Author: Cam Tucker

Facing his former team, Sharp sends Stars flying past Blackhawks

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DALLAS (AP) Patrick Sharp had a goal and an assist in his first regular-season game against his former team, leading the Dallas Stars to a 4-0 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.

Sharp scored 11 seconds into the third period to give Dallas a 2-0 lead in what had been a game with few chances between the highest-scoring teams in the Western Conference.

The veteran forward came to the Stars in an offseason trade when the Blackhawks were trying save salary-cap space after Sharp won his third Stanley Cup in the past six seasons with Chicago. He spent 10 years with the Blackhawks.

Antti Niemi stopped 20 shots for his third shutout this season a night after replacing Kari Lehtonen less than 10 minutes into a 6-3 win at Minnesota when the Stars rallied from a quick 2-0 deficit.

The first of five meetings between the NHL-leading Stars and the defending Cup champions featured the league’s top three scorers in Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Dallas’ Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. And yet each team went more than 10 minutes without a shot at some point in the first two periods.

Jason Spezza had the only goal in the first 40 minutes when he passed to himself to get by defenders while crossing the blue line and slipped the puck between Corey Crawford‘s pad and the post in the second period. Sharp had an assist.

Sharp took a pass from Benn while racing up the right wing just after the third-period faceoff and beat Crawford over his left shoulder. Jason Demers had the first of his two assists on the play.

Less than 3 minutes later, Colton Sceviour tipped in a shot from the blue line by Jordie Benn for his first goal in 16 games.

Dallas defenseman Johnny Oduya had a steady if quiet Chicago reunion compared to Sharp after signing as a free agent following two Cup titles with the Blackhawks. He had three blocked shots in 20 minutes.

The best moment for Niemi in his 35th career shutout came while protecting a 1-0 lead late in the second period. He turned away a shot from close range by former Dallas forward Ryan Garbutt, and then made a spread-eagle stop on the rebound when Andrew Desjardins tried to slip the puck under his leg.

The Stars went about 14 minutes without a shot between the first and second periods, and the Blackhawks didn’t have a shot in the final 12 minutes of a scoreless first period despite two power plays.

Dallas won on back-to-back nights against Central Division opponents to improve to 5-2-0 in such games after having the worst record within the division last season at 8-14-7. The next two games are a home-and-home against another division rival, St. Louis.

NOTES: Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth, who lives in Dallas, dropped the ceremonial first puck. … Spezza has a nine-game point streak against Chicago going back to his time in Ottawa. … The Stars improved to 17-0-1 when leading after two periods. … Blackhawks defenseman Rob Scuderi left the game after getting hit in the face by a deflected puck with 8 minutes remaining.

Video: Pane of glass comes tumbling down after hard hit between McNabb, Nieto

Tuesday’s game between the L.A. Kings and San Jose Sharks needed just a brief delay after a pane of glass was jarred free from a hard hit between Brayden McNabb and Matt Nieto into the end boards during the second period.

Not surprisingly, it was another physical game between the two California rivals. The two teams combined for 39 hits through two periods.

 

Video: Jagr loses multiple teeth after high stick

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Jaromir Jagr recently took over sole possession for fourth all-time in goals. A few days later, according to the Miami Herald, Jagr said he lost four teeth after taking a high stick to the face against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

Jagr, 43, remained in the game — he was hurt midway through the first period — and was buzzing in overtime, his best chance on a breakaway in the final seconds.

“I lost some teeth but I gained some speed as you saw on that breakaway,” said Jagr, as per the Miami Herald, which reported Jagr saying he lost four teeth.

“I don’t want to hear I’m slow anymore. I had the breakaway. I don’t think I’ll have another one for 10 years.”

The Florida Panthers eventually went on to defeat the Senators 2-1 in a shootout. It’s their fifth straight win, and they are now one point back of the slumping Montreal Canadiens for top spot in the Atlantic Division.

Allen, Tarasenko lead Blues over Bruins

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BOSTON (AP) Jake Allen stopped 32 shots for his fifth shutout, Vladimir Tarasenko and Robby Fabbri scored third-period goals and the St. Louis Blues cooled off the Boston Bruins with a 2-0 victory Tuesday night.

It was only the second regulation loss in 16 games for Boston (11-2-3). St. Louis posted its fifth win in seven games.

The Bruins had won six of their last eight at home.

Boston goalie Tuukka Rask made 27 saves, but lost in regulation for the first time in 11 starts after going 8-0-2.

Tarasenko took a pass and came charging down the slot before slipping a wrister past Rask’s blocker for his team-leading 22nd goal to make it 1-0 at 7:35 of the third. It extended the winger’s point streak to a season-high seven games, with six goals and five assists during that span.

Fabbri snapped off a shot from the left circle that beat Rask inside the far upper corner with just more than 7 minutes to play.

St. Louis had the only power play in a well-played, clean game that featured one third-period fight.

Despite the scoreless opening two periods, both teams had some very good scoring chances – with the best coming off the game’s opening faceoff.

The Blues had the opportunity in the opening half-minute when Troy Brouwer split two defensemen, broke in alone and fired a wrister that Rask blocked with his left arm.

St. Louis wing Alexander Steen fired a shot that caromed directly off the right post midway into the second before Allen made a stellar stop on Brad Marchand‘s backhander about 4 minutes later.

Marchand collected a rebound at the bottom of the right circle, but Allen came sliding across quickly to make the save.

The Bruins owned a 26-21 edge in shots on goal over the first two periods, which featured a good amount of end-to-end play. But solid defensive positioning by both teams led to few second chances.

NOTES: Allen tied a Blues rookie record with four shutouts last season. . RW Jordan Caron, a former Bruin, was called up from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves on Sunday and made his Blues debut Tuesday. . Boston entered averaging 3.19 goals per game, second in the NHL behind Dallas’ 3.42. . St. Louis finished its sixth set of back-to-back games. The Blues are 3-3 on the second night. . Steen blocked a slap shot and skated slowly to the bench in the second, but didn’t miss any ice time. . Scotty Bowman, senior adviser of hockey operations for the Chicago Blackhawks, was in the press box.

That’s now five straight losses for the slumping Habs

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Goaltending wasn’t the issue Tuesday for the Montreal Canadiens. Scoring was, though.

And while Montreal’s head coach Michel Therrien recently called out his goaltenders — remember, their star netminder Carey Price is out with injury — it’s worth noting the Habs have scored a total of just five goals in their last five games, all losses, with the most recent defeat coming against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.

The Habs have now lost five in a row.

The Wild got goals from Jason Pominville in the first period and Charlie Coyle early in the third, then held on for a 2-1 win. Darcy Kuemper made 24 saves for Minnesota.

Mike Condon gave up only two goals on 22 shots faced. In the previous two games combined, the Habs had been ventilated for a total of 11 goals. But their inability to score has been problematic for a while now.

Max Pacioretty is without a goal in five games. David Desharnais is without a point in six games. P.K. Subban has points in three of his last five games, but has only one goal on the season.

Since the end of November, the Habs have been in a free fall with losses in 10 of their last 12 games.

Price is the backbone of Montreal’s success but he’s been out since Nov. 25, and had played in only five games between then and Oct. 27, leaving the Canadiens with the goalie tandem of Condon and Dustin Tokarski.