Talking Points: Chara involved in both the good and bad vs. Blackhawks

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Talking Points: Chara involved in both the good and bad vs. Blackhawks

GOLD STAR: This just in. Patrick Kane is still pretty damn good. Kane scored the game-winner on the power play after getting set up at the top of the face-off circle and he snapped a wrist shot off the inside of the far post past Anton Khudobin. That third period PP strike with less than three minutes remaining really drove a stake into the Bruins, and ushered in the B’s loss that snapped a six-game winning streak. Kane finished with a goal and two points in 21:44 of ice time, had five shots on net and seven shot attempts and was his usual dangerous self for the Blackhawks. It was a big contrast to Saturday at TD Garden when Kane was mostly held down with the Bruins taking turns throwing big hits at the small-bodied, skilled winger. Kane won the battle on Sunday, and consequently so did the Blackhawks.

BLACK EYE: Zdeno Chara scored the only goal for the Bruins, but he was also right at the heart of the plays that lose the game for Boston at the very end. Chara took a four minute high-sticking call when he nailed John Hayden around the Boston net, and then watched as Patrick Kane scored the game-winner during the ensuing four minute power play for the Blackhawks. When Chara was finally allowed out of the box he skated to the bench with the Blackhawks enjoying full possession in the Bruins zone, and Brent Seabrook was able to score on a wide open shot right at the spot where Chara had hopped onto the bench with his back turned to the play. It was a read that Chara had to make immediately, and he made the wrong one going to the bench with the Bruins running around in their own end. That gave the Blackhawks their insurance score, and essentially sunk the Bruins in a game where they never held a lead. On the plus side, Chara only played 18:54 of ice time in an afternoon that couldn’t have been too, too taxing.

TURNING POINT: It was the third period for the Bruins where they usually come through and actually tied things up with a legit chance to get at least a point, but then the Chara high-sticking penalty in the final minutes doomed them. It was Jonathan Toews vs. Tim Schaller in the offensive zone draw for the Blackhawks on the PP, and that set them up to get exactly what they wanted with Kane at the top of the left circle ready to snap away with traffic in front of the net. Once the Bruins were in that position it was going to take a miracle for them to get out of with something positive from the game, and this time around it just didn’t happen. This was truly a case of “you can’t win them all”, however, given that they were missing Patrice Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy, David Backes and Brad Marchand (upper body injury and a final hour scratch) from the lineup.

HONORABLE MENTION: The other half of the Blackhawks’ dynamic duo also enjoyed a day with many of the big names out of the Boston lineup, and there was no doubt it had something to do with a three-point game from Jonathan Toews. He won 16-of-21 face-offs with no Patrice Bergeron opposing him on the other end of the face-off dot, and it was Toews that cleanly won the draw in the offensive zone on the PP just ahead of Patrick Kane’s game-winning goal. It was the seventh time this season that Toews has won at least 70 percent of his draws. In all Toews finished with the three assists, a shot on net, a takeaway and face-off dominance in his 21:23 of ice time, and had a nice flashback effort with Kane on Sunday afternoon.

BY THE NUMBERS: 9-2-1 – the Bruins record in the third game of stretches where they’ve played three games in four days this season, as they dropped only their third of those games in that situation in Chicago on Sunday.

QUOTE TO NOTE:  “Playing with 11 forwards, a little challenge for the coach to keep the guys fresh… We were in it. We were in it till the end. Maybe not as many chances at either end as [on Saturday] but I thought it was a decent game.” –David Krejci, to reporters in Chicago following the 3-1 loss to the Blackhawks.


Brad Marchand disses Ryan Lindgren after exchanging blows

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Brad Marchand disses Ryan Lindgren after exchanging blows

Brad Marchand had a feisty game against the New York Rangers on Sunday afternoon that included notching his 51st assist of the season in the 3-1 win at Madison Square Garden. The Bruins left winger also got into it physically with a few Rangers players along the way, including former Bruins prospect and current Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren.

Lindgren lined Marchand up for a hit in front of the Rangers bench in the first period that the B’s forward sidestepped, and then the two scuffled in a sequence that landed Lindgren in the box with a retaliatory roughing penalty.

During a key stretch late in the second period, it was Lindgren again starting a shoving match with Patrice Bergeron in front of the New York net. Marchand stepped in to help defend his linemate during the scrum, but then got knocked off his feet by a nasty cross-check from behind by Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich.  

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The force of the impact knocked Marchand’s helmet off and sent him flying to the ice, but he ended up getting the only penalty called against him. The Bruins got the last laugh, though, when Charlie Coyle scored the shorthanded game-winner during the ensuing Rangers power play, and Marchand was spotted celebrating in the penalty box after the breakaway goal.  

After the game, the ever-quotable Marchand was asked about Lindgren by reporters in New York, and he let the bottom-pairing Rangers defenseman have it by unloading both of his verbal barrels on the youngster.

"He's not going to be a player there that's going to have a very long career,” said Marchand. “I'm not overly concerned about him. ... He's a good, steady defenseman ... All the best to him, hope he does a great job. But I can't see it."

Ouch. Marchand and the Bruins won on the scoreboard, and then again with the postgame chirps from Madison Square Garden.

Bruins-Rangers Talking Points: Charlie Coyle continues dominant play in B's win

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Bruins-Rangers Talking Points: Charlie Coyle continues dominant play in B's win

GOLD STAR: Charlie Coyle has picked up the scoring pace as of late with four goals in his last five games. And now he was scored in two straight games after picking up the shorthanded game-winning goal for the Bruins on Sunday afternoon.

Coyle was a dominant force again on Sunday against the Rangers from his third line center spot and has played with the same kind of strength, motor and relentless play that everybody saw from him in the playoffs last year. Even better, Coyle is now on a pace to get close to 20 goals this season for the Bruins, and his play in Sunday’s game was a beauty. He broke up a play at the Rangers offensive blue line, sped behind the New York power play and then threw a couple of moves at Alexander Georgiev before flipping a forehand bid past him late in the second period.

Coyle finished with the goal, a plus-2 rating, three shots on net and a hit and a takeaway in 15:57 of ice time for the Bruins.

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BLACK EYE: Pavel Buchnevich certainly made a statement about his game on Sunday. He was a team-worst minus-3 and he managed to miss the net with all four of his shot attempts.

But the biggest moment was his cheap cross-check to an unsuspecting Brad Marchand that knocked the Bruins forward’s helmet off as he squared up with Ryan Lindgren after the New York defenseman started trouble with Patrice Bergeron.

Buchnevich also had a giveaway in 17:14 of ice time as many of New York’s best players simply didn’t do enough in a game that the Rangers desperately needed to stay in shouting distance of the playoffs. But it’s amazing that Buchnevich wasn’t called for even a minor penalty for throwing a major cheap shot at one of the NHL’s best players.

TURNING POINT: The turning point for the game was the cheap shot Buchnevich threw on Marchand. Marchand was the only one whistled for a penalty as he cross-checked Lindgren while sticking up for his linemate Bergeron, and then Buchnevich came out of nowhere to knock the Bruins winger off the ice with a cross-check from behind.

The force of the Buchnevich two-hander knocked Marchand’s helmet off, but somehow there was no minor penalty called on him.

As the saying goes, though, the puck don’t lie. With Marchand in the box for what should have been matching penalties, Charlie Coyle scored on a shorthanded breakaway for the game-winning goal at the end of the second period.

HONORABLE MENTION: As has been the case for a number of games since the NHL All-Star break, Charlie McAvoy was one of the best players on the ice for the Bruins. McAvoy scored another goal when his point shot deflected off a Rangers body in front before fluttering in past Georgiev, and gave the Bruins an early 1-0 lead in the game.

McAvoy finished with a game-high 24:52 of ice time, scored a goal, had five shot attempts and was a plus-1 rating while throwing two registered hits and blocking a couple of shots as well.

McAvoy played an elite, tough level at both ends of the ice and was pushing the envelope offensively in a way he wasn’t doing earlier in the season when his confidence wasn’t at an all-time high. McAvoy is playing his best hockey of the season right now and Sunday’s win was another example of it.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – the number of assists in Sunday’s win for the Bruins despite scoring three goals. Brad Marchand had the lone assist on Patrice Bergeron’s empty netter while Charlie McAvoy and Charlie Coyle’s goals were both unassisted earlier in the game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “He's not going to be a player there that's going to have a very long career. I'm not overly concerned with him." –Brad Marchand on New York Rangers defenseman (and former Bruins prospect) Ryan Lindgren after the two players scuffled a couple of times during Sunday’s matinee.