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.

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 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. 

boston-bruins-tuukka-rask-blue-jackets-31219.jpg

( 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.

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.

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 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

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

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Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (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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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Florida: 11/12/19

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Florida Panthers

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

Heinen – Krejci – Coyle

Bjork – Lindholm – Senyshyn

Nordstrom – Kuraly – Wagner

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Grzelcyk – Carlo

Vaakanainen – Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Florida’s Lineup

Forwards

Huberdeau –  Barkov – Dadonov

Vatrano – Trocheck – Malgin

Hoffman – Boyle – Connolly

Hunt – Acciari – Sceviour

Defense

Yandle – Ekblad

Matheson – Stralman

Pysyk – Brown

Goalies

Bobrovsky

Montembeault

Torey Krug was sidelined for this one with an upper-body injury and Urho Vaakanainen made his season debut with the Bruins in his place. Brett Ritchie and David Backes were also out with upper-body injuries. Jake DeBrusk sat for a second straight game in this one with a lower-body injury. Those injuries, on top of injury recoveries that John Moore and Kevan Miller continued to go through, forced the Bruins to roll with new second and third forward lines, as well as a new look on defense outside of the top pairing.

First Period

It was a weird start. There were just three shots on goal (2-1 Bruins) combined through the first 7:01 of the game. The first period was just a lot of back-and-forth. Some decent chances here and there, but nothing too crazy. Charlie Coyle did come very close to opening the scoring and notch his third goal of the season though.

Matt Grzelcyk saw two great chances come his way with around two minutes remaining. One was blocked by Mike Hoffman, the other was deflected out of his play. Neither team could get on the board.

Shortly after those chances, Charlie McAvoy caught Aleksander Barkov up high and went off for high sticking. Barkov was a bit shaken up on the play, and the Panthers had a power play with 13 seconds remaining in the period. A minute and 47 seconds of power play time bled into the second period for the Panthers. The final shots in the period were 7-5 Bruins.

Score: 0-0

Second Period

Just 57 seconds into the period, 1:10 of total time into the power play, the lights briefly shut off at TD Garden and play was stopped as a result. The Panthers were understandably not happy as it disrupted the flow of their power play in the offensive zone.

Sean Kuraly nearly got the scoring going as he flew towards the net with the puck on his stick, crashed into Sergei Bobrovsky, and failed to score. It was a wild start to the second period, to say the least.

At the 15:38 mark, Patrice Bergeron went to the box for holding, giving the Panthers their second power play opportunity of the game. The Panthers failed to score and eventually, at the 8:05 mark, David Pastrnak finally opened the scoring.

Coming into this one, the Bruins were 9-2-1 when scoring first. That’s good for scoring first in 76.47 percent of their total games prior to tonight, and winning 75 percent of those games. Pastrnak’s 16th goal of the season was assisted by Bergeron (10).

Joakim Nordstrom decided to get amongst the scoring as well, making it 2-0. Nordstrom’s second of the season was assisted by Coyle (5). The man comes back from injury against Philadelphia on Sunday, then scores a big goal on Tuesday. Not a bad way to make an impression after a stint on injured reserve.

Things didn’t get much better for the Panthers afterward as Dryden Hunt took a holding penalty with 4:27 to go in the period. Need more secondary scoring? Just ask Anders Bjork too. Bjork’s sent a wrister on Bobrovsky that bounced off of him and in to give the Bruins a three-goal lead. Bjork’s third goal of the season was assisted by David Krejci (6) and Brad Marchand (19).

The fourth unanswered goal of the period, came from Zdeno Chara getting behind Bobrovsky and burying a loose puck. Chara’s third goal of the season was assisted by Krejci (7) and Heinen (4). Check out the whole sequence in three parts below. Four goals in seven minutes and 26 seconds.

What a wild period. The Bruins outshot the Panthers 16-7, bringing the games total shots to 23-12 Bruins. It was for sure one of the better periods that the Bruins have played all season. A huge lead was all of the sudden in their collective grasp after a scoreless first period.

Score: 4-0 Boston

Third Period

Bad news came during the intermission in the form of Zach Senyshyn’s presence on the team for much of the second period. It was eventually announced that he would not return the game with a lower-body injury, putting the Bruins down a forward for the third period.

Samuel Montembeault took over in net for the Panthers to start the period and they responded early in the form of an Aaron Ekblad one-timer. Nordstrom was at the defensive blue line attempting to play defense, and that threw everything off defensively for the Bruins – the Panthers capitalized and made it 4-1.

Shortly after the goal, Vincent Trocheck launched himself towards Pastrnak. Pastrnak eventually got up following the collision under his own power, but Marchand took exception and gave Trocheck a bit of a piece of his mind. Trocheck then went off for elbowing. The Bruins didn’t convert on the power play.

Chris Wagner then went off for slashing just about four minutes into the period. Old friend Frank Vatrano made Wagner pay on the power play, because of course it was a former Bruin that scored – that happens on occasion.

The revitalized Panthers responded early and often after being on the receiving end of a thrashing in the second period. The wild final two periods surely made up for a quiet first period in terms of entertainment value.

Another penalty for the Bruins turned into another goal for the Panthers. Sean Kuraly went off with 11:28 to go for hooking. Hoffman buried a backhander to make it 4-3 Bruins. Things got tense really quickly. After an excellent start to the season, it has been tough sledding for Tuukka Rask as of late.

