Minnesota Wild goaltender Alex Stalock (32) makes a save against Vancouver Canucks’ Bo Horvat (53) as Wild’s Brad Hunt (77) defends during second period NHL Stanley Cup qualifying round action in Edmonton, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

EDMONTON — J.T. Miller’s goal and assist led the Vancouver Canucks in a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, evening their qualifying series at one win apiece.

Tanner Pearson, Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat also scored for the Canucks, with Jacob Markstrom turning in a 32-save performance for the win. Kevin Fiala had two goals and Luke Kunin scored the other for Minnesota. Wild starter Alex Stalock made 24 stops in the loss.

Game 3 is Thursday when lower-seeded Minnesota will be the home team for the first time in the series. Defenceman Matt Dumba continued to raise his right fist on the Wild’s bench through the pre-game anthems to bring attention to racism and social injustice. Standing behind Dumba, teammate Jonas Brodin put his hand on Dumba’s shoulder in support Tuesday.

Vancouver moved the puck with more authority than they did in a 3-0 loss to open the series Sunday. The Canucks ranked 20th out of 24 teams in combined playoff game experience (480) coming into the post-season. Minnesota (609) ranked 16th.

Forwards Jake Virtanen and Loui Eriksson replaced Tyler Toffoli and Adam Gaudette in Vancouver’s lineup for Game 2. Minnesota was scoreless on six power-play chances, while Vancouver went 1-for-7.

Canucks winger Antoine Roussel took a deflection in the head that drew blood five minutes into the third period. Fiala scored at 17:32 and with eight seconds remaining in the game, beating Markstom with high wrist shots in both cases.

Minnesota took consecutive minors midway through the third. Horvat made good on one, getting his stick on a Quinn Hughes ice-skimming shot from the point to beat Stalock’s glove at 6:22.

Vancouver was up 3-1 by 8:42 of the second. Boeser swatted in an Elias Pettersson rebound that Stalock couldn’t control.

Markstrom stoning an all-alone Eric Staal in the slot preserved Vancouver’s 2-1 lead early in the second period. Miller scored Vancouver’s second goal on a solo effort at 3:04.

He skated the puck out of Minnesota’s zone, dragged the puck back and beat Stalock top corner with a quick release from inside the top of the face-off circle. Kunin scored shorthanded with 2:44 left in the opening period to draw the Wild even. Zach Parise dealt Kunin the puck from the far boards and Kunin beat Markstrom with a wrist shot.

Kunin was fined US$1,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct in Game 1. He’d delivered a whack to the leg of Vancouver’s Micheal Ferland from the Wild’s bench. Kunin was retaliating for Ferland spearing seated teammate Ryan Hartman seated on the bench. Ferland was fined $5,000.

Pearson scored on Vancouver’s first shot of the game just 24 seconds after puck drop.

He made the most of a beneficial bounce off the boards by corralling the puck and snapping past Stalock’s glove from the top of the face-off circle.

READ MORE: Wild blank Canucks 3-0 to take early NHL play-in series lead

HURRICANES 4, RANGERS 1

Sebastian Aho scored twice in the third period while James Reimer was strong in net to help the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers 4-1 on Tuesday night and sweep the Stanley Cup qualifier series.

Warren Foegele scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period for the Hurricanes, redirecting a shot from the point by Brady Skjei to beat rookie Igor Shesterkin at 5:07 in the third. Then Aho followed with a highlight-reel goal about 5 1/2 minutes later, taking the puck from Rangers defenceman Jacob Trouba along the boards and skating in on Tony DeAngelo to backhand the puck past Shesterkin as he went to his knees.

Aho added an empty-netter late to seal it, with the Hurricanes sweeping the best-of-5 series after losing all four regular-season meetings against the Rangers.

Reimer had a huge part of the win too, finishing with 37 saves that included a couple of big stops during a wild second-period sequence.

MAPLE LEAFS 3, BLUE JACKETS 0

Auston Matthews and John Tavares scored and the Maple Leafs beat the Blue Jackets to even their best-of-five qualifying series at one game.

Toronto defenceman Jake Muzzin was taken off the ice on a stretcher with 1:52 left in the game after his head made violent contact with Columbus’ Oliver Bjorkstrand behind the Blue Jackets net. Muzzin was attended to by a trainer before more medical personnel arrived on the ice.

After the game, the team tweeted that Muzzin was transported to a hospital and that he was alert and able to move all limbs.

Frederik Andersen made 20 saves for his third career playoff shutout and Morgan Rielly added an empty-net goal with 43 seconds left.

PREDATORS 4, COYOTES 2

Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist, Jusse Saros stopped 24 shots and the Predators beat the Coyotes to even their Stanley Cup qualifier eries.

Predators coach John Hynes stuck with Saros after the Finnish goalie gave up four goals on 37 shots in the opener. Saros responded with a strong Game 2 performance, turning away multiple flurries in the first two periods before giving up goals to Clayton Keller and Lawson Crouse 9 seconds apart late in the third.

Nashville had the early jump after falling into a three-goal hole to lose Game 1, scoring on goals by Nick Bonino and Johansen in a span of three minutes of the first period.

Calle Jarnkrok scored in the second period and Viktor Arvidsson put it away with a goal in the third to tie up the best-of-five series heading into Game 3 on Wednesday.

Darcy Kuemper stopped 24 shots for the Coyotes after turning away 40 in the series opener.

ISLANDERS 4, PANTHERS 2

Jordan Eberle scored twice, including the go-ahead goal, and the Islanders rallied to a win over the Panthers and take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five NHL preliminary round playoff series on Tuesday.

Ryan Pulock and Matt Martin also scored, and Semyon Varlamov stopped 26 shots in a game New York overcame a pair of one-goal deficits.

Mike Hoffman had a goal and assist and captain Aleksander Barkov also scored for Florida, which is one loss from going one-and-done in the playoffs for a fifth consecutive time.

The Panthers have advanced past the playoffs’ opening round just once in franchise history, in 1996, when Florida reached the Stanley Cup Final before being swept by Colorado.

FLAMES 6, JETS 2

Sean Monahan had a goal and two assists while Cam Talbot finished with 33 saves to help the Flames beat the Jets in Game 3 of their Stanley Cup qualifier series Tuesday night.

Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm each had a goal and an assist for the Flames, who took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 series. Milan Lucic and Matthew Tkachuk also scored goals for Calgary.

Andrew Copp and Nikolaj Ehlers scored goals for the Jets, who took a 1-0 lead midway through the first on Ehlers’ even-strength score only to surrender Lindholm’s tying goal 18 seconds later on the power play.

Calgary went 3 for 4 on the power play while being whistled for just two penalties.

Connor Hellebuyck finished with 26 saves for Winnipeg.

Game 4 is Thursday.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

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