PHT Oddsmaker: Let’s Gamble on the NHL

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PHT Oddsmaker will be a regular feature where we set pretend odds and pretend to gamble on them. If you’d like to bet real money, meet us in the alley and we’ll talk.

Odds Evegni Malkin wins the Art Ross Trophy (+200)

The rate he’s going, the only thing that could stop him might be injuries. With 39 points  in only 27 games, Malkin sits tied atop the NHL’s scoring race with Claude Giroux (28 GP), Phil Kessel (33 GP) and Henrik Sedin (33 GP). There’s plenty of other competition in the race, including Daniel Sedin (38 points), Steven Stamkos (37 points), Marian Hossa (37 points), Jason Spezza (37 points) and Jonathan Toews (36 points). As mentioned, Malkin’s health will be a huge factor. Since the start of the 2009-10 season, he’s missed 61 games with a wide array of ailments. He’s already missed seven games in 2011-12. Sorry, can’t bet on a guy with that kind of track record. Sooner put my money on one of the Sedins.

Odds Jonathan Toews wins the Hart Trophy (+400)

In the six seasons since the lockout, the Hart and Art Ross have gone to the same player four times. The two exceptions? In 2008-09, Malkin won the scoring race, but Alex Ovechkin won the Hart, thanks in large part to winning the Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal-scorer. In 2010-11, Daniel Sedin won the Art Ross, but Corey Perry won the Hart…along with the Rocket Richard. So the questions for Toews’ Hart candidacy are as follows: Can he win either the Art Ross or the Rocket Richard? And if not, would the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association be willing to vote for him anyway? I’m having trouble saying yes to either of those questions. For starters, Toews has so many other responsibilities on the Blackhawks besides scoring that you’d excuse him if his production fell off slightly. Case in point, he leads all Chicago forwards in shorthanded ice time (2:01 per game). As for the second question, the PHWA has voted for him before, giving him the 2010 Conn Smythe Trophy. But the last Hart winner that won neither the Art Ross or Rocket Richard was goalie Jose Theodore in 2002. The last skater was Joe Sakic in 2001, and he had 118 points that season.

Odds the Los Angeles Kings make the playoffs (Even)

They’re currently 10th in the Western Conference, three points back of eighth-place San Jose. On the one hand, it seems unfeasible that a team with so much talent could possibly miss the playoffs. But remember, if it wasn’t for the Kings’ dominance in shootouts last season, they may well have missed out. Not to mention, if Los Angeles makes it, who doesn’t? That’s the really hard part. I’m gonna roll the dice and say the Kings make it. Defensively they’ve been good all season, and the scoring can’t get any worse, especially with Mike Richards expected back in the lineup tomorrow.

Report: Sabres interested in Pens director of amateur scouting Randy Sexton

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New Sabres GM Jason Botterill has been on the job for less than a month, but with the draft around the corner, he’s got to start filling some holes in his front office.

Botterill, who came over from Pittsburgh, is allowed to bring former Pens colleagues of his over to Buffalo, but only if they’re given promotions by the Sabres (no lateral moves).

According to a report by Chuck Gormley, one person who could move from Pittsburgh to Buffalo is Randy Sexton, who currently serves as the Penguins’ directer of amateur scouting.

Sexton would bring plenty of experience to the Sabres’ front office, as he’s been a general manager with both the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers.

Having someone with that kind of experience could be beneficial for a rookie GM like Botterill, so the move would make a lot of sense from that point of view.

Related:

Botterill has “no problem” with Lehner as No. 1

Botterill to use Pens’ NHL-AHL relationship as model for Sabres

PHT Morning Skate: How good has Subban been during Nashville’s run?

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–Prior to last night’s game between Ottawa and Pittsburgh, the Senators held a moment of silence for those affected by the attacks in Manchester. A very touching moment. (The Score)

–Speaking of that game, the Senators managed to win it 2-1 thanks to some incredible goaltending from Craig Anderson. You can check out the highlights from the game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–Sportsnet’s Andrew Berkshire takes a deeper look at P.K. Subban‘s contribution to Nashville’s run to the Stanley Cup Final. Despite dealing with a herniated disc, Subban has really been a key part of the Predators’ success both offensively and defensively. (Sportsnet)

–Many hockey fans thought Pekka Rinne‘s better days were behind him after he struggled during the regular season, but his playoff numbers have been incredible. From the start of his career, Rinne has always been underrated, so being underestimated is nothing new to him. (Yahoo)

–The Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs made a couple of trades last offseason. First, the Leafs got Frederik Andersen from the Ducks. Then, it was Toronto that shipped Jonathan Bernier to Anaheim. Could the two clubs make another huge deal this summer? The Leafs need a right-handed defenseman, and with the expansion draft coming up, the Ducks may have some blue liners to move. (The Hockey News)

–Former NHLer Manny Maholtra held a part time role with the Canucks last season, and he’s hoping for a larger one next year. “We’ve started discussions and it’s something I would definitely like to do. Obviously, a lot has to do with how (Travis) Green feels and how he wants to build his staff.” (Vancouver Province)

–We know that Brendan Smith wants to re-sign with the New York Rangers, but what will it take to get him under contract? According to the New York Post, Smith will likely fetch a four or five-year deal worth north of $4 million. (New York Post)

Crosby: Penguins ‘probably deserved better’ vs. Senators in Game 6

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If you didn’t know that the Stanley Cup Playoffs can be awfully cruel, then the last week or so of action should make it pretty clear.

The Nashville Predators lost top center Ryan Johansen to a scary ailment few would have seen coming. The Anaheim Ducks fell in both games to the Johansen-less Predators, even after dominating significant chunks of Game 6. At least one Ducks player wondered if the better team won.

Much like in life, “fair” and “deserve” only matter so much. Sports have a scoreboard to serve as the ultimate deciding factor.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have similar thoughts after falling 2-1 to the Ottawa Senators tonight, extending the Eastern Conference Final to a decisive Game 7. You can nitpick questionable penalties and missed chances, but really, how negative can you be after Craig Anderson puts forth a blazing 45-save performance (with no overtime)?

Mike Sullivan and others echoed such thoughts.

” … Obviously, we’re disappointed in the result, but I don’t think we can get discouraged by that,” Sullivan said. “I think we’ve got to take the positives from it, and we’ve got to build on it, and we’ve got to become a more determined team for Game 7.

That’s not the sort of take that’s going to make the Senators angry in Game 7. The tone of the Senators’ discussions was likely very different after they lost Game 5 by a 7-0 score, yet maybe there was similar self belief.

Anderson puzzles Penguins as Senators force Game 7

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Who could blame fans for chanting “Andy” tonight?

The Ottawa Senators said they would choose to fight in Game 6, and Craig Anderson truly battled in this one, refusing to allow this unlikely run to an end on Tuesday. They wouldn’t roll over, even after a 7-0 humiliation in Game 5.

The underrated goalie continued his memorable (and emotional) 2016-17 season with a brilliant performance, making 45 saves to help Ottawa manage a gutsy 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With that, hockey fans get a true treat: the Eastern Conference will go to a Game 7 on Thursday.

The Senators opted for a “bend but don’t break” strategy for much of the contest, possibly to Guy Boucher’s preference. Even so, the Penguins managed to grind their way to a 1-0 win thanks to another hard-work goal from Evgeni Malkin.

Mistakes would come back to haunt the Penguins, however, as Bobby Ryan broke Ottawa’s lengthy power-play drought to tie things up on a 5-on-3.

With their season in question thanks to a 1-1 tie in the third period, Mike Hoffman sent a booming shot by Matt Murray, and that ended up being all the Senators needed to tie the series 3-3.

Anderson was the standout, but Erik Karlsson was a hero in the way his detractors might not expect.

You can watch Game 7 on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. The game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports App.