There’s no shortage of storylines heading into tonight’s Wings-Ducks game at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit will be looking for its 19th consecutive win at home — one shy of the NHL record — while a pair of veterans will set career milestones.
First: Tomas Holmstrom, who will play in his 1,000th NHL contest, becoming just the sixth Red Wing to reach that mark. Not bad for a 10th-round pick (257th overall!) at the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, one that’s spent the majority of his career parked in front of the goal crease, taking an insane amount of physical punishment.
“With the amount of games he’s played and the amount of abuse he’s taken, you’d think that his body would have given up on him,” former Wings teammate Kris Draper told MLive.com. “His pain threshold is probably as high as I’ve ever seen with a hockey player, the stuff that he goes through and how he keeps coming back for more.”
Second: Nicklas Lidstrom, who will play in his 1,549th game, tying him with Alex Delvecchio for second place on the franchise’s career list. The only man to have played more games wearing the winged wheel is Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe.
“Anytime you get a chance to tie Mr. Delvecchio it’s a special, special thing,” Detroit head coach Mike Babcock said. “I don’t know if Nick wants to hang around long enough to tie Gordie, but good for us and good for them.”
Delvecchio was also full of praise for the seven-time Norris Trophy winner.
“He’s a great hockey player,” Delvecchio said. “To be truthful, I didn’t even know I had any record for playing games. But I can’t think of a better person to [pass him] than Nick.”
Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms
With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut
“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day
The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.
“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.
“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”
7 hours of back and forth legal speak…otherwise known as the Wideman appeal has concluded in NYC.