UFC Fighter Conor McGregor To Drop Ceremonial Puck At Bruins Game Tonight

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Fox Sports)

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

A report earlier today by The Athletic writer, Joe McDonald (@JoeyMacHockey), Former UFC Featherweight and Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor will be in TD Garden tonight to drop the ceremonial puck prior to the actual puck drop for the Bruins vs Blue Jackets game tonight.

While it may seem odd to have one of the top superstars in the entire Ultimate Fighting Championship today drop a puck for an NHL game, especially a Boston Bruins game, this all adds together and has some good meaning behind it. Tonight, the Bruins are going to be celebrating the Irish Heritage – with St. Patrick’s Day rolling through tomorrow.

Conor McGregor is, well of course, from the country of Ireland and he has often showcased his Irish pride in his UFC fights. Before his emergence under the bright lights, the fanbase of fighting in Ireland was not as prevalent as the United States, Canada, or Japan. Today, however, Ireland is home to one of the largest, (and loudest) groups of fans in the entire industry – a big reason for that is Conor McGregor.

In addition to that, the city of Boston, Massachusetts has Irish history that dates back a few hundred years. In fact, people of Irish descent are “the largest single ethnic group in Boston”.  According to the Boston Globe, 22.8% of residents in the Boston metropolitan area from 2014, said they were from Irish descent. As I personally am not from Boston, I had to do some Google searches on why the Irish force is so strong in Boston and the answer appears quite clear.

Between the years 1845 and 1855, over 1.5 million people fled the country of Ireland to the eastern shores of American due to the Potato Famine, a mass starvation period where disease negatively affected the potato farms across the country, resulting in millions of casualties in a very short amount of time. Frustrated with the lack of help from their British neighbours, the Irish people travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to cities such as Boston and New York. Times in the American cities were not easy, but as the years went on, the presence of the Irish faithful only grew in America – especially the Massachusetts and New England areas.

Moving away from the history aspect, this will not be the first time that McGregor is involved with the city of Boston personally. The 30-year-old Dublin, Ireland native fought Dennis Siver back in January of 2015 in the TD Garden, securing a second-round TKO stoppage.

Also, in the fall of this past year, McGregor made an appearance at the Boston Fire Department Engine 33 Ladder 15 on Boylston Street to hand over Boston Red Sox World Series tickets to the on-duty firefighters – a way to thank the everyday heroes for their acts of bravery on a day-to-day basis. McGregor seems to love the city of Boston and to have the chance to drop the ceremonial puck tonight, it’s an opportunity he just can’t pass up on.

As for the Bruins, tonight is a big game in general. The B’s return home after losing their last three games in a row, just after an incredible 19-game point streak that lasted the majority of 2019. Boston faces a Columbus Blue Jackets team that beat them on Tuesday by a final score of 7-4 and the Bruins will be on the lookout to avenge that loss and start another streak.

Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced that goaltender Jaroslav Halak will start and forward Jake DeBrusk is expected to be back in the lineup after missing the last few games with a foot injury. Without question, the return of DeBrusk will be huge for a team that is still dealing with injuries to David Pastrnak (thumb), Torey Krug (concussion), Marcus Johansson (lung bruise), Kevan Miller (upper-body) and Matt Grzelcyk (arm). Cassidy also gave updates on all those players listed and returns of them seem to be right around the corner.

The Boston Bruins are only two points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division and a win would extend that to four points – a near must if the Bruins want to have home-ice advantage in the opening round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Official puck drop for tonight’s game is scheduled for 7pm EST at the TD Garden.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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Four Boston Bruins Players That Could Win The 7th Player Award

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

Every year, the New England Sports Network, better known as NESN, releases a fan vote where fans of the Boston Bruins can vote for who they think should be awarded with the annual 7th Player Award. The 7th Player Award is awarded to the Boston Bruin who “has performed above and beyond expectations”. In years past, the team honour is handed out at the end of March, so the countdown is on for the winner.

Before we get into who should win the award for the 2018-19 season, let’s take a quick look at the past winners of the last decade. Information regarding this is courtesy of Ice Hockey Fandom.com. 

  • 2008-09 David Krejci
  • 2009-10 Tuukka Rask
  • 2010-11 Brad Marchand
  • 2011-12 Tyler Seguin
  • 2012-13 Dougie Hamilton
  • 2013-14 Reilly Smith
  • 2014-15 David Pastrnak
  • 2015-16 Brad Marchand
  • 2016-17 David Pastrnak
  • 2017-18 Charlie McAvoy

Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Charlie McAvoy are the most recent winners of the award and for good reason. Marchand exploded three years ago with a 37 goals and a new career-high in points with 61. David Pastrnak also had a great year when he won it back in 2016-17, scoring 34-36-70 numbers from his 26 the year prior. Finally, last year, Charlie McAvoy scored 32 points in his debut NHL season and truly came out as one of the best young offensive d-men in the league.

In the past, the award has been handed out at the end of March, just ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in April. We are already over a week into the third month of the new calendar year, so now is the perfect time to take a look at some of the players who can with the 2018-19 7th Player Award.

Jaroslav Halak -> 18-10-4, 2.33 GAA, .924 SV%, 4 Shutouts

When Anton Khudobin did not agree to a new contract with the Boston Bruins following the 2017-18 season, the concern came as to who the Bruins were going to fall on for the role of the backup goaltender position. Ideas of younger, prospect goaltenders from either the Providence Bruins or other affiliate teams were thrown around, but it was the free-agent market that would provide the solution for this new-found problem.

Boston signed journeyman goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a two-year contract with an annual average salary of $2.75 million. Last season, Halak finished up his fourth season with the New York Islanders, the fourth NHL team of his 13-year career. Halak finished last season with a 20-26-6 record, a 3.19 GAA, and a .908 save percentage – not great numbers.

Lucky for Bruins fans and himself, Halak turned a new leaf while wearing the Spoked-B sweater and is showing glimpses of top-level play, the type of play that we saw from him during his time with the Montreal Canadiens. Early on this season, starting goaltender Tuukka Rask was not on his game. He was struggling in net and was losing more often than he was winning. However, Jaro Halak made an appearance and took over the show in the meantime, keeping the Bruins afloat in the NHL’s Eastern Conference playoff race.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

Head Coach Bruce Cassidy mentioned the fact that he may look to split the number of games that Rask and Halak play down the final stretch and that shows that Halak has done enough to earn starts when it matters. When the original signing was made, many people, including myself was not a fan mainly due to his performance in the previous season but he has exceeded everyone’s expectations and should be a favourite for the 7th Player Award because, without him, Boston may not be second in the Atlantic division.

Chris Wagner -> 66GP, 12G – 6A – 18P, 4th Liner

Chris Wagner never once scored ten goals in his five-year NHL career. In fact, he never scored more than 15 points in a single season, a mark he once hit in 64 games with the Anaheim Ducks last year in 2017-18.

When the Bruins signed Wagner, the Walpole, Massachusetts native to a two-year deal on the opening day of free agency, the signing of Joakim Nordstrom and the hope that the young, up-and-coming players within the Bruins organization will get more NHL minutes, it seemed like Wagner was going to be a spare tire – a depth piece for injuries or for a replacement for a player who is struggling but no, Wagner has become a near-permanent member of the 2018-19 Bruins.

Part of the reason for his success is the help of his linemates, Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari, who have helped bolster the game of Wagner to a level never seen before in the NHL. The trio has brought a high level of intensity and energy to the bottom-six while being able to add in a few goals here and there. Additionally, Wagner leads the Bruins with 226 hits, a stat that ties him for 6th most in the National Hockey League.

