Oshie the shootout hero as U.S. outduels Russia in instant Olympic classic


What a game.

Russia and the U.S. put on an Olympic performance for the ages on Saturday at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, engaging in a thrilling affair that ended with four — yes, four — T.J. Oshie shootout goals as the Americans beat the Russians 3-2.

With international hockey rules allowing teams to send out the same shooters multiple times, the U.S. chose Oshie to shoot six times in the eight-round affair (Joe Pavelski and James van Riemsdyk took the others) while the Russians sent out Ilya Kovalchuk four times (scored twice), Pavel Datsyuk three (scored once) and Evgeni Malkin once.

VIDEO: Watch OT and the shootout again

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” American defenseman Ryan McDonagh told CBC’s Elliotte Friedman following the game.

The lead-up to the shootout was equally dramatic. The Americans and Russians engaged in a thrilling 65 minutes of action, with Datsyuk opening the scoring midway through the second period, only to have Cam Fowler — at 22, the youngest American on the ice — even it up with less than four minutes to go in the frame.

The teams then exchanged power play goals in the third period — Pavelski for the U.S., Datsyuk for Russia — before heading to overtime.

VIDEO: Al Michaels, Doc Emrick discuss game’s historical impact

But going to the extra session wasn’t without drama of its own.

Russia looked to have taken a crucial lead late in the game when Fedor Tyutin’s point shot got past Jonathan Quick with 4:40 left to play. But after review, the net was deemed to be off its pegs — by the slightest of margins — and the goal was disallowed, giving the Americans new life.

The overtime session was thrilling, and the highlight came when Russia’s Sergei Bobrovsky, making his Olympic debut, stoned Patrick Kane on a clear-cut breakaway.

Datsyuk and defenseman Andrei Markov led all scorers with two points each, while the Americans continued the narrative of balanced attack with seven different players notching single points.

In performances that fit the overall narrative, both goalies were outstanding — Quick stopped 29 of 31 shots while Bobrovsky stopped 31 of 33.


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?