|General managers propose 3-on-3 overtime||03.17.15 at 2:45 pm ET|
General managers have approved three-on-three regular-season overtime for next season, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Tuesday. Such a change is still pending the approval of the NHL Players’ Association, which could take place when the Competition Committee and Board of Governors meet in June.
It is unknown how three-on-three overtime would be used, though the current AHL format would seem to be logical. Starting this season, the AHL has done four minutes of four-on-four play followed by three minutes of three-on-three. Games not settled by then go to a shootout, though the new format has settled games in overtime more often, with only 5.7 percent of games going to a shootout as of Sunday. That number is down quite a bit from 15.6 percent last season.
Such a rule change would be welcome to the Bruins, who are just 3-7 in shootouts this season. Earlier this month, Claude Julien bluntly said shootouts ‘suck.’ He followed that up last week by saying he hoped that general managers would approve three-on-three at this week’s GM meetings in Florida.
Also proposed by general managers is limited replay challenge, which would apply to goaltender inference and delay of game penalties.
|David Krejci could return to Bruins this weekend, Brett Connolly skating||03.17.15 at 11:50 am ET|
The Bruins got a couple of encouraging signs Tuesday morning, as Brett Connolly skated for the second straight day and David Krejci took another step forward in his return from a partially torn MCL.
Connolly (broken finger) skated by himself prior to Tuesday’s morning skate, with the Boston Herald noting he is doing doing minimal work with the puck and not shooting. Krejci, meanwhile, took part in morning skate and could return to the Bruins’ lineup this weekend, according to Claude Julien.
Connolly has been out with a displaced fracture in his right index finger since getting hit in the hand with a Dennis Seidenberg wrist shot in his second practice with the team on March 4.
The Bruins had traded for his services just two days prior, sending second-round picks in the next two seasons to the Lightning for the 2010 sixth overall pick.
Though his injury didn’t impact his skating, the Bruins wanted to wait until after the player’s surgery before he started skating. He is not expected to return until late in the regular season at the earliest.
Krejci has been skating since last Monday. He called Tuesday ‘another step forward’ but said that he isn’t ready to pinpoint a return date.
“I don’t really have a timeline,” Krejci said. “I’ll just take it day-by-day. Whenever it feels 100 percent, I’ll be back.”
Krejci has not played since suffering the knee injury on Feb. 20. He has missed a total of 31 games this season due to various injuries.
|5 things we learned as Capitals beat Bruins to take back first wild card spot||03.15.15 at 10:17 pm ET|
The Capitals ended the Bruins’ five-game win streak and took over sole possession of the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference Sunday. Washington now has 84 points to Boston’s 82, though the Bruins have a game in hand.
A day after shutting out the Penguins, it was the Bruins who were blanked as Braden Holtby stopped all 32 shots he saw on the night.
With the Red Wings enjoying a 5-1 win over the Penguins earlier in the day and the Bruins losing, Detroit now sits five points ahead of Boston for the third spot in the Atlantic Division.
The Senators continued their ascent up the standings on Sunday, as they remain on the outside of the playoff picture looking in but have closed to within five points of the Bruins for the second and final wild card spot.
Here are four more things we learned Sunday:
FIRST COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE
The Capitals took full advantage of the fact that they had been off since Friday, while the Bruins were playing their third game in four nights. Given that, the Bruins should have considered themselves fortunate to only allow one goal in what was a Washington-dominated first period.
Through the first five minutes, the Capitals attempted 14 shots to Boston’s two. The game stayed scoreless until 12:43, when John Carlson scored the only goal of the period on a Washington power play.
The Bruins recovered with a far more balanced effort, but a Nate Schmidt slapshot that redirected off the shaft of Gregory Campbell‘s stick sailed past Tuukka Rask at 13:37 to make it 2-0 as the Bruins failed to get one past Holtby.
HOLTBY HAS BRUINS’ NUMBER
The Bruins have faced the Capitals twice this season. They’ve been shut out by Braden Holtby both times.
Sunday’s performance gave Holtby a career-high eight blankings on the season. The B’s apparently brought out the best in Holtby, as he was yanked Friday after giving up four goals to Stars.
The teams’ next and final meeting of the regular season will come on April 8 in Washington in the Bruins’ 80th game of the season.
BUSY RASK MATCHES CAREER-HIGH
Sunday’s was the 58th game Tuukka Rask played this season, matching the career-high in games played he set last season, and the B’s still have 13 games to go.
While Rask will blow at least into the high 60s for games this season, it’s worth noting that three of his games this season have been in relief. All 58 of Rask’s games last season were games he started, whereas he has started 55 games this season.
SODERBERG STILL SLUMPING
Carl Soderberg’s goal-less streak reached 23 games with another goose-egg on Sunday. Soderberg had one shot on goal against the Capitals.
|5 things we learned as Bruins beat Penguins to set up big meeting with Capitals||03.14.15 at 3:40 pm ET|
The Bruins won their fifth straight game Saturday to pull even with the Capitals for the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. With Boston’s 2-0 victory over the Penguins and and Detroit’s loss to the Flyers, the B’s now trail the Red Wings by three points for the third spot in the Atlantic Division.
The win, which came thanks to a Tuukka Rask shutout, a Milan Lucic first-period goal and a clutch empty-netter from Zdeno Chara that went the length of the ice, sets up a big meeting between the B’s and Capitals Sunday in the nation’s capital. Both teams sit at 82 points on the season, though the Bruins have a game in hand.
The Penguins had an uphill climb the whole game, as Sidney Crosby was a late scratch (see below) and Evgeni Malkin was limited to just five shifts all game due to an early injury suffered on a hit from Chris Kelly.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
SPOONER LINE STRIKES AGAIN
The Bruins’ third line of Ryan Spooner between Milan Lucic and David Pastrnak produced what was the game’s only goal until Chara’s dagger, with Lucic beating Thomas Greiss from the left circle at 9:53 of the first period.
The goal was the Spooner line’s sixth five-on-five goal in 10 games. It also gave Lucic eight points (four goals, four assists) since the line was united following David Krejci‘s knee injury.
The production for Spooner’s line is very encouraging and proves that the young center could very well take over for Carl Soderberg next season if the veteran center walks in free agency. The team should still prioritize returning Lucic and Pastrnak to Krejci on the first line once Krejci’s back, as Lucic-Spooner-Pastrnak would fare far worse if given the assignments that Lucic and Krejci usually have.
RASK GETS THE SHUTOUT
Rask earned his third shutout of the season and continued a stretch of impressive play of late.
With Saturday’s performance, Rask has allowed two goals or fewer in seven of his last eight starts. The Bruins’ last loss (a shootout defeat against the Flames on March 5) marks the only time since Feb. 18 that Rask has allowed three goals.
The Bruins can do more damage in the standings with a win over the Capitals Sunday, so Claude Julien would be wise to go back to Rask in that contest.
Sidney Crosby was a late surprise scratch for the Penguins and there was some confusion as to whether the Bruins could put Craig Adams in the game in his place after a lineup was submitted with Crosby playing and Adams sitting.
The change was deemed legal, as officials reviewed and approved the change. The NHL sent out the following explanation Saturday afternoon:
Sidney Crosby took pre-game warmup but determined that he could not play in the Bruins/Penguins game and was replaced by Craig Adams. Since Crosby was in the previously submitted starting line-up, this change had to be made according to Rule 7.1 which states that changes to the starting line-up must be reviewed and approved by the Referee prior to the start of the game. Proper procedure was followed by the Penguins and Adams is now in the game.
TROTMAN BACK TO PROVIDENCE
The Bruins returned Zach Trotman to Providence Saturday. The team had recalled the defenseman Friday for their two-game road trip to Pittsburgh and Washington.
With Trotman now back on the AHL roster, the B’s have only their six healthy defensemen for blueline options.
|Bruins recall Zach Trotman on emergency basis||03.13.15 at 7:40 pm ET|
The Bruins recalled defenseman Zach Trotman on an emergency basis Friday, giving them a seventh defenseman for their two-game road trip.
Trotman has played 17 games for the Bruins this season but has spent the majority of the 2014-15 campaign in Providence. In 35 games for Providence, he has two goals and 10 assists for 12 points.
The 24-year-old posted four assists with the NHL club earlier this season, as he played for Boston from late October through mid-December over multiple callups while the B’s dealt with injuries on their blue line.
|5 things we learned as Bruins actually win in a shootout||03.12.15 at 9:49 pm ET|
Claude Julien doesn’t like to see a game end in a shootout, but at least he saw a 3-2 win for his team.
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand both beat Ben Bishop after a wild overtime as the Bruins improved to 35-22-10 on the season. They now sit just two points behind the Capitals for the first wild card spot with one game in hand.
That wasn’t the extent of the post-regulation excitement. After saying Thursday morning that he wanted to see three-on-three overtime next season, Julien got his wish there as well.
With Chris Kelly getting called for a hook on Alex Killorn and the Tampa forward getting an embellishment call, the B’s and Lightning got some shortened three-on-three play before a Matt Bartkowski holding penalty sent the play to four-on-three.
David Pastrnak, who scored earlier in the game, had a couple of chances during three-on-three play, missing the net on one and getting robbed by Ben Bishop on the other.
Steven Stamkos was then given a 10-minute game misconduct when his stick went flying into the stands/bench area. That disqualified him from participating in the shootout.
The teams will next play March 22 in Tampa.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday:
Gregory Campbell has had his fair share of painful performances this season, but Thursday was literally painful for the veteran center.
Campbell had to leave the ice after a pass from Torey Krug went off a stick and up into Campbell’s face. He was bleeding significantly on the ice and missed most of the period. Though he returned 15 minutes later, he went into the boards head-first off a hit from Nikita Kucherov and was very slow to leave the ice.
Campbell finished the period with just three shifts and was injured in two of them. He was on the bench for the start of the second period and stayed in the game.
|Islanders give Johnny Boychuk $42 million extension||03.12.15 at 3:02 pm ET|
The Islanders have reportedly signed former Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk to a seven-year, $42 million extension. Boychuk tweeted that he re-signed, with Newsday’s Arthur Staple providing the financial details.
Yes! Yes! Yes! For seven more years!!
— Johnny B (@joboych) March 12, 2015
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) March 12, 2015
Boychuk, 31, will carry a $6 million cap hit until he is 38.
The Bruins traded Boychuk to New York prior to the season due to cap constraints, receiving Philadelphia’s second-round pick in 2015 and the Islanders’ 2016 second-round as compensation. B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli said following the trade that the Bruins had not tried to negotiate a new contract with Boychuk before trading him.
In 59 games with the Islanders, Boychuk has established career highs in goals (seven), assists (25) and points (32).