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Flames Beat Vancouver 4-3 in OT

The Calgary Flames earned two points after a 4-3 OT win over Vancouver, Monday night. It was not a pretty game by any means but good is sometimes good enough.

A Much Improved First Period

The Flames had a horrific first period in their last meeting. They were outshot 20-3 and not recording a shot until 11 minutes in.. The penalty kill struck early after Dillion Dube was called for hooking and naturally, the Flames would lose steam early. It didn’t take long for the Canucks to take advantage of that, putting them ahead by two.Milan Lucic cut the deficit in half after scoring his forth goal of the year.

It was not a pretty period for the Flames PK either. They found themselves on the kill four times in the first 20. Connor Mackey earned two trips to the box in his second NHL game. Calgary’s golden child, Johnny Gaudreau found himself in there on an interference call.

Relying On Momentum

One of the most frustrating things about the Flames is how heavily they rely on positive momentum. If things are going south, expect them to keep spiraling but if things are good, they’ll be really good. Elias Lindholm tied it up before Dube redeemed himself with a goal. There was a bit of confusion around the goal, though. Vancouver’s Nate Schmidt tried to pass the puck to goalie Thatcher Demko but Dube’s stick tipped it in. Thanks for that, Nate.

Dube’s go ahead goal set the tone for a good portion of the third period. One thing I did want to touch on was Elias Lindholm and Tyler Myers. Lindholm was called for elbowing Myers. Elbows to the head are never good or acceptable but I believe it was an unfortunate collision as Myers was already falling.

The Friendship Tour Continues

It shouldn’t come to a surprise that the Flames are ranked the best third period team in the league. For some reason, they find themselves playing their best hockey at crunch time.

The Flames are also great at getting under their opponents’ skin. Tonight, it was Andrew Mangiapane’s turn.

A fantastic defensive play turned into Tyler Myers needing a hug, Mangiapane getting the Brad Marchand treatment, and of course- Matthew Tkachuk and Mackey in the penalty box.

Tkachuk has fallen into a slight slump. He appears afraid to shoot the puck which leads to overpassing which is never good. It’s no surprise that he chimed in on this scrum. Although, he does appear to be picking his battles these days.

In true Flames fashion, they got too comfortable on the ice and allowed the Canucks to tie it up. Jacob Markström was visibly upset. How many dinners does this team owe him now?

Overtime was over before it really started when Gaudreau buried one. It wasn’t time to call it a night just yet though. The Canucks would not go down without a fight and challenged the goal. Toronto reviewed the offside challenge and the call on the ice stood.

Everyone say thank you, Johnny and Toronto for allowing Calgary to go to bed before too much free hockey.

Takeaways

The Flames walked away with two points. That’s all you can ask for. It was an improvement from Saturday’s performance but certainly not the full sixty they need to be playing.

Captain Mark Giordano and Rasmus Andersson were split up and demoted from the first pairing. Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin rightly slid up to that first pair. Giordano was paired with Valimaki on the second line. While Andersson earned a spot with Mackey on the back end.

Goaltending cannot keep saving this team. The Flames are lucky they have Markström and I hope everyone has pitched in to buy him a new car or something really nice. He’s carrying the weight of this team on his back. Even after facing 47 shots, the team couldn’t bail him out.

Being outshot two games in a row is not ideal but the deficit tonight was far less. 33-27 is more ideal but still a heavy workload for Markstrom. It was Gaudreau who bailed him out but before taking it to OT.

The Flames wrap up their four game trip to Vancouver on Wednesday.

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NHL

Calgary: Studs, Standouts and Suckers

With 14 games behind them, the Calgary Flames advance to 7-6-1. The new acquisitions have made themselves right at home and the core reignite themselves after a quiet 2019-20 season. As the season progresses it appears that the team has found themselves in the same book, not the same page quite yet but the gap is closing. The Flames are on their way to being a cohesive unit. Before we get there, we need to take a look at the players so far.

Marking His Territory

Jacob Markstrom has been beyond consistent for the team. Through 10 starts he is 6-3-1 and earned himself a .916 SV% with a 2.5 GAA. Every night you can count on a remarkable save. There are times where he leaves the crease and your heart finds itself in your throat but he never misses a beat.

One of the more terrifying moments of the season was when Connor McDavid crashed into the net, running over Markstrom. Of course everyone remembers what happens the last time McDavid crashed the net. Markstrom was slow to get up but he returned to play as if nothing happened. And of course the true test was if he got the start against Winnipeg on Tuesday night. He recorded a .926 SV%. Safe to say things are going alright there.

Finding Their Footing

Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan were the subjects of trade rumors this offseason. In fact, Gaudreau was on TSN Trade Bait board a few times. After the short lived playoff run, fans were certain there would be a drastic change in the lineup. The question was, would it be Gaudreau or Monahan? General Manager Brad Treliving decided blowing up the team was not the way to go.

Gaudreau is leading the team with 15 points ( 8G, 7A) and had an 8 game point streak going. We’re seeing a version of Johnny Hockey that fans have longed for these last few seasons. To my knowledge, he has not mentioned what changed or if he had shaken up his routine. Could the change in coaching and better key players around him be it?

Monahan passes the blind eye test with flying colors. His passes are smoother than butter and he isn’t afraid to shoot. Both him and Gaudreau appear more confident when it comes to shooting. There is no overpassing or hesitation. Monahan has 11 points ( 3rd on the team ) through 14 games. He has recorded 7 even strength assists and one even strength goal. Monahan is 4 goals shy of 200. That milestone will likely be accomplished this season.

Streaky Starts

Matthew Tkachuk came out of the gate hot. He recorded 3 goals in the first five games and was not hesitant to shoot the puck. On January 24th, he recorded 9 SOG against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Since the Jake Muzzin incident just two days later, Tkachuk has been a little less noticeable.

It was reported that the Flames had a players only meeting after a loss to Montreal. It’s speculated that Tkachuk was told his antics needed to stop and it, “couldn’t be a riot every night.”

Tkachuk has just 2 assists in the last five games. Unfortunately, he hasn’t looked like the same player we saw a month ago. Before we break out the pitchforks for a trade or demotion, let’s remember that players do have streaky moments. Could this be a typical slump we see from players? After all, he did lead the team with 61 points last season. Is this the same type of regression we saw from teammate Gaudreau after his point heavy season?

Andrew Mangiapane inked a deal that would bring him back to Calgary for 2 more years. He ended last season with a career high 32 points. There were high expectations for him coming into the season. While he was putting in the work every game, he just couldn’t finish. It wasn’t until the 8th game of the season that he notched his first goal. He hasn’t slowed down since. He has 4 goals and 2 assists in the last 6 games. The expectations are high for Mangiapane and it’s expected that he will continue to meet them.

Dynamic Duo

The Flames signed 31 year old, Chris Tanev to a four year $18 million deal back in October. The biggest concern about this signing was of course, Tanev’s injury history. He is an older, injury prone player who would be eating up a lot Calgary’s money.

Tanev and D partner Noah Hanifin have been the stars of the show each and every game this season. Both fall under heavy scrutiny for their contracts and performance. The both of them have proved everyone wrong. They did not allow and even strength goal against through 8 games, nearly 2 hours of gameplay.

If the time comes were headcoach Geoff Ward wants to limit Mark Giordano’s ice time, I think making this pairing the top pair is an obvious choice. Though the pair is off to a hot start, that does not mean they are out of the woods just yet. There is still plenty of time for things to turn sour.

Struggling Veterans

One of the hardest part of the game is watching your favorite players age and decline. Unless you are Zdeno Chara, it is inevitable and coaches have to learn to adjust. Milan Lucic and Mark Giordano are two players that come to mind. Granted, Lucic has not been nearly as effective as Giordano but his presence needs to be talked about.

Lucic had a great playoff run last year. It was as if 2011 Lucic had returned to the ice. That was shortlived of course as the Flames were knocked out after losing to the Dallas Stars in the first round.

That Lucic was left in 2020. The Lucic we’ve seen for a majority of the season has been a liability. Turnovers and trips to the penalty box have been costly. On a positive note, he has three goals and three assists which is more than he was doing at the start of the 2019-20 season.

He is averaging 11:57 a night and I do think that that’s acceptable for the time being. However, if you’re going to healthy scratch Sam Bennett, you’re going to need to hold Lucic accountable for his mistakes. Benching him for a game is the better option than walking away without a point.

Captain Mark Giordano is on the final year of his contract. He has played a total of 907 NHL games, which is a rather impressive milestone. One might call this a crossroad in his career. Will the Flames offer him an extension or will they make him available for the Seattle Expansion draft? There are more questions than answers when it comes to Giordano.

He is still playing on the top pairing with Rasmus Andersson. Many fans have called that decision into question after Gio’s slow shifts and turnovers. Whether it be a respect thing or not, you have to do what is best for your team. Geoff Ward has a hockey brain and is seeing it all up close so we can only assume he knows exactly what he’s doing and there is a method to his madness. I do think a demotion needs to happen at some point this season. The captain should be preparing to pass the reigns over to his younger defensemen, and setting them up for success.

One Month Down, A Few More To Go

Barring the league does not pause, the regular season is expected to wrap up in May and playoffs to follow right after. The Flames are currently out of the playoff picture but there is still time for them to turn it around. Don’t count anyone out just yet.

Flames play Vancouver tonight at 8pm MT.

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NHL Nick's Net

Islanders beat Bruins, 4-2, B’s five-game win streak ends

After winning their last five games (and on the road, too), the Boston Bruins fell to the New York Islanders, 4-2, on Saturday night at Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Islanders goaltender, Semyon Varlamov (6-2-2, 1.98 goals against average, .930 save percentage in ten games played) stopped 28 out of 30 shots faced for a .933 SV% in the win.

Bruins netminder, Tuukka Rask (6-2-1, 2.51 GAA, .906 SV% in nine games played) made 38 saves on 42 shots against for a .905 SV% in the loss.

Boston fell to 10-2-2 (22 points) on the season, but remained in 1st place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while New York improved to 6-4-3 (15 points), but stuck in 4th place in the division.

Ondrej Kase (upper body) missed his 12th game this season due to an injury sustained on Jan. 16th in New Jersey, while Matt Grzelcyk (lower body) missed his eighth game of the season due to a lingering injury originally sustained on Jan. 21st against Philadelphia, then re-aggravated on Jan. 28th against Pittsburgh and again on Feb. 10th in New York (against the Rangers).

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made one change to his lineup from Friday night’s, 1-0, win against the Rangers, replacing Connor Clifton on the second defensive pairing with John Moore, who made his season debut.

Par Lindholm, Clifton, Anton Blidh, Karson Kuhlman, Greg McKegg, Steven Kampfer and Callum Booth served as Boston’s healthy scratches and/or taxi squad members on Saturday night.

Midway through the opening frame, Brad Marchand (9) fired the puck past Varlamov on the blocker side from the slot on a catch and release shot after Patrice Bergeron fed Marchand with a pass.

Bergeron (11) and David Pastrnak (4) tallied the assists on Marchand’s goal and the Bruins led, 1-0, at 8:41 of the first period.

Boston earned a little over a minute of consecutive attacking zone time leading up to Marchand’s goal in a dominant display of possession as Saturday night’s action got going.

A few minutes later, Islanders defender, Ryan Pulock fed the slot where Jean-Gabriel Pageau hacked at the puck before Leo Komarov (1) put the finishing touch on it– sneaking the puck behind Rask and tying the game, 1-1, in the process.

Pageau (4) and Pulock (5) notched the assists on Komarov’s first goal of the season at 11:36.

Almost four minutes later, New York took the lead on a tremendous momentum swing whereby Jordan Eberle (6) rocketed an old-school blast from the faceoff circle off of Rask’s leg pad and through the five-hole at 15:16 of the first period.

Brock Nelson (3) and Scott Mayfield (1) had the assists on Eberle’s goal and the Islanders led, 2-1.

Entering the first intermission, New York had the lead on the scoreboard, as well as shots on goal, 15-7.

The Isles also dominated in blocked shots (6-2) and hits (15-13), while Boston led in faceoff win percentage (65-35).

Both clubs had two takeaways and two giveaways each after one period of action and had yet to see any time on the skater advantage.

Prior to the start of the middle period, the Bruins tweeted that defender, Jakub Zboril, would not return to Saturday night’s game with an upper body injury.

Almost midway through the second period, Adam Pelech cross checked Pastrnak and received a minor infraction at 7:47.

Boston did not convert on the ensuing power play– the first skater advantage of the night.

Late in the period, Pastrnak worked the puck up to Marchand through the neutral zone, whereby Marchand then setup Bergeron (7) for another catch and release goal over Varlamov’s blocker side at 16:51.

Marchand (9) and Pastrnak (5) were credited with the assists on Bergeron’s goal and the Bruins tied the game, 2-2.

Through 40 minutes of action at the Coliseum, the score was tied, 2-2, despite the Islanders holding a, 30-16, advantage in shots on goal, including a, 15-9, advantage in just the second period alone.

New York also led in blocked shots (9-7), takeaways (5-2) and hits (29-23), while the B’s led in giveaways (9-5) and faceoff win% (62-38).

Boston was 0/1 on the power play, while the Isles had yet to see any time on the skater advantage heading into the second intermission.

Pastrnak hooked Mathew Barzal at 4:09 of the third period and the penalty proved to be costly for the Bruins as New York took full advantage of their only power play of the night.

Barzal (6) gave the Islanders a go-ahead power-play goal on a one-timer that sailed over Rask’s blocker side from close range.

Anders Lee (3) and Eberle (3) had the assist’s on Barzal’s goal as the Islanders took a, 3-2, lead at 5:30 of the third period.

Past the midpoint of the final frame, Eberle caught Jeremy Lauzon with a high stick at 13:37, but the Bruins were no match for New York’s penalty kill.

In fact, Boston’s power play gave up a goal as Komarov fed Pageau (4) with a short breakaway, leading to a shot past Rask’s glove side into the back of the twine to make it, 4-2, for the Islanders.

Komarov (2) had the only assist on Pageau’s shorthanded insurance goal at 14:32.

It was the first shorthanded goal against allowed by Boston this season.

With 2:40 remaining in Saturday night’s action, Cassidy pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker, but it was to no avail as the Islanders defense stood tall against Boston’s last-ditch effort.

At the final horn, New York had won, 4-2.

The Islanders finished the night leading in shots on goal, 42-30, despite trailing, 14-12, in shots in the third period alone.

The Isles also wrapped up the night leading in blocked shots (13-12) and hits (36-27), while Boston finished the effort leading in giveaways (14-11) and faceoff win% (64-37).

New York went 1/1 on the power play, while the Bruins finished 0/2 on the skater advantage– reminiscent of their 0-2-0 record on Long Island this season.

Both of Boston’s regulation losses this season have been against the Islanders at Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The Bruins fell to 6-1-0 (3-1-0 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal, while the Islanders improved to 1-3-2 (1-0-0 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal this season.

Boston also fell to 2-1-2 when trailing after the first period, as well as 3-2-1 when tied after two periods this season.

New York, meanwhile, improved to 4-1-1 when leading after the first period and 4-1-2 when tied after two periods this season.

The B’s were scheduled to face the New Jersey Devils at home on Monday (Feb. 15th), but that game has been postponed due to many of the Devils players being in COVID protocol recently.

New Jersey is scheduled to return to practice on Monday, which means next Thursday (Feb. 18th) remains on tap for Boston’s next home game (unless it, too, becomes postponed). Boston then travels to Lake Tahoe for an outdoor game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 21st.

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Halak, Bruins shutout Rangers, 1-0

Nick Ritchie scored the only goal, while Jaroslav Halak stopped 21 shots in a, 1-0, shutout for the Boston Bruins over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.

Halak (4-0-1, 1.38 goals against, .938 save percentage in five games played) earned his 51st career shutout in the win, as well as Boston’s first shutout of the season in his first start since Feb. 1st after B’s starting goaltender, Tuukka Rask, played in the last three games.

Rask got the bulk of the workload due to additional days off thanks to a pair of games with the Buffalo Sabres having been postponed due to the league’s COVID protocol.

Rangers goaltender, Igor Shesterkin (3-4-1, 2.16 GAA, .922 SV% in nine games played) made 29 saves on 30 shots faced for a .967 SV% in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 10-1-2 (22 points) and remained 1st in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Rangers fell to 4-6-3 (11 points) overall and stuck in 6th place in the division.

The Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body) and Matt Grzelcyk (lower body) on Friday as both players were out of the lineup due to injury.

Kase’s missed 11 games this season due to an upper body injury sustained on Jan. 16th at New Jersey, while Grzelcyk returned to the lineup on Wednesday night, but re-aggravated his nagging lower body injury and was held out of Friday night’s matchup– missing his seventh game of the season in the process.

As a result, Boston head coach, Bruce Cassidy, replaced Grzelcyk with Connor Clifton on the second defensive pairing and made no other changes to his lineup from Wednesday night’s, 3-2, overtime win in New York.

Greg McKegg, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Steven Kampfer, Callum Booth, Anton Blidh and Karson Kuhlman made up Boston’s all healthy scratches and/or taxi squad members Friday night.

Brad Marchand and Mika Zibanejad had a standoff after the pregame warmup as neither player would leave the ice (both players like to be the last one off the rink for their respective teams).

Marchand lost an ensuing rock-paper-scissors battle, which left Zibanejad as the last player off about five minutes after the ice resurfacing machines had already passed them by.

Less than a minute into the opening frame, Clifton inadvertently sent the puck over the glass and drew an automatic delay of game infraction 56 seconds into the first period.

New York did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Moments later, Kaapo Kakko tripped Craig Smith and presented the Bruins with their first power play of the night at 6:02 of the first period, but Boston’s power play was also equally as powerless.

Late in first period, Brandon Carlo was penalized for interference, but the Rangers couldn’t muster anything on the power play at 17:01.

Entering the first intermission at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, the Bruins and Rangers were tied, 0-0, on the scoreboard, despite New York holding a, 10-6, advantage in shots on goal.

The Blue Shirts also held the advantage in takeaways (4-3) and hits (14-7), while the B’s led in blocked shots (5-2) and faceoff win percentage (56-44).

Both teams had three giveaways each, while the Rangers were 0/2 and the Bruins were 0/1 on the power play after one period of action.

Early in the middle frame, Charlie Coyle slashed Julien Gauthier and was sent to the sin bin as a result.

New York couldn’t convert on the resulting power play at 2:12 of the second period, however, and was quickly shorthanded themselves after their skater advantage ended when Brendan Lemieux was dealt a minor for boarding against Sean Kuraly at 4:23.

Boston couldn’t find the back of the net on the resulting power play.

Moments later, Charlie McAvoy and Jacob Trouba exchanged pleasantries and received roughing minors at 6:33 after a few quick punches were thrown.

Trouba picked up an extra roughing infraction, yielding another power play to Boston that went unfulfilled.

In the vulnerable minute after the skater advantage, however, Ritchie (5) pocketed the puck off of Shesterkin’s pad and in between the post for the game’s only goal at 9:27 of the second period.

David Krejci (10) and Jeremy Lauzon (3) tallied the assists on Ritchie’s goal and the Bruins led, 1-0.

On the ensuing faceoff, Trent Frederic and Lemieux dropped the gloves before attempting to bash each others’ faces in with their fists.

The two players received fighting majors at 9:28 and play continued at even strength, 5-on-5.

It was the fifth fight of the second for Boston and first since Chris Wagner fought Anthony Bitetto on Wednesday night in New York.

About a minute later, after a post-whistle scrum, Marchand cross checked Brett Howden, who countered with a slash on Marchand, while Kuraly was being assessed a boarding penalty on the original call.

With Marchand and Kuraly heading to the box while only one Ranger (Howden) cut a rut to the sin bin, New York went on the power play at 10:41 of the second period.

The Blue Shirts were not successful on the ensuing advantage.

Late in the period, Lauzon and Pavel Buchnevich gave it a go behind the play after Lauzon finished his hit on the Rangers forward behind Halak in New York’s attacking zone.

Buchnevich received five-minutes for fighting, while Lauzon picked up a fighting major as well as a ten-minute misconduct at 15:14.

It was the sixth fight of the season for Boston and the first since Frederic and Lemieux dropped the gloves earlier in the second period.

Through 40 minutes of action on Friday night, the Bruins led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 24-16, in shots on goal, including an, 18-6, advantage in shots on goal in the second period alone.

Boston also held the advantage in faceoff win% (56-44), while New York led in takeaways (11-5), giveaways (8-4) and hits (23-15).

Both teams had eight blocked shots aside after two periods.

The Rangers were 0/4 and the B’s were 0/3 on the power play heading into the second intermission.

Trouba was guilty of holding Anders Bjork at 1:38 of the third period and presented Boston with an early power play to kick off the action in the final frame of regulation, but the Bruins– once again– could not score on the skater advantage.

McAvoy tripped Kakko and presented the Rangers with a power play at 4:31 of the third period, but New York couldn’t fire anything past Halak on the resulting 5-on-4 advantage.

With 6:38 remaining in the game, Ryan Lindgren smacked his face along the glass on a followthrough from Lauzon landing an otherwise clean bodycheck.

Lindgren had a cut above the eye and was able to skate off on his own power, get a towel on the bench and some minor repairs before returning to the action in the closing minutes unscathed.

Rangers head coach, David Quinn, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker with 1:10 left in the game, but even despite calling a timeout and having a 6-on-4 advantage after McAvoy cleared the rubber biscuit over the glass for an automatic delay of game penalty at 18:58, New York couldn’t execute a game-tying plan.

At the final horn, Boston had won, 1-0, and earned a shutout on the road at Madison Square Garden for the first time since March 9, 2008, when Alex Auld earned a shutout in a, 1-0, shootout loss for the Bruins.

The B’s finished Friday night’s effort leading in shots on goal, 30-21, including a, 6-5, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston also maintained a lead in blocked shots (18-12) and faceoff win% (54-46), while New York capped off the night leading in giveaways (9-5) and hits (31-23).

The Rangers went 0/6 on the power play, while the Bruins were 0/4 Friday night.

The Bruins extended their winning streak to five games– earning each of them on the road in the process.

Boston improved to 3-1-0 when tied after the first period, 5-0-0 when leading after two periods and 6-0-0 when scoring the game’s first goal this season with the win.

The Bruins face the New York Islanders on the road Saturday before returning home (possibly) to face the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 18th (if it doesn’t get postponed).

New Jersey still has a lot of players in COVID protocol, so there’s no guarantee that Boston will play another home game before taking on the Philadelphia Flyers outdoors on Feb. 21st at Lake Tahoe.

And if the Flyers have too many players in COVID protocol, the Rangers are reportedly ready to make the trip to face Boston outdoors.

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NHL Nick's Net

Marchand’s OT goal lifts Bruins over Rangers, 3-2

Brad Marchand did what he does best in overtime– scored the game-winning goal– on Wednesday night as the Boston Bruins beat the New York Rangers, 3-2, at Madison Square Garden.

Boston goaltender, Tuukka Rask (6-1-1, 2.31 goals against average, .906 save percentage in eight games played) stopped 33 out of 35 shots faced for a .943 SV% in the overtime win.

Alexandar Georgiev (1-2-2, 3.21 GAA, .891 SV% in five games played) made 29 saves on 32 shots against (.906 SV%) in the overtime loss for New York.

The Bruins improved to 9-1-2 (20 points) on the season and continue to lead the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the New York Rangers fell to 4-5-3 (11 points), but surpassed the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils for 6th place in the division.

Matt Grzelcyk (lower body) and Jake DeBrusk (lower body) returned to the lineup since being injured on Jan. 28th and Jan. 26th, respectively.

Grzeclyk returned to his usual role on the left side of the second defensive pairing, while DeBrusk was placed on the third line left wing with Charlie Coyle at center and Anders Bjork on the right side.

Anton Blidh was scratched in favor of Trent Frederic on the fourth line left wing.

Meanwhile, Ondrej Kase (upper body) remained out of the lineup for the 10th time this season due to an injury sustained on Jan. 16th in New Jersey.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no other changes to his lineup.

Greg McKegg, Jack Studnicka, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Steven Kampfer, Connor Clifton, Callum Booth, Blidh and Karson Kuhlman were all healthy scratches and/or members of the taxi squad on Wednesday.

A little past the midpoint of the opening frame, Brendan Lemieux won a battle along the boards before working the puck off of Bruins forward, Sean Kuraly’s, stick and into the slot where Julien Gauthier (1) reached out to pocket the puck into the twine for his first career National Hockey League goal.

Lemieux (2) had the only assist on Gauthier’s goal and the Rangers led, 1-0, at 13:50 of the first period.

About a couple minutes later, Chris Kreider tripped up Jeremy Lauzon and presented Boston with their first power play opportunity of the night at 15:47.

The Bruins weren’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however.

After one period of play at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, New York led, 1-0, on the scoreboard, despite splitting shots on goal evenly at, 6-6.

The Rangers held the advantage in takeaways (3-2), while the Bruins had the advantage in hits (8-6) and faceoff win percentage (60-40) after 20 minutes.

Both teams had four blocked shots each and four giveaways aside while only the B’s had seen any action on the power play (0/1) entering the first intermission.

Almost midway through the middle frame, Craig Smith slashed Ryan Strome and was assessed a minor infraction, yielding a power play to New York at 8:05 of the second period.

While on the penalty kill, Chris Wagner (2) emerged on a breakaway for Boston and sent the puck under Georgiev’s glove side to tie the game, 1-1, at 9:41.

Wagner’s shorthanded goal was unassisted.

Moments later, Strome slashed Bjork and cut a rut to the penalty box at 13:30 as a result.

Boston’s power play was once again powerless, however, as the Rangers killed Strome’s minor with ease– often spending time on the penalty kill in the attacking zone.

After 40 minutes of action at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, the Bruins and Rangers were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard.

Boston held the advantage in shots on goal, 25-20, including a, 19-14, advantage in the second period alone, while also leading in faceoff win% (67-33) after two periods.

New York led in blocked shots (11-5), giveaways (11-9) and hits (16-13), while both teams had five takeaways each entering the second intermission.

The Rangers were 0/1 and the B’s were 0/2 on the power play heading into the final frame of regulation.

DeBrusk thought he scored early in the third period when he rang the crossbar on a shot that bounced at the goal line, but the rubber biscuit just didn’t cross over the goal line completely– bouncing at an angle out of the crease and resulting in a “no goal” call (even after review).

Moments later, Bjork worked the puck to DeBrusk in the trapezoid who promptly sent it back to Bjork (1) for the goal from point blank while crashing the low slot to give the Bruins their first lead of the night, 2-1.

Bjork’s goal was assisted by DeBrusk (2) and Kevan Miller (2) at 9:00 of the third period.

Less than a minute later, Wagner and Anthony Bitetto exchanged fisticuffs, yielding fighting majors to go with a high sticking minor and a roughing infraction, respectively at 9:17.

It was the fourth fight this season for Boston and the first since Clifton fought Nicolas Aube-Kubel on Feb. 5th in Philadelphia.

A couple of minutes later, Ryan Lindgren let go of a shot from the point that Lemieux possibly tipped with a high stick, but deflected the rubber biscuit off of Grzelcyk before bouncing off of Rask and landing in the crease.

Kevin Rooney (3) was in the right place at the right time to pocket the puck into the twine and tie the game, 2-2.

Lemieux (2) and Lindgren (3) notched the assists as New York evened things up at 11:22 of the third period, despite a review that confirmed the call on the ice (goal).

Less than a couple minutes later, David Krejci tripped Lemieux and was assessed a minor penalty at 13:02, but the Rangers couldn’t muster anything on the ensuing power play.

As time winded down in the third period, Rask took an excursion towards the bench mistakenly believing the score to be, 2-1, in favor of the Rangers.

After Charlie McAvoy and the rest of the Bruins bench alerted their netminder that the game was actually tied, Rask returned to his crease unscathed and with a good laugh at the next stoppage of play.

With the score tied, 2-2, after regulation, the two clubs required overtime (at least) to determine a winner, despite New York holding an advantage in shots on goal, 35-31, after 60 minutes of action– including a, 15-6, advantage in the third period alone.

The Rangers also held the advantage in blocked shots (17-9), giveaways (15-14) and hits (29-21), while the Bruins led in takeaways (7-6) and faceoff win% (68-32).

As no penalties were called in the overtime period, both sides finished 0/2 on the power play Wednesday night.

Cassidy started Patrice Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy in the overtime period, while New York head coach, David Quinn, countered with Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich and Adam Fox.

Marchand had a chance early in the overtime period to end it, but the puck just wouldn’t settle the right way as the veteran Bruin forward was tripped and instead presented a chance for the Rangers to score at the opposite end.

After Boston broke up New York’s play, Bergeron worked the puck to McAvoy who then fed Marchand with a lead pass to set Marchand (8) on a breakaway whereby No. 63 in black and gold deked and sent a shot off the left post and in behind Georgiev to win the game, 3-2.

McAvoy (10) and Bergeron (10) notched the assists on Marchand’s game-winning overtime goal 36 seconds into the extra frame as the Bruins sealed the deal on the victory.

At the final horn Boston had won, 3-2, despite finishing the night behind in shots on goal, 35-32, to the Rangers (the Bruins had a, 1-0, shot advantage in overtime alone, however).

New York wrapped up Wednesday night’s action leading in blocked shots (17-9) and hits (29-21), while the B’s finished the night leading in faceoff win% (69-31).

Both teams had 15 hits aside as the Bruins improved to 3-2 in overtime (5-2 past regulation) this season.

The Rangers, on the other hand, fell to 1-2 in overtime alone (1-3 past regulation) in 2020-21.

With the primary assist on Marchand’s game-winning goal, McAvoy extended his assist streak to eight games (1-10–11 totals in that span)– becoming the first Bruins defender to record at least an eight-game assist streak since Ray Bourque’s 10-game streak in the 1992-93 season (Bourque had 4-13–17 totals in that span).

Boston improved to 2-0-2 when trailing after the first period, 3-1-1 when tied after the second period and 4-1-2 when allowing the game’s first goal this season.

The Bruins take on the Rangers again at Madison Square Garden on Friday before venturing to Long Island to face the New York Islanders on Saturday. Boston was scheduled to return home on Feb. 15th to face the New Jersey Devils, but that game has already been postponed due to numerous Devils players being in COVID protocol.

The B’s are scheduled to return home on Feb. 18th against New Jersey before facing the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 21st outdoors at Lake Tahoe.

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NHL Nick's Net

Kuraly caps another Bruins comeback, 2-1, over Flyers

For the fourth consecutive game, the Boston Bruins mounted a comeback in the third period and for the third game in-a-row, they won– defeating the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1, on Friday night at Wells Fargo Center.

Tuukka Rask (5-1-1, 2.36 goals against average, .898 save percentage in seven games played) made 23 saves on 24 shots against for a .958 SV% in the win for Boston.

Philadelphia netminder, Brian Elliott (3-1-0, 2.20 GAA, .929 SV% in five games played) stopped 21 out of 23 shots faced for a .913 SV% in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 8-1-2 (18 points) on the season and remained in command of the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Flyers fell to 7-3-2 (16 points) on the season and stuck in 2nd place in the division.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from Wednesday night’s, 4-3, overtime win against the Flyers.

Ondrej Kase (upper body), Matt Grzelcyk (lower body) and Jake DeBrusk (lower body) remained out of the lineup for their 9th, 6th and 5th games, respectively, due to injury.

Meanwhile, Greg McKegg, Jack Studnicka, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Dan Vladar and Karson Kuhlman remained as members of the taxi squad or were healthy scratches on Friday night.

Bruins captain, Patrice Bergeron, took part in his 1,100th career National Hockey League game (all with Boston).

Early in the opening frame, Brandon Carlo was penalized for holding and yielded the first power play of the night to the Flyers at 3:26 of the first period.

Philadelphia’s initial skater advantage didn’t pan out as planned.

Moments later, Scott Laughton slashed Chris Wagner and presented Boston with their first power play of the night at 8:38.

The Bruins did not convert on the ensuing advantage.

Moments later, Connor Clifton and Nicolas Aube-Kubel exchanged fisticuffs in just the third fight of the season for Boston at 13:50.

Less than a minute later, Wagner roughed up Travis Sanheim after a stoppage in play, while Travis Konecny interfered with Wagner.

Wagner and Konecny each received minor infractions at 14:22, but Philly was gifted a 4-on-3 advantage after Charlie McAvoy caught Joel Farabee with a high stick at 14:28 of the first period.

Less than a couple minutes later, Carlo hooked Jakub Voracek and cut a rut to the sin bin at 16:03.

Nevertheless, Philadelphia’s power play was unsuccessful as the two teams entered the first intermission tied, 0-0, on the scoreboard, despite the Flyers leading in shots on goal, 7-5.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (7-4), takeaways (2-1), giveaways (2-0), hits (8-7) and faceoff win percentage (61-39) after one period of play.

The Flyers were 0/3, while the B’s were 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Late in the middle period, Farabee tripped Jakub Zboril and presented Boston with a power play at 14:16 of the second period.

Farabee got a breakaway as he exited the box after Philly killed his minor and was promptly tripped by Zboril, yielding a penalty shot at 16:25.

Rask denied Farabee’s five-hole attempt on the ensuing penalty shot attempt and the game remained tied, 0-0.

With two seconds left in the second period, Wagner received a roughing minor and gave the Flyers a power play that would extend into the final frame at 19:58 of the middle period.

Philadelphia pulled their goaltender for a 6-on-4 advantage to finish off the second period, but it was to no avail as the two clubs entered the second intermission scoreless.

Boston held the lead in shots on goal, 13-11, including an, 8-4, advantage in the second period alone.

The Bruins also held the advantage in takeaways (6-1), giveaways (8-3), hits (18-12) and faceoff win% (67-33), while the Flyers led in blocked shots (13-10).

Philadelphia was 0/4 and Boston was 0/2 on the power play after two periods.

James van Riemsdyk (6) deflected a shot from the point by Erik Gustafsson past Rask to give the Flyers a, 1-0, lead 27 seconds into the third period.

Gustafsson (6) and Claude Giroux (10) tallied the assists on van Riemsdyk’s power-play goal.

Midway through the third period, Brad Marchand (7) tapped a loose puck into the twine on a rebound after a flurry of activity and tied the game, 1-1.

David Pastrnak (3) and McAvoy (9) notched the assists on Marchand’s goal at 12:01 of the third period.

Shortly thereafter, Anders Bjork sent a pass to Sean Kuraly while the two entered zone before Kuraly (2) one-timed a shot past Elliott to make it, 2-1, Boston 27 seconds after the Bruins tied the game.

Bjork (2) and David Krejci (9) tallied the assists on Kuraly’s goal as the B’s took the lead at 12:28 of the third period.

Moments later, Craig Smith tripped Voracek and presented Philly with one more chance on the power play at 16:03, but this time the Flyers were unsuccessful on the skater advantage.

Alain Vigneault pulled Elliott for an extra attacker with 1:52 remaining and used his timeout after a stoppage with 1:29 left in the game, but Philadelphia couldn’t force overtime.

At the sound of the final horn, the Bruins had won, 2-1, despite Philadelphia finishing the night leading in shots on goal, 24-23, including a, 13-10, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston finished the night leading in blocked shots (15-14), giveaways (11-6), hits (28-22) and faceoff win% (58-42).

The Flyers finished Friday night 1/5 on the power play, while the B’s went 0/2 on the skater advantage.

The Bruins improved to 2-1-0 when tied after the first period, 2-1-1 when tied after the second period and 3-1-2 when allowing the game’s first goal this season.

Boston was scheduled to return home to face the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday and Monday (Feb. 8th), but at least four Sabres players and their head coach, Ralph Krueger, tested positive for COVID-19– rendering all Buffalo games to be postponed through Feb. 8th.

The B’s will continue on a now extended road trip until Feb. 15th, with stops in Manhattan on Feb. 10th and 12th against the New York Rangers, as well as Long Island on Feb. 13th against the New York Islanders.

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Podcasts

DTFR Podcast #218- Warning Sign

The NWHL’s Lake Placid “bubble” burst as the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, postponing the 2021 Isobel Cup Playoffs indefinitely, while the NHL faces an ongoing outbreak across the league, including at least 12 of its teams. Also the ethics of opening mail that isn’t yours is discussed after a New Jersey man received sticks intended for Washington Capitals defender, Zdeno Chara, delivered by mistake.

Subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsStitcher and/or on Spotify.

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NHL Nick's Net

Pastrnak nets hat trick in Boston’s, 4-3, OT win against Flyers

Patrice Bergeron (1-3–4 totals) scored the game-winning goal in overtime, but David Pastrnak (3-1–4) had a hat trick in the Boston Bruins’, 4-3, overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night.

Tuukka Rask (4-1-1, 2.57 goals against average, .888 save percentage in six games played) stopped 22 out of 25 shots faced (.880 SV%) en route to the overtime win for Boston.

Philadelphia goaltender, Carter Hart (4-2-2, 3.42 GAA, .898 SV% in eight games played) made 31 saves on 35 shots against in the overtime loss.

The Bruins improved to 7-1-2 (16 points) on the season and moved into 1st place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Flyers fell to 7-2-2 (16 points) and dropped to 2nd place in the division.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made two changes to his lineup from Monday night’s, 5-3, win in Washington, D.C. to Wednesday’s matchup in Philadelphia– scratching Karson Kuhlman and replacing him with Anton Blidh on the fourth line while moving Anders Bjork to the right side of Sean Kuraly on that same line.

Everything else was left intact as Ondrej Kase (upper body), Matt Grzelcyk (lower body) and Jake DeBrusk (lower body) remain out of the lineup due to injury.

Greg McKegg, Jack Studnicka, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Callum Booth and Dan Vladar all remained as healthy scratches and/or taxi squad members while Kuhlman joined the list Wednesday night as a healthy scratch.

Boston General Manager, Don Sweeney, was named as an Assistant General Manager for Team Canada at the 2022 Winter Games earlier on Wednesday.

He’ll be joined by the likes of Doug Armstrong (General Manager), Ken Holland (Associate GM), Ron Francis (Assistant GM), Roberto Luongo (Assistant GM) and Scott Salmond (Assistant GM) in Beijing, China next February.

The Bruins worked their way into the zone from the initial puck drop as Pastrnak (3) drove to the net, slipped the puck between his own legs and around Flyers defender, Shayne Ghostisbehere, before flipping the rubber biscuit off of Ivan Provorov’s stick and into the twine to give Boston the game’s first goal.

Charlie McAvoy (8) and Bergeron (7) had the assists on Pastrnak’s goal and the B’s led, 1-0, 12 seconds into the first period.

It was the only event on the event sheet in the opening frame as the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead into the first intermission, despite both teams earning eight shots on goal aside.

Boston led in takeaways (3-2), hits (14-10) and faceoff win percentage (53-47), while Philadelphia led in giveaways (7-1) through 20 minutes.

Both teams had four blocked shots each and had yet to see time on the skater advantage entering the middle frame.

Blidh was penalized for holding just past the midpoint of the second period at 10:10 and presented the Flyers with the first power play of the night.

Philadelphia’s power play was powerless, however.

Moments later, after McAvoy had his stick slashed out of his hand and was using Charlie Coyle’s– rendering Boston effectively short of a skater– Travis Sanheim setup Kevin Hayes (6) through the slot for a one-timer goal that tied the game, 1-1.

Sanheim (3) and Philippe Myers (2) tallied the assists on Hayes’ goal at 15:29 of the second period.

Nearly three minutes later, James van Riemsdyk cut a rut to the penalty box for Philly after slashing Kevan Miller at 18:25.

Boston couldn’t convert on the ensuing power play, however.

Through 40 minutes of action Wednesday night in Philadelphia, the score was tied, 1-1, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 21-19, including a, 13-11, advantage in second period shots alone.

The Bruins also held the advantage in takeaways (6-5), while the Flyers led in giveaways (8-2), hits (22-19) and faceoff win% (55-46).

Both teams had 10 blocked shots each and were 0/1 on the power play heading into the final frame of regulation.

Early in the third period, Jakub Voracek (3) gave Philly their first lead of the night, 2-1, when his teammates pounced on a costly turnover by Jakub Zboril in his own defensive zone.

Sanheim (4) and van Riemsdyk (9) notched the primary and secondary assists, respectively, on Voracek’s goal at 1:03 of the third period.

Almost midway through the third, Joel Farabee (6) received a pass from Scott Laughton and buried a one-timer while Zboril was left trying to block the passing lane with an outstretched stick on an odd-skater rush after van Riemsdyk won a battle along the boards.

Laughton (5) and van Riemsdyk (10) had the assists on Farabee’s goal and the Flyers took a, 3-1, lead at 8:41 of the third period.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel closed his hand on the puck a few minutes later and received a minor infraction at 11:55.

It didn’t take the B’s long to turn Aube-Kubel’s minor into a costly penalty.

Just 10 seconds into the power play, Pastrnak (4) rocketed his second goal of the night over Hart’s blocker side into the opposite corner of the net– bringing Boston to within one.

Bergeron (8) and Nick Ritchie (5) had the assists on Pastrnak’s power-play goal at 12:05 and the Bruins trailed, 3-2.

Jeremy Lauzon presented the Flyers with another power play after he received a holding minor at 14:17, but Boston’s penalty kill successfully killed the infraction.

Late in the period, Hayes hooked Brad Marchand at 17:59 and provided Boston with one another chance on the skater advantage, while trailing by a goal.

With 1:10 remaining in regulation, Cassidy pulled Rask for an extra attacker, but despite a couple of zone entries, the Bruins were unsuccessful through a stoppage of play with 38.4 seconds left on the clock.

Boston used their timeout to draw up a plan and in the dying seconds, the Bruins just about threw the kitchen sink at Hart before Pastrnak (5) pocket a rebound into the twine to tie the game, 3-3, with a hat trick goal.

Pastrnak’s ninth career regular season hat trick came in his 393rd career game (all with Boston)– good enough for the fourth most in Bruins franchise history behind Phil Esposito (26 in 625 games played), Cam Neely (14 in 525 GP) and Johnny Bucyk (12 in 1,436 GP).

Wednesday night also marked the fourth time that No. 88 in black and gold scored multiple goals in consecutive games in his career (Feb. 1-3, 2021, Oct. 14-17, 2019, Feb. 4-9, 2017 and Jan. 10-13 2015).

Marchand (10) and Bergeron (9) collected the helpers on Pastrnak’s power-play goal at 19:45 and the Bruins had forced overtime, but not before Laughton interfered with Kuraly at 19:52 of the third period.

That’s right, the Flyers took another penalty with 7.3 seconds left on the clock in regulation and would be going into overtime shorthanded.

At the conclusion of regulation, the score was tied, 3-3, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 33-25, including a, 12-6, advantage in the third period alone.

The Bruins led in takeaways (13-8), while the Flyers led in blocked shots (16-13), giveaways (10-5), hits (26-25) and faceoff win% (56-44) heading into the extra frame.

Philadelphia was 0/2 and Boston was 1/3 on the power play entering overtime.

Flyers head coach, Alain Vigneault, started Hayes, Provorov and Justin Braun, while Cassidy countered with Bergeron, Marchand, Pastrnak and David Krejci– four forwards on a leftover 4-on-3 skater advantage.

Just 31 seconds into the overtime period, Pastrnak fired a shot pass in Bergeron’s direction, whereby the Bruins captain redirected the puck into Hart’s pads– generating a rebound.

Bergeron (6) gathered his own garbage and buried the bouncing puck into the back of the net for the game-winning goal.

Pastrnak (2) and Krejci (6) tallied the assists on Bergeron’s goal and the Bruins won, 4-3, in overtime.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 35-25, including a, 2-0, advantage in overtime alone.

Philadelphia finished Wednesday night’s action with the advantage in blocked shots (18-13), giveaways (10-5), hits (26-25) and faceoff win% (54-46).

The Flyers wrapped up the overtime loss 0/2 on the power play, while the B’s finished 3/4 on the skater advantage in their overtime win.

Boston improved to 2-2 in overtime (4-2 past regulation) this season, while Philadelphia fell to 2-1 in overtime (2-2 past regulation) overall.

With the win in the books, Bergeron, 35, became the second oldest player in Bruins history to amass 15 or more points through the team’s first 10 games of a season, trailing Bucyk (17 points in 1972-73 at age 37) for the franchise record.

Boston also improved to 5-0-0 when leading after the first period, 1-1-1 when tied after the second period and 5-0-0 when scoring the game’s first goal this season in Wednesday’s win against Philly.

The Bruins were scheduled to wrap up their road trip (2-0-1) on Friday with another matchup against the Flyers before returning home to face the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday (Feb. 6th) and Monday (Feb. 8th). 

At least four Sabres players, however, have tested positive for COVID-19 and rendered all Buffalo games postponed through Feb. 8th, which means Boston will continue to be on the road until Feb. 15th, with stops in Manhattan on Feb. 10th and 12th against the New York Rangers, as well as Long Island on Feb. 13th against the New York Islanders.

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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins score five unanswered in, 5-3, comeback over Capitals

For the second game in a row, the Boston Bruins got themselves out of a, 3-0, deficit only this time they just kept scoring and beat the Washington Capitals, 5-3, in regulation at Capital One Arena Monday night.

David Pastrnak recorded a pair of goals and the B’s notched five unanswered– including four goals in the third period alone– en route to the victory.

Bruins goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (3-0-1, 1.72 goals against average, .923 save percentage in four games played), made 23 saves on 26 shots faced for an .885 SV% in the win.

Meanwhile, Capitals netminder, Vitek Vanecek (5-1-2, 2.94 GAA, .913 SV% in eight games played), stopped 28 out of 32 shots against for an .875 SV% in the loss.

Boston improved to 6-1-2 (14 points) on the season and remains in command of 3rd place in the MassMutual East Division, while Washington fell to 6-1-3 (15 points) overall and bounced out of their top spot for the division lead by the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Capitals are now 2nd by virtue of having one fewer regulation win than the Flyers. Washington has four this season, while Philadelphia has five.

The Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Matt Grzelcyk (lower body) and Jake DeBrusk (lower body) on Monday, while Greg McKegg, Jack Studnicka, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Callum Booth and Dan Vladar all remained as healthy scratches and/or listed on Boston’s taxi squad.

B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, juggled his right wings from Saturday night’s, 4-3, loss in overtime to the Capitals to Monday night’s action– moving Craig Smith to the David Krejci’s right side on the second line and Chris Wagner to Charlie Coyle’s right side on the third line, while demoting Karson Kuhlman to the right side of the fourth line.

Cassidy made no other adjustments to his lineup.

Almost midway into the first frame, Bruins defender, Kevan Miller, was penalized for interference, yielding the game’s first power play opportunity to the Capitals at 8:18 of the first period.

Washington did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however.

Moments later, the Capitals thought they had taken advantage of a momentum swing thanks to their successful penalty kill when it appeared that a shot from John Carlson had eyes and was redirected by Carl Hagelin into the twine behind Halak at 11:41, but Boston used their coach’s challenge on the grounds that the play entering the zone was offside.

