New Jersey Devils continue roster retool, acquire Andreas Johnsson from Toronto Maple Leafs - ESPN
The New Jersey Devils, among the NHL teams with the most salary-cap space available this offseason, acquired forward Andreas Johnsson from Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils continued their offseason makeover Saturday by acquiring winger Andreas Johnsson from the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Joey Anderson. Johnsson, 25, had eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points in 43 games last season. He is signed for three more years at a salary-cap hit of $3.4 million. "Andreas is a hard-working, competitive forward who can slot up and down the lineup," Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald said. "The overall versatility of his game will be a great complement to our centermen with his skating, quickness and scoring touch." Toronto traded Johnsson to clear much-needed cap space. Anderson, 22, bounced back and forth between New Jersey and its American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton the past two seasons. Johnsson is the Devils' latest addition after they signed goaltender Corey Crawford to a $7.8 million, two-year deal Friday. They have a new coach in Lindy Ruff and are hoping to build back into a playoff contender after missing the postseason seven of the past eight seasons. On Thursday, before NHL free agency began, New Jersey acquired defenseman Ryan Murray from the Columbus Blue Jackets for a fifth-round pick in the 2021 draft. The 27-year-old Murray, the No. 2 overall pick in 2012, had two goals and seven assists in 27 games last season with the Blue Jackets, and one goal in nine playoff games. "It's a team that has a ton of young skill," Crawford said Saturday morning. "They're up and coming. It's a team that I'm excited to be a part of." Johnsson adds to that. The 5-foot-10 Swede has 67 points in 125 career regular-season games. The Devils -- who traded away several key players and contracts before the season paused to create additional roster and salary-cap space -- also had three first-round choices in the NHL draft on Tuesday. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Jacob Markstrom stays in Pacific Division, leaves Vancouver Canucks for Calgary Flames - ESPN
After an impressive playoff run, goaltender Jacob Markstrom is leaving the Vancouver Canucks to sign a six-year deal with the Calgary Flames.
Unable to reach an agreement to stay the starter in Vancouver, goaltender Jacob Markstrom quickly made a deal with the Calgary Flames for six years and $36 million, the team announced Friday. After serving primarily as a backup for most of his career, Markstrom has developed into a quality front-line netminder since he turned 28 three seasons ago. Last season, he went 23-16 with a 2.75 goals-against average and .918 save percentage for a surprising Canucks team. Vancouver beat Minnesota 3-1 in the qualifying round and upset defending Stanley Cup-champion St. Louis 4-2 in the first round before losing to Vegas in seven games in the West semifinals. Markstrom had a 2.85 GAA and .919 save percentage in 14 playoff games. He is coming off a three-year, $11 million contract. He was injured against the Golden Knights; backup Thatcher Demko took over for the Canucks and went 2-1. Calgary started David Rittich last season with Cam Talbot as backup, but Talbot took over in the playoffs. He went to the Wild on the first day of free agency. The Canucks moved on by signing former Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby to a two-year, $8.6 million deal. Holtby and Demko will likely share time in net for a young Canucks team that finished 36-27-6 last season and in third place in the Pacific Division.
Star center Connor McDavid tests positive for COVID-19, Edmonton Oilers say - ESPN
Connor McDavid tested positive for the coronavirus, the Edmonton Oilers said Monday, and he will quarantine in his offseason home near Toronto.
Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced on Monday night. McDavid's positive test came during medical testing earlier on Monday. "Since that time, he has been in voluntary self-quarantine at his home. He will continue to be monitored and will follow all associated health protocols," the franchise said in a statement. The Oilers said that McDavid is "feeling well and is experiencing mild symptoms." He is quarantining near Toronto, where his offseason home is located. McDavid, 23, has 469 points in 351 career games for the Oilers. He had 97 points in 64 games this season, finishing fifth in the most valuable player voting. The diagnosis comes one week after the NHL completed its restarted season with the Stanley Cup Final in Edmonton, Alberta. Between the hub cities in Edmonton and Toronto, the league administered 33,394 COVID-19 tests among each playoff team's 52-member traveling staff, including players, and reported zero positive results. The mandatory testing phase has concluded, according to the NHL.
Denis Shapovalov is Canada's main hope at 2020 US Open - ESPN
No Canadian man has ever reached the US Open semifinals, but Denis Shapovalov might have the right mindset and the skill to be the first.
NEW YORK -- Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion, decided against traveling to New York from her home in Toronto to defend her title. Canadian fans, though, still have plenty to cheer about, as the national delegation has compensated for her absence. Canada has yet to see its first male Grand Slam singles champion, but it is getting closer. For the first time, three of the nation's men claimed places in the fourth round this year. Denis Shapovalov will attempt to become the first Canadian man to play in the US Open semifinals. Seeded No. 12, he will meet No. 20 Pablo Carreno Busta in the quarterfinals Tuesday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium (ESPN). Although Shapovalov has been as far as the fourth round in New York before, he was 18 at the time and feeling no pressure. He was unable to duplicate that feat at any major until Sunday. Thanks to the default of top-seeded Novak Djokovic, Shapovalov will be, at least on paper, the favorite. Editor's Picks "To kind of get over that hump of the fourth round and make my first [Grand Slam] quarters, it's a huge boost for me," Shapovalov said. "I see that my hard work [is] paying off." Shapovalov knows he has a tough assignment in Carreno Busta, a player similar to the one Shapovalov eliminated on Sunday, No. 7 seed David Goffin. A left-hander, Shapovalov is arcing upward, thanks to significant changes made in his support team within the past year. Last August, he hired a new coach, former Russian ATP pro Mikhail Youzhny. Shapovalov was 17-18 on the season and in the middle of a 2-6 slump when they formed a partnership at the Winston-Salem Open. Shapovalov soon found his footing again, finishing the season 38-27 -- an encouraging prelude to 2020. He started this year ranked No. 14 (one tick off his peak career ranking) with back-to-back wins at the ATP Cup over top-10 fixtures Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas. "He's definitely made me a smarter player out there," Shapovalov said of Youzhny. Renowned for his willingness to take risks and powder almost any ball that comes his way, Shapovalov said Youzhny also has been teaching him to modulate, to win more points with his head than that big left bicep. Tennis Major Pick 'Em: New York Tennis makes its return to the big stage! Play for FREE, answer questions and compete for $1,000! Make Your Picks "I am definitely trying to play more steady," Shapovalov said, acknowledging that Youzhny's grasp of tactics and strategy opened his eyes. "I feel like Mischa [Youzhny] has helped me a lot with that. I'm just not going out there and trying to blast balls left and right, but actually playing smarter and playing more crafty." Shapovalov's compatriots, Vasek Pospisil and Felix Auger-Aliassime, didn't fare as well on Monday. Pospisil, a Wimbledon doubles champion, was beaten by 22-year old No. 21-seed Australian Alex de Minaur, but not before sending shockwaves through the draw with a pair of wins over fellow countryman Milos Raonic, a former Wimbledon finalist, and one of the most feared under-the-radar contenders, No. 8 seed Roberto Bautista Agut. But reaching the fourth round was already big for Pospisil, who had not been that far at a major since 2015, when he reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Now 30, Pospisil has struggled for years with back pain, but said he is healthy again. "I just assumed that it was just a normal part of sport that everyone had to deal with, having pains every three, four weeks," Pospisil said following his third-round win. "... Clearly it wasn't normal, because now I feel amazing." Auger-Aliassime was the third Canadian man who still had a shot at the title in the Round of 16, but he fell afoul of Dominic Thiem, the highest seed (No. 2) left in the tournament -- and one of just two players (Daniil Medvedev is the other) who has played in a major final. Thiem has lost in three. Felix Auger-Aliassime, 20, advanced to the fourth round of the US Open, his deepest run of a Grand Slam draw. Al Bello/Getty Images Auger-Aliassime, 20, had another learning experience in his deepest run of a Grand Slam draw. "You play those top 5 players and it reaches another level," he said after his four-set loss. "Thiem is a player who has gone far in these tournaments, I just feel like he was doing everything better than me today." While Pospisil and Raonic, 29, are veterans who have provided inspiration and leadership in the Canadian contingency, Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov, along with Andreescu, are the ones who move the needle when it comes to star power. Fast friends and separated by just a year in age (Shapovalov is older), they rose -- "ripped" may be a better word -- through the Canadian junior development system together, constantly pushing each other to ever greater heights. Shapovalov was the first to get a full view of the kingdom when he became the youngest player to reach an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semifinal. It happened, fittingly enough, in Montreal in 2017. Shapovalov was just a few months into his 18th birthday. Then in 2019, the pair of Canadians made a powerful joint statement, just days after Andreescu stunned tennis with her unexpected triumph at Indian Wells. On opposite sides of the draw, the men belted their way to the semifinals at the Miami Open, where Shapovalov was finally throttled by Roger Federer, and Auger-Aliassime was halted by John Isner. In under two weeks during the North American winter, Canada had emerged as a potential tennis superpower. Vasek Pospisi, who hasn't reached the fourth round at a major since 2015, beat Milos Raonic and Roberto Bautista Agut at this year's US Open. Al Bello/Getty Images The nation's young stars suddenly found themselves under the lens of a larger microscope, and the adjustment hasn't always been easy. Auger-Aliassime won just three Grand Slam matches since the start of 2019 before his US Open run. That included a painful first-round loss at the Australian Open, the only previous Grand Slam of this year, to No. 256 Ernests Gulbis. Auger-Aliassime has shown flashes of brilliance in reaching the finals at four ATP Tour events since that Miami breakout, but he has struggled to close the deal. He hasn't won one and lost to a lower-ranked player in two. But the six-month lockdown triggered by the pandemic enabled him to pause, reassess his needs and work on his game and attitude. "Physically I got better [during the break] at the consistency of my efforts, my concentration and commitment," Auger-Aliassime said. "They're very rare now, matches now that I feel like I don't give myself a chance, or I'm not fighting well enough." Both Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime profess a love for New York City and its crown jewel tournament, even though it currently lacks the vibrancy and roar of former years because of the absence of fans. Auger-Aliassime has described growing up in Canada as a happy experience because the nation has become, like New York, a "melting pot." In fact, Canadian tennis players may be the ultimate testament to that. Auger-Aliassime's mother is a Quebecoise, his father is from the African nation of Togo. Shapovalov was born in Tel Aviv to Israeli-Russian parents. "To kind of get over that hump of the fourth round and make my first [Grand Slam] quarters, it's a huge boost for me." Denis Shapovalov Auger-Aliassime, who hadn't won a main draw US Open match before this year thanks largely to the efforts of Shapovalov (who defeated his friend in the first round in each of the last two years), has embraced the tournament despite the onerous protocols and restrictions of life in the bubble. Shapovalov has his own reasons to feel inspired by the US Open: a history of success. He reached the fourth round in his first attempt in New York. He's 14-3 at this tournament, two of his three losses coming in epic, high-profile battles with ATP stars Gael Monfils and Kevin Anderson. With those frustrating first-round US Open meetings in the rearview mirror for both players, Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime found themselves in opposite halves of the draw this year. The prospect of them meeting in the final in an event that no longer had a Grand Slam champion in contention was in play until Monday. Don't think the young Canadians didn't fantasize about the prospect. "To grow up with a really close friend, a guy that you've been battling against for years from juniors, to go through Futures, Challengers, everything together -- all the way to the top," Shapovalov said. "It would be great. It would be ... a movie." That movie will not be shot at this US Open. There's a new script now, but this one too might end with a Canadian singles player once again hoisting the trophy on Sunday.
Vegas' Peter DeBoer says 'no place for frustration' after blowing 3-1 series lead - ESPN
With the Knights' 3-1 series lead gone and a Game 7 looming against the Canucks, Vegas coach Peter DeBoer says his team must "reset" following Thursday's 4-0 loss.
The Vegas Golden Knights' 3-1 series lead over the Vancouver Canucks has evaporated. Their offense has been silenced by a hot goaltender. After losing 4-0 in Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinals series Thursday night, their postseason fate will be on the line. "There's no place for frustration right now," Knights coach Peter DeBoer said. "We've gotta win one game to move on. We'll reset." The story of the night -- and, increasingly, the series -- was Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko, who entered the series in Game 5 after starting goalie Jacob Markstrom was deemed unfit to play. Demko has given up one goal on 91 shots for a .989 save percentage in the only two postseason starts of his career, rallying the Canucks to a Game 7 at 9 p.m. ET on Friday night in Edmonton, Alberta. "There's no quit. I think we've shown that all year. Demmer's playing unreal and giving us a chance to win," forward J.T. Miller said. "We're coming up big at the right time, right now. It says a lot about our group. We could have easily rolled over. It's not the same as when you have a normal fan base in the game. It's pretty quiet in the rink. It's easy to want to quit and go home. But we're here for one reason. We don't really care what anyone else thinks. I think we're going to be ready to play tomorrow." The Golden Knights have had the shot and puck possession advantages in their consecutive losses. Their power play has gone 0-for-7. "We gotta score some goals," Golden Knights winger Mark Stone said with an exasperated chuckle. "I mean, how many did we score? None today. We've gotta find some ways to put the pucks in the net. We got lots of looks. We gotta get some bodies in front of the net." For Stone and the majority of his teammates, this series marks the second straight postseason in which the Golden Knights have blown a 3-1 series lead. They lost Games 5 and 6 to San Jose in the conference quarterfinals last season and then blew a 3-0 lead in the third period of Game 7 to lose the series. The coach of that Sharks team? It was DeBoer, who was hired to replace Gerard Gallant in January. "This is a different group. Different team," DeBoer said. "We've hit a group over there that's feeling confident and getting great goaltending, and that's going to happen on the playoff trail. You have to find a way. This is our adversity. We have to stick together and come through it." Game 7 presents the Vegas coach with a challenging decision. He has said throughout the playoffs that he has a plan for goaltenders Robin Lehner, who started Game 6, and former starter Marc-Andre Fleury, who has played in the team's other back-to-back games in the postseason. "Whoever plays, plays. If I get to play tomorrow I'll do my best, like I always do," said Lehner, when asked if he expects to play in Game 7. "I feel pretty good out there. The bounces aren't going our way right now. They get two posts and in, we get two posts and out. There was a couple of open nets that just bounced on us in the first period. Small margins. If you play, you just gotta do your best." Knights forward Max Pacioretty says he believes the quick turnaround will benefit Vegas. "We don't have time to think about anything," he said. "It's a back-to-back. It's a unique scenario, one that we've never been in. It's nice that we have this opportunity tomorrow. You don't want to have to sit in your room in the bubble and think about what went wrong to get to this point. This is what you dream about. We should be excited for the challenge."
Bruins' Cassidy 'didn't agree' with 5-minute major penalty after loss - ESPN
Bruce Cassidy didn't agree with a major penalty that resulted in a critical Lightning goal ahead of their 3-1 win over the Bruins Saturday.
Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, now facing elimination for the first time during the Eastern Conference playoffs inside the Toronto bubble, expressed his frustration with a 5-minute major penalty on Saturday, after Boston's 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4. A boarding major on Nick Ritchie for a questionable hit on Tampa Bay's Yanni Gourde paved the way for a critical Lightning goal by Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman. Ritchie appeared to hit Gourde from behind a few feet away from the boards, and Gourde went left shoulder first into the boards. Officials gave Ritchie the major after reviewing video, and Gourde left before returning early in the third period. "Clearly, Gourde was down on the play and he's a good player -- real good player for them -- clever, obviously," Cassidy said. "He got them on the power play for 5 minutes, he finished the game, had no problems in the third period. I didn't agree with the call." Ritchie said he was trying to finish his check after Gourde got rid of the puck. Still, he could face suspension, which Lightning coach Jon Cooper said might be the case in the regular season, but he wondered if the major penalty might get Ritchie "off the hook" of missing Game 5. Boston received a power-play goal from Jake DeBrusk in the third period to end any thoughts of a Tampa Bay shutout. The defending Eastern Conference champions have been outscored 10-2 in the past two games and have lost three straight since winning Game 1. Game 5 is Monday. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Bruins' Zdeno Chara says teams didn't have time to mull not playing - ESPN
Zdeno Chara said the Bruins and Lightning didn't find out about Wednesday's boycotting of games across sports until they got to the rink, saying, "It was too close to the game to start any discussions."
Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning players said they found out about the NBA and other sports leagues' postponing games only when they got to the rink Wednesday night. By that point, they didn't have sufficient time to discuss following suit. "It was so close to our game that we were just getting ready," Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. "After our pregame meal, we took naps and then we were on the bus, so I don't think any of us were watching the TV until we got to the rink. And at that point, obviously, it was too close to the game to start any discussions or try to move the games to different dates. We were basically following the schedule the NHL provided to us." Chara, however, voiced support for his peers across other sports who decided to sit out Wednesday in protest of ongoing racial injustices, including the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Games were postponed Wednesday across the NBA, WNBA, MLS and MLB. "We support fighting against racism and injustice," Chara said. "There's different ways to express that fight. NBA players expressed their opinions about it by boycotting the games today. We support NBA players and all the leagues that showed that support." The NHL drew criticism from two prominent players in the recently formed Hockey Diversity Alliance, including Sharks winger Evander Kane, who said the league's "lack of action" was "incredibly insulting." Actually it's incredibly insulting as a black man in hockey the lack of action and acknowledgement from the @nhl, just straight up insulting. https://t.co/1KrpUvFhaQ Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) August 27, 2020 Meanwhile, in an appearance on Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wild defenseman Matt Dumba said the NHL "is always late to the party on these topics." "It's kind of sad and disheartening for me and for members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance -- and I'm sure for other guys across the league," Dumba said. "But if no one stands up and does anything, then it's the same thing: that silence. You're just outside looking in on actually being leaders and evoking real change when you have such an opportunity to do so." Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said he would have been "100 percent behind" his players if they had decided to sit out Wednesday. Tampa Bay players also said they didn't have serious conversations about boycotting Wednesday's game because they found out about the NBA boycotts very close to puck drop. "I think the world has changed in just this short time that we were at the rink," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "When I got here at 4:30, I think what's happening now at 11:15 is much different than what was happening at 4:30. At the time ... those weren't things being discussed with our group. We were preparing to play the Boston Bruins." Before Game 3 of the Bruins' and Lightning's second-round series -- which the Lightning won 7-1 -- the NHL held a "moment of reflection" during which the words "end racism" appeared on the videoboard. The NHL, however, did not hold a similar pregame ceremony for its second game of the night, the Colorado Avalanche versus Dallas Stars match in the Edmonton, Alberta, bubble.
Penguins acquire Kasperi Kapanen, 24, in multiplayer trade with Maple Leafs - ESPN
The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Toronto Maple Leafs forward Kasperi Kapanen in a multiplayer trade on Tuesday, reuniting the 24-year-old forward with Jim Rutherford, the general manager who drafted him.
