Traverse City Prospects Tournament results: Minnesota beats Detroit 3-1 for title

(Note: We’ll have results of the night’s other prospects game – Edmonton vs. San Jose in the Young Stars Tournamenttomorrow morning.)

The Traverse City Prospects Tournament concluded tonight, with four games deciding the team’s final standings in the exhibition of young talent. Here are the results, beginning with the “gold medal” game all the way down to the seventh place skirmish.

Minnesota Wild 3, Detroit Red Wings 1

The Wild won the “gold medal” after scoring three goals in the third period to beat the Red Wings.

Matt Hackett stopped 30 out of 31 shots to lead the Wild to victory, with Cody Almond, T.J. Barnett and Marco Scandella chipping in goals for Minnesota. Thomas McCollum was in net for Detroit, allowing three goals on 25 shots while Sebastien Piche scored the lone Red Wings goal in the first period.

Carolina Hurricanes 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 3 (OT)

The Hurricanes took home the imaginary bronze medal thanks to an overtime game-winner from a player who hopes to make the big team, first rounder Jeff Skinner. Matt Kennedy, Justin Shugg and Jared Staal also scored for Carolina while Matt Butcher tallied twice and James Wright also scored once for Tamp Bay.

New York Rangers 7, Dallas Stars 2

The Stars took another beating in this tournament, this time getting drubbed by the Rangers’ prospects 7-2. The Stars couldn’t do much on the powerplay, converting only one chance in 10 opportunities (the Rangers weren’t much better, going 1 for 6). This means that the Rangers placed fifth while the Stars get sixth.

St. Louis Blues 5, Columbus Blue Jackets 2

The Blues avoided being the last place team in this competition thanks to sound goaltending and a deadly powerplay. St. Louis converted 5 of their 8 man advantages, scoring all of their goals on special teams. The Blue Jackets actually out-shot the Blues 40-33, but Jake Allen stopped 38 of 40 shots for St. Louis. Columbus continues its bad news week by placing last, although my guess is they’re a little more bummed out about their paltry tickets sales.

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    Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

    Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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    It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

    As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

    Actually …

    If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

    Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

    Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

    The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

    On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

    Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

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    Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

    The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

    You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

    At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

    Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

    (Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

    As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

    Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

    Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

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    Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

    Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

    Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

    That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

    Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

    Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

    Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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    For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

    Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

    Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

    Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

    Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

    The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.