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Bergeron’s hat trick in Swayman’s 40-save NHL debut lead Bruins over Flyers, 4-2

Jeremy Swayman (1-0-0, 2.01 goals-against average, .952 save percentage in one game played) made 40 saves on 42 shots against in his National Hockey League debut, while Patrice Bergeron surpassed 900 career points with a hat trick in a, 4-2, victory for the Boston Bruins against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday.

Swayman went 8-1-0 in nine games played for the Providence Bruins (AHL) this season with a 1.89 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage in that span prior to being called up on Monday due to Boston’s starting and backup goaltenders being out of the lineup.

He made his NHL debut nine games after Dan Vladar made his NHL debut in net for Boston in a, 2-1, win at Pittsburgh on March 16th.

The last time the Bruins had two rookie goaltenders play at least one game was in 2016-17, when Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre suited up in one and eight games, respectively, that season.

The last two Bruins goalies to make their NHL debut in the same season was back in 2005-06, when Hannu Toivonen and Jordan Sigalet did just that.

Bergeron, in the meantime, became the fourth Bruin in franchise history to record at least 900 points with the club, joining Ray Bourque (1,506 points with Boston), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012) as the only players to do so in the spoked-B.

Philadelphia goaltender, Carter Hart (8-10-4, 3.88 goals-against average, .871 save percentage in 24 games played) stopped 22 out of 25 shots faced for an .880 save percentage in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 20-10-6 (46 points) overall and remained in command of 4th place in the MassMutual East Division, while separating themselves a bit from the now 18-15-5 Flyers (41 points) who remain 5th in the division.

Boston also improved to 6-0-1 against Philadelphia this season.

The Bruins were without Ondrej Kase (upper body), Tuukka Rask (upper body), John Moore (hip), Brandon Carlo (upper body), Charlie McAvoy (upper body) and Jaroslav Halak (COVID protocol) on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Kevan Miller returned after missing his 20th game this season due to a nagging lower body injury that he re-aggravated on Feb. 18th against the New Jersey Devils.

With Miller back and McAvoy out of the lineup as a late scratch due to injury, B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, jumbled his lineup a bit.

Karson Kuhlman moved up to the right side of the third line, while Chris Wagner rejoined the lineup in his usual role as the fourth line right wing as Zach Senyshyn served as a healthy scratch.

On defense, Matt Grzelcyk suited up alongside Miller on the first pairing, while Jeremy Lauzon and Connor Clifton rounded out the top-four.

Jakub Zboril was partnered with Steven Kampfer on the third defensive pairing.

With Rask and Halak out, Vladar served as Swayman’s backup goaltender, while Anders Bjork, Senyshyn, Carlo, Moore, Kase, Rask, Halak, McAvoy, Anton Blidh and Jarred Tinordi made up Boston’s long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players.

Almost midway through the opening frame, Bergeron (13) corralled a rebound and wrapped the puck around Hart’s outstretched leg to give the Bruins the game’s first goal.

Craig Smith (11) and Brad Marchand (25) tallied the assists and the B’s led, 1-0, at 7:09 of the first period.

With his first goal of the night, Bergeron reached the 900-point plateau in his career. By the end of the night, he had 367-535–902 totals in 1,125 career games (all with Boston).

Midway through the first period, Grzelcyk was penalized for hooking James van Riemsdyk, but Philly wasn’t able to muster anything on their first power play of the night at 10:15.

Moments later, the Bruins went on the power play after Nicolas Aube-Kubel was called for holding against David Krejci at 16:38.

The Bruins made quick work of their first skater advantage of the game, working the puck around the zone from Marchand to David Pastrnak to Bergeron (14) for one of his standard catch and release power-play goals from the bumper– giving Boston a two-goal lead in the process.

Pastrnak (16) and Marchand (26) had the assists on Bergeron’s second goal of the night at 17:31 of the first period.

Entering the first intermission, Boston led, 2-0, on the scoreboard, despite trailing Philadelphia, 13-11, in shots on goal.

The B’s held the advantage in blocked shots (7-5) and hits (11-7), while Philly led in takeaways (2-0), giveaways (4-3) and faceoff win percentage (52-48) after one period of play.

The Flyers were 0/1 and the Bruins were 1/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Jakub Voracek (6) redirected a shot pass from Travis Konecny past Swayman from the edge of the crease to cut Boston’s lead in half and put Philadelphia on the scoreboard, 2-1.

Konecny (17) had the only assist in the goal at 1:33 of the second period.

Philly tied things up, 2-2, with a pair of goals in a span of 2:30 thanks to Shayne Gostisbehere’s (6) catch and release shot over Swayman at 4:03.

Voracek (25) and Ivan Provorov (15) tallied the assists on Gostisbehere’s goal.

Midway through the middle frame, Trent Frederic cut a rut to the penalty box for roughing at 11:14, but the Flyers weren’t able to take advantage of the ensuing skater advantage.

Through 40 minutes of action on Tuesday night, the Bruins and Flyers were tied, 2-2, despite Philadelphia outshooting Boston, 38-18, in shots on goal, including a, 25-7, advantage in the second period alone.

Philly also held the advantage in giveaways (9-5) and faceoff win% (57-44), while the B’s led in hits (17-15) after two periods.

Both teams had 14 blocked shots and four takeaways each, while Philadelphia was 0/2 and Boston was 1/1 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Miller tripped Nolan Patrick at 7:25 of the third period and presented the Flyers with another power play.

This time, however, Boston’s penalty kill turned the tables on Philadelphia when Lauzon sprung out of his own zone with the puck, generated a 2-on-1 in the attacking zone and sent a pass to Marchand (18) for the extra drag before sliding the puck through Hart’s five-hole.

It was the sixth shorthanded goal for the Bruins this season and the 29th of Marchand’s career, while Lauzon (4) and Clifton (5) tabbed the assists as Boston pulled ahead, 3-2, at 8:21.

It was also Marchand’s 48th career shorthanded point, which broke a tie with Eddie Westfall and Bobby Orr for the most in Bruins history.

About a minute later, Konecny slashed Miller, who delivered a swift cross check in return and the two players drew minor infractions at 9:59.

The two teams skated 4-on-4 for two minutes before returning to regular even strength action.

Moments later, Samuel Morin roughed Frederic along the wall and was sent to the sin bin at 13:12, but Boston’s power play unit was unable to convert on the skater advanatage.

With 1:57 remaining in the game, Flyers head coach, Alain Vigneault, pulled Hart for an extra attacker and used his only timeout to draw up a strategy for Philadelphia to tie the game once more.

Instead, Bergeron (15) scored an empty net goal– completing the hat trick with his third goal of the game in the process.

Marchand (27) and Wagner (3) had the assists as the Bruins extended their lead, 4-2, at 19:37 on Bergeron’s sixth career hat trick and first since a, 7-4, victory at the New York Rangers on Oct. 27, 2019.

Bergeron tied Adam Oates, Herb Cain, Dit Clapper, Wayne Cashman and Barry Pederson for the ninth most hat tricks while in a Bruins uniform in franchise history.

At the final horn, Swayman made the most saves (40) by a B’s netminder in his first start since Bernie Parent had 44 saves in his NHL debut with Boston in 1965, as he and the Bruins downed the Flyers, 4-2.

Boston finished the night with the advantage in blocked shots (19-16) and hits (31-19), though they trailed Philadelphia in shots on goal (42-26), giveaways (11-8) and faceoff win% (57-44).

The Flyers finished Tuesday’s action 0/3 on the power play, while the Bruins went 1/2.

Boston improved to 13-3-3 (7-3-1 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal this season, as well as 10-0-2 (5-0-1 on the road) when leading after the first period and 5-4-3 (5-3-2 on the road) when tied after two periods in 2020-21.

Philadelphia, in the meantime, fell to 6-11-2 (2-6-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal this season, 8-2-1 (5-2-1 at home) when trailing after the first period and 6-3-2 (2-2-2 at home) when tied after two periods this season.

The Bruins continue their three-game road trip (1-0-0) with a stop in Washington, D.C. against the Capitals on Thursday prior to returning to Philadelphia for a matchup with the Flyers on Saturday afternoon. Boston returns home next Sunday to host the Capitals to kick off a five-game homestand on April 11th.

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NHL Nick's Net

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philadelphia’s power play was powerless, however.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Hamilton duels as Hurricanes storm Bruins, 3-2, in Game 2

No, he didn’t throw away his shot– Dougie Hamilton scored the game-winning goal with it in the third period of Thursday’s, 3-2, victory for the Carolina Hurricanes over the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of their 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round matchup in the bubble at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

James Reimer (2-0 in two games played, 1.50 goals against average, .959 save percentage this postseason) made 33 saves on 35 shots against for a .959 SV% in the win for the Hurricanes.

Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask (1-3 in four games played, 2.58 GAA, .904 SV% this postseason) stopped 23 out of 26 shots faced (.885 SV%) in the loss.

Canes head coach, Rod Brind’Amour made a few adjustments to his lineup from Game 1 to Game 2 by replacing Jake Garidner, Joel Edmundson and Nino Niederreiter with Trevor van Riemsdyk, Sami Vatanen and Justin Williams as Williams and Vatanen made their return to the lineup after being “unfit to play” in the series opener.

B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made a couple adjustments to his lineup after the Bruins announced that David Pastrnak was “unfit to play” in Game 2 about a half-an-hour before puck drop.

As a result, Anders Bjork was moved up to the right side of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the first line, while Karson Kuhlman drew into the lineup in Bjork’s spot as the third line right wing.

After the game, Cassidy informed reporters in his media availability that Pastrnak was deemed “questionable” for Game 1 and is expected to be dealing with a short term problem.

Boston’s long list of healthy scratches on Thursday included Zach Senyshyn, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Maxime Lagace, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Jack Studnicka, Connor Clifton, Dan Vladar and Trent Frederic while Pastrnak was “unfit to play” (and therefore not a “healthy” scratch, technically speaking).

Midway through the opening frame, Jeremy Lauzon responded to a clean hit and received a minor infraction for unsportsmanlike conduct at 11:41 of the first period.

Carolina didn’t convert on their first power play of the night, however, and the Bruins made the kill on Lauzon’s minor.

Less than a minute later, Brady Skjei was sent to the penalty box for catching Ondrej Kase with a hook at 14:26.

Almost midway through their first power play of the game, Boston worked the puck to David Krejci (2) for a shot from the high slot that beat Reimer’s blocker side to give the B’s a, 1-0, lead at 15:41.

Marchand (3) and Torey Krug (2) tallied the assists on Krejci’s power-play goal.

The goal tied Krejci with Peter McNab for sixth place in Bruins franchise history among the most career playoff goals scored with 38 in his career– trailing Johnny Bucyk (40) and Bergeron (41) for fifth and fourth, respectively.

Entering the first intermission, the Bruins led the Hurricanes, 1-0, on the scoreboard, despite trialing Carolina, 7-6, in shots on goal.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (7-5) and faceoff win percentage (54-46), while the Hurricanes led in takeaways (6-0) and hits (13-12).

Both teams had three giveaways each through 20 minutes of action, while the Canes were 0/1 and the B’s were 1/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

After colliding awkwardly with Charlie McAvoy along the boards, Andrei Svechnikov had to answer to Zdeno Chara, who expressed displeasure in seeing his defensive partner get rocked.

Cooler heads (kind of) prevailed and both Svechnikov and Chara received two minute minors for roughing at 6:57 of the second period.

Almost ten minutes later, Chris Wagner elbowed Skjei and was assessed an elbowing penalty at 14:56.

It didn’t take the Hurricanes long to convert on the ensuing skater advantage as Teuvo Teravainen (2) sniped a shot past Rask’s blocker side– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.

Svechnikov (3) and Sebastian Aho (7) collected the assists on Teravainen’s power-play goal at 15:13.

No. 37 in white and red put the Canes ahead, 2-1, with their first lead of the night 1:28 after Teravainen tied it.

Carolina kept the puck in the attacking zone and worked it to Svechnikov (4) on a zig-zag passing play while he caught the rubber biscuit and released a shot from the slot over Rask’s blocker side under the crossbar.

Martin Necas (2) and van Riemsdyk (1) had the assists on Svechnikov’s goal at 16:41 of the second period.

A couple minutes later, Teravainen was penalized for interference after inadvertently colliding with Krug at 18:18.

In the dying seconds of the second period, Marchand (1) redirected a shot pass from Bergeron to knot the game up, 2-2, at 19:55.

Bergeron (3) and Krejci (2) nabbed the assists on Marchand’s power-play goal and the two teams went into the dressing room for the second intermission tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 20-17– including a, 14-10, advantage in the second period alone.

The Bruins carried the advantage in blocked shots (11-10), giveaways (12-7), hits (30-24) and faceoff win% (51-49) through 40 minutes, while the Canes held the advantage in takeaways (8-2).

Carolina was 1/2 on the skater advantage, while Boston was 2/2 on the power play entering the second intermission.

Early in the final frame, Carolina thought they scored, but Wes McCauley quickly waved it off on the grounds that there was goaltender interference as Teravainen crashed the crease and pushed Rask with his forearm– impeding on Rask’s ability to reset and attempt to make a save on the followup shot.

This did not sit well with Brind’Amour, however– fined $25,000 for criticizing the league and its officials for a lack of calls and blown calls in Game 1– he used his coach’s challenge in effort to reverse the call on the ice.

After review, the call on the ice was confirmed– no goal– and play continued, much to the dismay of Brind’Amour.

As a result of the failed challenge, Carolina was assessed a bench minor penalty for delay of game at 3:32 of the third period. Ryan Dzingel served the infraction and Boston failed to capitalize on the skater advantage.

Almost midway through the final period, Dougie Hamilton (1) blasted a one-timer from the right point over Rask’s glove on the short side and put the Hurricanes on top, 3-2.

Necas (3) had the only assist on Hamilton’s goal at 8:30 of the third period and Carolina held onto the one-goal lead for the remainder of the action.

McAvoy hooked Warren Foegele at 9:30, but the Bruins dominated the ensuing shorthanded play by keeping the puck in the attacking zone and nearly evening the score before McAvoy was free from the box and the Canes let a power play opportunity go to waste.

With 1:16 remaining in the game, Cassidy pulled Rask for an extra attacker.

After a stoppage with 42.7 seconds to go, Boston used their timeout to draw up a last (less than a) minute plan, but Carolina held on for the, 3-2, win at the final horn and evened the series, 1-1, as a result.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal (35-26)– including a, 15-9, advantage in the third period alone– as well as in giveaways (17-8), hits (43-35) and faceoff win% (57-43), while Carolina wrapped up the night with the win and the final advantage in blocked shots (18-15).

The Hurricanes went 1/3 on the power play in Thursday night’s action, while the Bruins finished 2/3 on the skater advantage.

Meanwhile, the game-winning goal for Hamilton was just the second game-winning playoff goal of his career– and his first in more than six years as his only other game-winning goal in the playoffs came with the Bruins in Game 3 of their 2014 First Round at Detroit.

The series shifts to Carolina (metaphorically speaking) for Games 3 and 4 from the bubble.

Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday at 12 p.m. ET and the two teams should have no issues waiting for ice time, as it’ll be the first game on the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule that day.

Viewers in the United States can tune in on NBC, while those in Canada can catch the game on Sportsnet or TVAS.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Bergeron’s game-winner lifts B’s over Canes, 4-3, in 2OT

Patrice Bergeron ended things much earlier on Wednesday than the National Hockey League’s 4th longest playoff game Tuesday night, but it took double overtime to reach the, 4-3, victory for the Boston Bruins over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of their 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round matchup.

Tuukka Rask (1-2 in three games played, 2.41 goals against average, .909 save percentage this postseason) made 25 saves on 28 shots against for an .893 SV% in the double overtime win for the Bruins at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario.

Hurricanes goaltender, Petr Mrazek (2-1 in three games played, 2.09 GAA, .922 SV% this postseason) stopped 36 out of 40 shots faced for a .900 SV% in the loss.

Game 1 for Boston and Carolina was delayed from Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET until Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. ET due to Tuesday afternoon’s Game 1 matchup between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning requiring five overtime’s to determine a winner (Lightning, 3-2– puck drop was at 3:00 p.m. ET, but the game ended at 9:22 p.m. ET).

The Hurricanes were without Justin Williams and Sami Vatanen in their lineup as both players were ruled “unfit to play” by Carolina’s head coach, Rod Brind’Amour, about 20 minutes before puck drop.

On a positive note for Canes fans, Dougie Hamilton was back in action for Carolina after sustaining an injury that kept him out of Carolina’s Qualifier between breaking his left fibula in Columbus on Jan. 16th and Wednesday’s Game 1 against Boston.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from last Sunday’s, 2-1, loss to the Washington Capitals in Boston’s final Round Robin game to Game 1 against Carolina, while Brad Marchand took sole possession of seventh place in franchise history for most playoff games as a Bruin in his 112th career playoff game– surpassing Rick Middleton– at puck drop.

Boston’s long list of healthy scratches on Wednesday included Zach Senyshyn, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Maxime Lagace, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Jack Studnicka, Connor Clifton, Dan Vladar, Trent Frederic and Karson Kuhlman.

Boston and Carolina are meeting for the sixth time in the postseason. The Bruins hold the all time series advantage, 4-1, with 19 wins and 11 losses in the process entering Wednesday.

The B’s beat the Hartford Whalers in seven games in the 1990 Adams Division Semifinal and in six games in the 1991 Adams Division Semifinal, then beat the Hurricanes after the Whalers relocated to North Carolina in six games in the 1999 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.

In the last 20 years, however, the Hurricanes defeated the Bruins in seven games in the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinal, while Boston swept Carolina in four games in the 2019 Eastern Conference Final.

The Hurricanes made the playoffs after sweeping the New York Rangers in three games in their 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifier series– marking back-to-back postseason appearances for Carolina for the first time since 2001-2002.

The B’s beat the Canes in the season series 1-0-0 in one prior meeting (a, 2-0, shutout victory for Jaroslav Halak and the Bruins on Dec. 3rd) before the ongoing pandemic shortened the 2019-20 regular season.

Nino Niederreiter caught Torey Krug with an elbow and presented the Bruins with the game’s first power play at 3:24 of the first period.

Carolina’s penalty killing unit successfully kept Boston off the scoreboard, however, and did not allow a power-play goal against.

Almost midway into the opening frame, the Bruins recorded the first shot on goal of the game at 7:03.

A couple of minutes later, Charlie McAvoy tripped up Morgan Geekie and presented the Hurricanes with a power play opportunity at 9:25, but the Canes did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Fear not, however, as Carolina had swung enough momentum in their favor for the game’s first goal after Warren Foegele broke into the attacking zone.

Foegele moved the puck to Sebastian Aho, who then cycled it over to Teuvo Teravainen before No. 86 in white and red set up Joel Edmundson (1) for the one-timer goal as Rask had to work laterally across the crease while his Bruins teammates lacked pressure in front of him and gave up the, 1-0, lead to the Hurricanes.

Teravainen (2) and Aho (6) notched the assists on Edmundson’s first goal of the postseason at 13:02 of the first period.

Late in the period, however, Bergeron won a faceoff back to Marchand in the offensive zone, whereby Marchand cycled the puck around the faceoff dot before making a quick pass to David Pastrnak (1) for a redirection in the slot past Mrazek– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.

Marchand (1) and Bergeron (2) tallied the assists on Pastrnak’s goal at 17:45.

After 20 minutes of play, the the score was tied, 1-1, with the Bruins outshooting the Hurricanes, 9-4.

Carolina held the advantage in blocked shots (9-6), takeaways (1-0) and hits (18-11), however, while Boston led in giveaways (7-2) and faceoff win percentage (63-37) entering the first intermission.

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

Ondrej Kase was assessed a minor penalty for holding against Hamilton at 1:42 of the second period and sent the Hurricanes back on the power play early in the middle frame.

Once more, however, the Canes didn’t convert on the skater advantage, however– a pattern that became a trend all afternoon for both teams.

Moments later, Charlie Coyle (1) buried a loose puck from point blank to give Boston a, 2-1, lead at 4:38 of the second period, except there was just one thing– nobody knew if there had been goaltender interference, a hand pass or if Mrazek had frozen the puck.

Brind’Amour made it clear to Hurricanes beat reporters after his media availability that no official had clarified what was or wasn’t called on the ice and offered Carolina’s head coach to “pick one” if he was interested in challenging the ruling on the ice.

After a failed coach’s challenge by Brind’Amour for a “missed stoppage in the offensive zone”, the call on the ice (goal) was upheld and the Hurricanes were assessed a bench minor for delay of game.

Brind’Amour’s comments regarding the “joke” of a league earned him a $25,000 fine from the NHL, by the way.

In his defense, the league’s policy for clearly indicating and communicating what decision(s) have been made on calls by officials needs work (like, for instance, definitively making a call and alerting both coaches of exactly what call was made and options thereafter).

While shorthanded, however, the Hurricanes benefitted from a blown play from Pastrnak when he tried to force a pass through the neutral zone that Brock McGinn (1) intercepted, made his own breakaway, waltzed into the attacking zone and scored on a backhand over Rask’s glove while Boston’s power play unit trailed behind.

McGinn’s shorthanded goal tied the game, 2-2, at 4:59 of the second period– 21 seconds after Boston had taken their first lead since arriving in the bubble.

Midway through the middle period, Andrei Svechnikov caught Pastrnak with a slash and was sent to the sin bin for two minutes at 11:54, but the Bruins didn’t score on the resulting power play.

Shortly after returning to even strength action, the two teams dropped down to 4-on-4 play for a couple minutes after Jordan Staal and Coyle each received high sticking infractions for antagonizing one another at 14:07.

Neither team had any issue and resumed full strength action at 16:07.

Through 40 minutes of play, the score was tied, 2-2, while the Bruins were leading in shots on goal, 21-9.

Boston held a, 12-5, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone and continued to lead in giveaways (12-6) and faceoff win% (63-37), while Carolina led in blocked shots (16-14), takeaways (5-2) and hits (28-17) entering the second intermission.

The Hurricanes were 0/2 and the B’s were 0/3 on the power play heading into the final frame of regulation.

Less than a minute into the third period, David Krejci (1) received a pass, deked and reached around Mrazek to put the Bruins back into the lead, 3-2.

Kase (2) and McAvoy (2) collected the assists on Krejci’s goal at 59 seconds of the third period.

Less than five minutes later, Jeremy Lauzon was guilty of holding against Niederreiter and was assessed a minor infraction at 5:12, but the Hurricanes were powerless on the ensuing skater advantage and couldn’t storm their way to a goal before Lauzon was released from the box.

They did, however, swing momentum in their favor with sustained pressure in the third period and a shot from Haydn Fleury (1) that had eyes from the point and hit the twine while Carolina worked to screen Rask– tying the game, 3-3, at 9:49 of the third period.

Vincent Trocheck (1) had the only assist on the goal and the score remained even at, 3-3, through the end of regulation.

After 60 minutes of play– and for the second consecutive game in the Toronto bubble– overtime was necessary.

The Bruins were outshooting the Hurricanes, 28-21, and leading in blocked shots (23-20), giveaways (17-9) and faceoff win% (53-48), while Carolina held the advantage in takeaways (8-4) and hits (39-24), as well as shots on goal in the third period alone (12-7).

Both teams were 0/3 on the power play heading into the first overtime period.

Midway through the first overtime, McAvoy briefly headed down the tunnel after an awkward collision and fall to the ice, but the Bruins defender made his return and missed little action in the extra frames.

After letting the players play for quite some time, an official made a call against Carolina when Brady Skjei brought down Coyle with a hold at 18:24 of the overtime period.

Boston’s power play would extend 24 seconds into the second overtime period, however, as the first overtime came to a close with no final result.

The two clubs remained tied, 3-3, on the scoreboard, while the B’s led in shots on goal (39-27)– including an, 11-6, advantage in the first overtime alone– as well as blocked shots (29-28), giveaways (22-14) and faceoff win% (57-43).

Meanwhile, Carolina continued to hold the advantage in takeaways (9-8) and hits (51-32) through 80 minutes of hockey.

As there were no more penalties called in the game thereafter– and with Boston going scoreless on the power play that extended into the second overtime– the Canes finished 0/3 on the skater advantage, while the Bruins went 0/4 on the afternoon in power play tries.

Shortly after Carolina killed off Skjei’s minor, however, the Bruins struck fast and ended the game with a quick zone entry from Marchand led to a pass to Pastrnak who then dished a backhand drop pass to Bergeron (1) for the shot that beat Mrazek on the far side, blocker side, and sealed the deal on a victory for Boston in Game 1.

Pastrnak (1) and Marchand (2) tallied the assists on Bergeron’s game-winning double overtime goal that made the final result read, 4-3, in favor of the Bruins at 1:13 of the second overtime.

The goal was Bergeron’s fourth career Stanley Cup Playoff overtime goal– the second most among active NHL players (Patrick Kane leads Bergeron with five playoff overtime goals)– and Bergeron’s first since double overtime in Game 3 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins on June 5, 2013.

No. 37 in black and gold is now tied with 15 other NHLers for the fifth most career playoff overtime goals, while Joe Sakic’s eight Stanley Cup Playoff overtime goals remain the most all time (Maurice Richard had six and is second, while Glenn Anderson and Kane are tied for third with five).

Bergeron also established a record for the most playoff overtime goals in Bruins franchise history, surpassing Mel Hill and Terry O’Reilly, who each had three Stanley Cup Playoff overtime goals in their careers with Boston.

The league’s current longest tenured alternate captain also passed Johnny Bucyk for fourth among Bruins franchise leaders in all time playoff goals scored with 41.

Cam Neely (55 playoff goals with Boston), Phil Esposito (46) and Rick Middleton (45) sit ahead of Bergeron in that statistical category.

The Bruins finished the afternoon with the lead in shots on goal (40-28), blocked shots (30-28), giveaways (22-14) and faceoff win% (56-44), while the Hurricanes ended the game with the advantage in hits (51-32).

Boston took the, 1-0, series lead with Game 2 scheduled for Thursday night at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario as part of the NHL’s Phase 4 Return to Play Eastern Conference bubble.

Puck drop is scheduled for a little after 8 p.m. ET and fans in the United States can tune in on NBCSN, NESN or Fox Sports Carolinas, while those in Canada can catch the action on CBC, SportsNet or TVAS.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net Numbers Game

Look To The Rafters: Boston Bruins (Part II)

In the early days of DTFR, we made an educated guess as to who each team might honor in the future regarding retired jersey numbers. Since then, the Vegas Golden Knights came into existence and more than a few jersey numbers went out of circulation across the league. 

It’s time for an update and a look at who the Boston Bruins might honor by hanging their name and number from the rafters of TD Garden someday.

Boston Bruins Current Retired Numbers

2 Eddie Shore

3 Lionel Hitchman

4 Bobby Orr

5 Dit Clapper

7 Phil Esposito

8 Cam Neely

9 Johnny Bucyk

15 Milt Schmidt

16 Rick Middleton

24 Terry O’Reilly

77 Ray Bourque

Did Anything Change In The Last Five Years?

Yes! Rick Middleton had his No. 16 retired by the Bruins on Nov. 29, 2018, after scoring 898 points in 881 games with Boston over 12 seasons from 1976-88.

Possible Numbers to Retire Someday

30 Gerry Cheevers/Tim Thomas

The Bruins have never retired a goaltender’s jersey number, so why not make the first one count for two of the most prolific Boston netminders in the Expansion Era?

Boston has a chance to right a few wrongs if there’s any ill will leftover from Cheevers’ departure to the World Hockey Association (WHA) and back or Thomas’ debacle regarding his year-long vacation from the sport that led to being suspended from the team and his trade to the New York Islanders in Feb. 2013, while Thomas was resting at home reconnecting with (in his words) his family, friends and faith.

Last month, I addressed the pros and cons facing what might be a longshot at this point for No. 30 to ever be raised to the rafters at TD Garden in Cheevers’ and/or Thomas’ honor, but with Rick Middleton having his No. 16 retired last season– years after he hung up the skates and despite being on the outside looking in regarding Hockey Hall of Fame status, then there’s a chance the B’s overlook Cheevers’ sin and Thomas’ short tenure.

Nevertheless, both are Stanley Cup champion goaltenders and legends in their own right among Bruins fans around the Hub.

33 Zdeno Chara

The 2008-09 James Norris Trophy winner has played in 1,023 games in a Bruins uniform and amassed 148-333-481 totals in that span– so far. No, the 43-year-old defender and longest tenured captain in the National Hockey League is not done yet. 

Chara has indicated he’d like to go out on his own terms, whether that’s with another Cup under his belt or another full season– at least– if there’s ever another “normal” 82-game schedule again in the future.

In 1,553 career NHL games played for the Bruins (1,023 games), Ottawa Senators (299) and New York Islanders (231), Chara has 205 career goals and 451 career assists (656 points).

At 6-foot-9, he’s the tallest player in NHL history and though he might be tall in stature and a fierce competitor on the ice, Chara has a big heart off of it– taking charge in the annual pie donation at homeless shelters across Boston on American Thanksgiving, being one of the first You Can Play Project supporters and many other charitable efforts throughout the city, including, most recently, joining Black Lives Matter protests on the streets of Boston.

He joined the Bruins as a free agent on July 1, 2006, with Marc Savard as two centerpieces tasked with overhauling a floundering Original Six franchise on the ice and transforming the team into not only an annual playoff contender, but more popular than perhaps even the 1970s B’s teams throughout the New England region.

And even still, there’s some in the Bruins fan base that negate his workhorse effort, team leader mentality and humility.

Well, there was until he sustained a broken jaw in Game 4 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, then played in Game 5 on home ice with a cage and (presumably) in pain.

He’ll do anything to win another Cup since winning it with Boston nine years ago and ending the city’s 39-year Cup drought between raising Lord Stanley’s mug in 1972 and 2011.

37 Patrice Bergeron

Throughout the course of Bruins history there have been several individuals who have exemplified– with the utmost detail in every little thing they do– what it means to be a Bruin in Boston. 

Their names are Art Ross, Eddie Shore, Milt Schmidt, Bobby Orr and Patrice Bergeron.

Bergeron has spent his entire 16-year NHL career with Boston since being drafted by the Bruins in the second round (45th overall) in 2003. In 1,089 games, he’s scored 352 goals and amassed 517 assists for 869 career points. 

He’s also a member of the elusive Quadruple Gold Club, having won a Stanley Cup ring in 2011, two gold medals at the Winter Games for Canada in 2010 and 2014, a gold medal at the World Championship in 2004 and a gold medal at the World Junior Championship in 2005.

And if the Pentaple Gold Club was a thing, then Bergeron would be in that too– having been a member of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey championship winning Team Canada.

But enough about what he’s done away from the Bruins, eh.

If Schmidt was “Mr. Bruin”– or “The Ultimate Bruin” in his later years– then Bergeron is “Mr. Bruin Jr.” as the quintessential (likely) Bruin for life like how Schmidt lived and breathed (despite at one point coaching the Washington Capitals).

Bergeron recorded back-to-back 70-point seasons in his sophomore season and third NHL season, then suffered an almost career-ending– if not life threatening– concussion at the helm of Philadelphia Flyers defender, Randy Jones’ hit from behind just ten games into the 2007-08 season.

Bergeron’s season was cut short and his 2008-09 campaign was limited to 64 games when another concussion from a run-in with future teammate, then Carolina Hurricanes defender, Dennis Seidenberg, sidelined Bergeron for a duration of the season.

In 2011, Bergeron captured the Cup with Chara, Thomas and several other players who will be named in a moment that are possibly also deserving of the highest team honor in Boston– which raises a point about retired numbers in Bruins lore.

They come in bunches.

Nos. 2, 3 and 5 were all early pioneers of the franchise with No. 15 serving as a bridge between them and Nos. 4, 7 and 9. Then along came No. 24 before Nos. 8, 16 and 77 defined an era of Bruins hockey.

The same can be said for Nos. 33, 37, 40, 46 and perhaps 63 one day.

Anyway, No. 37 will go down in Boston sports history for more than a few reasons aside from his playoff overtime goals and everything else– he got better with age.

Bergeron turned in a career-high 79 points in 65 games played in 2018-19, and had 31-25–56 totals in 61 games up until the COVID-19 stoppage this season. He was on pace for 75 points had the regular season not met an abrupt end.

40 Tuukka Rask

No, Rask has “never won a Cup”. He has a Stanley Cup ring from 2011 and it doesn’t matter in the eyes of the engraver whether or not you were the starter or the backup when your name is etched into Lord Stanley’s mug.

Also, what hasn’t he done in Boston?

Rask has been a finalist for the Vezina Trophy twice (which was the same number of times Thomas was a Vezina finalist) in his career, winning in 2013-14 and yet to be determined this season. 

Oh, plus he ranks 1st in Bruins franchise history in wins (Rask has 291, Tiny Thompson is 2nd with 252), games played (Rask has 536, Thompson is 2nd with 468), saves (Rask has 13,711, Eddie Johnston had 12,375), save percentage (among goalies with a minimum of 100 games played as a Bruin, Rask has a .922, Thomas had a .921) and goals against average (again, among goalies with a minimum of 100 games played, Rask has a 2.26, Byron Dafoe had a 2.30).

Rask also leads all Bruins goaltenders in franchise history in points with 15 (all assists, as no B’s netminder has ever scored a goal). Cheevers is second to Rask in points by a Boston goaltender with 11 assists.

Want to talk about the two most important trophies in the league?

Cheevers and the Bruins made four Stanley Cup Final appearances together, winning in 1970 and 1972, and losing in 1977 and 1978. Boston also finished first in the regular season standings in 1970-71 and 1971-72, which preceded the creation of the Presidents’ Trophy in 1986, but was done with Cheevers in net.

Thomas won the Cup and the Conn Smythe in his only Stanley Cup Final with the team in 2011, but never backstopped the team to a Presidents’ Trophy season.

Rask, meanwhile, earned a Cup ring on the 2010-11 roster, dragged his teammates to the 2013 and 2019 Stanley Cup Final and helped them to the franchise’s second and third Presidents’ Trophy seasons in 2013-14 and 2019-20.

The Bruins have never retired a goaltender’s jersey number, but they’d be crazy not to retire Rask’s when his playing career is over.

And that’s not even mentioning the fact that both Thomas and Rask won the William M. Jennings Trophy in their careers. Thomas shared the award with his backup, Manny Fernandez, in the 2008-09 season, while Rask won the award with his backup, Jaroslav Halak, this season.

Crazy, right?

46 David Krejci

Imagine for a moment, if you will, a player like Bergeron, but only quieter and better at making everyone around him better because he has a golden stick when it comes to passing. That player is Krejci.

Krejci has 38 assists fewer than Bergeron in 178 games less in his career so far. Bergeron has 517 assists in 1,089 games, while Krejci has 479 assists in 911 career NHL games. Both players have only ever played for Boston.

A second-half of the season player, Krejci emerges in peak performance from about February onward and crests his prime in the postseason. As long as the Bruins clinch a playoff berth, Krejci remains a dark horse threat for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

He had 23 points in 25 games in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs and improved that to 26 points in 22 games in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In the run to his third Stanley Cup Final appearance, Krejci had 16 points across 24 games played through the seven-game series loss to the St. Louis Blues in 2019.

All of this is to say that Krejci is the other constant in the Bergeron-Chara Era (or is it really the Bergeron-Chara-Krejci Era?) and that he’s quietly amassed 207-479–686 totals in 911 career games with Boston from breaking into the league in the 2006-07 season through now.

Do not sleep on him. He deserves as much praise when all is said and done as some of the surefire players to have their jersey numbers retired when they hang up the skates.

63 Brad Marchand

Controversial? You got it.

But Terry O’Reilly has his jersey number hanging from the rafters of TD Garden, which means the “Little Ball of Hate” can get the same treatment as “Taz”.

Then there’s the fact that Marchand had 100 points last season in 79 games played– no, he did not miss any time due to any suspensions in 2018-19. He’s also had 85-points or more in the last four seasons dating back to 2016-17.

Since breaking into the league with a 20-game stint and only one assist in 2009-10, Marchand has gone on to amass 290-355–645 totals in 731 games from 2010-11 through the pandemic shortened 2019-20 season. That means he’s had 646 points in 751 career NHL games from the 2009-10 season through now.

After reaching 100 points last season in 79 games, Marchand had 87 points in 70 games this season. He was on pace for 102 points had the COVID-19 pandemic not interrupted those plans.

Instead of extending his four consecutive 30-goal seasons to five, Marchand finished short with 28 goals in 2019-20’s shortened regular season. He had a career-high 39 goals in 2016-17, and a career-high 64 assists last season.

Like Bergeron, Marchand appears to only be getting better with age and that’s only going to cement his status as an icon in Bruins franchise history. It might just be enough to push him over the edge and encourage Boston to hang his number from the rafters someday.

88 David Pastrnak

How did 24 other teams– yes fully acknowledging that some teams traded their picks to other teams that then had multiple picks in the first round before Boston selected 25th overall– pass over Pastrnak in the 2014 NHL Draft? How? 

In 390 career NHL games thus far, Pastrnak has 379 points. He has 180 goals and 199 assists in that span since breaking into the league in the 2014-15 season and not being sent back down to the Providence Bruins (AHL).

This season alone, Pastrnak had 48 goals in 70 games– tied for the league lead in goals scored with Washington Capitals forward, Alex Ovechkin– en route to sharing the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy and being the first Bruin in franchise history to have his name etched on that award named after the prolific Montreal Canadiens goal scorer from many years ago.

In fairness, the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy wasn’t a thing until the 1998-99 season, so B’s legends like Rick Middleton and Cam Neely never got a chance to win it (let alone Bobby Orr).

But Pastrnak is a star in his own right. He’s a star in the making that was on pace for 56 goals at the time of the stoppage and 111 points before the pandemic put an early end to the 2019-20 regular season.

Nevertheless, he set career-highs in goals (48), assists (47) and points (95) this season and has scored more goals than the prior season in four-consecutive seasons now (34 goals in 75 games in 2016-17, 35 goals in 82 games in 2017-18, 38 goals in 66 games in 2018-19 and 48 goals in 70 games in 2019-20).

As long as Pastrnak can stay healthy and maintain and/or elevate his play for the next four or five seasons, then he’ll see his jersey number in Boston’s rafters with their most recent prolific goal scorer with the last name “Neely”.

Final Thoughts

Since Chara created the current team culture, it’d be an insult to leave out any of the key core members of the last decade or so of Bruins hockey history. 

Sure, it might be a bit much to have so many jersey retirement nights upcoming and increasing the amount of jersey numbers taken out of circulation in Boston from 11 to upwards of at least 16, but to reiterate– the Bruins retire numbers in bunches.

These players define an era in B’s lore. These players are doing so as one unit– the way their current captain and perhaps greatest leader in the history of the team methodically designed, cultivated and produced the close-knit machine that is the Bruins organization on the ice and in the dressing room.

In a time with rightful public shaming and disgrace for not immediately stepping up and committing to help their employees in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, these players stepped up out of their own volition to do something their owner wouldn’t do without being provoked.

The very least that owner can do to keep in good faith standing with the club’s alumni and current players destined for jersey retirement night ceremony glory, would be to honor this extraordinary group of gentlemen with class.

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NHL Nick's Net

Why the Boston Bruins Might Never Retire No. 30

For a lot of Boston Bruins fans, the term “goalie controversy” often draws up images of people shouting at each other on Twitter about Tim Thomas vs. Tuukka Rask– yes, even to this day, despite the fact that 1) Thomas was traded to the New York Islanders in 2013 and 2) that he effectively retired after the 2013-14 season split between the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars (he never announced his retirement officially, anyway). 

Both have a Stanley Cup ring to their names as they were members of the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Bruins roster, with Thomas leading the way to Boston’s first championship since 1972, while Rask was biding his time as the team’s backup before taking over as the full-time B’s starter since the 2012-13 season– racking up multiple franchise records in the process and two more Stanley Cup Final appearances in 2013 and 2019.

But this “goalie controversy” has nothing to do with the galaxy brain Thomas vs. Rask arguments on Twitter.

This is about the “controversial” debate that rages surrounding retiring No. 30 in Boston and the controversies that surround two of its most prominent Bruins to wear it.

When considering whether or not to retire a number in Bruins lore, first consider what other Original Six teams have done, since they’re the only comparable franchises with almost as many– if not more– years of history than Boston.

Then consider the fact that Boston has never retired a number for a goalie. For quick reference, retired numbers of goalies are in bold.

Boston Bruins retired numbers

  • 2 Eddie Shore
  • 3 Lionel Hitchman
  • 4 Bobby Orr
  • 5 “Dit” Clapper
  • 7 Phil Esposito
  • 8 Cam Neely
  • 9 Johnny Bucyk
  • 15 Milt Schmidt
  • 16 Rick Middleton
  • 24 Terry O’Reilly
  • 77 Ray Bourque

Chicago Blackhawks retired numbers

  • 1 Glenn Hall
  • 3 Keith Magnuson/Pierre Pilote
  • 9 Bobby Hull
  • 18 Denis Savard
  • 21 Stan Mikita
  • 35 Tony Esposito

Detroit Red Wings retired numbers

  • 1 Terry Sawchuk
  • 4 Red Kelly
  • 5 Nicklas Lidstrom
  • 7 Ted Lindsay
  • 9 Gordie Howe
  • 10 Alex Delvecchio
  • 12 Sid Abel
  • 19 Steve Yzerman

Montreal Canadiens retired numbers

  • 1 Jacques Plante
  • 2 Doug Harvey
  • 3 Emile Bouchard
  • 4 Jean Beliveau
  • 5 Bernie Geoffrion/Guy Lapointe
  • 7 Howie Morenz
  • 9 Maurice Richard
  • 10 Guy Lafleur
  • 12 Yvan Cournoyer/Dickie Moore
  • 16 Henri Richard/Elmer Lach
  • 18 Serge Savard
  • 19 Larry Robinson
  • 23 Bob Gainey
  • 29 Ken Dryden
  • 33 Patrick Roy

New York Rangers retired numbers

  • 1 Eddie Giacomin
  • 2 Brian Leetch
  • 3 Harry Howell
  • 7 Rod Gilbert
  • 9 Andy Bathgate/Adam Graves
  • 11 Vic Hadfield/Mark Messier
  • 19 Jean Ratelle
  • 35 Mike Ritcher

Toronto Maple Leafs retired numbers

  • 1 Turk Broda/Johnny Bower
  • 4 Hap Day/Red Kelly
  • 5 Bill Barilko
  • 6 Irvine “Ace” Bailey
  • 7 King Clancy/Tim Horton
  • 9 Ted Kennedy/Charlie Conacher
  • 10 Syl Apps/George Armstrong
  • 13 Mats Sundin
  • 14 Dave Keon
  • 17 Wendell Clark
  • 21 Borje Salming
  • 27 Frank Mahovlich/Darryl Sittler
  • 93 Doug Gilmour

There’s not many retired goalie numbers among Original Six teams, let alone the rest of the NHL. Plus Boston hasn’t even retired No. 1 for Cecil “Tiny” Thompson and/or Frank Brimsek.

Next, think about Hockey Hall of Fame status, as well as career longevity (in Boston and outside of Boston).

Especially since there is no “Boston Bruins Hall of Fame” (which is a shame, really– they built The Hub on Causeway and they couldn’t dedicate more to team history/histories (if you include the NBA’s Boston Celtics) than just the entrance to the old Boston Garden standing inside of Banners Kitchen & Tap?).

Sure there’s The Sports Museum inside TD Garden, but the Montreal Canadiens have a Montreal Canadiens Hall of Fame underneath Bell Centre. Your move, Mr. Jacobs.

Cam Neely– He didn’t play nearly enough games for his era due to Ulf Samuelsson, but Neely is a Hockey Hall of Fame member.

Rick Middleton– He played a lot, scored a ton, but Middleton isn’t a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Terry O’Reilly– He was like Milt Schmidt in that he did a lot for the Bruins organization (player and later coach), but O’Reilly isn’t a Hockey Hall of Fame member.

As with everything, there are exceptions to the rule and O’Reilly and Middleton are deservingly so in their own right.

Gerry Cheevers is a Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender. Tim Thomas is a U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender. He’s still eligible for the Hockey Hall of Fame, but he hasn’t gotten in and there’s no guarantees that he’ll make it.

Interestingly enough, however, while Thomas might never be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Cheevers made it in 1985, but never won a Vezina (Thomas has two, 2008-09 and 2010-11) and was never named to an All-Star Team at season’s end (Thomas was named to two, 2008-09 and 2010-11).

Then think about how they left Boston.

In 1972, the World Hockey Association (WHA) came into fruition as a direct rival of the National Hockey League (NHL). The WHA promised better pay for players and the same– if not better– experience for fans.

It was created by a pair of American promoters who also made the American Basketball Association (ABA), which, if you’re a fan of basketball, you already know the ABA merger story with the National Basketball Association (NBA) to form the National Basketball Association (NBA, 1976-present).

From the onset, the ABA was poised to one day merge with the NBA in its efforts for success a la the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) merger prior to the 1970 NFL season.

The WHA was all about what the NHL wasn’t about.

They wanted to capitalize on markets where hockey could flourish, but were otherwise overlooked by the NHL, as well as attract the best players in the game by paying more than what NHL teams would– especially attracting European talent whereas the NHL was stuck as a “North American” game at the time. 

Free agency was a new concept for professional sports in the 1970s and it reigned supreme in the emerging shift towards player’s rights and the evolution of players’ associations.

The NHL’s reserve clause at the time meant players couldn’t become the equivalent of today’s unrestricted free agent until they were 31-years-old. These days, there’s restricted free agency, unrestricted free agency, as well as one-way and two-way contracts to worry about, but that’s another topic for another day.

Cheevers left the Bruins for the WHA, which was deplorable in the eyes of the NHL back then as much as it is now. 

Though fans might have loved seeing the Cleveland Crusaders jerseys, NHL owners hated them. 

Though players loved making more money at a time when all the other major professional sports were seeing significant raises, NHL owners hated them. 

Though WHA franchises thought they’d be on the fast track to continuing operations in the NHL after the WHA ceased to exist, the NHL went all out to slash and burn the remnants of the WHA. 

Seriously though, when the WHA initiated discussions for a merger in 1977, NHL owners voted down a plan to merge six WHA teams into the NHL.

The Edmonton Oilers, New England Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, Cincinnati Stingers, Houston Aeros and Winnipeg Jets wanted out of a league that was hemorrhaging money and into the safe arms of the NHL and its tradition. 

By 1976, there were 32 major professional hockey teams between the NHL and WHA, which diluted the talent pool of a sport that was nowhere near the numbers of popularity and youth through junior league development as it is today.

When it came time to re-negotiate a merger in 1978, Houston was no longer in the plan, since the Aeros ended up having to fold.

The Indianapolis Racers folded in the middle of December 1978, which set the final nail in the merger. Cincinnati and the Birmingham Bulls would each be compensated to disband elsewhere, while Edmonton, New England, Quebec and Winnipeg would join the NHL at the WHA’s insistence.

Except it wasn’t that easy for the Oilers, Whalers, Nordiques and Jets. 

Each team would be stripped of its history– rendering them as NHL expansion teams for the start of the 1979-80 season, subject to expansion fees, an expansion draft and penalizing them by allowing NHL teams to reclaim players that jumped ship to the WHA.

Additionally, the Bruins petitioned the “New England Whalers” moniker, resulting in the Whalers having to drop “New England” in favor of “Hartford” since Boston didn’t want any confusion that the Whalers were playing on their turf (despite Massachusetts and Connecticut both being part of New England). 

The Bruins owned New England. 

That only strengthened the underdog status of the Whalers and the hatred between the two clubs in their Adams Division rivalry after realignment for the 1981-82 season (Hartford kicked things off in their NHL tenure in the Norris Division from 1979-81).

Anyway, back to Cheevers and his departure from the Hub.

After winning his second Cup with Boston in 1972, Cheevers jumped at the opportunity Cleveland created to make a lot more money than what the Bruins were offering their two-time Stanley Cup winning goaltender. 

Cheevers lasted parts of three seasons as a Crusader from 1972-73 to 1975-76, when a financial dispute with Cleveland’s management resulted in Cheevers jumping back into the NHL fold with Boston in the middle of the 1975-76 season.

Since becoming a starting goaltender in the 1967-68 season through Boston’s 1971-72 Cup winning season, Cheevers amassed a 126-52-40 record in 221 games with a 2.72 goals against average and a .915 save percentage in that span, as well as 15 shutouts.

Prior to his departure from the Bruins for Cleveland, he had a career best 2.50 GAA and .920 SV% in 41 games in the 1971-72 season alone as a 31-year-old goaltender (he wouldn’t turn 32 until Dec. 7, 1972).

Though Cheevers returned in 1975-76, things never were really the same.

His WHA tenure racked up a 99-78-9 record in 191 career games for the Crusaders from 1972 through part of the 1975-76 season– with a 3.12 GAA and 14 shutouts in that span.

On Jan. 27, 1976, he returned to Boston as a free agent after being released by Cleveland– two days after the Crusaders suspended him for not showing up and refusing to play.

By that point, Cheevers was 35-years-old and finished off the 1975-76 NHL season with an 8-2-5 record, as well as a 2.74 GAA and a .900 SV% in 15 games played for the Bruins.

In his full seasons for Boston that followed from 1976-77 to his retirement after the 1979-80 season, Cheevers went 87-35-24 in 151 games, with a 2.96 GAA, an .878 SV% and nine shutouts in that span.

Though the emergence of Wayne Gretzky to the NHL scene may have shifted the offensive output across the league since 1979, Cheevers’ NHL playing days only coincided with Gretzky in Gretzky’s rookie season (1979-80).

Though Cheevers had a .524 winning percentage in his first NHL stint with Toronto (two games)  and Boston (250 games) from 1961-72 and a .572 winning percentage after his WHA days in 166 games with Boston from 1976-80, his goals against average and save percentage suffered dramatically from a 2.85 GAA and a .911 SV% in 1961-72 to a 2.94 GAA and an .880 SV% from 1976-80.

Of course, age and the inevitable “wall” that players hit at the twilight of their prime is likely a factor here.

Still, the fact remains the same.

Despite leading the Bruins as a head coach after his retirement as a player from 1980-85, his defection from the NHL to the WHA crushed his immediate chances at being honored for his work on the ice in a sweater with the spoked-B on the front and the No. 30 on the back.

And all these years later, he might still be paying for it.

Thomas, on the other hand, chose to sit out the 2012-13 season, citing a need for more connection to his faith, family and friends.

Though it’s certainly understandable these days, given the presumptive hell he must have gone through with all of his concussions and finding the love for the game again– albeit watching as a fan these days– since his retirement from the NHL after the 2013-14 season, Thomas’ 2012-13 plans weren’t the first time he angered the Bruins fanbase, let alone, Boston’s front office.

After winning the Cup in 2011, he skipped out on the team’s White House invitation— citing (to paraphrase) that both major political parties are at fault for the federal government’s overbearance on its citizens.

Other than that, there’s his staunch– if not, outlandish at times– political views that cannot be overlooked (his support for Chick-fil-A amidst the company’s anti-equal marriage stance) in a day and age where Hockey Is (supposed to be) For Everyone.

Like the rest of us, however, Thomas is human– complex, contradicting, well-defined and unique as an individual. We all struggle through our own cognitive dissonance through life. 

For some, his on-ice performance can be separated from what his private off-ice personal life ensues. 

For others, he might not be as high on the pedestal of Boston sports lore due to his complicated nature– one that contradicts research and the science behind traumatic brain injuries, therapy and experimental treatments with conspiracy theories related to climate change, among other things.

All of this begs the question “should there be a character component to retiring numbers,” which could lead to further discussion surrounding whether or not teams should permanently unretire numbers when legendary players don’t live up to being role models off the ice (see, Bobby Hull and the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes). 

Likewise, the same argument could be applied to hall of fame inductions, but both are discussions for another time.

But Thomas’ decision to sit out the 2012-13 season with one-year remaining on his contract and a $5.000 million cap hit in a time when Boston was built for contending for another Cup run while spending $8.500 million combined between Thomas and Tuukka Rask in the crease as the team sat uncomfortably below the salary cap at about $68.868 million out of the $70.200 million ceiling, struck a nerve with then General Manager, Peter Chiarelli, and Co.

Oh and to further add to the uncertainty, the league hit a lockout prior to the start of the 2012-13 season, which saw the usual 82-game schedule reduced to 48 games that season once play resumed in January.

On Feb. 7, 2013, the Bruins traded Thomas to the New York Islanders to free up much needed cap space in an attempt to re-sign Rask, Nathan Horton, Andrew Ference, Anton Khudobin, Jaromir Jagr and others in the 2013 offseason after losing in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.

Only Rask remained as Ference’s free agent status priced himself out of Boston, Jagr was deemed “too old” (joke’s on them!) and Horton left for the Columbus Blue Jackets in a shroud of “word on the street” rumors. Khudobin, meanwhile, went to the Carolina Hurricanes on a one-year, $800,000 deal after Boston signed Chad Johnson for $200,000 less to be Rask’s backup for the 2013-14 season.

Thomas returned to the NHL for the 2013-14 season with the Florida Panthers after signing a one-year deal on Sept. 26, 2013, before later being traded to the Dallas Stars on March 5, 2014– one day after Florida re-acquired Roberto Luongo from the Vancouver Canucks.

His comeback season didn’t go well (posting a 16-20-3 record, a 2.87 goals against average and a .909 save percentage in 40 games with the Panthers, as well as a 2-4-1 record, a 2.97 GAA and a .902 SV% in eight games with the Stars) and Thomas rode off into the sunset after Dallas was eliminated in six games in the 2014 First Round by the Anaheim Ducks.

The Bruins may let bygones be bygones and welcome Thomas with open arms for a “Tim Thomas Night” or special ceremony one day in the future, but it likely won’t be before Rask retires.

As it is, Thomas isn’t planning on traveling much outside of his Washington, D.C. appearance for his induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Dec. 2019.

So, what goaltender could have their number retired by Boston?

If there’s one Bruins goaltender that will have his number retired sooner rather than later, it’s Rask.

His current contract expires at the end of next season and Rask has expressed he might retire, but he also might not.

There’s three probable options for Rask when all is said and done in 2021;

1) to sign a short term deal and remain with Boston for his entire NHL career,

2) to sign a contract elsewhere or

3) to retire– finishing his career as one of the greatest goaltenders in Bruins history as he currently ranks 1st in wins (291– Tiny Thompson is 2nd with 252), 1st in games played (536– Thompson is 2nd with 468), 1st in saves (13,711– Eddie Johnston is 2nd with 12,375), 1st in save percentage among goalies with a minimum of 100 games played as a Bruin (.922– Thomas is 2nd with a .921), 1st in goals against average among goalies with a minimum of 100 games played for Boston (2.26– Byron Dafoe is 2nd with a 2.30), 2nd in shutouts among goalies with a minimum 100 games played for Boston (50– Thompson leads with 74) and– as a bonus– Rask leads with the most points by a goaltender with the Bruins (15, all assists– Cheevers is 2nd with 11, also all assists).

That’s no slouch and not just a result of suiting up in a bunch of games for one team without any real success whatsoever.

That same 2011 Stanley Cup championship year for the Bruins?

Rask was part of that.

Doesn’t matter if you’re the starter or the backup when your name goes on the Cup for a job well done as one of the best goaltending tandems that season. Besides, in today’s NHL, there’s an ever increasing importance for a 1A/1B solution in the crease.

Rask also backstopped the team to two more Stanley Cup Final appearances since then in 2013 and 2019.

He also won the Vezina Trophy in 2014 and was likely on track to pick up his second Vezina this season– number of games played compared to his peers, like Andrei Vasilevskiy, be damned– at its pause due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with a 2.12 GAA and a .929 SV%, as well as a 26-8-6 record in 41 games played.

No. 40 in black and gold led the NHL in goals against average this season and was second in save percentage, while sharing second place in shutouts with five.

Whether he wins this season’s Vezina Trophy or not, he’ll still have a consolation prize shared with his backup, Jaroslav Halak, as the duo won the William M. Jennings Trophy for the 2019-20 season as the goaltender(s) that have played a minimum of 25 games in a season for the team(s) with the fewest goals scored against it.

Rask and Halak allowed 174 goals this season in 70 games played, whereas Ben Bishop and Khudobin allowed 177 goals against for the Stars in 69 games.

This season’s hardware is Rask’s first Jennings Trophy win and Halak’s second career Jennings honors after previously sharing the title with Brian Elliott in the 2011-12 season with the Blues.

As for Rask’s jersey retirement case, it helps that he is tied for the best save percentage in league history (.922) with Dominik Hasek and 11th overall in the NHL’s all-time goals against averages with a 2.26 in his career.

Oh and the B’s have won the Presidents’ Trophy twice with Rask in the crease (2013-14 and 2019-20), something Thomas never did in his tenure with Boston and Cheevers could never do, since the award wasn’t presented for the first time until the 1985-86 season.

It’s possible the Bruins retire No. 40 before they make up for lost time and retire No. 30 for two players, like how the Toronto Maple Leafs retired No. 1 twice (Turk Broda and Johnny Bower).

After all, if you’re worried about running out of numbers that are typically used by a goaltender, Nos. 1, 29, 31, 35, 45 and any other number that isn’t already or won’t be retired by the time Boston gets around to retiring a goaltender’s jersey number (assuming the B’s retire No. 33 for Zdeno Chara, No. 37 for Patrice Bergeron, No. 46 for David Krejci and perhaps No. 63 and No. 88 by that time) will still be available.

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NHL Nick's Net

Krug’s rocket leads Bruins to, 2-1, win in OT in Florida

Torey Krug and the Boston Bruins pulled off a, 2-1, comeback win in overtime against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night at BB&T Center.

Bruins goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (18-6-6 record, 2.39 goals against average, .919 save percentage in 31 games played), made 32 saves on 33 shots against for a .970 SV% in the win.

Florida netminder, Chris Driedger (5-2-1, 2.29 GAA, .932 SV% in 10 games played) stopped 26 out of 28 shots faced for a .929 SV% in the overtime loss.

The B’s improved to 43-13-12 (98 points) on the season and remain in command of the Atlantic Division, while the Panthers fell to 33-26-8 (74 points) and stuck in 4th place in the Atlantic.

Boston improved to 21-10-3 on the road this season, as well.

The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee) and Connor Clifton (upper body) on Thursday night, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made one change to his lineup among his forwards– moving Sean Kuraly back to center the fourth line with Anders Bjork replacing Par Lindholm at left wing.

Lindholm was joined by John Moore, Anton Blidh and Karson Kuhlman in the press box as Boston’s healthy scratches in Florida.

Midway through the opening frame, Ondrej Kase awkwardly collided with Evgenii Dadonov, leaving Kase on his hands and knees and (somehow) a minor penalty for tripping Dadonov at 11:41 of the first period.

Florida did not convert on their first power play opportunity of the night.

A few minutes later, after Nick Ritchie tried to mix things up with Dadonov for the incidental contact with Kase that sent Kase down the tunnel before re-emerging from Boston’s dressing room moments after Jake DeBrusk served Kase’s minor for tripping Dadonov– Ritchie went square dancing with Riley Stillman.

The two players exchanged fisticuffs and received five-minute majors for fighting at 14:35 in what was the 18th fight this season for Boston– and the 11th since Jan. 1st.

It was Ritchie’s first fight in 46 personal games played this season and Stillman’s second fighting major in 33 personal games this season.

Less than a minute to go in the first period, Mike Matheson tripped up Brad Marchand and was sent to the penalty box as a result at 19:01.

Boston did not convert on their first skater advantage of the night.

Heading into the first intermission, the game was still tied, 0-0, while the Bruins led in shots on goal, 12-4.

The Panthers held the advantage in takeaways (8-4), hits (9-6) and faceoff win percentage (67-33), while the B’s led in giveaways (6-4).

Both teams had six blocked shots aside and were 0/1 on the power play.

Early in the middle frame, MacKenzie Weegar (6) kicked things off with a one-timer from the point that beat Halak over the blocker with net front screen by Lucas Wallmark.

Brett Connolly (14) and Wallmark (13) had the assist’s on Weegar’s goal and Florida jumped out to a, 1-0, lead at 6:55 of the second period.

Moments later, Dadonov threw an errant elbow on a reverse check in the corner, leaving Bruins defender, Brandon Carlo dazed as he was helped off the ice.

Carlo did not return to the game and was ruled out by Boston’s public relations team with an upper body in a tweet during the third period.

Dadonov was originally assessed a five-minute major penalty on the play, but a review lessened the infraction to two-minutes for elbowing at 10:46 of the second period.

The 30-year-old forward is a pending-unrestricted free agent at season’s end and has 25-21–46 totals in 67 games with the Panthers this season and has never been fined or suspended in his National Hockey League career (2009-12, 2017-present).

As a result of Thursday night’s loss, Florida is still four points outside of a playoff spot.

Boston’s power play unit didn’t take long while Dadonov was in the box to capitalize on the skater advantage as Krug rocketed a shot from the point that Patrice Bergeron (30) tipped in to reach the 30-goal plateau for the sixth time in his career (2003-present).

In doing so, Bergeron became the sixth Bruin in franchise history to record at least six 30-goal seasons, joining Phil Esposito (eight 30-goal seasons with Boston), Rick Middleton (eight), Johnny Bucyk (seven), Cam Neely (six) and Peter McNab (six).

Krug (39) and Marchand (57) notched the assists on Bergeron’s power play tally at 11:00 of the middle frame and the Bruins tied the game, 1-1.

Less than a minute later, Boston was back on the power play as Aleksander Barkov tripped up DeBrusk at 11:48, but the B’s weren’t able to convert on their third power play of the night.

Shortly after the Panthers killed off Barkov’s infraction, Florida went on the power play after Marchand caught Mike Hoffman with a hook at 15:06.

The Panthers didn’t score on the advantage, however.

With 1:59 remaining in the period, Anton Stralman took a puck to the face off an inadvertent deflection, but remained in the game.

Through 40 minutes of action at BB&T Center, the Bruins and Panthers were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard with Florida holding an edge in shots on goal, 19-17.

Boston led in blocked shots (10-8), hits (16-14) and faceoff win% (57-43), while Florida led in takeaways (10-8) and giveaways (11-9).

The Panthers were 0/2 on the advantage, while the Bruins were 1/3 on the power play heading into the second intermission.

Frank Vatrano slashed Jeremy Lauzon at 2:04 of the third period and was sent to the sin bin as a result, but Boston’s power play was cut short when Charlie Coyle tripped Stralman at 2:58.

The two sides escaped 4-on-4 action unharmed, but upon Vatrano’s re-admittance to the game, No. 77 in Panthers red and blue played the puck while one of his legs was still in the penalty box– resulting in an automatic interference minor penalty at 4:06.

Once more, the two clubs skated at 4-on-4 even strength until David Pastrnak got his stick between the legs of Barkov and brought down the Florida captain at 4:54 of the third period.

The Panthers emerged with an abbreviated power play after the two sides went through 4-on-4 action again, but Florida remained powerless on the power play.

At the end of regulation, the score remained tied, 1-1, and the Panthers led in shots on goal, 31-24.

Florida maintained the advantage in takeaways (12-10) and hits (24-21), while Boston led in faceoff win% (53-48).

Both teams had 14 blocked shots and 14 giveaways aside.

As there were no penalties called in overtime, the Panthers finished the night 0/4 on the power play, while the Bruins went 1/4.

In overtime, Florida’s head coach, Joel Quenneville, opted to start Barkov, Hoffman and Aaron Ekblad, while Cassidy countered the Panthers’ trio with Coyle, DeBrusk and Charlie McAvoy.

Late in the five-minute overtime period, after both teams swapped chance for chance, Pastrnak worked to retrieve a puck along the end boards that was sent in by Krug.

No. 88 in black and gold sent a pass back to Krug at the point, where No. 47 then wound up and blasted a slap shot past Driedger to end the game in overtime.

Krug’s (9) goal was assisted by Pastrnak (46) and David Krejci (29) at 4:08 of the overtime period and lifted the Bruins over the Panthers, 2-1.

Boston finished the game with victory on the scoreboard, but trailed Florida in shots on goal, 33-28.

The Panthers also held the advantage in giveaways (15-14) and hits (24-22), while the Bruins led in faceoff win% (52-48).

Both teams finished with 14 blocked shots each.

Florida fell to 2-4 in overtime this season and 4-8 overall past regulation, while Boston improved to 6-2 in overtime and 6-12 past 60 minutes overall in the regular season.

The Bruins improved to 13-2-6 (6-1-0 on the road) when tied after the first period, 18-6-4 (8-5-1 on the road) when giving up the game’s first goal and 11-2-2 (6-2-0 on the road) when tied after two periods this season.

Meanwhile, the Panthers fell to 11-9-4 (4-5-2 at home) when tied after the first period, 25-5-4 (14-2-3 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal and 2-4-4 (0-3-2 at home) when tied after two periods this season.

Boston wrapped up their three-game road trip (3-0-0) on Thursday and plays host to the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden on Saturday.

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NHL Nick's Net

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NHL Nick's Net

Stamkos scores two in Bolts, 3-2, win over B’s

Steven Stamkos scored a pair of goals– including the eventual game-winner– in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s, 3-2, victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday at Amalie Arena.

Andrei Vasilevskiy (13-8-1 record, 2.78 goals against average, .910 save percentage in 22 games played) made 27 saves on 29 shots against (.931 SV%) in the win for the Lightning.

Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask (13-4-3, 2.24 GAA, .926 SV% in 20 games played) stopped 28 out of 31 shots faced for a .926 SV% in the loss.

The B’s fell to 20-7-6 (46 points) on the season, but remain in command of the Atlantic Division, while the Bolts improved to 16-11-3 (35 points) and jumped to 4th place in the Atlantic .

Boston fell to 8-6-1 on the road this season and 2-2-1 in the 2nd game of back-to-backs this season.

The Bruins are now on a five-game losing streak for the first time under head coach, Bruce Cassidy. The last four games have been regulation losses, which marks the first time that Boston has lost four straight games in regulation since the 2016-17 season (when Claude Julien was fired and Cassidy was promoted/hired).

Kevan Miller (knee), Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia) and Zach Senyshyn (lower body) were all out of the lineup due to injury against Tampa.

Kuhlman, Senyshyn and Anton Blidh (shoulder– injured in the preseason) have all resumed skating according to Cassidy.

Miller, on the other hand, has not as a result of yet another setback in his recovery.

Cassidy made no adjustments to his forwards from Wednesday night’s, 3-2, loss in Washington to Thursday night’s lineup against the Lightning, but he did replace Connor Clifton on the blue line with John Moore.

Clifton joined Par Lindholm and David Backes as Boston’s short list of healthy scratches in Tampa.

Shortly after puck drop, Bruins captain, Zdeno Chara, squared off with Lightning forward, Pat Maroon, as the two players exchanged fisticuffs 27 seconds into the first period.

Both players received five-minute majors for fighting in what was just the 7th fight this season for Boston and 2nd in as many days as Chara fought Tom Wilson in Washington on Wednesday night.

Moments later, Brad Marchand wrapped around the Tampa net and sent a quick pass to Patrice Bergeron (10) in the low slot whereby the league’s current longest tenured alternate captain slid the rubber biscuit past Vasilevskiy while the Bolts goaltender dropped his stance.

Marchand (30) and Charlie McAvoy (11) notched the assists on Bergeron’s goal at 4:26 of the first period as the Bruins took the, 1-0, lead.

Of note, Bergeron skated in his 1,052nd career NHL game– tying current Boston General Manager, Don Sweeney, for 3rd all time in franchise history.

Only Ray Bourque (1,518) and Johnny Bucyk (1,436) have played in more games in their tenure with the B’s.

Midway through the period, Moore tripped Alex Killorn at 12:44, but the Lightning weren’t able to capitalize on their first power play of the night.

Heading into the first intermission, the Bruins led, 1-0, on the scoreboard, despite being outshot, 7-4, by the Bolts.

Tampa also led in hits (17-9), but Boston led in blocked shots (3-2), takeaways (3-1), giveaways (2-0) and faceoff win percentage (64-36).

Entering the second period, the Lightning were 0/1 on the power play, while the Bruins had yet to see any time on the skater advantage.

Ryan McDonagh kicked things off in the middle frame with an interference minor at 2:12 of the second period, but Boston once again struggled all night long on the power play– failing to convert on their first skater advantage of the night.

About a couple of minutes later, Matt Grzelcyk collided with Anthony Cirelli and inadvertently tripped the Lightning forward, yielding a tripping minor.

But Grzelcyk wasn’t the only skater heading to the penalty box as Kevin Shattenkirk took exception to the trip and tried to fight the Bruins defender.

As a result, Shattenkirk received a roughing infraction and the two teams took each other on at 4-on-4 for two-minutes at 4:48 of the middle frame before resuming full strength.

Moore tripped Killorn once again midway through the second period at 12:29.

This time around, the Bolts’ power play struck fast.

Stamkos (12) wired a shot in the back of the net after Bergeron won the draw back to Chara, but Chara was stripped of the puck along the wall by Nikita Kucherov.

Kucherov (22) had the only assist on Stamkos’ first goal of the game and the Lightning tied it up, 1-1, at 12:35 with the power play goal.

Through 40 minutes of action on Thursday, Tampa and Boston were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard, despite the Lightning leading in shots on goal, 21-16– including a, 14-12, advantage in the second period alone.

The B’s led in blocked shots (10-7), giveaways (4-0) and faceoff win% (55-46) entering the second period, while Tampa led in takeaways (8-6) and hits (23-16).

The Lightning were 1/2 on the skater advantage, while the Bruins were 0/1 on the power play heading into the final frame of regulation.

Sean Kuraly hooked Mathieu Joseph at 2:43 of the third period and presented Tampa with yet another power play opportunity.

Late on the ensuing skater advantage, Brayden Point (11) scored a one-timer goal to make it, 2-1, Bolts after Rask made the initial glove save on Kucherov before the Bruins couldn’t clear the zone and thus helped Tampa in their efforts for Point’s goal.

Kucherov (23) and Victor Hedman (21) had the assists on Point’s goal at 4:07 and the Lightning were in full command of the game.

Moments later, Stamkos went to the sin bin for hooking McAvoy at 10:28, but Boston was powerless on the power play once again– even after taking a timeout with 8:36 remaining in regulation to draw up a plan.

Late in the third, Stamkos (13) sniped a shot from almost center on in the high slot after Boston failed to clear their own zone and witnessed an unfortunate bounce land on the Lightning captain’s stick before he fired the puck over Rask’s glove to give Tampa a two-goal lead at 15:13.

Stamkos’ unassisted effort made it, 3-1, for the Bolts and held up to become the game-winning goal.

He now has six goals in his last four games.

About a minute later, Moore (1) snuck in from the point for the Bruins and received an indirect pass from Anders Bjork before beating Vasilevskiy on the short side and bringing the B’s to within one.

Bjork (5) and Chara (8) had the assists on Moore’s first goal of the season at 16:45 of the third period in his fourth game back since missing the first 28 games due to offseason shoulder surgery.

There was a span of 1:32 between Lightning and Bruins goals, but the Bolts maintained a, 3-2, advantage over Boston and that was all that they needed even after Cassidy pulled Rask for an extra attacker with 1:58 remaining in the game.

At the final horn, Tampa won, 3-2, and handed Boston their fifth loss in a row, despite outshooting the Lightning, 13-10, in the third period alone.

The Bolts finished the night leading in total shots on goal (31-29), as well as hits (32-20), while the B’s finished Thursday night leading in blocked shots (12-10), giveaways (9-4) and faceoff win% (52-48).

The Lightning finished the action 2/3 on the skater advantage, while Boston went 0/2 on the power play in Tampa.

The Bruins fell to 11-3-0 when leading after the first period and 13-5-3 when scoring the game’s first goal this season.

Boston wraps up their four-game road trip (0-3-0) Saturday in Sunrise, Florida with a matchup against the Panthers. The Bruins return home for a four-game homestand next Tuesday (Dec. 17th) against the Los Angeles Kings before hosting the New York Islanders (Dec. 19th), Nashville Predators (Dec. 21st) and Washington Capitals (Dec. 23rd).