Bruins, Jacobs Announce Plan To Compensate TD Garden Employees During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Photo: (Jim Michaud / MediaNews Group / Boston Herald)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

On Saturday morning, the Boston Bruins and the Jacobs Family announced a plan to compensate part-time gameday TD Garden employees due to the NHL’s current hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan is based around a fund of $1.5 million, should the remaining six games on Boston’s schedule go unplayed.

The NHL announced 10 days ago on Thursday, March 12, that the 2019-20 season was  suspended until further notice to try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), following the lead of the NBA. The suspension of the season left part-time arena employees, especially those who may depend on their hourly wages, in the dark.

Over the last week or so, the remaining 30 NHL franchises and other professional sports organizations announced plans to compensate employees who would be affected, or at least made statements regarding the situation, leaving the Bruins as the only organization to contribute their voice to the matter. The lack of action on the Jacobs’ part over the last 10 days led to backlash and pressure from Bruins fans and members of the media.

Jeremy Jacobs, 88, and his family, most notably his son Charlie, have owned the Bruins since purchasing the team for a mere $10 million (by today’s standards) in 1975. Since, under his control, the Bruins brought the Stanley Cup back to Boston in 2011, and made six other trips to the Stanley Cup Final (1977, 1978, 1988, 1990, 2013, and 2019). Jacobs, who is also the chairman of Delaware North, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017 under the builder category. In September, prior to Boston’s season, Jacobs announced his plans to confer ownership of the franchise to his children.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 170 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Tampa Bay at Boston: 03/07/20

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

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

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

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Home: Boston Bruins (43-13-12)

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

Bruins’ Last Game: 2-1 OT win vs FLA

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

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

First Period:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shots on Goal: BOS: 14 TBL: 5

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

Second Period:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the second period ends emphatically there.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 28 TBL: 15

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

Third Period:

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

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

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

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

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

Shots on Goal: BOS: 38 TBL: 25

Final Score: 5-3 Lightning

Max’s Three Stars:

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

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

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

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

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 168 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Champion 8-Spoked Salute!

8Spoke(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

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

Giving appreciation to our military heroes and veterans is something the Boston Bruins organization not only takes pride in, but also champions year after year and season after season. And for the remainder of the 2019-2020 season, the franchise is looking to recognize local and New England-area Armed Forces members –Active Duty, Guard or Reserve — who are exactly those champions!

And *YOU can nominate them by doing the following, per the Bruins website:

The Bruins and the Massachusetts State Lottery are proud to salute the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. At select games throughout the 2019-20 season, a member or members of the Armed Forces [Active Duty, Guard or Reserve] will receive the 8-Spoked Salute for their service to our country. Selected winners will receive four (4) complimentary tickets to a Bruins home game and a live welcome on Garden HDX (video scoreboard). If you would like to nominate a Service Member of the Community, fill out the form below. Entries for selection must include a valid reason as to why an individual should be selected for this honor. Last year, the Lottery gave back over $1.1 billion to the Commonwealth, providing essential local aid for all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts.

The B’s and the MA Lottery have partnered up before to salute our nation’s heroes, with the Black N’ Gold tipping their helmets to those who wear navy, green, tan, camouflage and of course red, white & blue! The video below shows just how up-close-and-personal our service members can get to the players during such games as Military Appreciation Night and the 8-Spoked Salute:

 

The Bruins’ organization also has a proud history during the 8-Spoked-Salute games of honoring those service members we’ve lost while fighting for our freedoms. The team has even surprised military families with reunions on TD Garden ice:

It’s one of those occasions where sport and sacrifice intertwine to form a bond that is honored by all — no matter your politics, passions or pursuits. And, in the case of the Bruins, that intertwining involves 8 spokes, bringing even more value, sentiment and meaning to the beloved and bespoked B’s!

*Again, YOU can send in your nominations here: https://www.nhl.com/bruins/community/8-spoked-salute   

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 168 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Breaking Down The Bruins’ 2020 Trade Deadline

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LEFT: Nick Ritchie (37) (Photo: Harry How / Getty Images North America)
RIGHT: Ondrej Kase (25) (Photo by Steve Babineau / NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Another trade deadline in the National Hockey League has come and gone. With it, we saw the most trades in the history of the deadline (32) and only the second time that 55 total players have been involved in deals.

Once again, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was active in the trade market, with rumors of Boston being in on Ondrej Kase, Joe Thornton, Kyle Palmieri, Chris Kreider, and more heading into the deadline. Like last year’s trade involving Charlie Coyle and Ryan Donato, Sweeney consummated a trade with a few days to spare before the main event on Monday, acquiring Kase from Anaheim on Friday before dealing for Nick Ritchie on Monday.

Here are the details of the deals that Boston made before the 3:00 pm deadline on Monday afternoon:

Friday Feb. 21, 2020

To Anaheim:

F David Backes (25% retained), D Axel Andersson, 2020 1st-Rounder

To Boston:

F Ondrej Kase

Personally, I really like this deal for the Bruins. Either way, Boston was going to have to give up a higher end draft pick at this year’s deadline, and this year’s first was going to be a late pick in all probability. As far as Axel Andersson, while I think he has NHL potential, I’m not sure that he would have been able to contribute to Boston anytime soon, especially considering how loaded the Bruins are in terms of defense prospects. Anaheim gets two good pieces for their rebuild in the first and Andersson.

As for Backes, it feels like a miracle that Sweeney was able to clear his contract off the books, considering he still has a year left. While it would have been nice to completely move it out, only retaining 25% ($1.5 million) is still a huge win for the Bruins moving forward into this coming offseason with pending unrestricted free agents like Torey Krug and Jaroslav Halak and restricted free agents like Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork. It was certainly disappointing how Backes’ time in Boston went, but the former Blues captain is a great guy, by all accounts, and will likely get a chance to play in Anaheim.

Although he’s suited up in just one game for the Bruins, the acquisition of Kase has the makings to be an incredible bargain bin deal. The numbers have not really popped off the page this season for the 24-year-old (7-16-23 in 49 games), but there’s reason to believe he will improve his output on a team like Boston, especially if he is playing on David Krejci’s wing.

First off, Kase is an analytics darling, and shoots the puck a ton, registering 135 shots on goal this season and averaging 2.76 shots per game. However, his shooting percentage sits at 5.2% – not great. In Anaheim, Kase bounced around the lineup and was asked to play different roles on each line, but with stability, and the type of talent that Boston can put on the ice each night, it is reasonable to expect the shooting percentage and results to improve – he certainly has the talent for it.

Whats more, the 2014 seventh rounder is under contract at just $2.8 million until the end of next season, and even then Kase will only be an RFA. Also, after scoring 20 goals in the 2017-18 season, (maybe) not coincidentally the last time the Ducks iced a playoff team, Kase has struggled with staying on the ice consistently. If he can stay healthy with the Bruins, and his offensive output improves, the Bruins will have made out like gangbusters.

Monday: Feb. 24, 2020

To Anaheim

F Danton Heinen

To Boston:

F Nick Ritchie

Of course, as I write this article, Ritchie follows a minus-two, zero-shot performance on Tuesday with a goal and an assist against the Stars on Thursday, but either way, I’m not sure how to wrap my head around this one. Sure, the writing was on the wall for Heinen’s time in Boston – his confidence was totally out the window, he was not doing enough offensively, and it felt like he was on the outside looking in – so I support getting him a fresh start. However, the return of Ritchie in a one-for-one swap is where things get a little puzzling.

Like Kase, the numbers have not been dazzling for Ritchie this year, although the advanced stats are solid. The 10th-overall pick in the 2014 draft, Ritchie now has 9-12-21 numbers through 43 games, on pace for about 13-17-30 totals. His career-high for goals (14) came in his first full NHL season in 2016-17, while his career-high in points (31) came last season, his third full season – the previous two seasons he tallied 28 then 27 points.

I will commend Sweeney for the foresight in terms of this coming off-season, like the Kase deal. Compared to Heinen ($2.8 million through next season), Ritchie ($1.49 million through next year) is under a friendlier contract, will be an RFA next summer, and addresses a need within the organization as he brings a bigger body, more physicality, and interior scoring, when he’s clicking.

 

Admittedly, I genuinely want Ritchie to succeed in Boston – I think he could easily become a fan favorite and could hit some of that untapped potential – but it feels like this move has extreme boom or bust potential. Ritchie looked great on Thursday after Tuesday’s not-so-great showing, but I think consistency is a valid concern, especially after the national reaction seemed to label Ritchie as a weighty underachiever with a tendency for the dumb penalty. For me, Ritchie feels a lot like Matt Beleskey in terms of being a big, left-shot wing with a heavy style of play and having a very low floor and a high ceiling, but again, I seriously want to see this move pan out for the Bruins.

––––––––

Overall, I think the Bruins made out fine at the deadline, and although I’m a bigger fan of the Kase deal, both trades have boom or bust potential. Sure, it was a little disappointing not to see Kreider or Palmieri end up in the Black and Gold, but we’ve seen bargain bin additions work out in spades for the Bruins in the past (see: Coyle, Marcus Johansson). Boston is certainly better than they were at this time last week, but its worth noting how the rest of the Eastern Conference contenders, like Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Washington, and even Carolina, loaded up.

So, did the Bruins do enough compared to the rest of the field? We’ll have to wait and see, but there’s no doubt that this team still has Stanley Cup potential. The stretch run and the playoffs should be electric. Buckle up.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 167 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Boston Bruins Acquire F Ondrej Kase From Anaheim

Boston Bruins v Anaheim Ducks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 166 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Sign D Jeremy Lauzon To Two-Year Extension

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(Photo: Brian Fluharty / USA TODAY Sports)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

On Friday afternoon, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced that the team has signed defenseman Jeremy Lauzon to a two-year contract extension an worth an average annual value of $850,000, beginning with the 2020-21 season. Lauzon’s current deal, his entry-level contract, expires this offseason.

In seven games with Boston this season, Lauzon has one goal on 10 shots to go along with a plus-two rating and 16 penalty minutes. The left-shot defender is coming off the heels of a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Derek Stepan of the Arizona Coyotes.

Before making his season debut for the big club on Dec. 31, Lauzon posted one goal and 12 assists for 13 points in addition to a plus-22 rating in 45 games with the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL affiliate, this season.

In the previous two seasons with Providence, the 22-year-old posted 2-12-14 totals in 81 AHL contests. Last year, Lauzon made his NHL debut on Oct. 25, 2018, against the Philadelphia Flyers before scoring his first career goal against the Vegas Golden Knights on Nov. 11.

The Bruins selected the Val D’or, Quebec native with the 52nd-overall pick in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. During his junior hockey career, Lauzon skated in 200 games over four seasons with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL, notching 35 goals and 95 assists 130 career points in addition to a plus-81 rating and 282 penalty minutes.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 165 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Rask’s Unbeaten Home Streak Has Landed Him In Vezina Contention

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(NHL with AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

The Bruins’ latest winning streak came to an end Sunday afternoon in Detroit, though one streak remains intact for the Bruins’ starting netminder, Tuukka Rask.  Following the 4-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes Saturday afternoon, Rask extended his home regulation winning streak to 18 games.  Rask has not logged a regulation loss at the TD Garden since April 6, 2019, against the Tampa Bay Lightning.  The streak also breaks Gilles Gilbert’s 17-game winning streak to open a season, set back in 1973.

Rask is in the midst of an impressive year and is in contention for the NHL’s best goaltending trophy: the Vezina.  Considering goalies who have played more than 25 games this year, Tuukka leads the league with a 2.14 goals-against average and ranks second with a .929 save percentage behind Columbus’s Elvis Merzlikins.  He sports a 20-5-6 record with 67 goals against, which ranks sixth among NHL goalies.

The Bruins sit atop the NHL standings with 80 points, three points ahead of the surging Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals.  It’s no coincidence that Rask is among the top three goalies in contention for the Vezina, and his team is the best in the NHL.  He’s even made a case for the save of the season.

