Lou Lamoriello, Peter DeBoer

Lamoriello backs DeBoer amidst Devils’ winless start

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The New Jersey Devils have yet to win a game this season, going 0-3-4 through their first seven contests.

A bad start, sure, but not enough for Lou Lamoriello to push the panic button.

The Devils GM gave head coach Peter DeBoer and his staff a vote of confidence on Friday, saying they — along with the Devils players — are trying their hardest to bump the slump.

“The coaching staff is doing everything they can,” Lamoriello told the New Jersey Star-Ledger. “So are the players. They’re working at it. We have to be more consistent in certain areas.”

DeBoer confirmed he had the GM’s backing.

“Lou’s been very positive with what we’re doing,” he explained. “No one is happy we’re losing.”

The Devils are suggesting a brutal opening road stretch — they played six of their first seven away from Prudential — is a big reason for the early woes. Problem is, things aren’t about get any easier on the travel front as the Devils will play five of their next nine on the road as well.

(If you’re wondering when the schedule gets favorable for New Jersey, look at the late stages of the season. The Devils have a five-game homestand from Mar. 18-27, and play 10 of their final 14 games at Prudential.)

While DeBoer’s job appears to be safe, this is the Devils we’re talking about. Lamoriello can be unpredictable and has displayed an itchy trigger finger before, eschewing the ideas of “staying the course” and “sticking to the process” should losses pile up too high — like they did under John MacLean, who was fired after just nine wins in 33 games to start the 2010-11 season.

For Lamoriello, it’s all about victories.

“We didn’t win and the bottom line is winning,” he said following a 5-2 defeat in Ottawa. “There’s no question.”

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.