Jarome Iginla

Video: Iginla reaches 20-goal mark for 16th time in NHL career

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At the age of 37, Jarome Iginla continues to be a consistent goal scorer in the National Hockey League.

On Wednesday, Iginla gave the Colorado Avalanche a 1-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins after he blasted a slap shot that beat Marc-Andre Fleury on the stick side. That gives Iginla 20 goals on the season. It’s the 16th time in his NHL career he’s hit the 20-goal mark.

Chiarelli: Bruins ‘cap crunch’ made it ‘tough’ to get trades done

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When the dust settled on Monday’s trade deadline, Boston failed to land the impact forward or defenseman some envisioned, opting instead for Tampa Bay youngster Brett Connolly and Colorado veteran Max Talbot.

To hear GM Peter Chiarelli explain it, the lack of moves wasn’t for a lack of trying.

“It’s been tough as far as getting a trade done, getting any sort of transaction done,” he explained in his post-deadline media availability. “For us, we’re obviously under a cap crunch, but it’s just hard to get a deal done and you see the prices are so high.”

At forward, the B’s were linked to the likes of Chris Stewart (who went to Minnesota) and Cam Atkinson (who re-signed in Columbus on a three-year, $10.5 million deal). On defense, where the club has struggled this year and is shorthanded, the B’s were tied to a number of rentals — none of which panned out — and that was partly due to Chiarelli balancing the club’s immediate needs against it’s long-term health.

“We’re looking to the future and also to the present,” he said. “Our moves were necessitated by the prices and if we’re going to spend the picks that we spent, let’s look at all options, not just rental options.

“If I could fill every need, I would. It’s not a surprise or a revelation that our D, by losing [Johnny] Boychuk and [Kevan] Miller, our D is not what it was.”

When questioned about this approach given all the heat around his job security, Chiarelli was blunt.

“We’re all under pressure,” he said. “You’re a professional, you do what’s best for the organization.”

It was pretty clear, though, that finances dictated the day. It’s a financial situation that Chiarelli himself created; the bonus overages from Jarome Iginla’s contract put the B’s in a bind and led to jettisoning Boychuk prior to the start of the season, and also led to an inability to land rentals, like the club did prior to previous playoff runs (think Jaromir Jagr, Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly, Tomas Kaberle).

This year, different story. The Talbot acquisition relied on Colorado retaining 50 percent of the veteran’s salary, and Connolly — the sixth overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft — was viewed as someone that could help some now, but probably pay more dividends down the road (as a RFA making just $850,500, the B’s can control his cost to a certain degree.)

“He’s going to be a top-six player,” he said of Connolly. “There’s a future for him here.”

As for the playoffs, Chiarelli said the focus hasn’t changed. He thinks the B’s are still good enough to get in, and the fight to qualify should serve the team well in the future.

“I feel we have a team that can make the playoffs,” he said. “They’ve been through a lot of adversity. The young players have grown and will continue to grow.”

Get your game notes: Penguins at Capitals, Rivalry Night

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Washington Capitals hosting the Pittsburgh Pengins on Rivalry Night at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

TOP STORYLINES

• Last game: Both last played on Sunday…PIT won at home over FLA, 5-1…WSH lost at PHI, 3-2.

• WSH sits in the 1st wild card spot in the East, 9 points ahead of BOS (2nd WC).

• PIT won its division the last 2 seasons, but has never won 3 straight division titles (currently in 47th season).

• PIT: 7-11-4 vs. Metropolitan Division teams this season

• No other team currently in a playoff position has below a .500 points% within its own division.

• Caps dominating Pens this season (Potential Playoff Meeting?): This is the 4th and final meeting of the season; Washington has beaten Pittsburgh in all 3 previous meetings this season, scoring 3+ goals in each game and outscoring the Pens 10-1 including 2 shutouts…PIT was last swept by WSH in season series in 2009-10 (0-2-2).

• 3 of the top 6 scorers in the league will be on display in this one, including the league’s top goal scorer, Alex Ovechkin, who leads the NHL with 38 goals.

• Since Nicklas Backstrom entered the league in 2007-08, his teammate Alex Ovechkin leads the league in goals & points – Evgeni Malkin & Sidney Crosby rank 2nd & 3rd (Crosby 2nd in points; Malkin in goals – the other 3rd in each)…Backstrom ranks 8th in both goals & points.

• However, Crosby leads all NHLers in points/game since ’07-08 (Malkin – 2nd, Ovi – 3rd).

• 4 of 10 players with 550+ points since ’07-08

• Feb. for both clubs…WSH has gone 8-4-0 in the month…PIT is 6-4-1 in Feb.

• PIT comes in looking to win 3 straight for the first time since Dec. 15-20.

• WSH looks to win for the 5th time in the last 6 games (4-1-0 in last 5).

PITTSBURGH TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

• PIT power play: 0-for-the-month (0-20) until its last 2 games when it went 1-3 in each (2-26 on PP in Feb.).

• Sidney Crosby is one goal shy of reaching the 20-goal mark for the 8th time in his 10-season career.

• Crosby had 2 assists vs. FLA to improve his points/game to 1.09 (1st in NHL).

• Evgeni Malkin recorded his first 2goal-1assist game of the season vs. FLA.

• He has 5 points (3G-2A) during a 3-game point streak.

• Career vs. WSH: 39 points (9G-30A) in 28 games

• Kris Letang had an assist vs. FLA to continue his hot stretch. He is tied with CGY’s Mark Giordano for most points among defensemen (47) and leads all blueliners in assists (37).

• Letang is 1 goal & 3 pts away from tying his career high in both (11G last season, 50 pts in 2010-11).

• Patric Hornqvist posted 2 goals & 1 assist vs. FLA to match a career high for points in a game (last done on Nov. 8 at BUF). The 1st-year Penguin is 2 goals & 1 assist shy of his 4th career 20-20 season.

• Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 34 of 35 shots vs. FLA for his 27th victory of the season.

• Fleury has allowed no more than 2 goals in each of his last 7 starts dating back to Feb. 4:

• 4-2-1 record, 1.00 GAA, .964 SV%

• Career vs. WSH: 16-10-2, 2.48 GAA, .916 SV%

• Fleury leads the league in shutouts with a career-high/franchise-record 8 this season

• The Rangers (9), Wild & Canucks (both 8) are the only teams w/ as many clean sheets as Fleury

• Braden Holtby (WSH), Ryan Miller (VAN) & Devan Dubnyk (MIN) are t-2nd with 6 shutouts.

WASHINGTON TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

• Alex Ovechkin (goals) & Nicklas Backstrom (assists & pts) are at the top of the league rankings this season.

• Despite 0 points in his last 2 games, Ovi still has 11 points (6G-5A) in his last 8 games.

• Ovi leads the NHL in Feb. with 9 goals and 16 points.

• Backstrom’s 4-game point streak was snapped at PHI but he has 7 points (2G-5A) in his last 5 games.

• The highest Backstrom has ever finished in the scoring race is 4th when he had 101 points back in 2009-10 (Ovi finished t-2nd that season w/ 109)… The highest Backstrom has ever finished in assists was 3rd – done 4 times. His career high in both was set in the 2009-10 season (68A-101PTS).

• Last season Sidney Crosby (PIT) led the league in assists (68) & points (104).

• Ovechkin has won the Rocket Richard Trophy 4 times including each of the last 2 seasons.

• Six players have won the league’s goal-scoring title 5 or more times including Maurice Richard himself.

• Ovechkin has won the Art Ross Trophy once in his career (2007-08) – it is the only season a Capitals player has ever led the league in scoring.
Ovechkin was the last player to win both the Rocket Richard and Art Ross Trophy in the same season, doing so in 2007-08 with 65 goals and 112 points (both career highs)…Jarome Iginla in 2001-02 with CGY is the only other player to have won both awards in the same season.

• Ovechkin is a 3-time Hart Trophy winner (MVP) – 2012-13, 2008-09, 2007-08.

• No two teammates have more points this season than Ovechkin & Backstrom (125).

• Not since Joe Thornton (assists & points) & Jonathan Cheechoo (goals), in 2005-06 as members of the Sharks, had two teammates ended the season leading the league in each of those categories.

• Braden Holtby has started the Caps last 4 games and despite giving up 3 goals vs. PHI, he has allowed only 7 goals total in those 4 starts (1.73 GAA, .938 SV%)

Chiarelli understands scrutiny on GM and coach, but says, ‘It’s unfortunate that we’re under review for one year’

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To an outsider, it seems almost insane that a team that won the Stanley Cup in 2011, made it back to the finals in 2013, then won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2014 could in 2015 be on the verge of firing its coach, Claude Julien, and GM, Peter Chiarelli.

Reading that over, maybe it is insane.

It sort of sounds insane, right?

But that continues to be the speculation in Boston, where Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs and president Cam Neely are, according to the Boston Globe, willing to “make Chiarelli (hired in 2006) and Julien (2007) pay the price” for the club’s disappointing 2014-15 campaign.

“Whether it’s Cam or Charlie who said we’re all under review, I understand that,” Chiarelli told the newspaper. “We’ve had a lot of success here in my tenure and Claude’s tenure. We’re having a down year. It’s unfortunate that we’re under review for one year. But I understand. We’ve got to make things better.”

To be sure, Chiarelli has made some questionable decisions. Just before the start of the season, he traded defenseman Johnny Boychuk due to salary-cap constraints — the same constraints that meant the loss of free-agent winger Jarome Iginla.

At the time, the Boychuk trade was one Chiarelli conceded “doesn’t make us better now” but needed to be done. Except, given how things have been going on the blue line lately, it’s fair to say the B’s have missed Boychuk in a big way. Perhaps more than they expected to.

Chiarelli, of course, also traded Tyler Seguin in a deal with Dallas that most feel the Bruins lost. So in reality, this isn’t just about one season. The Bruins haven’t drafted and developed particularly well under Chiarelli either.

As for Julien, well, maybe he’s just reaching the natural end of his tenure with one team. It happens to all coaches eventually. Look around the NHL and only Detroit’s Mike Babcock has been employed by the same team longer. All 28 other teams have made changes. Some have made multiple changes.

The Bruins could still turn their season around. But if they don’t — and especially if they miss the playoffs — as hard as it might be to believe, we may actually be witnessing the end of an era in Boston.

Related: Malcolm Subban to start for Bruins

Avs back to scoring goals and ‘having fun,’ says MacKinnon

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Colorado has been on a nice offensive run lately — 15 goals in its last four games — and last year’s Calder Trophy winner thinks he knows why.

“We’ve been getting back to having fun,” Nathan MacKinnon said, per LA Kings Insider. “We’re a little bit looser, I think. We’re starting to generate some chemistry, obviously.

“It’s been a rough year in terms of goalscoring, but we’re trying to get some wins here.”

Putting pucks in the net has been a major issue this year for the Avs, who finished fourth in the NHL in goals per game (2.99) last season. The club currently sits 24th overall in offense, and there’s no shortage of culprits:

— Ryan O’Reilly, who led the team with 28 goals a year ago, has 10.

— Gabriel Landeskog, who scored a career-high 65 points last year, is on pace for 49.

— MacKinnon and Matt Duchene combined for 47 goals in ’13-14. This year, they have 24.

While advanced metrics predicted Colorado wouldn’t be able to sustain last year’s scoring clip — the Avs didn’t generate enough shots, weren’t a good possession team and had a high shooting percentage — this was still a talented squad that added a seasoned goalscorer in Jarome Iginla (who has been a terrific pickup, leading the team with 18 goals and 40 points thus far.)

Lately, the Avs have done a better job of firing pucks on goal.

Colorado has registered 30 shots or more in each of its last two games, no small feat for a team that averages the sixth-fewest in the NHL. They’ll need to keep that up tonight against Los Angeles, as the Kings only allow 27.2 per night (L.A. ranks second in the league in fewest shots allowed.)

Oh, one other thing worth mentioning about the Avs-Kings matchup — this is the first time the two have met this season. Considering how close they are in the standings (the Avs are five points back of the Kings heading into tonight’s action) and the fact they play each other two more times after tonight, this could end up being a series to watch in terms of playoff jockeying.