Habs prospect Juulsen out six weeks with fractured foot

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Tough news for the Montreal Canadiens and prospect defenseman Noah Juulsen on Thursday.

The Habs have announced that the 2015 first-round pick is expected to be sidelined six weeks after suffering a fractured foot on Monday.

The Habs selected Juulsen with the 26th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft following his 52-point regular season with the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League.

This past spring, Juulsen appeared in two playoff games for the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps. He turned 20 years old in April and it seemed like the Habs were going to give him a serious look to make the NHL club out of training camp.  

“We like the way he skates and his transition game,” said head coach Claude Julien earlier this week, before the injury was revealed. “He’s going to get a chance to make this team and if he doesn’t he’s not going to be too far away.”

Fight Video: Lappin, Puempel land some good shots in preseason tilt

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Who says players don’t care about preseason hockey?

Matt Puempel and Nick Lappin are trying to earn spots on their respective clubs, so they know they may have to do the little things others aren’t willing to do to stick around in the NHL.

On Wednesday night, that involved dropping the gloves against each other. These two seemed to be in mid-season form when it came to throwing punches.

Neither player is considered a tough guy. Lappin had 17 penalty minutes in 43 games with the Devils last season, while Puempel has 28 penalty minutes in 79 career NHL games.

Here’s the video footage of the scrap:

By the way, the Rangers won 4-3 in overtime.