|5 things we learned: Tuukka Rask holds down fort until Bruins blow out Penguins in final 10 minutes||02.24.16 at 10:08 pm ET|
The Bruins had to fight tooth-and-nail to hold onto a one-goal lead, but they forced the floodgates open late and ran away with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Penguins on Wednesday night.
With only a pair of David Pastrnak goals through the first 50 minutes of regulation and the Penguins forcing Tuukka Rask to keep Boston in it, the Bruins scored three times in the final 10 minutes, including Landon Ferraro’s first point in 26 games and Brad Marchand‘s 31st of the season, to put the game out of reach.
Rask stopped 41 of the 42 shots he saw, while the Bruins managed to put up five goals despite not having a power play on the night.
The Bruins have now swept the season series against the Penguins, winning all three contests.
David Pastrnak was buzzing in the early going of Wednesday’s contest and he finally cashed in thanks to a beauty of a pass from linemate David Krejci. The veteran center lobbed a pass up the middle of the ice to spring Pastrnak on a breakaway on which he was hooked by Derrick Pouliot to earn a penalty shot.
Pastrnak scored, becoming the youngest Bruins player to cash in on a penalty shot at age 19.
Pastrnak beats Fleury on the penalty shot pic.twitter.com/k0EfT8bKnz
‘ Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 25, 2016
Minutes before his penalty shot goal, Pastrnak nearly scored when he picked a pass off from Marc-Andre Fleury and threw quick attempts at the net, but of which were stopped by the Pittsburgh netminder.
|Tuukka Rask the only change to Bruins’ anticipated lineup vs. Penguins||02.24.16 at 12:03 pm ET|
With the exception of Tuukka Rask taking the net, Wednesday’s morning skate suggested the Bruins will use the same lineup Wednesday night against the Penguins that they used in Monday’s loss to the Blue Jackets.
That would mean that Max Talbot would be scratched for a second straight game and would be joined by Tyler Randell and Zach Trotman in the press box.
The Bruins have beaten the Penguins in both meetings between the teams this season, with Boston sweeping a home-and-home with 3-0 and 6-2 wins on Dec. 16 and 18, respectively. The B’s and Penguins enter Wednesday’s action in wild card spots, though the B’s are projected to finish in third in the Atlantic Division based on points per game.
Based on the skate, the Bruins will use the following lineup Wednesday:
|5 things we learned: Brad Marchand tossed in frustrating loss to Blue Jackets||02.22.16 at 9:47 pm ET|
After two weeks on the road, the Bruins found TD Garden to be just as they left it: a place where they lose a lot of hockey games.
The B’s tried mounting a comeback after entering the second period facing a two-goal deficit, but after coming within one surrendered a Brandon Saad goal with under six minutes remaining to put the game out of reach. Though Loui Eriksson scored his second of the night to once again bring the B’s within one, an empty-net goal sealed the win for Columbus. The loss dropped the Bruins to 12-15-3 at home this season.
To cap the disappointing night, Brad Marchand was oven a 10-minute game misconduct for shooting the puck at the boards after the whistle with under five minutes to play. Marchand was livid with the call, as he tried to come back out from the tunnel after leaving the ice. Tuukka Rask held him back, at which point Marchand took a stick to the stick rack.
It also wasn’t the prettiest night for Jonas Gustavsson, who allowed five goals after entering the contest with an .894 save percentage over his previous four games.
Here are four more things we learned Monday:
ERIKSSON ON PACE FOR 30
If these are Eriksson’s final days in a Bruins uniform, he sure is making them count. Eriksson now has eight goals in his last nine games, bringing his season total to 23 and putting him on pace for his first 30-goal season since 2008-09, when he had 36 goals for Dallas. Eriksson is currently on pace for 31.
For the second straight game, the Bruins had to sit through a video review to determine whether Eriksson’s goal would stand. Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella challenged Eriksson’s first goal, which saw a Torey Krug shot go off Eriksson and past Columbus goaltender Joonas Korpisalo. Tortorella’s contention was that Eriksson interfered with Korpisalo, but the call on the ice of a goal was upheld.
|Brad Marchand on Loui Eriksson uncertainty: ‘We all want to contend’||02.22.16 at 1:25 pm ET|
Like a lot of current Bruins, Brad Marchand has never seen his team trade a key player at the trade deadline. It’s no secret that such could be the case this season as the Bruins weigh their options with Loui Eriksson leading up to next Monday’s trade deadline.
If the Bruins are to trade Eriksson, their best winger not named Marchand but one whose contract expires at the end of the season, they will be selling a key piece despite being in playoff position. As David Krejci said earlier this month, Bruins players don’t want to spend the stretch run — which features 23 games, 15 of which are against opponents currently in playoff position — playing meaningless games as a team that moved players and fell out of it.
Speaking Monday, Marchand avoided the subject of the Eriksson situation as much as possible, but said that he was encouraged enough by the team’s recently concluded 4-2-0 road trip that the team shouldn’t feel forced to sell.
“Right now, with the way the standings are, everybody’s very close. If we continue to play good hockey and come together and play well, then we have the opportunity to stay in a playoff spot. We all want to contend,” Marchand said. “We all believe in our team in here, but obviously whatever the management does, that’s their job. We’re not going to worry about that. We’re just going to come prepared to play every night.”
Eriksson is third on the Bruins with 21 goals this season. This is his sixth 20-goal season and second consecutive season reaching that mark with the Bruins. He is one of Claude Julien‘s most trusted players and the Bruins would go from having a chance at making noise against non-Washington teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs to a potential fringe-playoff team if they traded him for futures.
Of course, Eriksson is also in the final year of a contract that carries a cap hit of $4.25 million. He’s due a big raise from that number, with it still unknown whether the Bruins will be the team to give it to him. If Eriksson agrees soon, the team obviously won’t lose one of its best players down the stretch, which would help this season’s odds.
“That’s not up to us,” Marchand said. “Obviously Loui’s a big part of the team and he’s been playing very well lately. Every night he helps our team and that’s what we need him to do.”
|Brad Marchand on Sidney Crosby hit: ‘That hit cost me a lot of money’||02.22.16 at 12:16 pm ET|
Low-bridge hits are dangerous, as Brad Marchand knows. Boston’s star left-winger has twice been suspended — once for five games in 2012 and then this season for three games — for such plays, which involving ducking under a player and lifting up, thus leaving how they fall and where they land up to fate.
On Sunday, Sidney Crosby committed such a hit on Sabres forward Nicolas Deslauriers. He was not given any supplemental discipline.
Asked Monday if he saw the hit, Marchand grinned and didn’t say anything. Asked if it reminded him of anything, Marchand replied, “That cost me a lot of money, that hit.”
(How much money? Between the salary forfeited to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund for the hit on Sami Salo ($152,439.02) and the hit on Mark Borowiecki ($164,634.15), Marchand has lost $317,073.17 over such clipping infractions.)
|Torey Krug, Ryan Spooner set to play vs. Blue Jackets||02.22.16 at 11:59 am ET|
The Bruins appear to be back to full health for Monday’s game against the Blue Jackets, as both Torey Krug and Ryan Spooner participated in the team’s morning skate in their usual spots.
Krug, who left Saturday’s win against the Stars with an apparent right arm injury on a hit from Jason Demers, skated with Adam McQuaid Monday morning, with Claude Julien saying after the skate that the player was “fine.” Krug said that he didn’t see the hit coming, but that it might have looked worse than it actually was.
An offensive defenseman who has just three goals this season and has gone 33 straight games without a goal, Krug joked that perhaps the hit might have given him more offensive touch, a la kid pitcher Henry Rowengartner in the movie “Rookie of the Year.”
“Hopefully they’ll go in now,” Krug said with a grin.
Spooner sat out a game for the first time this season when he missed Saturday’s contest due to illness. Julien said that to his knowledge Spooner was able to play. The lineup looked as follows in morning skate:
|What does Monday’s Maple Leafs-Sharks trade mean for Bruins with Loui Eriksson?||02.22.16 at 10:21 am ET|
It’s been tough to determine whether the Bruins should trade Loui Eriksson if they can’t sign him. While one would naturally think the inclination should be to get something for the asset, concern about potential lowered prices for rental players left some debate as to whether it would be worth it to punt on a playoff run for minimal return.
The trade market will take shape leading up to next Monday’s trade deadline, which should help to answer those questions. After Sunday’s trade of Shawn Matthias to the Avalanche for a fourth-round pick and Colin Smith, a slightly bigger domino fell on Monday, when the Sharks traded two second-round picks and Raffi Torres to the Leafs for defenseman Roman Polak and center Nick Spaling.
Now, the second-rounders aren’t in this year’s draft (they’re in 2017 and 2018), but Polak is best-served as a third-pairing defenseman and Spaling is a fourth-liner. Two second-rounders for those two is a pretty good haul, meaning the Bruins should be able to get a lot more than that if they were to move Eriksson. Not that they should ever be compared — and Polak is the prize of the deal — but just look at how much worse Spaling is than Eriksson, per OwnThePuck.com.
If Toronto got two seconds for Polak and Spaling, the Bruins should be able to get at least a first and a future second for Eriksson. Of course, the possibility still exists that the Bruins could use their own picks (they have San Jose’s first in addition to their own) to move Eriksson for a good NHL player.
It all depends on what a trade of Eriksson would fetch, but the best-case scenario with the player might still be to sign him. At the very least, Monday’s trade between the Leafs and Sharks — the latter of whom probably won’t see the pick they gave to Boston get too much worse as a result of this trade — should quell concerns that the B’s wouldn’t get much if they were to move the versatile wing.