Former Bruin Noel Acciari tripped his old linemate Sean Kuraly with 6:28 to go, but the Bruins didn’t score on the man advantage. This game went into the Ford F-150 Final Five with a 4-3 score. David Krejci then went off the ice slowly after blocking a shot late in the period – leaving the Bruins down another forward.

It was once 4-0 Bruins, then it became 4-4. Four unanswered goals from each team. I definitely don’t remember ever seeing such an obscure feat accomplished in a hockey game. Keith Yandle tied the game with 1:39 to go. Overtime commenced. The shots were 12-9 Panthers, bringing the regulation total to 32-24 Bruins.

Score: 4-4

Overtime

Marchand, Pastrnak, and Coyle had premium chances, but no dice. It was an entertaining overtime period that became very stressful at the end. Hoffman found himself alone, but Rask stoned him. Rask then made a follow-up save to send the game to a shootout in the dying seconds of overtime. The shots in ovetime were 6-5 Bruins, 38-29 overall.

Shootout

Round one

Frank Vatrano: Miss

Chris Wagner: Miss

Round two

Vincent Trocheck: Goal

Brad Marchand: Miss

Round three

Jonathan Huberdeau: Miss

Charlie Coyle: Goal

Round four

Mike Hoffman: Goal

Charlie McAvoy: Miss

Final Score: 5-4 Florida (Shootout)

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What To Expect From Anders Bjork This Season

( Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

The injuries have already begun to pile up for the Bruins. With David Krejci and Karson Kuhlman out (as well as the lack of offense in general), the Bruins looked to call in some reinforcements from Providence. That reinforcement came in the form of Anders Bjork.

I think everybody expected Bjork to be back in the NHL at some point this year, but I don’t believe it was intended to be this early. After back to back season-ending injuries, the original plan was to have the Wisconsin native get his feet back under him in the AHL and to play his way back to the NHL. Before the season, coach Bruce Cassidy believed Bjork was “better off finding his scoring touch in Providence,” rather than beginning in Boston. 

That scoring touch Cassidy alluded to was what made Bjork a Hobey Baker finalist during his time at Notre Dame. He began his tenure with the Fighting Irish with 22 points in his rookie campaign. He continued to grow on that the season after, scoring at a point-per-game pace through 35 games. The 2016-17 season was where Bjork really shined. In 39 games, he was able to score 21 times and added 31 assists, finishing the year as a Hobey Baker finalist.

Bjork’s first season out of college started in Boston, where he flashed his potential at times, but left a lot to be desired in many aspects of his game. After 30 games, where he totaled 12 points, he was sent down to the AHL where his season was unfortunately cut short due to a shoulder injury. Bjork came into the 2018-19 season looking build off of his rookie year, but the narrative was all too similar to the season before. He was only able to tally three points in 20 games and was sent down to the AHL later in the season. Bjork was finally able to get something going in Providence with 10 points in 13 games but yet again, his season was cut short due to another shoulder injury.

To say Anders Bjork’s first two professional seasons didn’t go as planned would be an understatement. They were filled with inconsistencies and injuries, and for someone so highly touted, it is pretty safe to say that it was a failure of two years. With that being said, just as all good things must come to an end, all bad things do as well and Bjork is back and looks as good as he has ever looked.

Despite only playing in seven games in the AHL, the Bruins believed that now was the time to bring Bjork back to the big-leagues. The 23-year-old looked great in his stint in Providence. He potted three goals to go along with five assists and a +5 rating. Aside from the stats, Bjork has really looked like a much-improved player. His confidence has continued to grow and has added a bit more snarl to his game. Obviously, none of that matters unless he is able to convert that to the NHL level but within his first three games in the NHL this season, we’ve seen positive results.

Not only did he rip a beautiful one-timer in the back of the net, but the most promising results have actually been his very apparent improvements in board-work and his offensive zone possession. Despite only averaging 11:47 of ice-time a game, whatever forwards Bjork has been paired with has generated multiple high-end chances and maintain a lot of zone time. That’s apparent with Bjork’s CF% (a possession stat) sitting at 62.5%. For reference, the Bruins outstanding top line has averaged 59.9%, so yea, Bjork has been good. After that game against St. Louis, coach Bruce Cassidy had some good things to say about Bjork, “nice to see him get rewarded, nice play. He was good hunting pucks, on the walls. Great kid, quiet, he’s worked hard and the guys love him. He’s going to be a National Hockey League player.” A young player getting praised by their coach (especially the same coach that believed he needed some time in the AHL) is always promising to see.

So what can we expect from Bjork for the rest of the season? Considering the injuries continuing to pile up, we should get our fair share of Bjork over the next few weeks. With a healthy David Krejci, I’d think Bjork would stay on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen or Brett Ritchie, which with the former, proved to be an effective line throughout their games together in the pre-season. When Bjork-Coyle-Heinen was used they held a 16-3 edge in shot attempts, and a 3-0 edge in hi-danger chances), during the 7:55 of 5v5 TOI (stat courtesy of @ConorRyan_93 on twitter). If that line can get some chemistry and solid playing time, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be just as effective as that line in the playoffs with Marcus Johansson.

They say third times a charm, and in Bjork’s third chance with the big club, I think he finally makes his mark in the NHL. With his always apparent speed and skill, and clearly much-improved work without the puck, the Bruins have yet another dynamic player on their hands. Anders Bjork will be a big part of the Bruins team this year.

(Also to end it off, this goal was too good to not share)

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