Author: Matt Reitz

Flyers Red Wings Hockey

Bertuzzi hopes to be back in lineup on Saturday

Todd Bertuzzi participated in a full practice this afternoon for the first time since he was sidelined with dizziness and swelling in his ear six games ago. Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said that Bertuzzi’s status will be determined before tomorrow’s game, but the big forward is cautiously optimistic.

“I didn’t come all the way here without thinking there was a chance (he could play),” Bertuzzi told Ansar Khan at “I’ve had three pretty good days in. Got to see how I feel after my workout and see how I feel in the morning.”

The Wings have been a mixed bag since Bertuzzi was sidelined six games ago. The initial returns were good when the Wings rattled off four wins in the first four games without the polarizing forward. But since then, they’ve lost two straight and looked awful in San Jose on Thursday night. Bertuzzi hopes he can get into the lineup and help turn things around at Staples Center on Saturday afternoon against the Kings.

Detroit could use a boost since they have hit an offensive lull as of late. They’ve scored two or fewer goals in their last three games and have looked like a different team since they exploded for five goals against the Avalanche and Ducks two weeks ago.

Perhaps a healthy Bertuzzi is just what the doctor ordered.

Video: Lee Stempniak breaks of Duncan Keith

Lee Stempniak, Steve Montidor

Duncan Keith is an elite defenseman for the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s on the short list of players mentioned when people talk about the best defensemen in the NHL; which means he’s one of the best blueliners in the world. Lee Stempniak cares not for these assertions.

Keith is still one of the best defensemen in the world, you just may not have known it on Friday night during the Flames 5-2 victory over the Blackhawks.

Hitchcock’s boys can’t be beat, Blues win again

David Backes, Alex Pietrangelo, Barret Jackman
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If you predicted that a Panthers/Blues game would pair two of the hottest teams in the league at any point this season, you could have won some serious money in Las Vegas. But coming into Thursday night’s game, the Florida Panthers were riding a four game winning streak, while the Blues were unbeaten in four straight games since Ken Hitchcock took over ten days ago. The new-look Panthers proved they were no match for the new-look Blues as St. Louis dominated en route to a 4-1 victory.

The Blues are now 4-0-1 under their new head coach. The only blemish since Hitchcock took over was a shootout loss to the Maple Leafs a week ago after giving up a pair of first period goals. In an amazing stat, the Blues haven’t given up any 2nd or 3rd period goals since Hitchcock took over five games ago. St. Louis goaltenders have pitched two shutouts and have only give up four total goals in five games. Any team that can keep the puck out of the net that well is going to be successful.

And people said the NHL game had passed Hitchcock by.

The loss for the Panthers snaps their impressive four game winning streak. The game in St. Louis was their fifth game in five cities and it showed. Despite bombing the Stars earlier in the week 6-0, the Panthers looked like a team that was ready to head home. ““We didn’t have a lot of energy tonight,” Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. “We looked sloppy and we looked slow when we’re not engaged in the game.”

Part of the effort can be attributed to a tough patch of the schedule, but the Blues came out and earned the victory. Now the Panthers can look forward to their four-game homestand that starts this weekend against the Penguins. They’ll hope to rediscover their winning ways against a team that was dominated tonight in Tampa Bay.

It’s unbelievable what Hitchcock has done with the team in such a short time. Their defense makes them look like an elite team and their power play (which was the worst in the league), looks like its improved from “embarrassing” to “adequate.” Hitch’s boys will look to continue their hot start against another surprising team: the Minnesota Wild.

Can they win their fourth straight?

Hall of Shame video: Craig Smith misses empty net

Jason LaBarbera, Craig Smith

Rookie Craig Smith is having an outstanding first year for the Nashville Predators, but it’s going to take a long time for him to live this one down.  Just ask Patrik Stefan.

At least the Predators still got the 4-1 win over the Leafs.

Winning ugly: Bruins extend winning streak to seven games

New Jersey Devils v Boston Bruins

It wasn’t as decisive as fans in Boston may have liked, but the Bruins extended their winning streak to seven games as they beat the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets by a 2-1 score in a shootout.

Thursday night’s game featured the worst team in the league playing on the road against the defending Stanley Cup champs. The champs also happened to enter the game on a six-game winning streak—so the outcome really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, right? But it was the way the Bruins won the game that should raise a few eyebrows around the league. In that, they weren’t very impressive at all.

The Jackets scored the first goals of the game against back-up Tuukka Rask, but despite a strong effort, they were unable to get any other pucks past the Finnish netminder. The Bruins knotted the score at 1 and escaped to a shootout, where they finished off the comeback by beating Jackets’ goaltender Curtis Sanford twice in the skills competition. That’s right, the high-flying Bruins were only able to score a single goal against the Blue Jackets back-up in 65 minutes.

Even though Boston produced an underwhelming effort, the Bruins have been dominant over their seven game winning streak. The win was their fifth in their five game homestand. In fact, they scored 22 goals over the first four games of the homestand. But Thursday they proved they would win when the goals aren’t flowing as freely.

At the end of the day, another win is another win for the streaking Bruins. Likewise, another loss is just another loss for the Jackets who still haven’t won on the road this season.