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Canada cruises to blowout win over Austria

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After Canada’s first game at the Sochi Olympics, there was some concern about chemistry and a lack of offense.

The second game put those fears to rest.

One day after the Canadians slogged through a 3-1 win over Norway, they put forth a complete and dominant effort against an overmatched Austrian squad, winning 6-0 at the Bolshoy Ice Dome. The victory displayed both the speed and goal scoring prowess many expected from Canada at the onset of the tournament.

Los Angeles forward Jeff Carter led the way with a natural hat trick in the second period and San Jose’s Patrick Marleau assisted on all three goals. Carter and Marleau finished with a team-high three points as a result, while Shea Weber and Ryan Getzlaf added two points each.

Roberto Luongo posted a 23-save shutout in his first action of the tournament.

VIDEO: Highlights from Canada’s impressive win

Austria, who came into this tournament as a major underdog, was blown out for the second consecutive game after losing 8-4 to Finland in the tournament opener. While little was expected of the Austrians in Sochi, Friday’s game had to be a disappointment as their three NHL forwards — Michael Raffl, Michael Grabner and Thomas Vanek — failed to score a single point, registered just six shots on goal and finished a combined minus-8.

Goalie Bernhard Starkbaum, who Vanek criticized following the Finland game, gave up six goals on 31 shots before getting hooked after two periods. Mathias Lange played well in relief, stopping all 15 shots in the final frame.

This game, though, was more about Canadian dominance than Austria’s inability to keep pace, and Canada had to be thrilled about getting major production from its blueline for the second straight game. Weber, Drew Doughty and Alex Pietrangelo combined for five points, and that came just one day after Doughty, Weber and Duncan Keith went for four in the win over Norway.

Canada will now take on Finland on Sunday to decide who finishes atop Group B, while Austria will take on Norway in the battle of winless squads.

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.