To most teams, the Boston Bruins are an uncontrollable hockey locomotive. That train seems to hit a wall Wile E. Coyote-style when they face the modest Carolina Hurricanes, however, as their 3-0 shutout gives the lowly team a sweep of the defending champions.
(That’s the first time the Canes swept the Bruins in their franchise history – and that includes the Hartford Whalers era.)
Immediately after the sweep, my first instinct was to say that perhaps the Hurricanes’ traditional attacking style explains why the Bruins struggle so much against Carolina. Looking at the numbers, however, the catalyst for the sweep and the driving force behind Thursday’s game is the same:
The Bruins have no answer for Cam Ward.
The one-time Stanley Cup winner won all four of those games this season, but he really put an exclamation point on that sweep with a 47-save shutout tonight.
Looking at his split stats, Ward has only allowed five goals in those four games against the Bruins, turning aside a stunning 139 out of 144 shots. The Bruins sent 47, 35, 42 and 28 shots in those games but couldn’t even manage a single standings point as every game ended in regulation.
Bigger picture view
Ultimately, this season series only changes so much, but it does bump the Bruins down and give the Canes a little bit to build on. Boston has actually been stumbling a bit in general lately, going 5-4-1 in its last 10 games. Carolina is tied for last place in the East with 47 points and only has 29 contests remaining, so it’s very much a long shot, but the Canes have made some crazy runs before.
If nothing else, they can hang their hats on dominating one of the NHL’s most dominating teams in 2011-12.
One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.
On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.
The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.
“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”
The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”
“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”
As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:
Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.
Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.
Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.
Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.
The St. Louis Blues have assigned two forwards, Magnus Paajarvi and Ty Rattie, and two defensemen, Chris Butler and Petteri Lindbohm, to AHL Chicago.
The moves mean that the Blues will have two young d-men, Joel Edmundson and Colton Parayko, on the opening-day roster, after both impressed in camp.
From the Post-Dispatch:
Lindbohm and Butler looked to be the sixth and seventh defensemen, in that order, at the start of camp, but the play of Edmundson and Parayko won them spots. Parayko had six assists in the preseason, putting him among the NHL leaders.
Forward Robby Fabbri will also be on the opening-day roster. The 19-year-old is not eligible for the AHL; he can only be returned to junior.
Earlier today, the Blues announced the signing of forward Scottie Upshall.