Bruins

Jaroslav Halak highlights: Watch his best saves from Bruins 2019-20 season

Jaroslav Halak highlights: Watch his best saves from Bruins 2019-20 season

Boston Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak was having a great year backing up Tuukka Rask until the NHL season was put on pause due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Halak ranks sixth in the NHL with a 2.39 goals-against average and 12th with a .919 save percentage. He's also tied for eighth in shutouts with three. 

Some of his saves have been absolutely spectacular, so let's take a look back at some of the best from the 2019-20 campaign starting from his first game in goal against Arizona. 

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Oct. 5 vs. Arizona Coyotes

Halak stopped all 35 shots in his season debut and led the Bruins to a 1-0 win over the Coyotes. His stops against Vinnie Hinostroza and Clayton Keller were some of the best from the game. 

Oct. 10 vs. Colorado Avalanche

Halak's two stops on Gabriel Landeskog were huge against the Avalanche, but unfortunately, the B's lost 402 on the road. 

Oct. 14 vs. Anaheim Ducks

Halak stopped 30 of 32 shots in a 4-2 win over the Ducks. What's weird about this is that he robbed former Duck and current Bruin Ondrej Kase of a prime scoring opportunity.

Oct. 19 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

The Bruins lost this game 4-3 in overtime to the Maple Leafs, but Halak robbed Tyson Barrie of a major scoring opportunity when it was a 2-1 game. 

Nov. 4 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Halak stopped 40 of 44 shots in a 6-4 win over the Penguins. Some of his best saves included robbing Sidney Crosby point-blank.

Nov. 16 vs. Washington Capitals

Halak stopped 42 of 44 shots but the B's fell to the Capitals 3-2 in the shootout. However, he absolutely robbed Alex Ovechkin on a shootout attempt.

Jan. 4 vs. Edmonton Oilers

The Bruins fell to the Oilers 4-1, but that didn't stop Halak from robbing one of the game's best in Connor McDavid. 

Jan. 16 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Halak stopped 29 of 30 shots in a 4-1 win over the Penguins, including multiple stops on breakaways.

March 5. vs. Florida Panthers

The B's beat the Panthers 2-1 in overtime and Halak made a terrific save in extra time to give Boston the opportunity to win the game. 

Other highlights:

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.