Isles-Pens first-round matchup could be set tonight


While most are looking at “Super Saturday” to sort out the playoff picture, one matchup could be decided on Friday night.

The New York Islanders, currently sitting eighth in the East with 54 points, will play their regular-season finale against the Sabres in Buffalo.

Should the Sabres win in regulation, the Isles would be locked into eighth — and locked into an opening-round date with the Pittsburgh Penguins as well.

If the Islanders do manage to get points from tonight’s game, they could finish as high as sixth in the East.

But for that to happen, they’ll have to wait until the aforementioned Super Saturday — when 13 games will be played — to see what their future has in store.

Here’s more, from

The Senators, who are already in sixth place, have a game-in-hand over both the Islanders and Rangers because in addition to hosting the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, they play at the Boston Bruins on Sunday to make up the game that was postponed because of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The Senators can finish as high as fifth, but they’d have to win their last two games and the Toronto Maple Leafs would have to lose in regulation to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

The Rangers will clinch at least the No. 7 seed with a win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

They also still have a chance at the No. 6 seed and a first-round series against the Washington Capitals.

So, plenty to be decided.

One would think the Isles will do all they can to avoid the Penguins in the opening round. New York won the first meeting of the season, 4-1, then proceeded to lose the next four by a combined 16-5 score.

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.