Bruins

Source: Yandle 'would love to play for Bruins'

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Source: Yandle 'would love to play for Bruins'

BOSTON -- Speculation is growing that the Boston Bruins are attempting to trade for a top-pair defenseman to play alongside Zdeno Chara, and one of the more popular names mentioned is Phoenix Coyotes assistant captain Keith Yandle.
And responding to a rumor over the weekend, a source close to Yandle said on Monday night that the two-time All-Star "would love to play for the Bruins."
Yandle -- who turns 26 on Sunday -- is a Boston native. He's locked into a five-year, 26.25 million deal that he signed last summer. And the puck-moving defenseman didn't disappoint in his first season under the big contract, putting up 43 points on 11 goals and 32 assists, while leading the Coyotes to the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings.
While it wasn't the first time that Yandle's name has been linked to the Bruins, a tweet over the weekend from @HockeyyInsiderr brought it back to the surface when he tweeted:
"Also hearing that the Bruins are actively shopping for a top pair d-man to partner up with Chara. Interested in Yandle and Bouwmeester."
He later tweeted:
"At this very moment, my Boston source informed me that the Bruins do not have an offer on the table for Bouwmeester, but have 1 for Yandle."
Whether or not that is actually true, remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure, Yandle wants to play in Boston.
The source close to Yandle also pointed out that any potential trade to Boston could include Bruins center David Krejci, who signed a three-year, 15.75 million deal that kicks in this season.
Both Krejci and Yandle have cap hits of 5.25 million under their new contracts.

Haggerty: B-game Bruins aren't going to cut it in the playoffs

Haggerty: B-game Bruins aren't going to cut it in the playoffs

BOSTON – Here’s the stark piece of reality for the Toronto Maple Leafs in this playoff series against the Bruins. 

The two games where the Leafs claimed victory in this best-of-seven first round series have featured two things: A superhuman performance by Frederik Andersen between the pipes, and a Bruins team that didn’t wield their ‘A’ game even as they still dominated for stretches, kept it close and made the Leafs hang on for dear life in the third period. 

That was the formula behind a Game 3 win for the Maple Leafs in Toronto, and that was once again the hockey script behind a 4-3 victory for the Leafs in Game 5 at TD Garden on Saturday night where the Bruins onslaught included 20 shots on goal in the third period. Both of the Toronto wins have felt more like they escaped than accomplished anything significant, and the Bruins certainly have learned they can’t afford to keep submitting their ‘B’ game if they want to close out the Maple Leafs in this series. 

“We knew they were going to play that way. Shame on us for not coming out better and having a better first ten minutes,” said Bruins rookie D-man Charlie McAvoy, who didn’t have a particularly strong game for the B’s in Game 5. “We knew they were going to come like that with their backs are against the wall, and they’re going to continue to come like that. So we got to go back and make sure we’re prepared to start the next game. 

“We knew they were going to come out hard. We just got to match that intensity, you know? A couple good bounces for them, couple good plays and we’re down 2-0 early, so we’ve got to assess that. But we’ll be fine. We’re as confident as ever in here. I thought we really held the play starting there when Backs [David Backes] got us on the board in the second all the way through the end of the third. I thought that we carried the play and the shots, you know? We definitely showed that and we’re fine. We have positives we can pull from this game and we’re going to be fine for game 6.”

Sure, there were positives in the Bruins fourth line kicking in a couple of goals, the Bruins once again amassing 40 plus shots against a Toronto defense that can’t consistently slow them down and once again David Backes cleaned up with a power-play goal battling at the front of the net.

But the negatives far outweighed the positives for the Black and Gold in a missed opportunity at home. Whether it was the Bruins defense losing battles all around the front of the net, Tuukka Rask getting pulled after a “meh” effort where he surrendered four goals on 13 shots or the Bruins only cashing in one power play with six golden chances to score on a middle-of-the-road Toronto penalty kill, it was clear Boston wasn’t at their playoff-best on Saturday night.

“It clearly wasn’t good enough,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We let them get to the top of the paint for a couple of goals that we’re generally solid on. We had a couple of 2-on-2’s that turned into two very good chances. So clearly, we’ve got to address that. Those aren’t odd-man rushes, that’s not stretch plays, that’s just basic two on twos that we need to communicate better, square up better and defend better. “Then obviously, you want a save, as well, mixed in in those, and that didn’t happen either. So the stuff that we’ve done lately…defend and get saves? That didn’t happen early on. We found our legs eventually and fought our way back in, but the start wasn’t good enough.”

Once again it was a game similar to Game 3 with the Bruins top line getting held off the scoresheet in Patrice Bergeron’s return from injury, and that line also got dinged for a couple of goals versus Mike Babcock’s mixed-and-matched lines. But once again that line had 18 shots on net, 33 shot attempts and both David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand had high-quality chances that needed spectacular saves from Andersen in order to swing it in Toronto’s favor. 

In other words, nobody is under any illusions the Leafs are going to consistently stop that group. 

The Leafs have proven they can win two playoff games with the formula of hanging onto Andersen for dear life and feasting on a Bruins team when they show the playoff sharpness of a pair of dull, safety scissors. They might even be able to win a third following that kind of unsustainable formula if the Toronto’s inconsistent goalie snaps his personal pattern of alternating good and bad games in this series. 

But Toronto isn’t going to win four games in a playoff series against Boston provided one simple thing happens: The Bruins bring their ‘A’ game and decide they want the series to be over. Five games into the playoff series it’s readily apparent Boston is better, deeper and certainly the better-rounded, two-way hockey team when compared to a young, inexperienced Maple Leafs. If the Bruins start on time, play sound defense and bring the kind of singular focus that’s been the hallmark of their best performances during a 50-win regular season, the Leafs aren’t going to go 2-for-2 with two chances for the Bruins to close the first round out in this coming week.

Certainly, some of the issues in this Toronto series may become very real problems if/when they square off with the Tampa Bay Lighting in the second round, but that’s a different story for a different playoff round.

Right now it all comes down to the Bruins leaving their ‘B’ game behind for the rest of this series, and kicking the habit of feeling like they can always come back against other teams in the third period. It made for some adrenaline-pumping comebacks during the regular season and it caused some serious heartburn for the fan bases of the opposition.

But it’s no way to go through life if you want to have a long one in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and that’s something the Bruins are still counting on heading into Game 6 in Toronto on Monday night.

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Rask on Game 5 loss: 'I could've stopped more pucks with my eyes closed'

Rask on Game 5 loss: 'I could've stopped more pucks with my eyes closed'

BOSTON -- It may not have been quite as bad as Tuukka Rask made it out to be, but the Bruins goaltender knew he wasn’t good enough in Game 5.

Rask allowed four goals on 13 shots before being yanked in favor of Anton Khudobin as the Bruins fell behind 4-1 in what wound up being a 4-3 loss Saturday night at TD Garden, sending the Stanley Cup playoff series back to Toronto for Game 6 on Monday. He was badly outplayed by Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen, who made 42 strong, clutch saves at the other end of the ice.

The Bruins entered the game with a 3-1 series lead and a chance to close out the Leafs, but the players in front of Rask weren’t much better, getting off to a sluggish start in the first period that ultimately doomed them despite a massive third-period push. Still, it was the goalie who faced the music most directly after the defeat.

For someone who's noticeably sidestepped personal responsibility for goals allowed at times in his career, Rask, the last Bruins player to speak to the media after the game, took it all on his shoulders.

It was pointed self-criticism and a real show of leadership and accountability from Rask, who clearly wasn’t okay with the way he played.

LEAFS 4, BRUINS 3

“I probably could’ve stopped more pucks with my eyes closed," he said. "That’s about it. It’s on me . . . 

“I felt good [going into the game]. Sometimes you track pucks better than other days. Today, as you can probably tell, I wasn’t tracking the puck very well and it happens sometimes."

He didn't get a lot of help; the Bruins allowed a couple of goals in close to the Boston net in a sleepy first period. But it was the second period where things really fell apart .

David Backes scored a power-play goal that cut Toronto’s lead to 2-1 and got the fans back into the game. Then both the Bruins and Rask faltered in the next minute.

A bit of a sloppy line change and some poor coverage on a transition play gave speedy Tyler Bozak a quality chance, and the Toronto forward managed to beat Rask one-on-one. It completely wiped out the momentum Boston had been generating leading up to its first goal, and it sucked the energy right out of the building.

That goal, scored 51 seconds after Backes had put the B's on the board, was on Rask, and it was a big part of what led coach Bruce Cassidy to pull him when he allowed a power-play goal to James van Riemsdyk just 1:19 later.

“I didn’t think [Rask] had it tonight, so we went with Anton," said Cassidy. "And then there’s always [the fact that a goalie change] gets the rest of the team’s attention, as well. So, it’s both [things].

“I don’t want to measure, or quantify what percentage of each, but clearly if I thought he was on then he wouldn’t have got pulled. I guess I’ll put it that way.”

DJ BEAN

Rask’s save percentage for the series against the Leafs dropped to a “meh” .904 after the Game 5 debacle, and it was -- unfortunately -- right on the heels of a magnificent 31-save effort in Boston’s big Game 4 road win in Toronto. That was a big performance, in which Rask was justifiably prasied for coming through in a key playoff moment, but just 48 hours later he was fitting himself for goat horns.

That’s the life of a goalie in the playoffs.

“Yeah, that’s the way it is," he said. "You play good, you kind of put it behind you; you play bad, you put it behind you. You just stay even no matter what happens."

He's clearly ready to put Saturday behind him.

"[We’re] moving on to the next one and we’ll finish it out in Toronto,” said Rask.

And as for Saturday?

"That’s hockey. Sometimes you’re awesome, sometimes you’re not.”

In Game 5, Rask was not. Now he and the Bruins will get two more cracks at reversing that in a best-of-seven series where they still have the upper hand, even after Saturday's big miss.

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