Seven Key Bruins Who Need To Perform In Game Seven

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photo credit: Matthew J. Lee / Boston Globe staff

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on twitter @phoneymahoney

For the third time in seven seasons, the Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs will be facing off in a seven game playoff series. The Bruins made a legendary comeback to win in 2013, and won again in 2018. Should the following players keep their heads in the game and perform to their capabilities, there is no reason the Bruins can’t advance to the second round again.

Tuukka Rask

Always a controversial topic among Bruins fans, Rask has had a whirlwind season. Things started off ugly with a blowout loss to the Washington Capitals, then there was a short leave of absence, followed by some streaky play. All in all, the Finnish goaltender has been solid, but not world class, this season, putting up a 2.48 goals against average, and a save percentage of .912. He was very good in game 5, but the rest of the team wasn’t, so the Leafs were able to take the series lead. His performance on Easter Sunday was masterful, and the Bruins went on to force game 7 by nothing a 4-2 win.

The Bruins will need another great performance out of Rask, as nothing takes the wind out of their sails like a bad goal can. Obviously the team defense has allowed Rask to be tested far more than he should be, but the Finnish netminder is going to have to overcome his skaters’ shortcomings if the Bruins are going to advance to the Conference Semifinals. It’s certainly not encouraging when the team is giving up breakaways to a star studded roster of forwards on the regular, but these goals need to be prevented nonetheless. However frustrating it may be, Rask has got to keep his head in the game, as he has for the last two games.

Torey Krug

Torey Krug is another player some Bruins fans love to hate. Sometimes their annoyance is understandable, especially during the last six games, as the puck has jumped over his stick at the blueline multiple times this series, causing a breakaway for the Leafs, or at the very least, squandering an offensive opportunity for the Bruins. Krug, however, is a double-edged sword: the Bruins employ a high-risk, high-reward strategy during the power play, and Krug is a vital piece when they’re on the man advantage. The Bruins also have trouble breaking out of their own zone cleanly when he’s not on the ice, so while he may leave something to be desired defensively, he is indispensable to this Bruins team.

If the Black and Gold want to be successful in game 7, Torey Krug will have to keep his nerves in check, and will have to try and avoid the blue line mishaps that have been his calling card lately. At the very least, he’s going to have to do what he does best: make up for his defensive gaffes by scoring or setting up goals. His offensive talent is fantastic, and he’s going to have to bring it tonight for the Bruins to get the win.

Brandon Carlo

As Torey Krug’s defensive partner, Brandon Carlo will naturally be responsible for a lot defensively. No good offensive defenseman can do what he does without a good shutdown partner, and Carlo is exactly that. Brandon Carlo has played very well in this, his maiden playoff voyage, and he’s going to need to be aggressive and keep his head in the game tonight. Toronto’s top two forward lines are no joke, and they’ve been jumping on breakaway chances repeatedly during this series. Carlo is going to have to do his best to keep the door to the crease closed tonight.

David Krejci

Having led the NHL in postseason scoring twice before, the Bruins’ second line center is known to have a lycanthropic streak, where he turns into am absolute beast once the postseason begins. Krejci Beast Mode is here again in 2019, and it needs to make its presence known in game 7. At this point, Krejci has scored 2 goals and assisted on two more in six playoff games. Four points doesn’t sound like much, but Krejci brings more than points to the table. He’s been playing the body all series, hitting anyone and everyone he can. The Czech center can also play well without the puck, so the Bruins are able to rely upon him a bit defensively, as well.

Ideally, Krejci will be centering Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak tonight. The combination of Pastrnak’s speed and shot combined with DeBrusk’s straight-line speed and love for crashing the net match perfectly with Krejci’s bizarre ability to slow the game down and allow his teammates to get to where they need to be before making the magic happen. If Krejci continues to play like a man possessed and he’s skating with DeBrusk and Pastrnak, good things will happen for the Bruins’ offense. Like they say, as David Krejci goes, so go the Bruins.

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photo credit: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

Jake DeBrusk

Jake DeBrusk is all heart, and is exactly the kind of player you want on your roster for games like this. He emits this “young Mark Recchi” aura, and it is wonderful. His going head-to-head with Nazem Kadri and causing him to be suspended for most of the series was entertaining, and actually pretty important. DeBrusk has only scored one goal and assisted on another in the six games he’s played in this series, though, and that will have to change if they’re going to make a run of this.

Playing alongside the Czech Davids is both a gift and a responsibility. DeBrusk has earned his ice time for sure, but he’s going to have to produce if he wants to keep it. DeBrusk will need to do what he’s best at – winning puck battles and crashing the net. If he continues to move his feet and fight for his ice like he did against Kadri, the goals will come.

David Pastrnak

In the first six games of this series, David Pastrnak has scored two goals, and has notched four assists. He hasn’t looked like his usual self through much of it, though — he’s tried to get cute and make the extra pass instead of shooting a few too many times this series — Pastrnak will need to get away from that and play his usual game. Pasta cannot let Toronto’s defense out-muscle him and force him to the boards. He will need to fight for the middle of the ice and put as much on net as possible. Krejci will undoubtedly be feeding him passes for one-timer opportunities, and DeBrusk will be in the crease to hit any rebounds home. If Pastrnak is able to put up with Toronto’s physical game and get as many pucks on net as possible, it should pay off.

Patrice Bergeron

Bergeron is the heart and soul of this Bruins team. He is far and away Boston’s best player. Bergeron is a gamer and will likely have a big game 7, as he typically does, and the Bruins need it, badly. Bergeron is their go-to when it comes to must-win faceoffs, and his line is typically the one Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy turns to when a big goal is needed. It is rare that Bergeron has consecutive bad or no-show games, but he has looked a little bit off this series.

Bergeron being engaged, healthy, and allowed to take important faceoffs (instead of being kicked out, as NHL linesmen seem to love doing to Bergy) are paramount to this Bruins’ team success. If Bergeron can play his game and not be neutralized by the Leafs, the Bruins will have a much better chance at a successful game 7. He and Brad Marchand, like David Pastrnak, need to put pucks on net rather than making the extra pass. Andersen needs to see as much traffic and as many shots and possible if the Bruins want to win tonight. Pray to the Hockey Gods that Bergeron comes up big tonight.

Bruins Post-Game Recap: ECQF Game 3: Boston at Toronto

Image result for bruins maple leafs

(Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Toronto Maple Leafs

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Kuhlman

Heinen – Coyle – Backes

Nordstrom – Acciari – Wagner

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Kampfer

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Toronto’s Lineup

Forwards

Hyman – Tavares – Marner

Johnsson – Matthews – Kapanen

Marleau – Nylander – Brown

Moore – Gauthier – Ennis

Defense

Muzzin –  Zaitsev

Reilly – Hainsey

Gardiner – Dermott

Goalies

Andersen

Hutchinson

First Period

After a crazy game two from start to finish, the series shifted to Toronto for game three in what could be a pivotal game in the series. Big news came ahead of the game in the form of a series-long suspension for Nazem Kadri, forcing William Nylander to the third-line center position for Toronto.

A fast and loud start set the tone for game three from the beginning and it was another physical bout. Tuukka Rask made a lot of big saves early on in the period. He really needed to be as Toronto came out hard. A late interference call on Ron Hainsey put the Bruins on the man advantage in a game, to this point, that was up-for-grabs. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they couldn’t grab it.

Toronto got their chance not long after the conclusion of the Bruins power play with 38.8 seconds left, as Charlie McAvoy took a holding the stick penalty. The puck went nearly untouched into the Toronto net as Chris Wagner guarded it in hopes that it would go in. It was a pretty funny sequence that almost ended well for the Bruins. 1:21 remained on the McAvoy penalty bleeding into the second period. The shots were 15-10 Bruins.

Score: 0-0

Second Period

The Bruins were able to kill off the remaining 1:21 of the McAvoy penalty, avoiding danger in the first minute. Toronto struck first 2:38 into the period off of a Trevor Moore rebound. They managed to outshoot the Bruins 8-2 in the first three minutes.

The Toronto lead didn’t last long as David Krejci buried a bouncing puck to even things back up with his first of the playoffs. The goal gave Krejci his 69th career playoff point, third most in Bruins history. Jake DeBrusk and Karson Kuhlman had the assists, their firsts of the playoffs.

A John Tavares scoring chance led to a collision with McAvoy in which Tavares made contact with Rask. After taking some time to recover, Rask stayed in the game.

Exactly halfway through the period, David Backes sat for two thanks to a high sticking penalty. Auston Matthews potted a cross-crease pass on the man advantage to give Toronto the lead past the halfway point of the period.

A questionable hooking call on Matt Grzelcyk gave Toronto another opportunity to convert on the power play and they did. It was 3-1 Toronto with 2:48 left. Shortly after, Jake Muzzin went off for holding within the final two minutes of the period.

A resilient goal on the power play came from Charlie Coyle’s second of the series in the final minute, cutting the lead to two with 37.7 seconds remaining. Danton Heinen and Grzlecyk had the assists, Heinen’s was his first of the playoffs, Grzelcyk’s was his second.

Toronto took over on the score sheet and in the shot department, outshooting the Bruins 16-11 in the period and holding a one-goal lead heading into the third period. Overall, the shots were even through two periods.

Score: 3-2 Toronto

Third Period

Just past the 15-minute mark, Nikita Zaitsev went off for delay of game. The Bruins held possessed the puck fairly well for a good chunk of the man advantage, but couldn’t convert.

Toronto way breaking the puck out of their own zone too easily at times. There just wasn’t much of an offensive x-factor. Some poor decisions with and without the puck made things even more difficult. They needed to channel more of what they had in game two.

Bruce Cassidy pulled Rask in the final two minutes and took a timeout with 1:05 to go. John Tavares was killing Patrice Bergeron on the dot late, winning five straight in the final six and a half minutes. The Bruins’ effort late simply wasn’t enough, and Frederik Andersen came up huge for the Leafs. The final shots 36-34 Bruins. Next up is game four on Wednesday in Toronto at 7:00 PM.

Final Score: 3-2 Toronto

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David Krejci’s Success is Key for Bruins Stanley Cup Run

Krejci

( Photo Credit: BostonSportsExtra.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter:  @yanlatz

The Bruins are set to begin their quest for the team’s seventh Stanley Cup when they meet the Maple Leafs in round 1 for the second straight season. They have been one of the leagues best teams and a favorite of many to hoist Lord Stanley in June. In the middle of the Bruins’ success has been David Krejci – who had one of the most consistent and dominant seasons of his career.

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Since coming into the league in the 2007-08 season, Krejci has become an incredible offensive force and leader in the locker room for the Bruins. In his second season, Krejci put him 73 points in 82 games played. In his 12th year in the league this season, Krejci tied his career high with 73 points in 81 games played and has managed to stay healthy all year. And oh, by the way, he is about to turn 33 on April 28th.

Krejci has battled numerous injuries in the regular season and playoffs that have made fans overlook his contributions to the Bruins in the recent regular season and playoff campaigns. This season he has managed to stay healthy and only sat out one of the last regular season games to rest for the upcoming playoffs.

In 2011, Krejci began the playoffs having played 75 games that season and accumulating 62 points (13G 49A). He was healthy heading into the playoffs and was centering a line with Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. That line was killer to the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, and Tampa Bay Lightning in the playoff run. Krejci’s line scored huge goals in the playoffs that season including the game-winner in Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the Conference Final. Nathan Horton scored the lone goal on a great feed from David Krejci that would ultimately send the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals with the 1-0 win.

Krejci led the entire playoffs that year in scoring with 12 goals (4 game-winning goals) 11 assists for 23 points in 25 games. Of course, the Bruins won the Stanely Cup against Vancouver that season and it’s no coincidence that David Krejci leading the playoffs in scoring was a huge part of that Stanley Cup.

