The Dallas Stars began a challenging week in the best possible way, defeating the Minnesota Wild for the third time in three meetings. It's a great start to a stretch that will see them meet Central Division rivals four times in seven days. (Merry Christmas.)
Depth scoring was one of the big stories of the night, and Vernon Fiddler provided two goals after Jordie Benn opened the scoring to show the Wild's Jumbotron crew that you never mock the beard.
"They came at us physically [in the first period], and I thought we answered in the second," said Stars center Vernon Fiddler. "We started getting some hits in going back at them. We got the momentum back going into the third."
Another big story was Kari Lehtonen getting pulled early and Antti Niemi putting the game away in relief.
"I didn't like the goals. Put it behind you and move on," said Ruff. "We've got the luxury with Antti and Kari that if one is having a tough night, I'll go with the other one."
Read more from Mark Stepneski. [Stars Inside Edge]
Last night in the MDK:
- The St. Louis Blues lost to the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 after giving up a three-goal lead. [St. Louis Game Time]
- The Nashville Predators administered more punishment to the slumping Montreal Canadiens 5-1. [The Tennessean]
- The Colorado Avalanche dropped one to the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 due in part to Tyler Bozak scoring three goals in the first period. [KOAA]
- And the Winnipeg Jets found themselves stymied by a 44-save Cam Talbot performance in their 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. [NHL]
Niemi and his 30 stops on 31 shots earned Second Star of the Night from Greg Wyshynski. [Puck Daddy]
Native Minnesotan Alex Goligoski took to the NHL Network's Arena Cam after his homecoming game to talk about momentum, competing in the Central and unrestricted free agency, among other things.
And Razor turns to Prince and Miss Universe for inspiration in his latest Emporium. The doves are crying indeed.
Meanwhile, Sharpie says meeting his old teammates is just another day at the office. [SportsDayDFW]
The end-of-year roundups are gathering, and Sports Illustrated has included Jamie Benn and Art Ross Night in its 2015 highlights, as one does. [SI]
How glad are you about last night's win over the Wild?
As one of several North Stars alumni who have been recruited to play as Wild "alumni," Mike Modano weighed in.
A few fans fired back, because we might as well all go Troll Level: Kanye now.
And the Oilers honored one of their all-time greats (and the uncle of the Texas Stars' Brendan Ranford).
Will the Oilers send Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to the Predators in exchange for help on the blueline? It may be one way to start digging themselves out of the hole that years of bad defensive drafting have dug for them. Marcy di Michele has the awful, awful details. [The Hockey Writers]
Will the USA overtake Canada as the next dominant force in junior hockey? Damien Cox examines how parity has shaken up the field for the World Junior Championships. [Sportsnet]
Finally: Ten-year-old defender Charlie Wilson of the Stars' Dallas Elite junior team grew an amazing head of hockey hair, and then he donated it in honor of friend and classmate Libby Serber after she was diagnosed with cancer. Their story has become the latest episode of "The Franchise." Enjoy.