144 days on from the pause, Saturday saw the start of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Sunday’s games completed the first round of the Best-of-5 series (1 Eastern, 2 Western Conference), as well as giving us the beginning of the Round-Robin mini-series (1 Eastern, 1 Western).
The total goal tally for Day 2 was 20, with 8 coming in the Round-Robin games.
Eastern Conference – Best-of-5
Columbus Blue Jackets v Toronto Maple Leafs
Joonas Korpisalo made 28 saves for the shutout in his NHL postseason debut, ensuring the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0.
The shutout was made even more special by being the first ever in the postseason for the Blue Jackets, who entered the League in 2000/01 and have played 32 postseason games.
Frederik Andersen made 34 saves for Toronto, who were shut out just once in 70 games during the regular season, ranking third in the League in goals per game (3.39).
Cam Atkinson gave Columbus the lead at 1:05 of the third period with a wrist shot from the right side, before Alexander Wennberg made it 2-0 with an empty net 19 seconds from time.
The Leafs came closest to scoring at 16:16 of the second period when Korpisalo made a left glove save on Auston Matthew‘s one-timer.
Toronto forward Nicholas Robertson became the first 18-year-old to make his NHL debut in a postseason game since Jerome Iginla (18yrs, 295 days) for the Calgary Flames on April 21, 1996 (Game 3, Western Conference Quarterfinals vs the Chicago Blackhawks).
Robertson, who led the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in goals this season (55), had a scoring chance on his first shift, but Korpisalo made a right pad save on his shot to deny the youngster at 2:05 of the first.
It was the first postseason meeting between the ninth-seeded Blue Jackets and the eighth-seeded Maple Leafs.
Game 2 of the best-of-5 series will be on Tuesday (4pm ET – NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, TVAS, FS-O).
The series winner advances to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, whilst the loser will have a chance at the No.1 pick in the 2020 Draft in the Second Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery, to be held on Aug. 10.
Blue Jackets v Leafs – Tuesday, Aug. 3 (4pm ET – NBCSN, NHL.TV, FS-O)
Eastern Conference – Round-Robin
Philadelphia Flyers v Boston Bruins
The Philadelphia Flyers scored three goal in the second period to set themselves well on the way to a 4-1 win over the Boston Bruins in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Round-Robin.
Michael Raffl had a goal and an assist, and Carter Hart made 34 saves for Philly, who will also play the Washington Capitals on Thursday (time to be determined) and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday (also TBD).
Raffl left the game with 6:17 remaining in third after falling into the boards in front of the Flyers bench after tangling with Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon.
Nate Thompson, Philippe Myers and Scott Laughton also scored for Philadelphia.
Chris Wagner scored for the Bruins, who play Lightning on Wednesday, and the Caps on Aug. 9. He scored from behind the net after his shot deflected in off the skate of Robert Hagg to cut their deficit in half (2-1)
Jaroslav Halak started the game, making 25 saves in place of Tuukka Rask, who was unavailable after missing practice on Saturday due to illness.
The seeds for the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be determined by points in the Round-Robin, if in need of a tiebreaker their regular-season points percentage will be the deciding factor.
Flyers v Capitals – Thursday, Aug.6 (TBD)***
Lightning v Bruins – Wednesday, Aug. 5 (4pm ET – NBCSN, NHL.TV, NESN,
Western Conference – Best-of-5
Arizona Coyotes v Nashville Predators
Darcey Kuemper made 40 saves for the Arizona Coyotes in their 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Qualifier.
Christian Dvorak had a goal and an assist, whilst Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Clayton Keller and Michael Grabner also netted for the 11th-seeded Coyotes.
Taylor Hall and Phil Kessel both registered two assists in the game.
On the other side of the ice, Filip Forsberg scored two goals, Ryan Ellis scored one and Roman Josi recorded two assists for the Preds, who are the No.6 seed in the West.
Juuse Saros made 33 saves for Nashville, ending teammate Pekka Rinne‘s streak of 89 consecutive postseason starts since 2010. It was the fourth-longest by a NHL goalie in the history of the league.
Arizona were without forward Nick Schmaltz (unfit to play) – as part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information.
Game 2 of the best-of-5 series will take place on Tuesday (2:30pm ET – NHLN, NHL.TV, SN360, FS-TN, FS-A PLUS).
Coyotes v Predators – Tuesday, Aug. 4 (2:30pm ET – NHLN, NHL.TV, FS-TN,
Minnesota Wild v Vancouver Canucks
Alex Stalock made 28 saves for the Minnesota Wild to earn his first postseason win, 3-0 against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of their best-of-5 series.
It was the fifth NHL postseason game for Stalock, whose only other start (Apr. 28, 2014) was with the San Jose Sharks.
Defenseman Jared Spurgeon scored twice and had an assist, Kevin Fiala also scored, and Eric Staal had two assists for the Wild, who are the No.10 seed in the Western Conference.
Fiala put Minnesota on the board with a power-play goal at 2:50 of the first period. He scored 26pts (14g, 12a) in the last 19 games before the season was paused on March 12 due to concerns surrounding COVID-19.
Spurgeon made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 10:24 of the second, before scoring into an empty net with 47 seconds remaining to secure the 3-0 victory.
Minnesota limitied Elias Pettersson to just two shots on goal in 19:38 of ice time. “They played good defense today. They’re an older team so they have the experience. I think it was what I expected. High-intense game, a lot of hits and both teams battling,” said the Canucks forward post-game.
Jacob Markstrom made 27 saves for Vancouver, the No.7 seed in the West, in his first NHL postseason game.
14 of Stalock‘s saves came in the first, with 10 in the second and just four in the third.
Game 2 will be played on Tuesday (10:45pm ET – USA, NHL.TV, SN, FS-N,
FS-WI). The series winner will advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Wild v Canucks – Tuesday, Aug. 4 (10:45pm ET – USA, NHL.TV, FS-N, FS-WI)
Western Conference – Round-Robin
St. Louis Blues v Colorado Avalanche
Nazem Kadri scored a power-play goal with just one second remaining in the game, giving the Colorado Avalanche a 2-1 victory over reigning champions, the St. Louis Blues, in the opening game of the Round-Robin games in the West.
Kadri knocked the puck past Jordan Binngton in the final second after Gabriel Landeskog shot it off the left post. The goal was confirmed after a long video review.
Ryan Graves scored and Philipp Grubauer made 31 saves for Colorado, who play the Dallas Stars on Wednesday (6:30pm ET – NHLN, NHL.TV, FS-SW, ALT), and the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday (to be determined).
David Perron opened the scoring, and Binnington made 26 saves for St. Louis, who will play Vegas on Thursday (TBD) and Dallas on Sunday (TBD) to determine seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Knights v Blues – Thursday, Aug.6 (TBD)***
Avalanche v Stars – Wednesday, Aug. 5 (6:30pm ET – NHLN, NHL.TV, FS-SW)
*** Times will be determined after results are known for the Best-of-5 games, due to avoiding conflicting games/schedules.
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