The Wraparound: Darryl Sutter hockey is alive and well in playoffs

Calgary Flames Playoffs
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The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down the NHL playoff games today with the all-important television information.

• Catch up on the third night of the playoffs with the NHL Rink Wrap, as the Hurricanes dominate the Bruins again, while the Lightning, Oilers, and Wild all get even.

• The Hurricanes lost another goalie as Antti Raanta had to leave their Game 2 win with an upper-body injury.

• Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith is considered day-to-day after leaving their Game 1 win against the Rangers on Tuesday night.

The 2021-22 NHL regular season was one of the highest scoring seasons of the modern era, and the Calgary Flames with 292 goals were one of the highest scoring teams in the league.

They have a superstar duo of Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau on its top line that has been one of the league’s best and most productive all season, and they found some added scoring depth before the trade deadline with the additions of Tyler Toffoli and Calle Jarnkrok. They are exciting, and they can score.

But deep down this is still a team coached by Darryl Sutter, a coach that loves nothing more than shutting down an opposing team’s offense. Sutter’s Los Angeles Kings teams were typically dominant in this regard, whether they were winning the Stanley Cup or struggling to make the playoffs toward the end of his tenure. Teams just simply did not score against them or generate consistent scoring chances. This was always especially true come playoff time.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 First Round schedule, TV info]

In Game 1 of the Flames’ series against the Dallas Stars, the Flames put on a defensive clinic that had to make Sutter proud. They scored an early power play goal in the first five minutes to take a 1-0 lead, and then completely shut the game down after that on their way to a 1-0 win, allowing just 16(!) shots on goal. It was a defensive masterpiece, even if it was against a Stars team that has limited scoring depth and struggles to score goals.

Ever since Sutter re-joined the Flames in March 2021, they have been one of the league’s best defensive teams. Combined with Jacob Markstrom in net, who has 10 shutouts this season (including playoffs; the Flames as a team now have 12 shutouts) they can be downright dominant defensively and have every ingredient a team needs to make an extended playoff run. The Flames have enough talent and offense to win a high-scoring shootout type of game, but this is still a defense-first team that is going to make it impossible to score against them. It is the type of structure and system that is going to make them a tough out in these playoffs and has them as one of the top Cup contenders in the Western Conference.

NHL PLAYOFF GAMES TODAY

Penguins at Rangers, 7 p.m. ET — TNT (PIT leads 1-0): The Penguins are coming off of a 4-3 triple overtime Game 1 win on Tuesday night that saw them have to rely on third string goalie Louis Domingue in the second and third overtime periods. With Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith still considered day-to-day the Penguins might have to rely on Domingue again on Thursday night. They were the better team on Tuesday but still needed 83 shots just to get four goals on Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin. The Rangers have the clear goaltending advantage right now, but the Penguins played their best game of the season series on Tuesday. They will likely be without Rickard Rakell who was injured in their Game 1 win, but could get Jason Zucker back.

Capitals at Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET — TBS (WSH leads 1-0): This is the one Eastern Conference series that most people seemed to think would be pretty one-sided, but Game 1 did not go the way it was expected with the Capitals striking first in the series with an impressive 4-2 win over the Panthers. They already took back home-ice advantage and have a chance to take complete control of the series by potentially winning the first two games on the road. The Capitals looked great on Tuesday and should be extremely confident going into Game 2 on Thursday. The Panthers had the league’s best offense and best record during the regular season, but they do have some flaws on defense and in goal that can be exploited in a best-of-seven series.

Predators at Avalanche, 9:30 p.m. ET — TNT (COL leads 1-0): With Juuse Saros out of the lineup this series looked like a complete and total mismatch on paper, and that is exactly how Game 1 played out. Will Game 2 be more of the same? The Predators have not yet decided on their starting goalie for Thursday night, but unless something else dramatically changes it is looking like it will not make much of a difference. Colorado just seems like it is going to have too much offense for the Predators to match up with without their star goalie.

Stars at Flames, 10 p.m. ET — TBS (CGY leads 1-0): The Stars have had some scoring problems, especially relating to its depth, for much of the season and are coming off of a 1-0 shutout loss in Game 1 that saw them record just 16 shots on goal. That is not going to cut it. Not against this team and Jacob Markstrom, and not against anybody else in the playoffs. The Flames have a chance to take control of the series here.

FRIDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 3: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Boston Bruins (CAR leads 2-0), 7 p.m. ET — TNT
Game 3: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (Series tied 1-1), 7:30 p.m. ET — TBS
Game 3: Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues (Series tied 1-1), 9:30 p.m. ET — TNT
Game 3: Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings (Series tied 1-1) 10 p.m. ET — TBS 

PHT’s 2022 Stanley Cup previews
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning

Hurricanes vs. Bruins
• Penguins vs. Rangers
• Panthers vs. Capitals
Blues vs. Wild
• Avalanche vs. Predators
Oilers vs. Kings
Flames vs. Stars

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info
First Round, Stanley Cup predictions
• NHL Draft Lottery set: Canadiens have best odds for top pick
Why your team will (and will not) win the Stanley Cup

Ovechkin, and Ovi Jr., take the ice at All-Star skills night

ovechkin all star
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SUNRISE, Fla. — When you’ve got the second-most goals in NHL history, you’re evidently permitted to bring a guest onto the ice for the All-Star Skills competition.

That’s why there were two No. 8 Washington jerseys out there.

Capitals star Alex Ovechkin took the ice with his Metropolitan Division teammates – and his oldest child, 4-year-old Sergei.

Sergei, named for Ovechkin’s late brother, was wearing an Ovi Jr. jersey. The kid has built a bit of a following in recent weeks, after scoring a goal at a Caps practice in December and playing a role in helping the Washington crowd celebrate his dad’s 800th goal.

It was Ovi Jr.’s first chance at being part of an All-Star weekend. His father hasn’t participated at All-Star since 2018, either because of COVID-19 or injuries. The last time his dad played in an All-Star event, Sergei hadn’t been born.

Alex Ovechkin has 812 goals. He only trails Wayne Gretzky’s 894 in NHL history.

And later in the night, Ovi Jr. got to center a line alongside his dad and Pittsburgh great Sidney Crosby. They each got an assist on a goal that Sergei scored – beating Roberto Luongo, the Florida great who came out of retirement for All-Star weekend.

Said Ovechkin after his son scored: “I think he’s really enjoying it.”

WELCOME HOME, LU

Luongo got to be part of one more All-Star competition.

In a building where a banner bearing his No. 1 jersey hangs – he’s the only former Panthers player to have that distinction – Luongo was a celebrity goaltender during the Breakaway Challenge during the Skills Competition on Friday night.

He stopped his lone shot in the breakaway, off the stick of Toronto’s Mitch Marner. On one hand, Marner is the Maple Leafs’ leading scorer this season. On the other hand, he was also wearing a white suit, sunglasses and a light blue T-shirt to keep with a “Miami Vice” theme.

Luongo, who was regaled by “Luuuuu” chants from the Florida fans all night, was up to the challenge. Marner tried to beat him to the glove side, but Luongo got enough of it to make the save – then flopped forward to cover up the rebound, the smile clearly seen through his mask.

“You got too close,” Luongo told Marner.

Later, Luongo told ESPN during the telecast of the event that “this is my house. This is my home right here. The crease is my home.”

Luongo’s pads paid tribute to his career – the design depicted his time both as a member of the Panthers and the Vancouver Canucks. They were a gift from CCM for his making the Hockey Hall of Fame.

“I’d never put the pads on since I retired,” Luongo said. “First time I put them on was this week. Felt pretty good.”

He also took part, and scored a goal, in a Florida alumni game on Wednesday night. But if there’s more alumni games, Luongo suggested he might jump back into the net.

“It back some good memories tonight to be in the blue paint, hearing the chants,” Luongo said. “Maybe one day we’ll hear them again.”

REMEMBERING JIMMY

Sergei Ovechkin – who knocked a shot into an open net during a stoppage of the skills events – wasn’t the only child who got a great view of the night.

Philadelphia forward Kevin Hayes has his 3-year-old nephew Beau with him for All-Star weekend. Beau’s father was Jimmy Hayes, Kevin Hayes’ brother.

Jimmy Hayes was 31 when he died in 2021 with fentanyl and cocaine in his system. He played for four NHL teams, including Florida.

Kevin Hayes is part of an All-Star weekend for the first time.

ANTHEM POISE

“The Star-Spangled Banner” was performed by the South Florida Gay Men’s Chorus, and group crushed it – never minding that the crowd, representing several different fan bases, was going to shout some term specific to their team at various points in the lyrics.

Florida fans shout along with “red” and “Knight,” one a nod to one of the team’s primary colors, the other for goaltender Spencer Knight. There also were some shouts from other fan bases; some St. Louis fans, for example, could be heard singing “home of the Blues” instead of “home of the brave” to close the song.

