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Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask ‘of course’ would play in back-to-back situation

03.20.17 at 2:54 am ET
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Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is open to playing on both Monday and Tuesday. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is open to playing on both Monday and Tuesday. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

This is one big, massive, gigantic week for the Bruins. And it starts with a back-to-back beginning with Monday against the Maple Leafs up in Toronto and then Tuesday night against the Senators in Boston.

The Leafs are just three points back of the Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division, have a in game in hand over the Black and Gold, and are 3-0-0 against the Bruins this season. The Sens are ahead of the B’s by four points for second place in the division, and have beat the Bruins in both of their prior meetings this season.

These are the games that the Bruins need Tuukka Rask to show up and stand on his head as he’s done so many times this season.

On back-to-back nights.

A challenge that the 30-year-old would be ready for if given the call.

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Patrice Bergeron misses practice, but will travel to Toronto with Bruins

03.19.17 at 12:26 pm ET
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Bruins center Patrice Bergeron will travel to Toronto with the team. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron will travel to Toronto with the team. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron was nowhere to be found on the ice at practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Sunday morning.

But fear not: it was a mere maintenance day for the do-it-all Bergeron according to B’s interim head coach Bruce Cassidy. And it has since been confirmed that Bergeron will travel with the team to Toronto in anticipation of Monday’s pivotal head-to-head with the Maple Leafs.

“I’m expecting him to play,” Cassidy, who gave the team both Friday and Saturday off, said after practice when asked of Bergeron’s official status for tomorrow. “But we’ll know more in a couple of hours.”

In preparation for the unknown, the Bruins have recalled forwards Noel Acciari and Sean Kuraly from Providence on an emergency basis.

And with the Leafs behind the Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division by just three points and with a game in hand, the Bruins will undoubtedly need Bergeron against a Toronto team that’s smacked them around in the season series so far, with the Maple Leafs outscoring the Bruins 14-to-7 and having won all three prior showdowns.

The 31-year-old Bergeron is on a four-game point streak, with five assists over that stretch, and has totaled 17 goals and 48 points in 68 games this season, including one goal and three points in two games against the Leafs.

Bruins recall Noel Acciari, Sean Kuraly on emergency basis

03.19.17 at 10:41 am ET
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Noel Acciari and Sean Kuraly have been recalled from the P-Bruins. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Noel Acciari and Sean Kuraly have been recalled from the P-Bruins. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

After two days of rest away from the rink following their three-game road swing, the Bruins returned to the ice for a Sunday practice at Warrior Ice Arena, and with two reinforcements from Providence.

Down forwards Patrice Bergeron, Drew Stafford, and Tim Schaller (lower-body injury), both Noel Acciari and Sean Kuraly have been recalled from the P-Bruins on an emergency basis.

The 25-year-old Acciari has appeared in 19 games with the Big B’s this season, with two assists and four penalty minutes along with 52 hits. Acciari has recorded six goals and eight assists with 11 penalty minutes and a plus-8 rating in 30 games with the P-Bruins this season.

Kuraly has skated in five games with Boston this year, and made his NHL debut on Nov. 3. The 24-year-old forward has appeared in 50 games with Providence, and has scored 13 goals and 11 assists for 24 points and 31 penalty minutes and a plus-8 rating.

Both Acciari and Kuraly skated on the fourth line with B’s center Dominic Moore.

The Bruins are in action Monday night against the Leafs.  

 

Don’t pin ugly loss on Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask

03.17.17 at 5:31 am ET
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Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask allowed five goals on 17 shots on Thursday. ( Walter Tychnowicz/USA Today Sports)

Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask allowed five goals on 17 shots on Thursday. (Walter Tychnowicz/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins lost — and lost badly — for just the fourth time in their last 16 games on Thursday night. So naturally, there had to be a scapegoat.

No, this couldn’t just be a tired team losing on the second leg of a traveling back-to-back. The Bruins played in Calgary and ended the Flames’ 10-game win streak on Wednesday while the Oilers have been in Edmonton since Mar. 1 and were playing in just their sixth game in the last 16 days. Irrelevant. We need a scapegoat, dammit. This couldn’t be giving the Oilers’ man advantage — which came into action ranked as the 7th-best power play in the NHL with a 21.3 percent success rate — six power-play opportunities, including four in the first 32 minutes of action. I’ve told you already, a scapegoat must be found!

So as it almost always does when this team loses, the ire of B’s fans landed on their goaltender, Tuukka Rask, who allowed five goals on 17 shots and was given the early hook from Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy in what finished as a 7-4 loss for the Black and Gold.

But let’s be real: This loss does not fall on the 30-year-old Rask.

Not if you have a clue as to what you watched happen in front of him on Thursday, anyways.

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Bruins save stinker for last, get blown out by Oilers

03.17.17 at 12:15 am ET
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The Oilers scored seven goals against the Bruins. (Walter Tychnowicz/USA Today Sports)

The Oilers scored seven goals against the Bruins. (Walter Tychnowicz/USA Today Sports)

It was at the 8:23 mark of the first period that the Bruins found themselves down three goals to the Oilers.

Patrick Maroon had the first two goals, the first of which came on the power play and the second scored just 59 seconds after that, and Benoit Pouliot had the third. That spelled trouble for a number of reasons, chief of which being that the damage did not come from Connor McDavid (although he came through with the primary assist on Maroon’s second goal) or any of the Oilers’ go-to scorers, the second reason being that their defensive play was straight-up abysmal, and the third biggest reason being… well.. it’s three goals in eight minutes.

But Bruins interim coach Bruce Cassidy did not hit the panic button. Instead, he relied on his best players to come through and make a game out of it the best they could, which turned out to be the case, for about five minutes anyways, in what finished as an ugly 7-4 loss in Edmonton.

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Bruins go for Western Canada sweep against Connor McDavid’s Oilers

03.16.17 at 8:16 pm ET
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The Bruins will try to even the season series against the Oilers tonight in Edmonton. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins will try to even the season series against the Oilers tonight in Edmonton. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Thanks to wins over the Canucks on Monday and Flames on Wednesday — and with the Bruins having outscored those opponents by a combined 11-to-5 along the way — this trip to Western Canada has already been a massive success for the Black and Gold.

The trip can get even better for the Bruins tonight, too, who are in search of the road trip sweep as they wrap up their tour of the Pacific Division’s Canadian clubs with a head-to-head against the Oilers.

The Oilers proved to be too much for the Bruins to handle in their only other meeting this season, and dropped the Bruins by a 4-3 final at TD Garden thanks to a hat trick from Oilers winger Patrick Maroon.

But it almost goes without saying that the Bruins are a much, much different team now than they were just over two months ago.

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Meet your new NHL goals and points leader: Bruins winger Brad Marchand

03.16.17 at 2:19 am ET
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Brad Marchand leads the league in goals and points. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

Brad Marchand leads the league in goals and points. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

It’s March 16 and Bruins winger Brad Marchand is leading the National Hockey League in goals and points. Just like we all expected, I’m sure.

In what’s emerging as one of the most incredible start to finish runs in recent B’s history, Marchand continued his tear on Wednesday night with a goal and an assist in Boston’s 5-2 win over the Flames.

The goal, number 36 of Marchand’s season and by all means gifted to him by Flames netminder Chad Johnson, pushed him one ahead of Sidney Crosby, with whom he entered action tied with at 35, for the league lead (Crosby’s Penguins were shutout by the Flyers last night).

And with the assist on David Pastrnak’s empty-net goal, Marchand’s 40th helper of the season, the 28-year-old’s point total was bumped up to 76, which puts him in a tie with Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane and the Oilers’ Connor McDavid for the most in the NHL.

“Now that he’s close I’m sure he’s going to will himself to be the leading scorer, and if he doesn’t he’s going to be close, because when Brad gets after something, he’s not going to be denied,” Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Marchand before Wednesday’s win over the Flames. “First it was getting to the National Hockey League, then getting into the lineup being a regular, and then moving up the lineup. He’s a pretty determined fella.”

Marchand’s leaguewide destruction is nothing new, of course, as he currently ranks third in goals scored since the start of the 2015-16 season with 73 (Kane has 77 and Alex Ovechkin has a league-best 78) and ranks 10th in points since then.

The Bruins have not had a player lead the league in goals since Phil Esposito scored 61 in 1974-75, and have not had a player lead the league in points since Bobby Orr tallied 135 in that same season. The Bruins have never had a player lead the league in both goals and points. Esposito was the last Bruin to lead the league in both in the same season, too, accomplished in 1973-74.

Marchand, for the record, still will not consider himself elite. Not openly, anyways.

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