David Krejci, Bruins get first measure of revenge against Flyers with crushing 7-3 win

The Boston Bruins need three more wins to truly get their revenge for last year’s 2010 semifinals collapse against the Philadelphia Flyers, but today’s 7-3 win must have been sweet for David Krejci.

Krejci gained a measure revenge against Mike Richards and the Flyers, who knocked him out of Game 3 of last year’s series. He scored two goals and two assists as Boston absolutely squashed Philly, adding fuel to the fire of the Flyers’ seemingly eternal goalie questions.

Boston 7, Philadelphia 3; Bruins lead series 1-0

Krejci and his linemate Nathan Horton helped the Bruins build a 2-1 lead in the first period, but the Flyers didn’t really unravel until the ugly second period. Krejci, Mark Recchi and Brad Marchand scored three more goals to bump Boston’s lead to 5-1, chasing befuddled Brian Boucher out of the Flyers’ net in the process.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

James van Riemsdyk scored to make it 5-2 as the second period ended, but things didn’t get much better for the Flyers.

The third period featured a plethora of puzzling penalty calls and non-calls capping a sub-par afternoon of officiating. Mike Richards made it 5-3 on the tail end of a 5-on-3 power play, but Marchand and Gregory Campbell sealed the deal with two more goals.

Although the second period was a disaster overall for Philadelphia, the two-goal span that made it 3-1 Boston really sapped a lot of the Flyers’ energy. They got there thanks to a late first period goal by Horton and Recchi’s tally 2:33 into the second.

Plenty of positives for the Bruins.

Obviously, the Bruins must feel excited about the Krejci-Horton-Milan Lucic line, even if Lucic technically didn’t score. Lucic was more involved in this game than he was in the first round, although he needs to be careful being that he was thrown out of the late proceedings after mixing it up with Flyers fighter Zac Rinaldo.

The Bruins also received great performances from Patrice Bergeron (three assists) and Marchand (two goals, one assist). Much has been made about Philadelphia’s offensive depth, but the Bruins can roll with more than one quality scoring line themselves.

Obviously, Boston also boasts one of the best goalies in the NHL in Tim Thomas. He made 31 out of 34 saves, including some highlight reel stops that must have made Flyers fans a little jealous.

The only issue for the Bruins is their still-stagnant power play. They went 0-for-5 in Game 1, extending their struggles to 0-for-26 in eight playoff games. It’s an area of concern, but with Boston dominating like they are at even strength, it’s far from a crisis.

Flyers face questions in areas beyond goaltending.

Speaking of crises, the Flyers have a lot of questions to answer. The most obvious one revolves around their goalie issues. Will Philly go back to Boucher or stick with Sergei Bobrovsky? It must be noted that Michael Leighton’s play sparked much of the team’s 2010 turnaround after Boucher struggled and then dealt with an injury.

Goaltending isn’t the only issue for Philadelphia, though. The Flyers lost plenty of puck battles during the game and must find a better matchup against Boston’s Horton-Krejci-Lucic line. Perhaps they should take Pierre McGuire’s advice and send two-way center and captain Richards after that group?

The Flyers power play wasn’t exactly fantastic either, as they only went 1-for-5 in this game.

Philly might take two positives from the game: 1) their offensive leaders produced and 2) Chris Pronger looked more like his old, angry self in Game 1. Danny Briere scored his playoff-leading seventh goal, Richards found the net on the power play and JVR scored a goal while peppering the net with eight shots.

They’re going to need Pronger and his mates to play elite defense if they hope to get back into this series against the Bruins, though. This Flyers team might succeed in tough spots, but the Bruins look like a more versatile opponent in 2011.

Canucks hint at shutting down injured Markstrom

Getty
Leave a comment

It doesn’t sound like Jacob Markstrom will play any more games for the Vancouver Canucks this season.

The 27-year-old goalie has been trying to recover from a knee injury suffered in the Canucks’ skills competition on Feb. 26.

“I don’t think things are great,” head coach Willie Desjardins said today. “We’ve got to make a medical decision on him.”

It has to be frustrating for Markstrom, who was hoping to challenge Ryan Miller for the starting job this year. The tall Swede played well at times, going 10-11-3 with a .910 save percentage — but in the end, he only made 23 starts.

