Bruins “Serve Up” Pucks & Paddles Event

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins Foundation)

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

The Boston Bruins “served up” quite the successful charity event in mid-January to kick-start what will undoubtedly be another milestone year of community service and fundraising in 2020.

The third annual Pucks & Paddles event to benefit the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center raised $125,000 after all was said and done, with B’s players partnering up with fans, broadcasters and community members for a competitive single-elimination table tennis (aka ping pong) tournament.

Patrice Bergeron “captained” the always entertaining event with 98.5 The Sports Hub co-sponsoring all the fundraising fun and festivities. Here’s the description from the official Pucks & Paddles page:

“Fans [had] the opportunity to bid for their chance to play ping pong with their favorite Bruins player. The tournament commenced with two select players playing ping pong against two patients from Floating Hospital for Children, followed by a single elimination tournament featuring the players, on air talent and bidders. The rounds advanced to a championship game featuring the final two teams, with a winning tandem being crowned the ping pong fest champions. In addition, the four best Bruins ping pong players participated in a separate informal singles competition to demonstrate their talents to the crowd.”

Bruins prospect Anton Blidh and his partner were crowned “the champions of the event” according to the B’s website, where more than a dozen friendly photos of ping pong prowess and table tennis tenacity are on display.

If you’re wondering how that “whopping $125,000” will benefit local children and families, look no further than this description from the Boston Bruins Foundation:

“Patients from Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center are invited to participate in the tournament and proceeds raised from the annual event benefit the hospital and the Boston Bruins Foundation. In 2019, Pucks and Paddles raised a grand total of $120,000. Portions of the money raised goes toward providing extraordinary care and exceptional comfort when families need it most. Floating Hospital for Children knows that helping kids requires cutting-edge research, state of the art facilities, and caregivers who treat all children as if they are their own.”

As expected, the event was a “hit” for area families, fans and local businesses — all benefiting from the B’s consistent commitment to community that will continue to resonate… from pucks to paddles!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE!

The Bruins’ Silent Defender: Brandon Carlo

carlo-image

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

There’s a famous saying amongst NHL teams and scouts around regarding defenseman.  A defenseman’s ceiling is not known until they’ve played at least 250 NHL games.  Well, Boston’s Brandon Carlo recently eclipsed 278 games, and Carlo’s trajectory is clear to the organization and its fanbase.

The 6’5 Colorado Springs native began his path to the NHL in Canada’s Western Hockey League in 2012.  He spent three seasons in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans, progressing his game and points each year.  He was also featured on the American U-20 World Junior Championship teams in 2014 and 2015.  In 12 games at the World Junior Championships, he brought home a Bronze medal, scored five points, and an impressive plus-10 rating.

He even led the entire tournament pool of U-20 defenseman with two goals, winning the “U20 WJC Most Goals by Defenseman” award in 2015.  He is in great company for this award with the likes of Cale Makar, Thomas Chabot, and Zach Werenski.  Scouts predicted Carlo either be selected at the end of the first, early second round, and the Bruins were one of many teams interested.

The Bruins were fortunate enough to acquire four extra picks between the first two rounds in 2015.  Upon trading Johnny Boychuk, the Bruins found themselves with an additional pick in the second round, and with it, they selected Brandon Carlo.  His pre-draft scouting report was foreshadowing to what Bruins fans see night in and night out.  “Through maneuvering his way around the ice and making high-percentage, skilled decisions in all three zones, he is able to shut opposition offense down before it begins to take shape.”

He has become a steady, consistent shutdown defenseman that the team has lacked in the past few years.  There has been so much emphasis, energy, and draft choices spent on trying to find the league’s next Erik Karlsson. Teams should spend just as much time and energy on securing a player like Dennis Seidenberg.

Dennis Seidenberg came to the Bruins from Florida in a deadline trade in March 2010.  He was not known for his offensive prowess, but instead was a penalty kill specialist and a blocking shot animal.  Seidenberg amassed 1,417 blocked shots and averaged 20:44 minutes of ice time in 859 career NHL games.  This type of defenseman is needed to make a deep, unbeaten playoff run.

