Three things we learned in the NHL: Two amazing comeback stories

In an exclusive interview NHL commissioner Gary Bettman joins Prime Time Sports to talk about the NHL and the Olympics plus more.

Clarke MacArthur, Bryan Bickell make miraculous returns
• Bruins clinch spot but lose Brad Marchand
Brian Dumoulin gets monkey off back

The Boston Bruins will return to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons after clinching a spot on Tuesday. The Toronto Maple Leafs, on the other hand, will have to wait a little longer to do the same.

In other returns, Clarke MacArthur and Bryan Bickell both came back from very serious injuries that almost ended their careers.

And a Penguin got a monkey off his back.

Here are three things we learned in the NHL.

Bruins are back in the playoffs

For the first time in three seasons, the Stanley Cup playoffs will feature the Boston Bruins. By beating the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Bruins jumped into the second spot in the Atlantic Division and clinched a playoff spot.

Since firing head coach Claude Julien on Feb. 7, the Bruins are 18-7-0 and are currently on a six-game win streak.

But it wasn’t all good news in Beantown. Top-scorer and noted super-pest Brad Marchand got a five-minute major and a game misconduct for this gross looking spear on Lightning defenceman Jake Dotchin.

It’s safe to say the Bruins will be without Marchand for a bit. In fact, it seems like the Department of Player Safety is reviewing the incident.

The Bruins don’t know where they’ll finish in the standings and if Marchand is out for a while, the door is open for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators to pass them by.

On Tuesday, the Senators won while the Maple Leafs lost, meaning all three teams shifted around again in the Atlantic Division.

The Senators and Bruins each have 94 points while the Maple Leafs have 93. With everyone so close in the Atlantic, expect this dance to continue right up until the end of the season.


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Clarke MacArthur and Bryan Bickell make incredible returns

Clarke MacArthur and Bryan Bickell both didn’t know if they’d ever play in the NHL again. But on Tuesday, they both did.

MacArthur came back from a concussion that had kept him out of the lineup since Oct. 14, 2015. At the end of January, the Senators announced MacArthur was being shut down for the season. r>

But MacArthur kept at it and on Tuesday morning doctors cleared him to play. He took it slow in his first game, finishing with 9:44 of ice time in 13 shifts.

While he didn’t get on the scoresheet, he did go hard into the corner and hit Detroit’s Danny Dekeyser, showing his concussion wasn’t going to keep him away from the rougher side of the game.

Bickell made his return to the Carolina Hurricanes lineup on Tuesday, six months after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November.

Bickell played 10 games with the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate in Charlotte and was called up to the big club on Monday.

“It was a little bit of a rough start, but emotionally it was good to get back out there,” Bickell said after the game. “You just think about all the thoughts and all the things you’ve gone through to get to this moment and the people that reach out and help and the support; it means a lot for all those people to get me to where I am now, and I’m happy to be back here and just take it game by game and move on to the next one.”

In the Hurricanes’ 5-3 loss to the Wild, Bickell played 12:35 over 17 shifts and threw three hits.

Sportsnet’s Emily Sadler has more on Bickell and his return to the ice here.

Brian Dumoulin breaks 150 game goalless streak

The Pittsburgh Penguins don’t count on defenceman Brian Dumoulin for offence and that’s probably a good thing. Dumoulin scored his first regular-season goal since 2014, a span of 150 games on Tuesday against the Blue Jackets.

Before this goal, Dumoulin was the leader in games played between goals in the NHL. Now, the leader is Patrik Nemeth of the Dallas Stars, who hasn’t scored in 107 games.

Other active players with long goalless streaks include Luke Schenn of the Arizona Coyotes at 98 games, Brooks Orpik of the Washington Capitals at 96 games and Alex Biega of the Vancouver Canucks at 91 games.

Dumoulin’s 150 isn’t the longest in NHL history either. In 2010, Derek Boogaard snapped a 234 game streak that lasted almost five seasons. David Hale had a streak of 233 games that began in 2003 with the New Jersey Devils, included two seasons with the Calgary Flames and ended in 2008 with the then Phoenix Coyotes.

And it’s very likely other players have had streaks this long or longer throughout the history of the sport.

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