Bruins

Morning Skate: NHL players turning to medical marijuana?

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Morning Skate: NHL players turning to medical marijuana?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while doing that hockey, as Chance the Rapper would say.

*Interesting piece centered around former NHLer Riley Cote and his efforts to get hockey players to embrace cannabis over dangerous opioid painkillers. It’s interesting to hear about more hockey players using alternative methods for injuries and chronic problems given how addictive some of the painkillers can be over time.

*Interesting piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mark Divver on Evan Gold, the Bruins' salary cap guru.

*A storybook ending for Brian Boyle continues as he scored again on Hockey Fights Cancer Night for the New Jersey Devils.

*Former Boston College standout Mike Matheson is finding his game with the Florida Panthers at just the right time for a hockey club that needs him.

*It looks like Carey Price is going to return for the Canadiens after a lengthy stay out of the lineup.

*The sad, downward spiral story continues for Mike Ribeiro continues as he was arrested for trespassing in Miami Beach this week.

*For something completely different: A woman died from a two-story fall after apparently trying to take a selfie. What is this world coming to?


 

Haggerty's Talking Points: Tuukka Rask, Brad Marchand spark Bruins in win over Sabres

Haggerty's Talking Points: Tuukka Rask, Brad Marchand spark Bruins in win over Sabres

GOLD STAR: Tuukka Rask was excellent in the first period when the Bruins were outshot 17-4, but still managed to escape the first period with a tied 1-1 score. Then Rask stopped the show in the third period with the Bruins nursing a 3-1 lead. The Sabres dialed up the pressure before Evan Rodrigues got a golden scoring chance from the right face-off circle. He stepped into the shot and launched it toward the open net, but Rask made a last-ditch leap and snagged the puck with his blocker to rob a certain goal for the Sabres.

It was the highlight save of the season for Rask, and probably for the rest of the NHL in competition with another show-stopping save from Marc-Andre Fleury a couple of nights ago. It was also the difference in the one-goal game which Rask finished with 36 saves.

BLACK EYE: Urho Vaakanainen struggled early in the game making mistakes with the puck in his early shifts and really never got going for the Bruins during the game. He has not been impressive at all in this season’s stint at the NHL level, and that was the case against Buffalo where he finished with no shots on net and a giveaway in 13:44 of ice time.

Worse still, Bruce Cassidy was critical of Vaakanainen postgame and said that he wasn’t ready to go at the drop of the puck on Thursday night. That’s a bad sign for a young player that should be hungry to stay at the NHL level.

Perhaps Vaakanainen just needs more time to build up his confidence, or perhaps he’s just really struggling in his second pro season with the kind of sophomore slump that can happen from time to time.

TURNING POINT: Really, it was Brad Marchand and his linemates waking up and taking control of the first period. Marchand created havoc on the fore-check and that turned into a chance for Zdeno Chara to blast a slap shot that Marchand redirected past Linus Ullmark for the game-tying goal toward the end of the first period.

The Marchand goal almost immediately shifted the momentum of the game and it allowed the Bruins to head into the first intermission locked in a 1-1 tie rather than down a goal after no-showing for the first 12 plus minutes of the game. They didn’t deserve to be tied after one period, but they were and that was a huge difference-maker, especially after getting outshot 17-4 to start the game.

HONORABLE MENTION: It wasn’t Marchand’s best game by any margin, but he still came out with a pair of goals in a 3-2 win over the Sabres. The first was a gutsy tip of a Zdeno Chara blast right at the front of the net in the first period and the second was a power play goal that catapulted the B’s into the lead in the second period.

Marchand finished with just the two shots on net and two registered hits in 19:20 of ice time for the game and certainly wasn’t clicking 5-on-5 with Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak like usual. But at the end of the day Marchand showed up and produced, Rask showed up and produced and Pastrnak showed up and produced his 20th goal of the season. When that happens with Boston’s best players, they rarely lose.

BY THE NUMBERS: 12 – the consecutive number of home games that the Bruins have drawn points from this season dating to the start of the year, the seventh longest streak to start a season in the last 30 years.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Save of the year. That’s why he’s making the big bucks. We’ve got him back there to save our butts.” –Brad Marchand, on Tuukka Rask’s leaping blocker save on Evan Rodrigues in the third period that ended up saving the game for the Bruins.

HAGGERTY: How does Bergeron stack up against NHL's top centers?>>>

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Bruins' Tuukka Rask robs Sabres' Evan Rodrigues with incredible save

Bruins' Tuukka Rask robs Sabres' Evan Rodrigues with incredible save

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask provided one of the best saves you'll see all season on Thursday night.

In the third period vs. the Buffalo Sabres, Rask robbed Evan Rodriguez with a ridiculous save using his blocker.

Watch the play below:

With some help from that insane play by Rask, the B's went on to defeat Buffalo by a score of 3-2.

Next up for the Bruins (14-3-5) is a matchup at TD Garden against the Minnesota Wild (8-11-2).

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.