Bruins

Talking Points from the B's 3-2 OT win over the Sabres

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Talking Points from the B's 3-2 OT win over the Sabres

After a crucial last-minute comeback rally in Buffalo, here are my talking from points from a gritty Saturday night win as the Bruins now turn their focus to the Winter Classic:

GOLD STAR: Sean Kuraly has been grinding things out on the fourth line for most of this season, so nobody would blame him if he got a little bit more than excited getting a chance to skate with Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. Kuraly got that shot subbing in for the injured Brad Marchand, after Danton Heinen was quickly pulled from that spot early in the game against the Sabres, and he responded big time. Kuraly ended up scoring the game-winning goal in overtime when he won a defensive zone face-off, fired a shot on the Sabres net after getting the puck in the neutral zone, and then followed his shot to pop home the rebound for his third goal of the season. Kuraly finished with the goal and a plus-1 rating in 15:43 of ice time, four shots on net and a couple of hits to go along with the big face-off win in OT.

BLACK EYE: Danton Heinen is deep in the doghouse at this point. Heinen was given a chance to sub in for the injured Brad Marchand on the left side of Boston’s top line, and he was quickly yanked from that spot in the first period when it was clear he didn’t have it. Heinen played eight minutes while spending long portions of the game on the Bruins bench, and he didn’t finish with a single shot on net when he was on the ice. Heinen actually had a golden chance to tie things up in the third period when a Buffalo turnover put the puck on his stick right in the slot area, but Heinen couldn’t even get a shot off on the Sabres net. Last season he would have scored on that play. That’s how low it feels like Heinen’s offensive confidence is at this point.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins seized control of the game in the third period when they got a late power play, thanks to a kneeing penalty on Rasmus Ristolainen taking down David Pastrnak. The B’s top PP unit dominated possession on the shift keeping it away from the Sabres' penalty kill, and eventually Torey Krug fired a moving point shot that Jake DeBrusk redirected into the back of the Buffalo net for the game-tying strike. Once the game was tied, the Bruins had enough momentum to kill off a bad David Krejci penalty in overtime and then score the game-winner to give Boston a hugely important two points in the Atlantic Division playoff standings.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jake DeBrusk was on the ice for a pair of goals against the Bruins, but he was also heavily involved in Boston’s offensive attack. In only his second game back from a concussion, DeBrusk fearlessly attacked the net and camped out in front on Boston’s power play that tied the game with just a couple of minutes to go in the third period. DeBrusk also absorbed a big hit in the first period that never slowed him down, and instead finished with the goal, eight shot attempts, one hit and a takeaway that played a big role in the overtime win. It’s good news for the B’s that it only took two games for DeBrusk to get back into the full swing of things.

BY THE NUMBERS: 22:49 – Patrice Bergeron led all Bruins players in the time on ice department and did an excellent job of locking down Jack Eichel defensively after the Sabres forward dominated in the last meeting between the B’s and Sabres.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Right now it’s a tough time scoring. So we have to defend hard and then make sure that we capitalize on some opportunities when we get them. That’s how it played out tonight.” –Bruce Cassidy, to NESN, on the mentality grinding through a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres.   

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Providence Bruins create award dedicated to memory of Colby Cave

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Providence Bruins create award dedicated to memory of Colby Cave

Four months after the tragic death of Colby Cave, the Providence Bruins are taking action to ensure his legacy will not be forgotten.

Cave was just 25 years old when he died in April after suffering a brain bleed.

But now the Providence Bruins have partnered with the Cave Family and the Boston Bruins Foundation to create the Colby Cave Memorial Award to honor his commitment to helping those in need. The award will be presented each season to a deserving Providence Bruins player for their dedication to the community and charitable organizations. 

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“The Colby Cave Memorial Award is a special way to honor and remember Colby for his leadership qualities and humanitarian efforts,” said Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney in a statement. “Driven and committed to be an NHL player, Colby was also uniquely unselfish with teammates and anyone that needed help! Emily, the Cave Family and the entire Hockey World lost a great person who was beloved by everyone that was fortunate enough to spend time with Colby Cave.”

"From the first day he stepped into the Dunkin’ Donuts Center to the day he left for the NHL, Colby Cave inspired each and every one of us with his diligence, selflessness and compassion,” added Providence head coach Jay Leach. “Always the first to help, both with his teammates, and throughout our community, Colby set the precedent that we aspire to uphold."

Cave signed with the Bruins as an undrafted free agent in 2015 and spent several years in Providence where he played alongside Bruins like Jake DeBrusk (also a teammate of Cave's in juniors), Sean Kuraly, Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon and others. 

In 239 games with the P-Bruins, Cave often wore the 'A' as the team's assistant captain, racking up 43 goals and 115 points in parts of five seasons. He made his Boston debut in December 2017 and appeared in 23 games with the Bruins over two seasons, but when the team attempted to return him back to Providence in January 2019, he was claimed on waivers by the Oilers, with whom he played 44 games over the last two seasons.

Fans who would like to honor Colby’s memory can do so by donating at BostonBruins.com/Community/Foundation-Donations. The fund’s proceeds go toward community programs with an emphasis on mental health initiatives and providing access to sports for underprivileged children.

NHL Playoffs: Bruins make lineup changes for Game 1; David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask ready to go

NHL Playoffs: Bruins make lineup changes for Game 1; David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask ready to go

The Bruins will have a full, healthy group when they take the ice for Game 1 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night at the Toronto bubble at Scotiabank Arena.

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask were both part of an optional morning skate on Tuesday and Rask will get the start against the Hurricanes after posting a gaudy .955 save percentage against them in the Eastern Conference Final a little over a year ago. Otherwise, it will be rugged rookie D-man Jeremy Lauzon getting the starting nod for the Bruins on the bottom pairing and Connor Clifton coming out of the lineup after he played well in last weekend’s round-robin finale vs. Washington.

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On Monday, the Bruins readied for the “real games” by watching a video that featured all of the coaches', players' and staff’s families wishing the Bruins well from back home, and sending the message that “we are all in it” from Boston. Now that the glorified exhibition games of the round robin are over with, Cassidy said there’s a tangible note of excitement in the group as they ready for the first round.

This is exactly what the Bruins have been waiting five months for while staying sharp and in shape during a global pandemic.

"I think guys right now are pretty focused on the job at hand. That's Game 1 against Carolina,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I think we've all been looking forward to this first playoff game. I think our guys are excited.

“It’s the way we played at the end of the year [with Lauzon] and we’re not burying that part of the season. Clifton played [a round robin game] and Johnny Moore one game, so we probably made that decision back in training camp with the way we allotted the ice time. At the end of the day if we need to make a switch in the lineup then we will, but we felt that gives us the best balance in our lineup of size and puck-moving ability.”

For the Carolina Hurricanes, they are expected to get Dougie Hamilton back after having not played for the last seven months following a broken leg suffered in the middle of January.

With Lauzon in the lineup and the Bruins settling into their middle-6 lines with Ondrej Kase and Anders Bjork on the right side, here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings set to go up against the Hurricanes on Tuesday night:

FORWARD LINES

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk David Krejci Ondrej Kase
Nick Ritchie Charlie Coyle Anders Bjork
Joakim Nordstrom Sean Kuraly Chris Wagner

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk Jeremy Lauzon

GOALTENDER

Tuukka Rask