Johan Franzen, Marian Hossa

Today on NBC: Red Wings and Blackhawks renew rivalry in Detroit

Say what you will about the rivalry between the Red Wings and Blackhawks, but these two always bring the best out of each other. When they square off this afternoon in Detroit (12:30 p.m. ET on NBC), they’ll show why the race to win the Central Division might be the best in the NHL.

When you take a look at the standings and see the Wings and Hawks in a knockdown, drag-out battle for the division lead with the Blues, you see what makes it special. Of course, both teams come into today’s game with some lingering worries.

Chicago is dealing with the season-ending injury to Dan Carcillo as well as nagging injuries to Patrick Sharp (wrist), Marcus Kruger (concussion), and Steve Montador. While Kruger and Montador are feeling better, Sharp is still out. Chicago’s captain Jonathan Toews, however, isn’t making excuses for their recent struggles. Chicago has lost four of its last six, but is coming off two wins in a row over Columbus and Minnesota.

On the upside for Chicago, they’ve got Marian Hossa scoring in bunches and after seeing him go from Detroit to Chicago, the Blackhawks are reaping the benefits.

Detroit has been alternating wins and losses recently and that inconsistency makes coach Mike Babcock twitch. Such is life in a time of parity. That said, the Wings have gotten huge performances out of Pavel Datsyuk (even in spite of a mystery injury that kept him out against the Islanders) and Henrik Zetterberg, who dazzled with a Peter Forsberg-like shootout goal against Phoenix.

Making it all work out for the Wings is goalie Jimmy Howard who is having his best season of his career. His name is near the top of all the statistical categories and he was named to his first All-Star Game just this week.

A regulation win today for Detroit puts them back on top of the Central Division while Chicago can put a little breathing room between themselves and the Blues and Wings with a win. While the two sides stack up evenly today, it’s a divisional battle that won’t be going away anytime soon.

Scary moment: Carlo Colaiacovo hospitalized with ‘dented trachea’

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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).

Comeback Kings: Gaborik pulls L.A. past Kane, Blackhawks

Jake Muzzin, Scott Darling

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.”

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record


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.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?


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.