UFC Fighter Conor McGregor To Drop Ceremonial Puck At Bruins Game Tonight

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Fox Sports)

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

A report earlier today by The Athletic writer, Joe McDonald (@JoeyMacHockey), Former UFC Featherweight and Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor will be in TD Garden tonight to drop the ceremonial puck prior to the actual puck drop for the Bruins vs Blue Jackets game tonight.

While it may seem odd to have one of the top superstars in the entire Ultimate Fighting Championship today drop a puck for an NHL game, especially a Boston Bruins game, this all adds together and has some good meaning behind it. Tonight, the Bruins are going to be celebrating the Irish Heritage – with St. Patrick’s Day rolling through tomorrow.

Conor McGregor is, well of course, from the country of Ireland and he has often showcased his Irish pride in his UFC fights. Before his emergence under the bright lights, the fanbase of fighting in Ireland was not as prevalent as the United States, Canada, or Japan. Today, however, Ireland is home to one of the largest, (and loudest) groups of fans in the entire industry – a big reason for that is Conor McGregor.

In addition to that, the city of Boston, Massachusetts has Irish history that dates back a few hundred years. In fact, people of Irish descent are “the largest single ethnic group in Boston”.  According to the Boston Globe, 22.8% of residents in the Boston metropolitan area from 2014, said they were from Irish descent. As I personally am not from Boston, I had to do some Google searches on why the Irish force is so strong in Boston and the answer appears quite clear.

Between the years 1845 and 1855, over 1.5 million people fled the country of Ireland to the eastern shores of American due to the Potato Famine, a mass starvation period where disease negatively affected the potato farms across the country, resulting in millions of casualties in a very short amount of time. Frustrated with the lack of help from their British neighbours, the Irish people travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to cities such as Boston and New York. Times in the American cities were not easy, but as the years went on, the presence of the Irish faithful only grew in America – especially the Massachusetts and New England areas.

Moving away from the history aspect, this will not be the first time that McGregor is involved with the city of Boston personally. The 30-year-old Dublin, Ireland native fought Dennis Siver back in January of 2015 in the TD Garden, securing a second-round TKO stoppage.

Also, in the fall of this past year, McGregor made an appearance at the Boston Fire Department Engine 33 Ladder 15 on Boylston Street to hand over Boston Red Sox World Series tickets to the on-duty firefighters – a way to thank the everyday heroes for their acts of bravery on a day-to-day basis. McGregor seems to love the city of Boston and to have the chance to drop the ceremonial puck tonight, it’s an opportunity he just can’t pass up on.

As for the Bruins, tonight is a big game in general. The B’s return home after losing their last three games in a row, just after an incredible 19-game point streak that lasted the majority of 2019. Boston faces a Columbus Blue Jackets team that beat them on Tuesday by a final score of 7-4 and the Bruins will be on the lookout to avenge that loss and start another streak.

Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced that goaltender Jaroslav Halak will start and forward Jake DeBrusk is expected to be back in the lineup after missing the last few games with a foot injury. Without question, the return of DeBrusk will be huge for a team that is still dealing with injuries to David Pastrnak (thumb), Torey Krug (concussion), Marcus Johansson (lung bruise), Kevan Miller (upper-body) and Matt Grzelcyk (arm). Cassidy also gave updates on all those players listed and returns of them seem to be right around the corner.

The Boston Bruins are only two points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division and a win would extend that to four points – a near must if the Bruins want to have home-ice advantage in the opening round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Official puck drop for tonight’s game is scheduled for 7pm EST at the TD Garden.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Winner: Chris Wagner

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

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

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

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

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

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Pittsburgh: 3/10/19

e8e787eae777410db43de1e82733393dPhoto Courtesy Of USA Today

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Home: Pittsburgh Penguins (36-23-9)

Away: Boston Bruins (42-17-9)

Pittsburgh’s Lineup

Forwards

McCann-Crosby-Guentzel

Aston-Reese-Malkin-Kessel

Simon-Bjugstad-Hornqvist

Blueger-Cullen-Wilson

Defense

Dumoulin-Trotman

Johnson-Schultz

Pettersson-Gudbranson

Goalies

Murray

DeSmith

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Heinen

Cehlarik-Krejci-Stempniak

Kuraly-Coyle-Backes

Nordstrom-Acciari-Wagner

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Moore

Goalies

Halak

Rask

First Period

Just 1:33 into the game, Nick Bjugstad gave the Penguins the lead off a bad turnover in the Boston end.

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Jaroslav Halak was under siege in the first few moments as the Bruins were incredibly lax in their own zone. The bad start continued as the B’s were called for a too many men on the ice penalty as Pittsburgh looked to double the lead. The Bruins killed off the man advantage as the Penguins failed to get any significant scoring chances. The Bruins continued to struggle in their own zone as the Penguins got chance after chance but Halak kept it a one goal game.

Matt Grzelcyk went off for hooking with about 11 minutes to go in the period as the Penguins looked to extend the lead. The Bruins killed the man advantage yet again and even got a few shorthanded opportunities. The Bruins finally got their legs moving in the latter half of the period and they even picked up a power play as the Penguins were called for a delay of game penalty. After a turnover in the offensive zone, Jared McCann scored on a shorthanded breakaway to double the Pittsburgh lead.

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The Penguins killed the Boston power play without giving up any great scoring chances. Almost immediately after the man advantage, Chris Wagner was called for tripping which resulted in the third Pittsburgh power play of the opening period. Evgeni Malkin negated the man advantage as he tripped Charlie McAvoy which resulted in a four on four. The Bruins were unable to score on the abbreviated power play, keeping them down by a pair.

With 33 seconds left in the period, McCann went off for interference as the B’s looked to cut into the Pittsburgh lead. The period ended with the Bruins still on the man advantage.

Score: 2-0 Penguins

Second Period

The Penguins killed off the early power play as the Bruins continued to struggle to get scoring chances. With 17:41 to go in the period Grzelcyk went down after a shot to the arm from Patric Hornqvist and went down the tunnel. The Bruins would get yet another power play as Zach Trotman went off for slashing. David Krejci cut the lead in half after a scramble in front as the Bruins found the back of the net on the man advantage.

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Patrice Bergeron was called for a delay of game penalty which resulted in another Pittsburgh power play with over 13 minutes left in the period. The B’s killed the penalty as the Penguins failed to generate any chances. The Bruins started the move the puck quicker towards the end of the period as they looked better than they had at any point in the game.

Brandon Carlo was called for tripping with under four minutes to go in the period as the Penguins looked to regain their two goal lead. Jake Guentzel finished off a two on one after a great feed from Sidney Crosby to double the Pittsburgh lead on the man advantage.

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Score: 3-1 Penguins

Third Period

Halak made a couple of important saves in the opening moments of the period to keep the Bruins in the game. Wagner drew a penalty in the attacking zone as Trotman took him down, resulting in another Boston power play. The Penguins killed off the penalty as Matt Murray made a couple great stops to keep it a two goal game. The Bruins started to get their skating game going as the period went on but continued to have trouble getting chances.

Another huge stop by Halak on Guentzel kept it a 3-1 game as the Bruins tried desperately to look for some kind of positives as the period drew to a close. The Bruins got some chances towards the end of the period as they looked to get back into it and extend their point streak. The B’s pulled the goalie with over three minutes to go trying to get a pair.

John Moore cut the lead in half with a shot from the point that beat Murray with 1:01 to go as the Bruins tried to pull off another last minute comeback.

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McCann iced it for Pittsburgh with an empty net goal with about 20 seconds to go as the Penguins put an end to the Bruins streak.

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Final Score: 4-2 Penguins

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Murray. The Pittsburgh goalie was at his best in this one, stopping 39 shots in all.

Second Star: Halak. The Bruins were kept in the game especially in the third period by Number 41 who had another strong night despite the three goals against.

Third Star: McCann. Two goals including the empty net goal from McCann was the difference in the game for the Penguins.

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

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Carolina: 3/5/19

Image result for bruins canes whalers

(Photo Credit: Jamie Kellner)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Carolina Hurricanes

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Heinen

DeBrusk – Krejci – Johansson

Cehlarik – Coyle – Backes

Nordstrom – Acciari – Wagner

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Moore – Grzelcyk

Goalies

Halak

Rask

San Jose’s Lineup

Forwards

Niederreiter – Aho – Williams

Ferland – Staal – Teravainen

Svechnikov – Martinook – McGinn

McKegg – Wallmark – Foegele

Defense

Slavin –  Hamilton

Pesce – Faulk

de Haan – van Riemsdyk

Goalies

McElhinney

Mrazek

First Period

The Bruins wore their whites at home as the Canes were wearing their green Hartford Whalers uniform for the second time this season. Just over three minutes in, Marcus Johansson was leveled by Micheal Ferland and went down in a heap. He left the ice with the assistance of teammates and Bruins head athletic trainer Don Del Negro.

Things immediately got chippy after that hit. Most notably David Backes taking liberties to the Ferland hit by fighting him, marking Backes’ third fight in four games. Ferland actually suffered an upper-body injury after his hit on Johansson and fight with Backes and went on to not return to the game.

A Calvin de Haan shot deflected off of Zdeno Chara and Sebastian Aho and past Halak to make it 1-0 Carolina. John Moore then cross-checked Brock McGinn in the back at center ice and went to the box for it. It got to the point where we saw a rare 4-on-3 for a bit – the first period was a mess in the first ten minutes.

The nonsense continued with a too many men on the ice penalty of all penalties for the Bruins. Peter Cehlarik served it. Luckily they killed it off.

Overall, it was a bad period for the Bruins. Too much retaliation after the Johansson hit was at the epicenter of their struggles. The shots were 12-11 Bruins.

Score: 1-0 Carolina

Second Period

Each team came into the period a forward down, but that didn’t stop Aho scored on a breakaway thanks to a poor Bruins defensive line change. 2-0 Canes. To make things worse, Patrice Bergeron unintentionally slew footed Jaccob Slavin and went to the box for tripping. Luckily again, the Bruins were able to kill it off.

Even a Bruins power play past the halfway point of the period couldn’t help the Bruins get on the board. The offense just wasn’t there early on. That was all until Chris Wagner buried a rebound to finally get the Bruins on the board. Wagner’s tenth goal of the season was assisted by Brandon Carlo (6).

With under two minutes to go, David Krejci helped make it consecutive unanswered goals for the Bruins when Jake DeBrusk picked up his rebound and buried it. Tie game. DeBrusk’s 22nd of the year was assisted by Krejci (41).

A resurgent second period for the Bruins concluded with another shot advantage, 15-10 this time, 27-21 overall.

Score: 2-2

Third Period

A second too many men on the ice penalty came to the dismay of the Bruins, served again by Cehlarik. To the surprise of no one, Brad Marchand did something awesome on a penalty kill. Marchand forced a defensive zone turnover, broke down the opposite side wing and found Patrice Bergeron on the other side of the pond for the Bruins’ third straight goal. 3-2 Bruins. Bergeron’s goal marked his 23rd of the season, Marchand hit 50 assists on the goal for the second straight season.

Following the goal, Curtis McElhinney made a series of excellent stops to keep Carolina’s deficit to one – the Bruins were hungry for more. Unfortunately, Justin Williams eventually evened things up off of a one-timer, thickening the plot of this wild game.

Thanks to a 15-9 shot advantage from Carolina, the shots finished tied at 36 at the end of regulation. The point streak for the Bruins is extended to 17 games.

Score: 3-3

Overtime

Coyle, Wagner, and Moore for Boston, and Staal, Teravainen, and Slavin for Carolina to start overtime. DeBrusk and Krejci wove some magic to win it for the Bruins. I’ll let the video do it some justice. What a goal.

Next up for the Bruins are the Florida Panthers on the Thursday at 7 PM ET at TD Garden.

Final Score: 4-3 Boston

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

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Bruins Game 66 Preview: Carolina Hurricanes

Matt Grzelcyk, Cam Ward, Jaccob Slavin

PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo)

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

Points in sixteen straight games, three game-winning streak. That is the reality for the Boston Bruins ahead of tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Bruins have had support from all four lines, all three defensive lines, and both goalies during this extended streak of wins and points, pushing them to the second Atlantic division spot, only one point ahead of the Maple Leafs.

For Carolina, they too have been on an incredible run as of late. The Hurricanes have boosted themselves out of the wild-card to have the third Metropolitan divisional spot in their possession, only one point ahead of Pittsburgh who is currently in the wild-card. Carolina is riding on a five-game winning streak and are 21-6-1 since December 30th, 2018.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 17-9-4 2.29 GAA .924 SV% Last Game: 19 Saves in 4-1 win vs SJS

CAR: Curtis McElhinney (Likely) 2.24 GAA .923 SV% Last Game: 21 Saves in 5-2 win vs STL

Who’s Hot

Jaroslav Halak will be one of the favorites to win the 2019 NESN 7th Player Award, awarding the Bruin that has exceeded expectations this season and exceed expectations is what he has done. Halak has wins in each of his last four starts, three of which had him stopping thirty or more shots. In the last six games, Jaroslav has a .946 save percentage and has not lost in regulation. He has been a big member to the team, taking off some of the pressure from starting goaltender, Tuukka Rask. Even so much so that there is the chance that Bruce Cassidy runs both Rask and Halak in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs as fellow BNG writer Evan Michael mentions here.

Sebastian Aho is one of the best young players in the NHL today and he has proven that he should have gone higher than 35th overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Aho leads the Hurricanes this season with 27-46-73 numbers in 65 games this year and he is in the middle of a five-game point streak where he has accumulated six points in that span.

Brad Marchand scored the only goal in the win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night, making his 2018-19 season all the better. Marchand leads Boston in points with 24-49-76 numbers in 64 games and is well on the road to surpassing his career-high of 85 points that he reached in each of the last two seasons.

Teuvo Teravainen was once drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks, but was traded to Carolina in 2016 for a 2nd and a 3rd round pick. In response, Teravainen has had a phenomenal season, scoring eighteen goals and a career-high 43 assists for sixty-one points in only 65 games. He will break his career-high of 64 points, a mark he hit last season in a full 82 games. The 24-year-old has nine points in his last five games.

Who’s Not

Trevor van Riemsdyk is not necessarily known as a point-producing defenceman, as he usually gets third-paring minutes on the Carolina blueline, but the 27-year-old has only one point in his last ten games and is still a -4 rating on the season. The Hurricanes would love a higher plus/minus rating for him and more points on the back-end as the battle in the Metro continues.

David Backes is getting time with newly-acquired Charlie Coyle, but the ex-St. Louis Blue has zero points in his last five contests for the B’s and has ten penalty minutes during that time as well. Backes has 5-9-14 numbers in 53 games played in 2018-19 and is not even close to the 14-19-33 totals he had in 57 games last season for Boston.

Michael Ferland was one of the biggest fish in the trade deadline market but for some reason, his play has fallen off. In the past six games, the Swan River, Manitoba, Canada native has only two points – both of which coming on February 26th against the Los Angeles Kings. Ferland has 17-18-35 numbers in fifty-six games during the campaign this season.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • G Jaroslav Halak is one win away (249) from 250 career NHL wins and would tie Johnny Bauer (250) for 54th most wins in NHL history
  • D Zdeno Chara is one goal away (199) from 200 career NHL goals
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (25) from passing Rick Middleton (25) for sole possession of most SHG in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one point away (793) from passing Wayne Cashman (793) for sole possession of 6th most points in Bruins history

Carolina Hurricanes:

  • F Jordan Staal is one point away (499) from 500 career NHL points

Bruins vs Hurricanes Outlook

This is the final game of the season series between the Bruins and Hurricanes, with both teams taking one of the previous two meetings. Back on October 30th, the B’s took a 3-2 win, followed by a Carolina win on December 23rd with the final score being 5-3 Hurricanes. Once again, the Hurricanes will dawn the Hartford Whalers jerseys while the Bruins will wear their 2018-19 road sweaters on home ice.

2018_12_23_389_X3.0.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Jamie Kellner)

Power-Play Percentage:

BOS: 26.8% – 2nd in NHL

CAR: 17.6% – 21st in NHL

Penalty-Kill Percentage:

BOS: 81.3% – 11th in NHL

CAR: 81.6% – 9th in NHL

Below are the Bruins practice lines from yesterday ahead of tonight’s game. Kevan Miller, Sean Kuraly and David Pastrnak are all out of the lineup.

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Would Bruins Consider A “Playoff Split” for Rask, Halak?

Image result for bruce cassidy tuukka rask halak(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

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

The “Playoff Split.”

It could easily be a bowling term for leaving the 7-10 on the lane during the PBA Open. And as you may remember from FOX NHL Saturday, “bowling would be better if it were hockey”–or vice versa for those bunch of jerks in Carolina (just kidding).

However, in the recent words of Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, it’s more like 10-7–at least from here on out for No.’s 40 & 41 for the Black N’ Gold:

But, what does all this mean for mid-April, when the real NHL season starts up and your starting goaltender needs to be penciled in for the playoffs? Should the B’s take advantage of Tuukka Rask’s “lightest [number of games played] total since 2012-13” as intrepid BSJ reporter Conor Ryan referenced? Or, should the team & management hearken back to the days of yore (not to be confused w/ another B’s blogger the Days of Y’Orr) when BOTH goalies shared the second season workload aka the “Playoff Split” ala Andy Moog & Réjean “Reggie” Lemelin…two of the finest crease keepers to ever wear the spoked-B (and IMHHO my lifetime’s best B’s tandem until this year’s performances of monsieurs Rask & Halak, respectively)?

It would be hard to argue against the numbers, which certainly do indicate and project that the Bruins would be best served to play both goalies–as they have been all season long–throughout what we all hope & expect is a long playoff run. Sure, there’s a lot of evidence supporting the “You Go With Your Number One” argument in the playoffs no matter what, and even a bit of recent B’s history where that worked out quite nicely. But, how ’bout if you have TWO Number Ones, just like the B’s do now and did back then when Mooger & Reggie literally owned the Jennings Trophy?

If you think about it (or just look it up–although I prefer using my puck head), between the time the Lemelin/Moog tandem was between the pipes and the current Rask/Halak pairing of now, the Bruins really haven’t had two goalies that were capable of, or that they trusted, to split a season’s worth of games so evenly & so successfully. Yes, Tim Thomas & Manny Fernandez joined the prestigious Jennings company of Lemelin & Moog during the epic 2008-09 B’s season, but in all fairness to Fernandez, he really didn’t play that much compared to TT. Heck, for about decade, the B’s had a revolving door in the crease where 4, 5, even 6 goalies got starts (I’m talking about YOU Bill Ranford, Rob Tallas, Jim Carey, Scott Bailey, Tim Cheveldae & Paxton Schafer of the league-worst ’96-’97 season)!

So, knowing the numbers & knowing the history, doesn’t it make sense for Cassidy to take advantage of the rarefied air–I mean ice–surrounding his dynamic duo in net and perhaps plan for a duality of options when it comes to who starts for the playoffs? I mean, outside of the aforementioned Thomas standing on his head in 2011 in every round, especially the Cup Finals, the B’s haven’t fared the best in recent playoff play when they’ve tried to rely on “just the starter.”

Related image(Photo Credit: Boston Sports Journal)

Of course, I remember how Rask nearly accomplished the same in 2013 (were it not for :78 seconds of ‘Hawky’ hell in Game 6). And yes, I also realize my favorite B’s tandem of all-time lost both of the Stanley Cup series they shared games in (but let’s be honest… NO ONE was beating the Oilers in those days, Boston Garden electricity bills included).

But, hardly any NHL team or franchise ever gets the chance to prep for the post season with two elite goaltenders simultaneously boosting each other’s play while inspiring the offense in front of them to score & find ways to win. And your 16-game point streak Boston Bruins have that chance — Tampa be damned (with Lightning!) — this year. It’s now up to the B’s to decide how to make the most of it. Sure, a lot can happen between now and April 15th. But if all goes according to plan, then I sure hope to see both Rask & Halak making playoff appearances this year.

I’d settle for 10-7. Heck, make it a 7-10… as long they’re wins! After all, since sixteen is the magic number, this is a “Playoff Split” well worth picking up.

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Bruins Game 63 Preview: San Jose Sharks

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

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

The Trade Deadline has officially past and the road to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs is upon us. The Bruins’ seven-game winning streak game to an end on Saturday in a loss to the St. Louis Blues – a shootout loss, to conclude the five-game western road trip. Finally, the Bruins are back at home after earning nine-out-of-ten points on the road swing. The Bruins are narrowly holding onto the second Atlantic division spot, a mere point ahead of Toronto.

The San Jose Sharks lost to the Bruins last week in a controversial, but entertaining 6-5 overtime game. Since then, San Jose shutout the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0, then lost two nights later 4-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets, followed by a 5-3 win over Detroit on Sunday. The Sharks are three points behind the Calgary Flames for first in the Pacific division and hold a 13-point lead over the Golden Knights.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 16-9-4 2.33 GAA .924 SV% Last Game: 31 Saves in 3-2 win vs VGK

SJS: Martin Jones 29-12-5 2.92 GAA .897 SV% Last Game: 19 Saves in 4-0 loss vs CBJ

Who’s Hot

Jaroslav Halak had a tough time to begin 2019, going 1-3-1 in the opening month of January, but since, the 33-year-old goaltender now has three straight wins in net for the Bruins, including a thirty-save shutout over the Anaheim Ducks on February 15th. In those three starts, Halak has not had a save percentage below .939, solidifying his hot stretch. This season, Jaro has a 2.33 goals-against-average along with a .924 save percentage.

Brent Burns is on pace for another Norris-contending season as one of the best defencemen in the entire league. The Barrie, Ontario, Canada native has 2-5-7 numbers in his last five games including a three-point game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Burns leads the Sharks for most points this year with thirteen goals and fifty-seven assists for seventy points in sixty-three games.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Marcus Johansson, the lone player acquired by the Bruins on deadline day has had a solid last five games for his old team, the New Jersey Devils. The 28-year-old forward has five points in those five games including a two-point outing against the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 19th. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced that the newest addition to the roster will play alongside David Krejci in his Boston Bruins debut tonight.

Joe Pavelski has had two, three-point nights in the past four games. On February 15th, Pavelski scored a goal and two assists against the Bruins in the 6-5 defeat and more recently, scored a hat-trick in Sunday’s victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Pavelski has the most points by a forward on San Jose this year with 35-24-59 numbers in 63 games.

Who’s Not

Marcus Sorensen is one of the younger pieces to this San Jose Sharks team, but the 26-year-old forward has only a single assist in his last six games, coming against Boston. Sorensen’s ice-time has been decreasing over the last few games due to the lack of production and the Sharks are hoping that he can somehow turn it around for them.

Joakim Nordstrom is back in the lineup for Peter Cehlarik tonight, but the Swedish forward has not found success in a longtime for this Bruins club still searching for more consistency when trailing down the forward core. Nordstrom has not scored a point in his last seventeen games played, keeping his season totals at 5-2-10. While not known for putting up high numbers, he is getting third-line minutes on most nights and he should be producing more than he has been.

Gustav Nyquist was recently traded to the San Jose Sharks in one of the first trades of the Trade Deadline, coming to the Sharks from the Red Wings. Nyquist, who was on the struggling Wings, has only two points in his last five contests, even when averaging close to twenty minutes per game on that stretch. His lack of scoring as of late may change with a new environment like the Sharks, but that is to be seen when he makes his debut with the Teal and Black tonight.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • D Zdeno Chara is one goal away (199) from 200 career NHL goals
  • D Charlie McAvoy will be playing in his 99th career NHL regular season game
  • F Patrice Bergeron is three points away (790) from tying Wayne Cashman (793) for 6th most points in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one even-strength goal away (203) from passing Peter McNab (203) for sole possession of 8th most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (24) from tying Rick Middleton (25) for most SHG in Bruins history
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PHOTO CREDITS: (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images North America)

San Jose Sharks:

  • F Melker Karlsson is three points away (97) from 100 career NHL points
  • F Kevin Lebanc is two points away (98) from 100 career NHL points
  • D Brendan Dillion is four points (96) from 100 career NHL points
  • F Tomas Hertl is one even-strength goal away (81) from tying Marco Sturm (82) for most even-strength goals in Sharks history
  • D Brent Burns is one power-play goal away (42) from tying Jeff Friesen (43) for 7th most PPG in Sharks history

Bruins vs Sharks Outlook

The Boston Bruins are finally back in the walls of the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts for a home game after the successful five-game road trip through the Western Conference. The Bruins faced the Sharks last week and walked away with a 6-5 win on the road. Boston once held a 3-0 lead in the opening period, but with a late first-period goal, the Sharks managed to claw their way back to eventually take a 5-4 lead. A tying goal by Chris Wagner led to the game-winning goal in overtime by Charlie McAvoy gave the Bruins a hard-fought “W” in the win column.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Neville E. Guard/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Boston still has the second-best power-play in the NHL (26.4%), while San Jose has the 5th-best at 25.0% on the man-advantage. On the PK, the B’s have the eleventh-best, killing off 81.0% of the penalties against compared to the Sharks who have the seventh-best penalty-kill percentage in the league at 81.9%.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm EST in the TD Garden. Boston will look to earn at least a  point for the fourteenth consecutive game. Below are the lines for the Bruins tonight. Forward Charlie Coyle makes his TD Garden home debut while Marcus Johansson makes his debut with the Spoked-B sweater on. Defenceman Kevan Miller is out day-to-day with an upper-body injury, John Moore will replace him. David Pastrnak remains out for at least another two weeks (thumb). Also, Joakim Nordstrom replaces Peter Cehlarik.

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

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Vegas: 02/20/19

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports)

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

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Home: Vegas Golden Knights (32-25-4)

Away: Boston Bruins (35-17-8)

Following a controversy-filled game against the San Jose Sharks on Monday, the Bruins are back in action for the second-last game on this western road trip. After earning a 3-0 lead in the first period, the Bruins allowed the Sharks to make a comeback, to the point where San Jose had a 5-4 lead late. Courtesy of a Chris Wagner tying goal and a McAvoy overtime winner, the Bruins won their sixth straight game and now take on the Golden Knights.

Vegas has struggled in their last ten games, going 3-7-0 in those contests. The Golden Knights still sit in third place in the Pacific division but are a full ten points behind the San Jose Sharks for second in the division. Also on Monday, the Avalanche beat the Golden Knights 3-0. Vegas will be looking to get back in the win column against the Bruins.

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

A nearly identical lineup for the Bruins as the game against San Jose, only Jaroslav Halak will be back in the net for Boston against Vegas.

First Period:

Both teams entered tonight’s game with some back-and-forth play, a reoccurring trend for the Bruins on this road trip. Less than three minutes in, Jake DeBrusk turns on the jets to get a 2-on-1 with Karson Kuhlman but Golden Knights forward Cody Eakin stopped the play with the backcheck.

Not long after that, Vegas got their chance too, off of a net-front scramble with some shots on the net but Jaroslav Halak follows the puck the entire time to make a big glove save. The puck may have been deflected before it hit his glove hand but big save nonetheless.

4:58 into the hockey game, Brad Marchand drives into the zone and attempts a nice deke around Nate Schmidt who gets his lumber up in the face of Marchand and he is headed to the penalty box for two minutes. Big chance for the Bruins to score earlier on the power-play. Numerous times on the man-advantage, Boston tried a cross-zone feed for a possible one-timer but the Knights did a great job to intercept the passes at the centre of the zone and the penalty is killed off.

It would be the Bruins to strike first in this hockey game when Jake DeBrusk buried a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury with about nine minutes to go in the period. Kuhlman found David Krejci along the boards who made a solid feed to DeBrusk in the slot. DeBrusk span around defenceman Shea Theodore to retrieve the puck. Jake has goals in five straight games now and that is number nineteen on the season assisted by Krejci (39) and Kuhlman (1).

At the 14:24 mark of the opening period, Danton Heinen is called on a tripping minor and the Bruins are off to the penalty-kill for the first time tonight. Only nine seconds into the power-play, William Karlsson gets a slick pass from Jonathan Marchessault in the slot but Halak once again follows it and makes a glove save. Golden Knights fail to get any other chance and we are back to 5-on-5.

Yet again, the Bruins are back again with a poor end to a period and after some good zone control, Vegas comes back with a Cody Eakin shot on the net from the point that takes a bad rebound off of Halak’s right pad directly to former Bruin Reilly Smith who scores his first goal in thirteen games. Smith’s tenth of 2018-19 is assisted by Eakin (17) and Merrill (8).

Boston did not get a single shot on goal for over seven minutes in the second half of the frame. Against San Jose, the Bruins went a long time without a shot and was part of the reason for the comeback by the Sharks. Period ends at a 1-1 tie game.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 6 VGK: 10

Score: 1-1 – Goals: DeBrusk (19) Assists: Krejci (39), Kuhlman (1); Smith (10), Assists: Eakin (17), Merrill (8)

Second Period

A little bit of a slow start to the middle period is quickly changed when Nate Schmidt throws the puck up for William Karlsson who gets in all alone on a breakaway but Halak stays square to the shot and makes the save. On the defensive zone faceoff loss, Halak makes two more saves on a pair of point shots by Vegas defensemen, still 1-1 in the second.

With just over six minutes gone in the second period, the Bruins go to their second power-play of this Wednesday Night Hockey Game due to a too-many-men call against the Golden Knights. Boston has not had much offensive zone time since the DeBrusk goal and this power-play could kickstart that offence. Unfortunately, Boston looked sloppy on the Vegas penalty and the Golden Knights did a good job clearing the puck and the B’s are 0-for-2 on the PP tonight.

Quite a lacklustre period for both teams leading to a penalty by Brayden McNabb – two minutes for hooking on Chris Wagner. Power-play number three for Boston coming up. One of the most active Golden Knights tonight, William Karlsson, gets a shorthanded bid, stopped by Halak. On the very next shift, Vegas gets alone on a 2-on-1, but Eakin gets robbed by Halak with a diving glove save. Terrible power-play for Boston in this game.

It has been all Vegas in this second period but Jaroslav Halak has been on his game tonight. Boston cannot get the puck out of the zone often and when they do, they cannot get Grade A scoring opportunities on Fleury.

Not as entertaining of a hockey game as the San Jose game, but the Bruins are still in it, 1-1 after forty minutes of play.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 14 VGK: 22

Score: 1-1

Third Period:

The offensively shy Bruins came out firing – literally. Charlie McAvoy bringing in the confidence that has been growing in the second half of the 2018-19 season carries the puck in the Vegas zone, handing it off to Danton Heinen. Heinen, while looking at the net, passes it across to Marchand who rips a blistering bomb past Fleury for a goal 1:09 in the final regulation period. Marchand’s 24th comes from Heinen (12) and McAvoy (14).

But, the Golden Knights were not planning on playing this game any longer while trailing as only twenty-seven seconds after the Marchand goal, Nate Schmidt gets around Charlie McAvoy with ease and rips a shot of his own past Jaroslav Halak for his seventh tally of the year. A straight momentum-killing goal from Schmidt assisted by Smith (24) and Marchessault (22).

Since the goal, Vegas has been back in the Bruins end more than the Bruins have been in theirs. Jaro Halak has had to be strong in net tonight and if the Bruins want to squeak out another point on this western swing, then he needs to continue to play well in the final three-quarters of this third period.

Late in the period, with about six minutes to go, William Karlsson continued his high-octane game with a bullet of a shot that beats Halak but rings off of the post. Karlsson has had some really good chances to score tonight but is yet to capitalize. Right back the other way, Brad Marchand also rings the iron and it remains 2-2.

The Bruins defence is struggling in this third period as well. Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug decided to go off at the wrong time, allowing Paul Statsny to get a strong wrist shot low on Halak, looking for another rebound goal similar to the opening tally of the game for Reilly Smith.

Even with a poor offensive performance tonight, the Bruins manage to get a point in this one and we are headed to 3-on-3 overtime.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 26 VGK: 30

Score: 2-2 – Goals: Marchand (24) Assists: Heinen (12), McAvoy (14); Schmidt (7) Assists: Smith (24), Marchessault (22)

Overtime:

The Bruins had the first good chance of the sudden death overtime as a shot put on by Marchand with a juicy rebound left for Krug who fails to get his stick on the ice to tap it in the open cage. Right back the other way, Vegas gets a few chances of their own with at least a minute of zone control but no goals came from the pressure.

With 2:46 to go, Torey Krug is too slow to get off the ice and McAvoy gets in on the rush too quickly and the Bruins are caught with too many men. Boston penalty-kill in overtime – huge kill on the way.

Reilly Smith had a good shot on the man-advantage as he tried a wrist shot short side, but Halak makes what looked like an easy glove save on the shot. Vegas couldn’t get the looks they were hunting for on this power-play and with big credit to Jaro Halak, the Bruins kill off the too-many-men minor successfully.

With no goals scored in OT, the two teams head to the shootout period.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 27 VGK: 33

Score: 2-2

Shootout:

  • VGK Brandon Pirri – NO GOAL
  • BOS Jake DeBrusk – GOAL
  • VGK William Karlsson – GOAL
  • BOS Patrice Bergeron – NO GOAL
  • VGK Alex Tuch – NO GOAL
  • BOS Brad Marchand – NO GOAL
  • VGK Jonathan Marchessault – NO GOAL
  • BOS Danton Heinen – NO GOAL
  • VGK Shea Theodore – NO GOAL
  • BOS Torey Krug – NO GOAL
  • VGK Oscar Lindberg – NO GOAL
  • BOS David Backes – GOAL – GAME-WINNER

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS G Jaroslav Halak – 31 Saves on 33 Shots, 5 Shootout Saves .939 SV%

2nd Star: VGK F Reilly Smith – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 2 Shots, 17:34 TOI

3rd Star: BOS F Jake DeBrusk – 1 Goal, 4 Shots, 16:40 TOI

The Boston Bruins have now won their seventh consecutive game and are now 4-for-4 on this western road trip. Only one more road game this Saturday against the St. Louis Blues at 4pm EST before heading back to Boston. The Bruins have now hit the 80-point plateau and have a four-point cushion on the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic division.

