Report: Bruins Re-Sign D Steven Kampfer To A Two-Year Deal

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

According to Frank Seravalli of TSN and other reports, the Boston Bruins have signed defenceman Steven Kampfer to a two-year contract extension worth an average of $800,000 per season ($1.6 million total).

The 30-year-old, Ann Arbor, Michigan native has had a solid history with the Boston Bruins over his seven-year NHL career. Kampfer began his tenure in Boston back in the 2010-11 season, playing 38 games after joining the club in March of 2010 in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks. Kampfer recorded 5-5-10 totals in that time with Boston.

After ten games played in the 2011-12 season, Kampfer was traded to the Minnesota Wild and would not find himself in Boston until September 11, 2018, when he and two draft picks were sent to Boston in exchange for D Adam McQuaid. Within the 2018-19 campaign, Steven Kampfer played in another 35 games for the Bruins, recording three goals and three assists for six points, averaging 14:38 of time on ice.

The depth blueliner also found himself playing in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs – playing one game in three of the four series. Kampfer skated for 11:06 in Game Three against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Round One and played 14:56 in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes, scoring the first goal of the hockey game.

Kampfer played a key role throughout the season for the Bruins, bringing some experience to the depth blueline players, especially when injuries or suspensions prevented the top players on Boston’s backend from playing. Even though the plus/minus statistic is typically looked down upon, Kampfer was never once a minus player in the postseason, further confirming that he can be trusted on in those important games.

For the Bruins, this contract ensures that they have the depth on defence that they need quite a lot. It has already been announced that defensemen John Moore and Kevan Miller will be out of the lineup for some time to begin the 2019-2020 regular season, meaning Boston will have to fall back on guys like Kampfer to get those early-season victories.

Boston and the rest of the National Hockey League are only one week away from the free agency frenzy on July 1st meaning those key players that need contracts are going to need to sign with their current teams fast. Boston now has just over $13 million in remaining cap space with players such as RFA defenceman Charlie McAvoy, RFA defenceman Brandon Carlo, RFA forward Danton Heinen, UFA forward Noel Acciari and UFA forward Marcus Johansson, among others, expiring very soon.

This signing is a solid move for General Manager Don Sweeney as he locks up a reliable depth defenceman for under $1 million annually on a low-term deal. Heading into the next stages of the NHL offseason, the news and stories will be piling up and everyone here at Black N’ Gold Hockey will make sure that you get all of the latest information.

Check out this week’s Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast Episode 132 below!!

From Peaky Blinders to Soccer-Tennis: Bruins’ Team Chemistry Shines Through

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( Photo Credit: Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images )

By Carrie Salls | Follow me on Twitter @nittgrl73

Bruins fans have been pretty spoiled this year. In addition to NESN’s long-running “Behind the B” series, which offers a more candid look at the team, the NHL produced a program leading up to the Bruins/Blackhawks New Year’s Day Winter Classic game at Notre Dame Stadium, and the Bruins have been featured in numerous special series and segments throughout the team’s long playoff run.

One thing that has been obvious from the abundance of behind-the-scenes footage made available this season is that this particular Bruins’ team has strong chemistry – both on and off the ice. Comprised of a core of veterans who have battled alongside each other for years and a group of future stars who grew up together, if you will, in development camps, the AHL and now on the NHL-level, the team as a whole seems to have found the secret to coming together as one cohesive unit.

This chemistry has also been quickly recognized and adopted by newer players like Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johanssen, who were acquired near the trade deadline, and 2018 free-agent signings Chris Wagner, John Moore, Joakim Nordstrom and Jaroslav Halak.

In fact, Wagner played a key role in the team-unifying phenomenon that seems to have started it all. On Nov. 1, 2018, Wagner posted a Halloween-themed photo on Instagram that featured him, six of his teammates and Torey Krug’s wife dressed up in the style made popular by the television show Peaky Blinders.

Two months later, the entire team donned Peaky Blinders garb to make a decided fashion statement as they entered the stadium for the Winter Classic. The look was so popular, a “Peaky Bruins” poster was created and handed out to fans at a game at TD Garden later in the season.

A poll conducted on Twitter indicated that many Bruins fans agreed that the Peaky Bruins was their favorite display of the team’s chemistry so far this season.

Of course, good chemistry on any team comes from good leadership. Captain Zdeno Chara has long-preached an everyone is equal attitude, from the most seasoned veteran to the greenest rookie. Chara also calls on each member of the team to support the others, and he leads by example.

The 42-year-old captain has demonstrated his team-first mentality several times throughout the season. The most memorable examples came in the clinching game four of the Eastern Conference Finals, when the injured Chara put on his uniform and came onto the ice to celebrate with his team, as well as when he sat on the bench in a full-face shield in the third period of game four of the Stanley Cup Finals Monday to support the team after being knocked out of the game. His teammates certainly took notice.

After Wagner left game-three of the ECF with an apparent arm injury, he returned to Boston for medical tests while the rest of the team remained in Carolina for what turned out to be the series-clinching game. Still, the team made sure to include Wagner in the post-game locker room celebration.

And, that brings us to soccer-tennis. Lots of hockey players warm up before the games with spirited games of “no-touch.” However, this Bruins team apparently has upped its game to a hybrid sport that can be played in the locker room, the weight room, or just about anywhere.

The long list of unique moments from the 2018-2019 version of the Boston Bruins also included the legend of “the fishbowl.” The full-face shield seemed to give both Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari a scoring touch when injuries forced them to wear it. In Kuraly’s case, teammates teased him about the powers of the plexiglass. The tables were turned when Steven Kampfer, who had made fun of Kuraly’s choice of protective gear, suffered a mouth injury in the next game that left him wearing the same shield.

Of course, the ultimate team-bonding moment will occur if the Bruins win this series and hoist the Stanley Cup. However, win or lose, this team promises to hold a special place in fans’ hearts for years to come.

Can B’s D-men Improve Any “Moore” In SCF?

Image result for john moore boston bruins(Photo Credit: Boston Globe)

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

“Next man up.”

This phrase should probably be printed on all 2018-19 Bruins gear, emblazoned above the B’s locker room door, bannered onto the forefront of the TD Garden and artistically etched onto the ice right below Stanley Cup Finals. It’s literally the motto — and mantra — for a bruised Black N’ Gold team that’s taken pride in players truly stepping up when called upon. Now, it appears, yet another member of your three-wins-away-from-winning-it-all Bruins will have one “Moore” chance to make his teammates and the city proud.

That’s right, it’s likely John Moore’s turn to take the place in game three for an untimely injured Matt Grzelcyk (who, if you reluctantly remember, was boarded by the now-suspended Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in game two). Moore, who hasn’t played since he slotted in for an injured Zdeno Chara in the B’s series-clinching win against Carolina two weeks ago, is without a doubt eager to make an impact in a pivotal road contest that could easily change the course and momentum of the series.

Much in the same way Steve Kampfer injected some energy and, if you can believe it, timely goal scoring when he “next-man-upped” himself into action for game one of the ECF against the Hurricanes, Moore hopes to help his team both on the blue line and on the score sheet if he can. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy will take either, but his primary thinking of choosing Moore over Kampfer, to most likely pair with Connor Clifton, is the versatile veteran’s left leaning (blue)lining.

As for the rest of his squad, Moore certainly has the support and confidence from his teammates, all of whom expected him to be a more permanent fixture on the back end all season long until injuries and depth chart-jumping forced him out of the lineup for extended stretches this year. However, NOW is the most important time of the year for the Bruins and that’s all that matters — to the team, to management, to the fans and to Moore. He knows opportunities like this don’t come around that often and making the most of them could result in the ultimate prize: hoisting the Stanley Cup high over his head for the first time in his career.

Image result for john moore boston bruins(Photo Credit: Spokesman-Review)

If he helps the B’s to a game three victory, then guess what? The new next man up will only have two “Moore” wins to go!

Bruins Post-Game Recap: ECF Game 1: Carolina at Boston: 5/9/19

cutPhoto Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (8-5)

Away: Carolina Hurricanes (8-3)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Backes

Heinen-Coyle-Johansson

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

Defense

Chara-Clifton

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Kampfer

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Carolina’s Lineup

Forwards

Svechnikov-Aho-Teravainen

Niederreiter-Staal-Williams

Foegele-Wallmark-McGinn

Martinook-McKegg-Ferland

Defense

Slavin-Hamilton

Pesce-Faulk

Fleury-de Haan

Goalies

Mrazek

McElhinney

First Period

The Bruins got off to a flying start with a few chances in the offensive zone and they looked to into the game right from puck drop. The Bergeron line had a great start to the game with a few good shifts in the attacking zone. Steven Kampfer, inserted into the lineup for the suspended Charlie McAvoy scored his first career playoff goal off a beautiful feed from Marcus Johansson about three minutes into the game.

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Sean Kuraly took a roughing penalty shortly after the goal and Sebastian Aho deflected in a shot past Tuukka Rask just seconds into the man advantage to tie the game.

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The Hurricanes got a huge swing of momentum after the Aho goal as they looked to build a lead early in the opening period. The Bruins responded to that with a few solid shifts of their own as they looked to return the momentum. Both teams started to settle in especially defensively as the scoring chances started to die down considerably. Charlie Coyle went to the box for tripping with under six minutes left in the period as Carolina looked to take the lead. The B’s killed off the penalty as Zdeno Chara took a shot off of his foot and appeared to be shaken up.

Immediately following the penalty kill, the Bruins went to the power play as Nino Niederreiter was called for slashing with about three minutes to go in the period. The Hurricanes killed off the penalty despite some good puck movement by Boston.

Score: Tied 1-1

Second Period

Brett Pesce nearly gave the Hurricanes the lead in the early moments of the period but hit the crossbar behind Rask which kept it a tied game. The B’s would be shorthanded yet again as Kuraly was called for a high stick about four minutes into the period. Boston killed off the penalty as Rask made a couple of huge saves. Both teams wasted no time renewing acquaintances with a ton of physical play and a few scrums after the whistle.

A crazy play in front resulted in Greg McKegg finding the back of the net before crashing into Rask after being pushed by Kampfer to give Carolina their first lead of the game.

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Rask made a few big stops after the goal to prevent the Hurricanes from extending the lead. The Bruins continued to have trouble generating offense as the Hurricanes began to dominate the possession game, making Boston tired from chasing the puck. The Bruins responded with a good shift from the Bergeron line as they looked to get back in the game. The Bruins picked up their second power play as Micheal Ferland went to box with three minutes remaining in the period. Carolina killed off the penalty despite some good scoring chances for the Bruins.

Score: 2-1 Hurricanes

Third Period

The Bruins got an early power play after Jordan Staal hit Chris Wagner from behind less than a minute into the period. Johansson found the back of the net towards the end of the man advantage on a loose puck in front to tie the game.

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The Bruins would receive another power play shortly after the goal as Dougie Hamilton went to the box for roughing. Patrice Bergeron buried a loose puck in front just seconds into the man advantage as the Bruins regained the lead.

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The Bruins went to the power play once again as Hamilton took another penalty, this time for interference as Boston looked to extend the lead. Carolina killed off the penalty as the Bruins struggled to maintain an offensive rhythm. The Bruins continued to respond after a trying second period as they had a strong period complete with chances from multiple lines. The Bruins also continued to be solid defensively in the final period as they anticipated several Hurricanes passes.

The Hurricanes pulled the goalie with about 2:45 to go as they looked to tie the game. Brandon Carlo scored on the empty net as the puck barely trickled into the net to essentially clinch the game. Wagner then made it 5-2 with goal off of a bad turnover to finish the game for the Bruins just seconds after Carlo’s goal.

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Final Score: 5-2 Bruins

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Johansson. The winger had one of his best games as a Bruin, totaling two points including an important tying goal in the third period.

Second Star: Rask. The Bruin goalie continued his incredibly solid play as of late allowing just two goals and make a number of key saves.

Third Star: Kampfer. The veteran defenseman looked very solid filling in for McAvoy and didn’t look out of place at all.

Eastern Conference Final Game 1 Preview – Hurricanes at Bruins

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photo credit: Associated Press 

By Mandi Mahoney | check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

Here we are, the Eastern Conference Final! For the first time in a decade, the Carolina Hurricanes will be making an appearance in this round of playoff hockey. They will be facing the Bruins tonight at what is sure to be a rocking TD Garden. This will undoubtedly be a fun and interesting series, with all sorts of young players, old players, and goaltenders doing great things this season, and a multitude of fascinating storylines for everyone ti discuss.

Examples:

  • Can Tuukka Rask steal another series?
  • How will Brad Marchand offend the entire league next?
  • Is Greg McKegg’s full name Gregory McKeggory?
  • Is Dougie Hamilton still a no-fun wet blanket? Will he miss a morning skate because he’s at the Botticelli exhibit at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum? Was he responsible for the heist?
  • Can Petr Mrazek keep playing like this? Does he really hate vowels?
  • Will the ghost of Scott Walker haunt the Bruins, help the Canes, or not appear?
  • How will the Bruins defense hold up without convicted criminal Charlie McAvoy?
  • How many times will Garden Organist Ron Poster play Brass Bonanza during the series?

We digress… let’s get the details down before the series begins!

Game Details:

  • Where: TD Garden, Boston, 8:00pm
  • Who: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Boston Bruins
  • The game will be televised on NBC Sports
  • Leading Scorers: Brad Marchand (BOS), 5 goals, 8 assists; Jaccob Slavin (CAR), 11 assists
  • Goalies: Tuukka Rask (BOS) 8 wins, 5 losses | 2.02 goals against average, .930 save percentage; Petr Mrazek (CAR) 5 wins, 3 losses | 2.22 goals against average, .913 save percentage
  • Injuries: Kevan Miller (BOS – lower body), Trevor van Riemsdyk (CAR – upper body), Saku Maenalenen (CAR – upper body)
  • Miscellaneous: Charlie McAvoy will serve his one game suspension for a hit to the head on Columbus’ Josh Anderson tonight.

 

Boston Bruins Lines:

Forwards:

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – David Backes

Marcus Johansson – Charlie Coyle – Danton Heinen

Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner

Defense:

Zdeno Chara – Connor Clifton

Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk – Steven Kampfer

Goalies:

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

Carolina Hurricanes Lines:

Forwards:

Andrei Svechnikov – Sebastian Aho – Teuvo Teravainen

Nino Niederreiter – Jordan Staal – Justin Williams

Warren Foegele – Lucas Wallmark – Brock McGinn

Micheal Ferland – Greg McKregg – Jordan Martinook

Defense:

Jaccob Slavin – Dougie Hamilton

Brett Pesce – Justin Faulk

Haydn Fleury – Calvin de Haan

Goalies:

Petr Mrazek

Curtis McElhinney

Keys to the game:

  • Team defense is going to be an important focus with Charlie McAvoy out of the lineup and Chara looking, well, old.
  • Goaltending is going to need to be solid, as the Cane are a speedy team with some scoring threats in Ferland, Svechnikov, and Aho
  • The Bruins cannot be a one or two line team. Things are clicking for Carolina lately, and all their lines are going to be buzzing. The Bruins’ entire roster needs to be engaged tonight.
  • Special teams are going to be a factor – the Bruins have the best powerplay in the league this postseason, and their penalty kill is solid as well. Hopefully they stay out of the box, but if they do end up on the kill, Carolina may have some trouble converting, which is an obvious plus.
  • The Bruins should not underestimate Carolina. They are a legitimate threat and have been playing some great hockey lately. Boston must take their opponent seriously, regardless of whether they’re a bunch of jerks.

