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 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!!

Bruins Game 28 Preview: Carolina Hurricanes

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Getty Images)

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

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

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

Starting Goaltenders:

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

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

Who’s Hot:

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

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

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

Who’s Not:

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

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

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

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

Carolina Hurricanes:

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

Bruins vs Hurricanes Outlook:

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

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

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

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

Bruins Projected Lineup:

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

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

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

Leafs’ Firing of Mike Babcock Similar to Bruins’ 2017 Firing of Claude Julien

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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

When the news that Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach Mike Babcock had been fired and that the Head Coach of the Toronto Marlies, Sheldon Keefe, had been hired as the new Head Coach of the NHL club, the opinions throughout the entire NHL universe – especially on Twitter, filled everyone’s feed.

The release of Babcock from the organization is a surprise, considering the expectations placed on him when he was hired by the team in 2015, but at the very same moment, it was expected. As of November 20th, the Maple Leafs are 10th in the Eastern Conference with a sub-par record of 9-10-4 and they have lost six consecutive games dating back to November 9th. Toronto has the team to win games on paper, but when those victories fail to come to fruition, it eventually falls on the Head Coach and that is the case here.

Mike Babcock started his NHL coaching career with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2002-03, leading them to a 40-27-9-6 record and the Western Conference Championship, losing an eventual Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals to the New Jersey Devils. In 2003-2004, the Mighty Ducks missed the playoffs altogether and Babcock was subsequently fired in June of 2004.

A full season later, in July 2005, Mike Babcock was hired by the Detroit Red Wings who were coming off of a dominate 48-21-11-2 record but were eliminated in the second round. From 2005-06 to 2008-09, Babcock led the Red Wings to four-straight 50-plus-win seasons – culminating it all off with a Stanley Cup Championship in 2008 and a Western Conference Championship in 2009.

For the entire ten-year tenure that Mike Babcock spent in Detroit, the Red Wings made the playoffs – adding to their incredible streak of 25 playoff berths that began in the 1990-91 campaign, tied for the third-longest playoff appearance streak in NHL history, behind only the Boston Bruins (29 seasons from 1967-68 to 1995-96) and Chicago Blackhawks (28 seasons from 1969-70 to 1996-97) and equal to the St. Louis Blues (25 seasons from 1979-80 to 2003-04).

From July 15, 2005, to May 8th, 2015, Mike Babcock coached the Detroit Red Wings in 786 regular-season games with a combined record of 458-223-105 along with a 67-56 record in 123 postseason games with the franchise, solidifying himself as one of the best coaches in the NHL. Add that with his two Olympic Gold Medals (2010, 2014), IIHF World Championships Gold Medal (2004) and his World Cup of Hockey Championship win (2016), Babcock proved that he is one of the best bench bosses in the game.

However, after repeated first-round exits, the Red Wings organization relieved the Manitouwadge, Ontario native of his head coaching duties and only a few days later, the now 56-year-old agreed to an eight-year, $50 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in an intense bidding war. Babcock’s ’15/’16 campaign with Toronto was a dismal one, as the Maple Leafs finished last in the Atlantic Division with a 29-42-11 record. Immediately, however, Babcock coached Toronto to the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season – losing to the Washington Capitals in six games.

In 2017-18, the Maple Leafs took even larger strides en route to a 49-win season but fell short in seven games to the Boston Bruins. Last season, the Leafs managed to win 46 games for another 3rd place finish in the Atlantic Division, setting them up for the rematch against Boston, but once again, they came up short losing in another Game Seven.

With a virtually similar roster, the Maple Leafs entered this season with even higher expectations and they have not met them whatsoever as mentioned at the beginning of the article. Toronto has struggled to score first in any game and they constantly find themselves chasing the game in almost all aspects. Their defensive game is extremely lacking and the goaltending after Frederik Andersen is almost non-existent. The Toronto Maple Leafs are not good right now and it all fell on Mike Babcock, resulting in his departure from the organization.

In response, the Toronto Maple Leafs also announced the hiring of Sheldon Keefe, the Head Coach of the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies since the 2015-16 season, as the 31st Head Coach of the NHL franchise. Sounds oddly familiar to the Boston Bruins back in 2017.

Boston Bruins Déjà Vu?

Replace the names of “Mike Babcock” with “Claude Julien” and “Sheldon Keefe” with “Bruce Cassidy” and you essentially have near-identical stories, sort of. Rewinding to the 2016-17 regular-season, the Boston Bruins were in a similar situation to the Leafs of today. Prior to ’16/’17, the Bruins failed to clinch a berth in the playoffs for two straight seasons, even though they just narrowly missed by only a few points in both scenarios.

Boston started the new season off rough, failing to gain any momentum or put together any winning streak(s), accumulating a 26-23-3 record throughout the first 55 games of the year. The B’s were on a pace to miss the playoffs once again and for the Bruins ownership, that is not acceptable with the roster they have, so they fired the man who has control of the lineup – Claude Julien.

Rewinding the tape even further, Claude Julien had one of the most successful tenures of a Boston Bruins coach in the history of the franchise. In fact, Julien is the all-time most-winningest head coach in Bruins history, winning 419 games in 759 regular-season games played. In addition, Julien was the Head Coach for 98 playoff games – the most out of any other Bruins coach, winning 57 games – another franchise record. Wrap all of that in a pretty bow called the Stanley Cup because it was Claude Julien that ended the 39-year Stanley Cup drought in Boston.

However, the league was changing and Julien’s defensive-minded style was just not cutting it anymore so General Manager Don Sweeney made the decision to release CJ of his duties in February 2017. Instead of naming a new Head Coach immediately, the Bruins named Bruce Cassidy the Interim Head Coach as he was serving as Julien’s assistant coach for the first time after being the Head Coach of the AHL’s Providence Bruins for the previous five seasons.

Cassidy brought in new ideas and upped the intensity during practices to get the guys to rally behind him. Cassidy came into the role as an almost exact opposite to Julien, coaching a more offensive game while staying defensively responsible. At the time, Cassidy also had experience and chemistry with a few of the younger players on the roster from his time with the P-Bruins, giving him additional advantages.

Backed by the veterans in the lineup, the Boston Bruins indeed rallied behind Bruce Cassidy, winning 18 of their final 27 games, earning a playoff spot against the Ottawa Senators. Even though the Bruins were eliminated in six games, it was a breath of fresh air to go 18-8-1 after Claude Julien was fired and to make an appearance in the postseason. On April 26th, 2017, Bruce Cassidy was officially promoted as the 28th Head Coach in franchise history.

Since then, he has brought the Bruins to a 50-win season in his first full year as coach followed by a 49-win campaign last year that ended up bringing the Black and Gold to a Stanley Cup Finals berth for the first time since 2013. Cassidy has done an excellent job adjusting and adapting to challenges in the lineups during the season and even mid-games. He has done a terrific job battling against injuries, slumps, and tough teams to earn the respect of being a top coach in the National Hockey League.

Will the Toronto Maple Leafs become a contending team, make the playoffs, and find themselves in the Stanley Cup Finals in a few seasons under the guidance of Sheldon Keefe – possibly, but this could very well end up doing nothing or even doing more harm to this struggling team. Boston had a talented roster behind them and had heart – some may debate if those exist for the Maple Leafs.

Boston and Toronto have a lot in common. The method of relieving old-school coaches for younger, new-school coaches is proving to be yet another similarity. Only time will tell to see if the Toronto Maple Leafs can turn their season around and be a contender for the Boston Bruins.

To close out, here are a few statements from current Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy and former Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien on the firing of Mike Babcock:

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

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

Bruins Game 21 Preview: New Jersey Devils

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

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

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

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

Starting Goaltenders:

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

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

Who’s Hot:

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

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

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

Who’s Not:

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

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

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

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

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

New Jersey Devils:

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

Bruins vs Devils Outlook:

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

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

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

Bruins Morning Rushes:

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

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

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

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