Heading in to Day 6 the Calgary Flames knew all they needed was a victory against the Winnipeg Jets to become the second team, and first in the West, to secure their place in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It was an exciting day of hockey with 28 goals scored, 10 of which came in the round-robin game between the Vegas Golden Knights and the reigning champions, the St. Louis Blues. The lead in the game changed three times in the second period alone.
Eastern Conference – Best-of-5
Toronto Maple Leafs v Columbus Blue Jackets
Pierre-luc Dubois completed a hat trick at 18:24 of overtime, as the Columbus Blue Jackets rallied from three goals down for a 3-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 3.
Dubois‘ winner came off a pass from Alexandre Texier, beating Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen with a backhand on a breakaway.
Cody Ceci scored his first NHL playoff goal for Toronto, giving them a 1-0 lead at 18:52 of the first. It was the first shorthanded goal in the playoffs by a Maple Leafs defenseman since Jim McKenny in 1972.
William Nylander scored on the power-play to make it 2-0 at 7:08 of the second.
The Maple Leafs’ third goal came courtesy of Nicolas Robertson. It was the forward’s first NHL goal. An 18-year-old hasn’t scored a playoff goal for the Leafs since Ted Kennedy in 1944, and he’s the first in the NHL since Sam Bennett did so for the Calgary Flames in 2015.
Andersen made 39 saves for eighth-seeded Toronto.
Seth Jones scored, and Cam Atkinson had two assists for Columbus, the No.9 seed in the East.
Joonas Korpisalo allowed three goals on 15 shots before being replaced in the second period by Elvis Merzlikins, who made 21 saves.
Defenseman Martin Marincin played 19:29 for Toronto in place of Jake Muzzin, who was injured in Game 2 and will be out for the remainder of the series.
Game 4 of the best-of-5 series will be on Friday at 8pm ET (NHLN, CBC, TVAS, FS-O).
Columbus lead the series 2-1. Teams that win Game 3 after a series is tied 1-1- are 22-7 (75.9%) at going on to win a best-of-5 NHL series.
Leafs v Blue Jackets – Friday, August 7 (8pm ET – NHLN, FS-O, CBC, TVAS)
Eastern Conference – Round Robin
Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers
Scott Laughton and Kevin Hayes recorded three points each, lifting the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-1 defeat of the Washington Capitals in a round-robin game at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the Eastern Conference’s hub city.
Laughton scored twice and registered an assist, whilst Hayes had three assists for Philly (2-0-0), who play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday for the No.1 seed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
Travis Sanheim also found the net, Travis Konecny had two assists, and Brian Elliott made 16 saves.
Braden Holtby made 18 saves and Travis Boyd scored for the Capitals
(0-1-1) who play the Boston Bruins for the No.3 seed on Sunday in Toronto.
Washington, who lost 3-2 in a shootout to Tampa on Monday, have scored just three goals over two round-robin games, including none at even strength from its top two lines. Alex Ovechkin, who tied for the NHL lead with 48 goals in the regular season, has registered zero points.
The Flyers’ second line of Laughton, Hayes and Konecny has combined for 10pts (3g, 7a) in their two round-robin games.
Caps defenseman John Carlson didn’t play for the second consecutive game after picking up an injury in the third period of their 3-2 exhibition win against the Carolina Hurricanes on July 29.
Bruins v Capitals – Sunday, August 9 (TBD) ***
Western Conference – Best-of-5
Vancouver Canucks v Minnesota Wild
Jacob Markstrom made 27 saves, aiding the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild in Game 3 to take the lead in their best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifier series.
It was the first postseason shutout for Vancouver since Roberto Luongo made 31 saves in a 1-0 win against the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on June 10, 2011.
Brock Boeser, Antoine Roussel and Elias Pettersson scored, with Quinn Hughes registering a further three assists for the Canucks, the No.7 seed in the West. They are one win away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Pettersson scored his first NHL postseason goal, on the power-play with 1:22 remaining for the 3-0 final. He, Boeser and Hughes, each playing in their third NHL postseason game, have combined for seven points (2g, 5a).
The Canucks had 22 blocked shots to Wild’s 11 and have a 49-36 advantage in the series.
Alex Stalock made 26 saves for the tenth-seeded Wild, who scored six goals in the first two games of the series. Minnesota went 0-for-7 on the power-play and are 0-for-13 in the last two games.
They have not scored a 5-on-5 goal in the series – two power-play goals, two 6-on-5, one shorthanded and one emptynetter.
Vancouver played without forward Micheal Ferland, who left their 4-3 game 2 win on Tuesday. He has been ruled unfit to play for the remainder of the series. They were also without forwards Tyler Toffoli and Adam Gaudette, who each missed a second straight game (unfit to play).
As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information.
Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter didn’t play the last 6:51 after blocking a shot.
Game 4 is in Edmonton, the Western Conference hub, on Friday at 10:45pm ET (NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, FS-N).
Canucks v Wild – Friday, Aug. 7 (10:45pm ET – NBCSN, NHL.TV, FS-N)
Calgary Flames v Winnipeg Jets
The Calgary Flames advanced to the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 4-0 win against the Winnipeg Jets in Game 4, taking a 3-1 lead in their best-of-5 series.
They become the first team from the West to qualify, and the second overall. The Carolina Hurricanes swept the New York Rangers in three games on Tuesday to become the first overall, and first Eastern conference team to advance to the Playoffs.
Cam Talbot made 31 saves for his third NHL postseason shutout and his first since April 16, 2017, with the Edmonton Oilers.
Dillon Dube and Sam Bennett scored for the No.8 seeded Flames in the first period, before Sean Monahan and Rasmus Andersson scored emptynetters in the third.
Dube was the 10th Flames forward to score in the series.
Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves for the ninth-seeded Jets.
Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice told media, “I’ve never had a season like this where you’d faced so much adversity and not quit, right?” He continued, “So that’s the value of … That’s how you should value yourself, how hard you compete in dire circumstances, and we just had a year of it. So the feeling we have now is complete emptiness. The payoff is nothing. Other than we’ll find it in a couple of weeks, a couple of months, the growth of some of these young men that will learn to be stronger, heavier players in the playoffs and will develop.”
The Jets played their third consecutive game without injured top-six forwards Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine. The former sustained an Achilles injury in Game 1, but not a tear, after Mathew Tkachuk‘s skate caught the back of his leg whilst against the boards, whilst Laine has a sprained left hand.
Winnipeg capitan Blake Wheeler said he was proud and disappointed that they couldn’t seem to catch a break, adding, “I’m not saying that this series gets flipped on its head by having Mark and Patty — you’ve got to give Calgary a lot of credit — but I would have loved to have played a series with those two guys and seen how that would have shaken out.”
The Jets came close to scoring 29 seconds into the this period when Nikolaj Ehlers, on a partial breakaway, saw Talbot make a shoulder save on his shot. Not long after at 6:48 he was denied another scoring opportunity, this time Talbot came up strong with a glove save to keep the Flames ahead by two.
Monahan scored into an empty net at 16:59 to make it 3-0, before Andersson found the open net once again at 18:48 for the 4-0 final.
Monahan, who had an assist on Dube‘s goal, scored six points (2g, 4a) in the series.
The Flames will play either the Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights, St. Louis Blues or Dallas Stars in the Western Conference First Round. The Avs (2-0-0), Vegas (2-0-0_, Blues (0-2-0) and Stars (0-2-0) are playing in the round-robin portion of the qualifiers to determine the order of the top four seeds in the West.
Winnipeg have a 12.5% chance at the No.1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft in the Second Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery, to be held on Monday.
Flames win series 3-1 – Advance to Playoffs
Western Conference – Round-Robin
Vegas Golden Knights v St. Louis Blues
The Vegas Golden Knights scored three goals in the third period to secure a 6-4 victory over the reigning champions, the St. Louis Blues, in their round-robin meeting.
Alex Tuch had two goals and an assist, Shea Theodore had two goals, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 13 saves for Vegas (2-0-0), who will conclude their round-robin play against the 2-0-0 Colorado Avalanche, they will be battling for the No.1 seed in the West.
Mark Stone and Zach Whitecloud also scored for the Golden Knights.
Colton Parayko had two goals, and Jordan Binnington made 32 saves for the Blues (0-2-0), who finish their round-robin series against the Dallas Stars (0-2-0) on Sunday, when they’ll fight for the No.3 seed in the West.
The Blues took a 1-0 lead at 4:02 of the first period when former Knight David Perron shot 5-hole from between the face-off circles. Parayko made it 2-0 at 1:45 of the second, chipping a loose puck off Fleury‘s left shoulder.
Vegas cut their deficit in half at 6:50 of the second with a Theodore power-play goal.
Tuch scored twice within 2:26 to give the Knights a 3-2 lead, before Paryako and Troy Brouwer scored to give the Blues a 4-3 advantage at the second intermission. The second period saw 6 goals and the lead switch 3 times.
Vegas tied the game once more at 2:01 of the third period when Whitecloud scored with a shot from the base of the right circle for his first goal of the playoffs.
Goals from Stone and Theodore secured the crazy victory for the Golden Knights.
St. Louis scratched forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Robert Thomas, and defenseman Carl Gunnarsson.
Knights v Avalanche – Saturday, Aug. 8 (TBD) ***
Stars v Blues – Sunday, Aug. 9 (TBD) ***
*** Times and channels dependent on best-of-5 series results