BRIGHTON, Mass – It certainly doesn’t put an end to his quest to crack the NHL roster in Boston, but it would appear Kenny Agostino’s chances of making the Bruins out of training camp have taken a hit.
Agostino, 25, a former St. Louis Blues farmhand, was placed on waivers by the Bruins on Friday with the likely intent of sending him down to the AHL amid a glut of candidates for bottom-six forward roles.
Agostino actually had a decent camp when he was on the ice: He scored the overtime game-winner against the Detroit Red Wings, and he set up David Krejci’s goal in the 5-1 preseason loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night. But he also suffered an injury in the middle of camp that knocked him out of action for a couple of days and those were key practices that a new guy entering a new organization probably needed if he wanted to make the team.
“I think he was as advertised as far as showing that he could make some plays,” said Bruce Cassidy of Agostino, who had a goal and three points in seven games with the Blues last season along with 24 goals and 83 points in the AHL last season.
“He had an injury in the middle of camp where we were going to move him around with different people in the lineup, but it didn’t work out," Cassidy said. "I didn’t see him in the AHL because he was in the other division and I didn’t see him in St. Louis last year, so there wasn’t a lot of [prior] knowledge. From what I did see he’s a smart player and he makes plays. We’re looking to upgrade the speed in our lineup and I think there were a few people in front of him.”
Now it comes down to established players Ryan Spooner, David Backes and Riley Nash in the bottom-six and forwards Frank Vatrano, Noel Acciari, Sean Kuraly, Danton Heinen, Tim Schaller, Teddy Purcell and Matt Beleskey battling for the final four forward spots. It will be interesting to see if Agostino’s old team, the Blues, takes a flier on him in the next 24 hours given where they are with their forward depth after learning that Robby Fabbri will miss the entire season.
GOLD STAR: Brad Marchand decided to put the team on his shoulders late in the game, and not allow the Bruins to lose in Detroit. Marchand snapped off a slick cross-ice pass to David Pastrnak for the game-tying goal late in the third period with the goalie pulled, and then scored on a filthy backhanded finish in a breakaway in the 3-on-3 OT. Marchand finished with five shot attempts, a goal, two points and a plus-1 rating in 21:27 of ice time, and should put these highlights in his greatest hits reel for Hart Trophy consideration at the end of the year. Marchand is so fun to watch in those moments when he elevates his game with everything on the line, mainly because he is one of the few players that can do it.
BLACK EYE: Henrik Zetterberg looked every bit of his 37 years of age in this game finishing with a minus-3 and with just one shot on net during an otherwise decent, disciplined effort from the Red Wings. Zetterberg is really the poster boy for all that’s wrong with Detroit through no fault of his own where he’s a reminder of past Red Wings glory, but he’s not a player that should be around anymore as they build around younger players. Zetterberg can still play in the league and be pretty good, but he’s also not what he used to be when the Red Wings were perennial Cup contenders. It’s amazing that he was on ice for all three of the goals scored by the B’s in this one.
TURNING POINT: Bruce Cassidy pulled the goalie with slightly less than two minutes to go in the third period, and it turned into a good call as the Bruins skill players went to work with a scrambling Red Wings group on the ice. Marchand authored an elite, cross-ice pass through three Red Wings players in the middle of the ice to a waiting David Pastrnak for the game-tying goal, and that at least guaranteed the Bruins a single point in a game where they hadn’t played really well. That’s what good teams do: Grind out points when they’re not at their best, and somehow find ways to win some of those games by any means necessary.
HONORABLE MENTION: Noel Acciari helped the Bruins get some energy in the third period when he scored a gritty goal in front of the Red Wings net on a loose puck. Acciari attacked the end boards after the Red Wings had won a defensive zone face-off and forced a turnover on the exchange between Detroit D-men. That aggressive play turned into a shot at the Boston net from Tim Schaller, and then a follow-up from Acciari where he spotted the loose puck and flipped it past Jimmy Howard for the Bruins first goal of the game. Acciari only ended up with a shot on net and two hits in 10:50 of ice time, but it was exactly the kind of contribution that every team is looking for from their fourth line. Acciari came up big in this game.
BY THE NUMBERS: 5 – the number of wins in a row for Tuukka Rask, who made 31 saves and played solid for a Bruins team that didn’t play very good hockey in front of him for most of the game.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I didn’t see even see Marchy. I thought he was going to shoot it, and I just saw it at the last second. It wasn’t an easy shot and it was coming in pretty hot, but I got it down on the ice and was shooting at an empty net.” – David Pastrnak, on receiving the cross-ice pass from Brad Marchand through three Detroit defenders for the game-tying goal in the final minutes.
DETROIT - Brad Marchand assisted on the tying goal late in regulation and scored the game-winner 35 seconds into overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.
The Bruins managed only two shots on goal in the first period but twice rallied from a one-goal deficit for their ninth win in 11 games. Detroit has dropped 10 of 11, although the Red Wings have earned a point in five of those losses.
David Pastrnak tied it with 1:26 remaining in the third period, extending his point streak to nine games. The Bruins had pulled goalie Tuukka Rask with more than two minutes left, and Marchand's pinpoint pass from the right side made it through traffic to Pastrnak at the left of the net. His 15th goal of the season sent the game to overtime.
In the extra period, Marchand skated in ahead of defenseman Mike Green and stickhandled to the right before backhanding the puck past goalie Jimmy Howard from a sharp angle.
Noel Acciari scored the other goal for Boston. Dylan Larkin and Tomas Tatar scored for Detroit.
Tatar opened the scoring on a second-period power play, beating Rask only 13 seconds after Patrice Bergeron received a minor penalty for tripping. Tatar's wrist shot made it through with teammate Justin Abdelkader standing in front of the net as a screen.
Pastrnak, playing his 200th career game, nearly tied it moments later when he skated in behind the Detroit defense, but Howard stopped him.
Acciari tied it early in the third after a scramble in front of the net, and Boston went on the power play when Green was whistled for holding. But Larkin scored short-handed on a breakaway to put Detroit up 2-1.