Welcome to the club: Benn, Rask earn first-team All-Star recognition

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The National Hockey League’s First All-Star Team includes a pair of first-timers – Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars and Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins.

Rask already took home hardware from the NHL Awards, as he was named the 2014 Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s top goaltender. The 24-year-old Benn finished 12th in Hart Trophy voting. But he enjoyed a breakout season with the Stars as their captain, with 34 goals and 79 points. Dallas also made it back into the playoffs for the first time since 2008, and Benn was also named to Canada’s gold-medal winning team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Blackhawks’ defenseman Duncan Keith, Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby and Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry were also named to the first All-Star team.

2013-2014 NHL Second All-Star Team
GP W L OT GAA SV% SO
G Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche 63 41 14 6 2.41 .927 2

GP Mins. G A Pts
D Shea Weber, Nashville Predators 79 26:54 23 33 56
D Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues 81 25:21 8 43 51
C Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks 77 21:17 31 56 87
RW Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals 78 20:32 51 28 79
LW Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks 82 19:51 41 38 79

2013-2014 NHL ALL-STAR TEAM VOTING RESULTS

GOALTENDER

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections

1. TUUKKA RASK, BOS 506 (70-47-15) 1 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. Semyon Varlamov, COL 450 (60-44-18) 0 First Team, 1 Second Team
3. Ben Bishop, TB 154 (2-29-57)
4. Carey Price, MTL 89 (3-13-35)
5. Jonathan Quick, LA 24 (2-4-2)
6. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR 5 (0-0-5)
7. Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ 3 (0-0-3)
8. Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT 2 (0-0-2)

DEFENSE

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections

1. DUNCAN KEITH, CHI 587 (101-25-7) 2 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. ZDENO CHARA, BOS 442 (58-42-26) 3 First Team, 4 Second Team
3. Shea Weber, NSH 432 (51-50-27) 2 First Team, 1 Second Team
4. Alex Pietrangelo, STL 253 (16-45-38) 0 First Team, 2 Second Team
5. Ryan Suter, MIN 244 (22-36-26)
6. Drew Doughty, LA 207 (15-32-36)
7. Erik Karlsson, OTT 94 (4-12-38)
8. Ryan McDonagh, NYR 53 (1-9-21)
9. Victor Hedman, TB 35 (1-4-18)
10. Matt Niskanen, PIT 34 (1-6-11)
11. Mark Giordano, CGY 31 (2-3-12)
12. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, SJ 22 (1-5-2)
13. PK Subban, MTL 10 (1-0-5)
14. Niklas Kronwall, DET 10 (0-3-1)
15. Jay Bouwmeester, STL 4 (0-1-1)
16. Andrei Markov, MTL 3 (0-1-0)
17. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, PHX 3 (0-0-3)
18. Brent Seabrook, CHI 2 (0-0-2)

CENTER

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections
1. SIDNEY CROSBY, PIT 677 (133-4-0) 3 First Team, 1 Second Team
2. Ryan Getzlaf, ANA 378 (3-117-12) 0 First Team, 1 Second Team
3. Claude Giroux, PHI 101 (1-8-72)
4. Patrice Bergeron, BOS 32 (0-5-17)
5. Tyler Seguin, DAL 22 (0-0-22)
6. Anze Kopitar, LA 10 (0-1-7)
7. Jonathan Toews, CHI 6 (0-1-3)
8. David Krejci, BOS 4 (0-1-1)
9. David Backes, STL 1 (0-0-1)
Jeff Skinner, CAR 1 (0-0-1)
Joe Thornton, SJ 1 (0-0-1)

LEFT WING

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections
1. JAMIE BENN, DAL 446 (57-48-17) 1 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. Joe Pavelski, SJ 325 (49-23-11) 0 First Team, 1 Second Team
3. Patrick Sharp, CHI 259 (26-31-36)
4. Taylor Hall, EDM 73 (0-13-34)
5. Max Pacioretty, MTL 40 (2-7-9)
6. Alex Steen, STL 26 (2-3-7)
7. Patrick Marleau, SJ 22 (1-4-5)
8. Chris Kunitz, PIT 21 (0-5-6)
9. Gabriel Landeskog, COL 11 (0-2-5)
10. Thomas Vanek, MTL 3 (0-1-0)
11. Milan Lucic, BOS 2 (0-0-2)
Ryan O’Reilly, COL 2 (0-0-2)
Zach Parise, MIN 2 (0-0-2)
14. Patrick Kane, CHI 1 (0-0-1)

RIGHT WING

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections

1. COREY PERRY, ANA 606 (109-18-7) 2 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. Alex Ovechkin, WSH 299 (23-47-43) 6 First Team, 3 Second Team
3. Phil Kessel, TOR 211 (5-44-54)
4. Patrick Kane, CHI 65 (0-16-17)
5. Jaromir Jagr, NJ 14 (0-3-5)
Martin St. Louis, NYR 14 (0-3-5)
7. Jarome Iginla, BOS 12 (0-4-0)
8. Jason Pominville, MIN 4 (0-1-1)
9. T.J. Oshie, STL 3 (0-1-0)
10. Blake Wheeler, WPG 2 (0-0-2)
11. David Backes, STL 1 (0-0-1)
Marian Hossa, CHI 1 (0-0-1)
Kyle Okposo, NYI 1 (0-0-1)

Bergeron bombastic in return, but Bruins lose Krejci to injury

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The roller coaster isn’t slowing down for the Boston Bruins.

With Tuukka Rask‘s concussion looming over the proceedings, the Bruins gave fans some reason to celebrate; Patrice Bergeron scored a goal and three assists in an impressive 6-3 output by the B’s top guns against the overmatched Vancouver Canucks.

Even Anders Bjork enjoyed some measure of redemption after bowling over Rask in practice, as the young player scored two goals and an assist despite being limited to 12:29 TOI.

Other big guns like Brad Marchand did their increasingly reliable damage, with David Pastrnak probably providing the most exhilarating goal of the contest:

Yeah, that might get some attention from Canucks coach Travis Green in film sessions, assuming he doesn’t just burn the tape.

Bergeron broke down his night to Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy after the game:

So … solid stuff overall, as the Bruins provided ample evidence that they might have the weapons to scrap through all this bad luck.

Then again, if opponents can slow the top-end guys, you wonder what kind of supporting cast the Bruins will have left through this run of attrition. David Krejci is the latest name to land on Boston’s troubling list of walking wounded.

Here’s hoping that it isn’t a big issue for a veteran center who’s dealt with nagging injuries in recent years.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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Kucherov’s goal run ends, but he helped Sergachev make history, Bolts win

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Gosh, that Nikita Kucherov is such a slacker.

The underrated, rising star saw his historic, season-opening seven-game goal streak end with eight in seven games. This leaves him just one game short of tying Wayne Gretzky.

It’s fitting, though, that Kucherov made a little history even as his historic run ended. He earned two primary assists on the first two goals of Mikhail Sergachev‘s NHL career, factoring into the Tampa Bay Lightning’s surprisingly low-scoring 2-0 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

(C’mon, you pictured some fireworks there too, didn’t you?)

Here’s the first-ever goal for Sergachev, who matched trade mate Jonathan Drouin‘s two goals with tonight’s outburst.

And here’s the second:

Yeah, you can’t give Sergachev that kind of space and time; then again, maybe the Blue Jackets were a little preoccupied with stopping Kucherov and his red-hot partner-in-crime, Steven Stamkos?

The real star of tonight’s game/reason why it was so low-scoring was probably Andrei Vasilevskiy. Another key Russian for the Lightning, Vasilevskiy stopped all 43 shots for an impressive shutout. This marks his first of the season and only the fifth of what’s been a promising young career.

After falling just short against the New Jersey Devils via a shootout, the Bolts improve to 6-1-1 while winning another early temperature check against Columbus, who are still off to a strong start at 5-2-0.

