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Marchand’s four-point night helps Bruins end Blackhawks’ win streak

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Even before David Pastrnak went down with an injury on Tuesday, the Boston Bruins were a team that was short on scoring depth. All season their offense has been carried by the same four or five players, with Pastrnak being one of the best.

Without him, it obviously makes the lineup even thinner and is going to put a lot more pressure on the likes of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, and Torey Krug to do even more.

On Tuesday night in a 6-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, a lot of them stepped up and did just that.

The win improved the Bruins’ current point streak to eight consecutive games and was their fifth win in the past six games.

There were no shortage of offensive stars in the game for the Bruins as they had three players recorded at least three points — Marchand finished with four, tallying a goal and adding three assists, while Krejci (two goals and an assist) and Danton Heinen (a goal and two assists) each finished with three points.

While the offense was a big development for the Bruins in the absence of Pastrnak, the turning point in the game may have happened early in the first period when their penalty kill came through in a big situation. After Alex DeBrincat gave Chicago an early 1-0 lead, the Blackhawks found themselves on an extended two-man advantage following penalties by Marchand and Zdeno Chara. The Bruins not only kept the Blackhawks off the scoreboard, they completely shut down the Blackhawks’ power play with a textbook penalty kill that was probably even better than they could have drawn it up. The Blackhawks never even managed to get a good luck on the extended advantage.

Shortly after that two-man advantage ended, the Bruins erupted with three goals in a four-minute stretch.

For the Bruins, the win helps solidify their playoff positioning in the Atlantic Division.

For the Blackhawks, it snaps what had been a seven-game winning streak and is a missed opportunity to keep gaining ground in the highly competitive Western Conference Wild Card race.

More: Injured thumb to keep Bruins’ Pastrnak out of lineup for at least two weeks

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Rangers fight back in third, down Bruins in shootout

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Well, that was certainly entertaining.

The Boston Bruins appeared to be running away with this one after scoring three quick goals in the second period to establish a 3-1 lead.

But those resilient New York Rangers had a trick up their own sleeve, scoring twice in the third to tie the game 3-3.

Then came overtime, a wild back and forth affair that put both Jaroslav Halak and Alexandar Georgiev on a pedestal — both making some ridiculous saves to send the game to a shootout.

Seven rounds later, the Rangers had a 4-3 win and two big points in the bag thanks to a slick goal by Tony DeAngelo.

The Rangers might be sellers at the trade deadline and the Bruins might be buyers, but none of that mattered on Wednesday Night Hockey on NBCSN.

Despite the gap in the standings, both teams appeared evenly matched.

Mika Zibanejad took advantage of a Bruins team that had played the night before in the first period.

The shifty forward did well to first make sure the puck remained in the Boston zone, then curled to the top of the slot and uncorked a one-timer past Halak.

The Bruins came alive in the second.

Danton Heinen tipped one home, David Pastrnak scored his 31st and then Bergeron made it 3-1 in a wild sequence for the 1,000-game man.

He took his second penalty of the night, which the Bruins were able to kill off. When he emerged from the box, he was sprung on a partial break that turned into an odd-man rush, where he drew a penalty. On the ensuing power play, he taps home his 19th of the season.

The third brought a Blueshirt resurgence.

Kevin Hayes pulled the Rangers to 3-2 and three minutes later, Filip Chytil notched his 10th of the season to tie the game.

The Rangers are now seven points back of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Meanwhile, the Bruins leapfrogged the Montreal Canadiens to move into third place in the Atlantic, with both teams level on 66 points.

Via the NHL:

  • This marked the 27th time in 2018-19 a team has rallied from a multi-goal deficit in the third period to win in any fashion – tied for the eighth highest total through 822 games of a season in NHL history and the highest such total since 2014-15 (29 in 822 GP).
  • In 2018-19, there have been 102 instances of a team rallying from a multi-goal deficit at any point to win. Only two other NHL campaigns have seen as many such comebacks through 822 games: 1985-86 (117) and 1987-88 (102).

[MORE: Boston Bruins looking to add offense at NHL trade deadline

[MORE: What to look for as New York Rangers approach NHL trade deadline]


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Bruins need to find secondary scoring in a hurry

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There’s no denying that the Boston Bruins have one of the best lines in hockey. Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand have been lights out for years now. Whenever they’re on, they’re incredibly difficult to stop.

But whenever they lose a game, there seems to be a pattern. Either, the opponent was able to keep the Bruins first line in check, or Boston just didn’t get enough scoring from their other lines.

Last night’s overtime defeat to the Philadelphia Flyers was the Bruins’ third consecutive loss and their fourth in five games. If we take a look at the last three games in particular, it’s evident that they need someone on lines two through four to step up.

In the loss to the Flyers, it was Pastrnak who scored both of Boston’s goals. In Tuesday’s 4-3 OT loss to Winnipeg, Bergeron scored twice and Pastrnak scored once. In the 3-2 defeat to the Rangers before their bye week, the Bruins got a goal from Marchand and Danton Heinen, which was a nice change or pace, but still not enough.

That means that their top three forwards have accounted for six of their seven goals during this three-game skid. No wonder the Bruins have been linked to Columbus Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin. They need someone else that’s capable of contributing offense on a regular basis.

When looking at their scoring leaders, it’s no surprise to see Pastrnak (61 points), Marchand (57 points) and Bergeron (44 points in 35 games) at the top list. Veteran David Krejci has a respectable 40 points, while defeseman Torey Krug has 34. After Krug, the next best scorer is Jake DeBrusk, who has 18 points (!!!) in 42 games. Sean Kuraly, Danton Heinan and David Backes all have 14 points or fewer. That’s a significant drop off.

Another big issue, is that the Bruins have started getting into the habit of squandering leads. They’ve scored the first goal in in each of their last six games, but they’ve gone just 1-3-2 during that stretch. They simply can’t allow that to happen, especially when you consider how tight the standings are in the Eastern Conference and in the Atlantic Division, in particular.

As of right now, they’re sitting in third place in the Atlantic, but the Canadiens are tied with them in points, with 61. On a positive note, the Bruins are just one point back of Toronto for second place.

There’s still time for them to get back on track, but they’ll likely have to make a significant move if they want to make a long run in the playoffs. Someone like Panarin, Wayne Simmonds or Mark Stone would be a perfect fit.

Of all the teams currently in a playoff spot, only the Islanders, Wild and Stars have scored fewer goals than Boston’s 148 (17th in the NHL).

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

WATCH LIVE: Bruins host Canadiens on NBCSN

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Monday night’s matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins with coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

This will be the 746th regular season game between the Canadiens and Bruins. Montreal has won 361 times to Boston’s 281, while there have been 103 ties. These two teams have played more than any other teams in the NHL.

Both teams enter Monday’s matchup playing well. The Bruins have won six of their last seven games, including a 3-2 win at Toronto on Saturday night. Trailing 2-1, Boston scored two straight goals near the end of the secnd period and held off the Maple Leafs in the third to secure the win. The Canadiens kicked off a run of three games in four days on Saturday night with a 3-0 win vs the Avalanche. Carey Price stopped 28 shots to earn his third shutout of the season. It was just the secnd time Colorado has been shut out all season (first time since Oct.).

One of the biggest reasons for the Bruins’ recent success has been the play of goalie Tuukka Rask, who has emerged as the clear top choice between the pipes. Rask is 5-0-0, with a 1.38 goals against average, .955 save percentage and a shutout in his last five starts. His next win will tie him with Tiny Thompson for most wins by a goalie in franchise history.

The Canadiens power play continued to struggle in the 3-0 win vs. the Avalanche. Montreal went 0-for-3 with the man advantage to bring their total to 1-for-20 in the last seven games. They rank last in the NHL in power play percentage, converting on just 12.5 percent of their chances. Head coach Claude Julien also switched up the power-play units hoping to find a solution for the team’s struggles.

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 6:30 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

What: Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins
Where: TD Garden
When: Monday, Jan. 14, 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: You can watch the Canadiens-Bruins stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

CANADIENS
Jonathan DrouinPhilip DanaultBrendan Gallagher
Artturi LehkonenMax DomiJoel Armia
Tomas TatarJesperi KotkaniemiPaul Byron
Kenny AgostinoMichael ChaputNicolas Deslauriers

Victor MeteShea Weber
Mike ReillyJeff Petry
Brett KulakJordie Benn

Starting goalie: Carey Price

BRUINS
Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak
Jake DeBruskDavid KrejciDavid Backes
Sean KuralyNoel AcciariChris Wagner
Danton HeinenJakob Forsbacka KarlssonRyan Donato

Zdeno CharaCharlie McAvoy
Torey KrugBrandon Carlo
Matt GrzelcykKevan Miller

Starting goalie: Tuukka Rask

John Forslund (play-by-play), AJ Mleczko (analyst) and Brian Boucher (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will have the call from TD Garden in Boston, Mass.

WATCH LIVE: 2019 Winter Classic – Blackhawks vs. Bruins

NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with the 2019 Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET from Notre Dame Stadium. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Both teams enter with momentum having each won 3-2 in OT on Saturday. The Bruins snapped a two-game losing streak with a come-from-behind win against the Buffalo Sabres, while the Blackhawks surrendered a 2-0 lead vs. the Colorado Avalanche before rebounding to win on Patrick Kane’s OT goal – his 50th point of the season.

The Blackhawks are one of five teams that have already fired their head coach this season, after the 2017-18 season saw zero coaches fired during the regular season. Jeremy Colliton has the worst record among the newly appointed coaches, though the team’s play has improved of late

It has been hard for Patrick Kane to replicate the chemistry he had with Artemi Panarin – a combination that led to the two most productive seasons of Kane’s career. Hawks fans are hoping he could be headed towards similar success with Dylan Strome, who was acquired from Arizona in late-November and has settled in on Kane’s line along with Artem Anisimov.

Kane enters this game coming off back-to-back three-point games (hat trick on Thursday, 2G-1A on Saturday), and he’s averaging 1.25 points/game this season. That’s the secnd-most productive rate of his career, behind his MVP-winning season in 2015-16 (1.29 ppg). Strome has 13 points in 17 games with Chicago, including three straight multi-point games entering the Winter Classic.

The Bruins have kept themselves afloat in the first half of the season despite a rash of injuries to top players. It appeared that the team would have a fully healthy lineup for the first time all year coming out of the Christmas break, but Charlie McAvoy suffered a lower-body injury in the final game before the break, and has missed both games since. Brad Marchand also missed Saturday’s game, but he will play Tuesday afternoon. McAvoy will not.

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 1 P.M. ET – NBC]

What: Boston Bruins at Chicago Blackhawks
Where: Notre Dame Stadium
When: Tuesday, Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET
TV: NBC
Live stream: You can watch the Blackhawks-Bruins stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

BRUINS
Brad Marchand – Patrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak
Jake DeBruskDavid Krejci – Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson
Danton HeinenSean KuralyChris Wagner
Joakim NordstromColby CaveNoel Acciari / Ryan Donato

Zdeno CharaBrandon Carlo
Torey KrugJohn Moore
Matt GrzelcykKevan Miller

Starting goalie: Tuukka Rask

BLACKHAWKS
Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsDominik Kahun
Artem Anisimov – Dylan Strome – Patrick Kane
Alex DeBrincatDavid KampfDylan Sikura
John HaydenMarcus KrugerBrendan Perlini

Duncan KeithErik Gustafsson
Gustav ForslingBrent Seabrook
Carl DahlstromConnor Murphy

Starting goalie: Cam Ward

Mike Tirico will host the network’s Winter Classic pre-game coverage alongside the NHL Live studio team of host Kathryn Tappen, and analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick. Six-time Emmy Award-winner and La Fontaine, Ind., native Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member Eddie Olczyk, and ‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst Pierre McGuire will have the call from Notre Dame Stadium.