2023-03-15 · 5 min read · NHL/Hockey
Daniel Brière, Filip Gustavsson and David Pastrnak

NHL.com | Maddie Meyer | SportsRichard Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello everybody welcome back for this week's What Da Puck, without further ado let’s get into it.
Chuck Fletcher was fired as general manager and President of Hockey Operations of the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday. Philadelphia (24-31-11) is seventh in the Metropolitan Division this season. This is Fletcher's fifth season at the helm and the team has qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs once during his tenure, which began when Fletcher was named GM on Dec. 3, 2018, replacing Ron Hextall. Daniel Briere will be interim GM while the Flyers begin the process of filling two separate positions: President of Hockey Operations and General Manager.
Under Fletcher, the Flyers reached the playoffs in 2020, defeating the Montreal Canadiens in six games in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference first round before losing in the second round to the New York Islanders in seven games. Before being hired by Philadelphia, the 55-year-old was GM of the Minnesota Wild from 2009-18, during which The Wild reached the playoffs six times in his nine seasons, winning two postseason series.
The 45-year-old Briere, who was named special assistant to the GM midway through last season played 973 NHL games during 17 NHL seasons, including six with the Flyers from 2007-13. Funny enough, Flyers head coach John Tortorella coached Briere during his first two NHL seasons, then as an assistant with the Phoenix Coyotes from 1997-99. Interestingly when asked about issues during Fletcher’s tenure the often-blunt Tortorella said, that injuries to key players were a big reason why the team struggled during Fletcher's tenure.
Thanks to a comeback victory over the Red Wings on Saturday, along with a Washington Capitals victory over the New York Islanders; the Boston Bruins have officially become the first team this season to clinch a spot in the upcoming NHL playoffs. Adding another notch to the growing list of impressive achievements this team has managed so far this season, especially considering Boston managed to punch their playoff ticket with 18 games left in the season; making them the third fastest in NHL history. Only the 1995-96 Red Wings who lead the pack at 59 games played and the 1998-99 Stars who need 63 games have done it faster.
Boston has now advanced to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for seven consecutive seasons, giving them the fourth-longest active streak behind the Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins who lead with 16 straight trips. The Bruins are going to the playoffs for the 76th time in franchise history giving them the second most franchise trips behind only the Montreal Canadiens (85). The Bruins actually managed another record in the comeback victory over Detroit as the Beantown Boys reached 50 wins on the campaign in just 64 games, which is the fastest an NHL team has ever reached the 50-win mark and is the 12th time the Bruins have done so. The previous record for 50 wins was held by the 1995-96 Red Wings and matched by the 2018-19 Lightning, it took both 66 games.
I got to say back in October I did not expect to be writing this type of article so early, let alone about the Boston Bruins; I don't know about y’all, but I'm already excited about playoff hockey.
Speaking of teams having impressive runs, how about the Minnesota Wild recently? They are currently riding a 13-game point streak during which they have gone 10-0-3. The 13-game point streak is tied for the longest in franchise history alongside a run during the 2015-16 season. Minnesota has a chance to set a new franchise mark of 14 against the St Louis Blues Wednesday night.
One of the main reasons for the Wild recent run is they are playing very responsible and defensively sound hockey. Add this to the high-quality goaltending they possess in emerging star Filip Gustavsson and experienced veteran Marc Andre Fleury. Gustavsson who has been operated as option 1A has been incredible recently, he sits second on the season with a .931 Save% and a 2.01 GAA, behind only leading Vezina candidate Linus Ullmark. The 24-year-old was particularly hot as of late with two shutouts and a .946 save% in the last ten games (6-0-4), even with five goals given up in his last outing against the Arizona Coyotes. Fleury has been no slouch either with a shutout and a .924 save% in his last ten (7-3-0), winning his last five straight with a .957 save% across them. It's easy to see how the Wild have allowed the fourth least goals against this season.
Minnesota is currently only one point behind the Dallas Stars, who have one game in hand, for first in the Central Division. However, they are facing a new challenge as a leading goal and point-getting Kirill Kaprivov is slated to miss the next few weeks as he recovers from a lower-body injury. Kirill the Thrill leads the Wild in goals by 17 and points by 12. Given their current streak, there's good reason to have faith the Wild will manage without him for now, but it's hard to replace a player of his calibre.
Quick Hits
  • John Gibson has become the all-time saves leader for the Anaheim Ducks in a 3-1 win against the Calgary Flames on Friday when Gibson made 36 saves and amassed 11,837 with Anaheim in his tenure. He entered the game needing 13 to pass Guy Hebert (11,813) for most on its all-time list. “I just found out after the game,” said Gibson, who leads the NHL this season with 1,549 saves across 46 games. “It's cool to be in the same category as those guys, some of the greats that have been here. It's an honour, and hopefully, I'll just keep going with it.” Gibson has a 14-24-9 record with a .902 save% and a 3.85 GAA this season.
  • Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo has been suspended two games for spearing Tampa Bay Lightning forward Corey Perry on Tuesday, the Department of Player Safety announced. DeAngelo received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for spearing Perry below the belt. The incident occurred with 2:40 remaining in the contest and the Flyers trailing 4-2, eventually losing the contest 5-2. Perry's teammates mobbed DeAngelo immediately after he speared the forward, and rightfully so given the severity of the joust. This marks the second suspension of the 27-year-old's seven-year career after the league previously banned DeAngelo for three games in 2017 while with the Arizona Coyotes for verbal abuse toward an official.
  • As his team fights for its playoff life, Calgary Flames star Jonathan Huberdeau is going back to the position he set an NHL record playing at. The Flames hosted the Ottawa Senators on Sunday and for the first time since late December, Huberdeau will play at left wing. Last season with the Florida Panthers, he had 115 points, the most-ever recorded in league history by a left winger. After early season struggles, Huberdeau switched to his off-wing in late December. Now, Huberdeau is on the left side of a trio with Nazem Kadri and Dillon Dube. From the start of the season until Dec. 27, Huberdeau was on the left side. In those 33 games, he had 24 points and was +3. He was switched to the right side starting Dec. 28, Since then, he has 18 points in 30 games and is -10. Hubies' return to the left got off to a good start as he had a goal and an assist in the 5-1 victory of Ottawa.
Highlights of the week
Beware Zegras between and beyond
Reimer reaches just in time
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By: Chase Howard


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