Anders Lee

Tonight on NBCSN: No. 4 Notre Dame hosts Michigan State

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A bevy of NHL prospects for Notre Dame against struggling Michigan State as the Irish look to extend their three-game win streak.

No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-4-0) vs. Michigan State Spartans (4-8-2) — 7:30 p.m. ET

The Fighting Irish football team isn’t the only one on a roll right now. Notre Dame heads into their tw0-game weekend battle with Michigan State riding a three-game winning streak and winners of five of their last six. Meanwhile, the Spartans have lost three straight and are winless in their last four.

Notre Dame comes roaring into Friday night’s game after sweeping Lake Superior State last weekend and splitting with North Dakota two weeks ago. The Irish have been steady so far through the start of the season just dropping four games and jumping to fourth in the USA Hockey/USA Today poll. Coach Jeff Jackson has his team playing tough defense while getting outstanding goaltending from junior Steven Summerhays.

Michigan State, on the other hand, has been the polar opposite of their CCHA rivals. While they were able to get a 7-2 blowout win over rival Michigan on November 10, they’ve gone winless since then and have seen their offense come up short in the process. In their last four games, the Spartans have just three goals.

NHL prospects to watch:

If you want to see a load of talent, you’ll have your eyes peeled on Notre Dame. They’re led by Islanders prospect Anders Lee (pictured) who’s leading the Irish with 10 goals and 15 points. Fellow forwards Jeff Costello (Ottawa) and Bryan Rust (Pittsburgh) have also been piling up the points up front with 12 a piece. Freshman forward Mario Lucia (Minnesota) is healthy and scoring. He’s also on the Team USA WJC preliminary roster.

Defenseman Robbie Russo (Islanders) is a guy to watch on the blue line while Blue Jackets fans will be watching junior forward T.J. Tynan intently. If it’s big hits you’re after, Blackhawks prospect junior Stephen Johns is the guy to watch. Undrafted junior goalie Steven Summerhays has had an outstanding year for the Fighting Irish and is worth watching.

For Michigan State, the pickings are a bit slimmer with Flames prospect Matt DeBlouw getting most of the attention this year being second on the team in points with 11. Freshman defenseman John Draeger (Minnesota) has gotten off to a nice start leading the team’s blue liners with a goal and four assists.

Freshman goalie Jake Hildebrand, should he get the call to start, is the guy to watch for the Spartans. Meanwhile, undrafted sophomore Matt Berry is the team’s leading point man and goal scorer and a guy Notre Dame should track intently.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.