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NBCSN to air more than 20 NCAA hockey games this season

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It’s a great day for college hockey and its fans as they will have more reasons to tune in on Friday nights throughout the season.

NBC announced they’ve struck a deal with the University of Notre Dame to carry Fighting Irish home games from Compton Family Ice Arena for the next three years.

This season alone will see NBCSN carry 20 games over the air, including 12 from Notre Dame. This season, the Fighting Irish moved into Hockey East which means heated games against classic college hockey stalwarts like Boston College, Boston University, and New Hampshire as well as rising programs in Providence College and UMass-Lowell.

Coverage begins tonight at 8 p.m. ET with Notre Dame hosting coach Andy Murray’s Western Michigan Broncos.

As for the full slate of games to be aired this season, here’s the schedule (all times Eastern):

  • October 11 Western Michigan – Notre Dame 8 p.m.
  • October 25 Massachusetts – Maine 8 p.m.
  • November 1 Northeastern – Boston College 8 p.m.
  • November 8 Minnesota – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
  • November 15 Merrimack – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
  • November 22 North Dakota – Boston University 7:30 p.m.
  • December 6 Massachusetts – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
  • December 7 Massachusetts – Notre Dame 6:30 p.m.
  • December 13 Colorado College – Wisconsin 7:30 p.m.
  • January 10 Alabama Huntsville – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
  • January 17 Lake Superior State – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
  • January 18 Penn State – Michigan State 6:30 p.m.
  • January 24 Northeastern – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
  • January 25 Northeastern – Notre Dame 7:00 p.m.
  • January 31 Boston University – Massachusetts 7:30 p.m.
  • February 1 Wisconsin – Michigan 6:30 p.m.
  • February 7 Maine – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
  • February 8 Maine – Notre Dame 8 p.m.
  • February 14 Boston University – New Hampshire 7 p.m.
  • February 15 Wisconsin – Ohio State 8 p.m.
  • February 21 Boston University – Notre Dame 7 p.m.
  • March 1 Penn State – Minnesota TBD

Coverage doesn’t stop there as there will be eight games carried via NBC Sports Live Extra as well:

  • October 18 Michigan Tech – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
  • November 9 Minnesota – Notre Dame 7 p.m.
  • November 16 Merrimack – Notre Dame 7 p.m.
  • November 29 Alabama Huntsville – Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
  • November 30 Shillelagh Tournament 7:30 p.m.
  • January 11 Alabama Huntsville – Notre Dame 7 p.m.
  • January 18 Lake Superior State – Notre Dame 7 p.m.
  • February 22 Boston University – Notre Dame 7 p.m.

If you haven’t gotten to know coach Jeff Jackson’s Notre Dame squad before, you can get a crash course in that this season. The Fighting Irish are currently ranked eighth in the country in the USA Hockey/USA Today poll.

Related: NBCSN to air five Big Ten men’s hockey games

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.