From Peaky Blinders to Soccer-Tennis: Bruins’ Team Chemistry Shines Through

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( Photo Credit: Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images )

By Carrie Salls | Follow me on Twitter @nittgrl73

Bruins fans have been pretty spoiled this year. In addition to NESN’s long-running “Behind the B” series, which offers a more candid look at the team, the NHL produced a program leading up to the Bruins/Blackhawks New Year’s Day Winter Classic game at Notre Dame Stadium, and the Bruins have been featured in numerous special series and segments throughout the team’s long playoff run.

One thing that has been obvious from the abundance of behind-the-scenes footage made available this season is that this particular Bruins’ team has strong chemistry – both on and off the ice. Comprised of a core of veterans who have battled alongside each other for years and a group of future stars who grew up together, if you will, in development camps, the AHL and now on the NHL-level, the team as a whole seems to have found the secret to coming together as one cohesive unit.

This chemistry has also been quickly recognized and adopted by newer players like Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johanssen, who were acquired near the trade deadline, and 2018 free-agent signings Chris Wagner, John Moore, Joakim Nordstrom and Jaroslav Halak.

In fact, Wagner played a key role in the team-unifying phenomenon that seems to have started it all. On Nov. 1, 2018, Wagner posted a Halloween-themed photo on Instagram that featured him, six of his teammates and Torey Krug’s wife dressed up in the style made popular by the television show Peaky Blinders.

Two months later, the entire team donned Peaky Blinders garb to make a decided fashion statement as they entered the stadium for the Winter Classic. The look was so popular, a “Peaky Bruins” poster was created and handed out to fans at a game at TD Garden later in the season.

A poll conducted on Twitter indicated that many Bruins fans agreed that the Peaky Bruins was their favorite display of the team’s chemistry so far this season.

Of course, good chemistry on any team comes from good leadership. Captain Zdeno Chara has long-preached an everyone is equal attitude, from the most seasoned veteran to the greenest rookie. Chara also calls on each member of the team to support the others, and he leads by example.

The 42-year-old captain has demonstrated his team-first mentality several times throughout the season. The most memorable examples came in the clinching game four of the Eastern Conference Finals, when the injured Chara put on his uniform and came onto the ice to celebrate with his team, as well as when he sat on the bench in a full-face shield in the third period of game four of the Stanley Cup Finals Monday to support the team after being knocked out of the game. His teammates certainly took notice.

After Wagner left game-three of the ECF with an apparent arm injury, he returned to Boston for medical tests while the rest of the team remained in Carolina for what turned out to be the series-clinching game. Still, the team made sure to include Wagner in the post-game locker room celebration.

And, that brings us to soccer-tennis. Lots of hockey players warm up before the games with spirited games of “no-touch.” However, this Bruins team apparently has upped its game to a hybrid sport that can be played in the locker room, the weight room, or just about anywhere.

The long list of unique moments from the 2018-2019 version of the Boston Bruins also included the legend of “the fishbowl.” The full-face shield seemed to give both Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari a scoring touch when injuries forced them to wear it. In Kuraly’s case, teammates teased him about the powers of the plexiglass. The tables were turned when Steven Kampfer, who had made fun of Kuraly’s choice of protective gear, suffered a mouth injury in the next game that left him wearing the same shield.

Of course, the ultimate team-bonding moment will occur if the Bruins win this series and hoist the Stanley Cup. However, win or lose, this team promises to hold a special place in fans’ hearts for years to come.

Bruins Sean Kuraly Leaves Game With Apparent Hand Injury

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Yahoo Sports)

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

Boston Bruins forward Sean Kuraly left Thursday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils and only returned for a brief time before leaving for the tunnel once again for the remainder of the third period.

Kuraly’s injury came almost immediately off of the opening faceoff to begin the third period of play. The Devils had early zone control to begin the frame, feeding the puck around the zone before defenseman Steven Santini bombs a one-timer slapshot towards Tuukka Rask, however, it rockets off of what looks to be Sean Kuraly’s right hand.

The puck bounced off of Kuraly and fell right to Danton Heinen’s stick. Heinen, catching the Devils off guard, bolted down the ice towards New Jersey goaltender Corey Schneider, ripping a clean wrist shot past the 33-year-old netminder for his tenth goal of the 2018-19 season. In the process, Kuraly picks up his 13th assist on the season, but not in the way he or management wants.

