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Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Stars' Extremes Will Decide Their Fate in the Playoffs

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Embrace the whirlwind that is Dallas' risk-reward system, says Mike Heika. Plus, Duncan Keith is in big trouble at a bad time, and what the NHL's and NHLPA's concussion-lawsuit e-mails say about their readiness to step up for player safety.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars are the darnedest things. During last night's 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators, they took the NHL lead in shorthanded goals allowed (13) on the same night they became the all-time record holders for empty-net goals scored (22).

They're a team of extremes. writes Mike Heika – and the trick for the rest of the regular season is to keep coming out on the positive side of their high-risk, high-reward system:

While critics wonder if a team that ranks 22nd in the league in goals against is a serious contender in the playoffs, the Stars showed in a 5-2 win over Nashville that they are certainly capable of managing risk at both ends of the ice.

...

"I don't think we played our best. I don't think we played our worst, though," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "We found a way to win when we didn't play our best. Sometimes, in 82 games, you have to do that."

As hair-raising as it may be for fans, the team can potentially benefit in the playoffs by perfecting their embrace of extremes:

The race to the end should be exciting and could possibly prove productive. After all, the Stars still need to perfect the madness that is their game.

"I think it's pretty good," said [Jason] Spezza. "It wasn't the prettiest game for us, but I think we're doing a lot of good things, and we're getting good results because of it. We're trending in the right direction."

Read the rest at Heika's place. [SportsDayDFW]

*****

The Stars hit plenty of juicy numbers during last night's win. Check out Mark Stepneski's recap for a list. [Stars Inside Edge]

@NHL loved that Jamie Benn breakway as much as you did.

Last night Jason Spezza became a 30-goal scorer for the fifth time in his career. He also opened a whole new page of history for the Stars.

A Stephen Johns check on James Neal sent The Real Deal on an unscheduled return to his old bench.

Benn also scored the Stars' 22nd empty-net goal of the season, and Roman Josi was mad, bro.

@DallasStars summed up the evening this way.

Enjoy all the highlights in the Stars Rewind.

And enjoy Razor's christening of "Faksa Sports Southwest" in his latest Emporium.

The whole #MDK (minus the Winnipeg Jets) spent last night beating each other up. Here's what happened elsewhere:

Here's the shot that ended the St. Louis shutout streak at 258:29 (but still resulted in a nice ovation for goalie Brian Elliott).

The Jets, by the way, are the only Central Division team playing tonight. They meet the Ottawa Senators at home at 6:30 p.m. Central time.

Will the Blues be able to bring back their captain next year? buffa82 weighs the factors and says the team can't afford to re-sign David Backes. [St. Louis Game Time]

That Russian Valeri Nichushkin interview may have created a tempest in a teapot, but Jordan Dix uses it as a springboard to examine what an even trade for Nail Yakupov might look like. [The Hockey Writers]

Duncan Keith lost his cool in a big way during last night's Blackhawks loss to the Wild – he earned a game misconduct, a call from DoPS and an automatic suspension pending review for swinging his stick directly into the face of Charlie Coyle. [CBS Sports]

But how much tough justice could the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy holder actually be in for? A lot, says Matt Larkin.

Difficult news for Corey Crawford, who hasn't played since March 14 and whose upper-body malady now appears to be a head injury.

And a difficult run for Petr Mrazek, who's hit a slump at almost exactly the wrong moment for the Detroit Red Wings.

Nazem Kadri earned a hat trick as the Toronto Maple Leafs kept the Florida Panthers from moving into an uncontested first place in the Atlantic Division. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

The New York Islanders moved closer to locking down the first Eastern Conference wildcard spot with a 2-1 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes. [NHL]

Best wishes to Isles center Frans Nielsen, who hit a big career milestone last night.

Kerry Fraser devotes yet another edition of his "C'mon, Ref" column to the issue of goaltender interference, this time involving Milan Lucic's contact on Laurent Brossoit during Saturday's Los Angeles Kings victory over the Edmonton Oilers. [TSN]

The Blackhawks have ended the suspension of prospect Garret Ross now that revenge-porn charges against him have been dropped in Illinois (the alleged incident took place in Michigan).

Predators prospect Jimmy Vesey probably gave up about $925,000 in NHL salary to play for a fourth year at Harvard. That temporary economic sacrifice has left him holding the cards as he now contemplates UFA status. [Sportsnet]

As the NHL concussion lawsuit drags on, both the league and the players' association need to "take ownership" of player safety, says Ken Campbell. [The Hockey News]

So-hot-right-now Matej Stransky scored two goals and goalie Maxime Lagace made 48 saves as the Texas Stars routed the Bakersfield Condors, 5-1, and moved into second place in the AHL's Pacific Division.

Finally: Columbus Blue Jackets center Boone Jenner lost a few teeth after taking a puck to the face against the Washington Capitals Monday night. Now one of those lost teeth is a fixture in the Caps' home ice. [Extra Mustard]