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DTFR Podcast #250- Is This The Leafs’ Year (To Get Out Of The First Round)?

Nick and Cam present cases for James Norris Memorial Trophy, Vezina Trophy and Calder Memorial Trophy finalists and predict how the rest of the 2022 First Round should go.

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DTFR Podcast #249- 2022 First Round Preview In Progress (Part 2)

Nick and Sean preview the Western Conference matchups in the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins beat Blues in overtime on the road, 3-2

For the first time since Game 6 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, the Boston Bruins paid a visit to Enterprise Center on Tuesday night and snapped the St. Louis Blues’ nine-game winning streak with a, 3-2, overtime victory on the road.

Charlie McAvoy scored the game-winning goal for Boston less than a minute into the extra frame, while Jeremy Swayman (22-12-3, 2.33 goals-against average, .916 save percentage in 38 games played) made 20 saves on 22 shots against in the win.

St. Louis goaltender, Ville Husso (24-6-6, 2.46 goals-against average, .923 save percentage in 38 games played) stopped 32 out of 35 shots faced in the overtime loss.

The Bruins improved to 47-24-5 (99 points) on the season and are now one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning (46-22-8, 100 points) for 3rd in the Atlantic Division, while remaining 4th place in the division and in command of the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Blues, meanwhile, fell to 46-20-11 (103 points) overall and dropped to 3rd in the Central Division as a result of the Minnesota Wild’s, 2-0, victory against the Montréal Canadiens Tuesday night– forcing St. Louis and Minnesota in a tiebreaker that the Wild currently hold by virtue of having played in one fewer game than the Blues so far this season (76 games to St. Louis’ 77).

Boston finished 1-1-0 in their 2021-22 regular season series against St. Louis having previously gone 1-0-0 in their 2019-20 campaign that was cut short due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (which also prevented the two teams from meeting in the regular season in 2020-21).

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters ahead of the game that David Pastrnak (undisclosed), Hampus Lindholm (lower body) and Linus Ullmark (undisclosed) would not make the two-game road trip against the Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins and are likely to return next week prior to the conclusion of the regular season.

As such, the B’s were without Pastrnak, Lindholm and Ullmark in addition to being short Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) on Tuesday.

Frödén’s injury meant that Curtis Lazar would slide in on the right side of the second line with Tomáš Nosek returning to the lineup to center the fourth line.

Cassidy made no other changes to his lineup from last Saturday’s, 2-1, victory against Pittsburgh to Tuesday night at Enterprise Center.

Jack Studnicka, Josh Brown, Jack Ahcan and Anton Blidh made up Boston’s list of healthy scratches in St. Louis.

Nathan Walker hooked Erik Haula and presented the Bruins with the first power play opportunity of the night at 5:40 of the first period, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage as it was cut short when Mike Reilly caught Brayden Schenn with a high stick at 6:49.

The B’s fell to 0-for-26 on the power play in their last 26 opportunities as a result.

St. Louis didn’t convert on their abbreviated skater advantage as the Bruins made the kill and Reilly returned to the ice from his sixth penalty in his last last games (four of which were, in fact, for high sticking).

Midway through the opening frame, McAvoy hooked Ryan O’Reilly at 11:11 and presented the Blues with another power play.

This time St. Louis made quick work of the skater advantage as Pavel Buchnevich (28) redirected a one-touch pass from Vladimir Tarasenko past Swayman to give the Blues a, 1-0, lead at 11:49 of the first period.

Tarasenko (44) and Jordan Kyrou (43) tallied the assists on Buchnevich’s power-play goal.

Late in the period, the two teams went into the first intermission at 4-on-4 after Ivan Barbashev and Lazar went into the box for roughing and an unsportsmanlike conduct infraction, respectively, at 19:15.

The two clubs would resume 5-on-5 action early in the middle frame after the penalties expired.

After one period, St. Louis led, 1-0, on the scoreboard, despite Boston holding an, 11-8, advantage in shots on goal.

The Bruins also led in blocked shots (8-3), takeaways (5-3) and faceoff win percentage (57-43), while the Blues led in giveaways (5-1) and hits (12-7).

St. Louis was 1-for-2 on the power play, while Boston was 0-for-1 on the skater advantage heading into the middle period.

Jake DeBrusk (23) sent a shot over Husso’s short side under the crossbar and off the back bar in the net before the puck rebounded back out of the twine.

The goal was waved off at first before a quick official review determined that the rubber biscuit had gone in and out so quickly– rendering an assist to Matt Grzelcyk (20) in the process while DeBrusk tied the game, 1-1, at 1:33 of the second period.

Almost midway through the middle frame, Haula sent a one-hand pass back to the point where Derek Forbort got a shot off towards the slot that Taylor Hall (17) tipped from below the crossbar past Husso– giving the Bruins their first lead of the night, 2-1, in the process.

Forbort (10) and Haula (25) notched the assists on Hall’s goal and the B’s had momentum well on their side at 9:44.

Late in the period, however, Forbort cut a rut to the penalty box for tripping Dakota Joshua, but Boston was able to make the kill on the ensuing infraction and special teams action at 17:00 of the second period.

In the vulnerable minute thereafter, though, the Blues managed to fling a shot at the net that Robert Thomas (19) tipped while skating through the slot to tie the game, 2-2, at 19:57.

Buchnevich (43) and Tarasenko (45) had the assists on Thomas’ goal with 2.4 seconds left on the clock in the second period as the Bruins gave up their 19th goal against in the final minute of any period this season.

Through 40 minutes the score was tied, 2-2, despite Boston holding a decisive advantage in shots on goal, 28-17. The Bruins even outshot the Blues, 17-9, in the second period alone.

The B’s held the advantage in blocked shots (10-8), takeaways (11-5) and faceoff win% (63-38), while the Blue Notes led in giveaways (8-5) and hits (15-14) heading into the final frame.

St. Louis was 1-for-3 on the power play while Boston was 0-for-1 on the skater advantage.

Neither team scored in the third period, while only Barbashev took a penalty at 6:34 for tripping Haula.

The Bruins fell to 0-for-27 on their last 27 power play opportunities as the skater advantage came and went by the wayside.

After 60 minutes of regulation, Boston and St. Louis were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard despite the Bruins holding a, 34-22, advantage in shots on goal– including a, 6-5, advantage in the third period alone.

The B’s led in takeaways (16-11), hits (22-20) and faceoff win% (59-41), while the Blues led in giveaways (11-4) after three periods.

Both teams had 13 blocked shots each, while St. Louis finished the night 1-for-3 on the power play and Boston went 0-for-2 on the skater advantage as no penalties were called in the extra frame.

Cassidy sent out Charlie Coyle, DeBrusk and McAvoy to start the overtime period, while Blues head coach, Craig Berube, countered with Thomas, Tarasenko and Justin Faulk.

It didn’t take long for the Bruins to nearly blow it, then win it.

One Boston skater misplayed a loose puck before DeBrusk over-skated it prior to Swayman emerging from the crease to clear it off the boards in the neutral zone while facing pressure from a St. Louis forward.

The Bruins quickly recovered from their own unforced error and entered the attacking zone on a rush with DeBrusk cutting to the trapezoid rather than shooting the puck prior to sending a pass back to McAvoy (9) as the defender crept into the high slot and snapped a shot past Husso for the game-winning goal.

DeBrusk (15) and Coyle (26) had the assists on McAvoy’s goal 48 seconds into overtime and the Bruins won, 3-2, almost as quickly as the extra frame began.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 35-22, including a, 1-0, advantage in overtime alone, as well as maintaining their advantage in hits (22-20) and faceoff win% (60-40).

St. Louis left their own ice with the lead in giveaways (11-4), while both teams managed to amass 13 blocked shots each.

The Bruins snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Blues in the process on Tuesday night, while improving to 9-3 in overtime this season (11-5 past regulation overall in 2021-22).

The Blues fell to 3-9 in overtime this season, as well as 5-11 past regulation overall.

St. Louis also dropped to 27-8-6 (16-4-3 at home) when scoring first, 20-1-4 (14-0-3 at home) when leading after one and 8-4-5 (3-2-3 at home) when tied after two periods in 2021-22.

Boston improved to 13-15-3 (6-7-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 6-13-2 (2-6-1 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 14-5-0 (7-4-0 on the road) when tied after the second period this season.

The Bruins head to PPG Paints Arena for a matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night before hosting the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden on ABC.

Boston heads to Montréal on Sunday before hosting Florida and Buffalo next Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, prior to their regular season finale in Toronto next Friday.

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Podcasts

DTFR Podcast #246- Depth Chart Depth (feat. Sean Reilly)

Sean returns to the program to talk about the Boston Bruins, a plethora of injuries around the league, Doug Wilson, the Western Conference wild card race, Mike Bossy and more including an all-new segment where Sean flips the script and asks Nick stuff.

Subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotifyAmazon Music and/or Audible.

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NHL Nick's Net

Wild overcome Bruins in the third, win, 4-2

Jordan Greenway scored the go-ahead goal and Ryan Hartman added an empty net goal for insurance in the Minnesota Wild’s, 4-2, victory over the Boston Bruins Wednesday night at Xcel Energy Center.

Cam Talbot (23-12-1, 2.98 goals-against average, .907 save percentage in 37 games played) made 24 saves on 26 shots faced in the win for the Wild.

Bruins goaltender, Jeremy Swayman (17-8-3, 2.10 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in 29 games played), stopped 30 out of 33 shots against in the loss.

The B’s fell to 37-19-5 (79 points) overall and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Minnesota, meanwhile, improved to 35-20-4 (74 points) on the season and rose to 3rd place in the Central Division.

Patrice Bergeron (upper body) joined Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Urho Vaakanainen (undisclosed) on Boston’s short list of players out of the lineup due to injury ahead of Wednesday night’s game in Minnesota.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters before the game that Bergeron would miss at least two games (Wednesday night in Minnesota and Friday night in Winnipeg) and has returned to Boston for further evaluation as the team doesn’t want to risk the infection of a lingering injury.

Bergeron may join the team in Montréal on Monday if he is cleared by doctors in Boston.

Jack Studnicka was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL), but could not make it in time to St. Paul, so he’ll join the big Bruins in Winnipeg.

In the meantime, Anton Blidh re-entered the lineup on the fourth line with Curtis Lazar shifting to center, while Tomáš Nosek was promoted to first line center duties against Minnesota.

Jack Ahcan was the only healthy scratch for Boston on Wednesday, while Jake DeBrusk took part in his 300th career National Hockey League game and Trent Frederic suited up in his 100th career game.

Brandon Carlo tripped up Kevin Fiala and presented the Wild with the first power play of the night at 5:40 of the first period.

It wasn’t that long before Minnesota converted on the skater advantage courtesy of an attacking zone faceoff win that the Wild utilized to work the puck around to Kirill Kaprizov (31) for a left hand shot from the right side, possibly off of a Bruins defender and past Swayman to make it, 1-0.

Alex Goligoski (26) and Hartman (21) tallied the assists on Kaprizov’s power-play goal and the Wild jumped on the board first at 6:55 of the first period.

A couple minutes later, Frederic and Brandon Duhaime exchanged fisticuffs as the temperature of the game was rising– crescendoing with five-minute majors for fighting for each player at 8:54.

Less than a minute later, Boston was back on the penalty kill when Erik Haula tripped Greenway at 9:41, but the B’s managed to kill off Haula’s minor infraction without issue.

Late in the period, Mats Zuccarello sent a stretch pass to Kaprizov through the neutral zone while Kaprizov was standing at the attacking zone blue line and sent No. 97 on a rush into Boston’s own zone.

Kaprizov blew past the uprights as Bruins defenders, Charlie McAvoy and Mike Reilly, were caught trailing the play while Kaprizov (32) elevated a shot top-shelf past Swayman to give the Wild a, 2-0, lead at 14:28 of the first period.

Zuccarello (42) and Jared Spurgeon (21) notched the assists on Kaprizov’s second goal of the game.

Boston stopped the bleeding shortly thereafter when Frederic sent a shot pass to the slot that deflected off of Matt Dumba’s skate in Craig Smith’s direction as Smith (14) was crashing the net and buried the rebound to cut Minnesota’s lead in half, 2-1, at 16:59.

Frederic (9) and Carlo (7) had the assists on Smith’s goal.

About a minute later, Greenway caught Connor Clifton with a high stick and was cut a rut to the sin bin as a result at 18:04.

Despite Boston’s power play extending into the middle frame, the Bruins were unsuccessful on the skater advantage.

Entering the first intermission, the Wild led, 2-1, on the scoreboard despite both teams amassing eight shots on net each.

Minnesota held the advantage in takeaways (1-0), giveaways (4-2), hits (11-8), faceoff win percentage (60-40) and was 1/2 on the power play, while Boston was 0/1 on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.

Kaprizov was penalized for holding at 1:15 of the second period and the B’s made quick work of the ensuing power play.

About 30 seconds after Kaprizov sat on the penalty bench, Brad Marchand (24) riffled a catch and release shot from the high slot underneath Talbot’s glove side and over his leg pad to tie the game, 2-2, with a power-play goal– snapping an eight game goal-scoring drought for No. 63 in black and gold in the process.

Charlie Coyle (19) and McAvoy (31) had the assists on Marchand’s goal at 1:49 of the second period.

Almost midway through the period, Smith was sent to the box for slashing Zuccarello while the two battled for the puck in the neutral zone, but Minnesota couldn’t get anything going on the power play at 8:18.

Through 40 minutes of action, the score was tied, 2-2, despite Boston outshooting Minnesota, 17-15, overall, including a, 9-7, advantage in the second period alone.

The Wild continued to hold the advantage in blocked shots (10-9), takeaways (6-2), giveaways (6-3) and hits (20-15), while the Bruins led in faceoff win% (54-47).

Minnesota was 1/3 on the skater advantage, while Boston was 1/2 on the power play heading into the final frame.

After hacking at the puck for a while, the rubber biscuit sprung loose from the crease and the Wild pounced on it before working it around the attacking zone, whereby Goligoski passed it to Spurgeon along the blue line.

Spurgeon’s shot from the point went off Swayman before Greenway (6) slipped home the rebound under Swayman’s blocker side as the Bruins goaltender was outstretched in desperation to make a paddle save.

Minnesota went up, 3-2, at 7:56 of the third period courtesy of Greenway’s goal, while Spurgeon (22) and Goligoski (27) tabbed the assists.

Late in the period, Smith and Jon Merrill exchanged pleasantries and yielded 4-on-4 action for a pair of minutes as each player received two minutes for roughing in a post-whistle scrum at 15:38.

With 1:10 remaining in the action, Cassidy pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.

After a stoppage with 51 seconds left on the clock, Cassidy used his timeout to rally Boston for a game-tying goal but it was to no avail.

David Pastrnak turned the puck over off of Hartman in the neutral zone before Hartman (24) raced to the puck first and put the icing on the cake in the empty net at 19:55.

At the final horn, the Wild won, 4-2, and finished the night with the advantage in shots on goal, 34-26, including a, 19-9, advantage in the third period alone– which marked the most shots that the Bruins allowed in any third period this season.

The B’s left the building leading in blocked shots (20-13), while Minnesota exited their home ice with the win and the advantage in giveaways (8-4), hits (26-24) and faceoff win% (52-49).

The Wild finished the night 1/3 on the power play, while the Bruins went 1/2 on the skater advantage on Wednesday.

Boston fell to 10-12-3 (4-6-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 5-12-2 (1-6-1 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 8-4-0 (3-3-0 on the road) when tied after two periods this season.

Minnesota improved to 22-7-1 (10-2-1 at home) when scoring first, 20-1-1 (10-0-1 at home) when leading after one period and 8-2-0 (6-0-0 at home) when tied after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins continue their four-game road trip (1-1-0) Friday night in Winnipeg before wrapping things up in Montréal next Monday, which also happens to be the same day as the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline (March 21st).

Boston returns home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 24th.

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NHL Nick's Net

Grzelcyk ensures overtime victory for Bruins on the road in Chicago

Matt Grzelcyk ended a 21-game goal-scoring drought with his game-winning goal in overtime as the Boston Bruins beat Chicago, 2-1, Tuesday night at United Center.

Linus Ullmark (18-9-2, 2.75 goals-against average, .908 save percentage in 30 games played) made 19 saves on 20 shots against in the win for the Bruins.

Chicago netminder, Marc-Andre Fleury (19-20-5, 2.85 goals-against average, .909 save percentage in 44 games played), turned aside 46 out of 48 shots faced in the overtime loss.

Boston improved to 37-18-5 (79 points) on the season and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Bruins are also two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 3rd in the Atlantic.

Chicago fell to 22-30-9 overall (53 points) and stuck in 7th place in the Central Division as a result of the overtime loss.

With the win on Tuesday, Boston swept Chicago 2-0-0 in their 2021-22 regular season series after last meeting in 2019-20, when the Bruins went 1-0-1 against Chicago.

The B’s were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Urho Vaakanainen (undisclosed) on Tuesday, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from Saturday night’s, 3-2, victory against the Arizona Coyotes to Tuesday night’s action in Chicago.

Nick Foligno suited up for his 1,000th career National Hockey League game– becoming the 364th player in league history to do so and the second father-son duo, as well, since Mike Foligno’s NHL career spanned 1,018 games.

Foligno’s younger brother, Marcus, has played in 658 games entering Tuesday split between the Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild.

Nick, meanwhile, has played in 351 games with the Ottawa Senators, 599 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets, seven games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and 43 games with the Bruins so far.

Boston announced that they’d honor Foligno for his 1,000th career NHL game on April 2nd prior to their matchup against the Blue Jackets at TD Garden.

Meanwhile, Tuesday night in Chicago, Jack Ahcan and Anton Blidh served as healthy scratches for the Bruins.

Before scoring the game-winning goal Tuesday night, Grzelcyk was penalized for interference at 5:02 of the first period and presented Chicago with the first power play opportunity of the game.

Chicago did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however, and followed up with a penalty of their own when Dylan Strome tripped Brad Marchand– giving Boston their first chance on the power play at 10:26.

Entering the first intermission, however, the score remained tied, 0-0, despite the Bruins outshooting Chicago, 14-4.

Chicago held the advantage in blocked shots (3-1) and giveaways (4-2), while the B’s led in takeaways (4-3), hits (15-11) and faceoff win percentage (59-41).

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

Patrick Kane caught Charlie McAvoy with a high stick and gave Boston another chance on the skater advantage at 3:05 of the second period, but once again the Bruins’ power play was powerless.

Late in the period, Sam Lafferty cut a rut to the sin bin for interference at 16:22, but Boston followed their power play with a penalty kill of their own when Mike Reilly tripped Brandon Hagel at 19:15.

Chicago failed to capitalize on their skater advantage, which extended into the final frame of regulation as the horn signaled the end of the second period and the commencement of the second intermission.

The score was still, 0-0, despite the Bruins outshooting Chicago, 35-11, including, 21-7, in the second period alone.

Boston held the advantage in takeaways (7-6), giveaways (6-4), hits (22-20) and faceoff win% (56-44), while Chicago led in blocked shots (10-7).

Chicago was 0/2 on the power play, while the B’s were 0/3 on the skater advantage through 40 minutes of action.

Calvin de Haan tripped Curtis Lazar and presented Boston with their fourth power play opportunity of the game at 2:34 of the third period, but the Bruins couldn’t muster a shot past Fleury while on the advantage.

Instead, however, the B’s caught Chicago in the vulnerable minute after special teams play, as Marchand picked a rebound out of the air after Fleury swatted the puck away from the crease– that’s when Patrice Bergeron (17) ultimately came in and cleaned up the home run– batting the puck into the twine from mid-air after Marchand kept it free.

Marchand (35) and Taylor Hall (31) notched the assists as the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead at 4:43 of the third period.

Hall briefly received some glue on the bench after catching a close shave by a skate in the scramble in front of the net in the lead-up to Bergeron’s goal.

Moments later, despite scoring first, Boston couldn’t hold onto the momentum as Chicago led a charge into their attacking zone and worked the puck around until Caleb Jones sent a shot from the point to the slot where Hagel (21) tipped the rubber biscuit past Ullmark.

Jones (8) and Jake McCabe (12) tallied the assists as Chicago tied the game, 1-1, at 9:36 of the third period.

Late in the period, the Bruins thought they scored a beautiful goal as Charlie Coyle followed a rebound with a spin-o-rama shot past Fleury’s glove side while crashing the net, but the would-be go-ahead goal was immediately waved off for incidental goaltender intererence.

The only problem was that– despite Craig Smith’s net front presence– there was no overt goaltender interference to be seen within reason to believe that there had, in fact, been an infraction prior to the goal.

Thus, Cassidy used a coach’s challenge on the basis that there was not enough evidence to support the call on the ice and it should therefore be overturned as Chicago’s own defender, Riley Stillman, had knocked over his own goaltender and Smith battled someone in front of the crease– barely getting his skate into the blue paint on the opposite side from where Fleury was standing.

No, apparently that meant nothing in the long run– or rather, perhaps that’s why the on-ice officials made the call in the first place because it was reminiscent of the controversial conclusion to the 1999 Stanley Cup Final.

Ask any Buffalo Sabres fan if Brett Hull’s foot was in the crease and then ask any Dallas Stars fan if Hull’s foot even mattered, I’ll wait.

Meanwhile in Chicago, Cassidy’s challenge was no good and the call on the ice stood as “no goal”.

As a result, Boston was assessed a bench minor for delay of game at 15:13 of the third period with Smith sent across the sheet of ice to the box to serve the penalty.

The Bruins managed to make the kill and in the closing minutes of regulation had a couple quality chances turned aside by Fleury– necessitating overtime (at the very least) to determine a winner.

After 60 minutes of action, the two teams were tied, 1-1, despite the B’s outshooting Chicago, 46-20, overall– including an, 11-9, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston held the advantage in giveaways (8-7) and faceoff win% (52-48), while Chicago led in blocked shots (18-14) and hits (29-28).

Both teams had nine takeaways each.

As there were no penalties called in overtime, Chicago finished the night 0/3 on the power play, while Boston went 0/4.

In overtime, Cassidy started Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy for Boston, while Derek King countered with Jonathan Toews, Hagel and Seth Jones for Chicago.

The two teams skated up and down the ice a couple times before the Bruins controlled possession in the attacking zone.

Hall faked retreating back into the neutral zone for a different play and sent a pass over to David Pastrnak at the point before Pastrnak dropped the puck back to Hall, whereby Hall pushed towards the net as Kane and Alex DeBrincat bought what Hall was originally selling and chased after Pastrnak.

Hall then worked a pass to Grzelcyk through the slot while Chicago’s only defender tried to block the passing lane, but Grzelcyk (3) settled the puck on a catch and release blast before wiring it behind Fleury for the game-winning goal at 1:40 of the overtime period.

Hall (32) and Pastrnak (28) had the assists on Grzelcyk’s goal– giving Hall two assists on the night and the 400th of his NHL career as a result.

With the, 2-1, overtime win, the B’s improved to 10-1-1 in their last 12 games and left United Center leading in shots on goal, 48-20, including a, 2-0, advantage in the extra frame.

Boston also left the ice leading in blocked shots (19-14), giveaways (9-8) and faceoff win% (52-48), while Chicago exited their own building leading in hits (30-28).

The Bruins improved to 5-3 in overtime this season and 7-5 overall past regulation, while Chicago dropped to 4-7 in the extra frame and 6-9 past 60 minutes in 2021-22.

Boston also improved to 10-5-2 (6-2-1 on the road) when tied after the first period, 8-3-0 (3-2-0 on the road) when tied after the second period and 27-7-2 (15-3-1 on the road) when scoring first this season.

Chicago fell to 10-13-4 (6-10-3 at home) when tied after one, 5-3-3 (2-1-3 at home) after two and 5-24-6 (2-13-4 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal in 2021-22.

The Bruins continue their four-game road trip (1-0-0) Wednesday night in Minnesota before venturing to Winnipeg on Friday and Montréal next Monday, which also coincides with the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline (March 21st).

Boston returns home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 24th.

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NHL Nick's Net

Coyotes’ win streak comes to an end in Boston

Craig Smith scored a pair of goals and Charlie Coyle scored the game-winning goal as the Boston Bruins beat the Arizona Coyotes, 3-2, Saturday night at TD Garden.

Boston snapped Arizona’s four-game winning streak in the process and extended the league’s longest active consecutive win streak against an opponent to 18 games as the Bruins haven’t lost to the Coyotes since Oct. 9, 2010.

Back then, Arizona was known as the Phoenix Coyotes in a, 5-2, blowout in the 2010-11 regular season opener in Prague, Czech Republic.

Boston, meanwhile, has won eight-straight games against Arizona at TD Garden as part of the second-longest consecutive win streak against an opponent in National Hockey League history.

Only the Montréal Canadiens had a longer win streak against an opponent– winning 23 games against the Washington Capitals from 1974-78.

Back at TD Garden Saturday night, Jeremy Swayman (17-7-3, 2.06 goals-against average, .926 save percentage in 28 games played) made 27 saves on 29 shots against in the win for the Bruins.

Coyotes goaltender, Karel Vejmelka (9-22-1, 3.37 goals-against average, .905 save percentage in 34 games played), stopped 37 out of 40 shots faced in the loss.

Boston improved to 36-18-5 (77 points) overall with the win and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Arizona, on the other hand, fell to 18-36-4 (40 points) on the season and stuck in 8th place in the Central Division.

The B’s swept their regular season series against the Yotes 2-0-0 and will not face them again until the 2022-23 regular season.

The Bruins were without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Urho Vaakanainen (undisclosed) on Saturday, while Matt Grzelcyk returned to the lineup after missing his seventh game due to injury/illness this season in Thursday night’s, 4-3, win against Chicago.

Grzelcyk returned to his usual role on the second defensive pairing alongside Brandon Carlo, while B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy made no other changes to his lineup.

Jesper Frödén was reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Friday, while Jack Ahcan joined Anton Blidh in the press box at TD Garden Saturday night as Boston’s pair of healthy scratches.

Smith (12) got things going with a goal off of a rebound on an initial shot by Tomáš Nosek while crashing the net to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead at 2:33 of the first period.

Nosek (10) and Nick Foligno (9) tallied the assists on Smith’s first goal of the game.

Less than a minute later, J.J. Moser slashed David Pastrnak and presented Boston with the night’s first power play at 3:25.

The B’s couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing skater advantage, however, and proceeded to give the Coyotes the next power play when Patrice Bergeron inadvertently sent the puck over the glass for an automatic delay of game minor infraction at 6:48 of the first period.

Arizona wasn’t able to convert on the resulting power play, however.

Midway through the opening frame, Coyle shielded the puck as he entered the zone and passed it back to Smith.

Smith (13) sent a shot attempt off of a leg in the slot and gathered his own rebound before burying the rubber biscuit in the twine for his second goal of the game– giving the Bruins a, 2-0, lead at 10:49.

Coyle (18) and Trent Frederic (7) notched the assists on the goal as Smith collected his 13th point (seven goals, six assists) in as many games.

Entering the first intermission, Boston led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and, 14-11, in shots on goal.

The B’s also held the advantage in takeaways (5-2) and faceoff win percentage (53-47), while the Coyotes led in blocked shots (3-2), giveaways (3-2) and hits (11-8).

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

Frederic tripped up Jakob Chychrun and presented another power play to the Coyotes at 6:30 of the second period as a result.

The Yotes were not successful on the ensuing skater advantage, though.

In the dying seconds of the middle period, Dysin Mayo worked a pass through the slot to Clayton Keller (25) for a one-timer goal on the far blocker side as Swayman’s reaction time was reduced.

Mayo (7) and Nick Schmaltz (23) had the assists on Keller’s goal and Arizona cut Boston’s lead in half– trailing, 2-1, as a result at 19:59 of the second period.

Oh yeah, that’s anther thing– Keller’s one-timer just crossed the line with about 0.5 seconds left on the clock before the second intermission commenced.

Through 40 minutes of action, the Bruins held a, 2-1, lead on the scoreboard, as well as a, 26-22, advantage in shots on goal.

Boston outshot Arizona, 12-11, in the second period alone and maintained an advantage in takeaways (10-7), giveaways (7-6) and hits (17-15) entering the second intermission.

The Coyotes led in blocked shots (11-3), while both teams split faceoff win%, 50-50.

Arizona was 0/2 on the power play heading into the final frame, while the Bruins were still 0/1 on the skater advantage.

Shortly after the third period began, the Coyotes tweeted that Chychrun would not return to the night’s action with a lower body injury.

A couple minutes later, Nick Ritchie (6) scored against his former team as he happened to be in the right place at the right time to collect the garbage on a rebound in the slot and pocket a shot down low while Swayman was catching up with the play.

Barrett Hayton (10) and Matias Maccelli (3) had the assists as the Coyotes tied the game, 2-2, at 2:15 of the third period– fully swinging momentum to their favor as Arizona had picked up their dominance in possession from the second period to the final frame.

Midway through the third, however, Frederic cleared a puck out of his own zone around the glass up to Coyle as No. 13 in black and gold broke into the neutral zone.

Coyle (14) trucked his way to the other end of the ice before elevating a backhand shot past Vejmelka’s glove side to put the Bruins ahead once again– this time for good, 3-2.

Frederic (8) and Charlie McAvoy (30) had the assists on Coyle’s goal at 10:39 and Boston kept their nose to the grind for the rest of the night.

With about 50.7 seconds remaining in the action, Arizona’s head coach, André Tourigny, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.

Despite one last push, the Coyotes could not penetrate Boston’s defense in the dying seconds as the final horn sounded.

The Bruins had emerged victorious, 3-2, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 40-29, including a, 14-7, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston also left their own ice leading in blocked shots (14-9), giveaways (10-8), hits (26-24) and faceoff win% (55-45), while Arizona left without any points in the standings.

The Coyotes exited TD Garden 0/2 on the power play, while the B’s went 0/1.

Boston improved to 9-1-1 in their last 11 games, while Swayman improved to 9-0-1 in his last 10 games.

Arizona’s longest winning streak of the season came to an end at four games as the Bruins put together back-t0-back wins Thursday and Saturday after their, 3-2, overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

The B’s improved to 26-7-2 (12-4-1 at home) when scoring first, 22-2-1 (10-1-0 at home) when leading after one and 25-1-3 (10-1-1 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

The Coyotes, meanwhile, fell to 7-26-2 (3-11-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 4-19-1 (2-7-1 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 4-27-1 (2-11-1 on the road) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22.

Boston hits the road for the next four games with stops in Chicago next Tuesday (March 15th), Minnesota next Wednesday (March 16th), Winnipeg next Friday (March 18th) and Montréal on March 21st.

The Bruins return home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 24th.

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NHL Nick's Net

Pastrnak scores game-winner for Boston with 17 seconds left

Sometimes The Hockey Gods work a little poetic justice into an ultimately meaningless game.

Thursday night at TD Garden, the Boston Bruins beat Chicago, 4-3, courtesy of a game-winning goal from David Pastrnak with 17.2 seconds remaining in the third period– you know, about the same timespan it took Chicago to score a pair of goals in the third period of Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final to clinch the series in Boston.

In the grand scheme of things, Chicago won the Cup in 2013, whereas Boston only got two points in the win column towards the regular season standings in 2022, and it doesn’t even matter that much between the clubs since the two teams play in opposite conferences.

Regardless, Jeremy Swayman (16-7-3, 2.06 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in 27 games played) made 22 saves on 25 shots against in the win for the Bruins.

Chicago goaltender, Kevin Lankinen (3-7-4, 3.60 goals-against average, .885 save percentage in 16 games played), stopped 32 out of 36 shots faced in the loss.

Boston improved to 35-18-5 (75 points) on the season and the B’s remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference– trailing the Toronto Maple Leafs by four points for 3rd in the Atlantic and Tampa Bay Lightning by five points for 2nd in the Atlantic.

The Bruins are currently 10 points behind the Florida Panthers for the top spot in their division.

Meanwhile, Chicago fell to 21-30-8 overall (50 points) and stuck in 7th place in the Central Division– 10 points ahead of the Arizona Coyotes from the basement in their division.

Boston and Chicago met for the first time in the regular season since the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic began.

The Bruins won, 2-1, in overtime at United Center on Feb. 5, 2020, in Chicago in their last meeting.

The B’s are now 1-0-0 against Chicago this season and can sweep the 2021-22 regular season series on the road in Chicago on March 15th.

The Bruins were without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Urho Vaakanainen (undisclosed) and Matt Grzelcyk (upper body) on Thursday.

Vaakanainen may return to the lineup on Saturday, while Grzelcyk remains day-to-day.

B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lines and defensive pairings from Monday night’s, 3-2, overtime loss against Los Angeles to Thursday night’s win against Chicago.

Jesper Frödén and Anton Blidh served as the only healthy scratches for the Bruins on Thursday.

Charlie McAvoy hooked Alex DeBrincat and presented Chicago with the night’s first power play 28 seconds into the first period, but Boston’s penalty killing units did their job as McAvoy was released from the box without issue at 2:28.

Less than a few minutes later, Connor Clifton pinched in from the point and entered the slot for a shot with purpose on goal that rebounded off of Lankinen to the right dot where Charlie Coyle (13) swooped in and buried the loose puck to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead.

Clifton (3) had the only assist on Coyle’s goal at 4:12 of the first period.

Boston didn’t hold the lead for long as the year of Murphy’s Law (everything that can go wrong, will go wrong) continued to follow Brandon Carlo as the veteran blue liner pinched at the attacking blue line and was caught between the uprights on a Chicago rush the other direction– leading to a 4-on-1 with Jack Ahcan as the only defender left standing in front of Swayman.

Patrick Kane tossed a pass over to DeBrincat (34) for the one-timer goal as Chicago evened things up, 1-1, at 6:41.

Kane (46) had the only assist on the goal as Chicago answered back 2:29 after the Bruins took the first lead of the night. His assist also marked his 1,153rd career National Hockey League point– tying Kane for the second-most points in Chicago’s history and trailing only Stan Mikita’s 1,467 points in a Chicago uniform in the process.

Late in the period, Trent Frederic cut a rut to the penalty box for holding at 14:43, but Boston managed to kill off the minor infraction.

Entering the first intermission, the score was tied, 1-1, while Chicago outshot the Bruins, 10-8, despite Boston holding a clear advantage in faceoff win percentage, 58-42.

Early in the middle frame, Chicago took their first lead of the night, 2-1, after Nick Foligno chipped the puck inadvertently off of a linesman in the neutral zone– forcing a turnover to Brandon Hagel in the process.

Hagel (19) entered the attacking zone with speed and wrapped the puck around Swayman at 4:12 of the second period, while Jonathan Toews (17) and Kirby Dach (14) were credited with the assists on Hagel’s first goal of the game on just the second shot on net in the second period alone.

About a couple minutes later, Henrik Borgström hooked Pastrnak and presented the Bruins with their first power play of the night at 6:55 of the second period.

Boston’s power play was powerless, but they got another chance at the skater advantage when Jake McCabe caught Taylor Hall with a high stick at 10:02.

This time the B’s were successful in their quest for a power-play goal.

Ahcan (1) pounced on a loose puck and poked it around a Chicago skater while maintaining possession and entering the slot before wiring a shot past Lankinen for his first career NHL goal (and point in the process) in just his eight career NHL game.

Brad Marchand (34) and Pastrnak (27) tallied the assists on Ahcan’s power-play goal as the Bruins tied the game, 2-2, at 11:57 of the second period as a result.

Moments later, Connor Murphy cut a rut to the sin bin for interference at 14:31.

Boston went to work on the power play once again and made quicker work of their efficiency on the skater advantage– this time with McAvoy working the rubber biscuit down deep along the wall before sending a pass through the slot to Pastrnak (32) for a one-timer from his usual spot at the dot.

McAvoy (29) and Patrice Bergeron (27) notched the assists on Pastrnak’s power-play goal and the B’s took the lead, 3-2, at 15:23 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of play, the Bruins led, 3-2, on the scoreboard and, 17-13, in shots on goal– including a, 9-3, advantage in the second period alone. Boston also maintained the advantage in faceoff win%, 51-49.

Chicago was 0/2 and Boston was 2/3 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Coyle hooked Dylan Strome to kick things off at 1:25 of the third period by handing a power play to Chicago with relatively fresh ice from the second intermission still intact.

Chicago rushed up the ice as Kane worked the puck to Strome, who passed it to the other wing where DeBrincat fired a shot at Swayman that dropped to the ice in front of the crease.

Swayman bungled the puck while trying to cover it with his glove and instead sent a rebound to Hagel as Hagel (20) crashed the net and pocketed the puck on a chip shot power-play goal at 3:24 of the third period.

DeBrincat (21) and Strome (16) had the assists on Hagel’s second goal of the game– tying things up, 3-3, with plenty of time left in regulation.

Moments later, the Bruins recorded their first shot on goal in the third period right about at the 7:47 mark.

Alec Regula tripped up Hall at 11:56 of the third period, but wasn’t the only skater heading to the box as Hall was assessed a minor infraction for embellishment– yielding 4-on-4 action for a pair of minutes past the midpoint of the final frame.

Neither team could score despite Boston generating momentum as the period continued.

Chicago iced the puck in the dying minute of the third period.

Ryan Carpenter won the ensuing faceoff in his own defensive zone and kicked the puck to the corner where Hall stepped in between his opponent and the puck– thereby winning the resulting battle along the boards and working a solid bounce to Pastrnak in the slot.

Pastrnak (33) chipped it past Lankinen to put the Bruins ahead, 4-3, at 19:42 of the third period. Hall (30) had the only assist on what would be the game-winning goal with 17.2 seconds remaining in the action.

Chicago’s interim head coach, Derek King, used his timeout to draw up a last-ditch effort, but despite pulling the goalie with 17.2 seconds left there would be no repeat of a miracle in Boston for Chicago.

At the final horn, the Bruins had won, 4-3, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 36-25, including a, 19-12, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston also held an advantage in faceoff win%, 52-48, while Chicago led in every other category including blocked shots (12-11), giveaways (6-5) and hits (28-26).

Chicago finished the night 1/3 on the power play, while the Bruins left their own ice 2/3 on the skater advantage Thursday.

With the win, the B’s improved to 8-1-1 in their last ten games while Swayman picked up his eighth win in his last nine games.

Boston also improved to 25-7-2 (11-4-1 at home) when scoring first, 9-5-2 (4-3-1 at home) when tied after the first period and 24-1-3 (9-1-1 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

Chicago fell to 4-24-5 (2-12-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 10-13-3 (4-3-1 on the road) when tied after one and 2-25-3 (0-12-1 on the road) when trailing through the second period in 2021-22.

The Arizona Coyotes visit TD Garden on Saturday before the Bruins hit the road for a four-game road trip through Chicago next Tuesday (March 15th), Minnesota next Wednesday (March 16th), Winnipeg next Friday (March 18th) and Montréal on March 21st.

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NHL Nick's Net

Kings tie it late, win in overtime on the road in Boston

Trevor Moore tied the game with about 30 seconds left in regulation to force overtime before Andreas Athanasiou intercepted a turnover in the extra frame and capitalized on a breakaway game-winner to lead the Los Angeles Kings over the Boston Bruins, 3-2, at TD Garden Monday night.

Cal Petersen (16-8-1, 2.60 goals-against average, .904 save percentage in 26 games played) made 30 saves on 32 shots against in the win for Los Angeles.

Boston goaltender, Linus Ullmark (17-9-2, 2.81 goals-against average, .907 save percentage in 29 games played), stopped 25 out of 28 shots faced in the overtime loss.

The Bruins dropped to 34-18-5 (73 points) on the season and remain 4th in the Atlantic Division, as well as in command of the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Kings improved to 32-19-7 (71 points) on the season and trail the Calgary Flames by four points for the top spot in the Pacific Division.

Los Angeles is 2nd in their division, while Boston trails the Toronto Maple Leafs by three points for the final divisional playoff berth in the Atlantic.

The B’s finished their regular season series with the Kings 1-0-1 after winning, 7-0, in Los Angeles on Feb. 28th and losing, 3-2, in overtime Monday night in Boston.

Matt Grzelcyk (upper body) was a game-time decision and missed Monday night’s action, joining Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Urho Vaakanainen (undisclosed) on Boston’s short list of players out of the lineup due to injury.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, indicated to reporters ahead of the game that Vaakanainen is likely to return Thursday or Saturday.

With Grzelcyk out of the lineup, Jack Ahcan returned to the blue line, while Cassidy left his forward lines alone.

Ahcan fit right alongside Brandon Carlo on the second defensive pairing, while the rest of the defense saw no changes from Saturday night’s, 5-4, shootout win in Columbus to Monday night’s return to TD Garden.

Jesper Frödén and Anton Blidh served as Boston’s healthy scratches against the Kings.

Midway through the opening frame, Los Angeles defender, Mikey Anderson, tried to check Brad Marchand along the wall and paid the price of defensive awareness as Marchand absorbed the blow and made a reverse hit– rendering Anderson to the ice and clutching at his upper body as, presumably, he had the air knocked out of him at the very least.

Anderson skated off the ice with a little help from a Kings trainer and would not return to the night’s action with an upper body injury.

Moments later, Craig Smith won a footrace in Boston’s attacking zone and sent a shot that rebounded off of Petersen.

Charlie Coyle crashed the net and scooped up the loose puck before slidding a pass to Trent Frederic (4) for a one-timed redirection goal from the slot to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead at 14:02 of the first period.

Coyle (16) and Smith (14) tallied the assists on Frederic’s goal as Boston’s third line continued its string of recent dominance.

The B’s didn’t hold onto the lead for long as the Kings evened things up 69 seconds after Frederic put Boston ahead.

Olli Määttä sent an errant pass to the slot off of David Pastrnak where Blake Lizotte (8) was in the right place at the right time to bury the rubber biscuit behind Ullmark– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.

Määttä (3) and Carl Grundström (4) notched the assists on Lizotte’s goal at 15:11 of the first period.

Entering the first intermission, the score was tied, 1-1, despite the Bruins holding an advantage in shots on goal, 12-11.

Early in the middle frame, Jake DeBrusk made no effort to stop on a drive to the net and crashed into Petersen with enough momentum to knock over the Los Angeles goaltender.

DeBrusk, as a result, cut a rut to the penalty box for goaltender interference at 6:00 of the second period– yielding the game’s first power play to the Kings.

Los Angeles’ power play was unable to convert on the ensuing skater advantage however.

Boston’s penalty kill stood tall once again when Mike Reilly was penalized for boarding at 10:49 as the Kings couldn’t muster anything past Ullmark on the resulting power play.

With less than a minute remaining in the second period, the Bruins won an offensive zone faceoff and worked the puck around the zone, whereby Coyle ended up with possession behind the goal line and brought it around the boards as Smith worked his way into the slot in front of the net.

Coyle setup Smith (11) for a catch and release goal on the glove side from the doorstep of Petersen’s crease– giving the Bruins a, 2-1, lead at 19:05 of the second period.

Coyle (17) and Reilly (10) had the assists on Smith’s goal as Boston carried a, 2-1, lead into the second intermission, as well as a, 20-17, advantage in shots on net.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, dominated in faceoff win percentage, 62-38, and went 0/2 on the power play heading into the final frame of regulation.

Boston got their first chance on the power play at 3:00 of the third period when Grundström sent the puck over the glass and out of play– yielding an automatic minor infraction for delay of game, but the Bruins’ power play went by the wayside.

With 2:10 remaining in the period, Kings head coach, Todd McLellan, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.

Los Angeles used their timeout after a stoppage in play with about 30.8 seconds left on the clock after Patrice Bergeron cleared the puck off the glass and out of play from his own zone.

The ensuing faceoff would take place in the Kings’ attacking zone and McLellan recognized an opportunity to draw up a last-ditch effort at evening the score.

Los Angeles won the faceoff and worked the rubber biscuit around the zone while Moore (10) cut to the net and cherry picked a deflection behind Ullmark to tie the game, 2-2, at 19:34 of the third period.

Arthur Kaliyev (9) and Sean Durzi (14) tallied the assists on Moore’s goal as the Kings forced overtime, while the Bruins gave up another goal in the final 30 seconds of any third period for the third time in their last four games.

At the horn, Derek Forbort exchanged pleasantries with Adrian Kempe, who, minutes earlier yanked down Charlie McAvoy away from the puck– much to the displeasure of McAvoy’s teammates– as the two players raced to the endboards in anticipation of a play.

Forbort and Kempe each received a pair of roughing minors at 20:00 of the third period– rending the two players out for the majority of the overtime action, should it take that long.

It didn’t take that long.

After 60 minutes of action, the Bruins and Kings were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 31-26, including an, 11-9, advantage in the third period.

As there were no penalties called in overtime, Los Angeles finished 0/2 on the power play, while Boston went 0/1.

McLellan sent out Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Moore to start the extra frame, while Cassidy countered with Coyle, DeBrusk and McAvoy.

Each team went through one or two shifts as both teams were in the midst of a change when Athanasiou intercepted a pass attempt from Coyle while the Bruins forward tried a spin-o-rama backhand pass back to one of his teammates in Boston’s attacking zone.

Athanasiou (8) broke free and rushed up the ice on a breakaway and elevated a shot high into the twine behind Ullmark for an unassisted game-winning goal to give Los Angeles a, 3-2, overtime win at 1:53 of the extra period.

The Bruins finished the night leading in shots on goal, 32-28, despite being outshot by the Kings, 2-1, in overtime alone.

Los Angeles left the building with two points in the win column and the advantage in blocked shots (19-12), giveaways (12-9), hits (35-29) and faceoff win% (58-42).

The Kings improved to 5-5 in overtime this season (7-7 past regulation), while the B’s fell to 4-3 in overtime and 6-5 overall after 60 minutes.

Boston also fell to 24-7-2 (10-4-1 at home) when scoring first, 8-5-2 (3-3-1 at home) when tied after one period and 23-1-3 (8-1-1 at home) when leading after the second period this season.

Los Angeles improved to 15-13-4 (9-4-3 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 17-7-5 (8-3-3 on the road) when tied after the first period and 6-13-2 (4-5-1 on the road) when trailing after two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins host Chicago on Thursday before the Arizona Coyotes pay a visit to the Hub on Saturday.

Boston hits the road for four games beginning on March 15th in Chicago and making their way through Minnesota, Winnipeg and Montréal before returning to TD Garden on March 24th.

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NHL Nick's Net

What does Don Sweeney need to do to make it up to you by the 2022 trade deadline? (Part 1)

Chapter One- In The Beginning… (2016)

With over two months until the 2022 NHL trade deadline on March 21st, there’s plenty of time to start speculating about what kind of moves— if any— would make the most sense for the Boston Bruins in their 2021-22 endeavor.

Though it wasn’t easy at the start of his tenure as General Manager, Don Sweeney, has significantly improved his trading prowess as the deadline approaches from season to season in Boston.

That said, not every trade has yielded a gold mine for the Bruins and they’ve yet to win the Stanley Cup since 2011, despite making it all the way to Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final on home ice and winning the Presidents’ Trophy the following season (2019-20).

For the record, a lot has changed in both the league itself, as well as the team’s development since the days of acquiring guys like John-Michael Liles and Lee Stempniak on Feb. 29, 2016, instead of swinging for the fences and landing, uh, guys like Pat Maroon, Kris Russell or Mikkel Boedker at the 2016 trade deadline.

In retrospect, maybe there really wasn’t that much of a market that season.

Sure, Eric Staal was traded to the New York Rangers the day before the 2016 trade deadline on Feb. 28th, but he only managed to amass six points in 20 games with the Rangers down the stretch.

Staal then joined the Minnesota Wild in free agency on July 1, 2016, and had four seasons of a career resurgence before he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres prior to the 2020-21 season— whereby he was later flipped to the Montréal Canadiens— only to end up losing in the 2021 Stanley Cup Final to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games.

These days he has been invited to Team Canada’s training camp for the 2022 Winter Games as he’s currently an unrestricted free agent.

More and more recently, the bigger trades happen in the last couple of weeks leading up to the deadline itself, so let’s widen the scope a bit for 2016, just for a second.

The Florida Panthers added Jakub Kindl from the Detroit Red Wings, Jiri Hudler from the Calgary Flames and Teddy Purcell from the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 27th that year.

Kindl spent parts of two seasons in Florida before leaving for Europe after the 2016-17 season, Hudler joined the Dallas Stars for 2016-17, and promptly retired thereafter, while Purcell joined the Los Angeles Kings in 2016-17, before joining the Bruins on a PTO at training camp in 2017, prior to being released then spent the 2017-18 season in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and retired thereafter.

One other team tried going for it in the rental market, as Chicago acquired Tomáš Fleischmann and Dale Weise from the Montréal Canadiens for Phillip Danault and a 2018 2nd round pick (38th overall, Alexander Romanov), added Christian Ehrhoff from Los Angeles for Rob Scuderi and dealt Marko Dano, a 2016 1st round pick (later flipped to the Philadelphia Flyers, 22nd overall—selected German Rubtsov) and a conditional 2018 3rd round pick (the condition was not met) to the Winnipeg Jets for Jay Harrison, Andrew Ladd and Matt Fraser.

Fleischmann retired after that season, Weise left for the Philadelphia Flyers in free agency that summer, Ehrhoff went back to Europe, Harrison never suited up for Chicago, Ladd had 12 points in 19 games— then joined the New York Islanders in free agency— and Fraser also never suited up in a Chicago uniform.

So, the rental market didn’t really pan out that year.

The San Jose Sharks added James Reimer and Jeremy Morin from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Ben Smith, Alex Stalock and a 2018 3rd round pick (83rd overall, Riley Stotts) the same day the Panthers made all of their moves.

Reimer went on to serve as a decent backup to Martin Jones in San Jose’s 2016 Stanley Cup Final appearance before ultimately losing in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Sharks also bolstered their blue line five days prior in a separate trade with Toronto on the 22nd, in which San Jose acquired Roman Polák and Nick Spaling from the Maple Leafs for Raffi Torres, a 2017 2nd round pick (later flipped to the Anaheim Ducks, 50th overall— Maxime Comtois) and a 2018 2nd round pick (52nd overall, Sean Durzi), but again, neither of those deals were earth-shattering.

Polák was in search of a Cup ring late in his career (despite playing four more seasons afterward) and had three assists in 24 games with San Jose in the regular season before failing to put up a point in 24 Stanley Cup Playoff games as a Shark prior to rejoining Toronto via free agency that summer.

Spaling at least had 2-4—6 totals in 24 games down the stretch with the Sharks and even recorded an assist in 24 playoff games before— like the rest of the team— losing to the Penguins in the Final and leaving the NHL for the Swiss League that summer.

In terms of immediate impact, the Sharks got their money’s worth (kind of), but for a trio of rental players.

San Jose’s deals might have been the biggest trades not involving the Bruins in the buildup to one of Sweeney’s most often criticized trade deadlines because first impressions mean a lot to some in the Boston fanbase.

What was made available, however, didn’t amount to much.

Although, there is enough credibility to the thought that the Bruins should’ve sold high on Loui Eriksson at the time when they could’ve shipped him out of the Hub at a premium before missing the playoffs for a second-straight year.

Instead, Eriksson went on to amass 63 points (30 goals, 33 assists) in all 82 games with Boston in his first healthy season in the three years he had been there after the Tyler Seguin trade (which happened under previous General Manager, Peter Chiarelli, while Sweeney worked in a player development role)— and signed on the dotted line with the Vancouver Canucks on July 1, 2016, leaving Boston with nothing in his wake.

This, after the Bruins (42-31-9, 93 points, 4th in the Atlantic Division) missed the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs by virtue of a tiebreaker with the Red Wings (41-30-11, 93 points, 3rd in the Atlantic) who had 39 regulation plus overtime wins (ROW) to Boston’s 38.

Two teams from the Metropolitan Division— the Islanders and the Flyers— clinched the Eastern Conference wild card playoff berths with 100 and 96 points, respectively, in the standings.

As for the biggest deal leading up to the 2016 trade deadline, you’d probably have to move the goalposts a little bit on the “within two weeks before the deadline itself” rule to find the best deal.

But the Ottawa Senators were the beneficiary of a revival on Feb. 9, 2016, when they traded Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, Jared Cowen, Tobias Lindberg and a 2017 2nd round pick (59th overall, Eemeli Räsänen) to Toronto for Dion Phaneuf (captain of the Maple Leafs at the time), Matt Frattin, Ryan Rupert, Casey Bailey and Cody Donaghey.

Phaneuf had a late career renaissance with the Sens and proved to be pivotal in their run to the 2017 Eastern Conference Final the following year— only to lose on the road in a Game 7 against the Penguins, 3-2, in double overtime.

Pittsburgh, by the way, went on to repeat as Stanley Cup champions that June.

Frattin never suited up for the Senators and left for the KHL after spending a year with the Stockton Heat (AHL) in 2016-17.

Rupert was mired in the minors until going to Europe in 2018-19, while Bailey played in seven games for Ottawa in 2016-17, then spent time split between the American Hockey League and Europe since then (currently in the DEL).

Donaghey, on the other hand, played in one AHL game in 2017-18, before spending the majority of his time in the ECHL prior to leaving for Europe last season (currently in the ELH).

But Phaneuf brought his $7.000 million cap hit to the Sens and actually saved the team money since they shipped out Greening ($2.650 million), Michalek ($4.000 million) and Cowen ($3.100 million) as part of the package— adding about $2.750 million towards the cap for Toronto in the deal.

Of course, the Leafs went on to win the 2016 Draft Lottery and selected Auston Matthews 1st overall that June, so it wasn’t all that bad.

In 51 games with the Maple Leafs prior to the trade in the 2015-16 season, Phaneuf had 3-21—24 totals. In 20 games with Ottawa, he had 1-7—8 totals.

The following year, he had 9-21—30 totals in 81 games and put up five points (one goal, four assists) from the blue line in 19 playoff games in 2017.

He then had 3-13—16 totals in 53 games with Ottawa in 2017-18, before he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in another deal that— you guessed it, saved the Senators some money (only about $1.100 million this time around).

Phaneuf had 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 26 games with Los Angeles and recorded an assist in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Kings were swept by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2018 First Round.

Then in 2018-19, he amassed 1-5—6 totals in 67 games and had the last two years of his contract bought out by Los Angeles on June 15, 2019.

He didn’t officially retire until Nov. 16, 2021, and spent parts of two seasons following Brendan Shanahan around in his role as president and alternate governor of the Leafs.

Though he wasn’t scoring 40, 50 or even 60 points as a defender like he did in his prime with the Calgary Flames, Phaneuf was still the rugged and durable veteran blue liner that he was in his short tenure from before the 2016 deadline until about his final season and injury was really the only thing that did him in at the end due to his physical style.

He had value and the Leafs just gave him up to their intra-provincial rivals about three years before Toronto repeated themselves in giving Ottawa a better defender (Nikita Zaitsev) for a younger defender (Cody Ceci) that just didn’t really pan out as part of a larger package in a trade on July 1, 2019.

Anyway, that last part was really just for those of you that made it this far and care about things outside of just the Bruins organization.

We’ll move on to analyzing Sweeney’s deadline deals since 2016, in the next chapter.