Discuss: Penguins dominate Islanders 5-0

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More than a few people thought that the high-scoring, red-hot New York Islanders might just pose a threat to the Pittsburgh Penguins in their first-round matchups. That gut instinct didn’t look too great after Game 1, which the Penguins won 5-0.

Let’s talk this one up.

  • Marty Reasoner delivered a questionable leg-to-leg hit on Jussi Jokinen (which we’ll feature in video soon enough). Is that suspension-material?
  • Can Evgeni Nabokov bounce back from a notably rough night?
  • Should the Penguins be that much more diligent with Sidney Crosby or merely let him return as soon as the doctors will allow it?
  • Is this a matter of “first game jitters” or an off night or are the Isles in big trouble?
  • Getting more specific, can John Tavares boost the Islanders enough to make this series competitive or will Pittsburgh continue to neutralize the Hart Trophy candidate?
  • Could this win just be evidence that the Penguins are the juggernaut that they looked like despite injuries and lineup changes throughout this season?
  • Marc-Andre Fleury gained his sixth career playoff shutout. Do you expect him to have a strong postseason after struggling mightily at times the last few postseasons?
  • Which East team poses the biggest threat to Pittsburgh? Could it be the Boston Bruins or someone else?
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Video: Ovechkin rocks custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.

On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.

From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

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Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

There was no call on the play.

Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

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Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

Not bad.

Gibson (lower-body injury) will play again this regular season, says Carlyle

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The Anaheim Ducks have been without goalie John Gibson for almost two full weeks because of injury, but head coach Randy Carlyle provided reason for optimism on Thursday.

Per reports, Gibson took part in practice and Carlyle has said that his No. 1 netminder will play again during the regular season. Anaheim has nine games remaining on its schedule.

That’s good news for Anaheim heading into the post-season.

While Gibson has been out, Jonathan Bernier has stepped beyond his back-up role and provided solid goaltending for the Ducks during the stretch drive — which should also be a bonus for this club with the playoffs quickly approaching.

Bernier has wins in six of his last seven starts. In nine games this month, he has only twice allowed three goals or more.

The Ducks have fought their way back into contention for the Pacific Division with a recent surge that has coincided with San Jose’s current skid — only four wins in their last 10 games and four straight losses.

Related: Career back on track, Bernier hopes he can re-sign in Anaheim