Post-Game: Bruins Defeat Senators 2-1

Image result for boston bruins vs ottawa senators(Photo Credits: Sean Kilpatrick/AP)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

In the second game of a back-to-back, the Boston Bruins finished their trip up north on a positive note. After Wednesday’s throttle win over the Montreal Canadiens, Boston was going for broke and have now won five in a row. Despite the slow start, turn-overs, and giveaways (on both ends), the team managed to win from behind if not for the stellar performance of Tuukka Rask.

RECAP

Boston would come out in the first looking a bit tired and slow on their legs while Ottawa had more bite to their game.  At times, the Bruins team found themselves chasing the puck and were unable to clear their own zone. In an effort to get things going, Coach Bruce Cassidy juggled the lines around. While the team looked to get their game going, Tuukka Rask made the saves that kept the score 0-0 through two periods.

The Bruins looked more cohesive in the second with multiple chances to score, however, they could not manage to get the puck past Ottawa’s Anders Nilsson. Boston had been outshot 10 to 24 by the end of the second.  Both Ottawa and Boston went 0-2 on the power-play tonight.

With the third period underway, the Senators Tomas Chabot would score off a wrist-shot 41 seconds into the period, getting Ottawa on board.  Minutes later, Bruins’ Brad Marchand would get Boston on board at 05:15 with his fifth goal in four games. He would score his 18th goal of the season off a pass from Anders Bjork as he slipped one between  Nilson’s pads.

With the game tied at 1-1, momentum would shift in Boston’s favor. At 08:45 in the third,  Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara would score his fifth goal of the season with a hard slap shot from a pass by Brendan Gaunce. The 25-year-old Gaunce (making his Bruins debut) would make the play in the slot to feed the pass to Chara, who would score the game-winning goal.

Ottawa had several close chances to score but Boston’s Rask denied their efforts. The Senators were unable to capitalize early on while on the power-play as Boston held on to win 2-1. The boys in  Black and Gold are now 6-0-3 in their last few games and have improved to 17-3-5. Rask made 33 saves on 34 shots to post his fifth straight win of the season. He improves to 12-2-0 this season. Anders Nilsson made 19 saves and the Senators have lost their last two games in regulation for the first time since October.

TEAM NOTES

Connor Clifton had the night off and Steven Kampfer would slide up next to Matt Grzelcyk. Gaunce made his debut on the second line, centering with Jake DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle. News came out from the Boston camp of the multi-year contract extension of Coyle and Chris Wagner.

With the loss, Senators’ goaltender Anders Nilson is now 7-5-1 as he minds the net while Craig Anderson nurses a minor injury sustained during Monday night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

THREE STARS OF THE GAME:

Tuukka Rask-BOSTON

Zdeno CHara-BOSTON

Tyler Ennis-OTTAWA

TOTAL SHOTS ON GOALS: BOS: 21; OTT: 34

Boston will once again face Ottawa for the third time this season on December 9th with the Bruins leading the series 2-0. The B’s will head back for a game-day matinee at the TD Garden when they face the New York Rangers.

WHEN TO WATCH:  Friday, November 29th with puck drop at 1:00 PM

WHERE TO WATCH: NBC

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. Florida: 11/12/19

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Florida Panthers

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

Heinen – Krejci – Coyle

Bjork – Lindholm – Senyshyn

Nordstrom – Kuraly – Wagner

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Grzelcyk – Carlo

Vaakanainen – Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Florida’s Lineup

Forwards

Huberdeau –  Barkov – Dadonov

Vatrano – Trocheck – Malgin

Hoffman – Boyle – Connolly

Hunt – Acciari – Sceviour

Defense

Yandle – Ekblad

Matheson – Stralman

Pysyk – Brown

Goalies

Bobrovsky

Montembeault

Torey Krug was sidelined for this one with an upper-body injury and Urho Vaakanainen made his season debut with the Bruins in his place. Brett Ritchie and David Backes were also out with upper-body injuries. Jake DeBrusk sat for a second straight game in this one with a lower-body injury. Those injuries, on top of injury recoveries that John Moore and Kevan Miller continued to go through, forced the Bruins to roll with new second and third forward lines, as well as a new look on defense outside of the top pairing.

First Period

It was a weird start. There were just three shots on goal (2-1 Bruins) combined through the first 7:01 of the game. The first period was just a lot of back-and-forth. Some decent chances here and there, but nothing too crazy. Charlie Coyle did come very close to opening the scoring and notch his third goal of the season though.

Matt Grzelcyk saw two great chances come his way with around two minutes remaining. One was blocked by Mike Hoffman, the other was deflected out of his play. Neither team could get on the board.

Shortly after those chances, Charlie McAvoy caught Aleksander Barkov up high and went off for high sticking. Barkov was a bit shaken up on the play, and the Panthers had a power play with 13 seconds remaining in the period. A minute and 47 seconds of power play time bled into the second period for the Panthers. The final shots in the period were 7-5 Bruins.

Score: 0-0

Second Period

Just 57 seconds into the period, 1:10 of total time into the power play, the lights briefly shut off at TD Garden and play was stopped as a result. The Panthers were understandably not happy as it disrupted the flow of their power play in the offensive zone.

Sean Kuraly nearly got the scoring going as he flew towards the net with the puck on his stick, crashed into Sergei Bobrovsky, and failed to score. It was a wild start to the second period, to say the least.

At the 15:38 mark, Patrice Bergeron went to the box for holding, giving the Panthers their second power play opportunity of the game. The Panthers failed to score and eventually, at the 8:05 mark, David Pastrnak finally opened the scoring.

Coming into this one, the Bruins were 9-2-1 when scoring first. That’s good for scoring first in 76.47 percent of their total games prior to tonight, and winning 75 percent of those games. Pastrnak’s 16th goal of the season was assisted by Bergeron (10).

Joakim Nordstrom decided to get amongst the scoring as well, making it 2-0. Nordstrom’s second of the season was assisted by Coyle (5). The man comes back from injury against Philadelphia on Sunday, then scores a big goal on Tuesday. Not a bad way to make an impression after a stint on injured reserve.

Things didn’t get much better for the Panthers afterward as Dryden Hunt took a holding penalty with 4:27 to go in the period. Need more secondary scoring? Just ask Anders Bjork too. Bjork’s sent a wrister on Bobrovsky that bounced off of him and in to give the Bruins a three-goal lead. Bjork’s third goal of the season was assisted by David Krejci (6) and Brad Marchand (19).

The fourth unanswered goal of the period, came from Zdeno Chara getting behind Bobrovsky and burying a loose puck. Chara’s third goal of the season was assisted by Krejci (7) and Heinen (4). Check out the whole sequence in three parts below. Four goals in seven minutes and 26 seconds.

What a wild period. The Bruins outshot the Panthers 16-7, bringing the games total shots to 23-12 Bruins. It was for sure one of the better periods that the Bruins have played all season. A huge lead was all of the sudden in their collective grasp after a scoreless first period.

Score: 4-0 Boston

Third Period

Bad news came during the intermission in the form of Zach Senyshyn’s presence on the team for much of the second period. It was eventually announced that he would not return the game with a lower-body injury, putting the Bruins down a forward for the third period.

Samuel Montembeault took over in net for the Panthers to start the period and they responded early in the form of an Aaron Ekblad one-timer. Nordstrom was at the defensive blue line attempting to play defense, and that threw everything off defensively for the Bruins – the Panthers capitalized and made it 4-1.

Shortly after the goal, Vincent Trocheck launched himself towards Pastrnak. Pastrnak eventually got up following the collision under his own power, but Marchand took exception and gave Trocheck a bit of a piece of his mind. Trocheck then went off for elbowing. The Bruins didn’t convert on the power play.

Chris Wagner then went off for slashing just about four minutes into the period. Old friend Frank Vatrano made Wagner pay on the power play, because of course it was a former Bruin that scored – that happens on occasion.

The revitalized Panthers responded early and often after being on the receiving end of a thrashing in the second period. The wild final two periods surely made up for a quiet first period in terms of entertainment value.

Another penalty for the Bruins turned into another goal for the Panthers. Sean Kuraly went off with 11:28 to go for hooking. Hoffman buried a backhander to make it 4-3 Bruins. Things got tense really quickly. After an excellent start to the season, it has been tough sledding for Tuukka Rask as of late.

Former Bruin Noel Acciari tripped his old linemate Sean Kuraly with 6:28 to go, but the Bruins didn’t score on the man advantage. This game went into the Ford F-150 Final Five with a 4-3 score. David Krejci then went off the ice slowly after blocking a shot late in the period – leaving the Bruins down another forward.

It was once 4-0 Bruins, then it became 4-4. Four unanswered goals from each team. I definitely don’t remember ever seeing such an obscure feat accomplished in a hockey game. Keith Yandle tied the game with 1:39 to go. Overtime commenced. The shots were 12-9 Panthers, bringing the regulation total to 32-24 Bruins.

Score: 4-4

Overtime

Marchand, Pastrnak, and Coyle had premium chances, but no dice. It was an entertaining overtime period that became very stressful at the end. Hoffman found himself alone, but Rask stoned him. Rask then made a follow-up save to send the game to a shootout in the dying seconds of overtime. The shots in ovetime were 6-5 Bruins, 38-29 overall.

Shootout

Round one

Frank Vatrano: Miss

Chris Wagner: Miss

Round two

Vincent Trocheck: Goal

Brad Marchand: Miss

Round three

Jonathan Huberdeau: Miss

Charlie Coyle: Goal

Round four

Mike Hoffman: Goal

Charlie McAvoy: Miss

Final Score: 5-4 Florida (Shootout)

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 153 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!!

Game Preview: Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers 11/10/19

Image result for boston bruins vs philadelphia flyers(Photo Credits: Getty Images/NBC Sports)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

After being fed a full plate of humble pie this past Friday in Detroit, the Boston Bruins are back home as they face the Philadelphia Flyers at the TD Garden. Boston has lost its last two games and will be looking to get back on track.

TEAM UPDATES

Knowing full well they played a lackluster game against Detroit, the boys in Black and Gold were back to work this morning at the Warrior Arena. Both Joakim Nordstrom and Par Lindholm, who have been nursing injuries and infections are back in the lineup tonight. Peter Cehlarik, who has been filling in, will be sent back down to Providence. Steven Kampfer will be a healthy scratch. John Moore was also seen skating in a red non-contact jersey. Brett Ritchie was not seen skating this morning, while Jake DeBrusk continues to be out, as he is nursing a lower-body injury. Charlie Coyle will be playing wing alongside David Krejci.

 

HARD STATS

Despite dropping their last two games, the Bruins currently lead the Atlantic Division with an 11-3-2 record, while the Flyers are 9-5-2. In their last 10 games, Boston is 6-2-2 while Philadelphia is 7-2-1. The loss to Detroit marks the first time that the Bruins have lost consecutive games in regulation this season so far. David Pastrnak saw his 13-game point streak end Friday night after having an assist removed from his record.

The Bruins will have a chance to get their legs and mojo back as they face a Flyers team, who are trying to extend their winning streak to four games. Boston’s Pastrnak is tied for first in the league with 30 points; he also leads in goals (15) and in power-play goals (9). Brad Marchand is third in the league with 18 assists, while Captain Zdeno Chara is also third in the league for plus-minus at 13.

Goaltender Tuukka Rask is now third in the league for goals-against-average (1.99) and is tied at third with a 0.933 save percentage. Expect Jaroslav Halak in net for the Bruins tonight. The 34-year-old goaltender is 4-1-1 with a 2.83 goals-against average and a 0.917 save percentage. This will be the first meeting between the two teams. Expect Carter Hart in net for the Flyers. Hart has a 2-0 record against Boston and is 5-3-1 with a 2.82 goals-against-average and has a 0.889 save percentage.

Image result for boston bruins vs philadelphia flyers(Photo Credits: Getty Images)

Boston is still first in the league on the power-play, however, Philly is slightly better at the penalty kill and is ninth in the league, compared to the Bruins 12th position. Flyers’s Sean Couturier has six points in the last six games, while Boston’s Patrice Bergeron has nine-points in six games. Defenseman Torey Krug has points in his last five games while Brad Marchand has 28 points in his last 15 games.

The Flyers Travis Konecny leads the team with 17 points and assists (10), while Oskar Lindblom leads the team with eight goals. Pastrnak leads the Boston teams in goals (15) and in points (30); Marchand leads the team with 18 assists.

PROJECTED LINEUPS-BOSTON

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

Heinen – Krejci – Coyle

Bjork – Lindholm – Senyshyn

Nordstrom – Kuraly – Wagner

 

Chara – Clifton

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – McAvoy

 

Halak

Rask

 

PROJECTED LINEUPS -PHILADELPHIA

Riemsdyk —  Giroux —  Farabee

Lindblom — Couturier — Konecny

Twarynski –Hayes –Voracek

Andreoff –Raffl — Pitlick

 

Provorov –Niskanen

Gostisbehere — Braun

Sanheim — Myers

 

Carter Hart

Brian Elliott

 

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

WHERE TO WATCH: NESN, ESPN+, NBCSP

 

 

Report: Bruins Place F Nordstrom on IR, Recall F Cehlarik From AHL

joakim-nordstrom-1.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images)

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

While most Boston Bruins fans were asleep, the CapFriendly Transactions Twitter page, (@CF_Transactions) announced that forward Joakim Nordstrom has been placed on the injured reserve and forward Peter Cehlarik has been recalled from the American Hockey League affiliate, the Providence Bruins.

Joakim Nordstrom, 27, has missed the last two games for the Bruins with what is being determined an “infection in his elbow” and he needs to allow it to “cool down” according to numerous sources. On October 29th, Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said the following in a press conference about Nordstrom.

“He [Nordstrom] had an infection in his elbow. I don’t know what the timeline is, to be honest, but they have to let it calm down, so I’ll doubt we see him Saturday. After that, I’ll probably be able to give you a better update.” Cassidy goes on to say that he won’t necessarily rule Nordstrom out, “I shouldn’t even rule him out for Saturday, but I think that it was similar to what [David] Backes went through a few years ago.” – Bruce Cassidy via @nhlbruins on Twitter

Nordstrom has only played in four games so far in the 2019-2020 campaign after missing the first few games due to a broken foot sustained in the Stanley Cup Finals against the St. Louis Blues back in June. In those four games, the Stockholm, Sweden native has one goal and an even plus/minus rating averaging 13:33 minutes-per-game.

In practice on Friday, defenceman Connor Clifton was skating as the third-line right-wing while forward Brett Ritchie was absent. Cassidy later revealed that Ritchie’s absence in Friday’s practice was due to a maintenance day and he believes that the 26-year-old will play against Ottawa on Saturday, although, there was “some level of concern” with him missing practice.

Also on Friday, freelancing writer, Mark Divver (@MarkDivver on Twitter) tweeted that forward Peter Cehlarik had been recalled by Boston on a loan to the National Hockey League according to the AHL Transactions. The report of Nordstrom being placed on IR makes Divver’s report of Cehlarik’s arrival in Boston more understandable.

Cehlarik, 24, has one game under his belt for the NHL Bruins this season, playing 12:05 against the New York Rangers on Sunday night. Cehlarik finished the night with zero shots and a -2 rating before being sent back down to Providence due to the return of Chris Wagner against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

With the P-Bruins, Cehlarik has been lighting it up, scoring six goals and four assists for ten points in six games played. Cehlarik’s last game was a two-assist night against the Rochester Americans on Wednesday – a game Providence won by a final score of 4-3. Cehlarik re-signed with the Bruins organization this past offseason on a one-year, two-way contract worth $700,000 ($125,000 in minors) and will need a new deal come July 1st, 2020.

As of 2:00 am EST on Saturday, November 2nd, the Boston Bruins have not officially confirmed these transactions, they are strictly from the sites and sources provided above. The Boston Bruins play the Ottawa Senators in Boston. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST from the TD Garden.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 151 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 Announce More Transactions

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Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced on Tuesday afternoon that the team had assigned forward Peter Cehlarik and defenseman Jakub Zboril to Providence. Sweeney also announced that forward Joakim Nordstrom will start the season on IR. Cehlarik had recently cleared waivers yesterday.

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Cehlarik appeared in 20 regular season for the B’s last season, posting four goals and two assists for six points. Cehlarik also appeared in 53 regular season games for Providence last year, posting 12 goals and 26 assists for 38 points. He also appeared in four playoff games for Providence, scoring a goal. Zboril, the former first round pick of the B’s in 2015 appeared in two regular season games for the Bruins last year. He appeared in 56 games for Providence last season, recording four goals and 15 assists for 19 points. He also appeared in four postseason games, going scoreless.

Nordstrom signed with the Bruins in the summer of 2018 as a free agent. He appeared in 70 regular season games in Boston last year, posting seven goals and five assists for 12 points. The Stockholm, Sweden native appeared in 23 playoff games for the B’s last season recording three goals and five assists for eight points. These moves shouldn’t be a huge problem for the Bruins as the team has plenty of guys to step in for Nordstrom. There’s also a very good chance both Cehlarik and Zboril see time in Boston yet again this season.

European Tour: Bruins Edition

Screenshot_20190817-175154-01 (1)(Photo Credits: NHL Twitter)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

As the NHL looks to expand its outreach to the European markets, many players were welcomed back to the third annual NHL/NHLPA European Player Media Tour. Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak (Czech Republic) was invited once again to participate in the event. Bruins own Joakim Nordstrom (Sweden) also represented the Black and Gold during the Media Tour for another edition of Bruins #BearTracks.

SWEDEN

Since its inception in 2017, the tour is held in Stockholm, Sweden at the headquarters of Viasat- where the NHL’s international media rights are held. The tour features 23 European-born players being interviewed by dozens of media outlets as a means of promoting  NHL Games. To help the leagues effort to appeal to the growing European fanbase, the NHL purposely changed start times of many weekend games, so that fans will get to enjoy watching them at a more reasonable time (prior to the change, games with start times of 7:30 PM in the U.S. would be aired at 1:30 AM in Sweden). With new earlier start times in the U.S., games would fall into prime evening hours for Europe.

(Photo Credits: NHLPA)

With the NHL continuing to grow the game through Europe and in China, their efforts have garnered much buzz, especially if you consider that this year will the mark the third time professional teams will travel to Europe to play regular season games. On October 4th, the Chicago Blackhawks play the Philadelphia Flyers in the Czech Republic, while on November 9th,  the Buffalo Sabres face the Tampa Bay Lightning in Stockholm, Sweden.

Joakim Nordstrom served as “tour guide” as he hosted Pastrnak in his native Sweden. Both players participated in photo shoots and interviews for the event. Not one to shy away,  the 22-year-old Pastrnak was all smiles in front of the camera-there’s also that video showing off his “dance” skills… Please enjoy:

SLOVAKIA

In his hometown of Trencin, Slovakia Bruins Captain and age-less wonder Zdeno Chara continued with his charitable contributions. In a partnership with New Balance, the 42-year-old defenseman has collected and donated shoes that help benefit those in need throughout  Boston and Slovakia. Chara first partnered up with organization this past March along with Soles4Souls-a Nashville-based non-profit organization that aims to give those in need a pair of shoes. To date, Soles4Souls have donated over 35 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries. Fans were able to donate new or used shoes to New Balance stores or at the Warrior Ice rink. The Bruins also held a shoe drive this past March at the Garden.

(Photo Credits: Sole4Souls.org)

The Bruins #BeartTracks followed Chara as he headed back to Slovakia, bringing a portion of the donated shoes that were collected at the TD Garden.  The 42-year-old Slovak-native was seen delivering shoes to many children in his hometown:

And while Bruins fans eagerly await for the puck to drop officially in October, rest assured the guys are gearing up and getting back into fighting shape. Not to be outdone from last year’s  insane workout session in Slovakia, this time Chara did not skip a beat while hanging out in his native country. In case you’re wondering, he’s still a beast:

Bruins’ Fourth Line Look To Lead The Bounce-Back

( Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson, AP )

By: Jack McCarthy  |  Follow Me On Twitter @73johnnymac

As the Stanley Cup Final shifts back to Boston for Game 5 on Thursday night at TD Garden, the Boston Bruins will be looking to recapture the momentum in what’s been a back-and-forth series through four games.  While the Bruins will need much better performances across the line-up, you can bet the fourth line will be itching to lead the bounce-back as they played nowhere near their usual standard in Game 4’s loss.

The fourth line of Sean Kuraly,  Joakim Nordstrom and Noel Acciari can usually be relied upon to drive possession and help tilt the ice in the Bruins favor.  The line starts the majority of its shifts in the defensive zone and quite often skates to the bench having earned an offensive zone face-off.  That’s exactly what you’re looking for from your fourth line.

There has been an added bonus from the line so far in the Stanley Cup Final-production.  Kuraly (2G-2A-4Pts, 2GWG’s), Nordstrom (1G-3A-4Pts), and Acciari (1G-1A-2Pts) have combined for 10 points in the first four games of the Stanley Cup Final.  The worrying trend for the line, however, is that their 5-vs-5 Corsi percentage has been steadily declining as the series has progressed and culminated with some horrendous numbers in Game 4.

Let’s take a closer look at what the line has produced over the first four games.   As a reminder, Corsi % is a reliable possession metric which measures shot attempts for against shot attempts against, expressed as a percentage and for 5-on-5-play.  A measure of 50% means a team is generating an equal number of shot attempts for and against while that player is on the ice.  Therefore, as a baseline, positive Corsi is viewed as a percentage greater than 50, and more often than not, players and teams generating Corsi percentages greater than 50 are more successful.

Corsi % through four games, stats courtesy of hockeyreference.com:

CF % (5v5) Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4
Kuraly 45.0 28.6 53.8 15.0
Nordstrom 44.4 32.0 31.2 9.5
Acciari 45.5 34.8 34.8 10.5

As the table above shows, the trend has been going the wrong way, and that’s a worry if you’re the Bruins.  Game 4 was a particularly rough night for the trio as they were held off the score sheet for the first time in the series and gave up the game’s opening goal on their first shift at the 0:43 mark.

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St Louis took full advantage of home ice to get the match-ups they were looking for in Game 4.  The Bruins started with the Bergeron line and St Louis interim-Head Coach, Craig Berube, countered with his fourth line.  After a stoppage, 29 seconds in, Bruins Coach, Bruce Cassidy, sent the Kuraly line over the boards for a defensive zone face-off.  The Blues countered with the Ryan O’Reilly line, and they quickly capitalized with an opening minute goal that energized the building and the Blues.  All in all, not the start the Bruins were looking for or needed on the road in a hostile environment.

As the Corsi numbers show, the Bruins fourth line was over-matched all night in Game 4, generating just 2 shot attempts for, while giving up 12 (14.29 CF%) in 7:58 of 5-on-5 ice-time.  The Bruins as a whole were out-attempted 49-30 during 5-on-5-play.  The difference can be somewhat attributed to the negative numbers put up by the Kuraly line, but you can’t hang the loss entirely on them.  The reality is that the Bruins need more across their line-up.  They are yet to receive a goal at 5-on-5-play from anyone in their top two lines.

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There is no question that the Bruins have enjoyed a significant special teams advantage through four games of the Stanley Cup Final.  Boston has gone 6 for 16 with the man-advantage, good for a 37.5% clip, and have added a short-handed goal.  The Blues, on the other hand, are just 1/12 on the man-advantage, translating to an 8.3% rate with a short-handed goal allowed.  The reality is, however, that as the Stanley Cup Final goes deeper and deeper, history has shown that players adjust and as the pressure amps up, discipline is preached, often leading to fewer power play opportunities.  The Bruins are going to need to be better at 5-on-5-play moving forward as they may not be able to count on receiving four or five power plays per game.

All is certainly not lost, and the Kuraly line has proven it’s worth time and time again in the regular season and playoffs and certainly with its contributions in the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final.  Coach Cassidy will be expecting a bounce-back performance from the trio in Game 5, and they will play an important role if the Bruins are to overcome adversity and go on to win the Stanley Cup.  The fourth line is in no way the scape-goat here, the Bruins need the contributions to come from the top.  This is something they are aware of, but if the fourth line can rebound and help tilt the ice Boston’s way, that in itself will be a major contribution.  Helping the top lines get offensive zone starts may be just what the Bruins need to turn this around.

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No one said it was going to be easy.  The Bruins find themselves in an enviable position, heading into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final tied 2-2.  It’s now a best of three, and they have two games at home to get the job done.  A win in Game 5 will go a long, long way to making that happen.   The Bruins’ fourth line has been vital throughout this playoff run, ever since Kuraly returned from injury for Game 5 of the opening round series against Toronto.  A strong performance from Kuraly, Nordstrom, and Acciari will help send this series back to St Louis with a chance to clinch the Bruins’ seventh Stanley Cup championship.

Bruins Joakim Nordstrom Taking Large Strides in Stanley Cup Finals

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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

Tonight, the Boston Bruins have a chance to lead the Stanley Cup Finals three-games-to-one over the St. Louis Blues. Following a brief look at the roster, many can attribute the success found in the 2018-19 season to many different sources. Goaltender Tuukka Rask and the first line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak are four obvious choices while the defensemen of Torey Krug, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Zdeno Chara played equally important roles in not only getting to the postseason, but achieving the Prince of Wales Trophy.

Going back to October, one of the main topics of concern for the Bruins roster was the depth scoring, or lack thereof. Everyone was well aware of the powerhouse top line that dominated the previous playoff run, more specifically against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but after that, the consistent scoring was simply in question.

David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk had chemistry together but they had troubles gelling with a player on the right wing. Numerous players were tested with them, even Pastrnak at some points but the need for a top-six winger was on the Bruins’ radar. Further down the lineup, the third and fourth lines were decent, but they weren’t expected to produce numbers that are needed from your bottom-six in today’s NHL.

Fast forward to now and the Boston Bruins are being talked about for their resilient, hard-working depth that has carried them through the scoring droughts and struggles of the more well-known Bruin forwards. Sean Kuraly, Chris Wagner, and Noel Acciari had a fantastic fourth line throughout the season. The addition of both Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson have been tremendous boosts for the team and Danton Heinen has found a success role on their wing.

When Chris Wagner fell out of the lineup this postseason due to an injury that resulted from a blocked shot, the Bruins turned to Joakim Nordstrom to help the bottom line with Kuraly and Acciari. Nordstrom had been bounced from the third line and fourth line all season long and was deemed a healthy scratch quite often during the regular season due to the poor play he had shown.

During those times of scratches and long (and I mean long) scoring droughts, many believed that the two-year signing of Nordstrom in the 2018 NHL Free Agency period was a waste of money. His lack of production and value to the team was mentioned everywhere and it was apparent that the coaching staff felt the same way. Yet, that did not and will not alter the mindset of the 27-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden native.

joakim-nordstrom-850x478.jpeg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)

Nordstrom started off the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs against Toronto with one goal in the opening four games. In that span, he averaged only 11:33 of ice time and was a -2 rating. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy scratched Nordstrom for Game Five, a loss for Boston, then went back to Joakim with their backs against the wall in Game Six in Toronto. Nordstrom played less than nine minutes in the win, recording only one hit and sat in the box for two minutes.

Now on home ice, Nordstrom scored the first goal of the game in Game Seven and helped out later in the game with a secondary assist on Sean Kuraly’s third period goal. Joakim Nordstrom finished the series with 2-1-3 numbers – not fantastic, but a definte improvement from his sub-par season. Unfortunately, he failed to score a single point in the entire six-game series against the Blue Jackets and he ended the Eastern Conference Finals sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes with only one assist.

Then came the Stanley Cup Finals and a new Joakim Nordstrom. During his two-year stint with the Chicago Blackhawks, Nordstrom played in three games over the course of the entire playoff run, but did get to raise the Stanley Cup over his head with the 2015 Hawks. With the experience of hoisting the Cup in the past, 2019 became the first time that Nordstrom got the opportunity to play in the Finals and he has taken that chance and has ran with it.

In the opening three games of the best-of-seven series against the St. Louis Blues so far, Joakim Nordstrom has one goal and three assists for four points to go along with his six blocked shots and +5 rating. All of a sudden, Nordstrom is one of the biggest factors to Boston’s winning lineup. In Game Two, the forward recorded five blocks, including this remarkable effort on an extended penalty-kill late in the second period to keep the game tied.

Earlier in the same game, Nordstrom squeaked a clean shot five-hole past Jordan Binnington to restore Boston’s one-goal lead only forty seconds after Robert Bortuzzo tied the hockey game in the opening frame. While Boston lost the game in overtime later in the night, the quick goal from Nordstrom prevented the momentum from drastically being in St. Louis’ favor.

As mentioned previously, the Bruins are on the road for Game Four tonight. With a 2-1 series lead on the Blues, Boston can take a stranglehold on the series with a win – giving them a chance to win the Stanley Cup at home on Thursday. Coming off of a stellar 7-2 victory in St. Louis on Saturday night, the momentum appears to be in Boston’s favor now.

However, in order for the winning team on Monday night to be wearing Black and Gold, players such as Joakim Nordstrom need to continue the admirable efforts on the ice. Of course, the best of the best to wear the Spoked-B this season need to show up as well, but as the history has shown in 2018-19 – it all comes down to depth. Will Joakim Nordstrom continue to silence the doubters on this Stanley Cup run and help lead the B’s to another victory? Puck drop for Game Four is scheduled for 8:00pm EST from St. Louis, Missouri tonight.

Bruins Post-Game Recap: SCF Game 2: St. Louis at Boston: 5/29/19

Alexander Steen of the St. Louis Blues mixes it up with Jake DeBrusk and Connor Clifton of the Boston Bruins during the second period in Game 1 of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on May 27, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: St. Louis Blues

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Backes

Johansson – Coyle – Heinen

Nordstrom – Kuraly – Acciari

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

St Louis’s Lineup

Forwards

Schwartz – Schenn – Tarasenko

Blais – O’Reilly – Perron

Fabbri – Bozak – Maroon

Barbashev – Sundqvist – Steen

Defense

Edmundson – Pietrangelo

Bouwmeester –  Parayko

Gunnarsson –  Bortuzzo

Goalies

Binnington

Allen

First Period

A game one win for the Bruins that had featured plenty of fireworks set up for an epic game two. David Backes got right into the fray after a bust game one, this time with Patrick Maroon just 2:04 in front of Tuukka Rask.

The first power play came following a Sammy Blais collision with Rask. Charlie Coyle made it hurt and scored 49 seconds into the power play. Coyle’s seventh of the playoffs was assisted by Jake DeBrusk (5) and David Pastrnak (9). Their power play struggled in game one, but set the tone early thanks to Coyle’s five-hole goal.

The Blues didn’t waste too much time before they responded off of a Robert Bortuzzo shot that snuck by Rask and in. The puck deflected off of Matt Grzelcyk before finding its way to the back of the net.

But wait, there’s more. Joakim Nordstrom buried one on the backhand. Another five-hole goal, Nordstrom’s third of the playoffs, was a product of Sean Kuraly’s fifth assist.

Yet another response goal came with around five minutes left. Rask made the save initially, as did Chara afterward, but Vladimir Tarasenko buried the third chance to tie the game at two.

Oskar Sundqvist went off for two minutes as a result of an iffy hit from behind on Matt Grzelcyk and a large scrum ensued. Grzlecyk left the ice and went to the locker room with the assistance of his teammates and Head Athletic Trainer Don DelNegro. The Bruins failed to convert on the power play before the end of the period.

The Blues outhit the Bruins 18-9 and outshot them 10-8. It was a rollercoaster of a period that ended in suspense as a result of the Grzelcyk injury.

Score: 2-2

Second Period

Tarasenko went to the locker room within the first minute of the period after sliding awkwardly into the boards with Nordstrom in pursuit — not what the Blues wanted. Grzekcyk was not on the Bruins bench to start the period.

In better news, Bill Belichick went out of his way to talk to Todd Angilly after he waved the banner before the game.

Connor Clifton was the first to head to the box in the second for interference with 16:26 to go. St. Louis didn’t convert. Backes is not messing around when it comes to getting amongst the physicality and tension with his former team.

Tarasenko returned to the Blues bench, Grzlecyk did not return to the Bruins bench. Similar to what happened between Clifton and Edmundson happened with DeBrusk and Edmundson, with DeBrusk on the receiving end and Edmundson going to the box for tripping. Edmundson also gave DeBrusk a stinger beforehand with a slash. No dice on the power play for the Bruins.

Zdeno Chara was not pleased with the effort level in the period, as the Bruins were getting outplayed.

The penalties kept coming, this time in the form of a Clifton high-sticking penalty on Tyler Bozak that drew blood. The Bruins had a double minor penalty to kill of before the end of the second period.

Nordstrom did his best Gregory Campbell impression on the power play, eating two huge shot blocks. Just past halfway into the extended St. Louis power play came a goaltender interference penalty against Jaden Schwartz, creating a 4-on-4.

Torey Krug found himself with his helmet off again, this time he was tangled up with Colton Parayko. In the final seconds, before the Bruins pulled the goalie with 1.2 seconds left, Krug was amongst a scrum in front of Jordan Binnington being an agitator. Known agitator Brad Marchand was doing his thing at the end of the period too.

The Blues advantages in the first two periods in hits and shots stayed true through the second. The hits were 15-10, and the shots were 14-6 in the period, bringing the totals to 33-19 and 24-14 respectively. The Bruins needed a response in the third period. The absence of Grzelcyk was hurting them, amongst other things.

Score: 2-2

Third Period

Grzelcyk was not on the bench for the third period either, leaving the Bruins shorthanded on the back end again. Also, Clifton blocked a shot with his forehead and Krug made a huge defensive play to stop a cross-crease chance.

The plays the Bruins were trying to make in the second period and into the third just weren’t very cohesive for the most part, and St. Louis was not letting up on them.

An opportunity for a momentum shift came in the form of a power play with 6:38 left in the period. Brayden Schenn helped snap Noel Acciari’s stick in the middle of a shot, along with the flex on the stick. Some chances came and went for the Bruins, but nothing concrete and the game remained tied.

A hectic end to the period followed and no one scored, leading to overtime.

Third period: Hits: 12-12, Shots: 9-9

Regulation: Hits: 45-31 St. Louis, Shots: 33-23 St. Louis

Score: 2-2

Overtime

Bad news came during the intermission and free hockey ensued.

The Blues had the Bruins pinned in their own zone for the large majority of the first three minutes. Shortly after Brandon Carlo drew a delayed call, a Carl Gunnarsson slapshot from the point beat Rask through an Alex Pietrangelo screen to end it. The Blues had four shots to zero for the Bruins and won thanks to their suffocating forecheck and zone pressure. Rask made 34 saves on 37 shots and was a huge reason as to why the game made it to overtime.

Game three in St. Louis is up next on Saturday at 8 PM ET. The Bruins will need to be much better going forward.

Final Score: 3-2 St. Louis

Kuraly Plays Key Role in Bruins’ Success

(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By: Carrie Salls | Check me out on Twitter @nittgrl73

Sean Kuraly did not score in the Bruins’ 4-0 Eastern Conference Championship-clinching game on Thursday. In fact, he recorded just one shot.

Although the fourth-line center did lead all Boston centers in the game with 18:16 of time on ice, only four fewer seconds than top TOI forward Brad Marchand, one of Kuraly’s biggest contributions to Thursday night’s win may have actually come from his play in the first few games of the series against the Carolina Hurricanes, namely game three.

According to a Tweet from Brian Messenger of NBC 10 Boston, Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy and his coaching staff used the play of Kuraly and the other fourth liners as a teaching tool for the team’s first line, frequently dubbed “The Perfection Line.”

The results of that coaching move were evident, as the first line returned to dominant form in the series clincher.

It’s not particularly surprising that Cassidy turned to the game tapes highlighting Kuraly and his linemates to provide some inspiration to first-line stars Patrice Bergeron, Marchand and David Pastrnak. The coach has long sung the praises of the ability of 26-year-old Dublin, Ohio, native Kuraly’s speed and his ability to get the puck out of the defensive zone and maintain possession.

Cassidy has also turned to Kuraly’s line on numerous occasions to start games, relying on the line’s high-energy, physical nature.

Throughout what is to date the Bruins’ most successful campaign since 2013, Kuraly’s teammates have recognized his skill and importance to the team, as well.

Of course, Kuraly is no stranger to the playoffs and big-game success. Most Bruins fans got their first real look at just what the former Miami University captain can do in high-stakes games when he burst onto the scene to score the game-tying goal and game-winner in the second overtime period of the first-round playoff game against the Ottawa Senators in April 2017.

Kuraly’s playoff success continued with four points in the 2017-2018 postseason, which ended when the Bruins lost in the division finals round to the Tampa Bay Lightning. So far in the team’s 2018-2019 playoff run, Kuraly has amassed five points, including two goals and three assists, despite the fact that he missed the first four games of the Toronto series while recovering from a broken hand suffered blocking a shot late in the regular season.

Some of number 52’s big-game magic was evident during the regular season this year too, highlighted by the game-winning goal scored against the Buffalo Sabres in the final game in 2018, the eventual game-winner scored in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at Notre Dame Stadium against the Chicago Blackhawks and a memorable three-point night against the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Jan. 12.

After coming back from the hand injury, it didn’t take long for Kuraly’s big-game presence to be felt in Game 7 against the Leafs, as he scored a crucial goal that gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead and seemed to turn the tide of momentum solidly in Boston’s favor.

In just his second full season as a Boston Bruin and still in the first year of a three-year contract signed in July 2018, Kuraly’s teammates and coaches, and Bruins fans, certainly have reason to be excited about Sean Kuraly’s non-stop energy and big-game prowess.