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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins’, 2-1, victory clinches playoff berth for sixth-straight season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nosek served as a healthy scratch Saturday as a result.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins lose three in-a-row for the first time this season

The Boston Bruins had a, 2-0, lead after the first period, but allowed the Ottawa Senators to score three unanswered goals after B’s goaltender, Linus Ullmark, left the game due to injury Thursday night at TD Garden.

Tim Stützle scored the game-winning power-play goal midway through the second period, while Anton Forsberg (19-16-3, 2.73 goals-against average, .919 save percentage in 41 games played) made 40 saves on 42 shots against in the victory for Ottawa.

Ullmark (23-10-2, 2.57 goals-against average, .913 save percentage in 38 games played) made eight saves on eight shots faced for Boston before being replaced by Jeremy Swayman (20-12-3, 2.38 goals-against average, .915 save percentage in 36 games played) after the first intermission.

Swayman stopped 21 out of 24 shots against in the loss for the Bruins.

After the game, B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters that Ullmark “didn’t feel well” after taking a shot off the face mask in the first period.

Prior to Thursday night, the Bruins were the only team across the National Hockey League that had yet to lose three consecutive games this season.

As a result of the loss, Boston dropped to 45-24-5 (95 points) overall, but remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference– though for the second game in-a-row, the B’s failed to clinch a playoff berth.

There’s not too much to worry about, however, given the long shot odds of the New York Islanders dethroning either the Bruins or the Washington Capitals for a wild card playoff berth.

With nine games remaining in New York’s schedule, the Islanders would need to win all nine games and hope for a colossal collapse of either the Capitals or Bruins in their remaining eight games.

Washington would have to amass no more than three points over the remainder of their schedule, while Boston would have to lose every game for the Isles to make the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

New York might have better odds playing the lottery or tuning into New York Rangers playoff games if they’re hoping to see some postseason action this spring.

Meanwhile, the Senators improved to 28-40-6 (62 points) on the season and remain in command of 7th place in the Atlantic Division.

Boston finished their regular season series against Ottawa with a 3-1-0 record in their four meetings.

The Bruins did not play the Senators in 2020-21 due to the temporarily realigned divisions and condensed 56-game schedule in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions.

The B’s went 2-1-0 against the Sens in 2019-20.

Jakub Zboril (right ACL), David Pastrnak (undisclosed) and Hampus Lindholm (lower body) were joined by Brandon Carlo (undisclosed) on Boston’s list of injured players out of the lineup against Ottawa on Thursday.

Jack Ahcan and Jesper Frödén were recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, prior to Thursday night’s action.

Meanwhile, Matt Grzelcyk returned to the lineup on defense and took part in his 300th career NHL game– suiting up in his regular role on the second pairing.

Cassidy made a few changes to his lines– inserting Frödén on the second line with Taylor Hall at left wing and Erik Haula at center, while promoting Tomáš Nosek to the third line in Trent Frederic’s usual spot.

Frederic served as a healthy scratch on Thursday, while Marc McLaughlin was demoted from the second line right wing to centering the fourth line with Nick Foligno and Curtis Lazar as his wings.

On defense, Mike Reilly was paired with Charlie McAvoy, while Grzelcyk and Josh Brown started the night out as Boston’s top-four defenders.

Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton served as the third pairing.

Frederic was joined by Jack Studnicka, Ahcan and Anton Blidh in the Bruins press box as healthy scratches against the Senators.

Early in the opening frame, Boston worked the puck deep into the zone whereby Foligno wrapped around the net and spun a backhand shot pass to the slot for McLaughlin (3) to redirect on the doorstep past Forsberg’s right pad.

Just like that, the Bruins had a, 1-0, lead at 6:36 of the first period, while Foligno (11) and Lazar (8) tallied the assists– marking Foligno’s 499th career NHL point in the process.

Less than a minute later, the Senators had too many skaters on the ice and presented the B’s with the first legal skater advantage of the night at 7:15, but Boston couldn’t convert on the ensuing power play.

Late in the period, Travis Hamonic elbowed Haula and was assessed a minor infraction at 15:20, but once again the Bruins failed to capitalize on the resulting power play.

Just as the final minute of the period was being announced, Grzelcyk corralled a loose puck at the point and kept the play in the attacking zone before sending a shot towards the net with traffic.

Frödén (1) deflected Grzelcyk’s bullet from the blue line and gave Boston a two-goal lead at 19:01 of the first period.

Grzelcyk (19) and Hall (39) had the assists as the Bruins took a, 2-0, lead into the first intermission.

Boston had a 2:1 advantage in shots on goal, outshooting the Sens, 16-8, in the first period, while leading in giveaways (6-2) and faceoff win percentage (71-29) as well.

Ottawa held the lead in takeaways (3-1) and hits (12-7) after one period, while both teams amassed two blocked shots each heading into the middle frame.

The Bruins were 0-for-2 on the power play and the Senators had yet to see time on the skater advantage.

Swayman replaced Ullmark for the start of the second period after Ullmark briefly skated over to the bench upon taking a shot off the mask in the first period and checked in with a trainer before returning to the crease.

Ullmark did not return to the game and was not seated on Boston’s bench for the rest of the night either– marking the fifth time in the last six games that someone left the action with an injury for the Bruins.

Less than a minute into the second period, Swayman was tested and gave up a goal when he apparently hadn’t covered enough of the short side as Brady Tkachuk (27) won a battle to the puck by knocking down McAvoy as the two skaters raced to the loose puck at the endboards prior to banking the rubber biscuit off of the Bruins netminder and into the twine.

Stützle (31) had the only assist on Tkachuk’s goal as the Sens trailed, 2-1, 47 seconds into the middle frame.

Less than a minute later, Boston had too many skaters on the ice and had been assessed a bench minor as a result.

McLaughlin skated over to the sin bin to serve the infraction at 1:22 and the Bruins managed to kill off Ottawa’s power play without issue.

The same could not be said for their next two penalties as Reilly caught Tkachuk with a high stick at 8:39 and Patrice Bergeron went to the box for hooking at 8:46 of the second period.

The Senators had a 5-on-3 advantage for a little less than two full minutes and they put Boston through the ringer as a result.

First, Drake Batherson fed Josh Norris (33) through the slot for a one-timer from inside the circle to Swayman’s left side– tying the game, 2-2, in the process on Norris’ power-play goal.

Batherson (25) and Stützle (32) tallied the assists at 9:30 of the middle frame.

Less than a minute later, the Bruins struggled to get the puck out of their own zone before Stützle again factored on the play– dishing the puck back to the point prior to the Senators sending it in towards the goal line to establish a traingle setup in the offensive zone.

Tkachuk fired a shot that rebounded as Stützle (18) collected the garbage while crashing the slot– giving Ottawa their second power-play goal as a result.

Stützle factored into all three Senators goals with a goal and two assists in Thursday night’s effort, while Tkachuk (31) picked up the assist on Stützle’s game-winning goal as the Sens grabbed a, 3-2, lead at 10:27 of the second period and held onto it for the rest of the night.

Batherson served a hooking penalty at 13:45 of the middle frame, but the Boston failed to get another shot past Forsberg as the power play came and went without issue for Ottawa’s penalty kill.

Late in the period, Brad Marchand tripped Connor Brown and cut a rut to the box, though the Senators failed to convert on the power play at 17:56.

Through 40 minutes of play, Ottawa had a, 3-2, lead on the scoreboard, despite trailing Boston in total shots on goal, 24-23.

The Sens, however, had a, 15-8, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

Ottawa also led in blocked shots (7-6), takeaways (6-3) and hits (20-17) after two periods, while the Bruins led in giveaways (9-5) and faceoff win% (61-40).

Heading into the final frame, the Senators were 2-for-4 on the power play, while the B’s were 0-for-3 on the skater advantage.

Colin White tripped Craig Smith to give Boston a power play at 5:24 of the third period, but the Bruins couldn’t convert on the advantage in keeping with the theme of the night.

Lazar was assessed a roughing minor for trying to engage Parker Kelly in an exchange of fisticuffs after Kelly made a big hit in the neutral zone, but the Senators ended up on the power play instead at 9:15 of the third period.

Ottawa failed to capitalize on their second-to-last advantage of the evening.

Artem Zub was assessed an interference infraction at 13:52, but the B’s continued to be shutdown on the power play.

Late in the period, the Bruins once again had too many skaters on the ice at 15:27 and Nosek skated over to serve the bench minor in the box.

The Sens did not capitalize on the resulting abbreviated power play, however, after 26 seconds of 4-on-4 play.

With 1:29 remaining in the action, Swayman vacated the crease for an extra attacker after putting an end to several breakaways for the Senators.

After a stoppage with 39.9 seconds remaining, Cassidy used his timeout to allow assistant coach, Chris Kelly, to talk to his skaters and draw up a plan for winning a last-ditch offensive zone faceoff.

Things did not go according to plan and the puck rolled out of the attacking zone with about 10 seconds left on the clock.

At the final horn, Ottawa had won, 3-2, despite finishing the night trailing in shots on goal, 42-32. Boston had an, 18-9, advantage in shots on net in the third period alone.

The B’s left their own ice leading in blocked shots (10-6), giveaways (10-7) and faceoff win% (68-32), while both teams managed to amass 30 hits each.

Ottawa finished the night 2-for-6 on the power play, while Boston went 0-for-5.

The Bruins fell to 33-9-2 (15-5-1 at home) when scoring first, 25-5-1 (12-3-0 at home) when leading after one and 4-18-2 (3-11-1 at home) when trailing after two periods this season.

The Senators, meanwhile, improved to 9-26-4 (5-13-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 3-14-2 (3-7-2 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 21-1-2 (9-0-1 on the road) when leading after the second period in 2021-22.

The B’s wrap up their three-game homestand Saturday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Penguins before hitting the road for a pair of games in St. Louis and Pittsburgh next Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

Boston returns home to host the New York Rangers next Saturday (April 23rd) in a game that will be broadcast across the United States on ABC.

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NHL Nick's Net

Tarasenko nets two in St. Louis’, 4-2, road victory

Vladimir Tarasenko scored a pair of goals to extend the St. Louis Blues’ winning streak to six games with a, 4-2, win against the Boston Bruins Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Blues goaltender, Ville Husso (23-6-5, 2.37 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in 36 games played), made 39 saves on 41 shots against in the win.

Meanwhile, Bruins goaltender, Jeremy Swayman (20-11-3, 2.34 goals-against average, .916 save percentage in 35 games played), stopped 26 out of 30 shots faced in the loss.

Boston fell to 45-23-5 (95 points) overall and remained 4th in the Atlantic Division, while St. Louis improved to 43-20-10 (96 points) on the season and in command of 3rd place in the Central Division.

Despite the loss, the B’s remain in command of the first wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Tuesday night marked the first time that the Bruins and Blues faced each other since Oct. 26, 2019, when Boston won, 3-0, on home ice in the first regular season meeting between the two clubs since the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

The B’s went 1-0-0 against St. Louis in 2019-20, and did not face the Blues in the 2020-21 regular season due to the temporarily realigned divisions, as well as the condensed 56-game schedule.

The Bruins were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL), David Pastrnak (undisclosed), Hampus Lindholm (lower body) and Matt Grzelcyk (upper body) on Tuesday.

With Grzelcyk joining the list of injured players, Bruce Cassidy, made a few tweaks to his defensive pairings ahead of the 500th game of his NHL head coaching career (390th with Boston).

Derek Forbort suited up alongside Charlie McAvoy on the first pairing, while Mike Reilly slotted next to Brandon Carlo to fill out the top-four defenders.

Connor Clifton returned to action on the third pairing with Josh Brown, while Jack Studnicka and Anton Blidh comprised the short list of healthy scratches for the Bruins.

Tuesday night marked Torey Krug’s 31st birthday in addition to his return to Boston since joining the Blues via free agency prior to the 2020-21 season.

St. Louis’ first rush into the attacking zone yielded a 2-on-1 as Ryan O’Reilly worked a pass to David Perron while Reilly and Carlo were left trailing in the dust.

Perron (24) deked around Swayman and backhanded a shot high on the blocker side to give the Blues a, 1-0, lead 34 seconds into the first period.

O’Reilly (31) and Brandon Saad (24) tallied the assists on the goal.

The Bruins tied things up 15 seconds later, however, as Boston worked the puck deep where Brad Marchand fished the rubber biscuit from the endboards to Patrice Bergeron (20) in the bumper for a one-timer goal.

Marchand (42) and Forbort (9) notched the assists on Bergeron’s goal as the B’s tied things up, 1-1, 49 seconds into the first period.

The goal also marked Bergeron’s 395th career tally– tying the Bruins captain with Ray Bourque for the fourth-most goals in franchise history.

It was also Bergeron’s 20th goal of the season– marking No. 37’s 13th season with at least 20 goals in his 18-year NHL career.

Moments later, the Blues had the first power play of the night when Reilly was assessed a cross checking infraction at 4:03.

St. Louis failed to convert on the ensuing skater advantage and had another chance go by the wayside when Marchand tripped Jordan Kyrou at 7:40 of the opening frame.

Midway through the period, Perron tripped McAvoy, but the Bruins weren’t able to capitalize on their first power play of the night at 13:24.

Krug thought he scored in the vulnerable minute after special teams action on a shot from the point that deflected off of Clifton on the rebound and pinballed past Swayman, but Cassidy used a coach’s challenge on the basis that he believed the Blues were offside upon entry into St. Louis’ attacking zone.

Video review confirmed that Robert Thomas was just ahead of the puck at the blue line and therefore offside as the on-ice officials reversed the call on the ice.

Krug’s would-be goal was wiped off the board at 15:51 of the first period.

Less than a minute later, Boston surged in momentum– crescendoing as Clifton wrapped the puck around the boards to Erik Haula in the trapezoid before Haula one-handed a backhand pass to Marc McLaughlin as McLaughlin (2) crashed the slot for a one-timer goal that slipped through Husso’s five-hole.

Haula (24) and Clifton (7) had the assists as the B’s pulled ahead, 2-1, at 16:59 of the first period.

Heading into the first intermission, Boston led, 2-1, on the scoreboard despite trailing, 18-15, in shots on goal.

St. Louis also held the advantage in blocked shots (4-1), takeaways (3-2), giveaways (2-1) and faceoff win percentage (63-38), while the Bruins led in hits (8-7).

The Blues were 0/2 on the power play, while the B’s went 0/1 on the skater advantage entering the middle period.

Clifton sent the puck over the glass and received an automatic delay of game penalty as a result at 3:55 of the second period, but St. Louis failed to convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Brayden Schenn cut a rut to the sin bin for cross checking at 10:41, but Boston failed to score on the resulting power play.

Moments later, Trent Frederic received a roughing minor at 14:17. This time the Blues made the most of their power play opportunity.

It didn’t take Krug (9) long to snake his way into the high slot and sent a wrist shot off of Swayman’s blocker side and into the twine for a power-play goal at 15:10 of the second period.

Schenn (31) and Perron (28) tallied the assists as Krug’s power-play goal tied things up, 2-2.

Shortly thereafter, the Bruins tweeted that Carlo was unlikely to return to the night’s action after leaving the game about midway through the first period.

Cassidy told reporters after the game that Carlo wasn’t feeling well and that it was not due to an illness.

Late in the middle frame, Thomas was the beneficiary of a forced turnover before feeding the puck to Pavel Buchnevich as the Blues broke out.

Buchnevich returned the package back to the sender before Thomas setup Tarasenko (27) on a between the legs pass for a catch and release goal on Swayman’s blocker side.

Tarasenko gave St. Louis a, 3-2, lead at 18:12 of the second period, while Thomas (48) and Buchnevich (36) recorded the assists on the goal.

Through 40 minutes of action Tuesday night, the Blues led, 3-2, on the scoreboard despite trailing the Bruins, 28-26, in shots on goal– including a, 13-8, advantage for Boston in the second period alone.

St. Louis led in takeaways (8-2), while the B’s held the advantage in blocked shots (8-6), hits (17-14) and faceoff win% (57-43).

Both teams had five giveaways each heading into the final frame.

As there were no penalties called in the third period, the Blues finished the night 1/4 on the power play, while the Bruins went 0/2.

Midway through the final frame, Tarasenko (28) buried the puck for an insurance goal– giving the Blues a, 4-2, lead after St. Louis forced another turnover with Reilly left all along to defender in front of his goaltender.

Buchnevich (37) and Krug (28) tallied the assists on Tarasenko’s second goal of the game at 9:27 of the third period and the Blues had the first and only two-goal lead of the night.

With 2:05 remaining in the game, Cassidy pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker, but it was to no avail.

The final horn sounded and signaled a St. Louis regulation victory, 4-2, despite Boston finishing the night leading in shots on goal, 41-30, including a, 13-4, advantage in the third period alone.

The Bruins left their own ice leading in giveaways (8-6), hits (25-21) and faceoff win% (56-44), while the Blues took home two points in the standings, as well as the final advantage in blocked shots (15-8).

The win extended St. Louis’ current winning streak to six games, while Boston has now dropped three out of their last four games.

The B’s dropped to 12-15-3 (7-8-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 25-4-1 (12-2-0 at home) when leading after one and 4-17-2 (3-10-1 at home) when trailing after two periods this season.

The Blues, meanwhile, improved to 26-8-5 (11-4-3 on the road) when scoring first, 7-10-4 (3-6-2 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 31-3-3 (13-2-2 on the road) when leading after the second period in 2021-22.

Boston hosts the Ottawa Senators on Thursday before the Pittsburgh Penguins pay their last visit of the regular season to TD Garden Saturday afternoon.

The Bruins travel to St. Louis next Tuesday and Pittsburgh next Thursday before returning home to host the New York Rangers next Saturday (April 23rd) in a game that will be broadcast across the United States on ABC.

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Podcasts

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

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

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

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NHL Nick's Net

Caps pick up their third win in a row in, 4-2, victory against Boston

Don’t look now, Pittsburgh Penguins fans, but the Washington Capitals keep closing in on a Metropolitan Division playoff spot after their, 4-2, win against the Boston Bruins Sunday afternoon at Capital One Arena.

By the time the Penguins were taking on the Nashville Predators Sunday afternoon, Washington pulled to within two points behind Pittsburgh for 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division standings.

Meanwhile, Lars Eller’s lucky deflection off of a Bruins forward’s stick and into the twine proved to be the game-winning goal in the third period of the Capitals’ victory.

Vitek Vanecek (18-11-5, 2.58 goals-against average, .912 save percentage in 37 games played) made 28 saves on 30 shots against in the win for Washington on Sunday.

Boston goaltender, Linus Ullmark (23-10-2, 2.59 goals-against average, .912 save percentage in 37 games played) stopped 29 out of 32 shots faced in the loss.

The Bruins fell to 45-22-5 (95 points) on the season and remain in command of 3rd place in the Atlantic Division, while the Capitals improved to 40-22-10 (90 points) overall and sit 4th in the Metropolitan Division.

Washington holds onto the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference currently and will have two games in-hand on the Penguins after Pittsburgh’s game against Nashville.

The New York Islanders (75 points) and Columbus Blue Jackets (74 points) would need to win at least nine games in addition to a miracle in which either the Caps or Pens lose for the rest of the regular season to make the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Capitals are currently on a three-game winning streak.

The B’s, meanwhile, finished their regular season series 2-1-0 against Washington after going 4-2-2 against the Capitals in 2020-21 (and 1-1-1 in 2019-20).

Jakub Zboril (right ACL), David Pastrnak (undisclosed) and Hampus Lindholm (lower body) remained out of Boston’s lineup on Sunday afternoon, though both Pastrnak and Lindholm have resumed skating.

Bruce Cassidy made a few changes to the defensive core of his lineup against the Capitals.

First, he promoted Derek Forbort to the first pairing alongside Charlie McAvoy while relegating Mike Reilly to the left side of the third pairing.

Cassidy also scratched Connor Clifton and inserted Josh Brown in his place next to Reilly on the third pairing.

Jack Studnicka and Anton Blidh joined Clifton in the press box at Capital One Arena as Boston’s healthy scratches in Washington, D.C.

Midway through the opening frame, Trent Frederic thought he had the game’s first goal, but the on-ice officials waved it off immediately and ruled it no good as a result of a distinct kicking motion.

Upon an official review, the call on the ice was confirmed– no goal– and the score remained tied, 0-0, as Frederic had just enough of a follow through motion to indicate intent behind the kick rather than a deflection while coming to a glide.

A few minutes later, Nic Dowd caught Brown with a high stick and presented the Bruins with their first power play of the afternoon at 11:47 of the first period.

Boston couldn’t convert on the skater advantage, however.

Late in the period, the B’s had another chance on the power play go unconverted when Dmitry Orlov boarded Marc McLaughlin at 18:13.

Entering the first intermission, the teams remained tied, 0-0, despite the Bruins leading in shots on goal, 8-7.

Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (6-4) and faceoff win percentage (69-31), while Washington led in takeaways (3-2), giveaways (4-3) and hits (22-15) after 20 minutes of action.

The Capitals had yet to see any time on the power play, while the Bruins were 0/2 on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.

John Carlson (14) gave Washington a, 1-0, lead at 4:11 of the second period when he blasted a shot from the point past Ullmark’s glove side while the B’s netminder was tied up with Evgeny Kuznetsov on the doorstep.

Conor Sheary (20) had the only assist on Carlson’s goal as the Caps jumped out first on the scoreboard early in the second period.

Less than a minute later, Eller cut a rut to the penalty box for hooking McAvoy at 4:46, but once more the Bruins’ power play went by the wayside as they couldn’t convert on the skater advantage.

Boston did, however, catch Washington in the vulnerable minute after special teams play when Nick Foligno received a pass from Tomáš Nosek in the attacking zone and drove to the net before wrapping the puck around Vanecek as the Capitals goaltender came out to play an aggressive angle.

Foligno snuck a pass behind Vanecek through the crease where Curtis Lazar (8) slipped the puck into the open twine to tie the game, 1-1, at 7:55 of the second period.

Foligno (10) had the only assist on the goal.

One minute later, the Bruins scored again to take their first and only lead of the afternoon, 2-1, when Erik Haula (14) received a pass from McAvoy and entered the zone before letting go of an old-fashioned slap shot off the post and into the net on the glove side.

McAvoy (44) had the only assist on Haula’s goal at 8:55 and Boston surged in momentum.

Moments later, the Bruins tweeted that Matt Grzelcyk (upper body) would not return to the afternoon’s action after sustaining an injury in the first period.

Then Tom Wilson (23) tied things up, 2-2, after slipping a rebound through Ullmark’s five-hole from the doorstep after Ullmark made the initial save on a shot by Eller.

Eller (15) and Anthony Mantha (8) had the assists on Wilson’s goal and the Capitals evened things up at 14:50 of the second period by a stroke of luck– being in the right place at the right time– a trend that would continue for the rest of the afternoon.

After two periods, the score was tied, 2-2, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 24-18, including a, 16-11, advantage in the second period alone.

The Bruins led in blocked shots (17-6) and faceoff win% (58-42), while Washington held the advantage in takeaways (8-3), giveaways (6-4) and hits (35-25).

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

Trevor van Riemsdyk tripped Lazar at 2:55 of the third period, but Boston’s power play fell to 6-for-46 on their last 46 power plays as the B’s couldn’t muster anything past Washington’s penalty kill.

Almost midway through the third period, Eller (10) sent a shot off of Haula’s stick as the puck redirected and caught a piece of Ullmark’s right shoulder before hitting the twine under the bar to give the Capitals a, 3-2, lead at 7:18 of the third period.

Nick Jensen (14) had the only assist on Eller’s goal.

Midway through the third, Taylor Hall tripped T.J. Oshie and presented the Caps with their first power play of the afternoon at 10:43 of the third period.

Boston’s penalty kill stood tall, however, as Washington wasn’t able to score a power play goal while Hall was in the box– nor were they able to capitalize on Frederic’s hooking infraction at 15:18.

With 1:54 remaining in regulation, Cassidy pulled his netminder for an extra attacker.

After a stoppage with 80 seconds left in the game, Cassidy used his timeout for one last potential rally.

Instead, in the dying seconds of the afternoon, Alex Ovechkin (45) whiffed on his first chance, but buried his second shot on the empty net after the two teams went end-to-end.

Kuznetsov (47) and Carlson (49) tallied the assists on Ovechkin’s empty netter at 19:58 and the Capitals led, 4-2.

At the final horn, Washington had won, 4-2, and finished the afternoon leading in shots on goal, 33-30, including a, 15-6, advantage in the third period alone.

The Caps left their own ice with the advantage in giveaways (6-5) and hits (45-39), while the Bruins left Capital One Arena leading in blocked shots (25-9) and faceoff win% (61-39).

Washington finished 0/2 on the power play, while Boston went 0/4 on the skater advantage in Sunday’s loss.

The B’s are now 15-6-2 (9-3-1 on the road) when tied after the first period, 12-14-3 (5-7-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal and 13-5-0 (6-4-0 on the road) when tied after the second period this season.

The Capitals improved to 11-7-4 (3-4-1 at home) when tied after one, 30-10-5 (14-5-2 at home) when scoring first and 13-2-2 (5-1-2 at home) when through two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins went 2-2-0 on their four-game road trip and return to TD Garden for a three-game homestand beginning Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues before the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins visit Boston on Thursday and Saturday (April 16th), respectively.

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NHL Nick's Net

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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NHL Nick's Net

Grzelcyk ensures overtime victory for Bruins on the road in Chicago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both teams had nine takeaways each.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NHL Nick's Net Previews

Preview: Game 50- Avalanche @ Bruins

Monday afternoon at TD Garden, the Colorado Avalanche visit the Boston Bruins in the conclusion of their regular season series– in which the Avs are in the midst of their second-longest road winning streak in club history at seven games.

Colorado’s longest road win streak in franchise history was set during the 2019-20 season when the Avs won nine consecutive games on the road from Feb. 4-March 2, 2020.

The last time the Avalanche won seven straight road games was back in the 1998-99 season, when Colorado won seven games away from home from Jan. 10-Feb. 7, 1999.

Boston, on the other hand, is coming off of a, 3-2, overtime win in Ottawa on Saturday– having finished their four-game road trip with a 2-1-1 record.

On Jan. 26th, the Bruins lost, 4-3, in overtime at Ball Arena as the Avalanche continued their franchise record 18-game home win streak in the process.

B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters after practice on Sunday that Jeremy Swayman would likely get the start in the crease after consulting with goaltending coach, Bob Essensa, and that Derek Forbort would return to the lineup after serving as a healthy scratch in the win against the Senators.

As a result of Forbort returning to action, Connor Clifton will likely return to the press box for Monday’s matinée matchup.

The Bruins will be without the services of Jakub Zboril and Brad Marchand as Zboril remains out for the rest of the season due to his right ACL injury, while Marchand will serve the sixth game out of his six-game suspension on Monday for his antics against Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender, Tristan Jarry, back on Feb. 8th.

Linus Ullmark is expected to serve as Swayman’s backup against Colorado, while Anton Blidh likely remains out of the lineup with Marchand out until Feb. 24th amidst other temporary roster adjustments.

For instance, Cassidy remains committed to Charlie Coyle as the second line center with Trent Frederic at left wing and Craig Smith on right wing while Taylor Hall is required to fill-in for Marchand on the first line alongside Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak.

As a result, Erik Haula was slotted on the left side of Jack Studnicka in Ottawa while Nick Foligno served as the third line right wing.

Jake DeBrusk scored a goal in Saturday’s win and played alongside fourth line regulars, Tomáš Nosek and Curtis Lazar, leaving no room for Blidh to get back into the lineup until Marchand returns, at least.

In summary, Boston will likely be without Zboril, Marchand, Blidh and Clifton on Monday.

The Bruins (28-17-4, 60 points) enter Monday 4th place in the Atlantic Division and in command of the second wild card berth in the Eastern Conference, while Coloardo leads the Central Division, Western Conference as well as the entire National Hockey League standings with a 36-9-4 record (76 points).

Both teams have played in 49 games and will take part in their 50th game of the season against one another.

Boston is 15-10-1 at home this season and 4-4-2 in their last ten games, while the Avalanche are 15-6-2 on the road and 8-1-1 in their last ten games.

The Bruins are 73-58-15-3 in 149 regular season games against the Avalanche/Québec Nordiques in franchise history with 557 goals for and 488 goals against in that span.

Marchand leads the B’s in scoring this season with 21-28–49 totals in 39 games played, while Pastrnak leads the team in goals (25) and ranks second in points (46) in 49 games.

Bergeron rounds out the top-three in team scoring with 35 points (12 goals, 23 assists) in 45 games.

A few milestones are within reach in Monday’s matinée meeting with the Avalanche.

Bergeron (20) is one shorthanded goal away from tying Don Marcotte (21) for the 4th-most shorthanded goals in franchise history, Coyle (198) is two assists away from his 200th career NHL assist and Haula (99) is one goal away from his 100th career NHL goal.

At the other end of the rink, the Avalanche are 13-2-1-1 in 17 games at TD Garden– outscoring the Bruins, 45-28, in that span– and 4-0-0 in day games this season.

Colorado is 12-2-1 in matinée games dating back to the start of the 2019-20 season.

Nazem Kadri leads the Avs in scoring so far this season with 63 points (21 goals, 42 assists) in 46 games, while Mikko Rantanen (26-32–58 totals in 46 games) and Cale Makar (18-32–50 totals in 45 games) round out the top-three on the roster.

Makar had an assist in Colorado’s, 5-3, win at Buffalo on Saturday and reached the 50-point plateau for his second time in three seasons (he’s yet to appear in 57 or more games in a regular season thus far) and did so in his 45th game of the season.

He trails only Brian Leetch (38 games in 1991-92, 43 games in 1990-91), Mike Green (43 games in 2008-09), Gary Suter (44 games in 1987-88) and Steve Duchesne (44 games in 1988-89) among defenders aged 23 or younger in reaching 50 points in as few games since 1986-87.

In the crease, Swayman (10-7-3, 2.14 goals-against average, .923 save percentage in 21 games played) is expected to get the start for the Bruins after making 29 saves on 31 shots faced in Saturday’s, 3-2, overtime win in Ottawa.

Darcy Kuemper (25-5-2, 2.40 goals-against average, .920 save percentage in 35 games played) is likely to get the start for the Avalanche after making 29 saves on 32 shots faced in Saturday’s, 5-3, win against the Sabres in Buffalo.

He made 29 saves on 32 shots against in Colorado’s, 4-3, overtime victory against Boston on Jan. 26th, while Ullmark turned aside 37 out of 41 shots faced in the overtime loss for the B’s.

The Bruins host the Avalanche before embarking on a six-game road trip through Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Vegas and Columbus, while Colorado finishes up a four-game road trip in Detroit on Wednesday after Monday’s matinée in Boston.

Expected lineups

Boston Bruins

BRUINS LINES

71 Taylor Hall 37 Patrice Bergeron (C) 88 David Pastrnak (A)

11 Trent Frederic 13 Charlie Coyle 12 Craig Smith

56 Erik Haula 23 Jack Studnicka 17 Nick Foligno

74 Jake DeBrusk 92 Tomáš Nosek 20 Curtis Lazar

58 Urho Vaakanainen 73 Charlie McAvoy

48 Matt Grzelcyk 25 Brandon Carlo (A)

28 Derek Forbort 6 Mike Reilly

1 Jeremy Swayman

35 Linus Ullmark

Healthy scratches and injured members (officially TBA, below is only a prediction based on last game)

John Moore (unlisted), Brad Marchand (suspension), Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Connor Clifton, Anton Blidh

Colorado Avalanche

92 Gabriel Landeskog (C) 29 Nathan MacKinnon (A) 96 Mikko Rantanen (A)

13 Valeri Nichuskin 91 Nazem Kadri 95 Andre Burakovsky

17 Tyson Jost 37 J.T. Compher 16 Nicolas Aube-Kubel

43 Darren Helm 18 Alex Newhook 25 Logan O’Connor

7 Devon Toews 8 Cale Makar

3 Jack Johnson 49 Samuel Girard

28 Ryan Murray 6 Erik Johnson

35 Darcy Kuemper

39 Pavel Francouz

Healthy scratches and injured members (officially TBA, below is only a prediction based on last game)

Bowen Byram (upper body), Stefan Matteau (IR), Kurtis MacDermid

Goaltending stats entering Monday

Boston Bruins

1 Jeremy Swayman 10-7-3 in 21 GP, 2.14 GAA .923 SV%, 2 SO

35 Linus Ullmark 16-8-1 in 26 GP, 2.79 GAA .909 SV%, 0 SO

Colorado Avalanche

35 Darcy Kuemper 25-5-2 in 35 GP, 2.40 GAA, .920 SV%, 3 SO

39 Pavel Francouz 7-2-0 in 9 GP, 2.39 GAA, .921 SV%, 2 SO

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

Pastrnak caps overtime victory on the road in Ottawa

David Pastrnak scored the game-winning overtime goal about midway through the extra frame to lift the Boston Bruins over the Ottawa Senators, 3-2, Saturday night at Canadian Tire Centre.

Jeremy Swayman (10-7-3, 2.14 goals-against average, .923 save percentage in 21 games played) stopped 29 saves on 31 shots faced in the win for Boston as he improved to 3-0-0 against Ottawa in his career (and the Bruins improved to 3-0-0 against the Sens this season as well).

Senators goaltender, Anton Forsberg (10-8-2, 2.78 goals-against average, .916 save percentage in 23 games played), made 30 saves on 33 shots against in the overtime loss.

The B’s improved to 28-17-4 (60 points) overall and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division, while also in command of the second wild card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Ottawa fell to 18-25-5 (41 points) on the season and stuck in 6th place in the Atlantic Division.

The Bruins were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Brad Marchand (suspension) against the Senators, while Bruce Cassidy made a few changes to his lineup from Thursday’s, 4-1, loss on the road against the New York Islanders to Saturday night in Ottawa.

Jack Studnicka centered the third line with Erik Haula at left wing and Nick Foligno at right wing, while Jake DeBrusk was relegated to the fourth line left wing and Anton Blidh joined Derek Forbort in the press box as a pair of healthy scratches against the Senators.

Urho Vaakanainen was paired with Charlie McAvoy, while Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo rounded out the top-four defenders.

By scratching Forbort, Cassidy paired Mike Reilly with Connor Clifton on the third defensive pairing.

Everything else was left untouched.

Not much was happening in the first period other than the occasional big hit or two from McAvoy on Connor Brown.

The two clubs entered the first intermission still tied, 0-0, on the scoreboard despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 11-9.

The Bruins also held the advantage in blocked shots (5-0) and hits (11-9), while the Senators led in takeaways (4-0), giveaways (7-1) and faceoff win percentage (56-44).

Both teams had yet to appear on the power play heading into the middle frame.

DeBrusk (8) received a pass that exploded off of his stick before batting it out of the air on a backhand shot into the twine to give Boston the first lead of the night at 2:37 of the second period.

Studnicka (2) had the only assist on the goal and the Bruins led, 1-0, as a result.

Moments later, Tim Stützle (10) responded with a goal of his own while crashing the slot on a rebound– burying the loose puck without any pressure as Boston’s defenders were out of position.

Austin Watson (2) and Artem Zub (10) notched the assists on Stützle’s goal as the Senators tied the game, 1-1, at 6:45 of the second period.

Midway through the period, Clifton rocked Parker Kelly with an errant elbow on an open ice hit– drawing the ire of Watson and Kelly and yielding a multitude of penalties to sort through for the official scorer between the penalty boxes.

Clifton was assessed a minor for elbowing and a minor for roughing at 11:49, while Foligno picked up a roughing infraction as No. 17 became entangled with Kelly and Watson.

Kelly received two roughing minors, rendering a power play for Ottawa in the process by virtue of Boston’s three total penalties from the scrum to the Sens’ two minor infractions at 11:49.

Shortly after making the kill, Foligno and Victor Mete exchanged a few words yielding a minor for holding on Mete and an interference infraction for Foligno at 15:59 of the second period.

The two teams skated at 4-on-4 for a pair of minutes without issue.

Late in the period, Forsberg flubbed an attempt at snagging the puck along the ice with his glove while Carlo (4) crashed the net and elevated a backhand chip shot into the open net from the doorstep at 18:54.

Charlie Coyle (12) and Reilly (8) tallied the assists on Carlo’s goal– his first in 20 games– as the Bruins took a, 2-1, lead heading into the second intermission.

Through 40 minutes of play, Boston outshot Ottawa, 23-20, including a, 12-11, advantage in the second period alone.

The B’s held the advantage in blocked shots (9-5), while the Sens dominated in takeaways (4-3), giveaways (12-4), hits (19-16) and faceoff win% (52-49).

The Senators were 0/1 on the power play, while the Bruins had yet to see any action on the skater advantage heading into the final frame of regulation.

Craig Smith caught Nick Paul with a high stick and presented the Senators with another power play at 4:50 of the third period.

Ottawa failed to convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however.

Late in the period, Paul sent a pass to Brown, who fed Nick Holden (4) as the Sens defender pinched in from the point into the high slot and flung a shot through traffic past Swayman to tie the game, 2-2, at 16:06 of the third period.

Brown (18) and Paul (7) had the assists as the Senators forced overtime on home ice in front of a Saturday night crowd.

After 60 minutes of action, the B’s and Sens were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard, while Boston outshot Ottawa, 31-30, overall despite trailing the Senators, 10-8, in shots on goal in the third period alone.

The Bruins carried the advantage in blocked shots (13-10) and faceoff win% (52-48) heading into overtime, while the Senators led in takeaways (7-4), giveaways (15-9) and hits (28-19).

As there were no penalties called in the overtime period, Ottawa finished the night 0/2 on the skater advantage while Boston never touched the ice on the power play.

Cassidy sent out Bergeron, Smith and McAvoy to start the extra frame, while Senators head coach, D.J. Smith countered with Brady Tkachuk, Stützle and Erik Brännström.

Midway through overtime, Taylor Hall kept the puck in the attacking zone and sent a pass across the high slot to Pastrnak (25) for a one-timer from the top of the faceoff circle to Forsberg’s right side off of the far post and into the back of the net for the game-winner.

Hall (22) and Reilly (9) notched the assists on Pastrnak’s goal at 2:42 of overtime and the Bruins won, 3-2.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 33-31, including a, 2-1, advantage in overtime alone.

The B’s also exited the building leading in blocked shots (13-11) and faceoff win% (51-49), while the Senators left their own ice leading in giveaways (15-9) and hits (28-19).

The Bruins improved to 3-2 in overtime, as well as 4-4 past regulation this season, while Ottawa fell to 2-4 in overtime and 3-5 past regulation.

Boston also improved to 7-5-1 (4-2-1 on the road) when tied after the first period, 19-7-1 (10-3-1 on the road) when scoring first and 20-1-2 (13-0-2 on the road) when leading after two periods this season.

The Senators fell to 8-11-2 (5-7-2 at home) when tied after one, 5-19-4 (3-11-2 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal and 1-19-1 (0-10-1 at home) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins return home after going 2-1-1 on their four-game road trip to host the Colorado Avalanche Monday afternoon before hitting the road again to finish the month of February with a road trip through Seattle, San Jose and Los Angeles. 

Boston begins the month of March in Anaheim before swinging through Vegas and Columbus.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

Bruins let another one slip away on Long Island

The Boston Bruins may have scored first, but the New York Islanders scored four unanswered goals to win, 4-1, Thursday night at UBS Arena in Elmont, New York.

Ilya Sorokin (15-11-5, 2.46 goals-against average, .921 save percentage in 31 games played) made 26 saves on 27 shots against in the win for the Islanders.

Bruins goaltender, Linus Ullmark (16-8-1, 2.79 goals-against average, .909 save percentage in 26 games played) stopped 25 out of 28 shots faced in the loss.

Boston fell to 27-17-4 (58 points) overall and remains in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as the second wild card berth in the Eastern Conference.

With the win, New York improved to 18-20-6 (42 points) on the season and stuck in 6th place in the Metropolitan Division.

Patrice Bergeron returned to action after missing the last three games with an upper body injury (lacerations on the back of his head after being injured on Feb. 8th against Pittsburgh).

He returned to his usual role as the first line center and was flanked by Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak in the process.

On defense, Urho Vaakanainen returned to the lineup after missing his fourth game this season with an upper body injury that he sustained on Feb. 1st against the Seattle Kraken.

Vaakanainen was slotted on the third pairing alongside Derek Forbort– rendering Connor Clifton as a healthy scratch against the Islanders.

The Bruins were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Brad Marchand (suspension) on Thursday.

Meanwhile, head coach, Bruce Cassidy, juggled the lines with Bergeron back in action– relegating Erik Haula to third line duties in the process with Jake DeBrusk at left wing and Nick Foligno on right wing.

Everything else was left untouched from Tuesday night’s, 2-1, shootout loss at the New York Rangers.

With Vaakanainen activated from the injured reserve and back in the lineup, Jack Ahcan was reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Thursday.

Jack Studnicka, Marchand, Zboril and Clifton served as Boston’s short list of players that were out of Thursday’s action as healthy scratches and/or suspended or injured players.

Midway through the opening frame, Noah Dobson hooked Bergeron and presented the Bruins with their first power play at 10:57 of the first period.

Boston couldn’t convert on the ensuing skater advantage and took a penalty of their own moments later when Anton Blidh was penalized for interference at 14:18.

The Islanders were unsuccessful on the resulting power play.

About a minute after the B’s killed off Blidh’s infraction, Craig Smith setup Hall as Hall (11) raced towards the net and beat Sorokin on the short side to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead at 17:26 of the first period.

Smith (10) and Mike Reilly (7) tallied the assists on Hall’s goal and Boston carried the, 1-0, lead into the first intermission, while outshooting the Islanders, 13-6.

Both teams had six blocked shots each, zero takeaways and went 0/1 on the power play through one period.

New York led in giveaways (4-2) and hits (9-4), while the Bruins held the advantage in faceoff win percentage (53-47) heading into the middle frame.

Haula tripped Oliver Wahlstrom at 10:28 of the second period and yielded a power play to the Islanders as a result.

It didn’t take the Isles long to strike on the skater advantage as Dobson let go of a shot from the point that dropped to the ice in the crease after Ullmark made the initial save, but Jean-Gabriel Pageau (7) was on the door step to collect the garbage and tie the game, 1-1, at 11:30 of the second period.

Dobson (14) and Mathew Barzal (21) notched the assists on Pageau’s power-play goal.

There were no more goals and no more penalties for the rest of the second period as the two teams went into the second intermission tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard.

Despite New York outshooting Boston, 13-7, in the second period alone, the Bruins led in shots on goal, 20-19, through 40 minutes of action.

The Islanders led in takeaways (1-0), giveaways (7-6) and hits (24-14), while the B’s held the advantage in blocked shots (10-8) and faceoff win% (56-44).

The Isles were 1/2 on the power play, while the Bruins remained 0/1 on the skater advantage entering the final frame.

DeBrusk turned the puck over in his own end while Brock Nelson worked the rubber biscuit around the boards and back to the point where Dobson (8) threw a shot with eyes through traffic past Ullmark to give the Islanders their first lead of the night, 2-1, at 5:50 of the third period.

Nelson (9) had the only assist on what would become the game-winning goal as the Bruins couldn’t keep up.

Midway through the third period, Cal Clutterbuck interfered with Trent Frederic and cut a rut to the penalty box as a result at 10:14.

Boston failed to convert on the ensuing advantage.

Moments later, Frederic made a big hit on Kieffer Bellows as the puck rebounded and Boston’s defenders were momentarily preoccupied as Ullmark was out of position.

Barzal (12) (who had just skated around the back of the net to reach the other side) timed it perfectly for a layup goal on the rebound to extend New York’s lead to two-goals.

Bellows (7) and Adam Pelech (12) had the assists on Barzal’s goal and the Islanders led, 3-1, at 13:32 of the third period.

With 2:53 remaining in the action, Cassidy pulled his goaltender for an extra skater. It did not go well.

Zdeno Chara tried to clear New York’s defensive zone and inadvertently sent an indirect pass off the glass to Nelson in the neutral zone, whereby Nelson (16) skated closer to the open frame and buried an empty net goal to give the Islanders a, 4-1, lead at 18:47.

Chara (7) had the only assist on Nelson’s goal.

At the final horn, the Islanders sealed the deal on three unanswered goals in the third period to win, 4-1, on home ice.

New York finished the night leading in shots on goal, 29-27, including a, 10-7, advantage in the third period alone.

The Isles also held the advantage in blocked shots (15-11) and hits (35-20), while Boston left UBS Arena leading in giveaways (11-9) and faceoff win% (60-40).

The Islanders finished the night 1/2 on the power play, while the Bruins went 0/2 on the skater advantage.

The B’s dropped to 19-7-1 against teams currently outside of a playoff spot and 0-2-0 against the Islanders this season.

Boston fell to 18-7-1 (9-3-1 on the road) when scoring first, 17-2-1 (9-1-1 on the road) when leading after the first period and 5-3-0 (0-2-0 on the road) when tied after the second period this season.

New York improved to 5-16-2 (5-9-2 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 2-14-2 (2-7-1 at home) when trailing after one and 2-2-3 (1-2-3 at home) when tied after two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins conclude their four-game road trip (1-1-1) against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday.

Boston returns home to host the Colorado Avalanche next Monday in a matinée matchup that was originally scheduled for Dec. 23rd before hitting the road again on a trip through Seattle, San Jose and Los Angeles to wrap up the month of February.

The B’s open the month of March in Anaheim before visiting Vegas and Columbus.