Around the Rink – Thursday, October 28

Let’s take a look at today’s eight games. All times Eastern (ET).

7:00 pm

Florida @ Ottawa

The Senators try to put together their first “winning streak” of the season by earning two victories in a row. The Panthers hope to score a few goals after some recent struggles. This is not a marquee matchup.

Edmonton @ Columbus

The Blue Jackets just beat the Flyers and Blackhawks, so they’re bringing in a nice bit of momentum as they try to bring their home record to .500. It doesn’t get much easier than beating the Edmonton Oilers – at least on paper – as the young group is on a five-game losing streak right now. They are also a hideous 2-22-3 in their last 27 road games.

Toronto @ Boston

Phil Kessel plays against the team that traded him, including the crowned jewel of that trade: Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin. It’s a pretty big one for Boston, as beating Toronto would bring them within one point of the Leafs in the Northeast Division.

7:30 pm

Phoenix @ Detroit

Things haven’t gone too well for the Coyotes lately. They’re on a three game losing streak and playing against the Red Wings (currently on a three game winning streak) isn’t exactly the antidote.

8:00 pm

Washington @ Minnesota

This would normally be a battle between reckless entertainment and feckless drabness, but the Wild should be more interesting watch because of all that Martin Havlat drama. The Capitals try to stay right behind the Lightning in the Southeast while the Wild hope to get their act together.

St. Louis @ Nashville

While the Red Wings and Blackhawks hog the headlines, the Predators and Blues are formidable Central Division teams in their own right. Will Nashville continue their unbeaten-in-regulation streak going against St. Louis?

8:30 pm

Los Angeles @ Dallas

While a huge chunk of Stars fans will have one eye on this game and another on Game 2 of the World Series, I’ll be in the building with hockey on my mind. Too bad Drew Doughty isn’t going to play thanks to concussion problems, though.

9:30 pm

Colorado @ Calgary

The Flames are (forgive me) on a hot streak right now, dominating their opponents while putting together three wins in a row. The Avalanche are almost the opposite, on a three game losing streak and without their No. 1 goalie Craig Anderson for an indefinite amount of time. Yikes.

Another North Dakota junior goes pro as Blackhawks sign Luke Johnson

Quinnipiac forward Tommy Schutt, left, moves the puck as North Dakota forward Luke Johnson, middle, checks Quinnipiac forward Travis St. Denis during the first period of an NCAA college hockey tournament game Friday, March 27, 2015, in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota won 4-1. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy)
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Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.

This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

In 43 games with the NCAA champions this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, three off his college career high set the previous year.

Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, bumping the number of players from that program’s junior class to turn pro to four since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.

Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.

Brock Boeser, a 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.

Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1

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Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?

Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.

Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.

Official update on the really important story of the evening:

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

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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.