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.
The Leafs loss in Florida last night is just a drop in the bucket for how bad their second half of the season has been. (TSN)
When it comes to uphill climbs, the Ducks have about as big of one as any team on the fringe of the playoff discussion. They basically have to win out to have a chance. (OC Register)
The Blues aren’t sold yet, but both the team and the NHL are confident things will be done in weeks. (Post-Dispatch)
Bruins injury update: Adam McQuaid suffers a setback while Rich Peverley is back to skating. (CSNNE.com)
Because you needed another update on Alexander Radulov: The Predators feel “cautiously optimistic” that he’ll be able to rejoin them this season. (Tennessean)
Tampa Bay’s Bruno Gervais would really like to get back and help the Lightning push for the playoffs. No one tell Bruno that the Lightning traded for a thousand defensemen at the deadline. (Tampa Tribune)
Finally, everyone loves Jarome Iginla so check out his goal from last night that gave him 30 on the season, his 11th straight with 30 or more. (NHL)
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Dallas Stars activated Stephen Johns before their game Saturday night in Minnesota, clearing the way for the defenseman’s first game in almost 22 months.
Forward Radek Faksa was placed on injured reserve to make room for Johns on the active roster.
Johns has been out since late in the 2017-18 season because of post-traumatic headaches. The Stars have said the condition isn’t related to concussions.
The 27-year-old Johns hasn’t played since March 29, 2018, at the Wild. It was the last of a career-high 75 games in his third NHL season. Johns missed the last five games that year before sitting out all of last season as headaches persisted.
He played two games on a conditioning assignment with the Texas Stars of the AHL before rejoining Dallas on Thursday.
The return of Johns could coincide with the Stars’ first game without defenseman Miro Heiskanen. The 20-year-old standout left Thursday’s loss to Buffalo with an upper-body injury.
Johns made his debut for Dallas late in the 2014-15 season and played in all 13 of the team’s playoff games as a rookie. He has 13 goals, 15 assists and 306 blocked shots in 150 career regular-season games.
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Florida goalie Chris Driedger will miss several weeks with what’s believed to be a groin injury, the latest health issue at that position for the Panthers.
The Panthers announced the diagnosis Saturday, calling it a lower-body injury.
Driedger was hurt midway through the first period of the Panthers’ 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. He is 5-2-0 in nine appearances for Florida this season, with a 2.48 GAA.
The Panthers have also been without goalie Sergei Bobrovsky for much of January while he recovers from an upper-body injury.
Florida begins a stretch of six consecutive road games Saturday in Detroit. That six-game run also includes the All-Star break and the Panthers’ bye week.
1) Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning
Cirelli recorded his first NHL hat trick as the Lightning steamrolled the Winnipeg Jets Friday evening. The 22-year-old scored twice in the opening period as the Bolts jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back. Cirelli hammered a feed from Ondrej Palat 9:27 into the game and then converted a nifty forehand-backhand maneuver to close out the first 20 minutes. Cirelli would complete the hat trick midway through the third period.
2) Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Malkin recorded two power-play assists to set up Pittsburgh’s two goals in its 2-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings. Sidney Crosby has received a lot of attention since returning from a 28-game absence earlier this week and added the game-winning goal Friday. However, it was Malkin who looked off the defender and delivered a perfect pass to set up the Penguins captain. Malkin has recorded 10 points in the previous six games.
3) Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
The 26-year-old winger scored twice in Tampa Bay’s 7-1 win. Cirelli and Kucherov alternated goals as Tampa Bay jumped out to a 4-0 lead, including three in the opening period. Kucherov buried two tap-in opportunities to record goals 21 and 22 on the season. The Russian winger has five goals in his previous three games and the Lightning improved to 12-2-0 in the previous 14 games.
Highlights of the Night
Crosby extended his goal-scoring streak to three games when he buried a pretty feed from Malkin to propel the Penguins in overtime.
Sam Steel fired the OT winner after Andrei Svechnikov‘s costly turnover.
Stats of the Night
Pittsburgh Penguins 2, Detroit Red Wings 1 (OT)
Anaheim Ducks 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1 (OT)
Tampa Bay Lightning 7, Winnipeg Jets 1
Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.
NEW YORK (AP) — Nashville Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson has been fined $2,000 by the NHL under the league’s rules regarding diving and embellishment.
NHL Rule 64 was designed to penalize players who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties. A player gets a warning for a first citation and a $2,000 fine for the second citation.
League officials said Arvidsson received a warning following an incident Dec. 27 against Pittsburgh. His second citation occurred during an incident in the first period of a Jan. 7 game with Boston that resulted in coincidental minor penalties on Arvidsson and Bruins forward Brad Marchand.
Fine proceeds go to the players’ emergency assistance fund.