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 email@example.com.
• The New York Islanders need Mathew Barzal to step up his game if they’re going to upset the Penguins. (The Sports Daily)
• How did the Pens and Isles do in their head-to-head matchups during the regular season? (Pensburgh)
• In order to have postseason success, the Dallas Stars will need to find some secondary scoring. (Defending Big D)
• The Predators are hoping that trade acquisitions Wayne Simmonds and Brian Boyle play their best hockey in the playoffs. (NHL.com/Predators)
• The Columbus Blue Jackets should relax because no one expects them to win in the first round. (Dark Blue Jacket)
• Nikita Kucherov will likely win the Hart Trophy even though he shouldn’t, according to Raw Charge.
• Blues GM Doug Armstrong and forward Ryan O'Reilly had a long discussion about trust. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
• Patrik Laine has to be a difference maker for the Winnipeg Jets this postseason. (Jets Nation)
• Brando Carlo is finally going to make his postseason debut for the Boston Bruins. (Bruins Daily)
• The Leafs need to win the special teams battle if they’re going to have a chance to take down the Bruins. (Leafs Nation)
• Auston Matthews is ready to bounce back after a tough playoff series against the Bruins last year. (TSN)
• Ryan Reaves feels like his game is perfectly suited for the playoffs. (Sinbin.Vegas)
• How did a San Jose Sharks t-shirt end up in the “Mighty Ducks” movie? NBC Sports Bay Area found out. (NBC Sports Bay Area)
• Everyone has a story to share about “Jumbo” Joe Thornton. (The Score)
• The Blackhawks could have a very different offseason in 2019. (NBC Sports Chicago)
• Will Jeff Carter be a Los Angeles King next season? (Mayor’s Manor)
• In order for the Kings to get better, GM Rob Blake believes they need to improve the culture around the team and their practice habits. (NHL)
• Now that Joel Quenneville is no longer available, Scott Gordon remains a serious candidate for the head coaching job in Philadelphia. (Courier-Post)
• Finally, episode two of “Puckland” features the Maine Mariners prepping for their inaugural season:
Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.