2010 NHL Playoffs: Kings 'Back in Black' tonight

Thumbnail image for kingsmodern.jpgThis has been a beautiful first week of the playoffs. Tonight we have three games and all of them will break 1-1 ties. Every single one of these games could be pivotal (although Game 5’s tend to be bigger). Let’s take a look at the three games we have to look forward to.

(1) Washington Capitals vs. (8) Montreal Canadiens  7:00 PM EDT (TSN, CSN Mid-Atlantic)

Series 1-1

Game 2 was, by my estimation, insane. Scott Gomez fought Tom Poti. The Canadiens began the game 4-1 only for the Capitals to tie it up by going 4-1 right back at them (then Backstrom scored the OT GWG, obviously). Both Andrei Kostitsyn and Nicklas Backstrom scored a hat trick and Jose Theodore went 0-for-2. Just a weird, weird game. If the switch to Montreal can maintain the oddness, it could be an awful lot of fun.

(3) Buffalo Sabres vs. (6) Boston Bruins 7:00 PM EDT (Versus, CBC, MSG, NESN)

Series 1-1

Perhaps the Boston Bruins transmitted their injury bug to the Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo will be without their best goal scorer, Thomas Vanek, for at least tonight’s game. Drew Stafford’s return might soothe the pain (slightly), but they need Vanek back. The one bit of good news: the Bruins aren’t very good at home with a 18-17-6 record in Boston. Should be interesting to watch.

(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) Los Angeles Kings 10:00 PM EDT (Versus, CBC, FS West)

Series 1-1

The Kings haven’t hosted a playoff game since 2001-02 so … yeah, this should be a pretty big deal. The best part of it for Los Angeles fans is that their team has at least a reasonable chance; after all, they were able to come back from an 0-2 deficit to take Game 2. Will the Kings do well in their “Back in Black” Gretzky-era knock-offs? We’ll have to wait and see.

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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?