Ryan Miller

Patrick Kane says Buffalo fans get on Ryan Miller too much

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With the Sabres set to face the Blackhawks tomorrow, Buffalo News scribe Mike Harrington caught up with Chicago center (and Buffalo native) Patrick Kane.

A huge Sabres fan growing up — he attended about 20 games a year with his dad — Kane spoke with Harrington about the club’s recent struggles and criticisms of starting netminder Ryan Miller.

“I still think the fans get on Miller a little bit too much back in Buffalo. He’s definitely the guy there,” Kane said of his US Olympic teammate. “He’s not having the kind of season he wanted to and maybe things are getting caught up in everything back there.

“I think they can be a good team. They’ve got everything in place to do well. ”

Kane’s supportive comments come on the heels of Miller’s emotional response to a 5-0 loss in Detroit (Miller was on the hook for all five goals.) He called the performance “embarrassing” before launching into a tirade about swirling trade talks, questioning his team’s heart:

“There’s no chance anybody comes into this team and just shakes it up or we can even move multiple players and get any kind of return … If you want to just destroy a team and just go out and be reckless and do something, yeah.

“But then there’s going to be new guys in here, but other than that, this locker room’s going to be pretty much the same, if not completely the same, and we’ve got to find it from in here. [Points to chest]

We can’t sit and wait for somebody else to [expletive] do it.”

Any talk of Buffalo’s “heart” leads back to the events of Nov. 12, 2011, when Boston forward Milan Lucic ran over Miller with zero response from the Sabres. Some will argue the incident didn’t have much significance, but the numbers suggest otherwise.

Heading into the Bruins game, the Sabres were 10-5-0.

Since the Bruins game, the Sabres are 9-16-5.

Kane said he was cognizant of Buffalo’s struggles, but couldn’t be overly concerned about them.

“I know the owner [Terry Pegula] and the fans aren’t really too happy with the way things have been going down there,” he said. “That’s fine with me. I can’t really care any more about the Sabres.

“Hopefully we can make it even worse for them and get a win against them.”

PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice

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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.

Shane Doan took a friendly jab at the the movie “Miracle” and the Miracle on Ice. (BarDown)

–The best of the worst Upper Deck hockey cards from 2015-16. (Puck Junk)

–Here’s a list of the top 50 players in WHL history. (WHL)

–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)

–A sad story about how Chris Phillips feels helpless as his hometown of Fort McMurray burns. (CBC)

–“You want to get back into things right away (but) I think these last four or five months have been good for me.” Former Penguins coach Mike Johnston is ready to coach again. (Local XPress)

–Blues forward Jori Lehtera is in a pretty random commercial:

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.