A Rational Look at Injuries and the Remaining Boston Bruins Schedule

dm_180319_Donato_first_goal364Photo: ESPN
By Thomas Nyström | Follow on twitter @nahstrom

We were all warned. Hell, I even warned you that the upcoming schedule was daunting a few weeks ago: https://blackngoldhockey.com/2018/03/07/predicting-the-rest-of-the-season-bruins-final-record/

Here’s the updated remaining schedule:

Wednesday March 22 @ STL 8:00 PM ET
Friday March 23 @ DAL 8:30 PM ET
Sunday March 25 @ MIN 7:30 PM ET
Tuesday March 27 @ WPG 8:00 PM ET
Thursday March 29 vs TBL 7:00 PM ET
Saturday March 31 vs FLA 1:00 PM ET
Sunday April 1 @ PHI 12:30 PM ET
Tuesday April 3 @ TBL 7:30 PM ET
Thursday April 5 @ FLA 7:30 PM ET
Saturday April 7 vs OTT 7:00 PM ET
Sunday April 8 vs FLA 7:30 PM ET


My prediction in that previous article was the Bruins would end with 111 points. With 11 games remaining an sitting 12 points shy of my prediction at 99 points.. Boston needs to play .500 hockey to hit that mark. Looking at the remaining opponents, travel, and relentlessness of the ‘every other day’ nature of the calendar — I still believe that’s precisely what we will get.

The schedule lines up that they play every other day with exception to next weekend where they play back-to-back; Saturday @ Florida at 1:00 pm followed by an immediate northbound flight to take on Philadelphia for another early game with puck drop happening at 12:30 pm. After that comes the first of two key games against Tampa Bay — this one at home, the later date scheduled to be played in Tampa. Now before we even get to that, the Bruins have a troublesome road trip that they are currently in the midst of starting tonight in St. Louis. On tap after that is Dallas, Minnesota, and Winnipeg. Each team is playoff bound or at the very least in the hunt right now and will be putting forth playoff caliber efforts against a banged-up B’s lineup. I fully believe that despite the thin roster on this road trip, Boston has the ability to take 4 out of 8 points from these quality opponents. I expect Boston to split the two remaining games against Florida, because well, it’s the Panthers and we all saw the game last week. The back-to-back day games are very hard on the traveling team.. and I wouldn’t be surprised if they drop the Philadelphia game. While we know how unbearable ‘hockey-twitter’ can be after a B’s loss, we must take everything into account and not jump off the Zakim Bridge if Boston struggles against a very good team like Winnipeg.

That said, let’s take a rational look at what to expect with the injuries to this Bruins roster as we near the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Although there were reports that we may expect to see Patrice Bergeron return from injury on this current road trip that ends next Tuesday, a more reasonable expectation — or really, a hope would be he rejoins the line-up at home on Thursday March 29th when the Bruins host Tampa Bay. Boston themselves shared footage of Bergeron getting ice time in and running drills on his own just a few days ago. Regardless, a foot fracture is a substantial injury to any player, especially one like Bergeron who is arguably the best two-way forward in the sport.

No updates regarding Jake DeBrusk, or at least nothing of substance. The ‘upper-body’ designation does very little in the way of telling us anything about a) the injury b) his timeline. If this is a concussion he could be out the rest of the regular season as we’re winding down to single-digit games by the end of the weekend. Unfortunate timing for Jake as he was on a tear before his injury with 9 points in his last 8 games. The Bruins would certainly benefit if that switch can be flipped again entering the playoffs.

My goodness did David Backes have a rough couple of days last week. It seemed like the hockey gods were against David for a bit there and then to cap it off he suffered a nasty laceration from an errant blade to the thigh that required 18 stitches. While that will take some time to heal naturally and to be tended to incase of any set-back such as infection, Backes may be out of the line-up until the playoffs as well, although I feel as though we will see him for a few tune-up games in the final week of the regular season.

Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy have been sorely missed at times over the last stretch of games. Chara could be back by the end of the week although I would suspect that since Boston is on the cusp of clinching a playoff spot as early as tonight in St. Louis, head coach Bruce Cassidy may hold him out of the line-up an extra game. Remember that just prior to the injury there was debate on whether or not to give the big man a few games off to reset. Meanwhile, Charlie McAvoy has been quietly going about his work to get back on the ice. The severity of his knee injury wasn’t made entirely known, but all indications are that he will be ready to go come playoff time. Similarly to Backes, McAvoy may get on the ice in the final few regular season contests to ‘test the waters’, if you will. Seeing the defensive first line out there again would no doubt be a sigh of relief for Bruins fans.

dcbbaf89-2446-487f-949e-d459cda158ab_TVASPORTS_WEBSee? Isn’t this nice?
Photo: www.tvasports.ca/

Lastly and perhaps least concerning would be the injuries to Rick Nash and Adam McQuaid who are both considered day-to-day. Bruce Cassidy also hasn’t been shy about handing out ‘maintenance days’ which may be a contributing factor to the way he’s handling both individuals. He is fully aware that in two weeks it will be all hands on deck as his Boston Bruins look to start what we all hope will be a deep playoff push.

Thomas Nyström, Contributor.

Follow me on Twitter @nahstrom

Premature Panic: The Bruins Have Turned Their Season Around


Photo Credit: MassLive

By: Lauren Campbell | Follow on Twitter: @lalalalaurrrren 

It’s March 7, 2018, and the Boston Bruins are 41-15-8.

I was very, very wrong about this team.

Back in October, I wrote about how it was already time to hit the panic button on this season. They were 2-3-0 through their first five games, they couldn’t string together consecutive regulation wins until November, and Tuukka Rask was playing nowhere near the level he’s at now.

One thing that really stuck out to me from my previous article was that I wrote, “the young studs are not living up to the expectations surrounding them.” At the time, they weren’t, but players like Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy, Danton Heinen and David Pastrnak are very much exceeding those expectations now. Between the four players listed above, the young studs have 56 goals, McAvoy is playing like a veteran in his rookie season, Heinen is quietly making a name for himself while DeBrusk and Pastrnak just continue to score and collect points each game.

Trust me, I am extremely happy to have been so terribly wrong about this team. I never expected them to be this good – especially during Bruce Cassidy’s first full year as head coach, all the youth on this team and a year where there was a lot of questions surrounding Rask after how he started early in the season. But something happened between then and now – maybe it was getting Patrice Bergeron and David Backes back into the lineup, or maybe it was just a matter of time until this team started clicking.

Whatever it was, it’s worked. I had little hope for the Bruins after their slow and sluggish start. But now I have hopes for a deep playoff run. They’ve added depth with Rick Nash, Nick Holden, and even Brian Gionta. Rask, despite his last five games, has been playing phenomenally. But what has been standing out to me a lot, besides the rookies being fantastic, is the “next man up” mentality this team has when a player goes down.


Currently, this team is without Bergeron, McAvoy and Anders Bjork. Fortunately, Bergeron and McAvoy will be back this season, and they need McAvoy’s defense and Bergeron’s offense. But that gives opportunities for Holden, Nash, and Gionta to get more ice time, David Krejci to get more goals and Marchand to continue to step up and be the force on the ice this team needs.

We saw what this team is like without McAvoy and Bergy on Tuesday in their 6-5 overtime against Detroit. It was a game of the good, the bad and the ugly against a mediocre Red Wings team. But the team stepped up with two goals from Torey Krug, a natural hat trick from Marchand and some players dropping gloves. They are a completely different team – a team that is built for the playoffs. So when Bergeron, McAvoy, and Rask come back, this team will be even better because they will be at full health.

I was so very wrong about this team. But I am so pleased I was. 

Predicting The Rest of The Season: Bruins Final Record

Photo: Elise Amendola, AP

By Thomas Nyström | Follow on twitter @nahstrom

Last nights 6-5 overtime win over the visiting Detroit Red Wings marked the beginning of the stretch-run for the rest of the regular season. It was also the first of what will be a Bruins game every other day until the end of the schedule. This will no doubt be a trying and tough few weeks for the Boston Bruins as it includes a lot of travel and hard opponents including two trips to Florida to face the Panthers who are hot as of late and sitting just two points out of a wild card spot. While in the area, the B’s will face the conference leading Tampa Bay Lightning twice as well. Additionally, both teams from the sunshine state will make at least one trip to the TD Garden —  Tampa Bay for one game, Florida twice (one being a make-up game) — so we’re looking at 7 of the final 18 games against just them alone.

Tomorrows contest with the Philadelphia Flyers whom are 6-2-2 in their last 10 and sitting in 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division. Looking ahead at the schedule at other games against playoff / playoff caliber teams include Columbus at home, plus Minnesota, Winnipeg, Dallas, Philadelphia and St. Louis on the road.

So feasibly, what can we expect for the Bruins in terms of record at the end of the season? Earlier this week I put up a twitter poll in preparation for this article and the results were quite definitive.


Before I layout my prediction we must consider a number of contributing factors, first let’s take a look at the remaining schedule:

Thu. March 8 7pm vs PHI
Sat. March 10 1pm vs CHI
Sun. March 11 12:30pm @ CHI
Tue. March 13 7pm @ CAR
Thu. March 15 7:30pm @ FLA
Sat. March 17 7pm @ TBL
Mon. March 19 7pm vs CBJ
Wed. March 21 8pm @ STL
Fri. March 23 8:30pm @ DAL
Sun. March 25 7:30 @ MIN
Tue. March 27 8pm @ WPG
Thu. March 29 7pm vs TBL
Sat. March 31 1pm vs FLA
Sun. April 1 12:30pm @ PHI
Tue. April 3 7:30pm @ TBL
Thu. April 5 7:30pm @ FLA
Sat. April 7 7pm vs OTT
Sun. April 8 7:30pm vs FLA

So lets start right off the clip with the biggest story of the week: Charlie McAvoy missing time due to his left MCL sprain. Remember this: Charlie is being evaluated in 4 weeks. Until then he’s expected to be in a brace and not skating. Best case scenario is that the next month goes by and he’s cleared and he’s right back on the top pairing with Zdeno Chara. Bad news, that isn’t going to happen. We would all love to see it, but the idea of McAvoy returning by April 1st at Philadelphia is probably an unreasonable ask for him. If he gets looked at, feels right enough to get some work in then we might see him for the final weekend of the season when the Bruins finish off the season with Ottawa and Florida. Silver lining here is the defensive depth is going to get quality time in, and in no short supply with the brutal schedule the Bruins are staring in the face.

Patrice Bergeron is also being evaluated in a few weeks, and with the fracture that he suffered is also unable to skate. We’re well aware of the fact that Bergeron is a professional and will not take much time to get right back into game shape following his hiatus. Possibly looking at some reduced minutes initially, or perhaps just simply getting a few extra games off leading up to the playoffs.

Lastly, just consider the quality of opponents and the on/off schedule Boston has left. Some less than desirable travel days loom, and there will not be a lot of time to rest up. There will be more injuries, hopefully nothing major but there are going to be guys banged up without question. It will be interesting to see how coach Bruce Cassidy handles his rotations and scratches over the next few weeks.

Boston Bruins record as of Wednesday, March 7th is 41-15-8, with 90 points.

All that said, here’s where I see it:

The most anticipated and undoubtedly important games remaining come against the Tampa Bay Lightning. 18 games left for a maximum of 36 points out for the taking. With 3 games against conference leading Tampa Bay, I predict the Bruins will go 1-1-1 head-to-head in March and April. The Lightning are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games including a current win streak of 3 games. This team is legit, no one doubts that. The Bruins are no slouches either, and will take three points out of the Bolts. It’s not an easy call to predict an OT loss with Boston’s recent success in extra frames, but Tampa Bay will take it if that one is on their home ice. Contrarily, I feel the same that if a game went to overtime in Boston, it would be the Bruins taking the extra point.

Another key matchup would be the two games remaining against Philadelphia. One home on March 8th and one on the road April 1st. The Flyers are a more dangerous team than their record may suggest. Certainly their goal differential isn’t ideal at +4, but this team can surprise people. Although they failed to use the deadline as a way to bolster their roster for the playoffs with GM Ron Hextall admitting the prices for rentals were too high for his liking stating they were in this ‘for the long haul’, and he wasn’t going to make ‘emotional decisions’. Probably the correct play on his part as Philadelphia aren’t necessarily considered true cup contenders — but they sure are built to play spoiler if teams aren’t careful. I believe the Bruins have enough depth to take the full 4 points from them, but wouldn’t be shocked if they split the difference with the Flyers.

A stretch we should also be looking at is March 21st through March 27th where within that seven days the Bruins travel to St. Louis, Dallas, Minnesota, and Winnipeg who are all strong teams in the West. Only the Blues are currently on the outside looking in with regards to the playoffs — however they only sit 2 points outside of the wild card. If the Bruins come to each of these games and match the hunger and compete level I would call taking 5 out of a possible 8 points as being a ‘win’ for that road trip. Oh, and incase you were wondering their next game coming off that is against Tampa Bay. Are we all starting to see how insane this schedule is about to be? Good grief.

And now my prediction:

The final stretch: 10-7-1 in the final 18 games, good for 21 points.
Overall 2017-2017 record: 51-22-9, with 111 points.

Here are some other predictions from our BNG Staff:

Court LaLonde  53-19-10, 116 points
Lauren Campbell  52-22-8, 112 points
Spencer Fascetta  50-22-10, 110 points
Mike Cratty  52-21-9, 113 points
KG  51-20-11, 113 points

If McAvoy and Bergeron were were healthy then the prediction would be 117 points on the nose. I even believe thats still possible, as predicted by our own Court LaLonde,  because of the depth, and players like Rick Nash and Jake DeBrusk getting hot. Brad Marchand being — well, himself. The 4th line being one of the best and most productive in the NHL. Even the defensive depth like Nick Holden and Matt Grzelcyk getting increased playing time is not a bad thing if you take into account that the ultimate goal is a deep playoff run.

Regardless, playing slightly above .500 hockey which is below our true expectations for this team but reasonable for what they face over the next 4 1/2 weeks. If the Bruins play .500 hockey from tomorrow’s game and through the end of the season we shouldn’t be surprised, though I’m sure panic would rain down on hockey twitter in the form of blaming a goaltender, an aging defender, or unproven youth. Remember folks, when they’re hot you love every single piece of this team — as you should.

Let’s all take this final stretch for what it really is. It’s a test. A test that Sweeney and Cassidy appear ready to handle.

Thomas Nyström, Contributor.
Follow me on Twitter @nahstrom

Boston Bruins Post Game Recap: Game 62


Photo Credit: Jamie Sabau (Getty Images)

By KG | Follow on twitter @kgbngblog | FanCred at K G


With Patrice Bergeron still out, so Riley Nash fills in for him on the first line. Danton Heinen will be a healthy scratch with Matt Grzelcyk tonight, but according to Bruce Cassidy, Grzelcyk and others are “nursing these little nagging injuries.” The rest will be much appreciated as the Bruins start their descent into the last games of the season. Rask starts in net for Boston while DeSmith starts for Pittsburgh.

What I Am Looking Forward To

Two new Bruins are coming into the lineup tonight, Holden on defense and Gionta on the third line. Both seem to be just depth additions, but we’ll have to see if they can play the way that Tommy Wingels did in his debut. If these depth guys can all start playing well, it’ll mean that Bruce Cassidy can give more regular players a game off here or there to rest when they get near the end of the season. It also means that Cassidy will have options in the playoffs if someone goes down for a couple games.


Riley Nash got the first chance of the game early with a quick backhand shot from the slot, but Pittsburgh got the first goal on a knuckle puck from a wide open Olli Maatta. After a gritty shift and an icing, Rick Nash and his linemates Krejci and DeBrusk get the Bruins on the board after a great pass from Nash to a streaking Krejci. Chara started out the play with a simple cross ice pass to Nash. And if anyone was heading for a bathroom break after that goal, they would have missed David Pastrnak’s goal only a minute and eight seconds later. The Bruins headed to the power play after Evgeni Malkin held up a player going into the boards. This didn’t last long, as Rick Nash and the rest of power-play unit converted after some great board play and movement down low behind the net by Rick Nash, who would be the eventual goal scorer after redirecting Krug’s slap-pass to him. After a little bit of back-and-forth, Brian Dumoulin caught Jake DeBrusk in the face and went off for two on a high sticking call. He got lucky because the Bruins couldn’t convert. Shortly after Dumoulin got out of the box, old friend Phil “The Thrill” Kessel found the only opening that Rask had exposed while tight to the left post and bounced the puck off of Tuukka and in. The play settled down for at least a couple minutes while both teams started to play more physical, but as soon as you thought that maybe the teams would get into a possession type game, David Backes springs off of the side boards and fires a difficult shot over the left shoulder of Jarry to make it 4-2 Boston. And there was still 7 minutes in the period. After the goal, Patrick Hornqvist wanted to wake his team up and laid a devastating hit on young McAvoy. The point of contact originated directly on his head since McAvoy was looking for the puck, which seems to be like a pretty dangerous play, but no penalty was called since McAvoy had put himself in that position. A goal was called back from Pittsburgh because of a kicking motion AND a goalie interference. David Krejci went to the box the shift after because of a tripping call, and during the ensuing power play, the game got a whole lot chippier. The Bruins did a great job of moving the puck out of the zone while on the PK and did something you don’t see all that much. They would pass it to a forward moving up the ice and let them enter the zone and kill some extra time off the penalty. With the seconds on the clock dying out, Charlie McAvoy took a shot that was blocked and led to a 2 on 1 for Pittsburgh that led to a great slap shot by Sheahan that beat Rask on the blocker side with 0:02.2 left on the clock. The hectic period would end at a final score of 5-3 for Boston. We’re only 1/3 through this game.


BOS – Krejci (Rick Nash, Chara), Pastrnak (Marchand, Riley Nash), Rick Nash PP (Krug, Marchand), Backes (Gionta), Krug (Pastrnak, Riley Nash)

PIT – Maatta (Malkin), Kessel (Hornqvist, Malkin), Sheahan


The second period started with a Holding Stick penalty for the Penguins. After a shaky start for the Bruins on the man advantage, Nick Holden lasered a pass right to the stick of David Krejci for the 6-3 goal. Hornqvist was up to some more of his mischief in the second and McAvoy decided he was going to let Hornqvist know that he didn’t like his hit in the first period. Things escalated and it went to four on four where nothing major happened. Then, after Marchand did some fancy skating, he went to the box with Maatta. After the 4-on-4 expired, David Pastrnak took a lazy hooking penalty that put the Bruins on the penalty kill where they played pretty well and were able to kill it off. Then we had a battle of the Titans. A 6’9″ Chara squared off against the 6’7″ Oleksiak. It was a pretty good scrap, but both got tired early, but Chara did get a couple good shots. David Krejci found a rebound in on the edge of the crease to make it 7-3, and that was for his hattrick too. Pastrnak made a great move minutes later that pulled the goalie way out of the net, missed the shot and was redeemed by a great pass from Chara to make it a tap-in for Pasta. 8-3 Boston. The first 8-goal game for the Bruins since March of 2012. Krug was given a penalty at the end of the period for Interference and the Bruins headed to the dressing room with a five-goal lead.


BOS – Krejci PP (Holden, DeBrusk), Krejci PP (McAvoy, Holden), Pastrnak (Chara, McAvoy)



Pittsburgh started off on the power play, so the Bruins had to be ready for them to bring a lot of pressure early on. They were up to the challenge and killed off the penalty. The Bruins played well defensively early on, pushing the puck out of their zone and playing dump-and-chase for awhile. But on a defensive zone faceoff, Olli Maatta threw a shot on net that went off of two Boston players before it found the back of Tuukka’s net. Rask, while shaky at times, made sure the lead wouldn’t close any further, and played well the rest of the game. This was a statement win for Boston tonight.



