Cam Tucker

Bruins chase Jones from Sharks net with first-period scoring outburst

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Well, that was quite a first period for the beleaguered Boston Bruins.

Playing for the first time in the post-Claude Julien era, the Bruins jumped out to a 3-1 lead on the San Jose Sharks after the opening period of Thursday’s game.

The scoring outburst chased Martin Jones from the Sharks net. He allowed three goals on 12 shots. Aaron Dell entered the game for San Jose to begin the second period.

Related: Pre-game reading: On the future of Claude Julien, who may be a fit for Vegas

Video: Simmonds snaps Flyers’ scoring drought

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The drought is over.

The Philadelphia Flyers had been shut out in each of their last two games, going 134:56 in between goals, their last coming in the third period against Montreal last week. But they busted the slump in the first period against the New York Islanders on Thursday, with Wayne Simmonds scoring the goal, his 22nd of the season.

Adding an assist on the goal? Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who is back in the lineup tonight after being a healthy scratch for three straight games.

It’s a ghost! Gostisbehere back in Flyers lineup versus Islanders

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After being banished to the press box for three consecutive games, it looks like defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere draws back into the Philadelphia Flyers lineup for Thursday’s game against the New York Islanders.

The news comes with the Flyers having been shut out in each of their last two games, and needing some sort of spark offensively. Gostisbehere, a Calder Trophy finalist last year after 46 points in 64 games, has certainly shown capable of being productive in the past, and Philly could use that in its lineup.

This season, Gostisbehere has four goals and 21 points in 48 games, although he’s also dealt with a hand injury and spending time as a healthy scratch.

The sophomore blue liner has already stressed the need to play better in his own end, and he continued that message ahead of Thursday’s game, which you can catch on NBCSN or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

“That’s something that I bring to the table if offensive ability,” said Gostisbehere. “But we’ve been playing great defense, as well. I want to contribute in that form the most. I just want to show that I’m reliable defensively.”

The Flyers, despite recent struggles with only four wins in their last 10 games, still hold down a wild card spot, but the Islanders have been making a push to get into post-season contention, now sitting only three back of Philly in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

“I just want him to come in and play hard without the puck, and play confidently with the puck,” said Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol of Gostisbehere.

 

Mikael Granlund a ‘hidden secret’ for Wild

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Mikael Granlund lets his actions on the ice speak for him.

Soft-spoken off the ice, Granlund is in the midst of a career year on it and that may be something of an understatement.

Granlund’s previous career best in points was 44, set a year ago. It’s the early days of February and he has already surpassed his point total from a year ago, and by the time this season is over, he will obliterate that previous standard, provided he remains healthy.

“He’s a hidden secret that’s probably not too hidden anymore,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “He’s as good a playmaker as I’ve seen for a winger.”

On Saturday, he turned goal scorer, improving his point streak to 12 games with a hat trick — and an assist — in a 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

He’s part of the larger scale turnaround in Minnesota, which rebounded from a disappointing loss to Calgary when the NHL schedule resumed earlier in the week.

The Wild now lead the Central Division by four points. Devan Dubnyk is once again a big reason for this team’s success, but Minnesota is also one of the most vaunted teams offensively. They’re third in the league in goals-for per game (3.33) and only the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers have been better.

From The Vancouver Sun:

Saturday night, the Wild’s nominal fourth line included Charlie Coyle (13 goals) and Chris Stewart (11 goals). There are seven other Wild players who’ve hit double digits in goals this season, and they don’t include Jason Pominville. Their second line — with Zucker, Granlund and Mikko Koivu — might be the best in the NHL, and they dominated the Canucks on Saturday night

Trotz: Habs inking Radulov was ‘maybe the best signing of the year’

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Barry Trotz is certainly familiar with the development of Alexander Radulov.

The two worked together in Nashville when Radulov was just starting out in the NHL, showing all the signs of a young, talented breakout player for the Predators.

But there were rocky moments in the working relationship, most notably during the 2012 post-season when Trotz benched Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn in the midst of a series for breaking curfew. To make a long story short, Radulov signed with CSKA Moscow in the KHL the following season.

Related: Trotz: Radulov ‘knows he has to change in a lot of aspects, on ice, off ice’

That was a long time ago. The two have since gone their separate ways.

Trotz is coaching the Washington Capitals, who most recently shut out the L.A. Kings on Sunday and should be a strong contender for the Stanley Cup a few months from now. Radulov signed a one-year, $5.75 million deal last summer with Montreal, where he is enjoying an impressive comeback season.

Radulov has been worth the money — and worth any risk that may have accompanied the deal. He entered today’s game versus Edmonton with 13 goals and 41 points in 51 games. Versus the Oilers, he was held off the score sheet, as the Habs lost 1-0 in the shootout.

And yeah, Trotz has taken notice of Radulov’s resurgence in the NHL. He recalled to reporters following Saturday’s game between the Capitals and Habs how he expressed his praise to Montreal GM Marc Bergevin for the signing.

“I think he understands the whole game … that most young guys, when they’re the best players on the ice, maybe don’t understand all the stuff that goes on,” said Trotz of Radulov.

“He’s a dynamic player. He’s been a great signing for the Canadiens. I was telling (Bergevin) that’s a great signing. That’s … maybe the best signing of the year.”

Now, what will his next contract look like?

With his 31st birthday coming up in July, term should be the most intriguing element of any new deal. But, based on comments from his agent earlier this season, Radulov can see his relationship with the Habs lasting beyond just one season.