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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins shred Flyers, 7-3, at Lake Tahoe

Philadelphia Flyers mascot, Gritty, and Boston Bruins mascot, Blades the Bruin, might have shared the slopes on Saturday, but their two teams weren’t in much of a sharing mood on Sunday when Boston defeated Philadelphia in a lopsided, 7-3, victory outdoors by the 18th hole of the Edgewood Tahoe Resort.

David Pastrnak had a hat trick in the win for the Bruins, while Tuukka Rask (7-2-1, 2.56 goals against average, .901 save percentage in 10 games played) made 16 saves on 19 shots against (.842 SV%) for the win on the shores of Lake Tahoe.

Flyers goaltender, Carter Hart (5-3-3, 3.68 GAA, .891 SV% in 11 games played) stopped 17 out of 23 shots faced for a .739 SV% before being replaced after two periods by Brian Elliott (3-1-0, 2.25 GAA, .928 SV% in six games played) in the loss.

Boston improved to 11-3-2 (24 points) on the season and remained in command of 1st place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while Philadelphia fell to 8-4-3 (19 points) overall, but stable in the division in 3rd place.

The B’s also improved to 5-1-0 on home ice this season– yes, they were designated as the home team despite playing at a neutral rink in Stateline, Nevada.

The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Vegas Golden Knights, 3-2, on Saturday night after an eight-hour sunny weather delay melted sections of the ice– deeming the playing surface too unsafe for both players and on-ice officials after the first period ended around midday on Saturday.

The Avs and Golden Knights resumed play around midnight on the East Coast (9 p.m. local time Saturday) and finished the remaining 40 minutes of action unscathed.

It was the first outdoor win for Colorado (1-2-0) and the very first outdoor appearance for Vegas (0-1-0) in the first of two games as part of the National Hockey League’s 2021 Outdoors at Lake Tahoe weekend.

The Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Matt Grzelcyk (lower body), Jakub Zboril (upper body), David Krejci (lower body) and Kevan Miller (lower body) on Sunday.

As a result, Boston recalled Urho Vaakanainen and Jack Studnicka from the taxi squad and head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made several adjustments to his lineup.

Pastrnak was returned to his usual role on the first line right wing, having spent last Thursday’s, 3-2, loss at home to the New Jersey Devils on the second line with Krejci at center.

Craig Smith and Charlie Coyle moved up to the second line with Krejci out due to injury and Jake DeBrusk demoted to the third line comprised of Anders Bjork at left wing, Studnicka at center and DeBrusk on the right side.

Meanwhile, Nick Ritchie retained his role on the second line left wing.

Trent Frederic, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner were reunited on the fourth line.

On defense, Vaakanainen slid in on the left side of the second defensive pairing with Brandon Carlo as his partner and wearing an “A” as an alternate captain while Krejci is out of the lineup.

John Moore and Connor Clifton were paired on the third pairing, while Jeremy Lauzon and Charlie McAvoy remained as the top blue liners.

Kase, Krejci, Grzelcyk, Zboril, Karson Kuhlman, Miller, Greg McKegg, Steven Kampfer and Callum Booth were out of the lineup due to injury, being a healthy scratch and/or members of the taxi squad.

All injured Bruins, in fact, did not travel with the team for Sunday’s matchup with the Flyers at Lake Tahoe.

Several Flyers were also not in attendance, though the majority of them were in the league’s COVID protocol, including Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, Scott Laughton, Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux and Justin Braun. Meanwhile, Morgan Frost was already on the injured reserve.

Pastrnak (7) opened the scoring 34 seconds into the first period after Patrice Bergeron blocked a shot in his own zone before sending Brad Marchand through the neutral zone with a pass that led to the two-on-one, one-timer opportunity for Pastrnak to rocket a shot past Hart.

Marchand (10) and Bergeron (12) tallied the assists on the game’s first goal as the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead less than a minute into Sunday’s action.

With the secondary assist on Pastrnak’s first goal of the game, Bergeron tied Bobby Orr for 5th place on Boston’s all time scoring list with 888 points in a Bruins uniform.

Meanwhile, Lauzon left the rink after just 34 seconds and later was ruled out for the rest of the night with an upper body injury as the Bruins would later confirm in a tweet during the first intermission.

Nearly six minutes into the opening frame, Joel Farabee (8) pounced on a puck that took a wild bounce off the endboards with enough juice to make it back into the slot while falling and fired it past Rask to tie the game, 1-1.

Sean Couturier (4) and James van Riemsdyk (12) notched the assists on Farabee’s goal at 6:41 of the first period.

In fact, van Riemsdyk’s secondary assist marked the 500th career NHL point for the 31-year-old New Jersey native.

By the end of the night, he had 502 career points– 208 in 343 games with the Flyers and 294 in 413 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs– as a result of his 1-2–3 totals in the loss.

Midway through the opening frame, Couturier tripped Marchand and was sent to the box with a minor infraction at 12:34.

Boston’s first chance on the power play did not go as well as they had hoped and resulted in a goal against in the vulnerable minute after special teams play.

Fresh out of the sin bin, Couturier (3) buried a loose puck from the low slot after McAvoy shattered his stick in the other end, then played catchup without a blade in his hands.

Kevin Hayes worked the puck to van Riemsdyk, but Rask made the initial save.

Hayes (8) and van Riemsdyk (13) still ended up grabbing the assists on Couturier’s goal as Philadelphia took their first lead of the night, 2-1, at 14:48.

Boston answered back in a hurry, however, when McAvoy (2) sent a blast from the point while Bergeron screened Hart in front of the net.

Marchand (11) and Clifton (1) tallied the assists on McAvoy’s goal at 15:27, as the Bruins tied the game, 2-2.

Entering the first intermission, the score was tied, 2-2, despite the Flyers holding an, 11-8, advantage in shots on goal.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (6-1), giveaways (1-0) and faceoff win percentage (58-42), while Philadelphia led in hits (13-8) after one period of action in Lake Tahoe.

Neither team had a takeaway, while the B’s were 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame (Philly had yet to see time on the skater advantage).

Less than a minute into the second period, Pastrnak (8) added his second goal of the night after ripping a shot high over Hart’s glove on short side under the bar.

Ritchie (7) and Vaakanainen (1) picked up the assists as Boston took a, 3-2, lead 46 seconds into the second period.

Vaakanainen’s secondary assist marked the first point of his NHL career in just his eighth game.

Meanwhile, the Flyers were penalized for too many skaters on the ice at 6:17, but the B’s weren’t able to convert on the ensuing power play.

Late in the second period, Boston kicked off a flurry of goals when Coyle (3) unleashed a shot off the post, off the back of Hart and into the net to give the Bruins a two-goal lead at 16:14.

Smith (3) had the only assist on Coyle’s goal as the B’s led, 4-2, for less than a minute before Frederic (1) sniped a shot high-side side from about the faceoff circle to the left of the Philadelphia netminder to make it a three-goal lead.

Moore (1) and Clifton (2) tallied the assists on Frederic’s first career NHL goal and the Bruins led, 5-2, at 16:47.

After serving the bench minor for too many skaters, Andy Andreoff took out his frustrations after two quick goals against by delivering his stick to Kuraly’s face.

The Flyers forward spent two more minutes in the penalty box– this time with a roughing infraction at 16:47.

About a minute into the resulting power play, Ritchie (5) tipped in a shot from the point by Moore to give Boston a power-play goal and a, 6-2, lead on the scoreboard.

Moore (2) and Smith (4) notched the assists at 17:53 of the second period as Boston riffled three goals in about 90 seconds.

Less than a minute later, Bjork was penalized for holding and gave Philly a power play at 18:16 of the second period.

After 40 minutes of play lakeside, the Bruins led, 6-2, on the scoreboard and, 23-14, in shots on goal, including a, 15-3, advantage in the second period alone.

Boston also held the lead in blocked shots (13-6), takeaways (3-2), giveaways (5-3) and faceoff win% (59-41), while Philadelphia led in hits (22-13).

The Flyers were 0/1 on the power play, while the Bruins were 1/3 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame of regulation.

Flyers head coach, Alain Vigneault, swapped goaltenders in the second intermission, replacing Hart with Elliott for the final period at Lake Tahoe.

Hart finished his night with six goals allowed on 23 shots, but in the process became the youngest goaltender to play in an outdoor NHL game at 22 years and 192 days old.

He beat Semyon Varlamov’s previous record of 22 years and 249 days back when Varlamov was the netminder for the Washington Capitals in the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, Bjork cut another rut to the penalty box for hooking Flyers defender, Shayne Gostisbehere at 9:31 of the third period– presenting another power play opportunity for Philadelphia.

Philly didn’t have any luck on their second skater advantage of the evening, but as the saying goes “the third time’s a charm” as Carlo was assessed an interference minor when colliding with Travis Sanheim in front of the Boston net at 12:37.

This time the Flyers won the ensuing faceoff, worked the puck around the attacking zone before Hayes found van Riemsdyk in front of the net in the low slot whereby van Riemsdyk (8) inadvertently sent the puck off Vaakanainen and into the twine behind Rask while trying to make a no-look between the legs pass.

Hayes (9) and Ivan Provorov (6) picked up the assists on van Riemsdyk’s power-play goal and the Flyers trailed, 6-3, at 12:45 of the third period.

Late in the game, Pastrnak (9) completed his hat trick thanks to a one-timer goal from one knee on a pass from Studnicka at 17:04.

Studnicka (1) had the only assist on Pastrnak’s third goal of the game and the Bruins took a four-goal lead, 7-3, while Pastrnak picked up his 10th career hat trick, as well as his 2nd hat trick of the season and just the 2nd hat trick in an outdoor NHL game in league history.

Tyler Toffoli scored a hat trick for the Los Angeles Kings in their, 3-1, win over the Avalanche at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado for the first outdoor NHL hat trick in the 2020 Stadium Series game.

Pastrnak’s hat trick, meanwhile, was the first outdoor hat trick in Bruins franchise history and gave Boston an outdoor record tying seven goals as the B’s matched the same outcome of the New York Rangers’, 7-3, victory against the New Jersey Devils in a 2014 Stadium Series game at Yankee Stadium.

The Rangers (four wins outside) are the only team with more outdoor wins than Boston (three) and Washington (three) as the Bruins picked up another outdoor victory over the Flyers at the final sound of the horn.

The Bruins finished the evening with a, 7-3, win on the scoreboard and a, 35-19, advantage in shots on goal.

Boston also wrapped up Sunday’s effort leading in blocked shots (16-8) and faceoff win% (52-48), while Philadelphia maintained the advantage in giveaways (6-5) and hits (31-23).

Both teams went 1/3 on the power play in the 60-minute effort.

The B’s improved to 7-1-0 (4-0-0 at home) when scoring first this season, while the Flyers fell to 3-3-1 (2-2-0 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal in 2020-21.

Boston also improved to 4-2-0 (2-1-0 at home) when tied after the first period and 6-0-0 (4-0-0 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia fell to 2-2-1 (1-1-1 on the road) when tied after the first period, as well as 0-3-0 (0-2-0 on the road) when trailing after two periods this season.

The Bruins improved to 3-1-0 all time in outdoor NHL games, while the Flyers fell to 1-3-1 all time outside.

Boston and Philadelphia became the third pair of teams to face each other in an outdoor rematch (previous, Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh– 2017 Stadium Series and 2019 Stadium Series, as well as Detroit vs. Toronto– 2014 Winter Classic and 2017 Centennial Classic).

The B’s begin a three-game road trip on Long Island and in Manhattan with a meeting against the New York Islanders on Feb. 25th, as well as a pair of games against the New York Rangers to close out the month of February on the 26th and 28th.

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NHL Nick's Net

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philadelphia’s power play was powerless, however.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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DeBrusk aims high in Boston’s, 5-4, shootout win over Flyers

Jake DeBrusk dragged his foot before letting go of a chip shot over Carter Hart to give the Boston Bruins a, 5-4, shootout victory Thursday night at TD Garden.

It was Boston’s home opener and second shootout win of the season– just their second shootout win since beating the Vegas Golden Knights, 3-2, in a shootout victory on the road on Feb. 20, 2019, as the club went 0-7 last season in shootouts.

Tuukka Rask (2-1-0, 2.23 goals against average, .892 save percentage in three games played) made 22 saves on 26 shots against for an .846 SV% in the shootout win.

Hart (2-1-1, 3.66 GAA, .902 SV% in four games played) stopped 39 out of 43 shots faced for a .907 SV% in the shootout loss for Philadelphia.

The Bruins improved to 2-1-1 (five points) on the season and jumped from 6th in the MassMutual NHL East Division to 5th place, while the Flyers fell to 3-1-1 (seven points) on the season and remained in command of the MassMutual NHL East Division.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from Monday’s, 1-0, loss to the Islanders in New York.

As such, Greg McKegg, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Connor Clifton, Dan Vladar and Karson Kuhlman remained out of the lineup as taxi squad and healthy scratches.

David Pastrnak missed his fourth game since undergoing a right hip arthroscopy and labral repair on Sept. 16th, while Ondrej Kase missed his second game of the season due to an upper body injury sustained in New Jersey on Jan. 16th.

Early in the opening frame, Claude Giroux tripped DeBrusk and presented Boston with the first power play of the night at 3:42 of the first period.

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

A few minutes later, Sean Kuraly was penalized for holding Mark Friedman at 6:57, yielding the Flyers their first power play of the game.

Philadelphia was also unsuccessful on their first skater advantage of the night.

Late in the period, Nicolas Aube-Kubel slashed B’s defender, Kevan Miller, and cut a rut to the penalty box as a result at 18:13.

Boston couldn’t muster anything on the power play as time winded down, expired and signaled the start of the first intermission.

After 20 minutes of action, the game remained tied, 0-0, though the Bruins outshot the Flyers, 14-3.

The B’s also had the advantage in blocked shots (4-3), takeaways (5-4) and faceoff win percentage (77-24), while the Flyers led in giveaways (4-1).

Both teams had eight hits aside.

Philadelphia was 0/1 and Boston was 0/2 on the power play entering the dressing room for the first intermission.

David Krejci caught Nolan Patrick with a high stick and cut a rut to the sin bin at 4:45 of the second period.

Late in the ensuing power play Giroux (1) fired a snap shot from the faceoff circle over Rask’s blocker on the short side while Patrick screened the Bruins goaltender to give the Flyers the first lead of the night.

Ivan Provorov (1) had the only assist on Giroux’s power-play goal as Philadelphia took a, 1-0, lead at 6:17 of the second period.

It was the first goal allowed by Boston’s penalty kill this season, ending their run of 14 consecutive successfully killed infractions.

Miller was assessed a minor for holding six seconds after Philadelphia scored the game’s first goal. With Miller in the box at 6:23, the Bruins went back on the penalty kill.

This time the Flyers weren’t able to capitalize on the skater advantage.

Midway through the period, Friedman initiated a wrestling match with Brad Marchand in the open ice of the neutral zone before falling awkwardly, bleeding and exiting the game.

No penalty was called as a result of a usual event when two players get near each other while going for a line change without realizing they were charted on a collision course that ultimately went wrong.

Though Friedman did not return to the game, Flyers head coach, Alain Vigneault, noted that he was held out as a precaution and should be fine.

Anders Bjork hooked Jakub Voracek at 15:24 of the second period and was assessed a minor penalty.

In the vulnerable minute after special teams action, the Flyers caught the Bruins behind the play as Voracek sent a pass to James van Riemsdyk (2) that was promptly redirected from its sloppy off-speed original path to one that guided the puck to the back of the net from point blank.

Voracek (3) and Kevin Hayes (4) tallied the assists as Philadelphia jumped out to a two-goal lead, 2-0, at 17:31.

Through two periods of action, the Flyers led, 2-0, despite trailing the B’s in shots on goal, 18-11.

Philadelphia held the advantage in shots on goal in the second period alone, 8-4, while both teams had eight blocked shots and six takeaways each.

The Flyers led in giveaways (5-4), while Boston led in hits (17-15) and faceoff win% (62-38).

Philly was 1/4 and Boston was 0/2 on the power play heading into the second intermission.

Less than a minute into the final frame of regulation, Jack Studnicka (1) redirected a pass from Krejci off of Hart’s leg pad before gathering his own rebound and pocketing it in the twine while crashing the net.

Krejci (2) and Nick Ritchie (1) notched the assists on Studnicka’s first career NHL goal 57 seconds into the third period and the Bruins cut Philadelphia’s lead in half, 2-1.

It was also the first goal at 5-on-5 for Boston this season.

A mere 69 seconds later, Charlie Coyle (1) spun and fired home a rebound from inside the faceoff dot to the right of the Flyers netminder– tying the game, 2-2, in the process.

Craig Smith (1) recorded his first point as a Bruin with the primary assist, while Miller (1) tallied his first point in almost two years with the secondary helper on Coyle’s goal at 2:06 of the third period.

The game didn’t remain even for long as Voracek fired an intentional shot off of Travis Sanheim’s (1) skate past Rask to give Philly the lead once again, 3-2, at 7:13.

Voracek (4) and Patrick (3) had the assists on Sanheim’s goal.

Moments later, Scott Laughton cross checked Jakub Zboril at 13:04 of the third period and presented Boston with another power play opportunity.

It didn’t take long for Patrice Bergeron to find Ritchie (2) wide open in the low slot, banking a shot off of Hart’s glove and into the open net behind the Flyers goaltender.

Bergeron (2) and Krejci (3) had the assists on Ritchie’s power-play goal as the Bruins pulled even, 3-3, at 13:22.

Less than two minutes later, Brandon Carlo (1) rocketed a slap shot from the point under the crossbar to give Boston their first lead of the night, 4-3, at 15:18 of the third period.

Matt Grzelcyk (2) and Marchand (3) notched the assists on Carlo’s goal, but despite taking their first lead of the night, the B’s didn’t hold onto it for long.

Kuraly delivered a cross check on Giroux and was assessed a penalty at 15:24.

van Riemsdyk (3) went unchecked by Charlie McAvoy and Carlo before connecting on a power-play goal from in front of the net to tie the game, 4-4.

Voracek (5) and Hayes (5) each picked up another assist while the Flyers knotted the game up with another power-play goal at 16:28.

Boston led for all of 70 seconds in regulation.

With 20.4 seconds left in the third period, Vigneault used his timeout, but the Flyers weren’t successful in the execution of whatever plan they drew up to win the game in the dying seconds.

Overtime was necessary for the third time this season for the Bruins and for the first time for the Flyers.

After 60 minutes, with Boston leading in shots on goal, 40-21, including a, 22-10, advantage in the third period alone, the game remained tied, 4-4.

Philadelphia led in blocked shots (13-8), takeaways (9-7) and giveaways (8-5), while the Bruins held the advantage in hits (24-19) and faceoff win% (61-39) going into overtime.

As no penalties were called in the extra frame, the Flyers finished Thursday night 2/5 on the power play, while the Bruins went 1/3 on the skater advantage.

Vigneault started Giroux, Laughton and Provorov in overtime, while Cassidy countered with Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy.

In the end, Boston mustered just three shots on goal in the five minutes of 3-on-3 action, while Rask stood tall– denying Hayes on a one-timer with an aerial leg pad save.

After overtime, the score remained, 4-4, while Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 43-26, despite trailing, 5-3, in shots in OT.

Philadelphia finished the night leading in blocked shots (15-9) and giveaways (8-5), while the Bruins wrapped up Thursday’s action leading in hits (24-21) and faceoff win% (63-37).

A shootout was necessary to determine a winner and Cassidy opted for his team to shoot first.

He sent out Smith to get things going for Boston, but Smith’s shot was stopped by Hart as he tried to sneak one in through the five-hole.

Voracek was Vigneault’s first round response, but despite his off-speed approach, Rask stoned him cold with a pad save on Voracek’s backhand shot.

Coyle kicked things off in round two of the shootout with a shot wide on Hart’s glove side.

Travis Konecny answered back with a shot that grazed Rask’s glove and also went wide.

Finally, DeBrusk hit the back of the net with a chip shot over Hart’s blocker side after a nifty toe-drag approach to give the Bruins a, 1-0, advantage in the shootout.

All that was left was for Rask to make a save and Boston would win.

Vigneault sent out Giroux.

Giroux waltzed his way into the attacking zone for his attempt, feigned a slap shot, slowed up and went for Rask’s glove side, but the Bruins goaltender denied him with a save.

Boston emerged victorious with the, 5-4, shootout win.

The B’s improved to 2-0 in shootouts this season and 2-1 past regulation overall, while the Flyers fell to 0-1 in both categories.

Boston also improved to 1-1-0 when tied after the first period, 1-0-0 when trailing after two periods and 1-1-1 when allowing the game’s first goal this season.

The Bruins began their four-game homestand with a, 5-4, shootout victory against Philadelphia on Thursday and will host the Flyers again on Saturday before hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 26th and Jan. 28th.

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Flyers down Bruins, 4-1, in Round Robin action

Four different goal scorers’ combined efforts lifted the Philadelphia Flyers over the Boston Bruins, 4-1, in the first game of Round Robin action in the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifier and Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario on Sunday.

Carter Hart (1-0-0 in one game played, 1.00 goals against average, .971 save percentage) made 34 saves on 35 shots faced for a .971 SV% in the win for the Flyers.

Bruins goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (0-1-0 in one game played, 4.29 GAA, .862 SV%) made 25 saves on 29 shots against for an .862 SV% in the loss.

Tuukka Rask did not practice on Saturday in either session and was ruled “unfit to play” in Sunday’s matinee against Philadelphia. As a result, Dan Vladar took part in warmups and was Halak’s backup for the Bruins.

It was the first time since 2012, that a goaltender other than Rask started a postseason game for Boston. Tim Thomas started all seven games in their 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series loss to the Washington Capitals.

Sunday also marked the first postseason start for Halak since 2015.

Three Bruins made their NHL postseason debuts as Jack Studnicka, Jeremy Lauzon and Anders Bjork were all in the lineup for Boston.

Ondrej Kase joined the team in Toronto on Saturday and practiced in the second group session for the Bruins and might be available in time for their next matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday afternoon.

Kase, along with Nick Ritchie and Rask, were the big names out of the lineup for Boston on Sunday, but they weren’t the only ones not on the ice for the action as the B’s had a long list of healthy scratches including, Zach Senyshyn, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Maxime Lagace, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Connor Clifton and Trent Frederic (Kevan Miller was not included on the Phase 3 and 4 roster and Steven Kampfer opted out of Phase 3 and 4 action).

Meanwhile, Zdeno Chara skated in his 183rd career postseason NHL game, which is the second-most among active NHL players– trailing Pittsburgh Penguins forward, Patrick Marleau (192 Stanley Cup Playoff games and counting).

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy kicked things off with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak as his usual first line, while Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci and Studnicka rounded out his top-six forwards.

Bjork was on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Karson Kuhlman, while Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner were reunited as the fourth line trio after they were split among the bottom-six forwards in Boston’s, 4-1, exhibition loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets last Thursday.

On defense, Cassidy opted for Chara alongside Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug paired with Brandon Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk partnered with Lauzon.

Almost midway through the opening frame, Michael Raffl slashed Bjork and presented Boston with the first power play of the afternoon at 8:51 of the first period.

The Bruins did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Moments later, Krejci cut a rut to the box after hooking Travis Konecny at 14:41, but Philadelphia’s power play was powerless– a trend that would suit both teams all afternoon.

At 19:08, Carlo was sent to the sin bin for tripping Tyler Pitlick, but despite the skater advantage overlapping with part of the second period, the Flyers were unsuccessful at finding the back of the net while the B’s were shorthanded.

Through 20 minutes of action in Toronto, the Bruins and Flyers were still tied, 0-0, with Boston holding the advantage in shots on goal, 12-6.

The Bruins also led in hits (9-7), while the Flyers led in takeaways (3-0) and faceoff win percentage (67-37).

Both teams had seven blocked shots aside and four giveaways apiece.

Philadelphia was 0/2 and Boston was 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Raffl (1) broke through Boston’s defense as Lauzon was caught out of position, deked and flipped the puck high over Halak to give Philly the game’s first goal and the game’s first lead, 1-0, at 5:33 of the second period.

Travis Sanheim (1) had the only assist on Raffl’s tally, while the Bruins looked gassed as Raffl scored the goal on a shift lasting over a minute for Bergeron, Marchand, Krug and Lauzon.

Then, moments later, Nate Thompson (1) rushed in with a burst of speed– catching the B’s behind the play again and sent the puck over Lauzon while the Bruins defender inadvertently screened his own goaltender.

The rubber biscuit had eyes as it floated over Lauzon, over Halak’s blocker side, off Halak’s stick and into the twine behind the Boston netminder to extend Philadelphia’s lead to two goals.

Raffl (1) and Ivan Provorov (1) notched the assists on Thompson’s goal and the Flyers led, 2-0, at 9:31 of the second period.

Eight seconds later, Robert Hagg was chasing Bjork and penalized for interference at 9:39, but Boston wasn’t able to muster anything on the scoreboard while on the skater advantage.

Late in the period, Wagner (1) collected a garbage goal and cut Philadelphia’s lead in half, 2-1, at 18:51.

Nordstrom (1) and McAvoy (1) had the assists on Boston’s only goal of the afternoon, but the momentum the B’s generated was short-lived. Really short-lived.

Eight seconds after Wagner made it a one-goal game, Philippe Myers (1) made it a two-goal lead for the Flyers once more after he broke free from the neutral zone while Chara was tripped up and left his netminder short a defender.

Myers sniped a shot over Halak and just under the crossbar and made it, 3-1, Philly at 18:59 of the middle frame.

Jakub Voracek (1) had the only assist on the goal.

After two periods, the Flyers led, 3-1, on the scoreboard, but trailed the Bruins, 20-17, in total shots on goal– despite outshooting Boston, 11-8, in the second period alone.

Philly also held onto the advantage in blocked shots (14-9), takeaways (5-0) and faceoff win% (53-47), while the Bruins led in giveaways (8-5) and hits (23-16).

Both teams were 0/2 on the power play entering the final frame.

At 4:07 of the third period, Scott Laughton (1) fired a shot over Halak’s glove after sneaking through Boston’s defense after Carlo bungled a pinch and Krug was left trailing the Flyers forward.

Kevin Hayes (1) was credited with the only assist on Laughton’s goal and Philadelphia led, 4-1.

Boston recorded their first shot on net in the third period at 9:39, before going on the power play 61 seconds later after Matt Niskanen caught Pastrnak with a high-stick at 10:40.

The Flyers killed off Niskanen’s minor infraction with ease, then Raffl and Lauzon collided near the boards, resulting in an awkward collapse to the ice for Raffl that left the Philadelphia forward with an apparent lower body injury– requiring assistance off the rink from the trainer and one of his Flyers teammates.

Laughton tried to spar with Lauzon, but the two players each received slashing minors and 10-minute misconducts at 13:48 of the third period.

Studnicka served Lauzon’s minor, while James van Riemsdyk served Laughton’s minor infraction as well. Both teams skated at 4-on-4 for two minutes before resuming full strength.

With about 3:30 remaining in regulation, Cassidy pulled Halak for an extra attacker, but it was to no avail.

In the closing minutes, Krug and van Riemsdyk got tangled up, latched onto each other and received holding minors at 18:31– ending their nights early.

At the final horn, the Flyers had won, 4-1, and finished the afternoon leading in blocked shots (16-11) and faceoff win% (53-47), while the Bruins led in shots on goal (35-29), giveaways (10-7) and hits (28-25).

Philadelphia finished the game 0/2 on the skater advantage, while Boston went 0/3 on the power play.

The two teams will remain in the Toronto bubble until the Bruins take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at 4 PM ET on Wednesday and the Flyers take on the Washington Capitals on Thursday. Both games will be at Scotiabank Arena as the NHL’s postseason plan rolls on while the threat of the pandemic lurks outside each and every day.

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Rask, Bruins, shutout Flyers, 2-0

The Boston Bruins snapped the Philadelphia Flyers’ nine-game winning streak with a, 2-0, shutout at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night.

Tuukka Rask (26-8-6 record, 2.12 goals against average, .929 save percentage in 41 games played) made 36 saves en route to the shutout victory for the Bruins on his 33rd birthday.

It was also his 5th shutout of the season and the 50th in his NHL career.

Flyers goaltender, Carter Hart (24-13-3, 2.43 GAA, .913 SV% in 42 games played), stopped 27 out of 29 shots faced for a .931 SV% in the loss.

Boston improved to 44-14-12 (100 points) on the season and became the first team to reach the 100-point plateau this season, while Philadelphia fell to 41-21-7 (89 points) and remained in 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division.

The B’s also improved to 22-10-3 on the road this season.

The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee), Brandon Carlo (upper body) and Torey Krug (upper body) in Philadelphia.

Miller has yet to make his season debut and has missed all 70 games this season.

Meanwhile, Connor Clifton returned to the lineup for the first time since being injured in a game on Dec. 29th against Buffalo.

B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, adjusted his defensive pairings with his usual second pair on the blue line out of the action on Tuesday.

Matt Grzelcyk and Jeremy Lauzon were moved up to the second pairing, while John Moore and Clifton slid into the third pairing role with Moore on the left side and Clifton on the right side.

Anders Bjork and Anton Blidh were the only healthy scratches for Boston against the Flyers.

There were no other lineup changes from Saturday night’s, 5-3, loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning to Tuesday night’s matchup in Philadelphia.

Tuesday night also marked the 400th career NHL game for Bruins winger, Joakim Nordstrom.

Chris Wagner tripped Shayne Gostisbehere and presented the Flyers with their first power play opportunity of the night at 6:20 of the first period.

Philadelphia did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Almost ten minutes later, Brad Marchand cut a rut to the sin bin for holding Jakub Voracek at 16:06 and the Flyers didn’t score on the resulting power play.

Late in the opening frame, Ivan Provorov caught Ondrej Kase with a high stick at 19:50, but Boston did not convert on their first power play of the game– despite the advantage carrying over into the second period.

Heading into the first intermission, the Bruins and Flyers were still tied, 0-0, on the scoreboard, despite Philadelphia holding the advantage in shots on goal, 12-8.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (5-2) and hits (9-7), while Philly led in takeaways (2-1), giveaways (5-4) and faceoff win percentage (61-39) after one period.

The Flyers were 0/2 and the B’s were 0/1 on the power play entering the middle frame.

Past the midpoint of the second period, Marchand went back to the box for holding against Sean Couturier at 14:12.

Once more, Philadelphia was not able to convert on the skater advantage as Rask and Boston’s penalty kill stood tall.

Less than a minute after the two clubs resumed even strength action, Justin Braun was penalized for interference at 16:55 of the second period.

Late in the ensuing power play, Boston worked the puck around in the attacking zone with an umbrella formation.

David Krejci tossed the puck to David Pastrnak who gave it to Grzelcyk (4) for the shot from the point that beat Hart to give the Bruins the first lead of the night, 1-0, on the skater advantage.

Grzelcyk’s power play goal was assisted by Pastrank (47) and Krejci (30) at 18:39 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of action in Philly, the Bruins led the Flyers, 1-0, on the scoreboard, despite Philadelphia holding a, 24-12, advantage in shots on goal.

Entering the second intermission, Boston led in blocked shots (11-7), while the Flyers led in takeaways (4-3), giveaways (10-6), hits (16-13) and faceoff win% (62-39).

Philadelphia was 0/3 and Boston was 1/2 on the power play heading into the final period.

Late in the final frame of regulation, Patrice Bergeron (31) received a pass, broke into the attacking zone and wristed a shot over Hart’s blocker side to make it, 2-0, for the Bruins at 14:40 of the third period.

Marchand (59) and Zdeno Chara (9) notched the assists on Bergeron’s goal and the B’s had their insurance marker for the victory.

Just 20 seconds later, the Flyers were on the penalty kill as a result of Scott Laughton catching Pastrnak with a high stick at 15:00 of the third period, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on their last power play of the night.

With 2:40 remaining in the game, Flyers head coach, Alain Vigneault, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker, but Philadelphia couldn’t find a way to breakthrough Boston’s defense and goaltender.

At the final horn, the B’s had won in Philly and defeated the Flyers for the first time in their last five regular season meetings.

Boston won, 2-0, despite trailing in shots on goal, 36-29.

The Bruins finished the night leading in blocked shots (12-11) and hits (23-22), while Philadelphia wrapped the night up with the advantage in giveaways (15-12) and faceoff win% (62-38).

The Flyers finished 0/3 on the power play, while Boston went 1/3 on the skater advantage.

With the win, Boston became the first team to reach the 100-point plateau and marked the third consecutive season of 100 points or more in a season for Cassidy in his third full-season with the club.

Meanwhile, the Bruins improved to 26-7-8 (14-5-2 on the road in that span) when scoring the game’s first goal, 14-2-6 (7-1-0 on the road) when tied after one period, 28-1-6 (16-1-2 on the road) when leading after two periods and 17-4-5 (8-3-2 on the road) when being outshot this season.

The Flyers, on the other hand, fell to 13-14-3 (5-3-4 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 17-3-3 (12-3-2 at home) when tied after one period, 2-21-4 (2-6-2 at home) when trailing after two periods and 22-15-4 (15-5-2 at home) when outshooting their opponent this season.

Boston wraps up their two-game road trip (1-0-0) in Buffalo on Friday before returning home to face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets next Monday (March 16th).

The Bruins then venture out to California for their annual West Coast road trip.

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Flyers overcome three-goal deficit to beat Bruins, 6-5, in shootout

The Philadelphia Flyers overcame a three-goal lead and dismantled the Boston Bruins, 6-5, in a shootout on Monday night at Wells Fargo Center.

Carter Hart (15-11-3 record, 2.61 goals against average, .905 save percentage in 32 games played) made 26 saves on 31 shots against for an .839 SV% in the win.

Bruins goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (10-4-6, 2.46 GAA, .920 SV% in 20 games played) stopped 34 out of 39 shots faced for an .872 SV% in the shootout loss.

Boston fell to 27-8-12 (66 points), but remained in command of the Atlantic Division. Meanwhile, Philadelphia improved to 24-16-6 (54 points) and remained in 5th place in the Metropolitan Division.

The B’s also fell to 12-6-3 on the road this season.

Boston was without the services of Kevan Miller (knee) and Connor Clifton (upper body) on Monday against the Flyers, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from Saturday night’s, 3-2, win in overtime against the Islanders in New York.

Bruins captain, Zdeno Chara, skated in his 1,000th game with the club– becoming just the 6th player in franchise history to do so, joining Ray Bourque, Johnny Bucyk, Don Sweeney, Wayne Cashman and current teammate, Patrice Bergeron.

Chara has played in 1,530 career NHL games with the Islanders, Ottawa Senators and Bruins.

Par Lindholm, David Backes and Steven Kampfer served as Boston’s healthy scratches in Philadelphia.

Anders Bjork (7) scored his first goal in nine games after sending the puck into the twine on a backhand shot while Hart dove paddle first to try to make a save.

Jake DeBrusk (12) had the only assist on Bjork’s goal at 4:15 of the first period and the Bruins led, 1-0.

Midway through the opening frame, Mark Friedman and Bjork got tangled up after a stoppage at 11:55. Each received minor penalties for roughing and the two side escaped the ensuing 4-on-4 action unharmed.

