Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Carolina: 12/23/18

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(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Gary Broome)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Carolina Hurricanes

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Heinen

Nordstrom – Krejci – Pastrnak

Donato – Cave – Backes

Kuraly – Acciari – Wagner

Defense

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – McAvoy

Moore – Kampfer

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Carolina’s Lineup

Forwards

Svechnikov – Aho – Teravainen

Ferland – Bishop – Williams

Foegele – Wallmark – Martinook

Kuokannen – Rask – McGinn

Defense

Slavin – Pesce

de Haan – Faulk

van Riemsdyk – Hamilton

Goalies

Mrazek

McElhinney

First Period

The Bruins came into Whalers night as winners of their last three games. Partly thanks to Charlie McAvoy’s recent resurgence since returning from injury, and Patrice Bergeron’s four-point effort yesterday against Nashville.

In previous back-to-backs this season, the Bruins are 6-0-1. Just around a minute and a half in, Carolina went to the penalty kill as Micheal Ferland went off for high-sticking. Boston’s power play struck in the form of Ryan Donato sending a shot off of Petr Mrazek, a Carolina defender and in to give the Bruins an early lead. The goal marked Donato’s fourth of the season, assisted by Torey Krug (18), and Brad Marchand (28).

Around four minutes after Carolina went on the penalty kill, the Bruins did the same as Steven Kampfer went to the box for holding. Noel Acciari made it a 5-on-3 advantage when he high-sticked Sebastian Aho, giving Carolina a great opportunity to tie the game in due time.

Speaking of Steven Kampfer, he made up for his penalty pretty quickly. Sean Kuraly found him open from behind the net, and Kampfer made no mistake in burying it to make it 2-0 Bruins less than halfway through the first. The goal marked Kampfer’s second of the season and Sean Kuraly’s sixth assist.

The Canes cut the lead to one after Teuvo Teravainen sent a flimsy shot on net that bounced off of McAvoy and in. The obscurity of the bounce clearly threw of Tuukka Rask and made things interesting with plenty of time left.

Despite being behind on the scoreboard, the Canes outshot the Bruins 13-11 and certainly didn’t have a bad period overall. The game was still very much up for grabs heading into the second period and beyond.

Score: 2-1 Boston

Second Period

The Canes didn’t take long to capitalize in the second period, as Aho found himself wide open in front of Rask and snuck on through the five-hole and in to tie things up at two.

Trevor van Riemsdyk of all people sprung loose for a breakaway that was stifled by John Moore to keep the game tied. It was a fairly sloppy start to the period at times for the Bruins in terms of the flow of play and connecting passes.

On the topic of sloppy play, McAvoy was muscled off the puck by Aho who eventually found the puck back on his stick for a one-timer past Rask to strip the Bruins of their lead. If McAvoy moves the puck quicker, that play doesn’t happen, the mental mistake ended up costing the Bruins here. It was 3-0 Carolina with 12:36 to go in the period thanks to Aho’s second goal of the period.

Things didn’t get any better after that as Justin Faulk sent a wrist shot into traffic and past Rask to give Carolina a two-goal lead in a period that they had solid control of. Four unanswered goals are something that you never want to see unless you’re the team doing it. Aho nearly made it a natural hat-trick as he streaked down his off-wing and sent a shot on net that fooled Rask but somehow stayed out of the net. Brass Bonanza was playing a whole lot.

Rask prevented further disaster with a huge save on Lucas Wallmark, followed by another on a scrum out front. It was a really ugly period for the Bruins. Ryan Donato helped stop the bleeding a bit when he sniped one in the top left corner past Mrazek. 4-3 Canes late in the period thanks to Donato’s fifth goal of the season and second of the game, and Colby Cave’s fourth assist.

McAvoy made a huge play on Clark Bishop late, keeping the losing margin at one, Although they were outshot heavily through two, 16-7 in the period, 29-18 overall, the Bruins managed to keep this one close heading into the final frame.

Score: 4-3 Carolina

Third Period

The effort level took a step up to start the period for the Bruins, Joakim Nordstrom and Donato had two pretty nice chances to test Mrazek. Ferland eventually took a penalty, giving the Bruins a chance to capitalize on their momentum and even things up on the power play. The shots were 4-0 Bruins through the first until Rask fumbled the puck behind the net, making the initial save on Aho, but not on Teravainen. 5-3 Carolina. The Svechnikov-Aho-Teravainen line had a field day.

Ryan Donato nearly made it three on a late wraparound attempt, Mrazek was solid in the third. A too many men penalty with just around five and a half minutes left helped in axing any chance the Bruins had to win when it was all said and done. But things were interesting late, as Rask was pulled with 2:40 to go, right as Andrei Svechnikov took a boarding penalty. A 6-on-4 was on the table late for the Bruins. Nordstrom made a save on the empty net, so there’s that. With 36.5 seconds left, Bruce Cassidy took a timeout. But there just wasn’t enough in the final frame to come out with the win. The loss marked the Bruins’ first regulation loss against Carolina since April 13, 2013.

After a rough start, Carolina took control of this one for much of the game. The shots were 12-8 Bruins in the third, and 37-30 Canes overall. Next up are the New Jersey Devils on Thursday at TD Garden at 7:00 PM ET.

Final Score: 5-3 Carolina

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Anaheim: 12/20/18

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(Photo Credit: Associated Press/Winslow Townson)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Anaheim Ducks

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Krejci – Pastrnak

Nordstrom – Cave – Backes

Donato – Forsbacka-Karlsson – Heinen

Kuraly – Acciari – Wagner

Defense

Grzelcyk – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Moore – Kampfer

Goalies

Halak

Rask

Anaheim’s Lineup

Forwards

Aberg – Getzlaf– Kase

Ritchie – Henrique – Sprong

Cogliano – Kesler – Silfverberg

Gibbons – Rowney – Sherwood

Defense

Larsson – Manson

Lindholm – Montour

Mahura – Dotchin

Goalies

Gibson

Johnson

First Period

The Bruins came into this one 0-8-1 in their last nine games against the Ducks. So they came in with some demons to take care of. The Ducks had won eight of their last ten games entering this one. Jaroslav Halak is 6-0-1 at home this season. It was anyone’s game based on these contrasting numbers.

John Moore took an early tripping penalty three minutes in. The Ducks sat in the power play basement at 25th in the NHL, the Bruins penalty kill was 22nd before both were tested for the first time. The Bruins won this time and killed the penalty successfully, the Ducks failed to record a shot on goal.

Just under four minutes later, Andrew Cogliano reciprocated Moore’s penalty and went to the box for a tripping penalty of his own. The Bruins held the 5th best power play in the NHL, the Ducks penalty kill held the 14th best penalty kill. Boston failed to convert on the power play, and Danton Heinen went to the box for interference with four seconds left in the man advantage. For what it’s worth, I’m not sure knocking a stick out of someone’s hands, like Heinen did, should be considered interference. It was whistles galore early on for the referees. Anaheim didn’t convert on the power play.

Joakim Nordstrom nearly set Colby Cave up to break the ice in the final 30 seconds of the period, but Cave was robbed by the sprawling pad of John Gibson. It was a pretty slow period until the last few minutes or so. The shots were 8-7 in favor of the Bruins. Anaheim had 12 giveaways to the Bruins four giveaways. This one was up for grabs after 20 minutes.

Score: 0-0

Second Period

The tempo was a bit more lively to start the second frame. Close to eight minutes in, as David Pastrnak went to step around Hampus Lindholm, Lindholm interfered with him to impede his progress and took a penalty as a result.

Speaking of Pastrnak, he caught a sweet no-look pass from Torey Krug to break the ice on the man advantage off of a one-timer, his 22nd of the season. Krug’s 17th assist gave him 200 as a Bruin, passing Mike O’Connell for the most by a U.S. born player in Bruins history. David Backes’ sixth assist of the season marked the 300th of his NHL career.

Another iffy penalty call came in the form of a slashing penalty on Brad Marchand. Anaheim went to the man advantage a little bit past the midway point of the period. Halak made a great save on Brandon Montour on the back door on the penalty kill. Yeah, I rhyme when I write on occasion. No dice for Anaheim on the power play, one shot on goal, and it was stopped in spectacular fashion.

Halak continued the stellar play with a pair of consecutive saves on Pontus Aberg and Ondrej Kase. Flip the script and Brad Marchand found himself on the receiving end of a slash this time. The power play ended quickly on a “tic-tac-goal” by Krug as coined by Bruins play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards. The whole sequence happened so quickly that Anaheim didn’t even touch the puck. The goal marked Krug’s fourth of the season and second point of the game, Marchand’s 24th assist, and Pastrnak’s 21st assist and second point of the game.

In a period that had more tempo and liveliness to it, the Bruins outshot the Ducks again, 10-8. The overall shots after two were 18-15 Bruins. Momentum was in favor of the home team heading into the third period.

Score: 2-0 Boston

Third Period

Brandon Carlo took a hooking penalty on Brian Gibbons early in the period, giving Anaheim a chance to inject some life into this game on their end. The Bruins’ penalty-killing units continued their spotless night and brought the game back to even strength unscathed.

David Krejci continued his point streak to eight games just after the conclusion of the Anaheim power play with his seventh goal of the year and the 600th point of his NHL career. It’s a milestone kind of night for the Bruins. Like Krug’s goal, Marchand (25) and Pastrnak (22) had the helpers.

Dress with style, score with style. Krejci is on fire. Marchand drew another penalty, this time a hooking call on Ryan Getzlaf. The Bruins were 2 for 3 heading into this power play, but failed to score. Halak continued his dominance throughout the period to the end.

Josh Mahura beat Halak late from the point to spoil the shutout with just over four minutes to go for his first career goal. Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour went to the locker room in the final few minutes after colling with Lindholm on the bench. The Ducks made things a bit interesting late with the Mahura goal and by pulling the goalie, albeit taking a while to do so.

Dating back to his shutout win against the Canadiens, Halak has stopped 46 of the last 47 shots that he has faced. The Bruins win their second game in a row. Next up are the Nashville Predators at TD Garden on Saturday at 1:00 PM ET for some matinee hockey.

Final Score: 3-1 Boston

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

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

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Montreal Canadiens

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Krejci – Pastrnak

Nordstrom – Cave – Backes

Donato – Forsbacka-Karlsson – Heinen

Kuraly – Acciari – Wagner

Defense

Grzelcyk – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Moore – Kampfer

Goalies

Halak

Rask

Montreal’s Lineup

Forwards

Drouin – Domi – Shaw

Tatar – Danault – Gallagher

Byron – Kotkaniemi – Lehkonen

Agostino – Chaput – Peca

Defense

Kulak – Weber

Reilly – Petry

Schlemko – Juulsen

Goalies

Price

Niemi

First Period

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

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

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

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

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

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

Score: 1-0 Boston

Second Period

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

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

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

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

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

Score: 2-0 Boston

Third Period

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

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

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

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

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

Final Score: 4-0 Boston

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston At Tampa Bay: 12/6/18

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(Photo Credit: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Tampa Bay Lightning

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Cave – Pastrnak

Nordstrom – Krejci – DeBrusk

Donato – Forsbacka-Karlsson – Acciari

Heinen – Kuraly – Backes

Defense

Krug – Carlo

Moore – McAvoy

Grzelcyk – Kampfer

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Tampa Bay’s Lineup

Forwards

Palat – Stamkos – Gourde

Johnson – Point – Kucherov

Killorn – Cirelli – Miller

Joseph – Paquette – Callahan

Defense

Hedman – Girardi

McDonagh – Cernak

Coburn – Sergachev

Goalies

Domingue

Pasquale

First Period

Brandon Carlo returned last week, Charlie McAvoy returned tonight. The picture got a bit clearer ahead of this tough Atlantic division showdown with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Just over two minutes in, David Pastrnak broke things open after kicking a loose puck to himself and potting for his 20th goal of the year. Colby Cave had the helper, his second of the year.

The Kucherov line struck late in the period after a bit of back-and-forth. Brayden Point buried his 21st goal of the year in close proximity to Tuukka Rask, putting himself ahead of Pastrnak again in the goal-scoring race. Pastrnak tried to retake his lead of Brayden Point on a late breakaway, but was denied by an impressive toe-save by Louis Domingue.

Tampa Bay outshot Boston 15-11 and neither team took a penalty in the first until Charlie McAvoy took a hooking penalty late. Overall, it was a clean, fast-paced period on both sides.

Score: 1-1

Second Period

Marchand and Nordstrom killed McAvoy’s penalty to start the period. Tuukka made some big saves early on to keep the game tied, with the best being on a laser off the stick of Nikita Kucherov.

Noel Acciari nearly buried one with the extra man on with the delayed penalty before the whistle was blown as Victor Hedman went off for tripping. Seeing Charlie McAvoy back on the power play was a nice sight to see. Despite a good power play showing, nothing came out of it on the scoreboard.

David Backes and Anthony Cirelli found themselves in a scuffle in the first instance of nastiness in the game late in the period. Both teams were flying from there on out to wrap up the second period. Most notably, Steven Stamkos came in with speed and that heavy shot, only to be stopped by Rask on a golden chance. The shots were heavily in favor of the Bruins (12-6), and 23-21 Bruins overall, but they couldn’t break the tie. A pivotal third period lied ahead for both teams.

Score: 1-1

Third Period

Mathieu Joseph gave Tampa Bay an added boost when he slid a backhand shot right through the five-hole of Rask to give them the lead. Not too long after, Domingue sent one out of play, handing the Bruins a power play on a delay of game call.

The power play did not go well. Cirelli capitalized off a blocked shot and flew into the offensive zone, beating Rask on a breakaway to widen the lead to two. It was a terrible start to the period for the Bruins, two goals in a minute and 23 seconds for Tampa Bay.

Things were fairly bleak for much of the period until David sent a half slapper from the point past Domingue off a Tampa Bay stick, cutting the lead to one with 1:45 to go in regulation. The goal marked Krejci’s third of the season and first in 19 games, Pastrnak notched his 12th assist on the goal, for Backes, it was his third.

Krejci’s goal wasn’t enough as even though Marchand had a great chance in the dying seconds, Tampa Bay came out with the win. Shots in the period were 11-9 Bruins, 34-30 overall. Rask made 27 saves in the loss. Next up is are the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday at 7 PM ET at TD Garden.

Final Score: 3-2 Tampa Bay

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston At Detroit: 11/21/18

Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) is congratulated at the bench after scoring during the first period.

