Bruins

What we learned: Winnable one gets away from B's

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What we learned: Winnable one gets away from B's

Here’s what we learned from the Bruins' 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks at the SAP Center on Tuesday night ,where the Black and Gold failed to collect at least a point in what will likely end up being the most winnable game of the three-game road gauntlet through California:

1) Not even close to good enough from the Bruins third line

Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes totaled just one shot on net for the evening and were on ice for the tying goal from Brent Burns. It was a tough break for them given that it was a pretty rough line change getting them on the ice and the Burns goal was a trailer shot from inside the blue line that ricocheted off Spooner’s stick. But Hayes brought nothing to the table on Tuesday night with zero shots on net, and even worse hurt the team with the illegal check to the head penalty in the third period that led to San Jose’s game-winner. Hayes has one goal in his past 17 games, so he needs to step up immediately within the high-intensity, competitive environment of late-season hockey, or another young guy such as Frank Vatrano (sent back to Providence Wednesday) might come in and seize his spot. In general, though, the third line needs to be much, much better than it was against the Sharks.

2) Reappearance of 'Playoff Krejci' encouraging

The playmaking center was banged up enough that he missed Monday’s practice and one still wonders if he’s been nursing an injury this season, but Krejci has been elevating his game since the trade deadline. He has a goal and six points in eight games in March and finished with a goal and two points, along with a plus-2 rating in Tuesday night’s loss. He was the best player on the ice for Boston and the 20:50 of ice time would seem to signify that: he jumped on the rebound of a David Pastrnak shot for Boston’s first goal, and then gave them an early lead with a slick PK pass that led Loui Eriksson in for a short-handed goal. Krejci, Eriksson and Pastrnak are really coming together as a line this month and giving the Bruins another viable offensive line to count on. Unfortunately, we learned again against San Jose that the Bruins need more than one line going if they’re going to have success against good teams.

3) Watching Brent Burns another reminder of what the Bruins don’t have

Burns scored his 26th goal of the season to set a new record for defensemen with the Shark, and tied the score after stepping in as the trailer with a shot that was aided by a deflection off Ryan Spooner’s stick. The All-Star D-man’s production is no accident and was part of a whopping 12 shot attempts that Burns fired on net in his 26 plus minutes of ice time. The 31-year-old is on pace for 31 goal and 76 points this season and is a hulk of a No. 1 defenseman in the prime of his career. He can move the puck and obviously score, but he’ll also play the heavy, shot-blocking game that’s sometimes needed by San Jose as well. The Bruins have 38-year-old Zdeno Chara playing a pretty solid level right this moment, but they need a No. 1 D-man in his prime like Burns on their roster as soon as possible. They won’t Cup contenders without one. That is much easier said than done for the B’s, and that remains the challenge for Don Sweeney in the offseason.

Plus

*David Krejci finished with a goal and two points, five shot attempts and 10-of-18 faceoff wins in 20:50 of ice time, and now has a goal and six points in eight games in March while picking up his game at crunch time.

*Loui Eriksson finished with a short-handed goal, four shots on goal and was very good in a whopping 21:56 of ice time for the Bruins as the chemistry comes alive with David Krejci and David Pastrnak. He has three goals and five points in his last three games, and is catching fire again after a slow stretch right around the trade deadline.

*Brent Burns was a beast all night with a goal and two points, a game-high 12 shot attempts as a constant offensive threat and a massive 26 plus minutes of ice time as the linchpin of San Jose’s D-man corps. He’s one of the best in the league and set a San Jose franchise record with his 26th goal as a defenseman on Tuesday night.

Minus

*No shots on net and no offensive presence for Jimmy Hayes. Even worse, he took a couple of penalties including an illegal check to the head call in the third period that led to the game-winning, power-play goal for the Sharks. It’s one thing if Hayes is going to disappear as a 6-foot-6 forward, but it’s infinitely worse when his penalties and mistakes are costing the Bruins.

