PHT Morning Skate: 5 facts about the 92-93 Pens team that set the NHL winning streak record

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–The Columbus Blue Jackets are one game away from tying the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins for the longest winning streak in NHL history. That Penguins team was obviously loaded with talent, but that record was set many years ago, which makes it a little hard to remember. BarDown shares five facts about that run. (BarDown)

–Many people thought shipping Shea Weber for P.K. Subban was the right call for the Preds, but a few months later, it appears as though Nashville might be lacking an identity and some leadership. “If there’s one word that describes our almost first half of the season it’s ‘inconsistency,'” general manager David Poile said. “In October we were not very good. In November we were one of the best teams in the league. In December we faltered. The question remains — are we October or are we November?” (ESPN)

–Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky didn’t appear to be himself last year, and it was ultimately one of the reasons why his team was terrible in 2015-16. This year, he’s one of the leading candidates for the Vezina and Hart trophies. “You look at his body last year and the body composition, and all his body fats and all that, you’d say it was impossible,” GM Jarmo Kekalainen said. “But he did it. He basically sculpted his body into a different form in the off-season, and it wasn’t fat that was coming off his body, I can tell you that. That just tells you about his dedication and how serious he is about his professionalism and how he approaches every day.” (The Hockey News)

–After suffering an ugly loss to the Sabres on Tuesday night, the Rangers bounced back with a big 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. You can watch the highlights from that game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–After former Bruin Milt Schmidt passed away yesterday, Sportsnet shared a terrific 2015 piece on how tough hockey players in Schmidt’s era were. Here’s an except from the article: Remembering his playing days, (Schmidt) curled back his upper lip, pointed to his front teeth and said: “These are not mine. These are Rocket Richard’s.” Story went that Richard broke Schmidt’s nose and teeth with his stick. The team doctor put Schmidt’s face back together, then Schmidt got on the ice again and drilled Richard. (Sportsnet)

Auston Matthews grabs most of the headlines in Toronto, but Rotoworld’s Gus Katsaros explains how important William Nylander‘s been for their improved power play. Nylander’s contributed to 92.3 percent of his team’s on-ice goals on the man-advantage. (Rotoworld)

–Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly visited the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto over the Christmas break and he brought plenty of holiday cheer with him. “I think that when you get time off it’s important that you try to do stuff that you might not have time for during the season regularly and it’s my first Christmas here in Toronto,” Rielly said. “You get the day off, come make a difference and just have some fun with the kids.” You can watch the video on NHL.com.

Flames’ Bennett, Tkachuk accused of slew-footing in loss to Leafs

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The Calgary Flames dropped an ugly 4-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, not exactly rebounding from an embarrassing 7-3 defeat at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers.

Things were ugly in a different way toward the end, especially if you ask Maple Leafs fans, as Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk may or may not be guilty of “slew-footing” late in the contest. In each case, they were whistled for roughing.

Bennett was guilty of the first incident on Connor Carrick:

Meanwhile, around the time of the final whistle, Tkachuk’s “roughing” of Martin Marincin drew quite a bit of ire. You can see for yourself in the video above the post’s headline.

More than a few people believe that Tkachuk will be on the Department of Player Safety’s radar thanks to this moment.

There’s no doubt that he’s been making waves as a pest – really, from his first game in the NHL – but some believe he went over the line this time. He’s second in the NHL with 92 penalty minutes, by the way.

Patrick Marleau’s magical third period secures Sharks win vs. Avalanche

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At 37 years old and nearing 500 career goals, there aren’t a ton of things Patrick Marleau has failed to accomplish.* Still, he did something he’s never done – and few players have managed to do – in the San Jose Sharks’ 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.

The amusing thing is that it was a mundane night for Marleau and the Sharks heading into the third period.

They carried a 2-1 lead against the Avs before Marleau’s magical period really kicked into gear. In less than eight minutes of game time, Marleau managed an out-of-left-field natural hat trick:

He didn’t stop there, either, as he also hit the four-goal mark for the first time in his career … and again, it was in the same period.

