PHT Morning Skate: Caps are officially underdogs; What went wrong with ‘Hawks, Rangers?

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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.

• TSN’s Scott Cullen continues his off-season game plan previews by taking a deeper look at what Dallas has to do to make it back to the playoffs. (TSN.ca)

• Rotoworld’s Corey Abbott looks back at what went wrong for the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers in 2017-18. (Rotoworld)

• Down Goes Brown breaks down how the Golden Knights shattered conventional wisdom in the NHL. Their story is fascinating. (Sportsnet)

Alex Galchenyuk has played six seasons in the NHL, but where does he stand with the Montreal Canadiens? Is he a center, is he a winger? (Habs Eyes on the Prize)

• Believe it or not, the Washington Capitals will be the underdogs heading into the Stanley Cup Final. (CSN Washington)

• Flyers prospect Samuel Morin tore his ACL during an AHL game. He won’t be available until next February. (Broad Street Hockey)

• The Maple Leafs have promoted assistant to the general manager Brandon Pridham to assistant general manager. Somewhere, Dwight Schrute is smiling. (Toronto Sun)

• The fact that Rangers head coach David Quinn has known Jeff Gorten and Chris Drury for many years led him to his new job. (New York Daily News)

• Los Angeles Kings senior advisor Jack Ferreira will not have his contract renewed by the organization. He was around for the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup Championships. (LA Kings Insider)

• The Tennessee Titans will be hosting the 2019 NFL Draft and they have the Nashville Predators to thank for that. (Predlines)

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.

Marchand nets fifth OT goal of season in win over Wild

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You may or may not be a fan of Bruins forward Brad Marchand, but you can’t deny that the man has been pretty clutch this season.

On Sunday night, Marchand scored the game-winning goal in Boston’s 2-1 overtime victory over the Minnesota Wild. This isn’t the first time he’s scored in the extra frame this season. The 29-year-old has now found the back of the net five times in overtime in 2017-18. Remarkable.

Only Steven Stamkos (2011-12), Jonathan Toews (2015-16) and Alex Galchenyuk (2016-17) have scored five overtime winners in a season (h/t Michael Berger).

Marchand’s linemate, Patrice Bergeron, also had a positive night in his return to the lineup. He finished the night with two helpers, a plus-2 rating and two shots on goal in 19:08 of ice time. Not bad for a guy who missed almost a month of action because of a broken foot.

After David Pastrnak opened the scoring in early in the second period, Wild forward Mikko Koivu tied the game at one at the midway point of the third frame.

That allowed Minnesota to collect a valuable point in the standings, as they’re now three points clear of Colorado in the race for third place in the Central Division. The Wild had a pretty nice weekend overall. They beat Nashville on Saturday and took the Bruins to OT tonight.

“We get 3 out of 4 points against 2 of the best teams in the league; we’ve gone 3-0-2 in the last five,” Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau said, per Michael Russo of The Athletic. “I think we’re holding our own. We’re not getting anywhere fast getting a point here and a point there, but I think we’re going in the right direction.”

As for the Bruins, they find themselves two points behind Tampa with a game in hand. They can still come away with the Atlantic crown.

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.

WATCH LIVE: Pittsburgh Penguins at Montreal Canadiens

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CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE – 7:30 p.m. ET

PROJECTED LINES

Pittsburgh Penguins
Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Conor Sheary
Carl Hagelin – Evgeni Malkin – Patric Hornqvist
Bryan Rust – Derick Brassard – Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl – Riley Sheahan – Carter Rowney

Brian DumoulinKris Letang
Jamie OleksiakJustin Schultz
Olli Maatta – Chad Ruhwedel

Starting goalie: Tristan Jarry

[PHT’s preview]

Montreal Canadiens
Paul ByronJonathan DrouinBrendan Gallagher
Alex GalchenyukJacob De La RoseArtturi Lehkonen
Charles HudonLogan Shaw – Nikita Scherbak
Nicolas DeslauriersByron Froese/Michael McCarron – Daniel Carr

Mike ReillyJeff Petry
Karl AlznerNoah Juulsen
Jordie Benn – Brett Lernout

Starting goalie: Antti Niemi

————

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.

The Buzzer: Galchenyuk, MacKinnon shine; Hall’s streak hits 24 games

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Players of the Night:

Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens: Galchenyuk went into Friday’s game with no goals in his last 15 games. He managed to score not one, not two, but three goals against the Islanders. He also registered a primary assist on Brendan Gallagher‘s first-period goal. That’s one way to celebrate your 400th career game.

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche: It seemed impossible to top Galchenyuk’s night, but MacKinnon found a way to do it. The Avs forward picked up two goals and three assists against Minnesota. Since returning from an upper-body injury on Feb. 18, he’s accumulated 15 points in seven games.

Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche: Rantanen “only” had four points tonight, as he scored a goal and three assists against the Wild. If you haven’t figured it out already, the Avalanche scored seven times in Friday’s win. Touchdown!

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers: Someone forgot to tell Lundqvist that the Rangers are rebuilding. For the second game in a row, King Henrik has turned aside 50 shots in a Rangers win. Oh, he also turned 36 years old on Friday.

Patrik Laine, Winnipeg Jets: Laine scored two more goals in Friday night’s win over the Red Wings. The 19-year-old is now riding a seven-game point streak. What’s even more impressive, is that he’s put together six multi-point efforts in his last seven outings.

Highlights of the Night:

Yea, Mikael Backlund is going to see Lundqvist in his nightmares tonight:

It wasn’t the most amazing goal you’ll ever see, but Taylor Hall has at least one point in each of his last 24 games:

Four Red Wings surrounding Laine? No problem:

Mike Fisher scored in his first game of the season:

A wicked release by MacKinnon:

Calle Jarnkrok in OT:

Factoids of the Night: 

The Islanders still can’t keep the puck out of the net:

Lundqvist has been pretty busy over the last two games:

Another mention for Laine:

Hall is in some elite company:

Scores:

Canadiens 6, Islanders 3

Panthers 4, Sabres 1

Hurricanes 3, Devils 1

Jets 4, Red Wings 3

Avalanche 7, Wild 1

Rangers 3, Flames 1

Predators 4, Canucks 3 (OT)

Senators 5, Golden Knights 4

Ducks 4, Blue Jackets 2

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.

Slumping Islanders hit new low after home loss to Canadiens

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The New York Islanders had been playing some bad hockey of late, but they had a good opportunity to get back on track this week, as they had a home-and-home date with the Montreal Canadiens. Not only did the Isles fail to sweep a team that has been out of the playoff picture for months, they managed to drop both games.

The Habs went up 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 in the first two periods, but the Islanders managed to tie the game each time. In the third frame, Montreal went up 5-3 thanks to goals by Paul Byron and Noah Juulsen (his first NHL goal). The Canadiens added an empty-netter to bury the Islanders by a score of 6-3. Alex Galchenyuk, who played in his 400th NHL game, finished the night with three goals and an assist.

The Isles now find themselves four points behind Columbus for the final Wild Card spot in the East. They’ve also been passed by Carolina and Florida this week. Since beating the Hurricanes on Feb. 16, New York has dropped five games in a row.

Sure, they were without Jordan Eberle (undisclosed) and Casey Cizikas (attending the birth of his first child) tonight, but that’s no excuse to lose a home game to a horrible road team. To top it all off, the Canadiens lost defenseman Victor Mete to injury in the first period and captain Max Pacioretty (lower body) in the third period, and the Islanders still couldn’t get the better of them.

Check out this note that beat reporter Arthur Staple tweeted out before tonight’s game:

General manager Garth Snow added Chris Wagner and Brandon Davidson before the trade deadline, but those moves clearly didn’t give the players in the locker room added hope.

The Islanders will now hit the road for four games in Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. Even though three of those four teams aren’t in the playoffs, they still won’t be easy outs.

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.