Asselin Gets First Star Honors In Thrilling Victory For Bruins ECHL Affiliate

( Photo Credit: Dale Zanine / Atlanta Gladiators )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Last night the Atlanta Gladiators beat the visiting Orlando Solar Bears 5-4 in overtime at the Infinite Energy Arena. The “AA” minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins are having an up and down 2019-20 regular season in the tough South Division. With this Friday night January 17th, 2020 win the Gladiators improve to a 17-20-0-0 record with 34 points and stuck in the middle of a tough division led by powerhouse South Carolina Stingrays who have a league-leading 29-5-3-1 record with 62 points in 38 games.

Regardless of the Gladiator’s struggles and 5-5-0 record in their last ten games as a team, there are certain individuals going above and beyond in an effort to get noticed by their parent American Hockey League team. One particular Gladiator player who’s having a good season in his first year of professional hockey lead his final season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in goals during the 2018-19 season as a member of the Halifax Mooseheads with 48. After this tremendous season in the highly respected QMJHL, the Boston Bruins scouting staff were close by to pounce on this undrafted player as soon as his commitment was over in the Canadian Hockey League.

Samuel Asselin

( Photo Credit: OSC Our Sports Central / oursportscentral.com )

Samuel has been a welcome addition to the Boston Bruins organization with a low-risk “show me” first two-year AHL contract in early July of 2019 which gives him the flexibility to further his development either with the Providence Bruins or lower ECHL Atlanta team. In five games that Asselin has been recalled to Providence the undrafted free agent forward has three assists but in the coast, with Atlanta, he’s a point-per-game player with 15-14-29 numbers in 29 career games.

Last night the 21-year-old Asselin notched the second hat trick of his rookie season with two goals in regulation and a heroic ending to seal the deal for his Glads club. Samuel’s point production on this night started in the first period with the primary assist on teammate Tommy Marchin’s 13th goal of the season at the 14:12 mark of the opening frame as seen below.

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Asselin’s 13th goal and first in this game came at the 4:29 mark of the second period to give the Glads a 2-0 lead. The primary assist on this goal came from third-year Atlanta defenseman and Wilmington, Massachusetts native Zach Malatesta with the secondary helper going to Logan Nelson which can be seen below.

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The second goal of Asselin’s Trifecta came at the 5:18 mark of the third period and a 4-3 lead in the final frame. Samuel’s 14th goal of the season went unassisted when he comes in on the right side untouched for a snipe past visiting netminder and former highly regarded goalie Zach Fucale.

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Asselin’s final goal of the game and fourth point in the thrilling victory over the Solar Bears came in the extra frame as both clubs were deadlocked at four at the end of regulation. Samuel would only need 1:08 into overtime to send the Glads faithful home with a celebratory win over their South Division rival. Asselin received a behind the back pass on the cycle in the offensive zone from fellow teammate and Atlanta defenseman Joel Messner and protected the puck well working his way in-between the faceoff circles to snipe a wrister at the hash marks for the eventual game-winner and 15th goal of the season. The aforementioned Gladiators defenseman Malatesta his helper in the final Asselin goal was his second point of the night.

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Asselin is sure to garner some attention from the higher Providence Bruins club if they need some more scoring help or in case one of their AHL players come down with an injury. The 5′-9″ 181-pound forward is currently on a two-game point streak and has 3-4-7 numbers in his last five games. His longest point streak in this his ECHL rookie season came from the  October 18th, 2019, to the November 8th, 2019 timeframe where he contributed 7-7-14 numbers in his first eight games in the league.

Samuel and his Gladiators club are back on the ice tonight at the North Charleston Coliseum against the league-leading South Carolina Stingrays where the Glad could extend their winning streak to two games and Asselin could push for points in three straight games. After Asselin’s first career season-long point streak he was recalled to Providence so you never know when his talents are going to be needed with the higher parent Providence team.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospects Podcast episode 11 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.

