Categories
NHL Nick's Net

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Armia’s goal was unassisted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories
Deadline Deals NHL

Bruins bulk up with Lindholm on defense in trade with Anaheim

The Boston Bruins acquired defenders, Hampus Lindholm and Kodie Curran, from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenders, Urho Vaakanainen, John Moore, a 2022 1st round pick, a 2023 2nd round pick and a 2024 2nd round pick on Saturday afternoon.

The Ducks retained 50% of Lindholm’s salary ($2,602,778) in the transaction.

Lindholm and the B’s are reportedly working on an eight-year extension that could be finalized Sunday, according to TSN and RDS Hockey Insider and The Athletic writer, Pierre LeBrun.

TSN’s Chris Johnston tweeted that the average annual value of Lindholm’s extension may be around $6.500 million late Saturday night.

Prior to the trade, Lindholm’s cap hit with Anaheim was $5,205,556, so the otherwise pending-unrestricted free agent is due for a little bit of a pay raise given his age, status and longevity in the league as a top-four defender.

The 6-foot-4, 216-pound native of Helsingborg, Sweden was originally drafted by Anaheim in the 1st round (6th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and has 57-165–222 totals in 582 career NHL games since making his league debut with the Ducks in the 2013-14 season.

Lindholm, 28, has five goals and 17 assists (22 points) in 61 games this season and set a career-high 34 points (seven goals, 27 assists) in 78 games in 2014-15, before recording a career-high 13 goals in 69 games in 2017-18.

He suffered a fractured wrist last season and was limited to 18 games as a result– recording two goals and four assists (six points) in that span.

He also leaves Anaheim with 743 blocked shots– ranking third in franchise history– and was one of three defenders to reach 200 points in Ducks history, alongside Scott Niedermayer and Cam Fowler.

In 55 career Stanley Cup playoff games, Lindholm has 4-17–21 totals, including 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 16 games in Anaheim’s run to the 2015 Western Conference Final, as well as four points in 17 games in the Ducks’ 2017 Western Conference Final appearance.

He’ll likely land a role alongside Charlie McAvoy on the first defensive pairing and on Boston’s penalty kill as a more traditional shutdown defender to McAvoy’s two-way style.

Lindholm arrives at a time when the Bruins could use a little more insurance on the blue line in the event of injuries down the stretch and in the long run, despite producing solid numbers as one of the league’s more effective defenses and having a more pressing need for a second line center in another transaction.

Curran, 32, had 1-15–16 totals in 37 games for the San Diego Gulls (AHL) this season and is destined to become the oldest defender in Providence upon his arrival to the Bruins organization.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound native of Calgary, Alberta, joined the Ducks as an undrafted free agent on June 3, 2020, after parts of five college seasons at the University of Calgary from 2010-15, a stint with the Hartford Wolf Pack and Greenville Swamp Rabbits from 2015-16, and four seasons in Europe from 2016-20, before spending parts of the last two seasons in San Diego.

He had 7-27–34 totals in 81 career games for the Wolf Pack and Gulls before the trade.

Curran carries a $1.000 million cap hit and is a pending-unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

The Bruins have about $1.230 million in cap space by the end of the season as a result of the trade and will have about $6.152 million to work with at the trade deadline itself on Monday as General Manager, Don Sweeney, seeks to find a second line center and/or more.

Vaakanainen, 23, has four assists in 15 games this season while with Boston and has been sidelined for at least 17 games due to injury/illness having most recently suffered an upper body injury on Feb. 1st against Seattle and exiting warmup on Feb. 21st prior to a matchup against Colorado.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound native of Joenssu, Finland has six assissts in 31 career NHL games– all with the Bruins– since he was drafted in the 1st round (18th overall) by Boston in 2017.

In 23 games with the Providence Bruins (AHL), he had 1-7–8 totals this season– bringing his American Hockey League career totals to 11-28–39 in 118 games in Providence.

Vaakanainen has yet to appear in a Stanley Cup playoff game and is a pending-restricted free agent at season’s end with a cap hit of $894, 167.

Moore, 31, meanwhile, appeared in seven games for Boston this season and has been out of the lineup with an upper body injury since Jan. 28th.

The 6-foot-3, 207-pound native of Winnetka, Illinois has 38-80–118 totals in 544 career NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, Arizona Coyotes, New Jersey Devils and Bruins, including 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 97 games over parts of the last four seasons with Boston.

In 11 games with Providence this season, Moore had six points (one goal, five assists) prior to the trade.

He was originally drafted in the 1st round (21st overall) by Columbus at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and has four assists in 49 career Stanley Cup playoff games.

Moore is signed through the end of the 2022-23 season with a $2.750 million cap hit.

Anaheim will undoubtedly benefit from Vaakanainen’s development– provided he can stay healthy and avoid further career derailment due to traumatic brain injuries– as well as from the acquisition of three draft picks from the Bruins in as many years in the first two rounds (2022 1st round, 2023 2nd round and 2024 2nd round).

Retaining half of Lindholm’s salary is a small price to pay for the Ducks with the added benefit of attaining about $11.631 million in cap space by the end of the season.

As a result, Anaheim will have about $58.154 million in deadline cap space to work with to facilitate trades or broker any potential three-team deals as the Ducks sit on the outside of the cutoff line looking in for the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Anaheim’s General Manager, Pat Verbeek, is ready to sell assets and commit to a rebuild with a plethora of picks at his disposal.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net Previews

Preview: Game 50- Avalanche @ Bruins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expected lineups

Boston Bruins

BRUINS LINES

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

11 Trent Frederic 13 Charlie Coyle 12 Craig Smith

56 Erik Haula 23 Jack Studnicka 17 Nick Foligno

74 Jake DeBrusk 92 Tomáš Nosek 20 Curtis Lazar

58 Urho Vaakanainen 73 Charlie McAvoy

48 Matt Grzelcyk 25 Brandon Carlo (A)

28 Derek Forbort 6 Mike Reilly

1 Jeremy Swayman

35 Linus Ullmark

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

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

Colorado Avalanche

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

13 Valeri Nichuskin 91 Nazem Kadri 95 Andre Burakovsky

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

43 Darren Helm 18 Alex Newhook 25 Logan O’Connor

7 Devon Toews 8 Cale Makar

3 Jack Johnson 49 Samuel Girard

28 Ryan Murray 6 Erik Johnson

35 Darcy Kuemper

39 Pavel Francouz

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

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

Goaltending stats entering Monday

Boston Bruins

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

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

Colorado Avalanche

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

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

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

Avalanche topple Bruins down the mountain in overtime

The Colorado Avalanche extended their franchise record 17-game home winning streak with a, 4-3, overtime victory over the Boston Bruins Wednesday night at Ball Arena.

Nathan MacKinnon suffered an upper body injury early in the action and was forced out of the game, while Darcy Kuemper (20-5-1, 2.64 goals-against average, .913 save percentage) made 29 saves on 32 shots against in the win for Colorado.

Boston goaltender, Linus Ullmark (14-5-1, 2.61 goals-against average, .914 save percentage in 21 games played), stopped 37 out of 41 shots faced in the overtime loss.

The Bruins fell to 24-13-3 (51 points) overall and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as the second wild card berth in the Eastern Conference.

The Avalanche retook the top spot out of all 32 teams in the National Hockey League with a 30-8-3 record (63 points in 41 games) and two games in hand over the Florida Panthers (29-9-5 in 43 games played).

Colorado continues to lead the Central Division by six points over the Nashville Predators.

Due to the ongoing pandemic’s effects on the NHL’s scheduling for the last couple of years, the B’s and Avs met for the first time Wednesday night since Dec. 7, 2019, when the Avalanche beat the Bruins, 4-1, at TD Garden.

Nick Foligno (upper body) joined Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Trent Frederic (upper body) and Matt Grzelcyk (upper body) on the list of Bruins players out of the lineup Wednesday night in Colorado due to various injuries.

Though John Moore returned to practice the other day, he was reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Tuesday prior to Boston’s flight to Denver.

Anton Blidh returned to action for the B’s and was placed on the fourth line in Foligno’s vacated spot.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no other changes to his lineup against the Avalanche.

Boston’s short list of healthy scratches on Wednesday included Steven Fogarty, Troy Grosenick, Jesper Frödén and Tyler Lewington as the trio remain on the taxi squad for the Bruins.

Taylor Hall delivered an open ice hit on MacKinnon that caused MacKinnon’s stick to ricochet into his own face– leaving the Avalanche’s top star bloodied and lying on the ice 2:22 into the first period.

Hall was initially assessed a five-minute major on the play, but the on-ice officials reviewed and rescinded the major penalty in favor of a two-minute minor for interference on account of Hall leading with the shoulder and MacKinnon’s own stick doing the utmost damage on an unfortunate result to an otherwise clean hit.

Colorado did not score on the ensuing power play.

A few minutes later, Kurtis MacDermid cut a rut to the penalty box for cross checking against Brad Marchand at 5:29, but the Bruins weren’t successful on the ensuing skater advantage.

Midway through the opening frame, Andre Burakovsky set up MacDermid (1) at the point for a wrist shot off the post and into the back of the twine for his first goal of the season, as well as his first goal as a member of the Avalanche– having been selected by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 Expansion Draft and subsequently traded to Colorado in July.

Burakovsky (19) and Valeri Nichuskin (9) tallied the assists as the Avalanche jumped out to a, 1-0, lead at 11:25 of the first period.

Momentum was fully on Colorado’s side.

About a minute later, Charlie McAvoy’s stick was apparently close enough to Gabriel Landeskog’s skates as the Avs captain went down and yielded an infraction against No. 73 in black and gold.

Colorado went on the power play once again at 12:52, but wasn’t able to convert on the advantage with Boston’s best defender in the box.

With less than a minute remaining in the opening frame, the Avs botched a line change and were charged with too many skaters on the ice at 19:42.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel served the bench minor as Boston’s power play would extend into the middle frame.

Through 20 minutes of action, Colorado led, 1-0, on the scoreboard despite trailing Boston, 13-8, in shots on goal.

The Avalanche led in giveaways (2-1), while the Bruins held the advantage in blocked shots (8-0), takeaways (4-3), hits (11-7) and faceoff win percentage (75-25).

Both teams were 0/2 on the power play heading into the middle period.

Colorado announced that MacKinnon would not return to the night’s action with an upper body injury just as the second period was getting underway.

As such, Landeskog proceeded to give Hall a hard time on the ice– holding up the Boston forward near the benches and finishing his checks to the disappointment of those in Ball Arena that were wanting more bloodshed as the gloves remained firmly on the hands of each player.

Though, it could be argued that revenge is best served on the scoreboard– a lesson clearly learned by the Avalanche after trying to entice Bruins skaters into exchanging fisticuffs and falling behind in the second period only to force overtime and win the game after a dominant display in the third period.

Stick to your game (especially if it’s good enough to lead the league).

Anyway, after a stoppage in play early in the second period, Blidh and Tyson Jost exchanged pleasantries an received roughing minors at 5:52.

The two teams would skate at 4-on-4 for a pair of minutes, which gave Jake DeBrusk (7) just enough ice late in the 4-on-4 action to rush up the ice and snipe a shot under Kuemper’s blocker side into the upper corner of the net.

DeBrusk tied the game, 1-1, while McAvoy (20) tallied the only assist on the goal at 7:10 of the second period.

A few minutes later, Burakovsky tripped up DeBrusk– and after the Avalanche gained possession to initiate the delayed call– Oskar Steen and Samuel Girard followed Burakovsky to their respective penalty benches as the two skaters received roughing minors.

All three penalties were dictated at 10:29 of the second period and resulted in a power play for Boston.

A minute later, Erik Johnson tried getting his point across by delivering three swift cross checks to Hall’s back, but the on-ice officials felt it was perhaps a bit much.

Johnson skated over to the sin bin with a minor for cross checking at 11:29, resulting in a minute of 5-on-3 action for the Bruins before a regular abbreviated power play.

Shortly before Burakovsky rejoined the ice, McAvoy sent a shot that rebounded off Kuemper to Charlie Coyle (10) in the right place at the right time for a backhand shot from the doorstep– giving Boston the lead in the process, 2-1.

McAvoy (21) and Patrice Bergeron (21) notched the assists on Coyle’s power-play goal at 12:16 of the second period.

Shortly before the time expired on Johnson’s minor, J.T. Compher missed the net on a breakaway at the other end of the ice before David Pastrnak rushed up the ice with Marchand.

Pastrnak dropped it back to Marchand (21) for a wrist shot that sailed over Kuemper’s glove into the far side of the net– giving the Bruins a two-goal lead as a result.

Pastrnak (18) had the only assist on Marchand’s power-play goal and the B’s led, 3-1, at 13:31.

After scoring two goals in a span of 1:15, the Bruins wouldn’t hit the back of the net for the rest of the night.

Late in the period, Tomáš Nosek interfered with Nazem Kadri behind the net and put Colorado on the power play as a result at 15:33.

The Avalanche, however, remained powerless on the skater advantage heading into the second intermission.

Boston led, 3-1, on the scoreboard despite trailing, 30-25, in shots on goal after two periods.

Both teams managed to amass 12 shots each in the second period alone, while the Bruins continued to dominate in blocked shots (11-3), takeaways (5-3) and faceoff win% (67-33).

Colorado, however, led in giveaways (5-3) and hits (19-15) through 40 minutes.

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

Midway through the final frame, Girard (5) let go of a shot from the point that had eyes as it snaked its way through traffic and around the stick of his fellow teammate, Mikko Rantanen, into the twine behind Ullmark– pulling the Avalanche to within one and generating a shift in momentum at 11:46 of the third period.

Cale Makar (24) and Kadri (37) had the assists on the goal as the Avs trailed, 3-2, with plenty of time left to make things interesting.

With 2:33 remaining in regulation, Colorado head coach, Jared Bednar, pulled Kuemper for an extra attacker.

Bednar then used his timeout after a stoppage with 1:10 remaining in the action.

After an icing call was waved off, the Avalanche rushed into the attacking zone and worked the puck around Boston’s defensive end with relative ease– tiring the Bruins skaters that had been on the ice in the process.

Nichushkin sent a pass to Kadri, who setup Landeskog (16) with a saucer through the slot for the one-timer goal as Derek Forbort opted to try to block the shot instead of breakup the passing lane or get a stick on Landeskog’s stick.

Kadri (38) and Nichuskin (10) had the assists as Landeskog tied the game, 3-3, with the goalie pulled at 19:23 of the third period.

Ullmark couldn’t catch up– literally– as the Bruins goaltender dove across the crease glove first.

After regulation, the score was even, 3-3, despite the Avalanche amassing an, 18-7, advantage in shots on goal in the third period alone.

Colorado led in total shots on goal, 38-32, as well as in giveaways, 9-7, while Boston led in blocked shots (16-6), takeaways (6-4) and faceoff win% (61-39).

Both teams had 22 hits aside, while the Avs were 0/3 and the B’s were 1/4 on the power play heading into the extra frame.

Cassidy sent out Coyle, DeBrusk and McAvoy to start overtime, while Bednar countered with Landeskog, Rantanen and Makar.

Each team made at least one change on the fly before Mike Reilly tripped Nichuskin to breakup an otherwise high danger scoring opportunity for Colorado.

The Avalanche went on the 4-on-3 power play as a result at 1:14 of the overtime period and it proved to be costly for the Bruins.

Colorado toyed with Boston in the attacking zone before Kadri worked the puck over to Makar (17) for the game-winning power-play goal from the point over Ullmark’s blocker on the short side at 3:01.

Kadri (39) and Landeskog (25) tallied the assists– completing a three-point night (0-3–3 totals) for Kadri as Makar’s goal gave the Avalanche a, 4-3, overtime victory and their 17th win at home since Nov. 11, 2020– extending the ongoing franchise record in the process.

Colorado finished the night leading in shots on goal, 41-32, including a, 3-0, advantage in overtime alone.

The Avs also exited their own building leading in giveaways (9-4) and hits (24-23), while Boston left Ball Arena leading in blocked shots (21-5) and faceoff win% (58-42).

Both teams went 1/4 on the power play on Wednesday as Boston fell to 2-2 in overtime this season (3-3 past regulation overall), while Colorado improved to 4-3 in overtime, as well as 7-3 past regulation in 2021-22.

The last time the Bruins won in Denver was on Nov. 13, 2016, in a, 2-0, shutout victory for Tuukka Rask (21 saves). David Krejci had a goal and an assist, while Dominic Moore scored an empty net goal in the win.

Wednesday night didn’t exactly go Boston’s way like it did almost six years ago.

The Bruins are now 9-8-3 (3-3-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 4-8-2 (0-3-1 on the road) when trailing after one period and 16-1-1 (10-0-1 on the road) when leading after two periods this season.

The Avalanche improved to 23-0-2 (14-0-1 at home) when scoring first, 18-0-0 (11-0-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 4-7-2 (4-2-0 at home) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22.

Colorado became the first team since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins to have five players or more with at least 40 points by the halfway point of their season as Kadri (16-39–55 totals), Rantanen (22-27–49), MacKinnon (9-34–43), Makar (17-24–41) and Landeskog (16-25–41) each have cleared the 40-point hurdle through 41 games for the Avalanche as a team.

The Bruins continue their three-game road trip (0-0-1) Friday night in Arizona with a matchup against the Coyotes before paying a visit to the Dallas Stars on Sunday.

Boston returns home to host the Seattle Kraken in their first-ever meeting on Feb. 1st.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

Ducks down Bruins in first meeting since 2019

Hampus Lindholm had three assists in a, 5-3, victory for the Anaheim Ducks as they beat the Boston Bruins on the road Monday night at TD Garden.

John Gibson (14-10-6, 2.55 goals-against average, .919 save percentage in 30 games played) made 23 saves on 26 shots faced in the win for Anaheim.

Boston goaltender, Tuukka Rask (2-2-0, 4.29 goals-against average, .844 save percentage in four games played), stopped 22 out of 27 shots against in the loss in his first consecutive start of the season.

The Bruins fell to 24-13-2 (50 points) overall, but remain in 4th place in the Atlantic Division, while the Ducks improved to 21-16-7 (49 points) and took command of 2nd place in the Pacific Division.

As a result of the ongoing pandemic, the two clubs hadn’t played each other prior to Monday night since Oct. 14, 2019, when David Pastrnak scored all four goals in a, 4-2, win for Boston on home ice.

The Bruins were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Trent Frederic (upper body), John Moore (upper body), Anton Blidh (upper body) and Matt Grzelcyk (upper body) on Monday.

Moore and Blidh took part in morning skate ahead of the game, but were not well enough for game action.

Meanwhile, Mike Reilly returned from the league’s COVID-19 protocol and was utilized in his usual spot on the second defensive pairing alongside Brandon Carlo.

As a result of Grzelcyk being out and Reilly returning, Urho Vaakanainen was promoted to the first pairing with Charlie McAvoy.

Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no other changes to his lineup from Saturday afternoon’s, 3-2, win against the Winnipeg Jets to Monday night’s action.

Frederic, Moore, Steven Fogarty (taxi squad), Jesper Frödén (taxi squad), Grzelcyk, Tyler Lewington (taxi squad), Zboril and Blidh comprised the long list of Bruins that were out of the lineup for one reason or another against the Ducks.

Less than a minute into the opening frame, McAvoy hooked Rickard Rakell and presented Anaheim with the night’s first power play as a result 44 seconds into the first period.

The Ducks weren’t successful on the ensuing skater advantage, however.

About midway through the opening period, Oskar Steen checked Nicolas Deslauriers with force from behind at an awkward angle, yielding a five-minute major for boarding initially.

In accordance with league rules, the on-ice officials reviewed the play and rescinded Steen’s major and instead issued a minor infraction on the play– yielding a two-minute power play to Anaheim as a result at 9:09 of the first period.

50 seconds into the skater advantage, Ryan Getzlaf unloaded on a blast from outside the faceoff circle to the left of Rask that was tipped by Derek Grant (7) in the slot to give the Ducks a, 1-0, lead.

Getzlaf (23) and Lindholm (12) tallied the assists on Grant’s power-play goal at 9:59.

Anaheim’s goal marked just the eight shot combined on the night as the Ducks held a, 7-1, advantage in shots on net as Grant opened the scoring.

Heading into the first intermission, the Ducks led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and held an, 11-5, advantage in shots on goal.

Anaheim also led in blocked shots (6-1), while Boston led in takeaways (4-3), giveaways (5-2), hits (11-8) and faceoff win percentage (59-41).

The Ducks were 1/2 on the power play after one period and the B’s had yet to see any action on the skater advantage. That would change quickly in the middle frame.

Trevor Zegras slashed Patrice Bergeron and worked his way over to the penalty box as the Bruins went on their first power play of the night 17 seconds into the second period.

Unfortunately for Boston, the ensuing skater advantage was not kind to them.

Isac Lundeström (9) broke free and crashed the net on a breakaway, sliding the puck under Rask either via the five-hole or under a leg where Rask couldn’t quite get a feel for it as the rubber biscuit trickled through and made its way over the goal line.

Lindholm (13) tallied the only assist on Lundeström’s shorthanded goal and the Ducks led, 2-0, at 1:28 of the second period.

Almost midway through the period, Tomáš Nosek worked a pass across the slot to Pastrnak (20) for a one-timer goal that cut Anaheim’s lead in half, 2-1.

Nosek (6) and Nick Foligno (6) were credited with the assists on Pastrnak’s goal at 7:47 as No. 88 in black and gold reached the 20-goal plateau for his sixth consecutive season– tying Bobby Orr for the most consecutive 20-goal seasons (six) under the age of 25 in Bruins franchise history.

Overall, Pastrnak is tied for the eighth-most consecutive 20-goal seasons, trailing Johnny Bucyk (10), Rick Middleton (nine), Brad Marchand (nine), Phil Esposito (eight), Bergeron (8), Peter McNab (seven) and Orr (seven).

Marchand reached his ninth consecutive 20-goal season this season and Bergeron currently has 12 goals in 2021-22.

Less than a minute later, during a commercial break, Gibson shoved Foligno as the Bruins forward appeared to have been chirping the Anaheim bench.

A scrum ensued, though nobody received any minor infractions.

Shortly after play resumed, Foligno and Sam Carrick exchanged fisticuffs as the Ducks defended their goaltender.

Both players received fighting majors at 8:55 of the second period.

Foligno and Carrick’s fight marked the 14th fight this season for Boston and the eighth since Jan. 1st.

Moments later, Getzlaf (3) entered the attacking zone and ripped a shot over Carlo, as well as over Rask’s right shoulder on the blocker side to extend Anaheim’s lead, 3-1, at 11:04 of the second period.

Rakell (9) and Lindholm (14) had the assists on Getzlaf’s goal as the Ducks retook a two-goal lead.

A few minutes later, Josh Mahura hooked Steen at 14:59 and presented Boston with another power play.

This time the Bruins were sure to take advantage of the skater advantage as Marchand sent a shot pass to the slot where Taylor Hall (9) redirected the puck off the far right post and into the twine behind Gibson.

Marchand (25) and Bergeron (20) notched the assists as Hall’s power-play goal brought Boston back to within one– trailing, 3-2, at 15:52 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of action, the Ducks led the Bruins, 3-2, on the scoreboard and, 20-15, in shots on goal, despite Boston amassing a, 10-9, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

Anaheim held the advantage in blocked shots (11-1), giveaways (10-7) and hits (19-16), while Boston led in takeaways (5-3) and faceoff win% (54-46).

Both teams were 1/2 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Vaakanainen caught Rakell with a high stick 26 seconds into the third period and presented the Ducks with another chance on the power play, but Boston made the kill.

Moments later, Troy Terry (23) entered the attacking zone before curling and dragging the puck for a snap shot over Rask’s blocker side to give Anaheim another two-goal lead, 4-2, at 6:12 of the third period.

Kevin Shattenkirk (16) and Cam Fowler (16) had the assists on Terry’s goal as the Ducks continued to dominate the evening.

Midway through the period, Mahura lost an edge while chasing a loose puck in the low slot and crashed into the left post– requiring an extra minute or two with the assistance of a trainer to get off the ice.

With about 13 minutes left in the game, the Bruins tweeted that Foligno would not return to the action with an upper body injury, joining Deslauriers and Mahura in the pile of injuries on the night.

Greg Pateryn (1) blasted a shot from the point over Rask’s blocker side with traffic in front of the net to make it a four-goal lead for the Ducks at 10:58 of the third period.

Zegras (20) and Rakell (10) had the assists on Pateryn’s goal– his first in 44 games– as Anaheim extended their lead, 5-1.

Erik Haula (4) answered back late in the third with a one-timer goal courtesy of 49 seconds worth of zone time in Boston’s attacking zone as Pastrnak worked the puck deep to Reilly for the backhand behind the back pass through the slot to Haula to bring the Bruins to within two goals.

Reilly (6) and Pastrnak (17) tallied the assists on Haula’s goal and the B’s trailed, 5-3, at 16:28.

With 3:02 remaining in the action, Cassidy pulled Rask for an extra attacker.

After a stoppage with 15.1 seconds left on the clock, Cassidy used his timeout to rally his players for a chance at a double-miracle that ultimately went by the wayside.

At the final horn, the Ducks had won, 5-3, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 27-26– despite Boston holding an, 11-7, advantage in the third period alone.

Anaheim left TD Garden with the advantage in blocked shots (23-3) in addition to two points in the win column, while the Bruins exited their own arena leading in giveaways (13-11), hits (30-25) and faceoff win% (59-41).

The Ducks went 1/3 and the B’s went 1/2 on the power play on Monday.

The Bruins fell to 9-8-2 (6-5-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 4-8-1 (4-5-1 at home) when trailing after one period and 3-10-2 (3-6-1 at home) when trailing after two periods this season.

Anaheim, meanwhile, improved to 17-6-3 (6-4-1 on the road) when scoring first, 14-1-2 (4-1-0 on the road) when leading after the first period and 15-2-1 (5-2-0 on the road) when leading after the second period in 2021-22.

Boston went 5-2-0 in their seven-game homestand and will hit the road to finish the month of January with a three-game road trip.

The B’s visit the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET on TNT), Arizona Coyotes on Friday and Dallas Stars on Sunday before returning home to host the Seattle Kraken in their first ever matchup on Feb. 1st.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

Bruins beat Jets in first matchup in almost two years

The last time the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets faced each other, Canada Life Centre was still known as Bell MTS Place and the World Health Organization (WHO) was still a little over a month away from declaring the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (also known as COVID-19) a global pandemic.

Seriously, it’s been that long.

722 days since they last played each other to be exact.

Saturday afternoon at TD Garden in Boston, the Bruins beat the Jets, 3-2, courtesy of a game-winning power-play goal for David Pastrnak in a game that had a little bit of everything.

Tuukka Rask (2-1-0, 3.86 goals-against average, .857 save percentage in three games played) made 22 saves on 24 shots against for a .917 SV% in the win for Boston.

Winnipeg goaltender, Connor Hellebuyck (14-12-5, 2.83 goals-against average, .912 save percentage in 31 games played), stopped 29 out of 32 shots faced for a .906 SV% in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 24-12-2 (50 points) overall and– prior to Toronto’s win later Saturday evening– were temporarily one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for 3rd place in the Atlantic Division.

Instead, the B’s remain 4th in the division, but in command of the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Meanwhile, the Jets fell to 17-14-6 (40 points) this season and remain in 6th place in the Central Division. Winnipeg is four points behind the San Jose Sharks for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

Though he missed most of Thursday night’s, 4-3, win against the Washington Capitals after sustaining an upper body injury, Brad Marchand took part in warmup and did not skip a beat as Bruce Cassidy made a few minor changes to his lineup.

With Anton Blidh (upper body) fresh out of the action due to an injury against the Capitals, Oskar Steen went back in on the third line with Jake DeBrusk on the opposite wing and Charlie Coyle centering the two.

Meanwhile, Nick Foligno slotted in on the fourth line in Blidh’s usual role at left wing with Tomáš Nosek at center and Curtis Lazar at right wing.

Boston was without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Trent Frederic (upper body), John Moore (upper body), Mike Reilly (COVID-19 protocol) and Blidh (upper body) on Saturday.

Moore practiced with the team on Friday and is close to returning to the action if Cassidy is to make any changes to his defensive pairings between now and then.

Steven Fogarty and Jesper Frödén were recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) ahead of Saturday’s matinée and assigned to the taxi squad with the expectation that Fogarty would make his Boston debut if Marchand wasn’t ready to go.

Looks like Fogarty is waiting to don the Spoked-B in a National Hockey League game another day.

Fogarty and Frödén were joined by Tyler Lewington in the press box on Saturday.

Dominic Toninato dropped a pass back to Jansen Harkins (4), who snuck a shot off of Rask’s arm and under the glove side to give Winnipeg a, 1-0, lead at 2:46 of the first period.

Toninato (3) had the only assist on the goal as the Bruins gave up a goal on their opponents’ first shot of the game for the second consecutive game.

About a few minutes later, Connor Clifton dropped the gloves with Harkins and exchanged fisticuffs in what was Clifton’s second fight of the season and Harkins’ first.

Both players received five-minute fighting majors at 5:19 of the opening frame.

Shortly thereafter, Pierre-Luc Dubois sent Matt Grzelcyk awkwardly into the boards from behind, leaving the Bruins defender struggling to make his way down the tunnel.

Grzelcyk would return for the second period, however.

Midway through the first period, DeBrusk worked the puck deep in the attacking zone and sent a pass to Coyle, who one-touch redirected it over to Steen (2) for a spin, sweep and throw goal.

Coyle (9) and DeBrusk (7) tallied the assists on Steen’s goal as the Bruins tied the game, 1-1, at 11:37.

Almost two minutes later, Brandon Carlo and Austin Poganski exchanged pleasantries behind the Boston net yielding fighting majors in the process at 13:07.

Six seconds after the ensuing faceoff, Derek Forbort caught Dubois with a high stick and cut a rut to the penalty box at 13:13.

Winnipeg wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however.

Instead, the Jets sustained the pressure as they had been doing virtually the entire period.

Mark Scheifele sent a shot towards the slot that caught a double deflection– first off of his own teammate, Andrew Copp’s, skate and then again off of the skate of Boston defender, Urho Vaakanainen before making its way to the back of the twine.

Copp (11) gave Winnipeg a, 2-1, lead courtesy of being in the right place a the right time and with a little more luck than just that at 19:34 of the first period.

Scheifele (17) had the only assist on the goal as the Jets took a, 2-1, lead on the scoreboard, as well as an, 11-4, advantage in shots on net into the first intermission.

It was the worst offensive output for the Bruins so far this season as they only managed four shots on net in the first period.

That said, the B’s led in blocked shots (4-3), takeaways (5-3) and hits (13-11), while the Jets led in giveaways (4-1).

Both teams split faceoff win percentage, 50-50, while only Winnipeg had witnessed any action on the power play– going 0/1 in the process– entering the middle frame.

Forbort blasted a shot from the point that likely was going for Hellebuyck’s five-hole early in the second period had it not been for Coyle’s (9) excellent hand-eye coordination to tip the puck past the Winnipeg goaltender’s right pad instead.

Forbort (4) had the only assist on Coyle’s goal as the Bruins tied things up, 2-2, at 2:31 of the second period.

A few minutes later, Boston got their first chance on the power play courtesy of an interference minor against Toninato at 5:15, but the B’s were powerless on their first skater advantage of the night.

Nobody else scored and nobody else took a trip to the penalty box for the rest of the second period as the two teams were tied, 2-2, after 40 minutes of action with the Bruins leading in shots on goal, 20-17– rallying for a, 16-6, advantage in shots in the second period alone.

Boston also held the lead in blocked shots (13-9), hits (21-20) and faceoff win% (55-45), while Winnipeg led in takeaways (9-6) and giveaways (8-2).

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

Dubois checked Coyle early in the final frame and popped a pane of glass out behind the Winnipeg net.

The TD Garden “Bull Gang” (rink crew) quickly put it back in place and made the necessary repairs in about 90 seconds before play resumed.

Adam Lowry tripped up Coyle at 2:27 of the third period to the dismay of his father and Jets interim head coach, Dave Lowry– presenting another power play to Boston in the process.

A blocked shot found its way back to the point as Grzelcyk corralled the loose puck as the Bruins established an umbrella setup in the attacking zone.

Grzelcyk worked the puck over to Pastrnak (19) for a one-timer blast from his usual spot at the faceoff circle to give the B’s their first lead of the afternoon, 3-2, at 3:59 of the third period.

Grzelcyk (14) and Marchand (24) had the assists on Pastrnak’s power-play goal that became the game-winning goal on account of the fact that no one else scored afterwards.

Steen cut a rut to the sin bin for catching Dubois with a high stick at 5:19 of the third period, but the Bruins killed off the minor infraction.

Boston stood tall once again on the penalty kill when Rask sent an errant puck over the glass and out of play, yielding an automatic delay of game penalty that was served by Taylor Hall at 8:15.

With 1:49 remaining in regulation and down by a goal, Winnipeg used their timeout to draw up a plan to try to tie the game at the very least and force overtime.

Hellebuyck vacated the crease with 1:34 remaining for an extra attacker, which quickly became a de facto two skater advantage for the Jets as Nosek caught Copp with a high stick and was sent to the box at 18:33.

Winnipeg had a 6-on-4 opportunity, but Boston kept blocking shots mixed in with a few more clutch saves from Rask as time winded down and the final horn sounded.

The Bruins had won, 3-2, and finished the afternoon leading in shots on goal, 32-24– including a, 12-7, advantage in the third period alone.

The B’s left their own building with the advantage in blocked shots (17-13), hits (28-25) and faceoff win% (52-48), while the Jets left Boston holding the advantage in giveaways (9-8).

Winnipeg went 0/4 on the power play, while the Bruins went 1/2 on the skater advantage Saturday afternoon.

Boston improved to 9-7-2 (6-4-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 4-7-1 (4-4-1 at home) when trailing after one period and 5-2-0 (5-1-0 at home) when tied after two periods this season.

The Jets fell to 12-4-3 (5-3-3 on the road) when scoring first, 6-3-1 (3-2-1 on the road) when leading after the first period and 3-3-5 (3-2-4 on the road) when tied after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins (5-1-0) conclude their seven-game homestand against the Anaheim Ducks next Monday before hitting the road for a few games in Colorado next Wednesday (Jan. 26th), Arizona next Friday (Jan. 28th) and Dallas next Sunday (Jan. 30th) to close out the month of January.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

Pastrnak scores twice in thrilling, 4-3, win for Boston

David Pastrnak had a pair of goals, while Charlie McAvoy scored the game-winning goal late in the third period as the Boston Bruins defeated the Washington Capitals, 4-3, Thursday night at TD Garden.

Linus Ullmark (14-5-0, 2.55 goals-against average, .915 save percentage in 20 games played) made 14 saves on 17 shots faced in the win for Boston.

Washington goaltender, Vitek Vanecek (8-5-5, 2.57 goals-against average, .909 save percentage in 20 games played) stopped 29 out of 33 shots against in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 23-12-2 (48 points) overall and remain 4th in the Atlantic Division, while the Capitals fell to 22-10-9 (53 points) on the season and fell to 4th place in the Metropolitan Division.

With one game remaining against Washington this season on April 10th in Washington, D.C., the B’s have already clinched the regular season series 2-0-0.

Nick Foligno returned to the lineup after missing his 13th game this season due to injury and/or an illness, having most recently sustained a lower body injury on Jan. 8th in a, 5-2, win in Tampa.

As a result, Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, placed Foligno on the third line right wing in place of Oskar Steen– scratching the Boston rookie in the process– at least for the night.

The B’s were without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Trent Frederic (upper body), John Moore (upper body) and Mike Reilly (COVID-19 protocol) on Thursday.

No other changes were made to the lines of defensive pairings against Washington.

Earlier in the day on Thursday, Steven Fogarty and Kyle Keyser were reassigned from the taxi squad to the Providence Bruins (AHL).

Tyler Lewington joined Steen in the press box as Boston’s pair of healthy scratches against the Capitals, while Reilly, Frederic, Moore and Zboril were out due to injury and/or COVID protocol.

Evgeny Kuznetsov (13) kicked things off with a toe drag snap shot over Ullmark’s shoulder on the blocker side– off the crossbar and into the twine– at 4:07 of the first period.

Alex Ovechkin (29) and Trevor van Riemsdyk (10) tallied the assists on Kuznetsov’s goal as the Capitals jumped out to a, 1-0, lead early in the opening frame.

It wasn’t long (50 seconds to be exact), however, before the Bruins tied things up, 1-1, courtesy of a goal from Pastrnak (17) as No. 88 in black and gold entered the attacking zone, dropped a pass back for Taylor Hall, then proceeded to crash the net and redirected a pass behind Vanecek’s right pad for the goal.

Hall (18) and Erik Haula (10) notched the assists on Pastrnak’s goal at 4:57 of the first period.

Midway through the opening frame, Hall was caught Kuznetsov with a high stick and was assessed a minor infraction at 8:14, yielding the night’s first power play to Washington.

The Caps weren’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Late in the first period, Brad Marchand tripped up Nick Jensen and cut a rut to the box at 14:22. Once again, however, the Capitals let the resulting power play go by the wayside.

Shortly thereafter, Tom Wilson delivered a huge, clean, hit on Anton Blidh– knocking the fourth liner out of the game with an upper body injury.

Wilson led with his shoulder and caught Blidh’s chest first, but still drew the ire of Bruins skaters as they watched their teammate get help off the ice from a trainer.

McAvoy responded minutes later with a big hit on van Riemsdyk behind Washington’s own net.

The temperature of the action on the ice, though, was notably rising.

After 20 minutes of action, the B’s and Caps were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard, despite the Bruins outshooting the Capitals by a 2:1 ratio (10-5).

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (7-4), giveaways (5-2), hits (15-10) and faceoff win percentage (61-39), while Washington led in takeaways (4-2).

The Capitals were 0/2 on the power play, while the Bruins had yet to see any time on the skater advantage.

Boston later tweeted before the middle frame began that Blidh (upper body) would not return to the night’s action.

Haula hooked Connor McMichael and cut a rut to the sin bin at 4:33 of the second period as a result.

Shortly after killing off Haula’s minor, the Bruins went on their first power play of the night thanks to Garnet Hathaway’s interference infraction at 6:48– although it came with a price as Hathaway nearly charged and ran Marchand into boards– leaving the Boston winger clutching his shoulder before eventually making his way down the tunnel.

Marchand, as with Blidh and Jensen, would join the growing list of players with upper body injuries that were confirmed not to return to the game on Thursday night by the end of the second intermission.

While Hathaway was in the box, the Bruin took their time to capitalize on the skater advantage and score a power-play goal as Pastrnak (18) broke free on a drive to the net and followed up his own rebound– slipping the rubber biscuit through Vanecek in the process.

Matt Grzelcyk (13) had the only assist on Pastrnak’s power-play goal and Boston led, 2-1, at 8:37 of the second period.

About four minutes later, Craig Smith went to the box for tripping Hathaway, but the Capitals couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing power play at 12:38.

Late in the middle frame, Lars Eller (7) entered the attacking zone and floated a shot from the left faceoff dot off of Ullmark’s glove and into the top right corner of the net– knotting things up, 2-2, in the process.

McMichael (7) had the only assist on a goal that Ullmark probably wishes he had back at 16:12 of the second period.

Heading into the second intermission, the score was tied, 2-2, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 20-11, including a, 10-6, advantage in the second period alone.

Washington led in takeaways (8-4) and hits (29-20), while the B’s held the advantage in giveaways (8-6) and faceoff win% (58-42).

Both teams had nine blocked shots each, while the Caps were 0/4 and the Bruins were 1/1 on the power play.

Kuznetsov slashed Pastrnak to kick things off at 5:17 of the third period, but Boston couldn’t beat Vanecek on the ensuing power play.

Almost midway through the third period, however, Jake DeBrusk (6) slipped a shot through Vanecek’s five-hole that had eyes as the Vulcanized rubber trickled over the goal line before a Capitals defender fished it out and play kept going without skipping a beat.

Until the horn sounded to signal that the replay booth in the NHL’s Toronto offices had deemed a goal had been scored at 9:41 of the third period.

DeBrusk’s goal gave Boston a, 3-2, lead and was unassisted.

Less than a minute later, however, Nicklas Bäckström (1) wired his first goal of the season (after having missed most of the season due to rehabbing an injury) on a shot from afar in the attacking zone after Brandon Carlo and the rest of his Boston teammates failed to clear the puck.

Wilson (17) had the only assist on Bäckström’s goal as Washington tied things up, 3-3, at 10:17– just 36 seconds after DeBrusk’s goal.

Late in the third, Nic Dowd tripped Derek Forbort and presented Boston with another power play at 17:26.

In the dying seconds of the ensuing skater advantage, Haula worked the puck to DeBrusk, who whipped a pass back to McAvoy at the point.

McAvoy (6) sent a wrist shot over Vanecek’s blocker high on the short side while pinching into the zone to give Boston a, 4-3, lead at 19:15 of the third period.

DeBrusk (6) and Haula (11) tallied the assists on McAvoy’s power-play goal that went on to serve as the game-winner as the Caps failed to score with the goaltender pulled shortly after the ensuing faceoff at center ice.

With less than a minute remaining, Peter Laviolette, tried everything he could to rally Washington to one more tie, but it was to no avail as the final horn sounded– signaling a victory in Boston’s favor.

The Bruins had won, 4-3, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 33-17, and even had a, 13-6, advantage in shots in the third period alone.

Boston also left their own building leading in blocked shots (17-14), giveaways (10-7) and faceoff win% (55-45) on Thursday night, while Washington exited with the advantage in hits (36-27).

The Capitals went 0/4 and the Bruins went 2/3 on the power play.

Boston improved to 8-7-2 (5-4-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 4-5-1 (2-3-0 at home) when tied after one period and 4-2-0 (4-1-0 at home) when tied after two periods this season.

Washington fell to 17-8-4 (8-5-2 on the road) when scoring first, 7-5-3 (6-3-2 on the road) when tied after the first period and 7-1-2 (3-1-0 on the road) when tied after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins (4-1-0) host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday before the B’s wrap up their current seven game homestand against the Anaheim Ducks next Monday prior to hitting the road for three games with stops in Colorado, Arizona and Dallas to close out the month of January.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

Hurricanes storm Bruins, 7-1, in road victory

Nearly 11 years after Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier, Willie O’Ree was called up from the Québec Aces minor professional hockey team and suited up for the Boston Bruins at Montréal Forum in what became a, 3-0, shutout for the Bruins against the Montréal Canadiens on Jan. 18, 1958.

The next day, O’Ree read in the paper that he had been the first Black player in National Hockey League history.

He played in the following game with Boston, a 6-2, loss to Montréal in his Boston Garden debut before he was sent back to the minors for the remainder of the 1957-58 season.

In a, 3-2, win against the Canadiens on Jan. 1, 1961, at Boston Garden, O’Ree scored his first career NHL goal– the eventual game-winner at 10:07 of the third period.

In total, O’Ree amassed 14 points (four goals, ten assists) in 45 career NHL games with the Bruins from 1958-61– paving the way for many Black players since then while being subjected to the brunt of racial epithets from fans, players and coaches alike.

In some tragic sense, not much has changed within the culture of the sport and society at large.

No one is a product of their time. Ignorance, inequality and racism are always ignorance, inequality and racism.

O’Ree’s hero, Herb Carnegie, was never given a proper chance at making the NHL.

Carnegie received a similar sham of a tryout that the Boston Red Sox gave Robinson on April 16, 1945, only this time it was at training camp in a different sport with the New York Rangers in Sept. 1948– a little more than one year after Robinson first played for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.

In 1998, O’Ree was hired by the NHL as a Diversity Ambassador, having given many speeches since to kids and adults alike– those that play the game, those that have played the game and anyone that will listen in-between.

In 2018, O’Ree was finally inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto as a Builder.

Also in 2018, the NHL first presented the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, which is presented annually “to an individual who– through the game of hockey– has positively impacted his or her community, culture or society,” as voted on by a fan vote in combination with weighted votes from O’Ree himself, the NHL and the award’s presenting sponsor, MassMutual.

Fans can submit candidates every year before the field is narrowed to three finalists that are then voted on to select a winner.

O’Ree is also a member of the Order of Canada, has a statue in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. and is awaiting the result of the Willie O’Ree Congressional Gold Medal Act in the United States Congress on Wednesday.

Oh, and, one more thing, O’Ree played his entire professional career spanning from the 1950s through the 1970s legally blind in his right eye after sustaining an injury in Junior hockey.

On Tuesday night, 64 years to the day that he made his NHL debut with Boston, the Bruins retired O’Ree’s No. 22 in front of 17,850 fans in attendance at TD Garden prior to a, 7-1, loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

O’Ree became just the 12th player in franchise history to have his number retired, joining the likes of Eddie Shore (No. 2), Lionel Hitchman (No. 3), Bobby Orr (No. 4), “Dit” Clapper (No. 5), Phil Esposito (No. 7), Cam Neely (No. 8), John Bucyk (No. 9), Milt Schmidt (No. 15), Rick Middleton (No. 16), Terry O’Reilly (No. 24) and Ray Bourque (No. 77) in the rafters of TD Garden.

He read a speech from his home in San Diego, California via Zoom before former Bruin and current NHL on TNT analyst, Anson Carter, as well as members of the S.C.O.R.E. Boston Youth Hockey program raised O’Ree’s No. 22 banner to thunderous applause.

Now all that’s needed is another statue outside the building next to Orr’s “The Goal” in The Hub on Causeway.

Or maybe the City of Boston can put it next to City Hall near Bill Russell’s statue.

Tuesday night in Carolina’s, 7-1, victory, Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored a pair of goals while Jaccob Slavin and Tony DeAngelo each had four-point nights from the Hurricanes’ defense.

Frederik Andersen (20-6-0, 2.03 goals-against average, .930 save percentage in 26 games played) made 31 saves on 32 shots faced in the win for the Canes.

Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask (1-1-0, 5.25 goals-against average, .821 save percentage in two games played) made seven saves on 12 shots against before being replaced after one period with his team trailing, 5-1– though in large part through no fault of his own for the lack of effort team-wide in the loss.

Linus Ullmark (13-5-0, 2.52 goals-against average, .917 save percentage in 19 games played) made 20 saves on 22 shots in relief of Rask for no decision.

As a result of Tuesday night’s loss, the Bruins are 0-2-0 against the Hurricanes this season.

Boston fell to 22-12-2 (46 points) overall, but the B’s remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division.

Meanwhile, Carolina now sits atop the Metropolitan Division with a 26-8-2 record (54 points) thus far in 2021-22.

Connor Clifton and Matt Grzelcyk were back from the league’s COVID-19 protocol for Boston, while Mike Reilly was placed in the aforementioned protocol ahead of the game on Tuesday.

In addition to Reilly, the Bruins were also without Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Nick Foligno (lower body), Trent Frederic (upper body) and John Moore (upper body) against Carolina.

With Clifton and Grzelcyk back, head coach Bruce Cassidy, adjusted his defensive pairing accordingly– partnering Grzelcyk with his usual suspect on the first defensive pairing alongside Charlie McAvoy, while Clifton went back to his third pairing role with Derek Forbort.

Urho Vaakanainen covered Reilly’s role on the second pair with Brandon Carlo.

On Monday, Karson Kuhlman, was claimed off waivers by the Seattle Kraken– signaling an end to his Bruins career as a result.

The 26-year-old undrafted forward made his NHL debut with Boston in the 2018-19 season and spent parts of four seasons with the B’s in 75 games, amassing 7-8–15 totals in that span.

On Tuesday, goaltender, Kyle Keyser, and forward, Steven Fogarty, were recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) and assigned to Boston’s taxi squad.

Reilly, Frederic, Foligno, Moore, Fogarty, Tyler Lewington (the only healthy scratch), Zboril and Keyser were all out of the lineup against Carolina for one reason or another.

Less than four minutes into the action, Slavin sent a pass across the slot to Teuvo Teräväinen (11) for a one-timer goal on Rask’s glove side as the Bruins netminder was forced to sprawl across the crease.

Slavin (18) and DeAngelo (20) tallied the assists on Teräväinen’s goal and the Hurricanes jumped out to a, 1-0, lead at 3:44 of the first period.

A little more than a couple of minutes later, Kotkaniemi (8) wrapped a rebound around Rask’s right leg pad from the doorstep to give Carolina a two-goal lead at 6:03 of the first period.

Andrei Svechnikov (17) and Nino Niederreiter (8) notched the assists as the Canes pulled ahead to a, 2-0, lead with a pair of goals in a span of 2:19.

Midway through the opening frame, Svechnikov was assessed an interference minor at 9:48, yielding the night’s first power play to the Bruins.

Boston took advantage of the ensuing skater advantage on a deflection goal from Patrice Bergeron (12) to cut Carolina’s lead in half, 2-1, at 11:13 of the first period.

David Pastrnak (16) recorded the primary assist with the no-look shot pass off of Bergeron’s skate and into the twine, while McAvoy (19) picked up the secondary assist.

Just 13 seconds later, Kotkaniemi (9) got a stick on a shot from the point by Slavin and deflected the rubber biscuit over Rask’s shoulder to give Carolina another two-goal lead, 3-1.

Slavin (19) and Derek Stepan (5) had the assists on Kotkaniemi’s second goal of the game at 11:26 of the first period.

Less than a minute later, Clifton cut a rut to the sin bin for cross checking at 12:11, but the Hurricanes were not successful on the resulting power play– at least not yet on the night’s list of skater advantage opportunities.

Late in the opening frame, Seth Jarvis (7) waltzed around Clifton and crashed the net on an individual effort for an unassisted goal to give the Canes a, 4-1, lead at 16:01.

56 seconds after that, Stepan (5) scored a goal while crashing the slot as Jordan Martinook took a hit and freed the puck to his teammate in a high danger scoring area.

Martinook (6) had the only assist on Stepan’s goal as Carolina took a, 5-1, lead at 16:57 of the first period.

Entering the first intermission, the Hurricanes had a, 5-1, lead on the scoreboard and a, 12-10, advantage in shots on goal as Boston had allowed five or more goals for the first time in any first period since March 3, 2008, when they gave up six goals to the Washington Capitals in a, 10-2, loss at the then known as Verizon Center.

Alex Ovechkin had a first period hat trick, Matt Bradley and Brooks Laich each had a pair of goals in that game, while all four dressed netminders made an appearance.

Tim Thomas got the start for Boston and was pulled twice after a brief relief appearance by Alex Auld, while Cristobal Huet started the game for the Capitals, but was yanked from the crease with back spasms and replaced by Olaf Kölzig.

Truly, it was the definition of insanity.

The Bruins had goals from Dennis Wideman and Marco Sturm that night, if you’re wondering, while notorious enemy of the Commonwealth, Matt Cooke, opened the night’s scoring.

Meanwhile, Nicklas Bäckström and Donald Brashear also pocketed goals for the Capitals in that wild game from almost 14 years ago.

Back at TD Garden on Tuesday night, while losing, 5-1, after one period, the Bruins led in blocked shots (4-3) and giveaways (4-2) as the Hurricanes also maintained the advantage in takeaways (3-1), hits (13-12) and faceoff win percentage (52-48).

Carolina was 0/1 on the power play, while Boston was 1/1 on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.

The second period was relatively tame as no goals were scored by either team and a string of penalties opened the ice for lots of skating.

Ullmark replaced Rask before the period began and Brendan Smith caught Craig Smith (no relation) with a high stick at 6:55.

Boston’s power play came up short, however, and would do so again at 10:38 when Sebastian Aho cut a rut for high sticking at 10:38 of the second period.

The Bruins also couldn’t score on an abbreviated 5-on-3 advantage at 11:30 when Ian Cole tripped up McAvoy.

Through 40 minutes of action, the Hurricanes still led, 5-1, on the scoreboard, despite trailing Boston, 23-20, in shots on goal as the Bruins rallied to outshoot Carolina, 13-8, in the second period alone.

The Canes led in blocked shots (13-5) and takeaways (12-2), while the B’s led in giveaways (7-3) and faceoff win% (60-40).

Both teams had 21 hits aside, while the Hurricanes were still 0/1 and the Bruins were now 1/4 on the power play heading into the second intermission.

Vincent Trocheck cross checked Erik Haula 33 seconds into the third period, but Boston’s ensuing power play was cut short when McAvoy and Aho collided near the blue line by the Bruins’ attacking zone– resulting in an interference minor for No. 73 in black and gold at 1:13 of the final frame.

After 80 seconds of 4-on-4 action, the Hurricanes went on an abbreviated power play, but it didn’t take them long for Slavin (2) to riffle a shot from inside the faceoff circle over Ullmark’s blocker on the short side to give Carolina a, 6-1, lead.

DeAngelo (21) and Teräväinen (19) tallied the assists on Slavin’s power-play goal at 3:05 of the third period and the Hurricanes had a five-goal lead as a result.

Haula later caught Slavin with a high stick at 6:04 and presented Carolina with another power play for good measure.

The Hurricanes got their money’s worth as Svechnikov (13) stayed aggressive on a loose puck in the slot and elevated the rubber biscuit over Ullmark as the Bruins goaltender was down.

Aho (23) and DeAngelo (22) notched the assists on Svechnikov’s power-play goal and Carolina continued to blow Boston out of their own building, 7-1, at 7:48 of the third period.

After that nothing else happened.

There were no more goals, nor penalties, as fans left TD Garden early either to make the trains out of North Station due to the later than usual start as a result of the night’s opening ceremonies or simply to avoid watching the seconds tick down while lackluster entertainment continued on the ice.

At the final horn, Carolina had won, 7-1, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 34-23, including a, 14-9, advantage in the third period– tied for the second-most shots allowed in any third period by Boston this season.

The Bruins had previously given up 14 shots against in the third period on Opening Night against the Dallas Stars in a, 3-1, win on Oct. 16th at TD Garden and gave up a season-worst 16 shots against in the third period alone twice within a span of a week apart– once on Dec. 2nd in a, 2-0, shutout win in Nashville and again on Dec. 9th in a, 3-2, win in Edmonton.

Tuesday night didn’t have the same end result for Boston, despite being badly outshot in the third period.

The Hurricanes exited the building with the all-important victory and led the night in blocked shots (16-9), while the Bruins left their own ice leading in giveaways (8-5) and faceoff win% (55-45).

Both teams had 26 hits aside.

Carolina went 2/3 on the power play, while the B’s finished the night’s action 1/5 on the skater advantage.

Boston fell to 7-7-2 (4-4-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 3-7-1 (3-4-1 at home) when trailing after the first period and 3-9-2 (3-5-1 at home) when trailing after the second period this season.

Carolina, meanwhile, improved to an impressive 17-2-1 (10-1-1 on the road) when scoring first, 15-1-0 (7-1-0 on the road) when leading after one and 17-1-1 (7-0-1 on the road) when leading after two in 2021-22.

The Bruins continue their seven-game homestand (3-1-0) against the Washington Capitals on Thursday before the Winnipeg Jets visit Boston on Saturday.

The B’s are currently scheduled to wrap things up at on this current homestand next Monday against the Anaheim Ducks before hitting the road for three games with stops in Colorado, Arizona and Dallas to close out the month of January– at least until the remaining condensed schedule is announced on Wednesday, that is.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

Hall caps Bruins, 4-3, OT victory over Predators

The Boston Bruins have won eight out of their last nine games and knocked off the top team in the Western Conference with a, 4-3, overtime victory courtesy of Taylor Hall’s game-winning goal Saturday afternoon against the Nashville Predators.

Boston jumped out to a two-goal lead early in the first period thanks to Craig Smith and Mike Reilly before Nashville tied things up midway through the second period.

Both teams swapped goals almost three minutes apart in the third period as regulation gave way to overtime.

Linus Ullmark (13-5-0, 2.51 goals-against average, .918 save percentage in 18 games played) made 26 saves on 29 shots against in the win for the Bruins– extending their winning streak to five games (their longest of the season).

Predators goaltender, Juuse Saros (20-10-2, 2.35 goals-against average, .926 save percentage in 32 games played), stopped 40 out of 44 shots faced in the overtime loss.

The B’s improved to 22-11-2 (46 points) and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division, while the Preds fell to 24-12-3 (51 points)– still leading the Central Division at the time of this writing.

Boston finished their season series 2-0-0 against Nashville, outscoring the Predators, 6-3, in that span.

Derek Forbort returned from the league’s COVID-19 protocol and was paired with Charlie McAvoy to start the afternoon, while Urho Vaakanainen was partered with Tyler Lewington on the third defensive pairing.

With Forbort back in the lineup, Jack Ahcan was reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL).

Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Nick Foligno (lower body), Connor Clifton (COVID protocol), Trent Frederic (upper body), John Moore (upper body) and Matt Grzelcyk (COVID protocol) remained out of the lineup on Saturday.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no other adjustments from Thursday night’s, 3-2, win against Philadelphia to Saturday’s matinée with Nashville.

Karson Kuhlman was the only healthy scratch for Boston.

Brad Marchand skated into the attacking zone and sent a pass through the middle of the ice to Patrice Bergeron for a one-touch redirection pass over to Smith as Boston’s first line skated towards the net early in the opening frame.

Smith (5) sent a catch and release wrist shot over Saros’ glove on the short side– bar down– to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead at 3:20 of the first period.

Bergeron (18) and Marchand (23) tallied the assists on the goal.

Moments later, Erik Haula slipped a pass to Reilly (4) as the Bruins defender pinched in from the point and went to the net, holding the puck on his stick before sending a backhand shot over Saros’ leg pad and under the glove for a two-goal lead at 7:37.

Haula (9) and Hall (17) notched the assists on Reilly’s goal and the B’s led, 2-0, before the midpoint of the first period.

Late in the opening frame, Colton Sissons (5) riffled a shot from the high slot between the hash marks off of Ullmark’s arm on the blocker side and into the back of the twine.

Dante Fabbro (10) had the only assist as the Predators cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1, at 14:30.

Entering the first intermission, the Bruins led on the scoreboard, 2-1, and in shots on goal, 10-6, while Nashville held the advantage in blocked shots (3-1) and faceoff win percentage (68-32).

Boston also led in his (19-14), but both teams split takeaways, 4-4, and giveaways, 4-4, as well.

Neither team had seen any action on the power play heading into the middle period.

Forbort and Michael McCarron exchanged pleasantries and dropped the gloves after a stoppage at 3:43 of the second period, resulting in the 11th fighting major for Boston this season.

Less than a minute later, Brandon Carlo was penalized for cross checking and presented the Predators with the first power play of the afternoon at 4:15 of the second period.

The Preds, however, couldn’t convert on the skater advantage.

Instead, Nashville pounced in the vulnerable minute after special teams play– tying the game, 2-2, at 7:32 of the second period thanks to a goal from Luke Kunin (8) outside the faceoff circle– beating Ullmark on the blocker side as Carlo may have inadvertently screened his own goaltender.

Nick Cousins (7) and Mark Borowiecki (2) had the assists on Kunin’s goal.

Through 40 minutes of action Saturday afternoon, the Bruins and Predators were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard despite Boston holding a, 28-17, advantage in shots on goal– including an, 18-11, advantage in the second period alone.

The B’s controlled blocked shots (6-5) and hits (37-35) after two periods, while Nashville led in takeaways (6-5) and faceoff win% (60-40).

Both teams had six giveaways each, while only Nashville had witnessed any time on the power play and went 0/1 heading into the second intermission.

Tanner Jeannot hooked Forbort at 2:07 of the third period and yielded a power play to Boston for the first and only time Saturday afternoon as a result.

It didn’t take long for the Bruins to convert on the ensuing skater advantage as the B’s worked the puck around the attacking zone umbrella formation.

McAvoy sent a pass to Marchand along the wall before Marchand (20) unloaded a wrist shot off of Saros’ glove and into the top corner on the short side– giving No. 63 in black and gold his ninth consecutive season with at least 20 goals.

McAvoy (18) and Bergeron (19) were credited with the assists on Marchand’s power-play goal as the Bruins pulled ahead, 3-2, at 3:50 of the third period.

Boston didn’t hold onto the lead for long, however, as Nashville responded on the scoreboard 2:36 later with a goal from their captain.

David Pastrnak misplayed the puck along the boards in his own zone– botching a flip pass in the process to Roman Josi’s lucky fortune as Josi (13) ripped a shot off of Ullmark’s glove and into the twine– tying the game, 3-3, in the process.

Philip Tomasino (7) tallied the only assist on Josi’s goal at 6:26 of the third period.

Midway through the final frame of regulation, Marchand made a big hit behind Nashville’s net, sending Fabbro down the tunnel briefly, clutching his shoulder.

Minutes later, Vaakanainen got his stick in the wrong place at the wrong time as Matt Duchene went sailing (perhaps partially of his own effort to draw a penalty).

Nevertheless, Vaakanainen cut a rut to the penalty box for tripping at 13:34.

The Bruins managed to kill off the ensuing minor, however, giving them a bit of a momentum swing as the minutes ran off the clock.

After 60 minutes, Boston and Nashville were knotted up on the scoreboard, 3-3, despite the B’s holding a, 41-28, advantage in shots on goal, including a, 13-11, advantage in shots on net in the third period alone.

The Bruins dominated in blocked shots (12-7), while the Predators led in takeaways (7-6), hits (46-44) and faceoff win% (60-40) after regulation.

Both teams had nine giveaways aside as the Preds finished the afternoon 0/2 on the power play and the B’s went 1/1 (as there were no penalties called in the overtime period).

Cassidy started Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy in the extra frame, while Predators head coach, John Hynes, matched with Ryan Johansen, Duchene and Josi.

Duchene rang the a shot attempt off the crossbar early in overtime before Jake DeBrusk had a breakaway going the other direction.

DeBrusk too, however, rang the iron on Saros’ right side before dialing down the effort on the loose puck in the crease and gliding away amidst the chaos.

Less than a minute later, Hall (8) scored while fighting and falling for another loose puck on the doorstep after Pastrnak ripped a shot on goal.

Pastrnak (15) and Vaakanainen (4) had the assists on Hall’s game-winning overtime goal and the Bruins took a, 4-3, victory on home ice against Nashville as a result at 1:41 of the overtime period.

Boston left their own building leading in shots on goal, 44-29– including a, 3-1, advantage in overtime alone– while also leading in blocked shots (12-8) on Saturday afternoon.

Nashville finished the game leading in hits (46-45) and faceoff win% (61-39), while both teams wrapped up the effort with nine giveaways each.

The Bruins improved to 2-1 in overtime (3-2 past regulation overall) this season and the Predators fell to 5-2 in overtime (6-3 past regulation overall) as a result.

Boston also improved to 15-5-0 (8-3-0 at home) when scoring first, 16-0-0 (8-0-0 at home) when leading after one period and 3-2-0 (3-1-0 at home) when tied after two periods in 2021-22.

Nashville fell to 5-10-2 (3-5-2 on the road) when allowing the first goal, 2-10-1 (1-4-1 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 4-3-2 (3-1-2 on the road) when tied after two periods this season.

The Bruins host the Carolina Hurricanes next Tuesday and will retire Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 prior to the game in a ceremony that is set to begin at 7 p.m. ET. O’Ree and his family will attend virtually from their home in San Diego.

On Jan. 18, 1958, O’Ree broke the NHL’s color barrier as the first Black player to suit up in a game.

Though he only played in 45 career games in parts of two seasons with the Bruins, O’Ree had 4-10–14 totals and played– unbeknownst to the team at the time– blind in his right eye after suffering an injury in Junior hockey.

O’Ree spent many years in the minor leagues before and after his Bruins tenure in a career that spanned from 1950-51 through 1978-79.

Gary Bettman was named NHL Commissioner in 1993, and five years later, named O’Ree as an NHL Diversity Ambassador in 1998.

Together, O’Ree and the NHL have brought the game to thousands of kids that might have otherwise never had the chance to play or learn from one of the greatest figures in league history.

In 2018, O’Ree was finally inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and the NHL created the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, which is presented annually to “an individual who– through the game of hockey– has positively impacted his or her community, culture or society.”

Each year, fans submit candidates for the award with O’Ree (joined by the league) in narrowing the field to three finalists.

The award winner is ultimately determined by a fan vote with weighted votes from O’Ree, the NHL and presenting sponsor, MassMutual.

After retiring O’Ree’s No. 22 and playing the Hurricanes next Tuesday, Boston will also host the Washington Capitals next Thursday and Winnipeg Jets next Saturday before the Anaheim Ducks swing through town before the B’s hit the road on Jan. 26th in Colorado.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

Pastrnak scores hat trick in Rask’s return from hip surgery

David Pastrnak record his 11th career hat trick and helped the Boston Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2, in Tuukka Rask’s return to action Thursday night at TD Garden.

