Bruins

Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues

usatsi_10724183.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Photos

Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues

ST. LOUIS -- Jaden Schwartz and the St. Louis Blues waited most of the season for some late-game magic.

They finally found it.

Schwartz scored his second goal of the game 30 seconds into overtime to give St. Louis a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.

It was the Blues' third successive come-from-behind win in overtime. They beat Chicago 5-4 on Sunday after a 4-3 extra period win over the New York Rangers a day earlier.

Going into Saturday's game, St. Louis had a 2-23-1 record when trailing after the second period.

"We knew we had it in us," coach Mike Yeo said. "Obviously, we're finding it at the right time."

The Blues won for the fifth time in six games to move within two points of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

Jake Allen made 21 saves to improve to 24-21-2.

Ryan Donato scored for Boston. The Bruins clinched a playoff spot and moved within four points of Tampa Bay for the Eastern lead.

Schwartz scored his third game-winning goal of the season with a nifty coast-to-coast march in the extra period. He took a drop pass from Colton Parayko and skated behind his own net to gain momentum.

Schwartz weaved through a pair of defenders and drilled a hard shot from the slot past goalie Anton Khudobin, who made 18 saves.

"I had some space and I just tried to pick up some speed," Schwartz said. "I wanted to see what was going to develop. I got a little one-on-one and just tried to change the angle."

Schwartz, who got his 15th career game-winner, missed 20 games earlier in the season with a broken ankle.

"He's a heck of a player, he's fun to watch," St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "He's been so good for us this year in all aspects of the game."

Schwartz is having the time of his life during the Blues' recent come-from-behind win streak.

"We're back to believing in ourselves," Schwartz said. "We're doing a good job of playing the full 60 minutes and not giving up. We're not panicking."

Schwartz tied it midway through the third period with a wrist shot from the top of the circle.

Donato scored his second goal in his second NHL game. He had a goal and two assists in a 5-4 loss to Columbus on Monday night.

Donato, still a student at Harvard University, returned to Massachusetts on Tuesday to attend class before flying back to St. Louis to rejoin the Bruins. His father, Ted, played 528 games in two stints with the Bruins (1992-99, 2003-04).

Donato, who played for the U.S. Olympic team last month, drilled a shot past Allen in the first period. Pietrangelo's clearing attempt hit referee Brad Watson and the puck bounced right to Donato.

"That's the goal, getting that playoff point is huge for us and being able to clinch that spot," Donato said. "But obviously we would have been a lot happier if we got the win as well."

Boston, which has a game in hand on Tampa Bay, joined Nashville and Tampa Bay as only teams to have clinched playoff spots.

"Going into the season, we wanted to make the playoffs, be a Stanley Cup contender," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Going forward, we want to be in the best position possible, playing the best hockey going in."

SHORT-HANDED

Boston was without seven key players:- C Patrice Bergeron (fractured left foot), D Charlie McAvoy (left knee), D Zdeno Chara (upper body), LW Jake DeBrusk (upper body), RW David Backes (right leg laceration), D Torey Krug (upper body) and LW Rick Nash (upper body). They have combined for 101 goals and 161 assists.

NOTES: St. Louis RW Vladimir Tarasenko missed his second successive game after taking an elbow to the face against the New York Rangers on Saturday. ... The Bruins have least one point in 12 of their last 15 games against St. Louis. ... Only three Boston players - RW David Pastrnak, C Tim Schaller and C Sean Kuraly - have played in every game this season.

UP NEXT

Bruins: At Dallas on Friday night in the second game of a four-game trip.

Blues: Host Vancouver on Friday night.

B's not anticipating any Game 6 availability issues with Bergeron

B's not anticipating any Game 6 availability issues with Bergeron

BOSTON – It looks like Patrice Bergeron made it through his Game 5 return without any pressing issues or lingering problems that should limit his availability for the last couple of potential games in the best-of-seven series with the Maple Leafs.

Bergeron topped 20 minutes of ice time in the 4-3 loss to the Maple Leafs in Saturday night’s Game 5 at TD Garden, and had six shots on net, 10 shot attempts, three hits and won 16-of-25 face-offs while being held without any points. There were times where No. 37 looked like he was playing through a little bit of pain, but the numbers certainly don’t back that up as he was still very strong even if he was less than 100 percent. 

“I won’t project past Game 6. He made it through [the Game 5 loss] healthy and he finished the game,” said Bruce Cassidy on Saturday night following Game 5. “You always want to see how they are in the morning. I don’t anticipate there will be any issues going into Game 6. Of course, that could change, but that’s the way it is right now.”

Bruce Cassidy indicated after Saturday night’s loss that Bergeron, who has five assists and a plus-3 rating in four games vs. the Leafs, finished the game without issue, and further said at Sunday’s chat with the media that he wasn’t expecting health issues would cause any lineup changes for Monday night’s very important Game 6 in Toronto. Bergeron was also spotted at Warrior Ice Arena on Sunday afternoon and certainly looked no worse for the wear, so the B’s aren’t bracing for any last minute scratches in a heavy duty playoff game on Monday night at the Air Canada Centre. 

“We’ll reassess on [Monday] morning when guys go back on the ice health-wise,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Sometimes they feel good today and then they get on the ice…I don’t anticipate much going on health-wise, but we went up to Toronto [earlier this week] and one game Bergeron didn’t play and then Grzelcyk in another one. So [a change in the lineup] could happen.” 

That would indicate Bergeron came through Saturday night’s heavy workload without any further issues, and that perhaps he’s over the hump with whatever upper-body injury caused him to miss a game in the middle of the series. That’s a great sign with the Black and Gold in serious need of all hands on deck for another chance to eliminate the Maple Leafs on Monday night in Toronto.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Morning Skate: Kadri's presence makes difference for Leafs in Game 5

cp-morning-skate.jpg
NBC Sports Boston Photo

Morning Skate: Kadri's presence makes difference for Leafs in Game 5

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while spring appears to finally be arriving in Boston.

 

*Some solid war stories from the NHL penalty box compiled by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt at Sports Illustrated.

 

*Keeping an eye on the Tampa Bay Lightning, and rookie D-man Mikhail Sergachev is enjoying a strong playoff series for the Bolts as they advanced past the New Jersey Devils this weekend.

 

*Nazem Kadri definitely helped make a difference for the Maple Leafs in Game 5 at the Garden, and Toronto is going to need more of that if they’re going to force a Game 7.

 

*The Philadelphia Flyers are finally ratcheting up some drama with the Penguins in their first-round series.

 

*Good memories from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Goucher out in Vegas as he talks about Gil Santos at the time of the New England sports legend’s passing this week.

 

*For something completely different: When you’re writing think pieces about Adam Sandler, it may be time to reevaluate things.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE