The Bruins are on a roll, and it’s not just Rask


Tuukka Rask improved to 10-1-0 with his third shutout of the season last night in Denver. With a .945 save percentage, the netminder’s play is a major reason the Boston Bruins are off to a 10-6-0 start, as PHT duly noted.

But don’t be mistaken, the B’s have been more than just their goalie.  In their last five games, they’ve outshot their opponents by a combined margin of 192-124. Their only loss came against Montreal, which had to get a first-star performance from Carey Price, otherwise the result may have been much different.

The Bruins more than doubled the Avalanche’s shot total, 46-20.

“That’s how you win a road game — a pretty much mistake-free game,” Rask told reporters. “We kept them on the outside and really limited their scoring chances and rushes. And then we kept the puck in the offensive zone and made some plays and created chances.”

How are the B’s doing it?

Well, their top line of Brad Marchand, Patrick Bergeron and David Pastrnak has been one of the best top lines in the league, so that certainly helps. GM Don Sweeney was hoping Pastrnak could make more of an impact this season, and the 20-year-old has responded with 10 goals in his first 14 games.

“When you see a kid come in with that much potential and when he really breaks out and has a year like he’s having now, it’s a lot of fun to see it,” said Marchand, per CSN New England. “He’s going to be a great player in this league for a long time. He’s so fast and so skilled, and he does things with the puck that I don’t think opponents have seen before.”

The Bruins’ second line is pretty good itself, with David Krejci centering Ryan Spooner and David Backes. The third line of Matt Beleseky, Riley Nash and Jimmy Hayes received a ton of criticism early on, but replacing Hayes with Austin Czarnik seems to have been a good move by head coach Claude Julien. Even the fourth line of Hayes, Dominic Moore, and Sean Kuraly played well against the Avs.

As for the back end, the importance of Brandon Carlo‘s emergence cannot be understated. The 19-year-old rookie has logged 22:19 per game on the top pairing with Zdeno Chara. Carlo is a plus-11, Chara is plus-12. If not for Carlo, it’s anyone’s guess who would be playing with Chara. Bruins fans would prefer not to imagine such a scenario.

Related: Carlo has ‘impressed the heck’ out of Bruins

Sure, it would be nice if Colin Miller was making more of an impact — he was a healthy scratch against the Avs — but Carlo has taken a lot of that urgency away. Miller does actually have impressive possession numbers, but he’s a minus-6 after 15 games, with just one goal and one assist. It will be interesting to see how much the 24-year-old plays when Kevan Miller returns from his hand injury.

The Bruins finish their three-game road trip Thursday in Minnesota. Win that and they’ll return home with eight victories in their last 10, and not just because of their goalie.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports

MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.