Bruins Post-Game Recap: EQSF Game 5: Columbus at Boston

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PHOTO CREDITS: (JAMIE SABAU/NHLI VIA GETTY IMAGES)

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

The Boston Bruins are once again in the middle of a tight, best-of-seven series for the second time in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tonight, the Bruins face the Jackets in Game Five in what is now a best-of-three series. A win on home ice for the Bruins gives them a chance to eliminate Columbus in Game Six.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Home: Boston Bruins (6-5)

Away: Columbus Blue Jackets (6-2)

Last Game Result: Bruins won 4-1

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Noel Acciari was not present at the morning practice or the pre-game warmup for the Boston Bruins. Replacing Acciari is forward Chris Wagner, who will make his way back into the lineup for the first time since Game Two in Boston.

First Period:

Due to the Kentucky Derby, the game was delayed slightly. Early on, both teams started off cautiously but the Bruins third-line had some quick shots on Bobrovsky with Danton Heinen getting a couple of them. David Backes also had some hard hits in the first few minutes of this pivotal Game 5.

The first-line of Boston, including Torey Krug blasted some shots and Bobrovsky allowed some large rebounds in the process. Bruins should look to take advantage of that idea and continue to fire shots on the net. One of Krug’s shots blasted Werenski in the ankle, causing him to fall on top of his own goaltender at the same time.

With 10:57 remaining in the opening period, the first penalty of the game gets called against the Blue Jackets. After some borderline hits from both teams, Marcus Johansson brings the puck up the ice 1-on-4, taking a slash on the hand by Cam Atkinson who heads to the box for two minutes. Boston’s power-play looked much better than the six they had on Thursday, allowing zero chances against, something that happened often in Game Six. Nonetheless, the penalty is killed off and back to 5-on-5.

Not long after the Columbus penalty-kill, Boone Jenner comes into the zone and as he goes to take a shot, Charlie McAvoy takes a slashing penalty as well. Boston gets their first chance on the penalty-kill with 8:25 left to go in period number one. Boston’s PK looked great, even taking the puck into Columbus’ zone to skate around a bit and kill off the clock. Only one true chance for Columbus on the penalty, back to even-strength.

Immediately after, the Blue Jackets are caught with six players on the ice. John Tortorella argued the call, but there was a time where six players were clearly on the ice for the Blue Jackets, tough break for them. Boston right back to the power-play with a chance to get on the board first.

The Bruins had some hard chances that either missed or were blocked, but the opportunities were indeed there. Definite improvement for Boston’s power-play going back to last game but we are back to 5-on-5.

In the concluding minutes of the period, the Blue Jackets started to get some chances to shoot off the rush into the zone, but the Bruins do a great job shutting down the extra passes, blocking shots, and when it does get to the net, Rask has been solid and calm to make the save. A solid defensive effort so far for the B’s as the first period ends.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 9 CBJ: 8

Score: 0-0

Second Period:

Only 1:39 into the second period, the Bruins strike first. David Backes picks off a Columbus turnover and heads down the ice. Backes drops the puck off for Jake DeBrusk who tosses it across the zone to Krejci. Krejci originally has issues handling the rolling puck and barely touches it, narrowly beating Bobrovsky under the pad. Boston takes a 1-0 lead early on in the middle frame.

Boston used that goal as some serious momentum to start controlling this hockey game. They are forcing turnovers in the neutral zone and are doing a great job limiting chances when Columbus finds themselves in the offensive zone. The Blue Jackets are just trying to dump the puck behind Rask, but the B’s are winning the board battles, proceeding to get the puck back up the ice.

Boston’s third-line gets in on the action as well when Marcus Johansson’s one-timer from the faceoff circle gets robbed by the left leg of Sergei Bobrovsky. Charlie Coyle was the one to get the pass through the middle of the zone across to Johansson, proving that the combination of those two are getting some serious chances to score. The athleticism and flexibility of Bobrovsky continue to be on display in this series.

After some more incredible chances by the Bruins by seemingly everyone, the Blue Jackets get their best chance of the hockey game when Brandon Carlo turns the puck over in his own zone, leading to Cam Atkinson on a partial breakaway. Tuukka Rask, however, follows Atkinson all the way and makes a large save. On the play, Torey Krug is called for a holding penalty but Rask looks great nonetheless.

Right off on the power-play, the Blue Jackets’ captain Nick Foligno somehow gets around Zdeno Chara in on Rask, but again, Rask stays strong with the pad save. He is looking great once again for the Bruins. On a clear attempt, Joakim Nordstrom falls twice and then holds his shoulder in some discomfort. Nordstrom heads down the tunnel as a result but manages to return not long after. Boston kills off the penalty though, 1-0 lead still in tact.

The Bruins did not record as many shots in the second half of the second period but they also didn’t give up many either. Great net-front battles right down to the final seconds of this frame helped the Bruins end the period with a one-goal advantage heading into the final twenty minutes. Another goaltender’s dual.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 21 CBJ: 23

Score: 1-0 Bruins – Goals: Krejci (3) Assists: DeBrusk (2), Backes (3)

Third Period:

Again, early in the period, the Bruins get some great zone time on Columbus. The Blue Jackets did get some offensive control of their own, but both shots were blocked. David Pastrnak and his linemates had some shots on goal and some that missed as well, however, the B’s start the third off well.

Less than three minutes in, David Krejci uses the stick in the neutral zone to hand it off to DeBrusk. DeBrusk keeps his legs moving and gets a contested backhand on Bobrovsky, following it by colliding into Bobrovsky’s pads, causing the net to come off. Great net drive by DeBrusk and that would be great to have more often in this game and the remainder of the postseason.

Columbus gets a chance of their own on a 2-on-1 scenario with Atkinson being the pass-receiver. Just as he is about to get the pass, Joakim Nordstrom hustles back and makes a great stick check to prevent what may have been a game-tying chance. Right back the other way, on an offensive zone faceoff win, Connor Clifton pushes up the zone, feeding Marchand who gets robbed again. However, the rebound goes right to his stick and he buries that one past Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky shows evident frustration after the goal against, knowing now the Bruins are up 2-0.

Just over halfway into the period, the Blue Jackets rip a shot tight on Rask who hugs the post immediately. The play seems normal, but the refs decide to look at the play. The puck looked to have crossed the line but the puck was not seen on any of the replay angles provided. Regardless, the officials, after a lengthy review process, rule it a good goal and it becomes a 2-1 hockey game.

Less than one minute after the goal, the Boston Bruins escape on a 3-on-1 play with David Pastrnak as the puck-holder. The defenceman allows Bobrovsky to take Pastrnak as he takes the passing options but Pastrnak just rips a Pastrnak-esque wrist shot past a standing Bobrovsky and it is right back to a two-goal Boston lead. Pastrnak with the patent hand-to-ear celebration afterwards and he is finally feeling himself these playoffs.

But, again, the goals somehow come everywhere. 51 seconds after the Pastrnak insurance goal, Matt Duchene makes a quick pivot that gets Chara out of position, then feeds it across to Ryan Dzingel who shoots it top shelf past Rask with just around seven minutes to go in the third period. Three goals in 1:23.

And it doesn’t stop there. Artemi Panarin gets the puck, almost fakes the shot and passes it to Dean Kukan in the high slot. Kukan’s bomb beats Rask high and the Blue Jackets tie this hectic hockey game with six minutes left to go in this game.

Boston gets a close chance when Bobrovsky is on his stomach when Krejci drives wide and throws it in front, but right back the other way Atkinson gets a contested breakaway that goes right into the chest of Tuukka Rask. Neither team is backing down.