In 2013, the Bruins returned to the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago. Again, David Krejci led the NHL in points during the playoffs by scoring 9 goals 17 assists for 26 points in 22 games. Along with Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic, the playmaking of Krejci was instrumental in bringing the Bruins back to the Cup Finals.

When it comes down to crunch time in the playoffs where big faceoffs in the offensive or defensive zones can be crucial ones, the Bruins have the luxury of throwing Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci out there just in case one of them gets thrown out of the draw. If Bergeron is waved out, Krejci can step in and be a reliable faceoff guy who has a 50.8% career faceoff percentage, which is a great luxury that often gets overlooked in the fan-base.

In the past few years, the Bruins have struggled to find winger’s for David Krejci after the departures of Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic. Last year, Jake DeBrusk came into the league and put up impressive rookie numbers in the regular season and even came up huge in the playoffs for the Bruins. Much of that success has to do with Krejci taking DeBrusk under his wing. They have brewed up nice chemistry, and both are having career years. It looks as though Karson Kuhlman will step in on the other wing with Krejci and Debrusk for Game 1 against Toronto. Kuhlman has played well with Krejci and DeBrusk in 11 games this season and could be the recipe for success on the second line that the Bruins have been looking for since 2014.

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According to Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney, #46 has been a quiet MVP for the Bruins: “I think David is an underlying MVP to our season, to be honest with you, really a catalyst for our group this year,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said at Warrior Ice Arena on Monday. “Might not have gotten the prime attention that several other players deserved and merited, but it was a very consistent year for David, start-to-finish. You’re seeing the development of Jake DeBrusk, and the year that he had, and David, a lot can be attributed to that” (via Yahoo Sports).

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It is evident that if the Bruins want to get to the Stanley Cup Finals, David Krejci is an essential part of the team’s success. Krejci enters the 2019 playoffs with 87 points in 108 playoff games and has led the NHL in playoff scoring twice. Krejci is healthy and has an energetic Jake DeBrusk on his left along with a promising young Karson Kuhlman on his right and is gearing up for another successful playoff run. If Krejci stays healthy and continues his consistent play from the regular season, the Bruins will make some noise in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Interested in going to any Boston Bruins 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff games or the last regular season contests for the Providence Bruins? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from SeatGiant. Click the links below and use discount code BNGP to save a little cash!

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

usa_today_10746426.0Photo Courtesy Of SB Nation

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (49-23-9)

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

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak

Johansson-Coyle-Senyshyn

Blidh-Frederic-Backes

Heinen-Nordstrom-Kuhlman

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Clifton-Grzelcyk

Lauzon-Kampfer

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Tampa Bay’s Lineup

Forwards

Gourde-Stamkos-Kucherov

Palat-Johnson-Joseph

Killorn-Cirelli-Callahan

Erne-Martel-Miller

Defense

Coburn-Girardi

McDonagh-Cernak

Gaunce-Rutta

Goalies

Pasquale

Vasilevskiy

First Period

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

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

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

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

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Score: 2-0 Bruins

Second Period

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

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

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

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

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

Score: 3-2 Lightning

Third Period

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

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

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

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

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

Final Score: 6-3 Lightning

Three Stars Of The Regular Season

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

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

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

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Bruins Recall Frederic, Senyshyn From Providence

430b74a297e8b2eca1709318e09ce873Photo Courtesy Of Yahoo! Sports

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced today that the team has recalled forwards Trent Frederic and Zach Senyshyn from Providence on an emergency basis.

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Frederic has skated in 13 games for Boston this season, going scoreless. He made his NHL debut on January 29th against the Winnipeg Jets at the TD Garden. He has skated in 51 games for Providence this season, posting 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points. He also posted five goals and three assists for eight points in 13 appearances for Providence last season. The St. Louis, Missouri native was selected by the Bruins in the first round (29th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

Senyshyn has skated in 62 games for Providence this season, posting 14 goals and 10 assists for 24 points. Last season, he posted numbers of 12 goals and 14 assists for 26 points in 66 games in Providence. Prior to turning pro, Senyshyn spent three seasons in the OHL with the Soo Greyhounds posting 114 goals and 63 assists for 177 points in 195 career games. The Ottawa, Ontario native was drafted by the Bruins in the first round (15th overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

Senyshyn will likely make his NHL debut tomorrow night in Minnesota as this could be a showcase for him to show what he has in his first career call up. Frederic should also see some playing over the next two games probably on the third line. Senyshyn should see time on the second line perhaps with David Krejci and potentially even time on the power play. Both guys have the ability to truly impress over these next two games and could develop some momentum into the next season when they attempt to make the big club in Boston.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Detroit 3/30/19

bswings

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter:  @yanlatz

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: Little Caesars Arena

Home: Detroit Red Wings (30-38-10)

Away: Boston Bruins (47-22-9)

Boston Starting Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Kuhlman

Johansson – Coyle – Heinen

Nordstrom – Acciari – Backes

Defense

Krug – Carlo

Chara – McAvoy

Grzelcyk – Miller

Goaltenders

Halak

Rask

Detroit Starting Lineup

Forwards

Bertuzzi – Larkin – Mantha

Hirose – Athanasiou – Helm

Kuffner – Ehn – Frk

Puempel – Turgeon

Defense

Dekeyser – Bowey

Kronwall – Hronek

Chelios – McIlrath

Witkowski

Goaltenders

Howard

Fulcher

First Period

The Bruins were without Chris Wagner who did not take warmups. He was listed as out for the game with a lower-body injury and also listed as day-to-day. Karson Kuhlman stepped in and slotted on the right side with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci on the second line.

Halfway through the first period, the play is beginning to pick up as the B’s and Wings traded chances. Detroit would take a 1-0 lead at the 10:26 mark when Dylan Larkin completed a perfect behind the back pass to wide-open Anthony Mantha who buried a top-shelf shot past Jaroslav Halak.

The Bruins headed to the power play when Andreas Athanasiou slashed David Krejci with 6:22 to go in the first. The Bruins third-ranked powerplay got to work with the top line, but the Bruins could not get anything going on the man advantage as the Red Wings killed it off.

After a commercial break, the Bruins had a little puck luck in the neutral zone. As Acciari carried the puck in the zone, he slid it over to David Backes who got slashed as he fired a shot wide to the glove side of Jimmy Howard. Chelios would head off for the Bruins second power play of the period with just under three minutes to play.

As the power play was expiring, Marchand tries to keep a bouncing puck in the zone, but it got by him. Darren Helm had a partial breakaway which was stopped by Halak, but Matt Grzelcyk was called for a slash. With one second to go, Anthony Mantha buried a slapper to the glove side of Halak, and the Red Wings took a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

Score: 2-0 Detroit

Shots: Detroit-9 Boston-8

Second Period

Justs 2:01 into the period, David Krejci finds a streaking Jake DeBrusk down the slot in the Red Wings zone and wristed it over the blocker of Jimmy Howard for his 25th of the season and to get the Black and Gold on the board.

The Bruins began tilting the ice a little as they started connecting on some of their passes and creating chances in the offensive zone.

Anthony Mantha got a breakaway at the 8:12 mark looking for the hat-trick but Halak stood tall and made the save. Soon after, the Bruins were whistled for delay of game when Charlie McAvoy flipped the puck over the low glass. On the penalty, Bergeron and Marchand come in two-on-one. Bergeron sidesteps the sliding Mantha and slips a backhand feed to Marchand who one-timed it over the outstretched Jimmy Howard for the game-tying goal. With the goal, Brad Marchand became the Bruins all-time leading shorthanded goal scorer with 26.

The Bruins continued finding open space as Johansson and Marchand both had opportunities in down the left wing side with shots that were denied by Howard. However, Bertuzzi got a good chance in front of the Bruins net that Halak made a good pad save on.

Just seconds later, Luke Witkowski laid out Joakim Nordstrom at the Bruins blue line. The clean hard hit sent Nordstrom awkwardly into the boards after the nasty-looking, but clean body check. Noel Acciari came to the aid of his teammate and engaged with Witkowski in a fight. Acciari was assessed the instigator penalty which granted him 17 minutes in penalties with a two-minute penalty for instigating, five minutes for fighting, and a 10-minute misconduct.

In the final two minutes, David Krejci streaking up the left wing side gets a shot on Howard that ends up behind the net, Krejci then pokes the puck up to Kevan Miller at the point who wrists it and gets the deflection from David Backes for the Bruins lead with exactly one minute remaining.

The Bruins woke up in the second and began playing for one another again and took a 3-2 lead over Detroit into the second intermission

Score: Bruins 3 Detroit 2

Shots: Boston 17 Detroit 17

Third Period

As Jake DeBrusk sat for interference just a minute into the third, the Wings tied it up with a goal from you guessed it: Anthony Mantha. His first career hat-trick evened the game with 18:43 to go in the third.

Then, eight seconds later, Taro Hirose scored his first NHL goal as he snapped a one-timer after a fantastic feed by Andreas Athanasiou past Halak and just like that, the Bruins were playing from behind again.

The top line for Detroit continues to give the Bruins trouble in the defensive zone as another close call in front when Dylan Larkin tipped a shot that was handled by Halak. Bruins still trailing by one with half of the third period gone.

With 7:57 to go in the period, the Red Wings again hammered a one-timer by Halak. This time Filip Hronek buried one and Detroit took a two-goal lead with time dwindling for the Bruins.

Bruce Cassidy pulls Jaroslav Halak with four minutes remaining in the third as the Bruins need a pair to tie the game.

With 58 seconds left, Dylan Larkin virtually ends the game for the Red Wings with the empty-netter to make it 6-3 Detroit.

Final Score: Detroit 6 Boston 3

The Bruins will be in action next on Tuesday, April 2 in Columbus as they take on the Blue Jackets.

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Bruins Extend Affiliation With Providence, So Is ECHL Deal Next?

( Photo Credit: Commercial Construction & Renovation )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins came to an agreement last week on a ten-year extension with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League. This agreement with the top minor-pro affiliate of the B’s was one that just made sense from both sides. One, geographically having prospects and others so close to areas of operations is never a bad idea for emergency purposes, and two you can’t beat the fan support and the consistently high attendance numbers when the team is playing at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

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The Providence Bruins have been one of the most successful franchises when it comes to minor-pro development and has been a pipeline of the NHL B’s since the 1992-93 season. Previous to last weeks agreement the Providence club has amassed a record of  1030W-782L-96T-84OTL-60SOL in 2,053 games played over 26 years as an affiliate of the parent Boston Bruins team.  Providence has seen it’s a fair share of current Boston Bruins players such as Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, and Tuukka Rask. Since the teams, inaugural season (1992-93) the Bruins have seen three regular-season titles, five division championships, one conference championship, and of course the franchise’s only Calder Cup Championship that the club captured after the 1998-99 regular season campaign.

This is not the first time a successful minor league franchise called the city of Providence home. The NHL Bruins also housed developing players of interest with a team called the Providence Reds who per HockeyDB.com had affiliations in the AHL’s inaugural campaign in 1936 to 1938 and making returns in 1958 to 1962, and for the final time from 1963-64  to the 1968-59 season. The Reds were no joke back in the day as the organization saw nine regular-season titles, 13 division championships, and four Calder Cups. Hockey Hall of Famers such as goaltender Frank Brimsek (1937 to 1939), forwards Milt Schmidt (1936-37), and Ed Westfall (1963-64).

The 2018-19 regular season for the Providence team is quickly coming to a close with six games remaining. The B’s have a 35-24-8-3 record after 70 games and sit in the fourth position in the Atlantic Division and currently occupy the seventh position when you look at the Eastern Conference and the Calder Cup Playoff outlook. The Providence club looks to secure a postseason birth for the seventh straight season after being knocked out for three consecutive years prior to the current postseason streak.

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This season has certainly been a challenging one for second-year Head Coach Jay Leach, and the AHL Bruins from key developing players departing via emergency recalls to player injuries and finding suitable replacements to fill the roster. I believe in the current path of development from an organizational standpoint, but if you ask me how deep this Providence club can go in the postseason I’d love to think they can go all the way but with the up and down the regular season I’s be certainly happy with a Conference Final. Providence visited the third round briefly during the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs losing to the eventual Conference Champions Syracuse Crunch who beat the B’s in a best of seven series 4-1.

Regardless of my personal prediction or hope for a conference final appearance the Jekyll and Hyde home vs. road playoff schedule has to get better with the regular season records on either side of the coin. As mentioned the B’s have six games remaining and have done a fantastic job on home ice thus far with a record of 27-7-4-1 but have been sub-par away from the Dunk compiling a 13-17-4-2 record. Aside from the home and road rollercoaster this season the Bruins are going to have to figure out what’s not working on the road and figure it out quickly. The Checkers have a home record of 23-6-5-0 and the way things are lined up with travel the Checkers could easily get the first two games at home with an elimination contest back at the Dunk for game three. Lets’ hope that doesn’t happen.

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Above is a playoff primer courtesy of theahl.com website. As you can see a postseason appearance for the seventh straight time is not going to be easy especially against the leagues best Charlotte Checkers who already clinched a playoff spot with a regular season record of 46-16-7-1 good for 100 points thus far. These two teams have a 2018-19 regular season series of  4-3-1 with Providence winning only twice at Bojangles Coliseum and needing more than 60 minutes to get it done. The Bruins record at home against the Checkers is actually not bad if the B’s can extend the first round series and play another home game.  Home cooking at the Dunk this season against the Charlotte club has produced a record of 2-1-1.

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What’s next for the Boston Bruins and the future plans for an ECHL affiliation?

This is a topic that I’ve been thinking about a lot and trying to crack the code of what’s going on with the decision of where this Bruins organization could place prospect if needed at the ECHL level? First and foremost I believe the Atlanta Gladiators have a fantastic franchise and a return to the state of Georgia is always a good possibility. Another option is to find a location closer to areas of operation particularly with the above mentioned Providence club and the need for a constant pipeline of players that are able to participate quickly and play at the AHL level in emergency situations.

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One area of New England that I’m paying close attention to is the city of Manchester, New Hampshire and the current dumpster fire that’s going on with the ECHL Manchester Monarchs franchise. This metro area once was one of the Northeasts best-attended venues when the AHL Monarchs were in the Queen city before the NHL’s LA Kings came and took the AHL club and ECHL club and swapped them around making the trip for prospects in a matter of hours instead of lengthy cross country travel. Since the AHL moved westward it seems like the fan base walked out with it as season ticket numbers and overall fan attendance has dwindled to what seems like 500 fans.

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As a former season ticket holder of the AHL Monarchs and personal experience gathered from a fun place to enjoy a hockey game, it’s disturbing to hear that the ECHL is just not the product for this area and if something can’t be done soon they might miss their window to gain popularity again in the New Hampshire city with so much tradition in the sport. Purely speculating here but news in January of 2019 had the ECHL Manchester Monarchs seeking for new ownership and later reports of the organization ceasing operations for the 2019-20  season.

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I know that the current agreement with the Monarchs and their affiliation with the Lod Angles kings is ongoing and seems to be in good order regardless of the ownership news but minor-pro deals are pretty much fly by night operations and walk away from deals as seen in the past from a franchise like the AHL’s Portland Pirate and their agreement with the Cross Insurance Arena. If the Kings would like to place another minor-pro franchise closer to California, this would be a tremendous time to revitalize the Manchester hockey fandom with representation from one of New England’s most popular and respected professional franchises.

Now just spitballing here but if the Bruins were to in fact be affiliated with an ECHL franchise in Manchester I’d have to believe the numbers would be better than the current product just knowing that the Bruins label would be involved. Also, a key factor is how many actual prospects would be involved as the current number of Bruins property playing with the Atlanta club is zero. This season B’s prospects Jesse Gabrielle and Joona Koppanen were the only ones to play in Atlanta as they spent a few games there at the start of the season. Gabrielle was later reassigned to play with the Wichita Thunder halfway through this season.

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With a new Collective Bargaining Agreement coming up with the players and owners going toe to toe again soon, I believe it would be wise for both to come to common ground and agree on adding 10 more contracts to the max contracts allowable which are currently set at 50 contracts. What an increased number of contracts could do in my opinion is add more spots to develop and make better use of the ECHL and the availability that NHL teams have with their Premier “AA”  affiliations. This will certainly increase development at the middle levels and could accelerate the progression of deserving players for looks and evaluating purposes. Ten extra contracts to play with would be a fantastic way to sign undrafted players worldwide and ones that just finished college and available to be signed as free agents.

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! 

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Point(s) Taken: New Way To Look At Bruins Recent Draft History

Image result for boston bruins draft(Photo Credit: USA Today Sports)

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

With all the recent hubbub in the Hub of Hockey on how the Bruins’ youth movement is moving forward (or backward?), especially considering the season-long influx of Providence talent being showcased in Beantown, I thought the timing of a recent article from The Athletic concerning Boston’s recent draft history was quite interesting, fortuitous, and even eye-opening. Here’s the tweet that proved to be a head-turner/knee-jerker upon seeing it — then reading it:

So, the Bruins’ draft picks in the 21st century thus far have produced the most points out of every NHL franchise? Let me cue a universal Black N’ Gold reaction:

Image result for bruins gif really?(GIF: NHL.com)

“Huh?” is exactly right. But, then I started thinking about it… or more accurately more astute journalistic minds starting thinking about it, and commenting on my social media about it, which in turn turned my thoughts about it to have an about face.

A valid point, indeed! Sure, the B’s have seen some of their top draft picks since 2003 — the first year of this draft study — score the majority of their NHL points for another franchise, namely Phil we’re-no-longer-thrilled Kessel & Tyler traded-too-soon Seguin. But, it’s still pretty impressive when you actually sit back and reflect on it, especially considering just how mercilessly the city, the media and the fans scrutinized Boston’s 21st-century GM’s for their lack of “draft success” on the whole (yes, we’re referring to you Mike O’Connell and Peter Chiarelli — and to more recent effect Dealin’ Donny Sweeney).

 

Yet, for all the “misses” over the last sixteen years for the Bruins (let’s not even bring up one name from 2007, where a combined 6 draftees combined for 5 career NHL points), there are some names that will forever make the aforementioned points breakdown truly worthwhile. And here they are, ranked in descending order, based on how many points they’ve banked for the B’s (and still CONTINUE to produce for them):

David Pastrnak – 280 Points (2014)

Image result for bruins draft david pastrnak (Photo Credit: FanSided)

To order up a serving of “Pasta” every time No. 88 scores a goal or notches an assist would be akin to heart failure. Thankfully, the deliciously nicknamed David Pastrnak impacts our ticker in many other ways — specifically, making it race with excitement & adrenaline whenever he touches the puck or skillfully skates around a deft defender. To wit: the B’s most recent “W” against the Rangers in which he had as many points as the number one star credit he was given postgame. Love or hate the recently unemployed “Chia” pet up in Edmonton, but you’ve got to give him credit (or at least his scouting team) for Pasta. Let’s keep those 5-point games on the menu!

Brad Marchand – 556 Points (2006)

He’s the most productive pest in modern-day NHL history and he’s as big of a character as you’ll ever find in B’s history — and that’s saying something! He’s Brad Marchand and he’s only just begun, to paraphrase a Carpenter’s classic (not to be confused with former Bruin Bobby Carpenter–another point-filled pugilist). And to think both Kessel and Milan Lucic preceded him in 2006 when interim GM Jeff Gorton was doing his damnedest to pry Nicklas Backstrom away from the Caps for every pick the B’s had! Would “Marchy” have been on that potential list? Who bleepin’ cares now is what I say. And to think… Twitter and Instagram weren’t even a part of Marchand’s life yet!!!

David Krejci – 637 Points (2004)

The above video says it all: when you have a highlight reel gone viral because you had the most points in the postseason for your Stanley Cup-winning team, then you deserve plenty an accolade. Ironically, all David Krejci deserves right now is a 2nd-line winger who can consistently score ala David Pastrnak! Or, did we just see that recently? I digress. But, while on the subject of scoring, let’s not overlook just how invaluable the Czech center has been for the B’s since he was drafted more than a decade ago — ironman status included starting last season. Just think: if he keeps producing and playing alongside another popular B’s draft pick (Jake DeBrusk), then this point-filled list is going to need an update real soon!

Patrice Bergeron – 811 Points (2003)

Image result for patrice bergeron bruins draft(Photo Credit: Barstool Sports)

Trying to describe just how much Patrice Bergeron means to the Bruins organization, the franchise, the fandom… well, it’s an impossible task because you literally can’t say enough about him as a player and as a person. Thankfully, BN’G colleague @phonymahoney did that for us shortly after “Bergy” celebrated his 1,000th game in a Bruins’ jersey:

There’s a quiet grace about Patrice Bergeron that makes people forget exactly how good a player he is, and it’s unbelievable how long he’s been an important fixture in the Bruins’ lineup. One of the best players in the world, Bergeron is a member of the Triple Gold Club (World Junior Championship, Olympics, and Stanley Cup), and a four-time Selke Trophy winner, as the National Hockey League’s best defensive forward. This is a player who is so consistently effective night in and night out, that the only reason any of the milestones he’s achieved as a Bruin have been remotely surprising is because it’s so easy to forget he’s been with the team for 15 years.

Not bad for a second round pick sandwiched between Mark Stuart (93 career NHL points) and Masi Marjamaki (goose egg) way back in ’03! And as we just discovered all but a game ago, No. 37 in his 15th season with the B’s just eclipsed yet another earmarked milestone alongside his inspired linemate on this list:

Talk about a solid three years of drafting in the early oughts for the B’s! So, do you now measure the success of the Bruins’ modern draft machine a bit differently considering all of the above? Do also believe the team is only going to add to these impressive totals what with all the young scoring talent yet to emerge (aka on the cusp)? You do! Well, good.

Point taken!

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: New York Rangers at Boston: 3/27/19

cutPhoto Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (46-21-9)

Away: New York Rangers (29-33-13)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Johansson

Heinen-Coyle-Wagner

Nordstrom-Acciari-Backes

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Clifton-Kampfer

Goalies

Halak

Rask

New York’s Lineup

Forwards

Lemieux-Zibanejad-Buchnevich

Vesey-Andersson-Strome

Namestnikov-Lettieri-Chytil

Brickley-Howden-Smith

Defense

Skjei-Shattenkirk

Claesson-DeAngelo

Gilmour-Pionk

Goalies

Lundqvist

Georgiev

First Period

The Bruins first line got off to a good start in the opening moments with a couple shots on goal. The B’s would pick up a power play just 2:29 into the game as they looked to establish an early lead. David Pastrnak slammed home his 34th goal of the season on a beautiful cross ice feed from Brad Marchand just 19 seconds into the man advantage.

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The Bruins continued to pressure the New York end after the goal, looking to extend their early lead. The B’s were hungry on the puck in the first period but appeared to be a bit jumpy, committing a ton of turnovers. The Rangers barely had any possession in the first half of the period as the Bruins looked very comfortable. New York started to find an offensive rhythm in the middle stages of the period as the B’s continued to be a bit sloppy.

The Bruins had a few opportunities to double the lead but Henrik Lundqvist continued to have a solid period with a couple big saves. Zdeno Chara would head to the penalty box with five minutes left in the period for a delay of game call. Mika Zibanejad tied the game on the man advantage after a deft pass from Ryan Strome with about three and a half minutes left in the period.

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Score: Tied 1-1

Second Period

The Bruins picked another early period power play as Pastrnak was tripped down in the neutral zone and the B’s looked to regain the lead. The Rangers killed off the penalty but the Bruins did get a few chances and moved the puck very effectively. The B’s continued to have the majority of the chances but had a hard time solving Lundqvist for the second time. Pastrnak made it 2-1 after an incredible move by David Krejci, giving him his second goal of the game nearly midway through the period.

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The Bruins seemed to be sharper defensively in the middle period as the Rangers struggled to maintain an offensive rhythm. The B’s went to the penalty kill for the second time in the game as Pastrnak went off for hooking. The Bruins killed the penalty as the Rangers got a few shots on net but it remained a 2-1 game.

Charlie McAvoy was called for hooking with four minutes left in the period as the Rangers got yet another opportunity on the power play. The B’s completed yet another successful penalty kill as the Rangers failed to get any significant scoring chances. Both Lias Andersson and Patrice Bergeron were called for coincidental minors late in the period and the Rangers picked up an extra penalty for roughing resulting in a Boston power play.

Score: 2-1 Bruins

Third Period

The Rangers killed off the early penalty to keep it a one goal game as the Bruins again failed to extend their lead. Another incredible passing sequence by the newly formed second line resulted in Jake DeBrusk doubling the Boston lead just 3:19 into the final period.

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The B’s began to impose their will after the third goal as they stormed the New York end trying to put the game out of reach. The Rangers put that to bed quickly as Strome buried a loose puck in front of the net to cut the Boston lead in half.

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The Bruins started to become sloppy again in their own end as the Rangers pushed very hard for the tying goal but Jaroslav Halak was up to the challenge. The B’s responded with a couple good shifts that nearly resulted in another two goal lead but it remained 3-2 after a puck hit the crossbar behind Lundqvist. The Bruins would pick up yer another power play as Strome went off for holding with 7:22 to go. Pastrnak made it a hat trick after a slick feed from Torey Krug just 14 seconds into the man advantage.

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The Rangers were called for yet another penalty, this time for too many men as the game began to completely unravel for New York. Brendan Smith was called for a high stick during the man advantage which resulted in a five on three for the Bruins. Bergeron found the back of the net on a tipped shot by Pastrnak to give the B’s a three goal lead with over three minutes to go.

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Another power play marker, this one by McAvoy put the icing on the cake for the Bruins less than a minute after Bergeron’s goal.

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Zibanejad banged home a loose rebound to give the Rangers something to be happy about with about five seconds to play.

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Final Score: 6-3 Bruins

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Pastrnak. The winger had one of his best games of the season, putting up five points and was easily the best player on the ice.

Second Star: Krejci. With Pastrnak on his side, Krejci had another strong game and continued his great season.

Third Star: Marchand. Three assists for the feisty winger in another very solid performance.

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Four Boston Bruins Players That Could Win The 7th Player Award

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

Every year, the New England Sports Network, better known as NESN, releases a fan vote where fans of the Boston Bruins can vote for who they think should be awarded with the annual 7th Player Award. The 7th Player Award is awarded to the Boston Bruin who “has performed above and beyond expectations”. In years past, the team honour is handed out at the end of March, so the countdown is on for the winner.

Before we get into who should win the award for the 2018-19 season, let’s take a quick look at the past winners of the last decade. Information regarding this is courtesy of Ice Hockey Fandom.com. 

  • 2008-09 David Krejci
  • 2009-10 Tuukka Rask
  • 2010-11 Brad Marchand
  • 2011-12 Tyler Seguin
  • 2012-13 Dougie Hamilton
  • 2013-14 Reilly Smith
  • 2014-15 David Pastrnak
  • 2015-16 Brad Marchand
  • 2016-17 David Pastrnak
  • 2017-18 Charlie McAvoy

Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Charlie McAvoy are the most recent winners of the award and for good reason. Marchand exploded three years ago with a 37 goals and a new career-high in points with 61. David Pastrnak also had a great year when he won it back in 2016-17, scoring 34-36-70 numbers from his 26 the year prior. Finally, last year, Charlie McAvoy scored 32 points in his debut NHL season and truly came out as one of the best young offensive d-men in the league.

In the past, the award has been handed out at the end of March, just ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in April. We are already over a week into the third month of the new calendar year, so now is the perfect time to take a look at some of the players who can with the 2018-19 7th Player Award.

Jaroslav Halak -> 18-10-4, 2.33 GAA, .924 SV%, 4 Shutouts

When Anton Khudobin did not agree to a new contract with the Boston Bruins following the 2017-18 season, the concern came as to who the Bruins were going to fall on for the role of the backup goaltender position. Ideas of younger, prospect goaltenders from either the Providence Bruins or other affiliate teams were thrown around, but it was the free-agent market that would provide the solution for this new-found problem.

Boston signed journeyman goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a two-year contract with an annual average salary of $2.75 million. Last season, Halak finished up his fourth season with the New York Islanders, the fourth NHL team of his 13-year career. Halak finished last season with a 20-26-6 record, a 3.19 GAA, and a .908 save percentage – not great numbers.

Lucky for Bruins fans and himself, Halak turned a new leaf while wearing the Spoked-B sweater and is showing glimpses of top-level play, the type of play that we saw from him during his time with the Montreal Canadiens. Early on this season, starting goaltender Tuukka Rask was not on his game. He was struggling in net and was losing more often than he was winning. However, Jaro Halak made an appearance and took over the show in the meantime, keeping the Bruins afloat in the NHL’s Eastern Conference playoff race.

jaroslav-halak

PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

Head Coach Bruce Cassidy mentioned the fact that he may look to split the number of games that Rask and Halak play down the final stretch and that shows that Halak has done enough to earn starts when it matters. When the original signing was made, many people, including myself was not a fan mainly due to his performance in the previous season but he has exceeded everyone’s expectations and should be a favourite for the 7th Player Award because, without him, Boston may not be second in the Atlantic division.

Chris Wagner -> 66GP, 12G – 6A – 18P, 4th Liner

Chris Wagner never once scored ten goals in his five-year NHL career. In fact, he never scored more than 15 points in a single season, a mark he once hit in 64 games with the Anaheim Ducks last year in 2017-18.

When the Bruins signed Wagner, the Walpole, Massachusetts native to a two-year deal on the opening day of free agency, the signing of Joakim Nordstrom and the hope that the young, up-and-coming players within the Bruins organization will get more NHL minutes, it seemed like Wagner was going to be a spare tire – a depth piece for injuries or for a replacement for a player who is struggling but no, Wagner has become a near-permanent member of the 2018-19 Bruins.

Part of the reason for his success is the help of his linemates, Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari, who have helped bolster the game of Wagner to a level never seen before in the NHL. The trio has brought a high level of intensity and energy to the bottom-six while being able to add in a few goals here and there. Additionally, Wagner leads the Bruins with 226 hits, a stat that ties him for 6th most in the National Hockey League.

In today’s NHL, all four lines of any team need to have the ability to score goals when they are so required to do so, yet provide a level of physicality and defence that can keep them in the thick of things. Chris Wagner has been a big reason for the success of that line and he deserves to be in the conversation for the 7th Player Award. No one expected the performance of Wagner to be this solid and a brief stroll in past Twitter comments will highlight that.

David Krejci -> 69GP, 19G – 41A – 60P, +3 Rating

Without a doubt, David Krejci is one of the best second-line centres in the NHL and is one of the best playmakers in the league for the past few seasons. It may seem hard for a player of that stature to win an award that presents the player that has exceeded expectations, but he needs to be in the conversation.

Since putting up 17-46-63 numbers in the 2015-2016 campaign, Krejci seemed to be on a decline for point production. In 2016-17, Krejci scored 54 points in a full 82-game season followed by a 44-point year last year in only 64 games played. However, with the growing chemistry with left-winger Jake DeBrusk, Krejci is on pace for just over 71 points this season. That total would be the second-highest single-season point total for Krejci since his 22-51-73 effort back in 2008-09 – ten seasons ago.

In that 2008-09 season, Krejci averaged 0.89 points-per-game. In comparison, Krejci is averaging 0.87 points-per-game, the third-highest PPG average in his 13-year NHL career. Krejci has found 15 of his points on the man-advantage, meaning the bulk of his numbers have come from five-on-five play, a huge attribute to take into consideration.

Throughout the past few seasons, the Sternberk, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) native has been on the receiving end of hard criticism but quite clearly, he has used that as motivation for his success this season. The 32-year-old has three game-winning goals this season, including the overtime goal in the 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on March 5th. Linemate Jake DeBrusk said the following about his chemistry with Krejci right after the game versus Carolina.

“I think when you play with a guy for almost 2 years now, you generate that w just games played & different things like that. He’s been playing great all year. He’s the biggest reason why I’ve had success personally as well. To have a guy like that in my corner is something that I don’t take for granted.” – Quote from Shawn Hutcheon (@ShawnHutcheon on Twitter)

David Krejci exceeded the expectations that were placed on him back in September before the puck dropped to begin the regular season. His name is back in the minds of teams across the league if they so happened to forget about him and he has been a factor for the success of the Bruins.

Sean Kuraly -> 66GP, 6G – 11A – 17P, 4th Liner

Sean Kuraly joins linemate Chris Wagner on this four-player list because, in a way, they have to be. Kuraly and Wagner, with the inclusion of Acciari, have surprised most Bruins fans and hockey fans throughout the league with their energy, tenacity, and offensive capabilities while throwing in the occasional hit or fight.

Sean Kuraly came to Boston on June 30th, 2015 in a trade with the San Jose Sharks that sent goaltender Martin Jones off to California and Kuraly with a 2016 1st Rounder (Trent Frederic) to Boston. Martin Jones was acquired by the B’s from the L.A. Kings in exchange for beloved Bruin, Milan Lucic only a few days prior.

Kuraly didn’t play with Boston until 2016-17, skating in eight games, scoring a single point. Kuraly was given an opportunity in the 2017 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals against the Ottawa Senators and he earned his way into the hearts of Bruins fans all over with two massive goals, one of which in the second overtime session in Game 5 of that series, forcing a Game 6.

After that remarkable game for Kuraly, he ended up playing 75 games during the 2017-18 season, scoring six goals and eight assists for a total of 14 points. In the offseason of this past year, Kuraly signed on the dotted line to a three-year, $3,825,000 contract extension, securing himself a position on the NHL roster for the time being.

Kuraly has done that and more. The Dublin, Ohio, USA native has matched his career-high in goals (6) and set a new career-high in points (17) and has played in twelve less games than in last year’s season. The threat of the fourth-line could be courtesy of the always hard-working Sean Kuraly. Kuraly still possesses that clutch goal-scoring talent, scoring two game-winning goals so far in 2018-19 – both coming in back-to-back games against the Sabres on December 29th and the Blackhawks in the Winter Classic on January 1st.

Kuraly has been one of those quite but deadly pieces to the puzzle that is the 2018-19 Boston Bruins – which can come across as a pleasant surprise for him, the management, and the fanbase.

My Winner: Chris Wagner

It seems like when the Bruins are down a goal late in the hockey game, scrambling to find their legs and score the tying goal or even the winning goal, Chris Wagner is inadvertently in the thick of things when the goal eventually crosses the red line. Wagner has scored the game-tying goal on three different occasions, two of which in the third and final period. Also, in each of those games where he scored the tying marker, the Bruins went on to either win the game or lose in a shootout.

I’ll be 110% honest here – I was fully anticipating Chris Wagner to be scratched for more games than he played and to see limited ice time when he is indeed in the lineup. Losing out on Tavares and Kovalchuk in free agency, at the time, it appeared as though Sweeney and the rest of the B’s management staff had no one else and wanted to go for depth. Tim Schaller, the now Vancouver Canuck, did not re-sign, but it looked like Nordstrom would replace him. Instead, the Bruins have a physical, gritty fourth-liner that has been big when scoring meaningful goals this season.

Chris Wagner is my personal pick to win this year’s 7th Player Award, who do you think wins the annual accolade? Was it one of the players I listed or does another player come to mind? Let me know via Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj) or on FaceBook comments!

Side Note: In the poll above, I listed D Brandon Carlo as an option, yet he is not on my list. I personally expected Carlo to be good this year, so he did not necessarily ‘exceed’ my expectations, but he has been great.

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