NHL WESTERN CONFERENCE LEADERS COLLIDE

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Four of the top five teams in the Western Conference face off in a pair of games on Friday’s slate.

The Blackhawks (41-21-6, 88 points) and Stars (40-20-8, 88 points) – who are tied in terms of points – battle for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference when they meet at American Airlines Center. This marks the fourth of five matchups in 2015-16 between these clubs; Dallas has won two of the first three (DAL: 2-1-0, CHI: 1-2-0), including a 4-2 victory in their most recent contest on Feb. 11 at United Center. The teams will close their five-game set on March 22 in Chicago.

The Blues (39-20-9, 87 points) and Ducks (37-20-9, 83 points) – the No. 3 and 5 teams in the Western Conference, respectively – also drop the puck at Scottrade Center. This marks the third and final meeting of the season between these clubs, who have split their opening two (STL: 1-0-1, ANA: 1-1-0) – St. Louis picked up a 2-1 victory on Oct. 29 at home, while Anaheim earned a 4-3 shootout win on Jan. 8 at Honda Center.

NHL MILESTONES & MUSINGS

  • Jets forward Blake Wheeler played in his 600th NHL game.
  • Panthers forward Jussi Jokinen (1-1—2) extended his point streak to nine games (2-9—11), one shy of his career high established Jan. 28 – March 2, 2010 (9-4—13 in 10 GP w/ CAR).
  • Senators forward Zack Smith (1-1—2) extended his point streak to a career-high seven games (5-3—8), including goals in four straight (4-1—5). He also reached the 20-goal milestone for the first time.
  • Jets forward Mark Scheifele (0-1—1) extended his point streak to six games (6-3—9), matching a career high set Dec. 12-22, 2013 (3-5—8).
  • Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron (0-1—1) extended his point streak to six games (5-3—8).

THURSDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
Carolina 3, BOSTON 2 (OT)
MONTREAL 3, Buffalo 2
DETROIT  RED WINGS 3, Winnipeg 2
FLORIDA 6, Ottawa 2
Edmonton 2, MINNESOTA 1
New Jersey 3, SAN JOSE 0

SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Pittsburgh @ Columbus, 7:00 p.m.
Philadelphia @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Anaheim @ St. Louis, 8:00 p.m.
Chicago @ Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Arizona @ Calgary, 9:00 p.m.

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