Everything You Need To Know And See From Day One Of The Stanley Cup Qualifiers

Chase Agnello-Dean:Getty ImagesPhoto: Chase Agnello-Dean/Getty Images

Saturday brought some surprising results from the first day of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers as we saw a big upset in Edmonton and a feisty start to the tournament in Toronto. Did you miss anything? If yes, NoVa Caps has you covered with game summaries, highlights, and signature moments from day one.


In a bit of a shocker, the 12th-seed Chicago Blackhawks steamrolled through the fifth-seed Edmonton Oilers, 6-4, in Game 1. Captain Connor McDavid opened the scoring for the Oilers just 2:34 into the game before the Blackhawks scored four unanswered goals, including two from captain Jonathan Toews, in a span of 7:06 to take a 4-1 lead entering the first intermission. The Art Ross Trophy winner from the regular season, center Leon Draisaitl, got the Oilers within two under five minutes into the second before Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik, a Calder Trophy finalist as the NHL’s rookie of the year, scored two power-play goals to make the game out of reach for the Oilers entering the third period. The Oilers scored twice in the third period to make the game a bit more interesting but fell short. Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford stopped 25 shots while Oilers goalie Mike Smith stopped 18 of 23 that came his way before Mikko Koskinen replaced him midway through the middle frame. Koskinen stopped 18 of 19 shots. Game 2 from Rogers Place is Monday at 10:30 PM ET on NBCSN.

The seventh-seed Islanders jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second period 3:39 on goals from center Jean-Gabriel Pageau and forward Anthony Beauvillier against the 10th-seeded Panthers and hung on for a 2-1 win. Forward Jonathan Huberdeau struck down-low on a give-and-go with defenseman MacKenzie Weegar just 23 seconds into the third to cut the Islanders’ lead in half, but the Islanders would hold on to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves while Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky pitched 26. Game 2 of the series is set to take place on Tuesday at 12 noon ET, and it can be seen on NBCSN.

The Carolina Hurricanes rode a fast start, scoring 1:01 into the game on a goal by defenseman Jaccob Slavin on the way to a 3-2 victory in Game 1 vs. the New York Rangers. They outshot New York 14-4 in the first period. Still, the Rangers would make it more even playing ground in the second as center Mika Zibanejad tied it on a tip from defenseman Ryan Lindgren after center Sebastian Aho gave the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead in the second period. Center Martin Necas made it 3-1 Hurricanes on another tip in front of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, redirecting center Vincent Trocheck’s shot from the left circle. Rangers defenseman Marc Staal would attempt to start a comeback with 1:55 left, scoring from the high slot, but the Hurricanes’ fast start would be too much for the Rangers to overcome. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves while Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek swatted away 24 shots that came his way. Game 2 from Scotiabank Arena is at noon ET on NBCSN.

The 12th-seeded Montreal Canadiens jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins thanks to a stuff in front of the net by center Jesperi Kotkoniemi, a snipe down the wing by center Nick Suzuki, and 18 saves in the first period by goaltender Carey Price. But, the Penguins tied it up with two goals by center Sidney Crosby, who banked a shot off of Price behind the net and forward Bryan Rust off of a stuff in a power-play goalmouth scramble in a span of 2:29. Though, the Canadiens would lead 13-8 in second-period shots. After a scoreless third period, defenseman Jeff Petry won it in overtime on a curl and snipe for the Canadiens.

The eighth-seeded Calgary Flames stifled the ninth-seeded Jets, limiting them to only 18 shots in a 4-1 victory in Game 1. After forward Andrew Copp opened the scoring the Flames struck three times in the 11:08 during the second period to give the Flames control of the game. Forward Andrew Mangiapane scored an empty netter to seal the win for the Flames. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 29 saves while Cam Talbot made 17 for the Flames.

Three Stars Of The Day

  • Kubalik (Blackhawks) – two goals, five points, five shots, 13:56 ice-time vs. Oilers
  • Toews (Blackhawks) – two goals, three points, four shots, 17:02 ice-time vs. Oilers
  • Draisaitl (Oilers) – one goal, three points, four shots, 21:54 ice-time vs. Blackhawks

Signature Off-Ice Moments

A Look Ahead To Sunday

Arizona Coyotes vs. Nashville Predators, Game 1 (USA) at 2 PM ET – The two teams open their qualifying round series. The Predators enter the tournament as the sixth seed in the Western Conference after going 35-26-8 during the regular season while the Coyotes enter as the 11th seed after going 33-29-8. The Coyotes and Predators split two regular-season meetings with the Coyotes holding a +2 goal differential in the season series. Each team holds one of the NHL’s deepest bluelines as the Coyotes averaged 2.61 goals-against per game during the regular season (tied for third in the league) while the Predators boast a Norris Trophy favorite in Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, and Matthias Ekholm. Expect Juuse Saros (17-12-4 with a .914 save percentage, a 2.70 goals-against average, four shutouts in the regular season) to start between the pipes for the Predators and Darcy Kuemper (16-11-2 with a .928 save percentage, a 2.22 goals-against average, and two shutouts in the regular season) to start for the Coyotes. Still, both teams have reliable 1B options in Pekka Rinne (Predators), who went 18-14-4 with an .895 save percentage, a 3.17 goals-against average, and three shutouts during the regular season, and Antti Raanta (Coyotes), who went 15-14-3 with a .921 save percentage, a 2.63 goals-against average, and two shutouts.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins, Round Robin (NBC) at 3 PM ET – The first round-robin tournament game in the qualifying round occurs when the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoff rivals meet on prime time. Both teams finished the regular season on identical 19-6-1 records, tied with each other for the best in the NHL. The Flyers enter the round-robin holding the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference after going 41-21-7 in the regular season while the Bruins enter as the first seed after going a league-best 44-14-12. The Flyers went 2-1-0 against the Bruins in the regular season, but their season-high nine-game winning streak ended with a 2-0 loss to the Presidents’ Trophy winners in both teams’ final game before the NHL pause. Expect Vezina Trophy finalist Tuukka Rask (26-8-6 with a .929 save percentage, a 2.12 goals-against average, and five shutouts in the regular season) to start for the Bruins and up-and-coming goaltender Carter Hart (24-13-3 with a .914 save percentage, a 2.42 goals-against average, and one shutout in the regular season) to get the net for the orange and black.

St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche, Round Robin (NBCSN) at 6:30 PM ET – The first Western Conference round-robin tournament occurs when the two top teams in the West clash in Edmonton. The Avalanche finished the regular season just two points behind the defending Stanley Cup Champions with a 42-20-8 record and played one fewer game than the Blues. The latter led the West after going 42-19-10 in the regular season. The teams split four regular-season meetings between them, but the Avalanche had a +1 goal differential in the season set. The Avalanche averaged 3.37 goals-per-game before play paused, the most in the Western Conference, but the Blues averaged 2.68 goals-against per game, the second-fewest in the West (Coyotes). Expect Philipp Grubauer (18-12-4, .916 save percentage, 2.63 goals-against average, two shutouts) to start for the Avalanche and Jordan Binnington (30-13-7 with a .912 save percentage, a 2.56 goals-against average, and three shutouts) to get the net for the Blues.

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, Game 1 (NHL Network) at 8 PM ET – The eighth and ninth seeds, respectively, in the Eastern Conference, open their best-of-five series up. The two are polar opposites as the Maple Leafs’ average of 3.39 goals-per-game during the regular season ranked third in the NHL. However, their average of 3.17 goals-against per game is only better than the Florida Panthers’ average of 3.25 among the 24 teams resuming play. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets’ average of 2.57 goals-per-game is the worst among the remaining teams, while their average of 2.61 goals-against per game was tied with the Coyotes for third. The Maple Leafs went 1-0-1 in the regular season against the Blue Jackets and had a +2 goal differential against them in the regular season, though the two have not met since October 21. Frederik Andersen (29-13-7 with a .909 save percentage, a 2.85 goals-against average, and three shutouts in the regular season) will almost certainly start for the Maple Leafs. At the same time, the Blue Jackets’ picture in net is unclear with Elvis Merzlikins (13-9-8 with a .923 save percentage, a 2.35 goals-against average, and five shutouts) and Joonas Korpisalo (19-12-5 with a .911 save percentage, a 2.60 goals-against average, and two shutouts) both capable of taking the net.

Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks, Game 1 (NBCSN) at 10:30 PM ET – The Wild (tenth seed in the West after going 35-27-7 in the regular season) and Canucks (seventh after going 36-27-6 in the regular season) begin their qualifying round series in the late game on Sunday. The teams are similar as they both averaged a high amount of goals (Canucks were eighth with an average of 3.25 per game, Wild 12th with 3.16) but gave up a lot (Canucks were tied for 19th with an average of 3.10 per game, Wild were tied for 23rd with an average of 3.14 per game). The Canucks went 2-1-0 against the Wild in three regular-season games between the two teams with an even goal differential being posted in those three games. They also went 8-4-0 under head coach Dean Evason) Jacob Markstrom (23-16-4, .918 save percentage, 2.75 goals-against average, two shutouts) will start for the Canucks while it is unknown who will start for the Wild. Alex Stalock went 20-11-4 with a .910 save percentage, a 2.67 goals-against average, and four shutouts during the regular season. Devan Dubnyk went 12-15-2 with an .890 save percentage, a 3.35 goals-against average, and one shutout.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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