Bruins Will Have Challenging Offseason With New Salary Cap Reports

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( PHOTO CREDIT: Stephanie Gois on Pinterest )

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

With the NHL on pause due to the current COVID-19 pandemic that is essentially putting the entire world on hold, there have been a large number of questions regarding the future of the 2019-2020 regular-season as well as the subsequent postseason and how it may have an impact on the 2020-2021 campaign.

Today, April 17th, 2020, St. Louis Blues reporter Andy Strickland tweeted that the players of the league were informed on a call that the salary cap will remain the exact same for the upcoming season, flatlining at $81.5 million. Strickland went on to say that there were many ideas and scenarios presented to the players, including this one, and there are “several variables” that played a part in this decision.

Going back to earlier in the season, on March 4th, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly announced that the salary cap would increase from the current $81.5 million to anywhere from $84 million to $88.2 million. This, of course, was before the COVID-19 pandemic, and it created a sense of security for teams around the league who have numerous players with expiring contracts come July 1st. One of those teams that would have benefited greatly from a raise in salary cap? The Boston Bruins.

Below is the full list of Boston Bruins players that have expiring deals come July 1st, 2020 as per CapFriendly:

NHL Roster:

  • F Anders Bjork – RFA
  • F Jake DeBrusk – RFA
  • F Joakim Nordstrom – UFA
  • D Torey Krug – UFA
  • D Zdeno Chara – UFA
  • D Kevan Miller – UFA
  • D Matt Grzelcyk – RFA
  • G Jaroslav Halak – UFA

AHL Roster (Providence):

  • F Brett Ritchie – RFA
  • F Zach Senyshyn – RFA
  • F Karson Kuhlman – RFA
  • F Ryan Fitzgerald – UFA G6
  • F Brendan Gaunce – RFA
  • F Peter Cehlarik – RFA
  • D Jakub Zboril – RFA
  • D Wiley Sherman – RFA
  • D Alex Petrovic – UFA
  • G Daniel Vladar – RFA
  • G Maxime Lagacé – UFA

For simplicity’s sake, in this article, we will only take a look at the eight players on the current Boston Bruins NHL roster and not the ones in the American Hockey League as the majority of them can be placed on a qualifying offer. According to @bruinscapspace on Twitter, the B’s will have roughly $20 million in available cap space to sign players this offseason.

Starting off, it is very likely the Bruins do not re-sign goaltender Jaroslav Halak. At 34-years-of-age, Halak is making $2.75 million, but with his impressive performances in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns, Halak has proven that he deserves a pay raise, and he can very well be a solid starting goaltender for a franchise who’s looking for a more experienced netminder. With funds running dry and the potential for goalies such as Daniel Vladar to become the new backup goaltender behind Tuukka Rask, it makes the most sense to move on from Halak.

To add to my releases, I do not see the Bruins re-signing forward Joakim Nordstrom. The 28-year-old has been making $1 million for each of the past two seasons and has been a solid depth player for the B’s, but it’s a spot that can be replaced by a depth player from the Baby Bruins. His short tenure with the Black and Gold is valued and appreciated, but it is, unfortunately, time to move on.

This brings us to the two restricted free-agent forwards – Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork. DeBrusk has been a consistent 40-point scorer (he was only five points away from hitting 40 again this season) and last season in his sophomore campaign, scored 27 goals. Again, I look to @bruinscapspace on Twitter, who created a simple graphic on some comparable contracts for DeBrusk.

The comparables listed make it appear that DeBrusk could be looking at an average cap hit of somewhere around the $3.5 million number on likely a three or four-year contract. At a young age, DeBrusk has been a good top-six winger for the Bruins but has also faced times of inconsistency throughout his tenure. Those inconsistencies are what brings his salary cap number down. I have DeBrusk re-signing with the Bruins on a three-year, $3.5 million AAV contract. 

Anders Bjork is the other RFA forward on the Bruins roster that will return. Bjork is finishing up his entry-level contract and has played 108 regular-season games for the B’s, scoring 14-20-34 numbers during that time. Bjork has 19 points in 58 games this year, meaning he won’t ask for a large salary. For a comparable, the Penguins re-signed Zach Aston-Reese when he was 24 (Bjork is 23) for $1 million AAV for two years. Aston-Reese had a 0.38 points-per-game average in 59 games, whereas Bjork has a 0.31 points-per-game average in 108 games played. I have Anders Bjork re-signing with the Bruins on a two-year, $1.25 million contract. 

Now, the defencemen. With a doubt, the blueline of the Bruins has been the number one talking point in regards to the offseason with powerhouse defender Torey Krug and captain Zdeno Chara each on expiring deals as well as the young offensive Matt Grzelcyk and the injury-riddled Kevan Miller. With today’s news of the new salary cap, it appears to be unrealistic for all four to re-up their deals.

Earlier this month, General Manager Don Sweeney said that if the NHL season does resume this year, that defenceman Kevan Miller will likely not be healthy enough to return to the team. However, in an article by 985TheSportsHub.com writer, Ty Anderson, Sweeney said, “Our intentions are for Kevan to be 100 percent healthy so he can resume when we start the next season. We know Kevan is a UFA, so we will entertain the opportunity to bring Kevan back, and he will also entertain whether or not he wants to be back.”

Injuries have prevented Miller from playing in over a full calendar year, and for that reason, he is expendable in my eyes and I believe the Bruins will not re-sign him prior to the July 1st deadline.

At 26-years-old, Charlestown, Massachusetts native Matt Grzelcyk is the future of the Bruins defensive core and in my humble opinion, is a must re-sign. In 68 games this year, Grzelcyk has 4-17-21 numbers, a new career-high in goals, assists, and points. Grzelcyk, like Krug, is a 5-foot-9, left-handed defenceman who is primarily known for his puck handling and offensive capabilities. With room to improve as well, Grzelcyk is one of those players teams would love to have on their backend. I have the Bruins re-signing Matt Grzelcyk on a two-year, $2.5 million contract. 

Zdeno Chara has been the captain of the Boston Bruins since the 2006-07 season and ever since, has been the backbone of the leadership core in every way possible, guiding the way for countless rookies on the roster to make their mark on the league. However, at 43-years-old, Father Time is going to catch up on Chara eventually. Retirement is very likely around the corner but I doubt it happens this offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Zdeno still averaged 21:01 minutes on the ice this year, proving he is still capable, so I predict he re-joins the Bruins organization. The only way this happens is on a one-year, $1.5 million contract. 

Finally, Torey Krug. Krug is the quarterback of the power-play and the driver of offense on the blueline. At 29-years-old, the Michigan native has 337 career points in 523 regular-season games and put up 9-40-49 totals in 61 games prior to the pause. With the signings above, the Bruins would have $11.25 remaining in available cap space. Krug has made it clear he would rather remain a Bruin and the message seems to be the same on the management side as well. The Bruins could re-sign Krug on a seven-year, $7 million contract, leaving just around $4 million in cap room to get depth players or even a backup goalie if they feel Vladar cannot take the role.

Before we conclude, it is fair to note that comparisons of other players league-wide are nearly impossible given the worldwide circumstances. Times are not the same whatsoever so these numbers can fluctuate entirely. In addition, the Bruins could pull off a trade if they so feel necessary to free up more cap space or pick up another piece heading into the upcoming season.

Things could be a lot worse for the Boston Bruins, but with the talent in Providence and the strong depth, it makes more players a bit more expendable. However, predictions like these are very difficult to predict and these upcoming months will be fascinating to follow.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 174 that we recorded below on 4-12-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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How The Trade Deadline Affects The Bruins Offseason Plans

Dallas Stars v Boston Bruins

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

It’s been a few days since the trade deadline and I still don’t quite know how to feel about it all. There’s no questioning if the Bruins improved, they did, but many (including myself) am still asking if Don Sweeney and co did enough for this season, but that’s not the point of this article. Regardless of what the Bruins did to affect the team for this year, the trades made certainly helped the team for years to come.

The Trades

To Boston: Nick Ritchie, Ondrej Kase

To Anaheim: Danton Heinen, David Backes ($1.5 mill retained), Axel Andersson, 2020 1st round pick
Nick Ritchie

( Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa )

No Rentals

 

Unlike years in the past where we saw the Bruins’ management go after rentals like Marcus Johansson, Rick Nash (oof) and Lee Stepniak (even bigger oof), the Bruins acquired players with term. They saw how well it worked with last year’s acquisition of Charlie Coyle and looked to continue that success of grabbing players that won’t be gone at the season’s end. 

Both Ritchie and Kase have extra years on their contract and even more years of team control due to their RFA status. The duo are both young and have plenty of room to grow on their already solid NHL careers. Nick Ritchie is a hard-nosed player that fits the style of play the Bruins love. The former 10th overall pick is still young at 24 years-old and with his recent play (three goals and three assists in his last four game) has a chance to trump his career-high in goals of 14. 

If healthy, Ondrej Kase has a real chance to be a game-changer for the black and gold. Two seasons ago, the Czech Republic native hit the 20 goal mark in 66 games. The following season was unfortunately cut short due to injury, but Kase was well on his way to hit career highs in both points and goals with 11 goals and 20 points in 30 games. Now playing on a far better Bruins squad, we’d hope to see the improved play on his part.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Boston Bruins at St. Louis Blues

( Photo Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports )

Offseason Plans

The Bruins have a lot on their plate this offseason. Powerplay QB Torey Krug is an upcoming UFA and will certainly get paid whether he stays or goes. Matt Grzelcyk, Jake Debrusk, Anders Bjork and Karson Kuhlman are among the slew of RFAs that will get a considerable bump in salary. There’s no guarantee if Zdeno Chara will call it quits after this season, but if he doesn’t, that’s another contract to add to the books. Fellow Slovakian and backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak has been huge for the Bruins over the past couple years and it would be a tough loss if the Bs weren’t able to resign him. 

The Bruins had about $17 million in projected cap space for next year before the deals. With the subtraction of Heinen and Backes’ combined $7.3 million and addition of Kase and Ritchie’s and additions of roughly $4.1 million, it gives the Bruins an extra $3.2 million worth of cap space to work with. If we loosely project what the Bruins UFA and RFAs we get contracts that look like this:

Torey Krug – 7.25m

Zdeno Chara – 1.5m

Jaroslav Halak – 3m

Joakim Nordstrom – 1.5m

Kevan Miller – Honestly no idea with all of his injuries, I think he’s a goner regardless. 1m

Jake Debrusk – This one really depends if it’s long-term or a bridge, I’d say 4-5m

Matt Grzelyck – 3m

Anders Bjork – 1.5m

Karson Kuhlman – 1m

Adding all these together gives the Bruins a rough estimate of $24 million worth of contracts to give. With Nordstrom and Miller likely gone, a number of $21.5 million seems doable with the amount of cap space the Bruins are projected to have. with that number likely increasing as the cap continues to grow. With the now over $20 million in space with that number likely increasing as the cap continues to grow, it seems more likely the Bruins will be able to keep most of the gang together. If the Bs fail to win the ultimate prize this season, Don Sweeney has set this Bruins team up for the future.

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

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

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Pittsburgh: 1/19/20

Image result for bruins penguins january 16

Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Pittsburgh Penguins

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Coyle – Bjork

Heinen – Lindholm – Kuhlman

Nordstrom – Kuraly – Wagner

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Moore

Goalies

Halak

Vladar

Pittsburgh’s Lineup

Forwards

McCann – Crosby – Simon

Kahun – Malkin – Rust

Galchenyuk – Agozzino – Hornqvist

Aston-Reese – Blueger – Tanev

Defense

Johnson – Letang

Pettersson – Marino

Riikola – Ruhwedel

Goalies

Murray

Jarry

First Period

Scoring 11 seconds into a game is a good way to make your presence felt. Patrice Bergeron did that, burying his 21st goal of the season. David Pastrnak and Brandon Carlo had the assists on the goal, their 33rd and 11th assists of the season respectively.

Anders Bjork made it 2-0 just a minute and 51 seconds later. With such a fast start, it was apparent early on that the Bruins weren’t totally satisfied with their 4-1 win over the Penguins. As a result, it didn’t take them long to make a statement in enemy territory. Bjork’s eighth goal of the season was assisted by Charlie Coyle (17) and Jake DeBrusk (14).

It continued to be pretty much all Bruins throughout the first period. While Jaroslav Halak made key saves when needed, the way the Bruins controlled the flow of play stood out the most. After two quick goals early on, Pastrnak added his 37th goal of the season to extend the lead to three with 4:53 remaining. Brad Marchand (44) and Torey Krug (27) had the helpers.

Not all was bad for the Penguins, as they managed to get one back thanks to Dominik Simon and a great pass by Sidney Crosby to set him up – making it 3-1 Bruins with 3:26 remaining. Brandon Tanev had a great chance to cut the deficit to one, but Brandon Carlo went all out to thwart the chance.

Teddy Blueger took a late hooking penalty with 1:37 remaining. Although the Bruins failed to score on the power play before the end of the frame, the final 23 seconds of the penalty awaited them to start the second period. The Bruins held a 13-6 shot advantage and won 72 percent of faceoffs.

Score: 3-1 Boston

Second Period

The Penguins wanted an early goal of their own, and they got one. Blueger scored shortly after serving the hooking penalty he took late in the first period. Crosby made another great pass to set it up. A two-goal lead for the Bruins was quickly cut to one just 33 seconds in.

Chris Wagner took an interference penalty at the 12:09 mark of the period. Just 51 seconds later, Marchand and Kris Letang got tied up to Matt Murray’s left and received matching roughing penalties as a result.

After the Blueger goal, it was a battle of wills for the majority of the period. Murray bounced back after a rough first period, and Halak made some timely stops of his own. The Penguins held the advantage in shots at 12-10 and set up what was sure to be an eventful third period. The shots through two periods were 23-18 in favor of the Bruins.

Score: 3-2 Boston

Third Period

Keeping with the trend of eventful starts to each period, Letang went off for elbowing just 20 seconds in. Jack Johnson took advantage of a huge opportunity tied the game with a shorthanded goal. The game was tied with 18:19 remaining and things got a bit chippier as this grudge match rolled on.

The Bruins were generating chances, but weren’t getting results. Murray continued to play very well after a bad first period and the Penguins didn’t relent. Bryan Rust made it four unanswered goals and gave his team the lead with 7:25 remaining in regulation.

Halak was pulled with 2:19 remaining for an extra attacker. While they managed to prevent an empty netter, the Bruins couldn’t tie the game back up. A tripping penalty assessed to Matt Grzelcyk in a successful effort to prevent Tanev from adding an empty netter late was the nail in the coffin in this one. A 14-4 advantage in shots in the final frame wasn’t enough to secure a win. The final shots were 37-22 in their favor. Next up are the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday at TD Garden at 7:00 PM ET. The Bruins are 28-10-12 at the 50-game mark on the 2019-2020 season.

Final Score: 4-3 Pittsburgh

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Boston Bruins Week In Review Jan 6th-12th

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders

(Photo Credit:Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

There we go, THAT’S Bruins hockey. After a brutal stretch of hockey that saw the Bs go 4-5-6, the Black and Gold are back to their winning ways. Here’s everything you missed from this week’s action.

Jan 7 Boston Bruins @ Nashville Predators

The Bruins were able to acquire some help for their trip to Nashville to face the Predators. No, it was not Tyler Toffoli or Chris Kreider, but it was actually a the Bruins’ moms. This was the Predator’s first game after parting ways with Peter Laviolette, so the Preds were certainly going to bring their A-game with new coach (and former Devils’ coach) John Hynes. 

The first period started off with a bang as the NHL’s leading goal scorer David Pastrnak came down the wing and blew a shot past Pekka Rinne just 1:36 into the game to give the Bruins the lead. The Bs continued their strong play throughout the period, testing Rinne for the full 20 minutes. A good period from top to bottom for the Bruins, where they were able to outshoot the Preds 13-8.

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Just a minute into the second period it seemed the Predators scored after a bizarre play. Charlie McAvoy was knocked into the net, taking it off its pegs, while Nick Bonino proceeded to put the puck in the net. After it was originally called a good goal (because the puck would’ve gone in regardless of the net being off) it was then called back due to the Pred’s Rocco Grimaldi causing McAvoy to knock off the net. Confusing, I know. At the 11:39 mark, Danton Heinen finished off a pretty passing play from Charlie Coyle and Matt Grzelyck with a rip from the slot, making it 2-0 Bruins. Nashville finally got their goal back after Filip Forsberg converted on a five on three PP for the Preds. Late in the period, Boston was able to regain their two-goal lead after Patrice Bergeron finished a nice feed from Jake Debrusk on the powerplay.

The Bs nearly added yet another goal seconds into the third, but Pekka Rinne shut the door on the top line. It wasn’t long after that chance when the Bruins did tack on yet another goal when a Par Lindholm shot went in off of Chris Wagner in front. You could tell it just wasn’t Nashville’s night after Tuukka Rask STONED Viktor Arvidsson midway through the third. Nashville found a little life late after pulling within two on the powerplay, but it was all for not after a David Krejci empty netter and a late Charlie Coyle goal.

Jan 9 Winnipeg Jets @ Boston Bruins

The moms made the trip back to Boston with the team and it paid dividends in a back-and-forth game against the Jets. We aren’t going to mention the 2015 draft, at all, but the 17th overall pick Kyle Connor put Winnipeg on the board first after dipsy-doodling past Torey Krug and roofing one on Jaroslav Halak. A good shift by the second line and a semi-break for Chris Wagner both amounted to nothing, so the Bs remained without a goal. That was until the duo of Sean Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom connected with David Pastrnak in the slot to tie the game. After a great play from David Backes, Danton Heinen and Charlie Coyle wouldn’t go, the period closed, knotted at one. 

Exactly six minutes into the second, the Jets were able to retake the lead on the powerplay after Andrew Copp collected his 7th goal of the season. That lead didn’t hold for much longer as who but the league’s leading goal scorer, David Pastrnak, sent an absolute rocket past Laurent Brossoit on the powerplay, 2-2. Chris Wagner was inches away from giving the B’s their first lead of the game as he rattled one off the post, but the game remained tied. That 2-2 tie wouldn’t last the period as Jake Debrusk came in on a breakaway and buried one past Laurent Brossoit with 1:11 left. What should’ve been an easy final minute to kill off for the Bs, ended up being the opportunity for the Jets to tie it up,  when Neil Pionk scored on the powerplay with just seconds left on the clock

NHL: Boston Bruins vs Winnipeg Jets

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

After about eight minutes of stalemate, the Jets were able to regain their lead after Mark Schiefele banked a shot in off of Jaroslav Halak. When Jake Debrusk took advantage of a poor change from the Jets by driving to the net, David Krejci collected the rebound and fed Pasta in front of the net, queuing the hats to start flying down from the rafters. If you thought you had time to run to the bathroom before the lamp was lit once again, you missed the Bs take the lead. Just 30 seconds after the tying goal, Krejci won a faceoff clean to Matt Grzelyck, who fed McAvoy for a one-timer that Jake Debrusk tipped in, and topped it off with a beautiful celly. That proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Jets, as they were not able to muster up anything to come back.

Jan 11 Boston Bruins @ New York Islanders

The mom-less Bruins headed to New York for their next game with a couple of players hitting milestones along the way (Torey Krug and Sean Kuraly playing their 500th and 200th games respectively). It was all Islanders early in this game, with Tuukka Rask forced to make save after save until the Isles were able to breakthrough. Scott Mayfield’s shot from the point snuck past Rask, giving New York the lead. Rask continued to battle after a bad period from the Bs and made 13 saves in the first. 

A couple big saves by Rask opened the second period until the Bruins were able to knot the game up at one.  A clean breakout led to Charlie McAvoy joining the rush, and the ensuing traffic in front of the net lead to Jake Debrusk’s equalizer. The rest of the period showcased the two goaltenders battling it out, and the game continued into the third, tied 1-1. 

That was until a seeing eye shot from John Moore found its way through Semyon Varlamov to give the Bruins their first lead of the night. That, unfortunately, didn’t silence Barclays Center for too long after Josh Bailey fed Matthew Barzal in front, who tucked it past Rask to tie the game. Some big saves from both Varlamov (namely two on David Krejci) and Rask sent the game into OT.

The Bruins were gifted a powerplay early into OT after Brock Nelson tripped up Brad Marchand, and that ended up being the demise for the Isles. “Mr. Perfect” Patrice Bergeron was able to collect a pass from Torey Krug in the slot, looked off the defense and wrist a shot past Varlamov to give the Bs the victory and complete the 3-0 week.

Roster/Injury News

  • Zdeno Chara missed the Bruins’ game in Winnipeg due to a jaw injury but played their next game in New York with no problem.
  • Joakim Nordstrom missed the game against the Predators due to an illness but has played in every game since.
  • Matt Grzelcyk left the game against the Islanders early and never returned. He played the next game in Philly.

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders

(Photo Credit:Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

My Three Stars of the Week 

A lot of contenders for this week’s honors. A few guys who just missed the cut were Danton Heinen (one goal, two assists, +3 rating), Charlie Coyle (one goal, two assists, +4 rating) and a trio of defensemen (Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, and Matt Grzelyck) who all picked up three assists in the week.

  1. Jake Debrusk

The second line has regained life and so has Debrusk. The Edmonton native had a point in every game and ended with a statline of three goals, two assists, and a +3 rating. 

  1. David Pastrnak

The Bs’ main dish of choice this week was Pasta, who put up four goals in three games. His hockey IQ was on full display and he showed why he’s leading the league in goals.

  1. Tuukka Rask

Take that Rask haters. Tuukka was incredible this week, going 2-0 with a .944 save percentage and a sub 2.00 goals allowed average. He single handedly kept the Bruins in both games and without him, there was not a chance the Bruins go 3-0.

Play of the Week – David Pastrnak Goal

Gotta be this shot by Pastrnak. The video would be a whole lot better with sound.

Final Notes

  • Anders Bjork has made the 2nd line FAR more dynamic. While he only had one point, it was clear his playmaking ability gelled very well with Jake Debrusk and David Krejci. I think we’ll see a big uptick in points from the Notre Dame product
  • Joakim Nordstrom took a few shifts next to Krejci and Debrusk despite Bjork’s solid play. I’d hope that doesn’t continue to happen. 
  • Tuukka Rask is awesome.
  • Danton Heinen is getting his confidence back. He looked good this week, making skill and power moves while tacking on three points in the process. 
  • This big week proved that the Bruins can take a little more time to find the winger they need. I still think they need some help in the middle-six, but Bjork, Heinen and Debrusk’s play this week proved the Bruins still have a lot to work with on their roster.
  • Oh, and Pekka Rinne has more goals than Charlie McAvoy, that is all.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Boston’s Latest Trade Buzz

NHL: Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres

( Photo Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports )

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

A Bruins regular season would not be complete without trade rumors. The Bruins are almost always rumored to be in on a specific player or shopping their own. Don Sweeney, current General Manager, is always doing his due diligence to improve his team, from sending scouts to NHL games to making phone calls to other General Managers. The latest buzz features two young Bruin names that their fans might be reluctant to give up.

The key takeaway in this tweet is the “Bruins aren’t necessarily shopping them.” Don Sweeney would not be fulfilling his job as General Manager if he didn’t field calls and negotiate deals.  Other teams’ General Managers are doing the same, which is why there’s chatter.  What are the Bruins giving up in these players and who would be worth receiving?

Anders Bjork was drafted 146th overall in the 2014 draft out of Notre Dame.  He had a fruitful career for the Irish, amassing 109 points in 115 games.  Bjork is a young 23-year old impending restricted free-agent who has had the misfortune of two straight seasons ending due to shoulder surgeries.  This season, the 6-foot, 190-pound left-winger is finally fully healthy and improving every game.  He’s largely played with Charlie Coyle as his center and recently been placed on David Krejci’s line. The Bruins have longed to find David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk’s wing partner and Bjork has the tools to be the answer.  

Danton Heinen is the second Bruin to be included in the rumors.  Heinen was drafted 116th overall in the same draft as Bjork (2014).  He played two years for the Denver Pioneers, eclipsing 93 points in 81 games before heading to Boston for eight games in the 2016-17 season.  The 24-year old’s versatility has been one of his many strengths in Boston.  He recently signed a 2-year, $5.6M deal in this past offseason.  He will become a restricted free agent in 2021.  He’s been asked to play with Bergeron, Krejci, and Coyle and has succeeded immensely.  Heinen has the defensive tenacity, vision, and nose for the net that is required of a top-nine winger.  He is a role player needed on a team to make it deep into the playoffs.

If the Bruins potentially have two long-time wingers in their possession, why would they be willing to trade them?  

NHL General Managers generally make trades based on three reasons: they’re looking to rebuild their roster, they’re looking to make a playoff push, or they’re looking to acquire talent for one of their impending free-agent stars. 

If Don Sweeney is fielding calls for Bjork and Heinen, it is more than likely to acquire an impending free-agent to fulfill his top-six winger issue.  Both young forwards have shown promise and have the talents to help lead a team deep into the playoffs.  The Bruins also control their rights for the next several years.  Giving up on players too early has bitten this organization before with the likes of Tyler Seguin.  So if Sweeney does pull the trigger, a well-established NHL scorer should be included in the return.  

The Bruins have brokered trades to acquire impending free-agents (rentals) before in Rick Nash, Marcus Johansson, and Jaromir Jagr.  None of the three were in Bruins’ uniforms the following season, which makes these trades tricky.  Rentals are a risk because they could hit the free-agency market the following year.  The NHL team loses not only the player they acquired but the player they traded away. 

The New York Rangers have two of the three aforementioned motives to strike a deal.  They are seven points behind the Florida Panthers for the final Wild Card spot.  They won the Artemi Panarin sweepstakes in last year’s offseason, handing him $81M for the next seven years.  They also netted the second overall pick, jumping from the sixth spot, in last year’s lottery.   On paper, their roster was primed to make a playoff push.  

The Rangers also have an impending unrestricted free-agent in Chris Kreider.  Kreider, who hails from Boxford, MA, was drafted 19th overall in the 2009 NHL Draft out of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.  He went on to play three years at Boston College, tallying 92 points in 114 games.  The 6-foot-3, 217-pound left-winger has the speed that NHL GM’s salivate over.  He’s currently playing on the Rangers’ top line with 12 goals, which would rank fourth on the current Bruins roster.  He is playing out the last year of his four-year, $18.5M contract. 

Kreider is making $4.6M this year and will look to increase to at least $5M per year on his next deal.  Kreider is a big-bodied winger that would fit the Bruins mold well, especially if he had Krejci feeding him the puck each night.  However, the Bruins should be cautious and ensure Kreider plans to sign a long-term, cost-effective deal if he is traded to his native state.  

The Los Angeles Kings are a team that falls into the rebuilding category.  The Kings are last in the Western Conference with an aging roster.  The Kings have $21M tied up between three of their top-six forwards all over the age of 33.  They’ve been guilty of giving out poor contracts and have had a history of the injury bug.  A few bright spots on their roster have some NHL teams calling.  Tyler Toffoli is a 27-year old winger, who is also on the last year of his contract with Los Angeles.  He, too, will be looking for a pay increase as he sits third in scoring on the lowly Kings with 11 goals.  

 

The last scenario the Bruins could entertain is packaging a young forward to trade David Backes’s deplorable contract.  The Toronto Maple Leafs traded Patrick Marleau, who had a similar contract, to the Carolina Hurricanes for a seventh-round pick this last offseason.  The Leafs had to send a first-round pick in order to rid themselves of Marleau’s contract. 

The same will apply to Backes, but Sweeney could decide to dangle Heinen or Bjork, instead of his coveted first-round choice.  A package that includes Backes, Bjork or Heinen and another draft selection could send New Jersey Devil Miles Wood and a draft selection to Boston.  Miles is a 24-year old left-winger who is in the midst of a team-friendly $2.75M per year deal.  The Devils are second-to-last in the league in points and could also be looking for a new direction.  

General Managers wear many hats and one of them is to improve their team, even if they sit atop the standings.  The Bruins are first in their division and second in the Eastern Conference.  Their Stanley Cup window is dwindling because of their aging core of players.  Zdeno Chara is playing out his one-year deal, Patrice Bergeron has sat for a few games to keep him fresh for the playoffs, and David Krejci has one more year on his 6-year deal signed in 2014.  The time to bing a Stanley Cup back to Boston is now.  Heinen and Bjork were drafted to be a part of a long playoff run but if an NHL team calls and offers a deal that they can’t pass up, Sweeney may take the risk.  

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 161 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Boston Bruins Week In Review Dec 30th-Jan 5th

Boston Bruins' Zdeno Chara (33) defends against Edmonton Oilers' Leon Draisaitl (29) during the second period on an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

( Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

As this new year begins, I’d like to start pumping out these weekly update articles. These will feature quick game recaps, roster and injury news, three stars of the week, a play of the week and my general thoughts on the week that transpired. If you missed anything Bruins related, here’s where to go.

Dec 31st Boston Bruins @ New Jersey Devils

After a rough start to December, the Bruins rattled off three wins in a row coming into New Jersey. Despite losing former MVP Taylor Hall after sending him to the Arizona Coyotes, the Devils were starting to play better hockey. Leading into their matchup with the Bruins, the Devils went 2-0-1. Even with both teams’ respective recent success, this was a game against a bottom-feeder was a game the Bruins needed to have.

The game started as well as one could think for the Bruins after Devils defenseman was sent to the box 1:17 into the game. The Bs were able to capitalize early on the powerplay after Brad Marchand buried a rebound off of a David Pastrnak shot with Matt Grzelyck (who did a very solid job filling in for Torey Krug) picking up the secondary assist.

New Jersey Devils Vs Boston Bruins At TD Garden

( Photo Credit: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe – Getty Images )

The Bs were able to tack on another goal after Joakim Nordstrom lit the lamp just over four minutes into the second period and with a 2-0 lead, you’d think the Bruins would be able to hang onto the lead. Well, after trading chances for much of the period, the Devils were able to score after Nikita Gusev and Blake Coleman finished off a nice give and go to cut the Bs’ lead in half.

The third period was an absolute mess for the Bruins. The Devils were able to pull even after Jesper Bratt deflected a PK Subban shot. In all honesty. The black and gold were lucky to make it out of the period after getting outshot 19-5. There wasn’t much going on in overtime outside of a Matt Grzelcyk shot that rang off the crossbar, so to the shootout it went.

With all the success the Bs have had in shootouts, you can all probably see where this one went. After four rounds of nothing from either side, Jack Hughes and Chris Wagner traded goals. To open the sixth round, Damon Severson put a nifty move on Jaroslav Halak and Mackenzie Blackwood stoned Patrice Bergeron, giving the Devils the 3-2 win.

Jan 2nd Columbus Blue Jackets @ Boston Bruins

After what I’m sure was a splendid New Years’ Eve and a January 1st full of recovering, the Bruins came back home to face an injury-riddled Columbus Blue Jackets team. This game had a very similar narrative to the Bruins last one. Gustav Nyqvist seemed to score very early into the game, but to me and many others’ surprise, a goal review HELPED the Bruins. A couple of big saves from Tuukka Rask and Elvis Merzlikins kept the first half of the game scoreless. 

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( Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports photo )

The tie was broken after a Bruins’ powerplay saw David Pastrnak rip his 30th of the year. The Blue Jackets were able to tie the game up with 17:54 left in the 3rd Period after Sony Milano wheeled the puck towards the net and got a fortuitous bounce off of Matt Grzelcyk. The save of the night belonged to Merzlikins soon after that when he made a save off of an Anders Bjork partial break, and denied Par Lindholm on the rebound attempt.

The game remained knotted at one going into overtime. The duo of David Krejci and David Pastrnak were oh so close to winning the game less than a minute into OT, but that missed chance proved to be the Bruins’ demise. After the chance, (and a very poor defensive play from Pastrnak) Seth Jones was able to scoop up the puck and dish over to Pierre-Luc Dubois who ended the Bruins’ night on a sour note. That marked the second game in a row the Bruins had blown a lead to a team outside of the playoffs

Jan 4th Edmonton Oilers @ Boston Bruins

Another game, another early lead for the Bruins. Who but David Pastrnak was able to capitalize on the powerplay to give Boston a 1-0 lead less than four minutes into the hockey game, but that was all the offense the Bruins could muster up. Jaroslav Halak was certainly the best thing going for the Bruins early in this game. The netminder made a massive save off of a one-time shot from Connor McDavid later in the 1st, keeping the Bruins lead. 

There was some back and forth action in the second until Jake Debrusk muffed a pass through the middle of the ice, allowing Gaeton Hass to snag the puck, and sneak it five-hole on Halak. The second period ended on a tough note for the Bruins when Darnell Nurse threw the puck on net from the corner and it found twine with just seconds left in the period.

Something began to click early in the third period as the Bruins 1st and 4th lines were able to generate a couple of scoring chances but that was ultimately thwarted when the Zack Kassian capitalized on a defensive breakdown and fed McDavid for the goal. The Bruins failed to score the rest of the game, and after an empty netter from Draisaitl, Edmonton picked up the 4-1 victory, capping off a poor weak from the Bruins.

( Photo Credit: Steve Babineau/ NHLI – Getty Images)

Roster/Injury News

  • David Krejci missed the game in New Jersey but played the remaining two games this week.
  • Charlie McAvoy also returned after missing a pair of games against Buffalo and one against New Jersey
  • Matt Grzelcyk missed the game against Oilers because of illness
  • Connor Clifton missed all three games this week, and will not travel to Nashville for the Bruins next game
  • Torey Krug returned to action in Columbus after missing the previous three games
  • Joakim Nordstrom will also miss the game in Nashville due to illness
  • Jeremy Lauzon was recalled for the Bruins game in New Jersey but was returned to Providence after playing
  • Both Karson Kuhlman and Zach Senyshyn were assigned to the AHL and look to be healthy

( Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports )

My Three Stars of the Week

  1. David Pastrnak

Not really much to choose from this week, but Pasta was able to score half the Bruins goals this weekend. I wasn’t super impressed by much, and his lackluster defense against the Blue Jackets lead to the Bs losing the game, but he did have a great goal in that same game. Pastrnak had two goals, one assist, and a -3 rating during the week.

  1. Tuukka Rask

He let up one goal in regulation that ricocheted off of his teammate’s skate and a one-timer goal on a two on one in OT. He played very well and was far from the reason the Bruins lost in Columbus. 

  1. Jaroslav Halak

So he went 0-1-1, but just like Rask, but he wasn’t at fault for either of the losses. He made 42 saves against the Devils in their shootout loss and kept the Bs in the game from the start. Against Edmonton, he gave up one soft goal and the other two were when an Oiler was in alone on him. He made a lot of big saves in both games.

Play of the Week – Jaroslav Halak save on Connor McDavid

If you were asked to pick two players to go in on a two on one in an NHL game, I’m sure Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl would be towards the very top of the list. After Draisaitl shuffled past Brandon Carlo, he dished the puck to McDavid who got good wood on a one-timer but was greeted by a slick left pad by Halak.  It’s a shame the Bs went on to lose that game because this save would’ve been looked back on far more.

NHL: SEP 25 Preseason - Devils at Bruins

( Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire – Getty Images)

Final Notes

  • Despite not recording a point, I really liked Anders Bjork’s game this week. He generated a plethora of high-quality chances and continues to improve each and every game. It seems he’ll get rewarded from his play by getting a shot in the top-6 with Krejci and Jake Debrusk.
  • The Bruins need a jump in their offense, something isn’t clicking. Maybe calling up a guy like Zach Senyshyn or Jack Studnicka who both looked good in their previous call-ups will help. Maybe the Bs look elsewhere and make a move for a guy like Tyler Toffoli or Kyle Palmieri. Maybe all it takes is a shuffle of the lines, putting David Pastrnak with David Krejci or something of the sort.
  • The biggest key is to not overreact. Yes, it has been an awful stretch for the Bruins, but there is still a lot of time left in the season. Their lead in the Atlantic has diminished, but they still hold a six-point lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs with a game in hand. Let’s see how this next week goes.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Washington: 12/23/19

NHL Predictions

(Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Washington Capitals

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Heinen

Kuraly – Coyle – Bjork

Nordstrom – Lindholm – Ritchie

Defense

Moore – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Washington’s Lineup

Forwards

Ovechkin – Backstrom – Wilson

Vrana – Kuznetsov – Oshie

Hagelin – Eller – Panik

Leipsic – Dowd – Hathaway

Defense

Kempny – Carlson

Orlov – Jensen 

Siegenthaler – Gudas

Goalies

Holtby

Samsonov

The Bruins got some bad news on Sunday when it was announced the Zdeno Chara would be out of the lineup against the Capitals. The reason stems back to some work that Chara had done on his jaw during the playoffs last season. He now has an infection in his jaw and needs surgery to remove the plates he had put in. John Moore slotted in on the first defensive pair in his absence.

Not what you want if you’re the Bruins against a Capitals team that you haven’t been able to figure out at home since last beating them on March 6, 2014. Regardless, the show had to go on without Chara as the Bruins looked to get back in the win column and end their losing skid. It was a milestone night for Danton Heinen, as this game marked the 200th of his career.

First Period

Things were pretty pedestrian to start before Nick Jensen took the first penalty of the game, as he went off for high sticking a minute and 30 seconds in. Unfortunately, they failed to score.

A second opportunity came when Radko Gudas went off for hooking. It didn’t take long to score this time as Jake DeBrusk buried a loose puck created by his own rebound. His persistence paid off for his ninth goal of the season, assisted by David Krejci (18) and Matt Grzelcyk (8). The Bruins were pushing the pace early, outshooting Washington 5-1 through the first seven minutes of the game.

The first Bruins penalty kill of the game came at 11:06 when Charlie McAvoy went off for tripping – and they killed it against the always terrifying Capitals power play. They weren’t satisfied with a one-goal lead, so Brad Marchand made it two by burying a rebound created by David Pastrnak. Marchand’s 19th goal of the season was assisted by Pastrnak (24) and McAvoy (13). It was Marchand’s first goal in 12 games, and he reacted accordingly, as one might do when they break a scoring drought.

That wasn’t all. Anders Bjork potted his sixth goal of the season just 27 seconds later. Charlie Coyle had the lone assist, his 12th of the season. Things got hectic real fast, in a good way.

Things got even crazier as Connor Clifton both went off at the same time – Clifton for slashing, Hathaway for cross-checking. A two minute 4-on-4 ensued. The extra open ice didn’t help a whole lot as neither team scored.

The Capitals went back on the penalty kill shortly after as Jakub Vrana went off for tripping, and Evgeny Kuznetsov went off for slashing. Patrice Bergeron used this 5-on-3 opportunity to extend his hot streak, potting his 14th goal. Pastrnak (25) and Krejci (19) had the helpers.

It was 4-0 Bruins with 1:03 to go and it stayed that way. Shots in the period were 11-8 in favor of the Bruins. That was one way to be efficient and if you can be one thing, you should be efficient.

Score: 4-0 Boston

Second Period

Braden Holtby was pulled to start the period for Ilya Samsonov. Four goals on 11 shots will do that. Bjork nearly had his second of the game early on thanks to a chance on a partial break, but couldn’t get a good enough handle on the puck to make anything happen. DeBrusk went off for slashing to give Washington their second power play of the game. The Bruins went on to kill it off.

Krejci took a penalty of his own for tripping. On the delayed penalty, the puck, untouched eventually made its way into Washington’s net, but wasn’t counted as a goal even after a review of the play.

Bad news came when it was announced that Torey Krug was banged up after taking a hit from Tom Wilson.

The miscue by the referees following the Krejci penalty didn’t matter as much when Charlie Coyle scored the 100th goal of his career in shorthanded fashion. His seventh goal of the season came 6:55 in and was assisted by Marchand (34).

Despite having a huge lead, the Bruins were being outshot 11-1 through the first 14 minutes. Again, if you can be one thing, you should be efficient. I guess? Definitely not as much as the first period, but the sentiment stands. Washington’s dominance eventually broke through as Alex Ovechkin broke the shutout for Tuukka Rask with 5:25 remaining.

John Carlson took a slashing penalty not too long after Ovechkin’s goal, sort of throwing off any momentum the caps could have gained. Although the Bruins didn’t score, they made it to the locker room up four goals. Tuukka Rask was busy, making 16 saves in the period, 24 overall, while the team was outshot 17-2 in the period. The total shots were 25-13 in favor of Washington – they didn’t mess around after a rocky first period.

Score: 5-1 Boston

Third Period

Torey Krug remained out of the game to start the third period. He was eventually ruled out with an upper-body injury, giving the Bruins just four defensemen for the rest of the game.

Another Bruins power play came thanks to a holding call on Ovechkin just about five minutes in. Grzelcyk was on the receiving end and was in some discomfort on the bench. No dice for the Bruins brought their power play efficiency to 33 percent (2/6) in the game.

Washington kept up their dominance in the shot category, holding an 8-2 advantage through eleven minutes. Up until this point, the Bruins had just four shots on goal since the start of the second period.

Tom Wilson decided it was a good idea to target Pastrnak after spearing him and make contact with the referee at the same time, for some reason. Pastrnak didn’t shy away. Wilson was given a two-minute minor and ten-minute misconduct as a result. Pastrnak received a roughing penalty of his own, and DeBrusk served a too many men on the ice penalty. Lars Eller redirected a shot in Rask’s grill past him to make it a 5-2 game with 4:31 remaining.

Samsonov was pulled early for an extra attacker and Krejci made good on potting an empty netter. Krejci’s eighth goal of the season was assisted by Sean Kuraly (10) with 3:10 remaining. Hathaway buried a late goal to make it 6-3 with 2:13 remaining.

T.J.Oshie launched himself into McAvoy late, injuring McAvoy in the process. Bergeron added another empty netter, unassisted for his second of the game and 15th goal of the season. A scrum ensued at the conclusion of the game and that was it.

The shots were 42-17 in favor of Washington. But the Bruins scored seven goals. Crazy how that works in a mess of a game like this, in a lot of ways. Rask made 39 saves in the win. It was the Bruins’ first home win against Washington since March 6, 2014. Next up are the Buffalo Sabres on the road at 7 PM ET on Friday. The Bruins now head into the Christmas break with a win at 22-7-9.

Final Score: 7-3 Boston

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 159 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: New York Islanders at Boston: 12/19/19

cut-1

Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (21-7-7)

Away: New York Islanders (22-8-2)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Heinen

Bjork-Coyle-Wagner

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Backes

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

New York’s Lineup

Forwards

Johnston-Barzal-Bailey

Lee-Brassard-Eberle

Beauvillier-Nelson-Kuhnhackl

Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

Defense

Pelech-Pulock

Toews-Mayfield

Leddy-Boychuk

Goalies

Varlamov

Greiss

First Period

After a turnover in front of the Islanders net, Anders Bjork buried his first goal in 12 games to give the B’s the early lead less than three minutes into the game.

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The Bruins started the game with a big possession advantage and looked to be ready to go right from puck drop. The Islanders were called for too many men with 14 minutes left in the period, giving Boston a chance to double their lead. New York killed off the man advantage as the Bruins failed to do much in the offensive zone. Connor Clifton was called for tripping about midway through the period as the Islanders got an opportunity to even the game on the power play. The B’s killed it off as they didn’t allow the Isles to get into a rhythm.

Toward the end of the period, the game took on a physical tone as each team seemed to finish every single check. Both teams seemed to find an offensive rhythm as the period drew to a close and the Bruins got the benefit of a late power play to try to extend their lead. The B’s were unable to score before the end of the period but still had a good chunk of time left on the man advantage.

Score: 1-0 Bruins

Second Period

The Bruins couldn’t find the back of the net on the remainder of the man advantage as they failed to get any significant scoring chances. Johnny Boychuk tied the game against his former team with a rocket of a shot from the point just 3:26 into the period.

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The Bruins started to get their offensive rhythm back with a couple of good shifts by the fourth line soon after the tying goal. The Isles responded with a number of good shifts in the offensive zone as they continued to keep the pressure on Tuukka Rask and the Bruins defense. The B’s went to the power play once again as Derek Brassard was called for a high stick past the midway point of the period. The Isles killed off yet another Boston power play as the B’s continued to struggle to find scoring chances.

The Bruins pushed hard to take the lead late in the period as they put a ton on pressure on the New York defense. Both teams traded chances at the end of the period and Matt Barzal gave the Isles the lead after a great setup in the offensive zone with over a minute to go in the period.

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Brandon Carlo was called for tripping in the final minute of the period, giving the Isles a chance to extend their lead. The B’s killed the remainder of the period but New York still had time left on the man advantage.

Score: 2-1 Islanders

Third Period

The Bruins began the period with a number of shorthanded scoring chances as they looked to get a cheap one to tie the game. The B’s killed off the man advantage despite some solid puck movement from the Islanders. The Bruins had no trouble getting the puck and holding onto it but they continued to struggle to string together significant scoring opportunities. The B’s picked up their fourth power play of the game as Brad Marchand got hit with a high stick in front of the Isles net with 13:28 remaining. About midway through the man advantage, Brock Nelson was called for delay of game, giving Boston a five on three. Seconds into the two man advantage, Torey Krug launched one past Varlamov to tie it.

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The Islanders killed off the five on four to keep the game tied but the crowd was back in the game after Krug’s goal. The Bruins and Isles went up and down the ice, trading chances past the midway point of the period as the game started to open up considerably. Both teams started to hunker down defensively toward the end of regulation as they were careful to not make mistakes especially in their own zones.

End Of Regulation: Tied 2-2

Overtime

Both teams traded outstanding scoring opportunities at both ends in the extra session but nobody was able to find the back of the net and the game went to the shootout.

Shootout

Both Jordan Eberle and Matt Barzal scored in the shootout for the Islanders while David Pastrnak scored for the Bruins but Varlamov denied Brad Marchand to end it.

Final Score: 3-2 Islanders

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Varlamov

Second Star: Boychuk

Third Star: Bjork

Boston Bruins: Anders Bjork Is Here To Stay

( Photo Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports )

By: Scott Delano | Follow me on Twitter @Scottdelano3

When Anders Bjork was taken in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL Draft, expectations of him were not too high. The American born skater saw 145 players selected before him. He blossomed into a superstar playing his colligate career at the University of Notre Dame. His spectacular play for the Fighting Irish left Bruins fans hopeful for a future star after signing his entry-level contract after his junior season.

Bjork entered the NHL with the Boston Bruins in the 2017-2018 season and slotted on the top line. He was playing his off-wing, but still showed signs of promise and hope. The skill was there, but he was undersized and not accustomed to the speed and grit of top-line NHL minutes. He logged 4 goals and 8 assists before a shoulder injury cut his season short.

The 2018 – 2019 NHL season was a frustrating one for Anders. This season, hopes were high for the slick shooting speedster. The results were not what many had hoped for playing in only 20 games. He once again injured the same shoulder from the year prior and another surgery made him a spectator for the season. Bjork did contribute a goal and two assists, but clearly, the injury hindered his abilities.

This season the Boston Bruins assigned Bjork to Providence to gain confidence, build his strength and ease him up to the big leagues. It wasn’t a popular decision sending the best-looking guy on the ice in the preseason to the minors, but as we’ve seen it was the right one. He missed the big clubs first

Anders started the year off playing for Providence before the injury bug bit the Bruins and he earned a call-up. He tallied eight points in only seven games. Since then he’s logged 15 games of action tallying three goals and an assist.

Anders Bjork scores a power-play goal from the lower dot

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Bruce Cassidy has chosen to leave the left-shot forward playing on the left side and Anders looks more comfortable in his natural position. There is a chemistry building between his linemates Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen. He’s going strong into the corners for puck battles, crashing the net for rebounds and standing his ground to set screens. His hard work has won the reward of power-play minutes with the second unit.

What’s more impressive is the trust he’s earned from Bruce Cassidy killing penalties. Strong play on the forecheck, getting back to play defense and taking away passing lanes with his speed has his game rounding out in all areas. Seeing Anders get a few more pucks behind the opposing team’s netminder will boost his confidence and show his potential.

Anders Bjork is blossoming into an NHL hockey player right in front of our eyes. He has the speed, vision, and skill to be a staple in Boston’s top six for years to come. Still just 23 years of age, he has only just begun to come into his own

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Grading The Bruins’ Forwards At The Quarter Point Of The Season

Image result for patrice bergeron stats

(Jim Davis/Boston Globe Staff)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

The Boston Bruins have been one of the best teams in the NHL to begin the season. They’ve gotten contributions from up and down their lineup and have seen a plethora of players take the next step in their NHL careers. Now that the season is over a quarter of the way through, it seems like a good opportunity to dive into how each and every forward on the Bs have played so far. FYI, defense and goalies will be coming shortly.

Patrice Bergeron – A+

The man just seems to get better with age. At the ripe old age of 34, the four-time Selke winner is having yet another great season. With eight goals, 16 assists and his great defensive day in and day out, the center is well on his way to be a Selke finalist once again. After a minor injury scare, Bergeron didn’t miss a beat and put up five assists in two games after the injury which is great news for the Bruins.

Brad Marchand – A+

When you’re on pace for a 139 point season, how can you not receive an A+ grade? After his season ended on a very sour note with that mental lapse in Game 7, everyone’s favorite rat has come back and looks better than ever. I find myself mesmerized when he has the puck, his ability to slip through defenders is incredible. He’s able to use that to generate offense and it’s a big reason why he’s such an effective penalty killer.

David Pastrnak – A+

The league leader in goals is doing it all this year. With 20 goals already, he’s primed to usurp his career-high in goals (38) this season. It’s crazy to think that after a 38 goal, 81 point campaign someone can still improve but Pastrnak really does look like an improved player. He’s cut down on some turnovers, seems to miss the net less and is clearly developed into one of the league’s top goal scorers. His one-timer has gotten to Alex Ovechkin level and it’s really something special to watch.

(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

David Krejci – B+

Yet again, David Krejci is quietly putting together another great season. Despite going through different winger after winger after winger, which I feel like we say every single year, the Czech native has managed to put up four goals, 11 assists to go along with a +15 rating in 17 games. We saw some vintage Krejci in the final minutes of last night’s game against the Wild and I can smell yet another 70 point year if we get a healthy Krejci (knock on wood).

Jake Debrusk – B-

After a very lackluster start to the season where he put up just one assist in seven games, Mr. Celly is beginning to pick things up as of late. In his past 11 games, the 23-year-old has four goals with three assists and whatever rust he had to begin the season is clearly gone. If the duo of Debrusk and Krejci can find some consistency to their right, there’s no reason to think Debrusk’s play will not continue to improve.

Brett Ritchie – C

Don Sweeney has a very good track record with plucking random depth from other teams and turning them into successful players. While he hasn’t been a game-changing player, Brett Ritchie been able to play from line two through line four and has thrown in some offense and physical play. After scoring on his first shot in his first game, the former Star is already just two points shy of his total of six from last year. 

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Charlie Coyle – B

Charlie Coyle has been everything the Bruins wanted when they traded for him at last year’s trade deadline. He’s provided the Bs with the ability to roll four centers they can trust. He has everything you need in a third-line center: size, speed, strong two-way ability, good vision and an underrated shot (that he needs to use a whole lot more). He’s been able to get some good chemistry going with Danton Heinen and Anders Bjork so as the season goes on, I’d only expect their chemistry to grow.

Danton Heinen – B+

The amount of hate Danton Heinen gets is incredible. Day in and day out, he is one of the Bruins’ best forecheckers and is great at simply diging pucks out of the corner to create some offense. He was recently rewarded for his puck-retrieving ability by getting the nod over Jake Debrusk on the top powerplay and it’s paying dividends. He’s done all of the little things right and now he’s finally beginning to see some results. 

Here are two early plays where he demonstrates his puck retrieval, both of which turn into goals:

Anders Bjork – B

Anders Bjork is finally cementing himself as an everyday NHL player. After back to back seasons ending in injury, Bjorkie is here to stay. Despite not putting up massive numbers (three goals and an assist in 15 games) Bjork is providing very much needed stability to the third line. He looks stronger, smarter and more confident with the puck and just like Heinen, more results will continue to come.

(Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

The Fourth Line (Sean Kuraly, Chris Wagner, Joakim Nordstrom) C+

Yea this may seem like a cop-out to include all three into one rank but when healthy, they’ve been rolled out as a line for a large majority of the time. They haven’t been quite as effective as last year, but have continued to start about 67% of their shifts in the defensive zone against many opposing top players. The combined four goals and -8 rating isn’t going to show how defensively sound they have been but with the prowess of all three players and what we saw them do last year, a little more offense would be a nice boost to the Bruins’ roster. 

Par Lindholm – C-

Despite only having one goal in 13 games, I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Par Lindholm so far. Interestingly enough, up until the Bruins last game against the Washington Capitals, the Swede was the only player in the NHL that hadn’t had a goal scored on him at even strength. He was brought in as a decent option for the bottom-six and has been that so far.

NHL: Preseason-Philadelphia Flyers at Boston Bruins

(Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Zach Senyshyn – B

It’s a real shame we didn’t get to see more of Zach Senyshyn this season because in his short stint, there was a lot to like. He was able to pick up two assists in four games and that could’ve certainly be more if he didn’t get injured (and there wasn’t a certain thing called instant replay). I think it’s time for people to stop calling the former 1st-rounder a bust and let the kid show why the Bruins went after him.

Karson Kuhlman – C+

No points in his eight games but his speed and work-ethic were always there. He was able to generate many chances but his puck luck just wasn’t there. Hopefully, Kuhlman can wow us some more after returning from his injury. 

David Backes – C

Backes predominately worked on his skating over the summer and after a slow start, he was starting to find his game again. Specifically, he looked great in the game against the Sharks right before his unfortunate injury. His leadership will always be there but the biggest question is his health. It’ll be interesting to see what transpires when he gets healthy.

These next few players I haven’t given their own little paragraphs simply because they haven’t played enough games, each of the following have played three or fewer games.

( Photo Credit: Getty Images )

Cameron Hughes – C- Only played one game but didn’t look too out of place on the fourth line. Paul Carey – C- Copy and paste above from Hughes. Peter Cehlarik – C Cehlarik’s time in Boston is running down. He’s looked solid in his minimal games, picking up an assist in that time, but it’s clear the Bruins’ system and Cehlarik haven’t clicked. Trent Frederic – C- He was able to layout six hits in just 12:52 minutes of ice-time. He plays his game hard and I’d like to see more of him next season.

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