Bruins

Talking Points: Lack of energy dooms Bruins

bruins_tuukka_rask_112617.jpg

Talking Points: Lack of energy dooms Bruins

GOLD STAR: Leon Draisaitl had five giveaways and got smoked by Noel Acciari on a heavy hit in the third period, but he also came up with the play to win the game for an Oilers group that needed something to build on. Draisaitl bombed down the left wing, put the Bruins defense on their heels and then fed Ryan Strome for the scoring wrist shot from the slot midway through the third period. Draisaitl then picked up a goal on the empty netter to ice things in the final minute of the third period, but it was a nice little finish to the game after the big Edmonton center had a pretty slow start to the game. It just goes to show you how much talent the Oilers have on that roster that’s completely underachieved to this point in the season.

BLACK EYE: A very difficult, uneven game for Torey Krug that ended with more bad plays than good for the Bruins puck-moving defenseman. It was Krug’s weak clear attempt off the boards that ended up setting things up for Edmonton on their first goal, and then it was Krug as part of a very poor five man unit trying to defend on the game-winning goal for the Oil. The Bruins D-man tried to make up for it by blocking a shot in the closing minute that was destined for the empty net, but appropriate for the whole game the puck went right back to Draisaitl for the empty net goal to ice the game. In all Krug finished with a minus-2 along with two assists, and was involved in his 19:36 of ice time in nearly everything that happened both good and bad in defeat.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins essentially lost the game in the second period when they came into the frame protecting a 1-0 lead, and left in a tied hockey game after getting outshot by a 17-5 margin in the middle 20 minutes. The Bruins were outhustled, outmuscled and outworked by the Oilers at the end of a long East Coast road trip, and generally looked like a team that didn’t want to empty the bucket for the two points. Edmonton finished behind Boston in the registered hit battle (31-to-27) and in the blocked shots category (11-to-5), a couple of clear examples where they weren’t working as hard as the Oilers in this one.

HONORABLE MENTION: Call Patrick Maroon a certified Bruins killer because he once again did some major damage against the Black and Gold. Maroon scored his sixth goal against the Bruins in the last three seasons when he opened Edmonton’s scoring with a quick strike on the Boston net after a cross-ice pass from Zack Kassian. Predictably Maroon scored by shooting high on Tuukka Rask to the short side when he didn’t have time to shut off the post, and it was one of four shots on net for the Edmonton power forward. Maroon also stepped up to Zdeno Chara briefly after the B’s captain mugged Connor McDavid in the corner during a testy second period exchange.

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 – the number of points Tuukka Rask has accumulated in 13 appearances this season, which is only a 1/3 of the 24 points for the Bruins this season. Rask’s won-loss record dropped to a brutal 3-8-2-with the defeat to the Oilers.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We were fortunate there to make a good play [on the PP goal], but that couldn’t kick-start us, in terms of energy, to extend the lead. It’s disappointing. You’re at home. We’ve played well of late. We started well Friday, just didn’t have it tonight.” –Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, disappointed at the lack of energy in Boston’s game on Sunday vs. Edmonton. 

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Morning Skate: Try to keep up with Chara's offseason workout

Morning Skate: Try to keep up with Chara's offseason workout

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while watching Captain America’s entrance to Avengers: Infinity War on a 24/7 loop. It’s just that good.

*Cool Instagram video from Zdeno Chara that shows a peek behind the curtain of his offseason workout with crazy strength, balance and conditioning drills for a 6-foot-9 man on the wrong side of 40. It’s no wonder he’s a physical marvel still at his advanced age, and that the end of his Hall of Fame career doesn’t look like it’s coming anytime soon. Chara may be older, he may no longer be a viable Norris Trophy candidate and his body may be starting to break down just a little bit more given his age, but the man is a true freak of nature with his strength, size and conditioning. There are no two ways about that.

*Ryan Ellis has signed a long-term extension with the Nashville Predators for a cap friendly number as the Preds continue to build and sustain a long-term winner.

*Interesting piece on Buffalo Sabres head coach Phil Housley’s wife, Karin, running for a Senate seat in Minnesota.

*Pro Hockey Talk says that Ilya Kovalchuk is under pressure as he begins a big three-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings.

*Boy, it sure sounds like the Arizona Coyotes are in a heap of financial trouble as their fiscal losses continue to mount.

*For something completely different: Pretty interesting interview with Michelle MacLaren, the director from this week’s "Better Call Saul" that gives some good insight into the characters on the show, and the exciting direction its headed toward Breaking Bad-ville.

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Could Sekera injury spark renewed Oilers' interest in Torey Krug?

Could Sekera injury spark renewed Oilers' interest in Torey Krug?

The Bruins raised some eyebrows on July 1 when they signed defenseman John Moore to a long-term contract and thereby locked themselves in with eight NHL-caliber defensemen headed into training camp next month.

It sparked plenty of informed speculation that one of the D-men would eventually be moved, with Torey Krug the most likely candidate given his contract, value on the trade market and what the Black and Gold could get in return.

Either way, Don Sweeney said after the signing that having a healthy supply of D-men was a good situation for the Bruins just in case needs arose with other teams around the league. Well, the need around the league is getting greater with the news that Edmonton Oilers D-man Andrej Sekera is out long-term following surgery to repair his Achilles tendon. 

Sekera, 32, a left-shot defenseman who was limited to only 36 games last season, had been a top-4 mainstay for the Oil the previous two seasons. Sekera was being counted on to again be that kind of quality D-man again, but that looks very much in question right now.

That leaves the Oilers badly in need of a left-shot, top-four D-man with some offensive upside and leaves open the kind of job description that Krug could very neatly fill in Edmonton. This is after some very clear interest from Edmonton in the talented, productive Krug last season. It would bring about a reunion of the offensive D-man with the general manager who originally signed him with the Bruins as an undrafted defenseman out of Michigan State.

As has often been stated, the Bruins don’t want to trade Krug, 27, after he produced 110 points the past two seasons with only Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Victor Hedman and John Klingberg scoring more from the back end in that span. Still, they badly need a top-six sniper to even off their forward lines and bring some scoring depth to a team that was far too one-dimensional in the postseason against the Maple Leafs and the Lightning.

Could a strong trade package featuring Krug be enough to pry Ryan Nugent-Hopkins away from the Oilers after he showed some great things on the wing last season? Could he also be a top-six center candidate with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci entering NHL middle age? Could Edmonton’s desperation to turn things around be enough to really push Peter Chiarelli into desperation mode looking for a left-handed defenseman in light of Sekera’s injury?

These are good questions to ask as the Bruins ready for camp with an abundance of talented, proven NHL defensemen. They'd be dealing from a position of strength as teams, such as Edmonton, suddenly become buyers out of circumstance and desperation. Don’t be shocked if we haven’t heard the last of Krug-to-Edmonton trade rumors because the dominoes are beginning to fall and it continues to look as if it's a very real possibility.     

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