COVID-19: Bruins Games On Hold As NHL Suspends 2019-20 Season

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PHOTO CREDITS: (JOHN MINCHILLO/ASSOCIATED PRESS/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

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

On Thursday, March 12th, 2020, the National Hockey League officially announced that they have suspended the 2019-2020 regular-season for an indefinite amount of time due to the recent COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The news is not as much of a surprise as last night, March 11th, a National Basketball Association (NBA) game between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed after Rudy Gobert was determined to have tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the game. A few days earlier, Gobert jokingly touched all of the reporter’s microphones and recorders following a press conference and as a result, the NBA made the decision to suspend their season as self-quarantines were recommended to numerous teams.

On Thursday, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced that they would suspend spring training and potentially the beginning of the regular-season. High-profile tournaments and other sporting leagues also followed the path of the NBA and MLB and suspended their operations, leaving the NHL with a big decision to make and to the eyes of many, they made the correct choice suspending the league.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made it clear that the league plans to eventually continue with the season, stating “Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup.”, in the official statement included above. Other reports earlier in the day suggested that arenas were asked to keep availability into July if the games are able to continue.

Due to this unique nature, the consequences are not yet known. At this point, the situation is ongoing and more details are being revealed to the public by the minute. Details on what this means for the salary cap, potential shortened season, or full-on cancellation is not yet known, but the hope is that the outbreak settles and comes to an eventual end.

For the Boston Bruins, a ceremony to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1970 Stanley Cup winning Bruins team that was scheduled for March 24th has been postponed until the 2020-21 season. An official new date will be updated at a later time.

As of March 12th at 2:17 EST, COVID-19 has infected over 133,086 people worldwide, taking the lives of 4,949. In the United States, there are 1,412 cases with 40 total deaths while Canada has 122 cases and one death, with numbers continuing to rise daily. As of now, the hardest hit nations are China, Italy and Iran who have a combined 105,984 cases and 4,614 deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a “pandemic” on March 11th.

Updates on the situation and the consequences are as mentioned, being updated daily. For up-to-the-minute news, make sure to follow me on Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj), as well as on the blackngoldhockey.com website for anything Boston Bruins related. We at Black N’ Gold send our well wishes to those affected and remind everyone to stay safe during this pandemic.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 169 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: Tampa Bay at Boston: 03/07/20

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

The NHL’s best team is back at home after going undefeated on a three-game road trip that saw wins over the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Florida Panthers. Boston holds a nine-point lead over the Lightning for the top position in the Atlantic Division with a 43-13-12 record with just over a month left of hockey to play. On Thursday, the Bruins took a tight 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers in overtime to extend their current winning streak to four games.

Tampa Bay lost to the Bruins earlier in the week, but enter tonight’s game following a convincing 4-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night as well. The Lightning have not been excellent as of late, going 5-5-0 in their last ten games played and with the loss of superstar Steven Stamkos for the remainder of the regular season and potentially somewhat into the postseason, wins are difficult to come by. Tampa is second in the Atlantic Division with a 42-20-5 record.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Home: Boston Bruins (43-13-12)

Away: Tampa Bay Lightning (42-20-5)

Bruins’ Last Game: 2-1 OT win vs FLA

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Boston Bruins defenceman Brandon Carlo (upper-body) will not play tonight after taking an elbow to the face from Florida Panthers forward Evgeni Dadonov. John Moore takes his spot alongside Torey Krug on the defensive pairing. Tuukka Rask gets the start in goal.

First Period:

Early in the game, the Bruins get some good offensive pressure and a couple decent chances from Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak who connected on a long pass for a 1-on-1 play for Pastrnak against Kevin Shattenkirk but the shot was stopped by Vasilevskiy. Roughly five minutes into the game, the Lightning had four recorded blocked shots.

5:01 into the game, Barclay Goodrow lands his elbow to the head of Ondrej Kase and the Bruins will go to their first power-play of the game. Only six seconds onto the man-advantage, however, Anthony Cirelli takes the puck and races down the ice to snipe one blocker side past Rask and the Lightning take a 1-0 lead off a shorthanded goal.

One-minute-and-two-seconds later, Mihkail Sergachev is fed the puck in the slot and wrists one past Rask again to give Tampa Bay a two-goal lead off two shorthanded goals. Not a good start for the Bruins who just seem to be lacking on the smaller details of their game early on.

Not long later, Chris Wagner lands a hard hit on Mikael Sergachev behind the Bruins net and then proceeds to drop the gloves with Goodrow for the hit on Kase. Both Wagner and Goodrow get offsetting unsportsmanlike conducts for dropping the gloves and it heads to four-on-four. As soon as the penalties end, Wagner and Goodrow meet at center ice to drop the mitts and Wagner’s fight brings some much-needed life back into the TD Garden.

Another good span in the offensive zone for the Bruins from the Kuraly-Coyle-DeBrusk third line as Kuraly came from behind the Tampa Bay net to nearly feed DeBrusk in the slot. Just moments before that, Charlie Coyle’s one-timer was stopped by Vasilevskiy. During the zone time, Cedric Paquette takes a hooking minor and Boston goes to the power-play again. A bit of a better man-advantage this time around, but nearly all of Boston’s shot attempts were blocked before they even got close to Vasilevskiy. Back to even-strength.

Bruins got a few high-volume shots towards the Lightning net in the time after the pair of Tampa goals but failed to score on any of them. With 45.7 seconds left to tick away in the frame, Jeremy Lauzon gets whistled down on an interference minor and Boston goes to the penalty-kill. Period ends, Lightning will have 1:15 of power-play time to begin the second.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 14 TBL: 5

Score: 2-0 Lightning – Goals: Cirelli (16) SHG Unassisted; Sergachev (10) SHG Assists: Gourde (18)

Second Period:

Down two goals, the Bruins need some spark offensively to cut into Tampa’s lead but early on, Zach Bogosian takes the puck into Boston’s zone and around the net before finding Cedric Paquette for a tap-in goal and a 3-0 lead for the Bolts. Poor defense for the B’s here and now have a tough three-goal deficit to come back from.

Not long after the goal, Bruins forward Brett Ritchie lays a big hit on Brayden Point in the corner of the boards which brings some noise to the Bruins crowd. Ritchie has not been afraid to use the body since his arrival to Boston on Trade Deadline day. That physicality will likely be huge in the postseason if it continues.

Near the end of the period, David Pastrnak takes a shot on Vasilevskiy, leading to a potential Marchand rebound attempt. Marchand took another clean swipe at the puck before getting pushed by Cirelli and then Marchand gets attacked by numerous Lightning players along the boards, but somehow Marchand and Cirelli get matching minors.

On the 4-on-4 session, Jake DeBrusk does a fantastic job driving hard to the net, allowing Charlie McAvoy to snap a gorgeous shot past Vasilevskiy to cut Tampa Bay’s lead to only one goal. This goal does not happen if DeBrusk doesn’t stay strong on the net drive to make the defense stay honest and providing a small screen for the McAvoy shot. 3-1.

All of a sudden, with the home Boston crowd roaring, the Bruins keep coming back with tons of pressure on the Tampa defense. Unlike the beginning stages of the second period, the Bruins have their skating legs and are hard on the board battles. A net-front battle eventually leads to Sean Kuraly tapping in what looks to be a goal, but it is waived off on the ice. As the play goes back the other way, the siren sounds meaning Toronto likely saw a goal and after review, it became apparent that Kuraly scored and now it is a 3-2 game.

Then, all hell breaks loose. The Bruins and Lightning engage in a line brawl with multiple fights breaking out and a ton of pushing and shoving. At the end of it all, here are all the penalties including some at the horn:

BOS F Sean Kuraly – 10-minute misconduct
TBL F Blake Coleman – 10-minute misconduct
BOS F Brett Ritchie – 10-minute misconduct
TBL F Erik Cernak – 10-minute misconduct
TBL F Patrick Maroon – 5-minute major (fighting)
BOS D Zdeno Chara – 5-minute major (fighting)
BOS F Brad Marchand – 2-minute minor (slashing)
TBL Bench Minor – 2-minute minor (delay-of-game) – assistant coach barking at the refs, was ejected from the game

And the second period ends emphatically there.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 28 TBL: 15

Score: 3-2 Lightning – Goals: Paquette (7) Assists: Bogosian (6), Coburn (3); McAvoy (5) Assists: Coyle (21), Grzelcyk (17); Kuraly (6) Assists: McAvoy (27), Kase (17)

Third Period:

The final regulation period starts with a brief 4-on-4 session that sees no goals. However, on Tampa’s shortened power-play off of Marchand’s slashing minor during the intermission, Sergachev takes a point shot that was tipped in by Alex Killorn and the Bolts regain their two-goal advantage just over one minute into the third period.

