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NHL roundup: Sebastian Aho leads Hurricanes past Rangers as league restarts

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho scored a goal and set up another in the team's 3-2 win over the New York Rangers.
Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho scored a goal and set up another in the team’s 3-2 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday in Toronto.
(Jim McIsaac / Associated Press)

Sebastian Aho scored a goal and set up another in the Carolina Hurricanes’ 3-2 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday in Toronto in the NHL’s opening playoff game after a 4½-month pause.

Jaccob Slavin scored 61 seconds in on Carolina’s first shot on goal in helping the Hurricanes gain the edge in the best-of-five preliminary round series. Game 2 is Monday.

Martin Necas sealed the victory in a game the Hurricanes never trailed by one-timing a shot in off the skate of Rangers defenseman Marc Staal with 9:09 remaining.

The game was played without fans and was the NHL’s first ever played in August as the league attempts to complete a coronavirus outbreak-altered season and in a bid to award the Stanley Cup in late September or early October.

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“Yeah, you noticed it when you were on the bench, no crowd, no noise,” Aho said. “But for me, at least, when I was on the ice, you didn’t pay attention to that. It was intense, and it felt like a playoff game.”

Minnesota’s Matt Dumba became the first NHL player to kneel during the U.S. national anthem when he did so before the Oilers-Blackhawks game in Edmonton.

The Metropolitan Division rivals kicked off the expanded 24-team playoff format, which will feature as many as six games a day being played in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton, Canada.

Petr Mrazek stopped 24 shots, and the sixth-seeded Hurricanes defeated the 11th-seeded Rangers for just the seventh time in 38 meetings going back to the 2010-11 season.

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Henrik Lundqvist stopped 34 shots for New York in starting for Igor Shesterkin, who was listed as unfit to play. For Lundqvist, it was just his sixth start since Jan. 2.

Canadiens 3, Penguins 2 (OT): Jeff Petry scored at 13:57 of overtime, Carey Price made 39 saves, and Montreal beat Pittsburgh in Toronto in Game 1 of their best-of-five qualifying round series.

Petry picked up a loose puck in the right faceoff circle and ripped a shot past goalie Matt Murray.

The game was played at empty Scotiabank Arena in the NHL’s return following a 142-day absence after COVID-19 ground the sport to a halt.

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Jonathan Drouin had a chance to win it for Montreal in overtime on a penalty shot when he was held on a breakaway, but the puck rolled off the end of his stick and dribbled wide.

After a four-month delay caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the NHL resumes its season Saturday with a Stanley Cup playoff qualifying round.

Pittsburgh’s Conor Sheary also failed on a penalty shot with 3:03 left in regulation, missing the net. The game was the first NHL postseason contest with two penalty shots since March 29, 1923.

Blackhawks 6, Oilers 4: Rookie winger Dominik Kubalik scored two goals and added three assists, leading Chicago to a win over host Edmonton in the opener of their best-of-five qualifying round series.

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Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews added two goals and one assist.

Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists for the Oilers.

It was a continuation of the torrid scoring pace set by Kubalik, a 24-year-old Czech forward and a Calder Trophy finalist for the NHL’s rookie of the year. He had 30 goals and 16 assists before regular-season play was halted in mid-March.

Islanders 2, Panthers 1: Semyon Varlamov stopped 27 shots, and New York opened its best-of-five playoff series with a victory over Florida in Toronto.

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Anthony Beauvillier had the decisive goal by scoring on the power play 3:39 into the second period. The goal was scored a little more than a minute after the Panthers’ Mike Matheson was penalized for a hit to the head on defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who did not return.

Flames 4, Jets 1: Johnny Gaudreau and Mikael Backlund scored power-play goals in the second period as Calgary won the series opener in Edmonton.

Winnipeg lost Mark Scheifele to an apparent leg injury early in the game when he went into the boards awkwardly and needed help from trainers. Another top Jets forward, Patrik Laine, did not return after he was bumped into the end boards late.


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