Anaheim Ducks v Dallas Stars

Stars take Pacific Division lead with win vs. Ducks

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The Dallas Stars keep finding ways to win – even with Kari Lehtonen on the shelf – while the Anaheim Ducks have little to be happy about aside from Teemu Selanne. That’s the short version of why the Stars topped the Ducks 5-3 to take the Pacific Division lead and bury Anaheim deeper in the cellar.

Things started off swimmingly for the Stars as they raced out to a 3-0 lead. Penalties reared their ugly head for Dallas once again, though, as they allowed two goals on the man advantage and an even strength tally as Anaheim tied things up.

Dallas took over in the third, though, which is becoming a common theme for a team that often thrives in close games. Michael Ryder and Eric Nystrom beat a Jonas Hiller who hasn’t looked like the same All-Star goalie since that disturbing bout with vertigo-like symptoms to give Dallas a decisive 5-3 victory. (Richard Bachman is now 4-1 as an NHL netminder, by the way.)

Selanne continues to produce wondrous results (a goal and an assist tonight) in a far-from-wonderful situation. The Versus gang revealed that his nine-game points streak is the longest ever run by a 41-year-old player. The Finnish Flash also passed Stars great Mike Modano for 27th all-time in scoring with 1,375 points.

Bruce Boudreau seemed to employ deft timing by calling a timeout when it was 3-0, but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that the Ducks’ biggest issues have little to do with X’s and O’s. Their stars aren’t rising to the occasion and their depth players are falling flat, which essentially makes Anaheim the polar opposite of their hated rivals in Dallas right now.

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Blues put Berglund on LTIR, use savings to sign Gomez

Scotte Gomez
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As was the case last season, Scott Gomez accepted a professional tryout offer because he went unsigned over the summer and once again he has used that opportunity to extend his career.

The St. Louis Blues announced that they have signed Gomez to a one-year contract. They didn’t disclose the financial terms, but it’s a two-way deal that comes with a base salary of $575K at the NHL level, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.

In order to free up the space necessary to sign him, St. Louis moved Patrik Berglund to the long-term injured reserve list. Berglund had shoulder surgery in August and isn’t expected to be available until January.

Gomez, 35, is coming off of a resurgence campaign where he recorded 34 points in 58 games on a Devils’ team that finished near the bottom of the pack offensively. The two-time Stanley Cup champion will be bringing more than a 1,000 games worth of NHL experience to St. Louis.

He’s not the only veteran forward to make the team off of a PTO as the Blues signed Scottie Upshall on Monday.

NHL key dates for the 2015-16 season

Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares
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Nov. 10 —  NHL General Managers Meeting (Toronto)

At last year’s November meetings, the GMs decided to kill the dry scrape. But these meetings usually serve as a table-setter for the rest of the season. It’s the more in-depth meetings in March where the majority of things get decided.

Nov. 27 — NHL Thanksgiving Showdown: Rangers at Bruins

The first of 12 “NHL on NBC” games in 2015-16. Click here for the full list, including the games on NBCSN.

Dec. 7-8 — NHL Board of Governors Meeting (Pebble Beach)

This is where we could find out about expansion. Will both Las Vegas and Quebec City get the nod? Only one of them? Neither of them?

Jan. 1 — Winter Classic: Canadiens at Bruins

From Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Please don’t make any “deflated pucks” jokes. You’re better than that.

Jan. 28-Feb. 1 — All-Star Break

This year’s festivities are being held in Nashville, which is a pretty fun town we hear. Skills competition on Saturday the 30th, game on Sunday the 31st. Over/under has been set at 25 goals and 60 percent effort.

Feb. 29 — NHL trade deadline

Leap day! Click here for a list of pending unrestricted free agents, a.k.a. potential rentals.

Mar. 14-16 — NHL General Managers Meeting (Boca Raton)

As mentioned, these are the more in-depth meetings where any recommendations are typically made. Last season, the GMs recommended 3-on-3 overtime and a coach’s challenge.

Apr. 9 — Last day of the regular season

All 30 teams in action on this Saturday. Playoffs begin four days later on Wednesday. Also, the draft lottery’s date is still to be determined, but should be held sometime around here.

June 18 — Last possible day for the Stanley Cup Final

Click here for PHT’s Cup picks.

June 24-25 — NHL draft

In Buffalo this year. Click here for Central Scouting’s “players to watch” list, led by Auston Matthews.

July 1 — Free agency begins

And then it’s summer.