Rask, 34, made his season debut since recovering from offseason hip surgery and signing as an unrestricted free agent with Boston on Tuesday.

His last regular season appearance was way back on May 10, 2021, in a, 3-2, overtime victory against the New York Islanders on home ice before facing the Islanders in the Second Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs– losing in six games while being eliminated on the road on June 9, 2021, in a, 6-2, loss at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Thursday night, however, was different as Rask described an unusual feeling prior to the puck drop.

“It was [emotional]. It was very much out of the normal, I guess, the way I was feeling before the game,” Rask told reporters after the, 3-2, win. He continued, “[I]t was great to see the fans’ support– the best fans.”

Rask (1-0-0, 2.00 goals-against average, .926 save percentage in one game played) made 25 saves on 27 shots against in the win.

Philadelphia netminder, Carter Hart (7-11-4, 2.93 goals-against average, .912 save percentage in 22 games played), stopped 33 out of 36 shots faced in the loss.

The B’s improved to 21-11-2 (44 points) on the season and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division, while Philly fell to 13-16-7 (33 points) overall and stuck in 6th place in the Metropolitan Division.

Boston is now 2-1-0 against the Flyers this season.

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

As a result, Jack Ahcan was recalled on an emergency basis from the Providence Bruins (AHL) ahead of the night’s action and paired with Tyler Lewington as Lewington made his Boston debut on the third defensive pairing.

Urho Vaakanainen was promoted to the left side of Charlie McAvoy, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, left everything else the same from Wednesday night’s, 5-1, win against Montréal.

Boston’s long list of scratches Thursday night included Frederic, Foligno, Moore, Forbort, Grzelcyk, Zboril, Clifton and Karson Kuhlman.

Pastrnak (14) kicked things off with a shot that beat Hart’s blocker side to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead at 1:51 of the first period.

Prior to the goal, Erik Haula had sent a pass across the slot to No. 88, who promptly unloaded an accurate shot into the twine.

Haula (8) and Taylor Hall (16) snagged the assists on Pastrnak’s first goal of the night while a good portion of fans were probably still finding their seats.

A couple minutes later, Nick Seeler cut a rut to the penalty box for holding and presented the Bruins with the night’s first power play at 4:04 of the first period.

About midway through the ensuing skater advantage, Brad Marchand faked a shot and slipped a pass to Pastrnak (15) for a catch and release goal instead– extending Boston’s lead to two-goals in the process.

Marchand (21) and Charlie McAvoy (16) tallied the assists on Pastrnak’s power-play goal and the Bruins led, 2-0, at 5:27.

About 20 seconds later, Ivan Provorov caught Charlie Coyle with a high stick and was assessed a minor infraction at 5:48, but the B’s weren’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Late in the period, Zack MacEwen checked Hall while Hall was already falling to the ice from prior contact with a Flyer.

This drew the ire of Pastrnak– who would be assessed an interference minor– and Lewington, who squared off in an exchange of pleasantries and brought MacEwen into the box with him as the two received roughing minors.

All three penalties were assessed at 15;28 of the first period and resulted in a power play for Philadelphia.

Boston killed of Pastrnak’s minor, however, and escaped without harm as the Bruins led, 2-0, heading into the first intermission.

The B’s also dominated in shots on goal, 12-6, as they held Philly without a shot through almost the first half of the first period.

The Flyers led in blocked shots (3-2) and hits (10-8), while the Bruins led in takeaways (2-1), giveaways (4-0) and faceoff win percentage (61-39) after one period of play.

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

Lewington and MacEwen exchanged pleasantries that quickly escalated into an exchange of fisticuffs at 2:51 of the second period, spurring some momentum in favor of the Flyers, though by how much is a valid question as a few defensive mishaps, breakdowns and miscommunication here and there would lead to Boston giving up a couple of goals later in the period.

Tomáš Nosek was sent to the sin bin for interference at 6:26 of the second period.

Late in the ensuing penalty kill, the Bruins got caught spending too much time in their own zone– unable to get a desperate clear for a line change.

Provorov rocketed a shot from the point that Cam Atkinson (15) redirected up high past Rask from point blank on the doorstep to cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1.

Provorov (10) and Keith Yandle (12) notched the assists on Atkinson’s power-play goal at 8:02 of the second period.

About a minute later, Pastrnak and Max Willman got into a shoving match by the benches and each received roughing minors, necessitating 4-on-4 action for a pair of minutes at 9:07.

Late in the middle period, after Joel Farabee was denied on a breakaway by Rask– something the Bruins netminder did a few times during the night– the Flyers slipped through the neutral zone on a sloppy effort by the Bruins at getting back into their own zone.

Atkinson and Farabee had a de facto 2-on-1 as McAvoy went chasing and Farabee skated around him before Vaakanainen was left on his own trying to breakup the passing lane.

By that point Farabee had already surrendered the puck to Atkinson coming down the other side boards whereby Atkinson then duffed a pass back to Farabee for a one-timer opportunity that went by the wayside– but not completely.

Farabee’s (11) patience paid off as the Flyers forward kept his composure and gathered the puck a half step behind him in his stride and promptly buried the rubber biscuit in the empty twine behind Rask– tying the game, 2-2, in the process.

Atkinson (13) and Yandle (13) earned the assists on the goal at exactly 15:00 of the second period.

It didn’t take Philadelphia long to lose the momentum that they had generated from Boston’s misfortune, however.

Justin Braun tripped up Craig Smith at 15:16 and Willman followed his teammate into the box at 16:29 for hooking Pastrnak.

The Bruins had 48 seconds of an ensuing 5-on-3 advantage. It took them less than 20 seconds to score their second power-play goal of the game.

Marchand worked the puck around the zone to McAvoy, who fed Pastrnak (16) in his usual spot from the high slot at the faceoff circle for a one-timer blast that beat Hart and gave Boston a, 3-2, lead at 16:45 of the second period.

McAvoy (17) and Marchand (22) had the assists on the goal which completed the hat trick for Pastrnak on Thursday night– marking the 11th hat trick of his NHL career (the third-most among active NHLers trailing Alex Ovechkin, 28, and Evgeni Malkin, 12).

Only Phil Esposito (26), Cam Neely (13) and John Bucyk (12) had more hat tricks in their Bruins tenures than Pastrnak has so far.

It was also the first hat trick in back-to-back games for Boston since April 7-9, 1998, when Sergei Samsonov scored a hat trick one game after Steve Heinze notched three goals for the Bruins, as noted by 98.5 The Sports Hub Bruins beat reporter, Ty Anderson.

And if you’re wondering “when was the last time a hat trick had been scored by Boston on back-to-back calendar days?”

Well, that was on Dec. 4th and 5th in 1982, when Barry Pederson scored hat tricks in both, 6-4, victories– though one was in Montréal (Dec. 4th) and the other was against Philadelphia (Dec. 5th), per WEEI‘s Scott McLaughlin.

As for the last time the Bruins scored multiple hat tricks in the month of January? That was a bit more recent.

Patrice Bergeron scored his first career hat trick in a, 6-0, win against the Ottawa Senators on Jan. 11, 2011, six days prior to Zdeno Chara’s first career hat trick in a, 7-0, win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 17, 2011.

Oh and Pastrnak’s two power-play goals (75) helped him surpass Bobby Orr (74) for sole possession of the eighth-most in Bruins franchise history.

Anyway, through 40 minutes of action in Boston, the B’s led, 3-2, on the scoreboard and, 29-15, in shots on goal– including a, 17-9, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

The Bruins also led in blocked shots (6-5), giveaways (8-2) and faceoff win% (62-39).

Philadelphia held the advantage in takeaways (6-2), as well as hits (17-13), while the Flyers went 1/2 on the power play and the Bruins were 2/4.

There were no goals scored in the third period as the two teams swapped chances before the Flyers eventually outshot Boston in the final frame alone.

Brandon Carlo sent an errant puck over the glass for an automatic delay of game minor at 12:05 and Coyle followed it up with another delay of game infraction for a puck over the glass at 13:15.

With a 5-on-3 advantage upcoming before an abbreviated regular 5-on-4 power play, Philadelphia’s interim head coach, Mike Yeo, used his timeout to inspire his players to do something on the special teams.

The Bruins were down two skaters for 51 seconds and managed to make the kill on both penalties.

With 3:24 remaining in the action, Yeo pulled Hart for an extra attacker, but it was to no avail.

At the final horn, Boston had won, 3-2, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 36-27, despite trailing Philadelphia, 12-7, in shots on net in the third period alone.

The Bruins led their own building leading in blocked shots (16-6) and giveaways (11-3), while the Flyers exited TD Garden leading in hits (23-18).

Both teams split the final faceoff win% total, 50-50, as Philly went 1/4 on the power play and Boston went 2/4.

The B’s improved to 14-5-0 (7-3-0 at home) when scoring first, 15-0-0 (7-0-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 16-1-0 (6-1-0 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

Philadelphia fell to 2-14-2 (1-9-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 1-11-2 (0-6-2 on the road) when trailing after one and (1-15-3 (1-9-2 on the road) when trailing through the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins (2-0-0) continue their seven-game homestand Saturday afternoon against the Nashville Predators. 

Boston then hosts the Carolina Hurricanes next Tuesday and will retire Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 prior to the game in a ceremony set to begin at 7 p.m. ET. The Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets and Anaheim Ducks will also visit Boston before the B’s hit the road on Jan. 26th in Colorado.