Bruins Game 46 Preview: Montreal Canadiens

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PHOTO CREDITS: (sportsnet.ca)

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

Only two days removed from their 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, the Boston Bruins are back on home ice for a game against longtime rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. In the win over Toronto, the Bruins were outshot in every period except the third period, where they outshot the Leafs 10-to-6. David Krejci, Sean Kuraly, and David Pastrnak scored the goals for Boston. The B’s sit third place in the Atlantic Division, two points behind Toronto.

Like the Bruins, the Montreal Canadiens are coming off of a Saturday night victory, shutting out the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 for their second win in their last three games. Carey Price stopped all twenty-eight shots that faced him while Brett Kulak, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Jordie Benn scored the three goals for Montreal. The Habs have the second wild-card position in the Eastern Conference, only one point behind the Islanders and only one point ahead of the Sabres who are currently out of the playoffs.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 13-8-2 2.41 GAA .921 SV% Last Game: 30 Saves in 3-2 win vs TOR

MTL: Carey Price 17-13-4 2.67 GAA .910 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 3-0 win vs COL

Who’s Hot

Sean Kuraly potted his fifth goal of the season and two primary assists for a three-point night against the Leafs on Saturday. The 25-year-old forward is one point shy of his career-high in points that he hit last season with fifteen. Kuraly’s three-point outing brought his 2018-19 totals to 5-8-13 and his role along with linemates Chris Wagner and Noel Acciari has increased in the past few games. Kuraly has become a big part to this Bruins roster in the early parts of 2019.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (sportsnet.ca)

Canadiens forward Phillip Danault helped directly on two Montreal goals on Saturday, bringing his assist total to twenty-three on the season. Danault now has three points in as many games and is fifth on the team’s scoring with 7-23-30 totals in 46 games.

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask has been on fire as of late, as he tends to be around this time of year. The Finnish net-minder has wins in his last five starts including a 1.40 goals-against-average and a save percentage of .956. Rask is the best goaltender in those stats with a minimum of four games in the 2019 calendar year and he will be striving to continue his hot play against the Canadiens.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi has not put up crazy numbers in his rookie season after going third overall to the Montreal Canadiens in last year’s NHL Entry Draft, but his 5-17-22 numbers in 46 games this year has brought some added scoring to a Canadiens roster that is in the middle of the NHL in goals scored.

Who’s Not

Max Domi is the leading scorer on the Montreal Canadiens, but he has only scored one point in the last five games and has failed to make it on the score-sheet in the last two games. The former 2013 1st Round Selection by the then-Phoenix Coyotes has 14-25-39 totals in forty-six games but his lack of consistency lately may be a cause of concern for the Habs.

David Backes had some time on the right side of David Krejci, but the 34-year old Minneapolis, Minnesota native has not played as well as hoped. Backes does have one point in the last three games, but he only saw 10:39 of ice-time against Toronto on Saturday night and it is fair to assume that he will not be seeing the second-line time for too much longer.

Carey Price is the number-one goaltender in Montreal, but in the last five games that he has played, he only has one win coming back in his last start on Saturday versus the Avalanche. Prior to that, Price lost four consecutive games including four goals allowed against the Blues on January 10th. Price is the backbone of the Canadiens and he needs to be on fire against a Bruins team that is rolling.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • BOS F David Pastrnak will be playing in his 300th career NHL regular season game
  • BOS G Tuukka Rask is one win away from tying Tiny Thompson (252) for most wins in Bruins history
  • BOS F David Krejci (604) is 2 points behind Terry O’Reilly (606) for ninth-most points in Bruins franchise history
  • BOS D Zdeno Chara (956) is three penalty minutes behind Lyndon Byers (959) for ninth-most penalty minutes in Bruins history
  • BOS F Patrice Bergeron is one game-winning goal away (60) from taking sole-possession of third-most in Bruins history
  • BOS F Brad Marchand is one shorthanded goal away (23) from tying Derek Sanderson (24) for second-most in Bruins history
  • BOS D Zdeno Chara is two goals away from 200 career NHL goals
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PHOTO CREDITS: (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

Montreal Canadiens:

  • MTL D Jeff Petry is two points away from 200 career NHL points
  • MTL D Jordie Benn is one point away from 100 career NHL points

Bruins vs Canadiens Outlook

Montreal and Boston have already played in three games together this season, with the Bruins taking two of those meetings already. After Montreal won 3-0 on October 27th, the Bruins came back with a 3-2 win on November 24th and a 4-0 win on December 17th. The Bruins have scored a combine seven goals and allowed five against.

Tuukka Rask played in each of the first two games, while Halak was the goalie for the Bruins in the 4-0 victory. In each meeting, Carey Price was handed the role of starter like he has 34 times this season.

Boston is coming off of a win against Toronto where they arguably were out played for the majority of the sixty-minute game. There were some good moments were the Bruins capitalized on costly mistakes by the Leafs defense and that reality will need to stay true tonight against Montreal. The Bruins have to continue playing a good game on both ends of the ice and for all sixty minutes.

Montreal will be entering the game with some tenacity due to their position in the NHL standings. With only a one-point cushion on the Sabres for the last wild-card spot, the Habs have to play like their playoff hopes are on the line – because, well, it is. At the beginning of the season, not many individuals expected Montreal to be in contention for the post-season, but they are proving them wrong and they’ll look to continue proving them wrong against the Bruins.

This will be the final game between the two Original Six teams in the 2018-19 regular season. Will the season series end 3-1 Boston or at a 2-2 tie? Before we find out, take a look at the projected lines for the game.

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Bruins Game 45 Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

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

The Boston Bruins were on a five-game winning streak until they took a tough 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday. Ryan Donato and David Krejci scored the only goals for the Bruins while Jaroslav Halak made eighteen saves on twenty-one shots. Boston still holds a two-point cushion on the Buffalo Sabres for third-place in the Atlantic division but sits four points behind the Maple Leafs for second in the division.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had a back-and-forth start to their 2019 calendar year. After a 4-3 loss to the Wild to begin the year, the Leafs beat the Canucks 5-0, lost to the Predators 4-0, and most recently, defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Thursday. Toronto currently has a four-point edge on the Bruins for second in the Atlantic division, but still sit twelve points back of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 12-8-2 2.43 GAA .920 SV% Last Game: 24 Saves in 4-0 win vs MIN

TOR: Michael Hutchinson 3-3-2 3.29 GAA .886 SV% Last Game: 27 Saves in 4-2 win vs NJD

Who’s Hot

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is expected to get the start in tonight’s game against the Leafs and it makes perfect sense. The 31-year-old goalie has won each of his last four starts including a 4-0 shutout (his 42nd of his career) against the Wild on January 8th. In 2019 so far, Rask’s .982 save percentage is the best in the NHL and he is tied with Jordan Binnigton for best goals-against-average (0.50) in the two games played.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA Today Sports)

Free-agent acquisition John Tavares has been great for Toronto this season. In forty-three games played, the 28-year-old centre has twenty-nine goals and twenty-one assists for fifty points in that span. In the 4-2 win over New Jersey, Tavares scored two goals and added a helper for his fourth three-point game of the 2018-19 season.

Bruins defenceman Torey Krug is often in the middle of the Bruins trade rumours, but the 5-foot-9 defender is making a trade tough to deal with. Since coming back from injury, Krug has 4-25-29 totals in 33 games this season, including six points in his last five games. Krug also ranks third on the Bruins roster for most power-play points (18) behind Brad Marchand (19) and David Pastrnak (25).

After a brief two-game pointless streak, Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner came right back with a goal and an assist in the win over the Devils, bringing his season totals to 16-41-57 in 43 games. Marner leads the Leafs in points and is ninth in league scoring. His 41 assists so far tie him with Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames for fifth-most assists in the NHL.

Who’s Not

It may seem odd to say, but Bruins leading scorer David Pastrnak is on a little bit of a cold streak. In the past three games, Pastrnak has failed to score a single point and has been a minus rating in two of those games. The three-game pointless streak is minor for Pastrnak, who has 25-27-52 totals in 44 games this season, but the Bruins need him to start picking up the pace offensively.

Like every team in the National Hockey League, the Maple Leafs have had their fair share of injuries as well. Lately, starting goaltender Frederik Andersen and backup goaltender Garrett Sparks both went down to injuries, leaving Michael Hutchinson to man the crease. The 28-year-old goalie has gone 3-3-0 with the Leafs along with a .886 save percentage and 3.29 GAA. Not good numbers, especially heading into tonight’s game against the Bruins.

William Nylander was in all the big news talks from the offseason right until December 1st when he signed his new contract. But since then, the former 8th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has only scored three points (one goal, two assists) in fifteen games. Nylander is a -2 rating with 12 penalty minutes.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • BOS F David Krejci (604) is 2 points behind Terry O’Reilly (606) for ninth-most points in Bruins franchise history
  • BOS D Zdeno Chara (956) is three penalty minutes behind Lyndon Byers (959) for ninth-most penalty minutes in Bruins history
  • BOS F Patrice Bergeron is one game-winning goal away (60) from taking sole-possession of third-most in Bruins history
  • BOS F Brad Marchand is one shorthanded goal away (23) from tying Derek Sanderson (24) for second-most in Bruins history
  • BOS D Zdeno Chara is two goals away from 200 career NHL goals

Toronto Maple Leafs:

  • No notable milestone that can be reached in tonight’s game

Bruins vs Maple Leafs Outlook

For the fourth and final time in the 2018-19 regular season, the Bruins and Leafs will meet on the ice for one of the best-renewed rivalries in the NHL today. To this date, Boston has taken 2-out-of-the-3 games, with the most recent win coming on December 8th – a 6-3 win.

Michael Hutchinson has not been too consistent in his recent time with the Maple Leafs. As with many other games, the Bruins need to bring down the confidence level of the opposing goaltender, in this case, former Bruin Hutchinson, in order to get a strong lead on the game.

In the two wins for Boston this season against Toronto, they have scored the first goal, in fact, they scored the first three goals in each of those two wins. The one time they lost – Toronto opened the scoring. It is a good chance that that trend continues in Toronto here tonight. Bruins also need the help of Leaf-killers, David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand to lead the Boston offence early and often while Tuukka Rask needs to continue his recent solid play to keep the offence of Toronto quiet.

These two teams are closely matched and this will be the final time they get to play each other until the almost inevitable playoff series come April. Nonetheless, it is bound to be a great, competitive game of hockey. Below are most likely the lines of the Bruins heading into tonight’s game. Defenceman Charlie McAvoy returns to the lineup after missing time with a foot infection, while John Moore is scratched by Cassidy tonight.

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Bruins Trade D Goloubef To Senators For F Paul Carey

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PHOTO CREDITS: (bellevillesens.com)

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

On Friday, January 11th, 2019, the Boston Bruins have traded defenceman Cody Goloubef to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for forward Paul Carey, one-for-one.

Paul Carey is a 30-year-old center from Boston, Massachusetts who is coming into the Bruins organization in the midst of a fairly solid AHL season. Carey was drafted 135th overall (5th round) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche, but only played a combined twenty-two games with the Avalanche in the National Hockey League.

The four-year Boston College veteran already played for the Providence Bruins for a brief time in 2014-15, scoring two goals and five assists for seven points in seventeen games. He also scored one goal in the playoffs with Providence that year. With little National Hockey League experience under his belt, Carey played in sixty games during the 2017-18 season with the New York Rangers, scoring 7-7-14 totals and a -13 rating with twenty penalty minutes.

This season, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound forward has spent the majority of the time with the Belleville Senators of the American Hockey League, scoring 5-22-27 totals in twenty-nine games. Carey went pointless in five NHL games with the Ottawa Senators with an even rating as well. It is most likely that Carey joins the Boston Bruins AHL affiliate team, the Providence Bruins.

So, who exactly is Boston trading away and why? Cody Goloubef is a 129-game NHL veteran, amassing a total of twenty-three points in that time. Goloubef has just joined the Providence Bruins after spending time with the Stockton Heat, the Calgary Flames AHL affiliate team for only one season.

General Manager Don Sweeney signed the 6-foot-1, 201-pound Goloubef to a two-way, one-year contract to add depth to the P-Bruins blueline. The Bruins did use his services well, as he scored twelve points (3 goals, 9 assists), in sixteen games this season. The main reason for the trade is because of the return of Urho Vaakanainen from both the 2019 World Junior Championships from Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – where he took home a gold medal with the Finland hockey team, as well as a concussion that sidelined him for numerous months.

The Bruins would rather get a scoring asset in return for Goloubef instead of just scratching him for the rest of the idea so Vaakanainen could play. Urho is one of the best prospects on the defensive core for the Bruins organization and it is without a doubt that he should play when given a chance.

Above all else, this is just a simple AHL transaction – no massive implements will come from it. Here is some insight from Providence Journal’s own, Mark Divver.

“Assuming he’s sent to Providence, Paul Carey should give P-Bruins a boost up front. With everyone healthy, they could afford to move a D.” – Mark Divver

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Bruins Game 44 Preview: Washington Capitals

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA Today Sports Images)

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

The Bruins are rolling and tonight, the team will look to continue their hot streak against the Washington Capitals in Boston. With wins in five consecutive games for Boston, the Bruins have vaulted themselves to a divisional playoff spot, overtaking the Buffalo Sabres who the B’s have defeated two times in the last two weeks. Boston now enters this game with a 25-14-4 record (54 points) and have a two-point lead on Buffalo (52 points) and a three-point cushion on the Canadiens, who they meet on Monday.

The Washington Capitals are on a winning streak as well – winning their last two games against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday and the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. Prior to that though, the Capitals lost three consecutive games to the Predators, Blues, and Stars. Heading into the game, the Caps lead the always-competitive Metropolitan division with a 26-14-2 record (56 points). The Penguins (54 points) and Blue Jackets (51 points) are on their tails and the Islanders (50 points) are out of a playoff spot, looking to get back in.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 13-6-2 2.36 GAA .926 SV% Last Game: 33 Saves in 6-4 win vs CGY

WSH: Braden Holtby 16-10-2 2.89 GAA .910 SV% Last Game: 23 Saves in 3-2 vs DET

Who’s Hot

Patrice Bergeron has always been a good player in the NHL, but lately, he has been a really great player. In the win over Minnesota, Bergeron scored a goal and added two assists for a three-point night, his third multi-point game in his last four outings. The 33-year-old centre now has 14-24-38 totals in only 27 games this season. His 1.41 points-per-game is the sixth best in the league.

Like Bergeron, the rest of the Bruins top line has had a great last few games. Brad Marchand also had three points over the Wild, scoring once and adding a pair of assists as well. Marchand had a two-goal night against the Flames on January 3rd as well. Marchand is catching up to Pastrnak for the team’s lead in points as he now possesses 16-31-47 totals in 42 contests this year.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Capitals forward Jakub Vrana has had a slow season as we pass over the halfway mark of the 2018-19 campaign, but his tides may be changing. In the 5-3 victory over the Flyers, Vrana scored two goals, including the game-winning goal in the second period. Jakub’s primary assist helped open the scoring on Tom Wilson’s goal in the first frame.

NHL bad-guy Tom Wilson has thirteen goals, eight assists and twenty-one points in only 23 games this season and has scored goals in each of his last two games. Expected to get first line time with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov, the Capitals would like another solid game with some scoring from Wilson tonight against a tough Bruins team.

Michal Kempny at 28-years-old has become one of the top defensemen on Washington’s active roster and he is scheduled to get another game on the top pairing alongside of John Carlson. Kempny has 5-10-25 totals along with an outstanding +25 rating – a statistic that he ranks fifth in the entire league on. He is currently averaging a career-high 19:21 minutes per game this season.

Who’s Not

Bruins forward Ryan Donato has not been good this year – a disappointing reality for many Bruins fans hoping for a solid campaign after he put up nine points in twelve games at the tail end of last season. In twenty-nine games with Boston in 2018-19, Donato has only five goals and eight points with a -10 rating – the worst +/- rating on the team.

Nicklas Backstrom is still over a point-per-game on the season so far, but with zero points in the last three games and a -2 rating, he needs to be better. In order for Washington to hold that top spot in the Metro, they need him to be the play-making star that the league knows him as.

Jakub Forsbacka Karlsson has been skating with Heinen and Donato on the Bruins third-line, but with the success of Kuraly-Acciari-Wagner line, that youngsters line has been demoted to the fourth line when it comes to high-pressure situations. Forsbacka Karlsson has not helped that this season. In twenty-two games, he has three goals, three assists for six points and a -2 rating.

Bruins vs Capitals Outlook

The Bruins get yet another chance at the defending Stanley Cup Champions after that blowout 7-0 loss to the Capitals on opening night back in October. Without a doubt, Boston needs to be on top of their game defensively to win this game. The Bruins have not beat Washington since March 29th, 2014 (thirteen games). Boston has struggled with the goal-scoring capabilities of Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Backstrom alike.

For Washington – put pucks on the net – simple. Jaroslav Halak will be starting in goal for Boston and he is coming off of a win over the Flames, where he allowed four goals on thirty-seven shots. A few of the goals scored against him were questionable and you have to wonder if that remains on his mind heading into tonight’s game. The Caps need to build up the offence and fire shots on Halak to score a few goals early and often. Worked back in October, may work again now.

Another interesting story-line for the game is the speciality teams. The Bruins are near the top of the league in power-play success rate (3rd best with 28.5% success) and penalty-kill (11th best with 81.1% success). Boston has been perfect while short-handed in 2019, killing off all twelve penalties in the four games.

Washington, on the other hand, is above average on the man-advantage (10th best with 21.5% success), but the penalty-kill is sub-par (23rd worst with 78% success).

Boston is only one of four teams with zero losses in the 2019 calendar year and will look to extend their winning streak to six games. Right now, their five-straight are tied for second-longest active winning streaks, tied with the Hurricanes and behind the Vegas Golden Knights (7 wins). Below are the Boston Bruins practice lines for yesterday (Jan. 9th).

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Boston Bruins: Halfway Point Of 2018-19 Season

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet.ca)

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

Careful, did you miss it? If you blinked, you may have missed the first half of the 2018-19 NHL season for the Boston Bruins. No, it was not that fast, but it sure went by quickly. Without a doubt, this season has been an interesting one and it is only going to get more interesting from here on out. With Thursday’s win over the Calgary Flames, the Bruins have passed the halfway point of the season – that being their 41st game of 82 on the year.

Individual Statistics

The Boston Bruins have some great players on the roster, but also some players that have been slacking off on the offensive and defensive side of the puck. Below are the player totals for nearly every player that has played a single game on the Bruins roster before the Sabres game on Saturday.

Forwards:

  • David Pastrnak – 41GP – 25-27-52 +3 Rating – Leads team in Goals & Points 
  • Brad Marchand – 40GP – 15-29-44 +6 Rating – Leads team in Assists 
  • Patrice Bergeron – 25GP – 13-22-35 +7 Rating – Leads Forwards in +/-
  • David Krejci – 41GP – 7-26-33 -2 Rating
  • Jake DeBrusk – 32GP – 13-3-36 -6 Rating
  • Sean Kuraly – 40GP – 4-6-10 +3 Rating
  • Danton Heinen – 39GP – 4-6-10 +2 Rating
  • David Backes – 33GP – 3-7-10 -5 Rating
  • Ryan Donato – 27GP – 5-3-8 -11 Rating
  • Joakim Nordstrom – 39GP – 5-2-7 -4 Rating
  • Chris Wagner – 38GP – 4-3-7 -2 Rating
  • Jakub Forsbacka Karlsson – 20GP – 3-3-6 -3 Rating
  • Colby Cave – 20GP – 1-4-5 -1 Rating
  • Noel Acciari – 34GP – 1-1-2 -7 Rating
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PHOTO CREDITS: (tsn.ca)

Defence:

  • Torey Krug – 30GP – 4-22-26 -9 Rating
  • Matt Grzelcyk – 39GP – 1-11-12 +5 Rating
  • Charlie McAvoy – 17GP – 1-10-11 +4 Rating
  • John Moore – 38GP – 2-5-7 -3 Rating
  • Zdeno Chara – 22GP – 3-1-4 +3 Rating
  • Steven Kampfer – 25GP – 2-1-3 -6 Rating
  • Brandon Carlo – 32GP – 1-2-3 +1 Rating
  • Kevan Miller – 15GP 0-3-3 +8 Rating
  • Jeremy Lauzon – 15GP – 1-0-0 -1 Rating

These are extremely basic when it comes to statistics but they do provide some facts as to how the Bruins have been doing when it comes to individual scoring. With only twenty-five games played, Patrice Bergeron is still over a point-per-game by a considerable amount and he is currently on pace for ninety-two points (if my math is indeed correct), which will clearly drop. The always-Selke candidate leads the forward group in the +/- rating and has a 14-10 takeaway-to-giveaway ratio, keeping up that defensive play.

Pastrnak and Marchand have continued to dominate, even with a slow spell from Marchand earlier in the season. The first line always seems to fall back together, even when Head Coach Bruce Cassidy tries to mix up the lines to spread out the scoring. Speaking about scoring depth, the Bruins have three players with ten points, all of which have played in over thirty games this season.

The Bruins need help from the bottom three lines, even DeBrusk and Krejci need to be more consistent when scoring goals. DeBrusk has gone on cold stretches, but he can bounce back with a two-goal game like he did against Calgary. With another top-six winger, Boston can become a true threat offensively in the Eastern Conference.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (MADDIE MEYER/GETTY IMAGES)

On the defensive core, the Bruins should not have that many players with a game played. That list would also include Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, and Connor Clifton, but they all played less than ten games so far. Twelve defencemen from October to January and yet the Bruins have still been decent on the backend.

Goaltending:

  • Tuukka Rask – 20GP – 19GS – 10-8-2 – 2.63 GAA – .914 SV%
  • Jaroslav Halak – 23GP – 22GS – 13-6-2 – 2.36 GAA – .926 SV%

There have been some bad games, but overall, the duo of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak have been solid this season. Halak is fourth in the NHL for best save percentage among goalies with a minimum of fourteen games played and his role as a backup has led to a new tandem in the Bruins crease. Cassidy has gone back-and-forth with who gets the starting job and that is great, but he is most likely looking for one of them to step out and claim the starting job heading into the postseason.

Team Statistics

As of January 4th, 2019, the Bruins are the eleventh best team in the National Hockey League with fifty points on the season. Prior to the game against the Sabres, Boston is only four points away from being tied with the Calgary Flames for second-best in the entire NHL. The Tampa Bay Lightning are several strides ahead of the pack, leading the NHL with a 32-7-2 record, good for 66 points so far. Coincidentally, the Bruins are also the eleventh-oldest team in the league, with an average team age of 28.2. The 11th youngest team? The Tampa Bay Lightning.

As mentioned already, the Boston Bruins’ depth scoring has almost been non-existent for the majority of the season and that is on display when you take a browse on the team stats. The Bruins have scored the fifth-least amount of even-strength goals in the league, scoring only 81 times 5-on-5. On the flip side, the Bruins have allowed the second-least amount of 5-on-5 goals, only 76. That makes for a +5 goal differential while at even-strength.

The speciality teams have been possibly the best strength for Boston and may just be the main reason as to why Boston is in the position they are in within the league standings. Boston has thirty-seven goals on the power-play, fourth-most in the NHL, scoring those goals on a 27.82% efficiency. Bruins’ David Pastrnak leads the league for most goals on the PP with twelve so far this year. He is able to use the extra man brilliantly and use it to score goals. On the power-play, however, the B’s are not the best defensively, allowing a league-high nine shorthanded goals.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

Boston’s penalty-kill is within the top half of the league, currently sitting at just over an 80% success rate. Unfortunately, the shorthanded goals have not come for the Bruins, only scoring one SH goal that came back on October 4th by Patrice Bergeron. Obviously, shorthanded tallies are not expected nor necessarily required but when you allow the most goals in that category in the entire league, you would like a few in return on other teams.

Standings Race

Following a brief time in the second Wild Card position, the Bruins have battled back to take sole possession of third place in the NHL’s Atlantic Division. At the current moment, the Bruins are in a game against the Buffalo Sabres and that game will decide who holds on to that spot for the time being.

A 23-14-4 record in January is not fantastic but for an injury-riddled team like the Bruins, it is very much acceptable. Boston will need to step up their game and that may end up including a trade for another scoring forward. For more on the Standings Race in the Atlantic Division for the Bruins, make sure to stay tuned for an article by Black N’ Gold writer, Evan Michael (@00EvanMichael on Twitter).

In response to this article, I asked my friends on Twitter about their opinions regarding the Bruins 2018-19 season so far.

Do you agree with the poll results? What was good/bad about the first half of the season for the Boston Bruins and what needs to change as the race for the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs truly begin? Let me know via Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

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Bruins Prospect Ryan Fitzgerald Named To AHL All-Star Classic

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PHOTO CREDITS: (ahl.com)

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

The Providence Bruins announced today, January 3rd, 2018, that forward Ryan Fitzgerald has been named to the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic on January 27-28, 2019 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Ryan Fitzgerald is in the middle of arguably his best season while in the American Hockey League. The 24-year-old North Reading, Massachusetts native has 7-19-26 totals in thirty-four games this season, leading all Providence Bruins players in assists and points. His seven goals on the year rank him fourth on the team for goals as well.

Before Fitzgerald joined Providence in the 2016-17 season, he played in four consecutive seasons in the NCAA with Boston College. In his 152 career NCAA contests, Ryan tallied 66 goals, 66 assists for 132 points. Fitzgerald’s best season came back in 2015-2016 where he scored forty-seven points (24 goals, 23 assists) in only 40 games played.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Gregory Vasil/Getty Images)

Fitzgerald was drafted by the Bruins in the 4th Round (120th Overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and was signed to a two-year entry-level contract in the Spring of 2017. The Bruins management liked his play with Boston College, deciding to sign him to that deal that allowed him to play in the AHL, where he has been for the past two seasons.

As fellow Black N’ Gold writer, Tim Richardson said in his Prospect Profile on Fitzgerald, the 5-foot-9 forward was expected to go in the second-round in 2013. Heading into his draft, Fitzgerald was that two-way player that almost every team would like to have in their centre core. He possessed good hockey IQ and defensive awareness on the ice but could also pitch in offensive such as he has done with Providence this season.

Entering his first All-Star game, Fitzgerald has an entire family of hockey players. Father Tom Fitzgerald played in 1097 career National Hockey League games, seventy-one of which with the Boston Bruins back in 2005-06. NHL forwards Jimmy and Kevin Kayes as well as Matthew and ex-NHLer Keith Tkachuk are Fitzgerald’s cousins according to Elite Prospects.

Many people in the Boston Bruins fanbase have urged management to try Fitzgerald in the NHL if (when) another injury hits the Bruins forward core. Fitzgerald seems to be more responsible defensively compared to some of the Bruins already on the roster and yet, he can still score goals and make plays as mentioned already.

Do you think that Ryan Fitzgerald should get a shot with the NHL Bruins at some point this season if an injury comes up again?

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 & Happy New Year!

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Milestone Moment for Bruins’ Tuukka Rask!

(Photo Credit: NHL Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

The 2019 Winter Classic truly was “a classic” in every sense of the word, from the B’s timely goals & saves to their timeless outfits & jerseys (more on that later). Speaking of time, Boston’s much-maligned keeper of the crease Tuukka Rask made the most of it, first after getting the nod from Coach Cassidy he’d be starting in net over Jaroslav Halak, then after stopping 36-out-of-38 shots and leading the B’s to their second straight come-from-behind victory AND second ever Winter Classic win.

 

But, as you’ll note from the team tweet above (and the NHL’s PR department below), Rask also accomplished quite a fitting FIRST. With the start, he became the Bruins’ all-time leader for a goalie when it comes to “Games Played,” surpassing longtime legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Tiny Thompson in the process.

And he did so in style, literally & figuratively, by wearing that aforementioned timeless throwback jersey from the B’s circa 1932 wardrobe case which, and this is certainly not a coincidence, was from the era of Tiny Thompson! You don’t say? I do say… and did say… over the Summer in my “Best Bruins Logos” article for the Black N’ Gold Blog.

Additionally, here’s a fun fact that deserves a little Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson magic that I’d like to “Say, Say, Say” again & again: Rask needs only 5 more wins to break another huge Tiny record (I’ve always wanted to write that): Most Franchise Victories! As The Hockey News previewed before this season began:

When Tiny Thompson suited up in his final game for Boston all the way back in 1939, he was the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, and Thompson’s 468 games remain the most ever played by a Bruins netminder. Sometime around December, though, Rask, who has played 19 fewer games in Boston, should be set to surpass Thompson and break the nearly 80-year-old mark. And if all goes well, he could also break Thompson’s other record, too: no Bruins goaltender has won more than 252 games for the franchise, but Rask is only 15 victories away from taking that team record, as well. — Jared Clinton, The Hockey News

Rask’s Winter Classic “W” was his tenth of the season so before the month is out, he could be achieving yet another milestone moment in a B’s sweater (253 career wins), and again making history & taking history from “one of the game’s early innovators” as The Hockey News also highlighted below in their informative & engaging Tiny Thompson Top 100 Goalies of All-Time profile:

I don’t think I’d be going out on a limb (a limb that in full disclosure I have gone out on before) in predicting ALL of the above won’t sit well with the Tuukka Haters Club, a club that regrettably gains membership all too easily & all too frequently without the slightest bit of logic or hockey sense. Sure, his personality & play sometimes opens the door for criticism & complaints, especially this season. But, even the blackest Black N’ Gold thoughts can show a bit of gold on the historic feats being featured in this eponymous blog, and elsewhere throughout the Internets.

I mean, it takes a helluva career — one that I personally think still has enough in the tank to take the B’s to The Cup (and WIN) — to accomplish what Rask has, and will, this season alone. And to now be in the same company as Tiny Thompson, whose first name was Cecil… well, that’s nothing to scoff at for the finely-finishing Fin or his fans (which I’m predicting won’t be growing despite the accolades, unfortunately).

So, to paraphrase a quote about another famous Cecil (B. DeMille), I think Tuukka Rask is ready for his close-up. He’s definitely deserving of it. I can think of 469 reasons why (with another 253 on hold).

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 & Happy New Year!

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Winter Classic: Boston vs Chicago: 01/01/19

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PHOTO CREDITS: (@nhlbruins on Twitter)

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

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: Notre Dame Stadium – South Bend, Indiana, USA

Home: Chicago Blackhawks (15-20-6)

Away: Boston Bruins (21-14-4)

The 2019 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic is finally upon us. The Bruins are coming into the New Year’s Day outdoor game after a 2-1 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. The win ended a two-game losing streak for the Bruins and a win over Chicago in the Notre Dame Stadium would help Boston continue that momentum.

Boston’s opponent, the Chicago Blackhawks have been on fire as of late, winning five of their last six games and have recorded a point in seven of their last nine. Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is riding a seven-game point streak and was recently awarded the NHL’s First Star of the Week.

Bruins Gameday Lineup

Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced earlier today that forward Ryan Donato and defenseman Steven Kampfer are the scratches for the Bruins in today’s game. Defenceman Charlie McAvoy is also out of the lineup with a lower-body injury that is believed to have been suffered against the Carolina Hurricanes on December 23rd. Forward Brad Marchand returns to the lineup as well.

First Period:

Bruins started the pressure immediately with several really good attacks that were initiated by Bruins defencemen. Kevan Miller stole the puck in the neutral zone off of a poor breakout pass by the Blackhawks then found Krejci alone on a partial breakaway. Krejci went forehand-backhand but stopped by Cam Ward. Torey Krug also had a good chance, good start for Boston.

Early on, the ice seems to be in great condition. For outdoor games, it is always a concern that the ice may be rough, making it harder to control the puck and make good passes. It is quite possible that the ice crews are getting better at the ice-making due to the number of Winter Classics and outdoor games in recent years.

On the NHL on NBC broadcast, it is confirmed that today’s attendance marks the second-largest crowd in Winter Classic history, behind only the 105,000+ people that attended the 2014 Winter Classic between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings.

On a delayed penalty call on Brandon Carlo just nearly six minutes into the game, Jonathan Toews makes a nice spin pass, creating a chance that Rask makes a big pad save. Bruins to the penalty-kill for a holding call on Carlo. Boston’s penalty-kill ranks seventeenth in the NHL before the game, with a 79.1% success rate. Bruins only allow one shot against and the penalty is killed off.

The first goal came with 11:30 left in the first. A David Krejci turnover turns into a goal for Brandon Perlini. Torey Krug’s stick was lifted behind Tuukka Rask and no one was on Perlini who had an open shot on Rask. Bruins need better coverage as that was hard to watch. Blackhawks make it one-to-nothing at Notre Dame.

Blackhawks continued to get good opportunities in the second half of the opening period. On a nice breakout play, the Bruins left d-man Connor Murphy all alone by the top of the faceoff circle, but Murphy’s wrist-shot rings off the pipe. Bruins were that close to being down two goals. On the turnaround, Joakim Nordstrom is tripped up by Artem Anisimov and the B’s are to the power-play 7:55 in.

On the man-advantage, David Pastrnak picks up the puck from Patrice Bergeron in the slot, waits, then fires it past Cam Ward to tie the game at one apiece with about seven minutes left to trail. Bergeron with the primary assist on Pastrnak’s twenty-fourth goal of the season.

Bruins top line seems to be thriving as usual as Brad Marchand has several good shots on Ward off of the rush. This is Marchand’s first career Winter Classic as he was in the middle of a three-game suspension back in the 2016 Winter Classic against the Canadiens. It is evident that he wants a goal today.

With 2:57 left to tick away in the first, Matt Grzelcyk is called on a high-sticking minor and the Bruins go to their second penalty-kill of the day. First one was successful and this second one was solid as well, killing it off successfully. Alex DeBrincat had the best chance on the Hawks’ man-advantage as he hit the back of Brandon Carlo’s leg.

David Pastrnak is on fire today. With less than one minute to go, Krejci, Pastrnak, and DeBrusk worked together for a great pair of chances, including a great opportunity for Pasta all alone, but is stopped from a massive save by Ward. Off the ensuing faceoff, Patrick Kane is found alone on a breakaway, tried to go five-hole past Rask, but is shut down. Period ends there.

It was an entertaining period for both teams. Brad Marchand had two good shots, Pastrnak and DeBrusk each have three shots. Patrick Kane has four shots on Rask, including that final breakaway chance. The Bruins are playing decent hockey but a few defensive mistakes have either turned into a goal or came close.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 14 CHI: 12

Score: 1-1

Second Period

Chicago started off the second period with some good chances, the best of which was blocked by John Moore. While on defence, Sean Kuraly takes a hooking penalty on Chicago’s only goal scorer so far, Brandon Perlini and he goes to the box for two minutes. DeBrincat again has the best chance on Chicago’s power-play, a quick shot on Rask, but it’s stopped and the Bruins go 3-for-3 on the penalty-kill four minutes into the second period.

The physicality of the hockey game is increasing as Carlo and Chara each take shoves at Perlini. The Chicago forward is having a good game and seems to be everywhere on the ice so far today.

One of the biggest reoccurring errors of the Bruins so far has been the turnovers – especially off of the breakout passes by the blueliners. Boston has simply passed the puck to a player in the black Chicago sweater, giving them an in-tight chance on Rask. Tuukka has looked solid thus far, but Bruins need to help him out more with better, smarter passes.

With 8:36 left, the Blackhawks break the tie once again. Erik Gustafsson fires a shot for a deflection as he has done numerous times already today and it gets deflected by Dominik Kahun, beating Rask. Bruins have not had the best period, not getting many chances offensively and they have not seemed all there defensively either.

Bruins get a bit of zone time in the Blackhawks end, but no real good chances come about from it. The majority of the shots Boston took on the shift were point shots that either were blocked or partially blocked before they reached Cam Ward. Cassidy has been trying Pastrnak with DeBrusk and Krejci in this game as well, but Boston is still struggling to get truly good offence.

17:57 into the period, Erik Gustafsson is called on a roughing penalty and the Bruins go to their second power-play of the game. Boston allowed a shorthanded breakaway but was shut down by Patrice Bergeron. Right back in Chicago’s end, Patrice Bergeron gets the backhand right in front of Ward and ties the game at two. Assists go to Pastrnak (26) and Krug (20).

Then with only 9.5 seconds remaining, Matt Grzelcyk takes his second penalty of the game – a hooking minor on Patrick Kane. Period ends, but Boston needs to come out with more aggression offensively in the third. They will be on the penalty-kill for the first 1:50 of the final regulation period.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 24 CHI: 28

Score: 2-2

Third Period

During the penalty-kill to begin the period, Patrick Kane gets his stick up high on Kevan Miller, sending the game to 4-on-4 for thirty seconds, followed by a 1:30 Bruins power-play. On the 4-on-4, Kevan Miller once again draws a penalty, a tripping minor against Anisimov. Bruins have 1:12 of 5-on-3 time.

The Bruins failed to score on either one of the penalties and the game returns 5-on-5. Boston could not make tape-to-tape passes and the Hawks cleared when able to. Bruins are now 2-for-4 on the man-advantage today. About five minutes into the period, Bruins draw another play, a hooking call on Gustav Forsling. B’s are moving their feet and it’s drawing penalties against Chicago.

Chicago’s penalty-kill has improved, clearly, since the second intermission as they kill off another Bruins power-play in this third period. Some decent chances but Cam Ward has been great between the posts for Chicago.

Boston is in the midst of their best period of the game in my opinion. Great control in the Blackhawks’ zone, creating chances while shutting down any really good chances against. The Bruins have been quite close to scoring, but at times, so have the Hawks. 2-2 with 11:19 to go.

Call him clutch because Sean Kuraly scores with 9:40 left in the third off a rebound shot. The Blackhawks lost all coverage on the Bruins players, allowing Grzelcyk to fire a shot towards Ward. The puck bounces off of Chris Wagner in front and goes right on the stick of Kuraly and he buries it. Kuraly scored the game-winning goal against Buffalo on Saturday.

Between Kuraly’s goal and the next six minutes, the Bruins have done a great job keeping Chicago to the outside, forcing turnovers, then getting the puck out of the zone. A couple of nice opportunities for the Bruins to score again, including a 2-on-1 by DeBrusk and Krejci that was stopped by the Blackhawks lone d-man. Just over three minutes remaining in this Winter Classic.

Kuraly had a chance with 2:30 left on a breakaway bid, but Ward remains solid in the crease and stops the possible insurance marker. It has been a great game for the fourth line of Boston. With the empty-net for Chicago, Tuukka Rask has to make a big blocker stop while changing directions on a dime to keep the B’s ahead.

Bruins have tried to clear, but Chicago continues the pressure. Brandon Saad to Patrick Kane in front but Rask comes up huge with a big save. 39.2 seconds remain and every single fan is on the edge of their feet. On the delayed penalty against Chicago, Brad Marchand buries the empty-net goal, making it 4-2 Boston.

With that, the Bruins win their second Winter Classic 4-2, Hawks lose their fourth.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 36 CHI: 38

Final Score: 4-2 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars

1st Star: BOS G Tuukka Rask – 36 Saves, .947 SV%

2nd Star: BOS F Patrice Bergeron – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, +1 Rating, Key Faceoffs

3rd Star: BOS F Sean Kuraly – Game-Winning Goal, 5 Shots, +1 Rating

With the victory, the Bruins move into third place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 22-14-4. They are tied in points with the Sabres, who they overtake in standings only due to the Regulation plus Overtime Wins (ROW), in which Boston has three more. Up next, Bruins face the Calgary Flames (24-12-4) in Boston on Thursday. Scheduled puck drop for that game is 7pm 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!

-> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule & Ticket Information From SeatGiant.com <-

Bruins Game 40 Preview: Winter Classic – Chicago Blackhawks

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL)

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

Finally, it is Classic time. Bruins vs Blackhawks in the 2019 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic from South Bend, Indiana – the home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. This game has been much anticipated by both Original Six franchises since the day it was originally announced and not only does this game mean something for the Winter Classic itself, but for the standings of both teams as well as the playoffs become one day closer.

Boston finished the 2018 calendar year with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Buffalo Sabres off the hands of a late tying goal by Jake DeBrusk in his 100th career NHL game. Prior to that, the Bruins lost two games in a row to the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils then another three wins before that over the Predators, Ducks and Canadiens.

After being one of the worst teams in the league, the Hawks have turned their play around recently. The Blackhawks will enter the Winter Classic with a 5-1-0 record in their past six games and have managed a point in seven of their last nine outings. Even with the recent success, Chicago sits twenty-fifth in the league with a 15-20-6 record.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 9-8-2 2.67 GAA .912 SV% Last Game: 26 saves in 3-2 win vs BUF

CHI: Cam Ward 6-6-4 3.90 GAA .886 SV% Last Game: 21 Saves in 6-3 loss vs FLA

Who’s Hot

Always one of the most dangerous scoring forwards in the NHL today and for the past decade or so, Patrick Kane, is entering the Winter Classic on fire. Kane has points in seven consecutive games, including three, three-point nights. The incredible run as of late brings his 2018-19 season total to 22-28-50 in only forty games this season and currently sits 7th for most points in the NHL. The NHL has awarded Kane the 1st Star of The Week for this past week as well.

Chicago announced that Cam Ward will be the starting goaltender for the Blackhawks on New Year’s Day. In his first season as a Blackhawk after spending the first thirteen years of his career with the Carolina Hurricanes, Ward has a 6-6-4 record, a 3.90 GAA and a .886 SV%. While those numbers are not “hot” by any stretch of the imagination, but the 34-year-old goalie has won two of his last three starts and looks to do the same against Boston.

Since returning from his injury that kept him out for almost a dozen games at the start of the 2018-19 season, Torey Krug has been his usual self, scoring 4-19-23 totals in 28 games played. Krug has points in three of his last five games, including a two-point night in the 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on December 20th.

Even though Brad Marchand failed to score a point in his last game against the Carolina Hurricanes and he was out of the lineup against the Sabres, he can still be considered hot. Before the pointless game and the injury, Marchand has points in four straight, three of which were multi-point nights. Brad now has 12-29-41 totals on the season.

Who’s Not

While top-line centre Patrice Bergeron was out of the lineup with a sternoclavicular/rib injury, David Krejci seemed to fit in nicely alongside Pastrnak and Marchand on the first line. However, since the return of Bergeron four games ago, Krejci has failed to tally a single point and has been a minus rating in each of those four contests. David’s totals on the season currently sit a 7-23-30 in thirty-nine games with a -2 rating.

Danton Heinen is still trying to find his game after a strong rookie season in 2017-2018. The 23-year-old Langley, British Columbia, Canada native only has four goals and six assists for ten points in thirty-seven games this year. During Saturday’s win against the Sabres, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy benched Heinen for a time during the game, a sign of poor play by Heinen and the Bruins need him to change as soon as possible.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Erick W. Rasco /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

Brandon Saad of the Blackhawks is supposed to be one of the best players on Chicago’s roster when it comes to scoring goals and making plays. This season, especially lately, Saad has struggled to do so. In his last seven games dating back to December 16th, Saad has only two points, two points that came in one game against the Minnesota Wild on December 27th. Brandon has 11-11-22 totals in 39 games for Chicago this season.

33-year-old defenceman Brent Seabrook has always been one of most intimidating defenders on the Blackhawks blueline, but with age, the 33-year-old has not been great in 2018-19. With no points in his last six games, Seabrook is a -11 rating on the season and is only averaging around sixteen minutes on ice per game.

Bruins vs Blackhawks Outlook

Easily one of the biggest problems for the Boston Bruins so far is inconsistency. The Bruins went 7-7-0 in the month of December and when they would win multiple games in a row, they would return with the same number of losses in a row and vice-versa. If Boston wants to improve their Winter Classic record to 2-1-0 on Tuesday, then they will have to force turnovers and capitalize on those turnovers with offensive chances. A high number of shots on Cam Ward will be important to win this game as well.

The gameplan shouldn’t be much different for the Blackhawks. Obviously, the offence will run through Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, which is nothing new and the continuous shots on Tuukka Rask could very well ruin the confidence level of Rask. The Hawks have been rolling as of late and the momentum will be quite valuable for them.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL)

Milestone Watch:

  • Bruins defenseman and Captain Zdeno Chara is only two goals away from his 200th career NHL goal. While it is a tad bit unlikely that the 41-year-old scores two at the Winter Classic, but it is definitely a possibility.
  • Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook has not scored a goal in his last nine games, but if he manages to shoot the puck past the Bruins redline at Notre Dame Stadium, it will be his 100th career NHL goal.

Winter Classic History:

Boston Bruins:

  • 1-1 record heading into 2019 Winter Classic
  • 2-1 overtime win vs Philadelphia Flyers in 2010
  • 5-1 loss vs Montreal Canadiens in 2016
  • Will move into sole possession for second-most Winter Classic appearances in NHL history (3)
  • A win ties them with NYR and WSH for most Winter Classic wins (2)

Chicago Blackhawks

  • 0-3 record heading into 2019 Winter Classic
  • 6-4 loss vs Detroit Red Wings in 2009
  • 3-2 loss vs Washington Capitals in 2015
  • 4-1 loss vs St. Louis Blues in 2017
  • 4th Winter Classic appearance most in NHL history

Predictions:

Prior to the big game, some of the great writers here at the Black N’ Gold Hockey website have given me their official predictions of how the game will go. I highly suggest you check out their articles and give them a follow on Twitter if you have not already.

Now, who’s ready for some outdoor hockey?

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!

-> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule & Ticket Information From SeatGiant.com <-

 

Can Bruins David Pastrnak Win The Rocket Richard Trophy?

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo)

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

Without a doubt in anyone’s mind, David Pastrnak is the best goal scorer on the Boston Bruins in 2018-19 and he will most likely retain that title for many years to come. With that in mind, how good of a goal scorer exactly is Pastrnak?

The National Hockey League has had the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy since 1999 and was first established at the end of the 1998-1999 season, where Teemu Selanne was awarded the trophy. The award was named after Richard, who spent the entirety of his eighteen-year NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens. “Rocket” was the first NHL player to reach the 500-goal milestone and was the first NHL player to hit 50 goals in a single season, doing so in only 50 games back in 1944-45.

For over a decade, the Rocket Richard Trophy has gone to one man seven times – Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. From the 2012-13 season to the 2015-16 season, Ovechkin won the trophy every single season, until Sidney Crosby broke that streak in 2016-17, only for Ovi to reclaim the trophy last season. Ovechkin’s best trophy-winning season was his 65 goals in 2007-08, the most by a winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AFP)

Since then, however, the winner of the trophy has scored less than fifty goals – Crosby with 44 and Ovechkin with 49 last year. In the history of the trophy, no Boston Bruin has ever won it. David Pastrnak is considered to be one of the best young scorers that the Bruins have had in recent memory, can he be the first Bruin to win the prestigious winner?

At the end of December 2018, Alex Ovechkin still leads the NHL in goals with 29 in 37 games played. Six goals behind him in seventh place, David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins. The 22-year-old winger is scoreless in his past three games (CAR, NJD, BUF) and if he scores a few times during that stretch, he could find himself within the top five for goals.

It is somewhat hard to look at the future of a hockey season when you are not even past the halfway point. In the past eighty-two regular season games dating back to the 2017-18 season, including Boston’s most recent game against the Buffalo Sabres, Pastrnak has scored 43 goals. In comparison to Ovechkin’s league-leading forty-nine tallies last season, Pastrnak would only be six goals away from leading the National Hockey League – the exact distance he is apart from the lead right now.

With that stat, it is fair to note that Pastrnak had some rough patches when it came to scoring goals last season. From December 14th, 2017 to January 2nd, 2018, Pastrnak failed to score a single goal in ten consecutive games. If only he scored on six of those, he would have tied Ovechkin’s tally from last year. Of course, that includes the 23 goals this year that Pasta has scored.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA Today Images)

Already this season, the Bruins have struggled with injuries – including hard injuries to Pastrnak’s well-known linemates, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Although, when Marchand has been healthy, he has not been as effective at putting the puck in the back of the net, scoring only twelve times in thirty-eight games. On the flip side, Marchand leads the team for assists with twenty-nine helpers.

When the Bruins’ first line is fully healthy and they are clicking offensively, the numbers can truly skyrocket. Bergeron already has a passer’s touch and if Marchand continues to have the vision to send the rubber to the piece of tape on Pastrnak’s stick, Pastrnak can rake in the goal numbers.

Is it possible for David Pastrnak to score more goals than any other player in the entire National Hockey League? Of course, it is. The Bruins are finally going to have a healthy roster, *knocks on wood* and can have the opportunity to finally gain some ground on the NHL standings. However, goals have been an issue for the players further on down the lineup.

When Patrice Bergeron was out for multiple weeks with a sternoclavicular/rib injury earlier this season, centre David Krejci filled in on the top line. Pastrnak did not seem to have issues scoring alongside Krejci. Krejci, an above-average passer is able to find his fellow Czech on the ice and create scoring opportunities.

In fact, Pastrnak is in the middle of his best goal-scoring season, scoring an average of 0.59 goals-per-game. His next highest came in the 2016-17 campaign when he averaged 0.45 GPG. If he continues his current pace, Pastrnak has the chance to hit 48 goals this season and that very well could contend for the league-lead. This is barring no injuries and for Pastrnak to continue at this very same pace. It is very possible that David can score more or less than that average moving forward.

If I were a betting man, which I am most definitely not, I would not bet money on David Pastrnak winning the Rocket Richard Trophy THIS season. I do, however, think he can contend for the trophy and within the next five years, he will win the award. Since being drafted twenty-fifth overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by Boston, Pastrnak has done nothing but improve in nearly all assets of his hockey game.

If the trend continues, he will only score more goals. But with predictions and future events, the only true answer is in the hands of one thing – time.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGaint 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!

-> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule & Ticket Information From SeatGiant.com <-