Dallas Stars

Stars chase Elliott with three goals on six shots — in under nine minutes


The Blues experienced one of their worst home starts of the season tonight against the Stars at Scottrade.

Two goals from Jamie Benn and another from Cody Eakin — all inside the opening nine minutes of the game — forced Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock to burn his timeout early and yank starting netminder Brian Elliott in favor of Jake Allen.

Here’s Benn’s opening goal at the 2:47 mark, which began St. Louis’ free fall:

From the Dallas perspective, this is a really impressive start. The club struggled to score goals in its first game without Tyler Seguin on Saturday — losing 4-1 to Colorado — and will need to continue finding the back of the net while its leading scorer is sidelined for 3-6 weeks with a knee injury.



Goalie nods: It has to be Johnson for the Isles… right? (Update: Yep)


All the latest from the crease…

Who goes for New York?

The Islanders won’t announce their starting goalie until 5 p.m. ET today, so we don’t know if it’s Chad Johnson or Jaroslav Halak in net for tonight’s affair against Carolina.

Update: It’s Johnson.

One would suspect Johnson gets the nod, given tonight is the second of a back-to-back; Halak played last night, and allowed six goals on 42 shots in an emotional loss to the Rangers.

That said, head coach Jack Capuano could possibly be persuaded to let Halak try and bounce back; the 29-year-old Slovak looked rattled and a bit shaky as the Blueshirts made a concerted effort to get into his kitchen.

Related: The Isles are surrendering too many goals

“I want to get shots,” captain Ryan McDonagh said, per Newsday. “We wanted to make it more difficult on Halak tonight than in other past games. He’s been a big difference in why we haven’t been able to beat them in the past.

“We talked about getting in front of the net and making it tough on him, make him fight through screens. We were a lot hungrier in front of him for sure.”

No word yet on who’ll start in goal for the ‘Canes.


Blue Jackets at Flyers: Curtis McElhinney vs. Ray Emery

Caps at Pens: Braden Holtby vs. Marc-Andre Fleury

Sabres at Devils: Cory Schneider for New Jersey, Michal Neuvirth likely for Buffalo.

Panthers at Leafs: Roberto Luongo vs. Jonathan Bernier

Stars at Blues: Brian Elliott for St. Louis, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.

Sharks at Preds: Alex Stalock for San Jose, Pekka Rinne likely for Nashville.

Will Dallas move veterans Horcoff, Cole?


With Dallas teetering on the edge of playoff contention — the Stars head into tonight’s game versus St. Louis six points back of San Jose for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference — two of the club’s most experienced players know they could be up for grabs when the Mar. 2 trade deadline rolls around.

“I think one of the things that has changed since I came into the league is that nowadays, everyone is aware of everyone else’s situation,” Erik Cole said, per the Dallas Morning-News. “You know what’s going on with players, and you know what could happen.”

“My best situation is we win some games and you don’t trade anybody,” Horcoff added. “That’s what I would prefer.”

Cole, 36, is in the last of a four-year, $18 million deal with a $4.5M cap hit. Horcoff, also 36, is in the last of a six-year, $33 million deal with a $5.5M cap hit. While those price tags are reasonably high, both go unrestricted on July 1 and, as far as rentals go, bring plenty to the table — Cole has 46 games of playoff experience and has played in two Stanley Cup Finals, winning with Carolina in 2006; Horcoff has 41 games of postseason experience and famously scored 19 points in 24 games during Edmonton’s surprise run to the ’06 Final (where, ironically enough, the Oilers lost to Cole’s Hurricanes.)

As such, focus turns to Stars GM Jim Nill. At what point — if at all — will he cede the chase for the postseason? Aside from being six back of the last spot, the Stars need to leapfrog two red-hot teams (Los Angeles and Minnesota, sitting ninth and 10th in the west) and adjust to life without leading scorer Tyler Seguin, who’s out 3-6 weeks with a knee injury.

Dallas’ first game without Seguin didn’t go well, as it lost 4-1 in Colorado on Saturday. That, plus a rough upcoming schedule — the Stars’ next five games are against the Blues, Sharks, Red Wings, Wild and Jets — could push Nill into sales mode, at which point Cole and Horcoff would almost certainly be in play.

Kulikov suspended four games for clipping Seguin


Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov has been suspended four games for an “excessively low” hit on Stars forward Tyler Seguin during Friday’s game in Dallas.

In reviewing the video, the NHL deemed that Kulikov “bends severely at the waist and throws his body across Seguin’s knees, flipping Seguin dangerously to the ice and causing a significant knee injury. This is clipping.”

It’s worth noting that the NHL did not label Kulikov’s hit “predatory,” as it did when Boston’s Brad Marchand was suspended five games for clipping Vancouver’s Sami Salo.

Rather, it was decided that Kulikov simply mistimed the hit.

Here’s the Marchand suspension video from 2012:

Stars’ Ruff on Kulikov hit: ‘I want to see the league deal with it’


Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov has a phone hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Monday morning and Dallas Stars’ head coach Lindy Ruff hopes the league will send a message.

Kulikov was assessed a major penalty for clipping and a game misconduct for his hit on Stars’ forward Tyler Seguin on Friday night.

Kulikov, who has not been suspended previously, was offered an in-person hearing on Saturday, but declined. Since he was offered an in-person meeting, he is eligible to be suspended for more than five games.

“It’s a play that I don’t like,” said Ruff per The Dallas Morning News. “It’s a dirty, low play that the league doesn’t like, and I want to see the league deal with it. They took out one of the best players in the league, and it’s something that has to be dealt with and I’ll let them deal with it.”

Seguin, who had a team-leading 29 goals and 59 points in 55 games, is expected to miss 3-6 weeks with a knee injury.