If the Dallas Stars’ defense has survived and occasionally thrived in John Klingberg’s absence, you can thank his regular partner, Esa Lindell.
The 24-year-old Finn has stepped out of Klingberg’s long shadow in the past few weeks. And he’s finally getting credit for being the player he’s been all along, writes Mike Heika:
“He’s taken a huge step. He’s a monster for us right now,” said winger Brett Ritchie, who had a goal and assist in the game [against the Edmonton Oilers]. “He’s becoming a top defenseman in the league. I think he was underrated for a long time, but people are starting to notice him now. With the absence of Klingberg, he has really stepped up.”
Lindell is setting an especially torrid pace in hits – from 93 last season to 92 so far this season:
“He’s becoming the man for us right now with Klinger out,” said captain Jamie Benn. “He’s embraced the challenge and he loves to compete. You can tell in practice, there’s no challenge that’s too big for him. He’s enjoying this, having fun.”
There’s more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]
You might side-eye the Miro Heiskanen hype in this video if you’ve never seen Miro Heiskanen play.
Monday’s victory sent the Stars rocketing up the NHL Power Rankings. [NHL]
Mike answers the burning questions in his latest #HeyHeika.
He and Razor talked about what the Seattle expansion means for Dallas in their latest episode of Rinky Dinking.
And the Captain made the Stars’ AT&T Photo of the Month in a familiar stance.
Around the League(s)
- The St. Louis Blues made it all the way to the shootout, but lost 3-2 to the Oilers and a Connor McDavid snipe. [Copper And Blue]
- And the Chicago Blackhawks dropped their fifth consecutive game in a 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Honda Center. [Second City Hockey]
After the year’s longest cliffhanger, William Nylander will finally make his season debut against the Detroit Red Wings.
Have yourself a night, Jumbo.— NHL (@NHL) December 6, 2018
Three assists and only three shy of 10th overall on the NHL's all-time list. pic.twitter.com/gDAwpy4bgw
What does the Arizona Coyotes’ realignment to the #MurderDeathKill Division foreshadow?
Is Arizona's move to the Central a hint the Coyotes could relocate to a market in a central time zone? And will Nylander stick with the Maple Leafs for the duration of his contract? That and more on the latest episode of The Hockey News Live:https://t.co/nyaSePBql3 pic.twitter.com/Rg9JHbxf15— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) December 6, 2018
...But the real question is, what does this mean for Canada?
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Enjoy the postgame interviews, including one with winning goalie Landon Bow:
POST GAME INTERVIEWS: Lots of positive takeaways from Coach Laxdal, Landon Bow, and Denis Gurianov after this one https://t.co/KOPs8FqbiV— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) December 6, 2018
The Seattle Seahawks have a warm welcome for their future NHL brethren. Enjoy.