*Dennis Seidenberg was on the ice for all three goals against, was a minus-2 for the game in 15:07 of ice time and had a tough night in the defensive zone against one of the big, heavy teams the B’s will face on this trip.

*Rookie fourth line Noel Acciari was on the ice for two goals against in 8:58 of ice time. He’s largely been pretty good for the B’s since getting called up at the trade deadline, but he was guilty along with Seidenberg and John-Michael Liles of leaving “the house” open on San Jose’s first goal of the game. Big breakdown all-around.

 

 

Ever Wonder Series: Why are the Bruins' colors black and gold?

Ever Wonder Series: Why are the Bruins' colors black and gold?

Did you ever wonder why the Bruins wear black and gold? Or why the color brown featured so prominently in their team colors during the early years of the Original Six franchise?

A bit of fair warning: You might need an advanced degree in supermarket history trivia to really know the answers to these questions when quizzed at the checkout.  

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Here’s the inside scoop: wealthy Vermont native Charles Adams owned pretty high-profile things in Boston including the Suffolk Downs racetrack and the original Boston Braves franchise in Major League Baseball.

But the most important — and profitable — was actually the country’s original supermarket chain, First National, or Finast as it was known in the northeastern United States for much of the early 20th century. The company lasted into the 1990s, but its heyday was during the early part of the century when Adams was making his name as an Boston entrepreneur.

When Adams secured the rights to start Boston’s NHL franchise in 1924, naturally his initial order of business was to decide on the team’s colors. And this is where things got a little funky when it came to Adams’ quirks coming to the surface with the team uniforms.

Adams chose brown and gold sweaters to match the color scheme of his Finast stores and settled on the Old English name for a bear, Bruins. The story behind the story is that every living animal Charles Adams had and owned on his farm property — horses, cows, dogs, pigs, hens — were all his favorite color: brown.

So there was little doubt that the color brown was going to factor into the B’s color scheme just as it did in everything about his supermarket chain.

The team's colors remained that way for the first 10 years of the franchise until 1934 when they shifted to the striking black and gold that’s been synonymous with the Original Six franchise for almost 90 years. Apparently, Weston Adams, the son of Charles Adams and the next owner of the Bruins in the Adams family hockey business, was not nearly as enamored with the color brown, and the Bruins have been in black and gold ever since.

So now when you see those brown and gold throwback sweaters at a Winter Classic or at an old-time hockey event, you’ll know exactly why the Bruins started off with those colors.

And you can all be thankful that eventually they switched out the brown for the much cooler black color scheme choice that’s become an integral part of the Big Bad Bruins tradition for as long as they have been throwing fists and doling out bone-rattling body checks.

2020 NHL Playoffs: Ranking Bruins' potential first-round opponents

2020 NHL Playoffs: Ranking Bruins' potential first-round opponents

While the Bruins play a round robin against the other three best teams in the East to determine seeding, the Nos. 5-12 teams will be playing to see who makes it to the actual first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

The teams and matchups are: 

  • Penguins (5) vs. Canadiens (12)
  • Hurricanes (6) vs. Rangers (11)
  • Islanders (7) vs. Panthers (10)
  • Maple Leafs (8) vs. Blue Jackets (9)

Given that we don't know whether the Bruins will be the No. 1, 2, 3 or 4 seed, it's possible they could play any of these teams in the first round. 

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Are any of them actually scary for the Bruins? Yes, even though none of them should be favored to actually beat Boston. Here's how I'd rank them, in descending order of difficulty: 

1. Pittsburgh Penguins (5)

3.20 G/G (10th), 2.84 GA/G (12th)

2019-20 record vs. Bruins: 1-2-0

I'm not crying for the Penguins having to be here. They could have avoided this by not losing eight of their last 11 games.

Anyway, this is a tried-and-true group that added Jason Zucker and Patrick Marleau (among others; Connor Sheary was also brought back) at the trade deadline. Pittsburgh was clearly going for it this year, only to be run out of a top spot by the surging Flyers.

The Bruins blowing it in the round robin and getting Pittsburgh in the first round would be a worst-case scenario, even though my money would still be on Boston. 

2. New York Islanders (7)

2.78 G/G (22nd), 2.79 GA/G (9th)

2019 record vs. Bruins: 1-1-1

I'm going Islanders ahead of the Hurricanes because I have more faith in them reaching the field of eight based on their play-in matchup.

Scoring has been an issue for the Islanders all season, but after adding JG Pageau at the trade deadline, they're very strong down the middle (Matthew Barzal, Brock Nelson), which we've seen has been crucial for teams making playoff runs. 

3. Carolina Hurricanes (6)

3.19 G/G (11th), 2.84 GA/G (11th)

2019-20 record vs. Bruins: 0-1-0

Yes, this team looked like a bunch of children in the Eastern Conference Final last year because they... weren't good enough to play in the Eastern Conference Final.

But the Hurricanes, who were fourth in the East in goal differential (better than the Penguins and Capitals), have momentum on their side. They were big players at the trade deadline, adding Vincent Trocheck up front and Sami Vatanen and Brady Skei on the back end, plus — and don't laugh here — Dougie Hamilton was pushing for the Norris before he got hurt this season.

He'll be healthy, making the Hurricanes a decent contender as long as they can get past a Rangers team that swept them in the regular season. 

4. Toronto Maple Leafs (8)

3.39 G/G (3rd), 3.17 GA/G (26th)

2019-20 record vs. Bruins: 1-2-0

Same old story. They can score a bunch and can't defend a lick. Mike Babcock's gone now, which they feel is a good thing, but this isn't the NFL.

You can't just have a great offense and nothing else. Even with the fits they've given the Bruins, I'll always have a hard time taking them seriously. 

5. New York Rangers (11)

3.33 G/G (5th), 3.14 GA/G (23rd)

2019-20 record vs. Bruins: 0-2-1

Offensive dynamo (and recent Bruins postseason nemesis) Artemi Panarin racked up 95 points in 69 games in the regular season. Mika Zibanejad was scoring like an absolute mad man (11 goals in six games!) prior to the shutdown.

Factor in that the Rangers opted to re-sign Chris Kreider rather than trade him at the deadline and you've got an offensively formidable group, but boy does that blue line stink.

6. Columbus Blue Jackets (9)

2.57 G/G (28th), 2.61 GA/G (3rd)

2019-20 record vs. Bruins: 1-0-0

Was it really Bobrovsky that had everyone all horny last year, or was it Torts and that defense? There sure is a case to be made for the latter, because Columbus was third in the league in goals against despite having people whose names I always have to look up (Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins) in net.

That second-round matchup was a toughie last year, but that team had Panarin. This one does not and it sucks offensively.

7. Florida Panthers (10)

3.30 G/G (6th), 3.25 GA/G (28th)

2019-20 record vs. Bruins: 1-1-1

They have star power up front and played the Bruins close in the regular season (two of three meetings went to OT). Yet when they were on the bubble at the trade deadline, they shipped one-time 30-goal scorer Vincent Trocheck (who has either been hurt or underwhelming the last three seasons) to Carolina.

Sergei Bobrovsky has been a nightmare of a signing, posting a .900 save percentage after signing a seven-year deal with a $10 million AAV. He's 31!   

8. Montreal Canadiens (12)

2.93 G/G (19th), 3.10 GA/G (19th)

2019-20 record vs. Bruins: 1-3-0

The uniform scares you, sure, but nothing else should. They sold at the deadline, lost 10 of their final 14 games and boast one of the most unspectacular rosters you'll ever see in a "playoff" game.

Also, the Bruins' margin of victory in their four matchups was 11 goals. The Habs have no business playing in this, which is why they probably won't be there long.