Question Marks Surround Left Side Of Bruins’ Second Defense Pair

(Photo: Brian Babineau / NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

With the Boston Bruins’ President’s Trophy-winning 2019-20 season now over, general manager Don Sweeney and the rest of the Boston brass head into the offseason with several question marks looming over the roster. How will management address the lack of depth scoring (again)? What will happen with the team’s restricted free agents? Or perhaps the most pressing question that snuck up on the Bruins: what will the left side of defense look like next season?

Admittedly, I did not have the foresight to take a look at the Bruins’ situation down the left side on the backend until recently. Prior to the pandemic, I had thought there would be no way that Boston would let Torey Krug walk or that Zdeno Chara would be without a contract heading into next season. Yet here we are — all signs point to Krug leaving to sign a big ticket elsewhere, and although Chara wants to return, he is still on the brink of unrestricted free agency.

In the most likely scenario, in my opinion, Krug walks and Chara re-signs at a reasonable cap hit and short term. If that is the case, Boston is still left with a gaping hole in the team’s top four at even-strength.

For context with some incoming advanced stats, courtesy of Natural Stat Trick, Corsi basically measures how much a player’s team controls the puck when they are on the ice, and anything below 45% is generally considered to be below average, while anything above 55% is typically seen as elite.

Chara still has value in a limited role. Sure, his even-strength numbers have dipped in recent season – the 43-year-old sported a Corsi-for (CF%) of 46.7% at even-strength during the regular season (down from 53.8% during the 2018-19 season), and a CF% of 36.8% during the playoffs this season (down from 40.4% during last year’s postseason). However, the big man can still provide value on the penalty kill – he was and still is Boston’s biggest workhorse on the kill – in a limited even-strength role, and in the room, of course.

What does this limited role for Chara look like? Presumably, it would be on the third pair next to a guy like Connor Clifton or Jeremy Lauzon. That leaves spots up for the taking on the second pair to Brandon Carlo’s left and on the top pair next to Charlie McAvoy.

Matt Grzelcyk seems like the clubhouse favorite to slot in next to McAvoy up top as of right now; the pair excelled in two years together at Boston University and have looked good together in a small sample size in the NHL. When together, the two boasted an insane CF% of 59.06% at five-on-five play, during this year’s playoffs, and a CF% of 59.69% at even-strength over the last three regular seasons. In short, when together McAvoy and  Grzelcyk are possession monsters for the Bruins, and with more high-end minutes with guys like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, analytics darlings in their own rights, on the ice with them they should only flourish even more.

This all leaves Carlo without a defense partner on the second pair. While the Bruins have in-house options that might step up in Urho Vaakanainen, Lauzon, or Jakub Zboril, it remains to be seen if those guys would be ready to leap into such a key role. Lauzon proved that he is NHL-ready this season as he assumed a role on the bottom pair next to Grzelcyk during the second half of the season, and excelled for the most part, especially with his physicality, mobility and intensity.

Meanwhile, Zboril has slowly, but steadily, progressed in Providence over the last few seasons. P-Bruins head coach Jay Leach mentioned that the 23-year-old was “probably” the team’s best defenseman by the end of the year, and was one of the last cuts from Boston’s training camp before the season after having an excellent showing. He’s got some sandpaper to his game and can move the puck well; however, consistency is an issue, aside from whether or not he can make the jump. Another snag is that the left-shot d-man has been loaned to HC Kometa Brno in his native Czech Republic as a timeline for next season in both the AHL and NHL is unclear.

Looking at Vaakanainen, there is no question about the promise in his game, from the skating ability to the intelligence. In a very small sample size in the NHL, he did not look out of place. Again, the only concern with Vaakanainen, and Zboril, is whether or not a full-time leap to the NHL is in the cards this season. For Lauzon, the question is if he can shoulder the extra responsibility and tougher defensive matchups.

The Bruins may even be able to look to external options via free agency depending on how much cash is leftover from the re-signing period, whenever that happens. After a quick visit to CapFriendly to look at defensemen set to hit the UFA market, options like T.J. Brodie, Joel Edmundson, Erik Gustaffson, and Brenden Dillon stand out.

Who knows, maybe if, or when, training camp rolls around, one of the young defensemen is poised to seize the apparently open roster spot, impresses, and makes the team out of camp. Or perhaps the Bruins land a free agent that can plug the hole. Until then, all we can do is speculate about how the left side, especially on the second pair, will be addressed.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 193 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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Boston Bruins HC Bruce Cassidy Wins 2020 Jack Adams Award

PHOTO CREDITS: (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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

Boston Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has officially been named the winner of the 2020 Jack Adams Award, the trophy given to the best head coach during the 2019-20 regular season.

Cassidy became the bench boss of the Bruins back in the 2016-17 season following the departure of longtime coach Claude Julien. Prior to his hiring, Cassidy was the Head Coach for Boston’s AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins, for five seasons – only missing the postseason once.

