Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 14 Recap

( Photo Credit: Amanda Bingham / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

It’s been a long time since the Atlanta Gladiators had a perfect weekend, but the wait is finally over. A strong performance on the road followed by a record-breaking night at home has lifted Atlanta to 10 wins on the season. With five wins in their last 10 games,  the Glads are starting to close the gap on the rest of the South Division.

Week 14 began with a trip to South Carolina to take on the Stingrays. Sean Bonar started in net for the Glads following strong performances since returning from injury. Atlanta out-shot the Stingrays 12-3 in the first period, but the game remained scoreless heading into the first intermission. Three minutes into the second period, Matt Pohlkamp put the home side ahead with a power play goal. The Gladiators responded positively, and Derek Nesbitt tied the game with an even strength goal, assisted by Nick Bligh. Atlanta continued to out-shoot their opponent and took the lead minutes later, with score from Justin MacDonald, assisted by Brett McKenzie and Nolan LaPorte. The teams headed into the locker rooms with the Gladiators leading 2-1.

The home side were much improved in the third period, and leveled the game with an equal strength goal by Tim Harrison, taking the game to overtime. The Gladiators had secured a point, but they weren’t finished. They were denied five times before forward Nick Bligh broke away for the game-winning goal. The Glads out-shot the ‘Rays 6-1 in overtime and fully deserved their 3-2 win.

The Glads returned home to take on the Jacksonville Icemen in front of a record crowd on Saturday night, thanks to the annual teddy bear toss. It took less than two minutes for Nick Bligh to open the scoring for Atlanta, sending thousands of bears flying onto the ice. He was assisted by Joseph Widmar and Derek Nesbitt. Moments later, the Glads doubled their lead with a short-handed goal, Bligh’s second of the night, assisted by LaPorte and Chatham. Cody Fowlie pulled one back for Jacksonville, before Bligh completed his hat-trick with a power play goal in the 15th minute, assisted by Messner and Nesbitt.

It was Derek Nesbitt’s 358th game for the Gladiators, a franchise record. The veteran forward celebrated in style, notching Atlanta’s fourth score of the night, assisted by Chatham and Widmar. Bligh continued to torment the Icemen and scored his fourth goal of the period, assisted by Widmar. The Glads led 5-1 after an incredible 20 minutes of hockey.

Jacksonville began the second period with a power play goal from Cam Maclise. The frantic game calmed down for a while, before Derek Nesbitt grabbed his second of the night, assisted by Luke Stork, restoring the Glads four-goal lead before the second intermission. There wasn’t much action in the final frame, Jacob Cederholm scored for the Icemen, but the game was all but over. Sean Bonar finished with 38 saves from 41 shots, 6-3 the final score.

It was a memorable night for the Gladiators organization. The crowd of 9,971 was the biggest of the season and the team collected a record of 6,072 teddy bears for children in need. There’s a lot of positives for coach Pyle and his team moving forward. Next week they take on the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in back to back road games, let’s hope this run continues.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Montreal at Boston: 1/14/19

cut-1Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (26-15-4)

Away: Montreal Canadiens (24-17-5)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Backes

Kuraly-Acciari-Wagner

Heinen-Forsbacka Karlsson-Donato

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Miller

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Montreal’s Lineup

Forwards

Drouin-Danault-Gallagher

Lehkonen-Domi-Armia

Tatar-Kotkaniemi-Byron

Agostino-Chaput-Deslauriers

Defense

Mete-Weber

Reilly-Petry

Kulak-Benn

Goalies

Price

Niemi

First Period

The Canadiens had the early chances but Tuukka Rask stood up to them to keep the game scoreless. The Bruins failed to get many chances in the early going as they seemed to have trouble stringing passes together. A couple solid shifts by the B’s got their legs going as they got a few opportunities on Carey Price. Brad Marchand drew a tripping penalty to give the Bruins a power play with about eight minutes left in the period.

The Bruins failed to capitalize on the man advantage as Price and the Canadiens defense made a big penalty kill. Marchand got a short breakaway on Price but was denied after a spectacular effort by Patrice Bergeron to get the puck loose. A four on four came after matching penalties and Marchand took full advantage as he scored on a shot from the dot to give the B’s the lead.

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Kevan Miller and Nick Deslauriers dropped the gloves with 3:50 to go in the period to get the crowd into the game as they’d been fairly quiet to that point.

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Rask was on point in the first period and made a great glove stop on Tomas Tatar in the slot late in the period. However, a tipped shot from the point got past Rask off the stick of Brendan Gallagher to tie the game with nearly a minute left in the period.

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Score: Tied 1-1

Second Period

The Bruins had trouble in their own zone in the opening moments of the period but Rask was up to it, keeping the game tied. The B’s responded with a good shift as they nearly took the lead but Price was on top of it. Neither team possessed the puck too well in the middle period as there seemed to be turnovers all over the place.

The Canadiens seemed to have more success with speed through the neutral zone as the Bruins looked to be on their heels. Neither team could get into an offensive rhythm as the scoring chances came few and far between. Rask continued to have a strong night with a couple of huge stops in the middle stages of the period.

The Bruins would draw another penalty as Victor Mete went off for hooking. Paul Byron took advantage of a flat footed Bergeron to score a shorthanded goal as the Canadiens took the lead.

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The Habs killed the Boston power play as the Bruins failed to get any significant scoring chances. A small scrum in front of both benches resulted in a four on four situation to close out the period.

Score: 2-1 Canadiens

Third Period

The Bruins had a tough start to the period as the Habs had a few good chances in front of the Boston net. The newly formed second line of David Krejci, Danton Heinen and Ryan Donato had a good shift in the early part of the third but couldn’t find the back of the net to tie the score. The Bruins had a heck of a time trying to get into an offensive rhythm as the Habs slowed them down in the neutral zone.

