You’re welcome, Ottawa — Rangers resting Nash, Zuccarello, and Staal (Updated)

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With the Presidents’ Trophy clinched, the New York Rangers are reportedly giving three of their top players — Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello, and Marc Staal — the night off tonight.

That’s great news for the Rangers’ opponents, the playoff-hopeful Ottawa Senators, and not-so-great news for the teams the Sens are chasing, like the Bruins and Penguins.

Boston, tied in points with Ottawa but holder of the ROW tie-breaker, plays in Florida tonight. Pittsburgh, just one point up, hosts the Islanders tomorrow.

The Red Wings and Islanders are the two other teams that have yet to clinch playoff spots in the East. Detroit, with a two-point cushion, is in Montreal tonight.

Update:

Related: Breaking down the East bubble after Boston’s big loss

Leafs recall Orr for season finale

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With his contract set to expire and his future in the game uncertain the Toronto Maple Leafs have recalled Colton Orr.

Orr spent the entire season with the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies registering four penalty minutes while appearing in 14 games.

An undrafted free agent signing of the Boston Bruins, Orr has appeared in 476 career NHL games with the Bruins, New York Rangers and Leafs registering 24 points and 1,186 penalty minutes.

Orr was waived along with fellow enforcer Frazer McLaren in October.

The Leafs play host to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night in the season finale.

Given the way the game is headed, it could be Orr’s final NHL game.

Goalie nods: Oilers start Bachman, look to avoid another Kings blowout

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Bachman returns for Oilers

Richard Bachman will return to the Edmonton net tonight when the Oilers host the playoff-hungry Kings at Rexall.

Bachman, who’s been away from the team following the death of his brother, will look to regain the form shown in his last two starts — a 29-save effort in a 4-1 win over Colorado, and a 29-save shutout in a 4-0 win over Dallas.

But it won’t be easy.

The Kings absolutely crushed the Oilers two games ago, lighting up Ben Scrivens and ECHL recall Tyler Bunz in a 8-2 victory. It marked the first time in five years L.A. scored eight goals in a game, prompting Oilers forward Jordan Eberle to lash out at his team’s performance.

“That was embarrassing,” Eberle said. “They treated us like a junior team. They pushed us around.

“You’re a professional hockey player. You have to be able to push through whatever it is, or there will be guys who will take your spot.”

No word yet on who’ll start for L.A. Jonathan Quick played last night in Vancouver and fared well, stopping 37 of 38 shots in a 2-1 shootout loss.

Elsewhere…

Rangers at Devils: Cam Talbot vs. Cory Schneider

Isles at Flyers: Jaroslav Halak vs. (No Philly starter yet)

Pens at Sens: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Andrew Hammond

‘Canes at Wings: (No Carolina starter yet) vs. Jimmy Howard

Jets at Blues: Ondrej Pavelec vs. Jake Allen

Wild at ‘Hawks: Devan Dubnyk vs. Corey Crawford

Preds at Avs: (No Nashville starter yet) vs. Semyon Varlamov

Coyotes at Flames: Mike Smith vs. Jonas Hiller

Stepan scores at end of third, OT to stop Jackets’ win streak at nine

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They won’t make the playoffs, but the Columbus Blue Jackets have been making a statement by winning nine straight games. It goes to show you what this season might have been like for them had they not been devastated by injuries early on. They nearly earned their 10th consecutive win tonight, but the NHL-leading New York Rangers managed to squeak by with a 4-3 overtime victory.

This was a back-and-forth game, but with the clock approaching zero it seemed former Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky’s third period goal would prove to be the game-winner. It certainly looked like it would be after Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made an absolutely stunning save on a shot by New York defenseman Dan Girardi with less than a minute left in regulation time.

Bobrovsky’s heroics were spoiled though by a goal from Derek Stepan with roughly 28 seconds left.

Stepan did it again by scoring the winner with less than a minute remaining in overtime.

With that New York has won four straight games to improve to 51-21-7 this season. That winning streak has given them a clear edge in the Presidents’ Trophy race:

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Goalie nods: Canucks sticking with Lack, who wants ‘to be the hero again’

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All the latest from the blue paint…

You can be their hero, Eddie

The Canucks had three goalies on the ice for this morning’s optional skate — Ryan Miller, Jacob Markstrom and Eddie Lack — but it’ll be the latter who’ll get the start tonight in a crucial tilt versus Los Angeles.

Lack hasn’t exactly been a hero over his last five games, going 2-2-1 with a .903 save percentage, numbers that have been skewed by tough outings in Winnipeg (five goals on 36 shots) and Nashville (four goals on 38). It’s also worth noting Lack’s seen an awful lot of rubber lately; he’s faced an average of 35.2 shots per game over his last five, including 40 in a overtime loss to Dallas last week.

With Miller getting closer to a return to game action, tonight’s tilt will prove huge for Lack’s future as Vancouver’s No. 1. Tonight’s tilt will also prove huge for Western Conference playoff jockeying, as the Kings head into tonight’s action just three points back of Vancouver in the Pacific, and one back of Calgary.

Speaking of the Kings, no official word yet on who’ll start, but it’s expected to be Jonathan Quick.

Elsewhere…

‘Canes at Sabres: Cam Ward vs. Anders Lindback

Blue Jackets at Rangers: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Henrik Lundqvist

Jets at Wild: Ondrej Pavelec vs. Devan Dubnyk (“DUUUBS” — Halford.)

Stars at Sharks: (No Dallas starter yet) vs. Alex Stalock