Bruins

Talking Points: Nash scores twice as Bruins dominate Senators

Talking Points: Nash scores twice as Bruins dominate Senators

GOLD STAR: Riley Nash doesn’t score a ton of goals, but he seems to decide to score them in bunches when they do come for him. Nash finished with a pair of goals in the second period to really extend the lead for the Bruins, and showcase some pretty good offensive skill that always seems to come out in flashes with him. Nash scored on a breakaway after an Erik Karlsson turnover for his first goal, and then dangled his way to the net for his second score after a dogged Anders Bjork fore-check created a Dion Phaneuf turnover in the Sens defensive zone. In all Nash finished with two goals, three points and a plus-3 rating in 14:23 of ice time, and two shots on net, a takeaway and three blocked shots in a solid all-around effort for the third line center.

BLACK EYE: For all the fanfare of the Matt Duchene trade rumors over the last couple of seasons, he’s been a fairly unremarkable player for the Senators on most nights since Ottawa gave up a ton to get him. On Wednesday night it was more of the same for Duchene, who finished with a minus-2 rating and three giveaways in 17:15 of ice time while being pretty much completely invisible on the ice for the Senators. Duchene did have one shot on net, so he had at least something small to show for his efforts in an otherwise “blah” evening. Boy, the Senators better hope that they start getting a little more from their investment in Duchene moving forward. 

TURNING POINT: The Bruins built a two-goal lead in the first period against a hapless, terrible Ottawa team, so the second period could have been a big letdown for the B’s. They certainly eased off the gas pedal a little bit and let the Senators on the board with a Thomas Chabot goal, but they also scored two goals of their own around the Ottawa score while extending their lead. Once you are extending leads and outscoring opponents while still not playing your best hockey, that’s when you know that a team is onto something. The Bruins never really buckled despite being outshot in the second period by an 11-9 margin, and Tuukka Rask stepped up to give them the goaltending they needed in order to win. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Kevin Miller got things going with a first period goal after crushing Mike Hoffman with a big hit around the Boston net, and continued playing with fierce physicality and great efficiency throughout the game. Miller finished with a goal and a plus-4 rating in 18:52 of ice time, had three shot attempts and three hits and put the exclamation point on the victory when he threw another thunderous hit on Ottawa forward Filip Chlapik in the closing minutes of the game. The goal was Miller’s first of the season and could really begin to kick-start his offense at a time when a now healthy Adam McQuaid is pushing to get back into the B’s lineup somewhere on the back end. 

BY THE NUMBERS: 25 – the number of penalty minutes for Ottawa defenseman Fredrik Claesson after drilling Noel Acciari with a head shot, catching a beating at the hands of Tim Schaller and then getting kicked out of the game with a pair of major penalties. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Boy, that thing is annoying after a while isn’t it?” –Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, pausing for a moment to acknowledge the fire alarm blaring at TD Garden during his entire postgame press conference. 

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Morning Skate: Who ya got in draft of hockey movie characters?

Morning Skate: Who ya got in draft of hockey movie characters?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading as training camp skates a little closer and summer winds down.

*Fun little exercise from Barstool Sports where the NHL has an expansion draft to pick up hockey movie characters. I was, however, a little disappointed to see that the Bruins got somebody from Mystery, Alaska (not one of my fav hockey movies) instead of Ross “The Boss” Rhea, who has Black and Gold written all over him.

*A Q&A with Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn where he talks about anything and everything ahead of an important season for the Stars organization.

*Tim Benz doesn’t want to see anybody else ever wear No. 71 or No. 68 for the Pittsburgh Penguins. I think it’s a safe bet we won’t see that.  

*Pro Hockey Talk says to expect a huge year from Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty no matter where he plays. Count me as a little skeptical on that one.

*So how good is Colton Parayko? Varying NHL talent evaluators offer variations on a “Ummm, pretty good” theme.

*For something completely different: RIP to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who I will forever remember for crushing her scene in the Blues Brothers. She was the real deal.

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Countdown to Bruins training camp: Is Karlsson ready to win third-line job?

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Countdown to Bruins training camp: Is Karlsson ready to win third-line job?

From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2018-19 Bruins. Today: Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson.

When Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson signed out of BU after his sophomore season, the expectation might have been that he’d quickly be in the NHL based on his two-way abilities and the maturity to his game at the NCAA ranks. That hasn’t happened for the 21-year-old center prospect to this point, but it could happen soon after a solid rookie campaign at the AHL level with 15 goals and 32 points in 58 games. Consider JFK one of the Bruins prospects close to an NHL breakthrough at this point after getting more accustomed to the speed and physicality last season.  

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What Happened Last Year: Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson didn’t make much of an impression during NHL training camp, and then went to Providence where he began to gather experience and log development time. There were injuries and slow periods, but Forsbacka Karlsson finished with a very strong 15 goals and 32 points of production in 58 games while centering Providence’s second line. Forsbacka gained valuable experience playing in all situations, sharpening his defensive skills and face-off abilities against improved competition, and built up enough in his own game to be much more competitive next time around in camp. A concussion knocked JFK out for most of the last six weeks of the season, however, and that put an unfortunate pause on what was a pretty strong opening campaign in the pros. 

Questions To Be Answered This Season: The only real question about JFK is whether he’s going to be ready to step up and seize the third line center job after the departure of free agent Riley Nash. The Bruins appear to be throwing a number of players into the mix for the third line center job with Sean Kuraly, Chris Wagner and Joakim Nordstrom all being considered for the job, and young prospects in JFK and Trent Frederic readying for their big NHL chances as well. The question is whether JFK is ready to handle the physicality and speed at the NHL level where much is expected out of a third line center right out of the bat, or whether another half-season of AHL development time would be more beneficial for the 21-year-old former college player.  

In Their Words: “It’s likely internal at this point, yes, and we have some very strong candidates. We have some young players that certainly want that slot, and we have a couple of guys internally that I think can move up and play that slot. At times when Anaheim was really injured at the first part of the year, Chris Wagner played in third-line roles, more of a shutdown situation, which we’ve used our players as. Sean Kuraly is certainly a player that wants to have a bigger role, and then you have the three younger players (including Forsbacka Karlsson) that we feel [can compete], and we also have a couple of other guys that we’ve added to the group that we’re going to go to work with and see where they fit in.” – Don Sweeney, talking about the third-line center competition headed into training camp.  

Overall Outlook: The 21-year-old Forsbacka Karlsson will go as far in training camp as his play allows him to with the Bruins. If JFK has reached the point where he can compete for an NHL job as the third-line center, then the Bruins will be getting a skilled, smart and dedicated two-way center able to hold down a top-9 center position. If JFK clearly isn’t ready and still needs another season, or at least a half-year, of gained strength, improved conditioning and learning the ins and outs of the NHL world, then the Bruins will move to the next group of candidates including Trent Frederic, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner among others. Third-line center is an important enough position that the Bruins will make sure their young guys are ready to go if called into battle, but they’re also hedging their bets with viable veteran options in case the kids need more development.     

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