Bruins continue to roll even without Marchand and McAvoy

Bruins continue to roll even without Marchand and McAvoy

GOLD STAR: There were a number of Bruins players that stepped up in the absence of Brad Marchand against the Ottawa Senators, and one of them was undoubtedly Danton Heinen when the B’s needed a spark early. Heinen stepped into Marchand’s spot on the power play and stepped up with a PP goal after a David Pastrnak pass flipped up into the air. It was Heinen that made a sweeping one-timer whack at the puck after it took a short hop off the ice, and completely beat Mike Condon for Boston’s first goal of the evening. In all Heinen finished with the goal, four shots on net, five shot attempts, a hit and a 1-for-1 performance in the face-off circle in 15:27 of ice time. Heinen actually has some Marchand to his game as far as strength on the puck and skill go, so he is a pretty good choice to step in for him on the PP. 

MORE - Haggerty: Bruins doing things not seen since Bobby Orr Era

BLACK EYE: A tough night for Colin White, who finished with a game-worst minus-2 and no shots on net in 18:40 of ice time against the Bruins team that he grew up rooting for. White missed on a couple of his shot attempts and really wasn’t much of a factor against the Black and Gold in his first time suiting up against them. It’s kind of been that way since White got called up for the Senators with no points, a minus-1 and just four shots on net in seven games, and he’s still looking for a moment to catch his footing at the NHL level. Here’s hoping that White starts putting it together in this audition because he’s a good kid that has the goods talent-wise, but he’s a first-round pick and he’s going to get his share of opportunities no matter what.  

TURNING POINT: For the Bruins it was hanging in there in the third period as the Senators had scored a game-tying goal just 20 seconds after the Bruins had notched a short-handed strike. That could have been a big momentum swing against the Black and Gold against a potentially good hockey team, but instead it was a sad sack Senators group that couldn’t capitalize on the moment. Instead Jake DeBrusk beat Mike Condon with a soft, fluttering goal that got through the backup’s equipment for the back-breaking game-winner. Boston never wavered in the third period and in the end it made all the difference in the world. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Patrice Bergeron stepped up without his partner-in-crime on the ice and notched a pair of assists in the three goals produced by the Black and Gold. It was Bergeron that won a race to the puck in the third period, and pushed a pass to Tim Schaller for a shorthanded strike that factored heavily into the game’s outcome. Bergeron finished with the two assists, seven shot attempts, two hits and a takeaway in his 17:43 of ice time. Sure No. 37 had an uncharacteristically tough night in the face-off circle with an 8-for-19 performance, but he stepped up in a spot where he didn’t have his usual wing man on his left. Not that it’s surprising because it’s Bergeron, of course, but it’s certainly worth noting. 

BY THE NUMBERS: 16-0-2 – Tuukka Rask has become just the fifth goalie in Bruins history to record at least one point in 18 straight games, and joins that select club with Gerry Cheevers, Pete Peeters, Frank Brimsek and Ron Grahame.  

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I think our guys stuck with it, did a good job and had the will to win in the end.” –Bruce Cassidy, to NESN postgame on another Bruins win where they fell behind while giving up the first goal to Ottawa. 


DeBrusk on being subject of trade rumors: "I love being a Bruin"

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DeBrusk on being subject of trade rumors: "I love being a Bruin"

TORONTO – Jake DeBrusk has heard about the trade rumors. Heck, the 21-year-old has actually been traded before in his hockey career as he was dealt in junior hockey from Swift Current to the Red Deer Rebels in his final season. It’s a little different, however, when DeBrusk hears his name involved in trade rumors with New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, and reports indicate that DeBrusk is a name that Rangers GM Jeff Gorton wants included in any deal. 


It makes perfect sense with DeBrusk off to a strong start to his NHL career with 11 goals and 29 points in 54 games while playing a top-6 role next to David Krejci, and just scratching the surface of how good he can be with the Bruins. Brandon Carlo has likewise been mentioned prominently as well as a young NHL player being sought after in trade talks. 

But the bottom line for all the Bruins youngsters is that they don’t want to go anywhere, and are doing their best to block everything out while preparing to go out and do their best. 

“I got traded in junior, so I know a little bit about it…but it’s a little different when it’s the magnitude of the NHL,” said DeBrusk. “We’re just focusing on getting wins, and doing everything I can do to help the team win. At the same you’re keeping an eye out and looking [at the rumors] secretly. But it is what it is. You can’t control it. You can only control your play, and do anything I can to help the team win now. You can only take it day by day. 

“I love being with these guys and we’re a pretty tight group. So whatever happens is going to happen, but at the same time whoever is on the ice we’ll go to battle with them.”


Clearly DeBrusk wants to stick with the team that selected him 14th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, and the Bruins would do well to keep a talented, likable and bright youngster that could be a meaningful member of the organization for a long, long time. But he’s also drawing whatever positive that he can out of the situation, and the biggest one is that other NHL teams are clearly taking notice of what he’s done this season as a rookie. 

Being the primary name mentioned in a deal for a player like the captain of the New York Rangers means you must be doing a lot of things right. 

“When you’re a rookie with your name being thrown around and the other guy has some pretty high stature in the league, it’s a compliment. But I don’t look too much into it,” said DeBrusk. “I love being a Bruin. I just want to continue to get better, continue to improve and I’ve got lots of room to grow. I’m just taking it shift-by-shift.”

That’s a smart kid with a good answer as he focuses on his game on the ice, and learns on the job to navigate through his first NHL experience that’s now included being at the heart of a juicy trade rumor for the Black and Gold.


Holden 'very excited to get started' with Bruins

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Holden 'very excited to get started' with Bruins

TORONTO -- Nick Holden suited up wearing No. 44 at his first official Bruins practice on Friday morning at the Ricoh Coliseum, home of the Toronto Marlies, but it remains to be seen exactly how things are going to shake out with the 30-year-old defenseman.

Holden mixed into the bottom pairing with a crowded back end of Matt Grzelcyk, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller and Paul Postma, and it sounded like he might not be breaking into the B’s lineup immediately. Bruce Cassidy might go with the same defensemen group that’s won two straight in Calgary and Edmonton, and then simply revisit with each passing game as the Bruins play a whopping 24 games in the final 44 days of the regular season.

“He’s big, he’s long,” said Cassidy. “I watched some of his shifts against us and Philadelphia . . . [he's] a good defender and [has] a good first pass. I think he’s going to help us.

"I know the next question is ‘when?’ We’re going to talk about that today. I don’t know when he’ll go into our lineup, to be honest with you. I don’t know if it will be tomorrow or Sunday (in Buffalo), with the reason being that we’ve liked the seven guys that we’ve used over the last two months.

“We can’t forget about that, or not have the loyalty to the guys that have got us here. We talked about it with him directly. We’ve played the guy that deserves to play this year, and once he’s in it’s his job to stay in. That’s about it.”

As it stands this weekend, the Bruins have nine healthy D-men on their roster and Holden is excited to get a chance to suit up in Black and Gold with his new team.

“I kind of knew I was getting traded, and when I found it was the Boston Bruins I was really excited,” said Holden. “Obviously they’re having a great year and it’s a really good team, so I’m very excited to get started. It worked out good that I was able to get in two days ago and go out with the team to dinner [in Toronto] and kind of meet everybody right away. It’s been great.”

Holden admitted it will be a change for him going more zone defense than man-to-man as it’s been in the past with the Rangers and the Avalanche, but those things tend to work themselves out in short order.

Otherwise it was a full group for the Black and Gold on Friday morning with Kevan Miller (upper body) fully healthy, and Tuukka Rask named as the starting goalie for Saturday night’s big game vs. the Maple Leafs.

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Maple Leafs based on Friday’s practice session: