Follow along here as Yahoo Sports NHL editor Kyle Cantlon keeps you posted on the key storylines, highlights, major injuries and anything else you need to know from Thursday’s qualifying series slate.
Dubois steals Leafs’ souls with hat trick, OT winner
An absolute thriller in Toronto between the Leafs and Blue Jackets needed almost an entire extra period to be resolved, and it was Pierre-Luc Dubois capping off a career night with the overtime winner to give Columbus a critical 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
The slick backhander into the top bunk above Frederik Andersen’s glove-side shoulder was Dubois’ third tally of the night and also erased the three-goal lead Toronto built up while completely dominating the first two periods. Dubois also netted the Jackets’ first goal of the game to initiate the comeback, and the game-tying tally halfway through the third period.
Seth Jones added the other for Columbus, with Cody Ceci scoring short-handed (??), and William Nylander potting the other for Toronto. Freddie Andersen was pretty stellar throughout this one despite the loss, stopping 39 of 43 biscuits he saw.
And the soul-crushing loss for Toronto — which puts their backs firmly against the ropes — overshadowed a big moment for their prized 18-year-old rookie.
Leafs’ Nick Robertson notches first career goal
It’s surely not the way Nick Robertson imagined it — no fans in the seats while competing in the Stanley Cup playoffs in August as a teenager — but his first NHL goal couldn’t have come at a better time for the Leafs as they took a 3-0 lead over CBJ midway through the second period.
And let’s be honest, it’s a pretty damn unique “welcome to the NHL moment” for the 18-year-old.
As Kasperi Kapanen curled to the boards and looked for an open option, he found one in Robertson as he put his quick release on display and snapped one by Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo to get off the schneid in his third pro contest.
Robertson’s goal also directly resulted in the yanking of Korpisalo in favour of Elvis Merzlikins, so the kid is already damaging statlines at an all-pro pace.
Canucks move within a win of Round 2
The Canucks are a win away from advancing after a tidy 3-0 victory over the Wild in Game 3 Thursday afternoon.
Goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 27 saves for his first ever “playoff” shutout, while Brock Boeser’s diving net-front effort midway through the second frame held up as the game winner.
The tally was an extra emotional one for Boeser, scoring on the sixth anniversary of the death of his friend Ty Alyea — who is the inspiration for the number he wears on his sweater and the reason he pointed upward toward the sky after the goal on Thursday.
“To be able to get one for him, it’s something special,” he said after the game.
“Yeah, it’s an emotional day for sure, and I tried to make the most of it out on the ice.”
Boeser’s teammates stepped up for him, too.
After Antoine Roussel added the proverbial insurance marker a couple minutes into the third period, Elias Pettersson notched his first career playoff tally off a beautiful Quinn Hughes feed.
Elias Pettersson with his first career playoff goal. That's three helpers for Quinn Hughes on the day pic.twitter.com/iBJA4mQ2pZ— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) August 6, 2020
Hughes was absolute dynamite as he has been most of his freshman NHL campaign, setting up the final two Canucks goals and adding a second assist on Boeser’s opening tally.
He finished with three points and 22:47 TOI while being his usual eye-test delight.
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