Colorado Avalanche v Minnesota Wild - Game Four

Wild hold off late Avalanche push to even series at 2-2


It should’ve been a blowout. But it wasn’t, at least not on the scoreboard. Nonetheless, the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche are heading back to Denver in what is now a best-of-three series.

The Wild, which trailed this series 2-0 as it transitioned back to Minnesota, thoroughly outplayed the Avalanche on Thursday in front of a record crowd of 19,396 fans, but came away with a 2-1 result on the score board when it was over. The play of Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov was the only reason this game was as close as it was.

He made 30 saves in a losing cause. He was beaten early on the first period on a perfect slap shot under the cross bar from Jared Spurgeon and again by Charlie Coyle in the second period.

Coyle was the benefactor of a lucky home bounce, as the puck hit off the glass behind the Colorado net and came right out to the Minnesota center, who whacked it past Varlamov.

The Avalanche couldn’t generate much of anything. Ryan O’Reilly scored the lone goal for Colorado, ending Darcy Kuemper’s shutout streak in this series at 124:35, as per Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

As a team, the Avalanche was held to 12 shots on goal. In the entire game. They were in the single digits late into the third period, when head coach Patrick Roy pulled Varlamov for the extra attacker with about 2:35 remaining in regulation and the Avalanche got a late power play.

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?