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Evan’s NHL Daily: Roy Trusts An Old Friend; Surprise! Stone Is Ready

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Mark Stone nhl

There are very few NHL teams paying their starting goaltender over $8 million a season, and the New York Islanders are one of them. That goaltender is not who Patrick Roy decided to put in net when the Islanders and Hurricanes dropped the puck for Game One. Nope, he went with his old friend, Semyon Varlamov.

In the late game, the Toronto Maple Leafs took on the Boston Bruins without one of their best players, and that game was proof that goaltending really does matter in the NHL. The Bruins got good goaltending, and the Maple Leafs definitely did not.

The Avalanche will hit the ice for morning skate in a little bit, and CHN will be live in Winnipeg for it. Unfortunately, they’ll have to find a way to get the job done without Jonathan Drouin.

All that and more in this Sunday edition of Evan’s Daily.

Colorado Hockey Now

My round one predictions for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Avalanche will have to play without Jonathan Drouin for at least the first round of the playoffs.

Since some had mentioned it, I did start a tip jar if anyone wanted to contribute for playoff travel. Again, I DO NOT expect anything and definitely don’t feel obligated to do it. It’s completely optional, and I still feel a little strange about it. The journey to Winnipeg was far more difficult than it needs to be, and makes you wonder why there’s an NHL team here. A round trip flight to Winnipeg costs well over $1k, so myself, Corey (from the DP), and Kyle (from the Gazette) flew into Fargo, North Dakota and drove to Winnipeg. Not exactly the most exciting drive, but we’re here and ready for Game One.

CHN

Roy Goes With Varly

There are only three active goalies in the NHL that make more money than Ilya Sorokin, and those three will be starting for their teams when the playoffs begin.

Sorokin did not.

Nope, Patrick Roy went with his old friend Semyon Varlamov. It’s hardly a surprise, as Roy trusted Varlamov a lot down the stretch and the old Avalanche netminder played quite well. That being said, if you’re Lou Lamoriello, it can’t look good when your expensive goaltender is just sitting on the bench. There are a lot of years left on that contract…

As for the game, the Islanders deserved a better fate, and the fact that they couldn’t win probably isn’t a good sign for them. This was their game to take. They outshot the Hurricanes, which doesn’t happen very often, but couldn’t beat Freddie Andersen more than once. The Hurricanes took Game One 3-1, and now lead the series.

Leafs Crumble

Already regretting taking the Maple Leafs in seven against the Bruins…

Toronto was met with bad news first thing in the morning, as William Nylander, who hasn’t missed a game in over two seasons, woke up in some pain and couldn’t suit up against the Bruins. They missed him a fair bit, especially on the powerplay.

I don’t know how much it would have mattered, though. Ilya Samsonov looked bad in net, giving up four goals on just 23 shots. At the other end, Jeremy Swayman looked great and didn’t give the Leafs any easy ones.

This was an entertaining game to watch, especially the first period. The two teams came out really physical and everyone was taking a beating. The Bruins (and Brad Marchand) can goad you into some penalties, and Max Domi fell for it a few times. Just not smart stuff. Bruins lead the series 1-0.

Mark Stone Cleared For Contact

Is anyone really surprised?

We all saw this coming. The regular season ends, and Stone seems like he’ll be ready to go for Game One against the Dallas Stars.

Vegas didn’t even try to hide it, and I’m not sure the NHL cares. That should be one heck of a series, though.

National Hockey Now

The Sharks don’t have a ton of talent, and would love for Will Smith to sign his first NHL deal. As of now, they’re not sure that’s going to happen.

You’re going to be seeing a lot of Matthew Tkachuk on your TV during the NHL playoffs.

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