James O'Brien

I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

The Stanley Cup playoffs continue on Wednesday and the NBC Sports group has you covered with extended coverage across both television and digital platforms.

Here is the full slate…

Washington at Philadelphia (7:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 4 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Florida at NY Islanders (7:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 4 will be on the USA Network. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Dallas at Minnesota (9:30 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 3 will be on the NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Los Angeles at San Jose (10:30 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 4 will be on USA Network. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Here’s some reading material to get you ready for tonight’s games:

All about that wristband fiasco in Philly.

Roberto Luongo was left “exhausted” with the way the early part of Panthers – Isles went.

— Lindy Ruff was not happy at all with the Stars’ Game 3 effort.

Dustin Brown‘s big hit made a big difference in the Kings’ OT win in Game 3.

Drew Doughty evokes the history between the Kings and Sharks.

PHT Morning Skate: On that Fabbri-Crawford fight, the latest Drouin spin


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Mark Spector believes that the Chicago Blackhawks’ lack of depth is being exposed. (Sportsnet)

“Bad Philly fan behavior explained.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

From the department of revisionist history: Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper claims that they “never gave up” on Jonathan Drouin.

This probably captures the general reaction to Cooper’s comments:

Stats back up the rather obvious: Drouin is playing well, regardless of spin. (TSN)

Want a little more context on that unusual brawl between Corey Crawford and Robby Fabbri from Tuesday?

Fabbri said he did his best to avoid Crawford:

Crawford felt like he got hit in the head:

Ken Hitchcock’s latest old-timer-sounding reference:

The Blues accomplished something rare in winning the past two games in Chicago:

Agreed, CM Punk. Agreed.

Brown does it for Kings: Los Angeles edges Sharks in Game 3


Dustin Brown drew a lot of attention for some hits throughout Game 3. You could argue that he created enough of a ruckus for the Los Angeles Kings to grab a huge overtime win.

Brown made a big hit moments before Tanner Pearson took advantage of some open space to score the clincher. The Kings captain’s hit on Joonas Donskoi really paved the way for Pearson to beat Martin Jones.

The Kings ended up winning 2-1 via OT, and now the Sharks’ series lead shrinks to 2-1.

Some attention may trickle over to the narrative of the Sharks struggling in San Jose. The easier issue to understand is that special teams didn’t do it for the Sharks.

While the Kings went 1-for-3 on the power play, the Sharks failed on all five of their chances. The Sharks may bristle particularly at two missed chances when things were tied 1-1 in the third period.

Joe Thornton gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead just 30 seconds into the game, continuing a curious Monday pattern. Anze Kopitar knotted it up minutes later, and the two teams grappled in a defensive struggle from there on in.

San Jose faced some chances to put this one away, yet they couldn’t quite land the knockout blow. Now this battle of California is a lot more interesting.

Did anyone really feel like this was going to be easy?

Untamed: Wild fight out of early rut to beat Stars in Game 3


The Minnesota Wild could have wallowed in self-pity early in Game 3.

Patrick Sharp scored two quick goals to give the Dallas Stars a 2-0 lead in the first period, leaving many to wonder if the Wild would roll over and fall behind in the series by 3-0.

This Minnesota bunch keeps showing that it is tough to keep down,* especially when the odds go long. The Wild dominated much of Game 3 (scoring four unanswered goals at one point), ultimately flipping a 2-0 deficit to a 5-3 win.

With that, the Stars’ series lead shrinks to 2-1.

Again, this wasn’t out of sheer luck. The Wild limited the Stars to just 17 shots on goal, really dominating the affair after Sharp scored those two goals.

One intriguing development is the possible wake-up call for Jason Pominville. He scored two goals and an assist to end a six-game scoring drought with aplomb. If Minnesota can gain offense from a variety of forwards, this series gets that much more interesting.

Speaking of future contests, it’s more than reasonable to wonder how much the Stars need Tyler Seguin back in the mix … and how close he really is to returning.

Really, it just stacks on top of an array of other questions after Game 3 made this first-round feud a lot more fascinating.

* – The Wild could have come unhinged when a challenged 4-3 goal gave the Stars a shot late in the third.

They stood tall against the Stars instead, and now they’re very much in this series.

Disgust, embarrassment: Fallout from Bellemare hit, Flyers fans’ actions


From the hit itself to the controversial reaction from Flyers fans, the third period of the Caps – Flyers Game 3 generated a lot of drama on Monday night.

This isn’t by any means a comprehensive breakdown – that would be pretty tough to pull off – but hopefully it’s thorough enough to give you a taste for what’s being said.

First, in the video above: Jeremy Roenick was fixated on the hit that really got the ball rolling. As you can see, he believes that the NHL should throw the book at Pierre-Edouard Bellemare for that check from behind on Dmitry Orlov.

It sounds like the league will at least discuss supplemental discipline:

Let’s face it, though; the biggest fireworks came with the crowd reaction that followed.

A refresher on what happened (more here): fans threw wristbands after game misconducts were being handed out, prompting the PA announcer to ask them to stop.

… It didn’t really work, even with the threat of delay of game penalties against the Flyers.

This much seems true:

It might be more interesting to hear how parties involved felt. Well, for one thing, Philly residents and/or fans seem unhappy to be associated with the wristband-throwers:

(People on social media indicated that Wayne Simmonds and Dave Hakstol showed signs of being upset about the reactions.)

Remarkably, at least one Flyer shrugged his shoulders at the whole outrage:

From the Capitals side, it’s no surprise that there was disapproval.

Jason Chimera found some silver lining:

Hey, at least there’s that.

PHT will keep an eye out for details on that hit and, if applicable, any ways the league may respond to that ugly scene.