Friday’s Central Division matchup presents two teams in very different states of mind in the Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets.
The Jets host the Stars one night after the Minnesota Wild obliterated them in the faceoff circle. Winnipeg bench boss Claude Noel didn’t sugarcoat the Jets’ inability to control the puck lately, as the Winnipeg Free Press reported on Thursday.
“We don’t start (with the puck) so we’re always checking, chasing it down,” Noel said. “Regardless of which end, we’re always checking.”
While the Jets might be a little bleary-eyed on a back-to-back that’s causing some soul-searching, the Stars may argue that they’re still searching for their identity.
Dallas hasn’t played a game since Oct. 5 and Friday marks the Stars’ first game against a Western Conference team in 2013-14.
If it wasn’t obvious enough that they’re seeking a strong start, this also begins a three-game tour of the Central Division as they go from Winnipeg tonight to Minnesota on Saturday and Colorado on Tuesday.
Defending Big D points out that Stars owner Tom Gaglardi could be in the building, too, so the Stars obviously want to make a good impression.
P.K. Subban was given a game misconduct on Friday after an outburst directed at officials in the final minute against the Buffalo Sabres.
Subban was furious after the puck got caught up in the skates of the linesman in the neutral zone before Evander Kane then picked it up and scored into the open net. That put the Sabres up by two goals with 55 seconds remaining in regulation and ended any hopes of a Montreal comeback.
Subban had some choice words for officials but his argument ultimately landed him with an early exit from this game. The Habs lost by a final score of 6-4.
The Sabres scored four straight goals between the first and second periods, chasing Ben Scrivens from the net 1:28 into the second period.
Shane Doan on Friday scored his 20th goal of the season, and tied a historical mark for the initial Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes franchise in the process.
Doan scored in the first period against the Calgary Flames, tying him with Dale Hawerchuk for most points in Jets/Coyotes history with 929.
Now 39 years old, Doan has spent his entire career with that organization, playing one season in Winnipeg before the organization moved to Phoenix.
He also joined another impressive list, too.
Just as the Vancouver Canucks are once again struggling through injuries and with their depth on defense a constant question mark, Frank Corrado returns to town with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It’s a quick visit. The Leafs and Canucks do battle on Saturday, with the hosts wearing their famous ‘Flying Skate’ logo from the 1990s.
But the return of Corrado with a different team provides a juicy storyline in Vancouver.
The Canucks waived the 22-year-old defenseman in October.
He was claimed by the Leafs, which ended his time in Vancouver when it previously started with promise and optimism.
He quickly ascended as a prospect after being selected in the fifth round five years ago. But when training camp rolled around this season, Canucks GM Jim Benning was of the belief that Corrado had been passed in the depth chart by a few other defensemen in the system.
The move has been criticized in Vancouver because the Canucks lost an asset — a 22-year-old right-shooting defenseman with potential — for nothing.
Corrado had some interesting things to say about how his time in Vancouver eventually played out, as per Josh Clipperton of the Canadian Press.
Corrado has played 10 games for the Leafs this season, with three assists. He made his Leafs debut more than two months after being claimed.
The L.A. Kings are expected to be without forward Marian Gaborik for the remainder of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers.
Gaborik was involved in a collision with Dominic Moore at the Kings’ blue line late in the first period, and L.A. up 2-1.
Gaborik, 33, hobbled off the ice, favoring his left leg. In 53 games this season, Gaborik has 11 goals and 21 points.