Cam Tucker

Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson poses with the James Norris Memorial Trophy after winning the award at the NHL Awards show Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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Burns, Doughty, Karlsson named finalists for Norris Trophy

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Brent Burns, Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson have been named as finalists for the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman, but the debate about who should win — or who was not included among the final three — is likely to persist right through to June 22 and the annual NHL Awards.

Not only did Karlsson, last year’s Norris winner, lead all blue liners in points with 82, he led the league in assists with 66 and finished tied with Joe Thornton for fourth in the entire NHL in total points. Those lofty offensive totals could make the Ottawa Senators star the clear favorite to claim the award for a third time in his career.

From NHL.com:

Karlsson is the first NHL defenseman to score at least 82 in a season since Brian Leetch of the New York Rangers (85 points) and Ray Bourque of the Boston Bruins (82 points) in 1995-96.

Burns — is there an award for most outrageous beard? — is also coming off an impressive regular season, finishing just shy of the 30-goal mark with 27 and 75 points in 82 games for the Sharks. He’s also had a strong showing in the post-season, as well, with eight points in the opening round versus L.A.

Doughty’s offensive numbers don’t match up with the production from Karlsson or Burns, with 51 points in 82 games for the Kings. There were eight defensemen ahead of him in overall point production. But he’s often recognized for logging hefty amounts of ice time, averaging 28:01 in the regular season, on a Kings team that often dominates puck possession at even strength.

“If you’re going to win, I don’t care how good you are, you’re going to have to play the other side of the puck,” Kings GM Dean Lombardi recently said to the Associated Press.

“You’re going to have to make those little plays that aren’t going to show up on the highlights. (Doughty’s) defensive partners — the little things he’ll do just to get his partner time to make a play. He’s three steps ahead of everything, and because he is that, he makes it look easy.”

WATCH LIVE: St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars – Game 1

St. Louis Blues' Jay Bouwmeester (19) checks Dallas Stars' Valeri Nichushkin (43), of Russia, during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
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They were the top teams in the Western Conference during the regular season, with 109 and 107 points, respectively. And now, the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues clash with a second-round series in the playoffs. You can catch Game 1 between these Central Division foes on NBCSN (8 p.m. ET) or online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Some links to check out for tonight’s game:

Stars expect Seguin to miss at least first two games of Blues series

Here are PHT’s second-round playoff predictions

 

Canucks sign free agent goalie and Mike Richter Award nominee Garteig

Quinnipiac goalie Michael Garteig (34) eyes a save on a shot by North Dakota during the first period of an NCAA Frozen Four championship college hockey game Saturday, April 9, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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Nine days after getting prized prospect goalie Thatcher Demko under contract, the Vancouver Canucks have inked another college puck stopper.

The Canucks have signed college free agent goalie Michael Garteig to a one-year entry-level contract, the team announced Friday. Garteig recently completed his senior year with Quinnipiac University, which won the ECAC championship but lost the NCAA championship game to North Dakota earlier this month.

Garteig, 24, posted a 32-4-7 record with a .924 save percentage and a career best eight shutouts this season. He was also once again nominated for the 2016 Mike Richter Award.

Sharks do what they couldn’t in 2014 and that’s close out the Kings

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The San Jose Sharks have done it. They have eliminated the L.A. Kings.

The events of the past provided a compelling storyline heading into this series. The Sharks had the Kings on the ropes in 2014, up 3-0 in the series, before the Kings marched all the way back to win in seven games. Even Drew Doughty couldn’t resist referencing it following his team’s only win of this round.

The Sharks have exorcised whatever demons they might’ve had brought on by their collapse two years ago against their California rivals, doing so with a 6-3 road victory in Game 5 and a 4-1 series win.

“Throughout the last couple of years, things have been said by players on that team that to me, personally, I take it as disrespectful,” said Sharks forward Logan Couture, as per Associated Press.

“So it was nice to stick it back to them and beat them in this series. Even this series, someone was saying on their team that they had us right where they wanted us. I wonder if they’ve got us where they want us right now? So it was nice to beat them.”

On Friday, the Sharks jumped out to a three-goal lead and could’ve made it four but Patrick Marleau flubbed his attempt on a penalty shot.

Moments later, the Kings once again started the comeback attempt. It began with an Anze Kopitar goal and ended with Kris Versteeg tying it with just over three minutes remaining in the second period.

The Sharks didn’t crumble. Instead, they took back the lead for good in the third period. Joonas Donskoi, a force throughout this series, powered his way around Doughty, then buried the pass from Brent Burns. That turned out to be the winner.

Then, the dagger. Joe Pavelski scored his fifth goal of the series, sliding a puck through the legs of Jonathan Quick on a shot the Kings goalie should’ve stopped.

In the end, San Jose’s best players were better. Pavelski had five goals, Burns had three assists in Game 5 and has six helpers and eight points in these playoffs. Goalie Martin Jones outplayed his former teammate Quick.

As for the Kings, their blue line was stretched thin with the injury to Alec Martinez early in the series. And could this be the final game for 36-year-old Vincent Lecavalier? It was reported after the Kings acquired him from Philadelphia that Lecavalier would retire at the end of this season.

Winning a Wild one: Minnesota staves off elimination with OT victory

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The high-scoring Dallas Stars forged a third-period lead with a quick-strike offense and were just over three minutes away from securing their spot in the second round of the playoffs.

Then, Mikko Koivu struck for the equalizer. And then he struck again early in overtime, giving the Minnesota Wild a 5-4 victory, despite being outshot 41-24, to force a Game 6.

The Stars trailed by a goal in the third period, before Jason Spezza and Alex Goligoski changed that in a hurry with goals 28 seconds apart, suddenly giving Dallas the lead with a chance to end this series on home ice.

The Wild, however, managed to come back.

Now, will this result prompt another change in the crease for Dallas?

Kari Lehtonen sat on the bench in Game 4 of this series, despite helping the Stars to a 2-1 series lead with three straight starts. Stars coach Lindy Ruff chose to go with Antti Niemi in Game 4 and again Friday.

But after Niemi made only 19 saves on 24 shots, it will be interesting to see which direction the Dallas coach goes for Game 6.

“I’ve been asked this almost 82 games this year,” Ruff said of his goalie situation prior to Friday’s game. “I’m tired of explaining our two goalie thing, but it’s been working and it’s been a good option for us.”