“He’s a good goalie,” Desjardins said of Markstrom. “He can challenge for the number-one spot. Every time he goes in net, I’ve got lots of confidence in him. He’s left his mark this year.”

Markstrom is signed through 2019-20, while Miller is a pending unrestricted free agent.

It’s possible that the Canucks will re-sign Miller and come back with the same netminding tandem next season.

Oilers sign Walter Brown Award winner Gambardella

Leave a comment

Joe Gambardella, the UMass-Lowell senior that scored 52 points in 41 games this year, has signed a two-year, entry-level deal with Edmonton, the club announced on Monday.

Gambardella, 23, captured this year’s Walter Brown award as the top American-born collegiate player in New England. He beat out the likes of Clayton Keller, Colin White, Charlie McAvoy and Tage Thompson for the honor, and joined a distinguished list of past winners.

Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey won the Walter Brown in ’16 and ’15, while Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau won it in ’14.

Gambardella is the first UMass-Lowell player to ever win the award, which has been given out annually since 1953. It capped off a nice year in which he also paced the River Hawks to the NCAA tournament.

An undrafted free agent, Gambarella’s ELC will kick in next season. It’s also worth noting that one of his UMass-Lowell teammates, defenseman Michael Kapla, signed with the Devils earlier today.

 

 

Coyotes to honor Cunningham for his ‘tremendous courage’

1 Comment

The Arizona Coyotes will honor Craig Cunningham with a ceremonial puck drop on April 8 before their final home game of the season against the Minnesota Wild.

From the team press release:

Cunningham, who survived a medical emergency prior to the Tucson Roadrunners game on November 19, has made a remarkable recovery. Fans will have an opportunity to congratulate him on the tremendous courage, willpower and perseverance he’s demonstrated throughout his rehabilitation.

Cunningham was recently honored by the Roadrunners.

The 26-year-old’s hockey career is unfortunately over after doctors were forced to amputate part of his left leg due to concerns over infection.

True to form, though, he’s maintained a positive attitude.

“Obviously I miss playing every single day, and I miss the atmosphere around the locker room,” Cunningham said, per the Arizona Daily Star. “The guys have been great. From Day 1, they’ve been to see me every day. It’s been pretty incredible.”

Slumping Wild bring Eriksson Ek over from Sweden

Getty
Leave a comment

Well, this sure is interesting.

Joel Eriksson Ek, one of Minnesota’s most prized prospects, has been brought back to North America after spending the majority of this season playing for Farjestads in the Swedish Hockey League.

And according to the Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo, he might soon join the Wild.

More:

[Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau] said he didn’t know if the plan was to yet start him with Iowa or Minnesota, but I can’t imagine the Wild would recall him if the plan wasn’t to eventually have him in its lineup here.

In fact, he could be on the ice for Wednesday’s practice.

Sources close to Eriksson Ek say he’s flying from Karlstad to Germany to Chicago to here. Can’t imagine he lands and is put in a car to Des Moines, but we’ll see if they do want to give him a few games there.

Eriksson Ek, 20, appeared in nine games for the Wild earlier this season, and acquitted himself well offensively — two goals and five points. But by the end of his stint, he was reduced to fourth-line minutes and sat as a healthy scratch before the club decided to return him to Sweden.

Interestingly, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher suggested Eriksson Ek’s strongest attributes translated well to the NHL level.

“His small ice game is already so good,” Fletcher said, per the Star-Tribune. “Usually with Europeans, a lot of them have to acclimate to the smaller ice and have to learn how to be effective playing on the smaller ice. Joel’s already a very good small ice player. If anything, going back and playing on the bigger ice and handling the puck and making plays would enhance his long-term development.”

It’ll be curious to see if Eriksson Ek — the 20th overall pick in ’15 — developed the way the Wild hoped. He had 16 points in 26 games for Farjestads, and could certainly provide an injection of energy, something the club needs desperately.

Minnesota is 3-10-1 in March, and has fallen way back of Chicago for first place in the Central Division. What’s more, the Nashville Predators have surged to within six points of the Wild for second place, which is a stunning turn of events (on Feb. 28, the Wild were 15 points clear of the Preds.)

The Wild have two home games this week: Tonight against the Caps, then Thursday against the Sens.