Greg McKegg

Penalties crush Hurricanes as Bruins storm back in Game 1

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The Carolina Hurricanes had their moments in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, but penalties ended up being their Achilles’ heel in a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins got on the board quickly thanks to Steven Kampfer, who was only in the game in the first place because Charlie McAvoy was serving a suspension. That lead was erased quickly though when Andrei Svechnikov‘s shot was deflected by Sebastian Aho just three seconds into a Hurricanes power play. Just like that, the score was 1-1 a mere 3:42 minutes into the contest.

Things calmed down after that until Greg McKegg charged hard into the net midway through the second period. Replays showed that he scored before colliding with Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask and the Bruins ultimately didn’t challenge the call, giving the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead.

Carolina’s edge wouldn’t hold though and it was largely due to a lack of discipline. Micheal Ferland was charged with interface late in the third and while the Hurricanes killed off that penalty, they weren’t so fortunate in the third. First Jordan Staal boarded Chris Wagner just 49 seconds into the frame. There might have been coincidental minors there as rookie defenseman Connor Clifton took exception to what Staal did, but Brad Marchand pulled Clifton back before the situation escalated.

That certainly isn’t a role Marchand is known for, but that wasn’t his only contribution in the period. He helped set up Marcus Johansson‘s game-tying goal on the ensuing power-play. When Dougie Hamilton took a roughing penalty at 2:41 of the third to put the Hurricanes in the box yet again, Marchand got another power-play assist, this time feeding the puck to Patrice Bergeron.

That said, the player who deserves the most credit on the Bergeron goal is arguably Jake DeBrusk, who collected the puck on his knees and got up while making the pass to Marchand to get that sequence going.

Hamilton took yet another penalty at 5:29 of the third, just to make life a little harder for the Hurricanes, but at least Carolina killed off that one. From there, the Hurricanes could not battle back. Brandon Carlo got an empty netter at 17:47 and Chris Wagner got one by Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek at 17:58.

Carolina can look back at this game as a missed opportunity to take one early in Boston. The silver lining for the Hurricanes is that this series has only begun.

Hurricanes-Bruins Game 2 from TD Garden will be Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC

Ryan Dadoun is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @RyanDadoun.

Leafs ink Zach Hyman to a two-year, entry-level deal

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have inked forward Zach Hyman to a two-year, entry level contract the club announced on Tuesday.

Hyman was acquired by the Leafs from the Florida Panthers last week along with a conditional seventh-round pick in 2017 in exchange for Greg McKegg.

With Hyman signing, the Panthers retain the seventh round selection.

It’s not too surprising that the Leafs were able to come to terms with Hyman. As Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News notes, Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas was an agent with Uptown Sports, the agency, which currently represents Hyman.

The 23-year-old had 22 goals and 54 points in 37 games with the University of Michigan during the 2014-15 season.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Hobey Baker finalist was the Panthers’ fifth round selection (123rd overall) in 2010.

The Leafs also announced the signing of defensemen Petter Granberg and Tim Erixon to one-year contracts on Tuesday.

According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, Erixon’s deal is a one-way contract worth $600,000 while Granberg’s extension is a two-way, $600,000 deal.

Erixon dressed in 15 games with the Leafs during the 2014-15 season scoring a goal and registering a minus-5 rating while averaging 15:48 a night in ice time.

The 24-year-old started the season in Columbus appearing in 19 games for the Blue Jackets before being dealt to Chicago in December. Erixon played eight games for the Blackhawks prior to being claimed off of waivers by the Leafs in March.

Granberg appeared in seven games for the Leafs during the 2014-15 season registering a plus-1 rating while averaging 11:27 in time on ice. The 22-year-old also played in 53 AHL games with the Marlies scoring one goal and 15 points to go a long with a plus-14 rating.

He was originally the Leafs fourth-round selection (116th overall) at the 2010 NHL Draft.

Photo courtesy of Uptown Sports

Related: No GM, no problem for the Maple Leafs?

Leafs place Lupul on IR

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Joffrey Lupul is injured, again.

The forward left Wednesday night’s 4-3 shootout victory in Boston with a lower body injury. The Leafs announced Thursday that Lupul has been sent back to Toronto for an MRI and has been placed on injured reserve.

Lupul missed 12 games earlier this season with a broken bone in his hand.

The 31-year-old has nine goals and 17 points in 26 games this season.

In a corresponding move, the Leafs recalled forward Greg McKegg from the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies for the game Friday in Minnesota.

McKegg, the Leafs third-round pick (62nd overall) in 2010, made his NHL debut last season appearing in one game.

In 23 AHL games this season, the 22-year-old has seven goals and 15 points.

Toronto also announced center Peter Holland has been sent back to Toronto with an upper body injury. He is expected to get an MRI on Friday.

Here is coach Randy Carlyle talking about Thursday’s events: