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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A By The Numbers Look At The Bruins Second Round Defeat

(Photo Credit: Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Leon Lifschutz | Follow me on Twitter @LeonLifschutz

Well, here we are Bruins fans, forced to jump on the bandwagon of a new team now that the Bs have been vanquished by the rival Lightning. At least there is some consolation in the fact that the Maple Leafs and Canadians have also been bounced from the bubble.

My colleague Michael Digiorgio wrote yesterday about some of the stories and moments that led to the Bruins playoff exit. The topics include lackluster efforts in the round robin and game three against the Lightning and lineup decisions by head coach Bruce Cassidy that sparked heated conversations on #BruinsTwitter. In the aftermath of Boston’s defeat, questions abound about key players, especially long time captain Zdeno Chara, not to mention the longevity of the current core. With all that in mind, let’s take a step back and look under the analytical hood to better understand what went off the rails against a talented Tampa Bay Team.

Overall Metrics

Glossary of Terms

5v5CFCACF%SCFSCASCF%xGFxGAxGF%GFGAGF%SH%SV%PDO
Series26428448.18%11613446.40%8.1610.9842.62%51426.32%4.03%89.71%0.937
Data from Natural Stat Trick

At even strength the Lightning drove play substantially throughout this series. The Bruins came out in the red in shot attempts, scoring chances, and expected goals. More importantly they lost the goals for battle by a sizable margin. As we peel back this data a couple of items emerge.

In games one through three the Lightning were head and shoulders the stronger team. The Bruins could not handle the dual threat of Tampa Bay’s ability to carry the puck in or chip and retrieve it. However, in games four and five, Boston did a much better job in the neutral zone, slowing down the attack and creating more favorable circumstances. In general, they were more patient, clogging the middle of the ice and not allowing Lightning forwards to wind up with speed. In turn, the Bruins were able to better control the play with games four and five largely a wash from an analytical standpoint and extremely close on the scoreboard.

The other key stats are shooting percentage, save percentage, and PDO (a simple combination of shooting and save percentage). PDOs typically should be around 1.00. Higher or lower numbers suggest either immense talent or a string of luck. The Bruins in the regular season exceeded 1.00 on the backs of strong goaltending and talented shooters. In this series their PDO comes in at 0.937, a scary number. Part of this has to do with the 7-1 thrashing in game three but the even worse culprit is an even strength shooting percentage of 4.03%. While some of this can be blamed on variance and luck, quite a bit of credit has to be given to Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Lightning defenders. The Lightning goaltender made some big saves and for the most part his defenders kept the Bruins from second chance opportunities.

Heat Map

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As just mentioned, the Lightning defenders had an excellent series. In an ideal world you’d love to take every shot from right on top of the spoked B logo in the diagram. The Bruins did not get many opportunities from there at all. They also had few rebound attempts when Vasilevskiy did pop pucks back out. In contrast, the Lightning were able to penetrate the Bruins defensive posture. Their forwards combined quickness and toughness to win position in the center of the ice. In turn they scored a number of goals on screens, tips, and rebounds.

Key Players

David Pastrnak2 G, 4 A, 40% xGFNikita Kucherov2 G, 5 A, 71% xGF
Patrice Bergeron0 G, 2 A, 45% xGFBrayden Point1 G, 7 A, 70% xGF
Brad Marchand4 G, 1 A, 41% xGFOndrej Palat5 G, 2 A, 73% xGF
Charlie McAvoy0 G, 0 A, 39% xGFVictor Hedman4 G, 2 A, 52% xGF
Torey Krug0 G, 3A, 46% xGFMikhail Sergachev1 G, 2 A, 63% xGF
Jaroslav Halak3.12 GAA, .896 SV%, -2 GSAAAndrei Vasilevskiy1.79 GAA, .936 SV%, +2 GSAA
Data from Natural Stat Trick

In The Athletic, Fluto Shinzawa discussed how the Lightning’s top players were outshining the Bruins’ stars prior to game five. After game five, the contrasting play remained part of the story line. Tampa Bay’s top line drove play against every matchup. Cassidy tried several options throughout the series with David Krejci getting the assignment in game five. The “perfection line” (as NBC must have trademarked by now) was less than perfect when head to head against the Lightning’s top line or future Selke trophy candidate Alex Killorn. While the Bruins stars did get on the board, it was almost exclusively on the powerplay.

The second wave of offense further differentiated the two teams. Tampa Bay received contributions from the likes of Yanni Gourde and Blake Coleman. They also got big contributions from their defenders who regularly walked the blue line and found seams to the net through heavy traffic. The Bruins, other than David Krejci, got virtually no secondary offense from their forwards or their defensemen.

In the goalie duel, Vasilevskiy is the clear winner. Halak put up his best effort in the elimination game, but at the end of the day his performance was not good enough. Despite some moments of strong play, reflections on his playoff run will largely be marred by a couple major guffaws. The Big Cat in Tampa’s net inspired more confidence and made big saves when needed.

Performance By Lines and Pairs

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A key caveat of the above chart is that it includes the whole time in the bubble, round robin and all. Having said that, it still has some value in assessing the Bruins’ demise. My colleague Lydia Murray recently did a great article on reading these charts and I encourage you to read it. For now, just know the upper right is the best and upper left is fine too. Lower on the chart is not where you want to be, particularity the bottom left.

The Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line still ends up in the good quadrant but did not distinguish itself as much as usual. The line of Debrusk-Krejci-Kase performed well enough in their matchups but land in the dull quadrant as they didn’t necessarily move the needle much other than a couple big games against the Hurricanes. The Bruins fourth line struggled regardless of the musical chairs of players. You’ll also notice Charlie Coyle is not on the chart. That is because he had such a revolving door of wingers that no combination had enough minutes together to qualify. Coach Cassidy’s tinkering finally seemed to land on a winning combination in the final game with Anders Bjork and Jack Studnicka, but it was a little too late to make a difference in the series.

