Bruins

What you need to know about the Bruins before NHL training camps open

What you need to know about the Bruins before NHL training camps open

With training camps expected to open around the NHL next week, it feels like a good time for a Bruins refresher as everybody gets back up to speed with the hope that the league will return to play games next month.

The Bruins were at 100 points when the regular season went on pause in mid-March and would have been the No. 1 seed in the entire Stanley Cup playoff field given the commanding lead they had on everybody else in the league. As it was, they were awarded the Presidents' Trophy as the points leader in the regular season and won the Jennings Trophy as the team with the lowest goals against average in the league as well.

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David Pastrnak became the first Bruins player since Phil Esposito to lead the NHL with 48 goals in a tie with Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin, and Tuukka Rask finished as the NHL leader with a 2.12 goals against average. The Bruins finished ninth in the NHL with 3.24 goals per game, tops in the NHL with 2.39 goals allowed per game and had the second-best (25.2 percent) power play and third-best penalty kill (84.2 percent) in the league this year.

All of that combined with last season’s run to the Stanley Cup Final has the Bruins looked at as favorites headed into August’s 24-team postseason tournament that will kick off the Stanley Cup Playoffs. So here’s a quick run-down on the Black and Gold. It’s been a while since we checked in on them with any actual games to play in the near future. A two-week training camp is expected to kick off for the B’s starting Monday at Warrior Ice Arena.  

Where B's stood when NHL season was paused

The Bruins had won 16 of their last 20 games dating back to the All-Star weekend and their bye week, and they were rolling after picking up Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie from Anaheim at the trade deadline. B's head coach Bruce Cassidy had begun doing some tinkering with his forwards while slotting Kase and Ritchie on either side of David Krejci while dropping Jake DeBrusk to the third line with Charlie Coyle and Anders Bjork/Sean Kuraly.

In the final game ahead of the break, Rask had made 36 saves for a 2-0 shutout win over the Flyers, while Matt Grzelcyk (power play) and Patrice Bergeron provided the offense. Brad Marchand, Torey Krug and David Pastrnak were each point-per-game players in March. Charlie McAvoy was averaging over 26 minutes of ice time per game and Bergeron had two goals in four games during the month of March. Meanwhile, Rask was rolling with a 1.67 GAA and a .938 save percentage in the second-to-last month of the regular season.

Who was injured for the Bruins on March 10?

Both Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo sat out the March 10 game against the Flyers with upper body injuries. Krug had suffered his after an awkward tumble into the boards, while Carlo had missed a couple of games with a suspected concussion after taking an elbow to the face from Florida Panthers forward Evgenii Dadonov. The injuries led to Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton playing his first game since December, so when play resumes, Clifton will have played a grand total of one NHL game in the last eight months.

Both Krug and Carlo are 100 percent healthy for the Bruins after sitting out the last few months. The only Bruins player still injured is defenseman Kevan Miller (knee), who has already been ruled out for this summer’s playoffs after missing the entire 2019-20 regular season.

Who's already in town skating at Warrior Ice Arena?

Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara have led the voluntary Phase 2 skating practices at Warrior with appearances by John Moore, Par Lindholm, Kuraly, Grzelcyk and Krug, along with goaltenders Jaroslav Halak and Rask. Joakim Nordstrom had arrived back from Sweden and was expected to join the Black and Gold on the ice once he’d done the necessary quarantining and testing.

At this point, most of the Bruins should be back in Boston considering that many will have to quarantine for a substantial period of time if they flew back into the country.

Looking ahead: What’s next for the Bruins?

Once the Return to Play plan is approved by the NHLPA at the end of this week, expect announcements to come fast and furiously from NHL teams. The Bruins are expected to start a two-week camp on Monday and will head to their Toronto hub city in the last week of July.

Qualifying round games and round-robin games are expected to start on Aug. 1, with the Stanley Cup Playoffs set to begin around Aug. 9 or so. The teams will play two rounds of playoffs in their respective hub cities, Toronto and Edmonton, with the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final expected to be played in one city, which is expected to be Edmonton provided the COVID-19 numbers stay steady out in Alberta.

The Bruins will play one game apiece against the Lightning, Capitals and Flyers in the round robin after playing one exhibition game in Toronto, and then the Eastern Conference teams will be re-seeded to determine first round playoff matchups. If the Bruins retain their top seed then they would play the lowest seed still alive in the Eastern Conference after the qualifying rounds as the NHL format has all teams re-seeding after each round.

NHL Playoffs: Tuukka Rask, same Bruins lineup expected for Game 2 vs. Hurricanes

NHL Playoffs: Tuukka Rask, same Bruins lineup expected for Game 2 vs. Hurricanes

The Bruins had so much fun in the double-overtime win in Game 1 on Wednesday afternoon that they plan to do it all over again for Game 2.

Bruce Cassidy indicated that Tuukka Rask will get the back-to-back starts for the Bruins on Thursday night against the Carolina Hurricanes in the Toronto Bubble, and that he expects to use the same lineup, though there are a couple of B’s players getting treatment in the morning.

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“There were probably three factors: How is Tuukka feeling coming out of the game? He felt fine. Was there a lot of wear and tear to the point where recovery would take more than 24 or 48 hours? I don’t think so. We were pretty clean in front of him without a lot of demanding stretches. Still, it was four periods of hockey and he needs to be on his toes the whole game.

“Back-to-back decisions are a lot to do with travel and short night’s sleep and we don’t have to deal with any of those factors. We’re just to the rink and then back to the hotel. So that’s got a lot to do with it.”

There may be a better chance that the Bruins go with Jaroslav Halak next week in back-to-back games on Wednesday and Thursday if the Bruins are up in the series headed into a Game 5 situation against the Hurricanes.

That means going back with the same No. 1 goaltender after Rask stopped 25-of-28 shots and sticking with left winger Nick Ritchie after he was on ice for a couple of goals against in a lackluster all-around performance. He did finish with four hits including one that rattled Carolina D-man Joel Edmundson and picked up an assist while going to the front of the net on Charlie Coyle’s goal, but Ritchie was a weak link along the boards in the D-zone that needs to get addressed.

“I think on the first [Carolina] goal, Nick Ritchie certainly had a chance to kill the play. Charlie Coyle is caught on defense because [Charlie] McAvoy was up ice,” said Cassidy. “At the end of the day if that’s a ‘D’ I think he helps Ritchie and that play is dead as it’s a 1-on-5. From there Anders comes into the pile thinking Ritchie is going to kill it, so he’s on the wrong side of the ice instead of returning to the middle. It looked like one harmless play, and then a couple of breakdowns — the Ritchie battle and the Bjork route — and they’re in a line change and getting to the middle of the ice with fresh legs and they make a play.

“But they did a lot of things well in the offensive zone. They obviously scored a goal for us, had some looks and Anders Bjork was all alone in front of the net point blank on a great look from Coyle. They obviously haven’t been together for that long, so we’ll give them some time to grow together as a [third] line. All in all, I thought they were better than they were bad, but they were just victimized for a couple goals.”

Here’s the Bruins' expected lineup for Game 2 against the Hurricanes on Thursday 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

Stanley Cup playoff schedule 2020: Dates, Times, TV Channel, scores for every game

Stanley Cup playoff schedule 2020: Dates, Times, TV Channel, scores for every game

The start of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs is just a few days away.

The NHL's round robin and qualifying round series concluded Sunday, setting up all eight of the first round matchups. 

The qualifying round was full of surprises. Four of the eight series resulted in upsets, including the No. 12 seeds in both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference winning their matchups against the No. 5 seeds. 

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The round robin didn't lack unexpected results, either. The Boston Bruins won the Presidents' Trophy with the league's best record in the regular season, but they finished at the bottom of the East's round robin standings after three consecutive losses. The defending champion St. Louis Blues had the best record in the West during the regular season and also struggled in the round robin with a fourth-place finish (1-2-1 record).

Could we see a first-round upset involving one or both of last season's Stanley Cup finalists? Anything is possible in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here's the television schedule for every first-round series. Check back to this article each day for updated schedules and scores for all games (all times ET).

EASTERN CONFERENCE
FIRST ROUND

Philadelphia Flyers (1) vs. Montreal Canadiens (12)
Game 1: Flyers 2, Canadiens 1
Game 2: Friday, Aug. 14 at 3 p.m. -- MTL at PHI (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 3: Sunday, Aug. 16 at 8 p.m. -- PHI at MTL (NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. -- PHI at MTL (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 5*: Wednesday, Aug. 19 at TBD -- MTL at PHI (TBD)
Game 6*: Friday, Aug. 21 at TBD -- MTL at PHI (TBD)
Game 7*: Sunday, Aug. 23 at TBD -- MTL at PHI (TBD)

Tampa Bay Lightning (2) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (9)
Game 1: Lightning 3, Blue Jackets 2 (5OT)
Game 2: Thursday, Aug. 13 at 3 p.m. -- CBJ at TBL (NBCSN, SN, TVAS)
Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 15 at 7:30 p.m. -- TBL at CBJ (NBCSN, SN360, TVAS)
Game 4: Monday, Aug. 17 at 3 p.m. -- TBL at CBJ (NBCSN, SN, TVAS)
Game 5*: Wednesday, Aug. 19 at TBD -- CBJ at TBL (TBD)
Game 6*: Friday, Aug. 21 at TBD -- TBL at CBJ (TBD)
Game 7*: Saturday, Aug. 22 at TBD -- CBJ at TBL (TBD)

Washington Capitals (3) vs. New York Islanders (7)
Game 1: Islanders 4, Capitals 2
Game 2: Friday, Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. -- NYI at WSH (NBCSN, FX-CA, TVAS)
Game 3: Sunday, Aug. 16 at 12 p.m. -- WSH at NYI (USA, SN360, TVAS)
Game 4: Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 8 p.m. -- WSH at NYI (NBCSN)
Game 5*: Thursday, Aug. 20 at TBD -- NYI at WSH (TBD)
Game 6*: Saturday, Aug. 22 at TBD -- WSH at NYI (TBD)
Game 7*: Sunday, Aug. 23 at TBD -- NYI at WSH (TBD)

Boston Bruins (4) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (6)
Game 1: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 3 (2OT)
Game 2: Thursday, Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. -- CAR at BOS (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 15 at 12 p.m. -- BOS at CAR (NBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Monday, Aug. 17 at 8 p.m. -- BOS at CAR (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 5*: Wednesday, Aug. 19 at TBD -- CAR at BOS (TBD)
Game 6*: Thursday, Aug. 20 at TBD -- BOS at CAR (TBD)
Game 7*: Sunday, Aug. 23 at TBD -- CAR at BOS (TBD)

WESTERN CONFERENCE
FIRST ROUND

Vegas Golden Knights (1) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (12)
Game 1: Golden Knights 4, Blackhawks 1
Game 2: Thursday, Aug. 13 at 5:30 p.m. -- CHI at VGK (NBCSN, SN360, TVAS)
Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m. -- VGK at CHI (NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Sunday, Aug. 16 at 6:30 p.m. -- VGK at CHI (NBCSN, SN1, SN360)
Game 5*: Tuesday, Aug. 18 at TBD -- CHI at VGK (TBD)
Game 6*: Thursday, Aug. 20 at TBD -- VGK at CHI (TBD)
Game 7*: Saturday, Aug. 22 at TBD -- CHI at VGK (TBD)

Colorado Avalanche (2) vs. Arizona Coyotes (11)
Game 1: Avalanche 3, Coyotes 0
Game 2: Friday, Aug. 14 at 2 p.m. -- ARI at COL (NHLN, SN360, TVAS)
Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 15 at 3 p.m. -- COL at ARI (CNBC, SN360, TVAS)
Game 4: Monday, Aug. 17 at 5:30 p.m. -- COL at ARI (NBCSN, FX-CA, TVAS)
Game 5*: Wednesday, Aug. 19 at TBD -- ARI at COL (TBD)
Game 6*: Friday, Aug. 21 at TBD -- COL at ARI (TBD)
Game 7: *Sunday, Aug. 23 at TBD -- ARI at COL (TBD)

Dallas Stars (3) vs. Calgary Flames (8)
Game 1: Flames 3, Stars 2
Game 2: Thursday, Aug. 13 at 10:30 p.m. -- CGY at DAL (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 3: Friday, Aug. 14 at 10:30 p.m. -- DAL at CGY (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Sunday, Aug. 16 at 2 p.m. -- DAL at CGY (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 5*: Tuesday, Aug. 18 at TBD -- CGY at DAL(TBD)
Game 6*: Thursday, Aug. 20 at TBD -- DAL at CGY (TBD)
Game 7*: Saturday, Aug. 22 at TBD -- CGY at DAL (TBD)

St. Louis Blues (4) vs. Vancouver Canucks (7)
Game 1: Canucks 5, Blues 2
Game 2: Friday, Aug. 14 at 6:30 p.m. -- VAN at STL (NHLN, SN, TVAS)
Game 3: Sunday, Aug. 16 at 10:30 p.m. -- STL at VAN (CNBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Monday, Aug. 17 at 10:30 p.m. -- STL at VAN (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 5*: Wednesday, Aug. 19 at TBD -- VAN at STL (TBD)
Game 6*: Friday, Aug. 21 at TBD -- STL at VAN (TBD)
Game 7*: Sunday, Aug. 23 at TBD -- VAN at STL (TBD)

*If necessary

Krug not changing his play style despite free agency looming