How Last Season’s Deadline Changes Sweeney’s Approach?​

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( Photo credit: Steven Senne / Associated Press )

By: Ian Frazier | Follow me on Twitter @ifrazier95

As most Bruins fans know, the deadline for NHL season is always an interesting time for the black and gold. Many players have been traded for and never panned out like Andrej Meszároš or the infamous Zach Rinaldo, both of which were quick experiments that failed to deliver any results. As more trade deadlines came and went, Bruins fans started to wonder if there was a repeated pattern of trading for non-impact level players as well as swinging and missing out on some bigger names they have been linked to.

During the 2019 season, however, that all changed. During the week of the trade deadline at the end of February, the Bruins traded prospect Ryan Donato to the Minnesota Wild for Charlie Coyle, a player who hasn’t really lived up to his potential in Minnesota. Many Bruins fans at the time questioned the move as they seemed to surround themselves in the hype that was Ryan Donato. They ultimately in the short term were proven right as Donato would go on a mini point streak with the Wild and Charlie Coyle looked invisible on the ice.

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Then on deadline day, the Bruins acquired Marcus Johansson from the New Jersey Devils for a second-round pick in the 2019 draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft. Many Bruins fans were puzzled with this one as many saw that JoJo (Johansson’s nickname) was injury prone and also was on the receiving end of a controversial hit involving Brad Marchand earlier in the season that sidelined him for a while. After playing a couple games with the Bruins, JoJo got hurt and was sidelined again for a bit which left fans wondering was giving up two draft picks at the time worth it for what possibly was going to be a rental?

As the Bruins punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup playoffs, they were eager to go on a deep run with this core and believed they had the depth to do it. All of a sudden, Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson were a dynamic duo helping the Bruins redefine their offensive attack with a now solid third line! As the playoffs rolled along, the two additions quickly became fan favorites as they contributed to most of the team’s scoring output when the top line had a bad night or a bad shift. Head coach Bruce Cassidy finally had multiple lines up and down the roster that he could roll out and go on a deep run with and that’s exactly what the Bruins did.

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While the Bruins didn’t capture the ultimate prize at the end, the trades of Coyle and Johansson provided a much-needed jolt of offense that was critical to reaching game seven of the Stanley Cup final. Knowing how well their trades worked and how far the Bruins went general manager, Don Sweeney has to be feeling pretty good knowing he traded for a rental that brought them within sixty minutes of a title and a nice depth piece in Coyle who is versatile and still under contract for the 2019-2020 season. Sweeney always has the team’s best interest in mind and would be willing to stand pat or make trades as needed to improve the lineup. Knowing Sweeney struck gold at this past trade deadline as well as being awarded GM of the year, expect Sweeney to enter next season’s trade deadline with a different attitude which maybe could land the next big thing in Boston, who knows?

Did the Bruins Give up on Ryan Donato too Early?

NHL: MAR 19 Blue Jackets at Bruins

(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @lucaspearson_

With the trading frenzy over, one of the Bruins’ new toys is Weymouth native Charlie Coyle. Now without getting too into the trade, I think the Coyle is a good fit with the Bruins; he checks a lot of boxes that Boston needs. He can play center and wing, he plays a heavy game, he’s still young at 26 and on a good contract for another year. Getting a quality player like Coyle comes with a price, and that price for the Bruins ended up being the young Ryan Donato.

Now while I like the acquisition of Coyle, I don’t like how early they gave up on Ryan Donato. Obviously, he’s far from a perfect player, but I really think he has what it takes to be a successful forward in the NHL.

Ryan Donato - Ryan Donato goes back to school after standout performance at Winter Games – what a difference a few days make

(Getty Images)

Donato has clearly shown what he can do when he’s on his game. In the 2018 Winter Olympics, the 2014 2nd rounder averaged a goal-per-game in the five games he played overseas. In college, he was an incredible player and ended up being a Hobey Baker nominee at Harvard. Even in his first 12 games in the NHL, he had 5 goals and 9 points. Not too shabby.

Entering his first full season in the pros, there was a lot expected of Donato. Coming off of a year full of accomplishments, the 22-year-old did not impress. After 11 games and just one goal, Donato was sent down to Providence.

After his month stint in the AHL, Donato was recalled, and it was clear the time in the minors helped him. He was a lot stronger on the puck, and his confidence started to emerge yet again. He was still inconsistent but still, put together a string of really good games. In the end, the Bruins front-office decided it was more beneficial for Donato to continue his growth in the AHL.

GOLD STAR:

(Credit-nbcsports.com/boston/bruins)

In Boston, Donato really never had a real shot to prove himself. Earlier in the season when the B’s needed some more depth scoring, I brought up the idea to split up the first line and put either Danton Heinen or Donato for a chance to showcase their skills with two. After a great rookie season, Heinen struggled to find the score sheet earlier this year. Similar to Donato, Heinen was still playing solid hockey (notably a better two-way game), but nothing was working for him. Much of that can be attributed to the revolving door of 3rd liners he was playing with. 

Obviously, the Bruins ended up giving Heinen a shot on the 1st line, and the experiment ended up being a great idea. Heinen has now found his game and (before his injury) Pastrnak elevated the 2nd line’s play; the Bs started to look like a real force in the league again.

Speaking of Pastrnak, he’s another player that followed similar footsteps as Donato had. Pastrnak’s first two seasons were filled with inconsistencies. There was no questioning his skill, but he was really shaky defensively and clearly needed to get a lot stronger. In the 2016 offseason, his second offseason with the Bruins, Pasta bulked up and definitely grew as a player. The next season, he got his chance with Bergeron and Marchand on the top line, and we all know how that ended up working out.

Nov 25, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Boston Bruins center Frank Vatrano (72) celebrates is game winning overtime goal against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Boston won 2-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Another player I tend to compare Donato to is former Bruin, Frank Vatrano. He’s another local kid that plays a very similar style. The two are both relatively small, agile players that rely on their great shot to elevate their game. Now Vatrano wasn’t a great Bruin by any means, but similar to Donato, he showed a ton of potential. In the AHL he scored 36 goals in just as many games in the 2015-16 season. Last year, after a tough start with the Bruins, Vatrano was traded to the Florida Panthers for a 3rd round pick. Now that he’s gotten a legitimate shot with legitimate linemates, Vatrano has a chance to hit the 30 goal mark this year.

Prospects TAKE TIME. Not every 21-year-old is going to light up the league in his first full season. Last season at around this time, everyone was clambering over how amazing Ryan Donato was going to be. Now that he hasn’t blown anyone away in his first true season with the big club, he gets traded. The kid is still only 22 years old. I’m not saying he would’ve been a 40 goal scorer just because he got a chance on the top line, but it was definitely worth a shot this season, or even next year after he gets stronger and grows as a player even more over the offseason. Maybe Donato never fit into the Bruin’s future, but at the end of the day, trading him now is NOT capitalizing on his value. The Bruins just gave up too early on him.

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Bruins Acquire Wild Forward Charlie Coyle

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By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

On Wednesday evening, the Bruins acquired Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle in exchange for Ryan Donato and a fifth round draft choice in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

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Coyle is in his seventh NHL season and has spent his entire career with the Wild. The 26-year-old has skated in 60 games this season, totaling ten goals and 18 assists for 28 points. The East Weymouth, Massachusetts native was originally drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the first round (28th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Donato meanwhile had skated in 46 career games with the Bruins, posting 11 goals and seven assists over the parts of the last two seasons. His most recent game with Boston came on January 17th before being sent down to Providence. The 22-year-old was drafted by the Bruins in the second round (56th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

The Bruins make this move five days prior to the trade deadline and Coyle will likely join the team in the next few days and should be available to play on Saturday in St. Louis when the Bruins face the Blues. Don’t expect Don Sweeney to be done dealing as the Bruins still have some needs as the deadline draws nearer.

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Bruins Cannot Afford To Make A Panic Move At The Deadline

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( Photo Credit: Aram Boghosian / Boston Globe )

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

We’re now just about two long weeks away from the NHL Trade Deadline, and after a bit of a turbulent week on the ice for the Bruins, the airwaves of Twitter and radio have been calling for some action on the trade front.

Hypothetical packages for the be-all-end-all trade target, Artemi Panarin, and “#WeWantWayne [Simmonds]” have been strewn all about the internet. Heck, names like Ryan Dzingel have been tossed out there as well. We’re even back to talking about Jeff Carter for some reason (take a look at that contract, woof).

The issue with all three players mentioned above is that they are all unrestricted free agents come July 1 along with the believed asking prices, that’s not even mentioning Kevin Hayes, Mark Stone, or Matt Duchene.

Look, don’t get me wrong, if the Bruins could snag a top-six winger or third line center who would be here for more than a few months without giving up a ridiculous package, then go make that deal. Even Bruce Cassidy daydreams about acquiring a scorer:

However, let’s not go around here ready to mortgage the farm to maybe be marginally good enough to take on Tampa Bay in a playoff series.

On the other hand, I understand that Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, and especially Zdeno Chara are not getting any younger, and you don’t get continuous kicks at the can–age could catch up to someone, and there’s the possibility of retirement (Chara).

Looking at the Bruins as a whole, one minute, this team plays as good as any other team in hockey. The next? It looks a lot like the same mediocre, bang-your-head-off -the-wall type of play that caused them to miss the playoffs two-straight seasons in 2014-15 and 2015-16. The footage from Saturday’s win over the lowly Los Angeles Kings is exactly what comes to mind after giving that description of the team’s performance of late:

If you’re Don Sweeney and the rest of the Bruins’ brass in the front office, you’re in a sticky situation. Like I said, you have one side of the argument that looks at the Bruins’ situation with the mindset that Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand, and Chara are all on the wrong side of the age bracket, and that they deserve one more shot at Lord Stanley.

On the other hand, the Bruins have plenty of young talent–Ryan Donato, Trent Frederic, Danton Heinen, Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen, and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, to name a few–that makes the future seem bright, disappointing seasons aside.

For the Bruins in both the short-term and long-term, Don Sweeney cannot afford to make a deal in haste. A “panic” move that could mortgage the future for a rental or player who does not put the team over the top would be devastating to the team’s long-term plans and short-term success.

Not to mention the fact that selling low on struggling young talent (Heinen, JFK, and Donato) is as risky as it gets. While it may not be clicking right now for those three, it does not automatically mean that they’re “done” or “never going to make it.” We’ve watched it happen before where a seemingly lost young player gets dealt then pans out (see Seguin, Tyler–not to say either of those guys is the next Seguin).

Also, it was well-documented that Don Sweeney was not thrilled at all about being without his first round pick at least year’s draft, and he would be wise to keep it under lock and key.

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Giving up a plethora of young players or picks for a rental only to watch the Bruins fail to make it deep in the playoffs while the prospects that were traded away pan out would be a horrific look for management. A move like that would leave the Bruins with an outlook on the future that is much less favorable than it is now.

If the right deal presents itself, then I trust Don Sweeney to make that move. I say “right deal” as in a move that can give the Bruins a solid chance at actually contending this year when the playoffs roll around without giving up an outrageous amount to acquire said player.

Careful thought and patience from Sweeney (yes, more of it) is going to have to be the key when considering potential trades come February 25th.

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 18 Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

The Providence Bruins come into the weekend 24-16-6-1 (55 points) and 8-0-1-1 in their last 10 games this is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Baby B’s are currently riding an 11-game point streak which has seen them go 9-0-1-1. This has catapulted them from near the bottom of the conference to right in the thick of things in the playoff picture. This weekend proves to be another tough test for our boys in black and gold. They have three games this weekend, and the two teams they play against are both ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings.

The weekend action all starts on Friday, February 8, 2019, with a return home when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers invade the Dunk. The weekend continues Saturday, February 9, 2019, when the Bruins return the favor traveling to Bridgeport, Connecticut to take on the home team Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena. Finally, the exciting weekend wraps up with some more home cooking as the Syracuse Crunch make their first trip to the Dunkin Donuts Center on Sunday, February 10, 2019. These are going to be three games you do not want to miss.

Friday, February 8, 2019 (HOME) and Saturday, February 9, 2019 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

The weekend home and home series will mark the either and ninth time that these two teams have met, and all the games have been closely contested games with five of the seven games going to overtime or shoot-out. The first game of the season series saw the Sound Tigers beat the Bruins 4-3 in overtime with the spoked P getting goals from the recently departed Colby Cave (2), and Jakub Zboril with goalie Dan Vladar playing well turning away 30 of 34 shots he faced. The next meeting saw the Providence club win 5-2 getting goals from Cameron Hughes, Colby Cave, Trent Frederic (2), and the now departed Jan Kovar. Goalie Zane McIntyre looked good in net stopping 25 of the 27 shots he faced.

The third meeting between the two clubs saw Providence breakout offensively winning 6-1 getting goals from Cameron Hughes (3), Zach Senyshyn (2), and Trent Frederic. In net, Dan Vladar was superb stopping 28 of the 29 shots fired his way. The next three meetings the Eastern Conference foes would play ended up going to overtime. The first of those ended up going the Sound Tigers’ way 5-4 with the Bruins getting goals from Jan Kovar, Anton Blidh, Jakub Zboril, and Ryan Donato. Zane McIntyre was in net for the contest, and he was a little off his game stopping 20 of the 25 shots that were fired his way.

The next meeting between the two teams had the puck bounce the Bruins way as they won 2-1 in overtime getting goals from Wiley Sherman, and Ryan Fitzgerald (OT). Goalie Dan Vladar was excellent in net stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced. The sixth game of the season series saw the Baby B’s fell in overtime 4-3 getting goals from Anton Blidh, Peter Cehlarik, and Kyle Cumiskey with goalie Dan Vladar stopping 13 of 17 shots he faced. Most recently, the Bruins fell 4-3 in a shoot-out getting goals from Jordan Szwarz, Mark McNeill, and Zach Senyshyn while goalie Dan Vladar stopped 12 of the 15 shots that came his way. It’s been a crazy season series thus far, and I would look for it to continue that way.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers come into the game 26-17-4-2 (58 points) and 4-6 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold have had an up and down season against the Islanders’ affiliate this year going 3-0-3-1. However, over the past five years, the Baby B’s have seen success against the Bridgeport club going 23-16-5-3. This bodes well for the weekend series despite having more success at home than on the road. Major keys to this game will be special teams and getting a keeping a lead early.

The Sound Tigers have the eighth-ranked power play in the Atlantic Division, and 13th ranked in the Eastern Conference at 17.4%. Meanwhile, the Islanders’ affiliate has the fifth-ranked penalty kill in the Atlantic Division, and ninth-ranked in the Eastern Conference at 81.0% On the flip-side the Providence Bruins boast the second-best power play in the Atlantic Division and the fifth-best in the Eastern Conference at 20.1%. Their penalty kill is even stronger ranked second-best in the Atlantic Division as well as second-best in the Eastern Conference at 86.6%. In terms of grabbing an early lead and keeping it, the Sound Tigers are 13-3-2-1 when leading after the first period and 13-2-3-2 when leading after two. The Baby B’s are 11-5-2 when leading after one, and 18-3-2-1 when leading after two. It should be a closely contested home and home series with the two clubs.

Sunday, February 10, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Syracuse Crunch (HOME)

The Sunday afternoon contest marks the first time these two teams have played each other this season. The Crunch come into the game 28-13-2-1 (59 points) and 7-2-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the North Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. Over the past five seasons, the two teams have not played each other much because they are in different divisions, but the Bruins have a record of 1-3 against the Crunch in that time frame. Something that does bode well is that they are 1-1 at home in that time frame. Also, the Lightning affiliate is 10-8-2 on the road this season which is much worse than their home record of 17-5-0-1.

The Syracuse Crunch score a lot of goals. It is going to take a total team effort defensively to keep them off the score-sheet, and team defense is going to be a major key for the Bruins if they want to win. Despite only playing 44 games the Tampa Bay affiliate has scored 166 goals. That’s an eye-popping 3.77 goals a game. Luckily, for the Baby B’s they boast one of the best defenses in the Eastern Conference giving up 132 goals in 47 games played which is 2.80 goals a game. Another reason why I said it would take team defense to beat the Crunch is that you can’t stop just one guy or even one line from scoring and be okay. They have nine players with a point per game total of at least 0.71 and six of those players have at least 30 points on the year. It should be an exciting game from the Dunk.

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins

Hot

Ryan Donato: Donato was sent down to Providence early last week before the team’s two games against Charlotte. The young winger promptly scored a goal and got an assist in his first game back. The former Harvard University forward has registered a point in six of his last nine games with Providence with stats of 6-4-10. He did have a stint in Boston mixed in there but has been excellent for the Baby B’s when with the club. In 12 games he has netted six goals and dished out five assists. That is a point per game total of 0.92 which is very close to his NCAA days of 1.07 (60-44-104 in 97 games played).

Paul Carey: The veteran forward has been excellent for the Providence Bruins since being acquired from the Senators in mid-January. Over his last five games he has netted four goals and tallied two assists, and in nine games with the Baby B’s he has a point per game total of 1.00 (5-4-9). Overall on the season the former Boston College Eagle and two-time NCAA champion has a point per game total of 0.93 (5-22-27 in 29 games). This is significantly better than his college days of 0.59 (45-41-86 in 147 games played).

Not

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson: The young forward was also sent down to Providence at the same time Ryan Donato was early last week. The former Boston University Terrier did register an assist in his second game back in the AHL but has not registered a goal in his last nine games with the Baby B’s and has only dished out three assists in that time frame. Forsbacka Karlsson was someone who the Bruins had hoped would take a big step forward this year, and thus far it’s been less than inspiring. On the year he has a point per game total of 0.41 (1-4-5 in 12 games). This is much less than his NCAA days of 0.81 (24-39-63 in 78 games played).

Jordan SzwarzThe Bruins’ Captain hasn’t registered a goal since January 19, 2019. That is a five-game goal-less streak. He has dished out three assists in that time frame, but the Baby B’s need him to start scoring more goals if they want to continue their hot streak. On the year the OHL product has a point per game total of 0.60 (14-10-24 in 40 games played). This is higher than his AHL career of 0.59 (104-134-238 in 404 games played) but is lower than his OHL days of 0.78 (82-122-204 in 262 games played).

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Cameron Hughes: Hughes has had a good first full season thus far for Providence. The former University of Wisconsin Captain has a point per game total of 0.55 (11-15-26 in 47 games played) and has been especially good against Bridgeport this season. In seven games against the Islanders’ affiliate, the young forward has potted four goals while dishing out three assists for seven total points. That means a little more than a quarter of his point total has come against the Sound Tigers. Look for him to have a big weekend.

On the Blue Line

Kyle Cumiskey: The veteran defenseman has played well for the Baby B’s this season. Cumiskey has a point per game total of 0.56 (3-11-14 in 25 games). This is up from his career AHL total of 0.48 (25-95-120 in 250 games played). On top of that, the WHL product has been especially good against Bridgeport this season in three games played he netted one goal and dished out three assists for four total points. This means he too has scored a little more than a quarter of his points against the Sound Tigers this season. I think he has a big weekend in store.

In Net

Zane McIntyre: Zane has been one of the biggest reasons the Providence Bruins are on an 11-game point streak. Over his last nine games played he has a record of 9-0-0 while turning away 189 of the 207 shots that he has faced for a save percentage of .913 and goals against average of 1.96. The veteran goaltender has solidified the back-end of the defense. Look for him to have another big weekend for the boys in black and gold.

A few weeks ago, in one of these previews, I mentioned that this Providence team was too good to not be in a playoff spot. Since then the boys in black and gold have proved my point. There are many young, exciting prospects on the verge of being ready to make an impact in Boston. Despite that, they have a tough weekend ahead. Both teams they will be playing are above them in the Eastern Conference standings. A big weekend could change. We could see the Baby B’s climb to fourth in the division. Who would’ve thought that 11 games ago that when they started this crazy streak, we’d be saying that? I believed in the team, but I wouldn’t have guessed a streak like this was possible. I hope they can continue it this weekend. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 17 Recap

( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins played two games in week 17, and both were on the road in Charlotte, North Carolina. As an avid follower and viewer of the top minor-pro affiliate of the Boston Bruins, going into this weekends action had me feeling like we were going in the bowls of hell heading into Bojangles’ Coliseum for two contests at the home of the AHL’s best Charlotte Checkers. The Checkers club has a 2018-19 season record of 31-11-6-0 sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference with 68 points in 48 games played and a home record of 13-5-4.

The team from Rhode Island as I’ve mentioned in previous weekly recaps have played tremendously better since the start of 2019 earning points in the last 11 games climbing the Conference standings with a 24-16-6-1 record in 47 games and good enough for third in the Atlantic and fifth in the Eastern Conference and in the Calder Cup Playoff picture with 29 games remaining. The B’s offense has really stepped it up, and the backend has certainly taken notice as things are seriously coming together and head coach Jay Leach finally has the chemistry he’s been looking for at the first half of the season to try and keep the playoff dreams alive with a seventh straight appearance. Notably on the backend is goaltender Zane McIntyre who’s as focused as I’ve ever seen him since landing in Providence after a successful four-year career with North Dakota University.

In my opinion, since the 2019 calendar year started, it seems like this Providence club is so dialed in that they can literally play any opposing system and evaluate quickly when down on the scoresheet or moments of even play. For instance, this Bruins team was not intimidated at all from this weekends action against the Checkers. Great goaltending from MacIntyre and rookie Dan Vladar but played a very stingy defensive style with an emphasis on not letting pucks by and quick zone transition. On the other hand, this B’s team can bury the puck when needed outscoring their opponents since the start of January going 45 for 30 in 13 games. The AHL is a complete gamble league when you operate on a three-day schedule, so I’m not going to mail in a Calder Cup Championship prediction, but as I continue to watch I’ll be optimistic because of the previous first half Jeykl and Hyde ways,

Well enough about my thoughts and onto the week that was from our Providence Bruins. Enjoy!

Friday, February 1st, 2019, Providence Bruins Vs. The Charlotte Checkers (Road)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The Bruins came into Charlotte earning points in the last nine games and even though I mentioned one the bowls of hell earlier, I was pleasantly surprised how the B’s came into the game and ready to play. In front of a really good crowd of 8,076, the B’s would be down in shots after the first period 6-8 but inspiring play with no score from either team in the opening back and forth opening frame.

In the second period, B’s prospect Ryan Donato scored his sixth of the season with excellent D-Zone transitioning from defenseman Conor Clifton and veteran forward Paul Carey who in turn had the vision and hockey IQ along the half wall to rifle a pass completely through the neutral zone to a streaking Donato. Once Donato received the pass from Carey, he crossed the line and unselfishly surveyed the offensive zone at a slow pace then took advantage of the traffic in front of goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic to snipe a top-shelf second-period 1-0 lead at the 19:45 mark.

Unfortunately, with the way MacIntyre played in this game it seemed like the B’s let up off the gas a little and let the Checkers get back in the game with a power-play goal at the 19:33 mark of the third period forcing overtime. In this game, it would be late period heroics throughout the contest, but to every game, there must be a victor!

With ten seconds remaining in overtime Bruins forward Cameron Hughes wound up making a last-ditch effort going north to south to win the game. The rookie Hughes had the smarts to move the puck to Donato who just stepped onto the ice for a new shift and crossed the blueline heading towards the opposing net. Hughes with a never quit attitude powered forward to get into the play which was a two on one that started in the neutral zone. With a pass from Donato that actually hit a Checker’s defenders stick and went through the legs of another defenseman, the puck somehow landed on Cameron’s stick for the tap in under the netminder’s pad overtime winner.

As mentioned Providence Goaltender Zane McIntyre was sensational along with counterpart Nedeljkovic at the other end of the sheet. Zane stopped 28 of 29 Checker shots for the win and his ninth straight victory. McIntyre is 17-8-3 with a goals-against-average of 2.67, and .890 save percentage. Mac’s 17 wins are ranked third in the AHL behind Nedeljkovic who leads with 21.

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019, Providence Bruins Vs. The Charlotte Checkers (Road)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

To many a scoreless game through 60 minutes might seem boring, but to me, this was a very exciting game right down to the final minutes. The third period is where I got a little concerned for the game after the first-period shots were tied at 11, the second period the B’s were up 11-10 but where I was on the edge of my seat nervous was the third period where the checkers took a 13-5 shot advantage.

Throughout the game, Providence starting goaltender Dan Vladar who hasn’t won a game in 2019 dating back to December 22nd, 2018, was absolutely on point in this game and by far the best outing of his rookie season. To compliment Vladar’s outstanding game against the best team in the AHL was the moment the game ended in 3vs3 overtime extra session.

With a faceoff to the right of goaltender Vladar in the defensive zone, Jakub Forsbacka Karlsson won the draw and got the puck to Urho Vaakanainen who was behind the play and ready for a quick transition.  The rookie Vaakanainen dished the puck up to JFK who was on the right side in the neutral zone with veteran Gemel Smith hustling up the left side to get into the play. JFK crosses the blueline and slows up when he notices he’s got a two on one and quickly sauced a pass under the defenders stick to Smith who wristed it past goaltender Scott Darling at the 1:36 mark of OT to win the game and sweep the weekend’s action in North Carolina.

Vladar, as mentioned, was stellar against the AHL’s best stopping all 37 Checkers shots that came his way. The 21-year-old netminder is now 7-8-4 on the season with a 2.67 goals-against-average, and .903 save percentage. This was Vladar’s second shutout of the season with his last coming back on December 5th, 2018, on the road in Toronto, Ontario against the Toronto Marlies.

Below are Mark Allred’s Top Three Goals Of Week 17!

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Bruins Recall Cehlarik, Frederic From Providence, Reassign Forsbacka Karlsson and Donato

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( Photo credit: NHL.com )

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

This afternoon, Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced that the team made several transactions today, including recalling Peter Cehlarik and Trent Frederic from the American Hockey League and reassigning Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Ryan Donato to their AHL affiliate in Providence.

Cehlarik, a 23-year-old drafted by the Bruins at 90th overall in 2013, was originally called up earlier this month and made his season debut against the Flyers in Philadelphia. At this point, the Zilina, Slovakia native has skated in three games with the Black and Gold this season, tallying 2 goals and one assist for a total of three points. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound forward has been one of the Bruins’ better forwards in each of the three outings he’s played since being called up.

Cehlarik was reassigned to Providence of the AHL last week when the Bruins’ bye week began, as he wouldn’t have to pass through waivers and the Bruins wanted to keep him engaged and playing through the break. As expected last week, the Bruins recalled him as soon as the bye week ended, and he will likely pick up where he left off, playing alongside David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. Cehlarik has enjoyed some good chemistry with his linemates and hopefully can keep up the good work with his return to the NHL, where he has notched three goals and four assists for a total of seven points in 20 games since the 2016-17 season.

Center Trent Frederic, a late first rounder drafted by the Bruins 29th overall in 2016, had a good training camp with the Bruins and was one of the more likely players to b center the third line coming into this season. Neither he nor Forsbacka Karlsson had a great preseason despite both having a strong camp, and both were reassigned to Providence to start off the season. Frederic will probably be making his NHL debut Tuesday night at home against Winnipeg. The St. Louis native was selected by the Bruins using the first round picked they received along with Sean Kuraly as a return in the Martin Jones trade (Marty, we hardly knew ye!).

The 6-foot-2, 203-pound American center is tough as nails and defensively responsible. Don’t be fooled by his willingness to drop the gloves, as Frederic is offensively gifted, as well, and has 10-7-17 totals in 37 games in the AHL this season. He’s currently riding a hot streak as well and scored two goals Friday night. Frederic played two seasons for the University of Wisconsin Badgers of the Big 10, where he tallied 32-33-65 totals in 66 games – not too shabby for a player labeled a bottom-six defensive forward and draft bust only a year or two ago. Prior to his two seasons in college hockey, Frederic suited up for the United States National Team Development Program, also known as the USA under-18 team, where he scored four goals and assisted on 11 for a total of 15 points in 24 games.

Both Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Ryan Donato have been with the Bruins’ NHL squad for the better part of this season, and both players have shown some solid NHL potential but have also struggled for the most part. Forsbacka Karlsson, a two-way center, has scored three goals and assisted on six, totaling nine points while playing mostly as the Bruins’ third line center in 28 NHL games this season. Ryan Donato has scored a few beautiful goals and reminded Bruins fans of the offensive potential he showed during the Olympics last February, but he’s had trouble lighting the lamp with any consistency this season, with 6-3-9 totals in 34 NHL games this season. JFK and Donato definitely can be NHL players, but each of them will benefit significantly from a stint in the AHL.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Washington: 1/10/19

Image result for bruins capitals

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara – USA TODAY Sports)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Washington Capitals

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Backes

Kuraly – Acciari – Wagner

Donato – JFK – Heinen

Defense

Chara – Carlo

Krug – Moore

Grzelcyk – Miller

Goalies

Halak

Rask

Washington’s Lineup

Forwards

Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Wilson

Vrana – Backstrom – Oshie

Connolly – Eller – Boyd

Stephenson – Dowd – Smith-Pelly

Defense

Kempny – Carlson

Orlov – Niskanen

Orpik – Siegenthaler

Goalies

Holtby

Copley

First Period

If history were to repeat itself, this one would have been an ugly one, as the Bruins haven’t beaten the Capitals in ages. Capitals netminder Braden Holtby was 15-2-0 against the Bruins in his career heading into this one, so the Bruins were looking to flip the script on the defending Stanley Cup champions.

The Bruins found themselves on the power play just less than two minutes in as Brad Marchand was taken down by Jonas Siegenthaler – who put Washington on the penalty kill with a holding penalty. Despite a couple chance including an excellent one from Matt Grzelcyk in the dying seconds, the Bruins failed to convert on their first power play. Jaroslav Halak kept things scoreless shortly after the conclusion of the power play with an acrobatic save on Tom Wilson.

Jakub Vrana somehow snuck his way behind John Moore and Torey Krug and made no mistake depositing his 15th of the season to make it 1-0 Capitals. Chances came and went for the Bruins after the goal, but Holtby, as he usually does, had their number. He shut them out in the season opener and continued to reign supreme in the first period. Through 16 minutes, the shots were 14-5 Bruins. Not even a perfect-looking wraparound from Ryan Donato could beat Holtby.

The shots in the period finished at a whopping 17-5 in favor of the Bruins, but no dice. One miscue when it comes to situational awareness put them behind in the first. From here on out, it was time to play catch up.

Score: 1-0 Washington

Second Period

After controlling the beginning of the period pretty well, Patrice Bergeron took a rare tripping penalty to put the Bruins down a man. The Capitals came into this game two for their last 35 on the power play. The Bruins killed the penalty and not too long after Lars Eller found himself tied up with Brad Marchand and David Backes behind the play and went to the box for it. Agitator gon’ agitate as Marchand baited Eller into taking an undisciplined penalty, Washington loses their second most important penalty killer in terms of shorthanded time on ice.

No matter how many chances came their way, the Bruins remained snakebitten against the Capitals. Halfway through the game, the shots were 22-7 Bruins, and they were losing – something had to give. To make matters worse, Brandon Carlo sat for two thanks to a tripping penalty just past the halfway point of the period and the game.

Ryan Donato finally broke the curse after a healthy sequence in the offensive zone and a great saucer pass from Torey Krug. Donato’s sixth of the season tied the game, assisted by Krug (25), and Forsbacka-Karlsson (4).

The tied score didn’t last long as Alexander Ovechkin did what he does a lot, and that is score goals. 2-1 Capitals with 5:10 to go in the frame. The Bruins face cruel circumstances whenever they face the Capitals. Eight shots, two goals.

Chris Wagner laid an iffy hit on Michal Kempny and Wilson came in and hit him up high. Tom Wilson did something stupid, water is wet. Carry on.

Krug slammed Brett Connolly to the ground after being held to make things interesting late in the period, Connolly sat for two minutes. Despite still heavily outshooting the Capitals 28-12 overall, and 11-7 in the period, the Bruins still trailed on the scoreboard.

Score: 2-1 Washington

Third Period

Starting the period on the power play gave the Bruins a great chance to take momentum early in the final frame. Unfortunately, they failed to convert, 0-4 on the power play for the Bruins. Despite their power play struggles, a blessing came to the Bruins in the form of a too-many-men penalty against the Capitals to be served by Ovechkin.

Fifth times the charm? Is that how the expression goes? David Krejci buried his first goal in nine games with a slapshot from the right circle through a bit of a screen. Krejci’s eighth of the season was assisted by Danton Heinen (7), and David Backes (8).

As the theme persists, Washington scores right after the Bruins tie the game as Nicklas Backstrom sent a weird one past Halak to regain the lead. 38-19 were the shots with five and a half minutes left, the Bruins literally doubled the Capitals shots and were still down a goal, thanks, Holtby.

Alexander Ovechkin made it two when he sent one at the empty net just seconds after Halak made it to the bench. His second of the game iced this one. Cassidy took a timeout with 28.7 seconds to go. The Capitals are the Bruins’ kryptonite. The final shots were 41-22 Bruins overall, and 13-10 in the period. Next up are the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto at 7 PM ET on Saturday night.

Final Score: 4-2 Washington

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Bruins Face Quite The 2nd-Half Fight For Playoffs!

Related image(Photo Credit: CBS Sports)

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

To say the Boston Bruins are going to need a lot of punch to their game during the second half of the season (which started this weekend with a big W over Buffalo), well… that would be an understatement. A punch to the gut, if you will (or to the head if you’re throwing down like Kevan Miller, as pictured above). That’s because in order to avoid being punched out of the playoffs come ticket-punching time in April, the team will need to fight, finagle & finish and skate, scrap & score up until the very last second of every game between now & then. Look no further than their last four games, and no, I’m not pulling any punches like a “frightened Frolik” would:

The Eastern Conference playoff picture right now, especially the B’s own Atlantic Division, is as tightly framed as an on-loan Picasso to Mass MoCA. It’s something you can keep looking at, yet you’ll come away with a different perspective after each viewing. In other words, it’s artfully maddening — just like the B’s oh-so-skilled scorers who all-too-often would rather razzle/dazzle us than shoot the puck (I’m looking at you, Brad Marchand). At least, that’s my interpretation…you know, because “art” can be subjective.

While on that subject, an almost-in-contention-for-the-ART-Ross-trophy David Pastrnak will need to –just like his top line mates– have zero “off games” down the stretch if the B’s are going to seriously stay in the hunt for either the third seed or a wild card berth. The B’s have been fortunate enough to make the most of secondary scoring during their recent 4-game winning streak (hats off to the spirited 4th line play of Wagner, Kuraly & Acciari), but as anyone who watches this team with even one eye open knows, Boston lives & dies by the play of the 1st line 88% of the time (that number was intentional). That doesn’t mean they won’t steal a few games 2-1 or 3-2 like they deservedly did against Buffalo both before & after the New Year (“4-point games” as we like to call them), but the B’s have THE BEST chance at going on a 2017-’18-esque run here in the second half of the season by the likes of Bergy, March & Pasta serving up their best play.

You know who’s also playing at his very best right now?

***WARNING: all members of the THC (Tuukka Haters Club), please log off your browser!

Mr. One-win-shy-of-250 Rask, who looks as calm, confident & composed between the pipes since that aforementioned epic run of games-with-points last season. If he can keep the good goalie vibes going AKA keep the B’s “in the game” up until the 3rd period, then you can expect the team to respond accordingly and tack on a few more historic wins for Tuukka.

The same can be said for Jaroslav Halak who despite letting in a few more goals than he’s used to in his last few starts has consistently been as dynamic of a netminder as you’ll see in the NHL this year. Look no further than my favorite but oft-forgotten goalie stat (GSAA) to see just how impactful he’s been between the pipes:

No matter who head coach Bruce Cassidy decides to start, he’s got the best 1-2, or perhaps better put 1A-1B, punch in the league right now. So quit your bashing, bemoaning & b!tching B’s social media (not all of you… just some), because the team needs both Rask AND Halak to stay where they are in the standings… and maybe even gain a bit of ground on Toronto.

Shifting gears to some on-ice shifts we’ll need to see more of here in the second half, the B’s must allow the “Kid Line” to develop, prosper & produce. Outside of the scenario where one or two of these guys may be traded, along with a pick, for a Brayden Schenn or someone similar, the trio of Donato-JFK-Heinen looked as solid as they have all season in the win over the Sabres. The line produced multiple chances, had some skillful puck movement & management, and even saw some PK time (well at least JFK did).

I thought for sure they’d eventually score, but if they are allowed to stick together and further develop that exciting, youthful chemistry, then more goals will be exactly what’s in store (and in the net) for all of them. After all, when you mix together hockey smarts & IQ (JFK), lethal sniping and goal-scoring ability (Donato) and solid two-way play (Heinen), you have a combo that’s destined to deliver (sound/look familiar?)!

So, what will the rest of the season’s second half deliver? Well, here are the guarantees: a tough-as-nails schedule where the B’s will spend a lot of time playing non-divisional opponents, a big West Coast kick (as featured in my Mark Your Bruins Calendar series), and 6 back-to-backs (3 of which feature teams who will also be playing for their playoff lives). Outside of those guarantees, here’s what you should expect: must-see hockey nearly every time the Black N’ Gold take the ice. Because, “B”-lieve me, there’s plenty to fight for ahead of everyone’s favorite season: the postseason — no punching-up needed!

*For more insight into the B’s second-half, check out this week’s puck-perfect podcast:

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Buffalo at Boston: 1/5/19

Bruins Sabres HockeyPhoto Courtesy Of The Boston Herald

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (23-14-4)

Away: Buffalo Sabres (22-13-6)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Backes

Heinen-Forsbacka Karlsson-Donato

Kuraly-Acciari-Wagner

Defense

Chara-Carlo

Krug-Moore

Grzelcyk-Miller

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Buffalo’s Lineup

Forwards

Skinner-Rodrigues-Reinhart

Sheary-Sobotka-Thompson

Elie-Mittelstadt-Pominville

Smith-Larsson-Okposo

Defense

McCabe-Ristolainen

Scandella-Dahlin

Pilut-Bogosian

Goalies

Ullmark

Hutton

First Period

On the first shift of the game, Chris Wagner appeared to give the Bruins the early lead but it was eventually waived off because of Sean Kuraly interfering with Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark.

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The Bruins looked engaged in the early going as they were able to string together some solid shifts. The Bruins would get a power play as Remi Elie took an interference penalty with 13:28 to play in the period. Buffalo would kill off the penalty as Boston failed to get any decent scoring chances. Wagner got another great scoring chance and capitalized to give the Bruins the lead.

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The Sabres seemed to have trouble getting any significant scoring chances against Tuukka Rask as the Bruins defended well in their own zone. Towards the end of the period though, Buffalo started to find some attacking zone rhythm and pushed to tie the score.

The Bruins returned the favor with a solid shift by the fourth line who looked very strong in the opening period. Boston closed the period with a couple good shifts especially the third line as Ryan Donato nearly doubled the lead with under a minute to go in the period.

Score: 1-0 Bruins

Second Period

The Bruins opened the period with another strong shift by the fourth line and Wagner nearly had a second goal but was denied by Ullmark. David Backes buried a goal on a two on one rush with Brad Marchand to double the Boston advantage early in the period.

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The Bruins continued to have good jump in the early moments of the period as they strung together some strong shifts. The Bruins dominated the possession in the middle period as they seemed to get chance after chance in the offensive zone. Rask was rarely challenged in the first half of the period as the Sabres failed to get many pucks on net.

The Bruins began to become slightly lackadaisical in their own zone but it didn’t hurt them as Buffalo didn’t provide a lot of resistance. Rask became a bit more busy in the latter half of the period but continued to play very well between the pipes.

Score: 2-0 Bruins

Third Period

Donato had a couple decent chances in front of the Buffalo goal but couldn’t find the back of the net. Jeff Skinner followed that up with a quality scoring opportunity but Rask was quick to make the save. The third line had a solid start to the period and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson nearly capitalized off a great feed from Danton Heinen but couldn’t beat Ullmark.

A few turnovers by the Bruins almost resulted in the Sabres finding the back of the net but Rask continued to have a strong game to keep it a two goal margin. Buffalo went to the man advantage as Matt Grzelcyk was called for hooking with about 12 minutes to play. Boston killed the penalty as the Sabres got a few chances but nothing significant.

The Bruins got another power play as Donato was tripped as they looked to put the game away. Buffalo killed off the penalty but the B’s has plenty of chances and put four shots on goal during the man advantage. Rasmus Ristolainen fired home a shot from the dot after a quick re-entry to cut the Boston lead in half with less than three minutes to go.

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The Sabres pulled Ullmark with 1:40 to go as they pushed for the tying goal. They weren’t able to find the back of the net and the Bruins secured the victory, making it four straight for the first time since October.

Final Score: 2-1 Bruins

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Wagner. The winger could’ve easily had multiple goals in this one as he was buzzing around the ice all night as the fourth line had one of their best games of the season.

Second Star: Backes. The winger returned after a three game suspension and was put onto the second line. He responded with his fourth goal of the season on a beautiful shot.

Third Star: Rask. Although not challenged much in this game, Rask was good when needed and helped the B’s secure a huge win over the Sabres.

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