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DTFR Podcast #245- Higher Power (Not A Coldplay Cover)

Checking in with our resident Buffalo Sabres fan, Colby Kephart, about his expectations (or lack thereof) for Owen Power, what other undrafted college players might go pro, what’s considered good goaltending these days, as well as an Eastern Conference rundown and Colby’s “Off the Cuff” debut.

Subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotifyAmazon Music and/or Audible.

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NHL Nick's Net

Nedeljkovic makes a career-high 47 saves in, 5-3, victory for Detroit

Alex Nedeljkovic had an assist on the empty net insurance goal and made a career-high 47 saves on 50 shots against, while Jakub Vrana’s third period power-play goal proved to be the eventual game-winner in the Detroit Red Wings’, 5-3, win against the Boston Bruins Tuesday night at Little Caesars Arena.

Nedeljkovic improved to 18-21-8 on the season with a 3.31 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage in 52 games played after his 47-save performance on Tuesday.

Bruins goaltender, Jeremy Swayman (20-10-3, 2.29 goals-against average, .918 save percentage in 34 games played), stopped 24 out of 28 shots faced in the loss.

Boston fell to 44-21-5 (93 points) on the season and dropped to 4th place in the Atlantic Division by virtue of having played one more game than the Tampa Bay Lightning (93 points in 69 games to Boston’s 93 points in 70 games played).

Detroit, meanwhile, improved to 27-34-9 (63 points) overall, but remained in 5th place in the Atlantic– 30 points outside of a divisional playoff spot and 21 points shy of the Washington Capitals for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The B’s fell to 3-4-1 in eight games at Little Caesars Arena all-time, while also splitting their 2021-22 regular season series with the Red Wings (2-2-0).

The Bruins went 1-2-0 against Detroit in 2019-20, and did not meet the Red Wings in the condensed 56-game regular season in 2020-21.

Boston was without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Trent Frederic (upper body) and David Pastrnak (undisclosed) on Tuesday.

Frederic skated before Tuesday night’s matchup on the road, though there is no timetable for his return.

Meanwhile, Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, was forced to shake up his lines– promoting Tomáš Nosek to the second line right wing in Pastrnak’s normal spot, while forming a fourth line consisting of Jack Studnicka at center– flanked by Anton Blidh and Marc McLaughlin on his wings.

Nick Foligno took Frederic’s spot on the third line as a result, while Curtis Lazar joined Josh Brown and Connor Clifton on Boston’s list of healthy scratches in Detroit.

On defense, Mike Reilly slid over into Brown’s spot on the third defensive pairing with Derek Forbort re-entering the lineup.

Early in the opening frame, Taylor Hall drove a rush into the attacking zone before sending the puck through the high slot to the opposite wing where Erik Haula (13) caught the pass and unloaded a wrist shot on Nedeljkovic’s far blocker side into the twine– giving Boston a, 1-0, lead as a result.

Hall (37) and Nosek (13) tallied the assists as the Bruins jumped out to the first lead of the night at 4:43 of the first period.

Midway through the first period, McLaughlin caught Adam Erne with an inadvertent high stick and was assessed a minor infraction as a result at 13:44.

The Red Wings did not convert on the ensuing power play and, while Boston’s penalty kill proved to be very successful– scoring a shorthanded goal in the process, in fact.

Detroit made a turnover in the neutral zone leading to a 2-on-1 for the Bruins featuring Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand before the B’s yielded a couple of chances prior to Forbort setting up Brandon Carlo (6) for a shot past Nedeljkovic’s stick side and a two-goal lead as a result.

Forbort (8) and Bergeron (35) had the assists on Carlo’s second career shorthanded goal (his first since Jan. 2017 in Detroit)– tying the young defender’s career-high in goals scored in a season (six in 2016-17) in the process as well at 14:17.

The Bruins led, 2-0, but they’d go on to give up four unanswered goals before hitting the back of the twine once more for the rest of the night.

Charlie McAvoy was assessed a roughing minor at 17:18 and the Red Wings almost capitalized on the ensuing power play.

McAvoy was released from the box without issue at 19:18, but the Bruins were caught in the vulnerable minute after special teams action and gave up yet another last-minute goal in any period as Moritz Seider setup Dylan Larkin (30) for a quick release from the right circle past Swayman.

Seider (40) and Lucas Raymond (31) notched the assists on Larkin’s goal and Detroit cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1, at 19:20 of the first period.

Entering the first intermission, the Bruins led, 2-1, on the scoreboard and held an, 18-12, advantage in shots on goal.

The Red Wings led in blocked shots (5-2), giveaways (4-3) and hits (11-8), while the B’s led in takeaways (3-1) and faceoff win percentage (52-48).

Detroit was 0/2 on the power play, while Boston had yet to see any time on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.

The Bruins would have an early power play at 1:22 of the second period, however, as Pius Suter tripped McAvoy and yielded a skater advantage to Boston as a result.

The B’s failed to conver on the power play, however.

Shortly thereafter, the Bruins failed to clear their own zone and the Red Wings kept the puck in by the blue line before working a shot that deflected off of a body in front of the net into the back of the twine courtesy of Michael Rasmussen (11) being in the right place at the right time on Swayman’s doorstep.

Erne (12) and Danny DeKeyser (8) tallied the assists on Rasmussen’s goal as Detroit tied things up, 2-2, at 5:46 of the second period.

A couple minutes later, Jake Walman cut a rut to the sin bin for holding at 7:48, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing power play.

Midway through the middle frame, Nedeljkovic gave up a rebound that worked to the advantage of the Red Wings as they were quick to recover the loose puck in the slot and go end-to-end as Suter sent it up to Vrana before Vrana setup Filip Zadina (9) on a one-timer goal with Forbort taking the bait and Reilly out of position by default as a result.

Vrana (4) and Suter (17) had the assists on Zadina’s goal as the Red Wings went ahead, 3-2, at 11:32 of the second period.

Late in the period, Foligno hooked Seider and was sent to the box at 19:07, but Detroit wasn’t able to convert on the resulting skater advantage.

Through 40 minutes of action, the Red Wings led, 3-2, on the scoreboard, despite trailing Boston, 33-24, in shots on goal– including a, 15-12, advantage for the Bruins in shots on goal in the second period alone.

The B’s also led in takeaways (3-2) and faceoff win% (59-41), while Detroit held the advantage in blocked shots (6-4), giveaways (11-5) and hits (21-17).

The Red Wings were 0/3 and the Bruins were 0/2 on the power play heading into the final frame.

McAvoy caught Raymond with a high stick at 3:27 of the third period and Detroit made sure to capitalize on the ensuing power play.

It didn’t take the Red Wings long before Filip Hronek passed the puck to Vrana (8) as he was charing through the neutral zone with a burst of speed into the attacking zone before sending a shot past Swayman– high on the blocker side.

Hronek (31) and Walman (5) had the assists on Vrana’s power-play goal and Detroit took a two-goal lead, 4-2, at 4:08 of the third period.

Moments later, DeKeyser cut a rut to the sin bin for interference at 8:46, but the Bruins couldn’t convert on the resulting skater advantage.

Shortly thereafter, Boston tweeted that Hampus Lindholm would not return to the night’s action with a lower body injury.

The recently acquired defender did not make an appearance in the third period and Cassidy told reporters after the game that he didn’t think Lindholm would be out for long-term.

Moments later, DeKeyser was heading back into the box for hooking at 11:58, but Boston’s ensuing power play was cut short as Hall hooked Walman at 12:46.

The Bruins withstood Detroit’s abbreviated power play after 1:12 of 4-on-4 action.

With 3:36 remaining in the game, Cassidy pulled Swayman for an extra attacker.

Marchand and Larkin received slashing minors shortly thereafter at 16:45 and yielded 4-on-4 action once again.

While at even strength at 4-on-4, the Bruins went to work in the attacking zone with Swayman pulled for a de facto 5-on-4 advantage.

McAvoy riffled a shot from the point that Bergeron (19) redirected in the slot past Nedeljkovic on the lower left pad to bring the Bruins to within one.

McAvoy (42) and Hall (38) notched the assists on Bergeron’s goal and the B’s trailed, 4-3, at 17:24.

As a result of his goal in Tuesday night’s loss, Bergeron (394) is now one goal away from tying Ray Bourque (395) for the fourth-most goals in Bruins franchise history.

With 1:29 remaining in regulation, Swayman vacated the crease once more for an extra attacker, but it was ultimately to no avail as a deflected shot led to a slow roller in front of Nedeljkovic whereby the Detroit goaltender was able to corral the rubber biscuit without issue.

Nedeljkovic sent a pass up to Sam Gagner in the neutral zone before Gagner (9) buried the puck into the empty net in Boston’s own end to give the Red Wings a, 5-3, advantage on the scoreboard as Nedeljkovic (2) recorded the only assist on Gagner’s empty net goal at 19:13.

At the final horn, Detroit had won, 5-3, despite finishing the night trailing, 50-29, in shots on goal.

A scrum after the game also resulted in a few punches thrown and some wrestling matches resulting in a plethora of penalties at 20:00 of the third period.

Blidh picked up a slashing minor and a misconduct as Forbort was assessed a misconduct for Boston, while Rasmussen earned a slashing minor and a misconduct for Detroit officially at the 60-minute mark of the game.

Boston left Little Caesars Arena leading in faceoff win% (60-40), while the Red Wings exited their own ice with the advantage in blocked shots (9-7), giveaways (15-5) and hits (31-28).

Detroit finished the night 1/5 on the power play, while the Bruins went 0/4 on the skater advantage on Tuesday.

Boston fell to 32-8-2 (17-4-1 on the road) when scoring first, 25-3-1 (13-2-1 on the road) when leading after one period and 4-16-2 (1-7-1 on the road) when trailing after two periods this season.

The Red Wings improved to 9-25-6 (7-9-4 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 5-23-3 (3-9-1 at home) when trailing after one period and 20-2-3 (14-1-2 at home) when leading after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday before concluding their four-game road trip (1-1-0) at Capital One Arena against the Washington Capitals Sunday afternoon.

Boston returns to TD Garden for a three-game homestand beginning on April 12th against St. Louis.

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NHL Nick's Net

DeBrusk scores pair in overtime victory on the road for Boston

Jake DeBrusk continued his hot streak Monday night at Nationwide Arena as the Boston Bruins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2, in overtime thanks to a game-winner from No. 74 in black and gold himself– which also happened to be his second goal of the game.

DeBrusk has six goals in his last five games as the Bruins are now 7-1-0 in their last eight games, while Linus Ullmark (22-9-2, 2.63 goals-against average, .911 save percentage in 35 games played) made 20 saves on 22 shots against in the win for Boston.

Columbus goaltender, Elvis Merzlikins (22-18-6, 3.40 goals-against average, .903 save percentage in 48 games played), stopped 34 out of 37 shots faced in the overtime loss.

The B’s improved to 44-20-5 (93 points) overall and moved into 3rd place in the Atlantic Division as the Bruins hold the regulation wins tiebreaker with the Tampa Bay Lightning (Boston has 35 regulation wins to Tampa’s 33).

