Pavel Datsyuk

Pavel Datsyuk dazzles, Detroit’s PP takes over to give Red Wings 3-0 first period lead

Much like Game 1, the Detroit Red Wings’ star players are overwhelming Ilya Bryzgalov and the Phoenix Coyotes. It shouldn’t be surprising, but after an impressive first contest, Pavel Datsyuk already has three points and a game’s worth of highlight reel moments in one period of play.

Detroit 3, Phoenix 0 after first period; Red Wings lead series 1-0

The Red Wings are taking advantage of mistakes by the Coyotes, as the Detroit power play scored the team’s first two goals. Datsyuk made a heads-up move to change his position at the point to find the net for the first goal. Tomas Holmstrom distracted Bryzgalov with his unmatched goalie screening skills, allowing Brian Rafalski to make it 2-0.

The biggest treat was the work of Dastyuk on what might be a backbreaking late first period goal, though. Datsyuk made a self-pass to get by Keith Yandle then made an astounding stickhandling move to take a shot that created a great rebound that Darren Helm slammed into the Coyotes net.

With the score 3-0, one must wonder if Dave Tippett will decide to bench befuddled goalie Bryzgalov, even if it’s clear that he isn’t the only problem. Perhaps such a move would shock the Coyotes back to attention and protect their star goalie’s pysche at the same time?

While the Red Wings are scoring at a high rate, they must keep an eye on Johan Franzen’s status. Mike Babcock indicated that he was off the ice after a Shane Doan hit because of the league’s mandated concussion screening process, while Joe hypothesized that he might have a broken nose. Franzen’s face has been a veritable pain magnet in the last week or so, as he was bloodied by a Chicago Blackhawks high-stick on Sunday and took two blows to the face in two playoff games so far.

It’s clear (to us, anyway) that Doan’s hit on Franzen wasn’t a dirty one since Franzen was already off balance, but if you want to take a look at it, here’s the footage. Franzen’s return is questionable, but we’ll keep you up to date on his status as soon as more details emerge.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?