PIT – Maatta (Kessel, Brassard)


Bruins fans should have a lot to cheer about. The second line is working wonderfully together, a third line center is still being effective in replacement of the probable Selke trophy winner, and the depth acquisitions at the deadline are effectively playing both sides of the puck. The real test will be how they play against Tampa Bay with three games starting just over two weeks from now.

KG’s Three Stars Of The Game

1st: David Krejci – How can I not give it to this guy? He played great all night, needing only a period and a bit to get a hattrick. He also had a good game defensively. He has really reminded people how good he is with Rick Nash now on his line.

2nd: Rick Nash – Nash had another big game, tallying a goal, an assist, and five shots in 15 minutes of play. He is exactly what Don Sweeney was looking for in a 2nd line winger. The trade keeps looking better and better.

3rd: David Pastrnak – He may have scored twice and had an assist, but Pastrnak did not play that great other than that. His first goal should have actually been Riley Nash’s goal, and he missed an open net seconds before his second goal. He still had three points in this game and contributed a great deal on offense.

MUP (Most Under-Appreciated Player): Zdeno Chara – Chara had a great game altogether. A very gritty, grind-it-out, 2011 Boston Bruins kind of game. He played hard along the boards and took on the young stallion Jamie Oleksiak, and got in a couple clean shots on him. A real captain kind of game.

BIRDHOUSE – Round-up of the best Tweets during the game


Saturday, March 3rd vs Montreal in Boston


Follow KG on Twitter @KGbngblog and on FanCred at K G Like, share and comment your takes on the article

Boston Bruins Post Game Recap: Game 60


Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer (AP Photo)

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G


Boston has been making some serious deals the past couple of days, moving lineup regular Spooner along with Matt Beleskey and assets to the New York Rangers in exchange for Rick Nash. The new addition and looming Trade Deadline give yet another reminder that Boston should be getting into that end of season grind mentality. Former Bruin Chad Johnson will face off against Anton Khudobin, who has started to look like a regular back up goalie again.

What I Am Looking Forward To

After the trade for Rick Nash, I want to see how he fits in with this team. He will basically be meeting the rest of the gang for the first time on the ice, so it’ll be interesting to see what the coaches have told him to do. He’ll be on a line with DeBrusk and Krejci. He reminds me a lot of the Horton/Krejci combo that the Bruins ran so much a couple years ago. Krejci has been looking for the winger to fit with him, and hopefully Rick Nash is just that.


The new look Bruins got off to a physical start with the line of David Krejci, Rick Nash and Jake DeBrusk playing using great body position to move around the offensive zone. Boston continued to get good offensive zone time but couldn’t get anything done on a Baptise penalty. The PP units will need more time to get adjusted to Rick Nash’s play style on the man advantage. The Bruins got into some penalty trouble and gave up two power-play goals to Benoit Pouliot and Kyle Okposo on penalties from Marchand and Chara. Boston as a whole looked pretty sluggish, but that was expected with this early start the day after a hard game last night against Toronto but against a team like Buffalo, there should be no slow starts for a team like Boston, especially since Buffalo also played last night. One thing to note was the absence of Patrice Bergeron for some of the first period after what seemed like a high stick to the face. He was reportedly back on the bench to end the first.



BUF – Pouliot PP (Antipin, Baptise) Okposo PP (O’Reilly)


Patrice Bergeron was back to start the second, and after some good play along the boards, Marchand was sprung out of his own zone to go down the ice on a one-on-one that led to cycling the puck down low until David Pastrnak found Charlie McAvoy moving in from the point for the pass-and-shoot that ended in a McAvoy goal. The one goal lead didn’t last for long. Rodrigues popped one just a couple minutes after McAvoy, which brought the Bruins two goals back. But then they started to go to work in the offensive end. Time after time they would enter and get shots, and one of those ended up with 1:52 straight of zone time that included a broken stick and a line change by Boston. Even with all of this time and all those shots, the Bruins couldn’t get one by Johnson. The Bruins need to start converting and scoring if they want to give themselves a chance to tie it up.


BOS – McAvoy (Pastrnak, Marchand)

BUF – Rodrigues (Reinhart, Ristolainen)


In a period where the Bruins needed to be near perfect to get back in the game, Kevan Miller took a penalty which turned into a simple goal from Marco Scandella. Anton Khudobin seemed to be out of it tonight. The defensive play of the Bruins didn’t help that much either, but it just was an off night for him. He only stopped 19 shots of the 23 on the net. The Bruins went 0/4 on the power play, but remember that one of those was for only four seconds. The rest of the game seemed to lack the intensity that was shown in the second period, even though they still had 11 shots in the second period. They gave up near the end, something that shouldn’t happen when you are a playoff team like they are.



BUF – Scandella PP (Pominville, Antipin)


Boston has been known to play down to opponents, and this needs to change if they want to go far in the playoffs. The little things that led to goals for a team like Buffalo will be taken advantage of even more by teams like Vegas or Tampa. Cassidy is a great coach, and Bruins fans shouldn’t be worried about the team losing that special something they had during their crazy points run. And just to remind people, when the deadline is in the past, the team will be more confident and ready to go.

KG’s Three Stars Of The Game

1st: Charlie McAvoy – The only goal scorer of the game, McAvoy played just as well defensively as he did offensively. He was great at sending in the puck when he had pressure on him when he was skating along the blueline. What a great young player he is.

2nd: David Pastrnak – The guy who always generates offensive did just that tonight as he was flying up and down the wing. He played well from behind the net and played an important part of the Bruins cycle game.

3rd: Rick Nash – For a guy who skated with the team for the first time in the warmups, Rick Nash played pretty well. His front of the net presence seems to fit nicely with the Bruins play style. He generated a team-leading five shots. Once he gets to practice with the team and get to know people, he’ll be even better.

MUP (Most Under-Appreciated Player): Sean Kuraly – It was a real nose-to-the-grindstone kind of game for Kuraly, playing physical as always and putting pucks on net. Always a great option to put out when you need to generate some energy.

BIRDHOUSE – Round-up of the best Tweets during the game


Tuesday, February 27th vs Carolina in Boston


Follow KG on Twitter @KGbngblog and on FanCred at K G Like, share and comment your takes on the article

Ryan Donato – Boston’s Captain America

451382010.0[1]Image Courtesy of Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

By: Aaron Chisling     Follow me on Twitter at @achisling

On a Boston Bruins team that is getting league-wide recognition regarding it’s Stanley Cup contender status. Many have marveled at Boston’s ability to manage their core of playoff-proven players in Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, David Backes and Zdeno Chara with unproven rookie phenoms like Danton Heinen, Jake DeBrusk, Sean Kuraly and Charlie McAvoy. Don Sweeney and Bruce Cassidy have cooked up a successful recipe it seems.  Most would assume that based on this influx of youth that the Bruins are enjoying that their cupboard of prospects would be bare of upcoming, high-end talent. Boy, are they wrong.

Ryan Donato, son of Ted Donato who spent nine seasons with the Boston Bruins and played for Team USA in the 1992 Olympic Winter Games,  was selected by the Bruins in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He was selected in the 2nd round and 56th overall. He projected to be a long-term project, and it seems that the Bruins Brass’ patience will bear fruit. He looked outstanding at the 2017/2018 Bruins Development Camp. His performance at camp was right on par with Anders Bjork, if not better at times. He returned to Harvard where Teddy Donato is the Head Coach. He’s been scoring at a torrid pace, playing 23 games on the season while tallying 21 goals and 10 assists, with 1.35 points per game average. Each year he’s played with the Crimson, he’s had a definite improvement in his production. Take a look at the marked improvement each year below.

2018-02-16 07_50_17-Ryan Donato Career Statistics _ College Hockey NewsStatistics courtesy of Collegehockeynews.com

In addition to skyrocketing up the Bruins prospect rankings, Donato has attracted some international competitive attention this year. With Gary Bettman and the NHL’s Board of Governors electing to forego Olympic participation during the Pyeongchang Games, Team USA was forced to dip into the non-NHL-contracted player pool to assemble its roster. Ryan Donato was named to the team and has played a prominent role thus far. He’s been put on a line with 2017 WJC shootout hero Troy Terry and former NHL player Mark Arcobello. The trio has already developed some impressive chemistry and will be relied upon to do much of Team USA’s damage on the scoreboard. Last night’s close victory over Slovakia was a demonstration of just that. Check out this filthy goal which was Donato’s second of the night and the eventual game-winning goal.

If Team USA is to overcome the adversity and challenge ahead of them and eventually medal, Bruins prospect Ryan Donato will have a significant part in the performance. How crazy would it be to win Olympic Gold and potentially a Stanley Cup in the same season? It’s unlikely, but it’s looking more and more possible every day that the Bruins continue on the path that they’re on right now. If Ryan Donato keeps up the pace he’s at, Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney will have no choice but to make a spot for him. Having too many good players is a significant problem to have, and I know Sweeney would feel the same way. Ryan Donato and Team USA face the Olympic Athletes from Russia at 7:10 AM ET on Saturday. I’ll be watching. You should know too.

For more Bruins live reaction, follow me on Twitter @achisling. I promise you’ll only regret it part of the time.

Boston Bruins Rookie Squad Continues To Impress and Improve



Charlie McAvoy #73 of the Boston Bruins works against Mats Zuccarello #36 of the New York Rangers in the third period during their game at Madison Square Garden on February 7, 2018, in New York City.
(Feb. 6, 2018 – Source: Abbie Parr/Getty Images North America)

By: Andrew Thompson                                                                      Twitter: @Godwentwhoops


The Boston Bruins knew they would be going all-in on the youth movement when they replaced Claude Julien with Bruce Cassidy. Cassidy had spent his time in Providence working with many of the young kids that were coming up through the ranks in Boston. The Bruins organization knew that there would be growing pains early on and the team certainly felt them that first month (Especially with the rough string of injuries that hampered the Black and Gold).

The young kids have come a long way in just a few short months. They’ve picked up the slack in Boston, and in some cases helped push the team from the near bottom of the pack to the second-best point total in the NHL (after tonight’s 6-1 drubbing of the New York Rangers).

Early on in the season, the Boston Bruins had to rely on the scoring prowess of the Bergeron line. At one point in the season, the B’s top line was responsible for over 45% of the scoring for the Black and Gold.

Thankfully for the Bruins and their fans, that situation has changed. The Bruins rookie squad has learned from the B’s rough start and have become the most prolific scorers among all NHL teams. The rookies have already put up 33 goals for the Black and Gold, good enough for nearly 20% (19.41) of the B’s total goal production this season.  The young guns are playing their part in the B’s 3.27 goals/game average (fourth in the league).

The rookies have been all over the ice this season, and it shows in the Bruins numbers when compared to the rest of the league. Charlie McAvoy has done an outstanding job on the blueline so far this year. He’s part of the reason why the B’s are number one in the league in goals-against per game (2.35). He’s also seeing a decent amount of time on the penalty kill, now rated sixth in the league (82.9%).

The young players rookie seasons are certainly impressive so far. Danton Heinen already has 38 points (12 goals) this year and is on track for a near 60 point season this year. Jake DeBrusk isn’t that far behind with his 28 point (11 goals) effort. McAvoy finishes out the top three with 25 points and 5 goals.  Heinen certainly the breakout rookie star this year after working his way up onto the team after being a fourth-round pick (116th overall) in the 2014 Entry Draft. He’s become the B’s diamond in the rough this season.

The lion’s share of credit has to go to Cassidy, who is earning more and more buzz as a solid contender for the Jack Adams Award. He’s really turned things around in Boston and has made the Bruins a team to be respected in the league.

Credit also needs to be given out to the veteran members of the team who have helped make the young players better. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara has certainly taken McAvoy under his wing. Players like Patrice Bergeron (who may actually pull of the Selke and the Hart Trophy this year), Brad Marchand, and even David Pastrnak have made the rookie forwards more dangerous and aware on the ice.

It’s been an amazing run so far for the 2017-18 Bruins squad, and all Black and Gold fans can only be excited for the young guns of the team. They continue to impress and improve and they’ll be a terror for the other teams for the rest of the season.



Bruce Cassidy – Boston’s Jack Adams Candidate

Townson_BruinsPC08_spt[1]Above Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/Boston Globe

By: Aaron Chisling                 Follow Me on Twitter @achisling

Gerard Gallant, the ex-Head Coach of the Florida Panthers and caller of taxis, has been garnering most of the Jack Adams attention this season and for a good reason. Expansion franchises historically have been write-offs in their first year. Their rosters are composed of castaways and pending unrestricted free agents, doomed to the basement of the NHL standings. Going into this season things looked no different for Vegas. Analysts and experts alike were clamoring for the NHL Trade Deadline to see where James Neal and the bevy of NHL caliber defensemen would be auctioned off too. In a stunning turn of events, it’s unlikely the Knights will sell at all as their bench boss has led his team to a staggering 35-13-4 record and the Knights reign over the entire Western Conference in their inaugural season.

Bruce Cassidy’s coaching performance is being overshadowed this year by Gallant’s achievements, but what Cassidy has done is nothing to shake a stick at. By most outside of New England, the Boston Bruins were being penciled in outside of the playoff picture, eclipsed by the stalwart Ottawa Senators who just suffocated them and eliminated them in the first round of the playoffs. They stood no chance against the upstart Toronto Maple Leafs and dazzling Tampa Bay Lightning. The would have to fight uphill and through a Carey Price-led Montreal Canadiens to have a sniff at an Atlantic Division playoff berth, never-mind fight through the maelstrom that is the Metropolitan Division and defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

They have done that, and more. Led by Cassidy’s willingness to let the youth play and in what seems like every role, the Bruins have shattered expectations. Boston sits second in the East, second in the entire league in goal differential, they boast the lowest goals against in the league and has one of the most productive crops of rookies in the entire league. Charlie McAvoy’s emergence as a bonafide top pairing defenseman in his rookie season has been one of the greatest things to watch as a fan. Danton Heinen’s return to the NHL lineup and has proved that he learned and improved with his time in Providence. He’s quietly put up 35 points in 45 games played this season. During Brad Marchand’s suspension, Heinen has taken his role on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak, and they have continued their elite puck possession and offensive dominance. Jake DeBrusk has become a mainstay on David Krejci’s wing in the top six, putting 11 goals and 15 assists up so far this year. Cassidy lets the kids go out there, make a mistake, and learn.

617807664.0[1]Above Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Pair this shot in the arm of youth with a return to elite play by goaltender Tuukka Rask, the Slovakian tower of power Zdeno Chara and the league’s premier two way forward Patrice Bergeron’s most lethal scoring season of his career? Jackpot, baby. Slowly but surely, the Bruins are coming up in discussion around the league as one of the teams that could be standing tall when the final rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs arrive. Bruce Cassidy’s coaching has played a monumental role in this rapid change. If I had a vote for the Jack Adams, I know who I’d give it to.

Aaron Chisling – Contributor

Follow me on Twitter @achisling

Boston Bruins Post Game Recap: Game 48


Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper (USA TODAY Sports

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G


The Bruins are missing four key players from their lineup and will need to play their best to beat a St. Louis team that is on a three-game win streak. Jake Allen is in nets, facing off against Tuukka Rask. Peter Cehlarik is back in the lineup for the first time since November 24th, sliding in alongside Nash and Backes on the left side.

What I Am Looking Forward To

I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Bruins respond to their first regulation loss since December 14th. They had tons of chances in the second half of their last game but converted too late. Jake Allen comes into tonight’s game going 0-5 in his last five games while giving up 3.4 goals against in those contests.


The game started out pretty evenly matched, with both teams getting shots on net. Both goalies looked solid, but Rask seemed very sound tonight. Bergeron and his line have found success when they cycle the puck and get those close slot one-timers, and that is exactly what they are trying to do in the early minutes of the game. The Bruins seemed to be really trying to connect on some pre-set breakout plays, which would be a great idea if they weren’t always stopped at their own blueline. Jake DeBrusk and Ryan Spooner gave a textbook example of the slot one-timer, which then jumped over the shoulder of Jake Allen and fell into the crease, where a dog pile occurred where Allen was moved completely out of his crease and David Krejci was able to fire in a rebound into an empty net. It was reviewed, but the call on the ice was confirmed and it was a good goal. St. Louis came back with a more aggressive approach on the attack, focusing on keeping bodies in front of Rask. While they did get more chances, Rask kept shutting down everything that was thrown at him.


BOS – Krejci (DeBrusk, Spooner)



Bruins came into the second leading in shots, but with St. Louis getting the majority of the chances at the end of the first, Boston came back by cycling the puck and getting shots in on net from the point. The Bruins were looking for passes to the slot while they were on the rush, which were shut down by the Blues. David Backes was definitely a stand out in this period, using his large frame to move people off of the puck. He had a lot of great chances in front of the net, but Jake “The Snake” Allen stopped all that he was given that period.





Both teams came out swinging, getting great chances at both ends. Spooner and Krejci were all over the Blues in the offensive end. The Bruins were good at movement down low in the Blues’ end but had some issues when it came to their own defensive breakouts. Around the 13-minute mark, Vladimir Tarasenko put his stick into Torey Krug’s hands, and Krug decided to throw himself to the ground in hopes of drawing a penalty. He did draw one and on the ensuing power play, Bergeron connected on a great low-slot one-timer that beat Allen high blocker. A scrum, later on, took the game to 4-on-4 for the next two minutes. Rask made a great stop against a bouncing puck, staying calm as he usually is. Chara took a slashing call with about five minutes remaining in play, and the Bruins killed it off without a hitch. St. Louis pulled Allen with over two minutes left, a very aggressive time usually, but with the Blues being down by two, they needed as much time as they can, and it paid off. Schwartz scored with 1:32 left in the game off of a deflection and they were right back in the game. Mike Yeo pulled Allen again, and Boston started to get aggressive by icing the puck while trying to score, and finally, Backes popped one in the empty net with 0.4 seconds left in the game, sealing the win for the hometown team.


BOS – Bergeron PP (Pastrnak, Spooner), Backes EN

STL – Schwartz (Schenn, Tarasenko)


Miller is a key part of the Bruins defense currently, and with McAvoy still questionable on his return, this could mean a big hole in the defensive core for the Bruins against the Maple Leafs.

KG’s Three Stars Of The Game

1st: Tuukka Rask – Rask was lights out this game. No other way to explain it. The one goal he let in was a double-tipped puck and I’m not sure pretty much any goalie can get those. Rask ended the game with a 0.970 save percentage on 33 shots. He won them that game.

2nd: Ryan Spooner – Spooner had a great night, both on offense and defense. He was cycling the puck very efficiently and setting people up all night long. He had two assists on the night. He also moved the puck well in the offensive end, creating lanes with his quick feet.

3rd: Patrice Bergeron – It seems like #37 always finds a way to get one of the three stars. He’s been playing his usual way. Great on offense, even better on defense. He had four shots on goal and the game-winning power-play goal. Solid night for the NHL’s second star of the month of January.

MUP (Most Under-Appreciated Player)David Backes – Backes played a very gritty, tough game against his former team. He delivered some devastating hits and was getting chances left and right.

BIRDHOUSE – Round-up of the best Tweets during the game


Saturday, February 3rd in Boston vs Toronto


Follow KG on Twitter @KGbngblog and on FanCred at K G Like, share and comment your takes on the article