Bruins

Haggerty: PBR line serving it up for Bruins

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Haggerty: PBR line serving it up for Bruins

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- All votes are hardly in, not with only two games played, but the Bruins' PBR Line looks like a winner.

PBR probably conjures up images of blue ribbon beer goodness to most, but its also the perfect moniker for the trio of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Rich Peverley as they teamed up for five points, a plus-6 and 12 shots on net in Bostons 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden Saturday night.

The three forwards were kicking each other after Thursday night for failing to convert on a bevy of offensive chances, but it was an entirely different story against the Lightning.

They were simply continuing the chemistry and production they began building during the preseason, and there was no mistaking how all their efforts funneled into the explosive elements of Peverleys two-goal masterpiece against the Lightning.

I feel we're creating a lot of chances off the rush, and even in zone, by our forecheck and by the way we keep moving our feet, said Bergeron. I thought we had a lot of chances last game as well and we didnt finish. Tonight we had the same thing and we found a way.

Peverley actually bookended the four-goal outburst from the Bruins against the Lightning, and ironically enough potted a pair of Mark Recchi-esque goals while going about replacing the retired legend at the left wing post he manned alongside Bergeron and Marchand last season.

Both were collected by patrolling near the painted area, and having that nose for the net Recchi turned into an art form.

Peverley served as a bottom-six forward last season for the Bruins in an adjustment to a deeper, more talented team, but now hes back in a prime scoring role like the one that allowed him score more than 20 goals and 50 points for the Atlanta Thrashers.

Its no stretch to think Peverley can do that again with the kind of catalyst winger and premier centerman logging shifts with him that he never had with the Thrashers.

When he came to us from Atlanta, he was in the top two lines and thats where he played, said coach Claude Julien. With the depth that we had last year, we just felt that him on the third line and Chris Kelly on that line, just gave us such good depth. We felt really comfortable with those top three lines scoring with Michael Ryder, and they proved that against Montreal in that series.

I dont think we ever doubted Peverley could play in the top six. I think he just seems to be getting better with our group, and he feels more comfortable.

The first marker was a goal earned simply by crashing the net and popping the rebound of a Marchand shot that clanked off both posts behind Mathieu Garon before it landed at Peverleys feet. The score was truly created by the devilish mind of Marchand, who fooled the defense into thinking hed feed Zdeno Chara at the point before he unleashed a laser at the net fooling the Bolts netminder.

The final goal was all speed and tenacity a pair of words that will become synonymous with the PBR Line as Marchand and Bergeron got the Lightning defenseman scrambling. Bergeron set things in motion by squeezing off a shot after hed quickly moved from backhand to forehand in the slot area that handcuffed the Tampa goaltender.

Garon was able to stop the first shot, but once again Peverley was crashing down on the net with a fierce burst of speed and tucked the puck past the Tampa Bay backup backstop.

Though Peverley and Recchi have some obvious differences as hockey players, one cant be faulted if they watched 60 minutes of hockey on Saturday night and thought they were watching a faster, more elusive Recchi skating around on the Garden ice.

Peverleys jets and skating wiggle give the PBR line a chance to create chaos with their speed and suffocating forecheck and thats exactly what happened to an overmatched group of defensemen all evening long. Throw in the chemistry that all three forwards created last year when they were together at times during the regular season and playoffs, and you have a line that Julien whether purposefully or by slip of the tongue labeled his top line during his postgame comments.

Given their speed, production, chemistry and willingness to play hard, relentless hockey at both ends of the rink, they look like the trio Julien is going to call on most often in key situations during the game.

The scariest part: after improving by leaps and bounds from opening night to Game No. 2, Marchand believes there is a great deal more growth still on tap for the PBR Line.

I think our line played better tonight than we did last game. I think the more were practicing and playing together the more confident were getting where each other is going to be and making plays together, said Marchand. Hopefully as the season goes on well be able to continue to grow and get better.

With Marchands feistiness, Bergerons two-way dominance and Peverleys blazing speed, the sky is the limit as the PBR Line gathers steam over the course of the brand new hockey season.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Kenny Agostino looking forward to 'the right opportunity' with the Bruins

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Kenny Agostino looking forward to 'the right opportunity' with the Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass – It’s been a few different stints with a few different NHL teams for 25-year-old Kenny Agostino, so he knows the drill at this point in his pro hockey career. The Bruins signed Agostino as a free agent on July 1 after he led the AHL in scoring last season, and they gave him a one-way contract as a show of proof that he’d get his chances at the NHL level.