 

Hypothetical: Losing McAvoy Might Shake Up Bruins’ Pairings Quite A Bit

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( Photo Credit: Claus Andersen/ Getty Images )

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

The Bruins, for the second time in the span of two weeks, closed out a hard-fought playoff series against a solid, skilled playoff opponent. The hard-earned victory did not come without its share of physicality, an aspect of the series in which Bruins’ defenseman Charlie McAvoy was more than involved.

Examining the series as a whole, McAvoy’s game has been elevated as the playoffs have progressed. McAvoy’s one outlier (performance-wise) came in Game 2, in which some questionable pinches and late-game defense by McAvoy found Boston relying on Tuukka Rask to make some saves that were not only large but were also in charge (I am hilarious, big credit to me). Aside from that one game, McAvoy has made a consistent case to be considered as the Bruins’ top defenseman…and if Brandon Carlo had chosen to be a basketball player as a young man, McAvoy would indeed be the Black and Gold’s top blue-liner. Fortunately for the Bruins, Carlo stuck with hockey.

At any rate, McAvoy’s aforementioned physicality led to him taking a brief dip in some hot water. McAvoy’s hit on Josh Anderson at the end the second period of Monday’s Game 6 against Columbus warranted a penalty, and many a Jackets fan (and hockey fan) thought warranted even more of a response.   Regardless of McAvoy’s meeting with the Department of Player Safety on Tuesday afternoon, the scenario that McAvoy misses some time is a difficult one that the Bruins need to be ready for (regardless of how his absence comes about). While the Bruins have used defensemen Steven Kampfer, John Moore, and Connor Clifton at different times as members of the team’s third D-pairing, the absence of McAvoy might shake up the lineup much more than a fluctuating third-pair.

 

For instance, McAvoy has been crucial to the lineup as a partner for Zdeno Chara, who (as much as it pains me to say) has begun to look more and more his age as the playoffs have progressed. Having McAvoy’s athleticism, skating ability, hockey sense, and physicality on the back end provide a much larger safety net for Chara than, say, Steven Kampfer might. I’m not bashing Kampfer, and I’m not bashing Chara. But it’s important to recognize the limits and capabilities of each defenseman in order to adequately address any potential lineup shifts.

Changes

With that being said, what would a potential Chuck-less lineup look like?

Certainly, Bruce Cassidy would be wiser than to put a seventh or eighth defenseman alongside Zdeno Chara. It is likely that this means Brandon Carlo or Connor Clifton see themselves flanking the big man in the event that McAvoy is sidelined (press-boxed).   While Kevan Miller would be a more than serviceable replacement for any right-handed defenseman in the lineup currently, his health remains an issue. This leaves Cassidy taking his pick of potential insertion into the lineup from Steven Kampfer or John Moore. While Kampfer might be the logical choice to fill the void of a missing right defenseman, I am of the camp that the best players should play, regardless of their handedness (a reason why I was baffled that Chara remained on the ice for the final minutes of Game 5… which is neither here nor there).

 

Unfortunately, I don’t think John Moore has separated himself as a better replacement than Steven Kampfer. For as much depth as the Bruins have in terms of actual bodies, the depth of their ability on the back-end is somewhat limited. And, while the Bruins have a considerable amount of Black Aces ready to play from Providence, the fact remains that Kampfer’s playoff experience, though limited, trumps that of any potential young prospect fresh out of Providence.

In the event that McAvoy does come out of the lineup for any reason (suspension, injury, etc.) I think it’s fair to expect Cassidy to go with the following pairings on the back end:

Krug-Carlo
Chara-Clifton
Grzelcyk-Kampfer

These pairings, while limited in their offensive capabilities, bring about the least amount of change to the lineup (Carlo pairing remains untouched) while balancing the amount of skating ability, defensive commitment, and experience to field an effective defensive corps.

 

As much as I’d like to be positive about the hypothetical pairings I just created in response to a potentially negative scenario, there’s no getting around that Charlie McAvoy’s removal from the B’s lineup hurts.

A lot.

Bruins’ Miller Being Out Is A Bigger Loss Than You Think

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( Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/ USA TODAY Sports )

By: Cam McCusker | Follow Me On Twitter @CSthinks

Most nights, when Kevan Miller is healthy and suited up for the Bruins, he’s the toughest guy in the rink. Unfortunately, Miller has been injured for the better part of the season. Having played in almost exactly half of the Bruins’ regular season games, naturally, the team was looking forward to having him back in the lineup for the playoffs.

I count myself among the many Bruins fans who were anticipating Miller’s return for playoff hockey, only to fall for the oldest trick in the book: Miller getting hurt. I got got. You got got. We all got got.

 

While Kevan “Not So Meek Mill” Miller (TM) again finds himself sidelined with important hockey to play (this time with a knee injury), the pain of his absence has been assuaged by the steadiness of replacement Connor Clifton’s play. With Miller again watching his teammates from the press box, the Black and Gold will turn to either Clifton or Steven Kampfer (which is a whole different story) to slot into the right spot on the B’s third defensive pairing.   I won’t address the possibility of Kampfer beginning the Toronto series ahead of Clifton right now, because it’s early and it will do nothing but ruin my day.

While Kampfer would not be my choice of replacement for Miller over Clifton, his presence likely won’t have enough of an impact on the series to make a sizeable difference. Quite simply, I don’t see Toronto stealing any wins because of Steven Kampfer and his (likely) 12 minutes a night.   But unlike many Bruins fans that have come out of the woodwork to voice their approval of Connor Clifton’s play, I am still less comfortable with “The Connor Clifton experience” than I am with what Miller would bring to the table. Clifton is a solid young defenseman, good even. But he doesn’t heal the wound that Kevan “Killer” Miller’s absence has created, and I personally think this will matter if Miller can’t return to the B’s within the next two weeks.

Size and Toughness

Clifton is sized at 5’11”, 175 lbs. That means he gives up three inches and 35 pounds to Kevan Miller. While I am very much a proponent of skating as an asset on the defensive side of the puck, Miller’s toughness is not going to be replaced by Clifton. Certainly, Clifton plays a tough game for a somewhat undersized first-year player, with a propensity to throw some solid hits.   Clifton’s hits are the types that are made through his skating ability.

He has smart gaps coming back on the defensive, and he is able to close these gaps with just a few strides. With that being said, it is the toughness that Miller brings in his own end that is not getting replaced by Clifton. And like it or not, the Bruins will be spending a decent amount of time in their own end, especially against the Toronto forward units. Miller’s strength and toughness is such that he can manhandle opposing forwards and move them off of pucks, creating turnovers and helping the Bruins relieve pressure.

Skating

Connor Clifton is a great skater. Better than Kevan Miller even. Guess what, though? Kevan Miller is also a strong skater. And Miller’s skating has improved in every single season he has played with the Bruins. Having worked on the skill side of his game with Adam Oates, there has been an improvement in just about every facet of Miller’s game since he joined the Black and Gold. These improvements are not at all limited to his skating, as his puck-moving abilities have gotten exponentially better, while he has become much more confident in all three zones (when healthy). This has, amazingly, happened without him abandoning the gritty, tough style of hockey that he came into the league with.

Protection

With Miller out of the lineup, the Bruins are much more vulnerable as a unit. That’s just a fact. Last year, the Bruins saw Nazem Kadri throw a cheap shot at forward Tommy Wingells, who missed time due to injury. Admittedly, there are probably better targets for Kadri’s attention, but Kadri’s presence remains, as does the presence of a quicker-paced, more physical brand of hockey that comes around each spring during the playoffs. Having Miller in the lineup is crucial for the protection of the Bruins’ lineup against incidents like the one above. His ability and willingness to drop the gloves to restore some order in the game and protect his teammates serve the Bruins well, especially with the star power in their first two forward lines, and how important they’ve been.

 

The fans that yell “shoot” when the Bruins cross the offensive blue-line will say that Miller’s absence is fine because Zdeno Chara will drop the gloves for the Bruins. To that, I say, “wake up.” Zdeno Chara does not best help the Bruins lineup by sitting in the box for five minutes. His playoff experience and defensive pedigree (while not what it used to be) needs to be utilized on the ice… you know… playing hockey. The Bruins can afford for Miller to sit for five minutes as a third-pairing defenseman because his toughness and the tone that he sets for the game more than makes up for his brief absence.

Overall

Should the Bruins use Steven Kampfer as Miller’s replacement, then they are giving up skill, skating ability, toughness, playoff experience, and veteran leadership. Should the Bruins use Connor Clifton as Miller’s replacement, then they are again giving up toughness, leadership, and experience, and Clifton’s skating is not enough of an asset to counterbalance those sacrifices. Kevan Miller’s brand of hockey is tailor-made for the playoffs, and the Bruins’ should be rubbing their rabbit’s feet in hopes of his return for the second round.

 

Either way, Kevan Miller being injured is a loss and a much bigger one than many of the fans who never played hockey will realize.

Fortunately, I don’t think it will matter in the first round. And it will only serve Connor Clifton well down the road to gain some playoff experience.

 

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Carolina: 12/23/18

Image result for bruins hurricanes 2018

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Gary Broome)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Carolina Hurricanes

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Heinen

Nordstrom – Krejci – Pastrnak

Donato – Cave – Backes

Kuraly – Acciari – Wagner

Defense

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – McAvoy

Moore – Kampfer

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Carolina’s Lineup

Forwards

Svechnikov – Aho – Teravainen

Ferland – Bishop – Williams

Foegele – Wallmark – Martinook

Kuokannen – Rask – McGinn

Defense

Slavin – Pesce

de Haan – Faulk

van Riemsdyk – Hamilton

Goalies

Mrazek

McElhinney

First Period

The Bruins came into Whalers night as winners of their last three games. Partly thanks to Charlie McAvoy’s recent resurgence since returning from injury, and Patrice Bergeron’s four-point effort yesterday against Nashville.

In previous back-to-backs this season, the Bruins are 6-0-1. Just around a minute and a half in, Carolina went to the penalty kill as Micheal Ferland went off for high-sticking. Boston’s power play struck in the form of Ryan Donato sending a shot off of Petr Mrazek, a Carolina defender and in to give the Bruins an early lead. The goal marked Donato’s fourth of the season, assisted by Torey Krug (18), and Brad Marchand (28).

Around four minutes after Carolina went on the penalty kill, the Bruins did the same as Steven Kampfer went to the box for holding. Noel Acciari made it a 5-on-3 advantage when he high-sticked Sebastian Aho, giving Carolina a great opportunity to tie the game in due time.

Speaking of Steven Kampfer, he made up for his penalty pretty quickly. Sean Kuraly found him open from behind the net, and Kampfer made no mistake in burying it to make it 2-0 Bruins less than halfway through the first. The goal marked Kampfer’s second of the season and Sean Kuraly’s sixth assist.

The Canes cut the lead to one after Teuvo Teravainen sent a flimsy shot on net that bounced off of McAvoy and in. The obscurity of the bounce clearly threw of Tuukka Rask and made things interesting with plenty of time left.

Despite being behind on the scoreboard, the Canes outshot the Bruins 13-11 and certainly didn’t have a bad period overall. The game was still very much up for grabs heading into the second period and beyond.

Score: 2-1 Boston

Second Period

The Canes didn’t take long to capitalize in the second period, as Aho found himself wide open in front of Rask and snuck on through the five-hole and in to tie things up at two.

Trevor van Riemsdyk of all people sprung loose for a breakaway that was stifled by John Moore to keep the game tied. It was a fairly sloppy start to the period at times for the Bruins in terms of the flow of play and connecting passes.

On the topic of sloppy play, McAvoy was muscled off the puck by Aho who eventually found the puck back on his stick for a one-timer past Rask to strip the Bruins of their lead. If McAvoy moves the puck quicker, that play doesn’t happen, the mental mistake ended up costing the Bruins here. It was 3-0 Carolina with 12:36 to go in the period thanks to Aho’s second goal of the period.

Things didn’t get any better after that as Justin Faulk sent a wrist shot into traffic and past Rask to give Carolina a two-goal lead in a period that they had solid control of. Four unanswered goals are something that you never want to see unless you’re the team doing it. Aho nearly made it a natural hat-trick as he streaked down his off-wing and sent a shot on net that fooled Rask but somehow stayed out of the net. Brass Bonanza was playing a whole lot.

Rask prevented further disaster with a huge save on Lucas Wallmark, followed by another on a scrum out front. It was a really ugly period for the Bruins. Ryan Donato helped stop the bleeding a bit when he sniped one in the top left corner past Mrazek. 4-3 Canes late in the period thanks to Donato’s fifth goal of the season and second of the game, and Colby Cave’s fourth assist.

McAvoy made a huge play on Clark Bishop late, keeping the losing margin at one, Although they were outshot heavily through two, 16-7 in the period, 29-18 overall, the Bruins managed to keep this one close heading into the final frame.

Score: 4-3 Carolina

Third Period

The effort level took a step up to start the period for the Bruins, Joakim Nordstrom and Donato had two pretty nice chances to test Mrazek. Ferland eventually took a penalty, giving the Bruins a chance to capitalize on their momentum and even things up on the power play. The shots were 4-0 Bruins through the first until Rask fumbled the puck behind the net, making the initial save on Aho, but not on Teravainen. 5-3 Carolina. The Svechnikov-Aho-Teravainen line had a field day.

Ryan Donato nearly made it three on a late wraparound attempt, Mrazek was solid in the third. A too many men penalty with just around five and a half minutes left helped in axing any chance the Bruins had to win when it was all said and done. But things were interesting late, as Rask was pulled with 2:40 to go, right as Andrei Svechnikov took a boarding penalty. A 6-on-4 was on the table late for the Bruins. Nordstrom made a save on the empty net, so there’s that. With 36.5 seconds left, Bruce Cassidy took a timeout. But there just wasn’t enough in the final frame to come out with the win. The loss marked the Bruins’ first regulation loss against Carolina since April 13, 2013.

After a rough start, Carolina took control of this one for much of the game. The shots were 12-8 Bruins in the third, and 37-30 Canes overall. Next up are the New Jersey Devils on Thursday at TD Garden at 7:00 PM ET.

Final Score: 5-3 Carolina

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Ride The Roller Coaster That Is Your 2018/19 Boston Bruins

March and April Are Going to Test the Bruins( Photo Credit: CausewayCrowd.com )

By: Tyler Putt | Follow Me On Twitter @MrBeanTown

It’s November 15th, 2018 and it is no more clear today than it was on October 3rd, 2018, exactly who your 2018/19 Bruins are. Coming off an impressive weekend sweep which saw the Bruins take care of Toronto and Vegas, at home, by a combined score of 9-2, plenty of fans are hopping back on the hype train. These are the same fans that unceremoniously hopped off this very same train 4 short days ago when Boston was handed an 8-5 drubbing by the Vancouver Canucks.

So, which team are they? Are they the team beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 or the team losing to Vancouver 8-5? My answer is; both. Let me explain why…

The Good:

Image result for marchand bergeron pastrnak(Photo Credit: Sportsnet)

Let’s start with the REAL GOOD. Bergeron, Pastrnak, Marchand. I could leave by only saying those 3 names and wouldn’t even need to explain myself any further. This is the best line in hockey. Period. It’s what Bruins fans have come to expect out of this trio, with a combined 68 points in only 17 games it’s fair to say they are the biggest reason this team sits with a 10-5-2 record and sitting in 3rd place in the stacked Atlantic division.

Jaroslav Halak. I will be the first to admit I was only lukewarm about his signing when it was announced back on July 1st, and the Bruins ponied up $2.75 Million a year over 2 years for a stable backup to starter Tuukka Rask. Well, I was wrong. Halak is currently sitting second in the league in both GAA (1.77) and Save Percentage (.945) and was incremental in this weekend’s successful homestand where he saved 77 out of 79 shots in a 27-hour time frame. Even with “starter” Tuukka Rask due to return to the team this week I think it is safe to say that Halak has earned the chance to be the number one netminder in Boston for now.

Brandon Carlo. We know he isn’t on this list for his goal-scoring prowess as the last time he put the puck in the back of the net was back against the New Jersey Devils on March 4th, 2017! Yes, that is a current streak of 111 games, which is coincidentally also the longest streak in the NHL for consecutive games played without a goal, but I digress. What Carlo has lost in goals, he has more than made up in progression. Carlo is logging over 21 minutes per game, which includes over 3 minutes per game shorthanded, which is second only to Captain Zdeno Chara. Carlo has gotten more confidence in his game, his snarl in front of the net is back, and he seems to be understanding the game better this year. Hopefully, these are signs to come for Carlo as the season progresses and hopefully, he can stay healthy for the duration.

The Bad:

Image result for Tuukka Rask goal(Photo Credit: Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)

Tuukka Rask. I am one of the worlds biggest Rask apologists and one of his biggest fans. We know he currently has something going on outside the hockey world that he is dealing with and, of course, wish him the best; but, it doesn’t change the fact that he has not been at his best this year.  After 8 games Rask sits at 4-4 with a 3.05 GAA and a .901 Save Percentage which is a far cry from his career numbers of 2.27 GAA and a .922 Save Percentage. Ultimately, the concerning part of Rask’s play is that he doesn’t seem to be battling or seeing the puck and, in turn, not giving his team a chance to win on a nightly basis. We all hope that his time away from the team is nothing too serious and he comes back healthy and in the right state of mind.

David Backes. Oh, David! The 6 million dollar man (until 2021) is just plain-ole-strugglin’. After 12 games this year, Backes has a total of (checks notes…) zero points. Yes, you read that correctly, ZERO points. Playing over 13 minutes per game, he just hasn’t been able to contribute on the scoreboard and has subsequently been moved to the 4th line by coach Bruce Cassidy where he seemed to, at this time, be a better fit. 4th line duties are hopefully a short-term solution for Backes to find his game, as 6 million per year on the 4th line is a hard pill to swallow over the next few years.

The Ugly:

bruins-lightning-e1525329528213(Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Secondary Scoring. Hello? Are you out there? Anyone? Bueller? Outside of Bergeron, Marchand, Pastrnak, and Krejci the 5th leading scorer on the Bruins, with an earth-shattering 8 points, is defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. Yes, our 5th highest point total after 17 games is 8 points, eight, ocho, huit, VIII… you get the point. No matter the language it all says “not good enough”. Although this weekends games showed an uptick in secondary scoring as we seen contributions on the score sheet from the likes of Bjork, Heinen, Kuraly & Nordstrom it isn’t nearly enough to help keep some pressure off the top line. Hopefully the play we witnessed from L3 of Heinen – JFK – Bjork is something that can be sustained and built off as the season progresses to ease the pressure on the top line and help the young guns keep building on the confidence that is starting to shine through.

Injuries. The Boston Bruins with injuries? What!! Just another season where the Bruins have to buckle down and show their resiliency to cope with injuries of key contributors. After 17 games this year the Bruins have already lost, for periods of time, Kevan Miller, Charlie McAvoy, Urho Vaakanianen, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo, Tuukka Rask, Matt Grzelyck & David Backes. Noticeably these injuries are hurting the back end a lot more than the forwards, and it’s a telling feature when you have to roll out a 3rd defensive pairing of  Jeremy Lauzon and Steven Kampfer. Not a look that Coach Cassidy must like seeing for prolonged periods of time that is for certain. In total, we are already sitting at 49 man games lost due to injury, and we are only 17 games in. I guess, at least, the only way to look is up!

After the season-opening trouncing at the hands of the defending Stanley Cup Champion, Washington Capitals, I told you this team would be 10-5-2 after 17 games with a differential of +12 most of you, if not all, would have taken that and ran. The thing is this is still a team with a lot of improvements to make, a lot of warts to heal and a lot of injuries to overcome, but, it is a team with the tremendous potential to make a serious push this year. As we go through the season, remember, a roller coaster ride has both highs and lows, twists and turns, and the occasional bout of nausea but all you can do is sit back and enjoy the ride!

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Philadelphia: 10/25/18

Boston Bruins' Jake DeBrusk celebrates his goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens in Boston, Saturday, March 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Philadelphia Flyers

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

Heinen – Krejci – DeBrusk

Bjork – Nordstrom – Wagner

Donato – Kuraly – Acciari

Defense

Chara – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Moore

Lauzon – Kampfer

Goalies

Halak

Rask

Philadelphia’s Lineup

Forwards

Giroux – Couturier – Konecny

Laughton – Patrick – Voracek

Lindblom – Weal – Simmonds

Weise – Lehtera – Knight

Defense

Provorov – Hagg

Gostisbehere – MacDonald

Sanheim – Gudas

Goalies

Elliott

Neuvirth

First Period

Coming off of a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night, the Bruins came into this one looking to start a winning streak. With Charlie McAvoy, Kevan Miller, and now Urho Vaakanainen out of the lineup, Jeremy Lauzon is the next man up on the back end. The Bruins come into this one with a 6-1-2 record against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden in their last nine contests.

The game started out with some good back-and-forth on both sides of the ice. Jeremy Lauzon landed a solid open-ice hit on Oskar Lindblom. Most notably, the third line was buzzing with energy and offensive zone pressure for the Bruins.

At the 12:49 mark of the period, David Pastrnak and Claude Giroux were sent to the box for hooking and holding the stick respectively, creating a 4-on-4. The extra room to work on the ice did not prove fruitful in getting on the score sheet, but another opportunity came for the Bruins shortly after. Robert Hagg sat for two minutes after slashing Brad Marchand, creating a big chance for the Bruins to take advantage of being a man up. One shot on goal and two minutes later, both teams still held goose eggs on the scoreboard.

Zdeno Chara fell victim to an awkward delay of game penalty with just under two minutes to go in the period. The Bruins held off the Flyers’ power play for the remaining minute and 55 seconds, but Chara’s penalty will bleed into the second period for five seconds.

The first period was much of the same throughout. A back-and-forth period overall just like the start. Philadelphia looked a bit lackadaisical at times. Jeremy Lauzon did not look fazed in his first period as an NHL defenseman in 3:28 of ice time. Anders Bjork really stood out while buzzing around the puck pretty consistently. The shots were 7-7, a deadlock, just like the score.

Score: 0-0

Second Period

Jaroslav Halak made some key saves in the first half of the second frame. They stood out central to the goaltending battle theme of this game.

Danton Heinen put one in the high glass while all alone in front of Brian Elliott – both teams were snakebitten. Heinen made up for it and helped break the ice by feeding Zdeno Chara for a one-timer that beat Brian Elliott exactly seven minutes to go in the period. It was the second goal of the year for Chara, third assist for Heinen.

 

 

 

The good old too many men on the ice sent the Flyers to the penalty kill, with Travis Konecny serving the minor penalty. David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk made them pay for the bench minor. DeBrusk parked himself out front for a quick tip past Elliott to make it 2-0 Bruins. It was the third goal of the year for DeBrusk, assisted by David Krejci (7) and Steven Kampfer (1).

https://twitter.com/mkmolnar/status/1055619549356277761

It took a little while to get on the scoresheet, but the Bruins took control and capitalized on a Philly team that just couldn’t find the back of the net. The shots still remained tied after two, this time with 18 on both sides. Jaroslav Halak left the ice for intermission with an 18-save shutout going.

Score: 2-0 Boston

Third Period

Steven Kampfer was throwing his weight around in the third. First on Corban Knight, the on Scott Laughton. The hit on Laughton drew an angry mob to the scene. Kampfer took Laighton to the ground and landed some jabs. Simmonds and Kampfer were penalized for roughing as a result of the skirmish, with Kampfer getting four minutes. Ryan Donato joined him to serve the penalty.

 

 

The penalties didn’t end as Chara went to the box for a second time, this time for tripping. The Bruins killed off a four second 5-on-3 and then some to finally get back to even strength.

In a game where they struggled to score, Travis Konecny took a tripping penalty with five-and-a-half minutes to go. Just over a minute and 30 seconds into the power play for the Bruins, Jake DeBrusk was called for interference while fighting for territory in front of Brian Elliott. Steven Kampfer and Scott Laughton exchanged words after their encounter earlier in the game, and Andrew MacDonald ended up in the box for slashing Jake DeBrusk in response.

Ryan Donato got jumped for crashing the net and started yet another skirmish in the Philadelphia defensive zone before Oskar Lindblom took an interference penalty in the final two minutes of regulation.

Make it two for Zdeno Chara. What did he do with the empty net opportunity behind the Bruins goal line? He sent it on net, because why not? It worked and marked his third goal of the season. Jaroslav Halak notched the first assist of his Bruins career on the goal. To keep up with a common theme, there was a scuffle at the buzzer.

The final shots were 26-25 in favor of the Flyers, making it a 26-save shutout for Jaroslav Halak. Next up for the Bruins are the Montreal Canadiens at home at 7:00 PM.

Final Score: 3-0 Boston