David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

The Bruins announced Wednesday that forward David Pastrnak was assigned to AHL Providence. The move was made so the 19-year-old can see some action during the NHL All-Star break, as he’s missed most of the season due to injury. He is expected to rejoin the Bruins next week, before their first game back Tuesday.

Pastrnak was sidelined two months with a fractured foot suffered in late October. He then had a brief stint with Providence before joining the Czech Republic for the World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland. Since rejoining the B’s on Jan. 8, he has three goals and two assists in eight games.

Providence hosts Springfield on Friday.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Ryan Spooner leads the Bruins with 27 assists this season. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)The Bruins are pretty proud of themselves at the All-Star break.



Ryan Spooner

Ryan Spooner

The Bruins’€™ final game before the All-Star break didn’€™t go their way, a 6-2 loss to Anaheim that dropped the B’€™s home record to a lousy 11-13-2.

However, the Boston dressing room seemed content with their lot in life as they packed up for a week’€™s furlough, a 26-18-5 season mark in tow that was holding them third place in the Atlantic Division with 33-games remaining on the season.

“We’€™ve surprised a lot of people,”€ said defenseman Torey Krug. “€œWe’€™re not surprised in here where we [are]. We had a goal to be in the top three [of our division] before the All Star break and we’€™re sitting right there.”

“€œAt the beginning of the year there were a lot of people that probably thought that we wouldn’€™t be in the playoffs,” echoed forward Ryan Spooner. “You kind of heard that stuff, and that we would be a younger team. But we’€™ve shown that we can play with the top teams. We’€™ve proved a lot of people wrong and we just have to keep that up.”

The Bruins have indeed exceeded many preseason prognostications to this point. The team’€™s 21-10-2 record against the Eastern Conference shines bright, as does their 12-6-1 mark within the division. The latter includes a 4-0 performance against the two teams ahead of Boston in the Atlantic (Florida and Detroit).

That said, despite winning five of their last seven games, players are also willing to admit that their current playoff perch is a tenuous one.

“Some up and downs,” captain Zdeno Chara said when asked to reflect on the season to this point. “Obviously we want to be building on some positive things that we’€™ve done but I think that we also realize that we’€™ve still got a lot to work on and for sure room to improve.”

Chara continued: “It’€™s very close. Every team is in the hunt. Everybody can get ahead of teams that are on top when they get on a little bit of a roll. You have to be ready to grind until the end because if not you can easily be falling four, five, six places in no time.”

“€œThere’€™s still a lot of room for improvement for us,” admitted goalie Tuukka Rask. “We’€™ve played some good hockey, got some wins, but we kind of still have been on a bit of a roller coaster ride at times. That’€™s something you want to fix and find that consistency. Your average game shouldn’€™t be too bad, you try to bring that level up as a whole group.”

The group’€™s leader, head coach Claude Julien, also sounds pleased with the team’€™s standing as they approach the stretch run. And yet, he’€™s unable or unwilling to commit to the ‘€˜I’€™ word.

“€œWe seem to really want an identity for this team, don’€™t we?”€ Julien said, smiling. “We’€™re a young team that’€™s just kind of growing. You know, I don’€™t know that we have this specific identity, but when I say young – we have some veterans, but we’€™ve got a lot of young guys we’€™re just trying to blend in here. And I’€™d say more than an identity, I’€™d look more for consistency from this team.”

Julien continued: “€œThere’€™s areas where we’€™re good one game and the next game, not so good, and that’€™s what I mean by consistency. We’€™ve got to learn how to play a certain way and try to be as consistent as possible in those areas. But having said that, with this group that we have and what we’€™ve had to put together this year, I’€™m not going to complain about where we are in the standings and how hard we’€™ve had to work to get there.”€

Consistency might not sound thrilling. Oscar Wilde once called it the last refuge of the unimaginative. But for the 2015-2016 Bruins, they are searching for that refuge.

“Tonight we would’€™ve liked to have gotten the win,”€ Spooner said, back to discussing the Anaheim loss. “€œI don’€™t think we played a bad game I just thought the full 60 just wasn’€™t there tonight. Consistency. We go on some stretches where we win five or six in a row, and then we lose three or four in a row. We definitely need to change that. And our games at home they haven’€™t been great. The last little bit they’€™ve been a little bit better but on a whole that needs to improve.”

“€œWe’€™re in a good spot, it’€™s a tight division, tight conference,”€ said Rask. “€œAt least good training for playoffs because there’€™s no easy games. Just re-load and re-charge the battery. It’€™s always a tough schedule, you play a lot of games, a lot of hockey. It’€™s good to be able to break for a couple days and try to get your mind off hockey for a few games. Get back here and be ready to battle again.’

Blog Author: 
Ken Laird

The Bruins offered no update on the status of goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who left Tuesday’€™s loss to the Ducks after the first period and was taken to the hospital.

The Bruins offered no update on the status of goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who left Tuesday’€™s loss to the Ducks after the first period and was taken to the hospital.

The only word that the Bruins offered was during the game, when they shared that Gustavsson was ill and taken to Mass General. Gustavsson has a history of heart procedures, which led to speculation that the goaltender could have had another such issue.

Asked specifically whether Gustavsson’€™s situation was heart-related, Claude Julien said he had ‘€œno idea.’€ The Bruins said afterwards that they would not have any update for at least the rest of the day.

Tuukka Rask replaced Gustavsson for the final two periods. He too said he was unaware of Gustavsson’€™s status.

“He just went to the trainer’s room after the period and that was it,” Rask said. “That’€™s all I know.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Bruins lost Tuesday’€™s game because they were terrible for most of the opening 40 minutes, not because Torey Krug lost a fight.

Torey Krug

Torey Krug

The Bruins lost Tuesday’€™s game because they were terrible for most of the opening 40 minutes, not because Torey Krug lost a fight.

Tuesday’€™s 6-2 loss saw Krug take on the much bigger Chris Stewart (the former future Bruin has five inches and 45 pounds on Krug) and predictably lose. While fans during the game wanted Krug’€™s defeat avenged –€” and for all we know maybe Stewart was challenged at another point during the game –€” Krug and Claude Julien both took no issue with the fight after the game.

“I started it,” Krug said. “He didn’€™t want to fight me. It was a mismatch, but at the end of the day, I don’€™t know, I didn’€™t like what happened there and it got a little crazy.”

Said Julien: “Torey dropped the gloves against him, it’€™s disappointing to see that kind of fight but when your player drops his gloves against you, what is he supposed to do? He defended himself and some people might have done it a little differently but it doesn’€™t matter. To me, Torey dropped the gloves like he wanted to fight and I don’€™t think that took any juice out of our team. I think if anything, it kind of gave a little bit more animosity to the rest of the game.”

Blog Author: 
WEEI
DJ Bean and Ken Laird discuss the state of the Bruins at the All-Star break with a 26-18-5 record and a hold of third place in the Atlantic Division

Third periods have been a problem for the Bruins this season, so they implemented an interesting strategy Tuesday night. They only played the third period.

Third periods have been a problem for the Bruins this season, so they implemented an interesting strategy Tuesday night. They only played the third period.

After a generally listless 40 minutes that saw the Ducks take a 4-1 lead, the Bruins pushed back in the third by cutting into Anaheim’€™s lead with a Zdeno Chara goal 2:20 into the third. That would prove to be the extent of Boston’€™s offense despite some solid chances late, however, and the B’€™s hit the All-Star break as losers of a 6-2 contest.

The game featured plenty of the unexpected, from Zach Trotman scoring on the game’€™s first shift to Torey Krug fighting Chris Stewart (as in the Chris Stewart who is five inches and 45 pounds bigger than Krug), but the Bruins’ sleepy play throughout much of the night was not enough to yield significant production against an Anaheim team desperate for points.

The Bruins will be off until next Tuesday, when they host the Leafs at TD Garden.

Here are four more things we learned Tuesday:

GUSTAVSSON TAKEN TO MASS GENERAL

At this point, Bruins goaltenders should be ready for anything on their off-days. After Jonas Gustavsson was given a last-minute start on Saturday due to a Tuukka Rask ailment, Rask was forced to enter Tuesday’€™s game in the second period as a result of Gustavsson being taken to the hospital.

Gustavsson, who was given the start Tuesday, left the game due to an illness and was taken to Mass General. That left the Bruins without a backup goalie on the bench for the entire second period.

PENALTIES CONTINUE TO PILE UP

For a second straight game, the Bruins gave their opponent loads of power play opportunities through the first two periods. After taking four penalties in the first 11 minutes of the second period Monday, Boston gave the Ducks four cracks at a man advantage over the first two periods, with Anaheim cashing in on a power play goal from Shea Theodore at 14:27 of the first.

Zach Trotman also took a delay of game penalty late in the third period, disrupting the Bruins’ comeback attempt when they trailed by two goals.

The Bruins have now allowed power play goals in two straight games after holding opponents without one for nine contests entering Monday.

FERRARO IN FOR RINALDO

The Bruins kept the same lineup as they used on Monday with one exception. Landon Ferraro, who was held out of Monday’€™s game, re-entered the lineup at the expense of Zac Rinaldo. The Bruins’€™ lineup was as follows:

Marchand-Bergeron-Connolly
Spooner-Krejci-Eriksson
Beleskey-Kemppainen-Pastrnak
Ferraro-Talbot-Hayes

Chara-Trotman
Seidenberg-Colin Miller
Krug-Kevan Miller

Gustavsson

The third period saw Julien mix up his lines, moving Spooner back to the third line and having him center Joonas Kemppainen and David Pastrnak. Matt Beleskey moved back to his familiar line with David Krejci and Loui Eriksson.

BELESKEY MAKES FIRST IMPRESSION AGAINST OLD FRIENDS

Beleskey said prior to the game that his former Ducks teammates knew he was going to hit them Tuesday night. He did just that, throwing two big hits on the forecheck on the game’€™s opening shift and then darting to the net, where he screened Frederik Anderson as Zach Trotman’€™s point shot sail past the Anaheim netminder. Trotman’€™s goal was his first of the season.

Beleskey also picked up an assist on Zdeno Chara’€™s goal by giving a drop-pass to the red-hot Spooner, who dished to Chara. Spooner’€™s assist was his team-leading 27th of the season. The 23-year-old now has 13 assists over his last 14 games.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean