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NHL Nick's Net

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Hurricanes take 1-0 series lead with, 5-1, victory against Boston

Two goals late in the second period set the momentum in motion for the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night as they opened up their 2022 First Round series against the Boston Bruins with a, 5-1, win in Game 1 at PNC Arena.

Antti Raanta (1-0, 1.00 goals-against average, .972 save percentage in one game played) made 35 saves on 36 shots against in the win for Carolina in his first career start in a Stanley Cup Playoff game.

Boston goaltender, Linus Ullmark (0-1, 4.07 goals-against average, .833 save percentage in one game played), stopped 20 out of 24 shots faced in the loss in his postseason debut.

The Bruins are meeting the Hurricanes for the seventh time in Stanley Cup Playoffs history with Boston holding an all-time series advantage, 5-1.

The two clubs are facing each other for the third time in four years with the B’s having most recently defeated the Canes in the 2020 First Round in five games while the league held its Eastern Conference playoff bubble in Toronto due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that summer.

Carolina won all three games against Boston in the 2021-22 regular season with 16 goals for and one goal against over the course of the year.

The Bruins were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) on Monday as the two players missed a combined 69 games in the regular season due to injuries.

Jack Studnicka, Marc McLaughlin, Jack Ahcan and Oskar Steen were all reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) prior to Game 1 against Carolina as Providence is set to take on the Bridgeport Islanders in their 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs First Round series.

Kyle Keyser was recalled from Providence to serve as Boston’s third goaltender at practice this postseason.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, reunited his lines from the penultimate game in the regular season for Game 1 against Carolina, rendering Mike Reilly, Chris Wagner, Josh Brown, Anton Blidh and Keyser as healthy scratches for the B’s.

Brady Skjei sent an errant puck over the glass and out of play for an automatic delay of game infraction at 3:00 of the first period, but Boston’s power play failed to convert on the skater advantage.

Midway through the opening frame, Jordan Staal’s stick work pushed the puck over the line while pushing Ullmark’s pad through the crease in the process and was deemed incidental goaltender interference.

As a result, the Hurricanes were not penalized and the call on the ice (no goal) stood.

Moments later, Erik Haula cut a rut to the box for holding and presented the Canes with their first power play of the night at 13:53, but Boston’s penalty kill stood tall and made the kill.

Patrice Bergeron presented Carolina with their second skater advantage of the night for tripping Staal at 16:42, but the Hurricanes failed to capitalize on the resulting skater advantage.

Entering the first intermission, the score remained tied, 0-0, despite the Bruins leading in shots on goal, 14-10.

The B’s also held the advantage in blocked shots (6-5), while the Canes led in takeaways (7-4), giveaways (6-5), hits (22-12) and faceoff win percentage (57-43)– reflecting the momentum of the opening frame where Boston got out to a hot start for about 10 minutes before Carolina rocketed to the intermission.

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

Almost midway through the second period, Ian Cole tripped Trent Frederic at 8:15, but Boston couldn’t muster a shot past Raanta on the ensuing power play.

In another surge in momentum late in the period, Jaccob Slavin riffled a shot from the point that Seth Jarvis (1) tipped through Ullmark’s five-hole to give Carolina the first goal of the game at 16:28 of the second period.

Slavin (1) and Cole (1) tallied the assists on Jarvis’ first career Stanley Cup Playoff goal and the Hurricanes led, 1-0.

Carolina scored a pair of goals in a span of 2:10 when Nino Niederreiter (1) sent a shot past Ullmark on the glove side from just outside the faceoff circles in the attacking zone.

Tony DeAngelo (1) and Martin Nečas (1) notched the assists as the Hurricanes grabbed a, 2-0, lead at 18:38.

Heading into the second intermission, the Canes led, 2-0, on the scoreboard despite trailing the Bruins, 25-19, in shots on goal.

Boston held an advantage in shots in the middle frame alone, 11-9, while Carolina led in blocked shots (13-10), takeaways (11-6), giveaways (14-9), hits (34-30) and faceoff win% (61-39).

Both teams were 0-for-2 on the power play through 40 minutes of play Monday night at PNC Arena.

Taylor Hall (1) fluttered a catch and release shot past Raanta to cut Carolina’s lead in half at 2:53 of the third period and the Bruins trailed, 2-1, early in the final frame as a result.

Haula (1) and Charlie McAvoy (1) had the assists on Hall’s goal.

Moments later– after Hall rang the post at the other end of the rink– Teuvo Teräväinen (1) scored on a 2-on-1 while Matt Grzelcyk got caught out of position while trying to pinch, leaving Brandon Carlo to defend on his own.

Vincent Trocheck (1) had the only assist on Teräväinen’s goal to give the Hurricanes a, 3-1, lead at 7:02 of the third period.

Midway through the final frame, Brendan Smith interfered with Craig Smith at 10:00, but the B’s failed to convert on the resulting skater advantage.

Late in the period, Trocheck (1) waltzed right into the attacking zone and cut to the net before flipping the puck over Ullmark as the Bruins goaltender tried to make a save with his mask.

Max Domi (1) and Brett Pesce (1) had the assists on Trocheck’s goal and the Hurricanes took a, 4-1, lead at 16:58 of the third period.

Cassidy pulled his goaltender with about 2:54 remaining in the action to rally his skaters with an extra attacker, but Sebastian Aho quickly received a pass from Aho and selflessly setup Andrei Svechnikov (1) for the empty net goal to give Carolina a, 5-1, lead at 17:59.

Aho (1) and Jarvis (1) tallied the assists on Svechnikov’s goal.

A couple minutes later, Frederic exchanged pleasantries with Smith after a brief stoppage and received a roughing minor as well as a ten-minute misconduct at 19:53 of the third period.

At the final horn, the Hurricanes won, 5-1, and took a 1-0 series lead in their 2022 First Round matchup with Boston.

The Bruins exited the ice leading in shots on goal, 36-25, including an, 11-6, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston finished the night leading in blocked shots, 17-16, while Carolina left their own building leading in giveaways (20-10), hits (48-42) and faceoff win% (57-43).

Both teams went 0-for-3 on the power play on Monday.

The Hurricanes take a 1-0 series lead heading into Game 2 at PNC Arena Wednesday night.

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. ET and viewers outside of the local markets can catch the action on ESPN in the United States, as well as SN360 and TVAS2 in Canada.

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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins drop season finale on the road, 5-2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NHL Nick's Net

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things did not go to plan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talk about burying the lede.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bruins’, 2-1, victory clinches playoff berth for sixth-straight season

The Boston Bruins are officially heading to the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs after securing a, 2-1, win against the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.

Erik Haula’s first period goal proved to be the game-winner, while Jeremy Swayman (21-12-3, 2.34 goals-against average, .917 save percentage in 37 games played) had a quality start with 23 saves in 24 shots faced en route to the victory for Boston.

Pittsburgh netminder, Casey DeSmith (8-5-5, 2.89 goals-against average, .907 save percentage in 22 games played) turned aside 27 out of 29 shots against in the loss.

The Penguins were without their usual starting goaltender, Tristan Jarry– who is out week-to-week with a lower body injury– and center, Evgeni Malkin, who is serving a four-game suspension for cross-checking Nashville Predators defender, Mark Borowiecki, in last Sunday’s, 3-2, overtime win at PPG Paints Arena.

Pittsburgh fell to 43-23-11 (97 points) on the season, but the Pens are still in command of 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division as they are currently five points ahead of the Washington Capitals (41-23-10, 92 points).

The Penguins clinched a playoff spot after Thursday night’s, 6-3, win against the New York Islanders.

Boston improved to 46-24-5 (97 points) overall and clinched their sixth-consecutive Stanley Cup playoff berth (75th overall in 98 seasons) as a result of Saturday’s win.

The Bruins are in command of the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and trail the Toronto Maple Leafs (48-20-6, 102 points) by five points for home ice in at least the 2022 First Round, as well as the Tampa Bay Lightning (45-21-8, 98 points) by one point for a divisional playoff spot.

Boston has played in 75 games this season, while Toronto and Tampa have each played in 74 games at the time of this writing (both teams are in action Saturday night as the Leafs visit the Ottawa Senators, while the Lightning host the Winnipeg Jets).

The B’s improved to 1-1-0 against Pittsburgh this season with one game remaining in their regular season series Thursday night (April 21st) at PPG Paints Arena.

Boston went 5-3-0 against the Penguins last season and 2-1-0 in 2019-20.

The Bruins were without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL), David Pastrnak (undisclosed), Hampus Lindholm (lower body) and Linus Ullmark (upper body) on Saturday, while Brandon Carlo returned to action from an undisclosed injury sustained on April 12th against St. Louis.

Bruce Cassidy made a few changes to his lineup as a result.

The only chance among forwards involved replacing Tomáš Nosek with Trent Frederic on the third line left wing. Frederic had been a healthy scratch in Thursday night’s, 3-2, loss to the Senators.

Nosek served as a healthy scratch Saturday as a result.

On defense, Matt Grzelcyk suited up alongside Charlie McAvoy on the first pairing, while Mike Reilly and Carlo rounded out the top-four defenders.

Derek Forbort participated in his 400th career NHL game on the third pairing alongside Connor Clifton.

With Ullmark out of the lineup due to an injury, Troy Grosenick was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Friday to serve as Swayman’s backup against Pittsburgh.

Cassidy told reporters prior to the game that Ullmark will be out until at least Monday, while Pastrnak and Lindholm skated on their own prior to the matchup with the Penguins (not in warmup).

Jack Studnicka, Josh Brown, Jack Ahcan and Anton Blidh joined Nosek on the list of healthy scratches for the B’s on Saturday.

Less than a minute into the opening frame, Craig Smith sent a shot off of DeSmith’s right shoulder that rebounded to the slot where Frederic (6) beat John Marino to the loose puck and collected the garbage while crashing the net to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead 49 seconds into the afternoon.

Smith (17) had the only assist on Frederic’s goal.

Boston extended their lead to two-goals when Haula (15) sent a pass to the slot intended for Taylor Hall, but the puck deflected off of Marcus Pettersson’s skates and into the twine instead.

Reilly (12) had the only assist on Haula’s goal and the B’s led, 2-0, at 2:01 of the first period.

