Hockey Day in America: Two tiny Minnesota towns present best rivalry in high school hockey

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Happy Hockey Day in America! Be sure to check out PHT throughout the day as we bring you features and previews of all the events, including a nine-hour NHL block of programming across NBC and NBC Sports Network.

People often call Minnesota the “State of Hockey.” If that’s true, one could say that the rivalry between Roseau and Warroad represents both its bleeding heart and its hockey-obsessed mind.

As this great little trailer shows, the two towns likely generated the best hockey success per capita of any in the United States. Want more proof? Just take a look at some of the simple numbers:

Warroad, MN
Population: 1,722
two indoor ice rinks
five state titles

Roseau, MN
Population: 2,879
three indoor ice rinks
seven state titles

The trailer provides some mind-numbing perspective on the ratio of population-to-NHL-players: if New York City generated pros at the same level, the city would produce 27,693 NHL players. (That’s enough for “41 National Hockey Leagues.”)

Perhaps it can be explained by the fact that the two towns are a mere stone’s throw from Canada, but their rivalry generates the kind of white-hot focus that earns them the designation of being hockey’s answer to “Friday Night Lights.”

Dustin Byfuglien is the most notable contemporary NHL player to emerge from Roseau, but he’s far from the only guy to make a big impact on the sport. Here’s a list of some of the NHL players from the slightly larger town:

Roseau:

Earl Anderson
Mike Baumgartner
Neal Broten
Aaron Broten
Paul Broten
Dustin Byfuglien
Bryan Erickson
Aaron Ness
Dale Smedsmo

Aside from Byfuglien, the Broten family stands out – particularly Neal. He was a significant contributor to the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” team, scored 923 points in 1,099 NHL games and had his number retired by the Dallas Stars.

Meanwhile, T.J. Oshie is the most noteworthy modern Warroad product, but that town has its own historic heroes. Check out some of their most noteworthy NHL players:

Warroad

Henry Boucha
Dave Christian
Al Hangleben
T.J. Oshie

Much like Roseau, Warroad has a “Miracle on Ice” connection in Christian, who also managed to score 773 points in his 1,009-game NHL career.

***

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to experience the passion that Texans have for high school football or the hockey equivalent of Indiana’s obsession with basketball, look no further than those two small northern Minnesota towns. They’re small in size and population, but it’s clear that they have a Byfuglien-sized love for the game.

(Image courtesy RoseauHockeyOnline.com)

The Buzzer: Senators win, Subban from center, Lehtonen notches 300th win

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Players of the Night: 

Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators: It’s been a struggle for Ryan this season. He came into the game with just as single goal in 21 games but left with two in 22 while also adding an assist to help the Senators avoid a six-game losing streak.

Tyler Pitlick, Dallas Stars: Pitlick scored twice, bookending Dallas’s five goals in a 5-2 win against the New York Islanders.

P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators: If you continue reading (and you should) you will see Subban’s goal that came from quite a distance. The defenseman notched two in a ___ win against the Vancouver Canucks, powering the Preds to their ninth win in their past 12 games.

Highlights of the Night: 

Brad Marchand fought off Mike Green, and then did this to win in overtime:

Dylan Larkin. Breakway. Shorthanded. Backhand.

Blunder of the Night: 

Yikes, Anders Nilsson. Bravo, P.K.

Factoids of the Night: 

Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen killed two birds with one stone on Wednesday:

Filip Forsberg accomplished an impressive feat for the second time in his career.

MISC: 

Scores: 

Senators 3, Rangers 2

Stars 5, Islanders 2

Bruins 3, Red Wings 2 (OT)

Predators 7, Canucks 1


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Stone-cold man wins car, reacts appropriately

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Has anyone ever remained so calm after winning a car?

This Vancouver Canucks fan, introduced as Aaron, won a brand new Toyota tonight, hitting a shot from center ice through a hole barely wider enough to fit the puck.

We should have seen this coming.

Aaron’s stone-cold demeanour reared its head long before he took his first shot.

“Do you like to drive?” Canucks in-game and TV host Hannah Bernard asked.

“Of course,” Aaron said.

“Could you use a new car?” Bernard followed.

“Always,” he replied, stoically.

“Are you nervous?” Bernard asked.

“Yeah,” Aaron said, presumably lying.

Aaron, again presumably, began to troll those at Rogers Arena. He missed wide left on his first attempt, then wide right on his second.

Then he calmly sent the third arrow-straight down the middle.

“I said I’d win it,” Aaron said. “It’ll be a long drive home, but it will be worth it.”

He certainly showed P.K. Subban the way. The Predators defenseman scored his own goal from center ice in the same game.

Bravo, Aaron. Simply incredible.

Marchand, Pastrnak come through in Bruins’ 3-2 overtime win against Red Wings

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The Boston Bruins mounted two successful comebacks in the third period on their way to a 3-2 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.

The Bruins, who have been surging as of late, won for the 10th time in their past 12.

The Red Wings, in quite the opposite scenario, lost their third straight and for the 11th time in their past 12 contests.

By all accounts, the Red Wings deserved a better fate, at least until the third period.

They limited the high-flying Bruins to just two shots in the first period and clawed out a 1-0 lead midway through the second frame, with Tomas Tatar‘s wrist shot finding twine after a perfect screen from Justin Abdelkader.

Boston found the equalizer they needed early in the third frame, and from an unlikely source.

Noel Acciari tied the game 1-1 with his second of the season after getting a couple whacks at a loose puck in front of Jimmy Howard, capping off a solid shift from the Bruins fourth line at 3:02.

Detroit took the lead for a second time, this time short-handed after David Pastrnak got caught pinching, allowing Dylan Larkin to get behind the Bruins rearguard, scoring a beauty on a breakaway to make it 2-1.

Scoring for Boston had been a strength coming into the game.

David Pastrnak, Boston’s top point-getter, came into the game sporting an eight-game point streak. Brad Marchand, sitting just behind Pastrnak in terms of points, have a five-game heater of his own going.

The dynamic duo wouldn’t be denied; the streaks would continue.

Marchand picked out Pastrnak with a perfect back-door feed to tie the game 2-2 with 1:26 remaining in regulation, forcing overtime.

Marchand, now running with good karma, took a backhand pass from Torey Krug and turned it into a partial breakaway, fending off Mike Green, and putting his backhand in the top shelf behind Howard.

Tuukka Rask extended his win streak to five games. Rask, who struggled out the gate to start the season, stopped 31 shots and continues to look like the goalie of years past.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings

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CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

PROJECTED LINES

BRUINS

Forwards

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak

Jake DeBruskDavid KrejciAnders Bjork

Danton HeinenRiley NashDavid Backes

Tim SchallerSean KuralyNoel Acciari

Defensemen

Zdeno CharaCharlie McAvoy

Torey KrugBrandon Carlo

Matt GrzelcykPaul Postma

Starting goalie: Tuukka Rask 

NHL on NBCSN: Bruins, Red Wings do battle in Atlantic Division clash

RED WINGS

Forwards

Anthony ManthaDylan LarkinTomas Tatar

Justin AbdelkaderHenrik ZetterbergGustav Nyquist

Luke GlendeningFrans NielsenDarren Helm

Martin FrkAndreas AthanasiouLuke Witkowski

Defensemen

Danny DeKeyserMike Green

Jonathan EricssonTrevor Daley

Niklas KronwallNick Jensen

Starting goalie: Jimmy Howard