Sheldon Souray, Loui Eriksson

Dallas is the NHL’s first 10-win team

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The Dallas Stars defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 this afternoon, their 10th win of the season.

With that, Dallas became the first team to hit the 10-win mark, moved atop the Western Conference and drew within one point of Pittsburgh for the overall league lead.

Not bad for a team with the NHL’s fourth-lowest payroll that filed for bankruptcy in September, hey?

The Stars are now officially the surprise story of this young season. Toronto’s hot start has been stunning as well, but the Leafs didn’t lose their leading scorer (Brad Richards) in the offseason.

(In fact, the Leafs tried to acquire him.)

So there’s little question Dallas is the NHL’s biggest surprise. But within the Dallas room, it’s tough to pick who has surprised the most. It could be G Kari Lehtonen, with his league-best 10-1-0 record. It could be Sheldon Souray, fifth amongst all defensemen in scoring. It could be LW Jamie Benn, who has never scored more than 56 points in a season but is on pace for 89 this year. It could be head coach Glen Gulutzan, who two years ago was coaching the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers.

Whatever the case, it’s safe to say that few saw this coming.

The Stars are going to be a really interesting team to watch this week. Today’s contest in Carolina was the first of a four-game roadie that continues to Washington (fifth in the NHL), Pittsburgh (first in the NHL) and Detroit (4-2-1 at the Joe thus far). Without looking past the Caps game, everybody had the Nov. 11 date in Pittsburgh circled because it was a potential return date for Sidney Crosby.

Imagine if it’s Crosby’s return and a battle of the NHL’s top-two teams?

Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

As Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) looks on Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic waves to the crowd after a tribute to him was played on the screen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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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.

Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic

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The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

This GIF might just say it all, really:

Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

The Panthers ultimately won 7-4.

Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

Want it in GIF form? OK then:

Sending a message: Flames scratch Gaudreau, Monahan, Bouma

Calgary Flames' Sean Monahan, left, celebrates his goal with teammate Johnny Gaudreau during the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes in an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau figure to be a big part of the Calgary Flames’ forward group, both in the present and the future.

That said, it the very specific present, they’ll be watching Tuesday’s game from the press box.

After an unsatisfactory practice amid flailing playoff hopes, Flames head coach Bob Hartley made a big statement tonight, taking Monahan, Gaudreau and Lance Bouma out of the lineup as healthy scratches against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Wow.

It’s amusing timing, too, as the Maple Leafs will roll with a bit of a skeleton crew of their own after that splashy Dion Phaneuf trade.

Some background

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector was there for the practice, which was unusually short at 25 minutes.

“He wasn’t happy with the way we were practicing,” David Jones told Spector. “It’s a little embarrassing when we’re not (making) five-foot passes.

“I think he was pretty pissed off about the way things were looking.”

Call it a combination of poor execution and maybe a tardy arrival … perhaps from a Super Bowl party or two?