With 1:28 remaining in the third period, Brandon Carlo shuts down Artemi Panarin, eventually forcing an odd-man rush going the other way. Brad Marchand makes a clean pass directly to the tape of David Pastrnak who just barely squeaks the puck past Bobrovsky and the Bruins once again take a one-goal lead. Pastrnak’s second of the game.

With the goalie pulled, Matt Duchene tips a puck that would have beat Tuukka Rask but bangs right off of the post. Then, with 14.6 seconds to go, Cam Atkinson gets yet another chance in tight but thanks to the sprawling Rask and pretty much every Bruin on the ice, the puck does not cross the red line.

After Columbus’ timeout, the Bruins cannot clear the puck and Panarin’s one-timer gets blocked hard by Charlie McAvoy but the Bruins hold on and win. Game-saving block by McAvoy.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 36 CBJ: 36

Final Score: 4-3 Bruins – 3-2 Series Lead

Max’s Three Stars

1st Star: BOS F David Pastrnak – 2 Goals, 7 Shots, +3 Rating, 17:48 TOI

2nd Star: BOS F Brad Marchand – 1 Goal, 2 Assists, 2 Shots, 20:56 TOI

3rd Star: BOS G Tuukka Rask – 29 Saves, .917 SV%

The series now heads back to Columbus, Ohio and the Boston Bruins have a chance to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals with a win in Game Six. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST on Monday, May 6th.

NHL Player Safety Suspends Leafs Nazem Kadri For Cross-Check on Bruins Jake DeBrusk

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Mary Schwalm/The Associated Press)

The National Hockey League’s Player Safety has officially suspended Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri for the remainder of the first-round series against the Bruins for a brutal cross-check to the head of Boston Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk in the third period of Saturday night’s Game Two win over the Maple Leafs.

“This is not a hockey play. Instead, this is a player retaliating against an opponent by using his stick as a weapon to make forceful and direct head contact.”

At the 14:03 minute of the final regulation period, already down 3-1 on the scoreboard, Kadri delivered the cross-check heard by everyone watching to an unsuspected Jake DeBrusk. Just seconds prior, DeBrusk laid a borderline dirty hit on Leafs forward Patrick Marleau, hitting him into the curved glass by the benches. Kadri was looking for retaliation but took his actions to another level.

It was not just that play from DeBrusk that drove Kadri to make that hit. All throughout Game Two, both DeBrusk and Kadri were involved in quite a bit of rough play with a lot of hits, battles, and pushing before, during, and after whistles. Part of the reason could be because of the style of game the Bruins came out playing.

For the first time in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston was hitting everything in sight, making hard strides on the forecheck, and getting into numerous scuffles in front of both Tuukka Rask and Frederik Andersen. Right in the middle of a lot of these war of pushing and shoving, was Jake DeBrusk and Nazem Kadri.

Later in the game, Kadri skates out of the box after receiving a two-minute minor late in the second-period for hooking Brad Marchand, stealing the puck from David Krejci who was about to shoot the puck towards the goal. As soon as Kadri pickpockets Krejci, he collides hard with DeBrusk. In full speed at that time, it appeared to be a clean body hit, but slowed down the knee of DeBrusk was the point of contact and sent Kadri flying in the air.

Kadri stayed on the ice for a while, clearly shaken up by the collision, but also possibly looking for a penalty. Unfortunately for him and the Maple Leafs, no penalty was handed to DeBrusk whatsoever, ensuring some justifiable outrage by the Toronto fan base. Kadri ended up returning to the game for Toronto, scoring their only goal on a slick deflection off of a Travis Dermott point shot, beating Rask in the third period.

Being it 3-1 in the third period, the Leafs were putting on some great control on Boston, gaining some in-zone chances and looking the best they looked all night long. For a moment in time, Toronto had a true chance at making a push for a comeback. We all know that a three-goal lead is not 100% safe in today’s NHL, even more so in the playoffs.

With six minutes left in the third period, Leafs forward Patrick Marleau attempts to bring the puck into the Bruins defensive zone along the boards right beside the bench area. The veteran forward is met by DeBrusk who finishes his check into the stanchion, (where the boards become smaller for the benches). The hit had similarities to the infamous hit by Zdeno Chara to former Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty.

Thankfully, Marleau was not injured on the play, but Kadri just happened to see the play from the view of the ice and quite possibly had the memories of seeing Pacioretty go down as did everyone else. Additionally, when Kadri saw the #74 on DeBrusk’s sweater, the anger of the missed knee-on-knee call as well as the frustration of the game could all have been motivating factors. However, NHL Player Safety said the following regarding the retaliation aspect, also noting the Marleau hit was legal:

“While we understand that Kadri took offense to DeBrusk’s hit against Marleau, players are simply not permitted to flagrantly violate league playing rules because they feel that retribution is justified.”

The Maple Leafs will be without Nazem Kadri for the remainder of the first round but will have his services back if they eliminate the Bruins in their best-of-seven series. Therefore, his suspension is a minimum of three games and a maximum of five games. Do you agree? Let me know via Twitter @tkdmaxbjj.

Interested in going to any Boston Bruins 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff games or the last regular season contests for the Providence Bruins? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from SeatGiant. Click the links below and use discount code BNGP to save a little cash!

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—> Click Here To Get Your Providence Bruins Regular Season & Calder Cup Playoff Tickets From The Great Folks at SeatGiant! <—

Boston Bruins Playoff Preview: Round 1 – Game 3

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

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

After a pair of games in Boston, the first-round matchup between the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs officially makes its way to Toronto, Canada for Game Three. The Bruins tied the series on Saturday with a 4-1 victory after losing Game One by the same score on Thursday.

Game Three Information:

Arena: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Home: Toronto Maple Leafs

Away: Boston Bruins

Series: 1-1

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 1-1-0 .937 SV% 2.02 GAA Last Game: 30 Saves in 4-1 win vs TOR

TOR: Frederik Andersen 1-1-0 .937 SV% 2.50 GAA Last Game: 37 Saves in 4-1 loss vs TOR

Projected Bruins Lineup:

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Kuhlman

Heinen – Coyle – Backes

Nordstrom – Acciari – Wagner

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Kampfer

Per reports from Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, forward Jake DeBrusk and defenceman Torey Krug will be in the lineup for Game Three. DeBrusk took a cross-check to the head by Nazem Kadri, who is facing an in-person hearing today and left the game while Krug left Game Two after taking a massive hit from Jake Muzzin. Connor Clifton (upper-body) is out, Kampfer to replace him and Marcus Johansson remains out with an illness.

Who’s Hot

Charlie Coyle scored the game’s first goal on Saturday, ultimately giving the Bruins the confidence to continue out the game, but his play has been consistent throughout the series so far. Even in the loss in Game One, Coyle had numerous chances and opportunities to score but just could not bury one and he continued that in the second game. With the loss of Leafs’ third line centre, Nazem Kadri, Coyle’s role could be all the more important.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Frederik Andersen may have allowed four goals on Saturday night, but he was one of the only good things that came from Toronto in their Game Two loss. Andersen stopped 37 of the 41 shots Boston threw at him, making some big saves throughout the entire game in order to keep it within reach for the Maple Leafs. If Andersen can continue to be hot in the net at home in the Scotiabank Arena, then the Leafs could have the momentum moving forward.

Jake DeBrusk does not have a point in either of the two games, but his usual work-horse attitude and play were present in both games, but especially in Game Two. DeBrusk managed to get under the skin of Kadri, resulting in the terrible cross-check by the Leafs forward. Jake had four hits on the night and was a beast on the forecheck, as he often is during gametime. It is only a matter of time for when that first goal comes.

Mitch Marner was held to zero points in Game Two, but in Game One, it was all him, scoring a pair of goals including a short-handed penalty shot past Tuukka Rask. Marner played 20:28 on Saturday night with over six minutes of speciality team time as well. Mitch could arguably be the biggest threat for the Bruins defence for the entirety of the series.

Who’s Not

William Nylander has had a rough 2018-19 season in general, with all the contract issues and then the lack of production once he started to play again, but that was only amplified on Saturday night in Boston, as he found himself on the wrong end of too many negative plays, including a terrible mishap that led to Heinen’s 3-0 goal for the B’s. The young forward also had a team-high three giveaways during his 13:56 TOI. Nylander was skating down the middle on the Leafs’ third line, replacing Kadri.

For all of the players that were struggling on the Bruins after the first game, did much better for the second. Every single player on the Bruins roster played their part and did their job to ultimately get the win and tie the series at one apiece. Boston will look to continue that ideology moving forward into Game Three.

Jake Muzzin had a terrible night on the Leafs blue line and only had one good play – a huge hit that injured Torey Krug. Other than that, Muzzin turned the puck over twice (on the statsheet), and made a crucial error that led to Marchand’s first-period tally. When Torey Krug lofted a puck up the ice, Muzzin tried to grab it with his hand, missing, leading to a 2-on-1 for Pastrnak and Marchand, leading to one of the best goals so far in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Muzzin is supposed to be the best defenceman on the roster for Toronto and he needs to be better.

Bruins vs Leafs – Game Three Outlook

The script was flipped on Saturday when the Bruins came back from a dismal Game One to dominate for a 4-1 final score. A change from Game One, the Bruins were aggressive on the forecheck and made a successful hit on every Leafs player that moved at any place on the ice. Even players like David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk were throwing the body.

The physical play of Boston kept the Leafs weary and afraid to push into the zone further, as a lot of their shots on goal came from the point and far along the boards. Their only goal came off of a deflection from one of these point shots and that strategy could be evident in Game Three.

Boston’s shots came right around the net of Frederik Andersen, mainly due to the turnovers on breakout passes by the Maple Leafs defenseman. One of the best chances that did not cross the red line came off of a turnover in the slot, leading to a David Krejci shot and a rebound from Heinen that was robbed by Andersen.

Regardless, the goaltenders of both teams will need to be on fire once again and the defence will need to prevent chances. No matter how far this series goes, that narrative will be the case for both franchises. Toronto will also have the home-ice for the first time this postseason, so expect an energetic Toronto crowd.

Game Three puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST from the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Interested in going to any Boston Bruins 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff games or the last regular season contests for the Providence Bruins? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from SeatGiant. Click the links below and use discount code BNGP to save a little cash!

—–> Click Here To Get Your Boston Bruins First Round Stanley Cup Playoff Tickets From The Great Folks at SeatGiant! <—-

—> Click Here To Get Your Providence Bruins Regular Season & Calder Cup Playoff Tickets From The Great Folks at SeatGiant! <—

A Look Back On The Boston Bruins’ 2018-19 Regular Season

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Nam Y. Huh, Associated Press)

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

With the final game on April 6th, the Boston Bruins officially ended their 2018-19 regular season and now look ahead to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, starting Thursday, April 11th in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against none other than the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The regular season was a long, winding roller-coaster for the Bruins. Injuries, droughts, streaks, and points were all in the recipe that created the story that was this season and somehow, the fans of the Black and Gold did not fall to the ground numerous times throughout this time due to the constant breath-taking events.

Standings & Team Statistics

Looking at face value, the Boston Bruins ended the 82-game season with 49 wins, 24 losses and nine more losses in post-regulation play. Their 107 points earned them the third spot in the entire league, behind the Tampa Bay Lightning who dominated with an incredible 62-16-4 record – winning the President’s Trophy and the Calgary Flames, who finished with same points as Boston, but managed to finish with three more regulation plus overtime wins (ROW).

The Bruins scored the 11th most goals in the league, tallying a total of 257 goals for an average of 3.13 goals-for-per-game. On the other side of the puck, the goaltenders of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak helped the Bruins finish in the top 3 for least number of goals allowed in the entire season, allowing just 212 goals against, an average of 2.59 goals-against-per-game. More specifically, the Bruins trailed only the New York Islanders for least even-strength goals against (148).

Specialty teams were one of the biggest strengths for Boston and they remain that way heading into the post-season. Boston concluded the ’18/’19 campaign with a 25.9% success rate on the power-play, the third best in the National Hockey League. However, the B’s did allow a league-leading 15 short-handed goals against, tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The penalty kill was not terrific for a top-3 NHL team, but that could also be due to the large mass of injuries to the blue line that hindered the defensive consistency of Boston. The Bruins have the 16th-best PK percentage, killing off just under 80% of the penalties they took. Regarding on penalties, the Bruins took the second-highest penalties-per-game, averaging 9.7 penalty minutes during the course of the season, behind only the New York Rangers.

Player Statistics

Even with all of the injuries throughout the regular season, the Bruins still managed to do quite well on an individual basis as many skaters and goaltenders set new career-highs and played some of the best hockey of their NHL career. Players that are included within the following section are players that are likely to play in the first-round series or have had an impact on the team. AHL players and some rookies, as well as traded players, will not be included.

Forwards:

  • Brad Marchand – 79GP – 36-64-100
  • David Pastrnak – 66GP- 38-43-81
  • Patrice Bergeron – 65GP – 32-47-79
  • David Krejci – 81GP – 20-53-73
  • Jake DeBrusk – 68GP – 27-15-42
  • Danton Heinen – 77GP – 11-23-34
  • Sean Kuraly – 71GP – 8-13-21
  • David Backes – 70GP – 7-13-20
  • Chris Wagner – 76GP – 12-7-19
  • Noel Acciari – 72GP – 6-8-14
  • Joakim Nordstrom – 70GP – 7-5-12
  • Charlie Coyle – 21GP – 2-4-6
  • Karson Kuhlman – 11GP – 3-2-5
  • Marcus Johansson – 10GP – 1-2-3

Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Patrice Bergeron all set new career-highs in almost every category and that line proved that even with the absence of some of them, can produce at a high-level and they are truly one of the best lines in all of hockey today. Below that, David Krejci assisted on 53 goals and Jake DeBrusk nearly hit the 30-goal mark. Both of those two can add some much-needed depth scoring in the playoffs.

Trade deadline acquisitions of Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson have not been as amazing as may be hoped, but both have had to deal with a brand new system and brand of hockey in addition to Johansson missing games due to a lung contusion. Forward Karson Kuhlman has been great, scoring five points in eleven games and has been reliable for replacing the injured forwards on the roster.

Defencemen:

The devastating injuries ran hard through the defensive core of the B’s, forcing the club to use twelve different defenders throughout the year, with only one of them playing more than 70 games (Brandon Carlo – 72GP). Even heading into the best-of-seven series against the Maple Leafs, the Bruins will be without John Moore and Kevan Miller for a good portion of the series.

  • Torey Krug – 64GP – 6-47-53
  • Charlie McAvoy – 54GP – 7-21-28
  • Matt Grzelcyk – 66GP – 3-15-18
  • Zdeno Chara – 62GP – 5-9-14
  • John Moore – 61GP – 4-9-13
  • Brandon Carlo – 72GP – 2-8-10
  • Kevan Miller – 39GP – 0-7-7
  • Steven Kampfer – 35GP – 3-3-6
  • Jeremy Lauzon – 16GP – 1-0-1
  • Connor Clifton – 19GP – 0-1-1
  • Urho Vaakanainen – 2GP – 0-0-0
  • Jakub Zboril – 2GP – 0-0-0

Torey Krug has been what he has been for the last few years – a good offensive defenseman that is deadly on the power-play. Krug is the quarterback of the Bruins man-advantage and he knows how to feed the forwards on the ice, a characteristic represented by his 47 assists on the season.

