Ryan O’Reilly

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Canucks-Blues stream: 2020 NHL Stanley Cup First Round

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs continues with Friday’s First Round matchup between the Canucks and Blues. Coverage begins at 630 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Watch the Canucks-Blues stream at 6:30 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

The Canucks beat the defending Stanley Cup champs 5-2 in Game 1 on Wednesday. The game was tied 2-2 going into the third period before Vancouver scored three goals in the final 20 minutes to seal the win.

Vancouver lost its first game of the qualifying round vs Minnesota, being shut out in a 3-0 loss. Since then, they have won four
straight games, scoring three-plus goals in every game.

After leading the Blues to a Stanley Cup as a rookie last season, Jordan Binnington has struggled to regain that form in this year’s playoffs. He has lost all three of his starts and allowed five goals on 22 shots in Game 1 against Vancouver, his second straight
game allowing five-plus goals. He allowed a soft goal in the third period from Troy Stecher, which head coach Craig Berube said “He probably wants that one back for sure. But it is what it is.”

WHAT: Vancouver Canucks vs. St. Louis Blues
WHERE: Rogers Place – Edmonton
WHEN: Friday, August 14, 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN
ON THE CALL: Kenny Albert, AJ Mleczko, Pierre McGuire
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Canucks-Blues stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

No. 4 St. Louis Blues vs. No. 5 Vancouver Canucks

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Vancouver 5, St. Louis 2
Friday, Aug. 14: Vancouver at St. Louis, 6:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Sunday, Aug. 16: St. Louis at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Monday, Aug. 17: St. Louis at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Wednesday, Aug. 19: Vancouver at St. Louis – TBD
*Friday, Aug. 21: St. Louis at Vancouver – TBD
*Sunday, Aug. 23: Vancouver at St. Louis – TBD

*if necessary

MORE:
• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule

Blues vs. Canucks: 5 things to know about their First Round series

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The First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs begins August 11. Before the NHL postseason resumes play, PHT will preview each of the eight opening round matchups, including Blues vs. Canucks.

1. Greed could be a big-time motivation for big-time Blues and Canucks

No doubt, Blues star defenseman Alex Pietrangelo ranks as the player with the most money to gain or lose in this series, at least if free agent bidders put a lot of stock in postseason play. Even so, Pietrangelo is far from alone.

Jacob Markstrom solidified himself with a crucial season for the Canucks, but the 30-year-old faces an uncertain future, and a fairly goalie-rich market. Christopher Tanev doesn’t know if he’ll be back with Vancouver, either. Tyler Toffoli‘s another player who could see some serious variance.

Heck, Elias Pettersson might also want to be proactive, so while his rookie deal runs through 2020-21, the budding Canucks superstar may just want to sign an extension after this run. (Would that be wise? Debatable, but Pettersson may emphasize peace of mind over maximum bucks.)

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

2. Experience for Blues

Sometimes “experience” gets thrown around even for honestly pretty mediocre veteran players who are sometimes just there. It’s a little different when you’re talking about veteran stars who can still actually play, though.

The Blues are brimming with battle-tested players who aren’t past their prime. While Pietrangelo is 30, Ryan O'Reilly, Colton Parayko, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, and other key players haven’t celebrated The Big 3-0 just yet. These are players who’ve shut down some of the league’s best players, including making life miserable for “The Perfect Line” of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak.

While Elias Pettersson & Co. showed they can score against a stingy Wild team, the Blues represent an enormous jump in difficulty. Along with being stingy themselves, these Blues players can test opponents on offense. That’s a potentially harrowing situation for a Canucks team accustomed to “outscoring their problems.”

3. Youth movement for Canucks

Then again, experience can’t account for everything. A dynamic Canucks team could very well leave the savviest of veterans and grayest of graybeards huffing and puffing to keep up.

There’s something to be said for having younger legs. For every 21-year-old Robert Thomas the Blues can roll out, the Canucks have more. And let’s face it: Quinn Hughes might be 20, but most veterans would envy his poise.

Maybe Elias Pettersson and others will be too “inexperienced” to realize they’re supposed to be nervous? Or perhaps they can merely out-skate and out-skill those nerves?

4. Two potent power plays

The Canucks scored an impressive 57 power-play goals during the regular season, which tied them for second in the NHL — and that’s with 69 games played (The Oilers scored 59 PPG, but in 71 GP). That would lead you to believe that the Canucks’ power play could stand as a big advantage over most NHL teams.

