Boston Bruins v Detroit Red Wings

Can Bruins, Blackhawks and Sharks all extend their winning streaks?

Even though this is supposed to be the hardest time of the season to win, the Bruins, Blackhawks, and Sharks have combined for 22 straight wins. You read that right — 22. Boston has won 7 straight. Chicago’s streak is also sitting at lucky #7. The Sharks one-upped both of them with an 8-game winning streak of their own. Obvious guy says these teams are hot.

Here’s the question though: which of these three teams will lose first?

The Bruins face off with the Pittsburgh Penguins who lost a heartbreaker in OT against the Devils last night. Likewise, the San Jose Sharks welcome a deflated Stars team that blew a 2-goal lead in the 3rd period and eventually lost in OT to the Ducks last night. Chicago visits Toronto in a game that features two teams that are playing about 100x better than they were at the beginning of the season. All three teams should face challenges on Saturday — but realistically all three are favorites to continue their winning streaks.

Both the Sharks and Blackhawks started out slow, but if the playoffs were to start tomorrow they’d both have home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Who knows, we might get a replay of last year’s Western Conference finals. On the other hand, the Bruins have played well all season but didn’t always earn victories in the games where they may have deserved a better fate. With recent acquisitions Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly, and Rich Peverely, the Bruins look like they’ve turned a corner and are one of the strongest teams in the NHL.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see all three teams make the conference finals this spring. But I’ll go out on a limb and say one of these teams is going to lose before then. But which will be the first to drop a game?

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    PHT Morning Skate: Beat writers survey predicts Ducks will win Cup

    Corey Perry, Frederik Andersen
    AP Photo
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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    In a survey of 29 beat writers, the Anaheim Ducks emerged as the clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup. If you’ll recall, they have that in common with the EA Sports simulation. (Boston Globe)

    Alex Ovechkin would pick an Olympic hit against Jaromir Jagr as the biggest check of his life. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

    Here are the highlights from Minnesota’s 5-4 victory over Colorado:

    The Montreal Canadiens seem committed to using Alex Galchenyuk as a center throughout the 2015-16 campaign. (The Canadian Press)

    The NHL recently enlisted its players to read off some not so mean tweets. (USA Today)

    Bills coach Rex Ryan talked about the Sabres in Thursday’s press conference. (

    Frederik Andersen may have the Anaheim Ducks’ starting job for now, but with John Gibson still a big part of their plans, Andersen has to keep proving himself. (Orange County Register)

    Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

    Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

    DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

    Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

    Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

    Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

    Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

    Fleury had 21 saves.

    The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

    Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

    The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

    Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

    The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

    Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

    NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.