|David Krejci misses Game 1, labeled day-to-day by Bruins interim coach Bruce Cassidy||04.13.17 at 6:04 am ET|
Two maintenance days did not heal whatever is nagging Bruins center David Krejci, as the veteran Czech was a late scratch from the B’s Game 1 victory over the Senators because of an upper-body injury.
On the ice for the morning skate and then the pregame warmup at Canadian Tire Center, Krejci departed back down the tunnel before the warmup was over, and by the time the teams hit the ice for puck drop, Krejci’s name was added to the list of scratches.
Replaced by Sean Kuraly, who played just 7:28 in the win, Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy offered a brief update on Krejci’s situation that night and heading into this weekend’s Game 2.
“I’m an optimist, and that didn’t work out,” Cassidy, who all along said that he expected Krejci to play, admitted following Wednesday’s win. “He’s continuing to nurse an upper body injury, so tomorrow he’ll be off, the whole group will be off, and hopefully he can get out there and test it out and go from there.”
With Krejci out of action, the Bruins loaded up their first line when they reunited David Pastrnak with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand (a move that ultimately paid off), and then by all means shuffled the rest of their lines to hell, with Riley Nash and Ryan Spooner splitting second line center duties at various points throughout the night.
“We miss him,” confirmed Cassidy.
“He’s a great playoff performer,” he continued, “But you’ve got to soldier on, and hopefully he’s able to soldier on, on Saturday.”
Krejci, who played in all 82 games this season, finished this season third among Bruins skaters in goals (23) and points (54). He also has 77 points in 93 playoff games since the start of the 2008 postseason, which ranks as the 8th-best point-per-game pace among NHLers with at least 90 games of playoff experience over that span.
The Bruins return to the ice for Game 2 on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.
|Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy plays big role, bigger minutes in NHL debut||04.13.17 at 5:42 am ET|
It was at last year’s development camp that Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo said that Charlie McAvoy was a defenseman that could be trusted for a solid 25 minutes every night.
But I don’t think Pandolfo expected the Bruins to be that team less than a year after they drafted McAvoy with the 14th overall pick. The wide-eyed rookie delivered under tough circumstances in his NHL debut, though, with an efficient 24:11 night and a plus-1 rating in the B’s 2-1 Game 1 win.
“I thought he was terrific,” Bruins interim coach Bruce Cassidy said. “19-year-old kid comes in, never played a game in the National Hockey League. He had composure, saw the ice, defended well, got his kind of indoctrination over early when he tried to dump one in, hit our guy and it came back. Other than that, I thought he was pretty good, stayed out of trouble, and we needed it, we needed it.”
Down Brandon Carlo (upper-body) and Torey Krug (lower-body) to begin this series, the Bruins also lost Colin Miller to an apparent lower-body injury after the second period after a knee-on-knee hit from Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki.
Miller’s departure made it the third Bruins game in a row that came with the loss of a defenseman.
But Cassidy refused to stray away from using McAvoy despite his rookie status with just four AHL games to his name, as No. 73 skated in 29 shifts by the night’s end (including 10 in the third period), and his aforementioned 24:11 of time on ice finished as the second-most among all Bruins behind team captain Zdeno Chara, who finished the night with a game-high 25:32 of time on ice.
“I don’t really think about the ice time or the numbers; I kind of just sit there and wait for Coach to call my name,” McAvoy, who admitted that he was nervous on his first shift, said after the win. “And then I just try and bring it every single shift.”
|Senators take shot at Bruins on Twitter, instantly pay for it||04.13.17 at 5:04 am ET|
The Senators could not have logged out fast enough on Wednesday night.
After a second period in which the Bruins failed to record a shot on goal, a ‘feat’ accomplished for the first time in almost 80 years, and the first time that the Sens have held an opponent off the shot board in their franchise history, the Senators’ Twitter account got a little ahead of themselves when they decided to poke fun at the Black and Gold’s shotless middle frame.
The Bruins failed to record a shot on goal in the second period.
Can someone in the advanced stat community tell us if that is good?
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) April 13, 2017
The tweet would have killed it had the Bruins not stormed back and scored two goals in the third period to complete the comeback and rally for a 2-1 victory in Game 1. So naturally, the Senators began to take their lumps.
WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni, and Fauria program had their say.
— OMFonWEEI (@OMFonWEEI) April 13, 2017
Harvard got in on the fun, too. How do you like them apples?
