Most Blackhawks fans probably think Chicago’s better off losing to Detroit on Saturday (1:00 p.m ET, NBC) and thus finishing the season with the sixth seed. After all, the third seed will go against the Pacific Division winner, who will have an inferior record to Chicago. However, if Chicago does beat Detroit in regulation time, then the Blackhawks will finish in fifth place and be forced to play an arguably tougher Nashville Predators squad. That might not appeal to some, but Viktor Stalberg thinks playing the Predators instead of the Pacific Division winner in the first round might not be a bad thing.
“You guys talk about staying away from Nashville, but I don’t know if that would be that bad. I wouldn’t mind playing a team a little closer,” said Viktor Stalberg. “It takes a toll on your body, going out west. If you’re going to win, you’re going to have to go through some good teams, no matter what the round. I don’t think anyone just wants to get by the first round. From my own preference, it would be to play a team that’s closer.”
He’s of course right when he says that the team will eventually have to face some tough opponents if they want to win the Stanley Cup. Getting the fifth seed over the sixth might not look like the best option in the short term, but playing against a closer opponent and owning a higher seed might help them in the long run.
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