Less than 24 hours after being named the Toronto Maple Leafs new head coach, Randy Carlyle has helped his squad snap a six-game losing streak. Toronto, who slipped all the way down to 12th place in the Eastern Conference prior to Saturday’s game, earned a 3-1 victory over the rival Montreal Canadiens.
Although goaltending was a big issue for Toronto last month, that certainly wasn’t the case for them on Saturday. Jonas Gustavsson was given the first chance to make a good impression on the new bench boss and rose to the occasion. He kicked out 21 of 22 shots to earn his first victory since Jan. 21.
Toronto outshot the Canadiens in every period, but things got far more lopsided in the final 20 minutes with the Leafs getting 17 shots to Montreal’s five. Mikhail Grabovski scored two goals and ended his 14-game goal scoring drought in the process. Grabovski also got the lone assist on Matt Frattin’s sixth goal of the season.
On the Canadiens side of thing, Carey Price saved 39 shots, but he still ended up with his fifth loss in his last six starts. Meanwhile, David Desharnais registered an assist to extend his point streak to four games.
Toronto has to get hot if they want to have any chance of making the playoffs and that’s a tall order given their upcoming opponents. Toronto will play against Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington next week. Anything less than three wins in those four games will likely be seen as a setback that the Leafs can ill afford at this point in the season.
For Montreal, their chances of making the playoffs have come and gone. Although they are not mathematically out of the race, they have no realistic shot of going from last to eighth place in the Eastern Conference in the final month of the season.
The Ottawa Senators made Alex Burrows‘ contract extension official this morning.
The day after acquiring the 35-year-old forward from Vancouver, the Sens announced that Burrows had signed a two-year, $5 million extension with a 10-team no-trade clause.
Ottawa gave up 19-year-old prospect Jonathan Dahlen to get Burrows from the Canucks.
“I think we’ve become a tougher team to play against and with the acquisition of Alex Burrows we’ve become an even tougher team to play against,” said GM Pierre Dorion, per the Ottawa Sun. “We all know how games are at this time of the year and, hopefully, when our team gets in the playoffs, how they’re grinding, difficult games.
“Getting someone of Alex’s character is something we couldn’t turn (away from). Our players have done exactly what we’ve asked of them. They’ve played hard, they’ve played a system and we just felt it was time to add another piece. In Alex Burrows, we’re ecstatic to have that piece.”
After last night’s 5-1 loss in Tampa Bay, the Sens only have a four-point playoff cushion, so there’s still work to be done down the stretch.
Ottawa hosts Colorado Thursday.
Related: Canucks GM says he isn’t done after trading ‘heart and soul’ guy Burrows
Chicago re-upped with a pair of veteran skaters on Tuesday, agreeing to one-year contract extensions with d-man Michal Rozsival and forward Jordin Tootoo.
At first glance, these deals certainly appear to be expansion draft-related. The Sun-Times notes this will allow ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman to protect former first-round pick Ryan Hartman, who’s enjoying a breakout campaign with 15 goals through 57 games.
Rozsival, 38, has been the more active of today’s signees, appearing in 51 contests while notching a pair of points. He’s won a pair of Stanley Cups in Chicago.
Tootoo, 34, was signed last summer and has appeared in 36 games. He’s gone scoreless while racking up 21 PIM.
Rozsival’s current deal pays $600,000, while Tootoo’s is at $750,000. Terms of their extensions weren’t released but it’s fair to suggest the dollar figures will be similar, given Chicago’s pressed right up against the cap ceiling.
Bowman certainly seems to be getting his house in order ahead of the aforementioned expansion draft. Last week, he inked journeyman goalie Jeff Glass to a two-year deal, another move that appeared to be with Vegas in mind.
Having already dealt away Ben Bishop and Brian Boyle, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman could be on the verge of moving another veteran out of town:
Fippula, 32, is in the fourth of a five-year, $25 million deal with a $5M average annual cap hit. He’s had a nice bounce-back offensive campaign, with 34 points through 59 games — last year, those totals dipped to 31 in 76 — and has been a dependable, defensively responsible center during his time in Tampa Bay.
So, why might he get moved?
Yzerman has plenty of business to attend to this summer. Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin are all pending RFAs requiring new deals, and it’s going to be expensive trying to keep all three in the fold.
It’s also worth noting that Victor Hedman‘s monster extension kicks in next year and, per ESPN, Yzerman is still searching to add a top-four defenseman to the mix.
McKenzie notes it’s unclear if Filppula has agreed to waive his NTC. If he does, though, teams would undoubtedly be interested in acquiring an experienced middle man, with tons of playoff experience.
Filppula’s appeared in over 150 career postseason contests, winning a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008.
New York made an interesting move on Tuesday, recalling prospect Josh Ho-Sang from AHL Bridgeport on an emergency basis, ahead of Thursday’s game in Dallas.
Ho-Sang, 20, was the club’s first-round pick (28th overall) at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. A gifted offensive talent, Ho-Sang was a polarizing and controversial figure in his draft year, known equally for his skills as he was for his brash, outspoken demeanor.
Controversy followed him to the Isles when, in his first pro training camp, he was sent packing after just one day.
To his credit, Ho-Sang has morphed into a quality AHL scorer and impressed the Isles along the way. He has 10 goals and 36 points in 48 games this year, sitting first on the team in assists and second in scoring.
Because of the timing of this recall — and the fact the Isles were blasted 7-0 in their last game, on Saturday against the Jackets — some have speculated this recall could be tied to a pending trade from GM Garth Snow.