Tonight’s NBCSN battle between Boston and New Jersey (7:30 p.m. ET) features a team that’s been dominating and another that’s climbing their way up the ladder in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins you know all about by now. Whether they’re starting Tim Thomas or Tuukka Rask in goal, opponents are going to have a hard time scoring goals. Both goalies have been dominant this year with Rask actually putting up better numbers than Thomas. That’s hard work to outdo the guy that was Mr. Everything last year for the Bruins.
If the goaltending wasn’t enough, the litany of players the Bruins throw at you to attack and play defense is disturbingly good. The Bruins have nine players with 20 or more points this season and they have, by far, the best goal differential in the league scoring 55 more goals than they’ve allowed. Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton… You name them, they’re coming after you to score. And, oh yeah, Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg are back on defense waiting to punish you too.
New Jersey’s efforts to win in this one are going to have to be doubled. Luckily for them they’ve got a capable goalie tandem of their own in Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg. Yes, they’re old but with their veteran wiles and skills they’ve done well to get the Devils back into the heart of the playoff standings.
Offensively, the Devils have enough to get it done in Patrik Elias, Zach Parise, Adam Henrique, and Ilya Kovalchuk. The trick for the Devils is maybe to not go on the power play. They’ve scored 18 power play goals this year (second worst in the league) and allowed 12 shorthanded goals (worst in the league). That kind of effort against the Bruins penalty kill is going to get the Devils killed.
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.