Tomas Vanek

Wild beat the Blues for the second time in a week

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In what could be a first-round playoff matchup between the two Central Division rivals, the Wild doubled up the Blues 6-3 Saturday afternoon.

For the moment the Wild have a three-point lead on the first wild card spot in the Western Conference.

Minnesota has now beaten St. Louis twice in the span of seven days.

Justin Fontaine had a goal and two assists for his second career three-point game.

Zach Parise and Jonas Brodin scored 26-seconds apart in the second period to give the Wild a 4-0 lead and end Brian Elliott’s night early. Elliott allowed four goals on 16 shots.

“Five-10 minutes of the second period we weren’t very good. It’s pretty inexcusable at this time of the year,” said Jay Bouwmeester. “We know we’re playing desperate teams. They’re a team that’s right there and trying to stay in that playoff race.

“We’ve got to be a team that’s playing for first place.”

Chris Stewart, Thomas Vanek and Mikko Koivu had the other Wild goals.

Devan Dubnyk made 26 saves in his 31st consecutive start.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz each had a goal and an assist in the loss. With his two-point afternoon, Tarasenko now has 70 points on the season.

Paul Stastny also scored for St. Louis.

“There’s no excuses, we’re playing a team that’s desperate for their playoff lives and we’re trying to situate ourselves in the Central Division,” said David Backes. “You shouldn’t need anymore motivation at this time of the year.

“We need to be playing our brand of hockey every night, putting it all out there and if a team just plays better than us, we’ve got to tip our cap, but I don’t think we can say that tonight.”

Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson left the game with 13:50 remaining in the second period with an upper body injury and did not return.

Jake Allen made 10 saves in relief.

Video: Vanek with a dangerous hit on Kruger

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Minnesota Wild forward Tomas Vanek had a dangerous hit on Chicago Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger during the first period tonight.

Kruger left the game briefly, but did return.

Vanek received a major penalty for boarding on the play.

Cammalleri gives Calgary seven-team no-trade list

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With a deadline deal all but certain, Mike Cammalleri has given Calgary a list of seven teams he won’t accept a move to, according to the Calgary Sun.

Cammalleri, 31, is in the final of a five-year, $30 million deal that includes a limited NTC (hence the seven-team list). There are expected to be suitors for his services leading up to Wednesday’s deadline, as the former King and Canadien has scored 20 goals five times during his 11-year career, and sits tied for second on the Flames with 14 this season.

As for what interim Calgary GM Brian Burke is hoping to get out of the deal? Here’s more, from the Sun:

If Burke can wrangle up a first-round draft pick for a rental the exercise will have been considered an unmitigated success.

A second-rounder would also suffice, assuming it would come with a young prospect of some sort.

A third-rounder in return would be considered a fail unless the deal also includes a decent prospect.

Cammalleri is widely considered consolation prize No. 3 for teams looking to add a scoring winger. Tomas Vanek and Matt Moulson are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, so it’s possible Burke may need to wait for those chips to fall before pulling a deal.

Report: Isles’ MacDonald on block after rejecting four-year, $16M deal

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Another day, another Islander rejecting a lucrative contract offer.

On Thursday, the New York Post reported defenseman Andrew MacDonald turned down the Isles’ four-year, $16 million offer, adding that the rejection has led to New York fielding offers for the 27-year-old rearguard.

The news comes in the same week pending UFA forward Tomas Vanek turned down a “substantial” offer from the Isles.

Here’s more on MacDonald, from the Post:

MacDonald and his agent had previously asked for a four- or five-year deal at $5 million per, and even got the Islanders to come up from their original starting price of $3.5 million per.

In turning down the offer, the pending unrestricted free agent has left himself as one of the league’s most highly coveted trade pieces, before both Friday’s 3 p.m. Olympic roster freeze and before the March 5 trade deadline.

A league source said general manager Garth Snow already has received at least one substantial trade offer, and has turned it down.

MacDonald is currently one of the NHL’s best bargains — in the final of a four-year, $2.2 million deal, a $550,000 cap hit — and leads all Isles defensemen in assists (20), points (24), time on ice per game (26:40) and blocked shots (185).  He’s also been one of the club’s most durable players over the last three years and serves as an alternate captain.

One would think such production would be impossible for the Isles to lose, but it’s not that simple.

New York isn’t a spend-to-the-cap team, currently operating under the NHL’s second-lowest payroll, and the team’s history of retaining UFA blueliners doesn’t shed much insight — last year they re-upped with Lubomir Visnovsky, but cut ties with Mark Streit.

What’s more, the club has a slew of young defensemen — Travis Hamonic, Aaron Ness, Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan — and some really talented blueliners on the way in Griffin Reinhart, Ryan Pulock, Scott Mayfield, Ville Pokka and Adam Pelech.

(The Isles, lest we forget, drafted seven defensemen in 2012.)

From McDonald’s perspective, he wields a pretty big stick. The prospect of a 27-year-old UFA defenseman with his resume hitting the open market is tantalizing, especially in a year where the cap will rise (to a projected $71.1 million.)

He could also be shipped at the deadline to a contender, where he’d have the chance to perhaps garner a bigger profile and play in the postseason.

Flyers recall Raffl, McGinn for injured Lecavalier, Hartnell

The Philadelphia Flyers made a pair of recalls from AHL Adirondack on Saturday, bringing forwards Michal Raffl and Tye McGinn into the fold.

The pair were brought up to replace injured forwards Vincent Lecavalier and Scott Hartnell. The pair were both injured in Friday’s 2-1 loss to Phoenix, and are set to miss at least one week of action.

Raffl, 24, was signed as a free agent this summer after leading Swedish second division outfit Leksands with 24 goals and 46 points in 2013 (of note, Leksands was the same team ’12 first-round pick Filip Forsberg played for during the lockout).

Philly’s interest in Raffl piqued at the 2013 World Hockey Championships, where Raffl represented Team Austria. He raised some eyebrows late in the tourney by playing on a line with Buffalo standout Tomas Vanek and scoring two points in an 8-4 loss to Russia.

“He’s a good player, who we think can be NHL ready,” Flyers director of hockey ops Chris Pryor said. “There’s going to be a learning curve, but he’s got enough in his game to be able to make that adjustment rather quickly.”

Raffl has been one of Adirondack’s leading scorers thus far, with three points through two games.

McGinn, 23, appeared in 18 games for the Flyers last year, scoring three goals and five points. He is the younger brother of Colorado forward Jamie McGinn and has one goal for the Phantoms this season.

Both McGinn and Raffl will be made available for Saturday’s game against Detroit with McGinn wearing No. 15 and Raffl No. 12.