Just A Thought
@ESPN_Burnside: Maybe in the past the Dallas Stars would have let a game like the one Monday get away from them. Despite dominating the Buffalo Sabres in scoring chances and shots on goal the Stars still found themselves trailing the hard-working Sabres 1-0 late in the first period, and then tied 2-2 early in the third period. But the Stars kept coming, and in a frenzied third period got a power-play goal from Alex Chiasson, his first in 13 games, to put away the Sabres. Goalie Jhonas Enroth was magnificent for the Sabres while facing 39 Dallas shots, but the Stars got the two points they needed against an opponent buried deep in the Eastern Conference standings. The Stars are 8-2-2 in their past 12 games and have pulled ahead of Winnipeg and Vancouver by two points in the fight for the second and final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, aiming to earn their first playoff berth since 2008.
@CraigCustance: It's amazing what stringing together a few wins can do to your playoff position. With another win -- that's now five straight -- Monday night, the Minnesota Wild are starting to pad their lead over teams outside the playoff bubble. Their win over the Calgary Flames, a team that continues to play hard for coach Bob Hartley, gave the Wild a nine-point edge on Winnipeg and Vancouver in the Western wild-card race. If GM Chuck Fletcher was on the fence about adding a significant piece at the deadline, his team is certainly helping make the case that they deserve a shot.
@KatieStrangESPN: The Los Angeles Kings sure look like a team rounding into form heading into the last 19 games of the season. The Kings knocked off Montreal 2-1 Monday night for their fifth straight win, including four straight since the Olympic break. Los Angeles netminder Jonathan Quick has been stellar since his return from Sochi, surrendering only three goals during that span. This all sets up an interesting trade deadline for Kings GM Dean Lombardi, who is reportedly interested in coveted rental player Thomas Vanek, and maybe even a defenseman such as the Buffalo Sabres' Christian Ehrhoff. It could be an action-packed few days for the Kings. Stay tuned.
@Real_ESPNLeBrun: Katie, I spoke with a source Monday who suggested that unless the rental prices come down the Kings are happy to stand pat, enthused by the play of youngsters such as Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson. However, that's not to say the Kings would not act, and I think they're still interested in the likes of Matt Moulson or Mike Cammalleri if the prices comes down before the deadline. If the asking price remains sky high, though, the sense from L.A. is that the Kings won't panic. However, I still feel Moulson in particular would look good in black and silver.
Quote Me On That
"I went through a phase where I couldn't see the light out of the tunnel. It seems like the break came at the right time. I put some weight back on, and I felt rested."
-- Alex Chiasson
"I don't think we were at our best. I don't think we played at a level we need to play. But it doesn't matter when you look back at the score."
-- Zach Parise