The Buzzer: Toews’ trick; Chabot puts on a show

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Three Stars

1. Jonathan Toews – The Blackhawks followed their game one script in game two, although beating the Blues feels like a bigger accomplishment than eking out a win against the Senators (though people will note that Ottawa has a win and St. Louis does not). Regardless, for the second consecutive game, the Blackhawks rode fantastic performances from their star players.

Toews was strong in Chicago’s first win, yet Saturday was his standout night, as he generated a hat trick, with that third goal coming in OT on a head’s up play. His other two goals were very Toews goals: grinding tallies in the dirty areas of the net.

(While Toews was second to Patrick Kane in Chicago’s first win, Kane was slightly behind Toews in this one, collecting a goal and an assist.)

2. Tyler Seguin – Consider this a collective  star assignment for the killer Stars top line of Seguin (two goals, two assists), Jamie Benn (two goals, one assist), and Alex Radulov (one goal, two assists).

While Dustin Byfuglien drew the Stars’ ire with a questionable hit, the Stars’ high-end firepower turned what would seem like a Central Division showdown into a laugher.

Seguin fired a whopping eight shots on goal, even going 9-3 in the faceoff circle during an impressive night in Dallas. He’s playing as if he’s in a contract year, rather than having already powered up with a Super Mario-sized contract extension.

3. John Gibson – Despite this being the leakiest time of the season for defenses, as teams get used to new systems and rookies get their first exposure to the NHL, there were some great goalie performances on Saturday.

Gibson stood just a little bit taller than some other goalie performances, grabbing another win for an injury-limited Ducks team by stopping all 41 shots to shut out the snakebitten Coyotes.

Much like Seguin, the would-be contract year case is playing as if his extension hasn’t already been settled, winning his first two games while stopping 72 of the first 74 shots he’s faced in 2018-19. If Gibson can stay healthy through 2018-19, he might truly get his recognition as one of the league’s brightest young goalies.

(Andrei Vasilevskiy, another of the NHL’s brightest young goalies, stole one for Tampa Bay against Florida in his own right.)

Most honorable among many honorable mentions:

Thomas Chabot factored in a big way in the Senators’ surprise win against the Maple Leafs, scoring two goals and one assist. It’s hasty to make “Erik Who?” jokes regarding departed defenseman Erik Karlsson, but … you know what, Sens fans? You’ve suffered enough. Go ahead.

Elias Pettersson enjoyed a sensational start to his night, scoring his two goals and one assist through the first two periods of Vancouver’s eventual loss to the Flames, as Johnny Gaudreau‘s line came through with what ended up being comparable box score numbers to the latest sensational Vancouver rookie.

Again, there were a lot of other great performances on Saturday, so feel free to share your picks for honorable mentions, or alternate three stars.

Highlight of the Night

Both of Thomas Chabot’s goals were pretty fantastic against Toronto, but this one really takes the cake:

Saturday was jam-packed with games, so there were some other great moments. Viktor Arvidsson‘s video-game goal can be seen here. Meanwhile, Mikhail Vorobyev‘s first goal was more of a low-light, but it should give all but Avs fans – and really, some Avs fans – a chuckle.

As another bonus, Carter Hutton‘s strong night included this “three-on-none” save:

Rough breaks

There are at least two injuries of note from Saturday. Roberto Luongo suffered a lower-body injury and didn’t return for Florida, while James van Riemsdyk endured an unfortunate lower-body issue of his own, not returning to the Flyers game. Both are issues worth monitoring.

Factoids

A lousy night for the Penguins – particularly their defense – featured a milestone moment for Kris Letang.

The Wild haven’t had a knack for finishing strong, but at least they tend to begin seasons on a high note.

Frederik Andersen, meanwhile, seems to sleep through the first month of Maple Leafs seasons.

The Coyotes were haunted by an “0-fer” last season, as they didn’t win a game in October. With that in mind, they must be that much more frustrated after failing to score a goal on 71 shots on net through their first two games of 2018-19, including 41 saves from Gibson on Saturday.

Arizona’s low point probably came late in tonight’s game, as they were unable to tie a 1-0 game with a 5-on-3 power play that was essentially 6-on-3 at times when Antti Raanta was pulled from the Coyotes net.