The advanced stat community can confirm that losing Game 1 2-1 negatively impacts a teams chances of winning a series https://t.co/0vgxuEKdhM
— HSAC (@Harvard_Sports) April 13, 2017
Yahoo!’s face of their hockey coverage got involved.
The Bruins defeated the Senators 2-1, to take a 1-0 series lead.
Can someone in the advanced stat community tell us if that is good?
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) April 13, 2017
It’s not a public shaming of a professional sports team without the Crying Jordan.
— Tyler Sullivan (@TylerSully) April 13, 2017
Next time, Sens, save that one in the drafts.
|Bruins take Game 1 behind clutch saves from Tuukka Rask, goal from Brad Marchand||04.12.17 at 10:08 pm ET|
Game 1 of what everybody expects to be a tight-checking, low-scoring first-round series between the Bruins and Senators did not disappoint, especially for the Bruins, who finished strong for a 1-0 series lead by way of their 2-1 comeback over the Sens at the Canadian Tire Center.
In an opening period headlined by half a dozen highlight-quality stops from Tuukka Rask, and two near strikes from David Pastrnak on the power play, including one that rang off the post.
Scoreless through the opening 20 minutes, the Bruins and Sens continued to trade chances with Craig Anderson and Rask dueling like they did in the final two regular season meetings between these rivals with huge stops made in between post-whistle introductory scrums.
But the Senators found a seam and struck when Bobby Ryan broke through into the attacking zone all alone and beat Rask for the game’s first goal, scored 10:28 into the middle stanza.
From the Ryan goal on, the Sens straight-up dominated the puck, and out-attempted the Bruins 19-to-1 to close out the period. By the end of period, the shot clock read 12-to-0 in favor of the Senators. (That’s not a typo by the way.) The Bruins had zero shots in a playoff period for the first time in the expansion era, and it was the first time in Sens history that they held an opponent to zero shots on goal in a playoff period (their previous low was two shots on goal against, set in a period back in 2007).
It spoke perfectly to the dangers that the Bruins can run into if they don’t score first against this team, as their willingness to turn to their defensive shell and Anderson is not just a strategy, but their bread and butter.
Against an Ottawa team that was the eighth-best in the NHL when leading after two periods in the regular season, the Bruins shot the puck and found a response when Frank Vatrano beat Anderson for the first Boston goal of the night, scored 4:55 into the third period, and good for Vatrano’s first career playoff goal (and first goal in 17 games dating back to the regular season). And in what’s a reminder of just how long it’s been since the Bruins were in the playoffs, it was the first playoff goal by the Bruins since Jarome Iginla scored a power-play goal in Game 7 of the club’s second-round series with the Canadiens back in 2014.
Vatrano’s goal was the product of some serious grunt-work from Dominic Moore, who won a battle, and then provided a painful screen in front of Anderson, complete with No. 28 getting wrecked by Mark Borowiecki to give Vatrano the shot.
From there, it became a 15:05 game, and the sticks were gripped even tighter.
But in the ultimate atonement for the transgressions that took him out of the final two games of the regular season, which helped the Senators land home-ice in round one and nearly put the Bruins against the Capitals in the first round, a Brad Marchand putaway scored with just 2:33 left in the third period put the Black and Gold up by a goal.
It was scored in traditional Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak tradition, too.
In one of their most dominant shifts of the season, the Bergeron line straight-up gassed the Senators into submission, and with constant puck-battle victories that eluded the club in the opening 40 minutes, the play went from Marchand to Pastrnak to Bergeron, and the back to Marchand for an open cage and Marchand’s first playoff goal in 22 games.
This was the Bruins taking advantage of the matchup they wanted throughout the night, too, as Bruins interim coach Bruce Cassidy consistently embraced the matchup of the Bergeron line against Ottawa’s middle pairing of Dion Phaneuf and Cody Ceci.
Led by more stops from Rask, who finished the night with 26 saves on 27 shots against, including a huge save with just seconds left in the third period, and one last big block from Moore, the Bruins hung on for the opening game win.
The B’s and Senators will resume their series with a Game 2 afternoon affair at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
|Bruins center David Krejci a late scratch from Game 1 vs. Senators||04.12.17 at 7:13 pm ET|
Already down three bodies for Game 1, the Bruins made it a fourth just before the puck drop on Game 1, as top-six center David Krejci has become a late scratch from the lineup with an upper-body injury.
Missing from practice on both Monday and Tuesday with what the team called maintenance days, the 30-year-old Krejci did take part in the morning skate at Canadian Tire Center this morning, and was expected to play tonight, according to B’s interim coach Bruce Cassidy.
Krejci ranked third among Bruins skaters in goals (23) and points (54) this season, and has 29 goals and 77 points in 93 career playoff games.
With Krejci out, Sean Kuraly will make his postseason debut.
The 24-year-old Kuraly had one assist and 11 shots in goal in eight games for the Bruins this season.
|Charlie McAvoy to make Bruins debut on pairing with Kevan Miller in Game 1||04.12.17 at 6:36 pm ET|
It’s by necessity, but it’s officially Charlie McAvoy time for the Bruins.
After three morning skates with the Bruins, all spent with different pairing partners, the 19-year-old McAvoy appears set to skate on the right side of the club’s second pairing with Kevan Miller for his NHL debut in tonight’s Game 1 meeting with the Senators.
Asking McAvoy, who has played in just four AHL games since leaving Boston University just a couple of weeks ago, to jump right into the fire of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is a daunting task, but it’s one they believe that the poised 14th overall pick from last year’s draft can handle.
“But at the end of the day, once the puck drops, it’s hockey,” Bruins interim coach Bruce Cassidy said of the message to McAvoy. “That’s what we’ll tell him: you’ve got to play to your strengths and understand that you’ll be playing against men, so they’ll be much harder on the puck, but he’s has the luxury of playing some games down in Providence. It’s not the National Hockey League, but they’re older players, it’s older than college, so he has that under his belt.”
It’s all happened extraordinarily quickly, and McAvoy will be the first to tell you that.
“I’ve already played a stint in Providence. Now I’m in Ottawa for the playoffs. I mean, it’s crazy. It’s been a whirlwind,” he said.
McAvoy and Miller are not a guaranteed pairing, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see Cassidy bump McAvoy up with Chara or down with Liles as the night progresses and given his overall affinity for making in-game switches if something doesn’t click.
Although the Bruins head into this game without forward Noel Acciari (upper-body) and defensemen Brandon Carlo (upper-body) and Torey Krug (lower-body), good news comes for the Bruins with word that both David Krejci and Dominic Moore, who missed yesterday’s practice with maintenance issues, will be in uniform for tonight’s contest. Brad Marchand, the team’s leading scorer who missed the final two games of the regular season with a suspension, is also back in the B’s lineup.
Tuukka Rask gets the call in net for the Bruins. Rask finished his year on a high note, with a 4-0-1 record and .971 save percentage in his final six appearances of the season, and comes into action on the heels of a career-high 37 wins and eight shutouts this year. The 30-year-old has not played in the playoffs since 2014, but has 28 wins and a .930 save percentage in 47 career playoff tilts.
Ottawa counters with Craig Anderson. The veteran Anderson was a nightmare for the Bruins this season, with four wins and stops on all but one of the 95 even-strength shots the Bruins threw his way in four games this year. But when the Bruins did beat Anderson with goals, they came on the power play, where he stopped just eight of 13 shots thrown his way. Anderson has 12 wins and a .933 save percentage in 27 career playoff games, including two wins and a .972 save percentage in four games in 2015.
This is the first ever playoff meeting between the Bruins and Senators.
Here are the expected lines and pairings for the Bruins…
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Backes
Drew Stafford – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Matt Beleskey – Ryan Spooner – Frank Vatrano
Tim Schaller – Dominic Moore – Riley Nash
Zdeno Chara – Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller – Charlie McAvoy
John-Michael Liles – Colin Miller
|Bruins veteran John-Michael Liles excited to make new playoff memories||04.12.17 at 6:16 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman John-Michael Liles remembers the last time he played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But he’d probably prefer not to.
It was in 2013 that Liles’ skates last touched playoff ice. May 13th, to be exact. It was from the bench at TD Garden that Liles watched his team’s playoff hopes go down in complete flames in a span of 16:47 — a 17-minute intermission extended it to nearly 34 agonizing minutes on the ice, on the bench and in the locker room, actually — as the Bruins pulled off the greatest comeback in Game 7 history and the Leafs pulled off the greatest choke in Game 7 history as the B’s stormed back from down 4-1 in the third period to beat Liles and the Leafs in overtime.
It’s the absolute last playoff memory that Liles wanted to have, and not in the Mark Recchi going out a champion kind of way.
“No, that was…” Liles says with a wry chuckle and a chin scratch, still struggling to come up with the words to best summarize that collapse four years later. “I was in that game, in that series.”
And Liles will be in tonight’s Game 1 and in this series against the Sens, which is exactly how he drew it up last summer.