The Wraparound: Hockey is back as NHL Return to Play begins

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

The Hurricanes will definitely be without a defenseman. The Rangers could potentially not have their top-scoring blue liner Saturday afternoon.

Rod Brind’Amour said that Dougie Hamilton will not play in Game 1 (12 p.m. ET, NBCSN; livestream). He’s missed practices this week but did skate after the team did on Friday. He’s “getting better for sure,” said the Carolina head coach. The defenseman broke his leg in January and did not return before the league pause in March.

Tony DeAngelo, meanwhile, could get into Game 1 for the Rangers. Head coach David Quinn said he will be a game-time decision. That could open to the door for Libor Hajek to take his spot.

One mystery for both teams is who will start in goal for both teams. Brind’Amour will be choosing between Petr Mrazek and James Reimer, while Quinn has the Igor Shesterkin vs. Henrik Lundqvist decision.

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

NHL GAMES TODAY

Game 1: Blackhawks vs. Oilers, 3 p.m. ET (NBC; live stream): Edmonton won exactly half of its home games this season (17-11-6, .588 pts%) and went 20-14-3 (.581) on the road. Their home record was tied for 17th in the league in terms of points percentage but they did boast the best power play at home this season (31.7%) – although not surprising considering the Oilers had the best overall power play in the NHL this season (29.5%). Chicago, after finishing last in the Central Division and six points back of the second wild card spot when play was halted in March, is one of the beneficiaries of the 24-team format – now competing for another Cup.

Game 1: Panthers vs. Islanders, 4 p.m. ET (NBCSN; live stream): After winning two Vezina Trophies with Columbus, Sergei Bobrovsky signed a seven-year, $70 million contract with the Panthers last summer. However, he struggled in his first year in Florida, going 23-19-6 with a .900 save percentage. This matchup pits two teams with opposite styles against each other. The Panthers were one of the highest-scoring teams in the league but were leaky in defense, while the Islanders were a top-10 defense but struggled to find the back of the net.

Game 1: Canadiens vs. Penguins, 8 p.m. ET (NBC; live stream): Pittsburgh has been one of the many teams to benefit a bit on the injury front thanks to the long break. The biggest addition to their lineup will be a healthy Jake Guentzel, who suffered a scary shoulder injury after scoring a goal on Dec. 30 vs. Ottawa. He was given a 4-6 month timeline after surgery. The Canadiens will undoubtedly be relying on goalie Carey Price to give them a fighting shot against one of the most talented teams in the Eastern Conference. Price, the last goalie to win the Hart Trophy in 2015, started an NHL-high 58 games in the regular season and posted a .909 save percentage.

Game 1: Jets vs. Flames, 10:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN; live stream): The only all-Canadian matchup in the Qualifying Round will be the first-ever postseason meeting between Winnipeg and Calgary and just the second game between these clubs this season as the final two games of the season series were cancelled due to play being halted in March. Out of all the 24 teams returning to play, Winnipeg has the longest active winning streak having ended the regular season with four straight wins. They are the only playoff team that has not lost since February – with their last defeat coming in the building they’ll play this entire postseason in, having lost at Edmonton on Feb. 29.

SUNDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 1: Coyotes vs. Predators, 2 p.m. ET (USA Network)
Round-robin: Flyers vs. Bruins, 3 p.m. ET (NBC)
Round-robin: Blues vs. Avalanche, 6:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Game 1: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs, 8 p.m. ET (NHL Network)
Game 1: Wild vs. Canucks, 10:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

PHT’s 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifier previews
Eastern Conference top seed round-robin preview
Penguins vs. Canadiens
Rangers vs. Hurricanes
Islanders vs. Panthers
Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets

Western Conference top seed round-robin preview
Jets vs. Flames
Oilers vs. Blackhawks
Predators vs. Coyotes
Wild vs. Canucks

Predictions for 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers
Why your team won’t (and will) win the Stanley Cup this season
NHL Power Rankings: Stanley Cup-less veterans to root for
2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule

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