NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Los Angeles Kings

Olympic carryover? Kings rally back, beat Avs 6-4


For all that’s been said about how NHL teams have lost out on sending players to the Olympics, people usually don’t give much thought to teams turning their fortunes around following a change of scenery. One game doesn’t tell the whole story, yet it’s possible that the Los Angeles Kings might carry momentum over from some strong Sochi performances.

After falling behind 4-2 with less than five minutes left in the second period, the Kings really turned things around against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, scoring four unanswered goals for a 6-4 win.

Those six goals equal the Kings’ output from their last seven games heading into the Olympic break.

Anze Kopitar starred for the otherwise star-less Slovenians in Sochi, and he carried his success over tonight, scoring two of those four late Los Angeles goals, including the power-play game-winner in the third period. He also had an assist in the contest.

Here’s video of Kopitar’s game-winner:

The Kings now have two straight wins after beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 in OT heading into the Olympic break. They had only won two of their last 11 games heading into Wednesday, so the clear hope is that the strong runs by Kopitar, Drew Doughty & Co. will end up being signs of better things to come.

(Jonathan Quick received the night off, as Martin Jones notched the win.)

The Avalanche find themselves in a minor funk – at least if you carry over results from before the break – as they’ve now lost three of four games. They play six of their next eight contests in Colorado, so there’s a lot of incentive to avoid a lull following the break.

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?