It’s not an enviable position for the Boston Bruins to be in. They’re down 2-0 in the Stanley Cup finals to the Vancouver Canucks and since the expansion era began in the NHL in the 1966-1967 season only two teams have battled back from that to win the Stanley Cup. 25 of the last 27 teams that jumped out to a 2-0 lead went on to win Lord Stanley’s most prized possession.
The Bruins have already fought out of a 2-0 hole this year in the first round of the playoffs against Montreal. There the teams took care of each other on one another’s home ice through the first four games before seeing Boston win their final two home games in Games 5 and 7 to take the series, culminating with a Game 7 win in overtime thanks to Nathan Horton. But when it comes to the Stanley Cup finals, they’ll have to dig a bit deeper to find inspiration to comeback and win the series.
In 2009, the Pittsburgh Penguins dropped the first two games of the finals to Detroit and fought back from being down two games twice in those finals to win the series in seven games. Evgeni Malkin helped lead the charge for Pittsburgh while Marc-Andre Fleury stood on his head to help keep the Red Wings off the board. Malkin’s play was so inspiring that he took home the Conn Smythe Trophy at the end of everything. Considering that Pittsburgh had to win twice in Detroit in the final three games of the series to do it makes their feat all the more impressive.
The first team in the expansion era to pull off the 2-0 comeback was, of course, the Montreal Canadiens in 1971. That year the Habs got down 2-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks before winning the next two at home in Montreal. Home teams would all win each game except for Game 7 when the Habs beat Chicago 3-2 to take the Stanley Cup thanks to the work of Ken Dryden in goal and brothers Frank and Peter Mahovlich on the ice. Captain Jean Beliveau would make that Stanley Cup his tenth and final one as captain of the Canadiens.
For Boston, they’ll need to draw on the legacy of those Canadiens legends who defended their home ice perfectly and gutted it out to win on the road in Game 7, something that’s only happened three times in Stanley Cup history. Those Canadiens, the 1945 Maple Leafs, and those 2009 Penguins are the only ones to pull that off. Sure the Bruins don’t necessarily have to go seven games, they could rattle off four wins in a row and end it in six, with the way they’ve been outplayed at times through most of the first two games, seven games makes far more sense to work things out.
Much like with those past teams it’ll come down to goaltending and Tim Thomas will more than have his hands full dealing with the Canucks attack the rest of the way. While he’s played out of his mind, he’ll need better support from his defense and hope that they can eliminate the mistakes and not come up with bad turnovers and penalties that can lead to goals. Don’t expect Bruins captain Zdeno Chara to dwell on what’s been a rough couple of games for him.
History has shown that it can be done and while it hasn’t happened that often, the opportunity is there for Boston to take but it starts with one win.
He turns 32 in August, and he’s got three years left on his contract with a sizable cap hit of $4.5 million.
He didn’t have a great playoffs either.
So we shouldn’t be too surprised to read that the Calgary Flames are “likely” to leave winger Troy Brouwer unprotected in the expansion draft.
From the Calgary Herald:
The acquisition of Curtis Lazar at the trade deadline for a second round pick came with a public assurance from GM Brad Treliving that Lazar was a reclamation project he planned to protect.
Thus, the list of seven forwards protected will likely include Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, Micheal Ferland, Sam Bennett and Lazar. First and second-year players like Matthew Tkachuk are exempt.
Brouwer had just 13 goals in 74 games for the Flames this season. He signed in Calgary on July 1, leaving the St. Louis Blues as an unrestricted free agent.
As the Herald notes, there’s no guarantee that Vegas will select him. But certainly, his old general manager from their days together in Washington, George McPhee, will give it some consideration.
McPhee gave Brouwer a three-year extension in 2012, calling him “a physical and versatile power forward who can play both wings. … He is a Stanley Cup winner and a great leader.”
By all accounts, Tyler Seguin and new head coach Ken Hitchcock can’t wait to start working together in Dallas.
But now, they’ll have to.
On Wednesday, Stars GM Jim Nill announced Seguin had undergone shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum, per the Morning-News.
The Stars announced the procedure is followed by a four-month recovery period. Nill said that Seguin is expected to be healthy and ready for September’s training camp.
It’s a bit surprising to learn the 25-year-old had an injury of this significance. Seguin didn’t miss a single contest last year, marking the first time in his career he played a full 82-game campaign.
Related: Hitch wants Seguin thinking, playing like a No. 1 center
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) No goaltender has played better this postseason than Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators, though Jake Allen of the St. Louis Blues came closest in the first round.
Now their teammates have to figure out how to score on these two stingy goalies if they want to advance to the Western Conference finals. (Watch tonight at 8 pm ET on NBCSN or the NBC Sports app)
“We have to try to solve Jake Allen and make life difficult for him,” Rinne said . “It comes down to me trying to maintain and try to be at my best. At the same time, of course, you’re going to look at the other side of the rink and the guy who you play against, you try to outplay him.”
Rinne allowed only three goals on 126 shots faced in helping Nashville to its first postseason sweep in franchise history. He shut out top-seeded Chicago twice on the Blackhawks’ own ice, becoming just the fourth goalie to win four postseason games with a goals-against average of 0.70 or less.
Related: Five impressive stats from the first round
When the Blues open their conference semifinal Wednesday night in St. Louis, they hope to take advantage of some inside information to solve Rinne. Carter Hutton backed up Rinne the past three seasons in Nashville, and the two remain close friends. That friendship is about to take a timeout for the duration of this series.
“He’s one of those guys that he’s a streaky goalie at the same time, so I think we have to do a good job of getting traffic and getting in there,” Hutton said. “But it’s going to be a battle of the goalies. We’ve got two of the best going at it here.”
Allen ranks just behind Rinne this postseason with a 1.47 goals-against average and .956 save percentage in leading the Blues over Minnesota in five games in the first round.
“He’s been our playoff MVP so far,” Hutton said of Allen.
Read more: A remarkable turnaround for Jake Allen
There was a changing of the guard in Montreal on Wednesday, as veteran assistant bench boss Clement Jodoin resigned from the club.
“Marc Bergevin and I regretfully accepted the resignation of assistant coach Clement Jodoin, who made the decision to end his long-time association with the Montreal Canadiens,” head coach Claude Julien said in a release. “At our post-season meeting, we offered Clement to remain on our coaching staff, but he indicated to us that at this stage in his career, he would be looking for a change and would like to explore other challenges.”
Jodoin, 65, first caught on with the Canadiens in 1997 as an assistant under then-head coach Alain Vigneault. He spent six years with the club until returning to coach junior hockey in the Quebec League.
In 2011, he returned to the Habs organization as the head coach of their AHL affiliate in Hamilton. One year later, he was back in the bigs in a familiar role — as Montreal’s assistant coach, working alongside Michel Therrien.
Montreal had no immediate word on who will replace Jodoin on Julien’s staff.