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Bruins force Game 7 with commanding, 5-2, victory at home

For the 29th time in franchise history (a National Hockey League leading postseason stat), the Boston Bruins are going to a Game 7 in a best-of-seven series after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-2, Thursday night at TD Garden.

Whereas recent memory conjures images of Boston’s 2019 Stanley Cup Final Game 7 loss on home ice to the visiting St. Louis Blues, this time around the Bruins will look to be a spoiler on the road in Raleigh, North Carolina and become the first wild card team since the NHL adopted its current playoff format in 2014, to usurp a division winner in their non-traditional division.

See, the B’s belong to the league’s Atlantic Division, while the Canes exist in the Metropolitan Division.

Carolina, meanwhile, will have home ice in their first Game 7 against Boston since the Hurricanes upset the Bruins in the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinal.

It will also be Carolina’s first Game 7 appearance since they beat the Washington Capitals on the road in their 2019 First Round matchup.

The last Game 7 victory on home ice for the Hurricanes was, of course, the 2006 Stanley Cup Final against the Edmonton Oilers.

Jeremy Swayman (3-1, 2.51 goals-against average, .913 save percentage in four games played) made 23 saves on 25 shots against in the win for Boston Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Hurricanes goaltender, Antti Raanta (2-2, 2.46 goals-against average, .926 save percentage in five games played), turned aside 29 out of 33 shots faced in the loss.

Once more, the Bruins were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) Thursday night, while Hampus Lindholm returned to the lineup after missing the last few games with an upper body injury.

Down 3-2 in the series entering Thursday and with Lindholm’s return to action, Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, restructured his lines and defensive pairings to a more familiar look around the trade deadline when the B’s were surging in the regular season.

Jake DeBrusk went back to the first line right wing with Patrice Bergeron at center and Brad Marchand on left wing, while David Pastrnak was reunited with Taylor Hall and Erik Haula on the second line.

Trent Frederic returned to the lineup on the third line with Charlie Coyle at center– flanked by Frederic and Craig Smith on his wings.

Meanwhile, Nick Foligno, Tomáš Nosek and Curtis Lazar returned to their usual roles on the fourth line with Chris Wagner joining the short list of healthy scratches in the press box at TD Garden for Game 6.

On defense, Lindholm and Charlie McAvoy were reunited, while Mike Reilly suited up alongside Brandon Carlo and Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton’s third pairing went unchanged.

Wagner and Matt Grzelcyk joined Jack Studnicka, Marc McLaughlin, Steven Fogarty, Troy Grosenick, Josh Brown, Joona Koppanen, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Tyler Lewington, Oskar Steen, Nick Wolff, Anton Blidh, Kyle Keyser and Jakub Lauko as Boston’s healthy scratches on Thursday.

Sebastian Aho kicked things off with a hooking infraction at 12:44 of the first period, but the Bruins couldn’t muster anything on the skater advantage.

Neither team could score, nor did either club score a goal in the opening frame, rendering it, 0-0, entering the first intermission despite Carolina holding an, 11-8, advantage in shots on goal.

Boston led in blocked shots (6-3), giveaways (4-0) and faceoff win percentage (62-39), while the Hurricanes held the advantage in hits (22-11).

Both teams had three takeaways each and had yet to see time on the power play entering the middle frame.

It didn’t take long for the B’s to jump out ahead first as Marchand (4) received a pass and entered the attacking zone along his off wing before sending a wrist shot high on the short side over Raanta’s glove and under the bar to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead 46 seconds into the second period.

Clifton (1) and Coyle (4) notched the assists as Boston scored the game’s first goal for the first time in the series.

Less than a few minutes later, however, Clifton kicked off a string of penalties for the Bruins when he was assessed a holding minor at 3:23, but Boston made the kill.

Carolina got a second chance on the power play at 9:08, however, when Frederic tripped Brett Pesce and even had 54 seconds on a 5-on-3 advantage when McAvoy cut a rut to the sin bin hooking Vincent Trocheck at 10:15 of the second period.

The Canes, however, failed to convert on the two power plays.

Haula caught Jesperi Kotkaniemi with a high stick at 13:36 of the second period and presented another power play opportunity that went by the wayside for Carolina.

At 16:58, Pesce was assessed a holding minor and yielded Boston their second power play of the night.

Late in the ensuing skater advantage, the B’s worked the puck around the zone enough before Marchand dished a pass back to Pastrnak for a shot attempt from the point that was blocked by a Hurricane before rebounding to Coyle (2) in the slot for the doorstep goal on the forehand.

Pastrnak (3) and Marchand (7) tallied the assists on Coyle’s power-play goal at 18:04 of the second period and the Bruins had a, 2-0, lead as a result.

Through 40 minutes of play, the B’s held a two-goal lead going into the second intermission and led, 19-17, in shots on goal, including an, 11-6, advantage in shots in the middle frame alone.

Boston also dominated in blocked shots (15-9), takeaways (6-3) and faceoff win% (53-47), while Carolina led in giveaways (5-4) and hits (27-21).

The Hurricanes were 0-for-4 and the Bruins were 1-for-2 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Carolina struck first in the final frame as Seth Jarvis setup Andrei Svechnikov (2) for a catch and release goal high on the short side past Swayman’s blocker to cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1.

Jarvis (2) had the only assist on Svechnikov’s first goal of the game at 3:24 of the third period.

Less than four minutes later, however, the Bruins responded and re-extended their lead to two-goals after Haula (1) redirected a shot pass into the far corner of the net behind Raanta for a, 3-1, lead at 7:08 of the third period.

McAvoy (3) had the only assist on Haula’s first goal of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Midway through the third period, Forbort (1) flung a shot from the point with eyes that may have tipped off of a Canes skaters’ stick under Raanta’s blocker side while the Carolina netminder was temporarily without a stick– having dropped it seconds prior.

Nosek (1) had the only assist on Forbort’s first goal– regular season or playoffs– since Nov. 20th and the Bruins had a, 4-1, lead as a result at 10:43.

Jaccob Slavin sent an errant puck over the glass and out of play at 12:01, but the B’s failed to capitalize on their last power play opportunity of the night.

With 4:33 remaining in the action, Hurricanes head coach, Rod Brind’Amour, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker, but it wasn’t long before Lazar (1) floated a shot from the red line into the empty twine to give Boston a, 5-1, advantage.

Foligno (1) and Nosek (2) tallied the assists on Lazar’s empty net goal at 15:43 of the third period.

Less than a minute later, Marchand was assessed a four-minute double-minor penalty for spearing Kotkaniemi while skating past the Carolina forward at 16:20.

The Hurricanes made relatively quick work of the first power play as Slavin sent the puck to Martin Nečas, who fed Svechnikov (3) for another one-timer goal– this time cutting the deficit from four goals to three.

Nečas (3) and Slavin (4) had the assists on Svechnikov’s power-play goal– his second goal of the game– at 17:30 of the third period.

The Bruins killed off the rest of Marchand’s penalty and went on to win, 5-2, at the final horn.

At the end of the night, Boston left their own ice leading in shots on goal, 34-25, including a, 15-8, advantage in the third period alone, while Carolina dominated in everything else, including blocked shots (18-12), giveaways (10-5), hits (42-34) and faceoff win% (52-48).

The Hurricanes finished the night 1-for-6 on the power play, while the Bruins went 1-for-3 on the skater advantage.

The B’s are now 13-14 all time in a Game 6 when trailing in a series 3-2 and are looking to win a best-of-seven series for just the third time in 29 instances of at one point trailing 2-0 in the series heading into Game 3.

Game 7 is back at PNC Arena in Raleigh Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. ET with the winner clinching the series 4-3 and advancing to the Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Viewers in the United States can tune to ESPN, while those in Canada can catch the action on SN360, SNE, SNW, SNP and TVAS.

Local markets can also watch the game on their corresponding regional networks if so desired.

Boston will be making their 29th appearance in a Game 7 and enters Saturday with a 15-13 record in 28 prior Game 7 efforts, having most recently lost in a Game 7 on home ice to the St. Louis Blues in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

The Bruins lead in Game 7 appearances (28) and are tied with the Montréal Canadiens for the most wins (15), as well as with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the most losses (13).

Carolina is entering their eighth appearance in a Game 7 Saturday afternoon with a 5-3 record in seven prior instances of a Game 7, having most recently beaten the Washington Capitals on the road in Game 7 of their 2019 First Round series in double overtime.

The Hurricanes last hosted a Game 7 on home ice in the 2006 Stanley Cup Final when they defeated the Edmonton Oilers to clinch the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship.

The Canes are 5-0 in a Game 7 since relocating from Hartford and previously defeated the Bruins on the road in Game 7 of their 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinal series in overtime.

Coincidentally, that game was also held on May 14th.

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Marchand notches five points in, 5-2, victory in Game 4

For the 34th time since making his postseason debut in 2011, Brad Marchand had a multi-point Stanley Cup Playoff game as he amassed 2-3–5 totals in a, 5-2, win for the Boston Bruins over the Carolina Hurricanes Sunday afternoon in Game 4 at TD Garden.

Among active players, only Tampa Bay Lightning forward, Nikita Kucherov, has more multi-point postseason games in that span with 37.

Jeremy Swayman (2-0, 2.00 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in two games played) made 24 saves on 26 shots against in the win for Boston.

Carolina netminder, Antti Raanta (1-1, 2.40 goals-against average, .928 save percentage in three games played), stopped 23 out of 27 shots faced in the loss.

As a result of Sunday’s win in Game 4, the Bruins tied the series 2-2 heading back to PNC Arena Tuesday night for Game 5.

With a five-point effort– including a pair of goals– for Marchand and three points (one goal, two assists) for Patrice Bergeron on Sunday, the Boston duo continued to climb the ranks of Bruins franchise postseason records.

Bergeron is second in club goals in Stanley Cup Playoff history with 49, while Marchand usurped Phil Esposito for sole possession of the third-most with 48.

Bergeron now has 77 postseason assists– good enough for the third-most in team history– while Marchand jumped Bobby Orr for the fourth-most with 68 to Orr’s 66.

Bergeron (126) also surpassed David Krejci (124) for the second-most postseason points in Boston’s franchise history trailing only Ray Bourque (161) for the most overall.

The B’s were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Jesper Frödén (lower body), Hampus Lindholm (upper body) and Charlie McAvoy (COVID-19 protocol) in the, 5-2, win against the Canes– prompting head coach, Bruce Cassidy, to make a few changes among his defensive pairings due to McAvoy’s late removal from the lineup.

Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo were promoted to the first pairing with Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton filling out the rest of the top-four defenders.

