Bruins

Talking Points: Rangers make Bruins pay for penalties

talking_points_rangers_121617.jpg

Talking Points: Rangers make Bruins pay for penalties

GOLD STAR: King Henrik Lundqvist has pretty solid career numbers against the Bruins, and has enjoyed some very good games against the Black and Gold over the years. King Henrik’s Saturday night was more of the same with 33 saves in the overtime win, including a number in spots where the Bruins began to get decent pressure on the New York net. Lundqvist did allow a power play goal in the third period to allow the Bruins to force an overtime, but he also stopped 15 shots in the third period to make certain that the Bruins didn’t get any more in the final 20 minutes. It was all there: The flashy glove save attempts, the quick reaction saves going post-to-post and the solid play that forced the Bruins to actually beat him for everything they got.

BLACK EYE: You’ve got to put this one on the Bruins bench for taking a couple of too many men on the ice penalties at tough moments in the game. The first wiped out a Bruins power play late in the third period that might have given Boston a chance to end things in regulation, and the second was in the 3-on-3 OT during a moment of chaos as gassed Bruins players were attempting to come off the ice during a Rangers rush. Instead, it was a too many men on the ice penalty again, and this time it was Mats Zuccarello that made the Bruins pay with a game-winning PP strike through a Chris Kreider screen in front of Tuukka Rask. Bruce Cassidy said the B’s simply tried to get away with one in the overtime, but they were caught on a night when Boston had way too many mistakes to actually win the game.

TURNING POINT: An early turning point for the Bruins could have changed the game in their favor when Ryan Spooner had a goal overturned very early in the first period. Jake DeBrusk was offside as David Krejci entered the zone with the puck just prior to the goal, and the Rangers bench quickly and successfully challenged the play directly afterward. Given that the Rangers have played a busy schedule as of late, the Bruins believed they could have really put a lot of pressure on the Blueshirts if they could have taken an early lead. Instead, the Bruins fell behind by a two-goal deficit, and were once again playing catch-up hockey before finally falling in overtime.    

HONORABLE MENTION: Danton Heinen continues to play well for the Bruins, and has essentially been given a vote of confidence by the Bruins with the assignment of Matt Beleskey to the minor leagues. Heinen scored his seventh goal of the season when he stood in front of the net and tipped home a Zdeno Chara point shot in the second period that finally got the B’s offense going. Heinen finished with four shots on net and six shot attempts in his 15:25 of ice time, and is actually tied with Patrice Bergeron for third in the Bruins in goals after potting his seventh of the season. It’s a really good sign as well when a young guy like Heinen isn’t afraid to hang around in the shooting lanes for tips and redirections when a big shooter like Chara winds up and blasts away.

BY THE NUMBERS: 22 – the number of giveaways the Bruins in the overtime loss to the Rangers where they consistently mismanaged the puck, turning things over to the Blueshirts on a regular basis. Brad Marchand led the B’s with four giveaways, but Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk were just behind him with three of their own.  

QUOTE TO NOTE:  “There were problems getting into the zone and there were problems in the zone…there were problems. We struggled on the power play. We’re not going to hide from that, but it got us a goal later, so we eventually kind of got it squared away. But we certainly had opportunities early to take advantage and we didn’t.” – Bruce Cassidy, talking about a Bruins power play that went 1-for-7 in the loss with just six total shots on net. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

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:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Nash

Heinen-Nash-Backes

Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

 

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Miller

Grzelcyk-McQuaid

 

Rask

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE