CHICAGO, IL - MAY 18: Jonathan Ericsson #52 of the Detroit Red Wings approaches the puck as Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks falls in front of teammate Patrick Sharp #10 in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on May 18, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Playoffs Tonight: Blackhawks look to ‘ramp up our intensity’ vs Red Wings


We had plenty of dramatics last night with Ottawa’s 2-1 double-overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Boston Bruins also took a 2-0 series lead, meaning that tonight’s series is the only one in the second round to involve a road team winning.

Game 3: Detroit Red Wings host Chicago Blackhawks (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra)
Series tied at 1-1

Everything seemed to click for Detroit in Game 2. Rookie Damien Brunner netted his second goal in as many games, Valtteri Filppula extended his recent hot streak after a disappointing regular season, and Johan Franzen scored his fourth goal of the playoffs.

The Red Wings still face an uphill climb to win this series, but now they have put the pressure on Chicago to win at least one game at Joe Louis Arena.

“Losing home ice, (it was) one of those days when they were much better than we were,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said in a CSN Chicago report. “And it certainly got our attention.”

Chicago’s Andrew Shaw added that his team is going to have to “ramp up our intensity in Game 3.”

One change for the Blackhawks might be the addition of Viktor Stalberg after he was listed as a healthy scratch for the last two games. Even when Stalberg has played, Chicago has barely utilized with the man advantage in the playoffs, so it will be interesting to see if he gets any playing time in those situations.

For Detroit the key will be maintaining what they did in Game 2. They need to continue to get production from players other than Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk in order to win this series.

Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
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Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

Ryan White, Matt Martin
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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer

Johansen calls trade rumblings ‘weird,’ says relationship with Torts is ‘great’

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One day after reports surfaced of Ryan Johansen being at the center of trade talks, all parties involved from Columbus did what they’re supposed to do — downplay the situation.

You can read the denials in full over at the Dispatch, but here’s the gist:

— Johansen said the rumors were “weird” and that he’s “never seen it before.” He also said there were no issues between him and head coach John Tortorella, calling the relationship “great.”

— GM Jarmo Kekalainen wouldn’t address the report, nor would Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.

— Johansen added he hasn’t spoken to any of Columbus’ management about the trade rumblings.

So there’s that. What’s next?

At this stage of the game, it’s hard not to think about another Overhardt client, Kyle Turris.

Turris, you’ll recall, spent four (mostly) stormy years with the Coyotes before his trade out to Ottawa was orchestrated. Turris eventually told GM Don Maloney “this is not going to work out” with the club, and he was gone.

So, consider the similarities now:

— Turris was 22 at the time of the trade, with four years and 137 games under his belt.

— Johansen is 23, with five years and 291 games.

— Both had contentious contract holdouts with their respective clubs.

— Both are Overhardt guys.

— The Turris trade happened after the Coyotes went from Wayne Gretzky to Dave Tippett as head coach.

— Johansen is already on his third head coach (Scott Arniel, Todd Richards, Tortorella).

For now, these are all coincidences (or a forced narrative, depending what you think of the author).

And, of course, the one big — big — difference between the two is that, at the time of his trade, Turris wasn’t as good or established a player as Johansen currently is. Therefore, logic suggests any Johansen trade would be a lot more blockbuster-y and, therefore, probably more complex.

And as we know, complex deals aren’t easy to pull off.