Welcome to the Stanley Cup Qualifiers Buzz. The 24 teams who will be competing for the Stanley Cup are in their respective hub cities (Toronto for the 12 Eastern Conference teams, Edmonton for the 12 Western Conference teams). The Stanley Cup Qualifiers began Saturday.
Here’s a look around the League at the latest from the Qualifiers:
Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos will not play for the Lightning against the Boston Bruins in their second round-robin game of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers on Wednesday (4 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, TVAS, NESN, FS-F).
The forward, who also did not play in Tampa Bay’s 3-2 win against the Washington Capitals on Monday in the round-robin opener at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city, is expected to be at practice Tuesday. He sustained a lower-body injury before the start of training camp and has not practiced since Friday.
“He should be on the ice today,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “I’m not sure if he’ll be with our core group but he’ll be on the ice today.”
Stamkos’ availability for the final round-robin game to determine seeding in the Eastern Conference for the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers is unknown. Cooper said last week that he was hopeful Stamkos would be able to play in one of the three round-robin games and be ready for the start of the Eastern Conference First Round. — Corey Long
Patrice Bergeron was absent from practice and Tuukka Rask returned Monday after the goalie missed a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday with an illness.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Bergeron took a maintenance day and will return Tuesday. The center was replaced by Trent Frederic between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, with Jack Studnicka also at right wing. He played 18:38 on Sunday in Toronto, the hub city for the Eastern Conference.
Bergeron is a finalist for the Selke Trophy, given to the NHL forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game, and scored 56 points (31 goals, 25 assists) in 61 games before the season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
Cassidy said he expects Rask, a finalist for the Vezina Trophy given to the player voted as the top goalie in the NHL, to play against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday (4 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, TVAS, NESN, FS-F). The Bruins also play the Washington Capitals on Sunday in the round-robin, which will determine seeding in the East for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Rask allowed three first-period goals and made 17 saves on 20 shots playing almost half of a 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in an exhibition game July 30. — Amalie Benjamin