The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Toronto Maple Leafs forward Kasperi Kapanen in a multiplayer trade on Tuesday, reuniting the 24-year-old forward with the general manager who drafted him. The Penguins sent center Evan Rodrigues, defenseman David Warsofsky, forward Filip Hallander and their 2020 first-round draft pick (15th overall) to Toronto for Kapanen, the rights to KHL forward Pontus Aberg and defenseman Jesper Lindgren. "Kasperi is a good, young player that brings speed to our lineup and plays the way we want to play. Having previously drafted him, we know him as a player and feel he can improve our top-six," Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford said. The Penguins selected Kapanen with the 22nd overall pick in 2014, before trading him to the Leafs in the blockbuster Phil Kessel trade of July 2015. Rutherford also drafted Kapanen's father, Sami, in 1995 while general manager of the Hartford Whalers. "Super excited about that obviously," Kapanen said. "It's where it all began for me, which is pretty cool." In four years with the Maple Leafs, Kapanen had 41 goals and 49 assists in 202 games. He hit the 20-goal mark for the first time in 2018-19. But he struggled in the NHL restart, as the Maple Leafs lost a qualifying-round series to the Columbus Blue Jackets. He had just two assists in the five-game series. "Puck wasn't going in for me," Kapanen said. "Overall, my game was iffy." The trade gives Toronto some salary-cap flexibility. Rodrigues is a restricted free agent. Hallander is on his rookie deal through 2022, and Warsofsky is on a rookie deal through 2021. Kapanen makes $3.2 million against the salary cap through 2022. The Penguins, who also lost in the qualifying round, sought change after a disheartening elimination to the Montreal Canadiens. With the core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang all at least 33, Kapanen's arrival gives the Penguins some fresh legs to work with as they try to keep the championship window open. Kapanen, who called it an "obvious honor" to play with Crosby and Malkin, considers himself a two-way player who can help the Penguins at both ends of the ice. "Obviously, I love scoring goals, who doesn't," Kapanen said. "I love playing with the puck and making plays, but at the same time I want to forecheck and be physical and be that guy to kind of get in your face a little bit and knock you off your game." The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Vancouver Whitecaps earn 1 million after Davies wins Champions League with Bayern - ESPN
MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps will earn €1 million after former player Alphonso Davies won the Champions League with Bayern Munich on Sunday.
Major League Soccer side Vancouver Whitecaps will earn 1 million after former player Alphonso Davies won the Champions League with Bayern Munich on Sunday. Davies, 19, helped Bayern lift their sixth Champions League trophy after they beat French champions Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in Lisbon. - Stream FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)- Insider Notebook: Arsenal, Man City battle for Aouar Bayern must now pay the Whitecaps 1m due to an agreement between the two clubs when Davies joined the Bundesliga champions in 2018. Following the match, Davies said: "It's something you dream about as a kid. To win the Champions League is everything for club level, so I'm happy that we can do it and I'm happy to be part of this club as well. "It's been a good season all around. I didn't start the season so well, but it's how you finish not how you start, you know what I'm saying." The Canada international has been instrumental in helping Bayern win the Treble of Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League for the first time since 2013; and they became the second team to achieve that twice after Barcelona, who did it in 2009 and 2015. In April, Davies told ESPN that Bayern were capable of lifting the Champions League and he has achieved it in his second year in European football.
Defending champ Blues eliminated by Canucks after 'embarrassing' effort - ESPN
A lack of consistent effort from the entire roster left defending champion St. Louis befuddled after the Blues were eliminated by the Canucks with Friday night's 6-2 loss in Game 6.