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Boston Bruins Place Forward David Backes on Waivers

David Backes

PHOTO CREDITS: (nbcsports.ca)

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

As per numerous reports on social media, including from The Athletic’s Joe McDonald (@JoeyMacHockey on Twitter) and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC on Twitter), the Boston Bruins have placed forward David Backes for assignment to the Providence Bruins.

David Backes, 35, has played in 16 games this season for the Bruins, scoring one goal and two assists for three points and a -2 rating. Backes has not played a game since Boston’s 5-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets on January 9th where he skated for eleven shifts totalling 8:35 of ice-time. He has not scored a point since December 5th against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Boston signed the Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA native to a five-year, $30,000,000 contract ($6 million AAV) on the opening day of free agency back in the 2016 off-season. Prior to the signing, Backes had been the captain of the St. Louis Blues, totalling 727 career regular-season games with the Blues, scoring 206-254-460 numbers in that span. It was a tough move for him to make, but he felt he had a better shot to hoist the Stanley Cup if he signs with the Bruins.

Since the signing, Backes has not turned out to be what Boston expected. In 217 regular-season games for the Black and Gold, Backes scored 29-55-94 numbers along with 12 points in 39 playoff games dating back to the 2016-17 campaign. Backes scored two goals and three assists during Boston’s 2019 Stanley Cup Finals run as well.

The move to send Backes down is an interesting one, considering the move to put Brett Ritchie on waivers earlier in the week (he cleared). With players such as Karson Kuhlman and even Anton Blidh pushing for more consistent spots on the roster, older veterans like Backes simply don’t have the space on the team anymore. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy re-iterated that in a much simpler way.

The likelihood of Backes getting claimed by one of the other 31 NHL franchises is slim, but there is a benefit to him going to the Providence Bruins as well. As Bruins Network (@BruinsNetwork on Twitter) stated, if the 35-year-old clears waivers, the Bruins will free up $1 million in salary. With the trade deadline looming around the corner, every dollar counts and Backes’ $6 million cap hit right now is a lot to continue paying if he continues to be in the press box.

For the latest breaking news, updates, and injury reports, make sure to check back on blackngoldhockey.com and follow on Twitter (@BlackNGoldPod). The Boston Bruins play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, January 19th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Puck drop is scheduled for 12:30pm EST.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 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 49 Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins

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PHOTO CREDITS: (sportsnet.ca)

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

With back-to-back losses against the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets earlier in the week, the Boston Bruins look to get right back to their winning ways against the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins. The Bruins are still third in the National Hockey League with a 27-9-12 record, but have a 5-2-3 record in their last ten games played. Boston needs to start piecing together wins again in order to remain atop the standings.

Pittsburgh has been one of the best teams in the league for well over the past decade and somehow, they have quietly done the same in 2019-20, winning four-straight games and having an 8-1-1 record in their last ten games to boost themselves to fourth in the overall standings. The Penguins have a 29-12-5 record and trail the Bruins by only three points with two games in hand.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 10-6-5 2.49 GAA .919 SV% Last Game: 24 Saves in 3-0 loss vs CBJ

PIT: Matt Murray (Not Confirmed) 13-6-4 2.91 GAA .896 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 4-3 OT win vs COL

Who’s Hot:

Sidney Crosby had not played a game of hockey since November 9th, so the doubts of him playing at the same elite level were there, but he quieted all of them down. The 32-year-old superstar proved why he will go down as one of the greatest of all-time after scoring a goal and three assists for his first four-point night since March 2nd, 2019 against the Canadiens. Crosby now has 6-15-21 numbers in 18 games played this season.

Whenever David Pastrnak steps on the ice, especially when the Bruins are on the power-play, he is a threat to score. Even though he was held scoreless in the shutout loss to the Blue Jackets on Tuesday, he has five goals in his last five games including a hat-trick four games ago against the Winnipeg Jets. Pastrnak still leads the NHL in goals and has 36-33-66 numbers in 48 games this year.

Evgeni Malkin is commonly thought of as the wing man to Sidney Crosby, but in Crosby’s absence, he was deemed the leader of the team and he stepped up. Malkin leads the Penguins with 15-32-47 totals in 33 games played in ’19/’20 and is in the midst of a four-game point streak where he has accumulated 4-4-8 numbers. In Pittsburgh’s 7-3 win over the Wild, Malkin scored two goals and added an assist for a three-point night of his own.

Who’s Not:

In a league where depth scoring seemingly rules, the Boston Bruins need all four lines to produce consistently and for Sean Kuraly, consistency has been one of the biggest problems. Even with his sixteen points on the campaign thus far, he has only one point in his last seven games and has not scored a goal in sixteen consecutive games (Dec. 11 vs WSH). Bruins need more from Kuraly, even if he is a fourth-liner.

Matt Murray is likely getting the start in goal after back-to-back starts for Tristan Jarry early in the week and if he does, it might be a better chance for the Bruins to pick up the win. Even though he has three wins in each of his last three starts, he has allowed three, two, and four goals respectively in those starts. With a .896 save-percentage and a 2.91 goals-against-average, Murray has strides to improve his game this season.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F David Krejci will play his 892nd career regular-season game, passing Terry O’Reilly (891) for 7th-most games played in Bruins history*
  • D Zdeno Chara is two penalty minutes away (1038) from passing Wayne Cashman (1039) for 6th-most PIM in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one game-winning goal away (55) from tying Cam Neely (56) for 5th-most GWG in Bruins history
  • F David Pastrnak is one hat-trick away (7) from tying Bill Cowley (8) for 5th-most hat-tricks in Bruins history

*F David Krejci (upper-body) is a game-time decision for tonight’s game vs PIT.

Pittsburgh Penguins:

  • D Jack Johnson is one point away (299) from 300 career NHL points
  • G Matt Murray is three saves away (5036) from passing Les Binkley (5038) for 5th-most saves in Penguins history
  • G Matt Murray is one shutout away (11) from passing Les Binkley (11) for sole possession of 3rd-most shutouts in Penguins history

Bruins vs Penguins Outlook:

Boston and Pittsburgh meet one another for three games a year and with Boston taking a 6-4 back on November 4th, the Penguins will look to even up the season series tonight before their final meeting of 2019-2020 this Sunday in Pittsburgh. The Bruins survived a strong four-goal second-period from the Pens in that first game to score three goals in the final period to pick up the win.

Taking a look at the speciality team battle, the Bruins on-paper take the win there. Boston has the third-best power-play percentage (27.3%) and the 7th-best penalty-kill percentage (83%) while the Penguins have the 17th-best man-advantage in the NHL (19.9%) and the 14th-best penalty-killing percentage at 81%.

Boston remains as the best team at home in the National Hockey League with a 15-2-9 record while inside the TD Garden. On the other side of it, the Penguins are a pretty decent road team – having a record of 12-7-2 during the season so far.

Bruins Roster Moves:

  • G Tuukka Rask (concussion) placed on injured-reserve, no timetable on return
  • G Dan Vladar recalled from Providence (AHL) on emergency basis
  • F David Krejci (upper-body) is a game-time decision
  • F Karson Kuhlman recalled from Providence (AHL)
  • F Brett Ritchie cleared waivers; will report to Providence (AHL)
  • D Matt Grzelcyk back in lineup, D Steven Kampfer is a healthy scratch
  • F David Backes had a maintenance day today

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

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 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 Place Forward Brett Ritchie on Waivers

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nbcsports.com)

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

According to insider Elliotte Friedman, the Boston Bruins have placed forward Brett Ritchie on waivers with purpose of assignment to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League. This comes one day after Ritchie played 10:27 over 14 shifts in Boston’s 3-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on the road.

Last offseason, the Boston Bruins signed Ritchie to a one-year contract that will pay him $1 million for the 2019-2020 campaign. Prior to signing with the Bruins, the 26-year-old forward played 241 career regular-season games with the Dallas Stars. Highlighted by his 2016-17 season where he put up 16-8-24 numbers in 78 games played, Ritchie finished his five-year tenure in Dallas with 33-21-54 totals.

