<span class="vcard">James O'Brien</span>

New York Rangers v Dallas Stars

Streaking Stars end Rangers’ run at eight games

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It took a Dallas Stars team that’s just about as hot as the New York Rangers to finally end the Blueshirts’ impressive run at eight straight wins. Dallas won by a slim margin, edging the Rangers 3-2 on Monday.

With this win, the Stars have now won six of their seven games, with Dallas’ only blemish being a 4-0 home loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

If anything, the Stars might look to their opponents as inspiration to keep this going; the Rangers were 7-7-4 on Nov. 17 but have since gone 12-4-0 to improve to 19-11-4. Dallas is 16-14-5, so again … they have a long way to go.

The win must be a confidence-booster for Kari Lehtonen in particular, as he didn’t give up a goal since Kevin Hayes found the net 16:46 into the first period. Antoine Roussel’s 3-2 winner came less than a minute into the middle frame, so Lehtonen didn’t have a significant margin for error.

Neither team is out of the woods yet by any means – the Stars dug themselves a big hole while the Rangers face a lot of road games – but both are playing closer to the form they showed during their best moments last season.

Wild end skid with 3-2 win against Jets

Mathieu Perreault, Stu Bickel, John Curry
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Earlier today, PHT labeled Monday’s game the biggest of the Winnipeg Jets’ season, but it was pretty important for the Minnesota Wild as well. Ultimately, the Wild took it 3-2, ending a five-game losing streak in the process.

Darcy Kuemper hasn’t been immune to criticisms about Minnesota’s goaltending, yet he came up big today, stopping 28 out of 30 shots. He didn’t give up a single goal at even strength and shut down Winnipeg’s offense after Mathieu Perreault scored 20 seconds into the second period.

From that point on, Minnesota turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 win in large part thanks to hard work.

Head coach Mike Yeo was very happy with his team’s efforts:

“Our guys did a great job staying with it,” Yeo said. “I’m real happy with the way we played the game, the contributions from everybody.”

The win keeps Minnesota within shouting distance of one of the wild card spots out West. While Winnipeg still holds a seven-point advantage in standings points, Minnesota has three games in hand, so a streak one way or the other could swing things considerably.

Swan song paused? Brodeur records 125th shutout

Dallas Stars v St. Louis Blues
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In a way, it would be a fitting end for Martin Brodeur.

The surefire Hall-of-Famer earned the 125th shutout and 691st win of his record-breaking career as the St. Louis Blues beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 on Monday. The fact that he beat fellow legend Patrick Roy’s team only sweetens the deal.

Sure, Brodeur only needed to make 16 saves to extend two of his many NHL records tonight, but he left Blues fans chanting “Marty” and only complicated questions about what the Blues might do now that Brian Elliott has been cleared to play.

If this is indeed the end for the 42-year-old (and you get the feeling he might get another shot or two, whether it’s with the Blues or not), he stopped every shot he faced in his final two appearances, as he made 10 relief saves on Dec. 23. He’s currently 3-2-0 with a .904 save percentage with St. Louis.

What would you do if you were calling the shots for the Blues?

Leafs blow another lead, fall to Lightning

Tampa Bay Lighting v Toronto Maple Leafs
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Two straight nights, two blown two-goal leads. All of a sudden, things aren’t looking too good for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

This time around, the Tampa Bay Lightning beat them 3-2. With Jonathan Bernier sick, James Reimer was in net on both Sunday and Monday, absorbing quite the volume of shots. He even seemed to get banged up a little tonight, yet he stayed in the game.

The specific numbers have changed a bit since the tweet came during the game, yet the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle pointed out a disturbing trend for Toronto nonetheless:

The Maple Leafs have now lost five of their last six games. Relief doesn’t really seem to be in sight, either, as they only have four home games through a harrowing run that ends on Feb. 6.

In other words, things may only get uglier for the Buds.

Jagr, Devils get some revenge against the Pens

Sidney Crosby, Tuomo Ruutu, Steve Bernier
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Jaromir Jagr and the New Jersey Devils got a little revenge against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. They also generated the first win under their odd new coaching regime, topping Pittsburgh 3-1.

Jagr scored the 711th goal of his NHL career, which ended up standing as the game-winner (Jagr’s record 126th GWG, by the way):

Also notable: Jagr made a dated pop culture reference to Robert Bortuzzo:

(Hey, give him a break, he’s 42.)

Jagr gave Jordin Tootoo plenty of credit for going after Bortuzzo.

The Penguins are now 0-3-1 in their last four games as a depleted lineup may be hitting the wall. The Devils have been dominant against the Penguins in Newark, really, so it might just come down to that.

Either way, Jagr & Co. got a measure of revenge while Pittsburgh might just want 2014 to end.