On a long three-day layoff between games ahead of their road trip finale against the Wild on Thursday, the Bruins welcomed another body back to the ice on Tuesday with the return of defenseman Kevan Miller.

Kevan Miller

Kevan Miller

On a long three-day layoff between games ahead of their road trip finale against the Wild on Thursday, the Bruins welcomed another body back to the ice on Tuesday with the return of defenseman Kevan Miller.

Injured with a minor knee ailment in the preseason, and then shelved with a fractured left hand suffered in the preseason finale — one that was expected to come with a six-week recovery time — Miller’s participation in practice is just the first step of many in an eventual return back to the lineup.

“He’s back skating with us, so he’s coming around,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s practice. “Still not fully cleared for anything, for full contact and all that stuff, but he’s good enough to practice with us.”

The Bruins began a rotation of sorts with their defense before Miller even joined the team for practice, as Sunday’s win over the Avalanche came with a healthy scratch for Colin Miller, who has just one goal and an assist in 15 games this season, while Joe Morrow moved into the lineup for the first time since Oct. 22 and John-Michael Liles shifted over to the right side on the club’s third-pairing.

Signed to a four-year, $10 million extension last spring, who Miller bumps out of the mix remains to be determined.

The 29-year-old Miller, a frequent partner for B’s captain Zdeno Chara, established career-highs across the board in 2015-16, with five goals, 13 assists, 18 points, 64 shots, 164 hits, and 123 blocked shots.

An undrafted talent out of Los Angeles, Calif., Miller played his college hockey with the University of Vermont, and has totaled eight goals and 31 points in 159 games for the Bruins since the 2013-14 season.

 

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Defenseman Dougie Hamilton wanted out of Boston. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney granted his wish, too, with a draft day trade that sent Hamilton packing to the Calgary Flames for three draft picks (one 2015 first-round choice and two-second round choices) in 2015.

Tuukka Rask has returned as the Bruins' MVP, this season. (Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports)The "Tuukka Rask is actually good, after all" columns have been written over and over this season. This isn’t another one.



The Flames are reportedly taking calls on defenseman Dougie Hamilton. (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)

The Flames are reportedly taking calls on defenseman Dougie Hamilton. (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)

Defenseman Dougie Hamilton wanted out of Boston. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney granted his wish, too, with a draft day trade that sent Hamilton packing to the Calgary Flames for three draft picks (one 2015 first-round choice and two-second round choices) in 2015.

Now, less than two years into his tenure with a new organization, it’s the Flames that may want out of Hamilton.

Mired in a four-game losing streak, in 29th place in the NHL and with a league-high 59 goals allowed through 16 games this year, the Flames are an undeniable mess, and Hamilton has failed to be the star they thought they were getting from the Black and Gold in that trade (the Bruins used the picks acquired in the trade to draft forwards Zachary Senyshyn and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, and d-man Jeremy Lauzon).

Hamilton has tallied just two goals and six points this season — and all six of those points came in a five-game stretch from Oct. 20 through Oct. 28 — and has accumulated a minus-10 rating over his last four games played. Overall, the former ninth overall draft pick (2011) has recorded 14 goals and 49 points in 98 games with the Flames — mainly as a No. 4 d-man — compared to the 22 goals and 82 points in 176 games in three seasons on the Bruins’ top pairing with Zdeno Chara from 2013 to 2015.

Under contract with a $5.75 million cap hit through 2021, Hamilton’s future in Calgary was the discussion of the Hockey Night in Canada panel last Saturday, with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Arizona Coyotes mentioned as teams interested in No. 27.

Interestingly enough, the Coyotes were rumored to be one of the teams that expressed in an interest in Hamilton in 2015.

HNIC’s Nick Kypreos continued that the Flames would be best served by waiting until Hamilton’s play improves and thus maximizing the value, but right now they absolutely do not have that (from much of anyone on their roster, for that matter).

Meanwhile, Senyshyn has recorded five goals and nine points in 14 games for the Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League, Lauzon has contributed one goal and six points in seven games for his QMJHL team, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, and Forsbacka-Karlsson has two goals and nine points in nine games for Boston University.

 

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

The Bruins play the Coyotes twice this season, but the Canadiens just four times.</p>
<div class=



Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask’s near perfect season continued on Sunday night with a 21-save shutout against the Avalanche.

Tuukka Rask was named the NHL's First Star of the Week. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Tuukka Rask was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask’s near perfect season continued on Sunday night with a 21-save shutout against the Avalanche.

It was the perfect cap to a stellar week of hockey for the 29-year-old netminder. And it came with a deserving-albeit-minor Monday morning accolade for the B’s ace to hang his signature mask on, as the National Hockey League has announced that Rask who has been named their First Star of the week ending Nov. 13.

In a week of hockey in which the Bruins jumped up to second place in the Atlantic Division, Rask went a staggering 4-0-0 with an 0.75 goals against average and .970 save percentage.

Rask started his week with a strong 32-save shutout over the Sabres at TD Garden on Monday, needed to stop just 15-of-17 for a win over the Blue Jackets on Thursday (Rask actually stopped 15-of-16, too, but Colin Miller’s own-goal counted against No. 40), and then came through a monstrous back-to-back performance against the Coyotes and Avs in which Rask stopped all but one of the 52 shots thrown his way — a power-play goal by Radim Vrbata — between the two clubs.

