The DTFR crew creates rosters composed of players you might not remember that played for the Calgary Flames anytime from 2000-present.
David Pastrnak had a pair of goals in the Boston Bruins’, 4-2, victory over the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Saturday night.
Jaroslav Halak (8-3-3 record, 2.26 goals against average, .928 save percentage in 14 games played) made 31 saves on 33 shots against (.939 SV%) in the win as the Bruins snapped a five-game losing streak.
Panthers goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky (11-9-4, 3.14 GAA, .900 SV% in 26 games played), stopped 38 out of 41 shots faced for a .927 SV% in the loss.
Boston improved to 21-7-6 (48 points) on the season and increased their command over the rest of the Atlantic Division, while Florida fell to 15-12-5 (35 points) and dropped to 6th in the Atlantic.
The B’s also improved to 9-6-1 on the road this season.
For the 34th time this season, Kevan Miller (knee) was still out of the lineup due to lingering setbacks from his injury late last season. He has yet to make his 2019-20 season debut.
Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia) and Zach Senyshyn (lower body) remained out of the lineup due to injuries while the Bruins took on the Panthers in Florida.
Boston head coach, Bruce Cassidy, announced a few lineup changes to reporters before the game, replacing Brett Ritchie with David Backes among his forwards.
As a result, Charlie Coyle was moved up to the second line right wing in Ritchie’s place, while Sean Kuraly filled in Coyle’s third line center spot and Chris Wagner moved from the fourth line right wing to the fourth line center.
Backes took over Wagner’s role on the right side of the fourth line.
Everything else was unchanged from Thursday night’s, 3-2, loss in Tampa.
Par Lindholm and Connor Clifton joined Ritchie as Boston’s healthy scratches against the Panthers.
Patrice Bergeron skated in his 1,053rd career NHL game on Saturday– surpassing Don Sweeney for the 3rd most in Bruins franchise history.
Early in the action, Anders Bjork caught Florida defender, Anton Stralman, with a high stick and presented the Panthers with their first power play of the game at 2:10 of the first period.
Florida’s power play couldn’t get anything going and did not convert on the skater advantage while Bjork was in the box.
Midway through the period, Mark Pysyk tripped Brad Marchand at 11:13.
Boston’s first power play opportunity of the night was not successful, but the Bruins were able to take advantage of the momentum generated in the vulnerable minute after special teams action as Jake DeBrusk (8) poked the puck through a Florida defender and earned himself his own breakaway before scoring on Bobrovsky.
Charlie McAvoy (12) and David Krejci (16) notched the assists on DeBrusk’s 100th career NHL point as the B’s took the game’s first lead, 1-0, at 14:41 of the first period.
Less than a couple of minutes later, Matt Grzelcyk interfered with former Bruin, Frank Vatrano, and was assessed a minor infraction at 16:08.
The Panthers were unsuccessful on their second power play of the game and quickly found themselves shorthanded after Grzelcyk was freed from the box.
Brett Connolly tripped John Moore at 18:39 and presented Boston with their second power play of the night.
Though the power play carried over into the second period, the Bruins were not able to take advantage of their skater advantage.
Entering the first intermission, Boston led Florida, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 22-11, in shots on goal.
The Bruins also held the advantage in blocked shots (7-3) and hits (10-8), while the Panthers led in takeaways (3-2) and faceoff win percentage (57-44).
Both teams had four giveaways aside and were 0/2 on the power play after 20 minutes of action at BB&T Center.
Krejci (7) blasted a one-timer from the high slot that squibbed through Bobrovsky and just over the line before a Panthers defender tried to scoop it out as though it had never happened (before DeBrusk tapped it back in) and the Bruins jumped out to a two-goal lead at 3:14 of the second period.
DeBrusk (8) and Torey Krug (17) had the assists on Krejci’s goal as the B’s led, 2-0.
Moments later, Vincent Trocheck sent the puck over the glass for an automatic delay of game penalty at 6:50 of the middle frame.
While on the power play, Marchand worked a pass through the slot that was redirected by Pastrnak (27) into the twine from the edge of the crease to make it, 3-0, for Boston.
Marchand (31) and Krug (18) tallied the assists on Pastrnak’s power play goal at 7:30 of the second period and the Bruins had their first three-goal lead in a game since beating the Montreal Canadiens, 8-1, on Nov. 26th in Montreal.
Through 40 minutes of play on Saturday night, the B’s led the Panthers, 3-0, on the scoreboard and, 32-22, in shots on goal.
Florida held the advantage in shots on net in the second period alone, 11-10, as well as in takeaways (6-3), giveaways (8-7) and hits (18-11).
Boston led in blocked shots (13-10) and faceoff win% (54-46) entering the second intermission,
The Panthers were 0/2 on the skater advantage, while the Bruins were 1/3 on the power play heading into the third period.
Pysyk (2) sent a backhander over Halak from point blank on a rebound at 2:46 of the third period to put the Panthers on the board and cut Boston’s lead to two-goals.
Aaron Ekblad (13) and Keith Yandle (24) notched the assists on Pysyk’s goal as Florida came out of the gate for the final frame with a burst of energy.
Ekblad got caught up on a Pastrnak breakaway and hooked the winger while falling behind the play, yielding a penalty shot for the Bruins winger in the process.
Pastrnak took his time as he skated in on Bobrovsky for the penalty shot at 6:29 of the third and fired a shot right into the goaltender as he tried to muster something on the short side.
Though he has a knack for scoring impressive goals in regular game situations, Pastrnak is now only 1-for-3 on penalty shots in his career. Meanwhile, Bobrovsky has made seven saves on 11 penalty shot attempts in his career.
Almost midway through the third period, Yandle (4) rocketed a one-timer from the point over Halak’s glove that rang the post and deflected into the twine to make it a one-goal game.
Trocheck (11) and Ekblad (14) had the assists on Yandle’s goal at 9:13 and Florida trailed, 3-2.
Panthers head coach, Joel Quenneville, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker with almost two minutes remaining in the game, but things did not go as planned for Florida’s comeback attempt Saturday night.
Unlike how things went when the Bruins blew a, 4-0, lead at home on Nov. 12th against the Panthers, Boston finished off Florida while on the road with an empty net goal from Pastrnak (28) as the NHL’s leading goal scorer hit the empty twine from downtown.
Marchand (32) and Bergeron (17) were credited with the assists on Pastrnak’s second goal of the night at 17:50 and the Bruins secured the, 4-2, victory as a result.
Additionally, with his second assist of the game, Marchand became the first Bruin to reach 50 points in a season in 34 or fewer games since Adam Oates reached the 50-point mark 31 games into the 1995-96 season.
Oates had 14-36–50 totals in that span, while Marchand has 18-32–50 totals so far this season.
Finally, at 18:37 of the third period, McAvoy picked up an interference minor when he knocked down Florida captain, Aleksander Barkov, near the corner boards as time winded down and the puck was a little too far out of reach for both players.
Barkov suffered what appeared to be a lower body injury as a result while McAvoy skated over to the penalty box.
At the final horn, the Bruins had won, 4-2, and finished the night leading in shots on goal (42-33), blocked shots (21-14) and faceoff win% (57-43).
Florida finished the night leading in giveaways (15-10), while both teams were even in hits (21-21).
The Panthers went 0/3 on the skater advantage, while the B’s finished Saturday night’s action 1/3 on the power play.
Saturday night marked the first win for Boston since their, 2-0, shutout over the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 3rd. Halak was also in net that night.
Boston wrapped up their four-game road trip (1-3-0) Saturday.
The B’s also improved to 12-3-0 when leading after one period, 11-0-2 when leading after two periods and 14-5-3 when scoring the game’s first goal this season.
The Bruins return home for a four-game homestand next Tuesday (Dec. 17th) against the Los Angeles Kings before hosting the New York Islanders (Dec. 19th), Nashville Predators (Dec. 21st) and Washington Capitals (Dec. 23rd).
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.
Brayden Point re-signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, a bunch of other RFAs signed extensions, the Boston Pride were sold, Dan Girardi retired and DTFR’s season previews continued with the Atlantic Division.
Columbus Blue Jackets
47-31-4, 98 points, 5th in the Metropolitan Division
Eliminated in the Second Round by Boston
Additions: F Marko Dano, F Gustav Nyquist
Subtractions: F Matt Duchene (signed with NSH), F Ryan Dzingel
(signed with CAR), F Mark Letestu (signed with WPG), F Artemi Panarin (signed with NYR), F Lukas Sedlak (KHL), F Sam Vigneault (signed with Cleveland, AHL), D Tommy Cross (signed with FLA), G Jean-Francois Berube (signed with PHI), G Sergei Bobrovsky (signed with FLA), G Keith Kinkaid (signed with MTL)
Still Unsigned: D Adam McQuaid
Re-signed: F Ryan MacInnis, F Sonny Milano, F Justin Scott, D Scott Harrington, D Ryan Murray, D Zach Werenski, G Joonas Korpisalo
Offseason Analysis: After going all-in at the trade deadline, the Columbus Blue Jackets went all-out on trying to keep their recently acquired talent in town– as well as their biggest stars Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky from leaving altogether.
Unfortunately for Columbus, that “high-end” talent had “high-rise” on the mind and then some.
Bobrovsky informed General Manager, Jarmo Kekalainen, that he didn’t intend to re-sign with the club early in the season, Panarin turned down more money for The Big Apple, Matt Duchene was building a house in Nashville anyway and Ryan Dzingel fell victim to coaching decisions that limited his playing time.
All of them left the Blue Jackets.
Whether you believe in their core (Pierre-Luc Dubois for Leader of the Free Universe!) or not, Columbus is going to face a setback this season.
Head coach, John Tortorella, is right in his analysis of the team in that the roster had something going en route to their playoff run that was cut short in the Second Round by the Boston Bruins.
Columbus was shaping up for something special– their first playoff series win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, at least– if not more this season and in the coming years.
As much as fans like Tortorella’s approach to speak his mind about everything, there are times when it backfires.
Dzingel didn’t betray the Blue Jackets organization by signing with the Carolina Hurricanes when he wasn’t getting ice time in the first place. Plus, he didn’t technically leave a “winning” team to go elsewhere to win if the team that he signed with (Carolina) made it further in the postseason than Columbus did.
The Hurricanes made the Eastern Conference Final. The Blue Jackets did not.
Sure, Panarin joined the New York Rangers and Bobrovsky joined the Florida Panthers, but both of those teams missed the playoffs altogether last season. Tortorella has a point to be made about those two players, however, his point is that of a TV analyst’s mindset.
When the Blue Jackets broadcast approaches Bobrovsky’s exit, they can talk about how he betrayed a “culture that was committed to Columbus/winning the Cup this season” or whatever.
They get paid to do that– to please the watchful eyes in Columbus’ ownership box.
When the mantra comes from Tortorella, he is seen as out of touch with his players– that he couldn’t get them to “buy-in” and win, not that he couldn’t communicate with them and coach them effectively for better or worse.
It’s bulletin board material that makes sports fans tune in to ESPN for other sports and NBC between periods.
What did Stephen A. Smith say now? Why does Mike Milbury look like he wants to punch Jeremy Roenick in the face?
Because of their opinions, their “hot takes” and their ability to sway fan bases to and from narratives driven by ratings, owners and us and them mentality.
Tortorella had a stint with NHL Network before becoming head coach in Columbus. He’s a quintessential analyst that’s deserving of respect for his musings.
But sometimes his coaching style intersects with his analytical mind.
Sometimes his brash statements don’t translate well with his message, the medium it’s on (TV, Twitter or the like) and sometimes we forget how Toe Blake, Scotty Bowman, Punch Imlach or Art Ross utilized their power to drum up the local media, verbally abuse their players, etc. from a different era.
Because it’s Tortorella, because he has a fire to win, because he’s already won it before and wants to win it again– there’s a whole host of reasons why people often react with such strong visceral opinions the way they do to Tortorella, Mike Babcock and others in the league.
Columbus has one thing on their mind from this offseason– moving forward.
Offseason Grade: F
Last season might have been one last hurrah for the Blue Jackets’ current setup. Kekalainen gave Tortorella all the pieces to push for a deep run, Tortorella botched the lineup at times, certain players couldn’t elevate their game at other times– it was all too soon for an organization and fans that have been yearning for playoff success for almost 20 years.
They didn’t make any changes behind the bench and Kekalainen still has his job. It was a risk worth taking, but now there’s consequences to pay at this season’s end if ownership doesn’t see growth in what’s left behind. Columbus failed to retain what could’ve been this offseason and their consolation prize was Gustav Nyquist.
A one-year setback won’t hurt them. Two years might.
Mitch Marner finally re-signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins announced a couple key extensions, more RFA deals were signed and the NHLPA decided not to re-open the current collective bargaining agreement as DTFR’s season previews continued with the Metropolitan Division.