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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Game Preview: Boston Bruins vs Colorado Avalanche

Image result for boston bruins vs avalanche(Photo Credits: NBC Sports)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

After a memorable day at the TD Garden yesterday, the Bruins are back at it again for an early Sunday afternoon game against Colorado. It will be their second match-up against a Western Conference team in a nine-game stretch. The B’s will be looking to add another win in back to back games.  As the regular season draws to a close, every win is becoming more crucial and the Bruins will need to capitalize as much as possible.

COLORADO SLUMP

The Colorado Avalanche (22-22-10) are in a six-game losing streak and are 0-4-2 in their last six games. They are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss against the New York Islanders in a two-game season series. The Avs are now 13-8-4 against Eastern Conference teams and have a 7-5-3 road record. Forward Carl Soderberg reached a career-high in notching multiple-points in a game with a goal and two assists (eight times this season).

Related image(Photo Credits: NESN.com)

Defenseman  Ian Cole missed the Islanders game after suffering an upper-body injury during a recent matchup against the Washington Capitals on Thursday. He is expected to be out for today’s game. Both Colorado and Boston boast a top-heavy line with the Avs beating the Bruins 6-3 on November 14th, 2018.  Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has tallied up 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in his last 18 games.

Mikko Rantanen leads the team in points (75) and assists (51). Gabriel Landeskog leads the team in goals with 29. Landeskog (397) and Mikko Rantanen (197) are three points away from reaching a milestone of garnering 400 and 200 career points.  Expect goaltender Philipp Grubauer in between the net for Colorado. He currently has a 3.47 goals against average with a .890 save percantage.

GOLD STAR(Photo Credits: NBC Sports)

AVALANCHE PROJECTED LINEUPS

Gabriel Landeskog — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen

Matt Nieto — Carl Soderberg — Matt Calvert

Alexander Kerfoot — J.T. Compher — Colin Wilson

A.J. Greer — Sheldon Dries — Sven Andrighetto

Erik Johnson — Samuel Girard

Nikita Zadorov — Ryan Graves

Patrik Nemeth — Tyson Barrie

Philipp Grubauer

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Gabriel Bourque, Anton Lindholm

Injured: Vladislav Kamenev (shoulder), Mark Barberio (head), Ian Cole (upper body)

BOSTON ADDING POINTS

The Bruins (30-17-8) are looking to extend their seven-point game streak. In their past six matchups, the B’s are 3-0-3. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak is expected in net for Boston. The Slovak-native is now 13-9-0 with a .918 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.50. Right-winger David Pastrnak has four goals and seven assists in the last seven games. He still leads the team in points (66) and goals (31). Brad Marchand leads the team with 43 assists and with a short-handed goal in yesterday’s tilt, he is now tied with Rick Middleton and Derek Sanderson for the second most shorties in a season (24).

Image result for patrice bergeron honored(Photo Credits: NBC Sports)

In capping off a special day for number 37, Patrice Bergeron had two assists, and two goals-one of which would be the game-winning overtime goal, helping the Bruins win 5-4 over the Kings. Bergeron has 11 points in his last eight games. There were lineup changes yesterday that saw Danton Heinen being slotted up with Bergeron and Marchand, while Pastrnak shifted down to the second line. After squandering the lead in the last few games, the Bruins will need to continue to battle for pucks and get points as they hold on for a Playoff spot.

BOSTON PROJECTED LINES:

Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Danton Heinen

Peter Cehlarik — David Krejci — David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk — Sean Kuraly — Chris Wagner

Joakim Nordstrom — Noel Acciari — David Backes

Zdeno Chara — Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug — Kevan Miller

John Moore — Brandon Carlo

Jaroslav Halak

Tuukka Rask

Scratched: Trent Frederic, Steven Kampfer

Injured: Matt Grzelcyk (lower body)

 

WHEN TO WATCH: Today with puck drop at 3:00 PM at TD Garden

WHERE TO WATCH: NESN, ALT

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Timely Tuukka Tops Tiny, Huge Accomplishment For B’s Netminder!

PNG image(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

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

What a wonderful, wacky, wild, whimsical, & whirlwind start to 2019 for Tuukka Rask. First, the beloved/beleaguered B’s netminder surpassed team legend and HHOF’er Tiny Thompson for the “Most Games Played” for a goalie in a Bruins uniform on January 1st during the Winter Classic.

Then, he tied Thompson’s record for team wins two weeks later with a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues, entering into elite Bruins crease company.

But, before he even had a chance to enjoy the accomplishment and set his mind on record-setting victory number 253, he nearly lost his mind in a concussed collision with Rangers player Filip Chyta.

I don’t even like watching it after the fact because it’s about as worse as it gets for a goalie (unless of course you’re Clint Malarchuk). However, with a bye-week and All-Star break fortunately scheduled for right after that painful game, Rask had time to heal from his concussion and get back into game shape — no easy feat when returning from any type of head injury/contact. And an even more challenging feat when you’ve ALREADY returned from a mental health break earlier in the season to get your head right.

Then, he literally stands on his head against the flightless Flyers to end the month of January (all but a GUARANTEED win to break the record, right?)

Wrong. Rask got absolutely no help from his D-core or any teammate not on the 1st line–especially Danton “Empty Net” Heinen–yet Tuuuuuuuk still maintained his poise, confidence & resolve after the fact, even when head coach Bruce Cassidy nearly lost it during the post-game presser.

So, who better to straighten it out? The Fin with finish who’s now finished in the No. 1 position on the Mt. Rushmore of Bruins goalies. This, after literally & figuratively climbing back up a mountain to be the best goalie he can be–for his teammates, the entire B’s organization and all of Boston fandom (yes, even the crazy ones from the THC… “Tuukka Haters Club”). And there was no better way to do it than by taking down the team that’s owned him, and the entire B’s organization, for the past 5 seasons: The Washington Capitals.

This was no doubt an important game for Rask, and the roster, on many levels–both personally & professionally. For the forwards & D, it was their chance to respond after being called out by Cassidy for an unwillingness to “buy into the system” of Bruins hockey. And for Rask, it was his chance to not only silence any critics of his game coming off the concussion, but also to achieve a milestone moment in a B’s sweater that NO OTHER goalie in Boston history had ever accomplished (and against a team he hadn’t beaten since the Obama Administration). Needless to say, everyone stepped up, especially Mr. 253, who made history in the most memorable way possible… with a 1-0 shutout and more timely saves than he’s gloved, blockered & sticked away all season!

Moving forward for both Rask and his teammates, everyone wearing the Black N’Gold “Spoked-B” needs to build on this oh-so-important win and keep the momentum going down the stretch. The season/going-to-the-playoffs will most likely come down to a few points, with the B’s having a pretty good chance at matching-up against the Caps for either a first or second round series (if they can make it that far). With the rally monkey now literally & figuratively off their back against Washington, hopefully the B’s can use this victory as a catalyst and start a strong stretch of hockey between now and April. And if Rask can continue his impressively strong & clutch play between the pipes, also using his history-making “W” as a motivator, then come playoff time, I think we’ll all be rooting for #TuukkaTime!

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Game Preview: Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals

Image result for boston bruins vs washington capitals(Photo Credits: AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

After losing two games that went into overtime and a shoot-out, the Bruins will be looking to finally break their 14-game losing streak against the Washington Capitals this afternoon. In a Super Bowl Sunday matinee, the B’s will be facing the Capitals on their home turf at the Capital One Arena. Noting some criticism towards defense, Coach Bruce Cassidy will be looking to make some lineup changes after the loss to the Flyers.

During the Flyers game, Danton Heinen had a wide open net with a chance to score. However, an unlucky bounce to the puck would befall the forward.

“I think after the last play the other night it does (affect his confidence),” said Cassidy. “Got the puck on your stick with basically an empty net, game-winning goal and it hops over. You start getting in your own head I think when that happens. That’s just tough luck there. He’s in the right spot, did everything right to win the puck and then to just – I suspect it would a little bit.

We have to try to help him through that.”

-Coach Cassidy

Image result for joakim nordstrom boston washington capitals(Photo Credits: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Joakim Nordstom will play on the third line with Trent Frederic and David Backes to hopefully add some dimensional speed.  Matt Grzelcyk will be back in the lineup and be paired with Kevan Miller. Goaltender Tuukka Rask will get the start in net. Rask is currently fourth in the NHL with a goals against average of 2.45 and a 0.920 save percentage.  The Bruins are 1-2-3 in their last six games.

PROJECTED LINEUP:

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

Cehlarik – Krejci – DeBrusk

Nordstrom – Frederic – Backes

Kuraly – Acciari – Wagner

 

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Miller

Moore – Kampfer

Rask

Halak

Who is out: Moore, Heinen

 

WASHINGTON

The Capitals continue with their six-game homestead when they host the Bruins this afternoon. They are 1-5-2 in their last eight games and snapped a seven-game losing streak when they defeated the Calgary Flames 4-3 on Friday. Alex Ovechkin returns after a one-game suspension for skipping the All-Star game. He will also become the NHL’s all-time leader in points by a Russian-born player. Ovechkin is currently tied with Sergei Fedorov at 1,179 points.

Image result for washington capitals vs boston bruins(Photo Credits by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Washington’s last loss against the Black and Gold was on March 29th, 2014 with their recent game slump being their longest in over five years. With Ovechkin returning to the lineup, center Lars Eller may be out after sustaining a lower-body injury in the game against the Flames. He did not practice with the team yesterday and will be a game-time decision. Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 37 while his 57 points lead the team. Nicklas Backstrom has 52 points with John Carlson is third with 48 points. Expect Brayden Holtby in the net.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Alex Ovechkin — Nicklas Backstrom — T.J. Oshie

Jakub Vrana — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Tom Wilson

Dmitrij Jaskin — Travis Boyd — Brett Connolly

Andre Burakovsky — Nic Dowd — Devante Smith-Pelly

 

Dmitry Orlov — John Carlson

Michal Kempny — Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik — Jonas Siegenthaler

Braden Holtby

Pheonix Copley

 

Who is out: Chandler Stephenson, Madison Bowey

Injured: Christian Djoos (thigh), Lars Eller (lower body)

 

ONE MORE TO 1,000

Today’s game will mark the 999th NHL career game played by Patrice Bergeron, who has four career 30-goal seasons. Boston continues to rely on their top line as they have netted 65 of 147 goals scored this season so far. Right-winger David Pastrnak reached his third straight 30-goal season during the Flyers game. He currently leads the team in goals (30) and team points (61). Brad Marchand is also looking to reach his fourth straight 30-goal season.

The Bruins have been teetering between third and fourth in the Atlantic Division and have a 27-17-7 record as they battle for a spot in the Playoffs. The Capitals are third in the Metropolitan Divison with a 28-17-6 record with the Columbus Blue Jackets biting at their heels.

WHEN TO WATCH: Today with puck drop at 12:30pm

WHERE TO WATCH: NBC

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Montreal at Boston: 1/14/19

cut-1Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (26-15-4)

Away: Montreal Canadiens (24-17-5)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Backes

Kuraly-Acciari-Wagner

Heinen-Forsbacka Karlsson-Donato

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Miller

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Montreal’s Lineup

Forwards

Drouin-Danault-Gallagher

Lehkonen-Domi-Armia

Tatar-Kotkaniemi-Byron

Agostino-Chaput-Deslauriers

Defense

Mete-Weber

Reilly-Petry

Kulak-Benn

Goalies

Price

Niemi

First Period

The Canadiens had the early chances but Tuukka Rask stood up to them to keep the game scoreless. The Bruins failed to get many chances in the early going as they seemed to have trouble stringing passes together. A couple solid shifts by the B’s got their legs going as they got a few opportunities on Carey Price. Brad Marchand drew a tripping penalty to give the Bruins a power play with about eight minutes left in the period.

The Bruins failed to capitalize on the man advantage as Price and the Canadiens defense made a big penalty kill. Marchand got a short breakaway on Price but was denied after a spectacular effort by Patrice Bergeron to get the puck loose. A four on four came after matching penalties and Marchand took full advantage as he scored on a shot from the dot to give the B’s the lead.

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Kevan Miller and Nick Deslauriers dropped the gloves with 3:50 to go in the period to get the crowd into the game as they’d been fairly quiet to that point.

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Rask was on point in the first period and made a great glove stop on Tomas Tatar in the slot late in the period. However, a tipped shot from the point got past Rask off the stick of Brendan Gallagher to tie the game with nearly a minute left in the period.

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Score: Tied 1-1

Second Period

The Bruins had trouble in their own zone in the opening moments of the period but Rask was up to it, keeping the game tied. The B’s responded with a good shift as they nearly took the lead but Price was on top of it. Neither team possessed the puck too well in the middle period as there seemed to be turnovers all over the place.

The Canadiens seemed to have more success with speed through the neutral zone as the Bruins looked to be on their heels. Neither team could get into an offensive rhythm as the scoring chances came few and far between. Rask continued to have a strong night with a couple of huge stops in the middle stages of the period.

The Bruins would draw another penalty as Victor Mete went off for hooking. Paul Byron took advantage of a flat footed Bergeron to score a shorthanded goal as the Canadiens took the lead.

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The Habs killed the Boston power play as the Bruins failed to get any significant scoring chances. A small scrum in front of both benches resulted in a four on four situation to close out the period.

Score: 2-1 Canadiens

Third Period

The Bruins had a tough start to the period as the Habs had a few good chances in front of the Boston net. The newly formed second line of David Krejci, Danton Heinen and Ryan Donato had a good shift in the early part of the third but couldn’t find the back of the net to tie the score. The Bruins had a heck of a time trying to get into an offensive rhythm as the Habs slowed them down in the neutral zone.

Heinen charged to the net about midway through the period but lost his footing and didn’t get a decent shot off and the game remained 2-1. The B’s had the majority of the possession and the chances in the final period but were unable to capitalize on Price.

The Bruins picked up another man advantage with two minutes to go on a delay of game penalty against the Canadiens. With the goalie pulled, Krejci picked the top corner from the top of the circle to tie the game with less than a minute to go.

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Score: Tied 2-2

Overtime

Just 15 seconds into the extra session, Jeff Petry batted in a rebound off of a Max Domi shot to give the Canadiens a win and tie the season series with the Bruins.

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Final Score: 3-2 Canadiens

Three Stars Of The Game

Third Star: Marchand. The winger seemed to be one of the few Bruins to have a successful game and he added his 17th goal of the season in the loss.

Second Star: Rask. The Bruin netminder had another strong game and kept the team in the game all night as they secured a point in the overtime loss.

First Star: Price. The Montreal goalie was perhaps the best player on the ice in this one and stole another win against the Bruins as he’s done so often before.

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Why A Wildcard Spot May Not Be The Worst Scenario For The Bruins

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Photo Credit: Christopher Evans/Boston Herald

By: Spencer Fascetta | Follow Me on Twitter @PuckNerdHockey

We are midway through December, and there is plenty of panic in Boston.

“We need an enforcer!”

“Our goaltending sucks!”

“We can’t score!”

OK, can everyone just take a deep breath, please? By having the injury bug eviscerate this roster early, the Bruins may just have stumbled into their best-case scenario come the playoffs. Also, the goaltending hasn’t been the problem, and ENFORCERS ARE NEVER THE ANSWER. So, what do I mean?

Well, the Bruins are currently 5th in the Atlantic Division. Before you get your pants in a knot, let’s put some context into the equation. While they are 5th in the Atlantic, they have played one game fewer than fourth place Montreal, and are trailing the Habs by only a point. They are a significantly better team than the Canadiens, whom I am unconvinced can maintain their current level of play. That’s not even the interesting part. Despite having played two more games than the Bruins, the 6th place Detroit Red Wings trail the B’s by 5 points. Ottawa has played the same number of games like Detroit, and are 6 points behind Boston. Boston has played one more game than the Florida Panthers, but they sit dead last in the division, a full eight points behind the Bruins. They aren’t going to get caught from behind in the Atlantic.

Atlantic Standings

They should inevitably pass the Canadiens, so that begs the question – how close are they to the guaranteed divisional playoff spot? At the moment, the Bruins have a game in hand on every team above them in the Atlantic Division and trail the 3rd place Buffalo Sabres by 5 points, the Toronto Maple Leafs by 6, and the Tampa Bay Lightning by 13. Nobody is catching Tampa. In any division. That team is well on its way to a President’s Trophy. If you had said Buffalo would be only a point behind the Maple Leafs in third place in the Atlantic at this point in the season, well, please get in contact with me, I could use the services of someone who can see the future.

So, the Bruins are fifth in their division. But they currently occupy the 2nd wildcard spot. As it stands, it is pretty clear that Tampa Bay is going to be the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and will, therefore, host the second wildcard team. As previously noted, there is no reason to think that Boston won’t finish the season ahead of the Canadiens. They are not in danger of dropping out of a wildcard spot either. Currently, the Bruins sit with 38 points in 32 games. That is 5th in the Atlantic Division, but would be SECOND in the Metropolitan Division. No, that is not a typo. The Bruins are 5th in the division, but only 6th in the conference. Believe it or not, they are actually a Top 10 team in the entire league. They just happen to play in one of the most stacked divisions in recent memory.

League Standings

So, why should they WANT to finish in the first wildcard spot? Well, they almost certainly would need to face the defending Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals in the first round. That’s no easy task. But finishing in a divisional spot means they have to face two of Tampa Bay, Toronto, and Buffalo to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. The current Metropolitan Division playoff teams are Pittsburgh and Columbus (who isn’t on board for ANOTHER Pittsburgh/Columbus throw-down), either of whom is a significantly easier matchup than the juggernauts in the Atlantic. Currently, Tampa Bay is #1 in the league, Toronto is 5th, and Buffalo is 7th. Washington is 6th, but Columbus is 15th, and Pittsburgh is 17th. That’s a pretty simple bit of math.

Wildcard Standings

What killed the Bruins when they got to Tampa Bay last postseason was the 7-game death-match that was their First Round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They were exhausted, beat-up, and could not keep up. They are guaranteed to have a similarly difficult matchup if they finish in either 2nd or 3rd in the Atlantic Division this year. Don’t do that. This team is good enough to be in the playoffs and do some damage once fully healthy, so don’t rush anyone back. Let Bergeron and Chara take as long as they need to be fully healthy. Use this time to experiment with line combinations, and see what you have in some depth pieces. Acclimate Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson to the NHL game, as the kid line with JFK between Danton Heinen and Ryan Donato has begun to look good the last few games. You still have Anders Bjork shredding the American Hockey League. Don’t make a massive trade for a short-term piece. Stay the course, finish fourth, take the easier path to the Stanley Cup Final. You may be thanking me if you do.

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Bruins Heinen Searching For Scoring Breakout

AR-181018738(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Nick Wass)

By: Ian Smith | Follow me on Twitter @IanMalcolmSmith

The Boston Bruins have been in search of consistent scoring beyond just their top line this season, and Danton Heinen has not yet shown the offensive output he did last season. Heinen has played in 30 of the 32 games this season for the Bruins, including 26 consecutive games dating back to October 18. What’s a bit discouraging is that he only has four goals and four assists for eight total points thus far in those 30 games played. This is just Heinen’s second full season in the NHL, so it’s not like there was really a long track record of what to expect from him in terms of offensive production. He really showed a lot of scoring promise as a rookie, though, which definitely evokes the question of what type of output should be expected of him going forward.

In 77 games last season for the Bruins, Heinen scored 16 goals and dished out 31 assists for a total of 47 points, which ranked fifth on the team. Amongst all rookies in the NHL last season, Heinen ranked tied for sixth in assists, ninth in points, and 11th in goals. Heinen has two goals and an assist in his previous four games, so perhaps that is a sign that he’s about to start generating more offense. He’s a good skater who has some nice scoring ability, and his relative lack of production this season has certainly made things harder for the Bruins to find scoring beyond that top line.

He has averaged 13:45 time on the ice per game, which is down from 15:01 last season, so he has not been getting as much opportunities to work. He’s also not getting as many shots on goal, either. He’s averaging about 1.47 shots on goal per game this season, which is down from his 1.75 shots on goal per game last season. When adjusted to account for his less time out on the ice, he’s still generally not getting pucks on net as frequently as he did last season. This season he averages a shot on goal about every 9.39 minutes he’s out on the ice. Last season, he averaged a shot on goal about every 8.57 minutes he was out on the ice. He also hasn’t been converting those attempts at as good of a rate this year as he was last year. He had an 11.9% shooting percentage last season, while this season that total has decreased to a 9.1% shooting percentage.

His best scoring months last season where October and December, when he averaged a point per game in both of those months. March was his worst scoring month in terms of points per game. He played in 15 games last March and had just four points. Given his strong December last season, it wouldn’t be surprising if these last four games for Heinen signal a prolific finish to this month. It will be huge for the Bruins if Heinen is able to produce offense from here on out the way he was able to last season. With all the key injuries this team is battling, they need guys to play the way they’re fully capable of playing, and Heinen really showed what he can do on offense last season.

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Bruins Game 32 Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Michael Dwyer/Associated Press)

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

For the second time this season, the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins will battle it out in a Friday night game.

Coming off of three wins in a row over the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, and most recently, the Arizona Coyotes, the Bruins will be looking to continue that momentum Friday in Pittsburgh. In each of the three outings, the Bruins have had their moments where it seems another loss is on it’s way, but the injury-filled roster manages to battle back and steal a win.

The 2018-19 season has not been what the Pittsburgh Penguins have been used to over the past few years. The team’s record sits at 13-11-6, good for fourth in the Metropolitan Division, tied with the New York Islanders who have the third spot. Most recently, the Penguins took a hard loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, who have been equally struggling as we near the end of the 2018 calendar year, 6-3 the final score.

Starting Goaltenders:

PIT: Casey DeSmith: 9-5-4 2.43 GAA .921 SV% Last Game: 23 Saves in 6-3 Loss vs CHI

BOS: Jaroslav Halak: 9-4-2 2.30 GAA .930 SV% Last Game: 29 Saves in 6-3 Win vs TOR

Who’s Hot

David Pastrnak has been and continues to be Boston’s best player on the ice night in and night out. In 31 games this season, Pastrnak has 21-17-38 totals, 16 of those points coming on the power-play. Heading into Friday’s game, Pastrnak is riding a four-game point streak including a three-point night (1 goal, 2 assists) against the Coyotes on Tuesday night.

After an extended amount of time off the score sheet, Brad Marchand now has finished three consecutive games with more than a point, scoring three points against both the Maple Leafs and Coyotes. The recent rebirth of Marchand’s point production has raised his totals to 10-22-32 in 31 games so far this season.

Boston’s new third-line of Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Ryan Donato, and Danton Heinen have found recent success together after all three struggled to begin the ’18/’19 campaign. The three worked together to score the first goal for the Bruins against Arizona, kick-starting the comeback when the Bruins were down 2-0 after the first period. In the past three games, the trio has four goals and three assists for seven points.

Scoring for the Penguins has been dry as of late, even from their big offensive stars such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but forward Bryan Rust is coming off of his second-career NHL hat-trick against the Blackhawks, scoring the only three goals by Pittsburgh. It brings his totals to 4-6-10 in 30 games, but any sort of offence can help the Penguins moving forward as they try to climb higher in the standings.

Who’s Not

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have been oddly quiet for Pittsburgh as of late, considering both superstars had great starts to their respective seasons. In the past three games, both players have failed to tally a single point. Against Chicago, Malkin was a -4 rating and Crosby was a -3 rating. The Pens need support from them, especially against Boston if they want to walk away with two points.

Casey DeSmith has had a decent run with the Penguins so far this year, but he had a poor outing against the Blackhawks on Wednesday night. Casey allowed four goals on twenty-seven shots, finishing the night with a .852 save percentage. He has not had a terrible season, but having him play well vs Boston tonight could mean a lot to the Penguins.

Bruins vs Penguins Outlook

In their last meeting on November 23rd saw a win for the Bruins in overtime, 2-1 the final score. Jaro Halak was the goaltender in net for that game as well, making 36 saves in the victory. Jake DeBrusk scored his ninth goal of the season assisted by Krejci and Kevan Miller, while Joakim Nordstrom scored the game-winning goal in the overtime session to give Boston the extra point.

Boston managed to shut down Pittsburgh’s offence and if they can do it again tonight, then they will have a good chance to defeat the Pens. This will not be the first time that DeSmith has been in between the pipes against Boston, but it will be the first time that he is named the starter for a Boston game. His previous experience vs the B’s, back on March 1st, 2018, was in an 8-5 loss. The Bruins managed to chase Tristan Jarry, but DeSmith allowed three goals on five shots. The Bruins will be looking to make DeSmith hate playing against the them with more goals scored on him tonight.

Boston Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced that Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari will be back in the lineup and on the fourth line. Kuraly is coming off of a minor nose procedure and will most likely dawn the face mask. Jake DeBrusk remains out of the lineup for concussion protocol. Boston’s top-line of Marchand, Krejci, and Pastrnak have scored a combined twenty points in the past three games and they will need to be on top of their game to take down the Penguins.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket — from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows — please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You & Happy Holidays!

Click Here For 2018-19 Boston Bruins Regular Season Games and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com