Bruins

Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from Bruins' 5-4 shootout loss to the Panthers: Rough night for Tuukka Rask

Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from Bruins' 5-4 shootout loss to the Panthers: Rough night for Tuukka Rask

GOLD STAR: Keith Yandle has enjoyed games at both ends of the spectrum against his hometown Bruins team and he had a spectacular effort against the Black and Gold on Tuesday night. Yandle jumped up to score the tying goal with 1:29 left in the third period and finished with a goal and three points along with a plus-1 rating in a team-leading 25:48 of ice time while spearheading the third-period comeback for Florida. Yandle also finished with five shot attempts and four blocked shots in a gutsy win for Florida. His celebration after his tying goal said it all for a kid playing with a group of local hockey players on the Panthers roster.

BLACK EYE: Tuukka Rask coughed up four goals on 12 shots in the third period and was one of the main culprits behind a collapse of epic proportions. The first goal allowed came less than a minute into the third and that allowed the Panthers to start gathering some momentum. Rask then allowed a third goal that was as leaky as they come. Mike Hoffman tucked it inside the short-side post when he was late covering the crease. That makes two rough games for Rask in his past three and a big, big role for the Bruins goaltender in a pair of bad divisional losses to the Canadiens and the Panthers.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins were up by four goals and had limited the Panthers to just 12 shots on net in the first two periods, so nobody could have predicted what was going to happen to them in the final 20 minutes. The Bruins totally caved in while allowing four unanswered goals and were outshot 12-9 while taking a pair of penalties that allowed the Panthers to get some life on the power play. The entire third period was a problem for the Black and Gold where Florida kept gathering momentum and the Bruins could do little to stop things whether by scoring another goal or by Rask stepping up and making some key saves. Instead, the Bruins folded and then predictably lost in the shootout as they have a couple of times this season. The result was a fourth consecutive loss. 

HONORABLE MENTION: David Pastrnak brought his A-game to the table on Tuesday night even if many of his teammates didn’t. The 23-year-old scored his 16th goal of the season as part of a four-goal barrage in the second period. He also registered a game-high eight shots on net in his 21:55 of ice time. Pastrnak finished with 11 shot attempts and was okay even after he got clocked with a careless elbow from Vincent Trocheck that elicited a quick response from Brad Marchand sticking up for his linemate in the third period. Unfortunately for Pastrnak and the Bruins, the B’s explosive winger was never chosen to take part in the shootout after. Bruce Cassidy opted for Chris Wagner and Charlie McAvoy among his four shooters instead of No. 88.

BY THE NUMBERS: 9 – The number of road teams that have come back from a four-goal deficit in the third period in NHL history. Home or road, it's only happened 19 times. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's on us. We played solid hockey in the first two periods and made some strong plays. Obviously, in the third period, we gave them too much space and time. We need to look at it and we need to play the same way for 60 minutes.” –Zdeno Chara, on the Bruins blowing a four-goal lead in the third period en route to the 5-4 shootout loss.

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Torey Krug hopes he hasn't already played last game for Boston Bruins

Torey Krug hopes he hasn't already played last game for Boston Bruins

Bruins defenseman Torey Krug mentioned several times he has “no clarity” on his future after sitting down for a Boston Bruins-organized Zoom conference call with B’s media members on Tuesday afternoon.

After all, pretty much nobody has any kind of clarity about what’s going to happen over the next few months as regions of the United States are attempting to slow down a global coronavirus outbreak with hot spots in places like Boston.

But there’s another level to the uncertainty for Krug as a looming unrestricted free agent once this 2019-20 season has been finished, one way or the other. Krug hopes that there is some manner of resumption of the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs over the next few months, and just as passionately hopes he hasn’t played his last game as a member of the Bruins.

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“For me personally, I really hope I did not play my last game as a Boston Bruin. It’s been a special place for me and my family to grow. My love for the game and playing in front of these fans has been very special to me. But [this situation] hasn’t given me any clarity,” said Krug, who also mentioned there have been no contract discussions with the Bruins since the season went on pause in early March. “It makes you wonder about this process a little more because I was just in the moment thinking only about helping my team win games and hopefully push our team toward winning a championship.

But now the season is on pause and I’m definitely wondering what’s going to happen. But in terms of clarity, there pretty much has been none. I can’t put any assumptions on it, but I can only guess that things are going to look different from a salary cap perspective next season. Team structures as well are going to be affected by it, but I have no clarity about it. I wish I had a better answer for that, but it’s just the reality of the situation.

Krug had nine goals and 49 points in 61 games this season for the Bruins and was moving toward a big payday this summer — whether it was in Boston or somewhere else.

Based on comparable deals for other elite NHL defensemen across the NHL, a long-term teal in the range of $6-8 million per season was pretty much an automatic no matter where he was going to sign. It remains to be seen how much a lowered salary cap ceiling would impact player contracts for guys like Krug, but he’s clearly going into the situation with his eyes wide open.

There’s also very little clarity on when the NHL season will resume, or even if it can resume as the league explores options like summer Stanley Cup playoff hockey and neutral site locations for playoff hockey without any fans in the stands.

Krug has consistently said he wants to remain with the Bruins and might even take less to do exactly that when it’s all said and done, but there also hadn’t been a lot of documented progress in contract talks between the player and team to this point either.

It remains to be seen how Krug’s situation will play out, or if the player will get his wish to at the very least finish out the rest of what’s become a long, strange year with the Bruins.

Top Bruins prospect Jack Studnicka draws positive review from Bruce Cassidy

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USA TODAY Sports

Top Bruins prospect Jack Studnicka draws positive review from Bruce Cassidy

The Boston Bruins don't have a robust prospect pool filled with elite talent. This is not unusual for a franchise that's been a perennial playoff contender, and one that often looks to move draft picks and/or prospects to make roster upgrades at the NHL trade deadline.

This also doesn't mean the Bruins lack exciting talent throughout the organization, though. For example, Maine goaltender Jeremy Swayman, who Boston selected in the fourth round of the 2017 draft, was recently named as a finalist for the Hobey Baker Trophy.

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The top prospect in Boston's system is center Jack Studnicka -- a second-round pick by the Bruins in 2017. Studnicka had played the entire 2019-20 campaign with the AHL's Providence Bruins before the outbreak of the coronavirus halted the season. He's tallied 49 points (23 goals, 26 assists) in 60 games for Providence.

Studnicka's performance has drawn positive reviews from Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.

“How he scores goals is interesting,” Cassidy told Joe McDonald of The Athletic. “He gets inside and works to the good ice a lot, which is important in the NHL. It’s hard to be a perimeter player and have success. That was one thing I noticed about him. … He’s a very aggressive guy on the puck, and for a centerman that’s unique because usually you want your wingers in there on puck pursuit more than a centerman because he has a long way to go (to get back into the defensive zone).”

Studnicka's chance to make a real impact in the NHL could come as early as next season. He'd be an excellent addition to the bottom-six, a group that could use more speed and offensive skill.

The goal for Studnicka is becoming a top-six center, and his play in Providence this season should give Bruins fans plenty of optimism that he'll eventually reach that level.