Toronto, Canada - After a 4 and a half month pause the NHL is officially back!
The road to the Stanley Cup began in Canada as the National Hockey League qualifying round got underway.
The first game of the best-of five series to advance to the first round of the playoffs was between the New York Rangers and the Carolina Hurricanes.
With less than 2 minutes to go in regulation, Carolina leading 3-1 on a Power Play, but Rangers' Mika Zibanejad earning the assist to Marc Staal, who scores the short-handed goal.
The hurricanes would go on to win game one, 3-2.
The Vancouver Canucks will begin their quest to the Stanley Cup taking on the Minnesota Wild in their first qualifying round match in the Western Conference.
Utica Comets fans may see the likes of Zack MacEwen, Justin Bailey, Olli Juolevi, Brogan Rafferty and Jalen Chatfield in action for the first time in over 4 months.
Canucks Head Coach and first-ever Comets Head Coach Travis Green had good things to say about the players brought up from his former squad.
“It wasn't an easy decision for us, who was going to come with us, especially on the back end. Um, to be honest, all five of the D (defense) that were here from Utica, it could've been any of them that came to camp. We had to make some hard decisions on those three. I think Olli's (Juolevi) had a good camp, played well the other night and they've all had good attitudes, they've come in good shape and they're excited to be here,” said Green.
The Canucks enter the post season as the No. 7 seed.