Tag Archives: Carolina Hurricanes

Take Five: Five Takeaways From Game 3 of the 2020 Western Conference Final

For the first time in this year’s Western Conference Final, a goalie did not record a shutout. Instead, Alexander Radulov scored the game-winning goal 31 seconds into overtime to give the Dallas Stars the, 3-2, win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 3 and a 2-1 series lead.

That’s right, Dallas is two wins away from making the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2000.

The winner of Game 3 in a Conference Finals series that entered the game tied 1-1 holds an all time series record of 32-9. The Conference Final series format wasn’t introduced until 1982, if anyone’s wondering.

Now before the two teams tackle Game 4 on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET on NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS), let’s review five takeaways from Game 3 that could impact Game 4 and/or the outcome of the series (or might not have to do with anything at all).

1. Folks, we’ve got a goalie battle on our hands.

If you’ve been watching either of the two teams in the Western Conference Final throughout the 2020 postseason, you’d already know about the goaltender “controversy” with the Golden Knights, but this has nothing to do with that.

No, instead, this is about how after the first period, while the game was still tied, 0-0, Vegas had a shutout streak spanning 137:24– dating back to John Klingberg’s only goal in Game 1 of the series at 2:36 of the first period.

Robin Lehner had a personal shutout streak of 151:44 that reached further back into the vault when the Golden Knights shutout the Vancouver Canucks, 3-0, in Game 7 of their Second Round series.

Once Jamie Oleksiak scored a breakaway goal to give Dallas the, 1-0, lead at 19:43 of the second period, Lehner’s shutout streak came to an end at 171:37, which surpassed Marc-Andre Fleury’s previous franchise record for the longest postseason shutout streak of 144:04 in 2018.

After Shea Theodore scored a power-play goal to tie the game, 1-1, at 3:49 of the third period, Dallas’s shutout streak came to an end at 157:17– dating back to late in the second period after the Stars allowed three goals against and lost, 3-0, in Game 2.

NHL.com‘s David Satriano went back and checked the numbers on those stats since he was the one that tweeted them out (maybe you should give him a follow if you’re into that sort of thing).

Oh and Theodore’s goal, by the way, was his seventh of the postseason and brought him to a tie with Tampa Bay Lightning defender, Victor Hedman, for the most goals by a defender this postseason.

Theodore has 7-11–18 totals in 18 games for Vegas, while Hedman has 7-6–13 totals in 15 games for the Bolts.

2. “Sin City” or “Saint City”?

The Golden Knights displayed some good discipline in Game 3 having only given up one power play opportunity to the Stars courtesy of Max Pacioretty’s roughing minor against Klingberg at 11:33 of the first period.

Vegas only had one penalty called against them, whereas Dallas was guilty of four minor infractions.

Who are the bad boys now?

Of course, Klingberg’s penalty at 1:33 of the third period was an automatic minor for delay of game (puck over glass) and interim head coach, Rick Bowness, lost a coach’s challenge at 12:46 of the final frame (Mark Stone’s deflection goal to tie the game, 2-2) and was assessed a bench minor as a result of losing the challenge.

3. Dallas’ defense is their best offense.

Some of you might be thinking this is about to be one of those “defense wins championships” explanations, but it’s not.

Rather, Dallas’ defense is their best offense in quite the literal sense.

Oleksiak scored the game’s first goal (depth!) and Miro Heiskanen recorded his league leading 17th assist this postseason on that same goal.

Only Brian Bellows and Mike Modano had more assists for the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars franchise in one postseason. Bellows had 19 assists in the North Stars’ run to the 1991 Stanley Cup Final and Modano had 18 assists in Dallas’ run to winning the Cup in 1999.

Obviously this means one of two things– at least– that Heiskanen is really good and (two) that the Stars could very well make the 2020 Stanley Cup Final based on this trend.

In any case, Dallas’ defenders have been moving the puck out of their zone with precision and hitting the back of the twine when it matters most with some clutch performances this postseason.

4. Have you tried turning it “off” then back “on” again?

Vegas’ goaltending hasn’t looked bad so far in this series, but the rest of the team appears to have forgotten their legs at times and lacking in the “pull yourselves up by your bootstraps”/”dig deeper in the trenches” playoff mentality.

It’s not a major thing if it happens in a game or two, but the Golden Knights started to show signs of a crack in their foundation in the previous round against Vancouver and it’s not that the Stars are even exploiting it, so much as Vegas just hasn’t been playing their game.

One would expect the Golden Knights to come out a little harder and faster paced in Game 4 and especially try to capture a full 60-minute effort.

Then again, perhaps everything you just read after the fourth headline is actually a lie.

The Golden Knights had 12 shots on goal in the first period (Dallas had four), 10 shots on net in the second period (the Stars had 14) and 18 shots on goal in the third period (Dallas had four once again).

All in all, Vegas outshot the Stars, 40-23, but all it took was one shot in overtime– 31 seconds into the extra frame, I might add– by Radulov to end the game and steal the victory for the Stars.

So maybe the question “have you tried turning it ‘off’ then back ‘on’ again?” really pertains to “have you tried not hitting the goaltender and simply scoring more if you’re going to take a lot more shots a night than the other team?”

Because that’s been a bit of a problem for the Golden Knights at times this postseason and it can be frustrating as hell– not just for the players, but the fans watching at home too.

Kudos to Anton Khudobin, though, he’s on top of his game and getting a workout too.

That’s something not many of us can say in a pandemic. *nonchalantly puts down a bag of chips*

5. Have coaches become drunk with power with the “coach’s challenge” this postseason?

Bowness has made a couple of questionable decisions to use his coach’s challenge at times this postseason, but it seems more and more coach’s this year are quick to try to overrule the call on the ice.

Say what you want about the decisions made when Carolina Hurricanes head coach, Rod Brind’Amour, went unsuccessful in the coach’s challenge department in the First Round or Jon Cooper’s odd petition on behalf of the Lightning in the Second Round, but nothing compares to Alain Vigneault’s three “what are you doing!?!” quality challenges this year in the playoffs.

Maybe it’s not the head coaches who are in too deep over their heads, but the video coach that has to scramble for to rewind the feed from multiple angles and make a split-second decision on what to advise their head coach to do.

Plus, of course, the officiating in the first place.

Sure, they’re human, but they’re always bound to make mistakes as a result and– in theory– a review system would get the calls right 100 percent of the time or something, but then again one team and their fan base is never going to be happy with the end result no matter what.

If anything, that gives us all 21 or older (18/19 or older basically everywhere else in the world) another chance to sit back, grab a beer and watch the hockey unfold.

Take Five: Five takeaways from Game 1 of the 2020 Eastern Conference Final

It seems everybody’s scoring points these days as the Tampa Bay Lightning won, 8-2, in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Final matchup with the New York Islanders on Monday.

Seriously, 11 different Lightning players had at least a point in Monday night’s series opener, while Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov each had five points in the victorious effort.

Tampa carries a, 1-0, series lead heading into Game 2 on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, CBC, TVAS). Here’s five takeaways for the next game, as well as the series as a whole.

1. Can the Islanders actually contain Tampa’s offense?

Thomas Greiss allowed three goals on nine shots against in the first 10:46 of the game before being replaced by Semyon Varlamov, but that wasn’t the only reason why New York is behind, 1-0, in the series.

Neither the Columbus Blue Jackets, nor the Boston Bruins were able to limit the Lightning’s attacking zone time and possession, which was not only evident by the fact that each of their series matchups with Tampa only lasted five games– the scoreboard reflected it too.

At any point in time, the Bolts can strike fast and amass goals in bunches (as exhibited by their three goals in the first 10:46 of Monday’s game, plus the other five goals they scored afterward).

It’s that momentum swing that the Islanders (or any team that may face the Lightning if Tampa advances to the Stanley Cup Final) will have to be wary about and eliminate at all costs.

Simply put, the Lightning play with a surge in electricity.

2. Inconsistent shots for the Isles

Tampa outshot New York, 10-6, in the first period and finished the second period with an, 18-17, advantage before going on to finish the game with a, 34-24, total shots on goal advantage.

The Lightning went 58:53 without missing the net in Game 1. The only shot attempt that did not go on net for the Bolts came with 67 seconds left in the game off of Cedric Paquette’s stick blade.

Meanwhile, the Islanders– a team primarily built on a defense-first game plan– failed to record at least 30 shots on goal for the second-straight game after amassing 26 shots on net against the Philadelphia Flyers in their, 4-0, win in Game 7 of their Second Round matchup.

New York only allowed 16 shots against that night too.

In their, 5-4, double overtime loss to the Flyers in Game 6, the Islanders recorded 53 shots on goal and allowed 31 shots against.

Game 5 against Philadelphia resulted in a, 4-3, loss in overtime, while shots on goal were even at 32 aside.

The Islanders were outshot, 38-33, in Game 4, but won, 3-2. New York had a, 29-27, advantage in their, 3-1, win in Game 3, as well as a, 34-31, advantage in their, 4-3, overtime loss in Game 2.

Both teams had 29 shots on goal in New York’s, 4-0, win in Game 1 of their Second Round series with Philadelphia.

Without breaking down the quality of their shots for and shots against, a generalized remedy for the Islanders would be to get more pucks on net (duh) and prevent the Lightning from hitting the twine or whichever goaltender Barry Trotz starts in Game 2 against the Bolts.

3. Followup question, who should start in net for New York?

It’s not like Greiss had really made consecutive starts in the postseason before doing just that from Game 7 against Philadelphia on Saturday to Game 1 against Tampa Bay on Monday.

His 2-2 record in four games doesn’t really speak for his 2.02 goals against average and .929 save percentage in the 2020 postseason.

Plus he got most of the night off, so he should still be fresh enough, in theory.

Meanwhile, Varlamov’s decent 9-4 record in 15 games this postseason stands out on its own, but his goals against average is on the rise as of his last two outings to a 2.22, while his save percentage has dropped to a .913.

Still, the Islanders goaltenders have combined for three shutouts this postseason (Varlamov has two, Greiss has one), which are three more shutouts than what Andrei Vasilevskiy has so far (zero, in case that wasn’t clear).

As bad as Greiss’ .667 SV% in Game 1 sounds, Varlamov still allowed five goals against after Greiss gave up the first three in the, 8-2, loss, so Varlamov’s .800 SV% in Game 1 isn’t ideal either.

If anything, Trotz will have to adjust his matchups to curb the speed of Tampa’s rush and instruct his players on getting in passing and shooting lanes to ease the high danger workload of whichever goaltender he opts for in Game 2.

4. Just how many franchise records will Tampa…

In case you haven’t heard by now, the Lightning are good.

So good, in fact, they tied, broke and set some franchise records in Game 1, including:

— The most assists in a playoff year by a Lightning player (Kucherov had four assists in Game 1 to break Martin St. Louis’ previous mark of 15 helpers in 2004, and set the new franchise record with 16 in 2020).

— The first players in franchise history to record five points in a playoff game (Point had two goals and three assists, while Kucherov had one goal and four assists).

— Tampa’s eight goals matched their franchise record for the most goals in a playoff game (the Lightning had eight in what was also an, 8-2, win in Game 5 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Penguins).

Oh and the Bolts improved to 5-0 in their last five playoff games going back to Game 2 against Boston in the Second Round, while outscoring their opponents by a combined, 25-9, margin in the process.

Plus, Point and Kucherov are the second pair of teammates to each record five or more points in a Conference Finals game (since 1982).

Paul Coffey had one goal and five assists (six points), while Jari Kurri had three goals and two assists (five points) in Game 5 of the 1985 Clarence Campbell Conference Final with the Oilers.

5. Will the Lightning buck the trend?

In the last decade or so, the team that plays a longer Conference Final than their opponent in the Stanley Cup Final usually wins the Cup.

It happened just as recent as last year, when the Bruins swept the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2019 Eastern Conference Final and had 10 days off before the 2019 Stanley Cup Final began.

Meanwhile, the St. Louis Blues beat the San Jose Sharks in six games in the 2019 Western Conference Final and only had five days between the third and fourth round of the postseason.

The Blues, of course, won the Cup in seven games.

In terms of significant time off between one series to the next, the Edmonton Oilers had eight days off after beating the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in five games in the 2006 Western Conference Final, then lost in the 2006 Stanley Cup Final in seven games to the Hurricanes who had just come off of a seven-game series win against the Buffalo Sabres in the 2006 Eastern Conference Final.

The aforementioned Mighty Ducks had 10 days off after sweeping the Minnesota Wild in the 2003 Western Conference Final, then lost to the New Jersey Devils in the 2003 Stanley Cup Final in seven games after New Jersey had just three days off between their seven-game series win over the Ottawa Senators in the 2003 Eastern Conference Final and the Cup Final.

Obviously those few examples don’t cover the last decade, but fear not, let’s get that out of the way now…

The 2010 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks swept the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final, while the Philadelphia Flyers eliminated the Montreal Canadiens in five games in the Eastern Conference Final before losing in six games to Chicago in the Final.

O.K. that one didn’t fit the trend, but in 2011, the Vancouver Canucks ousted the Sharks in five games, while the Bruins beat the Lightning in seven games, then went on to beat Vancouver in seven games in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

In 2012, the Los Angeles Kings beat the Phoenix Coyotes in five games in the Western Conference Final, while the Devils overcame the New York Rangers in six games. Los Angeles beat New Jersey in six games to capture their first Cup in franchise history.

Wait, it happened again, didn’t it?

Well, in 2013, the Bruins swept the Pittsburgh Penguins in the East, while the Blackhawks took five games to knockout the Kings in the West, then beat Boston in six games in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. A-ha! There’s one!

In 2014, the Rangers beat Montreal in six games in the Eastern Conference Final, while the Kings defeated the Blackhawks in seven games before Los Angeles won their second Cup in three years by defeating New York in five games.

In 2015, both Tampa and Chicago went all seven games in their respective Conference Finals matchups with the Rangers and Anaheim Ducks, respectively.

Chicago won their third Cup in five years in six games over the Bolts in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, though.

In 2016, the Penguins beat the Lightning in seven games in the Eastern Conference Final, while the Sharks beat the Blues in six games in the Western Conference Final.

Pittsburgh defeated San Jose in six games in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

In 2017, the Penguins edged out the Senators in seven games in the East, while the Nashville Predators beat the Ducks in six games in the West.

Pittsburgh went back-to-back as two-time defending Cup champions with their fifth title in franchise history after defeating the Predators in six games in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.

And, of course, back in 2018, the Washington Capitals beat the Lightning in seven games in the Eastern Conference Final, while the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Winnipeg Jets in five games in the Western Conference Final.

Washington won the Cup in five games over Vegas in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.

Back in 1993, of course, the Canadiens beat the Islanders in five games in the Prince of Wales Conference Final, while Los Angeles took seven games to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Clarence Campbell Conference Final.

The Habs defeated the Kings in five games to capture the Cup in the 1993 Stanley Cup Final– what’s perhaps the most recent instance of a team amassing a week off between the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final and still winning the Cup despite all that time off.

Either that or it’s one more chance to point out that this year’s Cup will be awarded on Canadian sole, but for the 27th year in-a-row, it won’t be going to a Canadian based NHL club.

Assuming (since they won Game 1) that the Lightning go on to punch their ticket to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final in as little as four or five games and the 2020 Western Conference Final matchup between the Dallas Stars and Golden Knights goes six or seven games, then Tampa could be in trouble.

Then again, with the bubble in place and resulting lack of travel— as well as a condensed schedule due to the hopes of still having an 82-game regular season in 2020-21— the earliest the 2020 Stanley Cup Final could begin would be around Sept. 21st or 22nd, since the league already determined the Final must end by or on Oct. 4th— which would leave the Bolts with about a week off to scout their next potential opponent in person for as long as the West takes to decide their series.

For any Islanders fans that thought I forgot about them, the Edmonton Oilers had eight days off after sweeping the Minnesota North Stars in the 1984 Semifinals (the precursor to the modern Conference Finals round), while New York took down Montreal in six games and had four days off between the Semifinals and the 1984 Stanley Cup Final.

Edmonton won the series in five games in what is the Islanders’ most-recent Stanley Cup Final appearance.

DTFR Podcast #206- What’s Kapanen, My Dudes?

The DTFR Duo discuss Photoshop, Todd Reirden’s firing, Arizona Coyotes draft violations, the Kasperi Kapanen trade back to Pittsburgh and the Second Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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

2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round Preview: Eastern Conference

The turnaround from the Qualifier to the First Round was too quick to get this out of the way (other than on the podcast), but at least the league and broadcasting partners gave us all a day or two between the First and Second Round– oh.

By the time that you’ll be reading this, all four Second Round series’ will have played at least one game, while some might have already played through two games.

Fear not, though, the series winner and other basic notes entering the Second Round were written down before puck drop and before the rest of the words in this post were filled around them.

Once again, this postseason is unpredictable– and that’s besides whatever happens on the ice.

At any point in time things could be shutdown again, because– you know– of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The players, coaches, team and league staff, as well as broadcasting crews and essential arena/hotel employees have all been in the bubble for almost a month now.

There aren’t enough words to express how taxing on the mind the isolation really is, despite teammates being in the bubble together, etc.

None on the league staff or team staff will see their families, romantic partners, roommates back home, etc. until they’re either eliminated or heading home with the Stanley Cup in their arms *fingers crossed*.

Luckily, the league’s made it this far into Phase 4 with no positive tests for COVID-19 out of the thousands of tests they’ve conducted.

For one reason or another (TV broadcast deals, probably), they’ve decided to make the Second Round feature a multitude of “back-to-backs”– that’s two games in two nights, whereas normally by this point in the playoffs there’s always (except for extenuating arena availability circumstances) a day off between each game in a series.

Alas, being in two bubble cities (Edmonton and Toronto), the league can do whatever it wants.

For now, let’s focus on the Eastern Conference teams in the Second Round.

As a reminder, the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final will be held at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, if everything goes according to plan. All Eastern Conference games before then, however, will take place at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario.

Sadly, families won’t allowed to join the players in the Conference Finals and beyond as was first anticipated at the beginning of the bubble.

(1) Philadelphia Flyers (41-21-7, 89 points) vs (6) New York Islanders (35-23-10, 80 points)

Philadelphia: 69 games played, .645 points percentage, 31 regulation wins.

N.Y. Islanders: 68 games played, .588 points percentage, 24 regulation wins.

In his first season as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, Alain Vigneault led the team from finishing in fourth place in the Eastern Conference by points percentage at the stoppage to securing the top seed in the East as a result of an undefeated Round Robin performance in what can only be described as wild a ride as the year 2020 has been.

No, the Flyers haven’t had as many lows as what 2020 has brought to the world, but they’ve been on fire as of late– since February, really– so maybe the universe is collapsing only because Philadelphia has what might be their greatest chance at winning the Cup for the first time since 1975.

Oh and they have a legitimate goaltender, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

The Flyers beat the Montreal Canadiens in six games in the First Round to advance to their Second Round matchup with the New York Islanders and– as has been the trend with 2020– nobody quite knows what to expect going into this series.

Travis Konecny led Philly in scoring in the regular season with 24-37–61 totals in 66 games before the ongoing pandemic shortened the season. Sean Couturier had the second-most points with 59 in 69 games and Jakub Voracek was third on the roster in scoring with 56 points in 69 games.

Thus far in the postseason, Voracek leads the team entering the Second Round with eight points (four goals, four assists) in eight games. Kevin Hayes has 1-6–7 totals in nine games, while Scott Laughton and Couturier each have five points entering Philly’s matchup with the Islanders.

In the regular season, Carter Hart led the way in the crease with a 24-13-3 record in 43 games (40 starts), one shutout, as well as a 2.42 goals against average and a .914 save percentage in that span.

Brian Elliott forged a 16-7-4 record in 31 games (27 starts), with a 2.87 GAA, an .899 SV% and two shutouts as Philadelphia’s backup, while Alex Lyon made three appearances (two starts) and had a 3.55 GAA, as well as an .890 SV% in the process.

Entering the Second Round, Hart has a 6-2-0 record in eight games with a 1.71 GAA, a .943 SV% and two shutouts in the process, while Elliott made one start and one relief appearance (two games) for a 1-0-0 record with a 1.47 GAA and a .913 SV%.

At the other end of the ice, the New York Islanders overcame the Florida Panthers in four games (3-1) in their best of five Qualifier series, then defeated the Washington Capitals in five games (4-1) in the First Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs to line themselves up with the Flyers in the Second Round.

Mathew Barzal led the charge for the Isles with 19-41–60 totals in 68 games this season with Brock Nelson (54 points in 68 games), Anders Lee (43 points in 68 games) and Josh Bailey (43 points in 68 games) at the forefront of New York’s offense in 2019-20.

Thus far in the postseason, Bailey’s emerged as the Islanders’ points leader with 2-8–10 totals in nine games, while Anthony Beauvillier entered Game 1 against Philadelphia hot on his tail with 6-3–9 totals in nine games.

Meanwhile, Nelson and Barzal each had seven points in nine games for the third most points on the team in the 2020 postseason.

In the crease, Semyon Varlamov went 19-14-6 in 45 games (39 starts) in the regular season with a 2.62 GAA and a .914 SV%, as well as two shutouts in that span, while Thomas Greiss backed Varlamov up with a 16-9-4 record in 31 games (29 starts), a 2.74 GAA and a .913 SV%.

Varlamov has a 7-2 record in nine games entering the Second Round with one shutout, as well as a 1.67 GAA and a .934 SV% in that span.

The Flyers went 0-2-1 in the regular season against the Islanders and– despite being the hottest team since February– now have to face one of the best teams at shutting things down on a night-to-night basis.

Barry Trotz’ defensive scheme is a game plan for success with the Isles’ makeup, so the Flyers are going to have to pull them away from their go-to lanes.

Plus there’s the lack of offense to worry about for Philadelphia from their First Round matchup with the Canadiens that, if any of it is leftover for the Second Round, could spell trouble for Philly’s Cup hopes.

Meanwhile, despite Varlamov’s consistency this postseason, the Flyers have the upper hand in the crease with Hart getting into a rhythm and hitting his stride when it counts.

This is the fifth time these two clubs have met in the postseason and the Flyers hold the, 3-1, advantage in all time series meetings prior, but there’s a chance New York gets revenge on Philadelphia for the first time since 1980.

As much as New York could pull off the upset (based on seeding only and disregarding regular season head-to-head performance), the Flyers should be able to put it together and advance to their first Eastern Conference Final since 2010, by wrapping things up in six games.

Regular season outcomes:

5-3 NYI at NYCB Live/Nassau Coliseum on Oct. 27th, 4-3 F/SO NYI at Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 16th, 5-3 NYI at Barclays Center on Feb. 11th

Schedule:

8/24- Game 1 NYI @ PHI in Toronto 7 PM ET on NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS

8/26- Game 2 NYI @ PHI in Toronto 3 PM ET on NBCN, SN, TVAS

8/27- Game 3 PHI @ NYI in Toronto 7 PM ET on NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS

8/29- Game 4 PHI @ NYI in Toronto 12 PM ET on NBC, SN, TVAS

8/31- Game 5 NYI @ PHI in Toronto*

9/2- Game 6 PHI @ NYI in Toronto*

9/3- Game 7 NYI @ PHI in Toronto*

*If necessary

(2) Tampa Bay Lightning (43-21-6, 92 points) vs (4) Boston Bruins (44-14-12, 100 points)

Tampa: 70 games played, .657 points percentage, 35 regulation wins.

Boston: 70 games played, .714 points percentage, 38 regulation wins.

Despite the Boston Bruins clinching the Presidents’ Trophy with the league’s best record in the 2019-20 shortened regular season, the Tampa Bay Lightning have the higher seed thanks to a better performance in the 2020 Round Robin.

Tampa avenged their elimination from last year’s First Round in four games by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets in the five games (4-1) in the 2020 First Round, which included a 5OT victory in Game 1 and a commanding overtime win in Game 5 (that ultimately ended the series, because that’s how a best-of-seven works).

Nikita Kucherov led the Lightning in the regular season with 33-52–85 totals in 68 games played, while Steven Stamkos had the second-most points on the team (66) despite being limited to 57 games due to injury.

Brayden Point, meanwhile, had the third most points on the team in the regular season with 25-39–56 totals in 66 games.

Entering the Second Round, however, Point was in command of Tampa’s scoring leaders with 5-5–10 totals in eight games, while Kucherov had nine points in eight games and a three-way tie for the third most between Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn and Yanni Gourde had yet to be resolved as each had four points prior to Tampa’s series matchup with Boston.

Oh and nobody knows how long Stamkos will be out since having core muscle surgery in March, then leaving practice in July after supposedly recovering in the allotted six to eight weeks post operation.

In the crease, Andrei Vasilevskiy led the charge with a 35-14-3 record in 52 games played (all starts), as well as three shutouts, a 2.56 GAA and a .917 SV% in that span.

His backup, Curtis McElhinney, posted an 8-7-3 record in 18 games with a 2.89 GAA, a .906 SV% and one shutout this season.

Entering the Second Round, Vasilevskiy was 6-2 in eight games with a 1.98 GAA and a .927 SV%.

The Lightning have a lot of fire power and a defense that’s good enough to help inflate their goaltender’s win column, regardless of his status as a Vezina Trophy finalist this season– it certainly helps win some games every now and then when the rest of your teammates are limiting your workload for you.

At the other end of the ice, the Boston Bruins went winless in the Round Robin and failed to record a point in the tournament while Chris Wagner led the team in scoring with a pair of goals over the three Round Robin games.

Then they flipped the switch and beat the Carolina Hurricanes in five games (4-1) to advance to the Second Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and, well, here they are.

David Pastrnak shared the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy honors with Alex Ovechkin in 2019-20, as both players scored 48 goals before the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic cut the regular season short.

Pastrnak also led the Bruins in scoring with 48-47–95 totals in 70 games.

Brad Marchand was second on the roster with 28-59–87 totals and Patrice Bergeron completed the first line, as well as the top-three trio in scoring with 31-25–56 totals in 61 games in the regular season.

In the postseason so far, the re-emergence of David “Playoff Krech” Krejci has come to fruition as No. 46 in black-and-gold leads his teammates in playoff scoring with 3-6–9 totals in eight games entering the Second Round.

Marchand (3-4–7 totals in eight games) and Bergeron (2-4–6 totals in eight games) are second and third on the roster, respectively, in scoring prior to their series matchup with Tampa.

Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak combined efforts to take home the William M. Jennings Trophy having allowed the fewest combined goals against (174) among goaltender(s) with a minimum of 25 games played in 2019-20.

Rask finished the regular season with a Vezina Trophy finalist nomination, as well as a 26-8-6 record in 41 games (41 starts), a 2.12 GAA, a .929 SV% and five shutouts in that span.

Halak went 18-6-6 in 31 games (29 starts) and had a 2.39 GAA, a .919 SV% and three shutouts prior to the pandemic cutting the regular season short.

Prior to opting out of the rest of the 2020 postseason due to a family medical emergency involving one of his daughters, Rask had a 1-3-0 record in four games (four starts) in the bubble with a 2.57 GAA and a .904 SV% in that span.

There is no blame for being a good parent and knowing that the right thing to always do is take care of your family first– even if your team is in the middle of what could be their last chance to win a Cup with their current core group of players.

The last time the league participated in a postseason in a pandemic, several players contracted the flu and one (Montreal Canadiens star, Joe Hall) died a few days after the 1919 Stanley Cup Final was called off from pneumonia as a complication from influenza.

Have some compassion, for once.

Halak, in the meantime, enters the Second Round as Boston’s starting goaltender with a 3-1-0 record in four games (four starts), as well as a 2.29 GAA and a .912 SV% in that span.

In the regular season, the Bruins went 1-2-1 against the Lightning, while the Bolts held a 3-1-0 record against Boston in the season series (their first game back on Oct. 17th being a, 4-3, shootout victory for Tampa).

Scoring was pretty even at a, 13-10, advantage for the Lightning across all four meetings, despite the Bruins outshooting the Bolts, 139-113, in the four games combined.

The two clubs are 1-1 all time in two previous postseason meetings, where Boston eliminated Tampa in seven games in the 2011 Eastern Conference Final and the Bolts returned the favor to the Bruins in five games in the 2018 Second Round.

Two years removed from Boston’s collapsed hopes of a deep run at the hands of the Lightning, the B’s made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2019, thanks to the Blue Jackets sweeping the Lightning in the 2019 First Round, then bowing out to Boston in six games in the 2019 Second Round.

These two Atlantic Division teams are more intertwined than average fan might think and a rivalry has sprung as of, well, really since that 2011 series.

The Bruins have struggled to handle the Lightning– especially within the last few seasons, at least.

With everything in mind, it’s also important to remember just how hard it is to go all the way back to the Stanley Cup Final after making it in the previous year– let alone make it out of the First Round after having five months off due to a pandemic.

If anything, it’s not that Bruins are an “aging team”– so are the Lightning at their core with each and every passing year that Stamkos and Co. have not won a Cup ring.

If anything, it’s that the Lightning simply are Boston’s Kryptonite like how the Montreal Canadiens once were before the 21st century.

Boston might be able to win a game or two, but Tampa should really have this series taken care of in six games.

Regular season outcomes:

4-3 F/SO TBL at TD Garden on Oct. 17th, 3-2 TBL at Amalie Arena on Dec. 12th, 2-1 BOS at Amalie Arena on March 3rd, 5-3 TBL at TD Garden on March 7th

Schedule:

8/23- Game 1 BOS @ TBL in Toronto 8 PM ET on NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS

8/25- Game 2 BOS @ TBL in Toronto 7 PM ET on NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS

8/26- Game 3 TBL @ BOS in Toronto 8 PM ET on NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS

8/28- Game 4 TBL @ BOS in Toronto 7:30 PM ET on USA, CBC, SN, TVAS

8/30- Game 5 BOS @ TBL in Toronto*

9/1- Game 6 TBL @ BOS in Toronto*

9/2- Game 7 BOS @ TBL in Toronto*

*If necessary

DTFR Podcast #205- Flaming Out (feat. Jess Belmosto)

Jess Belmosto joins the show to talk about Tuukka Rask, Game 6 between the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars, First Round eliminations and more.

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

Subscribe to Garden Gals as well as Locked on Flames and read Jess’ work at Couch Guy Sports and PuckerUp Sports by clicking on any of the hyperlinks we have just provided for you.

Krejci, Bruins advance to Second Round with, 2-1, victory over Carolina in Game 5

David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron each scored power-play goals to advance the Boston Bruins to the Second Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a, 2-1, win against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 5 of their First Round matchup on Wednesday.

With the win, the B’s get to stay in the Toronto bubble and continue playing hockey at Scotiabank Arena during the COVID-19 pandemic for at least another four games.

Jaroslav Halak (3-1-0 in four games, 2.29 goals against average, .912 save percentage this postseason) made 23 saves on 24 shots against for a .958 SV% in the win for the Bruins.

Meanwhile, Hurricanes goaltender, Petr Mrazek (2-3 in five games, 2.08 GAA, .929 SV% this postseason) stopped 25 out of 27 shots faced for a .926 SV% in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 20-2 all time when leading a series 3-1.

Carolina fell to 10-5 all time when scoring first in a game when facing elimination.

David Pastrnak was a game-time decision ahead of Game 5, but took part in warmups as expected and was placed in his usual spot on the first line at right wing in place of Anders Bjork.

No other lineup changes were made by Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, for Game 5.

Andrei Svechnikov missed his second game of the series after being injured in Game 3 and remains out indefinitely for the Hurricanes.

The good news for Canes head coach, Rod Brind’Amour, however, is that Jordan Staal was still in the lineup for Game 5 after being hit and going straight down the tunnel in the third period of Game 4.

Boston’s list of scratches for Wednesday’s action included Bjork, Zach Senyshyn, Nick Ritchie, John Moore, Maxime Lagacé, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon, Trent Frederic and Karson Kuhlman.

Carolina’s list of scratches included Joel Edmunson, Jake Bean, Max McCormick, Svechnikov, Roland McKeown, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Clark Bishop, Steven Lorentz, Anton Forsberg and Alex Nedeljkovic.

At puck drop, Zdeno Chara tied Wayne Cashman for the 2nd most playoff games in a Bruins sweater (145). Ray Bourque is the franchise leader with 180 playoff games in a B’s sweater.

Bergeron (144 games) and Krejci (140) rank 4th and 5th, respectively.

Almost midway into the opening frame, Haydn Fleury (2) released a shot from the point that rang the far crossbar tucked in the net and came back out, causing everyone to be momentarily confused until the officials reviewed that the puck had, in fact, gone in and out of the twine.

Sebastian Aho (9) and Jordan Martinook (1) notched the assists on Fleury’s goal as the Hurricanes jumped out to the, 1-0, lead at 9:35 of the first period.

Moments later, the Canes were presented with the first power play of the game as Charlie McAvoy was penalized for hooking Warren Foegele at 15:15.

Carolina, however, couldn’t convert on the skater advantage as the B’s made the kill.

Entering the first intermission, Carolina led, 1-0, on the scoreboard, despite trailing Boston, 9-8, in shots on goal.

The Bruins held the advantage in blocked shots (7-4) and faceoff win percentage (57-43), while the Hurricanes led in takeaways (2-1) and hits (17-8). Both teams had two giveaways aside.

The Canes were 0/1 on the power play, while the B’s had yet to see any action on the skater advantage after 20 minutes of play.

Pastrnak hooked Justin Williams and cut a rut to the penalty box at 1:49 of the second period, but the Hurricanes weren’t able to convert on the ensuing advantage.

Midway through the middle frame, Aho hooked Bergeron on a breakaway and was sent to the sin bin at 13:47, yielding a power play to the Bruins.

Late in the advantage, Krejci (3) was in the right place at the right time for a lucky deflection turned garbage goal from the doorstep for No. 46 in black and gold– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.

Pastrnak (2) and Bergeron (4) had the assists on Krejci’s power-play goal at 15:16.

With 50 seconds remaining in the second period, Martinook roughed Ondrej Kase along the boards and crossed the line in the eyes of the officials– landing a roughing minor at 19:10 and presenting Boston with their second power play of the game.

The B’s wasted no time to convert and take their first lead of the afternoon with what became the game-winning goal from Bergeron (2) after No. 37 for Boston received the puck and twirled it from the edge of the trapezoid behind the goal line off of Mrazek and through the Carolina goaltender’s five-hole.

Pastrnak (3) and Krejci (6) collected the helpers on Bergeron’s power-play goal at 19:56 of the second period and the Bruins led, 2-1, entering the second intermission.

Through 40 minutes of play, Boston was in command, 2-1, on the scoreboard and, 22-18, in shots on goal– including a, 13-10, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

The Bruins also led in blocked shots (10-8) and giveaways (8-4), while the Hurricanes led in hits (27-20) and faceoff win% (53-47).

Both teams had five takeaways each, while the Canes were 0/2 and the B’s were 2/2 on the power play.

Foegele was guilty of a hold against Charlie Coyle 44 seconds into the third period and presented Boston with another power play, but this time the B’s wouldn’t score.

In fact, nobody scored in the final frame of regulation as both teams managed a combined 11 shots on goal in the third period alone.

Joakim Nordstrom was sent to the box for interference at 3:18, but the Bruins killed off his minor.

Later, Williams tripped Coyle and was assessed a minor infraction at 7:58 of the third period, but once more Carolina made the kill.

With 2:13 remaining in the game, Brind’Amour pulled Mrazek for an extra attacker, but with 49.9 seconds remaining in the Hurricanes’ season, Brind’Amour was drawing up plans for a last-ditch effort at tying the game and (potentially) forcing overtime after using his timeout during a stoppage.

Time ticked down and the final horn sounded as the Bruins won, 2-1, and clinched the series, 4-1, in Game 5.

Boston finished the afternoon leading in shots on goal (27-24), blocked shots (17-10) and giveaways (10-7), while Carolina wrapped up Wednesday’s effort with the advantage in hits (33-27) and faceoff win% (54-47).

The Canes finished 0/3 and the B’s finished 2/4 on the power play as Boston advanced to the Second Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs– awaiting the results of the Philadelphia Flyers vs. Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders series’.

The Bruins also improved to 2-2 in the 2020 postseason when trailing after one and 2-0 when leading after two periods. Cassidy also improved to 5-3 behind the bench in Boston when given the chance to finish a series.

DeBrusk leads B’s in, 4-3, comeback over Canes in Game 4

Jake DeBrusk had a pair of goals as the Boston Bruins scored four goals in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit and win, 4-3, in Game 4 of their 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Monday.

For the 11th time in franchise history, the Bruins rallied from a multi-goal deficit in the final period of a playoff game and won as Jaroslav Halak (2-1-0 in three games, 2.73 goals against average, .897 save percentage this postseason) made 16 saves on 19 shots (.842 SV%) in the win.

Hurricanes goaltender, James Reimer (2-1 in three games, 2.34 GAA, .934 SV% this postseason) stopped 29 out of 33 shots faced for an .879 SV% in the loss.

Once again, David Pastrnak (unfit to play) was out of the lineup for Boston ahead of Game 4 and missed his third game this postseason due to injury.

Carolina forward, Andrei Svechnikov (unfit to play), missed his first game of the series after sustaining a lower body injury in the third period of Game 3 last Saturday and is likely out for the rest of the First Round series.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from Saturday’s, 3-1, win in Game 3 to Monday night’s Game 4.

Hurricanes head coach, Rod Brind’Amour, re-inserted Jake Gardiner on the defense in place of Trevor van Riemsdyk, while Ryan Dzingel was dressed in place of Svechnikov.

Brind’Amour opted for Jordan Martinook on the left side of Sebastian Aho with Teuvo Teravainen in his usual right wing role, while Dzingel fit in on the second line with Vincent Trocheck at center and Justin Williams on the right side.

On the third line, Brind’Amour began the night with Jordan Staal at center– flanked by Warren Foegele at left wing and Brock McGinn at right wing.

Meanwhile, Nino Niederreiter, Morgan Geekie and Martin Necas comprised the fourth line for the Canes.

On defense, Jaccob Slavin was paired with Dougie Hamilton on the first pairing, Brady Skjei suited up alongside Sami Vatanen and Gardiner was flanked by Haydn Fleury.

Boston’s list of scratches for Game 4 included Zach Senyshyn, Nick Ritchie, John Moore, Maxime Lagacé, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon, Trent Frederic, Karson Kuhlman and Pastrnak.

The Canes were without the services of Joel Edmundson, Jake Bean, Max McCormick, Svechnikov, Roland McKeown, van Riemsdyk, Clark Bishop, Steven Lorentz, Anton Forsberg and Alex Nedeljkovic.

Dzingel caught Connor Clifton with a high stick and presented the B’s with the first power play opportunity of the night at 1:38 of the first period.

Boston wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however, and found themselves on the penalty kill shortly after the Hurricanes killed off Dzingel’s minor.

Jack Studnicka cut a rut to the penalty box after slashing Skjei’s stick out of his hands and gave Carolina their first power play of the night at 4:55.

The Canes did not score on the resulting advantage, however.

Almost midway through the opening frame, Williams (1) fired a shot that had eyes through bodies from both teams in front of the net and clunked its way through Halak to give the Hurricanes the game’s first lead, 1-0.

Trocheck (2) and Gardiner (1) tallied the assists on Williams’ goal at 9:17.

Carolina took the, 1-0, lead all the way into the dressing room for the first intermission as neither team found its way onto the event sheet in goals or penalties after Williams opened the scoring.

The Hurricanes led in shots on goal (7-6), takeaways (4-0), hits (15-14) and faceoff win percentage (71-29) after 20 minutes of play, while the Bruins led in blocked shots (4-2) and giveaways (5-3).

Both teams were 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Teravainen hooked Studnicka and was sent to the box at 9:31 of the second period for the middle frame’s first action on the event sheet, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the power play.

Less than a minute after Carolina killed off Teravainen’s minor infraction, Martinook (2) snapped a shot past Halak’s glove side on what otherwise looked like a preventable outcome.

Aho (8) had the only assist on Martinook’s goal as the Hurricanes extended their lead to, 2-0, at 12:08 of the second period.

Moments later, Martinook thought he had scored again when he deflected the rubber biscuit into the back of the twine, but his stick was well above the crossbar and immediately negated what would’ve been a three-goal lead for the Hurricanes.

Late in the period, Hamilton was guilty of holding Studnicka and cut a run to the sin bin for a pair of minutes that would extend into the third period at 19:37.

After 40 minutes of action Monday night, the Canes led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and shots on goal were even at 17 aside– despite Boston’s, 11-10, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

Carolina led in blocked shots (12-11), takeaways (9-2), hits (27-23) and faceoff win% (62-38) after two periods, while both teams had eight giveaways each.

The Hurricanes finished 0/1 and the Bruins went 0/3 on the power play entering the second intermission, as there were no penalties called in the third period.

Almost midway through the third period, DeBrusk chased after a puck in the offensive zone while Reimer came out of his net to also make an attempt at the loose puck in the high slot before DeBrusk (2) scored a goal while falling in avoidance from a major collision with Reimer as Fleury also bumped into his own goaltender.

Ondrej Kase (3) and Clifton (1) had the assists on DeBrusk’s first goal of the game and the Bruins cut Carolina’s lead in half, 2-1, at 7:26 of the third period.

It was the first five-on-five goal for Boston in a little more than eight periods dating back to Game 2.

With about ten minutes left in regulation, Charlie McAvoy made a huge, clean hit on Staal that forced Staal down the tunnel and out of the game.

Seconds later, Clifton (1) rocketed a one-timer from inside the faceoff dot to Reimer’s left off of a setup by Joakim Nordstrom from behind the goal line to tie the game, 2-2.

Clifton’s shot sailed over Reimer’s blocker, while Nordstrom (2) and Chris Wagner (1) notched the assists on the goal at 10:10 of the third period– marking two goals for the Bruins in a span of 1:44.

Upon giving up two quick goals like that, Brind’Amour used his timeout to ease his team’s nerves and draw up a plan to take the lead back and defender it, but nothing went according to plan for the Canes in the final frame.

Shortly after returning to play, Torey Krug sent Brad Marchand (3) in on a breakaway, whereby No. 63 in black and gold stickhandled the puck as he strolled in, made Reimer open the five-hole and slipped the rubber biscuit through the gaping five-hole to put Boston in command for the first time in the game.

Krug (3) had the only assist and the Bruins led, 3-2, at 11:40.

Less than a few minutes later, DeBrusk (3) scored his second goal of the night from point blank thanks to a great setup from Kase to make it, 4-2, for the Bruins.

Kase (4) and David Krejci (5) had the primary and secondary assists, respectively, as Boston pulled ahead by two goals at 14:17 of the third period– having scored four unanswered goals in a span of 6:51.

With about 1:37 remaining in the game, Brind’Amour pulled Reimer for an extra attacker.

Seconds later, Teravainen (3) scored on a shot that looked like it might have intended to be a pass, but broke through a screen in front of Halak and slid right through the Bruins goaltender’s five-hole on the first shot of the third period for the Canes.

Skjei (2) and Hamilton (1) had the assists on Teravainen’s goal and Carolina pulled to within one, 4-3, at 18:33.

Despite pulling their goaltender again for an extra skater with about 1:10 remaining, the Hurricanes could not force overtime.

At the final horn the Bruins had won, 4-3, and taken a, 3-1, series lead as a result.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 33-19, and had a, 16-2, advantage in the third period alone.

Meanwhile, Carolina finished the night leading in blocked shots (18-15), giveaways (14-11), hits (37-36) and faceoff win% (53-48).

Boston improved to 27-2 all time in a postseason game when Marchand scores a goal, while Clifton earned his first career multi-point playoff game.

The Bruins have the chance to eliminate the Hurricanes and advance to the Second Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs in Game 5, which is set for Wednesday afternoon with puck drop set for a little after 4 p.m. ET.

Fans in the United States can catch the game on NBCSN, NESN or FOX Sports Carolinas, while those in Canada can tune to Sportsnet (SN) or TVA Sports (TVAS) for the action.

Bruins, Halak, bounce back in Game 3 with, 3-1, win

Charlie Coyle hit a home run and had an assist in the, 3-1, Game 3 victory for the Boston Bruins over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

Yes, you read that right. Coyle had a home run. He batted the puck out of mid-air for the game’s first goal and was named the 2020 Boston Red Sox MVP.

Anyway, back to hockey, Jaroslav Halak (1-1 in two games, 2.59 goals against average and a .915 save percentage this postseason) made 29 saves on 30 shots against for a .967 SV% in the win for the B’s.

Canes goaltender, Petr Mrazek (2-2 in four games, 2.08 GAA, .930 SV% this postseason) stopped 36 out of 38 shots faced in the loss.

With the win, the Bruins take a, 2-1, series lead into Game 4 on Monday.

David Pastrnak (unfit to play) missed his second-straight game of the postseason, while Par Lindholm, Jack Studnicka and Connor Clifton made their series debuts for Boston– replacing Nick Ritchie, Karson Kuhlman and Jeremy Lauzon in the lineup.

But none of those lineup changes were the biggest story heading into Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the Bruins and Hurricanes as Boston’s regular starting goaltender, Tuukka Rask, announced he was opting out of the rest of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs to be with his family.

“I want to be with my teammates competing, but at this moment there are things more important than hockey in my life, and that is being with my family.

“I want to thank the Bruins and my teammates for their support and wish them success.”

Statement from Tuukka Rask

Entering Saturday’s game, Halak was 6-6-1 in his career vs. Carolina with a .921 SV% and a 2.61 GAA, as well as two shutouts in that span. He was the goaltender for Boston in their, 2-0, shutout against the Hurricanes on Dec. 3rd and recorded 24 saves that night.

Bruce Cassidy moved Sean Kuraly to the left side of the third line with Coyle at center and Studnicka on the right side, while inserting Lindholm in Kuraly’s usual spot as the fourth line center– flanked by Joakim Nordstrom at left wing and Chris Wagner at right wing.

On defense, Clifton went in for Lauzon as Matt Grzelcyk’s partner on the third pairing.

With Rask heading home to be with his family, Dan Vladar served as Halak’s backup on the bench.

Meanwhile, Boston’s list of scratches for Saturday’s matinee included Zach Senyshyn, Ritchie, John Moore, Maxime Lagacé, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Lauzon, Trent Frederic, Kuhlman and Pastrnak.

Just 12 seconds into the opening frame, Brad Marchand tripped Sebastian Aho and was sent to the penalty box with a minor infraction, but Carolina did not score on the ensuing power play opportunity– the first of the afternoon for either team.

Vincent Trocheck was penalized for slashing Clifton at 4:27 of the first period and presented Boston with their first skater advantage of the game, but the Bruins did not capitalize on the power play.

Late in the first period, Anders Bjork took the first of three minor penalties on the afternoon with a slashing infraction against Teuvo Teravainen at 15:28.

Once more, however, the Hurricanes weren’t able to beat Halak and Boston’s penalty kill while on the power play.

With a little over two minutes later in the first period, the Canes thought they might have scored when the an errant puck trickled off the post and appeared to have just barely crossed the goal line after Halak covered it with his glove, but there was no goal called on the ice.

After reviewing multiple camera angles for a definitive look at whether or not the puck had indeed gone in, there was “no conclusive evidence to support that [it had] completely crossed the Boston goal line before the Referee blew his whistle to stop play,” according to the League’s situation room.

The score remained tied, 0-0, while Trevor van Riemsdyk caught former teammate, Joakim Nordstrom, with a high stick and drew blood at 17:58.

The B’s had a four-minute power play as a result of van Riemsdyk’s double-minor.

Entering the first intermission, Boston and Carolina were even, 0-0, on the scoreboard, but the Hurricanes led in shots on goal (15-7), blocked shots (8-2), takeaways (4-2), giveaways (7-2) and hits (13-10).

Meanwhile, the Bruins held the advantage in the faceoff dot with a, 58-42, faceoff winning percentage through one period.

The Hurricanes were 0/2 and the B’s were 0/3 on the power play entering the middle frame.

Coyle (2) found the back of the twine 14 seconds into the second period after Marchand made the initial shot that rebounded off of Mrazek and out in the slot where Coyle batted the rubber biscuit out of the air while keeping his stick under the crossbar for the goal.

Marchand (4) and David Krejci (3) recorded the assists on Coyle’s power-play goal and the Bruins led, 1-0.

Almost midway through the middle frame, Dougie Hamilton tripped Lindholm at 8:27 and presented the B’s with another power play.

This time, however, Boston would not convert on the skater advantage.

Moments after resuming even strength, it was the Bruins who found themselves guilty of the next penalty as Bjork slashed Nino Niederreiter and took his second trip to the sin bin that afternoon at 13:03 of the second period.

Carolina’s power play came to an end without any results to show on the scoreboard and was quickly met with some additional work for the penalty killing unit as Haydn Fleury bumped into Ondrej Kase without the puck at 15:49 and was guilty of interference.

Boston’s power play once more couldn’t score, though.

With 29 seconds left before the end of the period, Lindholm cross checked Brock McGinn and was assessed a minor penalty and a free vacation for a two minutes in the penalty box officially at 19:31 of the middle frame.

Carolina’s power play would extend into the third period, but it went unsuccessful nonetheless.

Through 40 minutes of play, the Bruins led the Canes, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 27-23, in shots on goal– including a, 20-8, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

The Hurricanes led in blocked shots (14-7), takeaways (10-3) and giveaways (12-4), however, while Boston led in hits (28-24) and faceoff win% (59-42) after two periods.

Carolina was 0/4 and Boston was 1/5 on the power play heading into the final frame of Saturday’s game.

While shorthanded, Kuraly (1) redirected an intentional shot pass from Coyle past Mrazek to give Boston a two-goal lead.

Coyle (1) and Charlie McAvoy (3) notched the assists on Kuraly’s goal and the Bruins led, 2-0, at 1:16 of the third period.

Moments later, Bjork cut his third rut to the penalty box for tripping Teravainen at 5:00, and presented the Canes with yet another power play.

This time, however, proved successful for Carolina at making things interesting after Halak misplayed the puck behind his own net while trying to clear it out of his own zone and errantly lobbing an aerial pass that was intercepted by Niederreiter (1) with his glove before pocketing the puck in the empty twine.

Niederreiter’s power-play goal cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1, and was unassisted at 6:30 of the third period.

With 4:38 remaining in the game, Jaccob Slavin took a shot that Halak might have gotten a piece of before the vulcanized rubber caught referee, Kevin Pollock, and forced him out of the game.

Standby official, Trevor Hanson, entered the action, but not before Andrei Svechnikov was also tended to after a net front battle with Zdeno Chara resulted in Svechnikov toe-picking the ice with his skate and awkwardly falling before clutching around his knee.

No update was provided on Svechnikov’s injury status immediately after the game when Hurricanes head coach, Rod Brind’Amour, spoke with media members.

After a stoppage with 2:07 remaining, Brind’Amour used his timeout to rally his players and pull his goaltender for an extra attacker, but at 19:29 of the third period, Marchand (2) buried the puck in the empty net after receiving a flip pass from Krejci through the neutral zone to make it, 3-1, for Boston.

Krejci (4) had the only assist on Marchand’s empty net goal.

At the final horn, the Bruins had won, 3-1, and taken a, 2-1, series lead while finishing the afternoon with the advantage in shots on goal (39-30)– including a, 12-7, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston also finished the game leading in faceoff win%, 57-43, while Carolina finished Saturday’s effort leading in blocked shots (19-9), giveaways (13-7) and hits (35-33).

Both clubs went 1/5 on the power play in Game 3’s action.

Meanwhile, Marchand and Krejci each had two points in Saturday’s game, surpassing Cam Neely and Wayne Cashman for eight place (Marchand), as well as Patrice Bergeron (Krejci) for second place on Boston’s all-time postseason points list.

Marchand has 89 points as a Bruin, while Krejci has 109 points in a B’s sweater in their playoff careers.

Game 4 is scheduled for Monday night at 8 p.m. ET at Scotiabank Arena in the Toronto bubble. Viewers in the United States can tune to NBCSN, NESN or FOX Sports Carolinas, while those in Canada can catch the action on CBC, Sportsnet (SN) or TVA Sports (TVAS).

DTFR Podcast #204- Late For Everything!

Nick and Colby talk about what went wrong for the Toronto Maple Leafs and other teams eliminated in the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifier, as well as preview the already in progress 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round.

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

Hamilton duels as Hurricanes storm Bruins, 3-2, in Game 2

No, he didn’t throw away his shot– Dougie Hamilton scored the game-winning goal with it in the third period of Thursday’s, 3-2, victory for the Carolina Hurricanes over the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of their 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round matchup in the bubble at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

James Reimer (2-0 in two games played, 1.50 goals against average, .959 save percentage this postseason) made 33 saves on 35 shots against for a .959 SV% in the win for the Hurricanes.

Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask (1-3 in four games played, 2.58 GAA, .904 SV% this postseason) stopped 23 out of 26 shots faced (.885 SV%) in the loss.

Canes head coach, Rod Brind’Amour made a few adjustments to his lineup from Game 1 to Game 2 by replacing Jake Garidner, Joel Edmundson and Nino Niederreiter with Trevor van Riemsdyk, Sami Vatanen and Justin Williams as Williams and Vatanen made their return to the lineup after being “unfit to play” in the series opener.

B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made a couple adjustments to his lineup after the Bruins announced that David Pastrnak was “unfit to play” in Game 2 about a half-an-hour before puck drop.

As a result, Anders Bjork was moved up to the right side of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the first line, while Karson Kuhlman drew into the lineup in Bjork’s spot as the third line right wing.

After the game, Cassidy informed reporters in his media availability that Pastrnak was deemed “questionable” for Game 1 and is expected to be dealing with a short term problem.

Boston’s long list of healthy scratches on Thursday included Zach Senyshyn, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Maxime Lagace, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Jack Studnicka, Connor Clifton, Dan Vladar and Trent Frederic while Pastrnak was “unfit to play” (and therefore not a “healthy” scratch, technically speaking).

Midway through the opening frame, Jeremy Lauzon responded to a clean hit and received a minor infraction for unsportsmanlike conduct at 11:41 of the first period.

Carolina didn’t convert on their first power play of the night, however, and the Bruins made the kill on Lauzon’s minor.

Less than a minute later, Brady Skjei was sent to the penalty box for catching Ondrej Kase with a hook at 14:26.

Almost midway through their first power play of the game, Boston worked the puck to David Krejci (2) for a shot from the high slot that beat Reimer’s blocker side to give the B’s a, 1-0, lead at 15:41.

Marchand (3) and Torey Krug (2) tallied the assists on Krejci’s power-play goal.

The goal tied Krejci with Peter McNab for sixth place in Bruins franchise history among the most career playoff goals scored with 38 in his career– trailing Johnny Bucyk (40) and Bergeron (41) for fifth and fourth, respectively.

Entering the first intermission, the Bruins led the Hurricanes, 1-0, on the scoreboard, despite trialing Carolina, 7-6, in shots on goal.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (7-5) and faceoff win percentage (54-46), while the Hurricanes led in takeaways (6-0) and hits (13-12).

Both teams had three giveaways each through 20 minutes of action, while the Canes were 0/1 and the B’s were 1/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

After colliding awkwardly with Charlie McAvoy along the boards, Andrei Svechnikov had to answer to Zdeno Chara, who expressed displeasure in seeing his defensive partner get rocked.

Cooler heads (kind of) prevailed and both Svechnikov and Chara received two minute minors for roughing at 6:57 of the second period.

Almost ten minutes later, Chris Wagner elbowed Skjei and was assessed an elbowing penalty at 14:56.

It didn’t take the Hurricanes long to convert on the ensuing skater advantage as Teuvo Teravainen (2) sniped a shot past Rask’s blocker side– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.

Svechnikov (3) and Sebastian Aho (7) collected the assists on Teravainen’s power-play goal at 15:13.

No. 37 in white and red put the Canes ahead, 2-1, with their first lead of the night 1:28 after Teravainen tied it.

Carolina kept the puck in the attacking zone and worked it to Svechnikov (4) on a zig-zag passing play while he caught the rubber biscuit and released a shot from the slot over Rask’s blocker side under the crossbar.

Martin Necas (2) and van Riemsdyk (1) had the assists on Svechnikov’s goal at 16:41 of the second period.

A couple minutes later, Teravainen was penalized for interference after inadvertently colliding with Krug at 18:18.

In the dying seconds of the second period, Marchand (1) redirected a shot pass from Bergeron to knot the game up, 2-2, at 19:55.

Bergeron (3) and Krejci (2) nabbed the assists on Marchand’s power-play goal and the two teams went into the dressing room for the second intermission tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 20-17– including a, 14-10, advantage in the second period alone.

The Bruins carried the advantage in blocked shots (11-10), giveaways (12-7), hits (30-24) and faceoff win% (51-49) through 40 minutes, while the Canes held the advantage in takeaways (8-2).

Carolina was 1/2 on the skater advantage, while Boston was 2/2 on the power play entering the second intermission.

Early in the final frame, Carolina thought they scored, but Wes McCauley quickly waved it off on the grounds that there was goaltender interference as Teravainen crashed the crease and pushed Rask with his forearm– impeding on Rask’s ability to reset and attempt to make a save on the followup shot.

This did not sit well with Brind’Amour, however– fined $25,000 for criticizing the league and its officials for a lack of calls and blown calls in Game 1– he used his coach’s challenge in effort to reverse the call on the ice.

After review, the call on the ice was confirmed– no goal– and play continued, much to the dismay of Brind’Amour.

As a result of the failed challenge, Carolina was assessed a bench minor penalty for delay of game at 3:32 of the third period. Ryan Dzingel served the infraction and Boston failed to capitalize on the skater advantage.

Almost midway through the final period, Dougie Hamilton (1) blasted a one-timer from the right point over Rask’s glove on the short side and put the Hurricanes on top, 3-2.

Necas (3) had the only assist on Hamilton’s goal at 8:30 of the third period and Carolina held onto the one-goal lead for the remainder of the action.

McAvoy hooked Warren Foegele at 9:30, but the Bruins dominated the ensuing shorthanded play by keeping the puck in the attacking zone and nearly evening the score before McAvoy was free from the box and the Canes let a power play opportunity go to waste.

With 1:16 remaining in the game, Cassidy pulled Rask for an extra attacker.

After a stoppage with 42.7 seconds to go, Boston used their timeout to draw up a last (less than a) minute plan, but Carolina held on for the, 3-2, win at the final horn and evened the series, 1-1, as a result.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal (35-26)– including a, 15-9, advantage in the third period alone– as well as in giveaways (17-8), hits (43-35) and faceoff win% (57-43), while Carolina wrapped up the night with the win and the final advantage in blocked shots (18-15).

The Hurricanes went 1/3 on the power play in Thursday night’s action, while the Bruins finished 2/3 on the skater advantage.

Meanwhile, the game-winning goal for Hamilton was just the second game-winning playoff goal of his career– and his first in more than six years as his only other game-winning goal in the playoffs came with the Bruins in Game 3 of their 2014 First Round at Detroit.

The series shifts to Carolina (metaphorically speaking) for Games 3 and 4 from the bubble.

Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday at 12 p.m. ET and the two teams should have no issues waiting for ice time, as it’ll be the first game on the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule that day.

Viewers in the United States can tune in on NBC, while those in Canada can catch the game on Sportsnet or TVAS.