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.
The Sharks have been playing some of the best goaltenders in the league lately and it hasn’t slowed them down at all. What’s going to happen when they play some bad goaltenders? (CSN Bay Area)
Rookie Adam Larsson was leveled by Alexander Ovechkin on Friday night. Instead of complaining about the hit, the young defenseman simply said that he should have kept his head up. Refreshing. (The Star-Ledger)
Matthew Hulsizer continues working towards buying an NHL team. The Blues, not the Coyotes. (Post-Dispatch)
On the ice in St. Louis, the Blues are preparing for the “Tampa Bay trap!” Because it’s not like they haven’t been playing this defensive system for 13 months or anything. (Post-Dispatch)
Dave Bolland is going to be out of the lineup for a while with his foot injury. Never fear Blackhawks fans, Marcus Kruger is here? (Chicago Sun-Times)
Some nastiness in the OHL last night. It’s never a good thing when a player winds up and swings his stick (and connects) with an opponent. If Tom Kuhnhackl received 20 games for his hit on Ryan Murphy, then London’s Ryan Rupert might be suspended until 2025. (Buzzing the Net)
Here’s a mild understatement: the Battle of Ontario isn’t what it used to be. (SportsNet)
Tim Thomas pitches a shutout, and then gets to rest for a pair of games. All part of Claude Julien’s plan to keep the Conn Smythe winner fresh for the entire season. (Boston Herald)
The “feel good” story that just keeps getting better: Ray Emery is finding his place in Chicago. Not bad for a guy who came in on a professional tryout, eh? (ESPN Chicago)
Finally, watch as an 8-year old in a Rangers jersey completely blows off the New York captain at center ice. (NHL)
Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)
Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.
Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.
McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).
The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.
They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.
The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.
Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.
The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.
The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.
Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.