Boston Bruins clinch playoffs, break SHG record

bruWINS.jpgGive the Boston Bruins credit. They clinched a playoff berth with their spirited 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, salvaging a season that almost seemed to test the limits of Murphy’s Law. I guess it makes sense, then, that the team won on the strength of breaking an odd record. Stanley Cup of Chowder notes that the Bruins broke an NHL record by scoring a stunning three shorthanded goals in 1:04.

The B’s started their goal scoring blitz 32 seconds into the second period on a shorthanded goal from Daniel Paille. Paille carried the puck from the right wing corner, skated to the front of the net, and momentarily lost possession of the puck before beating Cam Ward with a wrister from the left circle.

Blake Wheeler made it 2-0 49 seconds later. David Krejci’s pass from the right wing corner found Wheeler in the slot for his 18th goal of the season.

Steve Begin added another shorthanded goal 15 seconds after Wheeler’s shorty to make it 3-0. Begin’s wrister beat Ward 5-hole after Dennis Wideman made a pass to start Begin’s rush.

As Evan also wrote, the Bruins will face either the Penguins, Sabres or Devils in the first round now. They avoided a first round match with Washington (who they’ll be playing against in our Game of the Week tomorrow afternoon). As I discussed in the playoff scenario earlier today, the Bruins could clinch the sixth seed if Montreal loses to the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight.

It must be strange that in the short term, the Bruins have been rooting for the Leafs even though every Toronto win would presumably decrease the Bruins’ first round draft pick. That has changed, though, as the Leafs are assured the second least points now. At least for one night, fans of the B’s can justify rooting for their rivals.

I’m sure it still won’t be easy to do that, though.

Scroll Down For:

    Lightning give Vasilevskiy the (brief) hook after very rare Jurco goal

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    By just about any measure, Monday’s been lousy to Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

    He was pulled with a few minutes remaining in the first period after Chicago Blackhawks built a 3-1 lead, scoring those three goals on just eight shots on net.

    You could summarize Vasilevskiy’s awful start by those numbers, or by how rare the 3-1 goal was for the scorer.

    Tomas Jurco failed to score a goal or an assist in 16 games with the Red Wings, then went pointless in nine more games with Chicago before finally scoring his first goal of the season on Monday.

    Now, Jon Cooper didn’t pull Vasilevskiy because Jurco scored that tally. Still, it rubs a little extra salt in his wounds all things considered.

    Here’s the Jurco goal:

    Patrick Kane‘s 2-1 goal might have hurt the most, actually, as it quickly dissolved a tying tally by Ondrej Palat:

    Update: The Lightning decided to put Vasilevskiy back in net to begin the second period. Interesting.

    Coach Q thinks Anisimov will be back by playoffs for Blackhawks

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    The bad news is that Artem Anisimov seems likely to miss all – or at least most – of the regular season for the Chicago Blackhawks with his lower-body injury.

    The good? Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville believes that Anisimov will be ready once the playoffs swing into motion, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports.

    Anisimov was hurt when he got tangled up with Canadiens forward Alex Radulov on March 14:

    The Blackhawks have been filling Anisimov’s typical spot alongside Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin with Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz lately. There have been flashes of brilliance with Schmaltz, but Chicago would probably feel most confident with Anisimov back in his familiar place.

    Chicago’s Central lead is pretty secure over the Minnesota Wild at the moment, which likely reduces motivation to rush Anisimov back before he’s truly ready. The Blackhawks close out their regular season on April 8, so there’s still time for him to heal up.

    Ducks demote Enroth, so Gibson’s close to a return

    Getty
    1 Comment

    The Anaheim Ducks are flying high – er, waddling with some swagger? – right now thanks to Jonathan Bernier‘s somewhat shocking turnaround, but the pending return of John Gibson is promising.

    (Especially since the Ducks will likely want him to shake off some rust before the playoffs begin.)

    While it’s not clear if he’s exactly 100 percent healthy just yet, the Ducks sending Jhonas Enroth back to the AHL is a strong sign that Gibson is close.

    Enroth actually never got a shot to start for the Ducks, as his last NHL appearance came on Nov. 30, closing off his ill-fated run with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    Considering that Enroth was once a fairly hot commodity as at least a promising backup, it will be interesting to see how his 2017-18 season pans out. Will he get more or less of a chance than he received this season?

    Bernier, meanwhile, is richly rewarding the Ducks for sticking with him.

    He’s provided them with a Vezina-caliber March: 9-1-1, 1.71 GAA and .943 save percentage with one shutout. You almost wonder if there’s at least some potential for a goalie controversy if Gibson stumbles whenever he gets back into action … but hey, having two good goalies to choose from is better than none.

    (Which was the scenario that must have scared the Ducks when Gibson got hurt in the first place.)

    WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    The Tampa Bay Lightning almost certainly haven’t faced the Chicago Blackhawks in a game this important since the two teams were vying for a Stanley Cup.

    While the Blackhawks have already punched their ticket to the postseason and are merely trying to pad their lead in the Central Division, the Bolts are fighting for their playoff lives. At the moment, they rank three points behind the Boston Bruins for the final spot in the East. With a game in hand, they can make up a lot of ground tonight.

    With all of that in mind, it should be an entertaining contest. You can check it out on NBCSN, watch online or via the NBC Sports App.

    Click here for the livestream.