Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at San Jose: 02/18/19

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USATSI)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: SAP Center – San Jose, California, USA

Home: San Jose Sharks (35-17-7)

Away: Boston Bruins (34-17-8)

The Bruins enter the third game of their five-game road trip with five wins in a row and now heading into a tougher stretch of schedule with games against the Sharks, Golden Knights, Blues, and Lightning all in close radar. With the recent win over Los Angeles on Saturday, the Bruins narrowly have the second Atlantic division spot over Toronto who are only one point back.

The San Jose Sharks have become one of the top contenders in the Western Conference once again, especially with the addition of Erik Karlsson back in September of 2018. Brent Burns is on pace to be in contention of another Norris Trophy when the season comes to a conclusion. The Sharks recently beat the Vancouver Canucks and currently hold the second position in the Pacific division.

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Forward Peter Cehlarik is out of the lineup tonight due to a lower-body injury suffered against the Kings on Saturday. Karson Kuhlman will play on the second-line with Krejci and DeBrusk in only his second NHL game.

First Period:

What a start to this Monday night game. Over ten straight minutes, yes halfway of the first period, only one whistle was blown. Both the Sharks and Bruins had chances back and forth and quite frankly, no team really was blowing the other team away. At one point in the first, Chris Wagner right in front the puck goes over the shoulder of Jones and looks to be going across the line, but Marc-Eduard Vlasic makes a brilliant save with the stick on the goal line to keep it 0-0.

With 9:03 remaining, Sean Kuraly gets high stick to the face by Tomas Hertl and the Sharks are headed to the box. Immediately at the start of the power-play, Torey Krug mishandles the puck, allowing Evander Kane all alone on a shorthanded breakaway, only to ring the shot off of the post. San Jose did a great job pressure the B’s and retrieving the puck back for a clear.

On what seemed like the final clear of the PK, Matt Grzelcyk gets a stick up in his face as well and the Bruins are right back on the man-advantage. Less than a minute onto the power-play, the Bruins finally figure out how to cycle the puck around the zone, allowing Torey Krug to unleash a bomb short-side past Jones, 1-0 Bruins. Krug’s 6th of the season assisted by Krejci (36) and Bergeron (35).

Not letting up on the early lead, the Bruins looked to add to their opening tally. Brad Marchand made a nice move in the offensive zone to rip a quick wrist shot towards Jones but it goes off of the red pipe and redirects to the corner. High-paced first period from both teams and the chances continue to pile up.

At the 16:26 mark of the opening frame, Sean Kuraly wins an offensive zone faceoff clean backwards to Zdeno Chara who one-times the puck top corner past Jones and the Bruins take a 2-0 lead in the final five minutes of the period. Chara’s goal is his 199th career NHL goal since he began his career in 1997. This is his fourth of the season assisted by Sean Kuraly (11).

The killer instinct by the Bruins does not stop there. David Krejci uses his supreme vision to find an open Jake DeBrusk up the ice who has rookie Karson Kuhlman on the other side of the ice. DeBrusk looks like he is about to shoot the puck short-side until the very last second where he feeds the puck across to Kuhlman who buries his first career NHL goal, making it 3-0 Boston with just around a minute-and-a-half left to play. Assists go to DeBrusk (9) and Krejci (37).

Two goals 1:58 apart for the Boston Bruins in the first period, but the Sharks want in on some of the goal-scoring and will do just that. Joe Pavelski wraps the puck around, bouncing it off the pad for former-Bruin Joe Thornton to bury his eleventh goal of the 2018-19 season on the backhand with only three seconds to go in the frame.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 8 SJS: 8

Score: 3-1 Bruins – Goals: Krug (8) PPG Assists: Krejci (36), Bergeron (35); Chara (4) Assists: Kuraly (11); Kuhlman (1) Assists: DeBrusk (9), Krejci (37); Thornton (11) Assists: Pavelski (22)

Second Period:

Sharks started off the middle period with some more zone time and shots on Rask and on one of the clear attempts, Kevan Miller accidentally hits the puck up and over the glass, resulting in the ever-so-disliked delay-of-game penalty and Boston will be shorthanded for two minutes.

Boston fails to put enough strength on the clear attempt, allowing the Sharks to cycle the puck around and Brent Burns’ shot gets deflected by Joe Pavelski that goes up and over Tuukka Rask. San Jose right back within only a goal under three minutes into the second. Assists go to Burns (54) and Couture (33).

Nearly five minutes in, another whistle, very much unlike the first period, but one that the Bruins will like. Joe Pavelski gets his stick caught up on Chara and is called for hooking – a two-minute minor and it’s yet another B’s power-play. On the man-advantage, the Bruins look like they cannot get any opportunities, but they do, right at the end.

David Backes made a nifty move with his skate to pass the puck off of the boards in the neutral zone to Jake DeBrusk who passes it to Danton Heinen. Heinen returns the puck right back to DeBrusk alone on a partial breakaway and DeBrusk fires a shot past Jones to reinstate a two-goal lead for Boston. Four consecutive games with goals for DeBrusk and that’s number eighteen on the season assisted by Heinen (11) and Backes (9).

Frustration for San Jose may be setting in perhaps as Brendon Dillon nails Sean Kuraly from behind as Kuraly attempted to spin away from it but the hit resulted in some pushing and shoving in the corner just as Charlie McAvoy found himself all alone with a great chance to score on Jones. Whistles blow though as Wagner and Braun each get five minutes in the box for fighting. No instigator penalties are handed out with 9:35 remaining in the second period.

Late in the second period, the Sharks manage to get themselves back within a goal as Jumbo Joe Thornton finds another rebound shot to score his second goal of the game – the first time he’s scored two goals in a game this season. Sorensen (9) and Simek (8) get the helpers on the play. Unlucky break for the Bruins there with just over three minutes to play in the second.

For the third time tonight, the San Jose Sharks will have a man in the box for high-sticking as Joe Thornton gets his lumber up in the face of Brad Marchand and with 1:29 to go, Boston is on the 5-on-4 power-play for two minutes. Somehow, Logan Couture is found deep in the neutral zone, makes a nice move around Krug and nearly scores but due a hook by Marchand, a penalty shot is awarded with 24.7 seconds to go and Couture simply shoots it five-hole past Rask, tying the game at four apiece.

Not nearly as good of a period for the Bruins as the opening one was, going to need a solid final twenty minutes and maybe more to beat the Sharks tonight. Bruins were outshot 14-4 in the second period alone.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 12 SJS: 22

Score: 4-4 – Goals: Pavelski (32) PPG Assists: Burns (54), Couture (33); DeBrusk (18) Assists: Heinen (11), Backes (9); Thornton (12) Assists: Sorensen (9), Simek (8); Couture (22) Unassisted

Third Period:

San Jose opened the final regulation period with a couple solid shots on Tuukka Rask, one of which off of a big Timo Meier deflection. Still early on, the Bruins are called on a delay-of-game penalty because David Backes apparently took too long to make a change prior to a faceoff. Bruins successfully kill off the penalty though and the game continues 5-on-5.

Boston has had issues in this game at getting the puck out of the zone on rushes. At one point in the first half of the third, the Bruins did not get a shot on Martin Jones in over nineteen minutes of game-time. It has been proven that it is much, much harder to score when you do not shoot at the goaltender.

Sean Kuraly set up Noel Acciari right in front of the crease for the first shot in what seemed like four games, but the Sharks return right away with a bullet of a shot by Hertl that rings the bar, so loud that us Canadians could hear it. Rask does not look as calm as he did against the Kings, that shot was clean past him.

Around the six-minute mark, Joe Thornton walks in and shoots it right past Tuukka Rask to give the Sharks a 5-4 lead with 6:28 remaining. Bruins collapsing ever since the 3-1 goal with three seconds to go. Assists to Thornton’s hat-trick go to Pavelski (23) and Braun (13).

While it looks like the Bruins were down and out, Brandon Carlo rifled a bomb that was rebounded by Wagner. Wagner then hit the puck what looked like to be above the crossbar, but it goes into the Sharks net and due to it being a non-reviewable play for some reason, the goal stands and the Bruins tie the game with just around two minutes left to play. Wagner sets a new career high for goals in a year with eight and it’s assisted by Carlo (4) and Acciari (4).

Shots On Goal: BOS: 19 SJS: 33

Score: 5-5 – Goals: Thornton (13) Assists: Pavelski (23), Braun (13); Wagner (8), Carlo (4), Acciari (4)

Overtime:

First thirty seconds of 3-on-3 overtime is full San Jose. Some big shots on Rask, all of which stopped. Tuukka attempted his double pad stack again, but the shot missed. B’s finally get the puck out of the defensive end, but Brent Burns comes back and gets a sharp wrist shot that almost sneaks through him, but Matt Grzelcyk slaps it out of harm’s way.

It has been a poor night for Torey Krug tonight. In this overtime alone, Krug has been chased down numerous times, resulting in either a turnover or an icing call. One of these mistakes led to a Hertl shot as he skated across the crease but Rask makes a big save. As the play continues, the net comes off but because the Bruins are on a rush, the refs left it causing some controversy when the Sharks had a 2-on-0 and the whistle was blown dead.

Later on in overtime, the Bruins somehow get alone 3-on-2, creating a beautiful DeBrusk-to-Krejci-to-McAvoy goal to win the game in overtime. Bruins survive a three-goal lead blown to win their sixth straight game. McAvoy’s 4th assisted by Krejci (38) and DeBrusk (10).

Shots On Goal: BOS: 20 SJS: 38

Final Score: 6-5 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS F Jake DeBrusk – 1 Goal, 2 Assists, +2 Rating, 17:59 TOI

2nd Star: SJS F Joe Thornton – 3 Goals, 3 Shots, +2 Rating, 4 Takeaways

3rd Star: BOS F David Krejci – 3 Assists, +1 Rating 20:24 TOI

Bruins now head to Vegas for a game against the Golden Knights on Wednesday with six straight wins.

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Bruins Game 60 Preview: San Jose Sharks

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

The Boston Bruins are on fire as of late – winning their last five games including a back-to-back stretch over the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings in some close, back-and-forth games. The Bruins continue their five-game road swing with game three of that stretch tonight against the Sharks. Boston is currently in the second Atlantic division spot, one point ahead of Toronto.

The San Jose Sharks have been a solid team in the West with former Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson on their backend. The Sharks are 7-3-0 in their last ten games and they defeated the Vancouver Canucks twice last week including a massive 7-2 victory over the lone British Columbia team last Monday. The Sharks are second in the Pacific division, only two points behind the Calgary Flames for first and hold a nine-point cushion on the Vegas Golden Knights.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 19-8-4 2.37 GAA .920 SV% Last Game: 23 Saves in 4-2 win over LAK

SJS: Martin Jones 28-11-4 2.88 GAA .899 SV% Last Game: 32 Saves in 3-2 win vs VAN

Who’s Hot

Tuukka Rask made a save – a save that will be in contention for “Save of The Year” against the Kings, stacking the pads on a 2-on-1 chance for LA that gave momentum back to Boston. It is only one save but is a small example of the growing confidence in Rask this season and how he has helped the Bruins largely to a ten-game point streak. Tuukka has earned a point in his last thirteen starts and he is in the top ten in almost all the main goaltending statistics.

Brent Burns won the James Norris Memorial Trophy two years ago in 2017 and he is making a strong case to be a finalist for the award once again in 2018-19. As a defenceman, Burns leads the Sharks in points with 11-53-64 numbers in 59 games played this year. In his last five, Burns has 1-5-6 totals and has been a key part to the 7-3-0 run for San Jose.

Brad Marchand is still on fire. With Saturday’s goal, Marchand reached the seventy-point total for the third consecutive season and has the capability of breaking his end-of-season point total of 85 points for the last two seasons. Marchand has nine points in the last five games that he has played in and is taking the offensive responsibilities on his shoulders with the absence of David Pastrnak.

Brad Marchand,Martin Jones

PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

Evander Kane has become a big-time scorer for the Sharks this season and has been a nice addition for the team. The Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada native has 26-24-50 numbers in fifty-nine games this year and has points in four of his last five games. Kane is only four points away from matching is totals between the Sabres and Sharks combined last season.

Who’s Not

The third-line that has become the fourth-line. The Nordstrom-Frederic-Backes line has been terrible. While Trent Frederic has been decent on the faceoff dot, but the trio has zero points combined in their last five games and they have not generated much offence at all. Joakim Nordstrom doesn’t have a single point scored in fifteen games now.

Not many players on the San Jose Sharks are having bad years as most of them are in the middle of one of their best seasons as an NHL hockey player. Tomas Hertl has had a great season, scoring 26-27-53 numbers in 54 games in 2018-19, but has no points in his last two games and is a combined -5 rating within that time span. Don’t expect this to last long as he is one of the better forwards to score on this roster.

Other than that, both teams are hot and have good players that are producing quite well – making this game all the more enjoyable and fun to watch.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • D Zdeno Chara is two goals away (198) from 200 career NHL goals
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one even-strength goal (203) from passing Peter McNab (203) for sole possession of 8th most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (24) from tying Rick Middleton (25) for most SHG in Bruins history
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PHOTO CREDITS: (Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

San Jose Sharks:

  • D Marc-Eduard Vlasic is two points away (298) from 300 career NHL points
  • F Kevin Lebanc is two points away (98) from 100 career NHL points
  • F Melker Karlsson is three points (97) from 100 career NHL points
  • D Brendan Dillion is four points (96) from 100 career NHL points
  • D Brent Burns is one game away (567) from tying Owen Nolan (568) for 9th most games played in Sharks history
  • F Tomas Hertl is one even-strength goal away (81) from tying Marco Sturm (82) for most even-strength goals in Sharks history

Bruins vs Sharks Outlook

This is the first meeting between the Bruins and Sharks this season, with the second game coming next week on February 26th. Last season, the Bruins kept the Sharks to a combined two goals in the two games, beating the San Jose club in both games.

For the speciality teams, the Bruins still have one of the best power-plays in the NHL. Their 26.5% power-play percentage is the best in the league behind only the Tampa Bay Lightning while on the penalty-kill, the B’s have a mediocre percentage there, 80.7% for 15th in the NHL.

For San Jose, they are the 6th best NHL team when on the man-advantage with a 24% success rate and have the 6th best penalty-kill success rate as well, killing off 82.5% of the penalties they take on average. The Sharks also shoot the puck a lot, the 2nd most on average in the National Hockey League, averaging just under 34 shots per game.

Puck drop is scheduled for 10pm EST at the SAP Center in San Jose, California. Below are the lines during morning skate for the Bruins ahead of tonight’s contest.

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Hooray For Hollywood… And The Bruins!

Related image(Photo Credit: NESN)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

In the entertainment capital of the world, the Bruins put on quite a show (twice if you count Anaheim as Los Angeles like the Angels do). I was lucky enough to see it up close at the Staples Center in downtown La La Land, where the crowd was a near even split of Black N’ Gold versus Black N’ Gray — something Kings’ fans have gotten used to with a visiting team’s fanbase, especially one as well-traveled and passionate as Boston’s.

Speaking of travels, one new Bruin made it all the way to the Left Coast from Providence for his NHL debut against the sons of Gretzky. And that (young) man was Karson Kuhlman, proudly sporting No. 83 for the B’s. He looked right at home in his bespoked road sweater, and even in limited ice time, showed a lot of speed & puck-carrying skill when given any on-ice opportunity.

As for the rest of his teammates, who were coming off a boringly productive 3-0 win against the deftless Ducks just the night before, they took advantage of every bounce & break in a game that featured many maladies when it came to defense, puck possession and scoring chances — all aspects of play that are visibly more striking (and obvious) to witness when you’re in person observing it. Nevertheless, capitalizing on your first shot of the game and turning the home crowd into YOUR crowd were exactly what the Bruins needed to do in what was undoubtedly a less than regal effort for both teams.

Oh, and while on the subject of saves, all 18,000+ people in attendance — and probably a few dozen more if you count concessions in Premium Seating — were vocally in awe after what had to be the best two-pad stack ever seen in a Boston jersey since the Andy Moog years. And it came from the likes of Two U’s, Two K’s (and now Two Pads) Tuukka Rask, who truly bailed the B’s out a few times in this one and lived up to his then-trending hashtag #TuukkaTime!

To say folks were atwitter after the brilliantly flashy and timely athleticism of that crease creativity from Tuuks… well, that would be both accurate to the pun & point! Accuracy was also on full display in the waning moments of the game when, after some ill-advised puck movement behind the B’s net led to LA’s tying goal, Charlie McAvoy & Patrice Bergeron sealed the deal in dethroning the Kings with two lightning-quick strikes that kept everyone sporting B’s gear standing for the rest of the game, including this guy (and the nice couple from Connecticut next to him traveling to ALL the road-trip games in Cali then to Vegas).

There’s an old lyrical expression that perfectly sums up the B’s start to this important stretch of almost-Spring hockey: “Hollywood… Hooray for Hollywood! Where you’re terrific, if you’re even good.” And that’s all the Bruins needed to be–GOOD–against two Hollywood local opponents whose stars have faded and are closer to winning The Razzie than The Oscar this year. To end on another Tinseltown tune: “Do you know the way to San Jose?” The B’s sure do. Puck drops at the Shark Tank at 7pm PST!

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 19 Recap

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey Leagues Atlantic Division is tight with five teams in the eight-team division within 4-5 points of each other as they’ll be jockeying their way back and forth toward Calder Cup Playoff Hopes. In that mix is the Providence Bruins who’ve been red hot to start the 2019 calendar year but have come back to earth a little losing two of three during this weekends action.  The last time the team from the State of Rhode Island lost consecutive games was a 3-0 shutout to host Hartford Wolf Pack on Wednesday, December 19th, 2018 and a 6-3 beatdown the Binghamton Devils gave the Providence club on Friday, December 21st, 2018 once again on the road.

With a season record of 27-19-6-1 and sitting in the fourth position in the division and seventh in the Eastern Conference, the playoffs aren’t out of the realm, but it’s not going to be easy and dropping the last two of three in their home barn, and local fan support certainly didn’t help matters. With proper rest and practice schedule, set up by head coach Jay Leach, the B’s should snap out of this small slide in the wrong direction before they face second-place Bridgeport Sound Tigers to start next weekends three-game set on Friday, February 22nd, 2019.

Anyways, below are the ups and downs of the weekend that was for the Providence Bruins and a little better detail of the game’s action highlighted by the B’s offensive numbers. Hope you all enjoy!

Friday, February 15th, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. The Toronto Marlies (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The Bruins kicked off the weekend’s festivities hosting the Toronto Marlies, and red hot B’s goaltender got the start in goal looking for his 12th consecutive victory. After being down 1-0 to the visiting Marlies team through the first 20 minutes, the B’s got on the board in the second period with a shorthanded goal for recently demoted NHL Bruins defenseman Steven Kampher assisted by another newcomer Lee Stempniak. The veteran Stempniak was signed to a professional tryout last week after spending a majority of the 2018-19 season practicing with the Boston Bruins when the team was in the Boston area as a non-roster player.

Stempniak would get his second point of the evening later in the second period with his first of the year assisted by Gemel Smith to get the B’s first lead of the night. The Providence club would seal the deal with a third-period goal from Anton Blidh who scored his eighth of the season assisted by defensemen Chris Breen and Kampher. The three stars of the night were selected from the players that produced offensively with Kampher with the first, Stempniak with the second, and finishing off the honorable mentions, Blidh with the third star.

Bruins goaltender McIntyre stopped 25 of 26 shots and extended his winning streak to 12 games in the 3-1 victory. He’s honestly been sensational in goal since the start of 2019, and with a season record of 20-8-3 and in his last 17 games dating back to December 15th the former 2010 sixth-round draft pick of the NHL Bruins has gone 14-3-0 with a goals-against-average of 2.06, and .909 save percentage in that timeframe.

Saturday, February 16th,2019, Providence Bruins vs. The Charlotte Checkers (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

This particular game was the start of the weekend troubles for the Bruins team being down 3-0 to the visiting Checkers team going into the third period. The B’s did try and create a spark in the last frame but forward Paul Carey’s 11th of the season assisted by Breen and Ryan Fitzgerald and Jakub Zboril’s fourth of the season a minute later weren’t enough as the Checkers shut down the B’s effort earning the 3-2 victory.

Goaltender Dan Vladar was in goal on this night taking the unfortunate loss.  The rookie netminder is 7-10-4 with a 2.70 goals-against-average, and .903 save percentage in 22 games played. The 21-year-old Czech Republic native has only two wins in his last ten games.

Sunday, February 17th, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. The Springfield Falcons (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

To finish the weekend’s action and the final game of week 17, the Providence club looked to get back on track after losing to the Charlotte club the night before, but that just didn’t happen. For the second game in a row, the Bruins were fighting an uphill battle and again being down three goals going into the third period certainly didn’t help matters at all. B’s captain Jordan Szwarz tried to create a spark offensively in the last frame, but the Springfield Falcons were just too much punching in two more goals to end the B’s effort and second consecutive loss.

Bruins netminder McIntyre got the start in goal on this night looking for his 13th consecutive victory, but it just wasn’t in the cards on this night as he took the 5-1 loss. The 26-year-old McIntyre didn’t exactly have the full support of his teammates in front of him in the loss to the Thunderbirds and will look to get on track this weekend as he’ll presumably get two of the three starts at the end of the week’s action.  He and Vladar have been on a consistent schedule of McIntyre on Friday and Sunday games while the AHL rookie Vladar gets the call on Saturday’s contests.

Interested in going to a Providence Bruins or Boston Bruins game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the links below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Los Angeles: 02/16/19

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Boston Bruins

PHOTO CREDITS: ( Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: Staples Center – Los Angeles, California, USA

Home: Los Angeles Kings (23-28-6)

Away: Boston Bruins (33-17-8)

The Bruins enter tonight’s game following a 3-0 shutout victory over the Anaheim Ducks last night. Jaroslav Halak made thirty saves while Sean Kuraly finished the night with two assists. The Bruins sit in the third Atlantic Division spot with a chance to pass the Maple Leafs for the second position.

The Kings had a three-game winning streak before losing to Boston last Saturday, but have since lost three in a row including a 4-3 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks in their last outing. Kings are near the bottom of the league and they have struggled to produce any offence, scoring the second-least amount of goals per game this year.

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Matt Grzelcyk is back in the lineup after a lower-body injury and forward Karson Kuhlman makes his NHL debut. John Moore and David Backes are scratched.

First Period

Immediately within the first minute, Noel Acciari continued some of the momentum he created when he scored last night with a massive hit early on while he rushed the puck into the Kings zone. Not too long after that though, Matt Grzelcyk is called on a high-sticking minor and the Bruins penalty-kill has to go to work early. Bruins did a solid job killing off the penalty and the game returns to 5-on-5.

Just over five-in-a-half minutes into the game, the Kings make a poor pass in the neutral zone and then attempt a mistimed line change, allowed Peter Cehlarik to make a cross-zone pass to Jake DeBrusk who buried the goal past Jack Campbell. Great re-entry by the Bruins to capitalize on the Los Angeles mistake and it is 1-0 Boston early on in the first. The goal is DeBrusk’s 17th on the season and his third straight game with a goal. Assists go to Cehlarik (2) and Krejci (34).

The fourth line of the Bruins is one of the better lines on the roster right now and they continue to prove that with multiple great chances on Campbell. Nearly thirty seconds of zone control for the Acciari-Kuraly-Wagner line and numerous shots. The hard work of these guys never seems to slow down.

The aggressiveness by the Bruins on all four lines have been great just past the halfway point of the opening period. Boston has been putting pressure on the Kings defence, forcing them to make poor passes on the breakout and limiting their changes. In this, the B’s draw a penalty on the Kings – an interference call on Matt Roy behind Jack Campbell and Boston is off to the power-play.

Right at the start of the man-advantage, Jack Campbell makes a bad play of miscommunication behind his own net, leaving Marchand the ability to make a great feed to Bergeron but Campbell was able to get back in the net and make a pad save. The tenacity on the puck has been creating some chances for Boston both at even-strength and on the power-play. Boston nearly got caught though, as a 2-on-1 shorthanded for the Kings raced towards Rask who made the big save on Iafallo with some help from Krug. Penalty expires.

The final five minutes had some more pressure by the Kings, trying to tie the game before the first intermission, but the B’s had some more opportunities themselves, including a good one by David Krejci that was stopped by Campbell. Period ends and another solid period by the Black N’ Gold.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 8 LAK: 8

Score: 1-0 Bruins – Goals: DeBrusk (17) 5:31 Assists: Cehlarik (2), Krejci (34)

Second Period

Some fast-paced action on either end at the start of the middle period, with Boston getting the bulk of the offensive chances. Danton Heinen showcased some great stickhandling and passing on zone entries and zone control as well as the other Bruins. Brad Marchand, while entering the zone, drew a hooking minor and Boston is to the power-play for the second time.

For some reason, Boston seems to allow shorthanded opportunities for the opposing team. A 2-on-1 chance for the Kings on the last PP and now a breakaway chance for Anze Kopitar that is shut down by Rask. Massive save by Tuukka, but the save should have never needed to been made. Kings had more shorthanded chances on this power-play than Boston, a terrible effort for the B’s – back to 5-on-5.

Los Angeles is finding their offensive rhythm against Boston in this second period. Boston is struggling to find their legs and seemingly, their passing sticks to make the good plays out of the zone while LA is able to shoot on Rask and make solid zone plays. On one of the Kings entries, Charlie McAvoy gets caught hooking Austin Wagner and Boston goes to the PK once again.

Kevan Miller slacks off ever so slightly on Ilya Kovalchuk and the Russian sniper rips one past Rask on the power-play and the Kings tie the game 10:37 into the second frame. The goal is Kovalchuk’s twelfth of the season assisted by Anze Kopitar (26) and Drew Doughty (27).

With just around seven minutes to go, Kopitar does a good job selling a Zdeno Chara hold and right away, Boston is shorthanded nearly immediately after getting scored on while the Kings had the extra man. Like the Kings did, the Bruins get a tremendous opportunity shorthanded when Chris Wagner escapes on a breakaway but Campbell shuts the door but a solid effort nonetheless by the always-hard-working fourth liner. The penalty is killed off.

Just around five minutes to go, the Kings find themselves on a 2-on-1 rush and Tuukka Rask makes an absolutely terrific, highlight-reel save on Alex Iafallo’s shot. The diving effort with the pads was fun to watch, but the Bruins cannot afford to let those chances pile up because eventually, Los Angeles will begin to bury these.

Late in the period on an offensive zone faceoff, Patrice Bergeron ties up the faceoff where Brad Marchand rips a wrist shot right off the win, beating Campbell who was screened by two of his own players. Beautiful by Marchand who now has twenty-three goals on the season. The only helper on the play goes to Bergeron who is credited with his thirty-fourth assist in 2018-19.

But, the Bruins cannot survive the remainder of a poor period overall without taking another penalty. Noel Acciari to the box for high-sticking and the power-play that has already scored once tonight is back to work late in the second. The umbrella formation of the Kings man-advantage has worked great for them at working the puck around the zone but each time, Rask is there making a save. The second period ends there.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 17 LAK: 19

Score: 2-1 Bruins – Goals: Kovalchuk (12) PPG 10:37 Assists: Kopitar (26), Doughty (27); Marchand (23) 16:15 Assist: Bergeron (34)

Third Period

The third period, for the most part, failed to have many entertaining scoring chances. Both teams traded a few rushes down the ice as they tried to beat the opposing goaltender.

Multiple icings and faceoffs on either end of the ice for the Kings and Bruins but neither team can put many shots on the net, and like I said, when it does hit the net, it is stopped by Campbell or Rask. Tuukka Rask has made some solid saves in this entire game and this period even more so.

With just around five minutes to trail in the final regulation period, the Kings manage to cycle the puck around the zone and the Bruins defencemen lose their men, allowing Alex Iafallo to score the tying goal at the 15:37 mark of the third period. Kevan Miller and Matt Grzelcyk lost their men and the fourth line was the forward group out. Iafallo’s rebound goal is his 12th of the year, assisted by LaDue (1) and Adrian Kempe (12).

Not even thirty seconds after the tying goal by Los Angeles, Brad Marchand gets his stick caught up in Jeff Carter and the whistle is blown, Bruins to the penalty-kill – a big chance for the Kings to bounce right back and take the lead late in this hockey game. However, the Bruins make several clears, most of which successful and the B’s kill off the full two minutes.

After the unsuccessful man-advantage for L.A., the Kings had a very poor shift allowing Charlie McAvoy to join in on the rush and deflect a Jake DeBrusk pass past Campbell to give Boston the lead with just over one minute left to go. It seemed like Campbell and the Kings defence thought the pass was headed to Heinen across the crease, but McAvoy got it first. McAvoy’s third of the year assisted by DeBrusk (8) and Krejci (35).

Unlike previously, the Bruins did not let up with the one goal late as Patrice Bergeron was relentless on the forecheck, poking the puck one-handed past Jack Campbell with thirty-six seconds left to go to give Boston the extra insurance marker to make this a 4-2 hockey game. Bergeron’s 21st was unassisted.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 24 LAK: 25

Final Score: 4-2 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars

1st Star: BOS F Jake DeBrusk – 1 Goal, 1 Assist +2 Rating, 2 Shots

2nd Star: BOS F David Krejci – 2 Assists, +2 Rating, 4 Shots

3rd Star: BOS G Tuukka Rask – 23 Saves on 25 Shots

The Bruins win their fifth straight game and leapfrog over the Toronto Maple Leafs, taking over second in the Atlantic Division. Next up: Boston takes on the San Jose Sharks on Monday. Puck drop scheduled for 10pm EST.

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Bruins Game 59 Preview: Los Angeles Kings

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Winslow Townson / AP Photo)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

Another day, another series of back-to-backs for the Boston Bruins. After a solid 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks last night in Anaheim to begin this five-game road trip, the Bruins now look to the Los Angeles Kings – the team they beat last Saturday in Boston. Boston’s four-game winning streak has given them a five-point cushion on the Montreal Canadiens and only one point behind the Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division standings.

The Los Angeles Kings were on a three-game winning streak before losing to Boston last week in overtime. Since the loss to the Bruins, the Kings have lost 6-4 to the Capitals and most recently, 4-3 in a shootout to the Vancouver Canucks. The Kings are tied for the second-worst record in the NHL with a 23-28-6 record for 52 points on the season.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 18-8-4 2.38 GAA .920 SV% Last Game: 23 Saves in 6-3 Win vs CHI

LAK: Jonathan Quick 11-14-5 3.09 GAA .899 SV% Last Game: 24 Saves in 4-3 SO Loss vs VAN

Who’s Hot

Tuukka Rask is back in goal for the Bruins after Jaroslav Halak picked up his fourth shutout of the season last night against the Ducks. Rask has had a solid month of February already, winning all four games that he has started in (WSH, NYI, LAK, CHI), only allowing eight goals in that stretch. Rask has earned a point in his last twelve games and his .920 save percentage is the eighth-best in the league.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

Tyler Toffoli is arguably one of the only good young players this season for the Kings and he has been solid for them in the last few games. Toffoli has five points (3-2-5) in his last five games and seven in his last six. The 26-year-old forward is fourth in scoring on the Kings roster with 12-15-27 numbers in 57 games in 2018-19.

Torey Krug is one of the best offensive defencemen in the NHL and this season, he is holding that title well. Krug is in the middle of a five-game point streak, scoring six points in that time span. Krug nearly had two assists in Friday’s win over Anaheim, but his assist was taken away when Carlo’s goal was changed to Acciari. Krug now has 5-36-41 numbers in 47 games for the B’s this year.

The fourth line of the Bruins was great against the Ducks, with Sean Kuraly finishing the night with a pair of assists, while Noel Acciari scored the first, and eventual game-winning goal, in the opening period. Chris Wagner also buried the final nail in the Ducks’ coffin in the empty net for his seventh goal of the year, tying a career-high. The fourth line of Boston is one of the hardest working lines on the roster and they always attack the puck on defence and forecheck.

Who’s Not

Jonathan Quick, like a lot of Kings players this season, is well off from a career year in net. Quick has lost his last three starts, including two games in a row where he allowed five or more goals (5 vs BOS on Feb. 9th and 6 vs WSH on Feb. 11th). The 33-year-old netminder has a sub-.900 save percentage and averages over three goals against per game when he is in between the pipes.

Joakim Nordstrom was one of the free agent signings by the Bruins last off-season, but the 26-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden native has only 5-2-7 numbers in 47 games this season and has not recorded a single point in his last fourteen games played. Somehow, Nordstrom has tied his point production for last season, but on this roster, the Bruins need him to produce more – even if he’s on the bottom-six for games.

Ilya Kovalchuk should be producing more than he has been and that is a cause for concern for the Kings management, who signed the Russian to a three-year deal worth just over $6 million per season. The 35-year-old winger has failed to score a point in his last four games and has 11-15-26 numbers in forty-seven games played this year. Kovalchuk has even been mentioned in trade rumours again, not even a full season after signing with Los Angeles.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • D Zdeno Chara is two goals away (198) from 200 career NHL goals
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one even-strength goal (202) from tying Peter McNab (203) for 8th most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (24) from tying Rick Middleton (25) for most SHG in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one shot away (2985) from passing Bobby Orr (2985) for the 4th most shots in Bruins history.

Los Angeles Kings:

  • F Dustin Brown is one point away (599) from 600 career NHL points
  • F Jeff Carter is three points (697) from 700 career NHL points
  • F Dustin Brown is three goals away (272) from tying Butch Goring (275) for 6th most goals in Kings history
  • F Dustin Brown is one power-play goal away (91) from tying Rob Blake (92) for 5th most power-play goals in Kings history
  • F Anze Kopitar is one game-winning goal away (47) from passing Dave Taylor (47) for sole possession of 3rd most GWG in Kings history

Bruins vs Kings Outlook

Having played each other only seven days ago, the Bruins and Kings are relatively familiar with the style of their games against one another. The Bruins managed to take a 5-4 win in overtime in their previous meeting this season, but Boston lost the lead twice in the game, something they cannot afford to do again tonight.

Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists the last time these two teams faced one another, while both Charlie McAvoy and Danton Heinen finished the night with two points each. The Bruins showed glimpses of high offence and that will need to be on display once again tonight. In the February 9th game, the B’s had a tough time making good, solid breakout passes and the Kings will be looking to capitalize more often tonight if it becomes a habit once again.

The Bruins have the second-best power-play in the NHL (26.7%) while the Kings have the fourth-worst at 15.4%. For the penalty-kill, Boston has killed off 80.7% of their penalties, the fourteenth-best in the league. L.A. has the second-worst PK in the National Hockey League, sitting around 75.6%. Los Angeles has also scored the second-least amount of total goals, ahead of only the Anaheim Ducks, who the Bruins shutout last night.

John Moore and David Backes are out of the lineup tonight while Matt Grzelcyk makes his return after recovering from a lower-body injury and forward Karson Kuhlman makes his NHL debut in replace of Backes. Puck drop is scheduled for 10:30pm EST in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

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Bruins Game Recap: Boston Beats Anaheim 3-0

photo credit: NHL.com

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 14-9-4 2.44 GAA .921 SV% Last Game: 35 Saves in 2-1 Win vs COL

ANA: Kevin Boyle (Not Confirmed) 1-0-0 1.20 GAA .967 SV% Last Game: 35 Saves in 1-0 Win vs VAN

Lineups:

Boston:

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Danton Heinen

Peter Cehlarik – David Krejci – Jake DeBrusk

Joakim Nordstrom – Trent Frederic – David Backes

Sean Kuraly – Noel Acciari – Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug – Kevan Miller

John Moore – Brandon Carlo

Anaheim:

Rickard Rakell – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry

Daniel Sprong – Adam Henrique – Troy Terry

Devin Shore – Derek Grant – Jakob Silfverberg

Max Jones – Ryan Kesler – Carter Rowney

Cam Fowler – Michael Del Zotto

Hampus Lindholm – Josh Manson

Jaycob Megna – Brandon Montour

First Period:

Bruce Cassidy rolled out his fourth line for the initial puck drop. After a little bit of back-and-forth between the Bruins and Ducks, Boston was able to gain the offensive zone and create a few scoring chances. After receiving a cross-zone feed from David Krejci, Brandon Carlo flung a shot toward Boyle, who made the save. The rebound squirted out toward Peter Cehlarik, who attempted to bang it into the net, but ended up going an inch or two wide.

A little more than five minutes into the first, Torey Krug let a shot go from the point, with Boyle making the save. The Ducks turned the puck back over to Krug, who dished it to Sean Kuraly. Kuraly fed it to Brandon Carlo at the left point, and he let a bomb of a slap shot rip, which Noel Acciari deflected past Boyle for his second goal of the season. The Bruins are up 1-0, and welcome back their secondary scoring.

The next several minutes of play would consist of neither team being able to accomplish anything offensively. Halak and Boyle each made a couple of decent saves, but there were no particularly threatening scoring chances. The Ducks have been 3-15-4 since December 18, and could really use guys like Charlie Conway and Adam Banks on their roster this season.

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With a little under four minutes left in the period, Ducks rookie Max Jones would take a pass from Brandon Montour up the left wing and try to deke around Jaroslav Halak, who would rob him. Montour shot the rebound wide, and the net was knocked off its moorings. After the resulting faceoff, play would resume with the Ducks being stronger on the puck than the Bruins, but still not being able to tie the game.

Second Period:

Kuraly won the opening draw against Getzlaf. Deep in Anaheim’s zone, Kuraly would pass to Chara at the point. A bouncing puck would hop over the Bruins’ captain’s stick and into the neutral zone. Ducks wing Rickard Rakell would beat Chara to the loose puck at the Bruins’ blue line, carry it up the right wing, and get it to Corey Perry, despite Chara and McAvoy’s best efforts. Jaroslav Halak made a glove save on the frustrated Perry.

At 4:58, Rickard Rakell landed in the penalty box for a holding minor. Patrice Bergeron won the faceoff to Boyle’s left, Jake DeBrusk nudged the puck to Krug at the point, who threaded a cross-zone pass to Krejci. Krejci dangled Boyle out of his pants (and about five feet out of the crease), shot at the net, where Cam Fowler and DeBrusk were fighting for their ice. DeBrusk redirected Krejci’s shot for his 16th goal of the season, and the Bruins went up 2-0. The lesson here is not to put the Bruins on the power play.

The Bruins weren’t great defensively for the rest of the period, but the Ducks didn’t seem to have much of a desire to capitalize and tie the game. There was sloppy play by both parties during the remainder of the second, with Boston giving the Ducks a 5-on-3, with Chris Wagner and John Moore landing in the box. The Bruins weren’t particularly effective, especially in their own zone, but Halak held onto the Bruins’ 2-0 lead through the second.

Third Period:

The third period opened with the Bruins mostly controlling play until a questionable holding call against Derik Grant, putting the Bruins on the man advantage. The Bruins created a couple of good scoring chances, but Anaheim’s defense held on for dear life – Boyle didn’t have to make any wild saves, as his blue liners had him covered.

The Bruins’ second line had a strong third period and generated several chances, all resulting in saves by Boyle. Slovak wing Peter Cehlarik was in good position all night and appeared as though he was destined to score, but it wasn’t to be.

At 10:56, Hampus Lindholm set up a road block for Brad Marchand behind Boyle’s net, landing the Swede in the box with an interference minor. Patrice Bergeron pounced on a rebound Boyle gave up, but the Ducks’ goaltender managed to jump on it and keep the Bruins to two goals. The Bruins would turn the puck over and allow a Derik Grant to gain the zone on a shorthanded bid, but Halak made the save. Anaheim would go on the man advantage almost immediately afterward, but their weak power play was unable to accomplish anything, other than one solid opportunity where Halak would save a Brandon Montour one timer.

Ducks Head Coach Bob Murray pulled Boyle in favor of the extra skater with just under three minutes left in the third period. At 18:29, former Duck Chris Wagner scored an empty net goal after Zdeno Chara sent a pass from behind the goal line to Kuraly at the point. Kuraly dished the puck across the neutral zone to Wagner, who sailed it into Anaheim’s net. Ducks are unable to score three goals in the next minute and a half, and the Bruins win 3-0.

The Bruins have now collected 15 points out of a possible 18 in their last nine games. They are currently third in the Atlantic Division with 74 points. They are only one point behind the Maple Leafs, but Toronto has a game at hand.

Three Stars:

Third Star: Brandon Carlo played a good defensive game, managed to assist on Acciari’s goal, and didn’t appear to make any mistakes.

Second Star: David Krejci has been magical lately, and really makes his line mates better.

First Star: Jaroslav Halak. The Ducks could certainly have played better as they’re in a complete tailspin lately, but Halak definitely kept the Bruins afloat here.

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Bruins Game 58 Preview: Anaheim Ducks

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

The Boston Bruins will look to continue off of the successes of their last three consecutive wins as they begin a five-game Western road trip tonight against the Anaheim Ducks. The Bruins defeated the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday by a final score of 6-3. Without David Pastrnak in the lineup (out 2 weeks with a thumb injury), the Bruins managed to find scoring further down the lineup – with help from Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. Boston currently holds the third position in the Atlantic Division with 72 points, three points ahead of Montreal and three points behind Toronto.

The Anaheim Ducks have been the true definition of a dumpster fire this season. The Ducks are 3-7-0 in their last ten games and before Wednesday’s win over the Canucks, were on a seven-game losing streak. Their losing ways resulted in the firing of head coach Randy Carlyle earlier in the week. Anaheim is the fifth-worst team in the National Hockey League with a 22-26-9 record and only fifty-three points.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 14-9-4 2.44 GAA .921 SV% Last Game: 35 Saves in 2-1 Win vs COL

ANA: Kevin Boyle (Not Confirmed) 1-0-0 1.20 GAA .967 SV% Last Game: 35 Saves in 1-0 Win vs VAN

Who’s Hot

Brad Marchand is on a five-game point streak for the Bruins right now and all of which have been multi-point games. Marchand recently potted a goal and three assists in the 6-3 win over the Blackhawks. On this five-game point streak, Marchand has 3-9-12 totals and has been either a plus rating or an even rating in every game. Marchand has now passed Pastrnak for the team-lead in points with 22-47-69 numbers in 56 games this season.

If Kevin Doyle does get the start tonight, it will be the first game since his NHL debut where he stopped all thirty-five shots by the Vancouver Canucks en route to his first NHL shutout. For a Ducks team who has struggled in net this season with John Gibson, it is a breath of fresh air to see this young, 26-year-old Manalapan, New Jersey native do well early.

Patrice Bergeron continues to play at a high level. even though he just recently reached his 1000th NHL regular season game. Like Marchand, Bergeron is on a five-game point streak with 4-5-9 numbers in that span. Bergeron has fourteen points in his last ten contests and has continued to be one of the best, if not the best defensive forwards in the National Hockey League today.

Danton Heinen was given first-line minutes with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and he has, surprisingly, succeeded. Now with Pastrnak out, the Bruins have almost no choice but to keep Heinen on the top line where he has six points (3G, 3A) in four games. Heinen was one of four Bruins with three or more points against Chicago, scoring a goal and two assists in the game. Heinen has brought some more skill and he has the defensive side of the puck that does not make him a liability.

Who’s Not

Twenty-three games. That’s how long it has been since Ducks forward Ryan Kesler has scored a point. Kesler only has 4-2-6 totals in 49 games played this year and is making over $6.8 million for the next three years. Kesler did deal with injuries earlier in the year, but has still been getting ice time, ice time that is decreasing game-by-game. It’s been a big fall for Kesler who once put up 41 goals and 73 points in 2010-11 before losing to the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals.

It may be a stretch to say that Jake DeBrusk is “hot” right now, but after a three-point outing against Chicago, the Edmonton, Alberta, Canada native may be able to turn a lackluster 2019 around. DeBrusk was demoted to the Bruins third-line for a few games, but with Pastrnak’s injury keeping him out of the lineup, DeBrusk is back up in the top-six. It will take a few more games for DeBrusk to get back in the groove, but his most recent game was most definitely a step in the right direction. As of right now though, he is still “struggling”.

Adam Henrique has the second-most points on the Ducks roster, but he is still having a poor year this year. The 29-year-old has 10-18-28 numbers in 57 games to go along with a -6 rating. In his last eight games, Henrique has only one goal and was a minus rating for three of them as well.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • D Zdeno Chara is two goals away (198) from 200 career NHL goals
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one even-strength goal (202) from tying Peter McNab (203) for 8th most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (24) from tying Rick Middleton (25) for most SHG in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is three shots away (2982) from tying Bobby Orr (2985) for 4th most shots in Bruins history and four shots from passing him.
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PHOTO CREDITS: (Bleacher Report)

Anaheim Ducks:

  • D Cam Fowler is one assist away (204) from passing Scott Niedermayer (204) for sole possession of 6th most assists in Ducks history
  • F Ryan Getzlaf is one penalty minute away (812) from passing George Parros (812) for sole possession of 2nd most penalty minutes in Ducks history
  • F Richard Rakell is one even-strength goal away (84) from passing Andrew Cogliano (84) for sole possession of 7th most even-strength goals in Ducks history

Bruins vs Ducks Outlook

The Bruins and Ducks have met once before, on December 20th where the Bruins took a 3-1 win in Boston. It was a relieving performance, as Boston lost both meetings against one of the three California teams in the 2017-18 campaign.

In the last game between the two, it was the power-play of Boston that played the deciding factor. David Pastrnak and Torey Krug (GWG) each scored on the man-advantage, finishing the night with two power-play goals on four attempts. Entering tonight’s game, the Bruins have the second-best power-play in the league at a 26.8% success rate. The Ducks have the third-worst PP percentage in the league at 14.6%. Boston will not have their top power-play scorer, David Pastrnak due to injury.

On the penalty-kill, the Bruins have the 15th-best PK, at 80.3% while Anaheim has the 19th-best at 80.1%. Below are the morning rushes for the Bruins heading into the game.

Matt Grzelcyk (lower-body) and David Pastrnak (thumb) are out tonight.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You!  

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Providence Bruins Sign Lee Stempniak to Professional Tryout

lee-stempniak

photo credit: Brian Babineau / NHL / Getty Images

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

Providence Journal hockey writer and Rhode Island hockey expert Mark Divver announced today that the Providence Bruins signed forward Lee Stempniak to a professional tryout (PTO). Despite the fact that Stempniak has been practicing with the Bruins’ NHL squad since before the start of the season, this is an American Hockey League transaction only.

Stempniak, a National Hockey League journeyman, has played for ten different NHL clubs, which is tied for second-most in the league’s history. In a trade deadline deal on February 29, 2016, Stempniak was traded to the Bruins in exchange for a second and fourth-round draft pick. It was the third year in a row that Stempniak was dealt at the NHL’s trade deadline, as he was known to be a good addition to bring needed scoring punch to teams’ lineups. In his 19 regular season games for Boston, he scored three goals and assisted on seven, totaling ten points as a Bruin. Boston would go on to miss the playoffs that season, unfortunately, and despite a good showing in his 19 games, Stempniak would not be re-signed by General Manager Don Sweeney.

Stempniak signed with the Carolina Hurricanes in the summer of 2016 and scored 40 points in 2016-17 while playing all 82 games of the season. Last season, however, did not go so well for Stempniak, as he was plagued by injuries, missing 45 games. Ultimately, he scored three goals and notched six helpers for a total of nine points in 37 games for Carolina last year. Given the rough season he had, the 35-year-old wing was hard pressed to find any takers during free agency last summer, despite scoring 469 points in 909 career NHL games. Stempniak has called Boston home since graduating from Dartmouth in 2005.

This is a good move for Providence to gain some NHL and veteran experience for their lineup, however, it is an AHL tryout only, so Stempniak will not be taking an NHL roster spot with the Bruins unless he’s signed to a National Hockey League contract. Stempniak was invited to camp last year and had a good preseason with the Bruins, along with fellow bottom six forward Daniel Winnik. He was not signed, however, as the Bruins were stacked with a plethora of youngsters who would likely be filling out the bottom six for the Black and Gold. Obviously, it would not have been advantageous to the organization to dress a player of advancing age rather than continue to develop their youth.

Per Providence Head Coach Jay Leach, Stempniak will suit up for the P-Bruins at home tonight against the Toronto Marlies, and Sunday against the Springfield Thunderbirds, which will also be played at home, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. One would think the Bruins are unlikely to sign Stempniak to an NHL contract since he’s been practicing with them for a half year at this point, but there is a distinct  possibility that the New York native could be looked toward for help in their bottom six, as the Bruins are in dire need of secondary scoring, and Don Sweeney has yet to make any trades this season. If Stempniak can capitalize on the opportunity and doesn’t look outmatched in the AHL, it would not be totally crazy for him to see NHL action again.

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Happy Valentine’s Day from the Boston Bruins!

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

Will you “B” my Valentine?

That’s what many are asking on this heart-filled February 14th. And for the Boston Bruins and their Black N’ Gold fans, there’s a lot of love to go around right now. From the team’s 3-game winning streak, to its 8-game point streak, to Tuukka Rask’s very own personal point streak…

…it seems everyone’s buying in — and pitching in — to what Bruce Cassidy and management want to see from this team (as currently constituted): more speed, more toughness & more scoring, especially from the young guns. And considering how everyone responded versus the Blackhawks in a secondary goal-filled 6-3 win on TD Garden ice this week, it’s probably safe to say the B’s, like their Valentine’s Day cards, are all smiles right now:

But you know what else would “Tuukka my breath away” for the B’s? Making the most of this weekend’s West Coast schedule, in particular the two back-to-back (“I love you to the moon and Backes?”) games against the cellar dwellers of the Pacific, the Ducks (no longer Mighty in any way, shape or form) and Kings (quite dethroned if you ask me). Those are 4 points screaming to be won!

And with Montreal hot on the Bruins’ heels and Toronto less than a five-for-fighting glove hand away in the standings, “these points are at a premium” to quote one of the B’s best analysts Mr. Andy “Brick” Brickley (who, alongside his play-by-play partner Jack Edwards was featured over the Summer in a special “Men Behind the Mic” article on this very blog).

If the Bruins are to make the most of their match-ups against Anaheim & Los Angeles, they’ll need to continue getting contributions from not only the Bergy’s and Marchy’s and Big Z’s of the team, but also the likes of *Jake Debrusk, *Danton Heinen and perhaps even the newly called-up *Karson Kuhlman (can we get the nickname “Special K” started already?), who’s been quite the site for sore scoring eyes in Providence lately.

***[If you click on the hyperlinks above, you can catch up on some great profile pieces from fellow BN’G writers on how these players could be hitting their strides at just the right time for the Bruins]

No matter who steps up, though, the B’s will be in a good place if they spread out the contributions and talent — be them winning 6-3 with prolific scoring or 2-1 with prolific defense & stout goaltending. It will also be a picture-perfect way to gauge just how needed a trade is ahead of the February 25th deadline and what type of player, be it an elite center/winger or a more established role-player, the B’s should bring in.

Like I mentioned earlier, there’s a lot to love about your Boston Bruins this Valentine’s Day. Or, in the wily whimsical words of Brad Marchand:

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