Predators grinding through a brutal March


Preds.jpgThe most notable effect the Olympic break has on the NHL season is
how the league is ‘forced’ to pack the games into a much more condensed
schedule. Of course the NHL could alter the season a bit to ensure that
teams don’t get burned out at all, but that would just be giving into
the ‘evil’ IOC and their dastardly Olympic Games.

In any case, the Nashville Predators are finishing up a month in
which they played 17 games in 31 days; a brutal schedule for anyone, but
especially for a team that is hoping to ramp it up for the playoffs.
The Predators have been one of the more underrated teams this season
while they just continue to win and win, but lately it seems like the
brutal schedule may be getting to them. From
John Glennon of the Tennessean:

“You go through some stretches where it comes easy and
then you just get away from some slight fundamentals,” Predators
forward Steve Sullivan said. “If you’re just going to shoot from 60 feet
out, goaltenders in the NHL are going to make those saves. We have to
find ways to create some traffic in front of the net, take (the
goalie’s) eyes away from him and just take better shots.”

Predators have been shut out twice in three games, and looked a bit
lethargic in a loss to the Dallas Stars last week.

Just another
notch on the argument against the NHL taking part in the Olympics, as
it’s painfully easy to see how the break has affected some teams. Some
went into the break looking great and ready to make a run then come back
from two weeks off and fell flat on their faces. Not every team has had
the same problem, so it’s just a matter of adjusting it seems and some
do it better than others.

But a tough schedule like what the
Predators went through? They’ll make it to the playoffs just fine, but
they’ll have no gas left when they get there.

Scary moment: Carlo Colaiacovo hospitalized with ‘dented trachea’

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Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.

As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.

Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.

Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.

PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).

Comeback Kings: Gaborik pulls L.A. past Kane, Blackhawks

Jake Muzzin, Scott Darling

Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.

In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.

Gaborik’s first goal:

And here’s video of the OT-GWG:

Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.

With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record


When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?


You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.