PHT Morning Skate: Russia scored the weakest goal you’ll see at the World Juniors

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–Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol has been impressed with Steve Mason‘s performances this year, but could the team go in a different direction starting next season? Mason will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer and there’s a slight chance Philadelphia could go after another goalie. (Courier-Post)

–Many believe the Rangers have had success this season because of their speed, and it’s definitely an important aspect of their game, but forward Chris Kreider says it’s the communication that’s made all the difference. “When we’ve been successful, we’re working smart and as a five-man unit and breaking pucks out. There’s a lot of moving parts, but a lot of it has to do with communication. When it’s quiet out there, when it’s dead, when we’re not talking to each other, it’s hard,” Kreider said. (Newsday)

Chris Pronger sat down for a post Winter Classic alumni game Q & A with ESPN.com. He discussed a number of things, including how he deals with the head and eye injuries that put an end to his playing career. “I try to stay in shape as best I can, work out as best I can. It’s really just about managing symptoms or what the onset of symptoms can be caused from. For instance, in the (alumni) game, I put a tinted visor on, which has really, really helped,” said Pronger. (ESPN)

–The 2017 Winter Classic between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks took place at Busch Stadium yesterday afternoon. You can watch the highlights of the “Vladimir Tarasenko show” by clicking the video at the top of the page.

Nolan Patrick is expected to be the first overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, but Swiss forward Nico Hischier’s play at the World Juniors may have changed that. “(Hischier) was the best player we’ve seen in this tournament,” Team USA coach Bob Motzko said. “We tried all four lines against him and I thought he was playing every shift because every time he got out there, the ice was tilted. It was the first thing we said when we got into the lockerroom, ‘That’s the best player we’ve seen in the tournament.’ ” (The Hockey News)

–With Shea Weber heading back to Nashville for the first time since the off-season trade that saw him to go Montreal for P.K. Subban, the CBC looks at how the trade has panned out for both teams so far. Weber got off to a quicker start, but Subban was starting to find some rhythm before injuring his back. (CBC)

–There’s no doubt that Team Denmark was the underdog going into yesterday’s quarterfinal game against Team Russia at the World Junior Championship. To advance to the semis, they needed to be perfect. Let’s just say goalie Lasse Petersen didn’t exactly give them a chance to move on. Check out the first goal he allowed in the 4-0 loss. It was U-G-L-Y. (BarDown)

Lightning storm back against Blackhawks, finish one point out of playoffs

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Who would have thought that the Tampa Bay Lightning would rally back from a 4-1 deficit tonight? Then again, who expected them to be so close to a playoff spot mere weeks ago, when they were sellers at the trade deadline?

The Lightning continue to show that they won’t just roll over and die, scoring four unanswered goals to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime on Monday.

While Jonathan Drouin was a catalyst for the second-period rally, it was an unlikely scorer who clinched the victory, as Yanni Gourde ended a thrilling run of 3-on-3 chances with the overtime-winner.

Really, it might have been fitting. Things looked glum when Tomas Jurco scored his first goal of the season against the Lightning, then the mood was totally flipped when Gourde’s second tally of 2016-17 grabbed a huge win.

With the Islanders losing to the Predators, the Hurricanes only managing a “loser point” against the Red Wings and the Bruins idle, Tampa Bay is a breath away from a playoff berth:

Final wild card: Bruins – 84 points in 75 games played

Lightning – 83 points in 75 GP
Islanders – 82 points in 75 GP
Hurricanes – 80 points in 74 GP

Yes, all of a sudden, a long-shot postseason run seems quite attainable.

Maybe the Lightning would prefer it if we kept counting them out, though?

Hurricanes’ Lack taken off on stretcher after collision on Red Wings’ OT goal

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The Carolina Hurricanes fell short of a win on Monday, but their thoughts likely revolve around the health of goalie Eddie Lack instead.

Lack was taken off the ice on a stretcher after a collision during Andreas Athanasiou‘s game-winning goal in overtime. Officials reviewed that the goal counted, giving the Red Wings a 4-3 overtime victory against Carolina.

While it’s been a tough overall season for Hurricanes goalie, Lack has been an integral part of Carolina’s push for a postseason spot. PHT will keep an eye out for updates regarding his condition after this scary collision.

The Red Wings stayed on the ice as Lack was taken off, a nice gesture after an unfortunate accident.

Drouin triggers second-period rally for Lightning vs. Blackhawks

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Just when you think it’s time to count the Tampa Bay Lightning out, they rally back.

It’s been happening overall in 2016-17, and that pattern carried over into Monday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Lightning decided to put Andrei Vasilevskiy back in the net in the second period after he gave up three goals on eight shots in the opening frame … and at first, that looked like a mistake that would do them in. Chicago went up 4-1 and things looked dire.

But, again, the Bolts followed the script when it comes to flipping the script, with Jonathan Drouin triggering a resounding rally in the second.

Droun’s first goal came 11:45 into the second period, followed about a minute later by an Anton Stralman tally. Less than four minutes later, Drouin hit the 20-goal mark with the 4-4 marker on the power play.

First, check out Drouin’s first goal, which began the rally:

Next, witness the 4-4 goal, also by Drouin:

And … just like that, the Lightning tied things up. Wow.

Apparently Drouin created more offense than just his two goals, too:

Impressive. Remember when he seemed like he was out the door last season? Now that feels like another reminder not to give up on this group, no matter how ugly things look at times.

Video will be added when available.

Lightning give Vasilevskiy the (brief) hook after very rare Jurco goal

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By just about any measure, Monday’s been lousy to Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

He was pulled with a few minutes remaining in the first period after Chicago Blackhawks built a 3-1 lead, scoring those three goals on just eight shots on net.

You could summarize Vasilevskiy’s awful start by those numbers, or by how rare the 3-1 goal was for the scorer.

Tomas Jurco failed to score a goal or an assist in 16 games with the Red Wings, then went pointless in nine more games with Chicago before finally scoring his first goal of the season on Monday.

Now, Jon Cooper didn’t pull Vasilevskiy because Jurco scored that tally. Still, it rubs a little extra salt in his wounds all things considered.

Here’s the Jurco goal:

Patrick Kane‘s 2-1 goal might have hurt the most, actually, as it quickly dissolved a tying tally by Ondrej Palat:

Update: The Lightning decided to put Vasilevskiy back in net to begin the second period. Interesting.