Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

“That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

“It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

“It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

“We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

TAKE NOTE

The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Bruins hire firm to review player vetting process

BOSTON — The Boston Bruins have hired a law firm led by former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to review their player vetting process after signing prospect Mitchell Miller and then rescinding his contract offer.

The team announced it retained Lynch of the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct an independent review of the process. Miller, who was convicted of assault in 2016 for bullying a Black classmate with developmental disabilities in middle school, signed an entry-level deal with Boston this month even though the Arizona Coyotes previously relinquished their rights to him after drafting him in 2020.

The Bruins rescinded Miller’s contract offer after facing harsh criticism around the hockey community and from players currently in the NHL. In their latest statement, they pledged to cooperate with Lynch’s investigation and publicly disclose the results of the review when completed.

“We recently fell short of our high standards and disappointed both ourselves and many in our community,” the Bruins said. “Moving forward, we are committed to ensuring that our values are reflected in everything we do as an organization, including our process for vetting future players.”

Bruins President Cam Neely said the team “dropped the ball” in its vetting process in the aftermath of the signing and rescinding fiasco, which still has multiple ways it could get worked out since Miller is technically still under contract and part of the organization until it’s terminated or bought out or there’s a settlement.

Neely said in a statement the Bruins thought Miller’s conduct was an isolated incident and that the team reversed course based on new information – particularly that the team hadn’t spoken to victim Isaiah Meyer-Crothers or his family.

Neely met with Miller, agent Eustace King and Miller’s mother prior to signing him. Neely said he shouldn’t have assumed the vetting process also included a meeting with Meyer-Crothers’ family. Asked why that didn’t happen, Neely said: “It’s a great question. Something I need to find out.”

After the Bruins announced the signing of Miller, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the 20-year-old defenseman would not currently be eligible to play in the league without major changes. Boston players voiced opposition to adding Miller, with veteran forward Nick Foligno saying it was “hard to swallow.”

In a statement released by the Hockey Diversity Alliance, Meyer-Crothers said he hasn’t seen any proof Miller has changed his ways. Meyer-Crothers said Miller reached out by text to apologize and to say he was doing community work to help young people.

Lynch was already involved in another high-profile sports matter relating to race. The NFL in February hired her and her firm to defend it and its teams in the race discrimination lawsuit brought by former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores.

The Bruins said retaining Lynch “will help us ensure that our process going forward reflects our core values.”