After some good chances on both ends for either team, Nikita Kucherov gets called on a minor penalty and the Bruins are going to another power-play opportunity. On an offensive zone faceoff win, Torey Krug skates backward towards the point and makes a cross-ice pass to David Pastrnak who unloaded a cannon from way downtown to make this one a 4-3 hockey game. Pastrnak takes sole possession of the league-lead in goals with his 48th of the season.

And once again, the two teams get into a scuffle after a whistle roughly nine minutes into the game. In the mix of it all, Bergeron gets sent to the box for two minutes for a delay-of-game penalty (puck over the glass) and now the Bruins go to a very important penalty-kill. During the possession time, McAvoy, Chara, and Tyler Johnson were engaging in a hard battle with cross-checks in front of Tuukka Rask that leads to another post-whistle scrum. Bruins make the kill.

Just around seven minutes to go, David Pastrnak receives a great pass to be sent alone on a breakaway but his fantastic shot is shut down by Vasilevskiy who keeps this a one-goal contest. Moments later, as Ondrej Kase stickhandles the puck through the neutral zone, Tyler Johnson’s stick interferes with him and takes him down, however, the officials call both the stick infraction and embellishment on Kase so we go to 4-on-4 for two minutes.

With 1:02 remaining, Nikita Kucherov picks up a loose puck from a falling David Krejci and buries it in the empty-net. Tampa Bay wins this one, 5-3 and win the season series over the Bruins.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 38 TBL: 25

Final Score: 5-3 Lightning

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: TBL G Andrei Vasilevskiy – 35 Saves on 38 Shots, .921 SV%

2nd Star: TBL D Mikhail Sergachev – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 2 Hits, 29:05 TOI

3rd Star: BOS D Charlie McAvoy – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 4 Hits, 25:45 TOI

The Bruins now only have a seven-point lead on Tampa Bay for first in the Atlantic Division and look to their next game on Tuesday against the red-hot Philadelphia Flyers who have won nine consecutive games.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 168 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 Calgary: 02/21/20

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

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

In tonight’s first game of a back-to-back, the Boston Bruins face the Calgary Flames in game three of their three-game road trip. On Wednesday, the Bruins defeated the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 in overtime to secure their fourth consecutive victory and improved their record to 9-1-0 since returning from their week-long break. The Bruins are first in the league standings with a 38-11-12 record, three points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

For Calgary, they come into tonight’s game following a 6-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks on home-ice earlier in the week. The Flames are currently engaged in a tight battle in the Western Conference playoff picture, sitting only two points out of a potential playoff spot as of right now. However, a win over the Bruins tonight would put them in the second position in the competitive Pacific division.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: Scotiabank Saddledome – Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Home: Calgary Flames (31-24-6)

Away: Boston Bruins (38-11-12)

Bruins Last Game: 2-1 OT win vs EDM

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Not much has changed from the Oilers game earlier this week, however, the roles of Danton Heinen and Karson Kuhlman have switched. Jaroslav Halak gets the start and Anton Blidh enters the lineup for Joakim Nordstrom.

Ondrej Kase, the acquisition of the Bruins today, will not play tonight or tomorrow against the Vancouver Canucks. The former Ducks forward will join the team back in Boston next week.

First Period:

Not a good start for the Bruins as only twenty seconds into the game, the Flames bring it into the zone and fire it at Halak. The opening shot missed the net wide, setting up a brilliant chance for Rasmus Andersson who’s in-tight shot gets stopped by Halak. However, the rebound goes right to Mikael Backlund who buries it past the Bruins goaltender to give the Flames an early 1-0 lead.

Only a few minutes later, the Flames do an excellent job turning a defensive stop into an offensive 2-on-1 that ends up leading to a blast of a shot from Backlund that beats Halak clean for his second of the game and the Flames explode for a two-goal lead in this game.

Only 24 seconds after that, however, a dump-in by the Bruins bounces right into the slot in front of Cam Talbot where Patrice Bergeron picks up the loose rubber and buries it past the former Oilers netminder to cut into Calgary’s early lead. Bergeron’s 28th of the season makes this a 2-1 hockey game.

