Even beyond the generally nebulous nature of making predictions, this year’s playoffs are even tougher to project thanks to a handful of stars’ murky injury situations. Teams might prepare as if those guys won’t be in the lineup, but it doesn’t take an expert to say that those clubs won’t have the same kind of firepower without them.
Yet that’s where we stand with Sidney Crosby, Henrik Zetterberg and Chris Pronger.
In the case of Pronger and the Philadelphia Flyers, I made a leap of faith that the game-changing defenseman will be able to play during the team’s fascinating first round series against the Buffalo Sabres. Without knowing every little detail of his injury, it’s tough to speculate how accurate that assumption might be.
CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio caught up with the team regarding Pronger’s situation, but if the Flyers already know whether or not he’ll play in Game 1 on Thursday, they aren’t tipping their hand just yet.
Pronger, who is still in rehab from surgery on March 15, did not practice at Skate Zone but did take part in the team’s special teams meetings and did his other off-ice rehab. General manager Paul Holmgren said Pronger’s status remains day to day.
Some players say he’ll be ready to go Thursday in Game 1 against Buffalo while others are saying he won’t appear unless he is fully 100 percent and ready to go.
So the question is, how does coach Peter Laviolette prepare this week? Does he prepare as if he will have Pronger in the lineup? Or as if Pronger won’t be dressing?
If you take for gospel how things went today, then the Flyers are preparing as if Pronger won’t be available for Game 1.
Well, there you have it. He missed practice, but participated in meetings that would keep him informed of the team’s key strategies and information. In other words, his presence in Game 1 remains a toss-up. Naturally, we’ll let you know if the team gives a solid answer about his status as Thursday approaches, but don’t be shocked if he ends up being a dreaded “game-time decision.”
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).
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.”
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.
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.