The 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers and Round Robin tournament are almost underway, but this episode has almost nothing to do with that!
This might sound like a postmodern lede, but nothing matters anymore.
Well, nothing yet, anyway, as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Boston Bruins, 4-1, on Thursday night at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario in their exhibition matchup before the Blue Jackets face the Toronto Maple Leafs in their 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifier matchup and the Bruins take on the Eastern Conference Round Robin for the top-4 seeds.
Joonas Korpisalo made 11 saves on 11 shots faced in 29:51 minutes played, while Elvis Merzlikins allowed one goal on 13 shots against in 30:06 en route to Columbus’ win over Boston.
Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask stopped 17 out of 20 shots faced in 29:54– as well as a lackluster first period effort for the entire B’s roster– while Jaroslav Halak turned aside all ten shots he faced in the remaining 28:50 he played as the netminder for Boston.
Both Blue Jackets head coach, John Tortorella, and Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, planned on using both netminders as a quick tune-up for the postseason.
Meanwhile, Cassidy opted to dress an extra forward (Karson Kuhlman) and an extra defender (John Moore) in the effort as allowed for the one-off exhibition game before the NHL action officially restarts.
Boone Jenner (1) kicked off the game’s scoring with a redirection goal at 4:27 of the first period to give the Blue Jackets the, 1-0, lead courtesy of a saucer pass from Liam Foudy.
Foudy (1) had the only assist on the goal.
Midway through the first period, Moore, caught Cam Atkinson without the puck and received a minor penalty for interference at 13:18– yielding the first power play of the game to Columbus.
Shortly after killing off Moore’s infraction, the B’s were shorthanded once again after Matt Grzelcyk hooked Alexandre Texier at 16:16, but the ensuing power play for the Blue Jackets didn’t last long.
Four seconds after the face-off in Boston’s defensive zone, Seth Jones slashed Jeremy Lauzon and was sent to the penalty box with a minor infraction at 16:20.
Almost two minutes later, Brad Marchand hooked Texier and was sent to the box at 18:12.
Just six seconds later, Zach Werenski (1) doubled Columbus’ lead on a one-timer shot from the point– scoring from about the blue line to give the Blue Jackets the, 2-0, lead.
Atkinson (1) and Oliver Bjorkstrand (1) tallied the assists on Werenski’s goal at 18:18 of the opening frame.
Less than 30 seconds later, Gustav Nyquist (1) scored on a one-timer while Rask was left diving across the crease– trailing the play as Nyquist was left wide open by Boston’s penalty kill.
Pierre-Luc Dubois (1) and Bjorkstrand (2) had the assists on Nyquist’s power-play goal and the Blue Jackets led, 3-0, at 18:36 of the first period.
Entering the first intermission, Columbus had a three-goal lead on the scoreboard and led, 13-7, in shots on goal.
Meanwhile, the B’s held the advantage in just about every other category including blocked shots (5-4), takeaways (4-0), giveaways (8-1), hits (9-8) and faceoff win percentage (78-22).
The Blue Jackets were 1/3 on the power play, while the Bruins had yet to see any time on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.
Almost midway into the second period, Brandon Carlo was penalized for tripping Dubois at 7:18.
This time, Boston’s penalty kill held off Columbus’ power play units and escaped without any further damage.
After a stoppage at 9:54 of the second period, both teams changed goaltenders as part of their Phase 4 plans for getting up to full speed for the postseason.
Merzlikins replaced Korpisalo and Halak replaced Rask– ending each starter’s night with about 29 minutes played in the game.
Shortly thereafter, David Pastrnak (1) faked a shot and slid the puck through Merzlikins’ gapping five-hole that No. 88 in black and gold managed to open up with his pump fake.
Sean Kuraly (1) and Charlie McAvoy (1) had the assists on Pastrnak’s goal and the Bruins got on the scoreboard, despite trailing, 3-1, at 12:16 of the second period.
A couple minutes later, Jones caught Anders Bjork without the puck and cut a rut to the penalty box for interference at 14:57, but Boston’s power play was powerless and the Blue Jackets made the kill.
Through 40 minutes of exhibition action, Columbus led the B’s, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 25-16, in shots on goal– including a, 12-9, advantage in the second period alone.
Columbus also took the advantage in blocked shots (7-6), but Boston still held onto the lead in takeaways (7-0), giveaways (16-5), hits (18-14) and faceoff win% (72-28).
The Blue Jackets were 1/4 on the skater advantage and the Bruins were 0/1 entering the second intermission.
Early in the final frame, Dubois cross checked Marchand and was sent to the sin bin for a couple of minutes at 4:09 of the third period, but Boston’s power play came up short once more.
Shortly after Columbus killed off Dubois’ minor, the Blue Jackets were on the skater advantage once more when Par Lindholm collided with Merzlikins in an “accidentally on purpose” out of the way skate-by-fruiting– to steal a phrase from Mrs. Doubtfire (1993).
Lindholm received a minor penalty for goaltender interference at 7:28, but the Blue Jackets failed to capitalize on the resulting power play.
With 1:16 remaining in regulation, Cassidy pulled Halak for an extra attacker, but it was to no avail– especially more so after Texier (1) pocketed an empty net goal at 19:58 of the third period.
Nyquist (1) recorded the only assist and the Blue Jackets waltzed away with the, 4-1, victory.
At the final horn, Columbus finished ahead of Boston in both the scoreboard and in shots on goal (31-24)– despite the Bruins outshooting the Blue Jackets, 8-6, in the third period alone.
The Blue Jackets finished the night leading in blocked shots (9-8), while the B’s finished Thursday night’s action with the advantage in giveaways (22-8), hits (30-21) and faceoff win% (66-34).
Columbus went 1/5 on the power play and Boston went 0/2.
The Bruins take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday at 3 PM ET– on NBC in the United States, as well as Sportsnet and TVAS in Canada– in their first Round Robin matchup, while the Blue Jackets face the Toronto Maple Leafs for Game 1 of their Qualifier series Sunday night at 8 PM ET.
Tune to NHL Network in the States for the Blue Jackets and Leafs Game 1 or for viewers in Canada, either Sportsnet or TVAS. Likewise, residents in Ohio can catch the action on FoxSports Ohio and anyone with an NHL.TV subscription can also watch the game that way.
It was fight night at TD Garden on Saturday as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Boston Bruins, 5-3, in a game that had over 90 penalty minutes and multiple brawls.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (35-13-3 record, 2.57 goals against average, .917 save percentage in 51 games played) made 35 saves on 38 shots against (.921 SV%) in the win for the Lightning.
B’s netminder, Tuukka Rask (25-8-6, 2.18 GAA, .926 SV% in 40 games played) stopped 20 out of 24 shots faced for an .833 SV% in the loss.
Tampa took the season series 3-1-0 and improved to 43-20-5 (91 points), but the Bolts remain 2nd in the Atlantic Division to the Bruins who are now 43-14-12 (98 points) on the season, as well as 22-4-9 on home ice.
The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee), Connor Clifton (upper body) and Brandon Carlo (upper body) on Saturday night.
Prior to the game, however, Clifton was activated from the injured reserve, which means he’ll likely be back in the lineup sometime next week if all goes well at practice.
Karson Kuhlman was reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) to make way for Clifton’s activation.
With Carlo out of the lineup, John Moore took over the right side of the second defensive pairing with Torey Krug, while Bruce Cassidy made two minor changes among his forward lines from Thursday night’s, 2-1, overtime victory in Florida to Saturday night’s battle with the Lightning.
Cassidy moved Sean Kuraly up to the right wing of the third line with Jake DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle, while shifting Chris Wagner down to the right side of the fourth line with Joakim Nordstrom at left wing and Par Lindholm at center.
Anders Bjork and Anton Blidh served as Boston’s healthy scratches against Tampa.
Early in the opening frame, Barclay Goodrow delivered a blow to Bruins forward, Ondrej Kase, with the elbow and received a minor infraction at 5:01 of the first period.
The ensuing power play for Boston was disastrous as the B’s allowed two shorthanded goals before Goodrow was allowed to return to the ice.
First after Patrice Bergeron won the faceoff in the direction of the point, Anthony Cirelli (16) snuck in and stole the loose puck, skated to the opposite zone and sniped a shot past Rask on the blocker side for an unassisted shorthanded goal at 5:08 of the first period– giving Tampa the game’s first lead, 1-0.
Cirelli’s goal marked the 19th time this season that Boston gave up the game’s first goal on home ice.
Almost a minute later, Yanni Gourde worked the puck from deep in the corner to Mikhail Sergachev (10) in the low slot for the one-timer past Rask’s glove side.
Gourde (18) had the only assist on Sergachev’s goal and the Bolts led, 2-0, at 6:10 of the opening period.
After Goodrow returned to the ice from the penalty box, Wagner tried to engage No. 19 in blue and white in a fight for the actions Goodrow took against Kase in the first place that Wagner did not think highly of, but the two only tugged and grabbed at each other before the officials intervened and handed out matching unsportsmanlike conduct minors at 8:39.
The game shifted to 4-on-4 for two minutes until the minor penalties would expire.
Seconds after the two players emerged from the box, Wagner and Goodrow dropped the gloves in an agreed upon exchanging of the fisticuffs at 10:45 in what was the 19th fight this season for the Bruins and 12th since Jan. 1st.
Moments later, Braydon Coburn was guilty of holding DeBrusk and presented Boston with their second power play opportunity of the night at 12:20.
This time the Lightning didn’t score any shorthanded goals.
Tampa got their first chance on the power play at 19:14 of the first period when Jeremy Lauzon was sent to the box for interfering with Pat Maroon.
The Bolts did not score on the skater advantage, despite its overlap into the second period.
After 20 minutes of action in Boston, the Lightning led, 2-0, on the scoreboard, despite the Bruins leading in shots on goal, 14-5.
Tampa also held the advantage in blocked shots (8-6), takeaways (3-1), hits (12-5) and faceoff win percentage (64-36).
Both teams had two giveaways aside, while the Bolts were 0/1 on the power play and the B’s were 0/2.
Cedric Paquette (7) kicked off the second period with a goal to make it, 3-0, for Tampa after Boston’s defense was caught out of position and the Lightning forward snuck into the slot for a one-timer from point-blank.
Zach Bogosian (6) and Coburn (3) had the assists on Paquette’s goal at 6:50 of the middle frame and the Lightning thundered their way to three unanswered goals for a three-goal lead.
Past the midpoint of the second period, four Lightning skaters took a chance to jump one Bruins player while said player tried to play the puck along the wall.
That player was Brad Marchand– whether it was justified or not– and a scrum ensued as all ten skaters on the ice piled on top of one another.
Cirelli and Marchand both headed for the sin bin with matching roughing minors– meaning the two teams would once again spend a couple of minutes skating 4-on-4 at 14:13 of the second period.
While on the ensuing even-strength, 4-on-4, action, Charlie McAvoy (5) snuck up on a rush with Coyle and DeBrusk and beat Vasilevskiy on the glove side to put Boston on the scoreboard and cut into Tampa’s lead.
Coyle (21) and Matt Grzelcyk (17) tallied the assists on McAvoy’s goal as the Bruins trailed, 3-1, at 14:50.
Almost four minutes later, Kuraly (6) poked a loose puck in the crease just over the goal line before Point was able to scoop it back out from the net and into play without any officials on the ice picking up on the fact that a goal had indeed been scored.
As play continued for about 90 additional seconds, the video room in Toronto signaled to TD Garden that there had been a goal on the play and instructed the arena to use the siren to indicate an overrule by the video room.
But as that happened, all hell broke loose.
McAvoy (27) and Kase (17) were credited for the assists on Kuraly’s goal at 18:37 as Kuraly got entangled in a line brawl that resulted in a misconduct for No. 52 in black and gold and a list of penalties for players on the ice and even a Lightning staff member on the bench!
The Bruins trailed, 3-2, as Zdeno Chara fought Maroon (each received five minutes for fighting), Erik Cernak and Kuraly traded misconducts and Tampa was assessed a bench minor for delay of game and a game misconduct for Todd Richards’ verbal abuse of an official at 18:37 of the second period.
The chaos didn’t end after the already lit fuse had sparked once more.
At the end of the second period, more shoves were exchanged and words shouted, leaving Marchand with a slashing minor against Blake Coleman, a misconduct for Coleman and a misconduct for Nick Ritchie at 20:00.
Heading into the second intermission, Tampa led on the scoreboard, 3-2, but trailed Boston in shots on goal, 26-15.
The B’s held the advantage in blocked shots (14-10) and giveaways (7-4) after 40 minutes of play, while the Lightning led in takeaways (5-3), hits (25-20) and faceoff win% (63-38).
Boston was 0/4 on the power play and Tampa was 0/1 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame.
Just 68 seconds into the third period, Alex Killorn (26) tipped a shot from the blue line past Rask under the Boston goaltender’s blocker and into the twine to make it, 4-2, for the Bolts.
Killorn’s power play goal was assisted by Sergachev (24) and Point (39) at 1:08 of the third period and was not challenged despite initial concern from Rask that Killorn’s stick might have been above the crossbar.
Almost four minutes later, Nikita Kucherov cross checked Grzelcyk and was sent to the box at 5:48.
This time the Bruins capitalized on the skater advantage with a one-timed power play goal from the point by David Pastrnak (48) to make it a one-goal game.
Krug (40) and Marchand (58) notched the assists on Pastrnak’s goal at 6:37 of the third period and the B’s cut Tampa’s lead to, 4-3.
About two minutes later, Bergeron sent the puck out of play without touching anything else and received an automatic delay of game minor penalty– in addition to a roughing minor after Goodrow and several other skaters on the ice met for one last rouse.
Krug and Mitchell Stephens joined Bergeron in the box with roughing minors, while the Lightning went on the power play one last time at 8:43 of the final frame.
Moments later, Tyler Johnson hauled Kase down with a hook, but Kase was also hit by an unsportsmanlike conduct infraction for embellishing the penalty in the officials’ eyes and presented both sides with more 4-on-4 action at 13:10 of the third period.
With 1:48 left in the game, Cassidy pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker, but it was too little, too late as Jon Cooper’s Lightning outmatched Boston’s last-ditch effort.
David Krejci misplayed the puck while skating out of his own zone into the neutral zone and gave the rubber biscuit directly to Kucherov (33) for the empty net goal at 18:58– sealing the deal on Tampa’s, 5-3, victory over the Bruins in Boston.
At the final horn, the Bolts had won, despite finishing the night trailing in shots on goal, 38-25.
Boston wrapped up Saturday night’s loss with the advantage in blocked shots (19-14) and giveaways (11-6), while Tampa led in hits (30-26) and faceoff win% (57-43).
The Lightning finished the night 1/2 on the skater advantage and the Bruins went 1/4 on the power play in the game.
Boston fell to 18-7-4 when allowing the game’s first goal (10-2-3 at home in that span), 6-7-3 when trailing after one period (4-2-2 at home in that span) and 5-11-4 (5-4-3 at home in that span) when trailing after two periods this season.
Tampa, on the other hand, improved to 30-9-2 (13-5-2 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal, 23-2-3 (11-2-2 on the road) when leading after one period and 31-1-4 (14-0-2 on the road) when leading after two periods this season.
The B’s begin a two-game road trip in Philadelphia on Tuesday (March 10th) before traveling to Buffalo next Friday (March 13th).
The Bruins then return home to face the Toronto Maple Leafs next Saturday (March 14th) and host the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 16th before heading out to visit the three California teams later that week.
The Flyers, in the meantime, are on a nine-game winning streak and host the Bruins on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center.
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.
The Boston Bruins held on to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1, at Amalie Arena on Tuesday night for their first win in Tampa since March 17, 2018 (a, 3-0, victory).
Tuukka Rask (25-7-6 record, 2.13 goals against average, .928 save percentage in 39 games played) made 20 saves on 21 shots against (.952 SV%) in the win for Boston.
Tampa netminder, Andrei Vasilevskiy (33-13-3, 2.61 GAA, .915 SV% in 49 games played) stopped 33 out of 35 shots faced for a .943 SV% in the loss.
The Bruins improved to 42-13-12 (96 points) on the season and increased their Atlantic Division lead over the Lightning to nine-points while the Bolts fell to 41-20-5 (87 points) this season.
Boston also improved to 20-10-3 on the road this season, while Tampa was without their captain, Steven Stamkos, as he’ll be out for six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a core muscle injury on Monday.
Boston was without the services of Kevan Miller (knee) and Connor Clifton (upper body) on Tuesday, while Chris Wagner (upper body) returned to the lineup after missing the last game due to injury.
Miller has yet to make his season debut for the Bruins and has missed all 67 games in 2019-20.
Clifton has returned to practice with the rest of the team, but has been out for 27 games.
Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, was prepared to make adjustments to his lines if Brad Marchand wasn’t ready to go Tuesday night due to “not feeling well” earlier in the day, but nevertheless, Marchand took part in warmups and was in his usual role on the first line left wing.
Wagner was re-introduced to the lineup on the third line in place of Karson Kuhlman.
Anders Bjork, John Moore, Anton Blidh and Kuhlman comprised of Boston’s short list of healthy scratches in Tampa.
Tuesday night also marked the 200th game of Jake DeBrusk’s NHL career.
Kevin Shattenkirk kicked off the night’s action with a hooking infraction against Ondrej Kase and presented the Bruins with their first power play of the night at 2:35 of the first period.
Boston was unsuccessful on the skater advantage and followed things up with a penalty of their own midway through the opening frame when B’s defender, Brandon Carlo, tripped Lightning forward, Pat Maroon at 14:09.
Tampa did not convert on the ensuing power play, however.
In the final minute of the first period, the Bruins worked a rush into the attacking zone whereby David Pastrnak sent the puck back to the point to Torey Krug.
Krug found Marchand (28) with an intentional shot pass looking for the redirection, which Marchand successfully pulled off to give Boston the game’s first goal and a, 1-0, lead at 19:05.
Krug (38) and Pastrnak (45) were credited with the assists on Marchand’s goal as the Bruins took the, 1-0, lead into the first intermission, while also leading in shots on goal, 14-9.
Boston held the advantage in takeaways (3-2), giveaways (1-0) and faceoff win percentage (55-45) after one period of action at Amalie Arena, while Tampa led in hits (13-6).
Both teams had seven blocked shots aside and were 0/1 on the power play heading into the second period.
Zach Bogosian sent a pass to Yanni Gourde for what was thought to be a one-timer goal, but Cassidy used his coach’s challenge on the basis that the Bolts had entered the attacking zone offside.
Upon review, video footage indicated that the Lightning were inches offside (and likely onside as of next season’s proposed amendments to the offside rule) and the call on the ice was reversed– no goal.
Gourde cut a rut to the penalty box 22 seconds later after tripping Charlie Coyle at 5:46 of the second period.
Boston did not capitalize on their second power play of the night, but generated enough momentum to carry themselves through the middle frame with dominance.
Coyle found DeBrusk through the neutral zone and presented No. 74 in black and gold on a breakaway, whereby DeBrusk (19) beat Vasilevskiy over the blocker side for his first goal in 11 games.
DeBrusk’s goal gave Boston a two-goal lead and was assisted by Coyle (20) at 10:06 of the second period.
Moments later, Mikhail Sergachev slashed DeBrusk at 12:54 and presented the B’s with yet another power play.
Once more, however, the Bruins were powerless on the skater advantage.
Late in the period, Mitchell Stephens (3) threw a shot on goal from close range that beat Rask after the Lightning just about beat the Bruins into submission with tremendous sustained pressure in the offensive zone.
Tyler Johnson (16) and Barclay Goodrow (18) notched the assists on Stephens’ goal at 17:28 and the Bolts cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1.
In the dying seconds of the middle frame, Joakim Nordstrom and Gourde exchanged fisticuffs after a post whistle scrum ensued in front of the Boston net.
Nordstrom and Gourde each received five-minute majors for fighting at 19:56 and the two teams went into the second intermission in a tight, emotionally charged game.
Boston led Tampa, 2-1, on the scoreboard and, 31-14, in shots on goal through 40 minutes of play on Tuesday.
The Bruins also maintained the advantage in blocked shots (12-9) and faceoff win% (55-45).
The Lightning led in hits (26-11) after two periods, while both teams had four takeaways and one giveaway each.
As there were no penalties called in the third period, Boston finished 0/3 on the power play and Tampa finished 0/1 on the skater advantage on Tuesday night.
Nobody scored and nobody was penalized in the final frame of regulation, but Lightning head coach, Jon Cooper, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker with about 1:05 remaining in the game to no avail as Boston’s defense stood tall and was backstopped by Rask in the dying seconds.
The Bruins finished the game with the, 2-1, victory and leading in shots on goal, 35-21, as well as blocked shots (21-10) and faceoff win% (57-43).
Tampa finished the night leading in giveaways (3-2) and hits (35-22).
Boston improved to 25-7-8 when scoring the game’s first goal, 24-5-3 when leading after one period and 27-1-6 when leading after two periods this season.
The Bruins also improved to 13-5-2 when scoring first on the road, 13-4-2 when leading after one period and 15-1-2 when leading after two periods on the road.
Tampa fell to 13-11-3 when allowing the game’s first goal, 7-7-1 when trailing after one period and 4-15-0 when trailing after two periods this season.
The Lightning are now 5-6-2 when allowing the game’s first goal at home, 3-5-1 when trailing after one period and 1-7-0 when trailing after two periods at home this season.
The B’s conclude their current three-game road trip (2-0-0) on Thursday with a game against the Florida Panthers before returning home to host the Lightning on Saturday.
The Boston Bruins beat the Dallas Stars, 4-3, Thursday night at TD Garden in a game that had a little bit of everything.
Jaroslav Halak (17-6-6 record, 2.44 goals against average, .917 save percentage in 30 games played) turned aside 31 out of 34 shots faced for a .912 SV% in the win for the Bruins.
Stars goaltender, Ben Bishop (21-14-4, 2.49 GAA, .921 SV% in 42 games played), made 24 saves on 28 shots against for an .857 SV% in the loss.
Boston improved to 40-13-12 (92 points) on the season and remain in command of 1st place in the entire league, while Dallas fell to 37-21-6 (80 points) on the season, but remained in 3rd place in the Central Division.
The B’s also improved to 22-3-9 at home this season.
The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee) and Connor Clifton (upper body) on Thursday.
New acquisition, Ondrej Kase, made his Boston debut on the second line with David Krejci at center and Nick Ritchie at left wing.
As a result, Bruce Cassidy moved Jake DeBrusk down to the third line left wing with Charlie Coyle and Anders Bjork– just like how he swapped DeBrusk and Ritchie during Tuesday night’s, 5-2, loss to the Calgary Flames.
Cassidy made no other changes to the lineup, while Joakim Nordstrom, John Moore, Anton Blidh and Karson Kuhlman served as Boston’s healthy scratches against Dallas.
Midway through the opening frame, Tyler Seguin tripped up Chris Wagner and was assessed a minor in fraction at 13:07 of the first period.
Boston did not score on the ensuing power play– their first skater advantage of the night.
Moments later, Matt Grzelcyk hooked Radek Faksa and was sent to the penalty box at 17:04.
Dallas converted on the resulting power play when John Klingberg snapped a shot from the point that looked was tipped in by Jamie Benn (19) for his 300th career goal.
Klingberg (25) and Joe Pavelski (16) had the assists on Benn’s goal, which made it, 1-0, for Dallas at 17:38.
Benn became the fourth player in Dallas/Minnesota North Stars franchise history to amass at least 300 career regular season goals, joining Mike Modano (557 career goals), Brian Bellows (342) and Dino Ciccarelli (332).
It marked the 18th time this season that Boston gave up the game’s first goal on home ice and the fifth straight game that Boston’s opponent scored first– regardless of the building.
Less than a minute later, Andrew Cogliano was punished for slashing Coyle and sent to the sin bin at 18:18.
While on the ensuing power play, Torey Krug sent a shot on goal from the point that rebounded off of Bishop and into Coyle’s strikezone whereby Coyle (16) batted the puck out of the air and into the twine for the home run power play goal.
Krug (35) and Brad Marchand (55) tallied the assists and the B’s tied the game, 1-1, at 19:44 of the first period.
Entering the first intermission, the score was even at, 1-1, while the Bruins led the Stars in shots on goal, 10-9.
Boston also held the advantage in faceoff win percentage (53-47), while Dallas led in blocked shots (5-3), takeaways (3-1) and hits (9-8).
Both teams had three giveaways each.
The Stars were 1/1 on the power play and the Bruins were 1/2 on the skater advantage heading into the middle period.
Things came to a crescendo when Krejci and Pavelski dropped the gloves and exchanged fisticuffs at 11:24 of the second period.
The two players each received five-minute majors for fighting and play continued without any other major disruptions.
A few minutes later, Charlie McAvoy tossed a pass from about the goal line to Marchand (26) in the slot for a point blank one-timer.
McAvoy (24) and David Pastrnak (44) had the assists on Marchand’s goal and the Bruins led for the first time of the night, 2-1, at 14:44.
Less than a couple minutes later, Boston went up by two-goals as Ritchie (9) scored his first goal as a Bruin after snapping a shot from the high slot through net front traffic, off of Seguin and past Bishop.
Ritchie’s goal was unassisted and made it, 3-1, for the Bruins at 16:01 of the second period.
Late in the period, Wagner tackled Mattias Janmark after a whistle in defense of a teammate, but received a roughing minor for his retaliatory actions at 18:49.
Dallas didn’t score on the ensuing power play.
Through 40 minutes of action, Boston was in command of the scoreboard, 3-1, and in shots on goal, 22-19.
The Bruins also led in blocked shots (8-7), takeaways (4-3), giveaways (11-9) and faceoff win% (54-46), while the Stars held the advantage in hits (19-16).
Both teams were 1/2 on the power play heading into the third period.
Wagner wasn’t available to start the third period for the Bruins and later deemed “unlikely to return” to the game with an “upper body injury” by Boston’s media team.
Meanwhile, Dallas cut Boston’s lead in half, 3-2, after Esa Lindell fired a shot that deflected off of Denis Gurianov’s (19) stick, then off of Krug’s leg and past Halak at 1:18 of the third period.
Lindell (20) and Jason Dickinson (12) had the assists on Gurianov’s goal.
Boston responded with a goal of their own when Pastrnak broke into the attacking zone on a rush with Ritchie, sent Ritchie a pass, then received a shot that Pastrnak (46) intentionally redirected into the open twine.
Ritchie (12) and Jeremy Lauzon (1) notched the assists on Pastrnak’s goal and the B’s led, 4-2, at 3:53.
Stars head coach, Rick Bowness, pulled Bishop for an extra attacker with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
After Marchand missed the open net from just inside the blue line, Dallas charged down the length of the ice and sustained pressure in the attacking zone, while Boston was forced to defend.
Miro Heiskanen (8) ripped a shot that rebounded off of Halak, but clipped Bruins captain, Zdeno Chara’s, skate at just the right angle to bounce off of the Bruin and slip between the post and the Boston goaltender to make it a one-goal game.
Benn (18) and Seguin (33) tallied the assists on Heiskanen’s goal, but the Bruins still led, 4-3, at 17:36 of the third period.
Dallas pulled their goaltender once more with 1:58 remaining in regulation, but despite their best efforts, Boston’s defense wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice and held on to the, 4-3, victory at the final horn.
The Bruins won, 4-3, but finished the night trailing in shots on goal to the Stars, 34-28.
Dallas also wrapped up Thursday night with the advantage in hits (28-25) and faceoff win% (51-49), while Boston finished the game leading in blocked shots (14-9).
Both clubs had 11 giveaways and were 1/2 on the power play on Thursday.
The Bruins are now 12-2-6 when tied after one period and 25-1-6 when leading after two periods this season.
The Stars are 9-8-4 when tied after one period and 9-16-1 when trailing after two periods this season.
Boston wrapped up their two-game homestand (1-1-0) on Thursday and finishes the month of February on the road against the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon.
The Boston Bruins made one trade at Monday’s trade deadline, sending Danton Heinen to the Anaheim Ducks for Nick Ritchie.
Yes, Brett Ritchie’s brother.
Bruins General Manager, Don Sweeney, is confident in his group of players and added more size to his lineup with the acquisition of Ritchie, while saving about $1.300 million in cap space in the transaction.
Fans in Boston were split on Heinen– with those in favor citing his ability to move the puck and generate chances in the offensive zone and those opposed citing his lack of confidence and lack in body mass for a physical game among the bottom-six forwards.
One thing’s for sure, however, with Karson Kuhlman and Anders Bjork emerging onto the scene this season, somebody was going to end up getting a ticket out of the city between Heinen, Kuhlman and Bjork.
Could Sweeney have gotten more in return on Heinen? Sure, if other assets might have been involved or Heinen’s recent cold streak not occurred, but speculation is just that– speculation.
For now, Sweeney did his best at improving Boston’s chances at making another deep run and leaving more of an impression on their opponents than last season’s Stanley Cup Final run.
In the long run, the Ducks are hoping a change of scenery will help Heinen’s confidence in his own game return and blossom into what Boston currently has going for them– hopes for another long postseason.
Ritchie, 24, had eight goals and 11 assists (19 points) in 41 games with Anaheim this season and has 78 penalty minutes in that span.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound native of Orangeville, Ontario was originally drafted by the Ducks in the first round (10th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft and has 43-66–109 totals in 287 career games (all with the Ducks).
He is signed through the 2020-21 season.
Heinen, 24, had seven goals and 15 assists (22 points) in 58 games this season with Boston and eight penalty minutes in that span.
The 6-foot-1, 188-pound native of Langley, British Columbia was originally drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round (116th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and has 34-69–103 totals in 220 career NHL games (all with the B’s).
He is a pending-restricted free agent at season’s end.
The Vancouver Canucks routed the Boston Bruins, 9-3, at Rogers Arena on Saturday night in what was Boston’s third game in four nights of traveling.
That said, Canucks goaltender, Jacob Markstrom (23-16-4 record, 2.75 goals against average, .918 save percentage in 43 games played) made 34 saves on 37 shots against for a .918 SV% in 58:12 time on ice en route to the win.
Meanwhile, his teammate and Canucks backup goaltender, Thatcher Demko (10-6-2, 3.03 GAA, .905 SV% in 20 games played) made a brief relief appearance for a 1:48 span after Markstrom took an inadvertent stick through the cage of his mask early in the first period.
Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask (23-6-6, 2.17 GAA, .928 SV% in 36 games played) stopped 21 out of 27 shots faced for a .778 SV% in the loss.
Rask was replaced by Jaroslav Halak (16-6-6, 2.42 GAA, .918 SVT in 29 games played) after amassing 46:28 TOI and allowing six goals.
Halak came into the game during a stoppage in play after a Bruins power play goal in the second period and turned aside five out of the eight shots he faced for a .625 SV% en route to no decision in Boston’s loss.
All four goaltenders that dressed for the game took part in the action on Saturday– on a night in the National Hockey League where, 42-year-old, emergency backup goaltender, Dave Ayres, stole the show for the Carolina Hurricanes in their, 6-3, victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on the road.
Also, the Arizona Coyotes beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 7-3, on Saturday night.
Apparently goaltending was optional league wide for one night only!
Boston fell to 39-12-12 (90 points) on the season, but remained in command of the entire league standings, while Vancouver improved to 33-22-6 (72 points) and rose to 2nd place in the Pacific Division.
The B’s also fell to 18-10-3 on the road this season, while the Canucks improved to 20-7-4 at home this season.
February 9, 2016 was the last time Boston allowed nine goals (a, 9-2, loss on home ice to the Los Angeles Kings).
Once more, the Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee) and Connor Clifton (upper body/conditioning loan) on Saturday night.
B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from Friday night’s, 4-3, win in Calgary to Saturday night’s action in Vancouver.
Joakim Nordstrom, Par Lindholm and John Moore were healthy scratches for Boston, while Ondrej Kase was a de facto healthy scratch as he won’t meet up with the team until Monday for practice at Warrior Ice Arena after having been acquired by the Bruins on Friday.
Kase hasn’t played since Feb. 7th due to an illness and was skating with the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday prior to being traded the following day.
A little past the four-minute mark in the action, the Canucks struck first with a blast from Troy Stecher (4) from the faceoff dot, off of Rask, then off the post and over the goal line– giving Vancouver the game’s first lead, 1-0.
Tyler Motte (4) and Jay Beagle (5) recorded the assists on Stecher’s goal at 4:14 of the first period.
Less than a few minutes later, Boston responded on the scoreboard with a goal of their own– tying the game, 1-1, when David Pastrnak (44) deked and wrapped the rubber biscuit around Markstrom with a forehand goal after breaking into the zone on a breakaway thanks to a stretch pass from Matt Grzelcyk through the neutral zone.
Grzelcyk (15) had the only assist on Pastrnak’s first goal of the night at 7:06 of the first period. The goal tied Pastrnak for the most goals by a Bruin in a season since Glen Murray scored 44 goals in the 2002-03 season.
Moments later, Danton Heinen caught Markstrom with an errant stick while engaged in a net front battle and accidentally clipped the Canucks goaltender inside the cage with the blade of his stick.
There was no penalty on the play and Markstrom was forced to briefly leave the game before returning almost two minutes later.
In the meantime, Jeremy Lauzon received a holding infraction against Elias Pettersson at the other end of the ice at 10:21 of the first period, which provided Markstrom with the chance to replace Demko at the stoppage in the action.
Less than a minute later, Canucks captain, Bo Horvat (19), rocketed a one-timer from the high slot past Rask while Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo were split chasing J.T. Miller deep into the corner (from where the one-timer opportunity was generated by Miller to Horvat) and protecting the front of the crease.
Miller (36) and Vancouver’s newest forward, Tyler Toffoli (18), tallied the assists on Horvat’s power play goal and the Canucks led, 2-1, at 11:08 of the opening frame.
About four minutes later, Horvat took a trip to the penalty box for a holding minor against Brad Marchand and presented Boston with their first power play opportunity of the night at 15:34.
Boston’s power play was cut short when Patrice Bergeron also cut a rut to the sin bin for holding against Motte at 17:13– resulting in 21 seconds of 4-on-4 action before the Canucks had an abbreviated power play.
Neither team was able to score on the special teams action.
After one period of play in Vancouver on Saturday, the Canucks led the Bruins, 2-1, on the scoreboard and, 17-12, in shots on goal.
Vancouver also held the advantage in every other statistical category, including blocked shots (4-1), takeaways (7-4), giveaways (5-0), hits (14-10) and faceoff win percentage (57-43).
The Canucks were 1/2 on the power play, while the Bruins were 0/1 on the skater advantage heading into the first intermission.
Early in the middle frame, Adam Gaudette (11) wired a shot under the bar and over Rask’s glove from close range to extend Vancouver’s lead to two-goals.
Quinn Hughes (40) notched the only assist on Gaudette’s goal and Vancouver led, 3-1, at 5:32 of the second period.
Late in the period, the Canucks added a pair of goals when Tanner Pearson (18) pocketed a rebound to extend Vancouver’s lead to three-goals at 14:48.
Loui Eriksson (6) and Tyler Myers (13) had the assists on Pearson’s goal, which made it, 4-1, for the Canucks before Eriksson (6) tallied a goal of his own after stuffing in a loose puck off a deflection in the slot to make it, 5-1, for the Canucks.
Horvat (29) and Alexander Edler (21) recorded the primary and secondary assists on Eriksson’s goal at 15:39 of the second period.
