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Stars top Blackhawks, take first in Central

NHL News and Notes

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STARS DEFEAT BLACKHAWKS, RECLAIM FIRST PLACE IN CENTRAL DIVISION... 
Jamie Benn (1-1-2), Tyler Seguin (1-1-2), Jason Spezza (1-1-2) and Ales Hemsky (1-1-2) each registered a goal and an assist to help the Dallas Stars defeat the Chicago Blackhawks and push their point streak to four games (3-0-1). 

* At 41-20-8 (90 points), the Stars moved past the Blackhawks (41-22-6, 88 points) and stayed one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues (40-20-9, 89 points), who also won Friday, for first place in the Central Division. 

* Benn had his 20th multiple-point game of the season and ranks second in the NHL with 33-42-75. Seguin had his 22nd multiple-point game of the season and is tied for third in the NHL with 33-37-70. 

* Per the Elias Sports Bureau, Benn and Seguin's combined 145 points (66-79-145) is the second-highest total among pairs of teammates in the NHL this season, behind only Chicago's Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin (63-88-151). 

* Spezza has scored in five consecutive games (5-1-6), matching his career high from Nov. 19-29, 2005 (6-6-12 w/ the Ottawa Senators). Spezza (294-506-800) also became the second player from the 2001 NHL Draft class to reach 800 career points, joining Ilya Kovalchuk (417-399-816). 
  

... TARASENKO, BLUES KEEP PACE WITH FIFTH STRAIGHT WIN 
With his team hanging on to a 3-2 lead, Vladimir Tarasenko (2-1-3) scored twice in the final 2:38 of regulation to help the St. Louis Blues defeat the Anaheim Ducks for their fifth consecutive victory. 

* At 40-20-9 (89 points), the Blues passed the Blackhawks (41-22-6, 88 points) for second place in the Central Division and remained one point back of the Stars (40-20-9, 90 points) for first. 

* Tarasenko had his third multiple-goal game of the season and added an assist for his fourth three-point game. He ranks sixth in the NHL with 32 goals. 

* Jake Allen (26 saves) matched a career high with his fifth straight win and improved to 23-13-3 overall (2.24 GAA, .923 SV%, 5 SO), eclipsing his career high of 22 victories from 2014-15 (22-7-4). Allen is 4-0-0 in five career appearances vs. Anaheim. 

AROUND THE RINKS 
* Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves to help the Pittsburgh Penguins hold off the Columbus Blue Jackets. Fleury is 4-2-0 in his past six games and 28-16-6 overall (2.34 GAA, .922 SV%, 5 SO). At 35-24-8 (78 points), the Penguins passed the idle Detroit Red Wings (33-23-11, 77 points) for sole possession of the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. They also moved within four points of the idle New York Islanders (37-20-8, 82 points) for third place in the Metropolitan Division. 

* Steve Mason turned aside 18 of 19 shots and the Philadelphia Flyers opened the scoring with three consecutive goals to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning for their sixth win in seven games and third in a row. Brayden Schenn (1-0-1) has scored five times in his past five games (5-2-7). At 32-23-11 (75 points), the Flyers climbed within two points of the idle Red Wings (33-23-11, 77 points) for the final wild card spot in the East. 

* Down 1-0, the Arizona Coyotes scored four unanswered goals, including two by Brad Richardson (2-0-2), to snap a 10-game road losing skid (0-9-1). Richardson had his first multi-goal game of the season. The Coyotes have won all four of their games vs. the Calgary Flames in 2015-16; they will play once more on March 28. 

MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS 
* Stars coach Lindy Ruff earned his 693rd career win, passing passed Dick Irvin (692) for sole possession of fifth place on the NHL's all-time wins list. 

* Penguins defenseman Kris Letang scored his 79th career goal (all w/ Pittsburgh) and passed Larry Murphy (78) for sole possession of second on the franchise's all-time goals list among blueliners. He ranks fourth among all defensemen with 13-39-52 this season. 

* Blues forward Troy Brouwer (0-1-1) skated in the 600th game of his NHL career. 

* Stars defenseman Stephen Johns, a second-round selection (No. 60) by the Blackhawks in the 2010 NHL Draft, made his NHL debut (17:27 TOI). 

LOOSE PUCKS 
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (0-1-1) extended his point streak to seven games (3-8-11). He is sixth in the NHL in scoring with 28-39-67. ... The Flyers earned their first road win vs. Tampa Bay since Feb. 15, 2011 (4-3 SO W), snapping an eight-game skid (0-6-2). ... Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen (18 saves) lost in regulation for the first time since Dec. 21 at the Islanders (13-0-2). ... The Blues improved to 9-2-1 in their past 12 home games vs. Anaheim dating to April 9, 2010 (ANA: 3-8-1), including three straight wins. ... Flames forward Mikael Backlund scored his first shorthanded goal of the season and the seventh of his NHL career. ... The NHL announced the commencement of the first-ever NHL Green Week, celebrating the League's commitment to environmental sustainability. ... The Blues signed defenseman Carl Gunnarsson to a three-year, $8.7 million contract extension. 

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