Julien gives Bruins offensive 'overhaul,' lifts Pastrnak to top PP

Julien gives Bruins offensive 'overhaul,' lifts Pastrnak to top PP

BRIGHTON, Mass -- The first step in addressing that you have one, and the Bruins have finally done that by shaking up their forward lines and power play groups.

Less than 24 hours after scoring two goals or less for the 20th time in 29 games this season in a loss to the Maple Leafs, Claude Julien has moved David Pastrnak to the Bruins top power play unit while also putting the 20-year-old scoring phenom on a line with David Krejci as well. Pastrnak replaces Ryan Spooner on the top PP unit, and gives that crew a true play-finisher and goal-scorer to go with playmakers like David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Torey Krug and David Backes.

Pastrnak is second in the NHL with 18 goals scored this season, and leads the Bruins with four PP goals this season. So that particular change was probably a long time coming given his production this season, and the wicked one-timer he's displayed on a couple of occasions. Julien said after practice it was about sparking his players and getting more balanced scoring, and there isn’t much to lose with a team that’s already 26th in the league in offense and 27th in the NHL in power play success this season.

“Sometimes changes can create some excitement and some changes, and you do what you have to do [to spark the offense],” said Julien. “It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time. We’ve made changes before, but this is more of a full overhaul, I guess you’d call it, rather than tweaking one or two [players].

“We’re just going to play our game, and hope that it turns into some goals. My only concern right now is that we find ways to score goals. Right now we’re putting a lot of pressure on our goaltenders to stand tall every night because we’re only scoring one or two goals.”

Ryan Spooner has also returned to his natural center position on the third line with the hope that he can spark some offense there between a couple of young speed players in Danton Heinen and Austin Czarnik. Here are the newfangled Bruins line combos and D-pairings from Sunday’s physical, intense practice with Ryan Spooner, Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand, Tim Schaller, Dominic Moore and Jimmy Hayes all getting looks with the second power play unit:







Morrow-K. Miller

C. Miller


Backes 'will be out for a couple of games' with right leg laceration

File Photo

Backes 'will be out for a couple of games' with right leg laceration

The late season attrition continues for the Boston Bruins as David Backes will miss some time with the laceration on his right leg caused by an errant skate blade in Saturday night’s win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

MORE - B's sign Donato to entry-level contract

It took roughly 18 stitches to close a wound that was gushing blood as Backes quickly exited the ice in the first period, and now it looks like it’s going to force him to miss a handful of games here late in the season. Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that Backes isn’t “day-to-day” as they wait for nature to take its and heal a significant gash that could have been much worse for the 33-year-old power forward. 

“David Backes returned late [Saturday] night with the team. He did meet with our doctors, and they reevaluated the cut. They did some work on it. Obviously, you’ve got great medical care down in Tampa; we’re thankful for that, but our guys wanted their own hands and eyes on it,” said Sweeney. “A timetable hasn’t been set for him. 

“You can imagine it was a pretty significant cut, and now that it’s been, sort of, re-cleaned and addressed accordingly, we’ll just let nature take its course, let it heal. I don’t have a definitive timetable on that one, certainly not day to day. I would suspect he’ll be out for a couple games, and then we’ll reevaluate.”

MORE - B's make statement vs Lightning

The biggest concern for the Bruins with a cut of that nature is the chance of infection, so that’s something the Bruins medical staff will be monitoring closely as Backes heals over the next week or two. It’s too bad for both the B’s and Backes as the Bruins forward was knocked out in the first period against both Florida and Tampa after serving a three-game suspension, and has had his share of freak injuries and illness this season with first diverticulitis that ended with colon surgery, and now the skate blade incident. 

The good news is that it doesn’t sound like Backes is in any danger of being ready for the playoffs, and that’s truly matters as the Bruins continue to win games with so many good players injured and removed from the lineup. Sweeney also gave updates on Patrice Bergeron, who may join the Bruins on their next extended road trip following Monday night’s game vs. Columbus, and Jake DeBrusk, who it doesn’t sound like is all that close to returning to the lineup with his upper body injury.


Bruins sign prospect Ryan Donato to entry-level contract

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Bruins sign prospect Ryan Donato to entry-level contract

The Bruins announced Sunday they have signed Harvard forward Ryan Donato to a two-year entry-level contract.

Donato will be eligible to play in tomorrow's game vs the Blue Jackets.

The 21-year-old led Harvard in scoring in 2017-18, recording 26 goals and 17 assists for 43 points in 29 games. Donato also represented Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where he tied for the most goals in the Olympics with five in as many games.