In today’s NHL, all four lines of any team need to have the ability to score goals when they are so required to do so, yet provide a level of physicality and defence that can keep them in the thick of things. Chris Wagner has been a big reason for the success of that line and he deserves to be in the conversation for the 7th Player Award. No one expected the performance of Wagner to be this solid and a brief stroll in past Twitter comments will highlight that.

David Krejci -> 69GP, 19G – 41A – 60P, +3 Rating

Without a doubt, David Krejci is one of the best second-line centres in the NHL and is one of the best playmakers in the league for the past few seasons. It may seem hard for a player of that stature to win an award that presents the player that has exceeded expectations, but he needs to be in the conversation.

Since putting up 17-46-63 numbers in the 2015-2016 campaign, Krejci seemed to be on a decline for point production. In 2016-17, Krejci scored 54 points in a full 82-game season followed by a 44-point year last year in only 64 games played. However, with the growing chemistry with left-winger Jake DeBrusk, Krejci is on pace for just over 71 points this season. That total would be the second-highest single-season point total for Krejci since his 22-51-73 effort back in 2008-09 – ten seasons ago.

In that 2008-09 season, Krejci averaged 0.89 points-per-game. In comparison, Krejci is averaging 0.87 points-per-game, the third-highest PPG average in his 13-year NHL career. Krejci has found 15 of his points on the man-advantage, meaning the bulk of his numbers have come from five-on-five play, a huge attribute to take into consideration.

Throughout the past few seasons, the Sternberk, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) native has been on the receiving end of hard criticism but quite clearly, he has used that as motivation for his success this season. The 32-year-old has three game-winning goals this season, including the overtime goal in the 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on March 5th. Linemate Jake DeBrusk said the following about his chemistry with Krejci right after the game versus Carolina.

“I think when you play with a guy for almost 2 years now, you generate that w just games played & different things like that. He’s been playing great all year. He’s the biggest reason why I’ve had success personally as well. To have a guy like that in my corner is something that I don’t take for granted.” – Quote from Shawn Hutcheon (@ShawnHutcheon on Twitter)

David Krejci exceeded the expectations that were placed on him back in September before the puck dropped to begin the regular season. His name is back in the minds of teams across the league if they so happened to forget about him and he has been a factor for the success of the Bruins.

Sean Kuraly -> 66GP, 6G – 11A – 17P, 4th Liner

Sean Kuraly joins linemate Chris Wagner on this four-player list because, in a way, they have to be. Kuraly and Wagner, with the inclusion of Acciari, have surprised most Bruins fans and hockey fans throughout the league with their energy, tenacity, and offensive capabilities while throwing in the occasional hit or fight.

Sean Kuraly came to Boston on June 30th, 2015 in a trade with the San Jose Sharks that sent goaltender Martin Jones off to California and Kuraly with a 2016 1st Rounder (Trent Frederic) to Boston. Martin Jones was acquired by the B’s from the L.A. Kings in exchange for beloved Bruin, Milan Lucic only a few days prior.

Kuraly didn’t play with Boston until 2016-17, skating in eight games, scoring a single point. Kuraly was given an opportunity in the 2017 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals against the Ottawa Senators and he earned his way into the hearts of Bruins fans all over with two massive goals, one of which in the second overtime session in Game 5 of that series, forcing a Game 6.

After that remarkable game for Kuraly, he ended up playing 75 games during the 2017-18 season, scoring six goals and eight assists for a total of 14 points. In the offseason of this past year, Kuraly signed on the dotted line to a three-year, $3,825,000 contract extension, securing himself a position on the NHL roster for the time being.

Kuraly has done that and more. The Dublin, Ohio, USA native has matched his career-high in goals (6) and set a new career-high in points (17) and has played in twelve less games than in last year’s season. The threat of the fourth-line could be courtesy of the always hard-working Sean Kuraly. Kuraly still possesses that clutch goal-scoring talent, scoring two game-winning goals so far in 2018-19 – both coming in back-to-back games against the Sabres on December 29th and the Blackhawks in the Winter Classic on January 1st.

Kuraly has been one of those quite but deadly pieces to the puzzle that is the 2018-19 Boston Bruins – which can come across as a pleasant surprise for him, the management, and the fanbase.

My Winner: Chris Wagner

It seems like when the Bruins are down a goal late in the hockey game, scrambling to find their legs and score the tying goal or even the winning goal, Chris Wagner is inadvertently in the thick of things when the goal eventually crosses the red line. Wagner has scored the game-tying goal on three different occasions, two of which in the third and final period. Also, in each of those games where he scored the tying marker, the Bruins went on to either win the game or lose in a shootout.

I’ll be 110% honest here – I was fully anticipating Chris Wagner to be scratched for more games than he played and to see limited ice time when he is indeed in the lineup. Losing out on Tavares and Kovalchuk in free agency, at the time, it appeared as though Sweeney and the rest of the B’s management staff had no one else and wanted to go for depth. Tim Schaller, the now Vancouver Canuck, did not re-sign, but it looked like Nordstrom would replace him. Instead, the Bruins have a physical, gritty fourth-liner that has been big when scoring meaningful goals this season.

Chris Wagner is my personal pick to win this year’s 7th Player Award, who do you think wins the annual accolade? Was it one of the players I listed or does another player come to mind? Let me know via Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj) or on FaceBook comments!

Side Note: In the poll above, I listed D Brandon Carlo as an option, yet he is not on my list. I personally expected Carlo to be good this year, so he did not necessarily ‘exceed’ my expectations, but he has been great.

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

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Bruins Game 66 Preview: Carolina Hurricanes

Matt Grzelcyk, Cam Ward, Jaccob Slavin

PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo)

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

Points in sixteen straight games, three game-winning streak. That is the reality for the Boston Bruins ahead of tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Bruins have had support from all four lines, all three defensive lines, and both goalies during this extended streak of wins and points, pushing them to the second Atlantic division spot, only one point ahead of the Maple Leafs.

For Carolina, they too have been on an incredible run as of late. The Hurricanes have boosted themselves out of the wild-card to have the third Metropolitan divisional spot in their possession, only one point ahead of Pittsburgh who is currently in the wild-card. Carolina is riding on a five-game winning streak and are 21-6-1 since December 30th, 2018.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 17-9-4 2.29 GAA .924 SV% Last Game: 19 Saves in 4-1 win vs SJS

CAR: Curtis McElhinney (Likely) 2.24 GAA .923 SV% Last Game: 21 Saves in 5-2 win vs STL

Who’s Hot

Jaroslav Halak will be one of the favorites to win the 2019 NESN 7th Player Award, awarding the Bruin that has exceeded expectations this season and exceed expectations is what he has done. Halak has wins in each of his last four starts, three of which had him stopping thirty or more shots. In the last six games, Jaroslav has a .946 save percentage and has not lost in regulation. He has been a big member to the team, taking off some of the pressure from starting goaltender, Tuukka Rask. Even so much so that there is the chance that Bruce Cassidy runs both Rask and Halak in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs as fellow BNG writer Evan Michael mentions here.

Sebastian Aho is one of the best young players in the NHL today and he has proven that he should have gone higher than 35th overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Aho leads the Hurricanes this season with 27-46-73 numbers in 65 games this year and he is in the middle of a five-game point streak where he has accumulated six points in that span.

Brad Marchand scored the only goal in the win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night, making his 2018-19 season all the better. Marchand leads Boston in points with 24-49-76 numbers in 64 games and is well on the road to surpassing his career-high of 85 points that he reached in each of the last two seasons.

Teuvo Teravainen was once drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks, but was traded to Carolina in 2016 for a 2nd and a 3rd round pick. In response, Teravainen has had a phenomenal season, scoring eighteen goals and a career-high 43 assists for sixty-one points in only 65 games. He will break his career-high of 64 points, a mark he hit last season in a full 82 games. The 24-year-old has nine points in his last five games.

Who’s Not

Trevor van Riemsdyk is not necessarily known as a point-producing defenceman, as he usually gets third-paring minutes on the Carolina blueline, but the 27-year-old has only one point in his last ten games and is still a -4 rating on the season. The Hurricanes would love a higher plus/minus rating for him and more points on the back-end as the battle in the Metro continues.

David Backes is getting time with newly-acquired Charlie Coyle, but the ex-St. Louis Blue has zero points in his last five contests for the B’s and has ten penalty minutes during that time as well. Backes has 5-9-14 numbers in 53 games played in 2018-19 and is not even close to the 14-19-33 totals he had in 57 games last season for Boston.

Michael Ferland was one of the biggest fish in the trade deadline market but for some reason, his play has fallen off. In the past six games, the Swan River, Manitoba, Canada native has only two points – both of which coming on February 26th against the Los Angeles Kings. Ferland has 17-18-35 numbers in fifty-six games during the campaign this season.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • G Jaroslav Halak is one win away (249) from 250 career NHL wins and would tie Johnny Bauer (250) for 54th most wins in NHL history
  • D Zdeno Chara is one goal away (199) from 200 career NHL goals
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (25) from passing Rick Middleton (25) for sole possession of most SHG in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one point away (793) from passing Wayne Cashman (793) for sole possession of 6th most points in Bruins history

Carolina Hurricanes:

  • F Jordan Staal is one point away (499) from 500 career NHL points

Bruins vs Hurricanes Outlook

This is the final game of the season series between the Bruins and Hurricanes, with both teams taking one of the previous two meetings. Back on October 30th, the B’s took a 3-2 win, followed by a Carolina win on December 23rd with the final score being 5-3 Hurricanes. Once again, the Hurricanes will dawn the Hartford Whalers jerseys while the Bruins will wear their 2018-19 road sweaters on home ice.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Jamie Kellner)

Power-Play Percentage:

BOS: 26.8% – 2nd in NHL

CAR: 17.6% – 21st in NHL

Penalty-Kill Percentage:

BOS: 81.3% – 11th in NHL

CAR: 81.6% – 9th in NHL

Below are the Bruins practice lines from yesterday ahead of tonight’s game. Kevan Miller, Sean Kuraly and David Pastrnak are all out of the lineup.

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

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Bruins Marchand Continues Dominant Season With ‘Devilish’ Game vs. Devils

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

Brad Marchand has been with the Bruins organization since the 2009-2010 season, following being drafted 71st overall (3rd round) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. In that time, Marchand has not always been the point-producing scorer that we happen to know him as today.

Marchand started his career in the National Hockey League with only one point in twenty games during the ’09/’10 campaign but returned the following season with twenty-one goals and forty-one points in 77 regular season games. In his first six seasons, Marchand never amassed more than fifty-five points in a season, a mark that he reached back in 2011-12.

Within the 377 regular season games from 2009 to the end of the 2014-15 season, Marchand scored 116 goals and 112 assists for 228 points – not bad, but something that seems odd considering what Marchand has been doing for Boston in the past four seasons. Even at the time, it seemed like Marchand was capable of more because of his performance in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, helping the B’s hoist the Stanley Cup with 11-9-19 numbers – including two goals in Game 7 of the Finals against the Vancouver Canucks.

For Brad Marchand, the offence truly started to click 2015-16. The Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada native scored thirty-seven goals that season and a lot of that could be attributed to his chemistry with Patrice Bergeron that had been growing strong over the previous seasons. Bergeron, even to this day, is one of the biggest reasons for the success of Brad Marchand.

Following that 37-24-61 year, Marchand entered the contract negotiation phase of career. Back in September of 2012, Marchand signed a four-year, $18 million contract worth $4,500,000 per season. With one year remaining, Marchand agreed to an eight-year, $49 million deal worth $6,125,000 every season until 2024-2025. Taking a look back on that deal, I and many other hockey fans feel that he could have very well demanded into the eight million range on the skill alone, but the age factor and the love of Boston persuaded him to take a little bit of a pay cut.

Right after signing the contract, Marchand went on to explode for eighty-five points on the final year of the previous contract, proving to all the naysayers that he deserves that long-term commitment. The 2016-17 season was so good for him, that he made it into his first career NHL All-Star Game. The question came up of course though, could he continue that success into the future years or was it a one-time sort of event to hit that point mark?

Well last season, Marchand answered that question by matching that exact point total. While he failed to meet the goal total, Marchand tallied six more assists than the year prior, mainly due to the emergence of young superstar David Pastrnak on the Bruins first-line. It is also fair to note, however, that Marchand scored 34-51-85 numbers in only 68 games.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports Images)

That takes us to this season – the 2018-19 season. Brad Marchand started off the year on a slower pace than in the years prior but that could largely be because of the skill increase of Czech forward David Pastrnak. Pastrnak took the league by storm with his shooting capabilities and the scoring of Marchand kind of went under the radar by other NHL franchises, at least, the fanbases forgot about him.

With that said, Marchand is currently on pace for another career season. After sixty-four games, Marchy is averaging 1.19 points-per-game, currently the second-highest average of his career, behind last year’s effort. Marchand has only missed one game, leaving him the chance to hit 81 games played and with that 1.19 PPG average, Marchand can reach the 94-point mark and become the first Bruin since Marc Savard in 2006-07 (96) to hit ninety points in a single season.

Of course, Brad would have to finish off the season on this pace and avoid missing anymore time from injuries or suspensions. Even then, for him to hit a new career-high of 86 points, he would have to score ten points in the next eighteen games – very possible for Marchand.

He’s on pace to set a new career-high in points, so how exactly is Brad Marchand falling out of the mouths of opposing teams and fanbases, especially on social media platforms? Suspensions, or lack thereof rather. Over the past number of years, Marchand’s name has been on the news headlines for his in-game antics. The dirty hits, the spearing to the groin, and don’t remind me of the whole licking events. However this season, knowing that he may have received his final warning, Marchand has not yet been handed a suspension in the 2018-19 season. *knocks on wood*

Even if he fails to break or even match his personal point record, the fact that he has been able to consistently help the Boston Bruins win games and play well, then that is a win in my books and I’m sure, in a lot of your books as well.

On Saturday, Marchand played in his 666th career NHL regular season game, entering the contest with a combined total of 666 penalty minutes. Who did he happen to be playing against – the New Jersey Devils. I’ll let you put the pieces together from there. Regardless, Brad Marchand is on pace for a career season and without that, the Bruins may not be on a sixteen-game point streak and ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs. From here on out to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, we can only hope that Marchand’s season continues to build steam.

Marchand and the Bruins look to extend the point streak to seventeen games Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes in the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

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

-> Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com <- 

Bruins Game 65 Preview: New Jersey Devils

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PHOTO CREDITS: (CBS Local – New York)

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

The Boston Bruins have taken the Eastern Conference by storm in the past few weeks, earning a point in their last fifteen games and did not lose a single regulation game in the entire month of February. The Bruins’ recent hot-streak has given them a three-point lead on the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic division.

With the loss of Taylor Hall (knee surgery), the chances of the New Jersey Devils making the Stanley Cup Playoffs have decreased to the point where it’s hard to see them making a push. Having lost two games in a row, the Devils are seventeen points out of the playoffs right now with a 25-32-8 record for 58 points so far.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 21-8-5 2.36 GAA .920 SV% Last Game: 20 Saves in 4-1 win vs TBL

NJD: Mackenzie Blackwood 6-5-0 2.35 GAA .928 SV% Last Game: 33 Saves in 2-1 loss vs CGY

Who’s Hot

Tuukka Rask has been lights out for the Bruins and it may be part of the reason for the upgraded level of confidence and in turn, success for Boston lately. Rask only faced twenty-one shots against the best team in the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he stopped all but one and looked pretty solid on those few shots. Rask has a point in each of his last sixteen starts.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet.ca)

Damon Severson is by far the best Devils defenceman right now, coming off of a 1-2-3 night in the loss to the Philadelphia Flyers last night. The 24-year-old, Melville, Saskatchewan, Canada native has 9-24-33 numbers in sixty-five games for New Jersey this season.

David Krejci has had a solid year this season, finding chemistry with young forward Jake DeBrusk and more recently, trade deadline acquisition, Marcus Johansson on the Bruins second line. Krejci has 15-40-55 totals in 64 games in 2018-19 and has six points in his last five, including a three-assist night in the win against San Jose on February 18th.

Who’s Not

33-year-old Travis Zajac has already surpassed his point totals from last season, but he has struggled this year on the defensive side of the puck. In his last four games, Zajac has one point and a combined -6 rating, averaging just around nineteen minutes per game. With Taylor Hall out of the lineup, Zajac needs to be more responsible defensively but still accumulate the points.

Joakim Nordstrom will play on the Bruins’ fourth-line tonight, but the Swedish forward has not scored a point in twenty consecutive games and finished the entire month of February pointless. Nordstrom has 2-5-7 numbers on the year, but both he and the Bruins expect more from him as the playoff push becomes more and more nerve-racking.

Nico Hischier was the 1st Overall Pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, but the 21-year-old forward has not scored a goal in the last seven games, only producing two assists in that time span as well. Hischier is being relied on by the Devils to score points without Hall, but he too is having troubles doing so. However, he is only eight points away from tying his numbers from last season – his debut NHL year.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F Patrice Bergeron is one point away (792) from tying Wayne Cashman (793) for 6th most points in Bruins history
  • D Zdeno Chara is one goal away (199) from 200 career NHL goals
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (25) from passing Rick Middleton (25) for sole possession of most SHG in Bruins history

New Jersey Devils:

  • F Travis Zajac is two points away (498) from 500 NHL career points
  • D Damon Severson is one assist away (99) from 100 NHL career assists
  • F Nico Hischier is four points away (96) from 100 NHL career points

Bruins vs Devils Outlook

The last time these two teams played one another, the Devils beat the Bruins in the TD Garden by a final score of 5-2 back on December 27th. It was a very poor outing for the Bruins who just came back from their three-day Christmas break. The Bruins are a much better team from even December and will be looking to redeem that loss on home ice tonight. After this game, the two will play one final time on March 21st in New Jersey.

The Bruins have the third-best power-play in the league at 26.5% going against the Devils’ third-best 83.7% penalty-kill percentage. On the flip side of things, The Devils have the 19th best man-advantage rate in the league (18.1%) going against Boston’s 81% penalty-kill success rate – good for 12th best in the National Hockey League.

Below are the official warmup lines of the Bruins for tonight’s contest in TD Garden.

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Bruins Game 64 Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Winslow Townson/AP)

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

Even though the seven-game winning streak was snapped last Saturday against the St. Louis Blues, the Boston Bruins bounced right back on Tuesday night with a massive 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks – a rematch from the 6-5 win over San Jose last week in California. With the win, the Bruins improve to 10-0-4 in their last fourteen games and hold a one-point lead on the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division with eighty-three points on the season.

At the same time, the Tampa Bay Lightning have been a dominate force as well, earning points in their last fourteen as well and are riding a ten-game winning streak, the longest in franchise history. The Lightning have been far-and-away the best team in the NHL this season and have no indications of slowing down anytime soon. Tampa Bay has an incredible 49-11-4 record for 102 points and hold an outstanding thirteen-point lead on the second place team in the league’s overall standings (Calgary at 89pts).

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 20-8-5 2.40 GAA .920 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 2-1 (SO) loss to STL

TBL: Louis Domingue (Likely) 19-4-0 2.86 GAA .908 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 5-2 win vs PHI

Who’s Hot

Nikita Kucherov is the best point-producing player in the National Hockey League this season – no question. The 25-year-old forward has 30-74-104 numbers in only sixty-four games this season and is not slowing down by any means. Kucherov has 8-15-23 totals in his last nine games and recently scored five points in a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets back on February 18th.

Tuukka Rask has been nothing short of stellar in between the pipes for the Bruins as of late, riding high on a fifteen-game personal point streak, extending that on Saturday win the point against the Blues. Rask has the seventh-best goals-against-average in the league at 2.40 and the tenth-best save percentage at .920.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins

PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Louis Domingue is the backup goaltender for the Lightning and he is having insane numbers for that position. The St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada native has won the last eleven games that he has started in for Tampa, improving his overall record to a remarkable 19-4-0 record. Domingue has taken the league by storm and like I said, is only getting backup goaltender minutes. His play has made it easy on Head Coach Jon Cooper to decide on who starts because neither man seems to be able to go cold this season.

Brad Marchand is coming into tonight’s game after a three-point outing against the Sharks, a game where he tied Bruins legend Rick Middleton for most shorthanded goals in a single career with twenty-five. Marchand has been a key piece to the Bruins offence for many years now, but even more so with the absence of David Pastrnak from the forward core. With 25-49-74 numbers, Marchand leads the team in points and is second in goals.

Who’s Not

Joakim Nordstrom will be back in the lineup, even though many Bruins feel like he should not be and they make a good case. The free-agent signing in the past 2018 offseason, Nordstrom only has five goals and two assists in fifty-one games for the Black N’ Gold while not scoring a point in his last eighteen games now. For Boston, it may be smarter to place Peter Cehlarik in his position on the third-line, who has six points in only fourteen games.

Alex Killorn has been a solid depth scorer for the Lightning this year, putting up 13-18-31 numbers in the 64 games played this season but the 29-year-old has zero points in his last three games and was a minus one rating in yesterday’s win over the New York Rangers. To go with that, Killorn only has a single point in the last six games that he has skated in.

David Backes has seen some time with the struggling Nordstrom and more recently, newly-acquired Charlie Coyle, but the veteran forward only has one point in his last twelve games and if he wants to continue getting top-nine minutes on this team, then he needs to contribute more points on the depth charts than his fourteen points (five goals, nine assists), in 51 games.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • D Charlie McAvoy will be playing in his 100th career NHL regular season game
  • F Patrice Bergeron is two points away (791) from tying Wayne Cashman (793) for 6th most points in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one even-strength goal away (203) from passing Peter McNab (203) for sole possession of 8th most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • D Zdeno Chara is one goal away (199) from 200 career NHL goals
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (25) from passing Rick Middleton (25) for sole possession of most SHG in Bruins history

Tampa Bay Lightning:

  • F Steven Stamkos is two goals away (381) from tying Vincent Lecavalier (383) for most goals in Lightning history
  • F Ondrej Palat is one assist away (187) from passing Dan Boyle (187) for sole possession of 9th most assists in Lightning history
  • F Tyler Johnson is one point away (300) from passing Brian Bradley (300) for sole possession of 8th most points in Lightning history

Bruins vs Lightning Outlook

The Bruins and Lightning only met once so far this season, a 3-2 loss back in December. To end off the 2018-19 season, however, the two top teams in the Eastern Conference will play each other three more times including tonight’s contest in Boston. There is a chance that the two will once again meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs as both teams faced each other last year, with Tampa winning in only five games.

This is the first time in NHL history that two teams on a 14-game winning streak will meet each other in a game. Will they both extend to fifteen? Or will one end the other’s streak tonight?

Finally, the Bruins meet their match on the specialty teams. The Bruins have the second-best power-play in the NHL (26.4%), behind only the Lightning who have a 29.7% success rate while on the man-advantage. Tampa also has the number one penalty-kill in the league, killing off 86.1% of their penalties against successfully while Boston (80.7%) is twelfth in the NHL.

Noel Acciari took a puck to the face, but Cassidy expects him in the Bruins lineup tonight. Other than Rask getting the start in net, the lineup remains the same as Tuesday’s win over the Sharks. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30pm EST at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Here are the expected lines for the game.

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Bruins Game 63 Preview: San Jose Sharks

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

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

The Trade Deadline has officially past and the road to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs is upon us. The Bruins’ seven-game winning streak game to an end on Saturday in a loss to the St. Louis Blues – a shootout loss, to conclude the five-game western road trip. Finally, the Bruins are back at home after earning nine-out-of-ten points on the road swing. The Bruins are narrowly holding onto the second Atlantic division spot, a mere point ahead of Toronto.

The San Jose Sharks lost to the Bruins last week in a controversial, but entertaining 6-5 overtime game. Since then, San Jose shutout the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0, then lost two nights later 4-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets, followed by a 5-3 win over Detroit on Sunday. The Sharks are three points behind the Calgary Flames for first in the Pacific division and hold a 13-point lead over the Golden Knights.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 16-9-4 2.33 GAA .924 SV% Last Game: 31 Saves in 3-2 win vs VGK

SJS: Martin Jones 29-12-5 2.92 GAA .897 SV% Last Game: 19 Saves in 4-0 loss vs CBJ

Who’s Hot

Jaroslav Halak had a tough time to begin 2019, going 1-3-1 in the opening month of January, but since, the 33-year-old goaltender now has three straight wins in net for the Bruins, including a thirty-save shutout over the Anaheim Ducks on February 15th. In those three starts, Halak has not had a save percentage below .939, solidifying his hot stretch. This season, Jaro has a 2.33 goals-against-average along with a .924 save percentage.

Brent Burns is on pace for another Norris-contending season as one of the best defencemen in the entire league. The Barrie, Ontario, Canada native has 2-5-7 numbers in his last five games including a three-point game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Burns leads the Sharks for most points this year with thirteen goals and fifty-seven assists for seventy points in sixty-three games.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Marcus Johansson, the lone player acquired by the Bruins on deadline day has had a solid last five games for his old team, the New Jersey Devils. The 28-year-old forward has five points in those five games including a two-point outing against the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 19th. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced that the newest addition to the roster will play alongside David Krejci in his Boston Bruins debut tonight.

Joe Pavelski has had two, three-point nights in the past four games. On February 15th, Pavelski scored a goal and two assists against the Bruins in the 6-5 defeat and more recently, scored a hat-trick in Sunday’s victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Pavelski has the most points by a forward on San Jose this year with 35-24-59 numbers in 63 games.

Who’s Not

Marcus Sorensen is one of the younger pieces to this San Jose Sharks team, but the 26-year-old forward has only a single assist in his last six games, coming against Boston. Sorensen’s ice-time has been decreasing over the last few games due to the lack of production and the Sharks are hoping that he can somehow turn it around for them.

Joakim Nordstrom is back in the lineup for Peter Cehlarik tonight, but the Swedish forward has not found success in a longtime for this Bruins club still searching for more consistency when trailing down the forward core. Nordstrom has not scored a point in his last seventeen games played, keeping his season totals at 5-2-10. While not known for putting up high numbers, he is getting third-line minutes on most nights and he should be producing more than he has been.

Gustav Nyquist was recently traded to the San Jose Sharks in one of the first trades of the Trade Deadline, coming to the Sharks from the Red Wings. Nyquist, who was on the struggling Wings, has only two points in his last five contests, even when averaging close to twenty minutes per game on that stretch. His lack of scoring as of late may change with a new environment like the Sharks, but that is to be seen when he makes his debut with the Teal and Black tonight.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • D Zdeno Chara is one goal away (199) from 200 career NHL goals
  • D Charlie McAvoy will be playing in his 99th career NHL regular season game
  • F Patrice Bergeron is three points away (790) from tying Wayne Cashman (793) for 6th most points in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one even-strength goal away (203) from passing Peter McNab (203) for sole possession of 8th most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (24) from tying Rick Middleton (25) for most SHG in Bruins history
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PHOTO CREDITS: (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images North America)

San Jose Sharks:

  • F Melker Karlsson is three points away (97) from 100 career NHL points
  • F Kevin Lebanc is two points away (98) from 100 career NHL points
  • D Brendan Dillion is four points (96) from 100 career NHL points
  • F Tomas Hertl is one even-strength goal away (81) from tying Marco Sturm (82) for most even-strength goals in Sharks history
  • D Brent Burns is one power-play goal away (42) from tying Jeff Friesen (43) for 7th most PPG in Sharks history

Bruins vs Sharks Outlook

The Boston Bruins are finally back in the walls of the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts for a home game after the successful five-game road trip through the Western Conference. The Bruins faced the Sharks last week and walked away with a 6-5 win on the road. Boston once held a 3-0 lead in the opening period, but with a late first-period goal, the Sharks managed to claw their way back to eventually take a 5-4 lead. A tying goal by Chris Wagner led to the game-winning goal in overtime by Charlie McAvoy gave the Bruins a hard-fought “W” in the win column.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Neville E. Guard/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Boston still has the second-best power-play in the NHL (26.4%), while San Jose has the 5th-best at 25.0% on the man-advantage. On the PK, the B’s have the eleventh-best, killing off 81.0% of the penalties against compared to the Sharks who have the seventh-best penalty-kill percentage in the league at 81.9%.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm EST in the TD Garden. Boston will look to earn at least a  point for the fourteenth consecutive game. Below are the lines for the Bruins tonight. Forward Charlie Coyle makes his TD Garden home debut while Marcus Johansson makes his debut with the Spoked-B sweater on. Defenceman Kevan Miller is out day-to-day with an upper-body injury, John Moore will replace him. David Pastrnak remains out for at least another two weeks (thumb). Also, Joakim Nordstrom replaces Peter Cehlarik.

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

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Bruins Game 62 Preview: St. Louis Blues

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

The Boston Bruins will look to finally close out this successful five-game road trip with their eighth straight win today against the St. Louis Blues. The Bruins started off this western road trip with back-to-back wins over the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings followed by a 6-5 overtime win over the Sharks and a 3-2 over the Golden Knights in Vegas. Boston currently holds a four-point lead on Toronto for the second Atlantic division spot.

The St. Louis Blues have had one of the biggest turnarounds of any team in 2018-19. At one point, the Blues were near the basement of the NHL standings, but off of an eleven-game winning streak, the Blues are now in a divisional playoff spot, third in the Central division. The eleven wins in a row set a new franchise record for most consecutive wins, but with their last loss to the Dallas Stars, the Blues will look to get right back in the win column against a tough Bruins team.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask (Likely) 20-8-4 2.45 GAA .918 SV% Last Game: 33 Saves in 6-5 win vs SJS

STL: Jordan Binnington (Not Confirmed) 13-2-1 1.75 GAA .931 SV% Last Game: 20 Saves in 5-2 loss vs DAL

Who’s Hot

If Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington does indeed get the start on Saturday, then it will be a tough time scoring any goals on the 25-year-old netminder. Binnington is a large reason for the Blues success as of late. Before Thursday’s loss to Dallas, Binnington won nine consecutive games for St. Louis, including three shutouts in that time span. With Jake Allen struggling, expect Binnington to be on his game once again today.

