Bruins Place Krejci On IR, Recall Bjork

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins

Photo Courtesy Of NBC Sports Boston

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced on Tuesday morning that the team has placed forward David Krejci on injured reserve and recalled forward Anders Bjork from Providence on an emergency basis.

Krejci has recently been sidelined due to an upper-body injury suffered on October 14th against the Anaheim Ducks. The Bruins second line center has recorded just one assist in five games this season after matching his career high in points a year ago. Meanwhile, Bjork has appeared in seven games for Providence this season and leads the team in scoring with three goals and five assists for eight points.

Bjork, the Mequon, Wisconsin native was originally drafted by the Bruins in the fifth round (126th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. The young forward has appeared in 50 career games in the NHL, recording five goals and ten assists for 15 points. Unfortunately his previous two seasons have been cut short due to injury, but so far this season he’s shown tremendous growth and initiative and has greatly earned this recall. It’ll be interesting to see where Bjork slots into the lineup and he should make his season debut tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Boston Bruins: The Importance Of The Upcoming Weeks Schedule

jaroslav halak bruins

( Photo Credit: Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

After beginning the season on a tough Western road-trip against three playoff teams (the Dallas Stars, Vegas Golden Knights, and Colorado Avalanche) and a promising young Arizona Coyotes team, you would think the Bruins would catch a break and get to a bit of an “easy” part of their schedule. Well, after a couple of home games against the Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey Devils, the Bruins are about to enter their toughest challenge yet. Within the next week or so, the Bruins face have four massive games that, could really show what kind of Bruins team they really have this season.

( Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/AP )

The Bruins begin this stretch of games tonight at home against the all too dangerous Tampa Bay Lightning. This Lightning team is lead by one of the best first-lines in the league that consists of three bonafide superstars in Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point. In three games since Point returned from his injury, the trio has had a combined six goals and nine assists in those games. Touting an incredible defense lead by Victor Headman and Ryan McDonagh and Vezina winner Andrei Vasilevsky between the pipes, it will certainly be a tough start to this already challenging string of games. (To read more about tonight’s game, check out the preview by fellow Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast writer Max Mainville here.)

After playing Tampa at home, they take a trip to their rivals in Toronto to play the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena and then turn around to play those same Leafs at home three days later. Austin Matthews has been on a tear as of late, reaching the back of the net a whopping seven times in the Leafs eight games. Unlike the Bruins, secondary scoring has been the Leaf’s biggest strength this season with 14 players at or above a point every other game and they’ve had 12 different players notch a goal. The high-flying Leafs will be a little less potent without captain John Tavares, who went down with a broken finger, but it will certainly be a tough two games regardless.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins

( Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports )

They end this stretch against the team that crushed all of Boston’s dreams last season in the Stanley Cup Finals, the St. Louis Blues. The Blues have maintained essentially the same roster we saw last playoffs aside from the departures of Joel Edmundson and Patrick Maroon, and the addition of Justin Faulk. The Blues are still the same hard-nosed team Boston saw all too much of in the Finals and have started the season well with eight points in six games. Much of the team has continued to build on their playoff success; Brayden Schenn already has five goals, Ryan O’Reilly has seven-point in six games and youngster Sammy Blais has three goals and five points to go along with a +4 rating. As we know all too well against the Blues, just because it’s a home game doesn’t mean it’ll be easy (that joke hurt to make).

So after all of this, what would really make this a successful couple of weeks for the Bruins? Well, to start,  if the Bruins were able to snag six points out of these four games, that’s a pretty big win. But the biggest win would be to overwrite the continued narrative of seemingly the past four seasons (at least) and that is to get some more secondary scoring.

Image result for david krejci jake debrusk

( Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images )

While the Bruins have had a great start to the season, sitting at fifth in the league with a 5-1-0 record, goal scoring, and especially secondary scoring, has been abysmal. The top line of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron have been great as they always are and have combined to score 11 goals in the B’s first six games. Well, the rest of the team has combined for just FIVE.

