Matthew Tkachuk

Flames bounce back with Game 3 rout, push Jets to brink

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This time the Calgary Flames were able to take advantage of a shorthanded Winnipeg Jets team.

After dropping Game 2 on Monday, the Flames bounced back on Tuesday evening with a 6-2 rout in Game 3 of their qualifying round series to take a 2-1 series lead, pushing the Jets to the brink of elimination.

They will have a chance to close out the series in Game 4 from Edmonton on Thursday.

The Jets were once again without the services of star forwards Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine, and the lack of firepower caught up with them in a big way on Tuesday. Nikolaj Ehlers did strike with an early goal (his second in as many games) to give them an early lead, but it would prove to be a short-lived advantage as Calgary’s Elias Lindholm scored the equalizer just 14 seconds later.

The Jets would never regain the lead.

The Flames ended up getting goals from six different players, and it was an especially big day for some of their top stars.

Sean Monahan finished with three points (a goal and two assists), while Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau, Andrew Mangiapane, and Lindholm all had two points, while Matthew Tkachuk and Milan Lucic also added goals.

Starting goalie Cam Talbot stopped 33 out of 35 shots in the win.

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

This was always going to be a tough series for the Jets to get through even before the injuries started to pile up in Game 1. They have a limited defense and were going to need Conor Hellebuyck to carry them in net. When you take two players as good as Scheifele and Laine out of the equation, it eliminates pretty much any room they may have had for error. Without them recipe is going to have to look exactly like Monday’s Game 2 win with great goaltending and just enough offense to scratch out a win. They did not get either of those elements on Tuesday.

It remains to be seen if Scheifele or Laine will be ready for Thursday’s game.

(8) Calgary Flames vs. (9) Winnipeg Jets (Series tied 1-1)

Saturday, Aug. 1: Flames 4, Jets 1 (recap)
Monday, Aug. 3: Jets 3, Flames 2 (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Flames 6, Jets 2
Thursday, Aug. 6: Flames vs. Jets*, TBD
Saturday, Aug. 8: Jets vs. Flames*, TBD

MORE:
• 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers 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.

Flames-Jets stream: 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers

Flames-Jets stream
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NBCSN’s coverage of the NHL’s Return to Play continues with Tuesday’s Stanley Cup Qualifier matchup between the Flames and Jets. Live look-in coverage of Game 3 begins at 6:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Watch the Flames-Jets stream at 6:45 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Nikolaj Ehlers scored his first career postseason goal with less than ten minutes to play in the third period to lead the Jets to a 3-2 win over Calgary in Game 2. Winnipeg led 2-0 before the Flames came back to tie things prior to Ehlers’ winner. The Jets won while playing without arguably their two best skaters, Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine.

Jansen Harkins, who was making his playoff debut in place of the injured Scheifele, opened the scoring for Winnipeg in the first period. The 23-year-old from Cleveland, Ohio, played just 29 NHL games this season, spending most of the year with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose.

Teams that win Game 3 after splitting the first two of a best-of-5 have an all-time series record of 21-7.

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

WHAT: Calgary Flames vs. Winnipeg Jets
WHERE: Rogers Place – Edmonton
WHEN: Tuesday, August 4, 6:45 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN (live look-in)
ON THE CALL: Chris Cuthbert, Louie DeBrusk
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Flames-Jets live look-in stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

(8) Calgary Flames vs. (9) Winnipeg Jets (Series tied 1-1)

Saturday, Aug. 1: Flames 4, Jets 1 (recap)
Monday, Aug. 3: Jets 3, Flames 2 (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Flames vs. Jets, 6:45 p.m. ET – NBCSN (Live look-in stream)
Thursday, Aug. 6: Flames vs. Jets TBD
Saturday, Aug. 8: Jets vs. Flames*, TBD

MORE:
2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule

Shorthanded Jets even series with Flames thanks to gritty Game 2 win

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No Mark Scheifele and no Patrik Laine turned out to be no problem for the Winnipeg Jets on Monday afternoon.

Even though they were playing without two of their best and most impactful offensive stars, the Jets were still able to grind out a hard fought 3-2 win against the Calgary Flames, tying their qualifying round series at one game apiece.

Game 3 of the series will take place on Tuesday in Edmonton (6:45 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

This was an impressive win for the Jets on two fronts. For one, they absolutely needed this game after a dreadful opener to the series on Saturday night. Falling into an 0-2 hole in the series would have been a daunting mountain to climb in a best-of-five, especially with the current injury situation.

But also because they did exactly what they needed to do to get the win without two key players.

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Connor Hellebuyck gave them a Vezina-worthy performance in net, and several of their depth players stepped forward to help fill the offensive void left by the absence of Scheifele and Laine.

Both players were injured in the Jets’ Game 1 loss. Scheifele was injured when he was hit by the skate of Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk, a play that infuriated Jets coach Paul Maurice after the game (he was still mad about it before Game 2 as well). Laine also exited the game late in the third period after he was checked by Sam Bennett.

Filling the offensive void

Adam Lowry played an especially big role on Monday, scoring a goal and an adding an assist on Jansen Harkins‘ first period goal to help the Jets jump out to a 2-0 lead. Lowry has now factored in on three of the Jets’ four goals in the first two games. He had just 10 points in 49 games during the regular season.

Nikolaj Ehlers also came through for the Jets, scoring the game-winning goal in the third period after the Flames had tied it. It was a big goal for Ehlers not only because it broke the tie, but also because it was his first career playoff goal. He has been one of the Jets’ most productive players since becoming a regular in the lineup (he is going to score 25-30 goals every season) but had yet to break through in the playoffs. Entering play on Monday he had gone 22 consecutive playoff games over three postseason appearances without finding the back of the net.

For as great as this win was for the Jets, it has to feel like a massive missed disappointment for the Flames to not be able to win this game.

They had a chance to take a commanding series lead and push an undermanned Jets team to the brink of elimination and they simply did not bring anything close to their “A” game. They did manage to rally to overcome the two-goal deficit to tie the game, but there just wasn’t enough over 60 minutes to fully take advantage of the opportunity in front of them. Now they find themselves facing a pivotal Game 3 on Tuesday night.

(8) Calgary Flames vs. (9) Winnipeg Jets (Series tied 1-1)

Saturday, Aug. 1: Flames 4, Jets 1 (recap)
Monday, Aug. 3: Jets 3, Flames 2
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Flames vs. Jets, 6:45 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Thursday, Aug. 6: Flames vs. Jets*, TBD
Saturday, Aug. 8: Jets vs. Flames*, TBD

MORE:
2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers 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.

The Wraparound: Maurice still steamed at Tkachuk for hit on Scheifele

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The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2020 NHL Return to Play. We’ll break down the NHL playoff games today with the all-important television and live streaming information included.

• Take a look back at Sunday’s NHL Return to Play action, which included a buzzer-beater and upsets aplenty.

• Wild defenseman Matt Dumba spoke about his speech on Saturday afternoon and why he regrets not taking a knee for the Canadian national anthem after doing so for the U.S. anthem.

• Blackhawks forward Drake Caggiula has been suspended for Game 2 following an illegal check to the head of Tyler Ennis.

There’s a bit of positive news on the Mark Scheifele front ahead of Game 2. (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; livestream). According to TSN’s Sara Orlesky, the forward’s injury is not believed to be long-term. Even with that, it’s likely the Jets will be without him and Patrik Laine against the Flames Monday afternoon.

Scheifele’s injury set off his coach following Game 1. Paul Maurice took aim at Matthew Tkachuk in his postgame press conference calling the play a “filthy, dirty kick to the back of the leg.”

Maurice double downed on Sunday.

“I would stick by every word that I said,” he said.

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

“I don’t know, if you sin once, are you a sinner? Sin 10 times?,” Maurice continued. “I don’t think he came off the bench and said, ‘Hey I’m going to see if I can go stab the back of Mark Scheifele’s leg with my skate.’ I think he got to that point, and I think that’s exactly what he did. But I don’t think he’s skating across the ice thinking that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I think he plays at a level, he’s on the edge. He crosses it sometimes, and he crossed it — in my mind — clearly. That’s exactly how I feel about it.”

Tkachuk called the play “unfortunate” and ” an accident.”

The NHL decided against punishing the Flames forward, but even though Tkachuk fought Blake Wheeler soon after the incident, the bitterness on Winnipeg’s end remains. Despite the increasing tension, the Jets will be without two of their best players in an important Game 2. Focusing all of their attention on getting revenge won’t serve them well.

Officials haven’t been shy about calling penalties through the opening two days of the Qualifying Round. This game will likely be called tighter given the storyline coming out of Game 1. Winnipeg has to be more concerned about avoiding falling behind 0-2 in the best-of-five series.

NHL GAMES TODAY

Game 2: Rangers vs. Hurricanes, 12 p.m. ET, NBCSN; livestream – (Hurricanes lead series 1-0): Jesper Fast will not play after taking a hit from Brady Skjei in Game 1. As for the goalie? Igor Shesterkin was on the ice for practice on Sunday but it is not known whether he will dress for Game 2. David Quinn wasn’t sure if the netminder would be ready.

Round-robin: Capitals vs. Lightning, 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; livestream: Steven Stamkos likely won’t play against Washington. He’s been nursing an injury since summer training camp opened. Head coach Jon Cooper said they’ve been hopeful he would play in the first game, but not playing was always likely. “We never really in any of our plans had him playing in this first game, so not sure any of that’s really changed,” he said. “We’re always hopeful.” John Carlson, meanwhile, will be a game-time decision for the Capitals.

Round-robin: Stars vs. Golden Knights, 6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; livestreamRobin Lehner will get the start for Vegas, while the Golden Knights remain without Max Pacioretty. The forward did not travel with the team to the Edmonton bubble, but has rejoined them but is still “unfit to play.” Rick Bowness would not reveal if Ben Bishop or Anton Khudobin would start Dallas’ first round-robin game.

Game 2: Canadiens vs. Penguins, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN; livestream – (Canadiens lead series 1-0): The power play was a big factor in the outcome of a number of the games on Day 1 of the playoffs, including this series. Pittsburgh went 1-for-7 with the man-advantage and failed to score on a 5-on-3. Sidney Crosby scored his 67th career playoff goal in Game 1 to move into sole possession of 19th place on the all-time playoff goal scoring list. He trails Gordie Howe by 1 goal (68) for 18th place.

Game 2: Blackhawks vs. Oilers, 10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; livestream – (Blackhawks lead series 1-0): During the regular season, Edmonton was first in power play (29.5%) and second in penalty kill (84.4%). Chicago, meanwhile, was 28th with the man advantage (15.2%) but converted three of six opportunities in Game 1, perhaps none more important than Kubalik’s first goal of the game. Dave Tippett said Mike Smith‘s play wasn’t the issue, but did not divulge if he would turn to Mikko Koskinen Monday night.

TUESDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 2: Panthers vs. Islanders, 12 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Game 2: Coyotes vs. Predators, 2:30 p.m. ET (NHL Network)
Game 2: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs, 4 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Game 3: Flames vs. Jets, 6:45 p.m. ET (NHL Network)
Game 3: Hurricanes vs. Rangers, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Game 2: Wild vs. Canucks, 10:45 p.m. ET (USA Network)

PHT’s 2020 Stanley Cup playoff previews
Eastern Conference top seed round-robin preview
Penguins vs. Canadiens
Rangers vs. Hurricanes
Islanders vs. Panthers
Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets

Western Conference top seed round-robin preview
Jets vs. Flames
Oilers vs. Blackhawks
Predators vs. Coyotes
Wild vs. Canucks

Predictions for 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers
Why your team won’t (and will) win the Stanley Cup this season
NHL Power Rankings: Stanley Cup-less veterans to root for
2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule

NHL Bubble Wrap: Kubalik, Price, and Slavin star in NHL’s playoff opener

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  • The NHL’s 2019-20 postseason kicked off on Saturday with five games.
  • The Jets lost two key forwards to injury.
  • The Penguins and Canadiens played the first overtime game of the postseason in a game that featured a great goaltending performance, two penalty shots, and a slick winner from an unlikely source.

Carolina Hurricanes 3, New York Rangers 2 (Hurricanes lead series 1-0)

Henrik Lundqvist did everything he could for the Rangers on Saturday afternoon but it was not enough in their Game 1 loss to the Hurricanes. After being relegated to third goalie duty for much of the second half of the season, Lundqvist got the surprise start on Saturday when Igor Shesterkin was deemed “unfit to play.” The Hurricanes pounced all over a sluggish Rangers team early in the game and jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the Rangers finally started to get going. Jaccob Slavin and Sebastian Aho each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes in the win, while Martin Necas‘ goal midway through the third period proved to be the winner.

