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Top Line: Kings wary of Rangers; trade talk simmers as GMs meet; more links

Dan Girardi, Mats Zuccarello and Anze Kopitar The Kings have cornered the Rangers, but L.A. also recalls the scare that the Devils gave them in 2012. (Getty)

By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:

• From this picture that Pat Leonard paints, it looks like the Rangers are resigned to the idea of being swept. Unbelievable.

• That story not enough of a downer for you, New York fans? Here's another take on the funereal home ambience of the Rangers' dressing room.

• Even if New York doesn't believe it can come back from the brink, Wally Stanowski does. Here's why the opinion of this 95-year-old matters.

• Rangers fans surely have heart. Check out this heartbreaking and heartwarming story about what a group of them did for a grieving dad.

• At least one New York player remains defiant in the face of imminent heartbreak.

• Despite the Rangers' high-quality Eeyore impersonations, the Kings don't expect New York to roll over easily. L.A. remembers the scare that it got from the Devils after it built up a 3-0 series lead in the 2012 finals.

So you're saying there's a chance ...

Anze Kopitar may lead the playoff scoring race, but a Kings win tonight would likely end with one of these two players named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner instead.

Darryl Sutter said no the first time he was approached by GM Dean Lombardi to coach Los Angeles. Sutter's eventual change of heart changed the course of this franchise forever.

• The trio of ex-Broad Streeters who now make the Kings "Flyers-West" never wanted to leave Philadelphia in the first place. At least their departure has worked out well for one team.

The NHL's dream series has turned out to be anything but.

• Despite a strong effort in the Cup finals, Mike Richards remains a likely candidate to be bought out by L.A. at the end of the season. If that happens, here's one team where he'd be a perfect fit.

• Here's a look from Jeff Gordon at what's on the horizon for the Penguins, the Blackhawks and the Sharks as the NHL approaches its annual Silly Season.

San Jose is still paying a price for its first-round loss to the Kings.

Joe Thornton would consider waiving his no-trade clause if Sharks fans don't want him around anymore.

• Rory Boylen thinks that San Jose would be crazy to let Thornton go. It's easy to see Boylen's point, but at the same time it's also clear that something has to change. Whether that means the departure of Thornton or Patrick Marleau or Brent Burns -- or someone else -- somebody is going to have to pay for years of underachieving in the postseason. Joe's just as vulnerable as any of them.

• With the draft just three weeks away and the general managers' meetings getting underway today, trade talk is heating up around the NHL. The Maple Leafs seem to be in the middle of everything ... and not just because the local media wants them to be.

• Mike Spry breaks it not-so-gently to Leafs fans that Toronto isn't the dream destination for players that they think it is.

• The Canucks could be waiting for the playoffs to conclude before naming their new head coach... just  not the NHL playoffs.

• Trading Jason Spezza may seem like a dramatic move for the Senators, but it's just the circle of life in the NHL.

• Hey, Ottawa: this team is in the market for a No. 2 center.

• Could recent management changes in Pittsburgh help the Penguins hold on to one of the summer's hottest potential UFAs?

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