|02.14.16 at 12:02 am ET|
Are the Bruins good or do they just play in a bad division? Is there anything that would make you want them to be buyers? Will Brad Marchand score one hundred goals this season? Discuss all that and more on this week’s Sunday Skate. Click below to join the live chat and click here to listen from 7-9 a.m.
|02.13.16 at 4:34 pm ET|
Given that Patrice Bergeron was out of the lineup and Jonas Gustavsson was given the start Saturday, the Bruins were better positioned to win on the second day of this weekend’s back-to-back than the first. The B’s managed the victory anyway, defeating the Wild as the penalty skill held strong throughout a special teams battle.
The Bruins killed off five Wild power plays and got a shorthanded goal from — you guessed it — Brad Marchand in a 4-2 win in Minnesota. The B’s will travel to Detroit to face the Red Wings Sunday in the third game of their current six-game road trip.
The Bruins’ power play didn’t fare much better than Minnesota’s with an 0-for-6 showing on the man advantage, but even-strength goals from David Krejci and Loui Eriksson allowed the B’s to outpace their opponent despite only attempting 10 shots over the game’s first 40 minutes. Zdeno Chara added an empty-netter from the defensive zone with just under two minutes remaining to seal the victory.
Now 2-0-0 on their road trip, the Bruins have sole possession of second place in the Atlantic Division entering Sunday’s contest against the Red Wings. Detroit trails Boston by one point with both teams 55 games into their respective schedules.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
KEMPPAINEN RETURN PART OF BERGERON TRICKLE-DOWN EFFECT
Bergeron being out of the lineup meant that Claude Julien had to shuffle his lines and special teams assignments. Among them: Ryan Spooner jumped up to center the first line, Joonas Kemppainen returned to the lineup and greater special teams assignments were given to David Pastrnak, who played on the first power play unit, and Kemppainen and Zac Rinaldo on the penalty kill.
Joe Morrow and Kevan Miller also remained in the lineup over Colin Miller, who sat for the fourth straight game. The Bruins used the following lineup:
MARCHAND MAKES IT 12 IN 12
With a shorthanded goal — his fourth of the season — Marchand continued his furious scoring pace to give him 12 goals in the last 12 games. He brought his total on the season to 27 goals, which puts him fifth in the NHL and one behind former linemate Tyler Seguin with four fewer games played.
Marchand is now on pace for 42 goals this season.
Boston’s second goal needed to be reviewed, as Krejci threw the puck on net off the rush as Nino Niederrieter was crashing into the Minnesota goal. A review confirmed that the play, which saw Krejci’s shot go off Niederrieter and across goal line, was a good goal. Following is the league’s explanation:
At 11:48 of the second period in the Bruins/Wild game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play at the Minnesota net. The referee informed the Situation Room that it was a good goal, a decision supported by NHL Hockey Operations in accordance with Rule 63.6, which states: “In the event that the goal post is displaced, either deliberately or accidentally, prior to the puck crossing the normal positions of the goal posts, the referee may award a goal. In order to award a goal in this situation, the goal post must have been displaced by the actions of a defending player, the puck must have been shot (or the player must be in the act of shooting) at the goal prior to the goal post being displaced, and it must be determined that the puck would have entered the net between the normal position of the goal posts. The goal frame is considered to be displaced if either or both goal pegs are no longer in their respective holes in the ice, or the net has come completely off one or both pegs, prior to or as the puck enters the goal.” Good goal Boston.
ERIKSSON HEATING UP
It’s tough to say how much longer Eriksson will be a Bruin. If these are some of his final games in Boston, however, he’s making them count.
Eriksson took a nice pass from Spooner in the third period and scored on a breakaway to give him three goals in the last four games. The goal was also the 200th of his career.
The free-agent-to-be had seen his scoring stall for a bit — zero goals in nine games leading into last Saturday — but he has recovered well. With an assist on Thursday as well, the veteran wing has four points (three goals, one assist) in his last four contests.
|02.13.16 at 2:27 pm ET|
Patrice Bergeron was kept out of Saturday’s game against the Wild due to an injury suffered in Thursday’s game. Bergeron fought Blake Wheeler in the second period of the Bruins’ win over the Jets, and though he returned to that game, he missed Friday’s practice.
Without Bergeron, the Bruins moved Ryan Spooner to their top line and Joonas Kemppainen returned to lineup after being recalled from Providence on Friday: The B’s used the following lines in Minnesota:
Saturday marked Bergeron’s first missed game of the season.
|02.12.16 at 8:08 pm ET|
The Bruins recalled center Joonas Kemppainen from Providence on Friday, a move likely associated with the potential availability of Patrice Bergeron for Saturday’s game against the Wild.
Bergeron missed time early in the third period of Thursday’s win over the Jets after fighting Blake Wheeler in the second period. He returned to the game, however, scoring his second goal of the night. The veteran center did not practice on Friday, however, with coach Claude Julien telling reporters that Bergeron is questionable for Saturday.
The B’s sent Kemppainen to Providence last week, where he has played three games with no points. Kemppainen posted one goal and two assists in 35 games prior to his demotion.
|02.11.16 at 10:46 pm ET|
The Bruins wanted a win Thursday. They did not want an injury to perhaps their best player. Fortunately for them, they got the former and, despite a scare, avoided the latter.
After a second-period fight with former teammate Blake Wheeler, Patrice Bergeron missed time in the opening minutes of the third period, but returned to score his second goal of the night as the Bruins opened their six-game road trip with a 6-2 win over the Jets in Winnipeg.
Bergeron would stay in the game as the team cruised to the win, which was capped by a Jimmy Hayes empty-netter. The B’s also got goals from Eriksson, David Pastrnak and the red-hot Brad Marchand.
The night got off to something of an underwhelming start after Tuesday’s 9-2 loss to the Kings, as the B’s took first-period leads on goals from Bergeron and Eriksson but relinquished the lead after each one. A breakaway goal late in the period from Marchand gave Boston the lead for good.
The road trip will get more difficult from here, as the B’s will face a tricky back-to-back of Minnesota on Saturday and Detroit on Sunday. The Bruins and Red Wings are currently tied for second place in the Eastern Conference with 64 points apiece.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday:
CONNOLLY CHIPS IN FOR 3
Brett Connolly has had a woeful showing for the Bruins offensively this season, but he led the way with three helpers on Thursday. Though he has just seven goals on the season and has squandered some really good opportunities, the Bruins like his forechecking on the Bergeron line and he’s stayed there as a result.
Thursday he provided a reminder that he is capable of points, as Connolly registered the first three-point game of his career. He now has 19 points in 51 games on the season. The restricted free agent-to-be could use a strong second half to make sure he stays in Boston. Read the rest of this entry »
|02.11.16 at 4:25 pm ET|
Goalie Malcolm Subban is expected to miss at least eight weeks after undergoing successful surgery on his fractured larynx, the Bruins announced Thursday.
Subban suffered the injury when he took a puck to the throat during the Providence Bruins’ game against the Portland Pirates on Feb. 6.
“Malcolm underwent successful surgery on February 8 at Mass Eye & Ear Hospital in Boston to repair his larynx fracture,” the team said in a statement. “He is doing well and has been released from the hospital. While there is no definitive timetable for his return at this time, he is expected to be out a minimum of eight weeks.”
Subban has a 14-8-5 record and .911 save percentage in Providence this season.
|02.10.16 at 2:55 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins will spend the next 11 days on the road as the clock continues to tick toward the Feb. 29 trade deadline. How the Bruins fare on this trip could very well influence the path Don Sweeney and Cam Neely ultimately choose for this team.
Right now, the Bruins are tied for the second-most points in the Atlantic Division, making them a No. 2 seed at best and a wild card at worst. Non-playoff teams such as Montreal, Ottawa and New Jersey are picking up steam as they try to find their way into the top eight.
We already know this team isn’t going to win the Stanley Cup. Last season, they chose not to sell on Carl Sodeberg because the general manager was trying to save his job. That concern isn’t there this season. Sweeney is prepared to move Eriksson if he feels he has to.
The Bruins shouldn’t be buyers (not of any sort of glossy rental, anyway), but if things go badly enough — a disastrous road trip, an injury or two, etc. — the tough decision of what to do with this team might become a little easier. The players don’t want to see that happen.
“You always want to prove that you’re a playoff team and that you’re capable of winning hockey games,” Torey Krug said. “If you don’t do that, then the GM has to do what he has to do. It’s his job to make sure that the team’s getting better. For us, we’re trying to prove that we can win hockey games and we can take a step and go for a run.”
The Bruins are 16-5-3 on the road this season, so there isn’t too much reason to believe that they will fall apart here. If they did, they wouldn’t be faced with the issues they faced last season (Peter Chiarelli trying to keep his job) that prevented them from moving Soderberg. In addition to Eriksson, the Bruins have Kevan Miller, Max Talbot and Jonas Gustavsson as unrestricted free-agents to be. Krug, Brett Connolly, Tyler Randell, Landon Ferraro, Joe Morrow, Zach Trotman and Colin Miller will all be restricted.
If the Bruins were to sell, they’d be wise to do so with the intention of getting young, cheap players. They should prefer players to picks after stockpiling first-and-second-rounders in 2015 and 2016 drafts. The idea of the team moving Eriksson for a young top-four defenseman is a pipe dream given that teams now place a gigantic emphasis on having good, young controllable players.
The market has yet to be truly set for this trade deadline, but consider this: Twenty three of the 30 teams in the league are either in a playoff spot (16 teams have to be, duh) or within four points of one. The Bruins are among a large list of teams that’s vying for the postseason. If they are to ever change their minds, they might find themselves in quite the seller’s market.
Should they hope for that? As has been written plenty in this space, the Bruins shouldn’t be afraid of an honest rebuild if it comes to that. The issue there is that they want to make the playoffs, yet if they trade Eriksson, they’re going to be taking enough of a step back anyway given that they already have major depth issues on the right side.
As for the possibility of adding, last season’s Connolly trade hasn’t turned into goals (not for Connolly at least, though it has for Brad Marchand), but a hockey trade like that — flipping some of the picks they have for a young player should one be available — is a decent template. If a trade for a young player that could help more next season than this season is there, it would be an avenue worth pursuing.
Nobody likes lost seasons, but if you come away with something to show for it — more developed players, added pieces — it can be worth it.