|02.03.16 at 1:47 am ET|
For a few third-period minutes on Tuesday, TD Garden was rocking.
David Krejci had shoveled in his 12th goal of the season, just 26 seconds after Brad Marchand had buried his 22nd of the year, and the Bruins were leading the Maple Leafs by a score of 3-1 in the team’s first game back after the All-Star break.
And then …
“We let the lead slip away,” said defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. “We didn’t defend well enough in front of our net. Usually we’re pretty good at that.”
The Bruins franchise this decade usually is good at protecting leads, let alone net fronts. In the past four seasons under Claude Julien, a two-goal Bruins lead was almost an automatic victory: the B’s were 158-9-7 over those four campaigns.
However, a season that began with three blown two-goals leads in the first six contests of October has been filled with a-typical B’s behavior.
“You know what, I don’t know,” centerman David Krejci said when asked what the difference has been this year in holding leads compared to previous years. “[Inexperience] shouldn’t be an excuse, because we’ve played 50 games already and everyone knows the game plan. I think we are in good shape in [that] part of the game. We all know what to do. It’s just execution.”
|02.02.16 at 9:50 pm ET|
Scoring in the third period isn’t a huge problem for the Bruins. Allowing goals in the third period is.
The Bruins appeared to be home-free after a pair of goals early in the third period Tuesday gave them a 3-1 lead over the Maple Leafs, but the B’s faltered drown the stretch as Toronto scored twice to pull even in regulation before P.A. Parenteau scored a power play in overtime to give the Leafs a 4-3 victory. In the Bruins’ last six games, they have allowed as many third period goals (eight) as they’ve scored.
Though Tuessday’s result should be considered a huge disappointment, one point was enough to pull the Bruins even points-wise the Red Wings with 58 for third place in the Atlantic Division, though the Bruins have played 50 games to Detroit’s 49.
Here are four more things we learned Tuesday:
KREJCI GIVETH, KREJCI TAKETH AWAY
David Krejci can take over a game, as was evidenced early in the third. It was ultimately his holding penalty in overtime that led to Toronto’s game-winner, however.
In a matter of 26 seconds in the third, Krejci set up Brad Marchand to break the tie and then scored a goal of his own to give the B’s a lead they’d eventually relinquish.
Krejci’s two-point game gave the veteran center a four-game points streak (one goal, four assists) in what has been a very consistent stretch for him. Dating back to Nov. 25, Krejci has points in 15 of 20 games, registering four goals and 12 assists for 16 points in that stretch.
|02.02.16 at 11:39 am ET|
Jonas Gustavsson took a positive step Tuesday by facing shots in the Bruins’ morning skate, but he will remain on injured reserve when the B’s host the Maple Leafs at TD Garden.
“Cleared to practice, not to play,” Claude Julien said of the goaltender, who is recovering from an elevated heart rate.
With Gustavsson remaining out, Malcolm Subban will be Tuukka Rask‘s backup Tuesday night. Based on morning skate, the lineup figures to be as such:
|02.01.16 at 4:03 pm ET|
It’s plausible that some truth serum would get Claude Julien to reveal that Loui Eriksson is one of his favorite players. Eriksson drives possession, scores goals and plays both the power play and penalty kill exceptionally. He’s not a shiny player, but he’s a coach like Julien’s kind of player.
So, with Eriksson unsigned and a possibility to be traded if the sides aren’t close on a contract by late February, how would Julien feel about such a player being traded while the Bruins are trying to make the playoffs?
“That depends,” Julien said. “Do you get something in return? Is that something in return something that would help our team? We don’t know that, so I can’t answer that and I don’t think that question is a good thing for me to answer because who knows if he’s going [and] who knows what we’d get back? I can’t answer it until something happens. Hopefully nothing.”
Eriksson, 30, is second on the Bruins in points this season and is on pace for 25 goals. According to a source, the Bruins and Eriksson’s camp discussed the player’s market a while back but the Bruins have yet to make a contract proposal to Eriksson.
UPDATE: Though recent talks have yielded no contract proposals, it has come to light that the Bruins did indeed make Eriksson an initial offer before Christmas. Eriksson’s camp found both the average annual value and the term of the contract to be too low to negotiate off of, however. According to the source, the offer was made “more to simply get things initiated.”
While the sides did not negotiate off that proposal, the Bruins and agent J.P. Barry later began having general conversations about the player’s market and his comps. It is in these conversations that the Bruins have yet to make an offer. As it currently stands, Eriksson’s camp is waiting for the Bruins to engage in more serious negotiations.
The player has a partial no-trade clause that allows him to submit a list of 14 teams to which he would accept a trade. Eriksson did so prior to the season.
“I’d like to keep Loui, period, just like the guys that have left us, I would have loved to have kept,” Julien said. “As a coach, would I like to have Looch? Would I like to have those other guys? Hamilton? Sure, [but] we couldn’t keep them for different reasons. You get some good players that end up leaving for reasons that we can’t control, so you’ve got to have the confidence in your upper management that they’re going to make the right decision. I can’t do anything about it. I can only coach what I have right now. I enjoy having him. I think he’s a great player and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
|02.01.16 at 1:54 pm ET|
The Bruins made some roster moves upon returning from the All-Star break, most notably by placing goaltender Jonas Gustsavsson on injured reserve and recalling Malcolm Subban from Providence. David Pastrnak, who was sent to Providence to play games during the break, was also recalled.
Gustavsson had a health scare in last Tuesday’s contest agains the Ducks, as he left the game after one period due to an elevated heart rate and was taken to Mass General hospital. After spending the night in the hospital, he was discharged when preliminary tests came back negative. In a statement released Monday, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said that Gustavsson was only on IR pending final test results and that the team would take him off upon clearance. Because Gustavsson last played last Tuesday and All-Star break days can count as retroactive IR days, Gustavsson could potentially be able to come off IR as early as Tuesday’s game against the Maple Leafs.
The 30-year-old netminder has had three different heart procedures since coming to the NHL in 2009. He was on the ice prior to Monday’s practice working with goaltending coach Bob Essensa, but did not appear to be facing any shots. Instead, Gustavsson worked on positioning and puck management outside the net.
Adam McQuaid, who has been out since Jan. 5 with an upper-body injury and remains on IR, also skated Monday. The 29-year-old blueliner took passes from strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides in addition to skating and shooting.
Both Subban and Pastrnak were present for Monday’s practice. It is unclear how long the Bruins will keep Gustavsson out for, but Subban’s recall could potentially give him the opportunity to play his second NHL game. In his only NHL game to date, Subban only faced three shots in the first period, stopping them all, but then allowed goals on the first three shots he saw in the second period before getting pulled against the Blues on Feb. 20.
In 26 games for Providence tis season, Subban has a .913 save percentage, a 2.45 goals against average and one shutout, all of which lead the Baby B’s. The Bruins’ next three games see them host the Maple Leafs and then play the Sabres twice, so if the team were inclined to give him a start, at least it would be in one of their schedule’s more manageable games.
|01.31.16 at 11:30 pm ET|
(That lede was dreadful, but in celebration of John Scott it’s only fitting to embrace the bad.)
Yet after all the sides went through — Scott getting voted into the All-Star game as a joke given his status as one of the league’s worst players, then getting asked not to go, then getting sent to the minors, then getting traded and sent to the minors, during which he and his wife were nearly nine months into expecting twins — Scott persevered and proved to be the best thing about an event that is constantly trying to find ways to make itself exciting.
Playing without any team logo on his uniform, Scott scored two goals in the Pacific Division’s first game, which served as a treat for everyone given that Scott has scored five goals in 285 NHL games since debuting in 2009. The Pacific Division team he captained ended up winning the 3-on-3 tournament, and when the event’s MVP finalists were announced as Taylor Hall, Roberto Luongo and Johnny Gaudreau late in the final game, boos filled the Nashville crowd, forcing the voting fans to “right” something that wasn’t necessarily a “wrong,” but was clearly the best and funniest thing to do. When all was said and done, Scott was the new owner of a Honda Pilot as the game’s MVP.
The NHL, which has had to try its darnedest to save face throughout this whole process, ended up getting what it wanted — actual interest in its All-Star festivities — thanks to the man it tried to push away. He’s not a good player, but he was certainly the most valuable despite the NHL‘s previous behavior.
Scott had previously never been known as more than an enforcer who lacked the talent to be in the NHL, but he’s been able to kick around at 33 thanks to his 6-foot-8 stature. In Boston, he was only known as the guy who concussed both Loui Eriksson on a hit that got him suspended seven games and Shawn Thornton in a fight.
Yet after Sunday, Scott is a cult hero. If last week’s piece in the Player’s Tribune wasn’t enough to win him fans, Sunday was.
Who knows what’s next for Scott? He should be given some sort of made-up award at the NHL Awards, or he should present. Scratch that. He should host. It’s not like it would be much worse than it usually is. Maybe he can save that, too.
|01.31.16 at 2:37 am ET|
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