Detroit Red Wings

2020 NHL Mock Draft 1.0: Lafreniere is the guy at the top

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AP Images

2020 NHL Mock Draft 1.0: Lafreniere is the guy at the top

Most years there is a unique talent that rises to the top of the NHL Draft rankings to become the no-doubt No. 1 overall selection. This season is no different even if everything else about this draft might be different when it finally ends up happening, remotely or live and in-person.

Big Rimouski left winger Alexis Lafreniere combines size (6-foot-1, 193 pounds), speed, skating and offensive ability, along with a physical edge into the kind of dominant hockey package that teams are looking for in their top-line, game-breaking forwards. He and he’s been dominating at the World Junior stage since he was 17.

Lafreniere would be the first Quebec-born No. 1 overall pick since Marc-Andre Fleury back in 2003. So, it will be a historical pick for a number of reasons.

NHL Central Scouting tapped him as the top player available and Lafreniere will be the first name called, presumably by the Detroit Red Wings, whenever the draft is held.

"He makes plays that you don't even think those plays are possible, and he still makes them," said NHL Central Scouting regional scout J.F. Damphousse. "What separates him from the pack is his compete level. He's willing to play physical. He battles every game, and any time the game is on the line, you want him on the ice."

Below is our first crack at a 2020 NHL mock draft with no clear certainty about the draft order, where some of the conditional picks will be and when the draft might even take place if it gets pushed back from its original weekend of June 26-27: 

 

Bruins-Red Wings simulation: B's defense struggles in tough loss

Bruins-Red Wings simulation: B's defense struggles in tough loss

The NHL season has been put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis, meaning we may have to wait a while to watch the Boston Bruins again.

As a way to make up for the loss of Bruins action, we'll be using the EA Sports NHL 20 video game to simulate each game on Boston's schedule until they finally return to action.

Previous Simulations:

The Boston Bruins were supposed to take on the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night at TD Garden, here's how our simulation of that game went.

The B's defense struggled immensely in a 3-2 loss to the Red Wings on home ice despite Tuukka Rask's 25-save night. The Bruins had their struggles in real life against the last-place Wings, losing two of three this season and it continued in the virtual world, too. 

Here are the game stats:

Three Stars of the Game + Game Stats

Christoffer Ehn, Tuukka Rask and Justin Abdelkader were the three stars of the game. Ehn notched two goals, Abdelkader had two assists and Rask had a 2.01 GAA with a .926 save percentage. The B's went 1-for-3 on the power play and couldn't muster up much offense in the loss. 

Bruins Individual Stats

David Pastrnak inched his way closer to 50 goals on the season by scoring his 49th, and Patrice Bergeron fired one home with the extra attacker on the ice in the final moments of the game. David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy each had assists in the loss. McAvoy, once again, led in ice time with 25:27 minutes of action. 

Red Wings Individual Stats

Ehn notched two goals while Darren Helm added one in the Red Wings victory. Abdelkader tallied two assists while Alex Biega, Luke Glendening and Dmytro Timashov added one assist each. Jonathan Bernier was solid in goal, stopping 20 of 22 shots and hanging on for the win.

FINAL SCORE: Red Wings 3, Bruins 2

Bruins Record (Includes simulated games): 46-15-14 (105 points)

*NOTE: We did not include Boston's games against the Buffalo Sabres or Toronto Maple Leafs in the simulation, therefore the simulated record isn't 100 percent accurate*

Next Simulation: vs. Ottawa Senators on Thursday

Be sure to keep an eye out for our Bruins vs. Senators simulation which is set to drop on Thursday

Important Bruins win against troublesome Detroit: 'We wanted to make sure we got a win today'

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USA TODAY Sports photo

Important Bruins win against troublesome Detroit: 'We wanted to make sure we got a win today'

BOSTON – With a pair of losses to the NHL’s worst team this season and less than two months remaining in the regular season, it was ultra-important for the Bruins to finally take care of business this weekend with a third chance against the Red Wings.

They did just that in fine all-around fashion with a 4-1 victory Saturday afternoon at TD Garden, where they got contributions throughout the lineup and truly dominated Detroit while outshooting them by a 41-26 margin in the victory. This time around the Bruins were a little more well-rested than they were in last Sunday’s loss to the Red Wings in Detroit, and they were able to execute better in the key situations throughout the game.

The B’s actually handed the Wings a one-goal lead after a first period they otherwise utterly dominated, and then stormed back with three goals in the second period as Charlie McAvoy, Patrice Bergeron and Charlie Coyle notched the scoreboard for the Black and Gold. They got David Pastrnak’s NHL-leading 42nd goal of the season in the third period as well, and that was more than enough to beat the woeful Red Wings and keep pace with a Tampa Bay Lightning team that won their 10th game in a row on Saturday night.

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If the opposite had happened and the Bruins had finally succumbed to the Bolts in the Atlantic Division due to another loss to the lowly Red Wings, there would have been hell to pay. Thankfully for them that didn’t happen at all and the B’s still barely hold down first place ahead of the hard-charging Lightning.

“We wanted to make sure we got a win today. We had a couple of losses to them this year [and] we wanted to make sure we took care of business in the right manner. I think everyone was involved today so it was a good hockey game in that regard. We didn’t steal anything,” said Cassidy. “That’s a good way to hit the road, feeling good about your game. I think it’s just an extension of what we’ve been doing the last two, three weeks, ten games let’s say.

“Again, different guys [were] contributing — our top guys, they do their thing. But I thought everyone sort of pulled on the rope [against Detroit]. I thought [Charlie] Coyle’s line did a good job of establishing O-zone possession time and had a big influence on the momentum shifts for us.”

Earlier in the season, it appeared that games against bottom feeder teams like Detroit were traps of the highest order for the Bruins. At times their focus waned and it was clear they didn’t generate as much energy against lowly teams like Detroit, New Jersey, Chicago and Los Angeles, and that led to wasted opportunities for points against much lesser opponents during their stretch drive.  

Now the Bruins have won eight of their last nine games and continue to play with great focus, energy and effort while rounding their game into form for a stretch run that’s going to be challenging for everybody over the final 23 games.