It didn’t happen immediately out of camp as Agostino was felled by a concussion for part of the preseason, but he’ll get his chance now with injuries and ineffectiveness creating an opening for him on the Black and Gold. Agostino should get a look as the left winger on the third line after lighting it up in Providence with two goals and seven points in his first three games with the P-Bruins, and he’s looking forward to seizing another chance at the NHL level after stints with the Flames and Blues. 

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“I’ve been doing this a few years and I like to think I’ve developed my game outside of my offensive ability,” said the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Agostino, who had 24 goals and 83 points for the Chicago Wolves last season. “That’s kind of been my goal to become more of a complete player. I’m excited and looking forward to another opportunity and just want to make the most of it. I’m not looking past tonight.

“I was fortunate as a college guy to get my first pro experience at the NHL level in Calgary, but then you understand how difficult it is to establish yourself. You need a lot of different things. You need the right opportunity and you need to do well with it, so it makes you appreciate how great of an opportunity it is anytime you get to play in this league.”

Certainly, the Bruins are anxious to get a look at Agostino, and probably Peter Cehlarik at some point soon, and the lack of production from some of the NHL incumbents have fast-forwarded that process a little bit. Agostino will replace Ryan Spooner along the half-wall on the first power play unit, and perhaps he can add the kind of scoring touch in the bottom-6 that Matt Beleskey and Frank Vatrano haven’t been able to thus far.

“We know Kenny is going to start in Spooner’s power play spot, he’s done it before and he’s had some success at the lower levels when given that opportunity. Obviously he’ll play left behind [Brad] Marchand and [Jake] DeBrusk, probably on the third line spot,” said Cassidy. “He’s played with [Riley] Nash yesterday [at practice] so there’s a good chance he’ll play with him today.”

The Bruins certainly need a spark after limping out to a 2-3-0 start to the season in the first five games, so perhaps a hungry Agostino can do that while being given a legit chance to show what he can do by the Black and Gold. 

Tuukka Rask out indefinitely for Bruins with a concussion

Tuukka Rask out indefinitely for Bruins with a concussion

BRIGHTON, Mass – Tuukka Rask has been diagnosed with a concussion, and will be out indefinitely for the Bruins after getting trucked in Wednesday’s Bruins practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

The good news is that the 30-year-old Rask hasn’t previously dealt with concussion issues in his NHL career, but the bad news that it looked like a fairly serious concussion after Anders Bjork crashed into him during line rush drills at Bruins practice. It’s still unclear if Bjork caught an edge and crashed into Rask during drills, or if there was contact with another player that thrust the B’s rookie, who needed stitches on his chin as well, into the unsuspecting Bruins goalie for the rare violent collision during an off-day hockey practice. 

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“It’s not really easy. Last year I had a couple of collisions and it doesn’t feel good,” said Anton Khudobin. “Sometimes you get run over in a game and you kind of expect that it’s coming, but in the practices maybe you’re not expecting it. I don’t know. It’s not fun.” 

Rask had to be helped off the ice by his teammates and was spaghetti-legged and unsteady on his feet as he made his way off the way, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect him to miss 7-10 days at a minimum based on NHL concussion protocol. 

Clearly it’s a blow to the Bruins to lose their No. 1 goaltender while struggling to stabilize their game weeks into the regular season, and for Rask it continues a tough season where he’s off to a 1-3-0 start with a 3.30 goals against average and .882 save percentage behind a leaky defense. 

So Anton Khudobin will step in on Thursday night for Rask coming off a 29-save win over the Arizona Coyotes last weekend, and P-Bruins netminder Zane McIntyre will serve as Khudobin’s backup goalie on an emergency basis.

“You don’t want to see that, but at the same time we’ve got to keep moving forward and hopefully he’s going to get better soon,” said Khudobin. “I feel good. Camp was good and everything is fine, and I’ve started better than last year. My role is just day-to-day. Today is a game day and hopefully, you get a good result, and then tomorrow is another new day.”

It remains to be seen how quickly or slowly that Rask recovers from this concussion, but there is concern as more than a few NHL goalies have suffered from recurring issues once they start going down the path with concussion issues. 

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