Last year, the Dallas Stars made winning in the Central Division a season priority, and they came out of the toughest group in hockey with a regular-season championship.
And the Stars seem prepared to stick by that winning formula as they open #MurderDeathKill action tonight against the Colorado Avalanche:
"It's like [these games] are worth three points rather than two because historically our division is so tight," said Stars forward Patrick Eaves, "so we have to focus on having a good winning percentage within our division."
"The year before (2014-15) we played some good hockey, but our divisional record is what kept us out of the playoffs," Eaves said. "[The divisional record] is going to be a main focus of ours and it is going to start [Saturday] night."
Toward that end, head coach Lindy Ruff shared what he wants his team to do and (important) not do:
"[The Avs] are a team that played extremely well through the preseason. Tremendous speed and some real good skill up front combined with guys on the backend that can get up, too.... They've added some players that I think add to the depth of the speed on the team. [Nathan] MacKinnon had a heck of a World Cup. We've got to recognize situations and not give up big plays off the rush like we did [Thursday] night."
Mark Stepneski has more. [Stars Inside Edge]
And in case you missed it – or would just like to see it again – here’s Thursday night’s ceremonial puck drop with the families of Dallas PD Sgt. Michael Smith and DART Officer Brent Thompson.
The family of DPD Sgt. Michael Smith and DART Officer Brent Thompson participated in last night's ceremonial puck drop. pic.twitter.com/juEZKhWpqI— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) October 15, 2016
You know what else is great about Stars hockey being back? So is Razor’s Emporium.
Plus also, too, Mike Heika is back to writing at a torrid pace. Here he talks about how GM Jim Nill is working to build a roster that can absorb an occasional temporary catastrophe such as Mattias Janmark’s knee surgery.
The Avalanche is one of the last three teams to open their season, and they’ll do so tonight at home. Misterfish1 predicts each team member’s stats for the year. [Mile High Hockey]
Head coach Jared Bednar talked to the media after the team’s final practice yesterday.
Hear from Coach Bednar on the eve of his first regular-season NHL game.— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) October 15, 2016
Elsewhere in The Division They Couldn’t Hang, did you catch P.K. Subban’s first goal as a Predator?
PK Subban's 1st goal as a Predator pic.twitter.com/hI5YuGSOx0— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 15, 2016
Somewhere, someone has probably found something wrong with it.
The PK Subban hat trick:— Emmanuel Perry (@MannyElk) October 15, 2016
Score a goal
Donate $10M to charity
Have people hate you anyway
Elsewhere, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl both had three-point nights as the Oilers beat the Flames back-to-back, 5-3. [Matchsticks and Gasoline]
Yes, the comparisons are being updated on the regular.
And rookie Travis Konecny had a night to remember as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 in their season opener.
Flyers @ Kings recap: Flyers open up season with win, Travis Konecny cements status as world’s greatest human being https://t.co/DfNT35G3aC— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) October 15, 2016
Al Montoya and the Canadiens will need to keep winning without Carey Price: The star netminder will miss at least one more game with “severe flu.” [CBC]
The beleaguered Sabres have lost LW Evander Kane for “weeks” to the cracked ribs he suffered during Buffalo’s home loss to Montreal.
Kane is in a lot of pain after the contact with Emelin pic.twitter.com/T5qlTO0eT8— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) October 14, 2016
Where does Auston Matthews’ four-goal night rank among the great rookie debuts in sports history? [Sports Illustrated]
Would you rather see a Stars game or watch a bunch of professional gamers play NHL ’17? E-sports are eating into millennial-generation hockey viewing, and the impact could be significant.
Last night the Texas Stars drubbed the Charlotte Checkers, 6-2, in a season opener that saw six different Stars get on the goal sheet. For new alternate captain Justin Dowling, it included a nice bit of history.
Three T-Stars gave multi-point performances last night, including Brandon DeFazio (the leader with 3), Mattias Bäckman and Ludwig Byström. The team plays Charlotte in the second half of the back-to-back tonight at 7 p.m.
If you’ve seen the Stars in the AAC in the past couple of years, you probably know of Benn’s Beauties – the patients, families and volunteers dealing with multiple sclerosis whom Jamie hosts at each home game. The Texas chapter of the National MS Society has responded by naming The Captain its 2016 Person On the Move.
Finally: Take a close look at the Pedigree dog food ad to find the special guest at last night’s Predators-Blackhawks game. [Sportsnet]