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NHL 2020 Playoffs: Play-in Round Open Thread Day 2

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The Vancouver Canucks are playing meaningful hockey! In August!

Boston Bruins v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Five games on tap today as the Canucks begin their improbable journey towards a shot at the Stanley Cup as they take on the Minnesota Wild tonight in Game 1 of their best of 5 Play-in Round series. We’ll have our game preview later and hopefully some lineups for you, but let’s take a look at the other action we’ll see today:

Nashville Predators (6) vs Arizona Coyotes (11)

The day gets underway in Edmonton as the Preds and Coyotes square off. The Preds are looking to try and make up for playoff failures in the past, and a kickstart in the form of a series against the Coyotes could do that. But be wary here, with all the drama of Arizona’s past couple weeks thanks to the departure of GM John Chayka, they might be as dangerous as a wounded animal. and the Preds can’t take them lightly here or it will come back to bite them.

Philadelphia Flyers vs Boston Bruins

The first round robin game to determine top 4 seeding in the East sees the Flyers and Bruins go toe to toe in what should be a fun game to watch. The Flyers have to get through Boston, Washington and Tampa, and if they can win all three, they’ll come out as the #1 seed in the East. Easy peasy, right?

They’ve been the hottest teams in the NHL since November, but one big factor in this game could be who starts for Boston, as Tuukka Rask is questionable for today. If he can’t go, it will be up to Jaroslav Halak, not a bad 2nd option, mind you. Carter Hart gets the start for Philly.

St Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche

Next up in Edmonton is the first round robin game for the Western Conference as the Blues begin the defence of their title with a game against the Avs. The good news for the Blues is that they have a healthy Vladimir Tarasenko in the lineup, something that wouldn’t be true had the pandemic not created this new playoff landscape. Tarasenko injured his shoulder in October, so it’s a testament to the Blues that they had as good a season as they did without their top scorer. Colorado will try and use their speed and size to get through the imposing Blues defence, but don’t be surprised if this is a goaltenders battle between Jordan Binnington and Phillipp Grubauer.

Columbus Blue Jackets (9) vs Toronto Maple Leafs (8)

Home-ice advantage didn’t work out so well for the Oilers last night, so the Leafs are hoping they can buck that trend as they take on John Tortorella’s Blue Jackets. The pressure is as always, on the Leafs to come up with some kind of meaningful post-season after 3 straight first round exits. They’ll be in tough against a Columbus Blue Jackets team that last year knocked out the top team in the NHL in a shocking sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Joona Korpisalo gets the nod in goal for CBJ while Frederik Andersen will start for the Leafs. It will also see rookie Nick Robertson in the lineup for Toronto.

The evening will wrap with the Canucks/Wild at 7:30. We’ll have a preview up for you soon, as well as a game thread and the usual post game coverage.