Mike Halford

Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic celebrates his goal with teammate Anze Kopitar (11) during the third period of the Los Angeles Kings 9-2 win over the Boston Bruins in an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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Versteeg set to skate with Kopitar, Lucic versus ‘Hawks

Kris Versteeg will be playing a prominent role for his new team tonight — as he faces his old one.

Versteeg, who won a pair of Stanley Cups with Chicago, will skate alongside Anze Kopitar and Milan Lucic in his sixth game as a King, when L.A. visits the United Center this evening.

Versteeg is pointless through five games with the Kings, but got a brief audition with the top-liners during Saturday’s 2-1 OT loss to the Devils. He finished the game plus-1 in 15:38 TOI.

 

Police: Man fatally stabbed over Devils hat at Philadelphia park

YEADON, PA - JANUARY 8:  Police tape is placed in front of the home of police officer shooting suspect Edward Archer, 30, who allegedly shot 13 times at Philadelphia Police Officer Jesse Hartnett, on January 8, 2016 in Yeadon, Pennsylvania.  Surveillance footage reveals the suspect was dressed in Muslim clothing and wearing a mask.  Following his arrest, suspect Edward Archer stated, "I follow Allah and pledge allegiance to the Islamic State and that is the reason I did what I did." (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
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PHILADELPHIA — A man wearing a New Jersey Devils cap stabbed another man to death in a posh section of Philadelphia after an argument about the hat turned physical, police said Monday.

The stabbing happened just after 3 a.m. Sunday in the city’s tony Rittenhouse Square, authorities said. Emergency responders found 24-year-old Colin McGovern, of Churchville, lying on the sidewalk with stab wounds to the torso. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

“This was over a hockey cap,” Homicide Capt. James Clark said, calling the crime “very senseless.”

Clark said McGovern and three companions had been out for a night on the town and were just getting out of a cab with the intention of finding a hotel. Clark said McGovern made a comment about 40-year-old Steven Simminger’s Devils cap, and an argument escalated into a physical altercation.

The two men wound up on the ground, with McGovern on top of Simminger when he was stabbed, Clark said.

Simminger then went to a Veterans Affairs hospital for treatment of a cut on his hand as well as a mental evaluation, telling people there he had been involved in an altercation, authorities said. Police were tipped off that he was there, and they arrested and charged him with murder and related offenses.

Clark couldn’t say which branch of the military Simminger had been in.

Simminger lives in New Jersey with his sister, Clark said, and was in the neighborhood after visiting friends.

No attorney information was listed for Simminger in online court documents.

Goalie nods: After getting hooked last game, Crawford back in for key tilt versus L.A.

Corey Crawford
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This has, for the most part, been a pretty great season for Corey Crawford. He’s posted a career-high 35 wins, leads the NHL in shutouts, has a stellar .927 save percentage and was named to Team Canada for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Of course, it hasn’t all been good.

In Chicago’s last game, a 5-2 loss to Dallas, Crawford was yanked after allowing four goals on 20 shots in just over 30 minutes of action. A minor aberration, sure, but still an aberration — which is why there’ll be some eyes on Crawford tonight as he takes on another of the Western Conference’s elite, the Los Angeles Kings.

Crawford has faced the Kings once already this season and was excellent, stopping 33 of 35 shots in a 4-2 victory.

For L.A., Jonathan Quick will get the start in goal.

Elsewhere…

Thomas Greiss will make his third start as the Isles’ No. 1 when the Panthers visit Brooklyn. Though Greiss has yet to post a win since taking over for the injured Jaroslav Halak, he has looked good and posted solid numbers. Roberto Luongo will go for Florida.

Jake Allen will start for the red-hot Blues in Calgary. The Flames will go with Joni Ortio.

Related: Flames will ‘cast a wide net’ to find a goalie

Laurent Brossoit will get back in goal for the Oilers, his first start since allowing six goals on 27 shots in a loss to Columbus. Pekka Rinne appears likely for the Preds.

— It’s Michael Hutchinson versus Jacob Markstrom as the Jets take on the Canucks in Vancouver.

Keith Kinkaid, the NHL’s reigning third star of the week, will once again start for the Devils as they take on the Ducks in Anaheim. Frederik Andersen goes for the home team.

Devils will re-sign leading scorer Palmieri

Travis Zajac, Kyle Palmieri, Jiri Tlusty, Eric Gelinas, Jacob Josefson
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In January, Devils GM Ray Shero said there was a “very good” chance pending RFA Kyle Palmieri would stick in New Jersey.

Now, Shero is all but guaranteeing it.

“We’ll get him signed,” is what Shero said at Monday’s GMs meetings in Florida, per NHL.com.

Palmieri, 25, has enjoyed a breakout campaign in his first year back in New Jersey. A Montvale native, he’s notched a career-high 25 goals and 45 points this season, making good on the pedigree that saw Anaheim take him in the first round — 26th overall — of the 2009 draft.

Stuck behind a glut of quality offensive players with the Ducks, Palmieri never enjoyed the expanded role he’s currently filling with the Devils. His TOI per game has jumped to 17:03 per night — compare that with his previous high of 14:03 in Anaheim — and his 25 goals put him ahead of the likes of Jonathan Toews, Max Pacioretty and James Neal on the NHL leaderboard.

“I don’t want to put a timetable on it or take Kyle’s eye off the ball here in terms of how he’s playing,” Shero said of contract talks back in January. “When you trade for someone like him, that’s what you’re looking to add to your team and I think it’s been a good fit for him and for us.”

Negotiations do promise to be interesting.

Palmieri’s in the last of a three-year, $4.4 million deal with a $1.46M cap hit and, per NorthJersey, he’s “open to signing a long-term extension that would take him beyond when he’d be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2018.”

One would assume he’s in line for a tidy raise, but the term will be interesting. Last summer, Shero inked d-man Adam Larsson to a six-year, $25 million extension, his first major contract extension since coming aboard as GM.

It’s also worth noting Palmieri has arbitration rights, though it sounds like Shero and the Devils don’t want to go that route.

Pens ink Rust, Kuhnhackl, Wilson to two-year extensions

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 13:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins (c) celebrates his empty net goal at 19:21 of the third period against the New York Rangers and is joined by Bryan Rust #17 (l) and Tom Kuhnhackl #34 (r) at Madison Square Garden on March 13, 2016 in New York City. The Penguins defeated the Rangers 4-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Pittsburgh made a pretty telling move on Monday, re-upping with a trio of young forwards: Bryan Rust, Tom Kuhnhackl and Scott Wilson all inked two-year extensions with the club, per Pens PR.

As the below infographic shows, the three have been instrumental in Pittsburgh’s recent string of quality play (and, quality results):

It’s not surprising to learn all three spent time in AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this year under current Pens head coach Mike Sullivan. Sullivan, who replaced Mike Johnston as bench boss in mid-December, obviously saw something in Rust, Kuhnhackl and Wilson in the American League and correctly assumed it would translate well to the NHL level.

That something?

Energy, mostly.

The trio has given a shot in the arm to Pittsburgh’s forward group — especially the bottom six — and at no time was that more evident than Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Rangers at MSG. Wilson was a scratch, but Rust and Kuhnhackl combined for three points, with both assisting on Sidney Crosby‘s empty-net marker to seal the victory.

Rust beat out Rangers d-man Dan Boyle to wave off an icing call, and Khunhackl flipped the puck back to Crosby, who deposited into the open goal.

As for the money on these extensions?