That’s his first four-goal game (and period, naturally). It’s been a long, long time since someone enjoyed a period like Marleau did:

Speaking of history, this massive night indeed places Marleau close to another impressive feat. He’s now at 497 career goals, three away from the elusive 500 mark.

To underscore how unexpected this outburst was, consider this: Marleau generated zero goals and one assist in his previous seven games.

As the Sharks enjoy an era fueled by the ascent of Brent Burns and the passing of the torch from the likes of Marleau and Joe Thornton to a group including Logan Couture and Martin Jones, it seems fitting that Marleau – a player receding from the team’s spotlight – totally stole the spotlight on Monday.

The Sharks probably won’t complain, either. He helped them seal their fifth consecutive win, putting San Jose in a strong position to regain the lead in the Pacific Division.

Pretty good stuff from a guy who rapidly faded from relevance after being stripped of the Sharks captaincy.

* – How dare you make Stanley Cup jokes on a happy occasion for Sharks fans?

Capitals assert their dominance once again, this time clobbering Hurricanes

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 03: Dmitry Orlov #9 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with teammates after assisting Justin Williams #14 on a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at Verizon Center on January 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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The Washington Capitals lead the league in standings points … and maybe in swagger. At least, it feels that way lately.

Monday presented their latest display of power as the Carolina Hurricanes had no answer for the Capitals machine. Washington clobbered Carolina by a score of 6-1, but at least the Hurricanes can take comfort in joining a rather large group of teams who’ve been humbled by Braden Holtby & Co.

This makes the Capitals 11-0-1 during a dominant run; they’ve scored at least a point in all but one game since Dec. 21.

Honestly, you can dice up their hot streak in a variety of ways, as Washington’s been outstanding since at least early December. Margin of victory might be the most jaw-dropping way to illustrate Washington’s dominant run:

Yep, that’s something else.

Dmitry Orlov was one of the standouts of this latest win, scoring two goals. His strong night and flashes of brilliance prompted Alex Ovechkin to … maybe go a little over the top.

Hey, when you’re on fire like the Capitals have been lately, it’s probably tough to make some pretty bold comparisons.

Things might be turning around for Lundqvist (not so much for the Kings)

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13:  Marian Gaborik #12 of the Los Angeles Kings shakes hands with Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers after the Kings 3-2 double-overtime victory during Game Five of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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As you likely know, the 2017 NHL All-Star Game is coming to Los Angeles this weekend. If the Kings don’t get it together, that might be the biggest hockey event for some time, as they’re currently on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

Monday presented what felt like a story of one cold streak continuing to fade away while the other only seems to get icier.

The positive side: Henrik Lundqvist might just be working through that slump.

The New York Rangers beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Monday, and it wasn’t a walk in the park for Lundqvist. He made 36 out of 38 stops, giving him a personal three-game winning streak in which he’s allowed just four total goals.

Some of those stops were pretty impressive, too:

(He also shut down a Jeff Carter breakaway, which is obviously no easy task.)

While Lundqvist is getting it together, the Kings might just be a little worried after dropping their fourth straight loss.

They’re at 48 points in 47 games, leaving them three points behind the West’s two wild card teams and two behind the Canucks.

The Kings have experience fighting through challenges like these, but they’ve also fallen short of getting into the West’s top eight, and their schedule is awfully road-heavy:

Tuesday: at Devils
Thursday: at Hurricanes
Tuesday, Jan. 31: at Coyotes
Wednesday, Feb. 1: vs. Avalanche
Saturday, Feb. 4: at Flyers
Sunday, Feb. 5: at Capitals
Tuesday, Feb. 7: at Lightning
Thursday, Feb. 9: at Panthers

Some of those opponents are struggling and the All-Star break might allow for a breather, but that could still be a problematic stretch, especially if the Kings are in a fragile state.

Then again, if they look at Lundqvist’s upward trend, they can note that fortunes can change pretty quickly in 2016-17.