Milan Lucic

Video: Lucic’s overtime breakaway locks up Bruins’ fourth straight win

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The Boston Bruins won their fourth game in a row by taking out the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in overtime.

They were able to do it thanks to a breakaway goal by Milan Lucic beating Sergei Bobrovsky in the closing seconds of the extra session.

For Lucic, the goal was his team-leading eighth of the year. Keep in mind he had only seven goals all last year.

Those numbers are also important for the Blue Jackets as they’ve lost seven of their last eight games. Incredibly, if the Jackets beat the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night, they’ll be just two points back of third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Sure is nice to be in the Eastern Conference, isn’t it?

Bruins’ Rask: Shootouts are ‘not that cool’

Dallas Stars v Boston Bruins
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Talk out of the general manager’s meetings about the prospect of some day extending the overtime has once again ignited players’ opinions on the shootout.

Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was one player to speak out against the skills competition. And there are others in his corner throughout the National Hockey League.

Over the years, Rask has actually accrued a 13-10 record in the shootout as a member of the Bruins. But he’s not a fan, well, not when he’s involved in them, anyway.

“I wouldn’t mind [getting rid of the shootout.] It doesn’t have anything to do with the game you just played. It’s just so dramatic when you lose,” Rask told CSNNE.com.

“As a goalie it’s tough to accept that it’s not all your fault if you lose. I don’t know. As a viewer I’m a fan of the shootout, but when you’re in it, it’s not that cool, especially when you’re on the losing end.

“A five- or 10-minute overtime? I’d be OK with that. But going to 3-on-3 [in overtime]…that sounds a little crazy to me.”

On Tuesday, Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland expressed an interest from other GMs about possibly extending overtime as a way to reduce the number of games decided by the shootout.

“You can’t have too long of an overtime. I don’t know, 10 minutes maximum you can play in overtime,” Canucks’ forward Daniel Sedin said Wednesday.

“I wouldn’t mind seeing three-on-three out there. It’s exciting. It’s tough losing in a shootout. I don’t know. Maybe it’s tough losing in overtime, too. But I hadn’t really liked the shootout. I know it’s fun for the crowd but I think three-on-three would be pretty fun, too.”

Leafs coach liked what he saw in the second period against the Bruins

Randy Carlyle

There seems to be a contingent of Maple Leafs fans that get its hackles up whenever the fact is raised that Toronto gets outshot in almost every single game it plays.

This is understandable, given the Leafs are 11-6-0 and tied for second in the Eastern Conference. Hockey games are won by scoring the most goals, not by getting the most shots.

But shot totals are often a reflection of how much a team has the puck. After all, you can’t shoot the puck unless you possess it first.

Also, puck possession is something that Leafs coach Randy Carlyle has said he wants more of. So if it’s important to the coach, it’s probably worth mentioning.

Specifically, Carlyle would love his team to have the kind of possession it enjoyed during the second period of Saturday’s game in Boston when the Leafs outshot the Bruins, 18-10, and outscored them, 1-0.

“I think every coach would like their team to play that way,” Carlyle said, per the Globe and Mail. “That’s more the type of hockey that we’re going to ask the hockey club to play. A little bit more of a cycle game, a little bit more of a puck-possession game, you know, instead of the up and down, trading chances.”

Writes the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle:

The analysis of the Leafs’ shots-on-goal problems has been beaten to death over the past 10 months, but the real issue in the long term is one of zone time, not simply putting meaningless rubber on goal.

By any measure, Toronto spends a disproportionate amount of time in its own end, with new statistics estimating their offensive versus defensive zone time at 41.4 per cent, the second-worst rating in the league.

At the end of the day, there’s no right way to win hockey games. The Leafs have overcome their lack of puck possession with great goaltending, good special teams, and a high shooting percentage. For the team’s fans, it must be frustrating for critics to keep saying the collapse is coming. But it’s not personal; it’s mostly just an interesting narrative, particularly for those who are interested in hockey’s so-called advanced statistics.

By the way, Toronto is in Minnesota on Wednesday to play a Wild team whose possession stats have improved dramatically this season.

The Leafs have lost two of their last three, including Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to the B’s.

Don Cherry: Leafs threw Reimer ‘to the wolves’ against Bruins

Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Six
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Don Cherry weighed in on the fact James Reimer was the Toronto Maple Leafs’ starting goaltender Saturday night.

“What we call what they do with Reimer is throwing him to the wolves,” said Cherry during his Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada.

“You play him in Vancouver … you’re not going to win in Vancouver, they were not going to win that game. There’s no way. You put him in Boston, going to be pretty tough to win in Boston.

“So what you do is protect (Jonathan Bernier).”

So, there is that theory. The “wolves” got the best of Reimer. The Bruins defeated the Leafs 3-1, thanks to a pair of third-period goal from Patrice Bergeron.

However, Reimer played well, making 31 saves. He was particularly good in the first period, the Leafs were outshot 14-7.

But playing the Bruins also has something of personal significance for Reimer, who was in goal for the Leafs during their third-period meltdown in Boston in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final.

“It means something, but I don’t think it’s as big a deal as I’m sure people are making it out to be,” Reimer said Friday, as per an article in Metro.

“If we win there (Saturday) it doesn’t reverse what happened last year. If we play them in the first round of the playoffs again, then maybe you can say there’s more of a story there. But it’s a regular-season game.”

Bruins’ blue liner McQuaid hurt against Leafs (Updated)

Washington Capitals v Boston Bruins
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Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was taken to the dressing room after appearing to suffer an injury in the first period of Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

McQuaid was playing the puck behind his own net, when he suddenly stopped skating and fell to the ice. He couldn’t put much, if any, pressure on his right leg as he was helped off the ice by his teammates.

Prior to getting hurt, McQuaid was involved in a spirited scrap with Frazer McLaren just before the two-minute mark of the first period.

Updated: McQuaid will not return to tonight’s game, according to the Bruins’ official Twitter account.