The Dallas Stars threw everything they had at the New York Rangers last night, and it turned out to be enough. Tyler Seguin scored on a delayed penalty and Martin Hanzal on the power play. Those two goals meant two more precious points in a tight Western Conference playoffs race.
The Stars brought skill and hustle to grab both goals, and they needed every bit to dethrone Henrik Lundqvist, who saved 39 of 41 shots. It’s the latest manifestation of an encouraging trend, writes Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News:
The victory is the third in a row for Dallas, which moves to 31-19-4 (66 points). Dallas now is just one point behind third place St. Louis in the Central Division and continues to keep a firm hold on the first wildcard playoff spot in the Western Conference.
What’s more, the Stars continue to find a way to stay calm and battle through some pretty tight games. Dallas survived a tough first period against Arizona and took a 4-1 win Thursday. It then exploded in the second period during a tense scoreless game against Minnesota Saturday. And on Monday, the Stars didn’t allow Lundqvist to get into their heads.
Ben Bishop held up his end of the ice, making 31 saves on 32 shots, yet the Stars really benefited from the team’s persistence at the opposite net, said head coach Ken Hitchcock:
“It’s a second- and third-effort league and that’s where the second and third effort has to take place,” Hitchcock said. “We’ve just got to keep getting better. I told the guys today, ‘The opponent doesn’t matter anymore when you’ve got this few games left. Every game matters.’ These points matter as much as the points on Thursday do.”
There’s more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
Want to watch that Julius Honka-to-Hanzal power-play goal again? Sure, we all do!
And here’s the Seguin equalizer, courtesy of a picture-perfect pass by extra attacker Jason Spezza.
Big Ben had a good return to action after catching a puck to the face on the bench last Thursday. He looked only slightly swollen during last night’s post-game presser.
All things considered, it was a great way to end a night honoring Dan Hamhuis for his 1,000th NHL game. [Dallas Stars]
After last night’s victory, the Stars are finally beginning to achieve a little separation from the bottom half of the Central Division.
In what was a crowded division just a couple weeks ago, things are starting to spread out. The Stars continue their push for a top 3 spot in the Central. #GoStars pic.twitter.com/DMCStY8uGP— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) February 6, 2018
Is it - is it happening? Greg Wyshynski discusses the latest leaders in the PHWA’s postseason awards derby, and you’ll never guess which defenseman named has jumped to the front of the Norris Trophy race. Spoiler alert: It’s John Klingberg.
If we're going to be honest about the numbers, Hedman isn't in the top three for the Norris. He's getting a bump from his team's success and our collective desire to see him win one. https://t.co/GrePTnhNyt— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) February 5, 2018
Around the League(s)
It was a quiet night in #Murder, with the Nashville Predators the only other Central Division team on the schedule. The Preds got a 5-4, come-from-behind win in overtime against the New York Islanders because of course they did. [On The Forecheck]
The Rangers are heading home, and forward Rick Nash may be heading for a new team. But first, they’ll have to get past his 18-teams-deep no-trade list.
Rick Nash reportedly submits no-trade list to Rangers https://t.co/yRvJ7KoEiN— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) February 5, 2018
Dan Rosen of NHL.com suggested that the Stars could (...should?) be prospective buyers:
Top 3 likely contenders that I think need a versatile top-6 power forward like Rick Nash and where he'd be an ideal fit: Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks. If you want to go with four, include the St. Louis Blues. #NYR— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) February 5, 2018
And Mike Heika responded with the sports journalist equivalent of “Settle down, Beavis”:
NHL trade rumors: Why Rick Nash, Dion Phaneuf wouldn't be great fits with Stars https://t.co/DNqyiJDYZv pic.twitter.com/gQ8dFLqFUk— SportsDay Stars (@dmn_stars) February 6, 2018
As if the Winnipeg Jets needed to get any better, center Mark Scheifele is back at practice and could return to the lineup as early as Friday against the St. Louis Blues.
Jets' Mark Scheifele close to return from injury https://t.co/CoAwVY1IgZ pic.twitter.com/usJ2xAsjxh— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) February 6, 2018
And Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon has returned to the ice, although he’s still expected to miss another two to four weeks with an injured shoulder.
Nathan MacKinnon, NHL MVP candidate, is back skating for Colorado Avalanche https://t.co/EvWO2jCPu7— The Denver Post (@denverpost) February 6, 2018
Tonight, Marc-Andre Fleury will play against the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time since the Vegas Golden Knights acquired him in the expansion draft. There may be tears - and not all of them from Pens fans.
Marc-Andre Fleury will be "happy to be there for a few claps" when he returns to Pittsburgh for the first time tomorrow night. And there might just be a tear or two. My blog. https://t.co/R5bnvBwiew— Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell) February 5, 2018
The more things change, the more they stay the same, and the Buffalo Sabres are more than ready for a new team culture.
Despite a new regime in Buffalo, the same problems continue to plague the Sabres https://t.co/57MypwlWrH— SI NHL (@SI_NHL) February 6, 2018
One more callback to Retro Night, as Friend of DBD Brandon Worley would like to make sure you saw this photo of Jamie Benn in a 1993-era Stars sweater. Enjoy.
This photo of Jamie Benn in the 1993 jerseys is just...perfect. I know everyone loves the "star" design, but I really want to have these as the thirds. Reminds me of playing NHL 94. pic.twitter.com/fHD1NYu0HF— Brandon Worley (@brandonworley) February 5, 2018