Eastern Conference Final Game 1 Preview – Hurricanes at Bruins

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photo credit: Associated Press 

By Mandi Mahoney | check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

Here we are, the Eastern Conference Final! For the first time in a decade, the Carolina Hurricanes will be making an appearance in this round of playoff hockey. They will be facing the Bruins tonight at what is sure to be a rocking TD Garden. This will undoubtedly be a fun and interesting series, with all sorts of young players, old players, and goaltenders doing great things this season, and a multitude of fascinating storylines for everyone ti discuss.

Examples:

  • Can Tuukka Rask steal another series?
  • How will Brad Marchand offend the entire league next?
  • Is Greg McKegg’s full name Gregory McKeggory?
  • Is Dougie Hamilton still a no-fun wet blanket? Will he miss a morning skate because he’s at the Botticelli exhibit at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum? Was he responsible for the heist?
  • Can Petr Mrazek keep playing like this? Does he really hate vowels?
  • Will the ghost of Scott Walker haunt the Bruins, help the Canes, or not appear?
  • How will the Bruins defense hold up without convicted criminal Charlie McAvoy?
  • How many times will Garden Organist Ron Poster play Brass Bonanza during the series?

We digress… let’s get the details down before the series begins!

Game Details:

  • Where: TD Garden, Boston, 8:00pm
  • Who: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Boston Bruins
  • The game will be televised on NBC Sports
  • Leading Scorers: Brad Marchand (BOS), 5 goals, 8 assists; Jaccob Slavin (CAR), 11 assists
  • Goalies: Tuukka Rask (BOS) 8 wins, 5 losses | 2.02 goals against average, .930 save percentage; Petr Mrazek (CAR) 5 wins, 3 losses | 2.22 goals against average, .913 save percentage
  • Injuries: Kevan Miller (BOS – lower body), Trevor van Riemsdyk (CAR – upper body), Saku Maenalenen (CAR – upper body)
  • Miscellaneous: Charlie McAvoy will serve his one game suspension for a hit to the head on Columbus’ Josh Anderson tonight.

 

Boston Bruins Lines:

Forwards:

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – David Backes

Marcus Johansson – Charlie Coyle – Danton Heinen

Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner

Defense:

Zdeno Chara – Connor Clifton

Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk – Steven Kampfer

Goalies:

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

Carolina Hurricanes Lines:

Forwards:

Andrei Svechnikov – Sebastian Aho – Teuvo Teravainen

Nino Niederreiter – Jordan Staal – Justin Williams

Warren Foegele – Lucas Wallmark – Brock McGinn

Micheal Ferland – Greg McKregg – Jordan Martinook

Defense:

Jaccob Slavin – Dougie Hamilton

Brett Pesce – Justin Faulk

Haydn Fleury – Calvin de Haan

Goalies:

Petr Mrazek

Curtis McElhinney

Keys to the game:

  • Team defense is going to be an important focus with Charlie McAvoy out of the lineup and Chara looking, well, old.
  • Goaltending is going to need to be solid, as the Cane are a speedy team with some scoring threats in Ferland, Svechnikov, and Aho
  • The Bruins cannot be a one or two line team. Things are clicking for Carolina lately, and all their lines are going to be buzzing. The Bruins’ entire roster needs to be engaged tonight.
  • Special teams are going to be a factor – the Bruins have the best powerplay in the league this postseason, and their penalty kill is solid as well. Hopefully they stay out of the box, but if they do end up on the kill, Carolina may have some trouble converting, which is an obvious plus.
  • The Bruins should not underestimate Carolina. They are a legitimate threat and have been playing some great hockey lately. Boston must take their opponent seriously, regardless of whether they’re a bunch of jerks.

 

Something’s Gotta Give: Pastrnak Bumped To Third Line

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photo credit: USA Today sports

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on twitter @phoneymahoney

Bruce Cassidy needs to get his team going in order to prevent having their backs against the wall as they did for two games straight in the first round versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. Yesterday, the Bruins tweeted their practice lines, and to the surprise (and even dismay) of many, right wing David Pastrnak was playing on the third line alongside trade deadline acquisitions Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson. Pastrnak’s playoff stats may not quite show it, but anyone who has watched even a period of Boston Bruins hockey this postseason can tell as plain as day that Pastrnak is seriously struggling to play at the level we are all used to seeing from him.

Since the beginning of the playoffs, Pastrnak has been turning the puck over constantly, taking weak shots, and totally missing the mark when passing. Even worse, he has passed the puck instead of taking shots on many scoring opportunities While this has been a problem through the Bruins’ top six, Pastrnak has looked to be struggling more than most.  In fact, his travails have led many people to assume he is concealing some sort of upper body injury, as his skating appears to be fine. This gluten-free Pasta is not getting it done, and the Bruins’ coaching staff must address the issues with his game.

Pastrnak has notched three goals and assisted on four for a total of seven points in nine playoff games. That’s a respectable number, but it’s not what the team or its fans have come to expect from Pasta. Typically, when the Bruins need a big goal, Head Coach Bruins Cassidy can put his top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Pastrnak on the ice and have a reasonably good chance to get the goal he needs out of them. The problem this postseason is that all three of them are struggling, and it’s been brutal to watch.

With Pastrnak skating on the third line instead of the first, two-way wing Danton Heinen will be skating in his place with Bergeron and Marchand. Some fans are wondering what playing on the third line will do for a guy who is having trouble finding his game, and the answer typically is that it will get him back to basics and help him simplify his game. If a scorer is having trouble putting the biscuit in the basket, then he needs to at least be playing strongly otherwise, and at the moment, Pastrnak is not. Playing with Coyle and Johansson will likely give Pastrnak a chance to do so.

This should not be looked at as a punishment in any way — coaches need to move players around the lineup when things aren’t working — and the top line isn’t working right now, so here we are. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got, right? As a fan base, we cannot complain about a coach’s unwillingness to change his lineup or move players from line to line (this was a gripe often heard about former Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien), and then complain about where those players end up at the same time. That’s a total double standard, so let’s give this a chance.

Another thing to consider here is that if Pastrnak plays on the third line and things aren’t clicking, Cassidy can always move him back to skate alongside one of the centers he’s used to, whether that center be Patrice Bergeron, or David Krejci. This is not permanent, nor is it a punishment. Cassidy has to make changes to his lines, or he’s cutting off his nose to spite his face. He cannot worry about players’ and fans’ feelings during a playoff run. Furthermore, Pastrnak will still be playing on the power play (and scored during a power play drill in practice), so the Bruins are still going to rely on him offensively. Third line duty will hopefully help him get his groove back, though.

Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson will likely benefit from having such a speedy, skilled wing on their line, as well. With Coyle’s defensively responsible grinding game, and Johansson’s silky-soft hands, putting the three together could turn out to be a match made in heaven. It will also make the lineup deeper and give the Bruins a more balanced attack, especially since that leaves energetic rookie Karson Kuhlman playing right wing on the second line, with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci, who are not producing to their standards lately, either.

If the Bruins come out of the tunnel flying like they didn’t during game one, and Pastrnak can settle his nerves a bit and get back to basics, the Bruins can absolutely win game three against the Blue Jackets in hostile territory… even if there’s a cannon involved. Of course, if the Bruins don’t want to hear the cannon, they could always shut Columbus out. Hopefully these line changes help the offense get moving again tonight.

Round 2 | Game Two: Boston Bruins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

photo credit: USA Today Images

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on twitter @phoneymahoney

The Bruins came out flying against Columbus, notching a 3-2 in overtime during game 1. They played like the Bruins team we had been waiting for, and never saw, during the first round series against Toronto. Goaltender Tuukka Rask was fantastic, and was only beaten by two total fluke goals: one that was deflected so many times that it was reminiscent of Larry Bird playing Michael Jordan for his Big Mac in the classic McDonald’s commercial, and one that hit the twin after deflecting off Pierre-Luc Dubois’ gluteus maximus.

It was the epitome of a playoff game and the atmosphere in the Garden was intense; the place was absolutely rocking. The Bruins came to play, and while the Blue Jackets didn’t make their best showing of the season, they were still a very worthy opponent. If Boston thinks this series is going to be a cakewalk, they are sorely mistaken. Columbus has some elite talent and those players won’t be silent for long. It should not be forgotten that this is the team that swept the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Speaking of silence, the chirping has already begun:

Pre-Game And Series Notes

Where / when: TD Garden, Boston, at 8:00PM.

The series: Bruins lead series 1-0

Last game: Boston, 3-2 OT

Scoring Leaders:

BOS: Brad Marchand, 9 points; Charlie Coyle, 5 goals

CBJ: Matt Duchene, 7 points, 3 goals

Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask, 5-3, .927 save percentage, 2.25 goals against average

CBJ: Sergei Bobrovsky, 4-1, .929 save percentage, 2.17 goals against average

Lineups:

The Bruins’ lineup will likely include the usual suspects, as David Krejci was on the ice during the morning skate. Krejci may be deferring to playoff hero Charlie Coyle during power play faceoffs as he sustained some sort of upper body injury when former Bruin and Blue Jackets fourth liner Riley Nash checked him during game 1.

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Danton Heinen

Marcus Johansson – Charlie Coyle – Chris Wagner

Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Noel Acciari

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton

Tuukka Rask

BOS INJURIES: Kevan Miller (lower body), John Moore (upper body)

Columbus is likely to roll the following lines – though deadline acquisition Ryan Dzingel appears to be questionable for tonight. According to the Blue Jackets’ Instagram, he will be in the lineup this evening. If he isn’t, expect to see Alexander Wennberg instead. We’ll see what happens there.

Artemi Panarin – Pierre-Luc Dubois – Oliver Bjorkstrand

Ryan Dzingel – Matt Duchene – Cam Atkinson

Alexander Texier – Nick Foligno – Josh Anderson

Riley Nash – Boone Jenner – Brandon Dubinsky

Zach Werenski – Seth Jones

Dean Kukan – David Savard

Adam Clendening – Scott Harrington

Sergei Bobrovsky

CBJ INJURIES: Ryan Murray (upper body), Adam McQuaid (head), Markus Nuttivaara (upper body), Vladislav Gavrikov (immigration issue)

photo credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

Keys To The Game

If the Bruins want to come out on top, they’re going to need to continue to create traffic in front of Bobrovsky and put as many pucks on net as possible in order to create rebounds. They cannot let themselves be pushed to the perimeter, and they must bring their physical game. The Blue Jackets have a little bit of everything in their lineup, and the Bruins will need to be ready for it. Speed and physicality are going to be big factors throughout the series.

Boston hasn’t had much rest since their first round series went to seven games, and the Blue Jackets should be fairly refreshed, having enjoyed nine days off after vanquishing the Lightning in a quick four games. Hopefully the Jackets are a little bit demoralized after their rusty showing on Thursday (don’t bet on it), and the Bruins can continue to capitalize on the momentum they’ve built over their last three games. The only thing anyone knows about this series is that it’s going to be a lot of fun. With any luck, we will enjoy the result as much as we’re enjoying the journey.

Seven Key Bruins Who Need To Perform In Game Seven

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photo credit: Matthew J. Lee / Boston Globe staff

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on twitter @phoneymahoney

For the third time in seven seasons, the Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs will be facing off in a seven game playoff series. The Bruins made a legendary comeback to win in 2013, and won again in 2018. Should the following players keep their heads in the game and perform to their capabilities, there is no reason the Bruins can’t advance to the second round again.

Tuukka Rask

Always a controversial topic among Bruins fans, Rask has had a whirlwind season. Things started off ugly with a blowout loss to the Washington Capitals, then there was a short leave of absence, followed by some streaky play. All in all, the Finnish goaltender has been solid, but not world class, this season, putting up a 2.48 goals against average, and a save percentage of .912. He was very good in game 5, but the rest of the team wasn’t, so the Leafs were able to take the series lead. His performance on Easter Sunday was masterful, and the Bruins went on to force game 7 by nothing a 4-2 win.

The Bruins will need another great performance out of Rask, as nothing takes the wind out of their sails like a bad goal can. Obviously the team defense has allowed Rask to be tested far more than he should be, but the Finnish netminder is going to have to overcome his skaters’ shortcomings if the Bruins are going to advance to the Conference Semifinals. It’s certainly not encouraging when the team is giving up breakaways to a star studded roster of forwards on the regular, but these goals need to be prevented nonetheless. However frustrating it may be, Rask has got to keep his head in the game, as he has for the last two games.

Torey Krug

Torey Krug is another player some Bruins fans love to hate. Sometimes their annoyance is understandable, especially during the last six games, as the puck has jumped over his stick at the blueline multiple times this series, causing a breakaway for the Leafs, or at the very least, squandering an offensive opportunity for the Bruins. Krug, however, is a double-edged sword: the Bruins employ a high-risk, high-reward strategy during the power play, and Krug is a vital piece when they’re on the man advantage. The Bruins also have trouble breaking out of their own zone cleanly when he’s not on the ice, so while he may leave something to be desired defensively, he is indispensable to this Bruins team.

If the Black and Gold want to be successful in game 7, Torey Krug will have to keep his nerves in check, and will have to try and avoid the blue line mishaps that have been his calling card lately. At the very least, he’s going to have to do what he does best: make up for his defensive gaffes by scoring or setting up goals. His offensive talent is fantastic, and he’s going to have to bring it tonight for the Bruins to get the win.

Brandon Carlo

As Torey Krug’s defensive partner, Brandon Carlo will naturally be responsible for a lot defensively. No good offensive defenseman can do what he does without a good shutdown partner, and Carlo is exactly that. Brandon Carlo has played very well in this, his maiden playoff voyage, and he’s going to need to be aggressive and keep his head in the game tonight. Toronto’s top two forward lines are no joke, and they’ve been jumping on breakaway chances repeatedly during this series. Carlo is going to have to do his best to keep the door to the crease closed tonight.

David Krejci

Having led the NHL in postseason scoring twice before, the Bruins’ second line center is known to have a lycanthropic streak, where he turns into am absolute beast once the postseason begins. Krejci Beast Mode is here again in 2019, and it needs to make its presence known in game 7. At this point, Krejci has scored 2 goals and assisted on two more in six playoff games. Four points doesn’t sound like much, but Krejci brings more than points to the table. He’s been playing the body all series, hitting anyone and everyone he can. The Czech center can also play well without the puck, so the Bruins are able to rely upon him a bit defensively, as well.

Ideally, Krejci will be centering Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak tonight. The combination of Pastrnak’s speed and shot combined with DeBrusk’s straight-line speed and love for crashing the net match perfectly with Krejci’s bizarre ability to slow the game down and allow his teammates to get to where they need to be before making the magic happen. If Krejci continues to play like a man possessed and he’s skating with DeBrusk and Pastrnak, good things will happen for the Bruins’ offense. Like they say, as David Krejci goes, so go the Bruins.

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photo credit: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

Jake DeBrusk

Jake DeBrusk is all heart, and is exactly the kind of player you want on your roster for games like this. He emits this “young Mark Recchi” aura, and it is wonderful. His going head-to-head with Nazem Kadri and causing him to be suspended for most of the series was entertaining, and actually pretty important. DeBrusk has only scored one goal and assisted on another in the six games he’s played in this series, though, and that will have to change if they’re going to make a run of this.

Playing alongside the Czech Davids is both a gift and a responsibility. DeBrusk has earned his ice time for sure, but he’s going to have to produce if he wants to keep it. DeBrusk will need to do what he’s best at – winning puck battles and crashing the net. If he continues to move his feet and fight for his ice like he did against Kadri, the goals will come.

David Pastrnak

In the first six games of this series, David Pastrnak has scored two goals, and has notched four assists. He hasn’t looked like his usual self through much of it, though — he’s tried to get cute and make the extra pass instead of shooting a few too many times this series — Pastrnak will need to get away from that and play his usual game. Pasta cannot let Toronto’s defense out-muscle him and force him to the boards. He will need to fight for the middle of the ice and put as much on net as possible. Krejci will undoubtedly be feeding him passes for one-timer opportunities, and DeBrusk will be in the crease to hit any rebounds home. If Pastrnak is able to put up with Toronto’s physical game and get as many pucks on net as possible, it should pay off.

Patrice Bergeron

Bergeron is the heart and soul of this Bruins team. He is far and away Boston’s best player. Bergeron is a gamer and will likely have a big game 7, as he typically does, and the Bruins need it, badly. Bergeron is their go-to when it comes to must-win faceoffs, and his line is typically the one Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy turns to when a big goal is needed. It is rare that Bergeron has consecutive bad or no-show games, but he has looked a little bit off this series.

Bergeron being engaged, healthy, and allowed to take important faceoffs (instead of being kicked out, as NHL linesmen seem to love doing to Bergy) are paramount to this Bruins’ team success. If Bergeron can play his game and not be neutralized by the Leafs, the Bruins will have a much better chance at a successful game 7. He and Brad Marchand, like David Pastrnak, need to put pucks on net rather than making the extra pass. Andersen needs to see as much traffic and as many shots and possible if the Bruins want to win tonight. Pray to the Hockey Gods that Bergeron comes up big tonight.

Kadri and DeBrusk Go Head-to-Head in Bruins – Leafs Series

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photo credit: John Tlumacki / Boston Globe staff

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on twitter @phoneymahoney

When the Bruins traded goaltender Andrew Raycroft to the Toronto Maple Leafs thirteen years ago, nobody had any idea it would be the first significant event in a series of ridiculous trades and playoff series that would ignite a Boston-Toronto rivalry for the ages. For the last couple of years, Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri has shown that he is totally buying into this rivalry.

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photo credit: BarDown staff / TSN

A condensed list of Boston and Toronto asset exchanges in recent years looks something like this:

  • Andrew Raycroft for Tuukka Rask. The Bruins intended to release Raycroft if they weren’t able to trade him. Turns out they were able to flip him for a franchise goaltender instead.
  • Phil Kessel didn’t like the idea of playing for Claude Julien or the Bruins anymore and was sent packing in exchange for the draft picks that would become Tyler Seguin, Jared Knight, and Dougie Hamilton (let’s not go there).
  • Prior to the trade deadline in 2011, the Bruins finally pulled the trigger on a long-awaited trade for Tomas Kaberle, a puck-moving defenseman Boston fans had been coveting for years. The Leafs received Joe Colborne, a first round pick, and a second round pick. Kaberle took approximately two shots on goal during that entire glorious Cup run. He might not have been the offensive dynamo that Bruins fans were looking for, but he did manage to make a lasting impression with this work of art:
  • The Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013 began with a game 7 win over Toronto, when the famous, “It was 4-1!” cry was coined.
  • Last season, the Bruins faced the Leafs in the first round once again, and while Toronto did not go down without a fight, the Bruins were the team that advanced to the second round. The series included Brad Marchand licking Leo Komarov, and Nazem Kadri being suspended three games for trying to take Tommy Wingels’ head off.

Fast-forward to this year, which may be the ugliest Boston and Toronto exchange yet: During game 1, Kadri made a late hit on left wing Jake DeBrusk behind the Bruins’ net, and, not to be outdone, included a bonus slewfoot. Kadri was not penalized. In the small world that is hockey Twitter, Maple Leafs fans are seemingly glossing over this fact after what happened in game 2. Jake DeBrusk has played a very gritty game up to this point in the series but hasn’t committed any blatantly dirty offenses (forgive our bias).

Saturday night in Boston, the Bruins started the second game of the series off with a bang – literally – as they were hitting everything that moved. One of these hits included Jake DeBrusk checking Kadri, who grabbed onto DeBrusk on the way down, and then threw a punch before they got up. Apparently, the part where Kadri punches DeBrusk was not televised in Canada and must be blacked out on every Twitter video north of the border, as Leafs fans could not understand why both players landed in the penalty box after DeBrusk retaliated. In typical dramatic Toronto fashion, Leafs Twitter has not been handling it well.

DeBrusk and Kadri had been targeting each other all night. In the third period, the pair collided when DeBrusk attempted to check Kadri with his shoulder. Instead of taking the hit, Kadri tried to dodge DeBrusk, and the two ended up making knee-on-knee contact. Kadri dropped to the ice as if he’d been shot by the man on the grassy knoll, rolled around, writhing in pain a la 2003 Mike Ribeiro, and then was miraculously healed once he realized his Oscar-worthy performance on this self-inflicted injury was not yielding a power play. Nobody is falling for it, Naz — sorry not sorry.

Here’s the hit in question:

It was a very bad hit, apparently. Horrific, even. Jake DeBrusk should probably just take his skates off and head directly to jail – do not pass go, do not collect $200. Twitter was, of course, incredibly entertaining, as Leafs fans and media were coming completely unhinged, while Bruins fans were getting saucy and picking fights. A good time was had by all.

After the unpenalized knee-on-knee incident, Kadri was frustrated, naturally. DeBrusk checked Patrick Marleau, and Kadri took exception by way of cross-checking DeBrusk in the face and then turtling when it was time to pay the piper, Zdeno Chara. Refs were not impressed with Kadri’s actions and assessed him a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct, both of which were well deserved. It was announced today that Kadri will have an in-person hearing this afternoon. In-person is generally not a good thing, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Kadri get suspended more than five games, given his history and what happened with Wingels the last time these two teams met in the postseason, and what in-person hearing generally signify.

Hopefully, DeBrusk is feeling good and is in the lineup on Patriots’ Day. Kadri, however, is his own worst enemy and likely will not be. It seems Leafs fans won’t be able to whine too much about Marchand being dirty these days. They no longer have a leg to stand on when it comes to that argument. Cross your fingers that there were no serious injuries and that the Department of Player Safety throws the book at Kadri, who shows no sign of learning from previous incidents.

Please enjoy the collection of tweets below – we know we did:

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Bruins Game Recap: Ottawa at Boston, 3/9/19

photo credit: By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

The Bruins closed out their six game homestand tonight with another last-minute, come-from-behind win, this time against the embattled Ottawa Senators. Their point streak is now at nineteen games, which is second longest in team history, behind only a 23-game streak during the 1940-41 season. This is the first time in their history that they have scored the game winner in the last minute of the third period in consecutive games.

Bruins’ Lineup:

Senators’ Lineup:

First Period:

Other than Lee Stempniak beginning his second tour with the Bruins, the first period was mainly uneventful, and would ultimately remain scoreless. The Bruins outshot the Senators 12-6, and each team went 0-for-2 on the man advantage. Play was pretty sloppy.

Second Period:

Both teams were better and less sloppy in the second period than they had been during the first. The Bruins hit the crossbar, and two posts. At 9:04, Magnus Paajarvi landed in the box after hooking Noel Acciari. On the ensuing power play, Torey Krug set Brad Marchand up for a one-timer, which beat Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson at 10:11.

Almost immediately afterward, Patrice Bergeron missed the mark on a pass from behind his own goal line. Brady Tkachuk was able to fling the puck to an Jean-Gabriel Pageau in the slot, who beat Tuukka Rask top shelf with a wrist shot. The period would end tied at one goal apiece, with the Bruins outshooting the Sens 14-8.

Third Period:

The third period started off with some sloppy play by the Bruins, followed by Chris Tierney stealing the puck from Brad Marchand in Ottawa’s defensive zone, and beating Patrice Bergeron into the Bruins’ zone. McAvoy forced Tierney toward the left wing, and Tierney was able to get a shot off, which Rask saved. Torey Krug cleaned up the rebound and then made a horrendous turnover, coughing the puck up to Tierney directly to the right of Rask. Tierney was able to move it toward former Boston University Terrier Brady Tkachuk, who beat Rask glove side with a backhand shot at 2:46.

Later, Charlie McAvoy would gain the offensive zone and carry the puck behind the net, dishing it to Torey Krug at the left point. Krug then moved to the right point and let a shot go. Walpole’s own Chris Wagner was battling in front of the net and was able to redirect the shot to beat Anderson to tie the game at 2 goals across the board.

The next half period would be more of the same — sloppy, turnovers, with a back-and-forth rhythm — the Bruins weren’t looking great, but were good enough to get the job done. With 44 seconds left, Danton Heinen shot from just past the hash marks. David Krejci was able to tip the shot in over Anderson’s shoulder, and the Bruins took the 3-2 lead. Luckily, Boston was able to hold on tight for the next 44 seconds, and close out the homestand with another win.

Stars of the game:

1. David Krejci

2. Chris Wagner

3. Brady Tkachuk

Notes:

  • Tuukka Rask has not lost in regulation in 76 days (Carolina On December 23).
  • Defenseman John Moore played in his 500th NHL game tonight.
  • Lee Stempniak was called up from Providence on an emergency basis on Saturday morning.
  • Stempniak and Joakim Nordstrom skated with David Krejci, and it was not optimal.
  • Peter Cehlarik only saw 10 minutes of ice time, which was second to least among Lee Stempniak, ahead of only Lee Stempniak. Cehlarik was better along the boards and drew a penalty in the first period.
  • Zdeno Chara led all Bruins in time on ice, skating for 22:17.
  • The Bruins outshot the Senators 31-19.

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Bruins Recall Lee Stempniak On Emergency Basis

photo credit: SI.com

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced this morning that the team has called wing Lee Stempniak up from their AHL affiliate in Providence. Stempniak has practiced with the NHL squad all season, earned himself a PTO (professional tryout) with Providence, and officially began his second tour of duty with the Bruins when they signed him on February 24.

Presumably, the 36-year-old Stempniak has been called up due to injuries to wings Marcus Johansson (lung contusion) and Jake DeBrusk (lower body). Johansson will be re-evaluated next week, and DeBrusk is reportedly nursing a very minor injury, but now it looks like he may be missing his second consecutive game.

Since playing in the AHL for Providence, Stempniak has scored two goals and notched three assists for a total of five points in seven AHL contests since re-signing. The Seneca, NY native has thirteen NHL seasons seasons under his belt, and is known as a journeyman, as he has played for ten teams, which is tied for second most in league history.

The versatile forward has played 909 NHL games, had scored 203 goals, and has assisted on 266, for a total of 469 points. If inserted into the Bruins’ lineup, Stempniak will likely be skating alongside David Krejci and Slovak rookie Peter Cehlarik. The veteran wing can still be an effective player in the National Hockey League, and will be able to help the Black and Gold if he is in the lineup. Judging from his time in Providence, Stempniak has not lost his scoring touch, and is eager to return to NHL action.

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Bruins’ Johansson Sustains Lung Contusion

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photo credit: Getty Images

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

The Boston Bruins announced this evening that Bruins forward Marcus Johansson has sustained a lung contusion. Tuesday night in Boston, the newly acquired Johansson was injured during the first period of a 4-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Johansson collided with Hurricanes wing Micheal Ferland immediately after dishing the puck to linemate Jake DeBrusk. Johansson would not return to the game after the hit.

As it turns out, Johansson was brought to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was admitted and stayed overnight for observation. The 28-year-old Swede suffered a lung contusion and will be re-evaluated by specialists in a week’s time. Cross your fingers, Bruins fans.

Johansson being sidelined for an extended period would be quite the blow against the Bruins’ postseason aspirations, but given the timeline announced by the team, that likely will not happen. MoJo has a history of concussions — one of them thanks to the antics of new teammate Brad Marchand — so there is almost definitely a feeling of relief in regard to today’s diagnosis.

As for the Bruins’ lineup in Johansson’s absence, expect Slovak wing Peter Cehlarik to continue to play right wing on the second line with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. Cehlarik did an admirable job filling in for the injured Johansson for the remainder of the game against Carolina and is the best choice out of the options the Bruins have (Joakim Nordstrom and David Backes) to slide into Johansson’s roster spot.

With any luck, this will only be a temporary setback for Johansson and the Bruins. Acquiring him was a smart trade deadline move on Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney’s part, and he certainly has a lot to offer.  Let’s hope for a smooth recovery and return to the lineup.

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Bruins Game Recap: Boston Beats Anaheim 3-0

photo credit: NHL.com

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 14-9-4 2.44 GAA .921 SV% Last Game: 35 Saves in 2-1 Win vs COL

ANA: Kevin Boyle (Not Confirmed) 1-0-0 1.20 GAA .967 SV% Last Game: 35 Saves in 1-0 Win vs VAN

Lineups:

Boston:

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Danton Heinen

Peter Cehlarik – David Krejci – Jake DeBrusk

Joakim Nordstrom – Trent Frederic – David Backes

Sean Kuraly – Noel Acciari – Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug – Kevan Miller

John Moore – Brandon Carlo

Anaheim:

Rickard Rakell – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry

Daniel Sprong – Adam Henrique – Troy Terry

Devin Shore – Derek Grant – Jakob Silfverberg

Max Jones – Ryan Kesler – Carter Rowney

Cam Fowler – Michael Del Zotto

Hampus Lindholm – Josh Manson

Jaycob Megna – Brandon Montour

First Period:

Bruce Cassidy rolled out his fourth line for the initial puck drop. After a little bit of back-and-forth between the Bruins and Ducks, Boston was able to gain the offensive zone and create a few scoring chances. After receiving a cross-zone feed from David Krejci, Brandon Carlo flung a shot toward Boyle, who made the save. The rebound squirted out toward Peter Cehlarik, who attempted to bang it into the net, but ended up going an inch or two wide.

A little more than five minutes into the first, Torey Krug let a shot go from the point, with Boyle making the save. The Ducks turned the puck back over to Krug, who dished it to Sean Kuraly. Kuraly fed it to Brandon Carlo at the left point, and he let a bomb of a slap shot rip, which Noel Acciari deflected past Boyle for his second goal of the season. The Bruins are up 1-0, and welcome back their secondary scoring.

The next several minutes of play would consist of neither team being able to accomplish anything offensively. Halak and Boyle each made a couple of decent saves, but there were no particularly threatening scoring chances. The Ducks have been 3-15-4 since December 18, and could really use guys like Charlie Conway and Adam Banks on their roster this season.

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With a little under four minutes left in the period, Ducks rookie Max Jones would take a pass from Brandon Montour up the left wing and try to deke around Jaroslav Halak, who would rob him. Montour shot the rebound wide, and the net was knocked off its moorings. After the resulting faceoff, play would resume with the Ducks being stronger on the puck than the Bruins, but still not being able to tie the game.

Second Period:

Kuraly won the opening draw against Getzlaf. Deep in Anaheim’s zone, Kuraly would pass to Chara at the point. A bouncing puck would hop over the Bruins’ captain’s stick and into the neutral zone. Ducks wing Rickard Rakell would beat Chara to the loose puck at the Bruins’ blue line, carry it up the right wing, and get it to Corey Perry, despite Chara and McAvoy’s best efforts. Jaroslav Halak made a glove save on the frustrated Perry.

At 4:58, Rickard Rakell landed in the penalty box for a holding minor. Patrice Bergeron won the faceoff to Boyle’s left, Jake DeBrusk nudged the puck to Krug at the point, who threaded a cross-zone pass to Krejci. Krejci dangled Boyle out of his pants (and about five feet out of the crease), shot at the net, where Cam Fowler and DeBrusk were fighting for their ice. DeBrusk redirected Krejci’s shot for his 16th goal of the season, and the Bruins went up 2-0. The lesson here is not to put the Bruins on the power play.

The Bruins weren’t great defensively for the rest of the period, but the Ducks didn’t seem to have much of a desire to capitalize and tie the game. There was sloppy play by both parties during the remainder of the second, with Boston giving the Ducks a 5-on-3, with Chris Wagner and John Moore landing in the box. The Bruins weren’t particularly effective, especially in their own zone, but Halak held onto the Bruins’ 2-0 lead through the second.

Third Period:

The third period opened with the Bruins mostly controlling play until a questionable holding call against Derik Grant, putting the Bruins on the man advantage. The Bruins created a couple of good scoring chances, but Anaheim’s defense held on for dear life – Boyle didn’t have to make any wild saves, as his blue liners had him covered.

The Bruins’ second line had a strong third period and generated several chances, all resulting in saves by Boyle. Slovak wing Peter Cehlarik was in good position all night and appeared as though he was destined to score, but it wasn’t to be.

At 10:56, Hampus Lindholm set up a road block for Brad Marchand behind Boyle’s net, landing the Swede in the box with an interference minor. Patrice Bergeron pounced on a rebound Boyle gave up, but the Ducks’ goaltender managed to jump on it and keep the Bruins to two goals. The Bruins would turn the puck over and allow a Derik Grant to gain the zone on a shorthanded bid, but Halak made the save. Anaheim would go on the man advantage almost immediately afterward, but their weak power play was unable to accomplish anything, other than one solid opportunity where Halak would save a Brandon Montour one timer.

Ducks Head Coach Bob Murray pulled Boyle in favor of the extra skater with just under three minutes left in the third period. At 18:29, former Duck Chris Wagner scored an empty net goal after Zdeno Chara sent a pass from behind the goal line to Kuraly at the point. Kuraly dished the puck across the neutral zone to Wagner, who sailed it into Anaheim’s net. Ducks are unable to score three goals in the next minute and a half, and the Bruins win 3-0.

The Bruins have now collected 15 points out of a possible 18 in their last nine games. They are currently third in the Atlantic Division with 74 points. They are only one point behind the Maple Leafs, but Toronto has a game at hand.

Three Stars:

Third Star: Brandon Carlo played a good defensive game, managed to assist on Acciari’s goal, and didn’t appear to make any mistakes.

Second Star: David Krejci has been magical lately, and really makes his line mates better.

First Star: Jaroslav Halak. The Ducks could certainly have played better as they’re in a complete tailspin lately, but Halak definitely kept the Bruins afloat here.

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Providence Bruins Sign Lee Stempniak to Professional Tryout

lee-stempniak

photo credit: Brian Babineau / NHL / Getty Images

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

Providence Journal hockey writer and Rhode Island hockey expert Mark Divver announced today that the Providence Bruins signed forward Lee Stempniak to a professional tryout (PTO). Despite the fact that Stempniak has been practicing with the Bruins’ NHL squad since before the start of the season, this is an American Hockey League transaction only.

Stempniak, a National Hockey League journeyman, has played for ten different NHL clubs, which is tied for second-most in the league’s history. In a trade deadline deal on February 29, 2016, Stempniak was traded to the Bruins in exchange for a second and fourth-round draft pick. It was the third year in a row that Stempniak was dealt at the NHL’s trade deadline, as he was known to be a good addition to bring needed scoring punch to teams’ lineups. In his 19 regular season games for Boston, he scored three goals and assisted on seven, totaling ten points as a Bruin. Boston would go on to miss the playoffs that season, unfortunately, and despite a good showing in his 19 games, Stempniak would not be re-signed by General Manager Don Sweeney.

Stempniak signed with the Carolina Hurricanes in the summer of 2016 and scored 40 points in 2016-17 while playing all 82 games of the season. Last season, however, did not go so well for Stempniak, as he was plagued by injuries, missing 45 games. Ultimately, he scored three goals and notched six helpers for a total of nine points in 37 games for Carolina last year. Given the rough season he had, the 35-year-old wing was hard pressed to find any takers during free agency last summer, despite scoring 469 points in 909 career NHL games. Stempniak has called Boston home since graduating from Dartmouth in 2005.

This is a good move for Providence to gain some NHL and veteran experience for their lineup, however, it is an AHL tryout only, so Stempniak will not be taking an NHL roster spot with the Bruins unless he’s signed to a National Hockey League contract. Stempniak was invited to camp last year and had a good preseason with the Bruins, along with fellow bottom six forward Daniel Winnik. He was not signed, however, as the Bruins were stacked with a plethora of youngsters who would likely be filling out the bottom six for the Black and Gold. Obviously, it would not have been advantageous to the organization to dress a player of advancing age rather than continue to develop their youth.

Per Providence Head Coach Jay Leach, Stempniak will suit up for the P-Bruins at home tonight against the Toronto Marlies, and Sunday against the Springfield Thunderbirds, which will also be played at home, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. One would think the Bruins are unlikely to sign Stempniak to an NHL contract since he’s been practicing with them for a half year at this point, but there is a distinct  possibility that the New York native could be looked toward for help in their bottom six, as the Bruins are in dire need of secondary scoring, and Don Sweeney has yet to make any trades this season. If Stempniak can capitalize on the opportunity and doesn’t look outmatched in the AHL, it would not be totally crazy for him to see NHL action again.

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