• John Klingberg deal good for the player, potentially better for Dallas Stars

    John Klingberg (right) and Tyler Seguin (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

    It’s not exactly Evan Longoria-like, but if you can come up with a player with less NHL experience who has ever signed a longer, more lucrative contract than John Klingberg has with the Dallas Stars, let us know.

    Because we certainly can’t come up with one. After just 65 games in the best league in the world and only 13 in the American League prior to that, and coming off double hip surgery last summer, Klingberg signed a seven-year deal with the Stars worth $29.75 million. It’s a contract that will take him and the Stars through the 2021-22 season. (Longoria, the superstar third baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays, agreed to a six-year contract extension in 2008 worth $17.5 million just six games into his major league career, a deal that has since been extended.) Read more

  • Winnipeg will need to focus on discipline after Game 1 loss to Anaheim

    Jared Clinton
    Ryan Kesler and Blake Wheeler battle (Debora Robinson/Getty Images)

    Throughout the entire regular season, the storyline for the Winnipeg Jets was the same: everything can be clicking, but at times a lack of discipline comes back to haunt them when it matters most. In Game 1 against the Anaheim Ducks, that was exactly the case.

    For 39:27, the Jets, who took the most penalties of any team in the league during the regular season, had managed to stay out of the box. Then, with only 33 seconds remaining in the second period, Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele took exception to a hack from Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler in front of the net, turned and bopped the Ducks center in the face. If there was a turning point Thursday evening, it was that penalty. Read more

  • Auston Matthews just broke Patrick Kane’s NTDP record for points in a season

    Auston Matthews (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

    With a power play assist in the first period against Slovakia, Team USA’s Auston Matthews put himself in the history books. The elite center and top prospect for the 2016 NHL draft had himself his 103rd point of the season, breaking the National Team Development Program record of 102, set by Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane in 2005-06.

    In a year where Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel have ruled the prospect world, it’s time to give Matthews his due.

    Read more

  • Sense of unease setting in early in St. Louis as Blues fall in Game 1 to stingy Wild

    Adam Proteau
    Blues winger T.J. Oshie skates with the puck against Minnesota's Charlie Coyle #(left) and Ryan Suter (far right) during Game 1 of Minnesota's first-round playoff series against St. Louis. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

    Over the course of 82 regular-season games this season, the St. Louis Blues established themselves as a very difficult hockey team to beat. What they’ve yet to establish themselves as, though, is a team with the ability to do some serious damage in the playoffs. And after Game 1 of their first-round series against Minnesota Thursday ended in a 4-2 win for the Wild, they’ve still got a lot left to prove in order to be taken seriously at this time of year.

    In a game that will not be remembered as one of the most entertaining playoff matchups in NHL history, the Blues managed to get just 21 shots – including only four in the second period – on Minnesota ace Devan Dubnyk, who let in two of them for a paltry (for him, anyway) .905 save percentage on the night. But despite pressing numerous times during the first period, St. Louis didn’t register its first goal until 7:12 of the third frame on Jaden Schwartz’s goal. By that stage of the game, they were already down 2-0 thanks to rookie Matt Dumba’s second period power play goal and Jason Zucker’s first-period marker – and after Schwartz’s goal, there was no difference-maker who stepped up for the Blues to tie it late and force overtime. (Sure, Alex Steen scored with 59 seconds left in regulation, but his goal came 14 seconds after Mikael Granlund scored an empty-net goal to make it 3-1 Wild; Minnesota promptly scored another empty-netter – this one, from Jason Pominville – to ice the victory for the visitors and erase St. Louis’ home ice advantage.)

    Following Granlund’s goal, the sounds of discontent could be heard in pockets of Scottrade Center, and who could blame Blues fans for the now-familiar sense of unease? Read more

  • Corey Perry’s huge second effort lifts Ducks to Game 1 win

    Jared Clinton
    Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf (Debora Robinson/Getty Images)

    You’ll have to forgive Corey Perry for being quiet heading into the third period of Game 1 against the Winnipeg Jets. He was saving his energy for some late-game heroics.

    Perry, who managed to find the score sheet in the first period with an early assist, was largely unnoticeable through the 38 minutes that followed Sami Vatanen‘s early first period goal that put the Ducks ahead 1-0. But in the third frame, with Anaheim down 2-1, Perry scored to knot the game at two. Then, 12 minutes later, Perry did what he does best: drove to the net, shielded the puck from a defender and scored a hard-nosed tally. Read more

  • Minnesota Wild rookie Matt Dumba’s first career NHL playoff goal is a blast to remember

    Matt Dumba (John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

    At this time last year, defenseman Matt Dumba was in the WHL playoffs with the Portland Winterhawks, who eventually won that league’s Western Conference championship for the fourth consecutive season. The 20-year-old may not get that far in the NHL with the Minnesota Wild this season, but in his first career playoff game Thursday night, Dumba made a lifetime memory for himself with his first playoff goal – a rocket slap shot from the blueline that beat Blues goalie Jake Allen and gave his team a 2-0 lead on the road.

    The Wild were on the power play early in the second period when Dumba one-timed a pass from Jared Spurgeon past Allen, who was screened on the play by Minnesota forwards Nino Niederreiter and Chris Stewart…and Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo: Read more

  • Red Wings take Game 1, but they’ll need to improve big time to beat Lightning

    Petr Mrazek (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    The Red Wings came into their first round series against the Lightning as huge underdogs. And even after Detroit’s Game 1 victory, it wouldn’t be crazy to still consider them such.

    Entering the series, from an advanced statistical perspective, the Red Wings were one of the top puck possession teams in the entire Eastern Conference and one of the few teams who kept pace with the Lightning when it came to underlying numbers in the East. After the series’ first game, however, it’s more than evident there’s a huge discrepancy between the two clubs when it comes to ability to control the run of play. If Detroit can’t turn the tides in that respect, this series could be a quick one. Read more