Net work: Fleury and Grubauer face off in series, for Vezina

DENVER — On one end of the ice will be Philipp Grubauer, a recently named Vezina Trophy finalist.

At the other end will be Marc-Andre Fleury, who’s up for the same award.

Now that’s quite a goaltender face-off for Game 2 on Wednesday in a second-round series between Colorado and Vegas.

Grubauer, the Avalanche netminder who made 24 saves during a 7-1 win in Game 1, and Fleury, his Vegas rival who didn’t play in the series opener, were named two of the finalists Tuesday for an award that goes to the league’s top goaltender. The other nominee is Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy, the 2019 winner.

“Don’t think that happens too many times,” Grubauer said of a pair of Vezina candidates meeting up in round two. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Same with a well-rested Fleury. The Golden Knights went with Robin Lehner in Game 1 to give Fleury a breather after the short turnaround from a grueling seven-game series against Minnesota in which Fleury played all seven games.

Fleury is expected to start even if coach Pete DeBoer didn’t officially declare him the starter, only saying: “It’s probably obvious what the answer is.”

“I feel bad that Robin was throw into that one, into the lions, where we didn’t have our best game there and they had their best one,” Fleury said of Game 1. “It’s not fun. But for me personally, it was good to have a few days, rest the legs a bit, take it easy.”

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 Second Round schedule, TV info]

Grubauer has long been a fan of Fleury, who’s currently third on the all-time wins list. His 492 wins in the regular season trail only Patrick Roy (551) and Martin Brodeur (691), two of the goalies Fleury idolized growing up. Fleury, whose nickname is “Flower,” has never won a Vezina Trophy.

“He’s an unbelievable goalie,” said Grubauer, who hoisted a Stanley Cup in 2018 while with Washington. “Always watched Flower. It’s kind of fun for me to think of him down at the other end and seeing him there.”

Grubauer’s vision is focused on victories, not the Vezina. Still, the honor means a lot.

“I never thought in my life I would be part of that group, sitting on that table with Vasi and Flower,” the 29-year-old Grubauer said. “It’s not only an honor for myself but represents the organization really well.”

Grubauer is coming off a regular season in which he tied for the league lead in shutouts (seven) and was second in wins (30). He’s taken his game to another level so far in this postseason, with a 5-0 mark, 1.60 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage.

“Exact personality for the guy you want in there every night,” Avalanche backup goaltender Devan Dubnyk said. “I like that he’s got a ton of tools and able to break out and do some crazy acrobatic moves if need be.”

The 36-year-old Fleury combined with Lehner to win the William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltenders on the team that allowed the fewest goals throughout the regular season. Fleury also ranked ranked third in the NHL in wins (26), goals-against average (1.98), save percentage (.928) and shutouts (six).

“He’s a class act. That’s probably the best way I can put it,” DeBoer said. “A true professional. A class person. Shows up every day with a smile on his face and has the most energy in the room despite the fact he’s the oldest guy in the room.”

The big thing for Fleury and the Golden Knights will be neutralizing the speed of the Avalanche, especially Colorado’s top line that features Nathan MacKinnon, captain Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. The trio combined for five goals and three assists in Game 1.

Learn anything about them watching from the bench?

“A little bit,” said Fleury, who won three Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh. “We knew who the big guys are and how quick of a team they are.”

NOTES: Vegas forward Ryan Reaves will serve the first of a two-game suspension Wednesday for his roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct on Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves. … The Avs will be without Nazem Kadri for a fourth time as he serves an eight-game suspension for his hit on St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk in a first-round series. … Vegas F Mattias Janmark is day-to-day, DeBoer said, after leaving Game 1 following a hit from Graves.

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

    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    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.


    Capitals: At Vancouver on Tuesday night.

    Devils: At the New York Rangers on Monday night.

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

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    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.


    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).


    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

    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

    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.