Ryan Shannon, Adam Larsson

Tonight on Versus: Lightning look to wake up against Devils


Times have been tough on the Lightning of late and there’s no time like tonight against the Devils (7 p.m. on Versus) to get things turned around. Tampa Bay has lost six of their last seven games and they’re not looking all that pretty in losing.

The Lightning have given up 27 goals over that seven game stretch and their one victory came in a shootout over the Rangers. Mathieu Garon and Dwayne Roloson haven’t been getting the job done.

Making matters worse for Tampa Bay, their offense hasn’t been able make up for the mistakes their defense and goaltending have made. There’s only so much Steve Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier can do. Going up against the Devils isn’t going to help them get their offense figured out.

Things for New Jersey haven’t been any better of late. The Devils have lost five of their last seven and we’ve seen Martin Brodeur look every bit of 39 years-old in the process. While Ilya Kovalchuk has picked up his scoring of late (points in six of his last seven), the Devils would like to see Zach Parise pick things up. The Lightning defense should be the medicine to cure his ills.

Rookies to watch: While Brett Connolly won’t be there for Tampa Bay as he joins Team Canada’s World Junior camp, the Devils have a pair of young guys to look out for in Adam Larsson and Adam Henrique. While Larsson has the notability from being a top five pick in last year’s draft, Henrique is proving to be a possible Calder Trophy candidate scoring six goals and 14 assists.

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?