Bruins Post-Game Recap: Tampa Bay at Boston: 10/17/19

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Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Home: Boston Bruins (5-1-0)

Away: Tampa Bay Lightning (3-2-1)

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Coyle-Ritchie

Heinen-Lindholm-Kuhlman

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Tampa Bay’s Lineup

Forwards

Stamkos-Point-Kucherov

Killorn-Cirelli-Joseph

Palat-Johnson-Gourde

Maroon-Verhaeghe-Witkowski

Defense

Hedman-Cernak

McDonagh-Shattenkirk

Coburn-Sergachev

Goalies

Vasilevskiy

McElhinney

First Period

The Bruins surrendered a few scoring chances in the opening moments as the Lightning looked ready to play from puck drop. Luckily for Boston, Tuukka Rask was on his game early, making a few saves in close. Brad Marchand nearly gave the B’s the early lead but hit the glove side post of Andrei Vasilevskiy less than three minutes into the game. The Bruins continued to have trouble getting their offensive game going as the Lightning dominated the early possession game. The B’s would get a power play opportunity as Mikhail Sergachev went to the box with 10:33 left in the period. David Pastrnak found the back of the net yet again just seconds into the man advantage to give the Bruins the lead.

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Sean Kuraly was called for hooking shortly after the goal, giving Tampa Bay a chance to tie the game. The B’s killed off the penalty without surrendering any significant scoring chances, keeping them in the lead. The Bruins seemed to gain some momentum after the man advantage, firing a couple shots on Vasilevskiy. Patrice Bergeron was called for slashing with under four minutes to go in the period, giving the Lightning another opportunity. The B’s killed off the penalty to Bergeron, surrendering a few shots on goal. Brayden Point got lost at the blue line and scored on a breakaway, barely beating the buzzer to tie the game.

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Score: Tied 1-1

Second Period

The B’s had some good early legs in the opening moments of the period and they got a few solid scoring chances. The Bruins picked up another power play opportunity as Carter Verhaeghe went to the box for tripping. The Lightning killed off the penalty and even got a shorthanded breakaway. The B’s would get yet another man advantage opportunity shortly after, as Yanni Gourde took an interference penalty. Bergeron gave the B’s the lead again off of a beautiful slap pass from Pastrnak on the power play.

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The Lightning evened it up quickly as Mathieu Joseph tapped in a rebound behind Rask to make it 2-2.

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The B’s and Lightning continued the trend of trading chances with both teams going end to end pretty consistently. The Bruins started to turn the puck over and get beat to the dirty areas as the Lightning started to surge late in the period. The Bruins picked up their fourth power play of the game as Karson Kuhlman drew a penalty with his great speed. The Lightning killed off the penalty as they got a few shorthanded opportunities.

Score: Tied 2-2

Third Period

Neither team came out with much jump to start the period as the game’s intensity began to pick up. The Bruins began to surge almost midway through the period, getting a number of chances in the offensive zone. Matt Grzelcyk was called for a penalty with 11:35 to play as the Lightning went to the power play looking to take the lead. The B’s killed it off as the Lightning failed to get any scoring chances. The Bruins continued to be the aggressor in the third period, getting multiple shifts with extended time in the attacking zone.

Kevin Shattenkirk gave the Lightning their first lead of the game with 4:47 to go with a quick shot through Rask.

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The Bruins would go to the man advantage less than a minute after the goal as Anthony Cirelli was called for tripping. Pastrnak tied the game on the power play after his shot was deflected into the net off of a Tampa Bay stick.

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Score: Tied 3-3

Overtime

Both teams had some spectacular chances including the Bruins hitting the goal post on a shot by Kuraly but neither team could find the back of the net and game went to a shootout.

Shootout

Steven Stamkos scored the only goal in the shootout and the Lightning handed the B’s their second loss of the season.

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Final Score: 4-3 Lightning

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Pastrnak. Another strong game from Number 88 continues his great start to the season, totaling two goals and an assist.

Second Star: Bergeron. The B’s top center recorded a power play strike and an assist.

Third Star: Rask. The Bruins goaltender kept the team in the game all night and made some huge saves especially in the third period and overtime.

Boston Bruins: The Importance Of The Upcoming Weeks Schedule

jaroslav halak bruins

( Photo Credit: Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

After beginning the season on a tough Western road-trip against three playoff teams (the Dallas Stars, Vegas Golden Knights, and Colorado Avalanche) and a promising young Arizona Coyotes team, you would think the Bruins would catch a break and get to a bit of an “easy” part of their schedule. Well, after a couple of home games against the Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey Devils, the Bruins are about to enter their toughest challenge yet. Within the next week or so, the Bruins face have four massive games that, could really show what kind of Bruins team they really have this season.

( Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/AP )

The Bruins begin this stretch of games tonight at home against the all too dangerous Tampa Bay Lightning. This Lightning team is lead by one of the best first-lines in the league that consists of three bonafide superstars in Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point. In three games since Point returned from his injury, the trio has had a combined six goals and nine assists in those games. Touting an incredible defense lead by Victor Headman and Ryan McDonagh and Vezina winner Andrei Vasilevsky between the pipes, it will certainly be a tough start to this already challenging string of games. (To read more about tonight’s game, check out the preview by fellow Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast writer Max Mainville here.)

After playing Tampa at home, they take a trip to their rivals in Toronto to play the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena and then turn around to play those same Leafs at home three days later. Austin Matthews has been on a tear as of late, reaching the back of the net a whopping seven times in the Leafs eight games. Unlike the Bruins, secondary scoring has been the Leaf’s biggest strength this season with 14 players at or above a point every other game and they’ve had 12 different players notch a goal. The high-flying Leafs will be a little less potent without captain John Tavares, who went down with a broken finger, but it will certainly be a tough two games regardless.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins

( Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports )

They end this stretch against the team that crushed all of Boston’s dreams last season in the Stanley Cup Finals, the St. Louis Blues. The Blues have maintained essentially the same roster we saw last playoffs aside from the departures of Joel Edmundson and Patrick Maroon, and the addition of Justin Faulk. The Blues are still the same hard-nosed team Boston saw all too much of in the Finals and have started the season well with eight points in six games. Much of the team has continued to build on their playoff success; Brayden Schenn already has five goals, Ryan O’Reilly has seven-point in six games and youngster Sammy Blais has three goals and five points to go along with a +4 rating. As we know all too well against the Blues, just because it’s a home game doesn’t mean it’ll be easy (that joke hurt to make).

So after all of this, what would really make this a successful couple of weeks for the Bruins? Well, to start,  if the Bruins were able to snag six points out of these four games, that’s a pretty big win. But the biggest win would be to overwrite the continued narrative of seemingly the past four seasons (at least) and that is to get some more secondary scoring.

Image result for david krejci jake debrusk

( Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images )

While the Bruins have had a great start to the season, sitting at fifth in the league with a 5-1-0 record, goal scoring, and especially secondary scoring, has been abysmal. The top line of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron have been great as they always are and have combined to score 11 goals in the B’s first six games. Well, the rest of the team has combined for just FIVE.

Jake Debrusk, David Krejci and Charlie Coyle have had just one assist apiece. Danton Heinen has looked good this season but has just one goal to his name. Karson Kuhlman, who has also looked good, has a goose egg in his points column and the revolving door of other wingers in the top-nine haven’t done much to help either. Whether it’s calling up someone from Providence (ahem, Anders Bjork) shaking up the lines (splitting up the top line) or eating some extra Wheaties in the morning, the Bruins need to figure out their scoring problem if they want to have some success in this tough group of games. The outstanding goaltending from Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak can’t last for the entire year, this stretch is going to say a lot about this Bruins team going forward.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 149 that we recorded on 10-11-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Providence Bruins Recall Goalie Prospect Kyle Keyser

kyle-keyser.jpg

(Photo: Michael Penhollow / Boston Bruins)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Providence Bruins general manager John Ferguson Jr. announced Thursday afternoon that the team has recalled goaltending prospect Kyle Keyser from the Atlanta Gladiators, Boston’s ECHL-affiliate. Providence recalling Keyser comes after Dan Vladar needed to be helped off the ice during the second period of the P-Bruins’ 5-4 shootout loss to the Laval Rocket on Wednesday night.

Keyser was slated to start the year in Atlanta, whose season opens up on October 18th. However, Vladar’s week-to-week status caused a change of plans. Keyser signed his entry-level contract with Boston on October 3, 2017, as an undrafted free agent.

The Oshawa Generals product is entering his first full season of professional hockey after four seasons in the OHL, one with the Flint Firebirds and three with Oshawa. Last season, the 20-year-old suited up in 47 games for the Generals, posting a .915 save percentage and a 2.75 goals-against average (GAA). In 15 Memorial Cup playoff games for Oshawa, Keyser registered a .925 save percentage and 2.83 GAA.

After Oshawa was eliminated from the Memorial Cup, Keyser joined Providence leading up to the team’s playoff run. In one AHL playoff start the Coral Springs, Florida, native made 25 saves.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound netminder also represented the United States at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he recorded a .872 save percentage and 2.95 GAA. Once he joins the team in Providence, Keyser is expected to split time with 26-year-old Maxime Lagace, who Boston signed as a free agent during the offseason.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 149 that we recorded on 10-11-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

 

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 3 Preview

PBRU3

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week three of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins go into it 3-1-0-1 (7 points). This is good for second in the Atlantic Division as well as third in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a down week in which they beat the Rochester Americans 3-2 in their home-opener. They would then lose to the Springfield Falcons 5-2 before losing again to the Laval Rocket 5-4 in a shootout to end the week. Week three should be full of exciting hockey that you don’t want to miss.

The hockey fun kicks off on Friday, October 18, 2019, when the Providence Bruins take on the Laval Rocket for the second game in a row at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada. The action continues on Saturday, October 19, 2019, as the Bruins continue their tour of Canada when they travel to Belleville, Ontario, Canada to battle the Belleville Senators at CAA Arena. Finally, the week wraps up on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, when Providence invades Bridgeport, Connecticut to take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena.

Friday, October 18, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Laval Rocket (AWAY)

The Providence Bruins kick off the weekend against the Laval Rocket. It’s the second of four meetings between the two clubs this season. Our boys in black and gold lost to the Montreal affiliate in the first meeting 5-4 in a shootout. They got goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Paul Carey, and Brendan Gaunce. Goalie Max Lagace was less than stellar in net turning away 14 of the 18 shots he faced. The Providence club has had a tough time with Laval historically.

Over the past five seasons, they’ve gone 2-1-0-2, including 1-0-0-2 on the road. The Laval hockey club has had a rough start to the year. They are 2-3 (4 points) to start the season. This is good for sixth in the North Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. They had a record of 30-34-6-6 (72 points) last season. This was good for seventh in the North Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference.

The defense is going to play a major role in this game. The Montreal affiliate gave up 231 goals last season while only scoring 195. This means their goal differential is -36. Anything below zero is incredibly bad, but -36 is awful. Providence has had some ups and downs defensively over the past few games, but I believe this is still one of the better defenses in the AHL. Urho Vaakanainen is one of the major reasons I believe this. He’s been stellar so far, and I expect him to help shut down Laval.

Saturday, October 19, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Belleville Senators (AWAY)

The Saturday night matchup between the Belleville Senators and the Providence Bruins marks the first of two these teams will have. There isn’t much history between these two clubs over the past five seasons, because of being in different divisions. Despite this, our boys in black and gold are 2-1-1 against the Ottawa affiliate in that time frame including 0-1-1 on the road.

The Belleville Senators have had a rough start to their season going 1-2 (2 points). This is good for eighth in the North Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference. Last season the Ottawa affiliate was 37-31-3-5 (82 points). This was good for fifth in the North Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference. Special teams are going to play a big part in this game.

The Senators are 0/11 on the power play to start the year. The Bruins’ penalty kill is stingy only giving up four goals in 22 opportunities. These two components coupled together should tip the scales in Providence’s favor. On the other hand, our boys in black and gold have netted just three goals in 23 power-play opportunities and Belleville has given up three goals in 16 chances on the penalty kill. Hopefully, this can give the Providence club a chance to get the power-play on track.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AWAY)

The Tuesday night matchup between Bridgeport and Providence will be the first of 12 between the two clubs. Over the past five seasons, the Sound Tigers and Bruins have been pretty evenly matched. Our boys in black and gold are 21-16-6-3 including 7-10-3-3 on the road. It should be an evenly matched game between the two clubs.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are 1-2-1 (3 points) to start the young season. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference. Last season, the Islanders’ affiliate was 43-24-6-3 (95 points). This was good for second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. They would go on to lose to the Hershey Bears in the first round of the playoffs.

I expect this game, and the season series to be close. Last season, six of the 12 games went to overtime or shootout. With both clubs so evenly matched, it seems likely that the Tuesday night game will be a one or two-goal game. When you have closely contested matchups, goaltending, defense, and special teams generally play a huge part in deciding the outcome. To start the season Providence has the edge in those categories. I expect them to come out on top.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Anders Bjork: Anders Bjork has had a blistering start to the season. In five games with Providence, he’s netted three goals while dishing out three assists for six total points. This is exactly what both the young forward and the Bruins wanted to see after each of the last two seasons were cut short with shoulder surgery. If the Notre Dame alum keeps this up, he may force his way into Boston’s lineup.

Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik is a guy who had an excellent season in Providence last year. The young forward is in an awkward position currently. The team doesn’t really have room for him in Boston, and he’s a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Despite that, he’s started off hot scoring three goals in his first two games of action for three total points. He looks like one of the best players on the ice which is an excellent sign.

Not

Zach Senyshyn: Zach Senyshyn found himself in the not section last week as well. It’s unfortunate because you would like a player, especially one of Senyshyn’s caliber to start the year hot. The young forward is one of two players to play in all of the team’s games this season and not register a point. Despite this, Senyshyn does seem to be chomping at the bit. I expect him to break out of the scoreless streak soon.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic is the other player on the roster to play in every game and not register a point. The University of Wisconsin alum has had a slow start to the year, but he’s another player that I expect to break out of the slump soon. He’s way too good to go too long without a point.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Anders Bjork: Anders Bjork has had a marvelous start to the 2019-2020 season. He’s scoring at a point per game clip of 1.20 and looks excellent on the ice. This is exactly what you want to see from a top prospect who has been injured each of the past two seasons. I expect the Notre Dame alum to keep up his hot start. Keep an eye on him, he’s a joy to watch.

On The Blue Line

Jakub Zboril: Zboril has had a good start to his AHL season. He’s playing a heavy game and doing well defensively. He hasn’t found the back of the yet but has dished out an assist for one total point this season. The good news is one of the teams that Providence plays this weekend is the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In 10 games against the Islanders’ affiliate, last season Zboril netted two goals and dished out three assists for five total points. Look for Zboril to rack up some points this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Lagace came to Providence as a free agent after being in the Vegas Golden Knights’ system. The veteran netminder has been good thus far going 2-0-0-1 with a 2.22  GAA, and a save percentage of .923. Look for him to have a big weekend on the road for Providence.

The Providence Bruins looked great the first week and not great the second. As I’ve previously stated, I still believe this team could be special. They have all the tools to put together a magical season. I expect our boys in black and gold to have another stellar week. They should be able to collect at least four of six possible points. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins Game 7 Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning

bruins_lightning1280-1040x572.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Winslow Townson/AP)

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

After two consecutive wins over the New Jersey Devils and the Anaheim Ducks, the Boston Bruins now look to start the hardest four-game stretch of the early season, starting things off against the Tampa Bay Lightning before a home-and-home match-up with the Toronto Maple Leafs and then the St. Louis Blues to wrap it all up. Boston is tied for third in the league standings with a 5-1-0 record and ten points.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have not had the best start to the new season, or at least not what they had hoped for coming off of their shocking first-round loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Lightning hold a 3-2-1 record after the first five games, positioning them in the first wild-card spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.

Tampa is coming off of a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday after losing to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. The defending Presidents Trophy winners are still a great team, but have struggled early on.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 3-0-0 1.33 GAA .957 SV% Last Game: 31 Saves in 3-0 win vs NJD

TBL: Andrei Vasilevskiy 3-1-0 2.53 GAA .921 SV% Last Game: 33 Saves in 3-1 win vs MTL

Who’s Hot:

David Pastrnak. David Pastrnak. David Pastrnak. David Pastrnak. Why did I say his name four times? That’s how many goals the superstar forward scored against the Anaheim Ducks on, lighting the lamp four times en route to a 4-2 win over the Ducks in Boston. The performance led Pastrnak to becoming the first Bruin in the 2019-20 season to hit double-digits in points with 6-4-10 totals in six games so far. Everything is working for him right now and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon.

For many years now, Steven Stamkos has been the face of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Season after season, he is always near the top of team scoring and for that matter, league scoring. In 2019-20, nothing has changed, Stamkos currently leads the Lightning in points with 4-4-8 numbers in six games – tied with Nikita Kucherov. Stamkos has also been great on the face-off dot, winning 57.89% of the draws he takes. In 39 career games against Boston, Stamkos has 21-10-31 totals and will look to add to that tonight.

Even with the dominant performance from David Pastrnak against the Ducks, Brad Marchand was still as threatening. Anaheim managed to prevent Marchand from getting any shots on goal, yet he still finished the night with two assists – bringing his season total to 4-5-9 – second on the team in points. Marchand has found success against the Lightning throughout his career as well, scoring twelve goals and sixteen assists for 28 points in 33 games against Tampa.

Who’s Not

In one of the biggest moves of the 2018 Trade Deadline, defenceman Ryan McDonagh was traded from the New York Rangers to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Last season, the 30-year-old scored 9-37-46 totals in a full 82-game season with Tampa Bay, but only has one assist in the opening six games in 2019-2020. McDonagh only has two hits on the season and averages 21:52 time-on-ice. The one bright spot for him is his +5 rating in the plus/minus category, however, that statistic often gets a bad rap.

Today, Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk turns 23-years-old and it would be a perfect time for him to score his first goal of the new season. DeBrusk has one assist in six games, even though he has had opportunities to score in multiple games this season so far. With his center, David Krejci, out tonight with an upper-body injury, DeBrusk needs to step up offensively to bring some depth scoring to Boston against a stacked Lightning offence.

Charlie Coyle will move up in the lineup to be the second-line center for DeBrusk and Brett Ritchie, yet he himself only has one assist that was achieved in the opening game against the Dallas Stars back on October 3rd. The third-line of Heinen, Coyle and Ritchie had some chances in the last game against Anaheim, but failed to score. Tonight would be a good game for him to find his game that he had in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and get back on the score-sheet.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • G Tuukka Rask is playing in his 499th career NHL game
  • F Patrice Bergeron is four assists away (496) from 500 career NHL assists
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one assist away (496) from passing Rick Middleton (496) for sole-possession of 6th-most assists in Bruins history

Tampa Bay Lightning:

  • F Steven Stamkos is three goals away (397) from 400 career NHL goals

Bruins vs Lightning Outlook:

The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning have a rich history as Eastern Conference teams. Throughout the regular-season, the two franchises have played in 102 games against each other, with the Bruins having the better record of 64-28-9-1 – averaging 3.31 goals-for-per-game and 2.60 goals-against-per-game. In the playoffs, the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals come to mind when Boston defeated the Lightning in a razor-close Game 7 to advance to the Finals where the eventually won the Stanley Cup.

More recently, the Lightning dispatched of the Bruins in the 2018 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals in only five games after the B’s won Game One. These two teams have been atop the NHL’s Eastern Conference standings for the better part of the past decade and each game has created an entertaining affair.

Tampa Bay won the season series of four games in 2018-19, defeating the Bruins three times, (3-2, 5-4, and 6-3) while the Bruins won once by a final score of 4-1 on February 28th. Boston scored a total of thirteen goals for and allowed fifteen against in the four games.

Regarding specialty teams, this could be a very entertaining hockey game. On the power-play, both teams are tied with a 31.3% success rate on the man-advantage, however, the Bruins have a better penalty-kill percentage (83.3%) compared to Tampa’s 73.9%. Either way, it will be interesting to see what team’s specialty teams out-performs the other. It may just be the difference in who wins.

Bruins Projected Lineup:

David Krejci is out for the Bruins tonight after playing minimal minutes against Anaheim on Monday. After the game, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy expressed hope that Krejci would be able to play tonight, but evidently has decided to keep the veteran center out of the lineup. Charlie Coyle moves up while Par Lindholm centers Danton Heinen and Karson Kuhlman on the third-line. The first and fourth lines remain the same as of right now.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST in the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 149 that we recorded on 10-11-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Krejci Injured In Bruins Win. Who Steps Up?

NHL: New York Rangers at Boston Bruins

(Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19

Stop me if you have heard this one before. David Krejci leaves the game in the first period with the ever-ambiguous Lower Body Injury (LBI). Unfortunately, this is not the story from the September 25th preseason game versus the Devils being looped for eternity like Phil Connors in Groundhog Day. It is the current bad news coming in the aftermath of the Bruins 4-2 matinee victory over the surprising Anaheim Ducks.

Krejci left the game with about four minutes to go in the first period and headed to the dressing room. He came back out for the second period and skated for about half a shift. He had a 2-on-1 with DeBrusk but then appeared to be laboring heading back up ice as the Bruins gave up a 3-on-1. That was it for Krejci, as he left the ice and didn’t return, leaving the Bruins a center short for the remainder of the game.

I went back and watched the first-period last night and it appeared to me that the injury occurred with a little less than eight minutes to go in the session. The Ducks were coming out of their end and DeBrusk got a piece of an outlet pass. The puck deflected in the air, Krejci reached up and gloved it down to himself. As he did and brought the puck over the blue line, Getzlaf gave him what looked like a pretty nasty short cross-check to his side/rib area.

I can’t help but wonder if this might be one of the reasons the Bruins seemed extremely annoyed with Getzlaf later in the game? I’m not a doctor and don’t play one on TV, but if I had to guess, it looked like it could have been a rib injury? Hopefully, it’s something relatively minor and Krejci is back soon. It seems like this might be the case based on comments from Bruce Cassidy on Tuesday afternoon?

One of the keys to the B’s success in the last couple of years is depth in the middle. Two years ago it was Bergeron, Krejci, Nash, and Kuraly. Last season, once they traded for Coyle, the team really began to roll. This year they start the season with the same group that went to the Finals. If Krejci is not ready to go on Thursday, or worse, if he’s out longer, what options do the Bruins have to replace him and maintain that strength at center?

If Krejci is only going to be out for a couple of games, the easiest thing for the Bruins to do would be simply to plug Par Lindholm into the lineup. He could go directly into Krejci’s spot on the 2nd line between DeBrusk and Kuhlman, leaving the other three lines intact. The other relatively “easy fix” would be to put Lindholm into the lineup, but slide Coyle up into the 2nd line center spot. That would (hopefully) allow the Bruins to generate offense from the 2nd line. Lindholm would likely center Heinen and Ritchie, creating a defensively sound Bottom Six until Krejci can return.

NHL Pre-Season: Chicago Blackhawks Vs Boston Bruins At TD Garden

(Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images)

If Krejci turns out to be more seriously hurt and out of the lineup for an extended period, the Bruins might decide they need to go in a different direction? While the first line is carrying the team right now, I don’t believe that’s a sustainable formula for winning over the long term. Depth and secondary scoring are the way to go in today’s NHL. With that in mind, I could see the Bruins reaching down to Providence for guys like Studnicka or Frederic.

I believe they would prefer to keep Studnicka in the AHL to learn how to play against pros for the majority of a season before calling him up. If Krejci were to be out for a long period of time, they might not have that luxury? Lindholm has more experience, but it appears that Studnicka has more upside and offers more on the offensive side of the puck than the Swedish veteran does. Through four games in Providence, Studnicka has yet to score his first goal, but he does have two assists and is a “plus” two, with six shots.

Jack-Studnicka

(Photo Credit: Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Frederic has NHL experience and would offer a different kind of option for the Bruins. He’s bigger and more physical than Studnicka. He could slot in with Heinen and Ritchie forming a pretty heavy group that Cassidy would likely give 4th line minutes to. After his stint with the big club last season, Frederic is probably more physically and mentally prepared than a rookie would be. The issue with him is that he appears to have gotten off to a bit of a slow start in Providence. I’m not sure how much this would factor into the front office’s decision-making process?

The last candidate on the Baby B’s is Brendan Gaunce. It’s not a name that will immediately spring to mind for most Bruins fans, but he might be the best choice. The former first-round pick looked really good in training camp. I thought he out-played Ritchie and Backes and had he been right-handed, likely would have made the team outright. He’s a big body (6’2″, 220 pounds) that can play a physical game, but moves well for his size. He also has 117 NHL games under his belt over the past four seasons, which gives him an edge over Studnicka and Fredric. Last year in Utica he had 16g/22a in 60 games, so he is not without offensive skills.

Is Gaunce the answer for Krejci if he’s out for a long period of time? Probably not, but he would be serviceable for a few games. Gaunce would actually be a much better replacement for Kuraly if he ever went down. I like him in a Bottom 6 role, but I don’t think he’s a Top 6 talent on a playoff team.

Best case scenario, Krejci’s injury is not serious, he misses little to no time, and this whole conversation is moot. If Krejci is out longer, the Bruins will have some trouble filling that spot, unless someone like Studnicka proves to be ahead of schedule. Not an ideal situation to be sure, but the Bruins dealt with injury successfully last season. It looks like they will have to do it again.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 002 that we recorded on 10-8-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Six Thoughts From The Bruins First Six Games

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Photo Courtesy Of WCVB Boston

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

It’s a good time to be a Bruins fan. The hometown team is 5-1-0 in their first six games of the 2019-20 campaign and look every bit the squad that came within a game of winning the Stanley Cup last season. The B’s began the season 3-0-0, their best start in nearly 20 years back when Joe Thornton was in black and gold. The team has earned 10 of a possible 12 points to open the season and lot of it is due to the superb goaltending combination of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. The B’s first line has picked up where it left off last season with all three players off to great starts including David Pastrnak who scored four times on Monday against the Anaheim Ducks. There have been a few interesting developments in the first few games of the season and below I’ll take a look at six storylines I’ve noticed in the B’s first six games.

Goaltending Has Been Phenomenal

As I previously mentioned, the Bruins goaltending has been the main reason the team is off to their best start in years. Rask and Halak have each started three games and have looked very strong and look every bit the part of the elite tandem they were a season ago. Rask has started the season especially strong after having his fair share of issues in the early parts of the last few years. He’s 3-0-0 with a sparkling .957 save percentage and a minuscule 1.33 goals against average. Halak, meanwhile has been just as good and has already made a seasons worth of spectacular saves especially in his first start of the year against the Arizona Coyotes, a 1-0 shutout victory. It’s very clear that yet again the B’s have another elite goaltending tandem that is showing no signs of slowing down.

Pastrnak Scoring In Bunches

As evidenced by his four goal outburst the other day, David Pastrnak is an elite goal scorer. At 23, Pastrnak seems to top himself every season and perhaps his next feat is 50 goals in a season. Despite not scoring in his first two games of the season, Pasta has found the net six times in his past four contests and is now tied for second in the entire league in goals scored. The great thing about Pastrnak‘s game is it seems to get better and better by the season and there’s no reason to expect anything less in 2019-20.

Second Period Woes

Unfortunately it’s not been all positive for the B’s to open the year as a familiar monster has reared its ugly head. A common theme for the team in the early going of the season has been second period struggles as the Bruins seem to lose momentum and not play with the same intensity. For whatever reason it’s been a common issue for the team under Bruce Cassidy which certainly isn’t a knock on the coach but it’s something that happens pretty consistently. One could argue the B’s are still in search of their first win playing a full 60 minutes.

Kuhlman Doesn’t Look Out Of Place

I’ll preface this by saying Karson Kuhlman is not the ideal fit on the Boston second line. However, I do believe he’s the best they can do at this point in time. Kuhlman’s energy is pretty clear watching the first few Bruins games of the season, the guy is always hunting the puck and making plays utilizing his straight line speed. Because of that speed, he’s gotten numerous scoring chances and unfortunately hasn’t found the back of the net yet but the ability is clearly there. The B’s second line has been off to a bit of a slow start but Kuhlman is certainly not the reason why.

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Krug Limiting Turnovers

I’ll probably get serious heat for this but I’ve noticed Torey Krug has been pretty good in his own end in the early part of the season. Now certainly he’s not perfect and has made some mistakes but often he’s in the right place at the right time. The Bruins entire defense group do a great job denying scoring chances with their sticks and this is an area Krug has greatly improved in. He may never be an elite defensive defenseman but Krug does do a lot of things especially in his own zone that often go unnoticed.

Scoring Depth Needed

Perhaps the B’s biggest strength can also be categorized as a weakness in a way. With how dominant the first line is, it often masks issues the team has in getting consistent scoring from other players. It’s pretty clear that this may be the case this season if this continues. The Bruins are counting on the likes of Jake DeBrusk, Kuhlman and Danton Heinen to provide consistent goal scoring especially five on five. It’s a great thing that the first line is so dominant but it remains to be seen whether the team can get goal scoring from other places.

Boston Bruins: The Goal Is To Rebuild On The Fly

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

The Boston Bruins have been one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference for over a decade. Notably, Boston won their sixth Stanley Cup in the 2010-2011 season followed by a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in both 2013 and 2019. During this stretch of success, the organization has seen the same core of players rule the competition.

Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara, and Tuukka Rask were apart of each one of those successful seasons, but the remainder of the Bruins team has been altered, changed, and re-vamped with the emergence of the young players across the National Hockey League.

Today, the Bruins have star players that are staples in their lineup. David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Danton Heinen are all on the starting roster night in and night out, wearing the Spoked-B proudly. Don’t get them wrong, though. These young players are not here because the Bruins are at the bottom of the standings, in fact, it is quite evidently the opposite. The Boston Bruins are defending Eastern Conference Champions.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (WEEI.com)

In the National Hockey League, there are multiple ways that a franchise can build their team for success. The Free Agency period always has serviceable players that can bring some talent to a roster and bring them to a more-successful season. The idea of trading is there, but it is sometimes difficult to convince another team to trade their top players without sacrificing one of your top assets in return. You could also be the Vegas Golden Knights who became a Stanley Cup-contending team from the expansion draft – but that is out of the question for everyone but Seattle now.

Without a doubt in my mind, the best option for teams to build a roster that contends for the Stanley Cup falls on the NHL Entry Draft. The best of the best young players around the world in a seven-round draft where all 31 NHL teams can select the players they feel will make their team better. The issue with this method is the waiting period for most rookies.

Looking at the Bruins, players like Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen, and Anders Bjork have been in the system for a couple years now – yet none of them are secured positions on the team due to their position already being filled by someone with either more experience or more success. In other drafts, the Bruins have had struggles with their selections, to the point where they fail to play a single regular season game with the franchise before being shipped off or let go when their contract expires.

In many cases around the league, the waiting period is not of concern for management. As long as one day, they can have a competitive roster once again, it’ll all be okay again. That idea is great and all – if you want to risk losing ticket sales, profits, and a fanbase in general. The Ottawa Senators, Florida Panthers, and others are prime examples of this fact alone.

Circling things back to Boston, the owners and fellow management personnel are not willing to sacrifice the years of money and profit that comes from a successful franchise to have a full-on “rebuild” when those veterans and core pieces begin to retire and move on from their hockey careers. Boston has shown over the past decade and continue to show into the 2019-2020 campaign that they are at the top of the NHL at performing a method of getting better on the fly commonly called – “retooling”.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet.ca)

When retooling a franchise, there is one main factor that must stay consistent – competitiveness. Without the idea of competing for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, one could argue that it is more of a rebuild. In order to complete this retooling, you must have a group of veterans to lead another group of young, upcoming players who are taking their opportunities and thriving. Looking at the 2011 Stanley Cup win over the Vancouver Canucks, not much has changed regarding the landscape of the roster.

In 2010-2011, the Bruins had an average age of 28.3 and had ten players above the age of 30, (Michael Ryder, Chris Kelly, Andrew Ference, Tomas Kaberle, Shawn Thornton, Marc Savard, Zdeno Chara, Shane Hindy, Tim Thomas, and Mark Recchi). In 2019-2020, the Bruins have an average age of 28.9 and have eight players above the age of 30, (Brad Marchand, Steven Kampfer, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, Jaroslav Halak, Patrice Bergeron, David Backes, and Zdeno Chara).

In 2010-11, the Bruins had younger players producing on their roster such as Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask, Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Blake Wheeler, and so on. Today, those once-young players are now entering the later stages of their prime or have moved on from the franchise altogether in the event of trade or free-agency, but with the emergence of David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Karson Kuhlman, Danton Heinen, Connor Clifton, and so on, the youth is still vibrant as ever – keeping the cycle fresh.

It does not stop there, either. This season, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Boston Bruins, the Providence Bruins, have one of their best rosters of the last few seasons. As of October 15th, the Baby Bruins have a record of 3-1-0 – tied for second in the AHL league standings. Forward Anders Bjork has been the top player so far for the P-Bruins, scoring three goals and two assists for five points in the opening four games, showcasing his skills that could be in the NHL sooner rather than later.

The lineup in Providence is filled with players that have caught the eye of management and fans alike, keeping people hopeful that the Boston Bruins can continue this success that they are seeing this season into future seasons for years to come – and they have every right to feel that way. In fact, they should. Only a few seasons ago, David Pastrnak was in Providence and on the fourth-line in Boston, now he is scoring four goals in a game and leading the team in goals.

Call it what you want – retooling, rebuilding on the fly, staying competitive – it’s all the same. The Boston Bruins are professionals at this by now. The idea puts pressure and expectations on young players, but with the guidance of the veterans that have been there before, it works. With a record of 5-1-0 to begin the 2019-2020 regular-season, the Bruins are proving that.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 149 that we recorded on 10-11-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Report: Bruins Assign Forward Koppanen To ECHL Atlanta

( Photo Credit: Finnish Junior Hockey @FINjrhockey )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per RinksideRhodeIsland.com reporter Mark Divver and the AHL.com’s website transactions page, the Boston Bruins have assigned forward Joona Koppanen to the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators. The 21-year-old 6′-5″ 195-pound forward has only appeared in one game this season for the NHL Bruins top minor-pro affiliate Providence Bruins registering zero points and in Mark’s tweet below was in rotation for fourth-line centering duties where he was obviously overpassed by players earning more time.

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Koppanen, a Finnish born left shooting forward, has the ability to be a big presence either up the middle or on the left side but hasn’t exactly brought it offensively to the American Hockey League. Joona was selected in the fifth round of the 2016 National Hockey League Entry Draft and spent some time developing his skillset back home after being selected in the draft from Buffalo, New York. He spent two full seasons playing for the IIves organization with one season in the Jr. A SM-liiga and his second year in the higher Liiga Pro League. With the junior club, he posted 23-31-54 in 38 games playing with talent around his own age, but when he moved up to the pro league netted 2-12-14 numbers in 45 games. He left his llves club after his contract expired and joined the Providence Bruins team at the end of their 2017-18 campaign appearing in ten games and posting 2-0-2 numbers.

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Joona’s no stranger to the ECHL Atlanta club as he started the 2018-19 season appearing in seven games where he and former Boston Bruins prospect Jesse Gabrielle were assigned. Joona would eventually get the call back up to Providence after a one-point stint with the Gladiators and finished the season with 2-0-2 totals in 45 games in the higher AHL. As mentioned in Mark Divver’s Tweet above, this is a sold move to keep him game time fresh and paraphrasing here but could be given a bigger role with top 12 minutes that he might need to find a spark offensively. You have to learn to crawl before you walk, so if he gets on a roll and works hard, there’s no reason he couldn’t return to PVD after point streaking in the Coast.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 002 that we recorded on 10-8-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Providence Bruins Opening Weekend Recap

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins started the 2019-20 regular season on a positive note with victories over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (3-0 Shutout) and Hershey Bears (2-1 In Overtime) both on the road. Over the weekend, the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins held it’s annual Opening Weekend festivities with two games at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

Before I recap the first two regular-season games from the Dunk over the weekend, I’d like to take a moment to share some incredible news. Our Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast, and blackngoldhockey.com website has been granted full season press credentials from the AHL’s Providence Bruins organization. This is a tremendous opportunity for our team of 15+ Bruins writers and a group of podcasters. Acceptance from a professional organization is pure motivation to increase our prospects coverage as a team, but it also opens doors to others that want to get involved with special access. If you live in the Providence area or willing to travel there regularly, please send a cover letter to blackngoldhockeyblog@gmail.com with a sample of your writings to join our team.

Saturday, October 12th, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Rochester Americans (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The first home game of the season was a much-anticipated one for the hometown Providence fans, which had a decent crowd on hand for the mid-weekend tilt. The first period was lackluster at most as the Bruins seemed to be skating in cement, trying to fight there way through the heavily tilted Rochester ice. The first period ended with the Americans leading 1-0 and leading in the shots department 14-6.

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It didn’t take long for the hometown Bruins to get on the board in the second period as AHL rookie forward Jakub Lauko notched his first professional goal at the 4:36 mark assisted by a pair of B’s defensemen in Urho Vaakanainen and Alex Petrovic. Exactly two minutes later forward Anders Bjork scored his second goal of the season on the power-play assisted by Vaakanainen and Cameron Hughes, who’s been outstanding to start the year even though his face got mashed by a skate in an NHL Bruins preseason game. Almost a minute after the Bjork goal on the man advantage, the Rochester club tied the game at two at the 7:40 mark of the second, and the score remained the same until the end of the period. The Bruins led that period in shots with an 11-8 advantage and started to be more competitive other than the first frame where they had troubles completing passes and struggled in defensive zone exits.

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Both teams entered the third and final frame of the contest tied at two apiece, and after a second period that saw some physicality and a little bit of hatred for one another, both teams battled until the final moments with positive results at least for the hometown Providence crowd. With 57 seconds remaining in the game Bruins forward, Oskar Steen broke the 2-2 deadlock scoring his first professional goal assisted by forward Ryan Fitzgerald and defenseman Jeremy Lauzon.

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New goaltender Maxime Lagace was in goal against the Amerks and stopped 30 of 32 shots for his second win in the early season. Lagace is 2-0-0 so far in 2019-20 with a 3-0 shutout in his first game and currently has a 1.00 goals-against-average and .967 save percentage. Maxime is the fifth-ranked goaltender in the AHL thus far and has looked sensational since being a sneaky free agent steal when he signed over the summer offseason.

In this game, Rochester led the way in shot totals with a 32-30 advantage. Special teams for both sides had the visiting Americans going 1/2 on the power-play while the home Bruins went 1/5. Forward Cameron Hughes and newcomer Josiah Didier had team-highs with four shots apiece. On this night, 9,722 faithful fans were in attendance at the Dunk for game one of Opening Weekend.

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Sunday, October 13th, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The second leg of the Providence Bruins Opening Weekend games didn’t exactly live up to Saturday night’s heroics as the cross-state Atlantic Division rival  Springfield Thunderbirds came to play. Much like Saturday nights game, the first-period scoring had the visiting Thunderbirds up 1-0 after the opening frame, but this time the B’s were the ones doing the outshooting in this particular period having a 13-3 advantage.

Down 1-0 in the middle frame, the Bruins only needed 20 seconds to tie the game at one apiece with a power-play goal from forward Peter Cehlarik, who scored his first of the year assisted by Anders Bjork and Cooper Zech. The 24-year-old Cehlarik who slipped through the wavier wire on his way down from his time at the NHL Bruins training camp got injured shortly after his arrival in Providence, and this was his first game back in action which he didn’t disappoint. The B’s would once again give up the lead to Springfield on the man advantage at the 7:37 mark of the second period and again at 15:59 on the power-play to end the middle frame for the Thunderbirds and their 3-1 lead. The Hometown Providence club had 13 penalty minutes vs. the seven that Springfield had. Both teams were showing signs of frustration for each other, and this will continue no doubt with both clubs facing each other 11 more times in the 2019-20 regular season.

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In the third period, the Bruins seemingly took matters into their own hands, tilting the ice to stay in this game, and Providence Head Coach Jay Leach relied heavily on his veteran core for heavy minutes and a grind’em down style. In this final period, the Bruins club showed impressive signs of diligence staying out of the penalty box for the entire period, but the Thunderbirds got to a commanding 4-1 lead with a shorthanded goal at the 11:51 mark. Providence forward Anders Bjork scored his second goal of the weekend (3rd Of Season) assisted by forward Jack Studnicka and forward Paul Carey at 14:47 of the final frame as the B’s were pushing hard to at least tie the contest. The last desperation effort just wasn’t enough as the Thunderbirds added another at the 17:54 mark capping off the 5-2 road victory for their second win of the season.

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Providence goaltender Dan Vladar took the loss in this one stopping 23 of 28 shots giving him a season record of 1-1 with a 2.91 GAA and .880 Save%. I thought Vladar showed signs of greatness with some exceptional saves, especially down low with his big frame but also was left out to dry with defensemen and backchecking forward missing assignments. This is not all on his teammates as he’s a work in progress and has to keep working hard to correct those small mishaps.

Some positive mentions in this lopsided loss for the Bruins. Anders Bjork was the only “plus” player in this game with a +1 and five shots to accompany his two-point afternoon. Forward Cameron Hughes also had five shots in the contest giving him 10 shots on goal in his last four games, one behind Bruins leader Bjork with 11 on goal.

To finish, I once again have to mention our Black N’ Gold writing team on the threshold crossing achievement this season with press access. This is a huge step for us and looking forward to the challenge of bringing you the readers our opinions and insight of this Providence Bruins team. Please give fellow BNG team members below a follow as they’re truly the ones that make this Bruins related platform happen, and without them, this couldn’t continue. Thanks, to everyone for the continued support and hope you all enjoy the content from all levels of the NHL’s Boston Bruins organization throughout this 2019-20 season.

BNG Team Members To Follow For B’s Coverage From The NHL Down To The Prospects Playing Worldwide: Thomas Nystrom ,  Mike Cratty , Max MainvilleEvan Michael , Garrett HaydonLiz St. PierrePatrick DonnellyTim RichardsonYanni Latzanakis , Joe Chrzanowski , Lucas PearsonScott DelanoJamara Wakefield

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 002 that we recorded on 10-8-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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