We’re back! The NHL continues 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 keeps you posted on the key storylines, highlights, major injuries and anything else you need to know.
Flyers secure No. 1 seed in win vs. Lightning
This week, it’s been evident there’s been some rust after a four-month hiatus but this caveat doesn’t apply to the Philadelphia Flyers, who breezed past the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 4-1 win to secure the No. 1 seed in the East.
Nicolas Aube-Kubel set the tone with two first-period goals and the Flyers simply didn’t look back. Tyler Johnson cut the lead in half, but Joel Farabee restored the two-goal advantage, and Tyler Pitlick would add a late insurance goal in the third period to wrap it up.
Carter Hart remains unassailable, making 23 saves while out-duelling his counterpart Andrei Vasilevskiy on Saturday. Hart became the youngest goaltender in Flyers’ history to record a playoff victory earlier this week, and he’ll now continue his attack on the team’s record books as the summer marches on.
Philadelphia will now face the No. 12 seed Montreal Canadiens in the next round, while Tampa Bay awaits the winner of the Toronto-Columbus series.
more like Carter Vezina— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) August 9, 2020
Hedman leaves with apparent ankle injury, will not return
It could be a precautionary move, but Tampa Bay Lightning star defenseman Victor Hedman will not return to Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers with an apparent ankle injury.
Hedman fell awkwardly while pivoting backwards and it took him a few seconds to get up. He headed to the bench, then left for the locker room and slammed his stick in frustration several times as he entered the tunnel.
Here is the play:
Hedman, who won the Norris Trophy in 2018, is one of the NHL’s best defenseman and with just seeding to play for, the Lightning may just be avoiding any unnecessary risk. We’ll keep you posted on his status.
Golden Knights clinch No. 1 seed with OT victory over Avalanche
In a matchup between the two popular favourites from the West, the Vegas Golden Knights edged the Colorado Avalanche in overtime with a 4-3 victory to clinch the conference’s No. 1 seed.
Alex Tuch scored the overtime winner, beating Philipp Grubauer with a well-placed shot off the wing to secure the win.
Alex Tuch with the snipe in OT, Vegas earns first seed in the Western Conference pic.twitter.com/eJJkqWUNUs— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) August 8, 2020
Vegas will now face the upstart Chicago Blackhawks as a result of the victory. Chicago entered the tournament as the No. 12 seed but upset a favoured Edmonton club led by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in four games.
Colorado is now the West’s No. 2 seed and will face the Arizona Coyotes.
Although the game was essentially just for bragging rights, don’t tell the Golden Knights’ social media manager.
coLorado avaLanche— y-Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) August 8, 2020
Werenski reportedly to undergo MRI, status uncertain for Game 5
If blowing a 3-0 lead during the final four minutes of Game 4 wasn’t bad enough for the Columbus Blue Jackets, it’s beginning to look a whole lot worse.
Blue Jackets star Zach Werenski reportedly underwent an MRI after leaving Game 4 with an undisclosed injury. Werenski’s status is unknown for Sunday’s elimination game against the Maple Leafs.
The 23-year-old led all defencemen with 20 goals during the regular season and has logged over 26 minutes per game during the playoff qualifier series.
We’ll keep you posted on Werenski’s status but no update has been provided by the team.
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