Boston Bruins v Vancouver Canucks - Game One

Steady stream of penalties interrupts flow for both teams, second period ends 0-0


So far, the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks have played 40 minutes of score-less hockey and managed to register 13 penalties and 28 penalty minutes combined in that time. I mentioned that the two teams didn’t need the normal “feeling out process” during the first period, but it’s also tough to tell where each squad stands thanks to their shared steady stream to the penalty box.

No one should doubt either goalie, though. Roberto Luongo already has 26 saves while Tim Thomas put aside 20 shots as neither team has been able to solve either netminder through the first two periods.

Boston 0, Vancouver 0; end of second period

As many expected, Zdeno Chara has been a big difference maker so far. He already registered 20 minutes of ice time, helping to shut down an explosive Vancouver power play (a Game 2-leading 6:17 of shorthanded time on ice so far) and wearing many hats in general. Bruins coach Claude Julien tried him in front of the net on the power play while Chara even beat Ryan Kesler for a faceoff. Many people cannot help but wonder: is there anything Big Z cannot do?

(Apparently, he can even get high-sticked … twice, to be exact, in Game 1 so far.)

It looks like Keith Ballard isn’t the only Vancouver Canucks defenseman who can land a brutal (but legal) hip check. Dan Hamhuis delivered a nice one on Milan Lucic, but he might end up regretting that hit because of David Krejci’s cross-checking retaliation. Edit: Upon further viewings of the situation, it seems more likely that Lucic’s fall hurt Hamhuis while Krejci didn’t actually seem to cross-check Hamhuis.

Hamhuis left the ice after that cross-check and hasn’t been back on Vancouver’s bench yet. Losing Hamhuis would be a major blow to the oft-injured Canucks defense since the 2011 free agent acquisition is one of their shutdown blueliners.

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This has been an intense, entertaining and sloppy Game 1 so far. Out of context, a 0-0 game might seem boring, but this one has been brimming with physicality, scoring chances and a bit of controversy. You never know in a playoff year as wacky as this one, but it’s quite possible that the first goal might just win this game.

Who will blink first (or the most)? We’ll find out in the third period and possibly overtime.

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?