Playoffs tonight: Can the Bruins answer back in Game 2?

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Wednesday night’s Game 1 was an incredible thriller. Can Game 2 live up to that hype or are we in store for a tighter game?

Game 2: Chicago Blackhawks host Boston Bruins (8 p.m. ET — NBCSN/Live Extra)
Chicago leads series 1-0

After the triple-overtime epic that was Game 1, the pressure is on the Boston Bruins to see if they can bounce back from such a tough loss. Unfortunately, they head into Game 2 with some looming questions.

The main worry is the health of Nathan Horton. The big forward left Game 1 with an apparent shoulder injury, one that’s reportedly nagged him all playoffs, but after practicing yesterday it looks like he could go. If his issue is a chronic dislocated shoulder, however, that could be a major problem as it can reoccur at any time. (Update: Horton will play Game 2)

That shifts the questions to the play of Tyler Seguin. Seguin has popped off a lot of shots in the postseason and has just one goal to his name. If he’s needed in a larger role tonight, can he be a difference maker? Boston might need him to be that no matter what.

This isn’t all about the Bruins, of course. After taking Game 1, Chicago seemed to be clicking pretty well. They dominated in puck possession and outshot the Bruins by a wide margin. Is there anything that really needs to be adjusted? Coach Joel Quenneville might tell you the power play could use work after it did a miserable job of generating scoring chances in Game 1.

The difference maker tonight, however, could be Corey Crawford who the Blackhawks couldn’t rave over hard enough after Game 1. Throw in captain Jonathan Toews’ endorsement for Crawford to be Team Canada’s goalie at the Olympics and it’s a full-on love fest in the Windy City.

This is where we remind you that Tuukka Rask has been equally outstanding for Boston and we should expect more of the same stellar goaltending we saw in Game 1 from both players.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

Rasmus Sandin
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TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.