PHT Morning Skate: Pens fans name newborn baby after Phil Kessel

–These two Penguins fans had a baby on Mother’s Day and they decided to name their child after Phil Kessel. True Story. Kessel Ryan Hillman was born in Pennsylvania last weekend. “Sure enough they put me in bed no. 81.” (Yahoo)

–Ville Leino, who might just be one of the worst free-agent signings ever, came out with his own clothing line. One of his t-shirts is called “jail”. It’s in reference to his final season in Buffalo that saw him score zero goals in 58 games. I felt trapped and down. All I could do was get up every morning and go to work and try to make it work. This painting reflects those feelings that I was going through on that period of time.” (Buffalo News)

–Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is one of the finalists for the GM of the Year Award because of his ability to make key deals for his team. The Edmonton Journal breaks down the six major transactions that helped Chiarelli earn the nomination. (Edmonton Journal)

–The Ottawa Senators lit up the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final (who saw that coming?). You can check out the highlights by clicking the video at the top of the page.

Yannick Weber sat down for an interesting Q&A for the NHLPA’s website. During this fun chat, Weber admits to having some Nickleback music on his playlist. On an unrelated note, he’s also a huge fan of Roger Federer. (NHLPA)

–There’s always some debate as to which sport has the toughest athletes. Well, former NFL offensive lineman Willie Colon believes hockey players are clearly tougher than football players. (NBC Sports)

–The New Jersey Devils own the number one pick in this June’s NHL Entry Draft, which means they’ll have to decide between selecting Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier. The Devils director of amateur scouting Paul Castron spoke to beat reporter Chris Ryan about how he evaluates the two prospects. “Both those kids, they’ve the go-to guys on their teams. They both get a lot of attention, but they don’t back down or shy away to make plays at crucial times in games.” (

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    NHL On NBCSN: Blues look to continue playoff push against Blackhawks

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    NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 season continues on Sunday night when the St. Louis Blues take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. You can catch all of the action on NBCSN or on our Live Stream.

    The St. Louis Blues are one of the many teams in the middle of the free-for-all playoff race that is the Western Conference and are in desperate need of wins. They got a huge one on Saturday night by defeating the New York Rangers in overtime, and now they need to come back 24 hours later and try to get another one when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks.

    The only downside to Saturday’s win is that star winger Vladimir Tarasenko left the game due to an injury.

    His status for Sunday is uncertain at this point, but it would obviously be a pretty significant blow to the Blues’ lineup if he is unable to go.

    He is the team’s leading goal-scorer (27) and is second in total points with 57, trailing only the 59 that Brayden Schenn has.

    The Blues enter the day three points out of a wild card spot in the Western Conference and have a chance to pick up a couple of more points in that race if they can knock off a Blackhawks team that is, if we are being completely honest, going in the tank down the stretch.

    After losing to Buffalo on Saturday the Blackhawks are just 8-18-2 in their past 28 games.

    This is one of three games that the Blues have remaining with the Blackhawks down the stretch.

    St. Louis has been through a pretty tumultuous couple of weeks recently. It is a stretch that included a pretty significant collapse in the standings, a major trade (Paul Stastny), and some significant injuries. But they are still alive in the playoff race, barely, thanks to wins in three of their past four games.

    They desperately need another one on Sunday night.


    Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

    The Buzzer: Shutouts for three, Dubnyk gets win No. 200

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    Players of the Night:

    Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins, Keith Kinkaid, New Jersey Devils and Curtis McElhinney, Toronto Maple Leafs: Where do we begin on the night of the shutout? Rask didn’t have a particularly busy night making 23 saves, but when you’re facing names like Kucherov and Stamkos, it’s always dangerous. Still, Rask kept rolling along. He is 27-3-2 in his past 32 starts. That’s just silly. … Kinkaid, meanwhile stopped 38 — including 19 in the first period — in a 3-0 win against the Kings for his fourth career shutout. … No Frederik Andersen for Toronto? No problem. McElhinney stepped in and pitched a 33-save performance as the Leafs down the Montreal Canadiens 4-0.

    Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues: The Blues defenseman scored twice in regulation and then assisted on Brayden Schenn‘s overtime winner to cap off a three-point night.

    Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild: While he didn’t get a shutout, Dubnyk did stop 30 of 31 en route to his 200th career NHL win. The win was also important for the Wild, who moved to within five points of the Winnipeg Jets for second place in the Central Division, and moved five points ahead of the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche for third place.

    Highlights of the Night:

    Filthy pass:

    First-goal celebrations are always the best:

    Voracek with a slick move in front:

    Save of the year candidate:

    Factoids of the Night:

    Home is where the wins are:

    A legend passes a legend:

    Believe in McJesus:

    Scary Scenes of the Night:


    Sabres 5, Blackhawks 3

    Oilers 4, Panthers 2

    Devils 3, Kings 0

    Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 0

    Bruins 3, Lightning 0

    Flyers 4, Hurricanes 2

    Blue Jackets 2, Senators 1

    Blue 4, Rangers 3 (OT)

    Wild 3, Coyotes 1

    Sharks 5, Canucks 3

    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    Senators’ Ryan Dzingel drilled in the head with a puck (video)

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    We already saw one lacerated leg, and now we have a one-timer drilling a player in the back of the helmet.

    Saturday night hasn’t been so kind.

    Ottawa Senators forward Ryan Dzingel was forced to leave the game after some friendly fire against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 2-1 loss.

    Dzingel was drilled in the back of the head from teammate Mike Hoffman‘s one-timer of the back of his helmet around the mid-way point of the third period.

    Dzingel remained down for a time but was able to skate off the ice with some assistance from Ottawa’s trainers.

    He did not return to the game.

    If you watch this closely, you will see Dzingel’s No. 8 on the back of his helmet fly off after contact with the puck.


    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    Bruins’ David Backes suffers leg laceration in collision (video)


    A scary scene unfolded in the first period between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the visiting Boston Bruins on Saturday night.

    David Backes and Yanni Gourde came together in the Lightning crease, with Gourde’s skate appearing to cut Backes on the outside of his right leg.

    Backes was able to make his way to the Bruins bench on his own, but he was clutching the back of his leg before getting some help down the tunnel.

    Backes did not return to the game.

    The Bruins said that Backes suffered a laceration above his right knee, which required several stitches to close.

    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck