Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston At Montreal: 12/17/18

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(Photo Credit: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Montreal Canadiens

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Krejci – Pastrnak

Nordstrom – Cave – Backes

Donato – Forsbacka-Karlsson – Acciari

Kuraly – Acciari – Wagner

Defense

Grzelcyk – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Moore – Kampfer

Goalies

Halak

Rask

Montreal’s Lineup

Forwards

Drouin – Domi – Shaw

Tatar – Danault – Gallagher

Byron – Kotkaniemi – Lehkonen

Agostino – Chaput – Peca

Defense

Kulak – Weber

Reilly – Petry

Schlemko – Juulsen

Goalies

Price

Niemi

First Period

One point separated the Canadiens and Bruins heading into this one while they sat in third and fourth place respectively. Important divisional points were on the line. Montreal came in winners of their last two, while the Bruins came in losers of their last two looking to right the ship.

The game didn’t stay scoreless for long as Joakim Nordstrom scored 2:21 into the game. Some great forechecking and passing from his linemates helped make it happen. The goal marked Nordstrom’s fifth of the year, assisted by David Backes (5), and Colby Cave (3).

Brad Marchand went to the box shortly after for high-sticking. Montreal came into the game without a single goal on their last 22 power play opportunities. Two shots on goal and two minutes later, Montreal failed to convert on the man advantage.

Halfway through the period, Montreal had 11 giveaways to Boston’s one giveaway. The energy was there, just not a lot of cohesiveness. Noel Acciari went to the box delay of game at the 6:28 mark – round two on the power play for Montreal. John Moore and Charlie McAvoy were integral to eventually kill the penalty and keep the lead intact while they were down a man.

After making a series of moves in the offensive zone, David Pastrnak drew a tripping penalty with 3:04 remaining – the Bruins were scoreless on their last seven power plays in their last three games. It was a sloppy first power play for the Bruins as they had trouble connecting passes at times and struggled to get much of anything going in Carey Price’s office. The best chance came after the conclusion of the man advantage when Noel Acciari nearly stuffed a wraparound past Price.

Giveaways were ever so present from Montreal and the Bruins surely would have liked to convert more than once. The shots were 12 to 5 in favor of the Bruins, Montreal ended up with 14 giveaways to Boston’s one. The energy was there for the Bruins, but the execution could have been better. The momentum was in their hands heading into the intermission and beyond.

Score: 1-0 Boston

Second Period

The scoring chances continued to come from the Bruins early, specifically from Pastrnak and Acciari. The occasional too many men on the ice penalty struck against Montreal just 2:29 into the period. No dice on the power play, zero shots on goal.

A flurry of chances came for the Canadiens about halfway through the period in just under a minute of consecutive zone time. Shortly after, former Bruin Kenny Agostino was robbed by once former Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak.

It’s not too often you see two delay of game penalties in one game, but David Pastrnak unintentionally made that happen. Some power plays came and went on both sides, both teams found no luck with the man advantage. Price robbed Pastrnak in space on the backhand. Neither goalie was budging after Nordstrom’s early first-period goal. He then managed to rob Torey Krug with his glove as he flew down the left wing.

A four-on-four came late as Sean Kuraly went to the box for holding, as did Jesperi Kotkaniemi for interference – lots of open ice for someone to break through and get on the score sheet. Colby Cave picked up his second point of the night and first goal of his NHL career off of a beautiful passing play involving Pastrnak up high and McAvoy down low. McAvoy picked up his seventh assist, Pastrnak his 19th. The assist marked McAvoy’s second point since returning from injury on Dec. 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

There wasn’t much of the usual Bruins-Habs nastiness as we have seen in the past until the last three minutes of the frame. This time we saw a goaltending battle and a cut-and-dry game through two periods for the most part. The Bruins dominated the shot category with a 13 to 7 advantage in the second period, 26 to 12 overall.

Score: 2-0 Boston

Third Period

Things got going real early thanks to an iffy Montreal line change. David Krejci buried his sixth goal of the year on the back door to extend his point streak to seven games. Charlie McAvoy’s eighth assist of the season and second of the game helped make it all happen. The Bruins extend their lead to three.

Mike Reilly’s roughing penalty set up a power play that led to the fourth Bruins goal of the game, this time from Brad Marchand. Marchand’s 11th goal was assisted by Pastrnak (20) and Krug (16). It was 4-0 Bruins with 14:54 to go.

This game turned on its head really quickly. The Bruins took advantage of what was a sloppy game on Montreal’s end for much of the time. Outside of their extended zone stint midway through the second period, it was almost all Bruins. Halak capped it off on a great chance in transition late. The 22-save effort marked his third shutout of the season.

The energy they got thanks to a good deal of puck possession, scoring chances and Nordstrom’s goal in the first period propelled them forward throughout the game. Things progressively got better as the game went on.

In one of their better 60-minute efforts this season, the Bruins outshot the Canadiens 9 to 8 in the third and 35 to 22 overall. Next up are the Anaheim Ducks at 7:00 PM on Thursday at TD Garden.

Final Score: 4-0 Boston

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Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 10 Recap

( Photo Credit: orlandosentinel.com / Fernando Medina )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

It was another difficult week for the injury-ravaged Atlanta Gladiators, after three more defeats, their winless run has extended to nine games. Despite missing a number of important players, the Glads fought bravely and were able to pick up 2 points from the road trip, coming agonizingly close to a win. After 24 games played, their record stands at 5-13-5-1, and they remain at the bottom of the South Division.

On Wednesday night, the Gladiators traveled to South Carolina to take on the Stingrays. It was the third game between the two teams in just five days. Sean Bonar was given the start between the pipes for Atlanta and looked confident in the early stages. The game remained scoreless until Cameron Askew put the Stingrays ahead mid-way through the second period. Andrew Cherniwchan doubled South Carolina’s lead just 12 seconds into the third frame and the Gladiators were staring down the familiar barrel of defeat. That was until Tyler Deresky wrestled Atlanta level with two fantastic goals, taking the game into overtime and securing a much-needed point for the Gladiators. Both teams were unable to add to the score, sending the game to a shootout. After a valiant display, the Glads fell 2-1 in the shootout. The team fought hard with many skaters playing out of position to cover injuries.

The Gladiators faced the Jacksonville Icemen on Friday night for the second game of the road trip. Colton Phinney was given the start in goal and was tested early on. He was eventually beaten when Kris Newbury put the Icemen ahead with a power-play goal. The first period ended 1-0 to Jacksonville. At the start of the second, Glads forward David Mazurek pounced on a mistake from Icemen netminder, Tanner Jaillet, and tied the score at 1-1. The rest of the contest was uneventful for the most part, and for the second game in a row, overtime was required to decide the winner. Kris Newbury stepped up and doubled his tally for the night, condemning the Glads to their eighth consecutive defeat. Once again, a fine effort to secure a point considering the injury situation.

The third and final game of the week took place on Sunday afternoon at the Amway Center, as the Glads took on the Orlando Solar Bears. It was the long-awaited return of forward Justin MacDonald who was in good form before getting injured a few weeks back. Sean Bonar was given the start as both teams exchanged shots in the early stages. The Solar Bears capitalized on an ugly turnover from Atlanta, creating a two-on-one opportunity which was tucked into the net by Mitch Hults. The Glads enjoyed a nice spell of offense in the second period but they couldn’t beat Martin Ouellette in the Orlando goal. In the final minute of the second, Dylan Fritze put the Solar Bears 2-0 up and the game was as good as over. Derek Nesbitt scored in the third period to keep Atlanta’s hopes alive, but Orlando was able to hold on for the win. 2-1 the final score.

The Gladiators fought hard this week but it’s no secret that the team is suffering from injuries and AHL call-ups. The defense seems to have stepped up and it’s encouraging to see Bonar and Phinney playing well in the absence of Miroslav Svoboda. The Glads have three games in three days coming up before the Christmas break, a win will be on all of our lists for Santa, I’m certainly hoping for a Christmas miracle.

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Bruins Game 34 Preview: Montreal Canadiens

( Photo Credit: Top Bet )

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

The Boston Bruins will host their greatest rival on Monday night – the Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday after working their way to a tie game late in the third period.

Montreal is currently trying to build upon a two-game winning streak with victories against the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators. The Bruins are just one point behind the Canadiens so there could result in a change in the structure of the Eastern Conference standings.

Who’s Hot?

David Krejci extended his point streak to six games in Sunday’s loss to the Sabres. He now has three goals and six assists in that span. He has been playing alongside David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand; keeping that line going in the absence of Patrice Bergeron. There are those who argue this trio shouldn’t be broken up even when Bergeron returns to the lineup. It’s something to consider – even if it is just keeping Pastrnak and Krejci together to have two-well rounded lines. Either way, Krejci has been strong as of late and will look to continue his point streak against the Habs.

Max Domi is the Canadiens’ top point producer. He has scored 14 goals and 19 assists in 33 games this season and is a huge reason why the Habs are currently in fourth place in the Atlantic Division after a subpar 2017-18 season. Domi had 45 points in a full season with the Arizona Coyotes last season – it seems that the change of scenery has helped the forward grow as he is on pace to nearly double that total by the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Bergeron Price

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Carey Price has five wins in his last five starts, giving up 12 goals during that span. After sporting a 3-5-2 record and .886 SV% in the month of November, it seems as though the Habs’ netminder is caught the holiday spirit. Since the first of the month, Price is 6-1-0 with a .915 SV%. He will certainly be a tough test for a Bruins offense that has struggled to come up with consistent secondary scoring.

Who’s Not?

Speaking of Boston’s secondary scoring, that’s what hasn’t been hot for Boston. David Backes, Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Kuraly, Chris Wagner, Noel Acciari – all are forwards who have appeared in at least 27 games and have yet to come up with more than seven points. They have done well in other facets, whether that be through physical play or a solid two-way game. However, the Bruins need their bottom lines to pitch in. They simply haven’t thus far.

Bruin Habs

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Despite being one of Montreal’s top producers, Tomas Tatar has hit a rough patch in the month of December. In his last five games, the forward has a goal and an assist, going pointless in his last three appearances. Overall, Tatar has 12 goals and 12 assists in 33 games this season and has the ability to break out this (potentially) brief slump.

Bruins vs. Canadiens Outlook

The Bruins are certainly in the weeds, working their way to a 3-5-0 record halfway through the month of December. During that span, Boston has given up 28 goals while only scoring 21 themselves. They have simply been subpar throughout the month despite a few glimmers of hope, and have dropped way too many contests to division opponents.

They have another tough division rival in the Canadiens on Monday night. The Habs have a red-hot goaltender and are trying to extend a winning streak and will likely give the Bruins quite the headache. The first line hasn’t been enough to power Boston to victory in recent weeks, and if secondary scoring doesn’t come soon, they will more than likely find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture.

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Bergeron Could Practice Wednesday, Imminent Return Possible

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photo credit: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

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

Boston Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said on Sunday that Patrice Bergeron could rejoin the rest of his Bruins teammates for a full practice this Wednesday. Bergeron returning to the lineup is a possibility after practicing with the team. Obviously, their star center returning to the lineup would be the ultimate Christmas gift for the injury-riddled Bruins.

Bergeron sustained a rib and sternoclavicular injury in Dallas during a 1-0 loss to the Stars when Dallas center Radek Faksa drove him into the boards while battling for the puck. Bergeron hit the boards awkwardly, went to the Bruins’ locker room, and returned to the game later. Upon returning, he was unable to take faceoffs and was nowhere near effective as usual. Four days later, the Bruins announced that Bergeron would be shelved for four weeks, and then re-evaluated. Tuesday, December 18 will be four weeks from the announcement, so things appear to be right on schedule.

Since losing Bergeron, the Bruins have gone 7-6-1 in fourteen games. During this period, the team has had continued problems creating offense, as Cassidy has jumbled the forward lines several times. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson was centering the third line, then he was bumped up to play between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

That didn’t work out, so David Krejci was moved up to play with Marchand and Pastrnak, while JFK was moved back to his usual third line spot. Colby Cave has been centering the second line, which hasn’t been particularly productive since Jake DeBrusk was injured and Krejci was moved up. Krejci and his new linemates have been enjoying some chemistry, however.

Recently, there has been much debate about what Cassidy should do with the forward lines once Bergeron returns. Some say the best line in hockey should be reunited, others say Krejci should continue centering Marchand and Pastrnak, while others view Bergeron playing with anyone else as being a demotion. There has been speculation that Cassidy would keep Bergeron and Marchand together and have Krejci and Pastrnak play together, as well.

Since there are so many possible line combinations, there’s a chance more than one or two of them could work in the Bruins’ favor. Let’s start by saying that while Joakim Nordstrom and David Backes have been moved all over the lineup this season and have both done an adequate job in whatever role they’ve been asked to play, neither player belongs on either of the top two lines. Danton Heinen is another player who is a veritable Swiss  Army knife but is more of a third line type of guy. Colby Cave is another player who has done well in playing the cards he was dealt, but with Bergeron back, he should return to the bottom six, or more likely, Providence.