The Orangeville, Ontario, Canada native scored four goals and two assists for six points in 53 games during the 2018-19 season, but when his contract expired, the Stars opted to let him walk, allowing the Bruins to sign him in free agency. Boston did not have the available cap space to sign some of the more well-known free agents, so the organization settled on depth players with Ritchie being one of those players.

Ritchie scored the first goal of the 2019-2020 season for the Boston Bruins, half of his entire goal output in 27 games skated for the Black and Gold. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has tried Ritchie all over the place, seeing minutes with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci on the second-line, to minutes on the third and fourth lines as well. Unfortunately for him and the Bruins organization, he has not been able to find his game offensively whatsoever.

Now, if Ritchie does indeed clear waivers, he will report to the AHL’s Providence Bruins, who are third in the Atlantic Division with a 22-15-1 record through the first 40 games of the season. In the case that Ritchie joins Providence, his $1 million salary will still be on the bill for the Boston Bruins, where as if he is claimed, he is off the books and no longer apart of the B’s at all.

The big question with this transaction is what it means for a possible future transaction. With the injury of goaltender Tuukka Rask last night in Columbus and the recent losses on their record, changes were expected and predicted – this just brings up that question about what exactly this new change will be. Within the next 24 hours, we will know the next stages of Brett Ritchie’s future with the Boston Bruins.

For the latest breaking news, updates, and injury reports – make sure to check back to blackngoldhockey.com and give all of the excellent writers a follow on Twitter including myself (@tkdmaxbjj).

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 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 Post-Game Recap: Boston at Columbus: 01/14/20

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA TODAY Sports Photo)

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

The Boston Bruins did have a three-game winning streak, but following a disappointing 6-5 shootout loss to the Philidelphia Flyers last night, the B’s will be on the lookout to get back into the win column tonight against the Blue Jackets. Boston had a three-goal lead on the Flyers, before allowing a Philly comeback, leading into one of the most embarrassing shootout attempts by Brad Marchand to give the Broadstreet Bullies the win.

Prior to puck drop, the Bruins are third in the National Hockey League, trailing the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals by only a single point. With St. Louis and Washington not on the schedule for tonight, the Bruins have a chance to take the small lead in the overall league standings.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: Nationwide Arena – Columbus, Ohio, USA

Home: Columbus Blue Jackets (22-16-8)

Away: Boston Bruins (27-8-12)

Last Bruins Result: 6-5 SO loss vs PHI

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Head Coach Bruce Cassidy was not pleased with the Bruins after last night’s three-goal collapse so expect a Boston group that is trying to make a statement tonight.

First Period:

Just over a minute into the hockey game, Blue Jackets forward Emil Bemstrom skates directly across the crease of Tuukka Rask, but clips Rask with a jab and Rask goes down to the ice. After a brief time of stoppage, Rask skates off down the tunnel and Jaroslav Halak comes into the game after playing just last night. No penalty called on the play.

Just about six minutes in, the game gets its first penalty. Behind the play, Pierre-Luc Dubois goes off for two minutes on a cross-checking minor. Boston goes to their first power-play of the night, looking to make it fifteen straight games with a goal on the PP. The top unit for Boston had some good puck movement and nearly buried the go-ahead tally, but the puck stayed out and we return to even-strength.

Immediately after Dubois’ penalty, the Blue Jackets jam away at the puck right in front of Halak, forcing it past the red line. The nearby Columbus players celebrate, but a whistle heard make it clear that it would be no goal and after a very quick deliberation between the on-ice officials, it was determined a no-goal due to goaltender interference, the game remains scoreless.

Easily the best offensive stretch of the game for either team with roughly eight minutes to go in the period came from Boston’s dangerous first-line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak with some good short-side shots and wrap-around attempts but Merzlikins stands strong. Bruins looking good in this opening frame so far.

There goes that – with 6:33 left, the Columbus Blue Jackets strike first on what seemed like a simple breakout play. Alexander Wennberg took a cut into the center of the Bruins’ zone and fired it on the net, beating a falling Halak five-hole. Wennberg’s fourth goal of the season opens the scoring, 1-0 Blue Jackets.

In the final minute of the frame, still down by a single goal, Charlie McAvoy gets whistled down for holding and he’ll go to the box for the remainder of the first and for just over a minute into the second period. Bruins need to kill this off to head into the first intermission. The period ends there.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 7 CBJ: 9

Score: 1-0 Blue Jackets – Goals: Wennberg (4) Assists: Gavrikov (5), Gerbe (4)

Second Period:

Between periods, the Bruins announced that Tuukka Rask will miss the remainder of this game due to an upper-body injury. It is also likely that the B’s saw the replay of the elbow on Rask during the intermission because, in the opening minutes of the middle frame, Bemstrom has a Bruin in his face at all times as soon as a whistle is blown and it is quite clear that he has a target on his head.

The first half of the second period was mainly Columbus in Boston’s zone, but the Bruins, roughly at the midway point of the frame, gets some good zone time including Andres Bjork who draws a holding penalty and the Bruins go to the power-play for the second time tonight, looking to equalize the score. Brad Marchand set up the best chance, throwing the puck through the slot, looking for a possible redirection, but the deflection just went above the crossbar. The Blue Jackets kill it off and this game returns to five-on-five.

During the TV timeout, both Joakim Nordstrom and Pierre-Luc Dubois head to the box for off-setting minors because Nordstrom tried to get in the face of Bemstrom but the rookie was far from interested, so Dubois came to his aid and got into a pushing match with Nordstrom, leading to an unsportsmanlike conduct for Nordstrom and a roughing minor for Dubois. Nothing happens on the 4-on-4, penalties end.

Boston has been getting more and more chances to tie the game up, but they either miss the net or find Merzlikins, who has been solid in between the pipes for Columbus tonight. With only a few minutes left in the second, you have to assume that eventually, a bounce will go Boston’s way.

Boston ends the period with some great chances and puck possession but somehow, the puck stayed out. They need to continue this pressure in the final regulation period to tie this game if they want to squeak out a point.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 21 CBJ: 22

Score: 1-0 Blue Jackets

Third Period:

The Bruins did indeed that. After a set play that nearly set up David Pastrnak on the rush, the Bruins make some nice passing plays off of a Columbus turnover that sets up Charlie Coyle on a partial breakaway. He gets stopped, but drew a slashing penalty from Sonny Milano, giving Boston their third man-advantage of the night. Unfortunately, no goals came from it and with five minutes gone, it remains 1-0 Columbus.

At the 15:13 mark, Brad Marchand gets his stick caught up in Gavrikov’s face and he will be forced to sit in the penalty box for two minutes due to the high-sticking. Columbus heads to the power-play without having to face one of Boston’s top penalty-killers. With some brilliant cycling around the entire zone, Foligno makes a nice saucer pass from behind the net right to Stenlund. 2-0 Blue Jackets.

Off the center-ice faceoff, the Blue Jackets are called on an interference penalty and Boston has a chance to get that insurance tally right back and bring it back to a one-goal game in the third. Essentially nothing at all comes from the man-advantage, the game returns to 5-on-5, and Boston is still down by two goals with 11:50 to go in regulation.

As the period goes on, the Bruins get a couple nice opportunities to final score their first of the contest, but the Blue Jackets end up on a 2-on-1 rush going back the other way and Riley Nash elects to shoot the puck – beating Jaroslav Halak short side and extending Columbus’ lead to three goals with just over six minutes left to play. Just a bad night of hockey for the Black and Gold.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 33 CBJ: 27

Final Score: 3-0 Blue Jackets

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: CBJ G Elvis Merzlikins – 34 Saves, 2nd-straight shutout

2nd Star: CBJ F Alexander Wennberg – 1 Goal (GWG), 2 Shots, 13:54 TOI

3rd Star: CBJ D Seth Jones – 4 Blocks, 3 Shots, +1 Rating, 27:00 TOI

Boston’s next game is Thursday at home against the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 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 43 Preview: Edmonton Oilers

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

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

Looking to continue their strong season, the Boston Bruins host the Edmonton Oilers in the first meeting between the two teams in opposing conferences. The Bruins boast the second-best record in the National Hockey League with a 24-7-11 record through the halfway mark of the regular season. The Bruins are coming into the game following a tight 2-1 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

For the Edmonton Oilers, they are entering Saturday’s game with a record of 21-17-5 after 43 games played and have a sub-par record of 3-6-1 in their last ten contests. The Oilers started the season off hot, near the top of the league, but have since fallen off the rails and are now grasping for any signs of life before they fall out of a playoff spot. In their last time out, the Oilers felt short, losing to the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 in overtime.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 9-3-5 2.20 GAA .930 SV% Last Game: 42 Saves in 3-2 SO loss vs NJD

EDM: Mikko Koskinen (Not Confirmed) 14-8-2 2.85 GAA .912 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 7-5 win vs NYR

*Goaltenders may change before puck drop.

Who’s Hot:

David Pastrnak has proven time and time again that he is among the very best that the National Hockey League has to offer and his current nine-game point streak is a perfect example of that. In these past nine games, the 23-year-old forward has 4-10-14 numbers, helping him extend his position as the leading goal scorer in the NHL with 30 goals, only three goals ahead of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews who has 27 on the campaign.

Connor McDavid, on a good or bad team, plays at such a high level that he is almost always “hot”. McDavid leads the league in points with 64, (22 goals, 42 assists), only one point ahead of teammate Leon Draisaitl, 23-40-63, on the year. This dynamic duo has been dominating all season long, with McDavid just recently having a four-game point streak.

Patrice Bergeron failed to score a point against the New Jersey Devils on New Year’s Eve, but the four-time Selke winner added an assist in Thursday’s loss to Columbus, improving his numbers to 17-19-36 in only 33 games thus far, scoring seven of those points in his last five games. Between December 21st and December 27th, Bergeron scored two goals in a game for three straight games, proving that he can score goals as well as be one of the best defensive forwards in the game.

Who’s Not:

Oilers forward Alex Chiasson scored twenty-two goals last year for Edmonton but in 36 games so far this year, the 29-year-old has only 4-8-12 totals and has not found the scoresheet in his last five starts. Against the Rangers, Chiasson was scratched but made his way back into the lineup against the Sabres, playing 11:25 of ice-time with zero points and only one shot on goal.

Against the Devils, almost the entire Bruins lineup was lacking in the effort the put out on the ice for the final forty minutes of play. With the exception of Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner, the Bruins seemed sluggish, slow, and had no motivation in their game, eventually leading to New Jersey tying the game and winning it in a shootout. Boston failed to win battles along the boards, lost races to the puck, and only managed fourteen shots in the second and third periods combined. Against Columbus, not much changed as they lost a one-goal lead before eventually losing early into the overtime session. The Bruins need a better 60-minute effort against Edmonton on Saturday to pick up a win.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F David Krejci is three points away (671) from tying Ken Hodge (673) for 8th-most points in Bruins history
  • D Zdeno Chara is two penalty minutes away (1029) from passing Ted Green (1029) for sole possession of 7th-most penalties in minutes in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is two even-strength goals away (205) from tying Ken Hodge (207) for 8th-most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one power-play goal away (102) from passing Rick Middleton (102) for sole possession of 5th-most power-play goals in Bruins history

Edmonton Oilers:

  • G Mike Smith is one shutout away (39) from 40 career NHL shutouts*
  • F Connor McDavid is one point away (436) from passing Esa Tikkanen (436) for sole possession of 10th-most points in Oilers history

*if he gets the start Saturday vs BOS

Bruins vs Oilers Outlook:

Since these teams are in opposite conferences, they will only play each other twice during the 82-game campaign. Last season, Boston played the Oilers twice, with the Bruins winning the season series with a record of 1-0-1. On October 11th, 2018, the Bruins defeated Edmonton by a final score of 4-to-1, before losing a week later in overtime 3-2.

As mentioned previously, the Oilers were once near the top of the overall league standings as a result of their strong month of October, however, due to some poor goaltending and lack of consistent defense, they have fallen to the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference and 16th in the league standings. The Oilers have an 11-9-2 road record compared to Boston’s strong 14-1-9 record when playing inside the TD Garden – the arena of Saturday’s tilt.

An interesting facet of Saturday’s game will be the power-play as both teams are in the top-three for power-play percentage so far this season. Edmonton currently has the best man-advantage in the NHL, scoring at 30.0% on 130 power-play opportunities. The Bruins are not far behind, scoring at 27.2% on 136 power-play opportunities.

On the other hand, Boston has the second-best penalty-kill in the league, killing off 85.4% of their 152 penalties while Edmonton has the fourth-best penalty kill, killing off 83.6% of their 142 penalties. Boston has also drawn the fourth-most penalties throughout the season so far, drawing a total of 171 penalties – 25 more than Edmonton’s 146.

With two of the best duos in the league (Marchand & Pastrnak; McDavid & Draisaitl), going toe-to-toe with one another, expect this to be quite an entertaining hockey game. There are NHL odds here that will be updated as it gets closer to the time of the game so don’t be surprised if you see a change in the spread.

Puck drop is scheduled for 1:00 pm EST from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 160 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 Place Torey Krug On IR, Recall Steven Kampfer

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(LEFT: Torey Krug. Photo: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images. RIGHT: Steven Kampfer. Photo: Steve Babineau / NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced this morning that the team has placed defenseman Torey Krug on injured reserve and recalled d-man Steven Kampfer from the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL affiliate, on an emergency basis. Krug left the Bruins’ game against the Washington Capitals on Dec. 23 with an upper-body injury.

Krug’s injury is likely the result of a hit he took from Capitals forward Tom Wilson. Krug was stickhandling the puck before passing it off when he took a hard hit from Wilson that sent him crashing awkwardly into the boards. The blueliner was slow to get up and went down the tunnel to the Bruins’ dressing room following the hit.

Through 33 games this season, the 28-year-old leads all Bruins defenseman in scoring with five goals and 21 assists for 26 points. In 495 career NHL games, all with Boston, the 5-foot-9, 186-pound blueliner has recorded 63-251-314 numbers with 23 goals and 147 points coming on the power play.

Kampfer skated in four games with Boston, registering a plus-two rating and two penalty minutes, before clearing waivers and being sent down to Providence. In six games with the P-Bruins, the 5-foot-11, 198-pound defender has notched four assists.

Kampfer was supposed to serve a two-game suspension with Providence this weekend for interference. In 205 career NHL contests, the 31-year-old has 13-19-32 totals.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 159 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 Prospect Jakub Lauko Injured At World Juniors

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(Photo: Boston Bruins / NHL.com)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Boston Bruins prospect Jakub Lauko appeared to have injured his right leg during his first shift for the Czech Republic at the 2020 World Junior Championship. The forward was trying to control the puck as he skated through center-ice, before being taken down by a trailing Russian forechecker and colliding with another Russian defender.

Lauko went down holding his knee, was slow to get up and had to be helped off the ice. As he went to the locker room, he did not put any weight on his right leg; he has been ruled out for the remainder of the contest.

The 19-year-old had just returned to action after suffering a concussion with the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL affiliate. The concussion came as a result of a scary incident, in which Lauko had to be stretchered off the ice, in the P-Bruins’ contest against the Utica Comets on Dec. 7.

Lauko has suited up in 18 games for Providence this season, which is his first professional campaign. In that span, Lauko has four goals and four assists for eight points to go along with a plus-four rating and 20 penalty minutes.

Don Sweeney and the Bruins selected Lauko 77th-overall in the third round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Last season, the 6-foot, 170-pound skater posted 21-20-41 numbers in 44 games as well as 6-7-13 totals in 19 playoff contests with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL in addition to a goal and an assist in five games with the Czech Republic at last year’s World Juniors.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 159 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 31 Preview: Ottawa Senators

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Fred Chartrand | AP)

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

Even though the Bruins have lost two consecutive games, they are still one of the top teams in the NHL and tonight is a big night to get back on their winning ways against the Senators tonight. Boston remains second in the league standings with a record of 20-4-6, trailing the Capitals by three points. Boston lost in regulation for the first time at home on Saturday, a 4-1 defeat to the Colorado Avalanche.

The Ottawa Senators are at the complete opposite end of the spectrum with a record of 12-17-1 and 4-6-0 in their last ten games played. The Senators are 1-2-0 in the month of December including a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. Ottawa currently sits as the fourth-worst team in the NHL, but have still improved on past expectations from the start of the season.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 13-2-3 2.14 GAA .929 SV% Last Game: 27 Saves in 4-3 OT loss vs CHI

OTT: Anders Nilsson 7-8-1 3.10 GAA .910 SV% Last Game: 13 Saves in 4-3 loss vs PHI*

*Replaced Craig Anderson in net who went down with a lower-body injury.

Who’s Hot:

Anthony Duclair has been throughout the league as someone who just cannot find a home, but with the Ottawa Senators, he has become a strong member of the roster. The 24-year-old forward has 13-6-9 numbers in 30 games this season, but has four points in his last three games including a two-goal performance against the Flyers on Saturday. Duclair has also seen a progressing increase in ice-time over these three games, reaching over twenty minutes against Philly.

Boston has not been excellent over the last two games, but somehow, Chris Wagner has found himself on the scoresheet in two consecutive games. With the top line of the Bruins failing to score recently, it has been nice to have some depth scoring from Wagner, who has 3-7-10 numbers this year so far.

Tyler Ennis was held pointless against the Flyers, but in the last three games, the 30-year-old forward has four points including a great 1-2-3 night against the Oilers on December 4th. Ennis has 8-7-15 numbers in 30 games this season – only three points shy of matching his total point production with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 51 games he played in 2018-19. Ennis has become an important role to the Senators’ offence and he will look to continue that effort tonight against Boston.

Who’s Not:

All superstars go through slumps and right now, Brad Marchand is in one of those slumps right now. The Bruins leading scorer has only one point in his last five games and has not scored a goal in six games, the last one coming against the Senators on November 27th. Marchand still has impressive 18-26-44 numbers in 30 games in 2019-20, but his production is going to be needed with some big conference games this week.

Chris Tierney did score two points against the Oilers, but has only those two points in the last five games and has 3-11-14 numbers in 30 games played. The 25-year-old played over fifteen minutes on Saturday, but finished the night with one shot and a -2 rating. Ottawa would like some additional production from the former San Jose Sharks forward tonight against the Bruins.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F Charlie Coyle is one goal away (99) from 100 career NHL goals
  • F Jake DeBrusk is two points away (98) from 100 career NHL points

Ottawa Senators:

  • D Ron Hainsey is playing in his 1,099th career NHL game
  • F Jean-Gabriel Pageau is playing in his 399th career NHL game
  • F Vladislav Namestnikov is one assist away (99) from 100 career NHL assists
  • D Thomas Chabot is two points away (98) from 100 career NHL points

Bruins vs Senators Outlook:

Boston and Ottawa have already played two of the four scheduled meetings between one another, with the Bruins winning both of them by scores of 5-2 and 2-1 in November. Following tonight’s contest, the Bruins and Senators will meet again near the conclusion of the regular-season on March 26th.

Boston has fallen a tad on the special teams, falling below 30% on the power-play, but still holds the third-best man-advantage in the NHL. The Bruins have an 84.4% success rate on the penalty-kill as well. For Ottawa, they have the worst power-play percentage in the league at 9.6%, but has the 12th-best penalty-kill percentage at 82.6%.

Bruins Lineup News:

Patrice Bergeron’s seven-game absence is over, bringing back the first-line of Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak after a few games of players being tossed throughout the lineup. Puck drop for tonight’s contest is scheduled for 7:30pm EST from the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 157 that we recorded on 12-8-19 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 29 Preview: Chicago Blackhawks

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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!!