There was just one series left to wrap up when Wednesday night rolled around, but now we’re officially on to round two.
The Boston Bruins overcame a 4-3 deficit heading into the third period of their game seven to win 7-4, scoring four unanswered goals to keep Toronto winless in playoff series for another year.
The last time Toronto won a playoff round was in 2004, which is a shocking revelation for Leafs fans - but despite their continued second-round and beyond playoff drought, this was the closest we’ve seen Toronto look to a legitimate contender in a very long time. They kept Boston at bay and legitimately threatened to become the first real upset of the postseason, strongly challenging a team that entered the postseason given 9/1 odds of winning it all (for reference, Toronto’s odds were listed at 14/1).
No one in the Toronto locker room looked thrilled by the outcome, but remember: given their youth core and the players still in the system yet to come, this team is just getting started. [Sportsnet]
Speaking of just getting started, Boston rookie Jake DeBrusk proved quite a few doubters wrong during the first round, posting five goals and seven points in the seven-game series. That, coupled with his 16 goals and 43 points during the regular season, has plenty easing off the panic button after he was considered a somewhat off-the-board pick by Boston in 2015. [Sporting News]
(For reference, here is one of his dirty, filthy, bad goals from Wednesday night.)
Jake Debrusk with a great effort (and a little help from Andersen) to give the Bruins a lead pic.twitter.com/9ZCvLvJXfm— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 26, 2018
Apparently, his dad - former NHLer Louie DeBrusk - told him before the game to “be like Justin Williams, because he’s Mr. Game 7”. With two goals - including the game-winner - it looks like he took his advice.
Now, for the Avalanche!
A big old congrats to head coach Jared Bednar for his finalist nod for the Jack Adams Award, given annually by the NHL Broadcaster’s Association!
It’s a long way from where he was last season, when the 48-point effort Colorado produced had some calling for his termination less than a full year into his tenure. Now, he’s headed back next year on a one-year extension - likely to see just how far he can take them in his third season behind the bench - and sitting pretty as a part of the nice trio of big names on the finalist list this year. He’ll join Gerard Gallant - considered a somewhat strong favorite for the award - and Boston’s Bruce Cassidy at the Awards in Las Vegas in June to see who takes home the honors. [Mile High Hockey]
We also heard the nominations an award on Tuesday as well, as Gabriel Landeskog was given the nod as Colorado’s candidate for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. It’s given to the player who both exemplifies leadership on the ice and makes a significant humanitarian contribution off it, so past winners include guys like Andrew Ference and Henrik Sedin.
Landeskog’s incredible work with Friends, the anti-bullying initiative he advocates heavily for, will have some heady competition; PK Subban is in the running for his Blueline Buddies (an initiative that pairs an underprivileged youth in Nashville with a law enforcement officer at a game to bridge the gap in the Nashville community), after getting snubbed for the award when he pledged $10 million to Montreal Children’s in 2016. [MHH]
Putting the awards aside, though, here’s a look at some of the things the team needs to work on heading into the offseason. [MHH]
Finally, in Avalanche news, the ever-rational Mark Kizla went head-to-head with fellow Denver Post writer Mike Chambers over whether or not the team could feasibly be in the running for John Tavares, which is some kind of debate to have. [Denver Post]
Here: if you have a subscription to The Athletic, it’s worth taking a look at why the Edmonton Oilers may be struggling with the development of another top prospect. [The Athletic Edmonton]
This is also a really fun read by a very good dude about why the Winnipeg Jets managed to build a cup contender the easiest way possible: by not actively screwing themselves up. [NHL on NBC]
Last but not least: this has absolutely nothing to do with sports, but reading it made me laugh so hard I almost cried. So, enjoy!