City of Boston expects 1 million people for parade

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First it was the Patriots. Then the Red Sox and after that it was the Celtics. At this point, Boston should have an idea of how to handle these championship celebrations and large gatherings in their downtown area. If we thought there were a lot of people in Vancouver for the big Game 7 viewing (approx 100,000), just imagine the crowd expected to gather around Boston Common and Copley Square.

Officials are bracing the city for a million fans to join in the celebration on Saturday morning. That’s not an exaggeration—they are literally expected one million human beings hoping to catch a glimpse of the Stanley Cup and/or their victorious team. It’s hard to believe Chicago estimated TWO million happy humans for their parade last season! From the Boston Herald, here are the plans for the celebration:

“The Boston Bruins will hold an invite-only ceremony inside the TD Garden which will be simulcast to big screens in the Boston Common and Copley Square, where they will have a formal presentation ceremony as well as speeches from the owners and players.

Police also said today they expect 1 million fans to pour into the city tomorrow to watch the parade.

The event will take place before the so called “rolling rally” that will take the players and the trophy through the city on Duck Boats. There will be no stops along the rally route, which will end at Copley Plaza.”

On the heels of the riots in Vancouver, a crowd that size is bound to have city leaders a bit apprehensive. The difference is the celebratory tone of the party should produce a completely different atmosphere. Moreover, the city is doing its best to spread the party out as much as possible; their tactic is to avoid a centralized meeting place. All of the speeches will be delivered inside the TD Garden to an invitation-only crowd. Once completed, the team will travel along the parade route giving fans ample opportunity to see the team and the famous trophy. Without a centralized area, the city will be able to deliver the resources needed for a gathering that size. In other words, it’s easier to make sure everyone has a restroom they can frequent after copious amounts of Samuel Adams.

Even though fans have the opportunity to check out their favorite Bruins from any point on the parade route, if they really want to see anything, some insiders say fans might want to seek higher ground or a place to watch it on television. There’s no word if the Bruins sold the broadcast rights.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.

Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus

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It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.

Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:

Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games

This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.

The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.

This game was all about William Nylander‘s brilliant start:

And also Toronto surviving a long penalty kill after that Polak hit:

Nazem Kadri‘s 30th goal really put the game out of reach, helping Toronto nab a significant victory.

The Blue Jackets can wallow in this defeat and Oliver Bjorkstrand‘s injury, either, as they turn around to face the Washington Capitals in a big one tomorrow.