NHL Bubble Wrap: Hutchinson comes through again for Avalanche

NHL Scores
Getty
  • We will have our first Game 7 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
  • Michael Hutchinson is the surprising star for the Colorado Avalanche in this series right now.
  • There is no stopping Nathan MacKinnon.
  • Colorado Avalanche 4, Dallas Stars 1 (Series tied 3-3)

    Their power play can not score, they are without one of their top defenseman, and they are using their third-string goalie. Through it all, the Colorado Avalanche have still managed to win back-to-back games to tie their series with the Dallas Stars and force a Game 7 on Friday night. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each had two points in the win, while Cale Makar and Nikita Zadarov also added goals from the blue line. The only concern for the Avalanche right now is the injury concerns continued to mount as Conor Timmins and Gabriel Landeskog both left the game. Landeskog was injured when he was accidentally cut on the leg by Makar’s skate blade.

    [NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

    Three Stars

    1. Michael Hutchinson, Colorado Avalanche. This is just a completely wild development in this series. Hutchinson was so bad during the regular season in Toronto that the Maple Leafs couldn’t even use him as a backup, while his save percentage over the past two seasons has been an .888 mark that placed him near the absolute bottom of the league. Of the 71 goalies that have appeared in at least 20 regular season games the past two seasons, Hutchinson ranked 70th in the league. The only goalie with a worse mark has been Calvin Pickard with an .862 mark. There is also the fact that he had never started a playoff game until Game 5 on Monday night. But in his two starts, with the Avalanche facing elimination, he has turned aside 61 out of 65 shots and helped the Avalanche get to Game 7 on Friday.

    2. Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche. Even with Landeskog in the locker room due to injury the Avalanche’s top line still came through. Rantanen assisted on Cale Makar’s second period goal that goes in the books as the game-winner, and then scored a beautiful goal in the third period to help put the game away.

    3. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche. Just an unstoppable offensive force right now. He has recorded a point in all 14 Avalanche games this post season, has at least two points in eight of those games, and is already at 25 points in those 14 games. That would be a 145-point pace over 82 games during the regular season.

    Highlights of the Night

    This was the goal of the night for the Avalanche.

    Dallas’ Miro Heiskanen is on his way to being a superstar and scored another goal on Wednesday night, but Colorado has an emerging superstar defenseman of its own in Cale Makar. Here he is scoring the game-winning goal on Wednesday.

    Zadarov gets the Avalanche on the board and quickly ties the game after Heiskanen’s early goal.

    Factoids

    • MacKinnon’s 14-game point streak is the tied for the second-longest point streak to start a postseason in NHL history. [NHL PR]
    • Hutchinson is the seventh goalie in NHL history to record his first two career playoff wins in games where his team is facing elimination. He will need a third win if he starts on Friday night. [NHL PR]
    • Miro Heiskanen has a seven-game point streak for the Dallas Stars. [NHL PR]

    Thursday Schedule

    Game 6: Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Islanders, 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, Livestream (Islanders lead series 3-2)
    Game 6: Vegas Golden Knights vs. Vancouver Canucks, 9:45 p.m. ET, NBCSN Livestream (Golden Knights lead series 3-2)

     

    MORE STANLEY CUP COVERAGE:
    • Stanley Cup Playoffs Second 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.

Scroll Down For:

    Hughes has first NHL hat trick, Devils beat Capitals 5-1

    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    NEWARK, N.J. – Jack Hughes had his first career NHL hat trick, Vitek Vanecek made 38 saves against his former team and the New Jersey Devils beat the Washington Capitals 5-1 on Saturday for coach Lindy Ruff’s 800th victory.

    “It’s exciting,” Hughes said. “Couple of two-goal games in my career, so nice to cap it off with the third one tonight.”

    Ruff became the fifth NHL coach to reach the 800-victory mark. The former Buffalo player won 571 games with the Sabres from 1997-2011. He had 165 wins in five seasons with Dallas and has 64 in two-plus seasons with New Jersey.

    “It means I’ve been around a long time,” Ruff cracked. “Great to win the game. Again, you got to do a lot of right things, have good teams, and the way our team is playing I have to give them a lot of credit for getting me there.”

    The Atlantic Division-leading Devils have won two in a row after seeing their franchise-record 13-game winning streak snapped by Toronto.

    Devils captain Nico Hischier and Fabian Zetterlund also scored.

    John Carlson scored for Washington and Charlie Lindgren made 24 saves.

    “Not scoring goals, not capitalizing on our chances,” Carlson said. “We’ve had our chances, especially today, but we only walked away with one goal. We could have had five or six. It’s just not going in right now.”

    Vanecek, meanwhile, was hoping for the shutout against a familiar foe.

    “That would have been nice, but that’s hockey,” Vanecek said, “For sure you’re trying, but not every time; the win is more important.”

    Hischier opened up the scoring with his 10th goal of the season midway through the first period on a power play after Alexander Ovechkin was called for slashing.

    Hughes wrapped the puck around goalie Lindgren’s right leg and the goal post to put the Devils up 2-0 5:59 into the second period. Hughes appeared to have lost his angle on the goal when he ripped a shot off Lindgren’s face mask and into the net midway through the period for his 10th goal of the season to give New Jersey a 3-0 lead.

    The 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick added his third midway through the third period as hats rained down on the ice with New Jersey up 4-0.

    “You want to continue to play the right way, but if an opportunity comes you want to definitely put it in the back of the net with authority,” Hughes said. “So tonight, I was able to cap it off and it was nice.”

    Fabian Zetterlund capped the scoring for New Jersey late in the third period.

    NOTES: The Devils improved to 16-0-0 this season when Hischier has a point. New Jersey’s Nathan Bastain (upper body) did not return after the first period. . Ovechkin is still nine goals away from 800 and 11 from passing Gordie Howe for second place on the NHL goals list.

    UP NEXT

    Capitals: At Vancouver.

    Devils: At the New York Rangers.

    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
    2 Comments

    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

    TAKE NOTE

    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
    1 Comment

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

    Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

    The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

    Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

    “We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

    Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

    The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

    Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

    Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

    The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

    Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.