Tom E. Curran says that Rob Gronkowski will definitely play in the Super Bowl, and his effectiveness will come down to how he tolerates the pain of his ankle injury.
BOSTON – The Bruins have won seven of eight games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy and are fortifying their position as the third playoff team in the Atlantic Division with each passing victory.
The 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden on Tuesday night probably shouldn’t be all impressive based on the Yotes standing as the second-worst team in the NHL, but it was a classic trap game coming off a long West Coast road trip. Instead of falling for the trap the Bruins exploded for three goals in the second period, energized by a shorthanded Riley Nash strike, and continue to extend the winning stretch they need in order to punch their playoff ticket.
The postseason clincher is still a long way away from reality, but Cassidy said the B’s are starting to achieve the elevated level of play they’re aiming for while finally getting the full potential out of their team.
“I just want the guys to make sure that they play confident, solid hockey and believe in themselves. And play to a [higher] standard,” said Cassidy. “We’re trying to set a standard where we’re one of the better teams in the National Hockey League. They’ve been there before, the leadership group here. That’s where we’re striving to get through in the end.”
They haven’t exactly shied away from the competition either, twice beating the first-place San Jose Sharks and shutting out the first place Montreal Canadiens in the final straw that saw Michel Therrien axed in favor of Claude Julien.
The B’s have now opened up a three-point cushion over the Maple Leafs for their playoff spot and they’ve averaged 4.13 goals per game (33 goals in eight games) while allowing just 2.13 goals per game (17 goals in eight games) in the eight games going from Julien to Cassidy.
The challenge now is to maintain that level of play over the final 19 games of the regular season to drive home their playoff bid and finish strong at a point where in each of the past two seasons they’ve utterly imploded.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world as NHL trade deadline day is upon us with no promise of fireworks in Boston.
*As referenced above, there’s a good chance the Bruins won’t be doing much today and they’re perfectly okay with that.
*Craig Custance grades every move made ahead of the trade deadline with plenty of action out of the way early.
*The Vancouver Canucks will not be trading Ryan Miller, which is smart given the normal market for No. 1 goaltenders.
*The New York Rangers lost out on the Kevin Shattenkirk rental sweepstakes at the deadline, so they’ve opted for Brendan Smith instead.
*The Florida Panthers may make a move at the deadline (which they did in acquiring Thomas Vanek) but they will not make or break their team with deadline deals.
*Doug Armstrong says that Shattenkirk was frustrated by his role with the St. Louis Blues, and that played into his trade to the Capitals.
*For something completely different: It’s a national holiday in Canada as Jay and Dan will be returning to their natural habitat.