Did you think the goal scoring was done there? Nope. Only seconds after Bergeron’s tally, Johnny Gaudreau enters the zone on a rush, tossing the puck towards the middle of the ice. The puck takes an odd bounce and confuses Halak, giving the Flames a two-goal lead almost immediately after the Bruins scored themselves.

The two teams play for another three minutes before the Bruins start to cycle the puck around the Calgary defensive zone. Marchand feeds the puck back to McAvoy on the point who makes a quick feed to Pastrnak in the high slot for a one-timer. Pastrnak’s shot was stopped, but the rebound went directly to Bergeron in front and he scores his second of the game to make this one a 3-2 game.

With a lot of these high-scoring games, the intensity of each and every play increase immensely. Flames forward Tobias Rieder skates through the neutral zone only to meet Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk who finishes his check. The on-ice officials didn’t like the collision and send Grzelcyk to the box for elbowing. Bruins successfully make the kill on the first penalty of the game.

Later in the frame, Anders Bjork blocks a shot in his own end, allowing Karson Kuhlman to make a great pass up the ice to Charlie Coyle who finds himself all alone on a breakaway. After a few nifty moves, Coyle roofs the forehand past Talbot for his 15th goal of the campaign and this crazy game is equal at three apiece.

Mere shifts after the tying goal, Charlie Coyle gets put on another partial breakaway but cannot bury the puck around Talbot and neither can Heinen on a pair of rebound chances. Bruins have taken the momentum of this game and are running with it through the ending minutes of the period.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 12 CGY: 7

Score: 3-3 – Goals: Backlund (11) Assists: Andersson (15), Hanifin (14); Backlund – 2 (12) Assists: Rieder (6), Tkachuk (31); Bergeron (28) Assists: Pastrnak (42), McAvoy (22); Gaudreau (15) Assists: Lindholm (22); Bergeron – 2 (29) Assists: Pastrnak (43), McAvoy (23); Coyle (15) Assists: Kuhlman (5), Bjork (10)

Second Period:

Less than a minute into the second period of play, the Bruins get early possession in the Flames’ zone leading to Brandon Carlo throwing a shot on goal. Brad Marchand managed to twist his body and deflect the puck past Talbot to give the Bruins their first lead of the game and it’s 4-3. The goal is Marchand’s 24th of the season, giving Carlo his 14th assist and Krug his 33rd assist of 2019-20.

Later on in the period, the Bruins are getting the better of the offensive chances as Wagner takes a rocket of a shot towards the open cage off of a great pass from Charlie McAvoy but it bounces around off of the Flames in front of Talbot before hitting the outside of the net. Extremely close opportunity for the Bruins to take a two-goal lead in this now quite defensive game.

Just past the halfway mark of the game we see the intensity boil over between Jeremy Lauzon and Matthew Tkachuk. Throughout the game thus far, the two have been barking at each other until finally, off of a faceoff, they agree to drop the gloves. Lauzon managed decently to land a couple shots on the now-familiar NHL tough guy before getting taken down. Tkachuk was standing up for Mangiapane, but both Lauzon and Tkachuk get five minutes in the box for fighting.

A much, much better period for the Boston Bruins while the Calgary Flames looked behind the B’s for the majority of the frame. Bruce Cassidy must have calmed the players down following the first intermission because there were noticeable improvements on defense for Boston.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 17 CGY: 11

Score: 4-3 Bruins – Goals: Marchand (24) Assists: Carlo (14), Krug (33)

Third Period:

Boston came out with some good chances again to begin the final regulation period but all of a sudden, Cam Talbot is playing solid goaltending in between the pipes for the Flames. Just under six minutes into the frame, Derek Ryan carries the puck through the neutral zone, cutting aggressively towards the center of the ice.

Patrice Bergeron ends up getting his stick caught in his skates and Boston’s number-one penalty-killer will sit in the box for two minutes for tripping. Flames passed the pucked around the zone quite a lot but failed to get any real chances other than a bomb of a one-timer that was blocked by Lauzon. Back to even-strength.

Calgary’s urgency to tie this game as the minutes tick away has become more and more apparent. Gaudreau had a great chance on a speedy rush down along the boards but thanks to a combination of Jaroslav Halak and great backcheck from Charlie McAvoy, Gaudreau was never able to get the shot off and the Bruins hold onto the one-goal lead.

And that will do it, Bruins will a wild one, 4-3.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 23 CGY: 21

Final Score: 4-3 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS F Patrice Bergeron – 2 Goals, 3 Shots, 68% Faceoffs, 15:59 TOI

2nd Star: CGY F Mikael Backlund – 2 Goals, 3 Shots, 17:22 TOI

3rd Star: BOS F Brad Marchand – 1 GWG, 1 Assist, 5 Shots, 18:36 TOI

Boston is right back at it tomorrow against the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 166 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 Bruins Acquire F Ondrej Kase From Anaheim

Boston Bruins v Anaheim Ducks

PHOTO CREDITS: (Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

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

With the NHL Trade Deadline only days away, the Boston Bruins have made their first deal, sending forward David Backes, defenseman Axel Andersson and a 1st-round pick in the upcoming 2020 NHL Entry Draft to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forward Ondrej Kase.

In addition to the deal, the Bruins are also retaining twenty-five percent of Backes’ $6 million salary. Backes, 35, has only played in 16 games for the Bruins this season, scoring one goal and two assists. Backes was sent down to the Providence Bruins but failed to play a game for the AHL club. With other players on the roster performing better than the veteran, the Bruins organization felt it was time to move on from Backes and send him back to the Western Conference where he began his NHL career.

Boston is also sending defenseman Axel Andersson to the Ducks as a piece of this deal. Andersson, 20, was drafted 57th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft by the Bruins and has played the 2019-20 campaign in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with the Moncton Wildcats where he has 2-20-22 numbers in 41 games.

So, what do the Bruins get in return? Ondrej Kase is a 24-year-old right-winger that was drafted in the seventh-round (207th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Ducks. Since his draft, the 5-foot-11, 186-pound forward has played in 198 regular-season games, scoring 43 goals and 53 assists for 96 points.

This season, Kase has 7-16-23 numbers in 49 games with the struggling Ducks, averaging a career-high 16:47 of ice-time per game. Contract wise, Kase will save the Bruins a lot of money especially considering the departure of David Backes in the move. The Kadan, Czech Republic native has a cap hit of $2.6 million until the conclusion of the 2020-2021 season. The newfound cap space may be used to reel in another trade target or opens up a window to re-sign defenseman Torey Krug as well as the other expiring contracts throughout the roster.

As of right now, Kase fits perfectly on Boston’s second-line alongside Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci and would likely be a solid upgrade from Karson Kuhlman who currently holds that position. The trade still leaves some opening for another acquisition before Monday’s deadline if General Manager Don Sweeney still has something under his sleeve, but regardless, it appears the Bruins are winners in this one.

As the days and the hours count down until the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline, make sure to stay locked on blackngoldhockey.com for the latest Boston Bruins news as the race for the postseason gets hotter and hotter. Also, make sure to follow me on Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj) and everyone else on the site for up-to-date information and news.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 166 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 Minnesota: 02/01/20

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

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

Immediately after the NHL All-Star break and Boston’s week-long break, the Bruins are right back at it with their second game in as many nights since they returned. Last night, the B’s edged out a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets in one of the most physical games of the season to date. A win over the Wild tonight in Minnesota would only continue that momentum.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: Xcel Energy Center – St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

Home: Minnesota Wild (23-21-6)

Away: Boston Bruins (30-10-12)

Bruins Last Game: 2-1 win vs WPG

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Forwards Sean Kuraly (healthy scratch) and Danton Heinen (minor injury) are out while Anton Blidh and Par Lindholm enter the lineup.

First Period:

Boston looking physical to start the period with some good board play and hits from the opening faceoff. However, the first real chance to score came from Minnesota when defenceman Matt Dumba takes a shot to Jaroslav Halak, ringing it off of the bar.

In the second half of the first, the Bruins strike first. Torey Krug makes a brilliant move to get past the defenders and bury it past goalie Devan Dubnyk to score his sixth of the season. The tenacity to drive to the net and make the effort to score is what the Bruins need for a full 60 minutes tonight.

The Bruins were forced to go shorthanded late in the period when McAvoy was sent to the box for hooking Zach Parise, but a solid penalty-killing effort brings this game back to 5-on-5.

Aside from the goal, it was a solid period for the Bruins. There weren’t too many high-quality chances for Minnesota to equalize the score and the B’s generated some chances of their own. Good start on the second game of a back-to-back.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 12 MIN: 11

Score: 1-0 Bruins – Goals: Krug (6) Assists: Lindholm (2), Krejci (23)

Second Period:

Looking to continue a strong start to this game, the Bruins play well in the opening minutes of the second period. 3:49 into the frame, the Bruins draw an interference penalty, giving them their first power-play chance of the night. Following some good puck movement around the offensive zone, Brad Marchand finds Torey Krug on a cross-ice feed, allowing Krug to get control of the puck and fire it off the post and off the back of Dubnyk, going into the net. Krug’s second of the night makes it 2-0 Boston.

On the very next shift after the tally, Eric Staal takes another interference penalty for the Wild, giving the dangerous Bruins man-advantage a second consecutive chance to score. Only 33 seconds into the power-play, Krug returns the favor to Marchand, making a solid pass that allowed Marchand to blast a one-timer past Dubnyk and just like that – the Bruins have a 3-0 lead in this game.

As we pass the halfway mark of the game, the Bruins go to the penalty kill once again as Charlie McAvoy is sent to the box for roughing as a Wild player entered the defensive zone. During the penalty, both Marchand and Mikko Koivu get into a tussle together in front of the benches and the officials decide to send both to the box simultaneously. Not long after, McAvoy exits the box.

With 5:28 to go in the period, Torey Krug draws a holding minor sending Boston right back to the power-play. Following a few shots that created net-front battles, David Pastrnak ended up locating the loose puck and ripping it into the open net, scoring his 38th goal of the campaign and it’s 4-0 Bruins. The goal matches Pastrnak’s previous career-high in goals and it is only February 1st.

Jake DeBrusk took a penalty later in the frame, but the Bruins did a great job killing it off again, entering the second intermission with a four-goal lead.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 24 MIN: 19

Score: 4-0 Bruins – Goals: Krug (7) PPG Assists: Marchand (46), Pastrnak (36); Marchand (22) PPG Assists: Krug (29), Pastrnak (37); Pastrnak (38) PPG Assists: Krejci (24), DeBrusk (15)

Third Period:

Having lost large leads in the third period of play earlier this year, the Bruins need to keep the pressure coming and keep playing the same hockey they have been over the last five periods since the break. David Pastrnak nearly buries his second of the game off of a bomb of a shot courtesy of a Marchand pass, but the shot rings off the post and stays out.

Roughly seven minutes into the final regulation period, the Bruins go back to the penalty kill as captain Zdeno Chara was whistled down on a hooking minor. Boston successfully killed it off, thanks to a few big blocked shots by forward Anton Blidh, who entered the lineup for Danton Heinen tonight. He is making the most of this opportunity and he’s doing a great job. Back to even-strength.

Just around the ten-minute mark of the frame, the Bruins drive to the net, giving the puck to Torey Krug who nearly sneaks the puck short-side past the Wild goaltender for the hat-trick, but the defenceman in the crease stops the bid.

With 8:43 remaining, the Wild take yet another penalty and the Bruins have a golden chance to score their fifth of the game. Boston fails to score, back to even-strength.  Just over four minutes left to tick away, Mats Zuccarello spins and shoots the puck off of Halak’s shoulder and into the net, ending Halak’s shutout and making it a three-goal game once again.

Playing until the final horn is the key for the Bruins and they proved that. Andres Bjork does a fantastic job on the forecheck to get the puck loose for Joakim Nordstrom who feeds it right back to Bjork, burying it past Dubnyk to make it 5-1. Only a few shifts afterwards, Karson Kuhlman fakes a brilliant pass to Jake DeBrusk for the sixth goal, Bruins win 6-1 the final score.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 34 MIN: 26

Final Score: 6-1 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars

1st Star: BOS D Torey Krug – 2 Goals, 2 Assists, 2 Shots, 19:09 TOI

2nd Star: BOS F David Pastrnak – 1 Goal, 2 Assists, 2 Shots, 15:27 TOI

3rd Star: BOS G Jaroslav Halak – 25 Saves, .962 SV%

Boston will have the rest of the weekend off, preparing for Tuesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks in Boston.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 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 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 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 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.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 160 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!!