Asking Patrice Bergeron to skate with linemates other than the elite scoring machines that are Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak is not a demotion – not even close. If anything, it speaks to just how much Bruce Cassidy can trust Bergeron in any situation. Since Marchand and Pastrnak are gelling with David Krejci, there is no reason to split them up without giving a line consisting of Patrice Bergeron, Jake DeBrusk and one of the Bruins young goal-scoring prospects a look first. Anders Bjork can be electric at times and could be a good fit with Bergeron and DeBrusk – Cassidy won’t know unless he tries it for more than a shift or two. Bjork or Donato may be interchangeable in this role, as each of them has played well at times on both the second and third lines, and who better to show them the ropes than Mr. Perfect himself?

Nobody should be looking at Bergeron shepherding younger players as a demotion, especially since Bergeron undoubtedly sees it as his job. If the Bruins can get something other than the first and third lines going, then they could be dangerous. They’ll need all the points they can get, given the hyper-competitive Atlantic Division this season. It could be worth his while if Cassidy is willing to try something different.

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photo credit: Winslow Townson / AP Photo

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Why A Wildcard Spot May Not Be The Worst Scenario For The Bruins

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Photo Credit: Christopher Evans/Boston Herald

By: Spencer Fascetta | Follow Me on Twitter @PuckNerdHockey

We are midway through December, and there is plenty of panic in Boston.

“We need an enforcer!”

“Our goaltending sucks!”

“We can’t score!”

OK, can everyone just take a deep breath, please? By having the injury bug eviscerate this roster early, the Bruins may just have stumbled into their best-case scenario come the playoffs. Also, the goaltending hasn’t been the problem, and ENFORCERS ARE NEVER THE ANSWER. So, what do I mean?

Well, the Bruins are currently 5th in the Atlantic Division. Before you get your pants in a knot, let’s put some context into the equation. While they are 5th in the Atlantic, they have played one game fewer than fourth place Montreal, and are trailing the Habs by only a point. They are a significantly better team than the Canadiens, whom I am unconvinced can maintain their current level of play. That’s not even the interesting part. Despite having played two more games than the Bruins, the 6th place Detroit Red Wings trail the B’s by 5 points. Ottawa has played the same number of games like Detroit, and are 6 points behind Boston. Boston has played one more game than the Florida Panthers, but they sit dead last in the division, a full eight points behind the Bruins. They aren’t going to get caught from behind in the Atlantic.

Atlantic Standings

They should inevitably pass the Canadiens, so that begs the question – how close are they to the guaranteed divisional playoff spot? At the moment, the Bruins have a game in hand on every team above them in the Atlantic Division and trail the 3rd place Buffalo Sabres by 5 points, the Toronto Maple Leafs by 6, and the Tampa Bay Lightning by 13. Nobody is catching Tampa. In any division. That team is well on its way to a President’s Trophy. If you had said Buffalo would be only a point behind the Maple Leafs in third place in the Atlantic at this point in the season, well, please get in contact with me, I could use the services of someone who can see the future.

So, the Bruins are fifth in their division. But they currently occupy the 2nd wildcard spot. As it stands, it is pretty clear that Tampa Bay is going to be the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and will, therefore, host the second wildcard team. As previously noted, there is no reason to think that Boston won’t finish the season ahead of the Canadiens. They are not in danger of dropping out of a wildcard spot either. Currently, the Bruins sit with 38 points in 32 games. That is 5th in the Atlantic Division, but would be SECOND in the Metropolitan Division. No, that is not a typo. The Bruins are 5th in the division, but only 6th in the conference. Believe it or not, they are actually a Top 10 team in the entire league. They just happen to play in one of the most stacked divisions in recent memory.

League Standings

So, why should they WANT to finish in the first wildcard spot? Well, they almost certainly would need to face the defending Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals in the first round. That’s no easy task. But finishing in a divisional spot means they have to face two of Tampa Bay, Toronto, and Buffalo to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. The current Metropolitan Division playoff teams are Pittsburgh and Columbus (who isn’t on board for ANOTHER Pittsburgh/Columbus throw-down), either of whom is a significantly easier matchup than the juggernauts in the Atlantic. Currently, Tampa Bay is #1 in the league, Toronto is 5th, and Buffalo is 7th. Washington is 6th, but Columbus is 15th, and Pittsburgh is 17th. That’s a pretty simple bit of math.

Wildcard Standings

What killed the Bruins when they got to Tampa Bay last postseason was the 7-game death-match that was their First Round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They were exhausted, beat-up, and could not keep up. They are guaranteed to have a similarly difficult matchup if they finish in either 2nd or 3rd in the Atlantic Division this year. Don’t do that. This team is good enough to be in the playoffs and do some damage once fully healthy, so don’t rush anyone back. Let Bergeron and Chara take as long as they need to be fully healthy. Use this time to experiment with line combinations, and see what you have in some depth pieces. Acclimate Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson to the NHL game, as the kid line with JFK between Danton Heinen and Ryan Donato has begun to look good the last few games. You still have Anders Bjork shredding the American Hockey League. Don’t make a massive trade for a short-term piece. Stay the course, finish fourth, take the easier path to the Stanley Cup Final. You may be thanking me if you do.

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

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Bruins Game 33 Preview: Buffalo Sabres

McAvoy Eichel

Michael Dwyer / AP

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

The Boston Bruins will play host to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday at 5:00pm ET. The Bruins took the first meeting between the two teams this season by a score of 4-0 in Buffalo.

The Sabres, however, find themselves ahead of Boston in the Atlantic Division standings. They currently have the third-place spot in their grasps while the Bruins are holding on to the second wild-card position. With a 19-9-5 record, the Sabres are by far the biggest surprise of the 2018-19 season thus far.

Who’s Hot?

David Krejci has a five-game point streak going, scoring three goals and five assists during that time – all at even streak. All season Krejci has been solid when it comes to producing scoring chances. More recently, however, he has capitalized on those chances and helped his team execute. It is no coincidence that this uptick in production has occurred while playing on the first line alongside David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. Even with that asterisk, Krejci has been a great playmaker throughout the season and is sure to give the Sabres a headache on Sunday.

Zemgus Girgensons, David Krejci

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Tuukka Rask has been the hotter goaltender in recent weeks and will likely get the start against the Sabres on Sunday. The netminder is 4-2-0 in his last six starts, making 166 saves on 148 shots during that span. Rask is 13-6-1 throughout his career against Buffalo with a 2.10 GAA and .932 SV% during those games.

Jack Eichel is simply dominating right now. He has 12 goals and 29 assists in 33 games this season, leading all Sabres in production. Like Krejci, Eichel is on a five-game point streak with seven goals and two assists during that stretch. The Massachusetts native has been average against Boston in the past, notching three goals and four assists in 11 games with a minus-9 rating. However, that was with a below average Buffalo team. With the new and improved Sabres, Eichel will be the most dangerous player in a white jersey on Sunday.

Who’s Not?

Depth, depth, depth. It’s like a broken record at this point, but secondary scoring has been an issue for the Bruins all season long. They finally have a third line in Ryan Donato, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, and Danton Heinen that is clicking. Still, the results on the scoreboard haven’t been consistent from the bottom three lines. It’s a big reason why the Bruins are currently fifth in the Atlantic Division, and something needs to change – especially if they expect to defeat teams like the Sabres as the season moves along.

Acciari Sabres

Associated Press/Jeffrey T. Barne

Carter Hutton has slowed down a bit since going on an eight-game winning streak for Buffalo. He is 1-2-1 in his last four games, giving up 11 goals in that span. Hutton did play Saturday night against the Washington Capitals, so it is questionable as to whether or not they will give him the start against the Bruins on Sunday. Buffalo may feel obligated to go with Linus Ullmark who is 6-1-3 this season.

Bruins vs. Sabres Outlook

The Bruins are coming off a tough loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins and will be looking to turn things around. The Krejci, Pastrnak, Marchand combination has been lethal as of late and the B’s will look to them to carry the offense once more – that is unless the team’s secondary scoring issue is solved with no notice.

The Sabres have been on a bit of a skid, going 2-3-3 in their last eight games. They will be looking to change their fate against the Bruins on Sunday. This will be the second leg of back-to-back nights of hockey for Buffalo so we will see if that plays a role in their readiness to take on the B’s at TD Garden.

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

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Providence Bruins McIntyre Sets Franchise Record

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By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Providence Bruins beat the Hershey Bears last night by the score of 6-2 at the Dunkin” Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island to improve their 2018-19 regular season record to 12-11-5-0. Speaking of record, with the victory over the Bears, Providence goaltender Zane McIntyre recorded his 68th American Hockey League win in franchise history. The 26-year-old Grand Forks, North Dakota native passes former B’s goaltender John Grahame who previously held the organization’s record since the end of the 2000-2001 regular season.

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McIntyre, a 6′-2″ 205-pound goaltender, has been with the Boston Bruins organization since his 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft when he was selected in the sixth-round with the 165th overall pick. Zane has always been a strong goaltender learning the game throughout the developmental leagues creating instant success wherever he landed. The Bruins drafted him after he finished his last season of high school hockey playing for the Thief River Falls club where he posted an 18-8-1 record, a 1.81 goals-against-average and .925 save percentage.

The Bruins saw something very special in Zane to draft him out of a Minnesota High School and playing at the higher levels would seemingly fit his game continuing forward as he gained valuable experience with increased playing time and longer regular seasons. At the end of the 2009-10, High School season, Zane was the recipient of the Frank Brimsek Award for the Minnesota Senior Goalie of the Year. For those who don’t know, Frank Brimsek was a former Boston Bruins goaltender who was with the organization for 11 years winning two Stanley Cups.

After leaving the Minnesota, high school ranks Zane went to play in the USHL with the Fargo Force where he posted a career record of 38-24-4 with a 2.22 goals-against-average and .914 Save percentage. His play in the USHL particularly in the second and final season with the Force team he posted a 26-16-4 record earning himself another high honor of winning the Award for the USHL’s Goaltender of the Year for the 2011-12 campaign. The United States Hockey League is the nations only Tier 1 junior hockey league which is a fantastic developmental league that many current and former Boston Bruins players spent time in.  B’s players such as Anders Bjork and Charlie McAvoy played for the Team USA club, Torey Krug played for the Indiana Ice, and David Backes spent time playing with the Lincoln Stars all before stepping foot in the NCAA ranks of Division 1 College hockey.

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The next step was a three-year collegiate hockey career at the University of North Dakota where he started gaining popularity at a national level with his tremendous play. After the 2012-13 season which was McIntyre’s rookie season playing for the Fighting Hawks as the backup goaltender and posted a 9-4-3 record with a 2.46 GAA and .920 Save%. His next two seasons he was given the reigns as the starting goaltender and ran with the opportunity to produce a 49-20-6 record with a 2.02 GAA and .927 Save%. This third and final season at North Dakota was simply a work of art and a huge boost in confidence for Zane when he was a Hobey Baker Award Finalist, winner of the Mike Richter Award for the NCAA Top Collegiate Goalie. McIntyre was also the NCAA/NCHC Goaltender of the Year after his best career season for the Fighting Hawks going 29-10-3 in 42 games in the 2014-15 campaign before turning pro.

From College To The Pro Ranks

Adjusting to the pro level for Zane during the 2015-16 season was a bit of a challenge after he left school for the AHL’s team in Rhode Island. His rookie season started off with a three-headed monster in the crease that year as he split duties with former 2012 first-rounder Malcolm Subban and Jeremy Smith who was later shipped to the Iowa Wild on loan because of the bottleneck of netminders in the system. In 31 games as a rookie, he went 14-8-7 with a 2.68 GAA, and .898 Save% to be one of the best goaltenders in the AHL in his second season going 21-6-1 and leading the league with a .930 Save%. Zane’s third season in the AHL was good, but you can see that he had moments of struggles and even though he had good numbers with a 26-15-2 record you could see he was slowly getting passed in the depth chart but continued to work hard regardless of stretches where he honestly didn’t look great.

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The 2018-19 season has not been a great start for the Providence club with the constant recalls from the higher NHL Boston team that’s been rattled with injuries and McIntyre who’s sharing the crease duties with rookie Dan Vladar continues to show signs of struggles. This year mac has appeared in 16 games posting a 7-6-3 record with a 3.07 GAA and .880 Save% in the last year of his current two-year deal. I will admit that the team is starting to play somewhat better and have been trending to turn their fortunes for the better in the month of December the last few seasons. After starting the AHL regular season in the basement of the Atlantic Division, the Bruins have risen up the standings with a 12-11-5-0 record and 29 points which is good enough for sixth place in the eight-team AHL division.

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Moving Forward

As mentioned above, McIntyre is in the last year of his current deal, and even though he’s going to be a restricted free-agent at seasons end, it remains to be seen where both sides go with the veteran minor-pro goaltender. His unsuccessful cup of coffee at the NHL level and continued struggles at the AHL level might have the Bruins organization moving on without him with due to a seemingly bottleneck in the developing depths of the organization. B’s prospect goaltender Kyle Keyser who was signed as an undrafted free agent signed a three-year entry-level contract with the departure of goaltender Malcolm Subban who was claimed off of waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights in year one of the franchise. Keyser who will be eligible to play with the top minor-pro affiliate of the B’s is having a career year so far with the Ontario Hockey Leagues Oshawa Generals and might force the hand of Bruins management to walk away from McIntyre in favor of the younger netminder.

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Bruins Heinen Searching For Scoring Breakout

AR-181018738(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Nick Wass)

By: Ian Smith | Follow me on Twitter @IanMalcolmSmith

The Boston Bruins have been in search of consistent scoring beyond just their top line this season, and Danton Heinen has not yet shown the offensive output he did last season. Heinen has played in 30 of the 32 games this season for the Bruins, including 26 consecutive games dating back to October 18. What’s a bit discouraging is that he only has four goals and four assists for eight total points thus far in those 30 games played. This is just Heinen’s second full season in the NHL, so it’s not like there was really a long track record of what to expect from him in terms of offensive production. He really showed a lot of scoring promise as a rookie, though, which definitely evokes the question of what type of output should be expected of him going forward.

In 77 games last season for the Bruins, Heinen scored 16 goals and dished out 31 assists for a total of 47 points, which ranked fifth on the team. Amongst all rookies in the NHL last season, Heinen ranked tied for sixth in assists, ninth in points, and 11th in goals. Heinen has two goals and an assist in his previous four games, so perhaps that is a sign that he’s about to start generating more offense. He’s a good skater who has some nice scoring ability, and his relative lack of production this season has certainly made things harder for the Bruins to find scoring beyond that top line.

He has averaged 13:45 time on the ice per game, which is down from 15:01 last season, so he has not been getting as much opportunities to work. He’s also not getting as many shots on goal, either. He’s averaging about 1.47 shots on goal per game this season, which is down from his 1.75 shots on goal per game last season. When adjusted to account for his less time out on the ice, he’s still generally not getting pucks on net as frequently as he did last season. This season he averages a shot on goal about every 9.39 minutes he’s out on the ice. Last season, he averaged a shot on goal about every 8.57 minutes he was out on the ice. He also hasn’t been converting those attempts at as good of a rate this year as he was last year. He had an 11.9% shooting percentage last season, while this season that total has decreased to a 9.1% shooting percentage.

His best scoring months last season where October and December, when he averaged a point per game in both of those months. March was his worst scoring month in terms of points per game. He played in 15 games last March and had just four points. Given his strong December last season, it wouldn’t be surprising if these last four games for Heinen signal a prolific finish to this month. It will be huge for the Bruins if Heinen is able to produce offense from here on out the way he was able to last season. With all the key injuries this team is battling, they need guys to play the way they’re fully capable of playing, and Heinen really showed what he can do on offense last season.

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Boston Bruins Prospect Player Profile: Jeremy Lauzon

LAUZON

(Photo Courtesy of the Boston Bruins)

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Jeremy Lauzon was drafted in the second round (52nd overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft. When drafted, the QMJHL product was billed as a strong two-way defenseman who could contribute anywhere on the ice. This at the time filled an area of need for the Bruins who had an aging defense and needed to replenish the prospect pool. He was even drawing a comparison to a top 4 defenseman, Marco Scandella. Now that we know some of the reasons why the Bruins drafted the Val-d’Or, Quebec native, let’s see what he’s done since.  

The 2015-16 season was Lauzon’s first since being drafted by the Bruins and it was his third year with the QJMHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. The veteran Husky was looking to prove why the Bruins drafted him in the second round, and he did just that. In 46 games the big blue-liner did not disappoint netting 10 goals while tallying an eye-popping 40 assists for 50 total points and a +/- rating of +40. To top it off, the second round pick lit up the scoresheet in the team’s 9 playoff games netting 1 goal and dishing 8 assists for 9 total points and a rating of +9. This helped lead the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies to the QJMHL Championship. It was a marvelous season that proved the then 18-year-old was to be taken seriously as a prospect.  

Coming into the 2016-17 season, Lauzon was named the Huskies team Captain. The newly appointed Captain was looking to carry over last year’s momentum and have another huge season, but an injury led to some inconsistent play. Despite this, he was able to play in 39 games potting 5 goals and dishing out 23 assists for 28 total points and a rating of +25. The Val-d’Or, Quebec native, was able to pick up his play in the playoffs netting 5 goals and tallying 9 assists for 14 total points and a rating of +3 in the team’s 13 playoff games. Despite getting hurt, it was a good season where the young defenseman was able to display not only his defensive ability but also his ability in the offensive zone.  

Lauzon would turn pro the next season and play all of 2017-18 in Providence. The former second-round draft pick played in 52 games for the Baby B’s netting 1 goal and dishing out 6 assists for 7 total points and a rating of +1 all while being given the “A” on his sweater during the year. Providence would go on to make the playoffs that year, and in 4 games the young defenseman did not register a point and had a rating of 0. After the season the former Huskies’ Captain admitted that defensive consistency was still something that needed be worked on. However, he was able to flash signs of that keen offensive eye and great skating ability.  

After having a mostly successful first year with Providence, Lauzon was eager to start out the 2018-19 season on fire and show improvement in the areas needed. In 8 games with the Baby B’s, the young blue-liner netted 1 goal and dished out 3 assists for 4 total points and a rating of –2. With injuries piling up to the big club, on October 27th, the former second-round pick was called up to Boston. In 15 games with Boston, he found the back of the net once and hasn’t tallied an assist for 1 total point and a rating of –1. In the 15 game audition with Boston, the 21-year-old has looked good showing signs of improvement in the areas he needed and given some more seasoning down in Providence we could see him as a permanent fixture on the Bruins blue line next season.  

Being drafted in the second round can come with the added pressure of needing to be successful early on in the NHL. Despite this, the 21-year-old has flashed signs of elite play especially in big game situations like the playoffs. This is something that will bode well for Lauzon moving forward, because the Bruins expect to be contenders not only now but in the future. With a little more seasoning and refining of his defensive game, the young blue-liner could end up being very good for Boston. When all is said and done, I expect the former 2nd round pick to anchor the Bruins second defensive pairing for many years to come.  

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Providence Bruins Sign Defenseman Cumiskey

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per Providence Journal’s Bruins beat writer Mark Divver, yesterday the Providence Bruins organization signed veteran defenseman Kyle Cumiskey to a one-year American Hockey League contract. The 32-year-old British Columbia, Canada native, has certainly made the rounds when talking about his hockey career spending a considerable amount of time playing in North America and even spent time playing in Europe when he couldn’t find work in his home continent.

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After playing in 12 games in the Swedish Hockey League in the 2016-17 season with the Skelleftea AIK club and completely missing the 2017-18 hockey season altogether, the former 2015 Stanley Cup Champion with the Chicago Blackhawks made his way back to North America to keep the dream of playing alive. To start his 2018-19 season, the AHL Toronto Marlies came calling with a professional tryout agreement but after one game with the Marlies the top minor-pro affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs he was demoted to the new ECHL franchise with the Newfoundland Growlers where he appeared in 11 games. Cumiskey was loaned to the Providence Bruins on November 18th, 2018, where he agreed on a PTO while showing the AHL Providence club that he belongs at this level. Producing six points in 11 games with the Rhode Island franchise his play and leadership alone was enough for the team to lock him up for the remainder of the season.

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Cumiskey’s hockey career, particularly in North America, has been an up and down adventure. In 139 career NHL games, he has 9-26-35 numbers, but in the lower levels of minor-pro hockey, he’s produced 23-89-112 in 236 games in the AHL and nine assists in 11 games in the ECHL. His addition to the Providence team has been important because of the constant movement the team has seen with key injuries to the parent NHL Boston Bruins team, especially on defense. The 5′-11″ 181-pound blueliner tied a 2018-19 season-high last night when it comes to multi-point games with two assists in last nights 4-3 overtime loss to the hands of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. With last night’s two assists Kyle is now on a season-high two-game point streak.

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The 11-11-5-0 Providence Bruins are back at it tonight when the visiting 11-13-0-2 Hershey Bears come to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The Bruins currently sit sixth in the Atlantic Division with 27 points and are in the 11th spot when looking at the Eastern Conference rankings. The Providence club is 5-3-2 in their last ten games and winless in the last four with a 0-3-1 record. The B’s have had a tough time creating any consistency since starting the 2018-19 campaign but have shown signs of life in December as they’ve trended in year’s past the other way to make a strong second half effort and march into a playoff position. Cumiskey has certainly played well enough to be a catalyst on the backend of this B’s team, and his leadership could be an important factor moving forward with younger developing players all working towards the same goal.

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