Plenty of things went right during the Dallas Stars’ 5-0 win against the New York Islanders – and as it turns out, putting Gemel Smith on the top line was one of them. Head coach Ken Hitchcock seemed to take his preseason “forward pairs” philosophy to a new level, adding Smith’s speed and net-front presence to the elite duo of Alexander Radulov and the newly re-centered Jamie Benn.
It’s an approach that served the Stars well during the Lindy Ruff years with configurations such as the Bennguin - Patrick Eaves line, and it worked again as Smith scored his first goal of the year, on the 100th career assist by Radulov.
Smith is primed to make the most of his chance to hang with the superstars, as The Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika reports:
"They are both great talents, and it's definitely exciting and a great opportunity for me. I know how good they are. I just get to the net, let them do their things and when I have a play, don't be afraid to make a play. It's the same stuff. I'll probably play against better players, so it's a mental thing. I just have to be ready for whoever they throw at us."
And Hitch seems clear that he just wants Gemel to keep playing his game:
"Sometimes when you get a young player playing with any veteran player, they defer, they move the puck, they don't want to shoot on a two-on-one, they want to pass off. We just want him to do what has allowed us to continue to play him on a daily basis. Jamie and Radulov have talked to him. He's excited. I think any player would look at this as an unreal opportunity."
There’s more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
If it looked as if the Isles couldn’t buy any offense last night, it’s because they couldn’t.
The 14 shots allowed tonight by the @DallasStars are the fewest they've allowed since March 11, 2011 when they also gave up 14 in a 4-0 win over Minnesota.— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) November 11, 2017
Meanwhile, John Klingberg bagged three points, one of which was a power-play goal.
Mattias Janmark turned a penalty kill into this jaw-dropping shorty.
Jason Spezza broke his second-longest scoring drought with an uncredited assist from a well-placed Martin Hanzal screen. (Bonus: Radulov pulling the monkey from his back.)
And Ben Bishop, playing in place of an ailing Kari Lehtonen, earned his first shutout in a Stars uniform due to saves like this.
All this after the Benn - Tyler Seguin - Radulov triumverate showed up on Pete Jensen’s list of 10 most productive forward lines:
Around the league(s)
Last Night, in #Murder
- The Winnipeg Jets came out on the losing end of their first-ever contest with the Vegas Golden Knights, 5-2. William Karlsson scored two goals, both off assists from former Stars prospect Reilly Smith. [Knights On Ice]
- And with two goals from Mark Stone, including the GWG, the Ottawa Senators drew first blood in Stockholm – defeating the Colorado Avalanche with a 4-3 OT decision in Game 1 of the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series. [Silver Seven]
The series in Sweden is part of the league’s plan to re-introduce an NHL Premiere-style calendar of regular-season games in European nations with “strong hockey infrastructure.” [NHL]
Matt Duchene, who played his first game as a Senator against his former team, is just glad to have it over with. [NHL]
Friday was a big night for netminders: Braden Holtby lined up behind Ken Dryden as the second-fastest goalie to reach 200 wins with the Washington Capitals’ 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins...
Sabres G Robin Lehner lost to Lu, but he still made headlines for the special jersey he wore to honor a fallen Buffalo K-9 officer who shared his surname.
"It feels like the right thing to do." - Sabres' Robin Lehner on honoring fallen Buffalo K-9 Officer Craig Lehner. https://t.co/un0cDSIQVo— John Vogl (@BuffNewsVogl) November 10, 2017
John Tavares had a night to forget in Dallas, but he’s still head of the 2018 UFA class. Matt Larkin looks at a list that includes former Stars James Neal and Jaromir Jagr.
It’s Hockey Hall of Fame Weekend, and Steve Dangle has brought his observations on Mark Recchi, Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne and Dave Andreychuk, and what their achievements can tell us about the dead-puck era.
Era Adjusted presented by #JustForMen: @Steve_Dangle on why Paul Kariya is even better than you remember, plus some other fun tidbits ahead of the #HHOF2017 Induction.https://t.co/qPOOfoXOpn pic.twitter.com/XqP882Crut— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 10, 2017
Their fellow inductee, Team Canada great Danielle Goyette, talked about her long road to eight world championships and two Olympic titles – including the first gold medal ever awarded for women’s hockey. [The Canadian Press]
The Anaheim Ducks have a lot to celebrate during #HHOF2017, so they started with this video.
Jamie Strashin writes about concussions in sports, including hockey, and how fear and team pressure – whether real or perceived – keep athletes from reporting their own injuries.
And a youth-hockey coach in Littleton, Colorado has been shown the door after a disturbing, obscenity-laced pregame rant went public.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
You still have a chance to celebrate Mililtary Appreciation Weekend with the T-Stars (and check out these sweet sweaters in person).
And in player movement, the Stars have traded D-man Ludwig Bystrom in a direct exchange for Florida Panthers blueliner Reece Scarlett.
A great shot to kick off your 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame weekend. Enjoy