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PHT Morning Skate: NHL’s top goalies; 2019 Hart Trophy race

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.

Nick Backstrom‘s mom is cooler than all of us. [RMNB]

• Who is your No. 1 goaltender in the NHL? Andrei Vasilevskiy? Pekka Rinne? Connor Hellebuyck? Sergei Bobrovsky? [The Hockey News]

Carey Price shows off the new chest protector that goaltenders will be wearing this coming season. [In Goal Mag]

• It’s time for coaches to get a little more creative with their 3-on-3 overtime lineups. [TSN]

• Early days still, but the 2019 Hart Trophy race looks pretty wide open. [Yahoo]

• The Vegas Golden Knights could again play the season without a captain. Though, many still think of Deryk Engelland as the ‘C’ on that team. [Sin Bin Vegas]

• The Calgary Flames send Hunter Shinkaruk to the Montreal Canadiens for Kerby Rychel. [Flames Nation]

• Both Shinkaruk and Rychel then signed separate one-year deals with their new teams.

• The CWHL’s Boston Blades are moving to Worcester and getting a new logo. [The Ice Garden]

• A youth lacrosse team tried to use the Vancouver Canucks’ alternate logo on their jerseys but were told by the NHL team to cut it out. [Sports Logos]

• Where will the goals come from for the Carolina Hurricanes? [Canes Edge]

• Why Ryan Ellis should get the ‘C’ over Roman Josi on the Nashville Predators. [Predlines]

• Finally, goalies have hands, too, as HC Sibir’s Alexei Krasikov demonstrated:

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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    Trocheck hasn’t missed a beat for Panthers

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    Vincent Trocheck wasn’t even supposed to be playing for the Florida Panthers this soon, let alone seemingly jumping right back to full-strength, as if his ankle was never fractured.

    Heading into Friday, the Panthers were on a seven-game losing streak, facing a weekend that sure looked like it would set the stage for one or two additional losses.

    Instead, the Panthers now have back-to-back wins, and they’ve done so against two legitimate NHL contenders.

    On Friday, the Panthers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Trocheck assisted on Mike Matheson‘s game-winning goal, posted highly impressive possession stats, three shots on goal, and seven (!) hits.

    That would have already been a highly impressive effort for a player coming off a pretty traumatic injury, but Trocheck was arguably even better during Saturday’s 4-2 win against the Nashville Predators.

    While his fancy stats were a little choppier, Trocheck showed up on the scoreboard even more, generating a goal and an assist. He looked awfully spry on that goal, by the way:

    That breakaway score ended up being the game-winner, actually.

    After generating three points in his two games back, Trocheck now has 17 points in 20 games this season.

    Now, the Panthers points as a team? They’re now at 46 points in 47 games played, leaving them at least 12 points behind the Penguins (who have 58 points, and could add more against the Golden Knights during a Saturday game that’s in progress). To put things mildly, the odds are stacked high against the Panthers for a credible push toward a berth in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

    Then again, the odds were also against Trocheck returning as soon as mid-January, and he’s instead making a big impact for Florida.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Ref pushing Blues’ Barbashev gives us some comic relief

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    In these trying times, sometimes you just need to see a zany mishap where a hockey player loses a skate blade, and hilarity ensues.

    OK, that might be highly specific, but such bits of bad luck usually do provide some real comedy. Even by those standards, this was some good stuff, as Blues forward Ivan Barbashev got a boost from an on-ice official, and it was quite a boost down the ice.

    You can watch that moment in the video above this post’s headline, and likely have a nice chuckle.

    The Blues ended up beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on Saturday, so Barbashev & Co. can share a bigger laugh after the game.

    ***

    Speaking of comic relief and needing a push, enjoy the Zamboni from Saturday’s Oilers game:

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Bruins’ Rask helped off ice after huge collision

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    Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask needed help off of the ice – and took quite a while to leave the ice – after a frightening collision with New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil.

    Moments after this post went up on Saturday, the Bruins provided an unsettling – if, sadly, not surprising – update that Rask suffered a concussion and will not return to the game.

    You can see the collision (and get an idea of how long it took Rask to leave the ice) in the video above this post’s headline.

    This is the Bruins’ final game before the All-Star break, and they won’t play again until they host the Winnipeg Jets in Boston on Jan. 29, so at least there isn’t much pressure for Rask to rush back to action too soon.

    Rask began the game tied with Tiny Thompson at 252 wins, the most in Bruins’ franchise history.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Erik Karlsson misses Sharks game on Saturday

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    Considering how much Erik Karlsson has been heating up along with the San Jose Sharks lately, it would have been fun to see him skate against the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that once tried to acquire him.

    That’s not happening on Saturday, as Karlsson was a late scratch for the game.

    The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reports that Karlsson was “limping noticeably” and favoring his left side following the Sharks’ 6-3 loss to the Coyotes on Wednesday. Kurz also reports that Karlsson hasn’t participated in practice or pregame skates for about a week.

    Paul Gackle of the Mercury News points out that Karlsson was held out for most of the third period of Tuesday’s 5-2 win against the Penguins for “precautionary reasons,” yet Sharks coach Peter DeBoer indicated that the 28-year-old was expected to play on Saturday. Instead, Karlsson must have determined that he wasn’t good to go after skating a bit during warm-ups.

    Saturday’s game against the Lightning marks the second of a four-game road trip. The Sharks are set to play against the Panthers in Florida on Monday (Jan. 21) and the Capitals in Washington on Tuesday (Jan. 22), then they’ll be off for the All-Star break.

    Karlsson was one of the Sharks’ three selections to the 2019 NHL All-Star Game, but we’ll see if what seems like a lower-body injury ends up sidelining him from the event. Either way, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Swede miss at least one of the Sharks’ remaining two games before the break, considering that it’s a back-to-back set.

    Marc-Edouard Vlasic is also out with an injury, so the Sharks are limping – can Sharks limp? – a bit into that run of off time.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.