Simon Gagne

Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina out for Game 3, likely out of Game 4

The Lightning did pretty well in Game 2 against the Capitals without Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina as they pulled off an overtime win to take a 2-0 series lead.

Without Gagne to help the offense and Kubina to help steady the defense, the Lightning called on Blair Jones and Randy Jones to fill the lineup. Those two combined to play just under 12 minutes total in Game 2.

It’s a good thing they got to test how well they’d do without them because they’re not going to have either of them in the lineup for tonight’s Game 3 and very likely won’t have them for tomorrow’s Game 4.

Tarik El-Bashir from The Washington Post gets the update from Guy Boucher in which he lays down the truth rather obviously.

“Simon and Kubina are not going to play,” he said. “If I want them to play tomorrow, I better start praying.”

Then the coach came clean and delivered the best lines of the series.

“They are day-to-day today,” he cracked, “except for today and tomorrow.”

Considering how the Lightning have been matching up with the Capitals, the parts of their defensive-minded machine are all interchangeable. No Gagne? Fine, we’ll give more minutes to Sean Bergenheim or Nate Thompson. No Kubina? All right fine, get out there Mattias Ohlund or Eric Brewer.

It might be frustrating what the Lightning are doing to the Capitals, but it’s working like a charm for them. Sure they’ve had their fair share of fortunate bounces mixed in there as well, but when things are going well for a team those things happen. The Caps have to find a way to make the Lightning feel uncomfortable. Getting a two goal lead on them might be the thing to do it but getting the Caps to score two goals quickly like that is asking a lot out of them against the staunch Lightning defense.

If the Caps aren’t able to take advantage of a banged up Tampa team with Games 3 and 4 being on back-to-back days, perhaps the Caps just weren’t prepared to challenge for the Stanley Cup after all.

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.