Brad Marchand will have a hearing for his slewfoot against Niklas Kronwall. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Brad Marchand will have a hearing for his slewfoot against Niklas Kronwall. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Has an NHL player ever been suspended from an All-Star Game? Bruins winger Brad Marchand, one of two Bruins to be named to the this weekend’s All-Star weekend in L.A., may be the first to find out.

One day after Marchand proved instrumental in the B’s comeback win over the Red Wings, with a power-play goal and the game-tying goal midway through the third period of what finished as a 4-3 win, the NHL has notified Marchand that he will have a disciplinary hearing for his ‘dangerous trip’ on Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall.

Also known as a slewfoot, the rather odd terminology of a ‘dangerous trip’ versus calling this a slewfoot makes sense considering the fact that this was not a true slewfoot if you consider the fact that Marchand does not also shove the player down in the process of tripping them.

No matter the term, it’s another instance where the B’s best winger, who has scored the most points among NHL left wingers this season (Marchand has 47 points in 51 games), has put himself back in the crosshairs of the NHL Department of Player Safety.

There’s no doubt that this was a sneaky dirty move from No. 63.

Aside from the giveaway of the immediate look back at Kronwall after he goes down, the play at the other end right before this hit involved an incident between Kronwall and Patrice Bergeron that left the B’s barking for a penalty against the Detroit defender. It’s also worth noting that Kronwall has missed 30 games since Feb. 2016 because of a knee injury (and another eight games because of a vague ‘lower-body’ ailment), which will not help Marchand in the court of public opinion.

But what will really matter for the Black and Gold winger is his reputation, which he has a hard time shedding, along with the history that’s earned him such a reputation. Marchand was suspended for two games in Jan. 2015 for a slewfoot on the Rangers’ Derick Brassard, was fined $5,000 in Nov. 2015 for a retaliatory punch against Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, and was hit with a three-game ban and near $200,000 fine for a clipping against Sens defenseman Mark Borowiecki last season.

That suspension caused Marchand, who hit 37 goals in 77 games a year ago, to miss the 2016 Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium.

Overall, the 28-year-old has suspended four times in his NHL career (and has been fined three times in total), with his longest suspension coming with a five-game ban for a clipping against the Canucks’ Sami Salo in Jan. 2012.

Marchand leads the Bruins with 47 points this season and is one of six Bruins skaters to have played in all 51 games to date.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Tuukka Rask stopped 23-of-26 shots for his 23rd win of the year Tuesday against the Red Wings. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Tuukka Rask stopped 23-of-26 shots for his 23rd win of the year Tuesday against the Red Wings. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask was pitching a shutout through the first half of the first period. Then the Red Wings’ Andreas Athanasiou put their first shot on net on Rask on a breakaway split through Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo, and the game was tied 1-1.

It was not how Rask, who pulled himself from the game in the second period of Sunday’s loss to the Penguins because of a migraine, pictured his return to the crease going in a 4-3 overtime win for the Bruins.

“You just try to stay as sharp as possible, but you look at it in the first period – you’re standing there for 15 minutes and don’t get a shot, and then all the sudden it’s a breakaway,” Rask said. “It’s not the ideal situation but – and then today again it seemed like every shot pretty much was a scoring chance again, and you just have to battle and find that battle element to your game and really try to stay sharp.”

Things didn’t necessarily get much better for the 29-year-old Rask, either, as the Red Wings scored two goals in under five minutes in the middle frame, including a real heinous one off Rask’s glove and into the net, which gave him an ugly stat line featuring just 10 stops on 13 shots against and a 3-2 deficit for the Black and Gold after 40 minutes of play.

But when the Bruins needed stops in the third period, especially when the game was tied, Rask came up big.

Rask stopped all eight on goal in the third period, including a big save on Mike Green with about three minutes left in the third, and a last-minute stop on Darren Helm to keep the game tied, and earned the Bruins a point (and the second in overtime).

“I made a couple stops in the third and in overtime there, but I was just a little out of square I thought I had it covered again but it just hit my glove and squeezed through it,” Rask said of making up for the third goal. “It was a little, obviously, it’s a hard shot; it wasn’t easy, but obviously one that I would like to have. But just have to keep battling and make the save when it comes.”

It’s no secret that the Black and Gold play much better when Rask is at his best (you could actually make the case that the B’s straight-up can’t play without Rask in their crease), but Tuesday’s effort against the Wings shows his importance to the club, and the difference Rask can make when he’s on top of his game, something that has at times been lacking in recent games.

“It gives you more confidence because as a defensemen, and personally as a defenseman that likes to get up in the rush, it allows you to close your gap better and play with confidence because you know that if they do get by you, he’s going to come and support you and make a big save,” Torey Krug admitted. “So as a team, he’s making those timely saves, it’s important.

“It grabs the momentum back for us and then we can go play back in their end.”

“That’s something we need right now – we need every break we can get,” Claude Julien said of Rask’s big stops. “You know, that third goal – or second one – that trickled through him, he paid us back in many ways after that in many ways with timely saves.”

The win snapped a four-game skid for both Rask and the Bruins, and gave No. 40 his 23rd win of the season.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
The Bruins pull off just their second third period comeback of the season. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins pulled off just their second third period comeback of the season Tuesday night against the Wings. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins have talked about their desperation at great length this season, but rarely has it translated into tangible results in the form of two points banked in the tight-as-hell Eastern Conference standings.

It looked as if the Bruins were paced for another one of those nights, too, as every breakdown ended up in the back of their net while they shot blank after blank on Red Wings netminder Jared Coreau.

But it was at the 8:20 mark of the third period that one of the club’s emotional leaders, Brad Marchand, had his say and put the B’s and Wings back even at 3-3, and forced overtime in the Hub.

From there, it was the David Pastrnak show that made its first appearance of 2017, behind No. 88’s first goal in 18 games.

In what was just the B’s second win when trailing after 40 minutes of play this season (the Bruins are now 2-16-3 in such scenarios), the Bruins had a full 20-man effort throughout the night, with each line held accountable for one another on a shift-to-shift basis.

“We did some things yesterday, we clarified a lot of things and there was no way that we were going to let anybody drag us down tonight,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “If certain guys wouldn’t have done the job, they would have been watching and I think we were going to go with the guys that wanted to play and show what they had to do. And the guys – to a man – were out there and working hard. I think when you get tired of losing, you do something about it. And I think our guys had that determination.”

In what started as a demolition derby of the Wings with the B’s winning almost every puck battle, board battle, and one-on-one challenge in the attacking zone, the Wings were opportunistic while the Bruins looked fatalistic. Little by little, the bad habits and attempted cheats by the Bruins were exposed, and the Bruins looked poised to let yet another spiral out of control.

With two Detroit goals scored in 4:26 in the second period, an anxious Garden crowd began to have flashbacks of what happened in the third period of Sunday’s blowout loss in Pittsburgh, and the boos started to flow like low-percentage Bruins shots.

“I think there was some frustration going into the third, but, the right kind of frustration – like enough is enough and we’re going to find a way to win,” Julien said of his team’s mindset entering the third period of a virtual must-win contest. “Those first wins are never easy after you’ve lost a lot of games and hopefully that’s the first moving in the right direction.”

It seemed like the light went off and the Bruins realized that this was a game this had no business losing — especially with the Red Wings down two of their most dangerous wingers in Dylan Larkin and Thomas Vanek — given their situation.

“I think for a while now we’ve been really fragile,” B’s defender Torey Krug admitted, “there’s been moments where there have been intervals where the other team is scoring two-three goals and we’re able to keep that to a minimum and grab control of the game again once they were able to score. So it’s definitely a sign of progress and making sure we take control of our game.”

“We are in a tough spot right now. We need every point and we have to realize the situation that we are in, and we need to start getting wins regardless of how we are playing. It was just frustrating to the way we are playing, we are playing good, and we were down,” Marchand said. But we showed a ton of character tonight, coming out and getting that win. I thought we played a pretty good game all the way through but again teams just seem to be capitalizing on every mistake. But if we continue to work on our game and play the way we are then we are going to continue to get better. There’s no way we are going down.”

But the B’s have been here before and they know that Tuesday means very little if the B’s don’t actually turn this into something.

“I hope they’re not just a one-time thing and that the guys can build on that,” Julien admitted. 

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
David Pastrnak ended an 18-game goal drought Tuesday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

David Pastrnak ended an 18-game goal drought Tuesday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

A smiling David Pastrnak greeted reporters in front of his stall.

“I missed you guys,” he said.

For Pastrnak, a crowd of reporters typically means that he’s done something well. The crowd often went three rows deep early in the season, too, when Pastrnak lit the NHL up at will and kept pace with Sidney Crosby for the league lead in goals. And it’s been quite a while since one of those crowds waited for Pastrnak after a game.

Mired in an 18-game goalless skid, the 20-year-old put an end to that Tuesday night, and in style, with the overtime game-winner that rocketed through Red Wings netminder Jared Coreau to put an end to the B’s four-game losing streak and give Pastrnak his 20th of the year.

“It was just a matter of time – sometimes you feel it. He did make a couple of plays there that I wouldn’t advise on him making but overall I thought his skating was good and there was some determination in his game,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Pastrnak ending his scoring drought.

“Hopefully it gets that monkey off his back. It’s been a while and I think that he has been feeling the pressure and hopefully that’s a step in the right direction for him and we start seeing him put more of those in the net.”

With 65 shots in between goals, it was impossible for the situation not to weigh on Pastrnak.

“There’s not much you can do,” Pastrnak said of the scoring struggles in recent weeks. “You’ve got to play the right way, and obviously it’s always going to be back in your head. But, I always have guys that will help me and support me all the time.

“Also, when I had that stretch with a lot of goals, I said that might happen that I might not score for a couple games, and it was more than a couple. But it was really nice to get that one and especially to win.”

“All you need is a goal to kind of get you going again,” Brad Marchand said, “he’s been such a big part of our team this year, he is scoring a ton of goals and playing some really good hockey. I’m sure they are going to continue go in for him now.”

It was a straight-up gigantic goal for a Bruins team that’s put back-to-back efforts of 45-plus shots, and came as the perfect finish for Pastrnak, who led the Bruins with six shots on goal, given who was in the Garden crowd watching him play.

The finale of their Mom’s Trip, Pastrnak treated his mother, Marcela, to an NHL goal for the first time.

“That’s the third time she came and the first goal she saw live,” Pastrnak said.

“She was [getting] kind of frustrated too.”

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Nothing comes as a surprise with these Bruins anymore. In fact, by now, you sort of expected what happened Tuesday to happen.

It was the ending, however, that you did not expect.

The Bruins ended their four-game losing streak Tuesday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Nothing comes as a surprise with these Bruins anymore. In fact, by now, you sort of expected what happened Tuesday to happen.

It was the ending, however, that you did not expect.

A day after an intense video session, the Bruins came out of the gates flying against a shorthanded Red Wings team. They pummeled the first 12 shots of the game on Wings netminder Jared Coreau, and had a 1-0 lead behind Kevan Miller’s first goal of the season, scored 3:39 into the first period. But as the clock ticked without a shot from the Red Wings, and with the recent history between these two teams (when the Red Wings overcame a Bruins-heavy first period and won 6-5 after being down 4-1 just six days ago), you knew the danger that would follow.

Without a shot on goal during the first TV timeout, and still without a shot to their name by the time the second timeout rolled around, Mike Green found a speeding Andreas Athanasiou through the sea of Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo and in alone on Tuukka Rask.

Athanasiou, naturally, did not miss.

And just like that, all the momentum that the Bruins had seemingly established with a dogged puck-pursuit game and countless one-on-one victory battles in the opening half of the period, went out the window. Sure, the Bruins lead in shots by a 12-1 mark, but they were tied 1-1 on the scoreboard, and that’s all that truly matters for this club given their straight-up dire situation.

The Bruins regained the lead by the end of the first period thanks to a power-play goal scored by Brad Marchand for his 17th goal of the season, but the mindset had already established, or so it felt, and no in a good way. No matter what the Bruins did with the puck, no matter how many shots they took, you just had a feeling that the Wings were still in control of their own fate in this one.

