Datsyuk Zetterberg

Red Wings aren’t your typical underdogs


The Detroit Red Wings are 9/5 underdogs to beat the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of their second-round series tonight at the United Center, according to online bookmaker Bovada.

That the ‘Hawks are the betting favorites is no surprise. They were the best team in the NHL during the regular season, they’ve got home-ice advantage, and they’ve won two straight since dropping Games 2, 3, and 4 of the series.

That said, there’s reason to believe Detroit could pull off the upset.

First of all, nobody can say the Wings stole any of their three victories, even though goalie Jimmy Howard did play extremely well in them.

Detroit also boasts plenty of big-game experience on its roster, led by three of the most accomplished playoff performers in the league, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Johan Franzen.

Among active NHLers, Zetterberg ranks fourth with 113 points in 122 postseason games; Datsyuk is eighth with 103 points in 139 games; and Franzen is 17th with 79 points in 101 games.

And then there’s the head coach, Mike Babcock. If anyone can get a team prepared for a big game, it’s Babcock, who in addition to leading the Wings to a Stanley Cup title in 2008 also coached Team Canada to Olympic gold in 2010.

Yes, Detroit has lost Game 7’s under Babcock — most notably in 2009 when it dropped Game 7 of the Cup finals to the Penguins.

But really, the pressure is on the Blackhawks tonight. If the Wings lose, oh well, a lot of people didn’t even expect them to make the playoffs in their first season without Nicklas Lidstrom.

“If I would have told our whole team before this series, if I would have told Detroit, Michigan before this series, that we were going to be playing Chicago in Game 7, I think everyone would have been pretty excited about that,” Babcock said Monday. “I love Game 7s. I’m excited about it. We’ve got a chance to push them out of the playoffs — should be a lot of fun.”

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.