The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, fell to 32-32-6 (70 points) on the season and remain in 6th place in the Metropolitan Division.

Boston swept Columbus in their regular season series 3-0-0 for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

Jakub Zboril (right ACL) was the only Bruin out due to injury on Monday, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made one change to his lineup– scratching Derek Forbort and replacing him with Josh Brown (while switching Mike Reilly back to his regular role as a left shot defender to Brown’s right shot on the third pairing, O.K. so technically two changes).

Forbort joined Jack Studnicka, Marc McLaughlin, Connor Clifton and Anton Blidh on Boston’s list of healthy scratches in Columbus.

Blue Jackets head coach, Brad Larsen, was back from the league’s COVID-19 protocol and returned to his regular job behind the bench after assistant coach, Pascal Vincent, filled in for Larsen.

Emil Bemström (5) sped through the neutral zone on a breakout, got around Brandon Carlo and shot the puck past Ullmark high on the short side– giving Columbus the first lead of the night, 1-0, at 4:31 of the first period.

Jakub Voracek (45) had the only assist on Bemström’s goal.

A minute later, Carson Meyer tripped up Charlie McAvoy for his first career minor penalty in his first career National Hockey League game at 5:32.

Boston did not convert on the ensuing power play, however, and cut their time on the advantage short as a result of McAvoy’s ensuing holding infraction at 6:13.

After 1:19 of 4-on-4 action, the Blue Jackets had an abbreviated power play go by the wayside.

Late in the period, Voracek and Trent Frederic received roughing minors at 14:45 and yielded some more 4-on-4 action that only lasted for a couple of seconds on the ensuing faceoff as Bruins forward, Brad Marchand, interfered with Justin Danforth at 14:47.

Columbus had a rare 4-on-3 power play as a result for 1:58.

The Blue Jackets did not score on the skater advantage with all that extra open ice.

Shortly after he was freed from the penalty box, Marchand made a big hit along the wall as he checked Andrew Peeke hard into the boards– leading with his shoulder first, despite a violent end result in which Peeke was left visibly dazed after laying face down on the ice.

Meanwhile, instead of stopping the play (as Columbus did not have possession, nor did the on-ice officials determine that there was the potential for a severe enough or significant injury to have just occurred), McAvoy retrieved a loose puck and setup DeBrusk on a breakaway before DeBrusk (20) shot the puck off of Merzlikins’ blocker and into the twine– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.

McAvoy (40) had the only assist on DeBrusk’s goal at 18:32 of the first period while the ensuing celebration was subdued while the Blue Jackets’ athletic trainer tended to Peeke at the other end of the rink.

DeBrusk, meanwhile, reached the 20-goal plateau for the second time in his career (five seasons) and first time since he had 27 goals in 68 games in 2018-19.

The 25-year-old forward also extended his goal scoring streak to five games as a result and would finish the night with six goals in the last five games (another first for DeBrusk since Feb. 2019– a five-game goal scoring streak, that is).

Voracek had a few choice words for the on-ice officials after allowing play to continue while Peeke laid face down on the ice and ended up receiving a misconduct as a result at 18:32.

Less than a minute later, Nick Foligno tripped Oliver Bjorkstrand and cut a rut to the sin bin at 19:24 as a result.

Columbus didn’t convert on the ensuing power play, however.

As the first period came to a close, Bjorkstrand and Patrice Bergeron exchanged pleasantries– rendering roughing infractions for each of them at 20:00 of the opening frame.

Entering the first intermission, the Bruins and Blue Jackets were tied, 1-1, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 10-9.

The B’s also held the advantage in blocked shots (3-2), takeaways (2-1) and faceoff win percentage (70-30), while Columbus led in giveaways (2-1) and hits (9-8).

The Blue Jackets went 0/3 on the power play, while Boston was 0/1 on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.

Vladislav Gavrikov caught Taylor Hall with a high stick and drew blood at 2:25 of the second period– resulting in a four-minute double minor infraction as a result.

Boston’s extended power play was cut short, however, as Hampus Lindholm was penalized for interference at 4:00 of the second period.

After 2:00 of 4-on-4 action, the Bruins would go back on the power play for 25 seconds, but couldn’t convert on the abbreviated skater advantage.

Shortly thereafter, Frederic kept the puck in the attacking zone as the Blue Jackets failed to clear it and Boston worked the rubber biscuit around the horn before Charlie Coyle spun away from his opponent and sent a pass to Craig Smith (16) for a wrist shot goal from the high slot under Merzlikins’ blocker.

Coyle (25) and McAvoy (41) tallied the assists on Smith’s goal as the Bruins took a, 2-1, lead at 7:52 of the second period.

After a stoppage midway through the middle frame, Peeke tried getting a few extra jabs at Marchand while DeBrusk stepped in as a scrum encircled the two initial skaters exchanging pleasantries.

While DeBrusk should have gone to the box with Peeke for roughing, the on-ice officials instead assessed minors to Peeke and Marchand at 13:53– yielding more 4-on-4 action for what would be a pair of minutes until Sean Kuraly hooked David Pastrnak at 14:22.

Boston’s abbreviated 4-on-3 power play went by without issue for Columbus’ penalty kill, however.

Jake Christiansen then checked Frederic along the boards right around where Marchand and Peeke collided in the first period and Frederic skated off the ice and headed down the tunnel.

The Bruins later tweeted during the final frame of regulation that Frederic would not return to the night’s action with an upper body injury.

Boston struggled to get out of their own zone in the dying minute of the second period as Columbus miraculously kept the puck from exiting the attacking zone at the blue line with a quick reach into the sky to bat the puck back down to the ice.

After sending it around the zone, Voracek fed Zach Werenski through the slot as Werenski (11) pinched in from the point and one-timed the puck past Ullmark’s glove side– tying the game, 2-2, in the process.

Voracek (46) and Patrik Laine (27) had the assists while Cassidy used his coach’s challenge to review if the Blue Jackets had technically entered the zone offside as a result of their effort to keep the puck in the offensive zone seconds prior.

The ensuing video review was inconclusive, which mean that the call on the ice would stand.

Columbus had tied the game, 2-2, at 19:44 of the second period and the B’s were assessed a bench minor for delay of game as Smith skated over to the box to serve the infraction.

Through 40 minutes of play, the score was tied, 2-2, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 21-14, including an, 11-5, advantage in the second period alone.

The Bruins also led in blocked shots (7-6), takeaways (4-2) and faceoff win% (63-37), while the Blue Jackets led in hits (18-10).

Both teams had two giveaways each and were 0/4 on the power play heading into the final frame of regulation.

Peeke shoved Marchand to the ice with an open palm while the Boston forward entered the attacking zone and presented the Bruins with an early power play at 3:52 of the third period.

Boston’s time on the skater advantage was cut short again, however, as the night’s trend continued with Bergeron hooking Gustav Nyquist to prevent a shorthanded scoring opportunity at 4:39 of the third period.

As a result, the two teams were back to 4-on-4 play, while Pastrnak shortly made an exit from the game with what might have been a core injury after he got tangled up with Gavrikov and fell awkwardly about midway through the final frame of regulation.

After 60 minutes, the Bruins and Blue Jackets remained tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard, despite Boston holding a, 34-22, advantage in shots on goal– including a, 13-8, advantage in the third period alone.

Columbus attained the advantage in takeaways (7-4) and hits (24-15), while the B’s led in blocked shots (12-7), giveaways (3-2) and faceoff win% (64-37).

As no penalties were called in overtime, both teams finished the night 0/5 on the power play on Monday.

Cassidy started Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy in overtime, while Larsen countered with Voracek, Laine and Werenski.

It wasn’t long before the two teams made one change and Lindholm made a timely interception before giving the puck to DeBrusk (21) for a pump fake catch and release game-winning overtime goal on the blocker side at 1:03 of the extra frame.

Lindholm (21) had the only assist on DeBrusk’s second goal of the game as a result and the Bruins won, 3-2.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 37-22– including a, 3-0, advantage in overtime alone.

The Bruins left Nationwide Arena leading in blocked shots (12-7) and faceoff win% (64-36), while the Blue Jackets exited their own building with the advantage in giveaways (4-3) and hits (24-15).

With the win, the B’s improved to 17-3-1 in their last 21 games– including a 7-1-0 record in their last eight games.

Boston is now 7-3 in overtime (9-5 past regulation overall) this season, while Columbus fell to 6-4 in the extra frame (10-6 past regulation overall).

The Bruins also improved to 12-13-3 (5-6-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 14-5-2 (8-2-1 on the road) when tied after the first period and 12-4-0 (5-3-0 on the road) when tied after two periods this season.

The Blue Jackets fell to 17-10-2 (11-6-2 at home) when scoring first, 17-11-3 (10-6-3 at home) when tied after one and 6-6-2 (4-2-2 at home) when tied after two periods in 2021-22.

Boston continues their four-game road trip (1-0-0) Tuesday night in Detroit before heading to Tampa on Friday and Washington D.C. on Sunday.

The Bruins return to TD Garden for a three-game homestand starting April 12th.

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NHL Nick's Net

Haula scores twice in, 5-2, victory for Bruins over Columbus

Erik Haula opened the night’s scoring and had the eventual game-winning goal late in the third period before the Boston Bruins added a pair of empty net goals in their, 5-2, win against the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday night at TD Garden.

Jeremy Swayman (20-9-3, 2.23 goals-against average, .920 save percentage in 33 games played) made 22 saves on 24 shots against in the win for Boston and became the seventh rookie netminder to amass a 20-win season in a Bruins uniform in his first full season.

Swayman joins Tuukka Rask (22 wins in 2009-10), Andrew Raycroft (29 wins in 2003-04) and Marco Baron (22 wins in 1981-82) as the only rookie goaltenders to do so with the B’s in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68).

Columbus goaltender, Elvis Merzlikins (22-18-5, 3.42 goals-against average, .902 save percentage in 47 games played), stopped 37 out of 40 shots faced in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 43-20-5 (91 points) on the season and remain in 4th place in the Atlantic Division– two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning (93 points) for 2nd and 3rd in the division, respectively, while maintaining a stronghold on the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference over the Washington Capitals (84 points).

Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets fell to 32-32-5 (69 points) overall and remain in 6th place in the Metropolitan Division.

The B’s are now 2-0-0 against Columbus this season with their final matchup in their 2021-22 regular season series set for Monday night (April 4th) at Nationwide Arena.

The Bruins went 0-1-1 against the Blue Jackets in 2019-20 and did not play each other last season due to the temporarily realigned divisions in the condensed 56-game schedule as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Craig Smith and Nick Foligno returned to action in their regular roles on the third and fourth lines, respectively, as the former missed Thursday night’s, 8-1, win against New Jersey due to a non-COVID related illness and the latter was “day-to-day” with a lower body injury.

As a result, Anton Blidh and Marc McLaughlin joined Jack Studnicka, Josh Brown and Connor Clifton in the press box as Boston’s healthy scratches Saturday night.

Brown, however, left Thursday’s win with an upper body injury and took part in Saturday’s morning skate without issue.

Jakub Zboril remains out of commission for the Bruins until next season as a result of his knee injury and subsequent surgery back in December.

In addition to the return of Smith and Foligno among his forwards, Bruce Cassidy moved Mike Reilly to the right side of the third defensive pairing in place of Brown and inserted Derek Forbort on the left side to start the night.

Columbus, meanwhile, was short behind the bench as head coach, Brad Larsen, is in COVID-19 protocol, so assistant coach, Pascal Vincent, called the shots for the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

B’s defender, Charlie McAvoy skated in his 300th career NHL game Saturday night after Boston and Columbus honored Foligno for having played in his 1,000th career game on March 15th.

Foligno spent parts of nine seasons with the Blue Jackets and served as captain from 2015-21, hence the delay in his special ceremony, in which the Bruins presented him with a fancy watch, fancy wine, a fancy painting and the traditional silver stick.

Late in the opening frame, Taylor Hall worked the puck deep into the offensive zone before sending a pass back to Hampus Lindholm.

Lindholm wrapped around the net and proceeded to feed McAvoy with a pass as McAvoy crashed the slot and sent a shot off of Merzlikins’ pad before the puck trickled through the crease.

Haula (11) was in the right place at the right time on the doorstep to bank the rubber biscuit off of a body and into the twine– giving the Bruins a, 1-0, lead in the process at 15:09 of the first period.

Hall (36) and McAvoy (38) tallied the assists as Boston got on the scoreboard first.

The B’s didn’t have the lead for long, however, as they were caught ion a lapse in the final minute of the first period.

Swayman mishandled a puck that went in and out of his glove before Gustav Nyquist (17) scored on the rebound with 27 seconds left before the first intermission– tying the game, 1-1, as a result.

Cole Sillinger (11) and Andrew Peeke (14) had the assists as Columbus evened things up at 19:32 of the first period.

Entering the first intermission, the Bruins and Blue Jackets were tied, 1-1, despite Boston holding a, 15-5, advantage in shots on goal.

The B’s also led in blocked shots (7-4), hits (10-9) and faceoff win percentage (56-44), while Columbus held the advantage in takeaways (4-0) and giveaways (10-5).

Neither team had yet to appear on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Yegor Chinakhov sent a bad angle shot off the apron of the net before Justin Danforth (7) scored on the rebound while crashing the slot to give the Blue Jackets a, 2-1, lead 42 seconds into the second period.

Chinakhov (7) and Sean Kuraly (14) notched the assists on Danforth’s goal and the Bruins trailed for the majority of the middle frame as a result.

Hall slashed Gavin Bayreuther and presented Columbus with the first power play of the night at 3;27, but the Blue Jackets failed to convert on the skater advantage.

Instead, late in the second period, the Bruins dominated possession in the attacking zone and worked the puck from Jake DeBrusk to Patrice Bergeron for a fake shot turned pass to Brad Marchand, whereby Marchand (31) sent the puck into the twine on a “tic-tac-goal” effort while Merzlikins dove across the crease– paddle first– in desperation.

Bergeron (33) and DeBrusk (13) had the assists as Boston tied things up, 2-2, at 18:13 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of action, the two teams were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard despite the Bruins leading in shots on goal, 27-20.

Columbus actually held the advantage in shots on net in the second period alone, 15-12, and led in blocked shots (10-8), takeaways (11-2), giveaways (15-11) and hits (24-18).

Boston, meanwhile, led in faceoff win% (52-48).

The Blue Jackets were 0/1 on the power play heading into the final frame and the Bruins had yet to see any action in the skater advantage.

Not much was happening on the event sheet until after the midpoint of the third period, when, at 14:06, Peeke hooked DeBrusk and yielded a power play to Boston for the first time Saturday night.

With 4:46 remaining in the game, Cassidy used his timeout to rally his skaters on the advantage.

Brandon Carlo sent a wrist shot from the point that Haula (12) redirected over the right pad and under Merzlikins’ blocker to give the Bruins a, 3-2, lead at 16:06 of the third period.

Carlo (9) and Lindholm (20) tallied the assists on Haula’s power-play goal and the B’s never looked back.

With 2:12 remaining, Vincent pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker. It backfired.

Boston had an easy breakout as Marchand flipped a pass to DeBrusk (19) on the opposite side of the ice for a lay-up empty net goal– his fourth goal in as many games– giving the Bruins a, 4-2, lead in the process at 18:00 of the third period.

Marchand (39) and McAvoy (39) had the assists on DeBrusk’s goal.

With 1:47 remaining, Merzlikins vacated the crease once more.

Vincent used his timeout after a stoppage with 1:24 remaining, but the Blue Jackets couldn’t muster anything.

Boston botched a couple of chances at the empty twine at the other end of the rink before Bergeron fed the rubber biscuit to Charlie Coyle (15) for an empty net goal and a three-goal lead at that at 19:54.

Bergeron (34) and Marchand (40) notched the assists and at the final horn the Bruins had won, 5-2, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 42-24– including a, 15-4, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston left their own ice leading in blocked shots (18-12) and faceoff win% (61-39), while Columbus exited TD Garden with the advantage in giveaways (16-14) and hits (33-24).

The Blue Jackets went 0/1 on the power play, while the Bruins went 1/1 on the skater advantage on Saturday night.

Boston improved to 16-3-1 in their last 20 games, as well as 32-7-2 (15-4-1) when scoring the game’s first goal this season.

The B’s are now 13-5-2 (6-3-1 at home) when tied after one period and 11-4-0 (7-1-0 at home) when tied after two periods in 2021-22 as well.

Columbus fell to 15-22-4 (8-14-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 17-11-2 (7-5-0 on the road) when tied after the first period and 6-6-1 (2-4-0 on the road) when tied after the second period this season.

The Bruins hit the road next week for four games beginning on Monday in Columbus before swinging through Detroit on Tuesday, Tampa on Friday (April 8th) and Washington, D.C. next Sunday (April 10th).

Boston returns for a three-game homestand on April 12th.

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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins blowout Devils in historic, 8-1, victory

Charlie Coyle, Curtis Lazar, Anton Blidh, Tomáš Nosek, Brandon Carlo and Josh Brown failed to record a point while 12 other members of the Boston Bruins had at least one mention on the scoresheet in an, 8-1, thrashing of the New Jersey Devils Thursday night at TD Garden.

Patrice Bergeron (1-2–3) and David Pastrnak (0-3–3) each had three points, while Linus Ullmark (21-9-2, 2.65 goals-against average, .911 save percentage in 34 games played) made 25 saves on 26 shots faced for a .962 save percentage in the win for Boston.

New Jersey goaltender, Nico Daws (8-9-0, 3.27 goals-against average, .894 save percentage in 19 games played) made 15 saves on 20 shots against in 29:01 time on ice in the loss before he was replaced by Jon Gillies (3-10-0, 3.88 goals-against average, .882 save percentage in 17 games played) made 17 saves on 20 shots (30:59 time on ice) in relief of Daws for no decision.

The Bruins improved to 42-20-5 (89 points) overall and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division– two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

The B’s also hold the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference entering April.

The Devils, meanwhile, fell to 24-38-5 (53 points) on the season and fell to 8th place in the Metropolitan Division, trailing the Philadelphia Flyers by virtue of a tiebreaker in which the Flyers have 17 regulation wins to New Jersey’s 16.

Boston swept their regular season series against the Devils 3-0-0 in 2021-22 after going 3-3-2 against New Jersey in last season’s condensed 56-game schedule (the Bruins went 2-0-1 against New Jersey in 2019-20).

The B’s outscored the Devils, 18-6, over the course of their three matchups this season.

Bruce Cassidy was without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Craig Smith (illness) and Nick Foligno (lower body) on Thursday.

As a result, Marc McLaughlin made his National Hockey League debut in place of Smith on the third line, while Foligno was ruled “day-to-day” and replaced by Blidh on the fourth line.

Cassidy also switched out Derek Forbot and Connor Clifton on the third defensive pairing with Mike Reilly and Brown– the latter of which made his Bruins debut on Thursday since being acquired at the trade deadline on March 21st.

Jack Studnicka, Forbort and Clifton served as Boston’s trio of healthy scratches against the Devils.

Prior to puck drop, the Bruins honored recently retired goaltender, Tuukka Rask, with a video and a ceremonial puck drop at center ice with his wife and three daughters.

Rask is the winningest goaltender in franchise history, amassing 308 wins in 564 games played (also a franchise record).

He ranks second in shutouts (52) with the club, second in career goals-against average (2.28) and is tied for first in career save percentage (.921) all in a Bruins uniform over 15 seasons.

Rask also appeared in 104 Stanley Cup Playoff games and won 57 of them (both franchise records)— winning the Stanley Cup as the backup in 2011, and appearing in two more Finals in 2013 and 2019.

Less than a minute into the opening frame, Matt Grzelcyk (4) wristed a shot from the point into the back of the twine over Daws’ blocker side– giving the Bruins a, 1-0, lead at 57 seconds of the first period.

The two teams got a few extra minutes between Grzelcyk’s unassisted goal and the next faceoff, however, as the TD Garden game clock malfunctioned and left both clubs skating around the ice in a free skate prior to resuming play.

Less than a couple of minutes later, Brown made his first impression with the Boston crowd by squaring off with Mason Geertsen and delivering a few heavy punches back and forth before both players were escorted to their respective penalty box with five-minute majors for fighting at 2:56.

Brown would later leave the game after the second period with an upper body injury, but didn’t look out of place in a Bruins uniform in his debut.

Shortly thereafter, Miles Wood checked Charlie McAvoy hard behind the Boston net and elicited a response from Reilly as the two players wrestled and tumbled to the ice at 4:16 of the first period.

Reilly received two roughing minors– four minutes in penalties in total– to Wood’s sole roughing infraction, rending the night’s first power play to New Jersey as a result.

The Devils did not score on the ensuing skater advantage however.

Hampus Lindholm was penalized for holding at 8:49 and New Jersey went back on the power play, but once again failed to convert on the advantage.

Instead, however, the Devils caught Boston in the vulnerable minute after special teams action as the Bruins were trapped in their own zone.

Nico Hischier cut behind the net, stopped on a dime and turned back the other way before one-handing it to Jack Hughes while falling to his knees after almost losing possession in the trapezoid.

Hughes (25) promptly buried the rubber biscuit high on the short side as Ullmark was a few inches too far off the post.

Hischier (30) and Damon Severson (28) notched the assists as New Jersey tied the game, 1-1, at 11:02 of the first period.

Roughly five minutes later, Jake DeBrusk (18) collected a rebound, deked and pulled the puck to his forehand around Daws’ right pad and into the back of the net for his third goal in as many games after Bergeron initially sent a shot with purpose off of Daws’ blocker back into the high slot.

Bergeron (31) and Lindholm (19) tallied the assists as the Bruins took a, 2-1, lead at 16:09.

Heading into the first intermission, Boston was ahead on the scoreboard and led, 12-7, in shots on goal.

The B’s also held the advantage in blocked shots (5-1), takeaways (4-2), hits (9-8) and faceoff win percentage (67-33).

The Devils led in giveaways (7-1) and were o/2 on the power play, while the Bruins had yet to see time on the skater advantage entering the middle frame.

Pastrnak broke up a pass while Erik Haula intercepted the puck and worked it back to Pastrnak, who wrapped around the goal frame as Haula (10) pounced on the rebound and scored over the glove side to extend Boston’s lead to two-goals at 2:22 of the second period.

Pastrnak (31) had the only assist on the goal as the Bruins led, 3-1.

Shortly thereafter, P.K. Subban yanked Blidh to the ice and was assessed a holding infraction at 2:44, but Boston didn’t convert on the resulting power play.

Nevertheless, the Bruins had all the momentum as they continued to pile up pucks behind Daws and his replacement in Gillies.

First, DeBrusk retrieved his own bad angle shot that went into the far corner before working the puck around the horn back to DeBrusk, who by now had made his way back to about where he sent an initial attempt from.

DeBrusk tried again and hit some dead wood before Brad Marchand (29) gathered the puck and wired it into the twine to give Boston a, 4-1, lead on the scoreboard at 6:33 of the second period.

DeBrusk (12) and Grzelcyk (18) tallied the assists on Marchand’s first goal of the game.

Jesper Boqvist then used his hand on a faceoff shortly thereafter– receiving a faceoff violation infraction in the process– and presented the Bruins with another power play at 8:30 of the middle frame.

It only took the B’s about 30 seconds to convert on the skater advantage as Pastrnak sent a shot on goal that was inadvertently redirected by Bergeron (18) with his skate through Daws’ five-hole– giving Boston a four-goal lead at 9:01 of the second period as a result.

Pastrnak (32) and McAvoy (37) notched the assists on Bergeron’s power-play goal as Lindy Ruff swapped his goaltenders with the Devils trailing, 5-1.

Almost 90 seconds later, DeBrusk checked Ty Smith and left the New Jersey defender catching his breath for a few seconds while Bergeron won the loose puck back to Reilly at the point.

Reilly forked it to Marchand (30) for a one-timer goal– giving him 30 goals on the season in the process for the fifth time in his career (13 seasons) as Boston scored a pair of goals in a span of 1:33 to lead, 6-1.

Reilly (11) and Bergeron (32) tallied the assists on Marchand’s second goal of the game at 10:34 of the second period and the Bruins weren’t done scoring.

Trent Frederic entered the attacking zone on a 2-on-1 with McLaughlin (1) and flipped the puck to No. 26 in black and gold for a one-timer goal on the high glove side– beating Gillies for his first career NHL goal in his first game and extending Boston’s lead to six goals at 12:04.

Frederic (10) had the only assist as Coyle retrieved the puck for McLaughlin’s safekeeping after the game and the B’s led, 7-1, after scoring a trio of goals in a span of 3:03 in the middle frame.

McLaughlin, meanwhile, became the fifth Massachusetts-born NHLer to score in his debut in Bruins history, joining Ryan Donato (March 19, 2018), Frank Vatrano (Nov. 7, 2015), Shawn Bates (Oct. 2, 1997) and Hago Harrington (Dec. 29, 1925) in doing so.

Late in the period, Taylor Hall (16) added one more on a one-timed redirection after Pastrnak and Hall kept it in the attacking zone on a Devils turnover and had a brief 2-on-1 as they made their way to the slot.

Pastrnak (33) had the only assist on Hall’s goal and the Bruins had an, 8-1, lead at 16:12 of the second period– amassing the most goals they’ve scored in a single game this season and reaching eight goals in a game for the first time since Nov. 26, 2019, when Boston beat Montréal, 8-1, at Bell Centre– in part due to a hat trick from Pastrnak that night.

The Bruins also recorded their first instance of scoring six goals in one period since Nov. 3, 1983, when they had six goals in the second period of a, 9-5, victory against the St. Louis Blues at Boston Garden.

Through 40 minutes, the Bruins led, 8-1, on the scoreboard and dominated shots on goal, 28-17, including a, 16-10, advantage in the second period alone.

Boston also led in blocked shots (9-3), takeaways (7-4), hits (16-15) and faceoff win% (64-36), while New Jersey led in giveaways (10-5) after two periods.

The Devils remained 0/2 on the power play, while the B’s were 1/2 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame.

Haula hooked Hughes at 1:10 of the third period, but the Devils couldn’t get another shot past Ullmark while the Bruins did their job on the penalty kill in front of their netminder.

Jonas Siegenthaler sent an errant puck over the glass and out of play for an automatic infraction at 7:26, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the resulting power play.

Late in the game, Coyle and Geertsen exchanged pleasantries and received ten-minute misconducts with a ticket to their respective showers early for the night at 17:03 of the third period.

At the sound of the final horn, the Bruins had won, 8-1, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 40-26, including a, 12-9, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston also left their own ice leading in hits (23-20) and faceoff win% (60-40), while New Jersey led in blocked shots (13-6) and giveaways (15-10).

The Devils finished 0/3 on the power play, while the B’s went 1/3 on the skater advantage in Thursday’s effort– improving to a 15-3-1 record in their last 19 games, as well as 8-0-1 in games after allowing five or more goals in the previous game.

Boston also improved to 31-7-2 (14-4-1 at home) when scoring first, 25-2-1 (12-1-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 28-1-3 (12-1-1 at home) when leading after the second period this season.

New Jersey fell to 9-23-2 (3-15-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 5-18-2 (1-11-0 on the road) when trailing after one period and 3-31-2 (2-20-1 on the road) when trailing after two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins went 10-3-1 in the month of March and begin the month of April by hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday before hitting the road for the next four games starting next Monday (April 4th) in Columbus, next Tuesday (April 5th) in Detroit, then Tampa (April 8th) and Washington, D.C. (April 10th).

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NHL Nick's Net Previews

Preview: Game 50- Avalanche @ Bruins

Monday afternoon at TD Garden, the Colorado Avalanche visit the Boston Bruins in the conclusion of their regular season series– in which the Avs are in the midst of their second-longest road winning streak in club history at seven games.

Colorado’s longest road win streak in franchise history was set during the 2019-20 season when the Avs won nine consecutive games on the road from Feb. 4-March 2, 2020.

The last time the Avalanche won seven straight road games was back in the 1998-99 season, when Colorado won seven games away from home from Jan. 10-Feb. 7, 1999.

Boston, on the other hand, is coming off of a, 3-2, overtime win in Ottawa on Saturday– having finished their four-game road trip with a 2-1-1 record.

On Jan. 26th, the Bruins lost, 4-3, in overtime at Ball Arena as the Avalanche continued their franchise record 18-game home win streak in the process.

B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters after practice on Sunday that Jeremy Swayman would likely get the start in the crease after consulting with goaltending coach, Bob Essensa, and that Derek Forbort would return to the lineup after serving as a healthy scratch in the win against the Senators.

As a result of Forbort returning to action, Connor Clifton will likely return to the press box for Monday’s matinée matchup.

The Bruins will be without the services of Jakub Zboril and Brad Marchand as Zboril remains out for the rest of the season due to his right ACL injury, while Marchand will serve the sixth game out of his six-game suspension on Monday for his antics against Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender, Tristan Jarry, back on Feb. 8th.

Linus Ullmark is expected to serve as Swayman’s backup against Colorado, while Anton Blidh likely remains out of the lineup with Marchand out until Feb. 24th amidst other temporary roster adjustments.

For instance, Cassidy remains committed to Charlie Coyle as the second line center with Trent Frederic at left wing and Craig Smith on right wing while Taylor Hall is required to fill-in for Marchand on the first line alongside Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak.

As a result, Erik Haula was slotted on the left side of Jack Studnicka in Ottawa while Nick Foligno served as the third line right wing.

Jake DeBrusk scored a goal in Saturday’s win and played alongside fourth line regulars, Tomáš Nosek and Curtis Lazar, leaving no room for Blidh to get back into the lineup until Marchand returns, at least.

In summary, Boston will likely be without Zboril, Marchand, Blidh and Clifton on Monday.

The Bruins (28-17-4, 60 points) enter Monday 4th place in the Atlantic Division and in command of the second wild card berth in the Eastern Conference, while Coloardo leads the Central Division, Western Conference as well as the entire National Hockey League standings with a 36-9-4 record (76 points).

Both teams have played in 49 games and will take part in their 50th game of the season against one another.

Boston is 15-10-1 at home this season and 4-4-2 in their last ten games, while the Avalanche are 15-6-2 on the road and 8-1-1 in their last ten games.

The Bruins are 73-58-15-3 in 149 regular season games against the Avalanche/Québec Nordiques in franchise history with 557 goals for and 488 goals against in that span.

Marchand leads the B’s in scoring this season with 21-28–49 totals in 39 games played, while Pastrnak leads the team in goals (25) and ranks second in points (46) in 49 games.

Bergeron rounds out the top-three in team scoring with 35 points (12 goals, 23 assists) in 45 games.

A few milestones are within reach in Monday’s matinée meeting with the Avalanche.

Bergeron (20) is one shorthanded goal away from tying Don Marcotte (21) for the 4th-most shorthanded goals in franchise history, Coyle (198) is two assists away from his 200th career NHL assist and Haula (99) is one goal away from his 100th career NHL goal.

At the other end of the rink, the Avalanche are 13-2-1-1 in 17 games at TD Garden– outscoring the Bruins, 45-28, in that span– and 4-0-0 in day games this season.

Colorado is 12-2-1 in matinée games dating back to the start of the 2019-20 season.

Nazem Kadri leads the Avs in scoring so far this season with 63 points (21 goals, 42 assists) in 46 games, while Mikko Rantanen (26-32–58 totals in 46 games) and Cale Makar (18-32–50 totals in 45 games) round out the top-three on the roster.

Makar had an assist in Colorado’s, 5-3, win at Buffalo on Saturday and reached the 50-point plateau for his second time in three seasons (he’s yet to appear in 57 or more games in a regular season thus far) and did so in his 45th game of the season.

He trails only Brian Leetch (38 games in 1991-92, 43 games in 1990-91), Mike Green (43 games in 2008-09), Gary Suter (44 games in 1987-88) and Steve Duchesne (44 games in 1988-89) among defenders aged 23 or younger in reaching 50 points in as few games since 1986-87.

In the crease, Swayman (10-7-3, 2.14 goals-against average, .923 save percentage in 21 games played) is expected to get the start for the Bruins after making 29 saves on 31 shots faced in Saturday’s, 3-2, overtime win in Ottawa.

Darcy Kuemper (25-5-2, 2.40 goals-against average, .920 save percentage in 35 games played) is likely to get the start for the Avalanche after making 29 saves on 32 shots faced in Saturday’s, 5-3, win against the Sabres in Buffalo.

He made 29 saves on 32 shots against in Colorado’s, 4-3, overtime victory against Boston on Jan. 26th, while Ullmark turned aside 37 out of 41 shots faced in the overtime loss for the B’s.

The Bruins host the Avalanche before embarking on a six-game road trip through Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Vegas and Columbus, while Colorado finishes up a four-game road trip in Detroit on Wednesday after Monday’s matinée in Boston.

Expected lineups

Boston Bruins

BRUINS LINES

71 Taylor Hall 37 Patrice Bergeron (C) 88 David Pastrnak (A)

11 Trent Frederic 13 Charlie Coyle 12 Craig Smith

56 Erik Haula 23 Jack Studnicka 17 Nick Foligno

74 Jake DeBrusk 92 Tomáš Nosek 20 Curtis Lazar

58 Urho Vaakanainen 73 Charlie McAvoy

48 Matt Grzelcyk 25 Brandon Carlo (A)

28 Derek Forbort 6 Mike Reilly

1 Jeremy Swayman

35 Linus Ullmark

Healthy scratches and injured members (officially TBA, below is only a prediction based on last game)

John Moore (unlisted), Brad Marchand (suspension), Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Connor Clifton, Anton Blidh

Colorado Avalanche

92 Gabriel Landeskog (C) 29 Nathan MacKinnon (A) 96 Mikko Rantanen (A)

13 Valeri Nichuskin 91 Nazem Kadri 95 Andre Burakovsky

17 Tyson Jost 37 J.T. Compher 16 Nicolas Aube-Kubel

43 Darren Helm 18 Alex Newhook 25 Logan O’Connor

7 Devon Toews 8 Cale Makar

3 Jack Johnson 49 Samuel Girard

28 Ryan Murray 6 Erik Johnson

35 Darcy Kuemper

39 Pavel Francouz

Healthy scratches and injured members (officially TBA, below is only a prediction based on last game)

Bowen Byram (upper body), Stefan Matteau (IR), Kurtis MacDermid

Goaltending stats entering Monday

Boston Bruins

1 Jeremy Swayman 10-7-3 in 21 GP, 2.14 GAA .923 SV%, 2 SO

35 Linus Ullmark 16-8-1 in 26 GP, 2.79 GAA .909 SV%, 0 SO

Colorado Avalanche

35 Darcy Kuemper 25-5-2 in 35 GP, 2.40 GAA, .920 SV%, 3 SO

39 Pavel Francouz 7-2-0 in 9 GP, 2.39 GAA, .921 SV%, 2 SO

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NHL Nick's Net

Hurricanes sweep season series against Boston for first time in 10 years

The Carolina Hurricanes shutout the Boston Bruins, 6-0, Thursday night at TD Garden to sweep their regular season series (3-0-0) against Boston for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

Andrei Svechnikov had a three-point night (one goal, two assists), while Frederik Andersen (25-6-1, 2.01 goals-against average, .930 save percentage in 32 games played) made 34 saves on 34 shots against for his second shutout of the season.

Bruins goaltender, Linus Ullmark (16-7-1, 2.78 goals-against average, .910 save percentage in 25 games played) stopped 37 out of 43 shots faced in the loss.

Dating back to the 2019-20 season– as the two teams did not meet in the temporarily realigned division-based schedules in 2020-21– three out of their last four regular season games have been shutouts with the Hurricanes amassing two shutouts this season against Boston, while the B’s shutout the Canes in their only meeting in 2019-20.

In 2021-22 alone, Carolina outscored Boston, 16-1.

The Bruins last beat the Hurricanes, 2-0, on Dec. 3, 2019, at TD Garden as Jaroslav Halak made 24 saves en route to a shutout victory.

Thursday night in Boston, the Bruins fell to 26-16-3 (57 points) on the season, but remain in 4th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as in command of the second wild card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Carolina, meanwhile, improved to 32-10-3 (67 points) overall and sit perched atop the Metropolitan Division– two points behind the Florida Panthers for first overall in the entire Eastern Conference– and three points behind the Colorado Avalanche in the race for the 2021-22 Presidents’ Trophy as the Avs beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-2, Thursday night.

The Bruins were without the likes of Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Urho Vaakanainen (upper body), Patrice Bergeron (upper body) and Brad Marchand (suspension) in the, 6-0, loss Thursday.

34-year-old goaltender, Tuukka Rask, announced his retirement from the National Hockey League after 15 NHL seasons (all with Boston).

Ultimately, Rask’s body was not responding well enough from offseason hip surgery to continue to play at the level of competition that the Finnish goaltender desired after signing a one-year deal with Boston on Jan. 11th and playing in four games (2-2-0, 4.29 goals-against average, .884 save percentage) this season.

Rask leaves the game leading the franchise in wins (308), games played by a goaltender (564), saves (14,345), minutes played by a goaltender (32,404:55) and second in career goals-against average (2.28), as well as shutouts (52).

He is tied with Tim Thomas for the lead in career save percentage as a Bruin (.921) and was a member of the 2011 Stanley Cup championship roster, serving as Thomas’ backup in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 regular seasons after briefly usurping Thomas for the role of the starter in 2009-10.

Rask was named to the All Star Game in 2017, as well as in 2020, but chose not to go, thereby serving a mandatory one-game suspension in the following game after the All Star break.

He won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender in 2013-14 and shared the honor of winning the William M. Jennings Trophy with Halak in 2019-20.

Tiny Thompson spent parts of 11 seasons with Boston, while Frank Brimsek played in nine, Gerry Cheevers played in 12 and Thomas spent eight years with the club.

Rask made his league debut in the 2007-08 season and played in 15 seasons for Boston. All for Boston.

Thompson was traded to the Detroit Red Wings as Brimsek forced Art Ross’ hand in the 1938-39 season. Brimsek was dealt to Chicago at the twilight of his career prior to the 1949-50 season.

Cheevers left for a stint in the World Hockey Association in Cleveland from 1972-76, before returning to the Bruins.

Thomas sat out the lockout shortened 2012-13 season and was subsequently traded to the New York Islanders on Feb. 7, 2013, as a result before making an NHL comeback with the Florida Panthers in 2013-14, prior to being traded to the Dallas Stars at the 2014 trade deadline, where he finished his career.

The Bruins traded Andrew Raycroft to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Rask on June 24, 2006, after the Leafs selected Rask 21st overall in 2005.

Rask backstopped Boston to three playoff series wins against Toronto in 2013, 2018, and 2019– leading the Bruins to a pair of Stanley Cup Final appearances in 2013, and 2019.

The torch in the crease passes as Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman look to compete for the starting role in the years to come.

As Bergeron and Marchand were out of the lineup on Thursday, the Bruins had no players remaining from the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in the night’s action for just the second time (previous, Dec. 16th at the Islanders in a, 3-1, loss this season while Bergeron and Marchand were in COVID-19 protocol).

Jack Studnicka and Tyler Lewington were recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL), while Oskar Steen was reassigned ahead of Thursday night’s loss to Carolina.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, placed Studnicka on the second line with Jake DeBrusk and Craig Smith on his wings– promoting the usual second line to first line duties for the night.

Meanwhile, Trent Frederic and Anton Blidh returned to action with Frederic at left wing on the third line and Blidh at left wing on the fourth line.

Charlie Coyle and Nick Foligno joined Frederic on the checking line, while Tomáš Nosek and Curtis Lazar were the usual suspects with Blidh on the fourth line.

Bergeron, Lewington, Vaakanainen, Marchand and Zboril were all out of the lineup due to injury, suspension or healthy scratch purposes on Thursday.

Cassidy informed reporters after the game that Bergeron would not be traveling with the team to Ottawa for Saturday’s matinée on the road against the Senators and remains “day-to-day” with a head injury.

Martin Nečas cross checked Charlie McAvoy and presented Boston with the night’s first power play at 1:29 of the first period on Thursday.

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

A few minutes later, Ian Cole caught Lazar with a high stick at 4:21, but once again the B’s were powerless on the power play.

Frederic cut a rut to the box for cross checking Svechnikov at 7:43 of the first period and yielded Carolina their first power play of the game as a result.

It didn’t take the Hurricanes long before they converted on the skater advantage as Vincent Trocheck (13) stood in the right place at the right time to kick a pass to himself and score on the far side on a rebound.

Teuvo Teräväinen (22) and Svechnikov (23) tallied the assists on Trocheck’s power-play goal as the Canes pulled ahead, 1-0, at 8:26 of the first period.

About a minute later, McAvoy unloaded on a clean hit in the neutral zone on Sebastian Aho– drawing the ire and a response from Tony DeAngelo as the two defenders exchanged fisticuffs and received fighting majors at 9:35.

Moments later, Connor Clifton cut a rut to the sin bin or interference at 13:17, but Teräväinen shortly followed at 14:17 for hooking.

After one minute of 4-on-4 action and an abbreviated power play for the Bruins, neither team could muster another goal on the scoreboard, despite Carolina receiving a power play that bled into the middle frame courtesy of a high stick from David Pastrnak on Nečas at 18:07 of the first period.

Entering the first intermission, the Hurricanes led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 18-11, in shots on goal.

The Canes also held the advantage in blocked shots (3-1), takeaways (3-0), giveaways (3-2) and faceoff win percentage (59-41). Meanwhile, the Bruins held the advantage in hits (22-9).

Carolina went 1/3 and Boston went 0/3 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

The Bruins failed to clear their own zone and turned the puck over right to Svechnikov (18) for an unassisted shot that had eyes and beat Ullmark high on the blocker side.

The Hurricanes jumped out to a, 2-0, lead as a result at 2:35 of the second period and kept pouring it on as the period continued.

Almost midway through the second period, Nečas sent a shot towards the net that Teräväinen deflected off Ullmark and generated a fortunate rebound to Aho (20) as Aho crashed the net in open ice– extending Carolina’s lead to three goals in the process.

Teräväinen (23) and Nečas (16) notched the assists on Aho’s goal as a result and the Hurricanes pulled ahead, 3-0, at 8:01.

Late in the period, while dominating attacking zone possession, the Canes generated yet another rebound that Jesper Fast scooped up and dropped a pass back to the point where Brett Pesce (3) fluttered a shot past the Boston netminder to give Carolina a four-goal lead.

Fast (8) and Jordan Staal (11) had the assists as the Hurricanes took a, 4-0, lead at 14:02 of the second period.

Minutes later, Svechnikov and Matt Grzelcyk collided awkwardly in the corner as Grzelcyk went down in pain– clutching his right shoulder.

After a minute on the ice, Grzelcyk skated off on his own power and went down the tunnel, but did not return to the night’s action.

Through 40 minutes of action Thursday night, the Hurricanes led, 4-0, on the scoreboard, as well as in shots on goal, 29-22, despite both teams amassing 11 shots on net each in the second period alone.

Carolina held the advantage in blocked shots (7-1), takeaways (4-1) and faceoff win% (52-48), while Boston led in hits (36-26).

Both teams had eight giveaways each, while the Canes remained 1/3 and the B’s were 0/3 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Foligno thought he scored a goal and got the Bruins on the board 22 seconds into the third period– only, the on-ice officials quickly waved off the would-be goal.

The official call on ice was no goal by rule of incidental contact with the goaltender as Foligno’s momentum brought him into touch with Andersen– up close and personal as he bowled into the Hurricanes goaltender.

Cassidy challenged the call on the ice on the grounds that he believed his Boston forward was pushed by Brady Skjei, which caused Foligno to continue his path towards the net instead of having a last second chance to bail out.

Video review did not agree with Cassidy’s interpretation of events and the call on the ice was confirmed– no goal.

The Bruins were assessed a bench minor for delay of game as a result of losing the challenge and sent DeBrusk to serve the infraction in the box.

Late on the ensuing power play, Teräväinen gathered a pass from Svechnikov, twirled and spun the rubber biscuit over to Aho (21) for Aho’s second goal of the game– giving Carolina a, 5-0, lead on the scoreboard.

Teräväinen (24) and Svechnikov (24) tallied the assists on Aho’s power-play goal at 1:58 of the third period.

Shortly thereafter, Steven Lorentz tripped Derek Forbort at 6:50, but Boston’s power play went by the wayside (by now you should probably realize this, since Carolina shutout the Bruins on Thursday).

There was no change in the number of skaters on the ice when McAvoy and Aho got into a shoving match and exchanged slashing minors at 8:13.

Things started to quiet down thereafter before Carolina made one more mark on the scoreboard courtesy of a great display of hand-eye coordination from Staal.

Off of an attacking zone faceoff win, Skjei received a pass at the point and wound up to take a shot.

Skjei sent the puck fluttering through the air whereby Staal (3) tipped the shot close past Smith and over Ullmark’s glove to give the Hurricanes a, 6-0, advantage on the scoreboard.

Skjei (12) recorded the only assist on Staal’s goal at 15:24 of the third period.

After that, there were no more goals and no more penalties for the rest of the night– just the sound of the final horn when time ticked down to zeros across the clock.

Carolina won, 6-0, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 43-34, while also amassing a, 14-12, advantage in shots on goal in the third period alone.

The Hurricanes left TD Garden leading in blocked shots (13-4), giveaways (10-9) and faceoff win% (51-49), while the Bruins exited their own building leading in hits (42-32).

The Canes went 2/4 on the power play on Thursday, while the B’s finished the night 0/4 on the skater advantage.

Andersen, meanwhile, picked up his second shutout of the season, as well as the 21st of his career in the process as Carolina finished their regular season series with Boston– outscoring the Bruins by a combined score of, 16-1, over three games.

Both of Andersen’s shutouts so far in 2021-22, came against the Bruins as the Hurricanes swept their regular season series against the B’s.

Boston fell to 9-10-3 (6-6-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 4-10-2 (4-6-1 at home) when trailing after the first period and 3-13-2 (3-8-1 at home) when trailing after two periods this season.

Carolina, meanwhile, improved to 23-3-2 (12-2-2 on the road) when scoring first, 19-1-1 (8-1-1 on the road) when leading after one and 22-1-1 (8-0-1 on the road) when leading after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins hit the road for the next four games and will pay a visit to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, New York Rangers next Tuesday, New York Islanders next Thursday and Senators once more next Saturday.

Boston returns home to host the Colorado Avalanche on Feb. 21st before swinging through Seattle, San Jose and Los Angeles to close out the month of February.

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NHL Nick's Net

Marchand nets hat trick in, 5-1, victory over Montréal

Brad Marchand scored a hat trick, while Curtis Lazar had three points (two goals, one assist) and Linus Ullmark made 24 saves in a, 5-1, win for the Boston Bruins over the Montréal Canadiens Wednesday night at TD Garden.

Ullmark (12-5-0, 2.48 goals-against average, .918 save percentage in 17 games played) turned aside 24 out of 25 shots faced in the win for Boston.

Montréal starter, Jake Allen (5-16-2, 3.15 goals-against average, .901 save percentage in 24 games played), made five saves on seven shots against before an injury forced him out of the game in the loss.

Canadiens head coach, Dominique Ducharme, replaced Allen with Sam Montembeault (1-6-2, 3.99 goals-against average, .895 save percentage in 12 games played) 17:11 into the action.

Montembeault made 31 saves on 34 shots for no decision.

The Bruins improved to 20-11-2 (42 points) overall and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division standings, while the Habs fell to 7-24-4 (18 points) on the season and stuck in 8th place (last) in the Atlantic.

The B’s are now 2-0-0 against the Canadiens this season in their regular season series with a pair of games left to play in Montréal.

Tuukka Rask served as the backup goaltender for Boston on Wednesday after recovering from offseason hip surgery and signing a one-year contract with a cap hit of $1.000 million ($545,000 in actual salary given the time of the signing) on Tuesday.

Rask went 15-5-2 in 24 games last season with a 2.28 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage in that span, as well as two shutouts.

In 560 career National Hockey League games since making his NHL debut in the 2007-08 season, Rask has 306 wins, a career 2.27 goals-against average, a career .921 save percentage and 52 shutouts.

He holds Bruins franchise records in games played by a goalie (560), wins (306), shots against (15,485), saves (14,269), save percentage (.922) and minutes (32,206) and ranks second in goals-against average (2.27, trailing Tiny Thompson’s 1.99 career GAA in a B’s sweater), as well as shutouts (52, trailing Thompson’s 74).

As a result of Rask’s signing, Jeremy Swayman was assigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) as Swayman is not eligible for the NHL’s taxi squad designation.

Boston Sports Journal‘s Conor Ryan noted in a tweet on Tuesday that Rask “was assigned to Providence 10 times between Sept. 2007 and Feb. 2009 before finally carving out an NHL spot. One of those assignments was two days after a 21-year-old Rask had a 35-save shutout against NYR. It’s part of the process,” in an effort to quell feelings of uneasiness watching Swaymen get sent down among Bruins fans.

B’s General Manager, Don Sweeney, informed reporters on Tuesday that Swayman, while disappointed, understands the organization’s decision and shows the drive to get back to the NHL level if an injury or otherwise should occur and necessitate another call-up.

The Bruins were without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Nick Foligno (lower body), Connor Clifton (COVID-19 protocol), Derek Forbort (COVID-19 protocol) and Trent Frederic (upper body) on Wednesday night.

Boston head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters ahead of the game against Montréal that Frederic would miss the next two games– at least– while Foligno could return to action next week.

Meanwhile, Jake DeBrusk and Tomáš Nosek returned from the league’s COVID-19 protocol and were re-inserted in the lineup against the Canadiens.

DeBrusk suited up on the third line in his usual spot at left wing with Charlie Coyle at center and Oskar Steen at right wing, while Nosek resumed his regular role as the fourth line center– flanked by Anton Blidh and Lazar on the wings.

On defense, Cassidy left his pairings alone from Monday night’s, 7-3, win in Washington, D.C. despite Boston having called up Tyler Lewington on an emergency basis.

Urho Vaakanainen, John Moore, Troy Grosenick and Steven Fogarty were reassigned to Providence on Tuesday in what was simply a paper transaction for Vaakanainen and Moore (the pair were recalled prior to facing the Canadiens), while Grosenick and Fogarty remained with the P-Bruins on Wednesday.

Boston’s long list of players out of the lineup against Montréal included Frederic (upper body), Foligno (lower body), Forbort (COVID-19 protocol), Lewington (taxi squad), Zboril (right ACL), Clifton (COVID-19 protocol) and Karson Kuhlman (healthy scratch).

Prior to the singing of the anthems, the Bruins held a moment of silence to honor the life of Teddy Balkind, a 16-year-old hockey player from Connecticut that was killed as a result of an injury that he sustained in a game last week.

Midway through the opening frame, Jeff Petry had his helmet knocked off by Blidh and kept on playing as if nothing had happened. Except that’s a penalty these days.

Petry cut a rut to the box for playing without a helmet and presented the Bruins with the night’s first power play at 9:22 of the first period, but Boston couldn’t muster anything on the skater advantage.

Late in the period, Marchand snuck onto the ice in the midst of a line change and stood open on the left side of the net on the doorstep as Nosek sent a shot-pass to Marchand (17) for the redirection behind Allen.

The Bruins led, 1-0, as Nosek (5) and Lazar (6) notched the assists on Marchand’s first goal of the night at 14:43 of the first period.

A mere 15 seconds later, Marchand (18) one-timed the puck out of mid-air through Allen’s five-hole after the rubber biscuit was initially shot by Craig Smith off of a Montréal defender— high and wide before bouncing off the glass over the net to Marchand.

Smith (8) and Patrice Bergeron (16) tallied the assists on Marchand’s second goal of the game and Boston led, 2-0, at 14:58.

Marchand, as a result, became the first Bruin to score a pair of goals in 15 seconds since Milan Lucic notched a pair en route to scoring a hat trick against the Florida Panthers in a, 4-0, win on Nov. 18, 2010, at TD Garden.

Coincidentally, Marchand would later complete a hat trick of his own in Wednesday night’s victory.

After giving up two goals that were 15 seconds apart, Allen spoke with a Canadiens athletic trainer and was taken out of the game.

Late in the period, DeBrusk sent a shot towards the net looking for an intentional deflection off of Lazar’s (4) foot and into the twine.

DeBrusk (5) and Matt Grzelcyk (12) earned the assists as the Bruins took a, 3-0, lead at 19:10 of the first period.

Heading into the first intermission, Boston led, 3-0, on the scoreboard and, 13-6, in shots on goal.

The B’s also led in faceoff win percentage (59-41), while the Canadiens dominated in blocked shots (7-1), takeaways (5-1), giveaways (2-0) and hits (14-12).

Montréal had yet to see any action on the skater advantage, while Boston was 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Bergeron slashed Jonathan Drouin to avoid giving up a quick goal in the second period, but was sent to the box at 3:19 anyway– yielding a power play to the Canadiens as a result.

Montréal couldn’t convert on the ensuing skater advantage, but got another chance at 6:41 of the second period when Erik Haula was assessed a hooking minor for yanking on Mike Hoffman with his stick.

The Canadiens were subsequently embarrassed on the ensuing special teams play, however, as Marchand (19) scored a shorthanded goal to complete his hat trick and give Boston a, 4-0, lead at 7:10.

Moore (1) and Bergeron (17) had the assists as Marchand picked out a hat from the ice to give to an equipment manager on the Bruins’ bench for safekeeping until after the game.

For the fifth time in his career, Marchand had scored a hat trick and became just the second Bruin to amass three goals in a game this season as Bergeron had previously done so in a, 5-1, win against the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 4, 2021.

Less than a minute later, Ben Chiarot was sent to the box for roughing at 7:50, but Boston couldn’t capitalize on the resulting power play.

Moments later, Michael Pezzetta (2) received a pass from Brett Kulak and spun around before flinging the puck on Ullmark’s short side– scoring a goal as the Bruins failed to clear the zone and broke down in their own end.

Kulak (7) had the only assist as the Canadiens trailed, 4-1, at 10:46 of the second period.

A minute later, Bergeron went back to the box for roughing at 11:49 as he retaliated for a hit behind his own net that he didn’t like when a Montréal player took down Grzelcyk below the goal line.

Montréal’s power play was cut short as Nick Suzuki was penalized for holding at 13:41, resulting in a little 4-on-4 action for nine seconds before an abbreviated power play for Boston began.

Finally, at 19:10 of the second period, Kulak cut a rut to the sin bin for slashing, but the Bruins wouldn’t convert on the skater advantage even as it bled into the final frame of regulation.

Through 40 minutes of play, the B’s led, 4-1, on the scoreboard and dominated in shots on goal, 28-15, including a, 15-9, advantage in the middle frame alone.

The Habs, meanwhile, led in blocked shots (10-3), takeaways (6-2), giveaways (5-4) and hits (22-17), as Boston controlled faceoff win%, 53-47.

Montréal was 0/3 and the Bruins were 0/4 on the power play heading into the second intermission.

Prior to the start of the third period, the Bruins tweeted that Moore would not return to the night’s action with an upper body injury.

Smith tripped Joel Armia 47 seconds into the third period and yielded 26 seconds of 4-on-4 action before an abbreviated power play for Montréal as a result.

The Canadiens didn’t score on the ensuing skater advantage.

Moments later, Marchand took down Suzuki as the Canadiens forward almost had his stick on the puck resulting in an interference minor for Marchand at 5:48 of the third period.

It wasn’t that much longer before things started to get chippy on the ice between the two rival clubs.

A scrum after a whistle at 6:57 of the third period quickly descended into an exchange of forceful shoves and move as Pezzetta and Carlo received roughing minors while Chris Wideman head-butted Haula– further escalating the situation.

Haula received a minor for roughing, while Wideman was assessed two minutes for roughing as well as an unsportsmanlike conduct infraction.

Both teams skated at 4-on-4 for a little longer before resuming full even strength, resulting in a dominant possession for the Bruins at the other end.

Vaakanainen blasted a shot from the point that deflected off of Lazar’s (5) blade and flew under Montembeault’s blocker to give Boston another four-goal lead at 10:19 of the third period.

Vaakanainen (3) and Blidh (6) tallied the assists on Lazar’s second goal of the game and the Bruins led, 5-1.

Minutes later, Ullmark and Laurent Dauphin exchanged pleasantries leading a quick chop that went uncalled as Ullmark instead received an interference minor and Dauphin was handed an embellishment infraction.

Taylor Hall served Ullmark’s penalty while Dauphin had to answer Haula in an exchange of fisticuffs as the boiling point had been reached at 15:o5 of the third period in just the ninth fighting major this season for the Bruins.

The action simmered down afterwards and remained relatively calm as the final minutes winded down and the final horn sounded.

Boston had won, 5-1, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 41-25.

Montréal left TD Garden with the advantage in blocked shots (10-4), giveaways (10-5) and hits (29-21), while the Bruins exited their own ice leading in faceoff win% (54-46).

Both teams went 0/5 on the power play on Wednesday as the B’s earned their third three-game win streak of the season.

Boston improved to 13-5-0 (6-3-0 at home) when scoring first, 14-0-0 (6-0-0 at home) when leading after one period and 15-1-0 (5-1-0 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, fell to 2-20-1 (0-11-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 1-13-2 (0-9-2 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 1-20-2 (0-11-2 on the road) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins (1-0-0) continue their seven-game homestand on Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m. ET on ESPN) before hosting the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

The Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets and Anaheim Ducks will also visit Boston before the B’s hit the road on Jan. 26th in Colorado.

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NHL Nick's Net

What does Don Sweeney need to do to make it up to you by the 2022 trade deadline? (Part 1)

Chapter One- In The Beginning… (2016)

With over two months until the 2022 NHL trade deadline on March 21st, there’s plenty of time to start speculating about what kind of moves— if any— would make the most sense for the Boston Bruins in their 2021-22 endeavor.

Though it wasn’t easy at the start of his tenure as General Manager, Don Sweeney, has significantly improved his trading prowess as the deadline approaches from season to season in Boston.

That said, not every trade has yielded a gold mine for the Bruins and they’ve yet to win the Stanley Cup since 2011, despite making it all the way to Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final on home ice and winning the Presidents’ Trophy the following season (2019-20).

For the record, a lot has changed in both the league itself, as well as the team’s development since the days of acquiring guys like John-Michael Liles and Lee Stempniak on Feb. 29, 2016, instead of swinging for the fences and landing, uh, guys like Pat Maroon, Kris Russell or Mikkel Boedker at the 2016 trade deadline.

In retrospect, maybe there really wasn’t that much of a market that season.

Sure, Eric Staal was traded to the New York Rangers the day before the 2016 trade deadline on Feb. 28th, but he only managed to amass six points in 20 games with the Rangers down the stretch.

Staal then joined the Minnesota Wild in free agency on July 1, 2016, and had four seasons of a career resurgence before he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres prior to the 2020-21 season— whereby he was later flipped to the Montréal Canadiens— only to end up losing in the 2021 Stanley Cup Final to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games.

These days he has been invited to Team Canada’s training camp for the 2022 Winter Games as he’s currently an unrestricted free agent.

More and more recently, the bigger trades happen in the last couple of weeks leading up to the deadline itself, so let’s widen the scope a bit for 2016, just for a second.

The Florida Panthers added Jakub Kindl from the Detroit Red Wings, Jiri Hudler from the Calgary Flames and Teddy Purcell from the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 27th that year.

Kindl spent parts of two seasons in Florida before leaving for Europe after the 2016-17 season, Hudler joined the Dallas Stars for 2016-17, and promptly retired thereafter, while Purcell joined the Los Angeles Kings in 2016-17, before joining the Bruins on a PTO at training camp in 2017, prior to being released then spent the 2017-18 season in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and retired thereafter.

One other team tried going for it in the rental market, as Chicago acquired Tomáš Fleischmann and Dale Weise from the Montréal Canadiens for Phillip Danault and a 2018 2nd round pick (38th overall, Alexander Romanov), added Christian Ehrhoff from Los Angeles for Rob Scuderi and dealt Marko Dano, a 2016 1st round pick (later flipped to the Philadelphia Flyers, 22nd overall—selected German Rubtsov) and a conditional 2018 3rd round pick (the condition was not met) to the Winnipeg Jets for Jay Harrison, Andrew Ladd and Matt Fraser.

Fleischmann retired after that season, Weise left for the Philadelphia Flyers in free agency that summer, Ehrhoff went back to Europe, Harrison never suited up for Chicago, Ladd had 12 points in 19 games— then joined the New York Islanders in free agency— and Fraser also never suited up in a Chicago uniform.

So, the rental market didn’t really pan out that year.

The San Jose Sharks added James Reimer and Jeremy Morin from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Ben Smith, Alex Stalock and a 2018 3rd round pick (83rd overall, Riley Stotts) the same day the Panthers made all of their moves.

Reimer went on to serve as a decent backup to Martin Jones in San Jose’s 2016 Stanley Cup Final appearance before ultimately losing in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Sharks also bolstered their blue line five days prior in a separate trade with Toronto on the 22nd, in which San Jose acquired Roman Polák and Nick Spaling from the Maple Leafs for Raffi Torres, a 2017 2nd round pick (later flipped to the Anaheim Ducks, 50th overall— Maxime Comtois) and a 2018 2nd round pick (52nd overall, Sean Durzi), but again, neither of those deals were earth-shattering.

Polák was in search of a Cup ring late in his career (despite playing four more seasons afterward) and had three assists in 24 games with San Jose in the regular season before failing to put up a point in 24 Stanley Cup Playoff games as a Shark prior to rejoining Toronto via free agency that summer.

Spaling at least had 2-4—6 totals in 24 games down the stretch with the Sharks and even recorded an assist in 24 playoff games before— like the rest of the team— losing to the Penguins in the Final and leaving the NHL for the Swiss League that summer.

In terms of immediate impact, the Sharks got their money’s worth (kind of), but for a trio of rental players.

San Jose’s deals might have been the biggest trades not involving the Bruins in the buildup to one of Sweeney’s most often criticized trade deadlines because first impressions mean a lot to some in the Boston fanbase.

What was made available, however, didn’t amount to much.

Although, there is enough credibility to the thought that the Bruins should’ve sold high on Loui Eriksson at the time when they could’ve shipped him out of the Hub at a premium before missing the playoffs for a second-straight year.

Instead, Eriksson went on to amass 63 points (30 goals, 33 assists) in all 82 games with Boston in his first healthy season in the three years he had been there after the Tyler Seguin trade (which happened under previous General Manager, Peter Chiarelli, while Sweeney worked in a player development role)— and signed on the dotted line with the Vancouver Canucks on July 1, 2016, leaving Boston with nothing in his wake.

This, after the Bruins (42-31-9, 93 points, 4th in the Atlantic Division) missed the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs by virtue of a tiebreaker with the Red Wings (41-30-11, 93 points, 3rd in the Atlantic) who had 39 regulation plus overtime wins (ROW) to Boston’s 38.

Two teams from the Metropolitan Division— the Islanders and the Flyers— clinched the Eastern Conference wild card playoff berths with 100 and 96 points, respectively, in the standings.

As for the biggest deal leading up to the 2016 trade deadline, you’d probably have to move the goalposts a little bit on the “within two weeks before the deadline itself” rule to find the best deal.

But the Ottawa Senators were the beneficiary of a revival on Feb. 9, 2016, when they traded Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, Jared Cowen, Tobias Lindberg and a 2017 2nd round pick (59th overall, Eemeli Räsänen) to Toronto for Dion Phaneuf (captain of the Maple Leafs at the time), Matt Frattin, Ryan Rupert, Casey Bailey and Cody Donaghey.

Phaneuf had a late career renaissance with the Sens and proved to be pivotal in their run to the 2017 Eastern Conference Final the following year— only to lose on the road in a Game 7 against the Penguins, 3-2, in double overtime.

Pittsburgh, by the way, went on to repeat as Stanley Cup champions that June.

Frattin never suited up for the Senators and left for the KHL after spending a year with the Stockton Heat (AHL) in 2016-17.

Rupert was mired in the minors until going to Europe in 2018-19, while Bailey played in seven games for Ottawa in 2016-17, then spent time split between the American Hockey League and Europe since then (currently in the DEL).

Donaghey, on the other hand, played in one AHL game in 2017-18, before spending the majority of his time in the ECHL prior to leaving for Europe last season (currently in the ELH).

But Phaneuf brought his $7.000 million cap hit to the Sens and actually saved the team money since they shipped out Greening ($2.650 million), Michalek ($4.000 million) and Cowen ($3.100 million) as part of the package— adding about $2.750 million towards the cap for Toronto in the deal.

Of course, the Leafs went on to win the 2016 Draft Lottery and selected Auston Matthews 1st overall that June, so it wasn’t all that bad.

In 51 games with the Maple Leafs prior to the trade in the 2015-16 season, Phaneuf had 3-21—24 totals. In 20 games with Ottawa, he had 1-7—8 totals.

The following year, he had 9-21—30 totals in 81 games and put up five points (one goal, four assists) from the blue line in 19 playoff games in 2017.

He then had 3-13—16 totals in 53 games with Ottawa in 2017-18, before he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in another deal that— you guessed it, saved the Senators some money (only about $1.100 million this time around).

Phaneuf had 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 26 games with Los Angeles and recorded an assist in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Kings were swept by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2018 First Round.

Then in 2018-19, he amassed 1-5—6 totals in 67 games and had the last two years of his contract bought out by Los Angeles on June 15, 2019.

He didn’t officially retire until Nov. 16, 2021, and spent parts of two seasons following Brendan Shanahan around in his role as president and alternate governor of the Leafs.

Though he wasn’t scoring 40, 50 or even 60 points as a defender like he did in his prime with the Calgary Flames, Phaneuf was still the rugged and durable veteran blue liner that he was in his short tenure from before the 2016 deadline until about his final season and injury was really the only thing that did him in at the end due to his physical style.

He had value and the Leafs just gave him up to their intra-provincial rivals about three years before Toronto repeated themselves in giving Ottawa a better defender (Nikita Zaitsev) for a younger defender (Cody Ceci) that just didn’t really pan out as part of a larger package in a trade on July 1, 2019.

Anyway, that last part was really just for those of you that made it this far and care about things outside of just the Bruins organization.

We’ll move on to analyzing Sweeney’s deadline deals since 2016, in the next chapter.

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NHL Nick's Net

Flurry of offense propels Boston to, 5-3, victory against New Jersey

Oskar Steen scored his first career National Hockey League goal and David Pastrnak ended a drought as the Boston Bruins defeated the New Jersey Devils, 5-3, at TD Garden on Tuesday night.

Linus Ullmark (9-5-0, 2.58 goals-against average, .917 save percentage in 14 games played) made 23 saves on 26 shots against in the win for the Bruins.

Devils goaltender, Mackenzie Blackwood (8-7-3, 3.32 goals-against average, .895 save percentage) stopped 29 out of 34 shots faced in the loss.

Boston improved to 17-10-2 (36 points) overall and in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division– one point ahead of the Detroit Red Wings for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, while New Jersey fell to 13-16-5 (31 points) on the season and trapped in 7th place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Bruins were without the services of Karson Kuhlman (COVID protocol), Jake DeBrusk (COVID protocol) and Jakub Zboril (ACL, right knee) on Tuesday night as DeBrusk joined Kuhlman in the National Hockey League’s COVID-19 protocol hours ahead of hte game.

Curtis Lazar returned to action after missing Sunday’s, 5-1, matinée win in Detroit, while Steen was promoted to the third line right wing with Nick Foligno taking over DeBrusk’s slot at left wing.

As a result of DeBrusk’s absence and Steen’s promotion, Lazar was back in his regular role on the fourth line.

Anton Blidh was the only healthy scratch with John Moore on Boston’s taxi squad.

Tuesday night marks the first time this season that Steen is making an appearance in consecutive games since being recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL). He appeared in back-to-back games on March 16th and 18th after being recalled last season.

Though he’s only appeared in seven career NHL games, the 23-year-old native of Sweden has three assists in four games this season entering Tuesday.

Three members of the Bruins’ staff joined DeBrusk and Kuhlman in COVID-19 protocol on Tuesday, including assistant coach, Kevin Dean.

As a result, Joe Sacco was in charge of the defenders against New Jersey.

Tuesday night also marked Military Appreciation Night at TD Garden as several Boston players contributed to more than $25,000 in donations for tickets that were given to active military members and their families in accordance with the Bruins “Seats for Soldiers” campaign.

According to a release from the club, Brandon Carlo, Connor Clifton, Charlie Coyle, Foligno, Derek Forbort, Trent Frederic, Matt Grzelcyk, Kuhlman, Charile McAvoy, Mike Reilly, Craig Smith and Jeremy Swayman all offered donations.

Early in the opening frame, Lazar (3) got a lucky break and strode towards the net before flinging a fluke shot through Blackwood’s five-hole as the Devils’ goaltender shifted his leg pad at just the right time.

The Bruins led, 1-0, as a result of Lazar’s individual effort at 2:53 of the first period.

Midway through the first period, Andreas Johnsson took an errant puck off of his face on an inadvertent flip pass attempt from Carlo intended for Taylor Hall.

Johnsson returned to action without issue.

Boston led, 1-0, heading into the first intermission and held a, 10-6, advantage in shots on goal.

The B’s also led in faceoff win percentage (62-38), while the Devils held the advantage in blocked shots (4-3), takeaways (2-1), giveaways (5-2) and hits (11-9).

There were no penalties called in the opening frame, so both New Jersey and Boston had yet to see time on the skater advantage entering the middle period.

Nathan Bastian spent enough time in Seattle for a cup of coffee with the Kraken (12 games) before he was claimed off waivers and returned to New Jersey (the team that had left him exposed at the 2021 Expansion Draft in July).

Tuesday night, in his 16th game with the Devils this season, he was the beneficiary of a timely poke check to breakup a pass attempt from Carlo to Pastrnak– breaking free in the process while both Bruins skaters trailed helplessly.

Bastian (5) beat Ullmark under the glove to tie the game, 1-1, on a great individual effort 57 seconds into the second period.

Less than a minute later, the Bruins took the lead back with a wacky goal.

Foligno sent a shot off of Blackwood that floated up the New Jersey netminder’s shoulder before rolling on top of the net whereby Steen (1) popped it up from beneath the crossbar as he battled a Devils defender in the crease and deflected it off of Blackwood’s back and into the twine– rather, under the twine.

Though everyone may have been perplexed as to the legality of the goal when they saw it in real time, Steen’s stick never touched the puck above the bar, technically speaking.

Besides, it deflected off of Blackwood before crossing the line too, so it’s not like Steen really meant to send the puck into the net as much as he was simply trying to keep it in play.

Foligno (5) and Forbort (2) tallied the assists on Steen’s first career NHL goal and the B’s took a, 2-1, lead at 1:17 of the second period.

New Jersey answered back in a hurry with a garbage goal of their own after Jack Hughes sent a shot on goal that rebounded to some open ice in the slot where Tomáš Tatar (7) buried the loose puck on the doorstep– tying the game, 2-2, in the process.

Hughes (9) and Jesper Bratt (21) were credited with the assists on Tatar’s goal at 3:05 of the second period.

The two teams combined for three goals in a span of 2:08.

That soon became four goals combine in a span of 8:45 as Frederic (2) banked a backhand shot off of Blackwood on the short side to put the Bruins up, 3-2, at 9:42 of the second period.

Lazar (4) had the only assist on the goal.

A few minutes later, Dawson Mercer took a puck off the face as McAvoy tried to flip the puck into the attacking zone. Mercer returned shortly thereafter.

Midway through the middle frame, the night’s first penalty was assessed as Hall tripped up Ryan Graves, yielding the Devils their first and only power play opportunity of the night at 13:45.

New Jersey didn’t convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Through 40 minutes of action, the B’s led, 3-2, on the scoreboard and dominated shots on goal, 25-17, including a, 15-11, advantage in the second period alone.

The Devils held the lead in blocked shots (8-5), takeaways (8-2) and giveaways (10-5), while Boston led in hits (22-17) and faceoff win% (67-33).

As only one penalty was called up through the second intermission, only New Jersey had seen any time on the skater advantage and the Devils were 0/1. Meanwhile, the Bruins remained 0/0 as they had yet to be presented with a power play opportunity.

That power play presented itself early in the third period– at 5:28 to be exact– when Damon Severson was assessed a holding infraction.

But Boston didn’t capitalize on their only skater advantage of the night.

Instead, Severson (5) exited the box to an aerial pass through the neutral zone from Michael McLeod and promptly scored on a breakaway on Ullmark’s short side to knot the game up, 3-3, at 7:36 of the third period.

The Bruins had been caught in the vulnerable minute after special teams action.

Midway through the final frame, however, Pastrnak got to a dump-in first in the corner from Hall and cut back to the slot– wrapping the puck with him for a shot on Blackwood.

Pastrnak (7) gathered the ensuing rebound and elevated a quick reactionary shot over Blackwood’s glove to end a 10-game scoring drought and put Boston ahead once more for good, 4-3, at 14:11.

Hall (11) and Erik Haula (5) tallied the assists as the new-formed second line continued to strengthen their chemistry together.

With 1:46 remaining in the action, Devils acting head coach (as head coach, Lindy Ruff, is currently in COVID protocol), Alain Nasreddine, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker, but it was ultimately to no avail.

New Jersey iced the puck with 52.1 seconds remaining and Blackwood was forced to return to the crease as the Devils would rather not give up a cheap goal in their own zone.

Except that’s what ultimately happened.

Boston forechecked and fought along the boards well enough to kill some time until the puck was freed and sent along the blue line where Tomáš Nosek found Carlo (3) for a wrist shot that deflected off of Mercer and squibbed through Blackwood’s five-hole to extend the Bruins’ lead to two-goals.

Nosek (4) had the only assist on Carlo’s goal at 19:37 of the third period as the B’s sealed the deal on what became a, 5-3, victory Tuesday night on home ice.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 34-26, despite both teams amassing nine shots each in the third period alone.

The Devils exited TD Garden with the advantage in blocked shots (13-9) and giveaways (15-10), while the Bruins wrapped up Tuesday’s action leading in hits (29-25) and faceoff win% (64-46).

Both teams finished 0/1 on the power play.

For the second time this season, the B’s have won three consecutive games– with New Jersey having been one of the three teams they’ve defeated in each three-game win streak.

Boston is 2-0-0 against the Devils in their regular season series with one final meeting remaining currently scheduled for March 31st at TD Garden.

The Bruins improved to 11-4-0 (5-2-0 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal, 12-0-0 (5-0-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 12-1-0 (4-1-0 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

New Jersey dropped to 5-12-2 (3-7-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 2-11-2 (1-6-0 on the road) when trailing after one and 2-16-2 (1-9-1 on the road) when trailing through the second period in 2021-22.

Fresh off of their, 6-4, loss in the 2022 Winter Classic at Target Field, the Minnesota Wild pay a visit to Boston on Thursday before the Bruins hit the road for a pair of games on Saturday in Tampa and next Monday in Washington, D.C.

The B’s return home after visiting the Capitals to kickoff a seven-game homestand on Jan. 12th against the Montréal Canadiens in a game that was originally scheduled to be played in Montréal before the rise of the Omicron variant restricted indoor venue attendance across Canada.

Tickets for Boston’s game against the Habs on March 21st will be honored on Jan. 12th as the game has been moved up in the schedule.