Boston Bruins – Press Herald Sun, 23 Apr 2017 08:00:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bruins keep season alive with 3-2 win in 2 OTs Sat, 22 Apr 2017 03:55:17 +0000 OTTAWA, Ontario — Sean Kuraly’s second goal of the game at 10:19 of the second overtime gave the Boston Bruins a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 5 on Friday night, avoiding elimination in the first-round series.

David Pastrnak also scored and Tuukka Rask finished with 41 saves to help the Bruins rally from two goals down early in the second period and cut the Senators’ lead to 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.

On the winning goal, Charlie McAvoy’s shot from the right point was tipped by David Backes and then hit Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson’s skate in front of goalie Craig Anderson, and Kuraly backhanded it in.

Game 6 is Sunday in Boston.

Mark Stone and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored for the Senators, and Craig Anderson stopped 36 shots.

The Bruins had the best chances to end the game in the first overtime when they went on a power play on Clarke MacArthur’s high-sticking penalty. Then, Noel Acciari’s apparent goal waved off at 14:25 due to goalie interference when Kuraly tripped over Anderson. The Bruins challenged the call to no avail.

The Senators had two great chances to take the lead in the third as the Bruins took a delay of game and a too many men penalty in the final 6 minutes of the period, but Ottawa managed just two shots on goal.

With the Bruins trailing 2-0, Brad Marchand helped cut the lead in half when he took the puck behind the Senators’ net and made a cross-crease pass to Pastrnak, who beat Anderson short side at 8:40 of the second.

Kuraly tied it with his first NHL goal on a bank shot from the side of the net with 2:55 left in the middle period.

Ottawa scored just 30 seconds into the period to push their lead to 2-0 when the Bruins’ defense was caught flat-footed. Pageau was able to break in alone and beat Rask through the legs.

The Senators took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Mike Hoffman made a great pass to Stone, who slipped behind the Bruins defense and beat Rask on the backhand.

An already depleted Bruins lineup took another hit as David Krejci left the game late in the first after a collision with Chris Wideman.

]]> 0, 22 Apr 2017 00:27:33 +0000
Bruins notebook: Boston needs goals, and needs them quickly Fri, 21 Apr 2017 02:56:43 +0000 BOSTON — There’s no blaming the officials after this one. Don’t look goalie Tuukka Rask’s way, either.

No, the Boston Bruins can only look in the mirror.

The inability to put the puck behind Craig Anderson – not Ken Dryden, not Martin Brodeur, not Dominik Hasek but Craig Anderson – has the Bruins on the brink of a season-ending game Friday night at Ottawa.

Boston put 22 shots on Anderson on Wednesday night at TD Garden. A dozen in a spirited first period, then five in the second and five in the third, two by Brad Marchand in the final minute. They went almost 13 minutes without a shot on goal in that final period.

Boston left the ice to a cascade of boos born out of frustration after a 1-0 Game 4 defeat.

Having now lost seven of the eight games against the Senators this season, the Bruins haven’t scored in their last 91 minutes, 52 seconds. And never have they come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series.

“It’s not over until someone gets that fourth win,” said Patrice Bergeron, who has one goal and one assist through four games. That’s tied for second-best on the team behind David Pastrnak (1-2-3). “We’re having some good looks (on goal) but too many are one and done. We have to make it harder for (Anderson) to see the puck.”

Rookie defenseman Charlie McAvoy seemingly put the Bruins on the scoreboard first with a second-period blast, but Tim Schaller was ruled offside upon further review. That’s the kind of night it was for Boston.

Someone threw a beach ball onto the ice during the second period Wednesday night. If the Bruins can’t find a way to put a few pucks past Anderson on Friday night, they might be chasing beach balls in the Caribbean next week.

WHILE DEFENSEMAN Colin Miller rejoined Boston’s lineup during Game 4, interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said Thursday that the team doesn’t expect Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo or Adam McQuaid to play in Game 5.

“No, I don’t think so,” Cassidy said of any returning defensemen.

Krug hasn’t played since Boston’s regular-season matchup against the Senators on April 6, going down with a lower-body injury after logging 2:32 of ice time. Krug led Bruins defensemen in scoring in the regular season with 51 points.

Carlo suffered an upper-body injury in Boston’s regular-season finale April 8 against Washington, smashing into the boards off of a hit from Alex Ovechkin. In the regular season, Carlo averaged 20:49 of ice time with 16 points and a plus-9 rating.

McQuaid exited Game 2 against the Senators with an upper-body injury midway through the first period.

]]> 0 Anderson of the Ottawa Senators may not be the high-quality goalie the Boston Bruins have faced in past playoffs, but he's getting the job done in this series, helped by Boston failing to take advantage of rebounds.Thu, 20 Apr 2017 23:04:30 +0000
Bruins facing elimination after 1-0 loss to Senators Thu, 20 Apr 2017 02:28:48 +0000 BOSTON — The Senators are heading home with a chance to eliminate the Bruins in Ottawa.

Not that they’ve had much trouble with them in Boston.

Bobby Ryan scored early in the third period, Craig Anderson stopped 22 shots for his fourth career postseason shutout and the Senators beat Boston 1-0 on Wednesday night for a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.

It was Ottawa’s fifth straight win in Boston dating to 2015 and seventh victory in eight tries – home or away – this season. Game 5 is Friday night in the Canadian capital.

“We worked so hard to get home ice for the first round of the playoffs,” Senators forward Zach Smith said. “It’s nice to get some wins here and go back and potentially have the chance to close it off at home.”

Tuukka Rask made 26 saves for Boston, which had a goal disallowed in the second when Ottawa Coach Guy Boucher challenged and the replay showed Noel Acciari was offsides.

The Bruins need a victory on Friday to force the series back to Boston.

Bruins left wing David Pastrnak juggles a beach ball that landed on the ice during the second period. Associated Press/Charles Krupa

“We’ll show up, show some character,” Rask said. “We’ve been on the other side. Us, as veterans, have to make sure the young guys don’t hang their heads.”

Every game so far in this best-of-seven series has been settled by a one-goal margin, including back-to-back overtimes in Games 2 and 3.

“You’re not going to win 7-6 every night,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. “You’ve got to be able to play any style, so that’s the way it is.”

The game remained scoreless until 5:49 into the third, when Erik Karlsson’s shot deflected off Rask to his stick side. Ryan pulled it from his backhand to his forehand and swiped at it as Zdeno Chara dove behind Rask into the crease to try to knock the puck away from the goal line.

“There’s always a game or two in the series where it’s like chess. It’s nice and slow and strategic moves,” Anderson said. “We played our system to a T. We weathered the storm early and just stuck with it and made good on our chance in the third.”

Bruins left wing David Pastrnak is dropped to the ice while battling for the puck with Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman, left, and defenseman Cody Ceci in the second period. Associated Press/Charles Krupa

The 6-foot-9 Chara was able to reach out and prevent the first attempt from going in, but Ryan pushed it over the line with his second.

The Bruins pulled Rask with almost 2 minutes left and managed a couple of scoring chances – both from Marchand – but Anderson turned them away.

“Very good goaltending on both sides,” Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Their guy was one goal better than us.”

NOTES: Bruins D Colin Miller returned after missing Games 2 and 3 with an unspecified injury. … Ottawa D Mark Borowiecki missed his second straight game. “Boro is getting closer every day,” Boucher said. … Ottawa F Tom Pyatt left after a hit from Kevan Miller early in the first. … Bruins C Patrice Bergeron, a three-time Selke Trophy winner, was named a finalist for the award for the sixth time Wednesday.

]]> 0 goalie Tuukka Rask heads to the locker room after a 1-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators in Game 4 of their playoff series in Boston, on Wednesday night. Ottawa leads the series, 3-1.Thu, 20 Apr 2017 08:29:44 +0000
Commentary: Bruins try to bounce back from OT loss Wed, 19 Apr 2017 01:54:31 +0000 It’s safe to assume the Bruins wanted to say a great deal more than they actually did about the penalty call that led to Bobby Ryan’s power-play goal in overtime Monday night, giving the Senators a 4-3 victory and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

In maybe the most exciting and entertaining game this season, the Bruins overcame a flat start, down 3-0 early in the second period, to storm back to tie the game at 3. It felt like their game to win.

Until the referees stepped in to decide the outcome.

The Bruins mostly held their tongues with only muted comments about the dreadful roughing call on Riley Nash 5:43 into sudden-death that led – when the Bruins penalty kill failed to get the job done – to Ryan’s winner.

Simply, after having been crunched hard along the boards, Nash rapped Ryan in the face. It was a punch virtually identical those delivered earlier and ignored by the refs. At this late juncture of a highly physical contest in which the officials were letting lots of calls go and letting the players decide the game, no one expected this call to be made. Or, at worse, both Nash and Ryan should have been whistled off.

Still, the Bruins kept their criticism in check, and mostly looked ahead.

“This hurts,” said winger David Backes. “I’ve got full faith in our guys that we’re going to win the next game and we’ll be right back in it.”

The refs clearly established a let-them-play standard, in general, and looked the other way on identical pops to the face. But not on the one that mattered most.

“Yeah, or maybe take both (players off the ice),” said Backes. “I can’t say I’m an unbiased source here, because we battled our butts off to get back into this game, and get it to overtime. We felt like we still had the momentum there, probably until they get that power play. Our penalty kill was first in the league; we just didn’t get the job done there when we needed it most. It was unfortunate, for the way the game was played. It certainly wasn’t gentle out there. It was a man’s game, hard hitting. The legal big checks that were happening (were) great to see.

“Nasher kind of gets crumpled from one side and maybe hit in the face on the other (and there’s) maybe a little reaction there. If I’m reffing, which I’m not, so I’m extremely biased, then maybe I take them both and we play a little four-on-four overtime hockey. I didn’t get to ref.”

Backes talked more about the Bruins’ spirited rally, which included his breakaway goal that cut the Ottawa lead to 3-2 at 6:47 of the second.

“A lot of character (was) shown by us,” said Backes.

“The positive thing is we get it back to a 3-3 game after the second period. The third period is a kind of a who’s-going-to-break first. And then they were able to get the overtime power play. Our penalty kill has been huge all year. The penalty being on Nasher sure doesn’t help, either, because he’s been a huge part of that great kill all year. So it’s a great game, another one-goal game, another tight-checking game where every play was magnified. I expect the next game will be the same way. We (will) get this thing tied 2-2 and make it a two-out-of-three series.

“We’ve got to take this, digest it and move on, because it’s in the books. All we can affect is (Wednesday’s) game and come out flying in that one. To take control of the game for the whole 60 minutes would be pleasantly received, I think. After the first period we played pretty darned well.”

Unfortunately, the refereeing got worse.

]]> 0 Ryan, facing front, celebrates with teammates after his OT goal Monday night in Boston. The Senators scored on the power play, the result of a controversial call on Riley Nash.Tue, 18 Apr 2017 22:04:34 +0000
Tom Caron: Boston has embarrassment of sports riches Tue, 18 Apr 2017 23:32:30 +0000 Has there ever been a better time to be a Boston sports fan?

The answer, at least this past weekend, was clearly no. This is truly the Golden Age of Boston sports, and we reveled in it over the long holiday weekend.

TD Garden was humming with playoff action, with the Bruins and Celtics making the playoffs in the same year for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

Sunday night’s Celtics game was the start of four consecutive nights of playoff action at the Garden, with the “bull gang” picking up and laying down the parquet each night.

This used to be a regular thing at the old Boston Garden. Back in the ’70s and ’80s it was shocking if at least one of the teams wasn’t playing through Memorial Day or beyond. That seemed to change in the ’90s, and when the teams moved into their new home in 1995, the mystique and aura of the Garden was hard to find.

That magic returned in 2008 when the Celtics hoisted banner No. 17, and continued into this decade with the Bruins winning the Cup in 2011 and returning to the finals in 2013.

The electricity was back Sunday when the Garden faithful showed its support for Isaiah Thomas as he took the court for Game 1 of the playoffs with a heavy heart. Despite losing his sister to a fatal car accident just the day before, Thomas was the Celtics’ best player in the opener against the Bulls.

The trouble is, Boston’s supporting cast wasn’t up to the task and Chicago’s bench was the difference in a 106-102 Celtics loss.

A day later the Bruins brought the Garden to life as they roared back from a 3-0 deficit and batted the Ottawa Senators with everything they had. Unfortunately they didn’t have enough. Boston ultimately succumbed to the Senators in overtime, while four injured Bruins defensemen watched from the ninth floor.

Tommy Cross was 10th on the Bruins’ defensive depth chart this season, but he was on the ice when the game ended in overtime. The former Boston College standout did all he could to cover for a bad Zdeno Chara shift change that left the Bruins undermanned as the Senators attacked. Boston needs to have its best personnel on the ice if it hopes to survive and advance.

While the Garden was humming with hoops and hockey playoffs, Fenway Park has been hopping with the start of the baseball season. The Red Sox held their annual morning game on Patriots Day and finished off a 5-2 homestand that brought their home record to 7-2.

This team was expected to contend primarily on the strength of its starting rotation. That rotation has not been as good as expected, at least not yet. Steven Wright’s outing Monday was just the second quality start this year from a pitcher not named Chris Sale or Rick Porcello. And Porcello gave up four home runs in his last outing.

Yet the Sox hit the road three games above .500, largely because of an offense that has the best batting average in baseball. They’re hitting .325 from the seventh inning on, the best team batting average in the game. That has led to five Red Sox wins in games they trailed or were tied after six innings.

Those kind of come-from-behind wins can build confidence in a team and can get fans thinking about the playoffs. The Sox got there last year but are looking to do better than the three-and-out run of last October.

On a weekend like this, a major event like the 121st running of the Boston Marathon ranks no better than fourth on our list of sporting events worth keeping an eye on. Yet it’s a reminder that this is truly the best sports town in America. We might have an embarrassment of sports riches, but we’ll never be embarrassed to call Boston home to our favorite teams.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.

]]> 0 weekend that included the Celtics and Bruins in the playoffs, and the Red Sox early in their season, also included the Boston Marathon. Quite a time for Boston sports fans.Tue, 18 Apr 2017 20:01:52 +0000
Bruins fall to Ottawa in OT after 2nd-period comeback Tue, 18 Apr 2017 02:41:36 +0000 BOSTON — Bobby Ryan scored on a tip-in on a power play 5:43 into overtime, and the Ottawa Senators recovered after giving up a three-goal lead to beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round series.

Ryan got free in the zone, tapping it in on assists by Kyle Turris and Erik Karlsson. Mike Hoffman added two goals for Ottawa, with Derick Brassard scoring the other. Craig Anderson finished with 17 saves.

It was the second straight overtime game of the series, and second consecutive win for the Senators following their 4-3 victory in Game 2.

This time Bruins rallied from a 3-0 deficit with three goals in second period, tying the game on a power play goal by David Pastrnak.

Noel Acciari and David Backes also scored for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots.

Game 4 is Wednesday night in Boston.

Ottawa seemed to be cruising in the second period following Hoffman’s second goal of the night off a power play to make it 3-0.

But then Boston finally got going on the offensive end.

First, Acciari, who returned from injury, got Boston on the board on a tip-in off a miss by John-Michael Liles. That was followed 42 seconds later by Backes’ slap shot after he broke through the Senators defense to swipe the puck and open the ice.

Then, the Bruins finally cashed in on Pastrnak’s goal with Dion Phaeneuf in the penalty box for slashing.

It nearly nullified what was a dominating start by the Senators, who kept the action on their side of the red line for most of the first period.

The Bruins played through a rash of injuries in the first two games, and were missing defensemen Adam McQuaid, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Colin Miller on Monday.

Acciari and center David Krejci both returned, but Boston struggled early to find much offensive traction.

Hoffman and Brassard scored just 25 seconds apart in the first period and exploited a depleted Boston defense to give Ottawa an early 2-0 lead.

The Bruins made up for their sloppy start and came out more aggressive on the offensive end in the second period, scoring three goals on just seven shots – including the two in 42 seconds – to get back into the game.

The Senators outshot the Bruins 10-3 in the first, taking advantage of several defensive breakdowns on their side of the ice.

It was the first game of the series that the Bruins had trailed after the opening 20 minutes.

]]> 0 Senators center Zack Smith (15) checks Boston Bruins center Ryan Spooner into the Senators bench during the third period in Game 3 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series in Boston.Mon, 17 Apr 2017 23:00:21 +0000
NHL playoffs: Bruins fall in overtime to Senators Sat, 15 Apr 2017 22:33:43 +0000 OTTAWA, Ontario — Dion Phaneuf scored at 1:59 of overtime and the Ottawa Senators rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

The Senators rallied from a 3-1 deficit with a two-goal third period to force overtime. The Eastern Conference series is tied 1-1 and Game 3 is Monday night in Boston.

Clarke MacArthur, Chris Wideman and Derick Brassard also scored for the Senators and Craig Anderson made 26 saves.

Drew Stafford, Tim Schaller and Patrice Bergeron scored for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask stopped 25 shots.

The Senators started the overtime with the man advantage as the Bruins took a delay of game penalty with 12.5 seconds remaining in regulation.

Trailing 3-1 to start the third, the Senators scored twice in a span of 2:20 to tie the game.

Wideman, with his first playoff goal, made it 3-2 with a goal from the point and Brassard, off a great pass from Erik Karlsson, tied the game at 7:48 off a one-timer.

A goalie gaffe and bad penalties left the Senators trailing 3-1 after 40 minutes.

With the Bruins pushing, Viktor Stalberg blocked a shot, but the rebound went right to Stafford, who hammered it past Anderson to open the scoring at 9:47 of the second period.

The Senators challenged the goal believing the play was offside, but a lengthy review upheld the goal.

The Senators managed to get the crowd back into the game as MacArthur tied it on the power play with his first goal since April 19, 2015.

Boston retook the lead when Anderson misplayed the puck with Dominic Moore bearing down, allowing Schaller to score short-handed over a sprawled Anderson at 12:39.

The Bruins took a 3-1 lead late in the period with a power-play goal as Bergeron tipped David Pastrnak shot’s at 16:01.

Boston lost yet another defenseman as Adam McQuaid left midway through the first period. The Bruins were already down to their ninth defenseman on the depth chart as Joe Morrow was in for an injured Colin Miller. The Senators were also down to five as Mark Borowiecki left the game after going hard into the boards midway through the period.

Ottawa had Marc Methot back in the lineup for the first time since suffering a laceration to his pinky finger on March 23.

NOTES: After playing Game 1, Tommy Wingels was out for Game 2 along with veterans C Chris Kelly and RW Chris Neil as well as D Fredrik Claesson. … The Bruins remain without C David Krejci. Miller joined the list of injured defensemen with Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo.

This story will be updated

]]> 0 center Derick Brassard scores on Boston goalie Tuukka Rask during third period of Saturday's playoff game in Ottawa. Ottawa scored two goals in the third period, then again in overtime to beat the Bruins 4-3 and tie their playoff series 1-1. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)Sat, 15 Apr 2017 21:31:16 +0000
Bruins notebook: Injuries taking toll on defense Fri, 14 Apr 2017 23:11:02 +0000 OTTAWA — Bruins interim coach Bruce Cassidy has not ruled out Colin Miller for Game 2 of the first-round playoff series against the Ottawa Senators. But as Miller noticeably limped through the lobby of the Bruins’ hotel, it at least seemed as though the defenseman would need some serious faith healing to see the ice Saturday.

So what’s the plan if Miller isn’t ready? Well, Cassidy said there are several possibilities, including using Joe Morrow, who has not played since Jan. 22.

“We have options. Our first plan is Joe Morrow, who has been with us all year and played some games for us. It would allow us to balance our left and right sticks,” said Cassidy. “After that, there’s the health of the guys who are out (Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo), are they going to be any better for (Saturday)? And then there are guys in Providence who’ve played well.

“It’s always been a next-man-up kind of mentality. When your sweater’s hanging up and you’re in the lineup, you’re expected to do your job. So whoever we choose, we expect they’ll be able to do it.”

Morrow, the last remaining piece of the Tyler Seguin trade, has been something of a forgotten man. He hasn’t played in almost three months. He has one assist and is minus-4 in 17 games. Morrow has a history of playing very well in his first game back in the lineup before leveling off subsequently, but he might have gathered a little too much rust on this layoff.

“We just think the guys we’ve put in have been better. It’s that simple,” said Cassidy when asked why Morrow hasn’t gotten any playing time. “In fairness to Joe, maybe the opportunity hasn’t been there as much as the other guys, but that’s the way it’s played out. And when he does get his chance, he’s going to have to prove that he can stay in the lineup.”

Neither Krug nor Carlo has met up with the team in Ottawa and, to the best of Cassidy’s knowledge, they had not yet begun skating in Boston.

If General Manager Don Sweeney dips down to Providence for a player, there are a couple options. AHL veteran Tommy Cross has had his most productive season in Providence (12 goals, 23 assists, plus-20 in 72 games). If the Bruins want to replicate Miller’s puck-moving skills, then there’s first-year pro Matt Grzelcyk (6 goals, 25 assists, plus-14 in 68 games).

It has been an up-and-down year for David Backes, but he had seemingly found his spot when he was placed on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand after Cassidy took over. The lineup changes caused by David Krejci’s unexpected absence threw him for a temporary loop, however. He started Game 1 against Ottawa on a line with Riley Nash and Drew Stafford, and then with Matt Beleskey.

“It was truthfully a little unsettling, I’m not going to lie,” said Backes about hearing the news Krejci wasn’t paying. “(I’ve been playing) with Bergy and March for the last 20-25 games, and before this game we had three or four days to practice together and talk out a lot of the game. Then a few minutes before the game it was ‘(David Pastrnak), you’re with Bergy and March. And Backs, you’re with Nasher and (Stafford). It was like ‘Crap, we have to adjust now …’

“It was a little bit tough. But sometimes when you get that kind of rattling surprise, like when you go down to five ‘D’, you simplify and worry more about each shift and each play. Sometimes that does focus you a bit more.”

While one of his first orders of business when he took over in February was to put Backes on the top line and pair Pastrnak with Krejci, Cassidy did not rule out putting Backes with Krejci if the centerman can return Saturday, while keeping Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak together.

“We’ll look at (Backes with Krejci). I didn’t love it during the season. I prefer the balance. But with the lower scoring series and the way Pasta plays with Marchie and Bergy, it’s something we will consider,” Cassidy said.

There was no update on Krejci’s status for Saturday.

Cassidy said Noel Acciari, who missed the regular-season finale and Game 1 because of an upper body injury, is close to returning and could play in Game 2.

The Bruins announced the signing of 6-foot-5, 194-pound Finnish forward Joona Koppanen, their fifth-round pick in 2016.

]]> 0 Colin Miller left Game 1 of the Bruins' playoff series against Ottawa on Wednesday night after a knee-on-knee check, and his status is uncertain for Game 2 on Saturday.Fri, 14 Apr 2017 20:06:19 +0000
Bruins score twice in the third period to open playoffs with a 2-1 win Thu, 13 Apr 2017 02:06:23 +0000 OTTAWA, Ontario — Brad Marchand and the Boston Bruins made their limited chances count.

Marchand broke a tie with 2:33 left and the Bruins – held without a shot in the second period – held on to beat the Ottawa Senators 2-1 on Wednesday night in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

Marchand scored off the rebound of Patrice Bergeron’s shot.

“I’ve used the word resiliency a lot and I think it’s become a bit of our middle name,” Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We’ve gone through quite a bit in game and with some injuries and we find a way. I think this group has a lot of character and it starts with the leadership.”

Game 2 is Saturday in Ottawa.

Frank Vatrano added a goal for Boston in his first NHL playoff game, and Tuukka Rask made 26 saves. Bobby Ryan scored for Ottawa, and Craig Anderson stopped 23 shots.

“Clearly there was two shifts where we just gave it to them,” Senators Coach Guy Boucher said. “The two goals they’re just giveaway, after giveaway, after giveaway.”

The Bruins were outshot 12-0 in the second period. Boston is the first team to win a playoff game with no shots on goal in any period since Washington on May 7, 1994, against the New York Rangers.

“They didn’t give us a whole lot,” Marchand said. “They’re really good at keeping things to the outside and making it a one-on-none where they get the puck out quick. We’re going to have to be much better than we were (Wednesday). We can’t expect to win this series playing like that.”

Trailing 1-0 and without a shot since the first period, the Bruins had two quick ones and Vatrano beat Anderson from the high slot on the second to tie it at 4:55 of the third.

Boston was outshot 12-0 in the second and was fortunate to trail by just one.

Despite having played the least amount of any player in the first period with just 2:20 of ice time, Ryan was creating chances every time he was on the ice and nothing changed in the second.

Midway through the period, Ryan took the puck off Adam McQuaid and went to the net where Rask made the initial save, but Ryan pushed his way past Zdeno Chara to the net and scored on his own rebound.

The Bruins had a scare when Colin Miller left the game early in the second after being hit by Mark Borowiecki. With an already depleted blue line, the Bruins can hardly afford to lose another defenseman. Miller returned to the game later in the period. Cassidy said he’s not ruling him out for Saturday, but there is concern.

]]> 0 Vatrano of the Bruins celebrates a goal during third period Wednesday night in Ottawa.Wed, 12 Apr 2017 23:45:22 +0000
Bruins optimistic about Ottawa matchup Tue, 11 Apr 2017 22:57:06 +0000 BOSTON — Bruce Cassidy knows how to handle playoff jitters this time.

Returning to the Stanley Cup playoffs as a head coach for the first time since 2003, Cassidy is trusting in his team to smooth over some of the butterflies he feels before the first-round series against Ottawa.

“I’ll have some nerves, but not a lot,” he said after practice Tuesday as his team prepared to travel to Ottawa. “I feel good about our team.”

Cassidy took over the Bruins on Feb. 7 when they fired Claude Julien – the winningest coach in franchise history, and the man who led the team to two Stanley Cup finals, including the 2011 championship. Boston won its first four games under Cassidy and then added a six-game winning streak to clinch its first playoff berth since 2014.

In all, the Bruins have gone 18-8 under Cassidy, whose only other NHL head coaching experience was less than two seasons with the Washington Capitals from 2002-04.

“Bruce came in here and provided a fresh voice,” defenseman Kevan Miller said. “We’ve played pretty well since he was the captain of the ship.”

Here are some other things to look for in the first-round series:


The Senators went 4-0 against Boston in the regular season – their first season sweep of the Bruins. Ottawa has won six straight matchups between the two teams, but the Bruins say the losing streak doesn’t tell the whole story.

“I don’t think we’ve been outplayed by them,” Miller said. “If anything, we’ve had a little bit of an upper hand the last couple of games.”

The Bruins lost 3-1 in their first meeting on Nov. 24 and 4-2 on March 6 – both in Ottawa. On March 21 in Boston, the Bruins outshot the Senators 36-22 but gave up a third-period goal and lost 3-2. Last Thursday at TD Garden, the teams took a 1-1 tie into a shootout.

“I know we haven’t beaten Ottawa this year. That’s always in the back of your mind,” Cassidy said. “You’re going to have to answer that question until you beat them. But I felt we played much better the last two games, and the games could have gone either way.”

Ottawa also is the only team in this year’s playoffs that has allowed more goals (214) than it scored (212). The Bruins, meanwhile, are plus-22 for the season – 234 goals, 212 against.


Defenseman Charlie McAvoy is expected to make his NHL debut in the series – perhaps even in a defensive pairing with 2009 Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara. The 19-year-old first-round draft pick played only four games in the American Hockey League after his sophomore season at Boston University before signing a three-year deal with the Bruins on Monday.

Fellow BU product Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson – who is going by the nickname JFK in Boston – made his debut in the regular-season finale against Washington.


Boston will be without defensemen Torey Krug (knee) and Brandon Carlo (possible concussion) for the start of the series, at least. Forwards David Krejci and Dominic Moore also skipped practice Tuesday.

Ottawa’s two-time Norris Trophy winner, Erik Karlsson, missed the last week of the regular season, including Thursday’s victory over Boston, because of a toe injury. Forward Zack Smith and defenseman Marc Methot (finger) are also day to day.

]]> 0 Marchand was suspended for the final two games of the regular season, including a shootout loss against Ottawa, the Bruins' leading scorer will be back in the lineup for the playoff opener Wednesday night.Tue, 11 Apr 2017 19:42:14 +0000
Commentary: Bruins need to bring their best game Tue, 11 Apr 2017 02:56:16 +0000 The final day of the 2016-17 NHL season was an off day for the Bruins, after their up-and-down campaign concluded in an unimpressive manner – with losses in Games 81 and 82 to Ottawa and Washington.

Those outcomes, influenced by injuries and the absence of suspended Brad Marchand, left the Bruins in the uncomfortable position of not knowing their opponent for the first round of the playoffs this week.

Would it be the Senators or Capitals, two teams against whom Boston went 0-5-2 this season? As the Bruins sat in front of their TVs or computers tracking the Blue Jackets-Maple Leafs game in Toronto Sunday night, they were juggling a Sophie’s choice about their next opponent: Both options were bad.

Boston got its answer when Columbus rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Maple Leafs, 3-2, and, at least on paper, do the team a gigantic favor.

By failing to earn at least one point in Game 82, the Maple Leafs missed their chance to jump up to third place in the Atlantic Division and face Ottawa in the first round. Now, as the No. 2 wild card team, they have to tackle the daunting Capitals.

And the Bruins, third in the Atlantic, will visit the Senators starting Wednesday night. Game 2 is Saturday afternoon, with Games 3 and 4 at TD Garden.

Ottawa, with its stifling 1-3-1 neutral zone trap, is an imposing team – just not nearly as imposing as the Capitals.

The Bruins will head to the Canadian capital confident they can solve the Senators.

“Our record of (0-3-1 vs. Ottawa) doesn’t really tell the real story,” center David Krejci said after Ottawa’s 2-1 shootout win last Thursday at the Garden.

“Other than the first game in their building, I think we could have gotten at least two games for sure, especially at home. I feel confident in this team that we can get the job done.”

Veteran defenseman John-Michael Liles noted Thursday that games against Ottawa may not be much fun to watch.

“What they do is just clog stuff up,” Liles said. “They just clog up the neutral zone. There’s not a lot of room to move. So if you’re not getting through the neutral zone effectively, then a lot of times the puck’s coming right back at you. They play a system that’s frustrating and not easy to play against. It’s not the prettiest thing to watch, but it’s effective. It’s a tough system to play against for sure.”

For winger Drew Stafford, the key will be patience and smart puck management.

“It’s frustrating when you’re not taking care of the puck in the neutral zone,” Stafford said. “They just kind of sit back. Those games (are) like a chess match: It’s kind of boring and slow, wait for a mistake and capitalize.”

Making the task more difficult will be the potential absence of injured top-four defensemen Torey Krug (suspected knee) and Brandon Carlo (suspected concussion) and useful fourth-liner Noel Acciari (upper body).

It’s often said that goaltending and special teams are the keys in the playoffs; in truth, an even greater factor is health. On the way to the Stanley Cup in 2011, Boston was able to keep its lineup mostly intact. As the Bruins return to the postseason after a two-year absence, that may not be the case.

But if the Bruins can prevail over the Senators, it won’t be viewed as a big upset. And if a team can get past the first round, building momentum, who knows what can happen?

Even with their ups and downs, the Bruins have demonstrated many times – most recently with a solid 3-2 win at Chicago on April 8 – that they are capable of big things when they deliver optimal effort, focus and execution.

And, yes, get great goaltending and special teams play.

“Whoever (the opponent) is, we need to erase our minds and get a game plan in there that’s going to work against whoever we’re playing,” said winger David Backes after Saturday’s loss to the Capitals. “And then go execute it and just play harder than the guy across from you. The way this team has played down the stretch here and had to work our butts off to get in, I love our group. We’re going to have a few days here to prep and get it together – and then go out there and play.”

]]> 0 Bruins' Patrice Bergeron skates in the second period of Saturday's game against the Washington Capitals in Boston – a loss to finish the regular season.Mon, 10 Apr 2017 23:03:44 +0000
Saturday’s NHL roundup: Bruins drop finale Sat, 08 Apr 2017 23:17:39 +0000 BOSTON — The Washington Capitals were so dominant this season that they had nothing left to play for with two games remaining in the regular season.

That’s precisely why the Bruins want to avoid them in the playoffs.

“In retrospect, it’s over and we’re through it,” Boston forward David Backes said after the Bruins finished the regular season with back-to-back losses, falling 3-1 to the Capitals on Saturday to set up a potential first-round matchup with Washington. “We did what we could through 82 games, and we can’t change it now.”

Kevin Shattenkirk scored the go-ahead goal 56 seconds after the Bruins tied it in the second period, and backup goalie Philipp Grubauer made 21 saves for the Capitals. Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams also scored for Washington, which has won 10 of its last 11 games.

The Bruins will start the playoffs on the road, but they still have a chance to avoid Washington in the first round if Toronto loses in regulation Sunday against Columbus. The Maple Leafs need one point to pass Boston and finish third in the Atlantic, which would make the Bruins a wild-card team and send them to Washington. Otherwise the Bruins would face Ottawa in the first round.

“Now we’re scoreboard-watchers,” Backes said. “That’s all we can do.”

Bruins No. 2 goalie Anton Khudobin stopped 21 shots in the first two periods before he was replaced by starter Tuukka Rask. The team said Khudobin wasn’t feeling well. Rask stopped all eight shots he faced in the third period.

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, a Swedish forward who signed with the Bruins after completing his sophomore season at Boston University, became the 10th player to make his NHL debut for the Bruins this season. Defenseman Torey Krug, who left Thursday night’s game against Ottawa because of a leg injury, did not play and the Bruins also lost rookie defenseman Brandon Carlo late in the first period after he was checked head-first into the boards by Alex Ovechkin.

MAPLE LEAFS 5, PENGUINS 3: Connor Brown broke a tie with 2:48 left and Toronto won at home to wrap up its first playoff spot since 2013.

James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Kasperi Kapanen and Auston Matthews also scored for Toronto, and Curtis McElhinney stepped in for an injured goalie Frederik Andersen with 12 saves in the third period.

Toronto’s win eliminated both Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders from contention for the last remaining playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

Phil Kessel, Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel scored for Pittsburgh.

SENATORS 3, RANGERS 1: Ottawa wrapped up second place in the Atlantic Division and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a win over visiting New York.

Mike Hoffman, Derick Brassard and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored, and Craig Anderson made 18 saves for the Senators.

Mike Zibanejad scored for New York, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 30 shots.

]]> 0 Ovechkin of the Capitals moves in to check Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo into the boards in the first period Saturday at TD Garden. Carlo was injured and did not return, and the Bruins lost, 3-1.Sat, 08 Apr 2017 22:34:58 +0000
Senators beat Bruins 2-1 in shootout to pull ahead in Atlantic Division Fri, 07 Apr 2017 02:15:34 +0000 BOSTON — The Ottawa Senators gave a big cheer in the visitors’ dressing room to celebrate a return to the playoffs after sitting out last season.

Then they turned their attention to the weekend.

“We’re going to keep pushing,” Coach Guy Boucher said on Thursday night after the 2-1 shootout victory over Boston gave them a spot in the postseason and a one-point lead over the Bruins in the Atlantic Division.

The Senators have two games left, against the Rangers and Islanders; Boston has one, against the NHL-leading Washington Capitals. Either team can finish as high as second in the division or as low as fourth, which would relegate it to a wild-card berth.

So can Toronto.

“That was also the message in the room,” Boucher said. “Right now, it’s great. But also we want more.”

Kyle Turris scored the only goal in the shootout, Alexandre Burrows scored in regulation, and Craig Anderson stopped 28 shots and three more in the shootout to help the Senators snap the Bruins’ six-game winning streak.

Anderson stopped Drew Stafford, who scored Boston’s only goal, and Ryan Spooner before straddling the goalpost to turn away David Pastrnak’s attempt at the end.

Tuukka Rask stopped 25 shots for Boston, which went 0-4 against Ottawa this season. The Senators had never swept the Bruins in a season series.

“Our record of 0-4 doesn’t really tell the real story, I think,” Bruins forward David Krejci said. “So if it happens that we play them (in the playoffs), I feel confident in this team that we can get the job done.”

Ottawa has 96 points to 95 for Boston after entering the night tied. The Senators have the head-to-head tiebreaker but not the most important one: regulation and overtime wins.

Stafford gave Boston a 1-0 lead on a power play in the first, but the Senators tied it in the second on Burrows’ unassisted goal. At the end of regulation, both teams seemed happy with the guaranteed point — especially the Senators.

“We’re just trying to get to overtime. We’re playing it like we’re up a goal,” forward Mark Stone said. “We knew the implications. For us, once that final buzzer went, we wanted both points. We wanted to get as high as we can in the standings.”

NOTES: Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson missed the game with an unspecified injury. He recently missed two games with an injured left foot. … Boston defenseman Torey Krug was out of service after just three shifts after colliding leg-first into the boards. The team did not specify the injury. … The only remaining teams that have never swept Boston in a season series are Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.

]]> 0 goalie Tuukka Rask makes a stick save during the first period Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators in Boston.Thu, 06 Apr 2017 23:30:24 +0000
Bruins’ Marchand suspended for two games Thu, 06 Apr 2017 18:30:16 +0000 NEW YORK — The Boston Bruins are going to be without leading scorer Brad Marchand for the rest of the regular season.

The Bruins’ forward, who has 85 points (39 goals, 46 assists), was suspended two games by the NHL on Thursday for a spearing incident against Tampa Bay defenseman Jake Dotchin in a 4-0 Bruins win on Tuesday.

Boston, which clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs with that win, has one game left in the regular season after Thursday’s 2-1 shootout loss at home to Ottawa.

Marchand was given a 5-minute major penalty for spearing and a game misconduct at 19:20 of the first period Tuesday after he lifted his stick with force into Dotchin’s groin area while battling in front of the Lightning net.

“It was definitely very, very selfish and undisciplined,” Marchand said. “But you can’t do anything about it now, and the most important thing is we’re in the playoffs and regardless of who we have to play, we have to do the job. So a couple games here and we’re still a very capable team on the ice. They won a huge game without me the other night and they’re going to be ready to play regardless.”

In issuing the suspension the league said in an explanatory video that Marchand’s history affected its decision. Marchand was suspended four times for 12 games total prior to this punishment. He was also fined three times, including $10,000 for slew-footing Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall in January.

Marchand will lose $109,756.10 based on his annual salary.

“I’m not really concerned about how anyone feels outside of the room,” Marchand said. “Things happen in hockey and again the only people I care about in this world are my teammates and my family. And I think that they have different thoughts about me. So everyone’s entitled to their opinion.”

]]> 0 Thu, 06 Apr 2017 22:19:35 +0000
Bruins clinch playoff spot with 4-0 win over Lightning Wed, 05 Apr 2017 02:13:34 +0000 BOSTON —David Pastrnak scored twice, Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots and the Boston Bruins clinched their first playoff berth since 2014 with a 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.

Drew Stafford and Zdeno Chara also scored for the Bruins, who extended their season-high winning streak to six games. More importantly, by winning in regulation, Boston guaranteed a return to the postseason after missing out the last two years.

Boston fans celebrated by cheering throughout the final two minutes. After the final horn, the Bruins swarmed Rask following his career-best eighth shutout of the season.

Rask faced only four shots in the first period but was ready when the Lightning generated pressure after that.

Andrei Vasilevskiy kept Tampa Bay close with 34 saves.

Stafford was the first to beat him, backhanding in a rebound 5:56 into the second period. Pastrnak made it 2-0 on a one-timer with 3:54 left in the second and added another goal into an empty net with 1:02 remaining in the third off a pass from David Krejci, who had two assists.

The Bruins haven’t lost since the Lightning’s 6-3 victory in Boston on March 23.

The loss didn’t knock the Lightning out of playoff contention, but Tampa Bay fell dangerously close with just three games remaining.

It might have been a costly victory for the Bruins, who played the last two periods without leading scorer Brad Marchand after he speared Tampa Bay’s Jake Dotchin in front of the Lightning net. Marchand received a five-minute major and game misconduct (on his bobblehead night), which could keep him off the ice longer once the NHL takes a look at the video.

Marchand has been suspended six times in his career and was fined the maximum $10,000 by the league earlier this season for a questionable hit.

]]> 0 Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, right, makes a save on a shot by Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak during the Bruins' 4-0 win Tuesday in Boston.Wed, 05 Apr 2017 00:42:50 +0000
Bruins make it 5 straight wins Sun, 02 Apr 2017 19:40:09 +0000 CHICAGO — Bruins backup Anton Khudobin not only gave No. 1 goalie Tuukka Rask a day off, he helped Boston take a big step toward the playoffs.

Khudobin made 41 saves to win his sixth consecutive start, and Boston held off the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Sunday for its season-high fifth straight victory.

Ryan Spooner, Patrice Bergeron and Kevan Miller scored for the Bruins, who jumped over idle Toronto and Ottawa into second place in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins can assure themselves of at least a wild-card berth with a win in regulation Tuesday night against Tampa Bay.

Khudobin, who wasn’t beaten until the Blackhawks’ 25th shot on a fluky play, was at his best in the first period and down the stretch when Chicago pressured to tie it.

“He’s in there battling, working to find pucks, working to keep it out of the net, whether he has to use his head, his pads, his body, his legs, whatever it is,” said Bruins interim coach Bruce Cassidy, whose team played its final regular-season road game. “You can’t say enough. I think the guys respond to that.”

Thanks to Khudobin, the Bruins never trailed as they closed in on a return to the postseason after missing out the past two years. The Bruins’ winning streak comes on the heels of a four-game slide that almost doomed them.

“It was important to establish momentum from the drop of the puck on,” Bergeron said. “I thought we were able to do that.

“We stuck with it, and Anton made some really big saves as well. When we needed him, he was absolutely there.”

Chicago’s Artemi Panarin extended his goal-scoring streak to four games with his 29th. Jordin Tootoo also scored for the Blackhawks, who got 26 saves from Corey Crawford in their final regular-season home game.

The Blackhawks clinched first place in the Western Conference on Saturday when Minnesota lost at Nashville. Chicago is assured home-ice advantage through the first three playoff rounds.

“They scored early and you’ve got to claw your way back,” Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville said. “I don’t think we gave up much today, but we were chasing the game.”

Boston led 2-0 after the first period despite being outshot 16-11.

Spooner opened the scoring 6:34 in by deflecting Zdeno Chara’s bouncing shot from the left point for his 12th goal.

The Blackhawks turned up the pressure later in the period, but Khudobin made a series of close-in saves – including dandies on Marian Hossa and Panarin – to keep Chicago off the board.

Bergeron fired in his 21st goal on a power play from beyond the top of the right circle to make it 2-0. He beat Crawford high to the stick side after taking a pass from Brad Marchand.

Panarin cut it to 2-1 with 1:48 left in the second on the Blackhawks’ 25th shot, capping a quirky play that withstood a video review.

Chicago’s Brent Seabrook fired from the right point, but the drive went wide and bounded of the back boards. At the same time, Blackhawks forward Richard Panik slid into the net behind Khudobin, who had ranged out for Seabrook’s shot.

Panarin fired the loose puck from just left of the net, but the shot struck Panik – who was curled up in the net – and bounced out. Panarin then popped in the rebound before Khudobin could recover, with Panik still in the net.

Through a translator, Panarin said he didn’t think the goal would be allowed. But it was – and Panik was awarded an assist.

“It was one of the all-time great passes by Pans,” Quenneville quipped.

Miller extended Boston’s lead to 3-1 at 9:15 of the third on a nice move and quick shot from the left circle that sailed past Crawford’s glove.

Tootoo trimmed it to 3-2 just 25 seconds later when he was left alone in the crease and slid John Hayden’s centering pass between Khudobin’s pads.

NOTES: Chicago center Artem Anisimov missed his 10th game (lower body), but Coach Joel Quenneville said he expected the 22-goal scorer to resume skating Monday. … Spooner’s goal was his first since March 4. … Boston forward Frank Vatrano missed his third game because of an upper-body injury and forward Jimmy Hayes sat out after sustaining a lower-body injury Saturday against Florida. Sean Kuraly was recalled from Providence of the AHL to take Hayes’ spot. … The Blackhawks have a chance to break their franchise record of 112 points, set in 2009-10 when they went on to win the first of three Stanley Cup titles in six seasons.

]]> 0 Khudobin makes one of his 41 saves Sunday during the Bruins' 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. (Associated Press/Paul Beaty)Sun, 02 Apr 2017 22:49:27 +0000
Bruins top Panthers, keep pace Sat, 01 Apr 2017 20:13:56 +0000 BOSTON — If the Boston Bruins are going to make the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, the formula is simple.

“You’ve got to keep winning. If we keep doing this we don’t have to look at the standings and look for help elsewhere,” Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said after they beat the Florida Panthers 5-2 on Saturday.

David Krejci scored after a poor clearing attempt by Florida goaltender Reto Berra, helping them maintain an edge for a playoff spot heading into the final week of the regular season.

“I guess we were due one in this particularly game,” Boston interim coach Bruce Cassidy said. “You make your own breaks. I heard a few of our players saying it on the bench. We’ve often said that.”

Patrice Bergeron scored twice, Brad Marchand got his team-leading 39th goal and Noel Acciari also scored for the Bruins, who are one point behind Toronto and Ottawa for second place in the Atlantic Division. Boston now has a four-point lead over Tampa Bay for the Eastern Conference’s last wild-card spot, though the Lightning have a game in hand.

Jaromir Jagr recorded his 765th career goal and Thomas Vanek also scored for the Panthers, who lost for the 11th time in 15 games. They were eliminated from playoff contention earlier this week.

Krejci capitalized on the gaffe by Berra, moving Boston ahead 3-2 with 5:30 left in the second period. The goalie came far out of the crease, but his clearing pass from the right circle caromed off the boards directly to Krejci, who fired the puck into the empty net.

Tuukka Rask, who tied his career high with his seventh shutout this season in his last start, stopped 24 shots.

NOTES: Cassidy said backup Anton Khudobin would start Sunday. … Florida defenseman Keith Yandle played his 629th consecutive game, moving one behind Andy Hebenton for eighth on the NHL’s all-time list. … Boston forward Frank Vatrano missed his second straight with an undisclosed upper body injury. … Panthers forward Jussi Jokinen turned 34-years old on Saturday, and teammate Reilly Smith 26. … Interesting hit: Forty-year-old Chara knocked down 45-year-old Jagr. … Panthers forward Shawn Thornton, a member of Boston’s 2011 Cup winning team, played his last game in TD Garden. He’s retiring after the season and has a job waiting for him in Florida’s front office. He was given the game’s Third Star. “That’s probably the closest I’ve been to chocking up in a bit,” he said of an ovation after the game. “I appreciate that.”

]]> 0 Bruins fans walk to the game against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden as snow falls Saturday in Boston. The fans who braved the April Fool's storm were rewarded with a 5-2 Bruins win. (Associated Press/Michael Dwyer)Sat, 01 Apr 2017 23:11:29 +0000
Bruins win third straight as Rask posts 7th shutout Fri, 31 Mar 2017 02:35:14 +0000 BOSTON — Tuukka Rask bailed out the Boston Bruins by matching a personal best.

Rask made 27 saves and tied a career high with his seventh shutout of the season, lifting the Bruins over the Dallas Stars 2-0 on Thursday night.

“It wasn’t our cleanest game but those things happen,” Rask said. “Other teams behind us are breathing down our necks, so we have to keep plugging away and winning.”

Boston won its third straight and stayed three points ahead of Tampa Bay for the second Eastern Conference wild card. Tampa Bay has played one fewer game. The Bruins trail Toronto by a point for third place in the Atlantic Division and are three points back of Ottawa for second place.

“We just weren’t sharp, but when you can find a way to win when you aren’t sharp, that’s a good thing,” Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy said.

Rask has won two straight since struggling for a stretch. He had allowed 18 goals during a four-game losing streak.

Brad Marchand gave Boston a 1-0 lead when he jammed a shot past goalie Antti Niemi at 15:14 of the first period.

Niemi had 22 saves and is winless in his last five appearances.

“A couple of mistakes,” Niemi said. “We had a chance to score, but Rask played great once again.”

Torey Krug added an insurance goal early in the second period when he converted a perfect feed from David Pastrnak.

Marchand added an assist and moved into third place in the scoring race, passing Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby.

Dallas had its best opportunity at 11:08 of the third period when Boston’s Kevan Miller got a double-minor for high-sticking Curtis McKenzie.

“We probably had the better quality chances and they had a couple of big turnovers that ended up on the right guy’s stick,” Stars Coach Lindy Ruff said. “We’ve had some bad luck scoring and haven’t scored enough so I think that is the biggest issue.”

Dallas has three goals in its last three games and has two or fewer goals in six of its past seven.

NOTES: David Krejci played in his 700th game for the Bruins. … Former Bruin Tyler Seguin played in his 300th game for the Stars and has two goals over the last 10 games. … Boston F Frank Vatrano missed the game with an upper-body injury. … McKenzie bled profusely and was helped off the ice.

]]> 0 defenseman Torey Krug celebrates his goal against Stars goalie Antti Niemi in the second period Thursday night in Boston.Thu, 30 Mar 2017 23:52:58 +0000
NHL roundup: Bruins not yet settled on Cassidy Thu, 30 Mar 2017 02:48:18 +0000 Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney appreciates what interim head coach Bruce Cassidy has accomplished with the team but is not yet ready to make a long-term commitment.

Sweeney promoted Cassidy to replace Claude Julien, who was dismissed on Feb. 7. The Bruins responded to the change by winning four straight and finished February with a 7-1 mark.

“Am I ready to hire Bruce Cassidy?” said Sweeney in response to a reporter’s question during a press conference Wednesday morning at the Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts. “I’m certainly enjoying the fact that we are in a playoff race here and getting that done, and we’ll go from there.”

The Bruins currently sit in the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot, three points clear of Tampa Bay, which has a game in hand.

Boston won five of the first seven in March before spiraling into a four-game losing streak. The Bruins recovered with consecutive wins over the Islanders and Predators and will host the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.

WILD: Forward Zach Parise will likely miss the next three games, with bruising and swelling around his eye from a high stick to the face that led to blows to the head as he fell.

Parise was struck Tuesday by Washington’s Tom Wilson before he crashed into the knee of another opponent and hit the ice. Parise needed assistance to the locker room and didn’t return.

THE NHL will release teams’ protected and available lists to the public before the Vegas Golden Knights’ expansion draft in June.

The league announced the decision on Twitter on Wednesday. NHL general managers had expressed a desire to keep the lists private.

All 30 existing teams must submit their list of protected players by 5 p.m. EDT June 17. Vegas must submit its selections by 5 p.m. June 20, with the announcement of those picks made June 21.


BLACKHAWKS 5, PENGUINS 1: Artemi Panarin and Richard Panik started a four-goal first period as visiting Chicago moved closer to locking up the Central Division title.

Marcus Kruger and Marian Hossa also scored during an explosive first period as the Blackhawks moved nine points clear of second-place Minnesota with five games left in the regular season. Tanner Nero added a breakaway goal in the third. Patrick Kane picked up two assists to move past Sidney Crosby and into second place in the NHL scoring race.

Corey Crawford stopped 31 shots for Chicago, which beat the Penguins in regulation on the road for the first time since 1997.

Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 31 saves but received little help outside of Bryan Rust’s third-period goal. The defending Stanley Cup champions saw their winless streak reach four games, and their chances to catch first-place Washington atop the Metropolitan Division took another hit.

]]> 0 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 22:54:34 +0000
Tuukka Rask backstops Bruins to key 4-1 win over Predators Wed, 29 Mar 2017 02:11:21 +0000 BOSTON — Tuukka Rask made 24 saves in his return from a one-game absence and the Boston Bruins beat the Nashville Predators 4-1 on Tuesday night, boosting their playoff chances.

Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Noel Acciari and David Backes scored for the Bruins, who moved three points ahead of idle Tampa Bay for the second Eastern Conference wild card with six games remaining. Boston began the night a point behind Toronto for third place in the Atlantic Division.

Rask was sidelined with a lower-body injury for Boston’s 2-1 road win against the New York Islanders on Saturday.

Bergeron’s goal was his 18th of the season, and Krejci got his 22nd. Acciari scored his first career goal in 43 NHL games, Backes netted his 17th of the season and Zdeno Chara earned his 600th NHL point with an assist on Boston’s first goal.

Craig Smith scored his 10th goal for the Predators, who had their four-game winning streak snapped. Pekka Rinne made 27 saves but took his first loss in six starts.

Nashville remained one point ahead of idle St. Louis for third in the Central Division.

The Predators had won three straight meetings with the Bruins, including a 2-1 victory Jan. 12 in Nashville.

Bergeron opened the scoring 2:28 into the first period, slamming home a rebound after Chara’s shot from the blue line bounced off Rinne’s leg.

Krejci’s wrister trickled through Rinne’s legs to double the Bruins’ lead at 13:52 of the first.

Smith redirected Roman Josi’s shot past Rask to cut the Nashville’s deficit in half with 8:44 remaining in the third.

Acciari tapped in a shot-pass from Riley Nash as the Bruins converted on a 3-on-1 chance with 4:13 to play. Backes scored an empty-netter with 1:31 left to seal it.


PREDATORS: Open a two-game homestand Thursday against Toronto.

BRUINS: Continue a three-game homestand Thursday against Dallas.

]]> 0's David Backes, 42, battles Nashville's Viktor Arvidsson, center, and Ryan Ellis for the puck during the second period of the Bruins' 4-1 win Tuesday in Boston.Tue, 28 Mar 2017 23:29:26 +0000
NHL roundup: Bruins hoping Rask returns to face Nashville Tue, 28 Mar 2017 03:09:25 +0000 BOSTON — The Bruins begin a crucial three-game homestand Tuesday against the Nashville Predators and they hope to have their No. 1 goaltender back in the net.

Goaltender Tuukka Rask missed the Bruins’ 2-1 win at the New York Islanders on Saturday because of a lower-body injury. Rask, who stayed in Boston over the weekend to receive treatment, returned to practice with the Bruins on Monday at Warrior Ice Arena.

Rask plans to be available when the Bruins face the Predators.

SHARKS: Forward Micheal Haley was suspended for one game without pay for punching Nashville forward Calle Jarnkrok. Haley was assessed a match penalty Saturday when he retaliated after being hit from behind into the boards by Jarnkrok. Haley got up and chased after Jarnkrok, sending him to the ice with a punch to the face.


SABRES 4, PANTHERS 2: Sabres captain Brian Gionta scored while playing his 1,000th career game in a win at Buffalo, New York.

Ryan O’Reilly, Zach Bogosian and Marcus Foligno also scored for the Sabres, who led 3-0 after Gionta’s goal 1:25 into the second period. The goal drew a large cheer after the 15-year NHL veteran was honored during a pregame ceremony.

RED WINGS 4, HURRICANES 3: Andreas Athanasiou crashed into Eddie Lack as he scored in overtime, on a play that left the Hurricanes goalie with a frightening injury in Detroit’s win at Raleigh, North Carolina.

Lack remained down for several minutes before he was taken off on a stretcher. Lack flashed a thumbs-up sign as he was wheeled away.

PREDATORS 3, ISLANDERS 1: Viktor Arvidsson scored early in the second period and Jusse Saros stopped 24 shots as visiting Nashville held on for their its fourth straight win.

LIGHTNING 5, BLACKHAWKS 4: Yanni Gourde had a breakaway goal 4:25 into overtime as Tampa Bay rallied from a three-goal deficit at Tampa, Florida.

BLUES 4, COYOTES 1: Jaden Schwartz had two goals and Alexander Steen recorded four assists in a win at St. Louis.

]]> 0 Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:19:29 +0000
Bruins edge Islanders, move back into playoff picture Sun, 26 Mar 2017 02:01:49 +0000 NEW YORK — Riley Nash scored twice and backup goalie Anton Khudobin made 18 saves as the Boston Bruins beat the New York Islanders 2-1 Saturday night, snapping a four-game losing streak.

Nash broke a 1-1 tie with his second goal of the contest at 4:12 of the third period, beating Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss from the slot for his seventh goal of the season. Dominic Moore assisted on the decisive goal, which lifted Boston two points ahead of the Islanders for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

John Tavares scored for New York and Greiss finished with 16 saves.

Tavares had a golden chance to knot the score with just over six minutes left in the third period but rang the puck off the crossbar with the Islanders on their sixth power play of the game.

New York is now 0-3-1 on home ice since earning points in 11 straight (9-0-2), their longest such streak at home since 1982.

Tavares opened the scoring at 10:05 of the first, rifling the puck past Khudobin after skating through and around the Boston defense. Tavares’ 28th goal this season tied the captain with Bob Nystrom for eighth place on the franchise list with 235 goals.

Nash quickly answered, beating Greiss low on the stick side 36 seconds later. The unassisted goal brought loud cheers by many Bruins fans scattered throughout the sellout crowd of 15,795 at Barclays Center.

The Islanders outshot the Bruins 8-3 in the brisk first period.

The playoff-like pace continued throughout the second. Greiss made a number of acrobatic saves and also stopped Drew Stafford and David Krejci on point-blank chances with just under five minutes left.

The chippy play led to several skirmishes particular after Bruins forward David Pastrnak clobbered Islanders forward Stephan Gionta in front of the home team’s bench with about four minutes left in the period. Pastrnak received only a 2-minute roughing penalty.

It was the home team’s third power play of the second but they couldn’t convert against Khudobin, who started in place of starter Tuukka Rask.

The Bruins had a 10-5 shots advantage in the middle period as the score remained tied at 1 heading for the third.

The Bruins had a goal waved off with 4:16 left in the first period when it was ruled that forward David Backes made contact with Greiss.

NOTES: The Islanders won both road games this season against the Bruins, 4-2 on Dec. 20 and 4-0 on Jan. 16, which proved to be Jack Capuano’s last game as Islanders coach before he was replaced by Doug Weight. … The Islanders are 2-10-0 in their last 12 home games against the Bruins, including 0-5-0 in the last five. … The Islanders entered the contest with consecutive road wins over the Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins. … The Bruins are 13-7-0 since Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien as coach on Feb. 7. The Islanders were without defenseman Johnny Boychuk for the 11th straight game.

]]> 0 York Islanders right wing Joshua Ho-Sang controls the puck as he skates against Boston Bruins defenseman Colin Miller during the second period of their game in New York on Saturday night. The Bruins won 2-1. (Associated Press/Mary Altaffer)Sat, 25 Mar 2017 22:16:35 +0000
Lightning gain on Bruins, who lose 4th straight game Fri, 24 Mar 2017 03:30:24 +0000 BOSTON — Nikita Kucherov had his third career hat trick to lead Tampa Bay to a 6-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, snapping the Lightning’s three-game losing streak.

Jonathan Drouin had a goal and two assists, Brayden Point had a goal and an assist and Anton Stralman also scored to help the Lightning pull three points behind the Bruins for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Peter Budaj finished with 28 saves for the Lightning to earn his 29th win of the season. Ondrej Palat had three assists, and Jake Dotchin and Victor Hedman added two each.

Riley Nashy had a goal and an assist for Boston, and David Pastrnak and Zdeno Chara also scored. Tuukka Rask stopped 23 shots as Boston, which won seven of the first eight games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, has now lost four straight and six of 11.

CAPITALS 2, BLUE JACKETS 1: T.J. Oshie scored the shootout winner as Washington overcame a stellar performance from Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky for a victory at home.

Despite 44 saves from Bobrovsky, the Capitals reached 104 points and extended their lead atop the Metropolitan Division standings.

Maple Leafs 4, Devils 2: Auston Matthews had two assists and William Nylander had a goal and an assist as Toronto beat visiting New Jersey.

Flyers 3, Wild 1: Matt Read scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period, Steve Mason stopped 24 shots and Philadelphia won at St. Paul, Minnesota.

Senators 2, Penguins 1: Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan scored in the shootout to lift Ottawa over visiting Pittsburgh.

HURRICANES 4, CANADIENS 1: Lee Stempniak scored twice and Carolina won at Montreal to extend its point streak to nine games and keep its playoff hopes alive.

PANTHERS 3, COYOTES 1: Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals and James Reimer made 38 saves to lift Florida at home.

Predators 3, Flames 1: Pekka Rinne made 24 saves to lead Nashville over visiting Calgary.


SABRES: The NHL suspended defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen for three games following his blindside hit that led to Penguins forward Jake Guentzel’s sustaining a concussion.

MAPLE LEAFS: Defenseman Roman Polak was suspended two games by the league for boarding Columbus forward Oliver Bjorkstrand on Wednesday.

BLACKHAWKS: Chicago signed rookie forward Tanner Kero to a two-year contract extension.

OLYMPICS: International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel told The AP he needs to know by the end of April whether NHL players will be cleared to play in the South Korea Olympics next year.

]]> 0 defenseman Kevan Miller looks to protect the puck from Ondrej Palat of the Tampa Bay Lightning during their game Thursday night in Boston. The Bruins lost their fourth straight, 6-3.Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:11:00 +0000
NHL roundup: Bruins can’t afford a passive Pastrnak Thu, 23 Mar 2017 03:07:08 +0000 David Pastrnak had his 11-game point streak snapped Monday night in Toronto, and Tuesday night the Ottawa Senators held him off the scoresheet as well.

It might be hypercritical to say that he’s hit a slump after just two games, but the Boston Bruins winger has had his troubles in both. Just about every time he’s tried to dangle defensemen, Pastrnak has lost the puck. He fanned on another one-timer attempt in the third period of the 3-2 loss to Ottawa.

Pastrnak has had a terrific third pro season, becoming a 30-goal, 30-assist player at the age of 20. But he did have a 17-game goal drought earlier in the season, with a seven-game pointless streak within that period in December.

The Bruins can ill afford another long skid.

“I don’t know if frustrated is the right word,” interim coach Bruce Cassidy said. “It looks like the puck’s not cooperating with him, and that happens to goalscorers. He’s just got to play through it. He did earlier this year. Clearly we don’t want it to be as extended as it was then. I don’t think it will be. He’s a more mature player and person, but he’ll have to find his way through it. Sometimes you have to score an ugly goal, get a greasy one to get out of those things.

“We’ll see how it plays out, but he’s got to keep pushing. We need him. We’re relying on him to score. He’s not the only one but we’re relying on him.”

Tuesday night, Pastrnak was tagged with three giveaways.

“I’ve got to be better and I’ve got to make more plays,” he said.

As with most skilled players, especially ones like Pastrnak who play with a certain abandon, he has found himself on the receiving end of some physical play. So far he’s responded with a few face washes after the play.

“It’s part of the game, you know?” he said. “The guys are going to hit. I just need to stick with it and not let it frustrate me.”

In his previous two games, Zdeno Chara – a plus-17 in the 17 games he has played under Cassidy – was taken off the ice by opponents who were very glad to see him in the penalty box.

One instance followed a fighting major for a bout against Zack Kassian in Edmonton (the Oilers scored a power-play goal with Chara in the box), and the other came on a third-period matching minor with Matt Martin of Toronto (no harm done).

Cassidy looks at police work as part of Chara’s job.

“I think in Edmonton we were looking to re-establish ourselves,” Cassidy said. “That’s fine. That’s a couple of big bodies. I think they mixed it up the last time they were in here. . . . (In Toronto,) Z might have been protecting his little brother (defense partner Brandon) Carlo.

“So we have no problem with that. You’ve got to look out for one another.”


MAPLE LEAFS 5, BLUE JACKETS 2: William Nylander and Leo Komarov each had a goal and an assist, and Toronto won at Columbus, Ohio.

Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri also scored, and Frederik Andersen had 32 saves as Toronto stayed in the thick of the playoff hunt in the Atlantic Division.

ISLANDERS 3, RANGERS 2: Andrew Ladd scored the tiebreaking goal with about 71/2 minutes remaining as the visiting Islanders beat their crosstown-rival rivals at New York.

]]> 0 Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins has gone two straight games without a point after scoring in 11 straight. Now the team wants him to get a goal – good goal, bad goal, it doesn't matter – before the pressure starts to build.Wed, 22 Mar 2017 23:07:08 +0000
Senators beat Bruins 3-2 to end four-game skid Wed, 22 Mar 2017 02:13:26 +0000 BOSTON — Kyle Turris scored twice and Craig Anderson made 33 saves as the Ottawa Senators beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 on Tuesday night to end a four-game losing streak.

Mike Hoffman had two assists for the Senators, who moved six points ahead of Boston for second place in the Atlantic Division with their first win since March 11.

Tom Pyatt also scored for Ottawa, which never trailed and went up for good on Turris’ goal 4:04 into the third period.

Torey Krug had a goal and an assist, and David Krejci also scored in Boston’s third straight defeat. The Bruins were coming off a 4-2 loss at Toronto on Monday night and never recovered from a flat start back at home Tuesday.

Tuukka Rask made 19 saves for Boston.

The Bruins remained in playoff position, third in the division with nine games to play, but missed out on another chance to widen their lead over the pack of teams pushing for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Both teams were physical all night, with several hits after the whistle and some more pushing and shoving after the final horn. The officials separated the players before the postgame scrum turned into anything more.

After facing just eight shots in the first period, Anderson frustrated the Bruins with 18 saves in the second as the Senators held onto a 2-1 lead after two.

Krug tied it 17 seconds into the third, taking the puck end-to-end and skating through a pair of Senators before beating Anderson for an unassisted power-play goal. The Bruins opened the period with the man advantage after Dion Phaneuf was called for unsportsmanlike conduct at the end of the second following scrums among several players on the ice.

Phaneuf made up for the mistake later in the third with an assist on Turris’ game-winner. Turris tipped a shot by Phaneuf and the puck changed direction again when it hit Boston captain Zdeno Chara on its way to the back of the net.

Pyatt tipped in a shot by Cody Cici to give Ottawa a 1-0 lead 4:09 into the game.

The Bruins tied it at 8:57 on a power-play goal by Krejci, who beat Anderson with a slap shot from the blue line with an assist from Krug.

Turris scored a power-play goal 1:34 into the second period, putting the Senators back up 2-1 with Boston’s Adam McQuaid serving a tripping penalty.

]]> 0 Senators left wing Tom Pyatt, second from left, is congratulated by Mike Hoffman (68) and Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) after his goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins in Boston, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. At right skating past is Bruins defenseman Colin Miller. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)Tue, 21 Mar 2017 22:23:05 +0000
Maple Leafs close in on Bruins with 4-2 win Tue, 21 Mar 2017 02:47:32 +0000 TORONTO — Tyler Bozak scored the go-ahead power-play goal with less than two minutes left and the Toronto Maple Leafs earned a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Monday night.

The win pulled the Leafs (81 points) within one point of the Bruins (82 points) for third place in the Atlantic Division.

Toronto, holding the final wild-card position in the Eastern Conference, also has a game in hand.

Morgan Rielly, William Nylander and Nazem Kadri also scored for the Leafs, who swept the season series with Boston. Frederik Andersen was sharp with 32 saves, James van Riemsdyk added two assists.

David Backes and Dominic Moore scored for the Bruins, Tuukka Rask allowed two goals on 27 shots.

A malfunctioning clock briefly delayed the start of the game and wasn’t used until the start of the third period.

Game time was announced at stoppages by the public address announcer and displayed in a corner of the videoboard – issues that were most apparent during power plays with no time counting down penalties.

The opening 20 minutes were choppy as a result of the malfunctions but also entertaining. The two teams traded chances with playoff positioning on the line.

The Bruins opened the scoring though just over seven minutes in.

Emerging Hart Trophy candidate Brad Marchand set up Backes for the goal, one he fired as two Leafs defenders – Jake Gardiner and Nikita Zaitsev – converged without effect.

Marchand earned his 80th point of the season on the play, duking it out with Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid and Patrick Kane, among others, for MVP as well as the Art Ross Trophy for the league’s top scorer.

Marchand was selected as the first star for last week by the NHL after getting five goals and nine points in three games. Backes, meanwhile, was questionable to even play after missing the morning skate with an illness.

There was a playoff-like vibe to the evening with intensity and scrappy play to match.

Connor Carrick, who was returning from an 11-game absence because of an injury, traded feisty blows at one point with David Pastrnak. The Bruins were perturbed a short while later when Nikita Soshnikov hit Patrice Bergeron from behind in the corner of the Boston zone.

Bergeron leaped up after the hit and grabbed Soshnikov with both players drawing minor penalties.

The Leafs gained energy as the period went on.

After nearly scoring on a pass from van Riemsdyk, Mitch Marner dished to Rielly for the game-tying goal with less than six minutes remaining in the first. Rielly’s initial attempt was stopped by Rask, but the defender’s momentum carried him and the puck (off his leg) into the goal.

It was the sixth goal of the season for Rielly and third in the past five games.

Toronto had a two-man advantage for more than a minute late in the first, but failed to score. Brian Boyle’s tip of a point shot was stopped as was Auston Matthews’ shot on a drop feed from Kadri.

Marchand’s pesky ways were apparent early in the second, the Bruin goading Zaitsev into a cross-checking penalty. The Russian defenseman, noticeably frustrated, first hacked Marchand’s leg after the whistle and then shoved him into the sideboards.

The Leafs nearly went ahead in the opening minutes of the third – seconds on the clock successfully ticking down on the scoreboard – Zach Hyman’s shot from in tight was stopped by Rask with Matthews unable to get his stick on a rebound. A few minutes later, Marner spun around and dished a one-time feed to van Riemsdyk, who whistled a shot wide.

Then Boston proceeded to nearly score when Andersen bobbled a shot off the rush, the Bruins circling for the rebound.

Bergeron drew the ire of the Leafs when he bumped Andersen – with help from a shove from Leo Komarov. Komarov and Bergeron traded chirps and shoves between whistles.

The Leafs got a power play with less than three minutes to go in the third when Moore was whistled for interfering with Soshnikov. A day after his 31st birthday, Bozak beat Rask from the slot for the go-ahead goal – his 17th of the season.

Nylander extended his point streak to eight games by scoring his 19th of the season into an empty net.

]]> 0 Leafs right wing Connor Brown dives for the puck as Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (47), goalie Tuukka Rask and defenseman Adam McQuaid watch during the second period Monday night in Toronto. The Maples Leafs went on to a 4-2 winMon, 20 Mar 2017 23:59:15 +0000
NHL roundup: Heads-up play proves painful for Bruins winger Sat, 18 Mar 2017 02:36:13 +0000 EDMONTON, Alberta — It has been a year to forget for left winger Matt Beleskey. He started slowly, then suffered a knee injury that kept him out of the lineup for almost seven weeks.

His return from that injury has been anything but smooth.

And Thursday night, his buzzard luck returned when he took a hard snap shot from Patrice Bergeron off his head when he was standing in front of the net with 11 seconds to play in the Bruins’ 7-4 blowout loss to the Oilers.

But he’s showing signs of breaking through. He scored the big insurance goal early in the third period in Calgary on Wednesday and also chipped in on the penalty kill that did not allow the Flames a shot on net in three tries.

Interim coach Bruce Cassidy was pleased with the pace of his game on Wednesday.

“We want to see it there for a consistent period of time. (Wednesday in Calgary) was by far his best game, not just because he scored. I loved his backchecking efforts, his reloads, he was on the puck, he was physical, he was involved in the penalty kill. (David Backes) gets hurt, so he gets a little power-play time and he goes to the front of the net. All facets of the game,” said Cassidy.

It was his gritty play that got him dinged Thursday night when, with the game out of reach, he had parked himself in front of the net and took the brunt of the Bergeron shot off the side of the head. He needed some assistance to get off the ice and he was bleeding.

“I don’t have an update on Matt. He’s a hard-nosed kid and hopefully he’s all right,” said Cassidy. “That’s very unfortunate for him.”


PANTHERS 4, RANGERS 3: Aleksander Barkov scored a third-period goal and added the winner in the shootout as Florida won at New York.

Jaromir Jagr had two assists and passed Hall of Famer Gordie Howe for the most points after turning 40 with 269.

PENGUINS 6, DEVILS 4: Sidney Crosby scored twice to move into a tie for the NHL lead with 37, and Pittsburgh won at home against New Jersey.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Mar 2017 22:37:39 +0000
Oilers break Bruins’ four-game winning streak Fri, 17 Mar 2017 04:19:06 +0000 EDMONTON, Alberta — Patrick Maroon scored twice, Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists and Connor McDavid added three assists as the Edmonton Oilers beat up on the Boston Bruins 7-4 on Thursday night.

Benoit Pouliot, Anton Slepyshev, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Milan Lucic also scored for the Oilers, who moved one point ahead of Calgary for third place in the Pacific Division.

David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Dominic Moore and David Krejci had a goal each for the Bruins, who had a four-game winning streak snapped.

The Oilers jumped to an early 2-0 lead on a pair of goals 59 seconds apart by Maroon, who upped his career-high goal total on the season to 24.

Edmonton got another goal three minutes later as David Desharnais hooked around the net and sent the puck in front to Pouliot, who poked it past goalie Tuukka Rask. It was Pouliot’s second goal in two games after breaking a 28-game scoreless drought against Dallas on Tuesday.

Boston got one back on a power play with 71/2 minutes remaining in the opening period when Marchand made a perfect pass to set up Pastrnak at the side of the net for his 31st goal of the season, and fifth in his last five games.

The Bruins made it 3-2 with two minutes left in the first, as Marchand was left alone at the side of the net to score his 37th goal of the season and 12th in his last 11 games.

The Oilers scored again with 51 seconds remaining when Slepyshev batted the rebound of McDavid’s shot out of the air and past Rask.

Edmonton made it 5-2 two minutes into the second on the power play as Drake Caggiula’s pass went off Bruin forward Riley Nash’s skate and into the net. Rask was replaced in the Boston net by Anton Khudobin.

Boston fought back a couple minutes later, getting a short-handed goal from Moore.

Draisaitl made it 6-3 Edmonton seven minutes into the second, picking off a pass at mid-ice and going the distance to score his 60th point, the most ever in an NHL season by a German-born player.

Edmonton added another power-play goal with five minutes left as a puck hit Lucic and got past Khudobin. It was the second game in a row that the Oilers have scored seven goals, and the first time they had done that at home since 1988.

Krejci scored on a Boston man advantage with 32 seconds left in the middle period.

NOTES: There was no scoring in the third, but a brief scare when Boston forward Matt Beleskey was hit in the right side of the head with a shot from Patrice Bergeron in the game’s final minute. He was slow to get up, but skated off with the assistance of Bergeron.

]]> 0's Ryan Spooner crashes into Oilers goalie Cam Talbot in the first period Thursday night in Edmonton, Alberta.Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:28:23 +0000
Bruins end Flames’ 10-game winning streak with 5-2 win Thu, 16 Mar 2017 04:18:30 +0000 CALGARY, Alberta —  Brad Marchand scored his league-leading 36th goal of the season and David Backes returned after getting hurt to score the winner and the Boston Bruins defeated Calgary 5-2 on Wednesday night to end the Flames’ 10-game winning streak.

Marchand is also tied with Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid for the top spot in the NHL with 76 points.

Backes got tied up with Flames defenseman Mark Giordano and was taken into the corner boards 12 minutes into the game. He was favoring his leg as he was helped off the ice.

But he returned seven minutes into the second period and on his second shift back he broke a 2-2 tie. Backes took a pass from David Krejci on a three-on-two and from 30 feet whipped a wrist shot over the glove of Chad Johnson.

David Pastrnak scored twice, and Matt Beleskey also scored for Boston. The Bruins’ fourth straight win moves them within three points of the second-place Ottawa Senators in the Atlantic Division.

Alex Chiasson and Dougie Hamilton scored for Calgary.

One of the best players during Calgary’s franchise record-tying win streak had been goaltender Brian Elliott. He had nine of the victories and in those nine appearances had a 1.74 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage.

However, Elliott woke up with the flu Wednesday morning and was told to stay home. Johnson got the start instead with Jon Gillies called up from Stockton (AHL) to be the backup.

Elliott’s absence was felt.

Pastrnak’s first goal at 11:47 of the first slipped through Johnson’s pads to tie the game 1-1.

Marchand’s goal 6:04 into the second, that gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead, was a bad misplay by Johnson, who failed to catch a puck lobbed toward the net by Colin Miller, enabling Marchand to corral the rebound and fire it into the vacated net.

While Johnson would want that goal back, same could be said for Anton Khudobin on Hamilton’s goal just 1:10 later. From about 70 feet away, the Flames defenseman beat the Boston goaltender with a wrister over his pad.

The Bruins added an insurance goal 3:36 into the third. TJ Brodie’s turnover at the Boston blue line led to a two-on-none for the Bruins and they made no mistake with Ryan Spooner neatly setting up Beleskey for a one-timer and a 4-2 advantage.

As a result, the Flames trailed by two goals for the first time since Feb. 13.

Pastrnak added his second into an empty net in the closing seconds of the game.

Khudobin finished with 21 saves to win his fourth straight decision. Johnson had 27 stops.

]]> 0's David Pastrnak, center, celebrates his goal with Zdeno Chara, left, and Drew Stafford in the first period Wednesday night in Calgary.Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:26:50 +0000
Bruins score late, beat Flyers Sat, 11 Mar 2017 21:40:34 +0000 BOSTON — Drew Stafford scored with 5.6 seconds left in the third period when his dump-in shot tipped off Philadelphia defenseman Brandon Manning’s stick, lifting the Boston Bruins to a 2-1 win over the Flyers on Saturday.

David Pastrnak had a power-play goal, and Tuukka Rask made 26 saves for Boston, which improved to 10-3 under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, who replaced fired Claude Julien on Feb.7.

Jordan Weal had the Flyers’ goal, and Steve Mason stopped 25 shots. Philadelphia may be sliding out of a chance at a playoff berth with its ninth loss in 14 games (5-8-1).

Stafford had the puck along the right boards, spun around and just shot a seemingly harmless attempt at the net. Manning skated in front and it slipped past Mason after hitting his stick. The defenseman put his hand to his helmet in disbelief.

Trailing 1-0 early in the second, Philadelphia tied it when Weal scored out of a scramble. The score stood after a challenge by the Bruins, who felt the Flyers were offside.

Philadelphia controlled play for lengthy stretches in the second, holding the Bruins to four shots on goal. Many times during the game, chants of “Let’s Go Flyers!” could be heard echoing around the balcony seats.

Boston led 1-0 after a first period that featured solid end-to-end play, a couple of break-ins for good scoring chances, a long Flyers’ two-man advantage and a fight that saw Boston’s Matt Beleskey send Manning to the ice with a right-handed punch.

Pastrnak’s one-timed Patrice Bergeron’s pass by Mason for his 28th goal, making it 1-0 with 1:22 left in the period.

Rask made a splendid right-skate stop on Jakub Voracek, who collected a pass and broke in alone when the Bruins were caught on a line change midway into the period. Mason dropped to stop Pastrnak’s close bid a few minutes later.

Philadelphia had seven shots on goal during the power plays that lasted 1 minute, 43 seconds – the best was Wayne Simmonds’ rebound from the edge of the crease that Rask made a pad save on.

]]> 0's Brayden Schenn, center front, battles Boston's Patrice Bergeron, left, and Zdeno Chara, center back, for a rebound during the first period of the Bruins' 2-1 win Saturday in Boston.Sat, 11 Mar 2017 19:54:45 +0000
Bruins beat Detroit Red Wings 6-1 Thu, 09 Mar 2017 03:53:35 +0000 BOSTON — David Krejci scored twice and Drew Stafford had his first with Boston during a four-goal first period that carried the Bruins to a 6-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.

Brad Marchand had his team-leading 31st and 32nd goals, and David Pastrnak added a score for Boston, and Tuukka Rask made 26 saves. Boston improved to 9-3 since interim coach Bruce Cassidy replaced fired coach Claude Julien on Feb. 7.

Niklas Kronwall had his first goal of the season for Detroit. The Red Wings finished a five-game trip 1-3-1.

Detroit starting goalie Jared Coreau was pulled after giving up three goals during a 2:25 span in what’s likely his last game with the team before he’s shipped back to the minors.

Jimmy Howard, a regular goalie with the Red Wings the past eight seasons, finished his second two-game conditioning stint with Grand Rapids of the AHL on Tuesday. He’s scheduled to join the team this week.

Krejci gave Boston a 1-0 lead 11:07 into the game when he skated around defenseman Danny DeKeyser and slipped a wrist shot by Coreau’s glove.

Marchand skated quickly to a loose puck just inside the blue line and broke in alone before firing a shot inside the left post, making it 2-0 just 1:01 later.

Stafford, acquired for a conditional sixth-round pick from Winnipeg at the trade deadline, made it 3-0 at 13:32. Krejci stole the puck from defenseman Dylan Larkin in the slot and beat goalie Petr Mrazek with 14.9 seconds left. Marchand scored on a clean breakaway late in the second period.

NOTES: The 32-year-old Howard has been out since spraining his right knee on Dec. 20. Before the injury, he had a .934 save percentage and a 1.96 goals against average in 17 games. … It was Krejci’s first two-goal and three-point game of the season. … Bruins center Tim Schaller went hard – skates first – into the backboards and left the ice favoring his right leg in the first. He didn’t return. … Boston forward Ryan Spooner was out with a concussion sustained in Monday’s loss at Ottawa. Jimmy Hayes took his spot after being a healthy scratch the previous two games. … Henrik Zetterberg’s next goal will be the 324th of his career, moving him into a tie for sixth with Ted Lindsay on Detroit’s career list. … The Bruins are 10-1-1 in their last 12 against Detroit.

]]> 0 center David Krejci pokes the puck past Red Wings goalie Jared Coreau for a goal during the first period.Wed, 08 Mar 2017 22:56:51 +0000
NHL roundup: Dallas wins against Washington again Tue, 07 Mar 2017 04:28:18 +0000 Kari Lehtonen made 42 saves and Devin Shore, Radek Faksa and Jason Spezza scored and Dallas continued its puzzling domination of Washington with a road victory.

Despite struggling this season, Dallas extended its point streak in the series to 12 games and won for the sixth consecutive time in Washington.

The NHL-leading Capitals’ home winning streak snapped at 15 and their point streak at 17.

Despite Nicklas Backstrom’s 21st goal and T.J. Oshie’s 25th, they lost in regulation at home for the first time since Dec. 17 and in any fashion at home since Dec. 29.

The Stars chased reigning Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Braden Holtby with three goals on 11 shots and haven’t lost in regulation to the Capitals since 2006.

SHARKS 3, JETS 2: Joe Pavelski scored twice and San Jose won in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Joe Thornton assisted on Pavelski’s empty-net goal to give him 1,000 assists.

Aaron Dell stopped 31 shots in his 14th game for the Sharks.

Pavelski opened the scoring with his 22nd goal and Mikkel Boedker also had a goal for San Jose, which was coming off a 3-1 loss Sunday in Minnesota.

Josh Morrissey scored for the Jets in the first period and Mark Scheifele scored his 28th of the season with seven seconds left in game.

Connor Hellebuyck made 27 saves in his 11th straight start for Winnipeg.

RANGERS 1, LIGHTNING 0: Mika Zibanejad scored 3:56 into overtime, Antti Raanta made 38 saves, and New York won in Tampa, Florida.

Zibanejad beat Andrei Vasilevskiy during a breakaway.

Raanta got his third shutout of the season.

Vasilevskiy stopped 33 shots and Tampa Bay, 8-2-3 over the past 13 games, moved within two points of New York Islanders for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Rangers failed to score on three power plays, and are 1 for 36 over the past 14 games.

Tampa Bay, with NHL’s third-best power play, went 0 for 6.


GOLDEN KNIGHTS: The expansion Vegas Golden Knights have made their first player transaction, signing free-agent junior forward Reid Duke to a three-year contract.

Duke is the Brandon Wheat Kings’ top scorer with 35 goals and 32 assists this season.

He has played five seasons in the Western Hockey League with Lethbridge and Brandon.

]]> 0's David Pastrnak, center, crashes into Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson during the first period of the Bruins' 4-2 loss in Ottawa, Ontario.Mon, 06 Mar 2017 23:31:44 +0000
Shaky start dooms Bruins in 4-2 loss at Ottawa Tue, 07 Mar 2017 03:44:49 +0000 OTTAWA, Ontario — Mike Hoffman had a power-play goal early in the third period and the Ottawa Senators defeated the Boston Bruins 4-2 on Monday night.

Derick Brassard, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Alex Burrows also scored as the Senators extended their winning streak to three games. Craig Anderson made 25 saves.

Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand scored for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask made 25 saves.

Ottawa has a four-point lead on the Bruins in the Atlantic Division.

With just six remaining home games, the Senators gave the Canadian Tire Centre crowd something to remember in what could be a preview of a first-round playoff matchup should the standings remain as they are.

Ottawa took a 3-1 lead early in the third as Hoffman scored his 20th on the power play. It was Ottawa’s first goal with the man advantage in three games.

The lead was short-lived as less than two minutes later, the Bruins scored on the power play as Marchand picked up David Pastrnak’s rebound to score his 30th, giving him back-to-back 30-goal seasons.

There were no goals in the second period, but the Senators clearly held the edge, outshooting the Bruins 16-5.

Ottawa had a number of chances as the Bruins turned the puck over several times, but Rask was solid and got a little help when Dion Phaneuf rang a shot off the post.

The Senators got a strong start as they held a 2-0 lead after just 3:25.

Trailing 2-0, the Bruins cut the lead in half as Bergeron took a pass from Torey Krug in the slot and quickly turned and beat Anderson with a wrist shot in the final minutes of the period.

Brassard opened the scoring at 1:21 as he beat Rask with a turnaround shot through traffic and Ottawa took a 2-0 lead just three minutes into the game as Pageau redirected Phaneuf’s point shot.

]]> 0 Senators' Jean-Gabriel Pageau celebrates a goal on Bruins goaltender Tuuka Rask in the first period Monday night as the Senators jump out to an early 2-0 lead.Mon, 06 Mar 2017 22:52:58 +0000
NHL roundup: Spooner lift Bruins past New Jersey Sun, 05 Mar 2017 03:39:18 +0000 BOSTON — Ryan Spooner scored midway through the third period to lift the Boston Bruins over the New Jersey Devils 3-2 on Saturday night for their eighth victory in 10 games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy.

Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug also scored for the Bruins, and backup goalie Anton Khudobin stopped 15 shots. Cassidy took over for fired coach Claude Julien on Feb. 7.

Kyle Palmieri and Devante Smith-Pelly had goals for the Devils, who lost their sixth straight (0-4-2) as their playoff hopes continue to fade. Cory Schneider made 37 saves.

Spooner one-timed Drew Stafford’s pass from the right circle for the winner 8:18 into the third.

Stafford, acquired from Winnipeg in a trade on Wednesday, nearly had a goal in his Bruins debut midway into the second when he poked a loose puck under Schneider, but it was overturned after a review because of goaltender interference.

CAPITALS 2, FLYERS 1: Nicklas Backstrom scored a power-play goal in overtime to lift Washington over Philadelphia and extend its franchise-record home winning streak to 15.

CANADIENS 4, RANGERS 1: Carey Price made 26 saves and Montreal extended its winning streak to five games with a victory at New York.

SENATORS 3, BLUE JACKETS 2: Zack Smith scored a short-handed goal in the third period and Viktor Stalberg got his first goal as a Senator after being acquired in a trade last week as Ottawa won at home.

LIGHTNING 2, SABRES 1: Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov scored in a shootout and Tampa Bay won at Buffalo, New York.

STARS 2, PANTHERS 1: John Klingberg scored the winning goal with 1:07 left and Dallas won at Sunrise, Florida.

]]> 0 Sat, 04 Mar 2017 22:39:18 +0000
Lundqvist saves Rangers in 2-1 win over Bruins Fri, 03 Mar 2017 03:20:36 +0000 BOSTON — With the Rangers struggling offensively, Henrik Lundqvist bailed them out with a vintage performance.

Lundqvist made 32 saves on his 35th birthday and New York got third-period goals from Pavel Buchnevich and Oscar Lindberg to beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 on Thursday night.

“You can never score on him,” said Rangers newcomer Brendan Smith, acquired from Detroit before the trade deadline this week. “I got to watch it on the opposite side and it was amazing to be a part of.”

Lundqvist bounced back after giving up nine goals in his previous two games. He earned his 403rd NHL win, tying Grant Fuhr for 10th on the career list.

“I tried to leave everything out there today,” Lundqvist said. “In the end we came up with some big plays, big blocks and we found a way.”

The Rangers have mustered only 17 goals in the last eight games and are 4-3-1 over that stretch.

“In the third we had a couple of chances that we buried and then we grinded it out,” Coach Alain Vigneault said. “The goaltender made some big saves and he found us a way to win.”

Boston was stymied on several outstanding chances as Lundqvist improved to 25-12-2 against the Bruins with a 1.93 goals-against average.

New York, which has beaten Boston five straight times, outscored the Bruins 12-5 while sweeping the three-game season series.

Brad Marchand scored his team-leading 29th goal for the Bruins to cut it to 2-1 at 12:56 of the third. David Backes just about extinguished any final hopes for Boston when he was whistled for goaltender interference with 2:22 remaining.

“I don’t agree with the call and you can watch the replay,” Backes said. “He initiated the contact and it is a frustrating way to finish the game.”

Buchnevich, called up from the minors earlier in the day, fired a shot over goalie Tuukka Rask’s left shoulder to put the Rangers ahead. Lindberg scored 4:25 later to make it 2-0 at 9:35 of the third.

Marchand tipped in a pass from David Pastrnak.

“I think the effort was there,” Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron said. “We were playing a great team, but points are at a premium and we will need to bounce back Saturday against New Jersey.”

Rask made 19 saves for Boston, which lost for only the second time in nine games.

NOTES: New York has won 11 of 13 on the road and leads the NHL with 22 road wins. … The Rangers are 1 for 33 on the power play over the last 12 games. … New York swept the season series from Boston for the first time since 2006-07. … Marchand has 24 points over the last 15 games. … Rangers forward Derek Stepan hasn’t scored in 19 games. … Boston was held under two goals for the first time in 14 games.

]]> 0 center Oscar Lindberg celebrates his goal in front of Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask in the third period Thursday night in Boston.Thu, 02 Mar 2017 23:45:52 +0000
NHL roundup: Trade deadline mostly a dud Thu, 02 Mar 2017 04:19:18 +0000 Blame Vegas and an ever-tightening playoff race for turning the NHL’s trade deadline day into mostly a dud.

With teams jockeying to stay in contention and eager to preserve their protected lists to brace for the NHL expansion draft in June, there were only a few notable deals completed before the deadline struck Wednesday afternoon.

Officially, the NHL said, there were 18 trades completed involving 33 players, the lowest totals since April 2013, when 17 deals were made involving 30 players. Even so, quantity didn’t equate to quality on Wednesday, with 17 of the players dealt having been placed on waivers at one point this season.

And of the 18 deals completed, only 12 involved NHL players. The others were limited to minor leaguers.

Colorado was one team to move a name player, trading veteran forward Jarome Iginla to the Kings for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft.

The only other notable move involved the Red Wings, who traded veteran forward Thomas Vanek to Florida for defenseman Dylan McIlrath and a conditional third-round pick in June.

It was a big step up in the standings for both Iginla and Vanek, who are suddenly playing for teams in the playoff hunt.

Veteran defenseman Mark Streit changed teams twice and stayed in Pennsylvania. First, Streit was traded by Philadelphia to Tampa Bay for forward Valtteri Filppula and two conditional draft picks. Then the Lightning dealt Streit to Pittsburgh for a 2018 fourth-round pick.

The Boston Bruins acquired forward Drew Stafford from Winnipeg for a conditional sixth-round draft pick in 2018. The pending free agent has four goals and nine assists in 40 games with the Jets this season.

More notable was the list of players staying put, including Arizona’s Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata, Buffalo’s defensive tandem of Dmitry Kulikov and Cody Franson, and Avalanche forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog.

In being limited to protecting only eight players, teams placed an emphasis on keeping youngsters because they don’t have to be exposed in the expansion draft. One strategy will be to expose aging, high-priced players in hopes they’re taken by Vegas.

The Golden Knights officially opened for business Wednesday when the final installment of owner Bill Foley’s $500 million expansion payment was cleared. Vegas can begin making trades for draft picks and unsigned prospects, and sign free agents whose college or European league seasons are over.

The Canadiens were relatively busy, beefing up their Atlantic Division team by acquiring checking-line veteran Dwight King from Los Angeles.

In a deal struck just after midnight, the defending Western Conference champion Sharks acquired winger Jannik Hansen from Vancouver in exchange for prospect Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth-round pick that becomes a first-rounder if they win the Stanley Cup.

BRUINS: Defenseman Colin Miller will not be suspended for his hit that forced Coyotes forward Alex Burmistrov to leave the ice on a stretcher Tuesday, according to a person with knowledge of the NHL’s decision.

Miller was given a charging major and a game misconduct.


LIGHTNING 4, HURRICANES 3: Victor Hedman scored his second goal of the game 46 seconds into overtime, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves and Tampa Bay won at home to improve to 7-1-2 in its last 10 games.

BLACKHAWKS 4, PENGUINS 1: Patrick Kane had his second hat trick in three games, Scott Darling made 36 saves and host Chicago won its fifth straight and 10th in 11 games.

]]> 0 Wed, 01 Mar 2017 23:20:29 +0000
Bruins stay hot, run over Coyotes Wed, 01 Mar 2017 03:57:35 +0000 BOSTON — The Arizona Coyotes got word from the hospital after the second period that center Alexander Burmistrov seemed to be doing OK.

By then, it was too late for them to get back into the game.

Riley Nash scored a short-handed goal after Colin Miller was ejected for a bone-rattling hit that sent Burmistrov off on a stretcher, and the Boston Bruins pulled away with a three-goal second period to beat the Coyotes 4-1 on Tuesday night.

“When it’s as serious as that, it maybe takes a couple of minutes for everyone to get back to playing hockey,” said Arizona goalie Mike Smith, who was pulled after allowing four goals on 14 shots and put the blame on himself.

“When the signal gets made, and the paramedics come on the ice, it’s always hard to deal with,” he said. “But that’s no excuse.”

Miller was given a 5-minute major and game misconduct for knocking Burmistrov onto his back in the second period. Burmistrov remained motionless on the ice for several minutes but gave a thumbs-up with both hands as he was wheeled off on a stretcher.

The Coyotes said Burmistrov was taken to a hospital for further evaluation. Captain Shane Doan said the team was told during the second break that Burmistrov seemed to pass the initial tests; it wasn’t clear if he would have to remain in Boston overnight.

“Everything up until this point is great,” Doan said. “Everything that you’re really worried about seems to be OK.”

Miller said he texted Burmistrov and explained he wasn’t trying to hurt him.

“He said he understood,” Miller said. “It’s a hockey play.”

With Miller in the dressing room and Boston a man down for three minutes, the Bruins scored three goals in the last 13 minutes of the second – including a pair jut 1:44 apart at the end of the period – to pull away.

“I don’t know if that helped the team or not,” Miller said. “But they did a great job killing it off.”

Tuukka Rask had 22 saves for the Bruins, who have won 6 of 7 games since firing Coach Claude Julien and replacing him with Bruce Cassidy.

Louis Domingue stopped all 11 shots he faced after replacing Smith to start the third period.

Burmistrov, 25, is a 2010 first-round draft pick from Russia who has one goal and 10 assists this season.

]]> 0 Tue, 28 Feb 2017 23:07:19 +0000
In NHL, in-season deals can deliver a Stanley Cup Tue, 28 Feb 2017 03:14:42 +0000 If an NHL general manager is looking to transform his team with a trade, his best bet would be to dismiss Wednesday’s trade deadline possibilities and look farther ahead. Most of the big team-shifting trades occur when the league convenes in late June for the entry draft.

But in-season trade deadline acquisitions still matter.

In the past few years, we’ve seen it all – the typical rental deals, futures deals and, yes, even the odd blockbuster. All you have to do is look back at the last half-dozen Stanley Cup winners to see how significant deadline pickups can be.

Now, for Bruins GM Don Sweeney, it is highly doubtful that by Wednesday he’ll find a deal that will make his team a Cup contender. But if he plays his cards right, he just might find a building block or two.

Here’s a look at the in-season deals the last six champions have made and how it helped them hoist the Stanley Cup:

 2015-16 Pittsburgh Penguins: The team went through as much overhaul as any champion in recent memory, both from within and outside the organization. The big change came when Mike Sullivan took over for Mike Johnston behind the bench after 28 games. Sullivan began integrating some of his AHL charges – Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust, Tom Kuhnhackl and, most importantly, goalie Matt Murray. But GM Jim Rutherford also obtained players who fit Sullivan’s speed game, acquiring defenseman Trevor Daley from Chicago for fellow blueliner Rob Scuderi. About a month later, Rutherford pulled off the move that put the Pens over the top, getting speedy Carl Hagelin from Anaheim for forward David Perron and defenseman Adam Clendening. Hagelin would form the HBK line with Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel that was so effective in the playoffs.

By the time deadline approached, the heavy lifting was done but there was still work to do. Rutherford acquired defenseman Justin Schultz from Edmonton for a third-round pick. He played the final 18 games of the regular season, logging a plus-7, and then all 15 playoff games, contributing four points.

 2014-15 Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks were active around the trade deadline and landed an impact player. GM Stan Bowman acquired center Antoine Vermette for a first-round pick and middling defense prospect Klas Dahlbeck. Vermette was the kind of straight rental most often associated with deadline deals. After initial trouble fitting in, Vermette was a key contributor to the playoff run. In the Western Conference finals against the Ducks, Vermette scored the double-overtime winner in Game 4. Bowman also swapped bottom forwards with San Jose, obtaining Andrew Desjardins for Ben Smith and Desjardins has been a serviceable role player. The Hawks also picked up Kimmo Timonen from Philadelphia for a second-round pick. The veteran Timonen had not played to that point because of blood clots. He played in 16 regular-season games and 18 playoff games but did not have a point.

 2013-14 Los Angeles Kings: The Kings pulled off a whopper when they obtained Marian Gaborik, who was not playing well in Columbus, for Matt Frattin and second- and third-round picks. Gaborik netted 14 goals in the playoff run that produced the Kings’ second Cup in three years. LA also picked up defense prospect Brayden McNabb along with forward Jonathan Parker and two second-rounds picks for forwards Nicolas Deslauriers and Hudson Fasching. McNabb became a regular for the Kings while Deslauriers is a regular brawler for Buffalo.

 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks: In the lockout-shortened 48-game season, the Blackhawks made one move at the deadline, acquiring two-way centerman Michal Handzus from San Jose for a fourth-round pick. Handzus was near the end of a fine NHL career, but contributed to the Cup run, posting 3-8-11 totals in 23 playoff games, including a short-handed goal against the Bruins in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals, a Hawks win.

• 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings: The Columbus Blue Jackets contributed greatly to this Kings’ championship as well. A few days before the deadline, the Jackets traded Jeff Carter – who had cost Columbus the services of Jake Voracek less than a year before – to LA for defenseman Jack Johnson. Carter not only had a strong playoff campaign (8-5-13 totals in 20 games), but he helped cement the Kings’ heavy, hard-to-play-against identity that would earn them a second Cup in 2014.

• 2010-11 Bruins: Former GM Peter Chiarelli performed a fairly extensive facelift around deadline day. First, he acquired Chris Kelly for a second-round pick from Ottawa. Then a few days later, he obtained defenseman Tomas Kaberle from Toronto for Joe Colbourne, a first- and a second-round pick. Finally on deadline day, he shipped Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart to the Atlanta Thrashers for Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik (the latter a prospect who never panned out.) Kaberle seemed to be the big get at the time, but he didn’t have the impact most expected. But Kelly and Peverley joined Michael Ryder to form a third line that proved pivotal in the B’s getting past the Canadiens. Peverley then stepped in for the injured Nathan Horton on the first line in the finals against the Canucks.

Bottom line? If Sweeney wants to be a player in the market, it doesn’t mean he’s deluded into thinking this is the year for his team.

]]> 0 Bruins left wing Daniel Paille, right, celebrates a goal by Bruins center Rich Peverley against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the 2013 Stanley Cup finals.Mon, 27 Feb 2017 22:47:03 +0000
Stars fall as Bruins glide to third road-trip win in Dallas Sun, 26 Feb 2017 22:13:54 +0000 DALLAS — Patrice Bergeron had two goals and an assist as the Boston Bruins beat the Dallas Stars 6-3 Sunday, improving to 6-1 under interim coach Bruce Cassidy.

The Bruins completed a 3-1 road trip.

Stars captain Jamie Benn and Boston forward David Backes began fighting just 2 seconds into the game and drew major penalties. They have a history between them – this was the first time they’ve faced each other this season, and it was the third straight year they’ve fought.

The Stars had tied the game in the second period after trailing 2-0. But Frank Vatrano and Bergeron scored on deflections 40 seconds apart in the second, and Bergeron added his 16th goal of the season in the third period.

Brad Marchand, David Krejci scored in the first period for the Bruins. Marchand had two assists and Torey Krug had three assists.

John Klingberg and Jiri Hudler had second-period goals for Dallas, and Tyler Seguin scored in the third.

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask had 33 saves.

Kari Lehtonen made 22 saves for Dallas. Three of Boston’s goals came on deflections.

Vatrano deflected Kevan Miller’s drive from the right point through traffic past Lehtonen to break a 2-2 tie in the second. Bergeron and Dallas defenseman Jordie Benn became tangled in front of Lehtonen on the Bruins’ fourth goal.

Marchand scored from the left faceoff circle at 5:56 of the first period after taking a pass from behind the net from Bergeron.

Dallas made it 2-all on the first power play of the game. Hudler scored on a snap shot at 11:49 of the second.

Boston regained a two-goal lead less than 4 minutes later when Vatrano and Bergeron scored at 14:41 and 15:21.

NOTES: Dallas D Johnny Oduya returned after missing 15 games because of an ankle injury. … Miller and Dallas LW Curtis McKenzie also fought in the second period. … Marchand has 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in his past 12 games. … Krejci has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past seven games. … Krug has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in seven career games against the Stars. … Hudler has 18 points (11 goals, seven assists) in 14 career games vs. Boston. …The visiting team has won the last seven games between the teams, dating back to 2013-14.

]]> 0 Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) is congratulated by teammate David Krejci (46) after scoring during the second period against the Dallas Stars on Sunday in Dallas. The Bruins won 6-3. (Associated Press/LM Otero)Sun, 26 Feb 2017 18:06:56 +0000
Bruins blast Kings 4-1, continue strong start for Cassidy Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:08:25 +0000 LOS ANGELES — The Boston Bruins figured their road swing against the NHL’s three tough California teams would be a strong indication of their ability to contend for a playoff spot.

Interim coach Bruce Cassidy thinks the Bruins are leaving the Golden State in great shape.

Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak scored their 26th goals of the season, and the Bruins improved to 5-1-0 under Cassidy with a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.

Anton Khudobin made 27 saves in his second start since Christmas for the Bruins, who nursed an early lead to their first win in Los Angeles since March 24, 2012. The Bruins won two of three in California, with a competitive loss to Anaheim sandwiched between wins over the Sharks and Kings.

“It’s not easy to do in this league, playing big, heavy teams like this back-to-back,” said Cassidy, who played under Kings coach Darryl Sutter with the IHL’s Saginaw Hawks and Indianapolis Ice from 1988-90. “We did what we had to do. These are three tough buildings to win in, and I know the Bruins have had their struggles out here.”

Pastrnak punctuated a strong all-around game with his seventh power-play goal of the season early in the second period. Dominic Moore ended his 26-game goal drought with an empty-net score, and David Krejci added another empty-netter with 7.2 seconds left.

“This trip is a really good indicator of how we match up against certain types of teams,” Marchand said. “They play a really difficult style of game … and we responded to it really well.”

Boston’s unbeaten start under Cassidy ended one night earlier in Anaheim, but the Bruins responded with another strong defensive game in front of their backup goalie. Khudobin was solid in just his ninth start of the season for the Bruins, who have relied heavily on All-Star Tuukka Rask in net.

“I got tired in the second, and (the Bruins) picked it up for me,” Khudobin said. “And then (Los Angeles) didn’t have many shots in the third period. Perfect game for me.”

Kevin Gravel scored his first NHL goal and Peter Budaj stopped 21 shots for the Kings, who have lost six of eight. Los Angeles’ playoff hopes have taken a hit during the rough stretch including just five goals in its last four games.

“Can’t chase the lead,” Sutter said. “(Giving up an) early goal is just a constant theme. Chase the lead. Put some production on the top end of your lineup to overcome that.”

The Kings have a home-heavy schedule down the stretch, but they’ve lost seven of 11 at Staples Center.

After Marchand put the Bruins ahead early on a 2-on-1 rush, Gravel scored on a rebound of rookie Adrian Kempe’s shot. Gravel’s goal was the defenseman’s first of his 45-game career with the Kings, who drafted him in the fifth round in 2010.

“It was a long time coming on that one,” Gravel said. “I had nothing but net to shoot at, so I just basically tapped her in. Obviously, I want that one to come in a win, but the first goal is a special moment, for sure.”

Pastrnak reclaimed the lead for Boston early in the second. He broke his stick on the one-timer, but the changeup effect on the puck fooled Budaj just enough. The 20-year-old Czech forward tied Patrice Bergeron for the team lead in power-play goals.

Los Angeles managed just one shot in the first 15 minutes of the third period, and Moore sealed it with 1:02 to play on his first goal since Dec. 20.


Boston F Riley Nash was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. He scored 10 points while playing in all 60 games for the Bruins this season, but had just one assist in the last eight games. … Sutter coached his 1,263rd game, passing Jacques Lemaire for sole possession of 13th place in NHL history. … Jeff Zatkoff was the Kings’ backup goalie. Los Angeles placed Zatkoff on waivers earlier in the week, but didn’t send him to the AHL after he cleared.


Bruins: At Stars on Sunday.

Kings: Host Ducks on Saturday.

]]> 0, 24 Feb 2017 18:54:36 +0000
Bruins’ post-Julien win streak ends with 5-3 loss to Ducks Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:44:15 +0000 ANAHEIM, Calif. — Rickard Rakell is perhaps the only Anaheim Ducks forward who should feel good about his offensive game lately, and even he was mired in a five-goal goalless streak when the surging Boston Bruins visited.

Rakell came through with two scores in a game that reminded the Ducks they can still fill a net on occasion.

Rakell scored the tiebreaking goal with 2:34 to play, and the Ducks snapped Boston’s four-game winning streak under new coach Bruce Cassidy with a 5-3 victory Wednesday night.

Rakell also scored in the second period for the Ducks, giving him 24 goals in his outstanding season. Ondrej Kase, Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano also scored for Anaheim, and Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves in his first victory since Jan. 23.

The Ducks had scored just five goals in their previous four games during an up-and-down February, and they had just four goals in 258 minutes before Kase scored early in the second. They can’t afford much of a slump in the Pacific Division race with San Jose and Edmonton, but the Ducks are keeping pace.

“It was nice to get the bounces tonight,” said Rakell, who tapped home a loose puck for the game-winning goal. “We’ve been having a tough time over the last couple of games to get something going. It was nice that we were able to help the team.”

The Ducks killed five Boston power plays, but Frank Vatrano slipped behind Manson and scored on a breakaway with 8:25 left.

Rakell then scored after the puck deflected off Corey Perry, who had two assists. Cogliano got credit for an empty-net goal with 48.7 seconds left when Torey Krug hooked him to the ice with a clear path to the net.

“Five is a nice number, but three is the better number,” Anaheim assistant coach Paul MacLean said. “Our defensive game was a real big reason why we ended up winning the game. We had a couple of goal posts that helped us as well.”

The Bruins hadn’t lost since Cassidy replaced Claude Julien on Feb. 7. Defensemen Brandon Carlo and Zdeno Chara scored early goals, and Tuukka Rask stopped 20 shots as Boston lost to Anaheim for the seventh straight time.

“I thought we played hard to get back into the game against a good hockey team that defends well,” Cassidy said. “I think the guys are frustrated. The positive with that is we knew we could have won that hockey game if we just took care of a few things here or there. Nothing worse than going out of a game thinking you had no chance. We definitely had our chance.”

Bernier started his second straight game in place of John Gibson, a late scratch with a lower-body injury. He made a handful of jaw-dropping saves, including a diving stop of Patrice Bergeron with his stick.

“You don’t want to make those saves, because it means you’re out of position,” Bernier said.

Forward Nic Kerdiles made his NHL debut for the Ducks, becoming the first player from Orange County to suit up for Anaheim.

Kerdiles lived in Irvine for most of his childhood and regularly attended games at Honda Center before the club drafted him in 2012. The 23-year-old scorer missed several months earlier this season with a concussion, but has played 10 outstanding games for the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in San Diego.

Matt Beleskey returned to the Bruins’ lineup after sitting as a healthy scratch in two of the previous three games. The longtime Ducks forward, who got a $19.8 million contract from Boston after scoring a career-best 22 goals for Anaheim in 2014-15, hasn’t had a goal in 17 games since Nov. 19.


The Ducks recalled Jhonas Enroth from San Diego to back up Bernier. Enroth, acquired from Toronto in December, has suited up for five NHL teams in just over two years. … Boston F Tim Schaller was scratched for the second time in three games. … Chara played his 798th game for the Bruins, the most by a European player in franchise history.


Bruins: At Kings on Thursday.

Ducks: At Kings on Saturday.

]]> 0, 23 Feb 2017 05:53:01 +0000
NHL roundup: Bruins win in OT Mon, 20 Feb 2017 04:32:34 +0000 SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Sharks missed a chance to build more of a cushion in the Pacific Division standings Sunday night before they begin their bye week.

As has been the case four other times this month, the loss came after regulation time.

Brad Marchand scored with 2:24 left in overtime as the Sharks lost, 2-1, to the Boston Bruins on Sunday at SAP Center.

Prior to Sunday, the Sharks had lost in shootout to the Arizona Coyotes on Feb. 4 and in overtime to Buffalo on Feb. 7, Philadelphia on Feb. 11 and most recently, Florida on Feb. 15.

The Sharks will enter their five-day break with a four-point cushion over the second-place Edmonton Oilers.

Patrick Marleau scored the Sharks’ only goal, netting his 21st this season and the 502nd of his NHL career with 2:23 to go in the second period.

On a 4-on-4 situation, a shot from Brent Burns went off the leg of Torey Krug right to Marleau, who had a mostly open net as Tuukka Rask was unable to get over in time.

The Sharks allowed the first goal on home ice for the third straight game as Ryan Spooner was left alone right beside Martin Jones.

A shot by Adam McQuaid toward the Sharks’ net was collected by Jimmy Hayes, who spun around and put a shot wide. The puck came off the end boards right to an open Spooner, who tapped it in for his ninth goal of the season at the 11:05 mark of the first period.

Joe Thornton remained on the cusp of perhaps his most historic achievement as he’s still just two assists away from 1,000 for his NHL career. The Sharks’ next game is Feb. 25 in Vancouver.

Thornton had 285 assists in seven-plus seasons with the Bruins from 1997-2005. Since coming to the Sharks on Nov. 30, 2005 in the biggest trade in team history, Thornton has 713 assists, including 34 this season.

Thornton entered Sunday on a five-game point streak. He had assists in four straight games and scored Feb. 9 against the Bruins at TD Garden.

The Sharks did not make any changes to their forward group from Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes, as Nikolay Goldobin dressed for his second straight game. Goldobin played 11:53 against the Coyotes and finished with four shots on goal, but was a spectator in the third period as coach Pete DeBoer shuffled his lines.

Melker Karlsson played on the second line with Marleau and Logan Couture and Chris Tierney played with Tomas Hertl and Joel Ward on the third line. Goldobin had 7:46 of ice time through two periods. Mikkel Boedker, who was also benched for the third period, had 9:13 of ice time through 40 minutes.

PREDATORS 4, BLUE JACKETS 3: After Columbus fought back from a two-goal deficit to tie the score early in the third period, Nashville kept up their intensity and Mattias Ekholm got them a win.

Ekholm scored his third goal of the season when he snapped off a shot from the slot after being set up nicely by Filip Forsberg 9:09 into the third, and the Predators held on for a victory in Colubmus, Ohio.

Backup goalie Juuse Saros stopped 35 shots in his sixth win of the season, and Nashville improved its position in a crowded race for the two Western Conference wild cards.

ISLANDERS 6, DEVILS 4: Ryan Strome had two goals and an assist to lead New York to a victory over New Jersey in New York.

John Tavares, Andrew Ladd, Casey Cizikas and Jason Chimera also scored to help the Islanders improve to 9-0-2 in their last 11 at home.

BLACKHAWKS 5, SABRES 1: Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist in his annual homecoming, leading Chicago to a win in Buffalo, New York.

Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews broke it open with second-period goals for Chicago, which won for the seventh time in eight games.

JETS 3, SENATORS 2: Josh Morrissey scored early in the third period to give Winnipeg a two-goal lead, and the Jets won in Ottawa, Ontario.

Morrissey made it 3-1 at 2:33 when his wrist shot from the blue line.

RED WINGS 5, PENGUINS 2: Tomas Tatar and Thomas Vanek scored early third-period goals to lead Detroit to a victory in Pittsburgh.

Nick Jensen and Steve Ott also scored and Luke Glendening added a late empty-netter for the Red Wings, who completed a back-to-back sweep of Washington and Pittsburgh, two of the top teams in the league. Petr Mrazek made 24 saves for his second win in as many days.

RANGERS 2, CAPITALS 1: Mats Zuccarello scored a third-period goal and Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves in host New York’s victory over Washington.

LIGHTNING 3, AVALANCHE 2: Jonathan Drouin stole the puck and scored 2:27 into overtime, and Tampa Bay recovered after blowing a two-goal lead to beat Colorado in Denver.

MAPLE LEAFS 4, HURRICANES 0: Connor Brown scored twice, Auston Matthews had a highlight-reel goal on a backhander as he was twirling down to the ice, and Toronto beat Carolina in Raleigh, North Carolina.

]]> 0 Press/Jeff Chiu Boston's Riley Nash, right, and San Jose's Brenden Dillon, 4, shove each other during the second period Sunday in San Jose, Calif. Boston won in overtime, 2-1.Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:08:05 +0000
Canadiens fire Michel Therrien, hire Claude Julien as coach Tue, 14 Feb 2017 23:56:38 +0000 In the midst of losing their grip on first place, the Montreal Canadiens abruptly fired coach Michel Therrien on Tuesday and hired Claude Julien in hopes of getting their season back on track.

Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin made the announcement two days into his team’s bye week. Julien was fired as coach of the Boston Bruins last week and predictions that the veteran wouldn’t be out of work for long proved true.

At 1-5-1, the Canadiens are the NHL’s worst team since the start of February, including a 4-0 loss to the Bruins. They next play Saturday against Winnipeg.

Therrien, 53, was in his fifth season of his second tour of duty as Canadiens coach and had three playoff appearances with a trip to the 2014 Eastern Conference final. They missed the playoffs last season after goaltender Carey Price injured his knee in November.

Owner Geoff Molson tweeted Tuesday afternoon: “Michel Therrien, merci beaucoup pour tout, thank you for giving everything you had to our team.”

Therrien went 194-121-37 as coach of the Canadiens this time around.

He was also fired and replaced by Julien 46 games into the 2002-03 season. This time, it took 58 games.

“The decision to remove Michel from his coaching duties was a difficult one because I have lots of respect for him,” Bergevin said in a statement. “I came to the conclusion that our team needed a new energy, a new voice, a new direction.”

That will come from Julien, who returns to Montreal, where he coached from 2003-2006. He won the Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011 and was the longest-tenured coach in the NHL until last week.

Julien has coached 997 regular-season games and will hit the 1,000 milestone behind the Canadiens’ bench on Feb. 23.

Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz joked that Julien would find another job within five minutes. It took seven days. The Canadiens had to get permission to speak with Julien before hiring him because the 56-year-old was still under contract.

“Claude Julien is an experienced and well-respected coach with a good knowledge of the Montreal market,” Bergevin said. “Today we hired the best available coach and one of the league’s best. I am convinced that he has the capabilities to get our team back on the winning track.”

The Canadiens are atop the Atlantic Division with 70 points at 31-19-8 and have a six-point lead on the Bruins and Ottawa Senators. But they’ve played six more games than Ottawa and have struggled lately despite getting Alex Galchenyuk and other previously injured players back in their lineup.

Therrien is the fifth coach fired this season, following Julien, Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues, Jack Capuano of the New York Islanders and Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers. It’s the 39th time an NHL coach has been fired midseason over the past 10 years, more than the NFL, NBA or MLB over the same time span.

This is the third time Therrien has been fired during the season. The last time came in the winter of 2009 when the Pittsburgh Penguins replaced him with Dan Blysma and went on to win the Cup four months later.

Therrien is the first coach to be fired with his team leading its division this late in the season since Ottawa’s John Paddock on Feb. 27, 2008.

The quick move is reminiscent of 2011, when Bruce Boudreau took over as coach of the Anaheim Ducks two days after being fired by the Capitals.

A team spokesman said the Canadiens would hold a news conference Wednesday to discuss the franchise’s sixth in-season coaching change over the past 16 years.


DEVILS 3, AVALANCHE 2: Defenseman Andy Greene scored the go-ahead goal on a power play and Kyle Palmieri converted on an odd-man rush with Taylor Hall to lead host New Jersey over struggling Colorado, which has lost four straight and is 4-22-1 in its last 27 games.

SABRES 3, SENATORS 2: Robin Lehner made 39 saves against his former team and Matt Moulson and Justin Bailey scored in the third period to rally visiting Buffalo past Ottawa.

Lehner is 4-0-2 against the club that drafted him in the second round of the 2009 NHL draft. He was traded away with David Legwand in June 2015 to Buffalo for the 21st overall pick in that year’s draft.

PENGUINS 4, CANUCKS 0: Evgeni Malkin scored and picked up an assist in his return from a lower-body injury, Sidney Crosby got his 999th career point with an assist and Pittsburgh rolled by visiting Vancouver.

DUCKS 1, WILD 0: John Gibson made 37 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, rookie Joseph Cramarossa scored his fourth goal and Anaheim won in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Gibson stalled the league’s fourth-highest scoring team, beating Minnesota and former coach Bruce Boudreau for the first time in three meetings.

The Wild were 0 for 5 on the power play and lost in regulation for the first time in six games and the fifth time since the start of December, a span of 34 games.

MAPLE LEAFS 7, ISLANDERS 1: Auston Matthews scored twice, Frederik Andersen earned his 100th NHL win and Toronto routed visiting New York. The Maple Leafs moved three points ahead of the Islanders for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

]]> 0 Bruins head coach Claude Julien speaks at a news conference at TD Garden after the Bruins failed to reach the playoffs for the second straight year. The Montreal Canadiens have fired coach Michel Therrien and hired Claude Julien to replace him. Associated Press/Bill Sikes, FileTue, 14 Feb 2017 23:48:12 +0000
Bruins roll by Canadiens, 4-0 Mon, 13 Feb 2017 03:48:40 +0000 BOSTON — Tuukka Rask posted his first career regular-season home win over Montreal by making 25 saves for his sixth shutout, 39-year-old Zdeno Chara had an impressive move on his short-handed goal and the Boston Bruins improved to 3-0 under interim coach Bruce Cassidy with a 4-0 victory over the Canadiens on Sunday night.

Adam McQuaid, David Krejci and Frank Vatrano also scored for Boston, which won for the sixth time in eight games. Rask entered 0-9-3 at TD Garden during the regular season against Montreal.

Cassidy replaced fired coach Claude Julien earlier in the week. Julien was in his 10th season with the team and led them to the 2011 Stanley Cup.

Carey Price had 32 saves for the Canadiens, who lost for the sixth time in seven games.

The 51-year-old Cassidy was with the team’s AHL club in Providence for nine seasons before becoming an assistant with Boston this season. He also coached the Washington Capitals from 2002-04.

For the second time in the last three games in the Boston area, fans had to travel through a major snowstorm to get to the Garden. The building was surprisingly about three-quarters full and they were treated to another entertaining effort with Cassidy at the helm.

It was a spirited contest early when Boston defenseman Torey Krug and Montreal center Andrew Shaw dropped the gloves and got into a fight 55 seconds in.

The Bruins jumped ahead 1-0 midway into the first when rookie Peter Cehlarik set up McQuaid for a one-timer from the left circle that beat Price on the stick side. It was Cehlarik’s first NHL point.

The Bruins made it 2-0 on Chara’s goal early into the second. The 6-foot-9 captain made a nifty shift around Alexander Radulov in the slot before firing a wrister into the net.

Krejci had power-play score came with just under five minutes to play in the second for Boston’s season-high eighth straight game with a power-play goal.

NOTES: It was Rask’s 36th career shutout, moving him out of a tie with Frank Brimsek for second on the club’s all-time list. … Canadiens RW Brendan Gallagher was back in the lineup after being out since Jan. 7 with a broken hand. … Bruins LW Matt Beleskey was in the lineup after being a healthy scratch Saturday. … McQuaid played his 400th career game. … The organist played ‘Let It Snow’ during the second intermission. … It was the last regular-season meeting between the teams this season.


Canadiens: host Winnipeg on Saturday.

Bruins: open a four-game road trip next Sunday at San Jose following their five-day bye week.

]]> 0 Canadiens' Paul Byron and Bruins' Kevan Miller battle for the puck during the first period in Boston on Sunday.Sun, 12 Feb 2017 22:50:33 +0000
Late goal by Pastrnak lifts Bruins over Canucks Sat, 11 Feb 2017 21:03:20 +0000 BOSTON — One thing interim coach Bruce Cassidy emphasized when he took over the Boston Bruins was that he wanted his defensemen to look to do more offensively.

It worked well Saturday in his second game.

David Pastrnak scored the tiebreaking goal with two minutes left, defensemen Colin Miller and Kevan Miller each had a goal and Boston won its second straight under Cassidy with a 4-3 victory against the Vancouver Canucks.

“We’ve asked them to get involved,” Cassidy said. “It’s a matter of finding them and (a) matter of finishing.”

Miller knows it’s a fine line between when to go to the offensive end or stay back.

“You’re playing with fire sometimes,” he said. “You’ve got to be careful. I think that’s something we’re going to learn.”

Cassidy took over earlier in the week when the Bruins fired Claude Julien, who was in his 10th season and coached the team to a 2011 Stanley Cup win. Boston also won in Cassidy’s debut, 6-3 over San Jose on Thursday.

Frank Vatrano added a goal and two assists for the Bruins, who posted their fifth win in seven games.

“He expects a lot out of his players,” said Vatrano, who played under Cassidy at Providence of the AHL. “He wants you to play to your capabilities and expects the guys to compete night in and night out.”

Backup goaltender Anton Khudobin made 29 saves for Boston. Ryan Miller had 26 for the Canucks.

“To give it up with two minutes left is hard,” Vancouver Coach Willie Desjardins said.

The Canucks had made it 3-3 on Markus Granlund’s goal with 5:37 remaining.

“I thought we battled hard enough to win,” said Canucks forward Loui Erikssson, who spent three seasons with the Bruins before signing a $36 million, six-year deal with Vancouver during the offseason.

Pastrnak took a pass along the left wing, slid the puck backward to himself before recollecting it and slipping a wrister past Ryan Miller.

Bo Horvat scored for Vancouver, giving him 100 career points. He’s the first Canucks player to reach that mark at 21 years old or younger since Petr Nedved did it at 21 in 1993.

Alexandre Burrows had the other goal for the Canucks.

Colin Miller one-timed Jimmy Hayes’ drop pass with a rising shot into the net, pushing Boston ahead 3-2 early in the third.

Down 2-1, the Canucks tied it on Burrows’ goal out of a scramble with six-tenths of a second left in the second, his first since Dec. 31.

BEFORE THE game, the Bruins honored the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Fourteen members of the team walked onto center ice wearing Bruins jerseys with their names and numbers on the back.

Running back James White – who scored three touchdowns in New England’s 34-28 comeback win over Atlanta last Sunday, including the game-winner in the first Super Bowl to go into overtime – dropped the first puck. Special teams captain Matthew Slater, and linemen Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer, were a few of the notable players who participated.

There was a video package of highlights played on the Jumbotron before they entered.

]]> 0's Markus Granlund, left, and Boston's' Adam McQuaid battle for the puck during the first period of Saturday's game in Boston. The Bruins won, 4-3. (Associated Press/Michael Dwyer)Sat, 11 Feb 2017 19:31:47 +0000
Bruins win in debut of new coach Fri, 10 Feb 2017 02:55:37 +0000 BOSTON — David Pastrnak made sure Bruce Cassidy’s Boston coaching career got off to a winning start.

Pastrnak scored a pair of power-play goals to help the Bruins beat the San Jose Sharks 6-3 in Cassidy’s first game behind the bench Thursday night.

“We came a little more energized and we wanted to get the win for Butch,” Pastrnak said.

Cassidy was named interim coach after the team fired Claude Julien after 10 seasons Tuesday. Cassidy joined the team as an assistant last May after spending five seasons coaching Providence in the AHL.

“It’s been a busy two or three days,” Cassidy said. “I’ll tell you this: I’m going to sleep well tonight. … But yeah, who doesn’t enjoy a win?”

Cassidy, a 51-year-old Ottawa native, also coached the Washington Capitals to a 47-45-9-6 mark in two seasons from 2002-04.

But his heart has always been in Boston.

“When I went out to the bench, the first thing I did was look up at the (Stanley Cup) banners,” Cassidy said. “I’ve been a lifelong Boston Bruins fan since I was (little). My first pair of skates were black and gold and I’ve loved Bobby Orr ever since.”

Patrice Bergeron had a goal and three assists, David Backes added a goal and an assist, and Tim Schaller and Brad Marchand also scored to help Boston end a two-game skid. Tuukka Rask made 23 saves.

Joe Thornton, Justin Braun and Timo Meier scored for San Jose. The Sharks have lost three straight and 4 of 6 following a season-high six-game winning streak.

“We’re a confident group, we know we can win hockey games,” goalie Martin Jones said.

Thornton’s goal was his fourth of the season and moved him past Mike Modano for 23rd on the NHL’s career points list with 1,375.

Jones allowed three first-period goals and had nine saves before Sharks backup Aaron Dell relieved him to start the second. Dell finished with 18 saves as San Jose was outshot 33-26.

“They just made a couple plays today, and we just weren’t really sharp,” Jones said.

Backes scored 52 seconds in, and Bergeron and Pastrnak also had goals in the first period. Thornton ended a 10-game stretch without a goal with his first-period goal to tie it after Backes’ goal.

Braun notched his 100th career point with his goal 1:08 into the second to bring the Sharks within one, but Schaller restored the two-goal advantage late in the period. Pastrnak flipped a wrister past a diving Dell with 48.4 seconds left in the third for his second goal.

Meier scored with 2:37 remaining to make it a two-goal game again, but Marchand tossed in an empty-netter with 29.3 seconds left to seal it.

“We re-established some urgency in this building,” Cassidy said.

San Jose hosts Boston on Feb. 19 to conclude the two-game season set.

NOTES: Julien thanked Bruins fans in a statement Thursday. “Your devotion, unmistakable passion, energy and support is what makes Boston the best sports city in the entire world,” Julien wrote. … Boston D Zdeno Chara (illness) did not have “enough strength to play,” Cassidy said. Chara is day-to-day and Cassidy is hopeful he will return Saturday.

]]> 0's David Pastrnak, 88, celebrates his first-period goal with Brad Marchand, 63, and Patrice Bergeron in Thursday's game against the San Jose Sharks, in Boston.Thu, 09 Feb 2017 23:04:11 +0000
Commentary: Julien put Bruins back on the map Thu, 09 Feb 2017 02:00:02 +0000 This is what happens when you are currently in last place in a four-team race.

You act like you are in last place.

Much has been made of the Boston Bruins’ decision to hold a major, franchise-changing press conference while a million people were going wild only a half-mile away at Government Center.

The Bruins have nothing on the former Massachusetts State Senate President Bill Bulger, who was a master of releasing bad news when most people were drinking on Friday nights.

But this isn’t about the Bruins’ bad optics. The franchise, which appeared to be on Patriots-like solid ground only three years ago, is back to its old tricks – in turmoil.

This is about collateral damage, aka the former Bruins head coach, Claude Julien.

The Bruins didn’t have to do it this way, in the middle of a celebratory parade. Firing Julien was expected. That’s what happens to NHL coaches more often than in any other sport.

The team was stale. The players weren’t listening. And as Theo Epstein said, when the Bruins were great, “10 years is a long time. Sometimes you need a change.”

Among the things Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney said at the press conference was this: “We know Claude will get a job. … He’s a good coach.”

Yup. He is. Julien will get a few months to recharge his batteries and multiple offers will come his way.

Good, though, might not be strong enough. He leaves Boston as its winningest coach – 419-246 with 97 overtime/shootout losses, surpassing the legendary Art Ross.

But his best work was as part of the rebuilding process – with former general manager Peter Chiarelli, who hired him – which was by no means overnight. Hired in 2007, the Bruins were on a 12-year run in which they missed the playoffs five times and won only one playoff series.

Julien’s first three years were steppingstones, losing to the Canadiens in seven games in Year 1, winning one series in each of the next two years before guiding the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup since 1972.

It wasn’t just that they won, but the way they did – with defense, grit, a scorching hot goalie and, well, more grit. The Bruins beat the snot out of Vancouver, which was by far the most talented team that year.

Julien doesn’t fit our mold. We adore Type-A personalities who aren’t afraid to throw sticks on the ice when they don’t get their way (see Harry Sinden, Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, etc.).

Julien was nothing of the sort. While he was’t afraid to curse out a referee, he’s usually apologizing afterward.

He talked about “respecting the game” and had a disdain for flopping on the ice. When a Bruin did it, he said it was wrong.

Basically, a good, honest guy.

About 11 months ago, when there was talk about Julien being fired, Bruins legend Bobby Orr stepped up, calling Julien one of the best coaches in the NHL, period.

“I didn’t really know Claude before he came here,” said Orr. “I ended up chatting with him a few times. I like his style. His teams are very disciplined. I don’t know why people would question Claude. Look at the Bruins’ performance since he arrived. Look at the respect he gets from his players. They play hard for him. That’s how you measure a coach.”

The Bruins have had their issues above Julien, with Chiarelli missing on a few guys and trading away Tyler Seguin, and that dip hasn’t really improved much since Don Sweeney took over in May of 2015.

Something had to be done.

The Bruins have looked bad too many times this season. While there have been a few bright spots, including David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, others haven’t brought their “A” games often enough.

The Bruins needed some changes. And the coach is usually the first to go.

Bruce Cassidy, who was very successful in Providence before being added to the Bruins bench as an assistant, will get a shot as the interim coach. Maybe he will inject some life into this strange team, which at times has looked like it could go deep into the spring.

With Chiarelli long gone, Julien has been on borrowed time. His emphasis on defense never sat well with his bosses, who almost demanded he focus more on goal production. But offense, he always argued, was usually a product of good defense.

He won a lot of games, helped win a Stanley Cup and almost won another in 2013, losing in six games to the Blackhawks.

Julien deserves a first-class goodbye. And don’t feel bad for him. His record of achievement – including making Jeremy Jacobs appear to be a good owner for a few years – will land him somewhere soon.

]]> 0 Claude Julien, fired by the Bruins on Tuesday, is the franchise's winningest coach at 419-246-97.Wed, 08 Feb 2017 21:17:04 +0000
Boston Bruins fire Coach Claude Julien Tue, 07 Feb 2017 13:29:19 +0000 BOSTON — The Bruins felt they needed to a change at the top, even if it meant doing it on a day when the city was celebrating a championship.

Boston fired Stanley Cup-winning coach Claude Julien on Tuesday, just hours before a downtown parade in honor of the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl victory.

General Manager Don Sweeney apologized for the timing, but said the team’s two-day break between games provided time to recover from the emotions of Julien’s dismissal. He said he wasn’t oblivious of the optics, but added “I’m not going to make a decision just based on that.”

With the team in danger of missing the playoffs for a third straight season, Sweeney felt he had little choice. Boston has lost two in a row and 6 of 9 and fallen out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Assistant Bruce Cassidy was named interim coach.

“I had come to a conclusion that in moving this group forward with an eye toward the plans that have been put in place, that I wasn’t willing to commit to a longer term basis with Claude,” Sweeney said.

He also said there is time before the March 1 trade deadline to make adjustments that could get the Bruins in position to make the playoffs.

“There’s no question I think this group has a chance to get in,” Sweeney said.

Bruins left wing Brad Marchand said he’s hopeful the change will give the team a jolt.

“At the end of the day it falls back on the players,” he said. “We’re not the ones that are executing on the ice and hopefully we have to realize that this is not going to fix everything. We have to go out there and do the job.”

Julien is the fourth coach to be fired this season following Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis last week , Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers in November and Jack Capuano of the New York Islanders in January. Four of the past eight Stanley Cup champions have made a coaching change midseason.

Julien was the longest-tenured current coach in the NHL, starting with the Bruins in the 2007-08 season. He went 419-246-94 over nearly 10 seasons, including two trips to the NHL finals and a Stanley Cup title in 2011. The Bruins lost in the finals two years later, and the year after that earned 117 points and the Presidents’ Trophy before losing in the conference semifinals to archrival Montreal.

But in 2014-15, Boston was eliminated from the playoff race on the final day of the regular season – the first time in Julien’s tenure they missed the playoffs. Last year, the Bruins had a chance to reach the playoffs heading into the final week, but they lost nine of their last 12 games to finish ninth in the East.

The Bruins hadn’t kept a coach who missed the playoffs two straight years since 1965, when Milt Schmidt was given a third year before he was replaced by Harry Sinden.

Julien was spared in 2015 when team president Cam Neely decided to fire GM Peter Chiarelli instead, replacing him with Sweeney. Sweeney gave Julien another chance, saying “He’s the coach of the Boston Bruins as of today, for sure.”

Julien said at the time that he had little room for error.

“It just means that I’m probably the next one to fall off the totem pole, right?” the former Canadiens and Devils coach said last summer. “I’m going to try to make it last as long as I can.”

Again last summer, the Bruins spared him, with Sweeney saying Julien was the right coach to guide the team through a “bumpy transition.” Last season, Julien became the all-time Bruins leader for wins by a coach.

Cassidy, 51, is not a newbie to the Bruins, having spent nine years in the organization. He completed his fifth season as head coach of the Providence Bruins in 2015-16, having spent the three previous seasons with the club as an assistant.

This will also be his second stint as an NHL head coach, having previously coached the Washington Capitals from 2002 to 2004 and helping the team to a postseason berth in his first season there. Asked what he can get out of the team that Julien couldn’t, Cassidy said “We’re going to find out soon enough.”

“I think that the team is not that far away from winning games,” he said. “There’s a quote out there that ‘We’ve found more ways to lose instead of win.’ That means you’re generally close. So we’ve got to flip the switch on a few of those plays throughout the course of the game to go in our favor.”

]]> 0 Claude Julien and Bruins players yell at the officials after having an apparent goal disallowed in the third period of Thursday night’s game against the Florida Panthers. The Bruins ended up losing their fifth straight game, 4-1.Tue, 07 Feb 2017 22:50:39 +0000
Bruins’ Backes working to get out of recent rut Tue, 07 Feb 2017 02:44:00 +0000 BOSTON — David Backes has been in the NHL for a long time, and he takes an immense amount of pride in his game. He knows when he’s earned a day off and when he hasn’t.

That’s why, when most of the Bruins’ top guns were given a holiday Sunday, Backes was on the ice at Warrior Ice Arena in the morning going through an hour’s worth of what looked like fairly tedious skating and puck drills.

Things are going that badly for him right now.

In Backes’ last 12 games, he is minus-11 with just one assist. The last time he was a plus player was Jan. 10 in a win in St. Louis against his old team. His last goal came on Dec. 27 in Columbus, before he missed three games with a concussion. He is minus-5 in his last three games, including minus-2 in Saturday’s maddening, 6-5 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Garden.

Skating on his line with Frank Vatrano (another attendee Sunday) and David Krejci, Backes coughed up the puck at his blue line, which led to the Maple Leafs’ first goal.

And so Backes decided that a mental and physical break was not what he needed.

“There have certainly been lulls in my game at times and you try to make them as short and brief as possible,” Backes said, “but I think the saving grace a lot of the other times was that the team was winning and I was finding ways to contribute, with screens in front and pucks were going by you and you were able to celebrate some goals. But we haven’t produced much secondary scoring at all. One of the reasons I’m here today is to get better, put some work in. I take full responsibility for the first goal against Toronto. We want to be a positive contributor to this team and help us win games. That’s what our focus is on and needs to be, starting Thursday (against San Jose.). We’ve had long enough without contributing.

“That one line with (Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak) has put everyone on their backs. We need secondary help for them and that’s got to come from guys like Krech and I and all the way down the lineup.”

Backes, a natural center, was on board with being a high-priced utility man when he signed a five-year, $30 million deal with the Bruins last summer. If the situation called for him to be a winger, then he’d play on a wing. If the Bruins needed a center, that’s what he’d be.

But lately, he hasn’t looked all that comfortable at either position. He’s played mostly as Krejci’s right winger, and was minus-3 in his one game at center during this rough patch, at Detroit on Jan. 18 with Ryan Spooner and Austin Czarnik on either side.

Backes feels his struggles have nothing to do with whatever his role.

“It doesn’t matter where I’m playing,” he said. “I just need to be a better player on the ice and I’ll help wherever I’m playing, whoever I’m playing with, and be productive and help us win games. If that’s on the right with Krech, or that’s at center or that’s moving all around, if I’m winning battles and doing what I do well when I’m playing well, then we’re going to be a better team. That’s on me and I own that.”

When he signed in the summer, it would have been reasonable to be concerned about the last couple of years of the deal. Having always preferred to go through the brick wall than around it, Backes, 32, has some hard miles on his body. But now, age cannot fully explain the difference between Backes today and the player who was so effective in the playoffs for the Blues last spring, or the guy who had two goals and an assist, and was plus-5, on opening night in Columbus.

But a crisis of confidence can hit the most accomplished of players. And right now, his thought process is slowing him down a lot more than his legs.

“I don’t know if it’s confidence, or not feeling it at times and not having the assurance that when you have (the puck) that something great’s going to happen,” Backes said. “That’s more of a mental thing that I need to wrap my head around, that every time I touch it something great’s going to happen, not letting something poor happen.

“I’m fighting it a little bit, no question, and that’s why I’m out there today, to hopefully make that little black puck my friend.”

]]> 0's David Backes, top, had a great playoff for the St. Louis Blues last season, but he's scuffling for the Bruins right now. "I'm fighting it a little bit, no question," he admits.Mon, 06 Feb 2017 22:18:43 +0000
NHL roundup: Five goals not enough for Bruins Sun, 05 Feb 2017 03:27:41 +0000 TORONTO — James van Riemsdyk scored his second goal with 1:36 remaining in regulation, breaking a tie and lifting the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 6-5 win over the Boston Bruins.

William Nylander scored three goals and Auston Matthews had three assists for the Maple Leafs, who opened a 4-1 lead and chased starting goalie Tuukka Rask in the second period.

David Pastrnak scored two goals for the Bruins, while Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists. Bergeron tied the game with 2:54 remaining.

KINGS 1, FLYERS 0: Peter Budaj posted his NHL-leading seventh shutout, Jeff Carter scored midway through overtime at Philadelphia and Los Angeles won its fifth straight.

Budaj, who wasn’t even on the Kings’ roster on opening night, extended his shutout streak to 144 minutes, 5 seconds. He made 17 saves.

Anze Kopitar set up the winning goal at 2:35 of overtime with a backhand pass across the crease to Carter, who whizzed a wrist shot past Michal Neuvirth.

It was the 27th goal of the season for Carter, who entered trailing Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh by two goals for the NHL lead.

Neuvirth made 27 saves for Philadelphia, including a sensational glove stop in the second period.

CAPITALS 3, CANADIENS 2: Nicklas Backstrom scored in the third period at Montreal as Washington won the third and final meeting between the teams this season.

Jay Beagle and Andre Burakovsky also scored for Washington (35-11-6).

Braden Holtby stopped 19 shots. He’s won his last 10 starts.

Alexander Radulov and Max Pacioretty scored for Montreal (30-16-7). Carey Price made 27 saves.

AVALANCHE 4, JETS 2: Jarome Iginla had a goal and an assist, and Colorado won at Denver.

Matt Nieto scored twice and Matt Duchene added three assists, helping Colorado stop a nine-game losing streak. Nathan MacKinnon and Carl Soderberg also scored, and Calvin Pickard had 23 saves.

SABRES 4, SENATORS 0: Robin Lehner made 37 saves, Kyle Okposo scored his 16th goal and Buffalo won at home to snap a three-game skid.

The Sabres also got goals from Ryan O’Reilly, Sam Reinhart and Marcus Foligno. Jack Eichel had two assists.

Lehner got his fourth career shutout and first this season. His first two came with the Senators, who traded him to Buffalo before last season.

Mike Condon allowed four goals on 25 shots before getting pulled in the third period. The Senators have lost 4 of 6.

Buffalo is 5-0-1 in its last six home games and has earned a point in seven straight games against Ottawa.

Devils 5, Blue Jackets 1: Taylor Hall scored twice, Travis Zajac had a goal and an assist and New Jersey won at Columbus.

Jacob Josefson and Seth Helgeson also scored and Cory Schneider had 31 saves for the Devils, who won their sixth straight road game.

]]> 0's Radko Gudas, right, checks Los Angeles' Drew Doughty into the boards during the third period of the Kings' 1-0 win in overtime Saturday in Philadelphia. Los Angeles won its fifth straight game and goalie Peter Budaj posted his NHL-leading seventh shutout.Sat, 04 Feb 2017 22:37:51 +0000