Bruins Head Out On Northern Road Trip

NHL: Calgary Flames at Boston Bruins

Photo Credit: Winslow Townson (USA TODAY Sports)

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

The Bruins are currently out on their longest consecutive away games with five in a row, starting out in Vancouver and working their way back to end it in Buffalo. Boston has the best road record in the league with an incredible 16-6-4, and that’s following a 6-1 road loss last night to the Vancouver Canucks. Here’s a quick look at the rest of the upcoming games.

Calgary

Calgary has been having a very up and down season this year and the Bruins have just recently beaten them last Tuesday 5-2. The Flames are right on the cusp of making the playoffs, trailing Minnesota by one point. They have the roster and skill to make the playoffs, but their goaltending and team defense have been their issue. They have the fourth worst Goal Differential in their conference but are still right in the playoff mix. Head Coach Glen Gulutzan has lit a fire under his team following his outburst at their practice on Jan. 5th that has led to the Flames having a 10-5-4 record since.

Edmonton

After being one of the Cup favorites at the start of the season, Edmonton has fallen tremendously out of their high ranking. With trade rumors swirling around Patrick Maroon, the team is gearing up for some changes to their lineup. For Edmonton, their special teams are killing them this year. They rank 31st in both power play and penalty kill, which attributes to the change in the quality of play from netminder Cam Talbot. After a season where he came fourth in Vezina voting and even had a vote for the Hart trophy, his play has dropped off significantly. He has a .901 save percentage, and a 3.04 GAA. If the Bruins want to win this game they need to get the Oilers on the penalty kill,  take advantage of their way more efficient man-advantage play and get shots on net.

Talbot has also been pretty outspoken about goalie interference recently, which is pretty understandable. Here’s the audio. *There are a couple of f-words in this audio*

Toronto

Everyone is predicting this to be a first-round matchup in the playoffs, but I’m not so sure. Boston currently has three games in hand on Tampa Bay, and are only three points back of the first place in the Atlantic division, and first in the Eastern Conference. But no matter what happens in the next few months, the Bruins need to win this game first. Toronto has been on fire offensively in the past 10 games, totaling 42 goals in regulation/Overtime in those games. On the other hand, Boston is one of the best defensive teams, averaging only 2.4 goals against per game, the best in the league. If this does end up being a first-round series, we’ll be in for a treat.

Buffalo

After losing recently to the Sabers, Boston has no reason to treat this game any different than they would if they were playing a top end team like Tampa. They are currently 1-1-1 in three of their four-game series this season against Buffalo. The Sabers have gone 2-2-1 in their last five, and have been making a bit of a resurgence lately, even if they are still battling it out with Arizona for the best lottery draft odds at the bottom of the standings. Boston needs to get the two points and not give them a chance like they did on February 10th.

The Bruins are poised to pass the Lightning if they continue to play like they have in the second half of the season, and maybe pass Vegas too. At the end of this road trip, I expect them to have gone 3-1-1, picking up 7 of the possible 10.

 

Sources: Hockey-Reference.com, ESPN.com, moneypuck.com

 

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Boston Bruins Post Game Recap: Game 50

NHL: NOV 11 Maple Leafs at Bruins

Photo Credit: Michael Tureski (Icon Sportswear)

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

PREGAME NOTES

The Leafs are on a hot streak right now, winning their last four games while outscoring their opponents 16-3 over those four games. Charlie McAvoy returns to the lineup for the first time following his heart surgery along with Austin Czarnik, while Kevan Miller and Noel Accari both step out of the lineup. Rask and Andersen will be in nets for their respective teams. Longtime captain Zdeno Chara is set to play the 1,400th game in his historied career tonight.

What I Am Looking Forward To

Two words. Playoff. Atmosphere. These are two teams that have an incredibly high possibility of being a first-round matchup. It’s going to show in the intensity of the play tonight.

PERIOD ONE

The game started off with some pretty typical back and forth, with both teams getting good rushes into zones. Bergeron opened up the scoring with a textbook shot from the high slot that easily beat Andersen. Shortly after, Boston gave up a breakaway that almost turned into a goal, and right after that, Carlo took a bad penalty that resulted in McAvoy tipped it directly into the net. The two teams continued to trade chances and use their speed, but no one could break the 1-1 tie by the end of the first period.

Scoring

BOS – Bergeron (Heinen)

TOR – Marner PP (Rielly, Kadri)

PERIOD TWO

The Bruins had some good chances to start off the second by getting the puck into high scoring areas, but Pastrnak took a lazy goalie interference penalty and that seemed to slow down the Bruins pace. Then everything went crazy. Rask made one of the best saves of the year, along with shots that hit posts at both ends of the ice with Bergeron wiring the puck off the crossbar, Rielly took a tripping penalty and Boston got a bit of a break. Then the Boston power play started. That was even more hectic, with shots from every angle you could think of, and rebounds for everyone. The Bruins wouldn’t convert there, but moments later the Bruins would get another opportunity on the power play where David Pastrnak roared down the wing and snuck the puck in on the short side, extending his point streak to eight straight games. Toronto was sent to the penalty kill yet again on a weak interference call, where the Bruins continued to work the Leafs in the offensive end, which turned into an absolute blast of a shot from Krug to make it 3-1. Things started to get chippy at the end of the period, with Leo Komarov taking a shot at Bergeron, but that ended pretty quickly when Chara stepped in and asked if there was a problem.

Scoring

BOS – Pastrnak PP (Krug, Heinen), Krug PP (Czarnik, Krejci)

TOR – N/A

PERIOD THREE

Boston decided to keep up the offensive pressure by changing their entry strategy to more of a dump-and-chase rather than their usual tendency to carry it in and look for openings. After this went on for ten minutes or so, Backes made a risky hit on Dermott that was called a knee-on-knee but seemed to be more of a knee-on-groin, but the refs had to call it. The man advantage was unsuccessful, and this caused Kadri to try and take things into his own hands after he and McQuaid had an on-ice scuffle and throw his hands to his face in hopes of a penalty. The ref didn’t fall for it. With the clock just north of three minutes, Mike Babcock pulled Andersen in the hopes that his players could close the gap, but Rask made sure that the only goal that he gave up tonight was the one in the first period. Tim Schaller threw a deep, looping shot at the Leafs empty net, and got it. 4-1 final.

Scoring

BOS – Tim Schaller EN (Rask, Chara)

TOR – N/A

POSTGAME

From what the media, including myself, was saying about how this could be a playoff matchup, you would think that it would come down to the final few seconds, but with the Bruins dominating defensive play, it seemed like it was wrapped up halfway through the second period. If a team can shut down a player as explosive and offensively gifted as Matthews, they can shut down pretty much anyone. Something that is key in playing series against superstars like Stamkos or Tavares.

KG’s Three Stars Of The Game

1st: Patrice Bergeron – Not only did Bergeron get a goal, but he also got six shots and shut down the Matthews line. Can’t ask too much more of him. Just a classic Sleke kind of game from #37.

2nd: Tuukka Rask – Stopping 23 of 24 shots alone isn’t a crazy game for most goalies, but with the Bruins being so effective at shot suppression, the shots that Rask did face were incredibly tough. He had to make stops in very clutch moments, including a couple on the penalty kill. Like the saying goes, “Your best penalty killer is your goalie”. He also added an assist on Schaller’s EN goal. What can’t he do?

3rd: Torey Krug – A great offensive game for Krug, racking up a goal and an assist in a great game. He played his role very effectively tonight, opening up the ice with great passes and taking smart shots.

MUP (Most Under-Appreciated Player): The Fourth Line – I may need to rename this award The Merlot Line Honourary Award because it seems like almost every game they show up in big times. They play a gritty, fourth line kind of game, but they have great speed. You can’t ask for much more from them in games like this.

BIRDHOUSE – Round-up of the best Tweets during the game

 

NEXT GAME

Tuesday, February 6th @ Detroit vs the Red Wings

 

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Boston Bruins Post Game Recap: Game 48

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Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper (USA TODAY Sports

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

PREGAME NOTES

The Bruins are missing four key players from their lineup and will need to play their best to beat a St. Louis team that is on a three-game win streak. Jake Allen is in nets, facing off against Tuukka Rask. Peter Cehlarik is back in the lineup for the first time since November 24th, sliding in alongside Nash and Backes on the left side.

What I Am Looking Forward To

I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Bruins respond to their first regulation loss since December 14th. They had tons of chances in the second half of their last game but converted too late. Jake Allen comes into tonight’s game going 0-5 in his last five games while giving up 3.4 goals against in those contests.

PERIOD ONE

The game started out pretty evenly matched, with both teams getting shots on net. Both goalies looked solid, but Rask seemed very sound tonight. Bergeron and his line have found success when they cycle the puck and get those close slot one-timers, and that is exactly what they are trying to do in the early minutes of the game. The Bruins seemed to be really trying to connect on some pre-set breakout plays, which would be a great idea if they weren’t always stopped at their own blueline. Jake DeBrusk and Ryan Spooner gave a textbook example of the slot one-timer, which then jumped over the shoulder of Jake Allen and fell into the crease, where a dog pile occurred where Allen was moved completely out of his crease and David Krejci was able to fire in a rebound into an empty net. It was reviewed, but the call on the ice was confirmed and it was a good goal. St. Louis came back with a more aggressive approach on the attack, focusing on keeping bodies in front of Rask. While they did get more chances, Rask kept shutting down everything that was thrown at him.

Scoring

BOS – Krejci (DeBrusk, Spooner)

STL – N/A

PERIOD TWO

Bruins came into the second leading in shots, but with St. Louis getting the majority of the chances at the end of the first, Boston came back by cycling the puck and getting shots in on net from the point. The Bruins were looking for passes to the slot while they were on the rush, which were shut down by the Blues. David Backes was definitely a stand out in this period, using his large frame to move people off of the puck. He had a lot of great chances in front of the net, but Jake “The Snake” Allen stopped all that he was given that period.

Scoring

BOS – N/A

STL – N/A

PERIOD THREE

Both teams came out swinging, getting great chances at both ends. Spooner and Krejci were all over the Blues in the offensive end. The Bruins were good at movement down low in the Blues’ end but had some issues when it came to their own defensive breakouts. Around the 13-minute mark, Vladimir Tarasenko put his stick into Torey Krug’s hands, and Krug decided to throw himself to the ground in hopes of drawing a penalty. He did draw one and on the ensuing power play, Bergeron connected on a great low-slot one-timer that beat Allen high blocker. A scrum, later on, took the game to 4-on-4 for the next two minutes. Rask made a great stop against a bouncing puck, staying calm as he usually is. Chara took a slashing call with about five minutes remaining in play, and the Bruins killed it off without a hitch. St. Louis pulled Allen with over two minutes left, a very aggressive time usually, but with the Blues being down by two, they needed as much time as they can, and it paid off. Schwartz scored with 1:32 left in the game off of a deflection and they were right back in the game. Mike Yeo pulled Allen again, and Boston started to get aggressive by icing the puck while trying to score, and finally, Backes popped one in the empty net with 0.4 seconds left in the game, sealing the win for the hometown team.

Scoring

BOS – Bergeron PP (Pastrnak, Spooner), Backes EN

STL – Schwartz (Schenn, Tarasenko)

POSTGAME

Miller is a key part of the Bruins defense currently, and with McAvoy still questionable on his return, this could mean a big hole in the defensive core for the Bruins against the Maple Leafs.

KG’s Three Stars Of The Game

1st: Tuukka Rask – Rask was lights out this game. No other way to explain it. The one goal he let in was a double-tipped puck and I’m not sure pretty much any goalie can get those. Rask ended the game with a 0.970 save percentage on 33 shots. He won them that game.

2nd: Ryan Spooner – Spooner had a great night, both on offense and defense. He was cycling the puck very efficiently and setting people up all night long. He had two assists on the night. He also moved the puck well in the offensive end, creating lanes with his quick feet.

3rd: Patrice Bergeron – It seems like #37 always finds a way to get one of the three stars. He’s been playing his usual way. Great on offense, even better on defense. He had four shots on goal and the game-winning power-play goal. Solid night for the NHL’s second star of the month of January.

MUP (Most Under-Appreciated Player)David Backes – Backes played a very gritty, tough game against his former team. He delivered some devastating hits and was getting chances left and right.

BIRDHOUSE – Round-up of the best Tweets during the game

NEXT GAME

Saturday, February 3rd in Boston vs Toronto

 

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Bruins All-Star Weekend Recap

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Photo Credit: Steve Babineau (Getty Images)

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

With only one Bruin at the All-Star events this weekend, there was less of a focus on Boston when compared to other top teams like Tampa or Vegas who had multiple attendants. But we did get some classic Brad Marchand moments, including the full acceptance of his role as a heel, along with being a great offensive addition to the Atlantic team.

Brad also started to go after people on Twitter again, as shown here by his response to a radio station in Pittsburgh. He’s been known to pop on the site occasionally to let the public hear some of his world famous trash talk.

In more team related news, Charlie McAvoy was back on the ice after a successful heart surgery. He was out skating by himself and cleared up with the media that he had the surgery, took some time off to let it initially heal, and is now working his way back to game shape. I expect that he could be back as soon as the Buffalo game on Feb. 10th, but no one knows for sure other than him and the team medical staff. With Noel Acciari out for the time being with a lower-body injury and Marchand still needing to serve four more games of his suspension, Anders Bjork was recalled from Providence to fill in the hole in the lineup.

Anders Bjork was slotted alongside Bergeron and Pastrnak for the start of the game against the Senators but has now been switched out for Danton Heinen, who is having himself a very underrated season. I like this move because Heinen is more accustomed to the pace and speed of playing with and against an NHL team’s top line after playing 14 more games in Boston than Bjork has.

The Bruins play the Anaheim Ducks tonight in Boston at 7pm EST. They are currently on a five-game win streak and have points in their last 18 contests. This is the second and final time the Bruins will play the Ducks in the regular season this year. Back in mid-November, the Ducks beat Boston in Anaheim 4-2. This should be a pretty good game, with almost everyone on both teams coming back from the All-Star break rested and ready to go to work.

 

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Boston Bruins: Will Brad Marchand Ever Learn?

 

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Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on January 18, 2018, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Bruins defeated the Islanders 5-2.
(Jan. 17, 2018 – Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

By: Andrew Thompson                                                                      Twitter: @Godwentwhoops

 

Brad Marchand is in trouble with the Department of Player Safety again. Marchand was given a five-game suspension by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Wednesday for elbowing New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson during Boston’s 3-2 win on Tuesday.

Some fans will consider this a BS call. Marchand is trying to maneuver through two Devils players without running over the goaltender. Others will see it as Marchy being Marchy.  (And then there are the Canadiens fans who will want him banned from the league forever because of this.) Unfortunately for Marchand, he’s considered a repeat offender by the league.  Call it a reputation suspension or call it just desserts, Marchand will be out of action for the next two weeks.

The suspension will take him out of the line up until February 7 when he can play in New York against the Rangers.  “I let my teammates down. I know that,” said a dispirited Marchand to the media. “I let my organization down. I have to be better. There’s no question.”

There was a word missing in Marchand’s speech. The word is again.  He let his teammates down again. He let the organization down again. If the Bruins aren’t able to defeat Ottawa tonight, the Boston media (and a fair part of the fan base) will crucify him for being the reason why the Bruins point-streak ended.

This is Brad Marchand’s eighth run-in with the Department of Player Safety in his career.  This is his sixth suspension.  He has a lost of total of 19 games over the course of his suspensions. While he’s not Marty McSorley bad,  Marchand is entering Matt Cooke territory when it comes to being taken off the ice for bad hits.

Marchand will be participating in this weekend’s All-Star tournament. That’ll surely ruffle a few feathers. If he’s not careful, Marchand could find himself becoming the reason for a ‘Marchand rule’ about suspended players attending All-Star tournaments. (It’s bad enough he’s comparable to Matt Cooke [in the number of suspensions, NOT willfully engaging other players with a serious intent to injure], but he could end up joining John Scott.  The NHL made a rule to prevent another John Scott making the All-Star roster after he was traded and demoted to the AHL.)

“The last thing I want to do is anything to hurt the team,” said Boston’s Little Ball of Hate. “That’s obviously what I’ve done here. It wasn’t what I was trying to do.  We have a great team. They’re going to battle hard and do everything they can to win the games. I’ll be rooting them on. I put my team at a disadvantage again. I feel very bad about it.”

Boston Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy still supports his top scoring forward.

“I don’t believe there was any intent to injure Johansson,” said Cassidy to the media on Thursday. “But at the end of the day, Brad’s responsible for his actions on the ice. The league dealt with it.

“We’ll talk to him about it. Hopefully going forward, there’s no more incidents. Because I think Brad’s really earned respect around the league for how he plays the game. He plays hard every night. For the most part, I think he’s kept his nose clean.”

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Brad Marchand ‘tries’ to keep his nose clean. In his NHL career, he’s progressed from part-time agitator to an elite level player. He crossed the 50-point mark in just 38 games this season. (It’s Marchand’s third straight 50-point season.)  He’s currently tied for tenth place in points and is near the top of the list in almost every category.

For all his improvement, he always seems to play a little too over the edge. Tuesday night was just another example. Marchand wants to wear an ‘A’ on his chest. The only way he’s going to get that letter is if he stops making bad calls at inopportune times.  As fans, we want him to constantly get better and learn from his mistakes. I just wish Marchand would try a little harder to remember that.

McAvoy To Miss Two Weeks While Recovering From Surgery

Boston Bruins v Ottawa Senators - Game One

Photo Credit: Jana Chytilova (Getty Images)

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

Charlie McAvoy missed practice today because of a previously scheduled doctors appointment. It was routine, but earlier today the Bruins released a statement regarding McAvoy’s irregular heartbeat surgery. After a loss to the Edmonton Oilers on November 26th, McAvoy checked in with the training staff and informed them that he had experienced heart palpations during the game. He was later diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia and had to be monitored from then on out.

Irregular heartbeats are becoming something in the sporting world that is getting more and more attention. One example of this is Rory McIlroy, the former #1 golfer in the world who had been sidelined for a long period of time after finding that he had a minor heart issue. Another person that has been affected by heart issues is former Bruin Rich Peverley, who had an actual heart attack during a game but is better now.

Heart issues can be a very serious health issue, and while many athletes try to downplay the severity of it, your heart is pretty important to you. The team has said that it isn’t too severe, and Charlie is expected to make a full recovery.

 

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Boston Bruins Post Game Recap: Game 45

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Photo Credit: Charles Krupa (AP Photo)

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

PREGAME NOTES

The Bruins are facing Montreal for the third time in 8 days after Claude Julien had some aggressive words following their loss on Wednesday. The Bruins are playing their best hockey of the season in the past month, and are looking to add to their 15 game point streak, while the Habs try to make it two straight wins after their win last night in Washington.

What I Am Looking Forward To

It’s always interesting to see how a team plays against their former coach, but I’m more interested in how Montreal tries to shut down the 63/37/88 line. They have been incredibly dominant lately, and dominant is the only word to describe them.

PERIOD ONE

The Bruins were great on the defensive pressure, forcing Montreal to recoil in their end and try to re-exit their own zone multiple times. The Bruins started to step up on the Montreal defensemen at their blueline, causing them to cough up the puck. One thing I noticed was that Carey Price was pretty aggressive when he played the puck in the first. Bergeron stopped a 2-1 on the power play on a great hustle play. Both goalies looked good in the opening period.

Scoring

BOS – N/A

MTL – N/A

PERIOD TWO

Boston seemed to be more on their heels at the start of this period. This resulted in a Max Pacioretty goal mid-way through the period after a costly McAvoy turnover. But the Bruins answered back by popping a quick one a couple minutes later off of a Pastrnak shot from the corner that banked off of Price’s skate and in. Then Boston started to get some momentum and ended up getting another one from Krug on a great shot that phased Price. The Bruins looked solid on both the power play and the penalty kill

Scoring

BOS – Pastrnak (Krug, Bergeron), Krug (Pastrnak, Marchand)

MTL – Pacioretty (Byron)

PERIOD THREE

Montreal had struggles trying to fend off the aggressive forecheck of the Bruins but the Canadiens were still able to get some quality shots on Rask. After the Petry penalty, it had seemed as though Bergeron had scored to make it 3-1, but as it turned out, the play was called offside after Boston’s old bench boss Claude Julien challenged the play. After some back and forth where it looked like the Canadiens were taking the momentum, Boston came back and scored off of a Krug shot rebound from Pastrnak, his second of the night. Julien was forced to pull his goalie with less than two minutes left in the game to attempt to tie it, but this just ended up giving Riley Nash his 6th goal of the season, giving the Bruins a 4-1 victory over their bitter rivals.

Scoring

BOS – Pastrnak (Krug), Nash (Backes, Marchand)

MTL – N/A

POSTGAME

The Bruins are currently playing up to their potential. They have a great roster and an even better gameplan. They have figured out what works and will try to continue to take opportunities when given to them.

KG’s Three Stars Of The Game

1st: David Pastrnak – It was a great game for Pastrnak offensively. He had two goals and an assist. Neither one of his goals were pretty as they usually are, but they all count the same on the score sheet. He contributed to defense as well, something that he’s been doing more since joining Marchand and Bergeron’s line.

2nd: Patrice Bergeron – Bergeron has been great all season, but even better during this streak. He has really been doing well, being so effective on both offense and defense.

3rd: Torey Krug – Krug had a great night offensively, making good, solid passes and taking high-percentage shots, as well as playing a big portion of the power play. He did have one big turnover that I can remember, but he had way more good plays than bad plays tonight.

MUP (Most Under-Appreciated Player): Tuukka Rask – Tuukka has been one of the biggest factors in this hot streak that the Bruins have been on. And tonight wasn’t any different. Even though he only needed to face 25 total shots, he needed to stop them all late when the Habs tried to make a comeback. Solid game for him.

BIRDHOUSE – Round-up of the best Tweets during the game

NEXT GAME

Tuesday, January 23rd in Boston vs New Jersey

 

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Bruins Mid-Season Stat Prediction Check-Up

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Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara (USA TODAY Sports)

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

My first article on this site was a prediction piece on who I thought would lead the Bruins in stat categories at the end of the year. Well, we’re halfway there and it seems like most of them are holding up decently, but I’ll admit I have a couple ones that are way off. Here’s an update and look back at what I thought would happen at the start of the year. (Here’s the link to the original article)

Goals

My Prediction: Brad Marchand (40-43)

Current Leader: Brad Marchand (18)

I believe that Marchand can hold onto the lead. He has also played 8 games less than David Pastrnak and has one more goal than him. My darkhorse for this category is Patrice Bergeron. His four-goal game against Carolina helped him leap into the solo third spot with 16 goals.

Assists

My Prediction: Torey Krug (44-47)

Current Leader: Brad Marchand (23)

Torey Krug has struggled at times this season and has looked like he’s having a worse season offensively compared to some of his other seasons. Marchand, on the other hand, is taking over almost every offensive category. He’s really evolved over the years into an offensive star.

Plus/Minus

My Prediction: Patrice Bergeron (18-21)

Current Leader: Zdeno Chara (21)

Chara and McAvoy have one of the best line Goals For/Goals Against as a defensive pairing with 25 goals for and 11 goals against. Chara looks like he isn’t letting a decreasing speed slow him down defensively. Bergeron is just two behind Chara, so my original prediction still has a pretty good chance of coming true. And with the Bergeron/Marchand/Pastrnak line playing as well as they are now, Bergeron has a great opportunity for adding to his +/- total.

Hits

My Prediction: David Backes (220-230)

Current Leader: Charlie McAvoy (96)

This one is tricky since Backes has only been able to play 25 games this year. But from what we have seen so far from McAvoy and his style of physical yet skilled play, he could be the leader come the last game of the season. But with both Chara and Miller close on his tail, I’d say that this is going to come down to whether or not Miller gets more Time On Ice than he is now.

Faceoff Win %

My Prediction: Patrice Bergeron (57.5% – 59.75%)

Current Leader: Patrice Bergeron (57.3%)

As expected, Bergeron is leading the Bruins in FOW%. Again. He should hold onto the lead the rest of the season.

Power Play Goals

My Prediction: David Pastrnak (9 – 11)

Current Leader: Brad Marchand/David Pastrnak (6)

I’ve said this before, but Pastrnak has really turned into an Ovechkin-like player on the power play, waiting near the top of the top left faceoff circle for that perfect one-timer. Marchand has also been very successful on the PP so far this year with his ability to move the puck effectively. The Bruins currently have the 11th best power play with 20.7%, and it looks like it will keep getting better and better with more time of practicing in the same system.

Time On Ice Per Game Played

My Prediction: Charlie McAvoy (21:50-23:00)

Current Leader: Zdeno Chara (23:23)

Chara continues to show that he deserves at least another year on the Bruins roster when his current contract is up. He is playing at a level where he can lead his team in both +/- and TOI, and do it all at 40 years old. A player comparison of ice time for Chara is Aaron Ekblad, the 21-year-old on the Florida Panthers. Ekblad won the Calder back in the 2014-15 season. He has an average TOI of 23:54. Chara is playing close to the same amount of time per game as someone half his age. I believe that with Boston now at a 99.56% of making the playoffs, Bruce Cassidy will let Chara take a shift or two off when it gets closer to playoff time to rest him, letting McAvoy take over as top spot of the TOI category.

Points

My Prediction: Brad Marchand (84-87)

Current Leader: Brad Marchand (41)

Marchand leads in both goals and assists, so it’s pretty clear to see that he leads in points, and he should. He’s currently playing at 1.21 points per game, and on that pace, he’d easily hit my 84-87 point prediction, and maybe go over.

Power Play Points

My Prediction: David Pastrnak (26-28)

Current Leader: David Pastrnak (14)

As I was saying before, Pastrnak is great on the man advantage. He may even pass the original prediction and make it closer to 30-32 points.

Game-Winning Goals

My Prediction: Brad Marchand (9-10)

Current Leader: Jake DeBrusk (3)

This is the most surprising stat so far. Especially since DeBrusk only has 10 goals total. My original pick of Marchand isn’t too far off since he is only one away at two GWG. I don’t see DeBrusk’s lead holding up.

Overtime Goals

My Prediction: Sean Kuraly (2-4)

Current Leader: Brad Marchand (1)

This was the boldest prediction that I made. I’m wrong on the prediction because…

  1. The Bruins have only won one game in overtime this season and are 3-8 when games go to overtime/shootout
  2. Brad Marchand is the only Bruin to score in an Overtime period this season
  3. Sean Kuraly doesn’t play all that much when it does go to OT

Probably not my smartest prediction, but I’m sticking to it. Hey, maybe that’s why they don’t win as much in OT. Not enough Kuraly.

Shots

My Prediction: Patrice Bergeron (290-310)

Current Leader: Patrice Bergeron (137)

Bergeron is a master at getting opportunities to the net. Many players have great shots and seem to shoot a lot, but Bergeron just seems to get the puck into the goalie almost everytime. He has 24 more shots than the 2nd place player (Pastrnak) in five fewer games. Just great stuff from someone who is thought of as a defensive player.

Penalty Minutes

My Prediction: Brad Marchand (85-89)

Current Leader: Kevan Miller (56)

Marchand hasn’t been suspended, fined or even gotten into an actual fight this year. He seems to be a slightly changed man. Now he’s just an agitator instead of an agitator that gets penalized. On the other hand, Miller has stepped into the role of the designated fighter with four majors so far this season. I expect him to continue to lead the team in this category unless McQuaid comes back from injury with a grudge. He’s racked up 12 PIMs in only six games played, and even when he comes back he may not try to fight as much to avoid re-injuring himself.

Shorthanded Points

My Prediction: Riley Nash (6-8)

Current Leader: Brad Marchand (2)

Riley Nash hasn’t registered a single point shorthanded this season. It seems like shorthanded production as a whole is down for the Bruins this season, with only three SHG scored all season. Marchand will probably continue to lead this category like he does with the majority of the points/offensive categories.

 

So far I’m 6/14 on my picks this season. Not great. But then again, it wouldn’t have been much fun if I had just chosen Marchand for 10 of them. Oh well.

 

Sources: Leftwinglock.com, NHL.com, FOXsports.com, Moneypuck.com, Hockeyfights.com, ESPN.com

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A Look At The Bruins Season So Far

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Photo Credit: Mary Schwalm (AP Photo)

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

The Bruins are on their five-day break this week, so no B’s game until they play their bitter rivals, Montreal, on Saturday the 13th for the first time in the regular season this year. But while the Boston players are getting some well deserved Rest and Relaxation, everyone else is left to watch old highlights and count down the hours until the next game. While you wait, here’s a list of some of the biggest news topics so far this year for the Bruins, with links to other Black N’ Gold articles on the subjects to give you even further insight.

Pre-SeasonPart One, Part TwoStuds & DudsStuds & Duds Vol. 2

After coming off of a decent pre-season, the Bruins looked like they could make a run at returning to the playoffs for the second year in a row. And hopefully this time with a healthier roster than last spring. The Atlantic division isn’t playing as tough in the standings as previous years (Five of eight teams take up the bottom five spots in the Eastern Conference), but with the Metropolitan taking both Wildcard spots currently, the Bruins will have to make sure they stay in the top three of their division.

Official Start of The Season

After the emergence of the rookies in the first game (A win over defending Western champs Nashville) fans were ready to go all in on this team. Unfortunately, the next few games weren’t great for Boston, going 1-3 after that win at home against the Predators.

Boston Waives Subban, Vegas Claims SubbanBoston’s First Round Pick Troubles

At the time, Subban had looked like the backup of the future, for some optimistic fans. But when looking at Subban rationally, he did take a longer time to develop than the Bruins wanted. His success in Vegas can easily be credited to a change of scenery or knowledge that the team had confidence in him by picking him up.

Injuries

Injuries were a major concern for the team early in the year, with Backes missing extended time due to diverticulitis and the needed surgery on his colon because of it, Bergeron hurting something in the lower body area and Noel Acciari being out for potentially six weeks. Both Cehlarik and McQuaid went on the IR later in the season

Rask’s Slump

Tuukka Rask is the number one goalie for the majority of NHL teams when compared to their top guy, but some fans/media members brought up the idea that Rask had lost his touch. Thier argument was that while Rask was losing the majority of games, Khudobin was winning, and they felt like the hot hand should be played. It was a rash decision to almost abandon a stellar goalie, but eventually, Rask turned it around and started to play like the star he is. Here is some of the proof of what he has been able to do since the barrage of hot takes.

Depth Comes Through For Boston

Because of the ridiculous amount of injuries to the main roster so far this year, players have been called up from the minors to fill their spots, and have done very well while doing so.

Award Contention

Last spring, Charlie McAvoy stepped up to the NHL for his first game. In Game One of the series against Ottawa. Not many rookies could do that and play the way that he did. Now, in his first real season with the team, he plays top pairing minutes alongside veteran captain Chara. He has made his way into the heated Calder discussion, along with forwards like Brock Boeser, Mathew Barzal, and Clayton Keller. He has shown his value and seems to be a player the Bruins can build around in the years to come. Another potential award winner is Patrice Bergeron, who’s always in the Selke conversation. He has shown in the games getting closer to the break just how good his line is, offensively and defensively.

Bruins’ ECHL Affiliate Could Be Moving To Maine

Pretty self-explanatory, but important news about the affiliate team of the Bruins.

Don Sweeney’s Vision Starts To Show Results

After some questionable trades/contracts, many Bruins fans were worried about what Sweeney was doing with the team. But after only three seasons, it looks like the roster is finally becoming what Sweeney had tried to make it.

Tuukka Turns The Corner

After a pretty slow start, Rask has made his way back into the category of feared goalies. He has shown that he knows what he needs to do to win, and visible tries hard every single night he is in the crease. He is one of the reasons that Boston has risen in the standings to the spot they are at now.

 

It has been a rollercoaster ride so far this season, and the Bruins are still a game away from playing half of their 82 games. Hopefully, the second half is even better than the first. Huge thanks to all of our dedicated writers on the site. Make sure to check in regularly for game reactions, think pieces and prospect updates that show Bruins prospects from the ECHL all the way to the CHL and overseas.

Other Articles

Goalie Gear, Boston’s Jersey HistoryWays To Support The Site

 

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A Quick Look At The Bruins’ Bergeron/Marchand/Pastrnak Line

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Photo Credit: Jana Chytilova (Freestyle Photography)

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

The Bruins are usually a team that gets overlooked when talking about bonafide superstars like Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid. They may not have that one solo star, but they do have a full line of incredible hockey players. The Marchand/Bergeron connection was one that we knew of for a couple years, but with the recent continues addition of David Pastrnak to their line this year, they have been almost unstoppable. Their offensive output and defensive shut-down ability is something to marvel at.

The 63/37/88 line hasn’t played together the entire season. The first game that they were together as a line for a fair amount of time was on October 30th, ten games into the season. It had to happen because of injuries, but it worked out well for Bruce Cassidy. That stat is incredible. They have played the most of any Bruins line combination this season, and much of the success in Boston comes from the production of that line. Here’s an example of the heads-up play style the line is known for.

The three have a combined $19,666,666 cap hit (Worth 29.16% of Boston’s salary), with deals lasting until 2021-22 for Bergeron, 2022-23 for Pastrnak and 2024-25 for Marchand. All three players are in the top 100 for points in NHL. This means at least 5 more years of the domination of this line for the B’s unless some unforeseen event occurs. If this line is able to compete with other teams top pairings, the Bruins can continue their dominance. And with all of the rookies coming up to make the roster, there should be enough cap space for the Bruins management to work with for future deals.

 

Sources: CapFriendly.com, NHL.com, LeftWingLock.com

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