Colorado Avalanche goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere drops his head after giving up his sixth goal of the game to Chicago Blackhawks center Michal Handzus during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Prophecy fulfilled? Hawks destroy Avs


Before Friday’s game, Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy predicted that the Chicago Blackhawks would beat them in the race for the Central Division title. Then his team went out there and did nothing to prove him wrong.

Colorado was crushed from start to finish. They managed just 18 shots on the Blackhawks and were outscored 7-2. Chicago’s Patrick Sharp led the way with a hat trick on his 32 birthday.

“On a birthday where some of the guys were giving me some heat for being an old-timer, it feels even better,” Sharp told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus.

Jonathan Toews also had a big night with two goals and two assists.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who has been superb for most of the season, couldn’t come close to saving the Avalanche tonight. The 36-year-old goaltender only managed to stop 17 of 24 shots. He was replaced in the third period by Semyon Varlamov, who turned aside all 13 shots he faced.

This is another significant setback for an Avalanche team that seems to be coming back to Earth after their 14-2-0 start to the 2013-14 campaign. They’re now 23-11-3 and in danger of letting their playoff spot slip through their fingers in the highly competitive Western Conference.

Meanwhile, Chicago is the first team to 60 points this season, although that’s by virtue of the Anaheim Ducks having the night off. The Blackhawks have played one extra game than Anaheim and hold a mere one-point lead in the battle for the Presidents’ Trophy.

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?