Follow along here as Yahoo Sports NHL editors Arun Srinivasan and Kyle Cantlon keep you posted on the key storylines, highlights, major injuries and everything else you need to know from Thursday’s Stanley Cup playoffs slate.
Hurricanes defeat Bruins after Dougie Hamilton fires laser
Dougie Hamilton was, by most accounts, the leading candidate to win the Norris Trophy before he fractured his fibula on January 16. In normal circumstances, Hamilton wouldn’t be back for the playoffs, but this has been anything but a normal season and the Hurricanes’ star defenseman took hold of Game 2 against the Bruins.
With the game tied 2-2 in the third period, Hamilton stepped up from the point and wired an absolute laser past Tuukka Rask for the go-ahead goal, and the Hurricanes didn’t look back. Rask, a deserving Vezina finalist, had no chance. This is where no fans come in handy, too, as you can literally hear the puck rocketing towards the net — even if (much like Rask) you can’t see it.
Hamilton led all players with six shot attempts at 5-on-5, according to Natural Stat Trick. Fire away, Dougie, and a belated welcome back.
— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@TheReplayGuy) August 14, 2020
Golden Knights take 2-0 series lead on Reilly Smith’s OT winner
That might’ve been as good a chance as the Chicago Blackhawks will get to upend the top-seeded Vegas Golden Knights, but it wasn’t their night.
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith deposited a feed from Paul Stastny from in front of the net in overtime, securing a 4-3 victory for Vegas.
Stastny and Tomas Nosek helped the Golden Knights jump out to a 2-0 first period lead and appeared to be in cruise control. Kirby Dach and Dominik Kubalik scored to tie the game at 2-2, Mark Stone would restore the advantage, before Dylan Strome scored with 14 seconds left in the third period to knot the game back up at 3-3.
Vegas has been dominant since entering the bubble, as it has yet to lose a game since the season restarted. This, of course, is inflated by the four-month pause, but the last time the Golden Knights lost was on March 6. Three years into their existence, Vegas could very well be lifting the Cup later this summer.
Here is Smith’s winner:
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) August 14, 2020
Pastrnak unfit to participate vs. Hurricanes
Bruins star David Pastrnak has been deemed unfit to participate for Thursday’s Game 2 against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Pastrnak tallied a goal and an assist during Wednesday’s Game 1 double-overtime victory.
It’s a tough loss for the Bruins as Pastrnak submitted the best season of his career, recording 48 goals and 95 points in 70 games during the regular season.
UPDATE: David Pastrnak (unfit to participate) will not play in tonight's game. #NHLBruins
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) August 13, 2020
Blue Jackets even series against Lightning
After a five-overtime epic, Game 2 regained a sense of normalcy, as the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 to tie the series at one game apiece.
Tampa Bay jumped out to a strong start during the opening 10 minutes of the game as Nikita Kucherov opened the scoring.
However, the Blue Jackets were galvanized by Kucherov’s goal and after a lackadaisical opening, Ryan Murray and Oliver Bjorkstrand scored in quick succession to give Columbus a 2-1 lead, with Pierre-Luc Dubois getting primary assists on both goals.
Alexander Wennberg added an insurance goal and it’s certainly worth a rewind. Wennberg separated from his defender, took a feed in-stride from Liam Foudy then dangled around Kevin Shattenkirk with a perfect outside-to-inside toe drag, kicking the puck back onto his stick before deftly tucking it past Andrei Vasilevskiy.
— NHL (@NHL) August 13, 2020
More NHL coverage from Yahoo Sports