Late in the opening frame, Mike Matheson cut a rut to the penalty box for holding at 15:30, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing power play and fell to 0-for-24 (0-for-19 without Pastrnak) on the skater advantage in their last six games.

Heading into the first intermission, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and, 11-6, in shots on goal.

Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (4-1), hits (7-5) and faceoff win percentage (52-48), while Pittsburgh led in takeaways (1-0) after the first period.

The two clubs had three giveaways each entering the middle frame, while the Bruins were 0-for-1 on the power play and the Penguins had yet to see time on the skater advantage Saturday.

Danton Heinen (17) continued his revenge tour against Boston with a shot that fluttered and floated its way over Swayman’s glove side and into the back of the net– cutting the Bruins’ lead in half, 2-1, in the process.

Teddy Blueger (16) and Brock McGinn (8) tallied the assists on Heinen’s goal at 5:38 of the second period as Heinen set a new career-high in goals in 71 games– surpassing his previous career-best (16 goals in 77 games) set in 2017-18 with Boston.

Minutes later, Nick Foligno hooked Jake Guentzel and cut a rut to the sin bin at 9:33, but the Penguins were unable to convert on the ensuing power play.

Pittsburgh’s second chance on the skater advantage went by the wayside when McAvoy tripped Sidney Crosby at 11:44 as both teams struggled to get things going on the power play.

Through 40 minutes of action, the B’s held a, 2-1, lead on the scoreboard despite being outshot by the Pens, 9-5, in the second period alone.

Boston held the advantage in total shots on goal, however, 16-15, and led in blocked shots (8-3), while Pittsburgh led in takeaways (2-1), giveaways (5-3), hits (9-8) and faceoff win% (53-47).

The Penguins were 0-for-2 on the power play, while the Bruins were 0-for-1 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame.

Crosby slashed Frederic at 4:52 of the third period and presented Boston with their final power play opportunity of the night, but the B’s failed to convert on the skater advantage– falling to 0-for-25 on the power play in their last six games as a result.

A few minutes later, Reilly tripped Crosby at 7:09 of the third period and the Penguins went on the power play.

Pittsburgh failed to get anything going on the advantage, however.

With 2:06 remaining in the action, Penguins head coach, Mike Sullivan, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.

Despite using their timeout after a stoppage with 1:14 left in the game, the Pens couldn’t force overtime as the seconds ticked down and Curtis Lazar went for a casual skate down the length of the ice killing time and keeping the puck out of his own zone so Boston could get one last line change on the ice.

At the final horn, the Bruins had won, 2-1, and finished the afternoon leading in shots on goal, 29-24, including a, 13-9, advantage in the third period alone.

The B’s left their own ice leading in blocked shots (10-6), while the Penguins left TD Garden leading in giveaways (8-3), hits (12-9) and faceoff win% (55-45).

Pittsburgh went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Boston went 0-for-2 on the skater advantage Saturday afternoon.

For the 14th time in 16 years, the Bruins clinched a playoff berth, while the Penguins fell to 2-5-1 in their last eight games.

The B’s improved to 34-9-2 (16-5-1 at home) when scoring first, 26-5-1 (13-3-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 29-1-3 (13-1-1 at home) when leading after the second period this season.

Pittsburgh fell to 11-18-8 (6-9-4 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 5-10-5 (3-6-3 on the road) when trailing after one and 5-19-3 (2-9-2 on the road) when trailing after two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins hit the road for a pair of games in St. Louis and Pittsburgh next Tuesday (April 19th) and Thursday (April 21st), respectively, before returning home to host the New York Rangers next Saturday (April 23rd) on ABC.

Boston heads to Montréal on April 24th before hosting Florida (April 26th) and Buffalo (April 28th) prior to their regular season finale in Toronto on April 29th.

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Bruins lose three in-a-row for the first time this season

The Boston Bruins had a, 2-0, lead after the first period, but allowed the Ottawa Senators to score three unanswered goals after B’s goaltender, Linus Ullmark, left the game due to injury Thursday night at TD Garden.

Tim Stützle scored the game-winning power-play goal midway through the second period, while Anton Forsberg (19-16-3, 2.73 goals-against average, .919 save percentage in 41 games played) made 40 saves on 42 shots against in the victory for Ottawa.

Ullmark (23-10-2, 2.57 goals-against average, .913 save percentage in 38 games played) made eight saves on eight shots faced for Boston before being replaced by Jeremy Swayman (20-12-3, 2.38 goals-against average, .915 save percentage in 36 games played) after the first intermission.

Swayman stopped 21 out of 24 shots against in the loss for the Bruins.

After the game, B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters that Ullmark “didn’t feel well” after taking a shot off the face mask in the first period.

Prior to Thursday night, the Bruins were the only team across the National Hockey League that had yet to lose three consecutive games this season.

As a result of the loss, Boston dropped to 45-24-5 (95 points) overall, but remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference– though for the second game in-a-row, the B’s failed to clinch a playoff berth.

There’s not too much to worry about, however, given the long shot odds of the New York Islanders dethroning either the Bruins or the Washington Capitals for a wild card playoff berth.

With nine games remaining in New York’s schedule, the Islanders would need to win all nine games and hope for a colossal collapse of either the Capitals or Bruins in their remaining eight games.

Washington would have to amass no more than three points over the remainder of their schedule, while Boston would have to lose every game for the Isles to make the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

New York might have better odds playing the lottery or tuning into New York Rangers playoff games if they’re hoping to see some postseason action this spring.

Meanwhile, the Senators improved to 28-40-6 (62 points) on the season and remain in command of 7th place in the Atlantic Division.

Boston finished their regular season series against Ottawa with a 3-1-0 record in their four meetings.

The Bruins did not play the Senators in 2020-21 due to the temporarily realigned divisions and condensed 56-game schedule in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions.

The B’s went 2-1-0 against the Sens in 2019-20.

Jakub Zboril (right ACL), David Pastrnak (undisclosed) and Hampus Lindholm (lower body) were joined by Brandon Carlo (undisclosed) on Boston’s list of injured players out of the lineup against Ottawa on Thursday.

Jack Ahcan and Jesper Frödén were recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, prior to Thursday night’s action.

Meanwhile, Matt Grzelcyk returned to the lineup on defense and took part in his 300th career NHL game– suiting up in his regular role on the second pairing.

Cassidy made a few changes to his lines– inserting Frödén on the second line with Taylor Hall at left wing and Erik Haula at center, while promoting Tomáš Nosek to the third line in Trent Frederic’s usual spot.

Frederic served as a healthy scratch on Thursday, while Marc McLaughlin was demoted from the second line right wing to centering the fourth line with Nick Foligno and Curtis Lazar as his wings.

On defense, Mike Reilly was paired with Charlie McAvoy, while Grzelcyk and Josh Brown started the night out as Boston’s top-four defenders.

Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton served as the third pairing.

Frederic was joined by Jack Studnicka, Ahcan and Anton Blidh in the Bruins press box as healthy scratches against the Senators.

Early in the opening frame, Boston worked the puck deep into the zone whereby Foligno wrapped around the net and spun a backhand shot pass to the slot for McLaughlin (3) to redirect on the doorstep past Forsberg’s right pad.

Just like that, the Bruins had a, 1-0, lead at 6:36 of the first period, while Foligno (11) and Lazar (8) tallied the assists– marking Foligno’s 499th career NHL point in the process.

Less than a minute later, the Senators had too many skaters on the ice and presented the B’s with the first legal skater advantage of the night at 7:15, but Boston couldn’t convert on the ensuing power play.

Late in the period, Travis Hamonic elbowed Haula and was assessed a minor infraction at 15:20, but once again the Bruins failed to capitalize on the resulting power play.

Just as the final minute of the period was being announced, Grzelcyk corralled a loose puck at the point and kept the play in the attacking zone before sending a shot towards the net with traffic.

Frödén (1) deflected Grzelcyk’s bullet from the blue line and gave Boston a two-goal lead at 19:01 of the first period.

Grzelcyk (19) and Hall (39) had the assists as the Bruins took a, 2-0, lead into the first intermission.

Boston had a 2:1 advantage in shots on goal, outshooting the Sens, 16-8, in the first period, while leading in giveaways (6-2) and faceoff win percentage (71-29) as well.

Ottawa held the lead in takeaways (3-1) and hits (12-7) after one period, while both teams amassed two blocked shots each heading into the middle frame.

The Bruins were 0-for-2 on the power play and the Senators had yet to see time on the skater advantage.

Swayman replaced Ullmark for the start of the second period after Ullmark briefly skated over to the bench upon taking a shot off the mask in the first period and checked in with a trainer before returning to the crease.

Ullmark did not return to the game and was not seated on Boston’s bench for the rest of the night either– marking the fifth time in the last six games that someone left the action with an injury for the Bruins.

Less than a minute into the second period, Swayman was tested and gave up a goal when he apparently hadn’t covered enough of the short side as Brady Tkachuk (27) won a battle to the puck by knocking down McAvoy as the two skaters raced to the loose puck at the endboards prior to banking the rubber biscuit off of the Bruins netminder and into the twine.

Stützle (31) had the only assist on Tkachuk’s goal as the Sens trailed, 2-1, 47 seconds into the middle frame.

Less than a minute later, Boston had too many skaters on the ice and had been assessed a bench minor as a result.

McLaughlin skated over to the sin bin to serve the infraction at 1:22 and the Bruins managed to kill off Ottawa’s power play without issue.

The same could not be said for their next two penalties as Reilly caught Tkachuk with a high stick at 8:39 and Patrice Bergeron went to the box for hooking at 8:46 of the second period.

The Senators had a 5-on-3 advantage for a little less than two full minutes and they put Boston through the ringer as a result.

First, Drake Batherson fed Josh Norris (33) through the slot for a one-timer from inside the circle to Swayman’s left side– tying the game, 2-2, in the process on Norris’ power-play goal.

Batherson (25) and Stützle (32) tallied the assists at 9:30 of the middle frame.

Less than a minute later, the Bruins struggled to get the puck out of their own zone before Stützle again factored on the play– dishing the puck back to the point prior to the Senators sending it in towards the goal line to establish a traingle setup in the offensive zone.

Tkachuk fired a shot that rebounded as Stützle (18) collected the garbage while crashing the slot– giving Ottawa their second power-play goal as a result.

Stützle factored into all three Senators goals with a goal and two assists in Thursday night’s effort, while Tkachuk (31) picked up the assist on Stützle’s game-winning goal as the Sens grabbed a, 3-2, lead at 10:27 of the second period and held onto it for the rest of the night.

Batherson served a hooking penalty at 13:45 of the middle frame, but the Boston failed to get another shot past Forsberg as the power play came and went without issue for Ottawa’s penalty kill.

Late in the period, Brad Marchand tripped Connor Brown and cut a rut to the box, though the Senators failed to convert on the power play at 17:56.

Through 40 minutes of play, Ottawa had a, 3-2, lead on the scoreboard, despite trailing Boston in total shots on goal, 24-23.

The Sens, however, had a, 15-8, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

Ottawa also led in blocked shots (7-6), takeaways (6-3) and hits (20-17) after two periods, while the Bruins led in giveaways (9-5) and faceoff win% (61-40).

Heading into the final frame, the Senators were 2-for-4 on the power play, while the B’s were 0-for-3 on the skater advantage.

Colin White tripped Craig Smith to give Boston a power play at 5:24 of the third period, but the Bruins couldn’t convert on the advantage in keeping with the theme of the night.

Lazar was assessed a roughing minor for trying to engage Parker Kelly in an exchange of fisticuffs after Kelly made a big hit in the neutral zone, but the Senators ended up on the power play instead at 9:15 of the third period.

Ottawa failed to capitalize on their second-to-last advantage of the evening.

Artem Zub was assessed an interference infraction at 13:52, but the B’s continued to be shutdown on the power play.

Late in the period, the Bruins once again had too many skaters on the ice at 15:27 and Nosek skated over to serve the bench minor in the box.

The Sens did not capitalize on the resulting abbreviated power play, however, after 26 seconds of 4-on-4 play.

With 1:29 remaining in the action, Swayman vacated the crease for an extra attacker after putting an end to several breakaways for the Senators.

After a stoppage with 39.9 seconds remaining, Cassidy used his timeout to allow assistant coach, Chris Kelly, to talk to his skaters and draw up a plan for winning a last-ditch offensive zone faceoff.

Things did not go according to plan and the puck rolled out of the attacking zone with about 10 seconds left on the clock.

At the final horn, Ottawa had won, 3-2, despite finishing the night trailing in shots on goal, 42-32. Boston had an, 18-9, advantage in shots on net in the third period alone.

The B’s left their own ice leading in blocked shots (10-6), giveaways (10-7) and faceoff win% (68-32), while both teams managed to amass 30 hits each.

Ottawa finished the night 2-for-6 on the power play, while Boston went 0-for-5.

The Bruins fell to 33-9-2 (15-5-1 at home) when scoring first, 25-5-1 (12-3-0 at home) when leading after one and 4-18-2 (3-11-1 at home) when trailing after two periods this season.

The Senators, meanwhile, improved to 9-26-4 (5-13-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 3-14-2 (3-7-2 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 21-1-2 (9-0-1 on the road) when leading after the second period in 2021-22.

The B’s wrap up their three-game homestand Saturday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Penguins before hitting the road for a pair of games in St. Louis and Pittsburgh next Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

Boston returns home to host the New York Rangers next Saturday (April 23rd) in a game that will be broadcast across the United States on ABC.

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NHL Nick's Net

Marchand nets game-winner in, 3-2, overtime victory in Montréal

Brad Marchand opened the night’s scoring at Bell Centre almost midway into the first period and closed the night’s scoring less than a minute into overtime as the Boston Bruins beat the Montréal Canadiens, 3-2, Monday night.

Jeremy Swayman (18-8-3, 2.09 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in 30 games played) made 26 saves on 28 shots against in the overtime win for Boston.

Montréal goaltender, Jake Allen (6-16-4, 3.09 goals-against average, .905 save percentage in 27 games played) turned aside 43 out of 46 shots faced in the overtime loss.

The Bruins improved to 39-19-5 (83 points) on the season and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Though the B’s are tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs in points (83) overall, the Maple Leafs have 33 regulation wins to Boston’s 31– let alone the fact that Toronto has played in one fewer game, thereby currently holding the tiebreaker in standings.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, fell to 17-36-10 (44 points) overall and remain stuck in 8th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as 32nd in the entire league standings as Montréal’s 12 regulation wins trails the Seattle Kraken’s 16 regulation wins in the overall league table.

Boston won in their return to Bell Centre for the first time since the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic began, having last made a trip up to Montréal on Nov. 26, 2019, in an, 8-1, victory for the Bruins.

David Pastrnak recorded a hat trick on the road that night.

Monday night’s win also gave the Bruins the decisive advantage in their regular season series with the Canadiens, having gone 3-0-0 in their three matchups so far in 2021-22, with one game remaining against one another on April 24th in Montréal.

On Saturday, Bruins General Manager, Don Sweeney, traded Urho Vaakanainen, John Moore, a 2022 1st round pick, a 2023 2nd round pick and a 2024 2nd round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for Hampus Lindholm and Kodie Curran.

Sweeney then signed Lindholm to an eight-year extension worth $6.500 million per season that’ll go into effect starting next season– locking up the 28-year-old top-four defender, who will likely see action with either Charlie McAvoy on the first pairing or Brandon Carlo on the second pairing in Thursday night’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Ducks, meanwhile, retained 50% ($2,602, 778) of Lindholm’s current salary on his remaining contract.

Prior to Monday night’s game in Montréal, Sweeney signed Jake DeBrusk to a two-year extension worth $4.000 million per season, which will make it easier and more attractive for potential suitors in a future DeBrusk trade as the 2022 NHL Entry Draft approaches in July, since the Bruins weren’t able to fulfill DeBrusk’s trade request prior to the 2022 trade deadline.

Sweeney told reporters in his post trade deadline press conference that Boston had received offers on DeBrusk, but none were to his liking (and probably offered less than what he was willing to move DeBrusk for in return for other players that ended up being traded to other teams by the deadline).

Prior to Monday’s trade deadline, the Bruins acquired Josh Brown from the Ottawa Senators and a conditional 2022 7th round pick in exchange for Zach Senyshyn and a 2022 5th round pick.

Senyshyn’s trade request from earlier in the season (around the time DeBrusk’s agent made his desires known) was fulfilled as Boston added a depth defender with a 6-foot-5 frame in Brown to their blue line.

If Senyshyn plays in five games with Ottawa before the end of the 2021-22 regular season, the 2022 7th round pick upgrades to a 2022 6th round pick for Boston.

Meanwhile, Lindholm and Brown had not yet joined the team in Montréal, of course, due to logistics and will join the team back in Boston later this week.

Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Patrice Bergeron (upper body) missed the night’s action against the Canadiens due to injury, while Marc McLaughlin joined Anton Blidh as the only healthy scratches for the Bruins at Bell Centre Monday night.

McLaughlin was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on an emergency basis and took part in warmup in case Jack Studnicka was not ready to go at game-time, given Studnicka’s “day-to-day” status Monday morning.

Studnicka centered the first line with Marchand and DeBrusk on his wings without issue, while Jack Ahcan was reassigned to Providence with the additions of Lindholm and Brown against Boston’s salary cap.

Less than a minute into the game, Alexander Romanov cross checked Marchand and presented the Bruins with the night’s first power play at 55 seconds of the first period.

Boston’s power play was powerless, however, as the Canadiens made the kill.

Moments later, Marchand tripped Cole Caufield and cut a rut to the penalty box at 7:08 of the first period, presenting the Habs with their first power play of the night.

Montréal could not sold the B’s penalty kill, however.

Shortly after he was freed from the box, Marchand led a rush into the attacking zone and the Bruins worked to keep the puck in the zone as Connor Clifton sent a shot with purpose towards the net.

Erik Haula dished it out and Boston tried again before Haula snagged the rebound and sauced a pass to Marchand (26) for a layup goal from close range– giving the Bruins a, 1-0, lead at 9:21 of the first period as a result.

Haula (18) and Clifton (4) tallied the assists on Marchand’s first goal of the game.

Late in the period, David Savard tripped Marchand to give Boston another power play that went by the wayside at 13:54 in Savard’s first game back from injury.

The Bruins led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 14-8, in shots on goal after the first period.

Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (5-4), takeaways (5-3), giveaways (13-8), hits (10-3) and faceoff win percentage (64-36) after 20 minutes of action.

The Canadiens were 0/1 on the power play, while the B’s were 0/2 heading into the middle frame.

Almost midway into the middle period, Savard (2) sent a puck that had eyes off of Swayman and into the twine– tying the game, 1-1, in the process at 8:49 of the second period as Montréal evened the score.

Romanov (8) and Paul Byron (2) had the assists on Savard’s goal.

Matt Grzelcyk cut a rut to the sin bin for interference at 13:59 of the second period, but the Habs were unsuccessful on the ensuing skater advantage.

In the final minute of the period, Romanov tripped McAvoy at 19:19, which gave Boston a power play that’d extend into the final frame as the Bruins couldn’t score before the second intermission started.

The two teams were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard, despite Boston outshooting Montréal, 28-23, overall, despite the Canadiens amassing a, 15-14, advantage in the second period alone.

The Bruins continued to dominate in just about everything else, leading in blocked shots (11-9), takeaways (8-3), giveaways (23-17), hits (17-10) and faceoff win% (63-38).

Montréal was 0/2 and Boston was 0/3 on the power play heading into the final period of regulation.

While shorthanded, Joel Armia (4) benefitted from a turnover in the neutral zone and a breakaway into Boston’s own zone– deking and scoring on the Bruins netminder to give the Canadiens their first lead of the night, 2-1, on a shorthanded goal at 1:13 of the third period.

Armia’s goal was unassisted.

Midway through the third, Caufield hooked Tomáš Nosek, but Boston’s power play wasn’t able to beat Montréal’s penalty kill at 9:59.

Late in the action, however, Clifton (2) benefitted from crashing the net and receiving a pass in the slot from Craig Smith on a catch and release goal past Allen’s glove side.

Smith (16) and Charlie Coyle (23) notched the assists on Clifton’s goal as the Bruins tied the game, 2-2, at 17:01 of the third period.

In the dying seconds of regulation, McAvoy and Jake Evans exchanged pleasantries and received roughing minors at 19:42.

The B’s outshot the Habs, 45-28, including a, 17-5, advantage in the third period alone, but overtime would be required to determine a winner Monday night.

It didn’t take long for Haula to find Marchand (27) as No. 63 in black and gold weaved his way to the net and faked a forehand shot before deking to his backhand wrapped around Allen and putting away the game with a game-winning overtime goal 43 seconds into the extra frame.

Haula (19) had the only assist on Marchand’s second goal of the night and the Bruins emerged victorious at Bell Centre, 3-2.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 46-28, including a, 1-0, advantage in overtime alone.

Montréal left their own ice leading in blocked shots (22-12), while the Bruins exited the arena with the lead in giveaways (35-27), hits (26-19) and faceoff win% (62-39).

The Canadiens went 0/2 on the power play on Monday, while the B’s went an astounding 0/4 on the skater advantage.

Boston did, however, improve to 6-3 in overtime (8-5 past regulation) this season, while Montréal dropped to 3-9 in the extra frame (5-14 past regulation) in 2021-22.

The B’s also improved to 29-7-2 (17-3-1 on the road) when scoring first, 23-2-1 (13-1-1 on the road) when leading after one and 9-4-0 (4-3-0 on the road) when tied after two periods this season.

The Habs fell to 4-29-7 (2-16-3 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 2-24-7 (1-12-3 at home) when trailing after the first period and 3-4-4 (2-1-2 at home) when tied after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins went 3-1-0 on their four-game road trip and return home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday– beginning a five-game homestand in the process to conclude March and start the month of April. 

The New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets will visit TD Garden Saturday afternoon, next Tuesday, next Thursday and on April 2nd, respectively.

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NHL Nick's Net

Hall flys Bruins over Jets on the road, 4-2

Taylor Hall’s power-play goal late in the third period went on to become the game-winning goal after Charlie McAvoy added a shorthanded empty net insurance goal in a, 4-2, victory for the Boston Bruins over the Winnipeg Jets Friday night at Canada Life Centre.

Linus Ullmark (19-9-2, 2.72 goals-against average, .909 save percentage in 31 games played) made 27 saves on 29 shots against in the win for Boston.

Winnipeg goaltender, Connor Hellebuyck (21-22-9, 2.99 goals-against average, .907 save percentage in 52 games played), turned aside 41 out of 44 shots against in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 38-19-5 (81 points) overall and remained in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division standings, as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Jets, meanwhile, fell to 28-24-10 (66 points) on the season and stuck in 6th place in the Central Division.

With the win on Friday, the B’s swept their regular season series against Winnipeg 2-0-0– just as they had done in 2019-20, when the two clubs last met in the regular season prior to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Boston was without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Urho Vaakanainen (undisclosed) and Patrice Bergeron (upper body) on Friday, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made a couple minor changes to his lineup prior to puck drop.

Jack Studnicka centered the first line with Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk on his wings, while Tomáš Nosek was returned to his usual role as the fourth line center with Curtis Lazar returning to Nosek’s right side and Anton Blidh joining Jack Ahcan in the press box as a healthy scratch.

During the game, however, Cassidy swapped Nosek with Erik Haula– promoting the former to the second line between Hall and David Pastrnak, while relegating Haula to the fourth line with Nick Foligno and Lazar.

Pastrnak, meanwhile, suited up for his 500th career National Hockey League game on Friday.

The 25-year-old failed to record a point against the Jets, but has 233-255–488 totals in 500 career games nevertheless and was Boston’s first round pick (25th overall) in 2014.

Prior to Friday night’s, 4-2, win, the Bruins’ last seven games against Winnipeg were all decided by one goal– with the B’s going 4-2-1 in that span.

Nikolaj Ehlers had a breakaway early in the action that came to an abrupt end thanks to a stick in the way from Mike Reilly, yielding a penalty shot for Ehlers after he was tripped by Reilly at 4:44 of the first period.

The Winnipeg sniper strolled into the attacking zone down the left-center before firing a shot into Ullmark’s pads.

Midway through the period, Matt Grzelcyk caught Paul Stastny with a high stick and presented the Jets with the night’s first power play at 10:13.

Winnipeg failed to convert on the ensuing skater advantage and subsequently presented Boston with their first power play of the night at 14:59 of the first period after Blake Wheeler slashed DeBrusk.

The Bruins did not convert on their first chance on the power play.

Pastrnak shortly made an early exit for the first intermission after appearing to step on the puck while retrieving it in his own zone and awkwardly falling while clutching at his core.

No. 88 in black and gold would return for the middle frame, however.

Entering the first intermission, the Bruins and Jets remained tied, 0-0, despite Boston attainting a, 14-11, advantage in shots on goal.

The B’s also led in blocked shots (8-6), while Winnipeg led in takeaways (6-2), giveaways (2-1), hits (17-6) and faceoff win percentage (58-42).

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

Marchand and DeBrusk entered the attacking zone early in the second period and played a little pitch and catch on a give-and-go back to Marchand (25) for a layup goal to give Boston a, 1-0, lead at 4:42.

