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It was a really bad weekend for the Blue Jackets

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Allow me to summarize the good things that happened for the Columbus Blue Jackets this weekend: at least the Canadiens didn’t pry a standings point in losing to the Penguins on Saturday.

Yep, that’s about it.

After falling 4-0 to the struggling Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, the Blue Jackets fell 5-2 to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. In a time where every game really counts, Columbus managed zero of a possible four points during those two games.

And, really, after going all-in at the trade deadline, things have basically been going all-wrong.

They’ve now lost three of four games since deciding to keep Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky, while also loading up on players, most notably Matt Duchene. (Columbus also only managed four points out of a five-game homestand, going 2-3-0.)

Generally speaking, the Penguins, Hurricanes, and Canadiens have been taking care of their business while Columbus is fighting it — the Penguins even beat Columbus in regulation (5-2) the day after the deadline.

With the Hurricanes winning dramatically on Saturday, and the Penguins beating Montreal, the standings look troubling for Columbus:

Metro 3 – Hurricanes: 36-23-6: 78 points, 65 games played, 35 regulation/OT wins

Wild card 1 – Penguins: 34-22-9: 77 points, 65 GP, 33 ROW
WC 2 – Canadiens: 35-24-7: 77 points, 66 GP, 33 ROW

Ninth: Blue Jackets: 36-26-3, 75 points, 65 GP, 36 ROW

Of course, this weekend doesn’t totally submarine the Blue Jackets’ dreams. They still have 17 games remaining in the regular season, including crucial back-to-back games against the Penguins (March 7 and 9) coming up next week.

But the pall that went over the crowd in Columbus on Sunday really hammered home the fears that the Blue Jackets won’t just fall frustratingly short of a deep run like years past — there’s legitimate concern about making the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at all.

It’s not like the Blue Jackets played terribly on Sunday, even though they were wrapping up a back-to-back set.

They generated a 42-26 shots on goal advantage against the Jets, and you can’t explain it away as “score effects” alone, as the game was tied 2-2 going into the third period. Artemi Panarin did his part with two assists, but Blake Wheeler‘s four-goal output ended up making the difference.

It’s silly to say Columbus isn’t trying, or to throw Panarin under the bus, but one legitimate worry – beyond the Blue Jackets’ place in the standings – is the play of Sergei Bobrovsky.

He allowed four goals in each of the past two games, even though Bob only played in two of three periods on Saturday. After generating back-to-back shutouts heading into the trade deadline, Bobrovsky’s allowed an ugly 15 goals in his last four appearances.

Whether it’s a coincidence, Bobrovsky faltering in a clutch, almost playoff-like situation once again, or this being a matter of an unhappy goalie who wanted out of Columbus, the Blue Jackets must think long and hard about how much they should count on Bobrovsky instead of, say, Joonas Korpisalo or Keith Kinkaid down the stretch.

Because, frankly, they can’t really survive many more weekends – or even days – like these.

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.

No More Champs: Hurricanes oust Capitals in 2OT

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Not even the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals were immune in one of the craziest opening rounds ever seen. Brock McGinn tipped a shot by Justin Williams in double overtime in a series-clinching 4-3 victory for the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7.

Early on, it didn’t look like this would be a dramatic contest. Andre Burakovsky stripped the puck away in the Hurricanes’ zone and then beat goalie Petr Mrazek to put Washington on the board just 2:13 minutes into the game. Just four minutes later, Alex Ovechkin outplayed Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton before feeding the puck to Tom Wilson, who made the game 2-0.

Carolina hung in there though. Sebastian Aho scored a shorthanded goal at 9:51 of the second period to cut the lead in half. Evgeny Kuznetsov regained the two-goal lead at 13:22 of the second period, but Teuvo Teravainen answered right back at 16:37.

Early in the third period, Jordan Staal got a clean shot on Braden Holtby that he managed to get by him. It’s one that Holtby arguably should have gotten, but he didn’t have help on that play either and the end result was the game was tied.

From there, Carolina was a dominant force in overtime and it looked more and more like it was just a matter of time before the Hurricanes beat Holtby one more time. It took a while, but it happened.

Just like that, all four wild-card teams have advanced. Washington is out. Pittsburgh, which won the Cup in 2016 and 2017, is out. Vegas, which got to the Stanley Cup Finals last year, is out. Tampa Bay, which tied an NHL record with 62 wins in the regular season, is out.

This year has reinforced the notion that anything can happen in the playoffs. Carolina will face the New York Islanders in Round 2 and while the Hurricanes might be the underdogs, that hasn’t been a bad spot to be in.

MORE: Round 2 schedule, TV info

Ryan Dadoun is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @RyanDadoun.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019: Round 2 schedule, TV info

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We’re down to eight.

With the last Game 7 out of the way in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, we can now look ahead to all that Round 2 will bring.

The battle for the 2019 Stanley Cup continues as eight teams vie to become this year’s champion, and there won’t be a repeat after the Washington Capitals got bounced in Game 7 on Wednesday. All four wildcard teams are in. All four divisional winners are out. It’s been a wild ride and there are still three rounds to go.

Here is the full Round 2 schedule with the all-important TV information: 

MORE: 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Schedule, Bracket, Streams and More

For the third consecutive postseason, NBC Sports’ coverage of Stanley Cup Playoff first-round games on NBCUniversal cable networks (NBCSN, USA Network and CNBC), as well as NHL Network, will air side-by-side and will be available for streaming on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app in local markets alongside regional sports network game telecasts. (Local blackouts apply in Las Vegas and Pittsburgh in the first round).


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

WATCH LIVE: Capitals, Hurricanes meet in Game 7

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Game 7: Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals, 7:30 p.m. ET (Series tied 3-3)
NBCSN
Call: Kenny Albert, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire
Series preview

Stream here

Tonight’s pre-game coverage on NBCSN begins at 6:30 p.m. ET with NHL Live, hosted by Kathryn Tappen alongside analysts Jeremy Roenick and Keith Jones.

NBC Sports begins its exclusive coverage of the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs tomorrow with a Game 1 doubleheader on NBCSN. Coverage starts at 7 p.m. ET between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Boston Bruins, followed by the Dallas Stars-St. Louis Blues series at 9:30 p.m. ET. Thursday’s doubleheader pre-game coverage begins on NBCSN at 6 p.m. ET with NHL Live.

Part of Seattle’s NHL future is honoring its hockey past

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SEATTLE (AP) — The preview center for Seattle’s NHL franchise overloads visitors’ senses with pictures and video providing a peek at what they’re going to get when the team begins play in its flashy new arena for the 2021-22 season.

For those in charge of the franchise, the locker unveiled Tuesday with the nameplate of Guyle Fielder on the front and filled with equipment from more than a half-century ago, along with an old Seattle Totems sweater hanging on the frame, is just as important as all that future tech.

Fielder is far from a household name in hockey circles. But for a time in the 1950s and 60s, he was one of the best hockey players in North America not playing in the NHL, and he called Seattle home for the majority of his career. So while pointing toward what’s to come, the new franchise also wants to honor the city’s hockey past, starting with Fielder.

When his career ended in 1973, Fielder had 1,929 career points – 438 goals and 1,491 assists – in the Western Hockey League. While the competition was not on par with the NHL, Fielder still has the fourth-most points among pro hockey players in North America, trailing only Wayne Gretzky, Jaromir Jagr and Gordie Howe.

”The game of hockey is such a great game and I think a lot of people don’t know that there is a real history of it here,” said Dave Tippett, the former NHL coach serving as a senior adviser to the Seattle franchise. ”They’ve got two very good junior franchises here but the history of the game has been around here a long time. History with some different buildings. It’s doing everything we can do to honor the game and to build the game.”

The nod to history is important to Tippett and team President Tod Leiweke. And it made sense to honor Fielder first with a locker dedicated to the 88-year-old that is a permanent fixture in the team’s preview center. The franchise also unveiled an award in Fielder’s name that will be given out annually to one of its players.

”Tod is a hockey nut and he loves Seattle and he wants to make sure this franchise is built right and honors the past while also doing everything he can do to build a top-notch franchise,” Tippett said.

Fielder played in the era of the Original Six when breaking into the NHL was difficult for even the best players. When he failed to make the Chicago Blackhawks roster, Fielder decided to ply his trade professionally on the West Coast.

Fielder developed into the best player of his era out West. His 22-year career spanned six different WHL franchises, but he spent most of his time in Seattle, first with the Americans and later with the Totems. It’s his green Totems jersey hanging on the ceremonial locker. Nearby is the ”Guyle Fielder Trophy,” given to the points leader in the WHL each season. Watching as Fielder was honored was former teammate Jim Powers, one of the wingers who was the recipient of many of those Fielder assists.

The day was emotional at times for Fielder, who said he hopes he’s still around for the first game in 2021.

”It was a great city to play in. They had great fans. I’m a little disappointed that they (didn’t) have the National Hockey League here 50 years ago because they deserve it,” Fielder said. ”They are great fans. You wait and see, as the seasons go along they’re going to support this team.”

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