Sean Kuraly has been one of the most surprising players for the Boston Bruins this year, which is why I had him on my list for possible players to win the Bruins’ annual 7th Player Award for the 2018-2019 regular season. Him, alongside linemates Noel Acciari and Chris Wagner have come from being considered a normal fourth line to a threat for all opposing teams.

For more games than originally expected before the season started back in October, Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has started the line against the best lines that teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs have to offer. Kuraly, often in the middle of the best scoring chances and rushes, has the hard-working, never-give-up mentality that truly makes a player succeed when they don’t have the skill as a Patrice Bergeron or David Pastrnak may have.

Kuraly has eight goals and thirteen assists, breaking his previous career-high of six goals and eight assists that he hit in four more games in last season, the 2017-18 campaign. Within those eight goals scored, Kuraly has three game-winning goals including the winning goal late in the third period to secure a Winter Classic victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on January 1st, 2019.

The 26-year-old forward has been solid on the faceoff dot as well, winning 282 of the 524 faceoffs he took prior to tonight’s game versus the Devils, a 54% winning percentage. That alone is a big asset and value to a team. Winning faceoffs may not seem like a big deal, but Bergeron will be proof that it is needed for a good team.

As the weeks and days close in on the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Bruins need guys like Sean Kuraly in the lineup for the often gruelling seven-game series against the Maple Leafs. He may not be a massive goal scorer or point producer, but his non-stop energy brings something to this Bruins roster, (yes, the one that now has 99 points on the season), that is different from anyone else.

At this current moment, no word has been made on Kuraly’s injury suffered tonight. For a brief time following the blocked shot, he returned to the ice but went back down the tunnel. Kuraly missed time earlier in the year due to concussion protocol and a nose procedure that caused him to wear his infamous “fishbowl”.

Stay locked on the blackngoldhockey.com for any updates and news on Sean Kuraly’s injury as we know more. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj for updates as well. We will most likely here of something once Bruce Cassidy has his post-game interviews.

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 Announce Update On Forward Nordstrom

Scott Darling, Joakim NordstromPhoto Courtesy Of The Boston Herald

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

On Thursday morning, the Bruins announced that forward Joakim Nordstrom had suffered a non-displaced fibula fracture and will be re-evaluated in about three weeks. Nordstrom sustained the injury during the 4-2 Winter Classic victory against the Blackhawks on Tuesday afternoon.

 

Nordstrom has skated in 39 games in his first season in black and gold after signing a two year deal in the offseason. He has posted five goals and two assists for seven points this season. Nordstrom spent time in Chicago and Carolina before coming to Boston. He set a career high in goals, assists and points in 2014-15 for the Hurricanes with ten goals and 14 assists for 24 points.

The Stockholm, Sweden native was originally drafted by the Blackhawks in the third round (90th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He made his NHL debut on October 1st, 2013 and scored his first career goal on October 11th, 2013 against the New York Islanders. Nordstrom won the Stanley Cup with the Hawks in 2015. With the injury, it could allow the Bruins to call up a player from Providence. Nordstrom has been a useful player for B’s this season despite the low point total. He’s played almost everywhere in the bottom nine, so the Bruins will definitely miss his versatility.

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 & Happy New Year!

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Milestone Moment for Bruins’ Tuukka Rask!

(Photo Credit: NHL Bruins)

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

The 2019 Winter Classic truly was “a classic” in every sense of the word, from the B’s timely goals & saves to their timeless outfits & jerseys (more on that later). Speaking of time, Boston’s much-maligned keeper of the crease Tuukka Rask made the most of it, first after getting the nod from Coach Cassidy he’d be starting in net over Jaroslav Halak, then after stopping 36-out-of-38 shots and leading the B’s to their second straight come-from-behind victory AND second ever Winter Classic win.

 

But, as you’ll note from the team tweet above (and the NHL’s PR department below), Rask also accomplished quite a fitting FIRST. With the start, he became the Bruins’ all-time leader for a goalie when it comes to “Games Played,” surpassing longtime legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Tiny Thompson in the process.

And he did so in style, literally & figuratively, by wearing that aforementioned timeless throwback jersey from the B’s circa 1932 wardrobe case which, and this is certainly not a coincidence, was from the era of Tiny Thompson! You don’t say? I do say… and did say… over the Summer in my “Best Bruins Logos” article for the Black N’ Gold Blog.

Additionally, here’s a fun fact that deserves a little Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson magic that I’d like to “Say, Say, Say” again & again: Rask needs only 5 more wins to break another huge Tiny record (I’ve always wanted to write that): Most Franchise Victories! As The Hockey News previewed before this season began:

When Tiny Thompson suited up in his final game for Boston all the way back in 1939, he was the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, and Thompson’s 468 games remain the most ever played by a Bruins netminder. Sometime around December, though, Rask, who has played 19 fewer games in Boston, should be set to surpass Thompson and break the nearly 80-year-old mark. And if all goes well, he could also break Thompson’s other record, too: no Bruins goaltender has won more than 252 games for the franchise, but Rask is only 15 victories away from taking that team record, as well. — Jared Clinton, The Hockey News

Rask’s Winter Classic “W” was his tenth of the season so before the month is out, he could be achieving yet another milestone moment in a B’s sweater (253 career wins), and again making history & taking history from “one of the game’s early innovators” as The Hockey News also highlighted below in their informative & engaging Tiny Thompson Top 100 Goalies of All-Time profile:

I don’t think I’d be going out on a limb (a limb that in full disclosure I have gone out on before) in predicting ALL of the above won’t sit well with the Tuukka Haters Club, a club that regrettably gains membership all too easily & all too frequently without the slightest bit of logic or hockey sense. Sure, his personality & play sometimes opens the door for criticism & complaints, especially this season. But, even the blackest Black N’ Gold thoughts can show a bit of gold on the historic feats being featured in this eponymous blog, and elsewhere throughout the Internets.

I mean, it takes a helluva career — one that I personally think still has enough in the tank to take the B’s to The Cup (and WIN) — to accomplish what Rask has, and will, this season alone. And to now be in the same company as Tiny Thompson, whose first name was Cecil… well, that’s nothing to scoff at for the finely-finishing Fin or his fans (which I’m predicting won’t be growing despite the accolades, unfortunately).

So, to paraphrase a quote about another famous Cecil (B. DeMille), I think Tuukka Rask is ready for his close-up. He’s definitely deserving of it. I can think of 469 reasons why (with another 253 on hold).

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 & Happy New Year!

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (@nhlbruins on Twitter)

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

Pre-Game Notes

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

Home: Chicago Blackhawks (15-20-6)

Away: Boston Bruins (21-14-4)

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

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

Bruins Gameday Lineup

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

First Period:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shots On Goal: BOS: 14 CHI: 12

Score: 1-1

Second Period

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shots On Goal: BOS: 24 CHI: 28

Score: 2-2

Third Period

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shots On Goal: BOS: 36 CHI: 38

Final Score: 4-2 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars

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

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

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

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

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

-> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule & Ticket Information From SeatGiant.com <-

Bruins Game 40 Preview: Winter Classic – Chicago Blackhawks

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL)

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

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

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

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

Starting Goaltenders:

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

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

Who’s Hot

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

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

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

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

Who’s Not

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

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

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

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

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

Bruins vs Blackhawks Outlook

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

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL)

Milestone Watch:

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

Winter Classic History:

Boston Bruins:

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

Chicago Blackhawks

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

Predictions:

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

Now, who’s ready for some outdoor hockey?

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

-> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule & Ticket Information From SeatGiant.com <-

 

Bruins Won’t Call Up Bjork…Yet

Image result for anders bjork bruins(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

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

It’s only Human Behavior (especially in Reykjavik) to wonder what’s up with the B’s and Anders Bjork this season. What’s not “up” at the moment? His Winter Classic call from Providence.

According to Bruins’ bench boss Bruce Cassidy, the talented 22-year-old winger just isn’t ready to consistently compete at the NHL level right now. And to thrust him into such a big game, well, that just wouldn’t be fair (even with him playing his entire collegiate career for the Fighting Irish).