But what if they draw more or less the same number of penalties as the Blues? The Blues’ power play was actually marginally more efficient (24.3 percent to 24.2 for Vancouver), so they might be able to strike even (or close to even) on special teams. Especially since the two teams boasted fairly similar penalty kill units in 2019-20.

It should be fascinating to see if one (or both) of these teams convert that work to this First Round series. From the Canucks’ perspective, they might need to win that battle at least a few times to make this series interesting.

5. Prediction: Blues in 5

Look, the Canucks could channel some magic (especially on the power play) to upset the Blues. Or at least make it longer than a five-game series. That’s especially possible if the Blues meander into the First Round.

Overall, though, it just seems like the Blues are too deep, too defensively adept, and potent enough offensively to trade blows here and there when/if things break down. Jacob Markstrom might need the best two weeks of his career to make this close.

(Then again, bubble hockey could get really weird, too.)

No. 4 St. Louis Blues vs. No. 5 Vancouver Canucks

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Vancouver at St. Louis, 10:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Friday, Aug. 14: Vancouver at St. Louis, 6:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Sunday, Aug. 16: St. Louis at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Monday, Aug. 17: St. Louis at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Wednesday, Aug. 19: Vancouver at St. Louis – TBD
*Friday, Aug. 21: St. Louis at Vancouver – TBD
*Sunday, Aug. 23: Vancouver at St. Louis – TBD

*if necessary

MORE:
Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Stars-Blues stream: NHL Return to Play round-robin game

Stars-Blues stream
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NBC’s coverage of the NHL’s Return to Play continues with Sunday’s round-robin matchup between the Stars and Blues. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET on NBC. Watch the Stars-Blues stream on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

The defending champion Blues finished as the top team in the Western Conference to become the first Stanley Cup winner to finish the following regular season atop their conference since the 2000-01 Devils. But since the restart, St. Louis has not played to the form they showed in the regular season. Including the exhibition (a 4-0 loss to the Blackhawks), they’ve lost all three games since entering the Edmonton bubble.

The Stars finished the regular season on a six-game losing streak and picked up right where they left off, dropping all three games they’ve played in the Edmonton bubble (including a 2-0 exhibition loss to Nashville).

Perhaps most concerning for Dallas has been their defensive struggles. The Stars were the second-best defensive team in the NHL in the regular season, allowing just 2.52 goals/game (only Boston was better). But through two Round Robin games, they have allowed nine goals. In the last four periods they’ve played, Dallas has been outscored 8-0.

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

WHAT: Dallas Stars vs. St. Louis Blues
WHERE: Rogers Place – Edmonton
WHEN: Sunday, August 9, 3 p.m. ET
TV: NBC
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Stars-Blues stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

Standings (tiebreaker is regular-season points percentage)

Vegas Golden Knights (3-0-0, 6 points)
Colorado Avalanche (2-1-0, 4 points)
St. Louis Blues (0-2-0, 0 points)
Dallas Stars (0-2-0, 0 points)

Sunday, Aug. 2: Avalanche 2, Blues 1 (recap)
Monday, Aug. 3: Golden Knights 4, Stars 3 (recap)
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Avalanche 4, Stars 0
Thursday, Aug. 6: Golden Knights 6, Blues 4 (recap)
Saturday, Aug. 8: Golden Knights 4, Avalanche 3 (OT) (recap)
Sunday, Aug. 9: Stars vs. Blues, 3 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)

• Vegas will play Chicago, while Colorado will play Arizona in the First Round.
• Winner of STL/DAL will be #3 seed and play Calgary; the loser will be #4 and play Vancouver.

