NHL's Top Stats, Best Highlights, Updated Playoff Picture from Aug. 2 ResultsAugust 3, 2020
Sunday's victors in the NHL qualifying round and round-robin games benefited from strong defensive performances.
Columbus' Joonas Korpisalo and Minnesota's Alex Stalock produced shutouts, while Philadelphia's Carter Hart and Colorado's Philipp Grubauer allowed a goal each.
The Blue Jackets, Wild and Arizona Coyotes all earned 1-0 leads in their respective qualifying-round series as lower seeds.
Hart and Grubauer powered their teams to the top of the round-robin standings, while Tampa Bay, Washington, Vegas and Dallas will open their round-robin slates Monday.
August 2 Scores, Top Stats
Arizona 4, Nashville 3 (Arizona leads series 1-0)
Filip Forsberg (NSH): 2 goals
Christian Dvorak (ARI): 1 G, 1 assist
Darcy Kuemper (ARI): 40 saves
Philadelphia 4, Boston 1 (PHI: 2 points; BOS: 0 points)
Michael Raffl (PHI): 1 G, 1 A
Philippe Myers (PHI) 1 G, +/- 3
Carter Hart (PHI): 34 saves
Colorado 2, St. Louis 1 (COL: 2 points; STL: 0 points)
Nazem Kadri (COL): 1 G
Philipp Grubauer (COL): 31 saves
Jordan Binnington (STL): 36 saves
Columbus 2, Toronto 0 (Columbus leads series 1-0)
Cam Atkinson (CLB): 1 G, 1 A
Joonas Korpisalo (CLB): 28 saves
Frederik Andersen (TOR): 34 saves
Minnesota 3, Vancouver 0 (Minnesota leads series 1-0)
Jared Spurgeon (MIN): 2 G
Eric Staal (MIN): 2 A
Alex Stalock (MIN): 28 saves
Recaps and Takeaways
Arizona 4, Nashville 3
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Christian Dvorak and Clayton Keller contributed to a three-goal blitz in the first period that kept Arizona on top of Nashville.
Ekman-Larsson's opener came from a shot at the left point that took a wicked bounce and hopped behind Nashville goalie Juuse Saros.
Dvorak was the busiest of the three scorers in the opening stanza, as he also contributed a helper on Keller's goal. He became the sixth player in franchise history—and second since it moved to Arizona—to have a multi-point game in his postseason debut, per Coyotes Public Relations:
Nashville got back in the game with a pair of third-period tallies, but it was unable to beat Darcy Kuemper for the equalizer. His 40 saves were his most in a single game this season, having previously turned away 30 or more shots on 15 occasions.
Keller made sure to note his goalie's importance to the squad after the win, per NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale.
"[Kuemper] gives us a ton of confidence back there," he said. "He's been our best player all year and he's going to continue to do his thing. He's going to be huge moving forward."
The defeat extended Nashville's playoff losing streak to four games. The Predators lost the final three games of their first-round series with Dallas in 2019.
Next Game: Tuesday, August 4 (2:30 p.m. ET, NHL Network)
Philadelphia 4, Boston 1
The Flyers overcame the first hurdle in their hunt for the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed by beating Boston by three goals.
Michael Raffl broke the deadlock five minutes and 33 seconds into the second period, and he also contributed an assist on Nate Thompson's goal.
Boston's top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak fired eight shots on goal, but Carter Hart turned away each of them.
The 21-year-old's composure in net impressed his teammates throughout the season, which included a nine-game winning streak from February 18-March 7, as Thompson told Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"He doesn't look 21 to me," he said. "He's pretty poised to me, even off the ice. He carries himself well beyond his years. He's a true pro. He reminds me a little bit of a goalie I used to play with in Montreal, and you guys know who I mean."
Boston could receive a boost Wednesday in its hopes to gain the No. 1 seed. Head coach Bruce Cassidy said Tuukka Rask will be back to practicing Monday, per NBC Sports Boston's Joe Haggerty.
Next Games: Tampa Bay vs. Boston (Wednesday, August 5, 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN); Philadelphia vs. Washington (Thursday, August 6, Time TBD).
Colorado 2, St. Louis 1
Nazem Kadri beat the buzzer by one-hundredth of a second to send Colorado home with two points and a spot atop the Western Conference round-robin standings.
According to NHL Public Relations, his tally was the second-ever go-ahead goal scored at 19:59 of the third period in playoff history:
NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL
Nazem Kadri of the @Avalanche scored the second go-ahead goal at 19:59 of the third period in postseason history. Jussi Jokinen scored the other for the Hurricanes in Game 4 of the 2009 Conference Quarterfinals against the Devils. #NHLStats #StanleyCup https://t.co/0dxr4J409E
St. Louis left the ice frustrated with the manner in which it lost, especially after Jordan Binnington put in a strong performance, as center Ryan O'Reilly told NHL.com's Rick Sadowski.
"I knew it was close," St. Louis center Ryan O'Reilly said of Kadri's goal. "Obviously, they looked at it enough. It's frustrating to lose like that, especially when [Binnington] played outstanding and (would have given) us a chance to win it in OT. It's a frustrating play. It is what it is, though, and we have to find a way to respond."
Binnington made 36 saves, but he did not receive support from his offense, which was turned away on 31 occasions by Grubauer.
Next Games: Colorado vs. Dallas (Wednesday, August 5, 6:30 p.m. ET, NHL Network); Vegas vs. St. Louis (Thursday, August 6, Time TBD)
Columbus 2, Toronto 0
Korpisalo shut down Toronto's Auston Matthews-led offense on its home ice.
The Columbus netminder recorded the first shutout of the qualifying round in his postseason debut. He became the 14th goalie in NHL history to not allow a goal in his first playoff appearance, per NHL PR:
The 26-year-old Finnish netminder recorded two shutouts in 37 regular-season appearances for the 10th-seeded Blue Jackets.
Matthews and John Tavares combined for eight of Toronto's 28 shots on goal, but they failed to best Korpisalo.
The shutout marked the second time this season in which the Maple Leafs were held scoreless. The other occasion was a March 5 defeat to the Los Angeles Kings.
Next Game: Tuesday, August 4 (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Minnesota 3, Vancouver 0
The Wild used a pair of power-play goals to support Stalock's shutout in between the pipes.
Kevin Fiala scored the second of the man-advantage goals to continue the run of form he was in before the suspension of play. As NHL PR noted, he had the third-most points of any player from February 1-March 8.
NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL
Kevin Fiala opened the scoring for the @mnwild. @KevinFiala22 had 14-12—26 in 19 games from Feb. 1 through the team’s final game on March 8, the third-most points by any player over that span (behind Leon Draisaitl & Mika Zibanejad). #NHLStats #StanleyCup https://t.co/mPGyqHhSOk
Jared Spurgeon scored Minnesota's opener and finished off the victory with an empty-net tally. The goal was the seventh in the postseason for the defenseman but the first since 2016. In that span, he only produced a pair of assists.
The victory was the third for Minnesota over Vancouver this season. The shutout was its seventh of the campaign and sixth against a playoff qualifier.
Next Game: Tuesday, August 4 (10:45 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from Hockey Reference.