Mike Reilly suited up alongside Josh Brown on the third defensive pairing as a result with Trent Frederic, Anton Blidh and Kyle Keyser comprising the short list of healthy scratches for Boston in Game 4.

Reilly caught Max Domi with a high stick and presented the afternoon’s first power play to the Hurricanes as a result at 2:24 of the first period.

The Bruins made the kill on the ensuing special teams play, however.

Midway through the opening frame, Curtis Lazar was penalized for interference at 11:44, but once more Carolina failed to convert on the resulting skater advantage.

The Canes caught Boston in the vulnerable minute after special teams action, though, as Jordan Staal sent a pass to Brett Pesce (1) in the slot as the Carolina defender pinched in from the point and buried the rubber biscuit on Swayman’s five-hole.

Staal (2) and Domi (1) had the assists on Pesce’s goal and the Hurricanes jumped out to a, 1-0, lead at 14:06.

Carolina’s scored first in every game so far this series, but Boston answered back in a hurry about a couple minutes later when Bergeron (3) snuck a shot through Raanta’s five-hole from the doorstep to tie the game, 1-1, at 16:09.

David Pastrnak (2) and Marchand (4) tallied the assists on the goal as the Bruins evened things up 2:03 after Pesce’s goal.

About a minute later, Staal cut a rut to the sin bin for hooking and presented Boston with another power play at 17:25.

The B’s time on the skater advantage was cut short, however, when Taylor Hall tripped Vincent Trocheck at 17:48 of the first period resulting in 1:38 of 4-on-4 action before an abbreviated power play for Carolina in the remainder.

Entering the first intermission, though, the Bruins and Hurricanes were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard with the Canes leading in shots on goal, 10-6, after 20 minutes.

Carolina also led in blocked shots (4-2), giveaways (4-2), hits (13-12) and faceoff win percentage (62-38), while both teams managed two takeaways aside.

The Hurricanes were 0-for-3 and the Bruins were 0-for-1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

The Canes wrapped the puck around the attacking zone quickly in the middle frame before Nino Niederreiter found Staal (1) for a one-timer goal from the slot to give Carolina a, 2-1, lead 33 seconds into the second period.

Niederreiter (1) and Tony DeAngelo (5) had the assists on the goal.

Less than a minute later, Andrei Svechnikov was given an interference infraction at 59 seconds of the second period and the Bruins went on the power play.

Boston’s 5-on-4 quickly became a 5-on-3 skater advantage when Trocheck sent an errant puck over the glass and out of play at 1:37 of the second period, yielding an abbreviated two-skater advantage to Boston for a span of 1:23.

The Bruins, however, did not convert on the power play opportunity.

Teuvo Teräväinen hooked Pastrnak at 13:40, but Carolina’s penalty kill managed to get their job done without issue.

Late in the period, however, Niederreiter tripped Craig Smith at 17:35 and presented the B’s with another skater advantage.

This time, Raanta made a save on a shot by Marchand before the puck dropped to the ice and sat in the crease at the Hurricanes netminder’s feet prior to Jake DeBrusk (1) burying it on the far side with one quick swoop.

Carolina’s head coach, Rod Brind’Amour, challenged the call on the ice on the basis that he believed DeBrusk made enough contact with his stick on Raanta prior to the goal to overturn the call, however the official review deemed DeBrusk’s play to be concurrent with the rulebook in terms of how a player is allowed to go after a loose puck in the crease.

The call on the ice stood. Good goal.

Boston tied it, 2-2, while Marchand (5) and Bergeron (2) tallied the assists on DeBrusk’s power-play goal at 18:44 of the second period.

As a result of the unsuccessful challenge, the Hurricanes were assessed a bench minor and Niederreiter went back to the sin bin to serve the infraction at 18:44.

The Bruins wound up with another 5-on-3 advantage after Sebastian Aho caught Bergeron with a high stick near the Boston captain’s eye and drew blood.

Aho was charged with a four-minute double minor for high sticking at 19:35 of the second period and the B’s went on the 5-on-3 advantage for the next 68 seconds– spilling over into the final frame as a result.

Through 40 minutes of action, Boston and Carolina were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard despite the Bruins leading in shots on goal, 19-16, including a, 13-6, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

The Canes held the advantage in blocked shots (8-6), giveaways (5-4) and faceoff win% (57-43), while the B’s led in takeaways (4-3).

Both teams had 24 hits aside heading into the second intermission.

Entering the final frame, the Hurricanes were 0-for-3 and the Bruins were 1-for-7 on the power play.

Cassidy sent out five forwards to start the third period as the Bruins had time remaining on the power play with Aho in the box for Carolina.

It didn’t take Boston long to pull ahead of the Hurricanes.

Charlie Coyle found Marchand in the high slot by the top of the right circle where Marchand (2) riffled a shot over Raanta’s glove side to give the Bruins their first lead of the afternoon, 3-2, 44 seconds into the third period.

Coyle (2) and DeBrusk (2) notched the assists on Marchand’s power-play goal.

A couple minutes later, Grzelcyk caught Brady Skjei with a high stick and yielded 52 seconds of 4-on-4 action at 2:46 of the third period as a result before an abbreviated power play for Carolina would commence.

The Bruins managed to kill off Grzelcyk’s minor without issue.

Early in the final frame, Bergeron won an attacking zone faceoff over to Marchand before Marchand setup Pastrnak (2) for the catch and release goal from point blank on the low glove side while Raanta dove across the crease.

Marchand (6) and Bergeron (3) tallied the assists on Pastrnak’s goal as the Bruins extended their lead to two-goals, 4-2, at 5:41 of the third period.

DeAngelo cross checked Lazar in the face at the midpoint of the final frame and presented Boston with another power play at 10:00, but the Bruins failed to convert on the advantage while the Carolina defender was in the box.

With 3:48 remaining in the action, Brind’Amour used his timeout and pulled Raanta for an extra attacker.

Shortly thereafter, Marchand (3) buried the puck in the empty net to secure a, 5-2, win for Boston at 19:25 of the third period.

Coyle (3) and Carlo (1) had the assists on the goal as the B’s extended their lead to three-goals.

In the dying seconds of the action, Nick Foligno flipped the puck over the glass for an automatic delay of game minor at 19:57.

The Hurricanes did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage as the final horn sounded on a resounding victory for the Bruins in Game 4– tying the series 2-2 in the process.

Boston left their own ice leading in shots on goal, 28-26, despite trailing Carolina, 10-9, in shots on net in the third period alone.

The B’s also led in hits (37-29), while the Canes left TD Garden leading in blocked shots (15-6) and faceoff win% (54-46).

Both teams had six giveaways aside and the Hurricanes were 0-for-5, while the Bruins were 2-for-9 on the power play on Sunday.

Boston improved to 2-1 when tied after the first period and 1-0 when tied after the second period this postseason, while Carolina fell to 1-2 when tied after one and 0-1 when tied after two in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Bruins tied the series 2-2 as a result of their win in Game 4, which means a 3-2 series lead is up for grabs for either team Tuesday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh in Game 5.

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. ET and viewers outside of the local markets can catch the action on ESPN in the United States, as well as SN360 and TVAS in Canada.

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Boston takes Game 3 with, 4-2, victory on home ice

Four different players scored for the Boston Bruins in their, 4-2, win against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3 of their 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round matchup Friday night at TD Garden.

Charlie Coyle, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Taylor Hall each had a goal for Boston in their first victory against Carolina since Dec. 3, 2019 (regular season and postseason).

Jeremy Swayman (1-0, 2.00 goals-against average, .926 save percentage in one game played) made his first postseason start and picked up the win with a 25-save effort on 27 shots faced.

Swayman became the fourth Bruins rookie goaltender to make their first career playoff start on home ice and win, joining Tiny Thompson (Game 1 of the 1929 Semifinal against Montréal), Mike Moffat (Game 1 of the 1982 Adams Division Semifinal against Buffalo) and Andrew Raycroft (Game 1 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against Montréal) in the process.

Hurricanes goaltender, Pyotr Kochetkov (1-1, 3.30 goals-against average, .900 save percentage in two games played), made 24 saves on 28 shots against in the loss.

The Bruins trail in the series 2-1 with Game 4 set for Sunday afternoon in Boston.

The B’s were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Jesper Frödén (lower body) and Hampus Lindholm (upper body) on Friday, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made several changes to his lineup.

First, Cassidy reunited Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Pastrnak on the first line, while moving Jake DeBrusk to the second line right wing with Hall at left wing and Erik Haula at center.

Tomáš Nosek was promoted to the third line left wing with Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith in their usual roles, while Nick Foligno, Curtis Lazar and Chris Wagner made up the fourth line.

On defense, Mike Reilly went in for Lindholm alongside Charlie McAvoy while Lindholm was out due to injury.

Trent Frederic joined Josh Brown, Anton Blidh and Kyle Keyser among Boston’s healthy scratches for Game 3.

Jordan Martinook caught Hall with a high stick at 4:47 of the first period, but the Bruins weren’t able to convert on their first power play of the night.

Less than five minutes later, Brendan Smith kept the puck in the attacking zone and threw a shot towards the net before Vincent Trocheck (2) corralled the puck and wrapped it around Swayman with a change of pace.

Smith (1) had the only assist on Trocheck’s goal and the Hurricanes took a, 1-0, lead at 9:17 of the first period as a result.

Moments later, Martinook cut a rut back to the sin bin for hooking Lazar at 13:10.

Once more, however, Boston wasn’t able to muster anything on the ensuing skater advantage.

Instead, the B’s presented Carolina with their first power play of the night at 16:07 of the first period after Haula hauled down Jesper Fast with a trip.

The Canes didn’t convert on the power play and, worse, gave up a shorthanded goal against in the process.

DeBrusk broke into the attacking zone and connected with Coyle (1) on a tape-to-tape pass that Coyle batted out of mid-air to beat Kochetkov to tie the game, 1-1, at 17:16.

DeBrusk (1) had the only assist on Coyle’s shorthanded goal.

Late in the period, Marchand slashed the Tony DeAngelo’s stick out of his hands and took a trip to the sin bin as a result at 19:25.

Boston’s penalty kill would spill over into the middle frame unscathed, however.

The score was tied, 1-1, after 20 minutes of action, with the Hurricanes leading the Bruins in shots on goal, 11-8.

Carolina also dominated in blocked shots (7-3) and takeaways (7-0), while the B’s led in giveaways (3-2), hits (13-12) and faceoff win percentage (52-48).

