Bruins Post-Game Recap: Montreal at Boston: 1/14/19

cut-1Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (26-15-4)

Away: Montreal Canadiens (24-17-5)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Backes

Kuraly-Acciari-Wagner

Heinen-Forsbacka Karlsson-Donato

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Miller

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Montreal’s Lineup

Forwards

Drouin-Danault-Gallagher

Lehkonen-Domi-Armia

Tatar-Kotkaniemi-Byron

Agostino-Chaput-Deslauriers

Defense

Mete-Weber

Reilly-Petry

Kulak-Benn

Goalies

Price

Niemi

First Period

The Canadiens had the early chances but Tuukka Rask stood up to them to keep the game scoreless. The Bruins failed to get many chances in the early going as they seemed to have trouble stringing passes together. A couple solid shifts by the B’s got their legs going as they got a few opportunities on Carey Price. Brad Marchand drew a tripping penalty to give the Bruins a power play with about eight minutes left in the period.

The Bruins failed to capitalize on the man advantage as Price and the Canadiens defense made a big penalty kill. Marchand got a short breakaway on Price but was denied after a spectacular effort by Patrice Bergeron to get the puck loose. A four on four came after matching penalties and Marchand took full advantage as he scored on a shot from the dot to give the B’s the lead.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Kevan Miller and Nick Deslauriers dropped the gloves with 3:50 to go in the period to get the crowd into the game as they’d been fairly quiet to that point.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Rask was on point in the first period and made a great glove stop on Tomas Tatar in the slot late in the period. However, a tipped shot from the point got past Rask off the stick of Brendan Gallagher to tie the game with nearly a minute left in the period.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Score: Tied 1-1

Second Period

The Bruins had trouble in their own zone in the opening moments of the period but Rask was up to it, keeping the game tied. The B’s responded with a good shift as they nearly took the lead but Price was on top of it. Neither team possessed the puck too well in the middle period as there seemed to be turnovers all over the place.

The Canadiens seemed to have more success with speed through the neutral zone as the Bruins looked to be on their heels. Neither team could get into an offensive rhythm as the scoring chances came few and far between. Rask continued to have a strong night with a couple of huge stops in the middle stages of the period.

The Bruins would draw another penalty as Victor Mete went off for hooking. Paul Byron took advantage of a flat footed Bergeron to score a shorthanded goal as the Canadiens took the lead.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The Habs killed the Boston power play as the Bruins failed to get any significant scoring chances. A small scrum in front of both benches resulted in a four on four situation to close out the period.

Score: 2-1 Canadiens

Third Period

The Bruins had a tough start to the period as the Habs had a few good chances in front of the Boston net. The newly formed second line of David Krejci, Danton Heinen and Ryan Donato had a good shift in the early part of the third but couldn’t find the back of the net to tie the score. The Bruins had a heck of a time trying to get into an offensive rhythm as the Habs slowed them down in the neutral zone.

Heinen charged to the net about midway through the period but lost his footing and didn’t get a decent shot off and the game remained 2-1. The B’s had the majority of the possession and the chances in the final period but were unable to capitalize on Price.

The Bruins picked up another man advantage with two minutes to go on a delay of game penalty against the Canadiens. With the goalie pulled, Krejci picked the top corner from the top of the circle to tie the game with less than a minute to go.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Score: Tied 2-2

Overtime

Just 15 seconds into the extra session, Jeff Petry batted in a rebound off of a Max Domi shot to give the Canadiens a win and tie the season series with the Bruins.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Final Score: 3-2 Canadiens

Three Stars Of The Game

Third Star: Marchand. The winger seemed to be one of the few Bruins to have a successful game and he added his 17th goal of the season in the loss.

Second Star: Rask. The Bruin netminder had another strong game and kept the team in the game all night as they secured a point in the overtime loss.

First Star: Price. The Montreal goalie was perhaps the best player on the ice in this one and stole another win against the Bruins as he’s done so often before.

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

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

Bruins Game 46 Preview: Montreal Canadiens

canadiens-bruins.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (sportsnet.ca)

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

Only two days removed from their 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, the Boston Bruins are back on home ice for a game against longtime rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. In the win over Toronto, the Bruins were outshot in every period except the third period, where they outshot the Leafs 10-to-6. David Krejci, Sean Kuraly, and David Pastrnak scored the goals for Boston. The B’s sit third place in the Atlantic Division, two points behind Toronto.

Like the Bruins, the Montreal Canadiens are coming off of a Saturday night victory, shutting out the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 for their second win in their last three games. Carey Price stopped all twenty-eight shots that faced him while Brett Kulak, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Jordie Benn scored the three goals for Montreal. The Habs have the second wild-card position in the Eastern Conference, only one point behind the Islanders and only one point ahead of the Sabres who are currently out of the playoffs.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 13-8-2 2.41 GAA .921 SV% Last Game: 30 Saves in 3-2 win vs TOR

MTL: Carey Price 17-13-4 2.67 GAA .910 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 3-0 win vs COL

Who’s Hot

Sean Kuraly potted his fifth goal of the season and two primary assists for a three-point night against the Leafs on Saturday. The 25-year-old forward is one point shy of his career-high in points that he hit last season with fifteen. Kuraly’s three-point outing brought his 2018-19 totals to 5-8-13 and his role along with linemates Chris Wagner and Noel Acciari has increased in the past few games. Kuraly has become a big part to this Bruins roster in the early parts of 2019.

1704050871_5988865762001_5988865259001-vs-1024x576.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (sportsnet.ca)

Canadiens forward Phillip Danault helped directly on two Montreal goals on Saturday, bringing his assist total to twenty-three on the season. Danault now has three points in as many games and is fifth on the team’s scoring with 7-23-30 totals in 46 games.

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask has been on fire as of late, as he tends to be around this time of year. The Finnish net-minder has wins in his last five starts including a 1.40 goals-against-average and a save percentage of .956. Rask is the best goaltender in those stats with a minimum of four games in the 2019 calendar year and he will be striving to continue his hot play against the Canadiens.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi has not put up crazy numbers in his rookie season after going third overall to the Montreal Canadiens in last year’s NHL Entry Draft, but his 5-17-22 numbers in 46 games this year has brought some added scoring to a Canadiens roster that is in the middle of the NHL in goals scored.

Who’s Not

Max Domi is the leading scorer on the Montreal Canadiens, but he has only scored one point in the last five games and has failed to make it on the score-sheet in the last two games. The former 2013 1st Round Selection by the then-Phoenix Coyotes has 14-25-39 totals in forty-six games but his lack of consistency lately may be a cause of concern for the Habs.

David Backes had some time on the right side of David Krejci, but the 34-year old Minneapolis, Minnesota native has not played as well as hoped. Backes does have one point in the last three games, but he only saw 10:39 of ice-time against Toronto on Saturday night and it is fair to assume that he will not be seeing the second-line time for too much longer.

Carey Price is the number-one goaltender in Montreal, but in the last five games that he has played, he only has one win coming back in his last start on Saturday versus the Avalanche. Prior to that, Price lost four consecutive games including four goals allowed against the Blues on January 10th. Price is the backbone of the Canadiens and he needs to be on fire against a Bruins team that is rolling.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • BOS F David Pastrnak will be playing in his 300th career NHL regular season game
  • BOS G Tuukka Rask is one win away from tying Tiny Thompson (252) for most wins in Bruins history
  • 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
gmh125449961_hd

PHOTO CREDITS: (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

Montreal Canadiens:

  • MTL D Jeff Petry is two points away from 200 career NHL points
  • MTL D Jordie Benn is one point away from 100 career NHL points

Bruins vs Canadiens Outlook

Montreal and Boston have already played in three games together this season, with the Bruins taking two of those meetings already. After Montreal won 3-0 on October 27th, the Bruins came back with a 3-2 win on November 24th and a 4-0 win on December 17th. The Bruins have scored a combine seven goals and allowed five against.

Tuukka Rask played in each of the first two games, while Halak was the goalie for the Bruins in the 4-0 victory. In each meeting, Carey Price was handed the role of starter like he has 34 times this season.

Boston is coming off of a win against Toronto where they arguably were out played for the majority of the sixty-minute game. There were some good moments were the Bruins capitalized on costly mistakes by the Leafs defense and that reality will need to stay true tonight against Montreal. The Bruins have to continue playing a good game on both ends of the ice and for all sixty minutes.

Montreal will be entering the game with some tenacity due to their position in the NHL standings. With only a one-point cushion on the Sabres for the last wild-card spot, the Habs have to play like their playoff hopes are on the line – because, well, it is. At the beginning of the season, not many individuals expected Montreal to be in contention for the post-season, but they are proving them wrong and they’ll look to continue proving them wrong against the Bruins.

This will be the final game between the two Original Six teams in the 2018-19 regular season. Will the season series end 3-1 Boston or at a 2-2 tie? Before we find out, take a look at the projected lines for the game.

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

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

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.

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

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

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Minnesota: 1/8/19

Image result for Bruins TD Garden 2018

(Photo Credit: Paul Rutherford – USA TODAY Sports)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Minnesota Wild

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Backes

Kuraly – Acciari – Wagner

Donato – JFK – Heinen

Defense

Chara – Carlo

Krug – Moore

Grzelcyk – Miller

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Minnesota’s Lineup

Forwards

Greenway – Staal – Granlund

Parise – Coyle – Kunin

Zucker – Koivu – Niederreiter

Hendricks – Eriksson Ek – Foligno

Defense

Suter – Spurgeon

Brodin – Pateryn

Seeler – Prosser

Goalies

Stalock

Dubnyk

First Period

The Minnesota Wild came into this one on the second half of a back-to-back, so it was fair to expect some tired legs for at least part of the game. The Bruins came in winners of their last four games. The Kuraly line started for the Bruins, opposed by the Koivu line for Minnesota. Minnesota’s sluggishness due to the quick turnaround showed early on.

After a back-and-forth start, Danton Heinen redirected John Moore’s shot from the point past Stalock and in to give the Bruins the early lead just 5:23 into the period. Heinen’s goal marked his fifth of the year, assisted by Moore (6), and Krug (23).

Not too long after, Zdeno Chara somehow tossed the 6-foot-6, sub 200 pound Minnesota winger Jordan Greenway like a sack of potatoes and took an interference penalty – giving Minnesota an opportunity to even things up. One may think it’s hard to do that to someone as big as Greenway, but sometimes being 6-foot-9 like Chara comes in handy. The penalty was successfully killed off by the Bruins.

John Moore stayed amongst the offense when he kept the puck in along the wall to the point where the puck found Patrice Bergeron for an indirect pass, and then the backboards where it was deposited into the net by Brad Marchand. The goal marked Marchand’s 16th of the year, Moore’s seventh assist of the season and second of the game, and Patrice Bergeron’s 23rd assist. 2-0 Bruins with 8:31 to go.

Tuukka Rask preserved the two-goal lead with an excellent save on Eric Staal with speed. Shortly after that, Kevan Miller went to the box for holding.

With 34 seconds left on the Wild power play, Staal made it 4-on-4 when he went off for tripping Rask. The Bruins continued the offensive trend when Bergeron sent a shot wide, where it was intentionally deflected off Jake DeBrusk’s chest and in, 3-0 Bruins with 45 seconds left in the period. The goal marked DeBrusk’s 14th of the season, Bergeron’s second assist of the game and 24th of the season, and Brad Marchand’s 30th assist.

In a dominant, highlight-filled first period for the Bruins, they outshot the Wild 15-6. Momentum was clearly in their favor heading into the second period.

Score: 3-0 Boston

Second Period

Rask was nearly fooled on a redirect by Luke Kunin that nearly found its way through his five-hole, but no dice for Kunin and the Wild. The start of this one was very similar to that of the first period. After that chance, went off for two minutes thanks to a tripping penalty for Zach Parise.

The dominance continued when Bergeron got on the board early in the power play off of a redirection off of his skate. It was 4-0 Bruins thanks to Bergeron’s 14th goal of the season, assisted by Marchand (31), and Krug (24), both their second assists of the game.

Moore went to the box around the halfway point of the period for burying Kunin into the Bruins net – can’t do that. Two minutes for interference for Moore, giving Minnesota a chance to get back into this one to some degree. They didn’t convert. Despite not finding the back of the net, the shots were 10-3 Minnesota 13 minutes into the period, so the first period served as a wake-up call to some degree. Rask had yet another very sound period in the crease.

Despite a solid period from the Wild, the advantage still remained heavily in favor of the Bruins on the scoreboard. The shots were 12-5 Wild, decreasing the shot margin to just 20-18 in favor of the Bruins.

Score: 4-0 Boston

Third Period

The game got progressively quieter after the first period. Not even an empty-netter, just the cap on a 24-save shutout for Rask. The Bruins dominated most of the game and the scoreboard shows it. The shots in the final frame were 7-6 Bruins and 27-24 overall.

That emphatic win makes it five straight for the Bruins. Next up are the Washington Capitals at TD Garden at 7 PM ET on Thursday.

Final Score: 4-0 Boston

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGaint 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!

—-> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Official SeatGiant Ticket Info <— 

Bruins Halak Finishing up Elite First Half of Season

Jaroslav-Halak-Bruins(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara, USA Today Sports)

By: Ian Smith | Follow me on Twitter @IanMalcolmSmith

When the Boston Bruins signed Jaroslav Halak as a free agent this offseason, he wasn’t really expected to be anything beyond a serviceable backup. He signed a two-year contract worth $5.5 million with the Bruins, while Anton Khudobin left to sign with the Dallas Stars for two-years and $5 million. The Bruins shelled out a bit more money for Tuukka Rask’s backup for this season, but Halak provided a nice veteran option to play whenever Rask needed a rest.

Halak has played some of the very best hockey of his career and been a pleasant surprise for a team that has suffered through a lot of bad luck with injuries. The official halfway point of the season is right around the corner, and Halak definitely needs to be discussed among the potential Vezina Trophy candidates. He leads the league with a .928 save percentage and is fifth with 2.28 goals against average, although his biggest impediment to being taken as seriously as possible for the award is his relative lack of playing time. Halak has played in 22 games this season while splitting time in net with Rask and has gone 12-6-2 in 21 starts.

His stats are impressive, but he hasn’t been leaned on as his squad’s workhouse this season due to the Bruins depth chart situation. It’s a luxury to have two very capable goaltending options, but it probably means that neither one would get the proper due in terms of that Vezina Trophy by the end of the season. A lot of his chances for the award are going to be based on whether the Bruins coaching staff begins giving him significantly more starts over Rask in the second half of the season. Even with the elite statistics in categories like save percentage and goals against average, it’s likely going to take Halak getting more starts to win the Vezina Trophy.

The last 10 Vezina winners in non-lockout shortened seasons illustrate a pretty clear picture of what Halak needs to get to. In terms of wins, the fewest amount by a Vezina winner in the last 10 non-lockout shortened season is 35. The highest win total is 48. The average is about 41. The lowest goals against average by a Vezina winner in the last 10 non-lockout shortened season is 1.96 goals against average. The highest is 2.31 goals against average, and the average is about 2.10 goals against average. The highest save percentage by a Vezina winner in the last 10 non-lockout shortened season is a .938 save percentage. The lowest is a .920 save percentage, and the average is about a .929 save percentage.

Halak has a save percentage right now that is just about average for what a Vezina winner has put up recently. Even with the goals against average a bit on the high side, it’s still not the highest amongst the recent winners. The wins are the biggest problem for him right now, though, but that’s to be expected given that his goaltending partner is getting so many starts. Tim Thomas won the Vezina with 35 wins back in 2010-11, but he still ranked tied for ninth that season in that category. Halak is tied for 18th in wins right now, and there are currently four goaltenders who are tied for seventh with 15 wins. Halak is a few wins behind the top 10 in that category, which is around where he’d have to be if he wants any realistic chance to win the Vezina.

He’s in excellent shape with his save percentage, and even his goals against average as of now isn’t acting as a huge impediment for his odds. The real challenge for him is in the wins category, and that’s dependent on how many starts he gets in the second half of this season. He might ultimately not play in enough games to really generate sufficient buzz for the award. It would also be tough for him to keep the save percentage and goals against average where they are with more starts, but given how locked in Halak has been in the first half of the season, it wouldn’t be a huge stretch to expect him to finish the season with stats worthy of securing the Vezina Trophy.

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

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

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

Related image(Photo Credit: CBS Sports)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bruins Sabres HockeyPhoto Courtesy Of The Boston Herald

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (23-14-4)

Away: Buffalo Sabres (22-13-6)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Backes

Heinen-Forsbacka Karlsson-Donato

Kuraly-Acciari-Wagner

Defense

Chara-Carlo

Krug-Moore

Grzelcyk-Miller

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Buffalo’s Lineup

Forwards

Skinner-Rodrigues-Reinhart

Sheary-Sobotka-Thompson

Elie-Mittelstadt-Pominville

Smith-Larsson-Okposo

Defense

McCabe-Ristolainen

Scandella-Dahlin

Pilut-Bogosian

Goalies

Ullmark

Hutton

First Period

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

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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

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

Score: 1-0 Bruins

Second Period

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

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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

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

Score: 2-0 Bruins

Third Period

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

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

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

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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

Final Score: 2-1 Bruins

Three Stars Of The Game

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

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

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

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

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

Milestone Moment for Bruins’ Tuukka Rask!

(Photo Credit: NHL Bruins)

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

The 2019 Winter Classic truly was “a classic” in every sense of the word, from the B’s timely goals & saves to their timeless outfits & jerseys (more on that later). Speaking of time, Boston’s much-maligned keeper of the crease Tuukka Rask made the most of it, first after getting the nod from Coach Cassidy he’d be starting in net over Jaroslav Halak, then after stopping 36-out-of-38 shots and leading the B’s to their second straight come-from-behind victory AND second ever Winter Classic win.

 

But, as you’ll note from the team tweet above (and the NHL’s PR department below), Rask also accomplished quite a fitting FIRST. With the start, he became the Bruins’ all-time leader for a goalie when it comes to “Games Played,” surpassing longtime legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Tiny Thompson in the process.

And he did so in style, literally & figuratively, by wearing that aforementioned timeless throwback jersey from the B’s circa 1932 wardrobe case which, and this is certainly not a coincidence, was from the era of Tiny Thompson! You don’t say? I do say… and did say… over the Summer in my “Best Bruins Logos” article for the Black N’ Gold Blog.

Additionally, here’s a fun fact that deserves a little Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson magic that I’d like to “Say, Say, Say” again & again: Rask needs only 5 more wins to break another huge Tiny record (I’ve always wanted to write that): Most Franchise Victories! As The Hockey News previewed before this season began:

When Tiny Thompson suited up in his final game for Boston all the way back in 1939, he was the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, and Thompson’s 468 games remain the most ever played by a Bruins netminder. Sometime around December, though, Rask, who has played 19 fewer games in Boston, should be set to surpass Thompson and break the nearly 80-year-old mark. And if all goes well, he could also break Thompson’s other record, too: no Bruins goaltender has won more than 252 games for the franchise, but Rask is only 15 victories away from taking that team record, as well. — Jared Clinton, The Hockey News

Rask’s Winter Classic “W” was his tenth of the season so before the month is out, he could be achieving yet another milestone moment in a B’s sweater (253 career wins), and again making history & taking history from “one of the game’s early innovators” as The Hockey News also highlighted below in their informative & engaging Tiny Thompson Top 100 Goalies of All-Time profile:

I don’t think I’d be going out on a limb (a limb that in full disclosure I have gone out on before) in predicting ALL of the above won’t sit well with the Tuukka Haters Club, a club that regrettably gains membership all too easily & all too frequently without the slightest bit of logic or hockey sense. Sure, his personality & play sometimes opens the door for criticism & complaints, especially this season. But, even the blackest Black N’ Gold thoughts can show a bit of gold on the historic feats being featured in this eponymous blog, and elsewhere throughout the Internets.

I mean, it takes a helluva career — one that I personally think still has enough in the tank to take the B’s to The Cup (and WIN) — to accomplish what Rask has, and will, this season alone. And to now be in the same company as Tiny Thompson, whose first name was Cecil… well, that’s nothing to scoff at for the finely-finishing Fin or his fans (which I’m predicting won’t be growing despite the accolades, unfortunately).

So, to paraphrase a quote about another famous Cecil (B. DeMille), I think Tuukka Rask is ready for his close-up. He’s definitely deserving of it. I can think of 469 reasons why (with another 253 on hold).

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 & Happy New Year!

-> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule & Ticket Information From SeatGiant.com <-

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Winter Classic: Boston vs Chicago: 01/01/19

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 12.25.36 PM.png

PHOTO CREDITS: (@nhlbruins on Twitter)

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

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: Notre Dame Stadium – South Bend, Indiana, USA

Home: Chicago Blackhawks (15-20-6)

Away: Boston Bruins (21-14-4)

The 2019 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic is finally upon us. The Bruins are coming into the New Year’s Day outdoor game after a 2-1 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. The win ended a two-game losing streak for the Bruins and a win over Chicago in the Notre Dame Stadium would help Boston continue that momentum.

Boston’s opponent, the Chicago Blackhawks have been on fire as of late, winning five of their last six games and have recorded a point in seven of their last nine. Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is riding a seven-game point streak and was recently awarded the NHL’s First Star of the Week.

Bruins Gameday Lineup

Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced earlier today that forward Ryan Donato and defenseman Steven Kampfer are the scratches for the Bruins in today’s game. Defenceman Charlie McAvoy is also out of the lineup with a lower-body injury that is believed to have been suffered against the Carolina Hurricanes on December 23rd. Forward Brad Marchand returns to the lineup as well.

First Period:

Bruins started the pressure immediately with several really good attacks that were initiated by Bruins defencemen. Kevan Miller stole the puck in the neutral zone off of a poor breakout pass by the Blackhawks then found Krejci alone on a partial breakaway. Krejci went forehand-backhand but stopped by Cam Ward. Torey Krug also had a good chance, good start for Boston.

Early on, the ice seems to be in great condition. For outdoor games, it is always a concern that the ice may be rough, making it harder to control the puck and make good passes. It is quite possible that the ice crews are getting better at the ice-making due to the number of Winter Classics and outdoor games in recent years.

On the NHL on NBC broadcast, it is confirmed that today’s attendance marks the second-largest crowd in Winter Classic history, behind only the 105,000+ people that attended the 2014 Winter Classic between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings.

On a delayed penalty call on Brandon Carlo just nearly six minutes into the game, Jonathan Toews makes a nice spin pass, creating a chance that Rask makes a big pad save. Bruins to the penalty-kill for a holding call on Carlo. Boston’s penalty-kill ranks seventeenth in the NHL before the game, with a 79.1% success rate. Bruins only allow one shot against and the penalty is killed off.

The first goal came with 11:30 left in the first. A David Krejci turnover turns into a goal for Brandon Perlini. Torey Krug’s stick was lifted behind Tuukka Rask and no one was on Perlini who had an open shot on Rask. Bruins need better coverage as that was hard to watch. Blackhawks make it one-to-nothing at Notre Dame.

Blackhawks continued to get good opportunities in the second half of the opening period. On a nice breakout play, the Bruins left d-man Connor Murphy all alone by the top of the faceoff circle, but Murphy’s wrist-shot rings off the pipe. Bruins were that close to being down two goals. On the turnaround, Joakim Nordstrom is tripped up by Artem Anisimov and the B’s are to the power-play 7:55 in.

On the man-advantage, David Pastrnak picks up the puck from Patrice Bergeron in the slot, waits, then fires it past Cam Ward to tie the game at one apiece with about seven minutes left to trail. Bergeron with the primary assist on Pastrnak’s twenty-fourth goal of the season.

Bruins top line seems to be thriving as usual as Brad Marchand has several good shots on Ward off of the rush. This is Marchand’s first career Winter Classic as he was in the middle of a three-game suspension back in the 2016 Winter Classic against the Canadiens. It is evident that he wants a goal today.

With 2:57 left to tick away in the first, Matt Grzelcyk is called on a high-sticking minor and the Bruins go to their second penalty-kill of the day. First one was successful and this second one was solid as well, killing it off successfully. Alex DeBrincat had the best chance on the Hawks’ man-advantage as he hit the back of Brandon Carlo’s leg.

David Pastrnak is on fire today. With less than one minute to go, Krejci, Pastrnak, and DeBrusk worked together for a great pair of chances, including a great opportunity for Pasta all alone, but is stopped from a massive save by Ward. Off the ensuing faceoff, Patrick Kane is found alone on a breakaway, tried to go five-hole past Rask, but is shut down. Period ends there.

It was an entertaining period for both teams. Brad Marchand had two good shots, Pastrnak and DeBrusk each have three shots. Patrick Kane has four shots on Rask, including that final breakaway chance. The Bruins are playing decent hockey but a few defensive mistakes have either turned into a goal or came close.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 14 CHI: 12

Score: 1-1

Second Period

Chicago started off the second period with some good chances, the best of which was blocked by John Moore. While on defence, Sean Kuraly takes a hooking penalty on Chicago’s only goal scorer so far, Brandon Perlini and he goes to the box for two minutes. DeBrincat again has the best chance on Chicago’s power-play, a quick shot on Rask, but it’s stopped and the Bruins go 3-for-3 on the penalty-kill four minutes into the second period.

The physicality of the hockey game is increasing as Carlo and Chara each take shoves at Perlini. The Chicago forward is having a good game and seems to be everywhere on the ice so far today.

One of the biggest reoccurring errors of the Bruins so far has been the turnovers – especially off of the breakout passes by the blueliners. Boston has simply passed the puck to a player in the black Chicago sweater, giving them an in-tight chance on Rask. Tuukka has looked solid thus far, but Bruins need to help him out more with better, smarter passes.

With 8:36 left, the Blackhawks break the tie once again. Erik Gustafsson fires a shot for a deflection as he has done numerous times already today and it gets deflected by Dominik Kahun, beating Rask. Bruins have not had the best period, not getting many chances offensively and they have not seemed all there defensively either.

Bruins get a bit of zone time in the Blackhawks end, but no real good chances come about from it. The majority of the shots Boston took on the shift were point shots that either were blocked or partially blocked before they reached Cam Ward. Cassidy has been trying Pastrnak with DeBrusk and Krejci in this game as well, but Boston is still struggling to get truly good offence.

17:57 into the period, Erik Gustafsson is called on a roughing penalty and the Bruins go to their second power-play of the game. Boston allowed a shorthanded breakaway but was shut down by Patrice Bergeron. Right back in Chicago’s end, Patrice Bergeron gets the backhand right in front of Ward and ties the game at two. Assists go to Pastrnak (26) and Krug (20).

Then with only 9.5 seconds remaining, Matt Grzelcyk takes his second penalty of the game – a hooking minor on Patrick Kane. Period ends, but Boston needs to come out with more aggression offensively in the third. They will be on the penalty-kill for the first 1:50 of the final regulation period.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 24 CHI: 28

Score: 2-2

Third Period

During the penalty-kill to begin the period, Patrick Kane gets his stick up high on Kevan Miller, sending the game to 4-on-4 for thirty seconds, followed by a 1:30 Bruins power-play. On the 4-on-4, Kevan Miller once again draws a penalty, a tripping minor against Anisimov. Bruins have 1:12 of 5-on-3 time.

The Bruins failed to score on either one of the penalties and the game returns 5-on-5. Boston could not make tape-to-tape passes and the Hawks cleared when able to. Bruins are now 2-for-4 on the man-advantage today. About five minutes into the period, Bruins draw another play, a hooking call on Gustav Forsling. B’s are moving their feet and it’s drawing penalties against Chicago.

Chicago’s penalty-kill has improved, clearly, since the second intermission as they kill off another Bruins power-play in this third period. Some decent chances but Cam Ward has been great between the posts for Chicago.

Boston is in the midst of their best period of the game in my opinion. Great control in the Blackhawks’ zone, creating chances while shutting down any really good chances against. The Bruins have been quite close to scoring, but at times, so have the Hawks. 2-2 with 11:19 to go.

Call him clutch because Sean Kuraly scores with 9:40 left in the third off a rebound shot. The Blackhawks lost all coverage on the Bruins players, allowing Grzelcyk to fire a shot towards Ward. The puck bounces off of Chris Wagner in front and goes right on the stick of Kuraly and he buries it. Kuraly scored the game-winning goal against Buffalo on Saturday.

Between Kuraly’s goal and the next six minutes, the Bruins have done a great job keeping Chicago to the outside, forcing turnovers, then getting the puck out of the zone. A couple of nice opportunities for the Bruins to score again, including a 2-on-1 by DeBrusk and Krejci that was stopped by the Blackhawks lone d-man. Just over three minutes remaining in this Winter Classic.

Kuraly had a chance with 2:30 left on a breakaway bid, but Ward remains solid in the crease and stops the possible insurance marker. It has been a great game for the fourth line of Boston. With the empty-net for Chicago, Tuukka Rask has to make a big blocker stop while changing directions on a dime to keep the B’s ahead.

Bruins have tried to clear, but Chicago continues the pressure. Brandon Saad to Patrick Kane in front but Rask comes up huge with a big save. 39.2 seconds remain and every single fan is on the edge of their feet. On the delayed penalty against Chicago, Brad Marchand buries the empty-net goal, making it 4-2 Boston.

With that, the Bruins win their second Winter Classic 4-2, Hawks lose their fourth.

Shots On Goal: BOS: 36 CHI: 38

Final Score: 4-2 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars

1st Star: BOS G Tuukka Rask – 36 Saves, .947 SV%

2nd Star: BOS F Patrice Bergeron – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, +1 Rating, Key Faceoffs

3rd Star: BOS F Sean Kuraly – Game-Winning Goal, 5 Shots, +1 Rating

With the victory, the Bruins move into third place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 22-14-4. They are tied in points with the Sabres, who they overtake in standings only due to the Regulation plus Overtime Wins (ROW), in which Boston has three more. Up next, Bruins face the Calgary Flames (24-12-4) in Boston on Thursday. Scheduled puck drop for that game is 7pm EST.

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!

-> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule & Ticket Information From SeatGiant.com <-

Bruins Game 40 Preview: Winter Classic – Chicago Blackhawks

cut (23).jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL)

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

Finally, it is Classic time. Bruins vs Blackhawks in the 2019 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic from South Bend, Indiana – the home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. This game has been much anticipated by both Original Six franchises since the day it was originally announced and not only does this game mean something for the Winter Classic itself, but for the standings of both teams as well as the playoffs become one day closer.

Boston finished the 2018 calendar year with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Buffalo Sabres off the hands of a late tying goal by Jake DeBrusk in his 100th career NHL game. Prior to that, the Bruins lost two games in a row to the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils then another three wins before that over the Predators, Ducks and Canadiens.

After being one of the worst teams in the league, the Hawks have turned their play around recently. The Blackhawks will enter the Winter Classic with a 5-1-0 record in their past six games and have managed a point in seven of their last nine outings. Even with the recent success, Chicago sits twenty-fifth in the league with a 15-20-6 record.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 9-8-2 2.67 GAA .912 SV% Last Game: 26 saves in 3-2 win vs BUF

CHI: Cam Ward 6-6-4 3.90 GAA .886 SV% Last Game: 21 Saves in 6-3 loss vs FLA

Who’s Hot

Always one of the most dangerous scoring forwards in the NHL today and for the past decade or so, Patrick Kane, is entering the Winter Classic on fire. Kane has points in seven consecutive games, including three, three-point nights. The incredible run as of late brings his 2018-19 season total to 22-28-50 in only forty games this season and currently sits 7th for most points in the NHL. The NHL has awarded Kane the 1st Star of The Week for this past week as well.

Chicago announced that Cam Ward will be the starting goaltender for the Blackhawks on New Year’s Day. In his first season as a Blackhawk after spending the first thirteen years of his career with the Carolina Hurricanes, Ward has a 6-6-4 record, a 3.90 GAA and a .886 SV%. While those numbers are not “hot” by any stretch of the imagination, but the 34-year-old goalie has won two of his last three starts and looks to do the same against Boston.

Since returning from his injury that kept him out for almost a dozen games at the start of the 2018-19 season, Torey Krug has been his usual self, scoring 4-19-23 totals in 28 games played. Krug has points in three of his last five games, including a two-point night in the 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on December 20th.

Even though Brad Marchand failed to score a point in his last game against the Carolina Hurricanes and he was out of the lineup against the Sabres, he can still be considered hot. Before the pointless game and the injury, Marchand has points in four straight, three of which were multi-point nights. Brad now has 12-29-41 totals on the season.

Who’s Not

While top-line centre Patrice Bergeron was out of the lineup with a sternoclavicular/rib injury, David Krejci seemed to fit in nicely alongside Pastrnak and Marchand on the first line. However, since the return of Bergeron four games ago, Krejci has failed to tally a single point and has been a minus rating in each of those four contests. David’s totals on the season currently sit a 7-23-30 in thirty-nine games with a -2 rating.

Danton Heinen is still trying to find his game after a strong rookie season in 2017-2018. The 23-year-old Langley, British Columbia, Canada native only has four goals and six assists for ten points in thirty-seven games this year. During Saturday’s win against the Sabres, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy benched Heinen for a time during the game, a sign of poor play by Heinen and the Bruins need him to change as soon as possible.

gettyimages-932851044-612x612 (1).jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Erick W. Rasco /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

Brandon Saad of the Blackhawks is supposed to be one of the best players on Chicago’s roster when it comes to scoring goals and making plays. This season, especially lately, Saad has struggled to do so. In his last seven games dating back to December 16th, Saad has only two points, two points that came in one game against the Minnesota Wild on December 27th. Brandon has 11-11-22 totals in 39 games for Chicago this season.

33-year-old defenceman Brent Seabrook has always been one of most intimidating defenders on the Blackhawks blueline, but with age, the 33-year-old has not been great in 2018-19. With no points in his last six games, Seabrook is a -11 rating on the season and is only averaging around sixteen minutes on ice per game.

Bruins vs Blackhawks Outlook

Easily one of the biggest problems for the Boston Bruins so far is inconsistency. The Bruins went 7-7-0 in the month of December and when they would win multiple games in a row, they would return with the same number of losses in a row and vice-versa. If Boston wants to improve their Winter Classic record to 2-1-0 on Tuesday, then they will have to force turnovers and capitalize on those turnovers with offensive chances. A high number of shots on Cam Ward will be important to win this game as well.

The gameplan shouldn’t be much different for the Blackhawks. Obviously, the offence will run through Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, which is nothing new and the continuous shots on Tuukka Rask could very well ruin the confidence level of Rask. The Hawks have been rolling as of late and the momentum will be quite valuable for them.

cut (25).jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL)

Milestone Watch:

  • Bruins defenseman and Captain Zdeno Chara is only two goals away from his 200th career NHL goal. While it is a tad bit unlikely that the 41-year-old scores two at the Winter Classic, but it is definitely a possibility.
  • Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook has not scored a goal in his last nine games, but if he manages to shoot the puck past the Bruins redline at Notre Dame Stadium, it will be his 100th career NHL goal.

Winter Classic History:

Boston Bruins:

  • 1-1 record heading into 2019 Winter Classic
  • 2-1 overtime win vs Philadelphia Flyers in 2010
  • 5-1 loss vs Montreal Canadiens in 2016
  • Will move into sole possession for second-most Winter Classic appearances in NHL history (3)
  • A win ties them with NYR and WSH for most Winter Classic wins (2)

Chicago Blackhawks

  • 0-3 record heading into 2019 Winter Classic
  • 6-4 loss vs Detroit Red Wings in 2009
  • 3-2 loss vs Washington Capitals in 2015
  • 4-1 loss vs St. Louis Blues in 2017
  • 4th Winter Classic appearance most in NHL history

Predictions:

Prior to the big game, some of the great writers here at the Black N’ Gold Hockey website have given me their official predictions of how the game will go. I highly suggest you check out their articles and give them a follow on Twitter if you have not already.

Now, who’s ready for some outdoor hockey?

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!

-> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule & Ticket Information From SeatGiant.com <-