Bruins Game 9 Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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

For the second-consecutive game, the Boston Bruins take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. This time, however, the arena is different as the two teams make the move to the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins lost the last time out, 4-3 in overtime in Toronto, but was able to secure a point without second-line center David Krejci (upper-body) in the lineup.

Toronto has had a game since the win over Boston, losing 4-3 in overtime themselves against the Columbus Blue Jackets off of a penalty-shot winner in the OT session. The Maple Leafs are third in the Atlantic division with a record of 5-3-2.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 3-0-1 1.72 GAA .946 SV% Last Game: 33 Saves in 4-3 loss vs TBL (SO)

TOR: Michael Hutchinson (Likely) 0-1-1 3.97 GAA .886 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 4-3 loss vs WSH

Who’s Hot:

Tuukka Rask is starting in his 500th career NHL game tonight against the franchise who drafted him 21st-overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Rask has been great for the Bruins this year, remaining undefeated in regulation with a record of 3-0-1. Tuukka has a 1.72 GAA (3rd in NHL*) and a .946 save percentage (3rd in NHL*) with one shutout back on October 12th against the Devils.

*minimum of four games started

Mitch Marner leads the Maple Leafs in points this season with 3-9-12 numbers in ten games so far, riding a two-game point streak coming into tonight’s contest as well. On Saturday, Marner finished the night with two assists against Boston – including the game-winning shot that hit Morgan Rielly in front, giving him a primary assist. Marner has been a force, as usual, and he seemingly thrives against the Bruins. Watch for that again tonight.

David Pastrnak was awarded the First Star of the Week according to the National Hockey League and rightly so. The 23-year-old Czech Republic native has dominated the NHL with nine points in three games last week – seven of them being goals. His nine goals on the 2019-20 season puts him tied for first in league and Pastrnak is also top-five in points with 15 in only eight games. Pastrnak put up a goal and an assist in Saturday’s loss to the Leafs.

Who’s Not:

With Frederik Andersen getting the start last night for the Blue and White, it is very likely that we see backup goaltender, Michael Hutchinson in between the pipes for the third time this season. So far, the 2008 3rd-round pick of the Boston Bruins has a win-less record of 0-1-1. Hutchinson has only started twice, but made five saves on five shots against the Lightning in replacement of Andersen who was pulled. With a GAA of 3.97 and a SV% of .886, Hutchinson has not be the best in net when he does get his chance.

Sean Kuraly is yet to find the back of the net in the 2019-2020 campaign, putting up only two assists in the opening eight games. Kuraly had a particularly poor game on Saturday, turning the puck over on numerous occasions with one breakout attempt directly leading to a Toronto goal. Kuraly is one of the better depth players in the NHL, but is starting off the year on a slower pace than expected from a Bruins team needing depth support.

Charlie McAvoy is atop the Bruins roster regarding the younger players, no doubt, but he has not performed at the peak of his potential this season so far. McAvoy has only one assist and is a -1 rating through eight games and against the Leafs last weekend, he made numerous turnovers and seemed out of position on a few rushes by Toronto. Boston needs him to be more consistent tonight and for the games to come.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • G Tuukka Rask is playing in his 500th career NHL game
  • F Patrice Bergeron is two assists away (498) from 500 career NHL assists
  • F David Pastrnak is one point (299) from 300 career NHL points

Toronto Maple Leafs:

  • F Auston Matthews is three assists away (97) from 100 career NHL assists

Bruins vs Maple Leafs Outlook:

Saturday’s game was an entertaining game between these two teams with both teams getting chances on either end and both teams having solid goaltending throughout the course of the game. This time around, both teams will be putting out different starting goaltenders and will be playing in a different arena – bringing the possibility for another competitive game.

The Bruins managed to earn a point in the loss, keeping them tied in points with Toronto, but are ahead of the Canadian team due to their lack of total games played in comparison. Boston will be looking to win a regulation game on home-ice to take a full two points. Even early on in the season, these points are huge considering the level of competition in the NHL’s Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

Earlier today, the Bruins announced that forward David Krejci (upper-body) has been placed on the injured-reserve and will not play tonight. In response, the organization recalled forward Anders Bjork from the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League to fill the vacant roster spot. Joakim Nordstrom was on the ice for practice, but no word on if he will return to the lineup. Karson Kuhlman did not practice and will likely miss tonight’s game after blocking a shot from DeBrusk in the last game.

The Bruins and Leafs are expected to have yet another strong game, even with the absence of Krejci and Tavares respectively. There are opportunities available for young players now, especially Bjork, to prove his worth in the depth charts and make a case for a top-six role.

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

Projected Lines:

Boston Bruins:

Toronto Maple Leafs:

The above lines for the Maple Leafs are for their game last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Things may change, but expect Hutchinson to get the start.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 150 that we recorded on 10-20-19 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 David Pastrnak Named NHL’s First Star of the Week

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

NHL Public Relations, (@PR_NHL on Twitter) officially announced that Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak has been named the first star of the week for October 14th to October 20th. Washington Capitals defenceman John Carlson and Buffalo Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton were awarded the second and third star respectively.

Pastrnak led the National Hockey League with seven goals and two assists for nine points this week, all coming in only three games played this week. Pastrnak’s highlight moment of the week was his four-goal game against the Anaheim Ducks on October 14th. The Bruins forward has been lights-out to start the new season, scoring 9-6-15 numbers in the first eight games.

This is the second time that Pastrnak has been named as one of the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week in his young career as he was named the 1st Star back in the week of November 12th in the 2018-2019 NHL season. He is also the most-recent Bruin to win the weekly award since Patrice Bergeron was named the 2nd Star of the Week back on February 10th of last season. The 23-year-old winger has only seen constant improvements throughout his young season, setting a career-high in goals (38) and points (81) last year and he is on pace to break that in 2019-20.

John Carlson of the Washington Capitals is breaking records of his own, scoring 1-7-8 totals in four games played this past week, extending his season numbers to 3-15-18 in ten games played. Carlson leads the entire league in assists and points and has put himself in rare company among NHL defensemen. He became only the third defenceman (Bobby Orr x2, Paul Coffey) to score 18+ points in his team’s opening ten games of a new season. The Capitals are fourth in the league standings (6-2-2) and have a meeting with the Calgary Flames on October 22nd.

The Buffalo Sabres are first in the NHL’s Eastern Conference and third in the overall league standings with a combined record of 7-1-1 through the first nine games. Leading them to that record, goaltender Carter Hutton who finished both games this week with shutouts – stopped a grand total of 72 shots in two games. Hutton has won five straight games in net and has a goals-against-average of 1.40 with a save percentage of .953%. The Sabres have a game against the San Jose Sharks, looking to win their third-straight.

Back to the Bruins, they look to rebound against the Toronto Maple Leafs on home ice tomorrow after losing in overtime on Saturday in Toronto. Pastrnak will look to stay hot, building off of the two-point night he had against the Maple Leafs. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is expected to get the start in net, marking the 500th time in his NHL career that he gets such a job.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 150 that we recorded on 10-20-19 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 Post-Game Recap: Boston at Toronto: 10/19/19

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PHOTO CREDITS: (JOHN E. SOKOLOWSKI-USA TODAY SPORTS)

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

After their first post-regulation loss of the new season, the Boston Bruins look to rebound right away with a win in the first game of the home-and-home series against the Maple Leafs. Boston managed to force overtime and eventually a shootout with a late third-period goal from David Pastrnak, (8-5-13) in their 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In Toronto’s last outing, they took a 4-3 loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals, just one day removed of their win over the Minnesota Wild. The Leafs will be without forward John Tavares (finger) for the next few weeks and will miss both games against the Bruins.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Home: Boston Bruins (5-1-1)

Away: Toronto Maple Leafs (4-3-1)

Bruins Last Game: 4-3 loss vs TBL (SO)

Bruins Gameday Lineups:

Boston Bruins forward David Krejci (upper-body) and Joakim Nordstrom (upper-body) did not make the trip to Toronto and according to Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, are considered day-to-day at this moment. Forward Patrice Bergeron missed practice yesterday after blocking a shot against Tampa Bay, but he will be in the lineup tonight.

First Period:

In the early three minutes of the game, the Bruins are taking control of the road-building with pressure, forecheck, and four shots on goal in the opening three minutes. Leafs Head Coach Mike Babcock immediately made sure Matthews did not play against the Bergeron line due to the defensive shut down. Good start for Boston.

The great start for Boston was stopped by a goal by the Maple Leafs roughly six minutes into the period. Morgan Rielly took a shot from the point that hit Brandon Carlo right in the chest and bounced down, between the legs of Jaroslav Halak and Toronto takes a 1-0 lead at home. Tough break for the Bruins who were playing good all-around.