Brandon Carlo is following in the footsteps of Seidenberg, and for Bruins fans, that is a significant area of need.  The beginning of Carlo’s Bruins career would only require seven games in Providence before showing the Bruins he was ready for the big league.  In his first full year with the Bruins, Brandon played in all 82 games averaging 20 minutes on ice and finished with 16 points and a plus 9 rating.  He played alongside big man Zdeno Chara, and the two looked to have solidified an excellent working relationship.  Carlo was primed for his first NHL playoffs in 2017, but unfortunately, the game of hockey can be cruel.  In the last game of the regular season, Carlo suffered a concussion from an Alex Ovechkin brutal hit from behind.

The hit caused Carlo to miss the Bruins’ short playoff run.  The Bruins were eliminated heartbreakingly against the Ottawa Senators in the first round.  Their offseason began in April, and the Bruins were faced with an exciting offseason task.

The Vegas Golden Knights were the NHL’s newest expansion team in 2017, which created a new twist to the upcoming offseason.  The expansion rules required current teams to select 11 roster players for protection, while the rest of their roster was fair game.  However, NHL teams were allowed to exclude pro players who completed two or fewer years of the NHL from their list and the Knights.  These players for the Bruins included Charlie Mcavoy, Jake DeBrusk, and Brandon Carlo.  While this stopped the Knights from nabbing Carlo, it didn’t stop other teams from pursuing him.

The Colorado Avalanche were looking to unload their impending free-agent Matt Duchene in the same offseason.  They had a few calls, and one, in particular, piqued General Manager Joe Sakic’s interest.  Bruins General Manager, Don Sweeney, called Sakic inquiring the asking price for their second-line center.  Sakic expressed his interest in the Bruins budding blue-liner.

Don Sweeney was building a system and philosophy to develop and invest in players he drafted.  Thankfully, Sweeney stuck to his word and refused Sakic’s request.  Duchene would eventually be traded to the Ottawa Senators in a massive haul of prospects and draft picks.  Sakic tried a second time to pry Carlo from the Bruins, this time offering up their captain Gabriel Landeskog.

Sweeney, again, held onto his shutdown defenseman.  Carlo entered his sophomore season on the Bruins’ third-pairing with Kevan Miller.  Zdeno Chara and Charlie Mcavoy were leading the charge on the blue-line, with Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug right behind them.  When McQuaid broke his leg early into the season, Carlo moved up to Krug’s left side.  Carlo and Krug struggled to find chemistry right away, and he was heading towards a sophomore slump.

Hockey is just as much a mental sport as it is a physical sport.  Defensemen need to read plays before as it develops and react in an instance.  They need to pick themselves up after a goal is allowed on their watch.  Carlo struggled during the 2018-19 regular season, so much so that he was on the wrong end of the game-day roster in February against Buffalo.  The message was sent loud and clear, and Carlo quickly found his groove.  In 1,000 minutes played on 5-on-5 ice time, he led the league in the least amount of goals-against with 1.42 per 60 minutes that season.  Yes, even during a down year.  He was full-steam ahead for the playoffs when once again, the injury bug arrived, and he missed another playoff run.

The third time is the charm, and he finally made his playoff debut in 2019.  He averaged 21:31 of ice time throughout the Stanley Cup run and even scored two goals.  The most impressive part of Carlo’s playoff run was his ability to shut down the offensive talent.  Chara was the guy to shut down the likes of Max Pacioretty, Steven Stamkos, and Henrik and Daniel Sedin in 2011.  Unfortunately, Chara isn’t getting any younger and needs to pass the shutdown torch.  Carlo stepped up in a big way.

According to Natural Stat Trick, Carlo played his most playoff minutes against Artemi Panarin, Auston Matthews, and Pierre-Luc Dubois.  All three are an incredible talent and poised to be household names for years to come.  When the three players were on the ice with Carlo in a 5-on-5 situation, the three fired a combined 104 shots on goal.  Without Carlo, the shot total increased to 114.  He also led the team in penalty killing minutes with 77:22 in the entire 2019 playoffs.  The next most PK minute total was Chara at 55:04.  Carlo also added a little flair to his penalty-killing abilities.

Unfortunately, adding a Stanley Cup to his resume will have to wait, but he grew into a phenomenal player over three months.  Carlo received a team-friendly contract of 2 years, $2.85M this past offseason, and will be a restricted free-agent again when it’s complete.  He will be a long-term staple on the blue-line and is an outstanding defensive defenseman, which is rarely talked about.  It’s now clear why Sweeney refused to trade the former second-round pick.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!! 

Game Recap | Boston Bruins Defeat Winnipeg Jets

Image result for david pastrnak winnipeg jets"(Photo Credits: NHL.com)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

It was the perfect ending to the Boston Bruins Moms Trip and suffice to say, the ladies brought some much-needed luck as the boys in Black and Gold rallied from behind, beating the Winnipeg Jets 5-4.

GAME RECAP

With the first period underway, both teams had decent shifts with Boston outshooting Winnipeg early in the period. As the Bruins continued to push the puck towards the Jets net, it would be the other team who would strike first. Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor would net his 22nd goal of the season as he scored off a backhand at 7:35. Boston would be playing from behind and had multiple chances with a potential goal on a 2-on-1 on goaltender Laurent Brossoit. Zdeno Chara would be out for the game, reportedly due to issue with his jaw: he did not speak to the media after this morning’s skate.

Image result for boston bruins vs winnipeg jets"(Photo Credits: Charles Krupa/AP)

Boston would fire back and with minutes left in the first period, it would be number 33 for David Pastrnak as he scored, tying the game at one-a-piece. The 23-year-old right-winger extends his game-point streak to 12 games.

SCORE: BOS- 1, WPG- 1

SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS-12, WPG-6

Boston would draw a  penalty in the first few minutes of the second period, however, they were unable to muster a goal down Winnipeg’s end. The Jets would go on the power-play on a “too many men on ice” call. At :23 seconds left to the man advantage, the Jets would score one past Jaroslav Halak, making it 2-1. Center Andrew Copp would notch his seventh goal of the season.

The Jets were down a man as the Bruins drew a tripping penalty that quickly led to a goal by (you guessed it) David Pastrnak.  The Czech-native blasted a one-timer rocket past Brossoit. In a back and forth effort, both teams have a good amount of zone time on either end of the ice. At 1:11 left in the period, Jake DeBrusk took full advantage of a Jets line-change and scored, putting the Bruins ahead for the first time. Winnipeg would get one last opportunity to even the score as they went on a power-play and unfortunately for Boston, their lead would be short-lived. Jets’ defenseman Neal Pionk scored his 4th goal of the season.

Image result for boston bruins vs winnipeg jets"(Photo Credits: Sports Night)

SCORE: BOS- 3, WPG- 3

SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS-24, WPG-14

The third period saw the Bruins go on the power-play but they were unable to score despite some really good missed chances. After some miscues down Boston’s end, Winnipeg’s center Mark Scheifele would pot his 22nd of the season, making the score 4-3.

Jake DeBrusk took the puck to the net on a self pass that would bounce off Brossoit, creating a rebound opportunity that saw David Krejci setting up a play, allowing Pastrnak to notch his seventh career hat-trick in regular season, tying the game 4-4. Seconds later DeBrusk would score his 13th and second of the night as he tipped the game-winning puck in Winnipeg’s goal.

Boston would draw a penalty, however, they were unable to score. The Bruins continued to play heavily down the Jets zone, keeping the momentum on their side. Winnipeg had chances as the clock ticked down to the final minutes of the game and in a nail-biter, Boston held on to win in regulation 5-4.

The Bruins are now 26-8-11 while the Jets are 24-17-4, with Boston leading the Atlantic Division.

SCORE: BOS- 5, WPG 4

TOTAL SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS-36, WPG-21

NEXT GAME FOR BOSTON: Saturday, January 11th vs New York Islanders, Barclays Center with puck drop at 7:00pm.

WHERE TO WATCH: NHLN, MSG+, NESN

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 161 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Game Recap | Boston Bruins Defeat Nashville Predators 6-2

Image result for boston Bruins vs nashville predators"(Photo Credits: Getty Images/ John Russell)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on  Twitter @pastagrl88

There’s nothing like playing in front of family and for many of the Bruins, they had the opportunity to showcase in front of one of the most important people in their lives. Serving as their life-long cheerleaders, many of the players’ mothers were in attendance tonight as part of the annual Moms Trip that started on Monday.  With the group watching their sons and brothers on the ice, the Bruins defeated Nashville, breaking their three-game losing slump.

GAME RECAP

In front of a loud “Smashville” crowd and with new coach John Hynes behind the Nashville bench,  the Black and Gold came out of the gates and it didn’t take long for the Bruins to get on board. Early in the first period, the red-hot David Pastrnak slapped his 32nd goal past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne to make the score 1-0.

SCORE: BOS-1, NSH-0

SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS-13, NSH-8

Image result for boston bruins vs nashville predators"(Photo Credits: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

An interesting start to second saw the hockey gods smile on Boston as a potential goal was waved off for the Predators. As officials reviewed the play (twice), it was determined there was no goal as Nashville made contact with defenseman Charlie McAvoy that caused him to dislodge the net prior to the puck going in.

Nashville found themselves down  Boston zone for a good portion of the period as they peppered Tuukka Rask, forcing the Bruins to continue to keep bouncing pucks from going in. The Preds continued to outshoot Boston, however, it would be the boys in Black and Gold that would net one in Nashville’s goal. With a quick pass from Matt Grzelcyk, Danton Heinen would score his seventh of the season at 8:21 into the second.

The Predators would get on board on a 5-on-3 as Brandon Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk both went to the penalty box. Filip Forsberg would score his 15th goal of the season.  With minutes left in the period and with Boston on the power-play, the Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron would net his 18th of the season, making the score 3-1.

SCORE: BOS-3, NSH-1

SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS- 26 NSH-24

Image result for boston bruins vs nashville predators"(Photo Credits: USA Today Sports/ Christopher Hanewinckel)

Minutes into the third period, Boston would once again score as Chris Wagner was nudged into the Nashville net, sending the puck past Rinne. He would net his fourth of the season. Zdeno Chara, who had recent jaw surgery, dropped gloves with Nashville’s Yakov Trenin (his first NHL career fight) after a hit on McAvoy, leading the Bruins to the kill. The Preds would once again find themselves with a 5-on-3 advantage but were unable to score.

With a little over a minute left, Nashville’s Mikael Granlund would score on the power-play, making it 4-2.  David Krejci would score on an empty net at the 54-second mark. Charlie Coyle would add salt to the wound as he tapped the puck in the net, winning in regulation.

Boston improves to 25-8-11 while Nashville is 19-16. The Bruins lead the Atlantic Division and are second in the league; Nashville sits at sixth place in the Central Division.

FINAL SCORE: BOS-6, NSH-2

TOTAL SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS-36 NSH-30

WHAT’S NEXT:  Thursday, January 9th with puck drop @ 7:00 pm vs. Winnipeg Jets. NESN, TVAS

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 161 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Leadership A Big “Plus”

Image result for bruins marchand bergeron chara(Photo Credit: Zimbio)

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

When it comes to the B’s best plus players… well, there are certainly not many minuses in their game. Literally now as much as figuratively.

As the Boston Bruins official @NHLBruins Twitter account shared ahead of the B’s big shutout victory on the road over the Buffalo Sabres, a triumvirate of Black N’ Gold leaders and all-stars are wrapping up quite the DECADE of positive play.

Captain Zdeno Chara, Alternate Captain (but we all know it’s “Co-Captain”) Patrice Bergeron and often “A”-wearer Brad Marchand are the NHL’s top three performers in plus/minus since January 1st, 2010. Talk about bringing your “A-Game” every game and for the past ten years!

Image result for bruins marchand bergeron chara(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

Marchand is atop the list at a staggering +215. Chara is up next at +207. And Bergeron rounds out the heralded “top three” at +201.

However, after all three of them boosted their stats during teammate Jaroslav Halak’s impressive 3-0 shutout — the 50th of his career — those all-important plus/minus numbers have now jumped!

Marchy moved up to +217, Big Z jumped to +208 and Bergy added two more pluses (I mean, doesn’t he have an endless supply of pluses to his game already?) to get to +203. And with two more games to go before the decade ends — against the Sabres and Devils, respectively — you can bet those numbers will improve even more before the team rings in 2020.

As a reminder, here’s how the NHL defines plus/minus:

A player is awarded a “plus” each time he is on the ice when his Club scores an even-strength or shorthanded goal. He receives a “minus” if he is on the ice for an even-strength or shorthanded goal scored by the opposing Club. The difference in these numbers is considered the player’s “plus-minus” statistic.

And statistically speaking, you’d be hard-pressed to find another trio of modern-day hockey talent that have positively produced like Marchand, Chara and Bergeron.

Image result for bruins marchand bergeron chara(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

You know how to cap off such an impressive accomplishment in the New Year? Bring home one more Stanley Cup to Boston (and ideally in Boston this time…we’ve had enough of these other teams celebrating on TD Garden ice) while all three are still together!

Now, wouldn’t that be a plus?

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 159 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, BRUINS FANS!

Chara & Bergeron: A “Gift” To The Bruins!

Image result for bergeron chara(Photo Credit: NHLPA)

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

On this Merry Christmas day, the Boston Bruins–and their festive fans–have been gifted yet another awesome accolade thanks to their two star players: Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron.

That’s right, “Big Z” and “Bergy” have BOTH cracked the 10 BEST Players of the Decade ranking according to the NHL on NBC’s Pro Hockey Talk crew. Bergeron comes in at No. 4 on the list with Chara rounding out the “top ten” in the tenth spot.

But, numerically speaking, if you ask No. 37 about his Captain’s true ranking, especially when it comes to this Original Six franchise, then all you’ll hear about is Number One.

“[He’s] A Blessing,” Bergeron told the NHLPA in a retrospective article on the B’s signing Chara during his formative years in Boston.

“I think he’s a great leader because of the way he plays with so much passion and energy, and also in the way he prepares himself off the ice for each game,” praised Bergeron.

“You just feed off that and follow that lead. As a teammate, he’s a great one to have. You see the intense side of him on the ice, but off the ice, he’s a genuine person, someone who wants to help out and wants to be there for the guys and teach the younger guys.”

That’s a top player at the top of his game, indeed! Speaking of “the tops” (as the late great Mel Torme would’ve sang about these two Boston legends)… Chara and Bergeron also helped raise more than $2,300 for the Boston Bruins Foundation Festival of Trees auction this Christmas week.

It’s an annual event — with proceeds benefiting area charities and non-profts — that a very generous David Backes helped spearhead this season alongside his venerable veteran leaders (FWIW: Backes’ tree went for $750, Chara’s $900 and Bergeron’s a whopping $1,400)!

In fact, the holiday auction has become so popular that other area organizations are using its “model” to benefit causes near and dear to them. My personal favorite of the season: this picture-perfect puck tree from the McAnanama Family of Agawam:

And while we’re on the subject of personal favorites (to come full circle like Santa’s train underneath the tree), it’s an excitedly obvious choice that Chara and Bergeron are also at the top of that list for Bruins fans, writers, bloggers, employees, teammates, management… you name it.

You know who else is a fan? Santa Claus himself! So, cheers to Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara this Christmas season — and throughout the rest of the NHL season.

Because they’re truly the gift that keeps on giving to the Boston Bruins!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 159 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Boston Bruins Injury Update

bruins-defenceman-zdeno-chara

(Photo Credit: Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

It’s been a rough holiday season for the Bruins. After a hot end of November and two straight wins to begin December, the Bs have entered a 1-8 stretch and have not looked like the Bruins that we know. So what better to cheer up the black and gold fans with some injury news.

The first bit of news is far from great. Per Bruce Cassidy, Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara will be out against the Washington Capitals on Monday. The same jaw he injured during the Stanley Cup Finals last season needs some more work done. The area where he had surgery on has gotten infected, so the plates and screws need to be taken out. This is some certainly troubling news, especially when considering the Bruins’ recent success against the Capitals. Over the past six years, Boston has gone 1-16-0 against the team from the nations’ capital.

2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Four

(Photo Credit: Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

It’s going to be a tough loss for this struggling Bruins club. Despite being the ripe old age of 42, the big man is enjoying yet another good season for the Bs. In 37 games he’s played this season, Chara has five goals and 13 points while continuing to be a rock the Bruins need on D.

Luckily, there is a bit of good news among this nightmare of a month. Youngster Karson Kuhlman seems to be nearing his return to a Bs team that could use a much-needed spark to their lineup. Kuhlman was originally injured during a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 19th. He suffered a “hairline non-displaced fracture of his right tibia” after taking a shot off his foot according to Don Sweeney.

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 17: Karson Kuhlman #83 of the Boston Bruins skates against Braydon Coburn #55 of the Tampa Bay Lightning at the TD Garden on October 17, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

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

Before his injury, Kuhlman hadn’t registered a point in eight games but that wasn’t from a lack of trying. The 24-year-old speed was evident every shift he was on the ice and was able to pull something out of nothing because of his legs. Last season he proved he had the talent to be an everyday NHLer. He notched three goals and two assists in his short stint in the big leagues and added another three points in the playoffs. With the Bruins searching for a fix at the right-wing slot, Kuhlman may prove to be a much-needed addition.

As for Kevan Miller, it was reported earlier this week that he had yet another procedure on his knee. That procedure will extend Miller’s absence for even longer and there remains no real timetable for his return. The veteran defenseman has yet to lace his skates up this year and was limited to just 39 games last season.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 159 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Tampa Bay: 12/12/19

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Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida

Home: Tampa Bay Lightning (15-11-3)

Away: Boston Bruins (20-6-6)

Tampa Bay’s Lineup

Forwards

Palat-Point-Kucherov

Killorn-Cirelli-Stamkos

Maroon-Paquette-Gourde

Verhaeghe-Stephens-Joseph

Defense

Hedman-Rutta

McDonagh-Cernak

Sergachev-Shattenkirk

Goalies

Vasilevskiy

McElhinney

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Ritchie

Bjork-Coyle-Heinen

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Moore-Grzelcyk

Goalies

Rask

Halak

First Period

Just seconds into the game, Zdeno Chara dropped the gloves with Pat Maroon to attempt to get the B’s going and try to take an early lead. The Bruins did just that as Patrice Bergeron stuffed home a rebound just under four minutes into the game.

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The Bruins did a great job keeping possession in the offensive zone as they looked to extend their lead. Tuukka Rask did a solid job keeping the Lightning at bay although the defense did an equally solid job limiting the scoring opportunities. With 7:16 left in the period, John Moore took a tripping penalty as Tampa Bay looked to even the score. Boston killed off the man advantage as Rask made a number of key stops. Both teams continued to be quite physical as the period drew to a close.

Score: 1-0 Bruins

Second Period

The Bruins would go to their first power play early in the second period as they looked to extend their lead. The Lightning killed off the penalty as the B’s failed to get any solid scoring chances. Penalties to Matt Grzelcyk and Kevin Shattenkirk resulted in a four on four with 15 minutes left in the period. Boston continued to get pucks to the net but Andrei Vasilevskiy continued to come up with timely saves. The Bruins continued to be physical with the Lightning in the middle period as they tried to hunker down defensively.

Moore took another tripping penalty with seven minutes left in the second period as Tampa Bay got a golden opportunity to tie the game. Just five seconds into the man advantage, Steven Stamkos ripped a shot past Rask to tie it.

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Tampa Bay had a huge surge after the goal as they stormed the Boston end looking for another goal but Rask continued to have a strong game which kept it tied.

Score: Tied 1-1

Third Period

The Bruins were forced to kill a penalty early in the final period as Sean Kuraly was called for hooking and the Lightning got a great chance to take the lead. Brayden Point gave Tampa Bay the lead on the man advantage with a quick release from the low slot that beat Rask and the B’s defense.

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The Bruins started to get some good attacking zone rhythm toward the midway point of the period as they looked to cut into the lead. The Bruins would get an opportunity to draw even as they picked up a power play with 9:32 remaining. The Lightning killed off the penalty as the Bruins again failed to do much of anything on the man advantage. Stamkos buried his second of the game after a turnover in the Bruins defensive zone with under five minutes to go, giving Tampa Bay a two goal lead.

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The Bruins cut the lead in half about two minutes later as Moore buried a loose puck in front of the net.

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Rask would head to the Boston bench with two minutes to go as the B’s tried desperately to tie the game and force overtime. The Bruins wouldn’t get many great looks at the net as their losing streak reached five games.

Final Score: 3-2 Lightning

Three Stars

First: Stamkos

Second: Vasilevskiy

Third: Rask

Bruins Reunite With Tim Thomas In D.C.

Image(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

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

Tim Thomas, the Boston Bruins and the District of Columbia sure do have some history — ceremonial puck drops aside.

Almost a decade after the former B’s goaltender refused a visit to the nation’s capital and did not attend the White House with his Cup-winning teammates, “TT” was front and center — on center ice fittingly — in the sanctimonious city that never sat well with him.

“Well, I definitely did not expect to see this tonight.” No one did, Pete. And you know what? Good for Thomas. Standing between B’s Captain Zdeno Chara and one-time Bruin Brian Gionta, Timmy two-pads looked sharp in his grey blazer and blue button down. At the game to be honored alongside his fellow 2019 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees, Thomas was, perhaps for the first time in his own hockey history, all smiles in D.C.

Smirks count too. And sure, he left many a B’s fan and former player smirking a bit after the aforementioned unvitation, to use a Seinfeld reference. But, the official #NHLBruins Twitter account truly referenced it right (that’s right as in “correct,” not politically conservative for those keeping TT tabs): he’s a Boston legend.

I don’t think you’ll find one Bruins fan on the planet — or hockey fan for that matter — who honestly believes the B’s would have won the 2011 Stanley Cup without Thomas’ in-net heroics. To wit (apologies to Mr. Gionta who on this night was a fan of Tim Thomas but in the first five saves of the video below, a mortal enemy):

 

Yet, for all the player praise we heaped on the Vezina, Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup-winning Thomas after his historic 2011 playoff run, it was his mercurial off the ice political issues shortly thereafter, not to mention his Houdini-esque disappearing act from all of hockey…

…that really seemed to bother supporters of the Black N’ Gold. You know who it didn’t bother? Tim Thomas (as quoted below in the Boston Herald ahead of the Bruins versus Capitals NHLonNBC Sports “Wednesday Night Hockey” affair):

“I live in a totally different world than the hockey world that I lived in before… I live a long ways away from Boston, and it’s not that fun for me to travel anymore. It isn’t anything to do with the Boston Bruins or the Boston fans, especially. My goodness, they loved the crap out of me when I was there to the point where it was hard to handle.”

It’s too bad the B’s always find the Caps too “hard to handle,” especially at home in Washington, D.C. — a place Tim Thomas will never be at home in no matter the audience or accolade.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 157 that we recorded on 12-8-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins’ Defensemen And Goaltenders Grades At The Quarter Point Of The Season

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( Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports)

By: Lucas Pearson  | Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

The Boston Bruins currently sit atop the entire NHL and their defense and goaltending is a major reason why. They’ve allowed the second least amount of goals in the league and with their incredibly deep defensive core and top goaltending tandem, they should continue their stellar play for the rest of the year. Now at the quarter-point of the season, it seems like a good time to look at how good the Bs defense and goaltending has been.

Zdeno Chara – A

It’s hard to believe that a 42-year-old is having one of his best statistical seasons in years, but Zdeno Chara continues to amaze. Through 26 games, the big man has five goals, seven assists, and a +16 rating. While we’ve all seen his legs slow down over the years, Chara still remains one of the best shut-down guys in the league.

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Charlie McAvoy – B+

One may look at Charlie McAvoy’s stat-line (seven assists in 26 games) and think that McAvoy hasn’t played up to standards but that is simply not the case. He continues to grow his defensive game and whether it’s on the offensive or defensive side of the puck, he seems to make a game-changing play once a game. Offensively, you’d like to see some more growth from the former 1st-rounder but that will come in time.

Torey Krug – A

Over the past few seasons, Torey Krug has emerged as one of the best offensive defensemen in the league and that narrative has stayed the same throughout this season. Already with 18 points in just 21 games, Krug is well on his way to another big season for the Bs. In just the three games since returning from his injury, Torey Krug has shown how important he is to the Boston Bruins. His vision, puck movement and skating ability is second to few in the league and his five points within those three games show just that. 

Brandon Carlo – A

Many people’s biggest gripe with Brandon Carlo in the past was how little offense he was able to generate. However, the key part of that statement is “in the past.” We’ve seen steady growth in Carlo’s ability to join the rush over the past couple seasons and it’s really paying dividends this season. He’s already over halfway to his career-high of 16 points and with 3/4 of the season to go, he seems primed to break that number.

 

Matt Grzelcyk

( Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images )

Matt Grzelcyk – A

I’ve been on the Matt Grzelcyk train for a while and he just continues to improve seemingly every game. The former Boston University captain has been excellent this year, especially when fellow blueliner Torey Krug went down with an injury. In Krug’s absence, Grzelcyk was forced to play bigger minutes while slotting in on the first powerplay and the increased role didn’t phase Grzelcyk at all. in the five games without Krug, Gryz potted two goals (both of which were beauties), four points, and was a +3.

Connor Clifton – B

Connor Clifton has been as sound as a third-pairing defenseman can be. Entering his first season with a full-time role, Clifton hasn’t looked out of place at all. Despite his smaller frame at 5-11, the defenseman isn’t scared to throw his body around. He sits second out of all rookies in hits and has added two goals and a positive rating to begin the season. 

BOSTON, MA - MAY 09: Boston Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer (44) fired up after scoring the 1st goal of the game. During Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals featuring the Boston Bruins against the Carolina Hurricanes on May 09, 2019 at TD Garden in Boston, MA. (Photo by Michael Tureski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

( Photo Credit: Michael Tureski/Icon Sportswire Getty Images)

Steven Kampfer – C

There isn’t much to say about Stevie-snipes as he’s only played in three games, but in those three games, he’s looked solid. Kampfer’s possession statistics have actually been great, his Corsi and Fenwick sit at 60.3 and 63.2 respectively. His +1 rating and no points tell most of his story this year, he’s been everything he’s needed to be as a #7 defenseman.

Urho Vaakanainen – C+

Unlike last season where Vaakanainen’s stint was cut short due to an injury, we got to see a bit more of the young defenseman this year. He’s not the type of playing to blow you away but he looked like a better player compared to last season. The Fin is an incredibly fluid skater and his puck skills have continued to grow. While it doesn’t play into this grade, his stat-line since returning to the AHL has been very promising, with three goals and three assists in three games.

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( Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports Images)

Tuukka Rask – A+

The league leader in wins, top three in goals allowed average, top five in save percentage with a save of the year candidate to boot; but Tuukka Rask stinks, right? After failing to capture Lord Stanley the prior season, Tuukka has looked in the zone this season. He’s been one of Boston’s top players in all but a few games, only allowing more than three goals in just three games within his first 16 starts. Say what you want about Rask, but his stats speak for themselves.

Jaroslav Halak – A

Jaroslav Halak simply isn’t a backup goalie; he is the 1B to Tuukka Rask’s 1A. Last season, Halak was able to come in and provide much-needed stability to the Bruins’ net and has continued that through the first quarter of this season. In the ten games, he has appeared in, he’s put up a 6-1-3 record with a .930 save percentage and a 2.35 goals allowed average. 

Click here to check out the Bs’ forwards graded!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 155 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!