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Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Stars Can Really Get Rolling by Defeating a Divisional Rival Tonight

The Stars need to keep up the momentum as they take on a team they should have beaten at least once last season. Plus, a look inside the Islanders' new venue, and the first 3-on-3 OT victory in NHL history.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars' 2015-16 season has gotten off to the start we all dreamed of over the too-long summer. Now that the team has kicked off with a big home win against a tough Eastern Conference opponent, it's time to attend to one of the biggest frustrations of 2014-15: its record within its own division.

Some of us call the Central the Murder Death Kill Division for a reason. Even its lesser teams are hideously loaded, terrifyingly talented and brutally tough. Any team that survives that kind of sustained season-long punishment and comes out on top probably deserves the Stanley Cup.

And the Stars know better than anyone how important it is to start hot against their Central rivals this year, as Jason Spezza told Mark Stepneski:

"We had a hard time with Colorado; we had a hard time with Minnesota. Those are the games we have to win. Those are the teams we are going to be fighting with for playoff spots," said Stars center Jason Spezza. "We know we have to be better in those games. It starts tomorrow for us, try to get a good road win."

The Stars were 8-14-7 against divisional foes for a total of 23 points. Their six divisional opponents posted a 21-7-1 mark against the Stars for a total of 43 points. That was a minus-20 in points within the division, the first path to the playoffs since the top three teams in the division qualify for the postseason.

"If you are going to guarantee you are going to make the playoffs, you have to beat your own division," Spezza said. "You can't rely on other teams to beat your divisional opponents for you."

Take a look at Mark's Stars-Avalanche game preview here. [Stars Inside Edge]

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Another game day, another chance for victory. But the Colorado Avalanche don't plan to make it easy, in no small part because Semyon Varlamov is furious with himself after letting in five goals during Thursday's loss to the hated Minnesota Wild. [CBS Sports]

Razor's post-game video series is back. He's in midseason form already, as he will tell you himself.

One of Mike Babcock's earliest jobs was in an abbatoir. Now he's tasked with taking the hapless Toronto Maple Leafs back to the NHL playoffs slaughterhouse. Here's a fascinating long read from Michael Farber. [Sports Illustrated]

The New York Islanders lost their first game in Barclays Center, but the facility itself may have been pretty enough to make everybody feel better. [New York Newsday]

At least fans got to see captain John Tavares score the first Islanders goal in Brooklyn.

Did someone say "goaltending controversy"? The Calgary Flames have one, and it involves the three (3) starters they're carrying. [Puck Daddy]

Hey, look who got the top slot in the NHL's Three Stars on Thursday.

Forty-seven seconds into his debut with the Carolina Hurricanes, defender James Wisniewski tore an ACL. Now, for the second time in as many seasons, the 'Canes have to find a way to deal with the long-term loss of a starter. [Raleigh News & Observer]

There's a Calder Trophy race this year? It's heating up, says Mike Johnston, and gives you Detroit Red Wings prospect Dylan Larkin as your 2016 dark horse. [SportsNet]

Elsewhere, D-man Simon Despres has signed an extension worth five years and $18.5 million with the Anaheim Ducks. [Los Angeles Times]

The Tampa Bay Lightning made history Thursday night by winning the first 3-on-3 OT ever played in an NHL game, against the Philadelphia Flyers. The goal by defender Jason Garrison capped off a wild and woolly sequence that included a penalty shot by Flyers center Scott Laughton. Here's the whole thing.

In sadder news, Flyers defenseman Logan Pyett will be out indefinitely after being diagnosed with sarcoma in his upper left leg. Best wishes for his treatment and a full recovery. [NHL]

Former Los Angeles Kings forward Mike Richards is now an unrestricted free agent after reaching a settlement with the team over his terminated contract. [CBS Sports]

And current TSN analyst Aaron Ward was arrested in North Carolina and charged with two misdemeanors, including assault on a female – his wife, Kelly. [TSN]

Vladimir Putin wanted a hockey-themed party for his 63rd birthday, and boy did he get one. [Vanity Fair]

Raffi Torres will not appeal his 41-game suspension and has apologized to Jakob Silfverberg for the hit that led to it. [ESPN]

Finally: The only thing in Buffalo getting more attention than Jack Eichel's first NHL goal is the riff the Sabres rolled out to celebrate it. Now the push is on to make DJ Kool's classic "Let Me Clear My Throat" the team's new official goal song. But is it Kooler than "Puck Off"? You decide. [Puck Daddy]