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Talking points: Torey Krug, Kevan Miller let Bruins down in Game 3

Talking points: Torey Krug, Kevan Miller let Bruins down in Game 3

GOLD STAR: The old man came through for the Maple Leafs on a night when somebody had to step up for Toronto. It was Patrick Marleau, who scored a couple of goals and had four hits in his 15:44 of ice time while matching up much better on a line combo with Mitch Marner and newly installed center Tomas Plekanec. It was Marleau that beat younger, faster Torey Krug to the spot for his first goal in the second period when the B’s and Leafs were going back and forth. Then it was Marleau snapping one off past Tuukka Rask to the top corner in the third period to cinch the game with just a couple of minutes left in regulation. Toronto certainly needed something like that from him as they still don’t have their young guns really firing on all cylinders quite yet. But the Leafs moved a step into that direction with the way they played at home on Monday night. 

BLACK EYE: Torey Krug and Kevan Miller weren’t very good. They got caught a number of times on the stretch passes that Toronto uses for their attack with speed, and then they got hemmed in with the Patrice Bergeron line on the ultimate game-winner for Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs in the second period. Miller had a couple of giveaways and really didn’t make a strong play on the up-quick from Morgan Rielly that turned into a 2-on-1 with Mitch Marner and Patrick Marleau. Krug got beaten to the spot by one of the oldest guys on the ice. Both Miller and Krug finished the night with a minus-3 rating, and it looked like more of the same from a player in Krug that was a minus-7 over the last two regular seasons against the Leafs. 

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TURNING POINT: Clearly the big turning point for the Bruins arrived in the first period when the refs simply blew a penalty call, and basically handed a power play goal to the Toronto. Riley Nash flipped a puck off the glass and then over the glass, and it should have never been a delay of game penalty call. Instead the refs made no penalty call at first, huddled over it and then whistled Nash for delay of game despite the fact that all of them were clearly guessing about the wrong call. Amazingly it took until the third period for the makeup call that would give the Bruins their own power play when one might have assumed that would have come in the second period when they knew they screwed up. Either way, Toronto getting spotted a one-goal lead in the first period turned out to be a pretty substantial development in a close playoff game. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Frederik Andersen had the weirdest damn day, but you really have to give him credit where it’s due when Game 3 was all over. The Leafs goalie made 18 saves in the third period including at least three show-stopping saves on David Pastrnak alone when he was around the net, and made the best one on a power play chance with No. 88 looking at plenty of net to shoot at. Somehow Andersen got his stick on a puck that looked destined for the back of the net. That was after Andersen made a couple more saves on Pastrnak earlier in the third period when it was still just a one-goal game, and the Bruins top line was throwing everything they could at the net. Andersen ended up stopping 40-of-42 shots, but did allow two soft goals early on an Adam McQuaid long distance bomb and a Zdeno Chara odd-angle shot that he put under the bar. 

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – the number of goals for Auston Matthews in the playoff series after he finally struck for the game-winner in the second period, and then celebrated like he might never score in the postseason again. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: "You see it happens in your life as well. One day you have a great day. The next day you wake up and it's an absolutely [expletive] day. It happens, you know?" –David Pastrnak, taking the Zen approach to a Game 3 loss after getting robbed by Frederik Andersen a couple of times in the third period.

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Countdown to Bruins training camp: Chris Wagner

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Countdown to Bruins training camp: Chris Wagner

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: Chris Wagner.

One of the offseason aims for the Boston Bruins was bringing a little more experience and a little more physical thump to their fourth line, and the Bruins did that by signing Chris Wagner to a two-year contract on the opening day of free agency. The addition of Wagner adds a hard-hitting, versatile element to the bottom-six up front for the Bruins, and also gives the Bruins yet another local success story as a Walpole, Mass., native coming home to play for his hometown team. The fact that Wagner plays with the blue collar, physical style favored by Bruins fans will make it all the better for him in his home state.   

What Happened Last Year: The 27-year-old Wagner had a strong season with the Anaheim Ducks/New York Islanders going into free agency with seven goals and 16 points in 79 games while finishing among the NHL’s top-5 in registered hits. It was the most games that Wagner has ever played in the NHL and the most production he’s ever posted as well. Based on his track record and how hard he plays the game, it shouldn’t be all that difficult for Wagner to at least play at least season’s level for the next few seasons while under contract with Boston. 

Questions To Be Answered This Season: The big question for the rugged, high-energy Wagner is where the ceiling will be for him over the next few seasons after cementing himself as an NHL player last season. Is he going to be good for something in the neighborhood of five goals/15 points as a third/fourth line forward, or can Wagner hit double-digit goals once he settles into with a role and linemates for the Black and Gold. The other part of that question is whether Wagner can continue with the desperation and maximum energy output that he played with for Anaheim/New York last season. Will the security of a multi-year deal in Boston allow Wagner to relax a little bit and potentially not play with the kind of fire required to hit, play physical and get in the other team’s face? Only time will tell on this one, but it’s tough to get against a player like Wagner that’s had to scrap for everything he’s got.  

In Their Words: “I just wanted to find the best situation, obviously. It seemed that they had success recently and definitely had a chance to make a run for the Stanley Cup. That was huge for me. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the character of the guys in the room with the Bruins. I’ve always wanted to play here and be close to home and be close to my family. My parent, my grandparents, and my brother and all that so it’s just a win-win and a dream come true.” –Chris Wagner, on the process behind signing with his hometown Bruins on the July 1 open of free agency. 

Overall Outlook: The Bruins let Tim Schaller walk away in free agency, so they had to go after another physical, energy player for their fourth line. They found that in Wagner for a similar level of pay at $1.25 million per season, and are once again betting on the player to come into his own during his time with the Black and Gold. It’s a bonus that he’s a local kid just like Schaller, and the hope is that he’ll have the same level of success on and off the ice that Schaller did before parlaying it into a contract with the Vancouver Canucks. If Wagner plays the same way he did last season with Anaheim and New York, both the player and the team should be happy with the level of performance over the next couple of seasons. Bruins fans love players that are willing to take the body and work hard, and that is Chris Wagner several times over.

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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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