Rangers’ late goal forces OT, but Stars still get desperately needed win


After losing three straight games, the Stars were slipping in the hunt for a playoff spot. Fortunately for Dallas, the squad was able to eke by tonight in a 3-2 overtime victory against the New York Rangers.

After being called out by head coach Lindy Ruff on Friday, Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen turned aside 34 of 36 shots tonight. As impressive as that is though, Lehtonen didn’t look good on Chris Kreider’s game-tying goal at 18:40 of the third period.

That marker threatened to change the course of the game and in the end it did buy the Rangers a point. However, Ales Hemsky ensured that the Stars’ losing streak wouldn’t continue.

At 24-21-8, Dallas is even with the Minnesota Wild and Los Angeles Kings in terms of points, although the Stars are in the worst position among those teams because they’ve played in more games (53). All three squads are five points shy of a playoff spot.

Stars recall Curtis McKenzie and Jyrki Jokipakka


The Dallas stars recalled forward Curtis McKenzie and defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka from the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars the club announced Saturday.

In a corresponding move, forward Brett Ritchie was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 15.

According to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, Jokipakka could be an option on the blue line tonight when the Stars play host to the Washington Capitals.

Trevor Daley is out due to an undisclosed injury so either Jokipakka or David Schlemko will draw in says Heika.

Up front, Ales Hemsky is available to the Stars meaning McKenzie could be a healthy scratch.

McKenzie, 23, has appeared in 14 games with Dallas this season registering a goal and 19 penalty minutes. In 16 AHL games, McKenzie has four goals and 13 points. He was the Stars’ sixth-round selection (159th overall) in 2009.

Jokipakka has three assists in 16 games with Dallas this season. The 23-year-old has also appeared in 15 AHL games where he has three goals and four points with Texas. Jokipakka was Dallas’ seventh round pick (195th overall) at the 2011 NHL Draft.

The Stars and Caps meet tonight for the first of two meetings this season.

Stars injury update: ‘The one guy, it’s kind of mid-body,’ says Ruff


We know this: Vernon Fiddler (lower-body injury) is expected to play for the Dallas Stars on Saturday, according to head coach Lindy Ruff in a report on the Stars’ website.

That club is also dealing with a list of injuries to Trevor Daley and forwards Ales Hemsky and Brett Ritchie, although, as you might expect, specific details about their respective ailments were lacking.

In one case, Ruff even diverted away from the typical lower-body/upper-body descriptions.

“Well, the one guy, it’s kind of mid-body,” said Ruff, as per the Stars’ website. “I think the one guy, depends where he carries it, it could be lower or upper. The other guy is lower. We might as well get a little more detail. I give you guys mid-body now. One guy’s mid. One guy’s lower and one guy can be anyplace.”

Mid-body, eh?

Reminder: Two years ago, former Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said goalie Cory Schneider was out with a “body injury.”

Stars score four second period goals to edge the Sens

Dallas scored four straight second period goals to erase an early 2-0 deficit and defeat the Ottawa Senators 5-4 Tuesday night.

John Klingberg scored twice while Trevor Daley and Erik Cole had the others in the second period for the Stars, who trailed 3-1 after the first period.

Ottawa jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and appeared to be in control of the hockey game out-shooting Dallas 11-9 in the first period.

Clarke MacArthur’s 13th of the season midway through the first period gave Ottawa a two goal lead and forced Stars’ coach Lindy Ruff to make a goaltending change.

Kari Lehtonen was pulled in favor of Anders Lindback after allowing two goals on the first five shots of the game.

Lindback made 34 saves for the win. Ales Hemsky had the other Stars’ goal.

Mike Hoffman, Jared Cowen and Milan Michalek scored for Ottawa while Robin Lehner made 24 saves in the loss.

Cole had a questionable hit on Senators defenseman Marc Methot late in the first period. There was no penalty on the play.

Jason Spezza was held off the scoresheet in 14:56 of ice time against his former team.

NHL on NBCSN: Top prospect Teravainen, Hawks face red hot Stars


NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Dallas Stars at the United Center at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The Stars were one of the most intriguing teams going into the season thanks to their offseason acquisitions of forwards Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky. The prospect of that duo playing in the same lineup as Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn made Dallas an exciting team. But are the Stars a serious contender given their questionable defense?

They limped out of the gate with a 9-12-5 record, but started to click in early December and have consequently won nine of their last 11 games. A key factor in that has been goaltender Kari Lehtonen’s solid play, but as expected it is the Stars’ offense that has remained the story. Dallas has scored at least six goals in three of its last six contests and outscored its last two opponents, Arizona and Minnesota, 13-1.

What makes that recent outburst particularly impressive is that the Stars’ typical heavy hitters – Seguin, Benn, and Spezza – haven’t been leading the charge. Instead, the Stars’ attack has been fairly balanced lately.

“That’s a winning recipe. Every line is playing so well. One through four, they’re all playing the same way,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff, per the team’s website. “And I think that’s the one thing when you’re coaching – when all of your lines are doing the right things and all the lines are producing, it’s a winning recipe. Tonight was just another indication that every line went out there, created opportunities, defended well and got rewarded for it.”

Dallas has faced some strong teams over its 9-2-0 stretch, but Chicago will be a big test. The Blackhawks have already beaten Dallas twice this season, including their decisive 6-2 victory on Nov. 16. If Dallas is truly a different team now, perhaps that will come out tonight. Then again, Chicago is a tough opponent under any circumstances.

It has a deep, skilled roster full of players who already have their name on the Stanley Cup. Some of them multiple times. Amid that veteran roster though, there will also be Teuvo Teravainen, a 20-year-old with immense potential that’s looking to make an impression in his NHL season debut.

He played in three games with Chicago in 2013-14 and has spent the 2014-15 campaign honing his skills in the minors. An injury to Kris Versteeg has presented Teravainen with an opportunity to show he’s ready to play at this level.

“I’m really excited,” Teravainen told CSN Chicago. “It’s good to be back here. It’s been my goal to be here this year and I’ve been working so hard all summer and now in the season and I’m happy to be here.”

This game will be a key match for the Stars, but they certainly don’t have a monopoly when it comes to the importance of this contest.