NHL Roundup: Leafs stars disappear, Coyotes gain edge

Arun Srinivasan
·5 min read

We’re back! The NHL enters its second day of the 2019-20 playoff qualifiers after a four-month break and we’ll be here to capture all the action from every game.

Follow along here as Yahoo Sports NHL editor Arun Srinivasan will keep you posted on the all major storylines, highlight-reel goals, major injuries and anything else you need to know.

Blue Jackets edge Maple Leafs in goaltending battle

The Columbus Blue Jackets scored two third-period goals to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0. Here’s what you need to know:

Frederik Andersen looked like he benefited from some much-needed rest the NHL’s pause provided him, after facing an exceptionally high volume of shorts and starts since joining the Maple Leafs in June 2016.

The only problem for Andersen is that his counterpart, Joonas Korpisalo, was slightly better, holding onto a 2-0 victory for the Blue Jackets. In fairness to both goaltenders, Korpisalo didn’t have many high-danger chances as the Leafs’ high-octane offense often looked listless.

Andersen was in top form, but the Blue Jackets went up 1-0 after Cam Atkinson’s wrist shot trickled past his arm in the third period. Alexander Wennberg added an empty-net insurance goal to preserve the victory.

In recording the shutout, Korpisalo set a franchise record.

Kadri’s buzzer-beater leads Avalanche over Blues

Nazem Kadri scored with 0.1 seconds remaining in regulation, leading the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. Here’s what you need to know:

It ain’t over until the buzzer sounds and before you throw tomatoes at me for going deep into the reserve of cliches, in this case, it’s true!

Nazem Kadri scored with 0.1 seconds remaining in the third period against the St. Louis Blues, beating the buzzer to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-1 victory.

The goal was reviewed, but held up upon further examination.

It simply doesn’t get any closer than this.

Rask expected back Wednesday

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said Jaroslav Halak needed to make more saves during Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Flyers, and that he expects Tuukka Rask to be back for Wednesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Flyers cruise past Bruins in commanding victory

The Philadelphia Flyers cruised past the Boston Bruins 4-1 during the second game Sunday. Here’s what you need to know:

You could make the argument that the Bruins are the team that benefit least from the revised playoff format, as they were cruising along to the No. 1 seed and emerged as the President’s Trophy winner after the season paused. On the other hand, the round-robin format helps the Flyers, rewarded for their valiant fight in the hotly contested Metropolitan Division, and they no longer have to fight for seeding within their own division.

Boston is also without Tuukka Rask, who submitted an outstanding season, and while Jaroslav Halak is one of the league’s best backups, the team looked out of sorts against a Philadelphia team that may still be a sleeper despite a season that deserves more widespread attention.

Michael Raffl and Nate Thompson helped the Flyers build a 2-0 lead, after the latter wired a snapshot top-shelf past Halak. Bruins forward Chris Wagner cut into the advantage, but Philippe Myers scored eight seconds later to restore the two-goal advantage.

Scott Laughton added a third-period marker to secure the 4-1 victory, while Carter Hart set a team record.

Grabner’s short-handed goal helps Coyotes defeat Predators

The Arizona Coyotes held on for a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators during the first game from Sunday’s slate. Here’s what you need to know:

There are several players who will garner more attention, deservedly so throughout the duration of the playoffs, but few sights are more exciting than Coyotes forward Michael Grabner bearing down on a goaltender with no one in his way.

Grabner took off short-handed, picking off an errant pass from Filip Forsberg and took off, before his nifty head-fake sent Juuse Saros sprawling for a 4-1 lead.

This one appeared to be over, until it didn’t - perhaps us in the Toronto market should know better about the perils of a 4-1 lead, but the Predators clawed back into the game with two third-period goals, as Ryan Ellis got on the board 30 seconds in, then Forsberg atoned for his earlier mistake, scoring his second goal of the contest.

Grabner’s in pretty good company.

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