Ryan O'Reilly stared down at the table in front him, moments after the Vancouver Canucks completed their six-game upset of his St. Louis Blues. After last season's final game, he and his teammates passed around the Stanley Cup in victory. But O'Reilly didn't recognize the team around him Friday night, as far as their effort and execution were concerned. "We didn't play like we normally did," O'Reilly said after the Blues were eliminated after a 6-2 loss in Game 6 of the Western Conference quarterfinals in Edmonton, Alberta. "There were times when we were hard to play against, but we weren't consistent with it. At times we looked like a junior team out there, turning the puck over and not playing the right way." Last postseason, the Blues rolled to the franchise's first championship with a total team effort, getting buy-in from every player in their lineup. While the team was missing some injured players this series -- most notably star winger Vladimir Tarasenko, who left the NHL bubble to get his surgically repaired shoulder examined after two ineffective games against Vancouver -- it was a lack of effort from the entire roster that left St. Louis befuddled after the series. "It didn't seem that our energy was coming from everyone," winger David Perron said. Blues coach Craig Berube agreed. "There were a few games where the energy wasn't there. We needed more from more guys," he said. "David Perron's right: It's not good enough. You can't win in this league unless you have every guy ready to go in the playoffs. You have to have that. Our team was successful last year because we had everybody on board, every night." The Blues were also successful last season because of Jordan Binnington, the rookie goaltender who backstopped them to the Cup with strong play and unshakable confidence. After a good 2019-20 season, he was mediocre in the postseason, losing his first four games and then losing the crease to backup Jake Allen after two straight losses to open the Vancouver series. Allen won Games 3 and 4 but lost Game 5. Berube had a choice to make for Game 6. He went with the goalie he won with last season. It didn't work. Binnington was pulled 8 minutes, 6 seconds into the second period, having given up four goals on 18 shots. Last season, Binnington went 16-10 with a .914 save percentage, including a Game 7 win on the road in the Stanley Cup final for the championship. In this postseason, he was 0-5 with a .851 save percentage. "Jake played three games in a row, obviously lost the third one," Berube said. "Binner's been a big-time goalie for us for a long time. He had some practice, worked on his game. It's a gut feeling. He's done a lot for us. Won a championship with him. But Binner's a lot like our whole team. We didn't play at the level that we needed to play. That's just the bottom line." O'Reilly put the blame on the team in front of Binnington. "It's disappointing, the way we played in front of him," he said. "One of the reasons that we're here is because of him, and we did a terrible job helping him out. We have to defend better. We have to have jump in front of him. It's on us. It wasn't good enough. It's embarrassing." The Canucks built a 2-0 lead on goals generated by their fourth line. Jay Beagle beat Binnington cleanly for his first of the postseason, after a strong Canucks forecheck, at 3:45 of the first period. Antoine Roussel made it 2-0 at 2:09 of the second period, converting a Vince Dunn turnover into a goal. It was 3-0 on Troy Stecher's goal at 6:49 of the second period, as Vancouver did what it does best: cashing in on a four-pass sequence started by star Elias Pettersson, leaving the Blues bewildered. A slashing penalty on Oskar Sundqvist led to a Brock Boeser power-play goal at 8:06 of the second period to make it 4-0 to chase Binnington. In the third period, Jaden Schwartz and Tyler Motte traded goals twice for the 6-2 final. "They came into the series expecting to win," Vancouver coach Travis Green said of his team. "They played and believed like they could win, [and were] confident. It's important to the city. There's so much excitement every year. I hope they're celebrating safely. I'm happy for the people of Vancouver." The Blues enter an offseason with a considerable question: the fate of captain Alex Pietrangelo, who is an unrestricted free agent on a team with just over $2 million in salary cap space open for next season. "It's not a fun situation to be in," the veteran defenseman said. "Especially when you've been one place your whole career. I guess my only thought is to get home, see my kids and see where the future takes us." If it is Pietrangelo's last game with the Blues, he was witness to an uncharacteristic effort, not only in their final loss to Vancouver but throughout their time in the Edmonton bubble. As Berube said, nothing came easy for them, and they made it too easy for their opponents. "I'm not taking anything away from Vancouver. They're a good young hockey team," he said. "But we just made too many mistakes. We gave them goals."