Toronto Maple Leafs' Gunnarsson battles for the puck with Montreal Canadiens' Gionta during their NHL game in Toronto

Weekend Watch: Five games you need to see


This is the Weekend Watch. It’s a guide of what to watch this weekend.

Saturday: Toronto at Montreal, 7 pm ET

There’s widespread panic across Montreal as the Canadiens have yet to win at the Bell Center. Losses to Calgary, Colorado and Buffalo have Habs fans seething; they haven’t started this poorly at home since 1938 and according to Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette, “What some fans want Habs management to do is anatomically impossible. Even if they’re double-jointed.”

Saturday: San Jose at Boston, 7 pm ET

Sharks C Joe Thornton has only played in Boston three times since getting traded. In his first game back, he got tossed for hitting Hal Gill from behind. In his second game back, he scored a goal. In his third game back, he threw a game-high six hits. The point of this is that whenever Thornton goes back to The Garden, something noteworthy seems to occur. WHICH IS WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH THE GAME, SEE.

Saturday: Detroit at Washington, 7 pm ET

Barring injury, this will be Nicklas Lidstrom’s 1500th NHL game — yet that might not be the biggest storyline. Depending on what Detroit does against Columbus tonight, this could be a matchup of the NHL’s only unblemished teams. The Caps are off to a 6-0-0 start and the Wings currently sit at 4-0-0. Expect to hear lots of “possible Stanley Cup preview” chatter around this game, because that’s what hockey people do when they’re bored in October.

Saturday: Colorado at Chicago, 8:30 pm ET

The second of a home-and-home series (Chicago won 3-1 Thursday night in Colorado), this game could provide Semyon Varlamov with a chance to add to his “save of the year” dossier. His first entry was on Marcus Kruger late in the third period of Thursday’s game. You can watch the video here. Of course, the Avs could start J.S. Giguere in net and render this entire preview moot. I bet that’s what happens now, too. My life is one big Ziggy cartoon.

Sunday: Phoenix at Anaheim, 8 pm ET

You should watch this game because there’s nothing else on TV this Sunday. What’s that? The NFL? Oh yeah. Well that’s okay — they play football during the morning and afternoon, and this game is on at night. What’s that? NBC has Sunday Night Football?

Enjoy the weekend, everybody. And thanks for being so nice to us during our first week on the job. Except for that one commenter that told me to get a grip. That was mean.

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?