Rask, Bruins stop red-hot Islanders with 3-1 victory


Rask, Bruins stop red-hot Islanders with 3-1 victory

BOSTON – The Islanders rolled into Boston with a red-hot offense against a red-hot Boston Bruins team, and the B’s ended up taking the win for the 8th time in their last 10 games.

Goals from Brad Marchand, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen paced the offense, but it was all about the Bruins defense and Tuukka Rask holding down the high-octane Isles offense in a 3-1 win at TD Garden.

After a scoreless first period where the Bruins held the high-powered Islanders to just four shots on net, they finally got things going in the middle 20 minutes. Brad Marchand took a pass and fired a tester shot from the left face-off circle that somehow trickled through the pads of Jaroslav Halak on the way to the back of the net.

The game stayed that way until the third period, and was only marked by a very iffy instigator penalty on Jake DeBrusk after he stepped in following a heavy Casey Cizikas hit on Charlie McAvoy near the Islanders bench. DeBrusk missed most of the second and part of the third period while serving his 17 minutes in penalties, but made up for lost time in the third when he scored on a spinning, firing shot from the slot after finally getting out of the box.

That was the way the game stayed despite a five-minute major call on Brad Marchand for interference in the second period, and a five minute major and game misconduct to David Backes in the third period for head-butting Andrew Ladd. Once again this looked like a very questionable call from the zebras on a fairly normal dust-up between Bruins and Islanders players.

The rest was up to Tuukka Rask, who stopped all 31 shots that he faced on the way to his fourth win in a row. 



Morning Skate: Talking B's, Bergeron and the Hamburglar

Morning Skate: Talking B's, Bergeron and the Hamburglar

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while in disbelief that the Hamburglar is getting a second go-round in NHL infamy. Good for him.

*In the interest of self-promotion, here’s Saturday’s 98.5 The Sports Hub's Hockey Show with yours truly joining Ryan Johnston, Bob Beers, Judd Sirott and Bill Jaffe to talk all things Black and Gold leading up to Saturday night’s Game 5 with the B’s having a chance to close out the series.

*Auston Matthews led the rest of the NHL as the top-selling NHL jersey for 2018, edging out Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid for top honors. So he has that going for him, which is nice.

*Speaking of the Hamburglar, the mics picked up some of his Avalanche teammates colorfully excited about the way that Andrew Hammond played in goal last night.

*Speaking of the Maple Leafs, Damien Cox is coming with an elbow off the top turnbuckle for Frederik Andersen and the way he’s played in the series vs. the Bruins 

*Interesting piece on hockey development for NHL players, and how Torey Krug taking his time turned out to be key for the late-blooming, small-statured D-man.

*Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters is flying the coop there and using his option to explore other NHL coaching opportunities while leaving with “no regrets.”

*For something completely different: Apparently way more men than women quit amid the harsh Boston Marathon conditions this past week, so here’s a story about why men are quitters and women are not. Okay then.


Cassidy expects Bergeron to play tonight

Cassidy expects Bergeron to play tonight

BRIGHTON, Mass – With a chance to close out their first-round series on home ice, it looks like the Bruins will get their best player back into the fold.

After a surprise, last-minute scratch ahead of Game 4 in Toronto, Patrice Bergeron (upper body injury) skated on Saturday morning with the rest of his team at Warrior Ice Arena and coach Bruce Cassidy said he's “looking good” to suit up for the Black and Gold against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at TD Garden.

Bergeron went through a brief practice with the rest of his teammates and took his usual bumper role on the top power-play unit as they went through some drills, a couple of signs that No. 37 should be ready to go. There are no guarantees until he makes it through pregame warm-ups and the puck drops for Game 5, but it sure sounded a lot more promising for Bergeron than it did just a couple of days ago in Toronto.

“He looked good this morning,” said Cassidy. “If he’s fine in pregame skate, then I anticipate he’ll play, but we’ll make that decision after warm-ups. But it’s looking good.”

Bergeron wouldn’t elaborate on the injury other than to say it wasn’t something he’d been managing all along, meaning it was something caused by a hit he took in Boston’s Game 3 loss in Toronto. The fact that Bergeron skated Wednesday, Friday and Saturday would strongly indicate that it wasn’t a concussion as some might have blindly speculated, but probably some kind of shoulder/arm injury suffered absorbing one of a couple of hard hits he took in Toronto.

Bergeron said the medical staff would have final say on whether or not he played, but he felt pretty good after going through the morning skate.

“I feel good. Hopefully, it stays like that. We’ll see what happens when I talk to the training staff when I get to the rink,” said Bergeron. “The doctors and training staff thought it was better [to not play] for that game. I was definitely confident [in the team], but you’re also a lot more nervous when you’re watching the game rather than playing in it.

“In the playoffs, it’s definitely a lot more painful [to miss] and that was a big discussion we had with the training staff. It’s always tough, for sure. I’m optimistic, and now it’s about selling it to the other side.”

Clearly, the Bruins could use him after his line piled up 20 points in the first two games in the series prior to Bergeron taking the injurious hit in Game 3, but the other good news is that the Black and Gold were 12-5-2 in 19 games missed by their top center this season.  

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings for Game 5 based on the morning skate: