New lines inspire B's to play with new life

566694.jpg

New lines inspire B's to play with new life

BOSTON -- Claude Julien made light of the notion prior to Thursday nights game that Chris Kelly was a top-line center in the latest combination of forwards for the Black and Gold.

But Kelly donned a white jersey in practice, denoting the Bs top line between Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin, and his production was that of a top-line player in Bostons 6-2 victory over the Maple Leafs at TD Garden.

Kelly scored Bostons eventual game-winning goal in the first period when he made three different extra-effort moves to push the puck past Jonas Gustavsson, finishing off a beautiful play set up by the hustle and hockey mind of Milan Lucic. Kelly finished with a pair of points and a plus-2 in 12:27 of ice time in Bostons new offensive system of three equal scoring lines atop the forward group. He also helped push forward three-point performances from Lucic and Seguin as they accounted for a combined seven shots, and looked like a formidable duo paired with the defensively responsible Kelly.

The bottom line was that the Bruins nearly doubled their seasonal goal output in one solid victory over the Maple Leafs, and squeezed off a season-high 43 shots on net against a shell-shocked Toronto defense.

Its about doing the right thing for the team. When it works, its great, said Julien. Had it not worked, I would have been back at the board tonight and trying to figure something else out.

We got a lot of good things out of a lot of players, and I think it was nice to see. It was refreshing, and sometimes thats what youve got to do. Youve got to mix things up a little bit and give them a little bit of a sting, and usually that sting is a positive sting.

There is little doubt the positive sting spurred plenty of the players, and coaxed the seasons first goals from Patrice Bergeron and Lucic among the barrage of shots, goals and scoring chances against the overmatched Gustavsson.

The news was just as good for the other" No. 1 line as Patrice Bergeron led all players with nine shots on net, and teamed up with Nathan Horton to bring a small helping of points to the yellow practice jersey line.

The Bruins defensemen did plenty of offensive damage on the power play, as well, but it was all about the newfangled line configurations brought together by the Bs coaching staff this week. Enough was enough as the Bs offense sat last in the NHL with 1.69 goals per game in the first six contests, and the Black and Gold finally released the hounds against a Northeast Division rival.

Obviously it's a message that's sent that we need to be better and to find ways to create some offense, said Bergeron, who played like a center possessed. We got the message and we have to keep going now.

The new line combinations cwont last forever and its difficult to see Seguin and Lucic skating with Kelly all season, but Julien and his players hit all the right notes at exactly the correct time for a much-needed two points early in a hockey season thats just barely underway.

Pastrnak, Marchand and Vatrano represent Bruins at World Championship

bruins-pastrnak-marchand-050416.jpg

Pastrnak, Marchand and Vatrano represent Bruins at World Championship

The Bruins have three players headed to the IIHF Hockey World Championship, which begin this weekend in Russia.

Brad Marchand was invited to play for Team Canada early on in the process, coming off his 37-goal season for the Bruins. Last week the Czech Republic added 19-year-old right wing David Pastrnak to their squad with plans to skate on a line with the Montreal Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec.

And Frank Vatrano -- who scored a total of 44 goals between Boston and Providence in this, his first full professional season -- was added to the Team USA roster this week. Vatrano, 22, confirmed it on his own Twitter account on Tuesday night prior to hopping on a flight bound for Russia:

Torey Krug played for Team USA last season, but was unavailable this time around after undergoing right shoulder surgery just a couple of weeks ago that will have him sidelined until late October. 

Vatrano is one of four Massachusetts players on this year's version of Team USA. The others are Canadiens goaltender Mike Condon, Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin and Devils D-man David Warsofsky.

Both Marchand and Pastrnak previously suited up for their countries in the World Junior championships, and Vatrano played in the U.S. National Team Development Program prior to playing college hockey at the University of Massachusetts. Vatrano also previously represented the U.S. at the 2012 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic, where he helped Team USA claim the gold medal.

The IIHF Men's World Championships will start Friday and run until May 22 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. It features featuring many of the NHL players that aren’t participating in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Haggerty: Anticipate ‘great deal of player movement’

tr_bruins050416_1280x720_679245379882.jpg

Haggerty: Anticipate ‘great deal of player movement’

Ahead of the expansion draft, teams may look to get something in return for players they’d otherwise lose for nothing.

May 4, 2016: If expansion hits, which Pens goalie is protected?

cp-morning-skate.jpg

May 4, 2016: If expansion hits, which Pens goalie is protected?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while giving a warm May the Fourth Be With You to everybody out there.

*Mike Francesa has declared sports radio war on former New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro, and it’s getting ugly folks.

 

*A humbled Bruce Boudreau, who really didn’t need to be humbled given what a nice man he is, will have a long line of NHL suitors interested in his services.

 

*The Northeastern University hockey team has gone to some extremes with their pregame wrestling matches.

 

*Pro Hockey Talk asks the question: if there’s an expansion draft, which goaltender should the Penguins protect given what’s going on in their playoff series?

 

*A really nice gesture within the PHT morning skate with Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper going to bat for a Lightning beat reporter that finds himself out of a job.

 

*Max Domi had a very memorable rookie season even if it didn’t end with any serious consideration for the Calder Trophy.

 

*The Nashville Predators got a little better this week with the decision to kick Mike Ribeiro up into the press box.

 

*For something completely different: these Han Solo uniform jerseys for the Durham Bulls’ Star Wars Night are the freakin’ truth.