Chris Wagner

Fourth line coming around for the Bruins at the perfect time

Fourth line coming around for the Bruins at the perfect time

BOSTON — It wasn’t a barrage of goals from the Bruins fourth line or a round of board-rattling hits that everybody could see, but the B’s energy line was a constant factor in Thursday night’s 5-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets at TD Garden.

That's what they were pretty much all of last season, and that’s what they’ve needed to be this season while falling short most of the time.

But Sean Kuraly, Joakim Nordstrom and Chris Wagner had it going against the Jets with Wagner generating a handful of scoring chances among his team-high seven shots on net and nine shot attempts.

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Wagner didn’t end up scoring and missed a little time after he crashed into the boards following a breakaway attempt in the first period, but their presence was felt throughout the game after Wagner had scored a few nights ago in Nashville.

“I thought [Sean] Kuraly’s line — Chris Wagner had the best game of the year offensively. Hit a post, was in all alone, breakaway, guy makes a great save, had a couple other point-blankers. Their line was going, I thought Nordy [Joakim Nordstrom] gave them a lot of energy,” said Bruce Cassidy of Wagner, whose offense has been down from last season when he popped in a career-high 12 goals and 19 points. “When he’s skating, it makes a difference on that line. They were good.

“We’ve said that all along that what they leave is just as important as what they accomplish for us, so if they can accomplish some o-zone time and then leave us with a good puck getting back on the attack, then they’ve really done their job.”

Certainly there is still ongoing work for the B’s energy after a couple of solid back-to-back games, and the Bruins still have a lot to iron out with the second and third lines still trying to find their workable combinations.

And it goes without saying at this point that they’ve missed the presence of Noel Acciari, who has blown up offensively with 17 goals for the Florida Panthers after signing with them as a free agent this summer.

This humble hockey writer has long been banging the drum for the Bruins to acquire a fourth line bruiser who can throw heavy hits, lean on teams with size and strength and stand up for his teammates when the situation calls for it within games. But right now, that’s just not the way it’s going for the B’s energy line.

Instead, a few promising games in a row is a step in the right direction for Boston’s fourth line, and having both them and the Perfection Line as consistent commodities that Cassidy can rely on will give the B’s building blocks they need to win hockey games right now.  

Santa or Charlie McAvoy? Bruins dress up, spread holiday cheer in annual hospital visits

Santa or Charlie McAvoy? Bruins dress up, spread holiday cheer in annual hospital visits

While the Boston Bruins fell to the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night 4-3 in overtime, that certainly didn't put a damper on their very important Wednesday afternoon plans.

The B's made their annual hospital visits Wednesday to spread some holiday cheer, and their costumes did not disappoint. Check out some of the highlights from the event below. 

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PATRICE BERGERON A HUMAN CHRISTMAS TREE? CHRIS WAGNER AS FROSTY THE SNOWMAN

BERGERON'S PARTNER IN CRIME, BRAD MARCHAND, ALSO A CHRISTMAS TREE AND IS ALL SMILES

UPDATE: THE CHRISTMAS TREE IS GREAT AT AIR HOCKEY

JAKE DEBRUSK MAKES A VERY GOOD SANTA

RING TOSS ON PAR LINDHOLM'S ANTLERS

WAGNER TAKES PLAYFUL SHOT AT MCAVOY'S WEIGHT?

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: THE CHRISTMAS TREE ALSO LIKES CHECKERS

DAVID BACKES AND BRANDON CARLO ALSO CHRISTMAS TREES

TO SEE MORE PHOTOS CLICK HERE

Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the B's 4-1 loss to the Avalanche

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the B's 4-1 loss to the Avalanche

Here are my talking points from the Bruins’ first regulation loss at home in 2019-20:

GOLD STAR: It isn’t going to happen very often, but Ian Cole turned out to be the single biggest contributor in a team-wide win for the Avalanche. It was Cole that smoked a slap shot past the glove hand of Jaroslav Halak to give Colorado a 2-1 lead in the second period, and he made certain his first goal of the season was an important one. Cole also blocked five shots in 17:17 of ice time and was part of a gritty, determined effort to protect the lead once the Avs got up 3-1 in the third. He mixed in a couple of hits and a couple of takeaways as well, and made some big plays in what was pretty much a perfect game overall for Colorado.

HIGHLIGHTS: Bruins take first home regulation loss vs. Avs, 4-1

BLACK EYE: There’s more than a few, but how about Danton Heinen just not making the plays that he needs to make when he’s in the lineup? Forget about the zero shots on net in 16:45 of ice time, with a number of them either getting blocked or missing the net. That’s nothing new when it comes to a player that’s barely averaging a shot on net for game. But he also turned the puck over behind the Boston net in a sequence that led to Cole’s game-winner as the Bruins began to run around in the defensive zone. It was that particular play that led Bruce Cassidy to lament that the attention to details was lacking for his players at this point in the season. If Heinen isn’t making the little plays, is a minus player and isn’t bringing any offense, then he isn’t worth having in the lineup.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins went into the first intermission tied at 1-1 after only putting four shots on net, and should have had the kind of wakeup call that they needed to turn the intensity up a little bit. Instead they went through a second period where they again only put up four shots on net while falling behind by two goals headed into the final 20 minutes. The Avalanche only leveled five shots on net as well, but they scored on a pair of them and pounced all over Boston’s mistakes while playing a surprisingly disciplined, two-way game despite their explosive offensive players. This time around, the Bruins didn’t have any way to come back in the third period against a quality Colorado team that wasn’t going to fold for them.

#HaggBag: Any worries about the B's? Let's hear 'em

HONORABLE MENTION: One of the few players to put up an honest-to-goodness effort in the loss was the hard-hitting fourth liner, Chris Wagner. It was Wagner that redirected a John Moore point shot in the first period for his third goal of the season that gave the Bruins an initial lead in the game. Wagner led the Bruins with five registered hits, scored on the only shot on net he had in the game and won 5-of-10 face-offs that he took in his 12:39 of ice time. The shame was that there weren’t enough other players that rose to the level of urgency and compete that Wagner was showing throughout the game for the Black and Gold.

BY THE NUMBERS: 17 – The home point streak (12-0-5) is over for the Bruins as the Avs handed them their first regulation loss on home ice this year, and their first since Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues almost six months ago.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “There’s just a lot of details that are working us against us now. We’ve just got to wake up and start playing to our abilities in those situations. And live with the result. It doesn’t mean we’re going to win, but I think we’re leaving plays on the table because our lack of urgency or understanding that teams are coming after us.” –Bruce Cassidy, lamenting the lack of urgency in the B’s game as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Avalanche.

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