NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Detroit Red Wings host the Minnesota Wild at Joe Louis Arena at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.
The Detroit Red Wings are looking for a much-needed weekend sweep of the Minnesota Wild while the Wild are hoping to build on their wild card lead in the Western Conference.
Detroit’s 3-2 win on Saturday at Xcel Energy Center came thanks to the play of Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith. Nyquist continued his hot play scoring the game-winning goal. Smith had a power play goal and an assist on Nyquist’s tally as well as strong play in the closing minutes to hold down the lead.
Nyquist’s play has been more than impressive lately. In the past four games he has five goals. His 21 goals lead the team and have picked them up when guys like Johan Franzen (no goals in seven) and Tomas Tatar (one goal, one assist in 10 games) have cooled off.
The win was all the more important for the Red Wings because it moved them into the second wild card spot in the East. A win tonight would get them to leapfrog the Toronto Maple Leafs for the first wild card and help keep the heat off the hard-charging Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals. Detroit has won four of the past five, two in a shootout.
Minnesota is in a weird state of comfort with how they’re doing. They have a four point lead on the Phoenix Coyotes for the first wild card out West, but the Dallas Stars are six back and playing well. The Wild have almost no shot to catch Colorado for third in the Central Division as the Avs have an 11 point lead.
All that means for the Wild is they have to take care of business and a berth in the postseason is likely theirs. Knocking off the Red Wings today would give them a six-point cushion and loosen the pressure. It would also help change up how things have been going lately.
The Wild are winless in seven of the past nine games but have three shootout losses and an overtime loss to New Jersey thrown in the mix. It’s all about points this time of year, so getting those points in losses is a good thing. That said, getting some wins would go a long way to securing a postseason berth.
On the upside, Ryan Suter has four points the past five games and doing that while playing the most minutes on the team makes his contributions huge. Getting a bit more out of deadline acquisition Matt Moulson (three goals in nine games) and Zach Parise (two goals in his past nine) would give them a needed boost.
The Oilers blew a pair of two-goal leads in last night’s 6-5 loss to the Flyers and, not surprisingly, head coach Todd McLellan wasn’t happy with a number of performances.
“If you score five, you should be able to win,” McLellan said on Friday, per the Oilers’ Twitter account. “There were some individuals who were red-rotten.”
It’s not hard to speculate who McLellan was referring to.
Defenseman Oscar Klefbom scored his fourth goal of the year, but was on the ice for five of Philly’s six goals, and finished minus-4. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was minus-3 with three giveaways, and went scoreless.
McLellan was also displeased with his club’s lack of discipline.
“One of the things we didn’t want to do was put them on the power play, and we put them on the power play continually,” he said following the game, per NHL.com. “Whether they score or not — I thought our penalty-killers did a tremendous job, [but the Flyers] gain a lot of momentum and energy and belief off of that.”
Rookie Jesse Puljujarvi took a hooking and holding penalty in a 10-minute span in the first period. The Flyers were unable to capitalize on either power play opportunity, but did seem to generate some energy — as McLellan alluded to — and Puljujarvi was a virtual non-factor for the remainder of the night, finishing with just 7:51 TOI.
The Oilers are back in action tonight in Minnesota, and are still atop the Pacific Division, so there’s hardly a feeling of panic. That said, they have surrendered 10 goals in their last two games.
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For the third time this season, the Los Angeles Kings got a bunch of days off, then played like “horse(bleep).”
That was the conclusion their coach, Darryl Sutter, reached after last night’s 3-1 loss to Carolina at Staples Center. The Kings hadn’t played since Sunday, and Sutter didn’t think his players used their time off too wisely.
The transcript of Sutter’s post-game press conference, via L.A. Kings Insider:
… it’s disappointing because it’s the third time this year we’ve had three days between games, and that first game after the three days we’ve been, for lack of a better word, [road apples]. Go back to Philly-Minnesota, San Jose the last time they played in here, and this one here. Our top guys were not very efficient out there maximizing what their God gave ‘em. [Reporter: Is that because they’re taking things for granted, you think?] No, I don’t think that’s the right word. I think the word would be ‘using the time properly to prepare to be a great competitor.’
The Kings’ record fell to 13-11-2 with the loss. They’re currently fifth in the Pacific Division, though at least they have games in hand on the leaders from Alberta:
Of course, nobody has to tell Kings fans that the postseason is no guarantee. Los Angeles won the Stanley Cup in 2014, then missed the playoffs in 2015.
This season, if the Oilers are for real and the Flames can maintain their recent momentum, it’s going to be a real dogfight for the top three spots in the division. Even the Canucks, who’ve earned points in nine of their last 14, aren’t out of it yet.
The Kings’ next game is tomorrow at home to Ottawa.
Montreal netminder Carey Price won’t be subjected to supplemental discipline after unloading on Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, an NHL spokesman has confirmed.
The incident in question occurred with 18 seconds left in the first period of Montreal’s 5-2 win on Thursday. Price, visibly upset following Palmieri’s net drive, repeatedly punched the New Jersey forward in the midsection with his blocker.
Price received a pair of roughing minors on the play but, as several people pointed out, he could’ve been slapped with a match penalty, based on rule 51.3:
Match Penalty – If, in the judgment of the Referee, a goalkeeper uses his blocking glove to punch an opponent in the head or face in an attempt to or to deliberately injure an opponent, a match penalty must be assessed.
Price didn’t appear to strike Palmieri in the head or face, and the “deliberately injure” part is pretty subjective. Which is why some thought this could rise to the level of a disciplinary hearing.
The Habs ‘tender said he had no regrets about going after Palmieri.
“I got run on the first goal and I wasn’t going to take another one,” Price said, per the Montreal Gazette. “I got fired up, I guess. I’m going to stick up for myself now.
“It seems to be the nature of the league, to go hard to the net, run the goalie and score the goal. You have to stick up for yourself once in a while.”
The Dallas Stars have activated winger Jiri Hudler off injured reserve.
Hudler has only played four games this season. He was in the lineup for the Stars’ first two games, then missed five with an undisclosed illness. He returned to play twice more, on Oct. 29 and Nov. 1, but has been out ever since due to the same illness.
“I think now it’s just all about conditioning,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said earlier this week, per the Dallas Morning News. “He’s missed a tremendous amount of time, but he’s got a good week ahead of him here. I don’t know where he’ll be by the end of the week, but I think we can get him five real good days and we’ll see by the weekend where he’s at.”
The Stars play in Philadelphia tomorrow afternoon, then travel to Chicago for a game Sunday evening.
Hudler, 32, is with Dallas on a one-year, $2 million contract. He has yet to register his first point with the Stars.
To make room on the roster, Jason Dickinson was returned to the AHL.