Washington Capitals v Boston Bruins

Nightly recap: Thursday, October 21st

A busy night tonight with 11 games, so we’ll keep things easy like Sunday morning for you.

Boston 4 – Washington 1

Tim Thomas got the start again and was once again outstanding stopping 38 shots. Goalie controversy time in Boston? No way, just a dominating tandem. Zdeno Chara, Jordan Caron, Nathan Horton, and Michael Ryder scored for Boston. Jason Chimera had Washington’s lone goal while Semyon Varlamov took the loss.

NY Rangers 2 – Toronto 1

Martin Biron did his job getting the start for the Rangers stopping 24 shots in the win. Meanwhile, Ruslan Fedotenko and Artem Anisimov scored for New York. There was no “payback” in the game for the Leafs taking out Marian Gaborik in their previous meeting. Sorry all fans of revenge out there. Jonas Gustavsson looked strong for Toronto stopping 30 shots in the loss.

Anaheim 3 – Philadelphia 2

This is one the Flyers would like to have back. The Ducks started without Cam Fowler and Curtis McElhinney made his first start of the season and was sensational stopping 40 shots in the win. Sergei Bobrovsky was a bit more shaky in this one stopping just 19 shots. Ryan Getzlaf had the night’s game-winning goal late in the third for the Ducks.

Detroit 4 – Calgary 2

After a sleepy first period, the Wings got their act together. Mikael Backlund had both Calgary goals in the first period, but after that it was all Wings. Henrik Zetterberg had his first goal of the year, meanwhile Nick Lidstrom, Johan Franzen, and former Flame Todd Bertuzzi also added goals for the Wings.

New Jersey 3 – Montreal 0

The Canadiens are probably going to start hoping they can get Martin Brodeur stopped at the border when the Devils come to town. Brodeur is on his best when he’s back in Montreal and tonight was no different as the future hall of fame goalie stopped 29 shots in earning the shutout. Zach Parise, Jason Arnott, and Matt Taormina all scored for New Jersey. Carey Price stopped 17 shots in the loss.

NY Islanders 3 – Tampa Bay 2 (F/OT)

While the game may have ended controversially with Matt Moulson’s OT winner needing eight minutes of review time to decide if the puck went across the goal line, what’s lost in that is a pretty solid performance from Rick DiPietro. DiPietro stopped 28 shots in the win and looked strong in goal for the game.

Dallas 4 – Florida 1

It was Jamie Benn’s first game back after a concussion sat him down for about a week, but it was Tom Wandell who stole the show for Dallas scoring twice. Kari Lehtonen was solid stopping 27 shots, allowing only a late goal to Stephen Weiss to keep him from getting a shutout. Tomas Vokoun didn’t fare well, giving up all four goals before being relieved by Scott Clemmensen to start the third period. Vokoun was likely overdue for a break anyway but he didn’t look strong tonight after being outstanding of late.

Pittsburgh 4 – Nashville 3 (F/OT)

Pittsburgh’s big guns came out to play tonight. Sidney Crosby had two goals, Evgeni Malkin had another goal and Kris Letang scored the game-winner in overtime all while Marc-Andre Fleury picked up the win in goal. It may not have been a stellar game for Fleury (he made just 21 saves), but a win is a win and he needed the confidence boost. Pekka Rinne stopped 34 in the loss, while David Legwand, Cody Franson, and Patric Hornqvist all had a goal a piece.

San Jose 4 – Colorado 2

Joe Pavelski was a man on a mission tonight scoring two goals in the second period to provide the difference maker for San Jose. Logan Couture and Scott Nichol added a goal each, meanwhile Antero Niittymaki was solid in goal stopping 29 shots. Milan Hejduk and Kyle Cumiskey scored for Colorado while Craig Anderson saved 30 shots in the loss.

Minnesota 4 – Edmonton 2

Despite the Wild playing one of the sloppier games of the year, they came away winners of the youthful Oilers. Kyle Brodziak had two goals for Minnesota, meanwhile Niklas Backstrom was outstanding stopping 34 shots in the win. Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff had the goals for Edmonton and rookie Taylor Hall, while not getting on the score sheet played a brilliant game. He may be poised to awaken and start showing he’s the #1 overall pick now.

Phoenix 4 – Los Angeles 2

While the severe lack of attendance tonight is going to get a lot of attention, Lee Stempniak getting his first career hat trick should be noticed as well. Stempniak’s efforts all night long held strong as Wayne Simmonds of the Kings tried to single-handedly get them back in the game, scoring both Los Angeles goals. Andrew Ebbett, who is filling in for Shane Doan while he’s suspended, had a short-handed goal, meanwhile Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 28 shots in the win.

 

Poll: Is moving Larkin to center the right move?

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 11: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings leans on the bench during a timeout during the game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 11, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey.  The Devils defeated the Red Wings 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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This post is part of Detroit Red Wings day at PHT…

It wasn’t that long ago — 2013, in fact — that Detroit had a wealth of options down the middle. Pavel Datsyuk, Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg all played center with regularity.

Now, only the latter remains.

We bring this up because, earlier this summer, Detroit GM Ken Holland announced that prized rookie standout Dylan Larkin would be making the shift to center.

Larkin, who bucked tradition by making the Red Wings as a 19-year-old last year, enjoyed a banner freshman campaign, scoring 45 points in 80 games to finish fifth in Calder voting.

But a large chunk of that success came playing wing on a line centered by Zetterberg, who “took a lot of the responsibility off Dylan,” according to Holland.

The for/against debate here is pretty straightforward.

Holland said the “long-term” plan is to have Larkin be a center in Detroit, so why not get that process underway now? That move, combined with the addition of Frans Nielsen, would allow Zetterberg to return to the wing (and potentially play alongside Nielsen.) The more options head coach Jeff Blashill has at his disposal, the more creative he can get at forward.

But would it be too much, too soon for Larkin?

There’s already the looming specter of a sophomore slump, and it’s important to remember he faded down the stretch last season, as the rigors of a full NHL campaign took their toll. He was largely shielded from faceoff duty (and still finished at just 41 percent), only turned 20 just over three weeks ago, and Blashill could go Zetterberg-Nielsen-Luke GlendeningRiley Sheahan down the middle quite easily.

As per usual, we now turn it over to you. Vote away:

Under Pressure: Ken Holland

Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings
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This post is part of Detroit Red Wings day at PHT…

There’s no denying Ken Holland’s been feeling the heat in Detroit for a while now.

But this season, the temperature could become unbearable.

There are three pressing concerns as the Red Wings look to make the playoffs for a 26th consecutive campaign, all of which fall directly into Holland’s lap:

1) Can the Wings survive without Pavel Datsyuk?

2) What will they do in goal?

3) How will they fix their defense?

To address the first issue, Holland went out and spent $31.5 million in free agency on Frans Nielsen, a good-but-not-great center that turns 33 next season. Nielsen is defensively responsible and a fairly consistent scorer — a perennial 45-to-55 point guy — but lacks Datsyuk’s playmaking ability and deft skill set.

(Though to be fair to Nielsen, most do.)

Still, a solution’s a solution. Nielsen comes to Detroit in relative high regard, earning a handful of Selke votes every season, and was one of the best options available to replace Datsyuk, which was never going to be an easy task.

So onto the goaltending.

The situation at hand — with Petr Mrazek (presumably) the club’s No. 1, and Jimmy Howard now in a backup role — is tough for everybody involved. It’s tough for Howard, who is 32 and pulls in $5.29 million annually, an albatrossian combination with regards to potential trades.

It’s tough for Mrazek, who now faces the added pressure of making good money himself ($4M annually), but is still coming off a year in which he lost the starting gig to Howard, only to regain it halfway through the playoffs.

The situation is tough for Holland, too.

Sinking nearly $10 million into the position was all his doing, and he doesn’t seem to know how to get out of it. He’s flip-flopped on Howard — first saying he’s thought “lots” about trading him, only to later envision a scenario in which Howard sticks around.

Then, there’s the defense.

Holland’s made no secret of the fact he’d “love to get a top-three defenseman” in the door, and was reportedly in talks with Anaheim about a potential Cam Fowler trade. But as we saw with Edmonton trading Taylor Hall to get Adam Larsson, the acquisition price for good blueliners is sky high.

Which could be why Holland hasn’t addressed the position yet.

At the time of writing, Detroit will enter this season with a top-seven group of Danny DeKeyser, Mike Green, Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall, Brendan Smith, Alexey Marchenko and Xavier Ouellet.

It’s a good group, but one with warts. There’s not an elite level guy, and it’s not especially young. Green is 30, Ericsson is 32 and Kronwall’s 35… and was just dropped from Sweden’s World Cup team due to a knee injury.

Add it all up, and you’ve got a team with more questions than answers.

And a GM who sounds like he knows the pressure is on.

“I don’t know that there are more than five or six legitimate Stanley Cup contenders; we’re probably not in that group,” he said, per NHL.com. “After that five or six, there are 20 teams without much difference between them. We’re in that group of 20.

“Certainly there are lots of questions about our team.”

Kronwall out for World Cup, Sweden names Lindholm as replacement

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 04:  Niklas Kronwall #55 of the Detroit Red Wings mugs for the camera during the second period against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on January 4, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Appropriate timing for this news, given it’s Red Wings day at PHT — Team Sweden has announced that Detroit d-man Niklas Kronwall will miss the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, and has been replaced by Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm on the active roster.

Kronwall, 35, has been dealing with a troublesome knee issue all offseason. Shortly after getting eliminated by Tampa Bay, Kronwall acknowledged he had a “rough year” and was seeking options for the knee — but going under the knife wasn’t one of those options, according to Red Wings GM Ken Holland.

That he avoided surgery led some to believe that rest and rehab was the way the club and “Kronner” wanted to fix the injury. If that’s the case, missing the World Cup makes sense — it would give the veteran an additional month to get healthy.

As for Lindholm, scoring this roster spot is a nice feather in his cap. At 22, he’ll be the youngest d-man on the team and got the nod over the likes of Dallas’ John Klingberg, Edmonton’s Adam Larsson, Vancouver’s Alex Edler and Winnipeg’s Tobias Enstrom.

Lindholm is still without a contract, however, so his situation will be worth monitoring as the tournament draws close.

Related: Rakell added to Sweden World Cup roster to replace Alex Steen

Rich get richer: Dallas signs Hudler to one-year, $2 million deal

SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 10: Jiri Hudler #24 of the Florida Panthers looks up at the scoreboard as he skates prior to the game against the Ottawa Senators at the BB&T Center on March 10, 2016 in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Senators 6-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
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One of the NHL’s most dynamic offenses has gotten even better — per the Morning-News, the Dallas Stars have inked veteran winger Jiri Hudler to a one-year, $2 million pact.

The confirmation comes after some loud, heavy rumblings that Dallas was in on the former 30-goal man.

On Tuesday evening, a report from Today’s Slapshot claimed that Hudler’s agent, Petr Svoboda, confirmed a deal with Dallas was done.

That initial report was later corroborated by KTCK Radio Dallas host Bob Sturm who, on Wednesday morning, tweeted out “Hudler is true. Book it.”

Shortly thereafter, longtime Stars beat writer Mike Heika made it official.

Adding Hudler to the lineup is a major boon for Dallas. The 32-year-old is just one year removed from posting career-highs in goals (31) and points (76), capturing the Lady Byng trophy in the process.

Though Hudler had a tough time replicating that success last season, he was still fairly productive, scoring 35 points in 53 games for Calgary, and 11 in 19 games for Florida after being flipped to the Panthers at the deadline.

All told, Hudler finished the year with 46 points.

In Dallas, he’ll join a squad that led the league in offense last season (3.23 goals per game) and compete for top-nine minutes in a forward group that features the likes of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza, Patrick Sharp, Ales Hemsky, Valeri Nichushkin and Cody Eakin.

Loaded, to say the least.

The move also reunites Hudler with Stars GM Jim Nill. The two spent considerable time together in Detroit, and won a Stanley Cup together in 2008.