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Bruins not thinking about repercussions of missing playoffs

04.04.16 at 1:55 pm ET
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Claude Julien

Claude Julien

The Bruins might not even need to win all three of their games this week. The Red Wings are mediocre enough that it would be a surprise if they came into Boston Thursday having not lost to the Flyers the night earlier.

Yet whether it means winning two games or winning three, the Bruins need to do whatever is required of them to make the playoffs this week. If not, an organization that already needed changes might make more drastic ones. Even if he isn’t a primary reason for the Bruins’ situation, Claude Julien could be an obvious fall guy.

“We’re not even there,” Julien said of the idea of missing the postseason. “We don’t even talk about that.”

Julien is in his ninth season with the Bruins. Players like Zdeno Chara (10 years) and Dennis Seidenberg (seven years) have been around to see much better days in their time with the B’s. The Bruins’ recent era of dominance essentially ended when Johnny Boychuk was traded ahead of last season, but the longer-tenured Bruins who have won before feel they can win again in Boston.

“We look at the next game tomorrow, that we’ve got to win that. All the other [expletive], there’s no reason to look any further than that,” Seidenberg said. “I’m confident we’re going to win all these three games and make it to the playoffs.”

The Bruins will play their final three games of their regular-season schedule at TD Garden, starting with Tuesday’s contest against the Hurricanes.

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Dennis Seidenberg practices, Kevan Miller and Brett Connolly don’t

04.04.16 at 1:19 pm ET
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Dennis Seidenberg

Dennis Seidenberg

Dennis Seidenberg returned to practice on Monday, but it doesn’t look to be a good bet that he’ll return to games just yet.

Seidenberg, who has missed the Bruins’ last two games due to injury, took part in Monday’s skate and took some contact, though he left practice early after attempting battle drills. Claude Julien said Seidenberg’s status was “unknown,” but Seidenberg didn’t sound optimistic about a potential return for Tuesday’s game against the Hurricanes.

“I felt OK,” Seidenberg said. “I mean, I was moving my legs, doing what I had to do and then got off. It was OK.”

Added Seidenberg: “There’s no timeline set [as to] when I’m going to come back, so it’s really tough to say.”

Adam McQuaid practiced after an injury scare in Saturday’s game, though Kevan Miller and Brett Connolly did not. Miller suffered a lower-body injury in Friday’s win over the Blues, while Connolly sustained a lower-body injury in the first-period of last Tuesday’s loss to the Devils.

Julien said that Miller remains day-to-day. Miller could be seen walking without crutches Monday morning as the Bruins took their team picture.

With Miller and Seidenberg’s status looking doubtful for Tuesday, Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman could be good bets to remain in the lineup.

The Bruins’ forward lines looked as follows Monday:

Marchand-Bergeron-Eriksson
Beleskey-Krejci/Kelly-Pastrnak
Vatrano-Spooner-Stempniak/Griffith
Ferraro-Acciari-Hayes/Randell

5 things we learned as Bruins can’t overcome huge deficit vs. Blackhawks

04.03.16 at 3:11 pm ET
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Patrick Kane scored a hat trick against the Bruins Sunday. (David Banks/USA Today Sports)

Patrick Kane scored a hat trick against the Bruins Sunday. (David Banks/USA Today Sports)

If the Bruins can manage the way they did in the third period Sunday for the rest of the season, they’ll be in great shape. That’s a nice way of saying the Bruins didn’t allow six goals in the third period.

They did, however, allow six goals over the first 40 minutes Sunday in Chicago, and though they stormed back from a 6-0 hole with four straight goals, the B’s missed out on two key points with a 6-4 loss to the Blackhawks.

Playing without injured defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Kevan Miller, the B’s managed through a first-period that saw them allow a tough-luck power play goal and a 4-on-4 goal. Both first-period Chicago goals came against Boston’s young defensemen, as Zach Trotman correctly tried to block a shot in front of the net during a Hawks man advantage, but when Artemi Panarin’s shot was a dud that limped to Artem Anisimov, the Chicago center had plenty of space to put the puck past Tuukka Rask. Patrick Kane then scored a breakaway goal off a Joe Morrow turnover.

It was the second period that saw the floodgates open, however, as the Blackhawks scored two more in the period’s first two minutes to chase Tuukka Rask and then added a pair against Jonas Gustavsson.

The Bruins would fire back behind a pair of goals from Patrice Bergeron as well as tallies from David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, but they were unable to fully close the gap.

Boston remains outside of the playoff picture, sitting one point the Red Wings with three games remaining for each team. Given that the Bruins host the Red Wings on Thursday, the Bruins can still make the playoffs if they win all three remaining games and beat Detroit in regulation or overtime. Should the Bruins fail to do so, they risk missing the playoffs for the second straight season.

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Red Wings push Bruins out of playoff picture (for now), Steven Stamkos out 1-3 months due to blood clot surgery

04.02.16 at 10:59 pm ET
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The Red Wings eked out a 3-2 win over the Maple Leafs Saturday in Toronto, leapfrogging the Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division in the process.

Saturday was Detroit’s 79th game of the season; they now hold a one-point lead over Boston as the B’s head into their 79th game, a matinee against the Blackhawks Sunday in Chicago.