When it comes to the Vezina race, Rask has some stiff competition.  To open the year, Rask ranked behind Pekka Rinne, Frederik Andersen, and 2019 winner, Andrei Vasilevsky.  All three have been atop the goaltending ranks for the past few years.  Rask currently has the second-best chance to win the trophy behind Winnipeg Jets’ netminder, Connor Hellebuyck.

Hellebuyck is having a remarkable year in goal for Winnipeg.  He is leading the NHL with 1,306 saves and has been able to maintain a .920 save percentage.  To put this in perspective, his team has allowed 1,420 shots through the 46 games he’s played this year.  Rask has seen 942 shots and has saved 875.  Hellebuyck’s goals-against average sits at a high 2.67, which gives Rask has an opening to reclaim the trophy.

Rask etched his name in the Vezina trophy’s history books once before.  In the 2013-14 season, he ended the year with a 36-15-6 record and a league-leading .930 save percentage.  Tuukka also recorded a 2.04 goals-against average and seven shutouts.  He has consistently been a rock for the Bruins, including his performance in the playoffs.  This past playoff run, Rask was always the best player on the ice for the black and gold.  He led all goaltenders in the playoffs (who played past the opening round) with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage.

The Bruins have historically been a strong home team.  They rank first in the NHL with a 19-2-9 home record, and it’s no secret that Rask has been the main contributor to that success.  The Bruins are a few trade deadline pieces away from hoisting their seventh Stanley Cup.  They have the makeup, leadership, and experience to make another deep playoff run.  If Rask can continue his torrid pace at home, the Stanley Cup may be in a different set of hands at the TD Garden in June.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 165 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast Episode 165

By: Mark Allred  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Hosts Heather Ingerson and Mark Allred got back in the studio to talk Boston Bruins and a few other hockey-related topics. We started recording this episode 165 before the afternoon tilt against the Detriot Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena in Motown and finished at the beginning of the second period. I know most Boston Bruins fans don’t want to relive the memory of losing a road game to the last-place team in the league as Boston sits atop the best league in the world. Just a minor bump in the road and hope we figure it out before the next game on Wednesday night at TD Garden against the Montreal Canadians and Saturday with yet another afternoon tilt against the bottom-dwelling Red Wings.

Please give a listen to our Bruins banter below in episode 165 as Heather and myself talk about last week’s games and the upcoming week for our beloved National Hockey League Boston Bruins. Below is a timeframe of when the discussion changes to a new hockey related topic.

  1. Intro – 00:00
  2. Upcoming Bruins Schedule – 26:45
  3. Carlo Steps Away For Family Matter, And Overall Play – 39:40
  4. Heinen Misses Four Straight Games As Speculation Heats Up – 51:11
  5. Kuraly-Coyle-Bjork Third Line Has Been Fun To Watch – 58:40
  6. Lauzon Suspension Hit & No Call For McAvoy’s Head Shot? – 1:07:40
  7. NESN’s Edwards Talks Composite Sticks & We Elaborate – 1:16:11
  8. TD Garden Seating Upgrades Will Be Made After Fan Complaints – 1:27:22
  9. 2020 Olympic Updates An The Positive Talks Per Elliotte Freidman – 1:35:00
  10. Buffalo Duane’s Meltdown On Public Radio About His Sabres Team and Ownership – 1:46:3

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Bruins Recall D Urho Vaakanainen, Place F Joakim Nordstrom on IR

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Photo: Winslow Townson / Associated Press

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

This morning, Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced the team recalled defense prospect Urho Vaakanainen on an emergency basis from the Providence Bruins, the team’s American Hockey League affiliate. The move was first reported by Mark Divver, saying the move appeared in the AHL’s transaction log.

 

Sweeney also announced that forward Joakim Nordstrom has been placed on injured reserve. Nordstrom has 4-3-7 totals through 39 contests with Boston this season, including aa minus-seven rating. During his first season with the Bruins last year, the Swede had 7-5-12 numbers in 70 games before adding three goals and five assists in the playoffs.

This season Vaakanainen has four goals and eight assists for 12 points through 42 AHL contests to go along with a plus-14 rating and 16 penalty minutes. In 72 career AHL games, the Joensuu, Finland, native holds 8-18-26 totals in addition to a plus-16 rating.

Vaakanainen has appeared in five NHL games with Boston this season, registering two shots on goal and a plus-two rating. Last season , Vaakanainen appeared in two games with the Bruins last season before going down with a concussion, notching two shots and a rating of minus-one.

General manager Don Sweeney and the Bruins selected Vaakanainen with the 18th-overall pick in the first round of the 2017 NHL entry draft. Vaakanainen played three seasons in the Finnish Elite League from 2015 to 2018, skating in 109 total games and recording 7-16-23 numbers.

During the 2018-19 season, the 21-year-old served as an assistant captain on Team Finland during the World Junior Championships, helping the team to a gold medal with four assists in seven games. Vaakanainen’s father, Harri, coached Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask in Finland.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Arizona at Boston: 2/8/19

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Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (33-10-12)

Away: Arizona Coyotes (27-22-7)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Kuhlman

Kuraly-Coyle-Bjork

Blidh-Lindholm-Wagner

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Moore

Grzelcyk-Lauzon

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Arizona’s Lineup

Forwards

Hall-Dvorak-Garland

Crouse-Stepan-Kessel

Keller-Schmaltz-Hinostroza

Soderberg-Richardson-Fischer

Defense

Chychrun-Goligoski

Oesterle-Hjalmarsson

Ness-Lyubuskin

Goalies

Hill

Raanta

First Period

Neither team had many chances in the early going as they appeared to be a bit slow perhaps because of the start time. Arizona started to get a bit of an attacking zone rhythm toward the midway point of the period but the Bruins did a good job limiting their high danger chances. The Coyotes would pick up the game’s first power play as Charlie McAvoy was called for hooking with about 11 minutes left in the period. The B’s killed off the penalty as Tuukka Rask made a number of big saves to keep the game scoreless.

The Bruins got a few chances past the midway point but nothing came of it. Boston would get an opportunity on the man advantage with under six minutes to go in the period. The Coyotes killed off the power play as the B’s failed to get any sort of momentum. The Bruins were called for a high stick late in the period as Arizona got another chance to take a lead. The Coyotes were unable to find the back of the net as the Bruins continued to be strong defensively. Almost immediately after Jeremy Lauzon came out of the box he was called for a match penalty on a hit to the head. Boston killed off the remainder of the period with the Coyotes still having 4:40 on the power play.

Score: Tied 0-0

Second Period

The Coyotes finally drew first blood as Phil Kessel fired a loose puck past Rask with about 75 seconds left on the power play.

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The Bruins killed off the remainder of the penalty and immediately following it Lawson Crouse was called for roughing, giving Boston an opportunity to tie the game. Charlie Coyle tied it just after the penalty expired as McAvoy found him in front with a great feed.

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The power play goal seemed to reinvigorate the Bruins as the continued to get chances in the attacking zone. The B’s picked up their third power play of the afternoon as Brad Richardson was called for interference with eight minutes remaining in the period. Immediately the Bruins took the lead as Patrice Bergeron tipped in a slap pass from David Pastrnak.

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Chris Wagner was able to draw another penalty on a strong drive to the net, giving the Bruins a chance to widen their lead with about six minutes left in the period. Jake DeBrusk extended the lead after he tipped in a shot from Pastrnak less than a minute into the power play.

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The Bruins continued to absolutely dominate the Coyotes in their own zone getting chance after chance and doing a tremendous job keeping possession of the puck.

Score: 3-1 Bruins

Third Period

Jakob Chychrun fired home a loose puck just seconds into the period as the Coyotes drew within one.

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The Bruins had a good push after the goal as they tried to find their game again after a successful second period. Arizona responded with a couple solid shifts in the offensive zone as they looked for the tying goal. Both teams started to take chances as the desperation began to set in. The B’s continued to have some tremendous scoring chances but were unable to extend their lead.

The Coyotes pushed hard for the tying goal in the closing moments of the game and pulled their goalie with about 1:40 to play. Coyle made it two on the day with an empty net goal with 48 seconds to go to ice it for the Bruins.

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Final Score: 4-2 Bruins

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Coyle

Second Star: Rask

Third Star: Pastrnak

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