With official bid made, Ducks want NHL All-Star game in Anaheim

But when chemistry works that well, shouldnt the coach just let it happen? The Dallas Morning News Mike Heika examines the case for keeping the Super Best Friends together, whatever:

Hitchcock has vacillated in his explanations all year, at times reasoning that its his job to break up the line and find ways to boost the scoring, and at times saying its the job of the depth scorers to find the back of the net and keep the top line together. His manic line-juggling in the last four games shows just how frustrated his reasoning can become when his team goes into scoring slumps.

NOTES: The Stars had no healthy scratches. The players sidelined were D Martin Hanzal (lower-body injury), G Ben Bishop (knee) and C Mattias Janmark (illness). Bishop will make Dallas longest trip of the season and may be able to play before the team returns home on March 23. Dallas C Martin Hanzal will undergo season-ending spinal fusion. … Getzlaf has two goals and 10 assists in his last five games. … Rakell played in his 300th NHL game. He celebrated with an assist on Getzlafs goal, giving him eight goals and 11 assists in a six-game point streak. … Dallas penalty killers were 19 for 20 in the previous five games, and 3 for 3 on Friday. … Seguin assisted on both goals.

But Benn, Seguin and Radulov continue to make beautiful hockey when they are together, so you have to think they will be front row in the orchestra Sunday when the Stars play the [Pittsburgh] Penguins.

Getzlaf scored at 17:16 of the first period. Rickard Rakell started the play by passing out to Corey Perry at the Ducks blue line. Going 2-on-1 against Dallas defenseman Greg Pateryn, Perry dropped the puck to Getzlaf entering the Stars zone. Pateryn went to the ice to block a shot, but Getzlaf lifted a wrist shot over Pateryn and Lehtonens right shoulder into the upper-left corner of the net.

One can even make the argument that a consistent and fully operational super line can help build confidence among the Stars other scorers, as Devin Shore points out:

Why Stars coach Ken Hitchcock may want to keep the top line together

I think you just have to trust our game plan, Shore said after scoring Friday. I think when youre playing well but not getting the end result, the worst thing you can do is get frustrated and stray from the game plan. I think all you can do is stick to it and trust that if you stick to it, itll pay off.

The third-period power plays were the only ones for the Stars in the game. The Kings had killed all 25 of their opponents man advantages in the previous nine games. Dallas had been successful on only four of 36 power plays (11 percent) over 13 games.

The Stars are on the road for the next two weeks, and they meet the Pens tonight at 6:30 p.m. CST. After you read Taylors DBD preview, check out Mark Stepneskis official version.

Both teams entered with 80 points, but Dallas increased its lead for the first wild card from the Western Conference to three points over Los Angeles. Anaheim remained one point ahead of the Kings for third place in the Pacific Division.

Mark is also keeping up with the Stars odds for a postseason appearance.

Shore, Benn score on power play, Stars beat Ducks 2-1

And @DallasStars has put together a handy reference to the upcoming road schedule.

Dallas ➡️ Pittsburgh ➡️ Montreal ➡️ Toronto ➡️ Ottawa ➡️ Winnipeg ➡️ Washington ➡️ Dallas. Weve got 6 games in 10 days on this @AdvanceAuto Road Trip. #GoStars pic.twitter.com/3zgc8Yr8gY

“That line, in general, gave us really good momentum,” Hitchcock said. “Elie was good. I thought Smith was good. He was tenacious, he was on top of people and using his speed to check. I think thats Gemels game. Thats what were going to need every night. I think theres more they can do offensively, and we want to sit down with them and see if we can figure out how we can help them out there.”

Jamie Benn did a little advance scouting on the Pens during last nights 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He may not have been the only one baffled by that goaltender-interference call on Brian Dumoulin. [Sportsnet]

Hitchcock has vacillated in his explanations all year, at times reasoning that its his job to break up the line and find ways to boost the scoring, and at times saying its the job of the depth scorers to find the back of the net and keep the top line together. His manic line-juggling in the last four games shows just how frustrated his reasoning can become when his team goes into scoring slumps.

Anthony Duclair is expected to miss one to two weeks after injuring his knee in this collision with Brad Marchand. Was it a dirty play, or is Marchands (terrible) reputation playing into perception? [BarDown]

Nashville and Anaheim are making tough decisions on their lines, and maybe the Stars could benefit from the same kind of inner competition. Devin Shore has tallied two goals in the last six games. Tyler Pitlick has three in the last 10. But Brett Ritchie has one in his last 26, Jason Spezza hasnt scored in the last 22 games and Antoine Roussel hasnt scored in 28.

For reference, heres the Marchand-Duclair incident at real speed pic.twitter.com/AhbSDUFAgk

The Team USA post-Olympics victory lap continues: Defender Emily Pfalzer dropped the puck before the Florida Panthers 4-3 shootout win over the New York Rangers. The Cats have now won eight in a row and are closing in on an Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Dallas Stars Alexander Radulov (47), Tyler Seguin (91) and Jamie Benn (14) share a hug after Seguins goal in the third period during the Colorado Avalanche vs. the Dallas Stars NHL hockey game at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Saturday, October 14, 2017. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

Ducks @ Stars RECAP: No Shooting Stars Tonight

Thanks for coming out to drop the puck at our game tonight, @EmilyPfalzer! So honored to have USAs best @thebbtcenter! Congrats on your Olympic Gold Medal! pic.twitter.com/q3NTgY5Xh4

“You start to worry when you dont get chances, but you cant ride the emotions,” Ritchie said. “Youre going to get unlucky some times and youre going to get more than you deserve other times. But every games going to be huge, and any time you can contribute on the score sheet is a bonus.”

Jared Clinton examines the wild-card races as the regular season winds down.

As much as Benn (goal and assist), Seguin (two assists) and Radulov (one assist) led the comeback, Hitchcock also liked the fact an energy line emerged with Jason Dickinson, Gemel Smith and Remi Elie. That young trio was buzzing and driving puck possession, despite limited minutes.

Taylor Hall is a potential Hart Trophy winner, and the Oilers are still objectively terrible. These threads, and the implacable terror that is Patrik Laine, are part of Sean McIndoes Saturday Storylines for the week.

Photos: Stars celebrate Jamie Benns go-ahead goal, John Klingberg and Esa Lindell scuffle with Ducks Nick Ritchie

Of course, as David Staples writes, Halls and the Devils redemptive season is good news…for the Oilers. [Edmonton Sun]

Ducks @ Stars PREVIEW/GAMETHREAD: Shine Against the Stars

Landon Bow earned First Star of the Game and Roope Hintz scored as the Texas Stars beat the Tucson Roadrunners 4-3.

The Charlotte Checkers scored seven goals in last nights win over the Hartford Wolf Pack, but the most remarkable was this empty-netter by goalie Alex Nedeljkovic. Enjoy. [The AHL]

Well for one, a recent past with the stars, whether bitter or sweet. They have all suited up for Dallas in the past three years and have now moved on to different situations. Yet, while these guys might not be in a Dallas Stars jersey anymore, that doesnt mean we arent any less curious about what theyve been up to this season.

The most recent defenseman to leave the Big D is the 67 Jamie Oleksiak. With the Stars bringing so many defensemen into the season on their roster, it only made sense that they got rid of the young improving player. This season has seen Julius Honkas play up and down, coming in and out of the pairs, and then Greg Pateryn and Stephen Johns becoming staples in the defensive core. Oleksiak was slowly working himself out as he couldnt seem to ever get a footing with this lineup.

After being traded to Pittsburgh, Oleksiak has found his role on the Penguins roster and within their defensive rotation. It seems he has gained more confidence with his new teammates, and in return, is finding more time on the ice and more points on his stat sheet.

