PHT Morning Skate: Where Hawks captain Toews wants to do more off the ice

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.

The Calgary Flames can take quite a few positives from their 3-2 shootout loss to Chicago on Saturday, but at 1-3-2, they desperately need more than just moral victories. (Calgary Sun)

The Ottawa Senators have scored just one goal in their last two games without Jason Spezza, but Senators coach Paul MacLean doesn’t seem too worried yet. He argues that the big thing is that they’re still creating scoring chances, even if they haven’t been able to capitalize on them recently. (Sportsnet)

Eric Belanger has been placed on the injured reserve list by the Edmonton Oilers. The 35-year-old enforcer was struck in the foot by a slap shot on Saturday. (Edmonton Sun)

Backup goaltender Tomas Vokoun is enjoying his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Washington Times)

Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews has gotten off to a strong start this season, but he wants to improve off the ice. The 24-year-old captain wants to “stay even-keeled and not get frustrated” and be a positive presence, even when things aren’t going well for his team. (Chicago Tribune)

Forward Andy Miele has been returned to the minors by the Phoenix Coyotes. They have replaced him on the roster with 22-year-old defenseman David Rundblad, who was taken in the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. (Coyotes.nhl.com)

How much longer will it take Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel to score his first goal of 2013? (Sportsnet)

Edmonton Oilers Devan Dubnyk has been taking advantage of the opportunity to serve as the team’s undisputed number one goaltender. (Edmonton Journal)

Penguins’ Guentzel makes ‘kick save’ to stop Capitals

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It doesn’t get much better than a player making the type of save you’d only expect from a goalie. OK, how about this: when it happens amid the high stakes of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel had already been distinguishing himself with a red-hot scoring start to the postseason, but he made a big difference in a way that won’t show up in the box score (aside from maybe as a blocked shot) for Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.

In one of the few golden opportunities in a notably tight first period, Guentzel made a “kick save” to keep it 0-0. He also managed to avoid giving the Capitals a penalty shot in the process, so this was quite the effort from the impressive rookie.

Video will be added soon. Here’s the moment in GIF form first:

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?