Bruins

Talking Points from the Bruins' 4-3 OT win over the Flyers in preseason

Talking Points from the Bruins' 4-3 OT win over the Flyers in preseason

Here are Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the Bruins' 4-3 OT win over the Flyers in their preseason home opener. 

GOLD STAR:  Bruins left winger Jake DeBrusk certainly feel great about the way his season ended last year, but he started things off with a bang this year in the preseason. DeBrusk potted the overtime game-winner when he crashed the front of the net and pushed in a rebound of a Brad Marchand shot during a 4-on-3 power play for the Bruins in overtime. DeBrusk was strong throughout the game with five shots on net to go along with the goal in 16 plus minutes of ice time, and even more so when you considered that his regular center man, David Krejci, was knocked out just two shifts into the game for the Black and Gold.

BLACK EYE: It was a rough one for David Krejci, who exited the game after two shifts in the first period after a collision with Shayne Gostisbehere where it looked like his right knee buckled after a bit of a hip check. Krejci wasn’t on the bench to start the second period and certainly didn’t want to start his preseason out this way. The good news is that Bruce Cassidy said postgame that it was more precautionary than anything else, but it’s never good to see any of the aging core group dinged up during the largely meaningless preseason.

TURNING POINT: It looked like the Bruins were going to go quietly into that good night trailing 3-2 late in the third period, but instead the fourth line stepped up and allowed the Bruins to win it in overtime. Sean Kuraly made the play feeding to a wide-open Chris Wagner in transition, and Wagner did the rest dangling the puck through Brian Elliott’s five-hole for the game-tying score late in the third period. It shows once again the kind of possibilities that the Bruins will have this season if they can figure out the second and third line mix because the top line and the fourth line are already good to go for the Black and Gold.  

HONORABLE MENTION: Jakub Lauko only played nine minutes in the game, but he was dynamite for the Bruins while scoring the first goal of the game. Lauko threw a puck to himself off the boards while blowing by Flyers defenseman Mark Friedman, and then he sniped a wrist shot from a bad angle under the bar past a stunned Elliott. It was Lauko’s only shot on net in the game, but it was a memorable one as it spoke to the dazzling skills that the youngsters bring to the table each time he’s on the ice. The lack of ice time for him tonight, though, speaks to the very slim chances he has of making the team given the older, experienced players around him.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of assists for David Backes in a solid night for him as the 35-year-old continues to fight for a job with the Bruins amidst some stiff competition at the forward position.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I don’t think it’s serious. [We] felt it was better to not push through it. We’ll know more [on Tuesday].” –Bruce Cassidy speaking about the lower-body injury to David Krejci, which sounded precautionary more than anything else.

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Rask knows he 'can't be too satisfied' with the way his game his taken a slide

Rask knows he 'can't be too satisfied' with the way his game his taken a slide

BOSTON – There’s no denying the single biggest common thread through the Bruins' four-game losing streak.

The same Tuukka Rask that was brilliant in the first month of the season has hit a rough patch in November and that tough stretch continued as he coughed up four goals in the third period of a 5-4 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

Rask is 1-2-1 with a 3.45 goals-against average and .886 save percentage in four November starts and played a starring role as a liability in losses to Montreal and Florida the past week. It was Rask who was beaten in the first minute of the third period on a long-distance Aaron Ekblad shot where the goaltender admitted he was too deep in the net and it was Rask who didn’t shut off the post on Florida’s third goal scored by Mike Hoffman as Florida was storming back in the final 20 minutes.

“I should have been sharper in that third period,” lamented Rask. “There were a couple of soft goals and I let [the Panthers] kind of get some momentum. It’s a 60-minute game and we’ve been on the other side of it.”

It wasn’t quite as bad as the three soft goals he gave up that all clanged off his glove hand last week in Montreal, but it was far from vintage Rask at a time when a few different things are going wrong for the Bruins. Rask is still top five with a 2.16 GAA and eighth in the league with a .926 save percentage, but it’s a far cry from the .951 save percentage he racked up in 10 games in a red-hot October.

Clearly, Rask is going through the same kind of tough stretch that used to greet him the first month of the season, but this time, it’s hitting him after a brief, dominant stretch out of the starting gate. Perhaps the Bruins coaching staff will get a quicker hook with Rask the next time he shows signs of trouble as in the losses against Montreal and Florida, or Jaroslav Halak will be used with a little more frequency until Rask works out the kinks in his game.

At least the B’s No. 1 goaltender isn’t under any illusions about the way he’s played the past few games.

“In Montreal, I sucked. In Detroit, I felt okay. Today, in the last period there were a couple of soft goals, so I can’t be too satisfied,” said Rask. “But, hey, there’s a lot of hockey left.”

While it’s refreshing to hear the kind of accountability  Rask is putting out there, the Bruins aren’t going to go very far if Rask is talking too much about sucking and giving up soft goals. The B’s better hope that their top goalie gets locked back in pretty quickly so both the team and Rask can leave their early-season mini-slumps behind in the rear-view mirror.

 

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NHL Power Rankings: Big shakeup in the Top 10 this week

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

NHL Power Rankings: Big shakeup in the Top 10 this week

Sure, the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs are months away, but it's never too soon to look ahead, right?

The competition for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference could be tight, as several teams have surged forward recently, including the Flyers, Panthers and Canadiens — all of which missed the playoffs a season ago.

The picture is also crowded out West, where not many teams have started to separate from the pack as of yet.

How are the Bruins stacking up after a four-game losing streak? And which teams are making leaps forward?

Click here for Joe Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings.>>>>>>

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