Bruins’ First Line Is Pivotal To The Bruins’ Success

 

(Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @lucaspearson_

The narrative for the Bruins over the past few seasons has been a significant lack of depth scoring. In last years playoffs, the Bs were lead by the trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak who combined for a staggering 16 goals and 53 points throughout the Bruins first two rounds. Following the first line, David Krejci (10 points) and Jake Debrusk (eight points) both had solid playoffs but after those five forwards, the next highest scorer was Rick Nash who had a measly five points and a -7 rating. The lack of depth was the downfall of the Bruins in last years playoffs.

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In last year’s first round, the Bruins top line was incredibly dominant and the graph above shows just that. For reference, anything over 50% was in the Bs favor so yea, the line was incredible all series (Bergeron was hurt game four). In game five (which the Bruins actually lost) the Bergeron line outshot Toronto 31-6 (84%) and out-chanced them 18-3 (86%). That dominance was the main reason the Bruins were able to make it past the Maple Leafs last season.

This is a new year, and a new Bruins team. The Bruins AREN’T relying solely on their top line. Their third unit has arguably been their best line this entire series. Charlie Coyle has shown why he was so popular in Minnesota and has impressed all of Boston with his strong play the series. Danton Heinen hasn’t slumped as he did last playoffs with a goal and two assists in five games and Both David Backes and Karson Kuhlman have played pretty well, giving the Bruins a legitimate 3rd line unlike last playoffs.

(Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Despite the strong play of the 3rd line the Bruins are still down 3-2 in the series. What was most apparent after their 2-1 loss to the Leafs on Friday was the lack of dominance, or dare I say it, poor play shown by the 1st line. Playing primarily against the line centered by John Tavares and the pair of Jake Muzzin and Nikita Zaitzev, the “perfection line” has been far from perfect. The trio has scored just three even strength goals this series and, especially in game five, have really struggled to generate offense.

After the line was stymied again in game three, Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy said “they’re having a tougher time getting to the net, and as a result I think they’re trying really hard one-on-one to get there. I think they need to use each other a little bit more to get there. [Maybe] get an old-fashioned goal whether it’s a center lane drive, a puck to the net or a second chance. They’re pretty determined guys.” While the line bounced back to have a solid Game Four, it clearly didn’t carry into Game Five.

Like Cassidy said, the line just needs to simplify their play. I’ve seen Marchand and Pastrnak carry the puck into the zone and attempt to finesse through three Toronto players too many times. The line is just too good to continue to get stifled by the Leafs D.

Brad Marchand David Pastrnak Patrice Bergeron Bruins

(Amy Irvin/ The Hockey Writers)

In the three Bruins losses this series, the Bergy line has scored once, which was a powerplay goal in game one. Maybe Bergeron is playing through an injury and Pasta’s hand is still not fully recovered but a line consisting of an 100 point player, a four time Selke winner, and a guy that was on pace for 45 goals this season shouldn’t be struggling this much, especially against a team that they have all had incredible success against in the past.

Now it’s do or die for the Bruins and their 1st line. The Bergy line MUST come out strong and replicate the success they were able to sustain in last years matchup. If they continue to play poorly in the 1st period, Cassidy needs to do his job and break them up, there’s no more time to wait for them to produce, it’s now or never. Maybe Danton Heinen or Marcus Johansson find their way to the first line or maybe David Krejci, who played incredible with Marchand and Pasta when Bergeron went down with an injury, slides up in the lineup. It’s time to see why this has been the best line in hockey over the past two years.

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Tampa Bay at Boston: 4/6/19

usa_today_10746426.0Photo Courtesy Of SB Nation

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (49-23-9)

Away: Tampa Bay Lightning (61-16-4)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak

Johansson-Coyle-Senyshyn

Blidh-Frederic-Backes

Heinen-Nordstrom-Kuhlman

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Clifton-Grzelcyk

Lauzon-Kampfer

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Tampa Bay’s Lineup

Forwards

Gourde-Stamkos-Kucherov

Palat-Johnson-Joseph

Killorn-Cirelli-Callahan

Erne-Martel-Miller

Defense

Coburn-Girardi

McDonagh-Cernak

Gaunce-Rutta

Goalies

Pasquale

Vasilevskiy

First Period

Prior to puck drop, the Bruins organization handed out a bevy of regular season awards to celebrate another successful season in Boston.

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Neither team was too aggressive in the early going, undoubtedly trying to avoid any injuries and not expend too much energy. Scoring chances were few and far between in the opening period as neither team could get consistently good shift in the opponents zone. The Bruins started to get an attacking zone rhythm in the middle stages of the period thanks to a solid shift by the third line. Tuukka Rask made a nice stop on Mathieu Joseph to keep the game scoreless with about 10 minutes left in the period.

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The B’s seemed to be the more aggressive team in terms of scoring chances in the first period as they strung together a couple great offensive shifts. A nice passing sequence by the Bruins resulted in David Krejci knocking home a loose puck in front to give Boston the lead.

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The Bruins continued to be quick to the puck and continued to get chances in the offensive zone as they looked to extend their lead. Danton Heinen doubled the Boston lead with just 19 seconds left in the period on a beautiful shot past Pasquale.

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Score: 2-0 Bruins

Second Period

The Bruins went to the penalty kill as Joakim Nordstrom slashed Steven Stamkos about three minutes into the period as the Lightning looked to get back into it. Erik Cernak cut the lead in half with a dart of a shot past Rask on the man advantage.

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The Bruins seemed to respond well to the Lighting goal as they got their skating legs back under them. The B’s continued to be very hungry on the puck toward the midway point of the game as the looked to assert control. The Lightning looked a lot more comfortable handling the puck in the second period with a lot more noticeably crisp passes. The Bruins would head to their first power play as Nordstrom was hit by a high stick with over seven minutes remaining in the period.

After a bad turnover in the offensive zone, Stamkos skated in on a breakaway that tied the game as the Bruins gave up yet another shorthanded goal on the season.

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The Lightning killed off the Boston power play despite some good puck movement by the B’s. Pasquale continued to have a strong game with a couple huge saves late in the second period. Anthony Cirelli buried a shot in the slot with about three minutes left in the period to give Tampa their first lead of the game.

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The Bruins challenged the goal for goalie interference but unfortunately to no avail. After Krejci was hit hard by Joseph, David Pastrnak took a penalty for roughing with just over two minutes left. The B’s killed it off and kept it a one goal game.

Score: 3-2 Lightning

Third Period

Just 53 seconds into the period, Nikita Kucherov made an incredible individual play in the offensive zone to double the Tampa Bay advantage.

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The Bruins continued to get some good scoring chances in the final period as they moved the puck pretty well in the offensive and neutral zones. The B’s would go to the man advantage with under fifteen minutes remaining in the game as Tyler Johnson was called for tripping. Tampa Bay killed off the penalty despite the Bruins getting some great opportunities.

The game started to get very nasty towards the end of the period as both team began to throw their weight around. Both Joseph and David Backes would go to the box for roughing following a scrum in front of the Tampa Bay bench. Matt Grzelcyk found the back of the net on the ensuing four on four to cut the deficit to one on a nice wrist shot.

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Just mere seconds after the goal, Brayden Coburn somehow found the net on a long wrist shot as Tampa Bay regained their two goal advantage.

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The Bruins pulled the goalie with under three minutes to go as they tried desperately to get back into the game. Johnson ended it with an empty net goal with 1:26 to go.

Final Score: 6-3 Lightning

Three Stars Of The Regular Season

First Star: Brad Marchand. The feisty winger had his best career season, surpassing 100 points for the first time and being the best offensive player on the team all year long.

Second Star: Patrice Bergeron. Amazingly, Bergeron set a career high in points this season despite missing a decent chunk of the year. He continues to impress every single season.

Third Star: Krejci. Despite a revolving door of winger at certain moments, the veteran center tied a career high in points and looked to be at his very best at multiple times of the year.

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Bruins Re-Sign Zdeno Chara To One-Year Contract

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( Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports Images )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @lucaspearson_

The big man isn’t retiring anytime soon.

The Bruins have announced that they have re-signed defenseman Zdeno Chara to a one-year deal worth $2 million with another $1.75 million in performance incentives. He will receive $1.25 million at ten games, $250  thousand for making the playoffs and another $250 thousand for winning the Stanley Cup.

mcavoy_chara.jpg

( Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports Photo )

Even at age 42, the future Hall-of-Famer is still having a very productive season. In 55 games this season predominantly featured on the top pair with Charlie Mcavoy, Chara has scored four goals and tallied seven assists to go along with a plus 16 rating. He continues to be great in the possession metrics as well with a 53.7 CF% and 54.7 FF%. He’s a huge asset to Boston’s 10th-ranked penalty kill and continues to be an incredible leader on, and off the ice.

Chara was originally drafted by the New York Islanders in the 3rd round of the 1996 NHL Draft. Crazily enough, there’s actually another active player from that draft in fellow 42-year-old Matt Cullen (the only other player older than Chara). In 2001, Chara was apart of a massive trade with the Ottawa Senators that sent Bill Muckalt, the 2nd overall pick in the NHL draft (which was used to draft Jason Spezza) and Chara for Alexei Yashin. In 2006, the Bruins signed then UFA Chara to a massive deal for five years at $7.5 million per year.

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Chara continues to amaze after 21 seasons in the NHL. He is immensely important to this Bruins team. He’s proven to be an incredible role model to the entire Bruins organization, but especially to the growth of the crop of young d-men, the Bruins have, namely Charly Mcavoy.

There’s no questioning if the Slovakia-native will be Hall of Fame bound. Chara has been in the top five in Norris Trophy voting eight times, capturing the award in the 2008-2009 season. He set a career high of 19 goals that season and was a plus 23 in 80 games.

USA - Sports Pictures of the Week - June 20, 2011

(Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

He, of course, doesn’t just have regular season success. He led the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in almost 40 years in 2011 where he was a league-leading plus 16 and was on the ice for almost half the game, averaging 27:39 minutes of ice-time a game. He was a hug factor in the Bruins 2013 cup appearance where he actually averaged even more ice-time than the previous cup run at 29:32 a game and tacked on 15 points in 22 games.

While his legs have slowed down, this deal is still a bargain for the captain. He continues to be the heart-and-soul of this Boston team, and it shows how much he values the team in this deal. While the thought of Chara leaving is unfathomable, he certainly could’ve gotten a bigger deal due to his importance to the roster. His small cap hit allows the Bruins to allocate more of their cap to their upcoming RFAs with Danton Heinen, Brandon Carlo, and Charlie Mcavoy all looking for significant raises next season.

The man just never ceases to amaze and will stay the “C” of the black and gold for at least one more run.

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Game Recap: Bruins Beat Devils 5-1

Image result for bruins vs new jersey devils;(Photo Credits: Steven Ryan | Getty Images)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

The Bruins quickly turned the heat up in New Jersey after a quiet first period that saw Patrice Bergeron score his 29th goal of the season (his first of the night). With nine games left in the regular season, Boston continues to rack up points and with the win against the last-place Devils, they extend their lead for second place in the Atlantic Division. The first line alone combined for eight points tonight.

Bruins starting line-up:

Heinen-Kuraly-Wagner

Marchand-Bergeron-Past

DeBrusk-Krejci-Coyle

Nordstrom-Acciari-Backes

Clifton-Carlo

Chara- McAvoy

Moore-Kampfer

Rask

 

New Jersey Devils starting line-up

Pietila – Zacha – Stafford

Coleman-Zajac-Noesen

Agostino-Rooney-Anderson

Carrick – Santini

Green-Severson

Yakovlev-Jacobs

Schneider

 

QUICK GAME NOTES:

Josh Jacobs makes his NHL debut tonight with New Jersey. Bruins John Moore returns to his old stomping grounds, after playing for New Jersey three seasons. Captain Zdeno Chara still looking to score his 200th career NHL goal.

GAME RECAP

With both teams tallying up an even amount of shots on goal in the first, the boys in Black and Gold would set the tone of the game after a beautiful snapshot goal by Patrice Bergeron at 18:34 in the first period. Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara would hustle up the ice sending a crossfeed pass to David Pastrnak, who banked a deflected shot on goal. In a failed attempt to nudge the loose puck past Schneider, Brad Marchand quickly scooped it up, sending it to Pastrnak who in turn found an open Bergeron in front of the net, firing it past Schneider.

SCORE END OF THE FIRST PERIOD: 1-0 BRUINS

With a late goal in the first period, the Bruins never looked back as they continued to create chances in front of the net down New Jersey’s end.  After a face-off win, Marchand would feed the puck to his linemate and at 12:58 in the second, David Pastrnak netted his first goal since returning from thumb surgery (and his 32nd of the season).

In their lone goal of the night, New Jersey’s  Drew Stafford would get the Devils on the board as Pavel Zacha intercepted a pass by Jake DeBrusk,  beating Tuukka Rask on the net, making the score 2-1 Bruins.

Photo Credits: Maddie Meyer-Getty Images)

SCORE END OF THE SECOND PERIOD 2-1 BRUINS

Sean Kuraly would take a slap shot from Jersey’s Steven Santini, sending Danton Heinen and Chris Wagner on a 2-1. Heinen would score off a wrist shot 29 seconds into the third, giving the Bruins a nice cushioned 3-1 lead.  Kuraly, unfortunately, did not return to the game.

As the third period came to a close, Patrice Bergeron would net his 30th goal of the season on an empty net at 18:42, making the score 4-1.  With Cory Schneider back in net, David Backes would score off a redirect, making the final score 5-1.

END OF REGULATION: BRUINS: 5  DEVILS: 1

TOTAL SHOTS ON GOAL: BRUINS: 27  DEVILS: 22

Cory Schneider made 22 saves for the Devils. The Bruins have a six-point lead over Toronto and will continue their four-game road trip as they head down to Florida. New Jersey has been mathematically eliminated from the Playoffs. Boston now improves to 45-20-9 and are at 99 points.  New Jersey fell to 27-39-9.

NEXT GAME:  BRUINS VS FLORIDA, Saturday 23rd with puck drop at 7:00 PM, BB&T Center.

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Bruins Sean Kuraly Leaves Game With Apparent Hand Injury

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Yahoo Sports)

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

Boston Bruins forward Sean Kuraly left Thursday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils and only returned for a brief time before leaving for the tunnel once again for the remainder of the third period.

Kuraly’s injury came almost immediately off of the opening faceoff to begin the third period of play. The Devils had early zone control to begin the frame, feeding the puck around the zone before defenseman Steven Santini bombs a one-timer slapshot towards Tuukka Rask, however, it rockets off of what looks to be Sean Kuraly’s right hand.

The puck bounced off of Kuraly and fell right to Danton Heinen’s stick. Heinen, catching the Devils off guard, bolted down the ice towards New Jersey goaltender Corey Schneider, ripping a clean wrist shot past the 33-year-old netminder for his tenth goal of the 2018-19 season. In the process, Kuraly picks up his 13th assist on the season, but not in the way he or management wants.

Sean Kuraly has been one of the most surprising players for the Boston Bruins this year, which is why I had him on my list for possible players to win the Bruins’ annual 7th Player Award for the 2018-2019 regular season. Him, alongside linemates Noel Acciari and Chris Wagner have come from being considered a normal fourth line to a threat for all opposing teams.

For more games than originally expected before the season started back in October, Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has started the line against the best lines that teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs have to offer. Kuraly, often in the middle of the best scoring chances and rushes, has the hard-working, never-give-up mentality that truly makes a player succeed when they don’t have the skill as a Patrice Bergeron or David Pastrnak may have.

Kuraly has eight goals and thirteen assists, breaking his previous career-high of six goals and eight assists that he hit in four more games in last season, the 2017-18 campaign. Within those eight goals scored, Kuraly has three game-winning goals including the winning goal late in the third period to secure a Winter Classic victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on January 1st, 2019.

The 26-year-old forward has been solid on the faceoff dot as well, winning 282 of the 524 faceoffs he took prior to tonight’s game versus the Devils, a 54% winning percentage. That alone is a big asset and value to a team. Winning faceoffs may not seem like a big deal, but Bergeron will be proof that it is needed for a good team.

As the weeks and days close in on the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Bruins need guys like Sean Kuraly in the lineup for the often gruelling seven-game series against the Maple Leafs. He may not be a massive goal scorer or point producer, but his non-stop energy brings something to this Bruins roster, (yes, the one that now has 99 points on the season), that is different from anyone else.

At this current moment, no word has been made on Kuraly’s injury suffered tonight. For a brief time following the blocked shot, he returned to the ice but went back down the tunnel. Kuraly missed time earlier in the year due to concussion protocol and a nose procedure that caused him to wear his infamous “fishbowl”.

Stay locked on the blackngoldhockey.com for any updates and news on Sean Kuraly’s injury as we know more. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj for updates as well. We will most likely here of something once Bruce Cassidy has his post-game interviews.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston @ New York: 3/19/19

New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner (40) drops to make a save against Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) during third period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. The Bruins defeated the Islanders 3-1. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(Photo Credit: Charles Krupa, Associated Press)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: New York Islanders

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Coyle

Heinen – Kuraly – Wagner

Nordstrom – Acciari – Backes

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Clifton – Carlo

Moore – Kampfer

Goalies

Rask

Halak

New York’s Lineup

Forwards

Lee – Barzal – Eberle

Beauvillier – Nelson – Ladd

Bailey – Filppula – Komarov

Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck

Defense

Leddy –  Mayfield

Pelech – Pulock

Hickey – Toews

Goalies

Lehner

Greiss

First Period

Bruins fans rejoiced as David Pastrnak made his long-awaited return in this one. It didn’t take long for the scoring to begin, as it wasn’t Pastrnak, but rather Sean Kuraly who put the Bruins ahead just a minute and 12 seconds into the game. Kuraly’s first in 23 games and seventh of the season was assisted by Charlie McAvoy (19).

The Bruins dominated early on when it came to creating offense through the neutral zone and good shot attempts. Despite the Bruins holding significant control of the game for much of the period, they were ahead by just a goal after one. Sean Kuraly especially, even outside of his goal was buzzing in a strong first period as a unit. Shots were heavily in the Bruins favor at 14-2, in part thanks to six Islanders giveaways.

Score: 1-0 Boston

Second Period

The action picked up early again in the second period when Zdeno Chara and Matt Martin squared off with one another. Chara’s first fight as a 42-year-old. With a hefty advantage when it comes to his wingspan and physical frame, Chara got the better of Martin in the fight for the most part, but Martin definitely got some good shots in. Per TSN StatsCentre, Chara is the first player of 42 or more years of age to earn a fighting major since Mark Recchi in 2010, ironically enough, while Recchi was on the Bruins.

The bottom-six continued to show up on the scoresheet. This time it was Noel Acciari getting on the board. He kept his head up, pounced on a turnover by Cal Clutterbuck, and quickly buried it to give the Bruins the two-goal lead.

The Islanders couldn’t really get anything established consistently for the majority of the first half of the game. It was all Bruins. An opportunity did come in the form of a power play for them when Pastrnak went off for 12:33 for high sticking, but they failed to convert on it.

Tuukka Rask made his first big save due to a lack of shots about 11 and a half minutes into the period. Kuraly potted another one late in the period for his second. Last time he buried two goals in a game was against Ottawa in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. His eighth goal of the season was assisted by Danton Heinen (21).

Soon after the goal, a power play ensued for the Bruins. No dice before the end of the period though. For what it’s worth, Pastrnak played 10:26 through the first two periods. 24-8 were the shots at the end of two in favor of the Bruins overall, 10-6 in the second period.

Score: 3-0 Boston

Third Period

Things took a little longer to get going in the third compared to the first two periods. Patrice Bergeron got things going this time. I can’t remember the last time the first three goals of a Bruins game were scored by bottom-six forwards. John Moore (8) and Joakim Nordstrom (4) had the assists.

Jake DeBrusk then took a penalty not too long after for hooking. The Islanders didn’t score on the power play, and then DeBrusk scored his 23rd goal of the season on a breakaway out of the box.

The final shots were 39-13 Bruins, and 15-5 in the third period. This was a blowout through and through and a statement road win to start the four-game road trip. Next up for the Bruins are the Devils at 7 PM on the road on Thursday.

Final Score: 5-0 Boston

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What Will The Bruins Forward Lines Look Like With Pastrnak Healthy?

usa-david-pastrnak_0.jpg

(Photo Credit: USA Today Images)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @lucaspearson_

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Danton Heinen

Jake Debrusk-David Krejci- Karson Kuhlman

Joakim Nordstrom- Trent Frederic- David Backes

Sean Kuraly- Noel Acciari- Chris Wagner

These were the not-so-impressive lines from when the Bruins played the Sharks on February 18th. The Bs still managed to get a big win (albeit controversial) with this group of forwards. In a few weeks, the Bruins will have their all-star forward back in David Pastrnak. Pasta, along with the trade-deadline additions of Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson will make the Bruins forward depth incredibly deep and dangerous. The question remains still, what does this lineup look like with a healthy roster?

There’s a lot of things to take into account. Could Pastrnak slide back in on the 2nd line with Jake Debrusk and David Krejci? Johansson seemed to have immediate chemistry in his first game with Krejci and Debrusk on the 2nd line. He played very well, and that line generated a lot of really good scoring chances throughout the game, including a pretty tic-tac-toe goal from the trio. If that line continues to gain more chemistry, it’s probably worth keeping them together.

Danton Heinen Bruins

(Photo Credit: Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Maybe Cassidy decides to reunite the super-line. Obviously, the combination of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak is arguably the best line in hockey but with Danton Heinen finally finding his game and the 1st line still producing at a high level, it would be interesting to keep the line together and try out Pastrnak on the 3rd line.

Pastrnak on the 3rd line? How do can you put a PPG player on the 3rd line and still expect him to produce? Well, a man by the name of Phil Kessel did that and look where it got the Penguins. The notorious HBK line consisted of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, and Kessel, and was a huge reason why the Penguins were able to win their 2016 Stanley Cup. The ability to have three lines that can score at will is very hard to come by, especially in the playoffs.

It’s very likely the Bruins will end up playing the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs. The Leafs also tout a very effective 3rd line, with former 30 goal scorer, Nazim Kadri centering rookie Andrea Johnsson, who has 19 goals and 36 points in 56 games and William Nylander, who’s coming off of back to back 61 points years. I’d say a line of Pastrnak, Charlie Coyle and David Backes (who looks a lot better playing with Coyle) would be a match-up favorable to the Bruins.

With that top 9, and a 4th line that coach Bruce Cassidy can throw out against almost any other line, Cassidy can pick and choose his match-ups and expect great results. There may not be a deeper forward group in the NHL.

(Photo Credit: Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

In all honesty, I think Cassidy will end up resorting to putting Pasta back on the top line, but I really do think it’s at least worth a shot to test Pastrnak on the third. Even with the super-line, Cassidy can just pick and choose who he wants in the lineup. They have so many options with the additions at the deadline. Coyle can end up playing with Krejci or continue to play well at 3C. Johansson had a lot of success in Washington with Nick Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, so maybe he’s another guy to try out on the top line. Rookie Karson Kuhlman and Peter Cehlarik both looked at home in their handful of games with the Bruins and played on the 2nd and 3rd line but look to be healthy scratches as of now. Even Joakim Nordstrom has seen looks all throughout the lineup this year and continues to be a speedy, defensively reliable player. The Bruins have options galore.

Now at the end of the day, whatever group of forwards the Bruins throw out will be a really good one. The acquisitions at the deadline give this team a brand new feel and make them a real Stanley Cup contender. Oh boy, are playoffs going to be fun.

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Danton Heinen Elevating Play For Bruins of Late

(Photo Credit: The Athletic)

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter  @yanlatz

 

Danton Heinen, like many young Bruins, has had an up and down season. He has shown glimpses of a scoring touch, but other times he has been hardly noticeable. However, after recently getting a spot on the top line against the New York Rangers, he has elevated his game.

The Langley, British Columbia native, was selected in the fourth round (116th overall) by the Bruins at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He had 62 points (29 goals, 33 assists) with the Surrey Eagles of the British Columbia Hockey league before attending the University of Denver for 2 years where he accumulated 93 points in 81 games (36 goals, 57 assists).

His junior and college numbers showed real promise for the youngster to be a productive NHLer, and after a strong rookie campaign (16 goals, 31 assists) in 2017-2018, it seemed as though the Bruins had found a solid player in the fourth round of the draft.

This season, however, it has been a struggle for most of the year for #43. It seems as though another youngster has been going through the “sophomore slump.” With just 16 points in 52 games (8 goals, 8 assists) Danton Heinen found himself a healthy scratch again for the Super Bowl Sunday matchup with the Washington Capitals.

After drawing back in the lineup against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on February 6th, Heinen had to get his game going again to remain in the lineup and contribute to the Bruins offense.

Bruce Cassidy penciled him in on the right side of the top line, with Patrice Bergeron in the middle and Brad Marchand on the left wing side. With the Bruins down 1-0 in the second period, Heinen parked himself in front of the net and got a piece of a Matt Grzelcyck shot to tie the game.

On Saturday afternoon, the Bruins faced off against the Los Angeles Kings and Heinen, for the second straight game, found himself on the first line. The Bruins opened the scoring when Heinen showed his speed and vision to find a wide-open Patrice Bergeron at the side of the goal who made a sweet feed to McAvoy who had a yawning cage giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead.

After going down 2-1 in favor of the Kings, Danton Heinen answered with his 8th of the year burying the rebound past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.

Heinen has responded in these 2 games since being scratched by potting 3 points in 2 games (2 goals 1 assist) and showing us those glimpses of scoring that we saw in his rookie season and first-round playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Then, on a snowy Tuesday night in Boston, the streaking Chicago Blackhawks came to TD Garden seeking their 8th straight victory. Heinen yet again started the game on the right side of Bergeron and Marchand and got on the score sheet in a big way. Heinen put home a rebound after a Chara shot deflecting off Marchand landed right on the stick blade of #43 in black who had a wide open net.

Just minutes later, Heinen makes a great forechecking play in the corner cutting off Blackhawks defenseman Gustav Forsling’s pass to get the puck up the half-wall to Marchand. Marchand then finds Bergeron who fires a shot that was stopped by Delia, only to find Danton Heinen right on the puck to make a fantastic feed to Marchand breaking in behind him. Marchand found the back of the net, in turn, giving the Bruins a 3-1 lead over Chicago and an assist to Heinen.

Fast forward to the 3rd period. The Blackhawks were making a push and recently cut the Bruins 4-1 lead to 4-2 and then 4-3. Just when it seemed as though the Bruins were to blow yet another lead, Peter Cehlarik gave the Bruins insurance. And yes, you guessed it, Danton Heinen had his fingerprints on this goal as well. After a great skating entry into the offensive zone by Torey Krug, Krug sent it to Heinen in front of the net and with great patience, Heinen slid the puck over to Cehlarik who one-timed it past Delia for Heinen’s 3rd point of the night (1 goal, 2 assists).

After scoring his 6 previous points in 22 games, Danton Heinen has scored 6 points in his last 4 games and has looked very solid in those 4 games. Bruce Cassidy has shown a lot of patience and faith in this kid, and it might be paying off at the right time.

It is clear that since the scratching of Danton Heinen against the Capitals, and being put on the right side of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, Danton Heinen is starting to feel it. However, it is only 4 games, and the Bruins will need his production to continue, especially with the recent injury to David Pastrnak.

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Boston Bruins: Jake DeBrusk Breaking The Cold Streak

PHOTO CREDIT: Maddie Meyer-Getty Images

By: Michael DeRosa | Check me out on Twitter @michael_derosa4

With David Pastrnak expected to miss at least two weeks, it is now time for the Bruins’ secondary scoring to wake up. In last night’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks, it is clear that they took a step in the right direction. Danton Heinen has been fitting in perfectly with the first-line and is quickly silencing his critics. However, one must not forget that Jake DeBrusk also broke the ice last night. With him registering three points, it seems as though he is finally heading in the right direction to break out of his slump.

One important factor to note is that once DeBrusk gets going, he has shown that he can play at a very effective level. After starting the year off in a similarly slow fashion, he ended up going on a stretch where he was scoring at will. With that being stated, there is no question that he has the ability to be a difference maker at the NHL level. With Pastrnak out, he is going to receive even more opportunities to shine. It is now time for him to play at a consistent level.

This time of year is crucial when it comes to getting points. Although the Bruins are in a spot where the playoffs seem like a sure thing, history has shown that anything can happen in this league. Scoring from players like DeBrusk and Heinen are a necessity at this point in time. However, in a sense, there is an unsaid high level of expectations toward DeBrusk. He is a former first-rounder who has already shown in spurts that he can resemble an elite sniper in this league. It just is a matter of staying at that level permanently.

The NHL Trade Deadline could also be massive for DeBrusk. There is no question that the Bruins are looking to acquire a top-six winger. Artemi Panarin has been the major name that the team is linked to, but it is not limited to just him. There are plenty of rentals who can slot on that line who could help DeBrusk’s offensive consistency blossom, such as Micheal Ferland and Wayne Simmonds. Bringing in a legitimate second-line winger would be the best action for not only DeBrusk but the entire team in general.

Criticism has been handed DeBrusk’s way during his cold streak, and it is justifiable in a sense. There is no question that the team should expect their second-line winger to produce at a solid pace. At certain points, one may argue that he has looked invisible on the ice as well. However, at the same time, the line has struggled to find solid chemistry all season. When a team is constantly changing up lines, it can leave a negative impact. With him being a young player, it makes sense as to why this has occurred.

At the end of the day, it is quite apparent that the importance of DeBrusk breaking this streak is at an immense level. The Bruins have the potential to do something special this postseason, but they need players like him to play their bests. At one point of the season, it seemed likely that DeBrusk easily could have had a 25-goal campaign. The potential is there, but more importantly, the consistency needs to be as well. Expect these last few months of the regular season to lead to him breaking out. Last night truly was the start of that.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Chicago at Boston: 2/12/19

tuukka-rask-010119-getty-ftrjpg_biwlnz7l55ji1phf9kig6hyw5Photo Courtesy Of Sporting News

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (31-17-8)

Away: Chicago Blackhawks (23-24-9)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Heinen

DeBrusk-Krejci-Cehlarik

Nordstrom-Frederic-Backes

Kuraly-Acciari-Wagner

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Miller

Moore-Carlo

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Chicago’s Lineup

Forwards

Caggiula-Toews-Kane

DeBrincat-Strome-Kahun

Saad-Kruger-Perlini

Hayden-Anisimov-Sikura

Defense

Keith-Seabrook

Dahlstrom-Murphy

Forsling-Gustafsson

Goalies

Delia

Ward

First Period

Both teams had some early chances as the they looked locked in from the very beginning. Alex DeBrincat opened the scoring just 4:22 into the game as his shot somewhat got through Tuukka Rask’s blocker and into the net.

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The Bruins fourth line responded with a very solid shift but Colin Delia stood tall to preserve the early lead. After a collision in front of the Chicago net, Brad Marchand was somehow called for goaltender interference after being pushed into Delia by Patrick Kane. The Blackhawks picked up the game’s first power play. Zdeno Chara was called for roughing during the man advantage, giving the Blackhawks a five on three.

The B’s killed both penalties as Rask and the defense held up to keep it a one goal game. The B’s continued to get the better of the scoring chances as they developed an offensive rhythm in the middle stages of the period. The Bruins got a power play after a tripping penalty to Brent Seabrook. David Krejci tied the game on a one timer after a beauty of a feed from Patrice Bergeron.

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The Bruins continued to be hounds on the puck and Danton Heinen was rewarded with a rebound goal after a shot by Chara to give the B’s the lead.

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The B’s continued to be quick to the puck, forcing turnovers and getting good scoring chances from good areas in the Chicago end. The Bruins made it three consecutive goals as Marchand buried a feed from Heinen in front of the net with about a minute to go in the period.

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Score: 3-1 Bruins

Second Period

Rask had to make a few stops in the opening moments of the middle period as he looked to be a lot sharper than in the first period. After a slow start to the period, the game started to open up as both teams got their skating game going. The second line started to find an offensive rhythm in the middle part of the period as Jake DeBrusk seemed to have a hop in his step.

Another great shift by the fourth line nearly resulted in the Bruins extending the lead but Delia continued to have a strong period to keep it a two goal game. Krejci was cut down in the attacking zone which resulted in another Boston power play with 8:11 to go in the period. The Blackhawks killed off the penalty as the Bruins failed to get any significant scoring opportunities.

The B’s would get another man advantage opportunity as Heinen was roughed up in the neutral zone with just over four minutes left in the period. Jonathan Toews was called for a high stick just 20 seconds into the power play as the B’s would get a five on three. The Blackhawks killed the penalty but DeBrusk scored immediately following the man advantage to make it a three goal lead.

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Duncan Keith cut into the lead with a slap shot from the top of the circle with only 22 seconds to go in the period as the Hawks got a huge goal.

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Score: 4-2 Bruins

Third Period

The Bruins went to the penalty kill early in the period as Toews was taken down by Sean Kuraly in the attacking zone just 1:16 into the final frame. The B’s killed it off despite four shots on goal by the Hawks. Both Noel Acciari and John Hayden went off for roughing minors which resulted in a four on four situation. Erik Gustafsson found the back of the net as he walked in on Rask and beat him with a wrist shot to make it a one goal game.

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The Hawks were hit with another penalty during the four on four which resulted in yet another Boston power play. Peter Cehlarik made it a two goal lead again after two great plays by Heinen and Torey Krug on the man advantage.

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The Bruins continued to push for another goal as they peppered Delia with shots from all angles. Rask improved his play in the third period as he withstood a few Chicago rallies. Krejci made it two on the night after an outstanding shift and a sweet feed from Marchand to make it 6-3 Bruins with over four minutes remaining.

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Final Score: 6-3 Bruins

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Heinen. The young winger had perhaps his best game of the season with three points and looked like the impressive player from last season.

Second Star: DeBrusk. Number 74 was at his best in this one and found the back of the net on a great tip and also added two assists.

Third Star: Krejci. The center was solid in this game and was a great finisher, scoring two goals.

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