Jake Debrusk, David Krejci and Charlie Coyle have had just one assist apiece. Danton Heinen has looked good this season but has just one goal to his name. Karson Kuhlman, who has also looked good, has a goose egg in his points column and the revolving door of other wingers in the top-nine haven’t done much to help either. Whether it’s calling up someone from Providence (ahem, Anders Bjork) shaking up the lines (splitting up the top line) or eating some extra Wheaties in the morning, the Bruins need to figure out their scoring problem if they want to have some success in this tough group of games. The outstanding goaltending from Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak can’t last for the entire year, this stretch is going to say a lot about this Bruins team going forward.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 149 that we recorded on 10-11-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Game 7 Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning

bruins_lightning1280-1040x572.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Winslow Townson/AP)

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

After two consecutive wins over the New Jersey Devils and the Anaheim Ducks, the Boston Bruins now look to start the hardest four-game stretch of the early season, starting things off against the Tampa Bay Lightning before a home-and-home match-up with the Toronto Maple Leafs and then the St. Louis Blues to wrap it all up. Boston is tied for third in the league standings with a 5-1-0 record and ten points.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have not had the best start to the new season, or at least not what they had hoped for coming off of their shocking first-round loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Lightning hold a 3-2-1 record after the first five games, positioning them in the first wild-card spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.

Tampa is coming off of a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday after losing to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. The defending Presidents Trophy winners are still a great team, but have struggled early on.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 3-0-0 1.33 GAA .957 SV% Last Game: 31 Saves in 3-0 win vs NJD

TBL: Andrei Vasilevskiy 3-1-0 2.53 GAA .921 SV% Last Game: 33 Saves in 3-1 win vs MTL

Who’s Hot:

David Pastrnak. David Pastrnak. David Pastrnak. David Pastrnak. Why did I say his name four times? That’s how many goals the superstar forward scored against the Anaheim Ducks on, lighting the lamp four times en route to a 4-2 win over the Ducks in Boston. The performance led Pastrnak to becoming the first Bruin in the 2019-20 season to hit double-digits in points with 6-4-10 totals in six games so far. Everything is working for him right now and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon.

For many years now, Steven Stamkos has been the face of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Season after season, he is always near the top of team scoring and for that matter, league scoring. In 2019-20, nothing has changed, Stamkos currently leads the Lightning in points with 4-4-8 numbers in six games – tied with Nikita Kucherov. Stamkos has also been great on the face-off dot, winning 57.89% of the draws he takes. In 39 career games against Boston, Stamkos has 21-10-31 totals and will look to add to that tonight.

Even with the dominant performance from David Pastrnak against the Ducks, Brad Marchand was still as threatening. Anaheim managed to prevent Marchand from getting any shots on goal, yet he still finished the night with two assists – bringing his season total to 4-5-9 – second on the team in points. Marchand has found success against the Lightning throughout his career as well, scoring twelve goals and sixteen assists for 28 points in 33 games against Tampa.

Who’s Not

In one of the biggest moves of the 2018 Trade Deadline, defenceman Ryan McDonagh was traded from the New York Rangers to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Last season, the 30-year-old scored 9-37-46 totals in a full 82-game season with Tampa Bay, but only has one assist in the opening six games in 2019-2020. McDonagh only has two hits on the season and averages 21:52 time-on-ice. The one bright spot for him is his +5 rating in the plus/minus category, however, that statistic often gets a bad rap.

Today, Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk turns 23-years-old and it would be a perfect time for him to score his first goal of the new season. DeBrusk has one assist in six games, even though he has had opportunities to score in multiple games this season so far. With his center, David Krejci, out tonight with an upper-body injury, DeBrusk needs to step up offensively to bring some depth scoring to Boston against a stacked Lightning offence.

Charlie Coyle will move up in the lineup to be the second-line center for DeBrusk and Brett Ritchie, yet he himself only has one assist that was achieved in the opening game against the Dallas Stars back on October 3rd. The third-line of Heinen, Coyle and Ritchie had some chances in the last game against Anaheim, but failed to score. Tonight would be a good game for him to find his game that he had in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and get back on the score-sheet.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • G Tuukka Rask is playing in his 499th career NHL game
  • F Patrice Bergeron is four assists away (496) from 500 career NHL assists
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one assist away (496) from passing Rick Middleton (496) for sole-possession of 6th-most assists in Bruins history

Tampa Bay Lightning:

  • F Steven Stamkos is three goals away (397) from 400 career NHL goals

Bruins vs Lightning Outlook:

The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning have a rich history as Eastern Conference teams. Throughout the regular-season, the two franchises have played in 102 games against each other, with the Bruins having the better record of 64-28-9-1 – averaging 3.31 goals-for-per-game and 2.60 goals-against-per-game. In the playoffs, the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals come to mind when Boston defeated the Lightning in a razor-close Game 7 to advance to the Finals where the eventually won the Stanley Cup.

More recently, the Lightning dispatched of the Bruins in the 2018 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals in only five games after the B’s won Game One. These two teams have been atop the NHL’s Eastern Conference standings for the better part of the past decade and each game has created an entertaining affair.

Tampa Bay won the season series of four games in 2018-19, defeating the Bruins three times, (3-2, 5-4, and 6-3) while the Bruins won once by a final score of 4-1 on February 28th. Boston scored a total of thirteen goals for and allowed fifteen against in the four games.

Regarding specialty teams, this could be a very entertaining hockey game. On the power-play, both teams are tied with a 31.3% success rate on the man-advantage, however, the Bruins have a better penalty-kill percentage (83.3%) compared to Tampa’s 73.9%. Either way, it will be interesting to see what team’s specialty teams out-performs the other. It may just be the difference in who wins.

Bruins Projected Lineup:

David Krejci is out for the Bruins tonight after playing minimal minutes against Anaheim on Monday. After the game, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy expressed hope that Krejci would be able to play tonight, but evidently has decided to keep the veteran center out of the lineup. Charlie Coyle moves up while Par Lindholm centers Danton Heinen and Karson Kuhlman on the third-line. The first and fourth lines remain the same as of right now.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST in the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 149 that we recorded on 10-11-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Krejci Injured In Bruins Win. Who Steps Up?

NHL: New York Rangers at Boston Bruins

(Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19

Stop me if you have heard this one before. David Krejci leaves the game in the first period with the ever-ambiguous Lower Body Injury (LBI). Unfortunately, this is not the story from the September 25th preseason game versus the Devils being looped for eternity like Phil Connors in Groundhog Day. It is the current bad news coming in the aftermath of the Bruins 4-2 matinee victory over the surprising Anaheim Ducks.

Krejci left the game with about four minutes to go in the first period and headed to the dressing room. He came back out for the second period and skated for about half a shift. He had a 2-on-1 with DeBrusk but then appeared to be laboring heading back up ice as the Bruins gave up a 3-on-1. That was it for Krejci, as he left the ice and didn’t return, leaving the Bruins a center short for the remainder of the game.

I went back and watched the first-period last night and it appeared to me that the injury occurred with a little less than eight minutes to go in the session. The Ducks were coming out of their end and DeBrusk got a piece of an outlet pass. The puck deflected in the air, Krejci reached up and gloved it down to himself. As he did and brought the puck over the blue line, Getzlaf gave him what looked like a pretty nasty short cross-check to his side/rib area.

I can’t help but wonder if this might be one of the reasons the Bruins seemed extremely annoyed with Getzlaf later in the game? I’m not a doctor and don’t play one on TV, but if I had to guess, it looked like it could have been a rib injury? Hopefully, it’s something relatively minor and Krejci is back soon. It seems like this might be the case based on comments from Bruce Cassidy on Tuesday afternoon?

One of the keys to the B’s success in the last couple of years is depth in the middle. Two years ago it was Bergeron, Krejci, Nash, and Kuraly. Last season, once they traded for Coyle, the team really began to roll. This year they start the season with the same group that went to the Finals. If Krejci is not ready to go on Thursday, or worse, if he’s out longer, what options do the Bruins have to replace him and maintain that strength at center?

If Krejci is only going to be out for a couple of games, the easiest thing for the Bruins to do would be simply to plug Par Lindholm into the lineup. He could go directly into Krejci’s spot on the 2nd line between DeBrusk and Kuhlman, leaving the other three lines intact. The other relatively “easy fix” would be to put Lindholm into the lineup, but slide Coyle up into the 2nd line center spot. That would (hopefully) allow the Bruins to generate offense from the 2nd line. Lindholm would likely center Heinen and Ritchie, creating a defensively sound Bottom Six until Krejci can return.

NHL Pre-Season: Chicago Blackhawks Vs Boston Bruins At TD Garden

(Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images)

If Krejci turns out to be more seriously hurt and out of the lineup for an extended period, the Bruins might decide they need to go in a different direction? While the first line is carrying the team right now, I don’t believe that’s a sustainable formula for winning over the long term. Depth and secondary scoring are the way to go in today’s NHL. With that in mind, I could see the Bruins reaching down to Providence for guys like Studnicka or Frederic.

I believe they would prefer to keep Studnicka in the AHL to learn how to play against pros for the majority of a season before calling him up. If Krejci were to be out for a long period of time, they might not have that luxury? Lindholm has more experience, but it appears that Studnicka has more upside and offers more on the offensive side of the puck than the Swedish veteran does. Through four games in Providence, Studnicka has yet to score his first goal, but he does have two assists and is a “plus” two, with six shots.

Jack-Studnicka

(Photo Credit: Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Frederic has NHL experience and would offer a different kind of option for the Bruins. He’s bigger and more physical than Studnicka. He could slot in with Heinen and Ritchie forming a pretty heavy group that Cassidy would likely give 4th line minutes to. After his stint with the big club last season, Frederic is probably more physically and mentally prepared than a rookie would be. The issue with him is that he appears to have gotten off to a bit of a slow start in Providence. I’m not sure how much this would factor into the front office’s decision-making process?

The last candidate on the Baby B’s is Brendan Gaunce. It’s not a name that will immediately spring to mind for most Bruins fans, but he might be the best choice. The former first-round pick looked really good in training camp. I thought he out-played Ritchie and Backes and had he been right-handed, likely would have made the team outright. He’s a big body (6’2″, 220 pounds) that can play a physical game, but moves well for his size. He also has 117 NHL games under his belt over the past four seasons, which gives him an edge over Studnicka and Fredric. Last year in Utica he had 16g/22a in 60 games, so he is not without offensive skills.

Is Gaunce the answer for Krejci if he’s out for a long period of time? Probably not, but he would be serviceable for a few games. Gaunce would actually be a much better replacement for Kuraly if he ever went down. I like him in a Bottom 6 role, but I don’t think he’s a Top 6 talent on a playoff team.

Best case scenario, Krejci’s injury is not serious, he misses little to no time, and this whole conversation is moot. If Krejci is out longer, the Bruins will have some trouble filling that spot, unless someone like Studnicka proves to be ahead of schedule. Not an ideal situation to be sure, but the Bruins dealt with injury successfully last season. It looks like they will have to do it again.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 002 that we recorded on 10-8-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Boston Bruins Defeat Anaheim Ducks 4-2 | Post Game Report

Image result for david pastrnak vs anaheim ducks(Photo Credits: NESN.com)

By Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

The Anaheim Ducks were fed a huge, healthy bowl of pasta this afternoon as they fall to the Boston Bruins in a Columbus Day matinee game at the TD Garden. Knowing very well that they’d be facing a stingy Ducks team, Boston needed to play tighter and more stingier. Both teams came into today’s game evenly matched at 4-1-0 and despite the high amount of turnovers (Boston) and icings (Anaheim), the B’s would come out with a solid  win.

GAME RECAP

In the first period, the Bruins would get on board as David Pastrnak nailed his first of the day during the power-play. With Anaheim’s Michael Del Zotto in the box and Boston going against a team with a high penalty kill, the first line would once again connect. As Anaheim attempted to swipe the puck out of their zone, defenseman Torey Krug stopped the play, feeding it to Patrice Bergeron who then neatly sent the puck to his teammate. With a one-time snipe to the net, the 22-year-old Pasta would net the goal eight seconds into the penalty.

Coming into the second at 8:22 Anaheim’s defenseman Hampus Lindholm attempted to to get the puck out, however it was picked off by Boston’s Brad Marchand who sauced the pass to Pastrnak, making the score 2-0. Anaheim’s would answer as right-winger Rickard Rakell found enough space to send a quick wrist shot pass Jaroslav Halak, making the score 2-1. 

In what would be his fifth hat-tick of his career, Pastrnak would swipe the puck off the faceoff, sending a wrist shot pass Anaheim’s goaltender John Gibson in the second period at 2:20. Minutes later, Boston would once again be on the power-play. Both DeBrusk and Marchand were fighting for puck in the corner, sending it back out where it reached Krug. With a home pass by Marchand, Pastrnak would tip in his fourth goal of the day making it 4-1.

Anaheim would get on board at 16:08 in the third when center Adam Henrique (from a Nick Ritchie pass) sent one in, making the score final score 4-2. With the win, the Bruins are now 2-0 on home ice with a 5-1 record.  The Ducks are now 4-2-0,  playing behind first-year coach Dallas Eakins.

QUICK NOTES

Anaheim came into the game ranking third in the league on the penalty kill at 93.8%, but has yet to score on a power-play.  Goaltender John Gibson came into today’s match-up with a .961 save percentage, however with today’s loss he now has a .826 save percentage. He made 19 saves on 23 shots. Bruins’s Jaroslav Halak made 30 saves on 32 shots and now has .938 save percentage.

(Photo Credits: Matt Stone/ Boston Herald)

Bruins Brett Ritchie faced his brother Nick for today’s match-up. David Krejci was seen going down the tunnel in the first period, nursing an injury. He was seen coming back on the ice for a few shifts during the second, however left  not returning for the third period. Coach Bruce Cassidy offered no updates on Krejci. 

SCORING SUMMARY

FIRST PERIOD

BOS: David Pastrnak: GOAL at 4:18. Assist: Patrice Bergeron and Torey Krug

SECOND PERIOD

BOS: David Pastrnak: GOAL at 11:38. Assist: Brad Marchand

ANA: Rickard Rakell: GOAL at 17:52. Assist: Adam Henrique and Cam Fowler

THIRD PERIOD

BOS: David Pastrnak: GOAL at 2:20

BOS: David Pastrnak: GOAL at 4:34 Assist: Brad Marchand and Torey Krug

ANA: Adam Henrique: GOAL at 16:08. Assists: Nick Ritchie

 

FINAL SCORE: 4-2, BOSTON WINS

NEXT GAME: AT TD GARDEN versus Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:00 PM

Game Preview: Boston Bruins vs Vegas Golden Knights 10/8/2019

Image result for boston bruins vs vegas golden knights(Photo Credits: NESN)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

The Boston Bruins continue their road trip when they face the Vegas Golden Knights tonight at the T-Mobile Arena. Both teams are off to a hot start with each posting a 2-0 record thus far early in the season.  Offensively, the Bruins team will be looking to dust off the cobwebs as they’ve had to relay mainly on the back end. Both goaltenders have been outstanding in helping the Bruins stay afloat in these past two games. Tonight’s game will  hopefully be the beginning of the team getting over some bad habits:

“…I don’t think we’re  playing the way we need to right now to score, not generating enough, lets start with that. We’re not playing off an original shot, we’re trying to make plays through sticks that  maybe aren’t there…It’s a lot to do with how you play in August. It’s not really live, you’re always trying to make that nice play instead of maybe a play that will generate a loose puck situation and if you go.”

-Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy

Image result for boston bruins vs vegas golden knights(Photo Credits: AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

Between The Pipes

Boston has allowed only one goal so far with both Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak minding the net. Halak had a shutout the other night against the Arizona Coyotes while Rask made 28 saves against the Dallas Stars. Rask (0.966 save percentage) will get the start in net for the Bruins.

Cassidy offered an update on Joakim Nordstrom and reported that he had been medically cleared but will not participate in tonight’s game. There may be a chance forward David Backes will see some ice time tonight. Recently the Bruins opted to have Par Lindhom on the fourth line in the game against Arizona.

Nordstrom is inching closer to returning to the lineup and has traveled with the team. The 27-year-old winger has been practicing and will need a few more before getting back on the ice.  Coach Cassidy explained that with Nordstrom  “there’s a little bit of rust:”

“What we want to be careful of is the guys that didn’t practice a lot, we threw them right in…He  (Nordstrom) didn’t play any exhibitions games. We’re gonna try to approach that one differently…His target date now becomes Thursday.”

Here are the projected lineups for tonight’s game (provided Krejci plays)

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Kuhlman

Heinen – Coyle – Ritchie

Wagner – Kuraly – Backes

 

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Clifton

 

Rask

Halak

Knight Time In Vegas

For Vegas, expect Marc-Andre Fleury, who currently has a 0.965 Save Percentage,  in net tonight when they face the Bruins. The Knights are coming off to a great start; so far Vegas have tallied up three short-handed goals in two games. 32-year-old right winger Ryan Reeves leads the NHL with 14 hits in two games with Fleury stopping 55 of 57 shots on goal.

Tomas Nosek posted three points in the teams recent 5-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. In his 800th career NHL game, Fleury made 34 stops. Defenseman Nate Schmidt continues to be monitored and will be out week-to week with a lower-body injury.

This will be the first meeting for Vegas against an Eastern Conference team as they look to continue their momentum. Here are the projected lineups for tonight:

Smith – Marchessault – Karlsson

Pacioretty  – Glass – Stone

Zykov – Stastny – Pirri

Carrier – Nosek  – Reaves

 

Holden – Merrill

McNabb  – Theodore

Engelland – Hague

 

Fleury

Subban

 

WHEN TO WATCH:  Tonight with puck drop at 10:00 pm

WHERE TO WATCH: ESPN+, ATTSN-RM, NESN

Game 2 Preview: Boston Bruins vs. Arizona Coyotes 10/5/2019

Image result for boston bruins vs arizona coyotes

(Photo Credits: AP/Ralph Freso)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

The Boston Bruins continue their tough road trip when they face the Arizona Coyotes tonight at the Gila River Arena. After the B’s held on to win against the Dallas Stars this past Thursday night, they’re hoping to have a repeat against a Phil Kessel-led team. One issue that continues to  face the Bruins: will David Krejci be healthy enough to play today or will his injury continue to sideline the forward?

As the team took to the ice in Arizona yesterday morning, the 33-year-old Czech native skated with more confidence, which bode well with Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy:

” Felt a lot better today (Friday). Did some battles at the end of practice, got through that fine. We’re gonna rule him as a game-time decision. But I’m more confident that he’ll get in tomorrow than I was yesterday morning. But it will be his call.”

Image result for david krejci

(Photo Credits: Getty Images)

Krejci skated alongside Jake DeBrusk and Karson Kuhlman and is as hopeful as Coach Cassidy in a potential return to tonight’s lineup:

“Another day, another good day. Feeling pretty hopeful for tomorrow…Obviously another practice…I think the thing for me was to get some battles in, alongside the boards. We did some battles after practice. A little extra. That felt good. Happy about it, so hopefully I’ll wake up tomorrow and there’s no setback and I’ll be good to go. We’ll see tomorrow.”

Image result for boston bruins vs arizona coyotes

(Photo Credits:  Christopher Evans/Boston Herald)

If Krejci is once again not able to play tonight, expect to see Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie in the lineup tonight. Both played solid in their debut with Boston. Squaring off  against his former team, Ritchie notched the first goal of the season for the Bruins early in the first period.  Minutes later, Lindholm had a penalty in the first that led to a Danton Heinen power-play goal.  Tonight, the Bruins will be looking to continue their win streak versus Arizona as they have previously won the last 14-straight games. Provided that Krejci suits up, here are the projected lineups:

BOSTON BRUINS PROJECTED LINEUP:

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Karson Kuhlman

Danton Heinen – Charlie Coyle – Brett Ritchie

Chris Wagner – Sean Kuraly – David Backes

Joakim Nordstrom – Par Lindholm

 

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton

Steven Kampfer

 

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

 

WELCOME TO THE DESERT

With the addition of former Penguins star Phil Kessel and new ownership/chairman, the Coyotes have been thrust into the conversation of a team to watch this season. Kessel will be playing his 776th consecutive game-the second longest active streak in the NHL.  In tonight’s  home opener against the Bruins, Arizona will look to get a win on the boards after dropping their season opener, losing 2-1 to the Anaheim Ducks. Forwards Christian Dvorak and Nick Schmaltz spent most of last season injured and will return to the lineup with a full clean bill of health. Led by Head Coach Rick Tocchet, here are the projected lineups:

ARIZONA COYOTES PROJECTED LINEUPS:

Keller – Stepan – Kessel

Garland – Soderberg – Schmaltz

Crouse – Dvorak – Fischer

Graber – Richardson – Hinostroza

 

Ekman-Larsson – Demers

Goligoski – Hjalmarsson

Chychrun – Desterle

 

Keumper

Raanta

 

WHEN TO WATCH: Tonight at 9:00 PM EST; 6:00 PM-MT GILES RIVER ARENA

WHERE TO WATCH: ESPN+, FS-A, FS-A PLUS, NESN

 

Bruins Enjoy Solid Depth At Center

Boston Bruins v Philadelphia Flyers

(Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images)

By Carrie Salls | Find me on Twitter @nittgrl73

The 2018-2019 season began with the question of who should be the Bruins’ third-line center. The first five months of the season was used to experiment with a number of options. Even when Boston traded fan-favorite Ryan Donato to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for East Weymouth-native Charlie Coyle not long before the trade deadline in February, many had their doubts about whether a permanent solution had been found.

Although Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has taken a look at Coyle in preseason as a potential fit for the second-line right wing position, Coyle has shown in game action that he is still a force at center and can continue to be a key piece of a dominant bottom six.

Assuming Coyle does start the season the way he ended the last campaign, at 3C, that means the Bruins will likely have one of the best lineups down the middle in the National Hockey League. Along with Coyle, veterans Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci and fourth-line stalwart Sean Kuraly have proven their worth to the team time and time again.

Cassidy touched on the importance of depth at center in a recent press conference. The coach sounded like he would love to see Coyle fill the third-line pivot role, with Karson Kuhlman or another player slotting in on Krejci’s right wing on the second line instead of Coyle.

With veterans Bergeron and Krejci leading the way, Coyle winning over the fans and coaching staff and Kuraly showing that he is the quintessential fourth-line center that can bring a spark of energy and eat up hard minutes while providing offense in clutch moments, the Bruins seem to be entering the 2019-2020 season with a solid core at center.

However, Bergeron and Krejci are aging, and Bergeron is entering yet another season bothered with nagging injury issues. Krejci was also injured early in the first period of Monday night’s preseason tilt against the Flyers, although initial reports following the game indicated that Krejci’s lower body injury was not considered serious.

In addition to this already stellar lineup, the Bruins added more depth during the offseason with the signings of free agents Brett Ritchie and Par Lindholm, and David Backes can also comfortably take shifts at center if needed.

Looking past the next few seasons, Boston appears well-positioned to continue to be strong up the middle when Bergeron and Krejci retire. The team’s prospect stable boasts a few players in various stages of development, including Trent Frederic, Jack Studnicka and 2019 first-round draft pick John Beecher, who look to have the  size, speed and skill that is needed to succeed at the position in today’s NHL.

Although a number of current Boston and Providence Bruins face free agency after the 2019-2020 season, Bergeron, Krejci and Kuraly, Frederic and Studnicka are not among them. Even if the team is unable to keep Coyle in the Spoked-B beyond this season, having three of those four key components of the offense still under contract is good news for the team.

Bruins F Anton Blidh Out Four Months After Shoulder Surgery

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

On September 24th, 2019, the Boston Bruins have confirmed that forward Anton Blidh will be forced to miss four months of playing time after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder.

The injury came in the Bruins’ first preseason meeting against the Philadelphia Flyers last week and it was rumored that the injury may require surgery. As news comes in today, it is now clear that Blidh underwent successful surgery to repair a ligament in his right shoulder at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) by Doctor Tom Holovacs.

The 24-year-old winger was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 6th Round (180th Overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and has been a staple as a depth forward in the organization, playing 263 career regular-season games with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League, amassing a 41-38-79 numbers dating back to the 2015-16 season.

