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Red Wings prove they’re still class of Central after sweeping home-and-home against Blue Jackets

Going into this weekend, it seemed like the Detroit Red Wings were in for a serious fight to hold off the latest upstart threats to their Central Division throne, the Columbus Blue Jackets. While it’s far too early to say that the battle is over, sweeping the two teams’ home-and-home series clearly makes Detroit the cream of the crop. (As usual.)

Detroit 4, Columbus 2

The Red Wings showered shot after shot on Steve Mason in today’s game and while the young goalie was pretty strong (he stopped 38 out of 41 shots), he couldn’t shut down the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

After Derick Brassard gave the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead, Detroit scored three unanswered goals (Niklas Kronwall, Darren Helm and Valtteri Filppula). Kronwall and Helm actually scored their goals just 14 seconds apart. Antonie Vermette brought Columbus within one by scoring on the power play with about 1:30 left in the third, but Danny Cleary scored an empty-netter to clinch it.

Jimmy Howard made 27 saves to earn the team’s second straight win and improve their home record to an astounding 10-1-2.

The Red Wings now have a four point lead over the Blue Jackets, with one more win and a game in hand. The only thing that’s really going against Detroit right now is that they’ve played 13 out of 21 games at home, so they’re going to have to hold their lead on the road. (This is more of a big picture problem, though, as Columbus played 12 games at home to 10 on the road.)

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?