Bruins

Bruins take care of business against Flames, 5-2

Bruins take care of business against Flames, 5-2

BOSTON – The Flames certainly didn’t make it easy for the Bruins with their fast and physical style of play, but in the end it was just another two points in the bank for the Black and Gold.

Riley Nash and Patrice Bergeron each scored a pair of goals to power the Bruins to a 5-2 win over the Flames at TD Garden in a game that was decided in the third period.

The Bruins jumped on the board early with a strong shift off the puck drop that ended with David Backes feeding Nash for the bang-bang goal in front just 28 seconds into the game. Unfortunately the Flames responded with their own clap-back score less than two minutes later when Sam Bennett tucked one past Tuukka Rask.

Johnny Gaudreau was able to beat a host of Bruins players to a loose puck in front of the net and buried one past Rask to give Calgary a lead at the end of the first period. It was the Bruins that responded with a massive second period where they outshot the Flames by a 16-8 margin, and punctuated their efforts with Nash’s second score of the game.

This one was kick-started by Charlie McAvoy picking off a TJ Brodie clearing attempt in the neutral zone, and skating it straight to the Calgary net before Nash finished things off.

The rest was up to Patrice Bergeron in the third period as he notched the game-winner on a power play strike off the rush, and then collected his team-leading 27th goal of the season while deflecting a Brad Marchand deep point attempt. Zdeno Chara added the empty net goal for the Bruins that iced things against the Flames, and left the Black and Gold with a home win in their final game before a long five game road trip through Western Canada.

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Bruins' Bjork out for season after undergoing shoulder surgery

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File photo

Bruins' Bjork out for season after undergoing shoulder surgery

TORONTO -- Anders Bjork's up-and-down rookie season has come to an end, as the Bruins' left wing underwent left shoulder surgery this week that’s expected to keep him sidelined for the next six months. 

Bjork was knocked out of a Jan. 30 loss to the Anaheim Ducks when Francois Beauchemin caught him with a cross-check to the left arm, but it’s unclear whether he was already playing through some level of shoulder injury prior to that collision. According to the B’s release, the 21-year-old winger “underwent successful left shoulder arthroscopy and labral repair on Tuesday” at Mass General Hospital. Bjork had been spotted around the Garden in recent weeks wearing his left arm in a sling, but it was difficult to guess the severity of the injury based on what looked like a fairly run-of-the-mill hit from Beauchemin. 

The injury and season-ending surgery ends a bit of a lost year for Bjork, who cracked the Opening Night roster and finished with 4r goals and 12 points in 30 games.

He showed the speed and skill required to be a top-6 forward at the NHL level, but also appeared to need more development time when it comes to battle level and adjusting to the physicality level in the pro game. The former Notre Dame star never seemed to fully bounce back from getting steamrolled in the neutral zone by Matt Martin in the middle of November, and ended up spending time in Providence as well prior to his season-ending injury. 

Bjork’s injury certainly doesn’t rule him out completely as a trade asset ahead of Monday afternoon’s trade deadline, but it probably makes him less attractive to NHL teams looking for young, NHL-ready talent that can step into their lineups right now. With Bjork headed for the long-term injured list and Frank Vatrano traded to the Florida Panthers for a third-round pick, that certainly opens the door for both a) a deal to bring on a veteran rental winger ahead of the trade deadline and B) a spot to be opened up in the Bruins organization for Ryan Donato when the Harvard University star, currently at the Olympics, is ready to sign.

Those are both very good things despite the downer news about Bjork, who watched fellow rookies Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen live up to the expectations many had for him.

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Bruins trade Vatrano to Florida for third-round pick

Bruins trade Vatrano to Florida for third-round pick

TORONTO – The Bruins are making more moves well ahead of the Monday trade deadline as they shipped injured winger Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a 2018 third-round pick. 

The trade somewhat eases a crowded roster, essentially gives the B’s a replacement for the third-rounder they sent to the New York Rangers for Nick Holden earlier this week and gives them a solid return on an undrafted college hockey free agent that had fallen a bit this season on the B’s organizational depth chart.

Vatrano had two goals and a minus-3 rating in 25 games with the Bruins this season, but had typically been either a healthy scratch or strictly a bottom-six winger when he had been in the lineup this season. Vatrano, the East Longmeadow, Mass., native who turns 24 next month, had fallen behind Anders Bjork, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen on the depth chart as two of the aforementioned three had locked down top-nine roles.

In that respect, it wasn’t much of a surprise to hear Vatrano getting moved as he’d hit a wall in his development with the Bruins after scoring 20 goals in his first 108 career NHL games and lighting up the AHL as a goal-per-game player. Now, Vatrano will get a chance to rekindle that goal-scoring ability with the Panthers and prove that he’s more than the one-dimensional player he appeared to be in three seasons with the B’s.

There was some thinking Vatrano might have served as a trade asset to be utilized in one of the potential deals that the Bruins have cooking for a rental wingers Patrick Maroon, Michael Grabner, Rick Nash or Thomas Vanek. Instead, general manager Don Sweeney scoops up a solid draft pick asset for a player that was sitting on the bench for the Black and Gold. That's a solid piece of asset management in a trade deadline period that so far is going very well for the GM.

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