Boston Bruins v Vancouver Canucks - Game One

Steady stream of penalties interrupts flow for both teams, second period ends 0-0

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So far, the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks have played 40 minutes of score-less hockey and managed to register 13 penalties and 28 penalty minutes combined in that time. I mentioned that the two teams didn’t need the normal “feeling out process” during the first period, but it’s also tough to tell where each squad stands thanks to their shared steady stream to the penalty box.

No one should doubt either goalie, though. Roberto Luongo already has 26 saves while Tim Thomas put aside 20 shots as neither team has been able to solve either netminder through the first two periods.

Boston 0, Vancouver 0; end of second period

As many expected, Zdeno Chara has been a big difference maker so far. He already registered 20 minutes of ice time, helping to shut down an explosive Vancouver power play (a Game 2-leading 6:17 of shorthanded time on ice so far) and wearing many hats in general. Bruins coach Claude Julien tried him in front of the net on the power play while Chara even beat Ryan Kesler for a faceoff. Many people cannot help but wonder: is there anything Big Z cannot do?

(Apparently, he can even get high-sticked … twice, to be exact, in Game 1 so far.)

It looks like Keith Ballard isn’t the only Vancouver Canucks defenseman who can land a brutal (but legal) hip check. Dan Hamhuis delivered a nice one on Milan Lucic, but he might end up regretting that hit because of David Krejci’s cross-checking retaliation. Edit: Upon further viewings of the situation, it seems more likely that Lucic’s fall hurt Hamhuis while Krejci didn’t actually seem to cross-check Hamhuis.

Hamhuis left the ice after that cross-check and hasn’t been back on Vancouver’s bench yet. Losing Hamhuis would be a major blow to the oft-injured Canucks defense since the 2011 free agent acquisition is one of their shutdown blueliners.

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This has been an intense, entertaining and sloppy Game 1 so far. Out of context, a 0-0 game might seem boring, but this one has been brimming with physicality, scoring chances and a bit of controversy. You never know in a playoff year as wacky as this one, but it’s quite possible that the first goal might just win this game.

Who will blink first (or the most)? We’ll find out in the third period and possibly overtime.

Burns, Doughty, Karlsson named finalists for 2016 Norris Trophy

Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson poses with the James Norris Memorial Trophy after winning the award at the NHL Awards show Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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Brent Burns, Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson have been named finalists for the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman, but the debate about who should win is likely to persist right through to June 22 and the annual NHL Awards.

Not only did Karlsson, last year’s Norris winner, lead all blue liners is points with 82, he led the league in assists with 66 and finished tied with Joe Thornton for fourth in the entire NHL in total points. Those lofty offensive totals could make the Ottawa Senators star the clear favorite to claim the award for a third time in his career.

From NHL.com:

Karlsson is the first NHL defenseman to score at least 82 in a season since Brian Leetch of the New York Rangers (85 points) and Ray Bourque of the Boston Bruins (82 points) in 1995-96.

Burns — is there an award for most outrageous beard? — is also coming off an impressive regular season, finishing just shy of the 30-goal mark with 27 and 75 points in 82 games for the Sharks. He’s also had a strong showing in the post-season, as well, with eight points in the opening round versus L.A.

Doughty’s offensive numbers don’t match up with the production from Karlsson or Burns, with 51 points in 82 games for the Kings. There were eight defensemen ahead of him in overall point production. But he’s often recognized for logging hefty amounts of ice time, averaging 28:01 in the regular season, on a Kings team that often dominates puck possession at even strength.

“If you’re going to win, I don’t care how good you are, you’re going to have to play the other side of the puck,” Kings GM Dean Lombardi recently said to the Associated Press.

“You’re going to have to make those little plays that aren’t going to show up on the highlights. (Doughty’s) defensive partners — the little things he’ll do just to get his partner time to make a play. He’s three steps ahead of everything, and because he is that, he makes it look easy.”

WATCH LIVE: St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars – Game 1

St. Louis Blues' Jay Bouwmeester (19) checks Dallas Stars' Valeri Nichushkin (43), of Russia, during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
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They were the top teams in the Western Conference during the regular season, with 109 and 107 points, respectively. And now, the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues clash with a second-round series in the playoffs. You can catch Game 1 between these Central Division foes on NBCSN (8 p.m. ET) or online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Some links to check out for tonight’s game:

Stars expect Seguin to miss at least first two games of Blues series

Here are PHT’s second-round playoff predictions

 

Canucks sign free agent goalie and Mike Richter Award nominee Garteig

Quinnipiac goalie Michael Garteig (34) eyes a save on a shot by North Dakota during the first period of an NCAA Frozen Four championship college hockey game Saturday, April 9, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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Nine days after getting prized prospect goalie Thatcher Demko under contract, the Vancouver Canucks have inked another college puck stopper.

The Canucks have signed college free agent goalie Michael Garteig to a one-year entry-level contract, the team announced Friday. Garteig recently completed his senior year with Quinnipiac University, which won the ECAC championship but lost the NCAA championship game to North Dakota earlier this month.

Garteig, 24, posted a 32-4-7 record with a .924 save percentage and a career best eight shutouts this season. He was also once again nominated for the 2016 Mike Richter Award.

Sabres extend Larsson: one year, $950,000

BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 22: Johan Larsson #22 of the Buffalo Sabres warms up before the game against the Detroit Red Wings on January 22, 2016 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Tom Brenner/Getty Images)
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) The Buffalo Sabres have re-signed forward Johan Larsson to a one-year contract.

Larsson was eligible to become a restricted free agent once his contract expired this summer. The Swedish-born player is coming off a season in which he set career bests with 10 goals, 17 points and 74 games. He also finished tied with rookie center Jack Eichel in scoring five game-winning goals.

Overall, he has 16 goals and 21 assists in 142 games for the Sabres.

Buffalo acquired Larsson in a trade that sent former Sabres captain Jason Pominville to Minnesota in April 2013. The Wild selected Larsson in the second round of the 2010 draft.

Contractual details, per the Buffalo News: