To mark 200 episodes of the DTFR Podcast, Nick and Colby talk about the origin story of DTFR, give podcast advice and share some of their favorite memories from the show or otherwise from the last six years of Down the Frozen River. Also, Lindy Ruff is the new head coach of the New Jersey Devils, more Florida Panthers talk and extended CBA musings.
The DTFR Podcast is back from hiatus as Nick provides a State of the Podcast, reviews a few things from the last couple of months and delves into all of the transactions leading up to the 2020 NHL trade deadline.
The New Jersey Devils completed a, 3-2, shootout victory comeback over the Boston Bruins at Prudential Center on Tuesday afternoon to close out 2019.
Mackenzie Blackwood (13-10-5 record, 2.85 goals against, .907 save percentage in 30 games played) made 28 saves on 30 shots against for a .933 SV% in the win for the Devils.
Bruins goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (9-3-5, 2.20 GAA, .930 SV% in 17 games played) stopped 42 out of 44 shots faced for a .955 SV% in the shootout loss.
Boston fell to 24-7-10 (58 points) on the season, but remained in command of the Atlantic Divison, while New Jersey improved to 14-19-6 (34 points) and stayed in 8th place in the Metropolitan Division.
The B’s also fell to 10-6-2 on the road this season.
The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee), Torey Krug (upper body), Charlie McAvoy (lower body), Connor Clifton (upper body) and David Krejci (lower body) on Tuesday.
Miller has now officially missed half of the season, since Boston played their 41st game of the regular season in New Jersey.
As a result of the numerous injuries on the blue line for the B’s, Jeremy Lauzon was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Monday.
Lauzon has 1-9–10 totals in 35 games with Providence this season and made his season debut with Boston on the second defensive pairing with Matt Grzelcyk at his side.
Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia) was assigned to Providence on Monday in what might be a conditioning stint, if not just a return to playing action with a plethora of depth forwards seeking playing time in Boston.
Kuhlman has not played since being injured in Toronto on Oct. 19th.
Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made changes to his lineup from Sunday night’s, 3-2, victory against Buffalo.
Anders Bjork, Charlie Coyle and Brett Ritchie were moved up to the second line, while Jake DeBrusk slid down to the third line left wing slot as Par Lindholm and David Backes drew back into the lineup.
Meanwhile, on defense, Lauzon was paired with Grzelcyk and John Moore remained with Steven Kampfer, while Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo earned first pairing duties.
Danton Heinen was the only healthy scratch for Boston on Tuesday.
Devils defender, P.K. Subban, caught Sean Kuraly without the puck and was assessed a minor penalty for interference at 1:17 of the first period.
The Bruins capitalized on the ensuing power play when David Pastrnak unloaded a shot on a one-timer that trickled through Blackwood, but slowed before reaching the goal line.
As a result, Brad Marchand (20) ensured the puck reached the twine by tapping it in from the crease and gave Boston the, 1-0, lead on the power play.
Pastrnak (30) and Grzelcyk (9) had the assists on Marchand’s power play goal at 2:03.
Both teams swapped chances for the rest of the opening frame, but no more penalties were called or goals scored heading into the first intermission.
Boston led New Jersey, 1-0, on the scoreboard and held the advantage in shots on goal, 14-10.
The Bruins also led in blocked shots (7-4), while the Devils had the advantage in giveaways (4-2), hits (8-4) and faceoff win percentage (53-47).
Both teams had one takeaway aside and the Bruins were 1/1 on the skater advantage, while New Jersey had yet to see any time on the power play.
Marchand went to the box nine seconds into the second period after tripping up Devils forward, Nikita Gusev, but New Jersey couldn’t convert on the ensuing power play opportunity.
Moments later, Kuraly worked the puck down low and squibbed it through Blackwood into the crease and off Sami Vatanen’s skate, whereby Joakim Nordstrom (4) poked the loose puck over the goal line to give the Bruins a two-goal lead.
Kuraly (12) and Carlo (9) tallied the assists on Nordstrom’s goal at 4:27 of the second period and Boston led, 2-0.
Almost midway through the middle frame, New Jersey sustained offensive zone pressure for a solid few minutes.
The Devils re-entered the attacking zone on a quick break while the Bruins were in the midst of a line change, as Blake Coleman dropped the puck back to Gusev for a give-and-go back to Coleman (12) for the one-timer goal at 8:58.
Gusev (16) and Vatanen (16) had the assists on Coleman’s goal as New Jersey cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1.
Less than a minute later, Travis Zajac went to the penalty box for tripping Marchand at 9:07, but Boston’s resulting power play was short lived as Grzelcyk tripped up Nico Hischier at 9:20.
The two sides played 1:47 of 4-on-4 action before the Devils had an abbreviated 5-on-4 power play.
Entering the second intermission, the Bruins led the Devils, 2-1, on the scoreboard and, 23-22, in shots on goal– despite New Jersey holding the, 12-9, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.
Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (9-6), while the Devils led in takeaways (4-3), giveaways (8-4), hits (15-7) and faceoff win% (55-45).
New Jersey went 0/2 on the power play and the Bruins were 1/2 on the skater advantage after 40 minutes played.
Lauzon opened things up in the final frame of regulation with an interference minor against Miles Wood at 2:34 of the third period.
New Jersey didn’t score on the ensuing power play.
Almost midway through the third period, Nordstrom tripped up Mirco Mueller and was sent to the sin bin at 7:55, but once again the Devils couldn’t convert on the skater advantage.
A few minutes past the midpoint in the third period, Jesper Bratt (8) tipped in a shot from Subban by standing right in front of Halak– tying the game, 2-2, in the process.
Subban (5) and Hischier (15) notched the assists on Bratt’s goal at 13:11 and New Jersey was in full swing with momentum on their side.
Neither team took another penalty until overtime and the two teams finished regulation tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard with the Devils leading in shots on goal, 41-28– including a, 19-5, advantage in the third period alone.
Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (15-13), takeaways (9-8) and faceoff win% (51-49), while New Jersey led in giveaways (14-5) and hits (19-13).
The Devils were 0/4 on the power play and the Bruins were 1/2 on the skater advantage heading into overtime.
Cassidy started Patrice Bergeron, Marchand and Moore in the extra frame for Boston, while Alain Nasreddine began overtime with Hischier, Damon Severson and Vatanen on the ice.
Late in the overtime period, Bratt hooked Kuraly and was assessed a minor infraction at 4:48.
As a result, Cassidy used his timeout with 11.6 seconds left in overtime to drum up a plan if the Bruins won the ensuing draw and could muster a shot on goal before time expired.
At the horn, the B’s and Devils were heading for a shootout, tied, 2-2, through 65 minutes of action.
New Jersey finished the effort leading in shots on goal (44-30), giveaways (14-5) and hits (19-13), while Boston led in blocked shots (16-14).
The two sides were even in faceoff win% (50-50), while the Devils went 0/4 and the Bruins went 1/3 on the power play.
Nasreddine elected to shoot first in the shootout and sent Gusev out to face Halak in the opening round, but Gusev shot the puck square at the B’s goaltender.
Cassidy responded with Coyle to kick things off for Boston in the shootout, but Coyle missed the net after deking and losing the puck off his forehand while losing an edge in front of the crease.
Jesper Boqvist shot second for New Jersey and fired a shot directly at Halak.
Pastrnak was next up for Boston, but was denied by Blackwood as the Devils goaltender made a glove save while falling as Pastrnak stickhandled the puck and let it fly.
Devils forward, Kyle Palmieri, began the third round of the shootout with a shot off Halak’s glove and wide.
Palmieri was followed by Marchand in the third round of the shootout and for once the Bruins winger didn’t opt for a five-hole attempt.
Instead, Marchand rang the post over Blackwood’s blocker.
Through three rounds of the shootout, the two clubs were knotted, 0-0.
Wayne Simmonds began the fourth round of the shootout with an attempt at wrapping the puck around Halak’s outstretched legs, but Halak shut the door between the post and his skate.
Cassidy sent out DeBrusk to break up the deadlock, but DeBrusk crashed the net with speed and was denied by Blackwood’s leg pad as the New Jersey goaltender cut down on the angle of DeBrusk’s approach by playing out of the crease a little.
Just as it seemed like a shootout from hell, the Devils elected to utilize Jack Hughes’ skillset in the fifth round of the shootout.
Hughes dangled the puck and got Halak to commit to a hybrid stance before firing a shot below Halak’s glove and inside the post for the first goal of the shootout– putting New Jersey in command.
Not to be outdone, noted Bruins fourth liner, Chris Wagner, was sent out to tie the shootout and did just that after a nifty dangle to his backhand before roofing the puck over Blackwood and through the top-shelf– tying the shootout, 1-1, after five rounds.
In a grand twist from the other night’s own-goal in overtime against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Severson was sent out onto the ice to try to give New Jersey control of their own destiny and the Hockey Gods responded in kind.
Severson deked and scored a goal that was reminiscent of Wagner’s only about a minute prior with a backhand that he elevated over Halak to put the Devils ahead in the shootout, 2-1.
With the game on his stick, Bergeron had to score to extend the shootout, but Blackwood snagged the puck out of mid-air with his glove– denying Bergeron of yet another shootout goal.
No. 37 in black and gold hasn’t scored a shootout goal in about five calendar years as the Devils emerged with the, 3-2, shootout victory on home ice.
The B’s fell to 18-1-2 when having a two-goal lead at any time this season and fell to 0-6 in shootouts this season, while New Jersey improved to 2-4 overall past overtime.
The Bruins fell to 17-5-6 when scoring the game’s first goal, 15-3-2 when leading after the first period and 13-0-4 when leading after two periods this season.
Boston kicks off 2020 with a two-game homestand against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday and Edmonton Oilers on Saturday before making a quick visit to Nashville to face the Predators next Tuesday.
David Pastrnak and Matt Grzelcyk had a pair of goals in the Boston Bruins’, 5-1, victory over the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night at Prudential Center.
Tuukka Rask (9-2-2 record, 2.06 goals against average, .930 save percentage in 13 games played) made 25 saves on 26 shots against for a .962 SV% in the win for the Bruins.
Devils goaltender, Mackenzie Blackwood (7-5-3, 2.94 GAA, .899 SV% in 15 GP) stopped 23 out of 28 shots faced for an .821 SV% in the loss.
Boston maintained the Atlantic Division lead, while improving to 13-3-5 (31 points) on the season and 6-3-1 on the road.
New Jersey fell to 7-9-4 overall (18 points) and slipped to last place (8th) in the Metropolitan Division.
The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee), John Moore (shoulder), Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia), David Backes (upper body), Torey Krug (upper body) and Zach Senyshyn (lower body) on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Boston welcomed Jake DeBrusk and Brett Ritchie back to the lineup after the pair of forwards missed the last five games due to injuries.
Patrice Bergeron (lower body) was a game-time decision and did not participate in warmups. As a result, he missed his 2nd consecutive game this season.
With a laundry list of injuries hampering the lineup, Paul Carey and Trent Frederic were reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Sunday.
Urho Vaakanainen was originally sent down as well in a paper transaction, but later recalled from Providence on Monday.
Brendan Gaunce joined Vaakanainen on Monday’s recall as the forward was added as an extra body for the B’s in their short trip to New Jersey in case DeBrusk or Ritchie were not ready to go.
Gaunce has four goals and three assists (seven points) in 11 games with Providence this season and signed with the Bruins as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2019.
He was later reassigned to Providence before warmups in New Jersey.
Bergeron and Krug did not practice on Monday, but Krug skated earlier in the morning before Monday’s full practice group. He is likely to return later this week.
With Bergeron out of the lineup for the second game in a row, David Krejci resumed his status as the first line center with Brad Marchand and Pastrnak as his wings.
Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, left Anders Bjork with Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen on the second line.
Par Lindholm remained in charge of centering the third line with DeBrusk on the left side and Ritchie on the right side in their return to game action, while Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner comprised the fourth line as usual.
Cassidy left his defensive pairings alone from Saturday night’s, 3-2, shootout loss to the Washington Capitals, while Steven Kampfer remained the only healthy scratch for Boston on Tuesday.
Midway through the opening frame, DeBrusk tripped up Pavel Zacha and was assessed a minor infraction at 12:12 of the first period.
New Jersey’s ensuing power play did not go as planned.
After Boston killed off DeBrusk’s minor, the Devils found themselves trapped in their own zone as a fresh from the box– fresh off a quick change– Bruins team pounced.
Grzelcyk (1) fired a shot from the point that rang the iron, bounced off of Blackwood’s back and ended up in the twine to give Boston the game’s first goal.
Marchand (20) and Krejci (10) had the assists on Grzelcyk’s goal as the Bruins jumped out to a, 1-0, lead at 14:26 of the first period.
New Jersey barely had enough time to reset before Boston was again on the offensive– this time with Marchand setting up Pastrnak (18) for a one-timer blast that gave the Bruins a two-goal lead at 14:40.
Marchand (21) and Krejci (11) had the assists once more as the B’s took a, 2-0, lead with a pair of goals in 14 seconds.
Seven seconds after Pastrnak scored, Heinen tripped up Blake Coleman and was sent to the penalty box at 14:47.
The Devils didn’t convert on the ensuing skater advantage.
With less than two minutes left in the first period, pending-unrestricted free agent, Taylor Hall, caught Charlie McAvoy with an errant stick and tripped the Boston defender, yielding a power play for the Bruins for the first time of the night at 18:06.
Through one period in New Jersey, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and held the advantage in shots on goal (6-5), hits (5-2) and faceoff win percentage (59-41), while the Devils led in blocked shots (4-3) and giveaways (9-2) entering the first intermission.
Both teams had two takeaways aside heading into the second period as New Jersey was 0/2 on the power play and the Bruins were 0/1.
An almost uneventful (on the event sheet anyway) second period wrapped up with a late goal in the middle frame from Coleman (5).
New Jersey defender, Will Butcher, led a rush up-ice and completed a short pass to Nikita Gusev as the Devils entered the attacking zone.
Gusev found Coleman as Coleman cut to the low slot– where he was able to ring a shot off the post and in over Rask’s blocker side to cut Boston’s lead in half and put New Jersey on the scoreboard, 2-1.
Gusev (3) and Butcher (5) tallied the assists on Coleman’s goal at 18:11 of the second period.
After 40 minutes of play, the Bruins led on the scoreboard, 2-1, and in shots on goal, 18-16– including a, 12-11, advantage in the second period alone.
Boston also maintained an advantage in blocked shots (10-7), takeaways (5-4) and faceoff win% (56-44), while the Devils led in giveaways (14-5) and hits (12-11).
New Jersey was still 0/2 on the skater advantage and the B’s were still 0/1 on the power play as there were no penalties called in the middle period.
Early in the final frame of regulation, P.K. Subban tripped up Pastrnak and was assessed a minor penalty at 3:11 of the third period.
Eight seconds later, Pastrnak (19) scored his 2nd goal of the game with a one-timer blast from the point on the power play.
The B’s won the ensuing faceoff, moved the puck quickly to Marchand along the boards, then flipped it back to Pastrnak for the one-timer goal at 3:19.
Marchand (22) tallied his third assist of the night, while Coyle (7) picked up the secondary assist and the Bruins led, 3-1.
Midway through the third period, Grzelcyk (2) danced around Subban while entering Boston’s offensive zone, then snapped a shot bardown over Blackwood’s glove to make it, 4-1, Bruins.
McAvoy (7) had the only assist on Grzelcyk’s 2nd goal of the night at 10:33– marking the first two-goal game of Grzelcyk’s NHL career.
A few minutes later, Connor Clifton (2) rocketed a slap shot from the point while preventing the puck from clearing the zone– sending it over Blackwood’s glove, off the iron and into the twine in the process.
Clifton’s unassisted goal made it, 5-1, for Boston at 13:42 as the New Jersey native notched a goal in his home state.
At the sound of the final horn, the Bruins had won, 5-1, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 28-26, despite both teams amassing ten shots on net aside in the third period.
The Devils finished the game leading in giveaways (15-6) and hits (18-15), while the Bruins wrapped up the action with the advantage in blocked shots (14-7) and faceoff win% (60-40)
New Jersey went 0/2 on the power play, while Boston finished 1/2 on the skater advantage Tuesday night.
With his goal in the first period, Pastrnak (341 games) became 2nd fastest to score 150 goals with the Bruins among players who made their NHL debuts with the franchise. Only Barry Pederson (316 games) did it faster.
The Bruins improved to 11-2-3 when scoring first this season, 10-1-0 when leading after the first period and 8-0-2 when leading after two periods.
Boston begins a two-game homestand against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday and hosts the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
The B’s close out November with back to back nights in Montreal (Nov. 26th) and Ottawa (Nov. 27th) before finishing the month at home against the New York Rangers in a Black Friday matinee on Nov. 29th.
Zdeno Chara surpassed 1,500 career games, Claude Julien reached 1,200 games behind the bench, the Toronto Maple Leafs are facing injuries and backup goaltender struggles, Taylor Hall reportedly won’t sign an extension with the New Jersey Devils, the 2019 NHL Global Series happened and the 2020 NHL Global Series was announced.
47-29-6, 100 points, 1st in the Central Division
Eliminated in the First Round by Dallas
Additions: F Daniel Carr, F Matt Duchene, D Jeremy Davies (acquired from NJD), D Steven Santini (acquired from NJD), G Connor Ingram (acquired from TBL)
Subtractions: F Phillip Di Giuseppe (signed with NYR), F Tyler Gaudet (signed with TOR), F Adam Helewka (traded to NJD), F Justin Kirkland (signed with CGY), F Cody McLeod (signed with Iowa, AHL), F Zac Rinaldo (signed to a PTO with CGY), F Cole Schneider (signed with Milwaukee, AHL), F Wayne Simmonds (signed with NJD), D Taylor Aronson (DEL), D P.K. Subban (traded to NJD), G Tom McCollum (signed with Hartford, AHL)
Still Unsigned: F Brian Boyle
Re-signed: F Rocco Grimaldi, F Colton Sissons
Offseason Analysis: The longest currently active general manager in the National Hockey League remained active this offseason as the Nashville Predators’ only GM in franchise history, David Poile, was wheeling and dealing.
At this year’s draft, Poile traded veteran defender, P.K. Subban, to the New Jersey Devils for a small package in Steven Santini, Jeremy Davies, a 2019 2nd round pick and a 2020 2nd round pick.
The trade cleared the Preds of Subban’s $9.000 million cap hit and remained in true Poile transaction fashion, whereby the Nashville GM flipped a defender in his prime for more, younger, assets.
With more cap room to work with heading into free agency, Poile set his sights on securing a second line center to help give the Predators stability down the middle.
Matt Duchene fit the bill perfectly for Nashville– both in his seven-year contract worth $56 million ($8.000 million per season) and due to the fact that he’s a big country music fan and was already building a house in the Music City.
In a way, it was Duchene’s dream to play for the Predators (even if that dream of playing hockey for Nashville is second to living year-round in Nashville– it’s a win-win).
Duchene emerged as a prominent player for the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Preds are hoping he’ll do just the same for them in their quest for another Stanley Cup Final run for the first time since their only appearance in the Final in 2017, when they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
On top of identifying and filling a need, Poile also acquired goaltending prospect Connor Ingram from the Tampa Bay Lightning in June, giving Nashville a future outlook in the crease that may very well be a dynamic duo of Juuse Saros and Ingram.
For now, Pekka Rinne remains the starter for the foreseeable future as both Rinne and Saros have two years remaining on their current contracts.
Offseason Grade: B+
Adding Duchene boosts Nashville’s presence as a playoff contender that could emerge as a deep postseason run performer. He wasn’t the best player available in the free agent market, but he was the best fit available for Poile’s roster.
It very well might be Nashville’s last chance at a Cup with their current roster as 10 players are pending-unrestricted free agents at season’s end– ranging from core members to key depth contributors. It’s now or never for these Predators.