Colby’s back, Jack.
The Buffalo Sabres traded a conditional 2021 5th round pick to the New Jersey Devils for Wayne Simmonds on Monday ahead of the NHL’s annual trade deadline.
If Buffalo makes the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and Simmonds plays in at least 10 games, then the 2021 5th round pick is upgraded to a 2021 4th round pick in the exchange.
Meanwhile, New Jersey retained 50% ($2.500 million) of Simmonds’ salary in the trade.
Simmonds, 31, is a pending-unrestricted free agent at season’s end and had 8-16–24 totals in 61 games with the Devils this season at the time of the trade.
A native of Scarborough, Ontario, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound right wing was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round (31st overall) of the 2007 NHL Draft and has amassed 251 goals and 247 assists (498 points) in 902 career NHL games for the Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Nashville Predators and Devils since entering the league in the 2008-09 season.
He scored 20 or more goals in six out of seven seasons from 2011-18 while in Philadelphia and reached the 60-point plateau twice in that span.
Meanwhile, New Jersey owns 16 picks in the next two NHL Entry Drafts, including three first round picks in 2020 and two third round picks in 2021.
Philadelphia Flyers General Manager, Chuck Fletcher, was busy brining in forwards at Monday’s trade deadline– acquiring Derek Grant in a separate deal with the Anaheim Ducks and Nate Thompson from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a 2021 5th round pick.
Thompson, 35, had four goals and ten assists (14 points) in 63 games this season with Montreal.
The Boston Bruins’ sixth round pick (183rd overall) in the 2003 NHL Draft, Thompson has 62-93–155 totals in 760 career games in parts of 13 seasons with the Bruins, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Ducks, Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings and Canadiens.
A native of Anchorage, Alaska, he has 18 points (seven goals and 11 assists) in 62 career Stanley Cup Playoff games and is a pending-unrestricted free agent.
The Canadiens own 23 selections over the next two drafts, including 14 picks in the 2020 NHL Draft.
The DTFR Podcast is back from hiatus as Nick provides a State of the Podcast, reviews a few things from the last couple of months and delves into all of the transactions leading up to the 2020 NHL trade deadline.
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.
Back by popular demand– though a few months later than last season– it’s once again time to rank the NHL mascots.
In January 2017, DTFR began a new tradition of giving props for great efforts made in the community, laughs shared, smiles brought to everyone’s faces and (most importantly) character displayed by every mascot in the National Hockey League.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
31) New York Rangers 31st in 2018-19, 30th in 2017-18
The Rangers still don’t have a mascot, which in today’s day and age is a crime. Just march Brian Leetch around Madison Square Garden once in a while or something. Maybe even let Henrik Lundqvist become the team’s first mascot once he retires.
30) Al the Octopus (Detroit Red Wings) 30th in 2018-19, 26th in 2017-18
It’s a yearly tradition at this point to mention how awesome any Al the Octopus plush toy is and that it’s a shame the Red Wings never made Al the Octopus into a real thing instead of just a prop that ended up being sold for $7,700 at an auction in 2017 after Joe Louis Arena was closed and Detroit moved into their current home, Little Caesars Arena.
29) Spartacat (Ottawa Senators) 21st in 2018-19, 9th in 2017-18
Just like the Senators, Spartacat has fallen on hard times and really needs someone to love him. Unfortunately for Spartacat, he probably needs a haircut first or at least that rebrand to finally come around and give Ottawa a fresh look all-around (with new jerseys, new logos and new players).
Hi #sens fans… the @nhl break is here! @aduclair10 and I are off to St Louis. CATch us showcasing our stuff for #NHLAllStar and the #MascotShowdown respectively. #TwoAllStars #gosensgo pic.twitter.com/FSnFSggX6W— Spartacat (@REAL_Spartacat) January 21, 2020
28) Thunderbug (Tampa Bay Lightning) 18th in 2018-19, 15th in 2017-18
Being as cute as a bug no longer cuts it when you have Gritty running around causing chaos, plus other mascots really drumming up their personality bits. Perhaps Thunderbug has gotten too casual in recent years and that’s the reason why the Lightning haven’t won the Cup since 2004.
27) Nordy (Minnesota Wild) 28th in 2018-19, 24th in 2017-18
Like Minnesota sports as a whole, Nordy is just comfortable where he’s at. Nobody’s really sure whether he’s a fox, a wolf or some hybrid northern animal native to the wild, but the Wild’s mascot might also be on General Manager, Bill Guerin’s, list of assets to move at this year’s trade deadline if he’s not careful.
26) Wild Wing (Anaheim Ducks) 17th in 2018-19, 3rd in 2017-18
Wild Wing would be the perfect mascot for a roller hockey team, which is fitting for his location in southern California– where you could play roller hockey year-round. What might be a better option for the Ducks, however, would be to have legendary surfer, Rob Machado, make more appearances at Honda Center in an Anaheim sweater.
25) Sparky the Dragon (New York Islanders) 29th in 2018-19, 25th in 2017-18
With a new arena in Belmont Park looming, one would think the Islanders would make the natural switch to a horse-based mascot because, you know, horse racing and stuff. Either that or just give Sparky the Dragon a more fish-based appearance. Just add a few cuddly scales or perhaps give him a fishing rod that can also double as a hockey stick. Props go a long way at improving ratings.
24) Tommy Hawk (Chicago Blackhawks) 20th in 2018-19, 14th in 2017-18
Something about Tommy Hawk just feels off these days. Perhaps his contract will be traded in the offseason too while the Blackhawks adjust from their decade of dominance in the early 2010s to life in the 2020s.
23) Stanley C. Panther/Viktor E. Ratt (Florida Panthers) 25th in 2018-19, 20th in 2017-18
The Panthers have what some might call the “Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly of mascots”. Sure their early works were great, but their recent comedy has shown their age. Florida should put all of their focus in on one or the other– or at least give Olli Jokinen a proper display case inside BB&T Center.
22) Hunter (Edmonton Oilers) 26th in 2018-19, 23rd in 2017-18
Hunter’s redeeming quality this year is the new alternate threads for the Oilers. Edmonton’s new third sweaters help take away the scary qualities of this lovable lynx if you could only see through his otherwise terror inducing mane.
Dropping your 🍌 split = 😭— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 17, 2020
70% Super/Split Saturday = 😁
Tomorrow's #Oilers vs. Coyotes game is not only a huge divisional matchup, it's also our next Super/Split Saturday as the 50/50 winner will take home 70% of the total pot!
🎟 https://t.co/CFi44ORLeM pic.twitter.com/ICd7lEomM1
21) Howler (Arizona Coyotes) 27th in 2018-19, 21st in 2017-18
The Coyotes are embracing their kachina sweaters like never before and we can only hope that Howler will have to wear them full-time in the near future. If not, he’ll continue to be average in ranking. Your move, Arizona.
20) Bernie the St. Bernard (Colorado Avalanche) 22nd in 2018-19, 22nd in 2017-18
There’s nothing inherently wrong with Bernie the St. Bernard, since St. Bernard dogs are usually the go-to rescue animals in the event of an avalanche in the real world, but it’s just a little too on the nose compared to the Yeti that once walked the corridors of Pepsi Center.
It was as close to a Sasquatch as you’d see in an NHL arena– until Seattle joins the fray in 2021, that is (hopefully they take our suggestion for a mascot). So yeah… the Avalanche have an average mascot.
19) Youppi! (Montreal Canadiens) 10th in 2018-19, 6th in 2017-18
Look, there’s nothing bad about Youppi!, but has anyone heard from him lately? I mean, is everything ok? First the Tampa Bay Rays jettison their plans for a potential split-season between St. Petersburg and Montreal, then the Canadiens just seem to have really overlooked how much he means to the mascot world lately.
Fear not, this may be a down year in the rankings, but Youppi! should bounce back once the Expos return from their quick run to get bread and milk.
Félicitations à un autre numéro 33 légendaire du sport à Montréal!— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) January 22, 2020
Congratulations to another legendary No. 33 from the Montreal sports scene!#LarryWalkerHOF | @Cdnmooselips33 pic.twitter.com/TcCwEo2gBa
18) Bailey (Los Angeles Kings) 3rd in 2018-19, 1st in 2017-18
Cranky mascots on Twitter is getting kind of old. We’re just putting Bailey here so he can tweet at us and change our minds.
17) Harvey the Hound (Calgary Flames) 23rd in 2018-19, 18th in 2017-18
Put a shirt on for heaven’s sake. It’s winter! Canadians, man. They’re an interesting breed.
16) Chance (Vegas Golden Knights) 9th in 2018-19, 31st* in 2017-18
We gave Chance a chance, but now the Golden Knights’ mascot just seems average, if not just old news thanks to something we call “the Gritty Factor” in the industry. A good performance at the 2020 NHL Mascot Showdown could boost his ranking.
Happy Thanksgiving. 🦃 pic.twitter.com/rKYXrdfgeB— Chance (@ChanceNHL) November 28, 2019
15) Mick E. Moose (Winnipeg Jets) 16th in 2018-19, 11th in 2017-18
Mick E. Moose looked stunning in Winnipeg’s 2019 Heritage Classic sweater, but unfortunately for the Jets mascot, there’s not much else going for him these days. Maybe next year.
How's that for a Sunday afternoon!?! pic.twitter.com/DgCGypgFup— Mick E Moose (@MickEMoose_00) December 8, 2019
14) Gnash (Nashville Predators) 19th in 2018-19, 17th in 2017-18
Gnash gets some bonus points for Nashville’s 2020 Winter Classic sweater, but he hasn’t done anything out of this world lately to try to capture a few more spots.
13) Slapshot (Washington Capitals) 5th in 2018-19, 4th in 2017-18
Once a rising star in the mascot ranking world, Slapshot lost a little of his edge while the Capitals roll right along with the Metropolitan Division lead. Another Stanley Cup Final run could be the cure for his ails.
12) Victor E. Green (Dallas Stars) 12th in 2018-19, 19th in 2017-18
We’re over the moon for this huggable alien in his Stars 2020 Winter Classic threads. Victor E. Green’s also still got those cute hockey stick ears going for him, but could use another viral video or two to really move him up the ranks. Anyone know if he’s on TikTok?
Finally joined the world of Instagram! Follow me @DallasStarsVic— Victor E. Green (@VictorEGreen) January 9, 2020
Any other account is FAKE! pic.twitter.com/7UwBTmG9ZA
11) Stinger (Columbus Blue Jackets) 15th in 2018-19, 27th in 2017-18
Stinger’s quips with Greg Wyshynski are amusing and have us concerned about just how sentient all NHL mascots have become in today’s world. We’d hate for him to sting us next. The Blue Jackets, in the meantime, are slowly being forgiven over the years for the mistake that was Boomer. Meanwhile, Elvis Merzlikins’ post-win celebrations might merit their own felt-based mascot sometime soon.
10) Louie (St. Louis Blues) 14th in 2018-19, 12th in 2017-18
The Blues win one Cup in 52 years and everyone loses their minds except one being– Louie. Louie will never give you up. He’s never going to let you down (anymore). He’s never going to run around and desert you. Also, he’s just really nice, so let’s reward him with Top-10 status this season.
9) Stormy (Carolina Hurricanes) 24th in 2018-19, 28th in 2017-18
Our biggest improvement this season belongs to none other than Stormy. It may or may not have something to do with him rocking Hartford Whalers gear on Whalers Night for the past two seasons, but the Hurricanes mascot is looking fine as ever in every thread that covers that hog body.
Plus we’ll give bonus points for Hamilton the Pig and free street-cred to the wonderful fans that own and care for Hamilton.
Whale would you look at that 🐋 pic.twitter.com/r3pLoxEBDX— Stormy (@NHLStormy) January 11, 2020
8) Blades the Bruin (Boston Bruins) 8th in 2018-19, 5th in 2017-18
The Bruins almost saw Blades fall in this year’s rankings if it weren’t for how well he’s able to pull off that “B” on their new alternate jerseys. It seems fitting that Blades wears the first letter of his name big and bright on his jersey once in a while. Now if only we could get him to do a backflip or something.
Patrice Bergeron, the #NHLBruins, and @985TheSportsHub teamed up for the 2020 Pucks & Paddles ping pong tournament on Friday, raising $125,000 for Floating Hospital for Children at @TuftsMedicalCtr.— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 18, 2020
📸 Full Photo Gallery: https://t.co/HB8b7UILn8 pic.twitter.com/qf7sLedcki
7) Carlton the Bear (Toronto Maple Leafs) 11th in 2018-19, 13th in 2017-18
The Maple Leafs mascot is in the Top-10 for the first time in our ranking and he is looking classier than ever before for some reason. Did someone say “everything old is new again”? Because he’s old, but never going out of style. Alexa, play “Style” by Taylor Swift while we jam with Carlton the Bear and his friends.
6) Fin (Vancouver Canucks) 7th in 2018-19, 10th in 2017-18
Slow but steady has been the progress of the Canucks over the last few years that this season they might make the playoffs and next season Fin just might make the Top-5 in our mascot ranking. Unfortunately for Vancouver’s favorite orca, he’s just one spot shy of being a certified superstar in the making.
5) Gritty (Philadelphia Flyers) 4th in 2018-19, 29th* in 2017-18 (pre-Gritty)
We swear we didn’t take the easy way out by picking Gritty as this year’s
top 5th place mascot, but would you honestly blame us if we did? We are all gritizens these days anyway and Gritty rules us all. It certainly helps that the Flyers introduced their “Disassembly Room” and continue to go all-in on the chaos that Gritty brings everywhere he goes.
Plus, look at all the props, costumes and sheer grit that Philly’s orange monster has for each and every event, game and everything in between.
(We also wrote this before learning of the current allegations against Philadelphia’s beloved orange ball of fur.)
Am I doing this right? pic.twitter.com/p3EQZzvYbD— Gritty (@GrittyNHL) January 22, 2020
4) Iceburgh (Pittsburgh Penguins) 1st in 2018-19, 7th in 2017-18
Iceburgh won top-dog– er, penguin– in last season’s mascot ranking, but things have cooled off for a bit while the Penguins mascot comes down from the many highs of being the No. 1 mascot. He’s ready to settle down and chill in his nest for a while, then go right back for the krill next year.
3) Sabretooth (Buffalo Sabres) 6th in 2018-19, 8th in 2017-18
Just look at how phenomenal the Sabres’ 50th anniversary sweaters are, then look how much they bring out all the best qualities in Sabretooth to the forefront of this rising mascot in the ranking.
Sabretooth’s a shoe-in for Runner-Up or First Place next season when Buffalo goes back to royal blue as their primary color. The question is, will Sabretooth’s stripes change accordingly?
2) S.J. Sharkie (San Jose Sharks) 2nd in 2018-19, 2nd in 2017-18
For the third year in-a-row, S.J. Sharkie came in 2nd in our ranking. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that we think Sharkie won’t be able to win this competition like how the Sharks always find a way to disappoint their fans before (or during) the Final.
One of these years, San Jose. One of these years. Unfortunately it won’t be this year, as the Sharks are likely to miss the postseason and don’t even have their first round pick.
1) N.J. Devil (New Jersey Devils) 13th in 2018-19, 16th in 2017-18
What’s hotter than hell these days? The N.J. Devil himself.
Seriously, just look at this gorgeous mascot and you too will start questioning if you’re really that attracted to his facial hair or the fact that this guy can bench more than your cousin Tony. New Jersey, your next reason to shutdown your beaches is right in front of you and it looks way hotter.
Also, has there ever been a more relatable mascot that loves pizza just like us?
In all seriousness though, all of the league’s mascots do a great job of being an entertaining part of the game, as well as wonderful ambassadors for spreading kindness and cheer in their community.
Hats off to the people living inside the sweaty costumes and the marketing teams behind them.
Admit it, you’ve been wondering when this was going to come out and you’re dying to reflect on whether any of your old hot takes still hold up compared to how some of these beauties actually look on the ice.
Once again it’s time for one DTFR writer’s thoughts and ranking of all the newest threads introduced in the National Hockey League for the 2019-20 season and beyond.
NHL teams often try to create a buzz and stick to the brand, but occasionally there’s a few outliers that do the opposite of what the introduction of Gritty as the mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers has done that organization, for example.
In other words, remember that Dallas Stars third jersey from 2003-06? Yeah, that one. Beloved by some, but hated by many– nevertheless, everyone wonders the same thing “who gave the final approval for that?”
Please enjoy this year’s light-hearted ranking of the newest threads and fashion sense.
13. Anaheim Ducks (unveiled, Sept. 30, 2019)
In their 26th NHL season, the Anaheim Ducks brought back their Orange County Orange(™) alternate sweaters that were previously worn from 2015-17.
After the mandatory one-year hiatus from the NHL’s third jersey program while the league made the switch from the Reebok Edge to adidas ADIZERO design in 2017-18– as well as Anaheim’s one-year specialty jersey to commemorate their 25th anniversary last season– the current alternate threads have made their official comeback.
While most like the homage of the crest to the original name of the franchise as the “Mighty Ducks of Anaheim”, this sweater just doesn’t really do it for me. Yes, more orange isn’t a bad thing in the NHL, but overall the design is pretty formulaic when it comes to featuring secondary logos, tertiary colors, etc.
It’s nice to see it make its return, but dare I say it, the 25th anniversary alternate sweater was actually… kind of great. Perhaps it should come back.
12. Los Angeles Kings (unveiled, Aug. 31, 2019)
The Los Angeles Kings are living in the past these days– what with Rob Blake as their General Manager and all, plus the reintroduction of their iconic 1988-96 look.
Los Angeles brought out these Heritage sweaters from the closet to appease jersey collectors looking for a little something from the past, but in the modern ADIZERO fit and with names like “Brown”, “Doughty”, “Kopitar” and “Quick” on the back instead of those other guys who never won a Cup in a Kings sweater like “Gretzky” and “Robitaille”.
We live in strange times, indeed.
That said, Los Angeles’ 2020 Stadium Series sweater (leaked in Nov.) leaves something to be desired.
It’s as if someone took one of those pieces from an Othello board, added some streaks from Vancouver’s “Flying Skate” spaghetti stripes and worked in the coolest feature (the checkerboard pattern behind the neck) in the smallest place they could’ve possibly done so just to smite us.
The “Burger King” is dead. May he continue to rest in peace.
But if the Kings ever wanted to go all out on a zany Stadium Series design, think black and white checkerboard with the “Burger King” crest. Now that’s how you get a European feel in an outdoor NHL game.
Anze Kopitar would be proud. Do it for your captain, Kings.
11. St. Louis Blues (unveiled, Sept. 14, 2019)
The St. Louis Blues decided that Los Angeles couldn’t be the only team digging up what they wore when Wayne Gretzky was on their roster, so they dusted off their own 1990s look and put it back on the shelves at Enterprise Center.
There’s nothing original about it, since it’s just their 1995-98 dark sweater, but ADIZERO-fied. Does this mean Gretzky’s going to come back for another 16 regular season games?
10. Colorado Avalanche (leaked, Nov. 12, 2019)
The Colorado Avalanche had a rather conservative 2016 Stadium Series sweater at Coors Field and the Avs paid for it dearly by losing, 5-3, to the Detroit Red Wings.
This time around, Colorado’s looking to take flight at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs with what’s already a winning design.
Embrace the chaos.
Traditionally, the Stadium Series is always about taking hockey where it’s never been– whether it’s an outdoor game in Los Angeles or simply in the sweater design. This year’s Stadium Series matchup is certainly living up to the outlandish theme– dare we say futuristic? If only that future involves minimalism combined with the absurd.
9. Vancouver Canucks (unveiled, Sept. 12, 2019)
The Vancouver Canucks refreshed their look for the 2019-20 season and beyond by dropping the “Vancouver” wordmark from above the orca and making their crest logo larger than ever before.
Not to be outdone, the Canucks modernized the stick in the rink logo on the shoulders, cast it in white instead of blue and only committed one jersey foul by not keeping the shoulder patches clad in blue on the white road sweaters for contrast.
A little subtle change in detail from home to road sweaters isn’t a bad thing like how the Boston Bruins home shoulder patch reads as “Bruins” above the bear and “Boston” above the bear on the road sweaters. Again, it’s the little things that really make something feel complete and the Canucks could very well rectify this “existential crisis” in time for the 2020-21 season, but it’s nothing major.
The Canucks really did a great job of reducing their colors to blue and green on their alternate “Heritage” sweaters. Is it perfect? No, but it is something different from what they’ve had and different from their usual look, so that’s better than nothing.
The stick in the rink logo really pops on the alternates and it’s a shame they’re likely only going to be worn for this season unless I can convince them otherwise (do the right thing, Vancouver).
Maybe take a little inspiration from the Vancouver Millionaires sleeve striping pattern and figure out a way to correlate that with the alternate logo and you just might make a certified gold mashup of Vancouver hockey sweaters from over the years.
⚫️🔴🟡 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/yupnGWeLye— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) November 15, 2019
In addition to celebrating their 50th anniversary in style, Vancouver brought back their “Flying Skate” jerseys as throwbacks this year and, well, they’re decent in the ADIZERO design, but unless the Canucks are going to forfeit pacific green and blue to Seattle in 2021, Vancouver shouldn’t switch their colors back to red, yellow and black.
Pavel Bure could pull off the look, but don’t make Elias Pettersson wear those things more than he has to.
8. Calgary Flames (unveiled, Sept. 13, 2019)
Simply put, these 2019 Heritage Classic sweaters should be the Calgary Flames’ road sweaters.
Calgary dug out their 1989 look last season for their current alternate sweater and unless the Flames are planning on bringing back the flaming horse head sweater from 1998-06, it’s probably time to go back to the past for a little while and wallow in the nostalgia of when the franchise didn’t let Jarome Iginla down every year and actually won a Stanley Cup.
7. Winnipeg Jets (unveiled, Sept. 13, 2019)
Not many things from the 1970s have as much staying power as these Winnipeg Jets 2019 Heritage Classic sweaters. Everything about this jersey is sharp and it’s a shame the Jets can’t use them more often.
Winnipeg is cursed with superior design in both their past life as well as in their current iteration. It’s hard to tell the Jets to use these more when their current complete jersey set is as dynamic as it is and underrated.
6. Edmonton Oilers (unveiled, Sept. 12, 2019)
The #Oilers, @NHL & @adidashockey present our #adizero Alternate Jersey for the 2019-20 season!— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) September 12, 2019
Fusing sport & culture, this special-edition jersey features modern & futuristic design elements that create a clean, sleek & bold new look.
🔶 https://t.co/sSaRJZHuXb 🔷 pic.twitter.com/yXgu38QpM3
When the Edmonton Oilers changed over to their modern orange and navy blue color scheme, I’ll admit I wasn’t a fan at first.
Now, after remembering the days of my youth enjoying the hell out of watching Edmonton’s last great team– the 2005-06 Oilers roster– I want everything to be steeped in the navy blue of Ryan Smyth’s prime.
At first glance, these sweaters look like something you’d find in an intramural floor hockey league, but hey, even if you don’t win the championship, you’d still look better than all the other teams.
They’re bold and daring, but don’t scream “out of this world” in concept. They’re just fun and after all, isn’t that the point of the game? To just “have fun”?
Years from now we’re going to remember Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl’s prime as such a conflicting era of Oilers hockey.
The Second Coming of Sidney Crosby (McDavid) was forced to abandon the Wayne Gretzky colors for his own identity– this team’s current identity– led by two-time All-Star goaltender, Mike Smith (who’s corresponding pads with the new alternates are phenomenal, by the way), of course.
Ok, really, I got nothing else about this design. It’s plain, but electric. It has just the right amount of marketability to kids who will have their hearts broken by this team.
5. Nashville Predators (unveiled, Nov. 2, 2019)
The Nashville Predators’ 2020 Winter Classic sweater is a timeless look– most notably because it is actually a thing from the past based on the Dixie Flyers’ sweaters from 1962-71, but also because anytime there’s a script involved on the front of an NHL jersey instead of a logo, there’s a 99% chance Hockey Twitter is going to compare it to the old Minnesota Wild alternate sweater from 2009-17 and wish for more teams to try their hand at cursive writing.
In other words, the Preds actually made something good and that’ll sell well, even if fans are going to have to acknowledge that Nashville’s Stanley Cup contender status window may be closing– and fast.
This strikes me as a very good pond hockey jersey to wear for some reason and that shoulder patch should see added mileage on a future alternate sweater, in case the Predators are looking for a starting point (and to avoid whatever mustard yellow sweater Peter Forsberg had to wear in his short Nashville tenure).
4. Boston Bruins (unveiled, Nov. 24, 2019)
The Boston Bruins played it conservatively for the second alternate jersey in a row, simply pulling an old sweater out of the closet, bringing it to a tailor and tweaking a few minor things.
That said, Bruins President, Cam Neely, has a knack for marketing his organization.
Boston’s new alternate is just a throwback from their first full-time road sweater in 1948-49, but with a modernized “B” font from the 2019 Winter Classic sweater and small changes to the stripes.
It’s elegant, but just how daring is it?
“Original Six” franchises are proud to display their history and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s not a one-off sort of thing that pits the organization’s current stars in a weird alternate timeline where things just don’t look right (looking at you, Montreal Canadiens 100th anniversary trio).
Sure, the Toronto Maple Leafs occasionally bring out something from their Arenas days or St. Pats days for a game or two each year, but they’re not as hideous as whatever the Habs went through before settling on their tricolor motif a few years prior to the NHL’s creation.
Anyway, you have to give credit to the Bruins for actually taking some things from the past and updating them to modern building codes such that players like Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Zdeno Chara can get a feel for what franchise legends like Eddie Shore, Lionel Hitchman, “Dit” Clapper and Milt Schmidt wore back in the day without cheapening the spectacle in a one-time only scenario.
Neely has a history in his tenure for overseeing every aspect in the design of a legacy product– the 2010 Winter Classic sweater featured an updated 25th anniversary spoked-B crest from the 1948-49 season white jersey clad on a 1958-59 gold jersey with brown instead of black accents.
The 2016 Winter Classic sweater was an updated version of their original 1924-25 sweater– exchanging brown for black. And of course, Boston’s 2019 Winter Classic sweater was based on their look from the early 1930s with a modernized “B” and more stripes on the sleeves.
Timeless doesn’t have to mean drab if the players are flying up and down the ice adding their own creativity to the sweater.
3. Dallas Stars (unveiled, Nov. 6, 2019)
Hockey sweaters can never have too many stripes, nor can they ever have too much green– and I’m not just saying that as someone who’s favorite color is green.
The Dallas Stars are paying homage to the 1940s professional hockey team before them– the Dallas Texans– with a “fauxback” of sorts.
Though they’re claiming the identity of a long-gone team in the basic design elements, the Stars brought forth something fresh and clean to the drawing board instead of all the possibilities the former Minnesota North Stars could have ran with for one game.
Dallas wearing a North Stars emblem in an outdoor game in Dallas wouldn’t be very Dallas.
But this sweater is. Plus the old-school colored pants and white gloves really complete the aesthetic. Who could be mad at that?
Bonus points for the State of Texas patch on the sleeve with an ode to “The Big D” inside it.
2. Carolina Hurricanes (unveiled, Aug. 20, 2019)
You may call them “Candy Canes”, but the Carolina Hurricanes are the owners of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and we’re all just trying to be one of the lucky five people with golden tickets.
Perhaps that’s the strangest way of saying this year’s new road sweater is everything that most jerseys aren’t– actually creative. There’s no “copy, paste and invert the colors” involved.
The hurricane warning motif was brought back as a bottom stripe (major style points) and they introduced red gloves to match the red pants, as well as a red-based 3-D Hurricanes logo on the sides of the helmet.
Carolina got rid of the added weight on the shoulders by removing the red yoke and righted a wrong on the previous version of their road white sweaters– the names and numbers are back in red.
Though three distinct jerseys for each sweater style (home, away and alternate) is usually not my thing from a brand consistency standpoint, the Hurricanes made significant improvements to playing within their stormy elements and not trying to blend in with anyone else.
They are their own thing– diagonal “CANES” moniker across the front of the road sweater be damned.
If you don’t like it, then you’re clearly not a Caniac.
(And if– for some reason– you are a Caniac and you don’t like these sweaters, well they’re still doing Whalers Night this year, so please enjoy your “traditional” fix on Jan. 11th.)
1. Buffalo Sabres (unveiled, Aug. 16, 2019)
You can never have too many stripes in soccer, rugby or hockey. Take notes kids.
Also, the Buffalo Sabres really hit it out of the park with the same shiny gold thread that’s prominent in the Vegas Golden Knights’ overall identity.
Much like how the Ducks– in retrospect– nailed their 25th anniversary aesthetic with an element from every jersey in one, the Sabres nailed their 50th anniversary– their golden anniversary– with almost literal gold.
It’s gold in color, but not in carats.
Buffalo’s switching back to royal blue in their home and road sweaters for the 2020-21 season and beyond, so it’s really only fitting that white is the basis for this ode to the team’s inception, growth and existence over half a century.
The Sabres made sure to include all four renditions of their primary logo over the years inside the collar, which is a unique thing about NHL sweaters compared to other leagues– the incredible level of personalization to an organization– no detail is overlooked.
It’s a shame these will only be worn for this season, but it’s a sacrifice many are willing to make for the return to royal blue, I’m sure.
One of these days the Ottawa Senators are due for a rebrand (and with it, new third jerseys), but until then, the Vegas Golden Knights, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers and Nashville Predators may all introduce third jerseys at some point.
Probably not this year at this rate, but maybe next year.
Anze Kopitar’s game-winning goal in overtime lifted the Los Angeles Kings over the Boston Bruins, 4-3, on Tuesday night at TD Garden.
Jonathan Quick (10-12-2 record, 3.05 goals against average, .893 save percentage in 24 games played) made 37 saves on 40 shots against (.925 SV%) in the win for the Kings.
Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask (13-4-4, 2.31 GAA, .923 SV% in 21 games played) stopped 23 out of 27 shots faced in the overtime loss.
Boston fell to 21-7-7 (49 points) on the season, but remained in command of the Atlantic Division. Meanwhile, Los Angeles improved to 15-18-3 (33 points) and moved to 7th place in the Pacific Division.
The Bruins fell to 12-1-6 at home this season, while the Kings improved to 5-12-3 on the road this season.
The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee), Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia) and Zach Senyshyn (lower body) on Tuesday.
Kuhlman and Anton Blidh (shoulder) skated on their own on Monday as the two work to get back into their respective lineups (Kuhlman likely with Boston, while Blidh is rehabbing an injury sustained in the preseason and would likely be assigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) when he is reactivated).
B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from last Saturday night’s, 4-2, victory in Florida.
Once more, Connor Clifton, Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie comprised of Boston’s healthy scratches.
The Bruins had too many skaters on the ice exactly one minute into the first period and presented Los Angeles with their first power play opportunity of the night.
The Kings took full advantage as Jeff Carter rocketed an intentionally wide shot to Blake Lizotte (4) for the redirection into the twine, giving Los Angeles the, 1-0, lead at 2:17 of the first period.
Carter (6) and Tyler Toffoli (12) had the assists on Lizotte’s power play goal as the Bruins gave up the game’s first goal on home ice for the 11th time this season.
Late in the opening frame, Kyle Clifford knocked down Chris Wagner while the B’s forward didn’t have possession of the puck and received an interference infraction as a result at 18:14.
Boston capitalized on their first power play of the game as Danton Heinen (6) redirected the puck into the net with his right skate– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.
Heinen’s power play goal was reviewed for a distinct kicking motion, but the call on the ice stood.
Brad Marchand (33) and David Pastrnak (21) notched the assists on Heinen’s goal at 19:01.
Pastrnak surpassed Barry Pederson for sole possession of the 4th most points by a Bruins player before the age of 24 with the secondary assist on Heinen’s goal.
Only Bobby Orr (507 points from 1966-72), Ray Bourque (399 points from 1979-84) and Joe Thornton (348 points from 1997-2003) had more points with Boston than Pastrnak (333) before turning 24-years-old.
After one period of play Tuesday night at TD Garden, the B’s and Kings were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard with Boston outshooting Los Angeles, 11-7.
Boston also held the advantage in giveaways (4-3) and faceoff win percentage (57-43), while Los Angeles led in blocked shots (4-3) and takeaways (5-4).
Both teams had eight hits aside and were 1/1 on the power play heading into the first intermission.
Trevor Lewis hooked Jake DeBrusk and was sent to the penalty box at 1:59 of the second period as the Kings kicked off the middle frame with an infraction.
While on the power play, the Bruins couldn’t manage to keep the puck in the attacking zone as Los Angeles worked a quick break turned shorthanded breakaway attempt for Adrian Kempe heading the other way.
Kempe (5) slid a backhand shot through Rask’s five-hole for the third shorthanded goal allowed this season by Boston, as well as the third shorthanded goal for Los Angeles this season.
Kempe’s shorthanded goal gave the Kings a, 2-1, lead and was unassisted at 2:45 of the second period.
Midway through the middle frame, Patrice Bergeron (11) fired a wrist shot from the high slot off the post and in behind Quick with traffic in front of the net to tie the game, 2-2.
Torey Krug (19) had the only assist on Bergeron’s goal at 10:44.
Late in the period, Dustin Brown slashed Charlie McAvoy’s stick out of the Boston defender’s hands and received a minor penalty for his action at 16:07.
The Bruins did not convert on the ensuing power play.
The two clubs entered the second intermission tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard, with the B’s leading in shots on goal, 21-17, through 40 minutes.
Both teams had 10 shots on net in the second period alone.
Meanwhile, the Bruins led in giveaways (10-4), hits (17-14) and faceoff win% (64-36) and the Kings led in blocked shots (9-5) and takeaways (11-6) entering the third period.
Los Angeles was 1/1 on the skater advantage, while Boston was 1/3 on the power play.
Brandon Carlo (3) snapped a 23-game goalless drought after he floated a soft goal past Quick from the point to give the Bruins their first lead of the night, 3-2, at 1:24 of the third period.
DeBrusk (9) and Heinen (9) had the assists on Carlo’s goal.
There were no penalties called in the third period.
With 2:08 remaining in regulation, Kings head coach, Todd McLellan, pulled Quick for an extra skater. It didn’t take long for Los Angeles to capitalize and tie the game.
Matt Roy (4) sent a shot from the point that had eyes and almost was tipped by Carter before reaching the back of the net at 17:59– tying the game, 3-3.
Nikolai Prokhorkin (4) had the only assist on Roy’s goal as the Kings forced overtime with their first shot on goal in a 10:04 span.
At the end of regulation, the Bruins led the Kings in shots on goal, 37-25– including a, 16-8, advantage in the third period alone.
Boston held the advantage in giveaways (11-9), hits (24-22) and faceoff win% (62-38), while Los Angeles led in takeaways (12-8).
Both teams had ten blocked shots each.
Los Angeles finished the night 1/1 on the skater advantage and the B’s went 1/3 on the power play as there were no penalties called in the third period or overtime.
Cassidy started Bergeron, Marchand and Krug in the extra frame, while McLellan opted for Kopitar, Alex Iafallo and Drew Doughty.
The Bruins surged with a couple of breakaways– one from Anders Bjork that was poke checked away by Quick and the other from Bergeron that was sent wide of the goal– but they were no match for Los Angeles’ quick break the other way as Kopitar (14) put the final nail in the coffin.
The Kings had defeated the Bruins, 4-3, at 3:23 of the overtime period with Doughty (17) tallying the only assist.
Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal (40-27), giveaways (11-10) and faceoff win% (63-38), while both teams managed to amass ten blocked shots aside and 24 hits each.
Los Angeles improved to 4-2 in overtime this season, while the B’s fell to 2-3 in the extra frame thus far.
The Kings are now 3-0-0 when scoring a shorthanded goal in a game this season, while the Bruins fell to 5-1-4 when tied after one period and 5-2-2 when tied after two periods this season.
Boston continues their four-game homestand (0-0-1) on Thursday night against the New York Islanders before hosting the Nashville Predators on Saturday and wrapping up before the holiday break next Monday against the Washington Capitals.
David Pastrnak had a pair of goals in the Boston Bruins’, 4-2, victory over the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Saturday night.
Jaroslav Halak (8-3-3 record, 2.26 goals against average, .928 save percentage in 14 games played) made 31 saves on 33 shots against (.939 SV%) in the win as the Bruins snapped a five-game losing streak.
Panthers goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky (11-9-4, 3.14 GAA, .900 SV% in 26 games played), stopped 38 out of 41 shots faced for a .927 SV% in the loss.
Boston improved to 21-7-6 (48 points) on the season and increased their command over the rest of the Atlantic Division, while Florida fell to 15-12-5 (35 points) and dropped to 6th in the Atlantic.
The B’s also improved to 9-6-1 on the road this season.
For the 34th time this season, Kevan Miller (knee) was still out of the lineup due to lingering setbacks from his injury late last season. He has yet to make his 2019-20 season debut.
Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia) and Zach Senyshyn (lower body) remained out of the lineup due to injuries while the Bruins took on the Panthers in Florida.
Boston head coach, Bruce Cassidy, announced a few lineup changes to reporters before the game, replacing Brett Ritchie with David Backes among his forwards.
As a result, Charlie Coyle was moved up to the second line right wing in Ritchie’s place, while Sean Kuraly filled in Coyle’s third line center spot and Chris Wagner moved from the fourth line right wing to the fourth line center.
Backes took over Wagner’s role on the right side of the fourth line.
Everything else was unchanged from Thursday night’s, 3-2, loss in Tampa.
Par Lindholm and Connor Clifton joined Ritchie as Boston’s healthy scratches against the Panthers.
Patrice Bergeron skated in his 1,053rd career NHL game on Saturday– surpassing Don Sweeney for the 3rd most in Bruins franchise history.
Early in the action, Anders Bjork caught Florida defender, Anton Stralman, with a high stick and presented the Panthers with their first power play of the game at 2:10 of the first period.
Florida’s power play couldn’t get anything going and did not convert on the skater advantage while Bjork was in the box.
Midway through the period, Mark Pysyk tripped Brad Marchand at 11:13.
Boston’s first power play opportunity of the night was not successful, but the Bruins were able to take advantage of the momentum generated in the vulnerable minute after special teams action as Jake DeBrusk (8) poked the puck through a Florida defender and earned himself his own breakaway before scoring on Bobrovsky.
Charlie McAvoy (12) and David Krejci (16) notched the assists on DeBrusk’s 100th career NHL point as the B’s took the game’s first lead, 1-0, at 14:41 of the first period.
Less than a couple of minutes later, Matt Grzelcyk interfered with former Bruin, Frank Vatrano, and was assessed a minor infraction at 16:08.
The Panthers were unsuccessful on their second power play of the game and quickly found themselves shorthanded after Grzelcyk was freed from the box.
Brett Connolly tripped John Moore at 18:39 and presented Boston with their second power play of the night.
Though the power play carried over into the second period, the Bruins were not able to take advantage of their skater advantage.
Entering the first intermission, Boston led Florida, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 22-11, in shots on goal.
The Bruins also held the advantage in blocked shots (7-3) and hits (10-8), while the Panthers led in takeaways (3-2) and faceoff win percentage (57-44).
Both teams had four giveaways aside and were 0/2 on the power play after 20 minutes of action at BB&T Center.
Krejci (7) blasted a one-timer from the high slot that squibbed through Bobrovsky and just over the line before a Panthers defender tried to scoop it out as though it had never happened (before DeBrusk tapped it back in) and the Bruins jumped out to a two-goal lead at 3:14 of the second period.
DeBrusk (8) and Torey Krug (17) had the assists on Krejci’s goal as the B’s led, 2-0.
Moments later, Vincent Trocheck sent the puck over the glass for an automatic delay of game penalty at 6:50 of the middle frame.
While on the power play, Marchand worked a pass through the slot that was redirected by Pastrnak (27) into the twine from the edge of the crease to make it, 3-0, for Boston.
Marchand (31) and Krug (18) tallied the assists on Pastrnak’s power play goal at 7:30 of the second period and the Bruins had their first three-goal lead in a game since beating the Montreal Canadiens, 8-1, on Nov. 26th in Montreal.
Through 40 minutes of play on Saturday night, the B’s led the Panthers, 3-0, on the scoreboard and, 32-22, in shots on goal.
Florida held the advantage in shots on net in the second period alone, 11-10, as well as in takeaways (6-3), giveaways (8-7) and hits (18-11).
Boston led in blocked shots (13-10) and faceoff win% (54-46) entering the second intermission,
The Panthers were 0/2 on the skater advantage, while the Bruins were 1/3 on the power play heading into the third period.
Pysyk (2) sent a backhander over Halak from point blank on a rebound at 2:46 of the third period to put the Panthers on the board and cut Boston’s lead to two-goals.
Aaron Ekblad (13) and Keith Yandle (24) notched the assists on Pysyk’s goal as Florida came out of the gate for the final frame with a burst of energy.
Ekblad got caught up on a Pastrnak breakaway and hooked the winger while falling behind the play, yielding a penalty shot for the Bruins winger in the process.
Pastrnak took his time as he skated in on Bobrovsky for the penalty shot at 6:29 of the third and fired a shot right into the goaltender as he tried to muster something on the short side.
Though he has a knack for scoring impressive goals in regular game situations, Pastrnak is now only 1-for-3 on penalty shots in his career. Meanwhile, Bobrovsky has made seven saves on 11 penalty shot attempts in his career.
Almost midway through the third period, Yandle (4) rocketed a one-timer from the point over Halak’s glove that rang the post and deflected into the twine to make it a one-goal game.
Trocheck (11) and Ekblad (14) had the assists on Yandle’s goal at 9:13 and Florida trailed, 3-2.
Panthers head coach, Joel Quenneville, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker with almost two minutes remaining in the game, but things did not go as planned for Florida’s comeback attempt Saturday night.
Unlike how things went when the Bruins blew a, 4-0, lead at home on Nov. 12th against the Panthers, Boston finished off Florida while on the road with an empty net goal from Pastrnak (28) as the NHL’s leading goal scorer hit the empty twine from downtown.
Marchand (32) and Bergeron (17) were credited with the assists on Pastrnak’s second goal of the night at 17:50 and the Bruins secured the, 4-2, victory as a result.
Additionally, with his second assist of the game, Marchand became the first Bruin to reach 50 points in a season in 34 or fewer games since Adam Oates reached the 50-point mark 31 games into the 1995-96 season.
Oates had 14-36–50 totals in that span, while Marchand has 18-32–50 totals so far this season.
Finally, at 18:37 of the third period, McAvoy picked up an interference minor when he knocked down Florida captain, Aleksander Barkov, near the corner boards as time winded down and the puck was a little too far out of reach for both players.
Barkov suffered what appeared to be a lower body injury as a result while McAvoy skated over to the penalty box.
At the final horn, the Bruins had won, 4-2, and finished the night leading in shots on goal (42-33), blocked shots (21-14) and faceoff win% (57-43).
Florida finished the night leading in giveaways (15-10), while both teams were even in hits (21-21).
The Panthers went 0/3 on the skater advantage, while the B’s finished Saturday night’s action 1/3 on the power play.
Saturday night marked the first win for Boston since their, 2-0, shutout over the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 3rd. Halak was also in net that night.
Boston wrapped up their four-game road trip (1-3-0) Saturday.
The B’s also improved to 12-3-0 when leading after one period, 11-0-2 when leading after two periods and 14-5-3 when scoring the game’s first goal this season.
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).