Kari Lehtonen, Shane Doan

Stars win a heart-stopper against Coyotes, maintain Pacific lead


Many people reasonably complained when the hyper-dramatic Phoenix Coyotes-Dallas Stars game went to a shootout, but it opened the door for one of those rare moments when sports become pure theater.

The newly crowned villain must save his team in a 1-on-1 situation with the crowd booing him.

Shane Doan surprisingly played that role well – if unwittingly – tonight. After landing a possibly suspension-worthy elbow on Dallas Stars stud Jamie Benn, Doan assisted on both goals to send the game to OT 3-3. Doan had a chance to tie the shootout up after a mind-blowing Mike Ribeiro success, but Kari Lehtonen waited him out for the 4-3 (SO) victory. Yet the most striking thing during that attempt was that the crowd booed Doan heartily the whole time.

Doan and Benn – who took at least two other scary hits – were the central figures of what was a great contest. The Coyotes continue to fall behind by two goals lately, yet they keep coming back. Edmonton had a 2-0 lead against them last night only to lose in a shootout to them 3-2 via a shootout while Phoenix fought back from a 3-1 deficit tonight.

The Stars got the last laugh, though, and their 85 points ensures that they’ll remain atop the Pacific Division no matter what happens in the big San Jose-Los Angeles battle (currently 1-1 with 3:27 left in the first period, airing on NBC Sports Network).

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Benn banged up?

The only big worry – beyond those tough Pacific teams that are still not that far behind – is the health of crucial star Benn. The big forward made a shootout attempt and generally kept coming back after scary hits, but was also seen shaken up in the Stars’ tunnel during the game. We’ll have to wait and see about a development that could hurt a whole lot more than allowing the Coyotes a charity point.

Video: Hextall comments on AHL d-man Pyett, who was diagnosed with sarcoma in leg

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) Defenseman Logan Pyett of the Philadelphia Flyers’ AHL affiliate has been diagnosed with a form of cancer and will be out indefinitely.

The team said Friday the 27-year-old Canadian has a sarcoma in his upper leg. Flyers general manager Ron Hextall says the club offers “heartfelt thoughts and prayers.”

Pyett signed a one-year contract with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms after being at the Flyers’ training camp. He was selected by Detroit in the seventh round of the 2006 NHL entry draft. He signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers in 2012 and spent two seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Update: Wisniewski tore ACL 47 seconds into ‘Canes debut

James Wisniewski, John-Michael Liles, Elias Lindholm
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Last night, we passed along news that veteran d-man James Wisniewski — acquired from Carolina at the draft — suffered what looked to be a serious injury just 47 seconds into his ‘Canes debut, and was ruled out for the remainder of the night.

Now, he’s been ruled out for a lot longer than that.

From the club:

Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that defenseman James Wisniewski will undergo surgery on his left knee after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during Thursday night’s game in Nashville.

Recovery time for the injury is estimated at six months.

This is, obviously, a tough development for both player and club. The ‘Canes were counting on Wisniewski to be a regular contributor on defense this year, and help improve last year’s middle-of-the-pack power play.

Wisniewski, meanwhile, was looking to bounce back from a disappointing ’14-15 campaign. He was shipped out of Columbus at the deadline to Anaheim but never made an impact for the Ducks, failing to see any playoff action as Anaheim made it all the way to the Western Conference final.