Bruins Marchand Voted Best/Worst Trash Talker in NHL

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PHOTO CREDITS: (cbc.ca)

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

As announced today, March 20th, 2019, the NHL Player’s Association (NHLPA) voted Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand the best and somehow, worst trash talker in the National Hockey League. Over 500 current NHL players participated in the voting process and it is meant to add some fun awards to the league.

The NHLPA Player Poll has been in the running for the past two seasons and it covers a variety of different categories – all of which voted on by the player body. Below are some of the winners from the 2018-19 season.

  • Best Forward – EDM Connor McDavid
  • Best Defenceman – TBL Victor Hedman
  • Best Goalie – MTL Carey Price
  • Best Shot – WSH Alex Ovechkin
  • Best Female Player – CWHL Hilary Knight
  • Best Arena Atmosphere – T-Mobile Arena (Vegas Golden Knights)
  • Best Ice – Bell Centre (Montreal Canadiens)
  • Best Team Mascot – Gritty (Philadelphia Flyers)

And many more. For a full list of all the winners – CLICK HERE.

Back to Boston – Brad Marchand took home two winning awards from this voting event. Marchand won the best trash talker, earning 21.3% of the votes, beating out Drew Doughty (11.8%), Ryan Reaves (5.5%), Claude Giroux (4.8%) and Nick Cousins (3.3%). Somehow, Marchand also won the complete opposite of that award – the worst trash talker in the league, receiving 12.5% of the votes, ahead of Antoine Roussel (5.5%), P.K. Subban (5.1%), Nick Cousins (4.7%), and Brendan Lemieux (3.5%).

We all have a good idea on what exactly goes on the ice, even though we don’t get the mics on the players for every game. Although, that would be an interesting addition to the sport. Nonetheless, Marchand seems to be in the thick of things with words flying from his lips to the biggest or smallest of players in the league today. Brad has used this asset for exactly that – an asset.

In a meaningful game for a playoff position or a game against a heated rival like the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Flyers, etc., Marchand is able to stir the pot and get under the opposing team’s skin – hoping to get them off their game. In the past, Marchand has not been great with keeping this contained, as suspensions and fines, (with many, many warnings), have piled up. This season, however, the 30-year-old Marchand has not, (*knock on wood*), been handed a single suspension – not one and has gone on to set a new career-high in points.

Funny enough, Brad Marchand is not only good (or bad) at trash talking his opponents, but he has a fun time poking fun at fellow Bruin teammates. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is one of Marchand’s main guys to have a little fun with on social media, especially on Twitter. Brad likes to make fun of Krug’s height which ironically, is the same as Marchand according to Hockey Reference. Here are a few of those gems.

Don’t worry though, Krug has had his fair share to return to Marchand on Twitter.

The friendly fire between Krug and Marchand is just a testament to how close this team has become over the past few years of success and even failure. Just this little back and forth banter between two of the most important players on the team right now shows that this team is more like a family and that is crucial come playoff time.

Aside from Marchand’s dual awards, the Bruins were in the running for a couple other ones as well, but just fell short. Forward Patrice Bergeron received 9.2% of the votes for the most difficult player to play against, finishing third behind McDavid (30.9%) and Crosby (16.0%). That’s not it as Bergeron was also voted 4th in the “Player You Would Start a Franchise With”, getting 1.7% of the votes for him, behind McDavid (60%), Crosby (18.5%) and Matthews (4.3%).

With the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs right around the corner, it is a nice little reminder that the players do enjoy their share of fun and games in these final few weeks of the regular season. Were these awards correct in your eyes or did the players get something wrong? Let me know on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj!

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Bruins DeBrusk Returns To Lineup As Club Gets Healthy For Playoff Run

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( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images )

By: Cam McCusker | Follow Me On Twitter @CSthinks

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

 

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

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

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

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( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images )

The Obvious Benefits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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( Photo Credit: Elise Amendola/ AP )

The Pending Danger

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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Pastrnak, Grzelcyk Among Other Returnees To Bruins Practice

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

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

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

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

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

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Bruins A Successful “Social” Bunch

Image result for nhl bruins 2019 team photo(Photo Credit: Fansided)

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

You could call it a “Cult of Personality” — especially if you’re a fan of 80’s rock band Living Colourthat’s successfully surrounding the Boston Bruins right now. And it’s not just how the team is playing on the ice, 19-game point streak records aside. It’s how the players are interacting off the ice (indeed, Behind The B if you will) that’s proof this team is perhaps a bit more socially connected with each other than in year’s past. As a result, it’s very easy to cheer on, root for & enjoy the B’s no matter how you watch or cover them (writer/blogger/fan), especially with the type of special season they’re putting together game after game.

There is just something about this team, indeed. Long gone are the days where the B’s locker room or bench was the only place you’d find teammates complimenting or commiserating with each other. Now, players can keep the playful chirping & chiding going all off-day long thanks to their social media savvy… something we all know can have a devastating impact to team sports if not approached or handled correctly. Thankfully, this current Black N’ Gold group does it just as entertainingly as their on-ice play as of late… and you can best “B”-lieve it’s one of those intangibles bringing the team, the fans & the region together.

Of course, Brad Marchand & Torey Krug have been using Twitter to tease each other mercilessly all season long with truly trolling take-down threads that have caught the eye of ALL hockey fans these past few weeks. In the GenZ/Millennial age of communication, this is camaraderie at its fun-centric finest. But, they’re also recognizing just how impactful a “tweet” or social media message can be to the people who follow them — and what a world of difference a simple response can make, as in the recent case of big B’s fan Jillian Murphy who enjoys throwing shade just like Marchy does:

As NESN recently featured, the B’s social presence is now spilling over onto Instagram, where Marchand and other teammates are making the most of their positive outreach, a move that will undoubtedly lead to comments (and commenters) a-plenty as the playoffs approach and EVERY move the Bruins make will be under the microscope, no matter the platform or platitude. Yet, I like it. I support it. I hope it becomes an insta-hit!

When did many of us realize this B’s team was going to be a “hit”? — and in a way much more meaningful than any inefficient enforcer types? I’d say when we got a peak at the Peaky Blinders from the Winter Classic. There was just something different (in a good way) about how these guys were approaching big games, big moments & big opportunities to showcase their togetherness and team pride.

Image result for boston bruins peaky blinders(Photo Credit: TD Bank)

I don’t think it will, or should, stop for the remainder of the season either. Because as we all have witnessed over the past two decades of Boston sports dominance, there are just some teams that are more magical than others; there are just some fits within a lineup that achieve remarkable results, no matter the level of pressure or passion. And the 2018-2019 Boston Bruins, as successful of a social bunch as their ever was one, are on the verge of being one of those personality-driven teams where the results, like the spotlight, will follow.

And we should all feel pretty good about getting to see it up-close and personal in living (Black N’ Gold) color!

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Bruins Game Recap: Ottawa at Boston, 3/9/19

photo credit: By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

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

The Bruins closed out their six game homestand tonight with another last-minute, come-from-behind win, this time against the embattled Ottawa Senators. Their point streak is now at nineteen games, which is second longest in team history, behind only a 23-game streak during the 1940-41 season. This is the first time in their history that they have scored the game winner in the last minute of the third period in consecutive games.

Bruins’ Lineup:

Senators’ Lineup:

First Period:

Other than Lee Stempniak beginning his second tour with the Bruins, the first period was mainly uneventful, and would ultimately remain scoreless. The Bruins outshot the Senators 12-6, and each team went 0-for-2 on the man advantage. Play was pretty sloppy.

Second Period:

Both teams were better and less sloppy in the second period than they had been during the first. The Bruins hit the crossbar, and two posts. At 9:04, Magnus Paajarvi landed in the box after hooking Noel Acciari. On the ensuing power play, Torey Krug set Brad Marchand up for a one-timer, which beat Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson at 10:11.

Almost immediately afterward, Patrice Bergeron missed the mark on a pass from behind his own goal line. Brady Tkachuk was able to fling the puck to an Jean-Gabriel Pageau in the slot, who beat Tuukka Rask top shelf with a wrist shot. The period would end tied at one goal apiece, with the Bruins outshooting the Sens 14-8.

Third Period:

The third period started off with some sloppy play by the Bruins, followed by Chris Tierney stealing the puck from Brad Marchand in Ottawa’s defensive zone, and beating Patrice Bergeron into the Bruins’ zone. McAvoy forced Tierney toward the left wing, and Tierney was able to get a shot off, which Rask saved. Torey Krug cleaned up the rebound and then made a horrendous turnover, coughing the puck up to Tierney directly to the right of Rask. Tierney was able to move it toward former Boston University Terrier Brady Tkachuk, who beat Rask glove side with a backhand shot at 2:46.

Later, Charlie McAvoy would gain the offensive zone and carry the puck behind the net, dishing it to Torey Krug at the left point. Krug then moved to the right point and let a shot go. Walpole’s own Chris Wagner was battling in front of the net and was able to redirect the shot to beat Anderson to tie the game at 2 goals across the board.

The next half period would be more of the same — sloppy, turnovers, with a back-and-forth rhythm — the Bruins weren’t looking great, but were good enough to get the job done. With 44 seconds left, Danton Heinen shot from just past the hash marks. David Krejci was able to tip the shot in over Anderson’s shoulder, and the Bruins took the 3-2 lead. Luckily, Boston was able to hold on tight for the next 44 seconds, and close out the homestand with another win.

Stars of the game:

1. David Krejci

2. Chris Wagner

3. Brady Tkachuk

Notes:

  • Tuukka Rask has not lost in regulation in 76 days (Carolina On December 23).
  • Defenseman John Moore played in his 500th NHL game tonight.
  • Lee Stempniak was called up from Providence on an emergency basis on Saturday morning.
  • Stempniak and Joakim Nordstrom skated with David Krejci, and it was not optimal.
  • Peter Cehlarik only saw 10 minutes of ice time, which was second to least among Lee Stempniak, ahead of only Lee Stempniak. Cehlarik was better along the boards and drew a penalty in the first period.
  • Zdeno Chara led all Bruins in time on ice, skating for 22:17.
  • The Bruins outshot the Senators 31-19.

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Game Preview: Boston Bruins vs Ottawa Senators

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(Photo Credits: The Runner Sport)

By: Liz Rizzo| Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

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

ROSTER UPDATES

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

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

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

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

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

OTTAWA

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

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

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

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

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

WHERE TO WATCH: NESN

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You! 

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Here is What John Moore Means to the Bruins’ Success

( Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/ USA TODAY Sports )

By: Cam McCusker | Follow Me On Twitter @CSthinks

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

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

( Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire/ Getty Images )

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

 

Big Credit to Me

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

Understated

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

Wheels

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

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

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

Depth/Health

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

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

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

Eating Minutes/Shots

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

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

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

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What it Means?

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

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

But I don’t think he’ll care.

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Coyle and MoJo Make Bruins’ PowerPlay Even More Lethal

( Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports )

By: Cam McCusker | Follow me on Twitter @CSthinks

 

The forward depth and secondary scoring were issues that the Boston Bruins needed to address between the start of the season and the playoffs. While the play of the team itself had certainly improved prior to the trade deadline, the Bruins’ recent acquisitions put them over the top.

Fans who scoffed at the names Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson because neither was pursued heavily by cup contenders are frustrating at best. These fans also have likely never watched either player at length to effectively assess what it is they bring to the table.

I could go for days on how Dirty Don swindled the entire league by flying under the radar to stealthily scoop up two of the most attractive forward options at the deadline. Charlie Coyle brings a puck possessing, playmaking grittiness to the Bruins’ middle 6. Marcus Johansson brings a smooth skating, puck-possessing, playmaking style of hockey to the Bruins’ middle 6.

( Photo Credit: The Athletic )

Hey, look at that! Our middle 6 just got twice as good. What were those issues we were talking about earlier? Forward depth and secondary scoring? Smell ya later.

Power Play Bonus

But what goes unnoticed with these two is just how deadly they’ll make the already prolific Bruins’ powerplay, which currently sits at 3rd in the league in efficiency.

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Charlie Coyle is a smooth skating big body who makes plays and has a silky set of mitts. Marcus Johansson is a proven playmaker who was raised on the power play. I’ve heard several reports that his first word was “sauce.” Put a big body like Coyle in front of the net or in the slot (catch ya later, Backes), or let him make plays from the half wall. Tell Johansson to post up on the goal line and have fun. I mean the guy’s name is MoJo—I’m pretty sure he knows how to thread the needle through a few triangles.

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Is it shocking that two proven power play contributors will get time on the powerplay? Absolutely not. But what the rest of the league might not be ready for is the depth that Coyle and Johansson bring to the Bruins’ second unit. Until recently, the B’s have essentially utilized their first powerplay unit. Not exclusively, but it wasn’t unlikely to see Torey Krug’s unit on the ice for more than a minute and a half of a 2-minute peeper.

Granted, the unit had proven to still be effective when tired or when deep into a powerplay. But the additional minutes that the first PP unit has played due to the once massive drop off in efficiency between the two units certainly has the potential to creep in during crunch time. If you’re fuzzy on this phenomenon, maybe watch the game film of the Bruins’ last few overtime games. Holy flatness.

Now that there’s a second unit that can wheel and deal, expect the Bruins’ to continue dummy PK units that are forced to share the same ice surface. Two effective units mean shorter, more fast-paced shifts that will wear down opposing defensemen and penalty killers while keeping the Bruins’ top dogs fresh for later in the game when the bench shortens.

That’s just about as simple and abbreviated as anyone could make the positive effects that Coyle and Johansson have on the Bruins’ lineup.

But I’m a simple man.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Philadelphia at Boston: 1/31/19

1262691_bruins_flyers_hockey_37863.Photo Courtesy Of The Portland Press Herald

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (27-17-6)

Away: Philadelphia Flyers (21-23-6)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Cehlarik-Krejci-DeBrusk

Heinen-Frederic-Backes

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Moore-Miller

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Philadelphia’s Lineup

Forwards

van Riemsdyk-Giroux-Konecny

Lindblom-Couturier-Voracek

Laughton-Patrick-Simmonds

Varone-Vorobyov-Raffl

Defense

Provorov-Sanheim

MacDonald-Gudas

Haag-Folin

Goalies

Hart

Stolarz

First Period

The Bruins went to the power play in the opening minutes as David Pastrnak got tripped down driving to the Philadelphia net. Pastrnak gave Boston the early lead with a man advantage goal off a beautiful feed from Torey Krug just three minutes into the game.

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Immediately following the goal Tuukka Rask made a huge save on James van Riemsdyk to preserve the lead. The Bruins seemed to have no trouble getting scoring chances early on as they took the play to the Flyers. Rask seemed to be very active especially playing the puck which kept the play moving, allowing the B’s to have the advantage in possession.

The Bruins play seemed to level out in the middle stages of the period as the Flyers started to find a rhythm. Rask didn’t face a ton of rubber in the period but looked perfectly normal in his first game back from a concussion. Neither team got many great scoring chances in the final moments of the period until Claude Giroux broke free and scored on a breakaway to tie it with less than a minute left in the period.

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Score: Tied 1-1

Second Period

The Bruins started the period struggling in their own zone as the Flyers got countless chances on Rask but to no avail. Pastrnak made it two goals on the night as he redirected Patrice Bergeron’s shot by Carter Hart to give the B’s the lead once again.

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The Bruins looked to regain their composure as the period went on as they got more solid scoring chances against Hart. The Flyers got some good chances but they remained few and far between. Rask continued to be strong as he made a big stop on Wayne Simmonds to keep it a one goal game. The Flyers started to storm the Boston end towards the end of the period as the Bruins looked to be slightly flustered in their own end.

Pastrnak nearly made it a hat trick late in the period with a chance in the Philadelphia crease but hit the side of the net as it remained a 2-1 game. The physical play started to pick up late in the period as both teams drove hard to the goals of the opposing team to try to find the back of the net.

Score: 2-1 Bruins

Third Period

The Bruins started the final period with a little more jump in their step than the previous period as they looked to take control of the game. The B’s play in the own end improved in the early moments of the third as they were determined to not let the Flyers back into the game. Scott Laughton broke free after a bad turnover by John Moore and was hooked on a breakaway which resulted in a penalty shot but Rask gave him nothing to shoot which kept it a one goal game.

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The Flyers got their first power play opportunity as Sean Kuraly took a penalty for holding the stick with about 11 minutes to go in the game. Oskar Lindblom tied it with a redirect in front of the net on the man advantage with just 10 seconds left on the penalty kill.

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The Bruins seemed to have trouble getting scoring chances in the third period as the Flyers were able to hold the advantage in possession. The Bruins seemed determined to get the go ahead goal late in the period as the first line got a few great scoring chances. The Bruins continued to get the better of the scoring chances down the stretch but couldn’t find the back of the net.

Score: Tied 2-2

Overtime

Marchand took a tripping penalty 57 seconds into the extra session, resulting in the Flyers getting a four on three advantage. Travis Sanheim found the back of the net on a long wrist shot to win it for the Flyers with just two seconds left on the power play.

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Final Score: 3-2 Flyers

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Pastrnak. Scoring his 29th and 30th goals of the season, Pastrnak was at his best in this one and nearly finished off the hat trick in the second period.

Second Star: Rask. The goalie kept the Bruins in the game with a couple key stops but was denied a shot to move up on the B’s all time wins record.

Third Star: Bergeron. It wasn’t a spectacular game for number 37 but he had a solid game with an assist on Pastrnak’s even strength goal.

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Bruins Game 45 Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs

cut

PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

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

The Boston Bruins were on a five-game winning streak until they took a tough 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday. Ryan Donato and David Krejci scored the only goals for the Bruins while Jaroslav Halak made eighteen saves on twenty-one shots. Boston still holds a two-point cushion on the Buffalo Sabres for third-place in the Atlantic division but sits four points behind the Maple Leafs for second in the division.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had a back-and-forth start to their 2019 calendar year. After a 4-3 loss to the Wild to begin the year, the Leafs beat the Canucks 5-0, lost to the Predators 4-0, and most recently, defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Thursday. Toronto currently has a four-point edge on the Bruins for second in the Atlantic division, but still sit twelve points back of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 12-8-2 2.43 GAA .920 SV% Last Game: 24 Saves in 4-0 win vs MIN

TOR: Michael Hutchinson 3-3-2 3.29 GAA .886 SV% Last Game: 27 Saves in 4-2 win vs NJD

Who’s Hot

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is expected to get the start in tonight’s game against the Leafs and it makes perfect sense. The 31-year-old goalie has won each of his last four starts including a 4-0 shutout (his 42nd of his career) against the Wild on January 8th. In 2019 so far, Rask’s .982 save percentage is the best in the NHL and he is tied with Jordan Binnigton for best goals-against-average (0.50) in the two games played.

20130504_lbm_sj7_076.0.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (USA Today Sports)

Free-agent acquisition John Tavares has been great for Toronto this season. In forty-three games played, the 28-year-old centre has twenty-nine goals and twenty-one assists for fifty points in that span. In the 4-2 win over New Jersey, Tavares scored two goals and added a helper for his fourth three-point game of the 2018-19 season.

Bruins defenceman Torey Krug is often in the middle of the Bruins trade rumours, but the 5-foot-9 defender is making a trade tough to deal with. Since coming back from injury, Krug has 4-25-29 totals in 33 games this season, including six points in his last five games. Krug also ranks third on the Bruins roster for most power-play points (18) behind Brad Marchand (19) and David Pastrnak (25).

After a brief two-game pointless streak, Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner came right back with a goal and an assist in the win over the Devils, bringing his season totals to 16-41-57 in 43 games. Marner leads the Leafs in points and is ninth in league scoring. His 41 assists so far tie him with Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames for fifth-most assists in the NHL.

Who’s Not

It may seem odd to say, but Bruins leading scorer David Pastrnak is on a little bit of a cold streak. In the past three games, Pastrnak has failed to score a single point and has been a minus rating in two of those games. The three-game pointless streak is minor for Pastrnak, who has 25-27-52 totals in 44 games this season, but the Bruins need him to start picking up the pace offensively.

Like every team in the National Hockey League, the Maple Leafs have had their fair share of injuries as well. Lately, starting goaltender Frederik Andersen and backup goaltender Garrett Sparks both went down to injuries, leaving Michael Hutchinson to man the crease. The 28-year-old goalie has gone 3-3-0 with the Leafs along with a .886 save percentage and 3.29 GAA. Not good numbers, especially heading into tonight’s game against the Bruins.

William Nylander was in all the big news talks from the offseason right until December 1st when he signed his new contract. But since then, the former 8th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has only scored three points (one goal, two assists) in fifteen games. Nylander is a -2 rating with 12 penalty minutes.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • BOS F David Krejci (604) is 2 points behind Terry O’Reilly (606) for ninth-most points in Bruins franchise history
  • BOS D Zdeno Chara (956) is three penalty minutes behind Lyndon Byers (959) for ninth-most penalty minutes in Bruins history
  • BOS F Patrice Bergeron is one game-winning goal away (60) from taking sole-possession of third-most in Bruins history
  • BOS F Brad Marchand is one shorthanded goal away (23) from tying Derek Sanderson (24) for second-most in Bruins history
  • BOS D Zdeno Chara is two goals away from 200 career NHL goals

Toronto Maple Leafs:

  • No notable milestone that can be reached in tonight’s game

Bruins vs Maple Leafs Outlook

For the fourth and final time in the 2018-19 regular season, the Bruins and Leafs will meet on the ice for one of the best-renewed rivalries in the NHL today. To this date, Boston has taken 2-out-of-the-3 games, with the most recent win coming on December 8th – a 6-3 win.

Michael Hutchinson has not been too consistent in his recent time with the Maple Leafs. As with many other games, the Bruins need to bring down the confidence level of the opposing goaltender, in this case, former Bruin Hutchinson, in order to get a strong lead on the game.

In the two wins for Boston this season against Toronto, they have scored the first goal, in fact, they scored the first three goals in each of those two wins. The one time they lost – Toronto opened the scoring. It is a good chance that that trend continues in Toronto here tonight. Bruins also need the help of Leaf-killers, David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand to lead the Boston offence early and often while Tuukka Rask needs to continue his recent solid play to keep the offence of Toronto quiet.

These two teams are closely matched and this will be the final time they get to play each other until the almost inevitable playoff series come April. Nonetheless, it is bound to be a great, competitive game of hockey. Below are most likely the lines of the Bruins heading into tonight’s game. Defenceman Charlie McAvoy returns to the lineup after missing time with a foot infection, while John Moore is scratched by Cassidy tonight.

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