Bruins “Serve Up” Pucks & Paddles Event

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins Foundation)

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

The Boston Bruins “served up” quite the successful charity event in mid-January to kick-start what will undoubtedly be another milestone year of community service and fundraising in 2020.

The third annual Pucks & Paddles event to benefit the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center raised $125,000 after all was said and done, with B’s players partnering up with fans, broadcasters and community members for a competitive single-elimination table tennis (aka ping pong) tournament.

Patrice Bergeron “captained” the always entertaining event with 98.5 The Sports Hub co-sponsoring all the fundraising fun and festivities. Here’s the description from the official Pucks & Paddles page:

“Fans [had] the opportunity to bid for their chance to play ping pong with their favorite Bruins player. The tournament commenced with two select players playing ping pong against two patients from Floating Hospital for Children, followed by a single elimination tournament featuring the players, on air talent and bidders. The rounds advanced to a championship game featuring the final two teams, with a winning tandem being crowned the ping pong fest champions. In addition, the four best Bruins ping pong players participated in a separate informal singles competition to demonstrate their talents to the crowd.”

Bruins prospect Anton Blidh and his partner were crowned “the champions of the event” according to the B’s website, where more than a dozen friendly photos of ping pong prowess and table tennis tenacity are on display.

If you’re wondering how that “whopping $125,000” will benefit local children and families, look no further than this description from the Boston Bruins Foundation:

“Patients from Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center are invited to participate in the tournament and proceeds raised from the annual event benefit the hospital and the Boston Bruins Foundation. In 2019, Pucks and Paddles raised a grand total of $120,000. Portions of the money raised goes toward providing extraordinary care and exceptional comfort when families need it most. Floating Hospital for Children knows that helping kids requires cutting-edge research, state of the art facilities, and caregivers who treat all children as if they are their own.”

As expected, the event was a “hit” for area families, fans and local businesses — all benefiting from the B’s consistent commitment to community that will continue to resonate… from pucks to paddles!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Boston Bruins Place Forward David Backes on Waivers

David Backes

PHOTO CREDITS: (nbcsports.ca)

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

As per numerous reports on social media, including from The Athletic’s Joe McDonald (@JoeyMacHockey on Twitter) and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC on Twitter), the Boston Bruins have placed forward David Backes for assignment to the Providence Bruins.

David Backes, 35, has played in 16 games this season for the Bruins, scoring one goal and two assists for three points and a -2 rating. Backes has not played a game since Boston’s 5-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets on January 9th where he skated for eleven shifts totalling 8:35 of ice-time. He has not scored a point since December 5th against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Boston signed the Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA native to a five-year, $30,000,000 contract ($6 million AAV) on the opening day of free agency back in the 2016 off-season. Prior to the signing, Backes had been the captain of the St. Louis Blues, totalling 727 career regular-season games with the Blues, scoring 206-254-460 numbers in that span. It was a tough move for him to make, but he felt he had a better shot to hoist the Stanley Cup if he signs with the Bruins.

Since the signing, Backes has not turned out to be what Boston expected. In 217 regular-season games for the Black and Gold, Backes scored 29-55-94 numbers along with 12 points in 39 playoff games dating back to the 2016-17 campaign. Backes scored two goals and three assists during Boston’s 2019 Stanley Cup Finals run as well.

The move to send Backes down is an interesting one, considering the move to put Brett Ritchie on waivers earlier in the week (he cleared). With players such as Karson Kuhlman and even Anton Blidh pushing for more consistent spots on the roster, older veterans like Backes simply don’t have the space on the team anymore. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy re-iterated that in a much simpler way.

The likelihood of Backes getting claimed by one of the other 31 NHL franchises is slim, but there is a benefit to him going to the Providence Bruins as well. As Bruins Network (@BruinsNetwork on Twitter) stated, if the 35-year-old clears waivers, the Bruins will free up $1 million in salary. With the trade deadline looming around the corner, every dollar counts and Backes’ $6 million cap hit right now is a lot to continue paying if he continues to be in the press box.

For the latest breaking news, updates, and injury reports, make sure to check back on blackngoldhockey.com and follow on Twitter (@BlackNGoldPod). The Boston Bruins play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, January 19th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Puck drop is scheduled for 12:30pm EST.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Recall Maxime Lagace On Emergency Basis, Assign Dan Vladar

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(Photo: Providence Bruins)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced on Friday that the team has assigned goaltender Dan Vladar to the Providence Bruins, and recalled goaltender Maxime Lagace on an emergency basis. Vladar was recalled earlier this week after goaltender Tuukka Rask went down with what head coach Bruce Cassidy labeled a concussion.

Vladar served as backup to Jaroslav Halak in Boston’s 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. The 22-year-old holds a 6-5-0 record with a 1.84 goals-against average, a .935 save percentage two shutouts in 12 AHL contests this season.

Lagace has been strong with the P-Bruins this season since signing a one-year, $700,000 contract over the offseason. Through 23 AHL appearances this season, the 27-year-old boasts a 14-6-2 record to go along with five shutouts, a 2.49 GAA and a .915 save percentage. This is the first time the club has recalled him this season.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound netminder was with the Vegas Golden Knights organization over the course of the last two seasons, spending time with both the big club in Vegas and the team’s AHL-affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. In 17 career NHL appearances, Lagace holds a .868 save percentage and a 3.92 GAA. In 184 games in the AHL over his career, Lagace has a .904 save percentage and a 2.84 GAA.

The Bruins will return to action on Sunday as they will travel to Pittsburgh for a matinee rematch with the Penguins. Puck-drop is slated for 12:30 pm.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Game 49 Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins

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PHOTO CREDITS: (sportsnet.ca)

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

With back-to-back losses against the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets earlier in the week, the Boston Bruins look to get right back to their winning ways against the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins. The Bruins are still third in the National Hockey League with a 27-9-12 record, but have a 5-2-3 record in their last ten games played. Boston needs to start piecing together wins again in order to remain atop the standings.

Pittsburgh has been one of the best teams in the league for well over the past decade and somehow, they have quietly done the same in 2019-20, winning four-straight games and having an 8-1-1 record in their last ten games to boost themselves to fourth in the overall standings. The Penguins have a 29-12-5 record and trail the Bruins by only three points with two games in hand.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 10-6-5 2.49 GAA .919 SV% Last Game: 24 Saves in 3-0 loss vs CBJ

PIT: Matt Murray (Not Confirmed) 13-6-4 2.91 GAA .896 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 4-3 OT win vs COL

Who’s Hot:

Sidney Crosby had not played a game of hockey since November 9th, so the doubts of him playing at the same elite level were there, but he quieted all of them down. The 32-year-old superstar proved why he will go down as one of the greatest of all-time after scoring a goal and three assists for his first four-point night since March 2nd, 2019 against the Canadiens. Crosby now has 6-15-21 numbers in 18 games played this season.

Whenever David Pastrnak steps on the ice, especially when the Bruins are on the power-play, he is a threat to score. Even though he was held scoreless in the shutout loss to the Blue Jackets on Tuesday, he has five goals in his last five games including a hat-trick four games ago against the Winnipeg Jets. Pastrnak still leads the NHL in goals and has 36-33-66 numbers in 48 games this year.

Evgeni Malkin is commonly thought of as the wing man to Sidney Crosby, but in Crosby’s absence, he was deemed the leader of the team and he stepped up. Malkin leads the Penguins with 15-32-47 totals in 33 games played in ’19/’20 and is in the midst of a four-game point streak where he has accumulated 4-4-8 numbers. In Pittsburgh’s 7-3 win over the Wild, Malkin scored two goals and added an assist for a three-point night of his own.

Who’s Not:

In a league where depth scoring seemingly rules, the Boston Bruins need all four lines to produce consistently and for Sean Kuraly, consistency has been one of the biggest problems. Even with his sixteen points on the campaign thus far, he has only one point in his last seven games and has not scored a goal in sixteen consecutive games (Dec. 11 vs WSH). Bruins need more from Kuraly, even if he is a fourth-liner.

Matt Murray is likely getting the start in goal after back-to-back starts for Tristan Jarry early in the week and if he does, it might be a better chance for the Bruins to pick up the win. Even though he has three wins in each of his last three starts, he has allowed three, two, and four goals respectively in those starts. With a .896 save-percentage and a 2.91 goals-against-average, Murray has strides to improve his game this season.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F David Krejci will play his 892nd career regular-season game, passing Terry O’Reilly (891) for 7th-most games played in Bruins history*
  • D Zdeno Chara is two penalty minutes away (1038) from passing Wayne Cashman (1039) for 6th-most PIM in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one game-winning goal away (55) from tying Cam Neely (56) for 5th-most GWG in Bruins history
  • F David Pastrnak is one hat-trick away (7) from tying Bill Cowley (8) for 5th-most hat-tricks in Bruins history

*F David Krejci (upper-body) is a game-time decision for tonight’s game vs PIT.

Pittsburgh Penguins:

  • D Jack Johnson is one point away (299) from 300 career NHL points
  • G Matt Murray is three saves away (5036) from passing Les Binkley (5038) for 5th-most saves in Penguins history
  • G Matt Murray is one shutout away (11) from passing Les Binkley (11) for sole possession of 3rd-most shutouts in Penguins history

Bruins vs Penguins Outlook:

Boston and Pittsburgh meet one another for three games a year and with Boston taking a 6-4 back on November 4th, the Penguins will look to even up the season series tonight before their final meeting of 2019-2020 this Sunday in Pittsburgh. The Bruins survived a strong four-goal second-period from the Pens in that first game to score three goals in the final period to pick up the win.

Taking a look at the speciality team battle, the Bruins on-paper take the win there. Boston has the third-best power-play percentage (27.3%) and the 7th-best penalty-kill percentage (83%) while the Penguins have the 17th-best man-advantage in the NHL (19.9%) and the 14th-best penalty-killing percentage at 81%.

Boston remains as the best team at home in the National Hockey League with a 15-2-9 record while inside the TD Garden. On the other side of it, the Penguins are a pretty decent road team – having a record of 12-7-2 during the season so far.

Bruins Roster Moves:

  • G Tuukka Rask (concussion) placed on injured-reserve, no timetable on return
  • G Dan Vladar recalled from Providence (AHL) on emergency basis
  • F David Krejci (upper-body) is a game-time decision
  • F Karson Kuhlman recalled from Providence (AHL)
  • F Brett Ritchie cleared waivers; will report to Providence (AHL)
  • D Matt Grzelcyk back in lineup, D Steven Kampfer is a healthy scratch
  • F David Backes had a maintenance day today

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Place Forward Brett Ritchie on Waivers

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nbcsports.com)

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

According to insider Elliotte Friedman, the Boston Bruins have placed forward Brett Ritchie on waivers with purpose of assignment to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League. This comes one day after Ritchie played 10:27 over 14 shifts in Boston’s 3-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on the road.

Last offseason, the Boston Bruins signed Ritchie to a one-year contract that will pay him $1 million for the 2019-2020 campaign. Prior to signing with the Bruins, the 26-year-old forward played 241 career regular-season games with the Dallas Stars. Highlighted by his 2016-17 season where he put up 16-8-24 numbers in 78 games played, Ritchie finished his five-year tenure in Dallas with 33-21-54 totals.

The Orangeville, Ontario, Canada native scored four goals and two assists for six points in 53 games during the 2018-19 season, but when his contract expired, the Stars opted to let him walk, allowing the Bruins to sign him in free agency. Boston did not have the available cap space to sign some of the more well-known free agents, so the organization settled on depth players with Ritchie being one of those players.

Ritchie scored the first goal of the 2019-2020 season for the Boston Bruins, half of his entire goal output in 27 games skated for the Black and Gold. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has tried Ritchie all over the place, seeing minutes with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci on the second-line, to minutes on the third and fourth lines as well. Unfortunately for him and the Bruins organization, he has not been able to find his game offensively whatsoever.

Now, if Ritchie does indeed clear waivers, he will report to the AHL’s Providence Bruins, who are third in the Atlantic Division with a 22-15-1 record through the first 40 games of the season. In the case that Ritchie joins Providence, his $1 million salary will still be on the bill for the Boston Bruins, where as if he is claimed, he is off the books and no longer apart of the B’s at all.

The big question with this transaction is what it means for a possible future transaction. With the injury of goaltender Tuukka Rask last night in Columbus and the recent losses on their record, changes were expected and predicted – this just brings up that question about what exactly this new change will be. Within the next 24 hours, we will know the next stages of Brett Ritchie’s future with the Boston Bruins.

For the latest breaking news, updates, and injury reports – make sure to check back to blackngoldhockey.com and give all of the excellent writers a follow on Twitter including myself (@tkdmaxbjj).

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Columbus: 01/14/20

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA TODAY Sports Photo)

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

The Boston Bruins did have a three-game winning streak, but following a disappointing 6-5 shootout loss to the Philidelphia Flyers last night, the B’s will be on the lookout to get back into the win column tonight against the Blue Jackets. Boston had a three-goal lead on the Flyers, before allowing a Philly comeback, leading into one of the most embarrassing shootout attempts by Brad Marchand to give the Broadstreet Bullies the win.

Prior to puck drop, the Bruins are third in the National Hockey League, trailing the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals by only a single point. With St. Louis and Washington not on the schedule for tonight, the Bruins have a chance to take the small lead in the overall league standings.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: Nationwide Arena – Columbus, Ohio, USA

Home: Columbus Blue Jackets (22-16-8)

Away: Boston Bruins (27-8-12)

Last Bruins Result: 6-5 SO loss vs PHI

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Head Coach Bruce Cassidy was not pleased with the Bruins after last night’s three-goal collapse so expect a Boston group that is trying to make a statement tonight.

First Period:

Just over a minute into the hockey game, Blue Jackets forward Emil Bemstrom skates directly across the crease of Tuukka Rask, but clips Rask with a jab and Rask goes down to the ice. After a brief time of stoppage, Rask skates off down the tunnel and Jaroslav Halak comes into the game after playing just last night. No penalty called on the play.

Just about six minutes in, the game gets its first penalty. Behind the play, Pierre-Luc Dubois goes off for two minutes on a cross-checking minor. Boston goes to their first power-play of the night, looking to make it fifteen straight games with a goal on the PP. The top unit for Boston had some good puck movement and nearly buried the go-ahead tally, but the puck stayed out and we return to even-strength.

Immediately after Dubois’ penalty, the Blue Jackets jam away at the puck right in front of Halak, forcing it past the red line. The nearby Columbus players celebrate, but a whistle heard make it clear that it would be no goal and after a very quick deliberation between the on-ice officials, it was determined a no-goal due to goaltender interference, the game remains scoreless.

Easily the best offensive stretch of the game for either team with roughly eight minutes to go in the period came from Boston’s dangerous first-line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak with some good short-side shots and wrap-around attempts but Merzlikins stands strong. Bruins looking good in this opening frame so far.

There goes that – with 6:33 left, the Columbus Blue Jackets strike first on what seemed like a simple breakout play. Alexander Wennberg took a cut into the center of the Bruins’ zone and fired it on the net, beating a falling Halak five-hole. Wennberg’s fourth goal of the season opens the scoring, 1-0 Blue Jackets.

In the final minute of the frame, still down by a single goal, Charlie McAvoy gets whistled down for holding and he’ll go to the box for the remainder of the first and for just over a minute into the second period. Bruins need to kill this off to head into the first intermission. The period ends there.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 7 CBJ: 9

Score: 1-0 Blue Jackets – Goals: Wennberg (4) Assists: Gavrikov (5), Gerbe (4)

Second Period:

Between periods, the Bruins announced that Tuukka Rask will miss the remainder of this game due to an upper-body injury. It is also likely that the B’s saw the replay of the elbow on Rask during the intermission because, in the opening minutes of the middle frame, Bemstrom has a Bruin in his face at all times as soon as a whistle is blown and it is quite clear that he has a target on his head.

The first half of the second period was mainly Columbus in Boston’s zone, but the Bruins, roughly at the midway point of the frame, gets some good zone time including Andres Bjork who draws a holding penalty and the Bruins go to the power-play for the second time tonight, looking to equalize the score. Brad Marchand set up the best chance, throwing the puck through the slot, looking for a possible redirection, but the deflection just went above the crossbar. The Blue Jackets kill it off and this game returns to five-on-five.

