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The Providence Bruins continue to deal with a shortened lineup. Jack Studnicka and his teammates look to step up to lead the team.

The Providence Bruins continued the November schedule with a couple games last weekend. How did things turn out down on the farm?

Providence welcomed the Hartford Wolf Pack to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center last Friday night. The Baby B’s protected home ice with a 4-3 shootout win. I guess some Bruins can score in the shootout!

Jack Studnicka scored his fifth goal of the season for Providence. Robert Lantosi had a goal, and he also scored the winner in the shootout.

Providence and Hartford completed the home-and-home on Saturday. Hartford won the second game 5-2. Ryan Fitzgerald scored the first goal, and then Studnicka added another.

Unfortunately, Providence goal Kyle Keyser surrendered four unanswered goals (before an empty-netter) to take the loss.

The weekend split brought Providence’s record to 9-7-2 over the first 18 games of the season. Providence sits fourth in the Atlantic Division.

Studnicka continues to be one of the biggest stories in Providence right now.

Jack Studnicka keeps up his streak
Studnicka had a goal and an assist in the first game against Hartford. Then, he followed that up with another goal the next night.

With points in both games, Stundicka now has six points in his last six games.

Mark Divver had a nice recap of Studnicka’s play over weekend. Studnicka dominated special teams, as he got a shorthanded assist and a power play goal on Friday. He scored on the power play again Saturday.

On top of that, Studnicka buried his shootout attempt to help Providence grab the extra point in the first game.

All in all, Studnicka looked impressive over the weekend. After a so-so start to the season, he now has 13 points in 18 games.

Studnicka’s been one of Providence’s best forwards over this last stretch of games. This is good news for Boston, as Studnicka remains one of the top prospects. Expectations are certainly high.

That said, we have to pump the brakes on Studnicka a little. He won’t be ready to make an impact in Boston this year, so he needs to continue his development down in the minors.

Providence hit hard by injuries
Injuries are a big issue in Boston, as the Bruins seem to face a new one every game. Providence felt these effects because Boston needed to recall a few players to the NHL.

To make things worse, Providence dealt with even more injuries at the AHL level.

Take a look at Providence’s current injury list: Chris Breen, Brendan Woods, Dan Vladar, and now Kyle Keyser. That doesn’t include Anton Blidh, who has yet to play this year after a preseason injury.

With so many players either hurt or in Boston, Providence has an uphill battle over the next few games. This is especially daunting given the nature of the AHL schedule.

AHL teams typically play games in bunches. There are a lot of back-to-backs over the weekends, for example.

Int his case, Providence has three games in three nights on the horizon. This is a tough task with a rather thin lineup.

Kyle Keyser is one of the newest Providence Bruins on the injury report. He joins fellow goalie Dan Vladar on the shelf.

With two goalies out, Providence needs to add another to backup Max Legace. According to Mark Divver, Brandon Halverson is likely to be the new goalie.

With Dan Vladar & Kyle Keyser out, look for Providence Bruins to add goalie Brandon Halverson from Norfolk of ECHL on PTO for the weekend. NYR 2nd rounder in 2014.

— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) November 21, 2019

The New York Rangers drafted Halverson in the second round of the 2014 Draft, but he never made an impact in New York. He only made one appearance in relief two years ago.

Halverson split last season between Hartford in the AHL and Maine in the ECHL. He started this year with Norfolk in the ECHL.

Since he’ll sign a PTO, Halverson won’t be an official member of the Bruins organization. He still is set to see some ice time if Keyser isn’t ready to come back by this weekend.

Providence starts the three game stretch Friday night against Bridgeport. Then, Providence plays Springfield on Saturday and Hershey on Sunday afternoon. Let’s hope Studnicka and the rest of the top players step up and lead the team through this difficult run of games.

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The Boston Bruins won’t have ailing center Patrice Bergeron for road games Tuesday at Montreal and Wednesday at Ottawa.

Bergeron won’t make the trip with the team due to a lower-body injury, coach Bruce Cassidy said Monday.

“No timeline on it,” Cassidy told reporters. “Just want to make sure that when he’s in the lineup he’s not gonna put himself at further risk. Medical staff will keep on top of it and go from there.”

Bergeron missed two games earlier this month with a lower-body injury. Cassidy said Bergeron’s latest injury is in the same area as the first one.

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Afternoon Delight – The Caps start a three-game homestand on Saturday afternoon against the Vancouver Canucks. The game finishes off the season’s series between the two teams; the Caps rallied from a 5-1 deficit on Oct. 25 and came back to defeat the Canucks 6-5 in a Friday night game in Vancouver earlier this season.

This is Washington’s second afternoon game of the season, and the first one went poorly. That was back on Oct. 14, when the Caps hosted Colorado on Canadian Thanksgiving. The Avalanche scored on its first three shots of that game, rolling to a 6-3 victory over the Capitals. It’s one of only four regulation losses the Caps have suffered in 24 games this season.

Today against Vancouver, the Caps will aim for a better start as they try to adjust their body clocks for early afternoon hockey.

“They are routine-based athletes for sure, that rely on that for their preparation,” says Caps coach Todd Reirden, speaking of NHL players in general, “So we give them a couple of things to do, earlier in the day than they normally would.

“Other than that, we try to limit the number of video meetings where you turn the lights off early in the morning. So there really won’t be any of those, and immediately they get into their normal game day routine. We don’t change much in terms of their arrival time and what preparation we do, both in terms of special teams and our 5-on-5 stuff.”

Since the outset of their Stanley Cup championship season in 2017-18, the Caps have had difficulty with regular season afternoon games. Washington is 11-9-2 in afternoon contests over that span, for a points pct. of .545. But in night games over the same time period, the Caps have rolled up a much gaudier 101-44-17 mark, which translates to a .676 points pct.

Birthday Boy – The Caps have two birthday boys today, as Nicklas Backstrom celebrates his 32nd birthday and Garnet Hathaway celebrates his 28th birthday. Neither will play against the Canucks; Backstrom is still day-to-day with an upper body injury while Hathaway will be serving the second game of his three-game NHL suspension.

Growing up in Kennebunkport, Maine, Hathaway became a Caps fan as a kid, largely because his older brother latched onto the Caps as his favorite team at a young age. Twenty-one years ago this week, Hathaway and his family traveled down from Maine to see the Caps play in Boston on a Saturday afternoon as part of the celebration of young Garnet’s seventh birthday.

“We always parked in the Government Center lot, and walked over to the game,” remembers Hathaway, who saw a few Caps-Bruins games at TD Garden as a youth. “We were lower bowl in the corner. It was always special. Those are great memories.”

That November 21, 1998 Caps-Bruins game – also a Saturday matinee – turned into quite the memorable event.

With Boston leading 2-0 midway through the first period, an old-fashioned donnybrook broke out on the ice. All 12 players – including the goaltenders, the Caps’ Olie Kolzig and the Bruins’ Byron Dafoe, who served as the best man at each others’ weddings – squared off and had at each other, and all 12 were subsequently ejected from the game.

Washington lost Kolzig, defensemen Mark Tinordi and Dmitri Mironov and forwards Craig Berube, Dale Hunter and Ken Klee. Boston lost Dafoe, defensemen Don Sweeney and Grant Ledyard, and forwards Ken Belanger, Peter Ferraro and Kan Baumgartner. Rick Tabaracci took over in net for the Caps and Robbie Tallas for Boston.

Benches were sparsely populated the rest of the way, and several players had to step up and absorb a much larger workload than normal. Sergei Gonchar (33:36) and Joe Reekie (32:15) led the Caps in ice time, and Adam Oates (27:54) and Joé Juneau (27:18) led the forwards. Boston blueliner Raymond Bourque (39:20) led all players on both sides, and Boston center Jason Allison, a former Cap who scored the game-winner that afternoon, led B’s forwards with 25:04.

“At that age, you kind of feed off the crowd around you,” says Hathaway, “and when they stand up, you can’t see, unless you’re standing on the chair. I remember standing on the chair and trying to see, trying to look over people. I’m sure my dad was holding my brother and me as high as he could so we could see. I remember seeing Kolzig skating down, and later finding out that they were the best man at each other’s wedding. It doesn’t really set in at that point. But later on down the road thinking about it, it’s a pretty crazy story.”

Asked who his favorite Caps of that era was, Hathaway rattles off a few names.

“My brother was a huge Kolzig fan,” he says, “so it was tough not to lean on my big brother for advice for that. But those were the days of [Peter] Bondra, who was just unbelievable. When I got a Calle Johansson stick, that turned me a little bit. They had Oates, Juneau, and Chris Simon, too.”

Boston won that game 21 years ago, 5-4, on Allison’s overtime goal.

In The Nets – Braden Holtby gets the net for Saturday’s matinee match against Vancouver. Holtby’s streak of seven straight victories was halted on Wednesday when the Caps fell 4-1 to the Rangers in New York. In seven November starts this season, Holtby is 6-1-0 with a 2.25 GAA and a .926 save pct.

Lifetime against the Canucks, he is 5-2-0 with a shutout, with a 2.44 GAA and a .914 save pct.

For the Canucks, we’re expecting to see Jacob Markstrom in net. Markstrom is coming off a season-high 45-save performance in Vancouver’s 6-3 win over the Predators in Nashville on Thursday, his sixth win of the season.

Markstrom is still seeking his first-ever victory over the Capitals. Lifetime against Washington, he is 0-7-1 with a 3.59 GAA and an .887 save pct.

All Lined Up – Here is a look at how we expect the Capitals and the Canucks to look on Saturday afternoon in the District when they get together for the second and final time this season:

WASHINGTON

Forwards

8-Ovechkin, 92-Kuznetsov, 43-Wilson

13-Vrana, 20-Eller, 77-Oshie

14-Panik, 18-Stephenson, 72-Boyd

47-Malenstyn, 23-Sgarbossa, 28-Leipsic

Defensemen

6-Kempny, 74-Carlson

9-Orlov, 33-Gudas

34-Siegenthaler, 3-Jensen

Goaltenders

70-Holtby

30-Samsonov

Injuries

19-Backstrom (upper body)

21-Hathaway (suspension)

26-Dowd (upper body)

62-Hagelin (upper body)

Scratches

29-Djoos

VANCOUVER

Forwards

70-Pearson, 40-Pettersson, 6-Boeser

9-Miller, 53-Horvat, 71-MacEwen

17-Leivo, 88-Gaudette, 18-Virtanen

59-Schaller, 44-Graovac, 21-Eriksson

Defensemen

43-Hughes, 8-Tanev

23-Edler, 51-Stecher

4-Benn, 57-Myers

Goaltenders

25-Markstrom

35-Demko

Injuries

20-Sutter (lower body)

64-Motte (lower body)

26-Roussel (lower body)

79-Ferland (upper body)

83-Beagle (upper body)

Scratches

5-Fantenburg

47-Baertschi

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Longtime Bruins winger Ed Sandford had played against Gordie Howe in the late 1940s and ’50s. But it wasn’t until he became a teammate of Howe’s in 1955 — in Sandford’s first training camp with the Detroit Red Wings — that he came to fully appreciate the legendary Howe, who died Friday at 88.

And Sandford got an early hint of the incredible longevity that Howe would enjoy as a player.

“In training camp, we had these skating drills, and the skating drills would be exhaustive, but he would be the last guy going. I don’t know where he got the energy from, but when the rest of us were hanging with our heads down, he was still going ahead. He had tremendous stamina,” Sandford said on Friday. “After two or three minutes of it, everyone was huffing and puffing and trying to get their breath, but, God, I’d take a look at him and he was still plowing ahead. He had this exhaustive stamina and more energy of all of us put together.”

Howe would go on to play another 23 professional seasons in both the NHL and WHA after that training camp in which Sandford participated with “Mr. Hockey.”

Sandford recalled what an incredible athlete Howe was.

“He played defense a lot when Detroit was winning the game in the last 10 minutes or so,” Sandford said. “He’d play a shift at right wing and then drop back for a shift on defense. He had the ability to do that because he was so darn strong and he handled the puck so well. It seemed he was playing 35, 40 minutes some nights.”

Many of the stories being told of Howe in the wake of his death the last couple of days centered on the ferocity with which he played. The terrible thumping he gave New York Rangers enforcer Lou Fontinato, culminating their long-running feud in 1959 — he broke the nose and dislocated the jaw of the Blueshirts enforcer — is perhaps the most vivid example of just how brutal Howe could be on the ice. And of course, when a player now has a goal, an assist and a fight, it’s called a Gordie Howe hat trick.

But in reality, Howe didn’t fight that much. The toughest guys didn’t have to after a while.

“I played against him a lot, but I never saw him in a fight that we had. But he was strong, he was tough,” said Sandford, born the same year as Howe in 1928. “When he checked you, he checked you with a very heavy stick. But we all did about the same. The talk was he was a great fighter and I guess he beat up the guy from New York one time and that became connected to him all the time. But I never saw that. He was not dirty, he was not vicious, he was hard-working and he was durable.”

Johnny McKenzie, who came into his own with the Bruins of the ’60s and ’70s remembers Howe as a player you crossed at your peril.

“Well, if you left him alone, he’d leave you alone,” McKenzie said. “But if you ever raised a stick or an elbow, he’d be more than willing to do the same to you, that’s for sure.”

Like Sandford, MacKenzie played both with and against Howe. After his rookie year in Chicago, McKenzie played with the Red Wings and Howe from 1959-61.

“I came from a small town in Alberta and when they told me I was going up to play for the Detroit Red Wings, I just about died,” McKenzie said. “Everybody wanted to play with that team in the ’50s.”

While Howe was known for his sharp elbows as much as the 801 NHL goals he scored (plus 174 WHA tallies), it was his off-ice kindnesses that stuck with many.

“Gordie was pretty good to the young kids that were up in camp for the first time. He had a car at camp, I think it was an Oldsmobile or something, and he’d see the kids walking back from the arena and give them a ride back to the hotel,” said Sandford. “He had no airs to him and he was a very modest person off the ice. Extremely modest. He didn’t want to have anyone talk about anything that he did, just a real good guy off the ice to a lot of kids, to tell them ‘You’re playing well in practice, just keep going, keep working.’ ”

Johnny Bucyk started his career with Howe in Detroit before going on to a Hall of Fame career in Boston.

“We were really close. He took great care of me when I first came up in Detroit, and any time he was in Boston he made a point of coming to see me,” said Bucyk. “He was mean and tough on the ice, but just a big pussycat off the ice. He never refused to sign an autograph. And he was a great family man, just so proud of his wife and kids. He was a great man.”

“I was so lucky to play with two of the best ever, Gordie and Bobby Orr,” said McKenzie. “If anyone says they saw anyone better than those two, then they must have seen something special, because I sure never saw anyone better.”

B’S SUMMER IS ABOUT TO HEAT UP

It has been pretty quiet in Bruins Nation for a couple of months now, but that’s about to change as the NHL offseason officially kicks off when the Stanley Cup is finally raised tonight or Wednesday.

The buyout period begins later in the week (Dennis Seidenberg?) and there is expected to be a gaggle of trades leading up the NHL draft to be held in Buffalo June 24-25. The period in which the unrestricted free agents (goodbye, Loui Eriksson?) can speak to other teams begins on June 25, the opening bell for free agency on July 1. Another important date is Aug. 15, when Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey becomes a free agent after declining to sign with the Nashville Predators, the team that originally drafted him.

The B’s have approximately $20 million to spend this summer, though a good chunk of that could go to RFAs Torey Krug, Colin Miller, Joe Morrow, Brett Connolly and/or Landon Ferraro. They also have to plan for significant pay raises to Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak for 2017-18.

On the open market, there are plenty of forwards who’d look good in a Bruins uniform — Steven Stamkos, Kyle Okposo, Troy Brower — but there are no bargains in that end of the UFA pool. Their big money acquisition could come via the trade market, perhaps grabbing a young RFA defenseman who has become unaffordable for his present team.

Whatever happens, Bruins fans can expect a fair amount of action this summer.

GUY: CUT IT OUT!

Retired sharpshooter Guy Lafleur took aim at the Civil War era beards of San Jose Sharks’ Brent Burns and Joe Thornton (right) last week.

“I think it’s a disgrace for hockey. I hate it. It’s not a good image for the game,” the Hall of Famer told the Montreal Gazette. “I don’t mind a guy wearing a beard, but to his belly?…enough is enough. The team’s managers should put their foot down.

He added with a laugh: “They can’t see the puck. That’s why they’re struggling.”

Not for nothing, but I wonder what, say, Eddie Shore thought of the long, flowing locks Lafleur wore as a player.

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John Shea Crawford (October 26, 1916 – January 19, 1973) was a Canadian ice hockey defenceman and coach. He was born in Dublin, Ontario. Despite Crawford’s preference to be called “Johnny” or “John”, the media often referred to him as “Jack”.[1]

Crawford started his National Hockey League career with the Boston Bruins in 1938. He played his entire career with the Bruins and retired after the 1950 season. In 1943 and 1946, he was a member of the NHL All-Star Team. He won two Stanley Cups with Boston 1939, 1941.

Crawford coached 659 games in the American Hockey League (10th on the all-time list)[2] with the Hershey Bears (1950–52), Providence Reds (1955–60), Rochester Americans (1961–62), and Baltimore Clippers (1964-66). He was the general manager of the Cape Cod Cubs of the Eastern Hockey League when he collapsed on January 17, 1973 while attending his team’s home game. He died at the Cape Cod Hospital on January 19, 1973. He was 56 years old.[3]

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Harvard sports legend George Owen, Jr. ’23, a member of both the college football and pro hockey Halls of Fame, died of a stroke Tuesday in Milton, Mass. He was 84.

Owen, a three–sport star at Harvard, captained the 1923 hockey team and later led the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup Championship in 1929. He also earned three varsity baseball and football letters at Harvard.

Owen was especially renowned for foiling Yale. The hero in a series of legendary comeback victories, Owen never lost to the Elis in any sport during three years of varsity play. The day of Owen’s graduation, the president of Yale sent the following telegram to Harvard: “Please be sure Owen graduates today and gets his degree.”

Owen later coached football, hockey and baseball at Milton Academy for 20 years until he retired in 1965.

He remained active in sports, however, as a scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He also tutored pitchers at Harvard and other area high schools and colleges.

Humble

Neighbor and Milton Academy collegue Barclay Feather ’41 said, “one thing that characterzed George was his humbleness about his own athletic abilities. He claimed he was merely doing his best with the talents God had given him.”

Assistant Harvard football Coach George Clemens said Owen often attended Harvard sporting events, even in his later years.

“He was an inspirational man to have around. He took a great interest in all of our kids, whether they were freshmen, JV or varsity players,” Clemens said.

Approximately 250 people attended a memorial service for Owen yesterday at the Milton Academy chapel.

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The Boston Bruins and the hockey world lost one of the all time greats on June 22, 2012. Fernie Flaman has never been a household name with the likes of Eddie Shore, Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito or even Dit Clapper. However he was one of the toughest defencemen to skate against, which has been confirmed by legends such as Gordie Howe and Jean Beliveau. He never lifted the cup over his head with the Bruins; however, when the Bruins traded him to the Maple Leafs during the 1951 season, he finally got his name etched on the Cup. Flaman never put up large numbers during his career, but his hard nosed play and shear intimidation earned him the honors of being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.

Flaman ended his 17 year career with 34 goals, 176 assists and 1,370 penalty minutes in 910 games. It wasn’t Flaman’s job to score goals. He was on the ice to stop his opponents from scoring by delivering one of the hardest body checks in the league and blocking shot after shot. After Flaman was done tenderizing his opponents they didn’t even want to pass through his blue line knowing he was right there waiting for them. During the 1954-55 season he led the league in penalty minutes with 150 proving time after time how gritty he was.

After his NHL career came to an end, Flaman played for the AHL’s Providence Reds where he was still the best defenceman on the team as a player/coach/general manager. He played three more years with the Reds until he decided to retire and take his knowledge to coaching only. He didn’t have a lot of success as a coach until he took the head coaching position at Northeastern University. During his time with the Huskies he had a sub .500 record of 255-301–23, however he won the Hockey East Championship in 1988-89.

Fernie Flaman continued to live a life of hockey into his earlier eighties where he occasionally did scouting for the New Jersey Devils. He was a player, coach, general manager and scout, but most importantly an ambassador for the game of hockey.

Career Achievements:

5 time NHL all star (second team 1955, 1957, 1958)

Stanley Cup Champion (1951)

Bruins captain (1955-1961)

Hall of Fame inductee (1990)

4 Time Beanpot Champion as a coach for the Northeastern Huskies (1979, 1983, 1984, 1987)

Hockey East Champion as a coach for the Northeastern Huskies (1989)

***

Ferdinand Charles Flaman (1927-2012)

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

The current pace. With 11 goals and 43 total points through the Capitals’ first 32 games Carlson is currently on an 82-game pace that would give him 27 goals and 109 total points. It would be asking a lot and probably setting an unreachable bar to expect him to maintain this pace, but let’s just pretend he can for a second just for laughs.

This is how rare such an offensive performance would be.

There have only been 14 100-point seasons for defensemen in NHL history, while only five different players have done it (Bobby Orr six times, Paul Coffey five times, Denis Potvin, Al MacInnis, and Brian Leetch once each).
It has not been done since Leetch did it for the New York Rangers during the 1991-92 season.
Carlson would need 57 points in 50 games to reach that mark.
No defenseman has topped 90 points since Ray Bourque during the 1993-94 season. Carlson could get there with 47 points in 50 games, which is similar to the per-game pace he scored at the previous two seasons.
Only three defensemen have topped 80 points since 1995-96 (Nicklas Lidstrom in 2005-06, Erik Karlsson in 2015-16, Brent Burns in 2018-19).
No stat padding going on here. His 43 points entering Wednesday are 13 more than any other defenseman in the league (Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton is closest), and while he no doubt gets a boost by being a part of the Capitals’ power play unit alongside Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and T.J. Oshie, it is not just the power play that is driving his production.

His 30 even-strength points are 10 more than the next closest defender (Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber is the closest with 20 points at even-strength).

He also leads all defenseman with 20 first assists, which are eight more than any other defender in the league.

Thirty-one of his 43 points are primary points (meaning he either scored the goal, or had the first assist on a goal scored by someone else). No other defenseman in the league has more than 22 primary points (Hamilton has 22). Only 12 of his 43 points have come by way of a “secondary” assist.

Driving the offense. Carlson has had a hand (scoring or assisting) in 37 percent of the Capitals’ goals this season. Hamilton is the only other defenseman in the league that has contributed to more than 30 percent of their their team’s goals (Hamilton is just over 30 percent).

Dominant three-year stretch offensively. Here is where Carlson has ranked among the NHL’s defenseman since the start of the 2017-18 season.

Goals: second (39)
Assists: first (142)
Total points: first (181)
Shots on goal: fourth (514)
Even-strength goals: second (30)
Game-winning goals: first (9)
He was mostly a top-20 defenseman in all of those categories in the three years prior to that, and throughout most of his career. This current level of production, where he is in the top-two in almost everything, is a recent development for him over the past three years.

Is there a flaw? With numbers like this offensively it would seem to make Carlson a lock to at least be a finalist for the Norris Trophy, but if there is one thing that might hold him back it’s that his defensive metrics in terms of shot attempts, scoring chances, and goals against are all only middle of the pack or worse (via Natural Stat Trick). Meaning that for as much as he is giving the Capitals offensively, other teams are getting a lot for themselves as well. Right now it is still working out in the Capitals’ favor as they are getting significantly more with Carlson on the ice. His dominance this season is almost entirely offensively driven.

Multi-point games. Carlson already has 13 multi-point games this season, six more than any other defender in the league. Only nine defensemen topped that number during the entire 2018-19 season. That includes six three-point games. No other defenseman in the league has more than three. Only two defensemen had six three-point games a year ago (Mark Giordano had eight; Brent Burns had six) for the entire season. The Capitals are 5-1-0 in his three-point games this season. Since the start of the 2015-16 season NHL teams are 358-38-0 when a defenseman has at least three points in a game. That is a 90 percent winning percentage.

Kathryn Tappen will host Wednesday’s coverage on NHL Live alongside analysts Patrick Sharp and Keith Jones and NHL insider Darren Dreger. Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Brian Boucher will call Bruins-Capitals from Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

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2014: The NHL loses one of its icons when Hockey Hall of Famer Jean Beliveau dies at age 83.

Beliveau’s scoring totals (507 goals, 1,219 points in 1,125 NHL games, all with the Montreal Canadiens) are just part of what makes him one of hockey’s most revered players. His grace on the ice makes hockey look easy, but his size and strength command respect from opponents. He’s cherished by fans throughout Canada for his character as well as his performance on the ice.

Beliveau plays with two generations of stars in Montreal. In the 1950s, he’s part of a team that includes Maurice Richard, Doug Harvey and Jacques Plante; in the 1960s, his teammates include Hall of Famers Serge Savard, Yvan Cournoyer and Rogie Vachon. Beliveau is part of Montreal’s late-1950s team that wins the Stanley Cup five consecutive times, then serves as captain when the Canadiens win in 1965, ’66, ’68, ’69 and 1971.

NHL100: Jean Beliveau
03:33 • January 2nd, 2017

Beliveau’s final appearance is Game 7 of the 1971 Cup Final against the Chicago Black Hawks, when Montreal rallies after allowing the first two goals for a 3-2 victory that gives him his 10th championship. The Hall of Fame waives its usual three-year waiting period and inducts him in 1972.

Beliveau’s success continues after he retires. He is part of seven more championship teams while serving in Montreal’s front office.

Memories: Beliveau’s 3 PPGs
00:45 • November 5th, 2017

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1909: The National Hockey Association, the predecessor of the NHL, is formed in Montreal. Charter members include the Montreal Wanderers, Renfrew Creamery Kings and the Montreal Canadiens.

1925: The New York Americans play their first NHL game, a 2-1 overtime win against at the Pittsburgh Pirates. Billy Burch scores the first goal in Americans history and Charlie Langlois gets the winner at 3:10 of overtime.

1967: Johnny Bucyk scores two goals in a 4-4 tie against the Chicago Blackhawks to become the Boston Bruins all-time leading goal-scorer. It’s his 230th in a Boston uniform, passing the mark of 229 goals held by Milt Schmidt. Bucyk finishes his NHL career in 1978 having scored 545 of his 556 goals with the Bruins.

1969: The NHL Board of Governors announces in New York that expansion franchises have been awarded to Buffalo and Vancouver. The new teams, the 13th and 14th members of the League, are to begin play in 1970-71.

Buffalo, Vancouver Join NHL
01:21 • December 2nd, 1969

1986: Denis Potvin of the New York Islanders becomes the first defenseman in NHL history to have 700 assists. He reaches the milestone with an assist (and scores a goal) in New York’s 3-3 tie with the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome.

