Patrick Marleau, Niklas Backstrom

Riding the Zamboni – Thursday, March 17th

To read about the happenings in the Eastern Conference playoff bubble, click here. For recaps of six other games, check out this story. Finally, let’s take a look at the two contests that ended past most peoples’ green beer drinking nightcaps.

San Jose 3, Minnesota 2

The Wild are spiraling out of the playoff race, having gone 2-6-1 in their last nine games including another tough one-goal loss to an elite Western team. This time, it was the San Jose Sharks, as Minnesota lost four games in a row during regulation.

Niklas Backstrom was fantastic in defeat, making 47 stops as the Wild fought hard even though they came up short. According to the AP report, two of the Sharks’ three goals went off of his own teammates. He managed to help Minnesota earn a 1-1 tie in the second period despite the fact that San Jose out-shot them 21-9. Antti Niemi faced 20 less shots by going 28 for 30 in his 28th win of the season.

Joe Pavelski earned two assists and Patrick Marleau had a goal as the Sharks hit 90 points on the season, improving their Pacific Division lead to three points over the Phoenix Coyotes.

St. Louis 4, Los Angeles 0

Matt D’Agostini is quietly on a hot streak right now, having scored three goals and two assists in his last five games. That counts the Blues’ first two goals tonight, which obviously includes the game winner thanks to a relatively uneventful 17-save shutout.

Alex Pietrangelo scored a goal and assist as well, as St. Louis had a good time playing spoiler (while also making themselves more desirable for a new buyer, maybe?).

The Kings are still at fifth place with 85 points, but their comfort zone just about dried up.

Scary moment: Carlo Colaiacovo hospitalized with ‘dented trachea’

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Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.

As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.

Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.

Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.

PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).

Comeback Kings: Gaborik pulls L.A. past Kane, Blackhawks

Jake Muzzin, Scott Darling

Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.

In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.

Gaborik’s first goal:

And here’s video of the OT-GWG:

Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.

With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record


When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?


You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.