The Buzzer: Fleury magic, Point breaks Boston

Getty
4 Comments

Two games, two eliminations

Tampa Bay Lightning 3, Bruins 1 (Lightning win series 4-1)

The Bruins scored the first goal of Game 5, but that ended up being their final tally of 2017-18. Brayden Point & Co generated three unanswered goals to send Boston packing. Despite being a game behind the other series, the Lightning ended up advancing before everyone else. This series stands as a helpful reminder that the Bolts are one of the true powers in the NHL, and they figure to give the Washington Capitals or Pittsburgh Penguins all they can handle.

Vegas Golden Knights 3, Sharks 0 (Golden Knights win series 4-2)

Here’s a bold take: the Sharks won’t hate this post more than they hated that post in Game 6.

San Jose was snakebitten for all of Game 6, as Marc-Andre Fleury made all 28 saves for his fourth shutout of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, while the posts/crossbar did the rest. Jonathan Marchessault continued his line’s strong run with the 1-0 goal, which ended up being the game-winner. Nate Schmidt really took the air out of the Sharks with his unusual 2-0 goal, while an empty netter made it automatic. After carrying stretches of play in Game 6, the Sharks largely went out with a whimper during the third period.

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

Three Stars

1. Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights – So far, “MAF” is putting together a truly spellbinding postseason run. It gets more impressive when you consider the fact that he’s carrying over this work from what was arguably the best regular season of his vaunted career.

By stopping all 28 shots to close out the Sharks, Fleury is now 8-2-0 with an absurd .951 save percentage during this postseason run. Whether it’s the Jets or Predators next round, those high-powered offenses face a challenge in trying to trample “The Flower.”

2. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning – Fleury is grabbing the headlines, and with good reason, but don’t sleep on a goalie whose honesty about fatigue drew a lot of attention. Vasilevskiy sure seems like he’s playing like an energized goalie.

The Bruins have the firepower to make plenty of netminders look bad, yet Vasilevskiy held strong, including stopping 27 out of 28 shots in Game 5.

His numbers look elite once again. If you’re the Capitals, avoiding a Game 7 against the Penguins might also keep him from being that much more refreshed.

3. Nate Schmidt, Golden Knights – Brayden Point deserves an honorable mention for completing a great series against the Bruins, and also teaming up with Keanu Reeves to inspire this post’s headline.

Schmidt gets the slight edge for the third star, though. His 2-0 goal wasn’t just unusual; it also seemed to sap the Sharks’ energy. He grabbed an assist on an empty-netter. Beyond that, Schmidt generated a +3 rating, two shots on goal, and two blocked shots in 24:02 time on ice.

Factoids

Fleury continues to put together some really impressive milestones.

The Lightning are no strangers to the third round:

Tough stat for the Bruins.

Monday’s games

Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins, Game 6, 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN
Nashville Predators at Winnipeg Jets, Game 6, 9:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

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.

Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
2 Comments

BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

“That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

“It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

“It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

“We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

TAKE NOTE

The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

“We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.