Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 10 Preview

probru3

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 10 of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 14-7-1-2 (31 points) and 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a superb week that saw them beat the defending Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers 4-1 and 4-0 in Charlotte. This week the team return home for a dreaded three games in three days stretch.

The hockey action kicks off on Friday, December 6, 2019, when the Binghamton Devils invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. The action continues on Saturday, December 7, 2019, when the Utica Comets soar into town to take on the Providence Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center. The three games in three days conclude on Sunday, December 8, 2019, when the Hartford Wolf Pack come to Rhode Island to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. The hockey action wraps up on Wednesday, December 11, 2019, when the Syracuse Crunch comes to town to take on the Providence club at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

Friday, December 6, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Binghamton Devils (HOME)

The Friday night matchup marks the first of two that these two teams will have this season. The Binghamton Devils have had a rough start to their season. The New Jersey affiliate skates into the game 7-11-4 (18 points) and 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the North Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference.

Not only have the Devils had a bad start to their season, but they’re also facing a Providence club that has their number over the past five seasons. Our boys in black and gold are 13-5-1-1 against the Binghamton club during that time, including 5-3-1-1 at home. Binghamton’s defense has really let them down this season. This is why the Binghamton club is last in the conference this season.

The New Jersey affiliate has surrendered 77 goals in 22 games this year. That means they’re giving up a terrible 3.5 goals a game. In comparison, the Providence Bruins have let in 63 goals in 24 games this season. That’s a stingy 2.62 goals a game given up. If that isn’t bad enough for the Devils, their offense isn’t great either.

They’ve scored 59 goals in 22 games. That means they’re scoring 2.68 goals a game. The Bruins, on the other hand, have scored 82 goals in 24 games. That means they’re scoring 3.41 goals a game. This is a game the Providence club should absolutely win.

Saturday, December 7, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Utica Comets (HOME)

The Saturday night matchup marks the second and final meeting of the year that these two teams will have. In the first meeting, the Bruins would shutout the Comets 2-0, getting goals from Zach Senyshyn and Joona Koppanen. Netminder Max Lagace was excellent in net stopping all 34 shots he faced.

Utica comes into the game 13-8-1 (27 points) and 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the North Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. The Vancouver affiliate has been on a downward trend recently. They started the year 8-0. Since that start, they’ve gone 4-8-1, including a loss to Providence. To add insult to injury, the Providence Bruins are 8-5 against the Comets over the past five seasons, including 3-3 at the Dunk.

Scoring early and keeping the lead will be extremely important in this game. When leading after the first period, Utica is 7-3-1. When leading after the second, they are 9-2. The Providence Bruins, on the other hand, are 8-0 when leading after the first period. They are a perfect 11-0 when leading after the second period. This is another game I think Providence should absolutely win.

Sunday, December 8, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME)

The Sunday matchup will mark the fourth of 10 meetings the two teams will have this year. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 2-1. Providence got their lone goal from Jack Studnicka. Goalie Kyle Keyser was up to the task in net stopping 23 of 25 shots that were fired his way.

The second battle saw the Bruins win 4-3 in a shootout. They got goals from Scott Conway, Jack Studnicka, and Robert Lantosi. Max Lagace was able to stop 35 of the 38 shots he faced. The last game saw the Bruins fall 5-2. They received goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Kyle Keyser was able to stop 24 of 28 shots he faced.

The battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 11-4-2-5 (29 points), including 3-3-2-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. Even though it’ll be a tough game, there is hope for the Bruins.

Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have gone 22-13-4-2, including 14-5-1-1 at the Dunk. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 58 goals in 22 games. Providence, on the other hand, has scored 82 goals in 24 games. That’s 3.41 goals a game. It’ll be a great battle between the two teams.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Syracuse Crunch (HOME)

The Wednesday matchup will mark the first of two meetings the two teams will have. The Lightning affiliate skate into the matchup 11-9-2 (22 points) and 5-5 in their last 10 games. That’s good for sixth in the North Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. The two clubs haven’t played each other much over the past five seasons. Providence holds a 3-3 record, including 2-1 at home.

This has the makings of being a trap game for Providence. Even though the Syracuse club is out of a playoff spot, they’ve been a good team for the last few years. Special teams are keeping the Tampa Bay affiliate afloat. On the power play, they’ve scored 19 goals in 101 opportunities. That’s 18.8%, which is good for fifth in the North Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. Their Penalty kill is even better. They’ve given up 12 goals in 93 opportunities. That’s a stifling 87.1%, which is good for first in the North Division and second in the Eastern Conference.

The Providence Bruins’ penalty kill is also stellar. They’ve given up 14 goals in 103 opportunities. That’s 86.4%, which is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference.  The Providence club also has a league-leading eight shorthanded goals. The power play, on the other hand, is not good. They’ve scored 14 goals in 89 opportunities. That’s 15.7%, which is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Brendan Woods: This is Brendan Woods’ first season in Providence. He came to the Bruins after spending last season with the Utica Comets. The former University of Wisconsin Badger has gotten the opportunity to play more recently, with players going up and down between Boston and Providence. The veteran forward has taken that opportunity and run with it. Over his past five games, he’s found the back of the net five times while dishing out two assists for seven total points. In 13 games total on the year, he’s netted five goals and dished out three assists for eight total points.

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanninen has been on an absolute tear recently. Since being sent back down to Providence after a brief stint with Boston, the young defenseman has played in five games. In those five games, he’s found the back of the net four times while dishing out three assists for seven total points. In 20 games this year, he’s netted four goals and dished out five assists for nine total points. He’s also playing superb defense.

Not

Josiah Didier: This is Josiah Didier’s first season in Providence. The veteran defenseman came to the Bruins after winning the Calder Cup with Charlotte last season. Though he’s providing some essential leadership to the team, that hasn’t translated on the scoresheet. Over his past 15 games, the University of Denver alum has only registered one point, an assist. In 23 games this season, he hasn’t found the back of the net and dished out five assists for five total points.

