Milan Lucic, Alex Burrows

Video: Milan Lucic gets the final say in taunting Alex Burrows

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And here you thought everything was all settled after Alex Burrows’ bite on Patrice Bergeron in Game 1 and Maxim Lapierre’s Game 2 taunting of Bergeron. During the third period of tonight’s Game 3 romp by the Bruins that saw them win 8-1, things got a bit feisty. Milan Lucic and Alex Burrows came together behind the net in a scrum that saw the two of them exchange shots and exchange words.

During that scrum, Lucic got his chance to get his say in the matter tonight and did so in a way that’s likely to get a lot of run from here on out. Lucic with his hand bare after having his glove knocked off got his hands through to Burrows’ face as the linesmen tried to break the two up. What follows next is something, whether you like it or not, will end up being a lasting image of these Stanley Cup finals as Lucic taunted Burrows with his fingers daring him to take a bite.

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Silly? Yes, it is but this whole situation from Burrows’ initial chomp to Lapierre’s nonsensical taunting in Game 2 to Bruins coach Claude Julien sounding off about it leading into Game 3 makes the whole thing just goofy. But we like goofy things and Lucic doing this as the perfect full-circle treatment for everything makes the whole ordeal worth it in the end. Boys will be boys and such.

After the game, Alex Burrows didn’t have much to say about the taunting.

“It doesn’t matter they were down 2-0 so they had to play a desperate kind of hockey. We matched their intensity early but didn’t get it done from there and we didn’t score any goals so we have to do better,” Burrows said. When asked if he was surprised that Lucic did that he replied simply with, “No.”

When Ryan Kesler was asked about the taunting, his reply was a bit more pointed.

“No, we know the type of team they are over there and we’re going to worry about Game 4.”

If the fuse for this series wasn’t lit already, it’s smoldering and smoking now.

Bruins coach Claude Julien did bring some sanity in an otherwise insane world when asked about it after the game.

“Well, I’ll tell you what. I said this morning that I wouldn’t accept it on our team. It happened a couple of times tonight. They’ve been told that I don’t want any of that stuff.

“You know, like I said, you got to live by your words. It was disappointing for me to see that happen after what I said this morning. But part of it is my fault for not bringing it up to the guys. They did it. Emotions got the better of them. I’m going to stand here and say I’m not accepting it. The guys have been told.

“I don’t want that stuff in our game. I think we have to be better than that. Emotions are running high. It was a very physical game. There was a lot of stuff going on. You can live with that kind of stuff. But the other stuff, as you mentioned, I don’t want to see.”

Smart move by Julien to try and settle things down in his own house first and to make sure everyone else knew it as well. Whether this is the official end of all the biting and taunting nonsense we can hope so but we’re also doubting that’s the case.

Ducks give Bruins first loss under Cassidy, putting … Islanders in wild card

ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 22:  Korbinian Holzer #5 of the Anaheim Ducks pushes David Backes #42 of the Boston Bruins during the second period of a game at Honda Center on February 22, 2017 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Wednesday was a night of futility in the Eastern Conference wild card races, so it make sense that a team that didn’t even play ended up grabbing the second spot.

To recap:

  • The Florida Panthers began the night in the second wild card spot. However, they were knocked down the totem pole when they lost in regulation to the Edmonton Oilers.
  • The Boston Bruins inherited the second wild card spot from Florida, but the Anaheim Ducks just gave them their first loss under Bruce Cassidy. With that defeat coming in regulation, it meant that the Bruins’ stay in the East’s top eight lasted mere hours.
  • So, congrats to the New York Islanders, who enjoyed the rare tiebreaker treat of climbing into playoff position even though they didn’t even play on Wednesday.

(The Philadelphia Flyers were out of reach here, but they didn’t do themselves any favors in losing to the Washington Capitals.)

Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak were kept off the board as Jonathan Bernier won one for the Ducks, who stay right behind the Edmonton Oilers in a battle for second in the Pacific.

Despite Pastrnak’s -3 rating in this one, Marchand probably had the toughest night thanks to Bernier and Josh Manson:

This one hurts, but it’s also a reminder that there will probably be plenty of twists and turns in the races for the lower spots in the East and Atlantic Division. With that in mind, the Bruins have to shake it off and get ready to face the Kings in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Kuznetsov, bad breaks baffle Flyers in loss to Capitals

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Here’s what went right for the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday: the Florida Panthers lost. Yep, that’s about it.

Otherwise, it was a pretty lousy time, as the Washington Capitals beat them at home 4-1 tonight.

Washington’s big names came to play here, highlighted by Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring two goals. T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom enjoyed one-goal, one-assist nights while Justin Williams and Alex Ovechkin both grabbed two assists.

The Capitals won their first game after a bye week (following two losses), improving their Metropolitan Division lead to five points and Presidents’ Trophy edge over Minnesota to three.

The Flyers fail to make up some ground in the Eastern Conference wild card race, staying at 63 standings points in 60 games played. The Panthers are tied with the Islanders and Bruins at 66 points, though Boston can change the picture ever so slightly against Anaheim (still in action) tonight.

The bottom line, again, is that the Flyers failed in a chance to get a little closer to that logjam for the last East spot.

Of course, plenty of Flyers fans will grumble about missed opportunities and iffy calls. Mike Milbury broke down the early setbacks that made life that much tougher for Philly:

Philly couldn’t overcome the Capitals and that bad luck, making their playoff hopes a little dimmer as the trade deadline approaches.

Oilers win on rare Russell goal, Panthers fall out of second wild card spot

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The Edmonton Oilers’ 4-3 win against the Florida Panthers might end up being costly if Andrej Sekera misses significant time.

But, hey, at least it was a win.

The two rising squads engaged in a back-and-forth game, with the Oilers winning in regulation. Maybe fittingly with Edmonton leaking defensemen lately: Kris Russell was the guy to score the game-winner, set up by Connor McDavid‘s blazing speed and a nice pass by Leon Draisaitl.

It was Russell’s first goal in more than a year.

The Oilers will remain in the second spot in the Pacific at the end of the night whether the Anaheim Ducks beat the Boston Bruins or not. Interestingly, this puts them in a reasonable position to catch the Sharks for first place in the division, too.

1. Sharks – 77 points in 60 games
2. Oilers – 74 points in 61 games
3. Ducks – 72 points in 61 games (in progress vs. Boston)

The Oilers likely had some fans out East tonight, as this loss pushes Florida down the wild card rankings. They’re actually out of the second spot thanks to tiebreakers.

Second wild card spot: Bruins – 66 points in 59 games, 30 wins and 28 ROW (in progress)

Islanders – 66 points in 59 games, 28 wins and 27 ROW
Panthers – 66 points in 59 games, 28 wins and 25 ROW

The Isles would move into the second spot if Boston loses in regulation, underscoring just how congested this situation is. But either way, the Panthers won’t be in the East’s top eight at the end of the night.

With Gibson out, Ducks recall interesting goalie: Enroth

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 11: Jhonas Enroth #35 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre on November 11, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Flyers 6-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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One player’s injury is another player’s opportunity.

Considering how much the Anaheim Ducks lean on John Gibson, it’s troubling that he’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Even so, it’s interesting to note that such a situation prompted the team to recall Jhonas Enroth, who will back up Jonathan Bernier during Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins.

With the way Bernier’s been playing at times, it’s not impossible that Enroth could play as soon as tonight. But if he doesn’t you have to wonder if the Ducks might feel compelled to throw a start his way in the next week.

The trade deadline is coming, and while the goalie market is really cold, some of that slow movement likely comes from how cap-unfriendly netminders like Ben Bishop might be.

But what about Enroth? His cap hit is $750K this season, and while he thoroughly unimpressed Mike Babcock with rapid speed in Toronto, he was fantastic as a backup in Los Angeles last season and has been outstanding lately for the AHL’s San Diego Gulls.

All things considered, it’s almost a little surprising the Ducks aren’t throwing him right into the deep end tonight. If you’re a team with poor backup goaltending like the Edmonton Oilers or any number of other teams,* why wouldn’t you give the Ducks a call?

Maybe they need to see him in action in the NHL before doing so, making this an intriguing scenario to follow.

And, hey, maybe the Ducks themselves might decide that he’s a better option behind Gibson than Bernier. Stranger things have happened.

* – The Leafs might qualify, honestly … but again, Babs doesn’t seem to be an Enroth fan.