Bruins

Dominant Rask leads Bruins toward 3-2 victory against Devils

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Dominant Rask leads Bruins toward 3-2 victory against Devils

BOSTON – It was a strange game with multiple delays, a goalie injury and a linesman that also went down leaving both teams with three on-ice officials for much of the game.

It also featured the Bruins fighting from behind against the New Jersey Devils a couple of times before finally collecting a solid 3-2 win at TD Garden that extended their point streak to 17 games.

The Bruins were outshot by a 20-margin in the first period, but watched Tuukka Rask turn away all 20 of the shots that he faced behind a B’s club that clearly wasn’t starting on time.

The Devils actually took control of the game in the second period as Miles Wood tipped a Will Butcher shot past Rask while camped out all alone in front of the net. The Bruins stormed back and tied it up five minutes later on a Riley Nash shot that bounced and pin-balled it’s way over Cory Schneider from a bad angle.

New Jersey once again jumped on top as a Torey Krug point blast caught Patrice Bergeron squarely in the chest at the offensive zone, and Jersey was able to turn that into an odd-man rush and a Damon Severson strike at the other end.

After that, however, it was all Bruins. They limited the Devils to just seven shots in the middle 20 minutes, and scored a pair of unanswered goals to take control of the game sandwiched around a 13-minute delay after a major time clock snafu. Patrice Bergeron scored on a power play strike from the slot during a 5-on-3 advantage to tie things up, and after the delay Brad Marchand scored on a breakaway with under a minute to go in the period.

The rest was up to Rask, who shut down Severson on a breakaway attempt in the third period and stopped 37 shots in all in one of his best performances of the season. 

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With two-year deal in place, Grzelcyk ready to work on 'weaknesses'

With two-year deal in place, Grzelcyk ready to work on 'weaknesses'

BRIGHTON, Mass – Now that Matt Grzelcyk has put a full NHL season under his belt and holds a two-year NHL contract for $2.8 million after signing with the Bruins last week as a restricted free agent, it’s on to becoming the best player he can be.

The 24-year-old posted an impressive three goals and 15 points in 61 games last season as a rookie who really never looked back after winning a job early last season.

Grzelcyk showed excellent skating wheels and a real knack for breaking the puck out of the defensive zone without a lot of hesitation or costly mistakes normally associated with a first-year D-man. Even better, he managed to avoid opponents taking advantage of his 5-foot-9, 174-pound frame. Now, Grzelcyk is looking to remove some of the weaknesses in his game. 

“I don’t ever want to be too comfortable and I always want to make sure I earn everything that I get,” said Grzelcyk, while talking about his new deal in the Bruins dressing room at Warrior Ice Arena on Monday afternoon. “It helps from a piece of mind standpoint to not constantly be looking over your shoulder, but there’s still a lot of competition. I’m looking to forward to coming into camp stronger and healthier, and ready to earn my ice time.”

Some of that is about the obvious: as one of the smallest D-men in the NHL, he'll need to get bigger and stronger. Grzelcyk is also looking to improve his shot from the point, a skill that could make him a much more attractive candidate on the Bruins power play. Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy are the main trigger men on the PPs with big cannon shots from the point. That’s the kind of company Grzelcyk would like to join if he can turn his long-distance shot into a weapon.

“I can always get bigger and stronger. That’s something I’m always working on,” said Grzelcyk. “I think offensively I can use my feet to my advantage more on the blue line and obviously my shot is pretty much the No. 1 thing I’m looking to improve this [upcoming] year. I’m working hard toward that, so hopefully, that will pay a difference come training camp.”

“[I really learned] what I need to do to be successful and help the team, which is using my feet to my advantage. I think that’s huge as a smaller defenseman. Just getting that number of games under my belt and knowing what I have to do each night on the ice to get the wins, it gives me a lot more confidence and allows me to work more on my weaknesses.”

Clearly, a bigger shot and a bigger role in the offense would mean bigger point production for Grzelcyk, but it remains to be seen how high his offensive ceiling can be after a promising NHL beginning.

The question now is, how much bigger his role might be next season after averaging 16:44 of ice time last season as a bottom-pairing D-man? There is certainly room to grow, but it will all depend on how the rest of the roster comes together this fall after what’s expected to be a fairly action-packed offseason for Bruins GM Don Sweeney.  

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Anderson: Feeling good about the Bruins chances to sign Ilya Kovalchuk

Anderson: Feeling good about the Bruins chances to sign Ilya Kovalchuk

Appearing Friday morning on Toucher & Rich, 98.5 The Sports Hub's Ty Anderson spoke about the Bruins' chances at signing former NHL All-Star winger Ilya Kovalchuk, saying he thinks they might have a leg up on other teams due to their cap space.

Kovalchuk, 35, was regarded as one of the NHL's premier scorers for much of his tenure with the Atlanta Thrashers and New Jersey Devils, before returning to his native Russia in the summer of 2013 to play in the KHL full-time. He most recently won a Gold Medal with the makeshift "Olympic Athletes from Russia" team at the 2018 Winter Olympics men's ice hockey tournament.