Eastern Conference final team capsules: Boston Bruins

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A rundown of the Bruins (28-14-6) , who entered the playoffs as the No. 4 seed.

68th appearance

6 Stanley Cup titles (1929, 1939, 1941, 1970, 1972, 2011)

Studs:

  • David Krejci: 17 points (leads NHL)
  • Nathan Horton: +14 (leads NHL)
  • Milan Lucic: 55 hits (5th in NHL)
  • “HuLK Line” (Horton – Lucic – Krejci): combined 13 goals, 26 assists, 39 points
  • Patrice Bergeron: 63.5% faceoffs (leads NHL)
  • Torey Krug: 4 goals (1st four NHL goals)
  • Johnny Boychuk: 4 goals, 45 blocked shots (leads NHL)
  • Zdeno Chara: 29:13 ice time per game (2nd in NHL)
  • “Merlot Line” (Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton): 5 goals, 8 assists, 13 points
  • Team: 57.5% on faceoffs (leads NHL)
  • Team: 474 hits (2nd in NHL)

Duds:

  • Chris Kelly: 0 points, -6 (worst on team)
  • Jaromir Jagr: 0 goals on 36 shots
  • Tyler Seguin: 1 goal on 45 shots
  • 3rd line (Rich Peverley – Kelly – Seguin): combined 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points
  • Team: 81.1% on penalty kill, 30-for-37 (8th in NHL)
  • Team: 144 giveaways (most in NHL)

Stanley Cup winners with 2011 Bruins (17 players, 4 coaches):

  • Patrice Bergeron, Johnny Boychuk, Gregory Campbell, Zdeno Chara (captain), Andrew Ference, Nathan Horton, Chris Kelly, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Adam McQuaid, Daniel Paille, Rich Peverley, Tuukka Rask, Dennis Seidenberg, Tyler Seguin, Shawn Thornton, Claude Julien (head coach), Doug Houda (asst), Doug Jarvis, Geoff Ward (asst), Bob Essensa (asst)

Cup winners with other franchises (4 players, 1 coach):

  • Jaromir Jagr (1991, 1992 Penguins), Jay Pandolfo (2000, 2003 Devils), Shawn Thornton (also with 2007 Ducks), Doug Jarvis (1976-79 Canadiens as player; 1999 Stars as asst coach)

Seeking first Cup, have played or coached one+ playoff game this postseason (6):

  • Matt Bartkowski, Kaspars Daugaviņš, Dougie Hamilton, Anton Khudobin (back-up goalie), Torey Krug, Wade Redden

Seeking 2013 postseason debut:

  • Anton Khudobin (14 regular-season games), Aaron Johnson (10), Carl Soderberg (6), Niklas Svedberg (0)

Most career playoff …

  • Games: Jaromir Jagr, 192 (22nd all-time, NHL) … with three more games, will move into 20th
  • Goals: Jaromir Jagr, 78 (11th all-time, NHL)
  • Points: Jaromir Jagr, 193 (6th all-time, NHL)

Last playoff …

  • Hat trick: David Krejci, May 8, 2013 (at Maple Leafs, Game 4, ECQF)
  • 4-point game: Zdeno Chara (4 assists), May 8, 2013 (at Maple Leafs, Game 4, ECQF)
  • Short-handed goal: Daniel Paille, May 6, 2013 (at Maple Leafs, Game 3, ECQF)
  • Fight: Shawn Thornton, May 25, 2013 (Derek Dorsett, vs. Rangers, Game 5, ECSF)
  • Shutout: Tim Thomas, April 12, 2012 (vs. Capitals, Game 1, ECQF)

Milestones:

  • With three games played, Jaromir Jagr (192) will move into the top-20 in NHL all-time playoff games (194, Paul Coffey) … with one goal, Jagr (78) will move into the NHL top-10 in all-time playoff goals (79, Jean Beliveau) … with four points, Jagr (193) will become fifth on the NHL all-time playoff scoring list (196, Paul Coffey)
  • Jaromir Jagr (41) could become the seventh player over the age of 40 to lift the Stanley Cup in the Post-Expansion Era (Raymond Bourque, 2001; Chris Chelios, 2002 & 2008; Igor Larionov, 2002; Dave Andreychuk, 2004; Dominik Hasek, 2008; Mark Recchi, 2011)
  • With one goal, David Krejci (25 career goals) will tie Bobby Orr and Robert Schmautz for the 11th most in Bruins franchise history
  • With three postseason wins, Tuukka Rask (15) will move past Gilles Gilbert for 5th in goaltending wins in Bruins franchise history
  • Wade Redden is one of two active players among the conference finalists’ rosters who have played 1,000+ regular-season games, but never won a Stanley Cup (Jarome Iginla, Penguins, 1,232)
  • Matt Bartkowski (22nd game) & Torey Krug (4th game) each scored their 1st career NHL goals in these playoffs … Krug scored four in total on Vezina finalist Henrik Lundqvist (NYR), only the second time a rookie defenseman has scored four or more times in a playoff series (Andy Delmore, 5, Flyers, 2000)

2012-13 season

  • Longest win streak: 6 (February 17 – March 2)
  • Longest winless streak: 4 (April 11 – 20)

Biggest storylines of season & postseason:

  • Tuukka Rask proves he’s a suitable #1 goaltender after the abrupt departure of 2-time Vezina Trophy and 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Tim Thomas
  • Bruins go the entire season without being shut out for only the fifth time in franchise history … they have not been shut out through the first two playoff rounds
  • April 17: Bruins host emotional game vs. Sabres following the tragic Boston Marathon bombings
  • May 13: Bruins come back from 4-1 deficit in final 10:42 to survive in overtime in Game 7 vs. Maple Leafs, 5-4

Award finalists:

  • Frank J. Selke Trophy (Top defensive forward): Patrice Bergeron

Despite missing six games with a concussion, Bergeron had 32 points (10 goals, 22 assists), was a +24 (6th in NHL), won 62.1% of his faceoffs (best in NHL) while taking 35.6% of his team’s faceoffs, and had 23 takeaways.

  • Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (Perseverance and dedication to hockey): Adam McQuaid

McQuaid’s season was in serious doubt before it even started when he was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which causes blood clots in the body. He played in 32 games, registering 62 hits and 43 blocked shots.

European League champions (lockout)

  • Johnny Boychuk (EC Red Bull Salzburg – Austria), Tuukka Rask (HC Plzen – Czech Republic)

Mrazek vs. Reimer and other Hurricanes lineup questions readying for Rangers

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Beyond obvious outliers like the Penguins, the Hurricanes rank among the most legitimate of the NHL’s Qualifying Round teams. Yet as stable as the Hurricanes are compared to a field full of erratic teams, Carolina faces many of the same lineup questions as the Rangers, the team they’d face in a best-of-five series.

Some might argue that the Hurricanes face tougher questions than the Rangers. (Though, the Rangers aren’t off the hook in that regard.)

In particular, the Hurricanes may need training camp to find answers in net and on defense. For all we know, Hurricanes lineup questions could even persist beyond “Phase 3.”

Let’s glance at both the goalie and defense questions for the Hurricanes.

Who should start in Hurricanes playoff lineup: Mrazek or Reimer?

Reimer, Mrazek, Hurricanes Rangers lineup questions NHL playoffs
(Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

With Henrik Lundqvist jousting with two young upstarts, some might wonder if the Rangers have too much of a good thing in net. The Hurricanes don’t enjoy quite the abundance of options.

Even so, coach Rod Brind’Amour faces a decision, as they lack a clear No. 1. Should the Hurricanes go with Petr Mrazek — who helped them during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs — or James Reimer (who boasts superior numbers this season)?

If Brind’Amour knows, he’s putting on a poker face.

“It’s easy to say right now, ‘OK, I’m going to go with Petr,’ but I don’t know,” Brind’Amour said in a recent interview, via NHL.com’s Dan Rosen. “He may be in rough shape. I don’t know until I get to see them and see what they’re like.”

It’s unclear if that last playoff run explains why Mrazek would be the “easy” choice, or if that came down to Reimer entering the pandemic pause with injury issues. (The Hurricanes may also be concerned about Reimer’s rather lengthy run of injury hiccups, too.)

Because, again, Reimer performed at a higher level than Mrazek in 2019-20. Reimer boasts a better save percentage than Mrazek this season (.914 to Mrazek’s .905) and over their careers (.914 to Mrazek’s .910). Reimer takes most/all goalie “advanced stats” between the two this season, as well. Generally speaking, we’ve seen more from Reimer over the past few seasons than Mrazek, whose career was teetering on the edge here and there.

(But, to be fair, Reimer’s had his issues, too.)

Regardless, just about every team should take a long look at how their goalies are performing during training camps. Even teams with clearer No. 1 options.

Honestly, with the NHL not expected to limit the number of goalies at training camps, maybe the Hurricanes should even look at options like Anton Forsberg or Alex Nedeljkovic?

An unexpectedly crowded defense

Dougie Hamilton Hurricanes Rangers lineup decisions playoffs
(Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

During the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline, the Hurricanes acquired Brady Skjei and Sami Vatanen. As you may remember, those moves hinged at least partially on injuries to Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce. After the twists of those bad-luck injuries, the pandemic threw off Carolina’s rhythm once more.

The best news is that it sounds like Hamilton will be available. Don’t let the museum talk fool you. If Hamilton maintained his hot pace and didn’t get injured, he would have been a go-to choice for those making arguments against John Carlson‘s Norris credentials. Either way, Hamilton provides an enormous boost to the Hurricanes lineup — one they weren’t expecting during the deadline.

On the other hand, Brind’Amour told NHL.com’s Rosen that Pesce remains unlikely to return. However …

“It’s going to be a long shot, but the longer this goes the shot gets a little shorter,” Brind’Amour said.

