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LeBrun: Kings execs say Jack Johnson’s “in play”

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In their weekly chat, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside discussed the dwindling defenseman market heading into the trade deadline and some of the big names still available.

The biggest name of all? Los Angeles defenseman Jack Johnson.

From the Cross Checks Blog:

I had a few team executives this week tell me he’s in play but only for the type of deal that hands the Kings the top-line forward they’ve been craving. Shut out 1-0 at home by Phoenix Thursday night, I have to imagine Kings GM Dean Lombardi will be even more determined in his efforts to land Rick Nash. Jeff Carter and Ales Hemsky are other possibilities. The Kings can’t score and must make the playoffs. Lots of pressure there.

While it would seem odd to part with Johnson 13 months after signing him to a seven-year, $30.5 million deal, Lombardi’s clearly in “you gotta give to get” territory. Softening the blow of losing Johnson would be that L.A. is solid defensively — Drew Doughty, Willie Mitchell, Rob Scuderi and Matt Greene make for a good top-four — and there’s a plethora of young blueline prospects in the system.

21-year-old Slava Voynov has played 33 games for the Kings this year and has been lauded by head coach Darryl Sutter. 22-year-old Thomas Hickey, the fourth overall pick at the 2007 draft, is one of the leading d-man scorers in Manchester and 19-year-old Derek Forbort — taken 15th overall in 2010 — is still plying his trade for the University of North Dakota.

One more thing to consider with Johnson? According to Capgeek, he doesn’t have a no-trade or no-movement clause.

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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NBCSN screen
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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.