|10.23.13 at 10:37 pm ET|
Milan Lucic and Torey Krug each had a pair of goals Wednesday as the Bruins beat the Sabres, 5-2, at First Niagara Center. The night was a mix of good and bad, however, as a cheap shot from John Scott in the third period knocked Loui Eriksson out of the game.
A Jarome Iginla shot from the high slot bounced off Lucic’s leg and past Ryan Miller at 11:01 of the first period to make it 1-0, with Lucic scoring his second of the night early in the second. Cody Hodgson got the Sabres on the board, but Dougie Hamilton‘s second goal of the season made it 3-1 before Nikita Zadorov beat Chad Johnson on a soft goal to bring the Sabres within one.
The teams headed into the period at 3-2, but Krug widened Boston’s lead with a pair of goals, the second of which came on the power play following Scott’s late hit to the head of Eriksson. Scott was given a game misconduct, while Eriksson spent the night at the team hotel in Buffalo, with Peter Chiarelli saying he was expected to return to Boston Thursday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- The Bruins’ first line of David Krejci between Lucic and Jarome Iginla was very strong Wednesday. Iginla played a major role in both of Lucic’s goals, as he fired a shot from the high slot that went off Lucic and past Miller in the first (he was initially credited with the goal) and then set up Lucic’s second goal just 40 seconds into the second period. Iginla still has no goals on the season, but you have to like the complete package of what he’s brought so far.
Lucic now has five goals on the season through eight games this season. Remember, he scored just seven in 46 games last season.
- Hamilton has two goals in the last three games since being re-inserted into the lineup. The B’s sat Hamilton for two games in a row last week, and though he was rather sloppy defensively in his first game back against the Panthers, he’s been able to provide the B’s with some offensive punch from the back end. Hamilton had multiple scoring opportunities Wednesday, as he ran out of room on a first-period partial break before scoring later on a 2-on-1.
- One of the few questions regarding Krug is his size, but he was playing like a much taller man Wednesday. He was physical in dealing with guys in front in the Bruins zone, while he outbattled Drew Stafford in front on his first goal of the night.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Scott’s place in the league has long frustrated hockey fans, and the very tall and barely talented enforcer showed why when he took a cheap shot at Eriksson in the neutral zone in the third period. After Eriksson had dumped the puck in at center ice, Scott hit him in the head, not quite getting him with the elbow but following through with the hit. He had to answer to Adam McQuaid afterward.
- Johnson wasn’t spectacular after a long wait to get some regular-season game action. He kept the Sabres off the board in a first period in which he wasn’t challenged much, but the Sabres’ second goal was a softy. Krug did a fine job of taking the forward in front of the net out of the play, so Zadorov had Johnson’s undivided attention with the angle cut down and still beat him.
|10.22.13 at 2:47 pm ET|
NESN’s Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday afternoon to talk about the Bruins’ victories over the Panthers and Lightning last week, as well as the team’s upcoming matchup against the lowly Sabres on Wednesday.
After dropping a 3-2 contest to the Red Wings on Oct. 14, the Bruins rebounded by defeating the Panthers, and old teammate Tim Thomas, on Thursday before following that up with a dominant 5-0 win over Tampa on Saturday in which all four Bruins lines had at least one goal in the contest.
“If you go back to what they were able to accomplish in Florida, not the prettiest game, not an instant classic, in that win in the final minute against Florida, but an important two points. But the way they played Tampa is a lot closer to the way this team wants to play, not only because it was 5-0, but that balanced scoring, all four lines scoring goals, how they scored,” Brickley said. “It was the way they played, the style that they played. They’re not where they want to be yet, certainly, and that’s to be expected seven games in, but that’s how they want to play.”
So far this season, the Bruins have utilized an unconventional rotation of seven defensemen on the roster, as Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Adam McQuaid have all been healthy scratches at various points.
“Sometimes matchups will dictate who plays and who doesn’t when all seven are healthy,” Brickley. “The ability of the left-hand shots to play the right side gives them the options and the luxury of really being able to put different pairs together, depending on who’s playing well, who’s playing in what situation, who’s getting a majority of the power play or the penalty-killing time.”
|10.21.13 at 8:42 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Former NFL receiver Chad Johnson has gotten as much ice time this season as Bruins goaltender Chad Johnson, but that’s going to change.
With lots of off-days and no back-to-backs, the Bruins have been able to play Tuukka Rask in each of the first seven games of the season, yet with a back-to-back this week in Buffalo Wednesday and home against the Sharks Thursday, Johnson is finally closing in on his first game action of the season. Claude Julien said Monday that Wednesday could be the day for him.
“We’ll probably give him a shot there at some point, and Buffalo might be one of the games we give him,” Julien. “We haven’t made that final decision yet, but I will put him on notice and give him an opportunity. We’re going to have to use him at some point and that might be a good chance to use him then.”
Johnson, 27, has been waiting patiently to make his regular-season Bruins debut. He shut out the Red Wings in his final preseason start, but noted Monday that “preseason doesn’t count.” What does count is what will happen this week, and he’s had plenty of time to prepare. Johnson said there’s a learning process even for goalies as they get into new systems, so coming from Phoenix to Boston has required some adjusting on his part.
“I think it’s just sort of getting comfortable,” he said. “I think for myself and the team,it’s maybe just getting adjusted to the way I play and how they like to play certain situations, like on the penalty kill and situations like that — where they give the goalie the player and where they take away and certain situations. There’s always those little things throughout the game that happen that they build relationships with.”
Rask has allowed more than two goals just once this season and on Saturday he picked up a shutout against the Lightning. That’s a tough act to follow, but Johnson is eager to see what he can do behind what’s been a relatively stable group of defensemen.
“There’s a good team here that knows how to play good defensive hockey,” Johnson said. “For myself I’m excited to get the season going and get kind of into things. It’s been a little bit of a wait here, but that’s just kind of the situation here with the games this first month, so for myself I’m definitely looking forward to getting into some games and getting on a roll and into a good routine here.”
Johnson has played only 10 career NHL games, but if his season debut is anything like his first start of last season, the B’s will be in good hands. Johnson made 21 saves in a shutout against the Predators.
|10.21.13 at 1:38 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins’ forward lines remained unchanged Monday at Ristuccia Arena, meaning that Brad Marchand is sticking on the third line for the time being.
Jordan Caron, who was a healthy scratch Saturday against the Lightning to allow Carl Soderberg into the lineup, wore a third-line grey sweater along with Marchand, Chris Kelly and Soderberg. The lines were as follows.
Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Smith – Bergeron – Eriksson
Soderberg/Caron – Kelly – Marchand
Paille – Campbell – Thornton
With Soderberg back from and ankle injury, Claude Julien said that he intends to keep forwards fresh by not letting them miss long stretches as healthy scratches, which is what he’s done on the back end with his seven defensemen.
“That would be the goal,” Julien said. “Right now, you saw Jordan sitting out, and I don’t think Jordan’s been a bad player for us. I think he’s played well, so you certainly don’t want guys sitting in the stands again for that long.
“We’re talking about the early part of the season here. When everybody’s playing well, you like to get them in and keep everybody going because at one point you’re going to run into some injuries. That’s also part of the game, and you want those guys as ready as can be, so we’re going to make some room for those guys to come in at times, and it might not always be the same player.”
|10.20.13 at 6:00 am ET|
Reviewing the week that was in Bruins land.
Welcome to a new thing we’re going to do here each Sunday on the Big Bad Blog. As the name and italicized words suggest, it will take a look back at the week for the Bruins, who’s playing well, who isn’t and what’s going on in Providence.
The Bruins won two of three this week and stand third in the Atlantic Division with 10 points, two behind the Red Wings and Maple Leafs. Both Detroit and Toronto have played nine games to Boston’s seven, however.
Red Wings beat Bruins, 3-2, on 10/14 (recap)
Bruins beat Panthers, 3-2, on 10/17 (recap)
Tim Thomas told his side of the story, putting some blame on the Bruins
David Krejci said that nobody knew what was going on with Thomas two years ago
We tried to make sense of all that
Tuukka Rask shut out the Lightning on 10/19 (recap)
Carl Soderberg returned to the lineup
IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR…
Reilly Smith: Though he wasn’t even a sidebar when the Bruins swing their trade with the Stars, Smith was a player Peter Chiarelli specifically wanted, and the 22-year-old has shown why. Smith has gone from competing for a third-line job to playing on the second-line and power play. His first goal as a Bruin was the game-winner Thursday against Thomas, and he had the primary assist on the team’s third goal Saturday with a nice pass to Patrice Bergeron. Only issue thus far: He passes too much.
Carl Soderberg: Soderberg made his season debut Saturday and looked good. He skated well and showed what could be top-six skill. The question is whether Jordan Caron will sit for long.
Shawn Thornton’s hands: After fighting in three of the first four games of the season, Thornton kept his gloves on this week. He nearly scored in Thursday’s win over the Panthers off a nice pass from Paille in front, but was stopped by Thomas.
Daniel Paille: The Merlot Line got its first goal of the season Thursday thanks to Paille. Thornton got the second on Saturday.
The Bruins’ penalty kill: The Bruins were a perfect 5-for-5 on the PK for the week.
IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR…
Brad Marchand: A potential 30-goal-scorer, Marchand spent the entire week on the third line as he tries to get out of his season-opening funk. He was particularly bad Thursday against the Panthers, turning lots of pucks over in what’s been an ugly trend this season. Perhaps Soderberg’s presence on the third line will help him, as the line produced a goal Saturday.
Zdeno Chara: Two 5-on-5 goals were scored this week that could have been prevented by Chara. Pavel Datsyuk went around him to set up Henrik Zetterberg‘s goal Monday, while Chara couldn’t get the puck out in front prior to Jesse Winchester‘s goal.
Jarome Iginla’s goal total: Notice the phrasing there, as plain old “Jarome Iginla” wouldn’t be accurate. Iginla was good in all zones Saturday and provided the screen in front on Adam McQuaid’s second-period goal, but seven games without is a goal is something few saw coming from the future Hall-of-Famer.
MEANWHILE, IN PROVIDENCE'¦
The P-Bruins lost both of their games this week. Malcolm Subban allowed four goals in a 5-2 loss to Springfield Friday night, while Niklas Svedberg gave up four of his own on Saturday in a 5-4 loss to Manchester. Matt Fraser had a goal in each game, while the rest of the scoring came from Craig Cunningham, Seth Griffith, Justin Florek and Kevan Miller.
Fraser, who scored more goals in the AHL than anybody over the past two seasons, is tied with Nick Johnson for the team lead with three goals through six games this season. Ryan Spooner has two goals and three assists for five points but has a minus-2 rating.
|10.19.13 at 9:37 pm ET|
The Bruins bounced back from a couple of wonky outings this week by routing the Lightning, 5-0, in Tampa on Saturday night in Tuukka Rask‘s first shutout of the season.
The Bruins, who improved to 5-2-0 on the season with the win, got a goal from every line and saw both Adam McQuaid and Shawn Thornton register their first goals of the season. Rask, who has started each game so far this season, made 23 saves in the victory.
David Krejci opened the scoring 1:32 into the game on a goal assisted by Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla. McQuaid made it 2-0 in the second period with a wrist shot from the point, and the B’s got two goals in a 15-second span with Reilly Smith feeding Patrice Bergeron for the third goal of the game and Chris Kelly taking a pass from Brad Marchand and scoring to chase Ben Bishop. The Tampa goalie and UMaine product had allowed two goals or less in each of his previous five starts.
Thornton then scored his first of the season, beating Anders Lindback top shelf with a wrist shot to make it 5-0 just 34 seconds into the third period.
Carl Soderberg, who had missed the first six games of the season with an ankle injury, made his season debut. Soderberg played on the third line with Kelly and Marchand, while Jordan Caron was a healthy scratch. Matt Bartkowski sat to allow McQuaid’s return to the lineup.
The Bruins will next play Wednesday in Buffalo and will return to TD Garden Thursday to host the Sharks.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Soderberg looked very good in his season debut, playing well on the third line and seeing time on the Bruins’ second power play unit. Though he registered no shots on goal, he was very active offensively and made a nice move in going around a Tampa defender on a 3-on-2 with Smith and Loui Eriksson.
- Claude Julien has returned two defensemen to the lineup after scratching them and has gotten a goal each time. A game after Dougie Hamilton returned to the lineup and scored in a game in which McQuaid was scratched, McQuaid came back Saturday and scored.
- Kelly had just three goals in 38 regular-season games last season, but with his second-period goal Saturday he has already matched that total. Kelly’s been turning in strong play with what’s been a revolving door of linemates, but it would be interesting to see a Marchand-Kelly-Soderberg line stick for a bit.
- Rask has now allowed one goal in two games against the offensively terrifying Lightning. Among his 23 saves on the night was a nice glove-save point blank right in front on Steven Stamkos in the third.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Maybe Marchand wants to be more physical, more of a pest or more of whatever, but taking two penalties isn’t the way to get out of what’s been a season-long funk for the former 28-goal-scorer. Marchand was penalized in each of the first two periods, both of which were for slashing.
- Iginla still has no goals on the season, but he turned in a very strong performance. Iginla provided the screen on McQuaid’s goal and was part of what was a solid showing for Krejci’s line. The veteran winger also dropped the gloves when he fought Radko Gudas in the third period.
|10.18.13 at 4:46 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters after Friday’s practice that forward Carl Soderberg has been cleared to play after recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the preseason. That opens the possibility that he could play Saturday against the Lightning.
Soderberg skated on the third line in Friday’s practice, taking Jordan Caron‘s place on the third line with Chris Kelly and Brad Marchand. Caron did not practice Friday, with Julien telling reporters that the forward was given a maintenance day.
Following the injury to Soderberg, Caron stepped into the lineup in his place and turned in exceptional work through the first two games, making it seem as though Soderberg wouldn’t have a spot by the time he was ready to play. However, with the lines being somewhat shuffled (Reilly Smith was moved up and Marchand down) and Caron coming back to earth a bit, it would appear the B’s would be able to get Soderberg into a game with Kelly and Marchand as his linemates.
- Grand Theft Czechoslovakia. Bruins win 3-2
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- Video: Don Cherry talks about the Thornton and Orpik incident
- Public Skate Third Period: Bruins 1, Penguins 2
- Orpik hit on Eriksson and the Thornton hit on Orpik: Both are terrible
- Public Skate Second Period: Bruins 1, Penguins 2