Bruins third line faces a challenge in Montreal

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Bruins third line faces a challenge in Montreal

MONTREAL Chris Bourque is clearly hoping he and his third line teammates can build off the game-winning goal they scored against the Maple Leafs last weekend.

It was Bourques first goal of the season and the first meaningful contribution that Bourque, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley have made to the Bruins young season after a sluggish start. Peverley and Kelly had been slowly building to that over the previous few games, and Bourque made his splash after returning from a one-game sentence as a healthy scratch.

The trio is obviously hoping to keep the offensive train moving forward, but theyll also inherit some defensive responsibilities against a Montreal team that boasts more depth than they have in quite some time. The emergence of rookies Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher on the Habs third line along with rugged big body Brandon Prust gives Montreal some Bruins-like depth up front.

Galchenyuk leads all Montreal forwards with six assists and Gallagher is a team-best plus-six on the season, and theyve given Montreal an infusion of youth and excitement similar to the ones Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton have provided over the last few years.

Thats the kind of defensive challenge the Bs third line will meet if it develops as it did against the forward line of Nazem Kadri, Matt Frattin and Leo Komarov in slim victory over the Leafs. Granted names like Prust and Galchenyuk automatically make the Montreal line a little more lethal, but Bourque and Co. have their minds right in the confidence department heading into the battle for first place.

Last game we went up against a pretty hot line with the Nazem Kadri line in Toronto and we did a solid job against them, said Bourque. We should be able to do the same against these guys. Theyre putting up some good numbers and theyve had some early success, so hopefully we can keep it in their end and play offense.

Theyve got a lot of small, crafty forwards with good speed, so we need to back-check to slow them down a little bit.

The match-up illustrated one very tangible side effect of the fourth-line injuries to Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille: The Bs third line has to shoulder a bigger burden at both ends of the ice with a trio of unproven rookies on the fourth line unlikely to garner much more than 5-10 minutes of ice time at the most.

That means the third line performances could go a long way toward determining the winner and loser on rivalry night at the Bell Centre.

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging the Spider-Man trailer that dropped last night. 

*John Scott has finally called it a day and announced his retirement, and apparently there’s a book of his memoirs also coming out too. I’m predicting it’s not headed for the New York Times best seller list. 

*Winter Olympics participation and the CBA negotiations for the NHL are starting to merge into giant issue.  

*Connor McDavid calls the Flyers' Brandon Manning classless for telling him on the ice that he purposefully tried to hurt him last season. Some players might also take issue with McDavid making public what another player said to him on the ice. That’s kind of a no-no for most hockey players and breaks an unwritten rule that McDavid might think he’s above given his star status. This whole thing isn’t a good look for anybody. 

*Kevin Stevens pleads guilty to federal drug charges in what’s become a pretty sad situation for the former NHL star. 

*New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to raise questions with his play, and his massive price tag. 

*Youngsters Zach Weresnki and Dylan Larkin took similar paths to the NHL, and are both considered part of the talented young generation full of hockey stars. 

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Carey Price taking a nutty on Kyle Palmieri after the player crashed into his crease last night. Price is being celebrated for sticking up for himself, but if another goalie did that to a Habs player at the Bell Centre, there would already be a warrant out for his arrest. Play it both ways, Montreal!  

*For something completely different: here’s the aforementioned new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer that looks pretty darn good. 

 

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster.