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Podcasts

DTFR Podcast #250- Is This The Leafs’ Year (To Get Out Of The First Round)?

Nick and Cam present cases for James Norris Memorial Trophy, Vezina Trophy and Calder Memorial Trophy finalists and predict how the rest of the 2022 First Round should go.

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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins force Game 7 with commanding, 5-2, victory at home

For the 29th time in franchise history (a National Hockey League leading postseason stat), the Boston Bruins are going to a Game 7 in a best-of-seven series after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-2, Thursday night at TD Garden.

Whereas recent memory conjures images of Boston’s 2019 Stanley Cup Final Game 7 loss on home ice to the visiting St. Louis Blues, this time around the Bruins will look to be a spoiler on the road in Raleigh, North Carolina and become the first wild card team since the NHL adopted its current playoff format in 2014, to usurp a division winner in their non-traditional division.

See, the B’s belong to the league’s Atlantic Division, while the Canes exist in the Metropolitan Division.

Carolina, meanwhile, will have home ice in their first Game 7 against Boston since the Hurricanes upset the Bruins in the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinal.

It will also be Carolina’s first Game 7 appearance since they beat the Washington Capitals on the road in their 2019 First Round matchup.

The last Game 7 victory on home ice for the Hurricanes was, of course, the 2006 Stanley Cup Final against the Edmonton Oilers.

Jeremy Swayman (3-1, 2.51 goals-against average, .913 save percentage in four games played) made 23 saves on 25 shots against in the win for Boston Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Hurricanes goaltender, Antti Raanta (2-2, 2.46 goals-against average, .926 save percentage in five games played), turned aside 29 out of 33 shots faced in the loss.

Once more, the Bruins were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) Thursday night, while Hampus Lindholm returned to the lineup after missing the last few games with an upper body injury.

Down 3-2 in the series entering Thursday and with Lindholm’s return to action, Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, restructured his lines and defensive pairings to a more familiar look around the trade deadline when the B’s were surging in the regular season.

Jake DeBrusk went back to the first line right wing with Patrice Bergeron at center and Brad Marchand on left wing, while David Pastrnak was reunited with Taylor Hall and Erik Haula on the second line.

Trent Frederic returned to the lineup on the third line with Charlie Coyle at center– flanked by Frederic and Craig Smith on his wings.

Meanwhile, Nick Foligno, Tomáš Nosek and Curtis Lazar returned to their usual roles on the fourth line with Chris Wagner joining the short list of healthy scratches in the press box at TD Garden for Game 6.

On defense, Lindholm and Charlie McAvoy were reunited, while Mike Reilly suited up alongside Brandon Carlo and Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton’s third pairing went unchanged.

Wagner and Matt Grzelcyk joined Jack Studnicka, Marc McLaughlin, Steven Fogarty, Troy Grosenick, Josh Brown, Joona Koppanen, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Tyler Lewington, Oskar Steen, Nick Wolff, Anton Blidh, Kyle Keyser and Jakub Lauko as Boston’s healthy scratches on Thursday.

Sebastian Aho kicked things off with a hooking infraction at 12:44 of the first period, but the Bruins couldn’t muster anything on the skater advantage.

Neither team could score, nor did either club score a goal in the opening frame, rendering it, 0-0, entering the first intermission despite Carolina holding an, 11-8, advantage in shots on goal.

Boston led in blocked shots (6-3), giveaways (4-0) and faceoff win percentage (62-39), while the Hurricanes held the advantage in hits (22-11).

Both teams had three takeaways each and had yet to see time on the power play entering the middle frame.

It didn’t take long for the B’s to jump out ahead first as Marchand (4) received a pass and entered the attacking zone along his off wing before sending a wrist shot high on the short side over Raanta’s glove and under the bar to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead 46 seconds into the second period.

Clifton (1) and Coyle (4) notched the assists as Boston scored the game’s first goal for the first time in the series.

Less than a few minutes later, however, Clifton kicked off a string of penalties for the Bruins when he was assessed a holding minor at 3:23, but Boston made the kill.

Carolina got a second chance on the power play at 9:08, however, when Frederic tripped Brett Pesce and even had 54 seconds on a 5-on-3 advantage when McAvoy cut a rut to the sin bin hooking Vincent Trocheck at 10:15 of the second period.

The Canes, however, failed to convert on the two power plays.

Haula caught Jesperi Kotkaniemi with a high stick at 13:36 of the second period and presented another power play opportunity that went by the wayside for Carolina.

At 16:58, Pesce was assessed a holding minor and yielded Boston their second power play of the night.

Late in the ensuing skater advantage, the B’s worked the puck around the zone enough before Marchand dished a pass back to Pastrnak for a shot attempt from the point that was blocked by a Hurricane before rebounding to Coyle (2) in the slot for the doorstep goal on the forehand.

Pastrnak (3) and Marchand (7) tallied the assists on Coyle’s power-play goal at 18:04 of the second period and the Bruins had a, 2-0, lead as a result.

Through 40 minutes of play, the B’s held a two-goal lead going into the second intermission and led, 19-17, in shots on goal, including an, 11-6, advantage in shots in the middle frame alone.

Boston also dominated in blocked shots (15-9), takeaways (6-3) and faceoff win% (53-47), while Carolina led in giveaways (5-4) and hits (27-21).

The Hurricanes were 0-for-4 and the Bruins were 1-for-2 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Carolina struck first in the final frame as Seth Jarvis setup Andrei Svechnikov (2) for a catch and release goal high on the short side past Swayman’s blocker to cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1.

Jarvis (2) had the only assist on Svechnikov’s first goal of the game at 3:24 of the third period.

Less than four minutes later, however, the Bruins responded and re-extended their lead to two-goals after Haula (1) redirected a shot pass into the far corner of the net behind Raanta for a, 3-1, lead at 7:08 of the third period.

McAvoy (3) had the only assist on Haula’s first goal of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Midway through the third period, Forbort (1) flung a shot from the point with eyes that may have tipped off of a Canes skaters’ stick under Raanta’s blocker side while the Carolina netminder was temporarily without a stick– having dropped it seconds prior.

Nosek (1) had the only assist on Forbort’s first goal– regular season or playoffs– since Nov. 20th and the Bruins had a, 4-1, lead as a result at 10:43.

Jaccob Slavin sent an errant puck over the glass and out of play at 12:01, but the B’s failed to capitalize on their last power play opportunity of the night.

With 4:33 remaining in the action, Hurricanes head coach, Rod Brind’Amour, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker, but it wasn’t long before Lazar (1) floated a shot from the red line into the empty twine to give Boston a, 5-1, advantage.

Foligno (1) and Nosek (2) tallied the assists on Lazar’s empty net goal at 15:43 of the third period.

Less than a minute later, Marchand was assessed a four-minute double-minor penalty for spearing Kotkaniemi while skating past the Carolina forward at 16:20.

The Hurricanes made relatively quick work of the first power play as Slavin sent the puck to Martin Nečas, who fed Svechnikov (3) for another one-timer goal– this time cutting the deficit from four goals to three.

Nečas (3) and Slavin (4) had the assists on Svechnikov’s power-play goal– his second goal of the game– at 17:30 of the third period.

The Bruins killed off the rest of Marchand’s penalty and went on to win, 5-2, at the final horn.

At the end of the night, Boston left their own ice leading in shots on goal, 34-25, including a, 15-8, advantage in the third period alone, while Carolina dominated in everything else, including blocked shots (18-12), giveaways (10-5), hits (42-34) and faceoff win% (52-48).

The Hurricanes finished the night 1-for-6 on the power play, while the Bruins went 1-for-3 on the skater advantage.

The B’s are now 13-14 all time in a Game 6 when trailing in a series 3-2 and are looking to win a best-of-seven series for just the third time in 29 instances of at one point trailing 2-0 in the series heading into Game 3.

Game 7 is back at PNC Arena in Raleigh Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. ET with the winner clinching the series 4-3 and advancing to the Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Viewers in the United States can tune to ESPN, while those in Canada can catch the action on SN360, SNE, SNW, SNP and TVAS.

Local markets can also watch the game on their corresponding regional networks if so desired.

Boston will be making their 29th appearance in a Game 7 and enters Saturday with a 15-13 record in 28 prior Game 7 efforts, having most recently lost in a Game 7 on home ice to the St. Louis Blues in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

The Bruins lead in Game 7 appearances (28) and are tied with the Montréal Canadiens for the most wins (15), as well as with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the most losses (13).

Carolina is entering their eighth appearance in a Game 7 Saturday afternoon with a 5-3 record in seven prior instances of a Game 7, having most recently beaten the Washington Capitals on the road in Game 7 of their 2019 First Round series in double overtime.

The Hurricanes last hosted a Game 7 on home ice in the 2006 Stanley Cup Final when they defeated the Edmonton Oilers to clinch the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship.

The Canes are 5-0 in a Game 7 since relocating from Hartford and previously defeated the Bruins on the road in Game 7 of their 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinal series in overtime.

Coincidentally, that game was also held on May 14th.

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Podcasts

DTFR Podcast #249- 2022 First Round Preview In Progress (Part 2)

Nick and Sean preview the Western Conference matchups in the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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

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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins beat Blues in overtime on the road, 3-2

For the first time since Game 6 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, the Boston Bruins paid a visit to Enterprise Center on Tuesday night and snapped the St. Louis Blues’ nine-game winning streak with a, 3-2, overtime victory on the road.

Charlie McAvoy scored the game-winning goal for Boston less than a minute into the extra frame, while Jeremy Swayman (22-12-3, 2.33 goals-against average, .916 save percentage in 38 games played) made 20 saves on 22 shots against in the win.

St. Louis goaltender, Ville Husso (24-6-6, 2.46 goals-against average, .923 save percentage in 38 games played) stopped 32 out of 35 shots faced in the overtime loss.

The Bruins improved to 47-24-5 (99 points) on the season and are now one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning (46-22-8, 100 points) for 3rd in the Atlantic Division, while remaining 4th place in the division and in command of the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Blues, meanwhile, fell to 46-20-11 (103 points) overall and dropped to 3rd in the Central Division as a result of the Minnesota Wild’s, 2-0, victory against the Montréal Canadiens Tuesday night– forcing St. Louis and Minnesota in a tiebreaker that the Wild currently hold by virtue of having played in one fewer game than the Blues so far this season (76 games to St. Louis’ 77).

Boston finished 1-1-0 in their 2021-22 regular season series against St. Louis having previously gone 1-0-0 in their 2019-20 campaign that was cut short due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (which also prevented the two teams from meeting in the regular season in 2020-21).

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters ahead of the game that David Pastrnak (undisclosed), Hampus Lindholm (lower body) and Linus Ullmark (undisclosed) would not make the two-game road trip against the Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins and are likely to return next week prior to the conclusion of the regular season.

As such, the B’s were without Pastrnak, Lindholm and Ullmark in addition to being short Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) on Tuesday.

Frödén’s injury meant that Curtis Lazar would slide in on the right side of the second line with Tomáš Nosek returning to the lineup to center the fourth line.

Cassidy made no other changes to his lineup from last Saturday’s, 2-1, victory against Pittsburgh to Tuesday night at Enterprise Center.

Jack Studnicka, Josh Brown, Jack Ahcan and Anton Blidh made up Boston’s list of healthy scratches in St. Louis.

