|02.06.15 at 11:24 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Brad Marchand was back on the ice for Friday’s practice after taking a maintenance day on Thursday.
In preparation for this weekend’s back-to-back against the Islanders and Canadiens, the Bruins iced the same lines they have used since last week’s meeting with the Islanders. Claude Julien switched up his right wings late in Wednesday’s meeting with the Rangers, but Friday’s practice saw the team’s recent lines reunited:
All seven defensemen and both goaltenders were present for Friday’s practice.
|02.05.15 at 9:20 pm ET|
Malcolm Subban is due for a start somewhere.
When the Bruins recalled their 2012 first-round pick last week, it was a fun story as the second-year pro got his first regular-season taste of the NHL. All these days later, the fact that he lasted past last weekend (the anticipated length of his callup) brings something else to light: The kid is going on two weeks without playing a game.
That’s the longest stretch this season that Subban, who last played on Jan. 24 for Providence, has gone out of game action since a lower-body injury cost him time in mid-November.
The Bruins have a three-game homestand coming up, including a tough back-to-back against the Islanders and Canadiens this weekend. Asked whether Subban would get one of the starts, Claude Julien responded Thursday with his signature “we’ll see, guys” answer.
To give any goaltender their first NHL start in a Bruins-Canadiens game is the definition of throwing someone into the fire. Add in that Malcolm’s older brother P.K. is Montreal’s Norris-winning assistant captain, and a potential start Sunday would be quite the event. Malcolm admitted his parents would be on the next plane to Boston should it be the case, but he isn’t looking that far ahead.
“It would be pretty cool, but I’m not thinking into it too much,” Malcolm said Thursday. “Just trying to stay focused. Whenever my opportunity comes, hopefully I’ll be ready.”
The Bruins have played Tuukka Rask in both games of four different back-to-backs this season, so the fact that a backup (whether Subban or, should they return him to Providence, Niklas Svedberg) plays this weekend is far from a guarantee. The Canadiens angle does make it interesting from a game plan standpoint, however.
Rask has started two games against the Canadiens this season and is 0-2-0 with seven goals allowed. He was pulled from the teams’ first meeting this season after allowing five goals in an eventual 6-4 loss. The Bruins gave Svedberg the start in Montreal on Nov. 13, with Svedberg surrendering five goals on 34 shots.
The small chance that Subban could begin his NHL career in a Battle of the Subbans comes down to the Bruins’ philosophy with Rask and the Canadiens. Rask is one of the best goaltenders in the world and he doesn’t win a lot against Montreal (3-12-3 lifetime in the regular season). The fact that Rask is one of the best goaltenders in the world is not going to change, but the Bruins can take the Rangers/Henrik Lundqvist approach by simply hiding their star goaltender from the Habs. That worked when the Rangers beat the Habs in six games in the Eastern Conference finals last spring.
So it’s possible that the back-to-backs and Rask’s history could combine to make Subban’s dream debut take place, but it’s also worth considering that the Bruins prioritize their game plan over the neat story. Just ask Michigan native Steven Kampfer, who brought his family to his Joe Louis Arena homecoming when the Bruins faced the Red Wings in 2011, only to learn the night before the game that the B’s would be making him a healthy scratch for the game.
Whether or not Subban plays during this callup or at any point in Boston this season, the 21-year-old has enjoyed his brief NHL stint thus far. He’s seen the improved competition in practice and thinks the non-training-camp exposure to working life in the NHL has been a learning experience.
“Those shots that he’s getting here should be a little bit higher grade than what he gets over there, for obvious reasons,” Julien said. “It’s a good experience for him. We’re trying to groom him into being the goaltender that we expect him to be, and you’ve got to take some steps to do that. This is one of the steps that was part of grooming him.”
|02.05.15 at 1:51 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Brad Marchand missed Thursday’s practice, with Claude Julien saying the B’s gave their second-line left wing a maintenance day.
Marchand, who took a couple of big hits from Dan Girardi in Wednesday’s loss to the Rangers, had his spot filled by Daniel Paille in practice. The lines were as follows:
All seven defensemen and both goaltenders were present, including Malcolm Subban, who is still with the big club.
The Bruins will practice again on Friday before hosting the Islanders Saturday and Canadiens Sunday.
|02.05.15 at 1:50 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB after the Bruins’ loss to the Rangers Wednesday night, and to look ahead to their stretch of games before the trade deadline. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
With the trade deadline approaching, McGuire feels the Bruins’ biggest need is a veteran presence on the first line who can score goals, and play with Milan Lucic and David Krejci. He feels the defense can be corrected on its own.
“I don’t know about the top four [defenseman], it’s a fair question,” McGuire said. “I think it is more pressure and get more consistent offense in the first line and insert with [Milan] Lucic and [David] Krejci, and this isn’t a knock on whomever they have tried there — whether it’s [Loui] Eriksson or Reilly Smith, whenever it be anybody, David Pastrnak — it doesn’t matter. I think they really need a veteran presence, a proven guy that can score goals in a first line situation and then the rest of the batting order kind of stabilizes itself.
“I think they can do it by committee on defense really because of the way the team plays. I think they need to get more run support with consistency, I think that is one of the reasons why they play so many one goal games, they are in so many close games, they just don’t have consistent run support for their defense and their goalie.”
“The one thing that stands out to me and not even being 19 years of age or pretty darn close to it, he can still dominate the puck,” said McGuire. “He made some pretty creative plays last night. It’s a hard league for kids that weigh 165-170 pounds to play in. I don’t see him tailing off. I think this will be a lot like what we saw with Tyler Seguin in the Bruins run to the Cup in , just because it took awhile for Tyler to get comfortable and once he got comfortable you saw what he did in the Tampa Bay series in particular.
|02.04.15 at 10:30 pm ET|
A rough second period cost the Bruins Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, as they relinquished a lead en route to a 3-2 loss to the Rangers.
The defeat was just the Bruins’ second regulation loss in the last 15 games, but there could be more ahead with a difficult back-to-back stretch coming up when the B’s host the Islanders and Canadiens this weekend at TD Garden.
Tuukka Rask started his ninth consecutive game and had to deal with multiple odd-man rushes from the Rangers. The Bruins blew a bit of an opportunity, as Henrik Lundqvist missed the game with an upper-body injury. Cam Talbot only had to face 20 shots, however, and he stopped 18.
The one positive as the Bruins await the Islanders and Habs — both teams are currently riding losing streaks. The Islanders have dropped three straight while the Canadiens are coming off back-to-back losses.
Here are four more things we learned Wednesday:
The last thing a team wants to do against a fast opponent is let players slip past them. That happened all too often as the Bruins tried to slow the speedy Rangers.
After Brad Marchand failed to get the puck in deep and turned it over to Kevin Klein, Rick Nash took a feed from Martin St. Louis and sprinted past Adam McQuaid, walking in on Rask all alone and backhanding his 32nd goal of the season past the Boston netminder.
Later in the period, Chris Kreider got behind Torey Krug and Kevan Miller, but was denied by Rask. The Bruins had to deal with another odd-man rush when Kevin Hayes got the puck out of the defensive zone and over Krug’s stick, racing to the puck in the neutral zone to create a 2-on-1 with Carl Hagelin against Miller. The Bruins survived it, as Hayes’ pass for Hagelin in front was stopped by Rask.
BRUINS HAVE SECOND-PAIR BLUES
Among the Bruins’ needs prior to the trade deadline is a steady top-four defenseman to solidify their second pairing. Assuming the pairs stay the same, Boston’s current second pairing of Seidenberg-McQuaid might not fare as well as the Ference-Boychuk postseason pair of years past.
The Seidenberg-McQuaid pair was split up late in the first period (the duo allowed the Nash goal), with Claude Julien going to Chara-McQuaid and Seidenberg-Hamilton. Julien went back to his normal pairings for the second period, only to see Seidenberg and McQuaid allow their second goal of the game when Derick Brassard scored on a snap shot from the high slot.
Though McQuaid made a nice play to get a stick on a Rangers scoring bid in the third that would have made it a two-goal game, both he and Seidenberg finished the night with rough numbers. McQuaid and Seidenberg finished the game with Corsi’s of minus-14 and minus-13, respectively.
|02.03.15 at 11:24 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Milan Lucic is questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Rangers after missing Tuesday’s practice with the flu.
Claude Julien said following the practice that Lucic will not fly with the team to New York, but that he could potentially join the team Wednesday prior to the game.
Both Chris Kelly and Loui Eriksson were back on the ice after taking maintenance days on Monday. Eriksson left Saturday’s win over the Kings following a hit from Robyn Regehr that left him with a sore neck.
“It’s alright,” Eriksson said of his neck. “I got treatments on it [Monday] and it felt better again today when I woke up. I felt good today on the ice.”
Eriksson missed significant time last season due to a pair of concussions. He said Tuesday that he didn’t fear a head injury at the time of the hit from Regehr. He also said that the play was his fault and he turned into the hit.
“I didn’t feel any headache at all when I got hit,” he said. “I just felt my neck start burning. I was a little scared that something happened with it, but as I went [off the ice] it felt better and it’s been good today, so it’s a good sign.”
All seven defensemen were present, as were both goaltenders. Malcolm Subban remains on the NHL club while Niklas Svedberg remains in Providence on a conditioning loan.
The lineup in practice was as follows:
|02.02.15 at 7:32 pm ET|
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was named the NHL‘s Third Star of the Month for the month of January.
Rask started 13 of the Bruins’ 14 games in January, allowing two goals or fewer in all but two of them. He shut out the Rangers on Jan. 15 and and made a season-high 43 saves against the Islanders on Jan. 29. Rask had a .949 save percentage for the month.
The Bruins went 7-1-3 in Rask’s starts last month, improving Rask’s season record to 22-11-7.
Alexander Ovechkin took top honors for the month, while John Tavares was named January’s second-best performer.
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