SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 21: Adam Henrique #14 of the New Jersey Devils skates with the puck against Scottie Upshall #19 of the Florida Panthers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the BankAtlantic Center on April 21, 2012 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Discussion: Panthers shutout the Devils, take 3-2 series lead

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The last time the New Jersey Devils made it past the first round was 2007 and they are now just one loss away from prolonging that slump. After being largely regarded as the favorites in this series despite the seeding, the Devils have largely failed to impress. They took an early lead in Game 1, but since the Florida Panthers got their act together, they’ve been largely the better team. Game 4 on Thursday was the exception to that rule, but the Panthers bounced right back with this 3-0 victory.

Here’s some interesting notes:

  • The Devils experimented with a number of different top line combinations in the third period. They went with a combination of Adam Henrique, Zach Parise, and Ilya Kovalchuk, before swapping Parise out with Alexei Ponikarovsky, and eventually going back to Parise, Kovalchuk, and Travis Zajac.
  • The Devils’ penalties proved to be costly in this game. Florida’s Kris Versteeg netted a power-play goal and overall they served to occasionally disrupt any momentum New Jersey could get.
  • Martin Brodeur was far from perfect, but he still managed to get 30 saves. At the end of the day, he wasn’t the biggest reason the Devils lost this game.
  • Tomas Kopecky got credited with an empty net goal without the puck actually going into the net. He had a clear path to the net, but was hooked, so they gave him the goal.
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Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?