Post Game Report: 11/7 Buffalo Sabres @ Boston Bruins

The Bruins win 4-0 on home ice.

Final Score: BUF 0-4 BOS 

Well would you look at that, I was right! I laid out my 3 keys last night (Fix the Power Play, go to Pastrnak, Play the Second Period) and said that’s how we would win! Guess what? That’s exactly how we won! Okay, maybe not exactly how we won, but those definitely played a huge role in the 4-0 redemption game for Boston. And although I forgot to post it, my 3-1 prediction was pretty close, too. So let’s recap this thrilling home game, shall we!

The first period was incredible to watch. Lots of back and forth play, loads of scoring chances, and even a few highlight reel saves. But no goals were scored. Despite great chances on both ends, neither team could capitalize, and the goalies kept the game tied. It had the feel of a low-scoring affair heading into the intermission, but then…

BOOM! Brad Marchand opens the scoring just 5 minutes into the second…ON THE POWER PLAY! David Pastrnak’s one-timer from the hashmarks left a scrum of sticks and bodies in the crease, only for the puck to land on Brad Marchand’s stick, and he found the net.

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The Bruins celebrate Marchy’s Power Play goal (courtesy: Steve Babineau/Getty Images)

That wouldn’t be the end of it either, as just over 4 minutes later, on a 5-on-3 power play, David Krejci finally buried his first goal of the campaign. With the 2-man advantage and all the momentum of the game on their side, the Bruins power play unit worked the puck across the ice to Krejci, who buried one under the shoulder of Lehner. Up 2-0, the B’s chose to keep attacking, and Riley Nash would score his first of the season before the period was up, to give Boston a 3-goal cushion heading into the 3rd. It was the first 3-goal lead for the hometown team since October 17th, when the Bruins walked into Winnipeg and won 4-1.

 

Halfway through the third period, the Bruins’ hot hand stayed hot, and David Pastrnak found himself scoring his 8th goal of the season. He now sits in a 4-way tie at the top of the league for most goals. In that company, are the likes of Sidney Crosby, Artem Anisimov, and rookie Patrick Laine. Not a bad group to bein, especially considering all except for Crosby have played more games than Pastrnak.  Tuukka Rask made a few big saves late en route to his 32nd career shutout!

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Courtesy: Steve Babineau/Getty Images

 

3 Ups:

 

1. The Power Play – 

You read that right, the power play gets an up! After a horribly slow start to the season, the power play looked sharp last night, scoring on 3 out of 8 chances. With goals from Krejci, Marchand, and Pastrnak, the power play’s weaponization was a key part of the win tonight!

 

2. Second Period – 

Coming into last night’s game, the Bruins had a -5 goal differential in the second period. It was most certainly a stat that the team was none too pleased about. But last night, 3 of the 4 goals were scored in the second period. Two of which were on the aforemntioned power play. It was the first full-game effort of the year, and we walked away victorious. Let’s hope they can keep it up tonight against Montreal!

 

3. Third Line – 

Still want Jimmy Hayes to be on that line? Consider this: With Hayes in the line-up, the Belskey-Nash-Hayes grouping combined for a total of…0 points. No goals. No assists. No value. But, in the 2 games he’s been out, Beleskey and Nash have combined for a goal and 2 assists! Benching Jimmy Hayes has been a blessing, and it has lifted the play of his linemates. Trade him.

 

3 Downs:

 

1. Too Many Close Calls – 

The Bruins defense was good for most of the game, but there were a few instances in which it looked as if Buffalo was getting ready to cash-in. Tuukka Rask had to make more than his fair share of big-time saves (which after his start to the year, even those look easy). Luckily for the defense, when they did screw up, Rask was right there to help them, and no goals were scored by the invading Sabres.

 

2. Tuukka Rask Started – 

He’s good, and I like him, but Rask had no business starting last night’s game. We play Montreal tonight, and Zane McIntyre is good enough to handle a weak Buffalo offense. We should’ve saved Rask for tonight’s game, instead. Now, what if he plays tonight, also? I would hate it. I would not be happy. Unless he played well, of course. But going in, I’d be nervos that he’s burned out and hurt. After all, he has started the last 5 games for Boston. This is not close to the volume of starts the Bruins wanted at the beginning of the year.

 

3. Zdeno Chara –

Anybody else see Chara play like trash? Yeah, me too. He’s been doing it a lot this year. He’s turning the puck over with some boneheaded passing decisions, and he seems to have lost a step the last week or so. But hey, if we’re winning games with our “top defenseman” playing bad, is it actually a down? That’s the important question, not this whole charter school crap you’re voting on today in Massachusetts. It’s this question you should consider.

 

3 Takeaways:

*I put it in last game, and I liked it, so I’m keeping it.

1. Torey Krug again led the B’s in ice time with 24:35 last night. Most of it was on the power play, but it still speaks volumes about his progress in the league.

2. Brandon Carlo continues to impress me. If we were to have a total rebuild after this year, my defensive core would be Krug and Carlo. He’s playing classic defense, getting in on plays, blocking shots, and taking away space. He’s really good. Don’t be surprised if he wins a Norris trophy in the next 5 years.

3. Tuukka Rask, with his 32nd shutout, passed Tim Thomas for 3rd most shutouts by a Bruins goaltender.

 

So we’ve arrived at my personal picks for the 3-stars of the game. Shouldn’t be much surprise, here, as I’m sure we can all pretty much agree on these 3 guys.

  • 3. Riley Nash (C-BOS)
  • 2. David Pastrnak (RW-BOS)
  • 1. Tuukka Rask (G-BOS)

 

What did you think of the game last night? Did you expect a shutout? Who were your 3 stars? Let me know in the comments!

 

Pre-Game Report: 11/7 Buffalo Sabres @ Boston Bruins (7:00 on NESN)

It’s the last night of America as we know it, so let’s watch some hockey!

For the first time this season, the Buffalo Sabres make the trip to the TD Garden, as the Bruins play the hosts for the 2nd game in a row. The B’s are looking to bounce back from another 5-2 blow from the Rangers on Saturday, and hoping to improve to 7-5-0 on the year. The Bruins will catch a break, tonight, as the Sabres are still without young star, Jack Eichel. One of the only good things to come out of Buffalo last season was Eichel, but after going down in camp with a high-ankle sprain, he has not played at all this season.

The Bruins (6-5-0) have once again, and much to the dismay of their fan base, have started slow at home this season. They carry just a 1-3-0 record in Boston, heading into tonight’s game. It’s something that doesn’t sit well with us, the fans, as we had grown quite accustomed to seeing the Bruins dominate at the Garden for the early part of the decade. The last two years, though, have filled us with fear every time we see the hometown boys take the ice. What used to be a penciled-in win, is now a game where even an overtime loss is considered a steal. We are the underdogs in our own house, and you can’t make the playoffs by losing at home. Despite the poor numbers at home, I do feel tonight is a game Boston should easily get the win. They have had Buffalo’s number every time the two teams have played of late (except for the 2 goal lead we blew last year that we won’t talk about), and without Eichel, the Sabres don’t have a tangible offensive threat. So can the Bruins prove me right and win this one at home? Let’s take a look.

HISTORY

600x403px-ll-8b26017f_lucic-miller-hit-300x201
 

Ryan Miller gets laid out by Milan Lucic

 

All-time, the Bruins hold a 131-110-40 record against Buffalo (131 wins, 110 losses, 23 ties, 17 overtime losses). However, over the last 3 seasons, the Bruins have opened up a 9-2-2 record against the crossed-swords. Many of the games have been close, even going into overtime, but the Bruins have had the upper hand. The games are always tightly-contested, and full of action, and you never know who’s going to hit whom. Hell, we even saw Milan Lucic destroy Ryan Miller a few years back! Remember when John Scott fought and injured Shawn Thornton? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.

TUUKKA TIME AGAIN? – 

rangers2.jpg

Claude, What are you doing? seriously? Did you not look at the schedule before making this decision? Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off the ice this morning, suggesting that he will be making the start between the pipes tonight. I can’t fathom why he would start tonight, considering Montreal is next on the schedule, TOMORROW NIGHT! Seeing as he was hurt throughout a lot of the Rangers’ game (or looked it, at least), I doubt he’s playing both games. This is a game we could probably win without him, and he needs the rest. Save him for the tougher opponent tomorrow. It just doesn’t make sense to me. He has had a great start, with the New York loss the only asterisk on his 2016-17 resume, but he’s also been battling some sort of leg injury that has proven to be an issue in a few games this year. I don’t know why they are playing him tonight (in case you couldn’t tell)

JIMMY HAYES BENCHED – 

Jimmy Hayes is expected to be a healthy scratch again tonight. Outside of the shootout winner, Hayes has not scored a single point this season. Even still, shootout goals don’t count for anything but the score, so he really is…pointless. And, so is his spot on the roster. I think he should be traded, but I’ll take him being on the bench, because it allows Austin Czarnik to slot into the 3rd line on the right-wing. Czarnik, a rookie, already is outscoring  Jimmy, despite playing seven games to Hayes’s 10. I really don’t like Hayes…

Anyway, it’s time for tonight’s 3 Keys to the Game!

1. Fix the Power Play –

The B’s are not god on the power play this season. After reaching all the way to 29th before Saturday’s game, they once again fins themselves at the bottom of the league. On Saturday, the Bruins basically had a -67% efficiency, giving up 2 goals on 3 attempts ON THEIR OWN POWER PLAY!!! That’s not how you win games, guys. They NEED to get those numbers, at least to the middle of the league, and it needs to start soon.

2. Keep using Pastrnak – 

Look, if the rest of the team isn’t scoring, find the guy who is. David Pastrnak has been red hot for Boston so far. He has 7 goals, and has scored in the last three he has played in. The whole top line has been good, but Pasta is standing out from the pack, so why not use him? This could go with key 1, if they swap him with Krejci on the first PP unit. He has a hell of a slapshot, and is quick enough to get back to the puck. He and Krug could wreak havoc from the blue line.

3. Can We Please Play The Second Period Too? – 

You’re probably as tired of reading it, as I am of typing it, but the Bruins need to play every minute. Particularly in the second period of games. They have a -5 goal differential in the 2nd frame, and it is where we have seen several games turned around by other teams. If we fix the second, we fix the first and third, and we fix our team.

Projected Line-up:

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Spooner-Krejci-Backes

Beleskey-Nash-Hayes

Schaller-Moore-Acciari

Defense

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Liles-C Miller

Goalies

Rask

McIntyre

MY LINEUP

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes

Beleskey-Krejci-Czarnik

Schaller-Moore-Acciari

Defense

Chara-Carlo

Krug-C Miller

Liles-McQuaid

Goalies

McIntyre

Rask

*Krejci hasn’t played up-to-par with what you’d expect from him, moving down a line could give him a boost.

What do you expect from tonight’s game? Can the B’s find their winning ways at home? Who do you start in net tonight? Let me know in the comments! Go B’s!

Post-game Report: New York Rangers @ Boston Bruins

Final Score: NYR 5-2 BOS

What an ugly game for Bruins fans! It started out perfectly fine, too. Patrice Bergeron scored an early goal, Rask was on his game, and we matched the Rangers at every turn. Then, we quit. With 4:51 to go in the 1st (would you look at that after the first fifteen minutes we blew it), Nick Holden scored on a wild shot from the blue line, which nobody knows whether or not it hit Krejci's glove on the way through. It would have been okay if not for the fact that less than 3 minutes later, Derek Stepan put New York up 2-1 while shorthanded. Don't the Bruins know the power play is supposed to score them goals, and not other teams?

Then in the second, what did we do? GAVE UP ANOTHER SHORTHANDED GOAL! Kevin Hayes snuck by the defense and out waited Rask to put New York up two. The rest of the period was scoreless, but the shorthanded goal really took the life out of Boston. The crowd was happy though (I'll get to that later). 

In the third, the Bruins were assessed a penalty for interference that, quite frankly, nobody knows why. Marchand held a guy because he was interfered with by TWO Rangers, but Marchand is the bad guy! Then, forgetting all about sticks and stones and the first amendment, the referee assessed March another two minutes because he said mean things. I don't understand hockey anymore. Regardless of what I think, the Bruins were faced with a double minor. They killed off the first of the two unjust penalties, but 11 seconds into the second one, they found themselves down 4-1. David Pastrnak tried to bring life into the team, scoring his seventh goal of the year, but a few minutes later, that goal was erased by yet another Rangers tally. 5-2. Again. Why?

3 "Ups": (when you get outplayed and lose 5-2, it's hard to find good things, so these are purely sarcastic)

1. The Garden was Alive -
With Rangers fans. Seriously, who was the home team again? 

2. Our Power Play was Sensational - 
For the Rangers. We had a -2 goal differential with the mad advantage. We basically had a -67% PP efficiency.

3. Our 5-on-5 Play was Solid (this one is true) - 
Take away the special teams, and this was a 2-2 game. That's not bad against the second best team in the league. When the numbers were even, we matched them stride for stride. Problem is, there's more to hockey than 5-on-5

3 DOWNS: 

1. The Decibel Level in the Garden - 
There was no noise coming from the Bruins' fans in attendance last night. Even when we were ahead, the crowd seemed tuned out. It was embarrassing to watch. We need that place to be loud if people want us to be taken seriously at home. 

2. Tuukka Down - 
For about the thousandth time this season (okay so it's been like 4) Tuukka Rask appeared to be leaning on his left leg. It could be one reason why we lost, but the long-term concern is that this is something serious. So far, nobody has spoke on his condition, but I doubt it will be good news. The smart move here is to bench Rask Monday against Buffalo. The Sabres are a beatable team, and the Bruins need to save everything they have for a match with the best team in the league on Tuesday. If Rask is hurt, resting him Monday will hopefully provide him with the time he needs to heal up.

3. The Power Play - 
-2 differential. Need I say more?

Well I should do something considering the ups and downs were basically a joke so,

3 Takeaways:

1 - David Pastrnak somehow found himself on the ice for both B's goals, and zero Rangers goals. Considering New York scored 5 times, that's pretty impressive.
2 - They listened to me about benching Jimmy Hayes. I know he's a local kid, but he may need to be shown the door if we want a deep playoff run. 
3 - Torey Krug led the Bruins in time on ice with 22:16 and Brandon Carlo was second with 21:26. Zdeno Chara, who routinely leads the team in average TOI, was 3rd with 21:11. Are we moving away from a Chara-dependent team?

3 Stars:

3. Michael Grabner (RW-NYR)
2. Antti Raanta (G-NYR)
1. Derek Stepan (C-NYR)

What did you think of the game? What stood out to you? Who are your three stars? Let me know in the comments.

 

Edited with BlogPad Pro

11/5 New York Rangers @ Boston Bruins 

Original Six rivals square off for the second time this season

The Bruins take to the ice once again tonight against original six rivals, the New York Rangers. Ten days ago, the Bruins travelled to the famed Madison Square Garden, and suffered a 5-2 shellacking at the hands of the Rangers. Tonight, the Rangers travel to Boston's TD Garden, and the B's hope to serve their guests the same punishment they received in New York.

The Bruins have had a bit of a rough start. They saw a stretch of games in which they relied only on their AHL goalies, they have been without some of their most productive forwards, and have a defensive team that's inexperience has been more than noticeable. Despite this, the Bruins first 10 games have led them to a 6-4-0 (12 point) record. The Rangers, on the other hand, have soared to an 8-3-0 record (16 points), the second best record in the NHL. Helped along by their impressive 4.09 goals/games, and the 6th best defense in the league, the Rangers are enjoying their fast start to the season. Can the Bruins overcome the odds and get a win at home? Let's find out.



PLAYING AT HOME -

The B's have not been impressive at home to start the year, sporting a 1-2-0 record. The problem has not necessarily been bad play, but more of an inconsistent goaltending situation. The Bruins have shown they can be one of the best teams in the league when Rask is in net, but he only played in one of the three home games. In that game, the Bruins came out on top 2-1 over New Jersey. By the way, Rask is expected to play in net tonight, so perhaps this could help the Bruins. Nonetheless, the play at home has been anything but beneficial for the Bruins. Hopefully the successful road trip has lit a fire under this team, and they can carry the momentum into the Garden, tonight.

BACKES RETURNS -

After missing 5 games with an elbow injury, right-winger David Backes makes his return to the ice tonight. The new Bruin was missed, as nobody really picked up the slack in his absence. His gritty style and offensive prowess was a key element for the Bs in their first 5 games, and he was especially missed during the McIntyre-Subban mess. A key player with offensive and defensive skill could have been vital in helping the young goalies feel confident between the pipes. His return tonight could be a factor in the outcome of the game.

RASK STAYS HOT -                             Thursday night, Tuukka Rask had to play a little more than he had bargained for, as the Lightning took the Bruins into a 10 round shootout. Rask saved 9 out of 10 to maintain his perfect record to start the year. As mentioned he is being called upon one again to lead the team, this time against an even tougher opponent. But, boasting a 1.48 GAA and .951 SV%, the Bruins net minder has been one of the best in the NHL, and may carry Boston to the win.

If they are going to win, the Bs will need to follow these...
 3 KEYS:

1. Get on the Power Play -

The Rangers have been incredible, but they have lacked in one specific area. Special teams. The Rangers rank outside the top half of the league in their penalty kill, and while the Bruins have the 2nd worst power play, exploiting New York's weakness could lift Boston to success.

2. Play to the Crowd -

Get the crowd into the game. It's simple. Make hits, get chances, score goals. A home crowd can be a very important part of a game. A loud crowd gives the home team pride in the game they are playing. The Bruins haven't experienced that this year, as the crowds at the Garden have been zombies so far. Getting the crowd hyped will do wonders for the Bruins tonight.

3. Forget About the Past -

wp-1478372089218.jpgThe Bruins need to take the last encounter against New York, and erase it from their memory. They can't dwell on the horrible defeat. Especially considering a few of the players expected to play tonight, weren't available 10 days ago. To be successful, the Bruins need to focus only on the present. What happened in New York, does not make a difference tonight. Just forget about it. They're not going to forget about it are they? Crud.

Projected lineup:

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Spooner-Krejci-Backes

Beleskey-Nash-Hayes

Schaller-Moore-Acciari
 Defense
 Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Liles-C Miller
 Goalies

Rask

McIntyre
 MY LINE-UP:

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Spooner-Krejci-Backes

Beleskey-Nash-Czarnik

Schaller-Moore-Acciari
 Defense

Chara-Carlo

Krug-C Miller

Liles-McQuaid
 Goalies

Rask

McIntyre
 Prediction:

NYR 3-2 BOS

The Rangers are too good of a team, and the Bruins struggle too much at home for me to consider a win.
 What do you think will happen tonight? Can the Bruins win? What do your 3 Keys look like? Let me know in the comments. Go B's!