Less than a minute later, Chara took exception to Myers’ hit on Karson Kuhlman in front of the benches and attempted to engage the Vancouver defender in an exchange of fisticuffs, but the Canucks blue liner didn’t want any part of it.
As a result, Myers was assessed a minor for roughing, while Chara picked up two roughing minors at 16:37– yielding a power play to the Canucks in the waning moments of the middle frame.
With less than a minute left in the second period, Charlie Coyle and Horvat got into a scrap and traded punches.
Both players received five-minute majors for fighting at 19:30 and were sent to the dressing room 30 seconds ahead of everyone else.
Through 40 minutes of action in Vancouver, the Canucks led on the scoreboard, 5-1, and in shots on goal, 25-24.
The Canucks also maintained the advantage in blocked shots (11-2), takeaways (12-6), giveaways (8-3) and faceoff win% (56-44), while the Bruins led in hits (25-23).
Vancouver was 1/3 on the skater advantage, while Boston was 0/1 on the power play heading into the third period.
Less than a minute into the final frame of regulation, Pettersson (25) snapped a wrist shot over Rask’s blocker side and into the twine.
Miller (37) and Stecher (9) had the assists on Pettersson’s goal and the Canucks led, 6-1, 46 seconds into the third period.
Moments later, Antoine Roussel caught Torey Krug with a high stick at 5:25 of the third period and presented the B’s with their second power play of the night.
This time around, Boston made sure to capitalize on the skater advantage.
Pastrnak (45) blasted one of his patented power play goals behind Markstrom to cut the deficit to four-goals at 6:28.
Krug (34) and Marchand (54) tallied the assists as Pastrnak picked up his 45th goal of the season– becoming the highest goal-scoring Bruin since Murray in 2002-03– and the B’s trailed, 6-2.
Before the ensuing faceoff, Cassidy replaced Rask with Halak in the crease.
Less than two minutes later, Boston began to mount some momentum with another quick goal from Chris Wagner (5)– his first goal in 18 games– after Wagner followed up on his own rebound and slipped in a backhand goal to make it, 6-3, at 8:11 of the third period.
Grzelcyk (16) and Sean Kuraly (16) had the assists on Wagner’s first goal since Jan. 7th.
Boston’s surge in momentum didn’t last long as Toffoli (19) slapped a one-timer past Halak about three minutes later.
Miller (38) had the only assist on Toffoli’s first goal and once again worked the puck from the end boards back to a teammate for the surefire one-timer goal at 11:10 of the third period and the Canucks led, 7-3.
Less than two minutes later, after Halak managed to stop multiple consecutive shots, finally the Canucks slipped a shot through as chaos ensued in front of the net.
Toffoli (20) mustered his second goal of the game and extended Vancouver’s lead back to five-goals.
Hughes (41) had the only assist on Toffoli’s second goal at 13:03 and the Canucks led, 8-3.
Finally, Jake Virtanen (17) snaked his way through the neutral zone and beat Halak clean with a wrist shot goal past Halak’s glove at 18:15 of the third period and extended Vancouver’s lead to six-goals.
Edler (22) and Stecher (10) each amassed their second assists of the night on Virtanen’s goal and the Canucks finished off the Bruins, 9-3.
At the final horn, Vancouver had beaten Boston, despite trailing the Bruins in shots on goal, 37-35.
The Canucks finished the night leading in every other stat, including blocked shots (18-6), giveaways (12-4), hits (31-29) and faceoff win% (55-46).
Vancouver wrapped up Saturday night’s action 1/3 on the skater advantage, while the B’s went 1/2 on the power play in the 60-minute effort.
Boston fell to 6-5-3 when trailing after one period and 5-9-4 when trailing after two periods this season, while Vancouver improved to 17-3-2 when leading after one period and 21-1-1 when leading after two periods this season.
Hughes became the 2nd Canucks rookie defender to record 40 or more assists in a season, joining Dale Tallon (14-42–56 totals) in 1970-71. Hughes joined Bryan Berard (40 in 1996-97), Janne Niinimaa (40 in 1996-97) and Nicklas Lidstrom (49 in 1991-92) as just the fourth rookie defender in the last 30 years to amass at least 40 assists in a single season.
Vancouver became the third different team this season to score nine goals, joining the Lightning (9-3, win against the New York Rangers on Nov. 14, 2019 and a, 9-2, win against Vancouver on Jan. 7, 2020) and Colorado Avalanche (9-4, win against the Nashville Predators on Nov. 7, 2019).
Boston finished their four-game road trip (3-1-0).
The B’s return home for a two-game homestand on Tuesday, Feb. 25th and Thursday, Feb. 27th for meetings with the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars, respectively, before wrapping up the month of February with a road game against the New York Islanders on Feb. 29th.
After giving up two quick goals in the first period, the Boston Bruins came back to defeat the Calgary Flames, 4-3, on Friday night at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Jaroslav Halak (16-6-6 record, 2.33 goals against average, .920 save percentage in 28 games played) made 18 saves on 21 shots against for an .857 SV% in the win.
Flames goaltender, Cam Talbot (9-10-1, 2.83 GAA, .914 SV% in 23 games played) stopped 19 out of 23 shots faced for an .826 SV% in the loss.
The Bruins improved to 39-11-12 (90 points) on the season and remain in 1st place in the Atlantic Division, while Calgary fell to 31-25-6 (68 points) and remained in 4th place in the Pacific Division.
Boston also improved to 18-9-3 on the road this season with the victory and the B’s have now won 11 out of their last 12 games.
For just the seventh time in NHL history, a team that gave up three goals in the opening four minutes of a game came back to win as Calgary scored three goals in a little over three minutes into Friday’s action, but lost.
The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee) on Friday, while Connor Clifton (upper body) is still with the Providence Bruins (AHL) on a conditioning stint.
B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made a few minor changes to his lineup from Wednesday night’s, 2-1, overtime win in Edmonton– swapping Danton Heinen and Karson Kuhlman on the second and third line right wings (reuniting Heinen with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci and Kuhlman with Anders Bjork and Charlie Coyle in the process).
Cassidy also re-inserted Anton Blidh on the fourth line left wing while scratching Joakim Nordstrom in the process.
Earlier in the day on Friday, Boston General Manager, Don Sweeney, made a trade with Anaheim Ducks GM, Bob Murray– sending David Backes, defensive prospect, Axel Andersson and Boston’s 2020 1st round pick to the Ducks for Ondrej Kase.
Boston retained 25% of Backes’ contract ($1.500 million through the 2020-21 season) in the transaction. Kase won’t join the team until Monday, when the Bruins are back from their current road trip and back to practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
Kase has not played since Feb. 7th with “flu-like symptoms”, but resumed skating on Thursday with the Ducks (prior to being traded on Friday).
Meanwhile, Nordstrom, Par Lindholm and John Moore served as healthy scratches for the Bruins on Friday.
Calgary charged into the attacking zone and fired a shot off the post in the opening seconds of Friday night’s action.
The puck rebounded right to the blade of Mikael Backlund (11), who promptly shot the puck past Halak as the Bruins netminder was committed to the initial shot off the iron and couldn’t recover in time.
Rasmus Andersson (15) and Noah Hanifin (14) had the assists on Backlund’s first goal of the game 20 seconds into the first period and the Flames had the game’s first lead, 1-0.
About two minutes later, Backlund (12) scored again on a one-timer as a result of a saucer pass from Tobias Rieder on a two-on-one break with Zdeno Chara as the lone defender for Boston.
Rieder (6) and Matthew Tkachuk (31) tallied the assists on Backlund’s second goal of the game and Calgary jumped out to a, 2-0, lead at 2:24 of the first period.
Not to be outdone, Patrice Bergeron (28) responded quickly after a shot from the point was deflected wide and caromed off the end boards to Bergeron in the slot for the backhand goal 24 seconds after the Flames extended their lead to two-goals.
David Pastrnak (42) and Charlie McAvoy (22) notched the assists on Bergeron’s first goal of the night as the B’s cut Calgary’s lead in half, 2-1, at 2:58 of the first period.
Less than a minute later, Johnny Gaudreau (15) beat Halak with a backhand shot and put the Flames back in command of a two-goal lead.
Elias Lindholm (22) had the only assist on Gaudreau’s goal at 3:23 and Calgary led, 3-1.
Then for a short period of time (less than three minutes) neither team scored a goal.
But Bergeron wasn’t done scoring for the night as the lively boards at Scotiabank Saddledome worked in his favor once more and Bergeron (29) pocketed his second goal of the night on Talbot to pull the B’s within one-goal once more.
Pastrnak (43) and Brad Marchand (53) were credited with the assists on Bergeron’s second goal and the Bruins trailed, 3-2, at 6:12 of the first period.
Less than 30 seconds after the ensuing faceoff after Bergeron’s goal, Matt Grzelcyk leveled Rieder with a huge hit in the neutral zone, but was dealt a minor infraction for elbowing– yielding the first power play of the game to the Flames at 6:33.
Calgary didn’t convert on their first power play opportunity of the night.
Midway through the opening frame, Kuhlman sent Coyle into the attacking zone on a breakaway, whereby Coyle (15) deked backhand to forehand and wired a shot over Talbot’s glove to tie the game, 3-3, at 12:20 of the first period.
Kuhlman (5) and Bjork (10) tallied the assists on Coyle’s goal as the tow teams entered the first intermission deadlocked, 3-3, on the scoreboard, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 12-6.
The Bruins also held the advantage in blocked shots (7-2) and faceoff win percentage (62-38), while the Flames led in giveaways (6-3) and hits (7-6).
Both teams had one takeaway aside, while Calgary was 0/1 on the power play. Boston did not see any time on the skater advantage in the entire game.
Less than a minute into the middle frame, Marchand (24) redirected a shot from Brandon Carlo and gave Boston their first lead of the night, 4-3, at 52 seconds of the second period.
Carlo (14) and Torey Krug (33) had the assists on Marchand’s goal and both teams combined for seven goals in the game in the first 21 minutes of action.
Nobody scored again for the rest of the night, however.
Midway through the second period, Jeremy Lauzon dropped the gloves with Tkachuk and the two players were sent to the box with fighting majors at 10:17 of the middle frame.
It was the 14th fight this season for Boston and the first career fighting major for the rookie Bruins defender, Lauzon.
Through 40 minutes of play in Calgary, the B’s led the Flames, 4-3, on the scoreboard and, 17-11, in shots on goal.
Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (12-6) and giveaways (9-8), while Calgary held the advantage in takeaways (5-4) and faceoff win% (55-45).
Both teams had 16 hits aside and the Flames were still 0/1 on the power play.
Early in the final frame, Bergeron tripped up Derek Ryan and was assessed a minor infraction at 5:55 of the third period.
Calgary didn’t score on the ensuing power play.
There were no goals and no more penalties scored in the final frame of regulation as both teams swapped chances and both goaltenders found their rhythm.
Flames interim head coach, Geoff Ward, pulled Talbot for an extra attacker with about a minute left in the game, but it was to no avail as the Bruins won, 4-3, at the final horn.
Boston finished Friday night’s effort leading in shots on goal (23-21), blocked shots (19-9), while Calgary ended the night leading in hits (22-20) and faceoff win% (54-46).
Both teams had 11 giveaways each and the Flames ended the night 0/2 on the power play.
The Bruins have now won 11 out of their last 12 games and improved to 11-2-6 when tied after one period and 24-1-6 when leading after two periods this season.
Boston also improved to 16-4-4 when allowing the game’s first goal this season, while Calgary fell to 17-7-3 when scoring the game’s first goal this season.
The Flames also fell to 10-10-2 when tied after one period and 7-24-2 when trailing after two periods this season.
Boston wraps up their four-game road trip (3-0-0) on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.
The B’s return home for a two-game homestand on Feb. 25th and Feb. 27th for meetings with the Flames and Dallas Stars, respectively, before wrapping up the month of February with a road game against the New York Islanders on Feb. 29th.