Cassidy coached only 27 games in ’16/’17, but with the change of coaching the Bruins went 18-8-1 and managed to claw their way into the playoffs, ending a two-year playoff drought. While the Bruins fell short to the Ottawa Senators in six games, it became clear Cassidy was the right fit for the organization.

In 2017-18, the Bruins won 50 games for the first time since the 2013-14 season and made it to the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning. In ’18-’19, Bruce Cassidy led the B’s to another near 50-win campaign, finishing the year with a 49-24-9 record. While the Bruins failed to secure the top spot in the Atlantic Division, they managed to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets and swept the Carolina Hurricanes en route to the Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the St. Louis Blues.

That brings us to this year. Boston was undeniably the best team during the course of the regular-season prior to the pause in result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Bruins finished as the only franchise to reach the 100-point plateau and as result, won the league’s Presidents’ Trophy. With a plethora of injuries throughout the campaign, Cassidy kept the train on the tracks and with the “Next Man Up” mentality, allowed the Bruins to remain contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Bruce Cassidy joins Don Cherry (1975-76), Pat Burns (1997-98), and Claude Julien (2013-14) as the only head coaches in Boston Bruins franchise history to be named the Jack Adams winner.

Philadelphia Flyers’ Alain Vigneault and Columbus Blue Jackets’ John Tortorella finished second and third respectively in the voting done by broadcasters across the league.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 193 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins’ Free Agent Options If Torey Krug Does Not Re-Sign

(Photo Credit: Radio | Radio.com)

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter! @andrewlindrothh

The National Hockey Leagues’ free-agent market is scheduled to open on October 9th at noon ET, or at least seven days after finishing the Stanley Cup Finals, whichever happens first. The Boston Bruins’ General Manager Don Sweeney, has his work cut out for him this off-season, and his most significant task is deciding on re-signing Torey Krug, or let him walk and use that extra cap space on other free agents.

According to Cap Friendly, the Bruins have roughly $15M available in cap space, but Sweeney may want to leave around $2M-$3M leftover if injuries occur. With that being said, the Bruins will have approximately $13M available for re-signing players like Krug, Jake DeBrusk, Zdeno Chara, and Matt Grzelcyk.

Krug spoke to media recently and stated he is not interested in a one-year deal and wants to cash in on his value by signing a long-term contract. I predict the Bruins have a chance to sign Krug to a 5+year deal worth $7M-$7.5M per year, but the defenseman knows his value is worth more than that. If Krug doesn’t believe what the Bruins offer (if they even do) is enough, he will walk and get anywhere between $8M-$9.5M per year from another team.

As of this moment, there are a plethora amount of UFA and RFA players the Bruins could look at, many big names and even more depth-pieces. I’m not sure if Sweeney is looking to continue building by adding a few depth-pieces or make a big signing whether it be a forward or defenseman to replace Krug. For a complete list of all 31 teams’ UFA and RFA players, Sporting News has it covered here. Here are some free-agent options for the Bruins if Krug decides to walk.

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Evgenii Dadonov (F/UFA)

(Photo Credit: The Rat Trick | therattrick.com)

Evgenii Dadonov has shined the past three seasons with the Florida Panthers. Over the past three years, Dadonov has played 225 games, contributing 81-101-182 numbers, 25 power-play goals, and 47 power-play points.

The 31-year-old forward is set to become a UFA, and his last contract was a three-year deal worth $4M per season. I’m not an expert on predicting a player’s value in terms of AAV (average annual value), but the Bruins could make an offer worth $5M-$5.5M per season. Although he may be worth more in the open market, I do not see the Bruins over-spending on any player.

The Bruins could use Dadonov on the power-play and David Krejci’s’ or Charlie Coyles’ right-wing. Ondrej Kase began to create solid chemistry with Krejci and Jake DeBrusk during the Carolina Hurricanes series. Still, he is often injured and, before arriving in Boston, had only played a career-high 66 games back in 2017-2018. DeBrusk has also shown many potentials but has not shown consistency in his offense, so a player like Dadonov could help spark any of those lines.

Mark Borowiecki (D/UFA)

(Photo Credit: National Hockey League | nhl.com)

Mark Borowiecki could be a reasonable defensive option for the Bruins. If Krug decides to leave, I imagine Grzelcyk will pair with Brandon Carlo and split power-play duties with Charlie McAvoy. The Bruins’ third defensive-pairing isn’t solidified, but Borowiecki could be an option to consider along with Connor Clifton, John Moore, or Jeremy Lauzon. His last contract was a two-year deal worth $1.2M AAV, so he would not be a massive cap casualty to the Bruins.

The 6’1, 207-pound defenseman plays a very physical brand of hockey and isn’t afraid to stick up for his teammates. These are player attributes Sweeney has been looking for and was hoping Brett or Nick Ritchie could be that player, but they have not worked out so far.

Borowiecki also had offensive career-highs this past season, scoring seven goals and 18 points in 53 games played. He also averages over 200 hits per season, and just last season had a career-high 120 blocks. I believe he is a reliable option for the Bruins if Sweeney deems it necessary to sign additional depth defensemen.

Conor Sheary (F/UFA)

(Photo Credit: National Hockey League | nhl.com)

Conor Sheary would be a reliable forward option that could spark the bottom-six. The Winchester, MA native, first suited up in the NHL for 44 games during the 2015-2016 season and contributed enough to help lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to capture the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017. He also eclipsed his career-highs during the 2016-2017 season, scoring 23 goals and 50 points with a +24 rating.

The 5’8, 175-pound forward has a lot of speed to his game and could fit in well with either Coyle or Kuraly. Sheary just finished a three-year deal worth $3M AAV and is set to become a UFA.

$3M+ per year is most likely too steep for the Bruins, especially for a bottom-six forward, but he can also be utilized on the second line with Krejci in case DeBrusk doesn’t stay consistent. After achieving 20+goals just a few seasons ago, Sheary has shown the potential to be a productive middle-six/bottom-six forward.

Vladislav Namestnikov (F/UFA)

(Photo Credit: The Athletic | theathletic.com)

Vladislav Namestnikov is another forward the Bruins could consider in the free-agency. The 27-year-old forward is trying to find his offensive consistency and a team to grow with long-term. This past season, Namestinikov suited up for three different teams (NYR, OTT, COL), playing 65 games and contributing 17 goals and 31 points.

Namestnikov ended the season with the Colorado Avalanche and is set to become a UFA. He is finishing up a two-year deal worth $4M AAV. For a forward who has yet to hit the 50 point mark in his career, anywhere near $4M AAV is well out of the Bruins price range. If Sweeney could get Namestnikov to take a reasonable discount on a prove-yourself contract, we could see Namestnikov possibly reach his full potential.

Not only could Namestnikov be slotted onto any of the Bruins’ lines, but the team can also use him on the power-play and the penalty-kill unit. This past season, he also led the league in short-handed goals (four).

Brenden Dillon (D/UFA)

(Photo Credit: NHL Player Association | nhlpa.com)

Last but not least, if Krug does not re-sign with the Bruins, Brenden Dillon would be a reliable option to beef up the blue-line. The 6’4, 225-pound defenseman uses his size to his advantage and makes it very difficult to play against, especially in a playoff series. Dillon was traded to the Washington Capitals shortly before the 2019-2020 season paused, but is now set to become a UFA. His last contract was a five-year deal worth $3.27M AAV.

Dillon suited up for 69 games this past season, contributing 14 points, 74 blocks, and 194 hits. Before the trade deadline this past season, the Bruins were linked to having considerable interest in Dillon, so now that he is set to hit the open market, Sweeney will have his chance once again.

It’s important to note that Dillon is 29-years-old and may be looking to cash in on his value at full. Sweeney may not be keen on paying more than $3M+ per season but could use the winning culture argument to sign Dillon on a discount.

Overall, there are a plethora of options the Bruins could consider. There are also a lot of players who are RFAs that may not sign with their current team, giving the Bruins even more options. I also predict Sweeney will be attempting to make trades during the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. With that being said, the Bruins’ future is up in the air, but that is not necessarily a negative thing. I’m very excited to see what Sweeneys’ plan is to improve this team.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 193 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher

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Chara: “I want to be a Boston Bruin.”

(Source: NESN via YouTube)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

With speculation running rampant over whether or not Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara played his last game in Black and Gold during the team’s season-ending 3-2 double overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the second round, the 43-year-old laid any and all retirement rumors to rest during his media availability on Thursday morning.

“I believe I can still play this game and contribute to the team and I want to stay in Boston,” Chara said. “I want to be a Boston Bruin.

“I want to continue to lead by example and share my experiences . . . that hasn’t changed. I’m committed. We’ll see what’s gonna happen next.”

Currently, Chara is a pending unrestricted free agent for the first time during his tenure in Boston as he and the Bruins are yet to sign a deal with his one-year, $2 million deal coming to a close. Over the past two seasons, the left-handed defenseman and general manager Don Sweeney have agreed to terms one one-year extensions prior to the playoffs, although the uncertainty amid the global pandemic undoubtedly proved to be an obstacle this year.

“I’m committed to the Boston Bruins,” the 6-foot-9, 250 pound giant said. “I’m committed to Boston fans and the city of Boston. I think I’ve expressed that a number of times. I’m excited about the future of this team. Like I said, we are going to whatever we can to win another Stanley Cup.

“I expressed to my agent that I would like him to meet with the management, and I make that my priority. The sooner the better, and see what the future holds.”

If Chara and the Bruins were to agree on a contract, there’s no reason not to believe that the two sides will not choose the same route as before: an affordable, one or two-year deal. Although the Trencin, Slovakia, native’s mileage may have become more apparent recenty, there is still value in a player, who was leaned on heavily in defensive situations, especially the penalty kill, and provides the type of leadership that Chara does.

“I am confident, but at the same time you know, you’ve been in the business and around hockey for so long that you know there are different circumstances and possibilities,” ,” Chara said of his confidence in getting a deal done. “But as of right now, I’m excited. I want to be a Boston Bruin. I want to play for the Boston Bruins.

“But, again, we will see what the decisions are going to be made and that’s something up to my agent and the senior upper management to kind of go over it.”

On Monday’s broadcast, the sense from NBC’s crew was that Chara’s career may have come to a close. In his postgame press conference, Chara said he had an “open mind” as far as his future is concerned, and he addressed the comments and rumors on Thursday as well.

“Yeah I mean I wouldn’t say I’m undecided. I was saying my mind was open,” Chara explained. “Obviously to be asked just a few minutes about my future after the double overtime loss, and the way we battled and how well we played in that game, I was still so sad about the outcome.

“I can’t really reflect on some of the rumors. I have not heard any of these rumors directly and I dismiss any kind of conversations and comments on these matters because it might just cause unnecessary distractions to my teammates and the organization.”

As for the possibility of if his decision came down to playing in Boston, or retiring, Chara seemed noncommittal, expressing that he has not considered that option yet.

“Well again, if it comes down to that, then again that’s something that we can talk about later,” Chara said. “But I love Boston. I love the city. I think we have the best fans in the world. I have no plans to move or kind of go anywhere else. So we will see what the future holds.”

Through 68 regular season games during the 2019-20 run, the big man put up five goals and nine assists for 14 points, in addition to a plus-26 rating and 60 penalty minutes. In 13 games in the bubble during the Round Robin and Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chara notched two assists, eight penalty minutes, and a minus-four rating.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 192 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins, Vladar Agree To Terms On Three-Year Extension

Photo: Steve Babineau / NHL via Getty Images

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced on Sunday night that the team has agreed to terms with goaltender Dan Vladar on a three-year contract extension with an annual cap hit of $750,000. The deal is a two-way contract for the first two seasons, with the third being a one-way contract.

In 25 games with the Providence Bruins, Boston’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, this season, Vladar led the league in save percentage (.936) and goals-against average (GAA) with a 1.79 marker. On the year, the 23-year-old posted a 14-7-1 record, including three shutouts.

In 68 games with the P-Bruins over four seasons, the Prague, Czech Republic native holds a 33-26-3 record to go along with a 2.35 GAA and .916 save percentage. In 60 games with the Atlanta Gladiators, Boston’s East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) affiliate over three seasons, Vladar posted a .902 save percentage and a 2.95 GAA.

The Bruins selected Vladar with the 75th overall pick in the third round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. With the departure of Tuukka Rask from the NHL’s Return to Play due to a reported family emergency, Vladar is currently serving as backup to Boston netminder Jaroslav Halak.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 190 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Post-Game Recap: ECQF vs Carolina Game 5: 8/19/20

PHOTO CREDITS: (Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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

Only two nights ago, the Boston Bruins exploded for four goals in the third period to come back from a 2-0 deficit and take a commanding 3-1 series lead in this Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals series. Tonight, Boston will play their first of three chances to eliminate Carolina in a massive Game Five. 

Pre-Game Notes: 

Arena: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Home: Boston Bruins (3-4-0)

Away: Carolina Hurricanes (4-3-0)

Bruins’ Last Game: 4-3 win in Game 4

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Bruins forward David Pastrnak returns tonight for the first time since Game One while Anders Bjork will be scratched as a result. Jaroslav Halak gets the start in goal.

For Carolina, forward Andrei Svechnikov remains out of the lineup while Jordan Staal stays in after many questions were asked on him playing tonight following a massive hit in Game Four that caused him to leave prematurely. Petr Mrazek gets the starting job for the Hurricanes.

First Period:

Opposite to the early stages of Game Four, the Boston Bruins look a lot better off the opening puck drop. All lines moving their skates and are making the smart passes and plays to get a few shots on goal. Improved start, will be huge to continue that pressure as this game goes on.

With that said, just about ten minutes into the opening frame, Haydn Fleury unleashes a rocket of a shot that beats Halak just underneath the crossbar. On-ice officials took a second glance to make sure it went in the net and not off the bar and a quick look at the replay shows a perfect shot, 1-0 Hurricanes.

Not long after the game’s first goal, Charlie Coyle races in off the wing and fires a shot that Petr Mrazek stops with the glove. A couple minutes after that chance, David Pastrnak finds himself with the puck alone in the slot and shows off great patience to try and get around Mrazek and lift it over top, but the Carolina netminder makes the stop. 

This high-paced first-period continues with a 2-on-1 by the Hurricanes that sees Jaroslav Halak spreading across the entire net mouth to make a great cross-crease save on Justin Williams. It is quite evident this is an elimination game, opportunities on either end, and a much more back-and-forth game in comparison to Monday’s contest. 

With just under five minutes to go in the first, the Hurricanes are in the Bruins’ zone trying to set up an offensive zone play and in the midst of that, Charlie McAvoy gets his stick hooked on a Hurricane player, forcing him to sit for the next two minutes on a minor penalty for hooking. Boston’s penalty kill looked solid as they allowed zero shots against and had numerous clearing attempts down the ice. Back to five-on-five. 

In the final minutes of the period, the Hurricanes get a few solid chances to bury their second with a couple chaotic shots on net. A chance by Jordan Staal that looks to be going in due to a falling Halak is blocked by David Krejci who slid in out of nowhere. Valient effort to keep this a one-goal game late. 

Shots on Goal: BOS: 9 CAR: 8

Score: 1-0 Hurricanes – Goals: Fleury (2) Assists: Aho (9), Martinook (1)

Second Period:

Carolina, looking to extend their lead, comes out strong in the second. Jordan Martinook nearly capitalizes on a 2-on-1, but Brad Marchand used excellent backcheck to interfere with Martinook’s stick, ending the chance. Less than two minutes into the period, David Pastrnak gets called on a hooking minor and Carolina heads to their second power-play. 

Carolina got a lot more zone time on that man-advantage and in the dying seconds, nearly gets one past a sprawling Halak but even after multiple rebounds and hacks at the puck, they cannot strike. Zdeno Chara uses his stick to stop the goal and soon after, the Bruins send the puck out of the zone to Pastrnak who just exited the penalty box and is now on a clear breakaway, but trips on Mrazek’s pad and the puck stays out. Chaos once again.

Throughout the second period, the Bruins have seemed a bit sluggish while the Hurricanes get more chances on Halak. A lot of missed shots and missed passes, but the chances are there. Then, with about six minutes left to expire in the frame, Bergeron is sent on a partial breakaway but is hooked from behind. Bruins head to the power-play for the first time tonight. 

On that man-advantage, David Pastrnak brings the puck into the zone and after numerous quick passes, the shot from Bergeron deflects off Pastrnak’s skate and goes right to David Krejci who hammers it into the open net, Bruins tie it at one.

With less than a minute to go in the period, Jake DeBrusk barrels his way to the net, gets a shot on net with a rebound there for Ondrej Kase. Kase hits the side of the cage, but is nailed into the boards by Martinook in a clear head hit. Martinook is penalized and Boston goes to the power-play late in the second. 

David Pastrnak rips a shot that gets deflected high and with very little time left on the clock, the Hurricanes stop moving as the puck goes behind Mrazek. Bergeron recovers and just fires it towards the net. The puck hits the back of Mrazek’s leg and goes in with three seconds remaining, Boston takes a 2-1 lead with twenty minutes left in this Game Five. 

Similar to Game Four, once Boston scores their first goal, the momentum changes entirely. After Krejci’s tying goal, the Bruins were more relentless on the pucks, winning board battles, and made smarter plays, leading to a drawn penalty and another goal. Carolina is likely going to come out flying in the final regulation period with their season on the line. 

Shots on Goal: BOS: 22 CAR: 18

Score: 2-1 Bruins – Goals: Krejci (3) PPG Assists: Pastrnak (2), Bergeron (4); Bergeron (2) PPG Assists: Pastrnak (3), Krejci (6) 

Third Period:

Very early on in the final regulation period, Warren Foegele gets called on a holding penalty that in my opinion, was a very weak call, but the Bruins go to their third man-advantage of the game as a result of it. However, Carolina’s penalty-kill looked way better on this penalty as they kill it off and the game returns to even-strength three minutes in.

Still, within the first five minutes of the third period, the Bruins take a penalty of their own as the officials wave Joakim Nordstrom down on an interference minor and the B’s go shorthanded for two minutes. Carolina had some good time in the offensive zone and had a brilliant chance for a one-timer in the slot but Vincent Trocheck fanned on the shot and Nordstrom exits the box not long afterward. 

As the game ticks on, the Hurricanes keep the aggressiveness all over the Bruins. During a span of heavy Carolina offensive pressure, Charlie McAvoy recovers the puck at the corner boards and as he attempts to skate with the puck, Justin Williams gets his stick in between his legs and takes a tripping minor. 

On the ensuing Boston power-play, David Krejci has a wide-open net but somehow fires it off the iron. For the first time in this series, the Bruins’ power-play looks dangerous and the passes within Carolina’s zone were a lot more fluid, almost as it was during the course of the regular season. Penalty ends with no goals scored, back to 5-on-5.

Needing an extra push with 2:05 left in regulation, Rod Brind’Amour pulls Petr Mrazek to go with six skaters down by one goal. Bruins survive until the end, winning 2-1, eliminating Carolina in five games. 

Shots on Goal: BOS: 27 CAR: 24

Final Score: Bruins 2-1 – BOS wins series 4-1

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS F David Krejci – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 2 Shots, 18:14 TOI

2nd Star: BOS F Patrice Bergeron – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 7 Shots, 50% Faceoffs

3rd Star: BOS F David Pastrnak – 2 Assists, 5 Shots, 20:28 TOI

The Boston Bruins advance to the second round, joining the Tampa Bay Lightning as the only teams to advance so far from the Eastern Conference. Bruins await winners of WSH/NYI and PHI/MTL series to find out their Round Two opponent. 

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 190 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Reports: Bruins’ Rask Opted Out Due To Family Emergency

(Photo: Paul Rutherford / USA TODAY Sports)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask reportedly opted out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the National Hockey League’s Return to Play in Toronto due to a family emergency, according to WEEI’s Greg Hill. Per Hill, Rask said he had received a call from his wife about a medical emergency for one his daughters, and rushed to be with his family.

On Sunday, Dale Arnold of NESN and WEEI said that Rask had texted him saying there was a family emergency he had to deal with, but that things are fine now.

“He texted me back and I asked specifically if I could share this part of what he said to me and he said you can. The fact of the matter is he said to me there was a family emergency,” Arnold said. 

“He went on to say everything is fine now, but there was a family emergency and he felt he needed to be back with his family.”

News of the Finnish netminder’s decision to return home broke on Saturday morning prior to Game 3 between the Bruins and the Hurricanes. In a statement, Rask said, “there are things more important than hockey in my life, and that is being with my family.”

So far, Bruins management and Rask’s teammates have supported his decision.

“It makes me upset sometimes how badly [Rask] gets trashed for that. People aren’t in the bubble with us,” Bruins forward Chris Wagner told WBZ’s Dan Roche. “They’re not away from their families for months at a time.”

“Obviously we’re supporting him. We’re behind him and we understand,” Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron said in his media availability after Game 3 on Saturday. “Family comes first. We’ve always said that.”

The 33-year-old is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, annually awarded to the league’s top goaltender as voted on by the general managers. He concluded the 2019-20 regular season with a 28-5-6 record to go along with five shutouts, second in the league, a 2.12 goals-against average (GAA), first in the league, and a .929 save percentage, second in the league. Rask split the William M. Jennings Trophy with fellow Bruins netminder Jaroslav Halak as the two led the Bruins to the fewest goals-allowed among any team in the league.

In the league’s return to play, Rask posted a 1-3-0 record in four games, recording a 2.57 GAA and a .904 save percentage.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 189 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: ECQF vs Carolina Game 4: 8/17/20

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PHOTO CREDITS: (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)

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

Following a Game Three victory, the Boston Bruins enter Monday night’s Game Four with a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in this Eastern Conference Quarterfinals matchup. Charlie Coyle scored a goal and an assist while Sean Kuraly scored the eventual game-winning tally in Saturday’s contest.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Home: Carolina Hurricanes: (4-2-0)

Away: Boston Bruins (2-4-0)

Bruins’ Last Game: 3-1 win in Game 3

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Bruins forward David Pastrnak remains out of the lineup while Anders Bjork will get the bid on the top line with Marchand and Bergeron.

First Period:

Today’s game started early with a penalty on the Carolina Hurricanes as Ryan Dzingel gets his stick up high on Connor Clifton and the Bruins head to the power-play less than two minutes in. Even with four shots on goal, the Bruins cannot capitalize on the chance and we return to five-on-five.

Just about three minutes afterward, Jack Studnicka is whistled down on a slashing minor on Brady Skjei and will go on the penalty-kill for the first time. This man-advantage is a huge opportunity for the Hurricanes as an early kill and a successful power-play for the game’s opening goal could give them massive momentum. With that said, the Bruins looked excellent shorthanded, killing off Studnicka’s penalty – allowing zero shots on Halak.

Nearly ten minutes into the game, Justin Williams recovers the puck at the top of the circle after a tough board battle by his teammates and takes a shot. The seeing-eye shot finds its way under the glove hand of Jaroslav Halak and Carolina takes a 1-0 lead on their first shot of the game.

Following the goal, the Canes put on a lot more pressure in Boston’s defensive zone. A lot of heavy forecheck and making plays around the perimeter of the zone. Justin Williams and Ryan Dzingel are playing well and forcing the Bruins to clear the puck out of the zone. Great work to control any breakout attempts.

At the TV timeout with approximately five minutes to go in the first period, the Bruins have not recorded a shot on goal in over twelve minutes. Carolina continues to shut down any breakout attempts and Boston continues to resort to dump-ins. However, the Hurricanes are also struggling to get great offensive opportunities as the shot counts remain 5-2 in favour of the Bruins.

One of Boston’s best chances comes with 4:50 to go as Charlie McAvoy airs a puck high into the air, landing perfectly for Chris Wagner who tries and a dangle and finds the puck to Par Lindholm. Lindholm nearly squeaks it five-hold past Reimer but is unable to, and the game stays at 1-0.

In the final minutes of the frame, the Canes find more shots towards the net, and with some crease battles in front of Halak, nearly bury a few of them but the 35-year-old netminder keeps them out.

The opening frame comes to an end there. A very neutral-zone heavy period for both teams, not many shots on goal. Carolina had a stronger period, but it was not a horrendous twenty minutes for Boston. Things to work on in the intermission, especially to hold off the Williams line, but again, not a terrible first period for the B’s.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 6 CAR: 7

Score: 1-0 Hurricanes – Goals: Williams (1) Assists: Trocheck (2), Gardiner (1)

Second Period:

In the beginning stages to the middle regulation period, the Hurricanes keep some of the momentum that they built from the first, getting pucks in Boston’s zone and preventing any chances coming back the other way. The Bruins’ fourth line has been the best trio for the Black and Gold thus far and is the line that gets a few chances on James Reimer in the second.

Boston gets another great scoring opportunity a few minutes later as Brad Marchand intercepts a pass on the backcheck and immediately rushes the puck down the ice, making a couple nice moves to set up a partial 2-on-1 with Patrice Bergeron. Marchand feeds the puck across the crease for a Bergeron tap-in, but the pass hops over Bergeron’s stick and the chance disappears.

Boston gets easily the best chance to score all game so far as Anders Bjork shows off his great stick-handling and puck control in the Hurricanes zone, dancing around everyone before feeding it to Jack Studnicka who slides it across the crease to David Krejci. Krejci rips a shot off the post and attempts to get a rebound that doesn’t go in as well. In the meantime, the Canes take a hooking minor and Boston heads to their second power-play.

The Bruins controlled the entire man-advantage with numerous chances by David Krejci. Solid puck movement but just cannot find the back of the net. Not long after the failed power-play, Jordan Martinook skates along the wing and snipes one glove low on Halak – the same spot as the first goal, extending Carolina’s lead to two past the halfway mark of the frame. Not a great night for Jaro tonight.

Dougie Hamilton takes a point shot late in the period that gets deflected high by Martinook that once again beats Halak, but the on-ice officials rule it a high-stick immediately and the goal is waived off. This game remains 2-0 for Carolina.

With 22 seconds left to tick on the scoreboard, Dougie Hamilton takes a penalty on Jack Studnicka and the Bruins go to their third power-play of the night with a chance to cut the lead in half. Boston does get a few really solid chances including a pair from Bergeron in his infamous bumper spot on the ice, but Reimer makes the pad save on each one. Boston will start the third period with 1:38 of power-play time.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 17 CAR: 17

Score: 2-0 Hurricanes – Goals: Martinook (2) Assists: Aho (8)

Third Period:

Starting a fresh period on a limited power-play is a difficult thing to do and that was evident for Boston. No real chances and we quickly return to 5-on-5 early in the final regulation period.

Boston again continues to struggle to not only get into the Hurricanes’ zone but generate any chances whatsoever to strike for the first time in this game. Brad Marchand nearly buried one in a net-front battle but Reimer makes the pad stop while flat on his stomach. Boston’s offence is pretty dry tonight and large credit to Carolina’s defence for that.

Finally, a simple play leads to a goal. Jake DeBrusk slowly brings the puck towards the zone, making a sudden move to flip the puck past Haydn Fleury who gets caught turning the wrong way. Reimer comes way out of his crease to try and poke the puck first, but DeBrusk moves around him and puts it in the open cage. Bruins cut the lead to 2-1.

Just about halfway through, the Hurricanes attempt a breakout allowing Charlie McAvoy to land a monstrous hit on Jordan Staal – flattening him on the ice. Stall looked dizzy getting up and went right down the tunnel. McAvoy has laid some big hits this series but this one is no question the biggest so far.

Not long after that, the fourth line of the Bruins on another hard forecheck finds Nordstrom behind the net, feeding it to a hungry Connor Clifton who blasts a bomb past Reimer and just like that – we are tied.

The momentum in this hockey game has done a complete 180 as Boston is dominating play, is faster on the puck, and is forcing Carolina to play on their heels. As a result, Brad Marchand finds himself on a breakaway. With some slick hands and poise, Marchand buries a five-hole goal past Reimer to give Boston the lead.

Boston, not done there, keeps the heavy pressure all over Carolina. The Bruins are first to every single puck battle and every line is keeping the Hurricanes guessing. The DeBrusk-Krejci-Kase line that has looked so good all series long generates a gorgeous scoring play. Krejci, along the boards, passes it to Kase in the high slot. Wasting no time, Kase directs it to DeBrusk back door who makes a nice move and beats Reimer. 4-2 Boston.

Bruins keep the pressure going but as Carolina pulls their goalie for the extra man with just about 1:30 to go, Teuvo Teravainen shoots a backhander that somehow beats Halak five-hole and makes this a one-goal game. Carolina scores on their first shot of the third period, 18th of the game. Hurricanes, however, fail to add another and the Bruins win 4-3. Boston leads the series 3-1.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 33 CAR: 19

Final Score: 4-3 Bruins – BOS takes 3-1 series lead

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS F Jake DeBrusk – 2 Goals (GWG), 3 Shots, 16:07 TOI

2nd Star: BOS D Connor Clifton – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 3 Hits

3rd Star: BOS F Ondrej Kase – 2 Assists, 2 Hits, 14:29 TOI

The Boston Bruins take a 3-1 series lead over the Hurricanes and will have a chance to close out the series Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. EST.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 190 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins Sign Forward Matt Filipe To Entry-Level Deal

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(Source: Northeastern University Athletics)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced on Sunday, August 16, that the team has signed forward Matt Filipe to a two-year, entry-level contract.

“Thrilled to sign my first NHL contract with the team I grew up idolizing. Huge thanks to everyone who has helped me get to this point!” Filipe said in an Instagram post. The Lynnfield, Mass., native was originally drafted in the third round (67th overall) by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

Filipe spent the last four seasons at Northeastern University, where he recorded 31 goals and 44 assists for 75 points in 136 collegiate games to go along with a plus-25 rating and 109 penalty minutes. The 22-year-old served as an assistant captain during the 2019-20 season, where he recorded 9-13-22 totals in 30 games, all career-highs. While with the Huskies, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound forward helped the team to three-straight Beanpot titles, two NCAA tournament appearances, and a Hockey East Championship.

Prior to his collegiate career, Filipe notched 19-17-36 numbers to go along with a plus-five rating and 99 penalty minutes in 56 regular season games with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the United States Hockey League (USHL) during the 2015-16 season. In high school, Filipe registered 25-25-50 totals in 58 games over three seasons with Malden Catholic High School, serving as an assistant captain in 2014-15 and helping the team to two MIAA Division 1A, or “Super Eight,” Championships.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 189 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

User 568316199 · 189: The Bruins Winless In The Round-Robin Games And Get Set To Play Carolina In Round One

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Providence Bruins Announce Colby Cave Memorial Award

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(Photo via Providence Bruins)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

On Tuesday morning, the Providence Bruins announced, in collaboration with the Cave Family and the Boston Bruins Foundation, the establishment of the Colby Cave Memorial Award, honoring Cave’s commitment to helping those in need. The award will be presented annually to a Providence Bruins player “for their dedication to the community and charitable organizations.”

Originally an undrafted free agent, Cave spent portions of five seasons with the P-Bruins after inking an entry-level contract with the Bruins in April 2015. In 239 career games with Providence, the North Battleford, Saskatchewan native posted 43-72-115 numbers, often serving as an assistant captain.

Cave made his National Hockey League debut with the Bruins, and scored his first NHL goal on Dec. 17, 2018, in the Bruins 4-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Edmonton claimed him off waivers during the 2018-19 campaign.

In 67 career NHL games over four seasons with the Oilers and Bruins, Cave registered four goals and five assists for nine points. In 11 games with Edmonton during the 2019-20 season, he scored one goal. With the Bakersfield Condors, the Oilers American Hockey League affiliate, the left-shot forward tallied 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points in 44 games.

Cave spent five seasons (2010-15 with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League (WHL), where he served as team captain for two seasons from 2013 to 2015, skating alongside current Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk. During his career in the WHL, Cave notched 95-107-202 totals in 287 games.

“The Colby Cave Memorial Award is a special way to honor and remember Colby for his leadership qualities and humanitarian efforts,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said in a statement. “Driven and committed to be an NHL player, Colby was also uniquely unselfish with teammates and anyone that needed help!

“Emily, the Cave Family and the entire Hockey World lost a great person who was beloved by everyone that was fortunate enough to spend time with Colby Cave.”

“From the first day he stepped into the Dunkin’ Donuts Center to the day he left for the NHL, Colby Cave inspired each and every one of us with his diligence, selflessness and compassion,” Providence Bruins head coach Jay Leach said. “Always the first to help, both with his teammates, and throughout our community, Colby set the precedent that we aspire to uphold.”

 

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 188 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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