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The Buzzer: Avs keep winning thanks to MacKinnon

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Three Stars

1. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

It’s hard to imagine there being all that many hot takes sizzling out there about MacKinnon not being able to dominate on his own, but if they existed, they’ve gone ice cold as the speedster continues to score with Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog on the shelf. (Among others.)

The Blackhawks had little hope of slow MacKinnon down – literally and figuratively – as he scored one goal and three assists, with two of those helpers being of the primary variety.

J.T. Compher had a strong game as well with a goal and two assists, while Pavel Francouz made 34 out of 36 saves.

2. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

The Predators have an elite defense, but at times, that label is more about how much they can drive offense (and serve as a net-positive) more than it is about always locking teams down, at least now that we’re firmly in the Peter Laviolette era.

With that in mind, Rinne, in particular, has been crucial to Nashville’s success. So, when he struggles (18 goals allowed in his last four games heading into Friday, with only one full game during that time), it’s a Rinne-sized worry.

Maybe Friday can serve as a confidence-booster? He made 31 saves to shut out a tough Hurricanes team, hitting some significant milestones in the process. Consider these some early factoids: Rinne became the 22nd goalie to reach 350 career wins, and this marked his 58th shutout, tying him for 19th in NHL history.

3. Gustav Nyquist, Columbus Blue Jackets

For all the CBJ lost during the offseason, they made a reasonable pickup by adding Nyquist’s skill and smarts to their mix.

After a respectable-but-unspectacular October, Nyquist scored 12 of his 18 points during 13 November games. Friday was the highlight, as Nyquist generated a hat trick as the Blue Jackets beat the Penguins. Considering how much John Tortorella seems to dislike the Pens, that’s a triply delicious accomplishment.

The only thing that keeps Nyquist from advancing up this list is that one of his three goals was an empty-netter.

Highlights of the Night

David Pastrnak‘s fantastic overtime setup can be seen in the overall highlights of the Bruins’ OT win against the Rangers:

To spread the wealth a little bit, enjoy Brenden Dillon setting up Noah Gregor for one heck of a first NHL goal. This is like a … well, luckier version of Erik Karlsson‘s memorable setup for Mike Hoffman from a few years back.

Factoids

  • NHL PR notes that Henrik Lundqvist is the only goalie with more shutouts (63) than Pekka Rinne (58) since Rinne came into the league in 2005-06.
  • David Pastrnak scored 12+ goals for the second consecutive month. Via NHL PR: only three other players have managed that during the first two months of a season: Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Mike Bossy.
  • Maybe don’t sit on a lead against the Capitals? Washington already has five wins in games where they trailed by multiple goals in 2019-20, the most of any team, according to NHL PR. Alex Ovechkin scored his 255th career power-play goal, tying Teemu Selanne for third-most in NHL history. Brett Hull is second all-time with 265 PPG, while Dave Andreychuk has the record with 274. Feels like a healthy Ovechkin could blow those totals out of the water, right?
  • Sportsnet stats with another interesting Ovechkin nugget:

Scores

BOS 3 – NYR 2 (OT)
BUF 6 – TOR 4
PHI 6 – DET 1
COL 5 – CHI 2
MIN 7 – OTT 2
WPG 3 – ANA 0
SJS 4 – LAK 1
WSH 4 – TBL 3 (OT)
VGK 2 – ARI 1 (SO)
CBJ 5 – PIT 2
NSH 3 – CAR 0
STL 3 – DAL 1

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.

Capitals-Flyers stream: NHL Return to Play round-robin game

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NBCSN’s coverage of the NHL’s Return to Play continues with Thursday’s round-robin matchup between the Capitals and Flyers. Coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Watch the Capitals-Flyers stream on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

On Monday, Washington trailed Tampa 2-0 late in the second period before goals from Richard Panik and Evgeny Kuznetsov tied the game. The Capitals eventually lost in a shootout, but still gained one point in Round Robin standings.

Sunday the Flyers made a bit of a statement by outplaying the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Bruins in a 4-1 win, quickly shaking off any rust from the four-and-a-half months off. Four different players scored for the Flyers (Michael Raffl, Nate Thompson, Phil Myers, Scott Laughton) and Carter Hart stopped 34 of 35 shots.

Brian Elliott is expected to start in net for the Flyers after Hart played against Boston. Elliott went 2-0-0 vs. the Capitals this season, allowing just two goals in each of his wins (.926 SV%) – although Hart allowed just three combined goals in his two starts against Washington this season.

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

WHAT: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers
WHERE: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto
WHEN: Thursday, August 6, 4 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN
ON THE CALL: Gord Miller, Eddie Olczyk
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Capitals-Flyers stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

Eastern Conference round-robin schedule

Sunday, Aug. 2: Flyers 4, Bruins 1 (recap)
Monday, Aug. 3
:
Lightning 3, Capitals 2 (SO) (recap)
Wednesday, Aug. 5:
Lightning 3, Bruins 2 (recap)
Thursday, Aug. 6:
Capitals vs. Flyers, 4 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
Saturday, Aug. 8: Flyers vs. Lightning, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9:
Bruins vs. Capitals, TBD

Current standings

Tampa Bay Lightning (2-0-0, 4 points)
Philadelphia Flyers (1-0-0, 2 points)
Washington Capitals (0-0-1, 1 point)
Boston Bruins (0-2-0, 0 points)

Scenarios based on Thursday’s result

Current standings

Tampa Bay Lightning (2-0-0, 4 points)
Philadelphia Flyers (1-0-0, 2 points)
Washington Capitals (0-0-1, 1 point)
Boston Bruins (0-2-0, 0 points)

Thursday’s round-robin schedule

Capitals vs. Flyers

Scenarios based on Thursday’s result

1) Capitals win in regulation

TB: Clinches 1st with 1 point vs. PHI on Saturday (OR a WSH loss on Sunday)

WSH: Can finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd

Will be 1st if…
– TB loses in regulation to PHI on Saturday, AND
– WSH beats BOS on Sunday

PHI: Can finish no better than 2nd, can finish anywhere from 2nd-4th

Will be 2nd if…

– They beat TB on Saturday, AND
– BOS beats WSH in regulation on Sunday

BOS: To avoid last place, TB must beat PHI in regulation Saturday, AND BOS must beat WSH Sunday

2) Capitals win in OT/SO

TB: Clinches 1st with 1 point vs PHI on Saturday

WSH: Can finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd

Will be 1st if…
– TB loses in regulation to PHI on Saturday, AND
– WSH beats BOS on Sunday

PHI: Can finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd

Will be 1st if …
– They beat TB in regulation on Saturday, AND
– BOS beats WSH on Sunday

BOS: Guaranteed last

3)  Flyers win in regulation

• The winner of TB/PHI on Saturday will be 1st, the loser will be 2nd
• The winner of BOS/WSH on Sunday will be 3rd, the loser will be 4th

4)  Flyers win in OT/SO

• The winner of TB/PHI on Saturday will be 1st
• If TB loses to PHI on Saturday, the Lightning will be 2nd
• If PHI loses to TB on Saturday, they will be 2nd or 3rd

Will be 2nd if…
-Their loss comes in OT/SO, OR
-WSH loses to BOS in any fashion on Sunday

WSH can finish 2nd, 3rd or 4th

Will be 2nd if…
– PHI loses in regulation on Saturday, AND
– WSH beats BOS on Sunday

BOS: Must beat WSH in regulation on Sunday to avoid last place

MORE:
2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule

NHL schedule for 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers in league’s Return to Play

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It’s time to focus on the NHL games, including the 2020 NHL playoffs schedule. The 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers began on Saturday, Aug. 1 in the hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto.

The top four teams in both conference will play a three-game round robin for seeding in the First Round. The Stanley Cup Qualifiers will be best-of-5 series with the losing teams being entered into Phase 2 of the NHL Draft Lottery.

Below is a full 2020 NHL playoffs schedule of both the round-robin and the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.

EASTERN CONFERENCE (Scotiabank Arena)

Round-robin [Standings, scenarios]

Sunday, Aug. 2: Flyers 4, Bruins 1 (recap)
Monday, Aug. 3
:
Lightning 3, Capitals 2 (SO) (recap)
Wednesday, Aug. 5:
Lightning 3, Bruins 2 (recap)
Thursday, Aug. 6:
Capitals vs. Flyers, 4 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Saturday, Aug. 8:
Flyers vs. Lightning, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9:
Bruins vs. Capitals, TBD

(5) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (12) Montreal Canadiens (MTL leads series 2-1)

Saturday, Aug. 1: Canadiens 3, Penguins 2 (recap)
Monday, Aug. 3: Penguins 3, Canadiens 1 (recap)
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Canadiens 4, Penguins 3 (recap)
Friday, Aug. 7: Penguins vs. Canadiens, 4 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Saturday, Aug. 8: Canadiens vs. Penguins*

(6) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (11) New York Rangers (CAR wins series 3-0)

Saturday, Aug. 1: Hurricanes 3, Rangers 2 (recap)
Monday, Aug. 3: Hurricanes 4, Rangers 1 (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Hurricanes 4, Rangers 1 (recap)

(7) New York Islanders vs. (10) Florida Panthers (NYI lead series 2-1)

Saturday, Aug. 1: Islanders 2, Panthers 1 (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Islanders 4, Panthers 2 (recap)
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Panthers 3, Islanders 2 (recap)
Friday, Aug. 7: Islanders vs. Panthers, 12 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Sunday, Aug. 9: Panthers vs. Islanders*

(8) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (9) Columbus Blue Jackets (Series tied 1-1)

Sunday, Aug. 2: Blue Jackets 2, Maple Leafs 0 (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Maple Leafs 3, Blue Jackets 0 (recap)
Thursday, Aug. 6: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Friday, Aug. 7: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Sunday, Aug. 9: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs*, TBD

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

WESTERN CONFERENCE (Rogers Place)

Round-robin [Standings, scenarios]

Sunday, Aug. 2: Avalanche 2, Blues 1 (recap)
Monday, Aug. 3: Golden Knights 4, Stars 3 (recap)
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Avalanche 4, Stars 0
Thursday, Aug. 6: Golden Knights vs. Blues, 6:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Saturday, Aug. 8: Golden Knights vs. Avalanche, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9: Stars vs. Blues, TBD

(5) Edmonton Oilers vs. (12) Chicago Blackhawks (CHI leads series 2-1)

Saturday, Aug. 1: Blackhawks 6, Oilers 4 (recap)
Monday, Aug. 3: Oilers 6, Blackhawks 3 (recap)
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Blackhawks 4, Oilers 3 (recap)
Friday, Aug. 7: Oilers vs. Blackhawks, 6:45 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Saturday, Aug. 8: Blackhawks vs. Oilers*, TBD

(6) Nashville Predators vs. (11) Arizona Coyotes (ARZ leads series 2-1)

Sunday, Aug. 2: Coyotes 4, Predators 3 (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Predators 4, Coyotes 2 (recap)
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Coyotes 4, Predators 1 (recap)
Friday, Aug. 7: Predators vs. Coyotes, 2:30 p.m. ET – (live look-in coverage on NBCSN)
Sunday, Aug. 9: Coyotes vs. Predators*, TBD

(7) Vancouver Canucks vs. (10) Minnesota Wild (Series tied 1-1)

Sunday, Aug. 2: Wild 3, Canucks 0 (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Canucks 4, Wild 3 (recap)
Thursday, Aug. 6: Canucks vs. Wild, 2:30 p.m. ET (live look-in coverage on NBCSN)
Friday, Aug. 7: Canucks vs. Wild, 10:45 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Sunday, Aug. 9: Wild vs. Canucks*, TBD

(8) Calgary Flames vs. (9) Winnipeg Jets (CGY leads series 2-1)

Saturday, Aug. 1: Flames 4, Jets 1 (recap)
Monday, Aug. 3: Jets 3, Flames 2 (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Flames 6, Jets 2 (recap)
Thursday, Aug. 6: Flames vs. Jets, 10:30 p.m. ET – CNBC
Saturday, Aug. 8: Jets vs. Flames*, TBD

* – if necessary

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

NHL Return to Play: Round-robin standings, scenarios

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While the 16 teams in the qualifying round play for the right to move on, the No. 1 seeds in the Eastern Conference and Western Conference are still up for grabs in the round-robin format of the NHL’s return to play.

The round-robin schedule resumes on Thursday with a pair of games (Capitals vs. Flyers and Golden Knights vs. Blues) and here we take a look at the impact those games can have on the standings.

Below is a look at the current round-robin standings and everything at stake on Thursday.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Current standings

Tampa Bay Lightning (2-0-0, 4 points)
Philadelphia Flyers (1-0-0, 2 points)
Washington Capitals (0-0-1, 1 point)
Boston Bruins (0-2-0, 0 points)

Thursday’s round-robin schedule

Capitals vs. Flyers

Scenarios based on Thursday’s result

1) Capitals win in regulation

TB: Clinches 1st with 1 point vs. PHI on Saturday (OR a WSH loss on Sunday)

WSH: Can finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd

Will be 1st if…
– TB loses in regulation to PHI on Saturday, AND
– WSH beats BOS on Sunday

PHI: Can finish no better than 2nd, can finish anywhere from 2nd-4th

Will be 2nd if…

– They beat TB on Saturday, AND
– BOS beats WSH in regulation on Sunday

BOS: To avoid last place, TB must beat PHI in regulation Saturday, AND BOS must beat WSH Sunday

2) Capitals win in OT/SO

TB: Clinches 1st with 1 point vs PHI on Saturday

WSH: Can finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd

Will be 1st if…
– TB loses in regulation to PHI on Saturday, AND
– WSH beats BOS on Sunday

PHI: Can finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd

Will be 1st if …
– They beat TB in regulation on Saturday, AND
– BOS beats WSH on Sunday

BOS: Guaranteed last

3)  Flyers win in regulation

• The winner of TB/PHI on Saturday will be 1st, the loser will be 2nd
• The winner of BOS/WSH on Sunday will be 3rd, the loser will be 4th

4)  Flyers win in OT/SO

• The winner of TB/PHI on Saturday will be 1st
• If TB loses to PHI on Saturday, the Lightning will be 2nd
• If PHI loses to TB on Saturday, they will be 2nd or 3rd

Will be 2nd if…
-Their loss comes in OT/SO, OR
-WSH loses to BOS in any fashion on Sunday

WSH can finish 2nd, 3rd or 4th

Will be 2nd if…
– PHI loses in regulation on Saturday, AND
– WSH beats BOS on Sunday

BOS: Must beat WSH in regulation on Sunday to avoid last place

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Standings

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

Thursday’s round-robin schedule

Golden Knights vs. Blues

Scenarios based on Thursday result

1) Golden Knights win in regulation

• Winner of COL/VGK on Saturday will finish 1st, loser will finish 2nd
• Winner of DAL/STL on Sunday will finish 3rd, loser will finish 4th

2) Golden Knights win in OT/SO

• Winner of COL/VGK on Saturday will finish 1st, loser will finish 2nd
STL: Will finish 3rd w/ 1 point against DAL on Sunday
DAL: Only way to finish 3rd is to beat STL in regulation on Sunday

3) Blues win in regulation

COL: Can finish 1st or 2nd

Will finish 1st if …
– COL gets 1 point vs VGK on Saturday, OR
– STL loses to DAL on Sunday

STL: Can finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd

Will finish 1st if…
– VGK beats COL in regulation on Saturday, AND
– STL beats DAL on Sunday

VGK: Can finish 2nd or 3rd

Will finish 2nd if …
– VGK beats COL on Saturday, AND STL loses to DAL on Sunday, OR
– VGK earns exactly 1 point vs COL on Saturday, AND STL loses in regulation to DAL
on Sunday

DAL: Guaranteed last

4) Blues win in OT/SO

COL: Can finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd
Will finish 1st w/ 1 point against VGK on Saturday

VGK: Can finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd
– Will finish 1st by beating COL in regulation on Saturday

STL: Can finish 2nd or 3rd

Will finish 2nd if…

– STL betters VGK’s result over the weekend, OR
– VGK beats COL in regulation on Saturday, AND STL beats DAL on Sunday

DAL: Guaranteed last

MORE:
• 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers 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.

Canucks-Wild stream: 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers

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NBCSN’s coverage of the NHL’s Return to Play continues with Thursday’s Stanley Cup Qualifier matchup between the Canucks and Wild. Live look-in coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Watch the Canucks-Wild Game 3 live look-in stream at 2:30 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

After being shutout in Game 1, Vancouver responded with four goals from four of their playmakers — Tanner Pearson, J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser, and Bo Horvat) to even the series. The Canucks led 4-1 before Kevin Fiala scored twice in the final three minutes.

Minnesota’s power play was of no assistance in Game 2. The extra man unit went 0-for-6. Vancouver had similar issues scoring once on seven opportunities.

Wild netminder Alex failed to follow up his Game 1 shutout with another strong performance. He allowed four goals on 28 during the Game 2 defeat.

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

WHAT: Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild
WHERE: Rogers Place – Edmonton
WHEN: Thursday, August 6, 2:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN (live look-in)
ON THE CALL: Chris Cuthbert, Louie DeBrusk
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Canucks-Wild live look-in stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

(7) Vancouver Canucks vs. (10) Minnesota Wild (Series tied 1-1)

Sunday, Aug. 2: Wild 3, Canucks 0 (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Canucks 4, Wild 3 (recap)
Thursday, Aug. 6: Canucks vs. Wild, 2:30 p.m. ET (live look-in coverage on NBCSN)
Friday, Aug. 7: Canucks vs. Wild, 10:45 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Sunday, Aug. 9: Wild vs. Canucks*, TBD

MORE:
2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule