Tonight's games: Who's next?

Ugh, I guess we all better strap in for 24/7 dirty hit talk eh? It seems like you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting … someone who’s discussing another violent and/or illegal moment in hockey (don’t worry NHL, the college kids are doing it too!). Since we only have three games I’ll go in order of start time, but clearly Red Wings-Flames is the game of the night. Actually, scratch that, any game that doesn’t involve someone’s career possibly ending in a horrible hit wins that contest.

Boston Bruins (30-25-12, 72 pts) at New Jersey Devils (40-24-3, 83 pts) 7:00 PM ET

Maybe the Devils should try to picture a skating Penguin instead of that iconic spoked B logo on the Bruins’ sweaters tonight. New Jersey once again handles Pittsburgh last week, only to lose to the lowly Islanders in their next game. If the Bruins don’t start putting up points, Sunday’s upcoming Game of the Week could have huge eight seed implications.

Edmonton Oilers (21-40-7, 49 pts) at Columbus Blue Jackets (27-31-11, 65 pts) 7:00 PM ET

The gap between the West’s second-to-last team Columbus and the worst team Edmonton is too large to really say that this one decided who wins the brown medal. Still, it’s difficult to say that the future is any brighter for the Blue Jackets.

Detroit Red Wings (33-23-12, 78 pts) at Calgary Flames (34-25-9, 77 pts) 9:30 PM ET

Now, this is a big game. Detroit and Calgary are separated by only one point with the same amount of games played. Although the Flames trail the Red Wings, they have more wins (34 to Detroit’s 33) so even an overtime or shootout win would place Calgary in Detroit’s eight spot. Obviously there’s still plenty of games left in this season, but this is a huge game for both teams.

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    Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

    Niklas Kronwall
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    When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

    (His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

    It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

    He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

    First, the Kronwalling:

    Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

    It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

    Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

    Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

    Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

    Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

    It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

    To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

    The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

    That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

    They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

    Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


    More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

    In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

    Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

    Jack Eichel
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    The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

    You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

    That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

    Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

    Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


    Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

    While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

    The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?