Alex Nedeljkovic blanks Predators in Game 2

Leading into the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it appeared as though Carolina was going to have Petr Mrazek as the starter. He was occupying the starter’s crease during practices and had generally played as the number one when he was healthy.

However, once the postseason began, coach Rod Brind’Amour chose to go with rookie netminder Alex Nedeljkovic. It was a bit surprising, but the 25-year-old goalie was definitely deserving of the opportunity after he helped backstop the Hurricanes to the best record in the Central Division and the third-best overall in the league.

Nedeljkovic has rewarded Brind’Amour for having faith in him with two solid performances to start the playoffs. He has a 2-0-0 record with a 1.00 goals-against average and .964 save percentage. Nedeljkovic posted a 32-save shutout on Wednesday night to become just the second rookie goaltender in Hurricanes/Whalers history to get a shutout in the postseason. The other was Cam Ward, who had two in 2006 when he won the Stanley Cup.

The other top performer of the night was Nathan MacKinnon, who erupted for three goals and one assist in a 6-3 win against St. Louis in Game 2 of the first round. It was the first hat trick of his NHL career in the playoffs. He has five goals and two assists versus the Blues so far in the series. MacKinnon has amassed an incredible 20 goals and 45 points in his last 29 playoff games.

In non-playoff action, the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames were finally able to finish their 2020-21 regular-season schedules. The Canucks had a lengthy pause due to a COVID outbreak and the team ended up finishing last in the North Division. That gives Vancouver the ninth-best odds for the first draw of the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery at 5.4 percent. The Flames have a 2.2 percent chance.

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VANCOUVER 2 CALGARY 6

The Flames rebounded from a 4-2 loss to the Canucks on Tuesday to finish the 2020-21 season on a winning note. Calgary finished year with four wins in five games.

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Matthew Tkachuk scored a pair of goals in the contest to give him a total of 16 on the year.

Dillon Dube notched one goal and one assist prior to leaving the match with an upper-body injury. Flames coach Darryl Sutter said afterward that Dube was in concussion protocol.

Brett Richie and Derek Ryan collected three points each, with Ritchie getting one goal and two assists and Ryan posting three helpers.

Johnny Gaudreau and Brock Boeser contributed two assists apiece, while Jack Rathbone, Tyler Myers, Mikael Backlund, Joakim Nordstrom, Juuso Valimaki and Chris Tanev supplied one helper each.

Andrew Mangiapane had Calgary’s other goal in the contest, while Bo Horvat (power play) and J.T. Miller found the back of the net for Vancouver.

Braden Holtby surrendered six goals on 28 shots to finish the year with a six-game winless skid (0-5-1).

Jacob Markstrom stopped 19 shots for his 22nd win of the season.

BOSTON 3 WASHINGTON 2 (2OT) – Bruins lead series 2-1

The Bruins and Capitals went to overtime for a third straight time and Boston has won the last two.

Craig Smith scored the game winner 5:48 into the second overtime for his first goal of the postseason. He also added an assist to give him three points in three games this playoffs.

Alex Ovechkin got on the board for the first time in the series with a power-play goal in the second period.

Taylor Hall tied the game less than a minute later with his second goal in the past two outings.

Nic Dowd gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead at 18:15 of the second stanza with his second marker of the postseason.

Brad Marchand’s second of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs sent the game to extra time when he scored on a Boston power play just past the midway mark of the third frame.

Garnet Hathaway, Anthony Mantha, Patrice Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy and Kevan Miller picked up an assist each in the match.

Hathaway, Dowd, Nick Ritchie and Sean Kuraly registered seven hits apiece, while Bergeron had a game-high seven shots on target.

Ilya Samsonov stopped 40 shots in his NHL playoff debut. It was his first start since May 1 following a stint on the COVID protocol list. He is the third different starter for the Capitals in the series after Vitek Vanecek was injured in Game 1 and Craig Anderson played the whole contest in Game 2.

Tuukka Rask blocked 35 shots in the victory.

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NASHVILLE 0 CAROLINA 3 – Hurricanes lead series 2-0

The Hurricanes won a second straight postseason game versus the Predators. The series shifts to Nashville for the next two matches.

Sebastian Aho scored a pair of goals in Game 2, including the game winner when he opened the scoring 8:03 into the first frame with a power-play marker. He added an empty-netter in the final minute of the third.

Alex Nedeljkovic turned aside all 32 shots he faced for his first shutout in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He made his NHL postseason debut in Game 1, which was a 5-2 victory.

Warren Foegele found the back of the net shortly after Aho’s empty-netter for his first of the postseason.

Andrei Svechnikov, Dougie Hamilton, Brett Pesce and Jesper Fast picked up an assist apiece.

Roman Josi had a game-high eight shots on net. He also added four hits in 26:29 of ice time.

Juuse Saros shielded 28 of 30 shots in the loss.

WINNIPEG 4 EDMONTON 1 – Jets lead series 1-0

The Jets defeated the Oilers in Game 1, as the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs finally began in the North Division.

Dominic Toninato scored what held up as the game winner at the 9:14 of the third period on a deflection that went in and out of the net so quickly that the officials didn’t initially see it.

Connor Hellebuyck blocked 32 shots in the victory.

Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler potted empty-netters late to put the game out of reach. Connor and Wheeler also picked up an assist each.

Jesse Puljujarvi gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead 8:24 into the second stanza.

Tucker Poolman lit the lamp for Winnipeg shortly later to even the score going into the third.

Nate Thompson and Mark Scheifele earned two helpers apiece, while Neal Pionk, Logan Stanley. Tyson Barrie and Darnell Nurse chipped in one helper each.

Adam Lowry, Josh Archibald and Pionk were credited with seven hits each.

Mike Smith stopped 18 of 20 shots in the loss.

ST. LOUIS 3 COLORADO 6 – Avalanche lead series 2-0

The Avalanche won a second straight game in the postseason over the Blues, as the best-of-seven series shifts to the St. Louis for the next two matches.

Nathan MacKinnon led the way with a hat trick and he added an assist. He gave the Avalanche some breathing room in the third period after he potted a power-play goal in the first frame. MacKinnon rounded out the scoring with an empty-netter.

Joonas Donskoi potted two goals and posted an assist in the contest. He opened the scoring in the first 36 seconds and got his second of the playoffs during a Colorado power play early in the second stanza.

Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog and Torey Krug registered two helpers apiece, while Kyle Clifford, Robert Thomas, Tyler Bozak, Niko Mikkola, Tyson Jost, Nazem Kadri Devon Toews, Cale Makar and Ryan Graves provided one assist each.

Kadri could be facing supplemental discipline following a match penalty for a hit to the head on Justin Faulk. The Blues also lost Robert Bortuzzo to an upper-body injury on Wednesday night.

Brandon Saad had the other goal in the game for Colorado, which was an empty-netter

Sammy Blais, Brayden Schenn (power play) and Mike Hoffman lit the lamp for the Blues in the contest.

Jordan Binnington stopped 29 of 33 shots in the defeat.

Philipp Grubauer blocked 32 shots for the win.

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Published: 2021-05-20 06:44:31

Tags: #Alex #Nedeljkovic #blanks #Predators #Game

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