Eastern Conference final team capsules: Boston Bruins

9 Comments

A rundown of the Bruins (28-14-6) , who entered the playoffs as the No. 4 seed.

68th appearance

6 Stanley Cup titles (1929, 1939, 1941, 1970, 1972, 2011)

Studs:

  • David Krejci: 17 points (leads NHL)
  • Nathan Horton: +14 (leads NHL)
  • Milan Lucic: 55 hits (5th in NHL)
  • “HuLK Line” (Horton – Lucic – Krejci): combined 13 goals, 26 assists, 39 points
  • Patrice Bergeron: 63.5% faceoffs (leads NHL)
  • Torey Krug: 4 goals (1st four NHL goals)
  • Johnny Boychuk: 4 goals, 45 blocked shots (leads NHL)
  • Zdeno Chara: 29:13 ice time per game (2nd in NHL)
  • “Merlot Line” (Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton): 5 goals, 8 assists, 13 points
  • Team: 57.5% on faceoffs (leads NHL)
  • Team: 474 hits (2nd in NHL)

Duds:

  • Chris Kelly: 0 points, -6 (worst on team)
  • Jaromir Jagr: 0 goals on 36 shots
  • Tyler Seguin: 1 goal on 45 shots
  • 3rd line (Rich Peverley – Kelly – Seguin): combined 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points
  • Team: 81.1% on penalty kill, 30-for-37 (8th in NHL)
  • Team: 144 giveaways (most in NHL)

Stanley Cup winners with 2011 Bruins (17 players, 4 coaches):

  • Patrice Bergeron, Johnny Boychuk, Gregory Campbell, Zdeno Chara (captain), Andrew Ference, Nathan Horton, Chris Kelly, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Adam McQuaid, Daniel Paille, Rich Peverley, Tuukka Rask, Dennis Seidenberg, Tyler Seguin, Shawn Thornton, Claude Julien (head coach), Doug Houda (asst), Doug Jarvis, Geoff Ward (asst), Bob Essensa (asst)

Cup winners with other franchises (4 players, 1 coach):

  • Jaromir Jagr (1991, 1992 Penguins), Jay Pandolfo (2000, 2003 Devils), Shawn Thornton (also with 2007 Ducks), Doug Jarvis (1976-79 Canadiens as player; 1999 Stars as asst coach)

Seeking first Cup, have played or coached one+ playoff game this postseason (6):

  • Matt Bartkowski, Kaspars Daugaviņš, Dougie Hamilton, Anton Khudobin (back-up goalie), Torey Krug, Wade Redden

Seeking 2013 postseason debut:

  • Anton Khudobin (14 regular-season games), Aaron Johnson (10), Carl Soderberg (6), Niklas Svedberg (0)

Most career playoff …

  • Games: Jaromir Jagr, 192 (22nd all-time, NHL) … with three more games, will move into 20th
  • Goals: Jaromir Jagr, 78 (11th all-time, NHL)
  • Points: Jaromir Jagr, 193 (6th all-time, NHL)

Last playoff …

  • Hat trick: David Krejci, May 8, 2013 (at Maple Leafs, Game 4, ECQF)
  • 4-point game: Zdeno Chara (4 assists), May 8, 2013 (at Maple Leafs, Game 4, ECQF)
  • Short-handed goal: Daniel Paille, May 6, 2013 (at Maple Leafs, Game 3, ECQF)
  • Fight: Shawn Thornton, May 25, 2013 (Derek Dorsett, vs. Rangers, Game 5, ECSF)
  • Shutout: Tim Thomas, April 12, 2012 (vs. Capitals, Game 1, ECQF)

Milestones:

  • With three games played, Jaromir Jagr (192) will move into the top-20 in NHL all-time playoff games (194, Paul Coffey) … with one goal, Jagr (78) will move into the NHL top-10 in all-time playoff goals (79, Jean Beliveau) … with four points, Jagr (193) will become fifth on the NHL all-time playoff scoring list (196, Paul Coffey)
  • Jaromir Jagr (41) could become the seventh player over the age of 40 to lift the Stanley Cup in the Post-Expansion Era (Raymond Bourque, 2001; Chris Chelios, 2002 & 2008; Igor Larionov, 2002; Dave Andreychuk, 2004; Dominik Hasek, 2008; Mark Recchi, 2011)
  • With one goal, David Krejci (25 career goals) will tie Bobby Orr and Robert Schmautz for the 11th most in Bruins franchise history
  • With three postseason wins, Tuukka Rask (15) will move past Gilles Gilbert for 5th in goaltending wins in Bruins franchise history
  • Wade Redden is one of two active players among the conference finalists’ rosters who have played 1,000+ regular-season games, but never won a Stanley Cup (Jarome Iginla, Penguins, 1,232)
  • Matt Bartkowski (22nd game) & Torey Krug (4th game) each scored their 1st career NHL goals in these playoffs … Krug scored four in total on Vezina finalist Henrik Lundqvist (NYR), only the second time a rookie defenseman has scored four or more times in a playoff series (Andy Delmore, 5, Flyers, 2000)

2012-13 season

  • Longest win streak: 6 (February 17 – March 2)
  • Longest winless streak: 4 (April 11 – 20)

Biggest storylines of season & postseason:

  • Tuukka Rask proves he’s a suitable #1 goaltender after the abrupt departure of 2-time Vezina Trophy and 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Tim Thomas
  • Bruins go the entire season without being shut out for only the fifth time in franchise history … they have not been shut out through the first two playoff rounds
  • April 17: Bruins host emotional game vs. Sabres following the tragic Boston Marathon bombings
  • May 13: Bruins come back from 4-1 deficit in final 10:42 to survive in overtime in Game 7 vs. Maple Leafs, 5-4

Award finalists:

  • Frank J. Selke Trophy (Top defensive forward): Patrice Bergeron

Despite missing six games with a concussion, Bergeron had 32 points (10 goals, 22 assists), was a +24 (6th in NHL), won 62.1% of his faceoffs (best in NHL) while taking 35.6% of his team’s faceoffs, and had 23 takeaways.

  • Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (Perseverance and dedication to hockey): Adam McQuaid

McQuaid’s season was in serious doubt before it even started when he was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which causes blood clots in the body. He played in 32 games, registering 62 hits and 43 blocked shots.

European League champions (lockout)

  • Johnny Boychuk (EC Red Bull Salzburg – Austria), Tuukka Rask (HC Plzen – Czech Republic)

The Buzzer: Monahan the man, torrid Tavares

Getty
2 Comments

Choice PHT Cuts:

Canadiens, Maple Leafs did NOT play nice.

If you didn’t think Alex Ovechkin was tough …

*Rubs eyes* A winning streak … for the Coyotes?

Connor McDavid and Oilers are sad pandas.

Players of the Night

  • Anthony Duclair‘s hat trick is well-covered here, so check that out. Duclair gets one edge on Sean Monahan in that Duclair scored all of his team’s goals on Saturday, but Monahan combined his first career hat trick with an assist, helping his Flames win in OT much like Duclair did for Arizona.

Monahan slightly upstaged Johnny Gaudreau (one goal, two assists) who was pumped to play in front of a crowd in Philly.

  • Paul Stastny collected three assists to help the Blues beat the Canucks in overtime. Check PHT on Sunday morning for an in-depth look at Brayden Schenn, who kept his hot streak going with the OT-clincher.
  • John Tavares just continues to ride high with a goal and two assists. The real stars might be the Islanders as a whole, however, as they beat the Lightning and kept Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov pointless in a 5-3 Isles win.
  • Frederik Andersen has achieved back-to-back shutouts, helping the Leafs make the Habs extra-miserable. He made 33 saves, so you could argue Montreal deserved better than a 6-0 fate.

Heel of the Night?

While Connor McDavid absorbed an odd portion of the Oilers’ blame in defeat despite a three-point night, Antoine Roussel really played up his villain cred. He collected three points of his own and did this:

Highlight of the Night

Going off script a bit here, let’s go with Alex Ovechkin bouncing back from this:

And Corey Crawford being OK despite this bump from Evgeni Malkin.

Both players helped their teams seal up wins as a bonus. (Feel free to share your favorite highlights from tonight, even if they don’t involve near-injuries.)

Factoid of the Night

Congrats, Antti Niemi. Kind of.

Here’s a free joke regarding that situation.

Scores

Flames 5, Flyers 4 (OT)
Stars 6, Oilers 3
Coyotes 3, Senators 2 (OT)
Jets 5, Devils 2
Kings 4, Panthers 0
Hurricanes 3, Sabres 1
Maple Leafs 6, Canadiens 0
Islanders 5, Lightning 3
Blackhawks 2, Penguins 1
Capitals 3, Wild 1
Predators 5, Avalanche 2
Blues 4, Canucks 3 (OT)
Bruins 3, Sharks 2

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Nasty hits, fights, and a blowout in Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens

5 Comments

First, the Edmonton Oilers fell 6-3 to the Dallas Stars. Next: the Toronto Maple Leafs absolutely throttled the fledgling Montreal Canadiens in a game that was ugly even beyond the 6-0 score.

It’s been a bad day for embattled GMs of teams who’ve made polarizing moves in hopes of solidifying Stanley Cup contenders. The Oilers (7-11-2) and Canadiens (8-11-2) even finish the night with nearly identical records, just to really hammer home their parallel pains.

You almost wonder if something is in the air this week (spoilers: not love), as nastiness has really ratcheted up since the Calgary Flames – Detroit Red Wings line brawl. The Canadiens and Maple Leafs boast one of the NHL’s richest and bitterest rivalries, and it showed on Saturday.

As you can see from the video above this post’s headline, Nazem Kadri played a major role in one of the most explosive moments, taking his frustrations out on Shea Weber. Weber and Jordie Benn wasted no time in going after Kadri.

(Criticisms of the hit are totally fair, but it seems strange to go too heavy on “turtling.” Who would be able to stand up to both Weber and Benn? In the heat of the moment, I’d wager most people would go with flight over fight.)

That was the most bombastic moment, but there was also this seemingly unlikely bout between Nikita Zaitsev and Paul Byron:

This absolute dismantling comes after Claude Julien was steaming mad from a 5-4 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. It’s tough not to read all of this as an indictment of the moves Marc Bergevin has made, especially considering the fact that their rivals dominated them for their sixth win in a row. If you’re the type to draw big conclusions from about a month of a season, you’d look at it as how to build a contender vs. how to waste Carey Price‘s prime.

That’s a little harsh … but either way, these are tough times for Bergevin.

ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski passed along an interesting take from Julien, who wishes he could bag skate his bumbling players. OK, then.

Auston Matthews was definitely part of the fun for Toronto in his return from injury, including scoring this goal:

(You almost wonder if Mike Babcock was rolling the dice even having his star players out there amid all that carnage, but that goal was a sweet reward.)

[MORE: Why Toronto needs Matthews back for a tough stretch]

Yes, this is an 82-game season, and we’re only at about the first-quarter-mark. Still, teams like the Oilers and Canadiens came into 2017-18 with big expectations and big questions, and so far fans and management can’t like the answers.

By the way, asking for a well-dressed GM: what’s the opposite of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”

Yikes.

Ovechkin returns after being badly bloodied by puck to face

Getty
1 Comment

It’s still relatively early on Saturday night, and both the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals could eventually provide further updates that derail this optimism.

With that out of the way, at the moment, the theme of the night might just be teams dodging big injury bullets, even if the star players in question can’t dodge actual damage.

In the case of Corey Crawford, he bounced back for the Blackhawks after Evgeni Malkin‘s thigh area clipped him in the head. Maybe it looked worse than it was?

Now, any time you see people scrape blood off the ice, you get a reminder of how dangerous – and yeah, occasionally strange – hockey can be. That only becomes more disturbing when that blood is coming from a player as important as Alex Ovechkin:

Remarkably, Ovechkin is returning for the third period of the Capitals’ game against the Minnesota Wild.

So:

  • This is a reminder that Ovechkin is tough, in case you foolishly think he isn’t because … his teams have lost in big games or something? Considering how recklessly he often throws his body around, and how infrequently he misses games due to to injury, you’d think that debate would have died a long time ago. Moments like this make it seem that much sillier.
  • Ovechkin must really want to help the struggling Capitals turn things around.
  • Maybe he wants to hang an L on his old boss Bruce Boudreau?

Anyway, PHT will keep an eye on these situations. Sometimes there are more answers the night of events, and sometimes it takes a little longer.

Right now, it’s reasonable for Capitals fans and Blackhawks fans to feel some relative, even if it’s only in the interim.

Update: The Capitals ended up winning 3-1, thanks in large part to Braden Holtby‘s strong night.

Ovechkin logged 8:18 TOI in the third period, so it seems like he’s OK. This post will be updated if he shares a nasty battle scar.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Crawford avoids injury, helps Blackhawks beat Penguins

6 Comments

The Chicago Blackhawks have been up-and-down so far in 2017-18, but Corey Crawford has been brilliant almost every night he’s been in net. It’s to the point that he might be a little underrated, as people assume that Chicago will keep finding ways to win, possibly missing how big a part he’s playing in its successes.

Crawford’s been able to clean up a lot of messes, so Saturday brought a scare, as he seemed to take head contact from Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

You can see the contact in the video above. It seemed like quite a collision, as part of Malkin (thigh? middle-boy) seemed to connect with Crawford at a fairly high speed.

The penalty call drew at least some complaints from Penguins fans, but the important thing either way is that the Blackhawks took a look at Crawford before allowing him to return to the game.

Now, we’ve seen players return to action only to miss games in the future, so it’s still worth monitoring Crawford. Considering how important he is to the Blackhawks, they have to hope that it was one of those plays that looked more painful than it actually was.

Also, with some justifiable complaints about players not going through concussion protocol lately, a lot of people are pleased with Chicago for at least assessing Crawford. We’ll see if anything changes, but right now, this seems like a dodged bullet (but not a dodged Malkin).

Update: Not only did Crawford stick with it, he made a big difference in the Blackhawks beating the Penguins 2-1, including making this save:

Chicago sure seems to have an edge on Pittsburgh lately, by the way:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.