Tyler Seguin

PHT’s Morning Skate: Embarrassment in Columbus and more Bruins bling

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.

Columbus Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel brushed off questions about his (and one could guess Scott Howson’s) future after that 9-2 monstrosity and focused instead upon Sunday/beyond. It looks like the hockey world might be deprived of a guy who uses the word “bottoms” in a way that amuses immature people like myself, which is definitely a bummer. (Aaron Portzline – Columbus Dispatch)

The Boston Bruins continued their seemingly endless 2011 Stanley Cup victory lap as they shared a ring with the Hockey Hall of Fame. At least their 7-0 win against Toronto keeps curmudgeonly critics from slamming them on that general subject again … right?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but with 14 points in 13 games, David Legwand must be the least likely guy in the top 20 in scoring – especially with a month in the books. This is either an unusually hot run or he’s the slowest developing second overall draft pick in recent NHL history. (Amanda DiPaolo – Inside Smashville)

Here’s a less likely story than Legwand’s scoring streak, though: Teemu Selanne was ejected from last night’s game. He must have said the wrong thing in a Finnish Flash. (Eric Stephens – OC Register)

It might have “taken years off the coaching staff’s lives” but the New Jersey Devils managed to earn Martin Brodeur’s first win of the season via a scrappy shootout win. (Tom Gulitti – Fire & Ice)

The St. Louis Blues power play is stagnating, which falls in the general theme of limited support for Jaroslav Halak. The Blues have scored just nine goals in his six defeats so far this season. (Lou Korac)

Speaking of the Blues, rumors are floating around that former Tampa Bay Lightning GM Brian Lawton and oft-ridiculed former co-owner Oren Koules might be involved in the team’s new front office. (Bruce Garrioch – Ottawa Sun via Kukla’s Korner)

Apparently Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is like a vowel in Scrabble … or something. (Dan Tencer)

The Los Angeles Kings dropped their fourth game in a row to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a shootout, but at least Drew Doughty didn’t lose his eye. (Gord Miller – TSN)

Legwand isn’t the only surprising high-scorer, though. Milan Michalek has 14 points of his own, including this nice goal against the Buffalo Sabres, who got the last laugh with a shootout win.

Hey, maybe that Dany Heatley trade wasn’t so bad for Ottawa after … Ah, forget it.

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

(Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

“He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

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The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

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Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.