Bruins By the Minute

So Monday was hands down one of the most amazing days to be a Boston Bruins fan. With the Bruins moving onto the next round of playoffs, there’s a ton of news that comes along with it. To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled it all here in this easy to read post!

CONGRATS QUAIDER!

1: Bruins/ Rangers Schedule:
Now that the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals are over, the B’s are moving onto the semis against the New York Rangers. Here’s the schedule for you to plan your life around.
Game One: Thursday May 16, 7:30pm Rangers @Bruins
Game Two: Sunday May 19, 3pm Rangers @Bruins
Game Three: Tuesday May 21, 7:30pm Bruins @Rangers
Game Four: Thursday May 23, 7pm Bruins @Rangers
Game Five: Saturday May 25, TBD Rangers @Bruins
Game Six: Monday May 27, TBD Bruins @Rangers
Game Seven: Wednesday May 29, TBD Rangers @Bruins

2: Quaider Masterton Finalist
Today the finalist for the Masterton award were announced and Adam McQuaid was one of the three. The finalists are selected by the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association (PHWA). The Masterton Trophy is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. For Bruins fans it should come as no surprise that McQuaid got the nod considering how his 2013 season went.

Quaider came back to the ice after facing potentially life-threatening blood clots, that stem from a condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Most athletes miss an entire season but McQuaid overcame that and throw perseverance he returned to the team in time for the start of the season.

McQuaid appeared in 32 games where he notched one goal and three assists with 60 penalty minutes and a plus-four rating. He has skated in all seven Bruins postseason games so far, where he has recorded one goal with a plus-three rating, which is second among B’s defensemen.

3: Bergeron Selke Finalist
For the second year in a row Patrice Bergeron has been nominated for the Frank J. Selke Award. Given how Game 7 went Monday night, this nomination is a given. He won last year and this year could make it two-for-two.

Bergeron finished the 2013 regular season leading all NHL players in faceoff percentage. winning puck drops at a 62.1% (549/884) rate. In general, Bergeron is an ideal player to have on any team and the Bruins are very lucky to have him. He finished the regular season with 32 points in 42 games. His 22 assists rank second on the team.

4: Krug Called Up
Torey Krug of the Providence Bruins was recalled and is expected to join the lineup in Game 1 on Thursday night. The young defenseman will have big shoes to fill as many veteran d-men are currently day-to-day with injuries.

Krug skated in 63 regular season games with Providence this season and registered 13 goals and 32 assists for 45 points with 37 penalty minutes. He led the defensemen in all of the above stats. This isn’t Krugs first time with Boston but it’s his first playoff wise.

On the playoffs Krug Said:

“This is going to be amazing; looking forward to whatever I can do to help the team” (Via Bruins Twitter).

And that’s all the news we have! Check back tomorrow for a Game 1 preview for the Bruins/Rangers series.
BELIEVE IN BOSTON!

 

 

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Providence Playoffs: Heading Down to Hershey

Ryan Spooner at the face off against the Worcester Sharks (Photo Credit: Stephanie Vail/Flickr)

Ryan Spooner at the face off against the Worcester Sharks (Photo Credit: Stephanie Vail/Flickr)

The Providence Bruins currently sit down two games to the Hershey Bears in a 5-game series. For Providence, tonight is do or die.  Despite finishing first in the league with 105 points and 50 wins, statistics mean nothing when it comes to the playoffs.

Throughout the series the Bruins have struggled to find their rhythm and a large part of that is due to team inexperience when it comes to the postseason. There’s no question, when playoffs hit, a switch is flipped and the dirty,gritty game that originated back in the 1800’s comes to light. For the young Providence Bruins squad, this is a feat that many have yet to endeavor unlike their opponent Hershey Bears.

The Hershey Bears have been contenders in the AHL consistently for years. The Bruins haven’t been a factor since 2009. The expectations set forth on a team when they enter the postseason is a completely different mindset, one that the Hershey Bears were prepared to face at the drop of the puck in the first period of Game 1.  For the Bruins it took until the last game to fully understand what they were up against. While they put forward a better effort in Game 2, they still fell short losing in overtime.

Of the six goals the Bruins have scored this season, four of the scorers have appeared in the AHL playoffs before. The veteran presence is attempting to keep the team alive while the rookies who flourished in the regular season, flounder and try to stay above water. The Bruins can’t afford to have guys like Ryan Spooner, Craig Cunningham and Torey Krug ‘find their game’ in a five game series that could easily end in Saturday’s game.  They need to kick it into high gear and fast.

While the Bruins were able to turn things around and make major improvements, there are still plenty more to be made.  Their focus needs to be on containing the veteran AHL forwards that make up the offensive lines for Hershey and finding a way to break through them. If the Bruins can force the turnovers and create breakaway plays, they should be able to break down the Bears young defense and get to the net.

Like Svedberg, the Bears goaltender Phillip Grubauer is also making his playoff debut. The difference between the two, one is making saves while the other one isn’t (obviously).  Svedberg has been a brick wall all season long and is falling short when it comes to keeping his team in games. With the lack of faith and confidence in their goaltending, the Bruins are apt to fall apart. He, like the rest of the playoff-rookies on the team, need to get their heads in the game and push it to the next level if they plan on staying alive.

It’s do or die time for Providence as they head to Hershey to take on the Bears Saturday night.

Bruins Sign Dartmouth College Free Agent

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has just announced that the B’s have signed free agent Matthew Lindblad from Dartmouth College to an entry-level contract. Lindblad will report down to Providence to play for the P-Bruins in the AHL.

Dartmouth forward Matthew Lindblad (Credit: Dartmouth Sports/ Doug Austin)

The Illinois native has just finished up his Junior year at Dartmouth and signing with the Bruins means that he will forgo playing for Dartmouth. Lindblad played in 30 games for Dartmouth (ECAC) this year and registered 10 goals and 18 assists with two penalty minutes. Those 28 points ranked him second on the team.

In three seasons with the Big Green, Lindblad played in 89 games for 29 goals and 51 assists.

Before playing in Dartmouth, Lindblad played for the United States Hockey League with Sioux Falls and Chicago. In his time with the Sioux Falls Stampede, he was at the top of the league in terms of scoring (24 goals, 46 assists).

Scoring wise it looks like the 23-year-old could be an asset to both the Providence and Boston organizations. It’ll take a few years in the system but someday we could see Lindblad playing in Boston.

Bruins Trade Deadline Transactions

Welcome to trade deadline day for the NHL! While the Boston Bruins signed Jaromir Jagr earlier this week in exchange for Lane MacDermid not much else went down for the Black and Gold (I refuse to speak about the trade gone bad). But with today being the end of any sort of player trading, Peter Chiarelli and Co. cracked down and made some moves that’ll hopefully help with the B’s quest for the cup!

Welcome to Boston Wade! (Credit: Flickr/ CS Smith)

At one pm today it was confirmed that the Boston Bruins had traded Providence Bruins player Max Sauve to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Rob Flick. Flick has most recently been playing for the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate the Rockford IceHogs. He has played in 51 games this season for the IceHogs and has registered three goals and two assists with 97 penalty minutes.

The London Ontario native was drafted in the fourth round (120th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks. While Flick hasn’t contributed much scoring wise, he’s 6-foot-2 and over 200 pounds and has no problem throwing his weight around. In his first two AHL seasons alone, he’s racked up over 100 PIMs.

Flick will most likely head to Providence for the next few years to build but there’s no doubt that he’ll most likely be there if the Bruins are looking for a call up.

In a late trade, the B’s also acquired defenseman Wade Redden from the St. Louis Blues  in exchange for a conditional seventh round draft pick in 2014. However, if Redden plays in one or more games during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Bruins, that draft pick will change to a sixth round.

Redden is a former teammate of Captain Zdeno Chara and center Chris Kelly. He will serve as a strength defenseman that could come in handy as the Bruins head towards playoffs. This year, Redden appeared in 23 games with the Blues, scoring two goals and three assists with 11 penalty minutes. The 35-year-old has skated in 1017 NHL games between the  Ottawa Senators (1995-2008), New York Rangers (2008-2010) and the St. Louis Blues (2012-2013).

Overall it wasn’t the trade that’ll make headlines, but these are deals that could help the Bruins with the rest of this season  and in the future.

Pregaming: Providence @ Hershey

Did you know Niklas Svedberg is awesome? He is. (Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua/Flickr: sapah_fu)

If the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs started today, the Providence Providence – the 1st seed in the Eastern Conference – would face the number 8 seed, the Hershey Bears. The two teams faceoff for the first time this season tonight at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA.

Providence has more wins than any other team in the AHL with 41. Their 41-20-0-5 record through 66 games gives them 87 points, a tie for best in the entire AHL along with the Texas Stars. To clinch a playoff spot, the P-Bruins only need 3 more points. They could clinch a playoff spot tonight through two scenarios:

  • Providence win + Norfolk loss + Albany loss + Worcester loss
  • Providence loss in overtime or shootout + Norfolk regulation loss + Albany regulation loss + Albany regulation loss + Worcester regulation loss

Hershey is a desperate team. They are coming off a 5-3 loss last night against Albany and trying to keep their playoff spot. They are currently 31-26-3-6 after 66 games, good for 71 points. That’s 4th in their division, the East, and 8th in the Eastern Conference.

At home this season, Hershey is 16-14-3-2. Providence is 19-11-0-2 on the road. In the last 10 games, Providence is 8-2-0-0 while Hershey is 4-5-0-1.

Providence has the better ranked power play at 9th in the AHL (18.4%) while Hershey is 12th (17.4%). Hershey has the advantage on the penalty kill, ranked 7th in the league (85.1%) versus Providence’s 10th ranked PK (84.5%). Last night, Providence failed to score on the power play in 7 opportunities in their win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while giving up 2 power play goals to the Penguins. In their loss against Albany last night, Hershey went 2-for-8 on the PP and 5-for-5 on the PK.

The P-Bruins PP might get a boost with the return of Torey Krug to the lineup after being reassigned to the AHL from Boston. He will take Tommy Cross‘ spot in the lineup. Krug’s offense will be greatly needed as Providence’s leading scorer Ryan Spooner is slated to miss his 2nd straight game with an upper body injury. Krug, the top scoring d-man for Providence, has 10 goals and 24 assists for 34 points in in 55 games this season, which puts him 5th overall on the P-Bruins. In his last 7 AHL games dating back to March 9th, Krug has scored in 6 of those games, notching 8 points. 4 of Krug’s 10 goals are on the PP, and he has 13 power play assists.

Graham Mink will also return to the lineup after sitting out last night. He will take the place of Alden Hirschfeld.

Niklas Svedberg will get his 3rd start in a row and look to get his 33rd win of the season, which would tie the impressive total of Tuukka Rask from the 2008-09 season. Svedberg is 32-7-2 with a 2.24 GAA and .923 save%. He will be backed up by Adam Morrison, as Michael Hutchinson is still sidelines with an injury.

Hershey’s goaltender is a former Providence Bruin, Dany Sabourin. Sabourin is 9-11-3 with a 2.69 GAA and .905 save%. The Bears top scorer is Jeff Taffe, who has 18 goals and 43 assists for 61 points.

The puck drops at 7:00 in Hershey. Check it out on AHL Live!

Hanson and Robins Lead P-Bruins to Victory Over Baby Penguins

Christian Hanson returned to the lineup after sitting out with injury since March 10th. He reinvigorated his linesmates, who accounted for all of the P-Bruins points in regulation and the shootout. He got the game-tying goal in the 3rd period and the game-winning goal in the 8th round of the shootout. He is awesome.

It’s been 7 games since Christian Hanson has played for the Providence Bruins, but he didn’t miss a step when he rejoined the lineup tonight in a 3-2 shootout victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Hanson had a goal to tie the game in the 3rd period, sending the game to a shootout, where his 8th round goal clinched win number 41 of the season for Providence.

The gritty BuzzSaw Line was happily reunited – Hanson, Bobby Robins, and Justin Florek – and provided all the scoring for the P-Bruins, who went 0-for-7 on the power play and gave up 2 power play goals to the Penguins. The team was shorthanded with a last minute scratch to leading scorer Ryan Spooner, and although Torey Krug was sent back to the AHL after practicing with Boston this morning, he was not able to join Providence in Wilkes-Barre in time. Without their top scorers in the lineup and the other top scorers invisible on the scoresheet, the BuzzSaw line got the job done.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opened the scoring up at 13:15 of the 1st period on a power play goal from Dylan Reese, who netted his 7th goal of the season with Alex Khokhlachev sitting in the penalty box. Reese’s goal was assisted by Riley Holzapfel and Trevor Smith.

The Bruins tied the game up late in the 1st period on a goal from the most unlikely of sources – the excellent Bobby Robins. Robins got his 4th goal of the season at 18:37 of the 1st assisted by Florek.

The Penguins got a 5-on-3 power play opportunity in the latter half of the 2nd period when Robins was in the box serving a minor for charging and Garnet Exelby joined him with an interference penalty. Reese got his 2nd goal of the game with this 2-man advantage, his 8th goal of the season, assisted by Smith and Beau Bennett at 15:01 of the 2nd.

Hanson scored his 10th goal of the season to tie the game at 2 4:58 into the 3rd period, with an assist to Robins. Although Providence would get a full 2 minute 5-on-3 late in the 3rd period, they were unable to capitalize, and the game went to overtime.

Niklas Svedberg turned aside 4 shots in overtime, making his save total on the night 26 saves on 28 shots faced. Penguins goaltender Brad Thiessen made 26 saves on 28 shots as well. In the shootout, both goaltenders were perfect through 6 rounds. Thiessen stopped Bruins top scorers who failed to provide scoring all night – Craig Cunningham, Max Sauve, Jamie Tardif, Khokhlachev, Carter Camper, and Trent Whitfield.

Svedberg, too, stopped 6 shooters, but at the start of the 7th round, the Penguins’ Chris Collins beat Svedberg. Florek had to score to send the shootout to an 8th round. With one assist already on the night, and +2 rating and leading all skaters with 6 shots on net, Florek came up big with a goal in the shootout.

On to the 8th round, the Penguins put out shooter Adam Payerl. When he failed to beat Svedberg, Hanson was given the opportunity to clinch the win for Providence. And he did.

Robins was awarded 3rd star honors; Reese 2nd star; and Hanson was the 1st star in his 1st game back. He helped propel the Bruins to the top of the Eastern Conference, as the win – now giving them a record of 41-20-5 in 66 games – gives them 87 points. With a loss in overtime tonight, the Syracuse Crunch have 87 points as well, but have 1 more game played and 2 fewer wins. They are also tied with the Texas Stars for 1st place in the entire league. The Providence Bruins aren’t too shabby.

Svedberg’s win gives him 32 on the season – only 1 shy of the great record Tuukka Rask posted the last time Providence made the playoffs in 2008-2009. That year, Rask went 33-20-4. With 10 games left in the season, Svedberg is 32-7-2.

As the standings are right of this moment, the Providence Bruins would face the Hershey Bears in the 1st round of the playoffs. A good sense for how that playoff series might go can be seen tomorrow night when Providence takes on the Bears in Hershey for the 1st meeting between the two teams this season. This will be a must-see game, so consider going to the AHL website and checking out AHL live if you can’t physically be at the game. It’s gonna be a big game!

Pregaming: Providence @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Svedberg owns. Pass it on.

Warning: this preview turns into an Iginla rant for a short while. I’m only a little bit sorry about that.

The Providence Bruins will look to get 2 points closer to clinching a playoff spot tonight as they take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barres, PA. It will be the 2nd and time these two defensively-solid teams faceoff this regular season, although there is a good possibility they will see each other in the 1st round of the playoffs.

Providence is currently 5 points from clinching a spot in the playoffs as the season is in its final weeks. Tonight will be game 66 in a 76-game season for the P-Bruins, who are, as of right now, the only team in the AHL to hit the 40-win milestone. Despite that, they sit in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference and 4th in the AHL with 85 points. They are comfortably atop the division, however, with a 10-point cushion on 2nd place Portland. Their current record is 40-20-0-5.

The Penguins are 35-28-2-1, which is 3rd in their division (the East division), and 7th in the Eastern Conference. In 66 games, they have 73 points – only 2 ahead of the Hershey Bears, a divisional rival nipping at their heels.

The Penguins are a defensively solid team with a little trouble scoring goals. They have an even goal differential with 155 goals scored and 155 goals given up. They have one of the best penalty kills in the league, and give up the fewest goals per game, but also score the fewest goals per game as well. Here are how the teams match-up:

  • Last 10: Providence is 8-2-0-0; WBS is 6-4-0-0
  • Goal differential: Providence is +22; WBS is 0
  • At home, WBS is 17-13-2-1; Away, Providence is 17-11-0-2
  • Against the East division, Providence is 2-0-1; Against the Atlantic division, WBS is 2-0-1
  • PP: Providence is 7th (18.9%); WBS is 25th (14.2%)
  • PK: WBS is 2nd (86.9%); Providence is 7th (84.9%)
  • Goals Per Game: Providence is 15th with 2.88; WBS is 28th with 2.35
  • Goals Against Per Game: Providence is 3rd with 2.54; WBS is 1st with 2.35
  • Shots Per Game: Providence is 1st with 33.91; WBS is 18th with 29.83
  • Shots Against Per Game: Providence is 7th with 28.71; WBS is 2nd with 26.00

In the only previous game between the two teams this season, Providence shutout the Penguins and won by a score of 2-0. Michael Hutchinson got the shutout in net, turning aside 20 shots. Jeff Zatkoff, one of the top goaltenders in the AHL who is currently unavailable for WBS, got the loss that night despite his splendid numbers on the season.

Ironically, Zatkoff and Hutchinson will both sit out tonight, as Hutchinson is still sidelined with an injury in which Adam Morrison is on recall for. Morrison will be on the bench to back-up Nicklas Svedberg tonight. Of the two P-Bruins that scored against the Penguins in the previous game this season, which was earlier this month, only one will appear tonight – Craig Cunningham, who was credited with the game-winning goal, will play while Graham Mink, who scored the games 2nd goal, will not play tonight. Both players scored last game as well (a 3-2 win on Wednesday over Portland). It is unclear why Mink is not playing.

Unfortunately the P-Bruins will be without two other top scorers: Ryan Spooner and Torey Krug. Spooner is a last minute scratch with an upper body injury. Krug is still on recall in Boston, along with Matt Bartkowski, who didn’t get traded. What a mess. Well, at least Alex Khokhlachev will play tonight. Hopefully he will get his first professional point.

Here’s another interesting fact: Mark Divver also commented that Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli would like to see if he could get Svedberg in to play a game or two for the Boston Bruins before the season ends. Don’t know how that will be possible with the busy schedule of the AHL and the playoffs but with the way they are treating the team like expendable pieces to sit around and stew while trades don’t happen and jerks choose WBS’s parent team in Pittsburgh to screw the Bruins organization over, I’m sure they will find a way.

No, I’m not mad about that at all. Go Bruins! (Sorry that wasn’t a very good preview…I totally had one ready, but then it all fell apart. Kind of like that Iginla trade.)

In summary, all you need to know going in to tonight you now know. Cunningham: hot hot hot. Also, Chad Kolarik, who played for the Connecticut Whale earlier this season, is a WBS Penguin now, so look out for him. Recently signed University of Minnesota-Duluth defenseman Chris Casto (ELC for Boston, ATO for Providence) will not play tonight, although he is expected to join Providence.

Brad Thiessen will probably get the start in net for the Penguins. Their other top scorers aside from Kolarik include Trevor Smith, Riley Kolzapfel, Paul Thompson, Beau Bennett, Brian Gibbons, and defensemen Dylan Reese and Brian Dumoulin.

As usual, special teams will be the difference – but especially in this case. With Spooner and Krug out, and Chris Bourque still injured, along with the Penguins great penalty kill, Providence could struggle to get the power play goals that usually give them the jump in their game or insurance goals they need to win games. Hopefully our other top scorers will come through – Carter Camper, Jamie Tardif, and Justin Florek, Kyle MacKinnon, and Max Sauve. Also, I’m looking at you David Warsofsky.