Corey Crawford

Riding the Zamboni – Friday, December 17th

Chicago 4 – Detroit 1

On the night they honored Chris Chelios’ time in Chicago, the Blackhawks used the night to play perhaps one of their best games of the year and knock off the West-leading Red Wings. Chicago snaps a three-game losing streak thanks to Tomas Kopecky’s two goals and a stellar game out of Corey Crawford in goal. Crawford stopped 29 out of 30 Wings shots to secure victory for Chicago and help make things in the Central Division as tight as ever.

For the Wings, they’ve dropped two of their last three games now and have a dicey game with Dallas coming up on Sunday. Jimmy Howard played OK for Detroit stopping 27 shots. When you’re scoring just one goal it makes it tougher to be perfect when your opponent played so well. Surprising stat of the night: Nicklas Lidstrom was a -3.

Florida 6 – Buffalo 2

An uninspiring game for Buffalo as they were down 4-0 by the time the first period had ended. Ryan Miller was yanked after the brutal first in favor of Patrick Lalime but the Sabres were already toast by then. Marty Reasoner led the way for Florida scoring two goals while Stephen Weiss had a goal and an assist. Chris Higgins, Shawn Matthias, and Evgeny Dadonov each had two assists a piece. Tomas Vokoun wasn’t quite able to relax after the big first period and settled in to stop 41 Sabres shots. So much for an easy night.

Nashville 3 – New Jersey 1

While the Nashville Predators and goalie Anders Lindback get to stay hot, the woes of the Devils continue to roll on. The game wasn’t an exciting one by any stretch, but for Nashville the win pulls them to within three points of first place Detroit in the Central. Martin Erat’s two power play goals helped give the Preds all the offense they’d need while former Devils forward Steve Sullivan also added a goal. Lindback, meanwhile, got the win stopping just 15 shots. Mattias Tedenby scored New Jersey’s lone goal while Martin Brodeur saved 17 shots. I can hear you all yawning right now, so I’ll stop.

Colorado 6 – Ottawa 5 (F/OT)

A wild game in Denver that sees rising star Matt Duchene increase his celebrity in the Rockies all the more. Duchene’s two goals included the game-winner in overtime in a game that saw the teams trade goals like they were going out of style. Colorado’s Kevin Porter added a goal and an assist as well. For Ottawa, they were without Pascal Leclaire who was injured during warm ups. Brian Elliott was clearly not the answer tonight as he stopped just 19 shots in the loss.

If you’re curious how Jason Spezza did tonight in the wake of being called a “wimp” by Avalanche broadcaster Mark Rycroft, he finished the game with a goal on three shots on goal and an even plus/minus rating. Vindication? A win probably would’ve sent the message a little more.

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.