Nathan Walker hooked Erik Haula and presented the Bruins with the first power play opportunity of the night at 5:40 of the first period, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage as it was cut short when Mike Reilly caught Brayden Schenn with a high stick at 6:49.

The B’s fell to 0-for-26 on the power play in their last 26 opportunities as a result.

St. Louis didn’t convert on their abbreviated skater advantage as the Bruins made the kill and Reilly returned to the ice from his sixth penalty in his last last games (four of which were, in fact, for high sticking).

Midway through the opening frame, McAvoy hooked Ryan O’Reilly at 11:11 and presented the Blues with another power play.

This time St. Louis made quick work of the skater advantage as Pavel Buchnevich (28) redirected a one-touch pass from Vladimir Tarasenko past Swayman to give the Blues a, 1-0, lead at 11:49 of the first period.

Tarasenko (44) and Jordan Kyrou (43) tallied the assists on Buchnevich’s power-play goal.

Late in the period, the two teams went into the first intermission at 4-on-4 after Ivan Barbashev and Lazar went into the box for roughing and an unsportsmanlike conduct infraction, respectively, at 19:15.

The two clubs would resume 5-on-5 action early in the middle frame after the penalties expired.

After one period, St. Louis led, 1-0, on the scoreboard, despite Boston holding an, 11-8, advantage in shots on goal.

The Bruins also led in blocked shots (8-3), takeaways (5-3) and faceoff win percentage (57-43), while the Blues led in giveaways (5-1) and hits (12-7).

St. Louis was 1-for-2 on the power play, while Boston was 0-for-1 on the skater advantage heading into the middle period.

Jake DeBrusk (23) sent a shot over Husso’s short side under the crossbar and off the back bar in the net before the puck rebounded back out of the twine.

The goal was waved off at first before a quick official review determined that the rubber biscuit had gone in and out so quickly– rendering an assist to Matt Grzelcyk (20) in the process while DeBrusk tied the game, 1-1, at 1:33 of the second period.

Almost midway through the middle frame, Haula sent a one-hand pass back to the point where Derek Forbort got a shot off towards the slot that Taylor Hall (17) tipped from below the crossbar past Husso– giving the Bruins their first lead of the night, 2-1, in the process.

Forbort (10) and Haula (25) notched the assists on Hall’s goal and the B’s had momentum well on their side at 9:44.

Late in the period, however, Forbort cut a rut to the penalty box for tripping Dakota Joshua, but Boston was able to make the kill on the ensuing infraction and special teams action at 17:00 of the second period.

In the vulnerable minute thereafter, though, the Blues managed to fling a shot at the net that Robert Thomas (19) tipped while skating through the slot to tie the game, 2-2, at 19:57.

Buchnevich (43) and Tarasenko (45) had the assists on Thomas’ goal with 2.4 seconds left on the clock in the second period as the Bruins gave up their 19th goal against in the final minute of any period this season.

Through 40 minutes the score was tied, 2-2, despite Boston holding a decisive advantage in shots on goal, 28-17. The Bruins even outshot the Blues, 17-9, in the second period alone.

The B’s held the advantage in blocked shots (10-8), takeaways (11-5) and faceoff win% (63-38), while the Blue Notes led in giveaways (8-5) and hits (15-14) heading into the final frame.

St. Louis was 1-for-3 on the power play while Boston was 0-for-1 on the skater advantage.

Neither team scored in the third period, while only Barbashev took a penalty at 6:34 for tripping Haula.

The Bruins fell to 0-for-27 on their last 27 power play opportunities as the skater advantage came and went by the wayside.

After 60 minutes of regulation, Boston and St. Louis were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard despite the Bruins holding a, 34-22, advantage in shots on goal– including a, 6-5, advantage in the third period alone.

The B’s led in takeaways (16-11), hits (22-20) and faceoff win% (59-41), while the Blues led in giveaways (11-4) after three periods.

Both teams had 13 blocked shots each, while St. Louis finished the night 1-for-3 on the power play and Boston went 0-for-2 on the skater advantage as no penalties were called in the extra frame.

Cassidy sent out Charlie Coyle, DeBrusk and McAvoy to start the overtime period, while Blues head coach, Craig Berube, countered with Thomas, Tarasenko and Justin Faulk.

It didn’t take long for the Bruins to nearly blow it, then win it.

One Boston skater misplayed a loose puck before DeBrusk over-skated it prior to Swayman emerging from the crease to clear it off the boards in the neutral zone while facing pressure from a St. Louis forward.

The Bruins quickly recovered from their own unforced error and entered the attacking zone on a rush with DeBrusk cutting to the trapezoid rather than shooting the puck prior to sending a pass back to McAvoy (9) as the defender crept into the high slot and snapped a shot past Husso for the game-winning goal.

DeBrusk (15) and Coyle (26) had the assists on McAvoy’s goal 48 seconds into overtime and the Bruins won, 3-2, almost as quickly as the extra frame began.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 35-22, including a, 1-0, advantage in overtime alone, as well as maintaining their advantage in hits (22-20) and faceoff win% (60-40).

St. Louis left their own ice with the lead in giveaways (11-4), while both teams managed to amass 13 blocked shots each.

The Bruins snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Blues in the process on Tuesday night, while improving to 9-3 in overtime this season (11-5 past regulation overall in 2021-22).

The Blues fell to 3-9 in overtime this season, as well as 5-11 past regulation overall.

St. Louis also dropped to 27-8-6 (16-4-3 at home) when scoring first, 20-1-4 (14-0-3 at home) when leading after one and 8-4-5 (3-2-3 at home) when tied after two periods in 2021-22.

Boston improved to 13-15-3 (6-7-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 6-13-2 (2-6-1 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 14-5-0 (7-4-0 on the road) when tied after the second period this season.

The Bruins head to PPG Paints Arena for a matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night before hosting the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden on ABC.

Boston heads to Montréal on Sunday before hosting Florida and Buffalo next Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, prior to their regular season finale in Toronto next Friday.

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Podcasts

DTFR Podcast #246- Depth Chart Depth (feat. Sean Reilly)

Sean returns to the program to talk about the Boston Bruins, a plethora of injuries around the league, Doug Wilson, the Western Conference wild card race, Mike Bossy and more including an all-new segment where Sean flips the script and asks Nick stuff.

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

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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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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

DeBrusk, Coyle spur electrifying overtime win against Lightning

Jake DeBrusk had the game’s first goal less than a minute into the second period and assisted on Charlie Coyle’s game-winning overtime goal a little past the midpoint of the extra frame as the Boston Bruins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1, in overtime at Amalie Arena Friday night.

Linus Ullmark (23-9-2, 2.58 goals-against average, .912 save percentage in 36 games played) made 28 saves on 29 shots against in the win for Boston.

Tampa netminder, Andrei Vasilevskiy (35-16-5, 2.45 goals-against average, .917 save percentage in 56 games played), stopped 35 out of 37 shots faced in the overtime loss.

The Bruins cemented 3rd place in the Atlantic Division as a result of the win– gaining a one point lead over the Lightning in the standings with a 45-21-5 record (95 points) to Tampa’s 43-20-8 record (94 points).

Boston trails the Toronto Maple Leafs by three points for 2nd place in the Atlantic with the two clubs set to meet in the regular season finale on April 29th at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

The B’s, Bolts and Leafs each have 11 games remaining in their 2021-22 regular season schedules and are vying for home ice advantage behind the Atlantic Division leading, Florida Panthers, who’ve amassed 106 points so far with a 50-15-6 record (both are Panthers franchise records) in 71 games.

As a result of Friday night’s win, the Bruins clinched their regular season series against the Lightning– finishing 3-0-1 against Tampa in the 2021-22 regular season– marking the first time that Boston beat the Bolts overall in their regular season matchups since 2017-18, when the Bruins went 3-1-0 against Tampa before losing in five games in the 2018 Second Round to the Lightning.

Boston did not play Tampa last season as a result of the condensed 56-game regular season schedule and temporarily realigned divisions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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

The Bruins were without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL), David Pastrnak (undisclosed) and Hampus Lindholm (lower body) on Friday.

Trent Frederic returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday night’s, 5-3, loss in Detroit with an upper body injury.

As a result, B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, promoted Marc McLaughlin to the second line right wing with Frederic and Nick Foligno returning to their usual roles on the third and fourth line respectively.

Tomáš Nosek was relegated from the second line back to his regular spot as the fourth line center– flanked by Foligno and Curtis Lazar on his wings as Jack Studnicka, Josh Brown and Anton Blidh served as Boston’s healthy scratches in Tampa.

On defense, Mike Reilly suited up alongside Charlie McAvoy on the first pairing with Lindholm out of action, while Connor Clifton joined Derek Forbort on the third pairing.

Among injured players, Lindholm is closer to a return than Pastrnak and may be ready to go in Washington, D.C. on Sunday afternoon.

Reilly caught Corey Perry with a high stick to kick things off at 2:18 of the first period– yielding the night’s first power play to the Lightning as a result.

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

Midway through the opening frame, Matt Grzelcyk cross checked Brandon Hagel and cut a rut to the sin bin as a result at 11:33.

The Bolts’ power play was cut short when Alex Killorn tripped Forbort at 11:50.

After a span of 1:43 at 4-on-4, the Bruins had an abbreviated power play with Killorn in the box, but Boston couldn’t take advantage of their short skater advantage.

Entering the first intermission, the score remained tied, 0-0, despite Tampa outshooting Boston, 11-10, in shots on goal.

The Lightning held the advantage in blocked shots (6-3), giveaways (2-1), hits (12-10) and faceoff win percentage (53-47), while both teams had one takeaway each.

Tampa was 0/2 on the power play, while the Bruins were 0/1 heading into the middle frame.

Reilly’s indirect pass intended for Brad Marchand bounced off the boards shortly after play resumed for the second period, whereby Patrice Bergeron was able to scoop up the loose puck and enter the attacking zone with Marchand in tow.

Together, the two forwards worked their way towards the slot before Bergeron sent the puck to Marchand that Marchand quickly one-touched a pass over to DeBrusk (22) as No. 74 in black and gold crashed the net and slid the rubber biscuit through Vasilevskiy’s five-hole on a backhand shot.

Marchand (41) and Bergeron (36) had the assists on DeBrusk’s goal as the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead 47 seconds into the second period.

Boston’s lead, however, wasn’t for long as Tampa mounted a surge in momentum that road on the coattails of a long shift for the Bruins as the B’s failed to clear their own zone.

Perry received a pass from Jan Rutta and sent the puck across the slot to the opposite circle whereby Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (8) one-timed a shot past Ullmark– tying the game, 1-1, in the process at 3:28 of the second period.

Perry (18) and Rutta (14) notched the assists on the goal.

Midway through the middle frame, Anthony Cirelli tripped Marchand and presented the Bruins with another power play at 11:21.

Less than a minute later, though, Erik Haula was assessed a roughing infraction for exchanging pleasantries with Rutta at 12:08.

After 1:14 of 4-on-4 action, the Lightning had an abbreviated power play come and go with no result to show on the scoreboard.

Late in the period, Foligno tripped Zach Bogosian, but despite their fourth power play of the night at 17:20 of the second period, the Bolts weren’t able to capitalize on the special teams action.

Through 40 minutes of play, the score was tied, 1-1, while the Bruins outshot the Lightning, 26-17, including a, 16-6, advantage in the second period alone.

Tampa held the advantage in blocked shots (11-5), takeaways (4-3), hits (22-21) and faceoff win% (55-46), while both teams managed three giveaways aside.

The Bolts were 0/4 and the B’s were 0/2 on the power play heading into the final frame of regulation.

Reilly cut a rut to the box for catching another Lightning skater with a high stick– this time Ondrej Palat– at 1:33 of the third period.

Boston’s penalty kill, however, stood tall once more.

The two teams swapped chances as they went up and down the ice– end-to-end– at blistering speeds as Ullmark and Vasilevskiy wracked up save after save.

Ullmark denied Brayden Point with his left pad on a breakaway almost midway through the third period after Boston had sustained offensive zone time, but couldn’t muster anything past Vasilevskiy at the other end.

Palat tripped Marchand at 15:45 of the third period, but the Bruins couldn’t beat the Lightning’s penalty killing units.

Overtime became a necessity with the score still tied, 1-1, after regulation.

Boston outshot Tampa, 36-28, despite both teams managing to amass 11 shots on goal each in the third period alone.

The Bolts led in takeaways (6-3), giveaways (6-5), hits (35-32) and faceoff win% (51-49) after 60 minutes. The B’s led in blocked shots (13-7).

As no penalties were called in the extra frame, the Lightning finished the night 0/5 on the power play, while the Bruins went 0/3.

Cassidy sent out Coyle, DeBrusk and McAvoy to begin overtime, while Tampa’s head coach, Jon Cooper, countered with Point, Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman.

The Lightning recorded the first shot of the overtime period, but it was Boston that’d win the game.

After several short shifts, Tampa emerged with an upper hand in momentum as Kucherov and Point were back on the ice.

Point couldn’t get a shot off as a loose puck bounced before him on the doorstep while DeBrusk backchecked the Lightning forward and took him out of the play.

McAvoy skated up into the neutral zone with possession before dropping a pass back to DeBrusk as No. 74 rushed into the attacking zone– leading to a 2-on-1 with Coyle.

DeBrusk flipped a pass to Coyle for a one-timer that went wide and caromed off the glass behind the net where the two forwards worked to win a battle for the loose puck.

Coyle (16) wrapped around the net and got his own rebound to follow up with a second chance shot that hit the back of the twine– sealing the deal on a, 2-1, overtime victory for Boston as a result.

DeBrusk (14) and McAvoy (43) had the assists on Coyle’s game-winning goal at 3:37 of the overtime period as the Bruins finished the night leading in shots on goal, 37-29, despite both teams managing to fire one shot on net each in the extra frame alone.

Boston emerged victorious with the all-important bonus point in the standings to separate themselves from Tampa, while exiting Amalie Arena with the advantage in blocked shots (13-9) by the end of the night as well.

The Lightning left their own ice leading in giveaways (7-5), hits (36-32) and faceoff win% (52-48).

Tampa is now on a four-game losing streak for the first time this season, while Boston improved to 9-0-1 in games following a game in which they’ve allowed five or more goals this season.

Ullmark, meanwhile, is 6-1-1 in nine games (eight starts) since March 1st– amassing a 2.02 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage in that span.

The Bruins improved to 8-3 in overtime (10-5 past regulation) this season, while the Lightning fell to 9-3 in overtime (11-8 past regulation) n 2021-22.

Boston is now 15-5-2 (9-2-1 on the road) when tied after the first period, 33-8-2 (18-4-1 on the road) when scoring first, and 13-4-0 (6-3-0 on the road) when tied after two periods this season.

As a result of the overtime loss Friday, Tampa fell to 13-7-2 (7-3-2 at home) when tied after one, 19-17-3 (9-5-3 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal and 11-4-2 (5-1-2 at home) when tied through two periods in 2021-22.

The Bruins wrap up their four-game road trip (2-1-0) Sunday afternoon at Capital One Arena against the Washington Capitals.

Boston returns to TD Garden for a three-game homestand beginning on April 12th against the St. Louis Blues.