Tag: Boston Bruins

Pittsburgh Penquins v New York Islanders

Strome, Nelson giving Isles that all-important cheap production


Prior to the start of the season, much was written about the New York Islanders and the many changes they’d made to their roster.

Looking back, hopes were understandably high that the additions of goalie Jaroslav Halak, forwards Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin, and Cory Conacher, plus Stanley Cup-winning defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy could turn a team that already had a superstar in John Tavares into a contender in the Eastern Conference.

But you know what way less was written about? The potential of youngsters Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome to make as big an impact as they’ve made.


As much as anything else, it’s the contributions from Nelson, 23, and Strome, 21, that have given the Isles the chance they’ve got tonight, which is to take over first place in the Metropolitan Division from Pittsburgh. (The two teams are currently tied with 28 points. The Isles host Philly; the Pens are in Boston.)

In a way, what Nelson and Strome have done this season is reminiscent of the boost that Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson gave the Kings in the 2014 playoffs. Remember that, prior to last season, the jury was still out on those two young L.A. forwards. Each had shown they could produce in the AHL; the question was, could they do it at the NHL level? They sure did in the postseason, centered by veteran Jeff Carter. At times, they were the Kings’ best line.

The combined cap hit of Toffoli and Pearson? A mere $1.795 million.

The combined cap hit of Nelson and Strome? Just a hair over $1.76 million. (Not including bonuses, but still.)

This is what the best teams in the NHL have in the cap age — at least one or two young players on cheap contracts who are making significant contributions. Think Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw in Chicago in 2013, Slava Voynov and Jake Muzzin in L.A. the year before that, and Boston’s Brad Marchand the year before that.

That’s not to say the Isles are going to win the Stanley Cup, but when a team’s two youngest players on the active roster are in the top four in club scoring, good times are quite often ahead.

Get your game notes: Pens at Bruins

Boston Bruins v Pittsburgh Penguins

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Boston Bruins hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• PIT enters with the NHL’s top offense, scoring 3.53 goals/game – over a full goal/game more than the 20th-ranked Bruins (2.50).

• The Bruins have also scored just 9 goals in their past 6 games (1.50/gm) & are 1-for-12 on the PP in that stretch (3-3-0 record).

• No Bruin has scored more than 5 goals through the team’s first 22 games this season, while Pittsburgh is tied for the NHL lead with 6 such players (SJ also has 6 players with at least 6 goals).

• In fact, no other NHL team has a leading goal-scorer with as few goals as Boston this season (4 Bruins are tied with 5).

• Before this past weekend, PIT was the hottest team in the NHL, having won 10 of 11 games entering its weekend home-and-home against NYI. However, PIT was swept in those games (lost 5-4 SO at home and 4-1 at NYI), and are now tied with NYI atop the Metro Div.

• PIT has not lost consecutive regulation games this season, and it last lost 3 straight games from Mar. 23 to Mar. 27 of last season.

• The Penguins are still 10-2-1 in their last 13 games.

• PIT also leads the NHL in power play efficiency at 33.3%, but the Penguins are just 1-for-10 on the PP over their last 6 games.

• C Sidney Crosby leads PIT with 26 points, tied with DAL C Tyler Seguin for 2nd-most points in the NHL behind PHI RW Jakub Voracek (29). However, Crosby has not scored a point in the Penguins’ last two games.

• The last time Crosby went three or more games without scoring a point was from Oct. 31 2009 – Nov. 10, 2009, when he went five straight games without a point. That season, he scored a career-high 51 goals.

• BOS has won 8 of its past 11 games (8-3-0), but only one of those wins (2-0 last Tues. vs. STL) was against a team currently in the playoff picture in the East or West. The Bruins are coming off a 2-0 loss to MTL on Sat., a game in which they played without multiple top forwards and defensemen:

• Top C David Krejci (undisclosed) has missed 8 of the team’s 10 games this month. Krejci, Boston’s leading scorer last season with 69 points, has 3 goals and 7 assists in 11 games this season.

• Captain D Zdeno Chara (knee) tore his PCL at the end of last month and has missed the last 13 games. Chara has 2 goals and 1 assists in 9 games this season.

• LW Brad Marchand is on IR (undisclosed) and has missed the past 3 games for BOS. He is tied for the team lead in goals (5) and T-3rd on the team in points (11).

• D Adam McQuaid (broken thumb) was injured in last Tuesday’s win over STL and was expected to miss 6-8 weeks. McQuaid has 1 goal and 1 assist in 20 games this season.

• C Chris Kelly (undisclosed) was scratched before the game against MTL. Kelly had played in all 21 games to that point, with 2 goals and 8 points this season.


• PIT: LW Blake Comeau has 5 goals in 18 games this season. He had 5 all of last season for CBJ in 61 games.

• BOS: Entering tonight, the Bruins have sold out 226 consecutive games at TD Garden, including playoffs.


• PIT: C Sidney Crosby has 10G-25A in 25 career games vs. BOS, including 1G-2A in 3 games last season.

• PIT: G Marc-Andre Fleury is 11-6-3 with a 2.31 GAA, .922 SV%, and 2 SO in 21 career games vs. BOS.

• BOS: C Patrice Bergeron has 24 points in 31 career games vs. PIT, including 1G-2A in 3 GP last season.

• BOS: RW Reilly Smith has 2G-1A in 3 career games (all last season) vs. PIT.


• C Evgeni Malkin is T-2nd on the Penguins with 23 points this season and his 5 power-play goals are T-3rd in the NHL. The three-time Russian Olympian enters tonight on a 4-game point streak (2G-4A).

• RW Patric Hornqvist also has 23 points through 19 games. He leads PIT in goals (10), and he also enters tonight on a 4-game point streak (1G-4A).

• Last week, RW Pascal Dupuis was diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung and will miss at least the next 6 months. Dupuis, 35, also had a blood clot issue last season. Dupuis had 6G-11A in 16 GP this season.

• D Olli Maatta was sidelined for just two weeks after missing time to remove a cancerous growth in his thyroid gland. In the 3 games since his return, Maatta has 1 assist (Fri. vs. NYI) and a +1 rating.

• G Marc-Andre Fleury allowed 4 goals on 35 shots in Friday’s 5-4 SO loss to NYI. Backup G Thomas Greiss started in PIT’s 4-1 loss to NYI the next day.

• Fleury has not lost consecutive games this season, and he carries an 11-3-1, 2.10 GAA, .926 SV%, 4 SO stat line into tonight’s game. His 4 SO are tied with NYR G Henrik Lundqvist for the NHL lead.


• C Patrice Bergeron has carried the load offensively for BOS in November with 10 points (4G-6A) in 10 games. The only two games in which he did not record a point both came against MTL – last Saturday and Nov. 13 in a 5-1 Bruins loss.

• D Dougie Hamilton leads all BOS defensemen with 11 points (4G-7A) this season, but he has gone 4 straight games without a point entering tonight.

• C Carl Soderberg and LW Loui Eriksson are other key offensive players struggling for the Bruins.

• Soderberg is tied for the team lead in goals (5) and is second on the team in points (14), but he has just 1 assist in his last 6 games.

• Eriksson has 11 points in 22 games this season, but just 2 assists in his last 7 games.

• G Tuukka Rask stopped 21 of 23 shots in the Bruins’ loss to MTL, but Rask has given up just 3 goals in his past 3 starts. In that stretch, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner is 2-1-0 with a 1.01 GAA, .967 SV% and 1 SO.

• Rask hasn’t lost 2 straight starts since his 2nd and 3rd games of the season (Oct. 9, Oct. 11) – a span of 13 games.

• Overall this season, Rask is 10-6-0 with a 2.36 GAA and a .915 SV%.

Goalie nods: Luongo starts again after facing 50 shots vs. Preds

Totonto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers

All the latest from the blue paint…

Florida sticks with Luongo

No rest for the weary.

That’s the story for the Panthers tonight when they host the Wild at Sunrise, as Roberto Luongo will start for the fourth straight game, just 48 hours after his busiest game of the season.

On Saturday, Luongo faced a whopping 50 shots in a 3-2 shootout loss in Nashville. It marked the first time Luongo faced 50 or more shots this season; the last time saw a similar workload was in March of last season, when he stopped 52 of 54 shots in a 3-2 win over San Jose.

Overall, the 35-year-old veteran has been tremendous for Florida this season and is arguably the club’s MVP. He’s 6-4-5 with a 2.36 GAA and .926 save percentage, with one shutout.

For the Wild, Niklas Backstrom will start in goal.


Pens at Bruins: Marc-Andre Fleury likely for Pittsburgh, Tuukka Rask likely for Boston.

Flyers at Isles: Steve Mason vs. Jaroslav Halak

Sens at Wings: Craig Anderson vs. Jimmy Howard

Horvat catches fire, just as Schneider arrives for visit

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks

They’re raving about Bo Horvat in Vancouver.

And in an interesting twist, they’re doing it just as New Jersey’s Cory Schneider, the goalie the Canucks traded to draft Horvat, is in town for a game Tuesday.

They’re also doing it just as Horvat, 19, is set to play his ninth NHL game, after which management will have to decide on keeping him, burning the first year of his entry-level contract in the process, or sending him back to junior.

Chances are, they’re going to keep him. After scoring his first NHL goal Thursday versus Anaheim, Horvat had three assists in last night’s 4-1 victory over Chicago. On top of that, he went 13 of 16 in the faceoff circle, with a few wins over one of the NHL’s best, Jonathan Toews.

“Believe it or not, that is my idol,” Horvat said of Toews, per the Vancouver Sun. “That’s the guy I want to model my game after, that’s the guy I watched growing up playing in the NHL. And to take a faceoff against him a couple of times and to be on the same sheet of ice as him, it’s pretty cool.”

Horvat has also drawn comparisons to Boston’s Patrice Bergeron. Considering the Canucks only recently traded Ryan Kesler — like Toews and Bergeron, a former Selke Trophy winner — the growing excitement in Vancouver about Horvat, though possibly a tad premature, is understandable.

“I wouldn’t believe he was 19 if I didn’t already know that,” linemate Derek Dorsett said. “The way he carries himself on and off the ice, it’s like he has played five or 10 years as a pro already.”

NHL on NBCSN: Bruins seek perfect game vs. Penguins

Chris Kunitz, Tuukka Rask

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.

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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.