Tag:Vancouver Canucks
Posted on: February 19, 2012 4:38 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 8:48 pm
 

Weekend Wrap: No hating on Wings now

The weekend saw Detroit's home streak go from 21 in a row to 23. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

I took a lot of heat for suggesting last week that the Red Wings' home win streak, as impressive as it is, might be deserving of a little side not in the history books thanks to the shootout.

But even I'll concede now you can forget that. I said if the Wings continued to push out the streak it becomes a non-issue and you are just left in too much awe of what Detroit has done. They've done exactly that.

After failing in their last five regular-season games against the San Jose Sharks, the Wings instead finished off a six-game homestand with another win, a hard-fought 3-2 victory at the Joe. For those counting at home, and I'm sure that's most all of you, that's 23 consecutive home wins, three more than the previous record.

It all underscores a bigger point. Sure, the NHL record is great and all, but that's nothing more than a nice stat to go in the history books. Otherwise it means nothing. However it will mean something if the Red Wings earn the Presidents' Trophy, or at least the top seed in the Western Conference.

You look hard to find holes on this team. At one point you might have said it was the backup goaltending, then Jimmy Howard got hurt, Joey MacDonald was called up and he has proven he is capable of replacing Ty Conklin. More than capable, in fact.

Before the season the hole was glaring on the defense. That's why they brought in some players to help in that regard, although none seemed to be all that significant at the time, at least to me. Oops.

While one of those additions, Mike Commodore, has been sparingly used, you can't say the same for Ian White. Despite pretty solid career numbers, I wasn't too crazy about a guy who played on three different teams last season (Calgary, Carolina and San Jose). Apparently that was a silly worry.

He has been as solid a plug into their blueline group as anybody out there. He chews up more than 23 minutes per game, he contributes some offensively and is on pace to smash his career best plus/minus mark (currently he is plus-29). I know, I know, plus/minus doesn't mean much, but you'd rather have a player who is that far above zero than below it, wouldn't you?

Moreover, they have scoring depth. Who'd a thunk that Drew Miller -- no longer just the brother of Sabres goalie Ryan Miller -- would be on his way to 15 or so goals? He is one of the 10 Red Wings players who are in double digits in goals this season. That means there is little reprieve at any point in a game against the Wings.

More from the weekend
Recaps
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More Eye on Hockey

Obviously you're a good team when you win 23 in a row at home. Clearly no slouch is going to get that done. But the biggest thing about this home streak for me is that it will contribute to them playing a lot more at home. Ironic, I know. But what really matters will be the home games beyond the guaranteed 41.

Philly's problem

This week the Flyers made not one but two trades to get help on the defensive corps. While the help was definitely needed, not a lot is going to get better if the goaltending duo doesn't improve.

A sight that has become all too familiar this season, Ilya Bryzgalov was yanked mid-game after Matt Cooke scored the all-too rare 3-on-5 goal. Sergei Bobrovsky came in and din't perform any better. Eventually it ended in a 6-4 loss for the Flyers to the intrastate rival Penguins.

But evidenced by the downpour of boos from the Wells Fargo Center faithful, this has been a season-long issue for Philadelphia. Heck, it's been a lot longer than this season, but it was supposed to be resolved when they brought in Bryzgalov.

His save percentage has been floating around .900 all season. Right now it's sitting square on that mark, the lowest of his career. His goals against average is up to 2.79. His only worse season was in 2008-09 when he gave up 2.98 per game with the Coyotes.

Needless to say this isn't what the Flyers invested so much into him for. You have to think that with the success the team has had despite the goaltending woes, if either one of the goalies could get it going and start playing up to an acceptable level at minimum, they could make some serious noise in the playoffs.

You just wonder if that's possible at this point, if it's in either goalie with the current situation, from the defense in front of them to the coaching. It's a conversation that continues to linger around the Flyers.

Just check out what the Flyers had to say, including Bryzgalov after Saturday's loss.

Hockey Day in America

So among all the American players playing on Sunday, who'd a thunk that Paul Gaustad would be the first to score on Sunday's Hockey Day in America?

Assuming you don't count Canadian-born Jason Pominville even though he does play for the American natonal team as a dual-citizen, it was his Sabres teammate that scored the first goal by an American. He barely beat Drew Miller in Detroit for that honor.

It was part of a rare breakout for the Sabres. It's been a big struggle for them this season in Buffalo, but they brought out the scoring sticks and pounded the Penguins 6-2. In the grand scheme of things it doesn't do much for Buffalo who is too far out of the playoff picture, but it was perhaps a nice audition for Gaustad in this month of the trade deadline.

He's not going to be as sought after as a lot of the other players, but some team seeking grit and toughness with a side of skill, Gaustad could fit somewhere. Just go back and watch his work on Evgeni Malkin on Sunday to get a sense of that.

Unlucky break of the weekend

Speaking of Hockey Day in America, one of the other big games of the day was the St. Louis Blues visiting the Chicago Blackhawks. It was also a big matchup in the Central Division as well.

As is the case with every Blues game, it was a low-scoring affair that turned with one bad break. This one going against the Blues.

The game-winning goal for the Blackhawks technically went to Dave Bolland, but if they could, it should have gone to the Blues' David Backes, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The centering pass shot off of Backes and he couldn't stop the puck from going in the net in time. The 'Hawks eventually potted an empty-netter for their third straight win after the nine-game skid.

Vancouver love

This year's NHLPA players poll voted the Vancouver Canucks as the league's most overrated team. Don't think I'd agree at all in calling them overrated. They were one game from winning the Cup last season and as we all know, only one team can win the Cup each season. I mean the Canucks have won the games to put them in the positions they've been in each postseason, it's not like it's a fabrication, they earned those points.

In fact, I'd say that this team doesn't get enough credit, at least in the States. They seem to be in the news a bit, but not often for their play. Yet all they do is win as DJ Khaled so eloquently said. This is the team that could take away from that Red Wings home-ice advantage in the West this postseason.

That's because they extended their points streak to 12 games after beating down the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2 on Saturday in Vancouver. They are 9-0-3 in that time. They became the second team behind the Wings to reach the 80-point plateau.

Perhaps that overrated label has come from the fact that we expect this now. It might also explain why they are winning so quietly. Or maybe it has been the large amount of overtime and shootout wins, especially lately. But no matter the reason, people should probably pay attention.

Just can't Capitalize

Every time you think the Washington Capitals are going to get it going after a big and impressive win, they fall flat. It happened again this weekend.

They took two points from the division-leading Panthers on Friday night in a dominating effort, outshooting Florida by a wide margin. So how'd they follow that up? By looking like the Caps we've seen for the most of Dale Hunter's tenure ... being outshot and outchanced for the majority of the game and losing a low-scoring affair to the Lightning 2-1.

It seems every step they take forward they take one step back. It's why the Panthers are still sitting in first place in the Southeast with just 65 points. That's the seventh most in the Eastern Conference yet best in the division.

At some point if the Caps are going to make the playoffs they need to start stringing together a couple of these wins in a row instead of missing these chances.

Quote of the weekend

“I haven’t been on a vacation for 15 days,” Boudreau said. ”This is ridiculous. The East has no idea how lucky they are. And I think every team in the West should start with 10 points before the season starts.

“Eight games and 15 days. And I’m sure Pittsburgh goes through it, too. But when you have a four-game road trip in seven days, you’re coming home exhausted. We’re at seven days right now and this is just the halfway point in our trip.

“For a guy that’s played in the East or coach in the East as well, I don’t know how they do it,” he said. ”I really don’t. It’s quite a testament to every team in the West’s character for not griping as much as I’m doing right now about it.

“You don’t even know what hotel room you’re getting into. You forget the hotel rooms and everything during the course of the day on this trip. It’s pretty Wild. But it is what it is. You can’t use it as an excuse and you’ve got to keep going.”

-- Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on the travelling for his Anaheim team. It was technically said on Thursday, but hey, it's worth pointing out, particularly as the Ducks went from New Jersey on Thursday to Carolina on Friday and Florida on Sunday evening.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 17, 2012 10:37 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 1:54 pm
 

Milan Lucic's church in Vancouver vandalized

The vandals left this in their wake. (Vancouver Sun)

By Brian Stubits

OK, isn't this Bruins and Canucks rivalry going a little too far now? I mean, it probably crossed that line a while ago but if you didn't think it had, this will probably change your mind.

The above is a photo of Bruins forward Milan Lucic's family church back in Vancouver, his hometown. It was taken by Lucic's girlfriend Brittany Carnegie after some vandals thought it was a good idea to deface it in the name of the Canuks. Sorry, I mean Canucks, got confused after looking at the handiwork of some obviously hardcore fans.

We took some photo editing liberties to tone it down, so in case you were wondering, just by any off chance, what the entire image looked like/said, here's a description from the Vancouver Sun.

On the side of the St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church is large, black graffiti that reads “F--k Lucic” and “Go Canuks (sic) Go,” along with crudely drawn genitalia.

“This is DISGUSTING!” Carnegie wrote. “Punks did this to Milan beloved church! So disgusted!”

Lucic hasn't been exactly treated kindly by his hometown since the Bruins beat the Canucks in an intense seven-game series. Posters of him have been defaced in the city and a brawl broke out when he showed up at a Greek festival. So yea, he's kind of a big deal there.

I'd admonish the hockey fans of Vancouver here for giving themselves another black eye, but I can't. I just can't call these guys Canucks fans. Isn't it a requisite to spell the team's name right to be called a fan? This had to be the work of the same type of fan who decided it was a good idea to wreck their city after losing the final game.

Speaking of which, the first sentence has been handed down to a rioter and it was for 17 months. Granted, said rioter had a history that greatly contributed to that sentence so it was abnormal, but point is we should start seeing some more soon.

In the meantime, let's leave this rivalry on the ice. That's more than entertaining and heated enough already.

H/t to Puck Daddy

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 16, 2012 4:31 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 4:41 pm
 

No suspension for Brad Marchand

By: Adam Gretz

The NHL has decided Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand will not be suspended for a clipping incident that took place during Wednesday's game in Montreal.

This decision is probably a surprise to some given that Marchand was suspended five games for clipping Vancouver's Sami Salo earlier this season (to be exact, it was just last month). Same player, same type of play. Seems reasonable to expect some sort of supplemental discipline. But that's not going to be the case.

The NHL's Vice President of Player Safety, Brendan Shanahan, briefly addressed the play on Twitter Thursday afternoon and said, "Like all penalties on the ice, not all 'clips' rise to the level of supplemental discipline. This check by Marchand was delivered to the upper thigh/hip and not the knee area. We don't like it, but not SD."

"Not SD," of course, refers to no supplemental discipline.

Here is the play one more time in case you missed it the first time around:



It's fair to point out that this clip and the earlier play that did result in a suspension may not be exactly the same. But if there is going to be a criticism of the decision (and there is always a criticism of the league's decisions when it comes to disciplinary matters) it's that Shanahan admitted that the league didn't like it -- it, of course, being the hit. Coming from a player that was suspended for a similar play just one month ago.

If nothing else, that's going to bring up even more questions about consistency and NHL discipline. Seems like we've been down that road before.

Previously at Eye On Hockey

Marchand called for clipping
Marchand suspended 5 games for clipping
Marchand excused from Cup DVD filming  for drunkenness
More NHL Discipline news

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 15, 2012 6:53 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 6:54 pm
 

Roenick OK if Blackhawks trade Kane for goalie

Kane is a three-time All-Star at age 23. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The Chicago Blackhawks are in one serious tailspin. They have lost nine games in a row. Heck, coach Joel Quenneville and the goaltending duo of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery just got a vote of confidence. That's never a good sign. If a GM has to do that, then you know things aren't going well.

It has people thinking that the Blackhawks need to go out at the trade deadline and find some help for their defense or possibly even the goaltending.

Former Blackhawks star and current NHL analyst Jeremy Roenick is in the group that sees a serious need to upgrade the goaltending. Seriously upgrade the goaltending, as in somebody that would be worth trading Patrick Kane. Seriously.

Check out what J.R. had to say to ESPN Chicago.

"Everybody knows I am a huge Patrick Kane fan, but when you're talking something of this nature, is Patrick Kane dealable? As much as I don't want to say it, they can afford to get rid of Patrick Kane," Roenick said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "They can afford to -- with the season he's having -- maybe with his off-ice reputation, maybe with the skill they have on their team -- it's doable.

"Do I like it? No, because I love Patrick Kane. He is one of the most talented and one of the best players in the NHL. But if you really want a top-end goaltender you're going to have to give up somebody."

OK, playing along for a minute here, let's pretend that the Blackhawks do consider trading Kane for goaltending. We'll just have some fun here. Who could they get? First team that jumps to mind for me is Vancouver and Cory Schneider, but I just can't see those two teams making a swap like that with their animosity.

In the East the Bruins have two goalies but with Tim Thomas' age, you wouldn't think they'd be keen on getting rid of Tuukka Rask.

What about a favorite trading partner of Chicago lately, the Florida Panthers? They have who many call the best goaltending prospect in the league in Jacob Markstrom and some stellar young defensemen in the organization. Of course Panthers GM Dale Tallon knows Kane well and he is certainly young enough to fit into Tallon's long-term visions.

Even still, from Florida's perspective, I don't know if even Kane would be enough to part with Markstrom.

But that's all suspending our disbelief. It was fun for a few paragraphs but back in reality there's no way the Blackhawks are trading Kane for goaltending right now.

This slump right now in Chicago is bad, but it's not THAT bad.

More from Eye On Hockey

Quenneville, goalies get vote of confidence
Updating NHL Trade Deadline Rumor Mill

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:11 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 10:41 pm
 

Wings set new record with 21 straight home wins

RedWingsBy: Adam Gretz

With their 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night the Detroit Red Wings made NHL history, setting a new mark (and one that looks like it will continue to grow based on the way they're playing) by winning their 21st consecutive home game, breaking the record that had previously been owned by the 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers and 1929-30 Boston Bruins.

It's an incredible streak, and shows just how much the Red Wings have dominated their opponents at Joe Louis Arena this season, pushing their home record to 24-2-1. They haven't lost a home game since dropping a 4-1 decision to the Calgary Flames on November 3. The only other losses at home this season were against  Minnesota (a 2-1 shootout loss on November 1) and San Jose (a 4-2 loss on October 28).

What makes it so amazing isn't just the number of wins, but also the manner in which many of them have been achieved.



Some quick facts on the current streak:

-- The Red Wings have outscored the 21 teams they've knocked off by a total margin (as of Tuesday) of 87-31.

-- 10 of the wins have been by a margin of three goals or more. Three of the wins have been shutouts, five involved the Red Wings giving up just one goal, and only two saw them give up more than two. No team has scored more than three goals against them.

-- In typical Red Wings fashion, they have completely controlled puck possession and have out-shot their opponents by an average margin of 32.8 to 25.4 on a nightly basis.

-- And, finally, yes, three of the wins did come by way of the shootout.

My Eye On Hockey colleague, Brian Stubits, rattled a few cages by pointing this fact out on Sunday night when the Red Wings tied the record with a win over the Flyers.

You can put whatever level of significance on that fact that you choose (you can put an asterisk next to it, or you can ignore it, it doesn't really matter), but there is absolutely nothing wrong with pointing it out, and it doesn't mean that by doing so that you can still can't marvel at the record -- because it is darn impressive, and worthy of being celebrated.

But these events from one era to another don't take place in a vacuum. The league that the 2011-12 Red Wings play in is vastly different from the league that the 1975-76 Flyers played in, for a number of reasons. It might as well not even be the same sport when compared to the league that the 1929-30 Bruins played (In 1929, for example, there were still limitations on when you could advance the puck with a forward pass). You wouldn't look at a 30-goal scorer in today's NHL the same way that you look at a 30-goal scorer in, say, the 1980s, because it's a completely different era with different rules and a different style of play.

None of this makes one streak better or worse than the other as all three teams had advantages and disadvantges when compared to the others, but it's still worth mentioning the differences. You have to (well, you should, anyway) take everything into account when comparing teams and players from different eras.

No matter how you look at the streak, the Red Wings are setting themselves up to be the favorites to take the Western Conference. After Tuesday's game they sit on top of the West (and the NHL, for that matter) with 80 points, and still have seven of their next 10 games on home ice where, again, they've only lost three games this season, and only two in regulation.

The schedule does get a bit tougher as they have upcoming games with Nashville, San Jose, Vancouver and Chicago at home, but that hasn't really mattered much this season, as nearly every team that's entered Joe Louis Arena has left in defeat, regardless of record.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 14, 2012 4:43 pm
 

Marchand excused from Cup DVD for drunkenness

Marchand had a little fun after the B's won the Cup. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

So I know you're going to have a hard time finishing reading this sentence from your high level of shock, but Brad Marchand didn't partake in the Bruins Stanley Cup DVD interviews because he was ... wait for it ... too drunk.

That revelation -- if you want to call it that -- comes courtesy of Sports Illustrated's Michael Farber who recently profiled the pesky player for the Bruins.

Obviously Marchand was happy to give the shirt off his back to win the Stanley Cup, which he did in some widely disseminated photos taken at a team party three nights after Game 7, at Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, Conn. Marchand was excused from scheduled interviews for the official Stanley Cup DVD because at 4 p.m. the next day he had what the NHL might describe as an inner-body injury. Or as Marchand puts it, he was "intoxicated."

"[After the Cup, linemate Tyler Seguin] and I went on a bit of a tear, partying pretty much every night for a while," Marchand says. "I went home and kinda continued it. I thought [winning a championship] was something that might never happen, so I was trying to take it all in, enjoy it.... My dad sat me down and sorta gave me a lashing. He told me if we win two of the next three years, he'd leave me alone." Marchand's day with the Cup in late August was a demure affair. Says one attendee who has ties to the Bruins, "It was like he was grounded at his own party."

For those that remember that legendary Bruins post-Cup romp back in New England, this doesn't come as a surprise. Heck, even if you don't remember that it shouldn't be a surprise. Two young hockey players (we'll leave out the underage part, we know most people have taken some of those liberties) getting smashed? Heck, just another off day, right? Add in the Stanley Cup celebration on top of it? It's no big deal.

What it does do, though, is add to the legend that is becoming Brad Marchand. From his numerous nicknames including his favorite of Nose Face Killah to timely goals, in-game actions and children's hospital visits it hasn't taken him long at all to give himself a reputation, mixed to be sure.

My question after this bombshell is if Marchand was sober or not when he made his rapping debut? After this Farber story, I sure hope not.

It might also help explain that tattoo flub Marchand had this summer to commemorate the Bruins' big victory.

Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this other little nugget from the Farber story about Marchand's suspension of five games for clipping Sami Salo.

"If Vancouver kept their mouth shut, which they rarely do, I don't think there would have been as much publicity about the hit and don't think there would have been as long a suspension."

Through everything, that Bruins-Canucks rivalry stays alive. It's one of the most intense yet infrequent rivalries I remember seeing.

Yes, Marchand is a character. There can't be any doubt of that after his not even two full seasons in the NHL.

H/t to Pro Hockey Talk

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 10, 2012 1:30 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 3:43 pm
 

Weekend Preview: Jets look to carry 'mo' to Pitt

Winnipeg is only three points behind Florida and Washington in the Southeast. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Weekend Schedules: Friday | Saturday | Sunday

WASHINGTON -- Here we are in mid-February and the Winnipeg Jets are still lingering right there in the playoff picture, just outside the East's top eight (even closer to the Southeast Division lead). That's how crucial Thursday night's Houdini act was in Washington, to take two points from a game that was seemingly lost.

The next question becomes how they can follow that up?

Winnipeg finishes off a travel-heavy stretch this Saturday in Pittsburgh against the Penguins. It will be their eight road game in their last nine overall, a crucial stretch in their season that many thought would bury their playoff hopes. I admit, myself included.

Instead, they were given a golden opportunity with a lucky bounce to pick up some serious steam for a playoff push.

"We have a big game in Pittsburgh," forward Bryan Little said on Thursday after the 3-2 win in D.C. "If we get a couple points there it would be a great road trip for us."

And it would bring them some strong momentum into a home-heavy stretch they are about to hit.

"We've been playing well at home all season, so we'd be really pumped with that," Little said.

That's why the game against the Pens is so big. It would more or less signify that the win in Washington was a springboard to launch them into their homestand. But any sort of momentum gained from it is for the most part lost with a flat showing in the 'Burgh.

"We've won two in a row now," said Evander Kane, who has played two games since returning from a concussion. "We have to be able to put together strings together and long winning streaks because that's how you're going to make the playoffs."

That's the goal, obviously, bring the playoffs back to the 'Peg. Maybe the White out too. So what better way to head into a stretch where nine of their next 10 are at the friendly confines of MTS Centre than a win in Pittsburgh?

They'll be taking on a Penguins team that will get a lift courtesy of a returning player. No, not Sidney Crosby, but instead Jordan Staal. Coach Dan Bylsma announced on Friday that Staal will be back in the lineup after dealing with a nagging knee issue.

So it's up to you Jets, make that win in Washington really count.

What the Devil has gotten into them?

The New Jersey Devils aren't just hanging around in the playoff race like the Jets, they are climbing into the conversation for home-ice advantage in the first round.

In a rarity, the Devils actually lost in a shootout on Thursday night to the St. Louis Blues. It brought an end to New Jersey's five-game winning streak but extended their points streak to eight games.

The catalyst in the run has been not only the stellar play of Ilya Kovalchuk, but Zach Parise's outburst. With his name being talked about as a possibility in trade discussions, Parise has only shown why teams would love to have him -- including the Devils, of course. In the last six games he has six goals and two assists. Not too shabby.

In case you haven't checked the standings in a while -- here's our nifty Playoff Race -- the Devils have jumped over the Penguins for the time being in the Atlantic Division race and are just three points behind the Flyers.

You have to like the odds of their points streak being extended to nine on Saturday. That's when they'll play the Florida Panthers at the Rock, the fourth and final meeting between coach Peter DeBoer and his former team from Florida. Seeing how the Devils have looked strong in winning two of the three from the Cats and would have taken the other if not for a complete meltdown in the third period, it doesn't seem like this is the time they will be stopped in their tracks.

Add in Florida being 1-6-4 in its last 11 road games and, well, you can see where this is going.

Chicago blues

It's high time the Blackhawks find themselves again. They are mired in a stretch that could be too difficult to overcome when it comes time for seeding in the Western Conference, especially if it continues.

In the midst of a nine-game road trip that still has five more stops to go, the Blackhawks are reeling. They've lost six in a row, picking up a point in only one of those losses. You wouldn't figure the next four games being in San Jose, at Phoenix, in Nashville then at the Rangers will make it much easier, particularly with the Sharks and Coyotes coming back-to-back this weekend.

It seems preposterous, but a couple more games and all of a sudden the Blackhawks are going to find themselves in a serious fight for a playoff spot period, let alone the seeding.

As big as the one Friday night in San Jose is, that game in Phoenix will be particularly big as the Coyotes have made a little surge in recent days and have climbed into the eighth spot in the West. It could pull Phoenix to within three points of Chicago if their skid continues.

Fifth time's the charm?

The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers will have their fifth of six meetings this season on Saturday in Philly, a little matinee.

Despite it being their fifth game of the series, it's actually the first that will be played at Wells Fargo Center. So maybe that will be what the Flyers need to get off the Rangers schneid. They have been on the losing end of all four games so far.

There likely won't be any Ilya Bryzgalov in net again, though. And that's not because he's being benched, enjoying some nice tea in his thermos. Instead, he's enjoying some tea in his thermos because he's ill and, you know, people suggest you drink tea.

Obviously it hasn't mattered who has been in net for the Flyers this season, they haven't been able to figure out the Rangers yet. A game like Saturday's is huge for confidence, if not the standings.

Oh, and if you like fights, this might be your game. Last weekend's matchup broke out into an MMA show.

Mr. 1,000

It feels like we've had a lot of players hitting the 1,000 game milestone this season, doesn't it? On Thursday night Chris Neil of Ottawa celebrated entering four-digit territory. On Friday night it will be Tomas Holmstrom's turn.

The longtime Swedish Red Wings forward has obviously seen some good times in Detroit throughout his career. That tends to happen if you stay in a Wings uniform long enough. He'll be honored for that when the Ducks visit the Joe.

On the ice, this is actually quite the matchup. The Wings are still riding this ridiculous home winning streak, up to 18 games now. The Ducks, meanwhile, have come flying up from the basement and are now within eight points of a playoff spot in the West, still a long way to go but better than before. They are 11-2-2 in the last 15.

So don't be surprised if this is the team that's finally able to upset Detroit in Detroit and spoil the fun of Holmstrom's night.

We're going streaking!

Here is a look at the streaks -- both good and bad -- heading into the weekend.

Montreal Canadiens: Yes, that's right, the Habs are on a winning streak. They take a three-game run to their rivals in Toronto.

Vancouver Canucks: Remember when they were behind Minnesota in the Northwest? Me neither. They have a 15-point lead and carry a three-game win streak into Calgary on Saturday.

Coyotes: I said they've been on a run lately and that means they have a league-high four straight wins. Only Chicago awaits this weekend.

Blackhawks: See entry above: Six straight losses. Will they keep counting? Trips to San Jose and Phoenix on the docket.

Minnesota Wild: They have slipped out of the top eight in the West now having lost three consecutive games. A visit from Columbus is next on Saturday.

Ryan Miller: OK, I never put players on here, but Miller deserves a spot. The Sabres goalie has been much-maligned but he has turned a corner of late. He's on the run of his career. No, really. From Mike Harrington at the Buffalo News.

"Ryan Miller's 0.95 GAA and .969 save percentage over the last five games are the best in his career for any five-game stretch."

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 8, 2012 5:26 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 5:31 pm
 

Henrik Sedin's games streak could be in danger

By: Adam Gretz

Throughout his career Henrik Sedin has been one of the most durable players in the NHL.

He's missed just 10 regular season games since joining the Canucks, and you have to go all the way back to the 2003-04 season to find the last time he was not in the Vancouver lineup. That is a stretch of 552 consecutive games, the second-longest current streak in the NHL, trailing only Calgary's Jay Bouwmeester who has appeared in 559 consecutive games.

Sedin's ironman streak appears to be in some danger as he was reportedly spotted wearing a walking boot in Minnesota on Wednesday ahead of the Canucks game against the Wild on Thursday night. He was scheduled to have a CT scan on Wednesday according to Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province.

It goes without saying that Sedin, along with his twin brother Daniel, are the two biggest cogs in Vancouver's offensive machine, and in 53 games this season Henrik has 11 goals to go with a league-leading 46 assists. He's led the league in assists in each of the past two seasons.

Sedin was hit by a slap shot during the Canucks 4-3 shootout win in Nashville on Tuesday night.

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