Last year, Blidh was named assistant captain of the P-Bruins, finishing the 2018-19 campaign with 10-13-23 totals in 74 games. Over the course of his professional career, Blidh has played in a combined twenty-one games in the National Hockey League with the Boston Bruins, scoring only one goal and one assist for two points. Elite Prospects’ Erik K. Piri said the following about Blidh back in 2014.

“Blidh is a gritty winger who plays with a lot of energy. Can kill penalties and is a terrific shot blocker. Also owns some offensive instincts and a willingness to go hard to the net. Loves to agitate and rile up opponents.”

Before joining Providence, Blidh spent his time with a variety of different teams in his home country of Sweden with his best point-producing season coming in the 2013-14 campaign where he scored 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points in 27 games for the Frölunda HC J20 in the SuperElit league.

Back in May of this year, the Boston Bruins re-signed the Mölnlycke, Sweden native to a two-year, two-way contract extension worth $700,000 per season. That deal is scheduled to expire at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season. For the Bruins, this is a tough injury as Blidh was a solid member of the Providence Bruins forward core and could have been a potential recall in the case of an injury to a forward in the big leagues.

If his recovery goes smoothly and efficiently, we should see Anton Blidh back in a sweater, likely for the Baby Bruins in the AHL in the early stages of the 2020 calendar year. For more information on Blidh, David Krejci, and other Boston Bruins injury reports, news, and updates, make sure to give me a follow on Twitter, (@tkdmaxbjj ), and check back frequently on the Black N’ Gold Hockey website.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 146 that we recorded on 9-22-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Should Focus on Improving Even Strength Offense in 2019-2020

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( Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

It was no question the Bruins had enough skill and firepower to make it all the way to game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals last season. A big part of their success, however, was their powerplay in which the Bruins finished third in the league last season at 25.9% powerplay which was behind division rivals Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins only came in 12th in the NHL in goals scored at five-on-five play. A stronger offensive output at even strength should be a focus for Bruce Cassidy and the B’s this season.

The Bruins have multiple skilled players up and down their lineup that put the puck in the net especially the top line that dominated last season in Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak. Brad Marchand had a career year burying 100 points with a third of his points coming on the powerplay at 34. His linemates were also enormous on the powerplay with Pastrnak tallying 17 powerplay goals and 33 powerplay points and Bergeron scoring 27 points on the powerplay.  Although the top line dominates most games, most of their points came on the powerplay.

The Bruins relied heavily on the powerplay in the regular season and the playoffs but especially against the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Black ‘N Gold met a heavy, physical team that was strong at even strength and eventually found a way to shut down the Bruins potent powerplay. Bruins like Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak, McAvoy, and Backes scored zero points each at even-strength during the Stanley Cup Finals. This ultimately was a factor in the Bruins losing game seven. In the first period, the Bruins saw the only powerplay of the game that they were unable to capitalize on and then struggled to score on Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington at even strength – and we all know how that nightmare ends.

Part of improving the even-strength scoring can be to balance the lines. That might mean breaking up the “perfection” line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak and moving Pastrnak to Krejci’s right-wing side. This could benefit the Bruins for matchups against opponents defense and to strengthen the second line that at some points looked invisible last season and postseason.

The preseason is a good time to test out the new lines and some depth acquisitions from offseason moves as well as up-and-coming prospects from Providence and beyond. There could also be a breakthrough forward who makes the team to play on the David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk line that would significantly balance the Bruins forward group. This would allow the top line to remain together and hopefully continue their dominance at both ends of the ice.

Also, having Charlie Coyle at the beginning of the season will benefit the Bruins with some security on the third-line center position. At the beginning of the 2018-2019 season, that spot was a big question mark for most of the beginning and first half of the season.

Having a great penalty kill and powerplay is immense for success in the NHL but the even-strength offense should be a primary focus. Every game will have fine-on-five play but the Bruins should be reliant on getting penalty calls and heading to the powerplay. Bruce Cassidy and his coaching staff should be focused on getting the even-strength offense up from last season and it would certainly benefit the Bruins down the stretch and especially in the playoffs.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 146 that we recorded on 9-22-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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