With Ken Hitchcock now in charge in St. Louis, the Blues aren’t quite the maddening team to be a fan of anymore. Instead, as the Los Angeles Kings will find out tonight (7:30 p.m. ET on Versus) they’re more of a maddening team to face off against.
The Blues were already a talented team but having Hitchcock and his new more defensively focused system in place, it’s made the Blues a much more formidable team to deal with. In the six game since he’s taken over, the Blues have give up just six goals leading them to a 4-0-2 record. Losing twice in the shootout is no big deal because you’re still getting points and for the Blues that’s important.
Meanwhile, Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott each have a shutout while the Blues are looking a lot more nasty to deal with. The goals aren’t exactly piling on but the defense is playing tighter and the goalies are playing better. That’s all the Blues were really in need of and it’s paying off right now.
Dealing with the L.A. Kings, however, won’t be easy. Anze Kopitar is their offensive champion while Jonathan Quick has been showing why he’s one of the up and coming goalies in the NHL. Adding in guys like Mike Richards and Drew Doughty helps add a lot of sexy highlights to the Kings lineup. They’re a well-rounded team with a lot of weapons and taking the Kings lightly means you’d likely take a vicious beating.
While there’s a lot of offense to go around with St. Louis having T.J. Oshie and David Backes and L.A. rolling out Kopitar, Doughty, Richards, and more expect both teams to clamp things down in a big way and try to show off their defensive skills. While that might not sound exciting, the kind of pace these teams push makes it makes tonight’s game worth watching more than you’d think.
With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut
“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day