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‘Bomb cyclone’ forces Bruins-Panthers game to be postponed

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The “bomb cyclone” currently pounding the Northeast U.S. with wind and snow has forced the postponement of Thursday night’s Florida Panthers-Boston Bruins game at TD Garden.

The NHL announced that a decision on a date and time for the rescheduled game will come at a later date.

The massive storm could leave up to 18 inches in some parts with winds hitting 50 mph. It has also wreaked havoc on travel, with numerous train and airline delays and cancellations. That may cause the Panthers some issues as they’re currently scheduled to play the Red Wings in Detroit on Friday night. No word yet on when they might be able to get out of Boston.

Florida is currently in the middle of a five-game road trip that ends with games in Columbus on Sunday and St. Louis on Tuesday.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

 

Whose blunder was worse: Capitals’ Carlson or Bruins’ Carlo?

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Let’s assume that defensemen John Carlson (Washington Capitals) and Brandon Carlo (Boston Bruins) didn’t resolve to land on more blooper reels in 2018.

Either way, these two prominent defensemen suffered from some groan-worthy gaffes early on Tuesday, with each mistake resulting in pucks in their teams nets. So, which one makes you shake your head more?

Personally, I’d go with Carlson’s blunder, which you can see in the video above this post’s headline.

As you can see below, Jordan Eberle jumped on the opportunity when Carlo seemed a little out of sorts:

Hey, these mistakes happen to the best of them, so here’s to both Carlson and Carlo shaking it off and enjoying 2018.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

NHL Power Rankings: Bruins contenders again

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If you were starting to get worried that sports fans in Boston didn’t have enough good things to be happy about lately I am here to bring you some good news: Their hockey team is looking like a legitimate contender again. Especially now that they are healthy.

The Bruins enter play on Tuesday on a 15-3-2 run over their past 20 games, are one of the best possession teams in hockey, and have three of the best forwards in the league (Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak) at the top of their lineup to drive the offense.

One of biggest developments though are the fact they have rebuilt their defense over the past couple of years with an infusion of young talent, including one of the league’s top rookies in Charlie McAvoy. He is not only playing more than 23 minutes per game, but is also playing them at an extremely high level. Once the strength of their roster, the Bruins defense took a significant hit in recent years due to age, the salary cap, and some trades that depleted their depth. With Torey Krug taking a big step forward and the development of McAvoy and Brandon Carlo that unit is once again a formidable one for a contender.

Then there is the resurgence of starting goaltender Tuukka Rask.

It’s not that Rask was necessarily bad the past two seasons, but he wasn’t really the same player we saw when he was helping lead the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013 and was one of the top goalies in the league. After posting some league average numbers the past two seasons Rask is back to performing like one of the top goalies in the league and has been nearly unbeatable during the Bruins’ recent hot streak.

Entering play on Tuesday he is 10-0-1 in his past 11 decisions, a stretch where he has allowed just 15 goals. He has allowed more than two goals just once during that stretch and more than one goal just four times.

The Bruins crack the top-five in our power rankings this week.

Let us check in and see where everyone else fits in.

The Best Of The Best

1. Tampa Bay Lightning — The Lightning are running away with the top spot in the Eastern Conference. They enter Tuesday with a seven-point lead over the Capitals and have still played two fewer games. What is not to love about this team right now? They deserve their own category at the moment.

The Elites

2. Vegas Golden Knights — At this point they are not just the best expansion team in NHL history, they are on their way to becoming the best expansion team in any of the four major sports. Another long winning streak, 9-0-1 in their past 10 games. Simply the best NHL story in decades.

3. Washington Capitals — Here come the Capitals. After winning just 10 of their first 20 games they have stormed back over the next 20 by going 14-4-2. They enter Tuesday a point ahead of the Devils in the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

4. New Jersey Devils — If it wasn’t for what Vegas is doing these guys would probably be the biggest surprise in the league this season. The biggest individual player surprise? Brian Gibbons is tied for the team lead in goals at the moment.

5. Boston Bruins — Starting to look like a contender for all of the reasons mentioned above.

6. Los Angeles Kings — Still having a great season but have cooled off a bit since we last checked in on the power rankings. The top of the roster is great, but still some questions about the bottom half.

The Strong Contenders

7. Nashville Predators — Their depth is going to be tested for a bit here without Filip Forsberg. He was on pace for another 30-goal season before he landed on injured reserve.

8. Winnipeg Jets — I feel like Patrik Laine isn’t getting enough attention this season. He is on pace for 37 goals and if he gets there would have two 35-goal seasons before his age 20 season in the NHL. That has only been done by four players in NHL history: Brian Bellows, Jimmy Carson, Sidney Crosby and Dale Hawerchuk.

9. St. Louis Blues — They have hit their first slump of the season, winning just three of their past 10 games.  Not time to panic yet. It happens over the course of an 82-game season.

The Rest Of The Best

10. New York Rangers — They don’t always look great, but they keep stacking up points. Their upcoming schedule though is absolutely brutal and is going to be a huge test.

11. Toronto Maple Leafs — We’re back the wild, high-scoring games that have to be driving Mike Babcock crazy. Their recent road trip was not particularly kind to them, but they get a lot of home cooking over the next few weeks.

12. Columbus Blue Jackets — They have given up at least four goals in six of their past 10 games, including five games where they have surrendered at least five. Not what we are used to seeing from this team the past couple of seasons.

The Middle Ground

13. San Jose Sharks — Joe Pavelski is on pace for what would be (on a per-game basis) the worst goal-scoring season of his career. Shot volume has taken a bit of a dip, but not as big as the drop in shooting percentage. Little bit of bad luck at play? If that corrects itself could be a huge development or the Sharks in the second half.

14. Carolina Hurricanes — They are right on the playoff bubble with what is, once again, one of the worst team save percentages in the NHL. How does this keep happening every single season no matter who the goalie is? They are so, so, so close. It is almost painful how close they are.

15. New York Islanders — Josh Bailey is on pace for more than 100 points. This probably is not getting the attention it deserves.

16. Dallas Stars — Very hot and cold team. Still should probably expect more given what the top of their roster looks like and how many big moves they make every summer.

17. Minnesota Wild — They are finally getting Zach Parise back. Getting him back healthy, as well as Nino Neiderreiter, could make this a interesting team. They have hung around despite those two major injuries.

18. Chicago Blackhawks — Corey Crawford‘s injury problems are starting to become a concern, especially as the team has only won two games this season with him out of the lineup.

19. Philadelphia Flyers — Very quietly Claude Giroux is on pace for what would be a career high in points. His career high was 93 points (in 77 games) in 2011-12. He is currently on track for 99 if he is able to play in all 82 games this season (and maintain this same pace).

Running Out Of Time To Make A Move

20. Florida Panthers — The Panthers have won five in a row and are trying to make a little bit of a move in the Eastern Conference. But is that winning streak a case of too little, too late? Even with it they are still five points out of a playoff spot with four teams ahead of them.

21. Anaheim Ducks — Getting their centers back healthy might make a pretty big difference. They have won four out of five and are, as of Tuesday, back into a playoff position.

22. Calgary Flames — Johnny Gaudreau is amazing but this really is not the way the Flames envisioned this season going, especially after their big offseason moves.

23. Colorado Avalanche — Exciting offense plus bad defense and goaltending can at least make for some fun hockey. If you’re going to miss the playoffs again you should at least be entertaining. Nathan MacKinnon alone has been worth the price of admission this season.

24. Pittsburgh Penguins — The “played a lot of hockey the past two years” excuse is starting to get old. It is simply a flawed team that has too many empty roster spots (like, for example, the entire fourth line and a big part of the third line) at the moment. Out of their 13 games in December they only won two of them in regulation.

25. Edmonton Oilers — They showed some signs of life with a four-game winning streak in mid-December but then followed it up with a three-game losing streak. That gap between them and a playoff spot really is not getting any smaller.

Not Too Early To Start Looking To Next Season

26. Detroit Red Wings — At this point it’s just a matter of watching to see when — or if — they start making trades. Mike Green would probably be an attractive player. Could they find a taker for Jimmy Howard?

27. Montreal Canadiens — Don’t trade Max Pacioretty at his lowest value. Don’t trade Max Pacioretty at his lowest value. Don’t trade Max Pacioretty at his lowest value. Don’t trade Max Pacioretty at his lowest value. Don’t trade Max Pacioretty at his lowest value. Don’t trade Max Pacioretty at his lowest value. Don’t trade Max Pacioretty at his lowest value. Don’t trade Max Pacioretty at his lowest value.

28. Vancouver Canucks — It was fun for a little bit in Vancouver this season, but it is just not their time yet.

29. Buffalo Sabres — Hey, at least the Bills are going to the playoffs!

30. Ottawa Senators —  Since starting the season 8-3-5 the Senators have gone 4-14-3 and completely fallen apart. Things are looking grim.

31. Arizona Coyotes — Tough situation. Extremely young team that has some talent that you should be excited about but is just overmatched on most nights.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Capitals end losing streak in 4-3 shootout win over Bruins

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As hot as the Boston Bruins had been as of late, history just wasn’t on their side on Thursday night against the Washington Capitals.

The Caps earned a 4-3 shootout decision over the Bruins, ending a three-game losing streak while simultaneously putting an end to the Bruins’ five-game heater. And on top of that, the Caps improve their impressive run against the Bruins dating back to 2014 with 12 straight wins.

The record looked like it would fall early on in Thursday’s game as the Bruins jumped out of the gate with a vegenance, scoring twice in 49 seconds inside the first three minutes of the game.

David Backes took advantage of a nice centering feed from Riley Nash to notch his sixth goal in his 12th game this season. Noel Acciari doubled the advantage 49 seconds later, punching in his own rebound after a wrap-around attempt on Braden Holtby.

Bruins forward Danton Heinen continued his fine form as of late, registering his seventh assist and 10th point in his past seven games on Backes’ marker.

The Caps ended a long goal drought just after the mid-way point of the second period as Lars Eller let a wrister go from the high slot, beating Khudobin high over his glove hand.

Alex Ovechkin scored his 24th of the season to move into a tie for the NHL goal-scoring lead and tied the game 2-2 1:36 after Eller’s goal.

But the Bruins would regain the advantage in the third period, with Backes’ second of the night.

Backes has five goals in his past six games now as he continues his solid return from colon surgery at the end of November.

Washington, not to be outdone, came from behind yet again, however, as Brett Connolly‘s backhand went off the skate of Kevan Miller and behind Khudobin for the tying goal at the 11:22 mark of the third.

Nothing separated the two teams after overtime, and Ovechkin put the final mark on the game as the only scorer in the shootout to get the Caps back on track in the win column.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

WATCH LIVE: Bruins vs. Capitals on NBCSN

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WATCH THE GAME LIVE

PROJECTED LINES

Boston Bruins

Forwards 

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak

Danton HeinenRiley NashDavid Backes

Jake DeBruskRyan SpoonerAnders Bjork

Tim SchallerSean KuralyNoel Acciari

Defense

Zdeno CharaCharlie McAvoy

Torey KrugBrandon Carlo

Matt GrzelcykKevan Miller

Starting goalie: Anton Khudobin

NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Bruins vs. Capitals; Golden Knights vs. Kings

Washington Capitals

Forwards

Alex OvechkinNicklas BackstromTom Wilson

Jakub VranaEvgeny KuznetsovT.J. Oshie

Andre BurakovskyLars EllerBrett Connolly

Devante Smith-PellyJay BeagleAlex Chiasson

Defense

Dmitry OrlovMatt Niskanen

Brooks OrpikJohn Carlson

Christian DjoosMadison Bowey

Starting goalie: Braden Holtby