Anaheim Ducks v Chicago Blackhawks

Friday’s battle of best in the West goes to the Blackhawks


It was a clash of Western Conference powers that looked a little lopsided at one point.

The Chicago Blackhawks, second in the conference standings, jumped ahead to a three-goal lead by the middle of the third period against the conference-leading Anaheim Ducks, then had to hold on for a 4-2 victory.

Bryan Bickell’s goal with less than nine minutes remaining in the third period gave the Blackhawks a three-goal lead. This one was over, right? Wrong. The Ducks, thanks to goals from Ryan Getzlaf and Kyle Palmieri less than a minute apart, got right back into the game, making for an intense finish in what might be a preview of things to come this spring during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

For the Blackhawks, it was Marian Hossa who led the way. The 35-year-old veteran winger scored twice, including a beautiful short-handed goal on a quickly released, wicked wrist shot in the first period.

But holding on for two points certainly wasn’t easy.

“We always have trouble playing against this team, and that’s why this win is big,” Hossa said, as per Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.

It wasn’t all good news for Chicago. Forward Kris Versteeg did not come out on the ice or the bench to begin the third period and is now listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. As per Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago, he will be re-evaluated tomorrow.

Video: Mike Fisher ends Nashville’s nasty goal drought

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No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.

Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.

They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.

On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.

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