Heinen charged to the net about midway through the period but lost his footing and didn’t get a decent shot off and the game remained 2-1. The B’s had the majority of the possession and the chances in the final period but were unable to capitalize on Price.

The Bruins picked up another man advantage with two minutes to go on a delay of game penalty against the Canadiens. With the goalie pulled, Krejci picked the top corner from the top of the circle to tie the game with less than a minute to go.

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Score: Tied 2-2

Overtime

Just 15 seconds into the extra session, Jeff Petry batted in a rebound off of a Max Domi shot to give the Canadiens a win and tie the season series with the Bruins.

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Final Score: 3-2 Canadiens

Three Stars Of The Game

Third Star: Marchand. The winger seemed to be one of the few Bruins to have a successful game and he added his 17th goal of the season in the loss.

Second Star: Rask. The Bruin netminder had another strong game and kept the team in the game all night as they secured a point in the overtime loss.

First Star: Price. The Montreal goalie was perhaps the best player on the ice in this one and stole another win against the Bruins as he’s done so often before.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Washington: 1/10/19

Image result for bruins capitals

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara – USA TODAY Sports)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Washington Capitals

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Backes

Kuraly – Acciari – Wagner

Donato – JFK – Heinen

Defense

Chara – Carlo

Krug – Moore

Grzelcyk – Miller

Goalies

Halak

Rask

Washington’s Lineup

Forwards

Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Wilson

Vrana – Backstrom – Oshie

Connolly – Eller – Boyd

Stephenson – Dowd – Smith-Pelly

Defense

Kempny – Carlson

Orlov – Niskanen

Orpik – Siegenthaler

Goalies

Holtby

Copley

First Period

If history were to repeat itself, this one would have been an ugly one, as the Bruins haven’t beaten the Capitals in ages. Capitals netminder Braden Holtby was 15-2-0 against the Bruins in his career heading into this one, so the Bruins were looking to flip the script on the defending Stanley Cup champions.

The Bruins found themselves on the power play just less than two minutes in as Brad Marchand was taken down by Jonas Siegenthaler – who put Washington on the penalty kill with a holding penalty. Despite a couple chance including an excellent one from Matt Grzelcyk in the dying seconds, the Bruins failed to convert on their first power play. Jaroslav Halak kept things scoreless shortly after the conclusion of the power play with an acrobatic save on Tom Wilson.

Jakub Vrana somehow snuck his way behind John Moore and Torey Krug and made no mistake depositing his 15th of the season to make it 1-0 Capitals. Chances came and went for the Bruins after the goal, but Holtby, as he usually does, had their number. He shut them out in the season opener and continued to reign supreme in the first period. Through 16 minutes, the shots were 14-5 Bruins. Not even a perfect-looking wraparound from Ryan Donato could beat Holtby.

The shots in the period finished at a whopping 17-5 in favor of the Bruins, but no dice. One miscue when it comes to situational awareness put them behind in the first. From here on out, it was time to play catch up.

Score: 1-0 Washington

Second Period

After controlling the beginning of the period pretty well, Patrice Bergeron took a rare tripping penalty to put the Bruins down a man. The Capitals came into this game two for their last 35 on the power play. The Bruins killed the penalty and not too long after Lars Eller found himself tied up with Brad Marchand and David Backes behind the play and went to the box for it. Agitator gon’ agitate as Marchand baited Eller into taking an undisciplined penalty, Washington loses their second most important penalty killer in terms of shorthanded time on ice.

No matter how many chances came their way, the Bruins remained snakebitten against the Capitals. Halfway through the game, the shots were 22-7 Bruins, and they were losing – something had to give. To make matters worse, Brandon Carlo sat for two thanks to a tripping penalty just past the halfway point of the period and the game.

Ryan Donato finally broke the curse after a healthy sequence in the offensive zone and a great saucer pass from Torey Krug. Donato’s sixth of the season tied the game, assisted by Krug (25), and Forsbacka-Karlsson (4).

The tied score didn’t last long as Alexander Ovechkin did what he does a lot, and that is score goals. 2-1 Capitals with 5:10 to go in the frame. The Bruins face cruel circumstances whenever they face the Capitals. Eight shots, two goals.

Chris Wagner laid an iffy hit on Michal Kempny and Wilson came in and hit him up high. Tom Wilson did something stupid, water is wet. Carry on.

Krug slammed Brett Connolly to the ground after being held to make things interesting late in the period, Connolly sat for two minutes. Despite still heavily outshooting the Capitals 28-12 overall, and 11-7 in the period, the Bruins still trailed on the scoreboard.

Score: 2-1 Washington

Third Period

Starting the period on the power play gave the Bruins a great chance to take momentum early in the final frame. Unfortunately, they failed to convert, 0-4 on the power play for the Bruins. Despite their power play struggles, a blessing came to the Bruins in the form of a too-many-men penalty against the Capitals to be served by Ovechkin.

Fifth times the charm? Is that how the expression goes? David Krejci buried his first goal in nine games with a slapshot from the right circle through a bit of a screen. Krejci’s eighth of the season was assisted by Danton Heinen (7), and David Backes (8).

As the theme persists, Washington scores right after the Bruins tie the game as Nicklas Backstrom sent a weird one past Halak to regain the lead. 38-19 were the shots with five and a half minutes left, the Bruins literally doubled the Capitals shots and were still down a goal, thanks, Holtby.

Alexander Ovechkin made it two when he sent one at the empty net just seconds after Halak made it to the bench. His second of the game iced this one. Cassidy took a timeout with 28.7 seconds to go. The Capitals are the Bruins’ kryptonite. The final shots were 41-22 Bruins overall, and 13-10 in the period. Next up are the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto at 7 PM ET on Saturday night.

Final Score: 4-2 Washington

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Minnesota: 1/8/19

Image result for Bruins TD Garden 2018

(Photo Credit: Paul Rutherford – USA TODAY Sports)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Minnesota Wild

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Backes

Kuraly – Acciari – Wagner

Donato – JFK – Heinen

Defense

Chara – Carlo

Krug – Moore

Grzelcyk – Miller

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Minnesota’s Lineup

Forwards

Greenway – Staal – Granlund

Parise – Coyle – Kunin

Zucker – Koivu – Niederreiter

Hendricks – Eriksson Ek – Foligno

Defense

Suter – Spurgeon

Brodin – Pateryn

Seeler – Prosser

Goalies

Stalock

Dubnyk

First Period

The Minnesota Wild came into this one on the second half of a back-to-back, so it was fair to expect some tired legs for at least part of the game. The Bruins came in winners of their last four games. The Kuraly line started for the Bruins, opposed by the Koivu line for Minnesota. Minnesota’s sluggishness due to the quick turnaround showed early on.

After a back-and-forth start, Danton Heinen redirected John Moore’s shot from the point past Stalock and in to give the Bruins the early lead just 5:23 into the period. Heinen’s goal marked his fifth of the year, assisted by Moore (6), and Krug (23).

Not too long after, Zdeno Chara somehow tossed the 6-foot-6, sub 200 pound Minnesota winger Jordan Greenway like a sack of potatoes and took an interference penalty – giving Minnesota an opportunity to even things up. One may think it’s hard to do that to someone as big as Greenway, but sometimes being 6-foot-9 like Chara comes in handy. The penalty was successfully killed off by the Bruins.

John Moore stayed amongst the offense when he kept the puck in along the wall to the point where the puck found Patrice Bergeron for an indirect pass, and then the backboards where it was deposited into the net by Brad Marchand. The goal marked Marchand’s 16th of the year, Moore’s seventh assist of the season and second of the game, and Patrice Bergeron’s 23rd assist. 2-0 Bruins with 8:31 to go.

Tuukka Rask preserved the two-goal lead with an excellent save on Eric Staal with speed. Shortly after that, Kevan Miller went to the box for holding.

With 34 seconds left on the Wild power play, Staal made it 4-on-4 when he went off for tripping Rask. The Bruins continued the offensive trend when Bergeron sent a shot wide, where it was intentionally deflected off Jake DeBrusk’s chest and in, 3-0 Bruins with 45 seconds left in the period. The goal marked DeBrusk’s 14th of the season, Bergeron’s second assist of the game and 24th of the season, and Brad Marchand’s 30th assist.

In a dominant, highlight-filled first period for the Bruins, they outshot the Wild 15-6. Momentum was clearly in their favor heading into the second period.

Score: 3-0 Boston

Second Period

Rask was nearly fooled on a redirect by Luke Kunin that nearly found its way through his five-hole, but no dice for Kunin and the Wild. The start of this one was very similar to that of the first period. After that chance, went off for two minutes thanks to a tripping penalty for Zach Parise.

The dominance continued when Bergeron got on the board early in the power play off of a redirection off of his skate. It was 4-0 Bruins thanks to Bergeron’s 14th goal of the season, assisted by Marchand (31), and Krug (24), both their second assists of the game.

Moore went to the box around the halfway point of the period for burying Kunin into the Bruins net – can’t do that. Two minutes for interference for Moore, giving Minnesota a chance to get back into this one to some degree. They didn’t convert. Despite not finding the back of the net, the shots were 10-3 Minnesota 13 minutes into the period, so the first period served as a wake-up call to some degree. Rask had yet another very sound period in the crease.

Despite a solid period from the Wild, the advantage still remained heavily in favor of the Bruins on the scoreboard. The shots were 12-5 Wild, decreasing the shot margin to just 20-18 in favor of the Bruins.

Score: 4-0 Boston

Third Period

The game got progressively quieter after the first period. Not even an empty-netter, just the cap on a 24-save shutout for Rask. The Bruins dominated most of the game and the scoreboard shows it. The shots in the final frame were 7-6 Bruins and 27-24 overall.

That emphatic win makes it five straight for the Bruins. Next up are the Washington Capitals at TD Garden at 7 PM ET on Thursday.

Final Score: 4-0 Boston

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Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 13 Recap

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( Photo Credit: Taylor Trebotte / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Atlanta Gladiators kicked off 2019 with an unlikely win in a difficult three-game road trip against the Florida Everblades. It was a true team performance to seal the win against the league leaders, with everyone stepping up and playing their part. The results leave the Gladiators last in the South Division, but the win gives them a foundation to build on for the second half of the season.

On Wednesday night, the Gladiators went toe-to-toe with the Florida Everblades for the first of three games in the sunshine state. Sean Bonar, who ended 2018 in great form, was given the start between the pipes for the Glads. Atlanta started bravely and looked confident against the Everblades, managing to avoid any mistakes. Florida also defended well, and the first period ended with no score. The Everblades eventually broke through, with second-period goals from Patrick McCarron and Justin Auger.

The Gladiators fought on, and Nolan LaPorte cut Florida’s lead in half with a power-play goal early in the third. He was assisted by Oliver Galipeau and Brett McKenzie. The Glads pushed for a game-tying score but were unable to find one before Kyle Platzer bagged Florida’s third of the night. Atlanta pulled Bonar off the ice with one last roll of the dice, but Nathan Perkovich poked in an empty-netter to seal the game for the Everblades. 4-1 the final score.

The teams faced off again on Friday night for game two of the series. Coach Pyle kept his faith in Sean Bonar, who assumed his position in the crease. Atlanta once again came into the game fearlessly and looked like the better team in the opening period, they had chances to take the lead, but the game remained scoreless by the end of the first period. The Everblades came flying into the second frame, dominating the early exchanges and taking the lead through Blake Winiecki.

The Gladiators were awarded a power play and took full advantage, Nolan LaPorte the scorer, assisted by Joel Messner and Dave Mazurek. New signing Luke Stork then stepped up with his first professional goal to put Atlanta ahead, he was assisted by Vytal Cote. The Everblades threw everything at the Glads in the third period, but they couldn’t beat Sean Bonar and the resolute defense in front of him. The Gladiators held on for a fully deserved 2-1 win.

It was a Saturday night showdown for the third and final game of the week between the Glads and the Everblades. New signing, Michael Bitzer, was given the start in net for Atlanta, in what proved to be a baptism of fire for the young goaltender. There was a lot of chatter between both teams before Zach Malatesta dropped the gloves with Florida’s Tommy Thompson, just two minutes into the game. Moments later, the Everblades had the lead with a goal from Ben Masella, ending the first period 1-0. The penalties kept coming for both teams, and 36 seconds into the second frame, the Glads pounced on a power play opportunity and Brett McKenzie tied the game, assisted by Olivier Galipeau and Justin MacDonald.

The rest of the second period was dominated by the Everblades, who scored four goals before the next intermission. Joe Cox, Logan Roe, Blake Winiecki, and Josh Wesley all tallied to give Florida a huge 5-1 lead heading into the third. Olivier Galipeau bagged himself a power-play goal for the Gladiators, assisted by Zach Malatesta and Nolan LaPorte. The effort was in vain, as Michael Neville and Justin Auger put the game well beyond Atlanta’s reach with two more, 7-2 the final score.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Buffalo at Boston: 1/5/19

Bruins Sabres HockeyPhoto Courtesy Of The Boston Herald

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (23-14-4)

Away: Buffalo Sabres (22-13-6)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Backes

Heinen-Forsbacka Karlsson-Donato

Kuraly-Acciari-Wagner

Defense

Chara-Carlo

Krug-Moore

Grzelcyk-Miller

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Buffalo’s Lineup

Forwards

Skinner-Rodrigues-Reinhart

Sheary-Sobotka-Thompson

Elie-Mittelstadt-Pominville

Smith-Larsson-Okposo

Defense

McCabe-Ristolainen

Scandella-Dahlin

Pilut-Bogosian

Goalies

Ullmark

Hutton

First Period

On the first shift of the game, Chris Wagner appeared to give the Bruins the early lead but it was eventually waived off because of Sean Kuraly interfering with Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark.

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The Bruins looked engaged in the early going as they were able to string together some solid shifts. The Bruins would get a power play as Remi Elie took an interference penalty with 13:28 to play in the period. Buffalo would kill off the penalty as Boston failed to get any decent scoring chances. Wagner got another great scoring chance and capitalized to give the Bruins the lead.

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The Sabres seemed to have trouble getting any significant scoring chances against Tuukka Rask as the Bruins defended well in their own zone. Towards the end of the period though, Buffalo started to find some attacking zone rhythm and pushed to tie the score.

The Bruins returned the favor with a solid shift by the fourth line who looked very strong in the opening period. Boston closed the period with a couple good shifts especially the third line as Ryan Donato nearly doubled the lead with under a minute to go in the period.

Score: 1-0 Bruins

Second Period

The Bruins opened the period with another strong shift by the fourth line and Wagner nearly had a second goal but was denied by Ullmark. David Backes buried a goal on a two on one rush with Brad Marchand to double the Boston advantage early in the period.

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The Bruins continued to have good jump in the early moments of the period as they strung together some strong shifts. The Bruins dominated the possession in the middle period as they seemed to get chance after chance in the offensive zone. Rask was rarely challenged in the first half of the period as the Sabres failed to get many pucks on net.

The Bruins began to become slightly lackadaisical in their own zone but it didn’t hurt them as Buffalo didn’t provide a lot of resistance. Rask became a bit more busy in the latter half of the period but continued to play very well between the pipes.

Score: 2-0 Bruins

Third Period

Donato had a couple decent chances in front of the Buffalo goal but couldn’t find the back of the net. Jeff Skinner followed that up with a quality scoring opportunity but Rask was quick to make the save. The third line had a solid start to the period and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson nearly capitalized off a great feed from Danton Heinen but couldn’t beat Ullmark.

A few turnovers by the Bruins almost resulted in the Sabres finding the back of the net but Rask continued to have a strong game to keep it a two goal margin. Buffalo went to the man advantage as Matt Grzelcyk was called for hooking with about 12 minutes to play. Boston killed the penalty as the Sabres got a few chances but nothing significant.

The Bruins got another power play as Donato was tripped as they looked to put the game away. Buffalo killed off the penalty but the B’s has plenty of chances and put four shots on goal during the man advantage. Rasmus Ristolainen fired home a shot from the dot after a quick re-entry to cut the Boston lead in half with less than three minutes to go.

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The Sabres pulled Ullmark with 1:40 to go as they pushed for the tying goal. They weren’t able to find the back of the net and the Bruins secured the victory, making it four straight for the first time since October.

Final Score: 2-1 Bruins

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Wagner. The winger could’ve easily had multiple goals in this one as he was buzzing around the ice all night as the fourth line had one of their best games of the season.

Second Star: Backes. The winger returned after a three game suspension and was put onto the second line. He responded with his fourth goal of the season on a beautiful shot.

Third Star: Rask. Although not challenged much in this game, Rask was good when needed and helped the B’s secure a huge win over the Sabres.

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

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

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 12.25.36 PM.png

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.

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Bruins Monthly Recap: December 2018

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

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

Another month down, another month to look ahead to. In this, the final month of 2018, the Boston Bruins performed without key players such as Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and Jake DeBrusk to still remain in a playoff position as of their most recent win over the Buffalo Sabres on the 29th of December.

In this third instalment of Bruins Monthly Recap, we will take a closer look at the surprises, disappointments, and positives of the eleventh calendar month including the best performances, worst games, injury report, and finally, a prediction of the month to follow. Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

The Good Games

In fourteen games this month, the Bruins finished with a record of 7-7-0, with two of those wins coming in the overtime session. Within the seven victories, the Bruins had some really solid outings and in this section, I’ll briefly highlight those victorious moments for the Bruins in the twelfth month of the year.

December 8th/18 – vs Toronto Maple Leafs

For the third time in two months, the two Original Six franchises whose rivalry has blossomed over the course of the past half-decade or so. In this Saturday night game vs the Maple Leafs in Boston, the Bruins walked away with a 6-3 win against a Leafs team that had Matthews, Marner, Nylander, and Andersen in net, well for a time at least.

Boston scored four straight goals from the first period to the third from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, David Backes, Torey Krug, and Danton Heinen. Boston outshot Toronto 15-9 in the second period alone and seemed to have all control. After Travis Dermott’s goal made it 4-1, the B’s answered with goals from Krejci and Donato to extend the lead to 6-1. The Leafs added two more late but that would be it.

Brad Marchand and Torey Krug had three points, David Pastrnak, Danton Heinen, and David Krejci all had two points and Jaroslav Halak made twenty-nine saves in the win. All around great performance for the Bruins without key players like Bergeron, DeBrusk, and Chara in the lineup.

December 17th/18 – vs Montreal Canadiens

Ah, the good old Montreal/Boston rivalry. It is rare to have a more successful night then when you defeat Montreal in the Bell Centre while scoring four goals and allowing none against. That’s what happened on December 17th in a 4-0 Bruins win over the Habs.

Joakim Nordstrom scored his fifth of the season, Colby Cave scored his first career NHL goal, David Krejci added his sixth of 2018-19, and Brad Marchand scored number eleven for four unanswered tallies past goaltender Carey Price. McAvoy and Pastrnak each had two-point nights while Jaroslav Halak stopped all twenty-two shots that faced him during the sixty regulation minutes.

The Bruins needed this win after two losses beforehand, making this one even sweeter, ending the losing streak and starting a new one that would last for the next two games.

December 22nd/18 – vs Nashville Predators

At the time, the Predators were near the top of the National Hockey League standings and were building momentum as they attempt to have another successful season. When the two teams met on the twenty-second of December, it was not supposed to be an easy game for either team, especially the Bruins.

However, off of the hands of four points (two goals, two assists) by Patrice Bergeron who returned to the lineup after a sternoclavicular/rib injury that kept him out of action for an extended amount of time. Bergeron’s linemates, Marchand and Pastrnak had three points of their own – leading the Bruins to a 5-2 win over Nashville in the TD Garden. In addition, Halak made twenty-eight saves, including fourteen in the second frame alone.

The Not-So-Good Games

It is expected that when you finish a calendar month with a .500 win percentage, you’re going to have some rough outings. Like other teams in that scenario, the Bruins had some rough games that they themselves may want to forget about. No real blowouts, but some poor overall team performances.

December 27th/18 – vs New Jersey Devils

Only two games ago, the Bruins had one of their worst games so far in the 2018-19 campaign. The Devils beat Boston by a final score of 5-2, which is not too bad all things considered, but the whole group seemed disoriented and failed to generate many offensive opportunities throughout the entirety of the three-period hockey game.

The opening Devils goal only twenty-five seconds into the game brought the momentum down immediately for Boston as both teams played their first game after the Holiday Break. New Jersey added another before the first intermission and scored three times in the final regulation frame to put out Boston.

Chris Wagner’s second-period goal and Patrice Bergeron’s third-period marker were the only two goals from Boston, but other than that, it was a lacklustre outing for the men in Black n Gold. Halak allowed four goals on thirty-two shots, not a terrible night for him, but could have been better most definitely.

December 4th/18 – vs Florida Panthers

The only thing worse than allowing five goals in a hockey game is when you allow five goals and score none for yourself. In only the second game of the month, the Bruins laid an egg against the divisional opponent, allowing four goals in the middle period and letting the Panthers win 5-0.

Mike Hoffman scored twice for Florida while Mike Matheson, Jonathon Huberdeau, and Evgenii Dadonov added the other three. Goalie Roberto Luongo stopped every single one of the thirty-three shots that the Bruins offence piled on him, making him look way younger than 39 years of age.

Individual Performances

Good: David Pastrnak – 4 Goals, 15 Assists, 19 Points in 14 Games

Nevermind good, this is great. Pastrnak once again took ahold of the Bruins offence and ran with it. Even zero points in four of the fourteen games this month did not slow down his production. Pastrnak was without Bergeron for the majority of the month but still managed to rack up the points with fellow countryman, David Krejci.

David is twelfth in the NHL for points and eighth in the NHL for most goals scored, six behind Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin.

Bad: Joakim Nordstrom – 14 Games Played, 1 Goal, 1 Assist, -7 Rating

Brought onto the Bruins in the 2018 offseason on a two-year contract worth $1 million per season, Joakim Nordstrom was supposed to add additional scoring to the offensive depth charts, but in December especially, Nordstrom has failed to do that. After a seven-game pointless streak to start the month, he scored in two consecutive games and has not scored for the last five games.

Somehow, Nordstrom has met his totals for last season, 5-2-7, in 37 fewer games. Joakim has three more goals than he had last year but with his lack of production lately, it is hard to understand why he remains in the lineup over some of the Providence Bruins players that are doing well this year.

Good: Patrice Bergeron – 4 Games Played, 3 Goals, 2 Assists, 5 Points, +2 Rating

Bergeron only played four times in December, but his return from injury made a large impact on the Bruins roster. His four-point night against the Predators proved he was still in prime form and his linemates of Pastrnak and Marchand have benefited from his reemergence on the offensive core.

Patrice continues to be one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL today, even with his increasing age and the reoccurring injuries over the past few seasons. Hopefully, a healthy Bergeron can lead the Bruins once again to a successful second-half of the regular season and into the playoffs.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet.ca)

Bad: Jaroslav Halak – 4-3-0 Record, 0.916 SV%, 2.71 GAA

Those numbers are not terrible, but they are not at the same level as the Jaroslav Halak that played in November and October. Halak allowed three or more goals in a single game on four different occasions this month, including five goals against the Panthers. Halak did, however, record a shutout against the Canadiens on the 17th.

The not-great play of Halak could have been the main reason for Cassidy’s decision to start Tuukka Rask over him for the 2019 Winter Classic. Although Rask has a worse record with numbers slightly worse than Halak, with the win over Buffalo for Rask, Cassidy went with Tuukka.

Honourable Mentions:

Good: Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Jake DeBrusk

Bad: David Backes, Noel Acciari, Tuukka Rask

Injury Report (As of December 31st)

D Charlie McAvoy – Lower-body – IR

The Bruins are healthy again, for now anyway. Only Charlie McAvoy is injured currently due to a blocked shot that isn’t healing the best. He will miss the Winter Classic. Brad Marchand has been day-to-day for the Bruins but is deemed good-to-go for the Bruins against Chicago. The injuries have been a huge blow for the team this year and to have some of these key players slowly return to the lineup, it is great to see.

January Games

Tuesday, Jan. 1st – vs Chicago Blackhawks (Winter Classic)

Thursday, Jan. 3rd – vs Calgary Flames

Saturday, Jan. 5th – vs Buffalo Sabres

Tuesday, Jan. 8th – vs Minnesota Wild

Thursday, Jan. 10th – vs Washington Capitals

Saturday, Jan. 12th-  at Toronto Maple Leafs

Monday, Jan. 14th – vs Montreal Canadiens

Wednesday, Jan. 16th – at Philadelphia Flyers

Thursday, Jan. 17th – vs St. Louis Blues

Saturday, Jan. 19th vs New York Rangers

Tuesday, Jan. 29th vs Winnipeg Jets

Thursday, Jan. 31st vs Philadelphia Flyers

The Boston Bruins have twelve games on the upcoming schedule to start of 2019, including nine games in the TD Garden. Boston’s week-long break takes place from January 20th to January 26th. With some big games against Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, and of course, the Winter Classic game against Chicago, the Bruins will have their work cut out for them but it will make for some fun games for us fans to enjoy.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Buffalo: 12/29/18

Bruins Sabres Hockey

PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

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

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: KeyBank Center – Buffalo, New York, USA

Home: Buffalo Sabres (21-12-5)

Away: Boston Bruins (20-14-4)

The Bruins have lost their last two games against the Hurricanes and the Devils this week and will look to end that streak against Buffalo.

The Sabres have lost three of their last four games including losses to the Blues, Capitals, and Panthers.

Before the game, the Sabres are third in the Atlantic Division with 47 points and the Bruins are in the second Wild Card spot with 44 points.

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

First Period:

In the opening minutes of this Friday game, both the Sabres and Bruins battled against each other in some back-and-forth action. Four minutes in, only two shots were registered – one for each team. 4:40 into the hockey game, one of the newest Sabres, Jeff Skinner, races past Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, getting a backhand shot that is stopped from a sprawling Tuukka Rask. However, defenceman Marco Scandella pots home the rebound and it is 1-0 Sabres. The goal is Scandella’s second of the year assisted by Skinner (13) and Reinhart (30).

Somewhere before the halfway mark of the opening frame, the Bruins started to build some chances 5-on-5. The team cycled the puck around the boards and took some shots – most of which blocked by the opposition.

The aggressive play paid off. Sabres d-man Jake McCabe made a mistake handling the puck behind Carter Hutton and the puck bounced right to Noel Acciari who fired a shot off of Rasmus Ristolainen and into the net. Acciari is back in the lineup due to David Backes’ three-game suspension and he scores his first goal of the 2018-19 season. While the goal is deemed unassisted, Kevan Miller deserves credit for bringing the puck behind the net, creating the Buffalo turnover.

At 8:53, Jake DeBrusk is tripped up in Buffalo’s zone and the whistle is blown. Not long after that, former Canadiens player Nathan Beaulieu cross-checks DeBrusk from behind, leading to retaliation from Jake with a cross-check of his own. A small scuffle ensues but no serious fights come out of it. Bruins get a 5-on-4 powerplay.

On the Bruins man-advantage, Patrice Bergeron ripped a hard one-timer that was blocked by Jake McCabe. McCabe drops immediately and struggles to put any weight on his one leg. The Sabres manage to clear the puck and McCabe heads down the Buffalo tunnel. The B’s looked fluid on the PP but failed to turn the two official shots into goals.

Boston continued to stay constant on the pressure and one of the best chances late in the frame came with 3 1/2 minutes left. Colby Cave finds Chris Wagner on a 2-on-1 but Wagner’s shot is just barely stopped with Hutton’s glove. Back the other way, Cave is sent to the box for two minutes for a hooking minor.

Boston did a great job killing the penalty and did it with minimal opportunities by the Sabres offence. Bruins had a good first period, outshooting the Sabres 14-7 in the twenty-minute frame.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 14 BUF: 7

Score: 1-1 – Goals: Scandella, Acciari

Second Period

Early on, a pair of penalties by either team eventually led to a four-minute power play for the Bruins due to a high-sticking double-minor. Somehow, on the man-advantage for Boston, the Sabres escape on a 2-on-1 with David Pastrnak the lone man back. Evan Rodrigues made a nice pass to Johan Larsson who buried his fourth of the season to make it 2-1 Buffalo. Scandella also picks up a helper on the play. Tuukka Rask showed his frustration after the goal went in, he wanted that back.

The rest of the period lacked any real good chances for either team but Buffalo seemed to have the better chances when they did come. Neither goaltender was truly challenged after the Larsson goal earlier in the frame. Tuukka Rask did come up big at one point in the period, stoning Elie with a massive glove save.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 21 BUF: 21

Score: 2-1 Sabres – Goals: Larsson

Third Period:

The opening minutes of the third period wasn’t boring, but it was not very entertaining hockey, to say the least. Whenever the offensive unit for each respective team entered the zone, they were quickly shut down by the opposing defensemen. For the Bruins, passes were not tape-to-tape whatsoever and the shots often hit members in front of the goalie.

About ten minutes into the frame, Sabres forward Casey Mittelstadt makes a blind pass right in front of his goaltender, Carter Hutton, only to feed it directly to Danton Heinen. Heinen attempted a deke but failed to shoot the puck over the sprawling tender. Danton was benched by Cassidy earlier in the game and missing this goal stings.

At the 7:45 mark, Torey Krug failed to break the puck out cleanly to DeBrusk along the boards, instead, passing it to Zach Bogosian of the Sabres. Bogosian’s shot is deflected by Remi Elie but Rask holds strong and makes the save.

With not too many chances to score for Buffalo, they needed to create some offence. Former Penguin, Connor Sheary steals the puck from Jake DeBrusk and tries to use his speed to get around Bruins Brandon Carlo, but the big defender in the Spoked-B sweater held his own and prevented a shot from coming off of Sheary’s stick. Some great defence showed by Carlo.

On a Bruins power-play, (Ristolainen for kneeing), one where the Bruins had great control and many chances with time ticking down, still down by one goal. Jake DeBrusk was everywhere on the man-advantage, shooting pucks, hitting players, attempting deflections and working along the boards. Eventually, a shot from Torey Krug is deflected beautifully by DeBrusk, tying the game with around 2:30 remaining in the final regulation period.

Bruins go to the 3-on-3 overtime session tied 2-2, solid finish to the third period by Boston with some chances to win late in the regulation time.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 39 BUF: 26

Score: 2-2 – Goals: DeBrusk

Overtime:

Following some decent chances in the overtime session, David Krejci is called on an interference penalty on Jeff Skinner and the Bruins are forced to go on the penalty kill in the do-or-die overtime. Boston’s penalty killers did a great job shutting down the offence of Buffalo and killed it off.

Vladimir Sobotka had a solid chance while driving in on Tuukka Rask, but Rask stayed relaxed and made a big save in tight on Sobotka keeping it tied with 1:38 to go in the period.

Off of a defensive zone faceoff victory, the pairing of Kevan Miller and Matt Grzelcyk made some d-to-d passes, before Grzelcyk decided to feed the puck to Sean Kuraly. Kuraly bolted down the wing, taking a shot once he entered the zone. Hutton could not control the rebound as it bounced right back to Kuraly who buried the game-winner 3:44 into OT.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 42 BUF: 28

Final Score: 3-2 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BUF G Carter Hutton – 39 Saves, .929 SV%

2nd Star: BOS F Sean Kuraly – 1 Game-Winning Goal, +1 Rating, 4 Shots, 15:43 TOI

3rd Star: BOS F Noel Acciari – 1 Goal, +1 Rating, 5 Shots, 67% Faceoffs, 14:34 TOI

Boston’s record now improves to 22-14-4 and currently sits in the first Wild Card position with 46 points. The Canadiens are at 45 points, losing tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-5 after a late regulation goal by Adam Erne. The Bruins now set their focus to the 2019 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks (14-20-6). Scheduled puck drop for Tuesday’s game is 1:00pm EST. Check out my Winter Classic article via the Tweet below!!

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: New Jersey at Boston: 12/27/18

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PHOTO CREDITS: (CBS New York)

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

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Home: Boston Bruins (20-13-4)

Away: New Jersey Devils (12-16-7)

The Christmas Break is over for the National Hockey League and the Bruins and Devils will battle it out as 2019 appears right around the corner. The Bruins entered the three-day break with a 5-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Hartford Whalers night, but before then, rocked a three-game winning streak.

New Jersey, on the other hand, has struggled this season. Before the break, they lost 3-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets and have lost four of their last five contests dating back to December 15th.

Bruins Morning Rushes

First Period:

Coming off the Christmas break against a sub-par team, the Bruins may have expected a better start to this hockey team, in addition to the return of DeBrusk, Chara, and Miller, the Bruins should have come out with an aggressive attitude and try to score early. With that said, the Bruins allowed an early goal against by Damon Severson.

Following a defensive zone faceoff win, the Devils exploded up the ice and used brilliant puck rotation to find an open Severson who fired a clean wrist shot past Halak only twenty-five seconds into this Thursday night game, 1-0 Devils.

4:15 into the frame, Stefan Noesen was sent to the penalty box for hooking Kevan Miller, giving Boston an early power-play. Boston seemed to be getting their feet underneath them after some poor play before the penalty. The Bruins moved the puck around well on the man-advantage, with the best chance coming from Jake DeBrusk who tried to shoot it close short-side, only to deflect off of MacKenzie Blackwood’s shoulder.

Even with the good power-play, the Bruins still struggled 5-on-5. Twelve minutes in, the B’s only had two shots while at even strength, something that cannot be true in any game, let alone one with only an injury to Charlie McAvoy.

As New Jersey attempted to enter the zone with aggression once again, John Moore gets his stick tangled in with Kyle Palmieri, sending Moore to the box for tripping. On the Devils power-play, just over thirty seconds in, Will Butcher feeds it to Palmieri, who rockets a slap shot towards the cage that takes a high bounce off of Halak, then bounces in right behind the goaltender, 2-0 Devils.

Boston manages to survive the remainder of the period and enter the intermission down by two goals. During the later stages of the period, the Bruins did have some good hockey in them, mainly led by none other than Patrice Bergeron who had some good slot shots that Blackwood stopped.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 10 NJD: 12

Score: 2-0 Devils

Second Period:

Looking for a better frame than the first, the Bruins took an early penalty, as Colby Cave went to the sinbin for a tripping infraction on Andy Greene only 3 minutes and ten seconds into the second period. Boston looked good on this penalty-kill, with the help of Jake DeBrusk, who makes his return tonight after missing a few games with a concussion. Bruins successfully kill off the penalty on Cave and game returns to 5-on-5.

The Bruins momentum continued to increase upwards with that top line that has dominated the NHL over the 2018 calendar year. David Pastrnak took a hard spin while shooting, only to ring the rubber puck off of the post. Arguably the best chance of the hockey game for the Bruins, but no such luck when it comes to scoring their first of the night.

As the seconds became minutes, the Bruins continue to pressure the Devils with numerous offensive opportunities while staying solid on the defensive end as well. Both Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller have looked comfortable in their return games after injuries. At one point, Miller erupted the TD Garden crowd with a massive hit on Jesper Bratt.

Just over five minutes remaining on the scoreboard, Chris Wagner buried a cross-crease pass from John Moore to put a cap on a strong shift by Boston’s fourth line. Moore made a smart decision to pinch, beating out a couple Devils players, then proceeds to have the vision to see Wagner who found the back door entrance towards the net. 2-1 hockey game now in Boston.

Again, Boston’s pressure was consistent in the period and seemed to even increase more after the Wagner tally. With 11.8 seconds to go, David Krejci gets tripped up by Andy Greene, sending Boston to a power-play. With no goals in the limited time, the Bruins will start the third period with 1:49 of power-play time.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 29 NJD: 21

Score: 2-1 Devils

Third Period:

It is usually a difficult task to start a period with a man-advantage as the team sometimes needs a few minutes to “warm-up” after the intermission between periods. Such belief is true as the Bruins could not capitalize on Greene’s late second-period penalty and the Bruins go to 0-for-3 on the 5-on-4 power-play tonight.

New Jersey shut down the Bruins momentum with a goal 4:15 into the third by Blake Coleman. The speedy forward sped past Brandon Carlo and made a quick forehand-backhand deke to bury it past Jaroslav Halak on the breakaway, making this a 3-1 game. Credit has to be given to Coleman who managed to hold off the big Carlo and make a move to the net to score his tenth goal of the 2018-19 season.

The Devils without Taylor Hall continued after the goal to put more pressure on the Bruins. Forward Miles Wood with a fire lit underneath him races towards Halak but is tripped up by Miller. The puck was across the red line, but the referees had a brief conversation on the timing of the “goal”, only to determine that it crossed the line after the whistle and there was no official goal on the play. Bruins, however, are called on the tripping minor and Miller serves the two minutes.

Not long after the successful kill, the Bruins tried to build some offensive chances, led by defenceman Matt Grzelcyk who made some solid passes and advances on Blackwood but the rookie goaltender held his ground on every one of them to keep this a two-goal Devils lead. The young Massachusetts blueliner has looked good for Boston tonight.

Around the seven-minute mark, Stefan Noesen nails Donato in the Devils zone up high while battling along the boards, only for New Jersey to make some good breakout passes – leading to Nico Hischier’s breakaway goal. The tally makes this game 4-1 and gives the 2017 1st Overall Draft Pick his tenth goal of the year.

With Jaroslav Halak on the bench, David Krejci tosses the puck high and deep into the Devils end where Sami Vatanen rifles a shot around the boards that is stopped by DeBrusk. Jake sends the puck towards the net and Patrice Bergeron deflects his twelfth goal of the year and it is 4-2 with 2:55 to go.

Less than sixty seconds later, David Backes finds Brad Marchand with speed into the zone, but Marchand’s in-tight shot is stopped by Blackwood’s pads. As the rebound escaped into the slot, David Backes lays an illegal hit to the head of Blake Coleman. Backes’ shoulder makes clear contact with the head and I would imagine that NHL Player Safety is taking a look at this play. Backes goes to the box with exactly two minutes to go.

Having Halak pulled from the cage, the game was 5-on-5 and Boston had some decent chances from Marchand and company. However, Torey Krug is unable to keep the puck onside and the whistle is blown. On the offensive zone faceoff, the Bruins lose it, leading to Blake Coleman burying the empty-net goal to seal the deal and make it 5-2 New Jersey.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 42 NJD: 33

Final Score: 5-2 Devils

Max’s Three Stars

1st Star: NJD G Mackenzie Blackwood – 40 Saves, .952 SV%

2nd Star: NJD F Blake Coleman – 2 Goals, Game-Winning Goal, 4 Shots, +1 Rating

3rd Star: NJD D Andy Greene – 2 Assists, +3 Rating, 21:48 TOI

The Boston Bruins are now 20-14-4 on the season and have lost their last two games against two of the worst teams in the NHL Eastern Conference. Up next, the Bruins take on the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, December 29th in the final game of 2018. The Sabres last beat the Bruins 4-2 on Sunday, December 16th, 2018. Scheduled puck drop for Saturday’s game is 7:00pm EST in Buffalo, New York.

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