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Bruins storm Lightning for, 5-2, win on the road

David Pastrnak scored a pair of quick goals before Brad Marchand added a pair of his own later in a, 5-2, win for the Boston Bruins against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Saturday night.

Linus Ullmark (10-5-0, 2.54 goals-against average, .918 save percentage in 15 games played) stopped 27 out of 29 shots faced for a .931 save percentage in the win for Boston.

Tampa netminder, Andrei Vasilevskiy (19-6-3, 2.23 goals-against average, .923 save percentage in 28 games played), made 25 saves on 29 shots against in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 18-11-2 (38 points) overall and remain in command of 4th place of the Atlantic Division (nine points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for 3rd place).

Meanwhile, the Lightning fell to 23-9-5 (51 points) and slipped to 2nd place in the Atlantic by virtue of a tiebreaker, having sustained fewer regulation wins (15) than the Florida Panthers (17).

The B’s also improved to 1-0-1 against the Bolts this season with two games remaining in their regular season series (March 24th @ TD Garden and April 8th at Amalie Arena).

Bruce Cassidy told reporters prior to the game that Charlie McAvoy (lower body) would be a game-time decision and the NESN broadcast learned during warmup that if McAvoy wasn’t good enough to suit up, then Urho Vaakanainen would be making his season debut alongside Matt Grzelcyk on the first pairing.

And that’s exactly what happened as McAvoy missed his third game this season due to injury or illness, joining Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Karson Kuhlman (COVID-19 protocol), Jake DeBrusk (COVID-19 protocol) and Tomáš Nosek (COVID-19 protocol) on the list of players out of the lineup for Boston.

Cassidy made no changes to among his forwards from Thursday night’s, 3-2, loss against the Minnesota Wild.

John Moore joined Steven Fogarty and Troy Grosenick on Boston’s taxi squad on Saturday with goaltender, Tuukka Rask, expected to join the team on an NHL contract next week.

Taylor Hall setup Pastrnak (10) with a breakout pass about a minute into the action as No. 88 in black and gold entered the attacking zone from the middle of the ice and flung a shot on net that beat Vasilevskiy on the far blocker side.

Hall (12) and Derek Forbort (3) tallied the assists as the Bruins jumped out to a, 1-0, lead at 1:11 of the first period.

About 90 seconds later, Curtis Lazar tripped up Mathieu Joseph in the neutral zone and cut a rut to the box– yielding the night’s first power play to the Lightning at 2:45, but Boston’s penalty kill stood tall.

Moments later, Hall sent a shot on goal that rebounded off of Vasilevskiy’s pads as Pastrnak (11) crashed the net– kicking the rubber biscuit to his blade before burying the puck low, glove side, as Vasilevskiy was caught looking in the other direction.

The Bruins led, 2-0, as Hall (13) and Erik Haula (7) picked up the assists on Pastrnak’s second goal of the game at 6:10 of the first period.

Midway through the opening frame, Nick Foligno was taken down in front of Tampa’s net and was helped off the ice, clutching his right leg.

The Bruins later tweeted that he wouldn’t return for the rest of the night with a lower body injury and Cassidy ruled him out of the lineup for Monday night against the Capitals in Washington, D.C. while speaking to reporters after Saturday night’s win.

After one period, the B’s led, 2-0, on the scoreboard, despite trailing, 13-7, in shots on goal.

The Bolts held the advantage in giveaways (1-0), while Boston led in blocked shots (3-1), takeaways (4-2) and faceoff win percentage (58-42). Both teams managed to amass 11 hits each.

The Lightning were 0/1 on the power play heading into the first intermission, while the Bruins had yet to see any action on the skater advantage.

Boston got off to a fast start in the middle frame as Patrice Bergeron worked the puck to Mike Reilly as the team worked their way around the attacking zone before Reilly sent a shot attempt towards the slot for Marchand (13) to redirect with a backhand deflection past Vasilevskiy– extending Boston’s lead to three goals.

Reilly (5) and Bergeron (15) notched the assists as Marchand’s goal gave the Bruins a, 3-0, lead 26 seconds into the second period.

Midway through the period, Marchand hooked Erik Cernak and cut a rut to the sin bin at 8:39.

Tampa went on a 5-on-3 advantage for 47 seconds when Bergeron caught Victor Hedman with a high stick at 9:53 of the second period.

The Bruins killed off both minor infractions, however.

Late in the period, Oskar Steen forced a turnover in the attacking zone and worked a quick pass to Anton Blidh (2) for a catch and release goal on the short side past Vasilevskiy’s blocker.

Steen (4) had the only assist on Blidh’s goal at 14:54 and Boston led, 4-0, heading into the second intermission.

Through 40 minutes of action, the B’s led, 4-0, despite trailing in shots on goal, 20-19– though Boston held a, 12-7, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

The Bruins dominated in blocked shots (8-1) and takeaways (6-3), while the Lightning led in giveaways (2-0), hits (21-20) and faceoff win% (52-48).

Boston had yet to see any time on the skater advantage, while Tampa was 0/3 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Tampa emerged fresh from the dressing room to kickstart the third period with a goal 24 seconds into the final frame– disrupting Ullmark’s bid for a shutout in the process.

Mikhail Sergachev dumped the puck into the corner on a hard intentional rebound for Cernak to one-touch pass off the carom over to Ondrej Palat (14) for a one-timer goal on a half empty net.

Cernak (4) and Sergachev (14) nabbed the assists on Palat’s goal and the Lightning trailed, 4-1, 24 seconds into the third period.

A couple minutes later, Vasilevskiy tripped Trent Frederic and presented the Bruins with their first power play of the night at 2:28 of the third period.

Boris Katchouk, meanwhile, served Vasilevskiy’s minor infraction while the Bolts killed off the penalty.

Midway through the third period, Brayden Point (13) received a pass from Cernak, stopped and measured up, then wired the puck past Ullmark inside the post to cut Boston’s lead to two goals.

Cernak (5) and Sergachev (15) tallied the assists and the Lightning trailed, 4-2, at 11:20 of the third period– making things exciting for Tampa fans for an inevitable comeback, right?

Except the comeback never came. Not Saturday night, anyway.

Roughly 90 seconds after Point brought more momentum in favor of the Bolts, Anthony Cirelli tripped Bergeron and cut a rut to the box at 12:57– yielding a power play to the Bruins for the second time of the night.

Boston’s skater advantage was cut short, however, as Charlie Coyle hooked Joseph at 14:54 and brought the Lightning forward to the ice.

After four seconds of 4-on-4 action, Tampa went on an abbreviated power play, but the Bruins’ penalty kill handled the surge in momentum well and killed off Coyle’s infraction.

Lightning head coach, Jon Cooper, pulled Vasilevskiy for an extra attacker, but it was to no avail as Marchand (14) pocketed his second goal of the game from downtown near the blue line and Vaakanainen (1) picked up an assist in his first game of the season.

The Bruins led, 5-2, at 17:11 of the third period and Cooper didn’t pull his goaltender for the rest of the night as the seconds ticked down and the final horn sounded decisively in favor of Boston.

The B’s had won, 5-2, and finished the game leading in shots on goal, 30-29, after managing to amass an, 11-9, advantage in shots on net in the third period alone.

The Bruins left Amalie Arena with two points in the standings, as well as the lead in blocked shots (9-7) and faceoff win% (54-46), while the Bolts left their home ice leading in giveaways (2-0) and hits (31-26).

Tampa finished the night 0/4 on the power play while Boston went 0/2.

The B’s improved to 12-5-0 (7-2-0 on the road) when scoring first, 13-0-0 (8-0-0 on the road) when leading after the first period and 13-1-0 (9-0-0 on the road) when leading after two periods this season.

The Lightning fell to 9-8-1 (5-3-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 4-5-1 (2-1-1 at home) when trailing after one and 3-7-1 (0-3-1 at home) when losing through two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins visit the Washington Capitals next Monday (Jan. 10th) before returning home to host the Montréal Canadiens next Wednesday to kickoff a seven-game homestand in which Boston will host the Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, Nashville Predators, Carolina Hurricanes, Capitals, Winnipeg Jets and Anaheim Ducks.

The B’s were originally scheduled to play at Bell Centre on Jan. 12th, but due to the rise of the Omicron variant and capacity limits across Canada, that game has been postponed and instead Boston’s meeting with the Habs originally scheduled for March 21st has been moved up.

Tickets for March 21st in Boston will be honored on Jan. 12th against Montréal.

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Bergeron scores four in, 5-1, win against Red Wings

Patrice Bergeron recorded his first career natural hat trick and second career four-goal game in Thursday night’s, 5-1, victory for the Boston Bruins over the Detroit Red Wings.

Bruins goaltender, Jeremy Swayman (2-2-0, 2.28 goals-against average, .900 save percentage in four games played) made 14 saves on 15 shots against in the win and improved to 6-0-0 on home ice at TD Garden.

Meanwhile, Red Wings netminder, Thomas Greiss (3-3-0, 3.45 goals-against average, .897 save percentage in six games played) stopped 32 out of 37 shots faced in the loss.

Boston improved to 5-3-0 (10 points) on the season and moved ahead of Detroit for 5th place in the Atlantic Division standings.

Though the Red Wings are 4-5-2 (10 points) overall, the Bruins lead in their tiebreaker for 5th by virtue of having amassed more points in fewer games played (the B’s have 10 points through eight games, while Detroit has 10 points in 11 games thus far).

Boston is now 1-0-0 against Detroit this season, having most recently gone 1-2-0 in their season series in 2019-20 (the two teams did not play each other last season due to the temporarily realigned divisions in light of the ongoing pandemic).

The Bruins were once again without Nick Foligno (upper body) and Anton Blidh (upper body) on Thursday, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup– rendering Jack Studnicka and Jakub Zboril as healthy scratches as Oskar Steen was reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Oct. 30th.

Thursday night’s win also marked the 199th career victory behind the bench as Boston’s head coach for Cassidy.

Prior to puck drop, the Bruins held a moment of silence for former Boston Red Sox All Star second baseman and NESN color commentator for 33 years, Jerry Remy, 68, who died on Oct. 30th after a long, courageous, battle with cancer.

Erik Haula tripped up Joe Veleno and yielded the night’s first power play to Detroit at 2:55 of the first period, but the Red Wings couldn’t muster anything on the ensuing skater advantage.

Midway through the opening frame, Vladislav Namestnikov tried to check someone near the benches while making his way back to Detroit’s bench without a helmet, resulting in a minor penalty for playing without a helmet at 10:58.

It didn’t take Boston long to capitalize on their first power play of the night as Charlie McAvoy worked the puck to Brad Marchand before Marchand setup Bergeron (1) for the power-play goal from his usual spot in the bumper on the skater advantage at 11:03.

Marchand (5) and McAvoy (3) tallied the assists on Bergeron’s first goal of the season and the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead.

Late in the period, Nick Leddy tripped McAvoy and was assessed a minor infraction at 16:14, but the Red Wings penalty kill managed to go unscathed as Leddy returned from the box without issue.

Heading into the first intermission, the B’s led, 1-0, on the scoreboard, and, 11-3, in shots on goal.

Detroit held the advantage in blocked shots (4-1), takeaways (6-2) and giveaways (6-2), while Boston dominated in hits (14-8) and faceoff win percentage (71-29) after 20 minutes of action.

The Red Wings were 0/1 and the Bruins were 1/2 heading into the middle frame.

Tyler Bertuzzi took down McAvoy without the puck and was assessed an interference minor at 9:39 of the second period.

Once more, the Bruins would score on the ensuing advantage as Marchand teed up Bergeron (2) from the trapezoid to the slot for a catch and release goal to put Boston ahead, 2-0.

Marchand (6) had the only assist– tying Terry O’Reilly for the ninth-most assists in a Bruins uniform in franchise history (402) in the process– on Bergeron’s second power-play goal of the night at 10:52 of the second period.

Several minutes later, Moritz Seider was sent to the box for holding and presented Boston with another power play at 17:48.

Once again, Bergeron (3) scored a power-play goal– his third of the night, capping off a natural hat trick in the process– to give the Bruins a, 3-0, lead at 18:45.

Marchand (7) and McAvoy (4) tabbed the assists on Bergeron’s hat trick goal– marking the Bruins captain’s first hat trick since April 6, 2021 (4-2 win at Philadelphia) and giving Marchand his third assist of the night in the process, surpassing O’Reilly for sole possession of the ninth-most assists in a Bruins uniform with 403 assists in his career to O’Reilly’s 402.

Through 40 minutes of play, the B’s led, 3-0, on the scoreboard as well as, 26-9, in shots on goal– including a, 15-6, advantage in the second period alone.

Detroit maintained the advantage in blocked shots (8-5), takeaways (10-4) and giveaways (7-4), while Boston led in hits (19-18) and faceoff win% (52-48).

The Red Wings were 0/1 and the Bruins were 3/4 on the power play heading into the final frame.

In his 100th career NHL game, Connor Clifton had a plus-1 rating, one shot on goal, two hits and two penalty minutes as a result of his tripping minor 24 seconds into the third period on Thursday.

The Bruins managed to kill off Clifton’s infraction, however.

Later on in the third, David Pastrnak caught Robby Fabbri with a high stick and was assessed a minor penalty as a result at 6:08 of the third period, presenting the Red Wings with their second power play of the evening.

Detroit earned a 5-on-3 advantage shortly thereafter when Bergeron tripped Filip Hronek at 6:59.

As a result of the resulting two-skater advantage, Red Wings head coach, Jeff Blashill, used his timeout to draw up a plan to get his team back in the game.

Boston’s penalty killing unit was severely hampered by the fact that Bergeron was in the box– limiting their strength at winning the ensuing defensive zone faceoff on the penalty kill.

Detroit played around with the puck in the attacking zone for less than a minute before whipping the rubber biscuit along the blue line from Seider to Hronek before setting up Lucas Raymond (5) for a one-timer goal from the faceoff dot unopposed.

Hronek (3) and Seider (9) notched the assists on Raymond’s power-play goal as the Red Wings trailed, 3-1, at 7:46 of the third period.

It didn’t take long for Boston to respond, however.

24 seconds after giving up a power-play goal against, the Bruins scored a shorthanded goal when Curtis Lazar streaked from one end to the attacking zone on a breakaway before Mike Reilly (1) pounced on the rebound for his first goal as a Bruin– as well as his first goal since Jan. 28, 2020, when he helped contribute to a, 5-2, victory for the Ottawa Senators in Buffalo.

Lazar (2) and Tomáš Nosek (2) had the assists on Reilly’s goal as the Bruins regained a three-goal lead, 4-1, at 8:10 of the third period.

It was also Boston’s first shorthanded goal this season.

Midway through the final frame, Veleno cleared the puck over the glass and received an automatic delay of game penalty at 10:34, but the Bruins weren’t able to capitalize on the ensuing advantage.

In fact, less than a couple minutes later, Hronek and Matt Grzelcyk entered the box together for their respective teams after a scrum ensued after Swayman froze the puck, resulting in an unsportsmanlike conduct minor for Hronek and a roughing penalty for Grzelcyk at 12:14 of the third period.

Boston’s skater advantage was unchanged as a result and the Red Wings managed to kill off the remainder of Veleno’s infraction.

Finally, in the dying minutes of the third period, Reilly entered the attacking zone on a rush and dropped a quick pass back to Marchand before Marchand wired a pass across the ice to Bergeron (4) for a shot that squibbed through Greiss to make it, 5-1, Boston at 15:52.

Bergeron, in the process, scored his fourth goal of the night, while Marchand (8) and Reilly (2) were credited with the assists.

It was the 26th time in franchise history that a player scored four goals in a game, as well as the first time since Pastrnak notched four against the Anaheim Ducks in a, 4-2, victory on Oct. 14, 2019.

It was also Bergeron’s first four-goal game (the second of his career) since he scored four goals in a, 7-1, win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 6, 2018.

Marchand, meanwhile, finished the night with four assists (all primary assists) on Bergeron’s goals– trailing Rick Middleton (496) by 92 assists for the eighth-most assists in Bruins franchise history.

At the final horn, Boston had won, 5-1, and wrapped things up leading in shots on goal, 37-15, including an, 11-6, advantage in the third period alone.

The Bruins exited their own arena leading in blocked shots (11-10), as well as faceoff win% (59-41), while the Red Wings finished Thursday night’s action leading in giveaways (7-5) and hits (25-24).

Detroit went 1/4 on the power play, while Boston went 3/5 on the skater advantage en route to the victory.

The B’s improved to 5-1-0 (4-0-0 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal, 5-0-0 (4-0-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 3-0-0 (2-0-0 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

Meanwhile, the Red Wings fell to 1-4-1 (1-3-0 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 1-5-1 (1-4-0 on the road) when trailing after one period and 1-5-1 (1-4-0 on the road) when trailing after two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins venture up to Canada for the first time since the 2019-20 season due to the ongoing global pandemic and take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday before returning home for a quick, two-game, homestand next week against the Ottawa Senators next Tuesday and Edmonton Oilers next Thursday.

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Rangers top Bruins, 5-4, in New York’s season finale

A flurry of offense in the third period spurred the New York Rangers to a close, 5-4, win over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Saturday afternoon.

Keith Kinkaid (3-2-1, 2.59 goals-against average, .898 save percentage in nine games played) made 28 saves on 30 shots faced prior to being replaced by Igor Shesterkin (16-14-3, 2.62 goals-against average, .916 save percentage in 35 games played) for the win due to an injury in the third period.

Shesterkin made seven saves on nine shots in relief of Kinkaid in a little over eleven minutes of action on Saturday.

Boston netminder, Tuukka Rask (14-5-2, 2.29 goals-against average, .914 save percentage in 23 games played) made 18 saves on 23 shots against in the loss.

The Bruins fell to 32-15-7 (71 points) on the season, but remain in command of 3rd place in the MassMutual NHL East Division standings, while the Rangers finished their 2020-21 season with a 27-23-6 record, 60 points and 5th place in the same division.

The B’s finished their regular season series against New York with a 5-3-0 record in their eight matchups.

The Bruins were without Ondrej Kase (upper body), John Moore (hip) and Charlie Coyle (upper body) on Saturday, though Kase returned to practice with the rest of the team on Friday and Coyle remains “day-to-day” according to head coach, Bruce Cassidy.

Cassidy also mentioned that the B’s are taking it “one step at a time” regarding Kase’s return to the lineup in the remaining pair of games in the regular season.

Cassidy kept his forward lines from Thursday intact, while technically jumbling the defensive pairings from puck drop Thursday to puck drop Saturday despite actually putting them together during Thursday night’s, 4-0, shutout win against New York.

As such, Matt Grzelcyk was paired with Charlie McAvoy from the start of the action on the first pairing, while Mike Reilly was partnered with Brandon Carlo and Jeremy Lauzon suited up with Kevan Miller.

Jeremy Swayman served as Rask’s backup on Saturday in what was expected to be Rask’s final start before the postseason, while Jaroslav Halak was given the afternoon off in the press box.

Halak joined Coyle, Chris Wagner, Greg McKegg, Moore, Kase, Steven Kampfer, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, Anton Blidh and Jarred Tinordi on Boston’s long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players on Saturday.

On Monday, TD Garden will increase their limited seating capacity from 12% to 25% in accordance with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 reopening plans– just in time for the final home game of the regular season, as well as the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Grzelcyk cut a rut to the penalty box for holding and presented the Rangers with the first power play of the afternoon at 11:54 of the first period.

New York failed to convert on the power play, however.

Late in the period, Morgan Barron caught Taylor Hall with an errant knee– bringing the Bruins winger down with a trip and earning a minor infraction in the process at 19:32.

Boston’s power play spilled over into the middle frame, however, as the B’s couldn’t get anything going on the skater advantage as the horn signaled the start of the first intermission.

After 20 minutes of action on Saturday afternoon, the two clubs were even on the scoreboard, 0-0, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 9-7.

The Rangers dominated in blocked shots (10-1), giveaways (10-2) and hits (9-5), while the Bruins led in takeaways (8-5) and faceoff win percentage (53-47).

Both teams were 0/1 in the power play after the first period.

K’Andre Miller (5) floated a shot past Rask with lots of traffic screening the Bruins netminder in the slot to give the Rangers a, 1-0, lead at 6:21 of the second period off an attacking zone faceoff after Boston iced the puck.

Justin Richards (1) and Filip Chytil (14) tallied the assists on Miller’s goal.

With the primary assist on the goal, Richards picked up his first career National Hockey League point in his NHL debut after amassing 4-7–11 totals in 20 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL) this season in his first professional season after spending three years (2017-20) at University Minnesota-Duluth.

Late in the period, Mika Zibanejad hooked David Pastrnak and presented the Bruins with their second power play of the game at 14:04.

Once more, however, Boston was unsuccessful on the skater advantage.

In the waning minutes of the second period, the McAvoy mustered a shot towards the goal that rebounded to this season’s NESN 7th Player Award winner, Nick Ritchie (15) for the garbage goal on the doorstep– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.

McAvoy (24) and Sean Kuraly (6) had the assists on Ritchie’s career-high 15th goal of the season at 18:12 of the second period.

Through two periods of play, the Bruins and Rangers were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard, despite Boston holding an advantage in shots on goal, 28-15, including a, 19-5, advantage in the second period alone.

New York led in blocked shots (17-2) and giveaways (10-5), while Boston led in faceoff win% (54-46).

The two squads had 11 takeaways and 14 hits each, while the Rangers were 0/1 and the Bruins were 0/2 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Pastrnak (20) kicked off the third period with a one-timed redirection goal 21 seconds into the final frame for his 200th career NHL goal– giving the B’s their first lead of the night, 2-1.

Brad Marchand (39) had the only assist on Pastrnak’s goal as No. 88 in black and gold became the fastest player in franchise history to reach the 200-goal plateau in 437 career games (all with Boston)– beating Bobby Orr’s previous mark of 200 goals in 502 games with the club.

About five minutes later, however, Zibanejad (23) answered back with a one-timer goal of his own while the Rangers dominated possession in the attacking zone.

Pavel Buchnevich (26) and Ryan Strome (34) had the assists on Zibanejad’s first goal of the afternoon as New York tied the game, 2-2, at 5:22 of the third period.

A little over two minutes later, Alexis Lafrenière (12) caught a pass, deked and released a backhand shot over Rask’s glove side to put the Rangers ahead, 3-2, on the scoreboard.

Anthony Bitetto (3) and Buchnevich (27) recorded the assists as the Blueshirts scored a pair of goals in a 2:04 span at 7:25 of the third period.

Shortly thereafter, Pastrnak sent a shot wide of the net on a breakaway as Kinkaid challenged the Boston forward and appeared to overextend something as the Rangers goaltender left the game with what looked like a lower body injury.

Shesterkin came in to replace Kinkaid and finished off the game, as well as the rest of the regular season as New York’s goaltender.

Almost midway into the third period, Vitali Kravtsov (2) gave the Rangers a two-goal lead with another one-timer off of an attacking zone faceoff after Lafrenière and Buchnevich generated momentum for New York having just blown past Boston defenders, McAvoy and Grzelcyk prior to the whistle.

Strome (35) and Zac Jones (4) had the assists on Kravtsov’s goal and the Rangers led, 4-2, at 9:36.

The only penalty in the third period occurred when Bitetto got a hold on Hall at 13:17, yielding another power play to the Bruins.

Boston’s power play made decent work of the ensuing skater advantage as Marchand batted a puck out of mid-air to keep the rubber biscuit in the offensive zone before a give-and-go with David Krejci, which led to Marchand (28) sliding the puck under Shesterkin’s pad on a backhand goal.

Krejci (33) had the only assist on Marchand’s power-play goal and the Bruins trailed, 4-3, at 14:08.

Once again, however, Zibanejad (24) answered with his 200th career goal– sniping the puck over Rask’s glove on a catch and release shot to put the Rangers ahead by two-goals once more.

Buchnevich (28) tallied his third assist of the afternoon on Zibanejad’s second goal as New York pulled ahead, 5-3, at 18:07.

With time ticking down, Cassidy pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker with about 1:31 remaining in regulation before Patrice Bergeron (23) redirected a shot pass from the bumper in his usual spot to pull Boston to within one.

Grzelcyk (15) and McAvoy (25) had the assists on Bergeron’s goal and the Bruins trailed, 5-4, at 18:39.

Rask vacated the crease once more with about 1:15 left in the action, but this time the B’s couldn’t muster another goal with the netminder pulled.

At the final horn the Rangers had won, 5-4, and sealed the deal on the victory in their final game of the pandemic truncated 56-game 2020-21 regular season.

Though Boston finished the afternoon leading in shots on goal, 39-23, both teams had 11 shots apiece in the third period alone.

New York finished Saturday’s effort with the advantage in blocked shots (19-4), giveaways (14-9) and hits (17-16), while the Bruins wrapped up the afternoon leading in faceoff win% (52-48).

The Rangers went 0/1 and the B’s went 1/3 on the power play on Saturday.

The Bruins fell to 8-7-2 (3-4-2 at home) when tied after the first period, 8-10-4 (5-7-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal and 5-7-3 (0-2-1 at home) when tied after two periods this season.

Meanwhile, New York finished 5-6-1 (3-2-1 on the road) when tied after one period, 21-7-2 (10-6-1 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal and 5-5-3 (3-1-1 on the road) when tied after the second period in 2020-21.

The Bruins take on the New York Islanders in their final home game of the regular season on Monday before hitting the road for their last game of the 2020-21 regular season against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.

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Bruins rout Caps, 5-1, lose Carlo to head injury

The Boston Bruins beat the Washington Capitals, 5-1, Friday night at TD Garden after Capitals forward, Tom Wilson, delivered an unpenalized hit to the head of Bruins defender, Brandon Carlo, sparking an electric response on the scoreboard for Boston.

Jarred Tinordi and Trent Frederic each had a scrap with Wilson in a bout of “vigilante justice” because of one player that showed a lack of respect for “the code” and has once again threatened the career of another player with what is likely a head injury.

Bruins forward, Brad Marchand, had some strong words regarding Wilson’s hit during the first intermission, leading the New England Sports Network (NESN) to have to utilize a couple of drops to avoid facing scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

NESN aired Marchand’s interview in full after coming back from a break in the second period after the production truck had enough time to mute a pair of expletives.

Meanwhile, Jarsolav Halak (5-2-1, 2.24 goals against average, .913 save percentage in eight games played) made 31 saves on 32 shots against for a .969 SV% in the win for the B’s.

Capitals goaltender, Vitek Vanecek (10-5-3, 2.83 GAA, .906 SV% in 19 games played) stopped 14 out of 18 shots faced for a .778 SV% in 35:43 time on ice before being replaced by Ilya Samsonov (2-0-1, 2.87 GAA, .877 SV% in four games played) made six saves on seven shots against (.857 SV%) for no decision in relief of Vanecek.

The Bruins improved to 13-5-3 (29 points) and moved into 3rd place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Caps fell to 13-6-4 (30 points) and 2nd place in the division.

Boston was without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (lower body) and Jeremy Lauzon (fractured left hand) on Friday.

Charlie Coyle, however, made his return from COVID protocol and as a result was reunited on the third line with Frederic on his left wing and Craig Smith on his right wing.

Jake DeBrusk was promoted to the right side of the second line, while Anders Bjork, Jack Studnicka and Chris Wagner made up the fourth line.

Sean Kuraly joined John Moore as a healthy scratch, while Greg McKegg, Steven Kampfer, Urho Vaakanainen and Callum Booth were listed on the taxi squad.

Bruce Cassidy made no changes to his defense.

Early in the opening frame, Charlie McAvoy tried to hit Garnet Hathaway, but bounced off the Washington forward as Hathaway anticipated and met McAvoy with an equal and opposing force.

McAvoy slammed against he boards by the bench and smacked the ice, yielding a quick trip down the tunnel for a cut above his right eye likely caused by his visor.

Late in the period, Marchand (11) snuck into the low slot and received a pass from Patrice Bergeron before sending a backhand shot over Vanecek’s glove to give Boston the game’s first goal.

Bergeron (13) and McAvoy (13) had the assists as the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead at 14:21 of the first period.

Less than a minute later, Coyle yielded the first power play of the game to the Capitals after he caught Dmitry Orlov with a slash at 14:42.

Washington was not able to convert on their first skater advantage of the night.

Moments later, Wilson made a couple of runs at Frederic, catching the ire of the young Bruins forward.

Then Wilson caught Carlo up high in the corner to Rask’s right side behind the goal line with enough force to bash Carlo’s head off the glass before Jakub Vrana delivered a shift cross check above the shoulders while Carlo immediately clutched the sides of his head and collapsed in a heap.

Wagner grabbed Wilson as every remaining skater one the ice paired up.

There was no penalty on the call, which left Cassidy visibly irate on the bench and others on Boston’s bench audibly displeased.

Wilson was a free man and the threshold– as well as potential for more chaos– was established. In simple terms, it was the most glaring example of what not to do as an on-ice official.

It might not have been charging, but it could’ve been boarding.

It might not have been immediately clear that there was head contact or that Carlo was in a vulnerable position– let alone that Wilson had plenty of time and space to deliver and proper body check, but instead the refs made no call and implied that, in return, Wilson was free game.

Not only was player safety compromised for Carlo, but it would be compromised for Wilson too in the eyes of retribution if it had reared its head.

Let alone the next player Wilson might go on to hit.

Regardless, the Bruins entered the first intermission taking not only a hit to their defense, but a dent in their momentum, despite leading, 1-0, on the scoreboard.

Washington led, 12-8, in shots on goal, as well as in giveaways (5-2) and hits (12-6), while Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (4-3).

Both teams had three takeaways. The two clubs were 50-50 in faceoff win percentage.

The Capitals were 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Boston tweeted that Carlo (upper body) would not return to Friday night’s action before the second period began.

Brenden Dillon was penalized for roughing 20 seconds into the second period after a stoppage in play and presented the Bruins with their first power play opportunity of the night.

Boston did not score on the resulting skater advantage.

Moments later, Tinordi squared off in an exchange of fisticuffs with Wilson– marking the first of two fights of the night featuring No. 43 in a Capitals road uniform.

Each player received five-minute fighting majors at 6:12 of the second period.

It was the eighth fight this season for Boston and the first since Nick Ritchie fought Brendan Lemieux at 20:00 of the third period at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers on Feb. 28th.

While Wilson was in the box, Frederic (3) redirected a shot pass from McAvoy into the open twine as Vanecek was screened by net front traffic.

McAvoy (14) and Smith (5) tallied the assists as the Bruins extended their lead to two-goals, 2-0, at 6:43 of the second period.

Wilson was still in the box as Boston’s first line worked its magic on a “tic-toc-goal” at 9:01, extending their lead to three-goals thanks to Bergeron (9).

David Pastrnak (10) and Marchand (15) notched the assists on Bergeron’s goal as the B’s took a, 3-0, lead.

Late in the period, Marchand (12) added his second goal of the game while on the doorstep of the crease behind the Washington netminder as Vanecek wasn’t able to track another close range shot pass that made it, 4-0, Boston.

Matt Grzelcyk (4) had the only assist on Marchand’s second of the night at 14:58.

Caps head coach, Peter Laviolette, made the decision to replace Vanecek with Samsonov thereafter.

The Bruins went into the second intermission with a four-goal lead and a, 10-8, advantage in shots in the second period alone, despite trailing the Capitals, 20-18, in total shots on goal through 40 minutes.

Boston led in blocked shots (8-6) and faceoff win% (62-38), while Washington held the advantage in takeaways (8-7), giveaways (11-6) and hits (25-18).

Both teams were 0/1 on the power play entering the final frame.

David Krejci found Ritchie (8) for a one-timer goal past Samsonov’s glove to kick things off at 1:05 of the third period, extending Boston’s lead to five-goals.

Krejci (11) and DeBrusk (4) tabbed the assists as the Bruins led, 5-0.

Seconds later, Frederic and Wilson dropped the gloves with the first-year Boston forward wracking up an instigator minor and an automatic 10-minute misconduct to go along with his five-minute fighting major.

Wilson managed to accrue fewer penalty minutes for knocking someone out of the game with a high hit to the head (zero) than he did in his second fight of the night (five).

Smith served Frederic’s instigating minor at 1:12 of the third period and the Capitals did not convert on the ensuing power play.

Wilson and Frederic’s fight marked the ninth fighting major of the season for Boston.

Moments later, T.J. Oshie caught Pastrnak with a high stick at 3:27, but the B’s did not score on the resulting 5-on-4 advantage.

A little past the midpoint of the third period, Vrana (8) sniped a shot from the faceoff dot on a catch and release play past Halak’s blocker side disrupting the shutout in the process.

Nicklas Backstrom (16) and Oshie (10) nabbed the assists as the Capitals trailed, 5-1, at 13:36 of the third period.

Backstrom, meanwhile, earned his 700th career assist with the primary assist on the goal and became the first player in Washington’s franchise history to reach the 700-assist plateau.

No. 19 for the Caps was a first-year player back in 2007-08, and has spent his entire 979-game career with Washington– the team that drafted him 4th overall in the 2006 NHL Draft.

After another scrum that featured current Capitals defender, Zdeno Chara, being restrained by current Bruins captain, Patrice Bergeron, Wagner caught No. 33 for the Caps with a slash at 18:40 in the dying minutes of Friday night’s action.

Wagner cut a rut to the penalty box, while Washington couldn’t muster anything on the ensuing skater advantage to close out the game.

At the final horn, Boston had won, 5-1, despite finishing the night trailing in shots on goal, 32-25, including a, 12-7, advantage in the third period alone for Washington.

The Bruins also wrapped up the night’s action leading in blocked shots (9-7) and faceoff win% (53-47).

The Capitals ended the 60-minute effort leading in giveaways (15-8) and hits (34-22).

Washington went 0/3 and Boston went 0/2 on the power play on Friday as the Bruins handed the Caps their most lopsided loss of the season– snapping the Capitals’ four-game winning streak in the process.

Carlo was taken to a local hospital by ambulance after being hit by Wilson.

After the game, Cassidy offered his thoughts on Wilson’s hit.

“You can see it,” he told reporters via Zoom, “He hits him in the head. [It was a] [p]redatory hit from a player who’s done that before.”

Cassidy continued, “We felt it was completely unnecessary, dirty,” and added that he didn’t know whether Carlo was going to stay overnight in the hospital or even if he had been concussed at that point.

“You can probably make your own call on that one, considering the hit was directly to his head.”

Laviolette offered a different point of view, explaining (neither in defense, nor in terms of throwing his own player under the bus),

“I saw the hit. His feet were on the ice, he stayed down with everything. Just looked like a hard hit in the corner. Not exactly sure what happened, but to me, it looked like just a hit.”

Laviolette also mentioned after the game that he hadn’t received any indication that the league would be wanting to talk to Wilson about the hit on Carlo.

Bruins newcoming defender in just his second game with the club since being claimed off waivers on Sunday, Tinordi called the hit “risky” and added, “You’ve got to hold up there.”

“That’s what I noticed about this team as soon as I got here. The boys are playing for each other night in and night out,” Tinordi observed of his new teammates, remarking on Bergeron’s tap of the glass in front of him after scoring a goal while Tinordi sat in the penalty box having just fought Wilson.

“We did the job and took care of business on the ice,” Marchand told reporters after the game.

“If the refs are able to look at [Wilson’s hit on Carlo on video review], that’s a suspension and he’s gone from the game,” Marchand continued, “We can review if a guy’s foot is half an inch offside, but we can’t review a headshot.”

“I’ve been guilty of it in the past. But it is something you don’t wanna see happen. But he was in a bad spot and Wilson took advantage.”

Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak, meanwhile, have 437-563–1,003 combined totals in the last five years– becoming just one of two trios in the league in that span to collect over 1,000 combined points, joining Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers in doing so.

The Bruins improved to 9-2-1 (5-0-1 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal this season, while the Capitals fell to 5-3-2 (2-2-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal in 2020-21.

The B’s also improved to 7-0-0 (4-0-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 8-0-0 (5-0-0 at home) when leading after the second period this season.

Washington, meanwhile, fell to 2-4-1 (0-3-0 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 1-4-0 (0-3-0 on the road) when trailing after the second period this season.

Boston finishes up their three-game homestand (1-0-1) on Sunday against the New Jersey Devils before hitting the road for one game on Long Island next Tuesday against the New York Islanders.

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

DeBrusk leads B’s in, 4-3, comeback over Canes in Game 4

Jake DeBrusk had a pair of goals as the Boston Bruins scored four goals in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit and win, 4-3, in Game 4 of their 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Monday.

For the 11th time in franchise history, the Bruins rallied from a multi-goal deficit in the final period of a playoff game and won as Jaroslav Halak (2-1-0 in three games, 2.73 goals against average, .897 save percentage this postseason) made 16 saves on 19 shots (.842 SV%) in the win.

Hurricanes goaltender, James Reimer (2-1 in three games, 2.34 GAA, .934 SV% this postseason) stopped 29 out of 33 shots faced for an .879 SV% in the loss.

Once again, David Pastrnak (unfit to play) was out of the lineup for Boston ahead of Game 4 and missed his third game this postseason due to injury.

Carolina forward, Andrei Svechnikov (unfit to play), missed his first game of the series after sustaining a lower body injury in the third period of Game 3 last Saturday and is likely out for the rest of the First Round series.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from Saturday’s, 3-1, win in Game 3 to Monday night’s Game 4.

Hurricanes head coach, Rod Brind’Amour, re-inserted Jake Gardiner on the defense in place of Trevor van Riemsdyk, while Ryan Dzingel was dressed in place of Svechnikov.

Brind’Amour opted for Jordan Martinook on the left side of Sebastian Aho with Teuvo Teravainen in his usual right wing role, while Dzingel fit in on the second line with Vincent Trocheck at center and Justin Williams on the right side.

On the third line, Brind’Amour began the night with Jordan Staal at center– flanked by Warren Foegele at left wing and Brock McGinn at right wing.

Meanwhile, Nino Niederreiter, Morgan Geekie and Martin Necas comprised the fourth line for the Canes.

On defense, Jaccob Slavin was paired with Dougie Hamilton on the first pairing, Brady Skjei suited up alongside Sami Vatanen and Gardiner was flanked by Haydn Fleury.

Boston’s list of scratches for Game 4 included Zach Senyshyn, Nick Ritchie, John Moore, Maxime Lagacé, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon, Trent Frederic, Karson Kuhlman and Pastrnak.

The Canes were without the services of Joel Edmundson, Jake Bean, Max McCormick, Svechnikov, Roland McKeown, van Riemsdyk, Clark Bishop, Steven Lorentz, Anton Forsberg and Alex Nedeljkovic.

Dzingel caught Connor Clifton with a high stick and presented the B’s with the first power play opportunity of the night at 1:38 of the first period.

Boston wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however, and found themselves on the penalty kill shortly after the Hurricanes killed off Dzingel’s minor.

Jack Studnicka cut a rut to the penalty box after slashing Skjei’s stick out of his hands and gave Carolina their first power play of the night at 4:55.

The Canes did not score on the resulting advantage, however.

Almost midway through the opening frame, Williams (1) fired a shot that had eyes through bodies from both teams in front of the net and clunked its way through Halak to give the Hurricanes the game’s first lead, 1-0.

Trocheck (2) and Gardiner (1) tallied the assists on Williams’ goal at 9:17.

Carolina took the, 1-0, lead all the way into the dressing room for the first intermission as neither team found its way onto the event sheet in goals or penalties after Williams opened the scoring.

The Hurricanes led in shots on goal (7-6), takeaways (4-0), hits (15-14) and faceoff win percentage (71-29) after 20 minutes of play, while the Bruins led in blocked shots (4-2) and giveaways (5-3).

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

Teravainen hooked Studnicka and was sent to the box at 9:31 of the second period for the middle frame’s first action on the event sheet, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the power play.

Less than a minute after Carolina killed off Teravainen’s minor infraction, Martinook (2) snapped a shot past Halak’s glove side on what otherwise looked like a preventable outcome.

Aho (8) had the only assist on Martinook’s goal as the Hurricanes extended their lead to, 2-0, at 12:08 of the second period.

Moments later, Martinook thought he had scored again when he deflected the rubber biscuit into the back of the twine, but his stick was well above the crossbar and immediately negated what would’ve been a three-goal lead for the Hurricanes.

Late in the period, Hamilton was guilty of holding Studnicka and cut a run to the sin bin for a pair of minutes that would extend into the third period at 19:37.

After 40 minutes of action Monday night, the Canes led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and shots on goal were even at 17 aside– despite Boston’s, 11-10, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

Carolina led in blocked shots (12-11), takeaways (9-2), hits (27-23) and faceoff win% (62-38) after two periods, while both teams had eight giveaways each.

The Hurricanes finished 0/1 and the Bruins went 0/3 on the power play entering the second intermission, as there were no penalties called in the third period.

Almost midway through the third period, DeBrusk chased after a puck in the offensive zone while Reimer came out of his net to also make an attempt at the loose puck in the high slot before DeBrusk (2) scored a goal while falling in avoidance from a major collision with Reimer as Fleury also bumped into his own goaltender.

Ondrej Kase (3) and Clifton (1) had the assists on DeBrusk’s first goal of the game and the Bruins cut Carolina’s lead in half, 2-1, at 7:26 of the third period.

It was the first five-on-five goal for Boston in a little more than eight periods dating back to Game 2.

With about ten minutes left in regulation, Charlie McAvoy made a huge, clean hit on Staal that forced Staal down the tunnel and out of the game.

Seconds later, Clifton (1) rocketed a one-timer from inside the faceoff dot to Reimer’s left off of a setup by Joakim Nordstrom from behind the goal line to tie the game, 2-2.

Clifton’s shot sailed over Reimer’s blocker, while Nordstrom (2) and Chris Wagner (1) notched the assists on the goal at 10:10 of the third period– marking two goals for the Bruins in a span of 1:44.

Upon giving up two quick goals like that, Brind’Amour used his timeout to ease his team’s nerves and draw up a plan to take the lead back and defender it, but nothing went according to plan for the Canes in the final frame.

Shortly after returning to play, Torey Krug sent Brad Marchand (3) in on a breakaway, whereby No. 63 in black and gold stickhandled the puck as he strolled in, made Reimer open the five-hole and slipped the rubber biscuit through the gaping five-hole to put Boston in command for the first time in the game.

Krug (3) had the only assist and the Bruins led, 3-2, at 11:40.

Less than a few minutes later, DeBrusk (3) scored his second goal of the night from point blank thanks to a great setup from Kase to make it, 4-2, for the Bruins.

Kase (4) and David Krejci (5) had the primary and secondary assists, respectively, as Boston pulled ahead by two goals at 14:17 of the third period– having scored four unanswered goals in a span of 6:51.

With about 1:37 remaining in the game, Brind’Amour pulled Reimer for an extra attacker.

Seconds later, Teravainen (3) scored on a shot that looked like it might have intended to be a pass, but broke through a screen in front of Halak and slid right through the Bruins goaltender’s five-hole on the first shot of the third period for the Canes.

Skjei (2) and Hamilton (1) had the assists on Teravainen’s goal and Carolina pulled to within one, 4-3, at 18:33.

Despite pulling their goaltender again for an extra skater with about 1:10 remaining, the Hurricanes could not force overtime.

At the final horn the Bruins had won, 4-3, and taken a, 3-1, series lead as a result.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 33-19, and had a, 16-2, advantage in the third period alone.

Meanwhile, Carolina finished the night leading in blocked shots (18-15), giveaways (14-11), hits (37-36) and faceoff win% (53-48).

Boston improved to 27-2 all time in a postseason game when Marchand scores a goal, while Clifton earned his first career multi-point playoff game.

The Bruins have the chance to eliminate the Hurricanes and advance to the Second Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs in Game 5, which is set for Wednesday afternoon with puck drop set for a little after 4 p.m. ET.

Fans in the United States can catch the game on NBCSN, NESN or FOX Sports Carolinas, while those in Canada can tune to Sportsnet (SN) or TVA Sports (TVAS) for the action.

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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins, Halak, bounce back in Game 3 with, 3-1, win

Charlie Coyle hit a home run and had an assist in the, 3-1, Game 3 victory for the Boston Bruins over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

Yes, you read that right. Coyle had a home run. He batted the puck out of mid-air for the game’s first goal and was named the 2020 Boston Red Sox MVP.

Anyway, back to hockey, Jaroslav Halak (1-1 in two games, 2.59 goals against average and a .915 save percentage this postseason) made 29 saves on 30 shots against for a .967 SV% in the win for the B’s.

Canes goaltender, Petr Mrazek (2-2 in four games, 2.08 GAA, .930 SV% this postseason) stopped 36 out of 38 shots faced in the loss.

With the win, the Bruins take a, 2-1, series lead into Game 4 on Monday.

David Pastrnak (unfit to play) missed his second-straight game of the postseason, while Par Lindholm, Jack Studnicka and Connor Clifton made their series debuts for Boston– replacing Nick Ritchie, Karson Kuhlman and Jeremy Lauzon in the lineup.

But none of those lineup changes were the biggest story heading into Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the Bruins and Hurricanes as Boston’s regular starting goaltender, Tuukka Rask, announced he was opting out of the rest of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs to be with his family.

“I want to be with my teammates competing, but at this moment there are things more important than hockey in my life, and that is being with my family.

“I want to thank the Bruins and my teammates for their support and wish them success.”

Statement from Tuukka Rask

Entering Saturday’s game, Halak was 6-6-1 in his career vs. Carolina with a .921 SV% and a 2.61 GAA, as well as two shutouts in that span. He was the goaltender for Boston in their, 2-0, shutout against the Hurricanes on Dec. 3rd and recorded 24 saves that night.

Bruce Cassidy moved Sean Kuraly to the left side of the third line with Coyle at center and Studnicka on the right side, while inserting Lindholm in Kuraly’s usual spot as the fourth line center– flanked by Joakim Nordstrom at left wing and Chris Wagner at right wing.

On defense, Clifton went in for Lauzon as Matt Grzelcyk’s partner on the third pairing.

With Rask heading home to be with his family, Dan Vladar served as Halak’s backup on the bench.

Meanwhile, Boston’s list of scratches for Saturday’s matinee included Zach Senyshyn, Ritchie, John Moore, Maxime Lagacé, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Lauzon, Trent Frederic, Kuhlman and Pastrnak.

Just 12 seconds into the opening frame, Brad Marchand tripped Sebastian Aho and was sent to the penalty box with a minor infraction, but Carolina did not score on the ensuing power play opportunity– the first of the afternoon for either team.

Vincent Trocheck was penalized for slashing Clifton at 4:27 of the first period and presented Boston with their first skater advantage of the game, but the Bruins did not capitalize on the power play.

Late in the first period, Anders Bjork took the first of three minor penalties on the afternoon with a slashing infraction against Teuvo Teravainen at 15:28.

Once more, however, the Hurricanes weren’t able to beat Halak and Boston’s penalty kill while on the power play.

With a little over two minutes later in the first period, the Canes thought they might have scored when the an errant puck trickled off the post and appeared to have just barely crossed the goal line after Halak covered it with his glove, but there was no goal called on the ice.

After reviewing multiple camera angles for a definitive look at whether or not the puck had indeed gone in, there was “no conclusive evidence to support that [it had] completely crossed the Boston goal line before the Referee blew his whistle to stop play,” according to the League’s situation room.

The score remained tied, 0-0, while Trevor van Riemsdyk caught former teammate, Joakim Nordstrom, with a high stick and drew blood at 17:58.

The B’s had a four-minute power play as a result of van Riemsdyk’s double-minor.

Entering the first intermission, Boston and Carolina were even, 0-0, on the scoreboard, but the Hurricanes led in shots on goal (15-7), blocked shots (8-2), takeaways (4-2), giveaways (7-2) and hits (13-10).

Meanwhile, the Bruins held the advantage in the faceoff dot with a, 58-42, faceoff winning percentage through one period.

The Hurricanes were 0/2 and the B’s were 0/3 on the power play entering the middle frame.

Coyle (2) found the back of the twine 14 seconds into the second period after Marchand made the initial shot that rebounded off of Mrazek and out in the slot where Coyle batted the rubber biscuit out of the air while keeping his stick under the crossbar for the goal.

Marchand (4) and David Krejci (3) recorded the assists on Coyle’s power-play goal and the Bruins led, 1-0.

Almost midway through the middle frame, Dougie Hamilton tripped Lindholm at 8:27 and presented the B’s with another power play.

This time, however, Boston would not convert on the skater advantage.

Moments after resuming even strength, it was the Bruins who found themselves guilty of the next penalty as Bjork slashed Nino Niederreiter and took his second trip to the sin bin that afternoon at 13:03 of the second period.

Carolina’s power play came to an end without any results to show on the scoreboard and was quickly met with some additional work for the penalty killing unit as Haydn Fleury bumped into Ondrej Kase without the puck at 15:49 and was guilty of interference.

Boston’s power play once more couldn’t score, though.

With 29 seconds left before the end of the period, Lindholm cross checked Brock McGinn and was assessed a minor penalty and a free vacation for a two minutes in the penalty box officially at 19:31 of the middle frame.

Carolina’s power play would extend into the third period, but it went unsuccessful nonetheless.

Through 40 minutes of play, the Bruins led the Canes, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 27-23, in shots on goal– including a, 20-8, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

The Hurricanes led in blocked shots (14-7), takeaways (10-3) and giveaways (12-4), however, while Boston led in hits (28-24) and faceoff win% (59-42) after two periods.

Carolina was 0/4 and Boston was 1/5 on the power play heading into the final frame of Saturday’s game.

While shorthanded, Kuraly (1) redirected an intentional shot pass from Coyle past Mrazek to give Boston a two-goal lead.

Coyle (1) and Charlie McAvoy (3) notched the assists on Kuraly’s goal and the Bruins led, 2-0, at 1:16 of the third period.

Moments later, Bjork cut his third rut to the penalty box for tripping Teravainen at 5:00, and presented the Canes with yet another power play.

This time, however, proved successful for Carolina at making things interesting after Halak misplayed the puck behind his own net while trying to clear it out of his own zone and errantly lobbing an aerial pass that was intercepted by Niederreiter (1) with his glove before pocketing the puck in the empty twine.

Niederreiter’s power-play goal cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1, and was unassisted at 6:30 of the third period.

With 4:38 remaining in the game, Jaccob Slavin took a shot that Halak might have gotten a piece of before the vulcanized rubber caught referee, Kevin Pollock, and forced him out of the game.

Standby official, Trevor Hanson, entered the action, but not before Andrei Svechnikov was also tended to after a net front battle with Zdeno Chara resulted in Svechnikov toe-picking the ice with his skate and awkwardly falling before clutching around his knee.

No update was provided on Svechnikov’s injury status immediately after the game when Hurricanes head coach, Rod Brind’Amour, spoke with media members.

After a stoppage with 2:07 remaining, Brind’Amour used his timeout to rally his players and pull his goaltender for an extra attacker, but at 19:29 of the third period, Marchand (2) buried the puck in the empty net after receiving a flip pass from Krejci through the neutral zone to make it, 3-1, for Boston.

Krejci (4) had the only assist on Marchand’s empty net goal.

At the final horn, the Bruins had won, 3-1, and taken a, 2-1, series lead while finishing the afternoon with the advantage in shots on goal (39-30)– including a, 12-7, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston also finished the game leading in faceoff win%, 57-43, while Carolina finished Saturday’s effort leading in blocked shots (19-9), giveaways (13-7) and hits (35-33).

Both clubs went 1/5 on the power play in Game 3’s action.

Meanwhile, Marchand and Krejci each had two points in Saturday’s game, surpassing Cam Neely and Wayne Cashman for eight place (Marchand), as well as Patrice Bergeron (Krejci) for second place on Boston’s all-time postseason points list.

Marchand has 89 points as a Bruin, while Krejci has 109 points in a B’s sweater in their playoff careers.

Game 4 is scheduled for Monday night at 8 p.m. ET at Scotiabank Arena in the Toronto bubble. Viewers in the United States can tune to NBCSN, NESN or FOX Sports Carolinas, while those in Canada can catch the action on CBC, Sportsnet (SN) or TVA Sports (TVAS).

Categories
NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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