Grubauer, Rantanen help Avalanche take Game 2

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The Buffalo Sabres secured the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft after winning the NHL Draft Lottery on Wednesday. The Sabres had the worst record in the league at 15-34-7 during the 2020-21 campaign. Buffalo also has the longest active playoff drought at 10 straight seasons. The team has come up short in the Draft Lottery in the past, but not this time and the organization will be able to add a strong defenseman as a result. University of Michigan blueliner Owen Power is considered to be the top prospect of this draft class.

The Seattle Kraken were the only team that managed to move up in the draft order and the NHL’s newest franchise will select second overall. The Kraken bumped the Anaheim Ducks to the No. 3 spot. The New Jersey Devils have the No. 4 selection and the Columbus Blue Jackets round out the top five.

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MONTREAL 5 WINNIPEG 3 - Canadiens lead series 1-0

The Canadiens carried over some momentum from their Game 7 win over Toronto on Monday with a fast start to Round 2 against Winnipeg.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored his team-leading fourth goal of the postseason 3:30 into the mach to open the scoring.

Eric Staal made 2-0 for Montreal at 5:10 of the opening frame with his first marker of the playoffs. He also added an assist in the match.

Adam Lowry got one back for Winnipeg on a shorthanded breakaway with his first of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He also had a game-high seven hits.

Nick Suzuki restored the Canadiens’ two-goal lead just before the first intermission. He has two goals and two assists during a four-game point streak.

Derek Forbort cut the Jets’ deficit to 3-2 just 9:22 into the third period with his second goal of this playoffs.

Brendan Gallagher lit the lamp for a second straight game after going six straight matches without a point. He gave the Canadiens a 4-2 lead with a power-play goal 11:04 into the third period.

Kyle Connor made it close when he got his third goal of the postseason in the final two minutes of regulation. He has two goals and one helper in his past two outings.

Jake Evans scored an empty-netter to round out the scoring, but he was on the receiving end of a nasty hit from a frustrated Mark Scheifele just after wrapping the puck into the net. Evans was taken off the ice on a stretcher. He didn’t go to the hospital following the contest, according to coach Dominique Ducharme.

Meanwhile, Scheifele is likely to hear from the NHL Department of Player Safety for the incident. He got five minutes for charging and a game misconduct on the play.

Jeff Petry and Joel Edmundson picked up two assists each, while Cole Caufield, Tyler Toffoli, Corey Perry, Shea Weber, Erik Gustafsson. Pierre-Luc Dubois, Nikolaj Ehlers, Neal Pionk and Josh Morrissey earned one helper apiece.

Connor Hellebuyck allowed four goals on 32 shots in the loss. It was his first defeat this postseason following a first-round sweep against Edmonton.

Carey Price stopped 27 shots for his fourth consecutive postseason victory.

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VEGAS 2 COLORADO 3 (OT) - Avalanche lead series 2-0

The Avalanche took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with a second straight win over the Golden Knights in Round 2.

Brandon Saad opened the scoring at 3:39 of the first period with his fifth goal of the playoffs. He has found the back of the net in five straight games.

Alec Martinez tied the game almost six minutes later during a Vegas power play with his second marker of the postseason.

Tyson Jost put the Avalanche back in front with a power-play marker late in the first frame. He has two goals and two assists in the past five contests.

Reilly Smith provided the game-tying goal just past the midway point of the second stanza with his second goal of the postseason.

Mikko Rantanen scored the game winner on a Colorado power play just 2:07 into the extra period shortly after he was slashed by Smith 44 seconds into overtime. He has three goals and seven assists during a six-game point streak this postseason. Rantanen has a 16 -game point playoff point spree dating back to last year.

Samuel Girard and Shea Theodore registered two assists apiece, while Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Marchessault, Nathan MacKinnon, Devon Toews, Cale Makar and Ryan Graves earned one helper each.

Alex Pietrangelo led all skaters with seven blocks. He also provided six shots on target of his own.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 22 of 25 shots in the defeat in his series debut.

Philipp Grubauer shielded 39 shots, including all 15 he faced during the third period when the Avalanche had a mere six shots on target. The Avalanche were also outshot 16-6 in the second period. Grubauer was excellent in the contest and now he has a 6-0 record this postseason.