The Bruins defenders struggled. The speed and tenacity of Carolina and Tampa Bay were too much for Chara and Brandon Carlo to handle. Torey Krug was exposed in a number of tough matchups against top talent. Charlie McAvoy did his best work in limited minutes with mobile puck mover Matt Grzelcyk but otherwise was on his heels defending the other team’s best players, alongside long time partner Chara.

Special Teams

Boston: 5 out of 17; 26:33 minutes; 21 shots; 3.14 xG; 5 goals

Tampa Bay: 4 out of 20; 33:28 minutes; 28 shots; 3.35 xG; 4 goals

Special teams is where the Bruins had the marked advantage coming into the series. They have a number of dominant players on both units. In general they performed alright. With the exception of a three goal output in game three, the Lightning only scored one other goal with the man advantage despite ample opportunity. The Bruins even had a number of chances while shorthanded. Boston scored a powerplay goal in every contest. In general, that is a key ingredient for the Bruins. They keep games simple, low-event, and close before finishing teams off with their lethal power play.

However, in this series, Tampa Bay’s advantage at 5v5 was just too overwhelming and the Bruins’ time in the bubble has come to an end.

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.

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!!

Boston vs Tampa Bay Game Five Breakdown

(Photo Credit: Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Leon Lifschutz | Follow Me On Twitter @LeonLifschutz

Sadly, this was it for the Bruins. It was not for lack of trying in this one. The players on the ice pushed hard. The coaching stuff tried to get the edge juggling lines going into and throughout the game. The Bruins played perhaps their most complete game of this round against a Lightning team shorthanded after star player Nikita Kucherov left the contest. It was not to be the Bruins’ night, or their year, and Boston will now exit the bubble after an eventful but abbreviated tenure.

The Recap

The two teams played a tentative first period that ended in no goals for either squad. The second period featured each side trading markers. Ondrej Palat tipped a Kevin Shattenkirk point shot past Jaroslav Halak. Later in the period, David Pastrnak finished one from his office after a clever David Krejci feed. Midway through the third, Anthony Cirelli got just enough of a Victor Hedman point shot to fool Halak and give the Lightning the lead. With the Bruins on the ropes, Krejci again played the hero finding himself in a perfect spot to finish off a deflected Zdeno Chara shot. One overtime period would solve nothing, but in the second a Hedman shot would find it’s way through traffic and burst the Bruins’ time in the bubble.

Check out the full RECAP from my colleague Liz Rizzo.

The Story Line

Their is the story line of the game and the story line immediately after the final goal crossed the line. In the game, the Bruins played well but as Coach Cassidy summed it up in his post game remarks, “they made one more play than we did.” That is one of the many beauties of hockey. One play can have such an impact.

Immediately after the game the story line quickly shifted to the future. In particular, speculation over Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara permeated the post game virtual scrums. It is evident that Krug is well liked and, despite some polarization among the fan base, he is a key cog in the Bruins powerplay and a top-4 defender. Chara, or Big Z, showed up in Boston and success followed. Despite his diminishing play, one gets the sense his presence still counts for something to the players and organization. Krug may very well walk in free agency. Chara may very well walk off into the sunset. Other personnel decisions are coming as well but the departure of the two defenders suggests a core that is starting to reach its swan song.

The Stats

Corsi (shot attempts), Scoring Chances, and Expected Goals

5v5CFCACF%SCFSCASCF%xGFxGAxGF%
P1111739.29%71041.18%0.660.462.04%
P2251365.79%14573.68%0.640.7147.43%
P3242153.33%111052.38%0.670.5952.88%
P4161748.48%6940.00%0.330.3151.63%
P5121642.86%5838.46%0.330.6932.46%
Game888451.16%434250.59%2.632.749.27%
Data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick

This was a close game. Both teams had their share of momentum at times. A chance here or a chance there would have swung the underlying numbers one direction or the other just as one shot would decide this game on the scoreboard.

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Boston did two things better tonight reflected in this visual. They kept Tampa Bay away from the mid and high slots better than in previous games though they still had trouble tying up sticks in front. They also did a much better job of getting their shots on net not only controlling the attempts but also the shot clock. Andrei Vasilevskiy played a key role in this win for the Lightning turning away a number of good Bruins’ chances.

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It’s hard to sit here and reflect on who played well and who didn’t with the season coming to an abrupt end. But we are here to breakdown the game and so we will. In doing so, it’s also worth keeping a little eye on the future.

Bruce Cassidy went back to a combination he tried out earlier in the restart flanking Charlie Coyle with Anders Bjork and Jack Studnicka. The trio drove play masterfully. Bjork and Studnicka’s ability to transport the puck down the wings along with Coyle’s ability to make heady plays and control possession low could be a standout combination for next season.

Beyond the Coyle line, it was mixed bag for the forward units. Doing heavy defensive zone duty the fourth line got hemmed in though they limited the damage on the scoreboard. The top line was never really able to break free at even strength in this series to the point Cassidy flipped Pastrnak and Kase in the third and overtime periods. This strikes as drastic for a line that has spent pretty much three years straight together showing the coach’s urgency. It is concerning that in an elimination game Karson Kuhlman produced more individual expected goals at even strength than any of the top trio. Cassidy seemed to agree, and though the strategy went alright, it failed to produce the deciding goal.

David Krejci had a big game on the scoreboard and he did so taking advantage of his limited opportunities. Cassidy gave Krejci the task of shutting down the Lightning’s top line. He and his line mates did an okay job surviving extended defensive zone shifts. However they created limited offense of their own. Nonetheless, Playoff Krech was clutch again sending this one to extra time.

Zdeno Chara had arguably his best game of these playoffs. The Captain was determined and managed to make something happen on the game tying goal even if it wasn’t exactly how the play was drawn up in practice. Brandon Carlo put together another decent effort after stumbling for quite some time in the restart. His ability to grow his game further and get more consistent will be a major need going into next season. His partner Krug also seemed more himself but was again on the ice for multiple goals against.

Halak was good tonight. His numbers will not reflect the quality of the saves he made. Though he was tested less than Vasilevskiy in quantity, the quality of some of the Lightning chances made up for it. Unfortunately he was undone by the relentless traffic created by the Lightning forwards for all three goals against, the subject of our video breakdown.

The Video Breakdown

For tonight’s video breakdown we will look at the season ending goal off the stick of Victor Hedman. It’s obviously a pivotal moment but also is reflective of all three goals scored on this night and a number of others in the series. Let’s take a look.

The Bruins defensive posture on this night was good. It is clear they wanted to take away the space between the hash marks from the Lightning. We can see this in how the white jerseys are structured here, all patient and all pushing Tampa to the outside.

The Lightning though were wise. They didn’t force anything and in turn moved the puck around the perimeter to try and create the best possible shooting lane. Shattenkirk did it on the first goal and Hedman on goals two and three. What was equally important is as the Lightning D and an additional supporting forward move the puck around, the other two forwards fought for position in front and in the low and mid slot. On the first two goals, the presence in the mid slot above the Bruins defenders allowed for impressive tips by Palat and Cirelli. On the game winning goal it allowed for a game altering screen by Patrick Maroon, pretty much what he was brought in to do.

It should also be noted that Hedman’s individual skill, as the video is captioned, is a key element in getting this puck through to the net and through Halak. It was a tremendous play, from a great player, in a big moment.

Moment of the Night

Our moment of the night goes to Big Z. The future is uncertain and this could have been his walking off into the sunset moment. If so, a bittersweet moment accompanied by high praise from his coach.

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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.

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!!

The Bruins’ PK In the Playoffs Is Similar To How It Was In The Regular Season

Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By: Lydia Murray | Follow Me on Twitter @lydia_murray12

Over the course of the past month or so, I’ve published articles using shot heatmaps on the Bruins offense, defense, and power play during the regular season. Now, it’s time to take a look at the penalty kill. In addition to breaking down how it was in the regular season, I’m going to discuss how it seems to be in the playoffs. I do not have a heatmap to go off of from that, so it’ll purely be my observations, so keep that in mind. Now, let’s get into how these things work. Please note, the next two sections are taken directly from the previous three articles. If you have already read them and/or just know how heatmaps work, feel free to skip ahead! But, for those of you haven’t or that just need a refresher, let’s dig right in!

A Short Introduction to Shot Heatmaps

Before I begin, here’s a short overview of how to read these heatmaps for those of you who don’t know or need a refresher. This is just a basic overview of how these heatmaps work. If you want to see a really in-depth analysis, you can check one out (albeit of the San Jose Sharks) here. But anyway, these maps illustrate the number of unblocked shots (not necessarily on goal) for or against a team compared to the league average, and where those shots are coming from. Blue means that fewer unblocked shots are generated from a given spot than the league average, whereas red means more are generated than the league average. The deeper the color, the further away from the league average a team is from that spot. White means that shots are being generated at the league average from that particular spot. 

With this in mind, on offensive graphs, blue is good, and red is bad. Obviously, you want your team to be generating a ton of shots, and ideally, they’ll be producing more than most other teams. On the other hand, for defensive graphs, the opposite is true. When an area is blue, it means that team is letting less unblocked shots through than the league average. It goes without saying that’s a great thing. The fewer shots that get through unblocked, the fewer chances an opponent gets to score. 

Defining Areas of the Ice

Before I get started with the actual heatmaps, there’s just a few more things I want to go over. The picture in the embedded tweet above is an example of the heatmaps you’ll see in this article as it was directly on the website. This is great on its own, but I decided to add a few more things to aid in my analysis.

As you can see, I’ve added a box and a trapezoid to the above graph (as well as made the crease more obvious). My apologies for the subpar photo editing job, I don’t have access to the best software and I’m not too skilled at it either. But, it’s good enough for the purposes of this article. Please note, these outlines may be off a little bit, but if they are, it’s not by much as I was as exact as possible with the tools I had. 

I’ve added these areas to aid in my analysis of these graphs. The box area I have outlined is known as the “slot”, and shots from this area are considered “high danger”. The trapezoid is known as just that, and shots from that area are considered “medium danger”. Shots from anywhere else on the ice are considered “low danger.” According to this article, in the high danger area, shots have at least a 10% chance of going in. The article also says that shots from the medium danger area have a 3-10% chance of going in, while low danger shots have at most a 3% chance of going in. 

To be clear, those percentages are averages, as some shots obviously stand a better chance of going in than others, even from within those areas. For example, a shot from the backdoor of the net that’s wide open has a much better shot than one that’s coming from right out front with the goalie square to it. But anyway, with all of that out of the way now, let’s get into the actual analysis these things.

Now, Onto the Analysis

Both Circles and the Right Point Were Great

As you can see from the graph, the Bruins did an excellent job suppressing shots from the right side of the ice during the regular season. Let’s start with the right circle. There isn’t a single spot in it where they allowed more shots per hour on while on the PK than a league average team, which is outstanding. In fact, they allowed between 0.6 and 1.0 less shots per hour than the average team for the most dangerous areas of it. Considering there aren’t many spots per power play and there usually aren’t too many power plays per game, that’s incredible. 

The Bruins also did a good job of suppressing shots from the right point (and the whole right side really). They allowed around 0.1 and 0.3 less shots per hour from that point than the average team, which is great. This is especially true considering they had two large areas of ice where they were even further above league average than that (more on the second one shortly). It’s a good sign that the Bruins were good at suppressing shots from at least one point, as even though they are technically low-danger shots, they often produce large rebounds that other players can scoop up and bury, or the goalie is screened when they’re coming through. So, a shot from there is more dangerous than it appears, because rebounds are the most common way goals are scored in the NHL.

The left circle was good too, but not quite as good. The Bruins allowed between 0.3 and 1.0 shots per hour less than a league-average team for the most dangerous area of the circle, which is great. But, for the far left part of the circle, they allowed between 0.3-1.0 more shots per hour than the average team. However, that isn’t a very dangerous part of the ice, as it’s a weird angle to the net. So, while it’s far from ideal to be below league average in a spot, it’s not too detrimental to be from a spot like that. It’s not realistic to say that they’ll be above average in every area of the ice, and if there’s going to be a spot where they aren’t as good, that’s a good one to pick.

The High Slot Was in Need of Work, Slot Was Okay But Could’ve Used Some Too

The biggest area of the ice the Bruins needed to be better about protecting on the PK was the high slot. The high slot is considered to be one of the most dangerous areas of the ice, and the fact that the Bruins allowed between 0.6-1.0 shots per hour more than an average team form that area is not good. It obviously wasn’t too detrimental to them, as their penalty kill was third in the league with an 84.3% success rate. But, that’s not a recipe for success usually. Luckily, they appear to have cleaned it up for the playoffs, so let’s hope that continues for the rest of their postseason and then carries over into next year.

The slot area of the ice also could’ve used some work. It was nowhere near as bad as the high slot was, but it still wasn’t great. It’s considered to be the most dangerous area of the ice, so to have any spots in it where they were allowing more than the league average in shots is not exactly good. This is especially true given the main area of the slot they were allowing more than the average number of shots from was right at the top of the crease, which is the most dangerous part of it. They were allowing between 0.1 and 0.3 more shots per hour than the average team from one area there, which is far from ideal. Granted, you can’t really block shots from that area, but you can prevent them from happening, which is what the Bruins needed to do more of.

That being said, the Bruins had some spots of the slot where they were allowed less than the league average amount of shots. The biggest spot of the slot where they were below average is the left edge of the crease, which is a very dangerous area. They allowed between 0.6 and 0.8 fewer shots per hour for most of this area, which is incredible, especially considering I’ve already talked about a few spots where they were even better than that. There really aren’t many shots on a power play usually, and there normally aren’t too many power plays per game, so for the Bruins to have been that strong in as many areas of the ice as they were is amazing.

The Middle of the Blue Line Also Needed Some Work

The only other area of the ice that the Bruins could’ve stood to work on allowing fewer shots from was below the middle of the blue line. They were allowing between 0.3 and 1.0 more shots per hour than the average team from most of that area. Even though that is a low-danger spots for initial shots, like the points, it’s still a dangerous spot of the ice. Most goals in the NHL are scored off of rebounds, and shots from that far out usually produce big rebounds as they’re hard for goaltenders to control. They’re also usually screened and so don’t know they’re coming until they hit them. So, it was not ideal for the Bruins to be that far below league average from that spot.

How Does This Compare to the Bruins PK in the Playoffs?

As I said earlier, I don’t have a heatmap of how the Bruins PK has been in the playoffs. However, I wanted to take some time and compare it to how it was during the regular season using what I personally have noticed. For the most part, I think it’s been very similar. They have an 81.1% success rate in the playoffs, so that’s pretty close to their 84.3% success rate in the regular season. They’re also fairly similar in where the shots were mostly coming from what I’ve noticed. 

The only spots I’ve really been noticing a difference are the high slot and the right point. I’ve noticed a lot fewer shots being taken from the high slot by opponents while the Bruins are on the PK, which is excellent. However, I’ve noticed more shots are getting through from the right point, especially in their current series against the Lightning. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed this for bad reasons, as a lot of the PP goals that have been scored by the Lightning this series were off shots originating from that spot off the stick of Victor Hedman. It’s an area they will definitely want to clean up tonight by blocking more of those shots or making sure Hedman can never get them off. 

But, other than that, I think the PK has done a similarly good job in the playoffs as they did in the regular season, with the notable exception of the disastrous Game 3 against the Lightning. In fact, I could even argue it’s been better, and that Game 3’s performance brought the percentage down significantly because it did. However, at the very least. I’m confident that it’s been just as good, as they got better at one spot but worse at another, while staying largely the same in the others as near as I can tell. The spot they improved upon was statistically a medium-danger one, which is great, but to get worse from one of the points isn’t exactly great because rebounds and screens arguably make those shots even more dangerous, although in an indirect way.

Summary

In short, the Bruins did an excellent job suppressing shots from the circles and the right point during the regular season. They needed to improve in the high slot and the middle of the blue line, but other than that they were pretty good. The slot itself could’ve used a little work too, but overall it was ok. They’ve done a similarly good job on the PK in the playoffs, and possibly even a better one when you take out Game 3 against the Lightning.

As for where those shots are mainly coming from during the playoffs, they’re from most of the same spots as they were during the regular season. However, they appear to have improved in the high slot while getting worse at the right point. But, overall, the Bruins have been excellent on the PK during the playoffs, just like they were during the regular season. Here’s hoping they have a great night on it tonight and stay out of the box for the most part. If they can do that, I’ll think they’ll live to see another day in the bubble.

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!

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!!

This is Not the Bruins’ 2011 Veteran Core’s Last Hurrah

Photo Credit: John Locher/AP Photo

By: Lydia Murray | Follow Me on Twitter @lydia_murray12

It’s no secret that the Bruins’ veteran core is aging. They’re all in their thirties at this point, or in Zdeno Chara’s case, forties. That’s why, with the Bruins being pushed to the brink of elimination from the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning, many fans are saying this is probably we’ll see of this group intact. However, I truly don’t believe that will be the case. Here’s why

Chara, Rask Not Ready to Retire

The two players I see the most speculation about being done after this year are Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask. However, Chara has stated he’s not ready to be done yet, so I think he’ll play another year, although he might have a more reduced role. I know some people disagree with me and think he’s no longer a good player, but I think he is and he somehow still has some gas in the tank. I’d frankly be shocked if he retired after this season, despite being 43 years old. He’s making no indication that he’s ready to be done, and in fact it’s pretty clear he still loves playing and wants to keep going. The team has said as long as he wants to play, they’ll find a spot for him, so I’m pretty sure we’ll see him back for next season. 

As for Rask, he’s said multiple times he hasn’t even thought about retirement. He’s also said he’s looking forward to being able to negotiate a contract extension starting this summer. So, I’m not sure why that speculation is happening. You can check out more on my thoughts on his situation here. But basically just know that there is absolutely no reason to believe he’s retiring soon. His two leaves of absence were due to family emergencies so it’s wrong to make anything more out of them. He still loves the game and he’s still playing at an elite level. He clearly has a lot of gas left in the tank. So there’s absolutely no reason for him to retire soon.

Krejci, Marchand, Bergeron Still Going Strong

There are only three other players that are left from the 2011 team, and all three of them are still going incredibly strong. Bergeron and Krejci might be in their mid-thirties, but you’d never know it by watching them play. They playing as good as they did in the prime of their careers, and so it’s safe to say they both have a lot left to give. 

Krejci only has one year left on his deal, but I think he’ll re-sign with the Bruins for a few more seasons. He’s expressed interest in going to finish his career over in his home country of the Czech Republic. But, that’s a league he’ll be able to play in even if/when he declines and is no longer a great NHL player. I mean, Jaromir Jagr is still playing over in the country’s highest league, Czech Extraliga, at 48 years old. Granted, he’s part-owner of the team, but he’s still capable of playing in it even though he’s obviously not the elite player he used to be. So I’m pretty sure Krejci will be able to handle it regardless of how long he stays in North America. He’s 34 years old, but he certainly doesn’t look like it when he plays, so he’s got a while before he’s no longer an excellent player in the NHL.  

As for Bergeron, he has two years left on his deal, but he’ll surely keep playing longer than that. As long as his body holds up, I can honestly see him being like Chara. His passion for the game is obvious, and it’s clear that he has no intention of retiring anytime soon. He’s 35 years old, but he’s got a lot of gas left in the tank and barring any horrible injuries, I don’t think we have to worry about him retiring for several more years.

Marchand is the youngest player remaining from the core, and he’s not going anywhere for a really long time. Not only is the youngest and somehow still getting better at 32 years old, but he’s signed through the 2024-25 season. That’s at least five more years of Marchand, and at the rate he’s going, it’ll almost surely be longer than that. So luckily, we don’t have to worry about him leaving for a long time.

There’s a Least a Few More Runs Left in Most of This Group

In short, the Bruins have at least a few more playoff runs left in the majority of this group. Losing Chara in another year or so will sting, but at least they’ll have the rest of the 2011 core still intact. I can’t predict the future obviously, so I don’t know exactly how long they have left, but I’d be shocked if they don’t get several more runs out of this group. They’re all on the back halves of their careers, so it won’t be a ton more, but this is far from their last hurrah. It stings that they’ve likely wasted another year of these guys, but it’s certainly not time to call it quits on them for the future. But even with that in mind, obviously, let’s hope this year’s chance doesn’t end tonight.

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.

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!!

How The Bruins Can Beat Tampa Bay

(Photo Credit: Cole Burston | AP)

By: Lucas Pearson | Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

After as good of a first game you could wish for, this series has gone to shambles for the Bruins. They lost a hard fought, OT bout in Game 2 and since then, the series has been an absolute mess. Game 3 may have been the worst show I’ve seen the Bruins put on in years. To show zero effort when your goalie is making his NHL debut is pitiful. I expected a much better performance in Game 4 and while it was a better performance, it wasn’t enough. The physicality was kinda there, the intensity was kinda there, the offense was kinda there (might be being a bit generous) and the goaltending was kinda there. But it was not enough to beat a team as good as Tampa Bay. So what do the Bruins have to do to win this series?

Cut Down on the Penalties

Over the past two games, the Bruins have taken 11 penalties, four of which have been capitalized on by Tampa. That is not how you win hockey games. You win hockey games by having self control. With how many agitators the Lightning have, it’s incredibly important for the Bruins to be disciplined. If you’re going to lose to the Lightning, let them beat you with their speed and skill, not by them getting under your skin. 

Halak Needs to be Better

(Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

Halak has made a couple excellent saves this series, but he’s also been prone to give up some softies. When your goalie lets up a weak goal, it really deflates the team. That’s exactly what its done to the Bruins. The team’s usual resilience hasn’t been there to make up for Jaro’s mistakes. In their last three losses, the Slovakian has an .866 save percentage and has given up four goals twice.  It’ll be no easy task, but Halak is going to need to show up big time.

He’ll make a save like this

Then let in this.

Produce at Even Strength 

It’s been the Bruins biggest problem for an eternity. They have scored a grand total of four even strength goals in the four games and haven’t scored a single five on five goal since Game 2. They have way too much talent up and down the lineup to be hanging goose eggs at even strength. I’d expect Cassidy to play some of the young, hungry players in Game 5. I think we see Anders Bjork and Jack Studnicka draw back into the lineup and someone like Trent Frederic could get a look too. David Pastrnak should get in some reps with David Krejci or Charlie Coyle to spread the wealth a little bit.

Shut Down Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Brayden Point has been a beast this series. He has a point in every game and is up to six in the series. Kucherov has a similar stat line with two goals and four assists. A big reason why the Blue Jackets were able to surprise the Lightning last season was because they were able to hold off Tampa’s stars. A goal and -5 rating for Point, two assists and -4 for Kucherov, and Stamkos (who the Bruins haven’t had to deal with) had two points and was a -8. Zach Werenski and Seth Jones put on a defensive clinic and suppressed all of Tampa’s star power. Charlie McAvoy and company need to be on their A-game and replicate CBJ’s success.

The Bs are too good of a team to drop four in a row to anyone. I’m expecting a great game from everyone in the lineup. 3-2 Bruins win, go Bs.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 191 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!!

BNG Hockey Talk Ep. 8 With Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast YouTuber Cameron Young

(Photo Credit: ESPN)

By Cameron Young | Follow me on Twitter @cmoney008

In my latest video uploaded to my YouTube channel, I take a look at tonight’s Game Five meeting between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning. In this upload, I discuss some of the key match-ups to watch for between the two teams. Check it out below and please subscribe to my YouTube Channel and turn notifications on to be updated when a new video is published. 

The Bruins take on the Lightning at 7:00 PM tonight in hope of extending the series and their time in the playoffs. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @cmoney008 and please consider subscribing to the YouTube Channel HERE!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 192 that we recorded below on 8-30-20! 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!

What The Bruins’ Lineup Could Look Like Next Season

(Photo Credit: Last Word On Hockey | lastwordonhockey.com)

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

While the Boston Bruins continue the quest for the Stanley Cup, this will also be the chance for head coach Bruce Cassidy to see who will fit in the lineup next season. Although the pandemic forced the NHL to have a five-month pause and the 2020 playoffs to be held in a bubble with no fans present, that will be no excuse for Cassidy to see which players stayed in game-shape and adapted to the adversity. With the Bruins currently down in their series against Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1, questions are already being answered about who will be ready for a full-time role in the lineup next season. First, let’s start with the obvious, which are the top-six forwards.

Top-Six

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Kase

(Photo Credit: Sun Journal | sunjournal.com)

To no one’s surprise, the perfection line will be representing the Bruins top scoring line next season. The big question mark for the past few seasons has been finding Krejci a right-winger, and although Cassidy occasionally slots Pastrnak onto that line, it seems as if the Bruins may have found the answer with Ondrej Kase.

Kase wasn’t precisely overwhelming during his first few appearances with the Bruins before the regular season came to a screeching halt. With Kase also missing most of camp due to being “unfit to play,” it didn’t look very positive for the Czech winger. Through ten playoff games, he has been able to produce a career-high four points and has seemed to develop steady chemistry with DeBrusk and Krejci.

If Krejci’s’ line can continue being this productive throughout the playoffs and find opportunities to score against Tampa, they will give the Bruins’ the best chance possible at winning the Stanley Cup. If Kase can maintain being healthy throughout the season, expect to see him on Krejci’s’ wing all season long. Now let’s take a look at what will be looking different next season; the bottom-six forwards.

Bottom-Six

Bjork-Coyle-Studnicka

Fredric-Kuraly-Wagner

Lindholm/Ritchie/Kuhlman

(Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski | USA TODAY Sports)

The bottom-six core will change quite a bit, and knowing Cassidy’s coaching style, I could see many of these players mentioned above being slotted in and out of the lineup depending on who the Bruins play. It’s undeniable in the current series against Tampa that the Bruins lack secondary scoring, the very factor that gave the Bruins a push to the Stanley Cup Finals last year. At this moment, I do not see Nick Ritchie fitting in the lineup full-time, so I imagine he will be utilized when playing heavier teams, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is dealt to another team before next season starts.

I predict Karson Kuhlman will come to terms with the Bruins this off-season but has not impressed enough to earn the trust of a full-time position in the lineup. The right-winger does have an impressive motor and wrist shot, so he is an excellent player to slot into any line when an injury occurs, and players like that do not grow on trees. He will be a quiet but essential depth piece. Par Lindholm is my final scratch listed, with one year left with the Bruins, he will also be looked at as a vital depth piece to slot in the lineup when facing faster teams.

For the 2020-2021 season, I imagine you’ll see Coyle with two young players who have a lot to prove, Bjork and Studnicka. Bjork recently re-signed with the Bruins on a three-year term with $1.6M a year, so there is no doubt the Bruins organization finds Bjork to be an essential piece to this club.

Studnicka led the Providence Bruins (AHL) in scoring this past season with 23 goals and 49 points, as well as leading the AHL with seven short-handed goals. Studnicka debuted with Coyle and Bjork during the Carolina Hurricanes playoff series. There is a lot of potential with that line if Bjork and Studnicka can create consistent chemistry with Coyle.

For the fourth-line, you will, of course, see Chris Wagner on the right-wing and Sean Kuraly at center, but I believe Trent Fredric will break into a full-time role. Although he is a natural center, the Bruins have placed him on the wing during his NHL appearances so far, so I see him playing on the left-wing. Joakim Nordstrom will become a UFA at the end of the post-season, and I do not predict the Bruins will re-sign him. Now, lets take a look at what the defensive pairs could look like next season.

Defensive Pairs

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Clifton

Lauzon/Moore/Zboril

(Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images| gettyimages.com)

As you may notice, these are the current defensive pairings playing in the 2020 playoffs, and although Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, and Matt Grzelcyk have contracts expiring soon, I believe all three players will re-sign with the Bruins. To save time, I wrote an article recently that has my predictions about who will and will not re-sign with the Bruins this off-season, and you can view that here.

Suppose Krug decides to test the free-agent market. In that case, I believe Grzelcyk will pair with Brandon Carlo, quarter-back the primary power-play unit, and have Jeremy Lauzon, John Moore, or Jakub Zboril slot in and out of the third defensive pairing with Connor Clifton. With now two strong post-season performances under his belt, I believe Clifton will be trusted with a full-time position on the third defensive pairing.

With young emerging talent such as; Lauzon, Clifton, Zboril, and Urho Vaakanainen, the Bruins may look to clear more cap space and trade Moore, a smart move in my opinion. The only other factor I see changing next season is what we started seeing in the current series against the Lightning. Chara will be playing less 5-on-5 minutes and may play occasional shifts on the third pairing, as we have recently seen. Now, last but not least, our goaltenders for next season.

Goaltending

Rask

Halak

(Photo Credit: NBC Sports | nbcsports.com)

Although Tuukka Rask decided to leave the Toronto bubble in the middle of the first-round against the Hurricanes, I do not believe that will reflect his decision to continue playing hockey for the 2020-2021 season, as he has one year left on his contract with the Bruins. I assume Rask will take this extra time to spend with his family and get hockey off his mind to come back, honor his final year with the Bruins and chase the Stanley Cup one more time with passion. I obviously cannot predict what he will do the following year his contract expires, but this will most likely be the most vital year of his career, especially with the Bruins’ aging core.

With Jaroslav Halak committing to the Bruins for one more year, you will once again see split goalie-duties throughout the season until the playoffs. The dominant goalie tandem of Rask and Halak will live on for one more season, one more chance at the Stanley Cup.

With Halak locked up for one more year, this also helps the continuous development of Daniel Vladar and incoming rookie Jeremy Swayman with the Providence Bruins (AHL). Vladar was excellent with Providence this past season and led the league in GAA (1.79) and save percentage (.936%).

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It will be exciting to see the 2020-2021 opening-day roster for the Bruins and which players perform well during camps and preseason. If my lineup predictions are anywhere near close enough, the Bruins could have a very stacked lineup next year. Still, the most significant factors needed for a deep playoff run rely on the younger players fighting for the bottom-six roles and Krejci’s’ line.

If players like; Bjork, Studnicka, Kuhlman, and Fredric perform well and potentially have a break-out season, that could help create momentum and confidence for the Bruins if the bottom-six forwards can contribute offense most games. Also, if DeBrusk and Kase can produce more consistently, then the Krejci line will flourish and finally solve the problem the Bruins have been facing for years with their second-line.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 191 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!!

Boston vs Tampa Bay Game Four Breakdown

(Photo Credit: Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Leon Lifschutz | Follow Me On Twitter @LeonLifschutz

It took a little longer than expected for the Bruins and Lightning to play game four. Despite a better effort, the end result was still a loss for the black and gold. Boston now finds themselves down three games to one in the series against a Lightning team who seem to be putting it all together at the right time.

The Recap

Despite out shooting Tampa Bay in the first period, the Bruins found themselves down 1-0 after the first of two goals by Ondrej Palat. The Bruins came out hard in the second but were deflated by a muffed glove save from Jaroslav Halak on Palat’s second marker. Things would get worse with the Lightning scoring a powerplay goal at the tail end of a Nick Ritchie’s major penalty for boarding. Going into the third period down 3-0 the Bruins did manage a Jake Debrusk powerplay goal but wouldn’t be able to get any more pucks past Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Check out the full RECAP from my colleague Mike Cratty.

The Story Line

Tonight’s key story line is mistakes. The Bruins put forth perhaps their most Bruin-like game in this one. They controlled play at 5v5 and kept events low. Their top line had good offensive zone time and won their matchups. Their powerplay netted a goal. Typically those are the key ingredients in a Boston victory and what drove them to the President’s Trophy.

However, their were some key breakdowns. The first goal came after a giveaway and poor defensive zone coverage on the ensuing backcheck. Halak misplayed a shot from the top of the circles waving, and missing, it with his glove hand. Ritchie continued ostracizing himself to Bruins fans with an undisciplined penalty that led to a goal against on the ensuing penalty kill. Hockey is a sport with limited scoring, about five goals, in an average game. They are scored because of amazing plays, bounces, or key mistakes. In this game, the Bruins mistakes cost them and put them in a potentially insurmountable hole.

The Stats

Corsi (shot attempts), Scoring Chances, and Expected Goals

5v5CFCACF%SCFSCASCF%xGFxGAxGF%
P115865.22%1614.29%0.20.6423.97%
P2151060.00%8561.54%0.960.2479.92%
P391537.50%5935.71%0.160.4526.65%
Game393354.17%142041.18%1.321.3349.90%
Data courtesy of NaturalStatTrick

This game featured a number of penalties which is important to note as both teams managed plenty of chances on the powerplay, and a goal apiece. To emphasize this point, the expected goals accounting for all situations was 3.09 for the Bruins to 2.07 for the Lightning. At 5v5, Boston made a point to get pucks to the net though at times their chances weren’t as quality as needed. The second period wad especially strong as the Bruins seemed to understand the importance of pushing back, down in the game and the series. The Lightning locked things down in the third keeping the Bruins at bay at even strength and weathering their powerplay and extra skater opportunities.

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Tampa Bay generated most of their shots right down the middle of the zone. Given the powerplay opportunities, and excluding a few sloppy plays in the first that led to odd-man rushes, the Bruins defense did an alright job of limiting the volume of chances. After seriously struggling in the first period to get shots and chances from dangerous areas, the Bruins did a much better job in the second and third periods. When they did generate high quality opportunities Andrei Vasilevskiy was perfect as the last line of defense.

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With all due respect to Matt Grzelcyk you’d prefer he not be atop this table. The top line, especially David Pastrnak, looked good through stretches of the game generating some good chances. They were strong in their match ups together posting 75% Corsi For and 69% expected goals for in about 9 minutes of 5v5 play. They also generated chances on the powerplay. Unfortunately they were held off the score sheet. Often for the Bruins, as the top line goes, so usually does the game.

In round one the David Krejci and Charlie Coyle lines were impactful. In this series they have been pretty quiet. Jake Debrusk did get on the board on the powerplay off of a pass from Coyle. At even strength, though neither line was bad, they were relatively quiet. The Krejci line limited their opponents to next to nothing and did have a couple opportunities in the third but wasn’t able to provide the necessary secondary scoring. The Karson Kuhlman experiment didn’t improve the results for Coyle and company. The fourth line had a good game overall but had a very rough sequence lead to the first, and game winning goal, for the Lightning.

On defense Brandon Carlo had one of his best games of the playoffs. He was more confident on his first pass and got up in the play on several occasions. His partner, Torey Krug, did not fare as well. His low game score was reflective of being on the ice for both even strength goals against. Even with all his powerplay time, he seems to be on the wrong side of the ledger throughout these playoffs. “Cliffy Hockey” was unfortunately not in force today with his most memorable moment an overzealous cross-checking penalty. Charlie McAvoy gave an earnest effort and tried to make things happen, especially in the second half of the game, after an up and down first part.

Halak made some big saves in this game. Unfortunately what will be remembered is his flub on Palat’s second goal. It was a bad goal at an extremely inopportune moment.

The Video Breakdown

Today we will look at the Lightning’s first goal of the game. It should highlight a couple key areas where the Bruins have been uncharacteristically poor. Let’s take a look and discuss.

The sequence here actually starts out really well. The Bruins do a great job in the neutral zone taking away time and space, something we discussed as essential in our tactical keys to game 4. However, they were sloppy on their counterattack. An errant pass from Chris Wagner gets intercepted by the omnipresent Brayden Point. The Bruins defensemen actually recover okay and turn this play into a 2v2, which is defended pretty well.

That is where things get messy. McAvoy slides past the net thinking the situation was more urgent and takes himself out of the play. Before we get to the crucial miscommunication, let’s just take a moment and marvel at the stick-handling clinic Point gave to Krug, literally a drill out of summer hockey school. Now that that’s out the way, The Bruins’ forwards backcheck hard. Unfortunately they don’t really pick anybody up. This is a prime case of working harder not smarter, and below is a great illustration of that.

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Their lack of coverage of Palat coming in late is a microcosm of several miscues of this kind, dating back to the round robin play. It cost the Bruins’ seeding and now may cost them their season.

Moment of the Night

It’s worth noting that while we are all excited about hockey resuming, there was a reason for the two day pause. Here are NHL players sharing the reason in their own words. Agree or disagree, it’s worth a listen.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 191 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 vs. Tampa Bay: 8/29/20

Photo Credit: Andre/Ringuette/Getty Images

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Kase

Ritchie – Coyle – Kuhlman

Nordstrom – Lindholm – Wagner

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Clifton

Goalies

Halak

Vladar

Tampa Bay’s Lineup

Forwards

Palat – Point – Kucherov

Killorn – Cirelli – Johnson

Goodrow – Gourde – Coleman

Paquette – Maroon

Defense

Hedman – Bogosian

Sergachev – Shattenkirk

Coburn – Cernak

Schenn

Goalies

Vasilevskiy

McElhinney

First Period

Ondrej Palat got the scoring start for the Lightning at 11:01. All five Bruins lost sight of him and he walked in and buried one, the polar opposite of what you want to see defensively in such an important game. To make things worse, Brandon Carlo took a slashing penalty less than three minutes later. Luckily, they were able to prevent any further bleeding caused by the electric Lightning power play.

The whistle blew to end the period and a full-blown melee went down behind the Lightning net. Nick Ritchie went off for roughing at the 2:31 mark. Erik Cernak took a roughing penalty out of the whole mess, giving the Bruins a power play to start the second period. The shots were 9-8 in favor of the Bruins with a huge opportunity to start the second period.

Score: 1-0 Tampa Bay

Second Period

While they got some decent scoring chances, they somehow didn’t register a shot on goal on the power play. Connor Clifton went to the box for cross checking at the 14:14 mark, but the Bruins killed it off. Palat came back for seconds, burying his second of the game at the 7:31 mark to double the lead.

Yanni Gourde took a late hit from Nick Ritchie and Ritchie went off for five minutes for boarding at the 6:28 mark. Gourde was hurt on the play, but skated off under his own power. In doing so, the Lightning had a massive opportunity to put this game out of reach. Par Lindholm blocked a shot from Victor Hedman late in the power play that flew over Jaroslav Halak and in. Some seriously bad luck put the Bruins down three with 1:56 remaining.

Zach Bogosian took a holding penalty with 56.8 seconds left to give the Bruins a late power play. Although they couldn’t bury one before the end of the period, they had a minute and four seconds of power play time to work with to start the third period. Shots in the period were 12-10 in favor of the Lightning, bringing the game total to 20-19 in their favor.

Score: 3-0 Tampa Bay

Third Period

David Pastrnak was tripped by Blake Coleman behind the net with ten seconds left on the power play, giving the Bruins a brief 5-on-3. Bad news came in the form of Chris Wagner not being on the bench to start the period. Ritchie dropped the gloves with Barclay Goodrow, likely in response to the late hit that Ritchie threw on Gourde in the second period.

David Pastrnak missed a wide open net on a chance to get the Bruins on the board, emblematic of how the game had gone for them. Luke Schenn took a hooking penalty at the 14:55 mark. In the dying seconds of the power play, Jake DeBrusk buried one to break the shutout. Charlie Coyle (2) and Matt Grzelcyk (1) had the helpers.

Bruce Cassidy pulled Halak for an extra attacker late in the game, but it wasn’t enough. Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Lightning were the better team and won as a result. The Bruins outshot the Lightning 11-6 in the final frame, but it didn’t matter in the end. The final shots were 30-26 in favor of the Bruins. Game five, do or die, lies ahead on Monday at 7:00 PM ET.

Final Score: 3-1 Tampa Bay

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 191 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!!