PHT Morning Skate: McLellan sought advice from Crosby in prep for McDavid


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Before Todd McLellan officially became the Edmonton Oilers’ bench boss and while he was still coaching Team Canada in the 2015 Worlds, he took it upon himself to pick Sidney Crosby’s brain about what life was like as an 18-year-old superstar so that McLellan would have a better idea of how best to handle Connor McDavid. (Edmonton Sun)

While on the subject of McLellan; he still thinks very highly of the San Jose Sharks. (NHL.com)

Los Angeles Kings director of player personnel Michael Futa opened up on a number of subjects, including the Kings’ offseason outlook and top prospect Adrian Kempe’s transition to North America. (LA Kings Insider)

Here are the highlight’s from Chicago’s triple-overtime victory last night:

New Philadelphia Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol might be able to better communicate with his players about why they’re being scratched or getting less playing time, compared to how Craig Berube did things. (Broad Street Hockey)

NHL Numbers had an interesting piece on the risk and potential reward of draft prospects. (NHL Numbers)

Dennis Seidenberg isn’t sure what the future holds for the Boston Bruins, but he hopes he’ll be able to stay with the team. (CSN New England)

Avalanche lose two assistant coaches


The Colorado Avalanche will have some vacancies to fill as defensive coach Andre Tourigny, and video coach Mario Duhamel will not return for the 2015-16 campaign, per the Denver Post.

Tourigny has resigned to pursue a head coaching position while Duhamel hopes to serve in a role that would allow him to be behind the bench. Duhamel has been granted permission to speak with other teams so that he can pursue that goal.

Per the Post:

The Avs obviously have a problem with shots-against and getting hemmed in their zone. But Tourigny should not be seen as “runner” or scapegoat. At every practice I attended, play stopped when Roy had something to say — and usually he was running the D-zone drills.

Patrick Roy’s second season as Colorado’s head coach was a rocky one. After leading Colorado to a division title in 2013-14, the Avalanche finished at the bottom of the Central Division with a 39-31-12 record. Their offense was a big part of the issue as they went from scoring 2.99 goals per game to just 2.55 this season.

Colorado did finish on a high note with a 12-6-1 record from the beginning of March onward and Roy felt they learned a lot in 2014-15. At the same time, the Avalanche were a terrible puck possession team in 2013-14, which led some to believe that their regression was just that catching up with them.

The Avalanche similarly struggled in that regard this season with a five-on-five Fenwick of 43.9%. The only team that did worse than them in that regard were the Buffalo Sabres.

McDonagh: Rangers need to ‘realize that stupid, selfish penalties are going to cost us’


The New York Rangers allowed six goals in their worst showing of the 2015 playoffs, but that wasn’t due to a failing in five-on-five play. Tampa Bay did get two even strength goals and that shouldn’t be ignored, but the Rangers were the better team in terms of five-on-five shots and scoring chances, per War on Ice.

Instead, the Rangers’ biggest issue was penalties as they gave Tampa Bay six opportunities tonight and the Lightning converted on three of them. The fact that a lack of discipline played a significant role in the Rangers’ blowout loss wasn’t lost on captain Ryan McDonagh.

“Our guys better figure it out quickly here and realize that stupid, selfish penalties are going to cost us against this team,” McDonagh said, per the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard.

The Rangers are up to 44 minor penalties in 14 playoff games, but Tampa Bay has been significantly worse with 68 minors in 15 contests. Even in this game, Tampa Bay also had a tough time staying out of the sin bin. It wouldn’t have taken a lot for this story to be reversed and the discussion to be about Tampa Bay’s penalty troubles. If the Lightning aren’t careful, perhaps that will be the plot line in Game 3 on Wednesday.

Lightning solve Lundqvist, hand Rangers their first blowout loss


The New York Rangers found the back of the net twice in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final tonight. That level of offensive production has been the norm for the Rangers in the 2015 playoffs and its gotten them this far, but it wasn’t nearly enough tonight.

After doing a good job of shutting down the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins in their previous series, the Rangers couldn’t contain Tampa Bay’s forwards tonight as it suffered a 6-2 loss to the Lightning. This is the first time the Rangers have lost by more than a goal in the 2015 postseason.

Part of the issue is that Tampa Bay has more offensive depth than the Rangers’ previous opponents, Pittsburgh or Washington, even if all three teams have star power. Containing Steven Stamkos isn’t easy nor is it enough as Tyler Johnson has proven that he’s more than capable of leading the charge. He already had eight goals in 14 games going into tonight’s contest and Johnson added to that by earning the first hat trick in Lightning playoff history.

With Tampa Bay up 3-2 early in the third period, Alex Killorn provided the squad with some insurance after receiving a beautiful pass from Victor Hedman:

Stamkos accounted for Tampa Bay’s fifth goal roughly three minutes later. He now has 12 points in 15 games, which would make him the scoring leader in New York, but its only good to put him in a tie for third place with the Lightning. The player he’s tied with is Killorn, who added his second goal of the game with just over two minutes remaining.

This is the most goals Henrik Lundqvist has surrendered in the 2015 playoffs to date. At the other end of the ice, Ben Bishop wasn’t perfect, but he did make plenty of key saves en route to turning aside 35 of 37 shots.

Tampa Bay has now evened the series at 1-1 and put the Rangers in a position where they have to win at least one game in Amalie Arena. New York will get its first opportunity to do that in Game 3 on Wednesday.

Video: Johnson gets first postseason hat trick in Lightning history


Tyler Johnson is having an amazing playoff run and he’s been the story in Game 2 against the New York Rangers. Johnson opened the contest’s scoring with a shorthanded breakaway and followed it up with a power-play marker less than six minutes later.

Tampa Bay had a 2-1 lead going into the second period thanks to his efforts and he provided them with some extra insurance while completing the hat trick midway through the frame:

This is the first time a Lightning player has earned a hat trick in a playoff game. Johnson now has 11 markers in 15 contests, which is four more than the next best player on the playoffs goal scoring leaderboard.

He’s also scored in all situations tonight as his latest was tallied while the teams were at even strength.

His playoff run is remarkable under any circumstances, but it’s particularly special when you remember that Johnson was never drafted. Like former Lightning captain and current Rangers player Martin St. Louis, Johnson is a small forward that’s had to prove himself every step of the way.