(Anyone else visualizing that after that rather literal description from Brind’Amour? No? OK.)

So, Hamilton stands as probable while Pesce looks unlikely. Beyond that, the Hurricanes have two still-new faces in Skjei (just seven not particularly impressive games played) and Vatanen (who was injured and didn’t even get to suit up). Let’s say that represents three defensemen for the Hurricanes. Here are the other contenders for spots in the Hurricanes defensive lineup:

  • Jaccob Slavin, a lock.
  • Jake Gardiner, who dealt with a tough season, averaging only 16:40 TOI. Still, Gardiner is experienced, played in 68 games this season, and may have benefited from the break.
  • Joel Edmundson (68 GP like Slavin and Gardiner, averaged more TOI than Gardiner with 18:27 per contest).
  • Trevor van Riemsdyk (49 GP, less than 15 minutes per night; still, Hurricanes are very familiar with TVR).
  • Haydn Fleury (45 GP, averaged fewer than 15 minutes per game).

Realistically, Brind’Amour could have eight options on defense, and possibly nine if Pesce makes unexpectedly rapid progress. Being that some of those options are quite good, there are worse problems to have.

But it still adds to the notion that training camp could be quite important for Hurricanes lineup decisions. With both goalies and defense, Brind’Amour emphasized a wait-and-see approach. So … we’ll see?

More on the Hurricanes, Rangers, return to play, and similar subjects:

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.

Flyers’ Oskar Lindblom rings bell after final cancer treatment

Flyers TV
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A week after hitting the ice with his teammates for the first time in six months, Oskar Lindblom got to ring the bell marking the end of his chemotherapy treatments.

The 23-year-old Flyers forward was diagnosed in December with Ewing sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, and played only 30 games this season.

On Thursday, Lindblom walked down the hall at Abramson Cancer Center at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to ring the bell and celebrate with the nurses who took care of him.

“I can’t even explain how I feel,” he told the Flyers website. “It feels I’m having a birthday, Christmas and all those holidays at the same time. It feels awesome to be done. I can’t wait to just get back to normal life again and start feeling like I’m living.”

(Lindblom will not play for the Flyers later this summer if the NHL resumes the 2019-20 season.)

Since being diagnosed, Lindblom received support from all over the hockey community. Players from the Flyers and around the NHL wore#OskarStrong” shirts and he was given a standing ovation when shown on the Jumbotron during a January game.

“From family to friends to fans, I can’t explain how much they’ve meant to me,” said Lindblom, who is the Flyers’ Masterton Trophy nominee. “Especially at the start when it was a rough time and I got all those kind words. It just made me feel so much better, calm, and it really helped along the way.”

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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.

PHT Morning Skate: Top free agents; O’Reilly up for ‘unique’ challenge

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from the NHL and around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• A look at the top 50 free agents who could hit the market at some point in the next few months. [TSN]

• Which UFA moments have defined the NHL’s salary-cap era? [Sportsnet]

Ryan O'Reilly is up for the “unique” challenge of helping the Blues defend their Stanley Cup title. [NHL.com]

• “There are health risks for the players who will be quarantined in hub cities for the Stanley Cup playoffs, but their concerns don’t end there. It’s possible the players will be paying for the lost revenues caused by COVID-19 for years.” [The Hockey News]

• On players potentially opting out of playing if the NHL resumes this summer. [NBC Sports Washington]

• It’s not looking good for Alexander Romanov, Kirill Kaprizov, and Ilya Sorokin in their attempts to play this season. [Hockey Wilderness]

• The NHL should thank college hockey for producing so many impactful young defensemen. [Grand Forks Herald]

• What Alexis Lafreniere would mean to the Blackhawks. [NBC Sports Chicago]

• Why Shane Doan should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. [Five for Howling]

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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.

Hurricanes losing Dudley, still in talks with TV’s Forslund

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Carolina Hurricanes president and general manager Don Waddell said Wednesday that executive Rick Dudley won’t return and the team is still in talks with longtime TV play-by-play announcer John Forslund on a new deal.

The 71-year-old Dudley had worked as Carolina’s senior vice president of hockey operations since 2018, part of nearly five decades in professional hockey. That included serving as general manager for four NHL franchises, and he also played and coached the Buffalo Sabres.

“Rick and I talked months ago and he said that at the end of his contract, he was going to move on,” Waddell said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Waddell said the team has reached agreements with all employees whose deals expired Tuesday so far except for Forslund, who is in his 25th season with the franchise and also does national broadcasts with NBC.

“We’ve had multiple talks: I’ve talked to the agent numerous times, I’ve talked to John a couple of times,” Waddell said. “We’ve laid it out. They didn’t yesterday ask for anything other than some time.”

Reached by the AP on Wednesday evening, Forslund said: “I’ve said it (before), the door’s always open until it’s completely closed. And as of right now, that’s where it stands.”