Other than that, when the players have been healthy and on the ice, they have been pretty good for the most part. It seems that health will be the biggest deciding factor for the Bruins’ defense versus Toronto.

Goaltenders:

I recently wrote an article on the Black N’ Gold Hockey website about the work of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak and how the combination of the two could be the biggest advantage that the Bruins have against the Leafs for the postseason series. You can check out that piece HERE.

  • Tuukka Rask – 45GS – 27-13-5 .912 SV% 2.48 GAA 4 Shutouts
  • Jaroslav Halak – 37GS – 22-11-4 .922 SV% 2.34 GAA 5 Shutouts

Both Rask and Halak have statistics in the top ten of the league in all of the main goaltending categories including goals-against-average and save percentage. While Tuukka is the deserving starting man in between the pipes, Halak is a great second option if the play of Rask falters at all throughout the series.

Boston Bruins vs. NHL

With one win shy of 50 wins on the season, the Boston Bruins picked up victories over every single team in the NHL except for two – the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks. Other than that, the Bruins had at least one victory over everyone, with some of them being clean season series sweeps.

Boston won the season series over the Ottawa Senators (4 games), New York Islanders (3 games), Vegas Golden Knights (2 games), San Jose Sharks (2 games), Minnesota Wild (2 games), Los Angeles Kings (2 games), Chicago Blackhawks (2 games), Arizona Coyotes (2 games), and the Anaheim Ducks (2 games).

Boston found success over the St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars, Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs, sealing 75% of the possible points in the season series when it was all said and done. In fact, Boston ended the season matchups with four of the five other Original Six franchises with an above .500 point percentage, with only the Detroit Red Wings beating Boston in the four-game series in 2018-19.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins scored the majority of their goals in the second period, tallying 93 total goals in the middle twenty minutes. Aside from that, they allowed the most goals in the third period (79).

When the B’s managed to score the game’s first goal, they found great success, finishing the season with a 34-7-5 record. Looking at the other side of the coin, Boston had a 15-17-4 record when the opposing team scored the first tally of the contest, something to be noted heading into the playoffs.

Injury Report (April 10th)

  • F Sean Kuraly – Hand – Will not play Game 1, could return later in series
  • D John Moore – Upper-Body – Will not play Game 1, could return later in series
  • D Kevan Miller – Lower-Body – Unlikely to miss the start of the postseason
  • F Chris Wagner – Lower-Body – Cleared for Game 1

Without further ado, that is the entire 2018-19 NHL regular season all wrapped up and finished. The Boston Bruins begin their road to their first Stanley Cup since 2011 Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. For a full preview on the best-of-seven series, check out fellow BNG Site writer, Yanni Latzanakis’ article HERE.

May the best team win.

Interested in going to any Boston Bruins 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff games or the last regular season contests for the Providence Bruins? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from SeatGiant. Click the links below and use discount code BNGP to save a little cash!

—–> Click Here To Get Your Boston Bruins First Round Stanley Cup Playoff Tickets From The Great Folks at SeatGiant! <—-

—> Click Here To Get Your Providence Bruins Regular Season & Calder Cup Playoff Tickets From The Great Folks at SeatGiant! <—

Rask & Halak Combination Biggest Advantage For Bruins vs. Maple Leafs

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Boston Globe)

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

In the sport of ice hockey, goaltending is one of the most important aspects of the game. Quite often, in the National Hockey League, games are won specifically because of a solid performance in net by the goalie. This season, we have seen that numerous times throughout the league for many different teams.

In Boston, Tuukka Rask has been the number one goalie for the majority of the past decade and he has, for the most part, been a solid goalie, earning that spot over many solid seasons. Following the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup run that resulted in them winning the prestigious trophy, Tuukka Rask took over from Tim Thomas – the Conn Smythe winner.

Rask has played in 494 games in the Boston Bruins sweater after being traded to Boston in 2006 in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs that sent Andrew Raycroft to the capital city of Ontario. Rask made his NHL debut against the franchise that drafted him in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, stopping 30 of the 32 shots he faced that night.

Since that initial taste of NHL experience, the 32-year-old Finnish goaltender now has 265 wins, 150 losses, 58 ties/shootout/overtime losses, and 45 shutouts. Among that, Rask holds numerous franchise records including most career wins (265), most career saves (12,591), and save percentage (.922). Tuukka is also in the top ten for the majority of the major statistical categories that are being tracked.

In the 2018-19 season, Rask has a 27-13-5 record with a .912 save percentage and a 2.48 goals-against-average in 46 games started. Tuukka has only one game played against the Maple Leafs this season – stopping 30 of the 32 shots against him in a 3-2 win over Toronto on January 12th. While Rask has had a solid season, he has had a few games, like every goaltender, that are below average.

On five occasions, Rask allowed five goals in a single game and was pulled from the net in two of them. On the flip side, Rask has four shutouts and an impressive eleven games allowing only one goal. In each of those games, the Bruins won or lost in overtime or a shootout.

Early on, Rask failed to find his consistent game that we are used to seeing, but thankfully, the Bruins had some serious help behind him – Jaroslav Halak.

Halak joined the Bruins on the first day of free agency in this past offseason, signing a two-year deal worth $2.75 million annually. It confirmed that Halak will play in his 13th NHL season – the first in Boston. Within the 40 games he’s played in, Jaroslav has helped the Bruins earn 46 points in his 22 wins and four post-regulation losses in addition to his 11 regulation losses that he amounted to this year.

At 33 years of age, Halak is having his best season in the net since the 2009-10 season when he finished the year with a 26-13-5 record, a .924 save percentage and a 2.40 GAA with the Montreal Canadiens. The Bratislava, Czechoslovakia native is top ten in both of the main goalie stats in the entire league and he is continuing to play at that level, picking up his fifth shutout of the season in Thursday’s 3-0 win over the Wild.

With a quick trip over to Toronto, their goaltending situation right now is not nearly as sturdy as the Bruins appear to be. That fact only got more interesting on Friday when news that backup goaltender Garret Sparks’ equipment is no longer in the Leafs’ dressing room and Toronto Marlies goalie, Michael Hutchinson was recalled by the organization to play in the big leagues.

Put all of that into the same idea that starting netminder Frederik Andersen has not been consistently good for the past couple months and the worry can begin to form for the Maple Leafs with the playoffs only about a week away. Frederik Andersen is expected to get every single one of the starts in-goal if it goes seven games, that could be an issue if say, injuries or poor play take control.

Andersen started in sixty games in 2018-19, the eight most of all goaltenders in the National Hockey League. Andersen did win 36 games this season with 16 regulation losses and seven shootout or overtime losses. The Herning, Denmark native played in the least amount of games in a single season for the Leafs after two consecutive seasons with 66 games in the crease.

With that, Andersen finished the year with the worst save percentage (.917) of his three-year career in Toronto along with a 2.77 GAA and only one shutout on the campaign. In the last ten games, however, has been where Maple Leafs fans have been in a little doubt. Andersen has a 3-3-3 record with a .881 save percentage and allowed 35 goals, an average of 3.50 goals against per game. In three of those games, ‘Freddy’ allowed five or more goals and only allowed two or less goals four times in those ten games.

Andersen has had some rough games in the postseason as well, but still has a winning 22-16-0 record combined over five seasons with the Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs. In the Blue and White, Andersen has lost eight games, winning four. Three of those wins came against the Bruins last year, the other against Washington in the 2016-17 first round.

On five different occasions, Andersen allowed five or more goals against in the playoffs, three of which coming with the Maple Leafs – two against Boston. Andersen can be very hot too as he remains one of the better goaltenders overall in the NHL, but his consistency causes some concern for management and the fans alike. The Bruins cannot take him lightly as he can very well steal a few games at any point in the series.

In the past, Tuukka Rask has had some questionable games and has needed to be better in times as well. All goalies in the NHL must deal with having a rough outing, but need to have the adversity to bounce back the very next game and win it for the himself and more importantly, the team.

In Boston, however, if Rask fails to meet the standards that will need to bet met against Toronto, then the hope is that Halak can come in and “save the day”. While it would be preferred that Rask does not falter, it is always great to have a Plan B. There could also be the reality that Rask plays all seven games (if needed), even if he does have a few stinkers. That was the case last season, but it seems like Bruce Cassidy has higher trust in Halak than he did with Anton Khudobin last season.

The Maple Leafs are solely relying on Frederik Andersen. With the not-so-distant memories somewhere in his head, the pressure is clearly on him. He needs to be on his very best game and then some and everyone knows it. The same goes for Tuukka and Jaroslav. The two, three, or even four goaltenders in this series need to have the right frame of mind to come out victorious and get into the second round against either the Tampa Bay Lightning or Columbus Blue Jackets. Whoever is on the winning side of the handshake line, will have won because of the man in between the posts.

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How Will The Bruins Fare In Round One Of The 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs?

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

With an overall record of 46-21-9, the Boston Bruins’ 101-point season thus far puts them in a tie with the Calgary Flames for the second-best franchise in the entire National Hockey League. An unexpected feat when the season began back in October, but this group of hard-working, tenacious players have battled through injuries, losses, and setbacks to be one of the best in the league today. If you were to track the Bruins’ progress throughout the season, you can see that they are now in the top three contenders for the Stanley Cup. They weren’t always in the top three so to see them where they are at now, it’s incredible.

On Saturday, the Bruins officially clinched a berth in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 7-3 crushing of the Florida Panthers. With that said, it only further confirms that the Bruins and Maple Leafs will meet in the opening round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Do these two match up the same or will new history be created this time around?

Scoring

On paper, both teams have the skill to not only score a few goals but to score a lot of goals. On the Bruins, the top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak have such amazing chemistry together that it almost seems that they know the exact position of each other on the ice at all times. All three of them reached the 30-goal plateau this season, and all three of them are having some of the best seasons of their NHL careers.

Following behind them, David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk also have chemistry together – to the point where they thrive off of each other, even though they are different players. Krejci tends to slow down the game and make smart, tape-to-tape passes to his teammate to set up a slick goal. To his left, Jake DeBrusk possesses a great shot with blazing speed and aggressiveness on the puck. Their two styles blend perfectly on most nights, and it has paid off.

Although the Bruins have and continue to have issues with consistent scoring from their entire bottom-six forwards, they do have one of the best fourth-lines in the league today. So much so, that the Acciari, Kuraly, Wagner line has seen third-line minutes quite often during the year so far. The three members of that line drive on rushes, make aggressive plays on the forecheck and even lay a few hits on the opposing team as well.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet.ca)

Statistically, the Bruins are in the top half in the league for most goals for, but if the injuries were not a factor throughout the year, that number would be a lot higher.

With the offseason addition of John Tavares, the Maple Leafs are still a threat offensively as well. They are top five in the NHL for most goals for scored and they have depth scoring throughout all four lines. Mitch Marner leads the teams in points with 25-65-90 numbers in 76 games this season.

The biggest threat may be the center position with Auston Matthews, John Tavares, and Nazem Kadri all down the middle. You have to expect that Tavares will try to be more dominant because it is his first playoff series with his new team and the playoffs are without a doubt the most important time to shine. Toronto has more depth and more consistent scoring the further down you go.

Both Boston and Toronto have the power to score five or more goals in a single 60-minute game, and it creates a true challenge for the opposing defense and goaltending. However, on paper and statistically speaking, Toronto takes this category, but it is a very close one.

Winner: Toronto Maple Leafs

Defense

The Boston Bruins have used an incredible twelve defencemen throughout the season thus far, compared to Toronto’s nine. Boston’s defense, when healthy, looks like Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara, Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy, Kevan Miller, and either Matt Grzelcyk or John Moore. More often than not, however, we have not seen this blue line core 100% healthy.

Out of those seven players listed for the Bruins, only one of them has a minus rating, (Torey Krug, -3), but Krug does have a team-high 48 points on the year from the back-end, and he is always a threat on the power-play. He is arguably one of the reasons why Boston currently has the third-best man-advantage success rate in the entire league and has been within the top five for the majority of the season.

The B’s d-men possess some solid offensive talents with Krug, McAvoy, Grzelcyk, and Moore, but they also bring a solid toughness and physicality with 6-foot-9, 250-pound captain Zdeno Chara and 6-foot-2, 210-pound Kevan Miller. Between those two men alone, fear can be set among other teams in the NHL and has done so when they are together on the ice. Brandon Carlo can fit into the physical spectrum as well, but can also add some extra points when needed to.

For Toronto, the defensive side of the puck has been a weakness for some time now, mainly due to the stacked offensive core that we have previously discussed. Morgan Rielly leads the defencemen with 20-48-68 numbers in 75 games played, followed by Jake Gardiner (29 points) and Ron Hainsey (22 points).

That is great, and all, but the blueliners on the Maple Leafs have been a liability as some of the Bruins have as well. Nikita Zaitsev, Ron Hainsey, and Jake Gardiner have had their questionable moments in a game before, some of which Bruins fans will remember as well, (Gardiner’s mistake led to DeBrusk’s game-winning goal in Game 7 of the 2018 Playoffs). That was and continues to be a concern for the Blue and White.

In January, General Manager Kyle Dubas traded for a d-man Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings, a move that made Toronto’s depth on defense a lot better. Muzzin has 5-11-16 numbers in 27 contests with the Leafs, averaging just over twenty minutes on ice per game.

The Bruins allow an average of 2.48 goals-against-per-game, third in the league while the Leafs allow an average of 2.97 goals-against-per-game, 16th in the league. For that and the depth that Boston has shown with the injuries faced, the defensive side of the equation goes to Boston.

Winner: Boston Bruins

Goaltending

The last of the three categories is the most crucial of them all. When all of the offense fails, and the two defenders on the ice cannot prevent the puck from advancing, there is only one man who can make a last effort to stop the puck from crossing the goal line – the goaltender.

Last season, during the 2018 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals, it was an intense battle between Tuukka Rask and Frederik Andersen. Although this season, times may be different. Boston has seen success with both Rask and offseason acquisition Jaroslav Halak, who could be a possible winner for the annual 7th Player Award.

Boston Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has nearly split the games started between the two netminders with Rask starting 42 games and Halak starting 37 games before Monday’s game against the Lightning. Jaroslav Halak is fifth in the league for best goals-against-average (2.31 GAA) while Rask is 7th with a 2.35 GAA. The two are the second-highest ranked duo in the league, behind only Lehner and Griess on the Islanders. Rask and Halak are both also top fifteen in save percentage.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Global News)

Frederik Andersen has played 55 games this year and is 24th in the NHL for GAA (2.72), and 13th for save percentage (.918). Garret Sparks most likely will not get any starts in the playoffs as he boasts an 8-7-0 record with a 3.16 GAA and a .907 save percentage in 15 games started.

Rask and Andersen have had issues in playoff scenarios before, but the hope for Boston is that if Rask does struggle, Halak can keep the team going, as he has done in the 2018-19 regular season. That in addition to the on-paper statistics being in favor of the Bruins, this category goes to Boston.

Winner: Boston Bruins

2018-19 Season Series

Game 1: November 10th, 2018 – Bruins def. Maple Leafs 5-1 (BOS: Pastrnak x3, Bergeron, Nordstrom – Halak 41 Saves; TOR: Tavares – Sparks 29 Saves)

Game 2: November 26th, 2018 – Maple Leafs def Bruins 4-2 (BOS: Pastrnak x2 – Halak 27 Saves; TOR: Dermott, Hyman, Leivo, Ozhiganov – Andersen 38 Saves)

Game 3: December 8th, 2018 – Bruins def Maple Leafs 6-3 (BOS: Backes, Donato, Krug, Forsbacka-Karlsson, Krejci, Heinen – Halak 29 Saves; TOR: Dermott, Johnsson, Matthews – Andersen 6 GA, 22 Saves, Sparks 4 Saves)

Game 4: January 12th, 2019 – Bruins def Maple Leafs 3-2 (BOS: Krejci, Kuraly, Pastrnak – Rask 32 Saves; TOR: Marner, Johnsson – Hutchinson 26 Saves)

In the four games against the Maple Leafs this season, the Black and Gold won three of them and lost only one game. The Bruins outscored the Leafs 16-10 within those games, including a six-goal performance on December 8th. David Pastrnak scored six goals in four games versus Toronto by himself.

Boston failed to score more than two goals in that series only one time, and it was the sole game that they lost. In that loss, Frederik Andersen stopped 38 of 40 shots against to seal the deal for Toronto.

Each and every one of those games had a type of intensity and energy that is not as present when either team plays another team. The Bruins did take the season series this year, three games to one, but the Leafs can very well perform better or worse come playoff time, and the same can be said for the B’s.

Winner: Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins, on paper, win three of the four categories that I have listed here today. With that said, that can all essentially be thrown out the window once the puck drops to signify the start to Game One as both teams will gain a brand new intensity and momentum that the playoffs bring.

If you are planning on making a wager on this series, I would recommend a prediction of seven games, at least. Either one of them can take the series at any given time, but with the experience of the past games dating back to 2017-18, these two Original Six franchises have so many glaring similarities and yet, differences. The question is, is will those differences be enough to win four games? That is the main goal for either club.

It doesn’t stop there either. The Bruins have a tougher roster mentally, at least what has been shown this season and that will most definitely play a factor in who advances to the second round. Whether you are a Boston Bruins fan or a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, prepare for yet another nail-biting, entertaining, exciting matchup between the team we love to cheer for and the team we love to cheer against.

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Bruins Game 77 Preview: New York Rangers

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Boston Globe)

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

The Boston Bruins’ 2018-19 regular season is just about over and the Stanley Cup Playoffs are around the corner, but the eyes need to stay in the present as the Bruins can still lose home-ice advantage against the Maple Leafs for the opening round of the post-season. The Bruins are reeling after a 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, but still have a five-point lead on Toronto for second in the Atlantic.

The New York Rangers are twelfth in the Eastern Conference with an overall record of 29-33-13. The Rangers are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention this season, marking the second consecutive season they will miss the post-season after clinching the previous seven seasons. The Rangers are 2-6-2 in their last ten games with a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins being their most recent game on March 25th.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 20-10-4 2.31 GAA .924 SV% Last Game: 31 Saves in 7-3 win vs FLA

NYR: Henrik Lundqvist (Likely) 18-20-10 2.99 GAA .909 SV% Last Game: 27 Saves in 3-2 loss to DET

Who’s Hot

Brad Marchand is closing out his best season of his NHL career to date the way he has been all season, on fire. Marchand has seven points in just his last three games for the Bruins, including a two-goal performance in the loss to Tampa Bay. The recent success brings Marchand’s season totals to 34 goals, 60 assists for 94 points. With six games left to go, Marchand needs to average a point-per-game to reach the 100-point plateau and it is very well reachable.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America)

Kevin Shattenkirk was brought onto the Rangers a few seasons ago to strengthen their back-end and to make a push for a long post-season. Well in 2018-19 the Rangers are not a playoff team, but Shattenkirk is still having a decent season. The 30-year-old defenceman has twenty-seven points on the year, three of which coming in the last four games. 

David Backes has been struggling for the Bruins for the good majority of the season, but on this final push to the post-season, the 34-year-old forward has been doing quite well. Backes has 1-2-3 numbers in the last three games and has been one of the hardest working forwards on the bottom-six. I personally have been impressed with his play and I truly hope he can continue that heading into the first round.

Who’s Not

Jimmy Vesey was once a highly-touted forward that many teams wanted their hands on. However, in August of 2016 he signed with the New York Rangers. In 2018-19, Vesey has 16-18-34 numbers in 76 games but more recently, is on a terrible 12-game pointless streak and boasts a -5 rating in the last five games combined.

Not many Bruins are struggling or having poor performances as of late, but the entire team fell off in the final period against the Lightning. Almost every player on the ice made some error that led to Tampa erasing Boston’s two-goal lead to win the game in regulation time. The Bruins looked unenthusiastic and absolutely drained. If there is one thing to work on from that game heading into tonight’s, it is playing a full 60-minute hockey game.

Chris Kreider has been one of those players that teams are well aware of when you play the New York Rangers but like everyone in New York this season, he is struggling to play at a high level. The Boxford, Massachusetts native has 26-23-49 totals in 73 games played and has not found his name on the score-sheet in five straight. On March 13th, Kreider had 15 penalty minutes and against a dangerous Bruins power-play, he cannot do the same tonight.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (25) from passing Rick Middleton (25) for sole possession of most SHG in Bruins history

New York Rangers:

  • F Pavel Buchnevich is four points away (96) from 100 career NHL points

Bruins vs Rangers Outlook

The New York Rangers are one of only six teams in the NHL that Boston currently has a below-.500 point percentage against. The two Original Six teams have played twice before this season, both times going to the team from the Big Apple. On January 19th, the Rangers won 3-2 in regulation and won again a month later on February 6th in a 4-3 shootout. In that game last month, the two teams had a 3-on-3 overtime session that you just had to see.

Once again heading into tonight’s game, the specialty teams of the Bruins will most likely play a large role in the outcome. The Bruins have the third-best power-play at just over a 26 percent success rate, scoring 61 goals on the man-advantage this year. The Bruins penalty-kill has been solid as well. In the third against Tampa Bay, the B’s killed off a four-minute penalty brilliantly and was quite impressive. It is sitting at 81.5%, 10th-best in the league.

The Rangers aren’t as good, clearly. They have the 17th-best power-play, scoring 41 goals at just over 19% accuracy. On the penalty-kill, New York is the sixth-worst while short-handed, killing off only 78% of their league-high 10.1 penalty minutes-per-game.

Puck drop from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts is scheduled for 7pm EST. Below were the line rushes from morning practice for your Boston Bruins.

Forward Marcus Johansson and defenceman Torey Krug are likely to return to the lineup for the Bruins, some big pieces to get back for this contest. John Moore, injured in the last game against the Lightning, is week-to-week with an upper-body injury while D Matt Grzelcyk and D Kevan Miller are “probable for the weekend” according to Head Coach Bruce Cassidy.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Florida: 03/23/19

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: BB&T Center – Sunrise, Florida, USA

Home: Florida Panthers (33-29-12, 5th in Atlantic)

Away: Boston Bruins (45-20-9, 2nd in Atlantic)

The Boston Bruins are back at it following another dominating performance on Thursday night over the New Jersey Devils, winning the game by a final score of 5-1. The team has won three consecutive games and with a win in any fashion tonight, the Bruins can clinch a berth in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins enter the game with 99 points, six ahead of the Maple Leafs for third in the division.