Predictably, the Wings found breaks behind a fortunate bounce off Miller and into the B’s net at the 6:25 mark of the second period, and another one when Tomas Tatar snuck a bad goal under Rask and into the back of the net for a Red Wings lead.

Left to fight from behind to begin the third period for the 21st time on the year — the Bruins entered the third with just one win and five of a possible 40 points in such scenarios — it looked as if the Black and Gold were going to do yet another fade to black.

The Bruins padded their shot totals with low-percentage looks from just inside the blue line, but with nothing of actual substance, the fruitless search for an equalizer raged on against the Wings’ Coreau, who looked like a goalie breaking new gear in with ease.

But it was the Bruins’ best three-man unit all year long — Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak — reunited for this game with the B’s in desperation mode, that would create the scramble in front of Coreau, and Marchand that would tuck the game-tying marker through Coreau for his second of the night and his 19th of the season to give the B’s life.

The frustration of 17,565 in the crowd turned to hope, and the Bruins were seemingly snapped out of their Groundhog Day-esque run of futility and with the help of a last-second stop on Darren Helm, the Bruins forced overtime.

And in the overtime, it was Pastrnak, with space and some dramatics of a Toronto-initiated review to give it some added flavor, that pumped home the slide-snapping goal for his 20th of the season, and his first in 17 games.

OK, so maybe they’re not out of surprises just yet.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
The Blues may be shopping Kevin Shattenkirk. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

The Blues may be shopping Kevin Shattenkirk. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Somehow lost in the hoopla of the Bruins potentially firing head coach Claude Julien last week was a rumor that connected the team to one of the stars of the trade market, Blues defender Kevin Shattenkirk.

(It was actually featured in the same TSN segment that talked about Julien’s future and indicated ‘credible threats’ and the potential ‘sense of impending doom’ for the B’s coach of a decade.)

A likely goner this summer like former teammate and current Bruins forward David Backes, the Blues may look to maximize the return (the return being anything versus letting him walk for nothing as a free agent), with Shattenkirk with the possibility of a trade-and-extend involving the talented puck-mover before the deadline emerging.

“[Shattenkirk] doesn’t have a no-trade clause, so he doesn’t have a lot of options unless the Blues can find that right fit,” TSN’s Darren Dreger said on last week’s Insider Trading. “It sounds like Shattenkirk is willing to consider several options. The Toronto Maple Leafs, the New York Rangers, the Boston Bruins, Detroit, San Jose, Anaheim, going back to Colorado is a possibility as well. If you’re [Blues general manager] Doug Armstrong and the Blues, and you can find the right fit, then the asking price for Shattenkirk goes up.”

What the Blues, who have allowed the sixth-most goals in the NHL while both their power play and penalty kill rank in the top 10 of the NHL, would like in return in a Shattenkirk trade remains relatively unknown, although it’s likely baseline begins with an NHL player, a high-end prospect, and a first-round draft pick. (Then again, isn’t that the ask for every marquee rental player?)

An interesting wrinkle that makes these sweepstakes different than say the ones for Avalanche stars Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene is that the Blues are in a win-now mode, especially with this being Ken Hitchcock’s last season behind the bench. Currently in the first wild card spot out West, any Blues trade involving Shattenkirk might be a simple weakness-for-weakness kind of swap (like the Lightning’s Ben Bishop for Shattenkirk rumor du jour that’s been floated around the league this week).

That of course means that any team making a serious push for No. 22 would have to part with a key piece of their roster.

The Bruins made a play for Shattenkirk at the NHL Draft last June, but rebuked Armstrong for allegedly demanding top-six winger David Pastrnak and both of the B’s first-round draft picks in a trade. Still, the Bruins would be a team expected to have interest, especially if their hunt for a defenseman continues like it’s believed to (Sweeney was supposed to attend last weekend’s game between the Ducks and Wild, two teams loaded with promising defensemen, but ultimately did not make it to the game).

Shattenkirk, an unrestricted free agent later this year, has 11 goals and 32 points (18 of which have come on the power play) in 47 games for the Blues this season. The 27-year-old, who played his college hockey on Comm Ave. for the Boston University Terriers from 2007 to 2010, has 66 goals and 274 points in 457 NHL games between the Avs and Blues in total.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask had a better head on his shoulders at Warrior Ice Arena this morning. Or a clearer head, at the very least.

Tuukka Rask was back on the ice Tuesday. (Gregory Fisher/USA Today Sports)

Tuukka Rask was back on the ice Tuesday. (Gregory Fisher/USA Today Sports)

Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask had a better head on his shoulders at Warrior Ice Arena this morning. Or a clearer head, at the very least.

Two days after the franchise netminder lifted himself out of the game with a migraine in what finished as a 5-1 loss to the Penguins (Rask exited in the second period after stops on 20-of-22 shots), and one day after missing practice because of the same, the 29-year-old was back on the ice for the club’s (somewhat optional) morning skate, and labeled himself as ready to go for tonight’s game against the Red Wings.

Comments backed up by B’s coach Claude Julien.

“We’ve got good news so far,” Julien said of Rask’s status.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Rask, whose troubles seemingly began with that Roman Josi shot to the throat on Jan. 10, with 14 goals on the last 108 shots thrown his way (.870 save percentage) over his last five games played.

One of Rask’s bigger duds over that span came with a Jan. 18 start at Joe Louis Arena that saw the team blow a 4-1 lead, and Rask allow five goals on 25 shots against and then another two in a three-round shootout loss for the Black and Gold.

“I think the biggest thing that stuck was that we blew up a 4-1 lead,” Rask said this morning when asked of their last game with the Wings. “They’re a good team. They started off a little slow, but they have good speed and good talent up front, and they generate a lot of offense. We just have to be tight in the neutral zone, defensive zone and not give them too many opportunities.”

Rask has seven wins and an .890 save percentage in 15 career games against the Red Wings.

Despite the struggles, Rask has remained the uncontested MVP of this team through the first four months of the season, and comes into play with 22 wins (five shutouts) and a .920 save percentage in 39 games this season.

He will be countered by Jared Coreau in the Detroit crease. Coreau stopped 18-of-19 in an overtime loss to the Rangers in his last start, but has proved to be a reliable option for the Red Wings, with five wins and a .904 save percentage in 10 games. The Bruins did chase Coreau in their only prior head-to-head, however, with three goals on eight shots against.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Colin Miller is expected back in the lineup tonight. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

Bruins defensemen Colin Miller and Kevan Miller are both expected back in the lineup tonight. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

Reinforcements are on the way for the Bruins.

The Miller defensemen, Colin, who has missed the last six games with a lower-body injury, and Kevan, out since Jan. 14 because of a concussion and then a virus, are expected to return to action tonight when the Bruins host the still-somehow-not-dead-yet Red Wings.

And their returns can’t come soon enough for Claude Julien’s club, losers in four games in a row and eight of their last 11 games.

The B’s have a 19-12-3 record with No. 6 in action this season, versus a 4-9-3 record when he is watching as a scratch or injured talent. And though Miller has yet to emerge as a point-producing dynamo just yet (Miller has three goals and six points in 34 games this season), his stabilizing and crafty presence on the team’s third pairing has meant a lot to a Bruins team that’s been short on puck-movers this season.

“We’ve seen some good sides to his development,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Miller. “I think when you look at the way he can skate, the way he can carry the puck out of your own end, the way he moves it, he’s got a lot of great attributes.”

The 24-year-old Miller is still a work in progress for the B’s, too.

“There’s other parts of his game we gotta continue to work with,” Julien admitted. “Every once in awhile he gets real busy, so we’re trying to get him to calm down in certain areas and do the right thing. But he’s been good for us and that’s why he’s back in.”

Kevan’s return to the lineup comes after a 48-hour virus that put a hold on what would have likely been a return last weekend against the Blackhawks and Penguins. Miller has 51 hits and 36 blocked shots in 26 games played this year.

Their returns are also expected to send both John-Michael Liles and Joe Morrow to the press box as healthy scratches.

This is the third of four meetings between the B’s and Wings this season.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson