Get your game notes: Wild at Stars

This evening on NBCSN, it’s the Dallas Stars hosting the Minnesota Wild starting at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• In 2000-01, when the Wild played their inaugural season, Minnesota got its first taste of NHL hockey since the North Stars relocated to Dallas as the Stars for the 1993-94 season. Tonight, the Wild and Stars will be meeting for the 50th time (DAL lead the series, 30-15-1-3). Stars defenseman Trevor Daley leads all active, healthy players in games played in the series, with 33.

• Entering New Year’s Day, Dallas (20-12-7, 47 points) was in fourth place in the Central Division, two points ahead of fifth-place Minnesota (20-17-5, 45). Since then, the surging Wild (7-2-0, 14 points in January) has 11 more points than the sinking Stars (1-8-1, three points).

• Stars center Tyler Seguin, the team’s leader with 21 goals, is on a nine-game goal drought, his longest of the last two regular seasons. Seguin went goalless in 10 straight from Feb. 2-28, 2012 when he was a member of the Boston Bruins.

• Wild defenseman Ryan Suter is averaging 29:34 ice time over his first 51 games, most in the NHL by a 1:36 margin over the No. 2 player in the category, Florida blueliner Brian Campbell. Suter’s ice-time pace is the highest since Chris Pronger averaged 30:14 per game for the 1999-2000 Blues.

• The Wild and Stars each ended long droughts without a hat trick, when Suter and Seguin scored three goals for their teams in games earlier this season. Since 2005-06, the Wild had gone the longest time between hat tricks in the NHL, in terms of games. (Elias Sports Bureau)

Player | Date | Previous hat trick | Date | # of games
MIN: Suter | Jan. 4, 2014 | Guillaume Latendresse | Jan. 16, 2010 | 288
WPG: active | Anthony Stewart | Oct. 15, 2010 | 258
DAL: Seguin | Nov. 14, 2013 | Steve Ott | Mar. 31, 2010 | 235

• The Wild (9-12-3) and Maple Leafs (8-10-4) are the only two teams currently in playoff position with losing road records. However, the Wild have won three straight road games for the first time this season. Minnesota last won three road games in a row from Apr. 7-16, 2013, and last won more than three from Mar. 9-25, 2013, when their road win streak hit five.

• Stars winger Jamie Benn needs one goal to become the 21st player to score 100 or more goals for the Minnesota/Dallas franchise. Of the 20 previous players, 10 scored all of their goals while the franchise was in Minnesota, six scored all after the relocation to Dallas, and four scored goals in both.

• Wild defenseman Nate Prosser, who scored one goal in his first 96 NHL games, has scored the game-winning goal in each of his team’s last two games. 19 other players have scored the GWG in two consecutive games this season; no one has done it in three straight.

• Tonight, Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper will be making his fifth straight start dating back to Jan. 12. During that span, he has a 3-1-0 record, with a 1.48 GAA, .946 save percentage and one shutout. Only twice this season have the Wild ridden one goaltender for four or more entire games in a row. (Josh Harding, five games, Nov. 1-9, and four games, Nov. 29-Dec. 5)

Video: Johansen, Fisher join in Predators’ conference title celebration

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After reaching their first ever Western Conference Final, the Nashville Predators topped that in a big way, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.

There were a lot of firsts and rarities along the way.

In ousting the Anaheim Ducks with a 6-3 victory in Game 6, GM David Poile’s team advanced to the championship round for the first time in his lengthy time as an executive.

Peter Laviolette also became the fourth coach in NHL history to bring three different team to a Stanley Cup Final. The Predators are also the first 16th seed to make it this far.

Yep, that’s a long list of milestones (and not a comprehensive one). And, to think, the Predators haven’t even been on the brink of elimination during the Stanley Cup Finals yet.

It’s special stuff, so don’t be surprised by the boisterous celebration you can see in the video above this post’s headline.

P.K. Subban: No city in the NHL ‘has anything on Nashville’

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If there’s one thing we can agree upon about the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s that these months have really cemented just how hockey-mad Nashville has become for its Predators.

(Yes, you can call it “Smashville” if you’d like.)

The scene at Bridgestone Arena was as boisterous as ever in the Predators’ 6-3 Game 6 win against the Anaheim Ducks, with legions of fans packing and surrounding the building.

Sights like these have becoming resoundingly normal for a hockey market that was once questioned by media and other fan bases:

Yeah, wow.

As the Predators advanced to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final, plenty of people were making jokes at the expense of the Montreal Canadiens for trading P.K. Subban. Of course, Subban wouldn’t take a shot at the Habs during such a great moment, but his praise for puck-nutty Predators fans says a lot in itself.

“I played in an A+ market my whole career,” Subban said, via Jeremy K. Gover of the Nashville Predators Radio Network. “There’s not a city in the league that has anything on Nashville.”

Whether their opponent is the Pittsburgh Penguins or Ottawa Senators, we already know that Nashville will begin the Stanley Cup Final on the road. That’s OK … Predators fans might need some time to get their voices back and recover from celebrating, so waiting until Games 3 and 4 might be a blessing in disguise.

Ducks’ Cogliano just doesn’t think Predators were the better team

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The Anaheim Ducks battled their way to Game 6 of the Western Conference Final, but Colton Sissons and the Nashville Predators ended their season on Monday.

The Ducks are processing that disappointment – being just two wins away from a trip to the championship round – and some of their reactions might spark a little controversy.

Specifically, it sounds a bit like Bruce Boudreau believing that his Minnesota Wild were superior to the St. Louis Blues despite falling in that series.

Andrew Cogliano, it must be noted, was spurned by Pekka Rinne on some early chances in Game 6. He likely feels as frustrated as any Ducks player right now.

Sisson’s hat-trick goal, making it 4-3 before two empty-netters cemented the 6-3 finish, was the dagger that finally put the hard-working Ducks down.

One can understand some of those feelings from Anaheim, especially considering the frustration of a) getting over Jonathan Bernier‘s early struggles to make a very real game of this and b) occasionally carrying the play in a dramatic way, including in Game 6.

Still, the Predators got the right combination of great stretches of play from Rinne and strong work from the expected and the unexpected, such as Sissons.

For an aging star like Ryan Getzlaf – a player who produced some of his best work late in the season and during the playoffs – you have to wonder how many chances remain.

Predators eliminate Ducks, reach first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history

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Colton Sissons made a serious argument that the Nashville Predators do, indeed, still have a No. 1 center.

At least, he certainly played that way on Monday, generating a hat trick as the Predators eliminated the Anaheim Ducks via a 6-3 win, taking the series 4-2.

In doing so, the Predators advanced to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

That 6-3 score is very misleading. While Nashville managed 2-0 and 3-1 leads, there was plenty of drama in this one, as the Ducks did not go down easily. Cam Fowler tied it up 3-3 in the third period, briefly stunning a rowdy crowd in Nashville.

Sissons was up to the task, however, settling down a bouncing puck on an otherwise stupendous Calle Jarnkrok pass to score the game-winner, notching a hat trick in the process. Sissons continues to be an unlikely hero for a Predators team dealing with the absence of Ryan Johansen (not to mention Mike Fisher, Craig Smith, and others).

Two empty-netters inflated the score, and they also sapped drama from the closing moments, which must have been quite the relief considering how much resolve Anaheim showed.

Peter Laviolette distinguishes himself as one of the NHL’s most underrated bench bosses, becoming just the fourth coach in league history to take three different teams to a Stanley Cup Final. He couldn’t win it all with the Philadelphia Flyers, but he does have a ring thanks to his time with the Carolina Hurricanes. Perhaps he’ll take another one this spring?

It’s quite the moment for GM David Poile, too, after trading Shea Weber for P.K. Subban and Seth Jones for Johansen, among other pivotal moves.

The Ducks might wonder what could have been if John Gibson played instead of Jonathan Bernier. Bernier struggled early, allowing two goals on the first three shots he faced and generally having a tough Game 6. Pekka Rinne, meanwhile, maintained his mostly great run in the playoffs; he protected a Predators lead even when the Ducks dominated long stretches of play.

Now the Predators get a nice rest, as the Eastern Conference Final continues with a Game 6 on Tuesday (and possibly a Game 7 on Thursday).

They’ll limp a bit toward that final round, but the Predators seem to be embracing new territory. And sometimes new heroes.