Bruins Change The Narrative

Boston Bruins v Ottawa Senators - Game Five

Photo Credit: Chad Zimmermann

Today the Boston Bruins made a move that has been taking them all offseason to complete. The Bruins resigned forward David Pastrnak to a six year deal worth 40 million dollars . At the end of the deal Pastrnak will still be only 28 looking for an even bigger deal. Called Pasta by many in New England the young talented forward is coming off a breakout season in which he scored 34 goals while dishing out 36 assists in 75 games. This shows a shift for the Bruins as an organization. For many years and rightfully so the Bruins have gained a reputation for letting their young stars walk rather than extending them. They have traded young players such as Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton, Phil Kessel, and Joe Thornton back in the early 2000’s. All these players have had very productive years since leaving the Bruins while the Bruins haven’t received a player in any of the deals that’s made the impact those players have on their new teams.

Last summer the Bruins extended Brad Marchand after he had a breakout year to a eight year 49 million dollar deal. Now with the Bruins extending Pastrnak they have two impactful forwards committed to the Bruins for at least the next six years.  They also did not have to break the bank for either of these players as both deals leave the Bruins with plenty of cap room to improve this team in the coming years. This helps the Bruins who have many young players in the minors who could be worthy of extensions in the near future such as Charlie Mcavoy.

Extending Pastrnak shows that the Bruins may be changing the narrative when it comes to keeping their homegrown players. It may only be two but for the second straight offseason the Bruins decided to keep their young star rather than trading him.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Bruins

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Bruins Out To Prove Doubters Wrong

Torey Krug, Antti Niemi

Photo Credit: Joe Haggerty

The Boston Bruins enter today hanging onto the final wild card spot by three points with five games remaining. The team behind them the Tampa Bay Lighting has one more game left than the Bruins. The B’s have not made the playoffs in two seasons and have suffered disastrous collapses in both of those. As of late it looked like the Bruins were doomed to repeat that fate as they lost four straight from March 16th-23rd.  Not only were they losing but the games were not particularly close and starting goaltender Tuukka Rask pulled himself from the game against the Lighting causing head coach Bruce Cassidy to call out his goaltender.  Since that game that ended in a 6-3 loss to the Lighting this team has looked different.

After last night’s win the Bruins have won two straight and it all starts with the Bruins net minder Tuukka Rask.  After the Lighting game many people criticized Rask and called him out for not showing up for big games.  Last year Rask sat out the last game  due to sickness with the season on the line. Rask reminded people last night why he is so crucial to the Bruins as he recorded his seventh shutout of the season in the Bruins 2-0 win over the  Dallas Stars . In recent years the Bruins have struggled to find a capable backup to Rask meaning Rask has been forced to play more than he should. This has caused Tuukka to not be as fresh at the end of the season when the Bruins need him the most. Lately, Rask has been able to get that essential rest as since new coach Bruce Cassidy took over,  Rask’s backup Anton Khudobin has not lost a start.

With the standings so close every game down the stretch is crucial for this team. If they miss the playoffs after collapsing for a third straight year there will be a lot of changes for this roster and management heading into next season. This team is trying to avoid that and after looking flat in their previous four games they look more determined than ever. The Bruins play in a city that expects excellence and in which every other team is annually making the playoffs. They are trying to avoid being the team that doesn’t and if they can continue to win over these final games then playoff hockey will return to Boston.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Bruins #Boston #DallasStars

Bruins Continue Winning

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Photo Credit: Andrew Thompson

Yesterday the Boston Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in an afternoon matinee. Neither team played their best as they both suffered defensive lapses and neither team really deserved this game. The Bruins however still found a way too win. David Pastrnak started off the scoring in the first period with a power play goal. The Bruins looked like a completely different team in the second period. They didn’t look nearly as energetic and had trouble getting the puck out of their end. That resulted in the Flyers tying the game on a goal by Jordan Weal in the early part of the second period. No one scored for the rest of the period as without Rask the Bruins could have easily found themselves behind. The game was determined in the third period in a manner that shows how right things are going for the Bruins.

With 5.6 seconds left in the game deadline acquisition Drew Stafford fired in a dump shot that was tipped by a flyers defenseman into the net for Stafford’s second goal as a Bruin. For this Bruins team a couple weeks ago the dump in shot probably would have turned into nothing and the Bruins would have suffered a heartbreaking loss in overtime. However times have changed and under interim coach Bruce Cassidy every bounce is going their way. They are playing with more energy and aggressiveness than they have in years . This win was especially important considering how tight the playoff picture is. Coming into the game the Flyers were six points behind the Bruins for a playoff spot. The game was critical to give the Bruins some separation and they did just that.

In order for the Black and Gold to make the playoffs they’ll need a couple more bounces to go there way like last night. The Bruins have 14 games left as they attempt to end there two year playoff drought. Under Cassidy this certainly seems like a playoff team and at the moment everything is going their way.

Written By: James Gatlin

#BostonBruins

Bruins Fire Claude

claudie

Photo Credit: Adam Stocker

On Tuesday the Boston Bruins fired head coach Claude Julien who has the most wins in franchise history. Julien won 416 games during his ten years with the franchise including seven postseason appearances. Julien also coached the Bruins to two Stanley cup finals including winning it all in 2011. The last two years have gone differently however as the Bruins have missed the playoffs and after a extremely disappointing 6-5 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday the Bruins sit one point out of a playoff spot. Julien’s firing  is not because he is a bad coach. He is one of the best in the league and isn’t expected to be out of a job for long. There were however multiple factors that caused Bruins ownership to go in a new direction.

Some of the Bruins inconsistency so far this year is a result of key players who just haven’t lived up to expectations. These players include David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Spooner, and David Backes. Krejci and Bergeron both began the season coming off injuries which could explain their slow starts. Even with that considered both have played well under expectations as they are projected to finish with numbers under their career norms. Last year Ryan Spooner had a breakout year however this year has been very different. At certain times this year the young center has been called out by Julien and the coaching staff for not playing to his potential. As a result he has been moved along different lines in order to get his game going but to no avail. The last underperforming veteran in this group is David Backes. The Bruins signed  him in the offseason to a 5 year 30 million dollar deal. Through 47 games this year however Backes only has 22 points. Backes has never been none as a high scorer however he usually finishes with about 60 points a season and he is  projected to finish this season  with only 34 points . As the Bruins offense struggles an improvement from any of these players would be a huge boost.

The Bruins also have had problems with their goaltending as the Bruins backup goalies have won one game this year. This has put a tremendous amount of pressure on Tuukka Rask as the Bruins ability to give him days off have been limited. Many point to these problems as a result of Julien however that is not the case. No coach makes seven straight postseason appearences based on luck. Julien has always been a defensive minded coach however the NHL is now faster paced and a person can only change their coaching tendenices so much. Julien is partly to blame for the Bruins fall from excellence however he is not the only one. Julien should be remembered fo all that he did for the Bruins as his accomplishments during his ten years in Boston far out way his failures.

Written by: Jamie Gatlin

 

The Emergence Of Pastranak

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Boston Bruins

Photo credit: Andrew Thompson

Twenty seven  games into the season the Boston Bruins forward David Pastrank appears to be in midst of a historic season. His 16 goals to this point of the season  place him third in the league in goals scored and put him on pace to score 5o this season. When Pastranak first made his debut all people would talk about was his size. The Bruins drafted the young forward in the first round of the 2014 NHL draft twenty fifth overall. He made his debut later that season and in 46 games recorded ten goals and seventeen assists for twenty seven points. Pastranak has never been the biggest body on the ice and during his rookie season many people questioned what would happen if he took a big hit. Three years later Pastrank  is showing why he is a key part of the Bruins future and he emphasized that on Monday with his overtime winner against the Florida Panthers.

In overtime Pastranak took a pass from David  Krejci and drove towards the net deking out the Panthers goalie and burying the game winner. On a play that would be difficult for most  Pastrnak made it look effortless. Pastranak has carried the Bruins offensively as they rank near in the bottom in most offensive categories. This is because the Bruins are not getting the usual production from key players such as Patrice Bergeron and Ryan Spooner who have struggled to put the puck in the net. Before the season all the talk was about Brad Marchand as he signed an extension with the Bruins after a breakout season  and an outstanding World Cup performance for team Canada. So far this season most of the talk for the Bruins  has been about Pastranak establishing himself as one of the best young stars in the game and the return to dominance of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. In Pastrnak’s first two years in the NHL the most goals he scored in a season was 15 and 27 games into the 2016-2017 Pastranak has already set a new career high with 16 and counting. If the Bruins are going to return to the playoffs this year they’ll need their young defenseman to keep maturing and Patrice Bergeron to return to his form as the best two-way forward in the NHL. Pastranak however  has shown early on that he can carry a team and is showing no signs of slowing down.

#Bruins

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

Young Bruins Goaltenders Will Need To Step Up

 

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Photo Credit: Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

The Bruins ended this week on a high note with a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night. The previous games did not go as well as the Bruins  lost to the Minnesota  Wild 5-0 on Tuesday night and followed that up with another disappointing performance against the New York Rangers Wednesday night. In the game against the wild Malcom Subban got the start however he didn’t even finish the second period. With backup goaltender Anton Khudobin out for three weeks and Rask playing through an injury it will be time for the rookies to step up.

What Went Right: Very few things went well this week. The only bright spot was the return of Rask. Rask has been battling an undisclosed injury all year and this week was the first time in the young season he was forced to miss consecutive games.With Khudobin’s injury the Bruins goaltending depth becomes thin and it well be up to rookie Zane McIntrye to back up Rask. His play will be critical as with  Rask hurting the Bruins may lean on the rookie more than expected. Brad Marchand continued his hot start as he recorded an assist in the Bruins game against the Rangers.

What Went Wrong: The Bruins wont look back on their games against the Wild and Rangers this week proudly. The Bruins were plagued by defensive breakdowns which was their Achilles heel last year. The young goalies also did not perform well as in the game against the Wild Subban was pulled in the second period after allowing 3 goals on 13 shots. In Subbans only NHL start last year he was also pulled in the second period due to ineffectiveness. The Bruins will also be without David Pastrnak for another game after he received a 2 game suspension due to his illegal check to the head of Dan Girardi in the Bruins game against the Rangers. So far Pastrnak has been the Bruins second best forward.

Highlight: Rask returned to the Bruins on Saturday and showed why they missed him so much as he made 24 saves en route to his 31st career shutout. If Rask can play to his potential then there will be less pressure on the Bruins D. The Bruins cant let Defensive breakdowns occur as they showed on Saturday that when focused they can be a good defensive team. How the Bruins D minimizes those defensive breakdowns will determine how far this team goes.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Bruins