Kudos to Tyler Seguin, Jason Dickinson and Robin Lehner, who joined Ryan Reaves during the national anthem as all four players took a knee in support of fighting racism as well as social justice. Nice to see some players taking a stand (not literally) on social issues.
It was smart of the NHL to schedule the round-robin games as the middle games when each of the hub cities is playing three games.
While the play-in series have sudden-death overtime without the possibility of a shootout, the round-robin games still have the five-minute, three-on-three action, and then the shootout if a winner cannot be determined in the overtime.
That way, the late game in the hub city isn’t waiting out a long overtime or two (or more), then waiting for the dressing rooms to be thoroughly cleaned, before finally being able to play.
It will only happen in this opening round as by the time Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs occur, there will be only two games per day at each of the hub cities, or less.
It happened on Monday in Toronto as Washington and Tampa Bay went into overtime and then it was decided in a shootout.
There were six games in the NHL Monday.
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CAROLINA 4 NEW YORK RANGERS 1 (Carolina leads 2-0)
Andrei Svechnikov. That’s all you have to know for this game. The sophomore star picked up the hat trick, the first one in Carolina/Hartford history, and it was more than enough to lead the Hurricanes to a 4-1 victory and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
Svechnikov was the second pick in the 2018 Draft, behind only defenseman Rasmus Dahlin of the Sabres. He is turning into a star with a chance at superstardom if he is able to continue to find the back of the net at an increasing pace. He leads all in his class with 44 goals over the two seasons (one ahead of fourth pick Brady Tkachuk of the Senators) as well as points with 98, nine better than Tkachuk and 14 better than Dahlin.
Svechnikov opened the scoring just 4:32 into the first and Artemi Panarin tied it up on the power play less than eight minutes later, completing the scoring in the first period.
Svechnikov picked up the game winner on the power play at the 1:11 mark of the second and Jordan Martinook made it 3-1 1:11 minutes later, as the Hurricanes took what would be an insurmountable lead.
Svechnikov completed his hat trick in the third period as Sebastian Aho picked up his third assist of the contest.
Petr Mrazek stopped 23-of-24 shots to go to 2-0 in the post-season with a 1.50 GAA and a .940 save percentage.
Henrik Lundqvist was once again the Rangers netminder as Igor Shesterkin was unable to go as he was unfit to play. He made 30 saves and is 0-2 with a 3.52 GAA and a .901 save percentage. The Rangers backs are against the wall and face a must-win situation on Tuesday or they will be the first team heading home.
Sami Vatanen had a pair of assists.
Tony DeAngelo had 14 penalty minutes.
Joel Edmundson had seven shots on goal.
WINNIPEG 3 CALGARY 2 (Series tied at 1)
Nikolaj Ehlers scored the game winner on the power play as the shorthanded Winnipeg Jets beat the Calgary Flames to even their best-of-five series at one apiece.
The Jets put Jansen Harkins in the lineup as one of their forwards and the move paid immediate dividends as Harkins scored his first post-season goal to make the score 1-0 at the 7:18 mark of the first.
The Jets took that lead into the dressing room and then made it 2-0 5:43 into the second as Adam Lowry took a Josh Morrissey shot from the point off his chest and batted it into the net before the puck hit the ice.
The Flames battled back to even the score before the end of the second period as Elias Lindholm scored unassisted and Sam Bennett tied it up as he tried wrapping the puck around the net but got a fortunate bounce as the puck went in off the skate of Winnipeg defenseman Nathan Beaulieu.
Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 28 shots for the win, evening his record at 1-1. He has a 2.50 GAA and a .921 save percentage.
Cam Talbot made 23 saves in taking the loss. The Calgary netminder is 1-1 with a 2.03 GAA and a .909 save percentage.
Jack Roslovic had a pair of assists.
Andrew Mangiapane had seven hits.
Game 3 is Tuesday at 6:45 PM ET.
TAMPA BAY 3 WASHINGTON 2 (Shootout)
Nikita Kucherov had the shootout winner as Tampa Bay picked up their first win of the round-robin tournament with a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals.
Kucherov opened the scoring with the only goal of the first period as he wristed the puck past Braden Holtby.
There was no scoring in the third or in the overtime, setting up the shootout.
Vasilevskiy made 31 saves in picking up the win while Holtby stopped 26 shots in the overtime loss.
Yanni Gourde and Oshie each had seven penalty minutes.
McDonagh had four blocked shots.
Cedric Paquette had seven hits.
VEGAS 5 DALLAS 3
The Vegas Golden Knights looked to be shut down by the defensive-minded Dallas Stars on Monday as the Stars led 3-1 with less than 11 minutes to go in the third period. But a furious rally by the Golden Knights resulted in four goals in less than 10 minutes to win going away and grab two points to tie them with Colorado atop the Western Conference round-robin tournament.
Chandler Stephenson put the Golden Knights up 1-0 with the only goal of the first period, but the Stars struck back in the second period with all three goals as Joe Pavelski, Jamie Oleksiak and Corey Perry all found the back of the net.
But the third period was a different story as Mark Stone got things started with his first at the 9:46 mark and then defenseman Nate Schmidt knotted the contest at 3 when Reilly Smith’s attempted cross-ice pass went off John Klingberg and right to Schmidt who one-timed it past Ben Bishop.
William Carrier picked up the winner with 5:13 left when he took a carom off the end boards and with his back to the net, flipped the puck between his legs into the net. It was his first career playoff goal.
William Karlsson finished the scoring with an empty-netter, giving the Golden Knights their two-goal margin.
All eight goals were scored in the same net as the Golden Knights scored all five of their goals in the first and third periods with Dallas scoring all three of their goals in the second.
Robin Lehner got the start and made 25 saves for the win.
Ben Bishop stopped 28-of-32 shots and took the loss.
Miro Heiskanen assisted on all three Dallas goals. Don’t forget about him next season as he is a budding star. Heiskanen will put up plenty of points in his career, quarterbacking the first power play, as well as in even-strength situations.
Carrier had six shots on goal.
PITTSBURGH 3 MONTREAL 1 (Series tied at 1)
Matt Murray backstopped the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-1 win stopping 26 shots to tie the best-of-five series at 1 apiece.
Murray is 1-1 in the post-season with a 1.79 GAA and a .935 save percentage.
The Penguins took a 1-0 lead when Sidney Crosby took a cross-ice pass and scored from the left circle, beating Carey Price through the legs. The goal at the 4:25 mark of the first period held up for over 40 minutes of action until Jason Zucker made it 2-0 at 14:41 of the third when he easily put in a nice pass from Conor Sheary on a two-on-one break, leaving Price with no chance.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi cut the lead in half with his second of the post-season. He seems to be gaining plenty of confidence so don’t forget about the former third overall pick in the 2018 Draft in next season’s pools.
The Habs pulled the goaltender but Jake Guentzel iced the game with 10 seconds left, hitting the empty net.
Price was great once again in the Montreal cage, stopping 35 in a losing cause. The netminder is 1-1 with a 1.82 GAA and a .949 save percentage.
Evgeni Malkin had seven shots on goal.
Brandon Tanev had eight hits.
Sheary had a pair of assists.
EDMONTON 6 CHICAGO 3 (Series tied at 1)
Connor McDavid must have been embarrassed with the Oilers poor showing in Game 1 and took things into his own hands in Game 2 as he had the hat trick in leading Edmonton to a 6-3 win over Chicago and tying the series at 1 game apiece.
He started it early, beating Corey Crawford at the 19 second mark of the first period and then made it 2-0 at the 4:05 mark.
Patrick Kane cut the lead in half five minutes later and that was all the scoring in the first.
McDavid completed the hat trick with a power play goal to give the Oilers a 4-3 lead heading into the third.
But a couple of unassisted efforts by James Neal and Alex Chiasson finished off the Blackhawks. Crawford made a huge gaffe behind the net as he misplayed the puck, allowing Neal to steal it behind the net and putting in. Chiasson scored 40 seconds later and that was the ballgame.
Crawford was shaky at times, stopping 29 shots while giving up all six goals. He is 1-1 with a 5.00 GAA and a .844 save percentage.
It was not a great night for Dylan Strome who was a minus-four.
Josh Archibald had seven hits.
Leon Draisaitl was held without a shot on net. The Art Ross Trophy winner was held without a shot only once this season and that occurred on March 9 versus the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Oilers outhit Chicago 27-10 and had 22 blocked shots to the Blackhawks 14.
Connor McDavid - 3
Sebastian Aho – 3
Miro Heiskanen – 3
Kirby Dach – 2
Alex DeBrincat - 2
Sami Vatanen – 2
Jack Roslovic – 2
Conor Sheary - 2
Shots on Goal
Joel Edmundson – 7
Evgeni Malkin – 7
John Marino - 6
William Carrier - 6
Brandon Tanev – 8
Cedric Paquette – 7
Josh Archibald - 7
Tony DeAngelo – 14
T.J. Oshie – 7
Yanni Gourde - 7
Jordan Martinook – 6
Joel Armia - 6