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Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Stars Pass a Major Test With Winnipeg Win, Says Mike Heika

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The Stars beat the Jets and their own exhaustion to end a three-game losing streak. Plus, how trade season is shaping up, and what the 2016 Top Prospects Game will look like.

Kari Lehtonen extended his streak against his former team (and earned First Star of the Game).
Kari Lehtonen extended his streak against his former team (and earned First Star of the Game).
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars brought their three-game losing streak to a grinding halt on Thursday night by grinding out a shootout win against the Winnipeg Jets.

The win may have been one of the biggest tests of the season, says Mike Heika, who points out that the team vanquished not only a tough, physical divisional rival and the first near-slump of the 2015-16 season, but their own fatigue.

Head coach Lindy Ruff notably split up the money pair of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, but even more, he sent his players home after Wednesday practice and told them to stay off the ice until game time. The extra rest seems to have helped.

"Coming off the road trip, I still sense the energy is low on the team," Ruff said. "But I thought we played smarter, and that's probably the difference in the game."

The juggled lines helped spark the team early, as Mattias Janmark, Tyler Seguin and Patrick Sharp scored the opening goal eight minutes in. Janmark won a battle along the wall, Sharp worked the puck to the front of the net, and Seguin scored from the slot. It was his 24th goal of the season and ties him with teammate Jamie Benn and Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko for the NHL lead in goals.

It was the fast start the team needed to regain its confidence.

On a night when the Jets outshot the Stars 33-24, it was up to Kari Lehtonen to keep the team in it – and he delivered a performance that would earn him First Star of the Game honors.

...Dallas didn't take a ton of risks and didn't really challenge young Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck much. But they also kept the chances against down, and received a big night from Kari Lehtonen, who made 32 saves and pushed his record to 13-3-0.

"I thought he looked real solid," Ruff said. "In Kari's case, he bounced back, and, like a lot of guys, pitched a lot better performance. I thought the quality of stuff he had to face, we stayed away from the breakaways, the 2-on-1's, that type of stuff, but he looked every comfortable and very confident. It seemed like a night that I didn't know if they were going to score on him."

You can read more at Heika's place. [SportsDayDFW]

Patrick Sharp kept the NHL's longest current point streak alive for an 11th game and talked with Julie Dobbs about finding energy during an exhausting schedule, something he knows quite a bit about.

*****

Blueline news: With an injured Jordie Benn day-to-day, Lindy Ruff has blended Patrik Nemeth back into the line-up, and Jason Demers approaches a career milestone. [SportsDayDFW]

Now that the Stars have gotten up and back and right on track, enjoy the Stars Rewind of key moments from the shootout victory over the Jets.

And happy days are here again for Razor, whose collection of insanely appropriate analogies includes a doozy for how tough it was to grab a goal in this game.

Our Gang win games, but are they a winning team? Scott Burnside raises questions about whether the Stars are good, or championship good. [ESPN]

Do the Nashville Predators have what it takes to be a Stanley Cup dark horse? Jared Clinton compares their current roster to the 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings, and likes what he sees. [The Hockey News]

Last night in murderin' was relatively low-key, with the Minnesota Wild losing 4-3 in overtime to the Philadelphia Flyers, who lost rookie sensation Shayne Gostisbehere to a lower-body injury in the second period. [Hockey Wilderness]

But because sorrow floats, there's plenty of Central action scheduled for tonight:

The All-Star Game isn't the only place where John Klingberg doesn't get enough respect, says the Yahoo Sports staff: In yesterday's fantasy-league standings, there were more defensemen priced above him than there are NHL players who have outscored him. Now's your chance to snag the #GhostOfGothenburg at a value price. [Puck Daddy]

Also in Puck Daddy: A look into the NHL's new sexual-assault education program and how its message has changed – plus the league's new alliance with the national advocacy group A Call To Men (ACTMen).

What we found was that despite the prevalence of these incidents recently for NHL players, these topics weren't at the forefront of the League's preseason seminars with teams - and if they were, it was with "scared straight" messaging, stressing the possible repercussions for the players rather than the abhorrent nature of the acts.

Now that trade season has opened with the blockbuster Seth Jones-Ryan Johansen swap – and the only-slightly-less-stunning trade of Luke Schenn and Vincent Lecavalier's contract for a pick and a prospect – Dan Rosen has posted a list of seven top targets, from Steven Stamkos to Keith Yandle. [NHL]

Your unlikely story for the day: Jones and Johansen literally passed each other in the airport last night. Stick taps to Ryan, who remembered the "photos or it didn't happen" rule and captured this one for posterity.

Speaking of Schenn the Elder, Sportsnet spoke with him about joining the Los Angeles Kings, the team that originally drafted his brother, Brayden.

Elsewhere in the Battle of California, the Ducks' trade for Dustin Tokarski has helped shore up their goaltending behind the injured John Gibson, who could be back in net as early as today. [Los Angeles Times]

New Jersey Devils forward Bobby Farnham and Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers have become the latest NHL players to get slapped with $2,000 league fines for embellishing. [TSN]

Meanwhile, Zack Kassian has had "a lot of time to think about a lot of things" and is glad to be getting his game back with the Edmonton Oilers' AHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors.

And Mike Richards is taking nothing for granted now that he's back on NHL ice with the Washington Capitals. The league has cleared him to resume playing immediately while he awaits a January 28 hearing on a controlled-substance charge in Canada. [ESPN]

Missing the World Junior Championships already? Chin up, pal: NHL Central Scouting has just set the roster for the 2016 Top Prospects Game, to take place January 28 in Vancouver. Check out the names you'll want to know in June. [NHL]

And while you're at it, take a look at the All-World Juniors team as chosen by Dustin Luke Nelson. [Sports Illustrated]

Remember Paul Greenwood, the former co-owner of the New York Islanders who was accused (and convicted) of $554 million worth of investment fraud? A federal appeals court has vacated his 10-year sentence, which landed him in the same prison that now houses Bernie Madoff, and ordered a new one. [Reuters]

Boston Pride forward Denna Laing remains hospitalized more than a week after going headfirst into the boards during the Outdoor Women's Classic on New Year's Eve. [Boston Globe]

To prepare for the Colorado Avalanche-Detroit Red Wings Stadium Series alumni game, Avs coach Patrick Roy put on his classic Koho pads and reminded a few folks why he's on all the all-time greatest lists. [CBC]

Finally: @DallasStars took advantage of #ThrowbackThursday and #NationalBobbleheadDay to post this old-school, old-logo charmer starring future captain Jamie Benn. Enjoy.