During the TV timeout, both Joakim Nordstrom and Pierre-Luc Dubois head to the box for off-setting minors because Nordstrom tried to get in the face of Bemstrom but the rookie was far from interested, so Dubois came to his aid and got into a pushing match with Nordstrom, leading to an unsportsmanlike conduct for Nordstrom and a roughing minor for Dubois. Nothing happens on the 4-on-4, penalties end.

Boston has been getting more and more chances to tie the game up, but they either miss the net or find Merzlikins, who has been solid in between the pipes for Columbus tonight. With only a few minutes left in the second, you have to assume that eventually, a bounce will go Boston’s way.

Boston ends the period with some great chances and puck possession but somehow, the puck stayed out. They need to continue this pressure in the final regulation period to tie this game if they want to squeak out a point.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 21 CBJ: 22

Score: 1-0 Blue Jackets

Third Period:

The Bruins did indeed that. After a set play that nearly set up David Pastrnak on the rush, the Bruins make some nice passing plays off of a Columbus turnover that sets up Charlie Coyle on a partial breakaway. He gets stopped, but drew a slashing penalty from Sonny Milano, giving Boston their third man-advantage of the night. Unfortunately, no goals came from it and with five minutes gone, it remains 1-0 Columbus.

At the 15:13 mark, Brad Marchand gets his stick caught up in Gavrikov’s face and he will be forced to sit in the penalty box for two minutes due to the high-sticking. Columbus heads to the power-play without having to face one of Boston’s top penalty-killers. With some brilliant cycling around the entire zone, Foligno makes a nice saucer pass from behind the net right to Stenlund. 2-0 Blue Jackets.

Off the center-ice faceoff, the Blue Jackets are called on an interference penalty and Boston has a chance to get that insurance tally right back and bring it back to a one-goal game in the third. Essentially nothing at all comes from the man-advantage, the game returns to 5-on-5, and Boston is still down by two goals with 11:50 to go in regulation.

As the period goes on, the Bruins get a couple nice opportunities to final score their first of the contest, but the Blue Jackets end up on a 2-on-1 rush going back the other way and Riley Nash elects to shoot the puck – beating Jaroslav Halak short side and extending Columbus’ lead to three goals with just over six minutes left to play. Just a bad night of hockey for the Black and Gold.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 33 CBJ: 27

Final Score: 3-0 Blue Jackets

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: CBJ G Elvis Merzlikins – 34 Saves, 2nd-straight shutout

2nd Star: CBJ F Alexander Wennberg – 1 Goal (GWG), 2 Shots, 13:54 TOI

3rd Star: CBJ D Seth Jones – 4 Blocks, 3 Shots, +1 Rating, 27:00 TOI

Boston’s next game is Thursday at home against the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins’ Rask To Forgo 2020 NHL All-Star Weekend

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(Photo: Winslow Townson / AP Photo)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask will not participate in the 2020 NHL All-Star Game, as announced by NHL Public Relations. Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevsky will replace Rask at the festivities on All-Star Weekend.

Rask spoke to the media on Monday evening before Boston’s visit with the Philadelphia Flyers, saying it was a tough decision that he put a lot of thought into. While the goaltender noted that it was an honor to be selected to the Atlantic Division All-Star team, he emphasized that he made his decision in order to get extra rest and time with his family.

“I had to be kind of selfish, thinking how much hockey we played last year, the short summer, wanting to play into June again, and [All-Star Weekend] falling right in the middle of our bye week.” Rask said to the media. “It was a selfish decision to go spend time with my family and get the mind and body rejuvenated.”

As is the case with players who decide to forgo All-Star Weekend after being voted in, Rask will be mandated by the NHL to serve a one-game suspension in the Bruins’ last game before the break or the first game following the break. Rask acknowledged the suspension during his media availability, saying it will probably be after the break.

The 32-year-old Finn also said that the organization supported his decision. In 27 appearances this season, Rask holds a 17-4-6 record to go along with a 2.27 goals-against average (fifth-best in the league) and a .925 save percentage (fifth-highest).

The Bruins will take on the Flyers on the road on Monday night at 7:00 pm before visiting the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. Jaroslav Halak will get the nod in goal on Monday, while Rask is expected to start in Tuesday’s contest, per head coach Bruce Cassidy.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Game 43 Preview: Edmonton Oilers

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

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

Looking to continue their strong season, the Boston Bruins host the Edmonton Oilers in the first meeting between the two teams in opposing conferences. The Bruins boast the second-best record in the National Hockey League with a 24-7-11 record through the halfway mark of the regular season. The Bruins are coming into the game following a tight 2-1 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

For the Edmonton Oilers, they are entering Saturday’s game with a record of 21-17-5 after 43 games played and have a sub-par record of 3-6-1 in their last ten contests. The Oilers started the season off hot, near the top of the league, but have since fallen off the rails and are now grasping for any signs of life before they fall out of a playoff spot. In their last time out, the Oilers felt short, losing to the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 in overtime.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 9-3-5 2.20 GAA .930 SV% Last Game: 42 Saves in 3-2 SO loss vs NJD

EDM: Mikko Koskinen (Not Confirmed) 14-8-2 2.85 GAA .912 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 7-5 win vs NYR

*Goaltenders may change before puck drop.

Who’s Hot:

David Pastrnak has proven time and time again that he is among the very best that the National Hockey League has to offer and his current nine-game point streak is a perfect example of that. In these past nine games, the 23-year-old forward has 4-10-14 numbers, helping him extend his position as the leading goal scorer in the NHL with 30 goals, only three goals ahead of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews who has 27 on the campaign.

Connor McDavid, on a good or bad team, plays at such a high level that he is almost always “hot”. McDavid leads the league in points with 64, (22 goals, 42 assists), only one point ahead of teammate Leon Draisaitl, 23-40-63, on the year. This dynamic duo has been dominating all season long, with McDavid just recently having a four-game point streak.

Patrice Bergeron failed to score a point against the New Jersey Devils on New Year’s Eve, but the four-time Selke winner added an assist in Thursday’s loss to Columbus, improving his numbers to 17-19-36 in only 33 games thus far, scoring seven of those points in his last five games. Between December 21st and December 27th, Bergeron scored two goals in a game for three straight games, proving that he can score goals as well as be one of the best defensive forwards in the game.

Who’s Not:

Oilers forward Alex Chiasson scored twenty-two goals last year for Edmonton but in 36 games so far this year, the 29-year-old has only 4-8-12 totals and has not found the scoresheet in his last five starts. Against the Rangers, Chiasson was scratched but made his way back into the lineup against the Sabres, playing 11:25 of ice-time with zero points and only one shot on goal.

Against the Devils, almost the entire Bruins lineup was lacking in the effort the put out on the ice for the final forty minutes of play. With the exception of Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner, the Bruins seemed sluggish, slow, and had no motivation in their game, eventually leading to New Jersey tying the game and winning it in a shootout. Boston failed to win battles along the boards, lost races to the puck, and only managed fourteen shots in the second and third periods combined. Against Columbus, not much changed as they lost a one-goal lead before eventually losing early into the overtime session. The Bruins need a better 60-minute effort against Edmonton on Saturday to pick up a win.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F David Krejci is three points away (671) from tying Ken Hodge (673) for 8th-most points in Bruins history
  • D Zdeno Chara is two penalty minutes away (1029) from passing Ted Green (1029) for sole possession of 7th-most penalties in minutes in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is two even-strength goals away (205) from tying Ken Hodge (207) for 8th-most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one power-play goal away (102) from passing Rick Middleton (102) for sole possession of 5th-most power-play goals in Bruins history

Edmonton Oilers:

  • G Mike Smith is one shutout away (39) from 40 career NHL shutouts*
  • F Connor McDavid is one point away (436) from passing Esa Tikkanen (436) for sole possession of 10th-most points in Oilers history

*if he gets the start Saturday vs BOS

Bruins vs Oilers Outlook:

Since these teams are in opposite conferences, they will only play each other twice during the 82-game campaign. Last season, Boston played the Oilers twice, with the Bruins winning the season series with a record of 1-0-1. On October 11th, 2018, the Bruins defeated Edmonton by a final score of 4-to-1, before losing a week later in overtime 3-2.

As mentioned previously, the Oilers were once near the top of the overall league standings as a result of their strong month of October, however, due to some poor goaltending and lack of consistent defense, they have fallen to the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference and 16th in the league standings. The Oilers have an 11-9-2 road record compared to Boston’s strong 14-1-9 record when playing inside the TD Garden – the arena of Saturday’s tilt.

An interesting facet of Saturday’s game will be the power-play as both teams are in the top-three for power-play percentage so far this season. Edmonton currently has the best man-advantage in the NHL, scoring at 30.0% on 130 power-play opportunities. The Bruins are not far behind, scoring at 27.2% on 136 power-play opportunities.

On the other hand, Boston has the second-best penalty-kill in the league, killing off 85.4% of their 152 penalties while Edmonton has the fourth-best penalty kill, killing off 83.6% of their 142 penalties. Boston has also drawn the fourth-most penalties throughout the season so far, drawing a total of 171 penalties – 25 more than Edmonton’s 146.

With two of the best duos in the league (Marchand & Pastrnak; McDavid & Draisaitl), going toe-to-toe with one another, expect this to be quite an entertaining hockey game. There are NHL odds here that will be updated as it gets closer to the time of the game so don’t be surprised if you see a change in the spread.

Puck drop is scheduled for 1:00 pm EST from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Bruins Place Torey Krug On IR, Recall Steven Kampfer

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(LEFT: Torey Krug. Photo: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images. RIGHT: Steven Kampfer. Photo: Steve Babineau / NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced this morning that the team has placed defenseman Torey Krug on injured reserve and recalled d-man Steven Kampfer from the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL affiliate, on an emergency basis. Krug left the Bruins’ game against the Washington Capitals on Dec. 23 with an upper-body injury.

Krug’s injury is likely the result of a hit he took from Capitals forward Tom Wilson. Krug was stickhandling the puck before passing it off when he took a hard hit from Wilson that sent him crashing awkwardly into the boards. The blueliner was slow to get up and went down the tunnel to the Bruins’ dressing room following the hit.

Through 33 games this season, the 28-year-old leads all Bruins defenseman in scoring with five goals and 21 assists for 26 points. In 495 career NHL games, all with Boston, the 5-foot-9, 186-pound blueliner has recorded 63-251-314 numbers with 23 goals and 147 points coming on the power play.

Kampfer skated in four games with Boston, registering a plus-two rating and two penalty minutes, before clearing waivers and being sent down to Providence. In six games with the P-Bruins, the 5-foot-11, 198-pound defender has notched four assists.

Kampfer was supposed to serve a two-game suspension with Providence this weekend for interference. In 205 career NHL contests, the 31-year-old has 13-19-32 totals.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 159 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’ Pastrnak Named Atlantic Division Captain For 2020 NHL All-Star Game

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(Photo: Matthew J. Lee / The Boston Globe)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

On Saturday evening, the National Hockey League announced that Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak has been voted Atlantic Division captain for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon (Central), Washington’s Alex Ovechkin (Metropolitan), and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid (Pacific) have also been voted as the three other division captains.

The honor comes as Pastrnak’s second consecutive All-Star selection of his career, having earned a spot in 2019. The right-winger won the Accuracy Shooting challenge at last year’s NHL All-Star Skills Competition.

Through 36 games this season, Pastrnak leads the league in goals with 28 to go along with 22 assists, combining for 50 points, the sixth-highest total in the NHL. The the 22-year-old Czech’s 13 power play tallies also lead the league in that category. With 20 power play points, the 6-foot, 194 pound forward leads Boston on that front, while coming in at third behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl among the league leaders.

Pastrnak holds the second-highest point total on the Bruins, one behind Brad Marchand’s 51 points, and leads the team in goals, 10 scores clear of Marchand’s 18 tallies. With a plus-11 rating, Pastrnak ranks fifth among Bruins skaters and is tied for the 12th-best mark in the league.

Pastrnak is now in the midst of his sixth season in the NHL after Boston selected him 25th-overall in the first round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Over the course of his career, he has notched 160 goals and 174 assists for 334 points in 356 games.

The 2020 NHL All-Star Game will be held on Saturday Jan. 25 at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis. The All-Star Skills Competition will take place on Friday Jan. 24.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 158 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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