After the goal, there was some pushing and shoving around the benches between Andreas Johnsson, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand that settled itself out. At almost the same time, Alex Kerfoot gets a breakaway chance that is shut down by Halak, setting up Jake DeBrusk the other way for a breakaway of his own that Andersen stops. Good action continues for both teams.

Toronto began to pick up the pace and momentum after the opening goal, getting more rushes into the zone and more chances on Halak. Bruins still hold a lead in the shot department, 11-10, but it is clear that the first goal was a big one for the Leafs. Boston needs to get a goal back before the end of the period to slow down the momentum.

That is the complete opposite of what happens as Sean Kuraly fails to clear the puck out of his own zone and it goes right to Dmytro Timashov who makes a subtle fake before sniping it past Halak, giving Toronto a 2-0 lead late in the first period. The goal is the first career goal of Timashov’s NHL career, a big one for the Leafs.

Needing a big goal before the intermission, the Bruins switch up the lines, resulting in a second-line of DeBrusk, Coyle, and Wagner. The hard forecheck behind the Leafs net eventually leads to Coyle taking the puck and finding Jake DeBrusk wide-open in the slot. DeBrusk finally buries his first of the 2019-20 season and the Bruins cut into the Toronto lead, it’s 2-1. The period ends after that.

Note: Before the Bruins’ goal, Jake DeBrusk took a hard slapshot towards the net that hit what appears to be the inside of the foot of Karson Kuhlman who showed clear pain and went off the ice and did not return. However, there were only less than two minutes left to tick away before intermission, but it is something to keep an eye out for.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 18 TOR: 15

Score: 2-1 Maple Leafs – Goals: Rielly (1) Assists: Marner (7), Johnsson (3); Timashov (1) Assists: Gauthier (1); DeBrusk (1) Assists: Coyle (2), Wagner (2)

Second Period:

As the play starts up again following the intermission, it is worth noting that Kuhlman is on the Bruins bench to begin the second period. A scare for Boston who needs his speed and threat, but he seems to be alright.

The first penalty of the hockey game comes less than two minutes into the middle frame as Ilya Mikeyev takes a holding penalty on Jake DeBrusk and the Bruins head to the power-play that is 8-for-21 to start the season. However, Boston did not have the best man-advantage that they could have had, with some decent chances shorthanded by Toronto. The B’s do get a couple shots from McAvoy and Heinen late on the power-play, but the Leafs ultimately kill it off and we return to 5-on-5.

Roughly eight minutes into the frame, the Bruins have one of their best shifts of the game. They did a great job cycling the puck around Toronto’s zone, generating some great chances to tie the game. Brett Ritchie did a nice job tossing the puck towards the crease for an open Patrice Bergeron, but he narrowly missed a wide-open net. Later on, Par Lindholm keeps it in the zone and skates it further in before drawing a tripping penalty – Boston to their second power-play.

Power-play ends without a goal for the B’s, but they had some good chances that were either stopped or missed the net. The best chance was off of a brilliant passing play that created a great chance for DeBrusk who hit the side of the net. Boston now 0-for-2 on the man-advantage tonight with some improvements from the first one.

With 3:19 left in the second, David Backes tries to drive the puck towards the net but collides hard with Frederik Andersen. The whistle blows and the referee calls for a penalty, assuming it is goaltender interference, but it turns out to be coincidental minor penalties due to roughing by Marincin after the play, 4-on-4. Right away on the 4-on-4, Kuraly makes another bad turnover that leads to a great chance for Toronto – but Halak makes a big save.

In the dying seconds, the Bruins have yet another strong shift that draws a hooking penalty and the Maple Leafs are back on the penalty-kill. The second-period ends before Boston can capitalize. Either way, a much-better period for the Bruins, just could not score a goal. It’ll come with that play, though.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 33 TOR: 18

Score: 2-1 Maple Leafs

Third Period:

The Bruins finally strike on the power-play. Brett Ritchie does a nice job passing it across the zone to find Danton Heinen who rips one top-shelf past Andersen for his second goal of the season and the Bruins equalize the game. Heinen becomes the first Bruin aside from the first-line to score two goals in 2019-20.

The tie was short-lived, only 61 seconds after Boston’s power-play marker, Alex Kerfoot finds the puck in the slot and backhands an odd shot past Halak who was off-balance in the crease and the Maple Leafs take back a one-goal lead in the third period. Charlie Coyle did a poor job staying on Kerfoot, leading to the goal against.

The Bruins have had a few good chances to tie it up once again in the final regulation period, but Andersen has been stellar between the pipes and the Leafs are starting to play better defense while getting some good offensive opportunities as well. Just over eight minutes to go and the Bruins have reached the 40-shot mark.

At the 15:34 mark of the period, Marchand makes a nice neutral zone dangle to bring the puck into the zone, feeds it to Bergeron whose shot gets partially blocked. Bergeron does a good job working for the puck back, allowing him to pass it to Marchand who quickly gets it off to Pastrnak for a blistering one-timer that beats Andersen. Quick offense and we are tied 3-3.

After an incredibly entertaining period of hockey, this game heads to the always-exciting 3-on-3 overtime.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 44 TOR: 27

Score: 3-3 – Goals: Heinen (2) PPG Assists: Ritchie (1), Pastrnak (6); Kerfoot (3) Assists: Muzzin (3), Mikheyev (4); Pastrnak (9) Assists: Marchand (8), Bergeron (6)

Overtime:

The Maple Leafs have the best chances to win the game in overtime throughout the first couple of minutes. Charlie Coyle has been poor defensively tonight and that came out in the overtime session, making poor judgements but fortunately, the Bruins and Halak are able to save him.

Late in the 3-on-3 OT, the Bruins are stuck on the ice, showing clear signs of exhaustion in the defensive end. That only allows Auston Matthews to set up Mitch Marner in the high slot for a one-timer that beats Jaro Halak, Leafs win in overtime by a final score of 4-3. Great game, but Bruins just got caught.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 45 TOR: 29

Final Score: 4-3 Maple Leafs

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: TOR G Frederik Andersen – 42 Saves, .933 SV%

2nd Star: TOR F Mitch Marner – 1 Goal (Game-Winning), 1 Assist, 4 Shots

3rd Star: BOS F David Pastrnak – 1 Goal (Game-Tying), 1 Assist, 23:58 TOI

Boston returns home to the TD Garden for the second-consecutive game against Toronto to end the home-and-home series. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST on Tuesday.

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 8 Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

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PHOTO CREDITS: (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

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

One of the biggest rivalries in the National Hockey League – the Boston Bruins vs the Toronto Maple Leafs makes it’s the debut of the 2019-2020 season tonight in Toronto. The Bruins are coming into the game with a 5-1-1 record, losing in a shootout to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a close game.

For Toronto, they boast a 4-3-1 record, giving them the first wild-card spot. The Leafs have been off to a slow start – often trading wins and losses so far this season bringing them to the record they have. In their last time out, Toronto took a 4-3 defeat to the Washington Capitals in Washington.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 2-1-0 1.69 GAA .951 SV% Last Game: 30 Saves in 4-2 win vs ANA

TOR: Frederik Andersen 4-2-0 3.14 GAA .893 SV% Last Game: 27 Saves in 4-2 win vs MIN

Who’s Hot:

David Pastrnak is virtually unstoppable right now. The 23-year-old winger has eight goals, five assists for thirteen points in seven games so far and is currently riding a five-game point streak with two consecutive games now with three or more points. Against the Lightning, Pastrnak scored two goals and added an assist including the game-tying goal that eventually forced a shootout. Pastrnak has had great success against the Leafs, scoring 11-8-19 numbers in 15 regular-season games against Toronto.

Fresh off his brand new contract with the Maple Leafs, Mitch Marner is picking things right up from his 94-point campaign in 2018-19 with now nine points in the opening eight games played. Marner has scored three goals and helped with six assists on the scoresheets – leading the Maple Leafs in points. Marner was held pointless against the Capitals but had a three-point game the night before against the Wild.

Morgan Rielly is tied with Mitch Marner in points, however, all of them are assists. Rielly has been the number-one defenceman in Toronto for the past couple of seasons and it seems each year he finds improvements. Against Minnesota, Rielly put up four assists in 21:44 of ice time followed up by a pointless night against Washington in over 27 minutes of time on the ice. Four of his nine assists were on the power-play.

Who’s Not:

Jake DeBrusk is still of his game and it may be a little bit concerning for the Bruins who are struggling to find depth scoring, even more so now with the absence of David Krejci on the second line. DeBrusk played 17:11 in Thursday’s game, finishing the night with a -1 rating, two shots on goal, and zero points. In the first seven games, DeBrusk has only one assist. Jake only has one goal in six regular-season games against the Maple Leafs.

The entire depth charts at the forward position can be listed for the Boston Bruins in this category. Aside from the first-line, only Sean Kuraly has more than one point (2), while seven forwards have only a single point this season. Without the power-play and the top line, the Boston Bruins likely would not be as high in the standings as they are right now. The B’s cannot rely on David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand to carry the workload for all 82 games.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F Patrice Bergeron is three assists away (497) from 500 career NHL assists
  • F David Pastrnak is three points away (297) from 300 career NHL points

Toronto Maple Leafs:

  • F Auston Matthews is five points away (95) from 100 career NHL assists

Bruins vs Leafs Outlook

The first of two meetings in the next four days between the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs goes down tonight in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The rivalry between these two Original Six franchises has seemingly never been so competitive nor entertaining for that matter. After the Bruins eliminated the Maple Leafs in both the 2018 and the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Toronto is looking to come back and finally get revenge over Boston.

Both teams will be without big players in their lineup as well. Newly-named captain John Tavares is out for at least a couple of weeks due to a broken finger suffered from blocking a Morgan Rielly shot. On Boston’s side, forward David Krejci is out once again with an injury and forward Joakim Nordstrom is also not travelling with the team to Toronto.

Speciality teams have always played a big factor in this rivalry and it should again tonight. The Bruins come into the contest with the second-best power-play percentage in the NHL (38.1%), while the Leafs have the 8th-best man-advantage at 26.9%. On the penalty-kill, the Bruins have killed off 85.7% of their penalties compared to Toronto’s 80.8% success rate while short-handed.

With both teams coming off a loss earlier in the week to strong Eastern Conference teams, it should make for a back-and-forth, entertaining hockey game – as it usually is between Toronto and Boston. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST from Toronto, Canada.

Projected Lineups:

Boston Bruins:

Toronto Maple Leafs:

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!!

Growing Frustration For Boston’s DeBrusk

(Photo Credits: NESN.com)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

The Boston Bruins are eight games into the season as they face the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight and there are already growing concerns. Although it’s still too early to think the sky is falling, the Bruins have had a decent October month, but the lack of secondary scoring is starting to wane on player’s minds.

After having a goal and an assist wiped off the board after a controversial goalie interference and a border-line offside call, Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk showed a rare instance of growing frustration after the 4-2 game loss against the Colorado Avalanche:

“Of course [it’s frustrating]…Any time that you get production finally and it gets taken away from you twice, it’s just one of those things where you almost don’t believe it. But at the same time that’s how things are going for me.

“I scored and had an assist tonight, they got pulled back. We should’ve won this game 4-2, but those weren’t goals, I guess. One was offside and goalie interference. They looked at it and that’s how it was. I don’t think it’s gonna snowball, but definitely pissing me off for sure.”

It’s been a slow start to the season for DeBrusk who has one point through seven games. Reminiscent of last season, the 23-year-old left winger’s game didn’t pick until later on. He ended the 2018-2019 campaign with 27 goals in 68 games played. During the Stanley Cup Playoff run he came away with four goals and seven assists for 11 points in 24 games.

(Photo Credits: AP /Winslow Townson)

As the Bruins deal with injuries, the “next man up” mantra will once again come into play, especially for tonight’s match-up in Toronto. For DeBrusk, staying even-keel and being patient will be key going forward this new season. One added pressure point for the left-winger: his contract.  After the 2019-2020 season ends,  he will become a RFA (restricted free agent) and re-signing DeBrusk will depend on his play this year. The winger spoke recently:

“Yeah, frustration, it’s past that to be honest with you. I’m just trying to stay even-keel and try to play my game. That’s one thing that’s been kind of one of those issues for me personally is I haven’t found my game at all this year…You look at statistics…I think that I’m not really helping myself out in a lot of categories…Sometimes the game doesn’t come to you and you got to go to the game.”

With the Top Line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak accounting for most of the goals so far, Coach Bruce Cassidy is trying to attack bad habits now rather than later in the season. Recently, Cassidy gave time off to the top trio as he worked with the rest of the team.

And while it would be unfair to place everything on DeBrusk, the coaching staff needs him to create more scoring chances and be more active in front of the net. Looking to last season, especially during the Playoffs, the young left-winger has the ability to get that greasy goal and that’s exactly what the Bruins need now. 

(Photo Credits: Scott Kane/Boston Herald)

And for DeBrusk, what he needs is to find that spark; hopefully tonight in Toronto he’ll get it back and then some:

 

“I think that I need to hold onto it more, maybe attack more and be more selfish with my shot selection.”

 

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Tampa Bay at Boston: 10/17/19

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Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Home: Boston Bruins (5-1-0)

Away: Tampa Bay Lightning (3-2-1)

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Coyle-Ritchie

Heinen-Lindholm-Kuhlman

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Tampa Bay’s Lineup

Forwards

Stamkos-Point-Kucherov

Killorn-Cirelli-Joseph

Palat-Johnson-Gourde

Maroon-Verhaeghe-Witkowski

Defense

Hedman-Cernak

McDonagh-Shattenkirk

Coburn-Sergachev

Goalies

Vasilevskiy

McElhinney

First Period

The Bruins surrendered a few scoring chances in the opening moments as the Lightning looked ready to play from puck drop. Luckily for Boston, Tuukka Rask was on his game early, making a few saves in close. Brad Marchand nearly gave the B’s the early lead but hit the glove side post of Andrei Vasilevskiy less than three minutes into the game. The Bruins continued to have trouble getting their offensive game going as the Lightning dominated the early possession game. The B’s would get a power play opportunity as Mikhail Sergachev went to the box with 10:33 left in the period. David Pastrnak found the back of the net yet again just seconds into the man advantage to give the Bruins the lead.

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Sean Kuraly was called for hooking shortly after the goal, giving Tampa Bay a chance to tie the game. The B’s killed off the penalty without surrendering any significant scoring chances, keeping them in the lead. The Bruins seemed to gain some momentum after the man advantage, firing a couple shots on Vasilevskiy. Patrice Bergeron was called for slashing with under four minutes to go in the period, giving the Lightning another opportunity. The B’s killed off the penalty to Bergeron, surrendering a few shots on goal. Brayden Point got lost at the blue line and scored on a breakaway, barely beating the buzzer to tie the game.

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Score: Tied 1-1

Second Period

The B’s had some good early legs in the opening moments of the period and they got a few solid scoring chances. The Bruins picked up another power play opportunity as Carter Verhaeghe went to the box for tripping. The Lightning killed off the penalty and even got a shorthanded breakaway. The B’s would get yet another man advantage opportunity shortly after, as Yanni Gourde took an interference penalty. Bergeron gave the B’s the lead again off of a beautiful slap pass from Pastrnak on the power play.

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The Lightning evened it up quickly as Mathieu Joseph tapped in a rebound behind Rask to make it 2-2.

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The B’s and Lightning continued the trend of trading chances with both teams going end to end pretty consistently. The Bruins started to turn the puck over and get beat to the dirty areas as the Lightning started to surge late in the period. The Bruins picked up their fourth power play of the game as Karson Kuhlman drew a penalty with his great speed. The Lightning killed off the penalty as they got a few shorthanded opportunities.

Score: Tied 2-2

Third Period

Neither team came out with much jump to start the period as the game’s intensity began to pick up. The Bruins began to surge almost midway through the period, getting a number of chances in the offensive zone. Matt Grzelcyk was called for a penalty with 11:35 to play as the Lightning went to the power play looking to take the lead. The B’s killed it off as the Lightning failed to get any scoring chances. The Bruins continued to be the aggressor in the third period, getting multiple shifts with extended time in the attacking zone.

Kevin Shattenkirk gave the Lightning their first lead of the game with 4:47 to go with a quick shot through Rask.

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The Bruins would go to the man advantage less than a minute after the goal as Anthony Cirelli was called for tripping. Pastrnak tied the game on the power play after his shot was deflected into the net off of a Tampa Bay stick.

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Score: Tied 3-3

Overtime

Both teams had some spectacular chances including the Bruins hitting the goal post on a shot by Kuraly but neither team could find the back of the net and game went to a shootout.

Shootout

Steven Stamkos scored the only goal in the shootout and the Lightning handed the B’s their second loss of the season.

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Final Score: 4-3 Lightning

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Pastrnak. Another strong game from Number 88 continues his great start to the season, totaling two goals and an assist.

Second Star: Bergeron. The B’s top center recorded a power play strike and an assist.

Third Star: Rask. The Bruins goaltender kept the team in the game all night and made some huge saves especially in the third period and overtime.

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!!

Six Thoughts From The Bruins First Six Games

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Photo Courtesy Of WCVB Boston

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

It’s a good time to be a Bruins fan. The hometown team is 5-1-0 in their first six games of the 2019-20 campaign and look every bit the squad that came within a game of winning the Stanley Cup last season. The B’s began the season 3-0-0, their best start in nearly 20 years back when Joe Thornton was in black and gold. The team has earned 10 of a possible 12 points to open the season and lot of it is due to the superb goaltending combination of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. The B’s first line has picked up where it left off last season with all three players off to great starts including David Pastrnak who scored four times on Monday against the Anaheim Ducks. There have been a few interesting developments in the first few games of the season and below I’ll take a look at six storylines I’ve noticed in the B’s first six games.

Goaltending Has Been Phenomenal

As I previously mentioned, the Bruins goaltending has been the main reason the team is off to their best start in years. Rask and Halak have each started three games and have looked very strong and look every bit the part of the elite tandem they were a season ago. Rask has started the season especially strong after having his fair share of issues in the early parts of the last few years. He’s 3-0-0 with a sparkling .957 save percentage and a minuscule 1.33 goals against average. Halak, meanwhile has been just as good and has already made a seasons worth of spectacular saves especially in his first start of the year against the Arizona Coyotes, a 1-0 shutout victory. It’s very clear that yet again the B’s have another elite goaltending tandem that is showing no signs of slowing down.

Pastrnak Scoring In Bunches

As evidenced by his four goal outburst the other day, David Pastrnak is an elite goal scorer. At 23, Pastrnak seems to top himself every season and perhaps his next feat is 50 goals in a season. Despite not scoring in his first two games of the season, Pasta has found the net six times in his past four contests and is now tied for second in the entire league in goals scored. The great thing about Pastrnak‘s game is it seems to get better and better by the season and there’s no reason to expect anything less in 2019-20.

Second Period Woes

Unfortunately it’s not been all positive for the B’s to open the year as a familiar monster has reared its ugly head. A common theme for the team in the early going of the season has been second period struggles as the Bruins seem to lose momentum and not play with the same intensity. For whatever reason it’s been a common issue for the team under Bruce Cassidy which certainly isn’t a knock on the coach but it’s something that happens pretty consistently. One could argue the B’s are still in search of their first win playing a full 60 minutes.

Kuhlman Doesn’t Look Out Of Place

I’ll preface this by saying Karson Kuhlman is not the ideal fit on the Boston second line. However, I do believe he’s the best they can do at this point in time. Kuhlman’s energy is pretty clear watching the first few Bruins games of the season, the guy is always hunting the puck and making plays utilizing his straight line speed. Because of that speed, he’s gotten numerous scoring chances and unfortunately hasn’t found the back of the net yet but the ability is clearly there. The B’s second line has been off to a bit of a slow start but Kuhlman is certainly not the reason why.

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Krug Limiting Turnovers

I’ll probably get serious heat for this but I’ve noticed Torey Krug has been pretty good in his own end in the early part of the season. Now certainly he’s not perfect and has made some mistakes but often he’s in the right place at the right time. The Bruins entire defense group do a great job denying scoring chances with their sticks and this is an area Krug has greatly improved in. He may never be an elite defensive defenseman but Krug does do a lot of things especially in his own zone that often go unnoticed.

Scoring Depth Needed

Perhaps the B’s biggest strength can also be categorized as a weakness in a way. With how dominant the first line is, it often masks issues the team has in getting consistent scoring from other players. It’s pretty clear that this may be the case this season if this continues. The Bruins are counting on the likes of Jake DeBrusk, Kuhlman and Danton Heinen to provide consistent goal scoring especially five on five. It’s a great thing that the first line is so dominant but it remains to be seen whether the team can get goal scoring from other places.

Boston Bruins: The Goal Is To Rebuild On The Fly

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

The Boston Bruins have been one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference for over a decade. Notably, Boston won their sixth Stanley Cup in the 2010-2011 season followed by a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in both 2013 and 2019. During this stretch of success, the organization has seen the same core of players rule the competition.

Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara, and Tuukka Rask were apart of each one of those successful seasons, but the remainder of the Bruins team has been altered, changed, and re-vamped with the emergence of the young players across the National Hockey League.

Today, the Bruins have star players that are staples in their lineup. David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Danton Heinen are all on the starting roster night in and night out, wearing the Spoked-B proudly. Don’t get them wrong, though. These young players are not here because the Bruins are at the bottom of the standings, in fact, it is quite evidently the opposite. The Boston Bruins are defending Eastern Conference Champions.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (WEEI.com)

In the National Hockey League, there are multiple ways that a franchise can build their team for success. The Free Agency period always has serviceable players that can bring some talent to a roster and bring them to a more-successful season. The idea of trading is there, but it is sometimes difficult to convince another team to trade their top players without sacrificing one of your top assets in return. You could also be the Vegas Golden Knights who became a Stanley Cup-contending team from the expansion draft – but that is out of the question for everyone but Seattle now.

Without a doubt in my mind, the best option for teams to build a roster that contends for the Stanley Cup falls on the NHL Entry Draft. The best of the best young players around the world in a seven-round draft where all 31 NHL teams can select the players they feel will make their team better. The issue with this method is the waiting period for most rookies.

Looking at the Bruins, players like Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen, and Anders Bjork have been in the system for a couple years now – yet none of them are secured positions on the team due to their position already being filled by someone with either more experience or more success. In other drafts, the Bruins have had struggles with their selections, to the point where they fail to play a single regular season game with the franchise before being shipped off or let go when their contract expires.

In many cases around the league, the waiting period is not of concern for management. As long as one day, they can have a competitive roster once again, it’ll all be okay again. That idea is great and all – if you want to risk losing ticket sales, profits, and a fanbase in general. The Ottawa Senators, Florida Panthers, and others are prime examples of this fact alone.

Circling things back to Boston, the owners and fellow management personnel are not willing to sacrifice the years of money and profit that comes from a successful franchise to have a full-on “rebuild” when those veterans and core pieces begin to retire and move on from their hockey careers. Boston has shown over the past decade and continue to show into the 2019-2020 campaign that they are at the top of the NHL at performing a method of getting better on the fly commonly called – “retooling”.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet.ca)

When retooling a franchise, there is one main factor that must stay consistent – competitiveness. Without the idea of competing for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, one could argue that it is more of a rebuild. In order to complete this retooling, you must have a group of veterans to lead another group of young, upcoming players who are taking their opportunities and thriving. Looking at the 2011 Stanley Cup win over the Vancouver Canucks, not much has changed regarding the landscape of the roster.

In 2010-2011, the Bruins had an average age of 28.3 and had ten players above the age of 30, (Michael Ryder, Chris Kelly, Andrew Ference, Tomas Kaberle, Shawn Thornton, Marc Savard, Zdeno Chara, Shane Hindy, Tim Thomas, and Mark Recchi). In 2019-2020, the Bruins have an average age of 28.9 and have eight players above the age of 30, (Brad Marchand, Steven Kampfer, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, Jaroslav Halak, Patrice Bergeron, David Backes, and Zdeno Chara).

In 2010-11, the Bruins had younger players producing on their roster such as Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask, Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Blake Wheeler, and so on. Today, those once-young players are now entering the later stages of their prime or have moved on from the franchise altogether in the event of trade or free-agency, but with the emergence of David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Karson Kuhlman, Danton Heinen, Connor Clifton, and so on, the youth is still vibrant as ever – keeping the cycle fresh.

It does not stop there, either. This season, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Boston Bruins, the Providence Bruins, have one of their best rosters of the last few seasons. As of October 15th, the Baby Bruins have a record of 3-1-0 – tied for second in the AHL league standings. Forward Anders Bjork has been the top player so far for the P-Bruins, scoring three goals and two assists for five points in the opening four games, showcasing his skills that could be in the NHL sooner rather than later.

The lineup in Providence is filled with players that have caught the eye of management and fans alike, keeping people hopeful that the Boston Bruins can continue this success that they are seeing this season into future seasons for years to come – and they have every right to feel that way. In fact, they should. Only a few seasons ago, David Pastrnak was in Providence and on the fourth-line in Boston, now he is scoring four goals in a game and leading the team in goals.

Call it what you want – retooling, rebuilding on the fly, staying competitive – it’s all the same. The Boston Bruins are professionals at this by now. The idea puts pressure and expectations on young players, but with the guidance of the veterans that have been there before, it works. With a record of 5-1-0 to begin the 2019-2020 regular-season, the Bruins are proving that.

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!

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

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