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.
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.
William Nylander scored a pair of goals in a, 5-2, victory for the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Boston Bruins Friday night at Scotiabank Arena.
Erik Källgren (8-4-1, 3.31 goals-against average, .888 save percentage in 14 games played) made 24 saves on 26 shots against in the win for the Leafs.
Bruins goaltender, Jeremy Swayman (23-24-3, 2.41 goals-against average, .914 save percentage in 41 games played), stopped 22 out of 26 shots faced in the loss.
Boston finished the regular season with a 51-26-5 record (107 points)– good enough for 4th in the Atlantic Division and the first wild card in the Eastern Conference.
The B’s will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs as a result.
Toronto improved to 54-21-7 (115 points) overall and finished 2nd in the Atlantic Division. They will host the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2022 First Round.
The Bruins went 25-13-3 on the road and 0-3-0 against the Maple Leafs this season after going 2-0-1 against Toronto in 2019-20.
The two teams did not meet last season due to the temporarily realigned divisions in light of the ongoing COIVD-19 pandemic.
Boston’s list of injured players and healthy scratches got a bit of a shakeup heading into the final game of the regular season as Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) were joined by Hampus Lindholm, Patrice Bergeron, Matt Grzelcyk, Erik Haula, Brad Marchand, Taylor Hall, Charlie McAvoy and David Pastrnak among those held out of the lineup.
Zboril missed his 62nd game this season due to an injury sustained on Dec. 2nd in Nashville, while Hall missed his first game of the season as a healthy scratch.
As a result, Charlie Coyle was the only Bruin to suit up in all 82 games this season– marking the first time that anyone in a Boston uniform played in all 82 games in a full 82-game season since Pastrnak and Tim Schaller did so in 2017-18.
Since then, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic shortened the 2019-20 regular season and kept 2020-21 limited to 56 games.
Chris Wagner made his season debut on Friday after being recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) with Jack Studnicka, Oskar Steen and Jack Ahcan to fill in for the regulars.
Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, opted to keep Trent Frederic, Coyle and Craig Smith together on the same line, while he moved Jake DeBrusk to the second line left wing with Studnicka at center and Marc McLaughlin on right wing.
Curtis Lazar centered the third line with Nick Foligno and Steen on his wings, while Tomáš Nosek held the fourth line together– flanked by Anton Blidh and Wagner.
On defense, Ahcan was paired with Brandon Carlo on the first pairing, while Mike Reilly and Josh Brown comprised the second pairing with Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton in their regular roles filling out the bottom pair.
The Bruins struck first in quick fashion as Smith wrapped the puck around the back of the net and slipped a pass to Frederic (8) for the flub shot through Källgren’s five-hole.
Smith (19) and Coyle (28) tallied the assists on the goal and the B’s led, 1-0, at 1:10 of the first period.
Boston didn’t hold the lead for long, however as McLaughlin caught Mark Giordano with a high stick at 1:48 of the first period that was reviewed for an injury on the infraction– resulting in a four-minute double minor.
Toronto made it a little past the midpoint of the skater advantage before Giordano sent a shot towards the net that Ilya Mikheyev (21) tipped past Swayman to tie the game, 1-1, at 3:51.
Giordano (27) and Timothy Liljegren (18) notched the assists on Mikheyev’s power-play goal.
Midway through the opening frame, William Nylander (33) got a breakaway and buried the puck in the twine on a forehand tuck after pulling Swayman to the right side of the crease.
Nylander’s goal was unassisted and gave the Maple Leafs their first lead of the night, 2-1, at 13:16 of the first period.
Late in the period, Morgan Rielly floated a shot towards Swayman that Nick Abruzzese (1) tipped for his first career National Hockey League goal.
Rielly (58) had the only assist on the goal as a result and the Leafs extended their lead to two goals at 19:52.
After one period, Toronto led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 10-6, in shots on goal.
The Maple Leafs also led in blocked shots (10-2) and takeaways (2-0), while the Bruins held the advantage in giveaways (4-3), hits (20-15) and faceoff win percentage (56-44) entering the first intermission.
The Leafs were 1-for-2 on the power play, while Boston had yet to see time on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.
DeBrusk went hard into the boards early in the second period, but skated off on his own power and sat on the bench until his next shift without much discomfort despite play briefly coming to a stop while he laid on the ice.
Late in the period, Foligno tripped Wayne Simmonds and presented the Leafs with a power play at 14:49 of the second period, but Toronto failed to convert on the skater advantage.
Shortly thereafter, Nosek cross checked Liljegren and became entangled in a quick exchange of pleasantries with Rielly– resulting in minor infractions for both Nosek and Rielly for cross checking and roughing, respectively at 19:30.
The two clubs skated at 4-on-4 into the third period as a result.
Through 40 minutes of action Friday night, the Maple Leafs led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 20-15, in shots on goal– including a, 10-9, advantage in the second period alone.
Toronto also maintained control in blocked shots (11-5), takeaways (8-3) and giveaways (8-7), while Boston led in hits (45-27) and faceoff win% (53-47).
The Leafs were 1-for-3 and the Bruins were 0-for-0 on the power play heading into the final frame.
Nylander (34) collected his second goal of the night on a similar backhand-forehand effort from his first goal of the game and the Maple Leafs grabbed a, 4-1, lead at 8:00 of the third period.
Moments later, Foligno thought he had his 500th career NHL point by scoring a would-be goal on the doorstep, but Toronto’s head coach, Sheldon Keefe, challenged the call on the ice on the basis that he believed Boston was offside entering the zone prior to the goal.
Upon video review, it was determined that Lazar had gone over the blue line into the attacking zone before Steen broke the plane for a zone entry, rendering the call on the ice reversed. No goal.
Toronto still led, 4-1, and Foligno will have to wait until next season for his 500th point.
Shortly thereafter, T.J. Brodie cut a rut to the box for holding and Boston went on the power play for the first time at 11:55.
Smith sent a shot on goal that DeBrusk (25) buried on the rebound past Källgren’s short side to give the Bruins their third power-play goal in their last two games.
Boston trailed, 4-2, while Smith (20) and Reilly (13) picked up the assists on DeBrusk’s goal at 12:49 of the third period.
With about a minute left in the action, Cassidy pulled Swayman for an extra attacker, but the B’s weren’t able to muster any last-minute comeback efforts.
Pierre Engvall (15) capitalized on a turnover and buried the rubber biscuit in the empty twine for an empty net goal in addition to a three-goal lead at 19:50 of the third period.
Engvall’s goal was unassisted and the Leafs finished their season with a, 5-2, victory on home ice.
At the final horn, Toronto had won and wrapped things up leading in shots on goal, 27-26, despite trailing, 11-7, in shots on net in the third period alone.
The Maple Leafs finished the night leading in blocked shots (13-8) and giveaways (13-11), while the Bruins exited the ice with the advantage in hits (54-48) and faceoff win% (53-47).
The Leafs went 1-for-3 on the power play, while the B’s went 1-for-1 on the skater advantage Friday night.
Boston fell to 37-10-2 (19-5-1 on the road) when scoring first, 6-15-2 (2-8-1 on the road) when trailing after one and 4-20-2 (1-9-1 on the road) when trailing after two this season.
Toronto improved to 19-15-4 (13-7-2 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 29-3-3 (17-0-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 40-1-3 (23-1-0 at home) when leading after the second period in 2021-22.
With the 2021-22 regular season in the rearview mirror, the Bruins look ahead to the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs and their First Round matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Games 1 and 2 will be at PNC Arena in Raleigh.
Patrice Bergeron scored a hat trick in a, 5-0, victory for the Boston Bruins over the Buffalo Sabres as Linus Ullmark recorded his first shutout with the Bruins against his former team.
Bergeron’s trio of goals earned him his 398th, 399th and 400th career tallies in his 1,216th career National Hockey League game– becoming just the fourth player in Bruins franchise history to score 400 goals with the club, while trailing Rick Middleton (402) for third overall.
Ullmark (26-10-2, 2.45 goals-against average, .917 save percentage in 41 games played) finished his regular season campaign with his first shutout of the year in a 37-save effort for his fourth career shutout win overall.
He set a career-best 2.45 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in the most games he’s played as a starter in the first season of his four-year, $20 million contract that he signed with Boston on July 28, 2021, with the future of Tuukka Rask then uncertain in the wake of major surgery and Jeremy Swayman as a young goaltender of the future– still a few years away from taking the full-time reins in the crease.
Though technically you could say both Ullmark and Swayman were the starting goaltenders for Boston all season long as they’ll split the 82-game season in half– 41 appearances each– in their 2021-22 workload.
Even as Rask made a midseason comeback attempt before retiring in February due to his hip not being up to par.
Swayman is expected to get the start Friday night in Toronto as the B’s take on the Maple Leafs in their 2021-22 regular season finale.
With the win on Thursday night, Boston improved to 51-25-5 (107 points) on the season and remained in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division– one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for 3rd place in the Atlantic.
Tampa needs to win in any fashion to secure a First Round matchup with Toronto, while Boston needs the Lightning to lose in regulation and at least get one point against the Maple Leafs to surpass the Bolts in the division and face the Leafs in the First Round.
If the Bruins and Lightning tie in points, Boston holds the tiebreaker on regulation wins.
Otherwise, if Boston ends up losing Friday night and Tampa gets a point in any fashion, the B’s will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2022 First Round.
If you’re confused just watch the game and/or wait for Friday night’s recap. You’ll know by then.
Dustin Tokarski (9-12-3, 3.32 goals-against average, .899 save percentage in 28 games played) made 27 saves on 32 shots against in the loss for Buffalo.
The Sabres fell to 31-39-11 (73 points) overall and remain in command of 5th place in the Atlantic Division.
For the first time since the 2019-20 regular season, Boston swept Buffalo in their regular season series, 4-0-0.
The Bruins went 7-1-0 against the Sabres last season and 3-0-0 against Buffalo in 2019-20.
Boston finished the 2021-22 regular season with a 26-13-2 record on home ice overall.
The B’s were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) on Thursday, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup.
As a result, Mike Reilly, Marc McLaughlin, Josh Brown and Anton Blidh served as healthy scratches for the Bruins against the Sabres.
Prior to puck drop, NESN presented its annual 7th Player Award as voted on by the fans to this year’s recipient– Jeremy Swayman.
Swayman has gone 23-13-3 in 40 games this season with a 2.37 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage as part of Boston’s tandem goaltending apparatus for 2021-22.
Henri Jokiharju tripped Jake DeBrusk and presented the Bruins with the night’s first power play at 1:26 of the first period, but the B’s fell to 0-for-37 on the skater advantage in their last 13 games instead as the Sabres managed to kill off Jokiharju’s infraction.
Late in the period, Trent Frederic cut a rut to the sin bin for catching Alex Tuch with a slash at 16:41, but Buffalo wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing advantage.
Less than a few minutes later, Brad Marchand rattled off four hacks with his stick before the fifth slash resulting in a minor penalty at 19:30.
Boston managed to kill Marchand’s infraction despite Buffalo’s power play spewing over into the middle frame.
After one period, the B’s and Sabres were tied, 0-0, on the scoreboard despite Buffalo attaining a, 12-6, advantage in shots on goal.
The Sabres dominated in blocked shots (10-2), takeaways (5-3), giveaways (6-4) and faceoff win percentage (63-38), while the Bruins led in hits (12-5).
Buffalo was 0-for-2 and Boston was 0-for-1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.
Taylor Hall tripped John Hayden at 2:55 of the second period, yielding another skater advantage to the Sabres that went unconverted.
Moments later, Bergeron (23) gathered a loose puck on the doorstep and buried it in the twine to give the Bruins a, 1-0, lead at 6:16 of the second period after DeBrusk fired an initial shot on goal.
Bergeron’s first goal of the game was unassisted, however.
A couple minutes later, Jeff Skinner tripped Erik Haula and made his way to the sin bin at 8:54.
Boston failed to capitalize on the resulting power play, however.
Midway through the middle period, Bergeron (24) scored one of his patented goals from the bumper to extend the lead to two-goals.
This time, DeBrusk (17) and Marchand (47) tallied the assists as the B’s took a, 2-0, lead at 12:29 of the second period.
Sabres coach, Don Granato, challenged the call on the ice, however, on the basis that he believed Nick Foligno had been offiside prior to the goal.
Upon video review, however, Foligno had extended his right leg far enough to break the plane at the blue line in the midst of a line change while Boston entered the attacking zone– thereby remaining onside.
The call on the ice stood as a result and the Sabres were charged with a bench minor for delay of game due to their unsuccessful challenge at 12:29.
Victor Olofsson skated across the rink to serve Buffalo’s infraction, but Boston fell to 0-for-39 on their last 39 power plays as neither team took another penalty nor scored another goal before the second intermission.
Through 40 minutes Thursday night, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard, but trailed, 27-20, in shots on goal as the Sabres continued to outshoot Boston– including a, 15-14, advantage for Buffalo in the second period alone.
The Sabres led in blocked shots (13-4), takeaways (8-5), giveaways (13-6) and faceoff win% (53-47), while both teams had 16 hits aside and were 0-for-3 on the power play heading into the final frame.
Then it happened.
Peyton Krebs caught Marchand with a high stick at 1:28 of the third period.
Less than a minute later, Hall setup David Pastrnak (40) for a power-play goal through the five-hole– reaching the 40-goal plateau for the second time in his career in the process.
Oh, also, Boston snapped their drought on the power play in their 40th consecutive opportunity.
Hall (41) and Marchand (48) notched the assists as Pastrnak’s power-play goal put the Bruins up, 3-0, at 2:11 of the third period, but not before Granato challenged the call on the ice on the basis that he believed Hall had gone offside prior to the goal while Marchand dangled the puck at the blue line.
Video review confirmed the call on the ice, however, as Marchand did not drag the puck completely past the blue line back into the neutral zone and Hall remained onside.
The Sabres, as a result, were charged with a four-minute double minor for delay of game due to their second unsuccessful challenge of the night at 2:11.
Shortly after the second consecutive power play began while Olofsson was back in the box serving the bench minor, Hall (20) collected the garbage on the doorstep of the crease off the right leg pad and slipped the puck into the net to give Boston a four-goal lead.
Pastrnak (38) and Bergeron (40) tallied the assists on Hall’s power-play goal and the B’s led, 4-0, at 4:16 of the third period.
With the secondary assists on the goal, Bergeron reached the 40-assist plateau for the fifth time in his 18-year NHL career.
Meanwhile, Hall reached 20 goals or more for the seventh time in his 12 NHL seasons.
Less than a minute later, Tomáš Nosek and Casey Fitzgerald went to the box for roughing and brought the action down from 5-on-5 to 4-on-4 for a couple minutes.
Late in the period, Bergeron (25) scored another bumper goal for his second hat trick of the season (eighth of his career), as well as his 400th career goal.
Charlie McAvoy (46) and Hampus Lindholm (22) had the assists on Bergeron’s third goal of the game and the Bruins took a, 5-0, lead at 17:47 of the third period.
Only four Bruins have ever scored 400 or more goals; Johnny Bucyk (545), Phil Esposito (459), Rick Middleton (402) and now Bergeron (400).
At the final horn, the Bruins won, 5-0, and Ullmark picked up his first shutout of the season, as well as his first shutout with Boston, despite Buffalo outshooting the B’s, 37-32.
The Bruins left their own ice leading in blocked shots (17-4) and faceoff win% (59-41), while the Sabres exited TD Garden leading in giveaways (17-10) and hits (21-19).
Buffalo went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Boston went 2-for-6 on the skater advantage.
The Bruins honored Don DelNegro in his final home game of the regular season. After 29 years working for the organization, DelNegro is retiring from his head athletic trainer role to go hit up the local golf courses some more on his own time.
Bergeron and the rest of the B’s surrounded DelNegro at center ice for a team photo.
In addition to his hat trick, Bergeron also moved ahead of Bucyk for the most career game-opening goals in franchise history Thursday night with his 86th career game-opening goal.
Marchand (795), meanwhile, had two points on the night to surpass Wayne Cashman (793) for sole possession of the seventh-most points in Bruins history.
No. 63 in black and gold trails Bobby Orr (888) by 93 points for sixth overall and is now five points shy of his 800th career NHL point.
The Bruins snapped Buffalo’s four-game winning streak by extending their own win streak to four games and improved to 17-6-2 (8-3-1 at home) when tied after the first period, 37-9-2 (18-5-1 at home) when scoring first and 33-1-3 (16-1-1 at home) when leading after two periods this season.
The Sabres fell to 13-10-3 (5-5-1 on the road) when tied after one, 8-26-6 (3-15-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal and 2-29-2 (2-15-2 on the road) when trailing through the second period in 2021-22.
The Bruins visit Toronto on Friday night in their final road game– as well as the final game– of the 2021-22 regular season.
The B’s will face either the Leafs or Hurricanes in the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs with Games 1 and 2 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto or PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina depending on the matchup.
Games 3 and 4 will be Boston’s first taste of postseason action on home ice.
Though Jake DeBrusk had the eventual game-winning goal in the second period, Erik Haula and Taylor Hall stole the show within a six-second span back in the first period as the Boston Bruins beat the Florida Panthers, 4-2, Tuesday night at TD Garden.
Linus Ullmark (25-10-2, 2.51 goals-against average, .914 save percentage in 40 games played) made 19 saves on 21 shots against in the win for Boston.
Florida goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky (39-7-3, 2.67 goals-against average, .912 save percentage in 54 games played), stopped 34 out of 37 shots faced in the loss.
The Bruins improved to 50-25-5 (105 points) on the season and remain in command of the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, as well as 4th in the Atlantic Division.
The Panthers fell to 57-17-6 (120 points) overall, but sit atop the Eastern Conference, as well as the Atlantic, having clinched the best record this side of the Mississippi River however many days ago now.
Florida is also still in command of the Presidents’ Trophy race with the Colorado Avalanche (56-18-6, 118 points) just two points behind. Both teams have two games remaining on their schedules.
The B’s, meanwhile reached the 50-win plateau for the first time since 2017-18 and finished their regular season series against the Panthers with a 2-1-0 record over three matchups in 2021-22.
Boston went 2-0-1 against Florida in 2019-20, and did not face the Panthers in 2020-21, due to the temporarily realigned divisions amidst the condensed 56-game schedule in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bruins were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) on Tuesday, while David Pastrnak and Hampus Lindholm returned to action after serving as healthy scratches in Sunday night’s, 5-3, victory in Montréal.
Pastrnak was back in his regular role on the second line with Marc McLaughlin coming out of the lineup and Tomáš Nosek reverting back to his fourth line center spot.
Meanwhile, Lindholm suited up alongside Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk went back to the second pairing with Brandon Carlo with Mike Reilly joining McLaughlin, Josh Brown and Anton Blidh on the list of healthy scratches against Florida.
Prior to puck drop, the Bruins presented their 2021-22 team awards as McAvoy was named this year’s Eddie Shore Award winner, Pastrnak took home the Elizabeth Dufresne Award honors for 2021-22 and Nick Foligno was named the recipient of the John P. Bucyk Award.
Patrice Bergeron (Third Star), Brad Marchand (Second Star) and Pastrnak (First Star) were named the 98.5 The Sports Hub Three Star Award winners for the season.
Thursday night before the B’s host the Buffalo Sabres, Boston– together with NESN– will present the NESN 7th Player Award as voted on by the fans to this year’s winner.
After Tuesday night’s win, fans in attendance witnessed a modified version of the annual “Shirts Off Our Backs” ceremony with players skating to a team representative, taking off their jersey, signing it and having said representative bring it over to the lucky winner from the crowd.
Early in the opening frame, Haula cross checked Anthony Duclair and presented the Panthers with the first power play of the night at 5:41 of the first period.
Florida didn’t convert on the skater advantage, but they were able to capitalize in the vulnerable minute after special teams action as Gustav Forsling (10) flung a shot with eyes towards the net and past Ullmark on the glove side to give the Panthers a, 1-0, lead at 8:00 of the first period.
Forsling’s goal was unassisted.
Late in the opening frame, Hall fed Pastrnak with a lead pass into the attacking zone before Pastrnak drove the rubber biscuit to the net, deked and sent a backhand pass through the slot to Haula as the center was crashing the high slot from the right side.
Haula (18) blasted a one-timer past Bobrovsky and tied the game, 1-1, at 16:18, while Pastrnak (35) and Hall (40) notched the assists.
Six seconds after the ensuing faceoff– which the Panthers won, mind you– Pastrnak intercepted a pass and sent Hall (19) into the offensive zone on a breakaway where No. 71 in black and gold promptly beat Bobrovsky on the glove side to give Boston their first lead of the night, 2-1.
Pastrnak (36) had the only assist on Hall’s goal at 16:18 of the first period and Haula and Hall combined for a pair of goals in a span of six seconds– marking the second-fastest two-goal span in franchise history, trailing Ray Getliffe and Leroy Goldsworthy’s pair of goals five seconds apart on Jan. 4, 1938, in a, 6-3, win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Garden.
A couple minutes later, a scrum ensued after a stoppage, yielding minor infractions for roughing for Joe Thornton, Nosek, Derek Forbort and Patric Hornqvist.
There was no ensuing skater advantage for either team, however.
About a minute later, though, Carlo slashed Duclair and cut a rut to the penalty box at 19:50.
Florida’s power play didn’t take long before Sam Reinhart (32) sent a puck off the iron before collecting his own rebound and slidding it behind Ullmark while the Bruins goaltender was momentarily confused and searched behind his leg pads for the puck that was now already in the back of the twine.
Claude Giroux (44) and Duclair (26) tallied the assists on Reinhart’s power-play goal as the Panthers tied the game, 2-2, at 19:59 of the opening frame.
Heading into the first intermission, the score was tied, 2-2, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 13-11.
Florida held the advantage in blocked shots (5-3), while the Bruins led in takeaways (3-2), giveaways (3-1) and faceoff win percentage (52-48).
Both teams managed 11 hits apiece, while only the Panthers had seen any time on the skater advantage– having gone 1-for-2 on the power play through one period.
Early in the middle frame, Bergeron worked a pass up along the boards to Marchand, who fired a quick shot on goal that generated a rebound for DeBrusk as he crashed the net.
DeBrusk (24) buried the loose puck and gave Boston a, 3-2, lead at 4:59 of the second period as a result.
Marchand (46) and Bergeron (38) were credited with the assists on the tally.
Moments later, Thornton tripped McAvoy and presented the Bruins with their first power play as a result at 11:49 of the second period.
Boston promptly failed to convert on the skater advantage and fell to 0-for-34 on their last 34 power play opportunities.
Through 40 minutes of action, the B’s led the Panthers, 3-2, on the scoreboard and, 22-18, in shots on goal, including a, 9-7, advantage in the second period alone.
Boston also led in faceoff win% (59-42), while Florida took control in blocked shots (7-4), takeaways (7-5) and giveaways (7-4).
Both teams had 21 hits aside, while the Panthers were 1-for-2 and the Bruins were 0-for-1 on the power play heading into the final frame.
Early in the third period, the Panthers tweeted that Anton Lundell (upper body) and Radko Gudas (lower body) would not return to the night’s action due to injuries.
Forsling sent an errant puck over the glass and out of play at 6:46 of the third period and received an automatic delay of game infraction as a result.
Boston, however, failed to convert on the resulting power play and would do so once more when Sam Bennett hooked Lindholm and cut a rut to the box at 8:49.
Despite special teams continuing to fall by the wayside (the Bruins are 0-for-36 on their last 36 power plays), the B’s managed to limit Florida to just three shots on goal in the third period alone.
Panthers interim head coach, Andrew Brunette, pulled his goaltender with 3:24 remaining in the action to muster some semblance of an effort in the offensive zone with a 6-on-5 advantage.
Marchand (32), however, had other ideas and ended a 12-game goalless drought– tallying the 793rd point of his NHL career in the process and tying Wayne Cashman for the seventh-most points in Bruins franchise history as a result on an empty net goal at 16:55.
Bergeron (39) had the only assist and Boston took a, 4-2, lead with only minutes to spare in Tuesday night’s action.
Brunette used his timeout with 1:36 remaining and pulled Bobrovsky for an extra attacker again shortly thereafter, but the B’s kept the Panthers from cutting into the lead and the final horn sounded with a resounding, 4-2, victorious effort for the Bruins.
Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 38-21, including a, 16-3, advantage in the third period alone.
The B’s also led in blocked shots (12-5) and faceoff win% (55-45), while Florida left TD Garden leading in giveaways (9-5) and hits (30-27).
The Panthers went 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Bruins went 0-for-3 on the skater advantage Tuesday night.
Boston has now won five out of their last six games and is on a three-game winning streak as a result.
The B’s improved to 14-16-3 (8-8-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 16-6-2 (7-3-1 at home) when tied after the first period and 32-1-3 (15-1-1 at home) when leading after two periods this season.
Florida fell to 33-8-2 (14-5-2 on the road) when scoring first, 15-9-2 (7-5-2 on the road) when tied after one and 11-15-1 (4-9-1 on the road) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22.
The Bruins host the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night in the final home game of the regular season before visiting the Toronto Maple Leafs Friday night on the road.
The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs are set to begin on May 2nd with the First Round schedule yet to be announced.
It was a historic night at Bell Centre Sunday night as the Montréal Canadiens and their fans honored the life and memory of the late Guy Lafleur with a tribute and a 10-minute standing ovation before the Patrice Bergeron and Erik Haula each scored a pair of goals in a, 5-3, win for the Boston Bruins.
Bergeron surpassed Montréal native, Ray Bourque, for sole possession of the fourth-most goals in Bruins franchise history, while Haula scored the second penalty shot goal of the season in an unconventional fashion.
Meanwhile, Charlie McAvoy’s late second period goal held up to be the game-winner for Boston as goaltender, Jeremy Swayman (23-13-3, 2.37 goals-against average, .915 save percentage in 40 games played), made 23 saves on 26 shots agaisnt in the win.
Canadiens netminder, Sam Montembeault (7-18-6, 3.79 goals-against average, .892 save percentage in 37 games played), turned aside 37 out of 41 shots faced in the loss.
The Bruins improved to 49-25-5 (103 points) overall and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Montréal fell to 20-49-11 (51 points) on the season and stuck in 8th place in the Atlantic Division as Habs fans await the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery on May 10th.
For the first time since the 2017-18 season, Boston swept Montréal in their regular season series, 4-0-0. The B’s also went 4-0-0 against the Habs in 2017-18, and did not face the Canadiens last season due to the temporarily realigned divisions and condensed 56-game schedule.
Boston went 3-1-0 against Montréal in 2019-20.
The Bruins were without Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) on Sunday, while David Pastrnak and Hampus Lindholm joined Josh Brown and Anton Blidh on the list of healthy scratches against the Canadiens as expected.
Bruce Cassidy promoted Tomáš Nosek from his usual fourth line center duties to that of the second line right wing role, while Curtis Lazar slid over on the fourth line to Nosek’s regular spot with Marc McLaughlin re-entering the lineup.
On defense, Matt Grzelcyk was paired with McAvoy, while Mike Reilly and Brandon Carlo rounded out the top-four defenders.
Linus Ullmark served as Swayman’s backup, while Pastrnak, Lindholm and Ullmark were all expected to be given the night off as Cassidy told reporters ahead of the game that he’d manage playing time with the playoffs in mind.
A pair of milestones unrelated to performance were met on Sunday as Carlo suited up in his 400th career NHL game, while Charlie Coyle took part in his 700th career game.
Joel Edmundson tripped Connor Clifton at 6:23 of the first period, but Boston wasn’t able to convert on the resulting power play– their first and only skater advantage of the night.
The Bruins matched their longest streak of games without a power play goal (10) for the first time since their inaugural season (1924-25).
Midway through the opening frame, Josh Anderson and Derek Forbort each cut a rut to their respective sin bins for roughing at 10:55.
After two minutes of 4-on-4 action, the two teams resumed 5-on-5 play without issue.
Late in the period, Bergeron (21) gathered a loose puck on the doorstep and buried it into the open twine as Montembeault was caught behind the play after Jake DeBrusk fired the initial shot on net.
DeBrusk (16) and Brad Marchand (44) tabbed the assists on Bergeron’s goal and the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead at 15:03 of the first period.
Bergeron’s first goal of the game put him in sole possession of the fourth-most goals in club history for the B’s, surpassing Bourque in the process as Bergeron collected his 396th career goal (all with Boston).
The goal also marked Boston’s 2,000th goal against Montréal in franchise history.
A few minutes later, Mike Hoffman slashed Haula’s stick while skating alongside No. 56 in black and gold yielding– for some reason– a penalty shot for Haula at 18:03 as the on-ice officials determined that Hoffman’s infraction was enough to negate a scoring chance on a breakaway, apparently.
Haula (16) skated past the puck on his initial entry on the penalty shot, but as he never touched the rubber biscuit with his blade– and therefore did not move it forward before going back to retrieve it– he kept his composure, collected the puck, approached Montembeault and wired a shot under the glove side to give Boston a two-goal lead, 2-0.
For just the fourth time in franchise history, Haula joined Tim Taylor (April 15, 1998), Leo Boivin (Jan. 4, 1964) and Woody Dumart (Jan. 14, 1940) as the only Bruins to score a penalty-shot goal against the Canadiens.
Less than a minute later, Marchand retaliated against Jeff Petry for a clean hit that Petry made on Bergeron.
As a result, Marchand was sent to the box with a roughing infraction at 18:52 of the first period.
The B’s would be down two skaters after the first intermission when Trent Frederic picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct minor at 20:00 of the first period after he tried to engage Petry after the opening frame came to an end.
After one period of action, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and led in shots on goal, 17-8, as well as in blocked shots (4-2) and hits (14-11).
The Canadiens held the advantage in giveaways (7-5), while both teams had two takeaways each and split faceoff win percentage, 50-50.
Montréal and Boston were also 0-for-1 on the power play heading into the middle period.
The B’s survived Marchand’s minor, but couldn’t survive Frederic’s infraction as the Canadiens continued to pressure in the attacking zone before Petry forged a pass via Brendan Gallagher to Anderson (19) for a power-play goal on a shot with eyes past Swayman.
Gallagher (16) and Petry (19) had the assists on Anderson’s goal and the Habs trailed, 2-1, at 1:51 of the second period.
Boston responded less than a few minutes later as Clifton sent a pass up to Nosek on a rush before Nosek setup Haula (17) with a tape-to-tape pass for the catch and release goal at 4:04 of the second period.
Nosek (14) and Clifton (8) notched the assists and the Bruins went ahead by two goals once more, 3-1.
About a minute later, Haula headed off to the box for interference– taking Jake Evans with him, though, as Evans was assessed an embellishment infraction to present some more 4-on-4 action at 5:16.
Less than a minute later, however, Grzelcyk tripped Anderson and yielded an abbreviated 4-on-3 power play to the Canadiens at 5:47.
Montréal could not convert on the ensuing skater advantage.
Moments later, Laurent Dauphin checked Taylor Hall along the boards leaving Hall out of breath, but the Bruins forward managed to skate off on his own after a stoppage and never went down the tunnel.
Cassidy informed reporters that Hall must have simply “had the wind knocked out of him” and indicated that he didn’t expect the Boston forward to miss any time.
Marchand and Anderson exchanged pleasantries late in the period yielding slashing and cross checking minors, respectively, at 16:12 and resulting in more 4-on-4 action for the two squads.
On an attacking zone faceoff, the Bruins won the puck back to the point where McAvoy (10) snapped a shot past Montembeault’s blocker side to give Boston a three-goal lead.
Bergeron (37) had the only assist on the goal as McAvoy made it, 4-1, at 18:09 of the second period.
Through 40 minutes of action Sunday night, the Bruins led, 4-1, on the scoreboard and held a, 31-16, advantage in shots on goal– including a, 14-8, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.
Boston also led in hits (23-22), while Montréal led in takeaways (4-3), giveaways (13-9) and faceoff win% (51-49) after two periods.
Both teams had eight blocked shots aside, while the Canadiens were 1-for-3 and the Bruins were 0-for-1 on the skater advantage.
McLaughlin lifted the puck over the glass for an automatic delay of game infraction at 3:10 of the third period and the Habs didn’t take long to capitalize on the ensuing advantage.
Montréal won a faceoff back to the point where Petry slid a pass across the ice to Hoffman (13) for a one-timer blast off the iron and in– bringing the Canadiens to within two goals at 3:13.
Petry (20) and Christian Dvorak (19) had the assists on Hoffman’s power-play goal and the Habs trailed, 4-2.
Almost midway through the final frame, Nick Suzuki (21) caught a pass and released a shot from the slot past Swayman after the Bruins failed to clear their own zone.
Mathieu Perreault (4) and Michael Pezzetta (4) had the assists on Suzuki’s goal and the Canadiens trailed, 4-3, at 7:19 of the third period.
With 2:20 remaining in the action, Montréal’s interim head coach, Martin St. Louis, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.
After Forbort’s shot attempt was knocked down by a high stick in Boston’s attacking zone, however, Montembeault had to return to the crease otherwise the Canadiens would’ve allowed a surefire empty net goal.
With 51.8 seconds remaining, Montembeault vacated the net once more.
After a stoppage with 26.2 seconds left, St. Louis used his timeout to rally his skaters for one last chance, but the Bruins wound up getting another rush in the dying seconds of the game after Nosek and Marchand won a battle along the boards.
Marchand fed an indirect pass off the boards across the width of the ice for Bergeron (22) to retrieve and skate into the attacking zone mostly unguarded before burying the puck in the empty net for his second goal of the game and another two-goal advantage for Boston.
Marchand (45) had the only assist on Bergeron’s empty net goal and the Bruins led, 5-3, at 19:53 of the third period.
As a result of the goal, Bergeron now trails Rick Middleton by five goals for the third-most in franchise history, while Marchand is nine points away from reaching the 800-point plateau in his career.
He’s also two points away (791) from tying Wayne Cashman (793) for the seventh-most points in Bruins franchise history.
At the final horn, Boston had won, 5-3, and left Bell Centre leading in shots on goal, 42-26, including an, 11-10, advantage in the third period alone.
The Bruins also finished the night leading in giveaways (19-16) and hits (36-28), while the Canadiens exited their own ice with the advantage in blocked shots (17-10) and faceoff win% (52-48).
Montréal went 2-for-4 on the power play on Sunday, while Boston went 0-for-1.
Meanwhile, Swayman picked up his 23rd win of the season and moved into sole possession of the fourth-most wins by a rookie goaltender in B’s franchise history, trailing Frank Brimsek (33), Andrew Raycroft (29) and Tiny Thompson (26) as a result.
Tuukka Rask, Marco Baron and Jack Gelineau are now tied for the fifth-most with 22.
The Habs are now on a nine-game losing streak (all in regulation) and fell to 6-38-8 (3-21-3 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 4-32-8 (2-16-3 at home) when trailing after one period and 3-40-6 (1-22-2 at home) when losing after two periods in 2021-22.
Boston improved to 36-9-2 (19-4-1 on the road) when scoring first, 28-5-1 (14-2-1 on the road) when leading after the first period and 31-1-3 (17-0-2 on the road) when leading after the second period this season.
The B’s have three games remaining in the regular season, while the Toronto Maple Leafs have two games and the Tampa Bay Lightning have three games left in their schedules.
Toronto is 2nd in the Atlantic Division and can clinch home ice in the First Round with at least one point in their remaining games, while Tampa would need to win out their final three games and hope for the Maple Leafs to lose their last two games in regulation.
Boston cannot finish higher than 3rd in the Atlantic and is not destined to have home ice in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs unless they meet another wild card in the later rounds.
Entering Monday, the B’s would face the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2022 First Round, though if Boston falls behind the Washington Capitals (100 points) in the wild card standings, there’s always a chance they’ll face the Florida Panthers.
In any case, Toronto would face Tampa if Boston is a wild card team.
Otherwise, we could be looking at another Bruins vs. Leafs First Round series if Boston is able to overcome the Lightning in the division standings.
The Bruins host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday and Buffalo Sabres on Thursday before closing out the 2021-22 regular season Friday night on the road against the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.
David Pastrnak scored a goal and had an assist in his return to action after missing the last eight games due to injury as the Boston Bruins beat the New York Rangers, 3-1, Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
Pastrnak became the third-fastest Bruin in franchise history to amass 500 points with 239 goals and 261 assists in 508 career games since making his National Hockey League debut in the 2014-15 season after Boston drafted him in the first round (25th overall) in 2014.
Only Bobby Orr (500 points in 396 games) and Ray Bourque (500 points in 484 games) outpaced Pastrnak for the fastest to 500 career points (all with the Bruins).
Meanwhile, Linus Ullmark (24-10-2, 2.52 goals-against average, .914 save percentage in 39 games played) made 30 saves on 31 shots against for a .968 save percentage and the win in his first game back from an undisclosed injury that caused him to miss the last three games.
Rangers goaltender, Igor Shesterkin (36-12-4, 2.03 goals-against average, .936 save percentage in 52 games played), stopped 32 out of 35 shots faced in the loss.
Boston improved to 48-25-5 (101 points) on the season and within a point of the Tampa Bay Lightning for 3rd in the Atlantic Division at the time of this writing.
Despite being 4th in the Atlantic, the B’s hold the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
New York, meanwhile, fell to 51-22-6 (108 points) overall and stuck in 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Bruins finished their regular season series against the Rangers and went 1-1-1 across their three matchups.
The B’s went 5-3-0 against the Broadway Blueshirts in 2020-21 and 3-0-0 in 2019-20.
Hampus Lindholm, Pastrnak and Ullmark returned to the lineup for Boston, while Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) remained out against the Rangers on Saturday.
B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters prior to Saturday afternoon’s, 3-1, win that Pastrnak and Lindholm may not travel to Montréal as the Bruins visit the Canadiens Sunday night.
Zboril, meanwhile, has reportedly begun contract extension negotiations with Boston, according to New England Hockey Journal and NHL.com contributor, Mark Divver.
Jack Ahcan, Jack Studnicka and Troy Grosenick were all reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) prior to Saturday’s matchup against New York (Ahcan and Studnicka were technically reassigned on Thursday and Friday, respectively).
With a trio of players returning to the lineup, Cassidy made changes accordingly– moving Curtis Lazar back to the fourth line as Pastrnak resumed his regular role on the second line right wing.
Meanwhile, Lindholm suited up alongside Charlie McAvoy on the first defensive pairing with Matt Grzelcyk demoted to the second pairing next to Brandon Carlo and Mike Reilly joining Marc McLaughlin as the odd players out as a result of Pastrnak and Lindholm’s return.
Reilly and McLaughlin were joined by Josh Brown and Anton Blidh on Boston’s list of healthy scratches on Saturday, while Lazar skated in his 400th career NHL game.
Julien Gauthier cut a rut to the penalty box for tripping Lindholm at 7:47 of the first period, but the Bruins failed to capitalize on the resulting power play opportunity.
A few minutes later, Jake DeBrusk caught Adam Fox with a high stick and presented the Rangers with their first power play of the afternoon at 10:01, but New York couldn’t score on the ensuing skater advantage.
Boston got another chance on the power play at 12:26 of the first period when the Rangers were caught with too many skaters on the ice.
Once more, however, the B’s let another power play go by the wayside.
Late in the period Brad Marchand rushed the puck up the ice to McAvoy as Boston’s best defender pinched in from the point to the slot prior to sliding a pass through the slot to Pastrnak (39) for a one-timer goal on Shesterkin’s blocker side.
McAvoy (45) and Marchand (43) tallied the assists as the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead at 19:25.
Heading into the first intermission, Boston had the advantage on the scoreboard, despite trailing New York in shots on goal, 12-10.
The B’s led in blocked shots (9-5), giveaways (5-2) and faceoff win percentage (71-29), while the Rangers led in takeaways (3-2) and hits (11-7).
New York was 0-for-1 and Boston was 0-for-2 on the power play heading into the middle frame.
Taylor Hall (18) received a breakaway pass from Erik Haula and sent a shot over the glove early in the second period to extend Boston’s lead to two-goals.
Haula (26) and Pastrnak (34) notched the assists as the Bruins took a, 2-0, lead at 1:07 of the second period– courtesy of Hall’s goal and Pastrnak’s 500th career NHL point in the form of a secondary assist on the goal.
Midway through the middle frame, McAvoy rocked Fox on a clean open ice hit in Boston’s own end– drawing the ire of Dryden Hunt and resulting in a bit of a fracas between McAvoy and Hunt that resulted in a pair of roughing infractions and 4-on-4 action at 9:27.
The Bruins soon had an abbreviated 4-on-3 power play after Jacob Trouba tripped Pastrnak at 10:21 of the second period, but once again the B’s couldn’t muster anything on the power play– falling to 0-for-32 on their last 32 skater advantages as a result.
Through 40 minutes of action, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and held a, 28-22, advantage in shots on goal, including an, 18-10, advantage in the second period alone.
Boston led in blocked shots (11-9), giveaways (9-8) and faceoff win% (68-32) after two periods, while New York held the advantage in takeaways (8-3) and hits (24-20).
The Rangers were 0-for-1 and the Bruins were 0-for-3 on the power play heading into the final frame.
Ullmark sent the puck over the glass and out of play to kick off the third period with an automatic infraction at 1:42.
Craig Smith served the minor and the Rangers took full advantage of the ensuing power play.
Carlo lost his stick and was aiming to retrieve it while the puck was still in New York’s attacking zone– rendering the Bruins defender out of position as Mika Zibanejad stood on the doorstep and awaited a pass through the slot.
Chris Kreider setup Zibanejad (29) for a one-timer goal as Ullmark made a desperation effort that came up a little bit short as Zibanejad’s power-play goal brought the Rangers to within one and put them on the scoreboard.
Kreider (24) and Alexis Lafrenière (12) had the assists on the goal and New York trailed, 2-1, at 2:58 of the third period.
Carlo also managed to hook Lafrenière before losing his stick– resulting in another power play for the Rangers at 2:58, though this time Boston was able to kill off the infraction.
Midway through the third period, Connor Clifton dumped the puck off of Charlie Coyle (inadvertently) and into the attacking zone, where Smith retrieved the rubber biscuit by the goal lime and zipped a pass back to Trent Frederic (7) for the catch and release shot in the slot off of Shesterkin and into the twine.
Smith (18) and Coyle (27) picked up the assists as the Bruins extended their lead back to two-goals, 3-1, at 9:37.
With 3:49 remaining in the action, Rangers head coach, Gerard Gallant, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker before using his timeout 46 seconds later to draw up a plan to rally his skaters for a pair of goals to tie the game at the very least.
Things did not go to plan.
New York iced the puck with 40.1 seconds remaining after Marchand rang the outside of the iron on an empty net and Shesterkin went back into the crease.
He wasn’t able to make his way back to the bench as Boston sustained enough offensive pressure to keep the Rangers from breaking through the neutral zone as time ticked down and the final horn eventually sounded.
The Bruins had won, 3-1, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 35-31, despite being outshot by the Rangers, 9-7, in the third period alone.
Boston exited their own building leading in blocked shots (17-11) and faceoff win% (62-38), while New York left TD Garden leading in hits (34-24).
Both teams managed to amass nine giveaways each, while the Rangers went 1-for-3 on the power play and the B’s finished the afternoon 0-for-3 on the skater advantage.
For the fourth time in the last five seasons, Boston passed the 100-point plateau in the standings.
The Bruins have 25 seasons with 100 points or more in franchise history, which is also an NHL record.
Having completed their final matinée game of the regular season, the B’s went 11-2-0 in 13 afternoon matchups in 2021-22, while improving to 35-9-2 (17-5-1 at home) when scoring first, 27-5-1 (14-3-0 at home) when leading after one and 30-1-3 (14-1-1 at home) when leading after two periods this season.
New York fell to 18-17-4 (11-11-0 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 11-12-4 (6-9-0 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 4-17-2 (1-12-0 on the road) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22.
The Bruins will pay a visit to the Montréal Canadiens on Sunday before hosting the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, prior to their regular season series finale on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.
Casey DeSmith made 52 saves in a, 4-0, shutout for the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night against the Boston Bruins at PPG Paints Arena– setting a pair of franchise records for each team in the process.
DeSmith made the most saves in a shutout win in Penguins history, surpassing Jean-Sebastian Aubin’s 45-save effort in a, 4-0, win against the Dallas Stars on March 9, 2004, at Pittsburgh’s former home, Mellon Arena.
Meanwhile, for the first time in Bruins history, Boston had 50 or more shots on net in a shutout loss.
Also Jake Guentzel scored a hat trick to reach the 40-goal plateau for the second time in his career and first time since the 2018-19 season.
Talk about burying the lede.
DeSmith (9-5-5, 2.75 goals-against average, .915 save percentage in 23 games played) made 52 saves on 52 shots against in the shutout win for the Pens, while Jeremy Swayman (22-13-3, 2.35 goals-against average, .916 save percentage in 39 games played) stopped 28 out of 31 shots faced in the loss for the B’s.
The Penguins improved to 44-23-11 (99 points) overall and remain in command of 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division, while the Bruins fell to 47-25-5 (99 points) and remain stuck in 4th place in the Atlantic Division.
Boston is still two points ahead of the Washington Capitals for the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with the second wild card going on to face the Florida Panthers in the 2022 First Round as a result of the Panthers clinching the number one seed in the Eastern Conference on Thursday night.
The B’s went 1-2-0 in their regular season series against the Penguins after going 5-3-0 against Pittsburgh in 2020-21 and 2-1-0 in 2019-20.
The Bruins remained without Jakub Zboril (right ACL), David Pastrnak (undisclosed), Hampus Lindholm (lower body), Linus Ullmark (undisclosed) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) on Thursday.
Head coach, Bruce Cassidy, informed reporters prior to the matchup with the Penguins that Ullmark could be back on Saturday afternoon in Boston and made no changes to his lineup from Tuesday night’s, 3-2, overtime victory in St. Louis to Thursday night’s loss in Pittsburgh.
Jack Studnicka, Josh Brown, Jack Ahcan and Anton Blidh made up the short list of healthy scratches for the B’s against the Pens.
Rickard Rakell sent a pass to Sidney Crosby before Crosby bumped it over to Guentzel along the blue line as the Penguins entered the attacking zone almost midway through the opening frame.
Guentzel (38) drove to the net as the Bruins botched a line change and buried a shot through Swayman’s five-hole to give Pittsburgh a, 1-0, lead at 7:49 of the first period.
Crosby (52) and Rakell (20) tallied the assists on Guentzel’s first goal of the game.
Moments later, Pittsburgh had the first power play of the night as a result of Taylor Hall’s slashing infraction at 11:48, but the Pens failed to convert on the ensuing skater advantage.
After one period the Penguins led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 13-11, in shots on goal.
Boston, meanwhile, held the advantage in giveaways (4-1), hits (15-7) and faceoff win% (59-41).
Both teams had four blocked shots and five takeaways each heading into the middle period while Pittsburgh was 0-for-1 on the power play and the Bruins had yet to see any action on the skater advantage.
Early in the middle frame, Boston’s defense erred once more as Jeff Carter sent fed Jason Zucker a lead pass into the attacking zone.
Zucker (8) broke free behind Brandon Carlo and buried a shot in the top right corner as Carlo opted to cover Bryan Rust in the center of the ice.
Carter (24) and John Marino (24) notched the assists as the Penguins took a, 2-0, lead at 6:10 of the second period.
About ten minutes later, the Pens extended their lead to three goals when Carlo failed to clear the zone and ended up giving the puck away to the high slot whereby Pittsburgh kept it in the zone and worked it around before Kris Letang dished a pass through the slot to connect with Guentzel (39) on a one-timer goal.
Letang (56) had the only assist as the Penguins made it, 3-0, at 16:12 of the second period.
Through 40 minutes of action, Pittsburgh led on the scoreboard, 3-0, despite trailing in shots on goal, 30-25.
Boston even had a, 19-12, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone, while also maintaining control in takeaways (8-6), giveaways (6-3) and hits (29-19).
The Penguins, on the other hand, led in blocked shots (7-6), while both teams managed to split faceoff win%, 50-50, after two periods.
Only the Pens had seen any power play action heading into the second intermission and Pittsburgh was 0-for-1 as a result entering the final frame.
Marcus Pettersson cut a rut to the penalty box for interference at 7:27 of the third period, but the Bruins weren’t able to convert on the resulting power play– falling to 0-for-28 on their last 28 power play opportunities as a result.
The B’s had another chance on the skater advantage at 10:16 when Chad Ruhwedel was penalized for holding, but Boston ended up extending their power play drought to 0-for-29 on their last 29 power plays instead.
With about four minutes left in the game, Cassidy pulled Swayman for an extra attacker.
He’d end up yanking him again about a minute later after a stoppage in play resulted in a defensive zone faceoff, but Pittsburgh made quick work of the open net regardless.
Guentzel (40) retrieved a loose puck in his own end and flung the rubber biscuit with enough velocity to reach the back of the empty twine across the rink– giving the Penguins a, 4-0, lead as a result at 17:55 of the third period.
Hats rained down from the stands at PPG Paints Arena as Guentzel completed his hat trick with an unassisted empty net goal.
At the final horn, Pittsburgh had won, 4-0, with DeSmith earning a shutout despite Boston exiting the ice with a, 52-32, advantage in shots on goal, including a, 22-7, advantage in shots on net in the third period alone.
The Bruins exited PPG Paints Arena with the advantage in giveaways (6-5), hits (36-26) and faceoff win% (52-48), while the Penguins left their own ice leading in blocked shots (14-8).
The Pens went 0-for-1 and the B’s went 0-for-2 on the power play on Thursday.
Boston has now lost five out of their last eight games and dropped to 13-16-3 (6-8-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 6-14-2 (2-7-1 on the road) when trailing after one and 4-19-2 (1-8-1 on the road) when losing after two periods this season.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, improved to 33-5-3 (17-3-1 at home) when scoring first, 22-3-2 (13-2-1 at home) when leading after the first period and 30-1-2 (15-0-1 at home) when leading after two periods in 2021-22.
The Bruins return home to host the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Puck drop is set for a little after 3 p.m. ET 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.