It’s all over: Capitals end Blue Jackets winning streak at 16 games

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The streak is over.

But what a run it was for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

After 16 consecutive wins and a chance at tying the NHL record for the longest winning streak in its history, the Blue Jackets lost for the first time since late-November as they fell 5-0 to the Washington Capitals on Thursday.

With a win, Columbus would’ve tied the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins for the longest winning streak ever in the NHL, and had a chance to set the new record on Saturday against the New York Rangers.

The young Blue Jackets have emerged as Stanley Cup favorites, albeit in January. They lead the Metropolitan Division and they have the best power play in the league. Certainly, they have to be considered a contender for the Eastern Conference at this point in the season.

As coach John Tortorella rightfully pointed out, the Blue Jackets have been recognized on a national scale for something positive, which has never really been the case for a franchise that hasn’t done much winning in its time.

“There is no burden with our team and that’s what I like about it,” Tortorella told the Columbus Dispatch. “A lot of these guys haven’t been covered nationally . . . This has brought a little bit of light to the organization in a positive way. A number of things have been in a negative way with the organization over the years.

“That’s what I like. We’re getting a little bit of experience to the exposure where if you have an opportunity to play in the playoffs, it’s on you. For such a young team I think it’s good that we are being spoon fed some of it.”

But all good things must come to an end.

The Blue Jackets didn’t get off to a great start. It wasn’t a bad opening 20 minutes for them. They had the edge in shots, forcing Braden Holtby to be on top of his game. But the Capitals capitalized on goals from Daniel Winnik on a scramble in front and John Carlson off the rush to take the lead, and they never looked back.

They increased that lead to four goals in the second period. Even Nate Schmidt, who hadn’t scored in almost a full year, got into the act for Washington, making it 3-0.

Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled in the third period.

And that top-ranked Blue Jackets power play couldn’t score on its five opportunities.

The Wraparound: Stars try to force Game 7 vs. Lightning

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The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down Monday’s Stanley Cup Final game with the all-important television and live streaming information included.

• Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has been ruled out for the rest of the Cup Final.

Don’t expect a bubble situation for the 2020-21 NHL regular season.

MONDAY’S STANLEY CUP FINAL GAME

Game 6: Stars vs. Lightning (TB leads 3-2) – 8 p.m. ET, NBC (livestream): Facing elimination for the second time this postseason, the Stars overcame a third-period deficit and won the first Cup Final double-overtime game since 2014 to deny the Lightning the title and force Game 6. In what was the second set of a back-to-back, two aging offseason signees were the difference for Dallas as 36-year-old Joe Pavelski tied the game with 6:45 remaining in regulation and 35-year-old Corey Perry ended the second overtime game in as many days with his put back 9:23 into the second extra session.

This was the first game this series in which neither team led by more than one goal at any point. Game 5 was the second straight game in which there was a lead change after zero such occurrences in the first three games this series.

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

The three oldest players on the ice in Game 5 were the difference makers as Perry and Pavelski scored all of Dallas’ goals and 34-year-old Anton Khudobin stopped 39 of 41 shots including all 11 faced in the overtime sessions. Perry and Pavelski, the two oldest players on the Stars, were long-time division rivals on their former clubs, and were signed the day free agency opened on July 1, 2019. Both were brought on to provide experience and although neither is the prolific goal-scorer they once were, the Stars got what they paid for with the timely scoring the two have provided in these playoffs. For Khudobin, a journeyman goalie starting in the postseason for the first time, he’s now two wins away from history and maybe a Conn Smythe Trophy.

Tampa became first team in NHL history to clinch all three series in overtime en route to reaching the Cup Final, but they were unable to win a fourth OT-series clincher, at least not yet. Head coach Jon Cooper compared his team’s situation now to the East Final, when they led the Islanders 3-1 and lost Game 5 in double overtime and then came back two days later and closed out the series in Game 6.

“We were in this spot before in the last series,” he said. “We had a 3-1 [series] lead, and coincidentally we lost in overtime in that one too. We’ve felt this feeling before, we’ve felt this sting, and then we’ve rebounded.”

The Lightning have yet to lose consecutive games this postseason – 5-0 following a loss since the First Round. They last lost consecutive games on March 8th and 10th – their final two games before the pause.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars (TB leads 3-2)

Stars 4, Lightning 1 (recap)
Lightning 3, Stars 2 (recap)
Lightning 5, Stars 2 (recap)
Lighting 5, Stars 4 [OT] (recap)
Stars 3, Lightning 2 [2OT] (recap)
Game 6: Monday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
*Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 8 p.m. ET – NBC

*if necessary

Bubble won’t be back for full 2020-21 NHL season

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EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The 64 days spent in the NHL playoff bubble feel like six months to Barclay Goodrow.

”It’s tough,” the Tampa Bay Lightning forward said. ”It’s been a grind.”

It’s a grind he and players won’t do again next season. The league and Players’ Association will meet within the next two weeks to discuss the many possibilities of what the 2020-21 season could look like, but there’s no desire to stage it entirely within quarantined bubbles.

”Certainly not for a season, of course not,” NHLPA executive director Don Fehr told The Associated Press on Sunday. ”Nobody is going to do that for four months or six months or something like that. Whether we could create some protected environments that people would be tested and they’d be clean when they came in and lasted for some substantially shorter period of time with people cycling in and out is one of the things I suspect we will examine.”

Not long after the Stanley Cup is awarded, which could be as soon as Monday night if the Lightning beat the Dallas Stars in Game 6 of the final, the two sides will talk about when next season might start, how many games might be possible, what testing and protocols might be required and whether fans might be allowed into buildings at some capacity at some point.

A week after Commissioner Gary Bettman said a mid-to-late December or January start was possible, Fehr agreed that the tentative Dec. 1 opening night target date was the ”earliest conceivable date” the season could start and there’s good reason to believe it’ll be later.

The NHLPA is in the process of finalizing a committee to start answering the myriad of questions hockey faces in trying to get another season going. And while that and negotiations will begin quickly, the league and players are on the same page, that just like the return to play plan, they want to take time to get this right.

”Nobody is going to rush it,” Fehr said.

It helps the NHL has some time and an opportunity to monitor the NFL, Major League Baseball and college athletics for what’s working and not working in those sports.

But the NHL is the most dependent on attendance, which Bettman said affects at least 50% of revenues. It needs fans, but might not be able to get them in all 31 buildings.

”On whatever basis we may or may not be able to have fans in our buildings is something that may be well beyond our control in terms of local government regulations that will determine how much the shortfall is off of where we were and off of where we were projecting,” Bettman said Sept. 19.

The league and players negotiated a long-term extension of the collective bargaining agreement knowing projections for at least next season would be much different given the global pandemic. If each team can’t play 82 games with some fans at some point, everyone is likely to take an even bigger financial hit than expected, which could affect player salaries.

”Players are adults. They understand,” Fehr said. ”They may not like it. They may grumble, and they may wish it was different. I’m sure owners do. I’m sure fans do. I’m sure everybody does. Nobody likes what we’re living through. But you don’t gain anything by sugar coating or being less blunt than otherwise would be the case.”

Players leaving the playoff bubble were blunt that they don’t want to go through that kind of extended isolation again. Vegas forward Max Pacioretty was among them, saying, ”I hope we don’t have to do that again.”

”I hope the world takes a turn for the better here and hopefully get some normalcy back,” Pacioretty said.

With a true return to normalcy a long time away, everyone may have to make some sacrifices to get back on the ice. The Canadian border plays a factor and might require a rejiggered schedule with shorter or limited travel, like baseball did with its 60-game season.

The NHL could get to 60 games and hand out the Stanley Cup before the planned start of the now 2021 Tokyo Olympics. NBC is the NHL’s U.S. TV rightsholder and also airs the Olympics. Of course, it’s conceivable there’s no season because owners would lose tens of millions of dollars without fans, but Fehr doesn’t believe that’s likely.

”In this world we live in, I think anything is possible, but I think it’s pretty remote,” he said. ”What we have to do is basically proceed on the assumption that there will be a season, that we can figure out how to do it and how do we do it in a way which provides the requisite health and safety for players and staff and broadcasters and (reporters) and the fans once we can get them back in the arenas, but at the same time has some integrity. That’ll be the task.”

NHL schedule for 2020 Stanley Cup Final

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The Stanley Cup Playoffs continue on Saturday, Sept. 19 in the hub city of Edmonton. Now that we are through the conference finals, the full 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final schedule has been announced.  

The top four teams during the regular season in both conferences played a three-game round robin for seeding in the First Round. The eight winners of the best-of-5 Qualifying Round advanced to the First Round.  

Rogers Place in Edmonton will host 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final.  

Here is the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final schedule.

2020 STANLEY CUP FINAL (Rogers Place – Edmonton)

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars (TB leads 3-2)

Stars 4, Lightning 1 (recap)
Lightning 3, Stars 2 (recap)
Lightning 5, Stars 2 (recap)
Lighting 5, Stars 4 [OT] (recap)
Stars 3, Lightning 2 [2OT] (recap)
Game 6: Monday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
*Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 8 p.m. ET – NBC

*if necessary

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

CONFERENCE FINAL RESULTS

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Lightning beat Islanders (4-2)

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Stars beat Golden Knights (4-1)

***

SECOND ROUND RESULTS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Lightning beat Bruins (4-1)
Islanders beat Flyers (4-3)

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Golden Knights beat Canucks (4-3)
Stars beat Avalanche (4-3)

***

NHL QUALIFYING ROUND / ROUND-ROBIN RESULTS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Philadelphia Flyers (3-0-0, 6 points)
Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1-0, 4 points)
Washington Capitals (1-1-1, 3 points)
Boston Bruins (0-3-0, 0 points)

Canadiens beat Penguins (3-1)
Hurricanes beat Rangers (3-0)
Islanders beat Panthers (3-1)
Blue Jackets beat Maple Leafs (3-2)

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Vegas Golden Knights (3-0-0, 6 points)
Colorado Avalanche (2-1-0, 4 points)
Dallas Stars (1-2-0, 2 points)
St. Louis Blues (0-2-1, 1 point)

Blackhawks beat Oilers (3-1)
Coyotes beat Predators (3-1)
Canucks beat Wild (3-1)
Flames beat Jets (3-1)

***

FIRST ROUND RESULTS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Flyers beat Canadiens (4-2)
Lightning beat Blue Jackets (4-1)
Islanders beat Capitals (4-1)
Bruins beat Hurricanes (4-1)

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Golden Knights beat Blackhawks (4-1)
Avalanche beat Coyotes (4-1)
Stars beat Flames (4-2)
Canucks beat Blues (4-2)

Lightning-Stars stream: 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final

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NBC’s coverage of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs continues with Monday’s Stanley Cup Final matchup between the Lightning and Stars. Coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Watch the Lightning-Stars stream on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Facing elimination for the second time this postseason, the Stars overcame a third-period deficit and won the first Cup Final double-overtime game since 2014 to deny the Lightning the title and force Game 6. In what was the second set of a back-to-back, two aging offseason signees were the difference for Dallas as 36-year-old Joe Pavelski tied the game with 6:45 remaining in regulation and 35-year-old Corey Perry ended the second overtime game in as many days with his put back 9:23 into the second extra session.

Pavelski has now scored 13 goals, tied with Brayden Point for the most in these playoffs. He’s one shy of his total in the 2016 playoffs (14) when he led all players in the only other postseason he reached the Cup Final. That series against Pittsburgh, Pavelski had a goal in 6 games – his only point in the series. In this Cup Final, he has four goals in five games (all in last four games).

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

In two games facing elimination this postseason, Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin has stopped 79 of 85 shots, with both wins coming past regulation. With a win in Game 6 he will have the second-most victories in a single postseason in franchise history.

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper announced Sunday that captain Steven Stamkos will not appear the rest of this series, meaning if Tampa wins the Cup it’ll be the first time since the Flames in 1989 that a team has a captain not play in the Cup-clinching game.

Historically, a 3-1 series lead in the Cup Final has almost guaranteed an eventual Cup victory, with teams converting 33 times in 34 total tries. The only time a team blew a 3-1 lead in the Cup Final was in 1942, when Detroit lost to Toronto after leading the series 3-0.

WHAT: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars
WHERE: Rogers Place – Edmonton
WHEN: Monday, September 28, 8 p.m. ET
TV: NBC
ON THE CALL: Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Brian Boucher
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Lightning-Stars stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars (TB leads 3-2)

Stars 4, Lightning 1 (recap)
Lightning 3, Stars 2 (recap)
Lightning 5, Stars 2 (recap)
Lighting 5, Stars 4 [OT] (recap)
Stars 3, Lightning 2 [2OT] (recap)
Game 6: Monday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
*Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 8 p.m. ET – NBC

*if necessary