Playoffs, here they come...? After a soporific start, last night’s Dallas Stars - Minnesota Wild game got as serious as a late-midseason Central Division game ought to be. And ultimately, the Victory Green gang looked the part of a top-three team in the #MurderDeathKill Division as they beat their rivals 3-1.
What’s next for the Stars as we enter NHL trade deadline month? The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks says it’s time to refocus – and buy for need:
The Stars, armed with a stout defense and strong goaltending, shut out the Wild at even strength on Friday night, and Ben Bishop’s only blemish was a power-play goal allowed in the second period. Dallas has allowed seven total goals in their last five games.
But it’s not the defense that is in question. It’s the scoring.
Dallas entered the night with the third-worst offense in the league and nearly notched their 30th game of the season with two or fewer goals before Tyler Seguin’s empty-net goal in the final minutes sealed the victory. Only one NHL team has more such games than the Stars.
The fact that the Stars – indeed, the entire Central – are already in playoff-hockey mode factors in. Will we see that intensity again today as they roll into Music City today to face the Nashville Predators?
”These are the kinds of games that get you ready for playoffs,” Seguin said. “That’s what we say about the Central, everyone talks about how it’s the hardest division in the league, if not sports, but when you come down to the last 30 games or so, you’re playing playoff games already.”
[Andrew] Cogliano said: “This is playoff hockey at this point. Is there a ton of experience in here? No, I think we have younger guys and I think have guys that have come up and played. At this point in the season, those are the games you’re going to get. When you start winning those games, you gain confidence and then you start really believing you’re a good team and you can do some good things.”
Matt has more. [SportsDayDFW]
Cogs opened the scoring with his first goal in Victory Green.
Have we mentioned that Segs scored twice during last night’s victory? Here’s his GWG. Sprinkles all around!
Mike Heika hails Seguin’s leadership in his latest column.
And ICYMI, young cardio patient Anderson McDuffie kicked off American Heart Month by meeting his hero, Rich Peverley – or was it the other way around?
Is Brent Severyn on to something here...?
Stars are 3-0 without a desk!!! We don’t need no stink’n desk! https://t.co/2fNAP3R9rj— Brent Severyn (@BrentSeveryn) February 2, 2019
Mooterus fans, you are loved. At least by the Stars’ official AAC merch store, and at least if you have $34 for one of these snapback bad boys.
So this is in The Hangar now. pic.twitter.com/CU8cvDH5p4— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) January 31, 2019
Around The League(s)
In On The #Kill Taker
- Patrick Kane netted four points – including his 900th as an NHL player – as the Chicago Blackhawks trounced the Buffalo Sabres, 7-3. [Second City Hockey]
- Juuse Saros and Roberto Luongo made it a goalie duel for a while, but the Preds prevailed over the Florida Panthers, 4-1. [On The Forecheck]
The Winnipeg Jets have not lost three games in a row all season. Declan Schroeder takes a look at how the team shakes off trouble.
In trade action, Derick Brassard is off the board. The Panthers and the Pittsburgh Penguins came to terms yesterday.
We break down the Penguins-Panthers swap.⬇️ https://t.co/03jKCqftV5— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) February 1, 2019
Will the Colorado Avalanche have to bury their internal cap to keep Art Ross contender Mikko Rantanen? Luke Fox takes a look.
#Leafs defender Morgan Rielly explains why playing the wrong side is "tough," Sidney Crosby is gunning for another trophy he's never won, and a few underrated trade deadline team are emerging.— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 2, 2019
That and much more in @lukefoxjukebox's latest Quick Shifts:https://t.co/6wjMAZLKFp
Dallas is trending up – a little – in divisional point pacing. Will it be enough?
Divisional Point Paces through 2/1/2019 pic.twitter.com/G525LgJ5mI— Mike Gallimore (@mikegallimore) February 2, 2019
Sean McIndoe was a littler triggered by the Dallas Mavericks’ big trade for Kristaps Porzingis. The result is the latest installment of Down Goes Brown (with a guest appearance by a vintage Brett Hull).
From earlier: Why can NBA teams pull off blockbuster trades in a few hours but NHL teams claim they need months? Plus thoughts on Artemi Panarin, comedy stars, Brett Hull saves Bill Goldberg from the NWO and lots more in the Friday Grab Bag. https://t.co/9oRsmyYdYQ pic.twitter.com/2YlpRA9x9v— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) February 1, 2019
Mental illness is an equal-opportunity scourge. Team Canada inline hockey star Kendra Fisher opens up about her lifelong struggle with anxiety and panic disorder for The Players’ Tribune. #BellLetsTalk
“Just tell me you love me, tell me you’ll see me in the morning”— Kendra Fisher (@Kendra_Fisher30) January 30, 2019
I spent so many nights wondering if tomorrow would come...if I could get there...so many nights for so long, it felt like it wasn’t possible...#mentallyfit #BellLetsTalkhttps://t.co/7FzsPx2iyc
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
At least casual scoring machine Joel L’Esperance got another apple for his trouble.
Black History Month began yesterday. The New York Rangers celebrated by unveiling new equipment, a teaching curriculum, and a training program that will make street hockey available for 13,000 East Harlem students. Enjoy.