Bruins

Bruins crumble late, lose to Maple Leafs in OT, 3-2

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Bruins crumble late, lose to Maple Leafs in OT, 3-2

TORONTO – The Bruins looked poised to take a win out of Toronto in a big home-and-home series vs. the Maple Leafs, but instead they found a way to lose in overtime.

A James van Riemsdyk goal in the closing minutes of the third period pushed it to overtime, and then Patrick Marleau tipped home a Jake Gardiner feed little over a minute into OT for the 3-2 win for Toronto over the B’s at the Air Canada Centre.

David Pastrnak scored in the closing minutes of the third period on a gritty play in front on the man advantage to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead, but then the B’s buckled with the last-minute score allowed to James van Riemsdyk camped in front of the net.

The Bruins had been struggling on the power play headed into Friday night’s game, and had been stressing the need to up their work ethic around the net. So that’s exactly what happened as Jordan Szwarz jammed away at a couple of pucks in front of the net before Pastrnak crashed and slammed home the loose puck for his 10th goal of the season.

The Bruins finally scored midway through the second period on a play that you’ve seen dozens of times before. Brad Marchand wheeled through the zone with the puck and fed Patrice Bergeron in the face-off circle for a shot that was locked and ready to go.

Bergeron sizzled it inside the far post for his fourth goal of the season, and once again Boston’s dynamic duo came through for them offensively. Unfortunately, the Bruins were whistled for four penalties during the first couple of period and the last one ended up doing some damage to the Black and Gold. After Anton Khudobin was able to stop a couple of shots in front, JVR finally broke through after battling with Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo in front of the net.

The Bruins again traded goals in the third period to set things up for a finish in the extra session. 

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Highlights from Bruins' 4-3 OT loss to Red Wings

Highlights from Bruins' 4-3 OT loss to Red Wings

FINAL SCORE: Red Wings 4, Bruins 3 (OT)

IN BRIEF: Down 3-1 in the third period, the Bruins got a swift strike from Daniel Winnik (4:34) and a power-play goal from Axel Andersson (14:37) to force overtime, where Detroit’s Evgeny Svechnikov won it just 1:42 into the extra frame.

BRUINS PRESEASON RECORD: 4-0-1

HOW OVERTIME WAS WON:

WHAT'S NEXT: The Bruins kick off their final week of preseason games Monday in Philadelphia against the Flyers, before heading home for two final exhibitions against the Red Wings (Wednesday) and Flyers (Saturday).

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Taking a shot at what the Bruins opening night roster might look like

Taking a shot at what the Bruins opening night roster might look like

BRIGHTON, Mass. - With the Bruins training camp finally on the same continent and the team together for the first time, things are beginning to feel a lot more like an NHL training camp.

It certainly felt that way on Friday when Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy addressed the Boston media for the first time and then again on Saturday when Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask and David Pastrnak were back working out at Warrior Ice Arena. So now is the time to get real about competition for open spots on the NHL roster and to start prognosticating which lines and pairings will be rolled out Oct. 3 on opening night in Washington.

To this point, Cassidy said that nobody has played their way off the NHL roster four games into the preseason and that sets up an interesting battlefield for candidates in the final four exhibition games starting tonight vs. the Detroit Red Wings.

“The veteran guys won’t play on Saturday and there’s quite a few that won’t play on Monday either, so we’re looking at a week together with a couple of home preseason games to maybe look at our lineup a little bit more,” said Cassidy. “So, Monday we’ll get another look and then we’ll decide how we’re shaping up here. By then you’re hoping that now we’re looking at where [Sean] Kuraly fits in, and hopefully [Bergeron] is ready to go by then. Who is Krejci’s linemate going to be on the right side? So now we’re looking at one of the guys that’s here and whether they’ll fit in with him. It could go down to the wire for one or two spots, but Monday is a big day for some of those guys.”

One of the biggest questions facing this roster is whether to keep Bergeron, Pastrnak and Marchand together on the top line, or whether it’s better to slide Pastrnak in with Krejci to make two offensively dangerous forward lines. Much of it depends on the performance of the younger candidates on the wing, and thus far, Danton Heinen and Ryan Donato have performed well while vying for one of those right-wing spots.

Then there’s the third-line center vacancy left by the departure of Riley Nash. That's potentially up for competition among a number of players including Chris Wagner, Kuraly, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Trent Frederic and Jack Studnicka. Studnicka fared well centering Marchand and Pastrnak in China, and both Frederic and JFK had their moments centering potential NHL forward lines overseas as well. To this point, the Bruins kiddie corps has all done exceedingly well and that’s something that has all of them still standing as viable candidates.

“I think Donato was good in Game One. Game Two he made some plays and had some turnovers...the usual stuff that we work on with the young guys, but I love his initiative. He’s a guy that loves to make things happen,” said Cassidy. “JFK had pockets of really good shifts, and other teams he was tentative where we had to remind him it’s a 60-minute game. But again they are young guys. Frederic was very good on the kill with Backes, who has been his partner. He scored a goal, so offensively they all chipped in.

“Jack [Studnicka] had a little penalty trouble. I’m not sure he deserved all of them, but he’s learning that hands and sticks have to stay off the body. But again he’s 19 years old. Urho Vaakanainen played one game and he was pretty efficient. He’s a pretty smooth player as well.”

As lineups get more veteran-laden and the intensity ramps up in final four preseason games, here’s a first glance at what the Bruins roster might look like Oct. 3 against the Capitals:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak
DeBrusk-Krejci-Donato
Heinen-JFK-Backes
Wagner-Kuraly-Acciari

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Carlo
Moore-Miller

Rask
Halak

The toughest omission is obviously Matt Grzelcyk on the back end after a strong rookie campaign, but the bottom line with Boston’s defensemen is that there’s going to be a good player sitting every night. Up front, Anders Bjork is the biggest name kept off, but his shoulder injury has put him behind Donato and Heinen, who have played very well in the preseason.

The biggest feature is keeping together Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak and that just comes down to maintaining an advantage that the Bruins will have over just about every team with a trio that can dominate at both ends of the ice. It would be easier to find a right winger that can make things go on the second line than recreating the magic of the Perfection Line using different forwards, so there’s a strong argument to be made for keeping the top group together for the long haul.  

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