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Sunday Skate Live Chat: Stanley Cup or Bust edition

03.06.16 at 6:04 am ET
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Did you like what the Bruins did at the trade deadline? Are you a believer after getting three points from the Blackhawks and Capitals? Discuss these things and whatever else on Sunday Skate from 7-9 a.m. Click here to listen live and join in the chat below.

Live Blog Sunday Skate Live Chat: Cup or Bust edition
 

Torey Krug’s goalless streak continues after questionable offsides call overturns goal

03.05.16 at 11:35 pm ET
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While Alex Ovechkin’s hit from behind on Kevan Miller may grab the most headlines from Saturday’s game, the controversial play that actually had the biggest impact on the game was Torey Krug’s overturned goal early in the second period.

David Pastrnak carried into the offensive zone and fired a shot that led to a juicy rebound. Krug picked up the loose puck, cut to the middle and beat Philipp Grubauer for what appeared to be his first goal in 40 games.

However, the goal wound up being waved off after a video review determined that Loui Eriksson was offsides on Pastrnak’s zone entry.

The question, of course, is whether the video evidence was actually definitive. Eriksson clearly made an effort to drag one skate behind him to try to stay onsides, but the skate eventually lifted off the ice. On the replays shown on TV, it was hard to tell whether the skate lifted before or after the puck entered the zone.

The goal would’ve given the Bruins a 2-0 lead, and possibly a second straight win over a top team. Instead the Capitals tied the game at one later in the second period and eventually won in overtime.

Krug, for his part, downplayed the no-goal ruling after the game.

“If it’s offside, it’s not a goal,” Krug said. “I mean, it’s frustrating. I haven’t scored in a while, but that’s a good test for your character and trying to respond and still having faith. It’s, like I said, right time, right place, it’ll happen.”

The Bruins, to their credit, didn’t seem to get too deflated by the call. They controlled play for the majority of the second period and outshot the Capitals 20-7 in the frame. Unfortunately they couldn’t find the back of the net again, while the Capitals eventually did.

“We did OK,” Krug said. “I think this year we’ve done a really good job of responding to calls that haven’t gone our way. Unfortunately they got the next goal, so it’s not clearly indicative of how we responded, but we did an alright job.”

Claude Julien didn’t say much about this specific call, but acknowledged that he doesn’t always agree with video reviews — understandable considering Saturday’s wasn’t the first to go against the Bruins this season.

“You guys keep asking coaches. We’re not all, I guess, 100 percent on board with some of that stuff, but you’ve got to live with it” Julien said. “You live with it, because we always compare it to other calls that we’ve had, whether it’s with other games and stuff like that. I guess we don’t always see consistency.”

Dennis Seidenberg played the voice of reason, offering up an idea that could clear up situations like Saturday’s.

“You have to see something in the future, I guess, on the level of the ice where you can actually see the skate coming up – like a camera on the blue line,” Seidenberg said. “But it’s tough to see. I didn’t see it and it’s really tough for me to judge because I don’t know.”

Read More: Torey Krug,

Claude Julien wonders whether Alex Ovechkin got star treatment after hit on Kevan Miller

03.05.16 at 10:47 pm ET
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Kevan Miller

Kevan Miller

Bruins fans might not have Kevan Miller to blame for awhile.

Alexander Ovechkin’s boarding penalty at 5:36 of the second period on Saturday night sent Miller to the ice in obvious pain and down the runway shortly thereafter clutching his right shoulder.

Boston coach Claude Julien acknowledged that Miller left TD Garden for medical treatment while the game was still going on. Because the play was not called a check from behind and instead boarding, Ovechkin wouldn’t have been ejected unless Miller suffered a head or face injury. Julien wondered if Ovechkin’s star status factored into the call, asking, “If it’s somebody else, is it a game?”

Ovechkin denied any malicious intent on the hit.

“It’s just a hockey play,” said Ovechkin. “I tried to pin him, like … I don’t try to hit him. I didn’t see the replay but my emotion was not, like, try to hit. I tried to just play the puck. He’s kind of turned and that’s what I [told] the referee, ‘I don’t try to go through him or something, I just tried to pin him.’”

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5 things we learned: Kevan Miller hurt on hit from Alexander Ovechkin as Bruins lose to Capitals in overtime

03.05.16 at 9:52 pm ET
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Getting points in both games of a treacherous two-game stretch against the Blackhawks and Capitals was an outcome the Bruins would have gladly taken. That doesn’t mean that the fashion in which they lost Saturday doesn’t sting.

Matt Niskanen beat Tuukka Rask 2:36 into overtime to give the Capitals a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the B’s at TD Garden. The game followed Boston’s impressive victory over the Blackhawks Thursday.

Though the B’s got on the board first Saturday with a first-period Patrice Bergeron tally, the second period suggested it might not be the Bruins’ night. What would have been Torey Krug’s first goal in 40 games was called back when the Capitals challenged that Loui Eriksson was offsides, the Bruins lost Kevan Miller to injury, they failed to score on a prolonged 5-on-3 (among other chances) and a rough period from Dennis Seidenberg eventually resulted in Washington tying the game at a goal apiece.

The teams skated to a scoreless third period before Niskanen sealed the victory for the Capitals in OT.

Here are four more things we learned Saturday:

MILLER HURT

Kevan Miller’s struggles this season have been well-documented, but the 28-year-old defenseman had turned a corner of late with perhaps his most encouraging play of the season. In the first period of Saturday’s game, Miller played a major factor in Patrice Bergeron’s goal by gloving the puck as it was about to leave the zone and passing it up to Lee Stempniak as he absorbed a hit from Alexander Ovechkin.

Yet it was a later hit from Ovechkin that changed the game, as the Capitals star forward hit Miller from behind in the Washington zone in the second period. Miller left the ice hunched over with what looked like a possible right shoulder injury, which wouldn’t be great considering his season ended prematurely last year due to surgery on that shoulder.

Ovechkin was given a boarding major but not ejected.

If Miller is to miss time, Zach Trotman will likely enter the lineup in his place.  Read the rest of this entry »

Bruins believe in Capitals hype, but know well that ‘anything can happen’

03.05.16 at 11:48 am ET
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The Capitals are considered the Eastern Conference's lone Cup contender (Getty Images)

The Capitals are considered the Eastern Conference’s lone Cup contender (Getty Images)

The Eastern Conference picture has been clear pretty much all season: There’s the Capitals and there’s everyone else.

In ranking first in the NHL in goals per game and third in goals against per game, the Capitals are the clear favorite to represent the East in the Stanley Cup Final this season, but at the very least, they will run away with the Presidents’ Trophy. Their 98 points through 64 games puts them on pace for 126 points; since the return from the 2004-05 lockout, only twice has a team had a 120-point season (Detroit with 124 in 2005-06 and Washington with 121 in 2009-10). The Capitals have beaten the B’s in both of the teams’ meetings entering Saturday’s contest at TD Garden.

The Bruins are among the teams trying to establish themselves as a potential “other Eastern Conference powerhouse.” As the last Eastern Conference to win the Cup and a common favorite in seasons leading up to this one, the Bruins know well that being considered the favorite in the East doesn’t always pan out. Boston dominated the 2011-12 regular season before being knocked off by the No. 7 ranked Capitals in seven games.

“Let me put it this way: Every playoffs, there’s been surprises,” Claude Julien said Saturday morning. “I don’t put a ton of stock into who’s in and who’s out. We all know Washington’s one of the favorites in our conference; rightfully so. They have a great team and their record shows it, but in this game anything can happen.

“We go about our business and go day-by-day. To overthink that situation to me is not healthy. To just go out there and do your job and look forward to what you have to do is probably the best way to look at that situation.”

Dennis Seidenberg said that if the Bruins are no longer considered in the class they once were, it alleviates the pressure that their stronger clubs of seasons past had.

“We like being in the underdog role,” Seidenberg said. “It means we can perform without pressure, but that team is really good over there. They’re very, very deep, very balanced scoring, very deep on defense. They’re the favorite for a reason, but with that comes a lot of pressure, a lot of certainty. Once we get into the playoffs, anything can happen. That’s what happened to us when we lost against them in seven games. If there’s a team that plays well at the right time and has a goalie that plays very well, anything can happen. We’ll see.”

