Ryan Dadoun

NHL on NBCSN: Hot Stars, Flyers collide


NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the Philadelphia Flyers host the Dallas Stars at 7:30 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

The Dallas Stars entered the 2014-15 campaign with a lot of intrigue, but by the time they gained any traction the Stars had dug themselves into a hole that they ultimately couldn’t recover from. While the story this season has been much different, it will only matter if they can build off of their 4-1-0 start.

That task will continue tonight with Dallas visits Philadelphia.

Known first and foremost for its offense, Dallas certainly has lived up to expectations in that regard by scoring at least three goals in each of its first five games. Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Jason Spezza have naturally led the charge, but part of their early success can be attributed to the hot starts of Ales Hemsky (1G, 5A in five games), Mattias Janmark (2G, 2A), and Cody Eakin (3G, 1A).

Of course, the bigger question surrounding the Stars going into the season was how their goaltending tandem of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi was going to shake out and while it’s too early to jump to any conclusions, they’ve certainly held their own thus far. It’s not clear which of them will start tonight, but if you want an interesting goaltender storyline, then the Flyers are the team to look at.

Steve Mason had a rough outing on Oct. 10 and couldn’t play on Oct. 12 for personal reasons. Michal Neuvirth started in his place and has gone on to post back-to-back shutouts.

The question now is if the Flyers should go back to Mason or continue to ride the hot hand in Neuvirth. Philadelphia is also scheduled to play on Wednesday against the Boston Bruins, so that has to be factored into coach Dave Hakstol’s decision.

Either way, the Flyers will be looking for more from Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, who have combined for just three points over the Flyers’ first four games. Philadelphia is 2-1-1 despite that sluggish start, but if the Flyers are to make the playoffs this season, that duo will need to step up. Perhaps that will happen tonight.

Update: The Flyers announced that Mason will get the nod tonight.

PHT Morning Skate: Comparing ’15-16 Jackets start to the worst in history

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 16:  Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates out on to the ice prior to the start of the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 16, 2015 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Getty Images

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

How does the Columbus Blue Jackets’ start compare to some of the worst ever? (CBS Sports)

A book coming out this week called “Breaking Away: A Harrowing True Story of Resilience, Courage and Triumph,” details the abuse former NHL forward Patrick O’Sullivan suffered at the hands of his father. (Sportsnet)

Tyson Barrie, who is serving a three-game suspension, doesn’t see himself as a “dirty player or an overly physical player.” (Denver Post)

Taylor Chorney has an opportunity to secure regular playing time with the Washington Capitals. (Washington Post)

Even at the age of 43, Jaromir Jagr is showing that he can still excel at the highest level. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

A poll of players gives the Florida Panthers’ ice a poor review. (Puck Daddy)

Price, Seguin and Tarasenko named NHL’s three stars of the week

Max Pacioretty,
The Canadian Press via AP

Canadiens goalie Carey Price, Stars center Tyler Seguin and Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.

From NHL.com:

Price went 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average, .963 save percentage and one shutout to backstop the Canadiens (6-0-0, 12 points) to three wins, leading the team to its best start in its 98-year NHL history.

Seguin tied for first in the NHL with 3-4—7 in three outings to power the Stars (4 1-0, 8 points) to a trio of victories.

Tarasenko notched 3-3—6 and a +6 rating in four games to lift the Blues (5-1-0, 10 points) to four consecutive wins.

Other players that excelled over the last week include David Krejci (3G, 4A in three games), Jason Spezza (4G, 2A), John Tavares (2G, 5A), Torey Krug (5A), and Alexander Steen (2G, 3A in four games).

Among goaltenders, Michal Neuvirth stood out with back-to-back shutouts last week while Martin Jones continued his superb start (1 goal on 63 shots).

Rookie Connor McDavid also started to show what he’s capable of by scoring three goals and five points in four contests.

Raanta will take on Sharks in his Rangers debut

Antti Raanta
AP Photo

The New York Rangers went into the season with plans of limiting Henrik Lundqvist to about 60 games, but that will likely only happen if Rangers coach Alain Vigneault is comfortable with backup goaltender Antti Raanta.

The 26-year-old netminder will get his first chance to build that level of trust tonight as the Rangers have confirmed that Raanta will make his season debut against the San Jose Sharks.

Raanta will be tasked with filling the void left by Cam Talbot, who for two years was a superb understudy for Lundqvist. Talbot also played a key role last season after Lundqvist suffered a vascular injury in his neck that sidelined him for most of February and March.

The Rangers’ new backup goaltender had a superb 1.89 GAA and .936 save percentage in 14 contests with Chicago in 2014-15, but he still lost the backup job to Scott Darling. That was trying for Raanta and led to a report from the Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat that he hoped Nashville would sweep the Blackhawks in the first round. While he later denied making that comment, the interviewer said that it’s on tape, but that the quote lacked context.

Regardless, this is a fresh start for Raanta and an opportunity for him to play an important part on another team that’s regarded as a serious Stanley Cup contender.

San Jose will counter with the red hot Martin Jones, per CSN Bay Area.

Rozsival might rejoin ‘Hawks in a few weeks

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 06: at the United Center on March 6, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Oilers 2-1 in a shootout. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Michal Rozsival‘s long recovery from a broken ankle is nearing its end, but there’s still more work to be done before he can rejoin the Chicago Blackhawks.

Although he was able to take part in Chicago’s morning skate on Saturday, he only has about 85 percent of his original range of motion in his left ankle. The 37-year-old defenseman opened the campaign on the long-term injured reserve list, which a player must stay on for at least 24 days and 10 games, but he’s likely to remain on it for more than the minimum.

“I can’t tell you how long but it’s definitely not ready now. It may be a few more weeks before I can actually go out and play an NHL game,” Rozsival told CSN Chicago.

Still, he’s made significant strides since reporting to training camp. At the time he had swelling in his ankle and the area was stiff.

The Chicago Blackhawks’ defensive depth was dealt a significant blow when Rozsival broke his ankle in Game 4 of the second round on May 7. He underwent surgery less than a week later.

He agreed to a one-year extension in September that comes with a base salary of $600K and can pay him an additional $200K in performance bonuses, per General Fanager)