Saturday's NHL playoffs: Tuukka Rask opts out; Bruins take 2-1 series lead over Hurricanes

Associated Press

Toronto — The Boston Bruins, shortly after waking up Saturday to face the Carolina Hurricanes, found out goaltender Tuukka Rask was opting out of the NHL playoffs.

While the defending Eastern Conference champions are supporting their teammate at least publicly, they're focusing on their quest to go a step farther in the playoffs than they did a year ago with Rask in net.

Boston Bruins' Brandon Carlo (25) congratulates goaltender Jaroslav Halak as teammates celebrate their victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in NHL Eastern Conference Stanley Cup playoff game in Toronto on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020.

Jaroslav Halak stopped 29 shots after starting on short notice in place of Rask and Charlie Coyle provided plenty of offense, scoring once and setting up another goal to help Boston beat Carolina 3-1 to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.

"We move on," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "I know it sounds cold, but on the professional part of it we have a job to do here."

Rask, a Vezina Trophy finalist, is the highest-profile player to opt out of the NHL's return from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. He led the league with a 2.12 goals-against average and helped Boston reach Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals last year.

Rask left the league's bubble in Toronto to be with his wife and three young children, including a newborn.

"We found out shortly before departure of the bus," Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara recalled. "Obviously, our first concern is the health and safety of his family."

Game 4 is Monday night, when fifth-seeded Carolina may be without Andrei Svechnikov against fourth-seeded Boston. The 20-year-old Russian standout forward was injured late in the game when his right leg, near his ankle, buckled after getting tied up with Chara in front of the net.

"That injury really looks bad and that's all that's going through my head," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said.

On Saturday afternoon, Boston was without star David Pastrnak for a second straight game due to an undisclosed ailment. He watched from the stands Saturday, sitting alone with a mask.

Coyle did his part to make up for the loss.

He broke a scoreless tie, scoring on a power play off a rebound in the opening seconds of the second period. Coyle batted the puck out of the air and past Petr Mrazek after the goaltender stopped Brad Marchand's shot that was set up by David Krejci's pass off the end boards.

Mrazek finished with 36 saves.

Columbus Blue Jackets center Riley Nash, rear, celebrates his goal against Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy with Zach Werenski (8) during the second period of Game 3 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Toronto.

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Tampa Bay 3, Columbus: Andrei Vasilevskiy made 16 saves and Tampa Bay beat Columbus to take a 2-1 series lead.

Alex Killorn, Brayden Point and Victor Hedman scored, and the Lightning held off a 6-on-5 push by the Blue Jackets late.

Riley Nash and Eric Robinson scored for the Blue Jackets, and Joonas Korpisalo made 31 stops after piling up 121 saves in the first two games of the series, including a five-overtime loss Tuesday night.

The Lightning outshot Columbus 34-17, including 16-4 in the second period.

Vegas Golden Knights' Brayden McNabb (3) and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) celebrate the win over the Chicago Blackhawks in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Edmonton, Alberta.

Vegas 2, Chicago 1: Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 shots and Vegas held off Chicago to take a 3-0 lead in the series.

William Karlsson and Patrick Brown scored for the Golden Knights. Vegas is 6-0 in the postseason, having also won all three of its round-robin games in the preliminary round to take the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

With Games 3 and 4 on back-to-back nights, Vegas coach Peter DeBoer opted to start Fleury instead of Robin Lehner, who is 4-0 with 2.39 goals-against average this postseason.

Olli Maatta scored in the third period and Corey Crawford had 24 saves for Chicago.

Arizona Coyotes' Jordan Oesterle (82), Alex Goligoski (33) and goalie Darcy Kuemper (35) celebrate the win over the Colorado Avalanche in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Edmonton, Alberta.

Phoenix 4, Colorado 2: Darcy Kuemper stopped 49 shots and Arizona beat Colorado to cut the Avalanche’s series lead to 2-1.

Arizona took the early lead on Derek Stepan’s first-period goal, then spent most of the day counterpunching against Colorado’s relentless pressure.

Andre Burakovsky tied it in the second period during one Avalanche flurry, but Brad Richardson Richardson put the Coyotes up 2-1 in the closing seconds.

Kuemper took made a series of difficult saves in the third period and Taylor Hall scored on an empty net, seemingly sealing it.

Mikko Rantanen gave Colorado life, following Hall’s goal by scoring with 1:03 left. Lawson Crouse finally put it out of reach with an empty-net goal to give Arizona life heading into Game 4 on Monday.

Colorado’s Pavel Francouz stopped 19 shots.