Jakub Zboril: Jakub Zboril has been playing average on defense. Offensively, the game doesn’t seem to be clicking currently. Over his past 11 games, he has registered just two points, both assists. In 24 games this season, the young defenseman has netted one goal and dished out six assists for seven total points. The Bruins hoped his offense would be closer to the production he had in the QMJHL. That hasn’t happened yet, but there is still time.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jakub Lauko: Jakub Lauko is a top prospect in the Bruins’ system. The young forward didn’t start off the season the way he’d like before getting injured. Recently, however, he’s played well. Over the past four games, he’s netted one goal, while dishing out three assists for four total points. He also had the game-winning shootout goal in a game this week. In 16 games on the season, Lauko has four goals and three assists for seven total points. Let’s hope he can keep up the hot-streak.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen has been on an absolute tear recently. Not only contributing to the scoreboard but playing elite defense while also driving the play. It wasn’t a great start to the year, but he looks like himself again after his callup to Boston. Look for him to continue the hot-streak. I would also recommend just watching him play in general. He’s a joy to watch in every facet of the game.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar returned from injury to Providence against Charlotte this weekend and was excellent in between the pipes. The young goalie registered his first shutout of the season. In four games this year, he is 2-1 with a 1.77 GAA and a save percentage of .936%. Look for him this weekend.

The Providence Bruins have been excellent this year. They sit atop the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. With the team clicking in all facets of the game, it seems like they’re gearing up for a big run. The Providence club could have one of those seasons that’s talked about for years to come. We should all just sit back and enjoy it. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Bruins Game 29 Preview: Chicago Blackhawks

1129258766.jpg.0.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

The Boston Bruins are one of the best teams in the National Hockey League during this eight-game winning streak, putting them in the second-overall position in the league standings, only two points behind the Washington Capitals with a 20-3-5 record and two games in hand on the Caps. Boston is 9-0-1 in their last ten games and have still not lost in regulation on home ice.

After being one of the most dominate teams of the 2010s, the Chicago Blackhawks are now one of the bottom teams in the NHL with a sub-.500 record of 10-12-5, good for 27th in the league standings. Chicago has lost each of their last three games and are 4-5-1 in their last ten contests. The Blackhawks most-recently lost 4-0 to the St. Louis Blues on Monday in Chicago.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 13-2-2 2.04 GAA .933 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 3-1 win vs MTL

CHI: Robin Lehner (Not Confirmed) 5-5-3 2.69 GAA .929 SV% Last Game: 9 Saves in 7-3 loss vs COL

Who’s Hot:

Tuukka Rask is getting the starting job tonight against the Blackhawks and in the process, he will be putting his six-game winning streak and seven-game point streak as starting goaltender on the line. Rask has been one of the top goalies once again this season, sitting near the top of the league in nearly every category. Out of goaltenders with a minimum of 15 games played, Rask is third in save-percentage (.933%) and second in goals-against-average (2.04) with two shutouts (tied for 2nd).

Even though he was kept off of the scoring sheet for the first time in a remarkable 15 games, Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is on fire this season, putting up 14-19-33 numbers in 27 games. Before the loss to the Blues, Kane scored 11 goals and 13 assists over the course of 15-consecutive games. Kane has 8-8-16 totals in 18 career regular-season games against the Bruins.

David Krejci has really come into his own with the absence of Patrice Bergeron in the Bruins lineup as he has been on the scoresheet in each of the last three games, including the insurance goal in the third-period that secured the Bruins a 2-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. Krejci has 6-15-21 totals in 22 games in ’19/’20 and will look to keep up that momentum against the Hawks.

Who’s Not:

Once known as one of the league’s best two-way forwards, Jonathon Toews has not had the best campaign so far into December, scoring only four goals and ten assists for 14 points in 27 games. Toews has only two points in his last five games and has been a minus rating in the last three. Toews has been averaging around 17-18 minutes per game on the ice and the Hawks need to see more production from the 31-year-old.

As of 11:00am EST, we do not know the starting goaltender for the Blackhawks, but either option – Corey Crawford or Robin Lehner, are not having good seasons and have struggled to start the campaign. Crawford got the start against the Blues and proceeded to allow four goals on 30 shots against, bringing his season record to 5-7-2 with a GAA of 3.04 and a save-percentage of .909. Lehner’s last game resulted in him getting pulled after allowing five goals on 14 shots in 25 minutes against the Avalanche, leading to a 7-3 loss.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F Charlie Coyle is one goal away (99) from 100 career NHL goals
  • F Jake DeBrusk is three points away (97) from 100 career NHL points
  • F Brad Marchand is one game-winning goal away (55) from tying Cam Neely (56) for 5th-most game-winning goals in Bruins history

Chicago Blackhawks:

  • G Corey Crawford is one win away (249) from 250 career NHL wins*
  • D Duncan Keith is one goal away (99) from 100 career NHL goals
  • F Zack Smith is two points away (198) from 200 career NHL points
  • D Erik Gustafsson is one point away (99) from 100 career NHL points

*Only applicable if he gets the start in goal.

Bruins vs Blackhawks Outlook:

Two of the most historic franchises in NHL history get ready to lace up the skates against one another for the 591st time in the regular-season. Due to the reality that they are in opposing conferences, the Bruins and Blackhawks only play twice per season. Last year, the Bruins won both meetings including the 4-2 win in the 2019 Winter Classic. Brad Marchand scored two goals and three assists for five points in the two games last season against Chicago.

This year, the Bruins remain one of the best teams but not just in the standings. Boston has the second-best power-play in the NHL with a 30.9% success rate, trailing only the Edmonton Oilers (31%). At home, the Bruins have an even better power-play percentage at 32.7% and have scored 25 goals on the man-advantage – 3rd in the league. On the opposite scale, the Blackhawks have the 19th-best penalty-kill at 79.8% and the tenth-best PK on the road at 82.8%.

Looking at the other end of the spectrum, Chicago has the fifth-worst power-play in the league, scoring only 11 goals on 82 chances for a 13.4% success rate. Boston’s penalty-kill is the seventh-best in the entire NHL, killing off just under 85% of the penalties against. The B’s special teams have been a big reason to their dominate record as we begin the final calendar month of 2019.

Bruins Lineup News:

Defenceman John Moore is going to make his season debut for the Bruins tonight while Connor Clifton gets the scratch. Moore is likely going to play alongside Matt Grzelcyk on the defensive core. Moore underwent shoulder surgery during the off-season and after a brief conditioning stint in the American Hockey League, he plays in his first game tonight. Don’t expect any additional lineup changes, although, things could of course chance by puck drop.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 156 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Game 28 Preview: Carolina Hurricanes

topplay-hockey.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Getty Images)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Seven-consecutive wins and an undefeated (regulation) home record is the story of the Boston Bruins right now and it is showing on the standings. As of December 3rd, the Bruins are first in the overall league standings with a record of 15-3-5, tied with the Washington Capitals in points, but have an edge in ROW (regulation plus overtime wins). Boston won their last game 3-1 over the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday after trailing the game 1-0 for nearly the entire first two periods.

After surprising the league by making it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, the Carolina Hurricanes are aiming to prove that it was not a coincidence, but that they deserved to be there. Carolina is in the top-ten in the league with a record of 16-10-1, including a 7-3-0 stretch in their last ten games. The Canes last defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning by a final score of 3-2 on November 30th.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 6-1-3 2.35 GAA .930 SV% Last Game: 26 Saves in 3-2 OT win vs NYR

CAR: Petr Mrazek (Not Confirmed) 11-6-1 2.68 GAA .901 SV% Last Game: 25 Saves in 3-0 loss vs NSH

Who’s Hot:

On Sunday against Montreal, David Pastrnak unleashed a rocket of a slapshot as he entered the zone that not only beat Carey Price, but started the three-goal onslaught that would later secure a Bruins victory. Pastrnak’s goal was his 25th of the 2019-20 season, reaching the halfway point to 50 goals and it is only December 3rd. Pastrnak has a five-goal lead on Capitals’ forward Alex Ovechkin for the most goals in the league while playing in one less game than the scoring legend.

Former Boston Bruins defenceman Dougie Hamilton has seemingly finally found success with a team over in Carolina. The 26-year-old leads all defensemen in the NHL with ten goals in his 27 games played this season while adding 18 assists for 28 points. Hamilton is on pace to crush his season totals for 2018-19 where he scored 18-21-39 numbers in a full 82-game season. The 9th-overall pick by Boston in the 2011 Entry Draft has 1-4-5 totals in his last five games including a two-assist night against Tampa Bay.

With Patrice Bergeron dealing with a nagging injury lately, the Bruins have had to fall back on David Krejci to man the first-line center as well as the first power-play unit and he has done great. The 33-year-old Krejci has 5-15-20 numbers in 21 games this year and has seven points in his last five. Krejci has been seeing around eighteen minutes of ice-time per game for the last three games and has not failed to come up big. Krejci will look to continue that success tonight against the Hurricanes.

Who’s Not:

Nino Niederreiter was acquired by Carolina in January of last season and went on to dominate, scoring 14-16-30 numbers in 36 games played, adding another four points in fifteen playoff games. However, this season, the 5th-overall selection in the 2010 NHL Draft only has 3-7-10 numbers in 27 games and is pointless in each of his last six contests and has seen decreases in his playing time during this bad stretch.

There has not been a whole lot of negative pieces to the Boston Bruins puzzle on this seven-game winning streak. The team has done a great job staying in games and playing to their style, performing numerous comeback wins against the Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, and Montreal Canadiens. When a player does make an error, such as Heinen against the Rangers or Chara against the Canadiens, the rest of the team comes around them and it doesn’t happen again.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • G Jaroslav Halak will play in his 500th career NHL game
  • F David Krejci is one goal away (199) from 200 career NHL goals
  • F Charlie Coyle is two goals away (98) from 100 career NHL goals
  • F Jake DeBrusk is three points away (97) from 100 career NHL points

Carolina Hurricanes:

  • F Jordan Staal is three assists away (297) from 300 career NHL assists
  • D Dougie Hamilton is five assists away (195) from 200 career NHL assists

Bruins vs Hurricanes Outlook:

For the first time since their Eastern Conference Finals series, the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes will play one another. Last year, the Bruins won the season series over the Canes, winning two out of the three games they played. In the playoffs, the two met in the Conference Finals, where the Bruins swept the Hurricanes in four-straight games to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tonight’s game will not only be the first time that these two teams meet again, but it will also be a big test as both squads are within the top-ten teams in the NHL – with Boston taking the number one position right now. Boston is coming into the game as the best team defensively, averaging the lowest goals-against-per-game on average, allowing 2.26 goals against. The B’s are also second in the NHL for goals-for, scoring at a rate of 3.67 goals-for-per-game. Boston also has the best goal-differential in the league at +34.

Carolina has also been putting up goals, averaging 3.22 goals-for-per-game – 11th best in the National Hockey League. On the defence side of things, the Canes are no slouches either. They have the 8th-best goals-against-per-game at an average of 2.81 and they have a goal-differential of +12, fifth in the Eastern Conference and seventh in the league.

Speciality teams is still a hot topic for the Bruins, as they continue to score on the man-advantage with a 31.6% success rate (2nd in NHL). In Sunday’s win over Montreal, David Backes scored the eventual game-winning tally on the power-play in the third-period. Boston also has the seventh-best penalty-kill in the game – thriving at a 84.5% kill rate. Carolina has the ninth-best power-play (21.2%) and the eighth-best penalty-kill (84.4%).

Bruins Projected Lineup:

According to Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, forward Patrice Bergeron will not play tonight but he said that he can see him playing on the upcoming trip if there are no setbacks. Defenceman John Moore remains out of the lineup, but could return on Thursday and forward Brett Ritchie will be a scratch. Halak gets the start in goal.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 156 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 9 Preview

 

probru2

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week nine of the AHL is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 12-7-1-2 (27 points) and 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for second the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a fantastic week that saw them shutout the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 5-0. They would then fall to the Springfield Thunderbirds 5-4 in overtime before beating the Hershey Bears 6-3. They would then finish the week by beating the Hershey Bears again 7-6 in a shootout. The Bruins have two big games this weekend that you don’t want to miss.

The hockey action starts on Saturday, November 30, 2019, when the Providence Bruins invade Charlotte, North Carolina, to take on the defending Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers at the Bojangles’ Coliseum. The action wraps up on Sunday, December 1, 2019, when the Providence Bruins take on the Charlotte Checkers again at the Biscuit in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Saturday, November 30, 2019 (AWAY) and Sunday, December 1, 2019 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers

The weekend series between the Providence Bruins and Charlotte Checkers will be the first and second of eight meetings the two teams will have. The Providence club is 6-5-1 against the Checkers over the past five seasons. Last season, the Charlotte Checkers were dominant. They would beat the Bruins in four games in the first round of the playoffs on their way to their first Calder Cup Championship. This season has been a bit of a different story.

The Hurricanes’ affiliate skate into the match up 8-8-3 (19 points) and 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference. Something that led to their dominant season last year was their defense. They only gave up 189 goals while scoring 255. That means they had a goal differential of +66. This season has been the opposite. The Charlotte club on the year has scored 51 goals while giving 55. That’s a minus-four goal differential.

To put those numbers into perspective a little bit, the Providence Bruins have played in three more games this season, scoring 74 goals and giving up 62. That’s a +12 goal differential. It’s hard to sustain success when you give up more goals than you score. This is the main reason why both clubs seem to be heading in different directions. These two games being in Charlotte should also benefit the Bruins. The Carolina affiliate is 4-3-1 at home this season. While our boys in black and gold are 8-3-1-1 away from the Dunk this year. These are two very winnable games for the spoked P this weekend.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka has been a permanent fixture in the hot category for a few weeks now, and that isn’t going to change. The young center has been excellent in his first full professional season. In 21 games for the Providence club, he’s netted nine goals while dishing out nine assists for 18 total points. The OHL product also has a five-game goal streak that has seen him net five goals while tallying three assists for eight total points. Going back even further, he’s registered a point in eight of his last 10 games. Studnicka earned himself a promotion this week with injuries and his play. In his first game against Montreal, he looked good while dishing out an assist for his first NHL point.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic finds himself in the hot category after a cold streak. The former Wisconsin Badger had a superb weekend putting together a four-game point streak. In those four games, he netted two goals and dished out two assists for four total points. In 19 games this year, the young forward has netted two goals and dished out seven assists for nine total points. Let’s hope he can keep up his hot play.

Not

Pavel Shen: Pavel Shen has had a rough start to his first full professional season in North America. The young forward in 16 games, hasn’t found the back of the net and dished out two assists for two total points. Shen came to Providence after spending the beginning of his career in Russia, where he’s from. The good news is the former seventh-round pick is only 20, there is plenty of time for him to develop. Let’s hope he breaks out of his slump soon.

Cameron Hughes: Cameron Hughes has continued to be on a bit of a cold streak. The young forward has just two points, two assists in his last ten games played. Overall on the year, the former Wisconsin Badger has netted two goals and dished out six assists for eight total points in 22 games. This is two weeks in a row that Hughes finds himself in the not category. Let’s hope he’s able to break through this weekend against Charlotte.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has been on a bit of a hot streak himself. Over his last five games, he’s netted three goals and dished out two assists for five total points. In 22 games this year, the former Boston College Eagle has found the back of the net seven times while tallying five assists for 12 total points. In addition to those stats, in five games against Charlotte last season, Fitzgerald potted one goal and assisted on three others for four total points. With players moving up and down between Providence and Boston frequently, look for him to pick up the slack this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen has been excellent over the past few weeks for both Boston and Providence. It’s been the best stretch of play he’s had in his professional career. The young defenseman is coming off a weekend that in two games saw him net two goals while dishing out three assists for five total points. Thanks to his big weekend, the native of Finland would be named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week. My colleague here at BNG Carrie Young wrote about that honor here. He would follow up this honor by scoring a goal against Hershey Wednesday night. In 18 games this season, Urho has netted three goals and dished out five assists for eight total points. Look for him to continue his sizzling play.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been nothing short of excellent in his first season with Providence. With injuries to both Dan Vladar and Kyle Keyser, the veteran netminder has been a stabilizing presence in goal. On the year, he’s 9-2-2 with a 2.45 GAA and a .919 save percentage while also leading the league with four shutouts.

The Providence Bruins find themselves in a fantastic position to start the year. At this point in the season, teams usually have a good understanding of how the rest of the year will go. Our boys in black and gold currently find themselves comfortably in playoff contention. You should absolutely expect this moving forward. At the beginning of the season, I wrote that this team would be great. They are proving me right. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and has an excellent holiday. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Game Day Preview | Boston vs. Montreal 11/26/19

Image result for boston bruins vs montreal canadiens(Photo Credits: NBC Sports)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

The Boston Bruins head up north for the first of a back-to-back and they’ll do it without some familiar faces, the biggest one being Patrice Bergeron. The team announced yesterday that the 34-year-old top center is still nursing a lower-body injury, meaning he won’t be available for the trip.

NAGGING INJURIES

With the team taking a cautious approach when it comes to Bergeron’s health, Boston will once again need to overcome the challenge. The organization also announced that Brett Ritchie is out due to an infection and Par Lindhom will return to the line-up.

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney also announced that the team has recalled Providence’s Brendan Guance and Jack Studnicka. Both players have done well down in Providence: Gaunce has netted six goals and five assists so far. Studnicka, who is making his NHL debut tonight, leads the team with nine goals and nine assists.

LITTLE BALL OF STATS

After hitting a rough patch earlier in the month, the Bruins are looking to end November on a strong note. Boston have won their last three games with a wild comeback win over the Minnesota Wild this past Saturday night.

The team saw the return of defenseman Torey Krug, who netted the game winning over-time goal. Brad Marchand, who for the second time was named NHL First Star Of The Week, is having quite the start to his season.

Image result for boston bruins vs montreal canadiens(Photo Credits: USA Today)

The 31-year-old winger leads the team with 39 points and 23 assists. He has nine points with five goals in his last five games. Marchand is also tied for first in the league in Plus-Minus (17) and is third for points. Fellow line-mate David Pastrnak leads the league with 20 goals and power-play goals (11).

With the recent wins, Boston has improved to 15-3-5 and still  leads the Atlantic Division, They are now only second in the league behind the Washington Capitals. In the last 10 games, Boston is 5-2-3. Expect Jaroslav Halak (4-1-3)  in net for the Bruins.  The last time these two teams met, the Habs ended the Bruins winning streak, defeating them 5-4, amidst a controversial offside call.

BLEU, BLANC, ROUGE

Montreal’s Tomas Tatar leads the team in points (20) and in assists (13). Right-winger Brendan Gallagher leads the team with nine goals. The Canadiens are looking to rebound after losing 6-5 to the New York Rangers this past Saturday.

After having a 4-0 lead in the second period, the Rangers stormed back to score three goals. Montreal scored in the third making it 5-3, however, New York netted three more, defeating the Habs.

Image result for boston bruins vs montreal canadiens(Photo Credits: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Canadiens (11-7-5) are currently in third place in the Atlantic Division. Expect Carey Price (10-6-0) in net for the Habs. In their last 10 games, Montreal is 4-3-3. Left-winger Phillip Danault  has six points in his last five games with Nick Suzuki having three goals in his last five games.

PROJECTED LINES BOSTON:

Marchand – Krejci – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Studnicka – Coyle

Bjork – Kuraly – Heinen

Nordstrom – Lindholm – Wagner (Gaunce)

DEFENSE

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Clifton

Moore – Kampfer

Rask

Halak

 

PROJECTED LINES MONTREAL:

Tatar – Danault – Gallagher

Lehkonen – Domi – Suzuki

Hudon – Kotkaniemi – Armia

Cousins – Thompson – Weal

DEFENSE

Chiarot – Weber

Mete – Petry

Reilly – Fleury

Kulak – Folin

Price

Kinkaid

 

WHERE TO WATCH:  ESPN+, NESN

WHEN TO WATCH: Tonight with puck drop at 7:00 PM, Centre Bell- Montreal, Quebec

 

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 155 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

 

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 8 Preview

pbruins2

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week eight of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 9-7-0-2 (20 points), including 4-5-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week that saw them take down the Hartford Wolf Pack 4-3 in a shootout. They would then lose to the same Hartford club 5-2. The spoked P will have a tough weekend coming up with three games in three days and then a game Wednesday.

The hockey action kicks off on Friday, November 22, 2019, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Then on Saturday, November 23, 2019, the Providence Bruins make their way to Springfield, Massachusetts, to take on the Springfield Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The Bruns’ three games in three days come to an end on Sunday, November 24, 2019, when the Hershey Bears travel to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. Finally, the Bruins wrap up week eight on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, when they travel to Hershey, Pennsylvania, to take on the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center.

Friday, November 22, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (HOME)

The Friday matchup with mark the fourth of 12 that these two teams will have this season. The first game saw the Bruins shutout the Sound Tigers 4-0, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik, Cameron Hughes, Robert Lantosi, and Ryan Fitzgerald. Goalie Max Lagace was excellent in net topping all 30 shots fired his way.

In the second meeting, the Providence club would win 4-1, getting goals from Joona Koppanen, Brendan Gaunce, Alex Petrovic, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace was fantastic in net stopping 31 of 32 shots fired his way. The most recent meeting saw the Bruins lose 2-0. Goaltender Max Lagace was up to the task in net stopping 33 of 35 shots fired his way.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers provide a favorable matchup for the Providence club. The Bridgeport club comes into the weekend 4-10-3-1 (12 points) and 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference.  Furthermore, the Bruins are 23-17-6-3 against the Islanders’ affiliate over the past five seasons.

The biggest key to Bruins’ victory in these two games is taking an early lead and keeping it. The Sound Tigers are 0-5-2 when trailing after one and 0-8-1 when trailing after two. To add insult to injury, the Bridgeport club in 18 games has only scored 32 goals while giving up 59. Not only is this a horrendous -27 goal differential, but they’re only scoring 1.77 goals a game while giving up  3.27. They are giving up almost double what they’re actually scoring. This isn’t a winning formula.

To compare, the Providence Bruins are 6-0 when leading after one period and 7-0 when leading after two periods. They’ve also scored 52 goals while giving up only 48 in 18 games. That means, not only do they have a plus-four goal differential, but they are scoring 2.88 goals a game while only giving up 2.66. This is a game that Providence must win. Bridgeport is not a good club at all.

Saturday, November 23, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY)

The Saturday night matchup will be the second of 14 these two teams will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 5-2, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Anders Bjork. Goalie Dan Vladar was subpar in net stopping 23 of the 28 shots fired his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 11-7 (22 points) and 7-3 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 23-15-3 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 11-7-2 in Springfield.

The Springfield club has been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 41 goals in 18 games while scoring 55. This is a fantastic +14 goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 2.27 goals a game while scoring 3.05.

The Springfield Thunderbirds are 3-1 when leading after the first period. They are also 7-0 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 1-2 when trailing after one period. They are also 1-5 when trailing after two periods. Providence needs to get ahead early on in the game to have the best chance at winning.

Sunday, November 24, 2019 (HOME) Wednesday, November 27, 2019 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears

These will mark the third and fourth of six matchups the Providence Bruins and Hershey Bears will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would win 2-1 in overtime, getting goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Brendan Gaunce (OT).  Dan Vladar was excellent in net stopping 21 of 22 shots fired his way. The most recent matchup saw the Providence club fall 5-3, getting goals from Brendan Woods, Paul Carey, and Jakub Zboril. Kyle Keyser was okay in net stopping 28 of 33 shots he faced.

The Hershey Bears come into the game 8-6-2-2 (20 points) and 4-3-1-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference. Providence has had success against the Washington affiliate going 15-9-1-1 over the five seasons. The team that has the best shot generation and suppression is going to win these games.

The Hershey Bears are 6-3-0-1 when they outshoot their opponents. They are also 2-3-2-1 when they are being outshot by their opponents. The Bruins, on the other hand, are 2-5-0-2 when they outshoot opponents and 5-2 when being outshot by opponents. These are more games that the Providence club should win. The Washington affiliate has a goal differential of minus-five. This means they’ve given up five more goals than they’ve scored. It is hard to sustain success like that.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka remains hot this week. The young center had a lot of expectations and excitement surrounding him to start the year, and he’s delivered. In 18 games this season, he’s netted six goals while dishing out seven assists for 13 total points. This includes netting five goals and dishing out two assists for seven total points in his last eight games. The OHL product is one of the few players carrying the Providence Bruins offense. Let’s hope we continue to find Studnicka in the hot category.

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic is another player that’s spent most of the year on a hot streak. The veteran defenseman has been excellent during his first year in Providence. In 17 games this season, he’s netted two goals and dished out 11 assists for 13 total points. This includes netting one goal and dishing out six assists for seven total points in his last eight games. The former Edmonton Oiler is providing great veteran leadership for a young team.

Not

Cameron Hughes: Cameron Hughes has had a good season overall, but has run into a cold streak recently. The young forward even received his first callup to Boston and played in a game with the big club. In 18 games this season, he’s netted two goals and dished out five assists for seven total points. However, over his past five games, he hasn’t found the back of the net and dished out one assist for one total point. Let’s hope the cold streak subsides for the former Wisconsin Badger.

Oskar Steen: Oskar Steen started out pretty hot this season, but has since skated into a cold streak. The young forward was someone I was very high on, so the cold streak is rather disappointing. In 18 games, he’s netted two goals and dished out four assists for six total points. This includes no goals and two assists for two total points in his last 10 games. Let’s hope the native of Sweden can break out of this funk soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Samuel Asselin: Samuel Asselin is a name you may not recognize because he’s only played in two games for Providence this season. The young forward is someone you may want to get to know. In nine games down in the ECHL with the Atlanta Gladiators, he netted seven goals while dishing out seven assists for 14 total points. Asselin signed a deal with Providence after a fantastic season with Halifax in the QMJHL. In 68 games with the Mooseheads, he netted 48 goals and dished out 38 assists for 86 total points. BNG founder Mark Allred wrote about Asselin’s call up to the AHL here.

On The Blue Line

Jeremy Lauzon: Jeremy Lauzon is sometimes a forgotten prospect when it comes to the Bruins’ defense. The young defenseman has had a pretty good year with Providence thus far. In 18 games, he hasn’t found the back of the net, but he has dished out six assists for six total points. The QMJHL product has already reached his assist total from last season and is only one point away from last year’s point total in fewer games played. Look for him this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent in his first season for the Providence Bruins. In 11 games played the veteran netminder, is 7-2-1 with a 2.10 GAA and a .934 save percentage. The former Vegas Golden Knight also has three shutouts on the season. Let’s hope he can keep it up.

The Providence Bruins have hit a bit of a cold streak as a team over their last 10 games. Despite this, they are still in a playoff spot early in the season. The Providence club is young but also talented. They’ve shown early on that they can bounce back from losses. This weekend is going to be tough. Three games in three days and four games total bunched together is difficult. The good news is that all four games are very winnable. If the Bruins can come out with six out of eight points, they’ll be in good shape. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Bruins Game 21 Preview: New Jersey Devils

cut (5)

PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

It was a rough week for the Boston Bruins last week, but their back-to-back set of games on Friday and Saturday made up for it somewhat. The Bruins ended their four-game losing streak Friday with a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and then went on to earn a point after having the game tied with less than a minute to go in regulation, followed by a shootout loss to the Washington Capitals. Through the first 20 games, the Bruins are third in the NHL with a record of 12-3-5.

New Jersey added some bigger names to their franchise over the offseason, but unfortunately for them, it has not payed off as we enter the second quarter of the 2019-20 season. The Devils sit as the 13th-best team in the Eastern Conference with a combined record of 7-8-4 through the first 19 games. New Jersey has the second-worst goal differential in the conference, (-19), but is in the midst of a two-game winning streak.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 8-2-2 2.14 GAA .927 SV% Last Game: 29 Saves in 4-2 win vs TOR

NJD: Mackenzie Blackwood 7-4-3 2.79 GAA .904 SV% Last Game: 31 Saves in 4-3 OT win vs MTL

Who’s Hot:

Charlie McAvoy has not been great offensively for the Boston Bruins so far this season, especially considering he just extended his contract with the organization this past summer. However, in the back-to-back, McAvoy’s game was the best it has been all season with the culmination being against the Capitals on Saturday. The 21-year-old defenceman put up two assists in 23:23 of ice-time, but was easily the best blueliner on the defensive side of the ice for the Bruins and did a great job in all facets.

Blake Coleman possesses some of the most underrated speed in the NHL for a depth player and seemingly at any time he can put on the jets towards the net and has a couple slick one-handed goals because of it. Coleman only has 4-3-7 numbers in 19 games played for New Jersey this year, but he has points in each of his last three games, scoring 1-2-3 totals in that time span. For a struggling Devils team, this is a bright spot.

Tuukka Rask will get the start tonight in New Jersey for the Bruins and after two regulation losses back-to-back, he rebounded great with a 29-save performance in Friday’s victory over the Maple Leafs in Toronto. Rask still has an impressive 2019-2020 stat line with a 2.14 goals-against-average and a .927 save percentage in 12 games. Rask will look to win his second-consecutive start tonight.

Who’s Not:

Being drafted first-overall in any draft usually means that the expectations for your rookie season is higher than anyone else and for forward Jack Hughes, those expectations were through the roof at the start of the regular season, but the 18-year-old Orlando, Florida native has only 4-6-10 points in 19 games and has only one point in his last five games. Hughes has seen his ice-time decrease over these last five games and it will be interesting to see how it plays out against the Bruins.

There are not any Bruins who are “cold” at the moment, even though they recently had a four-game losing skid. Boston has looked pretty good on all four offensive lines and all three defensive pairings, but the biggest issue for them is playing a full 60-minute hockey game. Failing to play all three periods with equal intensity has cost them points and games over the past couple weeks and it is fair to assume that the coaching staff is working to end that.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F Charlie Coyle is three goals away (97) from 100 career NHL goals
  • F Brad Marchand is two goals away (275) from tying Wayne Cashman (277) for 8th-most goals in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron* is one even-strength goal away (214) from passing Cam Neely (214) for sole possession of 6th-most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron* is one power-play goal away (99) from 100 career power-play goals

*As of 11:35am EST, Bergeron remains a game-time decision to play against NJD.

New Jersey Devils:

  • F Blake Coleman is playing in his 200th career NHL regular-season game

Bruins vs Devils Outlook:

The 2019-2020 NHL regular-season officially reached the quarter mark and already, the points are starting to matter. Each and every missed chance for two points can comeback to haunt a team in March and April so these games have a level of importance to them. Boston has already matched up with New Jersey this season, defeating them 3-0 in Boston’s home-opener back on October 12th.

As previously mentioned, the Bruins are near the top of the standings in both the Eastern Conference and the entire league. However, with the recent rise of the Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers, the Bruins do not have a massive lead for first place in the Atlantic Division. With games against the Buffalo Sabres, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, and New York Rangers to close out the month of November, wins over teams like the Devils will become huge when the schedule becomes more difficult.

Without Torey Krug in the lineup, the Bruins power-play has struggled just a little bit, but still holds the third-best percentage in the league at an impressive 28.1%. Boston’s penalty-kill remains in the top-half of the NHL, killing off 83.3% of their penalties for 12th in the league. New Jersey is on the complete opposite of the spectrum. The Devils have the 5th-worst power-play success rate at 14.3% and 9th-worst penalty-kill at 75.8%.

Bruins Morning Rushes:

Yesterday, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said that forwards Patrice Bergeron (lower-body), Jake DeBrusk (lower-body) and Brett Ritchie (upper-body) were considered “game-time decisions” and as of 12:00pm EST, no further word has been made on their status for the game against the New Jersey Devils. If all three do return, the Bruins will likely roll the lines listed above.

Puck drop from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey is scheduled for 7:00pm EST.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 154 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Welcome Ovechkin & Co. | Game Preview-11/16

Image result for boston bruins vs washington capitals

(Photo Credits: NBC Sports)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

In their second game of a back-to-back, the Boston Bruins flew back home late last night as they ready themselves to face one of the league’s best teams. After snapping a four-game losing slump, the B’s are gearing up for a tough match-up when they play the Washington Capitals at the TD Garden.

Call it what you may, the Caps have been the Bruins kryptonite for a while now with Boston finally slaying that dragon when they narrowly defeated them 1-0 this past February. In the last 20 games played between these two teams,  the Bruins have only won four games. Today’s match-up will undoubtedly be a test for both teams as they each look to place another “W” in the win column.

Post-Game Notes

Washington will be traveling to Boston after losing to the Montreal Canadiens last night at home 5-2. Prior to the game, the Capitals had a 13-game point streak and much like the Bruins will be looking to start a fresh new one tonight. The loss against Montreal was the team’s first in regulation in over a month (their last loss was to the Colorado Avalanche on October 14th).  They are 7-1-1 when facing an Eastern Conference opponent this season so far.

After a scoreless first period, the Canadiens got on board, blanking out the Caps 4-0 at the end of the second period. Washington came up short on their comeback as they netted two goals in the third but never fully recovered. The Caps are now 11-1-2 in their past 14 games played.

Image result for boston bruins vs washington capitals(Photo Credits: Nick Wass/AP Photo)

Despite the four-game losing streak that halted a 10-game point streak for the Bruins, the team is currently the only one in the NHL that has not lost in regulation at home.  After getting the B’s onboard last night against the Toronto Maple Leafs,  forward Charlie Coyle has four points with one goal and three assists. Brad Marchand had quite the night in his 700th NHL career game as he notched two goals, which were the difference makers in a much-needed win for the team.

Quick Stats

The Bruins and the Capitals lead their respective Divisions with Washington having played two more games than Boston. With the loss, the Capitals are now 14-3-4 in 21 games while the Bruins are 12-3-4 in 19 games. Marchand is on pace to break his previous 100-point season. He has now leapfrogged over teammate David Pastrnak in the NHL leader-board with 32 points (third in the league).  Pastrnak still leads the league with 16 goals.

Marchand is fourth in the league with 19 assists; Zdeno Chara is tied for second in the league in plus-minus at 13. Washington goaltender Braden Holtby is tied for second in the league for wins (nine), while Tuukka Rask is tied for ninth with eight wins. John Carlson leads the Capitals team with 31 points and 23 assists. Alex Ovechkin leads with 14 goals.

In the last five games, John Carlson has notched eight points with seven assists. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov has four goals. For the Bruins’ last five games, David Krejci has five points and four assists while Marchand has three goals. Expect Tuukka Rask (8-2-2) in net for the Bruins. The 32-year-old goaltender now has a 2.14 goals-against-average with a .927 save percentage. For Washington, expect Brayden Holtby (9-1-3) in net.  The 30-year-old now has a 3.06 goals-against-average with a .903 save percentage.

There was no morning skate for the Boston Bruins. Here are tonight’s projected lineups:

BOSTON BRUINS:

Marchand–Bergeron–Pastrnak

Bjork–Krejci–Coyle

Frederic–Lindholm–Heinen

Nordstrom– Kuraly–Wagner

Chara– McAvoy

Grzelcyk–Carlo

Vaakanainen– Clifton

Rask

WASHINGTON CAPITALS:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Oshie

Vrana-Kuznetsov-Wilson

Stephenson-Eller-Hathaway

Leipsic-Boyd-Panik

Kempny-Carlson

Orlov-Gudas

Siegenthaler-Jensen

Holtby

 

WHEN TO WATCH: Tonight with puck drop at 7:00PM

WHERE TO WATCH: NESN, ESPN+

Check out our new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 5 that we recorded on November 13th, 2019! Our BNG Prospects Pod can be found on the same RSS Feed as our original Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast, which can be found on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Game 19 Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

7SUZSH5WLFCGRJZOJWY5BKSLKE.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (CHARLES KRUPA/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Only a few days removed from one of the worst third-periods in recent memory, the Boston Bruins are back against their Original Six rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs, in game one of a back-to-back this weekend. Sunday’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers marked the fourth-consecutive loss by the Bruins, dropping their record to 11-3-4, but still hold the first place position in the Atlantic Division.

Toronto is not doing so hot as of late, either, losing two consecutive games and falling out of a playoff spot early on in the season. Not long after the return of captain John Tavares, the Leafs lost forward Mitch Marner for the next four weeks due to a high ankle sprain. Toronto also recently saw the return of forward Zach Hyman, but still lost a 5-4 game to the New York Islanders. The Leafs are ninth in the Eastern Conference with a 9-7-4 record.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 7-2-2 2.16 GAA .926 SV% Last Game: 25 Saves in 5-4 SO loss to FLA

TOR: Frederik Andersen (Likely) 9-3-3 2.72 GAA .912 SV% Last Game: 25 Saves in 5-4 loss to NYI

Who’s Hot:

Auston Matthews is one of the lone players not injured right now on the Maple Leafs so he is being tasked with the majority of the workload and he has stepped up to the plate. The superstar forward has points in five-straight games, improving his season numbers to 13-13-26 totals in 20 games played. Matthews has not scored a goal in the last three games, but has tallied seven assists in those games including a four-assist effort against the Chicago Blackhawks on November 10th.

Surprisingly, Danton Heinen has been really good for the Bruins as of late. The 24-year-old forward only has 4-4-8 numbers in 18 games in 2019-2020, but has scored points in each of the last two games. The Athletic’s Joe McDonald, (@JoeyMacHockey on Twitter), wrote an article on Friday about the recent play of Heinen and how even though he hasn’t come big on the score sheet, he still has played a great game – improving his net-front play and strength along the boards. Heinen has become a great versatile player and that article highlights that.

David Krejci has dealt with some early-season injuries that has halted his play, but yet the veteran center still has 2-7-9 numbers in 12 games and has six points in his last five games. Against the Panthers, Krejci played 17:34 of ice-time and tallied two assists on Anders Bjork’s power-play marker and Zdeno Chara’s third of the year. Both assists were primary helpers.

Who’s Not:

Kasperi Kapanen is going to be relied on a bit more with the absence of Mitch Marner and for the Maple Leafs, that production is going to need to come sooner rather than later. The Kuopio, Finland native has five goals and six assists for eleven points in 20 games on the campaign, but only has one point in his last five games – a goal scored against the Islanders. Kapanen, 24, signed a three-year contract extension with Toronto worth $3.2 million per season last summer.

Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said recently that defenceman’s Charlie McAvoy’s play as of late has not been bad, but the production levels are just not there right now. Without power-play quarterback Torey Krug in the lineup, McAvoy needs to put up more points than his 0-4-4 numbers show now. It may be a lot to ask of him to play better offensively when he has been decent on the defensive side, but successful teams have showed that offensive threats on the blueline can pay off in the long and short term.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F Brad Marchand is playing in his 700th career NHL regular-season game
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one even-strength goal away (214) from passing Cam Neely (214) for sole possession of 6th-most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one power-play goal away (99) from 100 career NHL power-play goals

Toronto Maple Leafs:

  • F John Tavares is three assists away (397) from 400 career NHL assists

Bruins vs Leafs Outlook:

It is only November 15th and this is the third meeting of four between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2019-2020 NHL regular-season, with the fourth and final game taking place on March 14th in Boston. So far this season, the Bruins are winning the season series with a regulation win and an overtime loss back in October.

Friday’s contest in Toronto will be another battle of two teams dealing with injuries. For Boston, they will be without forwards Jake DeBrusk (lower-body), David Backes (upper-body), Zach Senyshyn (lower-body), and Karson Kuhlman (leg) as well as defensemen Torey Krug (upper-body), Kevan Miller (lower-body), and John Moore (upper-body). Forward Trent Frederic has been called up to the NHL and will play tonight as well. The Maple Leafs will be without forward Mitch Marner (ankle) and forward Alexander Kerfoot (face).

Boston’s power-play fell to third in the league at 30.5%, but still has a dangerous man-advantage along with their 82.1% penalty-kill percentage (13th in NHL). Toronto’s power-play needs work at 17.6%, while their penalty-kill is not much better at a 75.3% success rate so far this season.

The six most recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductees will be in attendance tonight as the Bruins and Maple Leafs host the annual Hockey Hall of Fame Game in the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 153 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 7 Preview

pbruins1

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week seven of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 8-6-0-2 (18 points), including 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week they would rather forget. Our boys in black and gold were able to down the Sound Tigers 4-1, before falling to Hartford 2-1 and Bridgeport 2-0. With only two games this weekend, we hope the Bruins get back to their winning ways.

The hockey action starts on Friday, November 15, 2019, when the Hartford Wolf Pack invades Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. To end the weekend, Providence returns the favor and heads down to Hartford, Connecticut to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center on Saturday, November 16, 2019. It is going to be an exciting week of hockey that you do not want to miss.

Friday, November 15, 2019 (HOME) Saturday, November 16, 2019 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack

This weekend’s matchups will mark the second and third of 10 meetings the two teams will have this year. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 2-1. Providence got their lone goal from Jack Studnicka. Goalie Kyle Keyser was up to the task in net stopping 23 of 25 shots that were fired his way.

The home and home battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 10-1-0-4 (24 points), including 6-1-0-3 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division and first in the Eastern Conference. Even though it’ll be a tough few games, there is hope for the Bruins.

Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have gone 21-12-4-2, including 13-5-1-1 at the Dunk. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 33 goals in 15 games. This means they’re giving up only 2.2 goals a game. Only one other team in the Eastern Conference has given up fewer goals.

To add to their defense, the New York affiliate has only given up six goals in 51 penalty kill opportunities. That’s an excellent 88.2%, which is good for third in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. They’ve also only given up two shorthanded goals.

To compare, the Providence Bruins have given up 10 goals in 74 penalty kill opportunities. That’s 86.5%, which is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The spoked P has also given up a league-leading three shorthanded goals.

One area the Providence club needs to work on is the number of penalties they take. They are taking 4.62 penalties a game. They cannot be giving other teams that many power-play opportunities. When a team is on the penalty kill that often, it’s difficult to build offensive momentum. It’s going to be a hard-fought weekend series. Let’s hope our boys in black and gold are up to the task.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka has had an excellent start to his first full professional season. In 16 games, the young center netted four goals and dished out six assists for 10 total points. This includes netting four goals and dishing out three assists for seven points in his last 10 games. The OHL product has been a revelation on offense and is developing exactly how the team would want. Let’s hope Studnicka can keep up his high level of play.

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has been excellent for the Providence Bruins this season. The team’s captain in 16 games has netted seven goals and dished out six assists for 13 total points. This includes netting five goals and dishing out four assists and nine total points in his last 10 games. The former Boston College Eagle and NCAA champion has not only contributed to the scoresheet but also provided excellent leadership for a young team.

Not

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has been good overall this season, netting four goals and dishing out three assists for seven total points in 16 games. Despite this, he’s gone pointless in his last six games played. The former Boston College Eagle will hopefully break this slump soon. With players going up and down due to injuries in Boston, Providence needs Fitzgerald to pick up some slack.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic has had an up and down season. In 15 games, the former Wisconsin Badger hasn’t netted any goals and dished out five assists for five total points. The young forward hasn’t registered a point in his last five games. Frederic is one of the better prospects in the Bruins system. Hopefully, he can turn his season around.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik has been excellent in his time with Providence this season. In nine games, the native of Slovakia has netted six goals and dished out four assists for 10 total points. Also of note, in seven games against Hartford last season, he netted three goals and dished out two assists for five total points. Look for him to have a big weekend.

On The Blue Line

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic has been excellent for the Providence Bruins this year. It’s his first season with the club, and in 15 games, he’s netted two goals and dished out 10 assists for 12 total points. The WHL product has also played excellent defense for our boys in black and gold this season. Look for him to continue his play against Hartford.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent for the Providence Bruins net. The QMJHL product has gone 6-2-1 this season, with a 2.02 GAA and a .936 save percentage. He’s also had three shutouts this season. He’s provided leadership to the young goaltenders Dan Vladar and Kyle Keyser.

The Providence Bruins have had a superb start to their season. In previous years, they’ve started out slow and then came on hot the second half of the year. This year our boys in black and gold are bucking that trend. They have a wealth of talent and could go far this year. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!