And “O Canada” performer Hannah Walpole had some shouting as she sang as well, particularly when she reached the “true North” portion of those lyrics – something typically heard at Winnipeg games.

SLAP SHOTS

Cale Makar, the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner from the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche, was the first participant in the Fastest Skater event – the opening competition of the night. He fell coming around the second turn. … Tampa Bay’s Pat Maroon, one of the broadcasters on the event, reported that he was “freezing” by working at ice level. “I’m used to the gear,” said Maroon, who was in a blazer and open shirt Friday night. … A big hit for those used to the regular colors of FLA Live Arena – and basically all other hockey arenas – was the ocean-water-shade of blue used for the blue lines and the creases. The faceoff dots at the circles on either end of the ice aren’t the standard solid red this weekend, but depict an image of the sun instead.

Capitals sign Dylan Strome to five-year, $25 million extension

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FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Washington Capitals signed forward Dylan Strome to a five-year extension worth $25 million.

The team announced the contract during NHL All-Star Weekend, which is taking place in South Florida – the place Strome was drafted third in 2015.

Strome will count $5 million against the salary cap through the 2027-28 season. He was set to be a restricted free agent this summer.

“Dylan is an intelligent and skilled center and has been a great addition to our organization,” general manager Brian MacLellan said. “We are pleased to sign him to a long-term contract. We feel his skill set is a great fit for our team as he enters the prime years of his career at an important position.”

Strome is getting a raise from the $3.5 million deal he signed with the Capitals after the Chicago Blackhawks opted not to tender him a qualifying offer and made him a free agent. Strome has 11 goals and 25 assists in 36 games this season and ranks third on Washington’s roster with 14 power-play points.

The Mississauga, Ontario, native who played his junior hockey alongside Connor McDavid with the Erie Otters has 206 points in 325 regular-season NHL games with the Arizona Coyotes, Blackhawks and Capitals.

Golden Knights captain Mark Stone undergoes back surgery

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LAS VEGAS — Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone is out indefinitely after undergoing back surgery in Denver, the club announced.

The Knights termed the procedure as successful and that Stone “is expected to make a full recovery.”

This is the second time in less than a year that Stone has had back surgery. He also had a procedure May 19, 2022, and Stone said in December this was the best he had felt in some time.

But he was injured Jan. 12 against the Florida Panthers, and his absence has had a noticeable effect on the Knights. They have gone 1-5-2 without Stone, dropping out of first place in the Pacific Division into third.

Stone is second on the team in goals with 17 and in points with 38.

Devils associate coach Andrew Brunette charged with DUI

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DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. — New Jersey Devils associate coach and former Florida Panthers head coach Andrew Brunette was arrested in South Florida while driving home from a bar in his golf cart, authorities said.

Brunette, 49, was pulled over just blocks from the ocean in the Deerfield Beach area, north of Fort Lauderdale, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office arrest report. He was charged with one count of driving under the influence and two counts of disobeying a stop or yield sign. Brunette was released on $500 bond.

The Devils said in a statement that the team was aware of Brunette’s arrest and gathering additional information.

According to the arrest report, a deputy was in the process of giving Brunette’s illegally parked golf cart a ticket around midnight when Brunette walked out of a nearby bar and told the deputy he was about to leave. The deputy said Brunette seemed unsteady on his feet and slurred his speech, and when he was joined by his wife, the deputy said he overheard the wife tell Brunette not to drive while the deputy was there.

The deputy remained in the area and reported watching the couple drive away about 17 minutes later, according to the report. The deputy said he watched the golf cart run two stop signs before pulling Brunette over on a residential street about a mile away from his home. According to the report, Brunette had difficulty following instructions during a field sobriety test before eventually quitting and asking for an attorney. He also declined to take a breathe test to measure his blood-alcohol level, officials said.

Online jail and court records didn’t list an attorney for Brunette.

Brunette is in his first season as associate coach of the Devils. He was interim coach of the Florida Panthers last season after taking over when Joel Quenneville resigned for his connection to a 2010 Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse scandal.

The Panthers fired Brunette after they lost in the second round of the playoffs last spring despite him leading them to the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s top team during the regular season.

The Sudbury, Ontario, native played 1,159 NHL games for Washington, Nashville, Atlanta, Minnesota, Colorado and Chicago from 1995-2012. He was a Wild assistant in 2015-16 and worked on Florida’s staff from 2019-2022.