Late in the period, Michael Raffl tripped Bergeron and presented Boston with their first power play opportunity of the night at 15:30.

Almost 90 seconds into the resulting skater advantage, the Bruins capitalized on the power play after David Krejci (10) redirected a pass from Danton Heinen behind the Flyers goaltender.

Krejci’s goal extended the current franchise record for the most consecutive games with at least one power play goal to 14 and was assisted by Heinen (12) and Charlie Coyle (16) at 16:49.

The B’s led, 2-0, but not for long, however, as Bergeron caught Scott Laughton with a high stick at 18:00 of the first period and drew blood.

Bergeron’s infraction was upgraded to a high sticking double minor penalty and Philadelphia began a four-minute power play as a result.

The Flyers struck fast on the ensuing skater advantage when Kevin Hayes (14) rocked home a one-timer off the bar and in while Boston’s defense was out of position.

Hayes’ goal put Philly on the board and cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1, while Travis Konecny (25) and James van Riemsdyk (12) notched the assists at 18:22.

Entering the first intermission, the Bruins led the Flyers, 2-1, on the scoreboard and, 14-12, in shots on goal.

Boston also held the advantage in hits (7-6) and faceoff win percentage (71-29) through 20 minutes of play, while Philadelphia led in blocked shots (4-3), takeaways (3-2) and giveaways (4-1).

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

Less than a minute into the second period, David Pastrnak (36) drew the puck quickly to his backhand after receiving a break-in pass from Brad Marchand and slipped the rubber biscuit through Hart’s exposed five-hole to give the B’s another two-goal lead, 3-1.

Marchand (43) and Chara (9) had the assists on Pastrnak’s goal 33 seconds into the second period, but once more the Bruins couldn’t get too comfortable.

Less than a minute later, Travis Sanheim (6) sniped a wrist shot past Halak from just outside the high slot with traffic in front of the net to bring Philadelphia back to within one-goal at 1:12 of the second period.

Sean Couturier (25) and Jakub Voracek (27) tallied the assists on Sanheim’s first goal of the night and the Flyers trailed, 3-2, 39 seconds after Pastrnak scored for Boston.

A few minutes later, after Heinen sent a flawless pass to Coyle in the attacking zone, Coyle (9) ripped a shot over Hart’s glove and into the corner of the twine to give the Bruins another two-goal lead.

Heinen (13) and Brandon Carlo (10) had the assists on Coyle’s goal at 4:50 and the B’s led, 4-2.

Less than a few minutes later, Krejci (11) tallied his second goal of the night after Boston worked the puck deep before Bjork ultimately wrapped around the net and tossed a quick pass to the second line center for the one-timer over Hart while the Flyers goaltender dove from one side of the net to the other in desperation.

Bjork (7) and DeBrusk (13) were credited with the assists on Krejci’s goal and Boston led, 5-2, at 7:21.

For just the second time this season, however, the Bruins blew a three-goal lead as the rest of the game did not go as planned for Cassidy’s crew.

First, Chris Wagner was penalized for roughing Konecny after the whistle was blown on a play in the corner whereby Konecny made contact with Charlie McAvoy as both players were nowhere near the puck that some B’s players took offense to and responded accordingly in effort to stand up for their young blue liner.

Wagner was sent to the box at 9:02 and the Bruins killed off the minor infraction, but couldn’t quite escape the momentum that swayed into Philly’s hand.

Couturier (13) slipped a fluke goal through Halak’s five-hole on what became a recurring theme for the Boston netminder Monday night– soft goals.

Voracek (28) and Matt Niskanen (13) had the assists on Couturier’s goal at 13:12 and the Flyers trailed by two-goals once more, 5-3.

About a minute later, Friedman threw a shot towards the net that deflected off of Connor Bunnaman (1) and bounced off a Bruins defender before beating Halak and hitting the twine to bring Philadelphia to within one at 14:46.

Friedman (1) and Robert Hagg (5) had the assists on Bunnaman’s inadvertent first career NHL goal as Boston’s lead was cut to, 5-4.

After two periods of action in Philadelphia, the Bruins led the Flyers, 5-4, on the scoreboard, but trailed in shots on goal, 27-20.

Philly’s stronghold on the second period included a, 15-6, advantage in shots on net in the middle frame alone, as well as the lead in takeaways (5-3) and giveaways (7-5).

Boston, meanwhile, led in blocked shots (7-6) and faceoff win% (60-40) through two periods, while both teams had 19 hits aside.

The Flyers were 1/3 on the power play and the B’s were 1/1 on the skater advantage heading into the second intermission.

Niskanen interfered with Marchand 28 seconds into the third period, but Boston’s power play couldn’t muster the desired outcome of another power play goal.

Midway through the final frame of regulation, Joel Farabee and Torey Krug became entangled and received roughing minors at 12:30.

Just 28 seconds later, the Flyers got what they had wanted as Sanheim (7) scored his second goal of the game while Halak was helpless as his defense lacked in coverage.

Philippe Myers (11) and Couturier (26) tallied the assists on Sanheim’s game-tying goal and the score was even, 5-5, at 12:58 of the third period.

At the horn, the two teams were heading to overtime, tied, 5-5, on the scoreboard, despite the Flyers leading the Bruins, 35-28, in shots on goal.

Philadelphia notched the advantage in takeaways (7-3) and giveaways (9-7), while Boston led in blocked shots (15-8), hits (28-24) and faceoff win% (59-41)

As there were no penalties called past regulation, the Flyers finished 1/3 on the skater advantage, while the B’s went 1/2 on the power play.

In overtime, Cassidy elected to start Bergeron, Pastrnak and John Moore, while Philadelhia’s head coach, Alain Vigneault, matched Boston’s starters with Couturier, Voracek and Ivan Provorov on the blue line.

Neither team could find the back of the net in the extra frame, despite the Flyers leading in shots on goal in overtime, 4-3.

At the horn the Flyers finished the evening leading in shots on goal (39-31) and giveaways (10-7), while the Bruins ended the night leading in blocked shots (19-10), hits (31-24) and faceoff win% (59-41).

Before both teams could vacate the ice, however, a shootout was needed to determine the winner of the extra point in the league standings.

Philadelphia chose to shoot first and sent out Hayes, but the veteran forward tried to go low with a forehand shot and was denied by Halak’s leg pad.

Boston retaliated with the NHL’s leading goal scorer in Pastrnak, but No. 88 in black and gold deked and tried to go backhand and was stopped by Hart with a pad save– leaving the first round of the shootout still even at, 0-0.

Next up for the Flyers was none other than Philly’s captain himself, Claude Giroux, as Giroux skated in on Halak– elevating a shot over the Bruins goaltender that rang the post and bounced off of Halak’s back and out.

Cassidy matched Vigneault’s second shooter with Coyle, but Coyle was denied by Hart with a glove save after the third line center sitckhandled and didn’t get enough on his shot to duplicate Giroux’s effort at elevating the puck.

Couturier was the first shooter of the third round and hit the post with a backhand shot that might had deflected off of Halak’s glove before catching the iron and going wide.

DeBrusk was Boston’s third choice in the shootout, but tried to go five-hole (a classic move for the B’s in shootouts this season) and was stoned by Hart with a predictable save.

Farabee had the chance to put the Flyers ahead with the first advantage in the shootout, but couldn’t get enough on a low-blocker side attempt as Halak turned the puck away.

Despite scoring two goals in the game, Krejci’s shootout attempt left more to be desired as the veteran Bruin tried to go short side on Hart with a close range backhand shot that the Philadelphia netminder stopped with his leg pad.

Finally, in the 5th round of the shootout, Konecny connected on a goal with a shot off the post and in behind Halak’s glove.

Boston had to score to continue the shootout or they would lose, so Cassidy sent out Marchand thinking the noted puck handler could get the job done and extended the already extended effort.

Nope.

Marchand skated towards the puck at the center ice dot, barely scrapped the top of the vulcanized rubber with his stick and moved it a few inches from where an official had left it prior to the attempt and had his chance waved off by the refs as an official shot that did not reach the net.

The game ended on an untimely error that Marchand shrugged off in his postgame interview, whereas other players might have been too frustrated with themselves to speak or too embarrassed to show their face to reporters afterwards.

It’s one game. It was one attempt. It went wrong.

Unfortunately for the Bruins and their fans, it cost them the game.

But for the Flyers and the home crowd, Philadelphia had won, 6-5, in the shootout and handed Boston their 7th loss in a shootout this season.

The Flyers improved to 5-5 in shootouts, while the Bruins fell to 0-7 in the one-on-one– skater vs. goaltender mini-games.

Boston is now 3-12 past regulation this season as a result of the loss on Monday.

The Bruins fell to 18-6-8 when scoring the game’s first goal, 16-4-3 when leading after the first period and 14-0-6 when leading after two periods this season.

Boston concludes their three-game road trip (1-0-1) on Tuesday in Columbus before returning home for a home-and-home series with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday and Sunday. After the Bruins swing through Pittsburgh on Jan. 19th, the B’s finish their game action before the All-Star break with a home game against the Vegas Golden Knights on Jan. 21st. 

