Regular season recaps – October 9

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From the Penguins losing their first two games at home, the Blackhawks suffering a defeat as they raise their Stanley Cup banner and the Devils going 0-2 (OK, 0-1-1) in their first games with shiny new toy Ilya Kovalchuk, the 2010-11 season has seen it’s fair share of spoilers* so far. Anyway, let’s get to the recaps. They will be brisk because this was a hefty night of hockey.

* – Not the kind of spoilers that movie Web sites hand out, like the fact that that Bruce Willis is that dude in a hairpiece in “The Sixth Sense.”**

Columbus 3, San Jose 2 (OT)

Steve Mason was the star of this one, stopping 33 out of 35 shots to help the Blue Jackets go 1-1 overseas. Joe Thornton now has two goals in two games, a goal-scoring trend I doubt will continue (then again, he is in a contract year). The Sharks might worry a bit about their 5-on-5 scoring, as four of their five goals this season have come on the power play so far.

Washington 7, New Jersey 2

My pick for the Eastern Conference finals ended up being a real blow-out in this one. Martin Brodeur allowed 5 goals in two periods before Johan Hedberg allowed two more while Michal Neuvirth made his Brodeur impression by stopping 31 out for 33 shots. Alex Ovechkin was his usual better-than-Ilya-Kovalchuk self, scoring two goals and one assist while his Russian pal was held pointless.

Dallas 5, NY Islanders 4 (SO)

The Stars almost coughed this one up, but Dallas is 2-0 on the road and in “extra innings” as they began the season with a shootout and overtime win. One trend that could make Stars fans giddy is that Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro seem like they’re finding the chemistry that helped them form one of the league’s most underrated duos a few seasons ago. Morrow already has three goals in two games and Ribeiro assisted on all of them.

Toronto 5, Ottawa 1

Well, would you look at that? With a 2-0 start, the Toronto Maple Leafs might be building the confidence to take a Northeast Division that lacks an elite team. Let’s not plan the parade just yet, but Brian Burke must be happy about his team’s solid start.

Montreal 3, Pittsburgh 2

Read all about it here.

NY Rangers 6, Buffalo 3

The story of this game was rookie Derek Stepan’s hat trick. Check out the video here.

Tampa Bay 5, Atlanta 3

Steven Stamkos had two goals and one assist, evildoer Steve Downie had a goal and an assist and the Lightning fought off a late charge by the Thrashers to begin the Steve Yzerman era with a win.

Nashville 4, Anaheim 1

The Ducks have been out-scored 9-1 in their first two games this season. That’s just horrible. The Predators hope to scrap their way to the playoffs yet again. So far, so good.

St. Louis 2, Philadelphia 1 (OT)

Jaroslav Halak began his time as the St. Louis Blues top starter by stopping 29 out of 30 shots to win the game. Brian Boucher was sharp, too, stopping 23 out of 25 shots. The Blues scored a power-play goal, but need to be more efficient than 1 for 10 if they want to return to the playoffs this season.

Detroit 3, Chicago 2

The Red Wings spoiled the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup banner raising party by narrowly beating them in this one. Valterri Filppula scored two goals, including the game-winner on the power play, while Chris Osgood stopped 26 out of 28 shots to give Marty Turco and the Hawks their second loss of the season.

Note: We’ll cover the Kings-Canucks game tomorrow morning.

** – Numerous cool points to anyone who knows what TV show that reference is from.

Speed, skill help Stars score late victory to take series lead over Blues

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (3) is hit by St. Louis Blues center Paul Stastny (26) during the second period in Game 1 in the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs Friday, April 29, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.

Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.

As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.

The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.

Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.

Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.

 

Video: Roussel opens the scoring for Dallas and Elliott wasn’t happy about it

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The Dallas Stars grabbed the all-important first goal in Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues on Friday. And it was agitating forward Antoine Roussel who capitalized in the second period.

Roussel buried a rebound at the end of a pretty passing play from the Stars. Blues goalie Brian Elliott was furious, as defenseman Jay Bouwmeester slid into the crease in an attempt to block the shot.

WATCH LIVE: Nashville Predators at San Jose Sharks – Game 1

Nashville Predators' Paul Gaustad, left, defends against San Jose Sharks' Joel Ward (42) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in San Jose, Calif. Nashville won 2-1. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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After stunning the Anaheim Ducks with a Game 7 win in the first round, the Nashville Predators remain in California to take on the San Jose Sharks in the second round. You can catch Game 1 on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

Sharks have some ‘pent up energy,’ eager to start series with Preds

Game 7 win is ‘a big step’ for Predators

Burns, Doughty, Karlsson named finalists for 2016 Norris Trophy

Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson poses with the James Norris Memorial Trophy after winning the award at the NHL Awards show Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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Brent Burns, Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson have been named finalists for the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman, but the debate about who should win is likely to persist right through to June 22 and the annual NHL Awards.

Not only did Karlsson, last year’s Norris winner, lead all blue liners is points with 82, he led the league in assists with 66 and finished tied with Joe Thornton for fourth in the entire NHL in total points. Those lofty offensive totals could make the Ottawa Senators star the clear favorite to claim the award for a third time in his career.

From NHL.com:

Karlsson is the first NHL defenseman to score at least 82 in a season since Brian Leetch of the New York Rangers (85 points) and Ray Bourque of the Boston Bruins (82 points) in 1995-96.

Burns — is there an award for most outrageous beard? — is also coming off an impressive regular season, finishing just shy of the 30-goal mark with 27 and 75 points in 82 games for the Sharks. He’s also had a strong showing in the post-season, as well, with eight points in the opening round versus L.A.

Doughty’s offensive numbers don’t match up with the production from Karlsson or Burns, with 51 points in 82 games for the Kings. There were eight defensemen ahead of him in overall point production. But he’s often recognized for logging hefty amounts of ice time, averaging 28:01 in the regular season, on a Kings team that often dominates puck possession at even strength.

“If you’re going to win, I don’t care how good you are, you’re going to have to play the other side of the puck,” Kings GM Dean Lombardi recently said to the Associated Press.

“You’re going to have to make those little plays that aren’t going to show up on the highlights. (Doughty’s) defensive partners — the little things he’ll do just to get his partner time to make a play. He’s three steps ahead of everything, and because he is that, he makes it look easy.”