Pekka Rinne

PHT’s Morning Skate: That Pekka Rinne guy is really good

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.

Pekka Rinne had a big night in Nashville last night. Not only did he earn his 100th victory, but he did so in record breaking fashion. (Section 303)

Francois Beauchemin may end up hearing from the league offices, but he insists that his hit on Mike Fisher was a clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit (OC Register)

The Blues have been one of the most schizophrenic teams over the first month of the season. Maybe if their top scorers starting acting like it, they’d be able to put together a little consistency (Post-Dispatch)

Looks like Maple Leafs’ head coach Ron Wilson is content pumping the tires of his own team nowadays. After Toronto’s win against the Penguins, he said Dion Phaneuf is the best defenseman in the league. The word you’re looking for is “hyperbole.” (The Hockey News)

We all know that Sidney Crosby is going to come back at some point this season. But when he comes back, just how good will he be for the Penguins? (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Could Ken Hitchcock be back behind the Blue Jackets bench? Could Craig Button be their new GM? Yes and yes—and it all could be done by Monday. (Puck-Rakers)

Newsflash: the Philly media can be tough; and they love going to a guy who is a great quote. Now we hear the goalie coach say that Ilya Bryzgalov needs to ignore the off-ice stuff and focus on his game. Sounds like this could be a theme for the next nine years. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Remember when the Montreal Canadiens were the worst team in the Eastern Conference? Oh how things can change in only a few short days. (Hockey Inside/Out)

Yes, the NBA should have learned from the NHL when hockey lost the entire 2004-05 season. But while basketball is dealing with their own labor problems this fall, the NHL should take a look and learn a lesson from the NBA. (Tampa Tribune)

Visors. Need to be mandatory. You may have heard this before. (Buffalo News)

Same crap, different day for the Bruins. A nicer way to say that is the Bruins season has been like Groundhog’s Day. (CSN New England)

The Islanders played one of their best games of the season on Saturday night, only to have a questionable call help seal their fate in overtime. Frustrating was the word most used. (Islanders Official)

We’ve been tough on Roberto Luongo lately. But on the day after he only gave up 4 goals for a 7-4 win, we thought we’d take the opportunity for a little tire pumping. Watch and enjoy Canucks fans:

Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

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As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

Things could get ugly in Game 3:

One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

Also, lateness of the check:

The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

Fleury suits up (but won’t start) and other Caps – Pens Game 3 notes

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been out of action with concussion symptoms, participates in a practice session for the NHL hockey playoffs against the New York Rangers, Monday, April 11, 2016, at their practice facility in Cranberry, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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The Brooks Orpik hit on Olli Maatta isn’t the only factor in lineup changes for Game 3 between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Maybe the most interesting change starts on the Penguins’ bench … where they likely hope that tweak will stay for at least one night.

Marc-Andre Fleury is apparently healthy enough to suit up for the Penguins, although it appears as though Matt Murray will start:

That’s a clear sign that “The Flower” is healthy enough to play, as Murray would be an injury or a coach’s pull away from giving up the net to Fleury. (One would assume.)

Murray has been fantastic for the most part since taking over for Jeff Zatkoff during this postseason, yet you know how the playoffs can be; people may clamor for Fleury after a loss even if it’s not really Murray’s fault.

Circling back to that Orpik hit, the dominoes seem to fall this way:

Penguins: Derrick Pouliot replaces injured Maatta.

Capitals: Dmitry Orlov in for suspended Orpik.

PHT will make note if there are any swerves.

2016 Calder Trophy finalists: Gostisbehere, McDavid and Panarin

Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid lines up for a faceoff against the Vancouver Canucks during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 9, 2016, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Ever since the NHL kept obstruction in check and thus placed a greater emphasis on speed and skill, we’ve seen some fascinating Calder Trophy debates. This 2015-16 season may present the toughest call in recent memory.

The league named the three finalists on Monday, and even that couldn’t have been easy. They are Edmonton Oilers wunderkind Connor McDavid, breakout Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and high-scoring Chicago Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin.

(The NHL made it official here.)

All three make for fantastic debates.

Do you go with McDavid, easily the youngest of the bunch, who produced gaudy per-game numbers but missed almost half of the season?

Perhaps you lean toward Gostisbehere, who also scored at an impressive clip per-game for a defenseman while playing a huge role in the Flyers’ surprising run to a playoff spot?

Or, do you go with Panarin, the guy who easily leads rookies in total points (77, 21 more than Jack Eichel‘s second-place finish) and was so effective that his bonuses will really put the Blackhawks in a bad way? Or do you penalize Panarin for being a little older and for the undeniable benefits he received from riding shotgun with Patrick Kane?

Then again, plenty will merely spend their time griping about “snubs,” as the likes of Jack Eichel and John Gibson were not in the final three despite outstanding work.

Yep, this should be fun … just be nice during your debates.

WATCH LIVE: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins – Game 3

Washington Capitals left wing Andre Burakovsky (65) fires a shot past Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin (8) during the second period of Game 2 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday, April 30, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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There’s only one game on the docket tonight, but it’s a marquee matchup.

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals split their games in DC and now switch to Pittsburgh for Game 3. We’ve seen great work from the likes of Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Nicklas Backstrom and maybe especially Braden Holtby so far … not to mention a considerable cast of supporting characters.

Which team will take a 2-1 lead in this captivating series?

We’ll find out on NBCSN. You can stream the game live via the link below as well:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE