Sports 12-08-2016

Bruins Beat

by Bob Morello

Bruins looking to keep pace

Last night (Wednesday) as the Record went to press, the Bruins were taking on the Washington Capitals, a team they were tied with in points (31), and seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings. Boston was also looking to extend their three-game win streak. Regardless of the outcome, Boston will continue their six games in nine days stretch, with a return to TD Garden ice tonight (Thursday), to take on the lowly Colorado Avalanche, who currently are mired in last place of the NHL standings, with a mere 19 points. The Avalanche, much like the Bruins, also struggle with their offensive output, although the Bs have been able to post three consecutive one-goal victories over their last three opponents (Florida, Buffalo and Carolina).

Much of the Bruins’ success can be attributed to the Vezina-trophy-winning style of play from Tuukka Rask. The Finnish Flash has been an almost impenetrable stone wall, posting impressive numbers on his way to a 14-4-1 record. Rask’s ability to keep the opponents’ goal scoring to a minimum has helped his team to win those close one-goal games. Rask’s numbers include: goals-against-average 1.68, save-percentage .939, and he has authored three shutouts. The offensive side of the ledger has shown the Bruins working more in low and tight, with a more solid net-front presence that has helped lately to produce a majority of their goals. The sudden emergence of David Pastrnak’s scoring prowess (15 goals, 6 assists, 21 points) in 21 games has certainly provided a spark for the offense. Also contributing to the offense, Brad Marchand (7-15-22) to lead the team, David Backes’ seven goals, while David Krejci appears to finally be finding his game rhythm (4-13-17).

Other positive signs included Frank Vatrano skating at practice for the first time since his right foot surgery in September, Noel Acciari is back on practice ice and should be ready soon. The recent return of Captain Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller to the lineup is lending some much-needed support and stability to the defense corps. Positives lately have been the play of Ryan Spooner (3-6-9), while kudos to Dominic Moore’s unexpected contribution of six goals in 26 games, matching his entire 80-game output last season with the New York Rangers. Still missing with injuries from the Boston lineup are forward Matt Beleskey (expected to be out six weeks), and defenseman John-Michael Liles (concussion protocol).

The upcoming Bruins schedule continues with the hosting of division rival, Toronto Maple Leafs, Saturday, (10/10 at 7:00pm). Boston is back on the road for a pair, of games versus the two teams that currently are first and second in the Eastern Conference standings, beginning with a Monday night (10/12 at 7:30pm) confrontation, with division rival, Montreal Canadiens, and end the brief road trip with a stop in Pittsburgh to face the Penguins on Wednesday (10/14 at 7:30). Montreal also currently heads the Atlantic Division, while Pittsburgh tops the Metropolitan division. The Bruins are home next Thursday (10/15 at 7:00pm) to host the Anaheim Ducks, and begin a three-game homestand.

 

KIDS STUFF

The Boston Bruins have launched a new mobile app designed specifically for kids called Bruins Academy, presented by Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in partnership with Mazu, a leading provider of safe digital products for kids. The new Bruins Academy app is a part of Bruins Academy’s ongoing mission to encourage positive youth development through the sport of hockey. The Bruins Academy app is a safe experience for kids to connect with each other and their favorite team with built-in security features to keep parents involved every step of the way. Parents must authorize their child to join the club via email, and can easily manage their child’s privacy settings.

Kids can create their very own Bruins Academy avatar, track Bruins schedule and statistics, participate in challenges directly from the team, test their skills at trivia and daily predictor games, and much more. Bruins Academy also will feature various educational material centered around health and wellness including weekly “B-Healthy” tips, health-themed trivia packs, and fitness challenges that encourage young Bruins fans to be more active – provided by Floating Hospital for Children specialists. The app is free to download and is available on Android and iTunes. For more information on the new app, visit BostonBruins.com/BruinsAcademy.

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