Bruins Post-Game Recap: Chicago at Boston: 12/5/19

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Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (20-3-5)

Away: Chicago Blackhawks (10-12-5)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak

Marchand-Coyle-Heinen

Bjork-Kuraly-Wagner

Nordstrom-Lindholm-Backes

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Moore-Grzelcyk

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Chicago’s Lineup

Forwards

Saad-Toews-Nylander

DeBrincat-Strome-Kane

Smith-Dach-Carpenter

Kubalik-Kampf-Wedin

Defense

Koekkoek-Murphy

de Haan-Seabrook

Gustafsson-Gilbert

Goalies

Lehner

Crawford

First Period

Early in the first minute of the game, Patrick Kane was called for hooking and the Bruins got a great chance to take an early lead. The B’s were unable to get muster much offense on the man advantage as they looked a bit slow to open the game. The Bruins seemed to get their legs moving toward the midway point of the period but couldn’t find many scoring opportunities. On the positive side, the Bruins were able to keep Chicago in check in the offensive zone as they didn’t manage many scoring chances. Toward the closing minutes of the period, the Blackhawks finally put together some solid shifts to attempt to take the lead.

The Bruins would get their second power play late in the period as Charlie Coyle was tripped up in the defensive zone. Late in the man advantage, Ryan Carpenter stashed a rebound past Tuukka Rask to give Chicago a lead.

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Soon after the goal, David Pastrnak was sent to the penalty box for interference as Chicago looked to double their lead. The Hawks did just that as Dylan Strome tipped a shot past Rask in front of the net with just over a minute to go in the period.

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Score: 2-0 Blackhawks

Second Period

The Bruins picked up another early period power play as the Blackhawks were called for too many men. Chicago killed off the penalty despite the B’s being able to move the puck pretty efficiently in the offensive zone. After the man advantage, the Bruins were buzzing around the net and appeared to be very hungry to get back in the game. Chicago then responded with a great shift that nearly resulted in another goal but Rask came up with a few key stops.

About midway through the period, Charlie McAvoy took a stick up high and the Bruins returned to the power play in hopes of cutting the deficit in half. Chicago killed off the penalty as the Bruins again were unable to find the back of net and get back in the game. After a scrum in front of the net, Pastrnak was called for roughing and the Blackhawks went back to power play to try to take a stranglehold on the game. The B’s killed it off as Rask made a number of key saves.

Score: 2-0 Blackhawks

Third Period

Just 17 seconds into the third, Alex DeBrincat ripped a wrist shot past Rask to give the Blackhawks a three goal advantage to seemingly take the wind out of the B’s sails.

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About a minute and a half later, Joakim Nordstrom potted a rebound off of a David Backes shot to pull the Bruins within two goals.

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The Bruins continued to push for another goal with a few intense shifts in the attacking zone. Robin Lehner was pretty busy in the early moments of the period and made a few solid saves to keep the Bruins at bay. After a questionable hit by Zack Smith on Pastrnak, John Moore dropped the gloves with Smith but seemed to hurt himself during the fight. The B’s would take a penalty soon after as Coyle went to the box and Chicago looked to put the game away. Chris Wagner took an opportunity and scored on the penalty kill as the Bruins cut the lead to one with five minutes to go.

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Two and a half minutes later, Torey Krug tied it up after a great play behind the net by Jake DeBrusk to send the Boston crowd into a frenzy.

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Score: Tied 3-3

Overtime

After a mysterious non penalty call on Pastrnak, Jonathan Toews scored on a breakaway to win it for Chicago.

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Final Score: 4-3 Blackhawks

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Lehner. Despite allowing three goals in the third period, the Chicago goaltender was the reason the game wasn’t decided in regulation.

Second Star: Wagner. The Bruins winger was very solid in this game, driving to the net and even added a shorthanded goal in the third period.

Third Star: Backes. The veteran winger had another solid game with an assist on Nordstrom’s goal that got the B’s back in the game.

The Bruins Most Prolific Scorer: Phil Esposito

phil-esposito

(Photo Credit: Tony Triolo Sports Illustrated)

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19

This week I have been working on an article about where David Pastrnak’s and Brad Marchand’s seasons project in regards to the greatest Bruins seasons of all time. The problem was that as I was researching and writing the article, it started to become more about B’s legend Phil Esposito than about the aforementioned players. At that point, I figured it would probably be a good idea to just dedicate an article to Esposito himself, and here we are.

Esposito was born on February 20, 1942, in the city of Sault Ste. Marie in the Ontario Province of Canada. His younger brother Tony was born in 1943 and legend has it that Phil forced his baby brother to play goal so that he could practice his shooting. Whatever they did back then, it appears to have worked out pretty well, as both are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The elder Esposito was signed by the Chicago Blackhawks and was told to join the Sarnia Legionnaires. He was a high-scoring player even as a teen, putting up 47 goals and 61 assists in only 32 games for his Junior B team. The following season he moved up to play for the St Catherines Teepees in the OHA-Jr league (sort of a precursor to the modern-day OHL). The jump in the competition didn’t seem to slow him down, and he recorded 32 goals and 39 assists (71 points) for the Teepees in 49 games.

In today’s NHL, a scorer like Esposito would have probably gotten a long look for the big club, but things worked differently back then. Despite his scoring prowess, when Esposito turned pro, he was assigned to the St. Louis Braves of the EPHL/CPHL. These leagues were started by the NHL and fully controlled by them in an attempt to have more control over the development of players. At the time, other professional leagues like the AHL existed but did not have strong relationships with NHL teams they do now. His first season with the Braves Esposito had 36g/54a in 71 games but was not called up. The following year (1962-63), he produced 24g/54a in only 43 games and got the call-up. In 27 NHL games that year, at the age of 20, Esposito had 3g/2a. While not the most auspicious start, he showed enough to the Chicago brass to earn a spot in the NHL for good.

Espo-CHI

(Photo Credit: The Hockey Writers)

He spent the next three seasons in Chicago, Espo put up some very good numbers. In 208 regular-season games in the Windy City, he had 71 goals and 98 assists, much of the time centering Bobby Hull. What a lot of fans today may not know is that despite these stats, Chicago did not see Esposito as a good “fit” for the team.  When the Blackhawks were eliminated in the 1966-67 semifinals by eventual Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs, Esposito had zero points in the six playoff games that postseason. He shouldered much of the blame from fans (and apparently staff) after the loss to the Leafs. The NHL was expanding from six to twelve teams in June of 1967, and the “Original 6” teams were going to lose a significant amount of players. Despite his statistics, the Blackhawks still considered Esposito an unproven talent and had no plans to protect him. So, on May 15th, 1967 (immediately before the rosters were frozen for the expansion draft), they dealt him and young forwards Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to the struggling Bruins franchise for veteran center Pit Martin (who they saw as Esposito’s replacement), 22 year-old defenseman Gilles Marotte, and minor league goalie Jack Norris.

The Blackhawks saw the three players they dealt to Boston as underachievers who would not be missed by the NHL club. The centerpiece to the trade in their mind was the promising young Marotte, who had been paired in Boston with defense partner Bobby Orr. They (and many others) thought at the time they had fleeced the Bruins and their new GM, Milt Schmidt. Of course, over the next eight-plus seasons, this would be proven to be the furthest thing from the truth, as the Bruins would establish themselves as one of the dominant NHL clubs of the early and mid-’70s.

The long term benefits notwithstanding, the trade also paid immediate dividends for both Boston and Esposito. In his first year with the Bruins, he was named Assistant Captain and had 35 goals and 49 assists in 74 games, good for second in the NHL. Former teammate Stan Makita was the only one who finished above him (with 87 points). More importantly to Boston fans, the Bruins made the playoffs for the first time since the 1958-59 season. While they were swept in the first round by the eventual Cup-champion Canadians, it would mark the start of a 29 year consecutive run of playoff seasons in Boston.

The following season would result in more milestones for both Esposito and the team. In 1968-69 Esposito would become the first NHL player to reach 100 points in a season in the league’s history. Bobby Hull and Gordie Howe would also reach the century mark that year, but Esposito would hit it first and lead the league with 126 points during the regular season (49g/77a). This season would also start to establish Esposito, Ken Hodge, and Wayne Cashman as one of the most feared lines of the early ’70s. Hodge finished 5th in the NHL in scoring with 90 points (45 goals) and Cashman added 31 points in just 51 games. These numbers were due in large part to Esposito’s skill and influence. The Bruins as a team also improved, sweeping a series against Toronto, including outscoring them 17-0 (10-0 and 7-0) in games one and two at home. The Bruins would lose to Montreal again, but this time in a hard-fought six-game series in the Semifinals. Montreal would go on to sweep the St. Louis Blues for yet another Cup. Not the ending the Bruins were hoping for, but things were certainly looking up.

espo 2

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins Alumni)

The next season, Esposito would take a bit of a step back from a personal standpoint. In 1969-70, he “only” produced 43 goals and 56 assists for 99 points in 76 regular-season games. That would be good enough for second in the NHL, behind teammate Bobby Orr, who finished with 120 points (33g/87a). Despite the slight fall off for Espo, the Bruins as a team improved to the highest level. After tying Chicago for first overall with 99 points, the B’s faced the NY Rangers in the first round and defeated them in six games. Next up was the Blackhawks, and Esposito would get a measure of revenge on his old team with a four-game sweep. The Finals pitted Boston against the St. Louis Blues, who were there for the third straight year representing the West. The Bruins made short work of the Blues, sweeping them 4-0 and bringing the Cup back to Boston for the first time since 1941. Esposito finished the playoffs with 27 points (13g/14a) in fourteen games.

Over the next five seasons, Espo would help the B’s win a second Cup and from 1970-71 through 1974-75, he would score an absolutely unbelievable 326 goals and add 361 assists. His point total over those five years (687) was only seven less than Hall of Famer Cam Neely accumulated over his entire career. Production like that will more than likely never be equaled.

Unfortunately, things did not end smoothly for Esposito in Boston. During the 1975-76 season, coming off a 127 point campaign the year before, he reportedly became upset over the Bruins asking him to take a reduced role at the age of 33. After winning two Cups, two Hart Trophies, and five Art Ross trophies, Esposito left town the same way he arrived, via the trade. He was moved in November of 1975, along with defenseman Carol Vadnais for Jean Ratelle, Brad Park, and Joe Zanussi. He played in New York for five more seasons before retiring in 1981 at the age of 38. In New York, Esposito never attained the same level of success he had in Boston, but he still managed 404 points in 422 games while he played in the “Big Apple”.

espo ny

(Photo Credit: Denis Brodeur 1980 NHLI)

Three years later, in 1984, Esposito would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Three years after that, he would be involved in another remarkable ceremony, as the Bruins would retire Esposito’s famous number 7 jersey. The jersey was being worn at the time by a young player that would eventually become a B’s legend, Ray Bourque. Esposito had told Bourque he wanted him to keep wearing the number and assumed the proceedings would be strictly for “show”. Bourque surprised Espo and the team as well by removing the 7 jersey and revealing a number 77 jersey underneath that he would sport for the rest of his career in Boston, allowing Esposito’s jersey to be raised to the rafters.

After years of acrimony towards the Bruins because of the trade to New York, Bourque’s gesture went a long way towards healing the relationship between Esposito and the B’s. While the hard feelings may never completely go away, the jersey retirement was a fitting way for the Bruins organization to pay homage to it’s greatest goal scorer.

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Bruins Nearly A “Third” Of The Way Home!

 

Image(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

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

The Boston Bruins have been CARVING UP the competition this year. The team is tops in the Atlantic. Tops in the East. Tops in the league! As we recently shared here on the Black N’ Gold blog, they’re also tops in the community:

It’s a lot to be thankful for, indeed! Speaking of giving thanks, the Thanksgiving holiday is often looked at as a marker on the schedule. If a team is inside the playoff bubble come Turkey Day in the U.S., there’s a good chance they’ll make a realistic run for the NHL’s second season come the New Year.

And with the NHL Thanksgiving Showdown now putting national audience attention on how top teams are performing nearly a third of the way into the season, the B’s will fittingly be debuting their third jerseys to close out November at home at TD Garden against the Rangers.

The buzz “B”-hind this new alternate jersey was initially mixed, with social media calling up similar designs for the B’s 2019 Winter Classic jersey and the team’s 75th NHL Anniversary jersey worn back in 1992-93 (of which I have an Andy Moog home ice gem). However, as more and more posts, pics and clips showcased the historical reverence of the design combined with modern-day jersey mesh and tech, the overall look and feel of this sweet sweater got a boost in popularity — especially with “models” like this:

I, for one, find the simplicity of the logo to be its strong point — not to mention the eye-popping color and size of the big block “B” crest at its center. Truly, if anything should be front and center on a third jersey, it’s the letter/logo that best symbolizes the history and familiarity of the team.

Speaking of history, the new third jersey design is inspired by two of the franchise’s earliest logos and looks. Between 1930-1936, Boston featured the “block B” on every jersey — first in black and then in brown. I featured these in my Best Bruins Logos article right here on the BN’G blog last year. The first time it appeared in gold in big block lettering was in the late ’40s / early ’50s, as our friends at SportsLogos showcased in a retrospective picture collage below:

(Photo Credit: SportsLogos.Net)

Add in the fun fact that the B’s will debut this all black (n’ gold) jersey on Black Friday, and of course have it on sale for all the holiday shoppers, and what you have is the perfect recipe for a fulFILLing day of fanfare and fun.

The B’s are confidently on pace to make history this season. Now that they’ll be wearing a part of history as well, I’m liking the look of things to come… first, second, even THIRD time’s around!

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Montreal: 11/26/19

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Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Home: Montreal Canadiens (11-7-5)

Away: Boston Bruins (15-3-5)

Arena: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec

Montreal’s Lineup

Forwards

Tatar-Danault-Gallagher

Lehkonen-Domi-Suzuki

Hudon-Kotkaniemi-Armia

Cousins-Thompson-Weal

Defense

Chiarot-Weber

Mete-Petry

Reilly-Fleury

Goalies

Price

Kinkaid

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Krejci-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Studnicka-Coyle

Bjork-Kuraly-Heinen

Nordstrom-Lindholm-Wagner

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Clifton

Goalies

Halak

Rask

First Period

Both team appeared to be very engaged right from the start with good skating and good body contact. Jaroslav Halak was relatively busy early on but made a couple of key saves to keep the Bruins in the game. The B’s seemed to be very sloppy in their own end in the opening moments of the game but got a gift when David Pastrnak was tripped in the defensive zone, resulting in a power play with under 14 minutes left in the period. With just seconds left in the man advantage, Jake DeBrusk buried a chance in front of the net for his fifth goal of the season to give Boston the early lead.

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Following the goal, both teams started to settle in defensively and lock up the neutral zone. The Canadiens however, broke free in the neutral zone just four minutes after the goal as Shea Weber scored on a rebound to tie the game.

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The Bruins would go back to the man advantage very soon after the tying goal as they looked to regain the lead with over six minutes to go in the period. Pastrnak made it two power play goals in the period as he buried a one timer off a great feed from Charlie Coyle less than a minute into the man advantage to give Boston a 2-1 lead.

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Immediately following the goal though, Charlie McAvoy was called for tripping as the Habs looked to even the score once again. The B’s killed off the penalty as the Canadiens failed to get any significant chances on Halak. The Bruins made it 3-1 as Brad Marchand took full advantage of a terrible Montreal turnover in the final minute of the period.

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Score: 3-1 Bruins

Second Period

Just eight seconds into the middle period, Pastrnak buried his second of the night off a set play as the B’s opened up a three goal advantage on the Habs.

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Anders Bjork made it two goals in just over a minute after another Montreal turnover to make it a 5-1 Boston advantage with still 18:50 left to go in the period.

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The Bruins continued to play hungry after the quick goals with a couple of solid shifts in the offensive zone. Montreal responded with some good shifts of their own but Halak denied a number of great chances to keep them at bay. Pastrnak completed his hat trick off of a deflection in front from a shot by Brandon Carlo with less than 11 minutes left in the period to make it 6-1 Boston.

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The Habs picked up their second power play of the night with 7:17 to go in the period as they looked to stop the bleeding and get back into the game. The Bruins killed off the man advantage as the Canadiens failed to get any shots on net.

Score: 6-1 Bruins

Third Period

The Bruins continued their good habits in the final period, skating well and limiting the Habs offensive zone chances. The Canadiens continued to get scoring opportunities but the B’s defense and Halak held up with good defensive efforts. Coyle made it a six goal game with his fifth of the season with about 11 and a half minutes to go in the game.

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Jack Studnicka picked up his first career point on an assist as he fed an open Danton Heinen in front of the goal to make it 8-1 Bruins.

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Final Score: 8-1 Bruins

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Pastrnak. The Bruins winger continued his torrid scoring pace with his sixth career hat trick in this one and at certain points was the best player on the ice.

Second Star: Marchand. Fresh off being named the NHL’s First Star Of The Week, Number 63 turned in another multipoint game.

Third Star: David Krejci. The B’s top center at least for this game continued his strong play with a multiple assist night.

Game Day Preview | Boston vs. Montreal 11/26/19

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

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

The Boston Bruins head up north for the first of a back-to-back and they’ll do it without some familiar faces, the biggest one being Patrice Bergeron. The team announced yesterday that the 34-year-old top center is still nursing a lower-body injury, meaning he won’t be available for the trip.

NAGGING INJURIES

With the team taking a cautious approach when it comes to Bergeron’s health, Boston will once again need to overcome the challenge. The organization also announced that Brett Ritchie is out due to an infection and Par Lindhom will return to the line-up.

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney also announced that the team has recalled Providence’s Brendan Guance and Jack Studnicka. Both players have done well down in Providence: Gaunce has netted six goals and five assists so far. Studnicka, who is making his NHL debut tonight, leads the team with nine goals and nine assists.

LITTLE BALL OF STATS

After hitting a rough patch earlier in the month, the Bruins are looking to end November on a strong note. Boston have won their last three games with a wild comeback win over the Minnesota Wild this past Saturday night.

The team saw the return of defenseman Torey Krug, who netted the game winning over-time goal. Brad Marchand, who for the second time was named NHL First Star Of The Week, is having quite the start to his season.

Image result for boston bruins vs montreal canadiens(Photo Credits: USA Today)

The 31-year-old winger leads the team with 39 points and 23 assists. He has nine points with five goals in his last five games. Marchand is also tied for first in the league in Plus-Minus (17) and is third for points. Fellow line-mate David Pastrnak leads the league with 20 goals and power-play goals (11).

With the recent wins, Boston has improved to 15-3-5 and still  leads the Atlantic Division, They are now only second in the league behind the Washington Capitals. In the last 10 games, Boston is 5-2-3. Expect Jaroslav Halak (4-1-3)  in net for the Bruins.  The last time these two teams met, the Habs ended the Bruins winning streak, defeating them 5-4, amidst a controversial offside call.

BLEU, BLANC, ROUGE

Montreal’s Tomas Tatar leads the team in points (20) and in assists (13). Right-winger Brendan Gallagher leads the team with nine goals. The Canadiens are looking to rebound after losing 6-5 to the New York Rangers this past Saturday.

After having a 4-0 lead in the second period, the Rangers stormed back to score three goals. Montreal scored in the third making it 5-3, however, New York netted three more, defeating the Habs.

Image result for boston bruins vs montreal canadiens(Photo Credits: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Canadiens (11-7-5) are currently in third place in the Atlantic Division. Expect Carey Price (10-6-0) in net for the Habs. In their last 10 games, Montreal is 4-3-3. Left-winger Phillip Danault  has six points in his last five games with Nick Suzuki having three goals in his last five games.

PROJECTED LINES BOSTON:

Marchand – Krejci – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Studnicka – Coyle

Bjork – Kuraly – Heinen

Nordstrom – Lindholm – Wagner (Gaunce)

DEFENSE

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Clifton

Moore – Kampfer

Rask

Halak

 

PROJECTED LINES MONTREAL:

Tatar – Danault – Gallagher

Lehkonen – Domi – Suzuki

Hudon – Kotkaniemi – Armia

Cousins – Thompson – Weal

DEFENSE

Chiarot – Weber

Mete – Petry

Reilly – Fleury

Kulak – Folin

Price

Kinkaid

 

WHERE TO WATCH:  ESPN+, NESN

WHEN TO WATCH: Tonight with puck drop at 7:00 PM, Centre Bell- Montreal, Quebec

 

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 155 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Boston Bruins’ Brad Marchand Named 1st Star Of The Week

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

Brad Marchand was named the First Star of the Week by the NHL for the week spanning from November 18th to November 24th. The Bruins’ winger put up three goals and four assists in three games to help the Bruins put together a 3-0 week. He was able to oust both Conor McDavid (4-3-7 in 4 GP) and Brock Nelson (4-1-5) to win the award, who were the second and third stars respectively. This is the second time Marchand has been the First Star of the Week, the first dated back to the week ending on October 27th, where he beat out Roman Josi and Brian Elliot.

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Brad Marchand has been a massive part of Boston’s early success. In the NHL, he currently sits third in goals (16), 4th in assists (23), 3rd in points (39) and tied for first in +/- with a +17 rating. Both Marchand and his linemate David Pastrnak have won the First Star of the Week honors, with Pastrnak taking home the award on the week ending on October 20th.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 155 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

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

Image result for patrice bergeron stats

(Jim Davis/Boston Globe Staff)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

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

Patrice Bergeron – A+

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

Brad Marchand – A+

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

David Pastrnak – A+

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

(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

David Krejci – B+

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

Jake Debrusk – B-

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

Brett Ritchie – C

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

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Charlie Coyle – B

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

Danton Heinen – B+

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

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

Anders Bjork – B

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

(Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

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

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

Par Lindholm – C-

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

NHL: Preseason-Philadelphia Flyers at Boston Bruins

(Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Zach Senyshyn – B

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

Karson Kuhlman – C+

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

David Backes – C

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

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

( Photo Credit: Getty Images )

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

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 155 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Buffalo: 11/21/19

Image result for bruins sabres 2019

(Photo Credit: Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Buffalo Sabres

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Coyle

Bjork – Lindholm – Heinen

Nordstrom – Kuraly – Wagner

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Grzelcyk – Carlo

Vaakanainen – Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Buffalo’s Lineup

Forwards

Vesey – Eichel – Reinhart

Skinner – Rodrigues – Sheary

Girgensons – Larsson – Lazar

Mittelstadt – Asplund – Olofsson

Defense

McCabe – Ristolainen

Dahlin – Montour

Scandella – Jokiharju

Goalies

Ullmark

Hutton

After a solid 5-1 win over New Jersey on Tuesday, it was back to TD Garden for the Bruins for this Atlantic division tilt with the Buffalo Sabres. This game served as an opportunity to continue to get back to their winning ways against the struggling Sabres.

Having Patrice Bergeron back in the lineup after missing the last two served as a boost, while at the same time, Brett Ritchie sat out as an old infection flared up again. The baby steps towards a healthier Bruins team continued.

A huge congratulations to Bruins trainer, Don DelNegro on his 2000th game. What a tremendous accomplishment. Not only was it game number 2000 for DelNegro, but it was also game number 2000 for Sabres Assistant Equipment Manager, George Babcock. Congratulations to him as well.

First Period

Things got off to a rough start when Pat Lindholm went down awkwardly in the corner in a collision with Rasmus Asplund. He proceeded to go down the tunnel to get things checked out. Sean Kuraly then went off for tripping and Rasmus Ristolainen made him pay by burying a rebound to put the Sabres ahead by one just 5:25 into the game.

Through 11:31, the Sabres outshot the Bruins 13-0. I can’t imagine that was in the plans for either team. The first shot on net didn’t come until 40 seconds later. But, if you can be one thing, you should be efficient. That is when it comes to making your shots count, in this case. Brad Marchand clearly knows that, as made good on the team’s second shot of the game, deflecting it past Linus Ullmark for his 14th goal of the season. Zdeno Chara (5) and David Pastrnak (16) had the helpers. Tie game.

A scrum then broke out shortly after and Chris Wagner and Curtis Lazar chucked some knucks, amongst other scrums in front of Tuukka Rask. Good veteran move from Wagner to stick up for Urho Vaakanainen.

The Bruins were awfully fortunate to get out of the first period tied at one, because the Sabres outplayed them big time. Shots in the period were 17-4 in favor of the Sabres. Luckily for the Bruins, they came to life a bit in the second half of the period. A whole lot needed to be better going into the second period though.

Score: 1-1

Second Period

Rask made some noise early with a nice standup save just 26 seconds in on Jack Eichel. Good news came in the form of Lindholm returning to the Bruins bench. Bad news came in the form of a hooking penalty on Matt Grzelcyk in an attempt to backcheck – giving the Sabres their second power play opportunity of the game just 4:44 into the period. Trouble was averted as the Sabres failed to convert on the man advantage.

The Bruins saw a power play of their own as Asplund went off for holding with 6:45 to go in the period. Just 30 seconds after an ugly first minute of the power play, Brad Marchand gave the Bruins the lead. His second of the game and 15th of the season was assisted by Matt Grzelcyk (5) and Danton Heinen (6).

Charlie Coyle went off for hooking 31 seconds after the goal. Rask made an excellent sliding save on Conor Sheary and the Bruins eventually killed the penalty. Jake DeBrusk found himself with space and a great chance to score in the final 30 seconds, but was stopped by Ullmark. Unfortunately in DeBrusk’s case, he went down the tunnel after crashing into the boards hard after his late scoring chance.

Jeff Skinner then had a chance of his own that was saved by the post. Nothing like a good scare in the dying seconds to get the blood flowing. The shots in the second frame were 14-7 Bruins to bring the total to 24-18 Sabres. It was a good step in the right direction – and a needed one at that.

Score: 2-1 Boston

Third Period

Jake McCabe went off for holding 32 seconds in. David Pastrnak made it hurt. In doing so he became the first player in the NHL to reach the 20-goal mark this season. The goal was assisted Heinen (7) and Bergeron (12).

Joakim Nordstrom went to the box for tripping not too long after the goal with 16:27 to go. Rask made an acrobatic, sprawling save across the crease on Evan Rodriques to preserve the two-goal lead. The Bruins then went on to kill the penalty in large part due to Rask.

Brandon Montour made things interesting on a one-timer on his off-side that beat Rask on the glove side, making it a 3-2 game with 7:02 remaining. A tense final seven minutes followed, but the Bruins came out with the win. Shots in the third period were 14-9 Sabres, and 38-27 overall. Tuukka Rask made 36 saves in the win. Next up are the Minnesota Wild on Saturday at TD Garden at 7:00 PM ET. The Bruins are 14-3-5.

Final Score: 3-2 Boston

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 154 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston @ New Jersey: 11/19/19

Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) stops a shot as New Jersey Devils center Kevin Rooney (58) watches during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Newark, N.J.

(Photo Credit: Julio Cortez, AP)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: New Jersey Devils

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Krejci – Pastrnak

Bjork – Coyle – Heinen

DeBrusk – Lindholm – Ritchie

Nordstrom – Kuraly – Wagner

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Grzelcyk – Carlo

Vaakanainen – Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

New Jersey’s Lineup

Forwards

Hall – Hischier – Bratt

Wood – Hughes – Palmieri

Coleman – Zajac – Gusev

Hayden – Zacha – Simmonds

Defense

Butcher – Subban

Greene – Severson

Mueller – Vatanen

Goalies

Blackwood

Domingue

Bad news came in warmups when it was announced that Patrice Bergeron would miss a second straight game. But, Jake DeBrusk and Brett Ritchie did return to the lineup. Baby steps were made towards a healthy Bruins team. Regardless, the Devils, winners of their last two games, stood in the way of the Bruins at Prudential Center.

First Period

DeBrusk was buzzing early, as he forced a turnover at the offensive blue line and nearly scored. After that, through the first half of the opening frame, there were just three combined shots (2-1 Bruins). It was a bit of an odd start at times.

Things got a bit more interesting when DeBrusk took down Pavel Zacha, creating the first power play opportunity of the game. Luckily for the Bruins, they escaped the penalty kill unscathed. Shortly after the conclusion of that penalty kill, Matt Grzelcyk laced one past MacKenzie Blackwood to open the scoring with 5:34 to. Grzelcyk’s first of the season was assisted by Brad Marchand (20) and David Krejci (10).

That wasn’t all. David Pastrnak found himself open in his favorite spot on the ice – waiting for a one-timer on his off-wing. Two goals in 14 seconds for the Bruins gave them advantage in quick fashion. Pastrnak’s 18th goal of the season was assisted by Marchand (21) and Krejci (11). That’s one way to get things going on the road.

Things didn’t get much better for New Jersey after the Pastrnak goal as with 1:54 to go, Taylor Hall went off for tripping. The Bruins carried left six seconds of power play time on the table going into the second period. Blake Coleman nearly buried a shorthanded chance in the dying seconds, but failed to score and even collided with Rask in the process. The shots were 6-5 in favor of the Bruins at the end of the first, so the Bruins making their shots count in a fairly low-volume period was big.

Score: 2-0 Boston

Second Period

The Bruins came out of the gate with speed and good place, keeping the Devils on edge early in the period. Tempers eventually flared up between DeBrusk and Damon Severson in Blackwood’s crease. Severson was likely looking to ignite his team a bit, and chose DeBrusk as his dance partner for a scrum after the whistle.

Shots were 6-2 Bruins through the first seven minutes of the period. In the limited action he saw, Tuukka Rask was sharp through the first half of the game. The Devils began to ramp things up after the halfway point of the period though, generating four shots in 34 seconds of ice time at one point.

The resurgence paid off for the Devils, as found enough space to roof one on the backhand to cut their deficit to one with 1:49 to go. The Bruins still managed to carry a lead into the third period, but struggled in the latter portion of the second period. Also the Charlie Coyle line was playing consistently well. The shots were 12-11 in favor of the Bruins, 18-16 overall.

Score: 2-1 Boston

Third Period

Tensions were high to start. Charlie McAvoy and Taylor Hall got in each other’s faces, as did Sean Kuraly and P.K. Subban before teammates joined the fray. Just 3:11 into the frame, Subban took a penalty that gave Pastrnak a green light to score his second of the game just eight seconds into the power play. Pastrnak’s 19th was assisted by Marchand (22) and Coyle (7).

It was all Grzelcyk and Pastrnak in the scoring department. Grzlecyk made a move around Subban, then sniped yet again to give the Bruins a vital insurance marker, extending their lead to three. His second of the season and the game was assisted by McAvoy (7).

Connor Clifton then wanted in on the second goal of the season party for Bruins defensemen. The goal was unassisted. After only being up a goal going into the final frame, the response from the Bruins was a huge one. It was 5-1 Bruins with 6:18 to go.

The Devils generated some decent chances late, but it wasn’t enough. The Bruins took over in the third and won by a good margin. Shots were tied at ten in the third and finished at 28-26 in favor of the Bruins. With five goals on the board, a 25-save win for Rask may fly under the radar, but this was a really solid game for him. Next up for the Bruins are the Sabres on Thursday at TD Garden at 7:00 PM ET. The Bruins are 13-3-5.

Final Score: 5-1 Boston

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 154 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Welcome Ovechkin & Co. | Game Preview-11/16

Image result for boston bruins vs washington capitals

(Photo Credits: NBC Sports)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

In their second game of a back-to-back, the Boston Bruins flew back home late last night as they ready themselves to face one of the league’s best teams. After snapping a four-game losing slump, the B’s are gearing up for a tough match-up when they play the Washington Capitals at the TD Garden.

Call it what you may, the Caps have been the Bruins kryptonite for a while now with Boston finally slaying that dragon when they narrowly defeated them 1-0 this past February. In the last 20 games played between these two teams,  the Bruins have only won four games. Today’s match-up will undoubtedly be a test for both teams as they each look to place another “W” in the win column.

Post-Game Notes

Washington will be traveling to Boston after losing to the Montreal Canadiens last night at home 5-2. Prior to the game, the Capitals had a 13-game point streak and much like the Bruins will be looking to start a fresh new one tonight. The loss against Montreal was the team’s first in regulation in over a month (their last loss was to the Colorado Avalanche on October 14th).  They are 7-1-1 when facing an Eastern Conference opponent this season so far.

After a scoreless first period, the Canadiens got on board, blanking out the Caps 4-0 at the end of the second period. Washington came up short on their comeback as they netted two goals in the third but never fully recovered. The Caps are now 11-1-2 in their past 14 games played.

Image result for boston bruins vs washington capitals(Photo Credits: Nick Wass/AP Photo)

Despite the four-game losing streak that halted a 10-game point streak for the Bruins, the team is currently the only one in the NHL that has not lost in regulation at home.  After getting the B’s onboard last night against the Toronto Maple Leafs,  forward Charlie Coyle has four points with one goal and three assists. Brad Marchand had quite the night in his 700th NHL career game as he notched two goals, which were the difference makers in a much-needed win for the team.

Quick Stats

The Bruins and the Capitals lead their respective Divisions with Washington having played two more games than Boston. With the loss, the Capitals are now 14-3-4 in 21 games while the Bruins are 12-3-4 in 19 games. Marchand is on pace to break his previous 100-point season. He has now leapfrogged over teammate David Pastrnak in the NHL leader-board with 32 points (third in the league).  Pastrnak still leads the league with 16 goals.

Marchand is fourth in the league with 19 assists; Zdeno Chara is tied for second in the league in plus-minus at 13. Washington goaltender Braden Holtby is tied for second in the league for wins (nine), while Tuukka Rask is tied for ninth with eight wins. John Carlson leads the Capitals team with 31 points and 23 assists. Alex Ovechkin leads with 14 goals.

In the last five games, John Carlson has notched eight points with seven assists. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov has four goals. For the Bruins’ last five games, David Krejci has five points and four assists while Marchand has three goals. Expect Tuukka Rask (8-2-2) in net for the Bruins. The 32-year-old goaltender now has a 2.14 goals-against-average with a .927 save percentage. For Washington, expect Brayden Holtby (9-1-3) in net.  The 30-year-old now has a 3.06 goals-against-average with a .903 save percentage.

There was no morning skate for the Boston Bruins. Here are tonight’s projected lineups:

BOSTON BRUINS:

Marchand–Bergeron–Pastrnak

Bjork–Krejci–Coyle

Frederic–Lindholm–Heinen

Nordstrom– Kuraly–Wagner

Chara– McAvoy

Grzelcyk–Carlo

Vaakanainen– Clifton

Rask

WASHINGTON CAPITALS:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Oshie

Vrana-Kuznetsov-Wilson

Stephenson-Eller-Hathaway

Leipsic-Boyd-Panik

Kempny-Carlson

Orlov-Gudas

Siegenthaler-Jensen

Holtby

 

WHEN TO WATCH: Tonight with puck drop at 7:00PM

WHERE TO WATCH: NESN, ESPN+

Check out our new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 5 that we recorded on November 13th, 2019! Our BNG Prospects Pod can be found on the same RSS Feed as our original Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast, which can be found 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!!