Bruins

McAvoy caps off Bruins' comeback in overtime thriller

McAvoy caps off Bruins' comeback in overtime thriller

GOLD STAR: Tommy Wingels got off a plane at 11 a.m. this morning after being traded to the Bruins yesterday, and became one of the biggest factors in the win for the Bruins little more than 24 hours after his trade from the Blackhawks. Wingels stepped into a third line role with the injury to Patrice Bergeron, and kicked in a goal, two points, a plus-2 rating in 15:06 of ice time with two shots on net, seven shot attempts and a pair of hits. The goal was a game-tying snipe into the second period that ended up pushing the game into the extra session, and throughout Wingels showed, tenacity and the kind of high energy that will make him a factor for the Black and Gold. The first impression was a very good one for Wingels and the Bruins. 

BLACK EYE: Jeff Skinner made one nice play on the PP to set up a Carolina goal with a redirect at the Boston net, but other than that the skilled Hurricanes forward wasn’t really noticeable at all during the game. Instead he managed just a single shot on net in his 16:56 of ice time, had a giveaway and finished a minus-1 rating in a very underwhelming body of work. You would have expected more out of a player on a team that’s lost five games in a row as they circle the drain and fall out of playoff contention, but instead the former All-Star forward was just another guy for the Hurricanes in an overtime defeat. Once he had his assist on the PP in the first period there wasn’t much more to his game after that point when Carolina needed him. 

TURNING POINT: The Bruins were truly never in control of the game until they got in the overtime session where they dominated possession, had the extra session’s only shot and created the game-winning play just a minute plus into OT. That was when Riley Nash freed up Charlie McAvoy in stride, and he pushed forward with Brad Marchand on his wing as the 2-on-1 odd-man rush looking to do some damage. McAvoy looked off Marchand, and then beat Scott Darling top corner with a wrist shot for his seventh goal of the season. McAvoy’s highlight reel stuff has been a little quiet lately, but it seems like the rookie defenseman’s game is beginning to pick up steam again. The win improved the Bruins to 3-6 in overtime this season. 

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HONORABLE MENTION: Charlie McAvoy had one of his best games of the last couple of months while topping 23 minutes of ice time, and ending the game with a flourish in the overtime session when he went top corner with a wrist shot. McAvoy finished with a goal, two points and a plus-2 in 23:06 of ice time, had three shots on net, blocked four shots and found time to throw a couple of hits as well while being a steady, dynamic puck-mover that didn’t make any defensive mistakes. It was a nice response from the weekend when it was McAvoy that got moved in the crease leading to the third period game-winner for the Maple Leafs. Instead he was strong, solid and full of the kind of energetic play that the Bruins have come to expect from their standout rookie D-man. 

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – the number of goals for Rick Nash in a Bruins uniform after scoring the team’s first goal of the night, and also notching the 800th point of his NHL career with the lamp-lighter as well. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “They’re both experienced players in the league, and I think they’re good people that want to help the team win, so that’s part of it. Like anybody, you go to a new job, you want to [make a] good first impression. I think that's human nature." –Bruce Cassidy, talking about new trade acquisitions Rick Nash and Tommy Wingels both having strong efforts for the Bruins in Tuesday night’s win.

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Bruins readying for biggest game of season vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Bruins readying for biggest game of season vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMPA – The Bruins are headed into Tampa Bay on Monday night with their biggest regular-season game on the docket tonight against the juggernaut Lightning crew.

Sure, the B’s have already clinched a playoff spot thanks to Saturday night’s demolition job of the Florida Panthers in a 7-3 win, and they’ve now won four games in a row after a spate of injuries knocked them into a three-game tailspin. The losing stretch seems like a long time ago, and the Bruins are beginning to get those injured skaters back into the lineup, including David Pastrnak scoring goals in two of his three games since returning from a thumb injury.

They’ve also outscored opponents by a 19-5 margin over the four-game winning streak with offensive contributions from up and down the lineup while the defensive clamps have also been locked down.

The Black and Gold may not quite yet be peaking at the exact right time given that there’s still more than a handful of games between now and the end of the season, but they are peaking when it comes to a golden chance to make a meaningful statement to a Lightning team looming for them in the postseason.

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The Bolts have a ridiculous 120 points with two weeks to go in the regular season and will coast into the playoffs as the consensus best team in the NHL. 

Both teams may be playing it more conservatively when they face off on the final day of the regular season in April, so now is the time for both powerful rivals to make their lasting impressions.

“It was a nice continuation of the road trip. We’re putting pucks in the net and keeping them out of our net for the most part. We’re getting some secondary scoring. It’s something we talked about striving for earlier in the year and we seem to have hit on it now in the last month,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy to reporters in Florida after Saturday night’s win. “So that’s good. I think every team would tell you they don’t want to rely on three or four players to score, and we’re no different than that. They’re going to be our leaders — [Bergeron’s] line for sure, Krejci and the power play — but it makes everybody’s job easier when everybody is contributing.

“I don’t care how long that you’ve been in the league, it feels good to score a goal. It’s what everybody is out there to try and do, so good for the guys.”

The Bruins are also catching the Lightning on a losing note after they dropped a 4-3 decision to the St. Louis Blues to snap a seven-game winning streak of their own, but Tampa Bay should be well-rested and ready to make their own statement as well. As good as the Bruins have been this season, the specter of Tampa Bay has been there looming for Boston in the second round should they advance in the playoffs. It’s difficult to imagine the Bruins doing much better than bowing out in five games as they did last season in the second round against the Lightning, but a dominant showing on Monday night in Tampa could change some minds in that regard.

So as much as any game this season, tonight’s date with the Tampa Bay Lightning should have an intense playoff feel for a Bruins team looking to prove something to everybody else, and even more importantly to themselves.

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Marcus Johansson on absence: 'When you’re out, you just miss it'

Marcus Johansson on absence: 'When you’re out, you just miss it'

Marcus Johansson was one of the key players the Boston Bruins acquired ahead of the 2019 NHL trade deadline. The 28-year-old wing was added to provide some veteran depth and help fit in on the team's second line, which had seen a plethora of different players play alongside David Krejci during the season.

However, Johansson played in just four games with the Bruins before suffering a lung contusion that has kept him out of the lineup. He last played on March 5 against the Carolina Hurricanes but he appears to be close to making a return to the lineup.

Johansson will be a game-time decision ahead of the Bruins' Monday night game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. After skating with the team at Sunday's practice, he opened up about what a potential return to the lineup would mean for him, via the Bruins' official Twitter account.

I’m just happy to be out there with the guys. And you know when you’re out, you just miss it. There’s nothing worse than sitting out and watching. I’m just excited to be here.

While Johansson may not necessarily return against the Lightning, he should return in the near future. His presence will make it easier for Charlie Coyle to slot back in as the third-line center. Coyle had been playing the wing on the second line in Johansson's place until Sean Kuraly suffered a thumb injury that will keep him out for four weeks. With Johansson back, that move can be permanent.

Additionally, Johansson will be able to develop chemistry with his linemates ahead of the postseason. Despite only having played with the Bruins for a brief time, Johansson has enjoyed playing on the second line with Jake DeBrusk and Krejci and recently spoke about that.

I’ve had a lot of fun in the games I’ve played with them. They make it easy on you. They’re so good with the puck and move their feet and make plays. You just got to be in the right spot for them.

If Johansson can't play against the Lightning, the recently called-up Karson Kuhlman will get another start. He scored a goal in the Bruins' 7-3 win over the Florida Panthers and has notched three points in six games this season.

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