CamTalbot

Talbot or Lundqvist? AV hasn’t said yet (Update: looks like Talbot)

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From Larry Brooks of the New York Post, ahead of tonight’s Rangers-Jets game at MSG, for which Blueshirts coach Alain Vigneault has yet to announce his starting goalie:

If it’s Henrik Lundqvist, it is dog bites man. If, however, it is [Cam] Talbot again, it becomes man bites dog in a Rangers’ universe in which The King has not sat for consecutive games when healthy since Feb. 5-7, 2011.

Talbot has been very good this season — in fact, Brooks calls the 26-year-old out of the University of Alabama in Huntsville a “revelation” — with a 6-1-0 record and .944 save percentage.

Lundqvist, meanwhile — the goalie many consider the best in the world, not to mention the one who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer — has been good, but not great, with a .917 save percentage in 19 starts.

“I know who I’m going with [but] I haven’t talked to the goaltenders yet,” Vigneault said Saturday, per the Post.

From the outside looking in, there’s no real controversy here. Lundqvist’s body of work as an NHL goalie (524 career starts) isn’t even comparable to Talbot’s (7 career starts). But if Talbot gets the nod tonight, it will still be the major topic of conversation around the team.

We’ll give the last word to Brooks:

You know, I can’t think of an analogous situation in the NHL where a team’s most valuable player has had this much trouble getting a new deal. Marquee guys get taken care of — and relatively quickly. This one seems odd. It has from the start that didn’t start nearly as early as it should have.

This isn’t offered as an excuse for Lundqvist, who not only has never sought one, but has held himself accountable all season. But there’s no one around who doesn’t wonder whether the contract — or lack thereof after this season—is playing a role in the goaltender’s uncharacteristic inconsistency.

Update: Literally right when we pressed publish on this post, Talbot left the morning skate first, a strong indication he’ll start tonight.

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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NBCSN screen
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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.