The Detroit Red Wings carried a 16-20-3 road record into Columbus tonight, so it was no secret that the team isn’t very good on the road. Still, the Blue Jackets really put the team’s glaring weakness on display on NBC Sports Network tonight, soundly beating Detroit 4-2.
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Vinny Prospal and Derek Dorsett built a 2-0 lead but Henrik Zetterbeg found the net on the power play to finish up the first period with a workable 2-1 deficit. It was the second period that really dropped some jaws, however, as Derick Brassard and R.J. Umberger scored about a minute and a half apart to make it 4-1.
Niklas Kronwall scored midway through the third to give Detroit a prayer, but it was still a pretty stunning testament to the Red Wings’ resounding home-road disparity.
The need for the fourth seed
One could argue that the Red Wings are a Stanley Cup powerhouse at Joe Louis Arena and a lottery team away from home.
With that in mind, this loss hurts most because it greatly reduces their lead over the Nashville Predators to one point for what could be an all-important home ice advantage in what looks to be the fourth vs. fifth seed matchup. It all sets up for an awfully interesting game against the Predators in (ominous music plays) Nashville on Friday.
It’s overly simplistic to say that Detroit or Nashville win automatically once they get the fourth seed – really, a 50 percent chance on the road plus high odds at home might just be enough for the Red Wings – but you’d be kidding yourself to say it doesn’t matter.
With the Blue Jackets firmly locked as the worst team in the NHL, they can spend the rest of the season embracing a spoiler role.
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.
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.
If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.
The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.
After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.
If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.
Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.
If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:
“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”
The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.
Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:
With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.
Measuring stick stretch begins
Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.
This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.
It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.
In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.