2021 Jack Adams Award finalists: Brind’Amour, Evason, Quenneville

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The NHL announced the three finalists for the Jack Adams Award, which is handed out annually to the league’s coach of the year. This season’s trio is Rod Brind’Amour (Carolina Hurricanes), Dean Evason (Minnesota Wild), and Joel Quenneville (Florida Panthers).

The award is voted on by the league’s broadcasters, with the top three vote-getters being announced as the finalists.

Winners of the league’s awards will be announced during the semifinal round and Stanley Cup Final, with dates and times still to be announced.

The case for Brind’Amour

The Hurricanes had one of their most successful regular season performances during the 2020-21 season, winning the NHL’s central division and finishing in third place overall in the league standings.

They have made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his first three seasons as the Hurricanes’ coach, winning a round in two of them, including the 2020-21 season where they eliminated the Predators. In his first season, they defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals in the First Round on their way to an Eastern Conference Final appearance.

But focussing on this season, the Hurricanes won their first division title since the 2005-06 season, were one of the league’s most dominant teams on special teams, and have built a core that is among the league’s best.

He would be the first Jack Adams winner in the history of the Hurricanes’ franchise, and is only the second coach to be a finalist (Peter Laviolette finished in second place during their Stanley Cup winning 2005-06 season).

The case for Evason

In his first full season as Minnesota head coach, the Wild put together one of the most impressive regular season performances in franchise history.

Their .670 points percentage was the best in team history, and it came in a year where they played in a division with three of the league’s best teams (Colorado, Vegas, St. Louis) filling up half of their schedule. The Wild finished the season in third place in the West Division, trailing only Colorado and Vegas who finished tied for the best record in the league.

Along with their win total and playoff appearance, the Wild also had one of their most exciting seasons, finishing with the highest goals per game mark in franchise history.

All of that came after the Wild missed the postseason a year ago.

The case of Quenneville

In his second season behind the Panthers’ bench, Quenneville helped guide the Panthers to the best regular season performance in franchise history. There is a strong argument to be made that this was the best team in Panthers history.

In Quenneville’s first two years as Panthers coach they have set franchise records for highest goals per game average in franchise history.

This year, though, they took a huge step forward overall and were one of the league’s top teams all season, and were in a back-and-forth race with Carolina and the Lightning for the top spot in the Central Division, and they did that while not having their top defenseman — Aaron Ekblad — for a significant portion of the second half.

They ended up losing a First Round matchup with the Lightning in six games, but have built a strong foundation to build on and raised the bar significantly for future seasons.

2021 NHL Award Finalists:

Vezina Trophy: Marc-Andre Fleury, Philipp Grubauer, Andrei Vasilevskiy
Ted Lindsay Award: Sidney Crosby, Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid
Calder Memorial Trophy: Kirill Kaprizov, Alex Nedeljkovic, Jason Robertson

King Clancy Memorial Trophy: Kurtis Gabriel, Pekka Rinne, P.K. Subban
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Auston Matthews, Jaccob Slavin, Jared Spurgeon
Selke Trophy: Aleksander Barkov, Patrice Bergeron, Mark Stone
Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award: Renee Hess, Kevin Hodgson, Howard Smith
Bill Masterton Trophy: Matt Dumba, Oskar Lindblom, Patrick Marleau
Norris Trophy: Adam Fox, Victor Hedman, Cale Makar
Hart Trophy: Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Nathan MacKinnon 

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

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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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
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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
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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
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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.