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NHL Wednesday review: Maple Leafs outscore the Stars

The All-Star break is now complete, and for the past few days the NHL has kicked back into high gear - highlighted by a nine-goal thriller on Wednesday night.

As the push for the playoffs intensifies, games are becoming more important, meaning we are in for some great competition.

Wednesday night brought us three very good games. All games were very tight, and we had full excitement for the entirety of the night. Here is a review of what went down on Wednesday night in the NHL.

Maple Leafs win offensive battle against Stars

The Toronto Maple Leafs played in their second home game since exiting the NHL All-Star break, taking on the Dallas Stars on this night. This was the second road game for the Stars since the break, and the game was full of action.

The first period was full of action, which began with a William Nylander powerplay goal for Toronto. However, later in the period Dallas stormed back with two quick goals to make it 2-1 heading into the second. 

In the quietest period, the Leafs dominated with two goals, regaining the lead and making it a 3-2 game heading into the third. 

The Stars would tie the game from an Evgenii Dadonov penalty shot. Shortly after, the Maple Leafs scored two goals within 20 seconds, and earned a 5-3 lead.

In a strong push from Dallas, they were able to get within one goal. That is as close as they would make it, in a 5-4 Maple Leafs win in regulation on home ice.

Both of these teams started the post All Star break 1-1-0, and are still both looked at as high-level teams. This was a very fun matchup, proving that each of them can both score and compete against other strong teams.

Rangers 2-0 after All-Star break following Lightning win

The Metropolitan Division-leading New York Rangers took on the Tampa Bay Lightning on this night in the NHL. It was the second of three matchups this season, and after winning a December game 5-1, the Rangers have now beaten the Lightning in both games.

It is always fun when these two meet up, as they are teams that have been perennial contenders for years now, and they’ve each got a ton of talent within the lineup.

The game kicked off very uneventfully, with a 0-0 score. Both Andrei Vasilevskiy and Jonathan Quick stopped all shots faced in the first period. The second and third frames showed much different results.

New York overtook the game in the second period, scoring two goals and firing up their home ice crowd. This 2-0 lead was then cut in half over five minutes into the third period.

The rest of the game was a spirited battle back and forth that gave us great action. Then, with just over a minute left Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey iced the game with an empty net goal for a 3-1 finish.

The Rangers extend their division lead with yet another win, making it three straight victories. As for the Lightning, regulation losses are tough to swallow as they are fourth in the Atlantic Division, and have played two more games than the third place Maple Leafs.

Rallying Wild earn fourth win in six games

The Minnesota Wild played in their first game since before the NHL All-Star break, in a road game against the Chicago Blackhawks. 

This was the second of four games between these Central Division opponents, and the Wild looked to earn their second win after beating them 4-1 in December. They did just that.

While it may have been the quietest game of the night, it was a very close finish. In a much needed start, the Wild began the game with a 1-0 lead, which they took into the second period. The roles then reversed in the middle frame as the Blackhawks evened it 1-1.

Then, halfway through the third Marcus Folignio scored to give Minnesota the lead. This was the eventual game winner, in a 2-1 Wild win.

Even with this win, and four of their last six, the Minnesota Wild still have lots of work to do in climbing back up the standings. They have over 30 games left, but as the second-worst record in the Central Division, it is a long way up.

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