Bruins strike last to beat Hurricanes, 5-3

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Bruins strike last to beat Hurricanes, 5-3

RALEIGH, NC It was only fitting that on the day it was announced Dougie Hamilton will never have to go back to junior hockey, he helped make the play to win the game.

During a mad scramble in front of the Carolina net a puck bounced out to Hamilton at the right wing circle, but he slid a cross-ice pass to a wide open David Krejci for the game-winning strike in a 5-3 victory.

The goal came with less than two minutes in the third period proving the 19-year-old has a flair for the dramatic.

The Bruins had built up a 3-1 lead after two periods where theyd dictated the pace and played some magnificent special teams, but that dropped off a little bit at the end of the second period.

Brad Marchand opened the scoring with a shorthanded snipe from the right face-off circle after a nifty cross-ice pass from Zdeno Chara, and Chara built it to a two-goal lead with the Bruins second power play goal of the season.

The Hurricanes fought back and halved the Bs lead on a give-and-go play between Eric Staal and Jamie McBain that ended with a goal for the Carolina defenseman. Nathan Horton scored what appeared to be a nice insurance goal on a beautiful rush to the net through three Carolina defenders including a complete dusting off Tim Gleason when he attempted to stick-check him hear the blue line that finished with a roofed wrist shot over Cam Ward.

A few long shifts seemed to take the starch out of the Bruins, and turnovers by both the fourth line and the third line at the end of the period led to goals for Jeff Skinner and Eric Staal to get the Hurricanes back into the contest. That opened things up for a competitive third period in a seesaw game between the Bruins and Canes, who always seem to be embroiled in tight battles.

Tyler Seguin added the empty netter for his first goal of the season.

GOLD STAR: Zdeno Chara finished with a goal and two assists along with four shots on net in 26:02 of ice time, and helped create each of the first two goals for the Bruins that gave them a commanding early lead. Chara showed his vision by finding Brad Marchand with a cross-ice pass for the shorthanded goal and then feathered a quick wrist shot from the point through a Milan Lucic screen for a power play strike in the first period. After the early offense Chara hunkered down on defense and was only on the ice for one of Carolinas three goals, and neither of the breakdowns right at the end of the second period.

BLACK EYE: Bruins fourth line continues their bipolar season with another tough night. One shot on net for the trio and a rough Shawn Thornton turnover led to the first of Carolinas two goals at the end of the second period that tied up the game headed into the final 20 minutes. The criticism needs to be qualified, however, because its quite a lot to ask Thornton, Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell to shut down a line with Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner on it. That might not have been the right time for the energy line, and compounding it with a goal allowed by the third line on the next shift wasnt any better.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins faltered late in the second period allowing a pair of goals in the final three minutes that tied the game for Carolina, but they turned it back on in the third period. The Bruins outshot the Hurricanes by a 17-8 margin in the final 20 minutes and kept throwing pucks at the net until a Dougie Hamilton-to-David Krejci connection in the final two minutes put Boston ahead for good. The Bs simply werent going to be denied and continue to show both mental and physical strength early in this 48-game shortened season.

HONORABLE MENTION: David Krejci finished with the game-winning goal, two points, a plus-1 in 18:13 of ice time and won eight of 12 face-offs against some pretty good centers suiting up for Carolina. It wasnt always pretty for Krejci during the 60 minutes of seesaw hockey against the Hurricanes, but he helped set up Charas power play goal early in the game and then was ready for Hamiltons slick pass in the final minutes before firing off the game-winner. The Bruins are starting to playmakers on the ice offensively, and it becomes very obvious in crunch time.

BY THE NUMBERS: 23-for-23 the perfect Bruins record on the penalty kill this season, which also kicked in a shorthanded goal on Monday night.

QUOTE TO NOTE: We wanted to have a good start and so far, so good. We also lost a big one in overtime in New York We wanted to get our first win on the road too, so it was a pretty big two points for us. We came out strong in the third period and really stuck with it. David Krejci talking about the teams mindset after taking nine of a possible 10 points in the first five games this season.

Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

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Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

While much of the focus is going to be on the young D-men headed into Bruins training camp, it would be foolhardy to overlook a forward prospect Danton Heinen, who is in position for a real dark horse run at an NHL roster spot. 

The strong odds are that the former University of Denver star is going to be begin the season in the AHL for the Providence Bruins after putting up a couple of points in four games there at the end of last season.

Still, that certainly hasn’t stopped Heinen from setting his sights on an NHL spot out of this fall’s camp, most likely in a third- or fourth-line capacity to start things off, or perhaps at the top-six right wing spots that have given the Bruins some problems filling permanently over the past couple of seasons.

Either way, the 2014 fourth-round pick knows that his clock to fulfilling his dreams as an NHL player has started and that it’s up to him when he can start making that a reality.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to work toward my whole life, so I’m just going to try to keep getting better, have a good rest of the summer and then put my best foot forward to see what happens,” said Heinen, who had an assist and a sweet goal in the Friday scrimmage at development camp when he twisted D-man Cam Clarke around like a pretzel on a nifty rush to the net. “I just need to continue to get stronger this summer, and working on my skating to get a bit quicker.

“[The AHL] was a lot of fun to get in there and see what it was all about. It was a lot different than college hockey, and it was definitely good to get a taste of it. [Bruins officials] told me to have a really big summer getting faster and getting stronger, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Heinen, 21, continued to show in development camp last week, however, that he has the playmaking skills and hockey IQ to flourish while surrounded by more accomplished players and in tighter situations. It’s exactly what he showed while posting 36 goals and 93 points in his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Pioneers and it was what he showed while finishing last week as one of the best forwards in camp.

“He’s looked really good at [development] camp. He’s a smart player, he’s committed and I think you’ll notice him in training camp. It will be up to him, but I think he’ll definitely be pushing some guys [for an NHL job],” said Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo, who was running the Bruins development camp. “He looked good [in Providence]. He fit in well. He’s the type of player that can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ, and he’s got really good skill.

“Anywhere you put him he’s smart enough to figure it out. You could tell in his first game there was a little bit of an adjustment for him, but the second time game it really looked like he’d been playing [at that level] for a long time. He’s a quick study, and he looked really good last year.”

The Black and Gold management hope he continues to look good at main NHL training camp in a couple of months, where he’ll undoubtedly be featured, and could be a lot closer than many people think as a polished skill forward coming out of a big-time college hockey program. 

Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

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Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while everybody is working for the weekend...or during the weekend.

*The vice-presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, made quite an impression while hanging out a Capitals game with MC Hammer. They call this guy boring, but that doesn’t sound very boring to me.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob Stauffer has the news that the Edmonton Oilers are parting ways with fancy stats lad Tyler Dellow. Boy, it seems like some teams are reversing course pretty quickly on some of these smarter-than-thou advanced statistics types, aren’t they? I certainly wish Dellow well and hope he finds another gig. But Instead of baselessly wondering whether the Oilers are going to continue down the fancy stats road (which they most certainly will), perhaps this is more a referendum on nonsensical stats-driven decisions like handing out that long term contract to a perpetually underachieving Benoit Pouliot.

*The New York Rangers have locked up Chris Kreider to a four-year contract at a reasonable number, and now he has the time with the Blueshirts to see how good he can be.

*Brian Leetch opens up to the Players Tribune about his NHL experiences playing with the New York Rangers, and all of his favorite experiences from a Hall of Fame career.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker says that Carey Price’s injury from last season is no longer a concern, according to Habs coach Michel Therrien.

*The Chicago Blackhawks will appear a whopping 21 times on national television across the NBC Networks next season.

*Incoming BU goaltender Jake Oettinger is among the names to look out for at the 2017 draft, according to the NHL Central Scouting bureau.

*Travis Yost says that the Carolina Hurricanes are on the rise thanks to winning the shot differential battle. I think it’s because they have an outstanding cast of young defensemen, who are helping them control the puck and win that shot differential battle. But they still need to score more if they’re going to really be a team on the rise, so we’ll see what happens there.

*For something completely different: for those that think I’m a Democrat because I am anti-Trump, here’s a story on the DNC machinery attempting to torpedo Bernie Sanders during the presidential campaigning over the last year.
 

 

Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

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Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading, while vowing to never try to marry the NHL and Pokemon into the same lame story.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Kris Versteeg one of a number of NHL veteran free agents going to Europe for next season.

*The New York Islanders have reportedly been discussing moving to Queens and building a rink right next to the Mets’ Citi Field. Interesting. I know the Isles fan base was not happy with the setup in Brooklyn last season.

*The Black Knights get the top odds as a moniker for the Las Vegas franchise with a number of funny long shot names.

*Ian Mendes said that it’s pretty clear by the moves of the Ottawa Senators that they believe their time is now.

*Jason Botchford wonders if the Vancouver Canucks have a shot at being a playoff team next season. I hope so for Jim Benning’s sake.

*Ken Campbell wants to know if Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier, now that they’re both retired, are Hall of Fame-worthy players. I say no to both of them, but I can be stingy with my Hall of Fame qualifications as the Jarome Iginla fanboys know so well.

*For something completely different: Jon Stewart brought the funk and the noise while breaking his TV silence on Thursday night and tearing into a GOP that’s coming apart at the seams right now.