NHL Bubble Wrap: Bruins, Golden Knights start Second Round strong

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  • Marc-Andre Fleury asked his agent to delete that tweet about Peter DeBoer, and indirectly, Robin Lehner.
  • There was plenty of smack-talking between Ryan Reaves and Antoine Roussel. None of that outside drama made much of an impact on the Golden Knights’ dominance of the Canucks in Game 1, though.
  • The Bruins made a 3-0 lead count against the Lightning, even if they didn’t dominate their Game 1 like the Golden Knights did.
  • NHL Scores: Game 1 of Bruins – Lightning and Golden Knights – Canucks

    Game 1: Bruins 3, Lightning 2 (BOS leads series 1-0)

    Charlie Coyle showed off his hand-eye coordination once again in Game 1, this time giving Boston a late-first-period lead with a deflection. Despite 18 SOG by the Lightning during the second period, the Bruins scored the lone goal when David Pastrnak buried a nice pass by David Krejci. When Patrice Bergeron created a turnover for Brad Marchand to eventually bury, it seemed like this would be one-sided, at least on the scoreboard. However, Victor Hedman scored two goals (both, strangely, bouncing off of Charlie McAvoy) to give the Lightning a chance. Ultimately, it was too little, too late for the Lightning.

    Lightning – Bruins playoff series schedule

    Game 1: Bruins 3, Lightning 2
    Game 2: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 7 p.m. ET – NBCSN
    Game 3: Wednesday, Aug. 26, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
    Game 4: Friday, Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m. ET – USA Network
    *Game 5: Sunday, Aug. 30 – TBD
    *Game 6: Tuesday, Sept. 1 – TBD
    *Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 2 – TBD

    *if necessary

    Game 1: Golden Knights 5, Canucks 0 (VGK leads series 1-0)

    Again, basically all of the drama surrounding Game 1 of Golden Knights – Canucks really didn’t have much of an impact on the ice. OK, you could say that Ryan Reaves and Antoine Roussel jawing at each other fired Vegas up. That’s subjective (although, to be fair, Reaves did deliver 10 hits). Also, if there’s any room for people to see Alan Walsh’s side of starting Marc-Andre Fleury (rather than, uh, stabbing MAF in the back?), it will need to happen later in this Second Round series. The Canucks rarely got many chances, and when they did, they were almost all from the perimeter.

    Golden Knights – Canucks playoff series schedule

    Game 1: Golden Knights 5, Canucks 0
    Game 2: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 9:45 p.m. ET – NBCSN
    Game 3: Thursday, Aug. 27, 9:45 p.m. ET – NBCSN
    Game 4: Saturday, Aug. 29, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
    *Game 5: Monday, Aug. 31 – TBD
    *Game 6: Tuesday, Sept. 1 – TBD
    *Game 7: Thursday, Sept. 3 – TBD

    *if necessary


    Three Stars from Sunday in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs

    1. Jaroslav Halak, Boston Bruins

    If you look at the box scores alone, you’d argue that Robin Lehner deserves a spot on the top three, and maybe Lehner doesn’t deserve to be on it at all. After all, Lehner pitched a 26-save shutout, while Halak allowed two Victor Hedman goals.

    But, honestly, those goals were funky, and Lehner didn’t need to do much (relatively speaking, for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs) to author his first NHL postseason shutout. Halak, meanwhile, was — in my opinion — the single person most responsible for either team winning on Sunday. Halak made 35 saves against the Lightning, providing some peace of mind for those who are still concerned about Tuukka Rask‘s absence.

    2. David Pastrnak/Bruins top line

    You might not get a better summary of what makes “The Perfection Line” of Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron so great than the 3-0 goal that ended up being the game-winner. Marchand created some havoc, then Bergeron stole the puck from Ryan McDonagh. Bergeron and Pastrnak then set up Marchand for a beautiful goal. Pastrnak also scored a big 2-0 power-play goal, one that would be key considering Tampa Bay’s second-period push.

    3. Reilly Smith, Vegas Golden Knights

    Depth is one of the things that makes the Golden Knights so scary. Again, Lehner pitched that 26-save shutout. Smith, meanwhile, picked up the primary assist and also scored the 2-0 goal in the Golden Knights’ Game 1 pasting of the Canucks. Smith’s two points came earlier than a comparable one-goal, one-assist output from Mark Stone. Interestingly, Smith’s line also faced Elias Pettersson more often at even-strength than Stone’s did, according to Natural Stat Trick. The Golden Knights shut down Pettersson and other Canucks scorers as a unit, so your results may vary. (You may also prefer Alex Tuch, who also went 1G, 1A). I’ll give Smith the very slight edge on this night, though. Stone and Lehner aren’t really hurting for attention, anyway, right?

    Game 1 Highlights: Bruins – Lightning; Golden Knights – Canucks

    Again, what was a 3-0 goal and ended up being the game-winner was also a very pretty goal, if you need a single thing to latch on in Bruins – Lightning Game 1 highlights

    Now that you got to see Bruins – Lightning highlights, here are the top moments from the Golden Knights’ win against the Canucks:


    • Robin Lehner earned his first career playoff shutout on Sunday.
    • Via NHL PR, Brad Marchand now has 28 multi-point playoff games to his name. That’s third-most in Bruins playoff history, and just one behind Phil Esposito (29). Catching Ray Bourque won’t be easy, as Bourque managed 46 multi-point playoff games. In case you’re wondering, Patrice Bergeron ranks sixth with 25, while David Krejci’s one behind him in seventh with 24.
    • The Golden Knights are now 9-0-2 against the Canucks all-time, via Sportsnet stats. (Click here for more Golden Knights – Canucks stats.)

    Monday’s NHL Schedule

    Game 1: Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Islanders, 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN
    Game 2: Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars, 9:45 p.m. ET, NBCSN

    • Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round schedule

    Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round schedule

    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.

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    Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

    tampa bay lightning
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    TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

    The NHL team announced Friday that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

    “This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

    Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

    Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

    Rasmus Sandin
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    TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

    The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

    “Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

    The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

    Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.

    Back with Wild, Fleury welcomes big workload as clear No. 1

    marc-andre fleury
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    ST. PAUL, Minn. — With his ever-present smile, tireless approach and long list of accomplishments in the net, Marc-Andre Fleury has always embraced a heavy workload.

    The Minnesota Wild sure haven’t shied away from leaning hard on their new – and 37-year-old – goalie. After arriving in a deadline-day trade in March and re-signing with the Wild in July, the guy everyone calls “Flower” is still fully abloom as he begins his 19th season in the NHL.

    “They say, `You play,’ I play, unless maybe I’m hurt or something,” Fleury said. “But other than that, I like playing.”

    Wild general manager Bill Guerin initially planned to bring back both Fleury and Cam Talbot, who made the All-Star team and went 13-0-3 in his last 16 regular season starts before being benched in favor of Fleury for the first-round playoff series against St. Louis. The Wild lost in six games, after Talbot got the cold start in the elimination game and gave up four goals on 26 shots.

    Guerin changed his mind, though, after signing Fleury to a two-year, $7 million contract. Realizing Talbot’s frustration from the lack of postseason action, he didn’t want to risk any tension or discontent. Talbot was traded to Ottawa for Filip Gustavsson, who will be the No. 2 goalie while top prospect Jesper Wallstedt gets more development in the AHL.

    Gustavsson has only 23 career regular-season starts, nearly 200 fewer than Talbot, so it’s a good bet that Fleury will get the majority of the games.

    “I was ready to share the load with him, but things didn’t work out and happy to be having the chance to play maybe a bit more. It’s fun to play. It’s more fun than sitting on the bench,” said Fleury, who went 28-23-5 in 56 combined starts for Chicago and Minnesota last season with a 2.90 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.

    The Wild reconvened for training camp last week, beginning their quest to recapture the mojo they enjoyed last season while setting franchise records for points (113), wins (53) and goals (305). The only team that finished ahead of them in the Western Conference was Colorado, which went on to win the Stanley Cup, but they never met the Avs in the playoffs because the Blues got to them first.

    There’s a strong chemistry in place, at least, to build upon.

    “We still have a lot of guys here who were here last year. We’re just trying to make it even better, just trying to listen to everybody,” center Joel Eriksson Ek said. “We want to set a standard and a way for how hard this team’s going to work.”

    The Wild start the regular season by hosting the New York Rangers on Oct. 13.


    The most significant roster move of the summer amongst the skaters was the inevitable salary-cap-driven trade of second-leading scorer Kevin Fiala to Los Angeles. Fiala had a career-high 33 goals and 52 assists last season. Guerin otherwise dabbled mostly in two-way contracts in free agency for depth. Former Anaheim center Sam Steel signed with Minnesota last month, one day after defenseman Dimitry Kulikov was dealt to the Ducks.


    The Wild were done in during the playoffs by abysmal special teams. They went just 4 for 24 on the power play against the Blues, and head coach Dean Evason had the team working on that on the first day on the ice. The penalty kill that lagged last season was a focus of the second practice.

    “It has to get better, no question,” Evason said.


    Captain Jared Spurgeon has been placed with Jonas Brodin on the first pair on defense, and Jake Middleton has joined Matt Dumba on the second unit. Dumba and Brodin are close friends who’ve been paired together for several seasons.

    “Dumbs is a shooter too,” said Middleton, who re-signed for three years and $7.35 million. “It’s pretty exciting. I can get some cookies passing him the puck. That’d be a big plus. I think it’ll work well. He loves hitting guys too. He plays a gritty game as well so I think we’ll be a good combo.”


    With Jordan Greenway recovering from offseason surgeries, Tyson Jost will get the first chance to skate with Eriksson Ek and Marcus Foligno. The departure of Fiala has opened at least one spot for a rookie to make the team, with 2020 first-round draft pick Marco Rossi in line for it.


    This is the first time in eight years the Wild will play their regular-season opener at home. After three more games at Xcel Energy Center, they don’t hit the road until a five-game trip that starts Oct. 22 at Boston. The Wild have a season-long nine-game homestand from Feb. 9-21.

    Stars expect to open camp without unsigned scorer Jason Robertson

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    FRISCO, Texas — Young 40-goal scorer Jason Robertson is expected to miss the start of training camp for the Dallas Stars because the team and the restricted free agent haven’t agreed on a new contract.

    General manager Jim Nill said there’s been steady, ongoing negotiations over the last couple of weeks with Robertson and his representatives. Nill wouldn’t say what has kept the two sides from reaching a deal, adding there have been “very good discussions.”

    The Stars, with new coach Pete DeBoer, open camp Thursday in Cedar Park, Texas, at the home of their AHL team. They have three days of work there before returning to North Texas for their exhibition opener at home on Monday night. They open the regular season Oct. 13 at Nashville.

    “I think he’s disappointed he’s not at camp, we are too,” Nill said before the team departed for the Austin area. “I think it’s very important for a younger player and as you mentioned, the (new) coaching staff. … We do have some time on our side, but we wish he gets here as soon as he can.”

    Robertson had a base salary of $750,000 last season, the end of a $2.775 million, three-year contract. He still has five more years before he has the opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent.

    The left wing turned 23 soon after the end of last season, when he had 41 goals and 38 assists for 79 points in his 74 games. Robertson joined Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Modano, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin as the only 40-goal scorers since the franchise moved to Dallas in 1993.

    A second-round draft pick by the Stars in 2017, Robertson has 125 points (58 goals, 67 assists) in his 128 NHL games. He had one goal and three assists in his first postseason action last season, when Dallas lost its first-round playoff series in seven games against Calgary.

    DeBoer said he looks forward to coaching Robertson, but that the forward’s absence won’t change his plans for camp.

    “It doesn’t impact what I’m doing,” DeBoer said. “Listen, I laid awake at night with the excitement of coaching Jason Robertson, 40-plus goals, but he’s not here. So, you know, until he gets here, I can’t spend any energy on that.”

    Nill said the Stars are open to a long-term extension or a bridge contract for Robertson, who was part of the team’s top line last season with veteran Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz. They combined for 232 points, the second-most in franchise history for a trio.

    “We’re open to anything. But other than that … I’m not going to negotiate through the media,” Nill said. “As I said, we’ve had good conversations. We’ll see where it goes.”