The Bruins have recalled Zane McIntyre. (James Guillory/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins have recalled Zane McIntyre. (James Guillory/USA Today Sports)

For the third time in about five days, the Bruins have switched Zane McIntyre and Anton Khudobin’s assignments, with McIntyre returned to the NHL and Khudobin reassigned to the P-Bruins.

McIntyre was originally sent to the AHL to stay in game shape with a start during the NHL All-Star break, which is exactly what he did with a 32-of-34 winning effort against the Hershey Bears on Jan. 27.

The win improved McIntyre to 11-o-0 with a .950 save percentage and 1.44 goals against average for the P-Bruins on the year, and he was promptly reassigned to the Big B’s in a neat paper transaction.

But the Bruins then flipped it once more, this time to allow McIntyre to play in the 2017 AHL All-Star festivities Monday, which forced Khudobin back into an NHL practice at Warrior Ice Arena and dress as the team’s backup last night against the Lightning.

The 24-year-old McIntyre returns to the NHL with an 0-3-1 record and .860 save percentage in seven games this season.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Could Brad Marchand find himself back in trouble? (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports)

Could Brad Marchand find himself back in trouble with the league for another ‘dangerous trip’ on an opponent? (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports)

Don’t let run-ins and media comments fool you: Bruins winger Brad Marchand has crossed the line before and he’ll cross it again.

Half of it will be because of his reputation, some of it will be bad luck or being at the right place at the wrong time, and sometimes it’ll be old habits dying hard for the agitator-turned-superstar winger.

I’m just not sure you expected his next run-in to come two games later.

Let off the hook with a $10,000 fine for his ‘dangerous trip’ against Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall, Marchand owned up to his actions, and made up for it with a big night against the Penguins before a relaxing and rewarding weekend as an All-Star for the Atlantic Division in the 2017 All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

But back in meaningful NHL action tonight in Tampa Bay, a 4-3 victory for the Bruins, it would appear that Marchand could find himself in some more hot water for what appeared to be yet another dangerous trip.

Involved in an incident with Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman late in the second period, Marchand appeared to take Stralman’s legs out from under him from behind, and drew the ire of the Lightning bench and head coach Jon Cooper.

Cooper was not asked what he thought about the hit in general, but did talk about how it changed the game for his group.

“Well a lot happened in that,” Cooper said when asked about the momentum that came with the incident. “So there’s the… whatever you wanna call it, the non-call on Stralman or whatever it was, and then we kinda — I don’t know what happened after that.. Then there’s the hit on Paquette, and I thought that pushed it over the top, we didn’t really answer after that.”

The incident with Marchand and Stralman shifted momentum towards the B’s according to Cooper, which was great for the Bruins, who scored two goals to close out the second period, in the moment. But it could cause problems in the future.

If the NHL finds malice or intent on the play, there is no question that Marchand, who was a repeat offender long before the $10,000 fine was thrown his way, will be hit with something much worse than anything originally imagined for the Kronwall trip. Now, was there anything purposefully done on the trip? It’s hard to judge in real time, especially with the Bruins trying to make a push up the other way, but giving Marchand the benefit of the doubt is awfully tough given his lengthy rap sheet. And that’s as somebody that believes Marchand has about 90 percent turned the corner from this sort of stuff, so it’s somewhat hard to imagine the NHL giving him the benefit of the doubt less than a week after already letting him off the hook.

The 28-year-old Marchand has been suspended four times in his NHL career and fined on three separate occasions.

Marchand is currently leading the Bruins with 21 goals and 51 points, and ranks 5th in the NHL in points overall.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

In the world of masterpieces, the Bruins painted some more ugly motel wall art Tuesday night against the Lightning. But this time of year, the results are all that matter, and the Bruins had those, too, as the club pulled off their third straight comeback victory behind a 4-3 final.

The Bruins won their third straight game Tuesday night. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Brad Marchand and the Bruins won their third straight game Tuesday behind a 4-3 comeback win over the Lightning. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

In the world of masterpieces, the Bruins painted some more ugly motel wall art Tuesday night against the Lightning. But this time of year, the results are all that matter, and the Bruins had those, too, as the club pulled off their third straight comeback victory behind a 4-3 final.

(For a complete recap of the win, click here.)

Back from the All-Star break — which came at a great time given the club’s general fatigue from a hellacious opening 52-game slate charged with back-to-backs and countless three games in four night runs but also a bad time given the consistency the Bruins were beginning to generate with two straight character wins —  the first period back from break was largely uneventful for each team. If anything, the Bruins were lucky to escape the first still scoreless, as Colin Miller plucked a puck that was probably about 90% over the goal line off the line and prevented an 0-1 hole through 20 minutes of play.

Miller was not able to save the B’s from a deficit in the second period, though, as Alex Killorn beat Tuukka Rask midway into the middle frame. Given the lethargic nature of the 28 minutes that came before, it seemed as if this night would be the natural, rusty comedown from the highs of wins and the thoughts of positive strides within the B’s game.

After all, it’s been the year’s theme.

 

But with a kick-to-consciousness that came with Killorn’s goal against, the Bruins focused on creating chances against an aggressive Tampa Bay defensive corps, and found chances to connect on against Lightning netminder Ben Bishop, with two goals in 1:51 to close out the period, including one from David Krejci with just :00.9 seconds left, to escape the second with a 2-1 lead.

In a positive situation (playing with a lead in the third period) when they should have been in anything but, the Bruins were once again victimized by timely scoring from Killorn, as a defensive breakdown in front of the net allowed Killorn to score his second goal of the night, which brought the B’s and Bolts to a 2-2 tie and Amalie Arena to life.

Again, and just a few minutes later, the Bruins answered, and it was captain Zdeno Chara that came through with a slapshot goal.

Frank Vatrano added a power-play goal to put the final nail in the coffin, and the Bruins hung on, even when it became a bit more of a white-knuckle ride ending thanks to the Bolts’ third goal of the night, for a 4-3 final.

With the win, the Bruins have victories in three straight games for the first time since Dec. 1 through Dec. 5, and have done it on the backs of their best players. It’s been more than just Bergeron and Marchand, too, which has been a great sign of life for this team. Tonight, it was Krejci and Chara who really appeared to step up for the club, as Krejci had a goal and assist in almost 19 minutes of time on ice, which Chara contributed a goal and three shots in just over 22 minutes of time on ice.

There’s been a lot of talk about the belief that this coach still has in his players and vice versa, but it would have meant nothing if the club’s best players continued to have random disappearing acts for prolonged stretches (read as: losing streaks). And when the club’s best players show up, the complementary talents follow their lead, which is what you saw with a grind-it-out approach from every skater, including big nights from Matt Beleskey (winning puck battles) and Colin Miller (the guy did it all).

Most importantly, though, this is a game that the Bruins should win and, well, did win.

The victory gives the Bruins eight points of separation with the Lightning in spite of two games in hand for the Bolts, and creates some much needed distance given the amount of teams that are already chasing the Bruins.

The Bruins are back in action Wednesday night against the Capitals.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Brandon Carlo will be in the lineup tonight vs. the Lightning.  (Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports)

Brandon Carlo will be in the lineup tonight vs. the Lightning. (Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports)

Down with a tumble in the third period of last Thursday’s comeback win over the Penguins, Brandon Carlo could hardly skate off the ice.

But with a few days of rest to his name thanks to the All-Star break, the 20-year-old Carlo was back at practice back in Boston on Monday, and is good to play in tonight’s crucial road game against the Lightning.

“[Carlo]’s good,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said this morning. “He was good yesterday, and he continued to be good as well today.”

Injured with a twisted ankle, the first glance looked a lot worse than the final diagnosis, but forced Carlo and the B’s to exercise some caution.

“There was a little bit of pain there,” Carlo admitted, “but overall something I should have just walked off. But for precautionary reasons, just kinda finished off that game, and did what we had to do with x-rays and MRIs.”

The 6-foot-5 Carlo has tallied four goals and 12 points in 52 games for the B’s this season, and has averaged 21:30 of time on ice per night, which ranks second in the NHL among rookie skaters. He’s one of six Bruins to have played in every game this year.

In the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, clinging to their third-place lead by a single point and with five more games played than the ninth-place Maple Leafs (read as: the Bruins have almost no wiggle room left), these are the games that the Black and Gold have to win. They’re must-wins to not only stay afloat in the playoff race, but also bury teams like the Bolts, who come into action tonight just six points behind the Bruins, and with two games in hand.

And despite the Bolts’ struggles this year, the B’s know they’re in for a challenge from a desperate club.

“They’ve gone through a stretch here where they’ve had some tough luck,” Julien said, “but at the same time I see a pretty good team on the ice. They’re deep, they have a lot of guys that can do some damage.”

The Bruins are expected to give this start to Tuukka Rask. The 29-year-old All-Star stopped 19-of-22 shots thrown his way last Thursday against the Penguins, and comes into action with 24 wins and a .918 save percentage in 41 games. Rask has two wins and a .934 save percentage in two games against the Lightning this season.

The Bolts will counter with Ben Bishop. Bishop has 11 wins in 25 games this year, and was yanked from his last start after he allowed five goals on 17 shots against the Coyotes. Bishop has a 4-5-3 record and .912 save percentage in 12 career games against the Bruins, and allowed four goals on 30 shots in his last head-to-head with the B’s.

“There’s a lot at stake for both teams,” Julien said. “Should be a good one.”

Here are the expected lines and pairings for the Bruins…

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Frank Vatrano – David Krejci – David Backes

Matt Beleskey – Ryan Spooner – Riley Nash

Tim Schaller – Dominic Moore – Jimmy Hayes

Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

Kevan Miller – Colin Miller

Tuukka Rask

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Anton Khudobin is back with the Bruins. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Anton Khudobin is back with the Bruins. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin knows what he did, or rather didn’t do, to earn a trip on the waiver wire and down to the AHL’s P-Bruins.

“I just didn’t get enough wins,” Khudobin, who is back with the Bruins, said following Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

In eight games with the Big B’s this season, the 30-year-old recorded just one victory and posted a woeful .885 save percentage.

Now, in defense of Khudobin, the replacements haven’t done much better — Zane McIntyre has zero wins and an .860 save percentage in seven games while Malcolm Subban failed to finish his start for the second time in as many career tries — but there was no doubt that the Black and Gold expected more out of Khudobin, especially after what was a successful first run with the club four years back.

But with Zane McIntyre assigned to the minors so that he could appear in the 2017 All-Star Game (and perhaps get more playing time in a development-friendly role versus a largely spectator role for the Black and Gold), and with the B’s traveling to Tampa Bay Monday night, Khudobin has traveled with the big club and is one of their options against the Lightning. And could very well be given the start considering the fact that Tuukka Rask is joining the club right from Los Angeles from his All-Star weekend.

An increase in his playing time during his tenure with the P-Bruins, which is something that Khudobin has openly talked about as a potential fix to his struggles in subtle ways, has set the gregarious netminder in a situation for a possible rebound.

“It was a good stretch,” Khudobin said of his tenure with the P-Bruins, which has featured six wins and an .892 save percentage in 10 AHL games. “I had a couple of shutouts — two shutouts in a row — and it was really good.”

Entering the stretch run of their season, it’s expected that a healthy Rask will likely suit up for somewhere between 20-to-25 games for the Bruins if they’re to have a legitimate chance of keeping pace with the rest of the East’s playoff teams.

 

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was a noticeable omission from the NHL's Top 100 Players list. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)There’s a funny story out there. One that predates the worries of fake news. 



Guys talk the Bruins season so far and the All-Star Break
Bobby Orr was one of 15 former Bruins named to the NHL's 100 Greatest Players list. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Bobby Orr was one of 15 former Bruins named to the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players list. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins are modestly represented in the 2017 All-Star Game, with Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask. But the Bruins have far more representatives in the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players List, which dropped last night as the kickoff to a weekend of festivities in Los Angeles.

Broken up by eras, the Bruins already had three players named earlier in the month as part of the league’s First 33, which represented the first 50 years of the NHL, in Johnny Bucyk, Milt Schmidt, and Eddie Shore.

The Bruins found the majority of their players back on the board from the Big Bad Bruins era of hockey, with Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito included on the list. Brad Park and Jean Ratelle also made the list, while three goaltenders made the list in Terry Sawchuk, Jacques Plante, and Bernie Parent, but only Sawchuk (102 games with the club) had a sizeable sample in the B’s crease, while Plante played in just eight games for the Bruins and Parent skated in 57 games.

Adam Oates, who recorded 499 points in 368 games with the B’s and was a 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, also made the list. Ray Bourque obviously made the list as well, while two of the other premier puck-movers from the era with Bruins ties made the list, with Paul Coffey (18 games for the Bruins) and Brian Leetch (61 games in Boston).

Only one current NHL player with ties to the Bruins, Jaromir Jagr, made the list.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Zane McIntyre has appeared in seven games this season. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports)

Zane McIntyre has appeared in seven games this season. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports)

Officially on break, the Bruins have made a minor roster move in the crease with the recall of Anton Khudobin from the Providence Bruins and corresponding assignment of Zane McIntyre down to the P-Bruins.

The demotion likely comes as a means to get McIntyre some meaningful playing time (the P-Bruins have two games this weekend while the Bruins are off until Tuesday as part of the league’s All-Star break) before an NHL recall when their schedule resumes next week.

In seven NHL games this season, McIntyre has an 0-3-1 record and .860 save percentage. He stopped 11-of-14 shots against in his most recent appearance, a 28-minute relief appearance for an injured Tuukka Rask last Sunday against the Penguins.

On the farm, McIntyre has been a dominant force, with a perfect 10-0-0 record and .951 save percentage, and was the AHL Goaltender of the Month for December prior to his latest recall with the Big B’s.

Khudobin, waived by the Bruins, has six wins and an .896 save percentage in nine games for the P-Bruins, but was pulled after allowing three goals on 13 shots in his last start, which makes this recall seem like it’s hardly to give Khudobin another crack at keeping the NHL backup job. Khudobin has one win and an .885 save percentage in eight NHL games this season.

The Bruins do not play again until Tuesday night on the road against the Lightning.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson