Future could be bright for Bruins (cap analysis)

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kessel.jpgThe Boston Bruins are in a situation quite a bit like Anaheim’s: they have some assets that can turn their middling roster into a serious contender. Unfortunately, they don’t have anything near the Ducks’ talented young troika (instead, their roster is full of slightly problematic deals). The good news, though, is that they’ve stockpiled some quality draft picks for the near future.

Trading Phil Kessel might have hurt their goal scoring, but the Bruins received Toronto’s first round picks for 2010 and 2011 along with the Leafs’ second rounder for this year. With their own picks, the picks from the Kessel trade and the second rounder they received for Chuck Kobasew, Boston will have four picks in the top two rounds for both the 2010 and 2011 drafts.

On some level, the Bruins’ future depends almost as much on Toronto’s performance as it does on their own. Even though the Leafs have been hot lately, they are still the second worst team in the league. If Toronto finishes that low, they should end up with a fantastic pick out of Toronto’s 2010 first rounder.

Here’s a snapshot of their 2010-11 cap commitments (some amounts rounded up).

Forwards (7 out of 12): Bergeron ($4.75 million); Lucic (4.08); Savard (4.07); Ryder (4); Krejci (3.75), Sturm (3.5), Marchand (822k)

Defense: (3 out of 6): Chara (7.5); Wideman (3.94); Hunwick (1.45)

Goalies: (2 out of 2): Thomas (5) and Rask (1.25)

Cap space: about $12.2 million

More analysis of the Bruins’ cap situation after the jump.


It’s pretty hard to believe that Bergeron and Lucic are making more than Savard (and Ryder is making almost as much). Savard was already a bargain at $5 million per year with his last contract; all he needs to do is get healthy and he’ll have one of the league’s best contracts going forward. Blake Wheeler and Dennis Seidenberg are probably the most likely guys for Boston to re-sign this off-season.

The most interesting situations will come in the summer of 2011. Ryder and Sturm will come off the cap (combined $7.5 million) but the real curiosity is the big Z. His contract expires in 2012, so the Bruins could go in any number of directions. Will they go in a younger direction by letting Chara walk or would they rather sign the gigantic Slovakian defenseman to one more contract? That will certainly be something to watch.

Boston is going through some growing pains right now, but they have the potential to revamp their roster in a serious way. The question is: will GM Peter Chiarelli be able to take advantage of the situation?

Backes scores OT goal on his birthday, Blues even up series with Stars

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The St. Louis Blues won’t be thrilled with the way they played in the third period, but in the end, they did just enough to come away with a 4-3 overtime win over the Dallas Stars in Game 2. The Blues’ win means that the series will head to St. Louis tied 1-1.

The Stars opened the scoring in the first period, but the Blues responded by scoring three unanswered goals (Patrik Berglund, Joel Edmundson, Troy Brouwer) on five shots. Stars coach Lindy Ruff had seen enough from starter Kari Lehtonen at that point. He yanked Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi at the start of the second period.

Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the second period, but things got crazy in the third.

With his team still trailing 3-1, Mattias Janmark split Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko before scoring a great goal.

Moments after Janmark’s goal, Brian Elliott took a Jason Spezza blast off the mask. Elliott was shaken up on the play (he even lost one of his contact lenses), but he did stay in the game.

Stars captain Jamie Benn (surprise, surprise) leveled the score by burying a goal by Brian Elliott with under three minutes in regulation.

Like they did during their first round series against Chicago, the Blues took some time to regroup before finding a way to get the job done.

The Blues’ power play went back to work after Antoine Roussel took his third penalty of the game. That’s when the birthday boy, David Backes, came through.

That’s a nice way to celebrate your 32nd birthday.

Game 3 goes Tuesday night in St. Louis.

 

Jamie Benn’s late goal sends Game 2 to overtime

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This definitely wasn’t the way the St. Louis Blues drew it up.

The Blues entered the third period of Game 2 with a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately for them, they weren’t able to shut the game down on the road.

St. Louis jumped ahead 3-1 after 20 minutes before Dallas decided to pull Kari Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi. The move didn’t provide any results in the middle frame, but something certainly sparked the Stars in the third period.

Mattias Janmark cut the deficit to 3-2 with this beauty (notice how he split Colton Parayko and Alex Pietrangelo).

With less than three minutes remaining in regulation, Stars captain Jamie Benn tied it up (top).

It’s safe to say this wasn’t a memorable third period for the Blues.

Video: Brian Elliott takes a blast off the mask, stays in the game

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A bit of a scary moment in the third period of Game 2 between the Stars and Blues.

Less than five minutes into the third period, Jason Spezza took a shot that caught Blues goalie Brian Elliott square in the mask. Play was halted as Elliott remained down. It appears as though the shot to the mask also made Elliott lose one of his contacts.

Thankfully, Elliott wasn’t seriously injured on the play. After being examined by the team doctor, he was allowed to stay into the game. He did need a new mask though (he got his original one back a few minutes later).

You can watch the play by clicking the video at the top of the page.

The Blues currently lead 3-2 late in the third period.

Here’s some Twitter reaction:

 

Lehtonen only lasts one period in Game 2

Lehtonen
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Kari Lehtonen might have been more hit than miss in the playoffs going into today’s action, but Game 2 against St. Louis was certainly a start he’d like to forget.

Dallas outshot St. Louis 10-5 in the first frame, but the Blues still managed to take a 3-1 lead. Antti Niemi replaced Lehtonen for the second period which means, barring another goalie change, Lehtonen will actually end up with a sub-.500 save percentage this afternoon.

The numbers obviously look bad and it’s hard not to blame Lehtonen in the face of that, but the Blues deserve a lot of the credit for those goals. Patrik Berglund had a great shot on goal for the first marker, Joel Edmundson‘s first career playoff goal came after a nice setup by Troy Brouwer, and when Brouwer collected his own goal it was off of a rebound during a power play.

So to an extent, you could say Lehtonen looked bad due to circumstances that were very unfavorable to him. Nevertheless, the Stars needed to shake things up after what was unquestionably a bad period for them.