Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice took the incident pretty hard, stating that Tkachuk was intentionally trying to injure Scheifele, calling the hit "a filthy, dirty kick to the back of the leg."
Chicago’s coach Jeremy Colliton took a different approach. "Just kind of a bang-bang play," Colliton said. "He went hard, and he was definitely wasn't trying to catch him in the head. But he did, so the NHL made the decision."
I guess that’s the difference between a losing and winning coach on a Saturday.
There were five games in the NHL Sunday.
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ARIZONA 4 NASHVILLE 3
It was Darcy Kuemper’s stellar performance between the pipes, that allowed the Coyotes to hang onto a 4-3 win over Nashville in Game 1 of the best-of-five play-in series.
Kuemper made 40 saves including 18 in the final period as the Predators threw everything but the kitchen sink at him. Kuemper was a huge consideration for the Vezina Trophy through the middle of December but a lower-body injury on the 19th of the month, put him out of action until February 26th, halting all talk of the Vezina.
But he shone on Sunday afternoon in Edmonton, with a dazzling performance, giving up two goals on the power play, while stopping 31-of-32 shots in even strength situations.
The Coyotes got off to a quick start as they scored three times in 7:43 of the opening period. Oliver Ekman-Larsson got things started with a fluke goal as the puck bounced high off the Predators Matt Duchene and over the head of Juuse Saros and into the net. Christian Dvorak made it 2-0, pouncing on a rebound off a Phil Kessel shot, while Clayton Keller scored his first ever post-season goal on a power play effort.
The Predators picked up some hope at the end of the first when Filip Forsberg scored with the extra-man with only 2.5 seconds remaining.
There was only one goal in the second period when Michael Grabner corralled a bad pass at his own blueline and skated in alone, easily beating Saros with a backhander into the top corner.
The Predators came out flying in the third and goals by Ryan Ellis and Forsberg with his second, got them close, but in the end, the Coyotes prevailed.
Saros was a surprise starter as former number one goaltender Pekka Rinne, had started the previous 89 straight post-season games. Saros struggled early but played well in the final two periods. He made 33 saves in taking the loss. It appears that the Pekka Rinne Show may be over in Nashville.
Forsberg had seven shots on goal to lead all players.
PHILADELPHIA 4 BOSTON 1
I guess it must have been a home game for the Flyers as Carter Hart felt right at home, stopping 34-of-35 shots to give Philadelphia a 4-1 win in the opening game of the Eastern Conference round-robin tournament.
Hart was phenomenal at home, with a 20-3-2 record to go with a .943 save percentage and a 1.63 GAA. It was completely different on the road as the netminder was 4-10-1 with a .857 save percentage and a 3.81 GAA.
The top four teams in each conference are starting off the tournament even and the winner will be seeded first in the conference, and so on and so forth. It was a great way for the Flyers to kick off the new season and it puts the Bruins, who easily had the best record in the East before the pause, behind the eight-ball.
After a scoreless first period, the fourth line of the Flyers got to work. First it was Michael Raffl putting it upstairs on a backhand past Jaroslav Halak and then Nate Thompson put a shot by the Boston goalkeeper to make it 2-0.
Scott Laughton scored the only goal of the third as the Flyers locked down the Bruins easily.
Tuukka Rask was unable to play as he was deemed ‘unfit to play’. Halak got the crease and managed to stop 25 shots in the loss.
Laughton and Jeremy Lauzon of the Bruins each picked up slashing penalties and misconducts with 6:12 to go in the third to give each 12 penalty minutes.
Raffl was helped off the ice with 6:17 left in the third period. As per NHL rules at this time, no reason was given as to what the injury may have been.
COLORADO 2 ST. LOUIS 1
Talk about waiting until the last second to win it. Well, Nazem Kadri took that times 10 as he scored with just .1 second remaining in the third period to give the Colorado Avalanche a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues.
The play was obviously reviewed, but the puck did cross the line before the clock struck 0.0 (it likely was less than .1 second) and Colorado went to the top of the Western Conference round-robin lead with the win.
The Blues took the lead in the first period as David Perron scored on the power play and the scored remained that way until defenseman Ryan Graves fanned on a pass in the slot and then fired the puck past Jordan Binnington to tie the game at 1, setting up Kadri’s buzzer beater.
By the way, Graves had some nice fantasy value in the regular season as he was first in the NHL in plus/minus with a plus-40.
Philipp Grubauer was solid in the Avalanche net, stopping 31 shots for the victory. Binnington made 36 saves in the St. Louis net.
COLUMBUS 2 TORONTO 0
If John Tortorella isn’t the best coach in the NHL, I don’t know who is. Tortorella put together a game plan to shut down the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Blue Jackets executed the plan to perfection.
The game was scoreless for the first two periods, and the Maple Leafs dominated the first minute of play in the third period before Cam Atkinson came down the wing and fired a perfect low shot over the pad of Frederik Andersen to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead.
Columbus just smothered Toronto in the neutral zone after that and didn’t allow the Leafs many scoring chances, before Alexander Wennberg scored into the empty net with 19 seconds left as the Blue Jackets took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
MINNESOTA 3 VANCOUVER 0
Alex Stalock kicked out all 29 shots to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 3-0 win over Vancouver. There was a question over who would start for the Wild, Stalock or Devan Dubnyk, but coach Dean Evason obviously made the right call.
Kevin Fiala was red-hot before the NHL season was paused on March 12 as he had 26 points in his last 18 games and that continued on Sunday as he opened the scoring with a power play goal in the first period. It was all the Wild would need as the assists went to Jared Spurgeon and Eric Staal.
It was Spurgeon who increased the lead in the second period as the defenseman took a nice pass from Staal on the power play and found the five-hole through Vancouver netminder Jacob Markstrom.
Spurgeon scored the only goal of the third period as well as he slapped the puck from his own face-off circle and deposited it into the empty net, 185 feet away.
Markstrom played well in the Vancouver net, stopping 28 shots in taking the loss.
While Spurgeon led the way with a three-point night, Staal had a pair of helpers.
Antoine Roussel was handed a ten-minute misconduct when Spurgeon scored his empty-netter.
Michael Ferland had seven minutes in penalties with five coming in a fight with the Wild’s Foligno.
Special teams were Vancouver’s undoing as they were 0-1 on the power play and gave up two goals on four chances with their penalty kill.
Filip Forsberg – 2
Jared Spurgeon - 2
Taylor Hall – 2
Phil Kessel - 2
Roman Josi – 2
Eric Staal - 2
Shots on Goal
Filip Forsberg – 7
Nazem Kadri - 6
Ivan Barbashev – 7
Sammy Blais – 7
Seth Jones – 7
Tyler Motte – 7
Marcus Foligno - 7
Jeremy Lauzon – 12
Scott Laughton – 12
Kasperi Kapanen – 10
Antoine Roussel - 10