Bruins Game Preview: 1/31 vs Tampa Bay

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This is literally the first game I will watch in months because school and work have consumed my life and I have had no time to actually post anything.

Moving cross country is hard, guys.

BUT I FINALLY HAVE NESN! Benefits of living in New England now. 🙂

This game today will be pitting two Atlantic Division rivals, the Bruins, and the Lightning, as they are both fighting for a playoff spot. Boston is currently in 3rd place in the Atlantic, with 56 points, which is one point ahead of Toronto (I never thought I would say that?). Tampa has hit the injury bug this season and sits in 6th place in the division with 50 points.

This game also marks the first Lightning game since the trade with Nikita Nestorov. He was traded to the Canadiens before the all-star break, for Jonathan Racine and a 6th round draft pick.

Last time the Bruins played the Lightning, David Pastrnak scored the final goal and Tuukka Rask had a .968 save percentage and 29 saves to secure a 4-1 win. That game was played on November 27th.

Here are your projected lineups!

Boston Bruins:

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak

Frank Vatrano-David Krejci-David Backes

Matt Beleskey-Riley Nash-Tim Schaller

Ryan Spooner-Dominic Moore-Jimmy Hayes

Zdeno Chara-Kevan Miller

Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid

John Michael Liles-Colin Miller

Tuukka Rask

Zane McIntyre

Scratched: Joe Morrow, Austin Czarnik

Injuries: Brandon Carlo (possible ankle sprain)

Interesting Notes: This is the Bruins’ first game back since the ASG break. Rask and Marchand participated in their first career ASG.

Brandon Carlo fell awkwardly in the Pittsburgh game and had trouble skating off. He did not return to that game.

The Bruins are league leading in Corsi%, but are still underachieving.

David Pastrnak has 5 points (1G, 4A) in his last 3 games. Brad Marchand has 4 goals in his last 2 games.

Tampa Bay Lightning:
Ondrej Palat-Vladimir Namestnikov-Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn-Tyler Johnson-JT Brown

Bryan Boyle-Valtteri Filppula-Jonathan Drouin

Erik Condra-Cedric Paquette-Gabriel Dumont

Victor Hedman-Jake Dotchin

Braydon Coburn-Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison-Andrej Sustr

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Injuries: Steven Stamkos (overall broken), Ryan Callahan (LB), Brayden Point (UB)
Scratches: Luke Witkowski, Michael Bournival

Interesting Notes: Nikita Kucherov is also in his first game back from his first career ASG.
No active interesting point streaks. Actually, Dobber Hockey has a majority of TB labeled as Cold. Even more interesting is that Stamkos is “hot” even though he hasn’t played lately.

So, they’re just not too good right now.

fear the bear
^AHC

Boston Bruins 2016-17 Season Preview

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It’s September, and we are finally starting to approach the one month mark until NHL action begins.

The Bruins have their first home game on October 13th, playing the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

So, get ready to take those nights off work and clear those schedules!

(I already know that I will be off work haha)

This past offseason, GM Don Sweeney raised some eyebrows (mine included) regarding how he used our cap space and did nothing to really benefit our team for the upcoming season.

If you start to really look at the offseason transactions, they really aren’t that bad.

Yes, we didn’t gain any defense, but they still aren’t that bad.

First, the biggest signing was forward (and pig lover) David Backes from the Saint Louis Blues. Backes was fourth on the team in scoring and lead the Blues in penalty minutes (83). In 79 games played, he had 21 goals and 24 assists, totaling 45 points.

Fun Fact: Zac Rinaldo (ugh) had 83 penalty minutes also, but played only 52 games!

we already won there!

Here is what I like: While Sweeney didn’t acquire any defense this offseason, he gained a defensive forward in Backes. He plays a similar style to Bergeron (Bergeron is better, though), but I consider this an upgrade. He doesn’t replace Loui Eriksson, but he does fill that hole we needed to fill.

Backes is also a very versatile player because he can play multiple positions. This is kinda what I liked Chris Kelly for, but Backes is obviously a better version of Kelly. Backes can play both center and right wing, and could fit as a third line center, or as a winger on the Bergeron-Marchand line. The line of Marchand-Bergeron-Backes could prove to be a great line for the B’s, as that line has been missing a piece since losing Seguin via trade in 2013.

Backes is no Seguin either, but could be the missing piece on that line.

Here is what I (DON)’t like:

you like the pun, don’t you?

I don’t agree with the contract length. This is something kinda small to argue, but it is really long for his age. We don’t have him till he’s 40 (Chara) but we have him for 5 years until he is 37. The way he plays can prove to make his play decline rapidly, which kinda  scares me.