Rask is now 10-1-0 on the year overall, and his 10 wins are tied with the Canadiens’ Carey Price for the most in the league. Only Price (.957) and Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk (.947) have posted a better save percentage than Rask’s .945 this season, too. And only Price, at 1.40, has a better goals against average than the 1.54 Rask has posted through the first month of the season.

Rask and the Bruins are off until a Nov. 17 road head-to-head with the Minnesota Wild.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Apparently, the Bruins will rest when they’re dead.

And they’re far from dead.

David Krejci scored the game-winning goal in a 2-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

David Krejci scored the game-winning goal in a 2-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

Apparently, the Bruins will rest when they’re dead.

And they’re far from dead.

In the final game of a brutal five-game-in-seven-day stretch, the Black and Gold put forth perhaps their most dominating effort to date, with a season-high 45 shots on Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov, while Tuukka Rask recorded his third shutout of the year (the 33rd of his career) behind a 21-stop night in a 2-0 win at the Pepsi Center.

B’s center David Krejci opened up the game’s scoring with his second goal of the season, scored 9:30 into the first period.

It would hold as the lone goal of the opening frame, and the only goal through two periods of play for that matter, as the Bruins unloaded on the Avalanche with a 23-shot second period that would have been real ugly for Colorado had it not been for the calm and relaxed presence of Varlamov in the Avalanche net.

Similar to last night’s nailbiter against the Coyotes, the Bruins were forced to cling to life to their one-goal edge, especially when Brandon Carlo, one of the club’s go-to killers, was sentenced to the box midway through the third period, but like they did all night, the Bruins continued to frustrate an Avalanche squad that never put more than seven shots on net in any period.

The Bruins finally gained breathing room with 27.2 seconds left in the game courtesy of Dominic Moore’s fourth goal of the season, an empty-net goal, to give the Bruins the 2-0 final they left the ice with.

With the victory, the Bruins finished this marathon week with 8-of-10 points, and were just 63 seconds in Montreal away from making it a 9-of-10 week at the very least. Also: the Habs are off to a straight-up ridiculous start, so perhaps it would have been best to chalk that one up at a schedule loss, anyways. In a week that could have gone so, so bad and come with a billion excuses — some of which would have been valid with multiple back-to-backs — the Bruins found a way to not only win, but not stoop down to the level of their opponents. That’s more than we could say about these B’s clubs over the last two years, by the way.

Here are four other things we learned in the win.

Dominant second period proves pivotal

When we look back on this game, I think it’s easy to say that the Bruins let the Avalanche off the hook in the first period. The Avalanche challenged the B’s at their own blue line on numerous occasions or made a bad pass, or backed off the wrong player to back off of in the opening 20, and the Bruins never really made them pay. And when that happens, you can almost guarantee that it’ll come back to haunt you. But the Bruins handled that with a second period response that included 23 shots thrown on the Avalanche net, and though it did not come with a goal, that ability to straight-up stifle what the Avalanche were able to do the other way certainly helped the Bruins establish their 60-minute long edge over the Avs.

Rask finally on board vs. Avalanche

In his sixth career head-to-head with the Avalanche, B’s netminder Tuukka Rask has finally found his first career win against Colorado. The 29-year-old did it with style, too. Behind a 21-save shutout, Rask has now won games against everybody in the NHL — including the dearly departed Atlanta Thrashers (rest in peace, Hurricane Bird Logo) — and improved to a ridiculous 10-1-0 on the season.  The win also bumped Rask’s season save percentage up from a .941 to a .945. Yeah, I’d say he’s doing alright.

Kuraly, Morrow draw back into lineup 

Recalled on Friday, first-year pro Sean Kuraly found the ice for the second NHL game of his career.

In a fourth-line role with Dominic Moore and Jimmy Hayes, the 23-year-old Kuraly put forth a stronger night than they did in his NHL debut (which is honestly to be expected, you’d think), and contributed with some positive energy and pace the other way. That said, I still think there’s significant chemistry with Schaller and Moore, and I’d hesitate to break it up for another game.

And for the first time in 10 games, Joe Morrow found himself back in the Black and Gold lineup. ‘Bout time, too.

With Morrow, it was too easy to look at his struggles in his last game played (Oct. 22 against the Canadiens) — a minus-2 rating and two penalties against (and if you remember, Morrow should have had three penalties but the refs wrongly fingered David Krejci for the high stick) — and write him off. But it also ignores what Morrow does well, which is push pace the other way with strong offensive instincts (something he most definitely did well in his two games, even without a point to his name).

Consistency, however, has been the name of Morrow’s game in terms of what he needs to do to earn an every night spot in the B’s lineup. Of course, that’ll be hard to develop if Morrow is sentenced back to the press box for another 10 games.

Let’s never do this again, OK? 

Alright. I’m going to level with you here: I’m a Patriots fan, as I’m sure most of you are, too. Having to watch this snoozer of a finish instead of the Patriots vs. Seahawks — one of the few ‘must watch’ games of the NFL season — was borderline torturous. And what kind of loony league tries to go against the NFL on Sunday night? Let’s get real and have this game played at like, 5 p.m. at the absolute latest next time. Thank you. Sincerely, the guy that the NHL nor NFL probably know exists.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson