Author: Joe Yerdon

Sidney Crosby, Steve Ott

NHL on NBCSN: Sabres-Penguins, Sharks-Kings doubleheader


NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Buffalo Sabres at CONSOL Energy Center at 7:30 p.m. ET and the San Jose Sharks host the Los Angeles Kings at the SAP Center at 10:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

It’s a doubleheader night on NBCSN and the night begins in Pittsburgh where Sidney Crosby and the Eastern Conference-leading Penguins host the league’s worst team in the Buffalo Sabres.

The Pens are coming off a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Dallas Stars. Shutting out Pittsburgh this season has been a rarity (it’s happened two other times) with how much Crosby and Chris Kunitz have produced (52 goals combined). Evgeni Malkin being third on the team in points behind those two goes to show how well things are clicking.

Pittsburgh is atop the East for a good reason and an integral part of that equation is how well Marc-Andre Fleury has played. With a .915 save percentage and a 2.35 goals-against average, he’s been strong this season. That said, things have cooled off a bit of late allowing nine goals in his past three games (two losses).

For the record, the last time the Pens lost two in row was Nov. 23 and 25 on the road to Boston and Montreal and they’ve won 21 of their past 27 games.

Don’t let the Sabres’ current status fool you though, this is a different team with Ted Nolan at the helm. The team plays a more sound defensive game and the Washington Capitals have said the Sabres will “put you to sleep” with their style of play.

After a miserable start to the season offensively, the Sabres have started scoring goals and are averaging over three goals per game in their past six games. They’ve gone just 1-3-2 in those games, however, and have seen the hot play from both Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth in goal cool off. They’ll be looking for Cody Hodgson to stay on a roll to lead the way.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Out west, any time the Sharks and Kings get together it’s going to be a good one. L.A. is 2-0-1 this season against San Jose.

source: Getty ImagesAll hasn’t been well of late for the Kings, however, as they’re winless in their past five games and have three wins in their past 15 games. Offense has been the problem as they’ve scored 28 goals in those 15 games. Scoring less than two per game is a good way to guarantee losses. All it’s meant lately is that Jonathan Quick or Martin Jones have had to stand on their head.

Now’s the time for Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, and Dustin Brown to step it up so Jeff Carter doesn’t have to do all the scoring.

Having to face off against the Sharks won’t help matters much. San Jose has won six in a row and 13 of their past 17. Joe Pavelski has been on fire of late with seven goals in his past five games. He’s second to Joe Thornton on the team in points and tops the Sharks in goals with 28.

With the Sharks able to score goals with seeming ease and the Kings struggling to do that, it’s not lining up well for L.A. to snap their losing streak. That said, these match-ups bring the best out of both teams.

PHT Morning Skate: Jaromir Jagr made Sunday a special day

Jaromir Jagr

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.

When Jaromir Jagr played in the 2012 Winter Classic for Philadelphia, his day was short-lived after suffering an injury in the first period. This time around playing at Yankee Stadium, he said he had a “secret” method to avoid the same fate. (The Star-Ledger)

Jagr also talked about passing Mario Lemieux for 10th all-time on the NHL assist list:

I think we can all get behind Jagr playing for as long as he wants. What a guy.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Ryan Miller trade rumors are heating up and the St. Louis Blues are believed to be a potential landing spot. (Post-Dispatch)

Devan Dubnyk hopes things aren’t as weird when the Predators return to Edmonton in March. (Edmonton Journal)

Islanders rookie Ryan Strome had a rough night in the AHL. (Islanders Point Blank)

Flyers forward Scott Hartnell is sporting a fancy new walking boot. Uh oh. (

Ryan Smyth is leaving his mark on the Oilers:

Anze Kopitar said the Kings apparently didn’t need a “closed door” meeting to figure some things out. (L.A. Kings Insider)

How would you describe how the Canadiens have played lately? Would “alien zombies” fit the bill? (Montreal Gazette)

Erik Gudbranson was scratched for Florida last night so Dylan Olsen could play. Hmm. (Miami Herald)

Zetterberg scratched with upper-body injury vs. Panthers

Henrik Zetterberg

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg did not take warm-ups before the start of their game against the Florida Panthers and will not play.

Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News says Zetterberg is out day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Dan Cleary takes his spot in the lineup instead.

The Red Wings thought they were getting a healthier lineup with Johan Franzen making his return, but instead they’re having to make do without a different key player. Zetterberg missed nearly a month of time during December with a herniated disc.

Detroit is hurting down the middle of the ice. Pavel Datsyuk, Joakim Andersson, Stephen Weiss, and Cory Emmerton are all out with separate injuries. Toss in Zetterberg, who occasionally plays up the middle, and the Wings have some serious problems at the pivot.