For the second time in as many years, John Tortorella will be shown the door, according to TSN’s Farhan Lalji.
The controversial coach was brought in to make the Vancouver Canucks a better postseason squad after back-to-back first round exits under former bench boss Alain Vigneault. Instead, Tortorella’s Canucks failed to make the playoffs entirely and will reportedly be fired tomorrow.
Vancouver averaged just 2.33 goals per game in 2013-14, which put them ahead of just the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres in the NHL. A lot of that was due to the decline of the Sedin twins, who combined for just 27 goals and 97 points after Daniel Sedin alone topped that total in 2010-11 and Henrik Sedin did so in the previous campaign.
That’s not to suggest Tortorella was an innocent victim to Sedin’s decline though as his desire to have them focus more on blocking shots and killing penalties might have contributed to their offensive struggles.
Assuming the report is true, Tortorella’s firing would be another major step in the Canucks’ efforts to reinvent themselves. In the last two months, they’ve traded goaltender Roberto Luongo, fired GM Mike Gillis, and appointed Trevor Linden as the team’s new president.
Linden wants new Canucks GM by end of May
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Sedin backs Tortorella and staff: ‘We love playing for these coaches’
In two years, Gillis has gone from top dog to embattled GM
Is Tortorella’s system to blame for Canucks’ woes?
Linden thinks Torts misused the Sedins
Well, that was quite a third period.
For the Boston Bruins, it was disastrous. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it propelled them to a critical victory in the playoff race.
Nikita Kucherov completed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final period and Jonathan Drouin scored what would eventually be the winner, as Tampa Bay snapped its own three-game losing streak in a 6-3 victory, putting the Bolts within three points of the final wild card spot — held by the Bruins — in the Eastern Conference.
The Drouin goal — his 18th of the season but first since Feb. 19, a span of 13 games — is probably one Tuukka Rask would like back.
Drouin teed up the slap shot from the faceoff circle, beating Rask under the left arm.
And just like that, the Bruins have lost four consecutive games. On Saturday, they face the New York Islanders, another team looking to catch Boston in the wild card race.
Read more: Remember this stretch if Bruins settle for a wild card spot (or worse?)
The Islanders are only two points back of Boston.
Despite the win, there was bad news for the Lightning during this game, as defenseman Jason Garrison left with an injury.
The play occurred behind the Lightning goal, Garrison appearing to get his left leg rolled up from behind by a Bruin. Garrison had to be helped off the ice by Anton Stralman and Brayden Point and headed back to the Bolts’ locker room.
The team announced during the second intermission that Garrison sustained a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.
As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.
On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.
He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.
From CSN Mid-Atlantic:
The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.
Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.
He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.
The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.
There was no call on the play.
Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.
Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.
Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.
That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus: