Pre-Cup Friendlies – Day 2

Tuesday saw the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames all took to the ice for the first time in months.

Wednesday played host to the Carolina Hurricanes meeting Metro rivals, the Washington Capitals, as the New York Islanders did with the Rangers. Tampa Bay Lightning faced off against their fellow Atlantic Division Florida Panthers.

On the West Coast the Colorado Avalanche faced Minnesota Wild, reigning champions St Louis Blues matched up with the Chicago Blackhawks and the late game saw Canada’s Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets go head-to-head.

Eastern Conference

Carolina Hurricanes v Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin had two goals and an assist, as the Washington Capitals defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in their exhibition game.

Dmitry Orlov had two assists, Evgeny Kuznetsov scored and Braden Holty made 12 saves in two periods for Washington. Vitek Vanecek, the Capital’s new backup goalie, due to a season-ending injury to Ilya Samsonov, made 14 saves in the third period.

Vincent Trocheck and Teuvo Teravainen scored for Carolina, with Petr Mrazek allowing three goals on 16 shots before being replace by James Reimer with 7:35 remaining in the second period. Reimer saved all nine shots he faced.

Trocheck‘s goal will be met with controversy. A nice backhanded shot saw him put the puck in after it trickled behind Holtby and after the net came off its moorings. It wasn’t called on the ice, but upon video review it was determined the Capitals center Nic Dowd caused the net to dislodge prior to the puck crossing the line.

As the sixth seed in the East, Carolina will face the New York Rangers in a best-of-5 series starting Saturday (12pm ET – NBCSN, Fox Sports Carolinas)

Up Next:

Rangers v Canes (Best-of-5) – Saturday, August 1 (12pm ETNBCSN)

Capitals v Lightning (Round Robin)Monday, August 3 (4pm ETNBCSN)

New York Islanders v New York Rangers

Semyon Varlamov made 19 saves in two periods, as the New York Islanders defeated local rivals, the New York Rangers, 2-1 in their exhibition game.

Varlamov started for the Isles, making 12 saves in the first period and seven in the second – including a stacked pad stop to cap a three-save sequence on Rangers forward Jesper Fast at 4:32. Thomas Greiss saved seven of the eight shots faced in the third period.

Devon Toews (no relation to the Chicago Blackhawks captain) scored the game-winner with a far side shot from the right circle after skating onto a flip pass from Derick Brassard, with just 4:25 remaining in the game.

Igor Shesterkin made six saves for the Rangers before allowing Anthony Beauvillier‘s goal which gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead. It was the last shot he faced before being replaced by Henrik Lundqvist, following the plan to play the second half of the game. ‘The King’ made 14 saves but couldn’t stop Toews‘ shot.

Filip Chytil scored with 3:38 left in the third period to give the Rangers, who outshot the Islanders 27-22, hope. Unfortunately for them it was too little too late.

The Islanders, who had three more total shot attempts (46-43) and won more face-offs (25 of 56 / 62.5%) than the Rangers, are the No.7 seed in the Eastern Conference. They will play the 10th seeded Florida Panthers in a best-of-5 series starting Saturday (4 pm ET – NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN1, TVAS, MSG+, FS-F).

The Rangers (No. 11) play the sixth seeded Carolina Hurricanes, also in a best-of-5, on Saturday (12 Noon ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, SN360, TVAS, MSG, FS-CR)

Up Next:

Panthers v Islanders (Best-of-5) – Saturday, August 1 (4pm ETNBCSN)

Rangers v Canes (Best-of-5) – Saturday, August 1 (12pm ETNBCSN)

Tampa Bay Lightning v Florida Panthers

Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat combined for 10pts as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Florida Panthers 5-0.

Point had two goals and two assists, Kucherov scored twice and assisted another, whilst Palat, filling in for the injured Steven Samkos (lower body) on the top line, had three assists.

In addition to Stamkos, Lightning were without defenseman Victor Hedman (personal), and the Panthers were missing defenseman Aaron Ekblad (undisclosed).

Tampa led the NHL in goals per game (3.47) and were one of two teams (Winnipeg Jets) with four players to score at least 25 goals (Kucherov – 33, Stamkos – 29, Alex Killorn – 26, Point – 25) before the pause.

Luke Schenn scored, and Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy made 26 saves for the Bolts.

Sergei Bobrovsky, who has struggled in his first season with the Panthers after signing a seven-year contract on July 1, 2019, made 29 saves for Florida.

As the No.10 seed in the East, the Panthers will face the New York Islanders (No.7) in a best-of-5 qualifier series beginning Saturday (4pm ET – NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN1, TVAS, MSG+, FS-F).

The Bolts play their first round-robin game against the Washington Capitals on Monday (3pm ET ; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN360, TVAS, SUN, NBCSWA). They then face the Boston Bruins (Aug 5) and the Philadelphia Flyers (Aug 8) to determine seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Up Next:

Capitals v Lightning (Round Robin)Monday, August 3 (4pm ETNBCSN)

Panthers v Islanders (Best-of-5) – Saturday, August 1 (4pm ETNBCSN)

Western Conference

Colorado Avalanche v Minnesota Wild

Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar provided the assists, as Gabriel Landeskog scored the game-winner for the Colorado Avalanche in a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild.

Rantanen had missed the final 12 games of the regular season with a shoulder injury, whilst Makar missed three practices during training camp with an undisclosed injury.

During an Avalanche 5-on-3 power play late in the second period, Rantanen passed to Makar in the high slot for a shot, with Landeskog scoring off the rebound to ensure his team the win.

Nathan MacKinnon and Joonas Donskoi also scored for Colorado, whilst goalie Phillip Grubauer made 18 saves on 20 shots in 30:20 on the ice. Pavel Francouz made 14 saves in 29:30.

Eric Staal had a goal and an assist for Minnesota, with Matt Dumba also finding the back of the net. Alex Stalock started between the pipes making 14 saves on 17 shots in 30:22, before Devan Dubnyk took over, playing 27:35 and making 12 saves.

Up Next:

Blues v Avalanche (Round Robin) – Sunday, August 2 (6:30pm ETNBCSN)

Wild v Canucks (Best-of-5) – Sunday, August 2 (10:30pm ETNBCSN)

St Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks

Corey Crawford made 11 saves before making way for Malcolm Subban (10 saves) in the second period for Chicago in a 4-0 victory over the reigning champions, the St Louis Blues.

Crawford didn’t participate in voluntary workouts and missed all but the last day of training camp following a positive COVID-19 test. The 35-year-old was 16-20-3 with a 2.77 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and had one shutout in 40 games (39 starts) during the regular season.

After leading NHL rookies with 30 goals in 68 games before the break, Dominik Kubalik was back at it again, scoring twice on the power play in the third period. He gave Chicago a 3-0 lead on a one-timer at 5:04 before scoring from the high slot, pushing the lead to 4-0 at 12:06.

Brandon Saad and Dylan Strome both netted for the Blackhawks in the second period.

Jonathan Toews, Patrik Kane and Kirby Dach each had two assists for the Blackhawks, who are the No.12 seed in the West and will begin their best-of-5 series against the Edmonton Oilers (No.5) Saturday (3pm ET – NBC, SN)

St. Louis were happy to have Vladimir Tarasenko back after the Russian had been out since Oct. 24 with a shoulder injury that required surgery. The winger had four shots in 15:07 of ice time.

Jordan Binnington made 11 saves on 13 shots for the Blues before Jake Allen (8 saves) came on in relief at the start of the third.

Up Next:

Blues v Avalanche (Round Robin) – Sunday, August 2 (6:30pm ETNBCSN)

Blackhawks v Oilers (Best-of-5) – Saturday, August 1 (3pm ETNBC)

Vancouver Canucks v Winnipeg Jets

Connor Hellebuyck, a Vezina Trophy finalist, made 37 saves to help lift the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. He played the entire game.

His counterpart, Jacob Markstrom allowed three goals on 33 shots in his first game since having knee surgery at the end of February. He missed the last eight games before the season was paused. Markstrom also played the full game, before being pulled for the extra skater.

Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers, who scored at 14:54 of the second period, left the game after just two third period shifts. Coach Paul Maurice said it was “100 percent precautionary,” adding, ” we’ve got lots of confidence.”

Anton Roussel scored the Canucks’ only goal at 13:13 of the third period. Meanwhile teammate Micheal Ferland was held without a point in his first game since Dec.10, he missed the final 55 games before the pause due to recurring concussion symptoms.

The Jets, the No.9 seed in the Western Conference, will face the eighth seeded Calgary Flames in a best-of-5 qualifier series beginning Saturday (10:30pm ET, NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, FS-N, FS-WI).

Vancouver (No.7) will play the Minnesota Wild (No.10) in a best-of-5 series starting Sunday (10:30pm ET – NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, FS-N, FS-WI).

Up Next:

Wild v Canucks (Best-of-5) – Sunday, August 2 (10:30pm ET NBCSN)

Jets v Flames (Best-of-5) – Saturday, August 1 (10:30pm NBCSN)


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