Boston Bruins: Was David Backes A Mistake?

 

Image result for david backes

Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

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

In July 2016 the Boston Bruins made a huge splash when they signed star power forward and former captain of the St Louis Blues David Backes. Two years later after being eliminated in 5 games against the Tampa Bay Lightning Backes finds himself number one on the popular buyout section of CapFriendly.

 

 

David Backes is now entering his third season in Boston and has played 131 regular season games with the Bruins recording 71 points during that time frame. The former center was converted into a right winger when he arrived in Boston filling in down the middle when injuries did occur. Right away in his first season with Boston David took on a leadership role which is one of the main reasons why he was signed. Backes is now one of the most significant physical presences on the team and will go to no limits to protect his teammates his heart and dedication that he has put in while playing in a Bruins uniform has been incredible but has it been enough to earn the contract he signed.

 

 

Injuries have been an issue for Backes in his early seasons here in Boston. David suffered from diverticulitis earlier this year he also suffered a knee laceration in mid march and got suspended for 3 games. After being destroyed by J.T Miller in game 5 Backes was almost unconscious on the ice and was escorted off he did not return, and no further update has been given on his health. So in coming to terms with this Backes did have a better point-producing season in a lesser role Backes averaged 0.57 points per game this season which is an improvement over his first season at 0.51. It is safe to say that a hopefully healthier Backes will continue to improve as the years do come on but a year older with the amount of mileage on him the Bruins must limit his ice time if he is to stay healthy.

 

Buy Out?

Backes is currently 34 years old and carries a 6 million dollar cap hit until the 2020-21 season. David is also heading in his last year of a no-movement clause that will turn into a modified no-trade clause in the 2019-20 season which will give Backes an 8 team no-trade list in the first year and a 15 team no-trade list in the final year of his contract. A buy out for this contract would be spread out over 6 years for the 3 years remaining, giving the Bruins just over 2 million dollars in savings in the first season. Looking at these numbers from cap friendly it is hard to comprehend a situation where the Bruins buy out Backes considering the cap is going up and out of the closest comparables to his contract, he has averaged the highest points per game at 0.54 throughout his two seasons in Boston.

 

Comparables

 

Image result for loui eriksson

DAN TOULGOET / VANCOUVER COURIER

 

Loui Eriksson

6-year deal

Cap hit 6 million dollars 

Age 32 

Vancouver Stats

115 games played

47 points (0.40 ppg) 

 

 

Since his 30 goal season with the Bruins Loui has collapsed in Vancouver production wise. His chemistry with the Sedin twins at the international level was a no-brainer so signing with Vancouver was a highly likely situation. But as this didn’t translate at the NHL level, Eriksson has never been able to find his footing in Vancouver and now sees himself playing on the third line when he was viewed as a first line winger for the Canucks. Loui has had similar struggles as Backes as he has been injured quite a bit, but the difference is that Backes has other qualities that Loui lacks which is why this contract will be the worst out of the three. Let’s hope this flashy winger will find his stride soon as Vancouver has a very bright future on the way or else Jim Benning might seriously be looking to buy out Eriksson.

 

VANCOUVER, BC - OCTOBER 7: Milan Lucic. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

(Rich Lam/Getty Images)

 

Milan Lucic 

7-year deal 

Cap hit 6 million dollars

Age 29 

Edmonton Stats

164 games played

84 points (0.51 ppg) 

 

 

Milan was pretty productive in his first season with the Oilers. Similar to Backes, Lucic was brought it for a physical presence to the Oilers lineup and was expected to play alongside generational talent Connor McDavid after one season of posting 23 goals and 27 assists Lucic fell off the map as many Oilers did this season only posting 34 points in a full 82 game campaign. No question Milan has been the healthiest of the three as he did not miss a single game but did have significant struggles being demoted down to the third line. Lucic surprisingly enough has not been the most productive out of the three only posting 0.51 points per game making him the second best. The main criticism is his inconsistency and lack of speed to keep up with the Oilers faster players such as McDavid, while Lucic will undoubtedly bounce back after this horrible season it is important to note that he has five years left on his deal.

 

A Move Back To Center?

With Riley Nash most likely commanding more money than the Bruins can offer him it should be interesting to see if Bruce Cassidy would consider permanently placing Backes as the third line center. A Heinen-Backes-Bjork line would not be out of the question for Boston next season as Heinen and Backes have played together before and a physical presence like Backes might help Bjork find more open space to work his best assets in the offensive zone. Surrounding him with younger players is vital for him to rejuvenate his career and will be an excellent experience for the youngsters playing alongside him.

 

Final Verdict

For what its worth Backes has not been great but still has much to prove as he hasn’t played a full season in Boston yet. A move back to center might work wonders for him and a year older Danton Heinen might help him even more. What Bruins fans need to understand with David’s contract is that he’s paid for performing of course, but he’s also paid to lead off the ice and show these younger Bruins how to become a better pro. The high price tag is a lot to ask for we understand but Backes needs to be credited for the improvements of these young players buying him out would be a mistake he isn’t Matt Beleskey or Jimmy Hayes where you can’t see any other reasons but to let them go.  Expect Backes to continue being an integral part of this group for a few more years as the youth movement continues.

 

What do you guys think should Backes be bought out or does he still have more to give?

Let us know!

Boston Bruins: Round 2 Game 5 Preview

Rick Nash (61) is met by Brad Marchand after connecting on a power-play goal in the first period.

Photo Credit: BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF

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

Well after that slap in the face that we will refer to as game 4 the Boston Bruins have now run out of mistakes and find themselves down 3-1 in this series. Do the cardiac kids have another comeback in them or is this the end of a magical season?

Things You Need To Know

  • Torey Krug will be out for the remainder of this series
  • Nick Holden will return to the lineup and play alongside Adam McQuaid
  • The Bruins have not scored a goal 5 on 5 since game 2
  • Brad Marchand has been told to stop licking opposing players

Keys To The Game

Cleaner Breakouts 

Four games into this series and more of the same problems arise for Boston. Playing catch-up hockey is never something you want to do in the playoffs and the inability to handle the Lightning two-man forecheck has proven to be a killer for the Bruins. To expect a chance to bring this series back to Boston, they will need to carry the puck out of the defensive zone more often instead of going for an outlet or stretch pass. The Lighting has proven to be very smart in these areas picking off many of Boston passes and turning those turnovers into goals.

Depth Players Need To Produce

There was a better showing from Boston’s bottom 6 last game as forwards Brian Gionta and Ryan Donato were inserted into the lineup for game 4. While there was still no production from them, it is nice to see them generating chances. David Backes needs to step up a 6 million dollar forward on the fourth line unbelievable it is time for him to show up in a big way and not just from a leadership standpoint. Donato had some chances to get on the scoreboard despite limited ice time he should be given another opportunity and remain in the lineup for game 5. The loss of Torey Krug is massive, currently, Krug leads all defensemen in points throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs and asking Matt Grzelcyk to eat up his minutes could prove to be a death blow for the Bruins. They will need all hands on deck during game 5 or else this season will be over.

Consistency From The Officials 

Now before everyone goes up and arms about this being a key to the game let’s not forget that the non-call on Nikita Kucherov in the third period pretty much sealed the deal for the Bruins in game 4. A pathetic hooking call was called on Noel Acciari just a few moments before this play, and the officials let it go, and we know how the rest of the story goes. We have preached about this before throughout the regular season and now in the biggest stage of all the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Fans would not be upset if calls were black and white, having some standards set would be nice instead of holding our breaths and praying to the hockey gods everytime someone falls on the ice. We are talking about the best sport on the planet being magnified by its officials who seem to want to be the star of the show. If only they knew fans didn’t spend their money to watch them perform.

Score First 

The first goal of each game throughout this series has been scored by the winning team it is essential that the Bruins take the lead in this game. Not only will it give them confidence it will be the first time that they have scored the first goal since game 1 of this series. This is a team effort no need to point any fingers at anyone for the last few games the Bruins need to be better in every area of the ice if they want a chance to win.

Prediction

At the end of this game, the Bruins will be heading back to Boston and will be getting ready for game 6. In no way do I see this team who has put everything on the line at every given point this season being told they are too young, too old or too slow and time after time they have risen to the occasion and silenced the critics.

4-2 Boston

 

 

Boston Bruins: Round 2 Game 4 Preview

ryan donato

(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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

Mental errors and lack of execution killed the Boston Bruins once again in game 3, and they now find themselves in a must-win situation in game 4. Which has led Bruce Cassidy to make some changes to the lineup for tonight’s contest.

Ryan Donato will return to the lineup tonight to play his second game of these Stanley Cup Playoffs. Many fans will be screaming for joy but will this be the jump the Bruins need to activate their depth forwards who have been invisible throughout this series. Still remains to be seen if any other changes will be made to the Bruins formation tonight as it is time for them to dig deep and get desperate after last games performance. The Tampa Bay Lightning have exposed the Bruins in this series by just being the hungrier team. While the Bruins did get a convincing 6-2 win in game 1, it is important to note that during that game the Lightning controlled the play and Tuukka Rask had to come up large for his teammates as they had a late wakeup call.

Lineup

Coach Bruce Cassidy would not reveal his lineup heading into game 4 as it is expected that some changes will come as Ryan Donato has been confirmed. So here are the lines from Thursday’s practice.

Things You Need To Know

  • While Marchand and DeBrusk were not on the ice for practice, they are expected to play
  • No word on if Tim Schaller returns tonight
  • Tampa Bay’s depth players are stealing the show in this series
  • The Brayden Point line has 5 of the last 8 Lightning goals

Player To Watch

Boston

Ryan Donato: The amount of pressure that has been put on this rookie is tremendous the big question is will he be able to handle it? This honestly brings back shades of 2011 Eastern Conference Finals when the Bruins inserted rookie sensation Tyler Seguin against the Lightning and Tyler produced now its Ryan’s turn to step up. We know what he is capable of his offensive skills are incredible, the only problem is he looked really out of place in the series against Toronto. The Bruins are now desperate for depth scoring, and this is the perfect opportunity for Donato to step up in front of this fantastic hometown crowd.

Sean Kuraly: Sean had some good energy last game he was one of the only forwards who seemed to have a step on the Lightning defense. Early in his playoff career, Kuraly has stepped up for the Bruins at crucial times, and maybe it is time for the Bruins coaching staff to give him a permanent spot on the third line starting with tonight’s game. The Bruins should unleash a kids line of Donato-Kuraly-Heinen this would provide Danton a more significant opportunity to produce as his linemates so far in these playoffs have looked slow and have not been able to produce at all for Boston. Separating the Worker B’s line is a significant risk, but the Bruins need to find an answer for their bottom two lines immediately.

Tampa Bay

Steven Stamkos: After hitting the empty net goal last game Boston has to be careful as this might have ignited Stamkos which could lead to significant issues for the Bruins going forward. Stamkos has been quiet the entire series, but he has looked better and better as the series has gone on the Lightning are definitely getting more than lucky with power play opportunities so this should give Steven better looks at the net in game 4.

Nikita Kucherov: While high sticking Zdeno Chara last game and not getting a penalty Kucherov has been in the same boat as Stamkos in this series just not producing. But in the previous game, Kucherov was one of the best players on the ice at both ends of the rink, he seems to be getting more and more comfortable which is horrible news for the Bruins as they trail in this series. Kucherov is a superstar in this league and keeping him off the score sheet has been really impressive for the Bruins, but they must keep doing so if they expect to win this series.

BNG Prediction

Lucas Salvatore: 3-1 Boston

KG: 3-2 Boston in OT

Mike Cratty: 4-1 Boston

Garrett Haydon: 2-1 Boston

Max Mainville: 3-2 Lightning

Mark Allred: 5-2 Boston

 

 

 

 

Boston Bruins: Round 2 Game 3 Preview

Photo Credit: (Winslow Townson/AP)

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

The Boston Bruins just could not overcome their terrible start in game 3 despite tying the game. Many issues involving turnovers and break out passes continue to be a problem for the Bruins in this series. Will these areas improve as we get ready for game 3?

A full 60-minute effort will be what the Bruins need to get back the series lead tonight and being back on home ice may just be what the team needs to establish some pressure early in this one. Boston needs more out of their depth players if you do not count Danton Heinen goal in game 7 against Toronto because Rick Nash and David Krejci were on the ice the third line has zero even-strength goals in these playoffs. This isn’t good enough we saw the Tampa Bay Lightning 2nd line come through for them in game 2 this should be a good time for the Bruins depth players to make an appearance. The officiating will need to be better we do not like to talk about the referees, but after last game, we need to address it. The only thing fans want from both organizations is consistency, and we have not gotten it so far in every game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Look for the Bruins to come out with a better effort tonight as they try and get a win for the Garden faithful.

Lineup

Things You Need To Know

  • Tommy Wingels returns to the lineup tonight
  • Tim Schaller will be the healthy scratch
  • No changes on the blueline
  • Boston has averaged 45.9% of faceoffs in this series
  • Stamkos and Kucherov have a combined 2 high danger scoring chances

Player To Watch

Boston

Riley Nash: Since his brief appearance on the top-line against Toronto Riley has been invisible in these playoffs. After a terrific regular season, he should be producing more no question, but Riley is recently coming back from a concussion. One has to expect if Riley’s struggles continue would head coach Bruce Cassidy consider scratching Riley Nash like he has done with Tim Schaller tonight? Everyone talks about Ryan Donato and it might not be out of the question if Nash does not pick it up soon.

David Backes: Boston was pushed around last game as it seemed like every shift someone of the team was getting destroyed out there. Look for David to come out like a beast in front of the home crowd, got to get the feeling that Backes isn’t too happy about seeing his teammates being thrown around like that. If it takes a fight or a big hit to get the team going expect Backes to do what it takes tonight as it is a pivotal game in this series. The Bruins third line will need to have their best game of the playoffs, and with the home crowd with them, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them excel in tonight’s game.

Tampa Bay

Steven Stamkos: After being a passenger in the first two games of the series it is time for the captain to have his break out game tonight if his team expects to pick up wins in Boston. Stamkos has been struggling since March as it is likely that he is dealing with an injury which would not be surprising. He needs to return to his bread and butter which is his power play one-timer. Getting away from Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy will be crucial for his production.

Ryan Callahan: Talk about turning back the clock. The former New York Rangers captain was terrific last game he was a massive physical presence and his 5 on 3 penalty kill shift was some of the best penalty-killing we have seen in recent memories. This Tampa Bay fourth line has been giving the Bruins troubles thus far, and it is critical for Bruce Cassidy and his staff to find an answer for them if they expect to win the physical battles.

BNG Prediction

Lucas Salvatore: 5-2 Boston

KG: 4-3 Boston

Mike Cratty: 3-1 Boston

Garrett Haydon: 3-2 Boston in OT

Max Mainville: 4-1 Boston

Mark Allred: 5-2 Boston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boston Bruins: Round 2 Game 2 Preview

Image result for tuukka rask blade

Photo Credit: Sportsnet 

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

After a convincing win away from home, the Boston Bruins look to continue to the momentum heading into game 2 as a potential 2-0 series lead is up for grabs tonight at Amalie Arena.

The Bruins will need to be better no question as the Tampa Bay Lightning set up camp in Boston’s defensive end for most of game 1. While the score was in fact 6-2, this does not tell the tale of how this game was played. Tuukka Rask had his best game of the playoffs Saturday afternoon, and it is no surprise that he will need to replicate that Monday as the Bruins look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead for the second straight matchup. Rick Nash also showed up in a big way posting 2 goals one was an absolute snipe from the bottom of the right circle as he went post and in. Rick Nash is a player that likes to score in bunches if this did ignite a fire in him expect him to be a difference maker in this series which could be finally what the Bruins traded for back in February.

Lineup

Things You Need To Know

  • Kuraly spent some time on the third line but will return to his usual spot for game 4
  • David Krejci is quietly scoring a point per game in these playoffs
  • David Pastrnak now has 17 points in 8 games
  • Head Coach of the Lightning Jon Cooper was not happy after game 1 expect a different team tonight

Player To Watch

Boston

Tuukka Rask: The game 1 hero for the Bruins will need to match the same intensity he had last game if the Bruins expect to win game 2. Tuukka kept his composure after losing his skate blade in the middle of a penalty kill and being scored on this was a fantastic sign of leadership that Rask showed as he proved to his teammates that this wasn’t going to affect him shutting the door for the final period of game 2. The Lightning will come out even stronger then they did in game 1 if the Bruins do want to win this game they will need to spend less time in the defensive zone and push the pace for a full 60-minute. They cannot rely on Rask for every game in this series.

Charlie McAvoy: After possibly his best game of the playoffs thus far McAvoy will be heavily leaned on in game 2. The two days of rest seemed to have played wonders for Charlie as he looked like an entirely different player in game 1 then he did throughout the full series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Look for McAvoy to have the same jump in game 2 as he will continue to push the pace and create plays in both the defensive and offensive zones. Bruins fans know what he is capable of now its time for Charlie to take over this series as the new number one defensemen for Boston.

Tampa Bay

Brayden Point: After a sub-par performance against the Bergeron line in game 1 look for the Lightning to move point away from this matchup as they look to create more offense. Bruins fans should be worried about more than just the top star for Tampa Bay as Point was one of the few players that were part of the 30/30 club (30 goals and 30 assists). So moving him away from a shutdown role may just be what Tampa Bay needs to get this electrifying young forward going.

Andrei Vasilevskiy: Andrei has struggled for most of his career against the Boston Bruins, and last game was no different as he allowed 5 goals against. While most of the goals that were scored on him weren’t mainly his fault, he will need to be better in this almost must-win situation for his team. This Vezina candidate has what it takes to be better and most likely will as this series is definitely far from over. Look for him to track the puck better through traffic and be more athletic going post to post. If he falters so does the Lightning Stanley Cup hopes.

BNG Prediction

Lucas Salvatore: 3-2 in OT Tampa Bay

KG: 4-2 Boston

Max Mainville: 3-1 Boston

Mike Cratty: 4-2 Tampa Bay

Garrett Haydon: 4-3 Boston

Mark Allred: 5-2 Boston

 

 

 

 

Boston Bruins: Round 2 Game 1 Preview

Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

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

After beating the Toronto Maple Leafs in 7 games, the Boston Bruins jump right back into things Saturday afternoon as they head to Tampa Bay for round 2.

This might as well be the battle of the east as these two Atlantic division rivals are the number one and two seeds in the entire eastern conference. The Lightning are stacked with one of the best forward cores in the NHL as well as a Vezina candidate goaltender in Andrei Vasilevskiy and a tough defense to play against. The Bruins will have their hands full with this team if they do not have everyone firing on all cylinders. Look for the Bruins to be the team with more jump as they are coming off a game 7 victory that was only three days ago compared to the lightning having not played a game in a week. This could be a good factor for the Bruins as the team with more rest usually doesn’t do particularly well in the first game back.

Lineup

Things You Need To Know

  • The Bruins were 3-1 against the Lightning this season
  • Tuukka Rask has a 0.899 save percentage in the first round
  • Ryan Callahan has been nursing an injury expect him to play in game 1
  • Nikita Kucherov scored 10 points in 5 games during the first round

Player To Watch

Boston

Jake DeBrusk: Boston game 7 hero will need to continue his excellent play as we head into round 2. Depth will be a huge factor in this series as it should be expected that the top lines of both Boston and Tampa Bay will be matched up throughout most of this series. This sets the stage for DeBrusk and his lines mates to take center stage and help the Bruins reach round 3. As we saw against Toronto Jake was capable of creating plays out of nothing by just using his relentless effort to want the puck this rookie lives for big moments and Bruins fans should be expecting more of the same from playoff Jake DeBrusk.

Tuukka Rask: After a disappointing game 7 where many speculated Rask would be pulled heading into the 3rd-period head coach Bruce Cassidy decided to let his star goalie fight through his struggles which may be just what the doctor ordered for Tuukka and the Bruins. Rask needs to be better and what else could be a better opportunity for him to get his game back to where it needs to be. Tuukka has been stellar against the Lightning throughout his career and fans should expect nothing less than fantastic goaltending from Rask. Outplaying Vasilevskiy will be crucial for the Bruins so they need Rask to bounce back in a huge way which should be expected heading into game 1.

Tampa Bay

Andrei Vasilevskiy: This monster of a goalie will be staring down the Bruins offense for the next few games, and this should have fans terrified. After reports came out that Andrei was feeling tired throughout the end of the regular season, he struggled, but looking at his first round numbers suggest that he is rested and ready to go posting a 0.941 save percentage and a 1.55 GAA. He is a very athletic goaltender and is just a brick wall when he is on his game. He has struggled against Boston throughout his career but regular season numbers do not matter in the playoffs. Look for the Bruins to be sending a lot of traffic his way and be shooting from the point in looks for tips or rebounds in front.

Nikita Kucherov: Whenever a player scores 100 points in a season he should be a force to be reckoned with, and this is no exceptions with Kucherov. One of the NHL most electrifying players will cause the Bruins some problems it is inevitable, but it is how the Bruins will contain him that will decide this series. Look for him to be paired against Zdeno Chara for this entire series just like Auston Matthews was in round 1. The mix of him and Steven Stamkos is a nightmare so the Bruins will need to stay out of the box and keep them on the outside at all times if they expect to keep Tampa off the scoreboard. The only problem is if you do shut down Kucherov there are so many other weapons on this Lightning team that it might not matter. Look for the Bruins to tighten up defensively in this series or else it will be a short-lived second round appearance.

Prediction

4-2 Lightning

Boston Bruins: Round 1 Heroes

 

Photo Credit: NHL.com

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

In the spring the Leafs fall! – Jack Edwards 2018 

The Boston Bruins are moving on to round two, and we decided to go over our three stars of this round against the Toronto Maple Leafs as we get ready for game 1 in Tampa Bay on Saturday afternoon.  This was a grueling series for both the Leafs and the Bruins as these original 6 rivals needed to go 7 games to settle the score and many heroes so new and some old stepped up for Boston and now its time to recognize them.

Third Star

Sean Kuraly

Series Stats:  7 GP, 2 G, 2 A, +5, 2 PIM

The centerpiece of the Worker B’s line did not disappoint after returning from injury. While playing in a shutdown role Sean was able to prove that his playoff performance in 2017 was no fluke. Having to move up and down the lineup is never an easy task, but Kuraly proved once again that he was up to the task as he was leaned on by Bruce Cassidy in a few games and stepped up when needed to. Kuraly is an RFA in the offseason and has been the best fourth center the Bruins have had since Gregory Campbell so retaining him is a must and seeing how he performed this round. While looking at Tampa Bay roster it is crucial for the Worker B’s and Sean Kuraly to continue to grind and work the high cycle depth is going to be huge in this series and Kuraly should be seen as a dark horse heading into game 1.

Second Star

David Pastrnak

Series Stats:  7 GP, 5 G, 8 A, +1, 2 PIM

What else can be said about Pasta he literally tied one of Gretzky’s records this round he was unbelievable early and the main reason why the Bruins went up 2-0 in the series. The first line was dominant in each of the team’s victories including when Riley Nash had to fill in for Patrice Bergeron. The only downside to David’s play was that after being a +6 after the first 2 games Pasta had a -5 rating through the next 5 games but its hard to fault him as he scored 13 points in 7 games. His 6 points performance in game 2 will be by far one of the best games to be ever played by a Bruins forward and will be held in the memories of fans for a very long time. Next up for Pastrnak will be an even harder test as the Lightning have one of the best blue lines in the east so it will be important for Pasta to stay consistent if the Bruins expect a chance to be in this series.

 

First Star

Jake DeBrusk

Series Stats:  7 GP, 5 G, 2 A, 0, 4 PIM

Going into the series not a lot of people talked about this rookie, he was coming off a decent rookie season posting 16 goals and 27 assists but what stole the heart of Bruins fans with Jake was his work ethic and his relentless pursuit of the puck. This playing style was why I had him as a dark horse in this series and a potential game breaker for Boston. Looking at his game logs for this series Jake was the most consistent Bruins forward and was only held off the board once in game 3. Jake followed up by having his moment in game 7 scoring a tying goal and the series-winning goal as he ate Jake Gardiner alive on a rush which was created out of nothing to put the Bruins ahead 5-4. The key for Jake in round 2 is just to keep having fun, he seems to live for these moments so the rest will come naturally smile Bruins fans this one is a keeper and a real playoff performer for years to come.

 

 

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