Meltdown City: Pens blow 2-0 lead late, lose to Boston 4-2

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The Penguins appeared to be in cruise control for 55 minutes of tonight’s home game against the Bruins. They were coasting behind stellar play of Marc-Andre Fleury and goals from Mike Rupp and Kris Letang. After a horrible final 3:23 the Penguins would end up 4-2 losers to the Bruins.

A boarding penalty by Brooks Orpik at 14:39 of the third and a power play goal from Zdeno Chara 1:58 later, the Bruins were on the board and back in the game. 12 seconds after Chara’s goal, Brad Marchand put home a loose puck to tie the game at two. Things would only get worse from there.

At 17:52, Jordan Staal would get booked for holding and at 19:10 the ageless Mark Recchi would put the Bruins ahead with a net-crashing power play goal. The Bruins would salt it away with a Gregory Campbell empty net goal to send the Penguins away a loser for the fifth time in their last six games. The Penguins also continue to be winless without Sidney Crosby in the lineup, a point that’s getting noticed around the league.

For Boston, it’s a great bounce back win after a similar collapse against Montreal on Saturday night. The Bruins also fumbled away a 2-0 third period lead and ended up losing 3-2 in overtime to the Canadiens. If there’s a lesson here for Pittsburgh, it’s that you can put a gut-punch of a loss behind you fast and bounce back the next time out. For these Penguins, however, they’re showing that Crosby is guy that does it all for them and without him on the ice they struggle generating offense. The Pens will get a chance to bounce back on Wednesday night in Montreal.

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?