Bruins-Blue Jackets Simulation: Charlie McAvoy ties game late in 2-1 OT loss

Bruins-Blue Jackets Simulation: Charlie McAvoy ties game late in 2-1 OT loss

The NHL season has been put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis, meaning we may have to wait a while to watch the Boston Bruins again.

As a way to make up for the loss of Bruins action, we'll be using the EA Sports NHL 20 video game to simulate each game on Boston's schedule until they finally return to action.

The Boston Bruins were supposed to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday, March 16 at TD Garden, here's how our simulation of that game went.

The Bruins fell to the Blue Jackets 2-1 in overtime in this simulation after Charlie McAvoy tied the game late in the third period. The Bruins didn't struggle in the shot department, but they certainly couldn't put the puck in the back of the net. 

Here are the game stats:

Three Stars of the Game + Game Stats

Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo and forwards Gustav Nyquist and Pierre Luc-Dubois were the three stars of the game. 

Bruins Individual Stats

Defenseman Charlie McAvoy led all B's skaters in ice time with 27:13, and Jake DeBrusk led all skaters with five shots. Tuukka Rask recorded a .900 SV% and a 1.93 GAA.

Blue Jackets Individual Stats

Zach Werenski led all Blue Jackets players in ice time with 23:48, and Emil Bemstrom led with three shots. Korpisalo had a .963 SV% and a 0.97 GAA.

FINAL SCORE: Blue Jackets 2, Bruins 1 (OT)

Bruins Record (Includes simulated games): 44-14-13 (101 points)

*NOTE: We did not include Boston's games against the Buffalo Sabres or Toronto Maple Leafs in the simulation, therefore the simulated record isn't 100 percent accurate*

Next Simulation: @ Ducks on Wednesday

Be sure to keep an eye out for our Bruins vs. Ducks simulation which is set to drop on Wednesday. 

Sources: Bruins very much interested in Blue Jackets' Josh Anderson

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USA TODAY Sports

Sources: Bruins very much interested in Blue Jackets' Josh Anderson

The Bruins are going to make an aggressive best pitch for the services of productive Rangers winger Chris Kreider if, or when, he becomes available ahead of next Monday’s NHL trade deadline.

They will not be alone as a highly interested suitor for Kreider, however, and need to be prepared with contingency plans in case the Rangers winger goes elsewhere over the next week. It’s a good thing for the Bruins that there will be other options out there for them.

There isn’t a player exactly like Kreider right now out on the trade market, but Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson might just be the next player on the priority list for the Black and Gold. The Bruins are very much interested in the 25-year-old right winger at the deadline, per sources, even if he has just one goal and four points while being sidelined since December with a shoulder injury suffered during a fight with Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki.

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The injury has taken longer than expected to heal for Anderson after he also suffered a shoulder injury in last spring’s playoff series against the Bruins, so there are red flags there to be sure.  

He’s resumed practicing with the Blue Jackets over the last few weeks and he’ll need to return to the lineup before a team like the Bruins would move on him. But there’s little doubt Anderson checks so many of the boxes if he is indeed healthy.

He’s a natural right wing, he’s 6-foot-3, 220-pounds and scored 27 goals last season while registering over 200 hits and 60 penalty minutes. And that was all before he played like a hard-hitting, physical beast against the Bruins in the second round postseason series a year ago, and left everybody impressed with his playing level and toughness at the most important time of year.

It all comes down to Anderson’s health and whether the Bruins can rely on him to be a top-six power forward-type for the rest of the season after missing time since December. There’s always the chance a lingering shoulder issue could negatively impact Anderson’s tenacity level when he does return, and that would take quite a bit away from his overall effectiveness for a team like the Bruins.

Even though it’s a buy-low proposition with a player in Anderson -- essentially damaged goods for the moment -- one would also expect he isn’t going to come cheap given his size/strength/production combination and his status as a restricted free agent following this season. Anderson could become part of the long term big picture for the Bruins and that kind of value will be baked into the cake for trade offers to Columbus.

The 27 goals and 47 points last season underscore the potential in Anderson’s game, so it wouldn’t be any less than the first-round pick and top prospect package that the Lightning just surrendered for a similar grit forward-type in Blake Coleman. The equivalent package from the Bruins would be a first-round pick and defenseman prospect Urho Vaakanainen, and that’s a pretty hefty price tag indeed.