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Flyers fly away with, 3-2, shootout win in Boston

Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny each had a pair of points, while Joel Farabee scored the only shootout goal in the Philadelphia Flyers’, 3-2, shootout victory over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden Sunday night.

Carter Hart (6-3-1 record, 2.71 goals against average, .893 save percentage in 11 games played) made 26 saves on 28 shots against for a .929 SV% in the shootout win for the Flyers.

Bruins goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (4-1-2, 2.68 GAA, .918 SV% in seven games played) stopped 27 out of 29 shots faced for a .931 SV% in the shootout loss.

The B’s fell to 11-3-3 (25 points) on the season, but remain in control of 1st place in the Atlantic Division, while Philadelphia improved to 10-5-2 (22 points) and rose to 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Bruins are now 7-0-2 at home this season and are in the midst of a three-game losing streak.

Boston was without Kevan Miller (knee), John Moore (shoulder), Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia), David Backes (upper body), Jake DeBrusk (lower body) and Brett Ritchie (upper body) on Sunday, but Joakim Nordstrom (infection) and Par Lindholm (upper body) returned to the lineup against Philadelphia.

DeBrusk was ruled out for the upcoming week and not likely to return before next weekend by Bruce Cassidy hours before the game against the Flyers.

Meanwhile, Cassidy inserted Lindholm on the third line, centering Anders Bjork and Zach Senyshyn.

As a result, Peter Cehlarik, was assigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) and Charlie Coyle was bumped up to the second line right wing with Danton Heinen sliding over to the left of David Krejci.

Nordstrom returned to his usual spot on the left side of Sean Kuraly with Chris Wagner resuming his right wing duties on the fourth line.

Cassidy kept the Bruins defense the same from the last couple of games, leaving Connor Clifton on the first pairing with Zdeno Chara and Boston University alums, Matt Grzelcyk with Charlie McAvoy on the third defensive pairing.

Once more, Steven Kampfer was Boston’s only healthy scratch.

Midway through the opening period, after dominating the game flow, the Flyers finally struck first with a goal by Konecny (8).

Konecny’s goal was assisted by Couturier (7) and Oskar Lindblom (6) at 13:50 of the first period and was marked the first time this season that a visiting team had scored the game’s first goal at TD Garden.

It was also just the 13th shot on net for Philadelphia, while Boston was limited to three shots on goal at the time of Konecny’s goal.

Less than a minute after taking the, 1-0, lead, the Flyers went on the penalty kill thanks to Farabee’s minor infraction for high sticking against Brad Marchand at 14:14.

The Bruins did not convert on the ensuing power play.

Late in the period, Philippe Myers (3) sent a laser past Halak with heavy traffic in front of the net to give Philly a two-goal lead.

Konecny (11) and Travis Sanheim (5) notched the assists on Myers’ goal at 17:56 and the Flyers led, 2-0.

After one period, Philadelphia led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and, 14-5, in shots on goal. The Flyers also held the advantage in takeaways, 2-1.

Meanwhile, the B’s led in blocked shots (4-3), hits (12-11) and faceoff win percentage (75-25).

Both teams had three giveaways each and Boston was 0/1 on the skater advantage heading into the second period.

Early in the middle frame, the Bruins thought they had scored, but the officials on the ice made no clear indication as to what the call was until after video review in Toronto automatically reviewed something they couldn’t review.

See, the on-ice officials decided there was goaltender interference on the play, which, there had been something that happened in the crease– whether it was caused by Philly bumping a Boston forward into the Flyers goaltender or simply a Bruin colliding under his own volition into Hart– and thus, no goal was the call on the ice and it could not be reviewed.

Or something like that.

The fact of the matter is fans at the rink and casual viewers at home would simply like an explanation of what is believed to have happened (a.k.a. “the call on the ice”) and why or why not there was a review (a.k.a. “further review” or lack thereof).

Regardless, Boston trudged on with better possession in the second period than the first period, but committed the only penalty of the period when David Pastrnak hooked Ivan Provorov at 8:11 of the second period.

Philadelphia didn’t capitalize on their first power play of the night and play resumed even strength with no issue.

Through 40 minutes of play, the Flyers still led, 2-0, and held a, 20-10, advantage in shots on goal– including a, 6-5, advantage in the second period alone.

Philly also led in takeaways (10-4) and hits (21-20), while Boston led in blocked shots (11-8), giveaways (9-7) and faceoff win% (70-30).

Both teams were 0/1 on the power play.

Early in the final frame of regulation, Coyle worked the puck deep into Boston’s attacking zone, then sent a bouncing biscuit to the slot whereby Heinen (4) scooped up the loose puck, spun and wrapped it into the twine from point blank– cutting Philadelphia’s lead in half, 2-1.

Coyle (4) and Chara (4) had the assists on Heinen’s goal at 5:59 of the third period and the Bruins began to surge.

Midway through the third period, Brad Marchand (11) received a pass from Grzelcyk and fired a wrist shot top shelf over Hart’s glove from the faceoff dot to tie the game, 2-2, at 12:22.

Grzelcyk (3) had the only assist on the goal.

Less than a few minutes later, Provorov slashed Pastrnak as the Bruins forward was on a breakaway and yielding a penalty shot to the young Boston winger at 15:04.

Pastrnak was denied by Hart and play resumed as the score remained deadlocked, 2-2.

Almost two minutes later, Lindblom tripped up Marchand and was sent to the penalty box at 16:40.

The B’s did not convert on the resulting skater advantage, despite taking a timeout with 1:36 remaining in regulation to draw up a last ditch effort plan on the advantage.

At the horn, the Bruins and Flyers remained tied, 2-2, and headed for overtime.

Shots on goal were even, 27-27, despite Boston’s, 17-7, advantage in the third period alone. Blocked shots were also tied, 12-12, after regulation.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia held the advantage in takeaways (14-8) and hits (29-26) and Boston led in giveaways (13-9) and faceoff win% (65-35) heading into overtime.

The Flyers were 0/1 on the power play and the B’s were 0/2.

Philadelphia head coach, Alain Vigneault, started Claude Giroux, Lindblom and Provorov in overtime while Cassidy opted for Patrice Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy.

The Flyers used their timeout after a stoppage with 1:15 remaining in overtime.

Shortly thereafter, in the final seconds of the extra frame, Boston had too many skaters on the ice and was assessed a bench minor penalty.

Krejci was selected to serve the infraction and Philadelphia didn’t capitalize on the skater advantage as overtime wrapped up.

After 65 minutes of action in Boston, the score remained tied, 2-2, with the Flyers leading in shots on goal, 29-28 (2-1 in overtime alone).

Boston finished the night leading in blocked shots (14-13), giveaways (13-9) and faceoff win% (61-39), while Philadelphia finished the action leading in takeaways (16-8).

Both teams had 29 hits aside and went 0/2 on the power play as the shootout commenced.

Boston elected to shoot first in the shootout– leading off with Coyle, who deked backhand, pulled the puck back to his forehand in effort to sneak it around Hart, but was denied by Philadelphia’s netminder with the leg pad.

Farabee shot first for the Flyers and scored on Halak’s glove side while taking it nice and slow into the zone.

Marchand tried to go blocker side to lead off the second round of the shootout, but was stopped with the leg pad as he couldn’t elevate the puck enough.

Giroux shot next for Philly, but was stopped by Halak as the Flyers forward tried to fake a slap shot, then went glove side before catching Halak’s forearm.

Finally, Pastrnak worked his way in on Hart as Boston’s last chance to extend the shootout, but the Philly goaltender broke up the attempt before Pastrnak could complete his shot– winning the game in the process.

Philadelphia improved to 3-2 in shootouts on the season, while Boston fell to 0-2 after overtime this year.

The Flyers also improved to 6-0-0 when leading after the 1st period this season and the Bruins fell to 1-2-2 when trailing after one period, as well as when trailing after two periods thus far.

Boston finished their two-game homestand (0-0-1) Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers before traveling to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs on Friday (Nov. 15th).

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Podcasts

DTFR Podcast #169- 2019-20 Season Preview: Metropolitan Division

Mitch Marner finally re-signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins announced a couple key extensions, more RFA deals were signed and the NHLPA decided not to re-open the current collective bargaining agreement as DTFR’s season previews continued with the Metropolitan Division.

