PHT Morning Skate: Where sinking Devils will still lean on Hedberg

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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.

If the New York Rangers and/or Los Angeles Kings fail to make the playoffs, it could potentially be a huge victory for the Columbus Blue Jackets thanks to the new draft lottery system. (Toronto Star)

Even though New Jersey Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg was pulled in the second period of Tuesday’s game, he will start in his seventh straight contest on Thursday. Martin Brodeur is still day-to-day with a back injury. (New Jersey Online)

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Paul Martin took part in Tuesday’s practice, but he isn’t sure if he’ll be available on Thursday. The 32-year-old hasn’t played since Feb. 28 due to a lower body injury. (Penguins.nhl.com)

Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter thinks his squad was “awesome” at being the quicker team early in Monday’s contest against the Nashville Predators, even if the Kings only had six shots on goal through 40 minutes. The Kings ended up with just 16 shots on goal, but that’s easy to shrug off when you still win 5-1. (LA Kings Insider)

The Anaheim Ducks have called up 2009 first-round pick Peter Holland from the minors. The 22-year-old forward previously played in five games with Anaheim in 2013 and scored a goal. (Ducks.nhl.com)

Speaking of prospects, 20-year-old Mark Stone (broken finger) should be ready to play in his first regular season NHL game in the near future. He made his NHL debut during the 2012 playoffs and assisted on Jason Spezza’s goal in Game 5 of Ottawa’s first round series against the New York Rangers. (Ottawa Citizen)

St. Louis Blues forward Patrik Berglund has just three assists in 22 games, but that doesn’t bother him much or coach Ken Hitchcock. As Hitchcock put it, Berglund is a shooter, not a playmaker, although he could improve when it comes to distributing the puck during rushes. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Before Tuesday’s game, the Detroit Red Wings talked about how they were feeling confident despite their recent lack of goals. Then they justified those feelings with a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. (Detroit Free Press)

Here are the highlights from the New York Rangers’ 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

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Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.