San Jose Sharks v Detroit Red Wings - Game Six

Look for the Detroit Red Wings to get off to a quick start this season

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With the 2011-12 season rapidly approaching, the gang at PHT decided to take a look at all 30 NHL teams’ schedules. Each team’s highs and lows will be studied in detail to give you an idea of what the future might hold for each squad.

Note: Mileage figures via On the Forecheck’s “Super Schedule.”

Detroit Red Wings schedule analysis

Total mileage: 42,865 (13th most in NHL, but most in the Central Division)

Back-to-back games: 14

Toughest stretches

The league is going to find out what the Detroit Red Wings are made of when December rolls around. Between December 13-26, they’ll play eight games in eight different cities. Within the stretch, they’ll face the Penguins, Canucks, Kings, and the Predators (twice). Road trips are tough—road trips against quality teams are brutal.

The make-or-break portion of the season will come in March. The Wings have a cruel two week period when they play (in order): Chicago, Philly, LA, Nashville, LA, Anaheim, San Jose, and Washington. As if that wasn’t rough enough, the game in Nashville is the second night of a back-to-back and is the beginning of a four game road trip. Another back-to-back in southern California with the Kings and Ducks won’t be easy either.

Easiest periods

With the tough stretches the Wings have later in the season, they better get off to a good start over the first couple of months. In that light, the Red Wings should feast on their schedule in the beginning of November. Between November 1-12, the Wings have their season long six game homestand against the Wild, Flames, Ducks, Avs, Oilers, and Stars. Let’s face it: any time you can play every team in the Northwest Division at home (not including the Canucks), it’s an easy part of the schedule.

Overall outlook

The bad news is that the Red Wings have the most travel within the Central Division this season. The good news is that just about everyone in the division (except Nashville) have more back-to-back situations to deal with. As is the case with a lot of teams around the league, it’s a mixed bag.

There’s no question the Wings will need to get off to a fast start. Their schedule gives Detroit an opportunity to stockpile a few points in the standings before they hit the rough patches later in the season. The vicious stretch in March should make or break their chances at a Central Division crown though. If they can escape with minimal damage, they will be in a good position going in to the playoffs (and if they can survive that stretch, they will go to the playoffs).

As far as playoff positioning goes: that date at home vs. the rival Blackhawks looms seems like it could be exciting, doesn’t it?

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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NBCSN screen
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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.