There will be other forwards like Tyler Toffoli, Ilya Kovalchuk and Sam Bennett who the Bruins may be able to pursue ahead of the deadline, but there isn’t anybody else quite like Anderson available on the trade market. Anderson is a Bruins-type player with the ferocious way he plays and he’d fill multiple needs for the based on both his power game and his potential as a top-6 pick-up for the B’s.

Now it’s about the waiting game for the Bruins to see if Anderson returns to the Columbus lineup this week and shows the Bruins and everybody else around the NHL that he can help them for the rest of this season.

Brad Marchand disses Ryan Lindgren after exchanging blows

Bruce Cassidy on lack of Bruins response: 'I'm comfortable with the guys sticking up for one another'

Bruce Cassidy on lack of Bruins response: 'I'm comfortable with the guys sticking up for one another'

BOSTON – Bruce Cassidy addressed the elephant in the room earlier today after the Bruins were roundly criticized for failing to step up and protect goaltender Tuukka Rask when he was concussed by a punch to the head Tuesday night in Columbus.

It was a tepid response form the B's with Brandon Carlo, Torey Krug and Joakim Nordstrom challenging the skill forward (Emil Bremstrom) that knocked Rask out of the game, and nobody playing with much fire or anger in a limp 3-0 loss to the Blue Jackets.

For a couple of days, Bruins fans and media alike bashed the Bruins for failing to stand up for their goaltender and playing a softer brand of hockey than people are used to around the Hub where they were once known as the Big Bad Bruins.

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Certainly it’s a different NHL than it was in the 1970’s or even nine years ago when the Bruins last won the Cup with an extremely tough crew, but Cassidy said he still believes that his players stick up for each other when the moment calls for it.

“I do believe that this team plays together, sticks together [and] has been accountable for years. We’re not the same makeup as maybe we were in the 1970’s or 2011 for that matter," said Cassidy. 

"We’ve tried to change our roster – that’s Donny and I both – we’ve had discussions on who we’ve drafted. You draft skill guys like [Anders] Bjork, [Danton] Heinen, [Jake] DeBrusk and you can put [Pastrnak] in that mix too because he’s that type of a skill player and that’s the direction we’ve tried to go while keeping – obviously [Zdeno] Chara is more than tough – the Kevan Millers of the world. [He] happens to be injured and that’s a tough one. Connor Clifton is a guy that gives us some bite sometimes [but] he’s injured.

“We’ve tried to keep certain guys in the lineup. Chris Wagner is a physical player, [David] Backes had some of that in him, but he gets concussions a little bit and now we’re talking about what level is he going to be able to go for his personal health? I think we’ve tried to balance it.

“But if it’s out there [that there was a lack of response], people have a right to say it. I believe that if anything happens the guys in this room will be together. I think the incident the other night [in Columbus] to be perfectly honest nobody knew what the hell happened in the first. Then we addressed it between periods and a couple of guys tried to engage [Emil] Bremstrom.

"If we want to go back and talk about other teams, and how they’re built, we can have that conversation. I think there are teams that are less physical than us and I think there are a few that are more [physical]. We’re trying to be the best of both worlds with our roster and we’ll see where it leads us.”

Cassidy pointed to the current situation with the Black and Gold where arguably their toughest, meanest warrior in Miller has been almost an entire calendar year with kneecap problems, and 35-year-old Backes understandably isn’t the willing pugilist he once was due to a slew of concussions he’s suffered since coming to Boston.

But does that speak to a need for that kind of player on a Bruins roster that suddenly seems to have tipped the scales way toward speed and skill rather than brawn, strength and a little bit of snarl?

“We will deal with internally. I’m comfortable with the guys sticking up for one another. Do we need a little more of it some nights? We need maybe somebody to pull it out of us on some nights,” said Cassidy. “That’s where I think it’s out of the coaches to pull it out a little bit or it’s up to a player that’s a pest to stir it up a little bit. We’ll address that internally as well.”

Cassidy referenced the impending return of Anton Blidh from shoulder surgery as a possible player that could stir the pot for the Black and Gold and get their dander up in some of the nights when it’s lacking across the 82-game regular season.

But with all due respect to Cassidy, they are missing some serious snarl and tough guy attitude in their lineup with guys like Miller, Brett Ritchie, Connor Clifton and David Backes either injured or unable to bring even a little smidge of the old Big Bad Bruins to the table when it’s called for.

It’s clear as day when they run up against bigger, tougher and heavier teams like the Capitals and Blues that the Bruins are lacking in those areas, and it’s to a point where even teams like the Blue Jackets know they can rattle cages when they’re playing the Black and Gold.