Bruins enjoy challenge of Richards, Gaborik, Nash line

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Bruins enjoy challenge of Richards, Gaborik, Nash line

NEW YORK They havent come up with a catchy name in New York like Legion of Doom or the French Connection quite yet, but pairing together Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik for Wednesday nights showdown with the Bruins was certainly worthy of a statement.
The line combined for three goals all scored off the stick of Gaborik and the three forwards finished with 15 shots on net and a plus-6 in New Yorks 4-3 overtime win at Madison Square Garden.
Its safe to say the line made its presence felt in the Bs dressing. There wasnt a single Bs player that could take the puck off Nashs stick as he darted around the ice, Richards simply put plays together and Gaborik dazzled with his speed and aggressive forays to the net.
Its huge. I think the three of them combined is like 26 million in payroll, so they definitely expect a lot out of them. They played great tonight and scored some big goals for the Rangers, said Milan Lucic. They caught us flat-footed in the beginning, but to see that hunger for us to get back into it was good.
Gaborik got two on the board in the first seven minutes of the game when it appeared the Bruins werent quite ready to play, and then scored the game-winner just 27 seconds into the overtime session.
The goals were all different: one was a set play run off a perfectly times Brad Richards redirect pass into the offensive zone with Gaborik and Nash charging hard from each wing, the second was a rebound of a Michael Del Zotto shot from the face-off circle with Andrew Ference and Dougie Hamilton providing an open pathway to the net and the last was a simple breakaway with the Rangers forward swatting the rebound attempt out of mid-air for the decisive goal.
Gaborik is a good player and he showed why tonight, said Johnny Boychuk, who was chasing the Rangers speedster on the overtime goal. Its obviously a really high-powered line when you put them all together. Youve just got to bear down and try to limit their chances. Theyre three of the best players in the league.
Tuukka Rask certainly did his best to shut the high-powered trio down after his defense failed him on the first two goals allowed within the first six minutes of the game. Both goalie and defensemen corps locked it down from that point, and the Bruins goaltender made the save of the night to preserve the overtime point.
With the game tied at 3-3 in the final minute of regulation Nash bombed down the right wing and fired a wrist shot that Rask was able to deflect, but the puck bounced right to Gaborik on the doorstep. The Rangers forward didnt get a great piece of the puck but shuffled a shot toward Tuukka that the Finnish goaltender was able to land on and start making snow angels.
The one-two combination of saves didnt help in overtime, however, as Rask made the initial stop on Gaborik, but the Slovakian superstar was able to swat the puck out of the air for the winner. Those are exactly the kind of plays that the Rangers have bought and paid for with all three members of the to-be-named forward line for the Blueshirts.

Patrice Bergeron named Selke finalist for the fifth time

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Patrice Bergeron named Selke finalist for the fifth time

It was assumed that Patrice Bergeron will be finalist for the Selke Trophy again this season, and it became official on Thursday when it was announced that Bergeron, Ryan Kesler and Anze Kopitar were the three finalists for the award given to the best defensive forward.

It would be the third straight Selke Trophy and fourth overall for Bergeron if he can take the hardware home again during the NHL Awards in June, and the ever-humble No. 37 said he was just honored to once again be nominated.

“Being named a finalist for the Selke Trophy is a tremendous honor and one I am very grateful for,” said Bergeron in a press release. “While it is an individual award, my teammates and coaches deserve a lot of credit as well. Ryan and Anze are two elite players who both had great seasons and it is a privilege to be a finalist alongside them. Thanks to all of those who voted and I look forward to the NHL Awards Show on June 22.”

The Bruins center has won the Selke Trophy three times (2012, 2014 and 2015) and has now been a Selke finalist in each of the last five seasons. His three wins are tied for the second-most in NHL history, one behind Hall of Fame Canadiens forward Bob Gainey, who is the all-time leader with four Selke Trophies. Bergeron was the Bruins’ lone representative at the All-Star Game this winter for the second straight season, and was a no-brainer as a finalist given all of his defensive qualifications.

Bergeron finished the 2015-16 regular season leading the NHL in faceoffs taken (1,978) and for the second straight season led the league in faceoffs won (1,130) while finishing a solid seventh overall with a 57.1% faceoff win rate among players taking a minimum of 500 draws.

Thursday, April 28: Who are the lottery picks?

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Thursday, April 28: Who are the lottery picks?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while giving a thumbs up to “The Good Dinosaur” as quality family viewing.

*TSN Hockey Buddha Bob McKenzie breaks down the players available in the NHL draft lottery and what kind of names teams like the Boston Bruins should expect to be available with the first 14 picks.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski talks about the World of Cup ads with the ESPN creative people that made them happen. They used the word jarring in something of a positive fashion to describe them. I would use the word “not funny” for Reg Carling, the fictional character created for the ads. If they were trying to feature the personality of NHL players in those ads, I think they missed the mark. It’s not really a big deal in the final scheme of things, but it doesn’t make for a good first step in drawing hockey fans back to the four letter network.  

*Good luck to Cam Tucker, a hockey writer based out of Vancouver that appears to have been one of the latest to be downsized in our industry.

*Dennis Bernstein has some thoughts, facts, analysis and theories surrounding the Los Angeles Kings, who have a long time to think about their first-round exit from the playoffs.

*Bruce Garrioch has some info on Ottawa’s long range plan to move to a needed downtown arena and that being the blueprint for most other Canadian cities.

*Tracey Myers has a dilemma for the Blackhawks: Andrew Shaw wants to stay, but the question is whether the Blackhawks can afford him?

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Bruce Boudreau lamenting the tough Game 7 loss for the Anaheim Ducks to the Nashville Predators. The loss may cost Boudreau his job, and will see a lot of new blood in the West with Chicago, Los Angeles and Anaheim now all out of the postseason.

*For something completely different: how can you say “no” to a tour of the world’s most magnificent treehouses.

Bruins have slim chance at No. 1 in NHL Draft lottery Saturday

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Bruins have slim chance at No. 1 in NHL Draft lottery Saturday

The Bruins will know a great deal more in a couple of days about their prospects for NHL Draft weekend in Buffalo this June.

The NHL will hold its annual draft lottery in Toronto on Saturday night for those teams outside the playoffs that hold first-round picks or those shrewd enough to have secured a first-rounder and still have reached the playoffs. 

The Bruins will have two first-round picks regardless of what happens: they hold their own lottery-eligible selection along with the first-round pick from the San Jose Sharks sent to Boston last summer in the trade for goaltender Martin Jones. The Sharks are still alive in the postseason, so the B’s second selection will be a late first-rounder.

The Bruins were the last NHL team eliminated from playoff contention, so they hold the slimmest odds of securing the first overall pick with a 1 percent chance in the Auston Matthews sweepstakes.

It’s too bad because the kind of game-breaking talent available at the top of the draft is exactly what the Black and Gold franchise needs after trading away top-10 first-round picks in Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton the past three years.

The Bruins will have roughly the same odds for the second (1.1 percent chance) and third overall picks (1.3 percent chance) should they miss out on No. 1, but the chances are still slim at they will pick anywhere but the same exact 14th overall pick where they selected Jake DeBrusk last season. Should they get a selection in the top three, the Bruins would be looking at big-time center Matthews, and a pair of Finnish wingers in Patrick Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi, along with Matthew Tkachuk (son of Keith Tkachuk and cousin to Jimmy Hayes).

The highest rated D-man on the board is Sarnia Sting blueliner Jakob Chycrun, who is a player the Bruins would need to trade up for, a la their attempt at Noah Hanifin last year. The Bruins will have assets to potentially make that happen, but we all know how that worked out last season for Don Sweeney when a big part of “the plan” was moving up to nab one of last year’s blue chip D-men in the draft.   

Hopeful Bruins fans can try their luck with the NHL Draft Lottery Simulator online, but fair warning that you won’t see the Spoked ‘B’ come up very much while hashing out the order of the top three overall picks for late June at the First Niagara Center.