Celebrating A Bruins’ 500th Career Game

( Photo Credit: Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald )

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

Jaroslav Halak celebrated his 500th career NHL game on December 9, 2019, at the TD Garden. The Bruins hosted the stingy Carolina Hurricanes on a snowy night. The game featured a lackluster offensive showing on both sides. Neither team found a quality scoring chance until four minutes left in the third. The Bruins scored two goals in two minutes, one of which earned David Krejci his 200th career NHL goal. A shutout for a goalie in any game is satisfying, but earning his 49th career shutout in the 500th career game speaks volumes to Halak’s 14-year career.


The Slovakian was drafted 271st overall in the 2003 NHL draft by the Montreal Canadiens. Halak’s draft position is unique today because 2003 was the second to last year the draft featured nine rounds. In 2005, the NHL decreased the round total from nine to seven, which still reigns true today. The 2003 draft also featured a number of goaltenders who still play in today’s game. Marc-Andre Fleury (selected first overall), Corey Crawford, Jimmy Howard, and Brian Elliot. Jaroslav’s draft position warranted some time to play in the American Hockey League. Halak was called up for 16 games in 2006 to back up Montreal’s starter Cristobal Huet. Halak began appearing regularly in the NHL in 2008, where he and (current Montreal starter) Carey Price split time. Montreal drafted Carey Price fifth overall in the 2005 draft with the plan that he would be their long-time starter, which has come to fruition. This sealed Halak’s services in Montreal. A week before the 2010 NHL draft, the Canadiens traded Halak to the St. Louis Blues for Lars Eller and Ian Schultz.

Before Halak, the St. Louis Blues’ goaltending situation was a constant merry-go-round of players. The Blues did not have a four-year tenured starter since Brent Johnson from 1999 to 2004. They desperately needed a goalie who could handle the workload of a starter. After trading for Halak in 2010, the Blues offered a four-year, $15 million deal. His first season with St. Louis yielded a fourth-place position in their division, missing the playoffs. The following year, Halak posted an exceptional 1.97 goals-against average and .926 save percentage, earning him and fellow teammate, Brian Elliot, the William M. Jennings Award (fewest goals against in 25 minimum games).

The two could not continue their fewest goals feat against the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Los Angeles Kings, in the 2012 semi-finals. Additionally, the following two years the Blues exited the playoffs in the first round. Suddenly, Halak’s days in St. Louis were dwindling.

The Blues drafted Jake Allen 34th overall in the 2008 NHL draft. Within the organization, Allen was primed to guard the team’s blue paint for the foreseeable future, which made Halak expendable. In a mammoth deal during Halak’s final contract year, the Blues sent Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a 2015 1st-round pick, and 2016 3rd-round pick to Buffalo for 2009 Vezina Winner Ryan Miller and Steve Ott. Buffalo flipped Halak and a 2015 3rd-round pick to the Washington Capitals for goaltender Michal Neuvirth and forward Rostislav Klesla. Jaroslav only played 12 games with the Capitals before they shipped him to the New York Islanders for a 2014 4th-round pick.

Halak and the Islanders agreed on a 4-year, $18 million deal in 2014. He started in 59 games his first year with the Isles, leading the team to second place in their division. The Isles, unfortunately, experienced another first-round exit in the Stanley Cup playoffs. In 2016, for the third time in his career, Halak split playing time with another goalie, Thomas Greiss. Neither could help the struggling Islanders, and they finished fifth in the Metropolitan Division in 2016. The 2017 season didn’t fare any better as the Islanders allowed the most shots and goals against. The Islanders finished with 2,918 shots against and 293 goals against for the year, which equates to 35.5 and 3.5 a game, respectively. Halak performed the best he could with what he had, once posting a 50-save shutout against the New York Rangers.


Unfortunately, Halak could not give these heroic performances all year and the team finished seventh in their division. Halak found himself looking for a new home after finishing the season with an abysmal 3.19 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.

Don Sweeney, current Bruins General Manager, had been looking for a consistent and reliable back up for Tuukka Rask for a few years. Rask is at his best in the playoffs when his playing time is managed. The Bruins just came off of a second-round exit in the 2017 playoffs after running into a buzz saw in the Tampa Bay Lightning. Their back up goalie, Anton Khudobin, received a sizable raise from the Dallas Stars that the Bruins were unwilling to match. Sweeney called Halak on the first day of free agency and struck a deal for 2-years, $5.5 million. Halak brought a starting goaltender resume and could relieve pressure from Rask. Halak appeared in 40 games in the 2018-2019 season posting a 2.34 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. Not only did he provide Rask much-needed rest, but he also added a little flair to his starts.

Fast-forward to the current season: Halak and Rask have split time almost evenly. Rask has appeared in 17 games thus far versus Halak’s 11. Halak still hovers in the 2.14 goals-against average and .934 save percentage range in these 11 games. The two have been a large reason why the Bruins are sitting atop the league’s standings.


The Bruins finally have two reliable goaltenders and can start either one with confidence. There is a thought around the league that goaltending tandems could become more common in the playoffs, and the Bruins would benefit immensely.

Halak is currently in his final contract year with the Bruins. The team has three goaltending prospects in the system that are working their way into NHL game-shape. None of the three are considered NHL-ready as of this season, so the Bruins could look to extend Halak. Those within the organization can estimate if a prospect is ready to take the leap, but Sweeney will be cautious. The Bruins have rarely benefited from employing a reliable back-up who could give Rask numerous games off. The two biggest obstacles in keeping Halak, however, are other NHL teams’ needs and Halak’s salary demands.

If Halak continues his strong play throughout the season and maybe the playoffs, he could be looking at a larger raise than Khudobin received from Dallas. Will Sweeney be willing to offer that, given the salary cap constraints if a prospect isn’t ready? NHL organizations are always looking for a formidable goaltender and Halak’s resume fits the mold. If he continues to post legitimate goalie stats, NHL teams will be calling on July 1. Bruins fans have come to love Halak with his acrobatic saves and reliability. Hopefully, Bruins fans see more of #41 and his play yields more than a playoff exit. Congratulations to an incredible feat of 500 games and here’s to many more

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 157 that we recorded on 12-8-19 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 Game 15 Preview: Montreal Canadiens


PHOTO CREDITS: (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

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

For the second time this season, the Bruins are playing in the second game of a back-to-back. Last week, the Bruins won back-to-back games against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday and the New York Rangers on Sunday. Last night, Boston took home a 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins after losing a 3-0 at one point in the game. Boston’s win improved their record to 11-1-2 and secures their spot for second in the overall league standings, only one point behind the Washington Capitals.

The Montreal Canadiens have not won in November so far, losing 4-1 to the Dallas Stars on Saturday. On the season, the Canadiens have a 7-5-2 record after their opening fourteen games and have put up a 6-4-0 record in their last ten games. Montreal is fifth in the Atlantic Division and is only one point of the second Wild Card position currently held by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 7-0-1 1.49 GAA .949% Last Game: 30 Saves in 5-2 win vs OTT

MTL: Carey Price (Not Confirmed) 6-4-1 2.64 GAA .915 SV% Last Game: 36 Saves in 4-1 loss to DAL

Who’s Hot:

Brad Marchand made history in many ways in Monday’s win over the Penguins, scoring five points for the second time in four games, bringing his season totals to 10-18-28 on his 13-game point streak. Marchand and Pastrnak are now the first pair of winger teammates in NHL history to average 2+ points-per-game in the first 14 games of a season, further cementing how good of a duo they have become. Marchand now leads the NHL in assists with eighteen and is second in points behind Pastrnak.


Jonathan Drouin was acquired by the Canadiens from the Tampa Bay Lightning in June 2017 and in the two seasons he has played in Montreal, he has seen improvements in his scoring numbers. This season, so far, the 24-year-old is tied for the team-lead in points with 7-5-12 numbers in 14 games. Drouin has four points in his last four games, but was held pointless in his last game against the Stars in Dallas.

Tuukka Rask has been absolutely lights out in the 2019-2020 season for Boston and he is silencing the previous stigma that he is a slow-starting goaltender going through eight starts without a regulation loss. Tuukka has the best save percentage in the National Hockey League (minimum of five games played) with a .949 save percentage. Rask is also number one in the league with a 1.49 goals-against-average. The 32-year-old is on another level right now and he will look to continue it against the Canadiens.

Who’s Not:

Paul Byron has been one of those depth players for Montreal that teams are worried of. The 30-year-old forward scored 31 points in 56 games for the Canadiens last year but in ’19/’20, he only has three assists in fourteen games playing around twelve minutes a game. Montreal is in need of some extra depth scoring and Byron could add some additional scoring if he manages to get the monkey off his back.

Sean Kuraly is not known for being a high goal-scorer in the NHL, but with zero goals in 14 games, the Bruins need him to score more in these highly competitive games. Kuraly put up a career-high eight goals last season, but he has the potential to put up more even though he plays on the fourth line. Kuraly will likely score soon, but until then, he has not been great for Boston.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • D Zdeno Chara is playing in his 1,500th NHL regular-season game. He becomes the 21st player and the 6th defenceman in league history to do so.
  • D Torey Krug is one point away (299) from 300 career NHL points
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one even-strength goal away (214) from passing Cam Neely (214) for sole possession of 6th-most even-strength goals in Bruins history

Montreal Canadiens:

  • F Tomas Tatar is three points away (297) from 300 career NHL points
  • G Carey Price is one shutout away (45) from tying Ken Dryden (46) for 3rd-most shutouts in Canadiens history

Bruins vs Canadiens Outlook:

Last season, the Bruins won the four-game season series against the Canadiens with a 2-1-1 record. The Bruins took home a 3-2 win on November 24th and a 4-0 win on December 17th. The Bruins lost a 3-2 overtime game on January 14th and a 3-0 loss on October 27th. Boston averaged 2.25 goals-for-per-game against Montreal, allowing an average of two goals against in that same time span.

Tonight’s game goes down in the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada – an arena where the Bruins have played a combined 61 games at. Throughout the history there, Boston has an overall record of 27-29-2-3 when playing their Original Six rivals, scoring on average 2.59 goals-for-per-game and allowing on average 2.79 goals-against-per-game.

This season, the Bruins are ahead of the Canadiens in the standings and so far, the Bruins are looking like one of the top teams in the entire NHL and their overall league position of second is further proof of that. Boston has the best power-play percentage over the other 31 teams at 30.6%. The B’s also have the ninth-best penalty-kill, rocking at 86.0%.

Montreal, on the other hand, is 15th in the league on the power-play, scoring on 20.8% of their opportunities while having a 69.8% penalty-kill percentage (28th in NHL).

Bruins Lineup News:

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 152 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 Goalie Tuukka Rask Cracks NHL Network’s Top 10 Goalies List


( Photo Credit: USA Today )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

Every summer, the NHL Network narrows down the best players from throughout the league at each position. As part of the series, producers, hosts, and analysts prepared a top-10 list of the current best goaltenders in the National Hockey League and revealed it Sunday night. Tuukka Rask made the top ten list again and made a significant move up from his position last year. 

Last year, Rask was named to the top-10 goalies list at number-eight while this year the Bruins netminder cracked the list and came in at number five. Rask was one ahead of Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury at number six and one behind rival Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price who came in at number four. Jordan Binnington who out-dueled Tuukka Rask in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals made the list at number eight. Rask posted a 27-13-5 record in 46 games played in the 2018-2019 campaign with a 2.48 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage along with four shutouts.

The Bruins had a strong goaltending tandem this season and Bruce Cassidy wanted a rather equal workload for both Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak as he felt they could use a more rested Rask for the playoffs and boy did that pay off for the Black ’N Gold. Tuukka Rask had one of the best goaltending performances in the playoffs this season and was one of the biggest reasons why the Bruins were able to make it to game seven of the Cup Finals. In the 2019 playoffs, Rask recorded a 15-9 record with a 2.02 goals-against average, a .934 save percentage, and 2 shutouts. 

Throughout the whole playoffs, Rask was strong for the Bruins but there were a few performances in particular in which Rask absolutely stole the show. In the opening-round series against Toronto, the teams met again at TD Garden for a deciding game seven. Rask turned away 32 Toronto shots en route to a 5-1 victory and another second-round appearance for the B’s. In round two against the Columbus Blue Jackets, two of the best goaltenders went head to head as Rask and Sergei Bobrovsky battled all series long. In game six in Columbus, Rask had one of his best games of the playoffs as he shut the door on the Blue Jackets’ season with a 39-save shut out to blank the Blue Jackets and propel the Bruins into the Conference Finals. In another series-clinching game in the Conference Finals against the Hurricanes, Rask again stood tall with a 24-save shut out for the B’s and sent them to the Stanley Cup Final.

Rask also became the winningest goaltender in Boston Bruins history after a Super Bowl Sunday shutout over the Washington Capitals. This was Rask’s 253rd win with the Bruins and passed Tiny Thompson who played for the Bruins from 1928-1939 and racked up a 252-153-63 record.


Other notables who made the list are division rivals down in Florida with Sergei Bobrovsky of the Panthers coming in at number two and Andrei Vasilevskiy of Tampa Bay who came in as the best goaltender right now.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 142 that we recorded on 8-25-19 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 Link To Our YouTube Channel! 

Bruins Game 46 Preview: Montreal Canadiens


PHOTO CREDITS: (sportsnet.ca)

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

Only two days removed from their 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, the Boston Bruins are back on home ice for a game against longtime rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. In the win over Toronto, the Bruins were outshot in every period except the third period, where they outshot the Leafs 10-to-6. David Krejci, Sean Kuraly, and David Pastrnak scored the goals for Boston. The B’s sit third place in the Atlantic Division, two points behind Toronto.

Like the Bruins, the Montreal Canadiens are coming off of a Saturday night victory, shutting out the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 for their second win in their last three games. Carey Price stopped all twenty-eight shots that faced him while Brett Kulak, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Jordie Benn scored the three goals for Montreal. The Habs have the second wild-card position in the Eastern Conference, only one point behind the Islanders and only one point ahead of the Sabres who are currently out of the playoffs.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 13-8-2 2.41 GAA .921 SV% Last Game: 30 Saves in 3-2 win vs TOR

MTL: Carey Price 17-13-4 2.67 GAA .910 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 3-0 win vs COL

Who’s Hot

Sean Kuraly potted his fifth goal of the season and two primary assists for a three-point night against the Leafs on Saturday. The 25-year-old forward is one point shy of his career-high in points that he hit last season with fifteen. Kuraly’s three-point outing brought his 2018-19 totals to 5-8-13 and his role along with linemates Chris Wagner and Noel Acciari has increased in the past few games. Kuraly has become a big part to this Bruins roster in the early parts of 2019.


PHOTO CREDITS: (sportsnet.ca)

Canadiens forward Phillip Danault helped directly on two Montreal goals on Saturday, bringing his assist total to twenty-three on the season. Danault now has three points in as many games and is fifth on the team’s scoring with 7-23-30 totals in 46 games.

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask has been on fire as of late, as he tends to be around this time of year. The Finnish net-minder has wins in his last five starts including a 1.40 goals-against-average and a save percentage of .956. Rask is the best goaltender in those stats with a minimum of four games in the 2019 calendar year and he will be striving to continue his hot play against the Canadiens.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi has not put up crazy numbers in his rookie season after going third overall to the Montreal Canadiens in last year’s NHL Entry Draft, but his 5-17-22 numbers in 46 games this year has brought some added scoring to a Canadiens roster that is in the middle of the NHL in goals scored.

Who’s Not

Max Domi is the leading scorer on the Montreal Canadiens, but he has only scored one point in the last five games and has failed to make it on the score-sheet in the last two games. The former 2013 1st Round Selection by the then-Phoenix Coyotes has 14-25-39 totals in forty-six games but his lack of consistency lately may be a cause of concern for the Habs.

David Backes had some time on the right side of David Krejci, but the 34-year old Minneapolis, Minnesota native has not played as well as hoped. Backes does have one point in the last three games, but he only saw 10:39 of ice-time against Toronto on Saturday night and it is fair to assume that he will not be seeing the second-line time for too much longer.

Carey Price is the number-one goaltender in Montreal, but in the last five games that he has played, he only has one win coming back in his last start on Saturday versus the Avalanche. Prior to that, Price lost four consecutive games including four goals allowed against the Blues on January 10th. Price is the backbone of the Canadiens and he needs to be on fire against a Bruins team that is rolling.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • BOS F David Pastrnak will be playing in his 300th career NHL regular season game
  • BOS G Tuukka Rask is one win away from tying Tiny Thompson (252) for most wins in Bruins history
  • BOS F David Krejci (604) is 2 points behind Terry O’Reilly (606) for ninth-most points in Bruins franchise history
  • BOS D Zdeno Chara (956) is three penalty minutes behind Lyndon Byers (959) for ninth-most penalty minutes in Bruins history
  • BOS F Patrice Bergeron is one game-winning goal away (60) from taking sole-possession of third-most in Bruins history
  • BOS F Brad Marchand is one shorthanded goal away (23) from tying Derek Sanderson (24) for second-most in Bruins history
  • BOS D Zdeno Chara is two goals away from 200 career NHL goals



Montreal Canadiens:

  • MTL D Jeff Petry is two points away from 200 career NHL points
  • MTL D Jordie Benn is one point away from 100 career NHL points

Bruins vs Canadiens Outlook

Montreal and Boston have already played in three games together this season, with the Bruins taking two of those meetings already. After Montreal won 3-0 on October 27th, the Bruins came back with a 3-2 win on November 24th and a 4-0 win on December 17th. The Bruins have scored a combine seven goals and allowed five against.

Tuukka Rask played in each of the first two games, while Halak was the goalie for the Bruins in the 4-0 victory. In each meeting, Carey Price was handed the role of starter like he has 34 times this season.

Boston is coming off of a win against Toronto where they arguably were out played for the majority of the sixty-minute game. There were some good moments were the Bruins capitalized on costly mistakes by the Leafs defense and that reality will need to stay true tonight against Montreal. The Bruins have to continue playing a good game on both ends of the ice and for all sixty minutes.

Montreal will be entering the game with some tenacity due to their position in the NHL standings. With only a one-point cushion on the Sabres for the last wild-card spot, the Habs have to play like their playoff hopes are on the line – because, well, it is. At the beginning of the season, not many individuals expected Montreal to be in contention for the post-season, but they are proving them wrong and they’ll look to continue proving them wrong against the Bruins.

This will be the final game between the two Original Six teams in the 2018-19 regular season. Will the season series end 3-1 Boston or at a 2-2 tie? Before we find out, take a look at the projected lines for the game.

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Bruins Game 34 Preview: Montreal Canadiens

( Photo Credit: Top Bet )

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

The Boston Bruins will host their greatest rival on Monday night – the Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday after working their way to a tie game late in the third period.

Montreal is currently trying to build upon a two-game winning streak with victories against the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators. The Bruins are just one point behind the Canadiens so there could result in a change in the structure of the Eastern Conference standings.

Who’s Hot?

David Krejci extended his point streak to six games in Sunday’s loss to the Sabres. He now has three goals and six assists in that span. He has been playing alongside David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand; keeping that line going in the absence of Patrice Bergeron. There are those who argue this trio shouldn’t be broken up even when Bergeron returns to the lineup. It’s something to consider – even if it is just keeping Pastrnak and Krejci together to have two-well rounded lines. Either way, Krejci has been strong as of late and will look to continue his point streak against the Habs.

Max Domi is the Canadiens’ top point producer. He has scored 14 goals and 19 assists in 33 games this season and is a huge reason why the Habs are currently in fourth place in the Atlantic Division after a subpar 2017-18 season. Domi had 45 points in a full season with the Arizona Coyotes last season – it seems that the change of scenery has helped the forward grow as he is on pace to nearly double that total by the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Bergeron Price

Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America

Carey Price has five wins in his last five starts, giving up 12 goals during that span. After sporting a 3-5-2 record and .886 SV% in the month of November, it seems as though the Habs’ netminder is caught the holiday spirit. Since the first of the month, Price is 6-1-0 with a .915 SV%. He will certainly be a tough test for a Bruins offense that has struggled to come up with consistent secondary scoring.

Who’s Not?

Speaking of Boston’s secondary scoring, that’s what hasn’t been hot for Boston. David Backes, Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Kuraly, Chris Wagner, Noel Acciari – all are forwards who have appeared in at least 27 games and have yet to come up with more than seven points. They have done well in other facets, whether that be through physical play or a solid two-way game. However, the Bruins need their bottom lines to pitch in. They simply haven’t thus far.

Bruin Habs

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Despite being one of Montreal’s top producers, Tomas Tatar has hit a rough patch in the month of December. In his last five games, the forward has a goal and an assist, going pointless in his last three appearances. Overall, Tatar has 12 goals and 12 assists in 33 games this season and has the ability to break out this (potentially) brief slump.

Bruins vs. Canadiens Outlook

The Bruins are certainly in the weeds, working their way to a 3-5-0 record halfway through the month of December. During that span, Boston has given up 28 goals while only scoring 21 themselves. They have simply been subpar throughout the month despite a few glimmers of hope, and have dropped way too many contests to division opponents.

They have another tough division rival in the Canadiens on Monday night. The Habs have a red-hot goaltender and are trying to extend a winning streak and will likely give the Bruins quite the headache. The first line hasn’t been enough to power Boston to victory in recent weeks, and if secondary scoring doesn’t come soon, they will more than likely find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture.

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The Week Ahead: Black Friday Madness

China Olympics Beijing Water Cube Bird's Nest

photo credit: Joseph Prezioso

By: Mandi Mahoney  |  Check Me Out On Twitter @phoneymahoney

The Bruins have gone 1-1-1 so far on their four-game road trip, but their record doesn’t reflect just how well they’ve held things together despite icing a defensive corps containing two National Hockey League regulars, one seventh defenseman, and three rookies who were called up from the AHL. The Black and Gold have also been missing their best player at both ends of the ice, perennial Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron, for most of the last two games.

Wednesday in Colorado, the Bruins were holding their own in a fun back-and-forth contest until captain Zdeno Chara left the game with a knee injury in the second period. Once Chara left the game, the wheels fell off, and the Bruins lost 6-3 after surrendering five unanswered goals. One plus from this game was that the secondary scoring was alive and well, with Jake DeBrusk potting two goals.

In Dallas on Friday,  John Moore was out of the lineup, on top of Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Kevan Miller, Brandon Carlo, and Urho Vaakanainen. The Dallas game was poorly officiated, and on top of that, Patrice Bergeron was injured on an awkward hit by Radek Faksa. Tuukka Rask played a great game, but the Bruins couldn’t put the biscuit in the basket and lost 1-0 in overtime. The Stars got many opportunities to score, but between Rask and the patchwork defense, Dallas was unable to make it happen during regulation.

On Saturday night, the Bruins visited the Coyotes, who were quite fashionable in their 90s-chic Kachina jerseys (where were Keith Tkachuk and Jeremy Roenick, though?).  The B’s were able to net two goals in the first three minutes, most notably Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson’s first NHL goal. Jake DeBrusk scored within two minutes of JFK. It was nice to see someone score other than Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, or David Pastrnak, however, Bergeron being out of the lineup definitely had something to do with that. It was another game where the young defense helped hold it together, and the save of the game went to Jeremy Lauzon. Bruins won, 2-1.

Kevan Miller (hand) could be returning for the Detroit game on Wednesday night. We don’t have any news on John Moore or Patrice Bergeron yet, either.

Now, on to the next week of games…

November 21 @ Detroit:

The Detroit Red Wings are a shell of their former selves. They have a 9-9-2 record and a goal differential of -8. Currently, the Wings are in 7th place in our 8 team Atlantic Division and are 23rd in the National Hockey League, with 20 points on the season. Their special teams are better than their record would have one believing, as their power play is 11th in the league at 22.4%, and they have killed 81.3% of their penalties, good for 10th in the NHL.

Leading the way in scoring for the Red Wings is Dylan Larkin, with 8-11-19 totals in 20 games, followed by former Maine Black Bear Gustav Nyquist, who has scored two goals and assisted on 13, for 15 points on the season. Goaltending has been better than Detroit’s record would lead us to believe; Jimmy Howard has a save percentage of .922, with a GAA of 2.64. The Wings don’t take many shots – they are 27th in the league and are taking an average of 28.8 per game (just behind the Bruins at 26th, and 29.4 shots/game). However, they are allowing the third most shots per game, at 35.5.

The last time the two teams faced each other was October 13 at the Garden. David Pastrnak scored a hat trick, and the Bruins won 8-2. Detroit obviously wants that one back, and if they have any competitive spirit left in them, they will come out flying Wednesday night. Hopefully, all the Bruin cubs on defense will be ready for them.

November 23, vs. Pittsburgh:

The Bruins’ annual tradition of playing a matinee game on Black Friday while we all gorge ourselves on Thanksgiving leftovers has been squashed in favor of a more National TV-friendly schedule. For the second year in a row, they will face the Penguins at home that night.

Imagine having a roster with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel, and still being terrible? You don’t have to imagine it, though, because the Penguins have brought your imagination to life! Up to this point, Pittsburgh has been alarmingly bad, and have dropped 8 of their last 9 games. They are off to a 7-8-3 start and are 29th in the league in points. They are last in the Metropolitan Division, as well, but are only one point behind the struggling New Jersey Devils.

The Pens’ power play is converting at 25.7% and is seventh-best in the league. They’ve killed 80% of their penalties, which is 15th. Bruins are 29.8% (third), and 79.1% (18th), respectively. Evgeni Malkin is their scoring leader with 7 goals and 18 assists for 25 points in 18 games, and former Bruin and hot dog enthusiast Phil Kessel has notched 9-14-23 totals in 18 games. Sidney Crosby has missed two outings but still has 19 points in the 16 games he has played. Matt Murray, Pittsburgh’s number one goaltender, has been terrible this season, with a sub-.900 save percentage (.877!), and goals against average of 4.08. Woof. They do have themselves a bit of a goaltending controversy, as many people are calling for backup Casey DeSmith (.903 SV%, 2.25 GAA) to play more games. Sounds familiar. doesn’t it?

November 24th, @ Montreal:

The best rivalry in sports has died down a little bit given roster moves both teams have made, and the difference in their records the last few seasons. Max Pacioretty was traded to Vegas for Tomas Tatar, Alex Galchenyuk was swapped for Max Domi, who is apparently a number one center (who knew?!). Andrei Markov was sent packing a year ago for some reason, and Shea Weber is still injured. Nobody expected the Canadiens to be able to do anything this year.

Surprisingly, though, the Habs’ record is exactly the same as the Bruins: 11-6-3 with 25 points. The Canadiens have won their last two games after dropping one to Edmonton earlier this week. Montreal’s power play is 29th in the league, as is somehow only scoring 13.5% of the time. These are not the same Habs who embellish and roll around on the ice anytime an opposing player skated within ten feet of them, as their power play will get them nowhere. Their PK is 13th in the league at 80.9%. These are not the numbers we are used to seeing with the Habs. This is a whole new team.

Max Domi has scored 10 goals and assisted on 14, good for 24 points in the first 20 games. This is a record for the Canadiens, which seems bizarre given their history. Tom Tatar and Jonathan Drouin are tied for second on the team with 17 points apiece. Defenseman Jeff Petry is having a solid offensive season, having scored 15 points already. – not too shabby.

In continuing with the theme of “Everything In Montreal Is Weird This Season”, the Habs’ goaltending has been terrible – really, really bad. Carey Price’s save percentage is only .904, and his goals-against average is 2.92. That’s pretty bad, but their backup, Antti Niemi, is even worse at .887 SV% and 3.74 GAA. Yikes! Price’s numbers may be on the upswing, though, as he’s stopped 79 of 83 shots in his last two starts, though that’s a lot of shots allowed over two games.

The answer for the Bruins will be to put as many pucks on net as possible and to create traffic in the crease. If the Bruins can do that while holding off Domi, Tatar, and Drouin, they can come out of Montreal on top.

Opponents like Detroit and especially Pittsburgh should not be overlooked, but there is no reason the Bruins can’t take at least four out of a possible six points in the next week. Not losing anyone else to injury, unfortunately, is probably the most important thing the Bruins can do this week.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Montreal at Boston: 10/27/18



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

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Home: Boston Bruins (6-2-2)

Away: Montreal Canadiens (5-2-2)

For the first time this season, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens will meet on the ice for a regular season game. Boston is coming off of back-to-back wins over the Ottawa Senators and the Philadelphia Flyers. The Bruins managed to keep the Flyers off of the scoresheet during Thursday’s game, winning by a final score of 3-0. Boston will look to win a third-straight game to try and forget about the sub-par Canadian road trip that saw three defeats one after another.

The Canadiens on the other hand, most recently lost only their second game in regulation last Thursday night, losing 4-3 to the Buffalo Sabres. Even with the loss, Montreal is still fourth in the Atlantic division prior to game time, a feat that many people thought was unlikely prior to the start of the 2018-19 NHL season.

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Krug, Vaakanainen, Miller (four weeks), Backes, and are all out of the lineup vs Montreal.

First Period:

The opening four minutes of the hockey game saw some good rushes by the Boston Bruin forwards, including chances by Jake DeBrusk as well as a wrap-around chance for Sean Kuraly. The Bruins seem to be on their game but it remains early in the contest.

Not long later, only 4:42 into the frame, Pastrnak gets called for a two-minute minor for slashing behind Carey Price. The penalty-kill for Boston has not been the best during the season thus far, killing off 77% of the penalties called against them. Thankfully for the Bruins, the Canadiens had some poor passes in the offensive zone, losing out on the powerplay opportunity and Boston makes the successful kill.

The speed and offensive talent of both teams were showcased about eight minutes into the period. Jake DeBrusk showed great speed on the forecheck, only for Max Domi to rush into the Boston zone the other way, almost getting in on Rask, but is shut down by Matt Grzelcyk.

Just shy of ten minutes in, it would be Brendan Gallagher who opened the scoring in the game. Gallagher dangled around Noel Acciari and shot an odd angled-shot that beat Rask who most likely wants that one back. 1-0 Canadiens.

The momentum of the goal just woke up Montreal. The Bruins could not keep up with the speed of Montreal, allowing many 2-on-1 chances for the Canadiens – making it seem like 3-on-3 overtime. Boston seemed asleep and Max Domi would capitalize on the delayed penalty just over a minute and a half after the Gallagher goal. 2-0 Montreal.

The first goal was on Tuukka, but the defence was not helping the cause on the second goal whatsoever. Can’t blame Rask fully on the second tally, but did not do his job perfectly either.

As the first twenty minutes come to a close, the Bruins draw their first penalty of the game, a tripping minor to Matthew Peca. The Bruins are 9 for 29 on the man-advantage on the year and a goal would be big late in the opening period. The B’s had a big chance off a one-timer shot, then a rebound shot that was batted at the net by Ryan Donato. Price stops both chances and the Bruins have to reset the power-play.

With no lack of effort during the 5-on-4 session, the Canadiens successfully killed off the penalty to Peca and it is back to 5-on-5. The first period of play ended there, Montreal holds the 2-0 lead over Boston heading into the first intermission.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 7 MTL: 9

Score: 2-0 Canadiens

Second Period:

Not a whole lot of action started the second-period, but almost halfway through the middle frame, Anders Bjork feeds Ryan Donato on the zone entry who snipes the shot short-side past Carey Price making it 2-1 Montreal, or so it seemed. Canadiens Head Coach Claude Julien challenged the play for a possible offside and unfortunately, the goal was reversed – no goal.

Even though Donato was robbed of his goal (would’ve been goal number two for him on the year), he continues to shoot the puck towards the net with a great release. Would be great for him to score a goal this period to really get that proverbial monkey off his back.

Boston has improved their play after the first intermission, outshooting the Canadiens eleven shots to four just over ten minutes into the second period. Not much really developed for the remainder of the period. Boston had some solid pressure but the Canadiens have been doing a good job keeping the B’s to the outside and preventing any high-quality scoring opportunities.

With less than ten seconds in the frame, however, the Bruins find themselves on a possible 3-on-1 break, but Ryan Donato trips on his own skates as he enters the zone, but Joakim Nordstrom was close enough to rip a heavy slapshot on the net. Carey Price flashes the leather with a massive windmill glove save as the clock expires.

Boston had a decent first half of the period but then allowed Montreal to fire on the net more and more. B’s now headed into the final period down two goals and a real lack of intensity from the Bruins club. Not a great effort from the entire team after forty minutes of play and the hope is that Bruce Cassidy can bring up the morale during the intermission break.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 19 MTL: 19

Score: 2-0 Canadiens

Third Period:

Entering the third period with the fifth-most third-period goals so far this season with 14, the Bruins need an early goal to bring back the momentum in the TD Garden crowd tonight. Been a bit too quiet and the players seem to be feeding off of the lack of energy with the play.

The third-line of Nordstrom, Donato, and Bjork has arguably been the best line for the Bruins tonight and three minutes in the period, they found some solid chances to score. Ryan Donato has been shooting a lot since having his goal changed earlier on in the game. Relentless on the forecheck as well.

On another offensive rush to the Montreal zone, Ryan Donato gets tripped up, sending the Bruins to the powerplay. Joel Armia is the man who will serve the minor for the Canadiens. Fifty seconds into the man-advantage, however, Tuukka Rask comes out of the net, tripping Byron and the powerplay is over for Boston. Donato serves the penalty.

For the rest of the game, the Bruins could not get any chances to score a goal on Price. Even with some powerplays, the Canadiens shut down any small chance and cleared the puck. David Pastrnak had the best chance of the final period, a slot shot off of a David Krejci feed that Price read completely, making a routine chest save.

Jordie Benn would bury the empty-net goal off of a bank shot and the Canadiens win the hockey game 3-0 the final score. Price’s win officially puts him above Patrick Roy for the second-most wins in franchise history for Montreal (290 wins).

Shots on Goal: BOS: 33 MTL: 23

Final Score: 3-0 Canadiens

Max’s Three Stars

1st Star: MTL G Carey Price – 33 Saves, 1.00 SV%

2nd Star: MTL F Artturi Lehkonen – 2 Assists, +2 Rating, 18:43 TOI

3rd Star: MTL F Brendan Gallagher – 1 Goal, +1 Rating, 3 Shots

The Boston Bruins will look for a quick turnaround when they hit the ice on Tuesday, October 30th against the Carolina Hurricanes (6-3-1) in Raleigh, North Carolina. Puck drop for that game is currently scheduled for 7:00pm EST. The Bruins record is now 6-3-2 and they sit fourth in the Atlantic division with fourteen points.

Opening Line in Vegas Pegs Boston Bruins as Also-Rans

( Above Photo Credit:  Pintrest )

By: Bob Mand                             Follow Me On Twitter @HockeyMand 

The Westgate Las Vegas sportsbook released it’s over/under win totals earlier today, and surprise, surprise the venerated opening line of opening lines had the Boston Bruins on the outside looking in when the 2018 postseason kicks off next April.

This can’t really be surprising, right? The Bruins lost key contributors Dominic Moore, Jimmy Hayes and Colin Miller (Miller will hurt the most, but he played in just over two-thirds of the team’s games – so draw conclusions as you will)… While gaining Paul Postma and access to a slew of young, untapped talent from the farm. Of course one would predict them to fall beneath the Mendoza-line of playoff entry as the fourth-best team in the Atlantic Division.

Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins holds the Frank J. Selke Trophy after winning the award during the NHL Awards, Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)


Now, now. Calm down your self-righteous indignation: The greater part of this misguided placement is the consideration that several key opponents will be even stronger this year – notably Tampa Bay (division winners at an over/under of 102.5 points) and Buffalo (closing in on contention in the Atlantic and jumping to 87.5 points).

And there’s plenty of regression elsewhere in the Eastern Conference. Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Washington all manage to see their game breaking chokeholds on the East suffer by between six and fourteen points in the offseason. And low-standing teams like Colorado, Arizona, and Dallas on the West all made dramatic moves up the ladder.

( Above Photo Credit:  Sports Rant )

So perhaps we shouldn’t freak out.

Then again, Montreal is still ranked above Boston (at an over/under of 100.5 which is second in the Atlantic), and no matter how many playoff series’ they lose, that will always sting. Especially given a summer which could be seen as – if not dismal – certainly disappointing by Habs’ standards. Sure, they gained Jonathan Drouin (a skater I’ve long prized) in a huge trade… But it cost them top defensive prospect Mikhail Sergachev (and maybe a pick). They lost UFA Alex Radulov to Dallas in a move that surprised no one… And shockingly low-balled Andrei Markov with a one-year offer, sending him scuttling to the KHL, surprising everyone.

Perhaps it’s a bit passé to bemoan the preseason positioning of our longtime rivals especially in this post-1993 era where we’re winning (One to nothing!), but I can’t seem to shake the sour taste in my mouth from this opening line. Carey Price or not, this is still a club with some significant identity issues up-front and one which will rely even more heavily on the aging Shea Weber to defend Ser Price’s crease.

So I guess I’ll have to wait for this season to kick off to smite my opponents in visceral, holy glory. I’ll wait to unleash the awesome power of my ire until the ink is dry on the first set of power rankings, when I’ll blast the authors for not considering this, that or the other thing.

BOSTON, MA – FEBRUARY 12: Andrew Shaw #65 of the Montreal Canadiens and Torey Krug #47 of the Boston Bruins fight during the first period at TD Garden on February 12, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Yeah, I’m feeling better already. Cooler. Calmer. More ‘In the Moment.’

Anyone wanna make a bet?