|5 things we learned as Ryan Spooner leads Bruins past Sabres to end road trip||01.15.16 at 9:40 pm ET|
Ryan Spooner factored into the Bruins’ first three goals Friday night to both continue his own personal hot streak and stop what was a three-game losing streak for the B’s.
The red-hot Spooner had a goal and a pair of assists as the Bruins picked up a much-needed 4-1 win over the Sabres in Buffalo to end a 2-2-1 road trip. With his three-point night, Spooner now has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) over his last eight games.
Spooner, who has played very well in David Krejci‘s place, is now at 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists) through 43 games, which is as many points as Krejci had in 35 games before going down with an upper-body injury.
Friday’s win was different from recent games, as the B’s took leads into the third period of games against the Rangers and Flyers before giving up multiple third-period goals en route to regulation losses. Instead, the Bruins broke a 1-1 tie in the third on Friday with a Zdeno Chara goal and followed it with a Spooner tally and a Brett Connolly empty-netter. Matt Beleskey scored Boston’s first goal and had the secondary assist and screen on Chara’s goal.
Jonas Gustavsson made 33 saves on 34 shots.
The Bruins will return home to face the Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday.
Here are four more things we learned Friday:
Max Talbot, Landon Ferraro and Zdeno Chara all took minor penalties in a span of 4:42 in the second period, leaving the Bruins to kill three penalties ‘ each of which was without a penalty killer given that all three of those guys serve on the PK ‘ in succession.
Thanks to what’s been a very strong penalty kill of late, the Bruins managed to keep the Sabres from breaking the tie with all of the time afforded to them on the man advantage. In killing off their three penalties and a late-third period minor, the Bruins have killed off 77 of their opponents’ last 82 power plays.
PASTRNAK STAYS OUT, CONNOLLY BACK TO BERGERON LINE
David Pastrnak missed his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury. Jimmy Hayes, who had played on Patrice Bergeron‘s line in Pastrnak’s place on Wednesday, went back down to the third line while Brett Connolly moved to his familiar spot to Bergeron’s right.
The lineup Friday was as follows:
CONNOLLY STREAK MERCIFULLY ENDS WITH EMPTY-NETTER
Connolly’s streak without a goal would not his 20 games, as he picked up an empty-netter for his sixth goal of the season.
COLIN HAS A QUIET SECOND
Part of it had to do with the Bruins killing a lot of penalties in the frame, but Colin Miller had just three shifts in the second period.
While it’s unclear why Miller was used so sparingly, a first-period flub could have factored into it. Late in the first period, Colin Miller turned the puck over behind the Bruins’ net to David Legwand, who scored on a wraparound for the game’s first goal.
Miller was on the Bruins’ top power play unit (where he’s played since David Krejci went down) for a Cody Franson penalty late in the first period, but he was nowhere to be seen during a second-period power play that came on a Mike Weber hooking penalty.
Miller played five shifts in the third period and finished the game with 12:18 of ice time.
|5 things we learned as David Pastrnak-less Bruins blow another lead||01.13.16 at 10:37 pm ET|
There are plenty of reputations a team can have. No one wants to be known as the team that blows third-period leads without even mustering a point, but the Bruins are building a case.
In surrendering a one-goal lead and suffering a 3-2 loss to the Flyers Wednesday night in Philadelphia, the B’s took no points out of a game they led after two periods for the second straight game. It was the Bruins’ fourth such regulation loss this season, which leads the league despite the fact that the B’s had played fewer games than most NHL teams entering Wednesday’s action.
After suffering a similar fate in Monday’s 2-1 loss to the Ranger, the Bruins held a 2-1 lead over the Flyers entering the third period Wednesday, but goals from Wayne Simmonds and Mark Streit gave Philadelphia a lead just over midway through the third. As was the case against the Rangers, the B’s could not tie the game with Tuukka Rask off the ice for an extra attacker.
The Bruins are now 14-4-1 when leading after two. They had only one such regulation loss last season.
Wednesday’s loss dropped the Bruins to 1-2-1 on their current road trip. The five-game trip will conclude Friday in Buffalo.
Here are four more things we learned Wednesday:
PASTRNAK HURT, VATRANO RETURNS
David Pastrnak was a surprise absence from Wednesday’s game, with the Bruins announcing after warmups that Pastrnak was day-to-day with an upper-body injury. His absence allowed Frank Vatrano to re-enter the lineup after being a healthy scratch Monday.
Pastrnak has played just three games since returning to the lineup this month. It was a foot injury that had kept him out previously, but it’s also worth noting that he played through a finger injury at World Juniors recently.
