The Boston Bruins will take the ice at the TD Garden for the first time since Jan. 26 when they face the Pacific Division leading Dallas Stars Thursday night. The Stars, one of the NHL’s biggest surprises, return from the break with 65 points, and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 contests.
Dallas is a team that was picked by most experts to be near the bottom of the Western Conference, but instead has soared to the third seed because of the emergence of their young forwards, giving them nine players who are legitimate top-6 talents, as well as the tough play of their largely anonymous defense. But perhaps even more significant than those factors is the revival of two careers between the pipes. Former Atlanta Thrasher Kari Lehtonen has finally picked up the work ethic necessary to get the best out of his elite talent after running himself out of Atlanta.
Lehtonen, the second overall pick of the 2002 entry draft, has a record of 22-11-5 with a 2.57 GAA and a .920 SV%. Joining him in the cage is old friend Andrew Raycroft, who has been just as impressive, posting a record of 8-4-0 with a 2.42 GAA and an identical save percentage. On the offensive end, the Stars are led by Captain Brendan Morrow, who perfectly personifies the team as a whole. Morrow is a gifted goal scorer, but is also one of the most physical forwards in the league. The combination of offensive firepower and physical play can be found up and down the roster.
Their most productive offensive players are All-Stars Brad Richards and Loui Erikson. Richards and Erikson combine to form one of the best and most entertaining duos in the NHL, especially on the powerplay. Richards, who serves as the team’s “quarterback” on the powerplay, leads all NHL players in powerplay ice time, and will often stay on the ice for the entire two minutes of the man advantage. Thursday’s game features two legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, and should be one of the most entertaining games of the year, win or lose. Boston Bruins tickets are now available!
It took five rounds in last night’s shootout for Kris Versteeg to notch the game-winning goal to lift the Chicago Blackhawks past the Dallas Stars 4-3 at the United Center. After a number of failed attempts the only thing required was a standard, accurate wrist shot for the puck to slip by veteran goalie Marty Turco.
“It was just going in and shooting and hoping it went in,” said Versteeg. “Turco, he’s a heck of a goaltender. You don’t want to do too much in the shootout. Go down and keep it simple.” The first period featured a pair of goals from both teams before the defenses stepped up to hold each other scoreless in the second. Troy Brouwer netted the go-ahead score 6:13 into the third block before Loui Eriksson answered with just four minutes left in regulation.
The Hawks are scheduled to host the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday, February 13th before taking on the Blue Jackets the following day. Chicago Blackhawks tickets are now available.
Alex Auld came up big with 31 saves for the Dallas Stars as they went on to battle their way past the Detroit Red Wings 3-1. Mike Ribeiro notched the first goal for Dallas on a power play 9:26 into the first period. Matt Kinskanen added to the lead early in the second before Henrik Zetterberg found the net for Detroit. From there the Stars defense was able to contain the high-power Red Wings offense, while Loui Eriksson tacked on the insurance with eight minutes to play.
The game was even closer than the box score shows after a controversial Brad May shot attempt 6:24 into the third period. May put the puck just inches past the goal line, but officials waved it off because a whistle had blown seconds earlier.
Detroit head coach Mike Babcock certainly wasn’t pleased with the way the situation was handled. “It wasn’t blown dead. It was a goal,” he said. “The guy never meant to blow the whistle. It was a shot.” Detroit can only look ahead to their next game against the Florida Panthers this Friday. The Stars will next welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets to Dallas tomorrow at 8:30 PM.
Despite a slow and sloppy start to last night’s game against the Dallas Stars, the Chicago Blackhawks were able to turn it around in the second half of the game, eventually winning 6-3. Dallas got it going early, scoring the first goal and outshooting Chicago 10-1 at one point. Brenden Morrow got the lone first period goal for the Stars at the 7:37 mark. The Blackhawks were able to tie it up at the end of the first on a wrist shot by Patrick Kane.
The Blackhawks would play a more involved and intense game in the second period. They took their first lead of the night on Ben Eager’s second period goal assisted by Dave Bolland. A Stars’ power play goal by Mike Modano would even the score at 2 apiece just one minute later. Near the end of the second period, Chicago rookie Kris Versteeg broke a 3-3 tie with a power play goal. Chicago would hang on to this lead for good adding two goals in the third period from Martin Havlat and Patrick Kane.
The Blackhawks will play their next four on the road before returning to the United Center on 12/3 to host the Anaheim Ducks. Chicago Blackhawks tickets are available for all 2008-2009 games now.
The Boston Bruins came away with a big win at home on Saturday in a game against the Dallas Stars that saw 146 penalty minutes handed out. The game also included seven misconducts.
