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PHT Morning Skate: Best line combinations this season; Vanek on the move?

Dominik Simon and Phil Kessel scored in a span of 1:15 in the second as the Penguins beat the Rangers 5-2 for their fourth win in a row.

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

• Up top, check out the highlights from the Penguins’ win over the Rangers on Sunday night.

• J.T. Brown will begin a new adventure now that he’s been claimed off waivers by the Anaheim Ducks. (

• Don’t be surprised if Tampa Bay hosts an outdoor game in the near future. (Tampa Times)

• If Jake Allen doesn’t put his struggles behind him soon, the Blues’ season could end in disappointment. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

• The South Korean women’s hockey team would like to invite players from North Korea to join their squad. (NBC Sports)

• Nathan MacKinnon is grabbing all the headlines in Colorado, but Mikko Rantanen has been huge for the Avs this season. (Mile High Hockey)

• How is each team’s minor league affiliate handing out ice time? Is it mostly going to youngsters or minor-league veterans? (

• Thomas Vanek has been a pleasant surprise for the Canucks, which means he could be on his way out the door before the trade deadline. (The Province)

• Speaking of the Canucks, Derrick Pouliot has quietly been effective defensively with his new team. (

• Which line combinations have been solid for their respective teams this season? (Fan Rag Sports)

• Former NHLer Emerson Etem has signed a contract with HC Lugano of the Swiss League. (Swiss Hockey News)

• Brian Elliott’s wife, Amanda, has always given back to her community and country. She served as a intelligence officer in the United States Air Force in 2007. She also started a program called “Operation Shower” which is “a nonprofit geared toward hosting baby showers for military members who can’t be with family, friends and loved ones while on deployment.” (NBC Sports Philadelphia)

• Mike Babcock not using Auston Matthews on the Leafs’ first power play unit is pretty puzzling. (National Post)


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