Players: Lidstrom best shut-down defenseman

Whether he helps his team win tonight’s Game 7 against Phoenix or not is still yet to be decided, but when Sports Illustrated asked the NHL players who they thought was the top “shut down” defenseman in the league was, Nicklas Lidstrom was their top choice.

By carrying 25% of the vote amongst 272 players polled, Lidstrom was named the top choice of the league’s players. Boston’s Zdeno Chara was right behind him with 23% of the vote. Nashville’s Shea Weber was third with 10%, Philly’s Chris Pronger was fourth with 9% and Scott Niedermayer was fifth with 7% of the vote.

If you’re curious about how everyone’s favorite defenseman to either yell for or about did, Mike Green received just one vote. A poll like this will likely do little to subside the heat coming from the Red Wings fanatics on the Internet who went ape over Lidstrom not being named as a Norris trophy finalist this year, but they can at least hang their hat on this.

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    Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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    In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

    For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

    Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

    Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

    They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

    Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

    Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal

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    Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

    The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

    To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

    Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

    Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

    McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: