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.
The Colorado Avalanche have shifted Nathan MacKinnon back to his natural position of center so that he can replace the injured Matt Duchene on a line with Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn. (Denver Post)
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $750 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday night’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $200. Starts Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Steve Downie isn’t experiencing concussion symptoms at this point, but he won’t play on Tuesday. (CSN Philly)
Back in New Jersey, defenseman Adam Larsson thinks his time in the minors did him some good. The highly regarded 21-year-old has had some difficulty establishing himself in the NHL and was once called “his own worst enemy sometimes” by AHL Albany coach Rick Kowalsky. (The Bergen Record)
Maple Leafs forward Dave Bolland spoke about the need to stay positive despite Toronto’s collapse, but the locker room atmosphere Monday morning suggested that his teammates are having trouble doing that after they all-but completely slipped out of contention for a playoff spot. (Ottawa Citizen)
James Sheppard admitted to be worried on Saturday when his left knee/leg collided violently with the boards. His NHL career had previously been put into jeopardy over a left knee injury, but fortunately his new ailment wasn’t significant. (CSN Bay Area)
With the season almost over and the Florida Panthers chances of making the playoffs long since dead, forward Brad Boyes is nevertheless frustrated by his team’s habit of being unprepared and falling behind early. Florida has been outscored 81-42 in the first period of games in 2013-14. (Miami Herald)
Speaking of which, here are the highlights from New Jersey’s 6-3 victory over Florida:
The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.
In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).
Here’s his first goal of the night:
While this is his overtime game-winner:
It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.
The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.
October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.
November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.
Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.
More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.
Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.
Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:
… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)
Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.
You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.
Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.
Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.
You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.
It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.
Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.
Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.
Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.
Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.
If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.
Check out this incredible shot of that moment:
Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.