NHL on NBCSN: Bruins seek perfect game vs. Penguins

8 Comments

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Boston Bruins host the Pittsburgh Penguins at the TD Garden at 7:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The Bruins have been doing more than just holding their own lately, but a 2-0 loss to Montreal on Saturday cost them an opportunity to close the substantial gap between Boston and the Atlantic-leading Canadiens. Bruins head coach Claude Julien felt the team’s effort was sound, but the reality is that the injuries Boston is coping with have taken their toll.

“It’s unfortunate but this is where we realize that right now when you play a team that’s healthy and that’s going extremely well, it almost takes a perfect game [to get a win],” Julien said.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $15,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $1,400. Starts Monday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

If that’s what it would have taken to beat Montreal, then the bar should be set similarly high against Pittsburgh tonight. The Penguins aren’t completely healthy of course. They lost a great and versatile player when the future of Pascal Dupuis’ career was unfortunately put into question because of a blood clot in his lung. Following that serious revelation, Pittsburgh lost back-to-back games against the New York Islanders.

Pittsburgh is still relatively healthy though compared to the rest of the league. As has been the norm with the Penguins for years, they’ll enter this game with an opposing group of star forwards at their disposal, including Sidney Crosby, who has 35 points in 25 career regular season games against Boston. He didn’t record a point in the two contests against the Islanders, but he hasn’t been held off the scoresheet for three straight regular season games since Oct. 31-Nov. 10, 2009.

Taking a step back from Crosby and looking at the big picture, the gap between Pittsburgh and Boston’s offenses this season becomes more blatant. Pittsburgh has recorded a league-leading 3.53 goals per game while the Bruins sit in 20th place with an average of 2.50. To make matters worse, the Bruins have missed forwards David Krejci and Brad Marchand lately.

It’s with that backdrop that the Bruins have reportedly decided to summon David Pastrnak. The 18-year-old was taken with the 25th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and while most other top prospects that age are tied to a Canadian junior team and are consequently forced to either play in the NHL or CHL, Pastrnak was previous in the Swedish hockey system and was able to immediately start playing in the AHL. He’s flourished at that level with five goals and 18 points in 17 contests.

It’s unfair to hope for too much from him in his NHL debut, if that even comes tonight, but the Bruins certainly can use all the help they can get. They swept the Penguins in the 2012 Eastern Conference Final, but that was under different circumstances. As Julien said, they’ll likely need a very strong effort to come away with two points tonight and they might get just that.

Report: Bruins’ recall Pastrnak from AHL (confirmed)

11 Comments

The Boston Bruins have reportedly recalled 18-year-old forward David Pastrnak from the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins.

Pastrnak, Boston’s first-round pick (25th overall) in 2014, has five goals and 18 points in 17 AHL games this season.

Update: The recall has been confirmed on the AHL’s transactions page.

It’s Pastrnak’s first season in North America after spending the past two seasons in Sweden’s second-tier professional league.

Boston reassigned forwards Jordan Caron and Matt Lindblad on Sunday.

Additionally, defenseman Zdeno Chara (knee) was placed on long-term injured reserve.

Julien: ‘It almost takes a perfect game’ for Bruins to win

19 Comments

Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien seemed pretty happy with his team’s effort after a 2-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. His discomfort only really stems from the feeling that there’s very little margin for error.

Basically, he thinks the injury-ravaged Bruins have to be at the top of their games all the time to overcome a skeleton roster, as he told CSNNE.com.

“I thought, you know, we played hard, we competed, we were smart and we didn’t give them much,” Julien said. “It’s unfortunate but this is where we realize that right now when you play a team that’s healthy and that’s going extremely well, it almost takes a perfect game [to get a win].

“I credit my players for just going out there and competing hard and well, and giving ourselves a chance. The one thing, as you know, we’re not scoring goals easily these days. So we’ve really got to get our noses dirty in front of the net, and throw some pucks in areas where we can jump on those loose pucks.”

In some ways, it should get easier soon.

The Bruins sent Jordan Caron and Matt Lindblad back to the AHL today after recalling them on Saturday, indicating that there’s a chance a forward or two (maybe David Krejci and/or Brad Marchand) might be able to return to the mix again soon.

On the other hand, Boston faces another tough opponent tomorrow, as they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After trying to avoid making mistakes against Montreal, the Bruins will be tested to contain Pittsburgh’s potent attack. Either way, they’ll need to push themselves to the limit with key players out of the lineup.

Bruins’ Lucic expected to play against Habs after getting one-punched (Updated)

47 Comments

Milan Lucic is expected to be in the Boston Bruins lineup when they face their heated rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, on Saturday, according to multiple reports.

At the end of overtime Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Lucic was dropped with one punch from Dalton Prout. The incident was immediately controversial because Lucic didn’t have both gloves off when the altercation hit its peak. Prout dropped his right away, waited and then threw the heavy right that sent the Bruins’ power forward to the ice.

Lucic was down for only a second. He got up, threw a punch of his own as the linesmen intervened and threw his other glove at Prout.

There were conflicting beliefs on whether it was a fair fight or not. Prout believed it was, saying from his perspective the two were engaged in a fight.

According to Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston, Brad Marchand and David Krejci will not play for Boston.

According to the club’s roster online, Marchand has been placed on injured reserve.

Chris Kelly was also not in the lineup for the Bruins. According to the club, it is injury-related.

I don’t know, I really don’t know. I could say day-to-day, but we don’t know, we don’t know right now,” said head coach Claude Julien, as per CSNNE.com. “Our medical staff has not given me any indication of how long the injury is going to take. It’s one of those that I think they’ve got to feel as the days go by.”

The Bruins announced they had recalled Jordan Caron and Matt Lindblad from the American Hockey League on Saturday.

Video: Seidenberg scores on Bobrovsky from outside the blue line, Bruins beat Blue Jackets

10 Comments

Maybe this was the turning point.

The Boston Bruins trailed the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-0 after two periods on Friday, but were always one lucky shot and goal away from getting right back into this hockey game.

Yes, nice little bit of foreshadowing there. Because at 1:28 of the third period, Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, from just outside the Columbus blue line, took a slap shot that beat Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Suddenly, the Bruins, well they were right back in this one.

In fact, Boston went from trailing by two to leading by one, scoring three times in the first 12 minutes of the third period, including goals from Matt Fraser and Daniel Paille 1:59 apart.

Columbus managed to send this game to overtime on a goal from Jack Johnson – he’s been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, after having to file for bankruptcy – before losing in the shootout.