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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.

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NHL Nick's Net

Haula scores twice in, 5-2, victory for Bruins over Columbus

Erik Haula opened the night’s scoring and had the eventual game-winning goal late in the third period before the Boston Bruins added a pair of empty net goals in their, 5-2, win against the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday night at TD Garden.

Jeremy Swayman (20-9-3, 2.23 goals-against average, .920 save percentage in 33 games played) made 22 saves on 24 shots against in the win for Boston and became the seventh rookie netminder to amass a 20-win season in a Bruins uniform in his first full season.

Swayman joins Tuukka Rask (22 wins in 2009-10), Andrew Raycroft (29 wins in 2003-04) and Marco Baron (22 wins in 1981-82) as the only rookie goaltenders to do so with the B’s in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68).

Columbus goaltender, Elvis Merzlikins (22-18-5, 3.42 goals-against average, .902 save percentage in 47 games played), stopped 37 out of 40 shots faced in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 43-20-5 (91 points) on the season and remain in 4th place in the Atlantic Division– two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning (93 points) for 2nd and 3rd in the division, respectively, while maintaining a stronghold on the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference over the Washington Capitals (84 points).

Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets fell to 32-32-5 (69 points) overall and remain in 6th place in the Metropolitan Division.

The B’s are now 2-0-0 against Columbus this season with their final matchup in their 2021-22 regular season series set for Monday night (April 4th) at Nationwide Arena.

The Bruins went 0-1-1 against the Blue Jackets in 2019-20 and did not play each other last season due to the temporarily realigned divisions in the condensed 56-game schedule as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Craig Smith and Nick Foligno returned to action in their regular roles on the third and fourth lines, respectively, as the former missed Thursday night’s, 8-1, win against New Jersey due to a non-COVID related illness and the latter was “day-to-day” with a lower body injury.

As a result, Anton Blidh and Marc McLaughlin joined Jack Studnicka, Josh Brown and Connor Clifton in the press box as Boston’s healthy scratches Saturday night.

Brown, however, left Thursday’s win with an upper body injury and took part in Saturday’s morning skate without issue.

Jakub Zboril remains out of commission for the Bruins until next season as a result of his knee injury and subsequent surgery back in December.

In addition to the return of Smith and Foligno among his forwards, Bruce Cassidy moved Mike Reilly to the right side of the third defensive pairing in place of Brown and inserted Derek Forbort on the left side to start the night.

Columbus, meanwhile, was short behind the bench as head coach, Brad Larsen, is in COVID-19 protocol, so assistant coach, Pascal Vincent, called the shots for the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

B’s defender, Charlie McAvoy skated in his 300th career NHL game Saturday night after Boston and Columbus honored Foligno for having played in his 1,000th career game on March 15th.

Foligno spent parts of nine seasons with the Blue Jackets and served as captain from 2015-21, hence the delay in his special ceremony, in which the Bruins presented him with a fancy watch, fancy wine, a fancy painting and the traditional silver stick.

Late in the opening frame, Taylor Hall worked the puck deep into the offensive zone before sending a pass back to Hampus Lindholm.

Lindholm wrapped around the net and proceeded to feed McAvoy with a pass as McAvoy crashed the slot and sent a shot off of Merzlikins’ pad before the puck trickled through the crease.

Haula (11) was in the right place at the right time on the doorstep to bank the rubber biscuit off of a body and into the twine– giving the Bruins a, 1-0, lead in the process at 15:09 of the first period.

Hall (36) and McAvoy (38) tallied the assists as Boston got on the scoreboard first.

The B’s didn’t have the lead for long, however, as they were caught ion a lapse in the final minute of the first period.

Swayman mishandled a puck that went in and out of his glove before Gustav Nyquist (17) scored on the rebound with 27 seconds left before the first intermission– tying the game, 1-1, as a result.

Cole Sillinger (11) and Andrew Peeke (14) had the assists as Columbus evened things up at 19:32 of the first period.

Entering the first intermission, the Bruins and Blue Jackets were tied, 1-1, despite Boston holding a, 15-5, advantage in shots on goal.

The B’s also led in blocked shots (7-4), hits (10-9) and faceoff win percentage (56-44), while Columbus held the advantage in takeaways (4-0) and giveaways (10-5).

Neither team had yet to appear on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Yegor Chinakhov sent a bad angle shot off the apron of the net before Justin Danforth (7) scored on the rebound while crashing the slot to give the Blue Jackets a, 2-1, lead 42 seconds into the second period.

Chinakhov (7) and Sean Kuraly (14) notched the assists on Danforth’s goal and the Bruins trailed for the majority of the middle frame as a result.

Hall slashed Gavin Bayreuther and presented Columbus with the first power play of the night at 3;27, but the Blue Jackets failed to convert on the skater advantage.

Instead, late in the second period, the Bruins dominated possession in the attacking zone and worked the puck from Jake DeBrusk to Patrice Bergeron for a fake shot turned pass to Brad Marchand, whereby Marchand (31) sent the puck into the twine on a “tic-tac-goal” effort while Merzlikins dove across the crease– paddle first– in desperation.

Bergeron (33) and DeBrusk (13) had the assists as Boston tied things up, 2-2, at 18:13 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of action, the two teams were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard despite the Bruins leading in shots on goal, 27-20.

Columbus actually held the advantage in shots on net in the second period alone, 15-12, and led in blocked shots (10-8), takeaways (11-2), giveaways (15-11) and hits (24-18).

Boston, meanwhile, led in faceoff win% (52-48).

The Blue Jackets were 0/1 on the power play heading into the final frame and the Bruins had yet to see any action in the skater advantage.

Not much was happening on the event sheet until after the midpoint of the third period, when, at 14:06, Peeke hooked DeBrusk and yielded a power play to Boston for the first time Saturday night.

With 4:46 remaining in the game, Cassidy used his timeout to rally his skaters on the advantage.

Brandon Carlo sent a wrist shot from the point that Haula (12) redirected over the right pad and under Merzlikins’ blocker to give the Bruins a, 3-2, lead at 16:06 of the third period.

Carlo (9) and Lindholm (20) tallied the assists on Haula’s power-play goal and the B’s never looked back.

With 2:12 remaining, Vincent pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker. It backfired.

Boston had an easy breakout as Marchand flipped a pass to DeBrusk (19) on the opposite side of the ice for a lay-up empty net goal– his fourth goal in as many games– giving the Bruins a, 4-2, lead in the process at 18:00 of the third period.

Marchand (39) and McAvoy (39) had the assists on DeBrusk’s goal.

With 1:47 remaining, Merzlikins vacated the crease once more.

Vincent used his timeout after a stoppage with 1:24 remaining, but the Blue Jackets couldn’t muster anything.

Boston botched a couple of chances at the empty twine at the other end of the rink before Bergeron fed the rubber biscuit to Charlie Coyle (15) for an empty net goal and a three-goal lead at that at 19:54.

Bergeron (34) and Marchand (40) notched the assists and at the final horn the Bruins had won, 5-2, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 42-24– including a, 15-4, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston left their own ice leading in blocked shots (18-12) and faceoff win% (61-39), while Columbus exited TD Garden with the advantage in giveaways (16-14) and hits (33-24).

The Blue Jackets went 0/1 on the power play, while the Bruins went 1/1 on the skater advantage on Saturday night.

Boston improved to 16-3-1 in their last 20 games, as well as 32-7-2 (15-4-1) when scoring the game’s first goal this season.

The B’s are now 13-5-2 (6-3-1 at home) when tied after one period and 11-4-0 (7-1-0 at home) when tied after two periods in 2021-22 as well.

Columbus fell to 15-22-4 (8-14-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 17-11-2 (7-5-0 on the road) when tied after the first period and 6-6-1 (2-4-0 on the road) when tied after the second period this season.

The Bruins hit the road next week for four games beginning on Monday in Columbus before swinging through Detroit on Tuesday, Tampa on Friday (April 8th) and Washington, D.C. next Sunday (April 10th).

Boston returns for a three-game homestand on April 12th.

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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).

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NHL Nick's Net

Maple Leafs trample Bruins, 6-4, on the road

The Toronto Maple Leafs had a, 4-1, lead in the second period at TD Garden and… …actually went on to win, 6-4, against the Boston Bruins Tuesday night.

Ten different Leafs players recorded at least a point while Erik Källgren picked up the win in relief of Petr Mrazek, who left the game almost midway through the first period with an injury.

Källgren (3-2-1, 2.65 goals-against average, .911 save percentage in six games played) made 23 saves on 26 shots against for the win in relief of Mrazek (12-6-0, 3.34 goals-against average, .888 save percentage in 20 games played), who stopped three out of four shots faced in 7:44 time on ice prior to being injured.

Bruins goaltender, Jeremy Swayman (19-9-3, 2.24 goals-against average, .920 save percentage in 32 games played) made 19 saves on 25 shots against in the loss before he was replaced by Linus Ullmark (20-9-2, 2.70 goals-against average, .909 save percentage in 33 games played), who turned aside all seven shots in relief for no decision.

The Maple Leafs improved to 42-19-5 (89 points) on the season and remain in command of 3rd place in the Atlantic Division, while Boston fell to 41-20-5 (87 points) overall and stuck in 4th place in the Atlantic.

The B’s also fell to 0-2-0 against Toronto this season with one matchup remaining in their regular season series on April 29th at Scotiabank Arena.

Boston went 2-0-1 against the Leafs in 2019-20.

Jakub Zboril (right ACL) was the only injured Bruin out of the lineup against Toronto on Tuesday as the defender remains out for the rest of the season since sustaining an injury back on Dec. 2nd in Nashville.

Meanwhile, Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lines and defensive pairings for the third straight game, rendering Mike Reilly, Jack Studnicka, Marc McLaughlin, Josh Brown and Anton Blidh as healthy scratches.

Given the nature of the blowout against the Leafs, it’s very likely that either Reilly or Brown will see some action against New Jersey on Thursday.

Connor Clifton misfired a pass towards Matt Grzelcyk before Jason Spezza intercepted the errant puck and worked it to the slot whereby Colin Blackwell (9) redirected it on a backhand from point blank to give the Maple Leafs a, 1-0, lead at 5:09 of the first period.

Spezza (11) had the only assist on the goal.

Less than a minute later, Michael Bunting tripped up Hampus Lindholm at 5:47, yielding the night’s first power play to the Bruins.

It didn’t take long on the skater advantage for Boston to even up the score, 1-1, courtesy of a David Pastrnak (38) power-play goal special on a one-timer that deflected off of T.J. Brodie’s stick and past Mrazek after Pastrnak initially rang the crossbar seconds prior.

Patrice Bergeron (30) and Charlie McAvoy (35) had the assists on Pastrnak’s goal as the B’s tied things up, 1-1, at 5:59 of the first period.

Meanwhile, Mrazek skated off and went down the tunnel and would not return to the night’s action with an injury.

Leafs head coach, Sheldon Keefe, replaced his starter with Källgren and the period continued without much else going wrong for Toronto.

Bunting and Craig Smith exchanged pleasantries and unsportsmanlike conduct minors, yielding 4-on-4 action at 8:34 of the opening frame as a result.

About a minute later, William Nylander drove to the net with speed and made his way around Brandon Carlo before setting up Morgan Rielly (8) for a goal on the rebound after Swayman couldn’t square up to the shot on the near post.

Nylander (36) and John Tavares (40) tallied the assists on Rielly’s goal and the Leafs took a, 2-1, lead at 9:43 of the first period as a result.

Late in the period, Pastrnak was penalized for boarding as he checked Rielly along the wall at 16:09.

This time, however, there were no goals within the ensuing specials teams action, but Toronto caught Boston in the vulnerable minute afterwards anyway.

Alexander Kerfoot (11) blocked a shot in his own zone and broke free on a breakaway as he raced the other way before going backhand-forehand around Swayman’s right pad on an unassisted effort to give the Maple Leafs a, 3-1, lead at 18:44.

After one period, Toronto led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 11-10, in shots on goal.

The Leafs also held the advantage in takeaways (4-1) and faceoff win percentage (55-45), while the Bruins led in giveaways (4-2) and hits (17-8).

Both teams had two blocked shots each, while Toronto went 0/1 and the B’s went 1/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Ilya Lyubushkin kicked things off in the middle period with an interference infraction at 6:00 of the second period.

The Bruins didn’t convert on the ensuing power play, however.

Once more, Boston was caught in the vulnerable minute after special teams action– even though they had just been on the skater advantage.

The B’s failed to muster anything in the attacking zone and struggled to get out of their own end, while Bunting made an interception around the neutral zone, setting up Auston Matthews for a quick pass to Mitchell Marner (28) for a one-timer goal from one knee– giving the Leafs a, 4-1, lead as a result.

Matthews (36) and Bunting (31) had the assists on Marner’s goal at 8:28 of the second period.

About five minutes later, Charlie Coyle and Spezza went to the box for holding the stick and hooking, respectively, rendering a couple more minutes of 4-on-4 action at 13:12.

A few seconds after the two teams resumed 5-on-5 play, Lyubushkin hit checked Taylor Hall from behind, resulting in a bit of retaliation from Hall– earning the latter a roughing minor, while Lyubushkin ended up going down the tunnel.

Hall may face supplemental discipline depending on if the league views his response as a sucker punch or not.

Regardless, Hall cut a rut to the sin bin at 15:18 and the Leafs scored on the resulting power play at 16:00 of the second period as Matthews (49) hit the back of the twine with Tavares (41) and Marner (48) picking up the assists.

Toronto had a, 5-1, lead and extended it to, 6-1, 47 seconds after Matthews’ goal on a shot from the point by Rielly that had eyes and deflected off of David Kämpf (9) past Swayman.

Rielly (46) had the only assist as the Maple Leafs took a five-goal lead at 16:47 of the second period.

Despite a brief cross check after the goal, Clifton evaded any further action.

Late in the period, McAvoy riffled the puck towards the slot whereby Jake DeBrusk (17) redirected the rubber biscuit with his right leg past Källgren while gliding towards the net.

As it wasn’t a distinct kicking motion, DeBrusk’s goal went unchallenged by Keefe, nor the on-ice officials, while McAvoy (36) and Brad Marchand (38) picked up the assists as the Bruins trailed, 6-2, at 18:19.

Less than a minute later, McAvoy and Bunting each received unsportsmanlike conduct minors for… …perceived rising temperatures on the ice?

Regardless, the two teams were skating at 4-on-4 once more at 18:44 of the second period.

As the horn signaled the end of two periods, Marchand cross checked a Leafs skater on his way off the ice and exchanged some words with an on-ice official that ultimately deemed he had gone a step too far– assessing No. 63 in black and gold a 10-minute misconduct at 20:00 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of action, Toronto led, 6-2, on the scoreboard and, 25-19, in shots on goal– including a, 14-9, advantage in the middle frame alone.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (5-3), giveaways (10-3), hits (27-19) and faceoff win% (51-49), while the Maple Leafs held the advantage in takeaways (6-2).

Both teams were 1/2 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Cassidy replaced his starting goaltender in Swayman with Ullmark to begin the third period, while the Maple Leafs announced that Justin Holl and Lyubushkin would not be returning to the night’s action– about 40 minutes after they already announced Mrazek’s departure for the night.

Early in the final frame, Marner tripped McAvoy at 6:29 of the third period.

Boston’s resulting power play was cut short when Erik Haula tripped Nylander at 8:20, but at least the Bruins’ penalty kill managed to kill off Haula’s infraction without issue.

Midway through the third period, Curtis Lazar (7) pocketed a carom off the endboards past Källgren’s short side to bring the Bruins to within three goals.

Clifton (6) and Tomáš Nosek (12) tallied the assists on Lazar’s goal and the B’s trailed, 6-3, at 13:02 of the third period as No. 20 for Boston established a career-high in goals.

Moments later, Hall (15) drove to the net and clipped Källgren’s stick with his right leg as the puck trickled through the Leafs netminder’s five-hole, but the would-be goal was immediately washed out.

Cassidy used a coach’s challenge and upon review, the call on the ice was overturned as it had not been sufficient incidental contact to interfere with Källgren’s ability to make a save, thereby rendering it a good goal.

Pastrnak (30) and Derek Forbort (7) had the assists on Hall’s goal and the Bruins trailed, 6-4, at 17:38 of the third period as a result.

With 1:54 remaining in the action, Ullmark vacated the crease for an extra attacker, but Boston wasn’t able to get anything else past Källgren as the Bruins struggled to setup dominant possession in the attacking zone.

At the final horn, Toronto had won, 6-4, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 32-30, despite trailing, 11-7, in shots on net in the third period alone.

The Maple Leafs exited TD Garden with the advantage in blocked shots (8-5), while the Bruins left their own ice leading in giveaways (12-6), hits (35-27) and faceoff win% (53-47).

Both teams went 1/3 on the power play on Tuesday, as Boston fell to 11-13-3 (7-7-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 5-13-2 (4-7-1 at home) when trailing after the first period and 4-15-2 (3-9-1 at home) when trailing after two periods this season.

Toronto improved to 29-6-2 (15-5-2 on the road) when scoring first, 26-3-2 (12-3-2 on the road) when leading after one and 31-1-2 (15-0-2 on the road) when leading after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins wrap up the month of March and begin April by hosting the New Jersey Devils on Thursday and Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday– rounding out their five-game homestand (2-1-0) in the process.

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Bruins defeat Islanders, 6-3, in final meeting this season

Ten players for the Boston Bruins recorded at least a point in their, 6-3, rout of the New York Islanders Saturday afternoon at TD Garden, while Linus Ullmark made 24 saves on 27 shots against in the win.

Ullmark improved to 20-9-2 overall with a 2.73 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage in 31 games this season for Boston.

New York goaltender, Semyon Varlamov (6-13-2, 2.82 goals-against average, .914 save percentage in 22 games played), stopped 38 out of 44 shots faced in the loss.

At least for the rest of the afternoon until the Toronto Maple Leafs were in action Saturday night, the Bruins moved into sole possession of 2nd place in the Atlantic Division with a 41-19-5 record and 87 points on the season.

The Islanders, meanwhile, fell to 28-26-9 (65 points) and remained in 6th place in the Metropolitan Division.

New York won the regular season series against Boston 2-1-0 after the Bruins lost their first two meetings at UBS Arena earlier this season.

The B’s went 3-3-2 against the Isles last season and 2-0-1 against New York in 2019-20.

Patrice Bergeron returned to the lineup Saturday afternoon after missing the last four games due to an elbow ailment that Bruins doctors did not want to end up becoming infected.

He returned to his usual role as the first line center and team captain, while participating in his 1,200th career National Hockey League game since making his league debut with Boston in the 2003-04 season.

Drafted in the second round (45th overall) by the Bruins in 2003, the L’Ancienne-Lorette, Québec native has 392-571–963 totals in his 1,200 games played, including an assist in Saturday’s win.

Bergeron ranks third in Bruins history in games played, trailing Ray Bourque (1,518 games) and Johnny Buyck (1,436) for the most and second-most all-time.

He is the 120th player in NHL history to reach the 1,200-game plateau and 22nd player to do so with the same team.

Jakub Zboril (right ACL) remained out of the lineup due to injury, while Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no other changes, rendering Mike Reilly, Jack Studnicka, Marc McLaughlin, Josh Brown and Anton Blidh as healthy scratches on Saturday.

Brandon Carlo sent a shot with purpose towards Craig Smith’s blade whereby No. 12 in black and gold watched as the puck exploded off his stick and caromed off the boards behind the net as an automatic rebound machine.

Smith (15) then buried the rebound and gave Boston a, 1-0, lead at 4:03 of the first period, while Carlo (8) and Charlie Coyle (24) tallied the assists on the goal.

About midway in the opening frame, Kyle Palmieri knocked down a shot attempt from the point and bounced the puck over Ullmark’s glove side as a result of the deflection.

There was one problem, however, the would-be goal was under official review at 11:46 of the first period as the on-ice officials were checking to see if Palmieri had played the puck with a high stick prior to the goal.

After review it was determined that the puck had been played above the crossbar and thus negated the goal and reversed the call on the ice.

Boston was still ahead, 1-0, and the Islanders had yet to score.

Moments later, Anthony Beauvillier hooked Tomáš Nosek and presented the Bruins with their first chance on the power play of the afternoon at 16:02.

The B’s were unsuccessful on the ensuing skater advantage.

Shortly after killing off Beauvillier’s infraction, however, New York was back on the penalty kill as Andy Greene tripped Nick Foligno at 19:19 of the opening frame.

It didn’t take Boston long to capitalize on the power play as they won the ensuing attacking zone faceoff and worked the puck back to Charlie McAvoy at the point.

McAvoy sent a shot towards the net that Taylor Hall (14) redirected from point blank on the glove side to give the Bruins a two-goal lead.

McAvoy (33) and Brad Marchand (36) notched the assists on Hall’s power-play goal as the Bruins extended their lead, 2-0, at 19:26 of the first period.

21 seconds later, however, the Islanders cut Boston’s lead in half after Zdeno Chara rang the iron and Brock Nelson (30) collected the rebound for a garbage goal in the slot at 19:48.

Chara (10) and Anders Lee (13) had the assists as New York trailed, 2-1, going into the first intermission.

The Bruins held the lead on the scoreboard, 2-1, and in shots on goal, 19-13, after one period.

Boston also led in blocked shots (7-1), giveaways (4-2) and faceoff win percentage (53-47), while the Islanders led in hits (12-8). Both teams managed to have three takeaways aside heading into the middle frame.

The B’s were 1/2 on the power play, while New York had yet to see any action on the skater advantage after 20 minutes of play.

Hall worked the puck deep and won a battle along the wall– sending the rubber biscuit to Erik Haula, whereby Haula setup David Pastrnak in front of the net as Pastrnak (37) kicked the puck to his blade and wrapped around Varlamov at 2:13 of the second period.

Haula (23) and Hall (34) had the assists on Pastrnak’s goal, which gave the Bruins a, 3-1, lead on the scoreboard.

About 90 seconds later, Marchand (28) scooped up a loose puck and wired one into the twine after Bergeron’s initial attempt was blocked.

Bergeron (29) tallied the only assist on Marchand’s goal, however, as Boston took a three-goal lead, 4-1, at 3:56 of the second period– scoring a pair of goals in a span of 1:43 in the process.

Curtis Lazar cut a rut to the penalty box at 4:06 for cross checking, while Foligno and Matt Martin exchanged pleasantries as the temperature on the ice began to boil.

Foligno and Martin each received minor infractions for roughing, though the Islanders remained on the power play as Lazar’s infraction rendered Boston shorthanded.

About a minute into the power play, Noah Dobson fired a shot on goal that Ullmark failed to corral before Jean-Gabriel Pageau freed it back to Lee (25) for the power-play goal on the short side.

Pageau (18) and Dobson (27) had the assists on Lee’s goal as New York trailed, 4-2, at 5:12 of the second period as a result.

A couple minutes later, Trent Frederic closed his hand on the puck and was assessed a delay of game penalty– yielding another power play to the Islanders at 7:11, though this time the Isles weren’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Late in the period, the Bruins entered the attacking zone on a rush led by Hall over to Pastrnak as Haula worked his way into the slot.

Pastrnak sent a pass to Haula (9) for a one-timer goal as the second line trio completed a “tic-tac-goal” to give Boston a, 5-2, lead at 14:33 with Pastrnak (29) and Hall (35) earning the assists.

Moments later, Marchand sent a puck off the endboards for Jake DeBrusk to collect as DeBrusk (16) banked it off of Varlamov while trying to move the rubber biscuit to the slot and was on the receiving end of a fortunate bounce off the New York netminder and over the goal line– giving the Bruins a four-goal lead and as many goals in the second period alone.

Marchand (37) and McAvoy (34) had the assists on DeBrusk’s goal as the B’s took a, 6-2, lead at 18:18 of the second period and into the second intermission with a, 36-22, advantage in shots on goal.

Boston outshot New York, 17-9, in the second period alone, while maintaining an advantage in blocked shots (14-2) and takeaways (6-4).

The Islanders led in giveaways (8-5), hits (20-18) and faceoff win% (51-49) heading into the final frame.

Both teams were 1/2 on the power play after 40 minutes of action.

Palmieri went to the box for interference at 9:34 of the third period, but the Bruins weren’t able to convert on the resulting power play as they had used up all of their goal scoring abilities by the end of the second period.

Moments later, Foligno and Martin settled their score for the afternoon with an exchange of fisticuffs at 13:10 of the third period.

Foligno picked up an extra two-minute infraction for unsportsmanlike conduct, which was served by Smith and put the Islanders on a power play as a result.

New York made relatively quick work of their skater advantage as Beauvillier faked a shot and sent a pass to Zach Parise (10) for a redirection power-play goal at 14:43 of the third period.

Beauvillier (21) and Palmieri (12) tabbed the assists on Parise’s goal and the Islanders trailed, 6-3, as a result.

Late in the period, Nosek tripped Sebastian Aho and presented the Islanders with one more power play for the afternoon at 18:35, but Boston’s penalty kill stood tall as the B’s finished the effort shorthanded at the final horn.

The Bruins won, 6-3, and finished the matinée matchup leading in shots on goal, 44-27, including an, 8-5, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston left their own ice with the lead in blocked shots (17-5) and faceoff win% (51-49), while New York left TD Garden with the advantage in giveaways (11-8) and hits (26-22).

The Isles went 2/4 on the power play on Saturday while the B’s went 1/3 on the skater advantage.

With the win, the Bruins are now 14-2-1 in their last 17 games– outscoring their opponents, 62-38, in that span.

Boston improved to 30-7-2 (13-4-1 at home) when scoring first, 24-2-1 (11-1-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 27-1-3 (11-1-1 at home) when leading after the second period this season.

New York fell to 5-19-4 (0-10-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 2-16-5 (0-9-3 on the road) when trailing after one and 1-20-3 (0-12-1 on the road) when trailing after two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins continue their five-game homestand (2-0-0) next Tuesday (March 29th) against the Toronto Maple Leafs before hosting the New Jersey Devils next Thursday (March 31st) to close out the month.

The B’s host the Columbus Blue Jackets to kick off the month of April next Saturday (April 2nd).

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NHL Nick's Net

Boston surpasses Tampa in the Atlantic with Pastrnak’s hat trick

For the first time this season, the Boston Bruins are in a divisional playoff spot after David Pastrnak recorded his 12th career hat trick in a, 3-2, victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday night at TD Garden.

Pastrnak tied John Bucyk for the third-most hat tricks in a Bruins uniform in the process, trailing only Phil Esposito (26) and Cam Neely (14), while Jeremy Swayman (19-8-3, 2.09 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in 31 games played) made 22 saves on 24 shots against in the win for Boston.

Tampa netminder, Andrei Vasilevskiy (32-14-4, 2.39 goals-against average, .920 save percentage in 50 games played) stopped 36 out of 39 shots faced in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 40-19-5 (85 points) overall and moved ahead of the Lightning in the standings– taking over 3rd place in the Atlantic Division, despite being tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs in points for 2nd (Toronto has played in one game fewer than Boston, however).

The Bolts fell to 39-18-6 (84 points) on the season and dropped to 4th place in the Atlantic, but in command of the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference– four points ahead of the Washington Capitals in the wild card race.

The B’s were without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Patrice Bergeron (elbow) on Thursday as Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, informed reporters ahead of the game that Bergeron was not cleared and is likely to return Saturday afternoon against the New York Islanders.

Cassidy made one change to his lineup– scratching Mike Reilly in favor of dressing Hampus Lindholm in his Boston debut alongside Charlie McAvoy on the first defensive pairing.

Reilly joined Marc McLaughlin, Josh Brown and Anton Blidh in the press box as healthy scratches against Tampa.

Erik Cernak caught Tomáš Nosek with a high stick and drew blood– yielding a four-minute double minor for high sticking at 1:20 of the first period.

The Bruins did not convert on the resulting extended power play and presented the Lightning with the next opportunity on the skater advantage after Craig Smith inadvertently caught Victor Hedman with a high stick at 5:17 of the first period.

Tampa didn’t score on the resulting power play, however.

Late in the period, Cernak cut a rut back to the penalty box for interference at 14:19, but Boston’s power play went by the wayside unconverted.

Through one period, the score remained tied, 0-0, despite the Bruins holding a, 12-8, advantage in shots on goal.

The B’s also led in blocked shots (4-3) and faceoff win percentage (56-44), while the Bolts held the advantage in giveaways (3-1) and hits (11-10) entering the first intermission.

Both teams had four takeaways each, while the Lightning were 0/1 and the Bruins were 0/3 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Mikhail Sergachev caught Taylor Hall with a high stick at 6:04 of the second period, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing power play.

Instead, Tampa scored a shorthanded goal– just the sixth shorthanded goal against allowed by the Bruins this season– as Brad Marchand botched a play in the neutral zone, which led to a fast breakout the other direction for the Lightning before Ondrej Palat setup Brandon Hagel (22) for a one-timer goal– beating Swayman while crashing the slot.

Palat (21) had the only assist on the goal as the Bolts took a, 1-0, lead at 7:11 of the second period.

It was also the second shorthanded goal allowed in as many games for Boston.

The B’s answered back relatively quickly, however, as Lindholm setup Erik Haula for an indirect pass up ice to Pastrnak– sending Pastrnak (34) in on a breakaway before going to his backhand and elevating a shot past Vasilevskiy on the blocker side– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.

Haula (20) and Lindholm (18) tallied the assists on Pastrnak’s first goal of the game at 9:55 of the second period.

Lindholm’s secondary assist marked his first point as a Bruin, which made him the first defender to record a point in his B’s debut since McAvoy (1-1–2) did so in 2017-18 with Boston.

Moments later, Swayman was assessed an infraction for tripping Anthony Cirelli as Cirelli skated past the Bruins goaltender and collided with Swayman’s blocker as Swayman made a save.

Interesting.

Nevertheless, Boston was shorthanded at 14:47, but managed to make the kill and Smith (who served the minor) was freed from the box without issue.

Late in the period, Nick Paul and Brandon Carlo exchanged pleasantries after a stoppage in play and each took a trip to their respective penalty box with roughing minors– yielding two minutes of 4-on-4 action at 17:57 as a result.

Tampa had a rare 4-on-3 power play less than a minute later when Pastrnak tripped Sergachev at 18:47.

The Lightning did not capitalize on their skater advantage, however.

After 40 minutes of action in Boston, the score remained tied, 1-1, despite the Bruins leading the Lightning in shots on goal, 29-14, including a, 17-6, advantage in the second period alone.

The B’s led in blocked shots (11-10), takeaways (10-8), hits (18-17) and faceoff win% (55-45), while the Bolts led in giveaways (7-3).

Tampa was 0/3 and Boston was 0/4 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Nikita Kucherov slashed Derek Forbort 48 seconds into the third period, but the Bruins failed to convert on the ensuing power play.

Tampa caught Boston in the vulnerable minute after special teams action as Kucherov snagged a rebound and dropped a pass back to Brayden Point, who then sent the rubber biscuit to Steven Stamkos (28) as he crashed the net and scored on Swayman– giving the Lightning a, 2-1, lead at 3:51 of the third period as a result.

Point (23) and Kucherov (23) tallied the assists on the goal.

Almost five minutes later, Pastrnak (35) tied things up, 2-2, courtesy of some great hand-eye coordination to settle a pass from Haula while spinning and working a backhand through Vasilevskiy’s short side along the post at 8:17.

Haula (21) and Connor Clifton (5) tabbed the assists on Pastrnak’s second goal of the game as the Bruins grabbed momentum in their favor and stayed hungry.

Forbort and Pat Maroon were assessed roughing minors at 9:21 and after two minutes of 4-on-4 action, things settled on the ice a bit.

Late in the third, Tampa tried to clear the zone but an errant puck bounced off of Cirelli and was kept in Boston’s attacking zone as Haula worked the puck to the front of the net on a shot with purpose to generate a rebound.

Hall had a brief chance and made contact, but it was Pastrnak (36) who buried the rubber biscuit into the twine for the hat trick goal and a, 3-2, lead at 15:50 of the third period.

Hall (33) and Haula (22) had the assists as Boston pulled ahead for the first time late Thursday night and never looked back.

Pastrnak’s hat trick marked the 12th of his career and sixth this season for the Bruins, while Haula capped off his first career three-assist game in the processs.

With 1:08 remaining in the action, Jon Cooper, pulled his netminder for an extra attacker, but the Lightning couldn’t muster anything else past Swayman– not even after the Bolts used their timeout after a stoppage with 56.4 seconds left to draw up a plan to at least force overtime.

At the final horn, Boston had won, 3-2, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 39-24, despite both teams amassing 10 shots on goal each in the third period alone.

The Lightning left TD Garden with the advantage in blocked shots (14-12) and giveaways (9-6), while the Bruins finished the action leading in hits (29-26) and faceoff win% (57-44).

The B’s went 0/5 on the power play while the Bolts finished Thursday night 0/3 on the skater advantage.

Tampa has now lost six out of their last eight games, while Boston is 13-2-1 in their last 16 games and improved to 2-0-1 against the Lightning this season with one more game left in their regular season series in Tampa on April 8th.

The Bruins improved to 12-5-2 (5-3-1 at home) when tied after one period, 11-12-3 (7-6-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal and 10-4-0 (6-1-0 at home) when tied after two periods this season.

The Bolts dropped to 11-6-1 (5-4-0 on the road) when tied after the first period, 23-3-4 (12-1-2 on the road) when scoring first and 10-4-1 (5-3-0 on the road) when tied after the second period in 2021-22.

The B’s continue their five-game homestand (1-0-0) Saturday afternoon against the New York Islanders.

Boston hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils next Tuesday and Thursday to finish the month of March before the Columbus Blue Jackets make a trip to TD Garden on April 2nd.

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Marchand nets game-winner in, 3-2, overtime victory in Montréal

Brad Marchand opened the night’s scoring at Bell Centre almost midway into the first period and closed the night’s scoring less than a minute into overtime as the Boston Bruins beat the Montréal Canadiens, 3-2, Monday night.

Jeremy Swayman (18-8-3, 2.09 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in 30 games played) made 26 saves on 28 shots against in the overtime win for Boston.

Montréal goaltender, Jake Allen (6-16-4, 3.09 goals-against average, .905 save percentage in 27 games played) turned aside 43 out of 46 shots faced in the overtime loss.

The Bruins improved to 39-19-5 (83 points) on the season and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Though the B’s are tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs in points (83) overall, the Maple Leafs have 33 regulation wins to Boston’s 31– let alone the fact that Toronto has played in one fewer game, thereby currently holding the tiebreaker in standings.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, fell to 17-36-10 (44 points) overall and remain stuck in 8th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as 32nd in the entire league standings as Montréal’s 12 regulation wins trails the Seattle Kraken’s 16 regulation wins in the overall league table.

Boston won in their return to Bell Centre for the first time since the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic began, having last made a trip up to Montréal on Nov. 26, 2019, in an, 8-1, victory for the Bruins.

David Pastrnak recorded a hat trick on the road that night.

Monday night’s win also gave the Bruins the decisive advantage in their regular season series with the Canadiens, having gone 3-0-0 in their three matchups so far in 2021-22, with one game remaining against one another on April 24th in Montréal.

On Saturday, Bruins General Manager, Don Sweeney, traded Urho Vaakanainen, John Moore, a 2022 1st round pick, a 2023 2nd round pick and a 2024 2nd round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for Hampus Lindholm and Kodie Curran.

Sweeney then signed Lindholm to an eight-year extension worth $6.500 million per season that’ll go into effect starting next season– locking up the 28-year-old top-four defender, who will likely see action with either Charlie McAvoy on the first pairing or Brandon Carlo on the second pairing in Thursday night’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Ducks, meanwhile, retained 50% ($2,602, 778) of Lindholm’s current salary on his remaining contract.

Prior to Monday night’s game in Montréal, Sweeney signed Jake DeBrusk to a two-year extension worth $4.000 million per season, which will make it easier and more attractive for potential suitors in a future DeBrusk trade as the 2022 NHL Entry Draft approaches in July, since the Bruins weren’t able to fulfill DeBrusk’s trade request prior to the 2022 trade deadline.

Sweeney told reporters in his post trade deadline press conference that Boston had received offers on DeBrusk, but none were to his liking (and probably offered less than what he was willing to move DeBrusk for in return for other players that ended up being traded to other teams by the deadline).

Prior to Monday’s trade deadline, the Bruins acquired Josh Brown from the Ottawa Senators and a conditional 2022 7th round pick in exchange for Zach Senyshyn and a 2022 5th round pick.

Senyshyn’s trade request from earlier in the season (around the time DeBrusk’s agent made his desires known) was fulfilled as Boston added a depth defender with a 6-foot-5 frame in Brown to their blue line.

If Senyshyn plays in five games with Ottawa before the end of the 2021-22 regular season, the 2022 7th round pick upgrades to a 2022 6th round pick for Boston.

Meanwhile, Lindholm and Brown had not yet joined the team in Montréal, of course, due to logistics and will join the team back in Boston later this week.

Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Patrice Bergeron (upper body) missed the night’s action against the Canadiens due to injury, while Marc McLaughlin joined Anton Blidh as the only healthy scratches for the Bruins at Bell Centre Monday night.

McLaughlin was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on an emergency basis and took part in warmup in case Jack Studnicka was not ready to go at game-time, given Studnicka’s “day-to-day” status Monday morning.

Studnicka centered the first line with Marchand and DeBrusk on his wings without issue, while Jack Ahcan was reassigned to Providence with the additions of Lindholm and Brown against Boston’s salary cap.

Less than a minute into the game, Alexander Romanov cross checked Marchand and presented the Bruins with the night’s first power play at 55 seconds of the first period.

Boston’s power play was powerless, however, as the Canadiens made the kill.

Moments later, Marchand tripped Cole Caufield and cut a rut to the penalty box at 7:08 of the first period, presenting the Habs with their first power play of the night.

Montréal could not sold the B’s penalty kill, however.

Shortly after he was freed from the box, Marchand led a rush into the attacking zone and the Bruins worked to keep the puck in the zone as Connor Clifton sent a shot with purpose towards the net.

Erik Haula dished it out and Boston tried again before Haula snagged the rebound and sauced a pass to Marchand (26) for a layup goal from close range– giving the Bruins a, 1-0, lead at 9:21 of the first period as a result.

Haula (18) and Clifton (4) tallied the assists on Marchand’s first goal of the game.

Late in the period, David Savard tripped Marchand to give Boston another power play that went by the wayside at 13:54 in Savard’s first game back from injury.

The Bruins led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 14-8, in shots on goal after the first period.

Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (5-4), takeaways (5-3), giveaways (13-8), hits (10-3) and faceoff win percentage (64-36) after 20 minutes of action.

The Canadiens were 0/1 on the power play, while the B’s were 0/2 heading into the middle frame.

Almost midway into the middle period, Savard (2) sent a puck that had eyes off of Swayman and into the twine– tying the game, 1-1, in the process at 8:49 of the second period as Montréal evened the score.

Romanov (8) and Paul Byron (2) had the assists on Savard’s goal.

Matt Grzelcyk cut a rut to the sin bin for interference at 13:59 of the second period, but the Habs were unsuccessful on the ensuing skater advantage.

In the final minute of the period, Romanov tripped McAvoy at 19:19, which gave Boston a power play that’d extend into the final frame as the Bruins couldn’t score before the second intermission started.

The two teams were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard, despite Boston outshooting Montréal, 28-23, overall, despite the Canadiens amassing a, 15-14, advantage in the second period alone.

The Bruins continued to dominate in just about everything else, leading in blocked shots (11-9), takeaways (8-3), giveaways (23-17), hits (17-10) and faceoff win% (63-38).

Montréal was 0/2 and Boston was 0/3 on the power play heading into the final period of regulation.

While shorthanded, Joel Armia (4) benefitted from a turnover in the neutral zone and a breakaway into Boston’s own zone– deking and scoring on the Bruins netminder to give the Canadiens their first lead of the night, 2-1, on a shorthanded goal at 1:13 of the third period.

Armia’s goal was unassisted.

Midway through the third, Caufield hooked Tomáš Nosek, but Boston’s power play wasn’t able to beat Montréal’s penalty kill at 9:59.

Late in the action, however, Clifton (2) benefitted from crashing the net and receiving a pass in the slot from Craig Smith on a catch and release goal past Allen’s glove side.

Smith (16) and Charlie Coyle (23) notched the assists on Clifton’s goal as the Bruins tied the game, 2-2, at 17:01 of the third period.

In the dying seconds of regulation, McAvoy and Jake Evans exchanged pleasantries and received roughing minors at 19:42.

The B’s outshot the Habs, 45-28, including a, 17-5, advantage in the third period alone, but overtime would be required to determine a winner Monday night.

It didn’t take long for Haula to find Marchand (27) as No. 63 in black and gold weaved his way to the net and faked a forehand shot before deking to his backhand wrapped around Allen and putting away the game with a game-winning overtime goal 43 seconds into the extra frame.

Haula (19) had the only assist on Marchand’s second goal of the night and the Bruins emerged victorious at Bell Centre, 3-2.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 46-28, including a, 1-0, advantage in overtime alone.

Montréal left their own ice leading in blocked shots (22-12), while the Bruins exited the arena with the lead in giveaways (35-27), hits (26-19) and faceoff win% (62-39).

The Canadiens went 0/2 on the power play on Monday, while the B’s went an astounding 0/4 on the skater advantage.

Boston did, however, improve to 6-3 in overtime (8-5 past regulation) this season, while Montréal dropped to 3-9 in the extra frame (5-14 past regulation) in 2021-22.

The B’s also improved to 29-7-2 (17-3-1 on the road) when scoring first, 23-2-1 (13-1-1 on the road) when leading after one and 9-4-0 (4-3-0 on the road) when tied after two periods this season.

The Habs fell to 4-29-7 (2-16-3 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 2-24-7 (1-12-3 at home) when trailing after the first period and 3-4-4 (2-1-2 at home) when tied after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins went 3-1-0 on their four-game road trip and return home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday– beginning a five-game homestand in the process to conclude March and start the month of April. 

The New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets will visit TD Garden Saturday afternoon, next Tuesday, next Thursday and on April 2nd, respectively.

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Deadline Deals NHL

Bruins bulk up with Lindholm on defense in trade with Anaheim

The Boston Bruins acquired defenders, Hampus Lindholm and Kodie Curran, from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenders, Urho Vaakanainen, John Moore, a 2022 1st round pick, a 2023 2nd round pick and a 2024 2nd round pick on Saturday afternoon.

The Ducks retained 50% of Lindholm’s salary ($2,602,778) in the transaction.

Lindholm and the B’s are reportedly working on an eight-year extension that could be finalized Sunday, according to TSN and RDS Hockey Insider and The Athletic writer, Pierre LeBrun.

TSN’s Chris Johnston tweeted that the average annual value of Lindholm’s extension may be around $6.500 million late Saturday night.

Prior to the trade, Lindholm’s cap hit with Anaheim was $5,205,556, so the otherwise pending-unrestricted free agent is due for a little bit of a pay raise given his age, status and longevity in the league as a top-four defender.

The 6-foot-4, 216-pound native of Helsingborg, Sweden was originally drafted by Anaheim in the 1st round (6th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and has 57-165–222 totals in 582 career NHL games since making his league debut with the Ducks in the 2013-14 season.

Lindholm, 28, has five goals and 17 assists (22 points) in 61 games this season and set a career-high 34 points (seven goals, 27 assists) in 78 games in 2014-15, before recording a career-high 13 goals in 69 games in 2017-18.

He suffered a fractured wrist last season and was limited to 18 games as a result– recording two goals and four assists (six points) in that span.

He also leaves Anaheim with 743 blocked shots– ranking third in franchise history– and was one of three defenders to reach 200 points in Ducks history, alongside Scott Niedermayer and Cam Fowler.

In 55 career Stanley Cup playoff games, Lindholm has 4-17–21 totals, including 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 16 games in Anaheim’s run to the 2015 Western Conference Final, as well as four points in 17 games in the Ducks’ 2017 Western Conference Final appearance.

He’ll likely land a role alongside Charlie McAvoy on the first defensive pairing and on Boston’s penalty kill as a more traditional shutdown defender to McAvoy’s two-way style.

Lindholm arrives at a time when the Bruins could use a little more insurance on the blue line in the event of injuries down the stretch and in the long run, despite producing solid numbers as one of the league’s more effective defenses and having a more pressing need for a second line center in another transaction.

Curran, 32, had 1-15–16 totals in 37 games for the San Diego Gulls (AHL) this season and is destined to become the oldest defender in Providence upon his arrival to the Bruins organization.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound native of Calgary, Alberta, joined the Ducks as an undrafted free agent on June 3, 2020, after parts of five college seasons at the University of Calgary from 2010-15, a stint with the Hartford Wolf Pack and Greenville Swamp Rabbits from 2015-16, and four seasons in Europe from 2016-20, before spending parts of the last two seasons in San Diego.

He had 7-27–34 totals in 81 career games for the Wolf Pack and Gulls before the trade.

Curran carries a $1.000 million cap hit and is a pending-unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

The Bruins have about $1.230 million in cap space by the end of the season as a result of the trade and will have about $6.152 million to work with at the trade deadline itself on Monday as General Manager, Don Sweeney, seeks to find a second line center and/or more.

Vaakanainen, 23, has four assists in 15 games this season while with Boston and has been sidelined for at least 17 games due to injury/illness having most recently suffered an upper body injury on Feb. 1st against Seattle and exiting warmup on Feb. 21st prior to a matchup against Colorado.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound native of Joenssu, Finland has six assissts in 31 career NHL games– all with the Bruins– since he was drafted in the 1st round (18th overall) by Boston in 2017.

In 23 games with the Providence Bruins (AHL), he had 1-7–8 totals this season– bringing his American Hockey League career totals to 11-28–39 in 118 games in Providence.

Vaakanainen has yet to appear in a Stanley Cup playoff game and is a pending-restricted free agent at season’s end with a cap hit of $894, 167.

Moore, 31, meanwhile, appeared in seven games for Boston this season and has been out of the lineup with an upper body injury since Jan. 28th.

The 6-foot-3, 207-pound native of Winnetka, Illinois has 38-80–118 totals in 544 career NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, Arizona Coyotes, New Jersey Devils and Bruins, including 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 97 games over parts of the last four seasons with Boston.

In 11 games with Providence this season, Moore had six points (one goal, five assists) prior to the trade.

He was originally drafted in the 1st round (21st overall) by Columbus at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and has four assists in 49 career Stanley Cup playoff games.

Moore is signed through the end of the 2022-23 season with a $2.750 million cap hit.

Anaheim will undoubtedly benefit from Vaakanainen’s development– provided he can stay healthy and avoid further career derailment due to traumatic brain injuries– as well as from the acquisition of three draft picks from the Bruins in as many years in the first two rounds (2022 1st round, 2023 2nd round and 2024 2nd round).

Retaining half of Lindholm’s salary is a small price to pay for the Ducks with the added benefit of attaining about $11.631 million in cap space by the end of the season.

As a result, Anaheim will have about $58.154 million in deadline cap space to work with to facilitate trades or broker any potential three-team deals as the Ducks sit on the outside of the cutoff line looking in for the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Anaheim’s General Manager, Pat Verbeek, is ready to sell assets and commit to a rebuild with a plethora of picks at his disposal.

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NHL Nick's Net

Hall flys Bruins over Jets on the road, 4-2

Taylor Hall’s power-play goal late in the third period went on to become the game-winning goal after Charlie McAvoy added a shorthanded empty net insurance goal in a, 4-2, victory for the Boston Bruins over the Winnipeg Jets Friday night at Canada Life Centre.

Linus Ullmark (19-9-2, 2.72 goals-against average, .909 save percentage in 31 games played) made 27 saves on 29 shots against in the win for Boston.

Winnipeg goaltender, Connor Hellebuyck (21-22-9, 2.99 goals-against average, .907 save percentage in 52 games played), turned aside 41 out of 44 shots against in the loss.

The Bruins improved to 38-19-5 (81 points) overall and remained in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division standings, as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Jets, meanwhile, fell to 28-24-10 (66 points) on the season and stuck in 6th place in the Central Division.

With the win on Friday, the B’s swept their regular season series against Winnipeg 2-0-0– just as they had done in 2019-20, when the two clubs last met in the regular season prior to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Boston was without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Urho Vaakanainen (undisclosed) and Patrice Bergeron (upper body) on Friday, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made a couple minor changes to his lineup prior to puck drop.

Jack Studnicka centered the first line with Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk on his wings, while Tomáš Nosek was returned to his usual role as the fourth line center with Curtis Lazar returning to Nosek’s right side and Anton Blidh joining Jack Ahcan in the press box as a healthy scratch.

During the game, however, Cassidy swapped Nosek with Erik Haula– promoting the former to the second line between Hall and David Pastrnak, while relegating Haula to the fourth line with Nick Foligno and Lazar.

Pastrnak, meanwhile, suited up for his 500th career National Hockey League game on Friday.

The 25-year-old failed to record a point against the Jets, but has 233-255–488 totals in 500 career games nevertheless and was Boston’s first round pick (25th overall) in 2014.

Prior to Friday night’s, 4-2, win, the Bruins’ last seven games against Winnipeg were all decided by one goal– with the B’s going 4-2-1 in that span.

Nikolaj Ehlers had a breakaway early in the action that came to an abrupt end thanks to a stick in the way from Mike Reilly, yielding a penalty shot for Ehlers after he was tripped by Reilly at 4:44 of the first period.

The Winnipeg sniper strolled into the attacking zone down the left-center before firing a shot into Ullmark’s pads.

Midway through the period, Matt Grzelcyk caught Paul Stastny with a high stick and presented the Jets with the night’s first power play at 10:13.

Winnipeg failed to convert on the ensuing skater advantage and subsequently presented Boston with their first power play of the night at 14:59 of the first period after Blake Wheeler slashed DeBrusk.

The Bruins did not convert on their first chance on the power play.

Pastrnak shortly made an early exit for the first intermission after appearing to step on the puck while retrieving it in his own zone and awkwardly falling while clutching at his core.

No. 88 in black and gold would return for the middle frame, however.

Entering the first intermission, the Bruins and Jets remained tied, 0-0, despite Boston attainting a, 14-11, advantage in shots on goal.

The B’s also led in blocked shots (8-6), while Winnipeg led in takeaways (6-2), giveaways (2-1), hits (17-6) and faceoff win percentage (58-42).

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

Marchand and DeBrusk entered the attacking zone early in the second period and played a little pitch and catch on a give-and-go back to Marchand (25) for a layup goal to give Boston a, 1-0, lead at 4:42.

DeBrusk (11) and Studnicka (3) tallied the assists on Marchand’s 344th career goal– tying Cam Neely for the sixth-most goals in Bruins franchise history (Bergeron is fifth with 392 goals and counting thus far).

Marchand also joined Rick Middleton and Johnny Bucyk as the only Bruins in franchise history to record nine 25-goal seasons on the effort.

Less than a few minutes later, Boston’s third line mustered their way to the net as Charlie Coyle drove the puck to the slot before slipping the rubber biscuit over to Trent Frederic for a two-goal lead as Frederic (5) worked the puck around Hellebuyck.

Coyle (20) and Craig Smith (15) had the assists on Frederic’s goal and the B’s took a, 2-0, lead at 7:12 of the second period.

Moments later, Haula didn’t make an effort to stop before colliding with Hellebuyck and cutting a rut to the penalty box with a goaltender interference infraction as a result at 9:37.

Winnipeg failed to convert on the ensuing power play and had another chance on the skater advantage at 13:36 when McAvoy tripped Neal Pionk.

This time, however, the Jets wouldn’t last long on the power play before Pierre-Luc Dubois cross checked Derek Forbort and took a trip to the sin bin at 14:05– resulting in 4-on-4 action for a span of 1:31 before the Bruins had an abbreviated power play that ultimately went by the wayside.

Through 40 minutes of action, however, Boston led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and dominated shots on goal, 36-15, including a, 22-4, advantage for the B’s in the second period alone– their most shots on goal in any second period this season.

Winnipeg led in giveaways (6-4), hits (26-14) and faceoff win% (52-49), while both teams had 11 blocked shots and eight takeaways each.

The Jets were 0/3 on the power play, while the Bruins were 0/2 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame.

Ullmark was no match for Adam Lowry’s (10) deflection on Evgeny Svechnikov’s toe-drag snap shot that cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1, at 2:29 of the third period and Winnipeg surged with momentum as the Jets came to life to begin the final frame.

Not even two minutes later, Ehlers (17) received a give-and-go from Kyle Connor and blew past Grzelcyk before beating Ullmark and hitting the twine while Brandon Carlo was left helpless as the only defender back.

Connor (35) had the only assist on Ehlers’ goal and the Jets tied the game, 2-2, at 3:54 of the third period as a result.

About a few minutes later, Pastrnak hooked Dubois and was assessed a minor infraction at 6:59, but the Bruins managed to make the kill.

Logan Stanley made a brief appearance in the penalty box for interference at 11:57, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the resulting power play.

Finally, Brenden Dillon sent the puck over the glass and out of play in his own zone for an automatic delay of game minor at 14:31.

This time the Bruins made quick and easy work of the ensuing skater advantage as Hall (13) followed up on a rebound with a backhand shot past Hellebuyck to give Boston a, 3-2, lead at 15:13 of the third period.

Coyle (21) and McAvoy (32) had the assists on Hall’s power-play goal.

With 1:37 remaining in the action, Jets interim head coach, Dave Lowry, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.

What’s more, Haula tripped Andrew Copp at 18:34 of the third period and gave Winnipeg a de facto 6-on-4 advantage once Hellebuyck made another trip out of the crease after the Jets ensured themselves of not losing a faceoff and giving up an easy goal to the Bruins who could not ice the puck given their shorthanded status.

Winnipeg used their timeout to make sure their skaters were all on the same page in their last-ditch effort.

About 30 seconds after Hellebuyck raced to the bench for the second time, McAvoy (8) sealed the deal on a shorthanded empty net goal to give the Bruins a, 4-2, victory at 19:29 of the third period.

Nosek (11) and Coyle (22) had the assists on the goal as all three Boston skaters selflessly tried to do everything they could to let one of their teammates score the insurance goal.

Josh Morrissey had been tripped at the other end of the rink prior to McAvoy’s goal, but there was no penalty called– drawing the ire of both Morrissey and Dubois and resulting in ten-minute misconducts for the two players as something they had said or done in protest crossed the lines for the on-ice officials at 19:29.

At the final horn, Boston had won, 4-2, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 45-29, despite trailing Winnipeg, 14-9, in shots on net in the third period alone.

The Bruins left Canada Life Centre leading in blocked shots (17-15), giveaways (11-10) and faceoff win% (53-47), while the Jets led in hits (33-19).

Winnipeg finished 0/5 on the power play, while Boston went 1/4 on the skater advantage Friday night.

The B’s improved to 11-5-2 (7-2-1 on the road) when tied after one period, 28-7-2 (16-3-1 on the road) when scoring first and 26-1-3 (16-0-2 on the road) when leading after two periods this season.

The Jets, meanwhile, fell to 13-9-4 (8-6-0 at home) when tied after the first period, 10-18-4 (5-11-2 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal and 4-18-2 (1-11-1 at home) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins wrap up their four-game road trip (2-1-0) Monday night in Montréal, which also happens to be the same day as the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline (March 21st).

Boston returns home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 24th and begin a five-game homestand to conclude March and start the month of April.

The New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets will visit TD Garden on March 26th, 28th, 31st and April 2nd, respectively.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

Flurry of offense propels Boston to, 5-3, victory against New Jersey

Oskar Steen scored his first career National Hockey League goal and David Pastrnak ended a drought as the Boston Bruins defeated the New Jersey Devils, 5-3, at TD Garden on Tuesday night.

Linus Ullmark (9-5-0, 2.58 goals-against average, .917 save percentage in 14 games played) made 23 saves on 26 shots against in the win for the Bruins.

Devils goaltender, Mackenzie Blackwood (8-7-3, 3.32 goals-against average, .895 save percentage) stopped 29 out of 34 shots faced in the loss.

Boston improved to 17-10-2 (36 points) overall and in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division– one point ahead of the Detroit Red Wings for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, while New Jersey fell to 13-16-5 (31 points) on the season and trapped in 7th place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Bruins were without the services of Karson Kuhlman (COVID protocol), Jake DeBrusk (COVID protocol) and Jakub Zboril (ACL, right knee) on Tuesday night as DeBrusk joined Kuhlman in the National Hockey League’s COVID-19 protocol hours ahead of hte game.

Curtis Lazar returned to action after missing Sunday’s, 5-1, matinée win in Detroit, while Steen was promoted to the third line right wing with Nick Foligno taking over DeBrusk’s slot at left wing.

As a result of DeBrusk’s absence and Steen’s promotion, Lazar was back in his regular role on the fourth line.

Anton Blidh was the only healthy scratch with John Moore on Boston’s taxi squad.

Tuesday night marks the first time this season that Steen is making an appearance in consecutive games since being recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL). He appeared in back-to-back games on March 16th and 18th after being recalled last season.

Though he’s only appeared in seven career NHL games, the 23-year-old native of Sweden has three assists in four games this season entering Tuesday.

Three members of the Bruins’ staff joined DeBrusk and Kuhlman in COVID-19 protocol on Tuesday, including assistant coach, Kevin Dean.

As a result, Joe Sacco was in charge of the defenders against New Jersey.

Tuesday night also marked Military Appreciation Night at TD Garden as several Boston players contributed to more than $25,000 in donations for tickets that were given to active military members and their families in accordance with the Bruins “Seats for Soldiers” campaign.

According to a release from the club, Brandon Carlo, Connor Clifton, Charlie Coyle, Foligno, Derek Forbort, Trent Frederic, Matt Grzelcyk, Kuhlman, Charile McAvoy, Mike Reilly, Craig Smith and Jeremy Swayman all offered donations.

Early in the opening frame, Lazar (3) got a lucky break and strode towards the net before flinging a fluke shot through Blackwood’s five-hole as the Devils’ goaltender shifted his leg pad at just the right time.

The Bruins led, 1-0, as a result of Lazar’s individual effort at 2:53 of the first period.

Midway through the first period, Andreas Johnsson took an errant puck off of his face on an inadvertent flip pass attempt from Carlo intended for Taylor Hall.

Johnsson returned to action without issue.

Boston led, 1-0, heading into the first intermission and held a, 10-6, advantage in shots on goal.

The B’s also led in faceoff win percentage (62-38), while the Devils held the advantage in blocked shots (4-3), takeaways (2-1), giveaways (5-2) and hits (11-9).

There were no penalties called in the opening frame, so both New Jersey and Boston had yet to see time on the skater advantage entering the middle period.

Nathan Bastian spent enough time in Seattle for a cup of coffee with the Kraken (12 games) before he was claimed off waivers and returned to New Jersey (the team that had left him exposed at the 2021 Expansion Draft in July).

Tuesday night, in his 16th game with the Devils this season, he was the beneficiary of a timely poke check to breakup a pass attempt from Carlo to Pastrnak– breaking free in the process while both Bruins skaters trailed helplessly.

Bastian (5) beat Ullmark under the glove to tie the game, 1-1, on a great individual effort 57 seconds into the second period.

Less than a minute later, the Bruins took the lead back with a wacky goal.

Foligno sent a shot off of Blackwood that floated up the New Jersey netminder’s shoulder before rolling on top of the net whereby Steen (1) popped it up from beneath the crossbar as he battled a Devils defender in the crease and deflected it off of Blackwood’s back and into the twine– rather, under the twine.

Though everyone may have been perplexed as to the legality of the goal when they saw it in real time, Steen’s stick never touched the puck above the bar, technically speaking.

Besides, it deflected off of Blackwood before crossing the line too, so it’s not like Steen really meant to send the puck into the net as much as he was simply trying to keep it in play.

Foligno (5) and Forbort (2) tallied the assists on Steen’s first career NHL goal and the B’s took a, 2-1, lead at 1:17 of the second period.

New Jersey answered back in a hurry with a garbage goal of their own after Jack Hughes sent a shot on goal that rebounded to some open ice in the slot where Tomáš Tatar (7) buried the loose puck on the doorstep– tying the game, 2-2, in the process.

Hughes (9) and Jesper Bratt (21) were credited with the assists on Tatar’s goal at 3:05 of the second period.

The two teams combined for three goals in a span of 2:08.

That soon became four goals combine in a span of 8:45 as Frederic (2) banked a backhand shot off of Blackwood on the short side to put the Bruins up, 3-2, at 9:42 of the second period.

Lazar (4) had the only assist on the goal.

A few minutes later, Dawson Mercer took a puck off the face as McAvoy tried to flip the puck into the attacking zone. Mercer returned shortly thereafter.

Midway through the middle frame, the night’s first penalty was assessed as Hall tripped up Ryan Graves, yielding the Devils their first and only power play opportunity of the night at 13:45.

New Jersey didn’t convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Through 40 minutes of action, the B’s led, 3-2, on the scoreboard and dominated shots on goal, 25-17, including a, 15-11, advantage in the second period alone.

The Devils held the lead in blocked shots (8-5), takeaways (8-2) and giveaways (10-5), while Boston led in hits (22-17) and faceoff win% (67-33).

As only one penalty was called up through the second intermission, only New Jersey had seen any time on the skater advantage and the Devils were 0/1. Meanwhile, the Bruins remained 0/0 as they had yet to be presented with a power play opportunity.

That power play presented itself early in the third period– at 5:28 to be exact– when Damon Severson was assessed a holding infraction.

But Boston didn’t capitalize on their only skater advantage of the night.

Instead, Severson (5) exited the box to an aerial pass through the neutral zone from Michael McLeod and promptly scored on a breakaway on Ullmark’s short side to knot the game up, 3-3, at 7:36 of the third period.

The Bruins had been caught in the vulnerable minute after special teams action.

Midway through the final frame, however, Pastrnak got to a dump-in first in the corner from Hall and cut back to the slot– wrapping the puck with him for a shot on Blackwood.

Pastrnak (7) gathered the ensuing rebound and elevated a quick reactionary shot over Blackwood’s glove to end a 10-game scoring drought and put Boston ahead once more for good, 4-3, at 14:11.

Hall (11) and Erik Haula (5) tallied the assists as the new-formed second line continued to strengthen their chemistry together.

With 1:46 remaining in the action, Devils acting head coach (as head coach, Lindy Ruff, is currently in COVID protocol), Alain Nasreddine, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker, but it was ultimately to no avail.

New Jersey iced the puck with 52.1 seconds remaining and Blackwood was forced to return to the crease as the Devils would rather not give up a cheap goal in their own zone.

Except that’s what ultimately happened.

Boston forechecked and fought along the boards well enough to kill some time until the puck was freed and sent along the blue line where Tomáš Nosek found Carlo (3) for a wrist shot that deflected off of Mercer and squibbed through Blackwood’s five-hole to extend the Bruins’ lead to two-goals.

Nosek (4) had the only assist on Carlo’s goal at 19:37 of the third period as the B’s sealed the deal on what became a, 5-3, victory Tuesday night on home ice.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 34-26, despite both teams amassing nine shots each in the third period alone.

The Devils exited TD Garden with the advantage in blocked shots (13-9) and giveaways (15-10), while the Bruins wrapped up Tuesday’s action leading in hits (29-25) and faceoff win% (64-46).

Both teams finished 0/1 on the power play.

For the second time this season, the B’s have won three consecutive games– with New Jersey having been one of the three teams they’ve defeated in each three-game win streak.

Boston is 2-0-0 against the Devils in their regular season series with one final meeting remaining currently scheduled for March 31st at TD Garden.

The Bruins improved to 11-4-0 (5-2-0 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal, 12-0-0 (5-0-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 12-1-0 (4-1-0 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

New Jersey dropped to 5-12-2 (3-7-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 2-11-2 (1-6-0 on the road) when trailing after one and 2-16-2 (1-9-1 on the road) when trailing through the second period in 2021-22.

Fresh off of their, 6-4, loss in the 2022 Winter Classic at Target Field, the Minnesota Wild pay a visit to Boston on Thursday before the Bruins hit the road for a pair of games on Saturday in Tampa and next Monday in Washington, D.C.

The B’s return home after visiting the Capitals to kickoff a seven-game homestand on Jan. 12th against the Montréal Canadiens in a game that was originally scheduled to be played in Montréal before the rise of the Omicron variant restricted indoor venue attendance across Canada.

Tickets for Boston’s game against the Habs on March 21st will be honored on Jan. 12th as the game has been moved up in the schedule.