DeBrusk (11) and Studnicka (3) tallied the assists on Marchand’s 344th career goal– tying Cam Neely for the sixth-most goals in Bruins franchise history (Bergeron is fifth with 392 goals and counting thus far).

Marchand also joined Rick Middleton and Johnny Bucyk as the only Bruins in franchise history to record nine 25-goal seasons on the effort.

Less than a few minutes later, Boston’s third line mustered their way to the net as Charlie Coyle drove the puck to the slot before slipping the rubber biscuit over to Trent Frederic for a two-goal lead as Frederic (5) worked the puck around Hellebuyck.

Coyle (20) and Craig Smith (15) had the assists on Frederic’s goal and the B’s took a, 2-0, lead at 7:12 of the second period.

Moments later, Haula didn’t make an effort to stop before colliding with Hellebuyck and cutting a rut to the penalty box with a goaltender interference infraction as a result at 9:37.

Winnipeg failed to convert on the ensuing power play and had another chance on the skater advantage at 13:36 when McAvoy tripped Neal Pionk.

This time, however, the Jets wouldn’t last long on the power play before Pierre-Luc Dubois cross checked Derek Forbort and took a trip to the sin bin at 14:05– resulting in 4-on-4 action for a span of 1:31 before the Bruins had an abbreviated power play that ultimately went by the wayside.

Through 40 minutes of action, however, Boston led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and dominated shots on goal, 36-15, including a, 22-4, advantage for the B’s in the second period alone– their most shots on goal in any second period this season.

Winnipeg led in giveaways (6-4), hits (26-14) and faceoff win% (52-49), while both teams had 11 blocked shots and eight takeaways each.

The Jets were 0/3 on the power play, while the Bruins were 0/2 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame.

Ullmark was no match for Adam Lowry’s (10) deflection on Evgeny Svechnikov’s toe-drag snap shot that cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1, at 2:29 of the third period and Winnipeg surged with momentum as the Jets came to life to begin the final frame.

Not even two minutes later, Ehlers (17) received a give-and-go from Kyle Connor and blew past Grzelcyk before beating Ullmark and hitting the twine while Brandon Carlo was left helpless as the only defender back.

Connor (35) had the only assist on Ehlers’ goal and the Jets tied the game, 2-2, at 3:54 of the third period as a result.

About a few minutes later, Pastrnak hooked Dubois and was assessed a minor infraction at 6:59, but the Bruins managed to make the kill.

Logan Stanley made a brief appearance in the penalty box for interference at 11:57, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the resulting power play.

Finally, Brenden Dillon sent the puck over the glass and out of play in his own zone for an automatic delay of game minor at 14:31.

This time the Bruins made quick and easy work of the ensuing skater advantage as Hall (13) followed up on a rebound with a backhand shot past Hellebuyck to give Boston a, 3-2, lead at 15:13 of the third period.

Coyle (21) and McAvoy (32) had the assists on Hall’s power-play goal.

With 1:37 remaining in the action, Jets interim head coach, Dave Lowry, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.

What’s more, Haula tripped Andrew Copp at 18:34 of the third period and gave Winnipeg a de facto 6-on-4 advantage once Hellebuyck made another trip out of the crease after the Jets ensured themselves of not losing a faceoff and giving up an easy goal to the Bruins who could not ice the puck given their shorthanded status.

Winnipeg used their timeout to make sure their skaters were all on the same page in their last-ditch effort.

About 30 seconds after Hellebuyck raced to the bench for the second time, McAvoy (8) sealed the deal on a shorthanded empty net goal to give the Bruins a, 4-2, victory at 19:29 of the third period.

Nosek (11) and Coyle (22) had the assists on the goal as all three Boston skaters selflessly tried to do everything they could to let one of their teammates score the insurance goal.

Josh Morrissey had been tripped at the other end of the rink prior to McAvoy’s goal, but there was no penalty called– drawing the ire of both Morrissey and Dubois and resulting in ten-minute misconducts for the two players as something they had said or done in protest crossed the lines for the on-ice officials at 19:29.

At the final horn, Boston had won, 4-2, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 45-29, despite trailing Winnipeg, 14-9, in shots on net in the third period alone.

The Bruins left Canada Life Centre leading in blocked shots (17-15), giveaways (11-10) and faceoff win% (53-47), while the Jets led in hits (33-19).

Winnipeg finished 0/5 on the power play, while Boston went 1/4 on the skater advantage Friday night.

The B’s improved to 11-5-2 (7-2-1 on the road) when tied after one period, 28-7-2 (16-3-1 on the road) when scoring first and 26-1-3 (16-0-2 on the road) when leading after two periods this season.

The Jets, meanwhile, fell to 13-9-4 (8-6-0 at home) when tied after the first period, 10-18-4 (5-11-2 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal and 4-18-2 (1-11-1 at home) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins wrap up their four-game road trip (2-1-0) Monday night in Montréal, which also happens to be the same day as the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline (March 21st).

Boston returns home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 24th and begin a five-game homestand to conclude March and start the month of April.

The New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets will visit TD Garden on March 26th, 28th, 31st and April 2nd, respectively.