Boston Bruins: Round 1 Game 7 Preview

 

 (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

By: Lucas Salvatore | Check me out on Twitter @lsalvatore29

Well, here we are after failing to close out the series twice the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs will face off for a winner take all game 7 just how it was meant to be right?

For the first time in this series, the first goal of the game did not determine the winner as the Leafs surrendered the first goal to the Bruins and then stormed back with a quick answer which led them to score the game-winner off a weak backhander by Mitch Marner, one that Tuukka Rask might have wanted back. For the Bruins to win this game, they must solve Fredrick Andersen as he was lights out once again in game 6. Boston is generating enough scoring chances to win but needs the finishing touch Wednesday if they expect to move on.

For the Bruins, many fans have been screaming for forward Ryan Donato to be inserted into the lineup, it was then confirmed by Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy that Donato would be sitting out game 7 as Danton Heinen will return after being a healthy scratch in game 6. Tommy Wingels who played most of the last game on David Krejci’s wing will also not be in the lineup for this all-important game.

Lineups

Things You Need To Know

  • The Bruins top line has recorded 0 points in the teams 3 losses
  • Leo Komarov is healthy but might not play tonight
  • David Pastrnak has not scored a goal since game 2
  • The Bruins top line had 36 scoring chances in games 5 and 6

Player To Watch

Boston

Tuukka Rask: Tuukka needs to be the number one star of this game tonight if the Bruins expect to advance. While the defense hasn’t been helping him out much over the past few games, he is being outplayed by Fredrick Andersen. This could be the final death blow for Rask if the Bruins do drop this game as many fans say this elite goalie is not good enough to win a Stanley Cup, look for Rask to be lights out tonight and prove once again why he is one of the best Bruins goalies of all time.

Jake DeBrusk: So here is a positive playoff Jake DeBrusk has been incredible the only downside is that his linemates have been very disappointing so far. Somehow Jake is still finding ways to outwork everyone on the ice while he is out there. Tonight he will need to be at his best once again as the Bruins depth has to show up or else its over. Forget about the 4th line showing up they have been excellent we are talking about the 3rd and 2nd line these guys need to get the Bruins over the hill tonight or else fans can kiss this season goodbye. Jake has been the Bruins best forward in this series his energy needs to spread across the lineup tonight.

Toronto

Mitch Marner: After scoring the game winner in game 6 Marner looks to continue his strong play in the biggest game of his young career. After showing no signs of slowing down in the highest pressure moment, Mitch will obviously not disappoint tonight. The Bruins need to tighten up and really protect the house tonight if they expect to get this electrifying forward off the board.

Tomas Plekanec: Since being moved up to one of the top 2 lines Plekanec has thrived, shutting down the Bruins number one line is not an easy task, and Tomas is doing an excellent job shutting them down in 2 of 3 games. The Bruins need to find an answer for this matchup if its either getting the Bergeron line away from him or just sticking to your guns the Bruins need to solve this and finally break through offensively. Its do or die tonight and having a veteran like Tomas is enormous for the Leafs.

BNG Predictions

Lucas Salvatore: 3-2 Boston

KG: 5-2 Toronto

Max Mainville: 4-2 Boston

Mike Cratty: 4-2 Boston

Garrett Haydon: 4-1 Boston

Mark Allred: 5-2 Boston

 

 

 

Boston Bruins: Round 1 Game 6 Preview

 

David Krejci and the Bruins will take on Zach Hyman and the Leafs in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs starting Thursday night in Boston.

Photo Credit: (RICK MADONIK / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO)

By: Lucas Salvatore | Check me out on Twitter @lsalvatore29

Well here we are again the Boston Bruins have their second shot at ending the Toronto Maple Leafs season tonight will they do it or will these two clubs be heading back to Boston for a game 7?

The first goal will be a huge one once again tonight as the team who scores first has won every game thus far. The Bruins had a slow start in game 5, and while they were the better team after sixty minutes, the team knows that they have to start playing as soon as the puck drops at the Air Canada Center. The power play will be an area the Bruins look at as it single-handedly killed them last game not scoring on a five on three is inexcusable in such an important game.

Lineups

Things You Need To Know

  • Bruce Cassidy hinted at some lineup changes although nothing is confirmed
  • Expect Danton Heinen to be taken out if changes do happen
  • Leo Komarov is still expected to be out
  • Bruins penalty kill is 13th out of 16 teams
  • No surprise as Tuukka Rask will get the start after being pulled in game 5

Player To Watch

Boston

David Pastrnak: The Bruins top line has recorded 0 points in the two Bruins losses in the playoffs, and when you notice how effective they have been it is really incredible to see that stat line. Pastrnak will need to take this game over tonight if the Bruins are to end this series. David has not scored since game 2 where he scored a hat-trick, the Bruins need to get him going again as he is the driving force on the top line since the playoffs have started. If Pastrnak gets going you can expect fellow linemates Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand to also chip in.

Rick Nash: Where have we heard this before he’s getting chances but can’t finish, Rick Nash since scoring that power play tap-in has been invisible. It doesn’t help that the Bruins second line has only scored one even-strength goal thus far. Boston merely has not gotten enough from this second unit, and they absolutely need to get Nash going if they expect to go far because let’s say they move on to face the Tampa Bay Lightning they will need all four lines going if they plan to be in that series.

Toronto

Connor Brown: Being moved up on Auston Matthews wing sure does have some perks as Brown recorded his first goal of the series last game in Boston. This winger has a nose for the net and a really great shot so the Bruins will have to watch him as the Leafs look to once again get Matthews going on home ice. Brown will look to create more open space for his centermen tonight and don’t be surprised to see him heavily involved should the Leafs find success.

Fredrick Andersen: What else is there to say he was superb and the main reason we are sitting here right now awaiting game 6. The Leafs desperately need him to have an almost identical performance to the one he had in game 5 for them to even have a chance to push this to 7 games. With the defense that the Leafs have they will only go as far as Andersen lets them and based on his game to game stats, he has been very inconsistent.

BNG Predictions

Lucas Salvatore: 4-2 Boston

KG: 2-1 Boston in OT

Max Mainville: 4-3 Toronto

Mike Cratty: 4-1 Boston

Garrett Haydon: 3-2 Boston in OT

Mark Allred: 5-3 Boston

 

Boston Bruins: Round 1 Game 5 Preview

 

Boston’s David Pastrnak sheds Leaf defenceman Jake Gardiner along the boards in Game 2, in which Pastrnak racked up six points.

Photo Credit: (WINSLOW TOWNSON /AP)

By: Lucas Salvatore | Check me out on Twitter @lsalvatore29

The Boston Bruins have put themselves in a position to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night, and they might get some help as Patrice Bergeron is expected to return after missing game 4. This will be the first of 3 possible chances to eliminate the Leafs look for the Bruins to come out with killer instinct tonight in front of their home fans. The Leafs are now on the ropes and have made several line up chances with the return of Nazem Kadri, it will be interesting how he keeps his cool under pressure tonight in a hostile environment.

The Bruins will need to match the Leafs intensity but cannot keep giving the Leafs free roaming in the offensive zone. While they have defended exceptionally well holding the Leafs to the outside and protecting the house, Tuukka Rask had to be spectacular for the Bruins to come away with a win in game 4. The Bruins second line was on the verge of scoring, and they did just that last game as Jake DeBrusk put in the insurance marker.

Interesting note about Rick Nash.

 

Lineup

Things You Need To Know

  • Expect Patrice Bergeron to return tonight
  • Tommy Wingels will be out if Bergeron returns
  • Nazem Kadri returns after serving a 3 game suspension
  • Leo Komarov is not expected to play

Players To Watch

Boston 

Jake DeBrusk: after scoring a massive goal in game 4 DeBrusk is adjusting to the NHL playoffs quite nicely. He and his linemates need covert on their offensive chances considering the amount that they are generating. Jake will need to continue to drive this line forward with his hectic playing style as he looks to get Rick Nash and David Krejci going. If the Bruins are going to end this tonight, this will need to be their best line. The Bruins depth needs to be more productive and get pressure off the top line.

Tuukka Rask: Tuukka is the Bruins backbone, and while he absolutely stole game 4 for Boston the team needs to be better in front of him in game 5 as the Leafs have everything on the line and will most likely put in their best effort thus far. Look for Rask to calm things down early as the Bruins will need to tighten things up as the Leafs will provide an early push out of the gate in this one as the team that has scored first in this series has won every game.

Toronto 

Nazem Kadri: Probably the most magnified player going into this game as his first game back will not be in front of his home fans where he can hide from specific players with matchups. Kadri will be thrown into the middle of the fire as the Bruins are not going to make his night easy what so ever. If the Leafs are to win this game Kadri will need to keep focus and not lose his head like he did in game 1, he is an instrumental player, and the Leafs will depend on him to have an excellent game tonight.

William Nylander: While all the talk has been about Auston Matthews not producing Nylander has not found the back of the net so far and only has recorded 1 assists in 4 games. William will be playing away from Matthews for the first time this series and will be playing alongside Tomas Plekanec and Andreas Johnsson. His play has killed the Leafs offensively in this series, and he needs to explode now if they want to have a chance to win. But it might be too late for this Leafs forward.

