eemu Selanne,  Corey Perry

Great night for the Ducks: Anaheim shocks Dallas in OT, Jonas Hiller’s off the IR

Is Teemu Selanne a Stars-killer, or is it just a coincidence because the future Hall of Famer plays in the same division as Dallas? It doesn’t really matter, because either way, the veteran sniper delivered a gut-wrenching momentum change to the Stars in a Finnish Flash.

Dallas held a 2-1 lead late in the third period, but Selanne scored a tying goal with just seven seconds left. The Stars seemed genuinely rattled once the game entered overtime, playing back on their heels until Bobby Ryan set up Cam Fowler for a devastating game-winner a bit less than two minutes into OT.

Anaheim 3, Dallas 2 (OT)

Make no mistake about it, this is a huge win for the Ducks and a tough loss to take for the Stars. Anaheim now has a loose grip on the eighth spot in the West, with 87 points in 73 games played. The Ducks are red-hot as of late, with a four-game winning streak and nine wins in their last 11 games. Those last three victories came in overtime and all four were one-goal wins.

If you’re the type of person who likes to call teams or players “clutch,” this would be a good time to do so.

Ray Emery is now three-for-three in his impressive NHL return, but he might have to put it on hold again, as the team announced that workhorse goalie Jonas Hiller has been reactivated from the injured reserve. Three is normally a crowd in NHL nets, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the Ducks opted for a Hiller-Dan Ellis rotation.

On the bright side, they now know that Emery is a guy they can lean on if Hiller’s vertigo-like symptoms act up again.

The Stars aren’t totally lost, even if this loss hurts their chances – especially if the last playoff spot comes down to Dallas or Anaheim. (Anaheim only has one more point with the same games remaining, but has 37 non-shootout wins compared to the Stars’ 33. In other words, the Stars will probably need to finish with at least one more point than the Ducks, because they likely won’t win the tie-breaker.) Dallas has 86 points in 73 games played at the moment.

Squandering this win makes the Stars’ Saturday match against the Nashville Predators a borderline playoff game. Nashville holds a two-point lead with 88 points but the Predators already played one more game, so a regulation win could be a difference maker for Dallas. Of course, a regulation victory would be equally huge for the Preds.

Ultimately, this is far from the end of the race for both the Ducks and Stars, but some might look back at it as a pivotal moment in each teams’ seasons … at least until they play again (in Anaheim on April 3rd).

Friday’s loss serves as ‘harsh lesson’ for Blue Jackets

Jasper Fast, Nick Foligno, Henrik Lundqvist
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Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.

Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.

The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.

“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.

Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.

The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.

“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”



Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards

The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.

Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.

Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.

“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”

Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:

  • He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
  • Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
  • The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.

… Yeah.

Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.

Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?