James Neal

PHT Morning Skate: Lundqvist shakes it off

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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.

James Neal faced the Pittsburgh Penguins as the Nashville Predators won 4-0 on Sunday, so this seems like a good time to take another look back at that big trade. (Puck Daddy)

Interesting angle here: the five best “unsung” backups to Martin Brodeur. Feel free to play Helmet while reading this. (The Hockey News)

Johnny Gaudreau: a “big man trapped in a small man’s body.” (NHL Numbers)

A look back at one of hockey’s original bad boys. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

It looks like Henrik Lundqvist is OK. Does this mean he can play tonight?

Watch NHL players’ Super Bowl picks with the benefit of hindsight. Did anyone predict a “crippling goal-line interception that a team would never live down?”

Hutton, Predators shutout Penguins

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Roman Josi had a goal and an assist and Carter Hutton made 21 saves as the Nashville Predators blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 Sunday afternoon.

With the win, the Predators avoided a third straight loss.

The game marked the return of James Neal to Pittsburgh. The 26-year-old was held off the score sheet while playing 15:09 in the win.

Gabriel Bourque, Eric Nystrom and Mike Fisher had the other goals for Nashville, who moves into a tie with the Anaheim Ducks for top spot in the Western Conference. The Preds have a game in hand on the Ducks.

“It was a real good first and a real good third,” said Predators coach Peter Laviolette. “We lost a little bit with the penalties in the second. We went to the box too many times. We need to be a little more disciplined than that. When that happens, it takes the roll out of the bench.

“In the second, the PK did a real nice job, I thought.”

Rookie Filip Forsberg had two assists in the win.

The Penguins shutout the Predators 3-0 in the only other meeting between the two clubs this season on Oct. 25.

“I think the start obviously hurt us,” said Sidney Crosby. “It wasn’t a terrible start. We made some mistakes that end up in the back of our net and then we’re playing uphill from there, so we still had a lot of time to get back into the game, but we have to find a way to score goals.”

Marc-Andre Fleury made 20 saves in the loss.

Defenseman Derrick Pouliot, who was recalled Saturday, is expected to play during the Penguins upcoming three-game western Canadian road trip, which begins Wednesday in Edmonton.

Pens updates: Ehrhoff undergoing testing, Malkin targets Wednesday

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As they gear up for this afternoon’s game against the Nashville Predators, the Pittsburgh Penguins have almost as much going on when it comes to injury updates. Let’s go one-by-one, then:

A lot to soak in, huh?

To the Penguins’ credit, they’re still generating a nice amount of standings points with all of these injuries. The Predators (and returning forward James Neal) should present plenty of competition today, though.

Isles’ Clutterbuck latest to be fined for diving

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New York Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck has become the fourth player to be fined this season for diving — on Wednesday, the NHL announced he’d been dinged $2,000 following an incident against Philadelphia earlier this month.

From the league:

Clutterbuck was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey Operations during NHL Game No. 397 against the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 6.

His second Citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident during NHL Game No. 676 against the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 19. Flyers forward Jakub Voracek received a minor penalty for hooking on the play, at 19:04 of the second period.

The Islanders scored on the ensuing power play.

Video of the incident:

Clutterbuck joins Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist, Florida’s Vincent Trocheck and Nashville’s James Neal as the quartet of players to be publicly outed as divers, under new rules put forth by the league this season.

Emotional night as Barry Trotz returns to Nashville, Predators defeat Capitals

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The Washington Capitals had a lead late in the third period, and were less than five minutes away from getting a win for their head coach, Barry Trotz, in his emotional return to Nashville.

But the Predators, in their home building, played the spoiler.

They scored twice – on goals from Mattias Ekholm and James Neal – in the final 4:29 of regulation to hand the surging Capitals a 4-3 loss.

Trotz, in his first year behind the Capitals’ bench, spent 15 years as the head coach in Nashville. He received a warm standing ovation from the fans at Friday’s game, and looked emotionally moved by the video tribute that played during a stoppage in play during the first period.

“I had some butterflies going out there,” Trotz said, as per CSN Washington. “I had a lot of good memories out there.”

The Capitals have only lost twice in eight games this month. Alex Ovechkin scored twice and is up to 24 goals on the season.