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Pens Points: Skill beats pushback in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final

Hmmm, you listening Mr. Jim?

St Louis Blues v San Jose Sharks - Game One Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Sharks took Game 1 of the Western Conference Final last night. St. Louis had no answer for the Gustav Nyquist - Logan Couture - Timo Meier line that combined for eight points on the evening in the 6-3 win. [Fear the Fin]

Hmm, a skilled San Jose teams seems to have adapted a “just play” attitude and not worrying about pushing back and other shenanigans not related to winning games...

Montreal blog wondering what to do with Dale Weise and his $2.325 million salary next season. (We already said, how about some JJ, baby! You know you want him, Marc Bergevin!) [Habs Eyes on the Prize]

It will be Carter Hart and not Matt Murray to start against Great Britain in the Worlds. I think Canada has something like nine games in 16 days so Murray won’t be playing all and they’ll look to the rookie for the light work. []

Speaking of Team Canada, John Tavares’ Worlds are over before he began with an oblique type injury, but it looks like the worst case scenario was avoided, he’s only expected to be sidelined for a month and should be more than fine for the 2019-20 season. []

Kaapo Kakko was at it again yesterday, scoring a hat trick as the Finns defeated host Slovakia by a 4-2 score. The 18-year old Kakko now has five goals in two games at Worlds. []

The Sabres are still in need of a “roster cleanse” as their rebuild drags on, including goaltending. Good thing they signed Carter Hutton to a four-year deal last summer and let that Robin Lehner go, eh? [Die by the Blade]

Does Dougie Hamilton deserve the bad rap and negative reaction he receives in Boston? An interesting look into that. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]

Finally, Kris Letang is getting back at it, with training videos already popping up on the social media platforms.

While much was made of his high profile mistakes, consider this:

Anytime a player controls the puck that much, he’s bound to lose possession occasionally. The bigger questions to ask aren’t “does Letang need to change his game” they’re the questions that require some nuance. Where is the F3 on these plays? Why does Letang jumping up in play trigger a break against? Should four guys be behind him? It’s obviously true Letang, like any player, needs to make smart reads on the ice and correct decisions, but let’s keep in mind this is a player that tilts the ice in the Penguins’ favor significantly, and FAR more good things like goals for happen than goals against with him on the ice.

That’s the sermon for Sunday, have a good day and go Canes.