Nino Niederreiter, Semyon Varlamov

Five telling stats from the first round


1. Colorado’s score-close Fenwick — 38.7 percent

By far the lowest of all 16 teams in the first round. In the regular season, the Buffalo Sabres finished 30th, and they were at 41.0%.

Look, a lot of Avalanche fans thought we were picking on their team when we asked if Colorado was in trouble after Game 3. Honestly, we weren’t. All we try to do here is call it like we see it. The Avs are an exciting young team with a bright future, but defensively they still have serious issues. Just look at the late tying goal the Wild scored last night:

That is not sound, structured hockey right there.

Again though, bright future. Just have some things to learn.

2. Anze Kopitar — 10 points

Tied for the most in the playoffs, with Paul Stastny, Nathan MacKinnon and Zach Parise. There’s a good chance Kopitar is going to win his first ever Selke Trophy this season, and deservedly so. He’s an elite two-way forward, right up there with Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron.

This is a goal Kopitar scored in Game 6. Note how he started and finished the play:

3. Boston’s power play — 37.5 percent (six goals on 16 opportunities)

Hey, remember when the Bruins’ power play went 0-for-21 versus the Habs in 2011? And remember the disgruntlement in TD Garden during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final versus Vancouver when the B’s failed to score on Aaron Rome’s five-minute major for hitting Nathan Horton late? Boston won it all that year with a power play that converted on just 11.4 percent of its chances. Related: Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton weren’t on that Bruins team.

4. Penguins’ record when they led after two periods — 1-2

Yep, both Pittsburgh losses to Columbus came after the Penguins carried a lead into the third. In all, teams went 28-7 in that situation during the first round, which isn’t all that great. Compare that to, say, the 2000 playoffs when teams went a combined 53-4, or 2004 when they went 67-6. When the Penguins won the Cup in 2009, they went a perfect 11-0.

 5. Frederik Andersen’s save percentage — .892

The only goalie with a sub-.900 save percentage to advance to the second round. In large part because Kari Lehtonen’s was even worse, .885, for Dallas. (Not a lot of great goaltending in that Ducks-Stars series.) Should be interesting to see if Bruce Boudreau goes back to Jonas Hiller against the Kings.

Scary moment: Carlo Colaiacovo hospitalized with ‘dented trachea’

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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.