Karson Kuhlman’s Position On The Bruins

(Photo Credit: AP Photo / Winslow Townson)

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

When Don Sweeney took over as General Manager of the Boston Bruins, one item on his to-do list was to send his scouts to a relatively untapped market.  Historically, American college hockey took a backseat to leagues like Canada’s Ontario Hockey League, Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, and Sweden’s Elite Swedish League.  Draft-eligible players found themselves forgoing college hockey and playing in these leagues because that’s where the competition was.  Over the last seven or eight years, though, American college hockey has attracted more stars, and NHL teams have noticed.

Don Sweeney played at Harvard University from 1984-1988.  He is familiar with the talent in the college hockey system, which explains his vested interest.  Some of his recent draft picks have even come from Boston University, University of Denver, and the University of Wisconsin.  Moreover, he’s made sure his scouts are also looking for players who weren’t drafted in June and invite them to training camp.  One player in particular who fits this situation is Karson Kuhlman.

The Esko, Minnesota native played his college hockey 20 minutes northeast of his hometown at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.  Karson was awarded captain his senior year and posted a modest 80 points and an impressive plus-47 rating in 166 games for the Bulldogs.  He and his teammates won the franchise’s second National Championship in 2017-18.  Karson was named MVP of the Frozen Four and scored a goal and an assist in the title game.  Kuhlman’s style of play fits the Bruins style perfectly.  He is a smaller center, with great hands, a lethal shot, and the ability to lead on and off the ice.

Unfortunately, Kuhlman was not drafted during his eligibility year in 2014.  He was invited to two training camps by the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens.  Neither team saw enough to sign him.  Thankfully, his hometown roots made him a rememberable name to another Minnesota Native with Bruin ties.  Jamie Langenbrunner, former NHL right-winger, and current Bruins player development coach, knew Kuhlman before the NHL teams caught on.  Langenbrunner has long been impressed by Kuhlman’s “attention to detail. He’s a kid that plays a pro-style game in the way he positions himself, uses his body, gets pucks out on walls.

The Bruins invited Kuhlman to their 2017 development camp to see what Langenbrunner had advocated.  He left the Bruins without a deal, but they kept a keen eye on him.  Following his senior year, the Bruins signed Kuhlman to a 2-year, $1.5M contract, and he reported directly to Providence.  He would only play in three games, notching two assists for the baby Bruins.  The following year, he played through the end of January for the Bruins’ AHL farm team and received the call up to the Boston Bruins when one of their star players injured himself.

David Pastrnak slipped on ice in the Boston streets and injured his thumb.  This created an empty roster spot, which Kuhlman was called to fill.  He joined the Bruins on their west coast road trip and lit the lamp in his second career NHL game.

He would play in nine more regular-season games and made the playoff roster.  He played through game one of the Columbus series and was eventually scratched for the veteran David Backes.  Kuhlman would watch the Bruins from the ninth floor until game six of the Stanley Cup finals.  Similar to his time in Minnesota, Kuhlman shined on the team’s biggest stage.

Both the Stanley Cup goal and the NCAA Championship goal featured Kuhlman’s lethal shot.  He has immense power and accuracy from most areas of the offensive zone, and both goals are evidence of that.  His willingness to shoot the puck in any spot of the offensive zone will pay dividends for his style of play in the long run.

The 24-year old was set to make a lasting impact on the Bruins second line at the beginning of the 2019 regular season.  He formed great chemistry with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci right off the bat.  The Bruins and its fanbase were hopeful they found the top-six winger they’d been longing for.  He was averaging nearly 13 minutes a game through the first eight games in October until he suffered an unfortunate injury.

It wouldn’t be until January 3, 2020, that Kuhlman would return to the ice.  He was sent to Providence for a conditioning stint to get his legs back and up to game speed.  Once again, Kuhlman didn’t skip a beat and notched three points in four games, one of which was an impressive score.

The Bruins finally called up Kuhlman on January 16, 2020, against the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he set up two Bruin goals.  Karson’s call up is also interesting timing.  The Bruins had just sent down Brett Ritchie and are still looking for the top-six winger that’s plagued them for years.  Kuhlman’s skill is undeniable, but is he the answer for Krejci’s wing?

That is still to be determined.  He has yet to play a full season as a top-six forward.  He certainly fits the mold of what the Bruins search for in players.  He’s versatile, leads by example, and plays on both ends of the ice.  He even throws his body around quite well for a sub-6-foot forward. Karson has already earned the trust of his coaches and the organization, which could yield significant benefits in the future.

Even if he doesn’t answer the Bruins hole on the second line, he would fit nicely with Danton Heinen and Charlie Coyle on the third line.  That line combination would be a high-speed, hard-hitting, skillful third unit to counter the league’s top counterparts.  Karson is a mainstay on this Bruins roster, and time will tell what line is best for him and the franchise.

Check out this weeks Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 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 Place Forward David Backes on Waivers

David Backes

PHOTO CREDITS: (nbcsports.ca)

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

As per numerous reports on social media, including from The Athletic’s Joe McDonald (@JoeyMacHockey on Twitter) and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC on Twitter), the Boston Bruins have placed forward David Backes for assignment to the Providence Bruins.

David Backes, 35, has played in 16 games this season for the Bruins, scoring one goal and two assists for three points and a -2 rating. Backes has not played a game since Boston’s 5-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets on January 9th where he skated for eleven shifts totalling 8:35 of ice-time. He has not scored a point since December 5th against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Boston signed the Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA native to a five-year, $30,000,000 contract ($6 million AAV) on the opening day of free agency back in the 2016 off-season. Prior to the signing, Backes had been the captain of the St. Louis Blues, totalling 727 career regular-season games with the Blues, scoring 206-254-460 numbers in that span. It was a tough move for him to make, but he felt he had a better shot to hoist the Stanley Cup if he signs with the Bruins.

Since the signing, Backes has not turned out to be what Boston expected. In 217 regular-season games for the Black and Gold, Backes scored 29-55-94 numbers along with 12 points in 39 playoff games dating back to the 2016-17 campaign. Backes scored two goals and three assists during Boston’s 2019 Stanley Cup Finals run as well.

The move to send Backes down is an interesting one, considering the move to put Brett Ritchie on waivers earlier in the week (he cleared). With players such as Karson Kuhlman and even Anton Blidh pushing for more consistent spots on the roster, older veterans like Backes simply don’t have the space on the team anymore. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy re-iterated that in a much simpler way.

The likelihood of Backes getting claimed by one of the other 31 NHL franchises is slim, but there is a benefit to him going to the Providence Bruins as well. As Bruins Network (@BruinsNetwork on Twitter) stated, if the 35-year-old clears waivers, the Bruins will free up $1 million in salary. With the trade deadline looming around the corner, every dollar counts and Backes’ $6 million cap hit right now is a lot to continue paying if he continues to be in the press box.

For the latest breaking news, updates, and injury reports, make sure to check back on blackngoldhockey.com and follow on Twitter (@BlackNGoldPod). The Boston Bruins play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, January 19th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Puck drop is scheduled for 12:30pm EST.

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!!

Bruins Place Forward Brett Ritchie on Waivers

brett_ritchie_100319.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (nbcsports.com)

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

According to insider Elliotte Friedman, the Boston Bruins have placed forward Brett Ritchie on waivers with purpose of assignment to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League. This comes one day after Ritchie played 10:27 over 14 shifts in Boston’s 3-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on the road.

Last offseason, the Boston Bruins signed Ritchie to a one-year contract that will pay him $1 million for the 2019-2020 campaign. Prior to signing with the Bruins, the 26-year-old forward played 241 career regular-season games with the Dallas Stars. Highlighted by his 2016-17 season where he put up 16-8-24 numbers in 78 games played, Ritchie finished his five-year tenure in Dallas with 33-21-54 totals.

The Orangeville, Ontario, Canada native scored four goals and two assists for six points in 53 games during the 2018-19 season, but when his contract expired, the Stars opted to let him walk, allowing the Bruins to sign him in free agency. Boston did not have the available cap space to sign some of the more well-known free agents, so the organization settled on depth players with Ritchie being one of those players.

Ritchie scored the first goal of the 2019-2020 season for the Boston Bruins, half of his entire goal output in 27 games skated for the Black and Gold. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has tried Ritchie all over the place, seeing minutes with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci on the second-line, to minutes on the third and fourth lines as well. Unfortunately for him and the Bruins organization, he has not been able to find his game offensively whatsoever.

Now, if Ritchie does indeed clear waivers, he will report to the AHL’s Providence Bruins, who are third in the Atlantic Division with a 22-15-1 record through the first 40 games of the season. In the case that Ritchie joins Providence, his $1 million salary will still be on the bill for the Boston Bruins, where as if he is claimed, he is off the books and no longer apart of the B’s at all.

The big question with this transaction is what it means for a possible future transaction. With the injury of goaltender Tuukka Rask last night in Columbus and the recent losses on their record, changes were expected and predicted – this just brings up that question about what exactly this new change will be. Within the next 24 hours, we will know the next stages of Brett Ritchie’s future with the Boston Bruins.

For the latest breaking news, updates, and injury reports – make sure to check back to blackngoldhockey.com and give all of the excellent writers a follow on Twitter including myself (@tkdmaxbjj).

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!!\

Report: Bruins Interested in Kovalchuk

( Photo Credit: David Kirouac/ Icon Sportswire )

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

Could the recent release of a former-NHL All-Star solve the Bruins top-six winger issue?

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At first glance, most Bruins fans want nothing to do with the 36-year-old aging winger. But, dig a little deeper and his services could be beneficial for the remainder of the year.

Kovalchuk is a former number one overall pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. The Atlanta Thrashers, now the Winnipeg Jets, selected the Russian forward with the intent he’d be their franchise player. Kovalchuk averaged 1.03 points in eight years with the Thrashers. He scored 41 goals in his third season with the Thrashers, which yielded him (along with Rick Nash and Jarome Iginla) the Maurice Richard Trophy (most goals in a season).

In his final contract year with the Thrashers, he was traded to the Devils in a massive deal. The Devils and Kovalchuk agreed to a record-breaking 15-year, $100 million deal. Unfortunately for New Jersey and its fans, he only played the first four years of the deal before leaving for the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia (KHL) to be closer to his family. When Kovalchuk left the NHL, his contract was terminated and he was placed on the voluntary retirement list. The Devils maintained his NHL rights until he turned 35, which was April 15, 2018.

The KHL is notorious for plucking Russian-born NHL stars to play in their homeland. Players like Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk have left the NHL to play in Russia’s top hockey league because they’re offered the highest salaries to represent their country in their native league. Kovalchuk continued his torrid 1.08 points per game pace in 5 years with the KHL, but the NHL itch to win a Stanley Cup was still present for Ilya.

When the news broke that Kovalchuk wanted to return to the NHL in 2018, the Bruins were considered a front-running destination. The Bruins were coming off an unsatisfying playoff run, getting steamrolled by the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 4-1 series loss. The Bruins’ Achilles heel all playoffs was their lack of scoring depth, so the interest in the former 50-goal scorer was warranted. Kovalchuk made it abundantly clear he wanted to sign with a Stanley Cup team on a longer-term deal. Don Sweeney (current Bruins General Manager) could not dish out the money and term that Kovalchuk sought. The Los Angeles Kings won the Kovalchuk sweepstakes days before the July 1 free agency period.

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The Kings won Lord’s Stanley Cup twice in the past 10 years, so they definitely had the championship pedigree. However, the Kings became too old and injury-prone over the last two years and couldn’t find their groove. They missed the playoffs last year, finishing 30th out of the 31 teams and recently fired their head coach. Kovalchuk’s cap hit of $6.25 million per year suddenly became too costly for a rebuilding franchise. The Kings cut Kovalchuk on December 9th, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent. He hasn’t played for the Kings since November 9th but is still vying for the Stanley Cup.

The Bruins, coincidentally, are still searching for a formidable top-six winger. They have tried numerous options such as Charlie Coyle, Brett Ritchie, and Anders Bjork. Coyle was acquired from the Minnesota Wild ahead of last year’s trade deadline to solidify their third-line center position. Bjork hasn’t been able to sustain a full year yet due to injuries and is still adapting to the NHL play. Brett Ritchie has 4 points in 19 games, which is nowhere close to a proper top six stat line. Kovalchuk’s current season stat line is similar to Ritchie’s, but he has the history of scoring and the numbers to back him. In nine seasons, he’s surpassed 30 goals in his 13-year career.

Kovalchuk and his agent have made it clear he is “OK” with signing a league-minimum deal of $700K. He would be an extremely low risk, high reward situation for the Bruins for even just the remainder of the year. His size (6’4 222-pounds) and prolific scoring would be beneficial to the Bruins offense, and especially to David Krejci. Krejci has been the most affected by the Bruins inability to find a top-six winger. He hasn’t had a capable set of wingers since Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. The move could also allow Cassidy to shift Pastrnak down to Krejci, where he’s found success this season.

The Bruins would have to create cap space in order to make this move. Waiving Brett Ritchie would be the most logical move, which would create $1 million in cap space. Ritchie has not panned out in the Bruins plans as of late and could use some AHL time to find his game.

The other question is, how Kovalchuk would fit into the Bruins locker room? Team chemistry is key in any NHL locker room. Bruins fans are privy to this as they’ve seen the likes of Dougie Hamilton and Tyler Seguin traded due to lack of chemistry and other team-related issues. The hope is the Bruins have a strong enough locker room bond because of their leaders like Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Krejci.

If the Bruins did sign Kovalchuk, their initial line combinations could be:

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Kovalchuk

Bjork – Coyle – Heinen

Nordstrom – Kuraly – Backes

These lines create flexibility for Cassidy and line chemistry to develop. Kovalchuk would also immediately slot into a power-play role, where has always found success, even in LA.

The Bruins top need has been a capable top-six forward. Bruins management has been scouring NHL rosters for the void that has plagued them for the past few seasons and playoffs. They have done their due diligence, even as far as inquiring on Taylor Hall.

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It’s clear Sweeney does not want to take the Dave Dombrowski approach and sacrifice his prospects and payroll for a likely rental. Kovalchuk, though a short-term solution, presents a cost-effective quick fix and could pay dividends to come playoff time. The Bruins would not need to trade a budding young star in order to acquire Ilya. The Bruins should certainly kick the tires on Kovalchuk and identify what it would take to bring him to Boston for the remainder of the year.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 158 that we recorded on 12-16-19 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! 

Bruce Cassidy Provides Update on Injured Bruins

bergy

( Photo Credit: ESPN.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

The Bruins have hardly been completely healthy in what seems like a very long time. That trend will continue on Sunday night in Boston when the Bruins host the Canadiens for their third matchup with their all-time rivals this Month and their first at TD Garden this year. The Bruins will be without one of their most valuable players again with Patrice Bergeron set to miss his fourth straight game this week.

After the Bruins took the ice for practice on Saturday at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Bruce Cassidy gave updates on the banged up Bruins. Patrice Bergeron was not on the ice again and it was announced that he will not play tomorrow night against Montreal with his lingering lower-body injury. Bergeron has missed his last four games and six out of the last eight games for the Black ‘N Gold.

Earlier this season, Cassidy has stated that he would rather keep Bergeron out until he is 100% healthy rather than rush him back into the lineup and risk further injury. There is no reason for Bergeron to come back unless he is more than healthy enough to return. The Bruins are continuing to roll this season and have won six in a row and have points in 10 straight games including an 8-1 thumping of the Canadiens last Tuesday night.

The Bruins continued their dominance on Black Friday during the Thanksgiving Showdown game when they hosted Henrik Lundqvuist and the New York Rangers for the traditional matinee Thanksgiving game. The Bruins fell behind by 2 but were able to comeback and win the game in overtime to continue their dominance at home. The Bruins still have yet to lose a regulation game at home and have a 10-0-4 record on Causeway Street.

Brad Marchand was also not on the ice as he was playing through flu-like symptoms yesterday but was able to finish the game. As a result he was held out of practice on Saturday and the team will assess how he feels tomorrow. Brad Marchand was also hit up high from an elbow by Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba in the second period. The NHL’s concussion spotter did not pull Brad Marchand from the game until early in the third period which did not make Brad Marchand very happy after the game:

“The guy’s up there eating pizza’s and cheeseburger’s and can’t watch the game. Maybe next time he’ll pull his head out of his butt and watch the game.”

Marchand later apologized in a tweet for his comments stating that his emotions got the best of him and that he did not want to miss a shift when the Bruins were down in the hockey game.

Brett Ritchie was also not skating at practice but Bruce Cassidy did shed some light on some positive news stating that David Backes and John Moore are very close to returning to the lineup.

The Bruins continue to be banged up in the forward group and the defense core but are continuing their dominance over the NHL and have soared to the top of the NHL’s overall standings.

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Bruins’ Cassidy Provides Injury Updates On Bergeron And Co.

Patrice-Bergeron.jpg

(Photo: Steven Ryan / Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy provided injury updates on Par Lindholm, Brett Ritchie, and most notably, Patrice Bergeron at Warrior Ice Arena, following Boston’s practice on Monday afternoon. Cassidy said Bergeron will not travel for the team’s next two games in Montreal and Ottawa as he is dealing with a lower-body injury similar to the one that kept him out of the lineup recently; the 34-year-old did not skate at practice.

Cassidy also noted that Ritchie, who continues to nurse an infection, will not travel with the team and did not practice either, after returning to the lineup during Saturday’s 5-4 overtime win versus Minnesota. Lindholm returned to practice and will return to the lineup Tuesday night after missing Saturday’s contest due to a cut suffered against Buffalo on Thursday, per Cassidy.

This season, Bergeron has eight goals and 16 assists for 24 points over the course of 21 games centering the lethal top line. As for Ritchie, the hulking winger has two goals and two assists to his name while Lindholm has one goal on the year.

The Bruins’ bench boss included Brendan Gaunce and Jack Studnicka in the real of possibility when looking at players that could potentially earn call-ups from AHL Providence.

Studnicka has been on fire lately with goals in five-straight games as well as eight total points in that span, making for 9-9-18 totals in 21 games this season. Meanwhile, Gaunce has been productive in his own right for the P-Bruins with 6-5-11 numbers in 14 games on the year, including five points (2g, 3a) in his last four games.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 155 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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Report: Bruins Place F Nordstrom on IR, Recall F Cehlarik From AHL

joakim-nordstrom-1.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images)

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

While most Boston Bruins fans were asleep, the CapFriendly Transactions Twitter page, (@CF_Transactions) announced that forward Joakim Nordstrom has been placed on the injured reserve and forward Peter Cehlarik has been recalled from the American Hockey League affiliate, the Providence Bruins.

Joakim Nordstrom, 27, has missed the last two games for the Bruins with what is being determined an “infection in his elbow” and he needs to allow it to “cool down” according to numerous sources. On October 29th, Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said the following in a press conference about Nordstrom.

“He [Nordstrom] had an infection in his elbow. I don’t know what the timeline is, to be honest, but they have to let it calm down, so I’ll doubt we see him Saturday. After that, I’ll probably be able to give you a better update.” Cassidy goes on to say that he won’t necessarily rule Nordstrom out, “I shouldn’t even rule him out for Saturday, but I think that it was similar to what [David] Backes went through a few years ago.” – Bruce Cassidy via @nhlbruins on Twitter

Nordstrom has only played in four games so far in the 2019-2020 campaign after missing the first few games due to a broken foot sustained in the Stanley Cup Finals against the St. Louis Blues back in June. In those four games, the Stockholm, Sweden native has one goal and an even plus/minus rating averaging 13:33 minutes-per-game.

In practice on Friday, defenceman Connor Clifton was skating as the third-line right-wing while forward Brett Ritchie was absent. Cassidy later revealed that Ritchie’s absence in Friday’s practice was due to a maintenance day and he believes that the 26-year-old will play against Ottawa on Saturday, although, there was “some level of concern” with him missing practice.

Also on Friday, freelancing writer, Mark Divver (@MarkDivver on Twitter) tweeted that forward Peter Cehlarik had been recalled by Boston on a loan to the National Hockey League according to the AHL Transactions. The report of Nordstrom being placed on IR makes Divver’s report of Cehlarik’s arrival in Boston more understandable.

Cehlarik, 24, has one game under his belt for the NHL Bruins this season, playing 12:05 against the New York Rangers on Sunday night. Cehlarik finished the night with zero shots and a -2 rating before being sent back down to Providence due to the return of Chris Wagner against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

With the P-Bruins, Cehlarik has been lighting it up, scoring six goals and four assists for ten points in six games played. Cehlarik’s last game was a two-assist night against the Rochester Americans on Wednesday – a game Providence won by a final score of 4-3. Cehlarik re-signed with the Bruins organization this past offseason on a one-year, two-way contract worth $700,000 ($125,000 in minors) and will need a new deal come July 1st, 2020.

As of 2:00 am EST on Saturday, November 2nd, the Boston Bruins have not officially confirmed these transactions, they are strictly from the sites and sources provided above. The Boston Bruins play the Ottawa Senators in Boston. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST from the TD Garden.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 151 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: Boston at Vegas: 10/8/19

Boston Bruins v Vegas Golden Knights

(Photo Credit: David Becker/NHL via Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Vegas Golden Knights

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Kuhlman

Heinen – Coyle – Ritchie

Wagner – Kuraly – Backes

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Vegas’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchessault – Karlsson – Smith

Pacioretty – Glass – Stone

Pirri – Stastny – Zykov

Carrier – Nosek – Reaves

Defense

McNabb – Theodore

Merrill – Holden

Hague – Engelland

Goalies

Fleury

Subban

Two unbeaten teams that are set to be contenders in their respective conferences this year went at it in Vegas for the first time this year. The Bruins were 3-1-0 against the Golden Knights in their four career matchups against one another coming into this one. But, this marked Tuukka Rask’s first bout with the Golden Knights of his career. This game put Zdeno Chara in 23rd place all-time in games played (1,488), now ahead of Wayne Gretzky.

First Period

The game started off fast as David Pastrnak ripped a backhander with speed towards the net right off the bat. Brad Marchand talked about wanting his line to keep trending upwards, chances like that could do it. Brett Ritchie followed it up a couple shifts later with a backhand chance of his own. Some good offensive pace to start for the Bruins, with other chances to boot.

What ended up becoming some really solid back-and-forth was halted by a goaltender interference penalty on Ritchie just 5:15 into the period. The momentum that the Golden Knights established early on in the power play lead to a power-play goal for a wide-open Mark Stone, putting the Bruins down by one 6:36 into the first period. The first time the Bruins trailed in the 2019-2020 season.

It didn’t stop there for the Golden Knights, as former Bruin Reilly Smith broke free and buried a cross-crease pass to make it 2-0 with 8:20 into the period. After a solid first five minutes or so for the Bruins, the game started to slip away quickly.

They didn’t let it bother them too much, as David Pastrnak got the Bruins on the board. Pastrnak’s first of the season was assisted by Patrice Bergeron’s steal and a cross-crease pass from Brad Marchand 11:21 into the period.

More good fortune came the Bruins’ way with 2:22 to go in the period thanks to a Brandon Pirri slashing penalty. A wide-open net right off the bat couldn’t be capitalized on, but the top power-play unit was buzzing to start. The rabid offensive pressure paid off when Marchand buried a one-timer to tie the game. The tying goal, Marchand’s first of the season, was assisted by David Pastrnak and Torey Krug.

The final shots were 12-11 in favor of the Golden Knights in the most electric period of the Bruins season so far. Marchand wanted the line to continue to trend upwards, and that they did in the first period. The top line sprung a much-needed turnaround after being down by two early on.

Score: 2-2

Second Period

You thought the top line was done? Nope. Brad Marchand buried his second of the game and third of the season on a partial break high over the glove of Fleury. Pastrnak’s second assist of the game came off of a crafty indirect pass, making it 3-2 Bruins just 33 seconds into the period.

To make it two goals in 54 seconds, Krug sent a shot on net that deflected off of Ryan Reaves’ stick and in. Brandon Carlo and Sean Kuraly had the assists. Things were changing very rapidly, as Krug’s goal marked the fourth unanswered goal for the Bruins.

David Backes then went to the penalty box for retaliation shortly after Krug’s goal. Luckily, the Bruins restored normalcy and killed the penalty.

Even though the frantic goal-scoring took a break, the Bruins dominated the majority of the flow of play in the second period. One huge chance for the Golden Knights came when Jonathan Marchessault split the defense and got in Rask’s grill, but Rask made the stop. The Bruins played some of their best hockey of the season.

Things got crazy again when it looked like Max Pacioretty scored within the final three minutes of the period. It actually hit the post and didn’t actually cross the goal line. Potential crisis averted. The shots in the second were 15-12 in favor of the Golden Knights, but the Bruins had the lead.

Score: 4-2 Boston

Third Period

Two minutes into the period, Nicolas Hague went to the box for two minutes for hooking. Despite not scoring on the power play, the Bruins continued to create havoc in the offensive zone consistently.

Through the first nine minutes of the period, the shots were 7-0 Bruins, then Brayden McNabb took a holding penalty. Vegas’ first shot didn’t come until 11:32 into the period. The game shifted back in Vegas’ favor after Pacioretty scored on the power play following a Marchand cross-checking penalty, making it 4-3 late.

Gerard Gallant eventually pulled Fleury within the final two minutes. For the first time since 2002, the Bruins start the season 3-0. 82-0 is still intact. Rask made 31 saves, but unfortunately was hurt at the end of the game and had to be carried off the ice. The Bruins had 35 shots, and the Bruins staved off a tense final three or so minutes to this game. Next up are the Colorado Avalanche on the road at 9:00 PM on Thursday.

Final Score: 4-3 Boston

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 148 that we recorded on 10-6-19 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!

Game 2 Preview: Boston Bruins vs. Arizona Coyotes 10/5/2019

Image result for boston bruins vs arizona coyotes

(Photo Credits: AP/Ralph Freso)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

The Boston Bruins continue their tough road trip when they face the Arizona Coyotes tonight at the Gila River Arena. After the B’s held on to win against the Dallas Stars this past Thursday night, they’re hoping to have a repeat against a Phil Kessel-led team. One issue that continues to  face the Bruins: will David Krejci be healthy enough to play today or will his injury continue to sideline the forward?

As the team took to the ice in Arizona yesterday morning, the 33-year-old Czech native skated with more confidence, which bode well with Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy:

” Felt a lot better today (Friday). Did some battles at the end of practice, got through that fine. We’re gonna rule him as a game-time decision. But I’m more confident that he’ll get in tomorrow than I was yesterday morning. But it will be his call.”

Image result for david krejci

(Photo Credits: Getty Images)

Krejci skated alongside Jake DeBrusk and Karson Kuhlman and is as hopeful as Coach Cassidy in a potential return to tonight’s lineup:

“Another day, another good day. Feeling pretty hopeful for tomorrow…Obviously another practice…I think the thing for me was to get some battles in, alongside the boards. We did some battles after practice. A little extra. That felt good. Happy about it, so hopefully I’ll wake up tomorrow and there’s no setback and I’ll be good to go. We’ll see tomorrow.”

Image result for boston bruins vs arizona coyotes

(Photo Credits:  Christopher Evans/Boston Herald)

If Krejci is once again not able to play tonight, expect to see Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie in the lineup tonight. Both played solid in their debut with Boston. Squaring off  against his former team, Ritchie notched the first goal of the season for the Bruins early in the first period.  Minutes later, Lindholm had a penalty in the first that led to a Danton Heinen power-play goal.  Tonight, the Bruins will be looking to continue their win streak versus Arizona as they have previously won the last 14-straight games. Provided that Krejci suits up, here are the projected lineups:

BOSTON BRUINS PROJECTED LINEUP:

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Karson Kuhlman

Danton Heinen – Charlie Coyle – Brett Ritchie

Chris Wagner – Sean Kuraly – David Backes

Joakim Nordstrom – Par Lindholm

 

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton

Steven Kampfer

 

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

 

WELCOME TO THE DESERT

With the addition of former Penguins star Phil Kessel and new ownership/chairman, the Coyotes have been thrust into the conversation of a team to watch this season. Kessel will be playing his 776th consecutive game-the second longest active streak in the NHL.  In tonight’s  home opener against the Bruins, Arizona will look to get a win on the boards after dropping their season opener, losing 2-1 to the Anaheim Ducks. Forwards Christian Dvorak and Nick Schmaltz spent most of last season injured and will return to the lineup with a full clean bill of health. Led by Head Coach Rick Tocchet, here are the projected lineups:

ARIZONA COYOTES PROJECTED LINEUPS:

Keller – Stepan – Kessel

Garland – Soderberg – Schmaltz

Crouse – Dvorak – Fischer

Graber – Richardson – Hinostroza

 

Ekman-Larsson – Demers

Goligoski – Hjalmarsson

Chychrun – Desterle

 

Keumper

Raanta

 

WHEN TO WATCH: Tonight at 9:00 PM EST; 6:00 PM-MT GILES RIVER ARENA

WHERE TO WATCH: ESPN+, FS-A, FS-A PLUS, NESN

 

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Dallas: 10/3/19

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Dallas Stars

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Coyle – Ritchie

Heinen – Lindholm – Kuhlman

Wagner – Kuraly – Backes

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Dallas’s Lineup

Forwards

Benn – Seguin  – Pavelski

Dickinson – Hintz – Radulov

Cogliano – Faksa – Comeau

Janmark – Dowling – Gurianov

Defense

Lindell – Klingberg

Heiskanen – Sekera

Oleksiak – Polak

Goalies

Bishop

Khudobin

The Bruins are back, and that’s pretty cool. The first stop on the road slate of the season was Dallas where the Bruins took on the Stars to start both team’s respective seasons. David Krejci was a last-minute scratch due to injury, leading to Brett Ritchie’s debut in response. For the Bruins, not a whole lot changed in the offseason outside of replacing Marcus Johansson and Noel Acciari with Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie, essentially.

The Stars, on the other hand, landed Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry in free agency. Anyone that was watching knew that the Stars were going to come out of the gate with intensity against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Bruins.

First Period

What’s the weirdest way this season could have started? Former Dallas Star Brett Ritchie scoring on his first shot as a Bruin just 1:09 into the game. Yeah, that happened. Charlie Coyle had the lone assist.

Alexander Radulov went to the box 4:23 into the period for holding. Danton Heinen made him pay late in the man advantage to give the Bruins a two-goal lead 14:01 to go. Two goals on two shots. Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy had the helpers.

The rest of the period was much quieter than the first five minutes. But, the Bruins managed to control the flow of play for much of the remainder of the period, despite not scoring more goals than the two they scored early on. Radek Faksa went off for high sticking with 2:27 go in the period, giving the Bruins an opportunity for the Bruins to go up by three.

Although they failed to convert on the power play, Dallas didn’t get on the board, so the missed opportunity was a bit more palpable. Not a bad way to start the season, especially the first period. The shots were 6-4 in favor of the Bruins.

Score: 2-0 Boston

Second Period

It was a pretty standard, back-and-forth period to start until Roman Polak went into the boards awkwardly and made some pretty painful-looking shoulder contact with the boards. He was down for quite a while in some serious pain before being helped off the ice on a stretcher by team personnel.

Shortly after the injury, Roope Hintz buried the first Dallas goal of the season to cut the Bruins’ lead in half with 12:05 to go. Radulov then went off the ice for the second time for tripping Par Lindholm just past the halfway point. It wasn’t a very eventful power-play opportunity, so normalcy ensued. Dallas certainly had a bit more energy after losing Polak to injury.

A fourth Boston power play came after McAvoy was interfered with by Mattias Janmark. McAvoy then went off for a penalty of his own, making it a 4-on-4, temporarily. Luckily, for the Bruins, Dallas didn’t score on the power play following the conclusion of Janmark’s penalty. The shots were 9-7 in favor of Dallas this time around, as they began to turn the tide a bit.

Score: 2-1 Boston 

Third Period

Some momentum was generated in the Bruins favor early thanks to some offensive chances from the Bergeron line. That was until Zdeno Chara went to the box for interference within the first minute. Rask made a couple solid saves within the final 30 seconds of the power play to preserve the one-goal lead.

Despite not scoring on the power play, Dallas kept the offensive zone pressure up and kept Tuukka Rask busy. That pressure kept up for quite some time, pretty consistently through the first ten or so minutes of the period. One of the highlights on the Bruins side of this onslaught in favor of Dallas was when Rask flashed the leather on a shot from Hintz that was labeled for the top corner.

Speaking of Hintz, Chris Wagner buried him at the eventual conclusion of the next shift. Through the first eight minutes of the third period, the shots were 11-7 Dallas, and they weren’t giving the Bruins much.

For the most part, outside of a Karson Kuhlman breakaway chance, credit to Dallas for not allowing a whole lot of fluidity through the neutral zone and into the defensive zone for the Bruins. If you scroll past the tweet below, you’ll see both of Kuhlman’s big-time scoring chances from the game.

Huge blocks from Brad Marchand, Chris Wagner, and a strong defensive stand preserved the win for the Bruins after Jim Montgomery pulled Ben Bishop late. The shots were 16-7 Dallas in the third, meaning Rask is very much worthy of praise for being instrumental in holding the one-goal lead for so long.

The Bruins start of the season in the win column. An 82-0 season is still possible, folks. Next up are the Arizona Coyotes on the road this Saturday at 9 PM. There is plenty to work on despite a hot start from now until Saturday night.

Final Score: 2-1 Boston

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 147 that we recorded on 9-30-19 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!