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

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Bruins Game Recap: Boston Beats Anaheim 3-0

photo credit: NHL.com

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 14-9-4 2.44 GAA .921 SV% Last Game: 35 Saves in 2-1 Win vs COL

ANA: Kevin Boyle (Not Confirmed) 1-0-0 1.20 GAA .967 SV% Last Game: 35 Saves in 1-0 Win vs VAN

Lineups:

Boston:

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Danton Heinen

Peter Cehlarik – David Krejci – Jake DeBrusk

Joakim Nordstrom – Trent Frederic – David Backes

Sean Kuraly – Noel Acciari – Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug – Kevan Miller

John Moore – Brandon Carlo

Anaheim:

Rickard Rakell – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry

Daniel Sprong – Adam Henrique – Troy Terry

Devin Shore – Derek Grant – Jakob Silfverberg

Max Jones – Ryan Kesler – Carter Rowney

Cam Fowler – Michael Del Zotto

Hampus Lindholm – Josh Manson

Jaycob Megna – Brandon Montour

First Period:

Bruce Cassidy rolled out his fourth line for the initial puck drop. After a little bit of back-and-forth between the Bruins and Ducks, Boston was able to gain the offensive zone and create a few scoring chances. After receiving a cross-zone feed from David Krejci, Brandon Carlo flung a shot toward Boyle, who made the save. The rebound squirted out toward Peter Cehlarik, who attempted to bang it into the net, but ended up going an inch or two wide.

A little more than five minutes into the first, Torey Krug let a shot go from the point, with Boyle making the save. The Ducks turned the puck back over to Krug, who dished it to Sean Kuraly. Kuraly fed it to Brandon Carlo at the left point, and he let a bomb of a slap shot rip, which Noel Acciari deflected past Boyle for his second goal of the season. The Bruins are up 1-0, and welcome back their secondary scoring.

The next several minutes of play would consist of neither team being able to accomplish anything offensively. Halak and Boyle each made a couple of decent saves, but there were no particularly threatening scoring chances. The Ducks have been 3-15-4 since December 18, and could really use guys like Charlie Conway and Adam Banks on their roster this season.

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With a little under four minutes left in the period, Ducks rookie Max Jones would take a pass from Brandon Montour up the left wing and try to deke around Jaroslav Halak, who would rob him. Montour shot the rebound wide, and the net was knocked off its moorings. After the resulting faceoff, play would resume with the Ducks being stronger on the puck than the Bruins, but still not being able to tie the game.

Second Period:

Kuraly won the opening draw against Getzlaf. Deep in Anaheim’s zone, Kuraly would pass to Chara at the point. A bouncing puck would hop over the Bruins’ captain’s stick and into the neutral zone. Ducks wing Rickard Rakell would beat Chara to the loose puck at the Bruins’ blue line, carry it up the right wing, and get it to Corey Perry, despite Chara and McAvoy’s best efforts. Jaroslav Halak made a glove save on the frustrated Perry.

At 4:58, Rickard Rakell landed in the penalty box for a holding minor. Patrice Bergeron won the faceoff to Boyle’s left, Jake DeBrusk nudged the puck to Krug at the point, who threaded a cross-zone pass to Krejci. Krejci dangled Boyle out of his pants (and about five feet out of the crease), shot at the net, where Cam Fowler and DeBrusk were fighting for their ice. DeBrusk redirected Krejci’s shot for his 16th goal of the season, and the Bruins went up 2-0. The lesson here is not to put the Bruins on the power play.

The Bruins weren’t great defensively for the rest of the period, but the Ducks didn’t seem to have much of a desire to capitalize and tie the game. There was sloppy play by both parties during the remainder of the second, with Boston giving the Ducks a 5-on-3, with Chris Wagner and John Moore landing in the box. The Bruins weren’t particularly effective, especially in their own zone, but Halak held onto the Bruins’ 2-0 lead through the second.

Third Period:

The third period opened with the Bruins mostly controlling play until a questionable holding call against Derik Grant, putting the Bruins on the man advantage. The Bruins created a couple of good scoring chances, but Anaheim’s defense held on for dear life – Boyle didn’t have to make any wild saves, as his blue liners had him covered.

The Bruins’ second line had a strong third period and generated several chances, all resulting in saves by Boyle. Slovak wing Peter Cehlarik was in good position all night and appeared as though he was destined to score, but it wasn’t to be.

At 10:56, Hampus Lindholm set up a road block for Brad Marchand behind Boyle’s net, landing the Swede in the box with an interference minor. Patrice Bergeron pounced on a rebound Boyle gave up, but the Ducks’ goaltender managed to jump on it and keep the Bruins to two goals. The Bruins would turn the puck over and allow a Derik Grant to gain the zone on a shorthanded bid, but Halak made the save. Anaheim would go on the man advantage almost immediately afterward, but their weak power play was unable to accomplish anything, other than one solid opportunity where Halak would save a Brandon Montour one timer.

Ducks Head Coach Bob Murray pulled Boyle in favor of the extra skater with just under three minutes left in the third period. At 18:29, former Duck Chris Wagner scored an empty net goal after Zdeno Chara sent a pass from behind the goal line to Kuraly at the point. Kuraly dished the puck across the neutral zone to Wagner, who sailed it into Anaheim’s net. Ducks are unable to score three goals in the next minute and a half, and the Bruins win 3-0.

The Bruins have now collected 15 points out of a possible 18 in their last nine games. They are currently third in the Atlantic Division with 74 points. They are only one point behind the Maple Leafs, but Toronto has a game at hand.

Three Stars:

Third Star: Brandon Carlo played a good defensive game, managed to assist on Acciari’s goal, and didn’t appear to make any mistakes.

Second Star: David Krejci has been magical lately, and really makes his line mates better.

First Star: Jaroslav Halak. The Ducks could certainly have played better as they’re in a complete tailspin lately, but Halak definitely kept the Bruins afloat here.

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

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Bruins Game 58 Preview: Anaheim Ducks

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

The Boston Bruins will look to continue off of the successes of their last three consecutive wins as they begin a five-game Western road trip tonight against the Anaheim Ducks. The Bruins defeated the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday by a final score of 6-3. Without David Pastrnak in the lineup (out 2 weeks with a thumb injury), the Bruins managed to find scoring further down the lineup – with help from Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. Boston currently holds the third position in the Atlantic Division with 72 points, three points ahead of Montreal and three points behind Toronto.

The Anaheim Ducks have been the true definition of a dumpster fire this season. The Ducks are 3-7-0 in their last ten games and before Wednesday’s win over the Canucks, were on a seven-game losing streak. Their losing ways resulted in the firing of head coach Randy Carlyle earlier in the week. Anaheim is the fifth-worst team in the National Hockey League with a 22-26-9 record and only fifty-three points.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 14-9-4 2.44 GAA .921 SV% Last Game: 35 Saves in 2-1 Win vs COL

ANA: Kevin Boyle (Not Confirmed) 1-0-0 1.20 GAA .967 SV% Last Game: 35 Saves in 1-0 Win vs VAN

Who’s Hot

Brad Marchand is on a five-game point streak for the Bruins right now and all of which have been multi-point games. Marchand recently potted a goal and three assists in the 6-3 win over the Blackhawks. On this five-game point streak, Marchand has 3-9-12 totals and has been either a plus rating or an even rating in every game. Marchand has now passed Pastrnak for the team-lead in points with 22-47-69 numbers in 56 games this season.

If Kevin Doyle does get the start tonight, it will be the first game since his NHL debut where he stopped all thirty-five shots by the Vancouver Canucks en route to his first NHL shutout. For a Ducks team who has struggled in net this season with John Gibson, it is a breath of fresh air to see this young, 26-year-old Manalapan, New Jersey native do well early.

Patrice Bergeron continues to play at a high level. even though he just recently reached his 1000th NHL regular season game. Like Marchand, Bergeron is on a five-game point streak with 4-5-9 numbers in that span. Bergeron has fourteen points in his last ten contests and has continued to be one of the best, if not the best defensive forwards in the National Hockey League today.

Danton Heinen was given first-line minutes with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and he has, surprisingly, succeeded. Now with Pastrnak out, the Bruins have almost no choice but to keep Heinen on the top line where he has six points (3G, 3A) in four games. Heinen was one of four Bruins with three or more points against Chicago, scoring a goal and two assists in the game. Heinen has brought some more skill and he has the defensive side of the puck that does not make him a liability.

Who’s Not

Twenty-three games. That’s how long it has been since Ducks forward Ryan Kesler has scored a point. Kesler only has 4-2-6 totals in 49 games played this year and is making over $6.8 million for the next three years. Kesler did deal with injuries earlier in the year, but has still been getting ice time, ice time that is decreasing game-by-game. It’s been a big fall for Kesler who once put up 41 goals and 73 points in 2010-11 before losing to the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals.

It may be a stretch to say that Jake DeBrusk is “hot” right now, but after a three-point outing against Chicago, the Edmonton, Alberta, Canada native may be able to turn a lackluster 2019 around. DeBrusk was demoted to the Bruins third-line for a few games, but with Pastrnak’s injury keeping him out of the lineup, DeBrusk is back up in the top-six. It will take a few more games for DeBrusk to get back in the groove, but his most recent game was most definitely a step in the right direction. As of right now though, he is still “struggling”.

Adam Henrique has the second-most points on the Ducks roster, but he is still having a poor year this year. The 29-year-old has 10-18-28 numbers in 57 games to go along with a -6 rating. In his last eight games, Henrique has only one goal and was a minus rating for three of them as well.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • D Zdeno Chara is two goals away (198) from 200 career NHL goals
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one even-strength goal (202) from tying Peter McNab (203) for 8th most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (24) from tying Rick Middleton (25) for most SHG in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is three shots away (2982) from tying Bobby Orr (2985) for 4th most shots in Bruins history and four shots from passing him.
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PHOTO CREDITS: (Bleacher Report)

Anaheim Ducks:

  • D Cam Fowler is one assist away (204) from passing Scott Niedermayer (204) for sole possession of 6th most assists in Ducks history
  • F Ryan Getzlaf is one penalty minute away (812) from passing George Parros (812) for sole possession of 2nd most penalty minutes in Ducks history
  • F Richard Rakell is one even-strength goal away (84) from passing Andrew Cogliano (84) for sole possession of 7th most even-strength goals in Ducks history

Bruins vs Ducks Outlook

The Bruins and Ducks have met once before, on December 20th where the Bruins took a 3-1 win in Boston. It was a relieving performance, as Boston lost both meetings against one of the three California teams in the 2017-18 campaign.

In the last game between the two, it was the power-play of Boston that played the deciding factor. David Pastrnak and Torey Krug (GWG) each scored on the man-advantage, finishing the night with two power-play goals on four attempts. Entering tonight’s game, the Bruins have the second-best power-play in the league at a 26.8% success rate. The Ducks have the third-worst PP percentage in the league at 14.6%. Boston will not have their top power-play scorer, David Pastrnak due to injury.

On the penalty-kill, the Bruins have the 15th-best PK, at 80.3% while Anaheim has the 19th-best at 80.1%. Below are the morning rushes for the Bruins heading into the game.

Matt Grzelcyk (lower-body) and David Pastrnak (thumb) are out tonight.

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