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.
What could be the greatest compliment for Nicklas Lidstrom? Patrick Kane telling the world that he’s sick of playing him and wish he would just retire because he’s so good. (mlive.com)
Remember the ridiculous Bruins/Stars fight fest in Boston last year? The Razor boy remembers and has a hypothesis why it all went down. The rematch is tonight. (Dallas Morning News)
J.S. Giguere prepares to return to Anaheim to play for the first time since he was traded from the Ducks almost two years ago. “This game has been on my mind all year.” (Avalanche Official)
After missing six straight games with back spasms, the New Jersey Devils will get Henrik Tallinder back for their New Year’s Eve tilt against the Pens. (Star-Ledger)
More good news on the injury front: Andy McDonald is practicing with the Blues again. We all know that concussions take a while, but at least he’s out there with the “no contact” jersey. Baby steps. (Post-Dispatch)
This morning’s history lesson: Rangers fans can thank their own ownership for the formation of the Flyers. (NHL.com)
Coming into the World Junior Championships, Team USA expected to lean on Minnesota Wild prospect Charlie Coyle. So why was he stapled to the bench in a must win game against the Czech Republic? Apparently it’s rather difficult to play with the flu. (Coming Down The Pipe)
The Avalanche prepare for life without Matt Duchene. (Denver Post)
John Tortorella says that sometimes there’s “no honor” in the game; yet when his player pummels an unwilling opponent, it’s just a case of someone who “got what he deserved.” (NY Daily News)
Finally, Daniel Alfredsson shows everyone how to score a 400th goal in style. Yep, an OT game-winner will do just fine. (NHL)
Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers
McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.
With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:
1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP
As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.
Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.
The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.
Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.
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