It’s Boston Bruins day on PHT

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Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team?  The Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins.

The Boston Bruins came as close as you can to winning the Stanley Cup without doing so. They were moments away from winning Game 6 against Chicago but gave up two goals 17 seconds apart with about a minute to go and saw their dreams dashed on their own ice.

Now they’re heading into next season with a drastically different team and the same lofty level of expectations of winning another Stanley Cup. It’s never not boring in Boston.

Offseason recap

What didn’t happen to the Bruins this summer? They sent apparent party boy Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to Dallas for Loui Eriksson. They watched Nathan Horton (Columbus), Jaromir Jagr (New Jersey), Andrew Ference (Edmonton), and Anton Khudobin (Carolina) all walk away in free agency.

Their lone signing in free agency didn’t come without drama as they signed the guy who turned down a trade to go there last season in Jarome Iginla. That makes for an awkward return to Boston, especially after the Bruins knocked out the team he did opt to go to (Pittsburgh) in the Eastern Conference finals.

Two areas they didn’t tweak were ones they’re all set at. Losing Ference may hurt them on defense, but guys like Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski, and Torey Krug are ready to tackle big minutes regularly.  Tuukka Rask was snubbed for a Vezina Trophy finalist spot but proved he’s the man in goal. They’ll have healthy competition to see who backs him up between Niklas Svedberg and Chad Johnson.

Next season will hinge on how the virtual new set of forwards works out. Coach Claude Julien’s ability to get his team on the same page will be more than tested.

Related:

Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

Video: Josh Ho-Sang’s creativity gives Islanders a shot in the arm

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Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?

For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting up John Tavares.

The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.

Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)

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This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)

On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.

William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.

Hnnngmgghh indeed.

That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.

Video: Leafs’ Carrick delivers thunderous hit on Blue Jackets’ Anderson

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Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.

So far, it shows, too.

The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.

There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:

Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week

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The St. Louis Blues announced that Paul Stastny is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Stastny was limited to less than four minutes of ice time during last night’s 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Initially, head coach Mike Yeo indicated that the issue wasn’t serious.

There are only about three weeks left in the regular season, so it’s tough to tell if “week-to-week” would mean that the Blues will be without Stastny for any playoff time.

With Stastny out for an expended period of time and other injuries affecting Blues forwards, it sounds like Nail Yakupov gets another chance to prove himself:

Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.