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NHL Nick's Net

Sanheim, Flyers, down Bruins, 3-2, in OT

Travis Sanheim scored the game winning goal in overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Boston Bruins for the first time this season, 3-2, on Monday night at TD Garden.

Brian Elliott (10-5-1, 2.92 goals-against average, .890 save percentage in 20 games played) made 27 saves on 29 shots faced in the win for Philadelphia.

Boston goaltender, Dan Vladar (3-1-0, 2.25 goals-against average, .922 save percentage in four games played) made 29 saves on 32 shots against in the overtime loss.

The B’s fell to 19-10-6 (44 points) on the season and remained in command of 4th place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while Philly improved to 18-14-5 (41 points)– stuck in 5th in the same division.

The Bruins are now 5-0-1 against the Flyers this season.

The Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (knee), Tuukka Rask (upper body), John Moore (hip), Brandon Carlo (upper body) and Jaroslav Halak (COVID protocol) on Monday.

Halak was placed in the league’s COVID protocol due to a positive test as revealed by Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, in a media Zoom prior to Monday night’s game against the Flyers.

Meanwhile, Jake DeBrusk returned to the lineup for the first time since he was placed in COVID protocol on March 19th after Boston’s, 4-1, win in Buffalo on March 18th.

He told reporters via Zoom ahead of Monday night’s action that he had some symptoms, but “nothing too major” in addition to losing his taste and smell.

Cassidy made a few adjustments to his bottom-six forwards and defense, slotting DeBrusk in on the third line left wing with Charlie Coyle at center and Zach Senyshyn at right wing, while Sean Kuraly centered the fourth line, flanked by Trent Frederic and Karson Kuhlman.

Matt Grzelcyk remained paired with Charlie McAvoy on the first pairing, while Jakub Zboril suited up with Steven Kampfer and Jeremy Lauzon was partnered with Connor Clifton on the blue line.

Anders Bjork, Chris Wagner, Carlo, Moore, Kase, Rask, Halak, Anton Blidh, Jarred Tinordi and Miller made up Boston’s list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and players that were already out due to injury against Philadelphia on Monday.

Earlier that day, Jeremy Swayman was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL), while Jack Studnicka and Callum Booth were reassigned to Providence.

Swayman suited up as Vladar’s backup goaltender Monday night while Rask and Halak were both unavailable.

Midway through the opening frame, Travis Konecny (8) was in the right place at the right time while crashing the net to pound on a loose puck that had been deflected, taken a few wacky bounces and rebounded to Konecny for the game’s first goal.

Claude Giroux (19) and Ivan Provorov (13) tallied the assists on Konecny’s goal and the Flyers led, 1-0, at 10:15 of the first period.

Late in the first period, Zboril and Coyle forced a turnover in the attacking zone, whereby No. 13 in black and gold sent a quick pass across the high slot to Kuhlman (2) for the wrist shot over Elliott’s glove– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.

Coyle (6) had the only assist on Kuhlman’s goal at 17:33.

About a couple of minutes later, Shayne Gostisbehere tripped up McAvoy and was sent to the penalty box with a minor infraction at 19:18.

Boston’s power play would spill over into the middle frame as the Bruins weren’t able to convert on the skater advantage as the horn sounded for the first intermission.

Though the score was tied, 1-1, the Flyers led in shots on goal, 10-7, after one period of play.

Philadelphia also led in blocked shots (4-2), while Boston led in giveaways (4-2), hits (13-7) and faceoff win percentage (53-47). Both teams had one takeaway each after 20 minutes.

The B’s were 0/1 on the power play, while the Flyers had yet to see any time on the skater advantage heading into the second period.

Patrice Bergeron (12) redirected a shot pass past Elliott from the slot to give Boston their first lead of the night, 2-1, with a power-play goal 46 seconds into the second period.

David Pastrnak (15) and Grzelcyk (10) tallied the assists on Bergeron’s goal, which helped the Bruins captain surpass Rick Middleton for the fourth most points in franchise history.

Bergeron has 364-535–899 totals in 1,124 career games (all with Boston), while Middleton had 402-496–898 totals with Boston from 1976-88. No. 37 in black in gold is now one point away from his 900th career point and would be the fourth Bruin in franchise history to reach at least 900 points with the club.

Phil Esposito (1,012 points) sits third in Boston’s all time scoring list with the club ahead of Bergeron, while Ray Bourque (1,506) and Johnny Bucyk (1,339) rank first and second overall, respectively.

Less than two minutes later, Lauzon was penalized for holding and cut a rut to the sin bin at 2:44, but Philly’s resulting power play was powerless despite Nolan Patrick’s efforts at drawing a penalty.

The Flyers got another chance on the skater advantage when Pastrnak hooked Nicolas Aube-Kubel at 5:46 of the second period.

Once again, however, Philadelphia failed to capitalize on the power play.

Midway through the middle frame, Justin Braun hooked Coyle and presented the B’s with another power play at 13:20, but Boston was not successful on their second skater advantage of the night.

Through 40 minutes of action on Monday, the Bruins led, 2-1, on the scoreboard, despite trailing, 23-18, in shots on goal, including, 13-11, in the second period alone.

Philadelphia held the advantage in blocked shots (7-6), while Boston led in takeaways (4-1), giveaways (7-3), hits (18-17) and faceoff win% (57-43).

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

Lauzon was sent to the penalty box with a holding minor at 5:21 of the third period and the Flyers went to work on the power play.

About a minute later, Sean Couturier (11) tied the game on a shot from the faceoff dot that snuck through net front traffic and found its way over Vladar’s glove into the twine.

Provorov (14) and Kevin Hayes (14) tallied the assists on Couturier’s power-play goal as Philadelphia evened things up, 2-2, at 6:56.

At the horn, the Bruins and Flyers were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard and, 28-28, in shots on goal, despite Boston outshooting Philadelphia, 10-5, in the third period alone.

Heading into overtime, the Bruins led in blocked shots (11-9), giveaways (8-7), hits (30-25) and faceoff win% (55-45), while both teams had five takeaways aside.

As there were no penalties called in the extra frame, Philly finished 1/3 on the skater advantage, while Boston went 1/2 on the power play on Monday.

Flyers head coach, Alain Vigneault, started Couturier, Konecny and Provorov in overtime, while Cassidy countered with Bergeron, Brad Marchand and McAvoy.

After a few quick line changes and end-to-end action, Sanheim blocked a shot from the point and scooped up the loose puck– generating speed and breaking past Bergeron while the B’s captain cut a rut in the ice and fell.

Sanheim (2) walked in all alone and scored on an unassisted effort, giving Philadelphia the, 3-2, victory at 3:08 of the overtime period.

At the final horn, the Flyers had won and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 32-29, including a, 4-1, advantage in overtime alone, despite trailing Boston in blocked shots (12-10), giveaways (8-7), hits (30-26) and faceoff win% (56-44).

The Bruins fell to 3-4 in overtime this season (6-6 past regulation), while the Flyers improved to 5-2 in overtime and 6-7 overall after 60 minutes.

Boston also dropped to 7-7-3 (4-5-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal in 2020-21, while Philadelphia improved to 12-4-3 (6-2-1 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal this season.

The B’s are now 5-4-2 (2-3-2 at home) when tied after the first period and 11-0-2 (7-0-2 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

Philly, in the meantime, is now 5-3-2 (4-2-1 on the road) when tied after one period and 4-12-1 (3-6-1 on the road) when trailing after two periods this season.

The Bruins wrapped up their seven-game homestand (3-2-2) and will begin a three-game road trip in Philadelphia on Tuesday before swinging through Washington, D.C. on Thursday and Philadelphia again on Saturday. Boston returns home next Sunday to host the Capitals to kick off a five-game homestand on April 11th.

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Bruins downgrade Hurricanes, advance to Stanley Cup Final

For the first time since 2013, the Boston Bruins are going to the Stanley Cup Final– and for the first time since 1990, the Bruins will have home ice advantage in the Final– after their, 4-0, victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Thursday.

The Bruins swept the Hurricanes in the series 4-0 to reach the 2019 Stanley Cup Final– their 20th appearance in the Final in franchise history.

Tuukka Rask (12-5 record, 1.84 goals against average, .942 save percentage in 17 games played this postseason) made 24 saves on 24 shots against to record the shutout win for Boston.

He made 109 saves on 114 shots faced in the entire series against the Canes.

Hurricanes goaltender, Curtis McElhinney (3-2, 2.01 GAA, .930 SV% in five games played this postseason) stopped 19 out of 22 shots faced (.864 SV%) in the loss.

Carolina finished the postseason 5-2 on home ice and 2-1 when facing elimination, while the Bruins improved to 11-0 when leading after two periods this season.

Boston also improved to 20-1 all time when leading a series 3-0.

The Hurricanes became the first team since the 1992 Bruins to sweep the Second Round, then be swept in the Eastern Conference Final.

Boston swept the Montreal Canadiens in the 1992 Adams Division Semifinals, then got swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1992 Eastern Conference Final– en route to Pittsburgh’s 1992 Cup run.

Bruce Cassidy was forced to make adjustments to his lineup due to injury, replacing Chris Wagner (upper body) with Noel Acciari on the fourth line right wing after Wagner blocked a shot and left Game 3, as well as Zdeno Chara (undisclosed) with John Moore for Game 4.

Moore was placed on the left side of the third defensive pairing alongside Connor Clifton, while Matt Grzelcyk took Chara’s place on the first pairing with Charlie McAvoy.

Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo suited up as normal on the second pairing.

Chara had played in 98 consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Aside from Chara, Wagner and Kevan Miller (lower body), Boston’s usual crew of healthy scratches included Lee Stempniak, Zachary Senyshyn, Jordan Szwarz, Peter Cehlarik, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Zane McIntyre, Paul Carey, Ryan Fitzgerald, Steven Kampfer, Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon, Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic and Karson Kuhlman.

Carolina had an early power play after Grzelcyk tripped Nino Niederreiter at 1:18 of the first period, but the Hurricanes did not convert on their first power play opportunity of the night.

Midway through the opening frame, Niederreiter skated to the penalty box with a minor infraction of his own for slashing Boston’s Brad Marchand at 10:35 of the first period.

The Bruins did not capitalize on their skater advantage and Charlie Coyle was penalized with about 20 seconds left on the power play– resulting in a short 4-on-4 even strength opportunity before an abbreviated power play for the Canes at 12:19.

Entering the first intermission, the score was still tied, 0-0, with the Hurricanes leading in shots on goal, 13-11.

The Canes also led in blocked shots (6-5) after one period, while the B’s led in takeaways (5-3), hits (9-7) and face-off win percentage (57-44). Both teams had seven giveaways each.

Heading into the second period, Carolina was 0/2 on the power play and the Bruins were 0/1.

Early in the middle frame, the Hurricanes botched a line change as the puck came out of their attacking zone and the Carolina bench was caught with too many men on the ice.

Justin Williams served the bench minor penalty at 4:28 of the second period.

Shortly thereafter, Marchand led Boston on a break in on the power play and sent a pass to the slot whereby David Pastrnak (7) redirected the puck behind McElhinney to give the B’s the first goal of the game, 1-0.

Pastrnak’s power play goal was assisted by Marchand (11) and Krug (11) at 4:46 of the second period.

Late in the period, Greg McKegg bumped into Rask while going hard to the crease, yielding a goaltender interference minor penalty at 18:10.

While on the ensuing power play, Patrice Bergeron (7) worked a give-and-go to Pastrnak and sneaked his way to the bumper to receive the pass back from his winger to rip the one-timer past McElhinney and give Boston a two-goal lead.

Bergeron’s power play goal was assisted by Pastrnak (7) and extended the Bruins lead to, 2-0, at 18:34 of the second period. The goal also moved Bergeron past Phil Esposito, John Bucyk and Jean Ratelle for the 2nd most power play goals by a Bruin in a postseason.

Cam Neely holds the franchise record with nine power play goals in a single playoff year.

Through 40 minutes of play, Boston led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and in shots on goal, 19-17, including an, 8-4 advantage in the second period alone.

The B’s also held the advantage in face-off win% (52-48), while the Hurricanes led in takeaways (10-7) and hits (19-15) after two periods. Entering the second intermission, both teams had 14 blocked shots aside and 11 giveaways each.

Carolina was 0/2 on the power play heading into the third period, while Boston was 2/3 on the skater advantage.

Midway through the final frame of regulation, the Selke Trophy finalist, Bergeron forced a turnover to Pastrnak in the attacking zone.

Pastrnak worked the puck back to Bergeron (8) along the goal line near the short side whereby the veteran Bruin blasted a one-timer past the Carolina goaltender to give Boston a three-goal lead.

With his second assist of the night, Pastrnak (8) had the only assist on Bergeron’s goal and notched his third point of the evening (1-2–3 totals) at 10:32 of the third period as the Bruins led, 3-0.

As time ticked down in the third period, Hurricanes head coach, Rod Brind’Amour, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker with about 5:22 to go in regulation.

Shortly thereafter, Bergeron freed the puck through the neutral zone to Marchand (7) for the empty net goal to make it, 4-0, Bruins.

Bergeron (5) and David Krejci (10) notched the assists on Marchand’s goal at 17:43 of the third period.

With the primary assist on the goal, Bergeron tallied a three-point night (two goals, one assist) as Boston closed out the series.

At the final horn, the Bruins completed the sweep with a, 4-0, win and finished the night leading in blocked shots (23-16) and face-off win% (53-47).

Carolina wrapped up their season leading in shots on goal (24-23), giveaways (15-14) and hits (33-17).

The Canes went 0/2 on the skater advantage, while Boston went 2/3 on the power play on Thursday night.

For the first time since 1990, the Bruins will have home ice in the Stanley Cup Final as they await the winner of the 2019 Western Conference Final between the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues.

San Jose currently leads the series 2-1 over the Blues.

This will be the first Stanley Cup Final appearance for David Backes– who spent 10 seasons with St. Louis before signing with Boston in free agency on July 1, 2016.

It’s also Cassidy’s first Stanley Cup Final appearance as a head coach.

It will be the third time the Bruins are in the Stanley Cup Final since 2010, joining the Chicago Blackhawks as the only team to reach the Final in three or more appearances since 2010.

Chicago made (and won) the Final in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

(For those wondering, the Penguins made the Cup Final in 2008, 2009, 2016 and 2017.)

Chara, Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand and Rask are the only Bruins to have been part of all three Stanley Cup Final appearances for Boston since 1990 (2011, 2013 and 2019).

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Nick's Net

Numbers Game: Look to the Rafters- Boston Bruins

By: Nick Lanciani

I continue to explore an important element of the game and what retired numbers around the league may look like in the future. While there’s only a finite set of numbers to utilize on the back of a jersey, many teams choose to retire (or honor) some numbers based on extraordinary circumstances, dedication to the organization, or legendary status.

Many thoughts went through my head in each and every consideration. Feel free to agree or disagree- I want to know what you, the fans, consider worthy when evaluating a player, their career, and whether or not their number should be retired by a franchise. I am interested in seeing what you have to say, assuming you are actually a fan of the team and/or player that you argue for or against. Drop us a line in the comments or tweet to @DtFrozenRiver using #DTFRNumbersGame.

For each team, I thought of former and current players that should have their numbers retired now or once they hang up the skates.

UnknownBoston Bruins

Current Retired Numbers- 2 Eddie Shore, 3 Lionel Hitchman, 4 Bobby Orr, 5 Dit Clapper, 7 Phil Esposito, 8 Cam Neely, 9 John Bucyk, 15 Milt Schmidt, 24 Terry O’Reilly, 77 Ray Bourque

Recommended Numbers to Retire-

16 Derek Sanderson

Honestly, there’s got to be somebody out there wondering why the Bruins haven’t retired Sanderson’s number 16 yet, despite his short tenure with the Bruins (and overall short NHL career). If anything, his off the ice story is the ultimate combination of tragic and inspirational- and the work he does now is remarkable. Wouldn’t it be great to say one day to your kids at the TD Garden “and there’s number 16, which was worn by Derek Sanderson, a man who overcame many things, just like how you can overcome anything and make your dreams come true if you work hard enough and never give up hope.”

Sanderson was sensational on the ice, having won two Stanley Cups with the Bruins in 1970 and 1972. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1968 and had a career high 146 penalty minutes in his 2nd season with Boston in the 1968-1969 season as the ultimate definition of tough in the spoked-B.

His fast track to success was marred by his equally fast track to nearly destroying his life. If it weren’t for his new found faith and good friend Bobby Orr, Sanderson would be a distant memory in a tragic loss of superstar talent.

Since he turned his life around, Sanderson has become a financial advisor and a mentor to many young athletes in the sport as well as an immortal legend in Boston for his time spent with NESN alongside Fred Cusick in the mid ’80s to the mid ’90s.

It’s time the Bruins truly honored Sanderson for the remarkable man that he’s become off the ice. Sanderson and Orr defined not only a decade in hockey, but an entire era and playing style. It’s only fitting that they are equally honored by Boston.

37 Patrice Bergeron

Bergeron just turned 30- hard to believe- and has already spent a little over a decade in the league. It’s looking like Bergeron will be another legendary player in the category of “spent all of his time with one organization,” so it will be deserving of the current definition of what it means to be a Bruin.

Patrice Bergeron is the current definition of what it means to be a Bruin and what it means to be part of Boston sports lore. (Getty Images)
Patrice Bergeron is the current definition of what it means to be a Bruin and what it means to be part of Boston sports lore. (Getty Images)

While he’s not Milt Schmidt, Bergeron could share the “Mr. Bruin” nickname with Schmidt by the end of his career.

Bergeron became the 25th member of the Triple Gold Club, having completed the trifecta in 2011 after having won the Stanley Cup with the Bruins. He’s won three Selke Trophies, a King Clancy Memorial Trophy, and the NHL Foundation Player Award in his career thus far.

The two-time member of Team Canada in the Winter Olympics has also won two gold medals in 2010 and 2014. The only question for Bergeron someday will be, what hasn’t he done or been a part of?

Bergeron is adored by Boston fans for every little thing he does in what could otherwise be best summed up as perfection.

The perfect leader, the perfect teammate, the perfect two-way center, and even the perfect well respected rival- when it comes to facing the Montreal Canadiens. His impact on the franchise is insurmountable, considering he was barely penciled in on the roster, at 18 years old, for the 2003-2004 season.

33 Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara should see his number 33 raised to the rafters of the TD Garden as one of the best defensemen and leaders in the locker room in franchise history. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Zdeno Chara should see his number 33 raised to the rafters of the TD Garden as one of the best defensemen and leaders in Boston’s locker room in franchise history. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Chara often gets a bad rap for no reason from some Boston fans. The fact of the matter is that Chara is one of the best defensemen in the league. He’s a six-time Norris Trophy Finalist (2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014) having won in 2009.

If it weren’t for Niklas Lidstrom’s swan song season, Chara would have at least another Norris Trophy. Do I need to mention he’s the current record holder of the Hardest Shot competition with a blistering 108.8 mph slap shot?

Aside from being able to speak seven languages and sell real estate in the State of Massachusetts, Chara was the first player born inside the Iron Curtain to captain his team to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011.

Without a doubt, there is no question surrounding his leadership off the ice and in the locker room. On the ice he’s well respected by league officials, perhaps supplemented by his 6’9” (7’0” on skates), 255-pound, stature.

He’s aging, yes, but what player doesn’t age after every season? He’s still insanely fit and athletic and capable of holding his own as a top-2 defenseman for the Boston Bruins. While it might take some convincing of Boston fans currently, Zdeno Chara absolutely deserves to have his number retired by the Bruins someday. He remains an influential piece to their turnaround and run to the Cup from 2006 to 2011 and leadership in their current roster and front office transition.

Tim Thomas will be best remembered for chasing a dream and reaching its mountaintop. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Tim Thomas will be best remembered for chasing a dream and reaching its mountaintop. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Gerry Cheevers backstopped some legendary teams in Boston and had the mask to match their toughness. Photo: Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images
Gerry Cheevers backstopped some legendary teams in Boston and had the mask to match their toughness. (Photo: Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

Honorable Mention

30 Gerry Cheevers/Tim Thomas

By this point, it’s probably a long shot for the Bruins to retire number 30 out of respect for Gerry Cheevers. He played remarkably well for a dominate Boston team in the 1970s and if it weren’t for the World Hockey Association having diluted the NHL’s talent pool, probably would’ve led the Bruins to some more greatness.

Likewise, Tim Thomas overcame a lot of doubt to be at the top of the NHL mountain as the Conn Smythe Trophy winner and 2011 Stanley Cup champion. It would certainly be a classy move by the organization, but one that likely will never happen for either (or both) former sensational Boston goaltenders.

Other Notes

Personally, I wouldn’t be opposed to setting aside Mark Recchi’s number 28. Not necessarily retiring it, but only using it for special players, which I guess is kind of the reason why nobody has been assigned number 28 on the Bruins since Recchi retired. Same goes with Marc Savard’s number 91.

It’s a shame that good players don’t always get to have extravagant careers. Players like Savard or Norm Léveillé will always be remembered for how they played on the ice by diehard Boston fans.