Golden Knights-Blues stream: NHL Return to Play round-robin game

Golden Knights-Blues
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NBCSN’s coverage of the NHL’s Return to Play continues with Thursday’s round-robin matchup between the Golden Knights and Blues. Live look-in coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Watch the Golden Knights-Blues stream on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Standings

Colorado Avalanche (2-0-0, 4 points)
Vegas Golden Knights (1-0-0, 2 points)
St. Louis Blues (0-1-0, 0 points)
Dallas Stars (0-2-0, 0 points)

Thursday’s round-robin schedule

Golden Knights vs. Blues

Scenarios based on Thursday result

1) Golden Knights win in regulation

• Winner of COL/VGK on Saturday will finish 1st, loser will finish 2nd
• Winner of DAL/STL on Sunday will finish 3rd, loser will finish 4th

2) Golden Knights win in OT/SO

• Winner of COL/VGK on Saturday will finish 1st, loser will finish 2nd
STL: Will finish 3rd w/ 1 point against DAL on Sunday
DAL: Only way to finish 3rd is to beat STL in regulation on Sunday

3) Blues win in regulation

COL: Can finish 1st or 2nd

Will finish 1st if …
– COL gets 1 point vs VGK on Saturday, OR
– STL loses to DAL on Sunday

STL: Can finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd

Will finish 1st if…
– VGK beats COL in regulation on Saturday, AND
– STL beats DAL on Sunday

VGK: Can finish 2nd or 3rd

Will finish 2nd if …
– VGK beats COL on Saturday, AND STL loses to DAL on Sunday, OR
– VGK earns exactly 1 point vs COL on Saturday, AND STL loses in regulation to DAL
on Sunday

DAL: Guaranteed last

4) Blues win in OT/SO

COL: Can finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd
Will finish 1st w/ 1 point against VGK on Saturday

VGK: Can finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd
– Will finish 1st by beating COL in regulation on Saturday

STL: Can finish 2nd or 3rd

Will finish 2nd if…

– STL betters VGK’s result over the weekend, OR
– VGK beats COL in regulation on Saturday, AND STL beats DAL on Sunday

DAL: Guaranteed last

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

WHAT: Vegas Golden Knights vs. St. Louis Blues
WHERE: Rogers Place – Edmonton
WHEN: Thursday, August 6, 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN (live look-in)
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Golden Knights-Blues live look-in stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

Western Conference round-robin schedule

Sunday, Aug. 2: Avalanche 2, Blues 1 (recap)
Monday, Aug. 3: Golden Knights 4, Stars 3 (recap)
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Avalanche 4, Stars 0
Thursday, Aug. 6: Golden Knights vs. Blues, 6:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
Saturday, Aug. 8: Golden Knights vs. Avalanche, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9: Stars vs. Blues, TBD

MORE:
2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule

Avalanche-Blues stream: NHL Return to Play round-robin game

Avalanche-Blues stream
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NBCSN’s coverage of the NHL’s Return to Play continues with Sunday’s round-robin matchup between the Avalanche and Blues. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Watch the Avalanche-Blues stream on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

This round-robin matchup features the top two teams in the Western Conference. When the regular season was paused in March, the Blues led the Central Division (and entire conference) with 94 points through 71 games. They have led the West since the morning of Dec. 15 and became the first defending champion to finish the following regular season atop their conference since the 2000-01 Devils.

When the puck drops for this game on Sunday, it will have been 417 days since the Blues became Stanley Cup champions on June 12, 2019 in Boston. St. Louis will look to build on their first-ever title and become the first team to repeat as champions since the Penguins did so in 2016 and 2017.

Just over three years ago, the Avalanche finished last in the NHL in Jared Bednar’s first season in charge. But now they are set to make their third straight playoff appearance and boast one of the league’s most talented rosters, which includes Hart Trophy finalist Nathan MacKinnon and Calder Trophy finalist Cale Makar among many other pieces.

The defending champs will benefit from the return of their superstar forward Vladimir Tarasenko. The 28-year-old underwent left shoulder surgery in late October and was on pace to return for the playoffs even before the season was paused. He played just 10 games this season.

[COVERAGE BEGINS AT 6:30 P.M. ET ON NBCSN]

WHAT: Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues
WHERE: Rogers Place – Edmonton
WHEN: Sunday, August 2, 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN
ON THE CALL: Kenny Albert, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Avalanche-Blues stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

Western Conference round-robin schedule

Sunday, Aug. 2: Blues vs. Avalanche, 6:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN (Livestream)
Monday, Aug. 3: Stars vs. Golden Knights, 6:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Avalanche vs. Stars, 6:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Thursday, Aug. 6: Golden Knights vs. Blues, TBD
Saturday, Aug. 8: Golden Knights vs. Avalanche, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9: Stars vs. Blues, TBD

You can watch all the NHL playoff streams on the NBC Sports app.

MORE:
2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule