PHT Morning Skate: The best NHL-themed Valentine’s Day cards

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–Many people in the hockey world would like to see the NHL hand out three points for a regulation victory (like in soccer), while others feel it will remove the closeness of playoff races. ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman made a great case for three-point wins, saying that it could also help teams that are chasing a playoff spot make up ground quicker. It’s an interesting point. (Chicago Sun-Times)

–The Canadiens’ interest in Avalanche forward Matt Duchene has been reported about quite a bit over the last few weeks. He would be a great fit in Montreal, but even if they can’t get him, they are in desperate need of secondary scoring behind Max Pacioretty and Alex Radulov. (The Hockey News)

–Todd McLellan mixed up the Oilers’ lines during Sunday’s practice and the changes look promising for everyone except Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who still hasn’t been able to get back on track. The 23-year-old has come up in plenty of trade rumors and you have to wonder if he’ll be an Oiler after the deadline. (Edmonton Journal)

–Rookie Jimmy Vesey scored the game-winning goal in the Rangers’ 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Rangers have now rattled off six consecutive victories. You can watch the highlights from the game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–Eric Lindros is in the process of of auctioning off his hockey memorabilia like game-worn jerseys, game-used sticks, skates, gloves, helmets and much more.ย “You get great memories digging through the things you’ve kept over the years. But sometimes it just feels like the right moment to move on from some of those things. I obviously kept some items for my kids, but I thought people would really enjoy some of these things.” (ESPN)

–The Beanpot title is awarded to one of the four Boston-area college hockey teams every February. For the first time since 1993, Harvard came away with the title. Georgia native Nathan Krusko scored two goals in the 6-4 win over Boston University. (Associated Press)

–As you probably remembered (if you didn’t, you’re welcome), today is Valentine’s day. Teams from around the league got creative with their NHL-themed Valentine’s day cards. Here are some of the funnier ones:

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.