Eastern Conference final team capsules: Boston Bruins

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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: Bolts send Devils packing, Caps jump ahead, Leafs extend series

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Three games on Saturday

Tampa Bay Lightning 3, New Jersey Devils 1 (Lightning win series 4-1)

The Devils were one of the biggest surprises in the NHL this season, but their 2017-18 campaign officially came to an end on Saturday. They’ll be disappointed, but this season was a success for the group. As for the Bolts, they’ve punched their ticket to the second round after a terrific regular season. The Lightning received point-per-game production from Nikita Kucherov (1o points), Steven Stamkos (6 points) and Alex Killorn (5 points), but they also had 14 different players pick up a point during the series.

 Washington Capitals 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT) (Capitals lead series 3-2)

Four of the five games in the series have gone to overtime. Game 5 was a typical back-and-forth affair, as the Jackets scored first before the Capitals went up 2-1. Columbus tied the game, Washington went ahead, again, 3-2, but a dominant third period led to the Blue Jackets forcing overtime. Nicklas Backstrom tipped-home the game-winning goal in overtime to give the Capitals the first home win of the series. This has clearly been the best first-round series of the playoffs.

Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Boston Bruins 3 (Bruins lead series 3-2)

The Maple Leafs jumped out to 2-0 and 4-1 leads, but the Bruins managed to make things interesting in the third period. Boston had a number of power play opportunities, but they couldn’t cash in. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they’ll have to go back on the road to try to put the Leafs to bed. The Leafs managed to keep Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand off the scoresheet on Saturday. Replicating that two more times won’t be easy.

Three Stars

1. Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals

Backstrom scored two goals, including the overtime winner against the Blue Jackets in Game 5. He also added an assist on T.J. Oshie‘s go-ahead goal late in the second frame. The win gave the Caps a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. The 30-year-old has two goals and eight points in five games this postseason.

2. Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals

The Capitals had a one-goal lead heading into the third frame, but they were badly outplayed in the third period. Holtby is the biggest reason why Washington was able to make it to overtime at all. The Blue Jackets outshot the Capitals 16-1 in the third frame. Holtby had a rough season, but his play in Game 5 was very encouraging.

3. Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs had to kill a number of penalties during their Game 5 win over the Bruins, and Andersen was one of the key reasons they were able to do so. The Leafs netminder faced at least 40 shots for the third time in five games (he’s 2-1 in those contests). If Toronto wants to force a seventh game, they’ll need him to turn in another fantastic performance on Monday night.

Factoid of the Night

Sunday’s Schedule

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers, 3:00 p.m. ET

Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche, 7:00 p.m. ET

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Leafs chase Rask, hold on to win Game 5

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The Toronto Maple Leafs came into Saturday’s game facing elimination, but they managed to force a sixth game, thanks to a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins.

The Maple Leafs built up a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission with goals from Connor Brown and Andreas Johnsson. They would increase it to a 4-1 lead in the second period. That’s when the Bruins pulled Tuukka Rask in favor of backup Anton Khudobin.

After the goalie swap, Sean Kuraly managed to cut the deficit to 4-2 before the end of the frame.

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

Toronto did their best to blow their lead, as they took penalty after penalty in the second half of the game. The Leafs took the final four penalties, but the Bruins failed to convert on their opportunities on the man-advantage. They even gave the Bruins a 5-on-3 power play for over 1:30 before Kuraly scored moments later.

Goalie Frederik Andersen turned aside 42 of 45 shots. This was the third time in five games that he faced at least 40 shots in this series.

The Leafs will now return home for Game 6 on Monday night. They’ll need to perform more like they did in the first half of Saturday’s game if they want to force Game 7 in Boston.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Backstrom provides OT winner as Capitals take 3-2 series lead

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The Washington Capitals are on the verge of the second round.

Yes, the Capitals, who began the series with back-to-back losses in Game 1 and 2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets, are now on the brink of eliminating Ohio’s team after Nicklas Backstrom‘s deft deflection in overtime gave the Capitals their third straight win and a 3-2 series lead.

It was the fourth time in the series both clubs played to a tie in regulation. After Columbus won the first two in OT, Washington replied with a win in double-overtime in Game 3 before Backstrom ended Game 5 at the 11:53 mark of the first frame of free hockey.

Backstrom scored his first goal of the series to open the scoring for the Caps and assisted for the sixth time in the series on the go-ahead goal in the second period before Oliver Bjorkstrand tied it in third.

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

Braden Holtby had to be sharp, especially in the third period as, inexplicably, the Caps were outshot 16-1. At home. Holtby made 40 saves when it was all said and done.

Two-hundred feet away, Sergei Bobrovsky was up to the task, making some silly stops including a big one on Alex Ovechkin earlier in overtime and a bigger one in regulation time off the same man’s stick.

Game 6 of this series is slated for Monday in Columbus, with a start time still to be determined.

In his post-game comments, Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella said, twice, that his team will be back in the capital for Game 7.

The promise has been made.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Kucherov, Vasilevskiy shine as Lightning eliminate Devils in 5

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One’s up for the Hart as the NHL’s best player while the other is up for the Vezina as the league’s top goaltender. Both combined their talents to eliminate the New Jersey Devils with a 2-1 win in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday.

Nikita Kucherov was once again on point for the Tampa Bay Lightning in Saturday’s matinee. Leading 1-0 in the third period, Kucherov scored a clutch goal — his fifth of the series — to put the Lightning from just inside the blue line to put the Bolts up two with seven minutes and change remaining.

It proved vital, Kucherov’s goal, as the Devils attempted a late comeback with Kyle Palmieri scored with three minutes remaining after Devils pulled Cory Schneider for the extra attacker 30 seconds earlier.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stood tall in the final 180 seconds, stopping 26-of-27 to help usher the Lightning into the second round.

Tampa, the Atlantic Division winners in the regular season, will face the winner of the series between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, who play later on Saturday in Game 5. The Bruins lead the series 3-1.

Kucherov was as immense for the Lightning as he was oppressive for the Devils, adding five assists to bring his series total to 10 points. His usual scoring touch was supplemented by his play in the physical department, including this bone-crushing hit on New Jersey defenseman Sami Vatanen.

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

For the Devils, it was hard-fought series from a young team still trying to find its way in the playoffs.

The Devils abandoned goalie Keith Kinkaid after dropping the first two games. Cory Schneider, who hadn’t won a game in 2018 before Game 3, came in and provided the spark in goal, one that seemed to get the Devils going at the other end of the rink as well as they rolled to a 5-3 win.

But that well ran dry in Game 4 as the Devils produced just one goal in a 3-1 loss. Game 5 was much the same, production-wise, with the Devils only managing one goal.

Fellow Hart Trophy candidate Taylor Hall provided two goals and six points in the series after a 93-point regular season. Rookie Nico Hischier managed just a goal after scoring 20 in his rookie campaign.

For Vasilevskiy, after looking far more human in the second half of the season, finding his mojo again can only be mean bad things for future playoff opponents.

The young Russian finished with a .941 save percentage in the series.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck