The Dallas Stars battled all the way to a shootout last night, but goaltending helped seal the deal against the Vancouver Canucks, 3-2. It was another gripping game in which the Stars figured out how to win in yet another way.
Mike Heika describes it like this:
It was a heck of a statement game for a team that has had plenty of them this season, and it was the fifth time this season this group has toughened up and refused to lose two games in a row.
"It wasn't pretty tonight, but at times we were playing well," said Stars captain Jamie Benn. "The biggest thing is we found a way to win and get two points."
We've all said it again and again this season, but last season – possibly the last several seasons – an injury to Kari Lehtonen would have spelled unmitigated disaster and at least one or two guaranteed defeats. Now we have the Wonder Finns, and boy did Antti Niemi come up big:
"Short-handed seven times is a tough game. I thought our penalty killers did a great job," said center Jason Spezza. "When a team gets that many touches on the power play, they're going to get chances. (Niemi) was big for us. It was just a good character win. Not the prettiest game we've played this year."
There's more at Heika's place. There's always more at Heika's place. [SportsDayDFW]
Last night in Death:
- The Nashville Predators dropped one to the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2, after Shayne Gostisbehere scored in overtime for the second time in three games. [ABC News]
- The Winnipeg Jets took out the Minnesota Wild 3-1, with goalie Connor Hellebuyck earning his first NHL win in his first NHL game. [Sports Illustrated]
- The Chicago Blackhawks scored two goals in the last two minutes of the third period, courtesy of warhorses Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith, on the way to beating the Anaheim Ducks in OT. [NHL]
Tyler Seguin tells Julie Dobbs that patience was the key to his game-winning shootout goal last night.
Antmusic, please: Niemi did lots of things last night, but perhaps most memorably, he did this.
After eight games and a +4 rating during his conditioning assignment with the Texas Stars, D-man Patrik Nemeth is ready to get back on the ice for the big team, and Lindy Ruff is ready to make sure he and Jamie Oleksiak play "on a regular basis." [SportsDayDFW]
Will the Wild-Blackhawks Stadium Series game be the best-looking of them all, jersey-wise? Chris Smith of Icethetics takes a side-by-side look at their special gear and discusses the design liberties taken by the Hawks. [Icethetics]
Ever wondered how an away team spends a holiday before a game in Big D? For the Vancouver Canucks, this involved the Dallas Cowboys, a full Thanksgiving dinner, and...cribbage. Yes, the old-timey card game. (As it turns out, Alex Burrows is pretty good at it.) [The Province]
Speaking of Thanksgiving, Allan Muir wonders aloud why the NHL doesn't play on the holiday, rather than abdicating the entire afternoon to football during a time when NBC is usually showing a rerun of the Macy's parade. [Sports Illustrated]
You know Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn have to be on any half-responsible fantasy roster for Team Canada in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey – but where would you put them? Here are Pierre LeBrun's projections for The World's Most Dangerous Squad. [ESPN]
Speaking of the Jackets, defender Cody Goloubef is in (quiet) good spirits after having surgery and being placed on IR for the broken jaw he suffered last Friday.
Happy Thanksgiving! I'll be enjoying my turkey blended up,thx 2 MRS.FOLIGNO !Think there are any Black Friday sales on a new jaw?#fingersx'd— Cody Goloubef (@CodyGoloubef27) November 26, 2015
Meanwhile, somebody needs to tell Columbus to stop working the Murder Death Kill Division's side of the street. The biggest talking point of last night's Jackets victory over the Penguins was Brandon Dubinsky breaking his stick on the back of Sidney Crosby's neck. [Sportsnet]
And since you were about to ask:
Columbus's Brandon Dubinsky will have a hearing tomorrow for cross-checking Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 28, 2015
Getting on top of the Western Conference is an uphill task for all kinds of reasons. Dan Rosen focuses on a big one: the longer road trips and greater distances between games that are a fact of life for the Central and Pacific divisions. [NHL]
It took nine rounds, with both teams scoring on every attempt, but the Florida Panthers downed the New York Islanders in a record-setting shootout when an Aleksander Barkov shot finally put them over the top, 3-2. [Puck Daddy]
Meanwhile, the New York Rangers will play without center Derek Stepan "indefinitely." Stepan suffered several broken ribs from a Matt Beleskey hit during last night's loss to the Boston Bruins. [USA Today]
Finally: Yesterday marked the three-week countdown to a new Star Wars movie, and the parade of charity Star Wars Nights in hockey continues: The Vancouver Giants will go full 501st in their Stormtrooper-inspired gear on Dec. 4. [BarDown]