Ottawa Senators v Philadelphia Flyers

What about the fighting all-stars? Carcillo and Shelley choose their own sides

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We’ve seen plenty of stuff from everyone wondering out loud about who Eric Staal and Nick Lidstrom will be choosing on Friday night (note: We’ll be doing the same thing here with our mock draft at 4 p.m. ET) for the All-Star Game on Sunday but as you may have noticed there’s a distinct aspect of the game that’s very much missing from the festivities.

After all, if you think there’s going to be any fighting during the All-Star Game perhaps you’ve just missed virtually every All-Star Game ever played. It’s the one aspect to the NHL that doesn’t find its way into the league’s grand mid-season exhibition.

Of course, if there was to be fighting in the All-Star Game and enforcers were tossed into a selection pool who would they pick to go to war with? Philadelphia’s Dan Carcillo and Jody Shelley were asked to do just that by Philly.com’s Ed Barkowitz and they both came up with a lineup of sluggers that only their mothers could love.

Aside from both Shelley and Carcillo choosing each other to be on their own personal goon squad (does that make it a bromance?) their lineups are rather interesting to see.

Team Carcillo: Shelley, George Parros, Paul Bissonnette, Chris Neil, Deryk Engelland, and Shawn Thornton

Team Shelley: Carcillo, Zenon Konopka, Colton Orr, Brandon Prust, Jared Boll, and George Parros

Funny to see Carcillo pick Thornton because those two famously squared off at the Winter Classic in Boston in 2010 concluding with Carcillo saluting the fans at Fenway Park like a conquering hero would. Also it’s fun to see Biz Nasty make an appearance on that list. Of course, that just makes us wish Carcillo was on Twitter to see what kind of verbal sparring would go on between those two former Penguins farm hands. Engelland is the most fearsome selection here as his ability to knock out heavyweights this season has been a revelation for hockey fight fans.

Team Shelley is a team that actually seems like one that has the parts to it to make up a pretty good and obnoxious fourth line. Picture Konopka centering a line with Prust and either Orr or Parros on the right wing. Terrifying physical possibilities there and both Konopka and Prust have abilities that go beyond punching someone in the face. Of course, when all else fails throwing Colton Orr out there to beat heads (or knees) in is a fine failsafe to have.

It’s fun to ponder the possibilities of seeing a WWE King of the Ring brand of thing at the All-Star Game to see who the King of the Ice is when it comes to putting on the foil and while we get why they don’t do that at all, think of the fun we could have with that. I’m sure the PR folks around the league would hate it but that’s all part of the fun too.

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

Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (15) scores a goal against Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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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

Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand celebrates after scoring on a penalty shot during the overtime period of the Boston Bruins 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres in an NHL hockey game in Boston Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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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.