Dan Bylsma, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Matt Cooke

What Pittsburgh’s lineup might look like minus Neal, Martin, Asham, Adams…and maybe Michalek?


To say the Penguins will face adversity tonight is a major understatement.

In addition to playing a do-or-die Game 4 down 3-0 in their series with Philadelphia, the Pens will be without the services of 40-goal man James Neal, top-four defenseman Paul Martin and a pair of gritty checking forwards in Arron Asham and Craig Adams. There’s also the not-so-small issue of blueliner Zbynek Michalek missing the morning skate (more on that below.)

So, what will the Pittsburgh lineup look like without them?

Here’s what we know:

— The lines at today’s practice were Steve Sullivan-Sidney Crosby-Pascal Dupuis, Tyler Kennedy-Evgeni Malkin-Chris Kunitz, Eric Tangradi-Jordan Staal-Matt Cooke, Richard Park-Joe Vitale-Dustin Jeffrey.

–Tangradi, 23, is huge (6-foot-4, 221 pounds) and scored 31 points in 37 games with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this year.

— Defenseman Simon Despres (also huge: 6-foot-4, 229 pounds) was recalled from Wilkes-Barre today and will likely replace Martin in the lineup. Despres played in 18 games with the Pens this season.

— Michalek missed Wednesday’s morning skate, an unexplained absence after practicing on Tuesday without issue. If he can’t go, the Pens will be forced to fill nearly 50 minutes of ice time (between him and Martin.)

Dan Rosen of NHL.com notes that Pittsburgh rotated its defensive pairings at practice this morning, meaning it was difficult to tell who would play with who (and who would be in/out.)

Judging by what transpired this morning, Bylsma’s toughest task will be managing the blueline. Martin averaged 22:08 of ice time over the first three games, Michalek 24:02 — it seems like Ben Lovejoy and Deryk Engelland will be forced into expanded roles as a reult, which could be a big issue.

Update: According to Bylsma, Martin’s definitely out while Michalek is a game-time decision.

Scary moment: Carlo Colaiacovo hospitalized with ‘dented trachea’

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Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.

As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.

Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.

Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.

PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).

Comeback Kings: Gaborik pulls L.A. past Kane, Blackhawks

Jake Muzzin, Scott Darling

Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.

In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.

Gaborik’s first goal:

And here’s video of the OT-GWG:

Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.

With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record


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.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?


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.