|02.02.15 at 7:32 pm ET|
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was named the NHL‘s Third Star of the Month for the month of January.
Rask started 13 of the Bruins’ 14 games in January, allowing two goals or fewer in all but two of them. He shut out the Rangers on Jan. 15 and and made a season-high 43 saves against the Islanders on Jan. 29. Rask had a .949 save percentage for the month.
The Bruins went 7-1-3 in Rask’s starts last month, improving Rask’s season record to 22-11-7.
Alexander Ovechkin took top honors for the month, while John Tavares was named January’s second-best performer.
|01.31.15 at 11:20 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien had little update on the status of Loui Eriksson, who left Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury.
Eriksson left Saturday’s win over the Kings after being hit into the boards by Robyn Regehr with less than five minutes to play.
“I don’t know, it just happened at the end and I just came out here,” Julien said. ‘I think from watching the replays that people are saying it seemed like he got an elbow or a stick in the back of the neck, and I know he had a stiff neck coming off. I don’t know how he’s doing yet.”
Eriksson has a recent history with head injuries, as a pair of concussions derailed his 2013-14 season.
This season, Eriksson is third on the Bruins with 29 points (11 goals, 29 assists).
|01.31.15 at 11:16 pm ET|
Midway through the second period of Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Kings, David Pastrnak found himself as the first forward back in the defensive zone. This is where an 18-year-old rookie forward could potentially be exposed. No one questions Pastrnak’s offensive ability, but his defensive play is still a work in progress, and that’s the part of his game that could determine how much he plays and how he’s used down the stretch.
In this case, Pastrnak passed his defensive test with flying colors. He recognized that there were no Kings immediately entering the zone that he needed to pick up, so he headed for the corner to help Dennis Seidenberg, who was engaged in a 1-on-1 battle for the puck.
Pastrnak swooped in, smoothly took control of the puck, circled behind his own net and then broke the puck out of the Bruins end with a nice rush up the middle of the ice. It didn’t lead to a scoring chance at the other end because Pastrnak wound up getting caught offsides after passing the puck off, but it was the kind of defensive-zone play that should help him gain more trust from Claude Julien.
“Tonight what I saw from him was that he wasn’t a liability,” Julien said. “When you’re stuck in your own end and he’s not getting pucks out or he’s getting out-muscled and stuff like that, and there’s some panic in the game, then you say, ‘OK, well maybe I’ve got to cut my bench down.’
“But tonight I thought he was solid along the walls and not only that, but he was patient — even instead of just chipping it out, he made some plays. So when you see a player do that — and that’s something that at the beginning of the year was a real issue for him when he went to Providence. So I give him so much credit for improving so quickly in that area.”
Pastrnak brings a different dynamic to any line he plays on because no other Bruins right wing has the raw offensive skill that he has. In the case of Kelly and Carl Soderberg’s line, where Pastrnak was for part of Thursday’s game and all of Saturday’s game, the line gains that speed and offensive spark, but it loses the consistently stellar two-way play of Loui Eriksson.
Julien has always been hesitant to break up Soderberg and Eriksson, and for good reason. Entering Saturday, Soderberg had a 53.3 percent Corsi playing with Eriksson this season and just a 45.8 percent Corsi without him (last year it was 55.7 percent with and 50.4 percent without).
Kelly, Soderberg and Pastrnak didn’t really do much in their two-plus periods together Thursday, but they started to hit their stride as Saturday’s game went along, especially in the third period. Pastrnak set up one good look midway through the third when he sidestepped a Matt Greene hit at the offensive blue line before sending a pass to the front that Soderberg couldn’t quite handle.
Then the line scored what proved to be the game-winning goal with 5:27 to go when Soderberg circled out to the point and sent a shot toward the net that Kelly redirected past Jonathan Quick. They had another decent look in the final minutes when Pastrnak held off a defender and sent a low shot to goal that produced a rebound that was cleared away just before Soderberg got to it.
Whether Pastrnak stays with Soderberg and Kelly or moves back up to David Krejci‘s line remains to be seen. If he does stay, we’ll need a bigger sample to see if the trio can possess the puck enough to consistently create scoring chances (Kelly’s Corsi, like Soderberg’s, also drops when he is not with Eriksson).
Regardless, Saturday was a step in the right direction, both for Pastrnak’s two-way play and for the new-look third line as a whole.
|01.31.15 at 9:32 pm ET|
The Bruins recovered from a late goal to regain the lead outlast the Kings, 3-1, Saturday at TD Garden.
Saturday marked David Pastrnak’s second game on the third line with Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly. The line came through with the game-winning goal, with Soderberg carrying the puck around the offensive zone and firing a shot from the blueline that Kelly tipped past Jonathan Quick.
The Kings had evened the score minutes earlier when a Jordan Nolan shot off the rush took an odd trajectory (potentially going off Dougie Hamilton’s stick) as it sailed past Tuukka Rask.
Brad Marchand scored the Bruins’ first goal, beating Quick with 2:40 remaining in the second period. Marchand thought he had scored late in the first period, but replays confirmed that the puck was shot well after the period had ended. He would add an empty netter to give him 15 goals on the season.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday night:
Loui Eriksson was hit into the boards by Robyn Regehr with less than five minutes to play. He did not return to the game.
We’ll monitor this going forward, as Eriksson suffered two concussions last season.
2 Us, 2 Ks, 2 DEFENSEMEN OWE RASK
In a tightly played physical battle between two of the league’s more defensively sound teams, odd-man rushes were few and far between. The Kings, however, got the best scoring chance of the night in the second period when Nick Shore slipped behind Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid and was fed a pass from Jordan Nolan in the neutral zone for a breakaway.
Shore had ample time and space ‘ there literally was not a defender in the frame of replays as he slowed up and tried to deke Rask ‘ but Rask stopped Shore’s forehand bid and held onto the rebound to keep the game scoreless.
All of Boston’s top-four defensemen finished with minus Corsi’s on the night. Torey Krug and Kevan Miller were the only Boston defenders with positive Corsis.
PENALTY KILL STAYS SHARP
The officials more or less let the teams play Saturday night, as each team was assessed just one penalty on the night. Jeff Carter went off for a cross-check to Adam McQuaid’s head a few minutes into the second period, while Patrice Bergeron was called for an offensive zone trip with 28 seconds left in the second.
With Bergeron, one of the best penalty killers in the league, in the box, Boston’s red-hot penalty kill carried on. The B’s even managed a decent stay in the offensive zone during the penalty kill with Daniel Paille and Dennis Seidenberg getting shorthanded chances.
The Bruins have now killed off 41 of their opponents’ last 43 power plays.
JULIEN STICKS WITH SAME LINEUP
After Jordan Caron took the fourth line’s first line rush in morning skate, it appeared the veteran wing would be in the lineup for Saturday night. That proved to be nothing more than a false alarm, as Craig Cunningham remained in the lineup on Gregory Campell’s line.
Furthermore, Claude Julien kept his same lines after shuffling his right wings against the Islanders. The lineup was as follows:
|01.31.15 at 12:01 pm ET|
It appears the Bruins will stick with their top three lines from Thursdays game when they host the Kings Saturday night, but another lineup change could be in the works.
Jordan Caron skated on the right wing of Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille in the fourth line’s first line rush in morning skate, suggesting he could be in the lineup over Craig Cunningham. Claude Julien would not confirm whether Caron would play, but did note the team was making game-time decisions with its lineup.
Caron played recently against the Blue Jackets and Stars during Brad Marchand‘s two-game suspension.
The lineup in morning skate was as follows:
Saturday will mark Tuukka Rask‘s eighth consecutive start. He has allowed two goals or fewer in six of his last seven games entering Saturday.
|01.30.15 at 11:51 am ET|
WILMINGTON – All Bruins were present for Friday’s Bruins practice, including a new face.
Goaltender Malcolm Subban was recalled from Providence, as the B’s sent backup netminder Niklas Svedberg to Providence on a conditioning loan. Svedberg has played just one game over the last month, a 14-save shutout against the Devils on Jan. 8.
Subban, the Bruins’ first-round pick in the 2012 draft, has allowed one goal in each of his last three starts. On the season, he has a 2.47 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage for Providence.
The plan for Subban is to keep him up for the weekend, with Claude Julien stressing that the recall was more about getting Svedberg into game action with Providence. The Baby B’s have games Friday and Saturday. Svedberg is expected to start Friday’s game, while the plan for Saturday is unclear.
The Bruins kept the same lines they used in Thursday’s win over the Islanders:
The Bruins will return to action Saturday when they host the Kings at TD Garden.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|01.29.15 at 9:34 pm ET|
The Bruins passed the first of many difficult tests to come over the next month.
Facing the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference (and one that had already played after the All-Star break), the Bruins outlasted the Islanders with a 5-2 victory Thursday in the final regular-season meeting between the teams at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
After jumping out to a 2-0 lead, the Bruins had to survive a dominant second period from the Islanders that saw New York answer back with goals from John Tavares and Michael Grabner. A Kevan Miller goal in the final seconds of the period gave the Bruins a 3-2 that they would build on in the third with Torey Krug’s 10th goal of the season and an empty-netter from Milan Lucic.
The teams will meet again next Saturday in Boston.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday:
CLAUDE SHUFFLES RIGHT WINGS
After Reilly Smith took the opening shift of the game with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, Claude Julien went with a reshuffled look up front with his top three right wings switched. Smith was put on David Krejci‘s line, which moved David Pastrnak down to Carl Soderberg’s line. Loui Eriksson, moved up to Bergeron’s line.
As such, the lines were as follows:
Krejci’s line got a couple of goals out of the switch, as Lucic sent a pass through a defender’s legs to the front of the net, where Smith redirected it up and past Jaroslav Halak in the first period. Smith would later pick up assists on Patrice Bergeron‘s power-play goal in the first period and Torey Krug’s third-period goal. Lucic added an empty-netter late in eh third.
Bergeron’s line generated chances, but it surrendered both of New York’s second period goals.
SMITH GETS BACK TO SCORING
As you may remember, Smith returned from last year’s Olympic break to dreadful results, as the second-line right wing scored just one goal over a 21-game span to begin the stretch run of the season.
This season, Smith returned from the break and broke another slump. Having not scored a goal in the last 11 games, Smith got a chance at more offense when Julien put him on Krejci’s line. The moved paid off, as Thursday’s game marked Smith’s first multi-point effort in 21 games.
It wasn’t all good for Smith, as he got a high stick to the face from Johnny Boychuk in the third period that drew blood but went uncalled.
PENALTY KILL STILL KILLIN’ IT
The Bruins killed off a first-period David Krejci hooking penalty and a third-period Carl Soderberg holding penalty to hold the Islanders 0-for-2 on the power play Thursday.
In other words, it was more of the same from Boston’s penalty kill. With Thursday’s showing, the Bruins have now killed off 40 of their opponents’ last 42 power plays.
RASK MAKES SAVE OF-THE-YEAR CANDIDATE
When Rask allowed John Tavares’ second-period goal to put the Islanders on the board, it wasn’t pretty. Rask yielded a big rebound on a lazy chip from center ice and was not in position to stop Tavares from batting in his own rebound. The play presented tough judgement call of whether to come further out of the net and try to glove the puck or go down and get in front of the puck. Rask chose the latter and it burned him.
What came shortly before that play, however, was one of the best saves Rask will make all season. With the Islanders buzzing around his net, Nikolay Kulemin backhanded a puck out in front to Michael Grabner, who was celebrating what he thought was a goal until Rask blocked the puck from crossing the goal line with his paddle.
Rask made a season-high 43 saves Thursday. He has now allowed two goals or fewer in his last five starts.
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