NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 15: Damien Brunner #12 of the New Jersey Devils skates in an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings at Prudential Center on November 15, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

PHT Morning Skate: Ryder ends slump, Brunner comes close

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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.

Damien Brunner fell just short of ending his goal scoring drought on Monday, but his New Jersey Devils teammate, Michael Ryder, finally found the back of the net. (New Jersey Online)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $4,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $1,000. Starts Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Peter Luukko opened up a bit more about his surprising decision to resign as president of Comcast-Spectator. (CSN Philly)

There’s still plenty of hockey left in this season, but the Ottawa Senators’ chances of making the playoff are already starting to look bleak. (Ottawa Citizen)

Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma is very happy with goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, although the 26-year-old rookie is also surprisingly talkative during games he’s playing in. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Boyd Gordon isn’t likely to be able to rejoin the Edmonton Oilers for tonight’s contest against Phoenix. The 30-year-old forward is recovering from several injuries. (Edmonton Sun)

The San Jose Sharks couldn’t have hoped for much more than their current 18-3-5 record through 26 games, but they are far from perfect. One area they’ve struggled with is maintaining their momentum in the third period. (CSN Bay Area)

Highlights from Minnesota’s 2-0 win over Philadelphia:

After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

Jimmy Hayes, Damon Severson
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Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.

“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”

Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.

Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.

Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.

“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”

Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

Jake Virtanen
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Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.

“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”

Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.

The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.

If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.