Bruins

Bruins sign Gionta to a one-year deal as "depth, veteran leadership" piece

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Bruins sign Gionta to a one-year deal as "depth, veteran leadership" piece

BUFFALO – Amid rumors that Brian Gionta might be linked to Boston ahead of Monday’s trade deadline, the Bruins have signed the 39-year-old former Cup champion to a one-year deal coming off his Olympic stint with Team USA in PyeongChang. Gionta agreed to a one-year, one-way deal with the Bruins for $700,000, which makes much more sense as a 13th forward/depth piece after the Bruins also finalized their blockbuster trade for Rick Nash with the New York Rangers

The 5-foot-7, 178-pound Gionta had 15 goals and 35 points for the Buffalo Sabres last season, but had sat out all of this year with the chance to compete in the Olympics this past month before hooking on with an NHL team for the final few months of the season. The former Boston College standout will certainly add an experienced, veteran option for the Bruins should some of their younger wingers hit any kind of a competitive wall down the stretch. 

"Depth and veteran leadership and a player that's highly motivated,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney, when asked what Gionta brings to the table. “He waited to see what clubs might have been in a position to be in the playoff race and we hope we can continue to be one those clubs and he's going to add to that."

What isn’t expected is that Gionta will be a regular, every day member of the Bruins lineup unless injuries or underperformance creep into players’ games in the final few months of the season, or into the playoffs. Instead the Bruins will be bringing on a former captain with the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres that’s won a Stanley Cup on his NHL resume, and has posted 32 goals and 68 points in 112 career playoff games during his 1,000 plus career NHL games. 

Gionta wasn’t available to play with the Bruins for Sunday’s late afternoon tilt against the Buffalo Sabres, but will instead get worked into the Black and Gold mix when the Bruins resume practicing Tuesday in Boston.

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Boston Bruins assign winger Paul Carey to Providence

Boston Bruins assign winger Paul Carey to Providence

The Boston Bruins are making another minor roster change that could have some significance for the squad.

The team has assigned winger Paul Carey to their AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins, according to the team's official Twitter. Carey skated in two games for the Bruins and didn't log a point.

Carey was called up amid a slew of injuries to the team's depth on the wing. But with David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk returning to the lineup, Carey was pushed back into a reserve role. He did fairly well when on the ice, but the Bruins still elected to send him down.

It's unclear exactly why the team sent Carey down, but it could be related to Sean Kuraly's injury. Kuraly blocked a shot with his hand against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, and he couldn't continue on in the game. His status moving forward is unclear.

Kuraly had been centering the Bruins' third line in recent games, so it's possible the Bruins could call up Trent Frederic to take on that role if Kuraly is out. However, it seems more likely that Charlie Coyle would move from second-line wing to third-line center to occupy that role. It doesn't mean Frederic won't be called up, but the team could just bring up another winger that they think fits better than Carey at this point in time.

Karson Kuhlman, Lee Stempniak, and Peter Cehlarik have all spent time with the team this season. They remain call-up candidates in Carey's place and have all spent time on the second line with David Krejci at times this season.

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What we learned in Bruins' 5-1 win over Devils: Bruins' top line at its peak

What we learned in Bruins' 5-1 win over Devils: Bruins' top line at its peak

Here’s What We Learned in the Bruins 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night at the Prudential Center.

1) The Bruins have their chemistry back on the Perfection Line. Certainly, the two goals for Patrice Bergeron and the three-assist night for Brad Marchand would be proof positive of that, but it was the second-period goal where each of the three forwards touched the puck that really showed them back at full force. Patrice Bergeron won the offensive zone face-off and pushed the puck down low to Brad Marchand, who found David Pastrnak cutting right to the net for the tap-in goal that gave the B’s a 2-0 lead. New Jersey would cut into that lead before the period was over, but three goals in the final period — including an empty-netter for Bergeron — capped off a great night for Boston’s high-powered top line. It also included Pastrnak’s first goal since returning from his thumb injury. In all. the line totaled three goals and eight points to go along with eight shots on net.

2) David Backes had himself a great night and really seems to have settled into a secondary contributing role with the playoffs around the corner. He was really good throughout the game with a team-high five shots on net and nine shot attempts overall, and was consistently putting pressure around the front of the New Jersey net. He was then rewarded for his efforts with an empty net goal in the third period and might even have an outside chance at 10 goals for the season if he goes on a hot streak at the end. As it is, Backes is at least showing that he’s going to be a factor at some points during the playoffs even if it’s not every night and that is exactly what the Black and Gold are looking for.

3) Three wins in a row and the Bruins have allowed just two goals in those three games while playing shutdown hockey against Columbus, the Islanders and New Jersey. Certainly, that’s not that much of a big deal against an Isles team that’s been dreadful offensively this season, but they still held them to just 13 shots on net for the game. That’s pretty darn impressive, and they allowed just 22 shots on net and no more than a couple of scoring chances to the Devils on Thursday night. Once again, it was an airtight defensive effort with no Torey Krug and no Matt Grzelcyk in the lineup, and Connor Clifton once again played strong all-around hockey with a plus-3 in 18:50 of ice time to go along with three shot attempts and four registered hits for his efforts.

Plus

--Patrice Bergeron finished with a pair of goals, three points and a plus-4 and made a great play winning an offensive zone face-off that set up the game-winning goal in the second period.

--Three assists for Brad Marchand in the game, which puts him up to 90 points for the season and could make him the first 100-point player for the Bruins in a long time if he finishes with a flurry.

--David Pastrnak scored his first goal since coming back from his thumb injury, had five shot attempts and once again looks like he’s ready to return to form.

Minus

--Stefan Noesen had no shots on net and a minus-4 for the game. I’m not even mad. I’m just impressed by how bad he was.

--It looked like Sean Kuraly suffered an injury in the third period when he blocked a shot with his hand that immediately went the other way for a Danton Heinen breakaway goal. It would be a big blow to the B’s if Kuraly is gone for any period of time.

--Damon Severson was a minus-3 with four giveaways in 23:29 of ice time for the Devils, and was a mistake waiting to happen against a Bruins team that he’s had pretty tough luck against in the past.  

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