The New York Islanders moved one step closer to the playoffs with a second win over the Florida Panthers in their best of five series. The Islanders made the Panthers pay for accumulating 26 penalty minutes by going two for seven on the Powerplay. The Panthers twice had the lead but failed to hang on and find themselves on the brink of elimination with game three to take place today at 12 ET.
Meanwhile, the Nashville Predators evened up their series with a dominant performance over the Arizona Coyotes, running out 4-2 winners. It actually looked like Juuse Saros would get not only his first postseason win but only his first shutout as he kept the Coyotes off the boards until the final minute. However, a nine-second sequence saw the Coyotes score twice and make it a more nervous ending for the Predators than it should have been.
Toronto Maple Leafs also bounced back to tie their series with the Columbus Blue Jackets, winning game two 3-0. It took four periods of play but Auston Matthews finally found a way past Joonas Korpisalo before John Tavares doubled the lead on a breakaway shot. It wasn’t all positives for the Maple Leafs however as Defenseman Jake Muzzin left the game on a stretcher after a long delay after his head seemed to clash with Oliver Bjorkstrand’s knee during an innocuous play. Later in the night the Leafs PR twitter account released as much of an update as they are allowed with NHL’s unfit to play blanket statement saying:
Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin was transported to hospital following an on-ice collision in the third period tonight. He is alert and able to move all limbs. Further updates will be provided once available.— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) August 4, 2020
Calgary put Winnipeg to the sword, taking a 2-1 series lead in the process, as they ran out comfortable 6-2 winners. Despite only taking four minor penalties Winnipeg couldn’t contain the Flames power play as they went three for four with goals from Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan, and Milan Lucic. The Jets played without Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine, and Mason Appleton for the second consecutive game but goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is not using that as an excuse to just lay down and die, saying after the game “This was an upset for me tonight. I don’t see it being easy for them at all for the rest of the series, so they better scratch and claw for everything that they get.” They’d be fighting words.
The New York Rangers changed their goaltender for crucial game three against the Carolina Hurricanes to try to spark a fightback, replacing veteran Henrik Lundqvist with rookie Igor Shesterkin. Unfortunately, their defense still sucked and they became the first team to exit the bubble as Carolina swept the series. Chris Kreider put the Rangers ahead before Carolina took control and ran out 4-1 winners on the night. Sebastian Aho’s third goal, in particular, was highlight-reel worthy as he left Rangers defenseman Tony D’Angelo wishing he’d stayed at home.
Lastly, the Vancouver Canucks wasted no time in getting on the board after being shutout by Alex Stalock in game one, as Tanner Pearson scored after only 24 seconds of game two. Vancouver made two changes from the lineup that surprisingly failed to deliver on Sunday, bringing in Jake Virtanen and Loui Eriksson for Tyler Toffoli and Adam Gaudette who according to coach Travis Green after the game were unfit to play. Canucks cruised into a 4-1 lead before giving up two goals in the last three minutes to give the Wild a sense of hope before Thursday’s game three.