Boston Bruins

Haggerty: Bruins power play finally coming together

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Haggerty: Bruins power play finally coming together

WINNIPEG Dont look now, but the much maligned Bruins power play is starting to pick things up a little bit.

Brad Marchand kicked in a power play goal in the third period when he and Patrice Bergeron jumped out to an odd-man rush just 26 seconds into their PP possession. The Marchand backhander jumped over the glove hand of Ondrej Pavelec and gave Boston exactly what they needed.

Chris Bourque helped jump start the play with the transition pass out of the Boston end, and the third line winger now shares the team lead in power play assists as he slowly and surely continues finding his niche with the Bruins.

The Nose Face Killah now leads the Bruins with two power play goals and has three total special teams points when combined with his shorthanded strike from earlier this season.

The power play was created when the Bruins executed a face-off play on Winnipeg that saw Marchand get deep into the Jets zone with the puck on a stretch pass from Zdeno Chara, and Ron Hainsey had to take a tripping penalty in the Boston agitator.

Thats a face-off play that Patrice Bergeron, Chara and Marchand have executed at least four or five teams over the last few years, and it seems to always draw a penalty or create a scoring chance when they opt for it.

That wasnt a play. I just got lost back behind everybody, said a smirking Marchand, who apparently wants to keep it as Bostons secret weapon.

That special teams score was the game-winning strike in a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre, and also gives the Bruins a power play goal in three of their last four games played. Now the Winnipeg Jets have the worst penalty kill unit in the entire NHL, and that might have been a factor in the ease of Bostons game-winning special teams score.

But Black and Gold beggars cant be choosers and theyll take a PP goal any way that they can.

I feel like our power play has been clicking decently all season, but at the end of the day its about results, said Tyler Seguin, who never got on the ice with the PP as the quintet of Chara, Rich Peverley, Chris Bourque, Bergeron and Marchand hit pay dirt 27 seconds into the possession. We got a man-advantage goal and hopefully it keeps paying off for us.

Marchand was feeling a little generous following the game, so he let everybody in on a Bs team meeting that took place earlier this week designed to kick the man advantage into gear. It appears the meeting also included some new personnel combinations as the agitating Bruins forward is getting more and more power play time for the Black and Gold.

Its huge. A few games back we had a big meeting and we wanted to make sure that we really improved on the power play, said Marchand, who potted his team-leading eighth goal of the season for the game-winning marker. I think three or four games in a row weve had a power play goal. Were very proud of that. You saw that it wins games on a day like today. Thats what we need.

We were doing a pretty good job moving the puck, so we just stressed more about bearing down on the offensive opportunities.

Apparently, the team meeting worked with the Bruins rocketing all the way up to 26th in the NHL with a 13 percent success rate (6-for-46) on the power play this season. Part of the success has been the insertion of Marchand and Chris Bourque on the power play units, but its also about moving the puck more quickly and with more confidence.

When informed that Marchand had spilled the beans about Bostons power play meeting, Claude Julien looked slightly peeved. But its a little difficult to get angry at the guy thats leading the team in goals scored and has helped breathe some life into the man advantage.

After were done here Im going to go tell Marchand that hes got a loud mouth, said Julien with a smile on his face. We just had a meeting where we talked about a lot of pressure that comes from the outside, and a lot of the pressure that comes from the inside. The guys want to do well, but its important to understand that how we execute and how we compete is going to decide if we do well.

We needed to move the puck a little quicker and crisper, and the last few games have been better. But you dont want to get too carried away with that stuff. You want to build on it. We capitalized on our own only power play tonight and thats a good sign.

Julien is 100-percent correct. The Bruins seem to have found a combination they like with Chara, Peverley, Bourque, Marchand and Bergeron and the results have been there in producing three power play goals over the last week.

Now its up to those players to continue moving the puck and producing PP points, and the second power play unit featuring Seguin and Dougie Hamilton to keep pace as they attempt to turn a perennial weakness into team strength.

Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak earn spots on TSN's Top 50 list

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Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak earn spots on TSN's Top 50 list

Three Bruins were on TSN’s annual Top 50 ranking of NHL players, a list that was led by reigning Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid. 

Brad Marchand (No. 18), Patrice Bergeron (25) and David Pastrnak (36) all made the list for Boston, with Edmonton, Montreal, Chicago and Winnipeg also having three players on the list. The Capitals, Penguins and Predators had four players apiece. 

Marchand jumped up 12 spots from last season’s ranking, while Bergeron fell 11 spots after being ranked 14th heading into last season. Pastrnak had not previously been on the list. 

McDavid earning the top spot marks the first time in the eight-year history of TSN’s list that Sidney Crosby, who is No. 2 this year, has not been ranked first. 

Malcolm Subban getting back on Bruins' prospect radar

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Malcolm Subban getting back on Bruins' prospect radar

BOSTON – Malcolm Subban needed a strong training camp performance in order to get himself back on the radar as an NHL prospect for the Bruins and the former first-round pick has accomplished that this month. In what may be his final appearance of the preseason, the 23-year-old Subban stopped 24 of the 26 shots and made 14 saves in the third period to lead the Bruins to a 4-2 win over a not-ready-for-prime-time Chicago Blackhawks lineup Monday night at TD Garden.

Subban was at his best in the third period protecting a slim Bruins lead and showing off some of the athletic skills that have always made him an intriguing prospect if the technique can ever catch to the natural talent. Afterward, it was pretty clear that Subban was laser-focused headed into the B’s final home game of the preseason and perhaps sending a message that nobody should forget about him after a couple of disastrous Boston appearances already on his NHL resume.

It certainly was a feel-good moment when he stuffed a series of chances for the Blackhawks, including a full extension kick-save stop on Erik Gustafsson and a couple of good reaction stops on Brandon Saad while scrambling around the front of his crease. Then Subban heard some love from the Bruins fans that saw him get pulled from his only Boston appearance last season and have watched him veer dangerously close to the “bust” category entering his fifth pro season.

 “Obviously it felt really good to hear the fans and stuff. But I just try to stay focused and dialed in," Subban said. "Obviously, it’s kind of hard sometimes. But I just try to stay focused like I said, stay dialed in and get the win and finish strong. I’m just trying to play my game and work hard. Hopefully, everybody sees that.”

The decision with Subban isn’t exactly an easy one for the Bruins but they likely don’t have a choice in the matter. He’ll need to pass through waivers if/when the Bruins cut him from camp and it’s hard to imagine they’ll carry three goalies on the NHL roster (Tuukka Rask, Anton Khudobin and Subban). The Bruins organization had already seemingly made peace with potentially losing him for nothing after leaving him unprotected in the Vegas expansion draft over the summer, but this preseason gives everybody a little hope that Subban could turn into a late-blooming goaltender prospect.

Certainly, the Bruins coaching staff came away impressed with Subban’s play after a bit of a sloppy first goal allowed to Saad. His presence as one of the final three goalies in camp speaks to how he’s played in the preseason as well.

”You get limited viewing in training camp, you only get a game, a game and a half, so you have to make the best of it, [Subban] did tonight. He was very good. The first goal was a hell of a tip,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “He got caught pulling off the post a bit, but he was rock solid after that. The other goal that beat him was a great shot. We had some breakdowns at different times in the game. Specifically, late there where it could have been scary, but he did his job. He was good. [We’re] very pleased with him.”  

It would appear at this point in camp at the NHL jobs are locked up with Rask and Khudobin as the goaltending tandem to start the season, but give credit to Subban for coming to an important training camp ready and focused to get himself back on the B’s prospect radar.