Bruins Marchand Voted Best/Worst Trash Talker in NHL

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PHOTO CREDITS: (cbc.ca)

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

As announced today, March 20th, 2019, the NHL Player’s Association (NHLPA) voted Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand the best and somehow, worst trash talker in the National Hockey League. Over 500 current NHL players participated in the voting process and it is meant to add some fun awards to the league.

The NHLPA Player Poll has been in the running for the past two seasons and it covers a variety of different categories – all of which voted on by the player body. Below are some of the winners from the 2018-19 season.

  • Best Forward – EDM Connor McDavid
  • Best Defenceman – TBL Victor Hedman
  • Best Goalie – MTL Carey Price
  • Best Shot – WSH Alex Ovechkin
  • Best Female Player – CWHL Hilary Knight
  • Best Arena Atmosphere – T-Mobile Arena (Vegas Golden Knights)
  • Best Ice – Bell Centre (Montreal Canadiens)
  • Best Team Mascot – Gritty (Philadelphia Flyers)

And many more. For a full list of all the winners – CLICK HERE.

Back to Boston – Brad Marchand took home two winning awards from this voting event. Marchand won the best trash talker, earning 21.3% of the votes, beating out Drew Doughty (11.8%), Ryan Reaves (5.5%), Claude Giroux (4.8%) and Nick Cousins (3.3%). Somehow, Marchand also won the complete opposite of that award – the worst trash talker in the league, receiving 12.5% of the votes, ahead of Antoine Roussel (5.5%), P.K. Subban (5.1%), Nick Cousins (4.7%), and Brendan Lemieux (3.5%).

We all have a good idea on what exactly goes on the ice, even though we don’t get the mics on the players for every game. Although, that would be an interesting addition to the sport. Nonetheless, Marchand seems to be in the thick of things with words flying from his lips to the biggest or smallest of players in the league today. Brad has used this asset for exactly that – an asset.

In a meaningful game for a playoff position or a game against a heated rival like the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Flyers, etc., Marchand is able to stir the pot and get under the opposing team’s skin – hoping to get them off their game. In the past, Marchand has not been great with keeping this contained, as suspensions and fines, (with many, many warnings), have piled up. This season, however, the 30-year-old Marchand has not, (*knock on wood*), been handed a single suspension – not one and has gone on to set a new career-high in points.

Funny enough, Brad Marchand is not only good (or bad) at trash talking his opponents, but he has a fun time poking fun at fellow Bruin teammates. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is one of Marchand’s main guys to have a little fun with on social media, especially on Twitter. Brad likes to make fun of Krug’s height which ironically, is the same as Marchand according to Hockey Reference. Here are a few of those gems.

Don’t worry though, Krug has had his fair share to return to Marchand on Twitter.

The friendly fire between Krug and Marchand is just a testament to how close this team has become over the past few years of success and even failure. Just this little back and forth banter between two of the most important players on the team right now shows that this team is more like a family and that is crucial come playoff time.

Aside from Marchand’s dual awards, the Bruins were in the running for a couple other ones as well, but just fell short. Forward Patrice Bergeron received 9.2% of the votes for the most difficult player to play against, finishing third behind McDavid (30.9%) and Crosby (16.0%). That’s not it as Bergeron was also voted 4th in the “Player You Would Start a Franchise With”, getting 1.7% of the votes for him, behind McDavid (60%), Crosby (18.5%) and Matthews (4.3%).

With the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs right around the corner, it is a nice little reminder that the players do enjoy their share of fun and games in these final few weeks of the regular season. Were these awards correct in your eyes or did the players get something wrong? Let me know on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj!

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Bruins, Chara Answer The Bell

Image result for bruins islanders chara fight(Photo Credit: NBS Sports)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

“For Whom The Bell Tolls…”

Well, according to heady British poet & author John Donne, “it tolls for thee.” But if you ask punched-in-the-head(y) pugilist & Islander Matt Martin, it tolls for Zee. As in Big Z. As in Bruins Captain and former NYI wunderkind Zdeno Chara. And boy did he, and the Bruins, ever answer the bell — in a BIG way — against their 1st-place pals in the Metro Division to kickoff their Spring season.

As the B’s fearless leader recapped in his post-game interview, “we made some strong plays… and our specialty teams were also strong.” Very well said for arguably the strongest guy on the ice on a nightly basis (definitely, at least, this knuckled-up night). However, putting brute physicality & force aside, it’s a different kind of strength displayed by both Chara and his teammates that I found impressive. One that even the aforementioned Mr. Donne would equally tip his cornered hat to, hence why I’ll be waxing poetic with his eponymous words about it for the remainder of this postured post of puck prose.

“No Man Is An Island…”

Definitely not on this Bruins team. And definitely not against the Islanders (even though they were playing for an “island”). Because Boston’s strength, as I just alluded to, is truly in their numbers — i.e. EVERYONE is buying into what B’s management and the coaching staff, particularly head coach Bruce Cassidy, have been preaching since key players went down with untimely injuries earlier in the season: “be the next man up.”

And even as the injury bug piled up over the last month and a half, the next man did step up — individual statistics aside. Sometimes that came in the form of versatile veterans spelling some struggling youngsters for a game or two (namely Lee Stempniak and Paul Carey, like them or hate them). Other times it was the exact opposite, with eager Baby B’s jumping back into the mix (your Trent Frederics and Connor Cliftons) to relieve the pressure of the recognizable names still needing recovery time. Thankfully, as we’re finding out, almost all are ready to return to the line-up soon, with an order of Pasta finally seen on the Bruins’ menu (with a side of splint)!

No matter who was wearing the Black N’ Gold proudly over that injury-riddled time span, though, the result was the same: the Bruins were always competing, always fighting, always exhibiting a team strength & unity where no man truly felt like “an island” having to do it all (unless of course you were Matt Martin and you had fisticuffs with Zdeno Chara).

“Each Is… A Part Of The Main”

Mainly, I can’t think of a better way to accurately describe how the B’s are accomplishing all that they are right now. To quote NESN’s Jack Edwards, who ever-so-eloquently performs a form of poetic lyricism every time he calls a game, “if you would have told me the Bruins would be where they are in the standings [after Patrice Bergeron & Zdeno Chara went down on back to back days earlier this season]… I’d have been dead wrong!” Wouldn’t we all have been.

Yet, thanks to the every part is a valuable part mentality with which the B’s operate, there’s more than enough room on Edwards’ bandwagon for new friends & old returnees, as he likes to tweet, to get behind what’s currently (and Kuraly) happening in Boston. One needs to look no further than No. 52’s constructive comments following his 2-goal performance on Long Island, in particular: “I think we just try to stick to our game… our leadership, we just wanted to keep comin’ and keep playing hard.” Wise words, indeed!

“It Tolls For Thee.”

In conclusion, it all comes full circle back to that leadership Kuraly talked about. Be it Big Z’s big fight or Bergy’s big goal or the big shift from the Backes/Acciari/Nordstrom line that showcased not only toughness & talent, but also skill & skate savvy — aspects of every players’ game, in fact, that featured in this statement victory.

Speaking of statements, the whole point of Donne’s poem was to illustrate the interconnectedness of mankind — that if we’re all in it together, it doesn’t matter in the end who answers the proverbial bell, because (in the end) it will eventually toll for all of us. If we apply that same prescient & poetic philosophy to the 2018-2019 Bruins–a team very much interconnected in all the right ways–then here’s what you can expect: an exTOLLing of praise come playoff time.

That’s one bell well worth answering!

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

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Fox Sports)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

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Bruins Game 71 Preview: Winnipeg Jets

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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

Following an incredible point streak, the Bruins are entering tonight’s game against the Jets with two straight regulation losses – to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets. On Tuesday, March 12th, the Bruins fell to the Blue Jackets by a final score of 7-4. Boston was at one point, down 5-1, but made an effort to come back, making it 5-4 before Columbus added two more to seal the deal. The Bruins are four points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic with 12 games remaining.

The Winnipeg Jets are in a tight battle right now for the top spot in the Central Division. The Jets hold a mere one point advantage on the Nashville Predators with three games in hand, but Winnipeg does have three more regulation-plus-overtime wins already in the bank. Winnipeg is coming into the game losers of their last two and are 4-6-0 in their last ten games.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 24-9-5 2.41 GAA .918 SV% Last Game: 19 Saves in 7-4 Loss to CBJ

WPG: Connor Hellebuyck 28-20-2 3.01 GAA .909 SV% Last Game: 31 Saves in 5-4 Loss to SJS

Who’s Hot

Even if the Bruins are losing, Brad Marchand has been consistently dominating in 2018-19 and lately, that has been on display more than ever. Marchand is riding high on an eight-game point streak with three of them being three-point outings. Against Columbus, Marchand scored his 29th and 30th goal of the season, reaching the 30-goal mark for the fourth straight season. Marchand also matched his career-high in points (85) doing so in 69 games.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet.ca)

Blake Wheeler has sixteen points in his last ten games. That usually means that you’re having yourself a solid stretch and an even more solid season – which he has. Wheeler has 19-65-84 numbers in 69 games for the Jets this season, only eight points away from breaking his career-high 91 points that he set in the 2017-18 season. Wheeler not only leads his team in points but is a crucial leader in the locker room for the younger players on the roster.

Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are almost always together in something, and they are two of the hottest players right now for Boston. Bergeron has nine points in his last eight contests and at one stage, had three shorthanded goals in only five games played. Bergeron has continued to be one of the best, if not the best, two-way forward in the National Hockey League and is always a threat to any opposing line.

Who’s Not

Tuukka Rask had an unbelievable stretch from the end of December to the beginning of March, but the Bruins starting goaltender is entering the game in Winnipeg after being pulled from the crease after allowing five goals on 24 shots against. Of course, when that happens, usually the team around him is not great. Rask could have, however, played better and will be expected to do so tonight.

Mark Scheifele is second on the Jets for most points in the ’18/’19 season, but in the last four games, the 25-year-old has zero points and is a -2 rating during that period. Scheifele has been averaging around the 20-minute mark for each of the four games but has not been able to contribute as much offensively as his 75 points suggest he should. With that said, he can find his groove again at any time, and he remains a big threat to the Bruins defense.

Torey Krug is one of the best offensive defencemen in the entire NHL this season, but in the last two games against the Blue Jackets and Penguins combined, Krug has a -8 rating including a terrible -5 night against the Jackets. Krug also only has two assists in the last five, both coming against the Senators on March 9th. With the injuries to the backend, Boston needs him to be better on the defensive end of the puck.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Michael Tureski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Patrik Laine is supposed to be one of the top young goal scorers – one that can strike at any moment. While he has shown glimpses of that this year, the Finnish sniper has no goals in the last six games played, even though he has four assists in the same period. Laine has only 29 goals which are still impressive, but will most likely not match his 44 goals from last season and the goals that he has scored, have come in spread out games – proving this long stretch of no goals.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • D Zdeno Chara is one goal away (199) from 200 career NHL goals
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one point away (799) from 800 career NHL points
  • F Brad Marchand is one shorthanded goal away (25) from passing Rick Middleton (25) for sole possession of most SHG in Bruins history

Winnipeg Jets:

  • F Mark Scheifele is one goal away (145) from passing Vyacheslav Koslov (125) for sole possession of 4th most goals in Jets history
  • F Mark Scheifele is one power-play goal away (36) from passing Andrew Ladd (36) for sole possession of 7th most PPG in Jets history

Bruins vs. Jets Outlook

The Bruins and Jets will meet tonight for the second time this season, and because the two franchises are in opposite conferences, it will also be the final time that these two will play one another in the 2018-19 season. Back on January 29th, the Jets took a 4-3 shootout win over Boston in the TD Garden. Kyle Connor scored two regulation goals and the eventual shootout winner to help lead Winnipeg to the win.

As mentioned earlier, both Boston and Winnipeg are in tight battles for divisional spots as we head closer to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs later in April. This makes this game all-the-more meaningful as a win, or even just a point could be massive on either end of the ice tonight.

Boston has the 3rd-best power-play (26.2%) and the 9th-best penalty-kill (81.3%) while the Jets have the 4th-best power-play (25.3%) and the 24th-best penalty-kill (79.0%). The specialty teams will most likely be a deciding factor in who wins the game tonight. Below are the projected lines for the B’s. Puck drop is scheduled for 8pm EST from the Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

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

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jaroslav-halak

PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Winner: Chris Wagner

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

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

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

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

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

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Spin Zone: The Bruins’ Injuries Might Be The Best Thing For Them

( Photo Credit: Winslow Towson/ USA TODAY Sports )

By: Cam McCusker | Follow Me On Twitter: @CSthinks

 

There are no typos in that title. I typed all of those words on purpose.

David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, Kevan Miller, Marcus Johansson, and most recently Matt Grzelcyk have been sidelined with injuries during the Bruins’ impressive stretch of hockey over the last month and a half. While thankfully none of these injuries are all that severe, they did leave the Bruins shorthanded.

Certainly, many human beings with brains will look at the short term impacts that these injuries have on the roster and say it made the Black and Gold a weaker team. To those people, I offer this: Duh. But as a Bruins homer and a semi-rationally-thinking hockey fan, these injuries have been a blessing. They are perfect injuries, and I love them.

“But Cam, tell us why! We want to know!”

Relax. I’m getting to that. Don’t interrupt me.

As I was saying, I am truly proud of the Bruins’ ability to get injured in just the right ways. When compared to the severity of injuries that Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug underwent in the tail end of last season, the Bruins’ have learned from their mistakes and are getting injured in a much smarter way.

All of the Bruins that have been injured in the last month or so have done so in a way that only sidelines them for at most a month. The use of the expression “at most” is misplaced here, but I really enjoy the expression. Obviously, David Pastrnak has been out for a month already so he might have singlehandedly (nice) voided the credibility of my use of the expression. But he’ll be back soon, so I’ll allow it.

Here are the three reasons why these injuries, to important pieces of the Bruins lineup, are crucial to the team’s playoff success.

1. Secondary Scoring/Depth

David Pastrnak’s injury in the second week of February effectively removed the Bruins’ leading scorer at the time. For a team that had been plagued by a lack of depth until recently, this loss might have seemed more grave at the time than it ended up being. Pastrnak’s absence (his Pastrnabsence, if you will) thrust the responsibility of scoring onto the rest of the lineup. And the rest of the B’s, since his injury, has not only added key deadline pieces to address their secondary scoring but have answered the bell and then some (see: ridiculous point streak). A team that can survive, and even thrive without debatably their most lethal offensive threat, will only be that much stronger when they get him back. Very nice (Borat voice).

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images )

2. Saving Legs

While the injuries come to key cogs in the machine that is the Bruins’ lineup, their ability to keep the machine running effectively in the absence of these cogs has been impressive. The aspect of so many key players being out for brief hiatuses is that despite being injured, they are also saving their legs for the playoff stretch. While some rust can certainly be expected from each Bruin upon their respective returns, they will have just enough time to dust off the cobwebs and get back to midseason form come postseason time.

The timing of this “rest” is auspicious given that it is coming in the dog days of the season when the Bruins begin a stretch where they essentially play every other day for a month. If the team can keep winning while some of your top dogs lick their wounds, then expect to win more when they rejoin the pack (I got really into dog metaphors for a minute).

3. Accountability

Undoubtedly, injuries bring added pressure to the regulars in the lineup, as they are subsequently tasked with shouldering the load that their fallen comrade might have been expected to carry. This is true of any team. But what Bruce Cassidy has done in the absence of Pastrnak, DeBrusk, Johansson, Miller, and now Grzelcyk has been interesting—he’s shortened the bench even more.

While the injuries to the aforementioned Bruins already shorten what would be a healthy bench, Cassidy went even further in a few games by sitting players like Peter Cehlarik, Charlie Coyle, and John Moore.  While none of them had been playing all that poorly, Cassidy sent a clear message that if players weren’t putting their best effort or product on the ice, then they were no longer going to see the ice. Fortunately, it seemed like these instances of Cassidy sitting guys down paid off, and the Bruins found ways to win with their shortened bench.

While there is certainly a school of thought that might scrutinize players having too short of a leash, Cassidy has proven time and again that he knows how to get the best out of his players. The heightened responsibility created by the Bruins injuries has placed many of the remaining healthy B’s under the microscope. The focus on their play in the absence of important players has only worked to make them more accountable as a unit and as individuals.

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images )

So there’s your spin zone. Obviously, most players will play better in the short term if their lungs aren’t bruised, or their hands aren’t broken, blah blah blah. And a healthy team will be better in the short term with healthier players. But in the case of the Bruins, I think it’s reasonable to expect that this most recent period of success combined with adversity will be looked back on as a turning point in the season.

All the teams in movies have one.

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bruins Game 65 Preview: New Jersey Devils

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PHOTO CREDITS: (CBS Local – New York)

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

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

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

Starting Goaltenders:

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

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

Who’s Hot

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet.ca)

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

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

Who’s Not

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

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

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

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

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

New Jersey Devils:

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

Bruins vs Devils Outlook

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

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

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

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The Value of Peter Cehlarik Down the Bruins’ Homestretch

( Photo Credit: Stan Szeto/ USA TODAY Sports )

By: Cam McCusker  |  Follow Me On Twitter @CSthinks

 

Similar to last year, late in the season the Bruins now again find themselves playing some of their best hockey in a time where securing a playoff spot is paramount. While they pose no threat to the Lightning in terms of contention for the Presidents’ Trophy, they do have an opportunity to build and secure the necessary chemistry with their post-deadline roster that will be instrumental to their postseason success. If their first couple games with new additions Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson are any indication of the Bruins’ current state, then their ceiling is likely higher than any of us may have thought.

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The needs that Coyle and Johansson address for the Black and Gold are forward depth, and secondary scoring. Both players are proven contributors at the NHL level and bring strong skating, reliability, and even some playoff experience to a relatively young Bruins roster.

But what might be overlooked amidst the arrival of these deadline acquisitions is the homegrown talent that the Bruins’ development system has provided to the big club in Peter Cehlarik.

After a first half of the season where the absence of secondary scoring was excruciatingly apparent, questions were raised as to who would man David Krejci’s right side, and who would play with Danton Heinen on the third line.

Enter Cehlarik, in mid- January. Sure he’s been a regular in the lineup alongside Krejci during the Bruins’ recent stretch of brilliance where they’ve been able to, at the time of this writing, take points in 14 straight games. But I’m not one of those who would advocate that he remain in the lineup because of the team’s success. If he were playing horribly, I’d want him gone. But he hasn’t. So I don’t.

Cehlarik brings much more to the Bruin’s squad than taking up space near David Krejci in the musical chairs game that was the second line right wing. And, now that it looks like that spot might be best suited for Marcus Johansson, it becomes all the more important to acknowledge the depth of Cehlarik’s game.

At first glance, the most notable asset of Cehlarik’s is his frame. He’s a big boy, but not lost in his size is the grace with which he plays the wing. More than just a big body Bugatti, he’s a strong skater who is heavy on pucks and plays with the poise of a more experienced player. Cehlarik’s patience and puck possession lent themselves well to a forward core that was looking for maintained offensive zone time once 37, 88, and 63 got off the ice. Now, those traits only deepen the Bruins’ forward unit.

( Photo Credit: Rocky W. Widner/ NHL/ Getty Images )

There is no panic in Cehlarik’s game, and he’s shown that he can be effective on both the second line as a right winger or on the third line as a left winger. Now, with Coyle and Johansson joining the Bruins’, Bruce Cassidy essentially has 3 seriously versatile wings that can realistically slot in anywhere among his top 9 forwards. And not just slot in, but affect the game positively. With the B’s fourth line essentially set in stone, many might naturally assume that veteran David Backes or Joakim Nordstrom might be looked to as Coyle’s (for the time being) linemates on the third forward unit. If Cassidy is looking to maximize the effectiveness of his forward lines, playing either of these two would be a mistake.

Why not Backes?

Certainly fans of the Bruins’ will look at Backes’s contract and see that he has underperformed incredibly… so much so that it leaves someone like me wondering if they misplaced a decimal point somewhere in his contract.

At any rate, while Backes and Cehlarik both benefit from their size, Cehlarik has proven to be a significantly stronger presence in the offensive zone. While his scoring hasn’t blown anyone away, his PPG is higher than Backes, despite Backes having had almost an entire year to try and grace the scoresheet on the second powerplay unit. Cehlarik has proven to be both a stronger passer and a far more effective and creative playmaker than Backes. If Cassidy decides to play forwards who are oldest, then he should certainly play Backes over Cehlarik. However, if he decides to maximize the potential and effectiveness of his forward units, then expect to see Cehlarik in the lineup.

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What about Nordstrom?

While I don’t suspect that many people will be making a case for Nordstrom to be slotted into the Bruins top 9, there undoubtedly will be a few. These are likely the same fans that scream “SHOOT” as soon as the puck crosses the offensive blueline. It’s likely they’ve seen Nordstrom skate in a straight line and marveled at his speed. Don’t get me wrong, being fast is almost always a good thing. Unless you don’t know how to stop (See: Luis Mendoza, 1994 Junior Goodwill Games).

I don’t want to be cynical. I even liked Nordstrom in the lineup at the beginning of the season, when the Bruins would come out flat at times. He brought speed, energy, and in the eyes of this writer he is a strong shot blocker. There’s always room for guys that block shots on my teams. However, like Backes, Nordstrom’s bag of tricks have left him in “No Man’s Land” on a lineup of forwards that has become significantly deeper over the past month and a half.  He doesn’t possess the skill and poise that Cehlarik does, and his skating is not enough to counteract that fact.

( Photo Credit: Harry How/ Getty Images )

Homestretch

With all of that being said, I do like having two veteran forwards in the on-deck circle. And it’s easy to be objective about the displacement of said veteran forwards from behind a keyboard, and not in the locker room with them (both are, by all accounts, awesome teammates). But that’s exactly how putting together the best possible lineup should be done: objectively.

And who knows, with the injury troubles the Bruins have faced this season and for last year’s playoffs (*knocks on wood while crossing fingers, hoping the hockey Gods didn’t hear*), Backes and Nordstrom might be called upon to pinch hit.

But until that day comes, I say let Young Celery wheel and deal.

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Bruins Game 64 Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Winslow Townson/AP)

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

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

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

Starting Goaltenders:

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

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

Who’s Hot

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

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

Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins

PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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

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

Who’s Not

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

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

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

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

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

Tampa Bay Lightning:

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

Bruins vs Lightning Outlook

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

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

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

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

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