Bruins Game 8 Preview: Vancouver Canucks

Krug Canucks

Source: Derek Leung/Getty Images North America)

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

The Boston Bruins have had a rough start to their four-game road trip. They fell to the Calgary Flames 5-2 before being edged out by the Edmonton Oilers in overtime on Thursday. Entering play on Saturday night, the Bruins will try to turn things around as they look to go 2-1-1 on their first extended road trip of the 2018-19 season.

In their way is the Vancouver Canucks. After falling flat last year, the Canucks are 4-3-0 to start the new campaign and currently rest in second place within the Pacific Division.

Who’s Hot?

The Bruins’ first line, as always, is leading the charge on offense. Patrice Bergeron has notched six goals and seven assists in as many games thus far, followed by Brad Marchand with two goals and 10 helpers and David Pastrnak who has eight goals and three assists to his name. Despite the depth’s struggles, it seems the trio will stick together for the time being.

Elias Pettersson has taken the hockey world by storm early on this season. His five goals and three assists in five games had him pegged as a Calder Trophy frontrunner. However, Pettersson is dealing with a concussion and has been placed on the IR by the Canucks and could miss one to two weeks of action.

Another youngster by the name of Bo Horvat will have to fill Pettersson’s void for the time being. The centerman has registered four goals and an assist in seven games and has averaged almost 18 minutes per game thus far. In the Canucks’ most recent game against the Winnipeg Jets, Horvat got over 19 minutes of ice time. Similar numbers can be expected against the Bruins with Pettersson out.

One more high note for Vancouver is the play of Sven Baertschi. The 26-year-old has started his fourth full season with the Canucks with two goals and three assists in seven games. He’s been averaging more than 16 minutes per game this season, and he will certainly have an asterisk next to his name in the Bruins’ locker room.

Who’s Not?

Boston’s depth has really struggled. There is a five-point gap between Pastrnak’s 11 points and the next leading Bruin, David Krejci, who has six points thus far. It’s a big reason why the boys in black and gold haven’t been all too consistent so far this season. Bruce Cassidy continues to juggle the lines in order to find something that will work in the bottom-9. He and the Bruins will need to find some chemistry sooner rather than later if they want to continue battling for Atlantic Division supremacy.

Krejci Canucks

Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America

Tuukka Rask has also been struggling this season. The goaltender is 2-2-0 in his first four starts of the 2018-19 campaign and features a stat line of a 4.08 GAA and .875 SV%. It can certainly be argued that the defense has let him down at times via turnovers and poor coverage, but Rask needs to be a lot sharper – especially if the Bruins plan on making a postseason run. However, Rask had a cold start last season as well, so there is hope that he can turn things around and wind up having a stellar year overall.

Jacob Markstrom has had a rough go early in the season as well. The goaltender is 1-2-0 thus far with a 4.03 GAA and .883 SV%. He is expected to get the start against Boston on Saturday, and the Bruins’ first line may be able to capitalize on his early struggles.

Bruins vs. Canucks Outlook

The Bruins will need to take advantage of a so-so Vancouver team on Saturday. They certainly don’t want to drop three games in a row to teams who are only slightly above average at best. I’d expect the depth to show up tonight against a cold goaltender like Markstrom.

Speaking of goaltending, Halak will need to bring his A-game as he gets the start tonight. Torey Krug is still out with his ankle injury while Kevan Miller, who was injured against Edmonton, doesn’t look as if he will take the ice on Saturday. Charlie McAvoy is also dealing with an injury from Boston’s first game against the Oilers last week and is ruled out for Saturday’s contest.

Urho Vaakanainen has been called up from Providence on an emergency basis and will certainly get some minutes on a bottom-pairing. The Bruins could really use a win, but a battered defense could be their downfall. It will likely be a high-scoring affair, so look for Boston to ride its offense as they attempt to eclipse the Canucks.

Below are highlights from the last time these two teams matched up on February 17th, 2018 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Providence Bruins Name Team Captain

( Photo Credit:  BostonBruins.com / NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

After longtime Providence Bruins defenseman departed from the Boston Bruins organization there’s been a vacancy at the role of the definitive team captain. Cross, who held the captaincy honor for the last three of his six seasons with the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Bruins. The Providence club is certainly doing things the right way with addressing the vacancy, and after six games in the 2018-19 American Hockey League campaign so far it seems Bruins Head Coach Jay Leach and supporting cast have found their guy.  Earlier today veteran forward Jordan Szwarz was named the team’s thirteenth captain in franchise history.

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Szwarz, a 5′-11″ 201-pound versatile forward was originally drafted in the fourth round by the Phoenix Coyotes (Now Arizona Coyotes) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. After a successful Canadian Junior career with the Ontario Hockey Leagues Saginaw Spirit where he appeared in 262 games posting 82-122-204 numbers. The now 27-year-old Ontario, Canada native has spent the last two seasons with the Providence club contributing 43-60-103 numbers in 121 games played with the Rhode Island franchise. His career in the AHL consists of 215 points in 368 games and when called up to the show he’s played 47 games in the NHL and has 4-3-7 numbers in 35 games with the Coyotes (4-0-4), and 12 games with the Boston Bruins (0-3-3).

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Jordan came to Providence camp before the 2016-17 season on a professional tryout agreement but would later sign a one-year two-way contract with the NHL Bruins in November of 2016. After signing with the Boston he would play the 2016-17 season with the Providence club. In his first year with Providence, he led the club in scoring with 54 points in 65 games earning another contract extension from the Bruins in March of 2018. Another impressive increase for Szwarz is his dollar value at the minor-pro level for a veteran who’s entering his eighth year in the AHL. From his minor-pro contract of $65K per season in the Coyotes system to $350K playing on a two-way contract with the Providence club this season.

Szwarz is off to a slow start to the 2018-19 campaign with one assist in six games, but slow starts have been an enigma for the Providence club in recent years as they seem to find team chemistry in the month of December. Even though this team has its troubles in the early going, the team has been a Calder Cup Playoff team for six straight seasons reaching the Eastern Conference Finals once, second round appearance twice, and three first-round best-of-five exits.

Although it’s early in the regular season, hopefully, this Providence team with the tutelage of Head Coach Jay Leach and Assistant bench boss Trent Whitfield can find what it takes to get the message embedded into the heads of these developing players and supporting veterans alike. The Bruins get back to work for game two of the weekend tonight at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island and try to erase the memory of last night’s overtime loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Bruins May Have Found A Fourth Line Trio They Like

Noah+Hanifin+Noel+Acciari+Carolina+Hurricanes+vpUBnOrusucl( Photo Credit: Adam Glanzman / Getty Images North America )

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Yes, you’ve almost certainly heard enough about the first line of the Boston Bruins. Arguably it’s the best line in hockey, and all three players are almost certainly MVP-caliber players. The trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak have put up an absurd 36 combined points in their first seven games. At this point, nothing this line does should surprise you as they work so well together. However, there’s another line on this Boston team that might be just as effective.

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The fourth line has always been an effective line for the Bruins going back to the Stanley Cup season of 2010-2011. Last year’s group of Sean Kuraly, Noel Acciari, and Tim Schaller was very impressive, and they were a group that did everything that Bruce Cassidy asked. The playing styles of all three guys blended so well together, and they were always a high-energy line. Obviously not guys who would score 20 goals but a consistent effort from all three players made it seem like that line was just as effective as the first line.

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With Schaller having moved on to the Vancouver Canucks (who coincidentally, the B’s face Saturday) the Bruins had some decisions to make in the offseason about who could come in and join the fourth line. The Bruins settled on two bottom six forwards in Joakim Nordstrom and Walpole, Massachusetts native Chris Wagner. To some Bruins fans, it was a strange move as they believed Schaller could’ve been resigned. In my mind, however, Schaller came to Boston quite the same way as these two, and some people were just as skeptical of his signing. Neither Nordstrom or Wagner have been dominant statistically speaking, but both have given the Bruins forwards who can play anywhere on the bottom six.

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To add to the depth of Nordstrom specifically, he’s shown he can perform on even the second line as he played a few games with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. With Nordstrom and Wagner, it’s not about scoring goals, it’s about the consistent effort they’ve brought to every game they’ve played.

Now, back to the fourth line. Wagner has the been the guy who’s played the majority of his games on the fourth unit with Kuraly and Acciari. Again, it’s not goal scoring that’s impressed me with this group, it’s the effort, and it’s been so consistent they’ve arguably been the Bruins second-best line so far this season. The physicality shown by this line has also been positive as they’ve constantly finished their checks and aren’t afraid to get their bodies involved.

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The energy of this line is so much fun to watch as all three guys play with a great edge and when they’re at their best they can get scoring chances often. In this era of the NHL, physical play is definitely moving away from the game, but it’s still a part of the game that can be effective for the best teams. Not only can this line be physical, but they can also bring good energy to a game when it looks sluggish, and they can on occasion give a team quality scoring chances.

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Many people figured that Kuraly would be the third line center to start the year which he was, but it was clear that the fourth line role is a better role for him. Playing on this line gives him more freedom to play the fast, physical game he plays so well without being counted on to provide tons of scoring chances. Don’t get me wrong, he can create chances, but that’s not what his strength is. Kuraly is much better suited in a role that he can get the most out of. Adding two guys in Acciari and Wagner on that line that play a very similar game to Kuraly, this group has the chance to be a special group for the Bruins moving forward.

Nordstrom Excelling Early For Bruins

( Photo Credit: AP Photo / NBC Sports )

By: Jamie Gatlin  | Follow Me On Twitter: @JamieGatlin1217

When the Bruins signed Joakim Nordstrom this past offseason, it was not a move met with much fanfare. Nordstrom was coming off a season in which he scored only two goals in 75 games. The Bruins needed help offensively, and that is not his strength. He was signed because of his skating ability and work on the penalty kill. Through the first seven games this season he has made a good first impression and been quietly impressive.

Against Edmonton, last Thursday Nordstrom made his debut on the second line alongside David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. The Bruins were hoping he could provide a spark. The move proved to be effective as in three games with Nordstrom, the Bruins second line had three goals. Despite his impressive play, Nordstrom was moved to the fourth-line before last nights game. Although he is not a gifted scorer Nordstrom is still valuable in many ways.

Furthermore, Nordstrom has created plenty of chances of late. Although he only has one goal this season, over the last four games he has had twelve shots on net. Nordstrom has found open space in the offensive zone and been aggressive on the puck. By being on the second line, he took the spot that was expected to go to Danton Heinen or Ryan Donato. Nordstrom showed the Bruins young wingers what they will need to do in order to be successful in that role. Heinen responded well in his first opportunity last night recording an assist on Krejci’s first goal of the season.

Additionally, moving Nordstrom to the fourth line puts him in a better position to succeed. While he was effective on the second line, his playing style does not fit a top-six role. On the fourth line, his defensive game will be more of a priority which will make up for his lack offense. He is a smart player who is good at reading breakouts, especially in the neutral zone. Nordstrom has a knack at getting to the net but struggles to finish. Alongside the physical play of Noel Acciari and Sean Kuraly, he could excel.

Nonetheless, this will not be the last time Nordstrom switches roles. Other than the Bruins first line this team has struggled to score. It is early, and many players are still finding their way. Cassidy is trying to find the right line combinations to make the Bruins offense click. Even though Nordstrom is being moved down, he will still play a vital role.

Last season the Bruins fourth line was one of the most productive in recent memory. Cassidy turned to them whenever the Bruins needed a spark. This year they have gotten off to a slow start, and Nordstrom will be looking to change that. His first test came last night against Edmonton. He responded well and put two shots on net. Nordstrom has shown his versatility early on and played well in whatever role the Bruins have placed him in. The season is still young, but Nordstrom is already making his mark.

Providence Bruins Sign Kovar To PTO

( Photo Credit: Getty Images / Bruce Bennett )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Providence Journal Bruins beat writer Mark Divver reported earlier today the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins have signed veteran forward Jan Kovar to a Professional Try-Out agreement. The 28-year-old Czech Republic native recently played in the Kontinental Hockey Leagues with the Metallurg Magnitogorsk where he registered 97-189-286 numbers appearing in 285 games in the last five years.

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The 5′-11″ 216-pound center was a free agent signing of the New York Islanders shortly after the 2018 free agent frenzy and was a saut after project with recent success over in Europe. Per EliteProspects.com Kovar’s development and pro-league play has been impressive to read with three Czech2 Championships,  Czech Extraliga Championship, and a two-time winner of the KHL Gagarin Cup Champion he certainly has worldly skills to take a chance on.

After his contract was over in the KHL, The Islanders were smart to roll the dice with a low cap experiment with Jan’s services and possibly be a seamless asset pending the retain or departure of the Tavares sweepstakes free agent talks which ending with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs being the most attractive option in free agency. Kovar signed a one-year $2 million dollar contract and it was time for him to showcase his skills at the highest level in the world.

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I’m not exactly sure about what happened to the relationship Kovar and the Islanders had but it was sour enough for the two parties to walk away. What would entice a player who already accepted a contract and eager to join his new National Hockey League team in North America just to have cold feet and want to leave? Per Left Wing Lock Twitter Account,  Kovar was placed on Unconditional Waivers for the purpose of contract termination.

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Well, now that he’s with the Providence Bruins after being seen by the aforementioned Providence Journal Bruins reporter Mark Divver below at this mornings practice, now it’s speculation time where he’ll play alongside other Bruins developmental talent as a 28-year-old but better yet, who’s spot could he be taking? For me and it’s early in the 2018-19 AHL campaign but I don’t believe he will take the job of current Bruins prospects in the system but could have a player that recently signed an AHL contract to play only in Providence’s job or play the role of an extra forward as regulated roster size in the AHL is different than the NHL limit.

In a later Tweet today, Divver mentioned that Kovar most likely won’t see any game action this weekend with three straight games including a home-and-home series starting tomorrow night in Bridgeport, Connecticut against Sound Tigers the minor-pro affiliate of the New York Islanders. Also chiming in on all the questions concerning Kovar was his agent Alan Walsh who said below that both the Providence Bruins and his client are going to remain in the area for the next couple of weeks and see where things go. This is a common tactic to keep players around before returning to Europe or the KHL to keep playing and in leagues with familiarity.

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Kovar is good friends Bruins superstar and countryman David Pastrnak as seen in a Tweet below from the young B’s forward dating back to when Kovar and the Islanders made the deal in July of this year.

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UPDATE: Details Below From first-year New York Islanders General Manager Lou Lamoriello on the termination of Jan Kovar’s one-year $2 million contract per Andrew Gross’s verified Twitter account.

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Below are some video’s of what the Providence Bruins could see in his short professional tryout in the American Hockey League.

Providence Bruins Week 3 Preview

Sound TigersBruins(Photo Courtesy of Christian Abraham)

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

The number three in some circles is a magical number. Let’s hope that inspires confidence in the Providence Bruins in this, the third week of the season. The B’s enter this weekend with a record of 1-4-0-0, a total of 2 points, and sit second to last in the division, conference, and league standings. All is not lost however, it is still way too early to relegate our team to the bottom of the pack. In fact, this has been a trend with our baby-B’s over the past several years. They start out pretty shabby for the first few weeks, dare I even say months. Then as the team settles in, the chemistry solidifies, the communication strengthens, and the confidence builds to a point where they break out and show what they are truly made of. So, let’s all take a deep breath, support our team, as we always do, and take the games as they come, one week at a time. This week sees back to back games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Friday night the Sound Tigers will host the Providence club at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport Connecticut and Saturday the teams will face off back in Providence at the Dunkin’ Donut’s Center.

Bridgeport(Photo Courtesy of Bridgeport Sound Tigers)

Friday, October 19th Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AWAY)

The Webster Bank Arena will come alive on Friday with Tigers and Bruins fighting it out for the title of ‘First Victor’ in this yearly grudge match. Last seasons’ first match-up for this pair was in November and took place on home ice for Providence. They met twice that weekend, once on Friday the 3rd and a second time on Sunday the 5th. Both of those games saw Bridgeport roaring to life, scoring 7 goals in total and preventing Providence from putting a single point on the board.

That weekend saw Providence put two different goaltenders in the Sound Tigers path, attempting to put a halt to their charge. Friday night saw the rookie Dan Vladar take his post, as Zane McIntyre had been called up to Boston on an emergency basis. Vladar put in a very strong showing that night, saving 31 of 32 shots on goal. Unfortunately for the rookie netminder, that one he let slip by was the game-winner. Sunday’s game had Zane McIntyre back between the pipes. The number of saves was the same 31, but the number of shots that found their way through was much higher. Six biscuits sped past Zane in that matinee match-up, not the veteran performance the team was hoping for.

The historical note of hope for this weekends first 2018-2019 match-up is the fortune of being on the road. The first road game played against the Sound Tigers on December 3 last year was a 4-1 win for the B’s. Zane McIntyre was in the crease for the match-up and was able to stop 26 of 27 shots on goal, a much-improved showing from the previous month. Fingers crossed we get that version of ‘Mickey’ this weekend.

RBorque(Photo Courtesy of Bridgeport Sound Tigers)

Saturday, October 20th Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (HOME)

Getting used to having a tag-along on their return trips to Providence, the Bruins meet up with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on home ice Saturday. The record last year for home games against the Tigers was an even split. The first three home games went to the visitors, but Providence had enough and decided to take the last three at the Dunk for themselves. So, If we purely look at the meeting of these two teams in Providence, our Bruins are on a 3-game winning streak, no need to end that now. Zane McIntyre was the goal tender for all three of those games, with save numbers of 29 of 29, 35 of 38, and 44 of 45. You can’t ask much better than that.

The same games saw our skaters do their part as well, both forwards and defenders took turns putting the biscuit in the basket. Scoring 1 goal in the first game, 5 in the second and 4 in the third. Clifton, Johanssen, Szwarz, and Zboril all put up points during those three games. With some of the new additions, Fyten, and McNeill spring to mind, I would hope to continue the home ice scoring frenzy when we meet the Tigers this Saturday and extend this run to four.

An interesting pair to check out on Saturday are the Bourgue brothers. Chris and Ryan Bourque, both sons of Ray Bourgue, were reunited on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this year. Last year they played for separate teams, Chris for the Hershey Bears and John with the Sound Tigers. Back on the same side, it will be fun to see them here in Providence.

bourques(Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

My picks to watch this weekend:

Up Front:

Blidh/—/Fyten – I don’t care who center these two. They are both on the top of my watch list, with their solid play and aggressive style. What’s not to like?

On The Blue Line:

Johanssen/Clifton – Not necessarily on the same line, but both have scored against this team in the past, and it will be interesting to see if they can pull off the offensive defenseman act repeatedly.

In Net:

Dan Vladar – Having met the Sound Tigers twice last year and held a very solid line against them, I am encouraged and am looking to see what level the past year’s development has brought him to now.

Johanssen(Photo Courtesy of Bridgeport Sound Tigers)

Similar to last weekends penalty extravaganza, we could be seeing the penalty box staying warm throughout the weekend with penalty minutes averaging about 27 per game when these two teams go head to head.

Cheers to week three, some solid hockey, and best of luck to our Baby B’s. 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!

Bruins Game 7 Preview: Edmonton Oilers

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AP PHOTO)

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

For the second time in a week, the Boston Bruins will play the Edmonton Oilers at 9:00pm EST. Last week’s matchup in Boston resulted in a 4-1 victory for the Black and Gold in Boston but this week, the two teams will meet in the capital of Alberta, Canada – Edmonton.

Boston is also coming off of their second loss of the 2018-19 season, a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames last night. Boston struggled to muster any offence during the game and the defence was not too much better throughout the sixty minutes of hockey. If you missed that game, I highly suggest you take a look at my game recap from last night’s loss.

On the other hand, Edmonton is feeling hot right now following a comeback overtime win over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night. The Oilers fell to a 4-1 deficit at the hands of the Jets but managed to battle back in the third period before Darnell Nurse scored the game-winning goal in the 3-on-3 overtime session.

It was the second victory in a row for the Edmonton team, defeating the New York Rangers 2-1 last Saturday. Before then, the Oilers lost the first two contests of the new season consecutively against the Devils and the Bruins.

Who’s Hot

For Boston, the only thing that has been hot over the first handful of games is their top line. Following an impressive performance against the Detroit Red Wings, a game where they accumulated eight goals, they lacked the touch and failed to score more than two goals for the first time since losing to Washington on opening night.

Patrice Bergeron scored a goal and added his seventh assist of the season against the Flames to bring his totals to 6-7-13 in six games thus far. Brad Marchand also scored a goal in Calgary, which was the cause of Bergeron’s assist. David Pastrnak was also credited with an assist on the play. Pastrnak did put the puck past the red line late in the first period but was waved off following a Coach’s Challenge due to an offside on entry into the Flames’ zone.

In almost every “Who’s Hot” against the Oilers, expect to see superstar Connor McDavid’s name in the category. McDavid recently set a new NHL record for the most consecutive goals to start the season for a team that he was apart of (9). He currently has four goals and five assists in the first four games and he will be looking to create more offence with his dynamic speed and acceleration.

Who’s Not

Depth. To break that down a little further, the Bruins and Oilers need more help on the second, third, and fourth line for scoring. The Oilers still have not scored a goal without the help of Connor McDavid during 5-on-5 play and players such as Ryan Strome and Drake Caggiula still have yet to score a single point for Edmonton.

Oilers goalie Cam Talbot has not been good to start this season either. In four starts, Caledonia, Ontario native has a 3.01 goals-against-average with a 0.895 SV%. Not great numbers for your starting goaltender if you are the Edmonton Oilers. Whether or not he plays against Boston tonight, they need him to be solid going forward in the season.

Boston’s second-line is still in the biggest question. David Krejci added his fifth assist of the season in the loss to Calgary, but he has yet to score a goal of his own so far and the Bruins will need him to pot a few as the campaign goes on. Jake DeBrusk scored two goals against the Red Wings, the only two points he has so far and he sits at a -1 rating.

The third-line for the B’s has been looking decent, but a real lack of points from the line is not quite what the team wants out of them. Danton Heinen was a healthy scratch for two consecutive games and the Bruins may look to shake things up once again to get a win over Edmonton.

Bruins vs Oilers Outlook

Head Coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed on Tuesday that goaltender Jaroslav Halak will get the start Thursday against Edmonton due to Rask getting the start last night. Halak is currently undefeated in two starts for the Bruins, rocking a 1.18 GAA and a .961 SV%. Halak has been a solid acquisition for the Bruins so far this season after he signed with the club during this past offseason.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is scheduled to play in his 900th career game as a Boston Bruin, becoming only the sixth player in Bruin history to hit the milestone. It will also be Chara’s 1430th NHL regular season game – a career that began in 1997.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is only one assist from tallying 200 career assists, a feat he would love to achieve in tonight’s contest against Boston.

The mission for both teams is simple – shut down the top line of the opposing team and hope to have your depth score some timely goals for your club. The Bruins need to rebound after a tough loss to Calgary and cannot lose two straight games on this back-to-back. A win tonight for the B’s could erase last night’s game and they can look forward to the closing games on this Canadian road trip.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (BOB DECHIARA-USA TODAY SPORTS)

Edmonton will be looking to continue their new-found success thanks to the two wins they have earned in a row over the Rangers and the Jets. If the Oilers can find scoring in the bottom lines, they can become a scary team in the Western Conference very soon.

Tonight’s game is already the last game of the season series between Boston and Edmonton. Will the Bruins go 2-0 over the team from Oil Town? Or will Edmonton force a split in the season series?

Bruins Post Game Recap: Bruins at Flames: 10/17/18

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports Images)

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

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: Scotiabank Saddledome – Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Home: Calgary Flames (3-2-0)

Away: Boston Bruins (4-1-0)

The Bruins are getting set to begin their first game of a four-game road trip, all of which are against Canadian teams. The first of the four road contests is a game against the Calgary Flames. Boston is riding a four-game winning streak over the Sabres, Senators, Oilers, and the Red Wings on Saturday night. The Bruins scored eight goals on Detroit in their most recent game, including a hat-trick by David Pastrnak.

The Calgary Flames are off to a shaky start to the new 2018-19 season. They lost their first game against Vancouver but rebounded with a 7-4 win over the Canucks only a couple days later followed by a shutout win over the Predators last Tuesday. On the 11th of October, Calgary lost to St. Louis Blues 5-3 but again came out victorious last Saturday over the Avalanche.

Bruins Morning Rushes:

First Period:

The first period of this hockey game was pretty back-and-forth for the first half of the twenty-minute frame. The shots remained close and chances were on both sides of the rink, but it was Calgary who scored first. The Flames stole the puck in the neutral zone, leading to a solid passing play with Michael Frolik burying the game’s first. Bruins Tuukka Rask was “over-aggressive” as the Sportsnet commentators said following the tally.

Following the goal, the play of the game did not change a whole lot. For the most part, both teams had their respective scoring opportunities until Johnny Gaudreau scored his 100th career NHL goal off of a wide-open shot. The Flames had some good puck movement in Boston’s zone, throwing pucks onto the net, leaving Gaudreau open and available to score, putting Calgary up 2-0.

Less than one minute later, Calgary would find the back of the net again as Jusso Valimaki fired a shot towards Rask. Rask was unable to get his glove on the lofting shot and it is 3-0 Flames.

Down 3-0, the Bruins tried to build some momentum back heading into the intermission and David Pastrnak did score a goal that lasted only a few minutes as the Flames bench decided to challenge the goal for a possible offside during the entry into the zone and unfortunately for Boston, the Flames would win the challenge and Pastrnak’s goal would be waived off – score remains 3-0.

To end the first period, Bruins defenceman John Moore would be sent to the box for a holding minor with just around twenty seconds left to tick away on the scoreboard. Bruins head to the box for the rest of the period and will continue to kill off the penalty for 1:40 of the second-period.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 10 CGY: 14

Score: 3-0 Flames

Second Period:

Starting the second period on the already mentioned penalty-kill, the Bruins would not help their own cause due to a high-sticking penalty committed by Patrice Bergeron only twenty-four seconds into the middle frame. Thankfully, the B’s managed to successfully kill off the 5-on-3 penalty, even without their best penalty-killer in Patrice Bergeron off of the ice.

Not long after the kill, Bergeron would score a beautiful, spin-o-rama goal bringing the Flames’ lead down to just two. The play began back in the defensive zone when David Krejci prevented a Calgary slot shot with some good stick-on-stick defence. Krejci was the only assist on the goal.

It seemed the Bruins had finally gained just a tad bit of momentum that they can possibly carry out into the remainder of this hockey game, but the Calgary Flames did an excellent job shutting down any last drop of that new-born momentum by scoring a goal less than a minute after the Bergeron goal. Michael Frolik was the goal-scorer, his second of the contest.

Calgary would commit their first infraction of the night, an interference call on Michael Stone. Even though they were shorthanded, the Flames had multiple breakaways that were either stopped by Tuukka Rask or they missed the net entirely. Boston did not get too many great opportunities on the power play and it would end like that.

After another successful shorthanded kill by the B’s, Brad Marchand would score the second of the game for the Bruins off of a sweet cross-ice pass by none other than Patrice Bergeron. Bruins once again within two goals. Pastrnak will pick up an assist on the play as well.

Like Calgary had to start the second, the Bruins will begin the third and final regulation on a 5-on-3 power play for fifty-eight seconds. A great opportunity to bring the game within one or even tie the game early on in the final period.

The Bruins have not looked as good as they have over the past few games, especially when passing the puck out of the defensive end. The Flames have intercepted many breakout passes in the Bruins zone and the neutral zone, some of which have led to serious scoring chances. Something the team needs to fix during the intermission break.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 18 CGY: 23

Score: 4-2 Flames

Third Period:

Boston’s previously threatening power play remained quiet tonight with a clean penalty-kill by Calgary. Neither team amounted to any real scoring threats until about eight-and-a-half minutes into the period, when the Bruins had a couple chances that didn’t find the net completely. Off one of the chances, however, Johnny Gaudreau stole the puck and drove towards the net, only to be robbed by Tuukka Rask’s pad. McAvoy levels Gaudreau after the shot, sending Charlie to the box for two minutes.

Boston killed the penalty off, but the Flames continued the pressure after the man-advantage was over. The Bruins have had obvious troubles tonight creating chances in Calgary’s zone, even by the top line that has been infamous for scoring goals early on this season.

One positive is the play of Brandon Carlo. Carlo has easily been the best defenseman in tonight’s game and one could argue that he’s been the best blueliner on the defensive side of the puck during the entirety of the campaign thus far. On numerous occasions, Carlo has won the puck battles along the boards and skates the puck up himself through the neutral zone and try to create a chance in the offensive zone.

As one would do with less than two minutes in a game where your team is trailing, Tuukka Rask was pulled. Matthew Tkachuk buried the empty-net goal, giving Calgary the 5-2 lead. Michael Stone with the helper on the insurance goal.

Bruins lose 5-2 the final score. Bruins record is now 4-2-0 with both losses coming in the first game of a back-to-back. The last set of back-to-back games saw the Bruins lose to Washington, but come back against the Sabres with a victory – their first of the season.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 26 CGY: 29

Final Score: 5-2 Flames

Max’s Three Stars

1st Star: CGY F Michael Frolik – 2 Goals, +3 Rating

2nd Star: CGY G Mike Smith – 24 Saves, .924 SV%

3rd Star: BOS F Patrice Bergeron – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 57% Faceoffs

Boston will have a quick turnaround once again when they play the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow night in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Puck drop for the game at Rogers Place is scheduled for 9pm EST.

Bruins Reminder: “Canadian Kick” An Important Road Trip

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

Image result for Bruins In Canada(Photo Credit: Root & Anchor)

Allow myself to introduce…myself.

Or, more specifically quote myself, to paraphrase legendary comedic spy Austin Powers (Danger’s his middle name). Over the Summer, I had the pleasure to preview for the Black N’ Gold Blog a number of important games in the schedule, with my “Mark Your Bruins Calendar: Part I” focusing on this upcoming stretch of hockey against Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver & yes–even Ottawa. At that time, my thoughts were centered around just how big of a potential impact these games–and this road trip as a whole–could have on the play, chemistry & depth of this year’s talented B’s squad:

I’m more interested in the first big road trip of the year, and it comes not long after the season starts. In fact, only five games in. AND, it’s the always challenging Canadian west coast kick. Usually, this stretch of games is reserved for the late Winter / early Spring part of the schedule but not this season. Right out of the gate, the B’s players — especially the young guns and newly acquired backup Jaroslav Halak — will be tested with a tricky trip through British Columbia and Alberta (capped off with a “how do ya do” in Ottawa, Ontario). Fellow blogger @thesportsguy97 mentioned this stretch when he previewed the whole schedule recently, but I’m highlighting it again because of its potential importance to the team.

(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

So, just how important do these games potentially look NOW? Well, for starters, the Bruins are one of the hottest team’s in hockey and a good, long road trip through the Great White North will definitely be a stiff challenge to their recent winning ways. But, it could also be a galvanizing experience for the roster & coaching staff, especially if the B’s can pick up points in AT LEAST 3 of the 4 contests (I’m personally predicting a 2-1-1 record). To wit:

It goes without saying what a solid showing versus Calgary, Edmonton (back-to-back, hence Halak’s importance) and Vancouver can do for the morale of the team… One needs to look no further than the 2010-2011 Cup-winning Bruins squad that SWEPT these teams in late February. That stretch of play galvanized the youthful B’s core along with the grizzled vets and truly catapulted them to contender status. Yes, that was towards the end of the year, but getting those same results–or at least the same level of spirited competition–at the start of the year for this upcoming B’s squad would be absolutely beneficial to everyone. It would also prove that team bonding during travel makes a big difference on the ice, as I’ve always felt personality and leadership on the road can be just as invaluable as all those “intangibles” coaches, scouts and hockey insiders like to mention…

Oh, and let’s not forget to mention that the Bruins currently have better records than all of their “Canadian Kick” opponents, in addition to having played Calgary twice in China (both wins), and Edmonton & Ottawa at home last week (two very spirited winning affairs). So, you better believe that all of these teams on home-ice, including the Oil’s home opener, will be gunning for some sweet revenge against the B’s. This won’t be an easy seven days of hockey & travel, which is all the more reason why everyone needs to make the most of their recent inspired teamwork, chemistry & camaraderie together–all qualities that not even the most stat-filled score sheet can account for (which may explain why the B’s are hiring more analytics experts as our friends over at The Athletic have shared).

What you can COUNT ON over the next week plus, however, is a special slate of hockey for a hungry B’s team eager to prove their hot start isn’t a fluke or a circumstance of scheduling. Because, in the paraphrased words of an aforementioned International Man of Mystery (and later hockey but we’ll save that for another article), their upcoming schedule is not the time to lose one’s head…or not get ahead in the standings… or not be headstrong… or not be the head of their division…

OK, that’ll do!

Providence Bruins Weekend Recap

Team(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

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

In the first 3-in-3 weekend of the season, the Providence Bruins took away 2 points for their lone win.  These blessed two points keep them from being relegated to last place in the division, the conference and the league.  That honor, or lack thereof, is currently being held by the Hershey Bears.  One of the areas we are not close to last place is PIMS.  We are smack in the middle with 57, made up of 16 minor, 3 major, and 1 10-minute misconduct penalties.  We can thank Anton Blidh’s improving English skills for that last one as he garnered an abuse of officials penalty in the game against Springfield this past Sunday.

Breaking down the numbers from this season there are a few areas that we can see need improvement.  Of the 13 goals Providence has scored, 9 of them came in the third period and always after trailing.   If the object is to win, we need to score earlier, bring our A game to all three periods and not wait until crunch time.  That is and has been a recipe for disaster.  The other and less tangible item is that we are outshooting our opponents at an average rate of 28 to 24 yet they are scoring an average of 4 goals to our 2.9.  This is a clear sign that our defense needs to do a better job of reading what their offense is setting up and putting a stop to it. Yes, the goalie is the ultimate keeper of the gate, but the defense needs to be there to support him, and right now, they are not.

Two goalies(Photo Courtesy of Jen Stasio Coombe)

Goaltender Performance:

Zane McIntyre has stopped 36 of the 48 shots taken on him in the 3 games he has played.  Including the first game where he was pulled midway through the first period.  His current Save% is .750 and fingers crossed has nowhere to go but up.

Dan Vladar has stopped 65 of the 72 shots taken on him in the 3 games he has played, including the one in which he took over for Zane in the first period.  His Save% is a bit better at .903.

This Weekends Scores:

FRI Oct.12 AWAY              Providence 4-Hartford 3  WIN!!!

SAT Oct.13 HOME            Providence 3-Hartford 4

SUN Oct.14 AWAY           Providence 3-Springfield 6

3-in-3(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Detailed Daily Game Re-caps:

Friday, October 12, 2018, Providence Bruins Vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (AWAY)

Friday Night at the XL Center had an overall better ending for the Bruins than last week but in all honesty not much better play from our B’s.  The first period saw Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson score 6 minutes in, but the haphazard defensive effort being put up by our blueline saw Hartford’s Andersson answer back only 5 minutes later sneaking one past goaltender Zane McIntyre to bring the score level.  The first period only saw one penalty issued and that was a minor for interference to the home team’s Bigras at 11:16.   The Wolf Pack successfully killed off what they could of the penalty in the 1st and the remainder of it at the beginning of the second period.

While the first period saw more goals than penalties, there was a different storyline for the second.  Here we saw 6 penalties and only 1 goal.  That lone goal of the period came at 5:41 when Hartford took the lead on a swift one by Butler assisted by Holland. This did nothing to steady the already worn nerves of the Baby B’s or their jacked-up opponents as the penalties began flying on the regular; 5:59 Providence Penalty for hooking Clifton, 11:23 Hartford Penalty for holding Hajek, 12:46 Providence Penalty for hooking Szwarz, 13:24 Providence Penalty for slashing, and the 5th and 6th penalties of the 2nd period at 17:08 for roughing go to Providence’s Fitzgerald and Hartford’s Andersson.

The third period appeared to be that leveling force that the Providence fans were looking for.   The B’s stepped up their offensive game taking 12 shots on goal during the period, a 50% increase from the second period, and the defense, while still a bit squirrely, seemed to be getting things together for a bit.  Hartford took the first goal of the period at 7:01 bringing them to a 2-goal lead and it wasn’t long after that their Mr. Andersson was called once again for a penalty (8:29 holding). If there was to be a comeback, it was time Providence made their move.  At 12:16 Anton Blidh had help from Cave and Fyten to bring the B’s to within one goal and only a minute and a half later Kulhman and Cehlarik gave Frederic what he needs to find the back of the net and even the score.  Hartford was called for one last penalty at 19:32. This time a bench penalty for too many men on the ice.

Into overtime and it did not take long.  With 1:03 having ticked down on the clock Goloubef took a shot and was awarded mightily with not just a goal, but the game-winning goal assisted by Fitzgerald and Lauzon.  The Providence Bruins eked it out in Hartford this time, finishing it up in OT with a score of 4-3 and taking home the 2 points necessary to keep them from the bottom of the stack.

Saturday, October 13, 2018, Providence Bruins Vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME)

ProvidenceBruins and Hartford Wolf Pack played follow the leader back to Rhode Island and settled in, ready for Saturday’s rematch.  The pack came out of the gates on fire, unlike the Providence Bruins who looked like they had never really woken up from their pre-game nap.  The first saw the Wolf Pack pepper rookie goalie Vladar with shots that none of the defense seemed inclined to read ahead and intercept.  Of the 9 shots, they landed on net 2 of them found the back putting them up solidly in the first without any significant difficulty.  Providence appeared plagued by open ice passes, uncontrolled passing and just all around poor puck handling.  They did not seem to be able to hold onto the puck once they got it and were easily moved off it in a skirmish.  They did manage to get 10 shots on goal, but none of them made it through the Wolf Pack keeper to provide a Providence point on the board.  The only penalty in the first was issued to Hartford’s Bigras late in the period at 17:35 for cross-checking.

The second period did not look any better for Providence and only 5:22 into the period Blidh took exception to Hartford’s Andersson and both were sent to the box with 5 minutes for fighting.  If it was an attempt to fire up the team, Blidh did not succeed where he had intended. The only team that scored for the rest of the second was the Pack at 14:47 bringing their lead to 3.  The period ended without another score or scuffle.

The third period started the same as the first two. A disheveled and ragtag Bruins team fought harder against themselves than they did to win.  At 4:52 when Hartford scored yet another goal, it appeared they had all but sealed the deal.  Three penalties followed, two to Providence minors to Lauzon and Pond, and a third was a bench penalty handed out to the Pack for, once again, having too many men on the ice.  The B’s were not able to capitalize on this powerplay.  However, I don’t know what was said in the 16th minute, but Providence decided to no longer hit snooze, finish their coffee, and kick it in gear.  Two goals were scored in the 17th minute, one by Zach Senyshyn and the other 15 seconds later by Colby Cave.  This giant burst of scoring must have thrown them for a bit of a loop as it took a whole 2 minutes for them to score their 3rd.  This time finding a way past the goalie was Anton Blidh.  It was a solid rally, but just too late to claim a victory as the Wolf Pack Came out on top this time with a 4-3 win at the Dunk.

Sunday, October 14, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY)

The first matinee of the year was hosted by the Springfield Thunderbirds and was the final game of the 3-in-3 for the Providence Bruins.  Unfortunately, while more consistent throughout the game, the Bruins have just not meshed as a team yet.  The first period saw the Bruins on the board first with a goal by Zach Senyshyn at 7:11 with assists by Cehlarik and Vaakanainen.  While the T-Birds failed to fly past Zane McIntyre even once in the first.  There was no shortage of penalties though.  They came rolling in, hot and heavy, as they often do when these teams meet.  The T-Birds had two penalties on the board within the first five minutes, and the Bruins took the rest of the period but managed to rack up three more. A 5-penalty period to start the day off right.

The second period was livelier at the net with Springfield starting the period literally 1,2,3 as they scored goals at 1 minute, 2 minutes and a 3rd at 3 minutes, causing Zane to bow his head in dejection following the last of these.    Apparently, this goal at three minutes broke something in Anton Blidh’s filter as he was sent to the box with a 10-minute misconduct penalty for abuse of officials.  Seeing him sitting there must have inspired Colby Cave as he came out with a Providence goal at 6:22 assisted by McNeill and Clifton.  Not to let the Box get cold, Breen and Turgeon took up arms and were each sent to the box for fighting at 13:09.  Still feeling feisty Providence took two more penalties, Goloubef at 14:31 for Cross-checking and Senyshyn at 17:17 for high-sticking and to finish off the period T-Bird Still was sent to the pokey for Interference.  A 6-penalty period in the books.

The third was nearly a repeat of the second with Springfield coming out sending three goals past McIntyre, though they did spread them out this time taking almost 11 minutes to score all three.  The only non-bench penalties called were against the T-Birds, three in total and one bench penalty to Providence for too many men on the ice.  (As the Pack wasn’t here the B’s took care of it for them.)  In the last-ditch effort, Fitzgerald sent a zinger by the T-bird goaltender to bring them within 3-points, but it was too little too late again, and the Bruins walked away with a second loss for the weekend.