Give it up to the Boston Bruins, they are the class of the NHL regular season.
The Bruins clinched the Presidents’ Trophy for the league’s best record in the regular season after they took out the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Saturday afternoon.
David Krejci had two goals and Patrice Bergeron scored his 30th goal of the season to lead the way for Boston. Tuukka Rask made 24 saves to get the win.
It’s the first time the Bruins have won the Presidents’ Trophy since the 1989-1990 season. That year, the Bruins lost to Mark Messier and the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Final.
It wasn’t all good news for Boston, however, as Bergeron departed the game after the second period with what Claude Julien called a “very minor” injury and Daniel Paille was knocked out of the game after a big hit by Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe.
The Boston Bruins have to be happy that they decided to sign Jarome Iginla over the summer. Although he wasn’t able to play on Saturday, Iginla has been one of their best players with 30 goals and 61 points in 76 games.
That success comes with a price though and it looks like it’s one the Bruins won’t be able to pay this season. The 36-year-old forward was eligible to sign a contract that was heavy in bonuses because of his age and the Bruins took advantage of that to ink him to a one-year, $1.8 million deal with the potential for an additional $4.2 million in performance bonuses.
The reason Boston went that route is because it kept his cap hit artificially low — at least temporarily. Teams are allowed to breach the salary cap ceiling through bonuses, but if they do so, then the excess carries over to the following season. With that in mind, the Boston Bruins are expected to have a cap penalty of around $4.5 million in 2014-15 due to Iginla, Dougie Hamilton, and Torey Krug’s bonuses, according to the Boston Globe.
That’s a sizable disadvantage and ironically might get in the way of the Bruins’ goal to re-sign Iginla. Boston already has around $62 million committed to the 2014-15 campaign, not counting the penalty and the salary cap is projected to be about $70 million.
They will have some flexibility because Marc Savard’s annual hit of roughly $4 million will be negated by putting him on the long-term injured reserve list, but the Bruins also have a handful of restricted free agents to re-sign. In other words, Boston doesn’t have a lot of breathing room going into the summer.
It’s a win for the Toronto Maple Leafs. But it bordered on yet another collapse.
The Leafs avoided disaster by defeating the Boston Bruins in overtime by a final score of 4-3 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. They get back to within a point of the Columbus Blue Jackets – victorious on the same night against the Philadelphia Flyers – for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Leafs entered the third period with a two-goal lead, but that quickly evaporated on home ice. That’s where things got interesting – very interesting, indeed.
Jonathan Bernier left the game with an injury with the Leafs up by a goal, forcing James Reimer into action in a pressure-packed situation (recall that this happened in the middle of March against the L.A. Kings with positive results).
With Reimer into the game, the Bruins got the equalizer from Patrice Bergeron, sending the game into overtime. It very well could’ve been that the Leafs coughed up a two-goal third-period lead, then lost the second point in the extra period.
It didn’t turn out that way. Nazem Kadri’s power play goal lifted the Leafs to victory.
The update on Bernier afterward was that he has a “lower-body” issue and will have an MRI tomorrow, according to Arash Madani of Sportsnet.
The Detroit Red Wings needed two points. They got them.
The Red Wings fell behind the Boston Bruins by a goal early in the third period, but got a pair of pretty goals from Tomas Jurco and Gustav Nyquist just one minute and 42 seconds apart to come back and then had to hold on for a thrilling 3-2 victory on Wednesday.
- The win gives the Red Wings 86 points now on the season, which helps improve their standing in the Eastern Conference Wild Card and playoff race. Keep in mind, the Red Wings are looking for their 23rd consecutive playoff appearance, which would extend their franchise record.
- Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard had to be good early. The Bruins, playing on the road, held a distinct advantage in shots, outshooting their opponents 25-11 after two periods. He made 33 saves on the night.
- With the two teams still scoreless, the Bruins had a goal waved off late in the first period on a questionable goaltending interference call. The controversy didn’t last long. Johnny Boychuk gave Boston the lead about nine seconds later after the faceoff.
- Bit of a scary moment in the second period, as Red Wings’ forward Jurco ran Boychuk hard from behind into the glass. Jurco received only a minor penalty for boarding, while Boychuk remained in the game.
- Jurco, of course, tied the game just past the midway point of the third period.
- The Bruins had their road winning streak snapped at nine games.
- No Jarome Iginla for the Bruins in this one. He sat out with a lower-body ailment, making it the first game he’s missed because of injury in seven years.
There was a concerning moment for the Boston Bruins in the second period of Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.
Bruins’ defenseman Johnny Boychuk was hit hard from behind into the glass by Red Wings’ forward Tomas Jurco with less than seven minutes remaining in the middle frame. Jurco, who has only 10 penalty minutes in 29 games for Detroit this season, was assessed a minor penalty on the play.
Boychuk, 30, remained in the game for the Bruins. The Boston blue liner had made a pass behind the net, with his back clearly turned to Jurco.
Jurco continued to follow through on his hit, driving Boychuk from behind in the boards.