The Boston Bruins have "much bigger goals" in the Stanley Cup playoffs than a record-breaking NHL regular season.

Boston set a new high for single-season wins with their 63rd against the Philadelphia Flyers over the weekend, and they made yet more history with win 64 on Tuesday.

A 5-2 defeat of the Washington Capitals took the Bruins to 133 points for the season, clear of the Montreal Canadiens' 1976-77 benchmark of 132.

But postseason success is the primary goal for the Bruins. Since winning their sixth Stanley Cup in 2011, this is their third Presidents' Trophy.

That Canadiens team, widely considered the greatest of all time, followed up their regular season by winning the title.

Winger Brad Marchand said: "We have a very special group. It's incredible how we've come together this year.

"We've done a phenomenal job all year of staying in the moment.

"We're proud of the group, but this is a regular-season record. That's not what we're playing for. We have our sights set on much bigger goals.

"I think it [the record] is something we'll look at down the road when we're daydreaming about what we got to do and what we've accomplished."

Boston coach Jim Montgomery was a little more open to discussing the team's latest achievement, recalling the quality of the 1977 Canadiens.

"I think of all the Hall of Famers on those teams and then Scotty Bowman behind the bench and going to the old Montreal Forum," he said.

"Think about how great those teams were and how we've surpassed that total. It's significant because those were dominant, dominant hockey teams."

Boston Bruins coach Jim Montgomery hailed his side for rising to the challenge of a tough schedule to beat the Montreal Canadiens.

A 4-2 win at TD Garden marked a fifth consecutive victory for the Bruins and saw the team hit the 55-win mark, their second-highest all-time total behind only the 57 wins secured by the 1970-71 side.

The Bruins' fine run has highlighted their resilience, having endured a two-game skid prior to their current streak, with no side in the NHL currently having a longer win streak.

Having already secured their playoff berth, the Bruins are looking to maintain their momentum heading into the postseason and Montgomery was delighted by the result, though admitting his team were not at their best.

"Happy that we got the two points. It's a tough league to win in," he told reporters after Thursday's win. "I know we've won a lot this year, but it really is.

"With the schedule as challenging as it is right now – we're playing four games a week, and it's four in six nights consecutively for five weeks – we're not going to have the most energy we usually do have.

"I don't think we skated very well tonight, but it's understandable at times. You've got to give credit to those guys. We find a way to win hockey games.

"It's not an easy league to win in, and we find ways to do it. That's the positive side of things."

David Pastrnak was again on form for the Bruins, hitting his 49th goal of the season to represent his best campaign and tie him with Ken Hodge for eighth-highest scorer all-time for the Bruins with 289.

The 26-year-old was not focused on his display, however, and simply enjoyed the rivalry clash against the Canadiens.

"This is the kind of game where the only thing you think about is getting the win," Pastrnak said.

"These games against Montreal never get old. It doesn't really matter where in the standings each team is. It brings so much history.JI

"It's a big win. When Montreal and the Bruins play, both teams are gonna play hard."

Juraj Slafkovsky's rookie season appears to be over after the Montreal Canadiens announced the number one overall pick in the 2022 draft will miss three months due to a lower-body injury sustained in Sunday's game at the New York Rangers.

The 18-year-old Slovakian forward has four goals and six assists in 39 games this season for the Canadiens, who are in 15th place in the 16-team Eastern Conference and are unlikely to make the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Prior to getting injured, Slafkovsky was mired in a 15-game point drought and had not scored a goal in 21 straight contests.

"We believe his development will happen in stages," Montreal general manager Kent Hughes said on Wednesday. "It's not, 'hey, we've got 10 things [for you to do]; go figure them out'.

"Because I think when you do that, [the player] is on the ice thinking and not reacting. And I think sometimes this year we've seen him think on the ice and other times we've seen him react.

"But we're not worried about the production side of it. We're really worried about seeing the areas that we want him to improve on.

"Do we see progress in those areas? Because we know, or we certainly believe, that long term, if he makes [certain] changes to his game, it's going to allow him to adapt to the North American style and be the most successful player he can be.

"He's going to be a different style hockey player than another guy."

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was limited to five games last season, and it is looking like he may not be able to even match that total this upcoming season. 

Price, 35, underwent knee surgery last summer and sought help from the NHLPA/NHL player assistance program in October for substance abuse. 

Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said the news about Price’s knee is "discouraging" and that the veteran goalie may not play this season. 

"The news about Carey’s knee is pretty discouraging in the sense that there hasn’t been any improvement throughout the rehab process," Hughes said. "All last season it obviously continued to create problems for him. This summer he went through the process of a shot to the knee, seeing if that would help. It did not. 

"At this point, we don’t expect Carey to be available for the start of the season, quite frankly I don’t know if there’s a path for Carey to return this season through the rehab process." 

Hughes said that Price will likely require surgery in order to play again, and that rehab work alone won’t be enough. Hughes expects to have further information on Price’s playing status next month. 

Price made his season debut on April 15, 2022 and lost his first four starts before finishing the season 1-4-0 with a 3.63 goals-against average. 

He is the Canadiens’ all-time wins leader with 361 and ranks third with 49 shutouts.  

The Chicago Blackhawks’ rebuild officially began hours before the start of Thursday’s NHL draft and continued right into the opening moments of the first round. 

Chicago’s teardown began in the afternoon with Alex DeBrincat being traded to the Ottawa Senators for the seventh and 39th pick in this year’s draft, and a third-round selection in 2024. 

The Blackhawks didn’t stop there, however, as Kirby Dach was then traded to the Montreal Canadiens for the 13th and 66th overall picks. 

In a statement, the Blackhawks' first-time general manager Kyle Davidson said in a statement that he feels it is the right way to go about building a contender.

"It was an incredibly difficult decision to trade a player of Alex’s caliber," he said. "We feel as if this move sets the Blackhawks up for future success by giving us additional flexibility and future talent.

"Securing this early of a first-round pick for tonight and an additional second-round selection tomorrow allows us to fortify our prospect base with high-end players who we expect to be difference-makers in the coming years." 

DeBrincat was an All-Star for the first time this past season, as he led the team with an equal career-high 41 goals to go with a career-best 37 assists. In five seasons with the Blackhawks, the 24-year-old winger racked up 160 goals and 147 assists in 368 games, but Chicago was in danger of losing the young playmaker, as he’s due to fetch a big payday once his current contract expires after the 2022-23 season. 

Dach just finished up his third season with the Blackhawks, registering career highs of nine goals and 17 assists. The 21-year-old centre has 19 goals and 40 assists in 152 career games, but has not yet reached the production Chicago envisioned after selecting him with the third overall pick of the 2019 draft. 

The Blackhawks, who haven’t made the playoffs in four of the past five seasons and have won just one playoff series since capturing the 2015 Stanley Cup, also made a deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 25th pick by helping the Leafs free up cap space by taking on goaltender Petr Mrazek’s salary. 

After beginning the night without a first-round selection as a result of last year’s trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets for defenseman Seth Jones, Chicago ended up with three picks in the first 25. 

The Blackhawks took Canadian junior defenseman Kevin Korchinski at pick seven, U.S. development team centre Frank Nazar at 13, and Minnesota high school defensemen Sam Rinzel with the 25th selection. 

The Montreal Canadiens selected Juraj Slafkovsky with the first overall pick of the 2022 NHL draft on Thursday. 

The 18-year-old left wing became the first Slovakian to ever be picked first overall in the draft. 

Slafkovsky excelled for Slovakia at the 2022 Winter Olympics, leading the tournament with seven goals in seven games to earn MVP honours while helping the country capture the bronze medal. 

Speaking to ESPN after being presented with his Canadiens jersey, Slafkosvky was lost for words.

"It’s unbelievable, I still can’t believe that this actually happened," he said.

"When I heard from Slovakia, I was like 'what is happening'. It's just a special moment in my life."

When asked how he thought his family and friends would have reacted to the news, being 2am local time in Slovakia, Slafkosvky said "I think people are going crazy, they have to be... I think they are all awake."

With the second pick, the New Jersey Devils selected another Slovakian in defenseman Simon Nemec. 

"This is a special night for Slovak hockey," Slafkovsky said. 

The Montreal Canadiens have fired head coach Dominique Ducharme, with former Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis replacing him on an interim basis.

Ducharme, 48, was dismissed following a 7-1 rout at the hands of the New Jersey Devils, with Montreal rock-bottom of the league. 

That defeat means Montreal have lost 30 of their 45 games this season, the most of any NHL team the campaign after making the Stanley Cup final.

St. Louis, 46, takes over as a head coach for the first time in his career, having previously held the position of consultant with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2018-19 campaign.

"We are very happy to welcome Martin to the Canadiens organisation," general manager Kent Hughes said in a statement.

"Not only are we adding an excellent hockey man, but with Martin, we are bringing in a proven winner and a man whose competitive qualities are recognised by all who have crossed his path."

Hughes released another statement thanking Ducharme for his work over the past year, having stepped into the role of head coach in February 2021.

"We would like to sincerely thank Dominique for his work and contributions to the Montreal Canadiens organisation," Hughes said. 

"At this point in the season, we felt it was in the best interest of the club to make a change."

St. Louis' NHL career saw him play a combined 1,134 games for the Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers, racking up 391 goals and 642 assists in that time.

Montreal are on a run of seven consecutive defeats – and 13 from their past 14 games – and have conceded 33 times in their most recent five outings, leaving their new head coach with a mountain to climb to turn things around.

The Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens have taken the number of NHL teams to shut down through the holiday break to nine due to coronavirus concerns.

It was announced by the league on Monday that the Blues Jackets' games against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday and Thursday had been postponed.

The Canadiens' games prior to the break had already been called off amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, with a total of 42 games now having been postponed this season.

Developments involving Columbus and Montreal came a day after the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs also shut down through the holiday break.

The Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers had already announced shut-downs.

Cross-border games between the United States and Canadian teams have been postponed through the holiday break due to the concern about travel been the two countries and "the fluid nature of federal travel restrictions".

The NHL and National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) are also discussing the matter of player participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

A decision is expected to be announced in the coming days. 

The league has until January 10 to pull out of the Winter Games without being penalised financially, but it retains the right to cancel its plans up until players are scheduled to travel to Beijing in early February.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price revealed he has received treatment for substance abuse.

The 34-year-old said he entered a residential facility last month after having reached "a very dark place" following years of "neglecting" his mental health.

Price had only just returned to the Canadiens following surgery on a knee injury during the off-season.

"Over the last few years I have let myself get to a very dark place and I didn't have the tools to cope with that struggle," he said via an Instagram post.

"Last month I made the decision to enter a residential treatment facility for substance use. Things had reached a point that I realized I needed to prioritize my health for both myself and for my family. Asking for help when you need it is what we encourage our kids to do, and it was what I needed to do.

"I am working through years of neglecting my own mental health which will take some time to repair; all I can do is take it day by day. With that comes some uncertainty with when I will return to play.

"I appreciate all of the overwhelming support and well wishes. I please ask that the media and our hockey community continue to respect our privacy at this time. Your support and respect of this so far has been a critical piece to my recovery."

Price, a seven-time NHL All-Star and Olympic gold medallist in 2014 with Canada, helped the Canadiens to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 28 years last season, where they lost 4-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

He posted a .901 save percentage last season, a figure he improved to .924 during the Canadiens' playoff run.

Speaking on Monday, coach Dominique Ducharme said: "I haven't met him yet. I need to see him. I'll see him tomorrow.

"He wants to come back and play, but there's other things to manage. We talked about the injury that he was coming back from, getting back in shape, and playing shape too. There's many steps to be taken, but he wants to play. He wants to be part of our group. He wants to help out."

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper says his side were motivated to win before the group likely breaks up this offseason after lifting the Stanley Cup on Wednesday.

The Lightning won 1-0 over the Montreal Canadiens at Tampa's Amalie Arena to clinch a 4-1 Stanley Cup Finals triumph, lifting the trophy for the third time in franchise history.

Ross Colton, who along with David Savard has been linked with an offseason move away from Tampa, scored the only goal of the game in the second period to seal the back-to-back Stanley Cup triumphs.

"We didn’t talk about it publicly, the team knows they are probably not going to be together next year," Cooper said post-game.

"It was led by Ryan McDonagh, [Patrick] Maroon and [David] Savard, that was the conservation, 'don’t let this end, it's too special a group'.

"They weren’t going to go out without raising the trophy."

The Lightning's domination in recent years has seen them not lose consecutive playoff games since the first round of the 2019 series.

Cooper added: "It's a culmination of your whole life's work. Character that can trump skill. This group has it, gamers all over the place. The players did it. I just sat their chewing gum."

Maroon earned special praise, as he celebrated lifting his third consecutive Stanley Cup, after the left-winger triumphed with the St Louis Blues in 2018-19.

"This was one special," Maroon said. "It's hard to win. [I'm] Blessed to be a part of good teams.

"It's hard to go back-to-back. To be a part of a group that's so special, it's really good.

"You can put me in some good company. I'm truly blessed."

The Montreal Canadiens are still believing after Josh Anderson's overtime goal helped them stave off a rare Stanley Cup Final series sweep with a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.

The Canadiens killed off a four-minute penalty to captain Shea Weber in overtime before Anderson's goal forced a Game 5 in Tampa, with the series at 3-1 in favour of the reigning NHL champions.

Montreal would have become the first side to suffer a clean sweep defeat in the Final series since 1998, when the Detroit Red Wings won 4-0 over the Washington Capitals.

Instead, the Canadiens are the first team to score in overtime to avoid a sweep in the Stanley Cup Final since the Bruins did it in 1946 against the Canadiens.

"We didn't want to end it tonight in front of our fans," Anderson said at the post-game news conference. "We expected to go to Tampa.

"I think everybody in that locker room packed their bags this afternoon. We just had that feeling that we were going to win tonight and give ourselves a chance to go there, take care of business, and come home in front of our fans. We're in a good position now."

If Montreal can win Game 5 in Tampa, they will have home rink advantage for Game 6 at the Bell Centre. Montreal are 4-0 when facing elimination this postseason.

Anderson said the Canadiens' grit to hang on during Weber's four-minute penalty showed they could overcome adversity.

"Our penalty kill has been outstanding all playoffs, so we came back to the room and we just believed in each other," Anderson said.

"We weren't down. It was all positive things in the room. We just had to execute. I thought we did a phenomenal job.

"Carey [Price] was a wall tonight. He gave us that chance to finish it in overtime. Everyone stuck together and did their jobs."

Interim Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme added: "We're proud of what we accomplished tonight, but we don't want to just avoid seeing the Lightning players holding the Stanley Cup.

"We have no intention of stopping now. We want to go to Tampa and come back to play another game here."

Game 5 is at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Wednesday.

Reigning NHL champions the Tampa Bay Lightning are focused on closing out their Stanley Cup Final series against the Montreal Canadiens in Monday's Game 4. 

The Lightning moved to the brink of a sweep with their 6-3 win in Montreal on Friday, but have been confined to their hotel rooms for most of their stay in Canada due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Tampa Bay know they will be heading home after Monday's game regardless, either for Game 5 on Tuesday or as back-to-back Stanley Cup winners, but the Lightning have left no doubt which option they prefer. 

"I think for us, we've been in this position before," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos told reporters on Sunday. "We understand the magnitude of the game and we understand that we really are, as much as it's cliché to say, we're focussed on the start of next game.

"All those other things work themselves out. You never know what's going to happen in the course of a game or a series. We're focussed on our start next game. We want to come out extremely hard. We realise, both teams understand the situation that they're in. We're excited for the challenge."

In last season's Final, the Lightning had a chance to clinch at home in Game 5 as they held a 2-1 lead in the third period but saw the Dallas Stars tie the contest, then win it in double overtime on a goal by Corey Perry, who is now with the Canadiens. 

Tampa Bay would emerge victorious in Game 6 to take the Cup and would love nothing more than to do so again this year without all the drama. 

"It's a learning process to go through that," said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper. "By no means does that guarantee the results of what's going to happen in [Monday's] game, but I know our mindset's different going into these closeout games. ...

"It's about winning, it's not about where you win. And that's all we care about."

Sweeps are rare in the Stanley Cup Final, as the Detroit Red Wings were the last to do it in 1998 against the Washington Capitals, but history is on Tampa Bay's side. 

The only NHL team to blow a 3-0 lead in the Finals are the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, who ultimately fell to the Red Wings in seven. 

On the verge of a second straight Cup, the Lightning do not need to be reminded of the stakes. 

"You're in the Stanley Cup Final. You're playing against a great team over there," Stamkos said. "We've said it from whether it's the first round or the Stanley Cup Final, the fourth game is always the hardest to win. And that's the mentality we've had.

"Sometimes it takes four games. Sometimes seven. We expect that this group is going to be ready to play, and we expect that their group is going to be ready to play. No games are easy at this time of the year.

"I think for us, it's easy not to look past that. We know the difficulty of the Montreal Canadiens and what they bring to the table, and for us, it's another game."

The Tampa Bay Lightning moved to the brink of a second successive Stanley Cup triumph after a fast start helped them overcome the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3.

Jan Rutta and Victor Hedman both scored to give the Lightning an early 2-0 lead, in the process making it the first game in finals history where a team has got multiple goals from defensemen within the opening five minutes.

The Canadiens managed to halve the deficit but conceded twice more at the start of the second period, leaving them with a task they were unable to scale.

Tyler Johnson grabbed a brace as Tampa Bay ran out 6-3 winners, a result that leaves them on the cusp of glory in the best-of-seven series. However, Hedman insists there is still work to do, with Game 4 in Montreal on Monday.

"We're not there yet," Hedman, who also registered an assist, said. "We put ourselves in a good position obviously, but the fourth one is the hardest one to get. 

"We're going to do whatever it takes to win the next game. We've got more work to do, and we're not satisfied until we're done."

Montreal managed more shots on goal (35-30), though the disparity was not quite the same as in Game 2. The Canadiens had 43 attempts in the previous encounter compared to Tampa Bay's total of 23, yet still lost 3-1.

Phillip Danault, Nick Suzuki and Corey Perry were on target for Montreal in a losing cause on Friday, though they left themselves with too much to do after a disastrous start to proceedings.

"We put ourselves in a hole early, and it's tough to dig yourself out of a hole against a team like that, that plays pretty stingy," Canadiens captain Shea Weber said.

However, there is still hope for the Canadiens, who were down 3-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs before rallying to keep their season alive.

Dominique Ducharme is in interim charge after Claude Julien was fired during the regular season, though the former had been absent for the first two games of the finals while self-isolating following a positive COVID-19 test result.

"We didn't quit the whole year, no matter what was being said," center Danault said. "When it was 3-1 Toronto we didn't quit. And I can guarantee that nobody on the team is going to quit now."

The Tampa Bay Lightning acknowledged they were not at their best in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, with one critical exception. 

Another brilliant showing from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy bought Tampa Bay enough space to scratch out a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at Amalie Arena and take a 2-0 series lead. 

While the Canadiens dominated the flow of play and were the more aggressive team throughout, putting 43 shots on goal to Tampa Bay's 23, the Lightning had the decisive advantage. 

“Thankfully, there was one guy that had his level where it needed to be," Lightning veteran Ryan McDonagh said of Vasilevskiy.

Tampa Bay's netminder was beaten only on Nick Suzuki's power-play goal midway through the second period.

He has stopped 60 of Montreal's 62 shots through the first two games and has defeated the Canadiens 10 straight times, but said he found success by keeping his mind clear. 

"I'm trying not to think much during the games," Vasilevskiy said. "Whatever happens, win or lose, I'm just trying to go out there and play my best game, and now we’re up two games.

"It doesn’t matter -- up two games, down two games, it’s the same routine, same compete level.”

The 26-year-old Russian has been so good that it was jarring to see Suzuki's shot scoot past him and level the score after Anthony Cirelli had given Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead four minutes earlier. 

The moment that turned the game the Lightning's way, though, came in the closing seconds of that second period, when Barclay Goodrow stole the puck at center ice and delivered it to Blake Coleman, who managed to get a shot off with one arm while diving through the air. 

It got past Carey Price with 1.1 seconds remaining to send the Tampa crowd into a frenzy and give the Lightning a lead they would not relinquish. 

"It's definitely something you don't want to do, give up goals in the first or last minute of periods," said Canadiens captain Shea Weber. 

Despite that frustrating setback, Weber and his team will return to Montreal for Friday's Game 3 knowing they played better overall than in their 5-1 defeat to open the series. 

"I thought we played a pretty solid game all around, to be honest," Weber said. 

"We did make a couple mistakes that obviously hurt us. They're an opportunistic team that make you pay, but we probably deserved a little bit better tonight."

The Tampa Bay Lightning were served with a warning by head coach Jon Cooper after launching their Stanley Cup Finals mission with a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

Cooper said his team still had a heap of work to do if they are to clinch back-to-back titles, and borrowed a string of baseball metaphors as he spoke of potential "curveballs" to come.

Two goals and an assist from Nikita Kucherov helped the Lightning to their comprehensive win in Game 1 at Amalie Arena.

Kucherov now has 30 points in the Stanley Cup playoffs for a second straight year, after seven goals and 23 assists. He has 64 points across this season and the previous campaign in the playoffs, a total only ever surpassed in successive playoff campaigns by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

The Russian became just the fifth player in NHL history to achieve multiple 30-point playoff campaigns, following Gretzky (six), Mark Messier (three), Jari Kurri (two) and Lemieux (two).

Cooper sounded a note of caution though, dialling down the euphoria and saying in his post-game news conference: "Consistency is the key.

"You have your plan, you stick with it and you consistently rock it, and if you do that we like our chances in games, but it doesn't guarantee results.

"For us we have found something that works with us. It doesn't mean you're going to win every night, but it's sticking with that process.

"You look no further than the last series we played in."

That was the semi-final against the New York Islanders that went all the way to the seventh game, the Lighting taking a 1-0 win in that decider.

"Teams in this league push you to the brink," Cooper said. "You have to hang in there and stick with it and this group has found a way to do that.

"You're not going to win a series in one night. There's curveballs and sliders and fastballs, and they're all thrown at you at different times, but if you're consistent with your game we trust that good things will happen.

"Tonight was just one, but the series is long from over. We're happy with tonight and now we're just going to improve on what we're doing and try and replicate it in Game 2."

That second game comes on Wednesday night, also in Tampa.

Canadiens assistant coach Luke Richardson, leading the team in the continuing absence of Dominique Ducharme who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, expects a tighter battle next time.

Richardson said: "The rink was buzzing, and that's something that we will get over and we'll be a little bit more used to next game.

"I think maybe just to strike early for us will be key next game, to try and weather that storm and quiet the building a little bit and let us get a rhythm going."

Page 1 of 2
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.