Get your game notes: Red Wings at Bruins

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Boston Bruins hosting the Detroit Red Wings starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

— The Bruins and Red Wings are the only Original Six matchup in the 1st round. It is the first time these teams have met in the playoffs since the 1957 Semifinals, ending the second-longest postseason matchup drought among Original Six teams (N.Y. Rangers-Detroit – 1950 Stanley Cup Final). The Bruins now have faced every Original Six team in the playoffs in the past 3 years: Detroit (2014 1st rd.), Chicago (2013 Stanley Cup Final), N.Y. Rangers (2013 CSF), Toronto (2013 CQF) & Montreal (2011 CQF).

— Since the Presidents’ Trophy was introduced in the 1985-86 season, only eight of 27 teams (30%) have claimed both the Presidents’ Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same season. Two Red Wings teams, in 2001-02 and 2007-08, accomplished that feat. The Bruins, who were the NHL’s top team this season (117 pts.), will look to emulate the most recent team to complete the double, last year’s Chicago Blackhawks. Only once has the feat been accomplished in back-to-back seasons: Colorado in 2000-01 followed by Detroit in 2001-02.

Winners of Presidents’ Trophy and Stanley Cup in same season:

1986-87: Edmonton Oilers
2000-01: Colorado Avalanche
1988-89: Calgary Flames
2001-02: Detroit Red Wings
1993-94: New York Rangers
2007-08: Detroit Red Wings
1998-99: Dallas Stars
2012-13: Chicago Blackhawks

— This series features three of the longest-tenured active NHL players who have yet to win a Stanley Cup. For the Bruins, winger Jarome Iginla will be making his eighth trip to the playoffs in search of his first Cup, while the Red Wings’ wingers Daniel Alfredsson and Todd Bertuzzi are making their 14th and 10th trips, respectively. Here are the five most experienced players participating in this year’s playoffs – in terms of combined regular season and postseason games – who have yet to win a Stanley Cup.

Player | Playoff Team | Games played without Stanley Cup win

Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks, 1388* (1247 reg. season, 141 playoff)

Jarome Iginla, Boston Bruins, 1379 (1310 reg. season, 69 playoff)

Daniel Alfredsson, Detroit Red Wings, 1367 (1246 reg. season, 121 playoff)

Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks, 1333* (1207 reg. season, 126 playoff)

Todd Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings, 1245 (1159 reg. season, 86 playoff)

*includes Sharks’ Game 1 on Apr. 17

— Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask posted a career-high 36 wins (36-15-6) and led the NHL in shutouts (seven) this season. However, he struggled in four games this season vs. Detroit. The Finnish goalie played all 240 minutes vs. the Red Wings, and went 1-3-0, with a 3.29 GAA and .871 save%.

— With Barry Trotz fired as head coach by Nashville on Apr. 14, the Red Wings’ Mike Babcock became the NHL’s longest-tenured coach (hire date: July 15, 2005). The coach on the other side of the partition, the Bruins’ Claude Julien, is second on the experience list (hire date: June 22, 2007). Babcock led the Red Wings to their 23rd consecutive postseason appearance despite the team losing 417 man-games to injury this season (second-most in the NHL, Pittsburgh – 529).

— The Bruins have played an NHL-high 54 postseason games since the 2010-11 season (when Boston won the Stanley Cup). Six Bruins – forwards David Krejci (whose 22 postseason goals during that span leads the league), Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Chris Kelly & Daniel Paille, & defenseman Johnny Boychuk – appeared in all of those games. Kelly and Paille are questionable for Game 1 with injuries.

Burns and Thornton pose nude for ESPN Body Issue, and yes, it’s weird

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Hey, have you ever wanted to see Brent Burns and Joe Thornton essentially line up against each other naked?

Well, ESPN the Magazine interrupted your answer either way, going ahead and doing it for their vaunted Body Issue.

Considering Thornton’s UFA status, there’s at least an outside chance that this will be their final action together as members of the San Jose Sharks.

This is your last chance not to scroll and see Thornton, Burns, beards, tattoos, and not a whole lot else.

/waits

Former teammate Jason Demers captured it on Twitter, making it his background, and generally winning the Internet for the day:

Did anyone else think about Thornton’s line after Tomas Hertl scored four goals? No? OK.

The real highlight might be Burns and Thornton giggling in robes, honestly.

Click here for more on that issue, including information on U.S. women’s ice hockey team members who will also be featured.

Hjalmarsson shocked by Blackhawks trade, but Coyotes could improve soon

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Who could blame Niklas Hjalmarsson for being surprised that the Chicago Blackhawks traded him? The move blindsided … well, just about everyone outside of the Blackhawks organization, after all.

“It’s going to take some time to get used to that thought,” Hjalmarsson said, according to the Arizona Republic. “At the same time, I’m trying to always be a positive guy.”

Indeed, the 30-year-old defenseman did his best to say all the right things about the Arizona Coyotes, praising a roster that includes “a lot of young and promising players.”

MORE on the trade here

Described by some as the NHL’s best pure defensive defenseman, Hjalmarsson also gives the Coyotes good reason to be excited by a blueline that’s suddenly quite competitive. Consider the quartet that GM John Chayka helped assemble:

Hjalmarsson: An often-underrated part of the Blackhawks’ run. Consider some of the praise he received even before this move was made.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson: One of the league’s best-kept secrets, “OEL” ranks as one of the most dangerous scoring defensemen. At 25, he’s still deep in his prime.

Alex Goligoski: When you consider the Dallas Stars’ lost 2016-17 season, don’t dismiss the absence of “Gogo.” He might not be perfect, but the 31-year-old is the sort of puck-mover you need to excel in the modern game.

Jakob Chychrun: At 19, he’s already getting reps at the NHL level. The Coyotes could pair him with a veteran and watch him grow.

***

When you look at those four, in particular, it’s easier to see Hjalmarsson’s excitement as more than just lip service. It probably doesn’t hurt that the Coyotes also added Derek Stepan, another sign that this franchise is taking the next step after absorbing other franchises’ problem contracts in the likes of Dave Bolland and Pavel Datsyuk’s last year.

Granted, it will still be an adjustment, as the Coyotes are likely aiming for “respectable” while anything less that a deep run was unacceptable for the Blackhawks.

Still, Hjalmarsson has plenty of power to make this move more palatable than it may have initially seemed.

And, hey, who would blame him for circling Oct. 21 on his calendar?

Report: Coyotes to talk to Todd Nelson about coaching vacancy

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The Arizona Coyotes had a somewhat unexpected shakeup this past week when the team and long-time head coach Dave Tippett mutually agreed to part ways after nine seasons together.

The search for a replacement began immediately and according to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal the Coyotes will be speaking to former Oilers coach Todd Nelson about the vacancy.

Nelson spent 51 games behind the Oilers bench during the 2014-15 season replacing Dallas Eakins. Nelson was replaced at the conclusion of that season by former San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan. While his NHL head coaching experience is limited to that brief time in Edmonton, he has an extensive track record in the American Hockey League with the Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton’s top farm team) and currently the Grand Rapids Griffins (the Detroit Red Wings’ top farm team).

He has spent the past two seasons in Grand Rapids — replacing Jeff Blashill after he was promoted to the Detroit job — and has had a ton of success, leading the team to the Calder Cup this past season.

Predators won’t trade defense for forward help

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After losing James Neal to the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft this past week the Nashville Predators have a pretty glaring hole in their top-six that is going to need to be addressed. Along with that, captain Mike Fisher is an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and is also considering retirement.

Because of those two developments general manager David Poile has made adding a top-six forward a priority for this summer, and he certainly has the salary cap space to get something done.

One thing he is not going to do, however, is trade one of his defensemen to find that help up front.

“We’ve traded enough defensemen in my recent history,” Poile said on Saturday, via the Tennessean. “I think everybody would be pretty much on the same page that our defense drives our team and our corps is as good as any in the league. We will not be touching our defense in the near future here.”

Over the past two years Poile has traded Shea Weber and Seth Jones off of his blue line but has still managed to assemble the NHL’s best defense. The quartet of P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm is so good that Poile made sure to protect all four of them in the expansion draft and leave Neal — a consistent 25-to 30-goal scorer signed for one more year on a pretty good contract — exposed for Vegas to take.

Without dealing one of their top-four defensemen it might be difficult to find an impact winger via the trade route, which might force them to turn to the free agent market.

But even that is going to be difficult because it is such a limited market. Now that T.J. Oshie has re-signed with the Washington Capitals Alexander Radulov would probably be the top winger available, but given his history with Nashville there is virtually no chance of that reunion happening. Justin Williams would be an intriguing veteran option, while Joe Thornton could help fill the void at center if Fisher does not return.

Still, not trading from the defense is the absolute right path for Poile and the Predators to take. Not only is that group the backbone of the Predators’ organization and one of the driving forces behind its success, it is also an extremely young group that is all signed long-term on cap friendly deals.

Even with the loss of Neal Nashville still has a deep group of forwards, while youngsters Pontus Aberg and Kevin Fiala could get an increased role and an opportunity to shine.