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Defenseman Brandon Carlo (lower-body) back in action as Bruins visit Lightning

01.31.17 at 7:00 pm ET
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Brandon Carlo will be in the lineup tonight vs. the Lightning.  (Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports)

Brandon Carlo will be in the lineup tonight vs. the Lightning. (Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports)

Down with a tumble in the third period of last Thursday’s comeback win over the Penguins, Brandon Carlo could hardly skate off the ice.

But with a few days of rest to his name thanks to the All-Star break, the 20-year-old Carlo was back at practice back in Boston on Monday, and is good to play in tonight’s crucial road game against the Lightning.

“[Carlo]’s good,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said this morning. “He was good yesterday, and he continued to be good as well today.”

Injured with a twisted ankle, the first glance looked a lot worse than the final diagnosis, but forced Carlo and the B’s to exercise some caution.

“There was a little bit of pain there,” Carlo admitted, “but overall something I should have just walked off. But for precautionary reasons, just kinda finished off that game, and did what we had to do with x-rays and MRIs.”

The 6-foot-5 Carlo has tallied four goals and 12 points in 52 games for the B’s this season, and has averaged 21:30 of time on ice per night, which ranks second in the NHL among rookie skaters. He’s one of six Bruins to have played in every game this year.

In the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, clinging to their third-place lead by a single point and with five more games played than the ninth-place Maple Leafs (read as: the Bruins have almost no wiggle room left), these are the games that the Black and Gold have to win. They’re must-wins to not only stay afloat in the playoff race, but also bury teams like the Bolts, who come into action tonight just six points behind the Bruins, and with two games in hand.

And despite the Bolts’ struggles this year, the B’s know they’re in for a challenge from a desperate club.

“They’ve gone through a stretch here where they’ve had some tough luck,” Julien said, “but at the same time I see a pretty good team on the ice. They’re deep, they have a lot of guys that can do some damage.”

The Bruins are expected to give this start to Tuukka Rask. The 29-year-old All-Star stopped 19-of-22 shots thrown his way last Thursday against the Penguins, and comes into action with 24 wins and a .918 save percentage in 41 games. Rask has two wins and a .934 save percentage in two games against the Lightning this season.

The Bolts will counter with Ben Bishop. Bishop has 11 wins in 25 games this year, and was yanked from his last start after he allowed five goals on 17 shots against the Coyotes. Bishop has a 4-5-3 record and .912 save percentage in 12 career games against the Bruins, and allowed four goals on 30 shots in his last head-to-head with the B’s.

“There’s a lot at stake for both teams,” Julien said. “Should be a good one.”

Here are the expected lines and pairings for the Bruins…

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Frank Vatrano – David Krejci – David Backes

Matt Beleskey – Ryan Spooner – Riley Nash

Tim Schaller – Dominic Moore – Jimmy Hayes

Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

Kevan Miller – Colin Miller

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin back with Bruins, expected to be available vs. Lightning

01.31.17 at 6:14 am ET
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Anton Khudobin is back with the Bruins. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Anton Khudobin is back with the Bruins. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin knows what he did, or rather didn’t do, to earn a trip on the waiver wire and down to the AHL’s P-Bruins.

“I just didn’t get enough wins,” Khudobin, who is back with the Bruins, said following Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

In eight games with the Big B’s this season, the 30-year-old recorded just one victory and posted a woeful .885 save percentage.

Now, in defense of Khudobin, the replacements haven’t done much better — Zane McIntyre has zero wins and an .860 save percentage in seven games while Malcolm Subban failed to finish his start for the second time in as many career tries — but there was no doubt that the Black and Gold expected more out of Khudobin, especially after what was a successful first run with the club four years back.

But with Zane McIntyre assigned to the minors so that he could appear in the 2017 All-Star Game (and perhaps get more playing time in a development-friendly role versus a largely spectator role for the Black and Gold), and with the B’s traveling to Tampa Bay Monday night, Khudobin has traveled with the big club and is one of their options against the Lightning. And could very well be given the start considering the fact that Tuukka Rask is joining the club right from Los Angeles from his All-Star weekend.

An increase in his playing time during his tenure with the P-Bruins, which is something that Khudobin has openly talked about as a potential fix to his struggles in subtle ways, has set the gregarious netminder in a situation for a possible rebound.

“It was a good stretch,” Khudobin said of his tenure with the P-Bruins, which has featured six wins and an .892 save percentage in 10 AHL games. “I had a couple of shutouts — two shutouts in a row — and it was really good.”

Entering the stretch run of their season, it’s expected that a healthy Rask will likely suit up for somewhere between 20-to-25 games for the Bruins if they’re to have a legitimate chance of keeping pace with the rest of the East’s playoff teams.


15 former Bruins make NHL’s 100 Greatest Players List

01.28.17 at 5:06 pm ET
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Bobby Orr was one of 15 former Bruins named to the NHL's 100 Greatest Players list. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Bobby Orr was one of 15 former Bruins named to the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players list. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins are modestly represented in the 2017 All-Star Game, with Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask. But the Bruins have far more representatives in the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players List, which dropped last night as the kickoff to a weekend of festivities in Los Angeles.

Broken up by eras, the Bruins already had three players named earlier in the month as part of the league’s First 33, which represented the first 50 years of the NHL, in Johnny Bucyk, Milt Schmidt, and Eddie Shore.

The Bruins found the majority of their players back on the board from the Big Bad Bruins era of hockey, with Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito included on the list. Brad Park and Jean Ratelle also made the list, while three goaltenders made the list in Terry Sawchuk, Jacques Plante, and Bernie Parent, but only Sawchuk (102 games with the club) had a sizeable sample in the B’s crease, while Plante played in just eight games for the Bruins and Parent skated in 57 games.

Adam Oates, who recorded 499 points in 368 games with the B’s and was a 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, also made the list. Ray Bourque obviously made the list as well, while two of the other premier puck-movers from the era with Bruins ties made the list, with Paul Coffey (18 games for the Bruins) and Brian Leetch (61 games in Boston).

Only one current NHL player with ties to the Bruins, Jaromir Jagr, made the list.

Bruins recall Anton Khudobin, assign Zane McIntyre to AHL

01.27.17 at 2:49 pm ET
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Zane McIntyre has appeared in seven games this season. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports)

Zane McIntyre has appeared in seven games this season. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports)

Officially on break, the Bruins have made a minor roster move in the crease with the recall of Anton Khudobin from the Providence Bruins and corresponding assignment of Zane McIntyre down to the P-Bruins.

The demotion likely comes as a means to get McIntyre some meaningful playing time (the P-Bruins have two games this weekend while the Bruins are off until Tuesday as part of the league’s All-Star break) before an NHL recall when their schedule resumes next week.

In seven NHL games this season, McIntyre has an 0-3-1 record and .860 save percentage. He stopped 11-of-14 shots against in his most recent appearance, a 28-minute relief appearance for an injured Tuukka Rask last Sunday against the Penguins.

On the farm, McIntyre has been a dominant force, with a perfect 10-0-0 record and .951 save percentage, and was the AHL Goaltender of the Month for December prior to his latest recall with the Big B’s.

Khudobin, waived by the Bruins, has six wins and an .896 save percentage in nine games for the P-Bruins, but was pulled after allowing three goals on 13 shots in his last start, which makes this recall seem like it’s hardly to give Khudobin another crack at keeping the NHL backup job. Khudobin has one win and an .885 save percentage in eight NHL games this season.

The Bruins do not play again until Tuesday night on the road against the Lightning.

David Backes comes up with big leadership showing against Penguins

01.27.17 at 2:03 pm ET
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David Backes showed his worth as an emotional leader Thursday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

David Backes showed his worth as an emotional leader Thursday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins were painfully flat in the opening period of last night’s game against the Penguins. Being flat against the Penguins, a team that’s lit the lamp at will this year, does not come without some disastrous results. They were there, too, with two ugly goals against the Bruins and the need for a statement period in the middle frame was there.

Their leaders needed to lead, not only with goals (something Brad Marchand took care of), but also with attitude and a willingness to accept the daunting challenge in front of them.

Insert David Backes.

Viewed as a statistical equivalent but emotional upgrade of Loui Eriksson, Backes put forth the kind of game that caught the eye of the Bruins in the first place last summer. Finishing with three shots, six hits, and six minutes in penalties in less than 14 minutes of time on ice, Backes’ biggest battles came with Trevor Daley, and then Phil Kessel, with Backes agitating two of the Pens’ veteran leaders.

“It’s just hockey, guys,” Kessel, who was bopped in the face by Backes more than a few times in the second period, said.

A brand of hockey that Backes specializes in.

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Bruins d-man Brandon Carlo leaves game with lower-body injury

01.26.17 at 11:15 pm ET
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Brandon Carlo left Thursday's game with a lower-body injury. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

Brandon Carlo left Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo took his lumps early in a 4-3 win , but none bothered him as much as the one that knocked him out of the 4-3 win over the Penguins Thursday night at TD Garden.

On the ice (and technically the scorer) on the Penguins’ first goal of the night, as Justin Schultz banked the puck off his stick and in, Carlo then took the penalty that led to Phil Kessel’s power-play goal. But in the third period, on a puck retrieval behind his net, it appeared that Carlo lost an edge, fell down to his feet, and really struggled to get back to the bench. Actually, Carlo was not able to get to the bench under his power, and required a Tuukka Rask shove to get there.

From there, Carlo was assisted down the tunnel and did not return.

After the game, the Bruins had little to offer on the situation.

“I don’t know, actually. I really don’t know,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Carlo’s injury. “I just, I didn’t even – for some reason I didn’t even see what happened to him and first thing I found out from our trainers that he wasn’t coming back, so.”

But Julien did go back on Carlo’s ability to bounce back with some stronger shifts before the injury.

“What I like about Brandon Carlo – and I said that before – he comes out in the second period and we get in a bit of a scramble there at the beginning and he blocks a big shot that probably saves a goal,” Julien said. “Like, he redeems himself. He works hard to redeem himself and so as much as we’ve got to live sometimes with some young mistakes, we like the fact that he doesn’t hang his head and he comes back and plays hard and really tries to redeem himself and he does that most of the time.”

A fixture next to Zdeno Chara on the B’s top pairing this year, Carlo has contributed four goals and 12 points in 52 games, and is one of six Bruins to have skated in all 52 games this season. Carlo is second among NHL rookies with 21:30 time on ice per night.

Brad Marchand comes up with big rebound night in Bruins win over Penguins

01.26.17 at 9:51 pm ET
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Bruins winger Brad Marchand kickstarted his team's comeback in a 3-2 win over the Penguins. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Bruins winger Brad Marchand kickstarted his team’s comeback in a 4-3 win over the Penguins. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Bruins winger Brad Marchand was lucky to have avoided a suspension for his reckless, unnecessary slewfoot of the Red Wings’ Niklas Kronwall Tuesday night at TD Garden. And he knows it.

Off the hook with a $10,000 fine and more importantly able to play in tonight’s head-to-head against the Penguins, Marchand acknowledged his actions as stupidity, and made up for it in the best way possible: kickstarting the B’s comeback in true Marchand fashion in what finished as a 4-3 victory over the vaunted-yet-shorthanded Penguins.

“I think he needed to respond that way. I think it was important for him to respond that way. I’m going to be honest with you – we’re lucky that we didn’t lose him tonight,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the win. “Obviously he played a big part in our win and I respect the league and I respect their decisions sometimes and, but he’s been in trouble before and I’m sure that wasn’t an easy decision. So, I’m going to stand here and say we’re lucky we had him tonight.”

With luck that could only fit this Bruins team, the Bruins were in an early hole when a Justin Schultz centering dish banked off Brandon Carlo and into the B’s net through Tuukka Rask. The Penguins skated to a 2-0 edge through the first period, too, when Phil Kessel pummeled a puck into a wide open cage (Rask was committed to Sidney Crosby’s side and with Patric Hornqvist in his grill) after a Carlo penalty for a power-play goal against. The Bruins also missed eight shots in the period, and it ended with Marchand limping off the ice and back to the locker room after a failed power-play opportunity.

It was a disaster.

It didn’t look like the second was going to go much better, especially when Adam McQuaid was called for a penalty 36 seconds in.

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