dave andreychuk

Fans to get replica ’04 Cup rings at tonight’s Bolts-Canucks game

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The Lightning will honor the 10-year anniversary of its 2004 Stanley Cup-winning team tonight when it hosts the Canucks at the Tampa Bay Times Forum:

Chase is the proud presenter of the 10th Anniversary platform and will provide all fans in attendance with a replica of the actual Stanley Cup ring that was distributed to the players following the championship.

The night will feature appearances by a number of alumni from the 2004 team as well as the trophy they captured, the Stanley Cup. Alumni expected to attend are captain Dave Andreychuk, Ben Clymer, Jassen Cullimore, Chris Dingman, Pavel Kubina, Brad Lukowich, Fredrik Modin, Stan Neckar, Nolan Pratt, Andre Roy, Tim Taylor and Cory Stillman.

The staff will be represented as well, as Vancouver is coached by then-Lightning bench boss, John Tortorella.

Aside from the free bling, tonight’s game is fairly important for, y’know, the actual teams participating in it.

With a win, Vancouver has the chance to move just one point back of Dallas for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. Phoenix — who is tied with Dallas on 75 points but sits out of playoff positioning because it has more games played — takes on the Kings tonight in Los Angeles, and would take over the last wild card spot with at least one point gained.

Vancouver has just one regulation win in its last nine but has managed to stay in the thick of the playoff chase by manufacturing points. The Canucks won their second shootout in a row on Sunday afternoon in Florida, beating the Panthers and ex-goalie Roberto Luongo by a 4-3 score.

For Tampa, the key for tonight is keeping the good times rolling. The club is coming off consecutive wins for the first time since Jan. 23-25 — they Lightning beat Florida 5-4 on Thursday, then blanked New Jersey 3-0 on Saturday night.

With a win tonight the Bolts could jump one point ahead of idle Toronto for third place in the Atlantic Division and draw even with second-place Montreal in points, with 81.

Another North Dakota junior goes pro as Blackhawks sign Luke Johnson

Quinnipiac forward Tommy Schutt, left, moves the puck as North Dakota forward Luke Johnson, middle, checks Quinnipiac forward Travis St. Denis during the first period of an NCAA college hockey tournament game Friday, March 27, 2015, in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota won 4-1. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy)
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Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.

This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

In 43 games with the NCAA champions this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, three off his college career high set the previous year.

Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, bumping the number of players from that program’s junior class to turn pro to four since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.

Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.

Brock Boeser, a 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.

Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1

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Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?

Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.

Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.

Official update on the really important story of the evening:

Speed, skill help Stars score late victory to take series lead over Blues

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The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.

Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.

As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.

The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.

Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.

Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.

 

Video: Roussel opens the scoring for Dallas and Elliott wasn’t happy about it

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The Dallas Stars grabbed the all-important first goal in Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues on Friday. And it was agitating forward Antoine Roussel who capitalized in the second period.

Roussel buried a rebound at the end of a pretty passing play from the Stars. Blues goalie Brian Elliott was furious, as defenseman Jay Bouwmeester slid into the crease in an attempt to block the shot.