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McDavid dazzles again, Oilers break slump with OT win vs. Blackhawks

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Update: The Edmonton Oilers ended up needing every bit of Connor McDavid‘s brilliance, as goals weren’t coming easily against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.

(Even though, as you can see with that highlight-reel assist, McDavid often makes it look easy.)

McDavid also managed a secondary assist on Mark Letestu‘s overtime-winner, ending the Edmonton Oilers’ losing streak at four games. The Blackhawks continue to be resourceful in getting standings points, in this case falling 2-1 in OT.

Anton Forsberg made 40 of 42 saves, but it wasn’t enough against a driven group led by number 97.

Here’s the OT goal.

If you haven’t seen the more amazing of McDavid’s two helpers, do yourself a favor and check it out. You won’t regret it.

***

Connor McDavid’s speed and skill are glorious, but the thing that makes him extra-sensational is just how unstoppable he seems. Even against some of the NHL’s best.

To start the season, McDavid made very-solid Calgary Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie look downright permeable during the most impressive goal in his opening-night hat trick.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, the superstar tore through the Chicago Blackhawks – including certain future Hall of Famer Duncan Keith – and then sent absolutely obscene pass to Patrick Maroon for an easy goal.

You know how people used to say that a fire hydrant could score 50 goals with Mario Lemieux? We might need to bump that down to 30 for modern hockey, but either way, Maroon might laugh uncomfortably at such jokes.

If you prefer your jaw-droppers in GIF form, drop away:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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Schneider injury puts damper on Devils win, Hischier’s big night

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Update: Nico Hishier was one of the biggest stories as the game went along, but a lot happened in an eventual 5-4 OT win for the Devils.

Tonight served as an “I’m back” moment for Erik Karlsson, who served up three assists as the Senators turned a 2-1 deficit to a 4-2 edge after a dominant second period. Ottawa wasn’t able to sit on that lead, however, as the Devils rallied to send the game to overtime.

Hischier didn’t get his hat trick, but he did manage a third point, assisting on John Moore‘s overtime-winner.

Karlsson and the Senators fell short of spoiling this big night for Hischier, yet the Devils have something to worry about, as Cory Schneider suffered an injury that ended his evening early.

***

One remarkable thing about the New Jersey Devils’ hot start is that Nico Hischier, the top pick of this past draft, had yet to score his first NHL goal.

Of course, there’s a danger to looking at only goals. After all, the 18-year-old had four assists in six games, with three coming in his last two contests. The Devils were justified in all of those comments about it being just a matter of time …

… As it turns out, it didn’t take Hischier much time against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

Not only did the Swiss scorer find the net for his first goal by roofing a nice setup from Taylor Hall and Drew Stafford.

He also showed some savvy in scoring his second goal less than two minutes later.

Hischier now has two periods and change to collect his first-ever hat trick in that same game.

A quick look at how he’s been doing, overall

Even when other Devils stole some of his thunder in what might have been an opening statement of a first win for New Jersey, Hischier showed some dynamic moves.

Nice.

As NJ.com’s Chris Ryan reported, Devils coach John Hynes was left raving about Hischier after he collected two assists in the Devils’ shootout win against the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier this week.

“He was very good in all aspects,” John Hynes said on Wednesday. “Defensively he was excellent, going back to the video this morning, some of the chances he had that he didn’t score on were excellent. When you look at the chances he created, the assists he had, the assist on the game-tying goal, he set up (Taylor Hall) very well in the offensive zone. I’d say that was his most complete game to date.”

Hischier began the season being used sparingly, but he logged more legitimate top-six minutes the past couple games. He sure seems like a quick study so far. Hischier’s getting some protected zone starts and other situations, but there’s also sense that Hynes is going to take off the training wheels very quickly.

Thursday seems like the reward, or the flashing light, for all that good early work. This post will be updated as we wait to see if Hischier can manage that hat trick.

***

Look, it’s very, very early.

All we can judge Hischier and the Devils on, right now, is how they’ve played so far … and with each game, this team looks more and more legit. And so does their prized prospect.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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