PHT Morning Skate: Braden Holtby gave Nate Schmidt a pretty bad haircut

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–The Montreal Canadiens have two games remaining in their regular season, but they’ve already locked up the Atlantic Division. So now the question is, should Carey Price play before the post-season begins? He has a long injury history, but how does a team balance being safe versus keeping him rust-free. (Sportsnet)

Braden Holtby is a terrific goalie, but his barber skills need some work. The Caps goalie started giving teammate Nate Schmidt a haircut and then “panicked”. The end result wasn’t pretty. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

–Comedian Don Rickles passed away on Thursday at the age of 90. Rickles used to poke fun at people by referring to them as hockey pucks. The team at BarDown took a quick look back at his hockey-related joke.  (BarDown)

–The Ottawa Senators clinched a playoff spot in last night’s 2-1 shootout win over the Boston Bruins. You can watch the highlights from that game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–The Hockey News looks back at players that were skilled, but also played with an edge to their game. It’s not exactly surprising that Claude Lemieux and Bobby Clarke find themselves on this list. Both guys were good hockey players and they were able to to rub opponents the wrong way. (The Hockey News)

–The ESPN roundtable discusses whether or not the Wild Card format is working for the NHL. Scott Burnside brings up an interesting point: “The current system is busted. Want to do something really wacky? I had a great chat about this recently with Washington-based journalist Ben Raby, who had a novel idea for expanding the playoff picture to include one-game play-in games between the seventh- and 10th-place teams and the eighth- and the ninth-place teams, with the winners of each game slotting into the two final playoff spots in each conference.” (ESPN)

–Yesterday was the 37th anniversary of Gordie Howe’s final goal. It came at the Hartford Civic Center against the Detroit Red Wings. Rogie Vachon was the goalie who allowed the goal. NHL.com’s Dave Stubbs takes a deeper look back at that special moment. (NHL.com)

2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs Schedule for Sunday, April 23

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Only two series remain in the first-round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and both of them continue on Sunday.

First, the Boston Bruins look to push their first-round series to a seventh game after their double overtime win on Friday when they host the Ottawa Senators on Sunday afternoon. That game will be followed by Washington Capitals trying to, as Barry Trotz wants to see, push the Toronto Maple Leafs off the cliff.

Here is everything you for Sunday’s games, both of which will be shown on the NBC networks and streamed online.

Boston Bruins vs. Ottawa Senators

Time: 3:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBC (Stream Online Here)

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Washington Capitals

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream Online Here)

Video: Oilers showed off depth beyond McDavid in beating Sharks

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As the Art Ross winner and Hart Trophy frontrunner, there’s no doubt that Connor McDavid is the catalyst for the Edmonton Oilers.

Still, the scary thing for opponents is that, while he created chances against the San Jose Sharks, McDavid wasn’t exactly lighting them up for points.

Nope, as Mike Rupp and Jeremy Roenick discuss in the video above, the Oilers advanced thanks as much to depth scorers – and deft goaltending from Cam Talbot – as they did because of McDavid’s blistering combination of skill and speed.

Now, the Anaheim Ducks rank as an interesting opponent. While the Sharks could slow McDavid with one of the few blueliners who could really give him trouble – relatively speaking – in Marc-Edouard Vlasic, it remains to be seen if Anaheim can accomplish the same.

(A fully healthy Hampus Lindholm would increase their odds, mind you.)

Either way, the Oilers’ “other guys” deserve some credit, and they get it in the video above.

The West’s next round is now set (and wide-open)

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Saturday was a great day for fans of brevity and revenge.

Three of a possible three series ended on this day, with the Rangers dispatching the Canadiens, the Blues eliminating the “better” Wild, and the Oilers knocking off the Sharks in six.

The Rangers await either the Bruins or Senators and the Penguins face the winner of the Leafs – Capitals series out East, but we now know how the West shakes out.

St. Louis Blues vs. Nashville Predators

Both teams provided some of the upsets of this young postseason. Each features a red-hot goalie in Jake Allen and Pekka Rinne. Interesting.

Anaheim Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers

There will be a lot of orange. We may also see a ton of goals with Ryan Getzlaf on fire, Oscar Klefbom headlining the list of unhealthy players and Connor McDavid possibly able to really take off against a Ducks defense that is beat up in its own right.

It’s already been a strange season out West, with the Kings missing the playoffs and first-round exits for the Sharks and Blackhawks. Get ready – and giddy – for things to get even weirder as the postseason goes along.

Oilers win first series since 2006 after Sharks fall crossbar short of overtime

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After making the playoffs for the first time since 2006, the Edmonton Oilers weren’t just “happy to be there.” They confirmed as much by eliminating the San Jose Sharks with a 3-1 victory in Game 6, winning the series 4-2.

Yes, those young Oilers just eliminated the team that represented the West in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Wow.

Ultimately, winning the breakaway battle in the second period indeed made the difference. Leon Draisaitl and Anton Slepyshev scored on their chances in the middle frame while Patrick Marleau could not; Slepyshev’s 2-0 goal ultimately became the series-clincher.

Now, that’s not to say that Marleau was a drag on San Jose. If this is it for one of the faces of the franchise, he had a great 2016-17, including generating the Sharks’ final goal of the postseason.

The Shark Tank was alive after Marleau reduced the Oilers’ lead to 2-1, and more than a few blood pressures rose – both in Edmonton and San Jose – after the Sharks got this close to tying things up.

Wow.

With this result, the West is set. The St. Louis Blues will take on the Nashville Predators while the Oilers face the Anaheim Ducks.

As much as people try to put the training wheels on Connor McDavid & Co., the West is wide-open enough that it’s not so outrageous to imagine a big run for Edmonton.

Beating the Sharks is a pretty nice way of adding an exclamation point to that statement win. And hey … they beat the Sharks last time around, too.