The Florida Panthers have not had as good of a year as expected as they sit seven points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Florida comes into tonight’s contest with a 5-4-1 record in their last ten games including a 4-2 victory on March 21st over the Arizona Coyotes.

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Forward Karson Kuhlman comes back into the lineup Saturday to replace Sean Kuraly. It was announced earlier today that Kuraly suffered a fracture in his hand, causing him to miss at least the next four weeks. The injury came from a blocked shot in Thursday’s 5-1 win over the Devils in New Jersey.

Marcus Johansson, Matt Grzelcyk, Kevan Miller, and Torey Krug remain out of the Bruins lineup as well due to their respective injuries. Jaroslav Halak will start as the goaltender in between the pipes for Boston.

First Period:

It’s always important to take away any home advantage when you’re the road club and the Bruins did just that. Just over two-and-a-half minutes into the first, Connor Clifton dumps the puck in the zone where David Backes recovers down low. Backes makes it look like he is going around the net, but feeds it in front of the net for Noel Acciari who buries his 5th of the season.

Not very long following that, Panthers forward Mike Hoffman is sent to the penalty box for a two-minute roughing minor. Bruins are 1-for-10 on the power-play in their last ten attempts, looking to make it 2-0 early. Thirty seconds into the PP, Marchand to Bergeron leads to a ringer off the post, so close but no cigar. Florida kills off the penalty, back to even strength.

For the remainder of the opening period, both teams had some decent chances, but it could be argued that Boston had the best of them. Chances from Bergeron, Marchand, Backes, and others piled up around the halfway mark of the frame, but Panthers netminder Samuel Montembeault held his ground, stopping all of the shots against. Period ends with the lone goal by Accari, 1-0 Bruins.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 16 FLA: 12

Score: 1-0 Bruins – Goals: Acciari (5) Assists: Backes (12), Clifton (1)

Second Period:

Do you think the Bruins like goals early in a period? I think so too. Almost immediately into the middle regulation frame, Mike Matheson makes a bad pass behind his own goaltender, passing it right to Bergeron who feeds it right to Brad Marchand, his 32nd of the season and the B’s extend their lead to two goals.

Still within the first minute of the second, Mike Hoffman drives in on the right side of the ice towards Halak, but makes a reacharound pass around John Moore, right to Jayce Hawryluk who beats Halak for his fifth goal of the 2018-19 campaign. Florida gets the game right back to a one-goal difference only a mere sub-30 seconds after Marchand’s goal.

Florida’s tally seemed to wake them up from a slower first twenty minutes, building some quality chances within the Bruins zone. Just a little bit under five minutes into the second frame, Boston has seen very little offensive zone time and they are in a way, relying on Halak to keep them in the lead.

As many have said, defence often leads to offence and once again, it comes true for the Bruins. Charlie Coyle does a solid job keeping the puck in the offensive zone and makes a quick pass to Danton Heinen. Heinen throws the puck back, where captain Zdeno Chara skates into a beautiful wrist shot, scoring his 200th career NHL goal, the same day that it was announced that he agreed to re-sign with Boston on a one-year contract.

Florida is having issues making clean breakout passes, an issue that once hurt the Bruins earlier on in the season themselves and for Florida, it is turning into goals against. MacKenzie Weegar’s pass out of his zone gets intercepted by Karson Kuhlman in the neutral zone. Kuhlman dances around the defender and snaps a slick shot past Montembeault for his second goal this year and the Bruins all of a sudden have a 4-1 lead. Great attack pressure by Boston.

Kuhlman is back in the NHL on the B’s roster after an injury to forward Sean Kuraly in the win over the Devils, an injury that will keep Kuraly sidelined for four weeks due to a fracture in his hand. Kuhlman has done well for a player who continually finds himself tossed around the AHL and NHL.

The Panthers are not out of this game just yet, however, as Mike Hoffman once again has some space on the off-wing and rips one of his dangerous shots clean past Jaroslav Halak. Hoffman’s goal brings him to the 35-goal mark for the first time in his National Hockey League career. Florida is still dangerous and they seem fully prepared for a goal-for-goal type of game.

11:09 into the period, the Bruins go back to the man-advantage as Mike Hoffman is whistled down on a slashing minor against Danton Heinen. Unfortunately, Boston really struggled to get any life on the power-play as the Panthers PK units did a great job clearing the puck on any chances. The best chance came in the dying seconds when a David Krejci shot led to a rebound that just skipped over the stick of John Moore, penalty killed off by Florida.

Less than three minutes later, Jayce Hawryluk gets a stick caught in Brandon Carlo’s skates and he goes to the sin bin for a tripping infraction. Needing a refresher on the power-play, the Bruins want to add another goal on the board with this man-advantage. John Moore to Danton Heinen to none other than Steven Kampfer who goes post and in for his third of the season and the Bruins score five goals in a game for the third straight, 5-2.

On the ensuing neutral zone faceoff, Noel Acciari and MacKenzie Weegar agree to drop the gloves and the two exchange in a great fight, with Noel Acciari landing the harder, more accurate punches straight to the face of Weegar. Weegar tried to bring some energy to his team and the fans but he may have done the opposite there.

In the final five minutes of the middle period, the Panthers make a mistake on the line change and both Halak and Chara recognize that. Halak feeds it to the captain who makes a perfect long pass to Pastrnak’s stick. Pastrnak walks in, makes some dangles and buries Boston’s sixth of the night, 6-2. That is David’s 33rd tally of the year. That’ll essentially do it for the second.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 29 FLA: 23

Score: 6-2 Bruins – Goals: Marchand (32) Assists: Bergeron (42); Hawryluk (5) Assists: Hoffman (32); Chara (5) Unassisted; Kuhlman (2) Unassisted; Hoffman (35) Assists: Weegar (11); Kampfer (3) PP Assists: Heinen (22), Moore (9); Pastrnak (33) Assists: Chara (8), Halak (4)

Third Period:

Early in the final regulation period, Connor Clifton takes the first penalty against the Bruins, an interference minor. First time tonight Boston goes on the penalty-kill. With only nine seconds to go on Clifton’s minor, Vincent Trocheck fires a shot past Halak, cutting the lead in half, 6-3. The goal is Trocheck’s eighth of the season.

The boys look a bit slow to begin the third period, allowing quite a few shots by the Florida opposition. Nearly eight minutes in, Charlie McAvoy (roughing) and Vincent Trocheck (cross-checking) go to the box each for two minutes, resulting in some 4-on-4 time. Not much came about from it and we go back 5-on-5.

Aside from that, it was somewhat a lacklustre period from both teams until the 3-minute mark of the third. Zdeno Chara grabbed Aleksander Barkov behind his head and brought his own body weight down onto Barkov’s head that landed right on the ice. The Panthers Head Coach screamed for a penalty, but nothing comes from it as Barkov stays on the bench for some small repairs.

In the final minute, with the Florida goaltender pulled from the crease, Trocheck dives across the crease to stop the shot from going in the empty-net, but only a few seconds later, David Pastrnak to Patrice Bergeron makes it a 7-3 game and the Boston Bruins have clinched the playoffs.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 39 FLA: 34

Final Score: 7-3 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS D Zdeno Chara – 200th Career NHL Goal, 1 Assist, +3 Rating, 25:07 TOI

2nd Star: BOS G Jaroslav Halak – 31 Saves, .912 SV%

3rd Star: BOS F Danton Heinen – 2 Assists, +1 Rating, 16:27 TOI

The Boston Bruins become the second team from the Eastern Conference to clinch a berth in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs and have won their fourth straight game. Up next, off to Tampa Bay for a road game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Puck drop scheduled for 7:30pm EST.

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

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Bruins Sean Kuraly Leaves Game With Apparent Hand Injury

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Yahoo Sports)

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

Boston Bruins forward Sean Kuraly left Thursday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils and only returned for a brief time before leaving for the tunnel once again for the remainder of the third period.

Kuraly’s injury came almost immediately off of the opening faceoff to begin the third period of play. The Devils had early zone control to begin the frame, feeding the puck around the zone before defenseman Steven Santini bombs a one-timer slapshot towards Tuukka Rask, however, it rockets off of what looks to be Sean Kuraly’s right hand.

The puck bounced off of Kuraly and fell right to Danton Heinen’s stick. Heinen, catching the Devils off guard, bolted down the ice towards New Jersey goaltender Corey Schneider, ripping a clean wrist shot past the 33-year-old netminder for his tenth goal of the 2018-19 season. In the process, Kuraly picks up his 13th assist on the season, but not in the way he or management wants.

Sean Kuraly has been one of the most surprising players for the Boston Bruins this year, which is why I had him on my list for possible players to win the Bruins’ annual 7th Player Award for the 2018-2019 regular season. Him, alongside linemates Noel Acciari and Chris Wagner have come from being considered a normal fourth line to a threat for all opposing teams.

For more games than originally expected before the season started back in October, Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has started the line against the best lines that teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs have to offer. Kuraly, often in the middle of the best scoring chances and rushes, has the hard-working, never-give-up mentality that truly makes a player succeed when they don’t have the skill as a Patrice Bergeron or David Pastrnak may have.

Kuraly has eight goals and thirteen assists, breaking his previous career-high of six goals and eight assists that he hit in four more games in last season, the 2017-18 campaign. Within those eight goals scored, Kuraly has three game-winning goals including the winning goal late in the third period to secure a Winter Classic victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on January 1st, 2019.

The 26-year-old forward has been solid on the faceoff dot as well, winning 282 of the 524 faceoffs he took prior to tonight’s game versus the Devils, a 54% winning percentage. That alone is a big asset and value to a team. Winning faceoffs may not seem like a big deal, but Bergeron will be proof that it is needed for a good team.

As the weeks and days close in on the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Bruins need guys like Sean Kuraly in the lineup for the often gruelling seven-game series against the Maple Leafs. He may not be a massive goal scorer or point producer, but his non-stop energy brings something to this Bruins roster, (yes, the one that now has 99 points on the season), that is different from anyone else.

At this current moment, no word has been made on Kuraly’s injury suffered tonight. For a brief time following the blocked shot, he returned to the ice but went back down the tunnel. Kuraly missed time earlier in the year due to concussion protocol and a nose procedure that caused him to wear his infamous “fishbowl”.

Stay locked on the blackngoldhockey.com for any updates and news on Sean Kuraly’s injury as we know more. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj for updates as well. We will most likely here of something once Bruce Cassidy has his post-game interviews.

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

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Bruins Game 74 Preview: New Jersey Devils

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

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

After a big 5-0 win over the New York Islanders, the Bruins are right back at it with a game against the New Jersey Devils tonight in New Jersey. Boston is 7-3-0 in their last ten games and have won each of their last two meetings. Boston holds a four-point lead on the Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division with 97 points on the season.

The New Jersey Devils are nearly the exact opposite from the Bruins right now and it may come as a surprise to many considering where they were last season. The Devils are 2-7-1 in the last ten games and have lost two consecutive games including a 4-1 loss two days ago against the Capitals. New Jersey is 14th in the NHL’s Eastern Conference with a 27-38-9 record for 63 points on the year.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 25-10-5 2.39 GAA .917 SV% Last Game: 13 Saves in 5-0 Win vs NYI

NJD: Corey Schneider 5-11-3 3.13 GAA .901 SV% Last Game: 31 Saves in 3-0 Loss vs COL

Who’s Hot

Jake DeBrusk scored the fifth and final goal in Boston’s Tuesday night win over the Islanders and it has only been a continuation of his recent success, dating back to the games before his foot injury. In his last six games, DeBrusk has six points, four of which are goals and has been a consistent threat alongside David Krejci on the second-line. DeBrusk has 23-12-35 numbers in 59 games in 2018-19, eight short of his career-high of 43 that he reached last season.

Even though he has a record of 1-2-1 in his last four starts, goaltender Corey Schneider has not been extremely terrible in the past month or so for the Devils. On March 5th, he allowed one goal on 19 shots in an overtime loss to CBJ, allowed three goals on 43 shots in a loss to NYR on March 9th, allowed 3 goals on 39 shots against the Oilers on March 13th and more recently, allowed only two goals in the loss to the Avalanche. In each of those games, Schneider has been above a .923 save percentage while facing high numbers of shots against.

Patrice Bergeron has scored twelve points in his last 11 games played, including three points in the last two games combined. Bergeron has been great with Brad Marchand, which is no surprise given their long history of success with each other, but without Pastrnak on their right-wing, it has been a breath of fresh air to see him continue his production at such a rate. Patrice has 28 goals, 40 assists for 68 points in only 57 games and has a true chance to hit 70 points for the first time since the 2006-07 season (his 3rd NHL campaign).

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

It is really hard to find any other positives for this New Jersey Devils team who has lost seven times in regulation over the last ten games. The Devils have only scored one goal in six consecutive periods this week and they have not shown any signs of scoring touch since losing Taylor Hall to injury and even before that.

Who’s Not

Kyle Palmieri does have the highest single-season point total of any Devil and the most points for him in the last three seasons, but without Hall in the lineup, he has the responsibility of carrying the offensive needs of the team going forward. Palmieri has only two points (1 goal, 1 assist) in the past eight contests and that is just not good enough for the 28-year-old forward.

In the last 13 games, Bruins forward David Backes only has two points for the Black and Gold and has not scored a goal of his own since January 17th versus the St. Louis Blues – an outstanding twenty-two games without a goal. Making $6 million a year, Backes needs to add more production on the Bruins bottom-six as we close into the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The plus/minus statistic is not the most reliable stat nor does it provide an image of how well that player is doing, but when a player has a -21 rating on the season, that does show an issue and paints a problem somewhere on the team or the player individually. Damon Severson has a -21 rating and was on the ice for all three goals against the Avalanche and has zero points in the last three games played.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F Paul Carey is one game away (99) from 100 career NHL games
  • D Zdeno Chara is one goal away (199) from 200 career NHL goals
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (25) from passing Rick Middleton (25) for sole possession of most SHG in Bruins history

New Jersey Devils:

  • F Travis Zajac is one goal away (184) from tying Kirk Muller (185) form 5th most goals in Devils history

Bruins vs Devils Outlook

Tonight’s contest will be the third game between the Bruins and the Devils this season and it will also be the last one. Currently, the two teams are tied in the season series with a victory each. On December 27th, the Devils won by a score of 5-2, but the Bruins returned the favor earlier this month with a 1-0 win on home ice with Brad Marchand scoring the game’s only goal in his 666th career NHL game.

Power-Play:

BOS: 26.2% (3nd in NHL)

NJD: 17.5% (20th in NHL)

Penalty-Kill:

BOS: 81.3% (10th in NHL)

NJD: 84% (4th in NHL)

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

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

Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com