With Game 2 on the way tonight between Boston and Tampa Bay and the Bruins in need of a spark to help them get over Game 1’s 5-2 thumping, there’s one guy that could help bring that. Bruins playoff top scorer Patrice Bergeron, who’s been out since receiving a concussion in Game 4 against Philadelphia, has been skating with the team lately and after Game 1’s disappointment, getting Bergeron back in the lineup would be a huge lift.
Will he play or won’t he? Bruins coach Claude Julien is being coy when asked about that.
“As far as Bergeron was concerned, I think if he’s in you’re going to see him in the warm-up tonight.”
When pressed further about Bergeron, Julien had better things to talk about.
“No. I think we need to move on to other things here. I’ve got nothing else to say about Bergeron right now. If we want to talk about the game, I’m open to that. If not, I think we’re done. ”
Well all right then.
While Bergeron’s skated with the team, he hasn’t done anything physical in practice yet. If he’s going to suit up tonight and play, it’d help if he took a few loving bumps from the guys he suits up with first. Having his first contact be against guys that don’t exactly have the most loving care in mind sounds like a poor battle plan.
Tyler Seguin is slated to be back in the lineup again tonight and while he was taking Bergeron’s spot in the lineup in Game 1, he proved himself worthy of playing further and they’ll need to give him a few more minutes of ice time to see what he’s really capable of. Seguin had a goal and an assist in Game 1 and it’s possible they’ll be working him into the game on the power play in Game 2. The Bruins could certainly use the help there.
Getting Bergeron back in would be a huge lift to the team but it would be too risky and foolish to do it before he’s healthy enough to go. After all, a guy with a concussion history coming back too soon after suffering another one doesn’t exactly have a great track record of success and the Bruins don’t need to think back too far in their own history to see proof of that. Just ask Marc Savard about how well that worked for him.
For two periods, the San Jose Sharks couldn’t solve Pekka Rinne.
Maybe it was because of that black cat that found its way on to the ice prior to the start of Friday’s game, or the video review that didn’t go in San Jose’s favor in the opening period.
But that all changed in the final period. It started with Tomas Hertl on the power play finding room just under the glove of Rinne to get San Jose on the board. Joel Ward followed that up with a gorgeous deke, tucking the puck in behind Rinne just as he started to go behind the net, as San Jose was able to take advantage of a defensive breakdown.
Logan Couture added the eventual winner. Within the span of 13 minutes, the Sharks had completely taken over, cashing in on two Nashville penalties and a defensive lapse.
When the onslaught was over, the Sharks skated off with a 5-2 win in Game 1 of this second-round series with the Predators, who only wrapped up a seven-game series win over Anaheim on Wednesday.
Ryan Johansen made it interesting, cutting into San Jose’s lead with under two minutes remaining, but any further comeback attempt was quickly halted by a pair of empty net goals from the Sharks.
The game ended with a dust-up along the boards, before cooler heads did prevail.
Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.
This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
In 43 games with the NCAA champs this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, just shy of his college career high of 24 points set the previous year.
Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, making him the fourth member of that program’s junior class to turn pro since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.
Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.
Brock Boeser, Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.
Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?
Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.
Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.
Official update on the really important story of the evening:
The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.
Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.
As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.
The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.
Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.
Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.