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Leafs Snap Win Streak, Blue Jackets Extend Theirs to Eight

On Thursday night, the Dallas Stars (23-20-8) once again acted as the spoiler this week as they snapped the Toronto Maple Leafs’ (27-21-5) six-game win streak with a 7-1 victory. This came after the team defeated the Minnesota Wild (28-20-5) on Tuesday, after they had seen a seven-of-nine win run.

Valeri Nichushkin

Valeri Nichushkin

Along with the four-goal second period, a key to the Stars’ win was rookie Valeri Nichushkin, who scored two goals and contributed three assists. He now has 11 goals over 48 games with Thursday’s game being a first to have two goals in one matchup.

Jamie Benn grabbed his 100th career goal while his teammates Cody Eakin contributed a goal and one assist with Alex Goligowski, Sergei Gonchar and Tyler Seguin each adding two assists. Goalie Kari Lehtonen had 24 saves and now has 200 career wins.

Benn said of the game via the Associated Press, “Something we wanted to do in this game was build off last game. It’s two pretty good games in a row, pretty good in all three zones and we eliminated our turnovers.”

The Stars did walk away with one casualty. Eakin underwent an upper-body injury during the game but it has been reported the team’s coach Lindy Ruff, thinks his player will be o.k.

As for the Maple Leafs, their sole goal came from Nikolai Kulemin in the first period.

It’s been a streaky season for the Leafs with losing and winning periods dominating their play. As noted by NBC Sports, take a look:

Nov. 25 – Dec. 3: Five straight losses
Dec. 5 – 14: Two wins, three losses and then one win
Dec. 16 – 23: Losses in four of five games
Dec. 27 – Jan.1: Three straight victories.
Jan. 4 – 10: Four consecutive losses
Jan. 12 – 21: Six straight wins

The Leafs do remain in the hunt for the playoffs with their next game on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets (23-24-5). The Leafs sit at 33/1 to win the 2014 Stanley Cup.

The Stars will look to keep their momentum going on Saturday vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins (36-13-2). They have 75/1 odds to win this year’s Stanley Cup.

Meanwhile, as the Leafs saw their win streak come to an end, the Columbus Blue Jackets (26-20-4) extended theirs to win No. 8 with a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers (25-21-6) on Thursday. This also represented the franchise’s 1,000 game.

Sergei Bobrovsky edits

Sergei Bobrovsky

For the night, it was an all-team effort as Brandon Dubinsky, Matt Calvert (one assist), Nathan Horton, Jack Johnson and Derek MacKenzie each scored a goal. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who has overcame a groin injury, had 26 saves on Thursday and now has seven straight wins.

Dubinsky said of the game via the Associated Press, “If you look at the standings we are still right there. By no means can we be satisfied. Obviously it’s a big accomplishment. We are happy, we are going to enjoy it tonight. We are going to come to work tomorrow and get ready for a tough game.”

The standings have Columbus in a playoff spot for the Eastern Conference and a NHL-high 9-0-1 January record. The team sits at 40/1 to win the 2014 Stanley Cup. On Saturday, they’ll look for win No. 9 against the Buffalo Sabres (13-29-7).

As for the Flyers, Vincent Lecavalier and Brayden Schenn each scored a goal and for the week, the team has lost two straight games after losing to the Carolina Hurricanes (22-19-9), 3-2, on Wednesday. After winning 10 of 13 games, Philadelphia is now 2-4-2.

They will look to snap their losing streak with a Saturday game against the Boston Bruins (31-15-3). The Flyers sit at 28/1 to win the 2014 Stanley Cup.

Friday Games

Washington vs. New Jersey (no line at the time of this writing)

Montreal (-110) vs. Detroit (-110)(5 o/u)

Colorado (-120) vs. Florida (5.5 o/u)

Nashville (-105) vs. Calgary (5 o/u)

Phoenix (-125) vs. Edmonton (5 o/u)

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