Winning is tough in the NHL, and sometimes scoring is, too.

Scores

Flames 7, Canucks 4
Devils 5, Oilers 2
Sabres 3, Rangers 1
Senators 5, Maple Leafs 3
Lightning 2, Panthers 1 (SO)
Predators 4, Islanders 3
Canadiens 5, Penguins 1
Stars 5, Jets 1
Blackhawks 5, Blues 4 (OT)
Golden Knights 2, Wild 1 (SO)
Avalanche 5, Flyers 2
Ducks 1, Coyotes 0

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.

Canadiens coach Claude Julien receives stent, heads home

Claude Julien Montreal stent heart
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TORONTO — Montreal Canadiens coach Claude Julien is returning home to Montreal a day after a stent was placed in a coronary artery. The team said doctors expect a full recovery.

Julien was rushed to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto overnight Wednesday with chest pain. He had surgery Thursday.

“Coach Julien would like to convey his most sincere thanks to everyone at St. Michael’s Hospital for the wonderful care he received during his stay,” the Canadiens said in a statement Friday. “He also wishes to personally and sincerely thank everyone who has sent their well wishes during this time.”

Since Julien left the NHL bubble in Toronto, he will have to follow quarantine protocol if he wishes to re-enter it.

Team members wanting to return to the bubble must provide four consecutive negative COVID-19 tests carried out over four days. They will be quarantined for at least that time period, and possibly up to 14 days depending on risk of exposure while outside the bubble.

Kirk Muller will serve as interim head coach for the rest of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers led the series 1-0 entering Game 2 on Friday.

MORE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule

Canadiens-Flyers stream: 2020 NHL Stanley Cup First Round

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

The Montreal Canadiens look to even their series against the Philadelphia Flyers, following Philadelphia’s 2-1 win in Game 1. Carter Hart recorded 27 saves in goal for the Flyers in the win, topping his idol Carey Price. That said, Price had his moments, including making a highlight-reel save.

Even with that low score, Canadiens – Flyers Game 1 featured a lot of speedy action. Could we see players like Claude Giroux break out with bigger offensive displays in Game 2? Kirk Muller serves as Canadiens coach while Claude Julien recovers from being hospitalized with chest pains.

(The Canadiens announced that Julien is returning to Montreal “to rest following stenting of the coronary artery.”)

An hour-long edition of NHL Live will immediately follow game coverage at 5:30 p.m. ET.

WHAT: Montreal Canadiens vs. Philadelphia Flyers
WHERE: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto
WHEN: Friday, August 14, 3 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN
ON THE CALL: John Forslund, Mike Milbury, Brian Boucher
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Canadiens-Flyers stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

No. 1 Philadelphia Flyers vs. No. 8 Montreal Canadiens (PHI leads 1-0)

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Philadelphia 2, Montreal 1 (recap)
Friday, Aug. 14: Montreal at Philadelphia, 3 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Sunday, Aug. 16: Philadelphia at Montreal, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
Tuesday, Aug. 18: Philadelphia at Montreal, 3 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Wednesday, Aug. 19: Montreal at Philadelphia – TBD
*Friday, Aug. 21: Philadelphia at Montreal – TBD
*Sunday, Aug. 23: Montreal at Philadelphia – TBD

*if necessary

MORE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule

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 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Watch the Coyotes-Avalanche stream at 2 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

After Darcy Kuemper held the Avalanche at bay for most of Game 1, Colorado broke through with three quick goals in the third period. Just like that, the fast-striking Avs built an insurmountable lead, winning Game 1 by a score of 3-0.

The Coyotes only ended up firing 14 shots on goal against Philipp Grubauer in Game 1. Even as a defense-oriented team, Arizona will need to create at least a little more offense to keep up with the well-rounded Avs in Game 2 on Friday.

Will the Coyotes’ bigger names like Taylor Hall, Clayton Keller, and Phil Kessel make an impact? After collecting two assists in Game 1, what does Nathan MacKinnon have in store for Game 2? We’ll get a better sense of where this Coyotes – Avalanche series after Friday’s action.

WHAT: Arizona Coyotes vs. Colorado Avalanche
WHERE: Rogers Place – Edmonton
WHEN: Friday, August 14, 2 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN
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 series 1-0)

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Colorado 3, Arizona 0
Friday, Aug. 14: Arizona at Colorado, 2 p.m. ET – NBCSN
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

The Wraparound: Short turnaround for Stars-Flames after dramatic Game 2

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The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down all of the NHL playoff games today with the all-important television and live streaming information included.

• Check out NHL Bubble Wrap to look back at all of Thursday’s action.

• Claude Julien was hospitalized with chest pains and will not coach the Canadiens for the remainder of the First Round.

Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom is out for Game 2 and in concussion protocol after taking an Anders Lee hit early in Game 1.

NHL GAMES TODAY

Game 2: Coyotes vs. Avalanche (COL leads 1-0) – 2 p.m. ET – NBCSN; live look-in streamIt wasn’t until 53 minutes had gone by that the Avalanche finally broke through. Scoreless through more than two and a half periods, Colorado got on the board with Nazem Kadri’s power-play goal and then doubled its lead 10 seconds later when J.T. Compher scored. Mikko Rantanen scored his first goal of this postseason 1:13 later, for a total of three goals in 83 seconds, and Philipp Grubauer stopped all 14 shots he faced for Colorado’s second shutout win this postseason.

Game 2: Canadiens vs. Flyers (PHI leads 1-0) – 3 p.m. ET – NBCSN; livestream: The top seed in the East came out strong in the opening period, scoring on a Jakub Voracek power-play goal and holding the Canadiens to just five shots. Shea Weber’s goal late in the second period marked the first time this postseason that any Flyers opponent scored and tied the game. It was short lived, however, as rookie Joel Farabee netted the game-winner 16 seconds later and Philadelphia’s D held Montreal to just six shots.

[Full NHL First Round schedule]

Game 2: Canucks vs. Blues (VAN leads 1-0) – 6:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN; live look-in stream: The Canucks beat the defending Stanley Cup champs 5-2 in Game 1 on Wednesday. The game was tied 2-2 going into the third period before Vancouver scored three goals in the final 20 minutes to seal the win. Vancouver lost their first game of the qualifying round versus Minnesota, being shut out in a 3-0 loss. Since then, they have won four straight games, scoring three-plus goals in every game.

Game 2: Capitals vs. Islanders (NYI leads 1-0) – 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN; livestream: T.J. Oshie scored two power play goals in the second period to put Washington ahead 2-0 before the Islanders scored four unanswered to take Game 1. Anders Lee was heavily involved in the action, laying a big hit on Nicklas Backstrom in the first period. Backstrom did not play in the final two periods and has been ruled out for Game 2. Lee was assessed a minor penalty for interference on the play, and then received another two minutes for roughing after being challenged by John Carlson. He then fought Tom Wilson later in the period.

Game 3: Stars vs. Flames (Series tied 1-1) – 10:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN; livestream: It’s a short turnaround for both teams after their dramatic Friday night finish. Jamie Oleksiak‘s goal with 40 seconds left gave the Stars a 5-4 win to knot their series at one. Both teams have question marks heading into Game 3. Stephen Johns was “unfit to play” after taking part in Game 1, while Matthew Tkachuk left Game 2 early in the third period and did not return.

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

SATURDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 3: Bruins vs. Hurricanes (Series tied 1-1) – 12 p.m. ET – NBC
Game 3: Avalanche vs. Coyotes (COL leads 1-0) – 3 p.m. ET – CNBC
Game 3: Lightning vs. Blue Jackets (Series tied 1-1) – 7:30 p.m ET – NBCSN
Game 3: Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights (VGK leads 2-0) – 8 p.m ET – NBC

PHT’s 2020 Stanley Cup playoff previews
Flyers vs. Canadiens

Lightning vs. Blue Jackets
Capitals vs. Islanders
Bruins vs. Hurricanes

Golden Knights vs. Blackhawks
Avalanche vs. Coyotes

Blues vs. Canucks
Stars vs. Flames

First Round predictions
Power Rankings: Best First Round matchups
Conn Smythe Watch: Korpisalo, Aho leading entering First Round
Roundtable: NHL playoff surprises; vulnerable top seeds