Dominic Moore

Getty

Bozak comes up big again as Maple Leafs grab huge win against Bruins

29 Comments

Technically, a very late Dominic Moore goal keeps Tyler Bozak‘s 2-1 tally from being the game-winner for the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Boston Bruins. It essentially was on Monday, though.

The Maple Leafs piled on some empty-netters, so the score ended up being 4-2, a misleading margin of victory as Bozak’s go-ahead goal broke a 1-1 tie with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.

Earlier in March, Bozak scored a huge goal in Toronto’s win against the Philadelphia Flyers, so a once-maligned forward is coming up clutch for the Buds.

(Judging by the responses to this post on Twitter, Bruins fans believed that the Maple Leafs received the benefit of a few whistles.)

With this regulation win, the Maple Leafs swept their season series against the Bruins.

They’re now in striking distance of passing the Bruins for third in the Atlantic:

Bruins – 82 points in 72 games
Maple Leafs – 81 points in 71 GP

The modest immediate concern is grabbing a playoff spot, and in that regard, this win creates some nice breathing room for Toronto:

Final wild card spot: Maple Leafs – 81 points in 71 GP

Islanders – 78 points in 71 GP
Lightning – 77 points in 71 GP

Every other non-playoff East team: 74 points or fewer.

The Maple Leafs can’t just sit back and relax during their final 11 games of the regular season, mind you, but they might just remember nights like these if their push ends up being successful.

That will be especially true if they can finish ahead of the Bruins.

PHT Morning Skate: Flames play hoops with the Harlem Globetrotters

1 Comment

–The Calgary Flames are currently in Florida for upcoming games against the Lightning and Panthers. During their off-day on Wednesday, some of their players got to play basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters. It’s safe to say that Calgary’s players should stick to hockey. (BarDown)

Jarome Iginla is running out of time to win the Stanley Cup. The 39-year-old definitely won’t be winning it all if he stays with Colorado this year, so his current teammates are rooting for him to be traded before the March 1st trade deadline. “Iggy wants one last shot at the playoffs. Everybody in this dressing room, around the league, feels the same way,” Gabriel Landeskog said. “We’d love to see somebody like that win.” (ESPN)

–The Washington Capitals dropped their first two games after their five-day break, but they were able to get back in the win column by beating the Flyers 4-1 on Wednesday night. You can watch the highlights from that game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–Ever wonder what NHL coaches do during intermissions? Barry Trotz explains that he addresses his team and tells them what they need to clean up before he heads into the video room. Trotz says he gets information on his team’s zone exits, zone entries and special teams. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

–You’ve got to see SKA Saint Petersburg’s promotional video for the upcoming KHL playoffs. It includes some nice goals, a few big hits, a long-haired fan playing the electric guitar, a motorcycle and even a horse. You really need to see it to believe it. (Sportsnet)

–Eight NHLers have had the privilege of playing for 10 teams or more throughout their career. Lee Stempniak is one of those guys. Instead of letting it get to him, the ‘Canes forward embraces the fact that he’s moved so much. “It’s something I take a lot of pride in. Some guys go somewhere, they go somewhere else, and if it doesn’t work out they flush out of the league. I feel like I’m pretty adaptable and I take pride of that.” Michel Petit, J.J. Daigneault, Jim Dowd, Mathieu Schneider, Olli Jokinen, Mike Sillinger and Dominic Moore are the other seven. (Sports Illustrated)

–Coyotes GM John Chayka already made one trade this week, as he sent pending UFA Michael Stone to the Calgary Flames for a pair of draft picks. Expect to see the young general manager to make more moves before the trade deadline. The Coyotes have a few other potential free agents to deal, but don’t be surprised if they also trade guys with term. “I don’t deal with ‘untouchables’. Practically speaking, there are players who are difficult to move because then you have to find someone to replace them for a role. I’d move anyone for the right deal.” (The Hockey News)

Will Sharks buy at deadline? ‘Our history speaks for itself,’ says Wilson

Getty
5 Comments

In a wide-ranging interview with the Mercury News, Sharks GM Doug Wilson touched on a number of subjects about his team — a team that, heading into tonight’s game in Vancouver, sits atop the Pacific Division.

San Jose is going to make the playoffs, gunning to get back to the Stanley Cup Final. In light of that, Wilson was asked the obvious:

Are you buying at the deadline?

“If something comes along that makes us a better team, absolutely,” he said. “Our history speaks for itself. We’ve always done that.”

San Jose has made the playoffs in 11 of the last 12 seasons. For context, here’s a look at Wilson’s most recent deadline activity:

2016: Acquired Roman Polak, Nick Spaling and James Reimer.

2015 (missed playoffs): Traded away Andrew Desjardins, Tyler Kennedy and James Sheppard.

2014: No deals of significance.

2013: Acquired Kennedy, Raffi Torres and Scott Hannan; traded away Ryane Clowe, Michal Handzus and Douglas Murray.

2012: Acquired Dominic Moore, T.J. Galiardi and Daniel Winnik; traded away Jamie McGinn (in the Galiardi-Winnik deal).

Not much of a pattern here, and the ’13 deadline was especially curious — Wilson was both a buyer and seller, remodeling his roster for the playoffs while bringing in a bounty of picks for the future.

A year later, Wilson essentially stood pat and did nothing.

If we’re to harbor a guess, the Sharks and Wilson may be in a similar position this year. It’s possible they’ve already done their deadline shopping. Mikkel Boedker, signed in free agency, found his stride in January after rough start — four goals and nine points in 13 games. Wilson also waived Matt Nieto and traded away Tommy Wingels, opening up bigger opportunities at forward for Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier.

Last week, head coach Peter DeBoer said these changes made the Sharks a more formidable team than a year ago.

“I like our team,” DeBoer explained. “I think we’re better than last year, sitting where we are right now. The young guys have added a dimension to our team. I think we’re deeper.”

If there is something the Sharks might look to address, it’s speed. Though they’re regarded as one of the NHL’s best skating clubs, they were wowed at how slow they were compared to the Pens in last year’s Cup Final, which was one of the big reasons Boedker was brought aboard.

And hey, you can never have too much speed.

“We were fast,” DeBoer said of last year’s team, with a chuckle. “Until we saw Pittsburgh.”

B’s get Beleskey back from 23-game absence

Getty

The Bruins have lost three of their last four, and are looking for a spark heading into tonight’s game against Chicago.

They’re hoping Matt Beleskey can provide it.

Beleskey, who’s been out since Dec. 3 with a knee injury, will play for the first time in 23 games this evening as the B’s host the ‘Hawks at TD Garden.

Beleskey suffered his injury in a game against Buffalo, in which he played less than six minutes before exiting for good. He’s been sidelined ever since, and will now draw back in what appears to be an energy role, alongside Dominic Moore and Austin Czarnik.

The 28-year-old is no doubt ready to get his year on track. Beleskey had struggled prior to getting hurt — he had just two goals and five points through 24 games, and was made a healthy scratch back in early November.

Hayes goal, Rask shutout lift Bruins over Kings

Getty
8 Comments

BOSTON (AP) Jimmy Hayes scored the game’s only goal, Tuukka Rask made 18 saves and the Boston Bruins beat the Los Angeles Kings 1-0 on Sunday.

Hayes’ goal was his first in seven games and only his second in 28 games this season.

Rask recorded his fourth shutout of the year for the Bruins (17-13-1), who had lost two straight games and five of six coming in.

Boston was without leading scorer David Pastrnak, who had right elbow surgery Friday. Pastrnak’s 19 goals rank second in the NHL behind Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (21).

Peter Budaj had 29 saves for the Kings (16-13-2), who won their previous two games. Los Angeles was outshot 30-18.

Colin Miller‘s wrister from the top of the right circle caught a piece of Hayes’ stick and zipped past Budaj 4:20 into the opening period. Hayes was initially credited with an assist on Miller’s goal, but the call was changed. Dominic Moore also assisted on the goal.

Hayes has gone 45 games without an assist dating to last Feb. 22. He is three points shy of 100 for his career.

Kyle Clifford went to the locker room with 16:36 remaining in the third after taking a hit from the Bruins’ Adam McQuaid while chasing a puck in the corner. He returned later in the period.