NHL's Top Stats, Best Highlights, Updated Playoff Picture from Aug. 4 ResultsAugust 5, 2020
The NHL bubble will have one fewer team Wednesday morning with the Carolina Hurricanes sweeping the New York Rangers in three games.
Despite New York featuring Hart Trophy candidate Artemi Panarin, Carolina outscored the Rangers 11-4 with Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov combining for more goals in the series (6) than New York's entire roster.
The Hurricanes' opponent in what's officially the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is still to be determined as the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference will be decided by the current round-robin format.
In any case, they'll see either the Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals or Boston Bruins.
Here's where the rest of the bracket stands after another day of qualifiers.
August 4 Scores, Top Stats
Toronto 3, Columbus 0 (Series tied 1-1)
Auston Matthews (TOR): 1 goal
John Tavares (TOR): 1 goal
Frederik Andersen (TOR): 20 saves
Nashville 4, Arizona 2 (Series tied 1-1)
Ryan Johansen (NSH): 1 goal, 1 assist
Calle Jarnkrok (NSH): 1 goal
Clayton Keller (ARI): 1 goal
New York Islanders 4, Florida 2 (NYI leads 2-0)
Jordan Eberle (NYI): 2 goals
Mike Hoffman (FLA): 1 goal, 1 assist
Keith Yandle (FLA) 2 assists
Calgary 6, Winnipeg 2 (CGY leads 2-1)
Sean Monahan (CGY): 1 goal, 2 assists
Johnny Gaudreau (CGY): 1 goal, 1 assist
Nikolaj Ehlers (WPG): 1 goal
Carolina 4, New York Rangers 1 (CAR wins 3-0)
Sebastian Aho (CAR): 2 goals, 1 assist
Teuvo Teravainen (CAR): 1 goal, 1 assist
James Reimer (CAR): 37 saves
Vancouver Canucks 4, Minnesota Wild 3 (Series tied 1-1)
Bo Horvat (VAN): 1 goal, 1 assist
J.T. Miller (VAN): 1 goal, 1 assist
Kevin Fiala (MIN): 2 goals
Recaps and Takeaways
Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 0
After getting shutout by the Blue Jackets in Game 1 on Sunday, Toronto returned the favor and saw two of the club's biggest stars begin to heat up.
Auston Matthews broke open the scoring 16 minutes into the second period, lifting pressure off the rest of the roster and helping the offense loosen up. John Tavares added a second goal 4:56 into the third period and had Columbus scrambling till the end.
"It's the postseason, so everything is tight out there and obviously goals are hard to come by," Matthews told reporters after. "It was nice to get that one and kind of jump-start a nice push."
The Leafs scored the second-most goals in the regular season (237) behind only the Tampa Bay Lightning (243). While Sunday's shutout had some fans in Toronto beginning to panic, Tuesday offered a comforting return to form heading into Game 3.
Next Game: Thursday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Nashville Predators 4, Arizona Coyotes 2
Pekka Rinne had started 89 consecutive playoff games in net for the Nashville Predators until coach John Hynes decided to tap Juuse Saros for Game 1. The decision resulted in a 4-3 loss, but the 33 saves Saros did make gave the coach enough confidence to stick with the 25-year old.
Saros rewarded Hynes and the Predators with a 4-2 victory in Game 2, making another 24 saves and tying the series.
It helped that the Predators were playing with a 2-0 lead barely 11 minutes into the game.
Nick Bonino and Ryan Johansen tallied two goals in less than a three-minute span during the first period to put Nashville in control for the rest of the night.
Viktor Arvidsson scored his first of the postseason halfway through the third period with a rifle of a slap shot in transition while Nashville was changing lines.
Next Game: Wednesday (2:30 p.m. ET NHLN)
New York Islanders 4, Florida Panthers 2
As one New York team heads home, another is getting cozier inside the bubble.
The Islanders twice battled back from one-goal deficits before taking a 3-2 lead at the end of the second period with Jordan Eberle leading the way.
Florida had the sixth-best offense during the regular season but hardly had a chance to display it Tuesday with the Islanders getting seven power-play opportunities—capitalizing on two of them. Overall, the Panthers had 26 penalty minutes, making it increasingly difficult to remain in the lead, especially after going on three straight penalty kills late in the game.
New York will look to end the series Wednesday afternoon.
Next Game: Wednesday (Noon ET, NBCSN)
Calgary Flames 6, Winnipeg Jets 2
Johnny Hockey is heating up. Sean Monahan is already on fire.
That's a dangerous situation for a Winnipeg team already without its leading scorer in Mark Scheifele (who was injured in Game 1).
Game 3 seemed like it was destined to look a lot more like Monday's one-goal affair until the Flames offense erupted in the second period. Calgary scored three in the middle frame and two more in the third with half of its offense coming on the power play.
Winnipeg is going to have to find another source of scoring to keep up going forward. Especially with Scheifele not expected back anytime soon.
Next Game: Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, CNBC)
Carolina Hurricanes 4, New York Rangers 1
Good luck to whichever team pulls the Canes in Round 1.
Carolina's offense—a middle-of-the-pack group during the regular season—has found a new form in the playoffs. It helped that the Hurricanes saw a New York Rangers team that just snuck into the qualifying round, but they seem to have served as the perfect tune-up opponent after months off the ice.
When even defensemen are bowing down to Carolina's forwards, there's little chance a goalie is going to fare much better.
Next Game: TBD
Vancouver Canucks 4, Minnesota Wild 3
The Canucks needed a fast start after being shut out in the first game of this series.
They certainly got just that.
Tanner Pearson scored a mere 24 seconds into the contest, setting the tone for a Vancouver team that needed to win to pull even with the Wild. While the victors were unable to make that initial lead last even a period thanks to a goal from Luke Kunin, J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser found the back of the net in the second period to put the Canucks up for good.
While two late goals from Kevin Fiala made things interesting, it was not enough to prevent the Canucks from evening the series.
Next Game: Thursday (2:30 p.m. ET, NHLN)