Eastern Conference 

No. 1 Philadelphia tied with No. 8 Montreal, 1-1

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Philadelphia 2, Montreal 1

Friday, Aug. 14: Montreal 5, Philadelphia 0

Sunday, Aug. 16: Philadelphia vs. Montreal, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Philadelphia vs. Montreal, 3 p.m.

x-Wednesday, Aug. 19: Montreal vs. Philadelphia, TBD

x-Friday, Aug. 21: Philadelphia vs. Montreal, TBD

x-Sunday, Aug. 23: Montreal vs. Philadelphia, TBD

No. 2 Tampa Bay leads vs. No. 7 Columbus, 2-1

Tuesday, Aug. 11: Tampa Bay 3, Columbus 2, 5OT

Thursday, Aug. 13: Columbus 3, Tampa Bay 1

Saturday, Aug. 15: Tampa Bay 3, Columbus 2

Monday, Aug. 17: Columbus vs. Tampa Bay, 3 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Columbus vs. Tampa Bay, TBD

x-Friday, Aug. 21: Tampa Bay vs. Columbus, TBD

x-Saturday, Aug. 22: Columbus vs. Tampa Bay, TBD

No. 6 N.Y. Islanders lead vs. No. 3 Washington, 2-0

Wednesday, Aug. 12: N.Y. Islanders 4, Washington 2

Friday, Aug. 14: N.Y. Islanders 5, Washington 2

Sunday, Aug. 16: Washington vs. N.Y. Islanders, noon

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Washington vs. N.Y. Islanders, 8 p.m.

x-Thursday, Aug. 20: N.Y. Islanders vs. Washington, TBD

x-Saturday, Aug. 22: Washington vs. N.Y. Islanders, TBD

x-Sunday, Aug. 23: N.Y. Islanders vs. Washington, TBD

No. 4 Boston leads vs. No. 5 Carolina, 2-1

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Boston 4, Carolina 3, 2OT

Thursday, Aug. 13: Carolina 3, Boston 2

Saturday, Aug. 15: Boston 3, Carolina 1

Monday, Aug. 17: Boston vs. Carolina, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Carolina vs. Boston, TBD

x-Thursday, Aug. 20: Boston vs. Carolina, TBD

x-Sunday, Aug. 23: Carolina vs. Boston, TBD

Western Conference

No. 1 Las Vegas leads vs. No. 8 Chicago, 3-0

Tuesday, Aug. 11: Las Vegas 4 Chicago 1

Thursday, Aug. 13: Las Vegas 4, Chicago 3, OT

Saturday, Aug. 15: Las Vegas 2, Chicago 1

Sunday, Aug. 16: Las Vegas vs. Chicago, 6:30 p.m.

x-Tuesday, Aug. 18: Chicago vs. Las Vegas, TBD

x-Thursday, Aug. 20: Las Vegas vs. Chicago, TBD

x-Saturday, Aug. 22: Chicago vs. Las Vegas, TBD

No. 2 Colorado leads vs. No. 7 Arizona, 2-1

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Colorado 3, Arizona 0

Friday, Aug. 14: Colorado 3, Arizona 2

Saturday, Aug. 15: Arizona 4, Colorado 2

Monday, Aug. 17: Colorado vs. Arizona, 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Arizona vs. Colorado, TBD

x-Friday, Aug. 21: Colorado vs. Arizona, TBD

x-Sunday, Aug. 23: Arizona vs. Colorado, TBD

No. 6 Calgary leads vs. No. 3 Dallas, 2-1

Tuesday, Aug. 11: Calgary 3, Dallas 2

Thursday, Aug. 13: Dallas 5, Calgary 4

Friday, Aug. 14: Calgary 2, Dallas 0

Sunday, Aug. 16: Dallas vs. Calgary, 2 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Calgary vs. Dallas, TBD

x-Thursday, Aug. 20: Dallas vs. Calgary, TBD

x-Saturday, Aug. 22: Calgary vs. Dallas, TBD

No. 5 Vancouver leads vs. No. 4 St. Louis, 2-0

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Vancouver 5, St. Louis 2

Friday, Aug. 14: Vancouver 4, St. Louis 3, OT

Sunday, Aug. 16: St. Louis vs. Vancouver, 10:30 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 17: St. Louis vs. Vancouver, 10:30 p.m.

x-Wednesday, Aug. 19: Vancouver vs. St. Louis, TBD

x-Friday, Aug. 21: St. Louis vs. Vancouver, TBD

x-Sunday, Aug. 23: Vancouver vs. St. Louis, TBD