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PHT Morning Skate: Can Ovechkin match Gretzky’s all-time goal record?

Washington Capitals v Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA, ON - OCTOBER 5: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates his third period goal and second of the game against the Ottawa Senators with teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov #92 at Canadian Tire Centre on October 5, 2017 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

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--On paper, Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Shattenkirk seems like it would be a strong pairing. But after a handful of games, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault has seen enough from the duo. “Right now, work in progress,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “Trying to find combinations and duos that can be real successful, can bring us wins. Trying to sort that out on defense right now.” (NY Post)

--What is the Columbus Blue Jackets’ identity going to be this year? Well, we’ve seen them use speed, we’ve seen them rely on their defensemen to jump up into the attack more, but we’ve also seen them play a physical brand of hockey. (

--Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky is a talented player that can produce offensively. Now, he just needs to find a way to get more of his shots on net. Only 28 percent of his shots have hit the net, which ranks him 246th of 256 forwards that have played at least 20 minutes this season. (

--Yesterday, we linked to a story about Carolina’s low attendance numbers. If things don’t change in a hurry, it could be their third year in a row in the basement of the league when it comes to attendance. It’s a big concern, but they can fix it. (

--Sam Reinhart is off to a tough start with new head coach Phil Housley. Not only did Housley move the forward from center to the wing after three games, he also took him off the power play. It’s hard to blame the coach. Reinhart has no points and a minus-6 rating this season. (

--William Hill sports books in Vegas lost a pretty penny because the Golden Knights beats the Arizona Coyotes in their home opener earlier this week. “Everybody bet the Knights like they knew what was going to happen,” William Hill sports book director Nick Bogdanovich said. “I was shocked that game drew that much action. At one point we had 280 tickets (on the Knights) to 25 (on Arizona). We never even write 280 tickets on the whole day of hockey, let alone on one team.” (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

--Commissioner Gary Bettman met the media in Los Angeles yesterday. LA Kings Insider has the transcript from the entire exchange. Bettman touched on the “huge success” that was the NHL China Games, the league’s crackdown on slashing, and Vegas’ 3-0 start. (LA Kings Insider)

--Tom Wilson picked up two different suspensions during preseason play. Now that he’s ready to return from the most recent one, he wants to prove that he’s more than just a good. (CSN Washington)

--Alex Ovechkin’s incredible start to the season has some people wondering if he’ll beat his career-high of 65. If he can keep rolling at a 65-goal pace, he has a chance to reach Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 goals. (

--On Saturday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs will look to end their 14-game losing streak against the Montreal Canadiens. Leafs players are fed up of hearing about it, so let’s see if they do something about it. (Toronto Sun)

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