Bruins

Karson Kuhlman ready for a big top-6 chance with the Bruins

Karson Kuhlman ready for a big top-6 chance with the Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- Karson Kuhlman admits he has a chip in his shoulder, and that chip is part of the reason why he’s readying for his first full NHL season with the Boston Bruins.

The 24-year-old undrafted forward from the University of Minnesota Duluth enjoyed a massively successful first pro hockey season going from “just another guy” at training camp to a top-6 winger for the Bruins in the final three games of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues. Now Kuhlman is trending toward once again starting the season as the right wing on Boston’s second line alongside David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk, and do whatever he can to provide a consistent two-way player in that spot.

It goes without saying that he’s looking forward to the challenge, and hopes to take another step offensively this season after combining for 15 goals and 35 points in 69 games between the NHL and AHL last season.

“[Last year] was a great experience. It was obviously not the way we wanted it to end. That one is going to sting for a long time. But I think an important part of the summer was mentally getting over that loss and turning the page,” said Kuhlman. “Besides the weight room and being bigger, stronger and faster, I just want to be able to show up every game and be at 100 percent against the elite athletes in this league.

“Beyond that, I worked a lot at being around the net more to get my scoring touch down, just shooting more pucks and getting to the net and being better around there. If you’re open [Krejci] is going to find you and he’s one of the best at it. I just don’t want to let him down and not put the puck in the net. I want to be at 100 percent just playing my game.” 

Certainly there will be questions as to whether Kuhlman is the long-term answer there after posting three goals and five points in 11 regular season games for the Bruins last season. Will Kuhlman finish enough of Krejci’s setups to stay on the second line? Will the Bruins get enough production from their second line to solve some of their even strength scoring problems from last season?

These are important questions for the Black and Gold.

The likeliest outcome for Boston’s second line is that the Bruins will eventually be looking for a more accomplished offensive player next to Krejci. After all, we’re talking about a player who had modest numbers of 12 goals and 30 points in 58 games in the AHL last season, and that doesn’t even project to be a 20-goal scorer at the NHL level.

So it’s a realistic scenario that the Bruins will once again be upgrading on the wing as they did last spring when they traded for Marcus Johansson at the deadline.

But there’s also some credit due for a guy like Kuhlman who's making the most of his abilities, and beat out more heralded competition like David Backes, Anders Bjork, Zach Senyshyn, Peter Cehlarik and others for a top-6 spot. A lot of it is based on the dependable nature of Kuhlman’s game on the ice, his overall skating speed and the trust level that Cassidy and Co. have with him on the Krejci line.

“I know [Kuhlman] can play there. I’ve seen it. I haven’t seen him with [David] Krejci this particular preseason, but I’m comfortable with how we plays [in a top-6 role]. We’ve just got to make the decision, what’s best for the team. We’ve got some new players in here, did they get a look first?” said Cassidy. “We’ll talk about all of that stuff. But to answer your question, yes. I like the way Kuhlman plays.

“He complements Krejci. I’ve said this before, [Kuhlman is] not your typical second-line right winger because his résumé isn’t as extensive. But he’s gone in there and did a good job for us, and [that’s] an important thing for us.”

The smart money is on the Bruins starting the season with Kuhlman on the second line based on how last season ended, but Krejci’s right wing is absolutely still a developing situation that will find resolution over the course of the entire season.

Marchand in NHL Network's Top 10 players for 2019-20>>>>>

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NHL round robin, qualifying series schedule 2020: Dates, scores for every game

NHL round robin, qualifying series schedule 2020: Dates, scores for every game

The NHL is officially returning to play.

The league and NHLPA ratified the Return to Play Plan and a new CBA deal Friday, paving the way for the 2019-20 season to finish. The regular season is over, but the league is not yet jumping into the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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The top four teams in each conference will determine their seeding for the first round by playing a round robin format. The teams ranked No. 5 through No. 12 in each conference will square off in a qualifying round that will use a Best-of-5 series format. The four winners of the qualifying series in each conference will be matched up against the top four teams for the first round based on seeding.

These games will take place in two host cities. The Eastern Conference games will be played at Scotiabank Place in Toronto, and the Western Conference matchups will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Here's the schedule for every round robin game and qualifying round series. Check back to this article after each game for scores and updated schedules.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

ROUND ROBIN
Sunday, Aug. 2: Flyers 4, Bruins 1
Monday, Aug. 3: Lightning 3, Capitals 2 (SO)
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Lightning vs. Bruins
Thursday, Aug. 6: Capitals vs. Flyers
Sunday, Aug. 8: Flyers vs. Lightning
Saturday, Aug. 9: Bruins vs. Capitals

QUALIFYING ROUND
(No. 5) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (No. 12) Montreal Canadiens
Game 1, Saturday, Aug. 1: Canadiens 3, Penguins 2 (OT)
Game 2, Monday, Aug. 3: Penguins 3, Canadiens 1
Game 3, Wednesday, Aug. 5: Penguins vs. Canadiens
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Penguins vs. Canadiens*
Game 5, Saturday, Aug. 8: Canadiens vs. Penguins*

(No. 6) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (No. 11) New York Rangers
Game 1, Saturday, Aug. 1: Hurricanes 3, Rangers 2
Game 2, Monday, Aug. 3: Hurricanes 4, Rangers 1
Game 3, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Hurricanes 4, Rangers 1
Hurricanes win series 3-0

(No. 7) New York Islanders vs. (No. 10) Florida Panthers
Game 1, Saturday, Aug. 1: Islanders 2, Panthers 1
Game 2, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Islanders 4, Panthers 2
Game 3, Wednesday, Aug. 5: Islanders vs. Panthers
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Islanders vs. Panthers*
Game 5, Sunday, Aug. 9: Panthers vs. Islanders*

(No. 8) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (No. 9) Columbus Blue Jackets
Game 1, Sunday, Aug. 2: Blue Jackets 2, Maple Leafs 0
Game 2, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Maple Leafs 3, Blue Jackets 0
Game 3, Thursday, Aug. 6: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets*
Game 5, Sunday, Aug. 9: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs*
*If necessary

WESTERN CONFERENCE

ROUND ROBIN
Sunday, Aug. 2: Avalanche 2, Blues 1
Monday, Aug. 3: Golden Knights 5, Stars 3
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Avalanche vs. Stars
Thursday, Aug. 6: Golden Knights vs. Blues
Saturday, Aug. 8: Golden Knights vs. Avalanche
Sunday, Aug. 9: Stars vs. Blues

QUALIFYING ROUND
(No. 5) Edmonton Oilers vs. (No. 12) Chicago Blackhawks
Game 1, Saturday, Aug. 1: Blackhawks 6, Oilers 4
Game 2, Monday, Aug. 3: Oilers 6, Blackhawks 3
Game 3, Wednesday, Aug. 5: Oilers vs. Blackhawks
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Oilers vs. Blackhawks*
Game 5, Saturday, Aug. 8: Blackhawks vs. Oilers*

(No. 6) Nashville Predators vs. (No. 11) Arizona Coyotes
Game 1, Sunday, Aug. 2: Coyotes 4, Predators 3
Game 2, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Predators 4, Coyotes 2
Game 3, Wednesday, Aug. 5: Predators vs. Coyotes
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Predators vs. Coyotes*
Game 5, Sunday, Aug. 9: Coyotes vs. Predators*

(No. 7) Vancouver Canucks vs. (No. 10) Minnesota Wild
Game 1, Sunday, Aug. 2: Wild 3, Canucks 0
Game 2, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Canucks 4, Wild 3
Game 3, Thursday, Aug. 6: Canucks vs. Wild
Game 4, Friday, Aug. 7: Canucks vs. Wild*
Game 5, Sunday, Aug. 9: Wild vs. Canucks*

(No. 8) Calgary Flames vs. (No. 9) Winnipeg Jets
Game 1, Saturday, Aug. 1: Flames 4, Jets 1
Game 2, Monday, Aug. 3: Jets 3, Flames 2
Game 3, Tuesday, Aug. 4: Flames 6, Jets 2
Game 4, Thursday, Aug. 6: Flames vs. Jets*
Game 5, Saturday, Aug. 8: Jets vs. Flames*
*If necessary

Bruins vs. Lightning live stream: Watch NHL round robin game online

Bruins vs. Lightning live stream: Watch NHL round robin game online

If the Boston Bruins want a shot at the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they need to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.

The Bruins are 0-1 in round robin play during the 2020 NHL restart after falling 4-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. The Lightning won their round robin opener over the Washington Capitals, so if the Bruins lose in regulation Wednesday in Toronto, they can finish no higher than the No. 3 seed.

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If the B's win in regulation, however, the No. 1 seed is still up for grabs. Lightning star Steven Stamkos won't play Wednesday due to a lower-body injury, so the opportunity is there for Boston to earn its first win in the NHL bubble after losing its exhibition game to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Here's how to watch Bruins vs. Blue Jackets online.

When: Wednesday, Aug. 5 at 4 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC Sports Network
Live Stream: NBC Sports