GOLD STAR: Zdeno Chara did everything he was asked to do and then some in the overtime loss to the Dallas Stars. Chara was on the ice for Alex Radulov’s goal that made it a 2-0 game in the second period, but that was his only blemish in an otherwise strong day. It was Chara that wound up and blasted home his fourth goal of the season toward the end of the second period to get the Bruins on the board and give them some life. Chara finished with a goal and four shot attempts in a team-high 24:46 of ice time and finished with four blocked shots as well in a solid game for the B’s captain. It’s a credit to Chara’s veteran poise that he didn’t hesitate when given the open lane to wind up and slap away in the second period just one game removed from putting Phillip Danault in the hospital after the shot him in the head.
BLACK EYE: It turned out to be a tough day for David Pastrnak, who finished a minus-2 and was part of a trio of gassed Bruins players that got hemmed into their own zone for another eventual defeat in the overtime session. Pastrnak finished with more shots on net (three) than giveaways (two) in his 23:18 of ice time, but really wasn’t much of a factor for the Bruins in a game where Dallas stepped up their defensive acumen and physicality to discourage the Bruins. Pastrnak, Ryan Spooner and Matt Grzelcyk all breaking down and getting tired out in overtime was just the final bit of bad play in an afternoon that wasn’t great overall for No. 88. Overall it was a pretty quiet afternoon for both Pastrnak and Brad Marchand while Patrice Bergeron was his brilliant self in the middle.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins simply didn’t show up for the first 30 minutes of the game, and that’s why they ended up on the losing end of things. They were outshot by a 9-1 margin to start the game in sleepy fashion, and then allowed the Stars to score the game’s first two goals in the second period before they got things out of neutral. Eventually they gained some energy from watching Zdeno Chara make a play to score a goal toward the end of the second period, and they did enough in the third period to earn a point in overtime. But the Bruins proved once again on Monday afternoon that really getting going midway through a game isn’t a good formula for success.
HONORABLE MENTION: Got to give it to Tyler Seguin after finally stinging the Bruins in the overtime session. Seguin dangled through a clearly gassed Ryan Spooner, Matt Grzelcyk and David Pastrnak before flipping a puck past Anton Khudobin after he prematurely dropped into a double-stacked pad save while Seguin outwaited him with the puck. In all Seguin finished with a goal, a plus-1 rating, four shot attempts, two takeaways and a 12-for-21 in the face-off circle while getting the last laugh against the Bruins. Seguin clearly still does most of his damage in certain moments (3-on-3 OT and on the power play, for instance) but he can certainly be effective when paired with a coach like Ken Hitchcock that will pull more out of him.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1-6 – the Bruins record in the overtime session after dropping another one on Monday afternoon with a mid-December win over the Red Wings as their only OT victory this season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I like to save the pucks and that was one of them." – Anton Khudobin, channeling Yogi Berra as he talked about a second period stop, one of his 29 saves in the game, on a shorthanded breakaway from Radek Faksa that helped keep the B’s in the game.
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.
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.