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Around the Rink – Thursday, February 24th

Feb 24, 2011, 3:23 PM EDT

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Drew Doughty, Chuck Kobasew

Here are previews for today’s six games. As always, start times are determined according to Eastern Standard Time (ET).

7:00 pm

NY Islanders @ Philadelphia

While the Devils get all the credit for being the hottest team in the Atlantic (to be fair, they are), the Islanders have quietly kept close behind them with only three less points in one more game played. Perhaps the Flyers will help to remind the Isles that they need to go back into tank mode, though.

7:30 pm

Dallas @ Detroit

The Brad Richards saga slightly obscures (yet underscores) the desperate situation the team is in, as the Stars are 2-10-1 in their last 13 games. They’ll be the team with the most to lose, but will that be enough against deadly Detroit?

Toronto @ Montreal

To keep their slim playoff hopes alive, the Maple Leafs must first solve Carey Price in Montreal. The Habs goalie holds two consecutive home shutouts against Toronto. (Edit: Apparently the Leafs won’t have to bother, because Alex Auld will start instead. Hey, that’s one way to keep Price’s shutout streak alive … )The Canadiens have something to play for too, as they hope to get back into the Northeast Division race against the Bruins.

8:00 pm

Chicago @ Nashville

With wins against the Penguins and Blues on Sunday and Monday as well as points in five of their last six games, the Blackhawks placed themselves back into the mix lately. They can keep frog the Predators by beating them in regulation tonight in a game that has big implications for the Western Conference playoff bubble.

10:00 pm

St. Louis @ Vancouver

The Blues can’t seem to distinguish themselves as legitimate contenders or serious cellar dwellers, leaving them in a dismal purgatory right now. Then again, the Canucks are likely to push them a little closer to the bottom tonight.

10:30 pm

Minnesota @ Los Angeles

Speaking of games that have a big impact on the West bubble like Chicago-Nashville, this game features the fifth-ranked Kings hosting the sixth-ranked Wild. The Kings finally play in Los Angeles again after going 6-1-3 in their 10-game road trip. This is a pretty big game for both teams (and other West teams if it goes into overtime).

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