We’re back! The NHL enters its fourth day of the 2019-20 playoff qualifiers after a four-month break and we’ll be here to capture all the action from every game.
Follow along here as Yahoo Sports’ NHL editors keep you posted on the all major storylines, highlights, key injuries and anything else you need to know.
Aho delivers death blow as Hurricanes sweep Rangers
Hurricanes star Sebastian Aho put the exclamation mark on a one-sided series with an absolutely ridiculous third-period tally as Carolina completed a sweep of the Rangers on Tuesday night.
Cutting in one-on-one opposite Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo, Aho toe-dragged the living daylights out of No. 77 before tucking an absurd backhand up in the top bunk.
— NHL (@NHL) August 5, 2020
Canes goaltender James Reimer was out of his mind for most of this one too, making 27 saves through two periods and finishing with just one goal allowed on 38 shots.
This after Petr Mrazek looked very sharp and led Carolina to its first two wins of the series.
I know it's not the traditional starter-backup relationship, but the Hurricanes nonchalantly starting both their goalies in a five-game series and simply cruising is a damn message
— Justin Cuthbert (@jccuthbert) August 5, 2020
The sweep was a dominant showing by the Hurricanes from start to finish — all without top blue liner Dougie Hamilton, too.
Yeah, the Canes are scary.
Flames dump depleted Jets en route to series lead
For the first time in 25 years, the Flames had six different players score in the same postseason contest as Calgary’s balanced attack was way too much for the Jets to handle on Tuesday.
Johnny Gaudreau, Milan Lucic, Matthew Tkachuk, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund and Elias Lindholm all converted for Calgary. The Flames were money on the power play, depositing three times on the man advantage.
Calgary especially dominated the middle frame — scoring three times in the second period to break it wide open.
After losing Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele in Game 1, the Jets saw defenseman Tucker Poolman and forward Mathieu Perreault exit at different points in Game 3 and find themselves extremely depleted heading into a do-or-die Game 4 on Thursday.
Leafs completely dominate Jackets in Game 2
The Maple Leafs were simply the better team from start to finish and in every facet of the game as they evened their series with the Blue Jackets on Tuesday.
If you looking for a quick synopsis, Jackets head coach John Tortorella summed the game up perfectly in his post-game presser, as he often does:
“Toronto was really good, we sucked.”
On Toronto’s 56th shot of the series, Auston Matthews was finally able to solve the one guy for Columbus who really did not suck, goaltender Joonas Korpisalo — who’s locked-in play has really been the story of the first two games of the series.
It was Matthews’ 11th career playoff goal in his 22nd career postseason contest with Toronto.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 4, 2020
John Tavares added the insurance marker for Toronto five minutes into the final frame, while Morgan Rielly potted an empty-netter to seal it with under a minute left. Korpisalo has stopped 64 of the 66 shots he’s seen through the first two games of the series.
Aside from finally finding a bit of offensive touch while dominating in possession and shot share, Toronto also set the tone physically, especially early in the contest — highlighted by this savage Kyle Clifford hit:
A big win for Toronto was unfortunately marred by a terrifying incident with less than two minutes left in the contest.
As the time ticked down in the final frame, Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin lost his footing coming around the Toronto net before falling awkwardly and knocking his head and neck off of Oliver Bjorkstrand’s body.
— Alison (@AlisonL) August 4, 2020
Muzzin stayed on the ice for what seemed like an eternity as he laid pretty much motionless while paramedics and team doctors examined him in front of an eerily empty and silent Scotiabank Arena. When the blueliner was finally loaded up onto the stretcher, he was carted off the ice to stick taps from both benches and a pat from his partner Justin Holl.
Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin was transported to hospital following an on-ice collision in the third period tonight. He is alert and able to move all limbs. Further updates will be provided once available.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) August 4, 2020
Muzzin was taken to hospital and “responsive,” head coach Sheldon Keefe told media following the game. No other updates on Muzzin’s status have been offered at time of this writing.
Predators down Coyotes to even series
Nashville-Arizona is down to a best-of-three after the Predators dropped the Coyotes 4-0 on Tuesday afternoon to even the series at ones.
Preds goalie Juuse Saros was nearly perfect after getting the nod over Pekka Rinne for a second straight contest. Saros stopped 24 of 26 including 14 in the opening frame before Arizona added a couple garbage-time tallies late in the final period.
Saros moving laterally through crease traffic. Great look at his eyes locked onto the puck! pic.twitter.com/HklcTblpyR
— The Goalie Guild (@TheGoalieGuild) August 4, 2020
A balanced scoring attack got the job done for the Preds as four different players — including Nick Bonino, Ryan Johansen, Calle Jarnkrok and Viktor Arvidsson — buried for Nashville. Clayton Keller and Lawson Crouse had the late ones for Arizona.
Islanders in control
The New York Islanders are on the verge of punching through into the next round after doubling up on the Florida Panthers in Game 2 of their play-in series.
After the Panthers had jumped in front on two occasions, Islanders winger Jordan Eberle eventually broke a 2-2 deadlock late in the second period before adding an insurance marker in the third, while Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves in the 4-2 the victory.
New York was fortunate to avoid a potential crisis when star forward Mat Barzal crashed into the boards after a scoring chance near the midway mark of the third period, with the back of his head being the main point of contact in the fall.
barzal goes really hard into the boards. he's back on the isles bench, though. pic.twitter.com/cE7vOgrl75
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) August 4, 2020
Barzal remained down but did not miss a shift, and is expected to be in the lineup in the early game on Wednesday, where New York will have the chance to eliminate the Panthers.
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