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Five logical landing spots for Max Pacioretty

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At this point, a Max Pacioretty trade out of Montreal seems imminent.

For a variety of reasons, it sounds like the Canadiens are no longer interested in keeping their captain around. Pacioretty is in the final year of his contract, so playing the waiting game isn’t necessarily in the team’s best interest, either.

It’s a difficult situation for general manager Marc Bergevin to be in. Everyone in the hockey world is aware that a divorce between the two sides is coming. Somehow, Bergevin will have to get the best possible return for a talented scorer whose stock is at its lowest.

But here at PHT, we like to help general managers find solutions to their problems, so here are five potential landing spots that make perfect sense for Pacioretty and for the Canadiens.

• Chicago Blackhawks

The ‘Hawks have reportedly been in the mix for Pacioretty this offseason, but Bergevin’s former team still hasn’t found a way to acquire the winger from the Canadiens. Chicago has over $5.4 million in cap space, so fitting him under the cap wouldn’t be an issue.

Outside of signing Chris Kunitz, Brandon Manning and Cam Ward, it’s been a quiet offseason for Chicago. Getting Pacioretty would be the biggest move of the summer for this team. After failing to make the playoffs last year, they could sure use a shot in the arm and an upgrade to their roster.

The biggest issue is figuring out what the Blackhawks could give up in a trade for Pacioretty and what the Canadiens are looking for in return for their captain. Yes, we know about Montreal’s need down the middle, but the ‘Hawks wouldn’t part ways with Jonathan Toews or Nick Schmaltz for a player on an expiring contract. On the flip side, the Habs probably wouldn’t be interested in acquiring another aging player like Artem Anismov.

Adam Boqvist, who the Blackhawks took eighth overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, is probably a no-go either. So coming up with a package might be difficult. Maybe a deal could center around picks, a prospect like Henri Jokiharju (Chicago’s first-rounder in 2017) and a roster player.

• Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers have been looking for a winger to play with Connor McDavid. Instead of using a center like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in that role, why not go after a speedy player with scoring ability like Pacioretty?

Edmonton has $4.97 million in cap space, but they still have to re-sign restricted free agent Darnell Nurse, so they’ll likely have to shed salary if they’re going to make an impact trade. If Pacioretty scored 30-plus while playing with a guy like David Desharnais (no offense, David), imagine what he could do playing next to the best player in the game.

If the Oilers want to get back to where they were two seasons ago, getting McDavid a legit scoring winger would only help them in that regard. Can they find enough quality pieces to make a trade work? That’s a different story. Would Pacioretty be willing to sign a lucrative extension to stay in Edmonton long-term? That’s another potential road block, but you’d have to think that playing with McDavid would help convince him to stick around.

• Los Angeles Kings

The Kings were the team that reportedly came the closest to landing Pacioretty on draft day. As the two teams were negotiating a potential deal, Los Angeles made Pacioretty a contract offer, which he didn’t like so the deal fell through.

Even though they failed to negotiate an extension with Pacioretty in June, they shouldn’t just throw in the towel on acquiring the five-time 30-goal scorer. The Kings obviously had a package that was serious enough in Montreal’s eyes that they would allow them to negotiate with Pacioretty directly.

Los Angeles also has a huge need up front. Getting Anze Kopitar some help still has to be a priority for them. Sure, Ilya Kovalchuk helps in that regard, but you can never have too many scorers. The Kings only have $2.51 million in cap space, so they’d have to find a way to fit Pacioretty’s $4.5 million salary.

• New Jersey Devils

The Devils haven’t really been linked to Pacioretty at all, but they are an up-and-coming team that shocked the hockey world by making the playoffs last year, and they have more cap space than any other team in the league as of right now.

GM Ray Shero might be apprehensive about making a short-term move to acquire a player like Pacioretty, but they might be able to get the New Canaan, Connecticut native (less than 70 miles away from the Prudential Center) to agree to stick around for the long haul.

Adding Pacioretty to a forward group that includes Taylor Hall, Travis Zajac, Kyle Palmieri, Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt would be a huge for the Devils. It all depends on whether or not Shero wants to take the patient approach or if he’s willing to be a little more aggressive with his team.

• San Jose Sharks

GM Doug Wilson has showed off his creative side over the last few months. He went out and acquired/re-signed Evander Kane, he was able to shed salary by landing Mike Hoffman from Ottawa before quickly shipping him off to Florida, and he was one of the finalists in the running for John Tavares (the pitch must have been creative in some way, shape or form).

The Sharks would need to clear a little cap space to fit Pacioretty (assuming Montreal doesn’t retain any salary), but that shouldn’t really be a problem.

Adding the 29-year-old would give the Sharks some added offensive bite in a tough Pacific Division. If they can make it happen at the right price, they should definitely pursue a player with Pacioretty’s ability.

Fun fact: The Sharks were the team that traded the Canadiens the first-round pick they used to select Pacioretty in the 2007 NHL Entry draft.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Bruins win Game 3 without Rask, Pastrnak; Hurricanes lose, Svechnikov injured

Bruins Hurricanes Game 3 Coyle Halak
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Heading into Game 3, the news was really bad for the Bruins. Heading out of a 3-1 win for the Bruins, who took a 2-1 series lead, the bad news swung against the Hurricanes in a big way.

[Read up on Tuukka Rask opting out of the NHL bubble.]

Halak was brilliant — except for a blunder — in helping Bruins beat Hurricanes in Game 3

For those of us familiar with Jaroslav Halak‘s career — not just that incredible 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs run, but that too — it was hard not to belt out a “the other guy’s pretty good” when Tuukka Rask opting out (understandably) made waves.

Aside from a disastrous puckhandling/passing moment that opened the door for a Nino Niederreiter power-play goal, Halak was nearly perfect in Game 3. Halak made 29 out of 30 saves in this big win. While Petr Mrazek was fine, it’s fair to wonder if the Hurricanes might turn to James Reimer, who helped Carolina win Game 2.

Here’s that blunder by Halak, which again ended up being an aberration:

Hurricanes lose game, Svechnikov might be injured

Looking back at Game 3, and looking forward at the rest of this First Round series, the Hurricanes must feel a mixture of regret and concern.

When it comes to regret, the Hurricanes must rue some special teams setbacks. While both teams went 1-for-5 on their power plays, the Bruins scored the game-winner shorthanded. It’s also tough to stomach when you realize that Carolina’s lone goal mainly boiled down to Halak’s gaffe.

Of course, there were also some moments that might tempt Rod Brind’Amour to get fined again. In particular, a missed high stick to Dougie Hamilton‘s face left Hurricanes fans fuming.

But the biggest concern is going forward. Late in Game 3, Andrei Svechnikov appeared to suffer a knee injury getting tangled up with Zdeno Chara. While it’s too early to tell how severe the issue might be, Svechnikov needed help off of the ice.

The Bruins showed that they could win without David Pastrnak and Rask, and maybe Carolina can do the same without its budding star. It’s pretty painful when you combine it with narrowly losing Game 3, though.

Charlie Coyle played well in Game 3, scoring a goal and an assist. Also, David Krejci turned some heads with some sharp passing, finishing Game 3 with two assists. Brad Marchand inflated the margin of victory with an empty-netter.

After being outshot 15-7 in the first period, the Bruins ended up with a 39-30 shots on goal advantage. That sure seems like a strong response to losing key players, and supporting Halak.

No. 4 Boston Bruins vs. No. 5 Carolina Hurricanes (BOS leads 2-1)

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 3 (2OT) (recap)
Thursday, Aug. 13:Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2 (recap)
Saturday, Aug. 15: Boston 3, Carolina 1
Monday, Aug. 17: Boston at Carolina, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Wednesday, Aug. 19: Carolina at Boston – TBD
*Thursday, Aug. 20: Boston at Carolina – TBD
*Sunday, Aug. 23: Carolina at Boston – TBD

*if necessary

MORE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Coyotes-Avalanche stream: 2020 NHL Stanley Cup First Round

Coyotes-Avalanche stream
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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs continues with Friday’s First Round matchup between the Coyotes and Avalanche. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET on CNBC. Watch the Coyotes-Avalanche stream at 2 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

When you look at effort alone, the Coyotes presented a night-and-day difference between their play in Game 1 (passive, bad) and Game 2 (aggressive, good). Unfortunately for Arizona, the Avalanche are also aggressive and good, and they were able to squeeze out a win.

With that, the Coyotes find themselves down 2-0 heading into Game 3. The two teams played a physical, close game on Friday, so it will be interesting to see how the Avs and Coyotes perform during this back-to-back.

Could the fatigue factor benefit the defense-minded Coyotes? Maybe the Avalanche can burst out of the gate in Game 3 and leave the Coyotes feeling less than confident? So far, Nathan MacKinnon has been deadly, while Nazem Kadri has been clutch. Meanwhile, time is running out for Taylor Hall and the Coyotes. It could be a short series if Arizona can’t get it done in this one.

WHAT: Arizona Coyotes vs. Colorado Avalanche
WHERE: Rogers Place – Edmonton
WHEN: Saturday, August 15, 3 p.m. ET
TV: CNBC
ON THE CALL: Kenny Albert, Pierre McGuire
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Coyotes-Avalanche stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

No. 2 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 7 Arizona Coyotes (COL leads 2-0)

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Avalanche 3, Coyotes 0 (recap)
Friday, Aug. 14: Avalanche 3, Coyotes 2 (recap)
Saturday, Aug. 15: Colorado at Arizona, 3 p.m. ET – CNBC
Monday, Aug. 17: Colorado at Arizona, 5:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Wednesday, Aug. 19: Arizona at Colorado – TBD
*Friday, Aug. 21: Colorado at Arizona – TBD
*Sunday, Aug. 23: Arizona at Colorado – TBD

*if necessary

MORE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule

Hurricanes-Bruins stream: 2020 NHL Stanley Cup First Round

No Rask Halak starts Bruins Hurricanes livestream Game 3
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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs continues with Saturday’s First Round matchup between the Hurricanes and Bruins. Coverage begins at 12 p.m. ET on NBC. Watch the Hurricanes-Bruins stream on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

When Tuukka Rask made comments about not being in “prime shape” for the NHL Return to Play, maybe we should have seen it coming. Even so, it was a little startling to hear that Rask opted out of the return to play before Game 3 of Bruins – Hurricanes.

As the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners, the Bruins were already dealing with turmoil. You don’t often see top seeds fall all the way to fourth place, but then again, sports leagues also don’t often need to navigate global pandemics. If the Bruins are going to go deep in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, they clearly need to overcome more than the Hurricanes.

While these are far from ideal circumstances, don’t count the Bruins out altogether. Boston turns to capable backup Jaroslav Halak, who probably could have had a shot at a starting job (or at least a 1A/1B situation) if he didn’t stick with the Bruins.

Being that David Pastrnak missed Game 2, the Bruins are dealing with some tough times. In the Hurricanes, they also face a very tough opponent. We’ll see if Boston can roll with the punches in Game 3 on Saturday afternoon on NBC.

WHAT: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Boston Bruins
WHERE: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto
WHEN: Saturday, August 15 – 12 p.m. ET
TV
: NBC
ON THE CALL: John Forslund, Mike Milbury, Brian Boucher
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Hurricanes-Bruins stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

No. 4 Boston Bruins vs. No. 5 Carolina Hurricanes (Series tied 1-1)

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 3 (2OT) (recap)
Thursday, Aug. 13:Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2 (recap)
Saturday, Aug. 15: Boston at Carolina, 12 p.m ET – NBC
Monday, Aug. 17: Boston at Carolina, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Wednesday, Aug. 19: Carolina at Boston – TBD
*Thursday, Aug. 20: Boston at Carolina – TBD
*Sunday, Aug. 23: Carolina at Boston – TBD

*if necessary

MORE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule

Bruins’ Tuukka Rask opts out of NHL return to play

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The Boston Bruins announced on Saturday morning that starting goalie Tuukka Rask has opted out of the NHL’s return to play this postseason and will be leaving the bubble in Toronto.

Rask had started the first two games of their First Round series against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The two teams play in Game 3 of the series on Saturday afternoon (12 p.m. ET, NBC).

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

“I want to be with my teammates competing, but at this moment there are things more important than hockey in my life, and that is being with my family. I want to thank the Bruins and my teammates for their support and wish them success,” said Rask in a statement released by the team.

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said on a conference call that the team “completely” understands where Rask is coming from in his decision to opt out, and that the organization fully supports his decision, why he made it, and is not totally surprised by it.

Sweeney pointed out that Rask has three children at home, including a newborn daughter and that family has to be the priority. He also added that Rask’s family is safe and healthy and that there was no specific incident that resulted in him opting out, other than that he was having a difficult time being away in this environment.

With Rask now leaving the bubble, Jaroslav Halak will take over the starting goaltending duties for the Bruins.

Halak started one game for the Bruins in the Round-Robin phase, stopping 25 out of 29 shots in a loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. He appeared in 31 games during the regular season, posting an 18-6-6 record with a .919 save percentage.

No. 4 Boston Bruins vs. No. 5 Carolina Hurricanes (Series tied 1-1)

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 3 (2OT) (recap)
Thursday, Aug. 13: Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2 (recap)
Saturday, Aug. 15: Boston at Carolina, 12 p.m ET – NBC
Monday, Aug. 17: Boston at Carolina, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Wednesday, Aug. 19: Carolina at Boston – TBD
*Thursday, Aug. 20: Boston at Carolina – TBD
*Sunday, Aug. 23: Carolina at Boston – TBD

*if necessary

MORE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.