Will Bruins have another fight on their hands?

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Will Bruins have another fight on their hands?

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON What to do for an encore after the two most heated NHL rivals produced 182 combined penalty minutes, 45 penalties, 13 fighting majors, 14 goals and one pretty amusing goalie fight their last time out?

Thatll be the question for both the Bruins and the Canadiens when they tangle for their final regular-season game at the Bell Centre Tuesday night with much more than machismo and bragging rights on the line.

It was pretty crazy, said Milan Lucic. Especially that second period with eight goals scored, and four for each side. I remember watching the highlights later and hearing Jack Edwards, the Bruins' play-by-play announcer on NESN say Mercy. It was fun to be in, and I know our fans talk about it and remember it.

Obviously there were some things we did great like sticking up for each other and being team tough. But moving forward we still have to do the same things: be smart, be team tough and do what helped us last game in establishing a lead and setting the right tone.

The Habs have righted their ship with four wins in a row after the Bruins truly rocked their world with the thrashing at the Garden, and its clear theres an overwhelming desire for payback on Montreal minds.

Belmont, Mass., native Paul Mara has played for both teams, but wasnt a member of either organization when Boston and Montreal played their bloody match. Mara's a Canadien now, having been acquired by Montreal from Anaheim a few days after that game, and it sounds like he wants a piece of the Bs this time around.

"I know where I was exactly. I was in the locker room in Vancouver watching that game unfold and wishing so bad I was playing in it," said Mara to reporters.

Theres an admission among the Canadiens, however, that playing a finesse, skill game is the way for Montreal to do damage.

"First and foremost we want a win. We're chasing these guys in our division," said Mara. "But at the same time we have to take a stand and show them we're not going to back down."

Priority number one for Montreal should be cutting into the Bruins' five-point lead in the Northeast Division. The Canadiens have won three of the four meetings between the teams this season . . . but one of those defeats provided Boston with a turning point in its season.

It was the third-period meltdown in Montreal on Jan. 8 that embarrassed a Bruins team spinning its wheels in the first few months of the season. They collected themselves in Pittsburgh the following day and have gone a sterling 17-7-1 since that gut punch of a defeat by the Habs in their raucous home building.

Tuesday night will be Bostons first game back since crumbling under the pressure.

Of course, the Black and Gold have been buoyed by a series of trades that strengthened the roster. But it was clear Boston had also changed seasonal course prior to the deals. The B's now sit in the NHLs top five in goals for and goals against this season, and are one of the hottest teams in the league while taking points in each of their last eight games.

With a win, it's possible for the Bruins to move into a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference with the Flyers.

Its a big two points for each team, said Shawn Thornton, who pummeled Roman Hamrlik in the last meeting in Boston and received criticism in Montreal for fighting a non-fighter despite a Hamrlik punch to the face that opened things up. Theyre trying to catch us, and were trying to catch the team up above us. Well play the tough brand of hockey that we usually do, but were also going to have to be disciplined. Thats not an easy building to do that in.

"Theyre the ones chasing us in the division, said Lucic. They always give us a tough game when we go up there, and make it tough for us to play against them. So thats the way well have to play: definitely hard, but also playing smart.

Well see from the drop of the puck. Obviously there will be some strong emotions and we know the fans will be into it. Well see how the game goes."

For the Bruins, the game will be much more about solving Carey Price, who is 5-3-1 with a 1.81 goals against average and .941 save percentage since allowing eights goals to the Bruins during fight night. There isnt likely to be any goalie fisticuffs this time around, so the Bs should expect a much better Price to go along with the rest of his Habs teammates.

Instead this game could be much more about making statements to a Montreal team positioned to perhaps square off against the Bruins for another playoff series in the storied rivalry.

It might not be a Fight Night, but that doesnt mean blood wont be boiling on either side once the puck is dropped in the NHLs longest-running feud.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Thursday, April 28: Who are the lottery picks?

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Thursday, April 28: Who are the lottery picks?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while giving a thumbs up to “The Good Dinosaur” as quality family viewing.

*TSN Hockey Buddha Bob McKenzie breaks down the players available in the NHL draft lottery and what kind of names teams like the Boston Bruins should expect to be available with the first 14 picks.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski talks about the World of Cup ads with the ESPN creative people that made them happen. They used the word jarring in something of a positive fashion to describe them. I would use the word “not funny” for Reg Carling, the fictional character created for the ads. If they were trying to feature the personality of NHL players in those ads, I think they missed the mark. It’s not really a big deal in the final scheme of things, but it doesn’t make for a good first step in drawing hockey fans back to the four letter network.  

*Good luck to Cam Tucker, a hockey writer based out of Vancouver that appears to have been one of the latest to be downsized in our industry.

*Dennis Bernstein has some thoughts, facts, analysis and theories surrounding the Los Angeles Kings, who have a long time to think about their first-round exit from the playoffs.

*Bruce Garrioch has some info on Ottawa’s long range plan to move to a needed downtown arena and that being the blueprint for most other Canadian cities.

*Tracey Myers has a dilemma for the Blackhawks: Andrew Shaw wants to stay, but the question is whether the Blackhawks can afford him?

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Bruce Boudreau lamenting the tough Game 7 loss for the Anaheim Ducks to the Nashville Predators. The loss may cost Boudreau his job, and will see a lot of new blood in the West with Chicago, Los Angeles and Anaheim now all out of the postseason.

*For something completely different: how can you say “no” to a tour of the world’s most magnificent treehouses.

Bruins have slim chance at No. 1 in NHL Draft lottery Saturday

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Bruins have slim chance at No. 1 in NHL Draft lottery Saturday

The Bruins will know a great deal more in a couple of days about their prospects for NHL Draft weekend in Buffalo this June.

The NHL will hold its annual draft lottery in Toronto on Saturday night for those teams outside the playoffs that hold first-round picks or those shrewd enough to have secured a first-rounder and still have reached the playoffs. 

The Bruins will have two first-round picks regardless of what happens: they hold their own lottery-eligible selection along with the first-round pick from the San Jose Sharks sent to Boston last summer in the trade for goaltender Martin Jones. The Sharks are still alive in the postseason, so the B’s second selection will be a late first-rounder.

The Bruins were the last NHL team eliminated from playoff contention, so they hold the slimmest odds of securing the first overall pick with a 1 percent chance in the Auston Matthews sweepstakes.

It’s too bad because the kind of game-breaking talent available at the top of the draft is exactly what the Black and Gold franchise needs after trading away top-10 first-round picks in Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton the past three years.

The Bruins will have roughly the same odds for the second (1.1 percent chance) and third overall picks (1.3 percent chance) should they miss out on No. 1, but the chances are still slim at they will pick anywhere but the same exact 14th overall pick where they selected Jake DeBrusk last season. Should they get a selection in the top three, the Bruins would be looking at big-time center Matthews, and a pair of Finnish wingers in Patrick Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi, along with Matthew Tkachuk (son of Keith Tkachuk and cousin to Jimmy Hayes).

The highest rated D-man on the board is Sarnia Sting blueliner Jakob Chycrun, who is a player the Bruins would need to trade up for, a la their attempt at Noah Hanifin last year. The Bruins will have assets to potentially make that happen, but we all know how that worked out last season for Don Sweeney when a big part of “the plan” was moving up to nab one of last year’s blue chip D-men in the draft.   

Hopeful Bruins fans can try their luck with the NHL Draft Lottery Simulator online, but fair warning that you won’t see the Spoked ‘B’ come up very much while hashing out the order of the top three overall picks for late June at the First Niagara Center. 

 

Pastrnak suiting up for World Championships run with Czechs

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Pastrnak suiting up for World Championships run with Czechs

Young Bruins winger David Pastrnak wasn’t 100 percent sure he was going to play in the IIHF World Championships, but it now appears he will taking part in the tournament for the Czech Republic entry competing in Russia. According to Twitter account for NHL reporter Zdenek Matejovsky, Pastrnak will play on a line with Czech Republic team captain Tomas Plekanec and fellow young winger Roman Cervenka.

Pastrnak finished his NHL season with a flourish scoring three goals in his last five games after battling injuries and taking a detour trip to the World Junior tournament in the middle of the season. The 19-year-old produced 15 goals and 26 points in 51 games for the Black and Gold when it was all said and done, and finished the year playing in a top line spot with David Krejci and Loui Eriksson.

Pastrnak is also expected to take part in the World Cup of Hockey tournament for the Czech Republic during NHL training camp amidst a growing international hockey resume for the highly skilled Bruins youngster. The hope is that the top competition at the World Championships and the World Cup could segue into a major NHL leap forward for Pastrnak in his pivotal third season in Boston at a position (right wing) where the Bruins really needed more production this season.

Krejci would have also been an automatic choice for the Czech World Championship team, but he’s instead scheduled to undergo surgery on his left hip for a nagging issue that’s bothered him on and off over the last two seasons.