Sidney Crosby, Steve Mason, Nicklas Grossmann

NHL on NBC: Pens host Flyers in possible playoff preview


NBC continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign today when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Philadelphia Flyers at CONSOL Energy Center at 3:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBC, you can watch the game online.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are in a curious position this afternoon when they host the Philadelphia Flyers because, depending on the outcome, they can have a hand in helping determine who they’ll play in the first round of the playoffs.

If the Penguins pull off a win, it’s possible they could face the Flyers in the opening round of the postseason. Working against them is how they’ve handled the Flyers this season. Philly is 3-1-0 against Pittsburgh this season and after sweeping a home-and-home set last month, many believe the Flyers are in the Penguins’ heads.

It’s a double-edged sword for the Penguins. If Philly moves to 4-1-0 against them this season, the Flyers will face the New York Rangers in the first round leaving the Pens to either deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets or Detroit Red Wings in the postseason. With Nathan Horton out of action for the next six weeks for the Jackets, the Pens may have their fingers crossed they can deal with them.

The Pens have won two in a row, both via shootout, so they’ve got that going for them. Jussi Jokinen has points in three straight and has the shootout winner in the last two games. Maybe Steve Mason and Ray Emery have done a little studying to prepare.

The Flyers, meanwhile, head into the game coming off a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sean Couturier has goals in back-to-back games and instead of his usual job of trying to frustrate Evgeni Malkin (out with a foot injury), he may get to step up another level and shadow Sidney Crosby.

While that’s the match-up to watch there, seeing how the suddenly healthy Penguins defense tries to get a handle on Claude Giroux is worth keeping an eye on.

Scary moment: Carlo Colaiacovo hospitalized with ‘dented trachea’

Leave a comment

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.

As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.

Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.

Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.

PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).

Comeback Kings: Gaborik pulls L.A. past Kane, Blackhawks

Jake Muzzin, Scott Darling

Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.

In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.

Gaborik’s first goal:

And here’s video of the OT-GWG:

Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.

With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record


When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?


You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.