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.
Charlie Coyle scored two goals in the Boston Bruins’, 4-2, victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden– extending Boston’s winning streak to six-games in the process.
In the meantime, Arizona has not defeated the Bruins in their last 16 meetings.
Tuukka Rask (20-4-6 record, 2.15 goals against average, .930 save percentage in 31 games played) stopped 29 out of 31 shots faced for a .935 SV% in the win for Boston.
The Bruins goaltender improved to 12-0-6 at TD Garden this season, which is the best home point streak record to start a season in B’s franchise history– surpassing Gilles Gilbert’s record set in the 1970-71 season.
Only Bill Durnan (25 games with a point in 1943-44 with the Montreal Canadiens) and Tony Esposito (20 games with a point in 1970-71 with the Chicago Blackhawks) had longer point streaks in NHL history.
Rask is now tied with Evgeny Nabokov (18-game point streak in 2008-09 with the San Jose Sharks), Ken Dryden (18-game point streak in 1978-79 with the Canadiens) and Billy Smith (18-game point streak in 1977-78 with the New York Islanders).
Coyotes goaltender, Adin Hill (2-3-2, 2.54 GAA, .918 SV% in 11 games played), made 29 saves on 32 shots against for a .906 SV% in the loss.
Boston improved to 34-10-12 (80 points) on the season and remain atop the NHL standings, as well as the Atlantic Division, while Arizona fell to 27-23-7 (61 points) and stuck in 4th place in the Pacific Division.
The B’s also improved to 19-2-9 at home this season and have won seven out of their last eight games.
The last time the Bruins lost to the Coyotes was on Oct. 9, 2010, when both teams opened the 2010-11 season with a pair of games against each other in Prague, Czech Republic. Boston lost the first game, 5-2, on Oct. 9th before defeating the then known as Phoenix Coyotes, 3-0, on Oct. 10th.
The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee), Connor Clifton (upper body), Joakim Nordstrom (allergy complications) and Brandon Carlo (personal leave) on Saturday.
Danton Heinen served as the only healthy scratch for Boston against the Coyotes.
Clifton participated in practice with the rest of the team, but in a red non-contact sweater, while Nordstrom and Carlo are expected to join the rest of the team in Detroit on Sunday (with Carlo at least being re-inserted into the lineup).
As a result of Carlo’s personal matters, John Moore was the only change to Bruce Cassidy’s lineup from Wednesday night’s, 2-1, overtime win in Chicago to Saturday afternoon’s meeting with Arizona.
Moore was paired with Torey Krug on the second defensive pairing for Boston.
Meanwhile, Karson Kuhlman and Jeremy Lauzon were reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Thursday and subsequently recalled on Friday in a paper transaction for salary cap related purposes.
Prior to the game, Boston honored their captain, Zdeno Chara, for having surpassed 1,500 career NHL games played and 1,000 career games played as a Bruin earlier in the season.
Midway through the opening frame, Charlie McAvoy hooked Taylor Hall and was sent to the penalty box with a minor infraction at 9:09 of the first period.
The Coyotes did not convert on their first power play opportunity of the afternoon.
Late in the first period, Conor Garland presented the Bruins with their first skater advantage of the game after Garland caught Chara with a high stick at 14:06.
The B’s did not score on the ensuing power play.
Moments later, Lauzon unintentionally returned the favor and caught Vinnie Hinostroza with a high stick at 17:27– yielding a power play to Arizona, but the Coyotes weren’t able to capitalize on their second power play of the game.
Less than 20 seconds after getting out of the box, Lauzon charged down the ice in a race for a loose puck that Derek Stepan got to first, then delivered a miscalculated check on the vulnerable Arizona skater and was assessed a match penalty for an illegal hit to the head at 19:39 of the first period.
The Coyotes earned a five-minute major power play as a result that would carry over into the second period as the horn sounded on the opening frame with the score still tied, 0-0.
Boston led in shots on goal (9-6), blocked shots (7-4), takeaways (3-2) and faceoff win percentage (58-42), while Arizona led in giveaways (6-0) and hits (8-7) after 20 minutes of play.
Entering the first intermission, the Coyotes were 0/3 on the power play and the B’s were 0/1.
Boston almost made it the full five minutes without allowing a power play goal against until Phil Kessel (12) kicked off the game’s scoring with a garbage goal off a rebound to give Arizona the, 1-0, lead at 3:26 of the second period.
Kessel’s goal was unassisted and marked the 15th time this season that the Bruins gave up the game’s first goal on home ice.
A little over a minute later, Lawson Crouse was guilty of roughing McAvoy when he delivered a quick shot to the head while skating by at 4:46.
Seconds after their power play ended, Boston scored on a beautiful setup when David Krejci dropped a short pass back to McAvoy, who then managed to send a quick backhand pass over to Coyle (11) for the one-timed redirection from point-blank to tie the game, 1-1.
McAvoy (20) and Krejci (26) had the assists on Coyle’s first goal of the game at 6:50 of the second period.
Midway through the middle frame, Brad Richardson bumped into Chris Wagner without the puck and was charged with an interference minor at 11:59.
This time around, Boston was successful at capitalizing on the skater advantage as Patrice Bergeron won the faceoff to Brad Marchand, which led to Marchand tossing the puck back to the point whereby Krug corralled the puck and sent it across the blue line to David Pastrnak for the purposeful shot to the slot where Bergeron (23) outstretched his blade for the redirection goal to give the Bruins their first lead of the day, 2-1.
Pastrnak (38) and Krug (31) tallied the assists on Bergeron’s power play goal at 12:06 of the second period.
About a couple minutes later, Niklas Hjalmarsson hooked Wagner and was assessed a minor penalty at 14:13.
This time the Bruins took a few extra seconds before hitting the back of the twine on a Jake DeBrusk (18) tip-in from the doorstep off of another shot from Pastrnak from the faceoff circle.
Pastrnak (39) and Bergeron (22) notched the assists on DeBrusk’s power play goal and the B’s led, 3-1, at 14:35.
Through 40 minutes of play on Saturday, the Bruins led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and shots on goal were even, 21-21. Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (11-7), takeaways (5-2) and hits (14-12), while Arizona led in giveaways (10-2) and faceoff win% (56-44).
The Coyotes were 1/4 on the skater advantage, while Boston was 2/4 on the power play heading into the third period.
Just 26 seconds into the third period, Jakob Chychrun (11) sent a shot off of Rask’s glove and into the twine– cutting Boston’s lead in half to just one goal.
Clayton Keller (22) and Hinostroza (15) notched the assists on Chychrun’s goal.
Until about 1:40 remaining in regulation, both teams swapped chances, but neither team committed a penalty nor scored a goal.
With less than two minutes left in the game, Coyotes head coach, Rick Tocchet, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker, but it was not enough for Boston’s defensive efforts in their own zone as Coyle (12) cleared a loose puck from his own end down the ice and into the open twine at 19:11 of the third period.
Bergeron (23) recorded the only assist on Coyle’s empty net goal and the Bruins secured the, 4-2, win against Arizona as a result.
At the final horn, Boston finished the afternoon leading in shots on goal (33-31), blocked shots (15-12), hits (21-15) and faceoff win% (52-48).
Arizona, meanwhile, led in giveaways (14-5) and finished the game 1/4 on the power play.
The B’s went 2/4 on the skater advantage on Saturday and improved to 10-1-6 when tied after one period, as well as 18-1-6 when leading after two periods this season.
Boston travels to Detroit to face the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon before returning home for a two-game homestand against the Montreal Canadiens next Wednesday (Feb. 12th) and Red Wings next Saturday (Feb. 15th) before going on a four-game road trip with stops against the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks.
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.
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.
New Jersey Devils
31-41-10, 72 points, 8th in the Metropolitan Division
Missed the playoffs for the sixth time in the last seven seasons
Additions: F Nikia Gusev (acquired from VGK), F John Hayden (acquired from CHI), F Wayne Simmonds, F Ben Street, D Dakota Mermis, D P.K. Subban (acquired from NSH), D Matt Tennyson
Subtractions: F Kenny Agostino (signed with TOR), F Kurtis Gabriel (signed with PHI), F Adam Helewka (KHL), F Nick Lappin (signed with STL), F Stefan Noesen (signed a PTO with DAL), F Blake Pietila (signed with ANA), F John Quenneville (traded to CHI), F Eric Tangradi (KHL), D Jeremy Davies (traded to NSH), D Ryan Murphy (KHL), D Steven Santini (traded to NSH), D John Ramage (KHL), D Egor Yakovlev (KHL), G Cam Johnson (signed with Milwaukee, AHL)
Still unsigned: F Drew Stafford, F Pavel Zacha, D Eric Gryba, G Eddie Lack
Re-signed: F Brandon Baddock, D Will Butcher, D Connor Carrick, D Josh Jacobs, D Mirco Mueller
Offseason Analysis: Ray Shero is an active General Manager and he was quite the active dealer this offseason– most recently acquiring Nikita Gusev from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a 2020 3rd round pick and a 2021 2nd round pick, while also sending Steven Santini, Jeremy Davies, a 2019 2nd round pick and a 2020 2nd round pick to the Nashville Predators to acquire P.K. Subban in June.
Gusev signed a two-year deal worth $4.500 million per season to begin his NHL career at the age of 27, while Subban joins New Jersey with three years remaining on his eight-year, $72 million contract that he originally signed as an extension with the Montreal Canadiens on August 2, 2014 before being traded to Nashville in June 2016.
Shero then went on to sign Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $5.000 million contract in free agency in an effort to bolster New Jersey’s top-six forwards.
Taylor Hall is a pending-unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
It’s not known whether or not the 2018 Hart Trophy winner has any desire to stay with the Devils or not, but Shero’s making every effort to keep his team relevant for what’s likely to be the rest of Hall’s prime.
Adding Jack Hughes with the 1st overall selection in the 2019 Draft is sure to help, while Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt come into their own among the forwards and Will Butcher (signed to a three-year extension this offseason worth $3.733 million per season) and Subban lead the new-age Devils blue line from the backend.
Pavel Zacha, the 22-year-old native of Brno, Czech Republic, scored 24 points in 70 games in his rookie season of 2016-17 and 25 points in each of the last two seasons (8-17–25 totals in 69 games in 2017-18 and 13-12–25 totals in 61 games in 2018-19).
Zacha is currently an unsigned-restricted free agent who should fit under New Jersey’s $8.712 million in currently available cap space, but shouldn’t be more than a one or two-year bridge deal as he has yet to prove himself of a larger role and the Devils are looking to avoid restricting themselves from next summer’s negotiations with Hall, Simmonds and others.
The one thing Shero hasn’t touched– mostly because he can’t– is goaltending.
Cory Schneider has a $6.000 million cap hit and three-years remaining on his contract and is coming off a career-worst, 3.06 goals against average and .903 save percentage in 26 games played as an NHL regular goaltender.
Mackenzie Blackwood emerged with a hot start to the season in 2018-19, but was limited both by the lack of protection in front of him, as well as injury, to just 23 games and a 2.61 GAA and a .918 SV% in his rookie campaign.
Blackwood’s .918 SV% is promising, but his 2.61 GAA is more endemic of an anemic defense the Devils are looking to get more out of– hence the addition of Subban.
Offseason Grade C+
New Jersey played it safe this offseason by not overpaying for a free agent (Simmonds), while keeping the term short and sweet– leaving the door open for further relations if it is mutually beneficial, but also at risk of being left for someone else if Simmonds looks to cash-in on a superb 2019-20 season elsewhere.
Shero bolstered his defense out of necessity, but might not have a playoff-ready roster without more work to be done. If the Devils were a yearly playoff contender, this offseason would look much better than it actually is. Sadly, it’s just a little above average for a team in transition from free-fall to “stable” rebuilder.
Nick and Colby recap the headlines from the last month as well as take a look at all of the New York market teams and try to figure out if any of them are actually any good as Season Six of the podcast begins.