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).

Sharks’ Haley suspended one game for Jarnkrok sucker punch

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has come down on San Jose tough guy Micheal Haley.

On Monday, Haley was suspended one game for his sucker punch of Preds forward Calle Jarnkrok, near the end of Nashville’s 7-2 over the Sharks on Saturday.

“Haley forcefully punches a player who is off balance, not engaged in the confrontation and not even looking when the punch is thrown,” the DoPS explained, via video. “This is a forceful punch on an opponent who is not able to defend himself at the time.”

The DoPS did acknowledge Jarnkrok’s hit on Haley that preceded the punch — Jarnkrok was given a boarding minor on the play — and also noted that Haley explained he was seeking retribution for said hit.

In addition, the DoPS acknowledged this was Haley’s first offense.

As a result of the suspension, Haley will now miss San Jose’s next game — tomorrow at home against the Rangers — and will be eligible to return on Thursday, when the Sharks take on the Oilers in Edmonton.

Haley will also forfeit $3,472.22 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

 

Cassidy says Bruins ‘overused’ Rask early on

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Some interesting comments today from Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, after goalie Tuukka Rask returned to practice.

Cassidy’s remarks came in the wake of Saturday’s big win in Brooklyn — a game that Rask missed with a lower-body injury.

“He had a good practice today,” Cassidy said of Rask, per CSN New England“He’s a guy that’s played a lot of hockey this year … and he’s not a 240-pound goaltender that can handle all of the games, all of the workload every year. We know that. I’m not going to put limitations on him, but we probably overused him at the start of the year. At this time of year, it gets tougher and tougher with any player that’s been overplayed.”

It remains to be seen which netminder will get the nod tomorrow against Nashville at TD Garden. Anton Khudobin stopped 18 of 19 shots in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Islanders. After a 1-5-1 start to the season, the 30-year-old backup has won his last five starts.

But Cassidy insisted today that Rask is the Bruins’ “No. 1 goalie.”

“He’s our No. 1 and his health is very important,” said Cassidy. “When he’s physically ready to go and he tells me that, then we’ll make that decision.”

Couture seeing dentist today, Sharks hoping for the best

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Logan Couture took a puck to the face Saturday in Nashville, forcing him to leave an eventual 7-2 loss to the Predators — and leave it without all his teeth.

Today, the San Jose forward is seeing the dentist. The hope, according to head coach Pete DeBoer, is that Couture’s injury isn’t as serious as initially feared.

“You see him the next day, the swelling wasn’t as bad as we thought,” DeBoer said Monday, per CSN Bay Area. “He’s seeing the dentist today, and going to have some dental work done. But, I think the initial prognosis is that we feel pretty fortunate that with the amount of damage compared to what it could have been.”

The slumping Sharks, losers of six straight, have seven games left in the regular season. They host the Rangers tomorrow.

Report: Western Michigan leading scorers sign with Blackhawks and Canucks

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The two top scorers on the Western Michigan Broncos have signed with NHL teams, according to ESPN’s John Buccigross.

Forward Matheson Iacopelli, 22, has signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, who drafted him 83rd overall in 2014 out of the USHL. Iacopelli had 20 goals and 16 assists in 40 games this season.

Forward Griffen Molino, meanwhile, will join the Vancouver Canucks organization. Undrafted, the 23-year-old Molino had 15 goals and 18 assists in 40 games this season.

Iacopelli (6-3, 206) and Molino (6-0, 185) were linemates with the Broncos, along with senior Sheldon Dries.