|12.15.16 at 5:11 pm ET|
Back in Boston for the second leg of a back-to-back that started in Pittsburgh last night and with the Ducks rested and waiting for the Black and Gold, the forward shuffle from Boston to Providence continued Thursday morning with the recall of forward Anton Blidh from the P-Bruins and corresponding reassignment of forward Danton Heinen back down to the AHL.
Returned to the AHL five days ago, Blidh scored a goal and added six shots in his two-game return to the minors, and comes back to the B’s with one assist, seven shots, and 13 hits in four NHL games this year.
Heinen, a healthy scratch in the last two contests, had one shot on goal, one hit, and was credited with one takeaway in 14:00 of time on ice in his only game during the recall, a 4-1 loss to the Maple Leafs last Saturday. Heinen has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins this season.
Blidh will be eligible to suit up for the Bruins-Ducks game tonight.
|12.15.16 at 1:10 am ET|
It turns out that the Bruins will have Team Canada representation in the 2017 World Junior Championships, as defenseman Jeremy Lauzon is among the final 22 players (and seven defensemen) chosen for the upcoming tournament, which will kick off in Toronto and Montreal in the coming weeks.
Lauzon, a second-round pick (52nd overall) by the Bruins in 2015, has tallied two goals and 11 points in 13 games for Rouyn-Noranda Huskies this season, and has totaled 32 goals and 113 points in 174 QMJHL games since the start of the 2013-14 season. The 6-foot-1 defender was sensational for the Huskies a year ago, too, with a career-high 50 points in just 46 games.
Part of a Canadian defense led by four first round draft picks, Lauzon is one of two second-round picks (Kale Clague, the 51st overall pick by the Kings in 2016) to represent their defense, while Lauzon’s QMJHL teammate, Philippe Myers (undrafted and signed by the Flyers in 2015), rounds out the group.
But Lauzon’s teammate in the B’s organization, forward Zach Senyshyn, a first round pick by the club in 2015, was not so lucky, as he was part of the final group of forwards cut from Team Canada’s camp and returned to his junior team.
In the midst of a monster year in the Ontario Hockey League with 16 goals and 26 points in just 23 games to date, the 19-year-old Senyshyn will return to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. The No. 15 overall pick from the 2015 NHL Draft, Senyshyn has recorded 61 goals and 91 points in 89 games for the Greyhounds.
Team Canada disappointed their way to a sixth-place finish in last year’s tournament.
|12.15.16 at 12:39 am ET|
As if their hands weren’t already full in a head-to-head with a Penguins team that came into action with 35 goals scored in their last six games (all wins for the defending Stanley Cup winners), a departure to the locker room by Kevan Miller dropped the Bruins down to five defensemen in the second period of an overtime loss Wednesday at PPG Paints Arena
On the ice for the Nick Bonino power-play goal, the second of four Penguins goals on the night, Miller would appear on the ice for one more shift, a 1:14 shift (his second-longest of the night), before he departed to the B’s locker room for the rest of the night for an unspecified reason.
After the game, B’s head coach Claude Julien confirmed that Miller sustained an upper-body injury.
With Miller gone for the night after just 10:33 of time on ice, Julien mixed and match his defensive pairings for the rest of the night, something that became especially difficult on the road and in an attempt to limit the potential matchups against 2012 third-round pick Matt Grzelcyk, who made his NHL debut in the losing effort.
It meant heavy deployment for the Bruins’ other big-bodied righties on the point, as Brandon Carlo and Adam McQuaid each logged 12-shift third periods, while Zdeno Chara finished the final frame with 11 shifts.
Without a solidified update on Miller’s status moving forward, and with the Bruins still down John-Michael Liles (concussion), one of Joe Morrow or Colin Miller could draw back into action for Thursday’s home game against the Ducks. Potentially both, too, depending on what the Black and Gold do with the 22-year-old Grzelcyk after his NHL debut.
The 29-year-old Miller, who signed a four-year, $10 million contract extension last May, missed the first 19 games of the season because of a left hand injury, and has zero points with 31 hits in 12 games since returning from injury.
|12.14.16 at 10:34 pm ET|
After finishing last week with back-to-back home losses against two of the worst teams in the entire league in the Avalanche and Maple Leafs, the Bruins have started their week with three of a possible road four points against two of the best teams in the league in the Canadiens and Penguins thanks to a 4-3 overtime loss to the Penguins Wednesday.
Just as we all predicted, of course.
The Bruins opened the game’s scoring at the 10:48 mark of the first period behind a Brad Marchand shot that squeaked through Penguins netminder Matt Murray for Marchand’s ninth goal of the season.
The Penguins answered back just 2:01 later though behind a straight-up fantastic Justin Schultz shot that beat Tuukka Rask upstairs for the fifth goal of the year for Schultz, and a 1-1 tie through 20 minutes.
But not before the B’s finished the period with a minute-plus of a 5-on-3 — and with the deck loaded with Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, David Pastrnak, and Zdeno Chara on the ice — and found nothing behind shaky passes and one real shot, which came off the stick of No. 63 but was easily gloved by the 6-foot-4 Murray.
At the 6:40 mark of the middle period, and after a great sequence from Tim Schaller to dump the puck in and Pastrnak to get it back to him, it was David Krejci that worked some magic around the front of the net and banked home his fifth goal of the year to put the Bruins back up by a goal. But again, the Penguins answered, 3:07 later, on a Nick Bonino power-play goal good for Bonino’s fifth goal of the year (and his second goal in as many games).
In a back and forth head-to-head between the league’s black and gold brethren, the Penguins bucked the trend of these teams trading goals when Conor Sheary, who won a positioning battle with Torey Krug at the front of the B’s net, finished off a great pass from Brian Dumoulin for a 3-2 Penguins lead at the 9:02 mark of the third period.
But when Murray went for a confused stroll behind his own net 13:20 into the period and Dumoulin failed to pick the puck up, it was Pastrnak that swung in, stole the puck, spun and tucked the puck into an empty cage for his 19th of the year and 3-3 tie.
It was onto an overtime for the second time in three nights for the Bruins, and after Rask made a gigantic breakaway stop on Sheary after the ex-UMass standout treated Adam McQuaid like a pylon en route to the net.
A team with seemingly unlimited offensive weapons at their disposal, the Penguins exposed a crack in the B’s line changes in the overtime, as Schultz fed Evgeni Malkin along the wall, and Malkin then fed Bryan Rust, who was entirely too quiet all night long, for a beautiful strike on Rask and 4-3 victory for the home Penguins, their 13th in 16 games at PPG Paints Arena this year.
Here are four other things we learned in the overtime loss…
|12.14.16 at 7:02 pm ET|
In one Matt comes, out goes another.
Ahead of tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry contest with the surging Penguins, the Bruins have recalled defenseman Matt Grzelcyk from the AHL while also officially placing forward Matt Beleskey on the injured reserve as he recovers from a knee injury.
Grzelcyk, a third-round choice by the club in 2012 (85th overall), is in his first professional season after four years with Boston University, and arrives to the Big B’s with one goal and 12 points in 25 games for the P-Bruins this season. The 22-year-old Grzelcyk has also put 48 shots on net, and has totaled a plus-12 rating on the farm.
His first NHL recall comes on the heels of an optional morning skate that lacked both Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid, and it’s uncertain where Grzelcyk would slot into the defensive mix if he does indeed get the go ahead from Bruins coach Claude Julien tonight.
If Grzelcyk does make his NHL debut tonight, too, it will be against a Penguins team that is straight-up rolling the competition in the month of December, with a perfect 6-0-0 record and 35 goals scored (compared to just 14 against) in their first six games this month, and with victories in all but three of their 15 home games to date.
The Penguins put a beatdown on their Coyotes in their last game by way of a 7-0 final.
Two nights after stopping 30-of-31 shots against the rival Canadiens, goaltender Tuukka Rask is expected back in net for the Bruins in this contest. The 29-year-old Rask enters play with 15 wins and a .932 save percentage in 22 games this season, and has eight wins and a .934 save percentage in 14 career head-to-heads with the Pens.
The Pens counter with Matt Murray. The 6-foot-4 Murray stopped all 32 shots thrown his way in that win over the Coyotes, and has 11 wins in 12 starts this season. Although Murray has yet to play the Black and Gold in his career, he does have some staggering numbers on home ice this year, with five wins and a .944 save percentage in five games in the Steel City.
This will be the first of three meetings between the B’s and Pens this year. The Bruins swept last year’s series.
Without a morning skate to note any full changes before Grzelcyk’s arrival, here are the expected lines and pairings
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Backes
Tim Schaller – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Ryan Spooner – Austin Czarnik – Jimmy Hayes
Dominic Moore – Riley Nash – Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid
Joe Morrow – Kevan Miller
|12.13.16 at 11:07 am ET|
It took until the third of four meetings between the Bruins and Canadiens this season, but there was a first that finally showed up to the rink in what finished as a 2-1 victory for the Bruins: the pure disdain and hatred these teams have for each other.
In what was without question the most physical head-to-head between the Atlantic Division foes, the night really seemed to begin and hit its fever pitch behind a first period sequence that saw Alexei Emelin nail David Pastrnak along the wall before B’s defenseman Torey Krug returned the favor with a devastating neutral zone finish on Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw.
It’s a hit that will not come with any sort of disciplinary hearing, either, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.
Plastered down to the ice and down the tunnel, where he would eventually return from and finish the game for the Habs, Shaw was nailed directly in the side of the head by the 5-foot-9 defenseman, and did appear to have required some repairs to his face.
On the replay, and especially in slow-motion, the hit looks ugly.
But it’s not a hit to the head without Shaw’s last-second extension and lunge forward in an attempt to play the puck. By that point, Krug had already committed to the check and had tucked his elbow, which again, would have been anything but a hit to a head.
In this situation, the onus is without question on Shaw to protect himself.
The Canadiens tried to make Krug pay for the hit by way of a fight with forward Brendan Gallagher.
Krug has one goal and 13 points in 30 games this season.
|12.13.16 at 10:20 am ET|
A frustrated Claude Julien was honest about his third line following the club’s third straight loss, a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Maple Leafs, and their year-long lack of production for the club.
“We definitely need more scoring throughout our lineup, there’s no doubt about that,” the decade-long Bruins coach said. “You want to spread your scoring, our third-line needs to give us some production, doesn’t matter, it just seems whoever has been on that line we haven’t had a lot of production there. It’s got to be spread out, but at the same time I don’t care who scores them we just have to score.”
The line’s right winger, Austin Czarnik, didn’t disagree.
“I just need to bear down,” Czarnik said Saturday. “It’s just unacceptable at this level. It just needs to happen. We’re working hard as a team; we’re getting our opportunities at least. It’s not like we’re not getting them. We just need to be able to bear down and find the back of the net.”
It was entering Monday’s game with the Canadiens that the main skaters of the Bruins’ third — Czarnik, Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes, Riley Nash, and Ryan Spooner — had combined for just nine goals and 26 points (seven of which came on the power play) through the first 29 games of the season. Those totals aren’t horrible on the surface — but then you realize it’s by five different skaters, and that several of those players entered the week riding significant droughts.
Nash, on a 10-game pointless drought, was bumped down to the fourth line. Spooner, with just two assists in his last 13 contests, was kept on the line, and the same for Czarnik, who was without a goal in 16 games, though he was moved back to his natural center position, while it was Hayes that drew back into the lineup after sitting as a healthy scratch in the previous contest.
And naturally, it was from the third line that scored both B’s goals in a 2-1 overtime win over the rival Canadiens.
First came a goal from Czarnik, who turned 24 years old that night, at the 18:55 mark of the second period, to put the Bruins up 1-0. The goal showed off some of what earned Czarnik an NHL spot in the first place; Excellent poise with the puck, tremendous speed through the neutral zone, and a sneakily effective shot. The smile on the birthday boy’s face said it all.
“I thought he played well there in the middle and not have to battle so much with his size on the wall,” Julien said of Czarnik. “It’s nice to see he can play both, but no doubt he was a big help and probably a better player for tonight down the middle.”
Then came the game-winning overtime goal from Spooner, the perfect finish to a minute-plus of attacking zone time on a beautiful five-hole tuck through Carey Price, and good for his fourth goal of the year (and his first since Nov. 12 in Arizona).
“We need more goal scoring from a little bit of everybody,” Julien maintained after the win, which put an end to a three-game losing streak for the team. “[Monday] was a good night for that. They did a great job of giving us the goals we needed, and hopefully that continues and we get some scoring spread out a little bit more.”
It’s just a one-game sample, of course, but the instant results are more than encouraging for a Black and Gold squad that will need even more goals ahead of a Wednesday head-to-head with a Penguins team averaging a league-best 3.52 goals per night.