Habs will struggle without Andrei Markov

Markov.jpgPittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens

2:00 p.m. EDT, 2 May, 2010

Live on NBC

Don’t forget, we’ll have a live chat during the game on Pro Hockey
Talk at 1:45 p.m. EDT.

While the Pittsburgh Penguins are dealing with an injury of their
own, the Canadiens are going to have to try to find some way to replace
one of their top defensemen. After taking out the Capitals in seven
games, trying to do the same with the Penguins without Andrei Markov is
going to be near impossible.

After a big, clean hit by Matt Cooke
that sent Markov awkwardly into the boards, the defensemen has been sent
back to Montreal for further testing and evaluating and there’s no word
on just how long he may be out.

For the Canadiens, a team that
relied on stellar defense, goaltending and timely power play goals, the
loss of Markov could prove devastating. After his injury in the first
period of Game 1, it was painfully obvious how disjointed the Habs’
defensive group became.

While the defense certainly paid a painful
price for not being able to makeup for the loss of Markov, it was on
the power play that his absence was felt the most.

Canadiens had a couple of chances to get back in the game on Friday
while on the power play, but without Markov running the point the Habs
threatened to give the Nashville Predators a run for their money for the
most hapless special teams unit of the playoffs.

The Penguins
will struggle to find ways to replace Staal, but I doubt the Canadiens
will be able to find a way to pick up for Markov on the blueline.

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    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.