Boston Bruins

  • It’s been 10 games, and the Bruins have already survived a ton. Actually, they’ve done more than survived. They’ve thrived to the tune of nine wins in 10 games and established themselves as the top team in all of hockey. But there’s a limit to the punishment a roster can take, and the Bruins could be getting awfully close to it.

    When the Bruins took to the ice Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, they did so without David Krejci and Craig Smith, and remain without Charlie McAvoy. Now, both Krejci and Smith are considered day-to-day, and there’s optimism that McAvoy will continue the ‘ahead of schedule’ recovery parade. Those are all positives as far as the Bruins are concerned. But when the dust settled on a wild comeback victory over the Penguins, the Bruins left PPG Paints Arena with defenseman Derek Forbort and goaltender Jeremy Swayman added to the ever-growing injury shelf.

    As Jerry Seinfeld would say, that’s a lot of gum injuries.

    On the backend, it appears that a puck off the hand was what ended Forbort’s night after just 5:03. Forbort, who has been highlighted by Jim Montgomery again and again (rightfully so) as one of the B’s best defensemen this season, racked up five hits and two blocks in that 5:03 because it’s been that kind of year for him.

    And with Forbort done, the Bruins leaned heavily on left-shot defenders Hampus Lindholm (29:38 of action) and Matt Grzelcyk (21:10), and the Bruins certainly missed Forbort on the Bryan Rust goal that made it 4-2 and continued the in-game bleeding in the Boston end in the middle frame.

    Now, the Bruins do have left-shot defensemen Mike Reilly and Jakub Zboril in the press box as reinforcements, but neither does the dirty work of a Forbort, who is averaging a team-high 3:36 of shorthanded time on ice per game for a Boston penalty kill that ranks as the league’s top unit. Forbort’s penalty-killing work has been absolutely phenomenal, too. One of 58 NHL defensemen to play at least 25 shorthanded minutes out of the gate this season, Forbort ranks 10th in on-ice shots against per 60, and seventh in on-ice high-danger chances against.

    The Bruins have to hope Forbort can hold his stick when they return to the ice Thursday morning.

  • Nov 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) tends to goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) after Swayman suffered an apparent injury against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG Paints Arena. Swayman would leave the game. Boston won 6-5 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) tends to goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) after Swayman suffered an apparent injury during the third period at PPG Paints Arena. (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

  • In net, there’s going to be a whoooole lot of anxiety with Jeremy Swayman until there’s an update of some sort.

    Summoned into play following the fifth goal allowed by Linus Ullmark, Swayman started his relief appearance with four saves on as many shots when Patrice Bergeron slid into his left leg on a third-period penalty kill.

    Bergeron immediately motioned for the trainers to come out and help Swayman, and as Swayman required help to get off the ice (and failed to put any weight on his left leg on the way off), Bergeron’s frustrated punch of the boards upon seeing the replay said it all. The replay was even worse, honestly, as the in-the-net camera showed a knee bend in a way that working knees are not supposed to bend.

    The good news for the Bruins — at least in theory — is that Swayman had an ice-pack on his knee after this game and was not on crutches, according to the Boston Globe’s Matt Porter.

    But, again, until there’s word that everything is indeed OK, the worries will be there.

    Even if there’s no shortage of heroes still available to the B’s.

    Here’s some other thoughts and notes from a 6-5 win over the Penguins

  • Jakub Lauko on board with first NHL goal

    Nov 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Boston Bruins center Jakub Lauko (94) celebrates with the Bruins bench after scoring the first NHL goal of his career against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Jakub Lauko (94) celebrates with the Bruins bench after scoring the first NHL goal of his career against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena. (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Bruins winger Jakub Lauko wasn’t ready to celebrate his clear-as-day goal. He’s been there before, and those damn CROOKED men stripes have robbed him before. He said as much (tongue in cheek) during his intermission interview with ESPN’s Emily Kaplan, essentially noting that the refs cheated him before.

    But there was no review, and the goal stood, and was good for No. 1 of Lauko’s NHL career.

    Lauko has really been an underrated addition to the mix for the Black and Gold, with one goal, one assist, 10 hits, and three penalties drawn in six games played.

  • Was Tuesday a reminder as it relates to Linus Ullmark and the workload?

    Nov 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (left) replaces goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) in the net against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (left) replaces goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) in the net against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period. (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

  • In the second year of a four-year, $20 million contract everybody rushed to poop their pants about, Linus Ullmark has been absolutely incredible out of the gate.

    With six wins in as many decisions and a .945 save percentage out of the gate, Ullmark was simply too good to sit, and Montgomery repeatedly admitted as much. But Tuesday night may have been the first warning that the workload still needs to be managed a bit, as Ullmark surrendered five goals on 23 shots before he received the hook for Jeremy Swayman at the 11:36 mark of the second period.

    Ullmark wasn’t necessarily at fault — and the injury to Swayman obviously required Ullmark jumping back in the crease, where he stopped the 11 shots faced en route to the victory — but it was a night where he just didn’t have “it.” It brought me a bit back to that game in Dallas last January where the Bruins rode Ullmark over Jeremy Swayman and an injured Tuukka Rask and it turned out to be one game too many.

    This isn’t to sound any sort of alarm when it comes to Ullmark. He’s been fantastic. But the workload has been taxing, with Ullmark in the cage for five games in the last 13 days, and with four of those games being what you would consider close, down-to-the-wire contests.

    Consider it just another reason to hope that Swayman is A-OK.

  • ESPN lays it on reeeeeal thick with Bruins ‘running’ Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry

    PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 26: Tristan Jarry #35 of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks on during the third period against the New York Rangers at PPG PAINTS Arena on February 26, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

    PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – FEBRUARY 26: Tristan Jarry #35 of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks on during the third period against the New York Rangers at PPG PAINTS Arena on February 26, 2022. (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

  • Has ESPN announced when and where they will hold the memorial service for Tristan Jarry?

    Because, oh my goodness, would you think that the Bruins went full Milan Lucic-on-Ryan Miller on him based on the way the ESPN broadcast talked about the Bruins’ alleged runs towards the Pittsburgh net.

    It was brought up by Sean McDonough and Ray Ferraro. Aggressively so. ESPN’s studio team spent almost an entire intermission on it. Even Emily Kaplan, who has always been kind to me so I’m sorry for the strays here, asked Mike Sullivan and Bryan Rust about it during in-game interviews.

    And I gotta ask, what am I missing here?

    When it came to David Pastrnak’s run-in with Jarry, we’re watching with our eyes closed if we ignore the fact that Pastrnak is shoved into Jarry by a Pittsburgh defenseman. Then A.J. Greer glided towards Jarry following the whistle at a speed you’d consider comparable to an old man approaching the deli counter. And by the time Nick Foligno contacted Jarry, the Pittsburgh netminder was well into his best Daniel Day-Lewis tribute.

    What blew my mind about this entire thing was that not a single former professional hockey player involved in this broadcast brought up the fact that the Penguins were guiding skaters from the opposing team into their goaltender. It happened on both the Pastrnak and Greer incidents.

    They were all way too busy straight-up manufacturing an absolutely bizarre ‘running the goalie’ angle.

    Of course, you understand why they were doing this. The incident between Jarry and Brad Marchand is the juiciest thing to come out of this rivalry since Shawn Thornton and Brooks Orpik. But this was as forced as it gets, and the amount of time, energy, and analysis devoted to this angle just came across as downright weird.

  • Everything else…

    Nov 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm (27) reacts after scoring the game winning goal against Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry (35) in overtime at PPG Paints Arena. Boston won 6-5 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm (27) reacts after scoring the game winning goal against Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry (35) in overtime at PPG Paints Arena. (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

    • With a four-point outing on Tuesday night, Hampus Lindholm became just the fourth Bruins defensemen to record at least four points in a game since 1992. He joins a club featuring Ray Bourque (he accomplished the feat seven times during this 30-year window), Torey Krug (twice), and Matt Grzelcyk.

    • Another note on Lindholm: With 11 points through his first 10 games of the season, this is the best start to a season by a Bruins defenseman since Bourque opened the 1995-96 season with 12 points in 10 games.

    • The airhorns at PPG Paints Arena absolutely have to go.

    • An extremely nice bounce-back from Taylor Hall when it mattered most. I had a feeling that Hall’s interference penalty early in the third period was going to be the B’s downfall, but the Bruins killed it off, and it was Hall who came through during the 6-on-5 for the Bruins. Hall has recorded five goals and seven points through 10 games this season, and is currently paced for what would be a 40-goal season. His career-high, in case you’re wondering, is 39 and was set in his Hart Trophy year with the Devils.

    • Again, the airhorns at PPG Paints Arena absolutely have to go.

    • A strong showing from the Hall-Zacha-Pastrnak line at five-on-five, as Boston’s second line held an on-ice shot advantage of 9-2. You’d almost expect that given the way this line was fed an almost strict diet of offensive-zone minutes, but Zacha has shown something in his mini-run at center here. He had one sequence in the first period that really stuck out to me, as he pulled up at the attacking blue to prevent offside, and seconds later used his body to outmuscle a Pittsburgh checker and keep the puck in the Penguin zone for a few more looks.