Bruins Game 46 Preview: Montreal Canadiens

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PHOTO CREDITS: (sportsnet.ca)

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

Only two days removed from their 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, the Boston Bruins are back on home ice for a game against longtime rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. In the win over Toronto, the Bruins were outshot in every period except the third period, where they outshot the Leafs 10-to-6. David Krejci, Sean Kuraly, and David Pastrnak scored the goals for Boston. The B’s sit third place in the Atlantic Division, two points behind Toronto.

Like the Bruins, the Montreal Canadiens are coming off of a Saturday night victory, shutting out the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 for their second win in their last three games. Carey Price stopped all twenty-eight shots that faced him while Brett Kulak, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Jordie Benn scored the three goals for Montreal. The Habs have the second wild-card position in the Eastern Conference, only one point behind the Islanders and only one point ahead of the Sabres who are currently out of the playoffs.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 13-8-2 2.41 GAA .921 SV% Last Game: 30 Saves in 3-2 win vs TOR

MTL: Carey Price 17-13-4 2.67 GAA .910 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 3-0 win vs COL

Who’s Hot

Sean Kuraly potted his fifth goal of the season and two primary assists for a three-point night against the Leafs on Saturday. The 25-year-old forward is one point shy of his career-high in points that he hit last season with fifteen. Kuraly’s three-point outing brought his 2018-19 totals to 5-8-13 and his role along with linemates Chris Wagner and Noel Acciari has increased in the past few games. Kuraly has become a big part to this Bruins roster in the early parts of 2019.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (sportsnet.ca)

Canadiens forward Phillip Danault helped directly on two Montreal goals on Saturday, bringing his assist total to twenty-three on the season. Danault now has three points in as many games and is fifth on the team’s scoring with 7-23-30 totals in 46 games.

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask has been on fire as of late, as he tends to be around this time of year. The Finnish net-minder has wins in his last five starts including a 1.40 goals-against-average and a save percentage of .956. Rask is the best goaltender in those stats with a minimum of four games in the 2019 calendar year and he will be striving to continue his hot play against the Canadiens.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi has not put up crazy numbers in his rookie season after going third overall to the Montreal Canadiens in last year’s NHL Entry Draft, but his 5-17-22 numbers in 46 games this year has brought some added scoring to a Canadiens roster that is in the middle of the NHL in goals scored.

Who’s Not

Max Domi is the leading scorer on the Montreal Canadiens, but he has only scored one point in the last five games and has failed to make it on the score-sheet in the last two games. The former 2013 1st Round Selection by the then-Phoenix Coyotes has 14-25-39 totals in forty-six games but his lack of consistency lately may be a cause of concern for the Habs.

David Backes had some time on the right side of David Krejci, but the 34-year old Minneapolis, Minnesota native has not played as well as hoped. Backes does have one point in the last three games, but he only saw 10:39 of ice-time against Toronto on Saturday night and it is fair to assume that he will not be seeing the second-line time for too much longer.

Carey Price is the number-one goaltender in Montreal, but in the last five games that he has played, he only has one win coming back in his last start on Saturday versus the Avalanche. Prior to that, Price lost four consecutive games including four goals allowed against the Blues on January 10th. Price is the backbone of the Canadiens and he needs to be on fire against a Bruins team that is rolling.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • BOS F David Pastrnak will be playing in his 300th career NHL regular season game
  • BOS G Tuukka Rask is one win away from tying Tiny Thompson (252) for most wins in Bruins history
  • BOS F David Krejci (604) is 2 points behind Terry O’Reilly (606) for ninth-most points in Bruins franchise history
  • BOS D Zdeno Chara (956) is three penalty minutes behind Lyndon Byers (959) for ninth-most penalty minutes in Bruins history
  • BOS F Patrice Bergeron is one game-winning goal away (60) from taking sole-possession of third-most in Bruins history
  • BOS F Brad Marchand is one shorthanded goal away (23) from tying Derek Sanderson (24) for second-most in Bruins history
  • BOS D Zdeno Chara is two goals away from 200 career NHL goals
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PHOTO CREDITS: (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

Montreal Canadiens:

  • MTL D Jeff Petry is two points away from 200 career NHL points
  • MTL D Jordie Benn is one point away from 100 career NHL points

Bruins vs Canadiens Outlook

Montreal and Boston have already played in three games together this season, with the Bruins taking two of those meetings already. After Montreal won 3-0 on October 27th, the Bruins came back with a 3-2 win on November 24th and a 4-0 win on December 17th. The Bruins have scored a combine seven goals and allowed five against.

Tuukka Rask played in each of the first two games, while Halak was the goalie for the Bruins in the 4-0 victory. In each meeting, Carey Price was handed the role of starter like he has 34 times this season.

Boston is coming off of a win against Toronto where they arguably were out played for the majority of the sixty-minute game. There were some good moments were the Bruins capitalized on costly mistakes by the Leafs defense and that reality will need to stay true tonight against Montreal. The Bruins have to continue playing a good game on both ends of the ice and for all sixty minutes.

Montreal will be entering the game with some tenacity due to their position in the NHL standings. With only a one-point cushion on the Sabres for the last wild-card spot, the Habs have to play like their playoff hopes are on the line – because, well, it is. At the beginning of the season, not many individuals expected Montreal to be in contention for the post-season, but they are proving them wrong and they’ll look to continue proving them wrong against the Bruins.

This will be the final game between the two Original Six teams in the 2018-19 regular season. Will the season series end 3-1 Boston or at a 2-2 tie? Before we find out, take a look at the projected lines for the game.

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Bruins Game 45 Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

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

The Boston Bruins were on a five-game winning streak until they took a tough 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday. Ryan Donato and David Krejci scored the only goals for the Bruins while Jaroslav Halak made eighteen saves on twenty-one shots. Boston still holds a two-point cushion on the Buffalo Sabres for third-place in the Atlantic division but sits four points behind the Maple Leafs for second in the division.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had a back-and-forth start to their 2019 calendar year. After a 4-3 loss to the Wild to begin the year, the Leafs beat the Canucks 5-0, lost to the Predators 4-0, and most recently, defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Thursday. Toronto currently has a four-point edge on the Bruins for second in the Atlantic division, but still sit twelve points back of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 12-8-2 2.43 GAA .920 SV% Last Game: 24 Saves in 4-0 win vs MIN

TOR: Michael Hutchinson 3-3-2 3.29 GAA .886 SV% Last Game: 27 Saves in 4-2 win vs NJD

Who’s Hot

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is expected to get the start in tonight’s game against the Leafs and it makes perfect sense. The 31-year-old goalie has won each of his last four starts including a 4-0 shutout (his 42nd of his career) against the Wild on January 8th. In 2019 so far, Rask’s .982 save percentage is the best in the NHL and he is tied with Jordan Binnigton for best goals-against-average (0.50) in the two games played.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA Today Sports)

Free-agent acquisition John Tavares has been great for Toronto this season. In forty-three games played, the 28-year-old centre has twenty-nine goals and twenty-one assists for fifty points in that span. In the 4-2 win over New Jersey, Tavares scored two goals and added a helper for his fourth three-point game of the 2018-19 season.

Bruins defenceman Torey Krug is often in the middle of the Bruins trade rumours, but the 5-foot-9 defender is making a trade tough to deal with. Since coming back from injury, Krug has 4-25-29 totals in 33 games this season, including six points in his last five games. Krug also ranks third on the Bruins roster for most power-play points (18) behind Brad Marchand (19) and David Pastrnak (25).

After a brief two-game pointless streak, Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner came right back with a goal and an assist in the win over the Devils, bringing his season totals to 16-41-57 in 43 games. Marner leads the Leafs in points and is ninth in league scoring. His 41 assists so far tie him with Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames for fifth-most assists in the NHL.

Who’s Not

It may seem odd to say, but Bruins leading scorer David Pastrnak is on a little bit of a cold streak. In the past three games, Pastrnak has failed to score a single point and has been a minus rating in two of those games. The three-game pointless streak is minor for Pastrnak, who has 25-27-52 totals in 44 games this season, but the Bruins need him to start picking up the pace offensively.

Like every team in the National Hockey League, the Maple Leafs have had their fair share of injuries as well. Lately, starting goaltender Frederik Andersen and backup goaltender Garrett Sparks both went down to injuries, leaving Michael Hutchinson to man the crease. The 28-year-old goalie has gone 3-3-0 with the Leafs along with a .886 save percentage and 3.29 GAA. Not good numbers, especially heading into tonight’s game against the Bruins.

William Nylander was in all the big news talks from the offseason right until December 1st when he signed his new contract. But since then, the former 8th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has only scored three points (one goal, two assists) in fifteen games. Nylander is a -2 rating with 12 penalty minutes.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • BOS F David Krejci (604) is 2 points behind Terry O’Reilly (606) for ninth-most points in Bruins franchise history
  • BOS D Zdeno Chara (956) is three penalty minutes behind Lyndon Byers (959) for ninth-most penalty minutes in Bruins history
  • BOS F Patrice Bergeron is one game-winning goal away (60) from taking sole-possession of third-most in Bruins history
  • BOS F Brad Marchand is one shorthanded goal away (23) from tying Derek Sanderson (24) for second-most in Bruins history
  • BOS D Zdeno Chara is two goals away from 200 career NHL goals

Toronto Maple Leafs:

  • No notable milestone that can be reached in tonight’s game

Bruins vs Maple Leafs Outlook

For the fourth and final time in the 2018-19 regular season, the Bruins and Leafs will meet on the ice for one of the best-renewed rivalries in the NHL today. To this date, Boston has taken 2-out-of-the-3 games, with the most recent win coming on December 8th – a 6-3 win.

Michael Hutchinson has not been too consistent in his recent time with the Maple Leafs. As with many other games, the Bruins need to bring down the confidence level of the opposing goaltender, in this case, former Bruin Hutchinson, in order to get a strong lead on the game.

In the two wins for Boston this season against Toronto, they have scored the first goal, in fact, they scored the first three goals in each of those two wins. The one time they lost – Toronto opened the scoring. It is a good chance that that trend continues in Toronto here tonight. Bruins also need the help of Leaf-killers, David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand to lead the Boston offence early and often while Tuukka Rask needs to continue his recent solid play to keep the offence of Toronto quiet.

These two teams are closely matched and this will be the final time they get to play each other until the almost inevitable playoff series come April. Nonetheless, it is bound to be a great, competitive game of hockey. Below are most likely the lines of the Bruins heading into tonight’s game. Defenceman Charlie McAvoy returns to the lineup after missing time with a foot infection, while John Moore is scratched by Cassidy tonight.

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Bruins Trade D Goloubef To Senators For F Paul Carey

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PHOTO CREDITS: (bellevillesens.com)

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

On Friday, January 11th, 2019, the Boston Bruins have traded defenceman Cody Goloubef to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for forward Paul Carey, one-for-one.

Paul Carey is a 30-year-old center from Boston, Massachusetts who is coming into the Bruins organization in the midst of a fairly solid AHL season. Carey was drafted 135th overall (5th round) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche, but only played a combined twenty-two games with the Avalanche in the National Hockey League.

The four-year Boston College veteran already played for the Providence Bruins for a brief time in 2014-15, scoring two goals and five assists for seven points in seventeen games. He also scored one goal in the playoffs with Providence that year. With little National Hockey League experience under his belt, Carey played in sixty games during the 2017-18 season with the New York Rangers, scoring 7-7-14 totals and a -13 rating with twenty penalty minutes.

This season, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound forward has spent the majority of the time with the Belleville Senators of the American Hockey League, scoring 5-22-27 totals in twenty-nine games. Carey went pointless in five NHL games with the Ottawa Senators with an even rating as well. It is most likely that Carey joins the Boston Bruins AHL affiliate team, the Providence Bruins.

So, who exactly is Boston trading away and why? Cody Goloubef is a 129-game NHL veteran, amassing a total of twenty-three points in that time. Goloubef has just joined the Providence Bruins after spending time with the Stockton Heat, the Calgary Flames AHL affiliate team for only one season.

General Manager Don Sweeney signed the 6-foot-1, 201-pound Goloubef to a two-way, one-year contract to add depth to the P-Bruins blueline. The Bruins did use his services well, as he scored twelve points (3 goals, 9 assists), in sixteen games this season. The main reason for the trade is because of the return of Urho Vaakanainen from both the 2019 World Junior Championships from Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – where he took home a gold medal with the Finland hockey team, as well as a concussion that sidelined him for numerous months.

The Bruins would rather get a scoring asset in return for Goloubef instead of just scratching him for the rest of the idea so Vaakanainen could play. Urho is one of the best prospects on the defensive core for the Bruins organization and it is without a doubt that he should play when given a chance.

Above all else, this is just a simple AHL transaction – no massive implements will come from it. Here is some insight from Providence Journal’s own, Mark Divver.

“Assuming he’s sent to Providence, Paul Carey should give P-Bruins a boost up front. With everyone healthy, they could afford to move a D.” – Mark Divver

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Bruins Game 44 Preview: Washington Capitals

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA Today Sports Images)

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

The Bruins are rolling and tonight, the team will look to continue their hot streak against the Washington Capitals in Boston. With wins in five consecutive games for Boston, the Bruins have vaulted themselves to a divisional playoff spot, overtaking the Buffalo Sabres who the B’s have defeated two times in the last two weeks. Boston now enters this game with a 25-14-4 record (54 points) and have a two-point lead on Buffalo (52 points) and a three-point cushion on the Canadiens, who they meet on Monday.

The Washington Capitals are on a winning streak as well – winning their last two games against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday and the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. Prior to that though, the Capitals lost three consecutive games to the Predators, Blues, and Stars. Heading into the game, the Caps lead the always-competitive Metropolitan division with a 26-14-2 record (56 points). The Penguins (54 points) and Blue Jackets (51 points) are on their tails and the Islanders (50 points) are out of a playoff spot, looking to get back in.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 13-6-2 2.36 GAA .926 SV% Last Game: 33 Saves in 6-4 win vs CGY

WSH: Braden Holtby 16-10-2 2.89 GAA .910 SV% Last Game: 23 Saves in 3-2 vs DET

Who’s Hot

Patrice Bergeron has always been a good player in the NHL, but lately, he has been a really great player. In the win over Minnesota, Bergeron scored a goal and added two assists for a three-point night, his third multi-point game in his last four outings. The 33-year-old centre now has 14-24-38 totals in only 27 games this season. His 1.41 points-per-game is the sixth best in the league.

Like Bergeron, the rest of the Bruins top line has had a great last few games. Brad Marchand also had three points over the Wild, scoring once and adding a pair of assists as well. Marchand had a two-goal night against the Flames on January 3rd as well. Marchand is catching up to Pastrnak for the team’s lead in points as he now possesses 16-31-47 totals in 42 contests this year.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Capitals forward Jakub Vrana has had a slow season as we pass over the halfway mark of the 2018-19 campaign, but his tides may be changing. In the 5-3 victory over the Flyers, Vrana scored two goals, including the game-winning goal in the second period. Jakub’s primary assist helped open the scoring on Tom Wilson’s goal in the first frame.

NHL bad-guy Tom Wilson has thirteen goals, eight assists and twenty-one points in only 23 games this season and has scored goals in each of his last two games. Expected to get first line time with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov, the Capitals would like another solid game with some scoring from Wilson tonight against a tough Bruins team.

Michal Kempny at 28-years-old has become one of the top defensemen on Washington’s active roster and he is scheduled to get another game on the top pairing alongside of John Carlson. Kempny has 5-10-25 totals along with an outstanding +25 rating – a statistic that he ranks fifth in the entire league on. He is currently averaging a career-high 19:21 minutes per game this season.

Who’s Not

Bruins forward Ryan Donato has not been good this year – a disappointing reality for many Bruins fans hoping for a solid campaign after he put up nine points in twelve games at the tail end of last season. In twenty-nine games with Boston in 2018-19, Donato has only five goals and eight points with a -10 rating – the worst +/- rating on the team.

Nicklas Backstrom is still over a point-per-game on the season so far, but with zero points in the last three games and a -2 rating, he needs to be better. In order for Washington to hold that top spot in the Metro, they need him to be the play-making star that the league knows him as.

Jakub Forsbacka Karlsson has been skating with Heinen and Donato on the Bruins third-line, but with the success of Kuraly-Acciari-Wagner line, that youngsters line has been demoted to the fourth line when it comes to high-pressure situations. Forsbacka Karlsson has not helped that this season. In twenty-two games, he has three goals, three assists for six points and a -2 rating.

Bruins vs Capitals Outlook

The Bruins get yet another chance at the defending Stanley Cup Champions after that blowout 7-0 loss to the Capitals on opening night back in October. Without a doubt, Boston needs to be on top of their game defensively to win this game. The Bruins have not beat Washington since March 29th, 2014 (thirteen games). Boston has struggled with the goal-scoring capabilities of Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Backstrom alike.

For Washington – put pucks on the net – simple. Jaroslav Halak will be starting in goal for Boston and he is coming off of a win over the Flames, where he allowed four goals on thirty-seven shots. A few of the goals scored against him were questionable and you have to wonder if that remains on his mind heading into tonight’s game. The Caps need to build up the offence and fire shots on Halak to score a few goals early and often. Worked back in October, may work again now.

Another interesting story-line for the game is the speciality teams. The Bruins are near the top of the league in power-play success rate (3rd best with 28.5% success) and penalty-kill (11th best with 81.1% success). Boston has been perfect while short-handed in 2019, killing off all twelve penalties in the four games.

Washington, on the other hand, is above average on the man-advantage (10th best with 21.5% success), but the penalty-kill is sub-par (23rd worst with 78% success).

Boston is only one of four teams with zero losses in the 2019 calendar year and will look to extend their winning streak to six games. Right now, their five-straight are tied for second-longest active winning streaks, tied with the Hurricanes and behind the Vegas Golden Knights (7 wins). Below are the Boston Bruins practice lines for yesterday (Jan. 9th).

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Winter Classic: Boston vs Chicago: 01/01/19

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PHOTO CREDITS: (@nhlbruins on Twitter)

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

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: Notre Dame Stadium – South Bend, Indiana, USA

Home: Chicago Blackhawks (15-20-6)

Away: Boston Bruins (21-14-4)

The 2019 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic is finally upon us. The Bruins are coming into the New Year’s Day outdoor game after a 2-1 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. The win ended a two-game losing streak for the Bruins and a win over Chicago in the Notre Dame Stadium would help Boston continue that momentum.

Boston’s opponent, the Chicago Blackhawks have been on fire as of late, winning five of their last six games and have recorded a point in seven of their last nine. Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is riding a seven-game point streak and was recently awarded the NHL’s First Star of the Week.

Bruins Gameday Lineup

Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced earlier today that forward Ryan Donato and defenseman Steven Kampfer are the scratches for the Bruins in today’s game. Defenceman Charlie McAvoy is also out of the lineup with a lower-body injury that is believed to have been suffered against the Carolina Hurricanes on December 23rd. Forward Brad Marchand returns to the lineup as well.

First Period:

Bruins started the pressure immediately with several really good attacks that were initiated by Bruins defencemen. Kevan Miller stole the puck in the neutral zone off of a poor breakout pass by the Blackhawks then found Krejci alone on a partial breakaway. Krejci went forehand-backhand but stopped by Cam Ward. Torey Krug also had a good chance, good start for Boston.

Early on, the ice seems to be in great condition. For outdoor games, it is always a concern that the ice may be rough, making it harder to control the puck and make good passes. It is quite possible that the ice crews are getting better at the ice-making due to the number of Winter Classics and outdoor games in recent years.

On the NHL on NBC broadcast, it is confirmed that today’s attendance marks the second-largest crowd in Winter Classic history, behind only the 105,000+ people that attended the 2014 Winter Classic between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings.

On a delayed penalty call on Brandon Carlo just nearly six minutes into the game, Jonathan Toews makes a nice spin pass, creating a chance that Rask makes a big pad save. Bruins to the penalty-kill for a holding call on Carlo. Boston’s penalty-kill ranks seventeenth in the NHL before the game, with a 79.1% success rate. Bruins only allow one shot against and the penalty is killed off.

The first goal came with 11:30 left in the first. A David Krejci turnover turns into a goal for Brandon Perlini. Torey Krug’s stick was lifted behind Tuukka Rask and no one was on Perlini who had an open shot on Rask. Bruins need better coverage as that was hard to watch. Blackhawks make it one-to-nothing at Notre Dame.

Blackhawks continued to get good opportunities in the second half of the opening period. On a nice breakout play, the Bruins left d-man Connor Murphy all alone by the top of the faceoff circle, but Murphy’s wrist-shot rings off the pipe. Bruins were that close to being down two goals. On the turnaround, Joakim Nordstrom is tripped up by Artem Anisimov and the B’s are to the power-play 7:55 in.

On the man-advantage, David Pastrnak picks up the puck from Patrice Bergeron in the slot, waits, then fires it past Cam Ward to tie the game at one apiece with about seven minutes left to trail. Bergeron with the primary assist on Pastrnak’s twenty-fourth goal of the season.

Bruins top line seems to be thriving as usual as Brad Marchand has several good shots on Ward off of the rush. This is Marchand’s first career Winter Classic as he was in the middle of a three-game suspension back in the 2016 Winter Classic against the Canadiens. It is evident that he wants a goal today.

With 2:57 left to tick away in the first, Matt Grzelcyk is called on a high-sticking minor and the Bruins go to their second penalty-kill of the day. First one was successful and this second one was solid as well, killing it off successfully. Alex DeBrincat had the best chance on the Hawks’ man-advantage as he hit the back of Brandon Carlo’s leg.

David Pastrnak is on fire today. With less than one minute to go, Krejci, Pastrnak, and DeBrusk worked together for a great pair of chances, including a great opportunity for Pasta all alone, but is stopped from a massive save by Ward. Off the ensuing faceoff, Patrick Kane is found alone on a breakaway, tried to go five-hole past Rask, but is shut down. Period ends there.

It was an entertaining period for both teams. Brad Marchand had two good shots, Pastrnak and DeBrusk each have three shots. Patrick Kane has four shots on Rask, including that final breakaway chance. The Bruins are playing decent hockey but a few defensive mistakes have either turned into a goal or came close.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 14 CHI: 12

Score: 1-1

Second Period

Chicago started off the second period with some good chances, the best of which was blocked by John Moore. While on defence, Sean Kuraly takes a hooking penalty on Chicago’s only goal scorer so far, Brandon Perlini and he goes to the box for two minutes. DeBrincat again has the best chance on Chicago’s power-play, a quick shot on Rask, but it’s stopped and the Bruins go 3-for-3 on the penalty-kill four minutes into the second period.

The physicality of the hockey game is increasing as Carlo and Chara each take shoves at Perlini. The Chicago forward is having a good game and seems to be everywhere on the ice so far today.

One of the biggest reoccurring errors of the Bruins so far has been the turnovers – especially off of the breakout passes by the blueliners. Boston has simply passed the puck to a player in the black Chicago sweater, giving them an in-tight chance on Rask. Tuukka has looked solid thus far, but Bruins need to help him out more with better, smarter passes.

With 8:36 left, the Blackhawks break the tie once again. Erik Gustafsson fires a shot for a deflection as he has done numerous times already today and it gets deflected by Dominik Kahun, beating Rask. Bruins have not had the best period, not getting many chances offensively and they have not seemed all there defensively either.

Bruins get a bit of zone time in the Blackhawks end, but no real good chances come about from it. The majority of the shots Boston took on the shift were point shots that either were blocked or partially blocked before they reached Cam Ward. Cassidy has been trying Pastrnak with DeBrusk and Krejci in this game as well, but Boston is still struggling to get truly good offence.

17:57 into the period, Erik Gustafsson is called on a roughing penalty and the Bruins go to their second power-play of the game. Boston allowed a shorthanded breakaway but was shut down by Patrice Bergeron. Right back in Chicago’s end, Patrice Bergeron gets the backhand right in front of Ward and ties the game at two. Assists go to Pastrnak (26) and Krug (20).

Then with only 9.5 seconds remaining, Matt Grzelcyk takes his second penalty of the game – a hooking minor on Patrick Kane. Period ends, but Boston needs to come out with more aggression offensively in the third. They will be on the penalty-kill for the first 1:50 of the final regulation period.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 24 CHI: 28

Score: 2-2

Third Period

During the penalty-kill to begin the period, Patrick Kane gets his stick up high on Kevan Miller, sending the game to 4-on-4 for thirty seconds, followed by a 1:30 Bruins power-play. On the 4-on-4, Kevan Miller once again draws a penalty, a tripping minor against Anisimov. Bruins have 1:12 of 5-on-3 time.

The Bruins failed to score on either one of the penalties and the game returns 5-on-5. Boston could not make tape-to-tape passes and the Hawks cleared when able to. Bruins are now 2-for-4 on the man-advantage today. About five minutes into the period, Bruins draw another play, a hooking call on Gustav Forsling. B’s are moving their feet and it’s drawing penalties against Chicago.

Chicago’s penalty-kill has improved, clearly, since the second intermission as they kill off another Bruins power-play in this third period. Some decent chances but Cam Ward has been great between the posts for Chicago.

Boston is in the midst of their best period of the game in my opinion. Great control in the Blackhawks’ zone, creating chances while shutting down any really good chances against. The Bruins have been quite close to scoring, but at times, so have the Hawks. 2-2 with 11:19 to go.

Call him clutch because Sean Kuraly scores with 9:40 left in the third off a rebound shot. The Blackhawks lost all coverage on the Bruins players, allowing Grzelcyk to fire a shot towards Ward. The puck bounces off of Chris Wagner in front and goes right on the stick of Kuraly and he buries it. Kuraly scored the game-winning goal against Buffalo on Saturday.

Between Kuraly’s goal and the next six minutes, the Bruins have done a great job keeping Chicago to the outside, forcing turnovers, then getting the puck out of the zone. A couple of nice opportunities for the Bruins to score again, including a 2-on-1 by DeBrusk and Krejci that was stopped by the Blackhawks lone d-man. Just over three minutes remaining in this Winter Classic.

Kuraly had a chance with 2:30 left on a breakaway bid, but Ward remains solid in the crease and stops the possible insurance marker. It has been a great game for the fourth line of Boston. With the empty-net for Chicago, Tuukka Rask has to make a big blocker stop while changing directions on a dime to keep the B’s ahead.

Bruins have tried to clear, but Chicago continues the pressure. Brandon Saad to Patrick Kane in front but Rask comes up huge with a big save. 39.2 seconds remain and every single fan is on the edge of their feet. On the delayed penalty against Chicago, Brad Marchand buries the empty-net goal, making it 4-2 Boston.

With that, the Bruins win their second Winter Classic 4-2, Hawks lose their fourth.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 36 CHI: 38

Final Score: 4-2 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars

1st Star: BOS G Tuukka Rask – 36 Saves, .947 SV%

2nd Star: BOS F Patrice Bergeron – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, +1 Rating, Key Faceoffs

3rd Star: BOS F Sean Kuraly – Game-Winning Goal, 5 Shots, +1 Rating

With the victory, the Bruins move into third place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 22-14-4. They are tied in points with the Sabres, who they overtake in standings only due to the Regulation plus Overtime Wins (ROW), in which Boston has three more. Up next, Bruins face the Calgary Flames (24-12-4) in Boston on Thursday. Scheduled puck drop for that game is 7pm EST.

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 & Ticket Information From SeatGiant.com <-

Bruins Monthly Recap: December 2018

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

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

Another month down, another month to look ahead to. In this, the final month of 2018, the Boston Bruins performed without key players such as Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and Jake DeBrusk to still remain in a playoff position as of their most recent win over the Buffalo Sabres on the 29th of December.

In this third instalment of Bruins Monthly Recap, we will take a closer look at the surprises, disappointments, and positives of the eleventh calendar month including the best performances, worst games, injury report, and finally, a prediction of the month to follow. Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

The Good Games

In fourteen games this month, the Bruins finished with a record of 7-7-0, with two of those wins coming in the overtime session. Within the seven victories, the Bruins had some really solid outings and in this section, I’ll briefly highlight those victorious moments for the Bruins in the twelfth month of the year.

December 8th/18 – vs Toronto Maple Leafs

For the third time in two months, the two Original Six franchises whose rivalry has blossomed over the course of the past half-decade or so. In this Saturday night game vs the Maple Leafs in Boston, the Bruins walked away with a 6-3 win against a Leafs team that had Matthews, Marner, Nylander, and Andersen in net, well for a time at least.

Boston scored four straight goals from the first period to the third from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, David Backes, Torey Krug, and Danton Heinen. Boston outshot Toronto 15-9 in the second period alone and seemed to have all control. After Travis Dermott’s goal made it 4-1, the B’s answered with goals from Krejci and Donato to extend the lead to 6-1. The Leafs added two more late but that would be it.

Brad Marchand and Torey Krug had three points, David Pastrnak, Danton Heinen, and David Krejci all had two points and Jaroslav Halak made twenty-nine saves in the win. All around great performance for the Bruins without key players like Bergeron, DeBrusk, and Chara in the lineup.

December 17th/18 – vs Montreal Canadiens

Ah, the good old Montreal/Boston rivalry. It is rare to have a more successful night then when you defeat Montreal in the Bell Centre while scoring four goals and allowing none against. That’s what happened on December 17th in a 4-0 Bruins win over the Habs.

Joakim Nordstrom scored his fifth of the season, Colby Cave scored his first career NHL goal, David Krejci added his sixth of 2018-19, and Brad Marchand scored number eleven for four unanswered tallies past goaltender Carey Price. McAvoy and Pastrnak each had two-point nights while Jaroslav Halak stopped all twenty-two shots that faced him during the sixty regulation minutes.

The Bruins needed this win after two losses beforehand, making this one even sweeter, ending the losing streak and starting a new one that would last for the next two games.

December 22nd/18 – vs Nashville Predators

At the time, the Predators were near the top of the National Hockey League standings and were building momentum as they attempt to have another successful season. When the two teams met on the twenty-second of December, it was not supposed to be an easy game for either team, especially the Bruins.

However, off of the hands of four points (two goals, two assists) by Patrice Bergeron who returned to the lineup after a sternoclavicular/rib injury that kept him out of action for an extended amount of time. Bergeron’s linemates, Marchand and Pastrnak had three points of their own – leading the Bruins to a 5-2 win over Nashville in the TD Garden. In addition, Halak made twenty-eight saves, including fourteen in the second frame alone.

The Not-So-Good Games

It is expected that when you finish a calendar month with a .500 win percentage, you’re going to have some rough outings. Like other teams in that scenario, the Bruins had some rough games that they themselves may want to forget about. No real blowouts, but some poor overall team performances.

December 27th/18 – vs New Jersey Devils

Only two games ago, the Bruins had one of their worst games so far in the 2018-19 campaign. The Devils beat Boston by a final score of 5-2, which is not too bad all things considered, but the whole group seemed disoriented and failed to generate many offensive opportunities throughout the entirety of the three-period hockey game.

The opening Devils goal only twenty-five seconds into the game brought the momentum down immediately for Boston as both teams played their first game after the Holiday Break. New Jersey added another before the first intermission and scored three times in the final regulation frame to put out Boston.

Chris Wagner’s second-period goal and Patrice Bergeron’s third-period marker were the only two goals from Boston, but other than that, it was a lacklustre outing for the men in Black n Gold. Halak allowed four goals on thirty-two shots, not a terrible night for him, but could have been better most definitely.

December 4th/18 – vs Florida Panthers

The only thing worse than allowing five goals in a hockey game is when you allow five goals and score none for yourself. In only the second game of the month, the Bruins laid an egg against the divisional opponent, allowing four goals in the middle period and letting the Panthers win 5-0.

Mike Hoffman scored twice for Florida while Mike Matheson, Jonathon Huberdeau, and Evgenii Dadonov added the other three. Goalie Roberto Luongo stopped every single one of the thirty-three shots that the Bruins offence piled on him, making him look way younger than 39 years of age.

Individual Performances

Good: David Pastrnak – 4 Goals, 15 Assists, 19 Points in 14 Games

Nevermind good, this is great. Pastrnak once again took ahold of the Bruins offence and ran with it. Even zero points in four of the fourteen games this month did not slow down his production. Pastrnak was without Bergeron for the majority of the month but still managed to rack up the points with fellow countryman, David Krejci.

David is twelfth in the NHL for points and eighth in the NHL for most goals scored, six behind Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin.

Bad: Joakim Nordstrom – 14 Games Played, 1 Goal, 1 Assist, -7 Rating

Brought onto the Bruins in the 2018 offseason on a two-year contract worth $1 million per season, Joakim Nordstrom was supposed to add additional scoring to the offensive depth charts, but in December especially, Nordstrom has failed to do that. After a seven-game pointless streak to start the month, he scored in two consecutive games and has not scored for the last five games.

Somehow, Nordstrom has met his totals for last season, 5-2-7, in 37 fewer games. Joakim has three more goals than he had last year but with his lack of production lately, it is hard to understand why he remains in the lineup over some of the Providence Bruins players that are doing well this year.

Good: Patrice Bergeron – 4 Games Played, 3 Goals, 2 Assists, 5 Points, +2 Rating

Bergeron only played four times in December, but his return from injury made a large impact on the Bruins roster. His four-point night against the Predators proved he was still in prime form and his linemates of Pastrnak and Marchand have benefited from his reemergence on the offensive core.

Patrice continues to be one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL today, even with his increasing age and the reoccurring injuries over the past few seasons. Hopefully, a healthy Bergeron can lead the Bruins once again to a successful second-half of the regular season and into the playoffs.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet.ca)

Bad: Jaroslav Halak – 4-3-0 Record, 0.916 SV%, 2.71 GAA

Those numbers are not terrible, but they are not at the same level as the Jaroslav Halak that played in November and October. Halak allowed three or more goals in a single game on four different occasions this month, including five goals against the Panthers. Halak did, however, record a shutout against the Canadiens on the 17th.

The not-great play of Halak could have been the main reason for Cassidy’s decision to start Tuukka Rask over him for the 2019 Winter Classic. Although Rask has a worse record with numbers slightly worse than Halak, with the win over Buffalo for Rask, Cassidy went with Tuukka.

Honourable Mentions:

Good: Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Jake DeBrusk

Bad: David Backes, Noel Acciari, Tuukka Rask

Injury Report (As of December 31st)

D Charlie McAvoy – Lower-body – IR

The Bruins are healthy again, for now anyway. Only Charlie McAvoy is injured currently due to a blocked shot that isn’t healing the best. He will miss the Winter Classic. Brad Marchand has been day-to-day for the Bruins but is deemed good-to-go for the Bruins against Chicago. The injuries have been a huge blow for the team this year and to have some of these key players slowly return to the lineup, it is great to see.

January Games

Tuesday, Jan. 1st – vs Chicago Blackhawks (Winter Classic)

Thursday, Jan. 3rd – vs Calgary Flames

Saturday, Jan. 5th – vs Buffalo Sabres

Tuesday, Jan. 8th – vs Minnesota Wild

Thursday, Jan. 10th – vs Washington Capitals

Saturday, Jan. 12th-  at Toronto Maple Leafs

Monday, Jan. 14th – vs Montreal Canadiens

Wednesday, Jan. 16th – at Philadelphia Flyers

Thursday, Jan. 17th – vs St. Louis Blues

Saturday, Jan. 19th vs New York Rangers

Tuesday, Jan. 29th vs Winnipeg Jets

Thursday, Jan. 31st vs Philadelphia Flyers

The Boston Bruins have twelve games on the upcoming schedule to start of 2019, including nine games in the TD Garden. Boston’s week-long break takes place from January 20th to January 26th. With some big games against Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, and of course, the Winter Classic game against Chicago, the Bruins will have their work cut out for them but it will make for some fun games for us fans to enjoy.

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 & Ticket Information From SeatGiant.com <-

Bruins Game 40 Preview: Winter Classic – Chicago Blackhawks

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL)

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

Finally, it is Classic time. Bruins vs Blackhawks in the 2019 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic from South Bend, Indiana – the home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. This game has been much anticipated by both Original Six franchises since the day it was originally announced and not only does this game mean something for the Winter Classic itself, but for the standings of both teams as well as the playoffs become one day closer.

Boston finished the 2018 calendar year with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Buffalo Sabres off the hands of a late tying goal by Jake DeBrusk in his 100th career NHL game. Prior to that, the Bruins lost two games in a row to the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils then another three wins before that over the Predators, Ducks and Canadiens.

After being one of the worst teams in the league, the Hawks have turned their play around recently. The Blackhawks will enter the Winter Classic with a 5-1-0 record in their past six games and have managed a point in seven of their last nine outings. Even with the recent success, Chicago sits twenty-fifth in the league with a 15-20-6 record.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 9-8-2 2.67 GAA .912 SV% Last Game: 26 saves in 3-2 win vs BUF

CHI: Cam Ward 6-6-4 3.90 GAA .886 SV% Last Game: 21 Saves in 6-3 loss vs FLA

Who’s Hot

Always one of the most dangerous scoring forwards in the NHL today and for the past decade or so, Patrick Kane, is entering the Winter Classic on fire. Kane has points in seven consecutive games, including three, three-point nights. The incredible run as of late brings his 2018-19 season total to 22-28-50 in only forty games this season and currently sits 7th for most points in the NHL. The NHL has awarded Kane the 1st Star of The Week for this past week as well.

Chicago announced that Cam Ward will be the starting goaltender for the Blackhawks on New Year’s Day. In his first season as a Blackhawk after spending the first thirteen years of his career with the Carolina Hurricanes, Ward has a 6-6-4 record, a 3.90 GAA and a .886 SV%. While those numbers are not “hot” by any stretch of the imagination, but the 34-year-old goalie has won two of his last three starts and looks to do the same against Boston.

Since returning from his injury that kept him out for almost a dozen games at the start of the 2018-19 season, Torey Krug has been his usual self, scoring 4-19-23 totals in 28 games played. Krug has points in three of his last five games, including a two-point night in the 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on December 20th.

Even though Brad Marchand failed to score a point in his last game against the Carolina Hurricanes and he was out of the lineup against the Sabres, he can still be considered hot. Before the pointless game and the injury, Marchand has points in four straight, three of which were multi-point nights. Brad now has 12-29-41 totals on the season.

Who’s Not

While top-line centre Patrice Bergeron was out of the lineup with a sternoclavicular/rib injury, David Krejci seemed to fit in nicely alongside Pastrnak and Marchand on the first line. However, since the return of Bergeron four games ago, Krejci has failed to tally a single point and has been a minus rating in each of those four contests. David’s totals on the season currently sit a 7-23-30 in thirty-nine games with a -2 rating.

Danton Heinen is still trying to find his game after a strong rookie season in 2017-2018. The 23-year-old Langley, British Columbia, Canada native only has four goals and six assists for ten points in thirty-seven games this year. During Saturday’s win against the Sabres, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy benched Heinen for a time during the game, a sign of poor play by Heinen and the Bruins need him to change as soon as possible.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Erick W. Rasco /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

Brandon Saad of the Blackhawks is supposed to be one of the best players on Chicago’s roster when it comes to scoring goals and making plays. This season, especially lately, Saad has struggled to do so. In his last seven games dating back to December 16th, Saad has only two points, two points that came in one game against the Minnesota Wild on December 27th. Brandon has 11-11-22 totals in 39 games for Chicago this season.

33-year-old defenceman Brent Seabrook has always been one of most intimidating defenders on the Blackhawks blueline, but with age, the 33-year-old has not been great in 2018-19. With no points in his last six games, Seabrook is a -11 rating on the season and is only averaging around sixteen minutes on ice per game.

Bruins vs Blackhawks Outlook

Easily one of the biggest problems for the Boston Bruins so far is inconsistency. The Bruins went 7-7-0 in the month of December and when they would win multiple games in a row, they would return with the same number of losses in a row and vice-versa. If Boston wants to improve their Winter Classic record to 2-1-0 on Tuesday, then they will have to force turnovers and capitalize on those turnovers with offensive chances. A high number of shots on Cam Ward will be important to win this game as well.

The gameplan shouldn’t be much different for the Blackhawks. Obviously, the offence will run through Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, which is nothing new and the continuous shots on Tuukka Rask could very well ruin the confidence level of Rask. The Hawks have been rolling as of late and the momentum will be quite valuable for them.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL)

Milestone Watch:

  • Bruins defenseman and Captain Zdeno Chara is only two goals away from his 200th career NHL goal. While it is a tad bit unlikely that the 41-year-old scores two at the Winter Classic, but it is definitely a possibility.
  • Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook has not scored a goal in his last nine games, but if he manages to shoot the puck past the Bruins redline at Notre Dame Stadium, it will be his 100th career NHL goal.

Winter Classic History:

Boston Bruins:

  • 1-1 record heading into 2019 Winter Classic
  • 2-1 overtime win vs Philadelphia Flyers in 2010
  • 5-1 loss vs Montreal Canadiens in 2016
  • Will move into sole possession for second-most Winter Classic appearances in NHL history (3)
  • A win ties them with NYR and WSH for most Winter Classic wins (2)

Chicago Blackhawks

  • 0-3 record heading into 2019 Winter Classic
  • 6-4 loss vs Detroit Red Wings in 2009
  • 3-2 loss vs Washington Capitals in 2015
  • 4-1 loss vs St. Louis Blues in 2017
  • 4th Winter Classic appearance most in NHL history

Predictions:

Prior to the big game, some of the great writers here at the Black N’ Gold Hockey website have given me their official predictions of how the game will go. I highly suggest you check out their articles and give them a follow on Twitter if you have not already.

Now, who’s ready for some outdoor hockey?

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 & Ticket Information From SeatGiant.com <-

 

Can Bruins David Pastrnak Win The Rocket Richard Trophy?

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo)

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

Without a doubt in anyone’s mind, David Pastrnak is the best goal scorer on the Boston Bruins in 2018-19 and he will most likely retain that title for many years to come. With that in mind, how good of a goal scorer exactly is Pastrnak?

The National Hockey League has had the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy since 1999 and was first established at the end of the 1998-1999 season, where Teemu Selanne was awarded the trophy. The award was named after Richard, who spent the entirety of his eighteen-year NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens. “Rocket” was the first NHL player to reach the 500-goal milestone and was the first NHL player to hit 50 goals in a single season, doing so in only 50 games back in 1944-45.

For over a decade, the Rocket Richard Trophy has gone to one man seven times – Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. From the 2012-13 season to the 2015-16 season, Ovechkin won the trophy every single season, until Sidney Crosby broke that streak in 2016-17, only for Ovi to reclaim the trophy last season. Ovechkin’s best trophy-winning season was his 65 goals in 2007-08, the most by a winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AFP)

Since then, however, the winner of the trophy has scored less than fifty goals – Crosby with 44 and Ovechkin with 49 last year. In the history of the trophy, no Boston Bruin has ever won it. David Pastrnak is considered to be one of the best young scorers that the Bruins have had in recent memory, can he be the first Bruin to win the prestigious winner?

At the end of December 2018, Alex Ovechkin still leads the NHL in goals with 29 in 37 games played. Six goals behind him in seventh place, David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins. The 22-year-old winger is scoreless in his past three games (CAR, NJD, BUF) and if he scores a few times during that stretch, he could find himself within the top five for goals.

It is somewhat hard to look at the future of a hockey season when you are not even past the halfway point. In the past eighty-two regular season games dating back to the 2017-18 season, including Boston’s most recent game against the Buffalo Sabres, Pastrnak has scored 43 goals. In comparison to Ovechkin’s league-leading forty-nine tallies last season, Pastrnak would only be six goals away from leading the National Hockey League – the exact distance he is apart from the lead right now.

With that stat, it is fair to note that Pastrnak had some rough patches when it came to scoring goals last season. From December 14th, 2017 to January 2nd, 2018, Pastrnak failed to score a single goal in ten consecutive games. If only he scored on six of those, he would have tied Ovechkin’s tally from last year. Of course, that includes the 23 goals this year that Pasta has scored.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA Today Images)

Already this season, the Bruins have struggled with injuries – including hard injuries to Pastrnak’s well-known linemates, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Although, when Marchand has been healthy, he has not been as effective at putting the puck in the back of the net, scoring only twelve times in thirty-eight games. On the flip side, Marchand leads the team for assists with twenty-nine helpers.

When the Bruins’ first line is fully healthy and they are clicking offensively, the numbers can truly skyrocket. Bergeron already has a passer’s touch and if Marchand continues to have the vision to send the rubber to the piece of tape on Pastrnak’s stick, Pastrnak can rake in the goal numbers.

Is it possible for David Pastrnak to score more goals than any other player in the entire National Hockey League? Of course, it is. The Bruins are finally going to have a healthy roster, *knocks on wood* and can have the opportunity to finally gain some ground on the NHL standings. However, goals have been an issue for the players further on down the lineup.

When Patrice Bergeron was out for multiple weeks with a sternoclavicular/rib injury earlier this season, centre David Krejci filled in on the top line. Pastrnak did not seem to have issues scoring alongside Krejci. Krejci, an above-average passer is able to find his fellow Czech on the ice and create scoring opportunities.

In fact, Pastrnak is in the middle of his best goal-scoring season, scoring an average of 0.59 goals-per-game. His next highest came in the 2016-17 campaign when he averaged 0.45 GPG. If he continues his current pace, Pastrnak has the chance to hit 48 goals this season and that very well could contend for the league-lead. This is barring no injuries and for Pastrnak to continue at this very same pace. It is very possible that David can score more or less than that average moving forward.

If I were a betting man, which I am most definitely not, I would not bet money on David Pastrnak winning the Rocket Richard Trophy THIS season. I do, however, think he can contend for the trophy and within the next five years, he will win the award. Since being drafted twenty-fifth overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by Boston, Pastrnak has done nothing but improve in nearly all assets of his hockey game.

If the trend continues, he will only score more goals. But with predictions and future events, the only true answer is in the hands of one thing – time.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGaint 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 & Ticket Information From SeatGiant.com <-

Boston Bruins: 2019 Winter Classic Is a Chance At Redemption

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL)

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

On January 1st, 2019, the Boston Bruins will meet the Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame Stadium in Indiana, United States in the 2019 Bridgestone Winter Classic. The outdoor game has become synonymous with the new year since it’s origination back in 2008 when the Buffalo Sabres faced the Pittsburgh Penguins.

For Boston, it will not be the first time they have participated in the Winter Classic. In 2010, Boston played their first Classic against the Philadelphia Flyers. The 38,112 in attendance at Fenway Field – home of the Boston Red Sox – witnessed Marco Sturm score the game-winning goal 1:57 into the overtime session to give Boston the 2-1 victory.

For six seasons after that game, the hockey world would not see the Bruins in the Winter Classic. In 2016, the Bruins faced long-time rivals, the Montreal Canadiens at the Gilette Stadium – home of the New England Patriots – in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Just over 67,000 fans filled the seats for the game, the fourth-highest attendance rate at the time (3rd – 68,111 – 2011 WC, 2nd – 71,217 – 2008 WC, 1st –  105,491 – 2014 WC).

In addition to the love that the Winter Classic already gets because of the uniqueness of all the other regular season games, the 2016 Winter Classic felt different, even in comparison to the other outdoor contests. Of course, the Bruins/Canadiens rivalry is easily the greatest rivalry in hockey and quite possibly in all sports, yet there is an argument on both sides of the coin for that one. The reality is that if the Classic already had a huge attraction to it, when the most heated rivalry takes centre stage, it is bound to be more of the nail-biting type of hockey game.

Unless you were not such a hockey fan in 2016 as you are now, the Bruins lost by a devastating score of 5-1. Heading into the 2019 Classic, that loss in 2016 is the largest margin of a Winter Classic, ahead of the 4-1 win for the St. Louis Blues over the Blackhawks in 2017. All the factors – the game against Montreal, only one goal scored, allowed five goals, on home ice – added together to lead to this year – a chance for redemption. 

High Stakes – High Disappointment 

In the few months leading up to the 2016 Winter Classic, the Atlantic Division race was very close. On the day of their January 1st game, the Canadiens were one point ahead of the Bruins in the standings, but the B’s had three games in hand. Both teams wanted any and every point to gain on the Florida Panthers – who sat in the top spot in the division, a position they would hold until the end of the 2015-2016 season.

More specifically, both teams were in the middle of some poor stretches of hockey and needed to use the Winter Classic as a new milestone to change the tides and make the push to a playoff spot. Boston had lost three of its last four games before Jan. 1st, while Montreal lost seven of their last eight. The Canadiens also went 3-11 in December of 2015 after starting the season with a 9-0-0 record.

While the special additions to the Winter Classic made the game feel more like a regular season contest, it was in fact, a very important regular season game. Oddly enough, even though the Canadiens obliterated the Bruins, the Bruins still finished atop the Habs in the final standings, but both teams failed to make the postseason.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Kyle Clauss)

In the upcoming game against Chicago on the first day of 2019, the Bruins will have an opportunity to comeback and prove that they can come out victorious in important, high-stake games. Losing to Montreal always sucks, but the Original Six rivalry with the Blackhawks goes quite far back as well. The Greatest Bruin of All-Time, Bobby Orr, once played for the Hawks. But even more recently have the Hawks and Bruins had an intense meeting – the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals.

’13 Finals – So, So Close

Moving aside from the Bruins vs Canadiens Winter Classic for a brief time, (don’t worry, we will be back with more regarding this because there is a lot more redemption to be had), the Bruins and the Hawks at one point in the 2010’s were the two best teams in the National Hockey League. The Blackhawks had won the Stanley Cup for the first time in forty-nine years during the 2010 Playoffs, followed by Boston, who ended their 39-year Cup drought in 2011.

Somehow, in the 2011-2012 postseason, both franchises were untimely eliminated in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, (Boston to Washington in 7 games; Chicago to then-Phoenix in 6 games). The very next season, however, the two teams quickly regained their dominance with strong regular season performances. Chicago won the President’s Trophy in the lockout season, while Boston finished fifteen points behind – fifth in the league.

In the 2013 Playoffs, Boston beat Toronto in seven games, the Rangers in five games, and swept the Penguins in the Conference Finals to make it back to the Finals for the second time in three seasons. The Blackhawks, on the other hand, eliminated Minnesota in five games, Detroit in seven games, and the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Los Angeles Kings in five games.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet)

The two closely-matched teams started off their Stanley Cup Finals with a triple-overtime game in Game One, where forward Andrew Shaw scored the game-winning goal for the Blackhawks. Off of the hands of Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly, the Bruins rebounded in Game Two, winning 2-1 in an overtime session of their own.

On June 17th, 2013, the series shifted to Boston, Massachusetts for Game Three. Tuukka Rask made twenty-eight saves and the Bruins had goals from Paille and Bergeron to win by a score of 2-0. Unfortunately, that would be the last time the Bruins could walk away with a win in the series, as the Hawks would win three straight, including the Game Six collapse that remains in the heads of Bruins fans.

For the first time, the Bruins have a small chance at redeeming that loss. The 2019 Winter Classic is the first large event since the Stanley Cup Finals against the Blackhawks. Will a WC victory over the Illinois franchise completely erase the loss in the final series of the 2013 Playoffs, the Finals where the Bruins could have won two Cups in three years? Of course not. However, it’ll be a great accomplishment for the team wearing Black n Gold.

On a Personal Level – Brad Marchand

As many remember, Brad Marchand was not the best rule-abiding player in 2015-16, not that he is much better today, but he has most definitely improved over the course of the last three years or so. In December of 2015, Marchand received a three-game suspension for clipping Ottawa Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki. The three games including the Winter Classic against the Canadiens.

Marchand’s suspension was a huge detriment to the Bruins for the January 1st game. Not only did it prevent Marchand from playing in his first NHL Winter Classic, but it also hurt the offensive core of the Bruins ahead of the game. With David Pastrnak at the 2016 World Junior Championships with the Czech Republic and David Krejci out with an injury, Boston relied fully on Patrice Bergeron to backbone the scoring. Here were the lines prior to puck drop in the ’16 Classic vs the Habs.

Eriksson – Bergeron – Griffith

Beleskey – Spooner – Connolly

Vatrano – Ferraro – Khokhlachev

Rinaldo – Talbot – Hayes

(Fun side note, aside from Bergeron, not a single forward on this lineup is on the Bruins in the 2018-19 season).

Just three seasons later, it is evident how weak the offensive core was for the Bruins in that game and losing Marchand made it even worse. As the day gets closer and Marchand keeps his suspension-free season intact, *knocks on wood*, he can possibly allow himself to be forgiven by the Bruins fanbase for that late-December 2016 low hit on Borowiecki.

It may also be worth noting that the 2019 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic could be redemption for goaltender Tuukka Rask following his .833 save-percentage (25 saves on 30 shots) in the loss to Montreal, however, with the success of Jaroslav Halak over the course of the season, there is a chance that Cassidy decides to start Halak in between the posts. (It is fair to note that Rask has talked about his WC mask, while Halak does not have one to my knowledge.)

Is there any other aspect of the upcoming Winter Classic that could act as redemption for the Boston Bruins? Have I covered everything? Let me know on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGaint 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 Monthly Recap: November 2018

jake-debruskmatt-grzelcykzdeno-chara-d13cdae03b8c6ee0.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

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

It feels like just last week that I published the monthly recap for October, but here we are again for the recap of November – the second month of the 2018-19 NHL regular season. With the passing of American Thanksgiving, the National Hockey League has seemingly passed the quarter-mark of the season and the games played begin to really matter for possible playoff contention.

In this second instalment of Bruins Monthly Recap, we will take a closer look at the surprises, disappointments, and positives of the eleventh calendar month including the best performances, worst games, injury report, and finally, a prediction of the month to follow. Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

The Good Games

The Boston Bruins played in thirteen games during the month of November, finishing the month with a record of 7-4-2. The Bruins had six games at TD Garden, going 5-1-0 at home. In the remaining seven games on the road, Boston went 2-3-2 – a subpar record to say the least.

November 10th/18 – vs Toronto Maple Leafs

The first of two meetings against the Maple Leafs this season was also the biggest margin for a Bruins win this month, with the Bruins taking a 5-1 victory on home ice. The Leafs were without Auston Matthews, who was placed on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury and the Leafs also decided to play Garret Sparks instead of starting goaltender Frederik Andersen against Boston.

David Pastrnak scored a hat-trick and an assist, Bergeron had three points and Marchand chipped in with another two points. Tuukka Rask took a leave of absence, but Jaroslav Halak filled in with ease, making forty saves on forty-one Maple Leafs shots. Also, four Bruin defencemen played over twenty minutes (John Moore, Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, and Matt Grzelcyk).

A great win for the Bruins in the first game against Toronto this season, especially coming off of an eight-five loss to the Vancouver Canucks only two nights before.

November 11th/18 vs Vegas Golden Knights

The very next day, the Bruins had another solid outing against the defending Stanley Cup Finalists, the Vegas Golden Knights, winning by a score of 4-1. The Bruins had goals from Danton Heinen, Jeremy Lauzon, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak. Playing in both games on the back-to-back, Jaro Halak made 37 saves on 38 Golden Knight shots to only allow two goals in two games in two days.

Boston also went 58% on the faceoff dot, including Patrice Bergeron’s 64% on the dot in that game.

The Not-So-Good Games

Boston lost a combined six games in November and a couple of them were not very good. While there were no 7-0 losses like in October, (I’m sorry for bringing that up again), but the Bruins still had some poor outings – even with all of the injuries suffered.

November 14th/18 – at Colorado Avalanche

It was a battle of the two top lines in the National Hockey League when the Avalanche met the Bruins in Colorado on the fourteenth. Even though Gabriel Landeskog opened the scoring about halfway into the first period, the Bruins scored two in the same period – David Pastrnak’s 17th goal and Jake DeBrusk’s 6th goal.

Only 3:05 into the middle frame, DeBrusk would score his seventh on the season – second of the game and the Bruins had a 3-1 lead. When Mikko Rantanen scored in the same period, the Bruins still had a 3-2 lead. However, the Avalanche exploded in the third, scoring four unanswered goals to win 6-3 the final score.

Boston’s weakest point in this game was the penalty-kill – going 0-for-3 in the game. The final two Colorado goals were power-play goals as well as the one goal for them in the second frame. Boston did manage to score two goals on the man-advantage themselves, but it was losing that 3-1 lead that may have been the biggest disappointment of this hockey game.

November 8th/18 – vs Vancouver Canucks

This game was not good for one main reason – goals allowed. The Canucks managed to score eight goals on the Bruins – five on Halak and three on Rask. The game seemed to be going okay for the B’s coming out of the opening period, but they seemed to lack intensity.

With Patrice Bergeron’s eighth goal of the season coming only thirty-six seconds into the second frame, the Bruins took a 2-1 lead and started to look a tad bit better. Seven goals combined later, and the Bruins are headed into the second intermission down 6-4. DeBrusk and Krejci managed to finish the night with three points each, but the overall effort by the defence and goaltending was abysmal and was not a good game heading into their first meeting with Toronto.

Individual Performances

Good: David Pastrnak – 8 Goals, 5 Assists, 13 Points in 13 Games

Not a surprise, but David Pastrnak continued to prove that he is an elite player in this league by scoring another eight goals and thirteen points while playing in all thirteen games during the month of November. Pastrnak is currently tied with Jeff Skinner of the Buffalo Sabres for most goals in the league so far, with nineteen as of November 30th.

Pastrnak’s best performance came on the tenth of the month when he scored three goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs. With the recent loss of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak has taken the reigns of the team offensively – somehow scoring on a consistent basis game in and game out.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NESN.com)

Bad: Anders Bjork – 1 Assist, -4 Rating, Sent to AHL

It has been a tough season for Anders Bjork this year. Coming into the year as one of the biggest hopefuls on the Bruins forward core and was one of the players that were expected to have a good season to start off. However, that was not the case whatsoever.

With one goal back in October, Bjork only added one more assist in ten games during November, before he was sent down to the Providence Bruins in hopes of him possibly developing his game enough to come back in the big leagues later on down the line – similar to Ryan Donato in recent memory.

Good: Tuukka Rask – 3-1-2 Record, .933 SV%, 1.96 GAA

Last month, Tuukka Rask was under the “bad” column for the Individual Performances section. Rask possessed a 3-3-0 record with a .902 save percentage and a 3.15 goals-against-average. This month, Rask has turned it around and become one of the better goaltenders in the league as he is paid to be.

As many people know, Rask is a touchy subject in Boston sports, but you cannot deny his recent play as being solid. In the final game of November, Rask made twenty-eight saves in regulation and overtime plus another four in the shootout to lead the Bruins to a 2-1 shootout win over the New York Islanders. Rask made three big saves in the 3-on-3 overtime session to keep the Bruins in it and he truly looks solid in between the pipes.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Bad: Danton Heinen – 13 Games Played, 2 Goals, -3 Rating

One of the issues all season long for the Boston Bruins has been the depth scoring, or lack thereof and Danton Heinen has not helped the cause. With only two goals, (Nov.11 vs VGK & Nov.8 vs VAN), Heinen is on an eight-game pointless streak and has been a -1 rating in the past two games.

Heinen had a solid 47-point campaign in his rookie career last year and many believed that he would ride off of that success coming into this season. Unfortunately for him and the team, Heinen has not been able to succeed at the level the Bruins need him to. With the injury to Bergeron, Boston needs Heinen more than ever so the dependence on Pastrnak and Marchand can be relieved a tad.

Honourable Mentions:

Good: Jaroslav Halak, Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci, Torey Krug

Bad: Sean Kuraly, Noel Acciari, Steven Kampfer

Injury Report (As of November 30th)

D Charlie McAvoy – Concussion – IR; Practicing In Non-Contact 

D Urho Vaakanainen – Concussion – IR

D Brandon Carlo – Upper-Body – IR; Probable Sat. vs DET 

D Zdeno Chara – Left MCL Injury – IR –

C Patrice Bergeron – Sternoclavicular Injury – IR

D Kevan Miller – Larnyx Injury – To Be Re-Evaluated In 5 Weeks

The injuries have not let up in the month of hockey since the previous Bruins Monthly Recap article. Five of the six defensemen that were supposed to start the year in the defensive unit are all out of the lineup with injuries with Kevan Miller being the most-recent injury to the roster. Miller took a shot by Maple Leafs forward John Tavares to the throat, causing damage to the cartilage in his larynx.

December Games

Saturday, Dec. 1st – vs Detroit Red Wings

Tuesday, Dec. 4th – at Florida Panthers

Thursday, Dec. 6th – at Tampa Bay Lightning

Saturday, Dec. 8th – vs Toronto Maple Leafs

Sunday, Dec. 9th – at Ottawa Senators

Tuesday, Dec. 11th – vs Arizona Coyotes

Friday, Dec. 14th – at Pittsburgh Penguins

Sunday, Dec. 16th – vs Buffalo Sabres

Monday, Dec. 17th – at Montreal Canadiens

Thursday, Dec. 20th – vs Anaheim Ducks

Saturday, Dec. 22nd – vs Nashville Predators

Sunday, Dec. 23rd – at Carolina Hurricanes

Thursday, Dec. 27th – vs New Jersey Devils

Saturday, Dec. 29th – at Buffalo Sabres

Right off the tails of a difficult month, the Bruins will have another tough month in December with games against teams such as Tampa Bay, Toronto, Nashville, Carolina, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh. Boston will also have their three-day break for Christmas. Out of the fourteen scheduled games in December, seven are at home and seven are on the road making for an interesting schedule moving forward.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGaint 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 & Ticket Information From SeatGiant.com <-