Dissecting The Possibility Of Ilya Kovalchuk Signing In Boston

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Time has passed since his retirement from the NHL in 2013, but Ilya Kovalchuk wants to return to the NHL for another go. Most recently, he has visited with the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks in pursuit of said return. With some cap maneuvering and good contemplation, Kovalchuk could be a fit in Boston.

Having worn a letter on his sweater throughout all of his time in the KHL with SKA St. Petersburg since retiring, Kovalchuk was relied on as a leader. After winning Olympic gold and seeing some steady KHL success, the Russian sniper wants another try in the NHL, and there will undoubtedly be interest.

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For the Bruins fans who want to see Rick Nash re-signed, think of Kovalchuk as a slightly older, and better option on the right side. In 262 KHL games dating back to the 2013-2014 season, Kovalchuk amassed 120 goals, 165 assists, and 285 points, thus averaging over a point-per-game. Even at 35-years-old, it is apparent that Kovalchuk can still produce at a high level. Before then, he produced at a very high level in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils and Atlanta Thrashers.

The controversy related to how he left the NHL in the midst of a 15-year, $100 million contract and screwed over the New Jersey Devils may scare some and for a good reason. That reason provokes to bring up the idea of a short-term deal. The contract was eventually terminated in 2013, leading to New Jersey having to pay just $250,000 through the 2024-2025 season instead. Offer Kovalchuk a year or two and $5.5-6 million AAV and see what he says.

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In the Bruins’ case, Anders Bjork will be returning from injury and will have something to say about a top-6 right-wing gig that Rick Nash or Ilya Kovalchuk may get in the way of. It’s also worth noting that Kovalchuk will likely fetch more money annually than Rick Nash. Not to mention Ryan Donato will be looking for a consistent role on the NHL roster as his first full season approaches. I’m not necessarily for the possibility of limiting ice-time for younger players in this scenario, but, if Don Sweeney does decide to plug in a veteran in free agency, I’d prefer it be someone like Ilya Kovalchuk versus Rick Nash. Those are some important things that Don Sweeney and crew will have to consider if they decide to pursue Nash or Kovalchuk in free agency.

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One-year for Kovalchuk could give David Krejci an experienced and lethal sniper on his wing to feed for goals, along with a young, dynamic left-winger in someone like Jake DeBrusk or Ryan Donato. If things go well in this scenario, the Bruins have a lethal second line, and the signing is a win. A player with Kovalchuk’s shooting capabilities could fit very well on an already productive Bruins powerplay on his opposite wing eyeing one-timers and back-door goals. If that doesn’t work out, I’m sure teams could be interested in acquiring Kovalchuk as a rental player at the trade deadline. That’s the doomsday scenario.

Pieces will have to fall into place to get a free agent like Kovalchuk to Boston, but it is definitely possible. Whether it will happen or not is to be determined.

(Video Credit: The Bet via YouTube)

Bruins Will Have Plenty Of Lineup Battles Heading Into Next Season

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/ USA TODAY Sports)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

With free agency and the 2018 NHL Draft looming, an interesting storyline to follow will be the roster battles that will unfold over the summer and into the 2018-2019 season. There will be numerous young players involved in these battles. To preface, I want to say that I don’t think any AHL defensemen or defensive prospects playing otherwise will crack the NHL roster out of camp, but instead will make things interesting as their season’s progress.

Anders Bjork

Anders Bjork has a fair amount of NHL experience and had parts of his rookie season cut short due to concussion and shoulder problems. Even though he was a late-round pick, Bjork caught the attention of many with his success at the University of Notre Dame that led to him becoming a Hobey Baker finalist in his senior season.

Bjork’s eventual return to the lineup will have an impact on whether Rick Nash is brought back in free agency. In the eyes of many, including myself, it makes more sense to commit ELC money to Anders Bjork’s top-six role, versus signing Rick Nash for a decent chunk of money.

Despite missing the playoffs as a whole and a good chunk of the regular season, Anders Bjork showed flashes of NHL readiness and top-six winger capabilities. In 30 games, he scored four goals and added eight assists, good for 12 points. He could play with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, as he did a bit last season, or with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci. If he can stay healthy, the 2018-2019 season could prove fruitful for Anders Bjork’s growth as an NHLer.

Austin Czarnik

Austin Czarnik is a player that I recently wrote about as possibly being a trade chip in the future. If he is re-signed, he will surely be in the mix for an NHL roster spot based on his success as a bottom-six Bruins forward in the past, as well as his success as a top scorer in the AHL.

The caveat with Czarnik is the fact that if he plays one more NHL game, he is eligible for waivers. If waivers become an option, the Bruins could risk losing him for nothing. There is a spot for him on the third line if Riley Nash is not re-signed, a position in which he has previously held. Otherwise, he could find himself in the AHL again unless he decides to sign elsewhere as a group-6 UFA. Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Trent Frederic, and Jack Studnicka are three other players that will be battling for that third-line center spot if Riley Nash signs elsewhere in free agency.

Peter Cehlarik

Peter Cehlarik is another player that I recently wrote about as possibly being a trade chip in the future. Cehlarik has proven to some degree that he can be a capable top-9 NHL winger on either side.

Injuries and the presence of players with similar playing style and ages have hindered his progress towards full-time NHL duty. For reasons previously stated, he could be forced back to the AHL, or traded to what could be many teams looking for young, hungry wingers, with NHL capabilities and two-way ability.

Anton Blidh

Known mainly for his tools as a bottom-six forward, Anton Blidh could fight for a fourth line spot on the Bruins. If Tim Schaller were to go elsewhere in free agency, a golden opportunity could arise for Blidh.

Having 20 games of NHL experience certainly won’t hurt Blidh’s case on top of his effectiveness as a Providence Bruin in the physical, gritty game. This past season he posted career high’s in goals (11), assists (15), and points (26). Things are on the upswing in Anton Blidh’s brief professional career thus far, will a full-time NHL role be next? It surely could be if he comes out and proves himself worthy of such a role.

Ryan Fitzgerald

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At 23-years-old, just months older than Anton Blidh, Ryan Fitzgerald finds himself in a bit of a conundrum. After impressing towards the second half of his first AHL season, Fitzgerald found himself promoted to Providence’s top-six forward core, making impressive progress. Reaching 21 goals and adding 16 assists, good for 37 points in your first professional season won’t go unnoticed.

The ideal spot for Fitzgerald’s continued growth as an NHL hopeful comes at the fourth line left-wing position with the possibility of Tim Schaller going elsewhere in free agency. That spot would be perfect for a player with a playing style reminiscent of Brad Marchand like Ryan Fitzgerald. The two are very similar players. His speed and willingness to get to the dirty areas will fit on the third line alongside speedster Sean Kuraly and a buzzsaw on his opposite wing in Noel Acciari. If a spot becomes available on the fourth line, watch out for Ryan Fitzgerald.

Jordan Szwarz

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Speaking of Noel Acciari, Jordan Szwarz could be one eyeing that fourth line right-wing position. Szwarz was re-signed late in the regular season by Don Sweeney for another year and for a good reason. The guy has come alive since joining the Bruins’ organization. He built on a successful year one, coupled with brief NHL time with another great AHL season this year putting together a 21-27-48 stat line in 52 games. His positional versatility as a right-wing and a center makes him an asset. Jordan Szwarz is definitely another player to watch out for within these upcoming roster battles.

Jack Studnicka

The CHL/NHL players agreement states that players under the age of 20 either have to make the NHL team or be returned to their junior team. These players are not eligible for the AHL. That is the predicament Jack Studnicka finds himself in heading into this upcoming season. It’s Boston or Oshawa for the Canadian kid.

If Studnicka does end up in Oshawa again, he will wear the “C” on his sweater for a second straight season. Last season, he averaged over a point per game with a 22-50-72 stat line in 66 games. His skating ability, competitiveness, and playmaking capabilities have led some to wonder if he can earn a roster spot out of camp. He has undoubtedly given those people a reason to feel as confident as they do about him. That third line center spot is up for the taking if Riley Nash is not re-signed.

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson

Oh, look, another young player fighting for the third line center spot. JFK will look to build on his one game of NHL experience in a top-nine role.

Being a player with plenty of roster competition for ice time, JFK will have to build on his growth in Providence this year and give the coaching staff a good reason to keep him around for regular NHL duty or to send him down for more AHL seasoning. He had an excellent first season as a Providence Bruin this past year, tallying 15 goals and 17 assists equalling 32 points in 58 games. If JFK does secure a roster spot, the process to get it surely won’t be an easy one.

Trent Frederic

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The one first-rounder in this group, Trent Frederic. After seeing some brief AHL action once his sophomore season at the University of Wisconsin concluded, Frederic has seen a small sample of professional hockey. Some, including myself, believe he is NHL ready, but, being NHL ready doesn’t guarantee NHL ice time from the start.

One thing that sticks out is his poise with and without the puck on his stick. If he can translate that to the pros, his transition will be seamless. But, it’s not that easy. Although high draft picks are excited, and many want to see them perform from the beginning, AHL time can be of great benefit, just ask Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, and Danton Heinen – just to name a few. Frederic’s hockey IQ, wicked shot, and poise are three things, in particular, that suit him very well for NHL duty. When we actually see him in the NHL is another story.

Stats, accolades, draft position aside, what matters most is showing up to camp ready to go as the regular season approaches. Whoever impresses the most increases their likelihood of earning consistent NHL ice time. Whether it is a full-time gig or a gig as the 13th forward, no one will just cruise into NHL duty with ease.

Lineup Logjam Could Force Some Bruins Players Out Via Trade

Image result for Peter Cehlarik Boston Bruins

(Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Before I begin, I am not trying to say that I want these players to be moved, but sooner or later, they could be due to an influx of roster competition within the Bruins’ system. Three players, in particular, come to mind in this discussion.

Peter Cehlarik

Peter Cehlarik is a player that I would hate to see go, but injuries and the presence of similar wingers have hindered his progress towards an NHL roster spot to this point. The 22-year-old Slovakian winger has seen a good amount of AHL success primarily since coming over to play for the Providence Bruins for the 2016-2017 season. In 84 regular season games as a Providence Bruin, Cehlarik has tallied 31 goals and 30 assists, good for 61 points. Through 17 NHL games, Cehlarik has a goal and three assists.

His two-way ability and hockey IQ are what stick out the most in his game and could be of great value elsewhere unless a spot does open up in Boston at some point. In the NHL, he showed good chemistry with David Krejci on the second line and could serve well as a second or third line winger on another NHL team in need of help on the wing. A few NHL teams come to mind that could be in the market for Cehlarik’s services for a solid top-9 winger – The Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, and Dallas Stars. Especially the Edmonton Oilers, who need help on the wing and have a general manager in Peter Chiarelli that is familiar with Peter Cehlarik.

(Video Credit: Dafoomie via YouTube)

Austin Czarnik

Austin Czarnik is in a similar predicament as Peter Cehlarik – he has proven himself capable of playing at the NHL level but has just found other players getting in his way. One thing that Czarnik has against him that Cehlarik doesn’t is waiver eligibility. If Czarnik plays one more NHL game, he will have to go through waivers to back down to the AHL if need be, as he will have played 60 NHL games, thus making him eligible for waivers. In the 59 NHL games he has played, he has five goals, 12 assists, and 17 points.

After four years at the University of Miami (Ohio), Czarnik, now 25-years-old, has produced at a high level in the AHL. After his senior year, Czarnik played three games in Providence in which he had two assists. The following season is when he put Bruins fans on notice with 61 points in 68 games in his first full AHL season. In the 86 regular season games since his first full season, Czarnik has scored 31 goals and added 61 assists, good for 92 points and an average of just over a point-per-game. Most recently, he was named a second-team AHL All-Star.

Austin Czarnik is set to become a group-6 UFA this summer. He is categorized as a group-6 UFA due to the fact that he is 25-years-old and has yet to have played 80 NHL games yet. The Bruins could trade his rights at the draft if they feel he could be best suited elsewhere with a team that will give him an NHL job to get something in return for him. Otherwise, if they don’t sign or trade him, they would simply let him walk for nothing in free agency.

NHL teams would certainly be interested due to his experience at the NHL level and the amount of success he has achieved in the AHL. He is a speedy, skilled player who can play center and wing, general managers will like that. Like, Peter Cehlarik, Czarnik could fit well with another NHL team as a top-9 forward.

(Video Credit: Dafoomie via YouTube)

Adam McQuaid

I don’t think Adam McQuaid will be moved unless the right move comes around, but there certainly is a case for trading the long-time Bruins defender. Part of this case comes due to the fact that the Bruins have a few young defensemen that are progressing well elsewhere. Three players that come to mind are Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril in Providence and Urho Vaakanainen with SaiPa over in Finnish Elite League. Whether they are ready for NHL duty this fall or not, some, if not all of them should be ready within the next couple of years.

With a fully healthy Bruins defensive core consisting of Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, and Kevan Miller heading into next year, it is possible that Adam McQuaid becomes the seventh defender and is scratched from the lineup more often than he is used to.

Trading a guy like Adam McQuaid not could free up cap space to add a defender via trade or free agency going into next season. Noah Hanifin (trade) and Calvin de Haan (free agency) are two guys that come to mind.

There is also the option to trade Adam McQuaid closer to the trade deadline. This could allow the Bruins brass more time to make a decision on whether to make space on the NHL roster for a young defender. McQuaid is set to become a UFA following the 2018-2019 season, he could be an appealing rental piece come deadline time. Possibly for a team in need of some depth on defense, playoff experience, to help offset the loss of an injured defender, or a combination of the three. Adam McQuaid has 68 games of playoff experience, two Stanley Cup Final appearances, and Stanley Cup ring under his belt.

Here’s Adam McQuaid finishing a nice pass from Peter Cehlarik for Cehlarik’s first NHL point.

(Video Credit: Dafoomie via YouTube)

Whether these players will be moved has obviously yet to be seen, but there are legitimate cases for all of them as trade candidates.

 

Sports Spot 5/7/18: Episode 18: Over Forty-Five Minutes Of Bruins Talk

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By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

On Episode 18 of Sports Spot, the final show of the semester. We recapped the Bruins’ season and previewed next season, talked about the Red Sox a bit, the Celtics and their playoff success, as well as the Patriots. We had very high energy and had a lot of fun, enjoy the show. See you in the fall.

Bruins segments:

1:33-48:32

Over 45 minutes of Bruins talk. Enjoy!

Please follow the Sports Spot co-hosts on Twitter:

@Mike_Cratty

@ryan_salvaggio

As well as the Sports Spot Twitter and SoundCloud account for all the latest updates from the world of sports including news, reports, signings, and trades. Including, of course, the Boston Bruins:

@SportsSpotWMCK

Lineup Shifting Could Be Beneficial For The Bruins Going Forward

 

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(Photo Credit: James Carey Lauder/USA Today Sports)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

It is no secret that the Bruins were out of wack at certain times throughout games two and three. Part of this funk they have been in has come because the second and third lines just haven’t been themselves.

(Via @bruins_stats on Twitter)

It gets to a point where Bruce Cassidy is going to need to mix things up to get better results. Tommy Wingels slotting in for Tim Schaller won’t do that. Change should start with the second and third lines who just haven’t been performing well on both sides of the puck. The Bergeron line has shown the capability to carry the team, but that just simply won’t happen every game. Getting used to relying on them when the rest of the team can’t score would be very counterproductive.

The defense could use some minor changes as well. Not necessarily in terms of subbing anyone out, but rather shifting the pairings a bit.

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Donato

Heinen-Backes-Rick Nash

Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-McQuaid

Grzelcyk-Miller

Goalies

Rask

Khudobin

This is how I see it. The second line hasn’t been converting on their scoring chances, that’s where Ryan Donato comes in. Despite scoring two goals in game one, Rick Nash just hasn’t been effective enough to warrant top-six minutes. Giving a hungry, young, dynamically skilled player looking to prove himself in the playoffs in Ryan Donato could give that line the spark that it needs right now.

As for the third line, Riley Nash just simply hasn’t been cutting it for the majority of the playoffs. Although I do have my doubts that Bruce Cassidy will actually sub him out, I still think he should. Moving David Backes to the center position, sitting Riley Nash, and putting Rick Nash in Backes’ spot would give the line a nice change of pace and give Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper something new to gameplan for.

The final change in the forward core would just be to swap Tim Schaller back in for Tommy Wingels. Schaller has been a solid fourth-line fix and penalty killer all year and has just been more effective all around than Tommy Wingels. Both are similar players and play similar roles, I just think Tim Schaller does things a little better is all.

With the defensive core comes reuniting Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid. The pairing has had its ups and downs in the past, but they are experienced with one another and compliment each other well. The differing skill sets that they possess that allow them to take care of all three zones.

Tuukka Rask hasn’t been perfect, but he has made some huge saves when they were desperately needed. The team around him hasn’t been perfect, so keep him in the blue paint. Tuukka’s the head honcho.

The odds of this lineup being rolled out verbatim are unlikely, but changes are needed regardless. With the most important change in my mind being to give Ryan Donato another chance. Game four will turn the tide of the series regardless of the result and changes may be needed to turn the tides in the Bruins’ favor.

Boston Bruins Post Game Recap: Game 3 EQSF

Image result for bruins lightning 2018

(Photo Credit: Steve Babineau/NHL via Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

DeBrusk-Krejci-Rick Nash

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Heinen-Riley Nash-Backes

Wingels-Kuraly-Acciari

Defense

Krug-Miller

Chara-McAvoy

Grzelcyk-McQuaid

Goalies

Rask

Khudobin

Tampa Bay’s Lineup

Forwards

Miller-Stamkos-Kucherov

Palat-Point-Johnson

Gourde-Cirelli-Killorn

Kunitz-Paquette-Callahan

 

Defense

Hedman-Girardi

McDonagh-Stralman

Coburn-Sergachev

 

Goalies

Vasilevskiy

Domingue

 

First Period

The action got started early for Tampa Bay after Matt Grzelcyk lost control of an airborne puck coming his way. This lead to Ondrej Palat cashing in on the broken play 1:47 into the period. Ondrej Palat then continued to dominate by tipping a shot on the way to the net off the stick of Victor Hedman 3:19 into the first to make it 2-0 Lightning. Those marked his third and fourth goals of the playoffs. Two goals in 92 seconds, Not good.

The Bergeron line attempted to get the boys going shortly after with some good looking chances. The momentum didn’t last long up until Riley Nash went to the box for interference with 13:56 to go with some extracurricular activity surrounding it. Tuukka Rask made the save of the period on JT Miller in front of the net on the power play, thus saving this one from becoming a three-goal game.

More penalties came as Charlie McAvoy took a stupid, avoidable roughing penalty not too far past the halfway point of the period. Palat nearly made it a hat-trick on the power play but Tuukka Rask somehow managed to rob him with a crazy behind-the-back stick save.

The penalty fortunes turned in the Bruins favor with 6:17 left when Anton Stralman went to the box for tripping. Some traffic ensued in front of the net early in the power play and Patrice Bergeron got the Bruins on the board with 5:48 to go.

 

(Via @mkmolnar on Twitter)

Once again, the momentum didn’t last long as Anthony Cirelli scored on his own rebound with 3:17 to go to make it 3-1 Lightning. Chances were traded back-and-forth for the rest of the period, but nothing really came of anything.Got to play better with Pedro Martinez in the house.

To cap it off, Brad Marchand flipped Dan Girardi over his back much reminiscent of his hit on Sami Salo back in 2011.

Score: 3-1 Tampa Bay

Second Period

Ondrej Palat didn’t start the period with two goals in 92 seconds, so that’s good. With 11:40 to go, Riley Nash nearly got off the snide with a bad angle shot that nearly beat Andrei Vasilevskiy and made it a one-goal game. Up until that point, shot attempts were 17-3 in favor of Boston. A lot of chances, no execution.

Oh man, the stupid, avoidable penalty trend continued with Torey Krug going off for holding with 8:02 to go, thus giving Tampa Bay a chance to widen the gap. This is annoying. David Backes tried to fire the boys up with a hard forecheck and hit on Dan Girardi that Cedric Paquette didn’t like, so they fought. It was mostly wrestling, but a fight nonetheless.

We’re not done yet with the stupid, avoidable penalties yet. Brad Marchand slashed Anton Stralman right on the hands to go to the box with 4:03 to go, giving Tampa Bay another power play.

That period stunk, not much else to say.

Score: 3-1 Tampa Bay

Third Period

More chances and a continued lack of execution. A lack of consistent zone time and shots missing the net killed the Bruins in this one. The little things just weren’t there consistently enough in their offensive attack. A lot of instances involved a dump-in, a scoring chance, and then a clear out from Tampa Bay.

This game could end up being the turning point of the series. Think about it – a dominating win from the Bruins in game one, a game two loss, and a demoralizing game three loss with plenty of things going wrong. Tampa Bay could take the momentum and run. Let’s hope that’s not the case.

Nikita Kucherov doesn’t even have a point. The Bruins need a much more inspired effort in game four and beyond.

Steven Stamkos would add an empty-netter with :42 seconds left to go in the third to solidify a 4-1 victory for the Lightning.

Final score: 4-1 Tampa Bay

Sports Spot 4/30/18: Episode 17

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By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

On Episode 17 of Sports Spot, we talk Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox, NBA Playoffs, and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Mike is sick, so sorry about that. Grrr Mondays.

Bruins/NHL segment:

41:36-53:13

Please follow the Sports Spot co-hosts on Twitter:

@Mike_Cratty

@ryan_salvaggio

As well as the Sports Spot Twitter and SoundCloud account for all the latest updates from the world of sports including news, reports, signings, and trades. Including, of course, the Boston Bruins:

@SportsSpotWMCK

Boston Bruins Post Game Recap: Game 6 ECQF

(Photo Credit: Frank Gunn/ The Canadian Press via AP)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Wingels

Rick Nash-Riley Nash-Backes

Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

Defense

Krug-Miller

Chara-McAvoy

Grzelcyk-McQuaid

Goalies

Rask

Khudobin

Toronto’s Lineup

Forwards

Hyman-Matthews-Brown

Marleau-Kadri-Marner

Johnsson-Plekanec-Nylander

Van Riemsdyk-Bozak-Kapanen

Defense

Reilly-Hainsey

Gardiner-Zaitsev

Dermott-Polak

Goalies

Andersen

McElhinney

First Period

Tommy Wingels is a top-six forward, Rick Nash moves to the third line, and Danton Heinen sits for game six. Chances were traded to start with neither team coming out with a clear advantage. Tuukka chants reigned down from the Toronto fans early in the game. Weird that they want him back after this point after he was traded to Boston in 2006.

About 6:20 into the period, Kasperi Kapanen fumbled the puck in his own end, leading to Brad Marchand getting the first big chance of the game, beating Andersen on the five-hole, by ricocheting to the left corner.

The halfway point passes and Jake DeBrusk skies the puck out of play, warranting a delay of game penalty and a Toronto power play with 9:50 to go. After some pretty good power play chances, the power play was killed and the Bruins went back to even strength with under eight minutes to go.

Toronto gained momentum for a bit following the power play. But Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak came out and got the momentum back in the Bruins’ favor with some solid chances.

Marchand then knocked a puck out of the air a few minutes later, just missing the post before Roman Polak mugged David Pastrnak in the near corner.

One of the themes of games four through six has been a lack of execution, despite plenty of chances. That continued this period when Rick Nash nearly scored with less than a minute to go before Morgan Reilly knocked the net off its pegs. Patrick Marleau then responded with a chance of his own flying up the wing before Kevan Miller put him into the earth’s crust with a hit. No score after one.

Ahead of their three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto, 19 members of the Boston Red Sox came to support the Bruins in game six, plus manager Alex Cora and other staff members.

(Via @mkmolnar on Twitter)

Score: 0-0 

Second Period

Who doesn’t love David Pastrnak?

(Via @mkmolnar on Twitter)

The action got started quickly when Jake DeBrusk rolled off of the right circle off the draw and sniped one past Frederik Andersen just 1:02 into the period. Oh wait, there’s more. Fast forward 29 seconds later to when William Nylander picked up a rebound to tie the game. Chara and McAvoy just let Nazem Kadri screen Tuukka Rask, making things difficult for Rask to track the puck. Next thing you know, goal. Not a good look for the Chara-McAvoy pairing.

(Via @mkmolnar on Twitter)

Controversy followed with 16:56 left when Zach Hyman glided across the crease, nullifying the goal after the goal review showed his skate dragging Tuukka Rask’s stick out of his hand. No goal. Plenty of chances came from the Bruins’ bottom-six and the Bergeron line following the no-goal call. It’s getting to a point where the Bruins should nearly be scoring double digits with all of the great chances they just haven’t been able to finish as of late.

The chances didn’t land leading up to Mitch Marner’s goal with 6:35 left in the period off of a funky backhander that snuck past Tuukka Rask. Torey Krug misread the play, giving Marner plenty of space to shoot. Bad defense on both goals, but that was one that Tuukka could have had at the same time. 2-1 Toronto.

(Via @PeteBlackburn on Twitter)

To make matters worse, Kevan Miller takes a roughing penalty with 5:41 to go, Toronto to the power play. Luckily, the penalty was killed off. Just when it looked like the rest of the period was quiet, Nazem Kadri slashes Riley Nash and heads to the box with 9.6 seconds left.

Score: 2-1 Toronto

Third Period

The beginning of the third period was highlighted by an epic Frederik Andersen flop after light, accidental elbow contact. This lead to matching roughing penalties for Roman Polak and David Backes as a scrum ensued after Polak went after Backes.

The flopping continued, this time from Nazem Kadri causing Charlie McAvoy went to the box for “tripping.” 4-on-3 coming up. All of the penalties were killed off, back to full strength we go.

Back-and-forth chances ensued until Tuukka Rask made the save of the game on a nice chance from William Nylander. Meanwhile the Bruins are still striving to execute.

Finally, a delay of game penalty that’s not against the Bruins as Tomas Plekanec heads off with 5:43 left. Frederik Andersen continued to play out of his mind and held the Bruins scoreless on the power play. Tuukka made his fair share of saves off the rush on Kasperi Kapanen and Auston Matthews.

The referees miss a clear interference at center ice and Tomas Plekanec ices the game on the empty netter with 1:14 to go. Cool, I guess. Watch Marleau at the beginning of the clip below.

(Via @BruinsCLNS on Twitter)

Game seven, TD Garden, Wednesday. I’m upset.

Final score: 2-1 Toronto

Sports Spot 4/23/18: Episode 16

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By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Bruins/NHL segment:

8:43-35:34

Please follow the Sports Spot co-hosts on Twitter:

@Mike_Cratty

@ryan_salvaggio

As well as the Sports Spot Twitter and SoundCloud account for all the latest updates from the world of sports including news, reports, signings, and trades. Including, of course, the Boston Bruins:

@SportsSpotWMCK

Sports Spot 4/16/18: Episode 15 With Special Guest Spencer Fascetta

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By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

On Episode 15 of Sports Spot, we have special guest Spencer Fascetta of blackngoldhockey.com on the show. We talk Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox, Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the NBA Playoffs.

Bruins/NHL segment:

10:17-43:04

Please follow the Sports Spot co-hosts on Twitter:

@Mike_Cratty

@ryan_salvaggio

As well as the Sports Spot Twitter and SoundCloud account for all the latest updates from the world of sports including news, reports, signings, and trades. Including, of course, the Boston Bruins:

@SportsSpotWMCK