Tag Archives: Columbus Blue Jackets

Czech-mate, Krejci and Pastrnak’s overtime effort leads B’s to, 3-2, win over Rangers

David Krejci punctuated the Boston Bruins’, 3-2, victory in overtime at TD Garden over the New York Rangers on Friday afternoon with his game-winning goal a little under two minutes into the extra frame.

Jaroslav Halak (6-1-3 record, 2.35 goals against average, .930 save percentage in ten games played) stopped 26 out of 28 shots faced for a .929 SV% in the overtime win for Boston.

New York goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist (7-5-2, 3.16 GAA, .912 SV% in 16 GP), made 24 saves on 27 shots against (.889 SV%) in the overtime loss.

The Bruins improved to 18-3-5 (41 points) on the season and remain in command of their 1st place standing in the Atlantic Division, as well as the entire National Hockey League.

The B’s are also 10-0-4 at home and now on a six-game winning streak after snapping New York’s three-game winning streak in the 2019 NHL Thanksgiving Showdown.

The Rangers fell to 12-9-3 (27 points), but temporarily increased their lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets for 6th place in the Metropolitan Division, such that the Blue Jackets cannot overcome New York with a win against the Pittsburgh Penguins later Friday night.

Boston was without the services of Kevan Miller (knee), John Moore (shoulder), Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia), David Backes (upper body), Zach Senyshyn (lower body), Patrice Bergeron (lower body) and Brett Ritchie (upper body) on Friday afternoon.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made two minor changes to his lineup, replacing Brendan Gaunce as the second line center with Jack Studnicka and Steven Kampfer with Connor Clifton on the third defensive pairing.

Gaunce and Kampfer were Boston’s only healthy scratches against the Rangers.

Midway through the opening frame, Bruins forward, Sean Kuraly, tripped Rangers defender, Libor Hajek, and was charged with a minor infraction at 12:09 of the first period.

Boston killed off the penalty, but couldn’t get the puck out of their zone after Charlie Coyle blocked a shot and struggled to continue his shift.

As such, New York kept pressuring with a heavy net front presence as Halak lost his stick, which lead to Pavel Buchnevich (5) wiring a shot past the glove on the far side to give the Rangers the game’s first lead, 1-0.

Tony DeAngelo (12) and Jacob Trouba (8) notched the assists on Buchnevich’s goal at 14:14.

It was the 8th time this season that the Bruins gave up the game’s first goal at home and the 3rd consecutive game at TD Garden in doing so.

After one period in Boston, the Rangers led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 11-7, in shots on goal. New York also held the advantage in blocked shots (4-2), takeaways (4-3) and faceoff win percentage (67-33).

Meanwhile, the Bruins led in giveaways (4-1).

Both teams had five hits aside, while the Rangers were 0/1 on the power play.

Clifton kicked things off in the middle frame with a tripping infraction against Jesper Fast at 2:30 of the second period.

New York didn’t capitalize on the ensuing skater advantage.

Roughly four minute later, however, Filip Chytil (8) collected a rebound and banked the puck off Halak’s leg pads and through the Boston goaltender’s five-hole to give the Rangers a two-goal lead.

Ryan Strome (17) and Artemi Panarin (21)– who started the whole play by intercepting Danton Heinen’s failed backhand pass attempt to his defense– notched the assists on Chytil’s goal, giving New York the, 2-0, lead at 6:21.

Midway through the second period, after a goalie stoppage, a scrum ensued in front of Boston’s net, whereby Charlie McAvoy and Brendan Smith dropped the gloves at 10:51, and went square dancing with Smith landing the final blow in what just Boston’s 4th fight this season (and first since Chris Wagner fought Curtis Lazar on Nov. 21st against Buffalo).

A couple of minutes later, Matt Grzelcyk got a stick up high on Mika Zibanejad and received a two-minute minor for high sticking at 12:52.

While shorthanded, Kuraly cross checked Adam Fox at 13:51, leaving the Rangers with a 5-on-3 power play for 1:02 before resuming an abbreviated 5-on-4 skater advantage.

Despite using timeout to draw up a plan that he hoped would work, Rangers head coach, David Quinn was once more let down by New York as his team struggled on the power play and the Bruins managed to kill off the minor infractions with ease.

Late in the period, Kuraly (2) redeemed himself with Boston’s first goal of the afternoon with a redirection of Jake DeBrusk’s shot from the point while the B’s winger circled the puck in the zone.

DeBrusk (5) and Brandon Carlo (7) had the assist on Kuraly’s goal at 18:28 and the Bruins cut New York’s lead in half, 2-1.

Heading into the second intermission, the Rangers were still leading on the scoreboard, 2-1, and in shots on goal, 22-15.

New York held an, 11-8, advantage in shots on net in the middle frame alone, while the Rangers also led in blocked shots (5-3), giveaways (9-6) and faceoff win% (63-38) through 40 minutes of play.

Boston led in takeaways (8-5) and hits (14-11) entering the third period, while the Rangers were 0/4 on the power play and the Bruins had yet to see time on the skater advantage.

After blocking a shot early in the second period, then playing a limited time on ice for the remainder, Coyle resumed his regular duties in the third period.

Likewise, Brad Marchand caught an elbow from Trouba late in the middle frame, took an early shift in the third period, was sent to the quiet room by a concussion spotter and returned to action almost midway in the final frame of regulation.

Meanwhile, early in the third period, David Pastrnak (24) rocketed another trademark one-timer through Lundqvist’s legs and into the twine– tying the game, 2-2, at 4:27 of the third.

Krejci (14) and DeBrusk (6) had the assists on Pastrnak’s 24th goal in 26 games this season, meanwhile Torey Krug had initially setup the play with a stretch pass to Pastrnak– leading the Czech forward on a breakaway that was broken up, but did not stop No. 88 in black-and-gold from scoring seconds later when DeBrusk dug the puck out from the corner to Krejci to Pastrnak for the goal.

Midway through the final frame of regulation, Smith hooked Krejci and was sent to the penalty box at 10:35, presenting the Bruins with their first and only power play of the afternoon.

Boston did not score on the skater advantage and followed up with a penalty of their own at 12:58 when Par Lindholm had his stick lifted into Smith’s face as a result of Boo Nieves’ stick lift.

Though the league instituted a new rule this season to take into account plays of this nature as perhaps not being worthy of a penalty as the end result was linked to an action of an own teammate’s doing, there was no initial call, but after review, Lindholm was sent to the box with a double minor.

New York did not score on the four-minute skater advantage.

Heading into overtime, the game was tied, 2-2, with the Rangers leading the Bruins in shots on goal, 28-26, despite Boston leading in third period shots on net alone, 11-6.

New York held the advantage in blocked shots (10-7) and giveaways (11-9), while Boston led in takeaways (9-7), hits (25-17) and faceoff win% (52-48).

As there were no penalties called in overtime, the Rangers finished Friday afternoon 0/6 on the skater advantage and the Bruins finished 0/1.

Cassidy started Coyle, Marchand and Krug in overtime for the B’s, while Quinn elected Zibanejad, Panarin and DeAngelo as his trio to kick off the extra frame.

Both teams swapped early individual chances, but neither resulted in a shot on goal.

Then, less than two minutes into overtime, Krejci sent Pastrnak into the B’s attacking zone, whereby Pastrnak toe-dragged the puck around Buchnevich– a defenseless Rangers forward skating backwards in a last ditch effort– and dropped a pass back to his fellow Czech teammate (Krejci) for the top-shelf goal while Lundqvist dove in desperation behind the play.

Krejci (5) scored the game-winning goal in overtime at 1:40, while Pastrnak (17) and Halak (1) picked up assists.

Boston sealed the deal on a, 3-2, comeback overtime win against the Rangers.

New York finished the afternoon leading in shots on goal, 28-27, despite Boston being the only team to record a shot on net (one– the game-winning one) in overtime.

The Rangers also finished the game leading in blocked shots (10-7) and giveaways (11-9), while the Bruins finished Friday’s effort leading in hits (26-17) and faceoff win% (51-49).

Boston improved to 2-1 in overtime this season, while New York fell to 2-2.

The B’s also improved to 3-2-2 when trailing after two periods in a game this season.

Boston debuted their new third jerseys against the Rangers on Friday and finished the month of November with the start of a five-game homestand (1-0-0) that continues this Sunday (Dec. 1st) against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Bruins then host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday (Dec. 3rd) and the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday (Dec. 5th) before finishing off their homestand with a game against the Colorado Avalanche next Saturday (Dec. 7th).

The B’s then begin a four-game road trip thereafter.

DTFR Podcast #180- Turning Over A New Leaf

The Toronto Maple Leafs finally did the thing! Congrats to the 2019 Hockey Hall of Fame Class and taking a look at who might join them in 2020.

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DTFR Podcast #179- Short and Sweet Power Rankings

This week’s DTFR Power Rankings are here! A quick look at the standings and a few tidbits of news from the week.

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DTFR Podcast #178- Another Day, Another Dollar

Zdeno Chara surpassed 1,500 career games, Claude Julien reached 1,200 games behind the bench, the Toronto Maple Leafs are facing injuries and backup goaltender struggles, Taylor Hall reportedly won’t sign an extension with the New Jersey Devils, the 2019 NHL Global Series happened and the 2020 NHL Global Series was announced.

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DTFR Podcast #177- And A Dollar Short

2020 Winter Classic sweater reviews, a standings update and Top-10 NHL power rankings.

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DTFR Podcast #176- A Day Late

The new format of the DTFR Podcast is introduced as Dustin Byfuglien is out for an extended period of time, Louis Domingue was traded, Scott Sabourin suffered a scary injury and the New York Islanders are on a nine-game winning streak.

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2019-20 League Forecast Entering November

For the first time this season, the calendar is flipped to a new month– and with a new month comes new expectations.

All 31 National Hockey League teams are starting to find a rhythm– for better or worse– and it’s time to acknowledge the general trends of what to expect based on what’s already happened for the first 1/8th of the season (approximately).

American Thanksgiving is still around the corner, which means that any team in a playoff position by Nov. 28th is more likely to qualify for the playoffs by April 4th.

There’s enough time between now and then for a lot to change.

As always, that means it’s time for a new forecast based on what we’ve seen so far and what we may see in the future.

In other words, here’s an educated guess based on a formulaic approach thanks to the wonderful world of spreadsheets.

This isn’t an exact science. It takes into account everything from the last few seasons, as well as every little detail through the end of Oct. 31, 2019.

Anything can happen. It’s a long road to April.

Projected Standings After One Month

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

  1. p-Boston Bruins, 110 points (12 games played entering November 1st)
  2. x-Tampa Bay Lightning, 106 points (12 GP)
  3. x-Montreal Canadiens, 92 points (13 GP)
  4. Florida Panthers, 91 points (13 GP)
  5. Toronto Maple Leafs, 91 points (14 GP)
  6. Buffalo Sabres, 82 points (13 GP)
  7. Detroit Red Wings, 79 points (13 GP)
  8. Ottawa Senators, 74 points (11 GP)

The Boston Bruins are off to a hot start thanks to Tuukka Rask’s stellar goaltending (6-0-1 record, 1.42 goals against average, .951 save percentage in seven games played) and David Pastrnak’s hot stick (12-12–24 totals in 12 games played).

Bruce Cassidy’s leadership behind the bench has steered the B’s away from a Stanley Cup Final appearance hangover and towards another playoff berth for what would be the fourth year in-a-row.

Meanwhile, after a slow start to their season, Jon Cooper and the Tampa Bay Lightning casually waltz into home ice advantage in at least the First Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and Claude Julien re-enters the postseason frame with the Montreal Canadiens as if it’s 2004 again (granted, Julien and the Habs made it in 2017, but only after Julien replaced Michel Therrien as head coach for the second time).

Joel Quenneville’s first season as head coach of the Florida Panthers led to an improvement, but not quite enough to get them back into the postseason, while another Stanely Cup winning coach took his team in a different direction.

That coach is Mike Babcock and that team is the Toronto Maple Leafs, who trudged through the middle of the road all season and ended up just outside of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference (unless Kyle Dubas and Brendan Shanahan decide to stray from the “Shanaplan”).

Though the Buffalo Sabres are hot right now, it seems history repeats itself. Buffalo’s great October, November and/or December wasn’t enough to sustain themselves through the winer months of January, February and March, but overall the team improved and should be a playoff contender next season.

At least the Sabres aren’t the Detroit Red Wings (still a few years away from being a contender) or the Ottawa Senators (they say they’ll spend money in 2021, but…).

Metropolitan Division

  1. y-Washington Capitals, 110 points (14 GP)
  2. x-Pittsburgh Penguins, 102 points (13 GP)
  3. x-New York Islanders, 95 points (11 GP)
  4. wc1-Carolina Hurricanes, 92 points (12 GP)
  5. wc2-Columbus Blue Jackets, 91 points (12 GP)
  6. Philadelphia Flyers, 89 points (11 GP)
  7. New York Rangers, 87 points (10 GP)
  8. New Jersey Devils, 81 points (10 GP)

Alex Ovechkin continues his annual quest for the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy and likely succeeds unless Pastrnak has anything to say about it.

In the meantime, the Washington Capitals continue to take home the regular season crown in the Metropolitan Division because somehow they always seem to do that no matter the postseason outcome.

The Pittsburgh Penguins avoid major missteps without Evgeni Malkin in the lineup for most of October due to injury and turned things on for the duration of the second half of the season as they always do, yielding 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division.

Barry Trotz’s leadership with the New York Islanders has keep things tight-knit and playoff bound, but unless every 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff home game for the Isles is played at NYCB Live/Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, then it’s not worth it.

Rod Brind’Amour is the best coach for the Carolina Hurricanes and he continues to climb the ranks of “best head coaches in franchise history” with another wild card appearance, at least, and what should be yet another thrilling playoff run for the Canes.

Meanwhile, somehow the Columbus Blue Jackets pieced together enough wins to snag the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference before bowing out in the First Round due to a lack of depth.

Finally, the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils are all near the bottom of the division, but only with a few points spread between them– meaning that anything after 1st or 2nd place in the division is realistically up for grabs as long as a team goes on a perfectly timed run.

Western Conference

Central Division

  1. z-Nashville Predators, 104 points (13 GP)
  2. x-St. Louis Blues, 101 points (13 GP)
  3. x-Winnipeg Jets, 93 points (13 GP)
  4. wc1-Colorado Avalanche, 92 points (12 GP)
  5. Chicago Blackhawks, 87 points (11 GP)
  6. Dallas Stars, 86 points (14 GP)
  7. Minnesota Wild, 85 points (13 GP)

In the Western Conference, the Nashville Predators are going to pounce on the competition as the leaders of the West in the regular season. The only trouble is, they still might blow it in the last second of overtime or something.

The defending champion St. Louis Blues are content to finish 2nd in the Central Division, but remain hungry in their quest for another Cup.

After a slow start to the season, Paul Maurice and the Winnipeg Jets somehow right the ship and earned themselves the last divisional spot in the Central Division.

But the Colorado Avalanche hold a wild card spot in the latest forecast as the real wild card of the entire Western Conference. Injuries could hold them back in the regular season, but they’ve shown they can make noise in the playoffs last spring.

Otherwise, if the Avs can stay healthy for longer periods of time, then Colorado could climb in the standings.

Finally, the Chicago Blackhawks are still trending in the wrong direction– facing the existential crisis of holding onto the old guard or continuing to dismantle their Cup-winning core– while the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild compete for the worst of the former and/or current Minnesota franchises this season.

Spoiler alert, it’s the Wild.

Pacific Division

  1. y-Vegas Golden Knights, 101 points (14 GP)
  2. x-Anaheim Ducks, 96 points (14 GP)
  3. x-San Jose Sharks, 92 points (13 GP)
  4. wc2-Calgary Flames, 91 points (15 GP)
  5. Vancouver Canucks, 89 points (12 GP)
  6. Edmonton Oilers, 84 points (14 GP)
  7. Arizona Coyotes, 82 points (12 GP)
  8. Los Angeles Kings, 82 points (13 GP)

Nothing is going how things were expected to go in the Pacific Division and as a result, there’s still no conclusive results.

The Vegas Golden Knights are good and could likely win the Pacific Division regular season title, but the Anaheim Ducks aren’t bowing out of playoff contention just yet.

Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks are as bad as the Los Angeles Kings, so this forecast will be further fine-tuned next month as the Sharks continue to slip from dominant to dormant in the standings.

The Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers all might take a stab at playoff contention, yet the Arizona Coyotes are on the rise.

At the very least, this is the most unpredictable division in the league that not even our current forecast can make any definitive claims.

Check back next month for further separation in the spread, as well as a more realistic view of where each team should likely land within the range of standings.

DTFR Podcast #174- Coaching Conundrums

Some firsts, 100s, broken fingers and pointing fingers– who should be concerned about their job security behind the bench? Plus Cap’n and Pete are back.

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DTFR Podcast #173- Rage Against The Other Team

The Philadelphia Flyers are all the rage these days, the Carolina Hurricanes are still causing a storm, what’s bedeviling the New Jersey Devils and, uh, is Sergei Bobrovsky still good?

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San Jose Sharks 2019-20 Season Preview

San Jose Sharks

46-27-9, 101 points, 2nd in the Pacific Division

Eliminated in the Western Conference Final by St. Louis

Additions: F Jonny Brodzinski, D Trevor Carrick (acquired from CAR), D Nicolas Meloche (acquired from COL), D Dalton Prout

Subtractions: F Joonas Donskoi (signed with COL), F Micheal Haley (signed to a PTO with NYR), F Jonathon Martin (signed with Tucson, AHL), F Gustav Nyquist (signed with CBJ), F Joe Pavelski (signed with DAL), F Francis Perron (traded to VAN), F Tom Pyatt (SHL), F Alex Schoenborn (signed with Orlando, ECHL), D Justin Braun (traded to PHI), D Michael Brodzinski (signed with Belleville, AHL), D Cody Donaghey (signed with Orlando, ECHL), D Cavan Fitzgerald (signed with Charlotte, AHL), D Joakim Ryan (signed with LAK), D Kyle Wood (re-signed, then traded to CAR), G Antoine Bibeau (traded to COL)

Still Unsigned: F Rourke Chartier, F Tim Clifton

Re-signed: F Kevin Labanc, F Maxim Letunov, F Timo Meier, F Antti Suomela, F Joe Thornton, D Nick DeSimone, D Tim Heed

Offseason Analysis: After making it back to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2016, the San Jose Sharks were looking to capitalize on their momentum from their miraculous comeback against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 7 of their First Round matchup.

Unfortunately for the Sharks, sometimes injuries pile up and get in the way of forward progress.

Though they lost to the St. Louis Blues in six games in the Western Conference Final, the mere fact San Jose made it that far after nearly blowing it against Vegas is impressive– especially considering how close of a series their Second Round matchup with the Colorado Avalanche was, which also went seven games.

Whether they were exhausted from multiple overtimes, one long series after another, the Sharks found themselves with a longer than anticipated offseason to rest and recover.

In the meantime, General Manager, Doug Wilson, had his work cut out for him.

Wilson signed Erik Karlsson to an eight-year, $92 million extension worth $11.500 million per season, making Karlsson the highest paid defender in the league.

The Sharks GM also managed to re-sign 22-year-old star in the making, Timo Meier, to a four-year contract worth $6.000 million per season. By the end of the deal, Meier will still have one year of restricted free agency left, which really speaks to the fact that it’s a great– team friendly– extension at an affordable price with the future in mind.

Last season, Meier had 30-36–66 totals in 78 games. He had 21 goals and 15 assists (36 points) in his first full season (81 games played) in 2017-18.

But the cost of re-signing key pieces of San Jose’s core comes with a price– losing depth.

First, Joe Pavelski priced himself out of the Sharks, in part, thanks to his consistent scoring and 38 goals last season at 35-years-old, as well as San Jose’s cap crunch thanks to Karlsson’s pay raise.

Pavelski signed a three-year deal with the Dallas Stars worth $7.000 million per season, but it’s not about the money for San Jose (even though it was)– it’s about having to make up for a 38-goal deficit heading into this season.

Second, to get themselves squared away with the salary cap, Wilson had to move one of his durable top-four defenders via a trade, sending Justin Braun to the Philadelphia Flyers on June 18th for a 2019 2nd round pick and a 2020 3rd round pick.

Trading Braun left Wilson with no choice but to sign Dalton Prout as a cheap replacement and to perform this season’s Micheal Haley duties. Haley, himself, signed a PTO with the New York Rangers in hopes of filling New York’s Cody McLeod/Tanner Glass role opening.

On the plus side, the Sharks will be able to replenish their pool of prospects with the transaction. On the other hand, Braun was a versatile component when others (like Karlsson) were injured.

Even with the additional $3.800 million addition in cap space, San Jose was not able to convince Joonas Donskoi to stay in town, regardless of whether or not Wilson had any plans for the top-nine forward.

Instead, Donskoi joined the Colorado Avalanche on a four-year deal worth $3.900 million per season– providing both job security and a chance to win the Cup, since the Avs are on the rise.

Sharks fans were hoping to see a reunion of Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton back on the same team, but Wilson guaranteed Marleau wouldn’t be signed as long as Thornton was back for his 22nd season in the National Hockey League.

The good news? “Jumbo Joe” isn’t going anywhere– take that Father Time!

The bad news? Marleau isn’t going anywhere in free agency (yet) either.

It’s a good move for the Sharks though, as their younger players did exactly what Wilson explained– they played better and worked their way up the lineup to where Marleau had been prior to his departure to join the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 2, 2017.

San Jose has something special in Meier, Kevin Labanc, Barclay Goodrow and even Dylan Gambrell, meanwhile Logan Couture was named captain in wake of Pavelski’s departure– fully cementing the Logan Couture Era legacy in Sharks history.

Head coach, Peter DeBoer, will have a lot of leadership in the dressing room to rely on with Couture as captain and Karlsson, Thornton, Tomas Hertl and Brent Burns serving as alternate captains throughout the season.

Offseason Grade: C-

Considering Karlsson’s cap hit, it would’ve been a “D+” if it weren’t for the redeeming qualities of Meier’s contract. Other than that, the Sharks are destined to be a divisional berth in the Pacific Division as recent history has dictated, but they don’t seem to have what it takes on paper to be leapfrogging over the competition.

Oh, and there’s the near 3.00 goals against average of both Martin Jones and Aaron Dell to consider from last season. That’s terrible for a team with or without Karlsson and Burns on the defense.