BNG Predictions

Lucas Salvatore: 4-1 Boston

KG: 5-2 Boston

Max Mainville: 5-1Boston

Mike Cratty: 5-4 Boston

Garrett Haydon: 5-2 Boston

Boston Bruins: Round 1 Game 4 Preview

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Roman Polak (46) battles Boston Bruins right wing David Backes (42) in front of Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (31) during second period NHL round one playoff hockey action in Toronto on Monday, April 15, 2018.

Photo Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

By: Lucas Salvatore | Check me out on Twitter @lsalvatore29

After dropping game 3 in Toronto on Monday, the Boston Bruins look to bounce back and take a stranglehold on this series.

Finally, it took two games, but the Toronto Maple Leafs finally showed up in front of their home fans and put a victory together. While they did win the game and scored four goals, the most significant impact was one by goaltender Fredrick Andersen who stole this game from the Bruins.

The Bruins will need to finish their chances when they come in game 4 as the NHL is a cruel league doesn’t matter how hard or how well you play if you cant finish your chances you’re gonna get burned and the Bruins felt that in game 3.

Look for them to come out strong, they will try and get the crowd out of it early. These should be two desperate hockey clubs as the Toronto Maple Leafs will want to go back to Boston with this series 2-2, but the Bruins will look to crush any hopes the Leafs might have had coming into this game with a victory tonight.

Tomas Plekanec had an incredible game playing alongside Patrick Marleau and Mitch Marner the Bruins will need to be more worried about this match-up. Trying to move the Bergeron line away from them might be a difficult task considering this game is in Toronto.

Lineup

 Thing You Need To Know

  • Nazim Kadri is serving the final game of his suspension
  • Matt Grzelcyk is expected to return after missing game 3
  • Leo Komarov is expected to miss his second straight game
  • The home team has won every game in this series

Players To Watch

Boston

David Pastrnak: After being robbed and getting no bounces to go his way for the first time in the series look for the Bruins winger to go back to simple hockey in game 4. David should have nothing to worry about if he keeps playing his game after being held pointless for the first time this round and being on the other end of a save of the year candidate this is what David had to say.

Sean Kuraly: The Bruins fourth line scored both goals for Boston in game 3, and Kuraly picked up two assists giving him three points in three games thus far. This fourth line can prove to be a difference maker for these games in Toronto as Boston looks for them to create momentum in their favor. They can skate with any line, and it will be necessary for Kuraly and his linemates to continue their strong play in game 4.

Toronto 

Patrick Marleau: Marleau picked up two goals Monday night as the Leafs new-look second line seemed to be found money. Playing alongside Mitch Marner and Tomas Plekanec the trio was able to shut down the Bergeron line which was crucial for the Leafs to win game 3.

Auston Matthews: Ok you guys can put the wanted signs away Matthews showed up in a big way in game 3 scoring the game-winning goal. This will prove to be a killer for the Bruins if they do not reduce his time and space. It was a matter of time for him to get on the board lets just hope a beast hasn’t woken up.

BNG Predictions

Lucas Salvatore: 5-3 Boston

KG: 4-3 Boston

Max Mainville: 4-3 Boston

Mike Cratty: 5-3 Boston

Garrett Haydon: 3-1 Boston

 

 

 

 

 

Should The Bruins Re-sign Rick Nash?

(Photo credit: Mike Penhollow/Boston Bruins)

By: Lucas Salvatore | Check me out on Twitter @lsalvatore29

Rick Nash has been a welcomed addition to the Boston Bruins since arriving in late February but with plenty of young talent on the rise will the Bruins retain the power forward?

Nash was the most significant acquisition for the Bruins this trade deadline the deal was as follows.

Pretty big price to pay for a rental player as Ryan Spooner was having the best statistical year of his career posting 0.69 points per game which is a 0.08 increase from his career high season in 2015-16. Spooner then went on to score sixteen points in twenty games with the New York Rangers to end the season and finally seems to thrive at a top six center position which the Bruins could never offer.

Rick Nash, on the other hand, was brought in to give a brand new winger to longtime Bruin centermen David Krejci as fans may remember the constant roulette wheel of wingers Krejci has had to deal with over the last few seasons.

Now Krejci has finally gotten consistent linemates this season finding great chemistry alongside rookie Jake DeBrusk and newly acquired Rick Nash so a case must be made to why the Bruins should at least look into the options of seeing this trio play for a full NHL season.

Rick Nash was drafted 1st overall in 2002 by the Columbus Blue Jackets. While playing for the Jackets, Rick was named the captain of the squad and remained the leader until being traded to the Rangers in the summer of 2012. In his 15 NHL season, Rick has hit the forty goal mark three times and reached over thirty goals five times. Nash also won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy in the 2003-04 season as the league’s top goal scorer. Nash is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist for Canada.

Since arriving in Boston Nash has posted six points in eleven games. The power forward had flashes of brilliance which were short-lived when he suffered a concussion on March 17th in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Nash has since returned to the Bruins line-up for the start of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and has not missed a beat so far. While he only has one goal, Nash has been a presence with his physical play and really sets the pace for the Bruins second line giving them more offensive depth throughout the line-up.

Here is what Boston cap situation looks like heading into the offseason.

With over 9 million dollars in cap space, it will be interesting how Don Sweeney evens out the money this offseason. Players due for a raise include Riley Nash, Tim Schaller, Matt Grzelcyk, Sean Kuraly and Anton Khudobin. While Rick Nash will not be getting a raise based on recent years of performance and age, it would be interesting to see if he is willing to take a two-year deal at around 4 to 4.5 million dollars per season to remain in Boston.

Time will tell Rick is not getting any older and rumors for him to return to the Rangers in the offseason continue to rise. So fans should not be surprised if Rick packs his bags and returns to the big apple next season, but one would think if he wants to compete for a Stanley Cup Boston would be a great option.

With such a small sample size of what Rick Nash can do look for this playoff run to be a pivotal part of how the Bruins go into these negotiations. Rick has been known as a playoff passenger for his entire career if he can somehow be a crucial part of this run look for Don Sweeney and his team to be more engaged in trying to get a deal done before July 1st, 2018.

If Rick Nash does not resign Bruins fans should forget about him as many fans seem to have forgotten that Anders Bjork will return next season from shoulder surgery and should be the leading candidate to replace Nash if he does decide not to return.

Playing most of his minutes alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand to start his NHL career Anders Bjork seemed to have all the skills to develop into a top-six forward. A loss of confidence gave him a one-way ticket to the AHL where Anders could work on his skills before being brought back to the parent club. After returning to the NHL and playing a few games, Anders suffered an injury against the Anaheim Ducks which ended his season.

Next season Anders should be more motivated to stick into the Bruins lineup having a taste of what it takes to play in the NHL. Moving him alongside Krejci and DeBrusk if needed could open up more scoring opportunities for him, his high hockey IQ and elite shooting ability should make him lethal with a playmaker like David Krejci and the grinding machine that is Jake DeBrusk.

Ryan Donato should be looked at as a potential candidate to put alongside Krejci. Many options could be seen at that spot, but fans should expect if both Nash’s do leave Donato could be looking at the third line center position when the puck drops next season.

Other potential dark horse candidates include Zach Senyshyn and Peter Cehlarik.

So the Bruins do have options going into next season. The best option would be to try and resign Rick Nash for at least a few more seasons considering the price Don Sweeney paid. A full year of DeBrusk-Krejci-Nash would be a lot of fun to see, Rick looks like a player that was born to wear the black and gold and the fans should be rewarded with a few more years of Rick Nash.

If the Bruins fall short in resigning him, it should not seem like the end of the world for Bruins fans, while the price will sting even more the talent coming up from Providence should have fans smiling in no time.

Should the Bruins Resign Rick Nash or let others a chance to shine next season? Let us know what you think.

Boston Bruins: Round 1 Game 3 Preview

stanley cup playoffs 2018

Photo by Jeff Chevrier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By: Lucas Salvatore | Check me out on Twitter @lsalvatore29

Following two blow out games at home the Boston Bruins will be tested in a hostile environment Monday night at the Air Canada Center.

The story of the series so far has been the Bruins top line posting 20 points in two games between them. David Pastrnak has been exceptional so far with nine of those twenty points and will look to continue his strong play on the road for game three and four.

The Bruins may be getting a familiar face back into the lineup as it is expected that forward Riley Nash will make his series debut returning from an ear injury that left him with concussion symptoms.

The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to down spiral as forward Leo Komarov will be held out of game three as he was injured from a hit by Kevan Miller during game two. Look for former Bruin Dominic Moore to make his series debut and be the new fourth line center for the Leafs.

Matt Grzelyck was not on the ice for morning skate Monday morning coach Bruce Cassidy said he has a lower-body injury and if the young defensemen cannot play tonight trade deadline acquisition Nick Holden will slide in on the third pair along with Adam McQuaid.

Here is what to expect out of the Bruins lineup for game three. 

Things You Need To Know

  • Ryan Donato will return to the press box after playing in game two.
  • The Bruins will have both Nash’s in the lineup for the first time since March 17th.
  • David Pastrnak has as many goals as the entire Maple Leafs squad so far ( 4 goals).
  • Tomas Plekanec will play on the Leafs second line tonight.
  • Nazim Kadri is serving game two of his three-game suspension.

Players To Watch 

Boston

David Pastrnak: After scoring four goals and five assists in two games so far this series it is vital for the Leafs to solve Pasta if they expect to win at least one game this series. The lost of Komarov and Kadri make the Leafs even weaker on defensive depth and really should make this an even more laborious task. Look for Mike Babcock to chase matchups all night long which should not worry Pastrnak or the entire team for that matter.

David Krejci: Playoff David Krejci is back, but this time he’s quietly going about his business as the Bruins top line has been getting the spotlight. The Bruins power play is running at 50%, and Krejci is a big part of it, but it is the Bruins second line which fans should look at. Jake DeBrusk and Rick Nash have already gotten on the board and have looked dominant so far in the series. Krejci is the driving force of this line and should the Bruins top line stop producing which is unlikely at this point this line is more than capable of running the show for Boston.

Toronto   

Auston Matthews: The Leafs first line center was overwhelmed in Boston as he could not get anything going. Look for him to be explosive tonight in front of his home fans and really push the pace and show once again how great of a player he really is. If this series is going to change for Toronto, Matthews will be the guy leading the charge.

Nikita Zaitsev: After being on the ice for four goals against in game two many speculated that Zaitsev would be taken out of the lineup for game three. Looking at morning skate for the leafs Zaitsev will be playing tonight with Jake Gardner as the Leafs defense remains untouched. This is a massive opportunity for Zaitsev look for him to be more physical in front of the net and try and be more of an offensive presence which Toronto desperately needs.

BNG Predictions 

Lucas Salvatore: 4-2 Boston

KG: 4-2 Boston

Max Mainville: 3-2 Boston in OT

Mike Cratty: 4-3 Boston in OT

Garrett Haydon: 4-2 Leafs

 

 

 

Boston Bruins: Game 1 Preview

Photo by Michael Tureski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

By Lucas Salvatore | Follow me on Twitter @lsalvatore29

Its an original six Playoff matchup at TD Garden Thursday night as the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs get ready for game one of the 2018 Stanley Cup Quarterfinals.

For the 15th time in NHL history, these two franchises will face off in best of seven series. This season it was the Leafs who won the season series three games to one. The games were a mix of 4-1 blowouts and tight contest respectively 3-2 and 4-3 featuring one overtime game. This will be the first playoff contest between these two clubs since the famous game seven collapses by the Maple Leafs in 2013. Only seven members from the Bruins remain and five from the Maple Leafs.

This new installment of this rivalry will include some of the games brightest young stars such as Charlie McAvoy and Auston Matthews as well as future Hockey Hall of Famers Zdeno Chara and Patrick Marleau. The mix of veterans and youth will be on full display as the Leafs have one of the NHL best offensive teams, but the Bruins hold a defensive advantage.

 

Practice Lines 

Things you need to know 

  • Riley Nash will not play in game one but has not been ruled out for game two.
  • Ryan Donato appears to be a healthy scratch for tonight’s game.
  • Nick Holden and Brian Gionta will also be a healthy scratch.
  • The Bruins have not won a home playoff game since 2014.
  • The Leafs have not defeated the Bruins in a Playoff series since 1959.

Players To Watch

Boston 

Rick Nash: Returning from a concussion that has kept him out of game action since March 17th it will be interesting to see how fast the Bruins power forward can adapt to the hectic playing style this series will undoubtedly bring. Rick who is seen by many as a playoff disappearing act will most likely have his last chance to prove himself as a clutch player playing alongside proven playoff performer David Krejci.

Torey Krug: Torey did not participate in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring due to injury. Look for him to come out with a lot of energy and push the pace as the Bruins look to attack early. The blueliner has recorded sixteen points in twenty-seven playoff games and was also ranked ninth in points amongst defensemen this season. Krug led the way against the Leafs this season for Boston scoring four points in four games played.

Toronto

Auston Matthews: The former first overall draft selection already made a statement in the postseason last spring against the Washington Capitals scoring four goals in six games. Auston has spent time on the shelf this year and missed 3 of the four meetings between the two clubs earlier this season. It will be interesting to see how the Leafs number one center matches up against Patrice Bergeron in one of the series leading storylines.

Mitch Marner He has been a Bruins killer this season putting up nine points in four games between the two clubs. Marner while not having the best start this season found his stride during the second half and looks to continue the momentum going into this series. Watch for him to create a lot of plays especially on the powerplay as he uses his vision and speed to open up lanes.

Final Prediction: 4-2 Bruins Win

 

Boston Bruins: The Worker B’s Have They Finally Found Some New Merlot?

 

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders

Source: Mike Stobe/NHLI

By: Lucas Salvatore | Check me out on Twitter @lsalvatore29

Have the Boston Bruins finally found a new consistent fourth line?

Since the separation of the legendary “Merlot Line” which included Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell, and Shawn Thornton the Bruins have never really had another dominant fourth line, that was until this season when a new line was formed.

Sean Kuraly, Tim Schaller, and Noel Acciari have formed an incredible fourth line this season and have made opponents lives a pure nightmare when they have been on the ice. As this line can become a speed, physical, or shut down unit depending on the other teams playing style. This line has produced a combined 28 goals and 47 points as a unit together which in today’s NHL where everyone needs to be productive it is excellent to see these guys excel together as a group.

Let’s compare the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins fourth line to the 2018 version.

The Merlot Line

Daniel Paille

Regular Season:  43 GP, 6 G, 7 A, +3, 28 PIM

2011 Playoffs:  25 GP, 3 G, 3 A, +2, 4 PIM

Gregory Campbell

Regular Season:  80 GP, 13 G, 16 A, +11, 93 PIM

2011 Playoffs:  25 GP, 1 G, 3 G, -2, 4 PIM

Shawn Thornton

Regular Season:  79 GP, 10 G, 10 A, +8, 122 PIM

2011 Playoffs:  18 GP, 0 G, 1 A, -1, 24 PIM

 

Combined Totals 

Regular Season 

202 GP, 29 G, 33 A, +22, 243 PIM

2011 Playoffs 

68 GP, 4 G, 7 A, -1, 32 PIM

This line was incredible and was for a long time known as the best fourth line in hockey. The heart and determination that was shown between these three guys were magical. No one would work harder than them they were the Boston Bruins heartbeat for many years. Who could forget such iconic moments like Gregory Campbell breaking his leg off of an Evgeni Malkin slapshot and finishing his shift, or Shawn Thornton incredible penalty shot goal against the Winnipeg Jets. The difference between all the lines that came after Merlot was that they never really jelled together as a unit that was until this year when “The Worker B’s” were brought together.

The Worker B’s

Tim Schaller

Regular Season: 82 GP, 12 G, 10 A, -5, 42 PIM

Playoffs Career: 6 GP, 1 G, 0 A, +2, 2 PIM

Sean Kuraly

Regular Season:  75 GP, 6 G, 8 A, -5, 40 PIM

Playoffs Career: 4 GP, 2 G, 0 A, 0, 4 PIM

Noel Acciari

Regular Season: 60 GP, 10 G, 1 A, -6, 9 PIM

Playoffs Career: 4 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 0, 2 PIM

 

Combined Totals

Regular Season

217 GP, 28 G, 19 A, -16, 91 PIM

Playoffs Career

14 GP, 4 G, 0 A, +2, 8 PIM

Seeing a 15 point difference between these two lines does not paint the full picture. They are obviously different, no question fans shouldn’t expect Noel Acciari to be dropping the gloves every night like Shawn Thornton did. But what they can expect is that this line will give one hundred percent of their effort whenever they are on the ice.

This has been for so long what the Bruins have been missing. This trio really is the perfect energy line and an absolute heartbeat to what this Bruins team has been able to accomplish this season. On the video, under Noel Acciari performance you will see a perfect example of what kind of effort this line brings on every given night.

While they may not wow you with incredible talents like teammates Brad Marchand or David Pastrnak, they will go out and shut down opposing teams best units and can step up in various situations if needed. It is the closest they have had to the complete fourth line since the “Merlot Line” fans should see “The Worker B’s” as a modern-day version of the “Merlot Line.” Look for “The Worker B’s” to be a vital part of this years playoff run and should be an X-factor against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Post a comment let us know what you think!

Boston Bruins: What’s Your Price Riley Nash?

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

 

By: Lucas Salvatore | Check me out on Twitter @lsalvatore29

We are aware the playoffs are around the corner but why not talk about some contract situations!

Riley Nash has been found money for this team ever since he was signed by general manager Don Sweeney on July first of 2016 to a deal worth 1.8 million over two years that is a small 900-thousand-dollar cap hit which in today’s NHL is a bargain if the player you get can produce. Nash was drafted 21st overall in the 2007 draft by the Edmonton Oilers but did not make his NHL debut until the 2011-12 season with the Carolina Hurricanes and played with the Hurricanes for five seasons.

Nash was more of an afterthought to Bruins fans as the club had also signed forward David Backes to a five-year 30-million-dollar deal which is a six million dollar cap hit. In his first season, Nash struggled out of the gate only recording 17 points through 81 games, but he was shown to be a reliable 4th line center that could move up the lineup if needed. Riley also put up two points in the Bruins short playoff run last year.

Nash was getting chances, but not putting the puck into the back of the net as his career shooting percentage was at 10.75% before his first season with the Bruins. Riley was shooting at 5.6% with Boston in his first-year so puck luck may have had a factor to why the Bruins forward didn’t score much. Entering the 2017-18 season, Riley Nash was moved up to the line-up onto the 3rd line center spot with David Backes on his right side giving him more offensive opportunities.

The left wing of the 3rd line was mostly interchangeable as many players spent time on that line such as Ryan Spooner, Frank Vatrano, Anders Bjork, Matt Beleskey, and the mainstay on that line for a while now Danton Heinen. So, with all these changes on his lines regularly with the injury plagued season that Boston has endured, it is impressive that Riley has exploded and put up career highs in both goals and assists giving him 41 points in 76 games played.

The most impressive thing about Riley Nash’s season is the fact that he had to step in and play first line minutes for the Bruins alongside David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. During Patrice Bergeron significant absence of play due to a fractured ankle, Nash put up 13 points in 13 games and proved to the team how reliable he could be.

Nash also leads all Bruins forwards in shorthanded time on ice, and his absence is being felt at both ends of the rink as the Bruins tripped into the first round of the playoffs finishing 1-3-1 in their last fives games of the season.

Heading into the offseason here is the Bruins Salary Cap situation.

With just over 9 million dollars in Cap Space and not many notable free agents such as Matt Grzelyck, Sean Kuraly, Tim Schaller, and Rick Nash are the others joining Riley as free agents. Don Sweeney must be careful about what kind of money he gives out to Riley Nash, as next season presents a nightmare for Boston with notable Restricted free agents such as Charlie McAvoy Brandon Carlo, Danton Heinen, and Ryan Donato are all in need of an extension for 2020.

So let’s look at some comparables Riley Nash may use in his negotiations with the Bruins.

Lars Eller

Five years 17.5 million dollars 3,500,000 Cap Hit

Eller would be one of the best comparables for Riley to use as the production has been pretty comparable over the years and they are also the same age. If we look at their points per games throughout their careers it is almost identical as Lars Eller in 604 NHL games has a point per game of 0.36, and Riley Nash has a point per game of 0.34 in 399 NHL games.

Eller also signed his contract this year during the season; he ended his regular season with 18 goals and 20 assists for 38 points in 81 games. He is also on the first power play unit on the left side of Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov, so he does get a lot more opportunities to score as Riley Nash has only played power play this season because of injuries.

This contract will be the best match out of what players with the production of Riley Nash will get in this era of the NHL the only question will be if Don Sweeney is willing to pay it which would be a significant risk considering how the one year wonder Matt Beleskey’s contract ended up.

Andrew Cogliano

Three years 9.75 million dollars 3,250,000 Cap Hit

This iron man plays a similar role to Nash the reason why fans should expect Riley to take a relatively identical deal to what Lars Eller got is that he is a center which in today’s NHL is at a premium.

Cogliano is currently playing on the second line for the Anaheim Ducks and also plays a vital role in the team’s penalty kill.

Andrew also had a chance to beat the record for most consecutive games played in the NHL which is held by Doug Jarvis at 964 straight games played Cogliano had 830 before being suspended for a hit to the head of forward Adrian Kempe of the Los Angeles Kings.

Cogliano while being two years older than Riley Nash plays a similar role he can move up and down the line-up plays a massive role on the defensive side of things for his respective team. But Nash should still look at a few more dollars and years to his contract considering his age and the fact that he plays the middle of the ice.

Verdict

When looking at those two contracts, it is hard to believe that Nash will not ask for at least four years at around 3 to 3.5 million dollars per season. With that expected price, it should come as no surprise to see the Bruins potentially moving on from Riley Nash at the end of this season. The youth movement should continue to move forward next season, and it doesn’t appear that Riley Nash will be part of the team next year.

Post a comment should Riley stay? Or are you okay with his departure should it happen?

Lineup Questions for Boston as Playoffs Arrive.

 

Boston Bruins' Riley Nash, right, is congratulated by teammates Charlie McAvoy, left, and Tim Schaller (59) after Nash scored against the Calgary Flames during the second period of the game at TD Garden in Boston on Tuesday, February 13, 2018.

PHOTO CREDIT: Christopher Evans

By: Lucas Salvatore | Check me out on Twitter @lsalvatore29

The Boston Bruins should be expecting a few familiar faces to return from injury this week as the regular season winds down. So the question must be asked who will play and who will sit?

As Charlie McAvoy made his return last night in the 4-0 losing effort against the Tampa Bay Lightning, there are injury updates from Head Coach Bruce Cassidy as the Bruins enter their three remaining regular season games.

Rick Nash continues to skate back in Boston as it is more and more likely that he returns to the line up this weekend to get in a regular season game before the playoffs start.

Riley Nash meanwhile is still recovering after being hit with a Torey Krug shot which left him with 40 stitches in his ear.

And as Brandon Carlo will not be available for the remainder of the season, the Bruins will need someone to step up and log top-four minutes which will not be an easy task.

Here’s a look at what the lineup looked like Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

David Krejci seems to have been enjoying himself playing alongside rookies Ryan Donato and Jake DeBrusk. But as Rick Nash continues to make progress, fans should expect one of Donato or DeBrusk to be sent down to the third line when he returns to the lineup. As Rick was brought in for Krejci to feel more at home with a “Lucic like presence” on his line, there should be no reason why Nash would not slide into the right-wing spot on the second line, but the question is who he will replace?

Jake DeBrusk since returning from injury had a great game against the Florida Panthers posting two goals and an assist but has since been left pointless in his last two games. Jake is by far one of the best forecheckers on the team this season, his aggressive style of play makes him perfect for grinding out pucks for Rick Nash and David Krejci. The fact that Jake has spent time playing with them this season and has had time to establish some chemistry with the two forwards make him an obvious choice for the second line heading into the playoffs.

Ryan Donato, on the other hand, has been more than excellent since making the jump to the NHL posting four goals and three assists in nine games so far. Bruins fans should be thrilled with this fantastic production in his early career but shouldn’t jump the gun on calling him a top-six forward just yet. The best way to ease Donato in these situations is to make him a top-nine forward and line him up with Backes and Riley Nash (once healthy) for a more balanced attack going forward. Keeping him on the first powerplay unit would continue to give him high scoring opportunities and would create a better second unit with Rick Nash returning.

So, it should be interesting to see where Rick Nash slides into the lineup when he returns; it would be a broadcaster’s nightmare to see him line up next to Riley Nash when both return to the squad.

One would think out of everyone on the forward core the three that would be in the most trouble of being taken out of the lineup would be Danton Heinen Tommy Wingels and Brian Gionta.

Heinen has had trouble finding the back of the net since mid-January only scoring four goals in that span. Bruins fans should expect to see him taken out of the lineup at the expense of a guy like Ryan Donato but should still expect Danton to make his playoff debut should players like Donato or DeBrusk struggle out of the gate.

Wingels, on the other hand, is a guy that can move up and down the lineup like he has done early in a Bruins uniform. Wingels who has 8 points in 54 career playoff games would only find his way into the lineup in case of an injury on the 4th line as if Kuraly returns fans must assume that the Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari line will remain untouched heading into the postseason.

Gionta is another guy to look at; he would be more of a threat to Heinen ice-time going into the playoffs as he has way more experience, with 68 points in 112 playoff games to Heinen zero. So, it would be interesting to see who the coaching staff leans towards if they need a forward on the top three lines.

The right guy should be Heinen as the youngster has had flashes of brilliance this year and even though he shouldn’t start the playoffs on the team one would think the coaching staff would turn to his 44 points production this year and give him the opportunity first if an injury would occur.

Defensemen should be a big question mark heading into the postseason. Nick Holden and Adam McQuaid should see the last three games as an opportunity to earn a spot on the roster.

Adam McQuaid would be the obvious choice for many Bruins fans as he has always been serviceable and reliable throughout his career. McQuaid should be expected as the one to suit up as the Bruins already have three puck-moving defensemen in Krug, McAvoy, and Grzelyck already on the roster, and they could use more physicality going into a series against the Philadelphia Flyers or Toronto Maple Leafs for example.

Holden would see himself drawing into the line-up in case of an injury to the three puck moving defensemen. Holden has been decent at times in his Bruins career but has struggled to play the right side as a left shot which has in my opinion been the factor on which of these players will start the playoffs.

My 2018 Postseason Boston Bruins Lineup

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak
DeBrusk-Krejci-Rick Nash
Donato-Riley Nash-Backes
Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari
Heinen-Wingles-Gionta

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Miller
Grzelcyk-McQuaid
Holden

Rask
Khudobin

Have Another lineup in mind? Post a comment I would love to hear other ideas.