1995: The Detroit Red Wings match the most goals ever scored against the Canadiens when they win 11-1 at the Forum. Vyacheslav Kozlov scores four goals, Sergei Fedorov has a goal and four assists, and Igor Larionov finishes with a goal and three assists in Detroit’s most lopsided victory ever against Montreal. Canadiens goalie Patrick Roy allows nine goals before being lifted midway through the second period. Four days later, he’s traded to the Colorado Avalanche.

Exactly 22 years later, the Canadiens get some revenge by defeating the Red Wings 10-1 at Bell Centre, ending a five-game losing streak.

2015: The New York Rangers play their first game in Brooklyn when they face the New York Islanders at Barclays Center. Kyle Okposo scores on the first shot of the shootout and Jaroslav Halak stops all three shots he faces to give the Islanders a 2-1 victory. The win gives the Islanders a 9-4-2 mark in their first 15 games at their new home; they move to Brooklyn after playing their home games at Nassau Coliseum from 1972-2015.

Okposo’s shootout winner
00:27 • December 3rd, 2015

2017: Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals moves up on two all-time NHL lists when he scores a second-period power-play goal in a 4-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Capital One Arena. The goal is the 577th of Ovechkin’s NHL career, tying him with Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Recchi for 20th place on the all-time list. It’s also his 218th power-play goal, passing Jaromir Jagr and Mike Gartner for 10th place all-time.

2018: The Anaheim Ducks become the first team to rally from four goals down and defeat the reigning Stanley Cup champion when they overtake the Capitals 6-5 at Capital One Arena. The Ducks trail 5-1 in the second period before scoring five unanswered goals, including the game-winner by Pontus Aberg with 5:05 remaining in the third period. Ryan Miller relieves John Gibson and makes 19 saves to earn his 374th NHL win, tying John Vanbiesbrouck for the most by a U.S.-born goalie in NHL history.

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This season seems like last season in at least one aspect, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins will meet again in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In this post I want to offer a bit of history for hockey fans from either team about the rivalry of these two Original Six teams. Here is the Maple Leafs vs. the Bruins, and the building of this recent rivalry.

About the Boston Bruins

The Bruins are an Original Six team and were the first American team to join the NHL in 1924. Success soon followed, and the Bruins beat the New York Rangers to win the Stanley Cup in 1929. It was the first Stanley Cup Final in NHL history with two American teams.

Related: Bruins or Maple Leafs – Who Beats Who?

During the 1960s, the Bruins were not a strong team, and finished last in the NHL six of seven seasons between 1960–61 and 1966–67. However, the amazing Bobby Orr and the high-scoring Phil Esposito emerged, and the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 1970 for the team’s first championship in 29 seasons.

Bobby Orr
Bobby Orr. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)
Orr left the team after the 1975–76 season after winning three NHL MVP awards (1970–72) and leading the team to another Stanley Cup in 1972. Sadly, the great defenseman had knee surgery more than a dozen times during his career and had to retire far too early. Esposito was traded to the Rangers early in the 1975-76 season and played six seasons there prior to his retirement.

In 1979, Ray Bourque joined the Bruins and played with the team for almost 20 seasons. He helped the Bruins grow into the consistently solid team it remains today. During the Orr, Esposito, and Bourque eras, the Bruins set an NHL-record with 29 consecutive playoff appearances. Unfortunately, those playoff appearances came during the same time period when the great New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, and Edmonton Oilers teams also played. The last Bruins’ Stanley Cup win was the 2010-11 season, and they reached the Final again in the 2012-13 season.

About the Toronto Maple Leafs
In 1917, the Maple Leafs helped found the NHL and the team won two Stanley Cups in the league’s first five seasons (1917–18 and 1921–22). In total, the Maple Leafs have 13 Stanley Cup victories. During the 1931–32 season, they were led by the “Kid Line” of Charlie Conacher, Busher Jackson, and Joe Primeau (all less than 26 years old and future Hall of Famers) to a third Stanley Cup.

In the 1960s, a Maple Leafs team led by coach Punch Imlach and full of future Hall of Famers (George Armstrong, Johnny Bower, Red Kelly, Dave Keon, Tim Horton, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Pulford, and Allan Stanley), won three Stanley Cups in a row from 1961–62 to 1963–64 and a Stanley Cup in the 1966–67 season. That was the team’s last Stanley Cup victory.

Ageless Johnny Bower
The Maple Leafs of the 1970s and 1980s, although led by stars like Darryl Sittler and Börje Salming, never finished higher than third in their division nor got past the second round of the playoffs. In the 1990s, not even Mats Sundin, who became the team’s all-time scoring leader, could lead the team past the conference finals.

Recent Meetings Between the Maple Leafs and the Bruins
2012-13: Boston Beats Toronto 4 Games to 3
The 2013-14 season was interesting because it was a lockout-shortened season where teams played only 48 games and the playoffs were pushed to a later date. That season, the Bruins made the Stanley Cup Final but were defeated by a strong Chicago Blackhawks team led by Patrick Kane. The 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs also were interesting because they marked the first time since 1995-96 that every Original Six team made the playoffs in the same season.

The Maple Leafs finally made the playoffs after being shut out for almost a decade (since the 2003-04 season). That season’s team broke one of the NHL’s longest playoff droughts in its history, which suggests how bad a team the Maple Leafs had been.

Related: Lessons From the Bruins’ Win Over the Maple Leafs?

The Bruins were fourth in the Eastern Conference with 62 points. The Maple Leafs, with 57 points, finished fifth. This marked the 14th playoff series between the teams, and the Maple Leafs had won eight of those 13 series. These two teams had not met in the playoffs since 1974, when the Bruins beat the Maple Leafs three games to one.

The Maple Leafs should have actually won this series, and only a great Bruins’ rally (they were behind 4–1 in the third period of Game 7) gave them a chance to win, which they did 5–4. The Maple Leafs made a great come back earlier in the series, after the Bruins led the series 3–1.

During Game 1, current Bruin David Krejci scored a goal and two assists in a 4-1 Bruins’ win. In Game 2, Joffrey Lupul scored two goals to lead the Maple Leafs to a 4–2 win. Then, the Bruins took Game 3, 5–2, with current Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask standing on his head (saving 45 of 47 shots). Krejci again scored in overtime to give the Bruins a Game-4 victory 4–3.

Boston Bruin defenceman Torey Krug Brad Marchand David Krejci
Boston Bruin defenceman Torey Krug celebrates his winning overtime goal with teammates Brad Marchand and David Krejci (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand)
But the Maple Leafs responded. In Games 5 and 6, goalie James Reimer stood tall and the team won both games by the same 2–1 score. Reimer had 43 saves in Game 6 and blocked 29 of 30 in Game 6.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Rumors & News: Quinn Hughes, Jake Gardiner, John Tavares

Game 7 started as if it would be a Maple Leafs’ blowout. Cody Franson scored two goals, and the team led 4–1. But, the Bruins got lucky. They scored mid-third period and then, with two minutes left in regulation, they pulled Rask for an extra attacker. It worked: Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron both scored and the rest is history. Bergeron scored again in overtime and the Maple Leafs left empty-handed.

2017-18: Boston Beats Toronto 4 Games to 3
Last season, the Bruins also beat the Maple Leafs four games to three in round one. These Stanley Cup Playoffs were interesting in two ways. First, the Washington Capitals won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Second, they beat the Vegas Golden Knights, who were living a dream by even making the playoffs.

The Golden Knights were the first team to make the playoffs in their inaugural season since WHA expansion days (1979-80) when both the Hartford Whalers and the Edmonton Oilers made the playoffs. The Golden Knights were also the first expansion team ever to make the playoffs.

Similar to this season, the Tampa Bay Lightning led the Eastern Conference, the Bruins second, and the Maple Leafs third. During the regular season, the Maple Leafs had the Bruins’ number and won three of four games. But, that changed.

Game 1 was a blowout, and the Bruins won 5–1. In Game 2, David Pastrnak’s hat trick and three assists led the Bruins to another easy win. The Maple Leafs took Game 3 4-2, led by Patrick Marleau’s two goals. But Maple Leafs’ hope took a dive when the Bruins took a 3–1 series lead in Game 4.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Patrick Marleau

Patrick Marleau (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)
Then, the Maple Leafs pushed back. In Game 5, Frederik Andersen made 42 saves and the team held off the Bruins 4-3. In Game 6, Nikita Zaitsev led the team with two assists and the Maple Leafs won 3-1. However, success was short-lived, and in Game 7, Bergeron’s goal and two assists helped the Bruins win 7–4.

This Season’s Meeting
This season the Maple Leafs enter the series as underdogs. The Bruins have easily won the season’s series and have the swagger. They have more points and more “pounds” (they are the more physical team). In fact, many Maple Leaf fans wonder if their team has much of a chance because the Bruins’ seem to match up so well.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Management: Trouble in Toronto?

That said, in each of the previous two meetings I have shared here, the team with the most wins against each other during the season has not won in the playoffs. Could that pattern continue? Fans from both teams will soon find out.