That was all kinds of crazy, at times, between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, like a throwback to an era long gone by in hockey.
The two teams traded goals, and plenty of them. They traded big hits. They traded punches, with Matt Martin and Adam McQuaid meeting in a heavyweight bout. Martin left the game briefly, after he was knocked to the ice on a devastating punch at the end of the fight, but he did return in the third period.
By the time this chaos was all over, the Maple Leafs had survived the threat of yet another third-period collapse by defeating the Bruins 6-5 on Saturday.
That’s a big win for Toronto. They all are at this time of the season. For a young and talented team in the thick of the playoff battle, it ends a three-game losing streak. It also moves them one point behind Boston for third in the Atlantic Division and two points back of the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card spot in the East.
It looked, at least midway through the second period, like the Maple Leafs would win this in a rout. William Nylander recorded the hat trick, which included this terrific goal for his first of the night, and they chased Tuukka Rask from the Bruins net with four goals on 14 shots.
The Bruins, though, didn’t go away.
They tied the game at 4-4 early in the third, conceded another Toronto goal and then came back to even the score once again, before James van Riemsdyk finally scored the deciding goal for the Maple Leafs with 1:36 remaining. The late goal denies Boston at least an important single point.
The Maple Leafs are on the road versus the New York Islanders on Monday. The Bruins now have four days off before they host San Jose on Thursday.
The goaltending situation in Philadelphia has become a lot more clear today, as they’ve signed Michal Neuvirth to a contract extension.
According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, it’s a two-year deal worth a total of $5 million ($2.5 million cap hit).
Neuvirth was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.
The 28-year-old has been between the pipes for nine of his team’s last 11 games, but he’s dropped four of his last five decisions. He has a 10-9-1 record with a 2.90 goals-against-average and a .887 save percentage in 24 games.
The duo of Neuvirth and Steve Mason hasn’t worked out too well in Philadelphia. Both players have struggled to find consistency in their game, which has been problematic for the Flyers.
Even though Neuvirth will be back, they can still shake things up by moving on from Mason, who is also scheduled to become a free agent on July 1st.
The Flyers also re-signed forward Pierre Edouard Bellemare earlier today.
Philadelphia has re-upped with checking forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on a two-year extension, per Sportsnet.
It’s believed to be a $2.9 million pact, one that carries a $1.45M average annual cap hit. That’s a nice raise for the 31-year-old, who’s in the last of a two-year pact at $712,500 per.
Bellemare joined the Flyers for the ’14-15 campaign, following a lengthy career in Europe that included stops in his native France, and a lengthy spell in Sweden. He’s emerged as a good energy guy in the bottom-six forward group, one that can kill penalties and chip in with a bit of offense.
Today’s news might come as a bit of a surprise for Flyers fans, however. Bellemare was a pending UFA and, given he’s on the wrong side of 30, there was speculation he’d be sold at the deadline in the hopes of recouping some assets.
Some tough news if you’re a fan of the New York Rangers.
According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Jesper Fast will miss some time with what’s believed to be a separated shoulder.
Fast suffered the injury after being flattened by Alex Ovechkin in last night’s 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.
The 25-year-old has been a key contributor for New York this season. He’s up to five goals and 15 assists in 59 games. He’s also second in shorthanded ice time and in hits among all Rangers forwards.
The Rangers went into last night’s game without Mika Zibanejad and they also lost Chris Kreider momentarily yesterday, but he was able to return.
Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault is expected to provide an update on Fast’s status after today’s practice, but don’t expect the news to be good.
The Montreal Canadiens are keeping busy.
Just one day after acquiring Steve Ott from the Detroit Red Wings and Brendan Davidson from the Edmonton Oilers in separate deals, general manager Marc Bergevin completed another trade before the deadline when he acquired forward Dwight King from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a conditional 2018 fourth-round draft pick.
It will become a third-round pick if he re-signs with the Canadiens this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
In 63 games this season King has eight goals and seven assists.
He also adds to the Canadiens’ apparent season-long attempt to become a grittier and tougher team, now joining a roster that now has seen Ott, Shea Weber, and Andrew Shaw join it over the past eight months.
For the Kings, it is a move that clears out a bit of salary cap space, perhaps opening the door for them to complete a deal with Colorado for Jarome Iginla, something that seems to be a work in progress on Wednesday.
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