Boston Bruins v Detroit Red Wings - Game Four

Bruins scratch out OT win, push Red Wings to brink


The Boston Bruins fought back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in OT in Game 4 on Thursday, pushing the Detroit Red Wings to the brink of elimination with a 3-1 series score.

Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk combined for one-goal, one-assist nights to give the Red Wings a lead that Boston was able to scrape away. Torey Krug’s power-play goal in the middle frame helped the Bruins enter the third period down a manageable 2-1. Carl Soderberg’s nice play set up a Milan Lucic tying goal that sent the game into overtime.

The Bruins pressed the Red Wings repeatedly in the overtime period, generating a 12-3 shot advantage in that time. It was a weird one that beat Jonas Gustavsson in a surprise start, as a Dougie Hamilton shot took a weird bounce and the goal was credited to Jarome Iginla (his first goal of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs).

Comic relief?

For those who don’t appreciate the pesky style of Brad Marchand, he had some tough luck on Thursday. At least one of the shots probably missed the net because of Jimmy Howard/bounces off of other players’ sticks, yet this montage will still be pretty sweet for Marchand haters:

The Bruins can probably laugh that off thanks to their eventual win, though.

Looking forward

Boston is now looking like a serious force in winning three straight games, including both contests at Joe Louis Arena. They have some serious incentive to finish this series off in Boston in Game 5, as the Montreal Canadiens are already awaiting their second-round opponent after sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Meanwhile, the Red Wings find themselves one game away from another first-round exit despite showing some fight on Thursday night. The bad news (they’ve been surprisingly mortal in “Hockeytown”) is softened a bit by the good: they’ve been formidable on the road this season. They took Game 1 in Boston and went 21-15-5 in away games during the regular season.

It won’t be easy, but the Red Wings have been doing things the hard way this season.

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
Leave a comment

The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”