When you look at the Islanders and Bruins facing off tonight (7 p.m. ET on Versus) you see one team looking to build on a dormant legacy while another looks to continue their season rolling in the right direction and shaking off a Stanley Cup hangover.
The Islanders have rolled through three goalies and rode the coattails of a man-child in John Tavares. Boston has sleepwalked through the first month of the year, but after two straight wins including a 7-0 stomping of Toronto, appear to have gotten it figured out.
For Boston, getting it figured out means working through line changes and new chemistry. Part of that new chemistry involves 2010 #2 overall pick Tyler Seguin settling in on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Seguin’s hat trick against Toronto certainly looked nice. While David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Nathan Horton get it back together, Seguin’s line has been stellar. Going with the old adage of “the youth shall lead them” is fitting in well for the Bruins.
It’s much the same on Long Island as John Tavares has been out-of-this-world good for New York. His great start is showing that the Islanders have someone special to lead the way offensively in New York, but for the Islanders to succeed they need more production from just about everyone else. If Tavares’ skills can rub off on guys not named Mark Streit (who has also been outstanding), they’ll be i better shape.
Instead, we have a pair of teams with the same number of points looking to get better. For the Islanders, getting a nice night in goal out of any of their troika of Rick DiPietro, Evgeni Nabokov, or Al Montoya would go a long way towards that. Tim Thomas and his Movember mustache and mask will hope to keep the Islanders at bay. If the Bruins can’t do that, it’ll feel like they need to go back to square one to get things going.
Ryan Johansen played 309 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets before a blockbuster trade to Nashville last January.
On Sunday, he finally made his return back to Columbus as a member of the Predators. However, he did not receive any sort of tribute whatsoever from the team that originally selected him fourth overall in the 2010 draft, and that is something that apparently bothered him.
“I am a little disappointed they didn’t put anything on the Jumbotron and say ‘thank you’ or anything like that,” Johansen told the Columbus Post-Dispatch. “I think we all know who made that call, but whatever.”
While Johansen enjoyed some productive seasons with the Blue Jackets, his time in Columbus, particularly his final months, were dogged with contentious headlines about his contract negotiations with the club and then his working relationship with coach John Tortorella.
Johansen, now 24 years old, has nine goals and 40 points in 58 games this season for Nashville. Currently in the final year of his three-year, $12 million contract, he’s a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
Brent Burns turned in a dominating performance. But Brad Marchand had the last laugh.
Marchand scored his 25th goal of the season and, more importantly, the overtime winner for the Boston Bruins as they defeated the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Sunday.
That’s Boston’s fourth consecutive win since the controversial coaching change — which took another twist earlier in the week when the rival Montreal Canadiens fired Michel Therrien and hired Claude Julien. Off a defensive zone faceoff, Marchand bolted up the ice for the breakaway pass, on what appeared to be a set play, beating Martin Jones through the legs.
The Bruins move back into third in the Atlantic Division, and are now only four points back of the faltering Habs for first.
Meanwhile, the Sharks were unable to fully capitalize on another freakish Brent Burns outing. He’s been dubbed ‘an unstoppable force’ in recent posts at PHT — a defenseman possessing great size at six-foot-five-inches tall and 230 pounds, but no shortage of mobility and offensive talent with 27 goals and 64 points in 60 games. Um, and did we mention he’s a defenseman. . . ?
Against the Bruins, he had 20 shot attempts — by far the most of any player in this game — in just over 26 minutes of ice time.
Given the final score, that probably doesn’t mean much to Brad Marchand.
It appears Jacob Trouba will face supplemental discipline from the NHL.
The league’s Department of Player Safety has said in a Twitter statement that Trouba, the Winnipeg Jets defenseman, will have a hearing tomorrow for his head shot on Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone during Sunday’s game.
Trouba was assessed only a minor penalty on the play. Stone, who dealt with a concussion prior to the beginning of the season, stayed down on the ice before he eventually made his way to the dressing room.
The incident occurred when Trouba stepped up to throw a hit on Stone, but instead caught him in the head as he followed through, sending Stone to the ice.
Stone was one of three Ottawa forwards to leave the game because of injuries, which are piling up for the Senators.
The Tampa Bay Lightning needed overtime to defeat the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday, but it’s a critical win for the Bolts as they try to chase down a playoff spot.
The hero? Jonathan Drouin, and he did so with a thrilling individual effort — making moves, then losing the puck and then immediately getting it back before he finally scored on the backhander.
That’s his 17th goal of the season. Tampa Bay gets a 3-2 win, which keeps them five points back of Toronto for the final wild card spot in the East.