Staging video games in empty arenas after a virus-forced hiatus of greater than 4 months, the NHL skated into this unprecedented postseason with loads of questions on simply how intense the motion on the ice could be.

4 days right into a most uncommon Stanley Cup event, this a lot is evident: Playoff hockey continues to be playoff hockey, even with out the roar of the group. The Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks, their qualifying spherical sequence even at one win apiece, have confirmed as a lot.

Each contests at Rogers Place in Edmonton have been testy, with the 2 groups jawing at one another on the finish of Recreation 2.

“The fellows play the very same manner. I spoke to a number of individuals earlier than this, and so they mentioned, ‘Do you assume it’s going to be playoff hockey?’” Wild coach Dean Evason mentioned. “These guys, they’re youngsters, and even when they’re older guys, they’re youngsters. They’re enjoying the sport for the appropriate causes. They’re one of the best on the earth for a purpose, as a result of they completely like to play and so they like to compete, and when that puck’s dropped in a playoff environment, we’re all battling to win the Stanley Cup, which they’ve thought of their complete lives. There’s going to be that pleasure degree and there’s going to be that battle degree that we’ve seen already.”

Much more unusual with this postseason has been the bubble-city setup that has stationed each of those groups on the Sutton Place Lodge. The Wild routinely stroll by the Canucks on their option to eat.

“It’s positively completely different. You’re in an absolute struggle with a workforce, and then you definitely experience the elevator with them,” Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers mentioned on Wednesday.

Recreation Three is on Thursday (2:30 p.m. EDT, NHL Community). The Canucks are banged up, with 4 forwards iffy. Tyler Toffoli and Adam Gaudette have been harm in Recreation 1 and held out of Recreation 2. Michael Ferland and Antoine Roussel left Recreation 2 with accidents.

The Canucks will possible go so far as their gifted top-six group of forwards will take them, with the “Lotto Line” of J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser making a big affect up to now.

Pettersson has impressed the Canucks along with his tenacity, too, the frequent goal of not-so-friendly hits from the Wild.

“I’m at all times impressed along with his ability degree, and I’ve been anxiously ready to see how he does with one of these hockey, and it’s been spectacular up to now,” Canucks coach Travis Inexperienced mentioned.

In different video games on Thursday:

MAPLE LEAFS vs. BLUE JACKETS, sequence tied 1-1 (eight p.m. EDT, NBC Sports activities Community)

The Toronto Maple Leafs will play the remainder of their qualifying spherical sequence towards the Columbus Blue Jackets with out defenseman Jake Muzzin, who returned on Wednesday to the workforce resort after his discharge from a hospital. He was harm in a scary on-ice collision late of their 3-Zero win in Recreation 2 on house ice at Scotiabank Area.

Muzzin took a crosscheck and fell chest-first onto the legs of Blue Jackets ahead Oliver Bjorkstrand behind the Toronto aim and was down for greater than 10 minutes on his again earlier than being taken off on a stretcher. Muzzin was alert and capable of transfer all of his limbs.

“He’s a mentally sturdy man, an enormous robust child, so we’re simply hoping for a speedy restoration,” mentioned teammate Kyle Clifford.

Martin Marincin practiced in a pairing with Tyson Barrie on Wednesday, on monitor to crack Toronto’s prime six on the blue line with Muzzin out.

Columbus is Zero for six on the facility play by way of two video games.

FLAMES vs. JETS, Flames lead 2-1 (10:30 p.m. EDT, CNBC)

One other younger workforce that has not gained a postseason sequence in 5 years, the Calgary Flames have the Winnipeg Jets on the ropes with the possibility to advance with a late-night win in Edmonton.

Calgary has scored 12 objectives over the primary three video games of the qualifying spherical sequence, with two apiece from Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm. The main target for Recreation Four will likely be to “kill the need” of Winnipeg, mentioned defenseman Derek Ryan. The Flames beat the Jets 6-2 in Recreation 3.

“It’s one thing we will put within the financial institution for ourselves as a younger hockey membership looking for its manner come playoff time and draw some confidence from it,” Flames coach Geoff Ward mentioned, “but in addition draw just a little little bit of consolation figuring out that we’re capable of put a sport like that on the ice when we have to.”

There are additionally two round-robin video games on the schedule for Thursday, with the highest 4 seeds in every convention within the means of being settled this week. The Washington Capitals play the Philadelphia Flyers (Four p.m. EDT, NBC Sports activities Community) in Toronto, and the Vegas Golden Knights dealing with the St. Louis Blues (6:30 p.m. EDT, NHL Community) in Edmonton.


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