Bruins

Bruins explode for three goals in second period, beat Red Wings, 4-2

Bruins explode for three goals in second period, beat Red Wings, 4-2

BOSTON – The Bruins continued their preseason display of youth and speed by opening their home exhibition season with a win over the Red Wings at TD Garden.

After a scoreless first period, the Bruins exploded for three goals in the middle 20 minutes with scores from Ryan Fitzgerald, Danton Heinen and Austin Czarnik that paced them to a 4-2 victory over Detroit, and gives them a 2-0-0 record thus far in the preseason.

The Bruins and Red Wings battled to a scoreless tie after the first 20 minutes of play, but things loosened up after that in a game that Boston controlled for long stretches with puck possession and transition offense. The first goal was actually a great individual rush by Jakub Zboril, who dropped a pass to a wide-open Fitzgerald for the finish past Petr Mrazek. Little more than four minutes later Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson drove the net, drew the defense toward him and then fed to a wide open Heinen crashing on the backdoor.

Czarnik put the punctuation mark on a strong game by earning himself a penalty shot after getting behind the Red Wings defense, and scored the game-winning goal in the second period. Detroit scored a couple of goals afterward to make it a competitive third period, but they didn’t have enough to overtake Anton Khudobin playing the full game for the B’s. Teddy Purcell added an insurance marker late in the third period after finishing off a 3-on-1 feed from Czarnik. 

Khudobin finished with 14 saves in a win that was dominated by the home team in front of the home crowd. The only downer in the preseason win was both Torey Krug (puck to the face) and Forsbacka Karlsson (big hit in corner) getting dinged up as things went along. 

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Schaller's sterling play helping to ease Bruins' pain

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Schaller's sterling play helping to ease Bruins' pain

BRIGHTON -- Injuries, and some really tough losses, have put a bit of a damper on the start to the Bruins season. But there've also been a couple of unquestioned bright spots.

And one of them is Tim Schaller, who's been a strong, consistent performer in the first couple of weeks of the season. The New Hampshire native -- and lifelong Bruins fan -- was penciled in as a fourth-line winger throughout most of training camp, but he’s played everywhere as injuries have ravaged the B's roster.

The high point was probably centering Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak (and notching an assist) in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Sabres, and filling in for a late-scratched David Krejci with a very different set of skills. Certainly he’s been a standout for the Bruins with his physicality, including stepping up and fighting man mountain Erik Gudbranson after Gudbranson's nasty boarding hit on Frank Vatrano last week, and he’s also kicked in a couple of goals and three points in seven games thus far this season.

“It’s a reactionary thing, and that’s just in a person,” said Bruce Cassidy of fighting Gudbranson. “It’s a character thing because you don’t have a lot of time to think about it. Good for Timmy. That earns a lot of street cred not only in your own locker room, but the other teams notice it. too.

"We know with the goals that he can obviously chip in [offensively] and he’s doing a great job for what we’re asking him to do. He’s probably going to take ownership if he’s out there with some young guys on a line, and if he can be a leader and get that line playing the right way every night that is very valuable to us.”

Schaller’s game to this point is a continuation of what he showed in his first season with the Bruins last year, when the 26-year-old posted 7 goals and 14 points in 59 games while becoming a staple in Boston’s bottom-6 group. He’s once again shown pretty good straight-ahead speed for a big man, and a willingness to take his 6-foot-2, 219-pound frame straight to the net.

“I’ve been moving well and I’ve got the two goals, so personally I’m happy [with my game],” said Schaller. “Hopefully others can feed off what I’m trying to do out there, and we get a more well-balanced game [as a team]. I had a good season last year, and what was really good was that I knew that I had more to give. That’s what I’m trying to do this season.

“I can obviously produce more. I had a good start to last season and then I kind of fell off a little bit. So hopefully I can be a little more consistent for this entire year.”

That would be a very good thing for a Bruins team that can use him in a bottom-6 energy role when its roster is healthy, and will fully utilize his versatility in times of injuries and adversity.

Morning Skate: Cheers for Boyle as he returns to practice with Devils

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Morning Skate: Cheers for Boyle as he returns to practice with Devils

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while determined to go see Foo Fighters at Fenway Park this time around. 
 
-- In the great news department, Hingham native Brian Boyle hears cheers at practice as he returns to work for the New Jersey Devils after his cancer diagnosis. Boyle might be wearing a Devils uniform, but he knows he has all of Boston in his corner along with many, many other corners of the hockey world. 

-- There is no panic with the Maple Leafs over the slow start for Mitch Marner, who has been dropped to the fourth line in the early going.
 
-- Wellesley native Chris Wagner is beginning to get recognized for his big hits and physical play with the Anaheim Ducks

-- Senators prospect and Massachusetts native Joey Daccord makes an unbelievable game-saving stop for his college team. 

-- For something completely different: Greg Nicotero talks about the Walking Dead premiere, and a character thought dead that might actually still be alive.