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.
Anaheim Ducks forward Patrick Maroon recently joined teammate Ryan Kesler on the latest installment of ‘Between Two Zambonis’. The pair discussed Maroon’s celebrity look a likes and even took shots at captain Ryan Getzlaf’s hairline.
Editor’s Note: Play one-day fantasy hockey tonight! Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $25,000 league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first place wins $2,000. Starts Monday at 7:00pm ET. Enter Now!
“I wake up in the morning and wonder what I’m going to do besides work out” – Tom Sestito discusses the diminishing enforcer role in hockey. (The Globe and Mail)
Top prospect Dylan Strome had a six-point game Sunday to win the Ontario Hockey League’s scoring title. (Yahoo)
The Western Hockey League’s Kelowna Rockets develop D-Men down to a science. (NHL.com)
Bridgeport Sound Tigers forward Kael Mouillierat used a lacrosse-style move to open the scoring against the Binghamton Senators on Sunday:
Sixteen seasons. 22 teams. Zero NHL games. But the passion never left Frank Littlejohn. (The Hockey News)
St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo discusses the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon:
Andrew Hammond and the Ottawa Senators will look for a sixth straight win tonight when they play host to the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs. Hammond enters the game with a 12-0-1 record to go along with a 1.55 goals-against average since getting called up from Binghamton.
The Sens enter tonight’s action two points back of the Boston Bruins for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Since the last meeting between the Leafs and Senators (Jan. 21), Ottawa is 17-6-2 while Toronto has gone 5-17-3.
James Reimer gets the nod for the Leafs.
Blue Jackets at Flames: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Karri Ramo
Canucks at Kings: Eddie Lack vs. Jonathan Quick
Capitals at Jets: Braden Holtby vs. Ondrej Pavelec
Rangers at Hurricanes: Cam Talbot vs. Anton Khudobin
Islanders at Devils: Jaroslav Halak vs. Cory Schneider
Bruins at Panthers: Tuukka Rask vs. Roberto Luongo
Sharks at Canadiens: Antti Niemi vs. Carey Price
Sabres at Predators: Matt Hackett vs. Pekka Rinne
Blackhawks at Stars: Corey Crawford vs. Kari Lehtonen
Penguins at Coyotes: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Mike Smith
Flyers at Oilers: Steve Mason vs. Ben Scrivens
Slumping Islanders welcome Leddy back to the lineup
In a move that seems to corroborate that report, the Isles sent goalie Kevin Poulin back to AHL Bridgeport today.
Halak is 34-15-1 with a 2.46 goals-against average, four shutouts, and a .912 save percentage in 50 games this season, and has been one of the big reasons why the Isles are headed back to the playoffs. It’s likely the Isles are banking on him to help snap their current skid, which has seen them lose a season-high four games.
Tavares says slumping Isles ‘just not good enough’ against ‘Hawks
While the numbers suggest there’s been an element of bad luck to the Islanders’ four-game losing streak — just four goals on 140 total shots? — that didn’t stop captain John Tavares from offering a harsh assessment of his team’s 4-1 loss last night in Chicago.
“We just did not do anything well,” Tavares said, per Reuters. “We didn’t execute, looked slow, watching them play and make plays. Losing battles. It’s just not good enough.”
Coach Jack Capuano, meanwhile, was left to lament the Isles’ poor puck management and lack of “grit and desperation” against the ‘Hawks.
On the bright side, the penalty killing, a glaring weakness for much of the season, has been successful; the Isles haven’t surrendered a power-play goal in their last eight games.
But with the playoffs just around the corner, there’s clear concern within the ranks of a team that’s won just four of its last 13 games and hasn’t been controlling the puck to quite the same degree it did earlier in the season.
Starting Thursday in New Jersey, the Isles have 10 games left to rediscover their previous form. After that, a first-round matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins is the most likely.
The Pens, of course, eliminated the Isles in the first round the last time New York made the playoffs, in 2013.
The Isles haven’t won a postseason series since 1993.