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No unbeaten NHL teams remain after Dallas follows Toronto’s loss thanks to awful penalty killing

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While the Toronto Maple Leafs can take one point and some positives away from their first defeat of the season to the New York Islanders, the Dallas Stars have plenty to worry about after the Tampa Bay Lightning handed them a humbling (and misleadingly close) 5-4 loss tonight.

The Stars were getting away with allowing a lot of shots (an average of 38 per game including tonight’s ugly affair) – and plenty of power-play goals – so far in their impressive 4-0 run, but their luck ran out tonight. It’s almost as if the Lightning were angered by Toby Petersen’s short-handed goal, as the hard-charging group scored a stunning four out of five times on the man advantage in this game. Steve Stamkos was especially impressive in this one, scoring one goal and adding two assists to bring his season totals to five goals and nine points in only five games played.

A bad penalty kill is troubling enough, but that aforementioned tendency to get out-shot might be the most worrisome trend. As impressive as Kari Lehtonen can be, you’re not going to win many games when you give up 44 shots and only put 19 on the opposing goalie.

The second period was especially embarrassing for the Stars as the Lightning out-shot them 20-3 while widening their lead from 2-1 to 4-2. The stunning part is that Tampa Bay did this all without team captain Vincent Lecavalier, who missed the contest with a hand injury.

Dallas made a late surge in the third period after allowing their fourth PP goal of the night, as Brenden Morrow scored soon after and James Neal brought the game to within one goal with a minute left. This team clearly can fill the net with aplomb, but chances are pretty high that they won’t often produce four (or more) goals on less than 20 shots over the long haul.

The good news is that the Stars are still 4-1 even though they’ve needed great goaltending and an explosive offense to obscure some serious blemishes. The bad news is that they have a long way to go until they can match their elite record with elite, overall team efforts.

If nothing else, they should be awfully entertaining to watch if they can keep scoring at such a blistering rate, though.

NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Penguins renew acquaintances on Rivalry Night

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Tonight, there’s a big Metropolitan Division showdown at Consol as the Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Rangers. You can catch the game on NBCSN (8 p.m. ET), or watch live online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:

Rangers ‘are doing a lot of good things’

‘I wonder if that’s Crosby, what happens?’ — AV upset after McDonagh concussed by Simmonds

Malkin (lower body) to miss rest of week

Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week

 

 

PHT Morning Skate: It’s not like they robbed a bank

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley seems pretty chill about healthy-scratching Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Lance Bouma. That goes for Monahan and Gaudreau in particular, noting that they’re “great kids.”

Besides … it’s not like they robbed a bank. (NHL.com)

Uh oh, did Nazem Kadri make the throat-slashing gesture to Mark Giordano? See for yourself in the video above. (Puck Daddy)

What should the New York Islanders do with unrestricted free agent Kyle Okposo, who’s enjoying a productive contract year? (The Hockey News)

What a playoff berth would mean to the Florida Panthers. (Sportsnet)

Checking in with various teams as the trade deadline looms. (NHL Numbers)

On the Canucks using those Pavel Bure-era jerseys. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

Despite tough fight, Stars hand Wild their sixth straight loss

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The Minnesota Wild put together the kind of effort that would beat a lot of NHL teams on Tuesday. Unfortunately for that beleaguered group, it wasn’t enough to edge the Dallas Stars.

Despite generating 40 shots on goal and generating 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Wild lost to the Stars 4-3 in overtime. With that, they’ve lost six straight games.

(The view doesn’t get much prettier if you pull away a little further, either, as Minnesota’s only won once in the last month, going 1-9-2 in their last 12.)

Ultimately, the Stars’ big guns were too powerful. Tyler Seguin generated two assists and so did Jamie Benn, who set up John Klingberg‘s overtime game-winning goal.

Again, the effort sure seemed to be there for the Wild, even if they’re far beyond the point of accepting moral victories.

As frustrating as this must be, Minnesota’s not that far from a playoff spot. Still, it has to sting to see “Close, but not good enough” as a prevailing theme as of late.

Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

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The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.

You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.

Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.

Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.

This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.