Boston Bruins Week In Review Jan 6th-12th

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders

(Photo Credit:Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

There we go, THAT’S Bruins hockey. After a brutal stretch of hockey that saw the Bs go 4-5-6, the Black and Gold are back to their winning ways. Here’s everything you missed from this week’s action.

Jan 7 Boston Bruins @ Nashville Predators

The Bruins were able to acquire some help for their trip to Nashville to face the Predators. No, it was not Tyler Toffoli or Chris Kreider, but it was actually a the Bruins’ moms. This was the Predator’s first game after parting ways with Peter Laviolette, so the Preds were certainly going to bring their A-game with new coach (and former Devils’ coach) John Hynes. 

The first period started off with a bang as the NHL’s leading goal scorer David Pastrnak came down the wing and blew a shot past Pekka Rinne just 1:36 into the game to give the Bruins the lead. The Bs continued their strong play throughout the period, testing Rinne for the full 20 minutes. A good period from top to bottom for the Bruins, where they were able to outshoot the Preds 13-8.

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Just a minute into the second period it seemed the Predators scored after a bizarre play. Charlie McAvoy was knocked into the net, taking it off its pegs, while Nick Bonino proceeded to put the puck in the net. After it was originally called a good goal (because the puck would’ve gone in regardless of the net being off) it was then called back due to the Pred’s Rocco Grimaldi causing McAvoy to knock off the net. Confusing, I know. At the 11:39 mark, Danton Heinen finished off a pretty passing play from Charlie Coyle and Matt Grzelyck with a rip from the slot, making it 2-0 Bruins. Nashville finally got their goal back after Filip Forsberg converted on a five on three PP for the Preds. Late in the period, Boston was able to regain their two-goal lead after Patrice Bergeron finished a nice feed from Jake Debrusk on the powerplay.

The Bs nearly added yet another goal seconds into the third, but Pekka Rinne shut the door on the top line. It wasn’t long after that chance when the Bruins did tack on yet another goal when a Par Lindholm shot went in off of Chris Wagner in front. You could tell it just wasn’t Nashville’s night after Tuukka Rask STONED Viktor Arvidsson midway through the third. Nashville found a little life late after pulling within two on the powerplay, but it was all for not after a David Krejci empty netter and a late Charlie Coyle goal.

Jan 9 Winnipeg Jets @ Boston Bruins

The moms made the trip back to Boston with the team and it paid dividends in a back-and-forth game against the Jets. We aren’t going to mention the 2015 draft, at all, but the 17th overall pick Kyle Connor put Winnipeg on the board first after dipsy-doodling past Torey Krug and roofing one on Jaroslav Halak. A good shift by the second line and a semi-break for Chris Wagner both amounted to nothing, so the Bs remained without a goal. That was until the duo of Sean Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom connected with David Pastrnak in the slot to tie the game. After a great play from David Backes, Danton Heinen and Charlie Coyle wouldn’t go, the period closed, knotted at one. 

Exactly six minutes into the second, the Jets were able to retake the lead on the powerplay after Andrew Copp collected his 7th goal of the season. That lead didn’t hold for much longer as who but the league’s leading goal scorer, David Pastrnak, sent an absolute rocket past Laurent Brossoit on the powerplay, 2-2. Chris Wagner was inches away from giving the B’s their first lead of the game as he rattled one off the post, but the game remained tied. That 2-2 tie wouldn’t last the period as Jake Debrusk came in on a breakaway and buried one past Laurent Brossoit with 1:11 left. What should’ve been an easy final minute to kill off for the Bs, ended up being the opportunity for the Jets to tie it up,  when Neil Pionk scored on the powerplay with just seconds left on the clock

NHL: Boston Bruins vs Winnipeg Jets

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

After about eight minutes of stalemate, the Jets were able to regain their lead after Mark Schiefele banked a shot in off of Jaroslav Halak. When Jake Debrusk took advantage of a poor change from the Jets by driving to the net, David Krejci collected the rebound and fed Pasta in front of the net, queuing the hats to start flying down from the rafters. If you thought you had time to run to the bathroom before the lamp was lit once again, you missed the Bs take the lead. Just 30 seconds after the tying goal, Krejci won a faceoff clean to Matt Grzelyck, who fed McAvoy for a one-timer that Jake Debrusk tipped in, and topped it off with a beautiful celly. That proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Jets, as they were not able to muster up anything to come back.

Jan 11 Boston Bruins @ New York Islanders

The mom-less Bruins headed to New York for their next game with a couple of players hitting milestones along the way (Torey Krug and Sean Kuraly playing their 500th and 200th games respectively). It was all Islanders early in this game, with Tuukka Rask forced to make save after save until the Isles were able to breakthrough. Scott Mayfield’s shot from the point snuck past Rask, giving New York the lead. Rask continued to battle after a bad period from the Bs and made 13 saves in the first. 

A couple big saves by Rask opened the second period until the Bruins were able to knot the game up at one.  A clean breakout led to Charlie McAvoy joining the rush, and the ensuing traffic in front of the net lead to Jake Debrusk’s equalizer. The rest of the period showcased the two goaltenders battling it out, and the game continued into the third, tied 1-1. 

That was until a seeing eye shot from John Moore found its way through Semyon Varlamov to give the Bruins their first lead of the night. That, unfortunately, didn’t silence Barclays Center for too long after Josh Bailey fed Matthew Barzal in front, who tucked it past Rask to tie the game. Some big saves from both Varlamov (namely two on David Krejci) and Rask sent the game into OT.

The Bruins were gifted a powerplay early into OT after Brock Nelson tripped up Brad Marchand, and that ended up being the demise for the Isles. “Mr. Perfect” Patrice Bergeron was able to collect a pass from Torey Krug in the slot, looked off the defense and wrist a shot past Varlamov to give the Bs the victory and complete the 3-0 week.

Roster/Injury News

  • Zdeno Chara missed the Bruins’ game in Winnipeg due to a jaw injury but played their next game in New York with no problem.
  • Joakim Nordstrom missed the game against the Predators due to an illness but has played in every game since.
  • Matt Grzelcyk left the game against the Islanders early and never returned. He played the next game in Philly.
Boston Bruins v New York Islanders

(Photo Credit:Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

My Three Stars of the Week 

A lot of contenders for this week’s honors. A few guys who just missed the cut were Danton Heinen (one goal, two assists, +3 rating), Charlie Coyle (one goal, two assists, +4 rating) and a trio of defensemen (Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, and Matt Grzelyck) who all picked up three assists in the week.

  1. Jake Debrusk

The second line has regained life and so has Debrusk. The Edmonton native had a point in every game and ended with a statline of three goals, two assists, and a +3 rating. 

  1. David Pastrnak

The Bs’ main dish of choice this week was Pasta, who put up four goals in three games. His hockey IQ was on full display and he showed why he’s leading the league in goals.

  1. Tuukka Rask

Take that Rask haters. Tuukka was incredible this week, going 2-0 with a .944 save percentage and a sub 2.00 goals allowed average. He single handedly kept the Bruins in both games and without him, there was not a chance the Bruins go 3-0.

Play of the Week – David Pastrnak Goal

Gotta be this shot by Pastrnak. The video would be a whole lot better with sound.

Final Notes

  • Anders Bjork has made the 2nd line FAR more dynamic. While he only had one point, it was clear his playmaking ability gelled very well with Jake Debrusk and David Krejci. I think we’ll see a big uptick in points from the Notre Dame product
  • Joakim Nordstrom took a few shifts next to Krejci and Debrusk despite Bjork’s solid play. I’d hope that doesn’t continue to happen. 
  • Tuukka Rask is awesome.
  • Danton Heinen is getting his confidence back. He looked good this week, making skill and power moves while tacking on three points in the process. 
  • This big week proved that the Bruins can take a little more time to find the winger they need. I still think they need some help in the middle-six, but Bjork, Heinen and Debrusk’s play this week proved the Bruins still have a lot to work with on their roster.
  • Oh, and Pekka Rinne has more goals than Charlie McAvoy, that is all.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Game Recap | Boston Bruins Defeat Nashville Predators 6-2

Image result for boston Bruins vs nashville predators"(Photo Credits: Getty Images/ John Russell)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on  Twitter @pastagrl88

There’s nothing like playing in front of family and for many of the Bruins, they had the opportunity to showcase in front of one of the most important people in their lives. Serving as their life-long cheerleaders, many of the players’ mothers were in attendance tonight as part of the annual Moms Trip that started on Monday.  With the group watching their sons and brothers on the ice, the Bruins defeated Nashville, breaking their three-game losing slump.

GAME RECAP

In front of a loud “Smashville” crowd and with new coach John Hynes behind the Nashville bench,  the Black and Gold came out of the gates and it didn’t take long for the Bruins to get on board. Early in the first period, the red-hot David Pastrnak slapped his 32nd goal past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne to make the score 1-0.

SCORE: BOS-1, NSH-0

SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS-13, NSH-8

Image result for boston bruins vs nashville predators"(Photo Credits: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

An interesting start to second saw the hockey gods smile on Boston as a potential goal was waved off for the Predators. As officials reviewed the play (twice), it was determined there was no goal as Nashville made contact with defenseman Charlie McAvoy that caused him to dislodge the net prior to the puck going in.

Nashville found themselves down  Boston zone for a good portion of the period as they peppered Tuukka Rask, forcing the Bruins to continue to keep bouncing pucks from going in. The Preds continued to outshoot Boston, however, it would be the boys in Black and Gold that would net one in Nashville’s goal. With a quick pass from Matt Grzelcyk, Danton Heinen would score his seventh of the season at 8:21 into the second.

The Predators would get on board on a 5-on-3 as Brandon Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk both went to the penalty box. Filip Forsberg would score his 15th goal of the season.  With minutes left in the period and with Boston on the power-play, the Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron would net his 18th of the season, making the score 3-1.

SCORE: BOS-3, NSH-1

SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS- 26 NSH-24

Image result for boston bruins vs nashville predators"(Photo Credits: USA Today Sports/ Christopher Hanewinckel)

Minutes into the third period, Boston would once again score as Chris Wagner was nudged into the Nashville net, sending the puck past Rinne. He would net his fourth of the season. Zdeno Chara, who had recent jaw surgery, dropped gloves with Nashville’s Yakov Trenin (his first NHL career fight) after a hit on McAvoy, leading the Bruins to the kill. The Preds would once again find themselves with a 5-on-3 advantage but were unable to score.

With a little over a minute left, Nashville’s Mikael Granlund would score on the power-play, making it 4-2.  David Krejci would score on an empty net at the 54-second mark. Charlie Coyle would add salt to the wound as he tapped the puck in the net, winning in regulation.

Boston improves to 25-8-11 while Nashville is 19-16. The Bruins lead the Atlantic Division and are second in the league; Nashville sits at sixth place in the Central Division.

FINAL SCORE: BOS-6, NSH-2

TOTAL SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS-36 NSH-30

WHAT’S NEXT:  Thursday, January 9th with puck drop @ 7:00 pm vs. Winnipeg Jets. NESN, TVAS

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 161 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Boston’s Latest Trade Buzz

NHL: Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres

( Photo Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports )

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

A Bruins regular season would not be complete without trade rumors. The Bruins are almost always rumored to be in on a specific player or shopping their own. Don Sweeney, current General Manager, is always doing his due diligence to improve his team, from sending scouts to NHL games to making phone calls to other General Managers. The latest buzz features two young Bruin names that their fans might be reluctant to give up.

The key takeaway in this tweet is the “Bruins aren’t necessarily shopping them.” Don Sweeney would not be fulfilling his job as General Manager if he didn’t field calls and negotiate deals.  Other teams’ General Managers are doing the same, which is why there’s chatter.  What are the Bruins giving up in these players and who would be worth receiving?

Anders Bjork was drafted 146th overall in the 2014 draft out of Notre Dame.  He had a fruitful career for the Irish, amassing 109 points in 115 games.  Bjork is a young 23-year old impending restricted free-agent who has had the misfortune of two straight seasons ending due to shoulder surgeries.  This season, the 6-foot, 190-pound left-winger is finally fully healthy and improving every game.  He’s largely played with Charlie Coyle as his center and recently been placed on David Krejci’s line. The Bruins have longed to find David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk’s wing partner and Bjork has the tools to be the answer.  

Danton Heinen is the second Bruin to be included in the rumors.  Heinen was drafted 116th overall in the same draft as Bjork (2014).  He played two years for the Denver Pioneers, eclipsing 93 points in 81 games before heading to Boston for eight games in the 2016-17 season.  The 24-year old’s versatility has been one of his many strengths in Boston.  He recently signed a 2-year, $5.6M deal in this past offseason.  He will become a restricted free agent in 2021.  He’s been asked to play with Bergeron, Krejci, and Coyle and has succeeded immensely.  Heinen has the defensive tenacity, vision, and nose for the net that is required of a top-nine winger.  He is a role player needed on a team to make it deep into the playoffs.

If the Bruins potentially have two long-time wingers in their possession, why would they be willing to trade them?  

NHL General Managers generally make trades based on three reasons: they’re looking to rebuild their roster, they’re looking to make a playoff push, or they’re looking to acquire talent for one of their impending free-agent stars. 

If Don Sweeney is fielding calls for Bjork and Heinen, it is more than likely to acquire an impending free-agent to fulfill his top-six winger issue.  Both young forwards have shown promise and have the talents to help lead a team deep into the playoffs.  The Bruins also control their rights for the next several years.  Giving up on players too early has bitten this organization before with the likes of Tyler Seguin.  So if Sweeney does pull the trigger, a well-established NHL scorer should be included in the return.  

The Bruins have brokered trades to acquire impending free-agents (rentals) before in Rick Nash, Marcus Johansson, and Jaromir Jagr.  None of the three were in Bruins’ uniforms the following season, which makes these trades tricky.  Rentals are a risk because they could hit the free-agency market the following year.  The NHL team loses not only the player they acquired but the player they traded away. 

The New York Rangers have two of the three aforementioned motives to strike a deal.  They are seven points behind the Florida Panthers for the final Wild Card spot.  They won the Artemi Panarin sweepstakes in last year’s offseason, handing him $81M for the next seven years.  They also netted the second overall pick, jumping from the sixth spot, in last year’s lottery.   On paper, their roster was primed to make a playoff push.  

The Rangers also have an impending unrestricted free-agent in Chris Kreider.  Kreider, who hails from Boxford, MA, was drafted 19th overall in the 2009 NHL Draft out of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.  He went on to play three years at Boston College, tallying 92 points in 114 games.  The 6-foot-3, 217-pound left-winger has the speed that NHL GM’s salivate over.  He’s currently playing on the Rangers’ top line with 12 goals, which would rank fourth on the current Bruins roster.  He is playing out the last year of his four-year, $18.5M contract. 

Kreider is making $4.6M this year and will look to increase to at least $5M per year on his next deal.  Kreider is a big-bodied winger that would fit the Bruins mold well, especially if he had Krejci feeding him the puck each night.  However, the Bruins should be cautious and ensure Kreider plans to sign a long-term, cost-effective deal if he is traded to his native state.  

The Los Angeles Kings are a team that falls into the rebuilding category.  The Kings are last in the Western Conference with an aging roster.  The Kings have $21M tied up between three of their top-six forwards all over the age of 33.  They’ve been guilty of giving out poor contracts and have had a history of the injury bug.  A few bright spots on their roster have some NHL teams calling.  Tyler Toffoli is a 27-year old winger, who is also on the last year of his contract with Los Angeles.  He, too, will be looking for a pay increase as he sits third in scoring on the lowly Kings with 11 goals.  

 

The last scenario the Bruins could entertain is packaging a young forward to trade David Backes’s deplorable contract.  The Toronto Maple Leafs traded Patrick Marleau, who had a similar contract, to the Carolina Hurricanes for a seventh-round pick this last offseason.  The Leafs had to send a first-round pick in order to rid themselves of Marleau’s contract. 

The same will apply to Backes, but Sweeney could decide to dangle Heinen or Bjork, instead of his coveted first-round choice.  A package that includes Backes, Bjork or Heinen and another draft selection could send New Jersey Devil Miles Wood and a draft selection to Boston.  Miles is a 24-year old left-winger who is in the midst of a team-friendly $2.75M per year deal.  The Devils are second-to-last in the league in points and could also be looking for a new direction.  

General Managers wear many hats and one of them is to improve their team, even if they sit atop the standings.  The Bruins are first in their division and second in the Eastern Conference.  Their Stanley Cup window is dwindling because of their aging core of players.  Zdeno Chara is playing out his one-year deal, Patrice Bergeron has sat for a few games to keep him fresh for the playoffs, and David Krejci has one more year on his 6-year deal signed in 2014.  The time to bing a Stanley Cup back to Boston is now.  Heinen and Bjork were drafted to be a part of a long playoff run but if an NHL team calls and offers a deal that they can’t pass up, Sweeney may take the risk.  

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 161 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Los Angeles: 12/17/19

Image result for bruins kings 2019

(Photo Credit: Steve Babineau/NHL via Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Los Angeles Kings

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Coyle

Bjork – Kuraly – Heinen

Nordstrom – Wagner – Backes

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Moore – Grzelcyk

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Los Angeles’ Lineup

Forwards

Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown

Clifford – Carter – Lewis

Kempe – Lizotte – Wagner

Toffoli – Amadio – Prokhorkin

Defense

Ryan – Doughty

Hutton – Roy

MacDermid – Walker

Goalies

Quick

Campbell

The Bruins have hit a bit of turbulence as of late. Despite pulling out the win in Florida on Saturday night, the Bruins have lost five of their last six games and are 3-4-1 in the month of December. The Pacific Division’s last-place team, the Los Angeles Kings came to TD Garden looking to continue to make life hard for the Bruins.

First Period

Things got off on an awkward note when the Bruins took a too-many-men penalty just a minute into the game. A failed breakout attempt lead to the puck ending up on Jeff Carter’s stick and beating Tuukka Rask thanks to a deflection by Blake Lizotte out front. The Bruins were down early, just two minutes and 17 seconds into the game.

David Pastrnak showed us that it’s not all finesse with him sometimes, I suppose. Both teams were trying to feel each other out in the early going.

The feeling-out process continued for quite some time until Kyle Clifford went off for interference with 1:46 remaining – giving the Bruins their first power play of the game. Danton Heinen made good on the power play, using his skate to redirect one past Quick. The ruling on the ice stood even after a quick review. Heinen’s goal was his sixth of the season was assisted by Brad Marchand (33) and David Pastrnak (21).

It took a while to get things going for the Bruins, but they broke through. Shots in the period were 11-7 in their favor. Despite not generating a whole lot of consistent offense, they didn’t really play poorly. They actually have a great track record in games in which they don’t score first. It was anyone’s game going forward.

Score: 1-1

Second Period

We saw another early penalty come in the second period, this time it was on Kings forward Trevor Lewis for hooking. Things didn’t go as planned. Adrian Kempe found a loose puck after Jonathan Quick robbed Brad Marchand and buried it on a breakaway. It was 2-1 kings just 2:45 into the frame.

It took a bit of time, but Patrice Bergeron responded with a goal of his own on a shot with eyes through traffic – evening things up with 9:16 to go. Bergeron’s 11th goal of the season was assisted by Torey Krug (19).

Dustin Brown went off for slashing with just a little bit less than four minutes remaining, but the Bruins failed to score. Things went on to wrap up in a fairly standard fashion after that to close things out in the second period. Shots in the period were even at ten, bringing the total to 21-17.

Score: 2-2

Third Period

The trend of big things happening early on in a period continued – this time with a goal instead of a penalty. Brandon Carlo threw a shot towards the net that hit off of Kings defenseman Matt Roy and in. Carlo’s third goal of the season was assisted by Danton Heinen (9) and Jake DeBrusk (9) just a minute and 24 seconds in.

Los Angeles didn’t roll over after the Carlo goal, but the Bruins were doing enough to keep things out of reach. Check out this impressive sequence that very well could have extended the Bruins lead to two. Just some crazy puck possession on display from Anders Bjork and then some.

Offensive zone stints like that definitely help when you’re trying to preserve a lead. Outshooting your opponent by a lot helps too, and that’s what the Bruins did, 14-5 at one point. It worked for a while until Roy hammered a one-timer past Rask to tie the game with 2:01 remaining. A frustrating way to go to overtime. The final shots in the period were 16-8, and 37-25 overall.

Score: 3-3

Overtime

The start of overtime was highlighted by Charlie McAvoy nearly scoring and then making a great sliding effort to thwart a chance to end it for the Kings. Anders Bjork then went on to find himself all alone not too long after, but was stopped by Quick. Patrice Bergeron sent a premium chance high over the net and then Anze Kopitar ended it one a 2-on-1 chance.

Shots in overtime were 3-2 Bruins, and 40-27 overall but Los Angeles came out on top. The Bruins have now lost six of their last seven games and are 21-7-7 on the season. Next up on the schedule are the New York Islanders at TD Garden on Thursday at 7 PM ET.

Final Score: 4-3 Los Angeles

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 158 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Players Make Holidays Happy For Area Children

Image result for bruins holiday toy shopping(Photo Credit: Boston Globe)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

The Boston Bruins always make the holidays happy when area kids in need are hoping for a happy holiday.

Each year, the team heads to a local Walmart (this time in Saugus, MA) and stocks up –Santa-style– on tons and tons of toys for good girls and boys being treated at children’s hospitals across the community. This year, players hope to reach 600 kids when they deliver the gifts just before Christmas.

Quoted from WHDH:

“This is probably the thing we look forward to the most throughout the year.” — Brad Marchand.

“Finding that time a few weeks before Christmas to get some toys for the kids, you know, I think obviously if a child or anybody has to spend the holidays in the hospital, it’s tough.” — Tuukka Rask

“It will make us feel good but even better when we hand out those toys and gifts to the children and families who probably won’t be able to be home for Christmas.” — Zdeno Chara

This annual tradition holds a very special place in most of the B’s hearts but also serves as a steadfast reminder as to how they celebrate the spirit of the giving season.

Image result for bruins holiday toy shopping(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

The 2019 Holiday Toy Drive marks the 10th time B’s “Co-Captain” Patrice Bergeron has spearheaded the popularly positive event. He took the reigns from former Black N’ Gold Hall-of-Famer Ray Bourque.

It’s hard for other players not to take part when such history and personality are “B”-hind it, especially the younger stars.

Quoted from NESN:

“The toy it says 4+ but I’d love it now and I’m 23 so I’m getting it [for a kid like me]. Now moving on for a couple more gifts.” — David Pastrnak

“I think this is probably one of my favorite things that we do. Obviously the Bruins Foundation and the organization does a great job of involving us in the community and this one is just awesome.” — Charlie McAvoy

“For us just to pick out, you know, some fun things that children will eventually get to open on Christmas and to have some fun with that… it’s a thrill.” — Torey Krug

 

Of course, the toy drive doesn’t come without toying around with your fellow generous teammates, as Torey Krug proved in the video clip above. He said he’d like to get B’s forward Brad Marchand a “step stool” for Christmas to help him reach things in the cupboards.

Marchy defensively fired back at the defenseman that he’s not even worth the coal in his stocking this year. Krug’s getting a “whole lotta nothing” this holiday season, he quipped.

While those two have always been on each other’s naughty lists, thankfully hundreds of kids who can’t make it home for the holidays made the B’s nice one. And that’s a surefire way to make this festive time of the year even brighter for those who shine the brightest –the children.

“We just try to do whatever we can to help and kind of cheer them up,” as Tuukka Rask told 7 News in Boston. “It’s a great tradition.”

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Boston Bruins: Anders Bjork Is Here To Stay

( Photo Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports )

By: Scott Delano | Follow me on Twitter @Scottdelano3

When Anders Bjork was taken in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL Draft, expectations of him were not too high. The American born skater saw 145 players selected before him. He blossomed into a superstar playing his colligate career at the University of Notre Dame. His spectacular play for the Fighting Irish left Bruins fans hopeful for a future star after signing his entry-level contract after his junior season.

Bjork entered the NHL with the Boston Bruins in the 2017-2018 season and slotted on the top line. He was playing his off-wing, but still showed signs of promise and hope. The skill was there, but he was undersized and not accustomed to the speed and grit of top-line NHL minutes. He logged 4 goals and 8 assists before a shoulder injury cut his season short.

The 2018 – 2019 NHL season was a frustrating one for Anders. This season, hopes were high for the slick shooting speedster. The results were not what many had hoped for playing in only 20 games. He once again injured the same shoulder from the year prior and another surgery made him a spectator for the season. Bjork did contribute a goal and two assists, but clearly, the injury hindered his abilities.

This season the Boston Bruins assigned Bjork to Providence to gain confidence, build his strength and ease him up to the big leagues. It wasn’t a popular decision sending the best-looking guy on the ice in the preseason to the minors, but as we’ve seen it was the right one. He missed the big clubs first

Anders started the year off playing for Providence before the injury bug bit the Bruins and he earned a call-up. He tallied eight points in only seven games. Since then he’s logged 15 games of action tallying three goals and an assist.

Anders Bjork scores a power-play goal from the lower dot

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Bruce Cassidy has chosen to leave the left-shot forward playing on the left side and Anders looks more comfortable in his natural position. There is a chemistry building between his linemates Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen. He’s going strong into the corners for puck battles, crashing the net for rebounds and standing his ground to set screens. His hard work has won the reward of power-play minutes with the second unit.

What’s more impressive is the trust he’s earned from Bruce Cassidy killing penalties. Strong play on the forecheck, getting back to play defense and taking away passing lanes with his speed has his game rounding out in all areas. Seeing Anders get a few more pucks behind the opposing team’s netminder will boost his confidence and show his potential.

Anders Bjork is blossoming into an NHL hockey player right in front of our eyes. He has the speed, vision, and skill to be a staple in Boston’s top six for years to come. Still just 23 years of age, he has only just begun to come into his own

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Grading The Bruins’ Forwards At The Quarter Point Of The Season

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(Jim Davis/Boston Globe Staff)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

The Boston Bruins have been one of the best teams in the NHL to begin the season. They’ve gotten contributions from up and down their lineup and have seen a plethora of players take the next step in their NHL careers. Now that the season is over a quarter of the way through, it seems like a good opportunity to dive into how each and every forward on the Bs have played so far. FYI, defense and goalies will be coming shortly.

Patrice Bergeron – A+

The man just seems to get better with age. At the ripe old age of 34, the four-time Selke winner is having yet another great season. With eight goals, 16 assists and his great defensive day in and day out, the center is well on his way to be a Selke finalist once again. After a minor injury scare, Bergeron didn’t miss a beat and put up five assists in two games after the injury which is great news for the Bruins.

Brad Marchand – A+

When you’re on pace for a 139 point season, how can you not receive an A+ grade? After his season ended on a very sour note with that mental lapse in Game 7, everyone’s favorite rat has come back and looks better than ever. I find myself mesmerized when he has the puck, his ability to slip through defenders is incredible. He’s able to use that to generate offense and it’s a big reason why he’s such an effective penalty killer.

David Pastrnak – A+

The league leader in goals is doing it all this year. With 20 goals already, he’s primed to usurp his career-high in goals (38) this season. It’s crazy to think that after a 38 goal, 81 point campaign someone can still improve but Pastrnak really does look like an improved player. He’s cut down on some turnovers, seems to miss the net less and is clearly developed into one of the league’s top goal scorers. His one-timer has gotten to Alex Ovechkin level and it’s really something special to watch.

(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

David Krejci – B+

Yet again, David Krejci is quietly putting together another great season. Despite going through different winger after winger after winger, which I feel like we say every single year, the Czech native has managed to put up four goals, 11 assists to go along with a +15 rating in 17 games. We saw some vintage Krejci in the final minutes of last night’s game against the Wild and I can smell yet another 70 point year if we get a healthy Krejci (knock on wood).

Jake Debrusk – B-

After a very lackluster start to the season where he put up just one assist in seven games, Mr. Celly is beginning to pick things up as of late. In his past 11 games, the 23-year-old has four goals with three assists and whatever rust he had to begin the season is clearly gone. If the duo of Debrusk and Krejci can find some consistency to their right, there’s no reason to think Debrusk’s play will not continue to improve.

Brett Ritchie – C

Don Sweeney has a very good track record with plucking random depth from other teams and turning them into successful players. While he hasn’t been a game-changing player, Brett Ritchie been able to play from line two through line four and has thrown in some offense and physical play. After scoring on his first shot in his first game, the former Star is already just two points shy of his total of six from last year. 

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Charlie Coyle – B

Charlie Coyle has been everything the Bruins wanted when they traded for him at last year’s trade deadline. He’s provided the Bs with the ability to roll four centers they can trust. He has everything you need in a third-line center: size, speed, strong two-way ability, good vision and an underrated shot (that he needs to use a whole lot more). He’s been able to get some good chemistry going with Danton Heinen and Anders Bjork so as the season goes on, I’d only expect their chemistry to grow.

Danton Heinen – B+

The amount of hate Danton Heinen gets is incredible. Day in and day out, he is one of the Bruins’ best forecheckers and is great at simply diging pucks out of the corner to create some offense. He was recently rewarded for his puck-retrieving ability by getting the nod over Jake Debrusk on the top powerplay and it’s paying dividends. He’s done all of the little things right and now he’s finally beginning to see some results. 

Here are two early plays where he demonstrates his puck retrieval, both of which turn into goals:

Anders Bjork – B

Anders Bjork is finally cementing himself as an everyday NHL player. After back to back seasons ending in injury, Bjorkie is here to stay. Despite not putting up massive numbers (three goals and an assist in 15 games) Bjork is providing very much needed stability to the third line. He looks stronger, smarter and more confident with the puck and just like Heinen, more results will continue to come.

(Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

The Fourth Line (Sean Kuraly, Chris Wagner, Joakim Nordstrom) C+

Yea this may seem like a cop-out to include all three into one rank but when healthy, they’ve been rolled out as a line for a large majority of the time. They haven’t been quite as effective as last year, but have continued to start about 67% of their shifts in the defensive zone against many opposing top players. The combined four goals and -8 rating isn’t going to show how defensively sound they have been but with the prowess of all three players and what we saw them do last year, a little more offense would be a nice boost to the Bruins’ roster. 

Par Lindholm – C-

Despite only having one goal in 13 games, I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Par Lindholm so far. Interestingly enough, up until the Bruins last game against the Washington Capitals, the Swede was the only player in the NHL that hadn’t had a goal scored on him at even strength. He was brought in as a decent option for the bottom-six and has been that so far.

NHL: Preseason-Philadelphia Flyers at Boston Bruins

(Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Zach Senyshyn – B

It’s a real shame we didn’t get to see more of Zach Senyshyn this season because in his short stint, there was a lot to like. He was able to pick up two assists in four games and that could’ve certainly be more if he didn’t get injured (and there wasn’t a certain thing called instant replay). I think it’s time for people to stop calling the former 1st-rounder a bust and let the kid show why the Bruins went after him.

Karson Kuhlman – C+

No points in his eight games but his speed and work-ethic were always there. He was able to generate many chances but his puck luck just wasn’t there. Hopefully, Kuhlman can wow us some more after returning from his injury. 

David Backes – C

Backes predominately worked on his skating over the summer and after a slow start, he was starting to find his game again. Specifically, he looked great in the game against the Sharks right before his unfortunate injury. His leadership will always be there but the biggest question is his health. It’ll be interesting to see what transpires when he gets healthy.

These next few players I haven’t given their own little paragraphs simply because they haven’t played enough games, each of the following have played three or fewer games.

( Photo Credit: Getty Images )

Cameron Hughes – C- Only played one game but didn’t look too out of place on the fourth line. Paul Carey – C- Copy and paste above from Hughes. Peter Cehlarik – C Cehlarik’s time in Boston is running down. He’s looked solid in his minimal games, picking up an assist in that time, but it’s clear the Bruins’ system and Cehlarik haven’t clicked. Trent Frederic – C- He was able to layout six hits in just 12:52 minutes of ice-time. He plays his game hard and I’d like to see more of him next season.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Philadelphia at Boston: 11/10/19

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Photo Courtesy Of MICHAEL DWYER / AP

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (11-3-2)

Away: Philadelphia Flyers (9-5-2)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Heinen-Krejci-Coyle

Bjork-Lindholm-Senyshyn

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

Defense

Chara-Clifton

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-McAvoy

Goalies

Halak

Rask

Philadelphia’s Lineup

Forwards

van Riemsdyk-Giroux-Farabee

Lindblom-Couturier-Konecny

Twarynski-Hayes-Voracek

Andreoff-Raffl-Pitlick

Defense

Provorov-Niskanen

Gostisbehere-Braun

Sanheim-Myers

Goalies

Hart

Elliott

First Period

The Bruins appeared to be a little disjointed early in the period, giving up a few turnovers in their own zone but despite that were able to get some scoring chances down the other end. The Flyers began to establish quite an attacking zone rhythm toward the middle stages of the period as the B’s looked to be a step slow. The Bruins responded with a few shifts in the Philadelphia zone as they tried to manufacture some scoring opportunities. The Flyers drew first blood as Travis Konecny banged in a rebound after an odd man rush with about six minutes to go in the period.

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The Bruins would get their first man advantage opportunity shortly after the goal as Joel Farabee was whistled for a penalty. The Flyers were able to kill off the power play despite the Bruins getting a few good chances. Philadelphia doubled their lead with just over two minutes left in the period as Philippe Myers found the back of the net.

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Score: 2-0 Flyers

Second Period

The Bruins appeared to cut the lead in half on a scramble play in front of the Philadelphia net but the call on the ice was inexplicably ruled no goal and the B’s were left still looking to get back in the game. The Bruins continued to have trouble getting anything going in the offensive end as the Flyers dominated the possession game in early moments of the period. The Flyers would go to their first power play in the middle of the period as David Pastrnak went to the penalty box for hooking. The B’s were able to kill off the penalty despite the Flyers getting a few opportunities.

The Bruins responded with a couple rushes into the Philadelphia zone but still had a hard time completing plays. The Bruins followed up with a number of shifts deep in the Philadelphia zone to try to manufacture something but were still left searching for their first goal. Philadelphia responded with a few glorious scoring chances including a partial breakaway but it was stopped by Jaroslav Halak.

Score: 2-0 Flyers

Third Period

The Bruins had some good jump to open the period and nearly cut into the lead but Patrice Bergeron was denied by the skate of Myers in front the Flyers net. The B’s tried to follow it up but Carter Hart made a few key stops to keep them scoreless early in the final period. Danton Heinen cut the Philadelphia lead in half with a nice move in front of the net with 14 minutes to go in the game.

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The Bruins responded after the goal with flying colors, putting together a couple impressive shifts in hopes to tie the game. The Flyers answered back with a few attacking zone shifts, forcing Halak to make a few saves. Brad Marchand fired a wrist shot past Hart to tie it with 7:38 to play, sending the crowd into an absolute frenzy.

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Pastrnak drew a penalty shot after a great feed by Marchand with just under five minutes to go. Pastrnak was easily denied by Hart on the penalty shot as he failed to get enough elevation on the shot. Marchand drew another penalty with 3:20 to play as Oskar Lindblom was called for tripping. Philadelphia killed off the penalty despite the B’s getting some good looks.

End Of Regulation: Tied 2-2

Overtime

The B’s were called for too many men at the tail end of the period as the Flyers got a tremendous opportunity to clinch the game. The Bruins were able to kill off the remainder of the overtime session to get the game to a shootout.

Shootout

The Flyers scored the only goal of the shootout as Farabee beat Halak on their first attempt. Pastrnak was denied by Hart again with a chance to tie it.

Final Score: 3-2 Flyers

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Hart. The Flyers goaltender wasn’t overly busy but he made a number of key stops especially in overtime and the shootout to preserve the victory.

Second Star: Halak. The B’s backup kept them in the game all night with a couple big saves including a stop on a Giroux breakaway.

Third Star: Marchand. The Bruins winger was buzzing in the third period and was credited with the tying goal in this one.

The Bruins Unsung Forward: Danton Heinen

( Photo Credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI )

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

Over the years, the NHL’s recipe to win Lord’s Stanley Cup has changed. We have seen fewer teams like the 2011 Bruins win with a goalie who catches fire at the right time, coupled with physical and mentally draining gameplay. In recent years, the NHL is trending toward teams winning with a well-rounded offense, two to three talented puck-moving defensemen, a hot goaltender, and role players. These role players don’t always end up on the score sheet night in and night out, nor receive the recognition for their deeds. Instead, these players are winning key puck battles, keeping the puck out of their own end, ensuring the opposition can’t get a quality scoring chance and maintaining high average time on ice. They are an integral part of the current NHL’s winning recipe. Players like Charlie McAvoy and Erik Karlsson are insanely fun to watch and many fans fall in love quickly, but teams need players who can help them in the defensive zone and break the puck out to their fellow line-mates. Enter: Danton Heinen.

Danton Heinen was drafted 116th overall in the 2014 NHL draft from the British Columbia Hockey League Surrey Eagles. In 2014, he attended the University of Denver, having two very successful consecutive years at center for the Pioneers. He posted 93 points and a plus 38 in 81 games, while also winning Rookie of the Year in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference; he led the Pioneers both years in scoring. His scouting report highlighted that he has very good hands and a nose for the net. He can play on both wings, which adds to his overall versatility.

 

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Versatility is something the Bruins have always valued.  They’ve sought out players who are able to give more than just a scoring touch, which speaks to most of their players’ abilities.  Injuries and poor play can elevate another player into a role they’re not used to. Heinen has been given the opportunity to play on all four lines and in most situations. He has seen time on both the power-play and penalty kill, as well as playing alongside David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, and Charlie Coyle without skipping a beat. These opportunities aren’t new to Heinen in his hockey career. When signing with the Bruins, Heinen’s college coach (now Dallas Stars Head Coach) Jim Montgomery spoke of Heinen in high regards: “The accolades he’s accrued and the (statistical) numbers he’s produced during his time at Denver speak volumes about his talent as a hockey player, but the things that don’t show up on a score sheet – his tremendous character, work ethic and dedication to his teammates – are truly immeasurable and that’s what makes him such a special young man.”  These attributes are what make Danton an extremely special player and unfortunately misunderstood. 

 

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Over the years, Bruins fans have fallen in love (almost to a fault) with the gifted and exciting players who zip in and out of defenders for highlight-reel goals.  In last year’s Stanley Cup run, Heinen was wrongfully judged to the point where fans wanted him watching from the press box as a healthy scratch.  He wasn’t the top goal scorer, power-play contributor, or delivering massive neutral zone hits.  He was, however, consistently breaking the puck out and winning puck battles in corners and open space to allow scoring plays to develop.  If a defenseman has a great game, you rarely notice them on the ice because they are doing their job. The same applies to Heinen: one of his biggest strengths is preventing the opposition from scoring, which is what fans admire Patrice Bergeron for.  So why is the love lost with Danton?

He played the majority of the 2018 playoff games on the third line with Weymouth-native Charlie Coyle, who was acquired at the trade deadline from Minnesota for another Massachusetts native, Ryan Donato.  Heinen was second on the team in plus/minus in the playoffs, only behind Coyle.  Even further, Heinen did not post a minus from Game 5 of the Toronto series through Game 2 of the St Louis series, which totals 13 straight games.  Many have disputed the plus/minus stat because sometimes it doesn’t give an accurate assessment of a player or play.  For example, a player will receive a minus on the score sheet if they are on the ice for an empty-net goal.  However, Heinen was on the ice for an average of 13:14 throughout the playoffs, which is very modest for a third liner and supports his plus play.   He was also tied for third on the team in takeaways with Brandon Carlo at 43.

 

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The Bruins’ Achillies heel last year was their lack of consistent scoring depth. Many hoped the acquisition of Coyle would spark Heinen and his teammates throughout the playoffs, but it did not come to fruition. The first line was relied on heavily throughout the playoffs to provide the goal-scoring, which fans rightfully expect out of their star players. The problem arose when the same group of stars went cold in the Stanley Cup Final, resulting in the St. Louis Blues raising the Cup on the TD Garden ice.  Depth scoring needs to come from all four lines in order to win: see the Merlot line in 2011. There is some blame to cast on Heinen in last year’s playoffs, specifically with his lowly 8 points.  He showed flashes of offensive prowess in a few games, but unfortunately could not consistently sustain it over a seven-game series.

This year, Heinen has been able to play with the likes of Jake DeBrusk and (when healthy) David Krejci on the Bruins second line.  He already has 6 points in 13 games played this season, which puts him on pace for 38 points.  This would not surpass his career-high of 47 points set in his rookie season, however, it would provide the regular depth scoring the Bruins have lacked for a few years. He is frequently in the right place at the right time, which is not by accident.  Heinen’s ability to get the puck out of the neutral zone from multiple defenders has lead to great rewards.

 

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The Bruins have been searching for a dominant and consistent top 6 forward since Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton have left town. They have tried numerous players on Krejci’s right side, but none have been able to stick for a full season. Danton Heinen is the next player to be given the chance to seize the opportunity. If he can continue his strong two-way play and create plays out of the zone, Heinen and his teammates will reap the benefits and Boston may have finally found the top 6 forward they’ve been desperately searching for

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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Happy Halloween from the Boston Bruins!

IMG_4529(Photo Credit: Zdeno Chara’s Instagram)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

No tricks.

This may be the greatest Boston Bruins team photo of all-time! I mean, do the B’s do Halloween right, or what? Every year. Even before the 31st… when they dress up for area children’s hospital visits!

And if you visited any of the player’s social media sites this spooktacular season, you’ll see they’re loving the costume creativity just as much as we are. From Toy Story to Wayne’s World (The Bergeron’s)! From Dodgeball to Dumb and Dumber (Danton Heinen / The Backes’)! And from Stranger Things (The Marchand’s) to “strange behavior” (Kampfer as a waffle?), the Black N’ Gold went ALL IN on becoming the Black N’ GHOULD.

And we need to thank them. Tonight. Tomorrow. Everyday for the rest of the season. You can’t make Halloween any happier (or kookier & spookier) than this.

Dare I say, what a treat!

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