NHL Bubble Wrap: Kuemper, Halak shine; Golden Knights keep winning

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  • Jaroslav Halak takes over in Boston.
  • Darcy Kuemper keeps the Arizona Coyotes in it.
  • The Vegas Golden Knights are a perfect 6-0 this postseason

Boston Bruins 3, Carolina Hurricanes 1 (Bruins lead series 2-1)

No David Pastrnak and no Tuukka Rask? No problem for the Bruins on Saturday afternoon. They were able to beat the Carolina Hurricanes to take a 2-1 series lead just hours after they found out Rask had opted out of the return to play. Charlie Coyle, Sean Kuraly, and Brad Marchand provided the offense for the Bruins while Halak was nearly flawless in net. The big concern here for Carolina is the status of star winger Andrei Svechnikov after he suffered an ugly looking leg injury late in the game.

Arizona Coyotes 4, Colorado Avalanche 2 (Avalanche lead series 2-1)

This game was all about Darcy Kuemper. He stopped 49 shots to help the Coyotes get on the board in their First Round series and continued what has been an outstanding postseason. Colorado was the better team on Saturday, but Arizona had the better goalie.

Tampa Bay Lightning 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 2 (Lightning lead series 2-1)

Joonas Korpisalo and the Blue Jackets are giving Tampa Bay everything they can handle in this series, but the Lightning are starting to take over. The Lightning completely dominated this game in the second and third periods and got goals from Brayden Point and Victor Hedman to get the win. Korpisalo is the biggest reason this is still a series right now.

Vegas Golden Knights 2, Chicago Blackhawks 1 (Golden Knights lead series 3-0)

Marc-Andre Fleury got the start and stopped 25 out of 26 shots to help the Golden Knights remain unbeaten in the return to play. They are now 6-0 this postseason and have a chance to complete the sweep on Sunday evening. They look like one of the elite teams in the playoffs and a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Three Stars

1. Darcy Kuemper, Arizona Coyotes. This game could have been a laugher in Colorado’s favor, and if we are being honest, it probably should have been. The reason it was not? Kuemper. He has been Arizona’s best player all postseason and played arguably his best game on Saturday. A great goaltending performance can completely flip the script in the playoffs, and the way Kuemper is going right now is giving Arizona a chance.

2. Jaroslav Halak, Boston Bruins. The Bruins probably were not expecting to have to turn to Halak on Saturday, but when Rask opted out it put Halak in the spotlight and he answered the call about as well as could have been expected. He had one mistake that gave Carolina its only goal of the game, but other than that he was outstanding. The Bruins’ net is still in very capable hands with him and he has shown in the past he can get white hot in the playoffs.

3. Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning. Point is on some kind of a roll for the Lightning right now, having recorded at least one point in every single postseason game they have played so far. He broke a 1-1 tie in the second period on Saturday to really help swing the game in Tampa Bay’s favor.

Highlights of the Night

Charlie Coyle might have a future in baseball if this hockey thing does not work out for him.

William Karlsson with an incredible backhander to get Vegas on the board.

Brad Richardson gets a big goal for the Coyotes.

Factoids

  • Point is the first player in Lightning franchise history to record a point in the first six games of the postseason. [NHL PR]
  • Fleury is now tied for sixth with Ken Dryden on the NHL All-Time playoff win list. [Vegas Golden Knights]
  • Big days for Brad Marchand and David Krejci in the Bruins win. [NHL PR]

Sunday Schedule

Game 3: Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders, 12 p.m. ET, (Islanders lead series 2-0)
Game 4: Calgary Flames vs. Dallas Stars, 2 p.m. ET, CNBC (Flames lead series 2-1)
Game 4: Vegas Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks, 6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN (Golden Knights lead series 3-0)
Game 3: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Montreal Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET, NBC (Series tied 1-1)
Game 3: St. Louis Blues vs. Vancouver Canucks, 10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN (Canucks lead series 2-0)

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.

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