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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A Look At Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara On His 42nd Birthday

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter:  @yanlatz

The Bruins team is full of wise, experienced veterans in their lineup and Zdeno Chara is probably the wisest and most experienced of them. On Monday, March 18, Chara turned 42 and continues to lead the Bruins with no end in sight to his outstanding career in the NHL.

At Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena, the team brought Chara a birthday cake and sang him Happy Birthday. Although he might not have eaten it, the gesture was fun and thoughtful of the Bruins coaches, players, and management for one of the greatest Bruin of all time.

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Zdeno Chara was born on March 18, 1977, in Trencin, Czechoslovakia. He was originally persuaded by many in his home country to play basketball because of his height. However, he continued playing hockey and was drafted in the third round 56th overall by the New York Islanders in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft in St. Louis.

Chara spent his first year in North America in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars playing close to 50 games. The following season he split time between the Islanders squad and the then Kentucky Thoroughblades of the American Hockey League. Then, ironically, before he came to the Bruins, he spent time in Lowell, Massachusetts playing for the Lowell Lock Monsters, who was the New York Islanders AHL affiliate at the time during the 1998-1999 season.

After 4 seasons on Long Island and 4 seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Chara signed a five-year, $37.5 million contract with the Bruins on July 1, 2006, and was also named the team captain.

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Standing at 6 foot 9 inches tall, Chara is the tallest player to ever play in the National Hockey League and has yet to give up that title. Much like his body type, his play on the ice is monstrous. Throughout his career with the Bruins, he has been a strong, shut-down defenseman that can occasionally put the puck in the net with his record-breaking 108.8 mph slap shot. His dominant play has always given his coaches the confidence to play him against the league’s top lines and top players. He averages 24:20 time-on-ice for his career and even this season, at age 42, he is averaging 21:02 time-on-ice for the Bruins defense. From his shutdown play to versatility on the ice, Chara achieved the leagues highest defenseman honor with the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best d-man in 2008-2009. Chara also was an integral part of the Bruins bringing Boston its first Stanley Cup in nearly 40 years when Chara lifted the Cup the highest it had ever been lifted in 2011.

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Zdeno Chara has just turned 42 years old, and many fans have criticized him for his play in the past three years or more. Although he will never be as dominant as he was earlier in his career, he is still a force on the Bruins blue-line. Just one part of his importance with the Bruins for the rest of his career will be his mentorship for young Bruins defenseman. When Brandon Carlo stepped into the league in the 2016-2017 season, he was paired up with Chara for most of his rookie year, and now we have seen Carlo be one of the Bruins best defenseman this year. We have also seen Chara paired up with Charlie McAvoy as he was transitioning from College hockey to the big leagues and both have learned valuable on and off ice lessons from Big Zee. He knows what it takes to win mentally and physically and how to keep his body healthy to continue to perform at a high-level night in night out in which he can teach young defenseman valuable lessons.

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No doubt that Chara is headed to the Hockey Hall of Fame when he does decide to hang them up, and we could even see #33 hanging from the rafters at TD Garden. Chara is one of the most influential pieces for the Bruins this season and postseason both on and off the ice and has proven to be a fierce competitor who has put his blood, sweat, and tears into the spoked B for over a decade. Happy Birthday, Zdeno!

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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)

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Winner: Chris Wagner

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

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

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

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

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

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Bruins A Successful “Social” Bunch

Image result for nhl bruins 2019 team photo(Photo Credit: Fansided)

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

You could call it a “Cult of Personality” — especially if you’re a fan of 80’s rock band Living Colourthat’s successfully surrounding the Boston Bruins right now. And it’s not just how the team is playing on the ice, 19-game point streak records aside. It’s how the players are interacting off the ice (indeed, Behind The B if you will) that’s proof this team is perhaps a bit more socially connected with each other than in year’s past. As a result, it’s very easy to cheer on, root for & enjoy the B’s no matter how you watch or cover them (writer/blogger/fan), especially with the type of special season they’re putting together game after game.

There is just something about this team, indeed. Long gone are the days where the B’s locker room or bench was the only place you’d find teammates complimenting or commiserating with each other. Now, players can keep the playful chirping & chiding going all off-day long thanks to their social media savvy… something we all know can have a devastating impact to team sports if not approached or handled correctly. Thankfully, this current Black N’ Gold group does it just as entertainingly as their on-ice play as of late… and you can best “B”-lieve it’s one of those intangibles bringing the team, the fans & the region together.

Of course, Brad Marchand & Torey Krug have been using Twitter to tease each other mercilessly all season long with truly trolling take-down threads that have caught the eye of ALL hockey fans these past few weeks. In the GenZ/Millennial age of communication, this is camaraderie at its fun-centric finest. But, they’re also recognizing just how impactful a “tweet” or social media message can be to the people who follow them — and what a world of difference a simple response can make, as in the recent case of big B’s fan Jillian Murphy who enjoys throwing shade just like Marchy does:

As NESN recently featured, the B’s social presence is now spilling over onto Instagram, where Marchand and other teammates are making the most of their positive outreach, a move that will undoubtedly lead to comments (and commenters) a-plenty as the playoffs approach and EVERY move the Bruins make will be under the microscope, no matter the platform or platitude. Yet, I like it. I support it. I hope it becomes an insta-hit!

When did many of us realize this B’s team was going to be a “hit”? — and in a way much more meaningful than any inefficient enforcer types? I’d say when we got a peak at the Peaky Blinders from the Winter Classic. There was just something different (in a good way) about how these guys were approaching big games, big moments & big opportunities to showcase their togetherness and team pride.

Image result for boston bruins peaky blinders(Photo Credit: TD Bank)

I don’t think it will, or should, stop for the remainder of the season either. Because as we all have witnessed over the past two decades of Boston sports dominance, there are just some teams that are more magical than others; there are just some fits within a lineup that achieve remarkable results, no matter the level of pressure or passion. And the 2018-2019 Boston Bruins, as successful of a social bunch as their ever was one, are on the verge of being one of those personality-driven teams where the results, like the spotlight, will follow.

And we should all feel pretty good about getting to see it up-close and personal in living (Black N’ Gold) color!

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

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: New Jersey at Boston: 3/2/19

1321351_Devils_Bruins_Hockey_43376.-1024x688Photo Courtesy Of Kennebec Journal

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (38-17-9)

Away: New Jersey Devils (25-32-8)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Heinen

DeBrusk-Krejci-Johansson

Cehlarik-Coyle-Backes

Nordstrom-Acciari-Wagner

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Carlo-Krug

Grzelcyk-Moore

Goalies

Rask

Halak

New Jersey’s Lineup

Forwards

Bratt-Hischier-Stafford

Agostino-Zajac-Coleman

Pietela-McLeod-Lappin

Yakovlev-Rooney-Anderson

Defense

Greene-Severson

Vatanen-Carrick

Butcher-Santini

Goalies

Blackwood

Schneider

First Period

The Bruins picked up their first power play of the game just 2:23 in as they looked to get off to a fast start. Brad Marchand did just that with a man advantage strike just 14 seconds into the penalty after a great feed from Patrice Bergeron.

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The Bruins looked amped up to start as they manufactured a few scoring chances in the opening moments. Marchand made a great steal in the defensive zone and was hooked on his way to the net, resulting in a penalty shot which was denied by Mackenzie Blackwood.

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The Bruins continued to have solid shifts in the attacking zone which helped them gain an offensive rhythm in the opening period. The Devils found a little possession towards the midway point of the period but weren’t able to find many scoring opportunities. The Bruins third line continued their strong period with another good shift that nearly resulted in the lead being doubled.

The Devils responded with a good shift and got a power play after a slashing call to Brandon Carlo with three minutes left in the period. The Bruins killed off the penalty without yielding any shots and went to the room still up by a goal.

Score: 1-0 Bruins

Second Period

The Bruins picked up right where they left off in the second period with a couple of good shifts by the second and third lines. For the most part however, the B’s were held to the outside and didn’t get many great opportunities like they did in the first period. The Devils had much more possession in the second period but couldn’t do much with it as Tuukka Rask continued to have a quiet night in goal.

Rask made a huge stop on a two on one to keep it a one goal game as the Devils got their best chance of the game. The Devils would pick up their second power play of the game as Peter Cehlarik went to the box with under five minutes to go in the period. The B’s killed the penalty without giving up many significant scoring chances.

The Bruins started to get their legs back in the final moments of the second period as they looked to extend the slim lead. The third line again had a great shift by both Charlie Coyle and Cehlarik were denied in the final seconds of the period.

Score: 1-0 Bruins

Third Period

The fourth line of the Bruins opened the period with a hard, charging shift that nearly resulted in the lead being doubled but Blackwood continued to have a good night to keep it 1-0. The Devils responded with a solid shift but Rask made a big save on a shot from distance by Sami Vatanen to maintain the B’s lead. The Bruins continued their good defensive game with some nice stick play to prevent a couple of New Jersey odd man rushes.

The final period continued to move quickly as neither team found a lot of chances, although the Devils did get a couple chances about midway through the period but Rask denied Jesper Bratt and Drew Stafford in quick succession. The Bruins began to move their legs in the latter half of the final frame and got chances but were still unable to beat Blackwood.

The Devils pulled the goalie with about 1:30 to play, trying to tie the game desperately. The New Jersey rally ultimately fell short as the B’s picked up the win.

Final Score: 1-0 Bruins

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Rask. While not incredibly busy, Number 40 looked great in this one and made a couple huge stops as he earned his third shutout of the season.

Second Star: Marchand. In 666th game, Marchand was very solid as he found the back of the net for the only goal of the game.

Third Star: Coyle. The third liner had another good performance as his line continued their solid play as of late.

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Bruins Game 65 Preview: New Jersey Devils

devils_bruins_gettyimages-877624690 (1).jpg

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.

Tuukka-Rask-1040x572.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet.ca)

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

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

Who’s Not

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

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

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

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

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

New Jersey Devils:

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

Bruins vs Devils Outlook

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

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

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

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Tampa Bay at Boston: 2/28/19

cutPhoto Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (37-17-9)

Away: Tampa Bay Lightning (49-11-4)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Heinen

DeBrusk-Krejci-Johansson

Nordstrom-Coyle-Backes

Kuraly-Acciari-Wagner

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Moore

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Tampa Bay’s Lineup

Forwards

Palat-Stamkos-Miller

Johnson-Point-Kucherov

Killorn-Cirelli-Gourde

Erne-Paquette-Joseph

Defense

Hedman-Girardi

McDonagh-Cernak

Sergachev-Stralman

Goalies

Domingue

Vasilevskiy

First Period

The game got out to a fast start as the tempo got both teams involved right from puck drop. David Backes and Adam Erne wasted no time as they dropped the gloves after a scrum in front of the Tampa Bay net.

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The Bruins seemed ready to go right from the start as they got a few chances in the attacking zone. The Lightning seemed to own the possession as the period went on but weren’t able to find any great opportunities. The Bruins started to pile up some opportunities as Noel Acciari and Charlie McAvoy put pucks on Louis Domingue. The Bruins began to take the play to the Lightning towards the end of the period as they set up shop in the attacking zone.

The Bruins physical play was a positive in the first period as they didn’t give an inch. Mathieu Joseph nearly gave Tampa Bay the lead but rang the iron with a shot from the circle. The Bruins peppered Domingue with 17 shots on goal in the period but were unable to solve the Lightning goaltender.

Score: Tied 0-0

Second Period

The Bruins continued to move the puck effectively in the offensive zone which kept the Lightning on their heels. The third line continued their nice game with another good shift which nearly resulted in the game’s first goal. The Bruins went to the penalty kill as Chara was called for cross checking giving Tampa their first power play. The B’s killed the penalty as the Lightning failed to get any shots on goal.

The Bruins would go to the power play for the first time as Victor Hedman was called for a penalty nearly eight minutes into the period. Jake DeBrusk got the B’s on the board as his pass in front was redirected off a stick and into the net at the 8:43 mark of the period.

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The B’s continued to be quick to the puck as they looked to be hungry for a larger lead. The Bruins also kept a lot of the possession in the middle period as the Lightning looked to be gassed in their own end. Tuukka Rask continued to have a relatively quiet night as the Bruins were seemingly in the offensive zone all period long.

The Lightning started to get their skating game going in the final moments of the period but still were unable to get any significant scoring chances against Rask and the Bruins defense.

Score: 1-0 Bruins

Third Period

The Lightning began the period with a strong shift in the Boston end but thanks to Rask the Bruins maintained the lead. Joakim Nordstrom nearly doubled the lead but Domingue made a spectacular glove save to keep it a one goal game. The Bruins continued to great sone grade A scoring chances but couldn’t solve Domingue to extend the lead. Sean Kuraly would head to the locker room after a high hit by Brayden Coburn.

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The Bruins started to struggle defending their own zone as the Lightning made a push for the tying goal. Hedman was called for another penalty, this time for tripping which resulted in another Boston power play. The Lightning killed the Bruins man advantage as they only got a couple good scoring chances. Immediately following the power play, Acciari slammed home a rebound in front to double the Boston lead.

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Patrice Bergeron buried a feed from Danton Heinen to triple the Bruins advantage in just 45 seconds which sent the crowd into a frenzy.

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The Bruins opened the floodgates as Brad Marchand broke free for a breakaway to make it 4-0 less than a minute after the Bergeron goal.

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Anthony Cirelli stopped the bleeding as he deflected a shot past Rask shortly after the fourth Bruins goal.

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The Bruins picked up another man advantage as Hedman went off yet again for hooking Charlie Coyle. A penalty to McAvoy canceled out the power play which resulted in a four on four. The B’s killed the penalty as the Lightning failed to find the back of the net. Immediately following the man advantage, Matt Grzelcyk was called for a cross check as the B’s went to the penalty kill yet again.

The Lightning pulled the goalie which resulted in a six on four with less than two minutes remaining. The Bruins killed it off, making it 15 straight games with at least a point.

Final Score: 4-1 Bruins

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Acciari. The fourth liner and the whole line set the tone from the start and were rewarded with a couple points.

Second Star: Rask. While not very busy, Tuukka was solid in goal and kept the Bruins in the game in the first two periods.

Third Star: Marchand. The winger was all over the place in this one, getting a goal and playing just an incredibly solid game.

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Bruins Game 64 Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning

bruins_lightning1280-1040x572

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.

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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