Jason Brough

Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov
AP

Why split up the Triplets? ‘Sometimes it’s good to shake it up a little bit’

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The Triplets were split up again this morning, as the Lightning took their pre-game skate ahead of tonight’s meeting with the Red Wings in Detroit.

Ondrej Palat was on the top line with Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan, while Palat’s usual spot with Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson was occupied by Alex Killorn.

It was the same combination that coach Jon Cooper turned to Sunday in Carolina, where Johnson scored his first goal of the season and the Lightning came away with a 4-3 victory, snapping a four-game winless slide in the process.

“It didn’t work for us, got split up,” Palat told the Tampa Bay Times. “I played with Stammer and Cally. They played great with Killer. Sometimes it’s good to shake it up a little bit.”

Meanwhile, Stamkos predicted that the “floodgates are going to open for” Johnson, who failed to scored in his first 12 games, despite racking up a combined 30 shots.

We’ll see if Stamkos is proven correct. The Lightning are off to a sluggish start after nearly winning the Stanley Cup in June. They haven’t done anything particularly well…

Lightning

…and while Cooper has tried to stay positive, they clearly haven’t looked as good as they did a year ago. Hence, the shake-up in lines.

The Lightning play tonight in Detroit, Thursday in Buffalo and Saturday in Minnesota.

Updated with a quote from Cooper:

Report: Kane’s accuser no longer wants to cooperate with prosecutors

Patrick Kane
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From The Buffalo News:

The local woman who accused National Hockey League star Patrick Kane of rape three months ago has notified the Erie County District Attorney’s Office that she no longer wants to cooperate in the investigation, five sources with knowledge of the case told The Buffalo News on Monday.

The woman has told authorities that the high-profile investigation has caused tremendous stress for her and her family, and that she no longer wishes to participate.

The alleged victim spoke to investigators at the District Attorney’s Office at length last week, and after that, signed a document called an “affidavit declining prosecution,” which is now under consideration by District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III, one of the sources said.

This report follows a story in Sunday’s Buffalo News that no charges were expected to be filed against Kane.

Sedita has neither confirmed nor denied that the woman no longer wishes to cooperate. The prosecutor who is directly handling the case is currently on vacation, according to the newspaper.

Related: Erie County D.A. says evidence in Kane case ‘not tampered with’

Benn named first star of October; McDavid rookie of the month

Jamie Benn
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Jamie Benn was the first star of the month and Connor McDavid was the top rookie.

The NHL gave the overall nod to Benn after the Dallas forward “shared first in the NHL with nine goals and led the league with 17 points, helping the Stars (9-2-0, 18 points) match their best 11-game start to a season in franchise history (also 1996-97 and 2006-07).”

Montreal goalie Carey Price and Boston center David Krejci were named the second and third stars of the month, respectively.

McDavid, meanwhile, was the choice for rookie of the month after the 18-year-old racked up 12 points in his first 12 games.

But McDavid had some good competition. Arizona’s Max Domi and Chicago’s Artemi Panarin each had 11 points, in what was an excellent month for NHL rookies.

Jack Eichel had an impressive four goals in 12 games, but is still searching for his first assist.

Byfuglien to have hearing for hit on Gallagher

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Dustin Byfuglien will have a hearing tomorrow morning for his hit Sunday on Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher.

The hearing was expected by many, but not confirmed until today by the NHL.

Byfuglien received a 2-minute minor for elbowing Gallagher. Though Byfuglien did not, upon further review, lead with his elbow, the NHL may decide that he made Gallagher’s head the main point of contact, similar to today’s decision to suspend Ottawa’s Mark Stone.

This is not the first time a Byfuglien hit has come under the microscope this season. The big Winnipeg defenseman received only a minor penalty for boarding Minnesota’s Jason Pominville on Oct. 25. He was also penalized (charging) for leveling St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester with a big hit on Oct. 18.

Byfuglien was suspended in April for a “dangerous crosscheck” on Rangers forward J.T. Miller.

Related: Is Dustin Byfuglien going over the line?

Brayden McNabb has been a key for the Kings

Drew Doughty, Brayden McNabb
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A healthy scratch in the Kings’ first game of the season, Brayden McNabb is now logging over 20 minutes a night on a top pairing with Drew Doughty.

We only point out that out because McNabb’s ability to handle such a dramatic increase in workload — from an average of 15:54 last season to 21:35 this season — has helped the Kings win seven in a row heading into tonight’s meeting with the Blackhawks in Chicago.

“I absolutely love playing with Nabber,” Doughty told L.A. Kings Insider a couple of weeks ago. “I think he’s a hell of a player, and he’s just getting better and better every game, and I also think I can help him a lot.”

Coach Darryl Sutter has similarly been impressed with the 24-year-old. And that’s no easy task, impressing Sutter.

“It’s the toughest position to learn at this level,” Sutter told the Daily News. “Goalies don’t come in until they’re really ready. It’s a little bit of a baptism by fire for (defensemen).”

Even after the Kings signed Christian Ehrhoff, the consensus was that somebody would have to step up to help fill the void left by Slava Voynov.

McNabb has done his part. At even strength, he’s only been on the ice for three goals against. And while he may not put up the offensive numbers that Voynov did, if he can eat up even-strength minutes and kill penalties, that leaves Ehrhoff, 33, fresher for the power play.

Kings