Marco Sturm had a big day for the Bruins with two goals in the game. Sturm opened the scoring in the 1st period for the Bruins with the Stars knotting it up at one on a goal by Sean Avery just minutes later. Bergeron scored the lone second period goal of the game giving the Bruins a 2-1 edge going into the third period.
The third period was all Bruins with goals by Phil Kessel, Mark Stuart and Marco Sturm. Tim Thomas finished the game with 35 saves. The Boston Bruins improved to 6-3-3 on the season.
Bruins tickets are available for all remaining games including their next home game on 11/6 vs the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Forget about summer, it’s free-agent signing season in the NHL. Over the past few days, rumors have been flying around about what market will land the big names out there like Jaromir Jagr and Mats Sundin.
Sundin was reportedly offered a 2-year, $20 million dollar contract from the Vancouver Canucks, a deal that would make him the leagues highest paid player.
“We put a major offer together to try and attract the player we felt was the best center iceman on the market,” said Canucks GM Mark Gillis. “It’s an indication we are prepared to do what it takes to attract the best players here.”
The big signing of today was by far the Detroit Red Wings landing Marian Hossa to a one-year deal worth reportedly $7.45 million dollars. The high-scoring wingman was one of the top players who propelled the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup finals, which they lost to Detroit in six games. Hossa is 29 years old.
The Chicago Blackhawks made two big signings landing probably the top defensemen on the market in Brian Campbell as well as goalie Cristobal Huet. Campbell signed an eight-year $57.12 million dollar deal and Huet inked a four-year contract worth $22.5 million.
The two other big defensemen to reach deals Tuesday were Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden, who both signed with the New York Rangers.
Rozsival re-signed with the Rangers for a four-year contract worth $20 million while Redden signs a six-year, $39 million dollar deal after skating with Ottawa last season.
Defensemen Jeff Finger, formerly of the Colorado Avalanche, signed a four-year $14 million dollar deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Dallas landed forward Sean Avery to a four-year, $15.5 million dollar deal.
“We are excited about the opportunity to add a player like Sean Avery to our group,” Stars co-general manager Brett Hull said. “His ability to play the game with skill and tenacity makes us a better team and is a great complement to the players we have here.”
The Washington Capitals will say goodbye to longtime goalie Olie Kolzig after he signed a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning after spending 16 seasons in Washington.
The New Jersey Devils got their hands in the mix of the free agent pool by signing Brian Rolston and Bobby Holik to contracts. Rolston agreed to a four-year, $20 million dollar deal while Holik signed a one-year contract worth $2.5 million dollars.
The New York Islanders made a little noise by singing Montreal’s former defensemen Mark Streit to a five-year $20.5 million dollar contract while the Boston Bruins also signed a former Canadien in Michael Ryder to a multi-year deal.
With the NHL salary cap rising up this season, teams have not been shy about dishing out the money to lure top free-agents to their squads. Over the next two weeks, look for almost every free agent out there to receive offers from teams trying to help the players find a new place they can call home.
After some enthralling game 7′s the 1st round of the 2008 NHL Playoffs is now complete. 2nd round matchups are now set and NHL Playoff tickets are now available for all games.
Eastern ConferenceMontreal Canadiens vs Philadelphia Flyers: Both teams played a hard fought 7 game series in round 1. After getting off to a 3-1 game lead over the Boston Bruins the Canadiens were forced to play game 7 at home. The Habs shutout the Bruins 5-0 in that deciding game to advance. The Flyers won game 7 in overtime against the Washington Capitals.
Canadiens Playoff TicketsFlyers Playoff TicketsPittsburgh Penguins vs New York Rangers: The Penguins made quick work of the Senators in round 1, sweeping Ottawa in four straight. The New York Rangers also had a quick 1st round, eliminating the Devils in 5 games.
Penguins Playoff TicketsRangers Playoff TicketsWestern ConferenceColorado Avalanche vs Detroit Red Wings: The Avalanche needed 6 games to get past The Wild in round 1. Colorado will face the Red Wings in round 2. Detroit also had a 6 game 1st round series disposing of the Nashville Predators.
Avalanche Playoff TicketsRed Wings Playoff TicketsDallas Stars vs San Jose Sharks: The Stars needed 6 games to eliminate the Anaheim Ducks in round 1. They will face the San Jose Sharks in the 2nd round. The Sharks are coming off an exciting 7 game series with the Calgary Flames.
Stars Playoff TicketsSharks Playoff Tickets
Recap – Only the Detroit Red Wings have scored more goals in the Western Conference then the Dallas Stars. 16 players on the roster are in double-digit point totals and the team has 7 players with 10 or more goals led by 2008 NHL All Star center Mike Ribeiro. Riberio has put away 22 goals, notched 32 assist in his 49 games on the ice thus far in the season. (more)
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