The Leafs had a “heart-to-heart” meeting after last night’s loss, presumably to check they had them

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Fresh off a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders — which came fresh off an 8-0 loss to the Boston Bruins — the Toronto Maple Leafs held a closed-door meeting that goalie James Reimer called a “heart-to-heart.”

While players took the opportunity to air their grievances (before competing in the feats of strength) head coach Randy Carlyle stayed mostly out of this hearty affair.

Mostly.

“It wasn’t my message, I was listening to what they had to say,” Carlyle told the Toronto Sun. “I didn’t deliver any message, I was kind of asking the questions and I wanted to hear how they felt about what was going on.”

The answers Carlyle got weren’t especially original. The standard “gripping the sticks too hard” quote was issued (by defenseman John-Michael Liles) and the consensus seemed to be the Leafs lack confidence.

That confidence bit isn’t especially surprising. The Leafs are 3-6-1 in 10 games under Carlyle…and were 1-8-1 in the final 10 games of the Ron Wilson regime. It’s a slight uptick in victories, though two of them came against Eastern Conference bottom-feeders in Montreal and Tampa Bay — so there’s no real reason for the group to have much faith in itself. The Leafs seem no better under Carlyle than they did under Wilson, which has raised a lot of questions about how good the team really is.

Or, how bad the team actually is.

PHT Related

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Morning Skate: Yup, Leafs fans were chanting “Fire Burke” last night

Lundqvist snubs Sens with 21 saves in first (Video)

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You know how goalies claim they prefer to be busy rather than risking rust in seldom seeing shots? If that’s true, Henrik Lundqvist was really, really happy in the first period.

The Ottawa Senators generated chance after chance in a busy opening frame of Game 1, generating a 21-12 shot differential against the New York Rangers. The game remains 0-0 in large part because Lundqvist has carried over his momentum from the Montreal Canadiens series so far.

As you can see from the video above, Lundqvist made some absolutely fantastic saves, especially in somehow stopping Mark Stone.

In a duller game, 21 shots on goal could a team’s entire output.

That’s impressive stuff from what appears to be a “vintage” Lundqvist. We’ll see how much more the Rangers lean on him as this one goes along.

Oh, and here’s a GIF of the best stop of the bunch, because seriously.

Kunitz is in for Penguins vs. Capitals in Game 1

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The Pittsburgh Penguins get a familiar face back in the lineup, as Chris Kunitz is good to go against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.

The 37-year-old has been sidelined since March 31, ending his regular season with just an assist in his final nine games. His last goal came on Feb. 16.

So, in other words … he’s not quite as big of a deal for this series as he had been in the past.

He’ll draw into a solid fourth line with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnackl, while Carter Rowney will be a healthy scratch. Check out the Penguins’ line combos heading into Thursday’s showdown:

Foligno, Getzlaf, Giordano vie for Messier Leadership Award

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The NHL announced the three finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award: Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) and Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames).

In case you’re curious about the process, the league explains how it works (and how the buck stops with Messier):

Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone. 

So, yes, it might come down to steeliness/60.

Anyway, the most fun part of this award is that Getzlaf and Giordano just engaged in a first-round series, with Getzlaf’s hit on Giordano (see above) being one of the standout moments.

Perhaps Giordano will at least get the best of Getzlaf in this one?

WATCH LIVE: Game 1 for Penguins – Capitals, Rangers – Senators

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It’s really happening.

For all the griping about having the Penguins and Capitals meet in the second round (again), it’s easy to forget the bright side: upsets didn’t dislodge this juicy matchup from taking place.

The West’s duo of Game 1 matchups kicked into gear last night, and now the East provides that battle between Sidney Crosby‘s squad and Alex Ovechkin‘s loaded team. Don’t sleep on Rangers – Senators, either, though; there should be plenty of intrigue in seeing superhuman Swedes Henrik Lundqvist and Erik Karlsson try to one-up each other.

Here’s what you need to know to follow the action:

New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Network: CNBC (Stream online here)

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)