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Bruins top Senators in first meeting in almost two years

Bruce Cassidy picked up his 200th win as head coach of the Boston Bruins, while Patrice Bergeron scored the game-winning goal late in the second period to lift the B’s over the Ottawa Senators, 3-2, Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Jeremy Swayman (3-2-0, 2.22 goals-against average, .906 save percentage in five games played) made 25 saves on 27 shots against in the win for Boston.

Senators goaltender, Matt Murray (0-4-0, 3.10 goals-against average, .897 save percentage in five games played), stopped 33 out of 36 shots faced in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 6-4-0 (12 points) overall and moved into 5th place in the Atlantic Division, while Ottawa dropped to 3-8-1 (seven points) on the season and remained in 7th place in the Atlantic.

Boston is 5-0-0 at home this season, which marks their best start on home ice since the 1990-91 season, when the B’s also went 5-0-0 at home to start the year.

The longest home winning streak is eight games, set by the 1983-84 Bruins on the old Boston Garden ice.

Cassidy, meanwhile, became the sixth head coach in franchise history to reach the 200-win plateau with the club, joining Claude Julien (419 wins, 2008-17), Art Ross (387, 1925-45), Milt Schmidt (245, 1955-66), Don Cherry (231, 1975-79) and Gerry Cheevers (204, 1981-85) in doing so.

Prior to Tuesday night, the last time the Bruins met the Senators in the regular season was on Dec. 9, 2019, in a, 5-2, loss at Canadian Tire Centre.

Additionally, the last time the Sens won in Boston was on April 6, 2017, in a, 2-1, shootout victory at TD Garden.

The two teams will face each other three more times this season.

The Bruins were without the services of Nick Foligno (upper body) and Anton Blidh (upper body) on Tuesday, while Cassidy made a couple of changes to his lineup after Saturday night’s, 5-2, loss in Toronto.

Jack Studnicka made his return to Boston’s lineup at right wing on the third line with Jake DeBrusk at left wing and Erik Haula at center, while Curtis Lazar took over Karson Kuhlman’s role on the right side of the fourth line.

Kuhlman joined Jakub Zboril on the short list of healthy scratches for the B’s on Tuesday.

Taylor Hall turned the puck over in his own zone on a blind pass while trying to generate a rush the other direction, but Ottawa took the puck to the net, generated a rebound and that’s where Zach Sanford (1) came in to clean up the garbage with his first goal of the season– giving the Senators a, 1-0, lead 1:14 into the first period.

Ottawa’s 10th captain in franchise history, Brady Tkachuk (3) had the only assist on Sanford’s goal in what was the earliest goal against allowed by Boston so far this season.

About a minute later, Charlie McAvoy cut a rut to the penalty box for holding and presented the Senators with the night’s first power play at 2:47.

The Sens were not successful on the ensuing skater advantage, however.

Midway through the opening frame, Drake Batherson caught Charlie Coyle with a high stick and was assessed a minor infraction at 12:43, but Boston’s ensuing power play was cut short when McAvoy tripped up Alex Formenton at 13:14, yielding an allotted span of 4-on-4 action for the next 1:29– until Coyle slashed Nick Paul and went to the box at 13:42, however.

Ottawa was given a rare 4-on-3 power play for about 1:02 and used their timeout with 5:19 remaining in the first period to rally on the scoreboard, but the Bruins stood tall on the penalty kill as both teams resumed full strength 5-on-5 action shortly thereafter.

Sens defender, Erik Brännström, tripped Coyle at 16:27 and presented the B’s with another power play opportunity that went by the wayside as the first period came to an end with the Senators leading on the scoreboard, 1-0.

Through 20 minutes of play, the Bruins led in shots on goal, 14-11, and held the advantage in giveaways (3-2), hits (11-6) and faceoff win percentage (61-39).

Meanwhile, Ottawa dominated in blocked shots (6-1) and takeaways (4-3) heading into the first intermission.

The Senators were 0/3 and the Bruins were 0/2 on the power play after one period.

Six seconds into the second period, David Pastrnak was assessed with a roughing minor after knocking down Thomas Chabot away from the play.

Ottawa did not convert on the resulting power play, however.

A few minutes later, Artem Zub delivered a quick, swift, cross check to Pastrnak and earned a couple minutes in the sin bin as a result at 3:46 of the second period.

This time the Bruins capitalized on the ensuing skater advantage.

Late in the power play, McAvoy worked the puck to Pastrnak, who wired a shot towards the net off of his teammate, Brad Marchand’s (5) chest and into the twine– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.

Pastrnak (4) and McAvoy (5) tallied the assists on Marchand’s power-play goal at 5:12 of the second period.

About five minutes later, the Bruins were dominating attacking zone possession when Hall worked the puck to Coyle, who promptly set up Derek Forbort (2) for a shot from inside the faceoff dot to Murray’s right side– beating the Senators goaltender high, glove side, across the crease while pinching in from the point.

Coyle (3) and Hall (4) were credited with the assists as Boston snagged their first lead of the night, 2-1, at 10:58.

Less than a few minutes later, after Paul gingerly made his way off the ice with an apparent leg injury (he’d return to the action in the third period), Nikita Zaitsev (1) skated along the boards to get to a loose puck first and sent a shot through Swayman into the net to tie the game, 2-2, at 13:09.

Tyler Ennis (6) and Chabot (4) tallied the assists on Zaitsev’s first goal of the season and the Senators were surging.

A couple minutes later, Trent Frederic went down the tunnel after Josh Brown made a hit in open ice that knocked Frederic out of the rest of Tuesday night’s action with an upper body, as the B’s would later tweet prior to the start of the third period.

With tensions rising, it didn’t take much for Connor Clifton and Formenton to get tangled up while the puck was making its way to the other end of the ice.

Clifton and Formenton dropped the gloves and exchanged fisticuffs as a result in what was Boston’s second fighting major of the season– the first since Frederic fought Jacob Middleton on Oct. 24th, when the San Jose Sharks were in town in a, 4-3, win for Boston.

Rather than heading to the box at 18:10 of the second period, both Clifton and Formenton got a head start in the showers before the second intermission began.

Shortly after the fight, a scrum ensued when Murray froze the puck, leading Marchand and Chabot into a bit of a shoving match that resulted in roughing minors for each player at 18:24.

For the next two minutes, the Bruins and Senators would skate at 4-on-4 once more.

Less than a minute after fisticuffs were exchanged and roughing minors were dealt, Bergeron (5) settled an indirect pass from Pastrnak that ricocheted off of a broken stick before firing the rubber biscuit under Murray’s arm.

Pastrnak (5) and McAvoy (6) had the assists on Bergeron’s goal and the Bruins led, 3-2, at 18:40 of the second period.

Entering the second intermission, Boston was atop the scoreboard, 3-2, and in shots on goal, 29-17, including a, 15-6, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

Ottawa held the lead in blocked shots (16-2) and hits (20-16), while Boston led in faceoff win% (58-42) and both teams split takeaways (5-5), as well as giveaways (3-3).

The Sens were 0/4 on the power play, while the B’s were 1/3 heading into the final frame of regulation.

There was no scoring in the third period, though there were a pair of minor penalties against Boston as the Bruins looked to hold off the Senators for the win.

Studnicka tripped up Zub at 2:11 of the third, but the Sens couldn’t muster anything on the ensuing power play.

Boston’s penalty kill remained effective in doing their job when Hall was sent to the box for hooking Brännström at 11:42.

Ottawa was down to their last hope with about 1:34 remaining in the game as head coach, D.J. Smith, pulled Murray for an extra attacker.

Despite his best efforts at hitting the empty net, Pastrnak iced the puck with 1:26 remaining, but Boston went unscathed in the ensuing defensive zone faceoff.

At the final horn, the Bruins had won, 3-2, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 36-27, despite trailing the Senators, 10-7, in shots on net in the third period alone.

Ottawa wrapped up Tuesday night’s action leading in blocked shots (19-4) and giveaways (5-4), while Boston exited their own building with the advantage in hits (27-26) and faceoff win% (58-42).

The Sens finished the night 0/6 on the skater advantage while the B’s went 1/3 on the power play.

The Bruins improved to 1-2-0 (1-0-0 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 1-2-0 (1-0-0 at home) when trailing after the first period and 4-0-0 (3-0-0 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

Meanwhile, the Senators fell to 2-4-0 (1-1-0 on the road) when scoring first, 2-3-0 (1-1-0 on the road) when leading after the first period and 0-6-0 (0-3-0 on the road) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22.

Boston wraps up a two-game homestand on Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers before hitting the road for a Saturday matinee with the New Jersey Devils prior to returning home to face the Montréal Canadiens on Sunday.

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Bruins lose first game in Toronto in almost two years

John Tavares and Auston Matthews each had a pair of goals in the Toronto Maple Leafs’, 5-2, victory over the Boston Bruins Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena.

Saturday night marked Boston’s return to Canada in the regular season for the first time since the 2019-20 season due to the temporary realignment for the entire 2020-21 regular season in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Jack Campbell (6-2-1, 1.88 goals-against average, .936 save percentage in 10 games played) made 42 saves on 44 shots against in the win for the Leafs.

Meanwhile, Linus Ullmark (3-2-0, 2.60 goals-against average, .918 save percentage in five games played) stopped 31 out of 35 shots faced in the loss.

The Bruins dropped to 5-4-0 (10 points) on the season and fell to 6th place in the Atlantic Division, while Toronto improved to 7-4-1 (15 points) overall and in command of 2nd place in the Atlantic.

Prior to Saturday night’s matchup, it had been 722 day since the B’s beat the Leafs, 4-2, in Toronto on Nov. 15, 2019.

Once again, Nick Foligno (upper body), Anton Blidh (upper body), Jack Studnicka and Jakub Zboril were out of the lineup for Boston, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup after Thursday night’s, 5-1, victory against the Detroit Red Wings.

A few minutes into the action, a mad scramble in front of Boston’s own net led to a great scoring chance for Morgan Rielly, whereby the Leafs defender sent a shot at a mostly open net as Ullmark dove across the crease in desperation, but Patrice Bergeron stood tall behind his goaltender and blocked the rubber biscuit from entering the open twine.

Bergeron may be in search of his fifth Frank J. Selke Trophy in his career, but he also might have just made the save of the season and could receive a vote or two towards the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender in 2021-22.

Moments later, Connor Clifton was penalized for roughing and yielded the night’s first power play to the Toronto at 5:18 of the first period.

The B’s made the kill on the ensuing infraction, however.

Maple Leafs defender, Jake Muzzin, knocked his own net off its moorings and received a delay of game minor at 8:23, presenting the Bruins with their first power play of the night.

It didn’t take Boston long to win the ensuing offensive zone faceoff, work the puck around the attacking zone from Brad Marchand to Bergeron for a one-timer that Taylor Hall (3) tipped past Campbell from point blank without any pressure in front of the net.

Bergeron (4) and Marchand (9) tallied the assists on Hall’s power-play goal as the Bruins pulled ahead, 1-0, at 8:37 of the first period.

Almost four minutes later, however, Tavares (5) inadvertently redirected a shot with his leg past Ullmark that Mitchell Marner originally fired towards the net– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.

Marner (7) and Rielly (7) had the assists on the goal, which had briefly been reviewed before being upheld as the officials checked to make sure there was a legitimate scoring chance imminent as Bergeron bumped into Tavares, thereby knocking the net off of its pegs immediately prior to the goal at 12:21.

After one period of action in Toronto, the scoreboard was even, 1-1, despite the Bruins leading in shots on goal, 13-9.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (6-2), takeaways (3-1) and giveaways (3-1), while both teams managed to have 10 hits each and split the faceoff winning percentage, 50-50, in the first period.

The Maple Leafs were 0/1 and the Bruins were 1/1 on the power play heading into the first intermission.

Leafs head coach, Sheldon Keefe, couldn’t have been too pleased early in the middle frame when his skaters botched a line change and had one too many on the ice– resulting in a bench minor for too many men 40 seconds into the second period.

This time, however, Boston’s power play was unsuccessful.

Moments later, David Pastrnak was assessed a minor for boarding as he collided with T.J. Brodie awkwardly along the boards and presented Toronto with a skater advantage at 7:34 of the second period.

The Leafs did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Late in the period, Matt Grzelcyk caught Marner with a high stick and cut a rut to the penalty box as a result at 14:35.

Toronto made quick work of the ensuing power play as Marner worked a zone entry to Tavares, who sent the puck back to Marner off of Bruins defender Derek Forbort’s stick.

While continuing to approach the slot, Marner sent a quick pass to Matthews for the shot off of Ullmark’s pad that rebounded right back to Matthews (4), who promptly pocketed the rubber biscuit in the twine under the bar to give Toronto a, 2-1, lead.

Marner (8) had the only assist on Matthews’ first goal of the night at 14:59 of the second period.

Minutes later, Marchand gave Timothy Liljegren a quick stick to the face, yielding an infraction for high sticking as a result and giving the Maple Leafs another chance on the power play at 18:03.

Once more, Matthews (5) made Boston pay with a power-play goal on a one-timer from the faceoff dot off of Ullmark’s glove and into the back of the net.

Rielly (8) and Marner (9) tabbed the assists on Matthews’ second goal of the night and the Leafs led, 3-1, at 18:54 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of action, the Maple Leafs led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and in shots on goal, 27-21, including an, 18-8, advantage in the second period alone.

Toronto also held the advantage in takeaways (5-4) and faceoff win% (55-45), while the Bruins led in blocked shots (12-5), giveaways (12-4) and hits (20-16).

The Maple Leafs were 2/4 on the power play, while the Bruins were 1/2 on the skater advantage after two periods.

Tavares hooked Pastrnak 32 seconds into the third period, but the Bruins were not successful on the ensuing power play.

Instead, shortly after emerging from the penalty box, Tavares (6) slipped a rebound under Ullmark to give Toronto a, 4-1, lead at 2:53 of the third period.

William Nylander (5) and Rasmus Sandin (4) had the assists on Tavares’ second goal of the game.

Almost midway through the final frame, Pastrnak (3) rocketed a one-timer through Campbell’s six-hole after Marchand entered the zone, cut in and fed Pastrnak for the goal.

Marchand (10) had the only assist on Pastrnak’s goal and the Bruins trailed, 4-2, at 8:29 of the third period.

Michael Bunting tripped Clifton at 15:44, but Boston couldn’t take advantage of the resulting skater advantage.

With 1:43 remaining in the game, Cassidy pulled his netminder for an extra attacker, but things did not go as he planned as Marner (3) quickly pocketed an empty net goal to extend Toronto’s lead to three-goals once again.

Tavares (6) and Alexander Kerfoot (4) tallied the assists on Marner’s empty net goal at 19:17 of the third period and at the final horn the Leafs had won, 5-2.

The Maple Leafs finished Saturday night’s action leading in blocked shots (16-13), as well as in faceoff win% (51-49), while the B’s exited Scotiabank Arena with the advantage in shots on goal (44-36), including a, 23-9, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston also wrapped the night up leading in giveaways (15-11) and hits (32-22).

Toronto went 2/4 and Boston went 1/4 on the power play in Saturday night’s, 5-2, win for the Maple Leafs.

The B’s fell to 5-2-0 (1-2-0 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal, 0-2-0 (0-2-0 on the road) when tied after one period and 0-3-0 (0-3-0 on the road) when trailing after two periods this season.

The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, rose to 4-3-1 (3-1-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 2-2-0 (2-1-0 at home) when tied after the first period and 4-0-0 (4-0-0 at home) when leading after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins return to TD Garden for a two-game homestand next Tuesday and Thursday against the Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers, respectively, prior to going to New Jersey next Saturday for a road game against the Devils.

Boston hosts the Montréal Canadiens for the first time since the 2019-20 season on Nov. 14th.

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Bergeron scores four in, 5-1, win against Red Wings

Patrice Bergeron recorded his first career natural hat trick and second career four-goal game in Thursday night’s, 5-1, victory for the Boston Bruins over the Detroit Red Wings.

Bruins goaltender, Jeremy Swayman (2-2-0, 2.28 goals-against average, .900 save percentage in four games played) made 14 saves on 15 shots against in the win and improved to 6-0-0 on home ice at TD Garden.

Meanwhile, Red Wings netminder, Thomas Greiss (3-3-0, 3.45 goals-against average, .897 save percentage in six games played) stopped 32 out of 37 shots faced in the loss.

Boston improved to 5-3-0 (10 points) on the season and moved ahead of Detroit for 5th place in the Atlantic Division standings.

Though the Red Wings are 4-5-2 (10 points) overall, the Bruins lead in their tiebreaker for 5th by virtue of having amassed more points in fewer games played (the B’s have 10 points through eight games, while Detroit has 10 points in 11 games thus far).

Boston is now 1-0-0 against Detroit this season, having most recently gone 1-2-0 in their season series in 2019-20 (the two teams did not play each other last season due to the temporarily realigned divisions in light of the ongoing pandemic).

The Bruins were once again without Nick Foligno (upper body) and Anton Blidh (upper body) on Thursday, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup– rendering Jack Studnicka and Jakub Zboril as healthy scratches as Oskar Steen was reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Oct. 30th.

Thursday night’s win also marked the 199th career victory behind the bench as Boston’s head coach for Cassidy.

Prior to puck drop, the Bruins held a moment of silence for former Boston Red Sox All Star second baseman and NESN color commentator for 33 years, Jerry Remy, 68, who died on Oct. 30th after a long, courageous, battle with cancer.

Erik Haula tripped up Joe Veleno and yielded the night’s first power play to Detroit at 2:55 of the first period, but the Red Wings couldn’t muster anything on the ensuing skater advantage.

Midway through the opening frame, Vladislav Namestnikov tried to check someone near the benches while making his way back to Detroit’s bench without a helmet, resulting in a minor penalty for playing without a helmet at 10:58.

It didn’t take Boston long to capitalize on their first power play of the night as Charlie McAvoy worked the puck to Brad Marchand before Marchand setup Bergeron (1) for the power-play goal from his usual spot in the bumper on the skater advantage at 11:03.

Marchand (5) and McAvoy (3) tallied the assists on Bergeron’s first goal of the season and the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead.

Late in the period, Nick Leddy tripped McAvoy and was assessed a minor infraction at 16:14, but the Red Wings penalty kill managed to go unscathed as Leddy returned from the box without issue.

Heading into the first intermission, the B’s led, 1-0, on the scoreboard, and, 11-3, in shots on goal.

Detroit held the advantage in blocked shots (4-1), takeaways (6-2) and giveaways (6-2), while Boston dominated in hits (14-8) and faceoff win percentage (71-29) after 20 minutes of action.

The Red Wings were 0/1 and the Bruins were 1/2 heading into the middle frame.

Tyler Bertuzzi took down McAvoy without the puck and was assessed an interference minor at 9:39 of the second period.

Once more, the Bruins would score on the ensuing advantage as Marchand teed up Bergeron (2) from the trapezoid to the slot for a catch and release goal to put Boston ahead, 2-0.

Marchand (6) had the only assist– tying Terry O’Reilly for the ninth-most assists in a Bruins uniform in franchise history (402) in the process– on Bergeron’s second power-play goal of the night at 10:52 of the second period.

Several minutes later, Moritz Seider was sent to the box for holding and presented Boston with another power play at 17:48.

Once again, Bergeron (3) scored a power-play goal– his third of the night, capping off a natural hat trick in the process– to give the Bruins a, 3-0, lead at 18:45.

Marchand (7) and McAvoy (4) tabbed the assists on Bergeron’s hat trick goal– marking the Bruins captain’s first hat trick since April 6, 2021 (4-2 win at Philadelphia) and giving Marchand his third assist of the night in the process, surpassing O’Reilly for sole possession of the ninth-most assists in a Bruins uniform with 403 assists in his career to O’Reilly’s 402.

Through 40 minutes of play, the B’s led, 3-0, on the scoreboard as well as, 26-9, in shots on goal– including a, 15-6, advantage in the second period alone.

Detroit maintained the advantage in blocked shots (8-5), takeaways (10-4) and giveaways (7-4), while Boston led in hits (19-18) and faceoff win% (52-48).

The Red Wings were 0/1 and the Bruins were 3/4 on the power play heading into the final frame.

In his 100th career NHL game, Connor Clifton had a plus-1 rating, one shot on goal, two hits and two penalty minutes as a result of his tripping minor 24 seconds into the third period on Thursday.

The Bruins managed to kill off Clifton’s infraction, however.

Later on in the third, David Pastrnak caught Robby Fabbri with a high stick and was assessed a minor penalty as a result at 6:08 of the third period, presenting the Red Wings with their second power play of the evening.

Detroit earned a 5-on-3 advantage shortly thereafter when Bergeron tripped Filip Hronek at 6:59.

As a result of the resulting two-skater advantage, Red Wings head coach, Jeff Blashill, used his timeout to draw up a plan to get his team back in the game.

Boston’s penalty killing unit was severely hampered by the fact that Bergeron was in the box– limiting their strength at winning the ensuing defensive zone faceoff on the penalty kill.

Detroit played around with the puck in the attacking zone for less than a minute before whipping the rubber biscuit along the blue line from Seider to Hronek before setting up Lucas Raymond (5) for a one-timer goal from the faceoff dot unopposed.

Hronek (3) and Seider (9) notched the assists on Raymond’s power-play goal as the Red Wings trailed, 3-1, at 7:46 of the third period.

It didn’t take long for Boston to respond, however.

24 seconds after giving up a power-play goal against, the Bruins scored a shorthanded goal when Curtis Lazar streaked from one end to the attacking zone on a breakaway before Mike Reilly (1) pounced on the rebound for his first goal as a Bruin– as well as his first goal since Jan. 28, 2020, when he helped contribute to a, 5-2, victory for the Ottawa Senators in Buffalo.

Lazar (2) and Tomáš Nosek (2) had the assists on Reilly’s goal as the Bruins regained a three-goal lead, 4-1, at 8:10 of the third period.

It was also Boston’s first shorthanded goal this season.

Midway through the final frame, Veleno cleared the puck over the glass and received an automatic delay of game penalty at 10:34, but the Bruins weren’t able to capitalize on the ensuing advantage.

In fact, less than a couple minutes later, Hronek and Matt Grzelcyk entered the box together for their respective teams after a scrum ensued after Swayman froze the puck, resulting in an unsportsmanlike conduct minor for Hronek and a roughing penalty for Grzelcyk at 12:14 of the third period.

Boston’s skater advantage was unchanged as a result and the Red Wings managed to kill off the remainder of Veleno’s infraction.

Finally, in the dying minutes of the third period, Reilly entered the attacking zone on a rush and dropped a quick pass back to Marchand before Marchand wired a pass across the ice to Bergeron (4) for a shot that squibbed through Greiss to make it, 5-1, Boston at 15:52.

Bergeron, in the process, scored his fourth goal of the night, while Marchand (8) and Reilly (2) were credited with the assists.

It was the 26th time in franchise history that a player scored four goals in a game, as well as the first time since Pastrnak notched four against the Anaheim Ducks in a, 4-2, victory on Oct. 14, 2019.

It was also Bergeron’s first four-goal game (the second of his career) since he scored four goals in a, 7-1, win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 6, 2018.

Marchand, meanwhile, finished the night with four assists (all primary assists) on Bergeron’s goals– trailing Rick Middleton (496) by 92 assists for the eighth-most assists in Bruins franchise history.

At the final horn, Boston had won, 5-1, and wrapped things up leading in shots on goal, 37-15, including an, 11-6, advantage in the third period alone.

The Bruins exited their own arena leading in blocked shots (11-10), as well as faceoff win% (59-41), while the Red Wings finished Thursday night’s action leading in giveaways (7-5) and hits (25-24).

Detroit went 1/4 on the power play, while Boston went 3/5 on the skater advantage en route to the victory.

The B’s improved to 5-1-0 (4-0-0 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal, 5-0-0 (4-0-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 3-0-0 (2-0-0 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

Meanwhile, the Red Wings fell to 1-4-1 (1-3-0 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 1-5-1 (1-4-0 on the road) when trailing after one period and 1-5-1 (1-4-0 on the road) when trailing after two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins venture up to Canada for the first time since the 2019-20 season due to the ongoing global pandemic and take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday before returning home for a quick, two-game, homestand next week against the Ottawa Senators next Tuesday and Edmonton Oilers next Thursday.

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Coyle helps Bruins beat Panthers, 3-2, in shootout

The Boston Bruins scored first, scored last and scored the only shootout goal in their, 3-2, shootout victory over the Florida Panthers at TD Garden on Saturday.

Charlie Coyle notched the only tally in the shootout, while Linus Ullmark (3-1-0, 2.23 goals-against average, .927 save percentage in four games played) made 33 saves on 35 shots against in the win for Boston.

Florida netminder, Spencer Knight (2-0-1, 1.96 goals-against average, .929 save percentage in three games played) stopped 31 out of 33 shots faced in the shootout loss– snapping the Panthers’ winning streak at eight games.

The Bruins improved to 4-3-0 (eight points) on the season and in command of 6th place in the Atlantic Division, while Florida fell to 8-0-1 (17 points), but remained in command of 1st place the Atlantic.

Nick Foligno (upper body) and Anton Blidh (upper body) remained out of the lineup for Boston, while Craig Smith returned to action after missing the last three games with an undisclosed injury.

With Smith back into the fold, Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy started the night reuniting Coyle with his familiar wingers, Taylor Hall and Smith on the second line.

Midway through the first period, however, Smith was promoted to the first line alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, while David Pastrnak took over Smith’s usual role on the second line.

Erik Haula centered the third line with Jake DeBrusk on his left wing and Curtis Lazar on his right wing, while Tomáš Nosek controlled the fourth line with Trent Frederic and Karson Kuhlman on his wings.

Derek Forbort started the night on the first defensive pairing with Charlie McAvoy, while Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo rounded out the top-four defenders.

Connor Clifton rejoined the lineup on the third pairing with Mike Reilly after Jakub Zboril took Clifton’s spot in Thursday night’s, 3-0, loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.

Jack Studnicka joined Oskar Steen and Zboril as Boston’s shot list of healthy scratches with Foligno and Blidh out due to injury.

Prior to the game, both teams wore special warmup jerseys to honor Jimmy Hayes, who tragically died on Aug. 23rd at the age of 31. Hayes played for both the Panthers and Bruins in his career and was also honored with a tribute video by the Bruins and a moment of silence prior to the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as traditionally performed by Todd Angilly.

Florida wore jerseys that were all No. 12 and read “Broadway” on the nameplate, while Boston wore their own jerseys with “Hayesy” in place of the regular player names.

Both sets of warmup jerseys are being auctioned with proceeds benefiting a charity chosen by the Hayes family, as well as both teams.

Bid on Bruins warmup jerseys from Saturday night or Panthers warmup jerseys at the respective teams’ site.

An oddity occurred at puck drop, when the Bruins had four skaters with letters on the front of their jersey denoting captain and alternate captain status.

Bergeron had his usual “C” as Boston’s captain, while Marchand, McAvoy and Carlo each had an “A” as the team’s alternate captains.

In accordance with the National Hockey League rulebook, you can only have three alternates in a game where your captain is not present (or you don’t have one altogether), so the “A” on McAvoy’s sweater became the sacrificial lamb for the night during the first intermission.

It was a simple mistake (but fun if you notice the little nuances of the game) and ultimately costs the team nothing when it happens. Well, except for the unstitching part.

Carry on.

Late in the opening frame, Brandon Montour caught Smith away from the puck and received an interference minor at 15:33 of the first period.

Boston’s first power play, however, couldn’t get anything going, but generated enough momentum to dominate the attacking zone in the minutes leading up to the first intermission.

As a result of Lazar’s effort to keep the puck in the zone before heading off the ice to complete a line change, Hall setup Coyle (3) for a snap shot over Knight’s glove from the dot to give the Bruins the, 1-0, lead at 19:18 of the first period.

Hall (2) and Lazar (1) tallied the assists on the goal, which gave Hall his 600th career NHL point as a result of the primary assist.

After 20 minutes of action Saturday night, the B’s led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and led in shots on goal, 14-13.

Florida held the advantage in blocked shots (6-3) and hits (11-10), while Boston led in takeaways (4-2), as well as faceoff win percentage (58-42).

Each team had three giveaways aside, while only the Bruins had seen any time on the skater advantage heading into the dressing room for the first intermission and were 0/1 prior to the middle frame.

Less than a minute into the second period, Anthony Duclair (6) tied it, 1-1, on a pump fake while crashing the net before roofing the puck over Ullmark’s glove and under the bar.

Carter Verhaeghe (3) and Aaron Ekblad (5) recorded the assists on Duclair’s goal as the Panthers evened things up 47 seconds into the second period.

Midway through the middle frame, Verhaeghe hooked DeBrusk and was sent to the penalty box at 12:37 as a result, but once more Boston’s power play was powerless as Florida killed off Verhaeghe’s minor.

Entering the second intermission, the score was tied, 1-1, while the Panthers were outshooting the Bruins, 28-24, including a, 15-10, advantage in the second period alone for Florida.

The B’s maintained the advantage in takeaways (6-5), hits (21-18) and faceoff win% (64-36), while the Panthers led in blocked shots (11-6) and giveaways (6-5) through 40 minutes of play.

Once more, the Panthers had yet to see any time on the power play through two periods, while Boston was 0/2 on the skater advantage.

Midway through the final frame, Coyle tripped Owen Tippett and presented Florida with their first power play of the night at 7:43 of the third period.

It didn’t take the Panthers long to capitalize on the ensuing 5-on-4 advantage as Florida won the offensive zone faceoff back to the point where Ekblad quickly worked the puck to Jonathan Huberdeau before finding Aleksander Barkov (5) for the catch and release goal while Ullmark was behind the play.

Huberdeau (8) and Ekblad (6) tallied the assists on Barkov’s power-play goal and the Panthers led for the first time of the night, 2-1, at 7:49.

Moments later, Verhaeghe went back to the box– this time for hooking Smith at 13:17 of the third period– and Boston’s power play finally converted on the ensuing opportunity.

McAvoy (1) snuck in from the point to the slot to receive a tape-to-tape pass from Marchand before sending the puck into the twine on a catch and release goal of his own to tie the game, 2-2, at 13:35.

Marchand (4) and Hall (3) had the assists– giving Marchand his 400th career assist in the process and becoming the 10th player in Bruins franchise history to notch at least 400 helpers with Boston.

The 33-year-old winger is now two assists away from tying Terry O’Reilly (402) for the 9th-most in franchise history.

At the horn, 60 minutes of regulation was not enough for the Bruins and Panthers, who were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard, despite Florida leading in shots on goal, 35-32, while Boston rallied to an, 8-7, advantage in shots on net in the third period alone.

The Panthers held the advantage in blocked shots (13-9), while the B’s led in takeaways (10-8), hits (28-25) and faceoff win% (61-39). Both teams had seven giveaways each after three periods of play.

With no penalties having been called in overtime, Florida finished 1/1 on the power play, while Boston went 1/3 on the skater advantage Saturday night.

Cassidy sent out Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy to start overtime, while Panthers interim head coach, Andrew Brunette, countered with Barkov, Huberdeau and Ekblad.

Overtime brought quite a few trips up and down the ice for both teams, but only resulted in one shot on goal in the five minutes of 3-on-3 action.

It did not go in, thus necessitating a shootout.

After 65 minutes of action, the score remained even, with the Panthers leading in shots on goal, 35-33, despite trialing Boston, 1-0, in shots on net in overtime alone.

Before the shootout commenced, Florida wrapped up the night leading in blocked shots (14-11) and giveaways (9-7), while the Bruins led in hits (28-25) and faceoff win% (63-37).

The Panthers shot first in the shootout, sending out Huberdeau to kick things off in the first round of the 1-on-1 action, but Ullmark stoned him cold with the right pad.

DeBrusk followed with a shot into Knight’s chest as the two teams were even, 0-0, through one round of the shootout.

Brunette elected Barkov to shoot next as the Florida captain waltzed to the center ice faceoff dot, then skated towards Ullmark with tremendous stickhandling skills before firing a shot attempt wide of the net to the Bruins netminder’s right side.

Cassidy sent Coyle out for Boston’s second shootout attempt and No. 13 in black and gold burst into the zone with speed before cooling things down to a skillful glide, going backhand then pulling the puck to his forehand for the wraparound Knight’s outstretched pad– giving Boston the go-ahead shootout goal.

Florida’s fate in their undefeated start to the regular season rested in the hands of Tippett as the young skater made his way towards Ullmark before wiring a shot into the Bruins goaltender’s glove from the slot.

Boston didn’t need to send out a third shooter as Ullmark had beaten Florida’s first three shots in the shootout, yielding the victory to the Bruins, 3-2, on the final scoreboard.

The Bruins improved to 1-0 in shootouts (1-0 past regulation) this season, while the Panthers fell to 0-1 in shootouts (2-1 past regulation) in 2021-22.

Last season, the B’s went 4-5 in overtime and 4-2 in shootouts (8-7 past regulation).

Boston improved to 4-1-0 (3-0-0 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal, 4-0-0 (3-0-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 2-1-0 (2-0-0 at home) when tied after two periods this season.

Florida fell to 2-0-1 (0-0-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 0-0-1 (0-0-1 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 2-0-1 (1-0-1 on the road) when tied after two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins went 4-3-0 in the month of October and will begin November with a matchup against the Detroit Red Wings on home ice next Thursday before hitting the road to face the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Nov. 6th.

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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins beat Sharks in first meeting in almost two years

Jake DeBrusk’s second period goal proved to be the game-winner as the Boston Bruins withstood a third period surge and held off the San Jose Sharks in a, 4-3, victory at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon.

Linus Ullmark (2-0-0, 2.00 goals-against average, .935 save percentage in two games played) turned aside 23 out of 26 shots against in the win for the Bruins.

Meanwhile, Adin Hill (3-1-0, 2.93 goals-against average, .890 save percentage in four games played) and James Reimer (1-0-0, 0.65 goals-against average, .980 save percentage in two games played) split the effort in the loss for the Sharks.

Hill made 10 saves on 14 shots faced for a .714 save percentage in 25:41 time on ice before he was replaced by Reimer, who stopped all 20 shots against in relief.

Boston improved to 3-1-0 (six points) on the season and– at the time of this writing– moved into 3rd place in the Atlantic Division, while San Jose dropped to 4-1-0 (eight points) overall and remained in command of 2nd place in the Pacific Division standings.

The B’s also improved to 2-0-0 at home this season, as well as 25-12-5-0 all time against the Sharks in 42 regular season meetings.

The Bruins were without the services of Curtis Lazar (upper body), Nick Foligno (upper body), Anton Blidh (upper body) and Craig Smith (undisclosed) on Sunday afternoon.

Foligno was placed on injured reserve, while Jack Studnicka and Oskar Steen were recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL). Veteran defender, John Moore, was assigned to Providence as a result.

B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters prior to Sunday’s matinee with San Jose that Foligno and Blidh are unlikely to play in the team’s upcoming road trip on Wednesday and Thursday.

As a result of the recent rash of injuries, Cassidy continued to tweak to his lineup, promoting Tomáš Nosek to center the second line and sliding Charlie Coyle to the right wing in place of Smith as a result.

Cassidy inserted Steen on the third line in Nosek’s usual spot and returned Trent Frederic to the fourth line left wing with Studnicka at center and Karson Kuhlman on the right wing.

On defense, Connor Clifton returned to his spot on the third pairing alongside Derek Forbort with Moore assigned to Providence.

Jakub Zboril was the only healthy scratch on Sunday.

It only took 28 seconds into the action on Sunday afternoon for David Pastrnak to work the puck to Patrice Bergeron through the trapezoid behind the net before Bergeron found Brad Marchand (4) in the high slot for a catch and release goal to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead.

Bergeron (2) and Pastrnak (3) notched the assists on Marchand’s goal as Boston got off to a fast start in the first period.

Less than a few minutes later, Clifton worked the puck to Marchand, who sent the rubber biscuit along the point to Forbort (1) for a wrist shot that floated past Hill’s blocker side as a Sharks defender partially screened his own goaltender– extending Boston’s lead to two-goals in the process.

Marchand (3) and Clifton (1) had the assists on Forbort’s first goal in a Bruins uniform and the B’s led, 2-0, at 3:18 of the first period.

Almost midway through the opening frame, Nosek tripped up Tomáš Hertl and cut a rut to the penalty box with a minor infraction at 9:44.

San Jose’s power play, however, could not convert on the skater advantage.

The Sharks got another chance on the power play moments later when Charlie McAvoy caught Logan Couture with a high stick at 13:01, but once again Boston’s penalty kill stood tall as Ullmark kept the puck out of the back of the net.

Shortly after killing off McAvoy’s minor, Brent Burns knocked down Taylor Hall away from the puck and was assessed and interference minor at 15:59– presenting the Bruins with their first power play of the afternoon as a result.

It didn’t take long for Boston to capitalize on the ensuing skater advantage as Bergeron rang a shot off the crossbar before setting up Pastrnak (2) for one of his trademark one-timer power-play goals from the faceoff circle– right above the dot– to give the Bruins a three-goal lead.

Bergeron (3) had the only assist on Pastrnak’s goal as the B’s extended their lead, 3-0, at 16:12 of the first period.

Less than a minute later, however, San Jose got on the scoreboard with a quick break into the attacking zone and a little bit of a give-and-go that resulted in a short side goal for Jasper Weatherby (2) to cut Boston’s lead back to two-goals.

Jonah Gadjovich (1) and Andrew Cogliano (2) tabbed the assists on Weatherby’s goal at 16:44. With the primary assist, Gadjovich recorded his first career National Hockey League point in his second career game (Gadjovich made his season debut with the Sharks on Sunday and appeared in one game last season for the Vancouver Canucks).

After one period of action, the Bruins led the Sharks, 3-1, on the scoreboard despite both teams amassing 11 shots on goal each.

Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (10-2), while San Jose led the way in takeaways (3-1), giveaways (4-3), hits (13-7) and faceoff win percentage (58-42).

The Sharks were 0/2 and the Bruins were 1/1 on the power play heading into the first intermission.

Early in the middle frame, Forbort sent Steen up through the neutral zone on a rush with DeBrusk before Steen bounced an indirect pass to DeBrusk off the boards.

DeBrusk (2) entered the attacking zone and wired a shot over Hill’s glove to put Boston ahead by three goals once more, 4-1, at 5:41 of the second period.

Steen (1) and Forbort (1) recorded the assists, marking the first career NHL point for Steen and the first assist as a Bruin for Forbort in the process.

Sharks head coach, Bob Boughner, replaced Hill with Reimer as a result of DeBrusk’s goal and tried to spur momentum in San Jose’s favor as a result of the goalie change.

Late in the period, Nick Bonino and Clifton exchanged pleasantries in a post-whistle scrum that resulted in minor penalties for roughing for each player as well as an addition two minutes for slashing for Bonino at 17:29.

As a result, the Bruins finished off most of the rest of the second period on the power play, though they couldn’t muster anything past Reimer as the second intermission commenced.

Through 40 minutes of action, the B’s led, 4-1, on the scoreboard and, 22-16, in shots on goal, including an, 11-5, advantage in the second period alone.

Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (12-6), while San Jose led in takeaways (8-5), giveaways (10-5), hits (20-13) and faceoff win% (53-48).

The Sharks were still 0/2 on the power play, while the Bruins dropped to 1/2 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame.

With tensions rising as the second period came to an end, Frederic and Jacob Middleton kicked things off in the third period with five-minute majors for fighting at 3:02 of the final frame in the first fight of the 2021-22 calendar for Boston.

Less than a couple of minutes later, Mario Ferraro took an interference penalty at 5:48 of the third period, but the Bruins weren’t able to capitalize on the final power play of the afternoon.

Midway through the third, the Sharks scored a pair of quick goals as Hertl (2) deflected a shot from Marc-Edouard Vlasic at the point amidst net front traffic to pull San Jose back to within two goals, 4-2, at 13:19.

Vlasic (2) and Alexander Barabanov (1) tallied the assists on Hertl’s goal.

Minutes later, Timo Meier (3) redirected a shot from Couture from outside the slot to bring the Sharks to a one-goal deficit, 4-3, at 15:08 of the third period.

Couture (5) and Burns (4) had the assists on Meier’s goal which was reviewed for a high stick, but determined to be a good goal– the call on the ice was confirmed.

Boston’s lead had shrunk to a close, 4-3, game in the dying minutes of Sunday’s action.

Boughner pulled Reimer for an extra attacker with 1:45 remaining in the game and used his timeout with 1:02 left on the clock after a stoppage, but it wasn’t enough to rally his team to force overtime (at least) as the Bruins managed to hold off San Jose’s comeback.

At the final horn, Boston had won, 4-3, and finished the afternoon leading in shots on goal, 34-26, including a, 12-10, advantage in the third period alone.

The Bruins finished the afternoon leading in blocked shots (14-6) and faceoff win% (52-48), while the Sharks exited TD Garden with the advantage in giveaways (16-7) and hits (25-23).

San Jose went 0/2 on the power play, while Boston went 1/3 on the skater advantage on Sunday.

The B’s improved to 3-0-0 (2-0-0 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal, 3-0-0 (2-0-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 2-0-0 (1-0-0 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

The Sharks dropped to 2-1-0 (1-1-0 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 2-1-0 (1-1-0 on the road) when trailing after one period and 0-1-0 (0-1-0 on the road) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22 as a result of the loss.

The Bruins hit the road for a pair of games against the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes at FLA Live Arena on Wednesday and PNC Arena on Thursday, respectively, before returning home to finish the month of October against the Panthers on Saturday (Oct. 30th).

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NHL Nick's Net Previews

Boston Bruins 2021-22 Season Preview

2020-21 record 33-16-7, 73 points

3rd in the MassMutual NHL East Division

Eliminated in the Second Round by N.Y. Islanders

Additions: F Samuel Asselin, F Steven Fogarty, F Nick Foligno, F Jesper Frödén, F Erik Haula, F Tomas Nosek, D Derek Forbort, D James Greenway (acquired from TOR), D Tyler Lewington, G Troy Grosenick, G Linus Ullmark

Subtractions: F Paul Carey (SHL), F Sean Kuraly (signed with CBJ), F David Krejci (ELH), F Robert Lantosi (SHL), F Greg McKegg (signed with NYR), F Ondrej Kase (signed with TOR), F Nick Ritchie (signed with TOR), D Steven Kampfer (KHL), D Jeremy Lauzon (expansion, SEA), D Kevan Miller (retired), D Jarred Tinordi (signed with NYR), G Jaroslav Halak (signed with VAN), G Dan Vladar (traded to CGY)

Still Unsigned: F Alex Khokhlachev (KHL, BOS reserve list), G Tuukka Rask

Re-signed: F Anton Blidh, F Trent Frederic, F Taylor Hall, F Cameron Hughes, F Joona Koppanen, F Zach Senyshyn, D Brandon Carlo, D Mike Reilly, D Nick Wolff, G Callum Booth

Offseason Analysis: The Bruins are in a period of transition. Stop calling them favorites.

They might still be playoff contenders, but they’ll have to focus on even making the postseason first to begin with shortly– if not already– this upcoming season.

Boston’s General Manager, Don Sweeney, had his work cut out for him this summer and managed it pretty well– all things considered.

Sure, the B’s don’t have David Krejci and we’ll get into that, but instead of signing one or two free agents and calling it a day, then talking about needing to fill a hole that he’s left empty for years or created going into the new season, Sweeney signed five key players and then some for depth.

It’s a transition, not a purposeful tank to rebuild– yet, anyway.

As long as Patrice Bergeron is under contract, Boston has assured him they’ll do whatever he and Brad Marchand say the dressing room needs.

Speaking of Bergeron, though, he’s put off contract extension talks until the 2021-22 season is over, so for any Bruins fans that have gone through the pain of watching Zdeno Chara play in a different uniform last season with the Washington Capitals and again this upcoming season with the New York Islanders, as well as watching Krejci return to Czechia this year, well… …it happens. Time waits for no one.

All good things must come to an end and a new era dawns. Just hope it’s a good one.

Oh, and, Tuukka Rask is currently unsigned after offseason hip surgery, though the 34-year-old goaltender has expressed a desire to only play for the Bruins if he’s healthy enough to go for the 2021-22 season by the time December rolls around.

He’ll even sign for league minimum and “tons of Bud Lights”, which a certain podcast would love, even if it isn’t their preferred light beer (shameless plug for some Twitter pals).

Anyway, Sweeney’s saved about $1.089 million in cap space to sign Rask to a low, one-year, deal if he’s good enough to return to action, which wouldn’t complicate matters in the crease with the arrival of Linus Ullmark via free agency and the development of Jeremy Swayman.

Rask and Swayman were always going to share the spotlight as Swayman comes into his own. Rask’s injury, however, slightly changes matters in the handoff.

Ullmark joins the Bruins on a four-year contract worth $5.000 million per season through 2024-25. He was the winningest goaltender for the Buffalo Sabres last season with a 9-6-3 record in 20 games, a 2.63 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage in that span.

Given the workload that he faced in Buffalo compared to Boston’s more structured defense, Ullmark’s numbers should improve as he’s had moments of brilliance in his short spurts thus far– only really coming into the league as a starter or backup goaltender in the last two seasons.

At 28-years-old, he’s right on track for goaltender development and if things head south, the Bruins can use 2021-22 as a write off, plus 2022-23 as a means of giving Swayman full-time starter duties at the earliest.

Swayman, at 22-years-old, has already played 10 National Hockey League games and amassed a 7-3-0 record with a 1.50 goals-against average, a .945 save percentage and two shutouts, but that kind of luck is unheard of for a goaltender.

Eventually, given his unconventional style, his stats will come back to Earth and you don’t want to let reality cut down a goaltender’s confidence so soon while they’re young (see, Philadelphia Flyers goaltender, Carter Hart’s 2020-21 season, for example).

It’s nice to have Swayman as a future ace, but that’s just it– the future. Though the future is now in transition, it’s not quite the time to make the jump in the crease– especially while there’s more pressing matters like replacing Krejci.

Charlie Coyle is, ideally, Boston’s second line center entering this season, but if things go south with Coyle centering Taylor Hall and Craig Smith, then that’s where Nick Foligno or Erik Haula come in handy, if Jack Studnicka can’t make the jump from the Providence Bruins (AHL) to Boston.

Krejci finally could’ve had wingers in Hall and Smith for a full season, but the 35-year-old has always wanted to play in front of his parents and brother in the Czech Republic– especially after leaving for North America in his teens to play hockey for a living.

It’ll also help introduce his kids to his Czech native tongue, so they’ll be able to communicate with their grandparents.

Having spent his entire career with Boston through 962 regular season games since breaking into the league in the 2006-07 season, he’s earned every right to do as he pleases.

He might be back for the 2022-23 season, but absolutely do not hold him to it.

Hall, meanwhile, signed a four-year extension worth $6.000 million per season in the offseason, so Boston at least still only has one hole to fill on the second line if Coyle can’t return to form.

Foligno signed a two-year deal with a $3.800 million cap hit and Haula signed a two-year deal worth $2.375 million per season.

In 957 career NHL games, Foligno’s had 203-283–486 totals for the Ottawa Senators, Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs. He had been Columbus’ captain until the deadline when he was dealt to Toronto to add some punch to their lineup, only to blow a 3-1 series lead over the Montréal Canadiens in the 2021 First Round.

Foligno had 7-13–20 totals in 49 games with the Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs in 2020-21.

If nothing else, Foligno adds valuable leadership in the absence of Krejci and should hold things over as someone that gives it their all on a night-to-night basis. Bruins fans should warm up to him quickly if they haven’t already.

Haula, on the other hand, spent last season with the Nashville Predators, where he had 9-12–21 totals in 51 games last season, which was about the same production he had with the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers in 2019-20.

He hasn’t been able to find his breakout scoring touch that he had with the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18, when he had 55 points (29 goals, 26 assists) in 76 games, but he should be fine as a third liner flanked by Jake DeBrusk and Foligno.

Boston needs to get a consistent offense going and they at least seem to have the right level of talent for each line this season.

As long as everyone stays healthy it’s a good thing with an overhauled defense due to the Seattle Kraken taking Jeremy Lauzon in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, Kevan Miller retiring and the uneasiness of delegating more time to Jakub Zboril after his– at times– lackluster 2020-21 season.

Speaking of the revamped bottom-six, however, Tomas Nosek is new in town on a two-year deal worth $1.750 million per season, joining Trent Frederic– fresh off of an extension this offseason for two years and a $1.050 million cap hit– and Chris Wagner on the fourth line.

He’s been a fun player to watch come into his own with the Golden Knights since Vegas took him from the Detroit Red Wings in their expansion draft in 2017, and just had a career-year with 8-10–18 totals in 38 games last season.

Anything at or above 15 points from a fourth line center is a job well done for less than a $2.000 million cap hit.

Sean Kuraly’s gone home to Columbus, but after dropping from 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) in 69 games in 2019-20, to just nine points (four goals, five assists) in 47 games last season, needing a change of scenery was a welcome excuse for Boston to let him go.

Meanwhile, Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie also departed in the offseason for Toronto, though Kase’s future is shrouded by the ever-looming cloud of concussions and Ritchie outperformed expectations last season in the first half of the season before regressing to his ways.

Jaroslav Halak also left for the Vancouver Canucks, though that was inevitable with the long line for Boston’s backup goaltender being cut by Swayman’s emergence.

Even Dan Vladar was traded to the Calgary Flames for a 2022 3rd round pick as a result.

A couple of days prior, on July 26th, Boston acquired the rights to James Greenway from the Maple Leafs for future considerations. He’ll need a little more time in the system, for now.

With Miller retired, Steven Kampfer off to the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in Russia and Jarred Tinordi gone to the New York Rangers in free agency, Sweeney signed Derek Forbort to a three-year contract worth $3.000 million per season.

Mike Reilly also played well enough after being acquired at the trade deadline to earn a three-year extension with a $3.000 million cap hit as well.

Additionally, Brandon Carlo signed a six-year extension worth $4.100 million per season, so the Bruins have a defensive core with Carlo, Forbort, Matt Grzelcyk and Reilly under contract after 2021-22.

Charlie McAvoy, meanwhile is a pending-restricted free agent by the time July 1, 2022, rolls around (unless he’s signed to an extension before then).

Forbort, meanwhile, joins Boston after spending last season with the Winnipeg Jets where he had 2-10–12 totals in 56 games from the blue line. At 6-foot-4, 219-pounds, he adds much needed size to Boston’s defense.

In the meantime, John Moore, remains under contract and likely on the long term injured reserve to start the season, leaving his $2.750 million cap hit mostly off the books until the Bruins come to some sort of a resolution on that one.

Time will tell if the B’s will sink or swim, but you can’t say they didn’t try to put something together on paper this offseason.

Offseason Grade: B

In Boston, you either like or hate Sweeney. There’s no such thing as love unless you win championship rings these days.

While Sweeney’s made some blunders along the way, his overall approach as the Bruins’ GM has established a foundation of being in the room– being in consideration and among the conversation from year-to-year for attracting talent and making trades.

Sometimes it’s panned out, like the acquisition of Hall. Sometimes it’s fallen short, like when Sweeney paid a hefty price for Rick Nash (though only Ryan Lindgren remains a threat on the Rangers and Nash’s career-ending concussion couldn’t have been accounted for at the time of the trade).

Boston was stuck in the mud when he replaced Peter Chiarelli and Sweeney’s hands were tied in 2015, but he’s always been an active general manager and is tactical in his approach of replacing expendable assets.

At the same time, that very process irks Bruins fans because it comes across as overthinking or not trying hard enough to sign the player instead of a (better fit be damned) player.

Well, that and every guy these days isn’t Tim Thomas or Bobby Orr.

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NHL Nick's Net

Where do the 2020-21 Boston Bruins go from here?

To some, the 2020-21 Boston Bruins season ended in disappointment. To others, it made sense. Not for the reasons that you’re probably thinking.

No, there’s no arguments to be made around here regarding the departures of Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug from 2019-20 to 2020-21, though there certainly is something to be said about what moves were made (or not made) since then.

Chara made his own decision to leave and pursue a challenge that was unique to his own career, while Krug and the Bruins just… …never really saw eye-to-eye in the end.

Boston’s General Manager, Don Sweeney, has a long offseason ahead with some tough decisions regarding his roster composition— the draft, free agency, possible trades and the looming Seattle Kraken expansion draft (not necessarily in that order).

For starters, it’d be unwise for the Bruins to trade their 2021 1st round pick unless it’s one of those “home run” deals where you’ve all but assured yourself of a slam dunk that’ll take you all the way to the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.

Then again, the Colorado Avalanche were built to be a super team and they were eliminated in the same Second Round that Boston was ousted from this year. Hockey is weird.

Let’s not focus on Seattle too much just yet and sort through just about every player that hit the ice in a Bruins uniform this season instead.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Control” or “Command” “F”, then type your favorite player’s name is your best friend here. It’s a long read, folks.

Forward Line 1

BRAD MARCHAND (29-40—69 totals in 53 games)

Marchand remains under contract through the 2024-25 season and is currently 33-years-old which means he’s only just entering the other side of his prime.

That said, he’s still in his prime and he’s expressed his desire to remain a Bruin for a long time (that was a given when he signed his current contract as an eight-year extension on Sept. 26, 2016, well ahead of when he would’ve reached free agency on July 1, 2017).

PATRICE BERGERON (23-25—48 totals in 54 games)

Along with Marchand, the Bruins captain has expressed to B’s President, Cam Neely, that he would like to go for another Cup with his current team. That doesn’t necessarily rule out whether or not Bergeron would stick around for a rebuild, but it also means that Boston can’t rebuild until Bergeron says so, basically.

He’s earned that right since being drafted by the team in the 2nd round (45th overall) in 2003, and making the roster out of training camp as an 18-year-old for the 2003-04 season— going on to spend the last 17 NHL seasons with Boston.

Bergeron’s entering the final year of his current contract, which means he’ll be a pending-unrestricted free agent after the 2021-22 season. He’ll also be 36-years-old, so if Jack Studnicka and/or John Beecher aren’t already being trained to become the next first line center sooner rather than later, then that’s going to be something Sweeney will need to fix.

Bergeron has the makeup of a lifetime Bruin, but even Bobby Orr left via free agency (though Alan Eagleson had more to do with that) and Boston was forced to trade Ray Bourque after not being able to win the Cup with him over a 20-year span (regardless of your views on Harry Sinden and penny-pinching).

At least Bergeron already has a 2011 Stanley Cup ring with the Bruins to his name, but it wouldn’t be crazy to see him take one or two more chances elsewhere if things head south.

DAVID PASTRNAK (20-28—48 totals in 48 games)

Pastrnak had a late start to the already months behind 2020-21 league calendar as he recovered from offseason surgery. At times he appeared at the top of his game, but there were a few cold streaks here and there— whether it was injury related or not, sometimes a season just goes like that.

Though he was on pace for 29 goals in a regular 82-game schedule—down from 48 goals in 70 games in a pandemic shortened 2019-20 season, well, again none of that really matters. He was on pace for 56 goals last season at the time the league shut down due to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 pandemic declaration and he’s probably on pace for almost 1,000,000 goals in his career.

Pastrnak is one of two or three biggest components in Boston’s new core (the others being Charlie McAvoy and, if you will, Jeremy Swayman) and has two more years left on his current contract with a $6.667 million cap hit through 2022-23.

Forward Line 2

TAYLOR HALL (10-23—33 totals in 53 games)

Hall arrived via a trade with the Buffalo Sabres with Curtis Lazar in tow in exchange for Anders Bjork and a 2021 2nd round pick, which is one of the best ways to get good value in a deal involving a 1st overall pick (Hall in 2010).

The fact that Hall only had two goals in 37 games with the Sabres is certainly a wild one, but at least he had 17 assists to make up for things, right?

With the exception of his Hart Memorial Trophy winning 93-point performance in 2017-18, Hall has never reached the 30-goal plateau (he had 39 in 2017-18) and plays with a little bit more of a playmaker style to what some might consider a power forward frame or whatever.

He’s got speed, hands and great vision, but he won’t score 50 goals. That’s fine.

He’s still one of the league’s best top-six forwards and pairing him on a line with David Krejci is almost certainly a no brainer. Give him the best fit to excel and it’s no wonder why Hall had 8-6—14 totals in 16 games with the Bruins after the trade.

Buffalo retained 50% of Hall’s salary in the deal, which was great for Boston as he only had a one-year, $8.000 million contract in the first place, so it was much easier to fit $4.000 million under the cap than the full value the Sabres paid for his services back in last October during free agency.

Boston hasn’t had a suitable winger on their second line since the days of, well, Milan Lucic basically.

Bringing Hall back is a top priority for Sweeney this offseason and should get done on a three or four-year deal worth about $6.000 million per season.

DAVID KREJCI (8-36—44 totals in 51 games)

Krejci has previously indicated a desire to finish his professional playing days back home in Czechia and was asked again at the end of season press conference about his desires to return Czech Republic and couldn’t provide a response— citing that he hasn’t even been able to answer his own parents on that question.

Would he like to get another Cup ring? Probably.

Would he also like to play back in his native country for at least a couple of seasons so his children can learn Czech and be able to communicate with their grandparents? Also, probably.

Krejci’s $7.250 million cap hit is expiring this offseason as the 35-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.

In 962 career NHL games— all with Boston— since making his league debut in the 2006-07 season, he’s amassed 215-515—730 totals, while spending five out of the last six seasons without a winger that best fits his “pass first” playmaking abilities.

Taylor Hall is destined to re-sign with the Bruins as they have about $27 million in cap space this summer.

If the B’s find a solution on the right wing of the second line or simply continue to operate with Craig Smith as such, then Krejci should want to get a full season out of it just to say that he tried.

Realistically, Krejci could be one of those players that retires from the game at 38 or 39, which might sound early for some, but let’s remember that he’s already been part of 15 NHL seasons— he’s played a lot longer than the average NHL career (about three times longer, in fact).

The best solution for Boston as they transition from Patrice Bergeron and Krejci down the middle in the top-six to Jack Studnicka, Charlie Coyle, John Beecher or whoever else is in the fold— might be to sign Krejci to a one-year deal and give him time for at least two seasons afterwards back in the Czech Republic.

CRAIG SMITH (13-19—32 totals in 54 games)

Smith was highly touted as a decent signing in free agency last offseason and performed as expected for Boston in 2020-21. Though he might’ve made the roster deeper as a whole spending more time on the third line, Smith elevated his game with Ondrej Kase out for most of the season.

He was on pace for 47 points in a regular 82-game schedule, which would’ve been his best performance since he had 51 points in 79 games with the Nashville Predators in 2017-18.

With two years left on his contract at $3.100 million per season, Smith is well worth every penny thus far.

Forward Line 3

JAKE DeBRUSK (5-9—14 totals in 41 games)

There’s no way around it, but DeBrusk had a disappointing season in 2020-21.

Whether you’re on the fence about criticizing his performance given the ongoing pandemic and league protocol related restrictions in relation to how that affects a player’s mindset or one of those people that calls in to a show to complain about nonsense someone made up, DeBrusk was demoted to the fourth line and spent some nights as a healthy scratch.

He established a career-high 27 goals in his second season over 68 games in 2018-19, despite missing some games due to injuries that season and has more offsensive skill to his game and a speed component that his father, Louie, perhaps didn’t have in his NHL playing days.

Where Jake might lack in physicality, he makes up for in his scoring prowess, ability to move the puck and line chemistry.

Yes, there are times when it would seem that he needs to be reminded of forechecking and staying on an opponent, but he’s also provided a versatility along the left side or rarely on his opposite wing when the Bruins have struggled with bottom-six depth over the season.

Things may be coming to a crescendo with Boston, however, given the opportunity to sell before things continue on a downward spiral, even though his $3.675 million cap hit through next season is pretty affordable for what— in the best of times— is a top-nine forward.

The chance to avoid retaining salary is now, rather than later as the 2022 trade deadline approaches and if there’s a team out there that wants to prioritize DeBrusk in their plans, they may very well like that fact that he’s only 24-years-old and will be a pending-restricted free agent at season’s end in 2021-22.

For Boston, he’s a cheaper alternative to the one-dimensional style of Mike Hoffman when he’s on his game and producing goals.

But he’s also trade bait this offseason for the B’s, since a change of scenery might just help him find solid ground in things that bigger than just the game and net the Bruins the depth they badly needed in the playoffs.

NICK RITCHIE (15-11—26 totals in 56 games)

Ritchie amassed a career-high 15 goals in his first full season with the Bruins. That would’ve been phenomenal if he did all from the fourth line, but also highly unrealistic even for the new-age “roll four lines” style of the contemporary NHL.

He looked a lot better overall, though, than when Boston traded Danton Heinen for him on Feb. 24, 2020.

It’s going to be hard to try to finagle a fair contract, though, given his offensive outburst and pending-RFA status coming off of a previous deal where he had a cap hit of about $1.499 million.

Paying Ritchie $3.000 million a year and expecting him to reach almost 20 goals would be very unwise and should earn comparisons to the previous GM in Boston.

If he stays or goes, he’s earned another look in a Bruins uniform— just for the right price, in the right role and as long as he doesn’t stray too far from whatever worked this season (again, namely playing well beyond his expectations alongside David Krejci out of necessity until Taylor Hall was acquired, so that’s unrealistic if Hall and Krejci are re-signed).

If nothing else can be done in free agency regarding the third line (Blake Coleman would be great) and the fourth line is gutted, then Ritchie deserves another “prove it” contract in Boston.

CHARLIE COYLE (6-10—16 totals in 51 games)

In 2015-16, Coyle broke the 40-point plateau with 21-21—42 totals in 82 games with the Minnesota Wild. The following season, Coyle set career-highs in assists (38) and points (56) in 82 games with the Wild.

He’s averaged about 33 points per season over 621 games in his nine-year NHL career between Minnesota and Boston.

Had 2020-21 been a regular 82-game schedule, Coyle would’ve been on pace for 23 points. Instead, he notched 16 points in 51 games— missing some time due to a stint on the league’s COVID protocol list and due to injury— over the course of the league’s 56-game season in light of the ongoing pandemic.

Like most people, Coyle would probably like to forget the last year.

Especially if you were hoping for him to start making the transition from being the third line center to a possible short-term replacement for David Krejci if Krejci doesn’t return.

One season is not worth overreacting to, but it also might not be considered an overreaction if you find the right way to be proactive. Just don’t mess up either way.

That said, Coyle usually bounces back from a “down” (in reality, just average) year. His $5.250 million cap hit through 2025-26 is the least of Boston’s worries.

Sure, you’d like to see more from him in goal production, but the Bruins had bigger problems than just one player having an off year. He’s fine, but doesn’t have as much of a leash as he might have had coming into 2020-21.

It’s also possible that fans and media members alike are overvaluing someone that’s always been on the cusp of reaching top-six status, but otherwise has only been good in a third line role.

As always, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to be proven wrong.

ONDREJ KASE (0-0—0 totals in 3 games)

Kase sustained an upper body injury (concussion) in the second game of the season on Jan. 16th and played in part of one more game after that in the last week of the regular season on May 10th.

In nine games with the Bruins, he’s had one point and missed 55 games during his Boston tenure— though the majority of that lost time was in this season alone.

That said, Kase’s got bigger things to think about— like the rest of his life, for example. Given his concussion history, it might mean shutting things down for a while, if not possibly for good.

Boston could bring him back on a cheap contract and place him on long term injured reserve if necessary. At best, Kase recovers and is signed—by the Bruins or not— and goes on to have a lengthy career in the NHL.

Only Kase will be able to tell when his body is ready, if it’s ever ready again. In any case, it’s an unfortunate situation for everyone involved in the hard decisions that are to be made.

KARSON KUHLMAN (2-0—2 totals in 20 games)

In 56 career NHL games, Kuhlman’s had 6-7—13 totals so far. He made his league debut in the 2018-19 season and put up five points (three goals, two assists) in 11 games in what looked like it was going to be a fast start for the prolific college scorer.

He then had 1-5—6 totals in 25 games in the 2019-20 season while bouncing around and getting some work with the Providence Bruins (AHL) before recording two goals in 20 games with Boston after a late start to the 2020-21 season due to being in COVID protocol as the short training camp in January got underway.

Kuhlman’s been able to hold his own with his speed among the bottom-six forwards, though with Blake Coleman potentially being available in free agency, the Bruins would have better options to pursue moving forward for the time being.

While Boston remains in “win now” mode, they can gently guide Kuhlman’s NHL career into… …whatever it may be at this point. Sure, defenders and goaltenders take a little bit longer to develop, but whether you think Kuhlman’s gotten enough ice time or too little at the NHL level it seems there’s been a stalling point.

Either his role will evolve as a third or fourth line regular for 2021-22 or he’ll be the next young player out of college on his way out a la Ryan Donato, Danton Heinen and Anders Bjork in recent years, which means something’s not clicking among the B’s scouting department.

All of them still have potential and could become better players, but they’d be doing so after moving on from your club. If your deals don’t land a Cup, then that’s just poor asset management as a result of bad player scouting and development.

Forward Line 4

SEAN KURALY (4-5—9 totals in 47 games)

Kuraly was on pace for 13 points in a regular 82-game season, which would’ve been his worst performance out of his four full seasons at the NHL level. That’s a down year for sure— even for nine points in 47 games in a 56-game schedule— but is it really that bad?

While he’s expected to be a 20-point scorer as an effective fourth line center and penalty killer (with the chance that he might crack the top-nine forward lineup), scoring primarily from the fourth line isn’t a good strategy to win hockey games in 2021.

That’s not to say that the Bruins didn’t have scoring problems as a whole in a league where rolling four lines is vital, though.

Yes, Kuraly’s 2020-21 season was not great— especially in a contract year, do you think he’ll make another $1.275 million cap hit in Boston? But, he’s still a durable 28-year-old NHLer that should bounce back with a regular schedule.

It might be time to move on, though it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s kept inhouse as an affordable utility player.

Maybe he’s the next Austin Czarnik and simply has to move on elsewhere.

Nothing would be surprising at this point. The Bruins need to reevaluate their bottom-six and they know it’ll mean letting go of some guys that have been around for at least a few seasons.

If you’re going to hold Kuraly to Jake DeBrusk or Charlie Coyle-levels of expectations, well, it might be time to reevaluate your own opinion really quick. At least two of those players should be solid top-nine forward options for any NHL club and scoring at least 15 goals and 30-40 points a season in a third line role.

Kuraly, on the other hand, should be closer to 20 points (at best) no matter how it comes.

TRENT FREDERIC (4-1—5 totals in 42 games)

It’s fine to think that Frederic should’ve been given more games.

It’s crazy, however, to think that Frederic was going to be the determining factor— especially if that was your only lineup change down the stretch.

He’s a young player with an edge, so he’s susceptible to taking unnecessary penalties, plus it’s always easier to have a learning experience conversation with a younger player craving to become an NHL regular than an older veteran that might not take being forced to sit out too well.

“But they’re professional players! They should know it’s for the common good— the benefit of the team!”

Yes, but how would you like it if a younger replacement was slotted into your job at your office and you were forced to watch and couldn’t help whoever you enjoyed working with from about nine floors above?

Doesn’t sound as enticing now, doesn’t it?

That’s not to say you shouldn’t play younger players in a youth driven league, but Boston’s bottom-six wasn’t filled with old players as the season came to an end.

It was filled with players that couldn’t score and struggled to get the puck out of their own zone.

Frederic has the makings of a power forward, but he was on pace for about six goals in a regular 82-game schedule. It’s hard to argue whether his 4-1—5 totals in 42 games look better or worse than Chris Wagner’s 2-3—5 totals in 41 games— after all, they each had five points.

If you like Frederic because he fights, makes hits and puts the puck in the net occasionally like what Milan Lucic used to do in a Bruins uniform, that’s fine, but don’t overvalue the reality that’s in front of you.

Frederic is young, though, so he’s developing and some mistakes are bound to be overlooked by the fanbase for a year or two— at least until someone in the balcony demands he be placed on the first line, then wonders why he doesn’t have, like, 50 goals out of nowhere by that point.

His two-year extension at $1.050 million per season through the 2022-23 league calendar is just fine. He’ll be an NHL regular in 2021-22, which means he’s in control of his own destiny at this point.

ANTON BLIDH (1-0—1 totals in 10 games)

Blidh’s sticking around with the organization on a one-year, two-way contract worth the league minimum $750,000. That guy really likes I-95, huh?

At 26-years-old, there’s not much more to the ceiling for Blidh’s potential, but it is nice to have someone that’s as dedicated as Trent Whitfield was as a player to the club (and still is as a coach in Providence).

As a utility guy in Boston, Blidh fits the role well. In a season where taxi squads were a thing, there really wasn’t anyone better as a durable “emergency use only” player. Here’s hoping things continue to go up for him with the team in whatever role he’s in for 2021-22.

CAMERON HUGHES (0-0—0 totals in 1 game)

In parts of four seasons with the Providence Bruins since making his professional debut at the tail end of the 2017-18 season, Hughes has been getting better each year in one way or another.

In 25 games with Providence in 2020-21, he had 21 points (five goals, 16 assists). He’ll be someone to watch in training camp in September as a potential option for the fourth line in some capacity.

Hughes is sure to get more than just the honorary treatment as a fill-in for the last game of the regular season with the Boston regulars having already clinched a playoff spot and earning a night off to rest for the playoffs.

This coming season is a contract year for him and could be his big step up to the major league as the Bruins deal with building the foundation for eventual first and second line centers.

CURTIS LAZAR (7-6—13 totals in 50 games)

Acquired ahead of the trade deadline with Taylor Hall for Anders Bjork and a 2nd round pick in 2021, Lazar had four points (two goals, two assists) in 17 games with Boston after he departed the Buffalo Sabres.

The 26-year-old provides speed and an influx of determination to the fourth line as someone that’s fought for just about every second of his NHL career.

No, not necessarily speaking with the fisticuffs here, but since his first two seasons in the league with the Ottawa Senators in 2014-15 and 2015-16, he’s never really been given a fair shake at a full season until he played in 50 games with the Sabres and Bruins this season.

He’s bounced from the Sens to the Calgary Flames, Buffalo and now Boston, but it looks like the B’s just might have a home for Lazar.

His numbers reflect that of a true fourth liner, so don’t expect too much, but he was on pace for 19 points in 2020-21 if it had been a regular 82-game season.

Lazar’s entering a contract year in 2021-22 with an $800,000 cap hit and there’s reason to believe he’ll do everything he can to prove his worth to Boston.

Assembling a roster isn’t so much about having all the best players and young, enticing prospects, so much as it is about having the right players.

The 2011 Stanley Cup champion Bruins had Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton on the fourth line and— though the league was different 10 years ago— remember what it was like going into the 2010-11 season wondering who the hell this Campbell guy from the Florida Panthers was as an almost afterthought in the Dennis Wideman for Nathan Horton and Campbell trade.

Now come back to reality and remind yourself that the 2021-22 Bruins are not going to be Stanley Cup contenders, but anything can happen if you make the playoffs and play a Conference Finals round that lasts longer than the other one.

JACK STUDNICKA (1-2—3 totals in 20 games)

Well, Studnicka didn’t really pan out this season like some had hoped, but the 21-year-old is only entering his fifth professional season after being drafted in the 2nd round (53rd overall) by Boston in 2017.

Three points in 20 games just seems like a case of bad luck given the way Studnicka plays with control in his game. Seven points in 11 games with Providence this season— despite all of them coming in the form of assists— is promising considering what he had to go through being in and out of Boston’s lineup, being on the taxi squad and dealing with the exceptionally condense AHL season in both division travel and the varying schedule itself from team to team.

The pandemic has been detrimental to the development of young players across the board, but it doesn’t mean that some of these players won’t go on to be stars in their own right.

Studnicka may have his name penciled on the roster for 2021-22, but don’t be surprised if he needs a little fine tuning in Providence for another year.

GREG McKEGG (1-0—1 totals in 5 games)

McKegg is probably gone in the offseason, but he served well as a utility player for Boston and even had a pair of assists in two games with Providence at one point in the 2020-21 season. His five appearances for the B’s this season were the fewest games he played in a season since his early days with the Toronto Maple Leafs when he played in three games as a 22-year-old in 2014-15.

Now 29, McKegg finds himself in the difficult position of being an NHL journeyman doomed to a fourth line role if he can find one, being a top AHL forward on the verge of either sticking  to it or retiring or he could just sign overseas for more money, probably.

CHRIS WAGNER (2-3—5 totals in 41 games)

Wagner was on pace for seven points if the 2020-21 season was a regular 82-game schedule.

That’s right. Seven.

He had a career-high 19 points in 76 games with Boston in 2018-19, when the Bruins went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final on the backs of tremendous bottom-six scoring depth—considering Wagner was responsible for 12 goals that season.

Since then he had 10 points in 67 games in 2019-20 and, well, the five points that he had in 41 games for Boston in 2020-21.

Injuries and the insurmountable expectations placed upon a local kid playing for the local team (as the unofficial mayor of Walpole), well, this season left much to be desired— especially considering it was the first year of his three-year extension worth $1.350 million per season. Oops.

If he bounces back, great! If he doesn’t, then the writing is on the wall and you already have to rework the fourth line anyway, so…

That said, Wagner admitted to suffering from some previously unexperienced anxiety related to the pandemic and the league’s COVID-19 protocols that limited teammate interaction with the cities they traveled to, as well as with each other, to try to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Hopefully the 2021-22 season provides a sense of normalcy that’ll allow him to get back on his game— even if he is limited in the number of games played, which he probably should be at this point.

OSKAR STEEN (0-0—0 totals in 3 games)

One of the bright spots for the Bruins this season was Steen’s NHL debut. Though he didn’t register anything on the scoresheet and hasn’t in his first three career NHL games, Steen’s provided a spark and some physicality despite his 5-foot-9, 188-pound frame.

Brad Marchand once went 20 games without scoring a goal in a season back when he made his league debut in the 2009-10 season. He’s also 5-foot-9 and about seven pounds lighter than Steen.

Not trying to make comparisons here that might otherwise set unrealistic expectations, but Steen certainly could see more ice time in the 2021-22 season among Boston’s bottom-six if they’re trying to make any kinds of repairs to the team’s depth from within.

ZACH SENYSHYN (0-0—0 totals in 8 games)

Look, Senyshyn only played in eight games this season, but in 14 career NHL games spanning parts of three seasons, he has 1-2—3 totals. Zach Hamill had four points (all assists) in 20 games from when he made his league debut in the 2009-10 season through the 2011-12 season with Boston.

That’s what we’re looking at here.

The pending-RFA could be tendered a qualifying offer, could have his negotiating rights traded or could just be off into the unknown.

In 42 games with Providence in 2019-20, he had 7-9—16 totals (or about .381 points per game). In 18 games with the P-Bruins in 2020-21, he wore an “A” on the front of his sweater and had 7-6—13 totals (about .722 points per game).

He had a career-high 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 66 games with Providence in his first full professional season in 2017-18.

Whether he’s back among the Bruins organization next season depends on how patient both the club and the player are with each other.

At 24-years-old, he could just be a late bloomer. He could also just need a change of scenery. Or he could be like Hamill. Those are the possibilities at this point.

Can his hot hands in Providence last season continue moving forward?

Defensive Pairing 1

MATT GRZELCYK (5-15—20 totals in 37 games)

Despite injuries limiting Grzelcyk to 37 games in 2020-21, he was on pace for 29 points if the season had been a regular 82-game schedule, so 20 points in 37 games in an already condensed 56-game season is actually not that bad, considering the Bruins were looking for someone to step up and replace Torey Krug’s stature as an offensive defender from the point.

Grzelcyk had five goals, while Krug had two this season. Grzelcyk had 20 points in 37 games (.541 points per game), while Krug had 32 points in 51 games (.627 points per game).

One player is just a little bit better on the power play and it’s Krug, which is to be expected given his 10 years in the NHL at this point to Grzelcyk’s five-year career thus far.

Sure, Grzelcyk’s defensive lapses are noticeable at times, but then again, what defender isn’t going to standout when a goal against is scored.

That’s not to say that Boston can’t do better with the addition of a solidified left shot blue liner for the first pairing, but Grzelcyk gets a lot blame for something that is largely mismanagement.

Again, not to go too deep into the “should’ve kept the band together” argument, but the Bruins at least should’ve had a backup plan that wasn’t just “play the kids and hope for the best”— not while they’re trying to win one more Cup with their old core, at least.

More on that in a minute.

CHARLIE McAVOY (5-25—30 totals in 51 games)

McAvoy is a stud. He’s the new core to build around on the back end and he had a great season all things considered.

He’s also on the verge of a breakout it seems, but when remains to be seen. That said, you want him on your team for the ride. Imagine if the Bruins dealt Ray Bourque, like, 20 years before they actually traded Bourque to the Colorado Avalanche in 2000. Yeah, see, that would’ve been one of the franchise’s worst mistakes in this hypothetical situation.

When McAvoy breaks out, he’ll get Norris Trophy attention. Until then, he’s considered to be a star in Boston, but otherwise just a really good defender that’s young— even as a 23-year-old with four seasons under his belt— and has time to learn to become a master.

Enough said.

Defensive Pairing 2

MIKE REILLY (0-27—27 totals in 55 games)

If Alec Martinez is too costly and Jamie Oleksiak or Ryan Suter aren’t options, then it’s fine to stick with Reilly on Boston’s defense.

No, he probably shouldn’t be on the second pairing, but a career-year and the way he moves the puck up through the neutral zone will draw some attention to giving him more ice time and seeing what he can handle.

In a perfect world, nobody gets injured and the Bruins sign a guy like Suter or whoever to cement the left side with Grzelcyk, some guy and Reilly.

It wouldn’t be like, say, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s defense, but it would be more competitive than when all of your defenders are injured and you’re left reaching for Jack Ahcan or Urho Vaakanainen a bit too soon (not that they’re bad players, for the record).

BRANDON CARLO (3-1—4 totals in 27 games)

Carlo was limited to 27 games due to multiple injuries and had four points this season before his postseason run was cut short by yet another concussion. His new six-year extension with Boston carries a $4.100 million cap hit which is both 1) a steal if he’s healthy and remains a solid shutdown defender on the second pairing and 2) a bit of an overpay if he can’t play.

The good news, however, is that long term injured reserve exists for a reason, so, you know, just legally circumvent the salary cap if you have to.

Here’s hoping his traumatic brain injury days are behind him.

Defensive Pairing 3

JEREMY LAUZON (1-7—8 totals in 41 games)

It’s honestly kind of surprising that Lauzon only had a goal this season. He’s managed to hit the back of the net in each of the parts of three seasons that he’s played for Boston, but he’s yet to record two goals in one league calendar year.

At 24-years-old, he’s the same age as Brandon Carlo, though Carlo is a late 1996 birthday, whereas Lauzon is an early 1997 Gen-Zer or whatever.

If he’s not taken by the Seattle Kraken at the 2021 Expansion Draft, then that’s a good thing. One mistake alone by Lauzon didn’t cost Boston their Second Round series against the New York Islanders and he seems to be the kind of player that will learn quickly and correct things in-game just by continuing to play.

Lauzon doesn’t get disgruntled and he doesn’t give up. Sure, he might be battling his own youth and inexperience at times, but he likes to hit and play a bit of a physical game, which is in demand for Boston’s defense.

The Bruins should try to coerce Seattle to take someone that might otherwise be hoping for a fresh change of scenery in Jakub Zboril.

KEVAN MILLER (1-3—4 totals in 28 games)

After numerous knee injuries, surgeries, rehab and more, a concussion in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs was the final blow for the 33-year-old Miller as he announced his retirement on Wednesday.

Though he was signed to a one-year, $1.250 million contract last offseason, the Bruins could’ve used that money elsewhere on, say, a different defender.

Instead, Brandon Carlo now gets Miller’s cap hit added on to his freshly expired $2.850 million AAV contract for Carlo’s new six-year, $24.6 million deal.

Whereas last season anyone else could’ve been signed for that price or less and not have missed half of the season, this season with the flat cap and everything, Boston is destined to make a trade if they’re able to re-sign some of their pending-UFAs in Taylor Hall, David Krejci and others before assessing what else needs to be done.

CONNOR CLIFTON (1-6—7 totals in 44 games)

Clifton set career-highs in assists (six) and points (seven), while playing in a career-high 44 games in the 2020-21 season. As he came into the league, Clifton was a bit more of a run of the mill seventh defender, but he’s played well enough to earn a shot at being on the last pairing full-time.

At 5-foot-11, 175-pounds, Clifton still plays hard and bangs bodies with ease.

With a $1.000 million cap hit through the 2022-23 season, he’s the perfect low-cost, high-reward player to have in the toolbox as Boston continues to overhaul their blue line.

JARRED TINORDI (0-1—1 totals in 21 games)

Claimed off waivers during the season, Tinordi had one assist in 14 games with Boston as a depth defender. He’s got a big frame at 6-foot-6, 205-pounds and can fight when necessary, so he’ll pack an extra punch when the team needs a physical boost or someone to provide a spark.

He’ll be a pending-UFA though and with Steven Kampfer heading off to the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), it’d make sense to keep Tinordi around on another league minimum contract as the new seventh defender.

JAKUB ZBORIL (0-9—9 totals in 44 games)

Zboril can move the puck. How well can he do that? Depends on who you ask.

He’s been frustrated by the fact that he’s not yet set in stone on Boston’s roster full-time, was given that chance in the 2020-21 season and really didn’t live up to expectations.

Nine assists are fine for defender that was projected to be on the bottom pairing for most of the year, but Zboril couldn’t play up the lineup when teammates went down with injuries and was exposed as a young, inexperienced, blue liner time and time again.

It’d probably take a lot of convincing for Seattle to see something in him rather than a couple other potential options from the Bruins at the expansion draft, but if Boston somehow lost Zboril for nothing to the Kraken, they wouldn’t be losing too much.

Sure, Zboril could go on to develop into a fine defender for Seattle, but that’s just it. Maybe it’s time for a change of scenery.

Defenders take a few extra years to develop sometimes, but unless everyone understands that rushing things right now is unwise or that there’s a lot of work to be done, then it’s time to do yourself a favor and stop the bleeding.

JOHN MOORE (0-2—2 totals in 5 games)

Moore has two more years remaining on his five-year contract worth $2.750 million per season and appeared in five games in 2020-21 in between some pretty major season ending injuries.

Is he the new Kevan Miller, you ask? Probably.

Moore’s latest surgery back in March was a hip arthroscopy and labral repair and will keep him out until about time for training camp in September at the earliest, but if he’s not ready to go then at least there’s the long-term injured reserve.

Unless you find a trading partner to take on his cap hit.

The Moore experiment wasn’t necessarily a failure, but it also hasn’t really worked out so far.

Was it a long contract to sign at the time? Yes, but the cap hit is low enough to be manageable in the event that, well, this happens.

Now on the wrong side of 30, Moore will be turning 31 in November and if his body can’t take what’s being thrown at him, he’ll be on his way out of the league sooner rather than later.

If the Bruins don’t do anything substantial to their defense and Moore can return to full health, he’s not a bad bottom-pairing solution to rotate among the youth, but that’s also the problem facing Boston.

They have too many bottom-pairing defenders with little to no upside and not enough jobs for each of them.

STEVEN KAMPFER (2-3—5 totals in 20 games)

Kampfer contributed a lot this season in a limited role as a seventh defender that ended up playing almost half the season and bounced back and forth between Providence and Boston on a few occasions.

Despite making his league debut in his first stint with the Bruins during the 2010-11 season, Kampfer never really made a full-time impact anywhere he went in the NHL, whether it was with the B’s, Minnesota Wild, Florida Panthers, New York Rangers and Bruins again.

Now, he’s got a chance to make more money playing in the KHL and could flourish given his NHL development over his nine-year NHL career.

JACK AHCAN (0-0—0 totals in 3 games)

Ahcan made his NHL debut this season with Boston and looked fine. Probably not ready for a full-time role, but just fine. That’s about it on that.

URHO VAAKANAINEN (0-2—2 totals in 9 games)

Vaakanainen is only 22, so if you’re going to freak out about development of a defender taking a normal length of time that it should take, then there’s not much else to say, I guess.

He recorded his first pair of points in the NHL in nine games this season and did fine, but probably will spend more time in Providence this season.

Starting Goaltender

TUUKKA RASK (15-5-2 in 24 GP, 24 GS, 2.28 GAA, .913 SV%, 2 SO)

Rask is a pending-UFA that won’t be able to play until January at the earliest while he recovers from offseason hip surgery. As one of the greatest goaltenders in league history— statistically speaking— as well as one of the best Finnish-born netminders, there will certainly be a lot of teams interested in his services regardless of when he can get back into the crease for the 2021-22 season.

But for Rask, there’s only one option— playing for Boston.

He’s been a Bruin ever since the Rask-for-Raycroft trade on June 24, 2006, that sent 2003-04 Calder Memorial Trophy winner, Andrew Raycroft, to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a then considered expendable goaltending prospect in Rask.

Talk about one of the best deals for Boston since the Phil Esposito trade, which also landed the Bruins Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield for Jack Norris, Pit Martin and Gilles Marotte in return to Chicago on May 15, 1967.

Though some would consider that to be a “hockey trade”.

Rask’s indicated that he would like to be part of the transition in the crease as the B’s are expected to make Jeremy Swayman their full-time starter within the next two to three seasons (though out of necessity to start 2021-22) and he’s earned every right to wind down his career as he sees fit.

It’s Boston or bust and Rask is sure to come back for at least one more season before ultimately retiring.

Bruins GM, Don Sweeney, can take his time with a new deal for Rask— both with expansion in mind and as it relates to either starting the season on long term injured reserve or just signing No. 40 almost midway through the year.

Backup Goaltender

JEREMY SWAYMAN (7-3-0 in 10 GP, 10 GS, 1.50 GAA, .945 SV%, 2 SO)

With Tuukka Rask out until January (if he sticks around for another year in Boston), there’s good news and bad news for the Bruins in the crease.

The good news is that it looks like Swayman’s ready to start taking on a prominent role as a goaltender in the NHL.

The bad news is that it comes without Rask able to guide him as much in the first half of the season and because of the fact that Swayman’s developed into at least a surefire backup goaltender for the B’s, Jaroslav Halak is leaving in free agency to find a stable job elsewhere with another team.

Oh, plus if the defense doesn’t improve— from within or due to external influences, well…

At the very least, Boston should probably sign another goaltender to take some of the stress off of Swayman and Dan Vladar so they don’t try to rush the young phenom into too big of a role too quickly.

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender, Carter Hart’s 2020-21 season is the last thing you want to happen to Swayman, ultimately.

Third String Goaltender

JAROSLAV HALAK (9-6-4 in 19 GP, 17 GS, 2.53 GAA, .905 SV%, 2 SO)

Despite putting up a solid goals-against average for a backup goaltender in the NHL, two shutouts and winning almost ten games in a 56-game condensed season due to the ongoing pandemic, Halak was relegated to the third string goaltender role as Jeremy Swayman emerged and Tuukka Rask returned to the lineup at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Halak’s .905 save percentage was a bit low for the average backup (usually around .910) and a few of his outings didn’t do him any favors in the eyes of those that are tasked with assessing his game and figuring out whether he’s ready to go take the load off of the starter for a night.

Whether Halak ended up on Bruce Cassidy or Don Sweeney’s bad side doesn’t really matter here, though. His play was average to below-average while Swayman played lights out down the stretch.

Generally speaking, you go with the hotter goaltender more often than you don’t.

Halak’s short Bruins tenure has run its course after three seasons and though the 36-year-old didn’t win a Cup ring with Boston, he did exactly what he needed to for the organization and went above and beyond at times— winning the William M. Jennings Trophy for his second time with Rask in 2019-20.

Fourth String Goaltender

DAN VLADAR (2-2-1 in 5 GP, 5 GS, 3.40 GAA, .886 SV%, 0 SO)

Vladar and the B’s were blown out by the Washington Capitals, 8-1, in his last start of the season in his 2020-21 campaign, but otherwise looked great in his regular season debut and subsequent minutes.

Though he’s likely projected as Boston’s backup goaltender in both the immediate sense with Jeremy Swayman as the projected starter for 2021-22 while Tuukka Rask is out due to offseason surgery, Vladar has the chance to solidify himself as a capable contender for the long-term starting job in a Bruins uniform or perhaps elsewhere if it comes down to that.

Right now, though, he’ll be Boston’s protected goaltender in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft since Rask and Jaroslav Halak are pending-UFAs and Swayman isn’t eligible to be exposed.

The Bruins will have tendered a qualifying offer to Callum Booth— the long-time taxi squad practice goaltender during the 2020-21 season, though the Kraken will likely pry a defender or a forward away from the organization instead.

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Islanders will face Tampa in the Stanley Cup Semifinal

For the first time since 1979-84, the New York Islanders are heading to consecutive third round appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In “normal” years, the Islanders would be advancing to the Eastern Conference Final, however this season, in light of the ongoing global pandemic and subsequent temporary league realignment, New York is heading to the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinal as result of their, 6-2, win over the Boston Bruins on home ice on Wednesday.

Brock Nelson scored his second career series-clinching goal in the Game 6 victory at Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, trailing only Mike Bossy (six series-clinching goals) and Clark Gillies (four series-clinching goals) for the most in an Islanders uniform in franchise history.

A raucous Long Island crowd cheered as their “New York Saints” goaltender, Semyon Varlamov (4-3, 2.63 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in seven games played), made 23 saves on 25 shots against to win the series 4-2 and eliminate the Bruins as a result.

At the other end of the rink, 34-year-old pending-unrestricted free agent goaltender, Tuukka Rask (6-4, 2.45 goals-against average, .919 save percentage in 11 games played), turned aside 23 out of 27 shots faced in the loss.

Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, fell to 33-33 in his postseason tenure behind the bench for the B’s (parts of five seasons) and dropped to 36-36 in his career as an NHL head coach in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Washington Capitals and the Bruins.

Isles head coach, Barry Trotz, improved to 25-17 overall in the postseason with New York, as well as 80-75 in his 22-year career as a head coach in the NHL, including 14 postseason appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Nashville Predators, Capitals and Islanders.

The Bruins were without Kevan Miller (upper body), Brandon Carlo (undisclosed) and Curtis Lazar (lower body) on Wednesday, while Ondrej Kase (upper body) and John Moore (hip) remained shelved for the season.

As a result of Lazar’s injury, Jake DeBrusk was re-inserted into the lineup on the left side of the third line with Charlie Coyle at center and Karson Kuhlman on right wing.

Nick Ritchie was demoted to the fourth line with Sean Kuraly at center and Chris Wagner on right wing.

Cassidy made no other changes to his lineup for Game 6.

The Bruins had a long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players that included Nick Wolff, Trent Frederic, Greg McKegg, Zach Senyshyn, Lazar, Jack Studnicka, Carlo, Kase, Jaroslav Halak, Steven Kampfer, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Urho Vaakanainen, Oskar Steen, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, Dan Vladar, Anton Blidh and Miller.

Midway through the opening frame, Noah Dobson sent a shot on goal that generated a rebound right to Travis Zajac (1) who buried the puck from point blank as Rask had yet to find the puck.

Dobson (7) and Jean-Gabriel Pageau (9) tallied the assists on the goal as the Islanders jumped out to a, 1-0, lead at 8:52 of the first period.

Moments later, Anthony Beauvillier tripped up Charlie McAvoy and cut a rut to the penalty box as a result with a minor infraction at 14:13– presenting Boston with the game’s first power play, but the Bruins couldn’t score on the ensuing advantage.

Instead, as Casey Cizikas tripped Taylor Hall, the B’s ended up on a 5-on-3 skater advantage at 16:00 of the first period.

It didn’t take long for Boston to convert on the two-skater advantage as the Bruins whipped the puck around the attacking zone, first from Matt Grzelcyk along the point to David Krejci as Grzelcyk kept the play onside, then Krejci to David Pastrnak for the fake-shot pass to Brad Marchand (7) for a catch-and-release goal while Varlamov was caught behind the play.

Marchand’s power-play goal tied the game, 1-1, at 17:36 and was assisted by Pastrnak (8) and Krejci (6).

The two clubs entered the first intermission even on the scoreboard, 1-1, despite New York leading in shots on goal, 12-10.

The Isles also held the advantage in takeaways (2-1), while the Bruins led in blocked shots (9-8), hits (15-13) and faceoff win percentage (65-35).

Both teams managed to have three giveaways each in the opening frame, while only Boston had experienced any time on the power play and went 1/2 on the advantage heading into the middle period.

Kyle Palmieri shouldered McAvoy in the face after a stoppage in play early in the second period, sending the B’s defender to the ice and down the tunnel, though no penalty was called on the play.

McAvoy would later return in the period after a few shifts.

Kuhlman tripped up Mathew Barzal and presented the Islanders with their first and only power play of the night at 2:18 of the second period, but New York couldn’t muster anything in the resulting special teams action.

The Isles did, however, catch the B’s in the vulnerable minute after an advantage, as Nelson (5) emerged with a short breakaway after New York stole the puck in the neutral zone and beat Rask low on the glove side.

Josh Bailey (5) and Nick Leddy (5) tallied the assists on Nelson’s goal as the Islanders went ahead, 2-1, at 5:20 of the second period.

Nelson (6) scored his second of the night– back-to-back– moments later as Rask sent an errant pass to Mike Reilly that was too hot to handle for the Bruins defender, which Bailey quickly took and dished to Nelson on the doorstep.

Bailey (6) had the only assist on Nelson’s would be eventual game-winning goal as the Islanders extended their lead to two-goals, 3-1, at 12:39.

In the ensuing surge in momentum, Palmieri (7) managed to crash the net on a rebound and poke the loose puck through the Bruins goaltender to give New York a, 4-1, lead on an unassisted goal at 16:07.

Entering the second intermission, the Islanders led, 4-1, on the scoreboard and, 22-20, in shots on goal, despite both teams managing ten shots apiece in the second period alone.

New York held the advantage in blocked shots (16-15), takeaways (4-2) and giveaways (7-5), while Boston led in hits (26-23) and faceoff win% (61-40).

The Islanders were 0/1 and the Bruins were 1/2 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Matt Martin tripped Jarred Tinordi at 5:20 of the third period and presented the Bruins with their final power play of the night.

It didn’t take Boston long as they won the resulting faceoff in the attacking zone before McAvoy sent it to Krejci as Marchand (8) wound up corralling Krejci’s quick dish in front and scored on a backhand shot while falling for his second goal of the night.

Krejci (7) and McAvoy (11) notched the assists on Marchand’s power-play goal at 5:38 and the Bruins trailed, 4-2.

Unlike in Game 5, though, Boston wouldn’t get enough going thereafter to attempt a comeback.

With 1:22 remaining in the game, Cassidy pulled Rask for an extra attacker, but it quickly backfired for the Bruins as Cal Clutterbuck (3) was the benefactor of an open goal frame and added some insurance with an empty net goal to make it, 5-2, New York.

Pageau (10) and Cizikas (2) had the assists on Clutterbuck’s goal at 19:01 of the third period.

The B’s pulled Rask again for an extra skater with about 53 seconds left, but Ryan Pulock (3) used the power of geometry to angle the puck off the boards, clear it down the ice and watch as it trickled over the goal line into Boston’s empty net to extend New York’s lead, 6-2.

Pulock’s goal was unassisted at 19:12 of the third period as the final horn sounded shortly thereafter to give the Islanders the, 6-2, victory in Game 6 and a 4-2 series win.

The B’s had previously lost to the Islanders in five games in the 1980 Quarterfinal and in six games in the 1983 Wales Conference Final. They fell to 0-3 all-time in a best-of-seven series versus New York.

Though Marchand’s pair of goals was enough to tie Milan Lucic, Cam Neely and Rick Middleton for the second most goals (8) in an elimination game in a Bruins uniform in franchise history in Boston’s all-time postseason stats, it wasn’t enough to outpace the lack of a defense all night for Boston.

New York finished Wednesday night’s effort leading in shots on goal, 29-25, including a, 7-5, advantage in the third period alone and held the advantage in blocked shots (23-21), while Boston exited Long Island leading in giveaways (13-9), hits (33-28) and faceoff win% (57-43) in Game 6.

The Isles finished the game 0/1 and the Bruins went 2/3 on the power play, despite losing, 6-2, on the final scoreboard.

The Islanders advanced to the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinal round where they will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in a rematch of their 2020 Eastern Conference Final series, in which the Bolts beat the Isles in six games before going on to defeat the Dallas Stars in another six games in the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.

No information has been provided yet as to when the next round of the playoffs will begin (likely this weekend) as the Colorado Avalanche look to stave off elimination on Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena against the Vegas Golden Knights, who lead their Second Round series 3-2.

The winner of Colorado/Vegas will face the Montréal Canadiens in the other Stanley Cup Semifinal matchup.

Tampa and the winner of the Avalanche vs. Golden Knights series will have home ice in the next round.

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Chance to advance: Isles road victory in Game 5 means New York can win series on home ice

The New York Islanders failed to register a shot on goal after Brock Nelson scored in the third period as they outlasted an onslaught of offense and an attempted comeback in a, 5-4, victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 5 at TD Garden on Monday.

Semyon Varlamov (3-3, 2.73 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in six games played) made 40 saves on 44 shots against in the win for the Islanders.

Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask (6-3, 2.29 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in 10 games played) made 12 saves on 16 shots for no decision before he was replaced prior to the third period after 40:00 time on ice.

Jeremy Swayman (0-1, 3.33 goals-against average, .667 save percentage in one game played) stopped two out of three shots faced in the loss for Boston in relief of Rask.

The Bruins were without Kevan Miller (upper body) and Brandon Carlo (undisclosed) on Monday, though Miller continues to skate on his own and Carlo took part in morning skate prior to Game 5.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, would not comment one way or another whether or not Carlo will be ready for Game 6 on Wednesday night.

Cassidy did not adjust his defensive pairings, but made one change to his forward group, replacing Jake DeBrusk with Karson Kuhlman on the right side of the third line.

The long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players for the B’s on Monday included Nick Wolff, Trent Frederic, Greg McKegg, Zach Senyshyn, Jack Studnicka, Carlo, Ondrej Kase, Jaroslav Halak, Steven Kampfer, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Urho Vaakanainen, Oskar Steen, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, DeBrusk, Dan Vladar, Anton Blidh and Miller.

David Pastrnak (6) rocketed a one-timer over Varlamov’s glove side with traffic in front from his usual spot at the top of the faceoff circle to give the Bruins the first lead of the night, 1-0, at 1:25 of the first period.

Charlie McAvoy (8) and Brad Marchand (4) tallied the assists as Boston went ahead early and looked to be in complete control of the game flow for most of the opening frame.

Once more, Varlamov allowed the game’s first goal for the fifth time in six starts this postseason, but his Islanders teammates have rendered that little fun fact mostly useless at this point.

Late in the period, despite an earlier non-call of similar nature, Sean Kuraly just tapped Noah Dobson with an errant slash and was assessed a minor penalty at 18:17.

New York’s resulting power play was rather efficient as the Isles won the faceoff, worked the puck back to the point, then across the ice to Mathew Barzal, whereby Barzal (3) skated forward ever so slightly before unloading a snap shot from the dot over Rask’s glove and under the bar to tie the game, 1-1.

Dobson (5) and Jordan Eberle (5) had the assists on Barzal’s power-play goal at 18:49.

Entering the first intermission, the Bruins and Islanders were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard, while Boston led in shots on goal, 11-7.

The B’s also held the advantage in takeaways (9-4), while New York led in blocked shots (5-3), giveaways (4-3), hits (19-17) and faceoff win percentage (65-35).

The Islanders were 1/1 on the power play, while the Bruins had yet to see time on the skater advantage after one period of play.

Matt Grzelcyk cross checked Leo Komarov early in the middle frame, presenting another power play to the Isles at 2:56 of the second period.

Late in the resulting advantage, New York’s power play benefitted off of a lucky bounce off of Connor Clifton’s skate right to where Kyle Palmieri (6) was waiting to score from the doorstep– giving the Islanders their first lead of the night, 2-1, at 4:49.

Josh Bailey (4) and Nick Leddy (4) tallied the assists on Palmieri’s power-play goal.

Moments later, Marchand (6) entered the attacking zone with a nifty deke around Ryan Pulock before dragging the puck around Varlamov to tie the game, 2-2, at 7:27 of the second period.

Pastrnak (7) and McAvoy (9) had the helpers on Marchand’s goal.

Midway through the middle frame, Bailey (5) buried the rubber biscuit top-shelf from point blank over the blocker on a close range give-and-go play for the Islanders.

New York jumped ahead, 3-2, as Jean-Gabriel Pageau (8) and Anthony Beauvillier (6) pocketed the assists on Bailey’s goal at 14:30.

The hits just kept coming for Boston as Chris Wagner cut a rut to the sin bin for high sticking at 15:18, then the Isles notched another power-play goal at 16:38.

This time, Eberle (3) tallied the power-play goal over the far glove side as New York made quick work of sending the puck around the attacking zone before hitting the twine.

Barzal (6) and Dobson (6) had the assists on Eberle’s power-play goal as the Islanders extended their lead to two-goals, 4-2.

For the first time Monday night, Boston went on the power play as Eberle caught Clifton with a quick slash at 18:50, but the B’s couldn’t capitalized on the skater advantage as it was split between the late second period and final frame of regulation.

Through 40 minutes of action in Game 5, the Islanders led, 4-2, on the scoreboard, despite Boston being in command of shots on goal, 26-16, including a, 15-9, advantage in the second period alone.

The Isles led in blocked shots (11-5) and hits (29-28), while the Bruins held the advantage in takeaways (12-8) and faceoff win% (53-47).

Both teams had six giveaways each, while New York was 3/3 on the power play and Boston was 0/1.

Cassidy switched out Rask for Swayman to start the third period, but Boston’s nightmare only continued early in the frame as Nelson (4) wired a puck from the slot under Swayman’s glove to give New York a, 5-2, lead at 1:59.

Beauvillier (7) and Adam Pelech (1) notched the assists as the Islanders capitalized on another failed defensive zone exit for the Bruins.

Less than a couple of minutes later, Pelech was penalized for hooking Pastrnak at 3:24.

Boston didn’t waste time on the ensuing power play as Pastrnak (7) scored his second goal of the game on another one-timer.

McAvoy (10) and Patrice Bergeron (5) were credited with the assists on Pastrnak’s power-play goal as the B’s trailed, 5-3, at 3:48 of the third period.

Just as it looked like the Bruins might be able to get momentum going, they were hit with an automatic infraction as Bergeron sent an errant puck over the glass (minutes after the Islanders avoided a missed call for the same thing) at 7:41.

Though the Bruins managed to kill off Bergeron’s minor, it set their inevitable comeback attempt back more than a few minutes.

Finally, David Krejci (2) tapped in a rebound through Varlamov– just under the glove while the Isles netminder tried to desperately make a save as the puck trickled over the goal line.

Craig Smith (3) and Mike Reilly (4) had the assists on Krejci’s goal as the Bruins pulled to within one– trailing, 5-4, at 14:43 of the third period.

As a result of Krejci’s goal, Islanders head coach, Barry Trotz, used his timeout with 5:17 remaining to ease the nerves of New York’s skaters as the Bruins were outshooting the Isles, 16-3, at the time of Krejci’s tally.

New York had not recorded a shot on goal since Nelson’s eventual game-winner.

With 1:47 left on the clock, Swayman vacated the crease for an extra attacker.

Less than a minute later, after a stoppage in play, Boston used their timeout to draw up one last masterplan with 1:06 remaining.

Once more, Swayman sprinted for the bench with about 45 seconds left in the action, but the Bruins botched a play in the attacking zone, were forced to regroup with about 15 seconds left and barely got off one more attempt as the final horn sounded.

The Islanders had won, 5-4, and stolen Game 5 on road ice– securing a 3-2 series lead as a result.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 44-19, including an, 18-3, advantage in the third period alone, while New York led in blocked shots (15-6) and hits (38-37).

The Bruins wrapped up Monday’s action leading in giveaways (9-7) and faceoff win% (51-49) and went 1/2 on the power play, while the Isles went 3/4 on the skater advantage.

The Islanders take a 3-2 series lead heading back to New York for Game 6 on Wednesday night.

Puck drop at Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and viewers in the United States can tune to NBCSN for coverage, while those in Canada can choose from CBC, SN or TVAS.

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Islanders breakthrough with, 4-1, win & tie series 2-2 heading back to Boston for Game 5

The New York Islanders managed to pull ahead midway through the third period before adding a pair of empty net goals to defeat the Boston Bruins, 4-1, in Game 4 of their 2021 Second Round series at Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.

Semyon Varlamov (2-3, 2.48 goals-against average, .929 save percentage in five games played) made 28 saves on 29 shots against in the win for New York.

Boston goaltender, Tuukka Rask (6-3, 2.04 goals-against average, .934 save percentage in nine games played) stopped 30 out of 32 shots faced in the loss.

The Bruins were without Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (upper body), Brandon Carlo (undisclosed) and John Moore (hip) on Saturday.

B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, informed reporters after Saturday’s morning skate that Miller continues to skate back in Boston and that Carlo is “feeling better” and rode the bike on Saturday, so he’s not yet ruled in or out of the lineup for Game 5.

As a result of Carlo being out of the lineup for Game 4, Jarred Tinordi drew into Cassidy’s plans on the third pairing alongside Connor Clifton, while Jeremy Lauzon was promoted to the right side of Mike Reilly on the second defensive pair.

Boston’s long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players on Saturday included Nick Wolff, Trent Frederic, Greg McKegg, Zach Senyshyn, Jack Studnicka, Carlo, Kase, Jaroslav Halak, Steven Kampfer, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Urho Vaakanainen, Oskar Steen, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, Dan Vladar, Anton Blidh, Karson Kuhlman and Miller.

Tensions boiled midway through the opening frame as Taylor Hall and Scott Mayfield exchanged fisticuffs at 7:28 of the first period.

Each player received a fighting major, while it was just the second fight ever for Hall (and his first postseason fight), who last fought Derek Dorsett– then of the Columbus Blue Jackets– back in the days when Hall was on the Edmonton Oilers on March 3, 2011.

It was also the first fight of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs for Boston.

About a couple minutes later, Tinordi and Matt Martin dropped the gloves and exchanged punches before Tinordi wrestled Martin to the ice after a scrum ensued following Mathew Barzal’s cross check on Curtis Lazar at 9:23 of the opening period.

Barzal was assessed a minor infraction, while Tinordi and Martin went to the box with five-minute majors for fighting.

The Bruins weren’t able to convert on the ensuing power play.

With about three minutes left in the first period, David Pastrnak sent a one-timer off the iron behind Varlamov, whereby the puck bounced off the post and struck the Isles netminder’s skate before Varlamov fell back onto the loose puck.

Pastrnak’s missed shot on net came back to haunt Boston on the scoreboard as the two teams entered the first intermission still tied, 0-0, despite the Bruins leading in shots on goal (so, excluding Pastrnak’s shot off the post), 11-7.

The B’s also led in takeaways (1-0), giveaways (3-1) and hits (17-12), while the two clubs each recorded eight blocked shots and went, 50-50, in faceoff win percentage in the first 20 minutes of action.

New York had yet to see time on the power play, while Boston was 0/1 on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.

Martin went to the box for holding at 2:46 of the second period as the action resumed after the first intermission.

The Bruins didn’t waste too much time on the resulting power play as David Krejci (1) buried a loose puck for the game’s first goal as Brad Marchand (3) picked up the primary assist– surpassing Phil Esposito for sole possession of the fourth-most postseason points as a Bruin in franchise history in the process– while Pastrnak (6) was charged with the secondary helper.

Krejci’s power-play goal gave Boston a, 1-0, lead at 3:57 of the second period.

It would be the first and last time that the Bruins led all night and it didn’t last long, despite Islanders head coach, Barry Trotz, challenging the call on the ice on the grounds that he believed there had been incidental goaltender interference that would otherwise negate the goal.

Upon review, however, the call on the ice was upheld– Krejci’s goal would count, while New York’s bench was assessed a minor for delay of game, served by Jordan Eberle at 3:57 of the second period.

Upon leaving the box Eberle had a couple of quick chances denied by Rask, but within the vulnerable minute after special teams action, the Bruins were caught lagging as Barzal worked a quick pass to Kyle Palmieri (5) for the one-timer goal from point blank.

Both Boston defenders were below the goal line, while Charlie Coyle shattered his stick while trying to disrupt Palmieri’s reach in front of the crease (instead of just going for a stick lift or, you know, shoving Palmieri out of the way).

Barzal (5) and Eberle (4) tallied the assists on Palmieri’s goal as the Isles tied the game, 1-1, at 6:38 of the second period.

Moments later, Barzal delivered a few cross checks on Krejci, leading to No. 46 in black and gold retaliating with a swift spear, later determined to be a slash to Barzal.

The ref at the other end of the rink with full sight of all of the events that transpired leading to the outcome determined that only the retaliation was worthy enough of a penalty– at first handing out a five-minute major, only to be reviewed and downgraded to a minor.

Not only was it not the on-ice official closest to the play making the call, but the one at the other end with a clear line of sight for the multitude of infractions committed and yet… …at least there wasn’t another traumatic brain injury on full display.

Anyway, Krejci went to the box at 11:16 and the Bruins killed off the minor penalty.

Late in the middle frame, Charlie McAvoy caught Anthony Beauvillier with a high stick and was sent to the box at 19:06, yielding a power play to the Islanders that would extend into the final frame.

Through 40 minutes of action, the score was tied, 1-1, and shots on goal were even, 21-21, despite New York leading in shots on goal in the second period alone, 14-10.

Boston led in blocked shots (14-10), takeaways (2-1) and giveaways (8-5), while the Islanders lead in faceoff win% (55-45).

Both teams managed to amass 20 hits apiece, while the Isles were 0/2 and the B’s were 1/3 on the power play heading into the second intermission.

Barzal (2) batted a loose puck out of mid-air on an odd bounce past Rask to give the Islanders a, 2-1, lead at 13:03 of the third period and New York never looked back from that moment on.

Mayfield (4) and Noah Dobson (4) had the assists on Barzal’s eventual game-winning goal.

No penalties were called in the third period as the Bruins pulled Rask for an extra attacker with about 1:11 remaining in the game.

A forced turnover led to a chance for Casey Cizikas (2) to put the icing on the cake with an empty net goal to make it, 3-1, Isles with an assist for Cal Clutterbuck (1) at 18:57.

Rask vacated the crease once more as the Bruins were desperate to score a pair of goals in the final 63 seconds, but couldn’t muster anything as once more New York hit the back of the empty net– this time from Jean-Gabriel Pageau (3) with an assist by Leo Komarov (3) to make it, 4-1, for the Islanders at 19:57.

At the final horn, the Isles had won, 4-1, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 34-29, including a, 13-8, advantage in the thrid period alone.

New York wrapped up Saturday night’s effort leading in giveaways (11-9) and hits (30-27), while Boston led in blocked shots (20-13). The two teams split faceoff win%, 50-50, while the Isles went 0/2 and the Bruins went 1/3 on the power play.

The series is tied 2-2 as a result of the Islanders’ victory in Game 4 on Saturday, which means there will be a Game 6 after Game 5 on Monday in Boston.

Puck drop at TD Garden is scheduled to be at 6:30 p.m. ET and viewers in the United States can tune to NBCSN for the action, while those in Canada can choose between SN1 and TVAS.