The Dallas Stars are 1-1 so far in what will be five games against the Chicago Blackhawks this season. Tonight, they're looking to take back the upper hand with a win in United Center, and possibly to avenge a stinging loss in American Airlines Center last Saturday.
Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya will return to Chicago for their first regular-season game since they joined the Stars. Sharp is very much aware of what Dallas needs to do, but also of the tools they have for the job:
"It's tough to circle one game and say that's a test or a measuring stick," said forward Patrick Sharp. "You look at the schedule in February, and every divisional game we play, all across the league teams are getting better and playing their best hockey down the stretch, and we want to make sure we do the same.
"We're in a good position in the league standings for a reason. We have a good team; we've got a good coaching staff. We've got some big games down the stretch, and ultimately that is how our season is going to be defined."
With three games in hand, the team has a big opportunity in what is effectively a four-point game:
The Stars come into Thursday's game in the same position they were over the weekend - three points behind Chicago in the race for the top spot in both the Central Division and Western Conference and with a chance to gain some ground.
"We've got three games in hand, so It's a big game," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "We've got to clean up some of the mistakes. We are going to get our opportunities. We have to get to their goaltender. He's been good."
Read the rest at the Stars' official site. [Stars Inside Edge]
Bonus video: Sharp talks about playing his 800th career NHL game in the city where he played most of them.
And Oduya speaks on how it feels for his new team to be fighting his old team for the Western Conference lead.
Sharpie is everywhere today: Mike Heika talked with him about the lessons he learned from his dad, Ian, who's part of the Stars fathers' trip this year. [SportsDayDFW]
Are you going to the official Stars-Blackhawks watch party tonight? Get there early to meet Brenden Morrow and Marty Turco.
Make sure to arrive early!— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) February 10, 2016
Don't miss your chance to get an autograph from @Minimo1zero & @mturco35 from 6:30-8:30. pic.twitter.com/njXLhMotz1
Prizes will be won! And awarded! Here's a sneak preview.
Here’s your prize teaser for tomorrow’s official @DallasStars watch party at @AddisonIceHouse #mustbepresenttowin pic.twitter.com/Pq1grYhV7Q— Jeff K (@jeffk_stars) February 10, 2016
The #MDK took Ash Wednesday off, probably so they could all go to church and think about what they've done. It's back to the same old destruction tonight:
- Colorado Avalanche at Ottawa Senators, 6:30 p.m. Central time
- Minnesota Wild vs. Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. Central time
- Winnipeg Jets vs. Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. Central time
Speaking of people who write sins not tragedies, Calgary Flames forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Lance Bouma have apologized to the team for reporting late to practice (and the healthy scratches that followed). [NHL]
The St. Louis Blues are about to get back one of their best forwards, Jaden Schwartz, after 49 games lost to a broken ankle. You've been warned. [ESPN]
A 34-save shutout from Henrik Lundqvist gave the New York Rangers their fourth win in a row and halted Sidney Crosby's career-high streak of scoring goals in seven consecutive games. [New York Post]
34 saves for @HLundqvist30 in the shutout while setting the @NHL record for wins in a goalie's 1st 11 seasons (366). pic.twitter.com/gxTFX6t5pR— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 11, 2016
Former Star Trevor Daley left the ice and the Penguins bench after crashing into the net in the first period. Head coach Mike Sullivan had little to report as of last night:
Coach Sullivan says he hasn't had the opportunity to talk to the medical staff yet, so as of now there is no update on Trevor Daley.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 11, 2016
Victor Hedman comes from the same Swedish town of about 30,000 people that produced Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund, Daniel and Henrik Sedin and Anders Hedberg. The Tampa Bay Lightning star has written a terrific Player's Tribune article about how a junior hockey team founded by the local paper mill has been cranking out champions for years.
I wrote about How We Play Hockey in Sweden for @PlayersTribune https://t.co/tSIEJFPmdq— Victor Hedman (@heds77) February 10, 2016
The Vancouver Canucks paid a price for defeating the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday night, and that price was losing Alexander Edler and Brandon Sutter to injury. [TSN]
But on the upside, Daniel Sedin became the franchise's all-time leading goal scorer during last night's victory over the Bruins. [Sports Illustrated]
How much does a brain injury affect your capability to form intent? Concussion science will be key to Dennis Wideman's suspension appeal, and how that appeal plays out has far-reaching implications for the entire league, says Eric Macramalla. [Forbes]
And the tragic death of former NHL'er Todd Ewen may yet bring hope to players who have suffered multiple concussions, as research on his donated brain has produced surprising results.
Researcher sheds light on exam of former NHL player Todd Ewen’s brain, @rwesthead w/ More: https://t.co/0BL5QWaQvw pic.twitter.com/KJsCwY1l8F— TSN (@TSN_Sports) February 10, 2016
After blowing a 6-3 lead, the Texas Stars rallied to beat the Manitoba Moose 7-6 in a shootout.
RECAP: Dickinson Leads the Stars again in a Wild One, 7-6, over the Manitoba Moose - https://t.co/9lrsJOG4dfpic.twitter.com/RVIzzQhK4c— Texas Stars Hockey (@TexasStars) February 11, 2016
And the NWHL is weathering its first scandal: Chief operating officer and Connecticut Whale acting GM George Speirs has lost both of his positions after allegations that he has worked to "discredit" the league, and possibly take commissioner Dani Rylan's job. [Puck Daddy]
Was Super Bowl 50 really that terrible? Sean McIndoe counters with the five worst Stanley Cup finals of the past 50 years in the latest edition of Down Goes Brown. [The Hockey News]
Finally: What's behind Sidney Crosby's recent uptick in form? Maybe it's the Pittsburgh Penguins' new goal song. Andrew W.K. talks about "Party Hard" and team effort with The Sporting News.
'This was my dream:' Talking goal songs, fandom and destiny with Andrew W.K. https://t.co/rCAKOpTxeH pic.twitter.com/tv7lBoMHm3— Sean Gentille (@seangentille) February 10, 2016