Game Preview: Boston Bruins vs Ottawa Senators

Image result for boston bruins vs ottawa senators

(Photo Credits: The Runner Sport)

By: Liz Rizzo| Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

The Boston Bruins are riding high and having fun, as witnessed by their recent stunning comeback win this past Thursday night against Florida. Tonight, the boys in Black and Gold are back at the TD Garden to face the ailing Ottawa Senators, who have been going though a rough patch, amid personnel issues.  On the flip side, Boston have come out on all four cylinders and are looking to extend their game-winning point streak to 19 games.

ROSTER UPDATES

Boston is coming off a dramatic  win over the Florida Panthers with both Matt Grzelcyk and Patrice Bergeron netting goals within seconds of each other late in the third period, making the final score 4-3. The Bruins are now second in both the division and league with a record of 41-17-9. If they win tonight, Boston will have a perfect homestead with a 6-0 record.

Earlier this morning, the team announced the recall of forward Lee Stempniak on an emergency basis. Jake DeBrusk, who has been nursing a lower-body injury, will be out of the lineup tonight: he remains day-to-day.  Marcus Johansson will also be out tonight, along with David Pastrnak and Kevan Miller.

Karson Kuhlman was recalled for that game and has now been assigned back down to Providence.  This morning’s rushes show Stempniak being slotted up on the second line with David Krejci and Joakim Nordstrom. Here were this morning’s practice lines:

Expect red-hot goaltender Tuukka Rask in net tonight and Jaroslav Halak in for tomorrow’s game. With the win against the Panthers, Rask extended his point streak to 18 games with a 15-0-3 record. He now ties with Pete Peeters as one of two goaltenders in NHL history with two career point streaks in 17 or more games. Rask has a record of 23-8-5 with a goals against average of 2.31 and a .921 save percentage.

Related image(Photo Credits: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The dynamic duo of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand has been explosive as of late and with  everyone else on the team contributing, the Bruins are closer to clinching a Playoff spot.  Marchand now leads the team with 53 assist and has 80 points.  David Krejci has also upped his game and is second behind Marchand with 41 assists. Defenseman Torey Krug also finds himself in third with 40 assists and 46 points. Another little footnote: defenseman John Moore will be playing his 500th career game tonight.

OTTAWA

The Senators are coming off a 4-2 loss against the New York Islanders this past Thursday. Ottawa is 1-9 in their last 10 games. Defenseman Thomas Chabot leads the team with 48 points and 35 assists. Left-winger Brady Tkachuk leads the team with 15 goals.

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(Photo Credits: Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press via AP)

Newly acquired forward Brian Gibbons offers a bight spot for the Senators as he has four points in his last five games, while Boston’s Marchand has nine points. Interim head coach Marc Crawford announced that Craig Anderson will be in goal tonight to face the Bruins.  Anderson is now 14-22-4 with a goals against average of 3.54 and a .903 save percentage.

Ottawa is last in the Atlantic Division posting a 23-39-6 record in 68 games and are last in the league with 52 points behind the Los Angeles Kings, who have 56 points. Boston has 91 points.

WHEN TO WATCH: Tonight with puck drop at 7:00 pm at the TD Garden, Boston

WHERE TO WATCH: NESN

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! 

Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com

Bruins Game 66 Preview: Carolina Hurricanes

Matt Grzelcyk, Cam Ward, Jaccob Slavin

PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo)

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

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

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

Starting Goaltenders:

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

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

Who’s Hot

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

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

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

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

Who’s Not

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

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

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

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

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

Carolina Hurricanes:

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

Bruins vs Hurricanes Outlook

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Jamie Kellner)

Power-Play Percentage:

BOS: 26.8% – 2nd in NHL

CAR: 17.6% – 21st in NHL

Penalty-Kill Percentage:

BOS: 81.3% – 11th in NHL

CAR: 81.6% – 9th in NHL

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

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!  

Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com

Bruins Marchand Continues Dominant Season With ‘Devilish’ Game vs. Devils

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

Brad Marchand has been with the Bruins organization since the 2009-2010 season, following being drafted 71st overall (3rd round) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. In that time, Marchand has not always been the point-producing scorer that we happen to know him as today.

Marchand started his career in the National Hockey League with only one point in twenty games during the ’09/’10 campaign but returned the following season with twenty-one goals and forty-one points in 77 regular season games. In his first six seasons, Marchand never amassed more than fifty-five points in a season, a mark that he reached back in 2011-12.

Within the 377 regular season games from 2009 to the end of the 2014-15 season, Marchand scored 116 goals and 112 assists for 228 points – not bad, but something that seems odd considering what Marchand has been doing for Boston in the past four seasons. Even at the time, it seemed like Marchand was capable of more because of his performance in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, helping the B’s hoist the Stanley Cup with 11-9-19 numbers – including two goals in Game 7 of the Finals against the Vancouver Canucks.

For Brad Marchand, the offence truly started to click 2015-16. The Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada native scored thirty-seven goals that season and a lot of that could be attributed to his chemistry with Patrice Bergeron that had been growing strong over the previous seasons. Bergeron, even to this day, is one of the biggest reasons for the success of Brad Marchand.

Following that 37-24-61 year, Marchand entered the contract negotiation phase of career. Back in September of 2012, Marchand signed a four-year, $18 million contract worth $4,500,000 per season. With one year remaining, Marchand agreed to an eight-year, $49 million deal worth $6,125,000 every season until 2024-2025. Taking a look back on that deal, I and many other hockey fans feel that he could have very well demanded into the eight million range on the skill alone, but the age factor and the love of Boston persuaded him to take a little bit of a pay cut.

Right after signing the contract, Marchand went on to explode for eighty-five points on the final year of the previous contract, proving to all the naysayers that he deserves that long-term commitment. The 2016-17 season was so good for him, that he made it into his first career NHL All-Star Game. The question came up of course though, could he continue that success into the future years or was it a one-time sort of event to hit that point mark?

Well last season, Marchand answered that question by matching that exact point total. While he failed to meet the goal total, Marchand tallied six more assists than the year prior, mainly due to the emergence of young superstar David Pastrnak on the Bruins first-line. It is also fair to note, however, that Marchand scored 34-51-85 numbers in only 68 games.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports Images)

That takes us to this season – the 2018-19 season. Brad Marchand started off the year on a slower pace than in the years prior but that could largely be because of the skill increase of Czech forward David Pastrnak. Pastrnak took the league by storm with his shooting capabilities and the scoring of Marchand kind of went under the radar by other NHL franchises, at least, the fanbases forgot about him.

With that said, Marchand is currently on pace for another career season. After sixty-four games, Marchy is averaging 1.19 points-per-game, currently the second-highest average of his career, behind last year’s effort. Marchand has only missed one game, leaving him the chance to hit 81 games played and with that 1.19 PPG average, Marchand can reach the 94-point mark and become the first Bruin since Marc Savard in 2006-07 (96) to hit ninety points in a single season.

Of course, Brad would have to finish off the season on this pace and avoid missing anymore time from injuries or suspensions. Even then, for him to hit a new career-high of 86 points, he would have to score ten points in the next eighteen games – very possible for Marchand.

He’s on pace to set a new career-high in points, so how exactly is Brad Marchand falling out of the mouths of opposing teams and fanbases, especially on social media platforms? Suspensions, or lack thereof rather. Over the past number of years, Marchand’s name has been on the news headlines for his in-game antics. The dirty hits, the spearing to the groin, and don’t remind me of the whole licking events. However this season, knowing that he may have received his final warning, Marchand has not yet been handed a suspension in the 2018-19 season. *knocks on wood*

Even if he fails to break or even match his personal point record, the fact that he has been able to consistently help the Boston Bruins win games and play well, then that is a win in my books and I’m sure, in a lot of your books as well.

On Saturday, Marchand played in his 666th career NHL regular season game, entering the contest with a combined total of 666 penalty minutes. Who did he happen to be playing against – the New Jersey Devils. I’ll let you put the pieces together from there. Regardless, Brad Marchand is on pace for a career season and without that, the Bruins may not be on a sixteen-game point streak and ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs. From here on out to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, we can only hope that Marchand’s season continues to build steam.

Marchand and the Bruins look to extend the point streak to seventeen games Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes in the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

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!  

-> Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com <- 

Bruins Post-Game Recap: New Jersey at Boston: 3/2/19

1321351_Devils_Bruins_Hockey_43376.-1024x688Photo Courtesy Of Kennebec Journal

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (38-17-9)

Away: New Jersey Devils (25-32-8)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Heinen

DeBrusk-Krejci-Johansson

Cehlarik-Coyle-Backes

Nordstrom-Acciari-Wagner

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Carlo-Krug

Grzelcyk-Moore

Goalies

Rask

Halak

New Jersey’s Lineup

Forwards

Bratt-Hischier-Stafford

Agostino-Zajac-Coleman

Pietela-McLeod-Lappin

Yakovlev-Rooney-Anderson

Defense

Greene-Severson

Vatanen-Carrick

Butcher-Santini

Goalies

Blackwood

Schneider

First Period

The Bruins picked up their first power play of the game just 2:23 in as they looked to get off to a fast start. Brad Marchand did just that with a man advantage strike just 14 seconds into the penalty after a great feed from Patrice Bergeron.

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The Bruins looked amped up to start as they manufactured a few scoring chances in the opening moments. Marchand made a great steal in the defensive zone and was hooked on his way to the net, resulting in a penalty shot which was denied by Mackenzie Blackwood.

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The Bruins continued to have solid shifts in the attacking zone which helped them gain an offensive rhythm in the opening period. The Devils found a little possession towards the midway point of the period but weren’t able to find many scoring opportunities. The Bruins third line continued their strong period with another good shift that nearly resulted in the lead being doubled.

The Devils responded with a good shift and got a power play after a slashing call to Brandon Carlo with three minutes left in the period. The Bruins killed off the penalty without yielding any shots and went to the room still up by a goal.

Score: 1-0 Bruins

Second Period

The Bruins picked up right where they left off in the second period with a couple of good shifts by the second and third lines. For the most part however, the B’s were held to the outside and didn’t get many great opportunities like they did in the first period. The Devils had much more possession in the second period but couldn’t do much with it as Tuukka Rask continued to have a quiet night in goal.

Rask made a huge stop on a two on one to keep it a one goal game as the Devils got their best chance of the game. The Devils would pick up their second power play of the game as Peter Cehlarik went to the box with under five minutes to go in the period. The B’s killed the penalty without giving up many significant scoring chances.

The Bruins started to get their legs back in the final moments of the second period as they looked to extend the slim lead. The third line again had a great shift by both Charlie Coyle and Cehlarik were denied in the final seconds of the period.

Score: 1-0 Bruins

Third Period

The fourth line of the Bruins opened the period with a hard, charging shift that nearly resulted in the lead being doubled but Blackwood continued to have a good night to keep it 1-0. The Devils responded with a solid shift but Rask made a big save on a shot from distance by Sami Vatanen to maintain the B’s lead. The Bruins continued their good defensive game with some nice stick play to prevent a couple of New Jersey odd man rushes.

The final period continued to move quickly as neither team found a lot of chances, although the Devils did get a couple chances about midway through the period but Rask denied Jesper Bratt and Drew Stafford in quick succession. The Bruins began to move their legs in the latter half of the final frame and got chances but were still unable to beat Blackwood.

The Devils pulled the goalie with about 1:30 to play, trying to tie the game desperately. The New Jersey rally ultimately fell short as the B’s picked up the win.

Final Score: 1-0 Bruins

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Rask. While not incredibly busy, Number 40 looked great in this one and made a couple huge stops as he earned his third shutout of the season.

Second Star: Marchand. In 666th game, Marchand was very solid as he found the back of the net for the only goal of the game.

Third Star: Coyle. The third liner had another good performance as his line continued their solid play as of late.

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!  

Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com

Why Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy Should Be In Conversation For Coach of the Year

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

The Boston Bruins have been on a roll lately and are currently on a 14 game point streak as of their February 28th matchup with the NHL’s best Tampa Bay Lightning. This team is feeling it right now, and season-long confidence from Bruce Cassidy and coaching staff has fueled this team to a top team in the league. Bruce Cassidy should be in the conversation with NHL’s elite coaches.

Bruce Cassidy’s Bruins have skyrocketed to the top of the Eastern Conference and the NHL’s overall standings. As of Thursday, they sit at 83 points which is second in the Atlantic Division, second in the Eastern Conference and Third place in the overall league standings. They even came in second in the NHL’s weekly power rankings. Just one point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs, every point down the stretch is still critical for Boston and their playoff positioning.

At the forefront of every good hockey team is obviously good players. But, accompanying high-end talent on the ice, is high-end talent behind the bench. The Bruins have that in Bruce Cassidy. Bruce Cassidy was hired as interim head coach on February 07, 2017 after the firing of Claude Julien who coached the Bruins for 10 seasons and is the winningest coach in Boston Bruins franchise history. He then became the 28th head coach on April 26, 2017.

Bruce Cassidy undoubtedly has big shoes to fill. Throughout extensive injuries last year and this year, the Bruins under Bruce Cassidy have the second best record in the league since he was hired in February of 2017. Bruce Cassidy is currently 105-44-22 in parts of 3 seasons in Boston. He just recently became the second fastest Bruins coach to reach 100 wins when his team defeated Chicago 6-3 on February 12, 2019. With 100 wins in 166 games, only Tom Johnson was quicker in the 1971-1972 season when it took him 138 games to get to 100.

It is evident that Bruce Cassidy’s system is working in Boston and in my opinion, has to be in the conversation for the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL’s Coach of the Year. They continue to win games, and his voice in the locker room is strong. Bruce Cassidy has lost many players for parts of this season to injuries like David Pastrnak, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask, and many others. As a result, he has shown a lot of confidence in the young players stepping into the lineup or into new line roles like Heinen, DeBrusk, Cehlarik, Kuhlman, Frederic, Vaakanainen and others. But despite these man-games lost, the Bruins are still climbing the NHL standings and solidifying their spot in the 2019 playoffs.

As the Bruins have battled their injuries this season, Cassidy has had to balance a lineup that has seen a lot of youngsters from Providence fill in for the injured B’s and has taken a lot of criticism for his line pairs. However, I think Cassidy has done his best with the lineup, and his system has worked. Thanks to their second-best powerplay percentage at 26.4%, strong leadership, experience, trade deadline help and consistent contribution up and down the lineup, the Bruins have emerged as a strong Stanley Cup contender from the East.

Wins speak volumes with whoever is in the lineup for the Bruins. Regardless of who has stepped in for Boston this season, the Bruins continue to win under Bruce Cassidy. Along with the likes of Bill Peters in Calgary, Barry Trotz with the Islanders and John Cooper with the Lightning, Bruce Cassidy has to be in the conversation for the Jack Adams Trophy as Coach 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!   

A “Nifty” Accomplishment For Bruins’ Marchand!

Image result for brad marchand san jose sharks(Photo Credit: The Mercury News)

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

When shorthanded, one pesky player on the Boston Bruins is now as sure-handed as ever. In fact, you could say no one’s “niftier” now than Brad Marchand:

With his 25th career shorthanded goal, which came against the San Jose Sharks at TD Garden on Tuesday, February 26th, Marchand tied recently retired-number honoree & Bruins HOF’er Rick “Nifty” Middleton for the all-time team lead in goals while a man down. It’s a record you don’t always think about when it comes to “points” in the game of hockey because of just how rare, and how hard, shorthanded goals are to come by. But in era where penalty killing is a top priority, there’s none better than No. 63 in Black N’ Gold.

As you can see from the tweet above, Marchand is not only in prestigious company when it comes to Bruins history, but also hockey history. His so-called “decade of dominance” (as just described) has put him among the most dangerous players on the ice no matter the time of game. But, as we’ve come to learn in Beantown, it’s especially true when the B’s are on the PK. To wit:

 

I remember sitting in section 303 in the top row for Game 3 of the Cup Finals back in ’11 when Marchand set the building ablaze with what could be the “niftiest” shorty in team history. Even then you knew that his ability with the puck shorthanded could put the fear in any opposing PP unit or goalie because if they weren’t careful, he was lighting the lamp at the other end of the ice for a 4-man celebratory scrum! The fact he continues to do that on a nightly basis–even if the numbers this year don’t quite match the highs of year’s previous–only proves that the pest joked about as being “a rat” may have a lot more of these highlight-reel goals in his nest.

Image result for brad marchand san jose sharks(Photo Credit: The Edwardsville Intelligencer)

To quote the highly-skilled and highly-respected B’s alumnus with whom he’ll soon pass for most shorthanded goals in team history, Mr. Middleton himself:

“When I got to Boston, I didn’t really understand the defensive side of the game… had to thank my coaches for that.

Then by the 80’s, I was the ‘go-to’ guy, playing 20-25 minutes a game — double shifts, the power play AND penalty killing.

Really, the only way I could have put up numbers like that was by getting the ice time.” — Rick Middleton on WAAF Radio, 8/6/18

So, if ice-time is any indicator of where Marchand could end up when all is said and done for his Bruins playing career–literally, a top line talent who plays in ALL game situations for the B’s just like Middleton did–then eclipsing No. 16 may not be the only accolade No. 63 will be remembered for.

For a guy his teammates call “Marchy,” that sure seems like a pretty “Nifty” accomplishment to me!

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! 

Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com 

Hooray For Hollywood… And The Bruins!

Related image(Photo Credit: NESN)

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

In the entertainment capital of the world, the Bruins put on quite a show (twice if you count Anaheim as Los Angeles like the Angels do). I was lucky enough to see it up close at the Staples Center in downtown La La Land, where the crowd was a near even split of Black N’ Gold versus Black N’ Gray — something Kings’ fans have gotten used to with a visiting team’s fanbase, especially one as well-traveled and passionate as Boston’s.

Speaking of travels, one new Bruin made it all the way to the Left Coast from Providence for his NHL debut against the sons of Gretzky. And that (young) man was Karson Kuhlman, proudly sporting No. 83 for the B’s. He looked right at home in his bespoked road sweater, and even in limited ice time, showed a lot of speed & puck-carrying skill when given any on-ice opportunity.

As for the rest of his teammates, who were coming off a boringly productive 3-0 win against the deftless Ducks just the night before, they took advantage of every bounce & break in a game that featured many maladies when it came to defense, puck possession and scoring chances — all aspects of play that are visibly more striking (and obvious) to witness when you’re in person observing it. Nevertheless, capitalizing on your first shot of the game and turning the home crowd into YOUR crowd were exactly what the Bruins needed to do in what was undoubtedly a less than regal effort for both teams.

Oh, and while on the subject of saves, all 18,000+ people in attendance — and probably a few dozen more if you count concessions in Premium Seating — were vocally in awe after what had to be the best two-pad stack ever seen in a Boston jersey since the Andy Moog years. And it came from the likes of Two U’s, Two K’s (and now Two Pads) Tuukka Rask, who truly bailed the B’s out a few times in this one and lived up to his then-trending hashtag #TuukkaTime!

To say folks were atwitter after the brilliantly flashy and timely athleticism of that crease creativity from Tuuks… well, that would be both accurate to the pun & point! Accuracy was also on full display in the waning moments of the game when, after some ill-advised puck movement behind the B’s net led to LA’s tying goal, Charlie McAvoy & Patrice Bergeron sealed the deal in dethroning the Kings with two lightning-quick strikes that kept everyone sporting B’s gear standing for the rest of the game, including this guy (and the nice couple from Connecticut next to him traveling to ALL the road-trip games in Cali then to Vegas).

There’s an old lyrical expression that perfectly sums up the B’s start to this important stretch of almost-Spring hockey: “Hollywood… Hooray for Hollywood! Where you’re terrific, if you’re even good.” And that’s all the Bruins needed to be–GOOD–against two Hollywood local opponents whose stars have faded and are closer to winning The Razzie than The Oscar this year. To end on another Tinseltown tune: “Do you know the way to San Jose?” The B’s sure do. Puck drops at the Shark Tank at 7pm PST!

Bruins Game 59 Preview: Los Angeles Kings

Kings_Bruins_Hockey_35056.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Winslow Townson / AP Photo)

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

Another day, another series of back-to-backs for the Boston Bruins. After a solid 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks last night in Anaheim to begin this five-game road trip, the Bruins now look to the Los Angeles Kings – the team they beat last Saturday in Boston. Boston’s four-game winning streak has given them a five-point cushion on the Montreal Canadiens and only one point behind the Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division standings.

The Los Angeles Kings were on a three-game winning streak before losing to Boston last week in overtime. Since the loss to the Bruins, the Kings have lost 6-4 to the Capitals and most recently, 4-3 in a shootout to the Vancouver Canucks. The Kings are tied for the second-worst record in the NHL with a 23-28-6 record for 52 points on the season.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 18-8-4 2.38 GAA .920 SV% Last Game: 23 Saves in 6-3 Win vs CHI

LAK: Jonathan Quick 11-14-5 3.09 GAA .899 SV% Last Game: 24 Saves in 4-3 SO Loss vs VAN

Who’s Hot

Tuukka Rask is back in goal for the Bruins after Jaroslav Halak picked up his fourth shutout of the season last night against the Ducks. Rask has had a solid month of February already, winning all four games that he has started in (WSH, NYI, LAK, CHI), only allowing eight goals in that stretch. Rask has earned a point in his last twelve games and his .920 save percentage is the eighth-best in the league.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

Tyler Toffoli is arguably one of the only good young players this season for the Kings and he has been solid for them in the last few games. Toffoli has five points (3-2-5) in his last five games and seven in his last six. The 26-year-old forward is fourth in scoring on the Kings roster with 12-15-27 numbers in 57 games in 2018-19.

Torey Krug is one of the best offensive defencemen in the NHL and this season, he is holding that title well. Krug is in the middle of a five-game point streak, scoring six points in that time span. Krug nearly had two assists in Friday’s win over Anaheim, but his assist was taken away when Carlo’s goal was changed to Acciari. Krug now has 5-36-41 numbers in 47 games for the B’s this year.

The fourth line of the Bruins was great against the Ducks, with Sean Kuraly finishing the night with a pair of assists, while Noel Acciari scored the first, and eventual game-winning goal, in the opening period. Chris Wagner also buried the final nail in the Ducks’ coffin in the empty net for his seventh goal of the year, tying a career-high. The fourth line of Boston is one of the hardest working lines on the roster and they always attack the puck on defence and forecheck.

Who’s Not

Jonathan Quick, like a lot of Kings players this season, is well off from a career year in net. Quick has lost his last three starts, including two games in a row where he allowed five or more goals (5 vs BOS on Feb. 9th and 6 vs WSH on Feb. 11th). The 33-year-old netminder has a sub-.900 save percentage and averages over three goals against per game when he is in between the pipes.

Joakim Nordstrom was one of the free agent signings by the Bruins last off-season, but the 26-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden native has only 5-2-7 numbers in 47 games this season and has not recorded a single point in his last fourteen games played. Somehow, Nordstrom has tied his point production for last season, but on this roster, the Bruins need him to produce more – even if he’s on the bottom-six for games.

Ilya Kovalchuk should be producing more than he has been and that is a cause for concern for the Kings management, who signed the Russian to a three-year deal worth just over $6 million per season. The 35-year-old winger has failed to score a point in his last four games and has 11-15-26 numbers in forty-seven games played this year. Kovalchuk has even been mentioned in trade rumours again, not even a full season after signing with Los Angeles.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

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

Los Angeles Kings:

  • F Dustin Brown is one point away (599) from 600 career NHL points
  • F Jeff Carter is three points (697) from 700 career NHL points
  • F Dustin Brown is three goals away (272) from tying Butch Goring (275) for 6th most goals in Kings history
  • F Dustin Brown is one power-play goal away (91) from tying Rob Blake (92) for 5th most power-play goals in Kings history
  • F Anze Kopitar is one game-winning goal away (47) from passing Dave Taylor (47) for sole possession of 3rd most GWG in Kings history

Bruins vs Kings Outlook

Having played each other only seven days ago, the Bruins and Kings are relatively familiar with the style of their games against one another. The Bruins managed to take a 5-4 win in overtime in their previous meeting this season, but Boston lost the lead twice in the game, something they cannot afford to do again tonight.

Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists the last time these two teams faced one another, while both Charlie McAvoy and Danton Heinen finished the night with two points each. The Bruins showed glimpses of high offence and that will need to be on display once again tonight. In the February 9th game, the B’s had a tough time making good, solid breakout passes and the Kings will be looking to capitalize more often tonight if it becomes a habit once again.

The Bruins have the second-best power-play in the NHL (26.7%) while the Kings have the fourth-worst at 15.4%. For the penalty-kill, Boston has killed off 80.7% of their penalties, the fourteenth-best in the league. L.A. has the second-worst PK in the National Hockey League, sitting around 75.6%. Los Angeles has also scored the second-least amount of total goals, ahead of only the Anaheim Ducks, who the Bruins shutout last night.

John Moore and David Backes are out of the lineup tonight while Matt Grzelcyk makes his return after recovering from a lower-body injury and forward Karson Kuhlman makes his NHL debut in replace of Backes. Puck drop is scheduled for 10:30pm EST in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

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Bruins Game 58 Preview: Anaheim Ducks

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

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

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

Starting Goaltenders:

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

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

Who’s Hot

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

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

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

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

Who’s Not

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

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

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

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

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

Anaheim Ducks:

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

Bruins vs Ducks Outlook

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

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

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

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

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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Happy Valentine’s Day from the Boston Bruins!

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

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

Will you “B” my Valentine?

That’s what many are asking on this heart-filled February 14th. And for the Boston Bruins and their Black N’ Gold fans, there’s a lot of love to go around right now. From the team’s 3-game winning streak, to its 8-game point streak, to Tuukka Rask’s very own personal point streak…

…it seems everyone’s buying in — and pitching in — to what Bruce Cassidy and management want to see from this team (as currently constituted): more speed, more toughness & more scoring, especially from the young guns. And considering how everyone responded versus the Blackhawks in a secondary goal-filled 6-3 win on TD Garden ice this week, it’s probably safe to say the B’s, like their Valentine’s Day cards, are all smiles right now:

But you know what else would “Tuukka my breath away” for the B’s? Making the most of this weekend’s West Coast schedule, in particular the two back-to-back (“I love you to the moon and Backes?”) games against the cellar dwellers of the Pacific, the Ducks (no longer Mighty in any way, shape or form) and Kings (quite dethroned if you ask me). Those are 4 points screaming to be won!

And with Montreal hot on the Bruins’ heels and Toronto less than a five-for-fighting glove hand away in the standings, “these points are at a premium” to quote one of the B’s best analysts Mr. Andy “Brick” Brickley (who, alongside his play-by-play partner Jack Edwards was featured over the Summer in a special “Men Behind the Mic” article on this very blog).

If the Bruins are to make the most of their match-ups against Anaheim & Los Angeles, they’ll need to continue getting contributions from not only the Bergy’s and Marchy’s and Big Z’s of the team, but also the likes of *Jake Debrusk, *Danton Heinen and perhaps even the newly called-up *Karson Kuhlman (can we get the nickname “Special K” started already?), who’s been quite the site for sore scoring eyes in Providence lately.

***[If you click on the hyperlinks above, you can catch up on some great profile pieces from fellow BN’G writers on how these players could be hitting their strides at just the right time for the Bruins]

No matter who steps up, though, the B’s will be in a good place if they spread out the contributions and talent — be them winning 6-3 with prolific scoring or 2-1 with prolific defense & stout goaltending. It will also be a picture-perfect way to gauge just how needed a trade is ahead of the February 25th deadline and what type of player, be it an elite center/winger or a more established role-player, the B’s should bring in.

Like I mentioned earlier, there’s a lot to love about your Boston Bruins this Valentine’s Day. Or, in the wily whimsical words of Brad Marchand:

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!  

https://www.seatgiant.com/Boston-Bruins