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NHL Notes: Sabres' Eichel gets $80M deal; Capitals' Wilson banned 4 games

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NHL Notes: Sabres' Eichel gets $80M deal; Capitals' Wilson banned 4 games

BUFFALO, New York -- The Buffalo Sabres have reached an agreement to sign their franchise player, Jack Eichel, to an NHL-maximum eight-year, $80 million contract.

The team announced the signing on its twitter account on Tuesday night in a deal reached two days before Buffalo hosts the Montreal Canadiens in the season opener.

Eichel is entering the final year of his three-year entry level contract and only eligible to become a restricted free agent next summer.

The deal was reached after talks had cooled for much of the past six weeks.

Eichel was the second player selected in the 2015 draft, one spot behind Edmonton's Connor McDavid. The Oilers' captain signed an eight-year, $100 million contract extension in July, making him the NHL's top-paid player on a per-season basis.

In averaging $10 million per season, Eichel ties Los Angeles Kings star Anze Kopitar on the NHL list of annual average salaries (see full story).

Capitals: Wilson suspended 4 games for boarding
ARLINGTON, Va. -- The NHL has suspended Washington Capitals right winger Tom Wilson for four games for boarding St. Louis Blues forward Sammy Blais.

The league's department of player safety announced the suspension Tuesday.

Wilson will forfeit $97,561 in salary. Even though this is the first regular-season suspension of his NHL career, Wilson is considered a repeat offender after being suspended for two preseason games for a late hit on Blues rookie Robert Thomas last month.

The 23-year old will miss games against the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins. He'll be eligible to return Oct. 13 against the New Jersey Devils.

Wilson said Tuesday he's a player who finishes big checks, which makes him the subject of attention (see full story).

Penguins: Murray ready to take mantle from Fleury
PITTSBURGH -- Matt Murray jokes he can't help but do a double take whenever he sees a No. 30 Pittsburgh Penguins jersey in public.

"I still think it's a family member or something," the Penguins goaltender said with a laugh.

Hard to blame him. Two years ago, Murray was still in the minors, a 21-year-old long on promise but whose time as the heir apparent to Marc-Andre Fleury was still off somewhere in the gauzy distance.

Like seemingly everything else in Murray's burgeoning career, the future arrived ahead of schedule. Funny how winning a pair of Stanley Cup championships speeds things up.

When Murray skates onto the PPG Arena ice on Wednesday night for the season opener against St. Louis, he'll do it for the first time as a true No. 1 NHL goalie. No more of the "Murray vs. Fleury" debates that raged across social media and talk radio -- but never in the Penguins dressing room -- during their professional if occasionally uncomfortable coexistence.

The gig is Murray's. For now and for later.

Even with his name stenciled on his sport's most prized possession -- twice -- he's in no mood for a victory lap.

"I think there's always something to prove," Murray said. "Nothing's given to you in this league that's for sure. You've got to keep your foot on the gas pedal and that's what I intend to do. I don't feel like I've earned anything."

NHL Playoffs: Ducks beat Flames to complete series sweep

NHL Playoffs: Ducks beat Flames to complete series sweep

CALGARY, Alberta -- Patrick Eaves, Nate Thompson and Ryan Getzlaf scored, and the Anaheim Ducks beat the Calgary Flames 3-1 on Wednesday night for a sweep of their first-round playoff series.

John Gibson made 36 stops for the Ducks, who will face the Edmonton Oilers or San Jose Sharks in the second round.

Sean Monahan scored a power-play goal in the second for Calgary, which qualified for the postseason as the first wild card in the Western Conference (see full recap).

Capitals tie series with 5-4 win over Leafs
TORONTO -- Tom Wilson and T.J. Oshie each scored two goals, and the Washington Capitals beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on Wednesday night to tie their first-round playoff series at two games apiece.

Alex Ovechkin added his third goal of the playoffs as the top-seeded Capitals regained momentum with the series shifting back to Washington for Game 5 on Friday night. Braden Holtby made 30 saves.

Zach Hyman, James van Riemsdyk, Auston Matthews and Tyler Bozak scored for Toronto, which was coming off a 4-3 overtime win on Monday night. Frederik Andersen stopped 22 shots (see full recap).

Wild avoid elimination with 2-0 win over Blues
ST. LOUIS -- Devan Dubnyk made 28 saves, Charlie Coyle scored in the first period and the Minnesota Wild avoided elimination with a 2-0 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of the first-round playoff series on Wednesday night.

Dubnyk's second playoff shutout came almost two years to the day of his first, also against the Blues on April 20, 2015. Martin Hanzal also scored for Minnesota in the second.

Blues goalie Jake Allen made 26 saves. He entered having stopping 114 of the Wild's first 117 shots in the series.

St. Louis still leads the best-of-seven series 3-1 heading into Game 5 at Minnesota on Saturday (see full recap).

Ryan's lone goal lifts Sens to 3-1 series lead
BOSTON -- Bobby Ryan scored early in the third period, Craig Anderson stopped 22 shots and the Ottawa Senators beat the Boston Bruins 1-0 on Wednesday night for a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.

It was Anderson's fourth career playoff shutout.

Tuukka Rask made 26 saves for Boston, which had a goal disallowed in the first when Ottawa coach Guy Boucher challenged and the replay showed Noel Acciari was offsides.

The Bruins, who were winless in four games against the Senators in the regular season, will try to force the series back to Boston with a victory in Ottawa in Game 5 on Friday night (see full recap).

NHL Playoffs: Tom Wilson scores OT game-winner as Capitals beat Maple Leafs

NHL Playoffs: Tom Wilson scores OT game-winner as Capitals beat Maple Leafs

WASHINGTON -- Toronto native Tom Wilson scored his first NHL playoff goal 5:15 into overtime and the Washington Capitals survived a scare to beat the Maple Leafs 3-2 on Thursday night in Game 1 of their first-round series.

The top-seeded Capitals came back from a two-goal deficit to take the early lead in the series and at least momentarily stop the panic about a slip-up. Justin Williams scored twice in regulation, and Washington showed it could handle the adversity of falling behind.

Braden Holtby was up to the task in goal, stopping 35 of the 37 shots he faced. Toronto counterpart Frederik Andersen was arguably the best player on the ice with 41 saves before being beaten by Wilson with an absurd shot on the winner.

Mitch Marner and Jake Gardiner scored in the first period for Toronto, back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Game 2 is Saturday night in Washington (see full recap).

Pekka Rinne stones Blackhawks for shutout in Game 1
CHICAGO -- Pekka Rinne made 29 saves, Viktor Arvidsson scored in the first period and the Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 on Thursday night in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

Rinne's second career postseason shutout sent Nashville to just its second playoff win in Chicago in seven tries. The Predators did not have a 1-0 victory during the regular season.

Game 2 is Saturday night at the United Center.

Corey Crawford had 19 saves for Chicago, which got center Artem Anisimov back from a leg injury that sidelined him for the last part of the season but struggled to find many good looks against a sound defensive performance by Nashville.

The Blackhawks, who won the Central Division this year with the most points in the Western Conference, are going for their fourth Stanley Cup championship in the last eight seasons. They eliminated Nashville during two of those title-winning runs, including in 2015 when the Predators blew leads of 3-0 in Game 1 and 3-1 in Game 6 of their first-round series (see full recap).

Ryan Getzlaf powers Ducks past Flames in series opener
ANAHEIM, Calif.-- Jakob Silfverberg scored the tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and captain Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist in the Anaheim Ducks' 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames in their first-round playoff series opener Thursday night.

Rickard Rakell scored the tying goal after Calgary made a horrendous line change in the second period, and John Gibson made 30 saves as the Ducks avoided a slow start to their latest Stanley Cup playoff campaign.

Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett scored and Brian Elliott stopped 38 shots for the wild-card Flames. Calgary is winless in Anaheim since April 25, 2006, when the Flames won a playoff game in a series won by the Ducks.

Game 2 is Saturday night at Honda Center (see full recap).