CHICAGO, IL - MAY 9: Andrew Shaw #65 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates with teammates Viktor Stalberg #25 and Niklas Hjalmarsson #4 after scoring against the Minnesota Wild in the second period in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on May 09, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Discover ‘Road to the Cup’: Chicago Blackhawks

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

This has been a banner campaign for the Chicago Blackhawks.

And there’s only one more thing needed to make it unforgettable — a Stanley Cup championship.

The ‘Hawks are looking to capture Lord Stanley’s Mug for the second time since 2010, and aiming to do it on the heels of a historic regular season.

Chicago ripped off a streak of 24 games to start the year without a regulation loss — dating back to last season, their points streak reached a remarkable 30 games — and also captured the Presidents’ Trophy for the best overall record in the NHL, the franchise’s second-ever Presidents’ Trophy and first since 1991.

As one would expect from such a dominant campaign, several ‘Hawks had fantastic individual seasons.

Goalies Corey Crawford and Ray Emery combined to win the William Jennings Trophy, awarded annually to the team allowing the fewest goals (102) during the regular season.

Forward Patrick Kane had a tremendous season, racking up 55 points in 47 games, finishing fifth in the NHL in scoring.

Team captain Jonathan Toews wasn’t far behind, scoring 48 points in 48 games — his 23 goals tied him with Kane for fifth overall in league scoring.

So yeah, quite the road to the playoffs.

As for the postseason? Smooth sailing thus far.

Chicago easily dispatched of eighth-seeded Minnesota in the opening round, winning its Western Conference quarterfinal four games to one.

The Blackhawks’ lone blemish was a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 3 — outside of that, they outscored the Wild 15-4 and remained undefeated on home ice, posting a perfect 3-0 record.

What lies ahead will be Chicago’s biggest challenge to date, though.

In Round 2, the Hawks will take on longtime Central Division rival Detroit for a spot in the Western Conference finals. The ‘Hawks absolutely beat up on the Wings this year, winning all four matchups (including a 7-1 drubbing on Mar. 31), but the Red Wings are a proud bunch and boast a ton of postseason experience.

It promises to be a great series.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
Leave a comment

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
1 Comment

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?