After review, it was determined that Garnet Hathaway entered the offensive zone offside while the puck was mid-air at the blue line.

It was not in Hathaway’s immediate possession, as Miller had forced the puck to take flight on a poke check.

Had the Boston defender not gotten his stick on the puck, it’s likely the goal wouldn’t have been overturned as a result of an impressive move by the Washington forward in accordance with the new interpretation of “breaking the plane”.

Then again, who knows? What’s a catch, anyway?

Hagelin’s goal being discredited did not deter the Washington attack.

A couple minutes later, the Capitals won a faceoff in the offensive zone, worked the puck back to former Bruin defender, Zdeno Chara, and let the 6-foot-9 blue line wind up for one of his patented slap shots from the point.

Chara (2) sent a rocket low on Halak’s blocker side into the back of the net and gave the Caps the first official goal of the night at 13:26 of the first period.

Washington led, 1-0.

Hathaway (2) and Nic Dowd (2) had the assists.

It was Chara’s first goal against Boston since April 11, 2006, when he was then a member of the Ottawa Senators and scored two goals– including the game-winner– in a, 4-3, overtime victory for the Sens.

The Capitals grabbed a two-goal lead 11 seconds after Chara kicked off the night’s scoring when Daniel Sprong (2) worked his way in close and fired a shot through Halak’s five-hole.

Jakub Vrana (4) and Nick Jensen (2) tallied the assists on Sprong’s goal and Washington led, 2-0, at 13:37.

Late in the period, Jakub Zboril delivered a swift cross check to T.J. Oshie and promptly received a minor infraction at 18:23.

Washington’s power play would extend into the middle frame, but yield no change in the scoreboard.

After one period of play, the Capitals led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and, 15-8, in shots on goal.

The Caps also held the advantage in blocked shots (4-3), giveaways (4-0), hits (9-8) and faceoff win percentage (61-39).

Both teams had two takeaways aside, while Washington was 0/2 on the power play (Boston had yet to see time on the skater advantage).

Oshie kicked off the middle frame with a holding penalty against Zboril– presenting the Bruins with their first taste of power play action at 3:07 of the second period.

About a minute later, Hathaway cut a rut to the penalty box on an automatic delay of game minor for clearing the puck over the glass at 4:09.

Boston had a 5-on-3 advantage for 58 seconds, but didn’t muster anything on the scoreboard in what was a failed power play operation.

Shortly after killing off both infractions, Washington went on the power play after Jeremy Lauzon hooked Tom Wilson at 7:19.

About a minute later, Carlson and Vrana setup a give-and-go through Wagner’s legs back to Carlson (4) whereby the Capitals defender waltzed into the slot before dragging and snapping a shot over Halak’s blocker side for a power-play goal.

Vrana (5) had the only assist on Carlson’s goal as Washington took a, 3-0, lead at 8:35 of the second period.

Less than a minute later, Boston couldn’t stop their bad habits as Krejci caught Trevor van Riemsdyk without the puck and received an interference minor at 9:03.

Washington did not convert on the ensuing power play, however.

Midway through the middle frame, the Bruins won a faceoff in the offensive zone before working the puck to Brad Marchand as Pastrnak setup in the bumper position.

Marchand fed Pastrnak (1) for the one-timer goal while Patrice Bergeron screened the Washington netminder to cut the Caps’ lead to two-goals.

Marchand (7) and Brandon Carlo (1) tabbed the assists on Pastrnak’s first goal of the season as the Bruins trailed, 3-1, at 12:37 of the second period.

Dowd promptly tripped Pastrnak at 13:51 and presented the B’s with a skater advantage, but Boston’s power play was powerless on Monday– despite getting creative at one point and utilizing a special teams unit comprised of only forwards.

Through 40 minutes of action in D.C., the Capitals led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 20-17, in shots on goal, despite Boston leading in second period shots alone, 9-5.

Washington also maintained the advantage in blocked shots (10-7), takeaways (5-3) and giveaways (7-0), while Boston led in hits (17-14).

The two clubs were 50-50 in faceoff win% after two periods.

Meanwhile, the Caps were 1/4 on the power play, while Boston was 0/3 on the night on the skater advantage.

Early in the final frame, the Bruins won an attacking zone faceoff whereby Boston’s defense worked the puck to Pastrnak for a quick wraparound from the dot to the circle on Vanecek’s right side before Pastrnak (2) unloaded a shot past the Washington goalie’s low blocker side.

The Bruins trailed by one as Zboril (2) and Charlie McAvoy (7) tallied the assists on Pastrnak’s second goal of the night.

Washington barely held onto a, 3-2, lead at 6:08 of the third period with more than enough time for the inevitable comeback.

Almost midway in the third, Trent Frederic and Wilson exchanged fisticuffs at 8:49, yielding fighting majors in what was a considerably favorable tradeoff for Boston.

Sure, the Bruins first year forward would miss at least the next five minutes, but Washington’s power-forward scorer in Wilson would also be off of the ice too.

The fight was just the second of Frederic’s young National Hockey League career (with his first coming back on Jan. 29, 2019, in his NHL debut against Brandon Tanev and the Winnipeg Jets), as well as just the second fight this season for Boston (previous, Kevan Miller vs. Miles Wood on Jan. 16th in New Jersey).

At 10:02 of the third period, Alex Ovechkin slashed Nick Ritchie and presented Boston with a power play that coincided with an already surging momentum swing in the Bruins’ favor.

Though the B’s did not score on the ensuing skater advantage, Boston caught Washington in the vulnerable minute after special teams action when Smith (3) one-timed a shot past Vanecek’s blocker side.

Lauzon (2) setup Smith with the primary assist on a backhand pass through the slot, while Ritchie (4) was credited with the secondary assist as the Bruins tied it, 3-3, at 13:07 of the third period.

A little more than four minutes later, the Bruins made good on the comeback– Carlo (2) blasted a one-timer past the Capitals netminder to give the B’s their first lead of the night, 4-3.

Sean Kuraly (1) and Wagner (1) each earned their first assist of the season on Carlo’s goal at 17:23.

With 1:38 remaining in regulation, Washington head coach, Peter Laviolette, used his timeout and pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.

Though the Caps drew up plans to try to tie the game, the B’s foiled them.

Krejci setup Marchand (6) with a lead pass through the neutral zone so that No. 63 in black and gold could hit the empty net and give Boston a two-goal lead.

Krejci (7) had the only assist on Marchand’s empty net goal at 18:34 and the Bruins led, 5-3.

Washington pulled their goalie again with about 35 seconds left, but it was to no avail as the clock ticked down to the final seconds, then “zero”.

Boston sealed the deal on the, 5-3, comeback victory– scoring five unanswered goals in what was just their sixth victory after overcoming a three-goal deficit in the regular season since 1995-96.

The Bruins finished Monday night’s effort leading in shots on goal, 33-26, including a, 16-6, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston also finished the night leading in hits (27-17), while Washington wrapped up Monday’s action with the advantage in blocked shots (19-8) and giveaways (11-2).

The teams finished the night 50-50 in faceoff win%, while the B’s went 0/4 and the Caps went 1/4 on the skater advantage.

The Bruins improved to 1-0-2 when trailing after the first period, 2-0-1 when trailing after the second period and 2-1-1 when allowing the game’s first goal this season.

They also became the first team to beat Washington in regulation this season.

Boston continues their four-game road trip (1-0-1) with a pair of games in Philadelphia against the Flyers on Wednesday and Friday before returning home to face the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins rally, Ovi ends it, Caps top B’s, 4-3, in OT

The Boston Bruins came back from being down, 3-0, only for Alex Ovechkin to do what he does best and score the game-winning goal less than a minute into overtime on Saturday night at Capital One Arena– giving the Washington Capitals the, 4-3, victory in the process.

Vitek Vanecek (5-0-2, 2.78 goals against average, .918 save percentage in seven games played) made 40 saves on 43 shots against for a .930 SV% in the win for the Capitals.

Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask (3-1-1, 2.49 GAA, .890 SV% in five games played), stopped 19 out of 23 shots faced for an .826 SV% in the overtime loss.

Boston fell to 5-1-2 (12 points) overall and slipped to 3rd place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while Washington improved to 6-0-3 (15 points) and maintained their division lead.

Saturday night marked the first of eight meetings between Capitals defender, Zdeno Chara, and his most recent former team after spending 14 seasons as captain of the Bruins.

His last game against Boston was on April 11, 2006, as a member of the Ottawa Senators, in which Chara had two goals– including the game-winning goal in overtime– as the Sens beat the B’s, 4-3.

Chara had a plus-1 rating on Saturday and recorded one shot on goal, as well as one takeaway in 20:54 time on ice.

With David Pastrnak back in the lineup for the first time this season since undergoing a right hip arthroscopy and labral repair on Sept. 16th, Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy made a few adjustments to his lineup from Thursday night’s, 4-1, win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

First, Pastrnak was slotted into his usual spot on the first line right wing, while Karson Kuhlman also made his season debut in place of Jack Studnicka in the lineup and placed on the second line right wing.

Charlie Coyle was reunited with Trent Frederic and Craig Smith as his wingers on the third line, while Sean Kuraly was flanked by Anders Bjork and Chris Wagner on the fourth line.

On defense, Matt Grzelcyk remained out of the lineup with a lower body injury, so Connor Clifton suited up next to Brandon Carlo on the second pairing.

Ondrej Kase (upper body), Grzelcyk (lower body) and Jake DeBrusk (lower body) were out of the lineup due to injury, while Greg McKegg, Studnicka, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Callum Booth and Dan Vladar made up Boston’s list of scratches and/or taxi squad members on Saturday.

Late in the opening frame, Nicklas Backstrom (5) generated a turnover and broke into the attacking zone with possession before the puck had crossed the blue line (putting the new interpretation of what’s “offside” to the eye-test as the Bruins did not use a coach’s challenge) before wiring a shot past Rask.

Backstrom’s goal was unassisted and gave the Capitals a, 1-0, lead at 18:06 of the first period.

It also came after a barrage of shots by Boston that were turned aside with ease by Vanecek. Talk about a momentum swing.

Less than a minute later, Washington presented the Bruins with the first power play of the night when Richard Panik tripped Coyle at 18:45.

The Bruins did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however.

With 12.3 seconds left in the first period, Pastrnak fired a shot that deflected off of Chara’s stick and hit the Capitals defender in the face. Chara returned for the second period with a minor scratch and some signs of blood loss, but was undeterred.

After 20 minutes of action at Capital One Arena, the Caps led, 1-0, despite trailing the B’s in shots on goal, 19-7.

Washington held the advantage in just about everything else, however, including blocked shots (10-2), takeaways (4-3) and hits (12-5), while Boston led in faceoff win percentage (58-42).

Both teams had four giveaways aside, while the Bruins were 0/1 on the power play.

The Capitals had yet to see time on the skater advantage.

Early in the middle frame, Washington established a net front presence that cut down on Rask’s line of sight enabling Trevor van Riemsdyk (1) to score his first goal as a Capital with a wrist from from the point while the Bruins netminder was screened.

Brenden Dillon (4) and Backstrom (7) tallied the assists on van Riemsdyk’s goal and the Caps extended their lead to, 2-0, at 5:22 of the second period.

Moments later, David Krejci hooked Nic Dowd and cut a rut to the penalty box, yielding a power play to the Capitals for the first and only time Saturday night at 8:39.

Late in the ensuing power play, after an attacking zone faceoff, Washington zipped the puck back to the point then to Tom Wilson at the faceoff dot for a shot that ricocheted off of Panik (1) and over Rask’s blocker.

Wilson (4) and Ovechkin (5) had the assists as Washington grabbed a, 3-0, lead thanks to Panik’s power-play goal at 10:03 of the second period.

Moments later, Garnet Hathaway was penalized for interference at 16:43 and Boston had a chance to answer on the power play.

The Bruins went to work as Nick Ritchie set himself up in front of the net while Patrice Bergeron sent a shot towards the crease, where the rubber biscuit first clipped Krejci on its way by before bouncing off of Ritchie (4) and into the twine.

Krejci (6) and Bergeron (4) were credited with the assists as Ritchie’s power-play goal pulled Boston to within two goals, trialing Washington, 3-1, at 17:32 of the second period.

Heading into the second intermission, the Caps led, 3-1, on the scoreboard, but the Bruins led, 34-17, in shots on goal, including a, 15-10, advantage in the second period alone.

Boston also led in faceoff win% (53-47), while Washington held the advantage in blocked shots (16-8), giveaways (6-4) and hits (27-9).

Both teams had six takeaways each.

The Capitals were 1/1, while the Bruins were 1/2 on the skater advantage entering the final frame of regulation.

Brad Marchand (5) fired a shot over Vanecek’s blocker side from point blank early in the third period to pull the Bruins to within one.

Off of an icing, Boston won the ensuing attacking zone faceoff and worked the puck from Bergeron to Charlie McAvoy then over to Marchand for the goal to make it, 3-2, at 6:03 of the third period.

McAvoy (6) and Bergeron (5) nabbed the assists on Marchand’s goal.

Less than a minute later, Jakub Vrana caught Jeremy Lauzon with a high stick and was sent to the box at 6:43, but the Bruins couldn’t convert on the resulting power play.

Late in the period, the Capitals lost count of their skaters and had too many on the ice with possession, thus rendering an automatic delay of game infraction at 14:04.

Conor Sheary served Washington’s bench minor, but Boston couldn’t tie the game on the resulting power play.

With 1:24 remaining in regulation, Rask vacated his net for an extra attacker.

Seconds later, Boston hacked away at the puck until McAvoy (1) slipped it through Vanecek for his first of the season at 19:02 of the third period– tying the game, 3-3, in the process.

Pastrnak (1) and Bergeron (6) tallied the assists on McAvoy’s game-tying goal as the Bruins forced overtime.

At the end of regulation, the game was tied, 3-3, despite the Bruins outshooting the Capitals, 43-22, including a, 9-5, advantage in the third period alone.

Washington led in blocked shots (25-10), takeaways (11-8) and hits (38-15), while Boston held the advantage in faceoff win% (55-45).

Both teams had nine giveaways each, while the Capitals finished the night 1/1 on the power play and the Bruins went 1/4 on the skater advantage as there were no penalties called in overtime.

Peter Laviolette sent out Backstrom, Ovechkin and John Carlson to start in overtime, while Cassidy matched with Krejci, Pastrnak and McAvoy.

The puck hadn’t even been on the ice for 30 seconds in overtime before Ovechkin (2) skated from his own end on a drop pass from Backstrom to the attacking end and ripped a shot over Rask’s blocker side from just after the blue line to win the game for Washington.

Backstrom (8) and Carlson (7) notched the assists on Ovechkin’s game-winning goal 28 seconds into the overtime period as the Capitals sealed the deal on the, 4-3, victory.

Boston never had possession in overtime prior to what was the 24th career regular season overtime game-winning goal for Ovechkin.

The Bruins finished the night leading in shots on goal, 43-23, despite trailing Washington in shots in overtime alone, 1-0.

Washington finished the night leading in blocked shots (26-10) and hits (38-15), while Boston led in faceoff win% (55-45).

Both teams finished Saturday night’s effort with nine giveaways aside.

The Capitals improved to 1-1 in overtime this season (2-3 overall past regulation), while the Bruins fell to 1-2 in overtime this season (3-2 past regulation).

Boston also fell to 0-0-2 when trailing after the first period, 1-0-1 when trailing after the second period and 1-1-2 when allowing the game’s first goal this season.

Despite all that, the B’s have not lost a game by more than one goal this season.

The Bruins continue their four-game road trip (0-0-1) with another matchup with the Capitals on Monday (Feb. 1st) before venturing to Philadelphia for two games against the Flyers on Feb. 3rd and Feb. 5th prior to returning home to Boston on Feb. 6th against the Buffalo Sabres.