Darcy Kuemper

Wild goalie Kuemper to make NHL debut tonight against Canucks

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The Minnesota Wild are going with the hot goalie tonight in Vancouver.

The hot goalie in the AHL, that is.

Per the StarTribune, Darcy Kuemper is expected to make his NHL debut against the Canucks after being recalled from Houston, where the 22-year-old is 10-6-0 with a .938 save percentage and 1.79 goals-against average this season.

Kuemper was drafted 161st overall by Minnesota in 2009.

The Wild’s regular starter, Niklas Backstrom, played in last night’s 2-1 shootout win in Calgary.

Josh Harding, the other half of the goalie tandem, skated this morning but has been feeling “off” the last few days, according to general manager Chuck Fletcher.

Harding, of course, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year.

“Josh hasn’t been feeling great the last few days and we’ve asked to Josh to be honest with us and let us know when he doesn’t feel that he’s 100 percent,” Fletcher said. “He just feels a little bit off. What he’s going through right now, he’s dealing with some medications. There’s a lot of trial and error. Every situation is different. The doctors advised us of this a few weeks ago that eventually we will get to the right spot where the medication works and his body adapts to it.

“It’s not a one size fits all solution unfortunately. Every case is different, so we’re going to get there. We’re very optimistic about that, but right now, he feels a little off. I give him credit. It’s against a hockey player’s nature to come in and say he doesn’t feel he can do it. He feels down a little bit about it, but we really support him and I give him a lot of credit for coming forward and giving us this information. It’s in his best interest and our team’s best interest to do this.”

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.