Craig Smith, Nashville Predators

PHT Morning Skate: These aren’t the bumpkins you’re looking for

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.

Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register adds some fuel to the Ducks-Preds rivalry after a 4-2 Preds win via Twitter saying, “Keep it classy, bumpkins.” (@jeffmillerOCR)

Tyler Dellow is on the job again. This time he discovers a court case about former NHL’er Garrett Burnett getting busted for steroids. Georges Laraque would like to talk to him. (mc79hockey)

Chicago’s John Scott is still looking for someone to dance with. Dance with their fists that is. (ESPN Chicago)

Andrei Markov is hitting the road with the Canadiens. No, he’s not even close to playing. (Sun Media)

The Bruins are wise to the Oilers’ success so far this year. Good thing or else they might get run out of the barn. (Edmonton Journal)

Matt Carkner is skating again for Ottawa but he’s not close to returning and getting rough with opponents. (Senators Extra)

Colin Fraser’s controversial route to Los Angeles via semi-bogus trade from Edmonton finally comes to life as he’s set to join the lineup. (L.A. Kings Insider)

Steve Ott isn’t hitting the road with the Dallas Stars. A little less aggravation for their opponents’ fans will be nice for them. (Dallas Morning News)

New Blue Jackets forward Mark Letestu is thankful for his time in Pittsburgh. Hope he took a lot of pictures, chances of joy in Columbus are pretty low. (Empty Netters)

Mike Cammalleri is confident the goals will come in Montreal. He’d better hope so or else it’ll sound like, “Et le BOOOOO!” up there. (Montreal Gazette)

After clearing waivers, Mattias Ritola is apparently taking his talents to MODO in the Swedish league. (Lightning Strikes)

Finally, check out Nashville rookie Craig Smith getting tricky with Jonas Hiller and banking one in from behind the goal line. (NHL)

PHT Morning Skate: Jagr doesn’t understand why Peyton Manning would retire after winning the Super Bowl

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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.

Jaromir Jagr doesn’t believe Peyton Manning should retire. (ESPN)

Victor Hedman wrote about “How We Play Hockey in Sweden” for The Players’ Tribune.

–Did the Senators make a smart move by acquiring Dion Phaneuf? (Sportsnet)

–And if you have a Maple Leafs jersey with Phaneuf’s name on the back, the Sens want to dispose of it:

–Watch the highlights from yesterday’s game between the Rangers and Penguins. (Top of the page)

–A Zoolander tribute to Coyotes center Martin Hanzal. (Puck Daddy)

Steven Stamkos had a run-in with the paparazzi in Montreal. (Bardown)

Sidney Crosby‘s confidence could be dangerous for the rest of the league:

Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms

at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
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With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.

After beating the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, the Canucks held on for the 2-1 victory in Arizona on Wednesday, despite being without Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alex Edler (broken fibula) and Derek Dorsett, who was scratched from the lineup due to illness, as per Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy.

It was only a few days ago, following a home loss to the Calgary Flames, that it felt like the Canucks’ playoff hopes were essentially dashed. They fielded their healthiest lineup in months and couldn’t score and couldn’t win.

Two quick wins later, they’re two points out of a Wild Card spot in the West, despite getting outshot in Arizona.

Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.

Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut

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A day after getting traded out of Toronto, Dion Phaneuf made his Ottawa Senators debut.

It ended with a 3-1 road loss for the Senators, and Phaneuf getting burned by Henrik Zetterberg on the eventual game winner early in the third period.

Zetterberg picked up the puck near the Ottawa blue line, beat Phaneuf to the outside, slipped the puck under the stick of the Sens’ newest blue liner and quickly roofed his shot on Craig Anderson.

“He made a real good play and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due,” Phaneuf told the Ottawa Sun.

“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”

Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.

Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.

DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.