Friday March 18th, 2016

By Brian Rauf, Chat Sports

The 2016 Stanley Cup playoff race is heating up with just three weeks left in the regular season. The Dallas Stars took sole possession of first place in the Western Conference with a 4–3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. They have 93 points on the season, putting them two points ahead of the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings.

Check out the latest NHL news and rumors below.

• Lightning forward Steven Stamkos ripped the team after its loss to the Stars, saying it is “playing like a fragile team that’s scared to lose,” reports the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith. Tampa Bay has lost five of their last six games.

• Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, the team announced.

Chat Sports: NHL power rankings

• Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban (neck) and goalie Carey Price (lower body) returned to the ice Friday while recovering from their respective injuries, reports NHL.com.

• Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby told ESPN that he has never been approached about using performance-enhancing drugs.

• Philadelphia Flyers forward Jake Voracek may be able to return from a foot injury on Saturday, reports CSN Philly’s Greg Paone. Voracek has missed the last nine games.

• Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau said he will likely sign a long-term deal to stay with the team this offseason, reports the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis.

Chat Sports: More NHL news and rumors inside the Chat Sports app

• Forward Brenden Morrow officially announced his retirement after 15 seasons with the Stars, Penguins, Blues and Lightning.

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