|5 things we learned as Bruins play Tuukka Rask over Malcolm Subban, still lose to Oilers in shootout||02.19.15 at 1:09 am ET|
The Bruins opted against starting Malcolm Subban Wednesday night, further underscoring the importance placed on getting two points against the second-worst team in the NHL.
They still lost.
After coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the second period, the Bruins held even with the Oilers through the third period and overtime before losing in a 12-round shootout that saw Boston fail to score once. Tuukka Rask finally surrendered the shootout’s only goal to Martin Marincin on the 24th overall attempt.
The loss was Boston’s fifth straight (0-3-2) and sixth in the last seven games (1-4-2). The Bruins have two more games on their current road trip, as they’ll play the Blues Friday and the Blackhawks Sunday. Rask has now played in 24 of the Bruins’ last 25 games, so the Bruins, entering must-win mode each night, may face more tough decisions regarding whether to risk burning out their best player.
Here are four more things we learned Wednesday night:
REVAMPED POWER PLAY SCORES
Claude Julien hasn’t been afraid to tinker with his forward lines, and on Wednesday that extended to the power play.
When Andrew Ference went off for tripping Brad Marchand late in the first period, Julien sent out a unit that featured Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug at the points, with David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron up front and Loui Eriksson in front of the net. The group stayed out there for all 91 seconds of the power play until Eriksson tipped a Hamilton shot past Ben Scrivens. The goal was the group’s sixth shot on goal of the power play.
|Bruins shouldn’t make Malcolm Subban a trade chip yet||02.17.15 at 7:36 pm ET|
If this callup for Malcolm Subban is a “showcase,” it had better not have anything to do with this season.
Subban is a goaltending prospect, which means you can flip a coin as to whether he’ll be a Vezina winner or just another guy, but he’s a highly regarded prospect nonetheless. Tuukka Rask is signed at a very reasonable $7 million for six more years after this season and Subban will be NHL-ready before that. For a team that’s set at goaltender, he’s a great chip to have if they are so inclined to move him.
But not for a two-month rental. If the Bruins want teams to have some video of Subban in case they talk trade in the offseason, fine. Airplanes exist and scouts are allowed to watch AHL games, but sure. By all means. Let teams watch him play in an NHL game against the second-worst team in the NHL (and one of the nine that scores less than the Bruins).
We’ve already outlined that the Bruins should absolutely not move anything of significant value at the trade deadline. They should take their chances as is in a weak Eastern Conference this postseason with the understanding that this has turned into a transition year. If guys start performing like their usual selves in April and May, they’re capable of beating any Eastern Conference team that doesn’t a C and an H on their sweaters, but they’re better off waiting until the cap goes up and they aren’t paying nearly $5 million in overages before they go out and start trading good young guys.
What would the Bruins even move Subban for this season? The Sabres reportedly asked for him in exchange for Chris Stewart, which they must have known was a ridiculous request. Stewart, an inconsistent right wing whose motivation probably hasn’t matched his talent over the last three years, might be the type of addition the Bruins should make at the deadline, but only because he realistically should only cost a mid-round pick and/or a mid-level prospect.
The team’s needs (if they go for it, which again, they probably shouldn’t) are a top-four defenseman, a potential first-line right wing and anything that can fix the fourth line. Subban maybe gets you one of those things in this seller’s market. Unless there’s an affordable player at one of those positions that’s controllable beyond this season, there’s really no point in using such a good piece now while the prices are high.
Playing Subban Wednesday could bring something the Bruins need as much as anything else: a win. You’d certainly hope the Bruins would be able to beat the Oilers on any night anyway, but the Bruins have been positively dreadful in front of Tuukka Rask the last four games. Playing a backup goaltender can be an effective means of getting a team to pay better attention defensively, and right now Subban might be better than Niklas Svedberg, who has been pulled from two of his last three starts.
Subban might not be a big part of the Bruins’ 2014-15 season, but he can impact future ones far more than he would by fetching a rental over the next couple months.
Hockey Night in Canada NHL insider Elliotte Friedman joined Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Bruins recent struggles, the recall of goaltender Malcolm Subban, and if he could start as soon as Wednesday against Edmonton. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Subban, a second-year pro whom the B’s drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft, is coming off a stint in which he spent four games with the B’s as Tuukka Rask‘s backup while Niklas Svedberg was in Providence on a conditioning loan. Subban did not play during the stretch, but was officially recalled again Monday night.
It seems likely Subban will be in net Wednesday night when the Bruins take on the Oilers, as Edmonton has shown interest in the second-year goaltender.
“I don’t believe in coincidences, I don’t,” Friedman said. “When he gets called up and it is for this particular game, and you know [Claude] Julien, he doesn’t like to tell the media which goaltender is playing, this one is kind of odd. I have been told to expect him to play. I mean you never know until he actually shows up at the rink and skates out there as the starting goaltender, but there certainly is — and there was report last night that he was going to play and I believe that is true. Things can change, but I don’t believe in coincidences.
“We have been hearing all year that teams have been asking a bit about Malcolm Subban and I 100 percent believe that Buffalo, which is an organization that is really on goaltending, asked about him when they were talking about Chris Stewart and/or Drew Stafford, which was another player the Sabres kind of looked at and they were flat out rejected. Edmonton is another team that is going to be trying to change their goaltending mix this offseason.
“I think there is some degree of showcase here and I am sure Edmonton wants to see him against NHL shooters. I think it is very dangerous though to make a determination on a player based on one NHL start. There is no question that the Oilers want to see what they could be potentially trading for here.”
|Bruins recall Malcolm Subban from Providence||02.16.15 at 2:36 pm ET|
[UPDATE: 6:45 p.m.] The Bruins have recalled goaltender Malcolm Subban from Providence. He will join the team for practice Tuesday in Edmonton. Mark Divver of the Providence Journal reported the news of Subban’s impending callup earlier in the day.
Hearing that Malcolm Subban is about to be called up by Boston. Strength coach Paul Kenny to dress as backup goalie for PBruins today.
‘ Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) February 16, 2015
Subban, a second-year pro whom the B’s drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft, is coming off a stint in which he spent four games with the B’s as Tuukka Rask‘s backup while Niklas Svedberg was in Providence on a conditioning loan. Subban did not play during the stretch and has yet to play in an NHL game.
In 24 games for Providence this season, Subban is 10-10-3 with a .920 save percentage and 2.47 goals-against average.
Svedberg has struggled in the scarce playing time he’s received. Though he recorded a 14-save shutout on Jan. 14, the performance was bookended by outings in which he was pulled early. He was removed from a Dec. 27 loss to the Blue Jackets in the second period and lasted only a period last Tuesday against the Stars. Svedberg was yanked after allowing three goals in each of those outings.
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|Tuukka Rask: ‘Nobody’s told me otherwise, so I’m sure I’m playing’ vs. Canadiens||02.07.15 at 10:57 pm ET|
After stopping 39 of the 40 shots he faced against the Islanders Saturday, Tuukka Rask said he is ready to go again Sunday against the Canadiens.
“Nobody’s told me otherwise, so I’m sure I’m playing,” Rask said Saturday night. “If I play, hopefully we’ll get a win so I don’t ever have to answer [the] questions again.”
The questions to which Rask refers are those of whether he and the Bruins can beat the Canadiens. Boston has dropped all three of its meetings vs. the Habs this season, with Rask getting yanked in one of his two starts against Montreal.
In his career, Rask is 3-12-3 against the Canadiens in the regular season. While he shut out the Habs in one of his three postseason victories against them last year, Rask acknowledged that the Canadiens have been a problem for the Bruins.
“We try to approach it as any other game, but the fact is that we haven’t been able to beat them that many times in the past,” he said. “We have to change it because another fact is most likely we’re going to face them in the playoffs this year, so we have to learn to play against them.”
Rask has already played in both games of back-to-backs four times this season. The possibilities to start for the Bruins if Rask doesn’t start are Niklas Svedberg and Malcolm Subban, the latter of whom is currently up with the Bruins. Subban hasn’t started a game in over two weeks, however, and playing him against the Canadiens in both his first NHL game and his first game at any level in a while would be a very challenging assignment.
Svedberg did not start Saturday in Providence, leaving open the possibility that he could be available for the B’s. Svedberg played most of the third period in Montreal in relief of Rask on Oct. 16 and allowed five goals to the Habs on Nov. 13 at the Bell Centre.
Claude Julien did not answer when asked who would be in net Sunday. The Bruins will not have a morning skate Sunday, so its likely that Boston’s starter will not be revealed until warmups at 7 p.m.
|Will Malcolm Subban’s first NHL start come against Canadiens?||02.05.15 at 9:20 pm ET|
Malcolm Subban is due for a start somewhere.
When the Bruins recalled their 2012 first-round pick last week, it was a fun story as the second-year pro got his first regular-season taste of the NHL. All these days later, the fact that he lasted past last weekend (the anticipated length of his callup) brings something else to light: The kid is going on two weeks without playing a game.
That’s the longest stretch this season that Subban, who last played on Jan. 24 for Providence, has gone out of game action since a lower-body injury cost him time in mid-November.
The Bruins have a three-game homestand coming up, including a tough back-to-back against the Islanders and Canadiens this weekend. Asked whether Subban would get one of the starts, Claude Julien responded Thursday with his signature “we’ll see, guys” answer.
To give any goaltender their first NHL start in a Bruins-Canadiens game is the definition of throwing someone into the fire. Add in that Malcolm’s older brother P.K. is Montreal’s Norris-winning assistant captain, and a potential start Sunday would be quite the event. Malcolm admitted his parents would be on the next plane to Boston should it be the case, but he isn’t looking that far ahead.
“It would be pretty cool, but I’m not thinking into it too much,” Malcolm said Thursday. “Just trying to stay focused. Whenever my opportunity comes, hopefully I’ll be ready.”
The Bruins have played Tuukka Rask in both games of four different back-to-backs this season, so the fact that a backup (whether Subban or, should they return him to Providence, Niklas Svedberg) plays this weekend is far from a guarantee. The Canadiens angle does make it interesting from a game plan standpoint, however.
Rask has started two games against the Canadiens this season and is 0-2-0 with seven goals allowed. He was pulled from the teams’ first meeting this season after allowing five goals in an eventual 6-4 loss. The Bruins gave Svedberg the start in Montreal on Nov. 13, with Svedberg surrendering five goals on 34 shots.
The small chance that Subban could begin his NHL career in a Battle of the Subbans comes down to the Bruins’ philosophy with Rask and the Canadiens. Rask is one of the best goaltenders in the world and he doesn’t win a lot against Montreal (3-12-3 lifetime in the regular season). The fact that Rask is one of the best goaltenders in the world is not going to change, but the Bruins can take the Rangers/Henrik Lundqvist approach by simply hiding their star goaltender from the Habs. That worked when the Rangers beat the Habs in six games in the Eastern Conference finals last spring.
So it’s possible that the back-to-backs and Rask’s history could combine to make Subban’s dream debut take place, but it’s also worth considering that the Bruins prioritize their game plan over the neat story. Just ask Michigan native Steven Kampfer, who brought his family to his Joe Louis Arena homecoming when the Bruins faced the Red Wings in 2011, only to learn the night before the game that the B’s would be making him a healthy scratch for the game.
Whether or not Subban plays during this callup or at any point in Boston this season, the 21-year-old has enjoyed his brief NHL stint thus far. He’s seen the improved competition in practice and thinks the non-training-camp exposure to working life in the NHL has been a learning experience.
“Those shots that he’s getting here should be a little bit higher grade than what he gets over there, for obvious reasons,” Julien said. “It’s a good experience for him. We’re trying to groom him into being the goaltender that we expect him to be, and you’ve got to take some steps to do that. This is one of the steps that was part of grooming him.”
|Bruins recall Malcolm Subban, keep shuffled lines in practice||01.30.15 at 11:51 am ET|
WILMINGTON – All Bruins were present for Friday’s Bruins practice, including a new face.
Goaltender Malcolm Subban was recalled from Providence, as the B’s sent backup netminder Niklas Svedberg to Providence on a conditioning loan. Svedberg has played just one game over the last month, a 14-save shutout against the Devils on Jan. 8.
Subban, the Bruins’ first-round pick in the 2012 draft, has allowed one goal in each of his last three starts. On the season, he has a 2.47 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage for Providence.
The plan for Subban is to keep him up for the weekend, with Claude Julien stressing that the recall was more about getting Svedberg into game action with Providence. The Baby B’s have games Friday and Saturday. Svedberg is expected to start Friday’s game, while the plan for Saturday is unclear.
The Bruins kept the same lines they used in Thursday’s win over the Islanders:
The Bruins will return to action Saturday when they host the Kings at TD Garden.
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