Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews

Tonight on NBCSN: Blackhawks and Red Wings face off in a battle of winning streaks

12 Comments

Things in the Detroit-Chicago rivalry this season have been relatively quiet but that’s not likely to stay the same when they meet tonight (8:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN). After going through a nine-game losing streak, the Blackhawks are winners of three in a row. Meanwhile, you might’ve heard a bit about the Red Wings’ home winning streak, but they head to Chicago on a six-game win streak of their own.

As the saying goes, something’s got to give.

Chicago snapping out of their funk has been thanks to opportunistic goal scoring and seeing Corey Crawford getting his game back in order. The Blackhawks pounced on both the Rangers and Blue Jackets recently to knock them down before they knew what hit them.

Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Marian Hossa have all been strong with their offense of late but could use a little more out of Patrick Kane to get back to their full capabilities. Duncan Keith reemerging as a presence along the blue line has given Chicago a huge lift to take the stress off their forwards as well. They’ll need all that and more against Detroit.

The Red Wings have seen just about everything go right of late. Jimmy Howard gets hurt? Fine, Joey MacDonald steps in and they don’t miss a beat. Henrik Zetterberg slumps? That’s OK, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen will pick up the slack. Now Zetterberg is playing better and the Wings are getting production from all four lines as well as their defense. No wonder they’ve got the best record in the league.

One area where they’ve been weak all season, however, is on the road. We know how incredible the Red Wings have been at home, but away from Joe Louis Arena they’re mortal going 15-15-1. With Chicago once again beaming with confidence, if the Wings want to keep their own winning streak alive, they’ll have to get their match-ups figured out in the hostile atmosphere of United Center.

Another North Dakota junior goes pro as Blackhawks sign Luke Johnson

Quinnipiac forward Tommy Schutt, left, moves the puck as North Dakota forward Luke Johnson, middle, checks Quinnipiac forward Travis St. Denis during the first period of an NCAA college hockey tournament game Friday, March 27, 2015, in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota won 4-1. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy)
AP Photo
Leave a comment

Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.

This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

In 43 games with the NCAA champions this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, three off his college career high set the previous year.

Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, bumping the number of players from that program’s junior class to turn pro to four since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.

Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.

Brock Boeser, a 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.

Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1

3 Comments

Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?

Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.

Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.

Official update on the really important story of the evening:

Speed, skill help Stars score late victory to take series lead over Blues

1 Comment

The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.

Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.

As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.

The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.

Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.

Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.

 

Video: Roussel opens the scoring for Dallas and Elliott wasn’t happy about it

Leave a comment

The Dallas Stars grabbed the all-important first goal in Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues on Friday. And it was agitating forward Antoine Roussel who capitalized in the second period.

Roussel buried a rebound at the end of a pretty passing play from the Stars. Blues goalie Brian Elliott was furious, as defenseman Jay Bouwmeester slid into the crease in an attempt to block the shot.