Hershey Bears win second straight Calder Cup after 4-0 win

The Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals affiliate) beat the Texas Stars (Dallas Stars affiliate) 4-0 to win their Calder Cup series 4-2 last night. NHL.com captures the significance of the Bears’ historic 2009-10 season.

The Bears became the AHL’s first repeat champions in 19 years, capping a comeback from a 2-0 series deficit with a 4-0 victory over the Texas Stars on Monday night in Game 6 of the Calder Cup Finals.

The AHL’s regular-season champs dropped the first two games of the final, but won three in a row in Texas before delighting the sellout crowd of 11,002 at the Giant Center with the most dominant effort by either team in the series. The Bears, the Washington Capitals’ top farm team, won the Calder Cup for the 11th time overall and third in five years — but the first in Hershey since 1980. They are the first team since Springfield in 1990 and 1991 to repeat as Calder Cup champions, and they did it after setting an AHL regular-season record with 60 victories.

Chris Bourque, son of NHL Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, earned the tournament MVP thanks to 7 goals and playoffs-leading 27 points in only 22 games. All four of the night’s goals came from blueliners, including potential defensemen of the future Karl Alzner and John Carlson.

Michal Neuvirth earned the shutout. There is a solid chance that Neuvirth, Alzner and Carlson will all play quite a bit with the Washington Capitals next season.

While their parent club still hopes to find postseason success, the Bears’ profound minor league dominance bodes well for the future of the Capitals franchise. There’s really only one big minus of Hershey’s win: it really brings the point home that hockey season is over.

Scroll Down For:

    Bruins will way to Game 7 win against Maple Leafs

    20 Comments

    Once again, the Boston Bruins finished a Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, riding an overpowering third period. In the case of Wednesday’s game, the end result was a 7-4 win for the Bruins.

    The 2018 edition featured some similarities to the Bruins’ 5-4 win back in 2013.

    • A Maple Leafs team headed for the summer shaking their heads and with some serious soul-searching to do.
    • The heartache that comes with the Leafs giving up leads. Toronto was up 1-0, 2-1, and 4-3. This wasn’t a collapse of the “It was 4-1” variety, but the Maple Leafs squandered multiple leads nonetheless.

    • The Bruins simply ran away with things in the third period. Boston went from being down 4-3 to winning 7-4. That domination included the Bruins keeping the Maple Leafs from registering a shot on goal through the first eight minutes of the final frame.

    In the case of this latest Game 7, there were times when it seemed like the last shot on goal might be the winner.

    [NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

    Really, it was a nightmare game for both goalies. Frederik Andersen‘s Game 7 heartache is no longer limited to his time with the Anaheim Ducks, as he gave up six goals, including a few that are likely to haunt him during the off-season. The Lightning must be licking their chops at the prospect of exploiting what might be a fragile goalie in Tuukka Rask; the Bruins ended up on top in this one, yet Rask gave up four goals on 24 shots.

    (Maybe a solid finish will help bolster his self-esteem? Rask stopped all eight Maple Leafs SOG in the third period after giving up those four goals on the first 18 shots he faced.)

    If you want to summarize Game 7 in one video clip, Jake DeBrusk‘s second goal of the night (and eventual game-winner) could suffice. The Bruins simply demanded this win, showing off their skill and will while flabbergasting the overmatched Maple Leafs and a struggling Andersen:

    Several players came up big on each side. DeBrusk scored those two goals and was quite the presence overall. Charlie McAvoy logged 26:43 of ice time with a +1 rating, while a blocked shot apparently didn’t really throw off Zdeno Chara, who managed a +2 rating and 28:38 TOI. Despite some warranted criticisms, David Krejci did manage to generate three assists, adding to a substantial playoff resume for his career. Patrick Marleau provided more than just a “veteran presence” for the Maple Leafs, scoring two goals during a zany first period.

    Still, when it comes to the Maple Leafs, many will linger on those who fell short.

    Andersen’s struggles were considerable, rounding out a remarkably hot-and-cold series overall. Auston Matthews failed to score a point despite firing four SOG, finishing the series with just a single goal and single assist. Jake Gardiner had an awful Game 7, suffering a -5 rating and absorbing some of the blame for multiple bad moments.

    Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports that Gardiner said “most” of the loss was on him and that the defenseman had tears in his eyes while asking questions.

    “I didn’t show up,” Gardiner said.

    The Bruins eliminated the Maple Leafs in an exhilarating fashion, carrying over an impressive regular season of puck-hogging play. They have plenty of room for improvement, something Jack Adams finalist Bruce Cassidy will surely emphasize as they turn their sights to a rested, versatile opponent in the Lightning.

    If it’s anything like Bruins – Leafs, it should be thrilling … and maybe a goalie’s nightmare.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Second round schedule, TV info

    Getty Images
    Leave a comment

    The second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs is now set, thanks to the Boston Bruins winning Game 7 over the Toronto Maple Leafs, 7-4. The Bruins will move on to face the Tampa Bay Lightning, while the Pittsburgh Penguins will meet the Washington Capitals to complete the Eastern Conference bracket. Out West, the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets will battle out of the Central Division and the Vegas Golden Knights take on the San Jose Sharks.

    [NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

    Here’s the full second round schedule, which kicks off with two games on Thursday night:

    * if necessary
    TBD – To Be Determined

    ————

    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    Kapanen overwhelms Marchand, scores ridiculous goal

    9 Comments

    To the chagrin of the coaches and goalies, the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs are keeping things hectic during the second period of Game 7.

    Kasperi Kapanen seems like he’s perpetually battling for a permanent/more prominent spot with the Maple Leafs, but it’s not for a lack of trying or moxie. He’s been hitting posts on some near-misses lately, but saved some magic for tonight.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH THIS DECISIVE GAME LIVE.

    You can see that in a 4-3 goal that currently stands as the Maple Leafs’ lead. Kapanen overpowers Brad Marchand and then outwaits Tuukka Rask for an absolutely tremendous shorthanded goal.

    (Check out that goal in the video above this post’s headline.)

    Impressive, especially considering who that came against. At one point, the Maple Leafs had converted on both of their shots on goal early in the second period to go from being down 3-2 to up 4-3. As mentioned after that wild first period, you have to wonder about both goalies’ confidence, but that’s especially true of Rask right now.

    To be fair, Kapanen’s showed a real knack for scoring big goals so far during his brief NHL career. As you may remember, he scored the game-winner in double overtime of Game 2 against the Washington Capitals during that tight series to start the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He also helped them punch their ticket to the postseason in 2016-17 with his first NHL goal.

    Then again, maybe this sort of goal is in the blood? Kasperi Kapanen’s shorthanded goal feels reminiscent of a great goal by his father Sami Kapanen:

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Bruins – Leafs Game 7 off to wild start, Reilly hit by puck

    NBC
    9 Comments

    You can forgive fans of the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs for hyperventilating right now, unless they’re merely staring blankly at their screens.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH THIS DECISIVE GAME LIVE.

    Game 7 accelerated to 100 mph seemingly in mere seconds on Wednesday:

    • After a Sean Kuraly penalty, Patrick Marleau deflected a puck past Tuukka Rask to give Toronto a stunning 1-0 lead off of a power-play goal just 2:05 into the contest.
    • A delay of game infraction gave the Bruins a chance to tie things up on the power play, and they did just that as David Krejci and David Pastrnak set up Jake DeBrusk. That happened 4:47 into the game.
    • Less than two minutes later, Patrick Marleau scored again, giving Toronto a 2-1 edge that wouldn’t last.
    • The two teams combined for four goals through less than half of the first period, as Danton Heinen showed why he should be playing with the 2-2 goal with 11:50 remaining in the opening frame.
    • The Bruins took their first lead (3-2) of Game 7 with less than a minute left in the first period thanks to a goal by Patrice Bergeron.

    Those were just the goals, too, as there were some close calls, making you wonder about the confidence of Rask and Frederik Andersen:

    The two teams are also accruing some bumps and bruises, which must be to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s liking.

    In the most dramatic instance, Brad Marchand ducked a high Zdeno Chara shot, leaving an unsuspecting Morgan Rielly to take a puck to the face. It’s a scary moment, although the good news is that Rielly was able to return for the beginning of the second period.

    Yikes.

    [NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

    Chara also seemed stung by a blocked shot during the first period, as he took a puck to his ankle/foot area. He didn’t appear to miss any time, and it would be tough to imagine him not fighting through it during a Game 7, yet you wonder if the hulking defenseman’s mobility might be hindered after that.

    The Bruins and Leafs already put on a show through 20 minutes. We’ll see who’s left standing to face the Bolts, whether this game ends in regulation or hits sudden death in a Game 7.

    *Gulp*

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.