Franzen with a hat trick in first for Detroit; Pens hold lead

Getting a hat trick in the playoffs is a heck of an accomplishment, just ask Dustin Byfuglien. Getting a natural hat trick in the playoffs is pretty impressive in itself and remarkable all at once and that’s precisely what Johan Franzen accomplished.  In the span of 5:36 the Red Wings delivered four straight goals to help put the Red Wings out front and just one of those goals coming on the power play courtesy of a deflection from Todd Bertuzzi.  After that it was Franzen’s time rattling off three in a row to put Detroit ahead 4-0. Valtteri Filppula added a fifth goal off the skate of Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray to make it 5-0 after one period of play.

Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov stopped a startling four out of nine shots in the period while Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard stopped all 11 shots he faced. It remains to be seen if seldom-used Sharks backup goalie Thomas Greiss will come into play in this game. After getting in a 5-0 hole, perhaps giving Nabokov some rest might help.

In Montreal, the Pens continue to lead the Canadiens 2-1 after two periods. While the Canadiens are focused on trying to keep the Pens out of the net, perhaps some offense could work as well. The Penguins are outshooting the Habs 25-9.

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    Sabres waive d-man Donovan

    HKN Sabres Senators
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    Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.

    Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.

    The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.

    The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.

    Stars to scratch Nichushkin after rough outing versus Avs?

    Craig Anderson
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    Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.

    Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.

    Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.

    Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.

    “I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.

    “His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”

    The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.

    He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.