Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Arizona: 11/17/18

bruins-forsbacka-karlsson-040917xPhoto Credit: NBC Sports Boston

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona, USA

Home: Arizona Coyotes (9-8-1)

Away: Boston Bruins (10-6-3)

Arizona’s Lineup

Forwards

Keller-Stepan-Fischer

Grabner-Galchenyuk-Perlini

Panik-Richardson-Hinostroza

Crouse-Strome-Cousins

Defense

Ekman-Larsson-Oesterle

Connauton-Hjalmarsson

Memis-Lyubushkin

Goalies

Kuemper

Miska

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Heinen-Krejci-Pastrnak

Marchand-Nordstrom-DeBrusk

Bjork-Forsbacka Karlsson-Backes

Acciari-Kuraly-Wagner

Defense

Lauzon-Grzelcyk

Krug-Clifton

Zboril-Kampfer

Goalies

Halak

Rask

First Period

Noel Acciari made a nice play behind the Arizona net and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson buried it front right in front of the goal to give the Bruins the early lead.

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A spectacular rush by Brad Marchand resulted in Jake DeBrusk jamming home his eighth goal of the season to double the Bruins advantage just under three minutes into the game.

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The Bruins looked to be flying around the ice in the early stages of the game, trying to atone for their lack of offensive success against Dallas. Defensively the team looked pretty comfortable as Jaroslav Halak didn’t face too much pressure in the early going. The Bruins went to penalty kill midway through the period as the Coyotes looked to get back in the game.

After an impressive effort play by Joakim Nordstrom, the Bruin forward drew a penalty which resulted in a four on four situation. A few saves by Halak during the abbreviated Boston power play kept it a two goal game as the Bruins became a little careless with the puck. Sean Kuraly took a tripping penalty shortly after as the Bruins were shorthanded again. The Bruins killed the penalty as the Coyotes got a few opportunities.

Matt Grzelcyk appeared to score as Anders Bjork got tangled up in the crease with Darcy Kuemper but the goal was overturned as it remained a two goal game late in the period.

Score: 2-0 Bruins

Second Period

The Bruins would go on the man advantage as Oliver Ekman-Larsson took an interference penalty about a minute into the period. Halak made an incredible save on a two man breakaway on the power play to keep the Bruin lead of two goals. The Coyotes killed the penalty as the Bruins failed to get any scoring chances. Both teams began to get a bit physical as a few players started to throw their bodies around.

After bad giveaway by the Bruins in the corner, Brad Richardson finished off a nice feed by Vinnie Hinostroza to cut the Boston lead in half almost midway through the period.

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The Coyotes started to find their game in the middle stages of the period as the Bruins started to struggle to get possession in the offensive zone. The Bruins seemed to respond well as they got a bit more possession and even got a few shots on goal. A big turnover in the Arizona end nearly resulted in the Bruins taking a two goal lead but Acciari was denied by Kuemper in the slot.

A few scrambled moments in the Boston end in the final minute nearly resulted in the tying goal for the Coyotes but it remained a one goal game heading into the final period.

Score: 2-1 Bruins

Third Period

The Bruins again seemed to struggle in the defensive zone especially getting the puck out but the defense was able to hold strong in the first few minutes of the period. The Bruins responded with a good shift in the Arizona end as Marchand gave the Coyotes issues and nearly gave the B’s a two goal lead.

The Bruins went on the penalty kill as David Krejci was called for interference with under 14 minutes to go. The Coyotes were unable to capitalize as the Bruins did a great job killing the penalty especially Marchand who got a good scoring chance in the early part of the man advantage.

Neither team got many great chances as the period went on but that didn’t mean the teams weren’t working hard. The Bruins especially seemed to be really pushing for an insurance goal in the latter part of the period. The Coyotes started to get it going later on in the period, looking for a tying goal. Michael Grabner drove hard to the net, resulting in a hooking penalty to Grzelcyk as the Coyotes went to the man advantage with under two minutes left.

A couple huge saves by Halak and a great play by Jeremy Lauzon to knock the puck out of the crease helped seal the win for the Bruins.

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Final Score: 2-1 Bruins

Three Stars of the Game

First Star: Halak. The Bruin goaltender stopped 31 of 32 shots and was outstanding in a few big moments as the B’s picked up a huge win without some key players.

Second Star: Acciari. After being sat down by Bruce Cassidy recently, Acciari responded with an assist and a number of big hits.

Third Star: DeBrusk. The young winger was everywhere in this game and a had great net drive on his goal in the first period. Number 74 has seven points in his last seven games.

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Bruins Game 20 Preview: Arizona Coyotes

coyotes_bruins.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (RALPH FRESO / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

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

The Boston Bruins and the Arizona Coyotes will meet in Glendale, Arizona for an 8:00pm EST game. The 10-6-3 Bruins are coming off of a 1-0 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars last night in Dallas and will be looking to get back into the win column following two consecutive losses.

The 9-8-1 Arizona Coyotes are currently sixth in the NHL’s Pacific Division, coming off of a surprising 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators, who have been atop of the NHL’s league standings since the season began. Forward Michael Grabner and defenseman Jason Demers tallied the goals for the Coyotes in the win.

Who’s Hot

While the offence was held quiet against Dallas, Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk notched his sixth and seventh goal of the 2018-19 season in the 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. DeBrusk brought his point totals to 7-2-9 in 19 games so far this season. More goals for DeBrusk is a good sign and the hope is that he can continue it in Glendale.

Like DeBrusk, David Pastrnak was kept off the scoreboard in Friday’s loss to the Stars, but Pastrnak still leads the National Hockey League in goals scored with seventeen goals on the season as of November 17th at 4pm EST. Pastrnak has three more goals than the next person on the goal-leading list, ahead of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point, who has fourteen goals on the year.

David-Pastrnak-2.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Getty Images)

Jaroslav Halak is most likely getting the starting role at the time of writing this article and he will look to continue his hot start to the season. Even after a tough loss to Colorado, Halak has a 6-2-2 record with a 2.16 GAA and a .932 SV%.

Scoring has not been great for Arizona so far this season, entering Saturday’s game with the fourth-lowest goals-for-per-game in the entire league with an average of only 2.61 goals for. However, forward Clayton Keller has twelve points in eighteen contests this season, with seven goals. He leads the team in points, tied with Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Forward Alex Galchenyuk has 3-5-8 totals in eleven games with his new team. The former Montreal Canadiens player has fit in nicely since being acquired by the Coyotes in a June trade.

Who’s Not

Darcy Kuemper is getting the start against Boston in the Saturday game, but he has not had a successful campaign early on. With a record of 4-4-1 in nine games, Kuemper has a 2.77 goals-against-average and a .917 save percentage. He will look to rebound with a win over the Bruins on home ice.

The depth scoring of the Bruins remains an issue. While David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk have added points on the second-line, the third-line and fourth-line have not had a great year. Danton Heinen is the only forward behind Krejci and DeBrusk with more than four points. Boston needs to find their depth scoring or even bring in another forward to help.

Like Boston, Arizona has not had scoring past Keller. Michael Grabner has ten points and Vinnie Hinostroza has nine, but the remainder of the forward core has not been too hot and like the B’s, need to find their groove if they want to move along in that Pacific division.

Bruins vs Coyotes Outlook

The Bruins announced earlier today that Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and John Moore will not be joining the roster for the game as they will be heading back to Boston for injuries that they suffered. Big blows to a team already riddled with big injuries – especially to their blueline core. D-men Connor Clifton and Jakub Zboril will have to play another game with the Bruins after making their NHL debuts against the Stars.

The Bruins young defence will need to try their best to prevent the young Arizona Coyotes from gaining access in their zone. Whoever does end up starting for the Bruins will need to be solid in the net as the Bruins may need to rely on them because of the injury-filled defensive core that was already mentioned. The depth of the Bruins will need to try and fill the absence of leading point producer, Patrice Bergeron as well.

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Dallas: 11/16/18

cut(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: American Airline Center, Dallas, Texas, USA

Home: Dallas Stars (9-7-2)

Away: Boston Bruins (10-6-2)

Dallas’s Lineup

Forwards

Benn-Seguin-Radulov

Janmark-Spezza-Ritchie

Comeau-Faksa-Pitlick

Smith-Dickinson-Nichuskin

Defense

Lindell-Honka

Heiskanen-Polak

Hanley-Bayreuther

Goalies

Bishop

Khudobin

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Nordstrom-Krejci-DeBrusk

Heinen-Forsbacka Karlsson-Bjork

Acciari-Kuraly-Backes

Defense

Krug-Clifton

Grzelcyk-Lauzon

Zboril-Kampfer

Goalies

Rask

Halak

First Period

Tuukka Rask was busy early, having to freeze the puck a few times as the Stars looked to jump on the Bruins defense. The Bruins had a few early chances thanks to a few turnovers by the Stars. Joakim Nordstrom was able to draw a tripping penalty on Gavin Beyreuther, giving the Bruins a power play with a little over 16 minutes left in the period. The Stars killed the penalty as the Bruins failed to get any significant scoring chances.

The Stars would get a power play opportunity as Sean Kuraly was called for a cross check. The Dallas power play was cut short as Tyler Pitlick was called for interference, resulting in a four on four situation. Rask made a quick succession of saves at the beginning of the Boston power play to keep it scoreless. The Stars killed off the abbreviated power play without surrendering any significant chances.

The Bruins were bailed out a few times by Rask who made a couple of timely saves in the latter half of the period. It was apparent in the first period that the young defensemen didn’t look out of place at all and were able to limit the Stars scoring chances. The Stars nearly took the lead after a scramble in front of the Bruin net but Radek Faksa inexplicably missed as Rask’s back was to the puck.

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Score: Tied 0-0

Second Period

A few early period saves by Rask kept the game scoreless as the goaltender looked pretty sharp in his first game back from his leave of absence. The Stars began to get good zone time in the Boston end in the early parts of the period but Rask and the defense seemed to be up to the challenge. After Bergeron got pushed hard into the penalty bench doors, Marchand took exception to the check by Faksa and dropped the gloves.

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Marchand took an extra roughing penalty, resulting in a power play for Dallas. The Bruins killed the penalty without their usual penalty killers on the ice. Rask made a few important saves on the power play. The Bruins began to do a good job getting speed through the neutral zone to attempt to put pressure on the Stars defense. Marchand took his second penalty of the night, this time for slashing which gave the Stars another power play chance. Incredibly, Marchand was called for a misconduct but the Bruins killed the penalty as Rask stood tall.

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Bergeron returned to the ice after heading back to locker room earlier in the period after the hit by Faksa. The game began to have a frenetic feel as both teams traded chances at either end. The period ended with neither team finding the back of the net.

Score: Tied 0-0

Third Period

After a turnover in the neutral zone, Rask made a great glove save to keep the Bruins in the game. Connor Clifton took a delay of game penalty shortly after, resulting in another Stars power play. The Bruins killed the penalty as Rask made a few really good stops to keep it scoreless. Marchand finally returned to ice after his misconduct, trying to give the Bruins some jump.

Refusing to stay on the bench, Bergeron came back out on the ice as a full on scrum took place with Torey Krug and Roman Polak dropping the gloves. Matching penalties resulted in neither team losing any man power on the ice.

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After a confrontation in front of the Boston net, Clifton and Jason Spezza dropped the gloves as the intensity of the game began to ramp up. Neither team got any great scoring chances as the period started to draw to a close. Rask made a few good saves towards the end of the game to keep it scoreless as well as Bishop who made a huge save on a double deflection in the final minute.

End of Regulation: Tied 0-0

Overtime

Rask made a big save on Benn in the first minute of overtime to keep the Bruins alive. Jason Dickinson finished off a two on one rush in front of the Boston net to end it to even the season series against the Bruins.

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Final Score: 1-0 Stars

Three Stars of the Game

First Star: Rask. In his return to the Boston lineup, Rask was absolutely outstanding and gave the Bruins every chance to get two points out of the game.

Second Star: Clifton. Making his NHL debut, Clifton didn’t look out of place and played a nearly flawless game as his future in a Boston uniform looks incredibly bright.

Third Star: Bergeron. Number 37 left the game twice with apparent injuries but returned to the ice both times as he refused to quit on his team. His performance certainly wasn’t lost on his teammates.

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Bruins Krejci Continuing To Make Plays

Maple Leafs Bruins Hockey(Photo Credit: Courtesy)

By: Ian Smith | Follow me on Twitter @IanMalcolmSmith

The Boston Bruins have been leaning heavily on their top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak to generate offense. That trio has a combined 71 points through the first 18 games of this season. The rest of the team has just barely outscored those three, combining for 75 points. A dominant first line is a gigantic asset, but a team also needs other players capable of elevating their games when that top trio is neutralized. 

David Krejci has really been the one other forward in this lineup who has consistently created offense for the Bruins and taken some pressure off of those three stars. Krejci has 16 points in 18 games thus far. 14 of those points have been assists, as Krejci has been excelling at making plays for his teammates to capitalize on. Krejci has tallied an assist in five consecutive games, including an especially impressive three-assist output in the loss against the Vancouver Canucks on November 8th. Unfortunately, Krejci hasn’t scored a goal in the last nine games. The last time he lit the lamp came October 23 against the Ottawa Senators. The Bruins are still shuffling things around on lines two through four. Jake DeBrusk was moved to the right side from the left with Krejci, and Joakim Nordstrom was bumped up to join those two on the left.

As the season goes on, it’s going to be imperative for the Bruins to be able to rely on people beyond just the top line to produce on the offensive end. Krejci is a great playmaker, and he has the vision and facilitation skills to consistently create scoring opportunities when he’s out on the ice. Of the 14 assists Krejci has dished out this season, five have come on the power-play. That’s tied for third on the team. The Bruins have been 31.7% on the power-play so far this season in their 18 games, which ranks second in the league. They have 20 power-play goals in all, which is more than any other team has. Krejci has assisted on a quarter of those and scored another one. He has been a big part of why this power-play unit has been so successful. He has spread out his assists among numerous teammates on that power-play. Pastrnak is the only guy who Krejci has multiple assists to on the man advantage.

Krejci has nine assists during even-strength play. DeBrusk has three of those goals, Nordstrom has two, Pastrnak has two, Bergeron has one, and Matt Grzelcyk has one. Krejci is on pace for his best offensive season since 2008-09, when he scored 73 points in 82 games as a 22-year old. He’s having this impressive season so far despite having just two goals through 18 games with just 21 shots on goal. That’s a shooting percentage of just 9.5%, which is well below his career rate of 12.1% and would be his lowest total since his 8.3% output in 2010-11.

He’s only averaging about 1.17 shots on goal per game this season. That’s well below his approximately 1.84 career shots on goal per game rate. It’s also by far his fewest amount of shots on goal per game for a season. His lowest seasonal total in campaigns where he played at least 47 games was 1.30, and that was back in 2007-08 when he played 56 games. 

He’s very likely to eventually get those shots per game totals up, as well as that shooting percentage increased, which has him in store for one of his best offensive seasons if he can stay healthy. Being nearly on pace right now for his best offensive season while shooting uncharacteristically poorly and more sporadically through these 18 games is impressive in its own right. It shows how tremendous he has been at creating scoring chances for his teammates this season, and there’s certainly reason to believe his goal scoring is going to increase the more he gets the puck on net based on what he has done previously in his career.

His best goal-scoring month during his career has been December. In 110 career December games, Krejci has 35 goals, which is a rate of 0.32 goals per game. That is significantly higher than his total career rate of 0.22 goals per game. Look for him to start getting more goals as the team moves into December. The Bruins need reliable production beyond the trio of Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak, and it looks like Krejci is poised to continue offering his brand of dependable offensive playmaking. 

Zdeno Chara Injured, Heading Back To Boston

usatsi_11666521_chara

photo credit: Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports

By: Mandi Mahoney  |  Check Me Out On Twitter @phoneymahoney

During Wednesday night’s tilt against the Colorado Avalanche, former Bruin Carl Soderberg had just dished out the puck at the Bruins’ blue line as Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was advancing toward him. Chara made the check and hit Soderberg square on the back. As he did, the resulting impact caused Chara’s left knee to cave inward. He left the game immediately following Jake DeBrusk’s second goal of the night, a little less than 30 seconds after the incident.

Chara traveled to Dallas with the team after Wednesday’s loss to the Avalanche in Colorado, but instead of staying for the remainder of the trip, he has returned to Boston to have his knee evaluated by team medical staff. Perhaps Bruins fans can take a little bit of comfort from the fact that Chara left the rink unaided and did not appear to be badly injured, but there’s no telling what an evaluation can reveal. Hopefully, it’s relatively minor, as injuries to the Bruins’ blue line are beginning to pile up.

Currently, the Bruins’ defense corps is decimated, with Kevan Miller out (hand), Charlie McAvoy sidelined with a concussion, and most recently, Brandon Carlo placed on injured reserve (upper body injury) and did not travel with the team. It was initially thought that Carlo’s injury was minor as he was questionable for Sunday’s home game against the Vegas Golden Knights, but it looks like it may be a little more significant than it seemed at first glance.

Injuries to these three defensemen have thrown the Bruins’ defensive pairings out of whack, and adding Chara to the list means the Bruins do not have either of their top pair available. They are also missing one from their second pair (Carlo), s well as one from the third pair (Miller). Jeremy Lauzon was called back up from Providence a week ago and played the last two games with Boston. 2015 first round pick Jakub Zboril was called up following Carlo’s injury. Should Zboril make it into the lineup (which is likely at this point), it will be his first rodeo, as he has yet to make an appearance in the National Hockey League.

The entire right side of the Bruins’ defense is injured in McAvoy, Carlo, and Miller, and with Chara out, now their top left defenseman is out as well. This leaves the Bruins with a defensive corps consisting of Torey Krug, John Moore, Matt Grzelcyk, seventh defenseman Steve Kampfer, and Providence Bruin callups Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril. After Chara left the game in the second period Wednesday, the wheels fell off, and the Bruins gave up five unanswered goals. Hopefully, with a little time to practice together and for coach Bruce Cassidy to figure out the pairings, things will come together and the defense will be less leaky than it was for the second half of Wednesday night’s game, as the Bruins will undoubtedly feel the loss of Chara.

Bruins Call Connor Clifton Up From AHL

( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins )

By: Mandi Mahoney | Follow Me On Twitter @phonymahoney

The Boston Bruins road trip is not going according to plan. During a loss to the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center Wednesday night, captain Zdeno Chara injured his knee while checking former Bruin Carl Soderberg. Chara left in the second period, and the Bruins did not fare very well without him, dropping a two-goal lead and eventually losing 6-3 to the Avs.

As a result of Chara’s injury, the Bruins called up blueliner Connor Clifton from their AHL affiliate in Providence on an emergency basis. Clifton traveled to Dallas to meet with the team yesterday, in the midst of their road trip. It looks like the right-shot defenseman will make his NHL debut tonight, as John Moore, who has typically played on the Bruins’ second defensive pair, will not be in the lineup to play against the Stars in Dallas tonight.

Clifton was originally selected 133rd overall, in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Arizona Coyotes. He and the Coyotes failed to reach an agreement in August 2017, and the Bruins signed him to a two-year entry-level deal this May. Prior to being drafted, the Long Branch, New Jersey native played for the USNTDP in juniors, and then for the U.S. National Under 18 Team, where he racked up 8 goals and 15 assists, totaling 23 points in 66 games. This put him second in scoring among defensemen on the team, only behind current New Jersey Devil Will Butcher. During that season, Clifton was a teammate of fellow Bruins prospect Ryan Fitzgerald, and former Bruin Frank Vatrano.

In 156 games at Quinnipiac, Clifton scored 56 points and was +39 during his college career. He captained the Bobcats in 2016-17, which was his senior year. Skating at 5’11” and 174 pounds, Clifton isn’t the biggest player on the ice, but he is definitely not afraid to throw his body around and play a physical game, and he does not back down from that, no matter the opponent.

Clifton has been a noticeable presence on every team he has played for, as he’s known for work ethic and compete level, on top of his energy and enthusiasm for physical hockey. He can sometimes take risks in the offensive zone, which has come back to bite him from time to time, but Clifton has learned from those mistakes and is definitely getting the hang of playing in the AHL. This season, he has played in fourteen games for the Providence Bruins, has assisted on 4 goals, and has a plus/minus rating of +4.

For tonight’s game in Dallas, expect Clifton to be playing alongside the only established veteran left in the Bruins’ defensive corps, puck mover Torey Krug. This leaves Jeremy Lauzon and Matt Grzelcyk on the second pair, and Jakub Zboril, another Providence Bruin making his NHL debut, skating on the third pair with Steve Kampfer. Tonight’s game against the Stars will be interesting at the very least, with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn going up against Grzelcyk, Krug, and four AHL defensemen.

Bruins Game 19 Preview: Dallas Stars

Rask Stars

(Source: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America)

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

A Boston Bruins team that has lost four of its six starting defensemen to injuries is set to take on the Stars in Dallas on Friday night. Boston most recently dropped their date with the Colorado Avalanche. A 3-2 lead turned into a 6-3 loss, and the Bruins have most likely spent a fair share of their Thursday watching film.

Meanwhile, the Stars are coming off a loss of their own with the Columbus Blue Jackets claiming a 2-1 victory over the team. Dallas has not played since Monday so they will hope that their freshness can put an end to the two-game slide they a currently enduring.

Who’s Hot?

Jake DeBrusk notched two goals on Wednesday and now has four tallies in his last four games. Combined with his two most recent helpers, that’s six points in five games. David Krejci, who centers DeBrusk on the second line, is on a five-game point streak with seven assists in that span. Though he hasn’t scored a goal since Oct. 23rd, with DeBrusk now finding his game, there is hope that Krejci will receive the same quality assists that he has dished out thus far.

Before his streak was broken against Colorado, Torey Krug had a four-game point streak with five assists to start the month of November. He is still searching for his first goal of the 2018-19 campaign, but with time on the top defensive unit this weekend, Krug will likely find the back of the net sooner rather than later.

Krug Stars

(Source: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America)

Alexander Radulov is currently on a tear, ranked fourth on the team in production despite only appearing in eight of Dallas’ 18 games thus far. During that time he has notched six goals and six assists for 12 total points, more recently scoring three goals and two assists in his last five games.

Who’s Not?

Former Bruin Tyler Seguin is in the house which always comes with a hint of resentment for Boston fans – whether that is toward the player or the decision made years ago to trade him. Seguin has only managed three points in his last six games. The Bruins were able to keep him off the scoresheet in their first meeting with Dallas this season; a game the boys in black and gold won 2-1 in overtime.

Anders Bjork has continued to struggle. Though he clearly has the speed and offensive skill to contribute to Boston’s attempt to pressure their opponents, the youngster has lacked execution and thus only has three points in 16 games. The Bruins’ depth, in general, has been lackluster. A skilled young winger like Bjork could very well grab the shovel and starting digging Boston’s bottom-two lines out of the hole they’ve found themselves in.

Bruins vs. Stars Outlook

The Bruins are battered and bruised on the blue line. Jakub Zboril and Connor Clifton will be making their NHL debuts on Friday. Clifton will be getting minutes on the top pair with Krug while Zboril will be delegated third-pair duties with Steven Kampfer. This bumps Jeremy Lauzon up the second pair with Matt Grzelcyk.

The Stars need more production from their first line, especially Seguin who leads his team in assists and points so far this season. They will also need their depth to step up with a number of players out with injuries including John Klingberg, Marc Methot, and Devin Shore.

Meanwhile, Boston defense is a huge concern. Three rookies who weren’t expected to get much time – if any – at the NHL level this season now have a heavy workload on their shoulders. This means Tuukka Rask, who will be starting for the first time since his leave of absence, will need to bring his best performance of the season thus far.

 

Providence Bruins Week 7 Preview

40142141074_bd7f68ff42_z(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

By: Jen Stasio Coombe | Follow Me On Twitter @hockeygirl2976

Providence Bruins enter this weekend with a significant challenge on their plate.  Friday night they will face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who not only sit third in the division at the moment but were the force that ended the Bruins run for the Calder Cup in 2018.  Saturday night the Bruins will face the Rochester Americans who currently sit in first place in the North Division. The question that we face is whether the improvement the Bruins have shown in the past weeks is enough to overcome these challenges.

40429951595_5f7ac793fd_z(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Friday, November 16th Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (HOME)

The Dunkin Donuts Center will be haunted by the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the first time since April when they beat the Bruins 4-3 to win the first round of the Calder Cup Play-Offs and put an end to the season for Providence.

With that being the last meeting between the two teams and many of the same players being on the ice, I would expect tensions to be running a little higher than normal.  This year’s batch of players has been more penalty prone on a good day, so this will no doubt be the situation on Friday as well.

Last season these two teams had a regular season head to head record of Providence 2 – Lehigh Valley 4, the same as the previous season.  Post-season the record was Providence 1 – Lehigh Valley 3. Statistically and historically the deck is stacked against the Bruins this Friday, their best bet is to believe in themselves, keep a level head, and bring the team effort that we saw this last weekend.

40142145694_7ea2c2b821_z(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Saturday, November 17th Providence Bruins vs. Rochester Americans (HOME)

Saturday night brings the Rochester Americans to Providence to face the Bruins for the first of their two meetings this season. The two teams lie in different divisions, the Bruins in the Atlantic and the Amerks in the North, so they only meet twice.

The past two years, this arrangement has worked well for the Bruins as they have walked away winning both games in each of the seasons.  With a perfect record against this team in the past it would be easy to get overconfident.  Give me one second to slow your roll. Providence currently sits in 7th place in the Atlantic division with 12 points. The Amerks, on the other hand, are standing atop the North Division with 21 points.  That is more than enough to give me pause and remind me that nothing is ever as easy as it appears at first glance.  So, just as with Friday’s uphill battle the boys in Black and Yellow will have to bring their A-game and keep their wits about them if they are to keep their record against the Amerks a perfect one.

40612138414_9ebd6706a0_z(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

My picks to watch this weekend:

Up Front:

Colby Cave and Anton Blidh– Both of these players have provided the consistency and leadership the team has needed through the beginning of the season.  Coach Leach even described the pair as the heartbeat of the team.  This weekend will definitely put a strain on the heartbeat, let’s see how they do.

On The Blue Line:

Cody Goloubef – This man’s name came up several times last weekend for me, I will be keeping a close eye on him this weekend to see if I am in fact seeing the positives I thought I saw.

In Net:

Dan Vladar – Having played only one game last weekend and being called up to Boston on an emergency basis, I want to see how he feels coming back home to the Dunk.

39040905000_a6b7990802_z(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Cheers to week seven and best of luck to our Baby B’s. The Providence Bruins Fan Club is holding a winter clothing drive.  If you have any gently used winter clothing feel free to bring it along and drop it in the donation box near their booth behind section 104.  I will catch up with you next week and until then, feel free to message me on twitter with any questions or comments and as always, take some time to check out the other great articles by the incredible team here at Blackngoldhockey.com. Now Go Get Hockey With It!

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Ride The Roller Coaster That Is Your 2018/19 Boston Bruins

March and April Are Going to Test the Bruins( Photo Credit: CausewayCrowd.com )

By: Tyler Putt | Follow Me On Twitter @MrBeanTown

It’s November 15th, 2018 and it is no more clear today than it was on October 3rd, 2018, exactly who your 2018/19 Bruins are. Coming off an impressive weekend sweep which saw the Bruins take care of Toronto and Vegas, at home, by a combined score of 9-2, plenty of fans are hopping back on the hype train. These are the same fans that unceremoniously hopped off this very same train 4 short days ago when Boston was handed an 8-5 drubbing by the Vancouver Canucks.

So, which team are they? Are they the team beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 or the team losing to Vancouver 8-5? My answer is; both. Let me explain why…

The Good:

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Let’s start with the REAL GOOD. Bergeron, Pastrnak, Marchand. I could leave by only saying those 3 names and wouldn’t even need to explain myself any further. This is the best line in hockey. Period. It’s what Bruins fans have come to expect out of this trio, with a combined 68 points in only 17 games it’s fair to say they are the biggest reason this team sits with a 10-5-2 record and sitting in 3rd place in the stacked Atlantic division.

Jaroslav Halak. I will be the first to admit I was only lukewarm about his signing when it was announced back on July 1st, and the Bruins ponied up $2.75 Million a year over 2 years for a stable backup to starter Tuukka Rask. Well, I was wrong. Halak is currently sitting second in the league in both GAA (1.77) and Save Percentage (.945) and was incremental in this weekend’s successful homestand where he saved 77 out of 79 shots in a 27-hour time frame. Even with “starter” Tuukka Rask due to return to the team this week I think it is safe to say that Halak has earned the chance to be the number one netminder in Boston for now.

Brandon Carlo. We know he isn’t on this list for his goal-scoring prowess as the last time he put the puck in the back of the net was back against the New Jersey Devils on March 4th, 2017! Yes, that is a current streak of 111 games, which is coincidentally also the longest streak in the NHL for consecutive games played without a goal, but I digress. What Carlo has lost in goals, he has more than made up in progression. Carlo is logging over 21 minutes per game, which includes over 3 minutes per game shorthanded, which is second only to Captain Zdeno Chara. Carlo has gotten more confidence in his game, his snarl in front of the net is back, and he seems to be understanding the game better this year. Hopefully, these are signs to come for Carlo as the season progresses and hopefully, he can stay healthy for the duration.

The Bad:

Image result for Tuukka Rask goal(Photo Credit: Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)

Tuukka Rask. I am one of the worlds biggest Rask apologists and one of his biggest fans. We know he currently has something going on outside the hockey world that he is dealing with and, of course, wish him the best; but, it doesn’t change the fact that he has not been at his best this year.  After 8 games Rask sits at 4-4 with a 3.05 GAA and a .901 Save Percentage which is a far cry from his career numbers of 2.27 GAA and a .922 Save Percentage. Ultimately, the concerning part of Rask’s play is that he doesn’t seem to be battling or seeing the puck and, in turn, not giving his team a chance to win on a nightly basis. We all hope that his time away from the team is nothing too serious and he comes back healthy and in the right state of mind.

David Backes. Oh, David! The 6 million dollar man (until 2021) is just plain-ole-strugglin’. After 12 games this year, Backes has a total of (checks notes…) zero points. Yes, you read that correctly, ZERO points. Playing over 13 minutes per game, he just hasn’t been able to contribute on the scoreboard and has subsequently been moved to the 4th line by coach Bruce Cassidy where he seemed to, at this time, be a better fit. 4th line duties are hopefully a short-term solution for Backes to find his game, as 6 million per year on the 4th line is a hard pill to swallow over the next few years.

The Ugly:

bruins-lightning-e1525329528213(Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Secondary Scoring. Hello? Are you out there? Anyone? Bueller? Outside of Bergeron, Marchand, Pastrnak, and Krejci the 5th leading scorer on the Bruins, with an earth-shattering 8 points, is defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. Yes, our 5th highest point total after 17 games is 8 points, eight, ocho, huit, VIII… you get the point. No matter the language it all says “not good enough”. Although this weekends games showed an uptick in secondary scoring as we seen contributions on the score sheet from the likes of Bjork, Heinen, Kuraly & Nordstrom it isn’t nearly enough to help keep some pressure off the top line. Hopefully the play we witnessed from L3 of Heinen – JFK – Bjork is something that can be sustained and built off as the season progresses to ease the pressure on the top line and help the young guns keep building on the confidence that is starting to shine through.

Injuries. The Boston Bruins with injuries? What!! Just another season where the Bruins have to buckle down and show their resiliency to cope with injuries of key contributors. After 17 games this year the Bruins have already lost, for periods of time, Kevan Miller, Charlie McAvoy, Urho Vaakanianen, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo, Tuukka Rask, Matt Grzelyck & David Backes. Noticeably these injuries are hurting the back end a lot more than the forwards, and it’s a telling feature when you have to roll out a 3rd defensive pairing of  Jeremy Lauzon and Steven Kampfer. Not a look that Coach Cassidy must like seeing for prolonged periods of time that is for certain. In total, we are already sitting at 49 man games lost due to injury, and we are only 17 games in. I guess, at least, the only way to look is up!

After the season-opening trouncing at the hands of the defending Stanley Cup Champion, Washington Capitals, I told you this team would be 10-5-2 after 17 games with a differential of +12 most of you, if not all, would have taken that and ran. The thing is this is still a team with a lot of improvements to make, a lot of warts to heal and a lot of injuries to overcome, but, it is a team with the tremendous potential to make a serious push this year. As we go through the season, remember, a roller coaster ride has both highs and lows, twists and turns, and the occasional bout of nausea but all you can do is sit back and enjoy the ride!

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Moore Signing Has Been A Big Help For Bruins

4ac0abfda8544713aa203c884130d48f-4ac0abfda8544713aa203c884130d48f-0(Photo Credit: Boston Globe)

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

In recent history, the Bruins have been very hit or miss in free agency meaning they’ve had great success with some free agents such as Jaroslav Halak, Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard, etc. But on the other hand, they’ve had some free agents that didn’t pan out. Names like Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes and Alexei Zhamnov were great disappointments for the Bruins in the last 15 years or so. The point is free agency is essentially a crapshoot in some respects as you don’t always know what you’re gonna get. There are always situations of teams overspending and players greatly underperforming, but John Moore is not one of those players.

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The 27-year-old signed a five-year contract with the Bruins on the first day of free agency back in July. It definitely wasn’t a move many people would have predicted considering some of the young defensemen that have excelled in Boston recently. Players like Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy, and Matt Grzelcyk have all found success in Boston in the last two years or so and it seemed strange to some people to throw another defenseman into the fold. In some respects though, the move was smart in part because injuries suffered at key times over the last few seasons have left the Bruins shorthanded. Carlo was a perfect example of a player who has suffered injuries at the worst time. A concussion late in the 2016-17 season kept Carlo out of the playoffs and a knee injury towards the end of last season kept him out of the playoffs yet again.

Injuries happen, that’s a given. Guys can go down at any point and defensemen are constantly in the line of fire and you can truly never have too many healthy defensemen. The early part to this season has been a challenge with injuries to Torey Krug, McAvoy, Kevan Miller, and now Zdeno Chara after last night’s game in Denver. John Moore is not the most spectacular defenseman in the league and he’s never been a top pair guy and most likely won’t be at any point. What he gives the Bruins is depth and solid play which is important at times like these when young players are being asked to do more than usual such as Grzelcyk and Jeremy Lauzon.

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Moore has been in the league for seven years and has always been known as a guy who doesn’t do anything remarkable but does the little things right. He’s played in every game for the black and gold this season and has been a consistent plus player. Being 27, Moore is a seasoned player who’s been to the playoffs a few times and understands the game very well. Having a player like this to help out the young players is important especially with all the young talent this team has. Moore has only had two assists this season but rarely looks out of place and often is in the right place at the right time defensively to take away scoring chances.

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Often in free agency, it’s very easy to overpay as teams essentially try to outbid each other for certain players. It didn’t seem like the Bruins spent too much for Moore who will make $2.75 million over five years. The money on his contract makes it very affordable but also easily movable in case the Bruins potentially don’t have a need for him down the road. People seemed to be confused on the term but in a way, it makes sense to me. Five years is a long time but considering the Bruins will eventually have to figure out life without Chara, it makes sense to have another solid defenseman in Moore on the roster. Players like John Moore don’t grow on trees, guys who can bring to the table decent size, good puck-moving ability, great skating and ability to play big minutes when called upon.

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While some folks might still question this free agent signing, I believe Don Sweeney and the Bruins front office may have found one of the best bargain free agents in the entire league. If it wasn’t for Jaroslav Halak playing as well as he is Moore might be the Bruins best free agent signing. With the slew of injuries to Bruins defensemen, we’ll get to see the true value of Moore and why the team decided to bring him in.

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