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Boston Bruins: Jaroslav Halak needs to be fighting fit for the back-to-back

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The Boston Bruins need Jaroslav Halak to be at full health this weekend to prevent any issues between the pipes.

On the Boston Bruins’ last set of back-to-back games, Tuukka Rask ended up pulling double-duty with less than 24 hours recovery time between games after Jaroslav Halak pulled out of the second fixture due to injury or illness.

He has since been listed as day-to-day by the Boston Bruins’ medical staff, not seeing game time in the last 10 days due to an upper-body injury.

Given that Jaroslav Halak is the best back-up goalie in the league, it’s fair to say that the Bruins can fully rely on him to deliver results, just as much as they can with regular starter, Tuukka Rask.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy confirmed to NESN that Jarsolav Halak was feeling a lot better after ‘a flare-up’ and that he intended to get him out on the ice this weekend.

Neither start this weekend should be overly challenging, though the Detroit Red Wings have proven a bogey side primarily on strong goaltending at their own end, as opposed to lighting our goalie up with shots.

The New York Rangers are the side that Jaroslav Halak will most likely see the start against, provided he’s fighting fit. Perhaps his biggest worry should be Bruins trade target Chris Kreider, who has been on quite the tear lately.

However, in two games against the Rangers this year, Halak has two wins so maybe they’re a little less daunting for the veteran Slovakian goalie. Even last year, playing 3 games against them, he only conceded the 1 defeat.

In his last game for the team, Halak only conceded the one goal as the Boston Bruins secured a win over the Chicago Blackhawks; in fact, he hasn’t lost a game in his last three conceding just 4 goals in doing so.

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That’s exactly the kind of form we hope he shows heading into the weekend, namely because it takes the pressure off Tuukka Rask to grab all of our wins.

With the Tampa Bay Lightning charging down the home straight, the Boston Bruins really need to ensure they come away from this weekend with an absolute minimum three points, if not all four on offer. To do so, Rask needs to be on his game, while Halak needs to be fit enough to ensure the goaltending duties are shared.

Next: Jeremy Lauzon’s new contract will prove a bargain

Thankfully, both appear to be the case – Rask has impressed (for the most part) lately and Halak is reportedly ready to go. Bring on the Red Wings and Rangers!

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Ducks 2020 Draft Spotlight: Noel Gunler Adds Offensive Creativity to 1st Round

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LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – DECEMBER 03: #8 Noel Gunler of Lulea HF warms up prior to the Champions Hockey League match between Lausanne HC and Lulea HF at Vaudoise Arena on December 3, 2019, in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images)

The Anaheim Ducks’ recent point streak has slightly changed their overall projected draft spot. Swedish winger, Noel Gunler, could be worth considering.

The recent point streak by the Anaheim Ducks has slightly changed the environment the team may be working under when the 2020 NHL Entry Draft comes along. That is to say, it’s realistically pushed them out of the top of the draft, although there is a chance the ping pong balls will bounce in their favor. Specifically, tankathon.com gives them an 8.5% chance at the 1st overall pick and an 8.9% chance at 3rd overall.

It’s a small chance that is dwarfed by the bottom 3 teams in the league, but it’s still a chance. More realistically, however, the Ducks are likely to pick between #5 and #7 overall. Sportsclubstats.com gives the Ducks a 23% chance at the 4th overall pick, while tankathon.com gives the Ducks a 34.5% chance at the #6 pick, and a 26.7% chance at the #7 selection.

Given the overwhelming chance that the Ducks will be selecting in the portion of the draft, today’s draft profile is going to seem a little out of the box. However, what are the chances they keep winning games? Low? High? Who knows! But, we should be ready just in case.

With that in mind I’ll be looking at the player Anaheim Ducks fans will inevitably and affectionately call “the Big Gun.” That’s right, Swedish winger, Noel Gunler, is in the spotlight.

Gunler is one of the oldest players first-time eligible for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, being born October 7th, 2001 (on my sister’s birthday, so according to his horoscope, he’s trouble). An offensively orientated player who can play on either wing, Gunler may have the most complete offensive game amongst draft-eligible prospects.

Noel Gunler Profile

Born: October 07, 2001 (18 yo), Lulea, Sweden

Nation: Sweden
Draft Year Team: Luleå HF (SHL)

Position: RW (primarily)/LW
Shoots: Right
Height: 6’2”/187 cm
Weight: 176 lbs/80 kg

Scoring history for each season can be found at eliteprospects.com

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Boston Bruins: Recent mean streak a sign that the Bruins mean business

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The Boston Bruins have been upped the ante in recent weeks, showing a mean streak befitting of play-off hockey.

Suddenly no team is willing to take a run at the Boston Bruins, which is a distinct shift from the earlier part of the season. The team is truly showing it’s determination as a group to avenge last year’s Stanley Cup Final loss.

Yes, we may be taking a few more penalties, but no player is allowed near our goalie, no check is going to go without one in return.

You only need look at the way the Boston Bruins swarmed Edmonton Oilers’ winger Alex Chiasson after he hit Matt Grzelyck nastily last game to realise that this whole team is in it for each other and determined to go all the way.

Among the three Boston Bruins players that went over to Chiasson to share their displeasure was young defenseman Jeremy Lauzon.

He is exactly the sort of player we’ve been waiting for on the blue-line, playing with some real edge to his game and it could very well be that he proves as good as any trade deadline acquisition in terms of adding physicality and a bit of sandpaper to the third pairing.

Obviously, he still needs to ensure he finds balance in his hitting and physical play as we don’t want any further suspensions. If you recall, he spent two games watching on after a late check to Coyotes’ center, Derek Stepan a week or so ago.

Far from just being the one player stepping up though, it’s been the whole team. Brad Marchand is back doing what he does best; getting under people’s skin, both on the score-sheet and in general.

You only need see the war or words in the media between him and the Rangers’ Ryan Lindgren to know that he’s back to being the pest we love. Exactly the player that teams won’t want to face in the play-offs!

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Nobody has been allowed near Tuukka Rask since his most recent concussion and if anyone does encroach, they promptly feel the wrath of a Boston Bruins player. This is how we need to be to ensure he’s protected ahead of hopefully another deep play-off run.

Across the whole line-up, you’re seeing Boston Bruins players taking it up a notch; Zdeno Chara may have apologised to Brendan Gallagher since cross-checking him somewhat dangerously on the chin/throat, but on the ice, safe to say he meant it.

Brandon Carlo got into it earlier this month with the Jets’ Gabriel Bourque and has been laying hits for fun, namely a great open-ice one on Chicago’s Jonathan Toews the other week.

Next: Who are the alternatives if there’s no Chris Kreider trade?

Name a player and you can guarantee they’re doing something to demonstrate that the Boston Bruins are determined to do whatever it takes to get back to the Stanley Cup Final this year and go all the way.

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Oh no! Something’s gone haywire.

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Zdeno Chara deserved to be fined for cross-checking

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