“I think that’s too much pressure. We all know the deal with Anders… he was a terrific player for Notre Dame, but our roster is what it is. So if he comes in, what about the guys that have helped us get here?” — NESN interview excerpt from Conor Ryan, Boston Sports Journal

Most likely, It’s Oh So Quiet in the Bjork household currently (maybe even in Iceland as well). But certainly not on social media, where fans, bloggers, wildly speculative hockey heretics, and passionate insiders are all chiming in on the breaking Bjork news:

So, what does this all mean in the big B’s picture? Should Bjork just quit & Play Dead now? I certainly hope not. But, I do agree with “Bruins Arsenal” from Twitter who’s timely take on the situation may be the most realistic given the circumstances:

I’m more of the position… I’m not [left] winging it just yet… that the latter is the more likely long-term scenario since the B’s brass knows, and has invested in, No. 10’s game, fundamentals & skill-set–and for quite some time now. The organization also wants to ensure Bjork succeeds both now AND later, even if it means missing out on an opportunity near and dear to him, his Alma Mater and his family and friends, thus leaving him in a Violently Happy mood if I had to guess (I’m also thinking of another “moody” Bjork if you can’t tell by now).

Image result for anders bjork bruins(Photo Credit: WEEI)

But, enough with all the guess work and would’ve/should’ve prognostications, I say. I couldn’t even convince an Army of Me to vote for sentimentality over common sense. Remember, Bjork DID lace up the skates for 20 games recording only 1 goal for the Black N’ Gold in Boston before being sent down to Providence to work on his game, build up his confidence and prepare for a big return to the B’s (with Big Time Sensuality no doubt).

So that return won’t be in time for the Winter Classic, which does kinda suck as the aforementioned “Bruins Arsenal” tweeted. However, I’m confident Bjork will return — just like his entertaining namesake did for her epic Vulnicura album — and with plenty to prove in the process. As we learned from another notable Notre Dame alum of sporting significance, Mr. Rudy Ruettiger, NOT getting into “the big game” maybe the best form of motivation ever.

 

If you don’t think so, that’s OK. All is Full of Love for me right now with the B’s winning big against Buffalo and gaining ground on that coveted number three playoff seed in the Atlantic. And all will be good with Anders soon, too. I just hope the parts of Bruins Nation that think It’s In Our Hands when it comes to this kid’s future maybe trust in the process just a bit more before ripping the team, management & current players apart. Because Possibly…Maybe what’s going on behind the scenes right now is what we’ll all be celebrating later.

Now, wouldn’t that be (Winter) classic, indeed?

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

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New Year’s Resolution List For Bruins!

Related image(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

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

“Happy New Year!”

It’s a phrase we all say and have heard of and will continue to share at this time of year. But what constitutes “happy”? That’s always the big question mark/gray area for many of us individually. And it’s how we end up defining our annual resolutions list and IF we can stick to it for longer than a hot second.

For your Boston Bruins… here’s my hot take on what will make them “happy” heading into the New Year and how, as a team and organization, they can make a run at the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. So, without further ado, here is your Bruins New Year’s Resolution List:

1. GOOD HEALTH

Improved health should indeed lead to improved performance as the above story indicates, but as we’ve seen all season for the B’s, staying healthy has been as difficult as finding scoring from the 4th line (except for that last game versus the Sabres I’ll get to in a moment). It seems every time there’s a bit of good news on the health front for one player, another player gets put on the DL. When Bergeron finally comes back, Marchand gets hurt. When Big Z returns, Charlie Mac goes down. It seems every time Coach Bruce Cassidy takes to a podium, he always has to report on someone needing to sit or not being able to suit up for the B’s or how he needs to re-juggle his lines… again… to make it work. Case in point:

It doesn’t take an Einstein-level IQ, no matter what level you’re watching the B’s from, to realize that if/when this team can actually play a game at FULL HEALTH, then the team could go on a run similar to their 18-game point streak from ’17 into ’18 last year. It was this stretch of hockey that catapulted the B’s into not only a playoff contender, but a legitimate Eastern Conference threat. Sure, the same level of talent from that team isn’t skating for the Black N’ Gold this season, but the B’s have enough youthful skill and veteran savvy to make up for it… especially if you can field two top lines at 100% health playing at peak performance levels. Oh yes, the New Year will be happy indeed if this resolution comes true!

2. SCORING CONSISTENCY

As this recent article in the Boston Globe suggests, “the Bruins are struggling to score, and some of the onus falls on their young players.” Thankfully, a few of those youngsters may be finding their groove at just the right time (namely Ryan Donato), while others may be getting a second chance in Boston thanks to the recent suspension of one David Backes (Anders Bjork we’re all speculating). No matter who is on the ice, the aforementioned “upswing” is one-thousand percent needed if the B’s are to pick up points and stay in the playoff picture in 2019.

The same goes for the experienced core of the team. The B’s can ill afford to have nights where No.s’ 37, 46, 63 & 88 put up zero points, not with there unmatched skill, speed & scoring prowess. You could argue that Cassidy plays a role in this by how he pairs his lines, but I’m a firm believer that no matter who’s added as a “third winger” to any pair from above, they should be able to raise their game (and abilities and talents) to match those of Bergy, Krec, Marchy & Pasta.

Image result for marchand bergeron pastrnak krejci(Photo Credit: SportsNet)

As we know, the problem is no matter the combination Cassidy chooses, it hasn’t been able to last. Constant health promulgates consistent scoring. So if the B’s hope to have a Happy New Year, then we’ll need both of the above to take effect — and stay in effect — so it doesn’t affect the team’s ability to win and put up points!

3. SOLID GOALTENDING

You know what won’t melt the ice? The freezing cold Tuukka takes that have truly taken over social media this year. What’s the easiest way to shut it out (and shut others up)? Solid goaltending all throughout the remainder of the 2019 schedule. For Rask AND Jaro Halak. The B’s final game of 2018 will hopefully be the start of exactly that kind of stretch as [for what felt like the first time in a while] the team celebrated “Two U’s, Two K’s, Two Points” from Tuukka in a big save-filled performance between the pipes:

 

More importantly, it sets up Rask for a nice little run of starts where he can keep the momentum going and get on one of his famous “point streaks” that have been known to catapult the B’s in the standings. After all, he lost his 21-gamer to the Sabres so it would only “B” fitting to start a new one at the expense of Buffalo, am I right?

Image result for rask halak(Photo Credit: The Boston Globe)

I’d also love to be right when it comes to the continued strong performance of Halak that even Rask has tipped his cap to so far this season. Yes, Jaro has built up a more impressive pedigree of stats and W’s to start the year when compared to his crease counterpart. But if the B’s want to truly be a contender and be competing for multiple points every game, they’ll need BOTH goalies to keep them in it for 60 minutes, if not more. Too many games, especially recently, have resulted in Boston being blown out midway through the 3rd with little chance to mount a comeback. If Rask & Halak can make their New Year’s Resolution to just “keep the team in it,” which we all know they possess the raw ability to, then I think more celebrations could be in order for the boys in Black N’ Gold in 2019!

4. WIN THE WINTER CLASSIC

Why not literally and figuratively start the New Year off on the right foot / skate than by winning the Winter Classic “on the road” at Notre Dame against a hated original six rival the Chicago Blackhawks!? That sounds like the PERFECT way to begin 2019 — and to officially start a “winning streak” with two W’s in a row (one to end a year and one to start a year… not too shabby, if it happens)!

Image result for boston bruins winter classic(Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated)

Of course, a lot of things will need to go right for that to happen, namely the B’s actually showing up to the game unlike a few years ago at Gillette Stadium against Montreal. Just the sight of my jersey from that game makes me want to puke at how bad it was (and in case you need a reminder of the joke of a team the B’s put on the ice, look no further than Matt Kalman’s tweet below):

It can’t get any worse, right? I’m confident it can’t and won’t this year. The B’s will be coming off one of their best road W’s of the season (and comebacks) and catching Chicago during what some may call a rebuilding phase. It’s a game Boston CAN win, SHOULD win and WILL win, even if we all have to “will” it to happen. It could also mark quite the milestone game for Tuukka Rask if he indeed gets the nod between the pipes:

A Tiny Thompson takeover for Tuukka? Talk about some New Year’s history! I’ll resolve to see that on January 1st and beyond. Wouldn’t that make us all a bit HAPPY?

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

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Boston Bruins David Backes Suspended For Three Games

Image result for david backes

(Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports Images)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Mer On Twitter @lucaspearson_

Boston Bruins forward has been given a three-game suspension for his illegal check to the head of New Jersey Devils’ Blake Coleman. It will cost him $219,512.19 in salary.

If he does not appeal, the suspension will have Backes missing the Bruins’ game in Buffalo on the 29th, their game at home against the Calgary Flames on January 3rd and most notably, the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.

In the video released by the NHL Player Safety, they claim that the head was the main point of contact, and that the head contact was avoidable.

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This is Backes’ second suspension in his 891 game career but also his second this year, making him a repeat offender. His last suspension came in a March 7th game against the Detroit Red Wings when he was suspended three games for a late, high hit that injured forward Frans Nielsen.

The suspension comes at a time when the Bruins were just getting back to full strength and will certainly be a blow to the team as Backes was playing his best hockey of the season.

This may open a door for the Bruins to call up forward Anders Bjork, who played in college at Notre Dame, for the Winter Classic taking place at Notre Dame Stadium.

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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Untamed: Becoming The Bruins

(Photo Credits: NHL Bruins)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

When Boston grocery store magnate Charles Adams tasked Art Ross to name his newly acquired NHL expansion team in 1924, little would he realize the significance it would bear in Boston sports history. As the first NHL team in the United States, Ross (a former player who had been hired as general manager) had to come up with a nickname to personify the traits Adams was looking for in his team; untamed animal displaying speed, agility, and cunning.  Along with the team colors reflecting Adam’s grocery chain (brown and yellow), Ross would christen the team with the name “Bruins,” an old English term for “brown bears.” The bear would become the first of many logos for the team throughout the years and the 1924 logo would return in 2016, just in time for the Winter Classic.

Image result for boston bruins logo 1924(Photo Credits: Sports Logos)

If you look throughout the history of the Bruins sweater, the bear logo would grace the front up until 1932.  For those fans that have been following news on the upcoming Winter Classic, you’ll know that this year the Bruins have decided to go with the blocked brown “B” as a simple nod to the 1932-1934 season. Including this year, Boston will have participated in the event three times, each time wearing a new throwback sweater and with the Classic nearing soon, let’s take a look at some of the designs.

(Photo Credits: NHL Bruins)

THE SWITCH

In the 2010 NHL Winter Classic that was played at Fenway Park, the Bruins unveiled their sweater for the event: a design that paid tribute to the 1948 season. In that season the team would celebrate its 25th anniversary and what better way to commemorate a special milestone than with a new jersey. The change would see the switch of the brown “B” to the famous Spoked-B that has been synonymous with the franchise.  For the Winter Classic, Bruins then Vice-President Cam Neely offered the 1948 inspiration-look to Reebok that featured a variation on the Spoked-B crest.

(Photo Credits: NHL Bruins)

Bruins Unveil Jersey to be Worn in 2010 Winter Classic(Photo Credits: NESN)

BACK TO THE BEGINNING

As the first NHL team in the United States and part of the Original Six franchise, the Boston Bruins paid tribute to their history for the 2016 Winter Classic. The B’s would be pitted against one of their oldest rivals, the Montreal Canadiens.  To mark the special occasion, the Bruins once again looked to the sweaters of yesteryear as inspiration. This time, the Black and Gold went for the 1924 inaugural season and the familiar old-school Bruins bear would make its re-appearance.  And yes, Bruins fans, the bear was around for the 2008-2016 season, however, it looks a tad different than the 2016 Winter Classic design. As a side-note, let’s not talk about the “pooh-bear” sweater-not a big fan of that logo.

The Bruins 2016 NHL Winter Classic jersey. (Image credit: Boston Bruins)(Photo Credits: CBS Boston)

(Photo Credits: NHL Bruins)

BROWN AND GOLD

On January 1st, 2019, the Bruins will make their third appearance in the Winter Classic when they face the Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame. As mentioned earlier in the article, Boston’s new jersey features a design inspired by the 1932-1934 season: a simple, classic blocked brown “B” outline in gold. As one of the oldest teams in the NHL, the Boston Bruins have such a rich history that finding a sweater design for a special occasion such as the Winter Classic proves to be an pretty easy task.

Image result for nhl winter classic 2019(Photo Credits: CBS Sports)

If you’re looking for a more in-depth look at the logo throughout the years, please check out fellow Black-N-Gold writer Evan Michael’s articles about the best and worst Bruins logos throughout the years.

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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