With the solid play of Binnington in the Blues sweater, the Bruins have a solid goaltender as well. Tuukka Rask has secured a point for the Bruins in his last fourteen games played and is currently boasting a six-game winning streak. Rask did have a rough game against a tough San Jose Sharks squad, but he will be looking to help Boston win number eight in a row.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (The Canadian Press)

Vladimir Tarasenko was having a poor season when it began, even to the point where his name appeared in some trade rumours. However, the Russian forward recently just had his fourteen-game point streak snapped but returned with yet another point in the loss to the Stars. From January 19th to February 17th, Tarasenko had 12-11-23 totals in the fourteen games. The solid play has boosted him to have the second-most points on the Blues with 27-25-52 totals in 59 games played.

After an extended slump of no goals or points, forward Jake DeBrusk is on fire as of late, scoring in each of his last five games, scoring ten points total in that span. DeBrusk has been a great assistance to the second-line and has helped add offence with the absence of David Pastrnak who remains out of the lineup with a thumb injury. The Edmonton, Alberta, Canada native now has 19-10-29 numbers in fifty-two games.

Who’s Not

Even though he is not meant to put up high numbers, defenceman Joel Edmundson has no points in his last four games and was a -3 rating against Dallas. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Edmundson has only 2-7-9 numbers with a +3 rating in 53 games this year for St. Louis.

John Moore most likely will be a healthy scratch for the Bruins once again and that has unfortunately become an unsettling trend for the 28-year-old defenceman. Moore signed a five-year contract with Boston in this past off-season and is getting paid $2,750,000 for each of those seasons. For a player getting that term, he should not be getting scratched night in and night out. But in his last five games played, Moore only has one point and only has ten points in forty-seven games on the season to go along with a -3 rating.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins: 

  • D Zdeno Chara is one goal away (199) from 200 career NHL goals
  • F Patrice Bergeron is three points away (790) from tying Wayne Cashman (793) for 6th most points in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one even-strength goal away (203) from passing Peter McNab (203) for sole possession of 8th most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (24) from tying Rick Middleton (25) for most SHG in Bruins history
  • G Tuukka Rask is 38 saves away (12,337) from tying Eddie Johnston (12,375) for most saves in Bruins history
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PHOTO CREDITS: (Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

St. Louis Blues:

  • F Vladimir Tarasenko is one goal away (205) from tying David Backes (206) for 6th most goals in Blues history
  • F Vladimir Tarasenko is one hat-trick away (4) from taking sole possession of 6th most hat-tricks in Blues history

Bruins vs Blues Outlook

This will be the second of two meetings between the Bruins and Blues this season, with Boston taking the first game back on January 17th in a 5-2 victory. Torey Krug, former-Blue David Backes, Chris Wagner, Brad Marchand, and Sean Kuraly scored the five goals for Boston while Tuukka Rask made twenty-six stops in goal to tie Tiny Thompson for most wins in Bruins history.

For David Backes, this will be the fifth time that he plays against his former NHL team. In the previous four games against St. Louis, Backes has three goals, averaging just under fifteen minutes per game. Today, Backes will have a new linemate to hopefully add to that total. Newly-acquired forward Charlie Coyle is expected to make his debut in a Bruins sweater today with Joakim Nordstrom and Backes on his wings. Coyle will look to make a solid first impression since joining the club on Wednesday.

Boston still has the second-best power-play in the National Hockey League, scoring on 26.5% of the power-plays that they have been handed. On the road trip so far, the Bruins have a 23.1% accuracy on the man-advantage, even without their top power-play scorer, David Pastrnak in the lineup. St. Louis on the other hand, has a 19.1% success rate on the PP, but in the month of February, they have a 17.6% success rate.

On the penalty-kill side of things, the Bruins have been lights out in February, killing off 86.1% of the penalties they take, the sixth-best in February. St. Louis is not far off from that, though, having an 85.7% success rate while shorthanded and they will look to silence the B’s power-play with that today.

Puck drop is scheduled for 4pm EST at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Below are the lines from yesterday’s practice. Expect Head Coach Bruce Cassidy to make a decision on whether Peter Cehlarik or Joakim Nordstrom is the winger to play alongside Charlie Coyle today.

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

-> Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com <- 

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Vegas: 02/20/19

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports)

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

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Home: Vegas Golden Knights (32-25-4)

Away: Boston Bruins (35-17-8)

Following a controversy-filled game against the San Jose Sharks on Monday, the Bruins are back in action for the second-last game on this western road trip. After earning a 3-0 lead in the first period, the Bruins allowed the Sharks to make a comeback, to the point where San Jose had a 5-4 lead late. Courtesy of a Chris Wagner tying goal and a McAvoy overtime winner, the Bruins won their sixth straight game and now take on the Golden Knights.

Vegas has struggled in their last ten games, going 3-7-0 in those contests. The Golden Knights still sit in third place in the Pacific division but are a full ten points behind the San Jose Sharks for second in the division. Also on Monday, the Avalanche beat the Golden Knights 3-0. Vegas will be looking to get back in the win column against the Bruins.

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

A nearly identical lineup for the Bruins as the game against San Jose, only Jaroslav Halak will be back in the net for Boston against Vegas.

First Period:

Both teams entered tonight’s game with some back-and-forth play, a reoccurring trend for the Bruins on this road trip. Less than three minutes in, Jake DeBrusk turns on the jets to get a 2-on-1 with Karson Kuhlman but Golden Knights forward Cody Eakin stopped the play with the backcheck.

Not long after that, Vegas got their chance too, off of a net-front scramble with some shots on the net but Jaroslav Halak follows the puck the entire time to make a big glove save. The puck may have been deflected before it hit his glove hand but big save nonetheless.

4:58 into the hockey game, Brad Marchand drives into the zone and attempts a nice deke around Nate Schmidt who gets his lumber up in the face of Marchand and he is headed to the penalty box for two minutes. Big chance for the Bruins to score earlier on the power-play. Numerous times on the man-advantage, Boston tried a cross-zone feed for a possible one-timer but the Knights did a great job to intercept the passes at the centre of the zone and the penalty is killed off.

It would be the Bruins to strike first in this hockey game when Jake DeBrusk buried a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury with about nine minutes to go in the period. Kuhlman found David Krejci along the boards who made a solid feed to DeBrusk in the slot. DeBrusk span around defenceman Shea Theodore to retrieve the puck. Jake has goals in five straight games now and that is number nineteen on the season assisted by Krejci (39) and Kuhlman (1).

At the 14:24 mark of the opening period, Danton Heinen is called on a tripping minor and the Bruins are off to the penalty-kill for the first time tonight. Only nine seconds into the power-play, William Karlsson gets a slick pass from Jonathan Marchessault in the slot but Halak once again follows it and makes a glove save. Golden Knights fail to get any other chance and we are back to 5-on-5.

Yet again, the Bruins are back again with a poor end to a period and after some good zone control, Vegas comes back with a Cody Eakin shot on the net from the point that takes a bad rebound off of Halak’s right pad directly to former Bruin Reilly Smith who scores his first goal in thirteen games. Smith’s tenth of 2018-19 is assisted by Eakin (17) and Merrill (8).

Boston did not get a single shot on goal for over seven minutes in the second half of the frame. Against San Jose, the Bruins went a long time without a shot and was part of the reason for the comeback by the Sharks. Period ends at a 1-1 tie game.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 6 VGK: 10

Score: 1-1 – Goals: DeBrusk (19) Assists: Krejci (39), Kuhlman (1); Smith (10), Assists: Eakin (17), Merrill (8)

Second Period

A little bit of a slow start to the middle period is quickly changed when Nate Schmidt throws the puck up for William Karlsson who gets in all alone on a breakaway but Halak stays square to the shot and makes the save. On the defensive zone faceoff loss, Halak makes two more saves on a pair of point shots by Vegas defensemen, still 1-1 in the second.

With just over six minutes gone in the second period, the Bruins go to their second power-play of this Wednesday Night Hockey Game due to a too-many-men call against the Golden Knights. Boston has not had much offensive zone time since the DeBrusk goal and this power-play could kickstart that offence. Unfortunately, Boston looked sloppy on the Vegas penalty and the Golden Knights did a good job clearing the puck and the B’s are 0-for-2 on the PP tonight.

Quite a lacklustre period for both teams leading to a penalty by Brayden McNabb – two minutes for hooking on Chris Wagner. Power-play number three for Boston coming up. One of the most active Golden Knights tonight, William Karlsson, gets a shorthanded bid, stopped by Halak. On the very next shift, Vegas gets alone on a 2-on-1, but Eakin gets robbed by Halak with a diving glove save. Terrible power-play for Boston in this game.

It has been all Vegas in this second period but Jaroslav Halak has been on his game tonight. Boston cannot get the puck out of the zone often and when they do, they cannot get Grade A scoring opportunities on Fleury.

Not as entertaining of a hockey game as the San Jose game, but the Bruins are still in it, 1-1 after forty minutes of play.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 14 VGK: 22

Score: 1-1

Third Period:

The offensively shy Bruins came out firing – literally. Charlie McAvoy bringing in the confidence that has been growing in the second half of the 2018-19 season carries the puck in the Vegas zone, handing it off to Danton Heinen. Heinen, while looking at the net, passes it across to Marchand who rips a blistering bomb past Fleury for a goal 1:09 in the final regulation period. Marchand’s 24th comes from Heinen (12) and McAvoy (14).

But, the Golden Knights were not planning on playing this game any longer while trailing as only twenty-seven seconds after the Marchand goal, Nate Schmidt gets around Charlie McAvoy with ease and rips a shot of his own past Jaroslav Halak for his seventh tally of the year. A straight momentum-killing goal from Schmidt assisted by Smith (24) and Marchessault (22).

Since the goal, Vegas has been back in the Bruins end more than the Bruins have been in theirs. Jaro Halak has had to be strong in net tonight and if the Bruins want to squeak out another point on this western swing, then he needs to continue to play well in the final three-quarters of this third period.

Late in the period, with about six minutes to go, William Karlsson continued his high-octane game with a bullet of a shot that beats Halak but rings off of the post. Karlsson has had some really good chances to score tonight but is yet to capitalize. Right back the other way, Brad Marchand also rings the iron and it remains 2-2.

The Bruins defence is struggling in this third period as well. Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug decided to go off at the wrong time, allowing Paul Statsny to get a strong wrist shot low on Halak, looking for another rebound goal similar to the opening tally of the game for Reilly Smith.

Even with a poor offensive performance tonight, the Bruins manage to get a point in this one and we are headed to 3-on-3 overtime.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 26 VGK: 30

Score: 2-2 – Goals: Marchand (24) Assists: Heinen (12), McAvoy (14); Schmidt (7) Assists: Smith (24), Marchessault (22)

Overtime:

The Bruins had the first good chance of the sudden death overtime as a shot put on by Marchand with a juicy rebound left for Krug who fails to get his stick on the ice to tap it in the open cage. Right back the other way, Vegas gets a few chances of their own with at least a minute of zone control but no goals came from the pressure.

With 2:46 to go, Torey Krug is too slow to get off the ice and McAvoy gets in on the rush too quickly and the Bruins are caught with too many men. Boston penalty-kill in overtime – huge kill on the way.

Reilly Smith had a good shot on the man-advantage as he tried a wrist shot short side, but Halak makes what looked like an easy glove save on the shot. Vegas couldn’t get the looks they were hunting for on this power-play and with big credit to Jaro Halak, the Bruins kill off the too-many-men minor successfully.

With no goals scored in OT, the two teams head to the shootout period.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 27 VGK: 33

Score: 2-2

Shootout:

  • VGK Brandon Pirri – NO GOAL
  • BOS Jake DeBrusk – GOAL
  • VGK William Karlsson – GOAL
  • BOS Patrice Bergeron – NO GOAL
  • VGK Alex Tuch – NO GOAL
  • BOS Brad Marchand – NO GOAL
  • VGK Jonathan Marchessault – NO GOAL
  • BOS Danton Heinen – NO GOAL
  • VGK Shea Theodore – NO GOAL
  • BOS Torey Krug – NO GOAL
  • VGK Oscar Lindberg – NO GOAL
  • BOS David Backes – GOAL – GAME-WINNER

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS G Jaroslav Halak – 31 Saves on 33 Shots, 5 Shootout Saves .939 SV%

2nd Star: VGK F Reilly Smith – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 2 Shots, 17:34 TOI

3rd Star: BOS F Jake DeBrusk – 1 Goal, 4 Shots, 16:40 TOI

The Boston Bruins have now won their seventh consecutive game and are now 4-for-4 on this western road trip. Only one more road game this Saturday against the St. Louis Blues at 4pm EST before heading back to Boston. The Bruins have now hit the 80-point plateau and have a four-point cushion on the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic division.

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

Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at San Jose: 02/18/19

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USATSI)

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

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: SAP Center – San Jose, California, USA

Home: San Jose Sharks (35-17-7)

Away: Boston Bruins (34-17-8)

The Bruins enter the third game of their five-game road trip with five wins in a row and now heading into a tougher stretch of schedule with games against the Sharks, Golden Knights, Blues, and Lightning all in close radar. With the recent win over Los Angeles on Saturday, the Bruins narrowly have the second Atlantic division spot over Toronto who are only one point back.

The San Jose Sharks have become one of the top contenders in the Western Conference once again, especially with the addition of Erik Karlsson back in September of 2018. Brent Burns is on pace to be in contention of another Norris Trophy when the season comes to a conclusion. The Sharks recently beat the Vancouver Canucks and currently hold the second position in the Pacific division.

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Forward Peter Cehlarik is out of the lineup tonight due to a lower-body injury suffered against the Kings on Saturday. Karson Kuhlman will play on the second-line with Krejci and DeBrusk in only his second NHL game.

First Period:

What a start to this Monday night game. Over ten straight minutes, yes halfway of the first period, only one whistle was blown. Both the Sharks and Bruins had chances back and forth and quite frankly, no team really was blowing the other team away. At one point in the first, Chris Wagner right in front the puck goes over the shoulder of Jones and looks to be going across the line, but Marc-Eduard Vlasic makes a brilliant save with the stick on the goal line to keep it 0-0.

With 9:03 remaining, Sean Kuraly gets high stick to the face by Tomas Hertl and the Sharks are headed to the box. Immediately at the start of the power-play, Torey Krug mishandles the puck, allowing Evander Kane all alone on a shorthanded breakaway, only to ring the shot off of the post. San Jose did a great job pressure the B’s and retrieving the puck back for a clear.

On what seemed like the final clear of the PK, Matt Grzelcyk gets a stick up in his face as well and the Bruins are right back on the man-advantage. Less than a minute onto the power-play, the Bruins finally figure out how to cycle the puck around the zone, allowing Torey Krug to unleash a bomb short-side past Jones, 1-0 Bruins. Krug’s 6th of the season assisted by Krejci (36) and Bergeron (35).

Not letting up on the early lead, the Bruins looked to add to their opening tally. Brad Marchand made a nice move in the offensive zone to rip a quick wrist shot towards Jones but it goes off of the red pipe and redirects to the corner. High-paced first period from both teams and the chances continue to pile up.

At the 16:26 mark of the opening frame, Sean Kuraly wins an offensive zone faceoff clean backwards to Zdeno Chara who one-times the puck top corner past Jones and the Bruins take a 2-0 lead in the final five minutes of the period. Chara’s goal is his 199th career NHL goal since he began his career in 1997. This is his fourth of the season assisted by Sean Kuraly (11).

The killer instinct by the Bruins does not stop there. David Krejci uses his supreme vision to find an open Jake DeBrusk up the ice who has rookie Karson Kuhlman on the other side of the ice. DeBrusk looks like he is about to shoot the puck short-side until the very last second where he feeds the puck across to Kuhlman who buries his first career NHL goal, making it 3-0 Boston with just around a minute-and-a-half left to play. Assists go to DeBrusk (9) and Krejci (37).

Two goals 1:58 apart for the Boston Bruins in the first period, but the Sharks want in on some of the goal-scoring and will do just that. Joe Pavelski wraps the puck around, bouncing it off the pad for former-Bruin Joe Thornton to bury his eleventh goal of the 2018-19 season on the backhand with only three seconds to go in the frame.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 8 SJS: 8

Score: 3-1 Bruins – Goals: Krug (8) PPG Assists: Krejci (36), Bergeron (35); Chara (4) Assists: Kuraly (11); Kuhlman (1) Assists: DeBrusk (9), Krejci (37); Thornton (11) Assists: Pavelski (22)

Second Period:

Sharks started off the middle period with some more zone time and shots on Rask and on one of the clear attempts, Kevan Miller accidentally hits the puck up and over the glass, resulting in the ever-so-disliked delay-of-game penalty and Boston will be shorthanded for two minutes.

Boston fails to put enough strength on the clear attempt, allowing the Sharks to cycle the puck around and Brent Burns’ shot gets deflected by Joe Pavelski that goes up and over Tuukka Rask. San Jose right back within only a goal under three minutes into the second. Assists go to Burns (54) and Couture (33).

Nearly five minutes in, another whistle, very much unlike the first period, but one that the Bruins will like. Joe Pavelski gets his stick caught up on Chara and is called for hooking – a two-minute minor and it’s yet another B’s power-play. On the man-advantage, the Bruins look like they cannot get any opportunities, but they do, right at the end.

David Backes made a nifty move with his skate to pass the puck off of the boards in the neutral zone to Jake DeBrusk who passes it to Danton Heinen. Heinen returns the puck right back to DeBrusk alone on a partial breakaway and DeBrusk fires a shot past Jones to reinstate a two-goal lead for Boston. Four consecutive games with goals for DeBrusk and that’s number eighteen on the season assisted by Heinen (11) and Backes (9).

Frustration for San Jose may be setting in perhaps as Brendon Dillon nails Sean Kuraly from behind as Kuraly attempted to spin away from it but the hit resulted in some pushing and shoving in the corner just as Charlie McAvoy found himself all alone with a great chance to score on Jones. Whistles blow though as Wagner and Braun each get five minutes in the box for fighting. No instigator penalties are handed out with 9:35 remaining in the second period.

Late in the second period, the Sharks manage to get themselves back within a goal as Jumbo Joe Thornton finds another rebound shot to score his second goal of the game – the first time he’s scored two goals in a game this season. Sorensen (9) and Simek (8) get the helpers on the play. Unlucky break for the Bruins there with just over three minutes to play in the second.

For the third time tonight, the San Jose Sharks will have a man in the box for high-sticking as Joe Thornton gets his lumber up in the face of Brad Marchand and with 1:29 to go, Boston is on the 5-on-4 power-play for two minutes. Somehow, Logan Couture is found deep in the neutral zone, makes a nice move around Krug and nearly scores but due a hook by Marchand, a penalty shot is awarded with 24.7 seconds to go and Couture simply shoots it five-hole past Rask, tying the game at four apiece.

Not nearly as good of a period for the Bruins as the opening one was, going to need a solid final twenty minutes and maybe more to beat the Sharks tonight. Bruins were outshot 14-4 in the second period alone.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 12 SJS: 22

Score: 4-4 – Goals: Pavelski (32) PPG Assists: Burns (54), Couture (33); DeBrusk (18) Assists: Heinen (11), Backes (9); Thornton (12) Assists: Sorensen (9), Simek (8); Couture (22) Unassisted

Third Period:

San Jose opened the final regulation period with a couple solid shots on Tuukka Rask, one of which off of a big Timo Meier deflection. Still early on, the Bruins are called on a delay-of-game penalty because David Backes apparently took too long to make a change prior to a faceoff. Bruins successfully kill off the penalty though and the game continues 5-on-5.

Boston has had issues in this game at getting the puck out of the zone on rushes. At one point in the first half of the third, the Bruins did not get a shot on Martin Jones in over nineteen minutes of game-time. It has been proven that it is much, much harder to score when you do not shoot at the goaltender.

Sean Kuraly set up Noel Acciari right in front of the crease for the first shot in what seemed like four games, but the Sharks return right away with a bullet of a shot by Hertl that rings the bar, so loud that us Canadians could hear it. Rask does not look as calm as he did against the Kings, that shot was clean past him.

Around the six-minute mark, Joe Thornton walks in and shoots it right past Tuukka Rask to give the Sharks a 5-4 lead with 6:28 remaining. Bruins collapsing ever since the 3-1 goal with three seconds to go. Assists to Thornton’s hat-trick go to Pavelski (23) and Braun (13).

While it looks like the Bruins were down and out, Brandon Carlo rifled a bomb that was rebounded by Wagner. Wagner then hit the puck what looked like to be above the crossbar, but it goes into the Sharks net and due to it being a non-reviewable play for some reason, the goal stands and the Bruins tie the game with just around two minutes left to play. Wagner sets a new career high for goals in a year with eight and it’s assisted by Carlo (4) and Acciari (4).

Shots On Goal: BOS: 19 SJS: 33

Score: 5-5 – Goals: Thornton (13) Assists: Pavelski (23), Braun (13); Wagner (8), Carlo (4), Acciari (4)

Overtime:

First thirty seconds of 3-on-3 overtime is full San Jose. Some big shots on Rask, all of which stopped. Tuukka attempted his double pad stack again, but the shot missed. B’s finally get the puck out of the defensive end, but Brent Burns comes back and gets a sharp wrist shot that almost sneaks through him, but Matt Grzelcyk slaps it out of harm’s way.

It has been a poor night for Torey Krug tonight. In this overtime alone, Krug has been chased down numerous times, resulting in either a turnover or an icing call. One of these mistakes led to a Hertl shot as he skated across the crease but Rask makes a big save. As the play continues, the net comes off but because the Bruins are on a rush, the refs left it causing some controversy when the Sharks had a 2-on-0 and the whistle was blown dead.

Later on in overtime, the Bruins somehow get alone 3-on-2, creating a beautiful DeBrusk-to-Krejci-to-McAvoy goal to win the game in overtime. Bruins survive a three-goal lead blown to win their sixth straight game. McAvoy’s 4th assisted by Krejci (38) and DeBrusk (10).

Shots On Goal: BOS: 20 SJS: 38

Final Score: 6-5 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS F Jake DeBrusk – 1 Goal, 2 Assists, +2 Rating, 17:59 TOI

2nd Star: SJS F Joe Thornton – 3 Goals, 3 Shots, +2 Rating, 4 Takeaways

3rd Star: BOS F David Krejci – 3 Assists, +1 Rating 20:24 TOI

Bruins now head to Vegas for a game against the Golden Knights on Wednesday with six straight wins.

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

—-> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Official SeatGiant Ticket Info <—