Chicago Blackhawks 6, Edmonton Oilers 4 (Blackhawks lead series 1-0)

Wow was this ugly for the Oilers. Do not let the reasonably close final score fool you into thinking this was anything other than a complete meltdown from the start for Edmonton. Starting goalie Mike Smith was pulled after giving up five goals while playing behind a porous defense that did not have an answer for Dominik Kubalik, Jonathan Toews, and the rest of the Blackhawks. Chicago snuck into the qualifier round as the 12th team in the West and based on the first game it could not have been given a better matchup. The Oilers may have two elite, MVP caliber players in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but the rest of the roster remains badly flawed.

New York Islanders 2, Florida Panthers 1 (Islanders lead series 1-0)

The big story to come out of this one is the Islanders losing defenseman Johnny Boychuk after he was on the receiving end of a huge hit from Mike Matheson. Boychuck did not return, and there was no immediate update on his status from the team after the game. You can be sure the NHL is looking at the hit for potential supplemental discipline (Matheson was initially given a five-minute major, but it was reduced to two minutes after review). The Islanders scored on the ensuing power play when Anthony Beauvillier scored to give them a 2-0 lead. That goal would prove to be the game-winning goal.

Montreal Canadiens 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 2 (Canadiens lead series 1-0)

The Canadiens stunned the Penguins in Game 1 thanks to a 39-save effort from Carey Price, some big goals from Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki, and an overtime winner from defenseman Jeff Petry. The Penguins’ power play let them down in a big way by going 1-for-7 on the night, including a missed opportunity on an extended 5-on-3 and an overtime power play. Conor Sheary also missed a penalty shot with three minutes to play in regulation.

Calgary Flames 4, Winnipeg Jets 1 (Flames lead series 1-0)

This was a brutal game for the Jets. Not only did they lose their opening game, but they also lost two of their best forwards to injury as Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine were both injured. Scheifele’s injury appears to be the most serious after he was kicked in the back of the leg by Matthew Tkachuk early in the first period and was unable to put any weight on his left leg. Jets coach Paul Maurice felt it was an intentional, dirty play. This is sure to be the storyline of this series. As for the Flames, after not scoring a goal in each of his past two playoff appearances Johnny Gaudreau found the back of the net while Andrew Mangiapane recorded a pair of points in the win.

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Three Stars

1. Dominik Kubalik, Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks may have had a miserable regular season, but they have a chance to make some noise in the playoffs thanks in part to a very favorable qualifying round matchup against a very flawed Oilers team. Kubalik was the big star on Saturday in their 6-4 win thanks to a five point effort in his playoff debut. He was one of the bright spots for the Blackhawks during the regular season, coming out of nowhere to be a finalist for the rookie of the year award.

2. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens. Price stopped 39 shots in Montreal’s Game 1 win over Pittsburgh, and while all of those saves were important he played some of his best hockey in the first 10 minutes of the first period. It was at that point that the Penguins carried the play and recorded 10 of the game’s first 12 shots but were unable to get one by Price. That helped set the tone for Montreal’s win. If the Canadiens are going to advance they are going to need more efforts like this from their franchise goalie.

3. Jaccob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes. The bad news for the Hurricanes is they did not have Dougie Hamilton for Game 1 of their series against the Rangers. The good news? Even without him they still have a bonafide top-pairing defender on their roster in Slavin, and he was a force on Saturday. He played a game-high 24 minutes for the Hurricanes in their 3-2 win over the Rangers, scoring a goal (the first goal just one minute into the game), adding an assist, and playing his usual rock-solid game defensively.

Highlights of the night

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba kicked off the postseason with a powerful speech against racism.

“Hockey is a great game. But it could be a whole lot greater. And it starts with all of us.”

The first overtime goal of the 2020 postseason belongs to Jeff Petry and it was a beauty.

Factoids

  • The Penguins-Canadiens game was just the second Stanley Cup Playoff game (and first since 1923) to feature two penalty shots. [NHL PR]
  • Kubalik is the first rookie in NHL history to record five points in their postseason debut. [NHL PR]
  • After scoring in his regular season debut with the team, Jean-Gabriel Pageau added a goal in his first playoff game with the New York Islanders. [NHL PR]

Sunday’s schedule

Game 1: Arizona Coyotes vs. Nashville Predators (2 p.m. ET, USA)
Round-Robin: Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers (3 p.m. ET, NBC)
Round-Robin: St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche (6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Game 1: Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (joined in progress 9 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Game 1: Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

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.