Bruce Cassidy welcomes tweaks to the off-side coaches challenge


Bruce Cassidy welcomes tweaks to the off-side coaches challenge

BRIGHTON, Mass – Bruce Cassidy clearly isn’t in love with the coach’s challenge at the NHL level. 

It disrupts the flow of the game when it comes into play, and it has seemed to absolutely crucify the Bruins at very inopportune times since its inception at the beginning of last season. But it’s also something that the Bruins coaching staff must be on top of to gain any possible edge against the opposition, and now the pressure will be on even more heavily after rule changes give the team a minor penalty for any incorrectly challenged off-side play. 

According to the NHL release, the rule “will provide for the assessment of a two-minute minor penalty for unsuccessful Coach’s Challenges to alleged Off-Side infractions leading to goals. The penalty for the unsuccessful off-side challenge replaces the loss of a team’s time-out – which had been in place since the implementation of the Coach’s Challenge in 2015. Under the revised rule, a team does not have to possess its time-out in order to issue a challenge on the particular play – nor will it forfeit its time-out in the event of an unsuccessful challenge.”

Clearly the rule has been tweaked to lessen the amount of off-side coach’s challenges seen in the league last season, and to also add more power plays, and therefore more offense theoretically, to a league that’s always looking to boost goal-scoring. The Bruins head coach liked the idea of fewer coach’s challenges, but hopes that a coaching staff will have the proper time to quickly review the video before play is resumed. 

“I’m not against it. I prefer a game with flow, so to begin with the more challenges there are, the more it slows the game down and the more pressure is on me to get it right. So I’m not a fan of all these different challenges,” said Cassidy. “Hopefully now if they’re going to punish you for getting the challenge wrong, they’ll give you an appropriate amount of time so you can get an accurate read from your video guys. 99 times out of 100 it’s so close that you’re going to need information from the people you’ve designated to give you that information. 

“Last year they wanted it at a certain time. They looked at you after every goal looking for a ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ This year because it’s punitive you’d hope they’d give you an extra five seconds to at least sort through it, or ten seconds … whatever it takes. Last year I think the officials said they’d try to give you 25 or 30 seconds while the other team is celebrating anyway. Maybe you want a line change. They’d tried to build all that in, but there was no hemming and hawing. As the year went on they tried to streamline things to get it going. As a coach you have to be fairly certain now because you’d hate to give up a goal on a power play. That would be a big momentum swing.”


Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

AP Photo

Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

GOLD STAR: Every once in a while Brad Marchand wills the Bruins to a win that they probably wouldn’t have otherwise had, and that happened again on Friday night with a three-point explosion for No. 63 in the final 20 minutes. Marchand finished with a goal and three points in 19:57 of ice time along with a plus-2 rating, and played a key role in the three-goal outburst that allowed the B’s to vanquish a 2-0 deficit. It was Marchand that opted not to shoot from the face-off dot with a look at the net in the closing seconds, and instead dropped it down low to David Pastrnak as he curled around the net and pushed a puck past Kari Lehtonen for the game-winner. Marchand finished with two shots on net, eight total shot attempts and a number of big plays in the third period redirecting pucks in close, kicking off shorthanded scoring plays and then setting up clutch game-winners in the final 15 seconds of the game. It’s the kind of night where Marchand played like an MVP even if he isn’t going to get much of a sniff at the Hart Trophy. 

BLACK EYE: Jamie Benn scored a shorthanded goal for the Dallas Stars, but he also jumped up in the air and clobbered Brad Marchand from behind with a completely unnecessary hit in the third period that went without a penalty being called. Instead it seemed to incense Marchand, who never gave up in the final sequence and ultimately fed a pass to David Pastrnak down low for the game-winner with just 11.1 seconds remaining in the game. Benn finished a minus-2 for Dallas while being on the ice for a pair of goals against, had a brutal 1-for-7 performance in the face-off dot and really acted like a punk on the play with Marchand in the third period. Benn is a better player than that and shouldn’t be resorting that level on a fellow star player like Marchand. 

TURNING POINT: Once again the Bruins really turned things around in the third period while outscoring the Stars by a 3-0 margin, and really flooding the Dallas net with 10 of their 36 shots on net for the night. It all started with a relentless shift from Boston’s top line where Riley Nash made a pass from his knees before taking a big hit, and then Brad Marchand redirected a David Pastrnak shot from the slot off his leg and into the net for Boston’s first goal. That first score finally allowed the Bruins to begin building some momentum, score each of the next two goals as the game slipped away from Dallas and once again proved themselves as a hockey club that one doesn’t ever doubt in the third period. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Tuukka Rask had a career-high 40 saves and turned away some really good looks from the Dallas offense while showing exactly what the Bruins can be capable of when their goaltending is on point. The only goals that beat Rask were a first period score with droves of traffic in front of the net, and a second period shorthanded score for Jamie Benn where he pulled one of those unconventional finishing moves on Rask at the very end. Rask made 11 saves on the Dallas power play alone during a trio of PP chances, and made a crucial leg pad save on Antoine Roussel in the third period that helped open things up for the goal-scoring outburst late in the game. Hopefully the strong, resounding performance from Rask answers some of the questions about some of his recent so-so performances between the pipes.   

BY THE NUMBERS: 29 – the number of goals this season for David Pastrnak as he readies to become only the ninth Bruins player to hit the 30-goal plateau in back-to-back seasons over the last 35 years of franchise history. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Resiliency. We didn’t want to go quietly for sure. We can live with the end result as long as we play the right way. The end result went our way again in the end, and I think that’s a credit to the guys.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN about another comeback win for the Black and Gold.

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

AP Photo

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

DALLAS - David Pastrnak broke a tie with 12 seconds left and the Boston Bruins scored three straight goals in the third period to rally past the fading Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night.

A scramble followed a faceoff in the Dallas end, and Brad Marchand passed to Pastrnak in front. While falling down, he put the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

TALKING POINTS: B's resiliency on full display vs Stars

Tuukka Rask made a season-high 40 saves for the Bruins. Marchand scored Boston's first goal and also assisted on a short-handed goal by Tim Schaller that tied it midway through the third period.

The second-place Bruins won for the first time in three games (1-0-2) to move within four points of Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay. Boston has already clinched a playoff berth.

The Stars are winless in their last seven games (0-5-2). They remained four points behind Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card.

Dallas led 2-0 on a first-period goal by Esa Lindell and Jamie Benn's short-handed score late in the second.

In the third, Marchand tipped in a shot by Pastrnak before Schaller scored on a 2-on-1 with Marchand.

Lehtonen finished with 33 saves.

Lindell scored 2:26 into the game. Jason Dickinson tried to deflect a shot from the right point into the net but the puck went wide right. Curtis McKenzie picked it up behind the goal line and passed to Lindell high in the left faceoff circle. His wrist shot went in off Rask's right arm.

Benn missed two good scoring opportunities early in the second period, but connected at 19:22. He took a pass from Tyler Seguin at the Dallas blue line and had a breakaway when Matt Grzelcyk fell down. Benn slid a backhand under Rask.