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Deadline Deals NHL

Toronto Maple Leafs Add More Depth at Goaltending

The Toronto Maple Leafs add more goaltending depth with the addition of David Rittich. The Leafs acquired the 28 year old goalie for a 3 round pick in the 2022 draft. 

Rittich was an undrafted free agent signed by the Calgary Flames back in 2016. He has a career SV% of .908 and a 2.83 GAA in 130 games. Rittich’s contract is up at the end of the season so it made most sense for the Flames to grab something for him in return rather than walking away for nothing. 

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Deadline Deals NHL

Analysis: Leafs add depth and vital cap space in Nash

The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired center, Riley Nash, from the Columbus Blue Jackets for a conditional 2022 7th round pick on Friday. If Nash appears in 25% of Toronto’s 2021 postseason games, then the 2022 7th round pick is upgraded to the Maple Leafs’ own 2022 6th round pick.

Nash, in the meantime, was placed on the long-term injured reserve on Tuesday (ahead of Friday’s deal) with a lower body injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for six weeks at most.

While Columbus continues to fall out of the playoff picture, Maple Leafs General Manager, Kyle Dubas, got some much needed depth in the event of injury and relief in salary cap spending as the trade deadline approaches on Monday, April 12th at 3 p.m. ET.

Toronto won’t have to worry about working Nash into the lineup or his salary for the time being, while Dubas is free to work the phones for potential additions without subtraction as the Leafs look to win their first Stanley Cup ring since 1967.

Nash, 31, had seven points (two goals, five assists) in 37 games with Columbus this season at the time of the trade on Friday.

A Consort, Alberta native, he has 63-109–172 totals in 578 career NHL games with the Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins and Blue Jackets and was originally drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1st round (21st overall) of the 2007 NHL Draft.

The 6-foot-2, 188-pound center made his league debut with the Hurricanes in 2011-12, and has 2-6–8 totals in 32 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, including one goal and one assist in 10 postseason games in 2020 with Columbus.

He set career-highs in goals (15), assists (26) and points (41) in 76 games with the Bruins in 2017-18, and has made a career out of being one of the better penalty killing forwards in today’s game.

Nash carries a $2.750 million cap hit and is a pending-unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

The 2022 7th round pick that the Blue Jackets acquired in the Nash trade is Toronto’s own, which likely won’t pan out to be much unless Columbus General Manager, Jarmo Kekäläinen, has other ideas in mind, such as utilizing his scouting staff to the utmost of their ability and finding a diamond in the rough or flipping the pick as part of a deal at a later date.

In the meantime, Kekäläinen has bigger fish to fry with head coach, John Tortorella’s, contract expiring at season’s end and virtually no reason to keep Tortorella in the dressing room if the Blue Jackets are indeed to miss 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs action.

Columbus could fire Tortorella now and try to save face when it comes time to re-sign valuable free agents like pending restricted free agent, Patrik Laine, or they could let Tortorella go without renewing his current deal (and thus owing nothing in severance packages or whatever) and face whatever consequences that has on their roster.

Additionally, Kekäläinen will have to assess whether it’s worth selling off further expendable parts to gear up for the 2021 Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft, as well as the 2021-22 season.

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NHL Nick's Net

Bruins shred Flyers, 7-3, at Lake Tahoe

Philadelphia Flyers mascot, Gritty, and Boston Bruins mascot, Blades the Bruin, might have shared the slopes on Saturday, but their two teams weren’t in much of a sharing mood on Sunday when Boston defeated Philadelphia in a lopsided, 7-3, victory outdoors by the 18th hole of the Edgewood Tahoe Resort.

David Pastrnak had a hat trick in the win for the Bruins, while Tuukka Rask (7-2-1, 2.56 goals against average, .901 save percentage in 10 games played) made 16 saves on 19 shots against (.842 SV%) for the win on the shores of Lake Tahoe.

Flyers goaltender, Carter Hart (5-3-3, 3.68 GAA, .891 SV% in 11 games played) stopped 17 out of 23 shots faced for a .739 SV% before being replaced after two periods by Brian Elliott (3-1-0, 2.25 GAA, .928 SV% in six games played) in the loss.

Boston improved to 11-3-2 (24 points) on the season and remained in command of 1st place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while Philadelphia fell to 8-4-3 (19 points) overall, but stable in the division in 3rd place.

The B’s also improved to 5-1-0 on home ice this season– yes, they were designated as the home team despite playing at a neutral rink in Stateline, Nevada.

The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Vegas Golden Knights, 3-2, on Saturday night after an eight-hour sunny weather delay melted sections of the ice– deeming the playing surface too unsafe for both players and on-ice officials after the first period ended around midday on Saturday.

The Avs and Golden Knights resumed play around midnight on the East Coast (9 p.m. local time Saturday) and finished the remaining 40 minutes of action unscathed.

It was the first outdoor win for Colorado (1-2-0) and the very first outdoor appearance for Vegas (0-1-0) in the first of two games as part of the National Hockey League’s 2021 Outdoors at Lake Tahoe weekend.

The Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Matt Grzelcyk (lower body), Jakub Zboril (upper body), David Krejci (lower body) and Kevan Miller (lower body) on Sunday.

As a result, Boston recalled Urho Vaakanainen and Jack Studnicka from the taxi squad and head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made several adjustments to his lineup.

Pastrnak was returned to his usual role on the first line right wing, having spent last Thursday’s, 3-2, loss at home to the New Jersey Devils on the second line with Krejci at center.

Craig Smith and Charlie Coyle moved up to the second line with Krejci out due to injury and Jake DeBrusk demoted to the third line comprised of Anders Bjork at left wing, Studnicka at center and DeBrusk on the right side.

Meanwhile, Nick Ritchie retained his role on the second line left wing.

Trent Frederic, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner were reunited on the fourth line.

On defense, Vaakanainen slid in on the left side of the second defensive pairing with Brandon Carlo as his partner and wearing an “A” as an alternate captain while Krejci is out of the lineup.

John Moore and Connor Clifton were paired on the third pairing, while Jeremy Lauzon and Charlie McAvoy remained as the top blue liners.

Kase, Krejci, Grzelcyk, Zboril, Karson Kuhlman, Miller, Greg McKegg, Steven Kampfer and Callum Booth were out of the lineup due to injury, being a healthy scratch and/or members of the taxi squad.

All injured Bruins, in fact, did not travel with the team for Sunday’s matchup with the Flyers at Lake Tahoe.

Several Flyers were also not in attendance, though the majority of them were in the league’s COVID protocol, including Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, Scott Laughton, Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux and Justin Braun. Meanwhile, Morgan Frost was already on the injured reserve.

Pastrnak (7) opened the scoring 34 seconds into the first period after Patrice Bergeron blocked a shot in his own zone before sending Brad Marchand through the neutral zone with a pass that led to the two-on-one, one-timer opportunity for Pastrnak to rocket a shot past Hart.

Marchand (10) and Bergeron (12) tallied the assists on the game’s first goal as the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead less than a minute into Sunday’s action.

With the secondary assist on Pastrnak’s first goal of the game, Bergeron tied Bobby Orr for 5th place on Boston’s all time scoring list with 888 points in a Bruins uniform.

Meanwhile, Lauzon left the rink after just 34 seconds and later was ruled out for the rest of the night with an upper body injury as the Bruins would later confirm in a tweet during the first intermission.

Nearly six minutes into the opening frame, Joel Farabee (8) pounced on a puck that took a wild bounce off the endboards with enough juice to make it back into the slot while falling and fired it past Rask to tie the game, 1-1.

Sean Couturier (4) and James van Riemsdyk (12) notched the assists on Farabee’s goal at 6:41 of the first period.

In fact, van Riemsdyk’s secondary assist marked the 500th career NHL point for the 31-year-old New Jersey native.

By the end of the night, he had 502 career points– 208 in 343 games with the Flyers and 294 in 413 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs– as a result of his 1-2–3 totals in the loss.

Midway through the opening frame, Couturier tripped Marchand and was sent to the box with a minor infraction at 12:34.

Boston’s first chance on the power play did not go as well as they had hoped and resulted in a goal against in the vulnerable minute after special teams play.

Fresh out of the sin bin, Couturier (3) buried a loose puck from the low slot after McAvoy shattered his stick in the other end, then played catchup without a blade in his hands.

Kevin Hayes worked the puck to van Riemsdyk, but Rask made the initial save.

Hayes (8) and van Riemsdyk (13) still ended up grabbing the assists on Couturier’s goal as Philadelphia took their first lead of the night, 2-1, at 14:48.

Boston answered back in a hurry, however, when McAvoy (2) sent a blast from the point while Bergeron screened Hart in front of the net.

Marchand (11) and Clifton (1) tallied the assists on McAvoy’s goal at 15:27, as the Bruins tied the game, 2-2.

Entering the first intermission, the score was tied, 2-2, despite the Flyers holding an, 11-8, advantage in shots on goal.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (6-1), giveaways (1-0) and faceoff win percentage (58-42), while Philadelphia led in hits (13-8) after one period of action in Lake Tahoe.

Neither team had a takeaway, while the B’s were 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame (Philly had yet to see time on the skater advantage).

Less than a minute into the second period, Pastrnak (8) added his second goal of the night after ripping a shot high over Hart’s glove on short side under the bar.

Ritchie (7) and Vaakanainen (1) picked up the assists as Boston took a, 3-2, lead 46 seconds into the second period.

Vaakanainen’s secondary assist marked the first point of his NHL career in just his eighth game.

Meanwhile, the Flyers were penalized for too many skaters on the ice at 6:17, but the B’s weren’t able to convert on the ensuing power play.

Late in the second period, Boston kicked off a flurry of goals when Coyle (3) unleashed a shot off the post, off the back of Hart and into the net to give the Bruins a two-goal lead at 16:14.

Smith (3) had the only assist on Coyle’s goal as the B’s led, 4-2, for less than a minute before Frederic (1) sniped a shot high-side side from about the faceoff circle to the left of the Philadelphia netminder to make it a three-goal lead.

Moore (1) and Clifton (2) tallied the assists on Frederic’s first career NHL goal and the Bruins led, 5-2, at 16:47.

After serving the bench minor for too many skaters, Andy Andreoff took out his frustrations after two quick goals against by delivering his stick to Kuraly’s face.

The Flyers forward spent two more minutes in the penalty box– this time with a roughing infraction at 16:47.

About a minute into the resulting power play, Ritchie (5) tipped in a shot from the point by Moore to give Boston a power-play goal and a, 6-2, lead on the scoreboard.

Moore (2) and Smith (4) notched the assists at 17:53 of the second period as Boston riffled three goals in about 90 seconds.

Less than a minute later, Bjork was penalized for holding and gave Philly a power play at 18:16 of the second period.

After 40 minutes of play lakeside, the Bruins led, 6-2, on the scoreboard and, 23-14, in shots on goal, including a, 15-3, advantage in the second period alone.

Boston also held the lead in blocked shots (13-6), takeaways (3-2), giveaways (5-3) and faceoff win% (59-41), while Philadelphia led in hits (22-13).

The Flyers were 0/1 on the power play, while the Bruins were 1/3 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame of regulation.

Flyers head coach, Alain Vigneault, swapped goaltenders in the second intermission, replacing Hart with Elliott for the final period at Lake Tahoe.

Hart finished his night with six goals allowed on 23 shots, but in the process became the youngest goaltender to play in an outdoor NHL game at 22 years and 192 days old.

He beat Semyon Varlamov’s previous record of 22 years and 249 days back when Varlamov was the netminder for the Washington Capitals in the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, Bjork cut another rut to the penalty box for hooking Flyers defender, Shayne Gostisbehere at 9:31 of the third period– presenting another power play opportunity for Philadelphia.

Philly didn’t have any luck on their second skater advantage of the evening, but as the saying goes “the third time’s a charm” as Carlo was assessed an interference minor when colliding with Travis Sanheim in front of the Boston net at 12:37.

This time the Flyers won the ensuing faceoff, worked the puck around the attacking zone before Hayes found van Riemsdyk in front of the net in the low slot whereby van Riemsdyk (8) inadvertently sent the puck off Vaakanainen and into the twine behind Rask while trying to make a no-look between the legs pass.

Hayes (9) and Ivan Provorov (6) picked up the assists on van Riemsdyk’s power-play goal and the Flyers trailed, 6-3, at 12:45 of the third period.

Late in the game, Pastrnak (9) completed his hat trick thanks to a one-timer goal from one knee on a pass from Studnicka at 17:04.

Studnicka (1) had the only assist on Pastrnak’s third goal of the game and the Bruins took a four-goal lead, 7-3, while Pastrnak picked up his 10th career hat trick, as well as his 2nd hat trick of the season and just the 2nd hat trick in an outdoor NHL game in league history.

Tyler Toffoli scored a hat trick for the Los Angeles Kings in their, 3-1, win over the Avalanche at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado for the first outdoor NHL hat trick in the 2020 Stadium Series game.

Pastrnak’s hat trick, meanwhile, was the first outdoor hat trick in Bruins franchise history and gave Boston an outdoor record tying seven goals as the B’s matched the same outcome of the New York Rangers’, 7-3, victory against the New Jersey Devils in a 2014 Stadium Series game at Yankee Stadium.

The Rangers (four wins outside) are the only team with more outdoor wins than Boston (three) and Washington (three) as the Bruins picked up another outdoor victory over the Flyers at the final sound of the horn.

The Bruins finished the evening with a, 7-3, win on the scoreboard and a, 35-19, advantage in shots on goal.

Boston also wrapped up Sunday’s effort leading in blocked shots (16-8) and faceoff win% (52-48), while Philadelphia maintained the advantage in giveaways (6-5) and hits (31-23).

Both teams went 1/3 on the power play in the 60-minute effort.

The B’s improved to 7-1-0 (4-0-0 at home) when scoring first this season, while the Flyers fell to 3-3-1 (2-2-0 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal in 2020-21.

Boston also improved to 4-2-0 (2-1-0 at home) when tied after the first period and 6-0-0 (4-0-0 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia fell to 2-2-1 (1-1-1 on the road) when tied after the first period, as well as 0-3-0 (0-2-0 on the road) when trailing after two periods this season.

The Bruins improved to 3-1-0 all time in outdoor NHL games, while the Flyers fell to 1-3-1 all time outside.

Boston and Philadelphia became the third pair of teams to face each other in an outdoor rematch (previous, Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh– 2017 Stadium Series and 2019 Stadium Series, as well as Detroit vs. Toronto– 2014 Winter Classic and 2017 Centennial Classic).

The B’s begin a three-game road trip on Long Island and in Manhattan with a meeting against the New York Islanders on Feb. 25th, as well as a pair of games against the New York Rangers to close out the month of February on the 26th and 28th.

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NHL Nick's Net

McAvoy’s three-assists help Bruins, beat Pens, 3-2, in OT

Craig Smith scored the game-winning goal in overtime Tuesday night for the Boston Bruins as Charlie McAvoy had a three-point night (all assists) in Boston’s, 3-2, overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.

Tuukka Rask (3-1-0, 2.14 goals against average, .905 save percentage in four games played) made 28 saves on 30 shots against for a .933 SV% in the overtime win for the Bruins.

Penguins goaltender, Tristan Jarry (2-2-1, 3.92 GAA, .868 SV% in five games played), stopped 33 out of 36 shots faced for a .917 SV% in the overtime loss.

Boston improved to 4-1-1 (nine points) on the season and jumped into 2nd place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while Pittsburgh fell to 4-2-1 (nine points) on the season and 4th place in the division.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from Saturday night’s, 6-1, win against the Philadelphia Flyers to Tuesday night’s meeting with the Penguins.

Once more, David Pastrnak (hip) missed his sixth game this season and has yet to make his 2020-21 debut, but returned to practice in a regular full-contact jersey on Monday. He will likely be able to make a return to the lineup on Saturday at the earliest.

Ondrej Kase (upper body) missed his fourth game due to an injury sustained on Jan. 16th in New Jersey, while Matt Grzelcyk (lower body) also remained out of the lineup for the second time this season after being injured on Jan. 21st against Philadelphia.

Greg McKegg, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Dan Vladar and Karson Kuhlman remained on the taxi squad and/or were healthy scratches on Tuesday.

Connor Clifton was penalized for cross checking and presented the Penguins with the first power play of the night at 7:18 of the first period.

Pittsburgh’s power play was powerless on the resulting skater advantage, however.

In the meantime, Boston’s penalty kill went to work and notched another shorthanded goal this season as McAvoy scooped up a loose puck that deflected off fo Jared McCann in the neutral zone before sending Brad Marchand (4) into the attacking zone for the shot that beat Jarry’s glove side.

Marchand’s goal gave the Bruins a, 1-0, lead and was his 28th career shorthanded goal (the most in B’s franchise history). McAvoy (2) had the only assist on the tally at 7:41 of the first period.

Late in the period, Chris Wagner cut a rut to the penalty box for interference at 18:03, but the Pens failed to convert on the ensuing power play.

Entering the first intermission, Boston led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 11-6, in shots on goal.

The B’s also held the advantage in hits (11-10) and faceoff win percentage (67-33), while the Penguins led in takeaways (3-0) and giveaways (6-3) after 20 minutes.

Both teams had three blocked shots aside, while Pittsburgh was 0/2 on the power play after one period. Boston had yet to see time on the skater advantage.

Early in the middle frame, Patrice Bergeron hooked Mark Jankowski and was assessed a minor infraction at 2:55 of the second period.

Pittsburgh did not convert on the resulting power play.

Moments later, Chad Ruhwedel hooked Trent Frederic and presented Boston with their first power play of the night at 6:15 of the second period.

The Bruins shortly found themselves on a two-skater advantage when Brandon Tanev tripped Marchand at 6:52.

While on the abbreviated 5-on-3 power play, the B’s established zone time with possession before McAvoy worked the puck to Marchand, who promptly sent a pass to Nick Ritchie (3) for the redirection goal on the doorstep at 7:58 of the second period.

Marchand (5) and McAvoy (3) notched the assists on Ritchie’s power-play goal as the Bruins pulled ahead, 2-0.

Through the two-skater advantage had come to a successful end, Boston’s resulting 5-on-4 advantage did not yield a change on the scoreboard.

Just past the midpoint of the middle frame– with 9:55 remaining in the second after a stoppage– the Bruins tweeted that Jake DeBrusk (lower body) would not return to the night’s action.

Moments later, Smith slashed Bryan Rust and was sent to the sin bin at 12:00.

Once again, the Penguins couldn’t muster anything on the power play.

The Pens had yet another chance at 17:45, when Jakub Zboril tripped Jake Guentzel, but Pittsburgh’s ensuing advantage was cut short when Kris Letang tripped Wagner at 18:52 of the second period.

The two clubs had 53 seconds of 4-on-4 action before Boston finished the special teams play with an abbreviated power play.

Through 40 minutes of action on Tuesday night, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard, as well as, 26-23, in shots on goal, despite being outshot by Pittsburgh, 17-15, in the second period alone.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (6-3), hits (16-14) and faceoff win% (63-38) after two periods, while the Penguins led in giveaways (10-5).

Both teams had five takeaways each after two periods of play.

The Pens were 0/5 on the power play, while the B’s were 1/3 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame of regulation.

Ritchie kicked things off in the final frame of regulation with a tripping penalty at 7:39 of the third period after he got his stick under the legs of Pierre-Olivier Joseph and took out the Penguins skater.

Pittsburgh’s ensuing power play was the best it looked all night, but the Pens weren’t successful until the vulnerable minute after special teams action, when a scramble in front of the net led to Rask overexerting himself.

While Rask was down and clutching his right thigh, Jason Zucker (1) shot the puck into the twine past Rask’s glove to cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1.

McCann (3) and Drew O’Connor (1) tallied the assists on Zucker’s goal at 9:47 of the third period. O’Connor’s secondary assist was the first point of his NHL career as the Penguins pulled to within one.

Pittsburgh’s onslaught continued, despite both teams only firing six shots on goal each in the third period.

After a break that went wrong when Marchand had the puck knocked off his stick by John Marino, Evgeni Malkin worked it to Kasperi Kapanen as the Penguins winger broke into the attacking zone with speed.

Kapanen (1) slipped the puck under Rask’s right leg pad as the Bruins goaltender tried unsuccessfully to poke the puck free from Kapanen’s reach.

Pittsburgh tied it, 2-2, at 16:44.

Malkin (2) and Zucker (2) had the assists on Kapanen’s first goal as a Penguin.

The 24-year-old native of Kuopio, Finland made his Penguins debut this season after he was re-acquired by the team over the summer after originally being drafted by Pittsburgh in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft.

Kapanen was part of the Phil Kessel trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs and broke into the league in the 2015-16 season with the Leafs prior to being sent back to Pittsburgh on Aug. 25th.

After 60 minutes of action, the game remained tied, 2-2, and thus required overtime.

The Bruins outshot the Penguins, 32-29, through regulation and held the advantage in blocked shots (9-6), takeaways (7-5) and faceoff win% (68-32).

Pittsburgh led in giveaways (14-7) and hits (26-24) heading into the extra frame.

As there were no penalties called in overtime, the Pens finished the night 0/6 on the skater advantage, while the B’s went 1/3 on the power play.

Penguins head coach, Mike Sullivan, started Sidney Crosby, Guentzel and Letang in overtime.

Cassidy countered with Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy.

The two teams swapped chances, but struggled to find the net.

Clifton misplayed the puck with about 3:37 remaining in the overtime period, which led to a breakaway opportunity for Malkin, but No. 71 on the Penguins sent a shot over Rask’s glove, off the crossbar and out of play.

Shortly thereafter, Pittsburgh nearly capitalized on yet another defensive breakdown by Boston as the Penguins entered the attacking zone with a 3-on-0 in overtime.

Malkin tossed the puck to Letang, who sent it back to Malkin for the setup on what looked to be a surefire game-winning one-timer opportunity for Pittsburgh.

Just as Malkin let go of the rubber biscuit for the last pass to Letang, Rask broke the play up with a pokecheck that shutdown the passing lane.

It was a 3-on-0 in overtime and the Penguins didn’t even record a shot on net on the scoring chance.

With less than a minute remaining in the overtime period, the Bruins were once again looking to get out of their own zone.

Boston got a break when Marino looked like he was going for a line change, then botched the play as the puck neared the bench and turned it over to McAvoy.

The Bruins defender hit Smith with a pass that led to a 2-on-0 for Boston as Smith sent the puck over to David Krejci as the B’s duo neared the Pittsburgh crease.

Krejci setup Smith (2) for the game-winning goal through Jarry’s five-hole as the Bruins succeeded where the Penguins could not.

Boston capitalized on a chance without an opposing defense.

Krejci (5) and McAvoy (4) topped off the night with assists on Smith’s game-winning goal at 4:49 of the overtime period.

The Bruins downed the Penguins, 3-2, and extended their winning streak to three games while ending Pittsburgh’s at four games.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 36-30, including a, 4-1, advantage in overtime alone.

The B’s also finished Tuesday night leading in blocked shots (11-7) and faceoff win% (70-30), while the Pens left the building with the advantage in giveaways (14-7) and hits (29-26).

The Bruins improved to 1-1 in overtime (3-1 past regulation overall) this season, while the Penguins fell to 1-1 in overtime (3-1 past regulation overall) so far in 2020-21.

Boston improved to 3-0-0 when leading after the first period, 3-0-0 when leading after the second period and 3-0-0 when scoring the game’s first goal this season.

The Bruins wrap up their four-game homestand (3-0-0) against the Penguins on Thursday before hitting the road for a four-game road trip in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.

Boston takes on their former captain, Zdeno Chara, and the Washington Capitals on Jan. 30th and Feb. 1st before venturing to the “City of Brotherly Love” to face the Flyers on Feb. 3rd and Feb. 5th.

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Previews

Calgary Flames Looks To Fight Off Red Hot Toronto Maple Leafs

For the first time in nearly a week, the Calgary Flames are back. Puck drop’s at the Saddledome at 4:00pm. 

Dillon Dube likely will not play, ( day to day with LBI ) did not skate during Saturday’s practice and there is no morning skate tomorrow. 

Geoff Ward did say that they’ll take a look at how things look in the morning and go from there. 

If Dube is unavailable, the lines will likely look like this: 

Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Dominik Simon

Andrew Mangiapane – Elias Lindholm – Matthew Tkachuk

Sam Bennett – Mikael Backlund – Josh Leivo

Milan Lucic – Derek Ryan – Joakim Nordstrom

Mark Giordano – Rasmus Andersson

Noah Hanifin – Christopher Tanev

Juuso Valimaki – Nikita Nesterov

Jacob Markstrom 

Things to watch: 

The Flames will reunite with TJ Brodie for the first time this season, after he signed with the Maple Leafs in free agency. Brodie has been heavy on the assists so far this season with three points in six games.

Chris Tanev has been an absolute beaut for the Flames. He took time to practice and shoot around with some of the younger guys yesterday.

Not only is he playing an intricate role on the penalty kill, he is showing his leadership abilities.

Goalie Frederik Andersen’s season has not been off to a hot start. With an .898 SV% and averaging nearly 3 goals against, he’s already in playoff form.

The Flames are going to have to play another full sixty minutes of hockey on both ends of the ice. Toronto is a scary team when they’re healthy and on the same wave length. The Flames have their work cut out for them.

Puck drops at 4:00pm EST. Make sure you check back for your postgame coverage!

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

Marchand helps Bruins beat Devils, 3-2, in shootout victory

The Boston Bruins kicked off the 2020-21 regular season with a, 3-2, shootout win against New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Thursday night.

Tuukka Rask (1-0-0, 1.85 goals against average, .909 save percentage in one game played, one start) made 20 saves on 22 shots faced in the shootout win for the Bruins.

Mackenzie Blackwood (0-0-1, 1.85 goals against average, .946 save percentage in one game played, one start) turned aside 35 out of 37 shots against in the shootout loss for the Devils.

Boston improved to 1-0-0 (two points) on the season, while New Jersey fell to 0-0-1 (one point) on the season.

B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, improved to 162-66-34 in 262 games with Boston.

Devils head coach, Lindy Ruff, kicked off his new gig with a shootout loss as both teams will face each other seven more times this season in the temporarily realigned MassMutual NHL East Division for the 2020-21 season.

For the first time in franchise history (97 seasons), the Bruins will not face the Montreal Canadiens at all in the regular season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting temporary division realignment with the United States’ border with Canada currently closed.

Prior to Thursday night’s action in New Jersey, Patrice Bergeron was named the 20th captain in franchise history on Jan. 6th, replacing Zdeno Chara, who served as the club’s captain from 2006-20, before departing for the Washington Capitals in free agency on Dec. 30, 2020.

David Krejci and Brad Marchand will serve as alternate captains for Boston this season.

Krejci has been an alternate captain since the 2013-14 season, while Marchand has worn an “A” on his jersey off-and-on since the 2018-19 season.

As a result of the ongoing global pandemic, teams are allowed to carry extra players on a “taxi squad” that will not count against their daily salary cap limit.

The Bruins have not announced who they will utilize on their “taxi squad” this season, but Trent Frederic, Urho Vaakanainen, Jack Studnicka, Dan Vladar and Greg McKegg all made the trip to New Jersey with the team.

David Pastrnak (hip surgery in the offseason) was out of the lineup against the Devils Thursday night, but is expected to return to play ahead of schedule since his original prognosis when he underwent a right hip arthroscopy and labral repair on Sept. 16th.

Craig Smith (lower body injury) missed Thursday night’s action and is yet to make his B’s debut since signing a three-year contract worth $3.100 million per season on Oct. 10th.

Cassidy made a few adjustments to his lines as a result of the injuries and free agency departures in the offseason.

The first line consisted of Marchand at left wing, Bergeron at center and Studnicka on right wing.

Rounding out the top-six forwards on the second line were Ondrej Kase, David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk.

Charlie Coyle centered the third line with Nick Ritchie at his left side and Anders Bjork on his right side, while Sean Kuraly centered the fourth line with Frederic and Chris Wagner as his wings.

On defense, Cassidy started Matt Grzelcyk and Kevan Miller– honoring Miller in his first game back in 651 days since multiple knee injuries dating back to April 2019.

Jeremy Lauzon was paired with Charlie McAvoy and Jakub Zboril was partnered with Brandon Carlo.

Karson Kuhlman remains in COVID protocol, while Par Lindholm, John Moore and Connor Clifton were healthy scratches. Smith and Pastrnak were out of the lineup due to their injuries.

Early in the opening frame, Jesper Boqvist slashed Frederic and presented the Bruins with their first power play opportunity of the night at 6:14 of the first period.

Boston’s skater advantage didn’t last long as Grzelcyk caught Yegor Sharangovich with a slash at 7:16.

After an abbreviated period of 4-on-4 action followed by a short New Jersey power play, neither team could muster anything on the scoresheet.

McAvoy laid out Sharangovich with a crushing hit at 13:19, but was too far from the puck and assessed a minor infraction for interference.

The Devils were not successful on the ensuing power play, however.

Late in the first frame, Miles Wood collided with Rask and cut a rut to the box with a goaltender interference infraction at 17:02.

Boston didn’t waste much time getting to work on the resulting power play as Marchand (1) one-timed a redirection past Blackwood from just outside the crease to give the Bruins the first lead of the night, 1-0.

Krejci (1) and Bergeron (1) notched the assists on Marchand’s power-play goal at 17:40 of the first period.

Entering the first intermission, the Bruins were dominating in possession, on the scoreboard, 1-0, and in shots on goal, 16-4.

The B’s also held the advantage in faceoff win percentage, 67-33.

New Jersey, meanwhile, led in blocked shots (7-3), giveaways (8-2) and hits (12-5), while both teams had one takeaway each in the first 20 minutes of game action.

The Devils were 0/2 and the Bruins were 1/2 on the power play entering the middle frame.

Kuraly tripped Sharangovich at 2:41 of the second period and presented New Jersey with an early skater advantage in the period, but Boston’s penalty kill remained strong.

McAvoy was guilty of hooking Janne Kuokkanen at 7:56, but once again New Jersey’s power play couldn’t score.

Midway through the game, the Devils committed a bench minor for too many skaters on the ice at 10:53.

Newcomer, Andreas Johnsson, (acquired in the offseason via a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs) served the penalty while Boston’s power play went powerless.

Through 40 minutes of play on Thursday, the Bruins held onto the, 1-0, lead and led in shots on goal, 26-11– including a, 10-7, advantage in the second period alone.

New Jersey led in blocked shots (10-6), takeaways (6-2), giveaways (16-4) and hits (20-8), while Boston led in faceoff win% (63-37) after two periods.

The Devils were 0/4 on the power play, while the B’s were 1/3 entering the dressing room for the second intermission.

Kuokkanen was penalized for holding Kuraly and yielded another power play to Boston at 6:18 of the third period.

Shortly after killing off the infraction, Wood (1) broke free from the Bruins’ defense and snapped a shot over Rask’s blocker side to tie the game, 1-1, at 8:51 of the final frame of regulation.

Jack Hughes (1) had the only assist on Wood’s goal.

Moments later, Krejci hooked Travis Zajac and was sent to the sin bin at 10:14, but New Jersey’s power play didn’t last long as Wood ran into Rask again and picked up another goaltender interference infraction at 11:13.

The two clubs had about a minute of 4-on-4 action before an abbreviated power play followed for the Bruins.

Ritchie (1) scored a close range goal similar to Marchand’s to put the B’s back on top, 2-1, with a power-play goal of his own.

Marchand (1) and Grzelcyk (1) tallied the assists on Ritchie’s goal at 13:12, but Boston didn’t hold the lead for long as they surrendered a wacky goal 34 seconds later.

Ty Smith (1) scored his first career National Hockey League goal as the last Devils player to touch the puck before it bounced off of McAvoy, then Lauzon, Lauzon’s stick, McAvoy again and finally floated over Rask and into the twine.

The fluke goal tied the game, 2-2, and was assisted by Matt Tennyson (1) and Hughes (2) at 13:46 of the third period.

At the end of regulation, the score remained even, despite Boston outshooting the Devils, 35-18.

The Bruins had a, 9-7, advantage in shots on goal in the third period alone, while New Jersey led in blocked shots (13-6), takeaways (11-3), giveaways (19-6) and hits (26-13) after regulation.

Boston led in faceoff win%, 58-42, entering overtime.

As no penalties were called in the extra frame, the Bruins finished the night 2/5 on the power play, while the Devils went 0/5 on the skater advantage.

The two teams swapped chances in overtime– including a couple of heart-stopping moments where the Devils nearly completed the comeback, but neither side could seal the deal on an overtime win.

Despite Cassidy’s best efforts starting Coyle, DeBrusk and McAvoy in overtime, as well as Ruff’s lineup of Hughes, Kyle Palmieri and P.K. Subban in 3-on-3 OT, a shootout was necessary.

The Bruins finished the night leading in shots on goal, 37-22, despite being outshot, 4-2, in overtime alone.

New Jersey finished Thursday’s effort leading in blocked shots (14-7), giveaways (19-6) and hits (26-13), while the Bruins settled for the final advantage in faceoff win% (57-43).

The Devils elected to shoot first in the shootout and sent Nikita Gusev out to get the job in round one, but Rask stoned him cold as Gusev attempted to go five-hole on the veteran netminder.

Coyle was denied by Blackwood with a pad save as the Bruins forward tried to pull the New Jersey goaltender out of position.

Boqvist was stopped by Rask in a routine save while Kase couldn’t sneak one past Blackwood’s blocker side in the second round of the shootout.

After Hughes lost the puck while attempting to dangle his way into the low slot, Cassidy sent Marchand to try to get the win for Boston.

Marchand came through for his coach and the rest of the Bruins with an off-tempo shot through Blackwood’s five-hole after getting the New Jersey goaltender to commit to his fake handiwork before taking the shot.

The Bruins won the shootout, 1-0, after three rounds and clinched the, 3-2, shootout victory over the Devils to start the 2020-21 season.

It was Boston’s first shootout win since Feb. 20, 2019, when the B’s downed the Vegas Golden Knights on the road in what was also a, 3-2, shootout victory.

With the win, the Bruins improved to 1-0-0 when leading after the first period, 1-0-0 when leading after the second period, 1-0-0 when scoring the game’s first goal and 1-0 in shootouts (1-0 past regulation) this season.

Boston continues their three-game road trip on Saturday afternoon with a rematch against the Devils in New Jersey at 1 p.m. ET before heading to Nassau Coliseum on Monday (Jan. 18th) for a game with the New York Islanders.

The Bruins return to Boston for their home opener at TD Garden on Jan. 21st against the Philadelphia Flyers.

There will be no fans in attendance in Boston due to COVID-19 restrictions in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Categories
NHL

What to expect from the San Jose Sharks this season

The offseason has been long, very long for Sharks fans. But, the wait is finally over… almost! The last time the Sharks played a game was on March 11th, a 6-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. But, that’s a thing of the past. Let’s get ready for this season, shall we?

The Sharks made some moves this offseason trading for goalie Devan Dubnyk from the Minnesota Wild for a fifth round pick in the 2022 draft. They also acquired forward Ryan Donato in a seprate trade with the Wild, giving away a third round pick.

In free agency, the Sharks were able to resign Kevin Labanc and bring back Patrick Marleau once again. The other notable free agents that signed with San Jose are Stefan Noesen and Matt Nieto. In simple terms, the Sharks offseason was uneventful for the most part.

The Sharks have a tough opening stretch to start off the season. Due to COVID-19 restrictions in the Santa Clara County, there is chance the Sharks will have to play their home games elsewhere. With that being said, the season starts in Arizona on January 14th. This is the first of an eight game road trip to start the season. Yes, San Jose opens up with an eight game road trip.

The first home game isn’t until February 1st against the Vegas Golden Knights. Again, there’s a chance that this game isn’t even played in San Jose. So what are the options for the Sharks this year for where they can play their home games?

The Sharks could make the trip to Los Angeles and share the ice with the Kings, or make a trip down to Arizona (where they held training camp) and share the ice with the Coyotes.

So what can fans expect on the ice this year? Well, fans sadly will no longer see Joe Thornton. Thornton took his talents to Toronto in the offseason hoping to win one more championship before he retires. Good luck with that Joe!

As for everyone else, it’ll be a rough start. It’s been awhile since the players have played a meaningful game. But, expect to see leadership from Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson. With Thornton gone, there is a giant hole to fill in leadership. Don’t expect Logan Couture to take on that responsibility. If anything, it’ll be both Burns and Karlsson.

Last season before the season got cut short, Burns had 12 goals and 33 assists. Don’t expect to see 33 assists. Expect more. Other than being a great defenceman, he sets up goals. It’s what he does best. Burns needs to step up in a leadership role this year, now that big Joe is gone.

Then, there’s Karlsson, the other gem of the Sharks defencemen. His only issue is that he he cannot stay healthy. However, in an injury riddled shortened season, Karlsson managed to score six goals and have 34 assists. Just like Burns, expect Karlsson’s numbers to go up this season.

A dark horse player everyone should keep their eyes on this year is Tomas Hertl. Hertl only played in 48 games last year netting 16 goals and 20 assists. Expect him to take his game to the next level this year. Hertl is a young explosive player who can score. Last season’s seasons numbers don’t do him justice. It shouldn’t be surpirisng if at the end of the season, Hertl is the team leader in goals this year.

So, with all of that being said, it will be an up and down year for San Jose. But, fans get excited, the Sharks are finally back. Who knows, maybe with the new format for this year, the Sharks could be this year’s surprise team. Welcome back Sharks, the fans missed you.

Categories
Podcasts

DTFR Podcast #211- Fine, Let’s Talk World Juniors, I Guess

The Vegas Golden Knights definitely *aren’t* shopping that player you’re probably thinking about, ad space is unlimited and we’re stuck previewing the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship for now.

Subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsStitcher and/or on Spotify.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

Trading Frederik Andersen is the wrong idea

Something’s brewing in Toronto and it’s the annual “let’s talk trading Frederik Andersen because surely he’s the reason for a lack of playoff success as a team in recent years”. Ah, the sight of Maple Leafs in the fall.

Andersen is entering the final year of his five-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs that he signed back on June 20, 20216– shortly after his rights were traded to Canada’s largest city by the Anaheim Ducks for a 2016 1st round pick (Sam Steel) and a conditional 2017 2nd round pick (Maxime Comtois).

His cap hit is a reasonable $5.000 million, but on a roster that’s currently projected to spend $82,549,325– which, you know, is slightly over the league’s $81.5 million upper limit– something’s got to give.

If Maple Leafs General Manager, Kyle Dubas, was serious about trading Andersen heading into the season, he likely would’ve found a partner by now and made a deal– regardless of stagnant revenue streams due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

But sure, let’s say the Leafs are set on trading Andersen in order to become cap compliant.

First of all, who are you going to get in return?

And second, the playoffs would be out of the picture altogether.

The answer to the first question is easy since most of the free agent goaltenders have been scooped up and Toronto’s not likely to take a flyer on Cory Schneider, Craig Anderson, Jimmy Howard or Ryan Miller.

In 2010, maybe. In 2020, definitely not.

None of those goalies had a goals against average better than 3.10 or a save percentage better than a .907.

One of those goalies, however, had those stats exactly and it’s the one that spent last season as a backup in 23 games with the Anaheim Ducks (Miller).

Naturally, Dubas would have to look to trade Andersen instead, which means you might be looking at a deal with the Vegas Golden Knights for Marc-Andre Fleury or (let’s get crazy) send Andersen back to the team that originally drafted him before he re-entered the draft and was taken by the Ducks in the 3rd round (87th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft– the Carolina Hurricanes.

Why the Hurricanes? Because James Reimer, of course.

Andersen had a 29-13-7 record in 52 games last season (all starts), while amassing a 2.85 goals against average, a .909 save percentage and three shutouts in the process.

Though he recorded two more shutouts in 2019-20 than he did in 2018-19, his goals against average and save percentage were worse than his 2.77 GAA and .917 SV% in 60 games two season’s ago.

It’s important to remember, however, that in Toronto had guys like Ron Hainsey and Nikita Zaitsev on the blue line to help suppress the oncoming attack in 2018-19.

Hainsey joined the Ottawa Senators in free agency on July 1, 2019, while Zaitsev was packaged with Connor Brown and Michael Carcone in a trade with (you guessed it) the Senators on the same day for Cody Ceci, Ben Harpur, Aaron Luchuk and a 2020 3rd round pick that originated from the Columbus Blue Jackets (Alex Laferriere).

The Leafs made the trade to save $4.500 million in cap space that they then turned around and gave to Ceci. Kind of.

Trading Zaitsev wasn’t necessarily about saving money in the immediate future as much as it was about lopping off his contract from the books before his modified no-trade clause kicked in.

The now 29-year-old Russian defender is under contract through the 2023-24 season with Ottawa, whereas Ceci was a restricted free agent at the time and agreed to a one-year deal with the Leafs.

Dubas had to protect his club’s ability to integrate young prospects on the blue line and remain competitive in future trade or free agent markets, so Zaitsev was a casualty of league parity.

That, or fans, coaches and media members alike were tired of watching him in Toronto.

Meanwhile, the Leafs went in a different direction for their blue line last season with the additions of Ceci in the Zaitsev trade and Tyson Barrie at a discount as their alleged biggest prize in the Nazem Kadri trade with the Colorado Avalanche.

While Sens fans knew what Toronto was getting themselves into with Ceci’s playing ability as a bottom-pairing defender, Barrie experienced a significant drop-off in his game.

Barrie amassed 14-45–59 points in 78 games with Colorado in back-to-back seasons with at least 55 points before the trade and was a minus-3 in 2018-19. He put up 39 points (five goals, 34 assists) in 70 games with Toronto and was a minus-7.

For the record, Ceci had 7-19–26 totals in 74 games with the Sens and was a minus-22 in 2018-19, then mustered eight points (one goal, seven asissts) in 56 games with the Leafs– but at least he was a plus-7.

So it’s not entirely Andersen’s fault for instability in front of him.

The defensive depth wasn’t the same from 2018-19 to 2019-20 in front of Andersen, and, of course, Toronto fired Mike Babcock and promoted Sheldon Keefe as head coach after Fleury made a big save on Nov. 19, 2019 in Vegas.

Which is actually the perfect segue back to what it would mean for the Leafs to trade Andersen.

If Dubas flipped Andersen to the Golden Knights for Fleury strictly because of the “playoff experience” narrative, well, it’s worth noting that despite his improved performance from 2019’s 3-4 record, 2.70 GAA, .909 SV% and one shutout in seven games to 2020’s 3-1 record, 2.27 GAA and .910 SV% in four games, Robin Lehner still outperformed Fleury.

Lehner amassed a 9-7 record in 16 games for Vegas in the 2020 postseason with a 1.99 GAA, a .917 SV% and four shutouts in that span.

Andersen is 31, while Fleury is 36.

In simple terms, one is still in their goaltending prime and the other is in the twilight of his playing days– even if he is able to return to form after the second-straight season of faltering numbers.

Fleury’s first season in Vegas saw him rock a 29-13-4 record in 46 games with a 2.24 GAA, .927 SV% and four shutouts despite missing time due to injury.

In 2018-19, Fleury was overplayed. He notched a respectable 35-21-5 record, 2.51 GAA, .913 SV% and eight shutouts in 61 games, but couldn’t remain hot enough against the San Jose Sharks in the 2019 First Round.

In 2019-20, Gerard Gallant and, later, Peter DeBoer handled his number of games better, playing Fleury 49 times, but the 36-year-old netminder amassed a 27-16-5 record with a 2.77 GAA, .905 SV% and five shutouts.

Season-by-season, Fleury has shown signs of regressing.

Even if he is able to win one more Cup, his role on that team is likely best suited as the backup, if not at least in the 1B role of a 1A/1B tandem.

In his last three seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Fleury faced 4,677 shots against and made 4,292 saves (.918 SV%) while amassing 16 shutouts from 2014-17.

In his first three seasons with the Golden Knights, Fleury’s faced 4,520 shots and made 4,135 saves (.915 SV%) while racking up 17 shutouts.

The ageless wonder would be a great addition to the Maple Leafs if Toronto could only have Andersen and Fleury.

But there’s a little pesky number that ruins any hope of swinging a deal unless Dubas is willing to part with larger pieces in a true “hockey trade”.

It’s Fleury’s cap hit.

He carries a price tag of $7.000 million against the salary cap through next season (2021-22) and, like Andersen, has a modified no-trade clause.

Vegas is also feeling the stress of the salary cap, considering they’re currently on the books for $82,474,104 and need to dump salary before the season can likely begin in January.

No, Max Pacioretty’s $7.000 million cap hit or Jonathan Marchessault’s $5.000 million cap hit won’t do the Leafs any favors if Toronto somehow decided they’d be fine with Dubas including a piece of their core– like Mitch Marner’s $10.893 million cap hit, for example– in the hypothetical transaction.

Both teams would still be over the cap unless they’d be able to make separate trades elsewhere to shed salary.

Even still, if someone is trying to pry Fleury from Vegas, they’re likely asking the Golden Knights to retain some salary or involve a third team in the deal for that sole purpose.

So if Fleury’s out, what about Reimer? You know, the last guy to bring “stability” to the crease in Toronto before Andersen.

Reimer hasn’t posted a sub-2.50 goals against average since his 2.49 with the Maple Leafs in 32 games prior to being traded to the Sharks ahead of the 2016 trade deadline.

He also hasn’t bested his .918 SV% from the time he spent with the Leafs that season.

It might be tempting to resort to Reimer as a starter, but he’s been worse than Andersen at a fraction of the workload that the current Leafs starter gets from year-to-year.

Thanks to the pandemic shortened regular season last year, Andersen played under 60 games for the first time since his days in Anaheim.

Toronto’s defense is nothing like Carolina’s defense.

Despite Reimer’s impressive 14-6-2 record in 25 games with the Hurricanes last season, there’s no guarantees he’d be able to match that or better with Morgan Rielly taking on the roles of Jaccob Slavin, Dougie Hamilton, Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei and Co. combined for the Maple Leafs.

Besides, Jack Campbell’s 3-2-1 record in six games with Toronto last season came with a 2.63 GAA and a .915 SV%, which, on its own is about the same as Reimer’s 2.66 GAA and .914 SV% with the Canes last season, but at a cheaper price for a backup caliber goaltender (Campbell is signed through 2021-22 at $1.650 million per season, while Reimer is a pending-UFA at season’s end with a $3.400 million cap hit).

But remember Campbell spent last season with the Los Angeles Kings and Maple Leafs and finished 2019-20 with a combined 11-12-3 record in 26 games for Los Angeles and Toronto, while amassing a 2.80 GAA and a .904 SV% in the process.

Unless Dubas signed Michael Hutchinson and Aaron Dell to compete with Campbell and (hypothetically) Reimer to save some money by trading Andersen this season, then Toronto’s goaltending woes would only get worse.

That’s right, we haven’t even started talking about who the eventual “goalie of the future” might be for the Leafs, but that’s a subject for another time (spoiler alert: the jury is out on that one for now).

It’s ride or die with Andersen this season.

And next summer’s free agent goalie market doesn’t look like it’s any better.

Unless a familiar Maple Leafs draft pick returns to Toronto, but he still wears No. 40 on the Boston Bruins for now.

Categories
Podcasts

DTFR Podcast #210- 56 Games (And Nothin’ On)/2020-21 Season Preview: Canada Division


Nick and Colby preview the realigned Canada Division for the 2020-21 regular season, which will be a shortened 56-game version of NHL hockey.

Subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsStitcher and/or on Spotify.