Red Wings aim to solve the frustrating Coyotes

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Lidstrom.jpgJames Mirtle of the Globe & Mail has
a great story up today
, focusing on the struggles by the Detroit
Red Wings as they take Dave Tippett and the Phoenix Coyotes. Aside from
one crazy period in Game 2, it could be said the Coyotes have completely
controlled the Red Wings, as they adopt a trapping style approach that
has the more talented and experienced team frustrated.

He talked
with several players, including Niklas Kronwall, on how the Red Wings
can get past this suffocating style the Coyotes are playing:

soon as we win the puck (in the defensive zone), we have to get it
up right away. Anytime we make that D-to-D pass or we go over, then all
of a sudden, they’ll have the five guys back. Anytime we have the chance
to catch them, the puck’s got to go up and we have to go after it right

Mirtle also looks at how the talent gap between
teams like Detroit and Phoenix has closed due to the salary cap, with
the Red Wings losing Marian Hossa, Jiri Hudler, Ty Conklin and Mikael
Samuelsson this past summer while the Coyotes were able to make several
moves at the trade deadline in order to improve their team.

no doubt that the Red Wings are the more talented team, but there’s
also something to say how a team that completely buys into the system
their coach is preaching can overcome any shortcomings in experience and
talent level. They’ve been doing it all season, and there’s no reason
why it shouldn’t continue in the playoffs. Mirtle expects the Red Wings
to ultimately win the series, but I’m not so certain that will be the

While Ilya Bryzgalov has been very pedestrian so far, Jimmy
Howard has been downright shaky on the other end. He may have been one
of the most exciting and consistent goaltenders in the regular season,
but he looks uncomfortable in net and seems to have lost his trademark

If Detroit has any hope of winning this series, it’s
going to need Howard to step it up. I’ll almost expect for Babcock to
have a short leash on Howard tonight; the Red Wings cannot afford to
lose Game 4 at home, and if Howard struggles at all he’ll go with the
veteran in Osgood.

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?