The Pittsburgh Penguins sit atop the Metropolitan Division at 39-25-4, after a rough start to the year. This season with Pittsburgh, Oleksiak has three goals and six assists through 33 games, compared to only one goal and two assists with Dallas through 21 games. Oleksiak has seen his minutes rise significantly with the Penguins, as he is averaging 17:18 TOI (time on ice) and 571 total minutes, compared to 15:00 TOI and 315 total in Dallas. With 103 hits on the year with Pittsburgh and 35 blocks, he continues to be a big presence wherever needed.

Stars Vs Ducks Preview: Betting Odds, Predictions, TV | NHL 3/9/2018

Patrik Nemeth was the first defenseman to exit the Stars defensive carousel this season as Dallas core on the blue-line was already shaping up. He was placed on waivers by Dallas right before the season began and the Colorado Avalanche were quick to grab him. Nemeth had many setbacks in Dallas and could never seem to find the footing necessary to stay with the team, but Colorado was his opportunity at a new system and a fresh start.

The Avalanche are currently fighting to secure a wild-card spot in the tough battle that has developed in the Central Division. They currently sit in that final wild-card spot at 35-24-8 and are just two points out from Dallas in first.

Nemeth has 11 assists and three goals on the year with the Avalanche, with a more than solid plus/minus total at 25, putting him at 11th in the league for plus/minus total. Nemeth is averaging 19:37 TOI, which is a career-high for the defenseman. It appears that Nemeth has gotten the fresh start he needs in Colorado. He has 52 hits through the season so far and has a whopping 147 total blocked shots – currently tied for sixth in the league.

Traded from the Stars to the Arizona Coyotes back in the summer of 2016, Goligoski has spent two seasons in Phoenix now. Fitting the mold of what Arizona wanted in a versatile defenseman, the Stars sent him off for a fifth-round pick that year in the draft.

Arizona is currently 21-24-11 and looking to continue their rebuild behind the likes of Clayton Keller and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Goligoski has 30 total points, 21 assists, and nine goals this season, with a poor -22 plus/minus – a career-worst and 14th worst in the league. Goligoski has had an interesting season to say the least, but still averages 23:13 TOI, which is slightly above his career-average TOI at 22:45. He has 101 hits this season along with 112 total blocked shots, which are slightly below his totals from last year, but above his averages when he was with Dallas.

In 2014, the San Jose Sharks traded Jason Demers to the Stars, where he spent one season before heading off to play with the Florida Panthers. The Panthers then traded Demers to the Arizona Coyotes in the offseason of 2017. Now at 29-years-old, its been about a year and a half since Demers suited up in a Stars sweater.

Ducks-Stars Sums

The Coyotes are currently sitting with the worst record in the league and a possible number one pick in the upcoming draft as a result. Demers has 20 points on the season with Arizona, 14 of those being assists, in addition to six goals. He is averaging 21:13 time on ice (a career-high for the defenseman), while also accruing 59 hits, 75 blocks, and 17 takeaways.

After spending six seasons with Dallas and having the duo of the Benn brothers for quite some time, this trade was and is still is a bittersweet moment. In late February 2017, Dallas traded Jordie Benn to the Montreal Candiens for Greg Pateryn and a fourth-round pick, which was used to draft prospect Liam Hawel. At the time, seeing Jordie Benn head off to play for his first team in the NHL without his brother was a bit emotional for most fans. But looking at that trade now, Greg Pateryn has panned out for the Stars on defense in more ways than one and it remains to be seen if Dallas will re-sign him in the upcoming off-season to be a staple in the defensive core.

Jordie Benns season thus far with Montreal has been, well, just about the same as every other season he had with Dallas. Benn exhibits a more physical presence on defense, and is an old-school style defender that will get down and dirty with hits and blocks, while points come second.

To date, he has 13 points this season, with nine of those being assists and the other four coming from goals. Benn has accumulated 72 hits, 132 blocked shots, and 17 takeaways so far, and he is currently 15th in the league in total amount of shots blocked. The Montreal Canadiens are currently 25-30-11 and are six places out from the wild-card race. It looks as if Benn and the Canadiens season will go no further past the regular season.

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