Just over eight months ago, the Minnesota Wild made all the difference in the world to the Chicago Blackhawks.
On the afternoon of April 10th, the Blackhawks lost at home to the Detroit Red Wings in game 82 of their season. Although the Blackhawks held a 2-point lead over the Dallas Stars in the standings, everybody - from the fans right through to the players - assumed the season was over. Minnesota hadn't been playing well; the Wild had been out of the playout race for several games. All the Stars needed to do was beat the Wild - and, tied at 97 points with Chicago, the tiebreaker would put Dallas, not the Blackhawks, into the playoffs.
The Islanders, who are boasting the worst offense in the league with only a dismal 59 goals for (the second worst team is the L.A. Kings with 63), were heavily criticized for one specific thing over the past three months; not scoring enough goals. (Shocking, right?)
After being shutout several times this year, the Isles were becoming a one-trick pony; if the line of Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau wasn't scoring, then there wasn't anything to worry about if you were the opposing team. However, the Isles have been on a recent streak after coming away with points in their past six games played.
The Islanders won a hard fought 5-4 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night, and it can be termed hard fought for many reasons; the Isles saw a three-goal lead get washed away to a tie in the second period; Rick DiPietro pulled his groin, forcing Al Montoya to start the third period; the Stars kept coming back on the score board; and last but not least, Nino Niederreiter left the game with a concussion after a devastating hit from Stars defenseman, Mark Fistric.
Matt Moulson scored the first four-goal game of his NHL career Saturday night against the Dallas Stars; it was also the first individual four-goal game of the 2012 season. As a result, the Islanders were able to hold on for a thrilling 5-4 win.
Although the win is what ultimately matters most for the Islanders, who took seven out of eight possibly points on their four-game road trip, Moulson was the recipient of this week's NHL's First Star honors.
The Islanders come off of a 5-4 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks to face the Dallas Stars. The Stars enter the game being a banged up team with a record of 15-9-1.
The Stars will start goaltender Andrew Raycroft, who has taken over the starting role recently after Kari Lehtonen substained an injury. Raycroft, the 31 year old netminder on his sixth NHL team, seems to have finally found the right home for him. Raycroft played earlier in his career with Boston, Toronto, Colorado, and Vancouver.
The Stars have had the offensive touch from Eric Nystrom lately, putting up points in 5 of his last 6 games.
The Islanders need to play the game they have been playing for the past week; putting pucks on net instead of just dumping the puck into the zone.
Although Jack Capuano has not announced tonight's starting goaltender, it would be assumed that Al Montoya will be the started. Montoya has been on fire this past week and there is absolutely no reason to sit him.
Coach Capuano should not have to scramble his lines for tonight's game looking back at last night's game. It is his defense he needs to be concerned about. It's usually the little things the defense does that cost the team and Jack needs to make sure the defense is on top of their game.
Tonight is meeting 1 of 2 this season between these two team and it should be an exciting one based on how these teams have been playing as of late.
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The worst has happened for Dallas Stars faithful. Kari Lehtonen is hurt.
Not just him, though. Joining Lehtonen (groin) in sick bay are Brenden Morrow (upper body), Trevor Daley (back), Adam Burish (broken hand), Vernon Fiddler (groin), and Alex Goligoski (thumb). Many significant contributors to the Dallas Stars' early success are out, and some are out for a long time.
Thankfully, reports show that Brenden Morrow should be back for Thursday against the Ottawa Senators. All of the above are expected to miss Monday's tilt in Colorado. Morrow won't be enough to get the Stars back on track, though. The Stars have had a rough go of i...
It took a thrilling shootout to solve an energetic tilt as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Dallas Stars on Black Friday, 4-3. Jonas Gustavsson made a beautiful desperation save to keep Mike Ribeiro's shootout attempt out of the net to seal the win.
The Stars found offense from a rising scoring source in their ranks, Eric Nystrom. The waiver-wire pickup got the Stars on the board first with a dazzling move off of a wonderful pass from Michael Ryder to make it 1-0.
Then the much maligned defense against the defense failed the Stars as defenseman Dion Phaneuf factored heavily into the next goals, shooting two shots towards the net. One...
Those were the words of Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan following a 6-0 destruction at the American Airlines Center on Tuesday. And how right those words are for a team that has lost its third straight game.
Kari Lehtonen (32) looks on helplessly as Tomas Fleischmann scores
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Benn (left) and Eriksson (right) celebrate a 7-6 OT victory over Colorado
NHL fans have seen their fair share of dynamic duos throughout the years. Kurri and Gretzky, Crosby and Malkin, Forsberg and Gagne, Datsyuk and Zetterberg...the list goes on. But who would have thought of Eriksson and Benn b...