Bruins’ late season struggles put playoff chances in jeopardy

This has been a crazy season for the Boston Bruins.

They were in good shape to make the playoffs but decided to make a coaching change when they let Claude Julien go in early February. Interim coach Bruce Cassidy got off to a strong start, winning eight of his first 10 and the team’s postseason spot seemed secure.

Suddenly, the Bruins are struggling and in danger of missing the playoffs. They’ve been caught and passed by Toronto for the third spot in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins did beat the New York Islanders 2-1 on Saturday in Brooklyn to take over the eighth and final Eastern Conference wild card spot by two points over the Islanders. But the Isles do have a game in hand.

If that’s not enough, Tampa Bay and Carolina are making late pushes, too. Tampa is three points behind the Bruins with a game in hand. The Hurricanes have registered at least one point in each of their last 10 games and have 79 points, five behind Boston.

What happened?

Boston is having trouble defensively. Before winning Saturday, the Bruins had allowed an average of five goals in losing four consecutive games. Plus, goaltender Tuukka Rask missed Saturday’s game against the Islanders with a lower body injury. Anton Khudobin got the start.

But it’s the giveaways and sloppy play in the defensive zone that has put Boston in its tailspin. Cassidy would like to see things tighten up the way they were when he first took over.

But that’s easier said than done, and with the games dwindling to a precious few, it may be tough to turn it around this late. Especially given Boston’s remaining schedule.

The Bruins have to play Nashville, Dallas, Florida, Chicago, Tampa Bay, Ottawa and Washington. The good news for them is only the game with the Blackhawks, on April 2, is on the road.

CHINA UPDATE

The NHL has worked out its deal to have two teams play a pair of preseason games in China this September.

A news conference is scheduled for Wednesday in Beijing to announce the league will partner with China on several hockey initiatives tied to the 2022 Winter Olympics. It also is expected to announce that the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play in Beijing and Shanghai in mid-September.

It impacts the Golden Knights because they have games tentatively scheduled with the Kings in Las Vegas and at Vancouver. With the games in China a go, those preseason games get pushed back to later in the month.

HONORING BOB MILLER

The Kings will honor longtime broadcaster Bob Miller on April 8 at Staples Center. Miller, 78, who has spent 44 seasons calling Kings games, is retiring for health reasons after suffering a stroke during the all-star break. Miller sat out a good portion of last season following open-heart surgery. He will call L.A.’s game against Chicago on the 8th, then call his last game the following day when the Kings play the Ducks in Anaheim.

Miller announced he was retiring last month.

OVI’S GREAT SKATES

Too bad the NHL is so rigid with its uniform policy. Alex Ovechkin’s specially designed skates for the Capitals’ Russian Heritage Night on Thursday were limited to the pregame warmup.

Ovechkin had the skates specially designed to represent Russia, the country he grew up in, and the U.S., where he earns his pay. The plan was to auction off the skates and donate the money to charity.

One skate had St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Russian flag. The other had the U.S. Capitol and an American flag.

“Obviously I want to play with them, but the league said no,” Ovechkin said. “I think they’re sick. They’re pretty cool. It’s something new. Nobody done it before. It’s nice to be the first guy.”

The NFL allowed its players to have specially designed cleats for use in a game with the players using personal charity causes to represent. Those cleats raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity. Ovechkin was merely following the football players’ lead. Too bad the NHL wouldn’t set aside one night a year to allow its players to do the same.

One problem. It might be too much work for artists Napoleon “Polo” Kerber and Nicholas Avery of Buffalo, New York, to paint hundreds of pairs of skates. Ovechkin’s took a week to prepare.

Steve Carp’s weekly NHL notebook appears Sundays. Contact him at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge: Mailbag — September 25, 2018
Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose 5-3, but re-sign Shea Theodore
Bryan Salmond is in studio while Ben Gotz, Adam Hill and David Schoen report from T-Mobile Arena on the Knights preseason game vs. the Colorado Avalanche.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose 5-3 but Re-Sign Shea Theodore
Bryan Salmond is in studio and Ben Gotz, Adam Hill, and David Schoen report from T-Mobile arena on the Knights preseason game vs the Colorado Avalanche.
Golden Edge: Knights Rally To Win During Shootout
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Golden Knights shootout win against the San Jose Sharks.
Golden Edge: Knights Win Third Preseason Game
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen go over the Knights 7-2 win over the L.A. Kings.
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Golden Edge: Vegas Fans Show their Love at Fan Fest
Bryan Salmond is on the red carpet at the downtown Las Vegas Events Center as the 2018-2019 Golden Knights show up for Fan Fest.
Golden Edge: Knights Back From Colorado
Golden Knights reporters Adam Hill and Ben Gotz talk about Knights preseason training camp and how Max Pacioretty is fitting in with the Knights.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — September 17, 2018
Ben Gotz answers questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Golden Edge: Knights Win First Preseason Game
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, David Schoen, Ben Gotz and Adam hill recap the Golden Knights first preseason game win against the Arizona Coyotes.
Golden Edge: First Practice
Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss the first day of practice for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knights Presser Max Pacioretty
Max Pacioretty speaks about his first impressions coming to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Edge: Mailbag
Ben Gotz answers questions submitted from Golden Knights' fans about recent roster changes.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Rookies Faceoff Against The Sharks Good
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond breaks down the 5-4 loss the Golden Knights rookies had against the San Jose Sharks.
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects after a breakout season in Sweden. He slid to the fifth round in the 2017 draft after being projected to be selected much higher. “I wasn’t happy about being a fifth-rounder. But it was good for me, too, because I didn’t have so much pressure when I came here," Elvenes said. Elvenes posted five goals and 16 points in 28 games while playing in the top league in Sweden. The Knights signed Elvenes to a three-year, entry-level contract in June.
Golden Knights rookie camp - Day 2
The Golden Knights held their second day of rookie camp at City Arena in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Golden Edge: Deryk Engelland Rides With Kurt Busch
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond heads to city national arena and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to see Kurt Busch attempt to learn how to play hockey, and Deryk Engelland hop in a race car.
William Karlsson and the Golden Knights are headed to arbitration
Of all the salary arbitration cases in the NHL this summer, none is more compelling than the one involving William Karlsson and the Golden Knights. Karlsson is seeking $6.5 million annually in arbitration. The Knights countered with an offer of $3.5 million annually. Karlsson's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. During the hearing, the player and team present evidence. The arbitrator then has 48 hours to render a decision, and the team decides on a one- or two-year contract. Karlsson’s agent and the Knights can continue to negotiate a new contract prior to the hearing.
William Karlsson and the Golden Knights are headed to arbitration
Of all the salary arbitration cases in the NHL this summer, none is more compelling than the one involving William Karlsson and the Golden Knights. Karlsson is seeking $6.5 million annually in arbitration. The Knights countered with an offer of $3.5 million annually. Karlsson's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. During the hearing, the player and team present evidence. The arbitrator then has 48 hours to render a decision, and the team decides on a one- or two-year contract. Karlsson’s agent and the Knights can continue to negotiate a new contract prior to the hearing.
Golden Edge: Floor Hockey Clinic
Bryan Salmond travels to the Paradise Recreational Center for the Las Vegas Golden Knights floor hockey clinic with special guest Golden Knights defenseman and Mark Messier Leadership Award winner Deryk Engelland.
Golden Edge: Off Season Update
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Knights free angency and signing Marc-Andre Fleury.
Fleury on his three-year extension: To stay in Vegas a long time was big
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said he's glad he'll be a part of the team for a long time. Fleury spoke about signing a three-year contract extension at a news conference at the City National Arena in Las Vegas on Friday.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, July 5
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Golden Edge: Free Agency Update
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat writer David Schoen go over the latest free agency news from the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Edge: Knights Host Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights second day of scrimmage at City National Arena.
Golden Edge: Prospects Prepare For Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights getting ready to participate in a scrimmage for the next few days.
Golden Edge: Previous Prospects Fight For Spot
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over day two of the Golden Knights development camp.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like