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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins force Game 7 with commanding, 5-2, victory at home

For the 29th time in franchise history (a National Hockey League leading postseason stat), the Boston Bruins are going to a Game 7 in a best-of-seven series after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-2, Thursday night at TD Garden.

Whereas recent memory conjures images of Boston’s 2019 Stanley Cup Final Game 7 loss on home ice to the visiting St. Louis Blues, this time around the Bruins will look to be a spoiler on the road in Raleigh, North Carolina and become the first wild card team since the NHL adopted its current playoff format in 2014, to usurp a division winner in their non-traditional division.

See, the B’s belong to the league’s Atlantic Division, while the Canes exist in the Metropolitan Division.

Carolina, meanwhile, will have home ice in their first Game 7 against Boston since the Hurricanes upset the Bruins in the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinal.

It will also be Carolina’s first Game 7 appearance since they beat the Washington Capitals on the road in their 2019 First Round matchup.

The last Game 7 victory on home ice for the Hurricanes was, of course, the 2006 Stanley Cup Final against the Edmonton Oilers.

Jeremy Swayman (3-1, 2.51 goals-against average, .913 save percentage in four games played) made 23 saves on 25 shots against in the win for Boston Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Hurricanes goaltender, Antti Raanta (2-2, 2.46 goals-against average, .926 save percentage in five games played), turned aside 29 out of 33 shots faced in the loss.

Once more, the Bruins were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) Thursday night, while Hampus Lindholm returned to the lineup after missing the last few games with an upper body injury.

Down 3-2 in the series entering Thursday and with Lindholm’s return to action, Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, restructured his lines and defensive pairings to a more familiar look around the trade deadline when the B’s were surging in the regular season.

Jake DeBrusk went back to the first line right wing with Patrice Bergeron at center and Brad Marchand on left wing, while David Pastrnak was reunited with Taylor Hall and Erik Haula on the second line.

Trent Frederic returned to the lineup on the third line with Charlie Coyle at center– flanked by Frederic and Craig Smith on his wings.

Meanwhile, Nick Foligno, Tomáš Nosek and Curtis Lazar returned to their usual roles on the fourth line with Chris Wagner joining the short list of healthy scratches in the press box at TD Garden for Game 6.

On defense, Lindholm and Charlie McAvoy were reunited, while Mike Reilly suited up alongside Brandon Carlo and Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton’s third pairing went unchanged.

Wagner and Matt Grzelcyk joined Jack Studnicka, Marc McLaughlin, Steven Fogarty, Troy Grosenick, Josh Brown, Joona Koppanen, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Tyler Lewington, Oskar Steen, Nick Wolff, Anton Blidh, Kyle Keyser and Jakub Lauko as Boston’s healthy scratches on Thursday.

Sebastian Aho kicked things off with a hooking infraction at 12:44 of the first period, but the Bruins couldn’t muster anything on the skater advantage.

Neither team could score, nor did either club score a goal in the opening frame, rendering it, 0-0, entering the first intermission despite Carolina holding an, 11-8, advantage in shots on goal.

Boston led in blocked shots (6-3), giveaways (4-0) and faceoff win percentage (62-39), while the Hurricanes held the advantage in hits (22-11).

Both teams had three takeaways each and had yet to see time on the power play entering the middle frame.

It didn’t take long for the B’s to jump out ahead first as Marchand (4) received a pass and entered the attacking zone along his off wing before sending a wrist shot high on the short side over Raanta’s glove and under the bar to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead 46 seconds into the second period.

Clifton (1) and Coyle (4) notched the assists as Boston scored the game’s first goal for the first time in the series.

Less than a few minutes later, however, Clifton kicked off a string of penalties for the Bruins when he was assessed a holding minor at 3:23, but Boston made the kill.

Carolina got a second chance on the power play at 9:08, however, when Frederic tripped Brett Pesce and even had 54 seconds on a 5-on-3 advantage when McAvoy cut a rut to the sin bin hooking Vincent Trocheck at 10:15 of the second period.

The Canes, however, failed to convert on the two power plays.

Haula caught Jesperi Kotkaniemi with a high stick at 13:36 of the second period and presented another power play opportunity that went by the wayside for Carolina.

At 16:58, Pesce was assessed a holding minor and yielded Boston their second power play of the night.

Late in the ensuing skater advantage, the B’s worked the puck around the zone enough before Marchand dished a pass back to Pastrnak for a shot attempt from the point that was blocked by a Hurricane before rebounding to Coyle (2) in the slot for the doorstep goal on the forehand.

Pastrnak (3) and Marchand (7) tallied the assists on Coyle’s power-play goal at 18:04 of the second period and the Bruins had a, 2-0, lead as a result.

Through 40 minutes of play, the B’s held a two-goal lead going into the second intermission and led, 19-17, in shots on goal, including an, 11-6, advantage in shots in the middle frame alone.

Boston also dominated in blocked shots (15-9), takeaways (6-3) and faceoff win% (53-47), while Carolina led in giveaways (5-4) and hits (27-21).

The Hurricanes were 0-for-4 and the Bruins were 1-for-2 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Carolina struck first in the final frame as Seth Jarvis setup Andrei Svechnikov (2) for a catch and release goal high on the short side past Swayman’s blocker to cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1.

Jarvis (2) had the only assist on Svechnikov’s first goal of the game at 3:24 of the third period.

Less than four minutes later, however, the Bruins responded and re-extended their lead to two-goals after Haula (1) redirected a shot pass into the far corner of the net behind Raanta for a, 3-1, lead at 7:08 of the third period.

McAvoy (3) had the only assist on Haula’s first goal of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Midway through the third period, Forbort (1) flung a shot from the point with eyes that may have tipped off of a Canes skaters’ stick under Raanta’s blocker side while the Carolina netminder was temporarily without a stick– having dropped it seconds prior.

Nosek (1) had the only assist on Forbort’s first goal– regular season or playoffs– since Nov. 20th and the Bruins had a, 4-1, lead as a result at 10:43.

Jaccob Slavin sent an errant puck over the glass and out of play at 12:01, but the B’s failed to capitalize on their last power play opportunity of the night.

With 4:33 remaining in the action, Hurricanes head coach, Rod Brind’Amour, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker, but it wasn’t long before Lazar (1) floated a shot from the red line into the empty twine to give Boston a, 5-1, advantage.

Foligno (1) and Nosek (2) tallied the assists on Lazar’s empty net goal at 15:43 of the third period.

Less than a minute later, Marchand was assessed a four-minute double-minor penalty for spearing Kotkaniemi while skating past the Carolina forward at 16:20.

The Hurricanes made relatively quick work of the first power play as Slavin sent the puck to Martin Nečas, who fed Svechnikov (3) for another one-timer goal– this time cutting the deficit from four goals to three.

Nečas (3) and Slavin (4) had the assists on Svechnikov’s power-play goal– his second goal of the game– at 17:30 of the third period.

The Bruins killed off the rest of Marchand’s penalty and went on to win, 5-2, at the final horn.

At the end of the night, Boston left their own ice leading in shots on goal, 34-25, including a, 15-8, advantage in the third period alone, while Carolina dominated in everything else, including blocked shots (18-12), giveaways (10-5), hits (42-34) and faceoff win% (52-48).

The Hurricanes finished the night 1-for-6 on the power play, while the Bruins went 1-for-3 on the skater advantage.

The B’s are now 13-14 all time in a Game 6 when trailing in a series 3-2 and are looking to win a best-of-seven series for just the third time in 29 instances of at one point trailing 2-0 in the series heading into Game 3.

Game 7 is back at PNC Arena in Raleigh Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. ET with the winner clinching the series 4-3 and advancing to the Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Viewers in the United States can tune to ESPN, while those in Canada can catch the action on SN360, SNE, SNW, SNP and TVAS.

Local markets can also watch the game on their corresponding regional networks if so desired.

Boston will be making their 29th appearance in a Game 7 and enters Saturday with a 15-13 record in 28 prior Game 7 efforts, having most recently lost in a Game 7 on home ice to the St. Louis Blues in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

The Bruins lead in Game 7 appearances (28) and are tied with the Montréal Canadiens for the most wins (15), as well as with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the most losses (13).

Carolina is entering their eighth appearance in a Game 7 Saturday afternoon with a 5-3 record in seven prior instances of a Game 7, having most recently beaten the Washington Capitals on the road in Game 7 of their 2019 First Round series in double overtime.

The Hurricanes last hosted a Game 7 on home ice in the 2006 Stanley Cup Final when they defeated the Edmonton Oilers to clinch the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship.

The Canes are 5-0 in a Game 7 since relocating from Hartford and previously defeated the Bruins on the road in Game 7 of their 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinal series in overtime.

Coincidentally, that game was also held on May 14th.

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NHL Nick's Net

Boston takes Game 3 with, 4-2, victory on home ice

Four different players scored for the Boston Bruins in their, 4-2, win against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3 of their 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round matchup Friday night at TD Garden.

Charlie Coyle, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Taylor Hall each had a goal for Boston in their first victory against Carolina since Dec. 3, 2019 (regular season and postseason).

Jeremy Swayman (1-0, 2.00 goals-against average, .926 save percentage in one game played) made his first postseason start and picked up the win with a 25-save effort on 27 shots faced.

Swayman became the fourth Bruins rookie goaltender to make their first career playoff start on home ice and win, joining Tiny Thompson (Game 1 of the 1929 Semifinal against Montréal), Mike Moffat (Game 1 of the 1982 Adams Division Semifinal against Buffalo) and Andrew Raycroft (Game 1 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against Montréal) in the process.

Hurricanes goaltender, Pyotr Kochetkov (1-1, 3.30 goals-against average, .900 save percentage in two games played), made 24 saves on 28 shots against in the loss.

The Bruins trail in the series 2-1 with Game 4 set for Sunday afternoon in Boston.

The B’s were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Jesper Frödén (lower body) and Hampus Lindholm (upper body) on Friday, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made several changes to his lineup.

First, Cassidy reunited Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Pastrnak on the first line, while moving Jake DeBrusk to the second line right wing with Hall at left wing and Erik Haula at center.

Tomáš Nosek was promoted to the third line left wing with Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith in their usual roles, while Nick Foligno, Curtis Lazar and Chris Wagner made up the fourth line.

On defense, Mike Reilly went in for Lindholm alongside Charlie McAvoy while Lindholm was out due to injury.

Trent Frederic joined Josh Brown, Anton Blidh and Kyle Keyser among Boston’s healthy scratches for Game 3.

Jordan Martinook caught Hall with a high stick at 4:47 of the first period, but the Bruins weren’t able to convert on their first power play of the night.

Less than five minutes later, Brendan Smith kept the puck in the attacking zone and threw a shot towards the net before Vincent Trocheck (2) corralled the puck and wrapped it around Swayman with a change of pace.

Smith (1) had the only assist on Trocheck’s goal and the Hurricanes took a, 1-0, lead at 9:17 of the first period as a result.

Moments later, Martinook cut a rut back to the sin bin for hooking Lazar at 13:10.

Once more, however, Boston wasn’t able to muster anything on the ensuing skater advantage.

Instead, the B’s presented Carolina with their first power play of the night at 16:07 of the first period after Haula hauled down Jesper Fast with a trip.

The Canes didn’t convert on the power play and, worse, gave up a shorthanded goal against in the process.

DeBrusk broke into the attacking zone and connected with Coyle (1) on a tape-to-tape pass that Coyle batted out of mid-air to beat Kochetkov to tie the game, 1-1, at 17:16.

DeBrusk (1) had the only assist on Coyle’s shorthanded goal.

Late in the period, Marchand slashed the Tony DeAngelo’s stick out of his hands and took a trip to the sin bin as a result at 19:25.

Boston’s penalty kill would spill over into the middle frame unscathed, however.

The score was tied, 1-1, after 20 minutes of action, with the Hurricanes leading the Bruins in shots on goal, 11-8.

Carolina also dominated in blocked shots (7-3) and takeaways (7-0), while the B’s led in giveaways (3-2), hits (13-12) and faceoff win percentage (52-48).

Both teams were 0-for-2 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Marchand (1) cut to the slot reminiscent of a prominent scoring move in EA Sports’ NHL 94, settled the puck and buried the rubber biscuit in the back of the twine to give Boston their first lead against Carolina all year (regular season and postseason combined) at 5:41 of the second period.

Bergeron (1) had the only assist on Marchand’s tally as the Bruins took a, 2-1, lead on the scoreboard.

About a minute later, Connor Clifton cross checked Martinook and presented the Canes with a power play at 6:48, but Carolina couldn’t muster a goal on the resulting skater advantage.

Less than a minute later, DeAngelo and Marchand exchanged pleasantries by the benches and received roughing and interference infractions, respectively, at 7:44.

Shortly thereafter, Martinook tried to hit Hall in the neutral zone and ended up taking the worst of it– colliding and landing awkwardly, while sustaining a lower body injury in the process.

Moments later, Ian Cole interfered with Lazar and yielded another power play to Boston at 12:36.

It quickly became a two-skater advantage at 13:05, when Trocheck hooked Marchand and presented the Bruins with a 5-on-3 power play as a result for about 1:31.

The Hurricanes killed Cole’s minor, but couldn’t keep Boston’s power play off the board as Pastrnak (1) snapped a shot from the right dot past Kochetkov’s short side to extend the lead to two-goals.

Marchand (2) and Coyle (1) notched the assists on Pastrnak’s power-play goal and the B’s led, 3-1, at 14:53 of the second period.

While the 17,850 in attendance celebrated the goal, however, a pane of glass came crashing down on timeout coordinator, Joe Foley, in Boston’s penalty box requiring medical assistance from both trainers and in-arena staff.

Foley was stretchered off the ice and taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for observation and should be fine, NHL spokesperson, John Dellapina, told The Associated Press.

After a seven-minute delay, play resumed and Clifton cut a rut to the box shortly thereafter for roughing, which was briefly reviewed by the on-ice officials as Brendan Smith’s visor cut the Hurricanes defender and drew blood at 15:41.

The Bruins made the kill on Clifton’s infraction.

Entering the second intermission, Boston led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 21-19, in shots on goal.

The B’s had a, 13-8, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone and led in hits (21-19), blocked shots (19-8), as well as faceoff win% (56-44) after 40 minutes of play.

Carolina held the advantage in takeaways (7-3) and giveaways (9-6), while the Hurricanes went 0-for-4 on the power play through two periods.

Boston was 1-for-4 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame.

Prior to the third period, the Canes tweeted that Martinook would not return to the night’s action with a lower body injury and head coach, Rod Brind’Amour, told reporters after the game that Martinook’s prognosis didn’t look good.

Meanwhile, Trocheck tripped Nosek at 3:49 of the third period and yielded another power play to Boston.

The Bruins made quick work of the resulting skater advantage with Hall (2) dishing a pass across the slot to Pastrnak before receiving a setup in return for a one-timer goal from the doorstep of the crease as Kochetkov fell behind going from right to left.

Pastrnak (1) and Marchand (3) had the assists on Hall’s power-play goal and the B’s had a, 4-1, lead at 4:08 of the third period.

Less than a minute later, Foligno was penalized for cross checking at 4:48, but Carolina couldn’t muster a power-play goal.

Midway through the third, however, Jaccob Slavin (1) lobbed a shot from the point with eyes past Swayman on the glove side to make it a two-goal deficit.

Slavin’s goal was unassisted as the Hurricanes trailed, 4-2, at 11:30 of the third period.

With 2:42 remaining in regulation, Brind’Amour pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.

He later used his timeout after a stoppage with 1:36 left on the clock, but Boston stood tall and continued to block shots to the very end of the night with Derek Forbort tying a team-record for most blocked shots in a single postseason game (9), done twice before by Dennis Seidenberg in 2013, and the late Steve Montador in 2009.

At the final horn, the Bruins had taken Game 3 by a final score of, 4-2, and cut the series lead down to 2-1 in favor of the Hurricanes.

Boston left their own ice leading in shots on goal, 28-27, despite Carolina outshooting the Bruins, 8-7, in the third period alone.

The B’s also wrapped up Friday night’s action leading in blocked shots (29-12) and faceoff win% (57-43), while the Canes left TD Garden leading in giveaways (12-7) and hits (40-33) after Game 3.

The Hurricanes went 0-for-5 on the skater advantage, while Boston went 2-for-5 on the power play on Friday.

The Bruins improved to 14-15 all time in Game 3s when trailing 2-0 in a best-of-seven series, as well as 1-1 when tied after the first period and 1-0 when leading after the second period this postseason.

Carolina, meanwhile, fell to 1-1 when tied after one and 0-1 when trailing through two periods in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With the loss in Game 3, the Hurricanes now lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 on Sunday afternoon at TD Garden.

Puck drop in Boston is set for 12:30 p.m. ET and viewers outside of the local markets can catch the action on ESPN in the United States, as well as SN and TVAS in Canada.

Carolina can take a commanding 3-1 series lead heading back to Raleigh for Game 5 while the B’s could even the series 2-2 with another win in Game 4.

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Podcasts

DTFR Podcast #248- 2022 First Round Preview In Progress (Part 1)

Nick and Sean tackle a few leftover news items from the last week of the regular season and preview the Eastern Conference matchups in the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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

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NHL Nick's Net

Bergeron passes Bourque in, 5-3, road victory against Canadiens

It was a historic night at Bell Centre Sunday night as the Montréal Canadiens and their fans honored the life and memory of the late Guy Lafleur with a tribute and a 10-minute standing ovation before the Patrice Bergeron and Erik Haula each scored a pair of goals in a, 5-3, win for the Boston Bruins.

Bergeron surpassed Montréal native, Ray Bourque, for sole possession of the fourth-most goals in Bruins franchise history, while Haula scored the second penalty shot goal of the season in an unconventional fashion.

Meanwhile, Charlie McAvoy’s late second period goal held up to be the game-winner for Boston as goaltender, Jeremy Swayman (23-13-3, 2.37 goals-against average, .915 save percentage in 40 games played), made 23 saves on 26 shots agaisnt in the win.

Canadiens netminder, Sam Montembeault (7-18-6, 3.79 goals-against average, .892 save percentage in 37 games played), turned aside 37 out of 41 shots faced in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 49-25-5 (103 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.

Montréal fell to 20-49-11 (51 points) on the season and stuck in 8th place in the Atlantic Division as Habs fans await the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery on May 10th.

For the first time since the 2017-18 season, Boston swept Montréal in their regular season series, 4-0-0. The B’s also went 4-0-0 against the Habs in 2017-18, and did not face the Canadiens last season due to the temporarily realigned divisions and condensed 56-game schedule.

Boston went 3-1-0 against Montréal in 2019-20.

The Bruins were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) on Sunday, while David Pastrnak and Hampus Lindholm joined Josh Brown and Anton Blidh on the list of healthy scratches against the Canadiens as expected.

Bruce Cassidy promoted Tomáš Nosek from his usual fourth line center duties to that of the second line right wing role, while Curtis Lazar slid over on the fourth line to Nosek’s regular spot with Marc McLaughlin re-entering the lineup.

On defense, Matt Grzelcyk was paired with McAvoy, while Mike Reilly and Brandon Carlo rounded out the top-four defenders.

Linus Ullmark served as Swayman’s backup, while Pastrnak, Lindholm and Ullmark were all expected to be given the night off as Cassidy told reporters ahead of the game that he’d manage playing time with the playoffs in mind.

A pair of milestones unrelated to performance were met on Sunday as Carlo suited up in his 400th career NHL game, while Charlie Coyle took part in his 700th career game.

Joel Edmundson tripped Connor Clifton at 6:23 of the first period, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the resulting power play– their first and only skater advantage of the night.

The Bruins matched their longest streak of games without a power play goal (10) for the first time since their inaugural season (1924-25).

Midway through the opening frame, Josh Anderson and Derek Forbort each cut a rut to their respective sin bins for roughing at 10:55.

After two minutes of 4-on-4 action, the two teams resumed 5-on-5 play without issue.

Late in the period, Bergeron (21) gathered a loose puck on the doorstep and buried it into the open twine as Montembeault was caught behind the play after Jake DeBrusk fired the initial shot on net.

DeBrusk (16) and Brad Marchand (44) tabbed the assists on Bergeron’s goal and the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead at 15:03 of the first period.

Bergeron’s first goal of the game put him in sole possession of the fourth-most goals in club history for the B’s, surpassing Bourque in the process as Bergeron collected his 396th career goal (all with Boston).

The goal also marked Boston’s 2,000th goal against Montréal in franchise history.

A few minutes later, Mike Hoffman slashed Haula’s stick while skating alongside No. 56 in black and gold yielding– for some reason– a penalty shot for Haula at 18:03 as the on-ice officials determined that Hoffman’s infraction was enough to negate a scoring chance on a breakaway, apparently.

Haula (16) skated past the puck on his initial entry on the penalty shot, but as he never touched the rubber biscuit with his blade– and therefore did not move it forward before going back to retrieve it– he kept his composure, collected the puck, approached Montembeault and wired a shot under the glove side to give Boston a two-goal lead, 2-0.

For just the fourth time in franchise history, Haula joined Tim Taylor (April 15, 1998), Leo Boivin (Jan. 4, 1964) and Woody Dumart (Jan. 14, 1940) as the only Bruins to score a penalty-shot goal against the Canadiens.

Less than a minute later, Marchand retaliated against Jeff Petry for a clean hit that Petry made on Bergeron.

As a result, Marchand was sent to the box with a roughing infraction at 18:52 of the first period.

The B’s would be down two skaters after the first intermission when Trent Frederic picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct minor at 20:00 of the first period after he tried to engage Petry after the opening frame came to an end.

After one period of action, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and led in shots on goal, 17-8, as well as in blocked shots (4-2) and hits (14-11).

The Canadiens held the advantage in giveaways (7-5), while both teams had two takeaways each and split faceoff win percentage, 50-50.

Montréal and Boston were also 0-for-1 on the power play heading into the middle period.

The B’s survived Marchand’s minor, but couldn’t survive Frederic’s infraction as the Canadiens continued to pressure in the attacking zone before Petry forged a pass via Brendan Gallagher to Anderson (19) for a power-play goal on a shot with eyes past Swayman.

Gallagher (16) and Petry (19) had the assists on Anderson’s goal and the Habs trailed, 2-1, at 1:51 of the second period.

Boston responded less than a few minutes later as Clifton sent a pass up to Nosek on a rush before Nosek setup Haula (17) with a tape-to-tape pass for the catch and release goal at 4:04 of the second period.

Nosek (14) and Clifton (8) notched the assists and the Bruins went ahead by two goals once more, 3-1.

About a minute later, Haula headed off to the box for interference– taking Jake Evans with him, though, as Evans was assessed an embellishment infraction to present some more 4-on-4 action at 5:16.

Less than a minute later, however, Grzelcyk tripped Anderson and yielded an abbreviated 4-on-3 power play to the Canadiens at 5:47.

Montréal could not convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Moments later, Laurent Dauphin checked Taylor Hall along the boards leaving Hall out of breath, but the Bruins forward managed to skate off on his own after a stoppage and never went down the tunnel.

Cassidy informed reporters that Hall must have simply “had the wind knocked out of him” and indicated that he didn’t expect the Boston forward to miss any time.

Marchand and Anderson exchanged pleasantries late in the period yielding slashing and cross checking minors, respectively, at 16:12 and resulting in more 4-on-4 action for the two squads.

On an attacking zone faceoff, the Bruins won the puck back to the point where McAvoy (10) snapped a shot past Montembeault’s blocker side to give Boston a three-goal lead.

Bergeron (37) had the only assist on the goal as McAvoy made it, 4-1, at 18:09 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of action Sunday night, the Bruins led, 4-1, on the scoreboard and held a, 31-16, advantage in shots on goal– including a, 14-8, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

Boston also led in hits (23-22), while Montréal led in takeaways (4-3), giveaways (13-9) and faceoff win% (51-49) after two periods.

Both teams had eight blocked shots aside, while the Canadiens were 1-for-3 and the Bruins were 0-for-1 on the skater advantage.

McLaughlin lifted the puck over the glass for an automatic delay of game infraction at 3:10 of the third period and the Habs didn’t take long to capitalize on the ensuing advantage.

Montréal won a faceoff back to the point where Petry slid a pass across the ice to Hoffman (13) for a one-timer blast off the iron and in– bringing the Canadiens to within two goals at 3:13.

Petry (20) and Christian Dvorak (19) had the assists on Hoffman’s power-play goal and the Habs trailed, 4-2.

Almost midway through the final frame, Nick Suzuki (21) caught a pass and released a shot from the slot past Swayman after the Bruins failed to clear their own zone.

Mathieu Perreault (4) and Michael Pezzetta (4) had the assists on Suzuki’s goal and the Canadiens trailed, 4-3, at 7:19 of the third period.

With 2:20 remaining in the action, Montréal’s interim head coach, Martin St. Louis, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.

After Forbort’s shot attempt was knocked down by a high stick in Boston’s attacking zone, however, Montembeault had to return to the crease otherwise the Canadiens would’ve allowed a surefire empty net goal.

With 51.8 seconds remaining, Montembeault vacated the net once more.

After a stoppage with 26.2 seconds left, St. Louis used his timeout to rally his skaters for one last chance, but the Bruins wound up getting another rush in the dying seconds of the game after Nosek and Marchand won a battle along the boards.

Marchand fed an indirect pass off the boards across the width of the ice for Bergeron (22) to retrieve and skate into the attacking zone mostly unguarded before burying the puck in the empty net for his second goal of the game and another two-goal advantage for Boston.

Marchand (45) had the only assist on Bergeron’s empty net goal and the Bruins led, 5-3, at 19:53 of the third period.

As a result of the goal, Bergeron now trails Rick Middleton by five goals for the third-most in franchise history, while Marchand is nine points away from reaching the 800-point plateau in his career.

He’s also two points away (791) from tying Wayne Cashman (793) for the seventh-most points in Bruins franchise history.

At the final horn, Boston had won, 5-3, and left Bell Centre leading in shots on goal, 42-26, including an, 11-10, advantage in the third period alone.

The Bruins also finished the night leading in giveaways (19-16) and hits (36-28), while the Canadiens exited their own ice with the advantage in blocked shots (17-10) and faceoff win% (52-48).

Montréal went 2-for-4 on the power play on Sunday, while Boston went 0-for-1.

Meanwhile, Swayman picked up his 23rd win of the season and moved into sole possession of the fourth-most wins by a rookie goaltender in B’s franchise history, trailing Frank Brimsek (33), Andrew Raycroft (29) and Tiny Thompson (26) as a result.

Tuukka Rask, Marco Baron and Jack Gelineau are now tied for the fifth-most with 22.

The Habs are now on a nine-game losing streak (all in regulation) and fell to 6-38-8 (3-21-3 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 4-32-8 (2-16-3 at home) when trailing after one period and 3-40-6 (1-22-2 at home) when losing after two periods in 2021-22.

Boston improved to 36-9-2 (19-4-1 on the road) when scoring first, 28-5-1 (14-2-1 on the road) when leading after the first period and 31-1-3 (17-0-2 on the road) when leading after the second period this season.

The B’s have three games remaining in the regular season, while the Toronto Maple Leafs have two games and the Tampa Bay Lightning have three games left in their schedules.

Toronto is 2nd in the Atlantic Division and can clinch home ice in the First Round with at least one point in their remaining games, while Tampa would need to win out their final three games and hope for the Maple Leafs to lose their last two games in regulation.

Boston cannot finish higher than 3rd in the Atlantic and is not destined to have home ice in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs unless they meet another wild card in the later rounds.

Entering Monday, the B’s would face the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2022 First Round, though if Boston falls behind the Washington Capitals (100 points) in the wild card standings, there’s always a chance they’ll face the Florida Panthers.

In any case, Toronto would face Tampa if Boston is a wild card team.

Otherwise, we could be looking at another Bruins vs. Leafs First Round series if Boston is able to overcome the Lightning in the division standings.

The Bruins host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday and Buffalo Sabres on Thursday before closing out the 2021-22 regular season Friday night on the road against the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.

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Pastrnak reaches 500 career points in, 3-1, victory against Rangers

David Pastrnak scored a goal and had an assist in his return to action after missing the last eight games due to injury as the Boston Bruins beat the New York Rangers, 3-1, Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.

Pastrnak became the third-fastest Bruin in franchise history to amass 500 points with 239 goals and 261 assists in 508 career games since making his National Hockey League debut in the 2014-15 season after Boston drafted him in the first round (25th overall) in 2014.

Only Bobby Orr (500 points in 396 games) and Ray Bourque (500 points in 484 games) outpaced Pastrnak for the fastest to 500 career points (all with the Bruins).

Meanwhile, Linus Ullmark (24-10-2, 2.52 goals-against average, .914 save percentage in 39 games played) made 30 saves on 31 shots against for a .968 save percentage and the win in his first game back from an undisclosed injury that caused him to miss the last three games.

Rangers goaltender, Igor Shesterkin (36-12-4, 2.03 goals-against average, .936 save percentage in 52 games played), stopped 32 out of 35 shots faced in the loss.

Boston improved to 48-25-5 (101 points) on the season and within a point of the Tampa Bay Lightning for 3rd in the Atlantic Division at the time of this writing.

Despite being 4th in the Atlantic, the B’s hold the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

New York, meanwhile, fell to 51-22-6 (108 points) overall and stuck in 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Bruins finished their regular season series against the Rangers and went 1-1-1 across their three matchups.

The B’s went 5-3-0 against the Broadway Blueshirts in 2020-21 and 3-0-0 in 2019-20.

Hampus Lindholm, Pastrnak and Ullmark returned to the lineup for Boston, while Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) remained out against the Rangers on Saturday.

B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters prior to Saturday afternoon’s, 3-1, win that Pastrnak and Lindholm may not travel to Montréal as the Bruins visit the Canadiens Sunday night.

Zboril, meanwhile, has reportedly begun contract extension negotiations with Boston, according to New England Hockey Journal and NHL.com contributor, Mark Divver.

Jack Ahcan, Jack Studnicka and Troy Grosenick were all reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) prior to Saturday’s matchup against New York (Ahcan and Studnicka were technically reassigned on Thursday and Friday, respectively).

With a trio of players returning to the lineup, Cassidy made changes accordingly– moving Curtis Lazar back to the fourth line as Pastrnak resumed his regular role on the second line right wing.

Meanwhile, Lindholm suited up alongside Charlie McAvoy on the first defensive pairing with Matt Grzelcyk demoted to the second pairing next to Brandon Carlo and Mike Reilly joining Marc McLaughlin as the odd players out as a result of Pastrnak and Lindholm’s return.

Reilly and McLaughlin were joined by Josh Brown and Anton Blidh on Boston’s list of healthy scratches on Saturday, while Lazar skated in his 400th career NHL game.

Julien Gauthier cut a rut to the penalty box for tripping Lindholm at 7:47 of the first period, but the Bruins failed to capitalize on the resulting power play opportunity.

A few minutes later, Jake DeBrusk caught Adam Fox with a high stick and presented the Rangers with their first power play of the afternoon at 10:01, but New York couldn’t score on the ensuing skater advantage.

Boston got another chance on the power play at 12:26 of the first period when the Rangers were caught with too many skaters on the ice.

Once more, however, the B’s let another power play go by the wayside.

Late in the period Brad Marchand rushed the puck up the ice to McAvoy as Boston’s best defender pinched in from the point to the slot prior to sliding a pass through the slot to Pastrnak (39) for a one-timer goal on Shesterkin’s blocker side.

McAvoy (45) and Marchand (43) tallied the assists as the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead at 19:25.

Heading into the first intermission, Boston had the advantage on the scoreboard, despite trailing New York in shots on goal, 12-10.

The B’s led in blocked shots (9-5), giveaways (5-2) and faceoff win percentage (71-29), while the Rangers led in takeaways (3-2) and hits (11-7).

New York was 0-for-1 and Boston was 0-for-2 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Taylor Hall (18) received a breakaway pass from Erik Haula and sent a shot over the glove early in the second period to extend Boston’s lead to two-goals.

Haula (26) and Pastrnak (34) notched the assists as the Bruins took a, 2-0, lead at 1:07 of the second period– courtesy of Hall’s goal and Pastrnak’s 500th career NHL point in the form of a secondary assist on the goal.

Midway through the middle frame, McAvoy rocked Fox on a clean open ice hit in Boston’s own end– drawing the ire of Dryden Hunt and resulting in a bit of a fracas between McAvoy and Hunt that resulted in a pair of roughing infractions and 4-on-4 action at 9:27.

The Bruins soon had an abbreviated 4-on-3 power play after Jacob Trouba tripped Pastrnak at 10:21 of the second period, but once again the B’s couldn’t muster anything on the power play– falling to 0-for-32 on their last 32 skater advantages as a result.

Through 40 minutes of action, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and held a, 28-22, advantage in shots on goal, including an, 18-10, advantage in the second period alone.

Boston led in blocked shots (11-9), giveaways (9-8) and faceoff win% (68-32) after two periods, while New York held the advantage in takeaways (8-3) and hits (24-20).

The Rangers were 0-for-1 and the Bruins were 0-for-3 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Ullmark sent the puck over the glass and out of play to kick off the third period with an automatic infraction at 1:42.

Craig Smith served the minor and the Rangers took full advantage of the ensuing power play.

Carlo lost his stick and was aiming to retrieve it while the puck was still in New York’s attacking zone– rendering the Bruins defender out of position as Mika Zibanejad stood on the doorstep and awaited a pass through the slot.

Chris Kreider setup Zibanejad (29) for a one-timer goal as Ullmark made a desperation effort that came up a little bit short as Zibanejad’s power-play goal brought the Rangers to within one and put them on the scoreboard.

Kreider (24) and Alexis Lafrenière (12) had the assists on the goal and New York trailed, 2-1, at 2:58 of the third period.

Carlo also managed to hook Lafrenière before losing his stick– resulting in another power play for the Rangers at 2:58, though this time Boston was able to kill off the infraction.

Midway through the third period, Connor Clifton dumped the puck off of Charlie Coyle (inadvertently) and into the attacking zone, where Smith retrieved the rubber biscuit by the goal lime and zipped a pass back to Trent Frederic (7) for the catch and release shot in the slot off of Shesterkin and into the twine.

Smith (18) and Coyle (27) picked up the assists as the Bruins extended their lead back to two-goals, 3-1, at 9:37.

With 3:49 remaining in the action, Rangers head coach, Gerard Gallant, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker before using his timeout 46 seconds later to draw up a plan to rally his skaters for a pair of goals to tie the game at the very least.

Things did not go to plan.

New York iced the puck with 40.1 seconds remaining after Marchand rang the outside of the iron on an empty net and Shesterkin went back into the crease.

He wasn’t able to make his way back to the bench as Boston sustained enough offensive pressure to keep the Rangers from breaking through the neutral zone as time ticked down and the final horn eventually sounded.

The Bruins had won, 3-1, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 35-31, despite being outshot by the Rangers, 9-7, in the third period alone.

Boston exited their own building leading in blocked shots (17-11) and faceoff win% (62-38), while New York left TD Garden leading in hits (34-24).

Both teams managed to amass nine giveaways each, while the Rangers went 1-for-3 on the power play and the B’s finished the afternoon 0-for-3 on the skater advantage.

For the fourth time in the last five seasons, Boston passed the 100-point plateau in the standings.

The Bruins have 25 seasons with 100 points or more in franchise history, which is also an NHL record.

Having completed their final matinée game of the regular season, the B’s went 11-2-0 in 13 afternoon matchups in 2021-22, while improving to 35-9-2 (17-5-1 at home) when scoring first, 27-5-1 (14-3-0 at home) when leading after one and 30-1-3 (14-1-1 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

New York fell to 18-17-4 (11-11-0 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 11-12-4 (6-9-0 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 4-17-2 (1-12-0 on the road) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins will pay a visit to the Montréal Canadiens on Sunday before hosting the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, prior to their regular season series finale on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.

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DeSmith sets franchise record in, 4-0, shutout victory for Penguins

Casey DeSmith made 52 saves in a, 4-0, shutout for the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night against the Boston Bruins at PPG Paints Arena– setting a pair of franchise records for each team in the process.

DeSmith made the most saves in a shutout win in Penguins history, surpassing Jean-Sebastian Aubin’s 45-save effort in a, 4-0, win against the Dallas Stars on March 9, 2004, at Pittsburgh’s former home, Mellon Arena.

Meanwhile, for the first time in Bruins history, Boston had 50 or more shots on net in a shutout loss.

Also Jake Guentzel scored a hat trick to reach the 40-goal plateau for the second time in his career and first time since the 2018-19 season.

Talk about burying the lede.

DeSmith (9-5-5, 2.75 goals-against average, .915 save percentage in 23 games played) made 52 saves on 52 shots against in the shutout win for the Pens, while Jeremy Swayman (22-13-3, 2.35 goals-against average, .916 save percentage in 39 games played) stopped 28 out of 31 shots faced in the loss for the B’s.

The Penguins improved to 44-23-11 (99 points) overall and remain in command of 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division, while the Bruins fell to 47-25-5 (99 points) and remain stuck in 4th place in the Atlantic Division.

Boston is still two points ahead of the Washington Capitals for the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with the second wild card going on to face the Florida Panthers in the 2022 First Round as a result of the Panthers clinching the number one seed in the Eastern Conference on Thursday night.

The B’s went 1-2-0 in their regular season series against the Penguins after going 5-3-0 against Pittsburgh in 2020-21 and 2-1-0 in 2019-20.

The Bruins remained without Jakub Zboril (right ACL), David Pastrnak (undisclosed), Hampus Lindholm (lower body), Linus Ullmark (undisclosed) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) on Thursday.

Head coach, Bruce Cassidy, informed reporters prior to the matchup with the Penguins that Ullmark could be back on Saturday afternoon in Boston and made no changes to his lineup from Tuesday night’s, 3-2, overtime victory in St. Louis to Thursday night’s loss in Pittsburgh.

Jack Studnicka, Josh Brown, Jack Ahcan and Anton Blidh made up the short list of healthy scratches for the B’s against the Pens.

Rickard Rakell sent a pass to Sidney Crosby before Crosby bumped it over to Guentzel along the blue line as the Penguins entered the attacking zone almost midway through the opening frame.

Guentzel (38) drove to the net as the Bruins botched a line change and buried a shot through Swayman’s five-hole to give Pittsburgh a, 1-0, lead at 7:49 of the first period.

Crosby (52) and Rakell (20) tallied the assists on Guentzel’s first goal of the game.

Moments later, Pittsburgh had the first power play of the night as a result of Taylor Hall’s slashing infraction at 11:48, but the Pens failed to convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

After one period the Penguins led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 13-11, in shots on goal.

Boston, meanwhile, held the advantage in giveaways (4-1), hits (15-7) and faceoff win% (59-41).

Both teams had four blocked shots and five takeaways each heading into the middle period while Pittsburgh was 0-for-1 on the power play and the Bruins had yet to see any action on the skater advantage.

Early in the middle frame, Boston’s defense erred once more as Jeff Carter sent fed Jason Zucker a lead pass into the attacking zone.

Zucker (8) broke free behind Brandon Carlo and buried a shot in the top right corner as Carlo opted to cover Bryan Rust in the center of the ice.

Carter (24) and John Marino (24) notched the assists as the Penguins took a, 2-0, lead at 6:10 of the second period.

About ten minutes later, the Pens extended their lead to three goals when Carlo failed to clear the zone and ended up giving the puck away to the high slot whereby Pittsburgh kept it in the zone and worked it around before Kris Letang dished a pass through the slot to connect with Guentzel (39) on a one-timer goal.

Letang (56) had the only assist as the Penguins made it, 3-0, at 16:12 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of action, Pittsburgh led on the scoreboard, 3-0, despite trailing in shots on goal, 30-25.

Boston even had a, 19-12, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone, while also maintaining control in takeaways (8-6), giveaways (6-3) and hits (29-19).

The Penguins, on the other hand, led in blocked shots (7-6), while both teams managed to split faceoff win%, 50-50, after two periods.

Only the Pens had seen any power play action heading into the second intermission and Pittsburgh was 0-for-1 as a result entering the final frame.

Marcus Pettersson cut a rut to the penalty box for interference at 7:27 of the third period, but the Bruins weren’t able to convert on the resulting power play– falling to 0-for-28 on their last 28 power play opportunities as a result.

The B’s had another chance on the skater advantage at 10:16 when Chad Ruhwedel was penalized for holding, but Boston ended up extending their power play drought to 0-for-29 on their last 29 power plays instead.

With about four minutes left in the game, Cassidy pulled Swayman for an extra attacker.

He’d end up yanking him again about a minute later after a stoppage in play resulted in a defensive zone faceoff, but Pittsburgh made quick work of the open net regardless.

Guentzel (40) retrieved a loose puck in his own end and flung the rubber biscuit with enough velocity to reach the back of the empty twine across the rink– giving the Penguins a, 4-0, lead as a result at 17:55 of the third period.

Hats rained down from the stands at PPG Paints Arena as Guentzel completed his hat trick with an unassisted empty net goal.

At the final horn, Pittsburgh had won, 4-0, with DeSmith earning a shutout despite Boston exiting the ice with a, 52-32, advantage in shots on goal, including a, 22-7, advantage in shots on net in the third period alone.

The Bruins exited PPG Paints Arena with the advantage in giveaways (6-5), hits (36-26) and faceoff win% (52-48), while the Penguins left their own ice leading in blocked shots (14-8).

The Pens went 0-for-1 and the B’s went 0-for-2 on the power play on Thursday.

Boston has now lost five out of their last eight games and dropped to 13-16-3 (6-8-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 6-14-2 (2-7-1 on the road) when trailing after one and 4-19-2 (1-8-1 on the road) when losing after two periods this season.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, improved to 33-5-3 (17-3-1 at home) when scoring first, 22-3-2 (13-2-1 at home) when leading after the first period and 30-1-2 (15-0-1 at home) when leading after two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins return home to host the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Puck drop is set for a little after 3 p.m. ET 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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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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Bruins’, 2-1, victory clinches playoff berth for sixth-straight season

The Boston Bruins are officially heading to the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs after securing a, 2-1, win against the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.

Erik Haula’s first period goal proved to be the game-winner, while Jeremy Swayman (21-12-3, 2.34 goals-against average, .917 save percentage in 37 games played) had a quality start with 23 saves in 24 shots faced en route to the victory for Boston.

Pittsburgh netminder, Casey DeSmith (8-5-5, 2.89 goals-against average, .907 save percentage in 22 games played) turned aside 27 out of 29 shots against in the loss.

The Penguins were without their usual starting goaltender, Tristan Jarry– who is out week-to-week with a lower body injury– and center, Evgeni Malkin, who is serving a four-game suspension for cross-checking Nashville Predators defender, Mark Borowiecki, in last Sunday’s, 3-2, overtime win at PPG Paints Arena.

Pittsburgh fell to 43-23-11 (97 points) on the season, but the Pens are still in command of 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division as they are currently five points ahead of the Washington Capitals (41-23-10, 92 points).

The Penguins clinched a playoff spot after Thursday night’s, 6-3, win against the New York Islanders.

Boston improved to 46-24-5 (97 points) overall and clinched their sixth-consecutive Stanley Cup playoff berth (75th overall in 98 seasons) as a result of Saturday’s win.

The Bruins are in command of the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and trail the Toronto Maple Leafs (48-20-6, 102 points) by five points for home ice in at least the 2022 First Round, as well as the Tampa Bay Lightning (45-21-8, 98 points) by one point for a divisional playoff spot.

Boston has played in 75 games this season, while Toronto and Tampa have each played in 74 games at the time of this writing (both teams are in action Saturday night as the Leafs visit the Ottawa Senators, while the Lightning host the Winnipeg Jets).

The B’s improved to 1-1-0 against Pittsburgh this season with one game remaining in their regular season series Thursday night (April 21st) at PPG Paints Arena.

Boston went 5-3-0 against the Penguins last season and 2-1-0 in 2019-20.

The Bruins were without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL), David Pastrnak (undisclosed), Hampus Lindholm (lower body) and Linus Ullmark (upper body) on Saturday, while Brandon Carlo returned to action from an undisclosed injury sustained on April 12th against St. Louis.

Bruce Cassidy made a few changes to his lineup as a result.

The only chance among forwards involved replacing Tomáš Nosek with Trent Frederic on the third line left wing. Frederic had been a healthy scratch in Thursday night’s, 3-2, loss to the Senators.

Nosek served as a healthy scratch Saturday as a result.

On defense, Matt Grzelcyk suited up alongside Charlie McAvoy on the first pairing, while Mike Reilly and Carlo rounded out the top-four defenders.

Derek Forbort participated in his 400th career NHL game on the third pairing alongside Connor Clifton.

With Ullmark out of the lineup due to an injury, Troy Grosenick was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Friday to serve as Swayman’s backup against Pittsburgh.

Cassidy told reporters prior to the game that Ullmark will be out until at least Monday, while Pastrnak and Lindholm skated on their own prior to the matchup with the Penguins (not in warmup).

Jack Studnicka, Josh Brown, Jack Ahcan and Anton Blidh joined Nosek on the list of healthy scratches for the B’s on Saturday.

Less than a minute into the opening frame, Craig Smith sent a shot off of DeSmith’s right shoulder that rebounded to the slot where Frederic (6) beat John Marino to the loose puck and collected the garbage while crashing the net to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead 49 seconds into the afternoon.

Smith (17) had the only assist on Frederic’s goal.

Boston extended their lead to two-goals when Haula (15) sent a pass to the slot intended for Taylor Hall, but the puck deflected off of Marcus Pettersson’s skates and into the twine instead.

Reilly (12) had the only assist on Haula’s goal and the B’s led, 2-0, at 2:01 of the first period.

Late in the opening frame, Mike Matheson cut a rut to the penalty box for holding at 15:30, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing power play and fell to 0-for-24 (0-for-19 without Pastrnak) on the skater advantage in their last six games.

Heading into the first intermission, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and, 11-6, in shots on goal.

Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (4-1), hits (7-5) and faceoff win percentage (52-48), while Pittsburgh led in takeaways (1-0) after the first period.

The two clubs had three giveaways each entering the middle frame, while the Bruins were 0-for-1 on the power play and the Penguins had yet to see time on the skater advantage Saturday.

Danton Heinen (17) continued his revenge tour against Boston with a shot that fluttered and floated its way over Swayman’s glove side and into the back of the net– cutting the Bruins’ lead in half, 2-1, in the process.

Teddy Blueger (16) and Brock McGinn (8) tallied the assists on Heinen’s goal at 5:38 of the second period as Heinen set a new career-high in goals in 71 games– surpassing his previous career-best (16 goals in 77 games) set in 2017-18 with Boston.

Minutes later, Nick Foligno hooked Jake Guentzel and cut a rut to the sin bin at 9:33, but the Penguins were unable to convert on the ensuing power play.

Pittsburgh’s second chance on the skater advantage went by the wayside when McAvoy tripped Sidney Crosby at 11:44 as both teams struggled to get things going on the power play.

Through 40 minutes of action, the B’s held a, 2-1, lead on the scoreboard despite being outshot by the Pens, 9-5, in the second period alone.

Boston held the advantage in total shots on goal, however, 16-15, and led in blocked shots (8-3), while Pittsburgh led in takeaways (2-1), giveaways (5-3), hits (9-8) and faceoff win% (53-47).

The Penguins were 0-for-2 on the power play, while the Bruins were 0-for-1 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame.

Crosby slashed Frederic at 4:52 of the third period and presented Boston with their final power play opportunity of the night, but the B’s failed to convert on the skater advantage– falling to 0-for-25 on the power play in their last six games as a result.

A few minutes later, Reilly tripped Crosby at 7:09 of the third period and the Penguins went on the power play.

Pittsburgh failed to get anything going on the advantage, however.

With 2:06 remaining in the action, Penguins head coach, Mike Sullivan, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.

Despite using their timeout after a stoppage with 1:14 left in the game, the Pens couldn’t force overtime as the seconds ticked down and Curtis Lazar went for a casual skate down the length of the ice killing time and keeping the puck out of his own zone so Boston could get one last line change on the ice.

At the final horn, the Bruins had won, 2-1, and finished the afternoon leading in shots on goal, 29-24, including a, 13-9, advantage in the third period alone.

The B’s left their own ice leading in blocked shots (10-6), while the Penguins left TD Garden leading in giveaways (8-3), hits (12-9) and faceoff win% (55-45).

Pittsburgh went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Boston went 0-for-2 on the skater advantage Saturday afternoon.

For the 14th time in 16 years, the Bruins clinched a playoff berth, while the Penguins fell to 2-5-1 in their last eight games.

The B’s improved to 34-9-2 (16-5-1 at home) when scoring first, 26-5-1 (13-3-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 29-1-3 (13-1-1 at home) when leading after the second period this season.

Pittsburgh fell to 11-18-8 (6-9-4 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 5-10-5 (3-6-3 on the road) when trailing after one and 5-19-3 (2-9-2 on the road) when trailing after two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins hit the road for a pair of games in St. Louis and Pittsburgh next Tuesday (April 19th) and Thursday (April 21st), respectively, before returning home to host the New York Rangers next Saturday (April 23rd) on ABC.

Boston heads to Montréal on April 24th before hosting Florida (April 26th) and Buffalo (April 28th) prior to their regular season finale in Toronto on April 29th.

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Podcasts

DTFR Podcast #245- Higher Power (Not A Coldplay Cover)

Checking in with our resident Buffalo Sabres fan, Colby Kephart, about his expectations (or lack thereof) for Owen Power, what other undrafted college players might go pro, what’s considered good goaltending these days, as well as an Eastern Conference rundown and Colby’s “Off the Cuff” debut.

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

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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins blowout Devils in historic, 8-1, victory

Charlie Coyle, Curtis Lazar, Anton Blidh, Tomáš Nosek, Brandon Carlo and Josh Brown failed to record a point while 12 other members of the Boston Bruins had at least one mention on the scoresheet in an, 8-1, thrashing of the New Jersey Devils Thursday night at TD Garden.

Patrice Bergeron (1-2–3) and David Pastrnak (0-3–3) each had three points, while Linus Ullmark (21-9-2, 2.65 goals-against average, .911 save percentage in 34 games played) made 25 saves on 26 shots faced for a .962 save percentage in the win for Boston.

New Jersey goaltender, Nico Daws (8-9-0, 3.27 goals-against average, .894 save percentage in 19 games played) made 15 saves on 20 shots against in 29:01 time on ice in the loss before he was replaced by Jon Gillies (3-10-0, 3.88 goals-against average, .882 save percentage in 17 games played) made 17 saves on 20 shots (30:59 time on ice) in relief of Daws for no decision.

The Bruins improved to 42-20-5 (89 points) overall and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division– two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

The B’s also hold the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference entering April.

The Devils, meanwhile, fell to 24-38-5 (53 points) on the season and fell to 8th place in the Metropolitan Division, trailing the Philadelphia Flyers by virtue of a tiebreaker in which the Flyers have 17 regulation wins to New Jersey’s 16.

Boston swept their regular season series against the Devils 3-0-0 in 2021-22 after going 3-3-2 against New Jersey in last season’s condensed 56-game schedule (the Bruins went 2-0-1 against New Jersey in 2019-20).

The B’s outscored the Devils, 18-6, over the course of their three matchups this season.

Bruce Cassidy was without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Craig Smith (illness) and Nick Foligno (lower body) on Thursday.

As a result, Marc McLaughlin made his National Hockey League debut in place of Smith on the third line, while Foligno was ruled “day-to-day” and replaced by Blidh on the fourth line.

Cassidy also switched out Derek Forbot and Connor Clifton on the third defensive pairing with Mike Reilly and Brown– the latter of which made his Bruins debut on Thursday since being acquired at the trade deadline on March 21st.

Jack Studnicka, Forbort and Clifton served as Boston’s trio of healthy scratches against the Devils.

Prior to puck drop, the Bruins honored recently retired goaltender, Tuukka Rask, with a video and a ceremonial puck drop at center ice with his wife and three daughters.

Rask is the winningest goaltender in franchise history, amassing 308 wins in 564 games played (also a franchise record).

He ranks second in shutouts (52) with the club, second in career goals-against average (2.28) and is tied for first in career save percentage (.921) all in a Bruins uniform over 15 seasons.

Rask also appeared in 104 Stanley Cup Playoff games and won 57 of them (both franchise records)— winning the Stanley Cup as the backup in 2011, and appearing in two more Finals in 2013 and 2019.

Less than a minute into the opening frame, Matt Grzelcyk (4) wristed a shot from the point into the back of the twine over Daws’ blocker side– giving the Bruins a, 1-0, lead at 57 seconds of the first period.

The two teams got a few extra minutes between Grzelcyk’s unassisted goal and the next faceoff, however, as the TD Garden game clock malfunctioned and left both clubs skating around the ice in a free skate prior to resuming play.

Less than a couple of minutes later, Brown made his first impression with the Boston crowd by squaring off with Mason Geertsen and delivering a few heavy punches back and forth before both players were escorted to their respective penalty box with five-minute majors for fighting at 2:56.

Brown would later leave the game after the second period with an upper body injury, but didn’t look out of place in a Bruins uniform in his debut.

Shortly thereafter, Miles Wood checked Charlie McAvoy hard behind the Boston net and elicited a response from Reilly as the two players wrestled and tumbled to the ice at 4:16 of the first period.

Reilly received two roughing minors– four minutes in penalties in total– to Wood’s sole roughing infraction, rending the night’s first power play to New Jersey as a result.

The Devils did not score on the ensuing skater advantage however.

Hampus Lindholm was penalized for holding at 8:49 and New Jersey went back on the power play, but once again failed to convert on the advantage.

Instead, however, the Devils caught Boston in the vulnerable minute after special teams action as the Bruins were trapped in their own zone.

Nico Hischier cut behind the net, stopped on a dime and turned back the other way before one-handing it to Jack Hughes while falling to his knees after almost losing possession in the trapezoid.

Hughes (25) promptly buried the rubber biscuit high on the short side as Ullmark was a few inches too far off the post.

Hischier (30) and Damon Severson (28) notched the assists as New Jersey tied the game, 1-1, at 11:02 of the first period.

Roughly five minutes later, Jake DeBrusk (18) collected a rebound, deked and pulled the puck to his forehand around Daws’ right pad and into the back of the net for his third goal in as many games after Bergeron initially sent a shot with purpose off of Daws’ blocker back into the high slot.

Bergeron (31) and Lindholm (19) tallied the assists as the Bruins took a, 2-1, lead at 16:09.

Heading into the first intermission, Boston was ahead on the scoreboard and led, 12-7, in shots on goal.

The B’s also held the advantage in blocked shots (5-1), takeaways (4-2), hits (9-8) and faceoff win percentage (67-33).

The Devils led in giveaways (7-1) and were o/2 on the power play, while the Bruins had yet to see time on the skater advantage entering the middle frame.

Pastrnak broke up a pass while Erik Haula intercepted the puck and worked it back to Pastrnak, who wrapped around the goal frame as Haula (10) pounced on the rebound and scored over the glove side to extend Boston’s lead to two-goals at 2:22 of the second period.

Pastrnak (31) had the only assist on the goal as the Bruins led, 3-1.

Shortly thereafter, P.K. Subban yanked Blidh to the ice and was assessed a holding infraction at 2:44, but Boston didn’t convert on the resulting power play.

Nevertheless, the Bruins had all the momentum as they continued to pile up pucks behind Daws and his replacement in Gillies.

First, DeBrusk retrieved his own bad angle shot that went into the far corner before working the puck around the horn back to DeBrusk, who by now had made his way back to about where he sent an initial attempt from.

DeBrusk tried again and hit some dead wood before Brad Marchand (29) gathered the puck and wired it into the twine to give Boston a, 4-1, lead on the scoreboard at 6:33 of the second period.

DeBrusk (12) and Grzelcyk (18) tallied the assists on Marchand’s first goal of the game.

Jesper Boqvist then used his hand on a faceoff shortly thereafter– receiving a faceoff violation infraction in the process– and presented the Bruins with another power play at 8:30 of the middle frame.

It only took the B’s about 30 seconds to convert on the skater advantage as Pastrnak sent a shot on goal that was inadvertently redirected by Bergeron (18) with his skate through Daws’ five-hole– giving Boston a four-goal lead at 9:01 of the second period as a result.

Pastrnak (32) and McAvoy (37) notched the assists on Bergeron’s power-play goal as Lindy Ruff swapped his goaltenders with the Devils trailing, 5-1.

Almost 90 seconds later, DeBrusk checked Ty Smith and left the New Jersey defender catching his breath for a few seconds while Bergeron won the loose puck back to Reilly at the point.

Reilly forked it to Marchand (30) for a one-timer goal– giving him 30 goals on the season in the process for the fifth time in his career (13 seasons) as Boston scored a pair of goals in a span of 1:33 to lead, 6-1.

Reilly (11) and Bergeron (32) tallied the assists on Marchand’s second goal of the game at 10:34 of the second period and the Bruins weren’t done scoring.

Trent Frederic entered the attacking zone on a 2-on-1 with McLaughlin (1) and flipped the puck to No. 26 in black and gold for a one-timer goal on the high glove side– beating Gillies for his first career NHL goal in his first game and extending Boston’s lead to six goals at 12:04.

Frederic (10) had the only assist as Coyle retrieved the puck for McLaughlin’s safekeeping after the game and the B’s led, 7-1, after scoring a trio of goals in a span of 3:03 in the middle frame.

McLaughlin, meanwhile, became the fifth Massachusetts-born NHLer to score in his debut in Bruins history, joining Ryan Donato (March 19, 2018), Frank Vatrano (Nov. 7, 2015), Shawn Bates (Oct. 2, 1997) and Hago Harrington (Dec. 29, 1925) in doing so.

Late in the period, Taylor Hall (16) added one more on a one-timed redirection after Pastrnak and Hall kept it in the attacking zone on a Devils turnover and had a brief 2-on-1 as they made their way to the slot.

Pastrnak (33) had the only assist on Hall’s goal and the Bruins had an, 8-1, lead at 16:12 of the second period– amassing the most goals they’ve scored in a single game this season and reaching eight goals in a game for the first time since Nov. 26, 2019, when Boston beat Montréal, 8-1, at Bell Centre– in part due to a hat trick from Pastrnak that night.

The Bruins also recorded their first instance of scoring six goals in one period since Nov. 3, 1983, when they had six goals in the second period of a, 9-5, victory against the St. Louis Blues at Boston Garden.

Through 40 minutes, the Bruins led, 8-1, on the scoreboard and dominated shots on goal, 28-17, including a, 16-10, advantage in the second period alone.

Boston also led in blocked shots (9-3), takeaways (7-4), hits (16-15) and faceoff win% (64-36), while New Jersey led in giveaways (10-5) after two periods.

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

Haula hooked Hughes at 1:10 of the third period, but the Devils couldn’t get another shot past Ullmark while the Bruins did their job on the penalty kill in front of their netminder.

Jonas Siegenthaler sent an errant puck over the glass and out of play for an automatic infraction at 7:26, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the resulting power play.

Late in the game, Coyle and Geertsen exchanged pleasantries and received ten-minute misconducts with a ticket to their respective showers early for the night at 17:03 of the third period.

At the sound of the final horn, the Bruins had won, 8-1, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 40-26, including a, 12-9, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston also left their own ice leading in hits (23-20) and faceoff win% (60-40), while New Jersey led in blocked shots (13-6) and giveaways (15-10).

The Devils finished 0/3 on the power play, while the B’s went 1/3 on the skater advantage in Thursday’s effort– improving to a 15-3-1 record in their last 19 games, as well as 8-0-1 in games after allowing five or more goals in the previous game.

Boston also improved to 31-7-2 (14-4-1 at home) when scoring first, 25-2-1 (12-1-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 28-1-3 (12-1-1 at home) when leading after the second period this season.

New Jersey fell to 9-23-2 (3-15-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 5-18-2 (1-11-0 on the road) when trailing after one period and 3-31-2 (2-20-1 on the road) when trailing after two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins went 10-3-1 in the month of March and begin the month of April by hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday before hitting the road for the next four games starting next Monday (April 4th) in Columbus, next Tuesday (April 5th) in Detroit, then Tampa (April 8th) and Washington, D.C. (April 10th).