There are two ways a team can respond to a lengthy road trip like the 13-day North American trek the Blackhawks just endured. They can return home and they can look like a refreshed team after some much needed home cooking. Or they can look like a team that has been away from home from two weeks and play a listless and unenthusiastic game.
The Chicago Blackhawks opted for Door #2 on Tuesday night. It outcomes was just about what you’d expect it be. By the time the dust settled, the Phoenix Coyotes were walking away with a dominating 4-1 victory. It wasn’t as close as score makes it sound either.
It’s not like this is the first time the Hawks have had to endure their annual “Circus Trip.” This should be something they’re used to. After a pair of wins in southern California over the Thanksgiving weekend, they looked like a team that was worthy of the top spot in the Western Conference. But somewhere on that flight from LA to Chicago, they must have forgotten what made them successful.
The Hawks looked like the hard-working team that just about everyone fears in the 3rd period of the game in Anaheim on Friday. They continued the hard work during their suffocating 2-1 victory on Saturday in Los Angeles, but none of the hard-work present in Tuesday night’s game. The Coyotes were the faster team that looked like they “wanted it” more all game. The Hawks may not have brought their best effort, but the Coyotes certainly didn’t let them off the hook. They took the game to the Hawks for 60 minutes.
Fans in Chicago can chalk up the loss to the normal psychological letdown from a long road trip. Over the weekend, they looked like a team that new the end of the long road trip was in sight. They were in the homestretch and played like a team that wanted to finish it on a strong note. But Tuesday showed a team that wasn’t ready to bring the same level of intensity. Luckily for fans in Chicago, they’ll have a few days to refocus their game before the New York Islanders make their way to United Center on Friday night.
Chances are we’ll see a team with a little more energy on Friday night. That’s probably not what the Islanders wanted to hear.
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).
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.”
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.
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.