Blackhawks Are Rolling But Will Hossa’s Injury Derail Them?By Marc U.
The Chicago Blackhawks still have a ‘zero’ in that all-important column that says “losses” in the National Hockey League standings. They continued their incredible run of 16 straight games with at least a point by shutting down Vancouver Tuesday night in a 4-3 shootout victory.
The Blackhawks are now 13-0-3 through the first 16 games of the abbreviated NHL season but there was one troubling bit of news from the game. The ‘Hawks Marian Hossa left the game in the 3rd period after taking a shot to the back of the head from the Canucks’ Jannik Hansen.
In my less than expert opinion, Hansen was clearly going at Hossa’s head with his forearm as the puck sailed in the air towards them. I’ll be very surprised if Hansen isn’t suspended. The bigger issue for Hossa is how long will he be out if at all?
It was just last Spring that he was run over in the playoffs and knocked out for the remainder of them in a series against the Phoenix Coyotes. I have to believe Chicago will be extremely cautious with Hossa moving forward. With a shortened season and extremely high expectations in the Windy City, the team will be very cautious moving forward. Oh by the way… Hossa had a couple of goals in the game as well.
Ducks Flying High Out West
With San Jose getting off to such a fast start, little attention was paid to Anaheim. Not true today as the Ducks have stormed to the top of the Pacific Division behind a 9-1 stretch over the last 10 games. Anaheim is as good on the road as they are at home and have won five straight overall.
The Ducks are doing two things very well right now. One is scoring where they are third in the NHL with 3.3 goals per game. The other is the power play where they are the 8th best team. Where the Ducks’ sustaining power is in question is at the other end of the ice where their penalty kill is near the bottom at 26th in the league.
The other issue for the Ducks might be age. Their leading scorer right now is 42-year old Teemu Selanne who has 15 points so far. While his solid season is a credit to his training and conditioning, in this hurried, shortened season you have to wonder how much he’ll have in the tank.
Centers Saku Koivu and Ryan Getzlaf both have 14 points for Anaheim. Viktor Fasth has been very good in the net with a goals against average of 1.78 to go with his 8-0 record in nine games. If Selanne can stay healthy and active and the penalty kill gets better, the Ducks could be a very tough out in the playoffs.
Games This Week
NY Rangers at Ottawa – The Senators are currently in the 7th spot in the East while the Rangers are in ninth (although they’re technically tide with Tampa at 17 points). Just three points separate these two. The Rangers have just two wins on the road while the Sens have just one home loss. Go with Ottawa.
Nashville at Detroit – These two hooked up Tuesday night in the home of country music and played a classic with the Preds winning 4-3 in overtime. Wings goalie Jimmy Howard was pulled after giving up two quick goals. I look for him to be significantly better at home in the Joe. Go with Detroit.
Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh – The Lightning have a slim hold on the eighth playoff spot while the Penguins are surging. Pittsburgh is 8-2 over their last 10. Despite being just 3-3 at home, I’ll go with Sid the Kid and the Penguins.