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Observations from Bruins’ preseason win over Capitals

09.22.15 at 9:40 pm ET
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David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

Here are some notes from the Bruins’€™ 2-1 overtime win over the Capitals Tuesday night:

– Tuesday’€™s game was going to go to overtime no matter what the score was at the end of regulation, as the league is having every team practice 3-on-3 three times this preseason. As fate would have it, the game was tied anyway.

Claude Julien went with two forwards (David Krejci and David Pastrnak) and a defenseman (Torey Krug). The group ended the game immediately, with Krejci feeding Pastrnak for the game-winner 12 seconds into the extra period. Pastrnak also scored the Bruins’€™ only goal of regulation.

– The game featured the first glimpse of David Krejci skating between free agent signing Matt Beleskey and second-year David Pastrnak right wing in a game. The three played on a line and served on the same power play unit with Torey Krug and Alexander Khokhlachev.

The Krejci line was unremarkable for most of the game, but Pastrnak scored on a backhander down low that snuck behind Washington goalie Philipp Grubauer during a third-period 4-on-4 .

Over the first two periods, the line didn’€™t generate much offensively and was caught offsides multiple times. Krejci also struggled on draws.

– Malcolm Subban got the start for the Bruins, stopping all 17 shots he faced before giving way to Zane McIntyre. The first-year pro gave up the first goal allowed by the Bruins all preseason, with a shot from the point during a Capitals power play getting through traffic and past him shortly after the B’€™s had taken the lead.

– Tuesday brought the first fight of Boston’€™s preseason, as right wing Justin Hickman fought Washington defenseman Tyler Lewington in the second period.

– Khokhlachev, who does not want to play in Providence again, drew a penalty in the third period. Boston’€™s power play wouldn’€™t last, however, as Brian Ferlin took a holding penalty 21 seconds in Boston’€™s man advantage. That set up the 4-on-4 play in which Pastrnak scored.

– The line of Chris Kelly between Anton Blidh and Hickman was interesting to watch. Blidh drew a first-period interference penalty and was a presence in scrums, while Hickman fed Kelly in the third period for a great scoring opportunity that went denied by Grubauer.

The lineup for the game was as follows:


Arnesson- Kevin Miller


Zac Rinaldo: ‘The way I piss people off is the way I play’

09.22.15 at 1:58 pm ET
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Zac Rinaldo is entering his first season as a Bruin. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Zac Rinaldo is entering his first season as a Bruin. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

There was no surprise more pleasant in Sunday night’€™s preseason opener than Zac Rinaldo drawing a pair of penalties, neither of which came after the whistle and both of which led to Matt Irwin goals.

Speaking to Rinaldo about it Tuesday, he wasn’€™t very surprised. The oft-suspended fourth-liner said that he feels he can draw penalties during the course of play rather than after the whistle.

“With me, the way I piss people off is the way I play. I play hard, I play physical. Me doing that alone, I don’€™t even got to talk and guys hate me,” Rinaldo said. “I can hit everyone and just play hard and be physical on the puck. Guys don’€™t like that and they’€™ll get frustrated and take it out on me.

“My speed, too. My speed down low. They can’€™t handle me down low sometimes and they have to hold me up. You saw it in the preseason game. They [took] two penalties on me just because of my speed alone. I didn’€™t even get a couple hits to piss [them] off.”

Rinaldo said he intentionally stayed out of scrums Sunday against the Devils. Asked if he likes going into scrums with the objective of getting the opponent to take a penalty, Rinaldo was borderline offended.

“I’€™m not going to fake a fall-down or do something just to antagonize a guy, to draw a penalty,” he said. “That’€™s not me. I don’€™t fake the game like that.

Added Rinaldo: “I don’€™t fake. I’€™m a straight-up guy on the ice. I’€™m not going to fake an injury or pretend I’€™m hurt just to draw a penalty. I’€™m not like that and I hate guys who do that.”

Read More: Zac Rinaldo,

Slide to the left: Chris Kelly ready for another season of mixing and matching

09.22.15 at 1:25 pm ET
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When Chris Kelly was given the chance to become an NHL regular back in 2005, he told a fib.

“I didn’€™t play center until I got to the NHL,” the veteran forward said. “They ask, ‘€˜Can you play center?’€™ and you say, ‘€˜Absolutely.’€™”

Kelly, who was drafted as a left wing, was moved to center because he was on a line of three wingers: himself, Brian McGrattan and Vaclav Varada.

Ten years later, Kelly’€™s situation has been reversed: He’€™s a longtime center who has spent ample time at wing on a line full of pivots. Entering this season, he figures to find himself on a line with at least one other center again. Where he plays, however, is up in the air.

Kelly says he has never played a traditional left wing in the NHL. When he was moved back to left wing in Ottawa, he was playing with a very similar player in Antoine Vermette. The two shared center responsibilities, something that came in handy when Kelly was given a similar task with Carl Soderberg. Though Soderberg was the de facto center on his line with Kelly and Loui Eriksson, Kelly often helped out with draws and took on the center’€™s responsibilities in the defensive zone.

Prior to playing with Soderberg in Boston, Kelly was teamed with yet another center in Rich Peverley. That gave Claude Julien a left-shot center and a right-shot center on one line.

So far in training camp, Kelly has gotten reps at both left wing and center. If the B’€™s use him as a left wing, he could be an option for Ryan Spooner’€™s line, which would allow him to aid Spooner the way he did with Soderberg. So far, however, Spooner has played exclusively with Jimmy Hayes on the left and Brett Connolly on the right. It’s the one line that has gone unchanged thus far in training camp.

Kelly could also center the fourth line, something he did down the stretch last season. Such a scenario could see another center moved to wing in Max Talbot.  Julien enjoys playing Kelly with other centers and Kelly likes skating with other pivots, whether it’€™s helping them with defensive responsibilities or giving his line another option on faceoffs.

“It’€™s a lot easier to go from center to wing than from wing to center,” Kelly said. “It’€™s a different game and I think, at the end of the day, if things can be made easier for everyone, that’€™s what you want to do. The less working you have to do out there and thinking and just reacting, I think it makes everyone that much better.”

Because Kelly’€™s $3 million cap hit is high for a forward who doesn’€™t score many goals (he had seven in 80 games last season), he’€™s an easy target for casual hockey observers. Even if he winds up being a fourth-liner this season, Julien knows what he’€™s getting no matter where Kelly lines up.

“Yes, he’€™s not that top-line player that scores goals and everything, but [for] a team to succeed, [it] needs a little bit of everything,” Julien said. “He’€™s certainly got some versatility, where he can play either position.”

With Kelly set to turn 35 in November, he’s seen plenty in his time in the NHL. As far as mixing and matching positions goes, this coming season could be more of the same.

Read More: Chris Kelly,

Matt Beleskey, David Krejci among Bruins to make preseason debut Tuesday

09.22.15 at 11:36 am ET
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Folks will get their first look at a potential line of David Krejci between Matt Beleskey and David Pastrnak when the Bruins host the Capitals in a preseason game at TD Garden Tuesday night. Based on Tuesday’s first practice, Zane McIntyre is expected to get the start.

Alexander Khokhlachev and Brandon DeFazio are the only players in Tuesday’s lineup that played in Sunday’s preseason opener. The lineup for Tuesday is as follows:





Some other observations from Tuesday:

– Loui Eriksson practiced as the right wing on Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand‘s line. Eriksson has been moved around Boston’s lineup a bit in camp, playing mostly with either David Krejci or Bergeron. He skated with Bergeron and Marchand on Saturday.

Dennis Seidenberg did not practice Tuesday. He remains out with an upper-body injury.

Read More: David Krejci, Matt Beleskey,

Uphill climb continues for Bruins’ Seth Griffith

09.21.15 at 10:56 pm ET
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Seth Griffith had an easier road to the Bruins last season. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Seth Griffith had an easier road to the Bruins last season. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Seth Griffith received bad news when he learned that the knee injury he suffered in Sunday’€™s preseason opener is an MCL sprain that will end his training camp. Of course, he’€™s been getting bad news for months now.

Last training camp, the second-year pro was skating with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Though Griffith was on the Bergeron line because the Bruins were waiting for Reilly Smith to settle for the contract Boston was offering, he was on his way to becoming David Krejci‘€™s right wing. Because Jarome Iginla was gone and David Pastrnak wasn’t ready, Griffith was Boston’s best option.

Fast forward a year, and though the 22-year-old Griffith came to camp older and more experienced than he was a season ago, his chances of making the NHL club were slim even before his injury. Why? Because dating back to the Brett Connolly trade in March, the B’€™s have positioned themselves to have plenty of right wings. It’€™s not a good time to be a fringe guy.

With Pastrnak now an NHL regular, Connolly healthy, Jimmy Hayes in for Reilly Smith, Loui Eriksson coming off his best year as a Bruin, Brian Ferlin continuing to push and both Max Talbot and Zac Rinaldo capable of playing wing, the Bruins are more than set on the right side. In fact, guys like Hayes or Eriksson may end up playing left wing just because the B’€™s have so many right wings.

Given Boston’€™s plethora of right wings, Griffith, a former 45-goal-scorer in the OHL, was likely headed to Providence to begin the season. Though he played 30 games for Boston last season (6 G, 4 A), the majority of his time last season was spent in Providence, where he served as Alexander Khokhlachev’€™s right wing.

Griffith was a first-line player in the AHL last season who totaled 31 points (12 G, 19 A) in 39 games, but his game appeared to drop off down the stretch. He scored just three goals over 24 games to finish the regular season in Providence. He’€™d add two goals in the playoffs to end the season on something of a high note.

“€œI want to go out there and I want to score almost every shift, or at least get a good chance. When I’€™m not getting those chances it’€™s a little bit frustrating for me,”€ he said prior to his injury. “[Providence coach Bruce Cassidy] helped me a lot through that and eventually I found my game. It was better late than never. I don’€™t want that to happen again, but I think it was just a learning point for me.”

If Griffith makes it back to Boston, it might not be in the role he had last season. Griffith was underwhelming in the NHL when he wasn’€™t with Krejci; he’€™ll need to prove to the Bruins that he could play in the bottom six and work his way up if he wants to eventually carve out a job in Boston.

“€œIt’€™s going to be a little tougher, but I think if you want to play any line on the Bruins, you’€™ve got to have that gritty side of your game there,” he said. “€œI don’€™t [have] to change a whole lot; it’€™s just a matter of getting pucks deep and not trying to be fancy all the time. I think it’€™s just [being] more of a straight-line guy than fancy.”

Griffith’€™s bid to impress the B’€™s will be on hold for now. He was a longshot to make the Bruins out of camp anyway, but he’€™s shown enough promise at points that perhaps the young wing could someday overcome the logjam that is the Bruins’€™ group of right wings.

Read More: Seth Griffith,

Seth Griffith out 3-4 weeks with sprained MCL

09.21.15 at 1:32 pm ET
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Seth Griffith

Seth Griffith

The Bruins announced Monday that right wing Seth Griffith will miss three to four weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee.

Griffith suffered the injury in Sunday night’s preseason game against the Devils. The 22-year-old faced an uphill climb to make Boston’s roster out of training camp, a scenario now eliminated by the injury.

In 30 games for the Bruins last season, Griffith scored six goals and added four goals for 10 points. He had 31 points (12 goals, 19 assists) in 39 games for Providence.

Griffith is the second player to be hampered by an injury this fall. Dennis Seidenberg has yet to take the ice during training camp due to an upper-body injury.

Read More: Dennis Seidenberg, Seth Griffith,

Matt Irwin scores twice as Bruins beat Devils in preseason opener

09.20.15 at 9:52 pm ET
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The Bruins opened their preseason schedule with some of their newcomers helping them to a 2-0 win over the Devils Sunday night in Providence.

Zac Rinaldo, acquired from the Flyers in the offseason, drew a pair of penalties on the night, with both leading to power-play goals from free agent signing Matt Irwin. The former Sharks defenseman, who took a one-year, $800,000 contract in the offseason, figures to be one of Boston’€™s defensemen this season regardless of whether the Bruins carry seven or eight on the back end. Both of Irwin’s goals were assisted by Colin Miller, whom the B’s received in the Milan Lucic trade.

Among the potential members of this season’€™s NHL club to lace up for the Bruins Sunday night were Ryan Spooner, Jimmy Hayes, Brett Connolly, Joonas Kemppainen, Alexander Khokhlachev, Seth Griffith, Rinaldo, Irwin and Colin Miller. Spooner centered Hayes and Connolly, as he has done thus far in training camp practices. First-round picks Jakub Zboril and Jake DeBrusk were also in Boston’€™s lineup.

Griffith left the game with a lower-body injury and did not return.

Jonas Gustavsson, who is in camp with the Bruins on a professional tryout, got the start for the Bruins and stopped all 18 shots he faced. Jeremy Smith, who split time with Malcolm Subban in Providence last season, took over for Gustavsson in the second period and completed the shutout.

The Bruins will continue to practice throughout the week, with preseason games Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

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