Bruins

Highlights of the Bruins' 6-4 Game 4 victory over the Maple Leafs

Highlights of the Bruins' 6-4 Game 4 victory over the Maple Leafs

FINAL SCORE: Bruins 6, Maple Leafs 4

IN BRIEF: David Pastrnak had two goals and Brad Marchand a goal and an assist Wednesday night as the Bruins beat the Maple Leafs 6-4 in Toronto to tie their first-round playoff series at 2 and send the teams back to Boston for a pivotal Game 5 Friday night. BOX SCORE 

HIGHLIGHTS:

McAVOY GETS B'S ON BOARD WITH BU CONNECTION PP GOAL:

MARCHAND MAKES IT 2-0 6:38 INTO 1ST WITH ASSIST FROM McAVOY:

ZACH HYMAN DEFLECTION CUTS IT TO 2-1 LATE IN 1ST:

AUSTON MATHEWS TIES IT AT 2 IN 2ND:

PASTRNAK PUTS B'S BACK ON TOP WITH 1ST GOAL OF PLAYOFFS...

...AND 1:35 LATER PASTRNAK AGAIN FROM MARCHAND:

CHARA BOOMER MAKES IT 5-2 IN 3RD:

FROM JOE HAGGERTY:
*Great start by the Bruins perhaps spurred on by the old switcheroo from Bruce Cassidy, who moved Danton Heinen up with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand in a surprise move ahead of puck drop. It turned into a power-play goal early and then a 5-on-5 score for Brad Marchand that Heinen actually earned a secondary assist on. Marchand already has more shots on net (2) in this one than he did in all of Game 3, so at least some of Boston’s best players are responding to the change in the forward lineup. It was followed by David Pastrnak scoring his first two goals of the postseason in the second period to help extend the lead for the Black and Gold.

*Charlie McAvoy went out and made a big impact in the good start for the Bruins as well. After a blah early possession for the top B’s power-play unit, the second unit came over the boards and Charlie Coyle fed McAvoy for a top corner blistering shot as he crashed down close toward the net. Then it was McAvoy again with the centering pass from the corner to a wide-open Marchand backdoor for Boston’s second goal. McAvoy looked for a little more for offense tonight and it worked well for the Bruins. Through two periods he’s got a goal, two points and a plus-2 while pushing up close to 20 minutes of ice time.

*Finally it appears that David Pastrnak has awoken in this series. He scored his first two goals of the playoffs in the second period, and the second one was a trademark Pastrnak snipe from the face-off circle after a slick backhanded saucer dish from Brad Marchand on the power play. It appears that Bruce Cassidy switching things around with the lines finally spurred him into waking up offensively and becoming a factor in the series. Pastrnak has the four shots on net and two goals in 11 plus minutes of ice time through the first two periods and continues to skate with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. 

UP NEXT:
Game 5: at Boston, Friday, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Network, NESN
Game 6: at Toronto, Sunday, TBA
*Game 7: at Boston, Tuesday, TBA

*if necessary

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NHL free agents 2019: Ranking top 25 players available this offseason

NHL free agents 2019: Ranking top 25 players available this offseason

The 2019 NHL Draft is scheduled to begin Friday, and less than two weeks later free agency will open for all 31 teams.

It's going to be a busy and important couple of weeks for franchises looking to make major changes to their rosters with the hope of winning the Stanley Cup in 2020 and beyond.

Let's take a look at the top unrestricted and restricted free agents that could hit the market in July.

Click here for the top 25 free agents of the 2019 NHL offseason>>>

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Bruins plan to address Bruce Cassidy's contract as he enters final year of the deal

Bruins plan to address Bruce Cassidy's contract as he enters final year of the deal

As Bruce Cassidy enters the final year of his contract as head coach of the Boston Bruins, it probably goes without saying that he deserves an extension. 

The good news for B's fans, according to Joe McDonald of The Athletic, Boston is pleased with Cassidy's performance and plans to address his contract. 

'He’s under contract, so we have decisions that we’re going to progress with, and he’ll be part of that,' general manager Don Sweeney said. 'He’s under contract, so it’s not a concern right now, but we will address it.'

After a 107-point 2018-19 campaign, good for the second-best mark in the NHL, Cassidy led the Bruins to the brink of a Stanley Cup only to fall in Game 7 at TD Garden to the St. Louis Blues.

One of the major themes of this year's Bruins team was their resiliency under Cassidy. Boston fought back from a 3-2 deficit in the first round of the playoffs against Toronto and a 2-1 deficit against Columbus to win those series, and then won another Game 6 on the road down 3-2 to the Blues. 

The Bruins have made the playoffs in each of their first three seasons with Cassidy leading the charge, improving their finish in the postseason each year. 

BRUINS UNDER CASSIDY

2016-17: 44-31-7 (95 points), lost in the first round (4-2)
2017-18: 50-20-12 (112 points), lost in the second round (4-1)
2018-19 49-24-9 (107 points), lost in Stanley Cup Final (4-3)

Cassidy is the second-fastest Bruins coach to reach 100 wins as he has cemented himself as one of the best coaches in the league. And team President Cam Neely certainly thinks highly of him. 

'He’s done a very good job for us, obviously,' Neely said. 'Coming in when he did and getting us to the playoffs and then almost having two, back-to-back 50-win seasons — pretty impressive. He learned from our playoff losses and how to maybe coach a little bit differently in the playoffs.'

We'll see if the Bruins extend Cassidy before the 2019-20 season starts, but it definitely seems like they view him as their long term answer on the Black and Gold's bench. 

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