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Sutter: “50 years” since Calgary last won in Anaheim

Getting a result in Anaheim has always been a struggle for the Flames, though head coach Brent Sutter wasn’t aware just how big a struggle it’s been.

“There’s always buildings where you don’t have things go the way you want them to, for whatever reason,” Sutter told the Calgary Herald. “I didn’t know it was 50 years [since the last win].”

Okay, so it’s not quite 50 years — the Flames last won in Anaheim in Jan. 2004 — but you can forgive Sutter for thinking it’s been that long. Calgary is 0-9-4 in its last 13 appearances in Anaheim and 1-13-9 in its last 23 games there, a record so bad it almost requires comedic relief.

[In that vein, something amusing: The last time the Flames won in Anaheim, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma was a Duck and Calgary assistant coach Dave Lowry was a Flame.]

That said, there’ll be few laughs from the Flames should the losing continue. Calgary is four points back of Minnesota for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and ready to embark on a key three-game road swing through “Death Valley” — Anaheim, San Jose and Phoenix. Given the flames are just 10-14-4 on the road this year, it’s a very important trip…not that you need to remind Sutter of its importance.

“You know what, you guys? As you know, when you’re in a race like we are, every game is a big game,” Sutter told reporters on Sunday. “So, this is a big trip. Just like our last one. The position we were in last time, we had to get on the road and win some games — and we did that.

“This one is basically the same.”

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

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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?