The Bruins and Red Wings will play each other on April 7, which will be both teams’ 81st game of the 82-game regular season. Detroit will be playing the second game of a back-to-back, as they’ll host the Flyers on Wednesday. Saturday marked the first time in the Red Wings’ last 10 back-to-backs that Detroit won the second game.

Assuming Detroit picks up wins in its other games, the Bruins need to win three of their last four (including a regulation win against the Red Wings) in order to secure the third spot in the Atlantic. For now, that spot is the only realistic one for the Bruins, though the second wild card spot might become something of a possibility if the Bruins win Sunday in Chicago and the Flyers lose to the Penguins.

Through three meetings, the Bruins are 2-1-0 against the Red Wings this season. The only loss came on Feb. 14, when the Bruins were without the services of Patrice Bergeron.

To add another wrinkle to the playoff situation, the Lightning announced Saturday night that Steven Stamkos will miss one to three months due to blood clot surgery. The Lightning are currently in line for the second Atlantic spot, meaning they would play the Bruins in the first round if their status went unchanged and Boston were to leapfrog Detroit.

5 things we learned as Bruins barely hang on for much-needed win over Blues

04.01.16 at 10:53 pm ET
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David Krejci

David Krejci

As the classic adage goes, “They don’t ask how, but whether or not you did indeed end up winning after nearly blowing two multiple-goal leads.”

The Bruins ended up winning after nearly blowing two multiple-goal leads.

After breaking through offensively to take a 5-2 lead through two periods, the Bruins experienced a third period that saw the Blues control the play en route to scoring twice before a late Boston power play led to Patrice Bergeron’s 30th goal of the season.

Though the two goal-lead Bergeron’s tally provided appaered to put the game away with 3:24 remaining, a Kevin Shattenkirk goal with under 21 seconds forced the Bruins to sweat out the final seconds before finally escaping with a 6-5 victory over the Blues.

Friday’s win marked the first time in eight games that the Bruins scored at least three goals against a goaltender. The B’s were mired in an offensive slump entering the game, having scored just 16 goals in their previous 10 games. The Blues, meanwhile had allowed one goal over their last five games combined before the B’s put five past Brian Elliott and another past Jake Allen.

The win for the Bruins was massive, as the Red Wings defeated the Wild before the conclusion of Boston’s game. With the victory, the Bruins remain one point ahead of Detroit for the third spot in the Atlantic Division, which is likely the only attainable playoff spot for either team. The Bruins will host the Red Wings on April 7 in Boston’s 81st game of the season.

The Bruins next play Sunday in a matinee against the Blackhawks, which will be their final road game of the season. The Blackhawks will be without Duncan Keith, who will be serving the second game of a six-game suspension for swinging his stick at the face of Wild forward Charlie Coyle.

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Bruins sign BU defenseman Matt Grzelcyk to entry-level contract

04.01.16 at 5:06 pm ET
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Matt Grzelcyk served as a captain at BU for the last two years. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Matt Grzelcyk served as a captain at BU for the last two years. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Bruins have signed Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelcyk to a two-year entry-level contract, the team announced Friday. The Charlestown native was a third-round pick of the B’s in 2012 and could have become a free agent in August had he not signed with Boston.

Grzelcyk recently wrapped up his senior season at BU, where he served as team captain each of the last two seasons. He had 10 goals and 13 assists in 27 games (he missed 12 games earlier in the season due to injury), putting him fourth nationally among defensemen in points per game. He was named a Hockey East First Team All-Star for the second year in a row.

Grzelcyk will report to the Providence Bruins for the remainder of this season before his two-year deal kicks in next season.

Grzelcyk is listed at 5-foot-10 and 176 pounds. The strengths of his game are transition and offense, as he’s a very good skater who often times led rushes for the Terriers and got involved deep in the offensive zone. He also played an integral role on an effective power play that finished the season at 21.1 percent. Grzelcyk worked to dramatically improve his shot over the last two years, resulting in a jump from six goals over his first two years at BU to 20 over the last two.

Grzelcyk’s connection to the Bruins runs deep, as his father, John, has worked on the Garden’s “Bull Gang” for more than 40 years.

Dennis Seidenberg, Brett Connolly won’t make Bruins road trip

03.31.16 at 11:08 am ET
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Dennis Seidenberg

Dennis Seidenberg

WILMINGTON — The Bruins will play their next two games without the services of Dennis Seidenberg and Brett Connolly.

Neither player will travel for the Bruins’ road trip, though David Krejci and Ryan Spooner will after taking part in Thursday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. Emergency Seth Griffith will make the trip as a reinforcement, while Austin Czarnik will be returned to Providence.

Krejci missed Wednesday’s practice, while Spooner has not played since the second period of Saturday’s game against the Maple Leafs. Spooner has been dealing with a lower-body injury for much of the second half of the season, though he’s missed just two games. Recently removed from the power play, Spooner practiced Thursday in his old spot on the half wall of Boston’s first unit.

The lines and defensive pairings on Thursday were as follows:

Marchand-Bergeron-Eriksson
Beleskey-Krejci/Griffith-Pastrnak
Vatrano-Spooner/Czarnik-Stempniak
Ferraro-Acciari-Hayes/Randell

Chara-Liles
Krug-McQuaid
Morrow-Miller

The Bruins will travel to St. Louis to play the Blues on Friday, after which they’ll face the Blackhawks on Sunday. The B’s hold a one-point lead on the Red Wings for third place in the Atlantic Division.

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