(Photo Credit: Mary Schwalm/AP)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Detroit Red Wings

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Bjork – Krejci – Pastrnak

Marchand – Nordstrom – DeBrusk

Heinen – Forsbacka-Karlsson – Acciari

Wagner – Kuraly – Backes

Defense

Grzelcyk – Miller

Krug – Clifton

Lauzon – Kampfer

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Detroit’s Lineup

Forwards

Abdelkader – Larkin – Mantha

Nyquist – Nielsen – Athanasiou

Rasmussen – Glendening – Bertuzzi

Vanek – de la Rose – Frk

Defense

Daley – Green

Kronwall – Cholowski

DeKeyser – Jensen

Goalies

Howard

Bernier

First Period

The last time the Bruins and Red Wings met, the Bruins came out on top with an emphatic 8-2 win. In Little Caesars arena this time around, Detroit hoped for a change of fortune, coming in winning eight of their last ten games. But at the same time, Tuukka Rask came in with wins in eight of his last nine appearances against Detroit. Kevan Miller returned to the lineup after missing the last 13 games.

Detroit went the first 5:33 of the game without a shot on goal, while the Bruins had six. It was a pretty straightforward, back-and-forth period until Mike Green took a tripping penalty with 6:38 left in the period, giving the Bruins their first power play of the night. Nothing was going on the power play besides a couple of chances – goose eggs across the board.

There was some good back-and-forth action, but that’s about it despite the shots being largely in favor of the Bruins. They did a solid job of stifling Detroit in the neutral zone for a good chunk of the period. At the end of the first, the shots were 12-4 in favor of the Bruins.

Score: 0-0

Second Period

Jakob Forsbaca Karlsson broke the scoring silence at the 15:52 mark of the period. After scoring his first NHL goal last Saturday against Arizona, JFK clearly wanted more as he crashed hard to the net for that unassisted goal.

Tuukka Rask made an excellent two-part save on Michael Rasmussen to hold the lead. Rask continued to build on his solid performance from last Friday early on in this one. But, in what was a productive period in terms of shots for Detroit early on, they beat Rask on a slap shot from Nick Jensen that Tyler Bertuzzi tipped through the five-hole. Bertuzzi’s tricky deflection tied the game at one.

In the first period, Anders Bjork, David Krejci, and Jake DeBrusk saw some time together. In the second period, Danton Heinen, David Krejci, and David Pastrnak got some time together on the same line. DeBrusk also saw some ice time with Heinen and Krejci. Line shifting makes sense with Patrice Bergeron out for an extended period of time. The perfect solution won’t just drop into head coach Bruce Cassidy and crew’s collective lap. Bad news, Forsbacka Karlsson was sent to the dressing room shortly after his goal. He unintentionally deflected a pass across the offensive zone by Dylan Larkin up into his jaw. That’s never fun, so he went to the room to assess the damages.

Jacob de la Rose gave the Bruins a scare late in the period on a wrist shot that I can’t believe didn’t go in. So despite a late scare, the Bruins left the ice for the second intermission all tied up. The shots in the second period were 13-9 in favor of the Bruins, 25-13 Bruins after two.

Score:

Third Period

Forsbacka Karlsson did not return to the bench to start the period, so the Bruins rolled out 11 forwards temporarily. Forsbacka Karlsson eventually returned to the ice. The good news is that Chris Wagner gave the Bruins the lead just around seven minutes into the period. Sean Kuraly came from behind the net, spun and ripped a wrist shot towards Jimmy Howard right onto Wagner’s tape and in. The goal marked Wagner’s second goal of the season, and Kuraly notched his third assist.

The lead didn’t last long as Gustav Nyquist and Andreas Athanasiou flew into the offensive zone on a two-on-one. The end result was a rebound goal for Athanasiou that tied the game at two, and the goals were scored just 2:14 apart. Lots of scoring chances on both sides, not a lot of goal scoring. More line shifting came in the form of a Marchand, Forsbacka Karlsson, DeBrusk line. Headed to overtime, the shots were 35-25 Bruins overall and 12-10 Detroit in the period.

Score: 2-2

Overtime

Krejci, Pastrnak and Krug started for Boston, Mantha, Larkin, and DeKeyser started for Detroit. Pastrnak and Mantha traded good scoring chances early. Athanasiou ended it 49 seconds in with his second of the game for Detroit. Torey Krug and Brad Marchand just couldn’t corral the bouncing puck off of the draw, so Athanasiou spun around and sent one to the top corner and in. The Bruins get just the one point out of this one. Tuukka Rask made 24 saves on 27 shots in the loss.

Next up on the docket for the Bruins are the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night at home. Puck drop is set for 7:30 PM ET.

Final Score: 3-2 Detroit

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

—-> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Official SeatGiant Ticket Info <— 

Young Defensemen, Goaltenders Come Up Big For The Bruins Over The Weekend

Image result for bruins coyotes(Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin | AP)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

This weekend had the potential to be a turbulent one for the Bruins, but a couple gutsy efforts got them three out of four points. With an already battered defensive core, Zdeno Chara’s MCL injury against Colorado left them another man down, and John Moore’s lower-body injury hampered them even more against Arizona. The Bruins didn’t allow those injuries to let the floodgates open against the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes.

This comes in large part due to the new-look defensive core, and the goaltenders. Tuukka Rask started on Friday in his first start coming off his leave of absence and was the main reason they took a point out of the loss. Rask made 36 saves, and the young defensemen stepped up when they were needed to. Dallas, like Boston, has a battered defensive core themselves with John Klingberg, Marc Methot, Connor Carrick, and Stephen Johns out of the lineup. So looking into the game from the outside, it could have been a high scoring game – it wasn’t.

Against Dallas, Matt Grzelcyk led the team with 25:27 of ice time, Jeremy Lauzon played 24:52, and Connor Clifton played 18:53 in his NHL debut. Despite seeing increased roles, these guys did not look out of place. Connor Clifton racked up nine penalty minutes, in part thanks to dropping Stars veteran centerman Jason Spezza in a fight. When it comes to the physical part of hockey, Clifton doesn’t seem to mind getting amongst it. Jakub Zboril, who also made his debut, looked fairly solid overall in limited ice time.

Losing 1-0 in overtime is understandably frustrating, but it certainly wasn’t because of a lack of defensive presence and goaltending. Patrice Bergeron was banged up in the loss and was eventually sent back to Boston for evaluation, causing more lineup shifting in Arizona. Torey Krug emphasized the need to just power through and adapt to the injuries with a next-man-up mentality. His role in the team’s success cannot be overstated, as he filled his role as a puck-moving defender very well and logged over 22 minutes of ice time in both games.

Injuries were a theme this weekend as Arizona’s defensive core was missing Jakob Chychrun, Jason Demers, and Alex Goligoski against the Bruins last night. In a game that saw two-thirds of its goal scoring come in the first three minutes, both from the Bruins, playing sound defense was critical on both sides. Brad Richardson cut the deficit to one around the halfway point of the second period, but the defense stood tall in front of Jaroslav Halak in his 32-save win.

Jakub Zboril looked solid again in limited ice time, and Grzelcyk, Lauzon, and Clifton held it down in increased roles, all logging over 20 minutes of ice time. Without the sound defense provided, this game could have been ugly, as the Coyotes outshot the Bruins 33-23, and won 66 percent of their faceoffs. It’s safe to say that Patrice Bergeron’s absence had an impact on their success on the dot. Bergeron holds the second most faceoff wins in the league with 243, behind Jordan Staal’s 249, and the 15th best faceoff wins percentage at 55.7 percent.

This play by Jeremy Lauzon shines in a weekend where he had a heavy weight to carry on his shoulders, and he did.

Additionally, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson scored his first NHL goal, and Jake DeBrusk got on the board yet again. DeBrusk has five goals and six points in his last six games. With these injuries, the Bruins can only hope that they can get on the board more than they did this weekend and that their defensive core can continue to step up in the absence of key pieces.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston At Colorado: 11/14/18

(Photo Credit: AP Photo: David Zalubowski)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Colorado Avalanche

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

Nordstrom – Krejci – DeBrusk

Heinen – Forsbacka-Karlsson – Bjork

Wagner – Kuraly – Backes

Defense

Chara – Grzelcyk

Krug – Moore

Lauzon – Kampfer

Goalies

Halak

Rask

Colorado’s Lineup

Forwards

Landeskog – MacKinnon – Rantanen

Jost – Kerfoot – Wilson

Dries – Soderberg – Calvert

Nieto – Kamenev – Bourque

Defense

Girard – Johnson

Cole – Barrie

Zadorov – Barberio

Goalies

Varlamov

Grubauer

First Period

The top two lines headlined this late-night showdown in Colorado coming in. With three wins in their last four games, the Bruins entered the Pepsi Center with some momentum as they looked to stifle the MacKinnon line and company.

High-tempo and physicality were at the forefront of this game early. There wasn’t a stoppage of play until the 14:10 mark of the period. David Pastrnak almost scored his 17th goal of the season on a turnover off the stick of Gabriel Landeskog in the slot, but he rung the left post – marking the first big scoring chance of the game.

The MacKinnon line struck first off of a defensive miscue on part Zdeno Chara and poor coverage in front of the net. Gabriel Landeskog found himself alone on an island in the offensive zone, where he ripped one past Jaroslav Halak to give Colorado the advantage.

The potential for a break came in the Bruins favor when Mark Barberio took a cross-checking penalty with 5:10 to go in the period. Playing a man up has been a strong point this season for the Bruins, as their power play ranked third best in the league at 30 percent.

Early in the man advantage came the fourth post hit for the Bruins in the period, proving that the puck luck wasn’t on their side. Plenty of chances came out of the power play leading up to David Pastrnak burying his 17th goal of the season with 3:17 remaining. David Krejci sent a perfect slap pass towards the net for Pastrnak to redirect past Semyon Varlamov, tying the game at one. Krejci’s assist marked his 14th of the season, David Backes’ assist gave him his first point of the season. Jaroslav Halak followed that up by making a huge, sprawling save on Gabriel Landeskog to keep the game tied.

Miscommunication in the offensive zone between Nathan MacKinnon and Samuel Girard led to a loose puck being left in the neutral zone for Jake DeBrusk to dispose of in the back of the Colorado net on a breakaway with 39.7 seconds remaining. DeBrusk’s sixth of the season gave the Bruins their first lead of the game.

Shots at the end of the period were 10-7 in favor of the Bruins. It’s safe to say that the first period was one of the most, if not the most electric of the season. The pace was set for a wild game to come.

Score: 2-1 Boston

Second Period

Zdeno Chara was absent from the Bruins bench to start the period for unknown reasons, forcing the Bruins to operate with five defensemen. The clip below may provide a reason why. Chara did not play the rest of the game. The injury adds to a battered Bruins defensive core with Urho Vaakanainen, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Kevan Miller all out with injuries of their own.

Just a minute and 17 seconds into the period, Colin Wilson went to the box for Colorado. The Bruins made it two for two on the power play when David Pastrnak sent a one-timer from the point to the net to be tipped by Jake DeBrusk. His second of the game and seventh of the season gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead. DeBrusk then unleashed one of his vintage, electric goal celebrations.

A lengthy offensive zone stint for Colorado came in response, as it seemed the two-goal deficit lit a fire under them. Eventually, they got their first power play when David Pastrnak went off for hooking with 12:08 remaining – and they made good on it. Some swift puck movement allowed Mikko Rantanen to find space at the top of the circle on his off-wing, where he unleashed a heavy wrist shot past Halak – 3-2 Bruins.

The lack of whistles in this game was astonishing. Some of the best pace I’ve ever seen in a hockey game. Unfortunately, said pace came in large part due to Colorado’s ability to control the puck frequently in the neutral and offensive zones. Food for thought, the top two lines were changed up a bit late in the frame.

With 49 seconds to go in the period, Patrice Bergeron went off for hooking, as did Mikko Rantanen for embellishment. Neither team scored before the end of the period. The shots were 7-4 in favor of Colorado in the period and 14-14 through two periods.

Score: 3-2 Boston

Third Period

Both teams escaped the 4-on-4 unscathed. But not too long after, Matt Calvert found himself on a two-on-one with Carl Soderberg, sent a wrist shot at Halak and a wild bounce somehow led to the puck ending up in the net off of a spin-o-rama of all things. It was weird, really weird, and it tied the game with 17:49 to go.

Mikko Rantanen continued to feast with a slick assist on his buddy Nathan MacKinnon’s go-ahead goal with 10:58 to go. The Avalanche take their first lead since the early following Gabriel Landeskog’s goal.

Things didn’t get any better as the Bruins struggled to generate shots on goal in the third. With 6:20 remaining, David Krejci went to the box for holding, giving Colorado a great chance for an insurance marker. In the dying seconds of the power play, Girard sent a point shot on net that was deflected and found itself through and behind Halak for Tyson Jost to poke into the net and give Colorado a 5-3 lead.

After diving to keep a puck in the offensive zone against Vegas on Sunday night, David Krejci brought the heroics back. He chased a tumbling puck that was surely heading into the open Bruins cage and threw it out of harms way right in front of the goal line. Halak was pulled early in hopes to provide enough of an advantage to even this crazy game up.

Lots of chances, no dice. Patrice Bergeron took a hooking penalty on Nathan MacKinnon, putting the dagger in things for the Bruins in a wild game. Alex Kerfoot added insult to injury with 15 seconds to go when he tipped a Carl Soderberg shot past Halak, making it 6-3 Colorado. The final shots were 25-23 in favor of Colorado in their winning effort. All attention shifts to Friday when the Bruins will take on the Dallas Stars on the road at 8 PM ET.

Final Score: 6-3 Colorado

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Dallas: 11/5/18

Image result for bruins vs. stars(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Steven Senne)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Dallas Stars

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

Nordstrom – Krejci – DeBrusk

Heinen – Backes – Bjork

Wagner – Kuraly – Acciari

Defense

Chara – Carlo

Krug – Moore

Grzelcyk – Kampfer

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Dallas’s Lineup

Forwards

Shore – Seguin – Janmark

Benn – Spezza – Nichushkin

Comeau – Faksa – Pitlick

Smith – Dickinson – Dowling

Defense

Lindell – Klingberg

Heiskanen – Polak

Heatherington – Honka

Goalies

Khudobin

Bishop

First Period

Old friends Anton Khudobin and Tyler Seguin led Dallas into Boston in featured roles. Winners of their last three coming in, the Stars came in with some pep in their collective step. Despite not scoring a goal in his last 10 games, Seguin has been the top dog in Dallas, entering the game with 14 points in 13 games. Former University of Denver Pioneers head coach Jim Montgomery took over behind the bench for the Stars over the summer. This game marks the first time Montgomery’s Stars will take on the Bruins.

The World Series trophy was in the building as Sam Kennedy, John Henry, and Joe Kelly represented the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox as they hit the ice for the ceremonial puck drop.

How wholesome is this?

A game-time decision throughout the day, Matt Grzelcyk returned to the Bruins lineup after a two-game absence. The defensive core gets a missing piece back, with Charlie McAvoy and Kevan Miller still injured. He had five assists in 11 games in October.

The first power play of the game came at the 16:35 mark when Roman Polak went off for interference. Just 26 seconds later, Radek Faksa sent a bad-angle shot on net that beat Tuukka Rask. The shorthanded goal from Faksa made it 1-0 Dallas early, but that lead didn’t last for long. A minute and 20 seconds later, Patrice Bergeron snagged a loose puck off of a battle in the corner and found a wide open David Pastrnak for his league-leading 12th goal of the season. Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk had the assists with their 13th and first assists respectively.

Torey Krug nearly buried one late on a rush with Sean Kuraly. As one of the league’s premier offensive defensemen, Krug has made a very noticeable difference in the flow of the Bruins’ transition offense since returning to the lineup last Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Despite the game being tied, the Bruins pushed the pace as they outshot the Stars 13-4. Shot attempts were a daunting 22-6 in favor of the Bruins. After an intense start to the period, things settled down a bit and stayed at a stalemate heading into the second intermission.

Score: 1-1

Second Period

Back on the topic of Torey Krug, he nearly made it 2-1 Bruins less than two minutes into the period with a booming wrist shot from the left circle that nicked the inside of the post. Zdeno Chara nearly scored not too long after, starting a trend of defensive involvement early. Noel Acciari then found himself in on a two-on-one – and he hit the post. The chances were there early on in the game, just not the execution.

The fourth line was buzzing for the Bruins at all times. Otherwise, it was a fairly bland period on both sides. Brad Marchand put a Dallas defender in a blender for a good chance late, but again, nothing going, both goalies were making key saves in fairly limited action. A quick whistle late prevented what would have been a sure second goal of the season for Anders Bjork – resounding boos came from the TD Garden crowd as a result.

Brad Marchand responded shortly after with a chance of his own on a wraparound but was stopped by the active stick of Stars defenseman Julius Honka at the goal line.

The shots evened themselves out, as they were 9-8 in favor of the Stars in the second period – 21-13 Bruins throughout the game at this point. The Bruins pushed the pace throughout the majority of the game to this point, but the 1-1 score made it, so things were still up for grabs heading into the third period.

Score: 1-1

Third Period

It’s getting crazy at this point. Patrice Bergeron was centimeters from finally giving the Bruins a one-goal lead. Take a look.

The theme of offensive dominance for the Bruins continued as Dallas couldn’t get anything going past the neutral zone in the first half of the third period. Neither team had many shots in the early going, but the chances and consistency of offensive pressure were all Bruins.

The referees were pretty lenient until Torey Krug took a questionable boarding penalty and was rightfully frustrated. A slight push from Krug on Gemel Smith en route to the corner sent Smith into the boards awkwardly. Nonetheless, the Bruins saw their first penalty kill scenario of the night. Tuukka Rask nearly handed Dallas a goal on an attempt to play the puck gone wrong, but the Bruins escaped the penalty kill unscathed.

A high-octane end to regulation followed but again, no one could finish. Free hockey in Boston. Shots were 32-23 overall, 11-10 in the period in favor of Bruins at the end of regulation. David Pastrnak had one shot on goal in regulation, which is uncommon, but he made good on it.

Score: 1-1

Overtime

Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Torey Krug led off in overtime for the Bruins, opposed by Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and John Klingberg. Patrice Bergeron rung the pipe on a two-on-one with Brad Marchand for the win. Krug ate a cannon from Klingberg to keep overtime alive.

With 1:44 to go, Dallas fell victim to an unfortunate too many men on the ice penalty. Then, Esa Lindell went to the box for boarding ten seconds later – it’s a 5-on-3 in overtime for the Bruins.

Who else but Brad Marchand to end it? Anton Khudobin’s stellar night came to an end on the 5-on-3 advantage. David Krejci and Torey Krug held down the blue line, and the top line handled things up front to cap off a gritty win. The goal marked Marchand’s fifth goal of the season, proceeded by David Krejci and Torey Krug’s eighth and second assists respectively.

Tuukka Rask was stellar after letting up an early goal to Faksa, stopping 24 of 25 shots. Final shots were 35-25 Bruins. Next up on the docket are the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday at home at 7:00 PM ET.

Final Score: 2-1

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Sports Spot 11/5/18: Episode 6: Bruins Need A Top-Six Winger

Sports Spot Logo (BNG).jpg

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

It’s all Bruins and Patriots in episode six of Sports Spot. The Bruins need to balance out the scoring up-front and a trade for a top-six, scoring winger might be just what they need. We talked about multiple players that could be a good fit including the big fish in the pond, Artemi Panarin, as well as guys like Wayne Simmonds, Mats Zuccarello, and Josh Anderson. Listen and enjoy.

Bruins segment:

1:50-47:40

Please follow the Sports Spot co-hosts on Twitter:

@Mike_Cratty

@ryan_salvaggio

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

Twitter:

@SportsSpotWMCK

SoundCloud:

 

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Philadelphia: 10/25/18

Boston Bruins' Jake DeBrusk celebrates his goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens in Boston, Saturday, March 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Philadelphia Flyers

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

Heinen – Krejci – DeBrusk

Bjork – Nordstrom – Wagner

Donato – Kuraly – Acciari

Defense

Chara – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Moore

Lauzon – Kampfer

Goalies

Halak

Rask

Philadelphia’s Lineup

Forwards

Giroux – Couturier – Konecny

Laughton – Patrick – Voracek

Lindblom – Weal – Simmonds

Weise – Lehtera – Knight

Defense

Provorov – Hagg

Gostisbehere – MacDonald

Sanheim – Gudas

Goalies

Elliott

Neuvirth

First Period

Coming off of a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night, the Bruins came into this one looking to start a winning streak. With Charlie McAvoy, Kevan Miller, and now Urho Vaakanainen out of the lineup, Jeremy Lauzon is the next man up on the back end. The Bruins come into this one with a 6-1-2 record against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden in their last nine contests.

The game started out with some good back-and-forth on both sides of the ice. Jeremy Lauzon landed a solid open-ice hit on Oskar Lindblom. Most notably, the third line was buzzing with energy and offensive zone pressure for the Bruins.

At the 12:49 mark of the period, David Pastrnak and Claude Giroux were sent to the box for hooking and holding the stick respectively, creating a 4-on-4. The extra room to work on the ice did not prove fruitful in getting on the score sheet, but another opportunity came for the Bruins shortly after. Robert Hagg sat for two minutes after slashing Brad Marchand, creating a big chance for the Bruins to take advantage of being a man up. One shot on goal and two minutes later, both teams still held goose eggs on the scoreboard.

Zdeno Chara fell victim to an awkward delay of game penalty with just under two minutes to go in the period. The Bruins held off the Flyers’ power play for the remaining minute and 55 seconds, but Chara’s penalty will bleed into the second period for five seconds.

The first period was much of the same throughout. A back-and-forth period overall just like the start. Philadelphia looked a bit lackadaisical at times. Jeremy Lauzon did not look fazed in his first period as an NHL defenseman in 3:28 of ice time. Anders Bjork really stood out while buzzing around the puck pretty consistently. The shots were 7-7, a deadlock, just like the score.

Score: 0-0

Second Period

Jaroslav Halak made some key saves in the first half of the second frame. They stood out central to the goaltending battle theme of this game.

Danton Heinen put one in the high glass while all alone in front of Brian Elliott – both teams were snakebitten. Heinen made up for it and helped break the ice by feeding Zdeno Chara for a one-timer that beat Brian Elliott exactly seven minutes to go in the period. It was the second goal of the year for Chara, third assist for Heinen.

 

 

 

The good old too many men on the ice sent the Flyers to the penalty kill, with Travis Konecny serving the minor penalty. David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk made them pay for the bench minor. DeBrusk parked himself out front for a quick tip past Elliott to make it 2-0 Bruins. It was the third goal of the year for DeBrusk, assisted by David Krejci (7) and Steven Kampfer (1).

https://twitter.com/mkmolnar/status/1055619549356277761

It took a little while to get on the scoresheet, but the Bruins took control and capitalized on a Philly team that just couldn’t find the back of the net. The shots still remained tied after two, this time with 18 on both sides. Jaroslav Halak left the ice for intermission with an 18-save shutout going.

Score: 2-0 Boston

Third Period

Steven Kampfer was throwing his weight around in the third. First on Corban Knight, the on Scott Laughton. The hit on Laughton drew an angry mob to the scene. Kampfer took Laighton to the ground and landed some jabs. Simmonds and Kampfer were penalized for roughing as a result of the skirmish, with Kampfer getting four minutes. Ryan Donato joined him to serve the penalty.

 

 

The penalties didn’t end as Chara went to the box for a second time, this time for tripping. The Bruins killed off a four second 5-on-3 and then some to finally get back to even strength.

In a game where they struggled to score, Travis Konecny took a tripping penalty with five-and-a-half minutes to go. Just over a minute and 30 seconds into the power play for the Bruins, Jake DeBrusk was called for interference while fighting for territory in front of Brian Elliott. Steven Kampfer and Scott Laughton exchanged words after their encounter earlier in the game, and Andrew MacDonald ended up in the box for slashing Jake DeBrusk in response.

Ryan Donato got jumped for crashing the net and started yet another skirmish in the Philadelphia defensive zone before Oskar Lindblom took an interference penalty in the final two minutes of regulation.

Make it two for Zdeno Chara. What did he do with the empty net opportunity behind the Bruins goal line? He sent it on net, because why not? It worked and marked his third goal of the season. Jaroslav Halak notched the first assist of his Bruins career on the goal. To keep up with a common theme, there was a scuffle at the buzzer.

The final shots were 26-25 in favor of the Flyers, making it a 26-save shutout for Jaroslav Halak. Next up for the Bruins are the Montreal Canadiens at home at 7:00 PM.

Final Score: 3-0 Boston