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

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NHL Nick's Net Previews

Philadelphia Flyers 2019-20 Season Preview

Philadelphia Flyers

37-37-8, 82 points, 6th in the Metropolitan Division

Only misses the postseason in odd years (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019)

Additions: F Andy Andreoff, F Kyle Criscuolo, F Kurtis Gabriel, F Kevin Hayes (acquired from WPG), F Tyler Pitlick (acquired from DAL), D Chris Bigras, D Justin Braun (acquired from SJS), D Matt Niskanen (acquired from WSH), D Nate Prosser, D Andy Welinski, D Tyler Wotherspoon, G Jean-Francois Berube

Subtractions: F Justin Bailey (signed with VAN), F Cole Bardreau (signed with NYI), F Greg Carey (signed with Lehigh Valley, AHL), F Byron Froese (signed with CGY), F Tyrell Goulbourne (signed with VGK), F Ryan Hartman (traded to DAL, signed with MIN), F Corban Knight (KHL), F Jori Lehtera (KHL), F Roman Lyubimov (KHL), F Phil Varone (signed with MTL), F Mike Vecchione (signed with STL), D Radko Gudas (traded to WSH), G Mike McKenna (retired), G Michal Neuvirth (signed a PTO with TOR), G Cam Talbot (signed with CGY)

Still Unsigned: F Travis Konecny, D Jacob Graves, D Ivan Provorov

Re-signed: F Nicolas Aube-Kubel, F Scott Laughton

Offseason Analysis: It’s the dawn of a new age for the Philadelphia Flyers. Gone are the days (hopefully) of the revolving door of goaltenders in a Flyers sweater as Carter Hart’s first full season is about to get underway– and with a stable defense in front of him too.

Last season, Philadelphia set an NHL record for the most goaltenders used in a season with seven different netminders.

This season, Philadelphia’s looking to set a record for the most current/former head coaches to be behind the bench at any given time as Alain Vigneault is the new head coach, while Mike Yeo and Michel Therrien are playing supporting roles as assistants.

General Manager, Chuck Fletcher, nabbed Kevin Hayes in June in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets– sending a 2019 5th round pick to the Jets in return.

Shortly after acquiring Hayes, the Flyers “re-signed” him to a seven-year, $50 million contract worth $7.143 million per season. He’s never scored more than 25 goals in a season and just had a career-high 55 points in 71 games with the New York Rangers and Winnipeg last season.

While Hayes certainly isn’t a standout superstar, he does solidify the top-six forward group and provides a long-term foundation for Philadelphia’s core with his seven-year deal.

Claude Giroux is only 31-years-old and signed through 2021-22 at $8.275 million per season and Jakub Voracek, 30, is signed through 2023-24 at $8.250 million per season.

Any contract with a cap hit under $9 million for your best players is considered a steal in today’s NHL, but not all “steals” are good contracts.

Regardless, Philadelphia has a versatile group of forwards and upgraded their defense over the offseason– something that was badly needed to help lessen the load on a high turnover of goaltenders over recent years.

Radko Gudas was traded to the Washington Capitals in a one-for-one deal that sent Matt Niskanen to the Flyers. Though Philadelphia retained 30% of Gudas’ salary ($1.005 million) in the deal, they did not keep any of his future suspensions in the transaction.

While Niskanen alone isn’t the most impressive thing in the world, adding Justin Braun to the mix that includes Niskanen, Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Robert Hagg and Samuel Morin certainly is.

Provorov is still an unsigned restricted free agent with training camp opening later this week.

Braun was acquired by Philadelphia in a trade with the San Jose Sharks in which Fletcher gave up a 2019 2nd round pick and a 2020 3rd round pick to get the top-four defender while the Sharks were looking to unload salary now that they’ve locked up Erik Karlsson to an eight-year, $92 million extension.

The Flyers have made themselves into serious playoff contenders on paper, but the hard part still remains in front of them– actually making it.

Luckily for them, Vigneault has been to the Stanley Cup Final more recently than Philadelphia has as an organization.

Vigneault made it to the Final behind the bench of the Vancouver Canucks in 2011 and New York Rangers in 2014. His team lost in seven games in 2011 and in five games in 2014.

The Flyers lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.

To win the Cup– sometimes– it takes a couple of hardships first before the sweet taste of victory.

Philadelphia’s in “win now” mode. Future be damned.

They have $13.417 million in cap space with Travis Konecny and Provorov to re-sign, plus Nolan Patrick in the final year of his entry-level contract this season.

Offseason Grade: A-

Sure Hayes is overpaid and Vigneault, Yeo and Therrien are behind the bench, but Fletcher built a legitimate defense, a mix of youth and quality players in their prime, plus he has a dark horse in net.

How far can Philadelphia go? That remains to be seen, especially as some of the younger players don’t have a lot of playoff experience– if any at all. However, the Flyers are playoff contenders nonetheless and as long as you make the postseason, you have a chance of winning the Cup.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net Previews Projected Stats Tracker

2019-20 Metropolitan Division Outlook

As the entire hockey world awaits training camp action next month, let’s make some (un)educated guesses about the upcoming season that will totally pan out because everything always goes as expected. (It doesn’t.)

The projected standings below are only a forecast.

They are based on recent indications– as well as the last few seasons of stats– and cannot account for variations in roster construction (a.k.a. trades and free agency moves).

There’s a lot of variables that will turn the tables upside down, including transactions, injuries and otherwise. Anything can happen.

As always, it’s more important to remember 1) the spread and 2) the positioning.

Just how many points separate the projected division winner from the last wild card spot (the spread) and where a team is supposed to finish in the division standings (the position) can imply that things aren’t always what they seem.

A team that’s projected to win it all still has to play an 82-game regular season, qualify for the playoffs and go on to amass 16 wins in the postseason.

Projected Standings After ZERO Months

Metropolitan Division

  1. y-Washington Capitals, 107 points
  2. x-Pittsburgh Penguins, 102 points
  3. x-Columbus Blue Jackets, 93 points
  4. wc1-New York Islanders, 91 points
  5. wc2-Philadelphia Flyers, 91 points
  6. New York Rangers, 89 points
  7. Carolina Hurricanes, 87 points
  8. New Jersey Devils, 84 points

Washington Capitals: Pros and Cons

Year after year, Washington finds themselves at the top of the Metropolitan Division with or without any sort of logical explanation.

The last time the Capitals didn’t finish 1st in the division? It was the 2014-15 season when the New York Rangers followed up a 2014 Stanley Cup Final appearance with 113 points and the President’s Trophy.

Once again, the Caps will find a way to turn things on late into the season and manage the top spot in the Metropolitan Division, but they’ll be doing so without a long list of members from their 2018 Stanley Cup championship roster.

After matching his regular season goal scoring total in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Devante Smith-Pelly wasn’t able to get back to form and subsequently reassigned to the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears during the 2018-19 season.

Now, he’s an unrestricted free agent.

Also departing Washington this summer were the likes of Brett Connolly (signed with Florida), Andre Burakovsky (traded to Colorado for Scott Kosmachuk, a 2nd round pick in 2020 and a 3rd round pick in 2020), Nathan Walker (signed with St. Louis), Matt Niskanen (traded to Philadelphia in exchange for Radko Gudas) and Brooks Orpik (retired)

Madison Bowey was traded to Detroit in February. Jakub Jerabek left via free agency last season and is now playing in the KHL. Philipp Grubauer was traded to the Avalanche last June. Jay Beagle signed with the Vancouver Canucks last July. Alex Chiasson joined the Edmonton Oilers last October.

With such a quick turnover in the makeup of their lineup, the Capitals’ championship window may already be closing– and fast.

At least Garnet Hathaway, Richard Panik and Carl Hagelin all signed four-year contracts with cap hits under $3.000 million.

How would the Capitals fail?

Radko Gudas and Tom Wilson end up suspended for the entire season somehow and get the rest of the Capitals in trouble for something.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Pros and Cons

Phil Kessel is signed through 2021-22 at $6.800 million per season. Alex Galchenyuk is signed through 2019-20 with a cap hit of $4.900 million.

Using the money saved from trading Kessel to Arizona and hoping Galchenyuk will suddenly become a 30 or 40 goal scorer simply because he’s now on the same roster as Sidney Crosby, Penguins General Manager, Jim Rutherford, figured it’d be a smart move to lock up Brandon Tanev in free agency with a six-year contract at $3.500 million per season and a modified no-trade clause one offseason removed from signing Jack Johnson.

If there’s any positives for Pittsburgh, it’s that Crosby still exists and Mike Sullivan remains the head coach. Oh and Evgeni Malkin exists too, though some would find it hard to believe, since he wasn’t included in the top-100 players of the last century list.

As long as Matt Murray and Casey DeSmith can weather the storm of an insufficient defense, injuries and inadequacy from last season, then there’s a good chance the current longest active playoff appearance streak remains alive.

If not, well, just look for Rutherford to continue to move chairs around on the Titanic.

This team is starting to spring a leak. If they’re not careful, they’ll sink in the standings.

But since the season really doesn’t start until January anyway for the Pens, they’ll work their way into a playoff berth as they’ve done for the last dozen years or so.

How would the Penguins fail?

Rutherford trades another goal scorer for a “glue guy” and clones Tanev and/or Johnson. Realistically, Murray continues to cool down from his meteoric rise a couple of seasons ago and won’t cost too much as a pending-RFA.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Pros and Cons

All my ex’s live in… everywhere but Columbus.

The Blue Jackets lost Artemi Panarin to the New York Rangers, Sergei Bobrovsky to the Florida Panthers, Matt Duchene to the Nashville Predators and Ryan Dzingel to the Carolina Hurricanes, but they brought in Gustav Nyquist and brought back Marko Dano via free agency.

Yeah, ok, so it wasn’t a great summer for Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen and Blue Jackets fans– even if they knew at least one of their big names (Bobrovsky) was never going to re-sign.

But while a lot of armchair GMs think the Blue Jackets are destined for a rebuild, there’s a glimmer of optimism if Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins can carry the weight of the crease, while younger players like Alexandre Texier, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Josh Anderson continue to emerge.

Making it as far as they did into the Second Round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs was vital to the experience gained by Columbus’ core.

Though they’re likely not going to a be a dominant force in 2019-20, they should be in contention for what would be a fifth playoff berth in seven years under Kekalainen’s reign.

And if they turn heads again like they did when they swept the President’s Trophy winning Tampa Bay Lightning in the First Round, then there’s sure to be some interest in lacing up the skates for the Blue Jackets in the future.

Then again, it could be tank city until Korpisalo or Merzlikins becomes a legitimate starter and somebody becomes an 80-point scorer again.

It just takes some time… Oh and someone should probably re-sign Zach Werenski while you’re at it.

How would the Blue Jackets fail?

The Union doesn’t lose. Ok, if everybody leaves, then it might.

New York Islanders: Pros and Cons

Having Lou Lamoriello as your General Manager means some players are going to love him (if they’ve already been with him for many years before) and some players are going to be chased out of the city when they are told they are going in a different direction, but then don’t quite land who they think they’re getting, only to leave you once again for… well, Semyon Varlamov isn’t really an upgrade at this point.

But Robin Lehner’s gone after winning the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy with the Rangers Islanders last season after having a remarkable career-year in the face of addiction and other struggles.

New York’s only getting older and Anders Lee took a “hometown discount” to stay on Long Island.

Speaking of Long Island, is it too early to start construction on the Belmont Park arena yet?

Something has to distract everyone from the undercutting of several prospect’s development– whether they’ve rightfully had a chance to prove themselves at the NHL level or not.

Barry Trotz is a great head coach, but how much more can he do with a middle of the road team that gives up on prospects too early?

Get them back to the Second Round only to be crushed by a team that’s mixing youth, speed, skill, grit and actually playing 21st century hockey?

It’s almost as though the Islanders learned nothing from 1995-2006.

How would the Islanders fail?

It’s [the] trap!

Philadelphia Flyers: Pros and Cons

Flyers General Manager, Chuck Fletcher, actually hasn’t had that bad of an offseason– at least when it comes to tweaking his roster.

Sure Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun are both 32-years-old, but they’re decent top-4 defenders that should be able to lead from the back end with Shayne Gostisbehere as Travis Sanheim and Ivan Provorov come into their own.

Speaking of Provorov, he’s still an unsigned-RFA and Philadelphia has more than enough money (about $13.400 million in cap space) to get some sort of a deal done right now. Why wait until the last minute? What’s that? Travis Konecny needs a contract right now too? Oh never mind. Let’s make things complicated!

Besides giving Kevin Hayes a seven-year contract worth $7.143 million per season with a no-movement clause, the Flyers should have– a lot of explaining to do when their experiment doesn’t work out.

The Hayes contract is bad, but just how bad can things get with Hayes back on a team that’s coached by… Alain Vigneault!?!

Vigneault’s the real wild card here as the jury is still out on whether or not his style still fits the game or if the Rangers were just that bad in his final year with New York.

All things considered, Philadelphia should be back into playoff contention. Just not Cup contention in 2019-20.

How much more of this can Claude Giroux take?

How would the Flyers fail?

Alain Vigneault, Mike Yeo and Michel Therrien can’t figure out who is actually the head coach on a night-to-night basis even though Vigneault technically owns the job (Yeo and Therrien are assistant coaches for the Flyers, if you haven’t heard). Oh and goaltending if Carter Hart gets injured.

New York Rangers: Pros and Cons

The Rangers landed the biggest prize in free agency, signing Artemi Panarin to a seven-year contract worth $11.643 million per season.

Though they are still in a rebuild, Panarin’s addition to the roster helps make New York more of an attractive destination and speeds things up in the overall plan.

It doesn’t hurt that GM Jeff Gorton had the 2nd overall pick in this year’s draft too. Kaapo Kakko is ready for the limelight in Manhattan as Henrik Lundqvist’s reign is in its twilight days.

Lundqvist is under contract through the 2020-21 season and at 37-years-old– it’d take a miracle for the Rangers to win him a Cup at this point.

The Rangers only have one forward over the age of 30 (Matt Beleskey’s 31) and two defenders 30 or older as well (Brendan Smith, 30, and Marc Staal, 32).

Beleskey is likely to bounce around the organization between New York and Hartford (AHL), while there’s a good chance Smith could be buried as well.

But their “veteran presence” is valuable to time on ice management among the younger skaters that might not be quite as NHL ready as Kakko and friends.

Jacob Trouba is new to the Rangers and destined to anchor their new-age defense from the top pairing, while Kevin Shattenkirk joins the long list of buyouts in recent years by New York.

The Rangers are short almost $5.400 million in dead cap space thanks to Shattenkirk, Dan Girardi and Ryan Spooner’s buyouts around the league (Shattenkirk and Girardi were Rangers buyouts, but Spooner had retained salary and was bought out by the Vancouver Canucks this offseason).

Next year, New York faces almost $7.500 million in cap penalties from the trio of buyouts before Spooner comes off the books entirely and the number dips down to about $2.544 million from 2021-22 to 2022-23.

Also another Harvard product– Adam Fox– is the new Jimmy Vesey experiment, but on the blue line. And Vesey? He was traded to Buffalo.

Panarin and Kakko are worth watching this season, while the rest of the team remains to be seen.

How would the Rangers fail?

Henrik Lundqvist stops looking so good all of a sudden. That man is stunning.

Carolina Hurricanes: Pros and Cons

Though the forecast says otherwise, Carolina should actually be closer to playoff contention than you may think coming off their 2019 Eastern Conference Final appearance.

Hurricanes General Manager, Don Waddell, has weathered the storm this offseason. Actually, his job was made pretty easy when the Montreal Canadiens signed Sebastian Aho to a five-year offer sheet worth $8.454 million per season.

Considering the value Aho brings and the potential that’s still there– that’s a steal.

Though a little more than $21 million in signing bonuses through the first two years is considered a “hefty” price for an owner to pay, let’s remember that we’re talking about professional sports.

If Montreal really wanted to make things difficult for Canes owner, Tom Dundon, then they should’ve offered something with a larger cap hit, but that would’ve meant a steeper price to pay in compensation had Carolina not matched the deal. #AdvantageCarolina

Aho will be 27 by the time his new contract runs out, which means he’ll be a pending-UFA in 2024, but there’s plenty of time to worry about the next contract when the time comes.

Right now, the Hurricanes have added some much needed top-six/top-nine forward depth in Erik Haula (acquired from Vegas) and Ryan Dzingel (signed via free agency), while adding a 1st round pick in 2020 (or 2021 if Toronto’s 2020 1st rounder is a top-10 overall selection) and swapping Calvin de Haan with the Chicago Blackhawks for Gustav Forsling (there were other pieces involved, like Anton Forsberg going to Carolina too).

The average age of Carolina’s skaters? 25.

Considering how far the core went in 2018-19, that’s beyond impressive and it’s a testament to head coach, Rod Brind’Amour.

In July, Petr Mrazek re-signed with the Hurricanes on a two-year deal and James Reimer was acquired in a trade with the Florida Panthers as Curtis McElhinney signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Though Alex Nedeljkovic might be another year out from competing for the starting job, the crease is Mrazek’s to lose once again with Reimer looking to rebound from a dismal time in Florida.

Carolina is poised for another deep run, but how soon will it be given the fact that their emergence as a contender means that every other team wants to beat them that much more from night-to-night?

How would the Hurricanes fail?

The Canes have a strong analytics department, so the only thing that could naturally disrupt their plans? Regression (and no WiFi).

New Jersey Devils: Pros and Cons

The Devils won the draft lottery and procured Jack Hughes with the 1st overall pick in June.

New Jersey was third-to-last in overall standings last season.

Though they added P.K. Subban in a trade with the Nashville Predators in June, drafted Hughes and have Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier and Will Butcher on their roster, the Devils still need a lot of pieces to improve.

Hall’s a pending-UFA at season’s end. His next deal– whether it’s with New Jersey or not– determines the fate of this team.

Cory Schneider’s still under contract through 2021-22 and Mackenzie Blackwood is only 22-years-old.

Goaltenders are rarely superstars when they’re that young, so while Blackwood may be the starter heading into the season and goalie of the future for the organization– it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some ups and downs before the dust settles.

Now for the good news.

Nikita Gusev was acquired in a trade with the Golden Knights and Ray Shero doesn’t have a lot of no-trade clauses to deal with if the Devils look to sell at the trade deadline.

How would the Devils fail?

If they somehow lose the Taylor Hall trade a few years after winning it.