When the Edmonton Oilers finished with the 28th overall record in the league this season, the odds were heavily stacked against them winning the lottery and gaining the opportunity to draft Connor McDavid. Of course, Edmonton won anyways, which created a new spark in the Battle of Alberta.
The Flames can’t be happy that McDavid is now projected to play in their division, but Sam Bennett sees the appeal. The 18-year-old rookie forward and McDavid go way back as the two spent five years together with the York-Simcoe Express and then another two as members of the Toronto Marlboros.
Although they went on to play for separate teams in the Ontario Hockey League, Bennett thinks they only ended playing against each other about four times. If everything goes as projected with Edmonton drafting McDavid and both players living up to expectations, then they’ll have many more games against each other in the future.
“We’re more used to being teammates than opponents for sure,” Bennett told the Canadian Press.
“We’ve been friends for a very long time. I’ve played against him a few times, but definitely that’ll be an exciting bunch of years playing against him. That’ll be really cool.”
In the meantime, Bennett is getting ready for Game 3 in Calgary’s first round series against Vancouver (10:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN). He was hurt during Friday’s contest, but Bennett downplayed the ailment as a “bump” and said he was “100% fine” going into tonight’s contest, per the Calgary Sun.
So…what do the Oilers do now?
A quick look at what games will be on what channels in today’s Stanley Cup playoff action…
Capitals at Islanders, 12 p.m. ET on NBC
Goaltender Braden Holtby is expected to get the startt after missing Game 2 due to an illness. The Capitals will look to build on a 4-3 win on Friday night and take their first lead of the series this afternoon. The Islanders will once again be without defenseman Travis Hamonic due to an undisclosed injury. Doc Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire have the call.
Predators at Blackhawks, 3 p.m. ET on NBC
The Blackhawks will also have a different Game 3 starter when their series with the Predators moves to Chicago’s Untied Center this afternoon. Head coach Joel Quenneville announced Scott Darling will make his first career Stanley Cup playoff start today. Darling made 42 saves in relief of Corey Crawford in Game 1. Meanwhile the Preds will be without captain Shea Weber for both Games 3 and 4 due to a lower body injury. Weber left Game 2 midway through the second period and did not return. Kenny Albert, Brian Engblom and Joe Micheletti will be on the call.
Canadiens at Senators, 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Senators have questions in goal heading into Game 3 tonight in Ottawa. After a nearly perfect 20-1-2 record and 1.79 G.A.A. in the final months of the regular season, Andrew Hammond has lost the first two games of the series with Montreal and there’s some thought head coach Dave Cameron may go with veteran Craig Anderson in goal tonight. The 33-year-old had a 1.80 G.A.A. in the Sens 4-1 series win over the Habs during the 2013 playoffs. Chris Cuthbert and Bret Hedican have the call tonight.
Canucks at Flames, 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN
Friday night’s Game 2 featured six fighting majors, seven game misconducts and three 10-minute misconducts – much of which occurred in the final two minutes of the Canucks 4-1 win over the Flames. Calgary’s head coach Bob Hartley was fined $50,000 as a result of the melee. The series now moves to Calgary where the Flames will host a playoff game for the first time since losing in Game 6 of the first round in 2009. Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson and Scott Oake have the call of Game 3.
Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley has been fined $50,000 by the NHL for what the league calls “his responsibility” for a line brawl that broke out late in the third period of Game 2 between his team and the Vancouver Canucks on Friday.
A total of 132 penalty minutes were handed out in the melee.
The league also announced that Deryk Engelland’s game misconduct for instigating a fight in the final minutes was rescinded.
This isn’t the first time Hartley has been disciplined for such an incident. In January of 2014, he was fined $25,000 for what the league called a “premeditated fight” after another line brawl started between the Flames and Canucks right off the opening faceoff at Rogers Arena.
Braden Holtby, who missed Friday’s game due to illness, is expected to return to the Washington Capitals net for Game 3 on Sunday.
Holtby made 23 saves in the Caps’ Game 1 loss to the Islanders.
“I don’t think there will be any questions,” said Holtby when asked about his health. “I don’t know if I lost more energy stressing out through the game or through the sickness.”
Philipp Grubauer made 18 saves in Friday’s 4-3 Game 2 win.
Jonas Hiller will return to the net on Sunday when the Calgary Flames host the Vancouver Canucks in Game 3.
Hiller left Game 2 late in the third period after allowing three goals on 29 shots in the Flames’ 4-1 loss.
Karri Ramo played 4:58 in relief.
The Flames would like to have defenseman Deryk Engelland in the lineup for Game 3 on Sunday night in Calgary.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Flames have requested a review of the instigator penalty Engelland received in the final two minutes of Friday night’s 4-1 loss in Vancouver.
Engelland racked up 42 minutes in penalties late in the third period including an instigator penalty, which would carry a one-game suspension.
Friedman reports if the instigator is rescinded, Engelland would be cleared to play Game 3.
The rule, which would cause Engelland to be suspended is Rule 46.22:
A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five minutes of regulation time or at anytime in overtime shall be suspended for one game, pending a review of the incident. When the one-game suspension is imposed, the Coach shall be fined $10,000 – a fine that will double for each subsequent incident.