Zdeno Chara

‘Obviously, our defense has gotten better,’ says Ducks coach Boudreau

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Bruce Boudreau knows the statistics. And the numbers are pretty clear: good defensive teams win Stanley Cups. Bad, or even mediocre ones, have a much tougher time.

The Ducks coach is, therefore, happy to see his team allowing the fifth-fewest goals per game (1.90) in the NHL.

“Obviously, our defense has gotten better,” said Boudreau, per the LA Times. “If you look at teams that have won the Cup, they’re high in the defensive standings — L.A. was the best defensive team last year, won the Cup. Chicago before that, won it. When Boston won … there’s definitely a trend there.”

In fact, the last Cup-winning team that didn’t rank highly in goals against during the regular season was the 2008-09 Penguins (17th, 2.84).

While the Ducks may not have a Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman like Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith or Zdeno Chara, they do have a good mix of young talent and veteran experience on the back end. Plus, they added a former Selke Trophy recipient in Ryan Kesler, and they’ve received excellent goaltending from Frederik Andersen and John Gibson (Tuesday in Chicago, especially).

The Ducks could still be better defensively, as evidenced by the 29.3 shots per game they’re allowing. That ranks them right around the middle of the NHL. Their possession stats are only mediocre as well.

But with all the firepower and finishing ability they boast up front, the Ducks may not have to be the best defensive team. Assuming they keep burying a high percentage of their chances and the goaltending holds up, above average may suffice in order to take a serious run at the Cup.

Anaheim is in St. Louis to play the Blues tonight.

Goals against of past five Stanley Cup champs
2013-14 Kings (1st, 2.05)
2012-13 Blackhawks (1st, 2.02)
2011-12 Kings (2nd, 2.07)
2010-11 Bruins (2nd, 2.30)
2009-10 Blackhawks (6th, 2.48)

Bruised Bruins: With Krug hurt, Boston recalls AHL defensemen (Updated)

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Boston’s thinned-out blueline suffered another hit on Tuesday night, prompting a quick response Wednesday morning.

After Torey Krug was hurt late in yesterday’s 4-3 loss to Minnesota, the B’s recalled a pair of defensemen from AHL Providence today: Joe Morrow and David Warsofsky, per the Providence Journal.

UPDATE: The Bruins have made the moves official, along with news that Krug will miss the next 2-3 weeks with a broken finger.

More, from CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty:

Krug finished the Wild game with a whopping 24:07 TOI, but wasn’t out in the final moments when the B’s pulled Tuukka Rask for an extra skater while looking for the equalizing goal. The 24-year-old leads all Boston d-men in scoring this season, with six points in 11 games.

The Bruins are already without the services of Zdeno Chara — sidelined 4-6 weeks with a torn PCL in his knee — and Kevan Miller (dislocated shoulder); they also traded away Johnny Boychuk just prior to the start of the regular season due to a salary cap crunch.

The result is that Boston could now head into Thursday’s game in Buffalo with a top-six defense of Dennis Seidenberg, Dougie Hamilton, Adam McQuaid, Zach Trotman, Matt Bartkowski and either one of Warsofsky or Morrow.

Wild’s big third leads them past Bruins

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The Boston Bruins led for most of tonight’s game against Minnesota, but the Wild stormed back in the third period to earn a 4-3 victory.

With Minnesota down 3-1 heading into the final frame, Zach Parise shifted the game’s momentum by taking advantage of a centering pass from Mikael Granlund.

That started a run of three unanswered goals from the Wild that culminated in Marco Scandella blasting the game-winner past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.

Rask faced more than his fair share of work in this one as he was peppered with 18 shots on goal in the third period alone.

Those last 20 minutes spoiled some impressive individual efforts from the Bruins. Milan Lucic had a goal and an assist for Boston while 21-year-old forward Seth Griffith had two goals and an assist, including this gem in the second period:

Dougie Hamilton also logged an incredible 28:32 minutes as the Bruins try to get by without Zdeno Chara.

Boston is now 5-6-0 this season while the Wild have improved to 5-3-0.

Video: Bruins adjusting to life without injured Chara

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Throughout his tenure in Boston, defenseman Zdeno Chara has been one of the team’s most reliable players, both because of his consistency on the ice and his health. Now the Bruins are in unfamiliar territory as he’s sidelined with a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The good news is that Boston does have some effective young defensemen it can fall back on in Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug. The presence of Dennis Seidenberg, who was limited to 34 contests last season, also makes competing without Chara much less painful. Plus, the Bruins have one of the league’s top goaltender Tuukka Rask, although he’s off to a less than ideal start with a 2.63 GAA and .897 save percentage in seven games.

All the same, any team that loses a player of Chara’s caliber will have to make adjustments.

Mike Milbury and Keith Jones looked into the Bruins’ situation and you can see their take below:

WATCH LIVE: Minnesota Wild at Boston Bruins

Boston won its first game without defenseman Zdeno Chara (PCL) on Saturday, but the Bruins have a long road ahead of them before he’ll be back. They will continue that journey tonight against the Minnesota Wild. The game will start at 7:00 p.m. ET and you can watch it on NBCSN or via NBC Sports’ Live Extra stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

While you wait for the game to start, here is some relevant reading material:

Wild make flurry of moves, Haula out tonight

NHL on NBCSN: Bruins, Wild try to find their footing

Trotman and Morrow era set to begin in Boston

Bruins cruise against Bernier, Leafs