PHT Morning Skate: Where Ryan Miller’s one game away from 500

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.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by how 23-year-old forward Drew LeBlanc did in his NHL debut on Wednesday. “He got better every shift,” Quenneville commented. (CSN Chicago)

Ryan Miller will play in his 500th career game on Friday. His agent Mike Liut, who played between the pipes in 664 NHL contests, reflected on Miller’s upcoming milestone. (Buffalo News)

19-year-old defenseman Dougie Hamilton is the winner of NESN’s Seventh Player Award. Past winners include Tyler Seguin and Tuukka Rask. (Boston Globe)

Adam Burish talked about how goaltender Antti Niemi has changed and what’s stayed the same since the two were members of the 2010 Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks. (CSN Bay Area)

Daniel Alfredsson plans on making a Twitter account. The 40-year-old Ottawa Senators captain is concerned about it from a privacy perspective but at the same time he said, “it would be good for me to get involved in today’s high speed world.” (Ottawa Sun)

The Boston Bruins’ nominee for the 2013 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is Adam McQuaid. The 26-year-old defenseman dealt with blood clots and required two emergency surgeries that derailed his offseason routine. All the same, he made a full recovery and took part in the Bruins’ season opener. (Bruins.nhl.com)

After a 4-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the 30th place Florida Panthers are mercifully just one game away from finishing their season. Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said there’s been some “hard lessons learned” and “it’s going to be a long summer.” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Is San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture a major contender for the Selke Trophy and/or Lady Byng Trophy? (San Jose Mercury News)

Highlights from the New Jersey Devils’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Vatrano presence: Bruins edge Red Wings in overtime

Frank Vatrano David Krejci
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The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.

In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).

Here’s his first goal of the night:

While this is his overtime game-winner:

It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.

The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.

October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.

November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.

Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.

More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.

Crosby roars, Malkin scores in OT for Penguins win

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Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.

Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:

… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.

(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)

Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.

You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.

Fight video: Claude Giroux vs. Nick Leddy

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Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.

Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.

You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.

It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.

Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.

Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.

Carter Hutton gets flipped, stays in game

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Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.

Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:

Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.

If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.

Check out this incredible shot of that moment:

Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.