The PHT Nightcap – Monday, March 15

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We put a lot of content on this blog each day, and we understand it can be a bit tough to keep track of everything. So at the end of the day we’ll put up a nightly recap of all of that day’s news. Presenting the Pro Hockey Talk Nightcap:

The night the Pens’ season almost died – Steve Downie’s slew foot of Sidney Crosby was bad, but it certainly could have been much worse. Crosby could have been seriously injured.

Ducks GM angry about Olympic effect on his team – Bob Murray blames the Olympics for the Ducks’ disappointing play.

Avery’s big night proves that Tortorella was right – Avery always seems to show up when he’s under the spotlight.

Panic setting in for the Senators? – Where there’s smoke, there’s fire …

Did Dubinsky break an unwritten rule of fighting? – You be the judge.

Ovechkin hearing in progress… – The saga continues.

Devils’ power play reason for concern – Well, it’s not like they hired Jacques Lemaire for offense.

Malkin day-to-day, x-ray negative – The Penguins narrowly avoid disaster.

NHL aims to implement new rule this season – Apparently we’ve finally hit the league’s magic number for PR nightmares.

Illegal is illegal, regardless of the injury – Great stuff from Brandon here.

Stars looking for answer in net – Good luck with that.

Waddell: no coaching change this season – The Thrashers might benefit from a GM change, now that you mention it.

Ovechkin suspended 2 games – Ovechkin? Never heard of that guy.

Helm angry about (another) blindside hit – Join the group, son.

DirecTV and Versus reunited – Sure, it took long enough, but it’s still good news.

Modano has emergency appendectomy – Can’t believe I spelled that surgery correctly on the first try. That’s a minor miracle.

Tonight’s games: Who’s next? – A preview of the night’s games.

Boudreau, Knuble talk about Ovechkin – Interesting stuff from those two.

Boston should make Rask their No.1 goalie – Tim Thomas isn’t getting it done.

Sharks keep starting slowly – San Jose can’t expect to live off of comebacks forever.

PHT Morning Skate: Beat writers survey predicts Ducks will win Cup

Corey Perry, Frederik Andersen
AP Photo
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

In a survey of 29 beat writers, the Anaheim Ducks emerged as the clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup. If you’ll recall, they have that in common with the EA Sports simulation. (Boston Globe)

Alex Ovechkin would pick an Olympic hit against Jaromir Jagr as the biggest check of his life. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

Here are the highlights from Minnesota’s 5-4 victory over Colorado:

The Montreal Canadiens seem committed to using Alex Galchenyuk as a center throughout the 2015-16 campaign. (The Canadian Press)

The NHL recently enlisted its players to read off some not so mean tweets. (USA Today)

Bills coach Rex Ryan talked about the Sabres in Thursday’s press conference. (

Frederik Andersen may have the Anaheim Ducks’ starting job for now, but with John Gibson still a big part of their plans, Andersen has to keep proving himself. (Orange County Register)

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.