Head coach Randy Carlyle of the Anaheim Ducks watches from the bench over (L-R) Ryan Carter #20, Bobby Ryan #9, Corey Perry #10 and Ryan Getzlaf #15 during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on March 6, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Ducks 4-0.
(March 5, 2010 - Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

Bobby Ryan appreciates what coach Carlyle did for him

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Bobby Ryan is getting ready for his first taste of the Battle of Ontario as the Ottawa Senators prepare to host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. Of course, Ryan isn’t the only former member of the Anaheim Ducks that’s involved in the clash, Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle will also be in attendance.

It might seem appropriate that Ryan and Carlyle now find themselves on opposite sides of this heated rivalry as they didn’t always see eye-to-eye in Anaheim and that helped spur the trade rumors that hung over Ryan for years. However, Ryan thinks people were overestimating the problems between the two and while he wouldn’t term their relationship as great, he isn’t blind to what Carlyle did for him.

“He’s a tough coach,” Ryan told the Ottawa Sun. “I do still really owe him quite a bit for becoming the player I am. That isn’t lost on me one bit.”

In reflection, the 26-year-old forward thinks that in his youth, he didn’t always understand what Carlyle was trying to do for him and Ryan took things too personally. Now that he’s matured, he can appreciate that his former coach had the best of intentions.

“I can take things and separate them now whereas I couldn’t when I was younger,” Ryan said. “I just always felt like I was the scapegoat with him. Sometimes I needed more than I knew … That pressure, that push. I certainly regret a lot of what went on.”

Now Carlyle will have to face and try to counter the man he helped guide into the player he is today. Meanwhile, Ryan will try to push a promising young team towards greatness.

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.