Bruins Post-Game Recap: ECF Game 2: Carolina at Boston: 5/12/19

5SPR6NJXUZGTBA6SDF7ELNNFPAPhoto Courtesy Of MassLive.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (9-5)

Away: Carolina Hurricanes (8-4)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Backes

Johansson-Coyle-Heinen

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Carolina’s Lineup

Forwards

Niederreiter-Staal-Williams

Svechnikov-Aho-Teravainen

Foegele-Wallmark-McGinn

Ferland-McKegg-Martinook

Defense

Slavin-Hamilton

Pesce-Faulk

Fleury-de Haan

Goalies

Mrazek

McElhinney

First Period

The game got off to a hard hitting start as Micheal Ferland had a big hit on Matt Grzelcyk in the early going. The Hurricanes had a solid start to the game with a few chances against Tuukka Rask but the goaltender stood tall. The Bruins had trouble in the opening minutes with turnovers but the Hurricanes were unable to take advantage. The Bruins began to find a rhythm in the offensive zone after a flurry of chances by the Bergeron line. The Hurricanes continued to be physical from the start as it seemed to be their game plan for Game 2.

Carolina would pick up the first power play of the game as Zdeno Chara went to the box for tripping with about eight minutes remaining in the period. The Bruins killed off the penalty despite the Hurricanes solid puck movement on the man advantage. After a slick feed from Marcus Johansson, Grzelcyk slipped a wrist shot past Petr Mrazek to give the Bruins the late first period lead.

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The Bruins seemed to get a jolt from the goal as they looked to be a lot more comfortable especially in their own zone. Boston would pick up their first power play late in the period as Justin Williams went to the box. Jake DeBrusk made it 2-0 just six seconds into the man advantage as he buried a rebound in front.

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Score: 2-0 Bruins

Second Period

The Bruins would go back to the penalty kill just over a minute into the second period as Patrice Bergeron was called for tripping. The B’s would kill off the penalty as the Hurricanes failed to muster much offensive zone time on the man advantage. Connor Clifton made it 3-0 Boston after another outstanding setup by Johansson just under four minutes into the middle period.

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The Bruins continued to push incredibly hard after the goal as they looked to impose their will. The Bruins continued to be very solid defensively as they didn’t allow Carolina to maintain an offensive rhythm as they looked to get back into the game. The Hurricanes continued to try to be physical towards the end of the second period but didn’t seem to be making much of a difference.

Chris Wagner was called for holding with just over six minutes left in the period as the Hurricanes looked to cut into the lead. The Bruins killed it off as Rask continued to have another strong game with a couple big stops during the man advantage. Boston would then go to the power play shortly after the kill as Williams was called for roughing. Grzelcyk made it two goals on the afternoon with a sweet backhand shot past Mrazek to make it 4-0 on the power play with about two minutes left in the period.

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Score: 4-0 Bruins

Third Period

Mrazek stayed in the net to start the third period in a slightly puzzling move but it was clear the Hurricanes were willing to roll the dice. Just over a minute into the period, David Backes stashed in a loose puck to give the Bruins a 5-0 lead.

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About a minute after the goal, Bergeron was called again for tripping as the Hurricanes tried to desperately stay in the game. The Bruins killed off the penalty once again with almost no resistance and on the ensuing rush, Danton Heinen scored off of a great feed from Bergeron to make it 6-0.

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Williams made it a five goal game with a nice deflection on a shot by Justin Faulk with under nine minutes to go.

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After a bad misplay by Rask, Teuvo Teravainen buried the loose puck to give Carolina something to be happy about going into Game 3.

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Final Score: 6-2 Bruins

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Grzelcyk. Perhaps the best player on the ice in this game, the young defenseman was everywhere and even took advantage of some scoring chances as he scored twice.

Second Star: Johansson. Another great game for the winger from Sweden who continues to potentially play his way into a new contract with the Bruins.

Third Star: Rask. While not incredibly busy, Tuukka was very solid especially when the game was still in the balance.

Bruins Post-Game Recap: ECSF Game 2: Columbus at Boston: 4/27/19

charlie-coyle-bruins-blue-jacketsPhoto Courtesy Of Sports Illustrated

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (5-3)

Away: Columbus Blue Jackets (4-1)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Heinen

Johansson-Coyle-Wagner

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Acciari

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Columbus’s Lineup

Forwards

Panarin-Dubois-Atkinson

Foligno-Duchene-Anderson

Texier-Wennberg-Bjorkstrand

Dubinsky-Jenner-Nash

Defense

Werenski-Jones

Kukan-Savard

Harrington-Clendening

Goalies

Bobrovsky

Korpisalo

First Period

Both teams got off to an energetic start especially the Bruins who threw their weight around with a few big hits. Neither team was able to get much of an attacking rhythm in the early going as not many shots were attempted. The Bruins would go to the power play with 13:31 left in the period as Josh Anderson went off for interference in front of the Boston net. Matt Grzelcyk found the back of the net over a minute into the man advantage to give the Bruins the lead.

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The Blue Jackets responded with a good shift which nearly resulted in them tying the game but the B’s defense remained strong. The game began to get a bit more physical especially after a battle in the corner in the Columbus end. The Bruins started to find an offensive rhythm with a few chances in the attacking zone but the score remained the same.

Columbus continued to have trouble generating scoring chances which resulted in them scrambling their forward lines to find some offense late in the period. A scrum behind the Boston goal after the period ended continued the physical tone the period had.

Score: 1-0 Bruins

Second Period

The Blue Jackets picked up a power play at the end of the period as Brad Marchand served his first penalty of the postseason. Artemi Panarin blasted home the tying goal on the man advantage just over a minute into the middle period.

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The Bruins answered right back with a goal less than a minute after the Panarin goal as Charlie Coyle banked a puck in off of David Pastrnak past Sergei Bobrovsky as the B’s regained the lead.

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The Blue Jackets responded once again with a solid shift in the Boston end following the go ahead goal. The B’s would go shorthanded again as Zdeno Chara was called for tripping Cam Atkinson with under 14 minutes left in the period. The Bruins caught a break while shorthanded as Anderson was guilty of a high stick on Sean Kuraly which resulted in a four on four. Panarin made it two goals on the night after a bad turnover in the defensive zone and the Blue Jackets tied the game once again.

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The Blue Jackets killed off the ensuing power play despite the Bruins moving the puck very effectively. The second period had a much more frenzied pace as both teams skated very well but the Bruins continued to have trouble with turnovers especially in the defensive zone.

Score: Tied 2-2

Third Period

The Bruins got some solid scoring chances in the opening moments of the final period but were unable to solve Bobrovsky for a third time. The B’s seemed to be the aggressor in early going of the third, generating sone pressure in the offensive zone. Shots were hard to come by and the Bruins continued to pass up scoring opportunities to make an extra pass. The B’s started to struggle in the defensive zone as Columbus brought some pressure toward the midway point of the period.

Atkinson went to the box with 9:12 to go for tripping as the B’s looked to get the lead back. Boston failed to get any momentum on the man advantage as they couldn’t even manage a shot on goal. A long run of continuous play yielded a few scoring chances for both teams but neither could find the back of the net going into the final moments of regulation. Tuukka Rask made a gigantic save on Nick Foligno in the final minute to preserve the tie going into overtime.

End of Regulation: Tied 2-2

Overtime

Rask robbed Foligno yet again in the opening minutes of overtime with a ridiculous glove save off of a two on one rush. The Bruins held much of the possession in the early going of the extra period but couldn’t find any great scoring chances. A crazy bounce nearly went past Bobrovsky for the winning goal but he made the glove save on the bounce just over six minutes gone in the overtime. A couple of huge saves by Bobrovsky on Patrice Bergeron kept the game tied.

Charlie McAvoy took a high sticking penalty about halfway through the overtime period as Columbus looked to tie the series with a goal on the man advantage. The Bruins killed off the penalty as the Blue Jackets failed to get any legitimate chances in the offensive zone. Bergeron again has a great chance late in the session but Bobrovsky made another huge stop.

First Overtime: Tied 2-2

Second Overtime

Rask made another big save after a bad turnover in the defensive zone just seconds into the second overtime off the stick of Boone Jenner. Bergeron was whistled for tripping in the opening minutes of the second overtime session as the Blue Jackets got another chance on the man advantage. Matt Duchene ended it with a rebound goal in front on the man advantage as Columbus evened the series.

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Final Score: 3-2 Blue Jackets

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Bobrovsky. The game’s best player made the biggest saves in Game 2 and was the main reason why the Blue Jackets evened the series.

Second Star: Panarin. The Russian winger was outstanding and tallied three points in the victory for Columbus.

Third Star: Rask. The Bruins goaltender kept them in the game with a couple big saves in the overtime sessions but ultimately came up a bit short.

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

usa_today_10746426.0Photo Courtesy Of SB Nation

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (49-23-9)

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

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak

Johansson-Coyle-Senyshyn

Blidh-Frederic-Backes

Heinen-Nordstrom-Kuhlman

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Clifton-Grzelcyk

Lauzon-Kampfer

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Tampa Bay’s Lineup

Forwards

Gourde-Stamkos-Kucherov

Palat-Johnson-Joseph

Killorn-Cirelli-Callahan

Erne-Martel-Miller

Defense

Coburn-Girardi

McDonagh-Cernak

Gaunce-Rutta

Goalies

Pasquale

Vasilevskiy

First Period

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

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

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

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

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Score: 2-0 Bruins

Second Period

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

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

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

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

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

Score: 3-2 Lightning

Third Period

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

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

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

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

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

Final Score: 6-3 Lightning

Three Stars Of The Regular Season

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

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

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

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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How to Treat Bruins Defensemen As Playoffs Approach

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 9.33.36 AM

Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/ USA TODAY Sports

By: Cam McCusker | Follow Me On Twitter @CSthinks

The Bruins have been hurt all year. You’d be hard pressed to recall a game in which their regular roster was 100% healthy. If you can in fact recall such a game off the top of your head, then you are likely someone with a strangely strong memory who would probably weird me out if we were to meet in person. The point is, these games have been few and far between.

No one position in the lineup has been immune to these injuries. The list of injured Bruins players includes… well, just about everyone. Big ups to David Krejci for not only staying healthy all year, but for staying positive when all his friends were licking their wounds and putting band-aids on their boo-boos.

But as we approach the playoffs, an area that draws significant focus in terms of game management and recovery for players is the defensive unit of the Bruins. The man-games lost to injury among Bruins defensemen alone has been astounding. So much so that I used the word astounding just now, and I took a vow to never use that word without just cause.

At the tail end of a pretty significant stretch of games where the Black and Gold have been undermanned at the defensive position, things are starting to look hopeful at the right time. Torey Krug, Matt Grzelcyk, and Kevan Miller are all rejoining the Bruins’ lineup within one week of each other. Undoubtedly, some rust is to be expected out of these three as they return (Krug only had 2 assists in his return from injury, yuck). But on the whole, the Bruins will be a much better and more well-rounded team with half of their regular defensive unit back in action.

A dilemma that Bruce Cassidy might be faced with, however, is how to treat the other half of the defensive unit. This would be the half that has helped keep the team afloat when a weaker team might have folded. This is the half that has been tasked with playing significant minutes in the absence of their compatriots, in order to minimize the amount of pressure and responsibility placed on the defenseman mitigate the negative affects of a beaten up D-core replete with AHL callus and press box regulars.   Specifically, it will be interesting to see how Cassidy will handle the playing time and workloads of Charlie McAvoy, Zdeno Chara, and perhaps most importantly Brandon Carlo over the final five regular season games.   Chara is 42, and despite being in remarkable physical condition, some rest might be crucial to entering the postseason in top form. Carlo has been solid all year long, yet went down in the later part of the regular season last year, and his absence was more than noticeable against Tampa Bay. McAvoy, despite being relatively healthy for at least the latter half of this season, has been tasked with shouldering the load as far as ice time is concerned, averaging around 23 minutes throughout each of his past five games.

 

Unfortunately, there McAvoy struggled in the third period of a game against Tampa Bay on March 25th, a result that could very well be linked to fatigue and overuse (McAvoy played nearly 27 minutes in that game).

All this to say, the balance between effective rest and harmful idleness is one that Cassidy will have to find for the three aforementioned D-men. Certainly any coach would like to rest the legs of those on whom he will have to rely in the playoffs (as well as protect them from injury), but it is important to keep them fresh and primed as the postseason approaches. This balance is one that is going to have to be found by calculating the right amount of minutes per night for each of the defensemen, as well as how many games they will actually dress for.

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 9.54.10 AM

Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/ USA TODAY Sports

What does coach Cam do?

If it were up to me (and it won’t be), I would play all 6 of my regular defensemen in the final game of the season. Sure, this game comes against Tampa, whose run-and-gun style is one that could potentially place some stress on the Bruins defensively. While this might factor into a potential decision to use the game as a rest for some of the B’s defensemen, I would leave them all in. Toronto is a lock for the Bruins as a first round matchup, and the closest thing that resembles the star-power the Bruins defensemen will be facing in the first round is the star power of Tampa’s forwards in Point, Kucherov, and Stamkos.

For the four games leading up to the (regular) season finale, I think it would be wise to play Miller, Grzelcyk, and Krug as much as possible. Conversely, Bruce Cassidy would be wise to allot 3 games to Chara, McAvoy, and Carlo as the season comes to a close. Apart from the final game, find two others for each defenseman to skate in, and have Connor Clifton and Steven Kampfer fill in as needed. If all goes well, maybe John Moore will even be healthy by the time playoffs roll around.

 

This is all speculation and opinion from someone who writes with more confidence than he ever played hockey with. But to me, it seems pretty clear that the Bruins D-core could benefit from some balance and rest as the season comes to a close, so that they are not decimated by injuries as was the case at the heartbreaking end of last season.

 

Don’t worry. I’ll have my guy talk to Butch. They text a lot.

 

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If You’re A Gambler, You Might Want To Bet On A Bruins Championship

Screen Shot 2019-03-22 at 4.28.07 PM

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images )

By: Cam McCusker | Follow Me On Twitter: @CSthinks

I don’t want to tell anyone how to spend their money. I am still just a few years removed from having a Velcro wallet (don’t make fun of it unless you’ve experienced its convenience and practicality first-hand). I’m the last person anyone should listen to for advice on what actions they might want to consider financially.

With that being said, here’s some financial advice for anyone who might be trying to make some money, and is willing to gamble to do so: put some money on the Bruins as soon as possible. Not on the next game, or the game after that, but on the outcome that they win the Stanley Cup.

Why?

The Bruins put away Toronto in the first round of last year’s playoffs, and were undermanned and too banged up to compete with a healthier and yes, more skilled Tampa Bay squad. At first glance, the road to the Stanley Cup Finals from the Eastern Conference again runs through Tampa Bay, a team that the Bruins would be slated to play in the second round of the postseason.

Screen Shot 2019-03-22 at 4.30.27 PM

( Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP )

Certainly, Tampa Bay is a better team this year. Go ahead and glance at the standings. It’s obnoxious how successful they have been. But with their success, comes serious opportunity not only for the Bruins but for those who might want a strong Stanley Cup pick with high value and serious capabilities of knocking off the Cup favorites.

Lost in the tomfoolery that has been the months-long highlight reel of a season the Lightning (Bolts? What do we call them these days?), is the fact that the Bruins have strung together an immensely impressive season. Like, “the next best record in the league” impressive.

A lot of people will look at the disparity between the point totals of Tampa and Boston (the next closest team), and fill in their Stanley Cup brackets early, in pen, with Tampa as the champs (I tried to think of a Tamp/Champ pun here…don’t try, there isn’t one).

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( Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/ USA TODAY Sports )

But I am not a lot of people. In fact, like most individuals, I am only one person. So as someone who has been able to track the successes of the Black and Gold this season, I’ve been able to note that they’ve been thriving despite ridiculous amounts of adversity.

Their top eight scorers have missed a combined 93 man-games. That comes out to more than 11 games per man, and this number would be even higher if not for the iron-man season that David Krejci has put together. Their top defensemen have missed a total of 136 man-games, which comes out to closely 20 missed games per defenseman. Their prized goaltender went down with a concussion midway through the season, and the Bruins needed to rely on the play of Jaroslav Halak (though it should be noted that he has been stellar this season).

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( Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire/Getty Images )

The Bruins’ lineup has been constantly in flux, with more than a dozen call-ups from Providence having joined the Bruins to serve as wads of gum plugging any proverbial holes in the lineup, while a more permanent fix had yet to be discovered.

Kevan Miller has been unable to stay healthy, which has forced a solid depth defenseman who brings toughness, leadership, and reliability to remain sidelined at times where the Bruins could have greatly benefitted from his play.

All this to say that the Boston Bruins have outperformed, in my opinion, all other teams, including Tampa, in the NHL. When taking into account the absurd amount of instability in their lineup, unparalleled susceptibility to the injury bug, and total man-games lost (not to mention how many of those man-games lost are those of key players), the B’s have rallied at the right times.

As things stand now, the Bruins appear to have outlasted most of their toughest times and are well on the road to total recovery in health in the next week or two. This leaves enough time for a completely healthy Bruins roster to find chemistry and togetherness just as the postseason rolls around. Not to mention, many of the players coming back from energy have saved themselves from the fatigue that accompanies the latter stages of each season. Fresh legs heading into the playoffs? Please and thank you.

While, yes, Tampa is a better team than they were last year, you are a fool if you don’t see the significant improvements in the Bruins’ team from last season. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak are all having career years in terms of points per game. For those who hate stats and don’t believe in numbers, these same players that make up the best line in hockey are also all one year hungrier.

Jake DeBrusk is hitting his stride at the right time of the season and has already significantly outscored his goal total from last year. We all remember what a hot DeBrusk looked like in the postseason last year. I could go for another helping.

The Bruins defensive unit and goaltending tandem, as a whole, are significantly deeper. The B’s no longer have to rely solely on the play of Tuukka Rask, as they have found themselves a safety net (who safeguards the net…anything?) in Halak’s play. If Rask falters, Bruce Cassidy has shown no issues with putting Halak between the pipes and letting him compete, something that has brought the best out of the bona fide NHL starter. Matt Grzelcyk’s play is head and shoulders ahead of where it was last year at this time, while a healthy Brandon Carlo improves a unit that has been rock-solid for the most part with his +17 rating, tops amongst Bruins defenseman.

If you want to see a healthy Bruins squad facing off against a healthy Tampa team looks like, then might I interest you in the 4-1 beatdown the B’s put on the Bolts on February 28th?

The B’s are slated to play the Lightning again in a few days. I would say it is a good measuring-stick game for them, but there’s no way to know if they will be fully healthy, especially given the horrible luck they’ve endured this season. Although it is worth noting that the Bruins have not lost a game in which Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson have both been on the ice.

 

So if you like money, making money, having money, or enduring ridiculously high-stress levels to maybe make some money, then put a few bucks on Butch’s boys. They are underestimated, hungry, and ripe with talent.

And to close, I will now make a horrible joke about lightning never striking in the same place twice, despite that expression’s total irrelevance to the National Hockey League. Congratulations on making it through that.

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 DeBrusk Returns To Lineup As Club Gets Healthy For Playoff Run

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( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images )

By: Cam McCusker | Follow Me On Twitter @CSthinks

Jake DeBrusk made his return to the Bruins’ lineup on Saturday after missing five games due to a lower-body injury he sustained against Carolina. An injury that, after sustaining, DeBrusk played with en route to scoring a goal and setting up the overtime winner with an incredible pass to linemate David Krejci.

 

Until Saturday, the Bruins had gone 2-3-0 since DeBrusk’s injury and had lost three straight entering their tilt against Columbus. This was the second time that the Black and Gold squared off against the Jackets in less than a week, and Columbus had handled the B’s in their matchup on March 12th, with Boston reeling from injuries.

In their first meeting, the Bruins went down 5-1 fairly early in the contest and, despite a solid push to even the score, ended up falling 7-4. While the game displayed the amount of compete that lives within the walls of the Boston locker room, it unfortunately also showed how shorthanded they were. Their weakened offensive punch failed to measure up to a healthy Columbus team.

Saturday’s game was a different story. While it was certainly a game that featured many fewer goals and better team defense and goaltending, the impact that DeBrusk made on the game was palpable.

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( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images )

The Obvious Benefits

Quite frankly, Jake The Snake rejoining the lineup is a horrible sign for teams in the East. Not only because he alone makes the Bruins lineup more effective in myriad ways, but because his return is the first domino to fall (or stand up again) in a series of key players on the Bruins that are coming back from injury.

DeBrusk’s return to the first powerplay unit not only adds skill and finishing to said unit, but it also moves a skilled player in Heinen back to the second powerplay unit, improving PP2 as well.

DeBrusk’s return to the second line moves players that play a more natural bottom-six role down to the third line, which makes the Bruins deeper throughout their entire middle six.

DeBrusk’s presence on the forecheck puts significant pressure on defensemen and eliminates their ability to beat him with skating. He shuts down the opponent and has a knack to aggressively hunts down pucks.

DeBrusk’s ability to stretch the ice with his own speed opens up the neutral zone for the Bruins and facilitates offensive-zone entries with possession.

DeBrusk’s ability to handle the puck down low extends offensive zone possession time and wears down the opposition. This lightens the load of the makeshift third line that will then likely be playing against worn down opponents, thus mitigating the possible negatives of players that are unfamiliar with one another. More time in the O-zone means more rest for the Bruins’ defensemen. This means fresher legs and better d-zone coverage.

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( Photo Credit: Elise Amendola/ AP )

The Pending Danger

Yep. DeBrusk brings a ton to the Bruins’ lineup when he’s playing at full capacity. Look at the tear he was on before he got injured. Look at his playoff performance against the Leafs last year. The kid is an absolute gamer, and you can see the intensity with which he approaches each game in the celebrations that, without fail, follow all of his goals. I would say he is made of pure energy, but there’s quite a bit of skill thrown in there as well.

So the obvious benefits of him being back are beyond beneficial (great alliteration by me, don’t mention it). But the tacit implications of his return to the lineup stretch much farther than his own individual impact on hockey games.

As DeBrusk was one of 6 Bruins to be sidelined with injuries diagnosed with short-term recovery periods, his resurgence only indicates that there is more firepower making its way back to the Black and Gold lineup. Accompanying DeBrusk are 2 more top-six forwards, in David Pastrnak (PastrBack? I’ll see myself out) and Marcus Johansson. While admittedly these two don’t carry the same weight in their respective impact on the Bruins attack, when the Bruins’ top two lines are healthy they are among the most effective in the league. In my opinion, they are the deepest top-six in the league when fully healthy.

 

But also in the current short-term injury crew are Kevan Miller, Matt Grzelcyk, and Torey Krug. In other words, a tough and reliable yet strong skating stay at home defenseman in Miller; an expectation-exceeding, smooth skating puck mover (Grz); a powerplay quarterback who makes a strong first pass (Krug). These three defensemen are all entities that have proven just how effective they can be to a healthy Bruins lineup. DeBrusk’s return from injury only signals that they are all that much closer to coming back themselves.

When the Bruins’ forward unit is whole, and their D-core is similarly healthy, then they are deep enough up front to bring it to the best in the league, and solid enough on the back end to stifle explosive offenses. We were able to see glimpses of the team’s potential against San Jose and Tampa Bay before the B’s got bit by the injury bug.

With the return of DeBrusk, comes the depth that the Bruins’ roster has not benefitted from in many years. Opponents haven’t needed to ready themselves for a Bruins team so well-rounded, and it’s my expectation that few teams, if any, will be able to adequately match up.

 

Simply put, DeReturn of DeBrusk is a big one for DeBruins.

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Pastrnak, Grzelcyk Among Other Returnees To Bruins Practice

david-pastrnak-010118-getty-ftrjpg_d8sgjt3htlw016pc8gyan44q9Photo Courtesy Of Sporting News

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced a bevy of updates at practice this morning, including the possible return of David Pastrnak who has been out since February 10th due to surgery on his injured thumb. The B’s have posted a record of 12-3-1 in his absence.

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Cassidy also announced that defenseman Torey Krug will travel with the team on their upcoming four game road trip after suffering an upper body injury during the B’s last road trip. Marcus Johansson and Matt Grzelcyk could potentially play on the road trip as well. Grzelcyk has been out for the last week after suffering an arm injury against the Penguins last Sunday night. Johansson has been out for the last two weeks since suffering a lung contusion against the Hurricanes on March 5th.

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Kevan Miller is unlikely to travel with the team this week and remains out since February 23rd. Tuukka Rask will start tomorrow night in New York when the Bruins face the Islanders. Cassidy expects Pastrnak to return to the first line when he comes back to the lineup. The B’s have been waiting to get healthy for nearly the entire season and today looked like a good sign that the team is getting close to being fully healthy.

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Spin Zone: The Bruins’ Injuries Might Be The Best Thing For Them

( Photo Credit: Winslow Towson/ USA TODAY Sports )

By: Cam McCusker | Follow Me On Twitter: @CSthinks

 

There are no typos in that title. I typed all of those words on purpose.

David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, Kevan Miller, Marcus Johansson, and most recently Matt Grzelcyk have been sidelined with injuries during the Bruins’ impressive stretch of hockey over the last month and a half. While thankfully none of these injuries are all that severe, they did leave the Bruins shorthanded.

Certainly, many human beings with brains will look at the short term impacts that these injuries have on the roster and say it made the Black and Gold a weaker team. To those people, I offer this: Duh. But as a Bruins homer and a semi-rationally-thinking hockey fan, these injuries have been a blessing. They are perfect injuries, and I love them.

“But Cam, tell us why! We want to know!”

Relax. I’m getting to that. Don’t interrupt me.

As I was saying, I am truly proud of the Bruins’ ability to get injured in just the right ways. When compared to the severity of injuries that Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug underwent in the tail end of last season, the Bruins’ have learned from their mistakes and are getting injured in a much smarter way.

All of the Bruins that have been injured in the last month or so have done so in a way that only sidelines them for at most a month. The use of the expression “at most” is misplaced here, but I really enjoy the expression. Obviously, David Pastrnak has been out for a month already so he might have singlehandedly (nice) voided the credibility of my use of the expression. But he’ll be back soon, so I’ll allow it.

Here are the three reasons why these injuries, to important pieces of the Bruins lineup, are crucial to the team’s playoff success.

1. Secondary Scoring/Depth

David Pastrnak’s injury in the second week of February effectively removed the Bruins’ leading scorer at the time. For a team that had been plagued by a lack of depth until recently, this loss might have seemed more grave at the time than it ended up being. Pastrnak’s absence (his Pastrnabsence, if you will) thrust the responsibility of scoring onto the rest of the lineup. And the rest of the B’s, since his injury, has not only added key deadline pieces to address their secondary scoring but have answered the bell and then some (see: ridiculous point streak). A team that can survive, and even thrive without debatably their most lethal offensive threat, will only be that much stronger when they get him back. Very nice (Borat voice).

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images )

2. Saving Legs

While the injuries come to key cogs in the machine that is the Bruins’ lineup, their ability to keep the machine running effectively in the absence of these cogs has been impressive. The aspect of so many key players being out for brief hiatuses is that despite being injured, they are also saving their legs for the playoff stretch. While some rust can certainly be expected from each Bruin upon their respective returns, they will have just enough time to dust off the cobwebs and get back to midseason form come postseason time.

The timing of this “rest” is auspicious given that it is coming in the dog days of the season when the Bruins begin a stretch where they essentially play every other day for a month. If the team can keep winning while some of your top dogs lick their wounds, then expect to win more when they rejoin the pack (I got really into dog metaphors for a minute).

3. Accountability

Undoubtedly, injuries bring added pressure to the regulars in the lineup, as they are subsequently tasked with shouldering the load that their fallen comrade might have been expected to carry. This is true of any team. But what Bruce Cassidy has done in the absence of Pastrnak, DeBrusk, Johansson, Miller, and now Grzelcyk has been interesting—he’s shortened the bench even more.

While the injuries to the aforementioned Bruins already shorten what would be a healthy bench, Cassidy went even further in a few games by sitting players like Peter Cehlarik, Charlie Coyle, and John Moore.  While none of them had been playing all that poorly, Cassidy sent a clear message that if players weren’t putting their best effort or product on the ice, then they were no longer going to see the ice. Fortunately, it seemed like these instances of Cassidy sitting guys down paid off, and the Bruins found ways to win with their shortened bench.

While there is certainly a school of thought that might scrutinize players having too short of a leash, Cassidy has proven time and again that he knows how to get the best out of his players. The heightened responsibility created by the Bruins injuries has placed many of the remaining healthy B’s under the microscope. The focus on their play in the absence of important players has only worked to make them more accountable as a unit and as individuals.

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images )

So there’s your spin zone. Obviously, most players will play better in the short term if their lungs aren’t bruised, or their hands aren’t broken, blah blah blah. And a healthy team will be better in the short term with healthier players. But in the case of the Bruins, I think it’s reasonable to expect that this most recent period of success combined with adversity will be looked back on as a turning point in the season.

All the teams in movies have one.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Florida: 3/7/19

(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Florida Panthers

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Heinen

Cehlarik – Krejci – Kuhlman

Nordstrom – Coyle – Backes

Kuraly – Acciari – Wagner

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Moore – Grzelcyk

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Florida’s Lineup

Forwards

Huberdeau – Barkov – Dadonov

Vatrano – Trocheck – Hoffman

Hunt – Sheahan – Brouwer

McGinn – Borgstrom – Hawryluk

Defense

Matheson –  Ekblad

Yandle – Weegar

Pysyk – Brown

Goalies

Luongo

Reimer

First Period

The Bruins came into this one with a point or more in their last 17 games. They looked to continue that streak against a struggling Panthers team. The big pre-game news was that Karson Kuhlman would sub in for Jake DeBrusk who is dealing with a lower-body injury. Not much really happened of significance early on until Matt Grzelcyk took a hooking penalty, but it ended with a fairly routine penalty kill for the Bruins.

It was a pretty cut-and-dry period all around. The shots were 10-9 Florida.

Score: 0-0

Second Period

Things got interesting early with a near goal by Brad Marchand, and a tripping penalty called on Brandon Carlo. Florida converted on an Aleksander Barkov tip to make it 1-0 early on in the power play. David Backes and Joakim Nordstrom nearly connected for the equalizer almost immediately afterward.

Misfortune continued for the Bruins when Jonathan Huberdeau scored early on in the power play that resulted from Zdeno Chara’s delay of game penalty. The goal was reviewed for a high stick, but the call on the ice stood.

A little more than halfway through the period, the Bruins finally found their way on to the scoreboard thanks to a really nice give-and-go between Danton Heinen and David Krejci. His 17th goal of the season was assisted by Heinen (16) and Backes (10).

Krejci stayed in the fray of things when he drew a high sticking penalty within the final two minutes of the period. The Panthers lead in shots again, 7-5 in the period, 17-14 overall, but the Bruins made some headway towards a comeback.

Score: 2-1 Florida

Third Period

Florida’s two goals on the night to this point came on the power play, and they got an opportunity for another when Chris Wagner went off for tripping. Their power play didn’t last long as Barkov went off for a trip of his own to make it 4-on-4. A Marchand breakaway highlighted the 4-on-4, but no one scored.

It was all about the penalties early on in the third as Torey Krug was the next culprit for hooking. Tuukka Rask made some huge saves on the penalty kill on some of Florida’s top players. Then, who else but Patrice Bergeron to even things up, and whilst shorthanded. 2-2 with around 11 minutes to go. Bergeron’s 24th of the season was assisted by Charlie McAvoy (15) and Marchand (51).

The tie didn’t last long as Huberdeau gave Florida the lead back with his second goal of the game.

Krejci drew yet another penalty in the last three minutes of regulation, giving the Bruins a huge opportunity to tie the game. With just around a minute to go, Rask was pulled for the extra attacker. That move proved fruitful as Matt Grzelcyk picked an ideal time to end his 48-game goal drought and tie the game. Marchand and McAvoy tallied their second points of the game on the assist of Grzelcyk’s second goal of the season.

Remember what I said about Bergeron? Oh yeah, he scored another clutch goal. Seven seconds left, puck on his stick, game over. This Bruins team is something else.

The point streak extends itself to 18 games. Brad Marchand’s third assist of the game was the lone one on the goal. The shots in the period were 14-7 Bruins, and 28-24 overall. Next up for the Bruins are the Ottawa Senators at home at 7 PM on Saturday.

Final Score: 4-3 Boston

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Here is What John Moore Means to the Bruins’ Success

( Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/ USA TODAY Sports )

By: Cam McCusker | Follow Me On Twitter @CSthinks

What might reasonably be forgotten or overlooked amidst the dominance with which the Boston Bruins have been playing as of late, is now riddled with injuries there roster was for a significant portion of the season. While the forward units have had battles of their own, this season has seen the ensemble of Bruins defensemen take more punishment than any other unit. Injuries to the majority of the Bruins top-7 defenseman have brought prospects like Connor Clifton, Jeremy Lauzon, and Urho Vaakanainen into the lineup for stints of their own. Steven Kampfer similarly played in more games (25) than many Bruins fans might have anticipated coming into the season.

The Bruins are not unique because of their struggles with injuries. In an 82-game season, you would be a fool to expect to throw out the same lineups every night for the duration of the season. Injuries happen to every team, almost always hurt. And, depending on where and how severely they strike, they can hurt A LOT.

( Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire/ Getty Images )

The potential disaster that looms when injuries to important pieces in the Bruins lineup occur has been countered effectively by two important factors—the Bruins’ depth, and skillful coaching. Here, I will focus on the former. Specifically, how John Moore’s presence among Bruins’ blueliners has been and will continue to be instrumental, and how it can easily be overlooked and underappreciated.

 

Big Credit to Me

First, let me state that I am amazingly refraining from using every corny Moore/more pun that comes into my head. Which is incredibly difficult for me, especially given that I am speaking to how an increased role (more responsibility) on Moore’s behalf alleviates a lot of the issues that the Bruins dealt with late in last season. This restraint from overusing the cheap relationship between “Moore” and “more” (woah, they sound the same but are spelled differently!) is incredibly impressive of me, many will say. But I don’t expect your praise. Just listen to my words.

Understated

John Moore’s signing in the offseason flew under the radar for most casual hockey fans. Sure, he’d been in the league a few years and is widely regarded as a “solid” defenseman—a proven entity who will neither make nor break your team’s success. His contract doesn’t break the bank, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a hockey-porn highlight video of coast-to-coast goals featuring Moore, so it registered as slightly less than newsworthy. But in the short (hopefully) examination of Moore’s game that follows, I’m hoping you can view his role like I do (Moore clearly, sorry), to understand just how big of a piece he is to the Black and Gold.

Wheels

John Moore does not play a complex style of hockey. To the lei-person, you might describe it as a “meat and potatoes” type of game. He keeps it simple, plays primarily North-South, and makes a good first pass. “Meat and potatoes” might be accurate, if you’re talking about meat and potatoes that can skate like the wind. John Moore’s biggest asset is his skating ability, something that is often overlooked due to his generally stay-at-home-iness.” I might Trademark that term, I’m not sure yet. It’s neither here nor there.

John Moore can fly. While he doesn’t possess the offensive skill set or playmaking ability of fellow blueliner Torey Krug or *insert all-star defensemen here*, he has the motor to play with significant pace, which helps the Bruins for a few reasons. Not only do Moore’s wheels help him fit in with a D core that has evolved in terms of their skating ability as a whole, but they afford him the freedom to jump up in the play as needed. Moore’s speed and hustle to get back quickly coming back to Boston’s own end allow him to play more creatively in the offensive zone, which has manifested itself through Moore making confident pinches and extending offensive zone time for the B’s.

He won’t rank among the Bruin’s most reliable puck movers, scorers, or tough guys. But John Moore plays with pace, grit, and speed. In today’s NHL and its massive emergence of speed and skill among forwards, it’s crucial to have as many defensive pieces as possible to match speed and eliminate it as a threat. I look at John Moore as a workingman’s Nick Leddy.

Depth/Health

Coming into the season, Moore was brought in to be an effective third-paring defenseman. His contract reflected the belief that the organization had in Moore to play solid minutes every night as a regular. As the season has progressed, Moore has, as of late, been looked to as the 7th defenseman. On nights where the D-core has been healthy, Moore has found himself out of the lineup. Fortunately for the Bruins, this is not a reflection of poor play on Moore’s behalf. In all honesty, this has come about due to the astounding development in the game of Matt Grzelcyk, who has not only played himself into the Bruins’ regular defensive unit but has earned himself some time on the second powerplay unit as well.

Having addressed that Moore’s status is not the result of any type of poor play, this presents itself as a great problem to have. A problem of too many good and healthy players is one that Don Sweeney and Bruce Cassidy would have killed to have last season, as their depleted defensive unit couldn’t stave off Tampa Bay’s offensive onslaught in the second round of the playoffs. When looking at Moore’s roughly $2.75M/year contract, I think most would agree the defensive depth and reliability is a resource that has proven to easily be worth $3 million, especially after seeing what Brandon Carlo’s absence did to the B’s playoff hopes.

Interestingly, as I mentioned earlier, almost all of the Bruins regular 7 defensemen have missed time this year due to injury. Among the least affected by the injury bug has been Moore himself. This has allowed the Cassidy’s Bruins to continue to field a bona fide 6-man defensive unit even when injuries have struck. Even now, the B’s find themselves down Kevan Miller for the foreseeable week or so—something that would be exponentially more troublesome if not for Moore’s steady hand and readiness on the back end. The best ability is availability, and Moore has it in spades.

Eating Minutes/Shots

In a category that is much less based in nuance, Moore’s average ice time is in the 19-minute range. By all accounts, this stat is completely unremarkable on its own. However, when it is factored into the equation (not an actual equation) that involves how much rest it provides top dogs like Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, and Zdeno Chara, it proves to be much more significant. Teams struggle when third-paring defenseman can only be counted on to play 12 solid minutes a night because it means that top-pairing defensemen will end up shouldering the load for at least 25 minutes. This type of even distribution that Moore can bring to the Bruins’ defense makes the unit more effective as a whole and counterbalances the negatives that fatigue can bring to many a D-core.

John Moore eats important minutes. Let’s call them his lunch. But what’s for dinner? Shots. John Moore soaks pucks. Despite having a set of tools that doesn’t extend much past his skating ability, John Moore is second among Bruins’ defensemen in blocked shots, with 72. For someone that skates as gracefully as Moore does, it’s encouraging to see him embrace the gritty side of things, which is something that Bruins fans love (see: Gregory Campbell). Moore’s willingness to put his body in harm’s way to prevent scoring chances, and doing so effectively, make him a staple on the Bruins’ penalty kill.

The Bruins’ currently hold one of the better penalty kills in the league and will need to continue to do so to get through offensive juggernauts in the East like Tampa and Toronto.

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What it Means?

For those who wished to skip the details of what John Moore means to this Bruins team, the three-word summary reads as follows: He is important.

Moore brings speed, depth, health, grit, and perhaps most importantly, he brings experience to a team that has its fair share of talented yet inexperienced players. All evidence points to John Moore’s continued unheralded contributions to a successful Bruins team. He won’t get recognized for it by most people.

But I don’t think he’ll care.

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