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Zac Rinaldo not suspended for hit on Sean Couturier

10.22.15 at 4:37 pm ET
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Bruins forward Zac Rinaldo will not be given any supplemental discipline for his hit on Flyers forward Sean Couturier, the Department of Player Safety announced Thursday.

Rinaldo was given a charging major and game misconduct for the hit, which occurred late in the first period of Philadelphia’€™s 5-4 overtime win over the B’€™s. Though Rinaldo is considered a repeat offender because he’€™s been suspended within the last 18 months, such status is only applied to plays deemed to be suspendable in a vacuum. Had Rinaldo’€™s hit been suspendable in the league’€™s eyes, his punishment would have been steeper than that of a first-time offender.

The video explaining the league’€™s decision outlines that Rinaldo does not elbow Couturier, commit interference or target the head. The video also says that Rinaldo did not launch into the hit or leave his feet.

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Pierre McGuire on OM&F: Zac Rinaldo hit on Sean Couturier was dirty

10.22.15 at 1:53 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance on Ordway, Merloni and Fauria on Thursday to look back at the Bruins’ overtime loss to the Flyers Wednesday night. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

During the game Bruins forward Zac Rinaldo hit Flyers forward Sean Couturier from behind against the boards at the end of the first period. He was given a game misconduct for the hit. McGuire said it was a dirty play.

“It’s against a defenseless player,” McGuire said. “It’s against a guy who isn’t making a play on the puck. I didn’t like the play at all. I didn’t like it at all.”

“I like Zac Rinaldo as a guy, I really do,” he added. “I’ve gotten to know him over time watching him play junior hockey up in the Toronto area and he’s had to scratch and claw to make it to the professional level, especially at the NHL level. He always plays to the line and I didn’t like that last night. He went over the line last night. He really did.”

Although the Bruins blew a two-goal third period lead and lost 5-4 in overtime, McGuire said it wasn’t all bad for the home team.

“There were some very good things in that game last night for Boston, too. It wasn’t all doom and gloom,” McGuire said. “But, this is a much different team. This is a much different team that Bruins fans have become used to since about 2010.”

Tuukka Rask is 1-3-1 this season and McGuire noted how important it is to get the Bruins’ goaltender back on track.

“You need goaltending. There’s no question,” he said. “It is a very important part of the game and confidence is an issue. I know it was a great shot from Wayne Simmonds, that was Wayne Simmonds’ 101st goal in 290 games as a member of the Flyers last night. I can tell you this right now, if Tuukka is on the angle, that is high glove side from a right-hand shot coming down the left-hand side of the ice, that is a stoppable puck for a guy that is on the angle. He was off the angle. He was cheating short side and he got beat long side. He’s got to be more square and I think he would be the first person to tell you that.”

Read More: Pierre McGuire, Tuukka Rask, Zac Rinaldo,

Matt Beleskey still not practicing, Tommy Cross returned to Providence

10.22.15 at 11:38 am ET
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WILMINGTON — New father Patrice Bergeron was given the day off from practice Thursday at Ristuccia Arena. Also missing from the session was Matt Beleskey, who missed Wednesday’s game with an upper-body injury. Following the practice, Claude Julien said that Beleskey will travel with the team for Friday’s game in Brooklyn.

Tommy Cross has been returned to Providence. Boston’s other seven defensemen practiced Thursday, including Joe Morrow. Though Morrow is still on injured reserve due to a recent flu bug, he can be activated at any time. Julien said that he’s yet to be cleared to play, and that the B’s will use Zach Trotman Friday if Morrow can’t go.

Zac Rinaldo was one of 12 forwards to practice for the B’s. He is currently awaiting word on whether he’ll be suspended for his hit on Sean Couturier in Wednesday’s loss to the Flyers.

 

Read More: Matt Beleskey, Tommy Cross,

Bruins blown leads a troubling trend

10.22.15 at 8:49 am ET
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The so-called most dangerous lead in hockey, the two-goal advantage, used to be downright safe for the Bruins to the tune of a 158-9-7 record over the past four seasons. But, with three of their first six games this season featuring blown two-goal leads, the B’€™s are quickly rekindling fear about the old hockey adage.

Wednesday night at TD Garden, the Bruins enjoyed a 4-2 lead heading to the third period, but watched their potential two-point reward slice in half as the Flyers came back for a 5-4 victory in overtime.

A 2-0 second period lead over Tampa Bay on October 12 at the Garden also ended in defeat for Boston this year, and a lost 3-1 third period lead on October 17 in Arizona was restored to a win thanks only to the Bruins white-hot power play. There was no such salvation on Wednesday.

“We have to play with more composure when we score a goal or get scored on,” said team captain Zdeno Chara. “[We have] some mental breaks like that. Things that are easy to be corrected. Just have to work harder and take pride in winning the battles.”

Lost puck battles were the theme of head coach Claude Julien‘€™s critique of the Flyers’€™ loss.

“We played a light game,”€ Julien said. “We had too many guys with light sticks, too many guys playing a light game. It’€™s unacceptable. What happened tonight we probably deserved. [Philadelphia] was the hungrier team. We didn’€™t respond well. A lot of guys would just go into battle, take a swing at the puck, and curl the other way. Again, that’€™s not the way we play and it’€™s not the way we’€™re going to accept players to play on our team.”

On the bright side for the Bruins, goal scoring has been plentiful to put some leads in place. Boston has netted 18 goals over their last four games. But the 2-1-1 record that’€™s resulted over that span has left a feeling of missed opportunities.

“€œWhen you score four goals you should have more than enough to win the game,” said Patrice Bergeron, who added two more points against Philadelphia to give him seven (four goals, three assists) through six games played. “€œToo many slow reactions defensively and lack of communication. Poor decisions. It ends up hurting us big time.”€

Bergeron’s colleague Chris Kelly, whose shorthanded tally gave Boston a 3-2 edge on the Flyers in the second period, agreed.

“€œWe mismanaged the puck, especially in the third [period],” Kelly said. “A team that has capable scorers like [Philadelphia has], it didn’€™t take much, a couple turnovers and misplays and they tied it up pretty quickly. It’€™s a combination of things. It’€™s about managing the puck, [not] putting the other guys in a tough spot changing, and maybe not changing at the right times. Little things. It’€™s the combinations of a lot of little things that lead to a goal. That was the case, especially their fourth goal, the [Wayne] Simmonds goal.”

“€œThe effort is there,”€ Kelly continued. “€œIt’€™s just focus needs to be sharper throughout the course of 60 minutes. There’€™s times in all four home games where we’€™ve played extremely well and done a lot of good things, just to maintain that composure for 60 minutes seems to be an issue right now.”

Read More: Chris Kelly, Claude Julien,

Bruins leave Tuukka Rask no room for error

10.22.15 at 1:44 am ET
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Tuukka Rask has allowed 22 goals this season. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Tuukka Rask has allowed 22 goals this season. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Tuukka Rask has not been a cure-all for the Bruins’€™ issues. That doesn’€™t mean he’€™s been a primary source of those issues.

In five games played this season, Rask has allowed a jarring 22 goals. While goals against is a team statistic, having a goalie of Rask’€™s caliber is typically a fail-safe against such results.

These are not typical circumstances, however, so judging Rask based on them isn’€™t entirely fair, even if he is making a whole lot of money.

The Bruins have lost four games this season. In three of them, the B’€™s were unequivocally worse in front of Rask than he was behind them. Last week’€™s loss to Tampa qualified as a stinker on Rask’€™s behalf, but the other performances have seen him allow goals not usually seen around these parts. Does Rask deserve criticism for not being at his best? Sure, but no five-game sample can possibly be seen as an indication that one of the best goalies in the league (remember: Rask is the leader among active goalies in career save percentage, ahead of Henrik Lundqvist, Carey Price and everyone else) is some flawed player who no one noticed because he was on a good team.

Granted, what’€™s alarming with Rask is that, for the first time in a long time, he doesn’€™t pass the eye test. The numbers are ugly enough, but so too are the goals. Commonly this season, such lowlights have been the result of a Rask miscue exacerbated by Boston’s defensive play.

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Zac Rinaldo ‘for sure’ concerned about suspension after hit on Sean Couturier

10.21.15 at 11:52 pm ET
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Zac Rinaldo is well aware that his hit on Sean Couturier in the first period of Wednesday’€™s loss to the Flyers got the attention of the Department of Player Safety.

A repeat offender given that he’€™s been suspended within the last 18 months, Rinaldo said he is “for sure” concerned about being suspended for his charging major Wednesday, which came with a game misconduct.

Though Rinaldo did not target the head, the hit was highly avoidable given how late it was. He said after the game that his intention was to lay a clean hit.

“I saw the puck coming around the boards and I thought he still had full control of the puck, and I just tried to deliver a body check,” Rinaldo said.

Asked whether he felt he actually did lay a clean hit, Rinaldo reiterated, “That’€™s what I was trying to do, yeah: deliver a clean hit, just go through the body. It’€™s a part of the game, so that’€™s what I tried to do.”

Rinaldo has been suspended three times for a total of 14 games in his career.

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5 things we learned: Bruins aren’t good at holding leads

10.21.15 at 10:43 pm ET
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The Bruins can build a lead and they can blow a lead. The bad commonly outweighs the good there. Anyway, now they’€™re 2-3-1.

For the second straight game, the B’€™s relinquished a two-goal lead, with Wednesday’€™s contest costing them in overtime in the form of a 5-4 Flyers win. After jumping ahead of Philly, 4-2, through the first two periods, Boston let the Flyers storm back with third-period goals from Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. A Ryan Spooner hooking penalty in overtime led to a power-play goal from Giroux to end the game and hand the Bruins a disappointing loss.

Boston got goals in regulation from Brett Connolly, Patrice Bergeron, Chris Kelly and Jimmy Hayes. Bergeron, who was in the lineup after recently welcoming his first child to his family, scored on the power play while Kelly’€™s goal came during a second-period penalty kill. David Krejci continued his torrid start with a pair of assists to bring his league-leading point total to 11 through six games.

Here are four more things we learned Wednesday:

RINALDO TOSSED LATE IN FIRST

It took six games for Zac Rinaldo to get tossed from a game. His first offense as a Bruin came late in the first period, when Rinaldo threw a late hit on Sean Couturier after the forward had already absorbed a hit from Adam McQuaid along the boards. Rinaldo was assessed a five-minute charging major and a game misconduct.

Given that Rinaldo was suspended last season, he counts as a repeat offender if and when the department of player safety opts to punish him.

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