 

Also this offseason, we signed Riley Nash from Carolina and Anton Khudobin from Anaheim. I enjoy the fact that we are going to have depth in the goal, but is it really necessary?

In the system, we have Tuukka (who obviously is the starting goaltender), Dobby, Malcolm Subban (who Don seems to forget about), and Zane McIntyre. We also have a young prospect in Daniel Valdar.

Subban has been in the system for a while now, when is it his chance to shine?

While we did see him in action against the Blues in 2015, we haven’t seen much from him after that. Last season in the AHL, he posted a 14-8-5 record, with a .911 SV% and 2.46 GAA. This isn’t that bad, as I consider the AHL to be a high shooting league, and I attend games in Texas on the regular.

Anton Khodobin spent time in the AHL last season as well (I saw him play with the Gulls) and he posted similar numbers to Subban. He posted a 19-8-3 record, with 2.46 GAA and .921 SV%. The Gulls lost in the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs and beat the Texas Stars (cries) in the first round. The Providence Bruins also made the playoffs (and lost in the first round), but Subban did not take part in playoffs, as he was still recovering from his larynx injury. Jeremy Smith and McIntyre took care of the Baby B’s during playoff time.

Goalies take a while to develop to be NHL caliber, but leaving one in the AHL long enough can stunt development and growth (see: Jack Campbell). But, I would love to see him have a game or two of NHL action this season to see what he has been working on and for him to know what needs to be worked on.

Lastly, I want to discuss the last signing from the offseason, and that one is the signing of former New York Ranger Dominic Moore. This signing was later in the offseason, and because of that, it caught me by surprise.

This is a low impact deal. Moore will be receiving $900,000 for the next year. This is a pretty decent deal for a veteran presence on the fourth line that has been a mixed bag since the departures of Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, and Greg Campbell.

The Bruins brought a good ol Harvard boy home!

Anyway, Moore played 80 games last season, and scored 6 goals and totaled 9 assists. He’s not the savior we were looking for (like Vesey lol), but he could prove to be a good fourth liner, and the Bruins really need that line consistent again. That hurt them last season, especially with the Kelly injury that had him out all last season. Moore could be a great replacement for Kelly, centering on the fourth.

With all the new additions rounded up, let’s discuss lines!

FORWARD:

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As for the first line, Bergy and Marchy gotta stay together. The Bruins need that chemistry in order to have a successful first line. Backes would be great on the right wing, and can compliment Bergeron’s defensive play.

For the second line, Krejci needs a physical winger. He has always had Lucic on his wing, until the Kings trade. Beleskey is the perfect fit, and they showed great chemistry together last season. Having Pasta and Krejci together is great too, and they also showed great chemistry. Krejci also acts as a veteran to Pastrnak, as he is still kinda new to the NHL.

The third line is something I may see, but Claude may not. While CJ may play the vets on this line, I want to use this line to showcase our up and coming players that are ready for the NHL and show our future as a team. Frank Vatrano had a fantastic rookie season last year and has shown that he can be ready for a full-time job in the NHL this season. Griffith has shown tremendous growth in the AHL, and through various NHL stints, he has shown that he can compete for a job in the NHL next season.

The fourth line is meant for grit and physicality, not showing prospects and giving them a chance to grow. Dominic Moore has the stats and the veteran presence to work on the fourth line. Jimmy Hayes brings that little bit of scoring to that line but is also very physical. Riley Nash is someone I don’t know much about. Nash is a very reliable, and not flashy, but he plays the offensive game well.

DEFENSE:

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The first pairing of Chara and Chiller is kinda similar to the pairing last season with Chara and Trotman. Chara is our best complete defenseman, and as a veteran, he needs that young gun to mentor. Colin Miller is that young gun. Last season, Colin Miller wasn’t used properly, and often sat in the press box or played bottom pairing minutes. WithZach Trotman and Dennis Seidenberg gone, this can be his time to shine and claim a full-time NHL job.

Torey Krug has to have a bigger, physical defenseman on his pairing due to his sparks of offense and size. This pairing of Krug and McQuaid was used a lot last season, mostly because it was the one pairing that actually kind of worked.

While Liles isn’t a flashy player, he does work his butt off on the ice when needed. This is needed when you are going to be paired with Kevan Miller. While Kevan Miller has proven to be a physical player (by breaking Joe Vitale’s face), he has had multiple mistakes on the ice that could have cost a team the game. Killer makes the mistakes and Liles is going to be there to try to correct them. It’s a win win (I hope).

Here is Killer breaking faces like a boss:

 

The goalies are kinda easy and common sense.

Tuukka is going to be number one, with Anton Khudobin as the backup.

Duh.

That is the preview for the 2016-17 preview!

Making lines is kinda like a puzzle, you want to have the players in places that make sense, while also utilizing their skills properly.

I’m pretty stoked for this season, and the offseason kinda went by fast, which is good.

See ya next month!

^AHC

 

Let’s Clinch or Die: Boston vs Ottawa

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It’s that time guys.

It’s the last game of the year, meaning if we don’t win this game, the Bruins are gonna die.

Not literally, but you probably know what I mean.

If the Bruins lose this game, and Philly and Detroit both win, there is NO PLAYOFFS.

again1

lets not end up like last year…

The Bruins are preparing for a tough test at home versus the Ottawa Senators, the one team who beat us out of our playoff spot last season. Ottawa is already mathmatically eliminated from playoff contention. The Bruins have a 17-17-6 record at home, and are looking to make the record a winning one at this final game of the regular season. Ottawa has a 37-35-9 record on the season and sit 11th place in the Eastern Conference.

In the Last meeting between these two teams, the Senators won in overtime at the Canadian Tire Centre with a 2-1 decision. Mark Stone scored the winning goal, and David Pastrnak was the lone Bruin with a goal.

The Bruins are coming off of a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings at home, allowing more breathing room in the standings for a playoff spot. Torey Krug finished with 1 goal and 2 assists (3 points), and was named the first star of the game. The Bruins sit in the second wild card spot, with the Philadelphia Flyers two points behind. For those who want to see the really confusing playoff clinching scenarios for the Bruins, click here.)

The Senators are also coming off of a home win, a 3-1 decision against the Atlantic leading Florida Panthers. Rookie Buddy Robinson scored his first NHL goal, and Jaromir Jagr scored the lone Panthers goal.

Here are your projected lineups!

BOSTON BRUINS:

Ryan Spooner-David Krejci-Loui Eriksson

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Lee Stempniak

Matt Beleskey-Max Talbot-David Pastrnak

Frank Vatrano-Noel Acciari-Landon Ferraro

Zdeno Chara-Kevan Miller

Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid

John Michael Liles-Colin Miller

Tuukka Rask

Jonas Gustavsson

Injuries: Chris Kelly (Leg), Brett Connolly (undisclosed), Jimmy Hayes (undisclosed), and Dennis Seidenberg (Lower Body)

Scratches: Joe Morrow, Zach Trotman, Tyler Randell

Important Notes: The Bruins officially have 3 30-goal scorers this season, thanks to Loui Eriksson’s goal last night vs DET. Eriksson has three goals and three assists to make a four game point streak.

OTTAWA SENATORS:

Zach Smith-Jean Gabriel Pageau-Ryan Dzingel

Mike Hoffman-Mika Zibanejad-Bobby Ryan

Matt Puempel-Nick Paul-Alex Chiasson

Buddy Robinson-Curtis Lazar-Chris Neil

Fredrik Claesson-Erik Karlsson

Michael Kostka-Cody Ceci

Ben Harpur-Chris Wideman

Andrew Hammond

Craig Anderson

Injuries: Dion Phaneuf (lower body),  Mark Borowiecki (knee),  Kyle Turris (ankle), Chris Phillips (back), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Patrick Wiercioch (Undisclosed), Marc Methot (Undisclosed), and Mark Stone (Undisclosed)

Scratch: Scott Gomez

Important Note: Erik Karlsson has 2 goals and 3 assists, which gives him a 4 game point streak.

fear the bear and WE WANT PLAYOFFS *clap clap clapclapclap*

^AHC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lone Star Bruins: last season overview

*Lone Star Bruins is a series discussing Bruins/Stars history and more, leading up to the big game in Dallas on February 20th.*

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With no posts in a while, I have decided to countdown the days till my annual NHL game, Bruins at Stars, in a fun way.

I will be writing 7 posts in 7 days.

These seven posts, part of a series called “Lone Star Bruins”, are featuring the history and stats between these two teams. These posts are going to be relatively short compared to my other ones, as I am in school and work, and I don’t have a full day to write. These two teams are by far, my favorite ones to watch, which makes me more and more excited to go to the game every year.

Today, to kick off, I wanted to start off simple and easy. I will be comparing last season for both of these teams. By simple and easy, I mean this post is most likely the LEAST exciting out of the seven posts I have planned.

The season series between these two teams was split, with one team winning each. Each team won their respective away games.

For the Boston Bruins,

We ended our season on a disappointing note. We finished the 2014-15 season with a 41-27-14 record, and finished one point away from the playoffs. After not making the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons, we changed the face of the organization by trading Hamilton, Lucic, and Soderberg, and added new faces in Hayes and Beleskey. These new acquisitions and faces have made a great deal of change for the team.

In last years meet up against the Stars in Dallas, Loui Eriksson scored two goals in a 3-1 victory. Brad Marchand was serving a two game suspension for this game, and also found a gecko and named it “Segs Junior” while in Dallas.

For the Dallas Stars,

2015 NHL Awards - Press Room

that trophy is so huge next to him… (Credit: Sports Day Dallas)

Even though they had a Art Ross Trophy winner in Jamie Benn, that didn’t solve their problems. They also ended their season on a disappointing note with a 41-31-16 record and not making the playoffs. During the offseason, GM Jim Nill made a splash in getting rid of Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt, and adding Patrick Sharp, Antti Niemi, and Johnny Oduya. With this, the Stars have been major contenders for the Stanley Cup in the Central Division.

In last years meet up against the Bruins at home, Vernon Fiddler scored the lone Dallas goal, and Kari Lehtonen gave up three goals, in route to a 3-1 loss. The crowd was still happy, however, as most of the crowd at the game was made up of Bruins fans. 🙂

fear the bear

^AHC

Game Preview: Home vs Panthers

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This is literally the first game I will watch in months, because school and work have consumed my life and I have had no time to actually post anything.

This afternoon matinee today will be pitting two Atlantic Division rivals, the Bruins and the Panthers, as they are both fighting for a playoff spot. Boston is currently two points behind Ottawa to make them third in Atlantic.

This game also marks the home return of Forward Reilly Smith, who spent the past two seasons in the Bruins organization and was part of the famous Seguin-Eriksson trade back in 2013. Reilly Smith was traded this past summer, along with the contract of Marc Savard, to the Cats in exchange for Jimmy Hayes. he has 14 points (7+7=14) so far this season.

Last time the Bruins played the Cats, forward Brad Marchand scored two goals and Tuukka Rask had a .969 save percentage and 31 saves to secure a 3-1 win. That game was played on October 30th.

ALSO, before you watch the game, join me and a bunch of other fans on the Boston Bruins Subreddit for a Live Thread. I did this the last time I watched, and it was the best thing ever, and more entertaining than live tweeting.

 

HERE ARE YOUR PROJECTED LINEUPS:

 

BOSTON BRUINS:

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Brett Connolly

Matt Beleskey-David Krejci-Loui Eriksson

Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes

Zac Rinaldo-Landon Ferrero-Tyler Randell

Zdeno Chara-Zach Trotman

Dennis Seidenberg-Colin Miller

Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid

Injured: David Pastrnak (Foot), Chris Kelly (Leg), Joonas Kemppainen (undisclosed)

Scratches: Max Talbot, Joe Morrow, & Kevan Miller

Interesting Notes: Loui Eriksson has two goals in the same number of games, and scored a SHG on Wednesday against the Habs. The Bruins are currently 5-7-1 at home, and are looking to improve their record at home and overall, as they are 2 points behind Ottawa for third in the Atlantic Division.

FLORIDA PANTHERS:

Jonathan Huberdeau-Aleksander Barkov-Jaromir Jagr

Brandon Pirri-Vincent Trocheck-Reilly Smith

Quinton Howden-Derek MacKenzie-Jussi Jokinen

Connor Brickley-Dave Bolland-Logan Shaw

Willie Mitchell-Brian Campbell

Dmitry Kulikov-Erik Gudbranson

Dylan Olson-Aaron Ekblad

Roberto Luongo

Al Montoya

Injured: Nick Bjugstad (Upper Body IR), Steven Kampfer (Lower Body), Alex Petrovic (Lower Body)

Scratches: Shawn Thornton

Interesting Notes: Jaromir Jagr is currently tied with Marcel Dionne for 4th in all time scoring with goal number 731. Nick Bjugstad was placed on Injured Reserve in a corresponding move that called up left handed shot D-Man Dylan Olson from Portland Pirates of the AHL. Olson will be replacing Steven Kampfer in the lineup, who is suffering from a Lower Body injury.

fear the bear

^AHC

Game Preview: Boston @ Edmonton

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The Boston Bruins are preparing for a road trip out west, with the first stop in Edmonton, to play ex-GM Peter Chiarelli’s Oilers. The Bruins are the hottest team in the league currently, and are looking to extend their 5 game win streak that started with a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on November 19th.

Kevan Miller is still currently day to day with a concussion, and David Pastrnak has no sign of a return from his crack in his foot.

The Edmonton Oilers are coming off a tough loss at the Air Canada Centre, a 3-0 shutout loss against Toronto. That game was the NHL debut for Goaltender Garett Sparks, who made Leafs history as the first Leafs goalie to get a shutout in his debut.

Remember,

Peter Chiarelli is the GM of the Oilers,

 

soooooo we should be just fine ok

 

Here are your projected lineups!

BOSTON BRUINS:

Frank Vatrano-Patrice Bergeron-Brad Marchand

Matt Beleskey-David Krejci-Loui Eriksson

Ryan Spooner-Landon Ferraro-Jimmy Hayes

Zac Rinaldo-Joonas Kemppainnen-Brett Connolly

Zdeno Chara-Zach Trotman

Dennis Seidenberg-Colin Miller

Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratches: Tyler Randell, Joe Morrow

Injuries: Chris Kelly (Broken Leg), David Pastrnak (Foot), Kevan Miller (Concussion)

Interesting Notes: Kevan Miller practiced for the first time on Tuesday, working on the fourth pairing with Joe Morrow, and is still continuing his recovery. Max Talbot was reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Monday.

 

EDMONTON OILERS:

Taylor Hall-Leon Draisaitl-Teddy Purcell

Benoit Pouliot-Ryan Nugent Hopkins-Jordan Eberle

Lauri Korpikoski-Mark Letestu-Iiro Pakarinen

Jujhar Khaira-Anton Lander-Matt Hendricks

Darnell Nurse-Andrej Sekera

Oscar Klefbom-Mark Fayne

Brandon Davidson-Justin Schultz

Cam Talbot

Anders Nilsson

Scratches: Andrew Ference, Eric Gryba, Luke Gazdic

Injuries: Connor McDavid (Clavicle), Nail Yukupov (Ankle), Rob Klinkhammer (Lower Body)

fear the bear (and happy holidays!)

^AHC

Game Preview: Home vs Minnesota (11/19)

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The Bruins are preparing for a tough test at home, with the Minnesota Wild in town. The Bruins home record is not what people expected, as they are currently 2-6-1 at home, and are looking to increase the winning side of that record.

The Bruins are coming off a 5-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. In that game, Joe Thornton of the Sharks was credited with the winning goal, and Patrice Bergeron did his part to increase our Power Play Percentage, with a goal in the 3rd period.

In this game, D Man Kevan Miller was announced as day to day with a Lower Body injury, and Colin Miller is his replacement, after being absent in the last two games with an injury himself. No timetable on a return from David Pastrnak, as he is recovering from a Foot Injury. He is not on injured reserve.

The Wild are coming off of a close loss on tuesday as well, losing 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, so expect a well fought game on both sides tonight. The Wild is currently 10-4-3 this season, and 4th in the tough central division.

Here are you projected lineups!

BOSTON BRUINS:

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Jimmy Hayes

Frank Vatrano-David Krejci-Loui Eriksson

Matt Beleskey-Ryan Spooner-Brett Connolly

Zac Rinaldo-Joonas Kemppainen-Tyler Randell

Zdeno Chara-Zach Trotman

Dennis Seidenberg-Colin Miller

Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid

Jonas Gustavsson

Tuukka Rask

Injuries: Kevan Miller (Upper Body), Chris Kelly (Broken Leg), and David Pastrnak (Foot)

Scratch: Joe Morrow

Interesting Notes: D-Man Kevan Miller was announced recently as day to day with an upper body injury, and will not travel with the team on the road trip to Toronto. Colin Miller will be slotted in in his place, as he was a scratch last game against the Sharks (5-4 L).

Chris Kelly spoke to the public this morning, his first public apperance since getting surgery on a broken femur after the game on November 3rd against the Stars (5-3 L).  He is optimistic on returning during the playoffs. He is an UFA at the end of this season.

Patrice Bergeron has a five game point streak, with a total of six points (3 goals, 3 assists) in that span.

MINNESOTA WILD:

Thomas Vanek-Mikael Granlund-Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Nino Niderreiter

Erik Haula-Charlie Coyle-Jordan Schroeder

Chris Porter-Ryan Carter-Brett Bulmer

Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba

Christian Folin-Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Injuries: Zach Parise (MCL), Justin Fontaine (MCL), Tyler Graovac (Core), Marco Scandella (Lower Body)

Scratch: Michael Keranen

Interesting Notes: Zach Parise and Justin Fontaine have started to skate in effort to speed up their recovery from MCL injuries. Marco Scandella was injured in the game against the Penguins on Tuesday (4-3 L), and will be placed on injured reserve because if this injury.

Jared Spurgeon has a seven point (2 goals, 5 assists) streak in a six game span.
^AHC