Brent Seabrook, Marian Hossa,  Patrick Kane

Marian Hossa scores OT winner as Blackhawks earn big win against Red Wings

Marian Hossa was all over the ice, but one must wonder if he was kicking himself after possibly releasing a slap shot too soon when he found himself alone against Joey MacDonald earlier in tonight’s game. The talented two-way Chicago Blackhawks forward made no mistake about it during his team’s overtime 4-on-3 power play, though, as he roofed a puck over the Detroit Red Wings goalie to earn his team a crucial two points.

Chicago 3, Detroit 2 (OT)

Just about every major element of this Chicago team came to play Monday. Hossa put seven shots on goal and also provided an assist to complete a great all-around night. Jonathan Toews was all over the place as he scored a goal and created plenty of opportunities. Patrick Kane provided two assists and also put seven shots on goal in this game while Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook (one goal) also made big plays for their team.

Corey Crawford was sturdy for the Blackhawks, earning his 30th win of the season by stopping 33 out of 35 shots. You cannot place the blame on stand-in goalie MacDonald, though, as he was outstanding in making 38 out of 41 saves in a losing effort. The fact that MacDonald is putting up outstanding individual numbers (92.8 save percentage coming into tonight’s game) makes his 5-4-3 record very misleading.

The Red Wings’ efforts might be overshadowed by the turmoil brewed by the first controversial hit by Todd Bertuzzi in ages, but they made the Blackhawks sweat in a game that was much bigger for Chicago. Nicklas Lidstrom became the first 40-year old defenseman to cross the 60-point barrier with a goal while Henrik Zetterberg earned Detroit a charity point with a power-play marker. Brian Rafalski also had two helpers.

What this win means for Chicago:

This win places Chicago in seventh place with 90 points in 75 games played, although the Anaheim Ducks could regain that spot if they beat the Colorado Avalanche tonight (the Avs have an early 2-0 lead in Monday’s only other game). Even if they don’t hold onto the seventh spot tonight, Chicago has a game in hand on Anaheim, as the Ducks enter Monday’s game with 89 points in 75 games played.

Before they get preoccupied with seeding, the Blackhawks must retain a spot in the top eight. They now have a three-point lead over the ninth-place Calgary Flames (87 points in 77 GP) and a four-point cushion against the more-dangerous 10th-ranked Dallas Stars (86 points in 74 GP). Chicago currently holds some tie-breaker advantages against the Flames and Stars, so they likely will only need to worry about standings points against both teams.

The silver lining for the Red Wings:

The Red Wings aren’t happy to lose to their division rivals, especially since they would play against Chicago if the playoffs began right now. That being said, the charity point they earned gives them a one-point edge over the San Jose Sharks for the West’s second seed. Both teams have six games left, so time will tell as far which team will be ranked second.

This was a heated and fast-paced game, but the Blackhawks cannot bask in the glow of the victory since they play the Northeast Division-leading Bruins in Boston tomorrow. They also must prepare for two more doses of Detroit, as they finish their season with a home-and-home series against the Red Wings.

For more analysis of a tough end of the season for the defending Stanley Cup champions from Chicago, click here.

Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer

Johansen calls trade rumblings ‘weird,’ says relationship with Torts is ‘great’

Ryan Johansen
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One day after reports surfaced of Ryan Johansen being at the center of trade talks, all parties involved from Columbus did what they’re supposed to do — downplay the situation.

You can read the denials in full over at the Dispatch, but here’s the gist:

— Johansen said the rumors were “weird” and that he’s “never seen it before.” He also said there were no issues between him and head coach John Tortorella, calling the relationship “great.”

— GM Jarmo Kekalainen wouldn’t address the report, nor would Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.

— Johansen added he hasn’t spoken to any of Columbus’ management about the trade rumblings.

So there’s that. What’s next?

At this stage of the game, it’s hard not to think about another Overhardt client, Kyle Turris.

Turris, you’ll recall, spent four (mostly) stormy years with the Coyotes before his trade out to Ottawa was orchestrated. Turris eventually told GM Don Maloney “this is not going to work out” with the club, and he was gone.

So, consider the similarities now:

— Turris was 22 at the time of the trade, with four years and 137 games under his belt.

— Johansen is 23, with five years and 291 games.

— Both had contentious contract holdouts with their respective clubs.

— Both are Overhardt guys.

— The Turris trade happened after the Coyotes went from Wayne Gretzky to Dave Tippett as head coach.

— Johansen is already on his third head coach (Scott Arniel, Todd Richards, Tortorella).

For now, these are all coincidences (or a forced narrative, depending what you think of the author).

And, of course, the one big — big — difference between the two is that, at the time of his trade, Turris wasn’t as good or established a player as Johansen currently is. Therefore, logic suggests any Johansen trade would be a lot more blockbuster-y and, therefore, probably more complex.

And as we know, complex deals aren’t easy to pull off.

Flyers’ Gagner to miss another week after Malone hit

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The nasty blow Sam Gagner took in Monday’s game against Carolina will keep him on the shelf for a little bit.

On Wednesday, Flyers GM Ron Hextall said the club expected Gagner to be out around a week with injuries suffered on the hit, delivered by ‘Canes forward Brad Malone (per the Inquirer).

Gagner suffered a fairly significant facial laceration, which forced him from the game entirely. He didn’t practice on Tuesday and, in a corresponding move, the Flyers called up Colin McDonald from the AHL to fill Gagner’s spot on the roster.

This is the second facial injury Gagner’s suffered in recent years. He’d previously had his jaw broken by an errant Zack Kassian high stick, while he was with the Oilers and Kassian the Canucks.

Prior to getting hurt, Gagner had two goals and five points in 18 games, averaging just under 12 minutes per night.

‘It’s absolutely not true’ — Lemieux denies report of ‘big falling out’ with Crosby

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 5:  Sidney Crosby #87 and Mario Lemieux #66 of the Pittsburgh Penguins share a few words during a break in action against the New Jersey Devils in their NHL opening night game at the Continental Airlines Arena on October 5, 2005 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  The Devils won 5-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Well, that didn’t take long.

Just hours after Matthew Barnaby went on the radio and said he’d heard that Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux had had a “big falling out,” Lemieux came out and denied it.

“It’s absolutely not true,” said Lemieux, per the club’s Twitter account. “It’s silly.”

Today marked the second time in less than two weeks that the Penguins have been forced do some damage control.

Last week, the Penguins insisted that they weren’t actually “mad at each other,” as Evgeni Malkin had put it after a bad loss to New Jersey.

“He did not mean we are mad at each other,” said Crosby. “He meant we are frustrated.”