Frederik Andersen produces save of playoffs against Bruins

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Paddle saves are the best. Paddle saves in the playoffs? Even better.

Much has been said about Frederik Andersen and his start to the playoffs through the first two games in Boston. The Dane just wasn’t good enough. And although the two goals he allowed on Monday in Game 3 against the Bruins in weren’t much better, Andersen came through in the clutch to produce the save of the playoffs so far.

Leading 4-2 late in the third period, David Pastrnak looked poised to pull the Bruins to within one. Looked, of course, is the key word here.

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

The save was vital down the stretch with the Bruins pressing, and the Maple Leafs are back in the series on the heels of Andersen’s 40 saves.


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

Pastrnak gets hat trick, six points in Bruins battering of Maple Leafs

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Uh oh.

Through two games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, no one looks more like a tire fire than the Toronto Maple Leafs. After getting blown out 5-1 on Thursday, you’d at the very least expect some sort of fight back from the Leafs.

But nope.

Instead, the Boston Bruins kept the train rolling, scoring four times on seven shots in the first period, including three goals on five shots against Frederik Andersen — who got the yank after 12:13 — en route to a 7-3 demolition on Saturday night in Boston.

The Bruins hold a 2-0 series lead as they move to Air Canada Centre for Games 3 and 4.

Andersen, who has allowed eight goals on 45 shots in the series thus far, didn’t get a chance to break a sweat. Curtis McElhinney, who came in to replace the Leafs’ No. 1 didn’t fare much better.

And the Maple Leafs can blame David Pastrnak for their troubles.

Pastrnak scored a hat trick and had six points to bring his two-game point total to nine.

Yes, nine. 9. Neuf. IX.

Pastrnak’s line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are responsible for 20 points in two games. Twenty.

  • Pastrnak – four goals, five assists
  • Marchand – one goal, five assists
  • Bergeron – five assists

That is utter dominance. An unstoppable force with no immovable object in sight.

The Maple Leafs need to get their belongings together. Partly, because they’re heading back to Toronto after this game for Game 3 and 4. But also partly because if this is all they can muster in the series, they might as well start packing for the offseason, because it’s coming very, very soon.

They’re down 2-0 in the series and there’s nothing to suggest they have any hope of winning one game, never mind four at this point.

Hell, the Maple Leafs may not even get a lead in this series.

Boston looks unstoppable so far.


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

Boston Bruins fail in opportunity to win Atlantic Division

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The Boston Bruins had their opportunity.

A win on Sunday night in a make-up game against the Florida Panthers had no bearing on the already-eliminated Cats. But for the Bruins, it represented a chance to dethrone the Tampa Bay Lightning from the top spot in the Atlantic Division one and for all.

Instead, the Bruins wasted the chance, falling 4-2 to the Panthers, who finished the season on a five-game winning streak.

2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Schedule, Bracket, Streams and More

The loss for the Bruins — and their second-place finish — was the gain for hockey fans everywhere.

Boston will now play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, with the Leafs finishing the season in third place. Two Original Six teams locking horns once more.

Pure hockey bliss.

The win also finalized the playoff matchups in the Eastern Conference.

The Tampa Bay Lightning will face the New Jersey Devils, with the Pittsburgh Penguins renewing their rivalry with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Columbus Blue Jackets and Metropolitan Division winning Washington Capitals.


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

Maple Leafs set new single-season record in wins, home wins on Wednesday

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Auston Matthews may have scored his 30th of the season on Wednesday night, but the team he leads did one better… well two better, actually.

You’d think that a team as old, as storied and as successful as the Toronto Maple Leafs have been over the course of their 100 seasons, that certain franchise records would be close to untouchable.

But this season’s iteration of the famed hockey club did two things on Wednesday that no other had done before them.

The Maple Leafs won their 46th game of the season, surpassing the old mark set by the 1990-00 Leafs and matched by the 2003-04 team. Being that their 46th win came at home, and it was their 27th win at Air Canada Centre this season, they became the first team to win that many games on home ice as well (the previous record of 26 was set in 2005-06).

Not a bad night at the office for the Maple Leafs, who could cap it all off by clinching a playoff berth if Philadelphia loses to Colorado in regulation.

UPDATE: Philly won so Toronto will have to wait to clinch another day.


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

Auston Matthews hits the 30-goal mark again (video)

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Auston Matthews put himself in some distinguished company with his 30th goal of the season on Wednesday

Matthews’ first-period snipe from the slot, first and foremost, gave the American two 30-goal campaigns in succession. As a rookie, Matthews dropped 40 last year playing in all 82 games for the Maple Leafs.

This year hasn’t been so kind in the injury department. A few injuries have limited Matthews to 57 games — including a recent return on March 22 from a month layoff due to a shoulder injury — but he’s managed well in spite, with 54 points now in 57 games.

Matthews put himself in the same conversation as Maple Leafs legends Wendel Clark and Daniel Marois with his consecutive 30-goal campaigns.

And on top of that, Matthews became just the fifth American-born players to accomplish the feat, joining some pretty stellar company there as well.

Wednesday’s just another reminder of how valuable Matthews is when he’s in the lineup. Matthews pushed his current point streak to five games with the marker.


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