If you’re not worried that the Pittsburgh Penguins might just go on and win out the rest of the way, why not just start fretting about it now.
The Pens extended their winning streak to 11 games thanks to a 5-2 win over the Devils. In just his second game back from a concussion, Sidney Crosby added three assists and Evgeni Malkin scored his 40th goal of the season. Pascal Dupuis scored his 20th of the year while Matt Cooke, the Penguins’ Masterton Trophy nominee, scored twice giving him a career-high 16 goals.
Crosby’s three assists now gives him five points in two games since returning from his latest concussion. He might be pretty good.
Even more startling through all this is that Devils goalie Martin Brodeur didn’t even play badly as he had to make 38 saves to keep the Devils in the game.
The Penguins now head to Philly for a showdown with the Flyers tomorrow afternoon (12:30 p.m. on NBC) and they’ll get a Flyers team coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Bruins this afternoon. A streaking Penguins team facing a potentially grumpy Flyers team? Sign us up.
It may have taken an extended shootout and it may have come against the worst team in the NHL, but the Detroit Red Wings escaped with a 3-2 shootout victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets for their 16th straight win at Joe Louis Arena. The win extends the new franchise mark—a record that had previously stood for 47 years. Who knew it would take a Valterri Filppula goal in the fourth round of shootout to earn the victory?
Detroit’s head coach Mike Babcock displayed a little clairvoyance when he warned that the game against the Blue Jackets had all the makings of a trap game. The Red Wings had to come back in the second period to tie the game; then they were forced to hold on at the end of regulation while they killed a five-minute major handed down to Henrik Zetterberg for boarding. Still, even without their best effort, they were still able to avoid the upset.
“We haven’t been as efficient as we’d like to be,” Babcock told Ansar Khan at mlive.com, “but we’ve found a way to grind out points.” They’ve been able to grind out enough points to surge to the top of the league with 65 points.
The Red Wings will have an opportunity to extend their record home winning streak when they face off with the red-hot St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. They’ll need a far better effort if they want to the streak to reach 17 games though.
The outcome was in doubt when Jonathan Toews scored with less than a minute left to force the game into overtime. But when Todd Bertuzzi buried his second of the game, he sent the Joe Louis faithful home happy for a 14th consecutive time as the Red Wings earned the 3-2 victory. The 14th straight home wins ties a 47-year old record in Detroit. Anytime an Original 6 team can tie a franchise record, you know things are going pretty well.
The Red Wings have a chance to break the franchise record on Monday when they face off against the Buffalo Sabres in Detroit.
Nicklas Lidstrom talked about the difference for the Red Wings at home after the game. “I think we’re playing more aggressive at home. We’re going after teams more. We’re forechecking harder and have the puck more.” Every team players better when they have the puck (and they’re not chasing), but it’s doubly important for a team like the Red Wings that depends so much on puck possession.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt when Jimmy Howard plays out of his mind.
Here are some moving pictures from Saturday afternoon’s game as Doc and Eddie break it down. Enjoy!
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Remember when the Bruins lost back-to-back games against the Canadiens a few weeks ago? Well, that was the last time the Bruins lost and those games were played in October. It’s almost December. Sounds like a pretty good November, doesn’t it?
When the ten-game winning streak started, the Bruins were at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and were hanging out with teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Winnipeg Jets near the bottom of the NHL standings. Now? Now they’re in first place in the Northeast Division and only a two points away from the top spot in the Eastern Conference—with two games in hand.
Wednesday night’s 4-3 shootout win against the Buffalo Sabres was just the latest victory in a streak that has featured all flavors of triumphs. They showed they could take an opponent’s best punch early in the game, defend themselves when needed, and still come out ahead on the scoreboard. Just last game they went on the road and won a hard-fought, 1-0 game against their archrivals in Montreal. The game before, they blew the Islanders out of the water with a 6-0 win. Before that, they proved against the Blue Jackets they could pull out a win even when they didn’t bring their best game.
Tonight, they proved they could withstand an early charge and come from behind to win.
They’ve shown they win high-scoring affairs by averaging 4.50 goals per game over the stretch. They’ve shown they can win tight checking games by only giving up 1.7 goals per game during the winning streak. They have three shutouts and another game that they only gave up a single goal. All that adds up to the best goal differential in the league.
What does that mean? It means the Bruins aren’t just winning—they’re dominating.
Up next for the defending champs is a date with the Detroit Red Wings in the Thanksgiving Showdown on Friday afternoon. Will they be able to continue their winning ways against the talented (if not inconsistent) Red Wings? We’ll find out on Black Friday—but I’m not about to bet against them.
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?