The Bruins will try to pull off their second consecutive upset against a Cup favorite Saturday when they host the Capitals. Much like the Blackhawks team that Boston defeated on Thursday, the Capitals will be playing the second night of a back-to-back and will have their backup goaltender in net.

Still, defeating the Blackhawks and Capitals in succession would not only be a feather in this post-deadline Bruins team’s cap, but it would secure much-needed points that many figured would be unattainable this week. The Bruins enter Saturday’s game in third place in the Atlantic Division, though current wild card Detroit sits three points behind them with one game in hand. Including Saturday, the B’s have 17 games remaining in their regular-season schedule.

“Before you know it, the season will be over,” Julien said. “There’s not that many games left, so we need to assert ourselves every game. It’s not so much what it means more than what we need to do here. We need to bring our A game and understand that we have to play a lot like we did the other night, be strong in all areas in order to beat good teams like Washington.”

Read More: Claude Julien, Dennis Seidenberg,

Pierre McGuire on OM&F: ‘I’m really encouraged’ by Bruins’ moves at deadline

03.04.16 at 9:36 am ET
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Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Thursday to discuss the state of the Bruins after the trade deadline. To hear the interview, visit the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.

After rumors were swirling that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was in the market for a bigger deal, the team only ended up with two relatively minor acquisitions when all was said and done. While the moves did not blow anyone away, some feel they will make a positive impact.

“I thought Boston had to do something, and they did. I like the additions that they made, subtle little additions. Lee Stempniak and John-Michael Liles I think will address some of the needs of the Bruins,” McGuire said. “It changes a little bit of the batting order, it will be interesting to see how they play it when Stempniak’s there and comfortable with the group. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him replace Brett Connolly on the line with [Brad] Marchand and [Patrice] Bergeron, bump Connolly a little deeper in the lineup. John-Michael Liles will help their transition game. So I’m really encouraged by what Boston did.”

Bruins fans are hoping these moves will be enough to make the team a legitimate contender. The next few games will be very telling as to where the B’s fit in the NHL.

“Here’s how I look at the whole league: I think there’s Los Angeles, there’s Anaheim, there’s Chicago, there’s Washington,” McGuire said. “There’s that group that’s ahead of everybody else, and then there’s the next tier. That’s where we’ll see whether Boston fits in the next tier or not.”

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Read More: Bruins, John-Michael Liles, Lee Stempniak, Pierre McGuire

5 things we learned as Bruins beat Blackhawks, Claude Julien pulls even with Art Ross

03.03.16 at 9:32 pm ET
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Claude Julien

Claude Julien

Whether he cared about personal accomplishments or just wanted a measuring-stick win, Claude Julien had to like what he saw Thursday against the Blackhawks.

The Bruins defeated the defending Stanley Cup champions, 4-2, at TD Garden behind a strong effort that gave Julien his 387th regular-season win as Bruins coach, tying him with Art Ross for the most in team history.

By turning in a clean defensive performance and got balanced scoring in the victory, the Bruins improved to 37-23-6 on the season (78 points) to remain third in the Atlantic Division. Tuukka Rask stopped 25 of the 27 shots he saw, though improved play in front of the net made his night easier than it’s been for much of the season.

Here are four more things we learned Thursday:

ERIKSSON BACK TO SCORING AFTER LINE SWITCH

Claude Julien kept the lines that he used in the third period of Tuesday’s game against the Flames, which saw Loui Eriksson and Matt Beleskey switch spots. Beleskey played on the left of David Krejci and David Pastrnak, while Eriksson moved to the third line with Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes as the B’s used the following lineup:

Marchand-Bergeron-Stempniak
Beleskey-Krejci-Pastrnak
Eriksson-Spooner-Hayes
Ferraro-Acciari-Connolly

Chara-Miller
Krug-Seidenberg
Liles-McQuaid

Rask

After going four straight games without a point, Eriksson got back on the scoresheet with a second-period goal to bring his season total to 24.

Read the rest of this entry »

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