Pavel Datsyuk scores late to keep Red Wings home win streak alive…Coyotes Radim Vrbata on pace for his best season…Martin Brodeur ties shoot-out victories record as Devils down Ducks…James van Riemsdyk could return to Flyers today…Hurricanes down Sharks….Capitals defeats Panthers…Sabres fall to last place in Eastern Conference…Dallas Stars could establish blueprint for struggling NHL Sunbelt teams…The league leaders in man-games lost to injury.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Pavel Datsyuk scored with just over five seconds remaining in the game to give the Red Wings their 22nd consecutive home win as they edged the visiting Nashville Predators 2-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regardless of whether you believe the Red Wings achievement is “legitimate” or not, the fact they’re so strong at home reflects on how strong this season’s version of the Red Wings have become. Their early season struggles are but a distant memory.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata remains humble despite being on pace for his best season ever.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vrbata’s one of the key reasons the Coyotes remain in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.
NEW YORK POST: New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur tied the Rangers Henrik Lundqvist for most career shoot-out wins (40), as the Devils edged the Anaheim Ducks 3-2.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brodeur may be coming to the end of his storied career, but is still capable of coming up big when the Devils need him most.
PHILLY.COM: Forward James van Riemsdyk, sidelined by concussion since January 12th, could return to the Flyers lineup today in their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s good news for van Riemsdyk and the Flyers. No, I don’t think this means he’s back in play in the rumor market.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina backup goaltender Justin Peters made 35 saves as the Hurricanes hung on to down the visiting San Jose Sharks 3-2.
WASHINGTON POST: The two Alexanders (Ovechkin and Semin) tallied as the Capitals downed divisional rival Florida Panthers 2-1.
BUFFALO NEWS: Thanks to a shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens, the Sabres fell to last in the Eastern Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Three words for Sabres GM Darcy Regier: Sell! Sell! Sell! OK, it’s one word repeated three times, but you get the idea. Time for the Sabres management to end this fantasy of making the playoffs and start rebuilding their roster for next season.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika reports some insiders believe “cyclical turns in the economy, as well as situational market flaws, are more to blame for the problems than any larger issue with hockey in the South.” Some believe the Dallas Stars could provide the blueprint for these struggling Sun Belt teams.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shhhhhh! Don’t tell that to Northern-based critics (usually Canadian) of Sun Belt teams. It’s so much more fashionable to simply declare Southern based teams as “non-hockey markets”, rather than engaging in real research as to the real reasons why they’re struggling. One big reason is some of these teams have been mismanaged for years, driving away a disillusioned fan base. Something which has happened in several so-called “traditional hockey markets” – hello there, Vancouver (1998 – 2001), Calgary (1998-2003), Edmonton (1993- 1996) , Chicago (1998-2007) and Boston (2001-2008) – in the past.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: The Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens lead all NHL teams in man-games lost to injury this season.