For Bruins’ Tuukka Rask There’s More To Life Than Hockey

Rask Bs

( Photo Credit: NHL.com  )

By: Pasi Tuominen  |  Follow Me On Twitter @pasituominen

Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is one of the best in his trade but make no mistake: this is a guy who values life off the ice as well.

After 34 starts in the 2019–2020 season, Rask ranks among the top goaltenders in the NHL. Coming into the season wasn’t easy, though. No one needs to be reminded of what happened in the Stanley Cup final last summer.

“It bugged me for a long time, and it still kind of does,” Rask told me recently. “But I was OK with the defeat after a while. Now that I have kids, there’s more to life than just hockey.

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“We gave our everything but came one win short. It could have gone either way. But that’s how sports are.”

Soon after the seven-game series against the St. Louis Blues, Rask headed home with his family. “I spent July in Finland and came back to Boston in August for some more serious training. Two months of playoff hockey was a tough call. In the summer, I had to take it easy and recuperate, too.

“Sometimes you have to forget about hockey, and as a father of small kids, it certainly isn’t difficult. I have played hockey for such a long time; I don’t feel that much pressure anymore. But you always have to be prepared, that’s the key. As long as you’re prepared, you don’t worry that much, and there will be no emotional burden.”

After Tim Thomas’ tenure, the Boston Bruins have put their trust mainly in European goalies. Rask shared the goaltending duties with Anton Khudobin for two seasons and does so with Jaroslav Halak now. After Sunday’s game at Madison Square Garden, Halak has 26 starts. Rask has been the starter in 34 contests.

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“I have great chemistry with Jaro, just like I had with Khudobin. Things are working out great. Jaro is a good goalie and a nice guy. We both work hard and try to help the team win hockey games. Sometimes I play more, sometimes Jaro does. It goes in cycles, really.

“Hockey is so fast and physically demanding that you must get some rest occasionally. Otherwise, you’ll get worn out. And if that happens, it’s hard to get your groove back. Sometimes you’re on a roll, sometimes you’re not. There’s no secret to that. It seems, though, that some months tend to be worse than others. During bad spells some people start to panic–I don’t.”

Although just five teams have scored more goals than the Bruins this season, Rask points out that Boston is a defense-first group. Indeed: the Bruins have allowed a league-low 146 goals.

“Our mentality is to defend well and create offense out of that,” Rask said after Saturday’s win over the Detroit Red Wings. “It’s huge in this league and it works for us. If you want to go far in the playoffs, that’s how you have to play.”

The Bruins followed the Detroit win by defeating the New York Rangers at MSG on Sunday, 3-1. It was one of those nights that Halak got the call while Tuukka watched from the bench.

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“When you’re playing, you see the plays and mistakes differently. But when you’re not playing, you don’t analyze that much. On the bench, I just try to not be hit by the puck…”

There’s been a number of Finns – 14 to be exact – on the Bruins roster over the years. Young defenseman Urho Vaakanainen is one of them. Vaakanainen mainly plays with the AHL’s Providence Bruins; however, he’s been recalled a few times and has seven NHL games under his belt now.

“He’s played well and filled his role,” says Tuukka Rask. “He’s a mobile defenseman and gives a good first pass. His style of play suits us.”

Rask, who turns 33 in March, will have a contract year in 2020–2021, but it seems the Finnish shot-stopper is in Beantown for the long haul. Boston loves Rask, and the feeling is mutual.

“I enjoy the city of Boston as much as I enjoy the team. This has become my home. I tend to settle down in one place, I’ve always been like that. I accept changes only when they are absolutely necessary.”

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 166 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Providence Bruins Post-Game Recap Vs. Laval 2/16/20

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By Carrie Young | Follow me on Twitter @carrieyoung512

The Providence Bruins were at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Sunday for an afternoon matchup against the Laval Rocket. The Bruins were looking to continue their winning ways after defeating Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on February 14th.

Starting Lineups

Providence Bruins:

Gaunce – Woods – Senyshyn

Vaakanainen – Kampfer

Vladar

Laval Rocket:

Veilleux – Dauphin – Waked

Alzner – Fleury

Primeau

Game Recap

First Period

Laval’s Yannick Veilleux was sent to the box for boarding just 36 seconds into the game. Providence was unable to convert on their first power play. A few minutes later, Josiah Didier drew a penalty on Laurent Dauphin, but the Bruins remained scoreless. With under a minute left in the power play, The Rocket’s Alain was called for elbowing, and Steven Kampfer was whistled for holding on the same play.

The Bruins were sent to the penalty kill for the first time when Brendan Gaunce was whistled for hooking at 9:10 of the first period. Laval could not convert on their power play.

With 7:52 left in the period, Brendan Woods was given a boarding penalty. The Providence power play remained strong, going 3-for-3 in the first.

At 15:46, Matthew Peca skated into goalie Dan Vladar and got an interference penalty. Just nine seconds later, Brendan Gaunce scored to put Providence up 1-0. Brett Ritchie and Jack Studnicka provided the assists.

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The Bruins headed into the first intermission leading in shots 12-9.

Second Period

After seven minor penalties were called in the first period, the second saw a lot more five-on-five play. Still, just two minutes in, Kampfer was called for delay of game. After killing that penalty, Providence went right back to being shorthanded with Jakub Zboril whistled for tripping.

With 1:38 left in a rather uneventful second period, Jesperi Kotkaniemi was sent to the box for tripping. The Bruins could not covert and went to the second intermission still up 1-0. Shots were 24-16 in favor of the home team.

Third Period

Paul Carey was able to stuff the puck past Cayden Primeau 38 seconds into the third. It was the Providence captain’s 18th goal of the season, assisted by Kampfer.

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Just a few minutes later, Ryan Fitzgerald netted his 11th goal to put the Bruins up 3-0. Urho Vaakanainen and Robert Lantosi provided the assists, giving eight different Bruins at least one point on the night.

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Charles Hudon and Cameron Hughes were each given two minutes for roughing in a confrontation after the whistle. A minute later, Lantosi was sent to the box for hooking. Laval did not score on the 4-on-3 power play.

Right after successfully killing Lantosi’s penalty, Providence found themselves shorthanded again with Zboril called for a trip. The Bruins penalty kill ended up 6-for-6 on the night.

The game got physical in the third period. Brendan Woods and Josh Brook dropped the gloves, then Laval received another penalty for slashing Vladar after he had frozen the puck. This brought the total of minor penalties in the game to 15, along with two majors.

Vladar was able to maintain the shutout and the game ended with Providence up 3-0. Laval outshot the Bruins 32-30.

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“It was a good day overall for the whole team,” Vladar said after the game, having secured his third shutout of the season. “It doesn’t really matter if [Max Lagace] or I get a shutout, it’s just those two points that we really need.”

Though he now leads the AHL in save percentage and GAA, Vladar was quick to put the team first rather than his personal accomplishments. “I just try to go into every game giving our team a chance to win, and thankfully it happened today. We just have to get ready for Bridgeport, because they beat us two times last weekend. We have lots of work in front of us.”

The Bruins will be looking to continue their winning ways on Monday, with a home game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 3:05 pm.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 166 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins’ Connor Clifton Assigned to Providence for LTI Conditioning Stint

( Photo Credit: Steve Babineau | NHLI via Getty Images )

By: Will Montanez | Follow me on Twitter @Willfro3

Connor Clifton, a right-shot defenseman for the Boston Bruins was assigned to their AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins, for the purposes of a conditioning stint on February 16, 2020. Clifton has been out of the line-up since he exited a December 29, 2019 game against the Buffalo Sabres and was subsequently placed on the injured reserve list on January 3, 2020. Clifton resumed full-contact practice with the varsity squad on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. The trip to Providence most likely represents an opportunity for Clifton to shake off the rust and also allows the Bruins salary cap and roster flexibility, as they are currently at the maximum number of skaters allowed.

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During this season, Clifton has mostly found himself on the bottom pair of the B’s D-corps with Matt Grzelcyk and serving as an occasional healthy scratch. While participating in 30 games he has accumulated two goals, 12 PIMS, 32 blocked shots, and 85 hits in 14:07 of average ice time per game (95.6% of which was spent five-on-five). He has been known to play the game with an air of recklessness which gave rise to the concept of “Cliffy Hockey.”  Compounded by his lack of production, Clifton’s possession metrics do not shine brightly.

Clifton has been attributed a Relative Fenwick-For Percentage (a measure of unblocked shots for and unblocked shots against) of -3.9, placing him at the bottom of the B’s defensive heap and implying that when he’s on the ice Tuukka Rask or Jaroslav Halak are more likely to see pucks headed their way than with any other D-man on the ice. His penchant for getting attempted shots through to opposing nets also ranks the worst among regular defense-men with a 38.5% shots through percentage.

Connor Clifton broke into the League during the 2018-2019 and featured in 19 of the Bruin’s regular-season games as well as 18 of their post-season games en route to the Stanley Cup Finals. While he registered a lone assist during the regular season, Clifton’s offensive contributions spiked a bit in the playoffs as he put up five points, including his first career NHL goal during the Eastern Conference Final against the Carolina Hurricanes.

While Clifton may have been surpassed on the depth chart by young buck Jeremey Lauzon and ranks worse across the board against sixth/seventh options like John Moore, his handedness and aggressive style still make him an attractive alternative for Bruce Cassidy to send on to the ice, in spite of his unwillingness to play Clifton on special teams. Boston’s defensive depth has been tested in the recent past so it’s doubtful that the men behind the bench and management are complaining about the decisions that must be made to accommodate the plethora of blue-liners vying for ice time. Clifton, meanwhile, hopes to fight his way back into a roster spot and add to the internal competition which should help keep the B’s back-end sharp.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 166 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast Episode 166

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Hosts Heather Ingerson and Mark Allred got back in the studio to talk Boston Bruins and a few other hockey-related topics. We started recording this episode 166 before the afternoon tilt against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The Bruins continue to roll post the All-Star/Bye-Week break and have a tough test ahead of them with a four-game road trip which started in New York and heading out west to play Canadian teams such as the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, and the Vancouver Canucks.

Please give a listen to our Bruins banter below in episode 166 as Heather and myself talk about last week’s games and the upcoming week for our beloved National Hockey League Boston Bruins. Below is a timeframe of when the discussion changes to a new hockey related topic.

 

Intro – 00:00
Last Weeks Games – 6:33
Upcoming Weeks Schedule – 22:30
Talking About the Jay Bouwmeester Collapse & Update – 38:30
Chara Fined By Player Safety 5K – 46:30
Charlie McAvoy Emergence After Scoring First Goal – 1:05:00
Bergeron Notches 3 Straight 25+ Goal Seasons – 1:13:55
Cassidy Gets 200th Career NHL Coaching Victory – 1:20:45
Jeremy Lauzon Signs Two-Year Contract Extension – 1:27:30
Time Is Now To Pull The Trigger On A Toffoli Trade With LA – 1:37:00
General Discussion – 1:49:10
End Of Show – 2:07:40

Follow us on Twitter at:
Mark Allred @BlackAndGold277
Podcast Account @BlackNGoldPod

Have a question or a comment for the hosts? Please send us an email at blackngoldhockeyblog@gmail.com

Thanks for tuning in and all the support! We’ll be back next week for another show of Bruins Hockey related material. Take Care and GO Bruins!!

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at New York: 2/16/20

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Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: New York Rangers

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Kuhlman

Bjork – Coyle – Heinen

Nordstrom – Kuraly – Wagner

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Lauzon

Goalies

Halak

Rask

New York’s Lineup

Forwards

Kreider – Zibanejad – Buchnevich

Panarin – Strome – Fast

Di Giuseppe – Chytil – Kakko

Lemieux – McKegg – Howden

Defense

Skjei – Trouba

Staal – Smith

Lindgren – Fox

Goalies

Georgiev

Lundqvist

First Period

After a feeling-out process to start the game, things got going when Brad Marchand and former Bruins prospect, Ryan Lindgren found themselves in a scrum in front of the Rangers bench. Lindgren sat for two minutes for roughing as a result – giving the Bruins the first power play of the game with 8:29 remaining. Despite a few good chances, the Bruins couldn’t get one past Alexandar Georgiev.

It appeared the game was going to be scoreless heading into intermission, but a series of bounces following a shot from Charlie McAvoy sent the puck over Georgiev and in.

The goal was originally credited to Chris Wagner, but it was eventually changed to Charlie McAvoy. McAvoy’s third goal of the season was unassisted with 42 seconds remaining in the period. A pretty even period overall ended with an 11-9 advantage in shots on goal for the Bruins.

Score: 1-0 Boston

Second Period

The Bruin held an early advantage in shots, 5-1 through the first five minutes of the period. Things got interesting when David Krejci inadvertently high-sticked Lindgren and drew blood, warranting a four-minute power play for the Rangers as a result. The Bruins managed to kill it off and maintain their lead.

A big scrum in front of the Rangers net and some cross-checking led to Marchand sitting for two minutes. It didn’t hurt the Bruins much, as Charlie Coyle forced a turnover at the defensive blue line on the penalty kill and made no mistake in burying it in shorthanded fashion. Coyle’s 14th goal of the season was unassisted with 1:18 remaining.

Mika Zibanejad took a tripping penalty with 27 seconds remaining. No one scored before time expired in the second period. The Bruins held a 13-8 shot advantage this time around, bringing the total to 24-17 in their favor. Jaroslav Halak was having a very solid game in net.

Score: 2-0 Boston

Third Period

A minute and thirty seconds of power play time remained for the Bruins to start the period. Ahead of the Karson Kuhlman interference penalty at 15:37, we saw a similar trend to the one we saw to start the second period, a 5-1 shot advantage. Halak made a big save on Ryan Strome early in the Rangers power play. The remainder of the power play was much calmer after that, and the Bruins killed it off.

Torey Krug took a tripping penalty with 10:55 left. Zibanejad made it hurt when he roped a wrist shot from the point off the post and in. It was a 2-1 game with 9:52 remaining. The screen from Pavel Buchnevich in front of Halak on the goal was key.

The goal gave the Rangers a very noticeable spark as a result. The crowd was into it and they generated a series of dangerous chances. The Bruins were forced into their own zone for much of the final five minutes of the game.

Georgiev was pulled for an extra attacker with around 1:30 remaining, and Rangers head coach David Quinn called a timeout with 35.5 seconds remaining. Patrice Bergeron put the game out of reach with 12.2 seconds remaining, following a nice interception in the neutral zone. Bergeron’s goal was his 26th of the season, Marchand’s helper was his 51st.

Shots on goal were even at nine in the third period, bringing the total to 34-26. Halak was instrumental in the win, making 25 saves. Things got a bit dicey at the end, but the Bruins came out with the win. Next up are the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday at Rogers Place at 8:30 PM ET. The Bruins are 37-11-12.

Final Score: 3-1 Boston

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 164 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Defeat Red Wings 4-1

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(Photo Credits: Tell My Sport)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

Today’s matinee game at TD Garden proved to be a very physical game and with the 4-1 victory, the Bruins were finally able to slay the dragon that is the Detroit Red Wings. As the season gets closer to ending, Boston would need today’s win to widen the gap in the Atlantic Division in the first of back-to-back games.

GAME BREAKDOWN

With the head-scratching losses to the last-place Red Wings, the Bruins came out with guns blazing and posted large amount of zone time in Detroit’s end. Boston peppered shots against Jonathan Bernier, who has been playing stellar when facing the Bruins. Despite longer puck possession and more shots on goal, Detroit would (once again) get on the board first as Darren Helm tipped one in past Tuukka Rask (who stopped the puck initially) during a Bruins power-play. Helm would score a short-handed goal early in the first period, making the score 1-0.

Boston were on the regroup effort and continued to slap pucks towards Detroit’s end but were unable to capitalize  and missed some great chances to even the score. Towards the last  minute of the first period, the Bruins would go on their second power-play of the night, however were unable to squeeze one in past Bernier.

PUSHING TOWARDS THE NET

The boys in Black and Gold opened the second-period with seconds left to their power-play, but were unable to score. Game-play went back and forth as the Bruins had trouble clearing the puck. Boston continued to attack the net and were finally rewarded for their effort as Charlie McAvoy scored his second goal of the season, tying the game up at  1-1.

With Detroit on the power-play,  momentum would swing back to Boston as Patrice Bergeron scored a short handed goal, putting the Bruins up 2-1. With seven minutes left to the period,  Charlie Coyle would send one in past Bernier making the score 3-1. The Red Wings would be assessed a late penalty but were unable to get any chances on Rask.

FINAL COUNTDOWN

Things got heated on the ice with action down both ends and a huge missed opportunity for the Bruins on a four-on-two with Chara unable to score on a blasted shot. In a beautiful  set-up by Brad Marchand,  fellow line-mate David Pastrnak would net his 42nd league-leading goal of the season, adding cushion to extend the Bruins lead 4-1.

Detroit would unsuccessfully make a final push in the last moments of the third period, as Rask continued to shut down their efforts with dazzling saves.

FINAL SCORE: BOS-4, DET-1

TOTAL SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS-41, DET-26

Boston would go 0-for-2 on the power-play while Detroit went 0-for-3. The Bruins are now 36-11-12 and hold on to the first spot in their Division and in the entire league. Detroit would drop to 14-42-4. Other milestones in tonight’s game: David Krejci played his 900th game today.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE B’S: Tomorrow afternoon against the New York Rangers (30-23-4) with puck drop at 3:30 pm, NBC.

 

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 165 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

 

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Sign D Jeremy Lauzon To Two-Year Extension

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(Photo: Brian Fluharty / USA TODAY Sports)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

On Friday afternoon, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced that the team has signed defenseman Jeremy Lauzon to a two-year contract extension an worth an average annual value of $850,000, beginning with the 2020-21 season. Lauzon’s current deal, his entry-level contract, expires this offseason.

In seven games with Boston this season, Lauzon has one goal on 10 shots to go along with a plus-two rating and 16 penalty minutes. The left-shot defender is coming off the heels of a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Derek Stepan of the Arizona Coyotes.

Before making his season debut for the big club on Dec. 31, Lauzon posted one goal and 12 assists for 13 points in addition to a plus-22 rating in 45 games with the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL affiliate, this season.

In the previous two seasons with Providence, the 22-year-old posted 2-12-14 totals in 81 AHL contests. Last year, Lauzon made his NHL debut on Oct. 25, 2018, against the Philadelphia Flyers before scoring his first career goal against the Vegas Golden Knights on Nov. 11.

The Bruins selected the Val D’or, Quebec native with the 52nd-overall pick in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. During his junior hockey career, Lauzon skated in 200 games over four seasons with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL, notching 35 goals and 95 assists 130 career points in addition to a plus-81 rating and 282 penalty minutes.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 165 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 20 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 20 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 26-18-3-3 (58 points) and 4-3-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a tough week that saw them lose to Bridgeport 4-2, before losing to the same Sound Tigers’ club 2-1 in overtime. Our boys in black and gold have three games this weekend that they must win to maintain a playoff position.

The hockey action starts on Friday, February 14, 2020, when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come to town to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The action continues on Sunday, February 16, 2020, when the Laval Rocket invades Providence, Rhode Island, to take on Bruins at the Dunk. The hockey fun wraps up on Monday, February 17, 2020, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers come back town to take on the Providence club at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

Friday, February 14, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (HOME)

The Friday matchup marks the third of six these two teams will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins won 6-0. They got goals from Tommy Marchin (2), Pavel Shen, Robert Lantosi, Jack Studnicka, and Peter Cehlarik. Goalie Max Lagace was superb in net, stopping all 38 shots fired his way. The second game saw the Bruins get shutout 1-0. Dan Vladar stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins skate into the contest 25-18-3-5 (58 points) and 7-2-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have had some success against the Pittsburgh affiliate over the past five years, going 13-7-3-3. This includes 7-1-1-3 in Providence.

This could be an opportunity for the Providence Bruins power-play to gain some momentum. The Penguins have taken 202 penalties in 51 games. That means they are giving up 3.98 penalties a game. They’ve also given up 37 goals out of those 199 penalty kill opportunities. That’s 81.7%, which is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. This seems like the perfect storm for the Providence club to gain confidence on the power-play.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is also excellent when they get an early lead and keep it. They are 12-2-1-1 when leading after the first period and 13-0-1-1 when they are leading after the second period. It should be a close game between these two division foes. This is a game the Providence Bruins need to win to maintain their playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

Sunday, February 16, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Laval Rocket (HOME)

The Sunday matchup is the fourth and final of four meetings between the two clubs. The Providence club lost the first meeting 5-4 in a shootout. They got goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Paul Carey, and Brendan Gaunce. Goalie Max Lagace was less than stellar in net, turning away 14 of the 18 shots he faced.

Our boys in black and gold didn’t fare much better in the second meeting, losing 3-2. They got goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Alex Petrovic. Goalie Max Lagace was better in net, stopping 27 of 30 shots fired his way. The most recent battle saw the Bruins fall 3-2 in a shootout. Peter Cehlarik and Paul Carey would score for Providence. Kyle Keyser would stop 25 of 27 shots he faced.

The Montreal affiliate is 23-20-5-2 (50 points) and 3-4-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the North Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, the Bruins have had trouble with Laval in the past. They’ve gone 2-2-0-3, including 1-1-0-1 at the Dunk. Even with the rough luck, I still believe our boys in black and gold should win this matchup.

Team defense and goaltending will be the two keys for Providence against Laval. The Laval club is giving up 3.12 goals a game. Their offense is scoring 2.92 goals a game. This means the Montreal Affiliate is giving up more goals than they’re scoring. Laval’s current goalies are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Cayden Primeau is having an excellent first season so far, going 12-7-3 with a 2.71 GAA and a save percentage of .899%. Keith Kinkaid is 3-7-2 with a 3.42 GAA and a save percentage of .877%.

To compare, the Bruins are giving up 2.68 goals a game. They’re also scoring 3.08 goals a game. This means our boys in black and gold are scoring .40 more goals a game than they’re giving up. Veteran goalie Max Lagace has had an excellent start, going 17-7-3 with a 2.48 GAA and a .916% save percentage with two shutouts. Dan Vladar has gone 7-7-1 with a 1.90 GAA and a .932% save percentage. This is another game Providence must win.

Monday, February 17, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (HOME)

The Monday match up will mark the 9th of 12 that these two teams will have this season. The first game saw the Bruins shutout the Sound Tigers 4-0, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik, Cameron Hughes, Robert Lantosi, and Ryan Fitzgerald. Goalie Max Lagace was excellent in net topping all 30 shots fired his way.

In the second meeting, the Providence club would win 4-1, getting goals from Joona Koppanen, Brendan Gaunce, Alex Petrovic, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace was fantastic in net stopping 31 of 32 shots fired his way. The most third meeting saw the Bruins lose 2-0. Goaltender Max Lagace was up to the task in net stopping 33 of 35 shots fired his way.

The fourth battle saw the Bruins win 5-0. Brendan Gaunce (2), Ryan Fitzgerald, Trent Frederic, and Jack Studnicka had goals. Max Lagace stopped all 17 shots fired his way. The fifth meeting saw the Bruins fall 2-1. Pavel Shen scored the Bruins lone goal. Dan Vladar would stop 24 of 26 shots he faced.

The sixth battle saw the Bruins win 3-1. Brett Ritchie (2), and Trent Frederic had goals. Max Lagace stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced. The seventh matchup saw the Bruins lose 4-2. Jack Studnicka and Brendan Woods had the Bruins’ goals. Max Lagace stopped seven of 10 shots he faced. Dan Vladar stopped all 14 shots he faced. The most recent battle saw the Bruins lose 2-1 in overtime. Zach Senyshyn scored the Bruins lone goal. Dan Vladar stopped 25 of 27 shots fired his way.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers provide a favorable matchup for the Providence club. The Bridgeport club comes into the weekend 18-27-4-1 (41 points) and 5-5 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference.  Furthermore, the Bruins are 25-19-7-3 against the Islanders’ affiliate over the past five seasons.

The biggest key to Bruins’ victory in these two games is taking an early lead and keeping it. The Sound Tigers are 2-14-2 when trailing after one and 1-19-2 when trailing after two. To add insult to injury, the Bridgeport club in 50 games has only scored 110 goals while giving up 159. Not only is this a horrendous -49 goal differential, but they’re only scoring 2.20 goals a game while giving up 3.18. They are giving up a full goal more than they are scoring. This isn’t a winning formula.

To compare, the Providence Bruins are 14-0 when leading after one period and 21-0 when leading after two periods. They’ve also scored 154 goals while giving up only 134 in 50 games. That means, not only do they have a +20 goal differential, but they are scoring 3.08 goals a game while only giving up 2.68. These are games that Providence must win. Bridgeport is not a good club at all.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka has been mentioned a lot this season. With good reason. The young forward is one of the top prospects in the Bruins’ system. He’s having an excellent first full professional season. In 48 games, he’s netted 18 goals while dishing out 18 assists for 36 total points. This includes netting four goals and dishing out six assists for 10 total points in his last eight games. Let’s hope Studnicka keeps his stellar play up.

Oskar Steen: Oskar Steen is a guy that had a lot of excitement surrounding him coming into the year. The young forward had an excellent season in Sweden last year. He was looking to build on that in Providence. Though he started out slow, in 48 games, he’s netted six goals and dished out 10 assists for 16 total points. This includes netting two goals and dishing out three assists for five total points in his last seven games. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Not

Robert Lantosi: Robert Lantosi is another player in his first season with Providence. He came to the Bruins after spending the beginning of his career in his home country of Slovakia. In 42 games, he’s netting 10 goals while dishing out 17 assists for 27 total points. Despite those numbers, he’s only dished out two assists for two total points in his last six games. I have faith that this is nothing more than a minor bump in the road for Lantosi.

Paul Carey: The Bruins’ Captain has been excellent overall this season. In 49 games, he’s netted 17 goals while dishing out 15 assists for 32 total points. Despite this, he’s dished out two assists for two total points in his last seven games. The former Boston College Eagle will hopefully break out of this cold streak soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Zach Senyshyn: Zach Senyshyn has been the cause of many different arguments amongst Bruins’ fans. The young forward was playing well though points didn’t seem to indicate that. He was called up to Boston and then injured once in Boston. This was unfortunate because he was playing well with the big club. Since returning from injury, he’s played really well. In 30 games this season, he’s netted four goals while dishing out four assists for eight total points. Look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Cooper Zech: Cooper Zech is another player in his first full season with Providence. The young defenseman was someone I was extremely excited about. Though he started out slow, the Ferris State University Alum has played well recently. In 35 games, he’s netted one goal while dishing out 10 assists for 11 total points. Look for him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar is having an excellent season for Providence. The young netminder started off slow before getting injured. Since returning from injury, he’s played on another level. He’s 7-7-1 on the year with a 1.90 GAA and a .932 save percentage. Look for him this weekend.

The Providence Bruins coming off a tough weekend where they lost two games against the worst team in the AHL. They are barely clinging to the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They will need to win all three games this weekend to build a cushion between them and the teams below them. The Providence club is better than each team they are playing. They will need to assert their dominance this weekend and come away with six points. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Rask’s Unbeaten Home Streak Has Landed Him In Vezina Contention

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(NHL with AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

The Bruins’ latest winning streak came to an end Sunday afternoon in Detroit, though one streak remains intact for the Bruins’ starting netminder, Tuukka Rask.  Following the 4-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes Saturday afternoon, Rask extended his home regulation winning streak to 18 games.  Rask has not logged a regulation loss at the TD Garden since April 6, 2019, against the Tampa Bay Lightning.  The streak also breaks Gilles Gilbert’s 17-game winning streak to open a season, set back in 1973.

Rask is in the midst of an impressive year and is in contention for the NHL’s best goaltending trophy: the Vezina.  Considering goalies who have played more than 25 games this year, Tuukka leads the league with a 2.14 goals-against average and ranks second with a .929 save percentage behind Columbus’s Elvis Merzlikins.  He sports a 20-5-6 record with 67 goals against, which ranks sixth among NHL goalies.

The Bruins sit atop the NHL standings with 80 points, three points ahead of the surging Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals.  It’s no coincidence that Rask is among the top three goalies in contention for the Vezina, and his team is the best in the NHL.  He’s even made a case for the save of the season.

When it comes to the Vezina race, Rask has some stiff competition.  To open the year, Rask ranked behind Pekka Rinne, Frederik Andersen, and 2019 winner, Andrei Vasilevsky.  All three have been atop the goaltending ranks for the past few years.  Rask currently has the second-best chance to win the trophy behind Winnipeg Jets’ netminder, Connor Hellebuyck.

Hellebuyck is having a remarkable year in goal for Winnipeg.  He is leading the NHL with 1,306 saves and has been able to maintain a .920 save percentage.  To put this in perspective, his team has allowed 1,420 shots through the 46 games he’s played this year.  Rask has seen 942 shots and has saved 875.  Hellebuyck’s goals-against average sits at a high 2.67, which gives Rask has an opening to reclaim the trophy.

Rask etched his name in the Vezina trophy’s history books once before.  In the 2013-14 season, he ended the year with a 36-15-6 record and a league-leading .930 save percentage.  Tuukka also recorded a 2.04 goals-against average and seven shutouts.  He has consistently been a rock for the Bruins, including his performance in the playoffs.  This past playoff run, Rask was always the best player on the ice for the black and gold.  He led all goaltenders in the playoffs (who played past the opening round) with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage.

The Bruins have historically been a strong home team.  They rank first in the NHL with a 19-2-9 home record, and it’s no secret that Rask has been the main contributor to that success.  The Bruins are a few trade deadline pieces away from hoisting their seventh Stanley Cup.  They have the makeup, leadership, and experience to make another deep playoff run.  If Rask can continue his torrid pace at home, the Stanley Cup may be in a different set of hands at the TD Garden in June.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 165 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast Episode 165

By: Mark Allred  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Hosts Heather Ingerson and Mark Allred got back in the studio to talk Boston Bruins and a few other hockey-related topics. We started recording this episode 165 before the afternoon tilt against the Detriot Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena in Motown and finished at the beginning of the second period. I know most Boston Bruins fans don’t want to relive the memory of losing a road game to the last-place team in the league as Boston sits atop the best league in the world. Just a minor bump in the road and hope we figure it out before the next game on Wednesday night at TD Garden against the Montreal Canadians and Saturday with yet another afternoon tilt against the bottom-dwelling Red Wings.

Please give a listen to our Bruins banter below in episode 165 as Heather and myself talk about last week’s games and the upcoming week for our beloved National Hockey League Boston Bruins. Below is a timeframe of when the discussion changes to a new hockey related topic.

  1. Intro – 00:00
  2. Upcoming Bruins Schedule – 26:45
  3. Carlo Steps Away For Family Matter, And Overall Play – 39:40
  4. Heinen Misses Four Straight Games As Speculation Heats Up – 51:11
  5. Kuraly-Coyle-Bjork Third Line Has Been Fun To Watch – 58:40
  6. Lauzon Suspension Hit & No Call For McAvoy’s Head Shot? – 1:07:40
  7. NESN’s Edwards Talks Composite Sticks & We Elaborate – 1:16:11
  8. TD Garden Seating Upgrades Will Be Made After Fan Complaints – 1:27:22
  9. 2020 Olympic Updates An The Positive Talks Per Elliotte Freidman – 1:35:00
  10. Buffalo Duane’s Meltdown On Public Radio About His Sabres Team and Ownership – 1:46:3

Have a question or a comment for the hosts or would you like to join our growing writer’s team? Please send us an email at blackngoldhockeyblog@gmail.com

Thanks for tuning in and all the support! We’ll be back next week for another show of Bruins Hockey related talk. Take Care and GO Bruins!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!