PHT Morning Skate: Eller’s valuable contribution; Bolts shake up coaching staff

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• It’s been 25 years since the Montreal Canadiens last won the Stanley Cup, so the Montreal Gazette is looking back at the last championship run. In part one of this series, they broke down how the team was built through the draft. John LeClair, Eric Desjardins, Patrice Brisebois and Benoit Brunet were all picks. (Montreal Gazette)

• After every Caps home win, fans have started celebrating on the steps of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Long playoff runs bring out the best in every fan base, it seems. (Washington Post)

T.J. Oshie shared a special bond with Caps fan Addie Flint, who he met through the Make a Wish Foundation. They even gave each other a hug before the Capitals took off for Vegas last week. No need telling you that this fan is hoping for Oshie to lift the Stanley Cup. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

• The Lightning officially announced that associate coach Rick Bowness and assistant Brad Lauer won’t be back with the club next season. (NHL.com/Lightning)

Marc-Andre Fleury‘s two biggest fans made the trip from Toronto to Vegas to see their favorite player practice and play in the Stanley Cup Final. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

• The Golden Knights missed a huge opportunity to tie Game 2 at 3-3 when they failed to convert on a 5-on-3 power play in the third period. “We just didn’t execute the play right,” Gerard Gallant said. “We didn’t do it quick enough. It was guys not making the right plays at the right time.” (SinBin.Vegas)

• With the series now shifting to Washington, Gallant admitted that he wants to see his team play a little grittier style. They also want to simplify the way they play. (Las Vegas Sun)

Lars Eller is better suited as a third-line center, but he’s had to play higher in the lineup because of injuries to Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov. He’s been a valuable piece during this postseason run. (National Post)

• Washington sports fans have waited a long time to see one of their teams compete for a championship on home soil. (Washington Times)

• New assistant coach Geoff Ward will be looking to fix the Flames’ brutal power play unit that ranked 28th in the NHL this season. He has some solid pieces to work with. (Sportsnet)

• TSN’s Scott Cullen looks at what the Blue Jackets have to do this off-season to take the next step. (TSN.ca)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

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