Both teams were 0-for-2 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Marchand (1) cut to the slot reminiscent of a prominent scoring move in EA Sports’ NHL 94, settled the puck and buried the rubber biscuit in the back of the twine to give Boston their first lead against Carolina all year (regular season and postseason combined) at 5:41 of the second period.

Bergeron (1) had the only assist on Marchand’s tally as the Bruins took a, 2-1, lead on the scoreboard.

About a minute later, Connor Clifton cross checked Martinook and presented the Canes with a power play at 6:48, but Carolina couldn’t muster a goal on the resulting skater advantage.

Less than a minute later, DeAngelo and Marchand exchanged pleasantries by the benches and received roughing and interference infractions, respectively, at 7:44.

Shortly thereafter, Martinook tried to hit Hall in the neutral zone and ended up taking the worst of it– colliding and landing awkwardly, while sustaining a lower body injury in the process.

Moments later, Ian Cole interfered with Lazar and yielded another power play to Boston at 12:36.

It quickly became a two-skater advantage at 13:05, when Trocheck hooked Marchand and presented the Bruins with a 5-on-3 power play as a result for about 1:31.

The Hurricanes killed Cole’s minor, but couldn’t keep Boston’s power play off the board as Pastrnak (1) snapped a shot from the right dot past Kochetkov’s short side to extend the lead to two-goals.

Marchand (2) and Coyle (1) notched the assists on Pastrnak’s power-play goal and the B’s led, 3-1, at 14:53 of the second period.

While the 17,850 in attendance celebrated the goal, however, a pane of glass came crashing down on timeout coordinator, Joe Foley, in Boston’s penalty box requiring medical assistance from both trainers and in-arena staff.

Foley was stretchered off the ice and taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for observation and should be fine, NHL spokesperson, John Dellapina, told The Associated Press.

After a seven-minute delay, play resumed and Clifton cut a rut to the box shortly thereafter for roughing, which was briefly reviewed by the on-ice officials as Brendan Smith’s visor cut the Hurricanes defender and drew blood at 15:41.

The Bruins made the kill on Clifton’s infraction.

Entering the second intermission, Boston led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 21-19, in shots on goal.

The B’s had a, 13-8, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone and led in hits (21-19), blocked shots (19-8), as well as faceoff win% (56-44) after 40 minutes of play.

Carolina held the advantage in takeaways (7-3) and giveaways (9-6), while the Hurricanes went 0-for-4 on the power play through two periods.

Boston was 1-for-4 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame.

Prior to the third period, the Canes tweeted that Martinook would not return to the night’s action with a lower body injury and head coach, Rod Brind’Amour, told reporters after the game that Martinook’s prognosis didn’t look good.

Meanwhile, Trocheck tripped Nosek at 3:49 of the third period and yielded another power play to Boston.

The Bruins made quick work of the resulting skater advantage with Hall (2) dishing a pass across the slot to Pastrnak before receiving a setup in return for a one-timer goal from the doorstep of the crease as Kochetkov fell behind going from right to left.

Pastrnak (1) and Marchand (3) had the assists on Hall’s power-play goal and the B’s had a, 4-1, lead at 4:08 of the third period.

Less than a minute later, Foligno was penalized for cross checking at 4:48, but Carolina couldn’t muster a power-play goal.

Midway through the third, however, Jaccob Slavin (1) lobbed a shot from the point with eyes past Swayman on the glove side to make it a two-goal deficit.

Slavin’s goal was unassisted as the Hurricanes trailed, 4-2, at 11:30 of the third period.

With 2:42 remaining in regulation, Brind’Amour pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.

He later used his timeout after a stoppage with 1:36 left on the clock, but Boston stood tall and continued to block shots to the very end of the night with Derek Forbort tying a team-record for most blocked shots in a single postseason game (9), done twice before by Dennis Seidenberg in 2013, and the late Steve Montador in 2009.

At the final horn, the Bruins had taken Game 3 by a final score of, 4-2, and cut the series lead down to 2-1 in favor of the Hurricanes.

Boston left their own ice leading in shots on goal, 28-27, despite Carolina outshooting the Bruins, 8-7, in the third period alone.

The B’s also wrapped up Friday night’s action leading in blocked shots (29-12) and faceoff win% (57-43), while the Canes left TD Garden leading in giveaways (12-7) and hits (40-33) after Game 3.

The Hurricanes went 0-for-5 on the skater advantage, while Boston went 2-for-5 on the power play on Friday.

The Bruins improved to 14-15 all time in Game 3s when trailing 2-0 in a best-of-seven series, as well as 1-1 when tied after the first period and 1-0 when leading after the second period this postseason.

Carolina, meanwhile, fell to 1-1 when tied after one and 0-1 when trailing through two periods in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With the loss in Game 3, the Hurricanes now lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 on Sunday afternoon at TD Garden.

Puck drop in Boston is set for 12:30 p.m. ET and viewers outside of the local markets can catch the action on ESPN in the United States, as well as SN and TVAS in Canada.

Carolina can take a commanding 3-1 series lead heading back to Raleigh for Game 5 while the B’s could even the series 2-2 with another win in Game 4.

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Hurricanes take 2-0 series lead, lose Raanta in Game 2

Sebastian Aho tied a franchise record with his fourth multi-goal game in a, 5-2, victory for the Carolina Hurricanes as they beat the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of their 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round matchup Wednesday night at PNC Arena.

Meanwhile, each team lost a key player to an injury and there were 14 combined power plays in a game that had a little bit of everything good, bad and ugly.

Antti Raanta (1-0, 0.88 goals-against average, .978 save percentage in two games played) made six saves on six shots against before he was taken out of the game due to injury, while Pyotr Kochetkov (1-0, 2.31 goals-against average, .938 save percentage in one game played) turned aside 30 out of 32 shots faced in the win for the Hurricanes.

Bruins goaltender, Linus Ullmark (1-1, 4.17 goals-against average, .860 save percentage in two games played), made 29 saves on 32 shots against in the loss.

The Bruins were without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) on Wednesday, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made one change to his lineup– promoting Matt Grzelcyk to the first defensive pairing with Charlie McAvoy and relegating Hampus Lindholm to the second pairing with Brandon Carlo.

Boston’s list of healthy scratches went untouched from Game 1 to Game 2 with Mike Reilly, Chris Wagner, Josh Brown, Anton Blidh and Kyle Keyser watching from the press box at PNC Arena.

Nino Niederreiter tripped Carlo and presented the Bruins with their first power play of the night at 3:17 of the first period, but the B’s weren’t able to convert on the skater advantage.

Moments later, Tony DeAngelo checked Erik Haula without the puck and cut a rut to the sin bin for interference as a result at 7:28, but Boston’s ensuing power play was cut short about 19 seconds later.

David Pastrnak caught Raanta with a forearm to the head while trying to avoid a major collision with the goaltender as Raanta worked to clear the puck outside the crease and Pastrnak tried to come to a stop without bowling over the netminder– completely flattening him in the process.

That said, the on-ice officials ruled it a five-minute major for goaltender interference before reducing Pastrnak’s infraction to a minor penalty upon video review.

Raanta was bleeding from a cut on his face and took some time to be helped off the ice by a trainer, but was Pastrnak’s force enough to cause the inside of Raanta’s mask to cut the goaltender or Vincent Trocheck’s accidental bump in the side of his teammate’s head as he skated by while Raanta was down on the ice pulling his mask off do more damage on top of the incidental contact with Pastrnak?

This is the type of thing that’s going on inside the minds of the on-ice officials alongside their interpretation of the rulebook.

Carolina replaced Raanta with Kochetkov and the Bruins managed to kill Pastrnak’s minor for goaltender interference at 7:47 of the first period.

A little past the midpoint of the opening frame, however, Jordan Staal broke free from Derek Forbort and sent a pass across the ice through the slot to Jesper Fast (1) for a one-timer goal– giving the Hurricanes a, 1-0, lead as a result at 13:03 of the first period.

Staal (1) and Jaccob Slavin (2) tallied the assists on Fast’s goal.

A couple minutes later, Aho (1) tipped a shot from the point by DeAngelo past Ullmark on the stick side to extend the Canes’ lead to two-goals.

DeAngelo (2) and Slavin (3) notched the assists and the Hurricanes led, 2-0, at 15:30.

Patrice Bergeron cut a rut to the sin bin for slashing at 18:54 and the Bruins managed to make the kill on the infraction.

Late in the period, however, Charlie Coyle and Niederreiter went to the box with coincidental minors at 19:53, followed by a scrum as the first intermission began– yielding roughing minors for Haula, Carlo and Seth Jarvis at 20:00.

Boston would be shorthanded to begin the middle frame.

Carolina, meanwhile, led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and, 11-10, in shots on goal after 20 minutes of action.

The Hurricanes also led in blocked shots (6-3), takeaways (5-0), giveaways (7-3) and faceoff win percentage (59-41), while the Bruins led in hits (18-16) entering the first intermission.

Both teams were 0-for-2 on the power play heading into the middle period.

Carolina confirmed that Raanta (upper body) would not return to the night’s action with a tweet prior to the start of the middle frame.

While on the power play, Aho (2) blasted a one-timer past Ullmark low on the glove side to give the Hurricanes a, 3-0, lead at 1:10 of the second period.

DeAngelo (3) and Teuvo Teräväinen (1) had the assists on Aho’s power-play goal– giving the Finnish forward his fourth career multi-goal postseason game– tying Kevin Dineed for the most in Hartford Whalers/Hurricanes franchise history in the process.

Trent Frederic checked Teräväinen shortly thereafter in frustration and picked up an interference minor at 3:39, though the Canes failed to convert on the ensuing skater advantage this time around.

Andrei Svechnikov was penalized for holding at 14:36 and it didn’t take Boston long to get on the scoreboard with a power-play goal from Bergeron (1) after he sent the puck back to the point whereby a shot attempt went wide, caromed off the glass back to Brad Marchand in the slot before Bergeron got a piece of it from close range.

Marchand (1) had the only assist on Bergeron’s 16th career postseason power-play goal– tying him for the third-most in Bruins franchise history with Johnny Bucyk in the process– and Boston trailed, 3-1, at 14:36 of the second period as a result.

A few minutes later, Svechnikov made a big hit behind the goal line on Lindholm– knocking the Bruins defender to the ice and leaving him in a daze as he was assisted by a trainer and teammate, Jake DeBrusk, to the tunnel.

Carlo went after Svechnikov in defense of his injured blue line partner and picked up a pair of roughing minors, while Svechnikov only received two minutes for roughing at 17:11 of the second period, rendering Carolina on the power play as a result.

Less than a minute later, Marchand and Kochetkov exchanged pleasantries and yielded slashing penalties at 17:52, followed by a holding infraction on Forbort at 18:07.

Carolina’s ensuing 5-on-3 advantage didn’t last long as Niederreiter (2) had just enough mustard on a shot that it trickled through the crease and over the goal line to give the Hurricanes another three-goal lead, 4-1, at 18:52.

Trocheck (2) and DeAngelo (4) tallied the assists on Niederreiter’s power-play goal and the Canes took their, 4-1, lead into the second intermission after 40 minutes of play.

Carolina led in shots on goal, 25-21, including a, 14-11, advantage in the second period alone, while dominating in blocked shots (9-7), takeaways (7-5), giveaways (10-5) and faceoff win% (54-46).

Boston, on the other hand, led in hits, 31-30, after two periods on Wednesday.

The Hurricanes were 2-for-6 on the power play, while the Bruins were 0-for-3 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame.

Early in the final frame, Svechnikov and McAvoy collided in the open ice and rendered the Bruins defender to his knees amid a brief stoppage.

He did not miss any shifts, however, as DeBrusk received a roughing minor for expressing his displeasure with Svechnikov and the B’s tweeted that Lindholm (upper body) would not return to the night’s action at 1:52 of the third period.

Carolina had another brief 5-on-3 advantage after Forbort caught Teräväinen with a high stick and drew blood at 3:04.

Forbort skated to the box with a double-minor penalty and Boston somehow made the kill.

Moments later, the Hurricanes had too many skaters on the ice and were assessed a bench minor at 8:27, but the B’s couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing power play.

Midway through the third period, however, Bergeron (2) notched his second goal of the game on an inadvertent deflection off of his right skate behind Kochetkov on a shot by McAvoy from the top of the left circle.

McAvoy (2) had the only assist on the goal and the Bruins trailed, 4-2, at 12:21 of the third period, while Bergeron (47) surpassed Phil Esposito (46) for the second-most postseason goals in franchise history– trailing only Cam Neely (55) for first overall in a Boston uniform.

With about 4:30 remaining in regulation, Cassidy pulled a page out of the book of head coaching as taught by Patrick Roy and yanked Ullmark out of the crease for an extra attacker.

Brett Pesce caught Marchand with a high stick at 15:49 and the B’s went on a power play as a result, but the Hurricanes’ penalty kill came and went unscathed and unchallenged.

After a stoppage with 1:15 remaining, Cassidy used his timeout to rally his skaters, but it was to no avail.

Carolina picked up a rebound that made its way all the way into their attacking zone and Niederreiter (3) put the icing on the cake with his second goal of the game– this time on an empty net to make it, 5-2, for the Hurricanes at 19:19.

Svechnikov (1) had the only assist on the goal.

At the final horn, another scrum ensued and only Forbort was dealt a roughing minor at 20:00 of the third period, but it didn’t matter in the end result as Carolina pulled off a, 5-2, victory and a 2-0 series lead.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 38-34, and had a, 17-9, advantage in shots on net in the third period alone.

The Bruins led in blocked shots (13-10) and hits (45-33), while the Hurricanes left their own ice leading in giveaways (12-7) and faceoff win% (55-45).

Carolina went 2-for-9 on the skater advantage, while the B’s went 1-for-5 on the power play Wednesday night in Game 2.

For the first time since the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, the Bruins trail 2-0 in a series heading back to home ice for Game 3.

Teams that lead a best-of-seven series 2-0 go on to win the series about 87% of the time per Hockey-Reference.

The Hurricanes take a 2-0 series lead heading into Game 3 Friday night at TD Garden in Boston. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. ET and viewers outside of the local markets can catch the action on TNT in the United States, as well as SN360 and TVAS2 in Canada.

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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins drop season finale on the road, 5-2

William Nylander scored a pair of goals in a, 5-2, victory for the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Boston Bruins Friday night at Scotiabank Arena.

Erik Källgren (8-4-1, 3.31 goals-against average, .888 save percentage in 14 games played) made 24 saves on 26 shots against in the win for the Leafs.

Bruins goaltender, Jeremy Swayman (23-24-3, 2.41 goals-against average, .914 save percentage in 41 games played), stopped 22 out of 26 shots faced in the loss.

Boston finished the regular season with a 51-26-5 record (107 points)– good enough for 4th in the Atlantic Division and the first wild card in the Eastern Conference.

The B’s will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs as a result.

Toronto improved to 54-21-7 (115 points) overall and finished 2nd in the Atlantic Division. They will host the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2022 First Round.

The Bruins went 25-13-3 on the road and 0-3-0 against the Maple Leafs this season after going 2-0-1 against Toronto in 2019-20.

The two teams did not meet last season due to the temporarily realigned divisions in light of the ongoing COIVD-19 pandemic.

Boston’s list of injured players and healthy scratches got a bit of a shakeup heading into the final game of the regular season as Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) were joined by Hampus Lindholm, Patrice Bergeron, Matt Grzelcyk, Erik Haula, Brad Marchand, Taylor Hall, Charlie McAvoy and David Pastrnak among those held out of the lineup.

Zboril missed his 62nd game this season due to an injury sustained on Dec. 2nd in Nashville, while Hall missed his first game of the season as a healthy scratch.

As a result, Charlie Coyle was the only Bruin to suit up in all 82 games this season– marking the first time that anyone in a Boston uniform played in all 82 games in a full 82-game season since Pastrnak and Tim Schaller did so in 2017-18.

Since then, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic shortened the 2019-20 regular season and kept 2020-21 limited to 56 games.

Chris Wagner made his season debut on Friday after being recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) with Jack Studnicka, Oskar Steen and Jack Ahcan to fill in for the regulars.

Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, opted to keep Trent Frederic, Coyle and Craig Smith together on the same line, while he moved Jake DeBrusk to the second line left wing with Studnicka at center and Marc McLaughlin on right wing.

Curtis Lazar centered the third line with Nick Foligno and Steen on his wings, while Tomáš Nosek held the fourth line together– flanked by Anton Blidh and Wagner.

On defense, Ahcan was paired with Brandon Carlo on the first pairing, while Mike Reilly and Josh Brown comprised the second pairing with Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton in their regular roles filling out the bottom pair.

The Bruins struck first in quick fashion as Smith wrapped the puck around the back of the net and slipped a pass to Frederic (8) for the flub shot through Källgren’s five-hole.

Smith (19) and Coyle (28) tallied the assists on the goal and the B’s led, 1-0, at 1:10 of the first period.

Boston didn’t hold the lead for long, however as McLaughlin caught Mark Giordano with a high stick at 1:48 of the first period that was reviewed for an injury on the infraction– resulting in a four-minute double minor.

Toronto made it a little past the midpoint of the skater advantage before Giordano sent a shot towards the net that Ilya Mikheyev (21) tipped past Swayman to tie the game, 1-1, at 3:51.

Giordano (27) and Timothy Liljegren (18) notched the assists on Mikheyev’s power-play goal.

Midway through the opening frame, William Nylander (33) got a breakaway and buried the puck in the twine on a forehand tuck after pulling Swayman to the right side of the crease.

Nylander’s goal was unassisted and gave the Maple Leafs their first lead of the night, 2-1, at 13:16 of the first period.

Late in the period, Morgan Rielly floated a shot towards Swayman that Nick Abruzzese (1) tipped for his first career National Hockey League goal.

Rielly (58) had the only assist on the goal as a result and the Leafs extended their lead to two goals at 19:52.

After one period, Toronto led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 10-6, in shots on goal.

The Maple Leafs also led in blocked shots (10-2) and takeaways (2-0), while the Bruins held the advantage in giveaways (4-3), hits (20-15) and faceoff win percentage (56-44) entering the first intermission.

The Leafs were 1-for-2 on the power play, while Boston had yet to see time on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.

DeBrusk went hard into the boards early in the second period, but skated off on his own power and sat on the bench until his next shift without much discomfort despite play briefly coming to a stop while he laid on the ice.

Late in the period, Foligno tripped Wayne Simmonds and presented the Leafs with a power play at 14:49 of the second period, but Toronto failed to convert on the skater advantage.

Shortly thereafter, Nosek cross checked Liljegren and became entangled in a quick exchange of pleasantries with Rielly– resulting in minor infractions for both Nosek and Rielly for cross checking and roughing, respectively at 19:30.

The two clubs skated at 4-on-4 into the third period as a result.

Through 40 minutes of action Friday night, the Maple Leafs led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 20-15, in shots on goal– including a, 10-9, advantage in the second period alone.

Toronto also maintained control in blocked shots (11-5), takeaways (8-3) and giveaways (8-7), while Boston led in hits (45-27) and faceoff win% (53-47).

The Leafs were 1-for-3 and the Bruins were 0-for-0 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Nylander (34) collected his second goal of the night on a similar backhand-forehand effort from his first goal of the game and the Maple Leafs grabbed a, 4-1, lead at 8:00 of the third period.

Moments later, Foligno thought he had his 500th career NHL point by scoring a would-be goal on the doorstep, but Toronto’s head coach, Sheldon Keefe, challenged the call on the ice on the basis that he believed Boston was offside entering the zone prior to the goal.

Upon video review, it was determined that Lazar had gone over the blue line into the attacking zone before Steen broke the plane for a zone entry, rendering the call on the ice reversed. No goal.

Toronto still led, 4-1, and Foligno will have to wait until next season for his 500th point.

Shortly thereafter, T.J. Brodie cut a rut to the box for holding and Boston went on the power play for the first time at 11:55.

Smith sent a shot on goal that DeBrusk (25) buried on the rebound past Källgren’s short side to give the Bruins their third power-play goal in their last two games.

Boston trailed, 4-2, while Smith (20) and Reilly (13) picked up the assists on DeBrusk’s goal at 12:49 of the third period.

With about a minute left in the action, Cassidy pulled Swayman for an extra attacker, but the B’s weren’t able to muster any last-minute comeback efforts.

Pierre Engvall (15) capitalized on a turnover and buried the rubber biscuit in the empty twine for an empty net goal in addition to a three-goal lead at 19:50 of the third period.

Engvall’s goal was unassisted and the Leafs finished their season with a, 5-2, victory on home ice.

At the final horn, Toronto had won and wrapped things up leading in shots on goal, 27-26, despite trailing, 11-7, in shots on net in the third period alone.

The Maple Leafs finished the night leading in blocked shots (13-8) and giveaways (13-11), while the Bruins exited the ice with the advantage in hits (54-48) and faceoff win% (53-47).

The Leafs went 1-for-3 on the power play, while the B’s went 1-for-1 on the skater advantage Friday night.

Boston fell to 37-10-2 (19-5-1 on the road) when scoring first, 6-15-2 (2-8-1 on the road) when trailing after one and 4-20-2 (1-9-1 on the road) when trailing after two this season.

Toronto improved to 19-15-4 (13-7-2 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 29-3-3 (17-0-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 40-1-3 (23-1-0 at home) when leading after the second period in 2021-22.

With the 2021-22 regular season in the rearview mirror, the Bruins look ahead to the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs and their First Round matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Games 1 and 2 will be at PNC Arena in Raleigh.

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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins strike quick in, 4-2, victory against Panthers

Though Jake DeBrusk had the eventual game-winning goal in the second period, Erik Haula and Taylor Hall stole the show within a six-second span back in the first period as the Boston Bruins beat the Florida Panthers, 4-2, Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Linus Ullmark (25-10-2, 2.51 goals-against average, .914 save percentage in 40 games played) made 19 saves on 21 shots against in the win for Boston.

Florida goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky (39-7-3, 2.67 goals-against average, .912 save percentage in 54 games played), stopped 34 out of 37 shots faced in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 50-25-5 (105 points) on the season and remain in command of the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, as well as 4th in the Atlantic Division.

The Panthers fell to 57-17-6 (120 points) overall, but sit atop the Eastern Conference, as well as the Atlantic, having clinched the best record this side of the Mississippi River however many days ago now.

Florida is also still in command of the Presidents’ Trophy race with the Colorado Avalanche (56-18-6, 118 points) just two points behind. Both teams have two games remaining on their schedules.

The B’s, meanwhile reached the 50-win plateau for the first time since 2017-18 and finished their regular season series against the Panthers with a 2-1-0 record over three matchups in 2021-22.

Boston went 2-0-1 against Florida in 2019-20, and did not face the Panthers in 2020-21, due to the temporarily realigned divisions amidst the condensed 56-game schedule in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bruins were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) on Tuesday, while David Pastrnak and Hampus Lindholm returned to action after serving as healthy scratches in Sunday night’s, 5-3, victory in Montréal.

Pastrnak was back in his regular role on the second line with Marc McLaughlin coming out of the lineup and Tomáš Nosek reverting back to his fourth line center spot.

Meanwhile, Lindholm suited up alongside Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk went back to the second pairing with Brandon Carlo with Mike Reilly joining McLaughlin, Josh Brown and Anton Blidh on the list of healthy scratches against Florida.

Prior to puck drop, the Bruins presented their 2021-22 team awards as McAvoy was named this year’s Eddie Shore Award winner, Pastrnak took home the Elizabeth Dufresne Award honors for 2021-22 and Nick Foligno was named the recipient of the John P. Bucyk Award.

Patrice Bergeron (Third Star), Brad Marchand (Second Star) and Pastrnak (First Star) were named the 98.5 The Sports Hub Three Star Award winners for the season.

Thursday night before the B’s host the Buffalo Sabres, Boston– together with NESN– will present the NESN 7th Player Award as voted on by the fans to this year’s winner.

After Tuesday night’s win, fans in attendance witnessed a modified version of the annual “Shirts Off Our Backs” ceremony with players skating to a team representative, taking off their jersey, signing it and having said representative bring it over to the lucky winner from the crowd.

Early in the opening frame, Haula cross checked Anthony Duclair and presented the Panthers with the first power play of the night at 5:41 of the first period.

Florida didn’t convert on the skater advantage, but they were able to capitalize in the vulnerable minute after special teams action as Gustav Forsling (10) flung a shot with eyes towards the net and past Ullmark on the glove side to give the Panthers a, 1-0, lead at 8:00 of the first period.

Forsling’s goal was unassisted.

Late in the opening frame, Hall fed Pastrnak with a lead pass into the attacking zone before Pastrnak drove the rubber biscuit to the net, deked and sent a backhand pass through the slot to Haula as the center was crashing the high slot from the right side.

Haula (18) blasted a one-timer past Bobrovsky and tied the game, 1-1, at 16:18, while Pastrnak (35) and Hall (40) notched the assists.

Six seconds after the ensuing faceoff– which the Panthers won, mind you– Pastrnak intercepted a pass and sent Hall (19) into the offensive zone on a breakaway where No. 71 in black and gold promptly beat Bobrovsky on the glove side to give Boston their first lead of the night, 2-1.

Pastrnak (36) had the only assist on Hall’s goal at 16:18 of the first period and Haula and Hall combined for a pair of goals in a span of six seconds– marking the second-fastest two-goal span in franchise history, trailing Ray Getliffe and Leroy Goldsworthy’s pair of goals five seconds apart on Jan. 4, 1938, in a, 6-3, win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Garden.

A couple minutes later, a scrum ensued after a stoppage, yielding minor infractions for roughing for Joe Thornton, Nosek, Derek Forbort and Patric Hornqvist.

There was no ensuing skater advantage for either team, however.

About a minute later, though, Carlo slashed Duclair and cut a rut to the penalty box at 19:50.

Florida’s power play didn’t take long before Sam Reinhart (32) sent a puck off the iron before collecting his own rebound and slidding it behind Ullmark while the Bruins goaltender was momentarily confused and searched behind his leg pads for the puck that was now already in the back of the twine.

Claude Giroux (44) and Duclair (26) tallied the assists on Reinhart’s power-play goal as the Panthers tied the game, 2-2, at 19:59 of the opening frame.

Heading into the first intermission, the score was tied, 2-2, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 13-11.

Florida held the advantage in blocked shots (5-3), while the Bruins led in takeaways (3-2), giveaways (3-1) and faceoff win percentage (52-48).

Both teams managed 11 hits apiece, while only the Panthers had seen any time on the skater advantage– having gone 1-for-2 on the power play through one period.

Early in the middle frame, Bergeron worked a pass up along the boards to Marchand, who fired a quick shot on goal that generated a rebound for DeBrusk as he crashed the net.

DeBrusk (24) buried the loose puck and gave Boston a, 3-2, lead at 4:59 of the second period as a result.

Marchand (46) and Bergeron (38) were credited with the assists on the tally.

Moments later, Thornton tripped McAvoy and presented the Bruins with their first power play as a result at 11:49 of the second period.

Boston promptly failed to convert on the skater advantage and fell to 0-for-34 on their last 34 power play opportunities.

Through 40 minutes of action, the B’s led the Panthers, 3-2, on the scoreboard and, 22-18, in shots on goal, including a, 9-7, advantage in the second period alone.

Boston also led in faceoff win% (59-42), while Florida took control in blocked shots (7-4), takeaways (7-5) and giveaways (7-4).

Both teams had 21 hits aside, while the Panthers were 1-for-2 and the Bruins were 0-for-1 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Early in the third period, the Panthers tweeted that Anton Lundell (upper body) and Radko Gudas (lower body) would not return to the night’s action due to injuries.

Forsling sent an errant puck over the glass and out of play at 6:46 of the third period and received an automatic delay of game infraction as a result.

Boston, however, failed to convert on the resulting power play and would do so once more when Sam Bennett hooked Lindholm and cut a rut to the box at 8:49.

Despite special teams continuing to fall by the wayside (the Bruins are 0-for-36 on their last 36 power plays), the B’s managed to limit Florida to just three shots on goal in the third period alone.

Panthers interim head coach, Andrew Brunette, pulled his goaltender with 3:24 remaining in the action to muster some semblance of an effort in the offensive zone with a 6-on-5 advantage.

Marchand (32), however, had other ideas and ended a 12-game goalless drought– tallying the 793rd point of his NHL career in the process and tying Wayne Cashman for the seventh-most points in Bruins franchise history as a result on an empty net goal at 16:55.

Bergeron (39) had the only assist and Boston took a, 4-2, lead with only minutes to spare in Tuesday night’s action.

Brunette used his timeout with 1:36 remaining and pulled Bobrovsky for an extra attacker again shortly thereafter, but the B’s kept the Panthers from cutting into the lead and the final horn sounded with a resounding, 4-2, victorious effort for the Bruins.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 38-21, including a, 16-3, advantage in the third period alone.

The B’s also led in blocked shots (12-5) and faceoff win% (55-45), while Florida left TD Garden leading in giveaways (9-5) and hits (30-27).

The Panthers went 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Bruins went 0-for-3 on the skater advantage Tuesday night.

Boston has now won five out of their last six games and is on a three-game winning streak as a result.

The B’s improved to 14-16-3 (8-8-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 16-6-2 (7-3-1 at home) when tied after the first period and 32-1-3 (15-1-1 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

Florida fell to 33-8-2 (14-5-2 on the road) when scoring first, 15-9-2 (7-5-2 on the road) when tied after one and 11-15-1 (4-9-1 on the road) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins host the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night in the final home game of the regular season before visiting the Toronto Maple Leafs Friday night on the road.

The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs are set to begin on May 2nd with the First Round schedule yet to be announced.

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NHL Nick's Net

Bergeron passes Bourque in, 5-3, road victory against Canadiens

It was a historic night at Bell Centre Sunday night as the Montréal Canadiens and their fans honored the life and memory of the late Guy Lafleur with a tribute and a 10-minute standing ovation before the Patrice Bergeron and Erik Haula each scored a pair of goals in a, 5-3, win for the Boston Bruins.

Bergeron surpassed Montréal native, Ray Bourque, for sole possession of the fourth-most goals in Bruins franchise history, while Haula scored the second penalty shot goal of the season in an unconventional fashion.

Meanwhile, Charlie McAvoy’s late second period goal held up to be the game-winner for Boston as goaltender, Jeremy Swayman (23-13-3, 2.37 goals-against average, .915 save percentage in 40 games played), made 23 saves on 26 shots agaisnt in the win.

Canadiens netminder, Sam Montembeault (7-18-6, 3.79 goals-against average, .892 save percentage in 37 games played), turned aside 37 out of 41 shots faced in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 49-25-5 (103 points) overall and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Montréal fell to 20-49-11 (51 points) on the season and stuck in 8th place in the Atlantic Division as Habs fans await the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery on May 10th.

For the first time since the 2017-18 season, Boston swept Montréal in their regular season series, 4-0-0. The B’s also went 4-0-0 against the Habs in 2017-18, and did not face the Canadiens last season due to the temporarily realigned divisions and condensed 56-game schedule.

Boston went 3-1-0 against Montréal in 2019-20.

The Bruins were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) on Sunday, while David Pastrnak and Hampus Lindholm joined Josh Brown and Anton Blidh on the list of healthy scratches against the Canadiens as expected.

Bruce Cassidy promoted Tomáš Nosek from his usual fourth line center duties to that of the second line right wing role, while Curtis Lazar slid over on the fourth line to Nosek’s regular spot with Marc McLaughlin re-entering the lineup.

On defense, Matt Grzelcyk was paired with McAvoy, while Mike Reilly and Brandon Carlo rounded out the top-four defenders.

Linus Ullmark served as Swayman’s backup, while Pastrnak, Lindholm and Ullmark were all expected to be given the night off as Cassidy told reporters ahead of the game that he’d manage playing time with the playoffs in mind.

A pair of milestones unrelated to performance were met on Sunday as Carlo suited up in his 400th career NHL game, while Charlie Coyle took part in his 700th career game.

Joel Edmundson tripped Connor Clifton at 6:23 of the first period, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the resulting power play– their first and only skater advantage of the night.

The Bruins matched their longest streak of games without a power play goal (10) for the first time since their inaugural season (1924-25).

Midway through the opening frame, Josh Anderson and Derek Forbort each cut a rut to their respective sin bins for roughing at 10:55.

After two minutes of 4-on-4 action, the two teams resumed 5-on-5 play without issue.

Late in the period, Bergeron (21) gathered a loose puck on the doorstep and buried it into the open twine as Montembeault was caught behind the play after Jake DeBrusk fired the initial shot on net.

DeBrusk (16) and Brad Marchand (44) tabbed the assists on Bergeron’s goal and the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead at 15:03 of the first period.

Bergeron’s first goal of the game put him in sole possession of the fourth-most goals in club history for the B’s, surpassing Bourque in the process as Bergeron collected his 396th career goal (all with Boston).

The goal also marked Boston’s 2,000th goal against Montréal in franchise history.

A few minutes later, Mike Hoffman slashed Haula’s stick while skating alongside No. 56 in black and gold yielding– for some reason– a penalty shot for Haula at 18:03 as the on-ice officials determined that Hoffman’s infraction was enough to negate a scoring chance on a breakaway, apparently.

Haula (16) skated past the puck on his initial entry on the penalty shot, but as he never touched the rubber biscuit with his blade– and therefore did not move it forward before going back to retrieve it– he kept his composure, collected the puck, approached Montembeault and wired a shot under the glove side to give Boston a two-goal lead, 2-0.

For just the fourth time in franchise history, Haula joined Tim Taylor (April 15, 1998), Leo Boivin (Jan. 4, 1964) and Woody Dumart (Jan. 14, 1940) as the only Bruins to score a penalty-shot goal against the Canadiens.

Less than a minute later, Marchand retaliated against Jeff Petry for a clean hit that Petry made on Bergeron.

As a result, Marchand was sent to the box with a roughing infraction at 18:52 of the first period.

The B’s would be down two skaters after the first intermission when Trent Frederic picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct minor at 20:00 of the first period after he tried to engage Petry after the opening frame came to an end.

After one period of action, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and led in shots on goal, 17-8, as well as in blocked shots (4-2) and hits (14-11).

The Canadiens held the advantage in giveaways (7-5), while both teams had two takeaways each and split faceoff win percentage, 50-50.

Montréal and Boston were also 0-for-1 on the power play heading into the middle period.

The B’s survived Marchand’s minor, but couldn’t survive Frederic’s infraction as the Canadiens continued to pressure in the attacking zone before Petry forged a pass via Brendan Gallagher to Anderson (19) for a power-play goal on a shot with eyes past Swayman.

Gallagher (16) and Petry (19) had the assists on Anderson’s goal and the Habs trailed, 2-1, at 1:51 of the second period.

Boston responded less than a few minutes later as Clifton sent a pass up to Nosek on a rush before Nosek setup Haula (17) with a tape-to-tape pass for the catch and release goal at 4:04 of the second period.

Nosek (14) and Clifton (8) notched the assists and the Bruins went ahead by two goals once more, 3-1.

About a minute later, Haula headed off to the box for interference– taking Jake Evans with him, though, as Evans was assessed an embellishment infraction to present some more 4-on-4 action at 5:16.

Less than a minute later, however, Grzelcyk tripped Anderson and yielded an abbreviated 4-on-3 power play to the Canadiens at 5:47.

Montréal could not convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Moments later, Laurent Dauphin checked Taylor Hall along the boards leaving Hall out of breath, but the Bruins forward managed to skate off on his own after a stoppage and never went down the tunnel.

Cassidy informed reporters that Hall must have simply “had the wind knocked out of him” and indicated that he didn’t expect the Boston forward to miss any time.

Marchand and Anderson exchanged pleasantries late in the period yielding slashing and cross checking minors, respectively, at 16:12 and resulting in more 4-on-4 action for the two squads.

On an attacking zone faceoff, the Bruins won the puck back to the point where McAvoy (10) snapped a shot past Montembeault’s blocker side to give Boston a three-goal lead.

Bergeron (37) had the only assist on the goal as McAvoy made it, 4-1, at 18:09 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of action Sunday night, the Bruins led, 4-1, on the scoreboard and held a, 31-16, advantage in shots on goal– including a, 14-8, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

Boston also led in hits (23-22), while Montréal led in takeaways (4-3), giveaways (13-9) and faceoff win% (51-49) after two periods.

Both teams had eight blocked shots aside, while the Canadiens were 1-for-3 and the Bruins were 0-for-1 on the skater advantage.

McLaughlin lifted the puck over the glass for an automatic delay of game infraction at 3:10 of the third period and the Habs didn’t take long to capitalize on the ensuing advantage.

Montréal won a faceoff back to the point where Petry slid a pass across the ice to Hoffman (13) for a one-timer blast off the iron and in– bringing the Canadiens to within two goals at 3:13.

Petry (20) and Christian Dvorak (19) had the assists on Hoffman’s power-play goal and the Habs trailed, 4-2.

Almost midway through the final frame, Nick Suzuki (21) caught a pass and released a shot from the slot past Swayman after the Bruins failed to clear their own zone.

Mathieu Perreault (4) and Michael Pezzetta (4) had the assists on Suzuki’s goal and the Canadiens trailed, 4-3, at 7:19 of the third period.

With 2:20 remaining in the action, Montréal’s interim head coach, Martin St. Louis, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.

After Forbort’s shot attempt was knocked down by a high stick in Boston’s attacking zone, however, Montembeault had to return to the crease otherwise the Canadiens would’ve allowed a surefire empty net goal.

With 51.8 seconds remaining, Montembeault vacated the net once more.

After a stoppage with 26.2 seconds left, St. Louis used his timeout to rally his skaters for one last chance, but the Bruins wound up getting another rush in the dying seconds of the game after Nosek and Marchand won a battle along the boards.

Marchand fed an indirect pass off the boards across the width of the ice for Bergeron (22) to retrieve and skate into the attacking zone mostly unguarded before burying the puck in the empty net for his second goal of the game and another two-goal advantage for Boston.

Marchand (45) had the only assist on Bergeron’s empty net goal and the Bruins led, 5-3, at 19:53 of the third period.

As a result of the goal, Bergeron now trails Rick Middleton by five goals for the third-most in franchise history, while Marchand is nine points away from reaching the 800-point plateau in his career.

He’s also two points away (791) from tying Wayne Cashman (793) for the seventh-most points in Bruins franchise history.

At the final horn, Boston had won, 5-3, and left Bell Centre leading in shots on goal, 42-26, including an, 11-10, advantage in the third period alone.

The Bruins also finished the night leading in giveaways (19-16) and hits (36-28), while the Canadiens exited their own ice with the advantage in blocked shots (17-10) and faceoff win% (52-48).

Montréal went 2-for-4 on the power play on Sunday, while Boston went 0-for-1.

Meanwhile, Swayman picked up his 23rd win of the season and moved into sole possession of the fourth-most wins by a rookie goaltender in B’s franchise history, trailing Frank Brimsek (33), Andrew Raycroft (29) and Tiny Thompson (26) as a result.

Tuukka Rask, Marco Baron and Jack Gelineau are now tied for the fifth-most with 22.

The Habs are now on a nine-game losing streak (all in regulation) and fell to 6-38-8 (3-21-3 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 4-32-8 (2-16-3 at home) when trailing after one period and 3-40-6 (1-22-2 at home) when losing after two periods in 2021-22.

Boston improved to 36-9-2 (19-4-1 on the road) when scoring first, 28-5-1 (14-2-1 on the road) when leading after the first period and 31-1-3 (17-0-2 on the road) when leading after the second period this season.

The B’s have three games remaining in the regular season, while the Toronto Maple Leafs have two games and the Tampa Bay Lightning have three games left in their schedules.

Toronto is 2nd in the Atlantic Division and can clinch home ice in the First Round with at least one point in their remaining games, while Tampa would need to win out their final three games and hope for the Maple Leafs to lose their last two games in regulation.

Boston cannot finish higher than 3rd in the Atlantic and is not destined to have home ice in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs unless they meet another wild card in the later rounds.

Entering Monday, the B’s would face the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2022 First Round, though if Boston falls behind the Washington Capitals (100 points) in the wild card standings, there’s always a chance they’ll face the Florida Panthers.

In any case, Toronto would face Tampa if Boston is a wild card team.

Otherwise, we could be looking at another Bruins vs. Leafs First Round series if Boston is able to overcome the Lightning in the division standings.

The Bruins host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday and Buffalo Sabres on Thursday before closing out the 2021-22 regular season Friday night on the road against the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.

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Pastrnak reaches 500 career points in, 3-1, victory against Rangers

David Pastrnak scored a goal and had an assist in his return to action after missing the last eight games due to injury as the Boston Bruins beat the New York Rangers, 3-1, Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.

Pastrnak became the third-fastest Bruin in franchise history to amass 500 points with 239 goals and 261 assists in 508 career games since making his National Hockey League debut in the 2014-15 season after Boston drafted him in the first round (25th overall) in 2014.

Only Bobby Orr (500 points in 396 games) and Ray Bourque (500 points in 484 games) outpaced Pastrnak for the fastest to 500 career points (all with the Bruins).

Meanwhile, Linus Ullmark (24-10-2, 2.52 goals-against average, .914 save percentage in 39 games played) made 30 saves on 31 shots against for a .968 save percentage and the win in his first game back from an undisclosed injury that caused him to miss the last three games.

Rangers goaltender, Igor Shesterkin (36-12-4, 2.03 goals-against average, .936 save percentage in 52 games played), stopped 32 out of 35 shots faced in the loss.

Boston improved to 48-25-5 (101 points) on the season and within a point of the Tampa Bay Lightning for 3rd in the Atlantic Division at the time of this writing.

Despite being 4th in the Atlantic, the B’s hold the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

New York, meanwhile, fell to 51-22-6 (108 points) overall and stuck in 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Bruins finished their regular season series against the Rangers and went 1-1-1 across their three matchups.

The B’s went 5-3-0 against the Broadway Blueshirts in 2020-21 and 3-0-0 in 2019-20.

Hampus Lindholm, Pastrnak and Ullmark returned to the lineup for Boston, while Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) remained out against the Rangers on Saturday.

B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters prior to Saturday afternoon’s, 3-1, win that Pastrnak and Lindholm may not travel to Montréal as the Bruins visit the Canadiens Sunday night.

Zboril, meanwhile, has reportedly begun contract extension negotiations with Boston, according to New England Hockey Journal and NHL.com contributor, Mark Divver.

Jack Ahcan, Jack Studnicka and Troy Grosenick were all reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) prior to Saturday’s matchup against New York (Ahcan and Studnicka were technically reassigned on Thursday and Friday, respectively).

With a trio of players returning to the lineup, Cassidy made changes accordingly– moving Curtis Lazar back to the fourth line as Pastrnak resumed his regular role on the second line right wing.

Meanwhile, Lindholm suited up alongside Charlie McAvoy on the first defensive pairing with Matt Grzelcyk demoted to the second pairing next to Brandon Carlo and Mike Reilly joining Marc McLaughlin as the odd players out as a result of Pastrnak and Lindholm’s return.

Reilly and McLaughlin were joined by Josh Brown and Anton Blidh on Boston’s list of healthy scratches on Saturday, while Lazar skated in his 400th career NHL game.

Julien Gauthier cut a rut to the penalty box for tripping Lindholm at 7:47 of the first period, but the Bruins failed to capitalize on the resulting power play opportunity.

A few minutes later, Jake DeBrusk caught Adam Fox with a high stick and presented the Rangers with their first power play of the afternoon at 10:01, but New York couldn’t score on the ensuing skater advantage.

Boston got another chance on the power play at 12:26 of the first period when the Rangers were caught with too many skaters on the ice.

Once more, however, the B’s let another power play go by the wayside.

Late in the period Brad Marchand rushed the puck up the ice to McAvoy as Boston’s best defender pinched in from the point to the slot prior to sliding a pass through the slot to Pastrnak (39) for a one-timer goal on Shesterkin’s blocker side.

McAvoy (45) and Marchand (43) tallied the assists as the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead at 19:25.

Heading into the first intermission, Boston had the advantage on the scoreboard, despite trailing New York in shots on goal, 12-10.

The B’s led in blocked shots (9-5), giveaways (5-2) and faceoff win percentage (71-29), while the Rangers led in takeaways (3-2) and hits (11-7).

New York was 0-for-1 and Boston was 0-for-2 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Taylor Hall (18) received a breakaway pass from Erik Haula and sent a shot over the glove early in the second period to extend Boston’s lead to two-goals.

Haula (26) and Pastrnak (34) notched the assists as the Bruins took a, 2-0, lead at 1:07 of the second period– courtesy of Hall’s goal and Pastrnak’s 500th career NHL point in the form of a secondary assist on the goal.

Midway through the middle frame, McAvoy rocked Fox on a clean open ice hit in Boston’s own end– drawing the ire of Dryden Hunt and resulting in a bit of a fracas between McAvoy and Hunt that resulted in a pair of roughing infractions and 4-on-4 action at 9:27.

The Bruins soon had an abbreviated 4-on-3 power play after Jacob Trouba tripped Pastrnak at 10:21 of the second period, but once again the B’s couldn’t muster anything on the power play– falling to 0-for-32 on their last 32 skater advantages as a result.

Through 40 minutes of action, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and held a, 28-22, advantage in shots on goal, including an, 18-10, advantage in the second period alone.

Boston led in blocked shots (11-9), giveaways (9-8) and faceoff win% (68-32) after two periods, while New York held the advantage in takeaways (8-3) and hits (24-20).

The Rangers were 0-for-1 and the Bruins were 0-for-3 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Ullmark sent the puck over the glass and out of play to kick off the third period with an automatic infraction at 1:42.

Craig Smith served the minor and the Rangers took full advantage of the ensuing power play.

Carlo lost his stick and was aiming to retrieve it while the puck was still in New York’s attacking zone– rendering the Bruins defender out of position as Mika Zibanejad stood on the doorstep and awaited a pass through the slot.

Chris Kreider setup Zibanejad (29) for a one-timer goal as Ullmark made a desperation effort that came up a little bit short as Zibanejad’s power-play goal brought the Rangers to within one and put them on the scoreboard.

Kreider (24) and Alexis Lafrenière (12) had the assists on the goal and New York trailed, 2-1, at 2:58 of the third period.

Carlo also managed to hook Lafrenière before losing his stick– resulting in another power play for the Rangers at 2:58, though this time Boston was able to kill off the infraction.

Midway through the third period, Connor Clifton dumped the puck off of Charlie Coyle (inadvertently) and into the attacking zone, where Smith retrieved the rubber biscuit by the goal lime and zipped a pass back to Trent Frederic (7) for the catch and release shot in the slot off of Shesterkin and into the twine.

Smith (18) and Coyle (27) picked up the assists as the Bruins extended their lead back to two-goals, 3-1, at 9:37.

With 3:49 remaining in the action, Rangers head coach, Gerard Gallant, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker before using his timeout 46 seconds later to draw up a plan to rally his skaters for a pair of goals to tie the game at the very least.

Things did not go to plan.

New York iced the puck with 40.1 seconds remaining after Marchand rang the outside of the iron on an empty net and Shesterkin went back into the crease.

He wasn’t able to make his way back to the bench as Boston sustained enough offensive pressure to keep the Rangers from breaking through the neutral zone as time ticked down and the final horn eventually sounded.

The Bruins had won, 3-1, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 35-31, despite being outshot by the Rangers, 9-7, in the third period alone.

Boston exited their own building leading in blocked shots (17-11) and faceoff win% (62-38), while New York left TD Garden leading in hits (34-24).

Both teams managed to amass nine giveaways each, while the Rangers went 1-for-3 on the power play and the B’s finished the afternoon 0-for-3 on the skater advantage.

For the fourth time in the last five seasons, Boston passed the 100-point plateau in the standings.

The Bruins have 25 seasons with 100 points or more in franchise history, which is also an NHL record.

Having completed their final matinée game of the regular season, the B’s went 11-2-0 in 13 afternoon matchups in 2021-22, while improving to 35-9-2 (17-5-1 at home) when scoring first, 27-5-1 (14-3-0 at home) when leading after one and 30-1-3 (14-1-1 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

New York fell to 18-17-4 (11-11-0 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 11-12-4 (6-9-0 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 4-17-2 (1-12-0 on the road) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins will pay a visit to the Montréal Canadiens on Sunday before hosting the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, prior to their regular season series finale on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.

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DeSmith sets franchise record in, 4-0, shutout victory for Penguins

Casey DeSmith made 52 saves in a, 4-0, shutout for the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night against the Boston Bruins at PPG Paints Arena– setting a pair of franchise records for each team in the process.

DeSmith made the most saves in a shutout win in Penguins history, surpassing Jean-Sebastian Aubin’s 45-save effort in a, 4-0, win against the Dallas Stars on March 9, 2004, at Pittsburgh’s former home, Mellon Arena.

Meanwhile, for the first time in Bruins history, Boston had 50 or more shots on net in a shutout loss.

Also Jake Guentzel scored a hat trick to reach the 40-goal plateau for the second time in his career and first time since the 2018-19 season.

Talk about burying the lede.

DeSmith (9-5-5, 2.75 goals-against average, .915 save percentage in 23 games played) made 52 saves on 52 shots against in the shutout win for the Pens, while Jeremy Swayman (22-13-3, 2.35 goals-against average, .916 save percentage in 39 games played) stopped 28 out of 31 shots faced in the loss for the B’s.

The Penguins improved to 44-23-11 (99 points) overall and remain in command of 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division, while the Bruins fell to 47-25-5 (99 points) and remain stuck in 4th place in the Atlantic Division.

Boston is still two points ahead of the Washington Capitals for the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with the second wild card going on to face the Florida Panthers in the 2022 First Round as a result of the Panthers clinching the number one seed in the Eastern Conference on Thursday night.

The B’s went 1-2-0 in their regular season series against the Penguins after going 5-3-0 against Pittsburgh in 2020-21 and 2-1-0 in 2019-20.

The Bruins remained without Jakub Zboril (right ACL), David Pastrnak (undisclosed), Hampus Lindholm (lower body), Linus Ullmark (undisclosed) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) on Thursday.

Head coach, Bruce Cassidy, informed reporters prior to the matchup with the Penguins that Ullmark could be back on Saturday afternoon in Boston and made no changes to his lineup from Tuesday night’s, 3-2, overtime victory in St. Louis to Thursday night’s loss in Pittsburgh.

Jack Studnicka, Josh Brown, Jack Ahcan and Anton Blidh made up the short list of healthy scratches for the B’s against the Pens.

Rickard Rakell sent a pass to Sidney Crosby before Crosby bumped it over to Guentzel along the blue line as the Penguins entered the attacking zone almost midway through the opening frame.

Guentzel (38) drove to the net as the Bruins botched a line change and buried a shot through Swayman’s five-hole to give Pittsburgh a, 1-0, lead at 7:49 of the first period.

Crosby (52) and Rakell (20) tallied the assists on Guentzel’s first goal of the game.

Moments later, Pittsburgh had the first power play of the night as a result of Taylor Hall’s slashing infraction at 11:48, but the Pens failed to convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

After one period the Penguins led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 13-11, in shots on goal.

Boston, meanwhile, held the advantage in giveaways (4-1), hits (15-7) and faceoff win% (59-41).

Both teams had four blocked shots and five takeaways each heading into the middle period while Pittsburgh was 0-for-1 on the power play and the Bruins had yet to see any action on the skater advantage.

Early in the middle frame, Boston’s defense erred once more as Jeff Carter sent fed Jason Zucker a lead pass into the attacking zone.

Zucker (8) broke free behind Brandon Carlo and buried a shot in the top right corner as Carlo opted to cover Bryan Rust in the center of the ice.

Carter (24) and John Marino (24) notched the assists as the Penguins took a, 2-0, lead at 6:10 of the second period.

About ten minutes later, the Pens extended their lead to three goals when Carlo failed to clear the zone and ended up giving the puck away to the high slot whereby Pittsburgh kept it in the zone and worked it around before Kris Letang dished a pass through the slot to connect with Guentzel (39) on a one-timer goal.

Letang (56) had the only assist as the Penguins made it, 3-0, at 16:12 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of action, Pittsburgh led on the scoreboard, 3-0, despite trailing in shots on goal, 30-25.

Boston even had a, 19-12, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone, while also maintaining control in takeaways (8-6), giveaways (6-3) and hits (29-19).

The Penguins, on the other hand, led in blocked shots (7-6), while both teams managed to split faceoff win%, 50-50, after two periods.

Only the Pens had seen any power play action heading into the second intermission and Pittsburgh was 0-for-1 as a result entering the final frame.

Marcus Pettersson cut a rut to the penalty box for interference at 7:27 of the third period, but the Bruins weren’t able to convert on the resulting power play– falling to 0-for-28 on their last 28 power play opportunities as a result.

The B’s had another chance on the skater advantage at 10:16 when Chad Ruhwedel was penalized for holding, but Boston ended up extending their power play drought to 0-for-29 on their last 29 power plays instead.

With about four minutes left in the game, Cassidy pulled Swayman for an extra attacker.

He’d end up yanking him again about a minute later after a stoppage in play resulted in a defensive zone faceoff, but Pittsburgh made quick work of the open net regardless.

Guentzel (40) retrieved a loose puck in his own end and flung the rubber biscuit with enough velocity to reach the back of the empty twine across the rink– giving the Penguins a, 4-0, lead as a result at 17:55 of the third period.

Hats rained down from the stands at PPG Paints Arena as Guentzel completed his hat trick with an unassisted empty net goal.

At the final horn, Pittsburgh had won, 4-0, with DeSmith earning a shutout despite Boston exiting the ice with a, 52-32, advantage in shots on goal, including a, 22-7, advantage in shots on net in the third period alone.

The Bruins exited PPG Paints Arena with the advantage in giveaways (6-5), hits (36-26) and faceoff win% (52-48), while the Penguins left their own ice leading in blocked shots (14-8).

The Pens went 0-for-1 and the B’s went 0-for-2 on the power play on Thursday.

Boston has now lost five out of their last eight games and dropped to 13-16-3 (6-8-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 6-14-2 (2-7-1 on the road) when trailing after one and 4-19-2 (1-8-1 on the road) when losing after two periods this season.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, improved to 33-5-3 (17-3-1 at home) when scoring first, 22-3-2 (13-2-1 at home) when leading after the first period and 30-1-2 (15-0-1 at home) when leading after two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins return home to host the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Puck drop is set for a little after 3 p.m. ET on ABC.

Boston heads to Montréal on Sunday before hosting Florida and Buffalo next Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, prior to their regular season finale in Toronto next Friday.

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Bruins beat Blues in overtime on the road, 3-2

For the first time since Game 6 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, the Boston Bruins paid a visit to Enterprise Center on Tuesday night and snapped the St. Louis Blues’ nine-game winning streak with a, 3-2, overtime victory on the road.

Charlie McAvoy scored the game-winning goal for Boston less than a minute into the extra frame, while Jeremy Swayman (22-12-3, 2.33 goals-against average, .916 save percentage in 38 games played) made 20 saves on 22 shots against in the win.

St. Louis goaltender, Ville Husso (24-6-6, 2.46 goals-against average, .923 save percentage in 38 games played) stopped 32 out of 35 shots faced in the overtime loss.

The Bruins improved to 47-24-5 (99 points) on the season and are now one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning (46-22-8, 100 points) for 3rd in the Atlantic Division, while remaining 4th place in the division and in command of the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Blues, meanwhile, fell to 46-20-11 (103 points) overall and dropped to 3rd in the Central Division as a result of the Minnesota Wild’s, 2-0, victory against the Montréal Canadiens Tuesday night– forcing St. Louis and Minnesota in a tiebreaker that the Wild currently hold by virtue of having played in one fewer game than the Blues so far this season (76 games to St. Louis’ 77).

Boston finished 1-1-0 in their 2021-22 regular season series against St. Louis having previously gone 1-0-0 in their 2019-20 campaign that was cut short due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (which also prevented the two teams from meeting in the regular season in 2020-21).

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters ahead of the game that David Pastrnak (undisclosed), Hampus Lindholm (lower body) and Linus Ullmark (undisclosed) would not make the two-game road trip against the Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins and are likely to return next week prior to the conclusion of the regular season.

As such, the B’s were without Pastrnak, Lindholm and Ullmark in addition to being short Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) on Tuesday.

Frödén’s injury meant that Curtis Lazar would slide in on the right side of the second line with Tomáš Nosek returning to the lineup to center the fourth line.

Cassidy made no other changes to his lineup from last Saturday’s, 2-1, victory against Pittsburgh to Tuesday night at Enterprise Center.

Jack Studnicka, Josh Brown, Jack Ahcan and Anton Blidh made up Boston’s list of healthy scratches in St. Louis.

Nathan Walker hooked Erik Haula and presented the Bruins with the first power play opportunity of the night at 5:40 of the first period, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage as it was cut short when Mike Reilly caught Brayden Schenn with a high stick at 6:49.

The B’s fell to 0-for-26 on the power play in their last 26 opportunities as a result.

St. Louis didn’t convert on their abbreviated skater advantage as the Bruins made the kill and Reilly returned to the ice from his sixth penalty in his last last games (four of which were, in fact, for high sticking).

Midway through the opening frame, McAvoy hooked Ryan O’Reilly at 11:11 and presented the Blues with another power play.

This time St. Louis made quick work of the skater advantage as Pavel Buchnevich (28) redirected a one-touch pass from Vladimir Tarasenko past Swayman to give the Blues a, 1-0, lead at 11:49 of the first period.

Tarasenko (44) and Jordan Kyrou (43) tallied the assists on Buchnevich’s power-play goal.

Late in the period, the two teams went into the first intermission at 4-on-4 after Ivan Barbashev and Lazar went into the box for roughing and an unsportsmanlike conduct infraction, respectively, at 19:15.

The two clubs would resume 5-on-5 action early in the middle frame after the penalties expired.

After one period, St. Louis led, 1-0, on the scoreboard, despite Boston holding an, 11-8, advantage in shots on goal.

The Bruins also led in blocked shots (8-3), takeaways (5-3) and faceoff win percentage (57-43), while the Blues led in giveaways (5-1) and hits (12-7).

St. Louis was 1-for-2 on the power play, while Boston was 0-for-1 on the skater advantage heading into the middle period.

Jake DeBrusk (23) sent a shot over Husso’s short side under the crossbar and off the back bar in the net before the puck rebounded back out of the twine.

The goal was waved off at first before a quick official review determined that the rubber biscuit had gone in and out so quickly– rendering an assist to Matt Grzelcyk (20) in the process while DeBrusk tied the game, 1-1, at 1:33 of the second period.

Almost midway through the middle frame, Haula sent a one-hand pass back to the point where Derek Forbort got a shot off towards the slot that Taylor Hall (17) tipped from below the crossbar past Husso– giving the Bruins their first lead of the night, 2-1, in the process.

Forbort (10) and Haula (25) notched the assists on Hall’s goal and the B’s had momentum well on their side at 9:44.

Late in the period, however, Forbort cut a rut to the penalty box for tripping Dakota Joshua, but Boston was able to make the kill on the ensuing infraction and special teams action at 17:00 of the second period.

In the vulnerable minute thereafter, though, the Blues managed to fling a shot at the net that Robert Thomas (19) tipped while skating through the slot to tie the game, 2-2, at 19:57.

Buchnevich (43) and Tarasenko (45) had the assists on Thomas’ goal with 2.4 seconds left on the clock in the second period as the Bruins gave up their 19th goal against in the final minute of any period this season.

Through 40 minutes the score was tied, 2-2, despite Boston holding a decisive advantage in shots on goal, 28-17. The Bruins even outshot the Blues, 17-9, in the second period alone.

The B’s held the advantage in blocked shots (10-8), takeaways (11-5) and faceoff win% (63-38), while the Blue Notes led in giveaways (8-5) and hits (15-14) heading into the final frame.

St. Louis was 1-for-3 on the power play while Boston was 0-for-1 on the skater advantage.

Neither team scored in the third period, while only Barbashev took a penalty at 6:34 for tripping Haula.

The Bruins fell to 0-for-27 on their last 27 power play opportunities as the skater advantage came and went by the wayside.

After 60 minutes of regulation, Boston and St. Louis were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard despite the Bruins holding a, 34-22, advantage in shots on goal– including a, 6-5, advantage in the third period alone.

The B’s led in takeaways (16-11), hits (22-20) and faceoff win% (59-41), while the Blues led in giveaways (11-4) after three periods.

Both teams had 13 blocked shots each, while St. Louis finished the night 1-for-3 on the power play and Boston went 0-for-2 on the skater advantage as no penalties were called in the extra frame.

Cassidy sent out Charlie Coyle, DeBrusk and McAvoy to start the overtime period, while Blues head coach, Craig Berube, countered with Thomas, Tarasenko and Justin Faulk.

It didn’t take long for the Bruins to nearly blow it, then win it.

One Boston skater misplayed a loose puck before DeBrusk over-skated it prior to Swayman emerging from the crease to clear it off the boards in the neutral zone while facing pressure from a St. Louis forward.

The Bruins quickly recovered from their own unforced error and entered the attacking zone on a rush with DeBrusk cutting to the trapezoid rather than shooting the puck prior to sending a pass back to McAvoy (9) as the defender crept into the high slot and snapped a shot past Husso for the game-winning goal.

DeBrusk (15) and Coyle (26) had the assists on McAvoy’s goal 48 seconds into overtime and the Bruins won, 3-2, almost as quickly as the extra frame began.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 35-22, including a, 1-0, advantage in overtime alone, as well as maintaining their advantage in hits (22-20) and faceoff win% (60-40).

St. Louis left their own ice with the lead in giveaways (11-4), while both teams managed to amass 13 blocked shots each.

The Bruins snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Blues in the process on Tuesday night, while improving to 9-3 in overtime this season (11-5 past regulation overall in 2021-22).

The Blues fell to 3-9 in overtime this season, as well as 5-11 past regulation overall.

St. Louis also dropped to 27-8-6 (16-4-3 at home) when scoring first, 20-1-4 (14-0-3 at home) when leading after one and 8-4-5 (3-2-3 at home) when tied after two periods in 2021-22.

Boston improved to 13-15-3 (6-7-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 6-13-2 (2-6-1 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 14-5-0 (7-4-0 on the road) when tied after the second period this season.

The Bruins head to PPG Paints Arena for a matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night before hosting the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden on ABC.

Boston heads to Montréal on Sunday before hosting Florida and Buffalo next Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, prior to their regular season finale in Toronto next Friday.