|01.12.17 at 8:55 pm ET|
An injury to Tuukka Rask is the last thing that the Bruins need right now.
But it’s exactly what they got in the first period of tonight’s head-to-head with the Predators.
With the Bruins leading in shots over the Preds, 7-to-3, and with the teams trading chance for chance, it was a heavy shot by Predators defenseman Roman Josi that appeared to smack Rask in a vulnerable area — between his mask and collarbone — that dropped the 29-year-old Rask, who lost his glove and mask in the process, down to the ice in a heap.
Shot that took Tuukka Rask out of the game. Might've hit a soft spot under the mask? pic.twitter.com/WYGQ39xUZ5
— SB Nation NHL (@SBNationNHL) January 13, 2017
— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) January 13, 2017
Attended to B’s trainer Donny Del Negro, Rask eventually got to his feet and made his way down the tunnel, and was replaced in the B’s crease by NHL rookie Zane McIntyre, who finished the period in net for the Black and Gold.
Rask has 21 wins and a .926 save percentage in 33 games this year.
The Bruins have one win in 11 games without Rask this season.
|01.12.17 at 7:28 pm ET|
The deck just seemed incredibly stacked against Adam McQuaid.
Injured in the first period of Tuesday’s win over the Blues on a massive-yet-totally clean collision with Blues forward Patrik Berglund, the 30-year-old could hardly get to his feet before he limped down the tunnel and back to the B’s locker room for the rest of the night.
In fact, McQuaid, who missed the first five games of the year with an upper-body injury, didn’t even travel with his teammates on their initial flight from St. Louis to Nashville. But McQuaid joined the team Wednesday, practiced this morning, and even led the post-skate stretch, indicating that he’s willing and able to skate tonight when the Bruins visit Bridgestone Arena for a head-to-head with the Predators.
“He says he is,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said when asked if McQuaid, who logged just 6:00 of time on ice before the injury, was ready to play tonight. “As long as everything is OK by game-time, he’ll be in.”
Already down Colin Miller (lower-body), the Bruins will dress seven defensemen for their pregame warm-up, which means Joe Morrow, who has not played since Dec. 12, will at least skate with a chance of playing for the Bruins if McQuaid is unable to go.
In what’s a plus-.500 road trip regardless of what happens tonight, the Bruins enter play with five of a possible six points through the first three games of this road trip, and will get their first look at a Predators club that’s struggled to find their footing of late, with just four wins in their last 10 games and currently just one point out of the Western Conference playoff picture.
“To be honest with you there’s nothing that’s much different than any other team that they do,” Julien said of the Preds, who are currently without P.K. Subban (back injury). “Right now my focus is what are we gonna do to beat this team. There’s nothing that you have to tell your team that’s different than any other team, so we have approach this game the same way we did last game.”
The biggest difference for the B’s on this trip has come from their offense, which has scored 12 goals over their last three games and has at least three goals in four straight games for the first this year, and with contributions from all four lines in the process.
Tuukka Rask will get the start for the Black and Gold for this game. Rask made 14 stops in a 5-3 win Tuesday, and comes into action with 21 wins and a .926 save percentage in 33 games this season. Rask has two wins in five career games against the Preds.
The Predators counter with Juuse Saros. At just 5-foot-11, Saros has been a monster for the Preds as a backup to Pekka Rinne this year, with three wins and a .955 save percentage in seven games this season. Saros took a loss in his last start though he did his job, with stops on 32-of-34 shots against in a 2-1 final against the Panthers on Jan. 6.
The Predators swept last year’s season series with the B’s two games to none, and outscored the Bruins 5-to-2.
Here are the projected lines and pairings for the Bruins…
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano – David Krejci – David Backes
Tim Schaller – Ryan Spooner – Riley Nash
Austin Czarnik – Dominic Moore – Anton Blidh
Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid
John-Michael Liles – Kevan Miller
|01.12.17 at 5:00 pm ET|
It’s been three games since Bruins general manager Don Sweeney not only talked about Claude Julien’s uncertain future but also called his team out for some straight-up woeful shooting. And it’s been three games in which the Bruins have shot the lights out — be it picking corners upstairs or finding the perfect angles for rebounds, deflections, and everything in between — against the opposition and seized five of a possible six points on a season-defining road trip.
Of course, this could be the luck of shooting percentages finally turning for the Black and Gold (as everybody said they eventually would — or have to), but even so, this has been a staggering uptick for the Bruins.
Over the last three games, the B’s have scored on 12 of their last 111 shots — a 10.8 shooting percentage, which has bumped their all-situation shooting percentage up to 7.19%, still the third-worst in the NHL but a noticeable improvement from where they were a week ago — and even chased Blues netminder Jake Allen in their last game, a 5-3 victory. Include the game before they embarked on this road trip which ends tonight against the Predators, a 4-3 loss to the Oilers where the frustration of the front office was apparent, and the Bruins have 15 goals on their last 147 shots.
It’s also been their first stretch of at least three goals in four straight games this season — something they accomplished seven times a year ago en route to the fifth-most goals scored — and served as hope that a corner has finally been turned by this group.
|01.12.17 at 8:18 am ET|
Here’s this week’s mailbag …
There was some chatter that the Bruins are interested in Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog. What would the Avs be looking for? Should the Bs do it? Anthony, Framingham, MA
The Bleacher Report’s Adrian Dater, who is as wired into the Avalanche as anyone, first reported that the Bs were kicking the tires on the Colorado captain. The highly-skilled left-winger is a 25-35–60 man on a good team. But he’s not on a good team at all right now as the Avalanche are in the league basement. In addition to his skill, Landeskog is also attractive due to the $5.5 million he is due for the four seasons after this one. He’s still only 24 and would be a huge add to any team’s top six, including the Bs. But GM Joe Sakic will be asking for a boatload, as he should.
The Bs have allegedly already told them that Brandon Carlo is off the table. I figure it would take take at least two top prospects and a current roster player to pry the Swede away. Lost in everything is whether the Avs really want to trade their captain. The team is a mess right now and changes are definitely afoot. But is Gabriel Landeskog a reason for the problems in Colorado today? Hardly. Trading him would make an awful team even worse, at least in the short term. As for the Bs, he sure would look nice on David Krejci’s left-side but is a 25-goal 2nd-line LW worth kids you’ve been grooming for years to carry this team back to the top? It would be a “sexy” trade for sure but the guess here is that it never gets consummated.
Even though they’re in second in the Atlantic, the Bs don’t completely control their own fate right now. Do they still get in the playoffs? Richie, Medford, MA
I say they do get in. Despite their frequent playing down to their competition, the Bruins also do the opposite as we saw Tuesday night in St. Louis. They beat up on the Blues in David Backes’ first game back in the place where he made his bones, leading to a nice tribute scene during a stoppage in play. But I do think the Bruins are a good, if flawed team. I think they have too much heart and talent to not get in and I’ve seen them answer the bell enough. Tuukka Rask it playing unreal and I don’t expect a drop-off. As long as he stays healthy, they’re in. Matt Beleskey will be returning to the line-up soon enough and his addition have a quality-increasing ripple effect down the line-up.
Will the Detroit Red Wings continue their playoff streak this year? Don, Adams, MAs
The Bruins North American pro sports record of 29 straight playoff appearances will be safe by April. The Wings are already six points back of Ottawa for the third Atlantic seed with two more games played. In addition to an insane run, they’ll also need to leapfrog several teams to do so. It’s not happening. After many competitive, Hall of Famer-laden years, the Wings are finally dropping into the mid-tier teams of the NHL where they’re hardly contenders but not anywhere near the dregs of the league. It’s not unlike the rebuild-on-the-fly-but-stay-competitive thing the Bruins are doing. Once Henrik Zetterberg hangs them up, the old Red Wings mystique will be completely gone.
Any Netflix shows you can recommend? Lisa, Boston, MA
Though I haven’t seen much of anything lately due to internet issues and being busy, Netflix still has plenty of shows worth bingeing. “Stranger Things”, a blend of Spielberg, King, Carpenter, and the ‘80s, is a fun, creepy sci-fi ride that stars kids but isn’t necessarily for kids. Probably my favorite that Netflix has come up with and it’s really a great ride. If you want a slow, sweaty, Florida noir-ish series, give “Bloodline” a whirl. The top notch cast does stellar work in this Keys-set tale about an ostensibly “nice local family” that has dark secrets of its own that they’d prefer stay hidden. It takes a few eps to get rolling but it’s well worth the wait. “Orange Is The New Black” is not new but it’s excellent. The series, based on a book about an annoying yuppie who does a low-security bid, is hilarious, heartbreaking, infuriating, poignant, humane, crazy, and maybe the best show Netflix has produced. The diverse cast does incredible work in a screwed-up environment. After a dip in Season 3, the series returned with a force in Season 4.
|01.11.17 at 5:10 pm ET|
It was a win that came with two losses for the Bruins.
First came an upper-body injury sustained by Adam McQuaid in the first period, and by the end of their 5-3 win over the Blues, the Bruins were down to just four defensemen thanks to a Colin Miller lower-body injury. Helped off the ice in the third period after Ryan Reaves, who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 224 pounds, fell onto his left knee, Miller’s night was finished after 15:01 of time on ice and one shot on goal.
Miller was examined by team doctors after the loss and did travel with the team leaving St. Louis, but it’s an injury that’s tagged Miller with a doubtful tag for Thursday’s head-to-head with the Predators.
If that belief holds and Miller is unable to suit up tomorrow, John-Michael Liles is the expected replacement in the lineup.
Liles, who missed the previous 20 games with a concussion before returning to action last Sunday (a game ended by his disastrous own-zone turnover in overtime), has five assists and 20 shots on goal in 23 games played and is capable of playing both the left and right side for the Black and Gold.
Miller has three goals and six points in 34 games this season.
|01.11.17 at 3:39 pm ET|
The Bruins, with pressure from above after back-to-back DNQs, are interested in making a big move and perhaps for a scoring winger. The Avalanche, the worst team in the NHL, are interested in a rebuild/retool effort to help change the culture of their group.
It doesn’t take much to see a fit between the two teams, too.
A report leaked by Adrian Dater confirmed the B’s interest in Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog from Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, too, though they balked at Colorado GM Joe Sakic’s asking price when it included 20-year-old defenseman Brandon Carlo.
But it’s a price that isn’t necessarily expected to drop anytime soon.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Avalanche are looking for a top-level defenseman, first-round pick, and more in any trade involving Landeskog. Dreger also added that there are some general managers that believe that the price is a “bit outrageous” for what Landeskog would be on most teams as a second-line winger.
Under contract at $5.571 million per season through 2021, the high ask on Landeskog is an obvious one given his importance to the club along with his still untapped upside as a top six winger. And though the numbers have been spotty at best on a terrible Avs team this year, Landeskog has produced at a .67 points per game pace since the start of the 2011-12 season, which ranks 55th among NHL players and better than guys like Bobby Ryan, Milan Lucic, and David Backes.
But it’s unlikely that the Bruins will budge on their stance when it comes to moving Carlo. In just his first pro season, the Colorado Springs, Colo., native has averaged 21:34 of time on ice per night (third among Bruins skaters), chipped in with three goals and nine points, and makes less than $800,000 per season on his current entry-level contract. Add it up and it’s made Carlo borderline untouchable. And though he’s not at the NHL level yet (which means he may not fit Sakic’s ask in the first place), it’s believed that Charlie McAvoy is held in a similar regard by the front office and will not be moved in any trade made by the team.
It’s believed that the Penguins and the Kings (who have been heavily scouted by the Avalanche and vice versa in recent games) are also interested in the 24-year-old winger. Both the Kings and Penguins have stronger bases to make a deal work in regards to that top-level defenseman the Avs seek — the Kings with Jake Muzzin or Alec Martinez and the Penguins with Derrick Pouliot or Olli Maatta — but the B’s cap situation is a little bit better than that of both teams.
Landeskog, the second overall pick from the 2011 NHL Draft, has recorded 107 goals and 259 points in 385 NHL games, including seven goals and 13 points in 29 games this season.
|01.10.17 at 11:48 pm ET|
The Bruins entered the week with a surplus of defensemen.
With eight healthy defensemen on their NHL roster thanks to the return of John-Michael Liles from the concussion that kept him on the shelf for over a month, another injury (naturally) appeared to hit the Black and Gold point Tuesday, as Adam McQuaid went down with an apparent injury in the first period of the B’s 5-3 victory over the Blues.
Rocked on a heavy-looking collision at the B’s blue line with Blues forward Patrik Berglund, the 6-foot-4 McQuaid immediately toppled down to the ice and did not get back up — or even look like a player that had any capabilities of getting back up without some help.
It was initially unclear what ailed McQuaid on the hit — he appeared to grab at his knee, but was also hunched over, and his face was not seen — but it was the Bruins that confirmed that it was an upper-body injury that would keep the 30-year-old out of action for the rest of the night.
Adam McQuaid shaken up after awkward collision pic.twitter.com/yzlyXSlRmY
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 11, 2017
Done after just 10 shifts and 6:00 of ice-time in total, the Bruins leaned heavily on their top pairing of Zdeno Chara (28:31 of time on ice in 28 shifts, including four shifts of at least 1:30) and Brandon Carlo (19:57 of time on ice in 29 shifts), along with McQuaid’s pairing partner, Torey Krug (22:26 in 28 shifts).
“It’s tough, especially with how much game was left, you really have to simplify your game,” Krug, who recorded a goal and an assist (both on the power play) in the win, said of McQuaid’s exit. “If you get stuck out there for too long, then you’re going to be winded for a while. It’s about managing the game and everybody becomes a game-manager at that point.”
A seven-year pro, McQuaid has one assist along with 87 hits and 62 blocked shots in 39 games this season.
In the second year of a four-year deal worth $11 million, McQuaid missed the first five games of this season due to an upper-body injury, and has lost 142 games to injury in total since the start of the 2011-12 season.