Roberto Luongo

Chicago dismantles Vancouver and Roberto Luongo again, bring series deficit down to 3-2

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After dropping three tough games to go down 3-0, the Chicago Blackhawks have stormed back into their first round series with the Vancouver Canucks. After their profoundly one-sided 5-0 win in Game 5, the Canucks series lead is down to 3-2.

Chicago 5, Vancouver 0; Canucks lead series 3-2.

There are plenty of ways to frame the story of the last two games. Dramatic types might say that the Blackhawks are getting revenge for the Raffi Torres hit on Brent Seabrook. People who lean toward historical angles might wonder if Chicago remains in Roberto Luongo’s head. Others will just wonder if the Canucks lack “killer instinct.”

Either way, Duncan Keith (two goals and two assists) and Marian Hossa (two goals and one assist) came to play while Luongo and the Canucks did not. This marks the second consecutive game that Alain Vigneault benched Luongo, as the team’s franchise goalie allowed four goals on just 12 shots. The Blackhawks have outscored the Canucks by a stunning 12-2 margin in these two wins.

Even though there have been some great comebacks as of late, it seemed like the Canucks were done when they went into the first intermission down 3-0. Luongo only made it 1:26 into the second period before a Hossa breakaway goal chased him from the net. Cory Schneider allowed one more goal during the rest of the game while Corey Crawford earned a 36-save shutout.

It’s natural to wonder about Bobby Lou’s state of mind after he allowed 10 goals in two abbreviated appearances (he allowed that many on 40 shots in only about 66 minutes of game time). His body language looked downright awful at times before he was given the hook, so it’ll be interesting to see if Vigneault goes with Luongo or Schneider in Game 6.

Of course, the other big question is: can the Blackhawks actually make this comeback happen? Stay tuned for a look at that possibility in a post later tonight.

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?