With Pastrnak out and Vatrano back, the most notable change to the Bruins’ lines was Jimmy Hayes’ promotion to Boston’s first line. The lineup looked as such:
THE OTHER MILLER SCORES
The Bruins have two right-shot defensemen named Miller. One is known for offense and the other is Kevan Miller. After Wednesday, they both have the same number of goals on the season.
Kevan Miller’s third goal of the season was a biggie, as it got the Bruins on the board and tied the game at a goal apiece in the second period. With Boston’s fourth line and third pairing on the ice, Max Talbot got to a puck that Steve Mason had sent up the boards. Seeing Miller on the other side of the ice, Talbot sent the puck to the right circle, where Miller fired a wrister past Mason to make it a 1-1 game.
Miller came an assist away from a Gordie Howe hat trick, as he fought Brayden Schenn after the Philadelphia forward crushed Torey Krug with a clean hit early in the first period.
SPOONFUL OF APPLES
Ryan Spooner fired a shot during a second-period power play that produced a rebound that was easily put back in by Loui Eriksson. The play gave Spooner his seventh assist in his last seven games.
With his recent hot streak (one goal, seven assists over the last seven), Spooner continues to push for what would be a pretty surprising 60-point season. With nine goals and 21 assists and having played in all 42 of the Bruins’ games to this point, Spooner’s currently on pace for 59 points.
OFFENSE STILL QUIET
Though the Bruins scored multiple goals Wednesday (which has been a challenge for them), they’re still not producing at nearly the pace they did earlier in the season. The B’s have a total of four goals over their last three games (0-2-1) and they’ve averaged just 1.83 goals over their last six games (1-4-1).
Needless to say, the Bruins need David Krejci back and for Brett Connolly (19 games without a goal) to get going. Having Pastrnak out for any stretch doesn’t help either.
|5 things we learned as Bruins blow lead, lose to Rangers||01.11.16 at 9:36 pm ET|
The road used to be where the Bruins recouped the points they struggled to get at home. Recently it’s become just another place of frustration for them.
With a 2-1 loss to the Rangers Monday at Madison Square Garden that came as a result of a blown lead in the third period, the Bruins dropped their seventh game in their last nine (2-6-1) and fell to 1-1-1 on their current road trip. It also marked the sixth time in the Bruins’ last 10 games that they have failed to score multiple goals.
The B’s took a 1-0 lead into the third period before Derrick Brassard brought the Rangers even 35 seconds into the final frame. Jesper Fast redirected a Keith Yandle shot past Tuukka Rask with 1:42 remaining to give the Rangers a lead that they would keep despite a furious pushback from the B’s until the end of regulation.
The Bruins have two games left on their current five-game road trip. They’ll face the Flyers on Wednesday and the Sabres Friday.
Here are four more things we learned Monday:
CONNOLLY TO THE LEFT
Brett Connolly re-entered the lineup after serving as a healthy scratch. His return to the lineup came with a wrinkle, however, as the 23-year-old right wing was slotted in as the left wing on Boston’s third line, replacing the scratched Frank Vatrano.
Playing with Joonas Kemppainen and Jimmy Hayes, Connolly saw his goal-less streak hit 18 games. He now has just one goal over his last 30 games.
The slump didn’t continue for lack of trying. Connolly had a beauty of a scoring chance from the left circle in the second period but rang iron.
|5 things we learned as Bruins fall to Senators in overtime||01.09.16 at 10:03 pm ET|
The Bruins dropped a close game in Ottawa Saturday, falling to the Senators by a 2-1 score at Canadian Tire Center to allow Ottawa to gain ground in the Atlantic Division.
David Pastrnak scored the only for the Bruins, who dropped to 2-5-1 in their last eight games.
Loui Eriksson had two Grade-A chances in overtime but was unable to bury them. The first came when Ryan Spooner forced a turnover in the defensive zone that led to a breakaway for Eriksson. Craig Anderson came up big, however, stopping Eriksson’s bid. Later in overtime, Eriksson hit the post on a 2-on-1 with Spooner.
After Eriksson hit the post, the play went the other way, leading to a Mark Stone wraparound bid that Tuukka Rask robbed with a stick save. Given the space allowed by the 3-on-3 overtime format, Stone was able to bury the rebound to secure the win.
By getting a point, the Bruins were able to stay ahead of the Senators in the Atlantic, but the B’s still sit fourth in the division with 47 points on the season. Boston does have games in hand on the top three teams in the division, however.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
Brad Marchand made his return from a three-game suspension that had kept him out of game action for 10 days.
The 27-year-old was well-behaved against the Senators (it was against Ottawa that Marchand hit Mark Borowiecki to earn the suspension) as he slotted into his usual spot to the left of Patrice Bergeron. In addition to putting in the grunt work on the Bruins’ only regulation goal, he turned on the jets in overtime to beat Patrick Wiercioch to create a scoring chance in overtime.
With David Krejci out, Marchand had worn the Bruins’ second ‘A’ on his sweater in the game that earned him his suspension. Upon returning to the lineup, that ‘A’ was still being worn by Eriksson.
|5 things we learned as Bruins open road trip with win over Devils||01.08.16 at 9:29 pm ET|
The Bruins began their five-game road trip with a 4-1 win over the Devils Friday night at the Prudential Center.
The B’s got multi-point nights from three players and Jonas Gustavsson stopped 19 of the 20 shots he saw on the night for the Bruins’ second win in their last seven games. The Bruins also killed off all three of New Jersey’s power plays.
Friday saw the return of David Pastrnak, who played in just his 11th game of the season after going down with a foot injury in late October. Pastrnak skated on the Bruins’ first line with Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson. The 19-year-old finished the game with no points and one shot on goal.
The Bruins will continue their road trip Saturday when they face the Senators in Ottawa. Here are four more things we learned Friday:
SPOONER ON A PRETTY PACE
Ryan Spooner scored eight goals in 24 games after his late-February callup last season, a key reason why both he and the Bruins were eager to reunite on a two-year deal this summer. On Friday, he surpassed that goal total amidst what’s been a promising offensive stretch for him.
Spooner scored from the top of the zone in the second period Friday to give him nine goals on the season. Jimmy Hayes also got to nine goals with a power-play tally late in the second period.
With a goal and an assist, Spooner extended his points streak to four games (one goal, five assists). Now at 28 points through 39 games, Spooner is on pace for 59 points this season. As Twitter follower ETD51 pointed out, that total would have led the Bruins last season.
VATRANO GETS BACK TO SCORING
Frank Vatrano had registered points in just three of his first 24 games. He’s now at four in 25.
Vatrano picked up his sixth goal of the season Friday by putting a rebound of a Colin Miller shot past Cory Schneider 2:02 into the first period. Speaking of Colin Miller…
POINTS COME BACK FOR MILLER
Colin Miller scored his first goal since late November and picked up his second multi-point performance of the season. His partner, Dennis Seidenberg, had a pair of assists.
Adam McQuaid’s absence should lead to a bit more lineup consistency on the back end, as the Bruins usually have eight defensemen when everyone is healthy, resulting in guys going in and out. Miller has been deserving of a full-time job, and he should be able to have that if he keeps producing.
MARCHAND’S SUSPENSION UP
Friday marked the third and final game of Brad Marchand‘s three-game suspension. He is eligible to return to the lineup Saturday against the same Senators team against whom he committed his infraction late last month.
Because Marchand was still on the Bruins’ roster during his suspension, the Bruins will not need to send anybody down for him to return to the lineup.
Marchand’s return to the lineup could bump David Pastrnak to Joonas Kemppainen’s line and Brett Connolly down to the fourth line. Connolly has gone 17 games without a goal.
|Denna Laing, player injured at Outdoor Women’s Classic, remains in hospital, has no use of legs||01.08.16 at 6:26 pm ET|
The family of Boston Pride forward Denna Laing, who suffered a serious spinal cord injury at the Outdoor Women’s Classic at Gillette Stadium last Thursday, has issued a statement on the status of the player.
Jerilyn and Dennis Laing revealed that the 24-year-old Marblehead native and Princeton product has limited use of her arms and no use of her legs.
“Denna was thrilled to be taking part in the inaugural season of the National Women’s Hockey League and was absolutely delighted to be one of the pioneers in a breakthrough moment for her sport — the Outdoor Women’s Classic. Tragically, Denna suffered a severe spinal cord injury playing the sport she loves,” Jerilyn and Dennis Laing said in a statement. “As of today, Denna has limited movement of her arms and no feeling in her legs. Our prayer going forward is that Denna can be moved from the Intensive Care Unit to a Rehabilitation Center and continue to fight everyday with her trademark grit and resolve.
“With respect to her long term prognosis, right now there are more questions than answers. We have received an incredible outpouring of love and support from countless friends and family members while we try to navigate this overwhelming situation. We are eternally grateful to everyone who continues to offer support as we take on this challenge together.”
The NHL also weighed in on the status of Laing as a number of statements were released simultaneously on Friday evening.
“Everyone at the National Hockey League, including the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, joins Denna Laing’s coaches, teammates, friends and fans in wishing Denna the very best as she confronts the challenges ahead,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “While we are certain Denna will be served well by the tenaciousness that is her trademark, we also will work with the Laing family to rally the support of the hockey family during Denna’s rehabilitation.
“We have withheld comment to this point out of respect for the wishes of the Laing family and will continue to honor those wishes going forward.”
Following are other statements on Laing that were released Friday:
NHL Commissioner Dani Rylan:
“The players, teams, coaches, management and staff of the National Women’s Hockey League are united in their support of Denna Laing and her family. To reflect our admiration for her as a player and our appreciation for her contribution to the NWHL’s first season, we are working with the Laings, our business partners and others to respond compassionately and appropriately to her injury. We will announce further details as soon as plans are formalized. Denna’s drive to excel has inspired teammates and coaches alike; in honor of that attribute, I have directed our teams to wear a helmet sticker bearing her uniform number, 24.’
“On behalf of the Jacobs family I would like to extend the full support of the Boston Bruins to Denna and the Laing family. The New England hockey community is an incredibly strong group, and we know the assistance that will be provided to Denna and her family will be unwavering both in the immediate future and throughout the various stages of treatment.”
The Kraft family:
“The Kraft family and entire Gillette Stadium community were deeply saddened to learn of the extent of Denna Laing’s injuries. Our prayers remain with Denna and her family in the hope that she will soon be able to transition to a rehabilitation center that will enable her to continue to improve. We will keep Denna and her family in our prayers throughout her rehabilitation process.”
|Eriksson-Bergeron-Pastrnak an intriguing option for Bruins||01.07.16 at 11:29 pm ET|
It looks like the Bruins are going to use David Pastrnak the right way.
After recalling the 19-year-old scorer from Providence, the Bruins skated Pastrnak on the right wing of Patrice Bergeron‘s line in Thursday’s practice. Loui Eriksson was at left wing, as Brad Marchand will serve the final game of his three-game suspension Friday night.
The line is extremely intriguing. Playing Pastrnak on Bergeron’s line has always seemed to make sense (see: Tyler Seguin‘s 29-goal 2011-12 season), but “the Bergeron line” usually means “the Bergeron and Marchand line.” Bergeron and Marchand have pretty much been a package deal since midway through the 2010-11 season, and for good reason. They’re among the best duos in the NHL.
Yet having Eriksson at left wing could have an interesting impact on Pastrnak. Both Eriksson and Marchand are scorers — they have 15 and 14 goals, respectively — but Marchand is more of an electric player with the puck on his stick than Eriksson. Bergeron, a very good scorer in his own right with 15 goals, can pretty much just dish to Marchand, count to three and be part of a scoring chance.
Eriksson does a lot of things, but he isn’t the skater or offensively ambitious player that Marchand is. With the exception of the 2011-12 season, when Seguin scored 29 goals, Marchand has always scored more goals than his line’s right wing.
Having Eriksson on the line could open up the door for the Bergeron line’s right wing to be more of a scorer.
“Brad creates a lot by having the puck and by me trying to send him with his speed,” Bergeron said. “I think Loui’s more territorial and possession and kind of slowing the play down a little bit more. They’re different in their own rights.
“Me being a righty, my tendency is to go to my left side a little bit more, so maybe my righties are not as happy with me, but we’re trying to use both sides. Brad’s got the puck a little bit more than Loui would. Loui likes to kind of send it and chip it and dump it a little bit more.”
Speaking after Thursday’s practice, Pastrnak seemed thrilled by the idea of playing with Bergeron. After not playing since Oct. 31 due to a foot injury and a lengthy rehab tour that took him to Finland for the World Junior Championships, he was probably just relieved to be back with the B’s.
Skating with both Eriksson and Bergeron will be a new experience for the young forward, but based on what Bergeron would want in a right wing on a line with Eriksson, Pastrnak sounds like a good fit.
“I think the righty needs to go a little bit more and use his speed more and try to [have] us find him,” Bergeron said.
Brett Connolly, who has spent a lot of time on the right wing of Bergeron’s line this season, has had both Marchand and Eriksson as his left wing.
“Obviously Marchy’s more gritty, in your face,” Connolly said. “Loui’s more [about] using his hockey sense to make some plays. He seems to always be in the right areas. Two good players. Two smart players.”
If Eriksson’s presence allows for more facilitating, Pastrnak could be beneficiary for at least a game. One would think Marchand and Bergeron would be reunited once Marchand’s suspension is up, but for now Claude Julien has an interesting line at his disposal.