|11.23.14 at 12:10 am ET|
The Bruins are trying not to use their injuries as an excuse. But they’re also not naive enough to say they’re the same team with Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Chris Kelly and Adam McQuaid all out of the lineup.
Claude Julien acknowledged as much Saturday night after a 2-0 loss to the Canadiens, a game in which the Bruins actually played fairly well, especially considering that it was the second night of a back-to-back. They made a couple mistakes, though, and they couldn’t finish their opportunities against Carey Price.
“I thought we played hard. We competed. We were smart. We didn’t give them much,” Julien said. “It’s unfortunate, but this is where we realize that right now when you play a team that’s healthy and that’s going extremely well, it almost takes a perfect game.”
So far the Bruins have gone 9-5-0 without Chara, including the game in which he got hurt (he went down midway through the first period). That’s obviously pretty good — probably even better than expected — but it’s also come against a pretty soft schedule. Only six of those games were against teams currently in playoff position, and the B’s have gone 2-4-0 in those games.
The schedule doesn’t stay easy, though. Of the Bruins’ next 10 games, seven are against teams currently in playoff position, and there’s also a West Coast road trip in there.
The Bruins hope to start getting some guys back, and they hope to do it without losing anyone else. So far this season, it seems like every time someone returns to the lineup, someone else goes down. While the Bruins are excited for all the young guys who are getting a taste of the NHL, they also admit that it can be a bit of a challenge to stay upbeat seeing one injury after another.
“It’s tough,” Torey Krug said. “You don’t want to see your buddies go through it. Guys go down and miss some time. It’s almost like ‘here we go again, another guy goes down,’ but we can’t focus on that because there’s hockey games to be won, and we just have to keep moving forward.”
In reality, the Bruins don’t have too much to worry about unless they start sliding out of the playoff race. We’ve seen plenty of lower seeds go on deep playoff runs over the years, and a healthy Bruins team could certainly do the same. Given how bad most of the teams behind them are, it doesn’t seem likely that they drop out of the race.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be frustrating nights for fans and players alike, though. With so many top players out, the Bruins simply aren’t a top team right now, meaning there will probably be more nights like Saturday when an admirable effort just isn’t enough.
|11.22.14 at 10:48 pm ET|
It’s not often that anyone around the Bruins talks about a non-Montreal game after a Montreal game, but that was the case Saturday night when Milan Lucic was asked about the end of Friday night’s game in Columbus.
As overtime came to a close Friday night, Lucic got into a shoving match with Blue Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout after Prout slashed Lucic’s stick out of his hands. Lucic gave Prout a hard shove to the back of the head at one point, and the shoving match eventually escalated to the point where Prout dropped his gloves, anticipating a fight.
Lucic, however, did not drop his gloves. Prout decided to throw a punch anyway and knocked Lucic down with a hard right to the mouth that clearly caught Lucic off guard. Lucic expressed his displeasure with Proust when he was asked about the incident Saturday night.
“I didn’t like it,” Lucic said. “The good thing is we get to play them two more times. … It’s the end of the game. I let him know I wasn’t going to fight him, so I wasn’t prepared and let my guard down. That’s what happens sometimes when you let your guard down. I’ve been in over 100 fights and I never took a shot like that. Like I said, we get two more opportunities to play the Blue Jackets, and I’ll be ready.
“There’s many times that I could’ve done the exact same thing and I held off because a guy’s refusing to drop his gloves. I find it to be gutless. That’s my thoughts on it.”
|11.22.14 at 10:23 pm ET|
Kelly played throughout the three periods of Friday’s game, but did not play in overtime. Julien did not offer what the injury was or how long he would be out, saying that the medical staff would know more about the injury in the coming days.
“I really don’t know,” Julien said. “I could say day-to-day, but we don’t know, we don’t know right now. And our medical staff has not given me any indication of how long the injury is going to take. It’s one of those that I think they’ve got to feel as the days go by.”
Saturday was Kelly’s first missed game of the season. He has two goals and six assists for eight points and a plus-four rating.
With Kelly out, Matt Lindblad was recalled and inserted into the lineup as the Habs took a 2-0 victory over the Bruins.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|11.22.14 at 9:44 pm ET|
If you thought the banged-up Bruins probably wouldn’t be able to beat the Canadiens right now, you were right.
Nothing the Bruins tried got to the Habs Saturday night, whether fighting (both Gregory Campbell and Torey Krug took turns trying to change momentum by dropping the gloves) or attempted offense (Carey Price shut out the Bruins for the first time in the regular season) was enough to prevent a 2-0 loss against the Atlantic Division leaders (box).
The Bruins fell to 0-3-0 against the Canadiens this season, while Tuukka Rask‘s lifetime record against the Habs fell to 3-12-3.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday night:
PATRICE BERGERON HAS NOT HAD FUN AGAINST THE CANADIENS THIS SEASON
None of the Bruins have been particularly successful against the Habs this season, but Patrice Bergeron usually doesn’t struggle against anyone. This season, however, the Habs have gotten the better of the two-time Selke winner.
Bergeron lost a faceoff cleanly to Tomas Plekanec during a first-period penalty kill, with Brendan Gallagher knocking the puck back to the point, where Andrei Markov fired a wrist shot through traffic that beat Tuukka Rask to get the Habs on the board. Bergeron took a pair of penalties, the first of which came in the second period during a prolonged Habs stay in the Boston zone when, playing without a stick, he covered the puck with his glove just before knocking it out of the zone. He also took a slashing penalty in the third period.
Remember, Bergeron was a minus-1 in the teams’ first meeting this season and was on the ice for three even-strength goals against last Thursday in Montreal. He has no points against the Habs in three meetings this season.
CHRIS KELLY IS HURTING
When the Bruins made their string of callups, one could easily lose track of all of the Bruins’ injury-related question marks on offense ‘ David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic ‘ but Chris Kelly‘s absence was a bit of a surprise when the B’s took the ice for warmups.
Kelly played regular shifts throughout Friday’s win over the Blue Jackets, with his absence in overtime appearing to be a product of the B’s opting for better offensive players by playing Lucic in his place in overtime. He had not missed a game all season, as he his season had gotten off to a generally good start after a back injury forced him to miss all of last postseason.
The loss added to the very interesting stat of how the Bruins have fared with and without Chris Kelly in the lineup in the regular season over the past three seasons. The B’s are now 73-27-12 with Kelly in the lineup and 22-16-3 without him.
Krejci missed his second consecutive game and 11th game of the season, while Brad Marchand was listed as being on injured reserve Saturday. That designation doesn’t allow a player to dress in a game for at least seven days, so the fact that Marchand had played last Saturday meant that even if he was placed on IR retroactively, he was no edible to play Saturday night.
With three of their regular forwards out, three of Boston’s lines had new looks Saturday night. The Bruins’ lineup was as follows Saturday:
Smith – Bergeron – Griffith
Lucic – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Gagne
Lindblad – Khokhlachev – Fraser
Seidenberg – Miller
Morrow – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Krug
EVEN CARL SODERBERG MAKES MISTAKES
Jason Spezza re-upping with the Stars meant that Carl Soderberg could very well be the top free agent center on the market this summer should he reach free agency.
Soderberg has gotten off to a very steady start to the season, but a lapse in judgement in the offensive zone burned the Bruins in the second period. With his entire line going to the net, Soderberg took a pass from Loui Eriksson in the offensive zone and had both space to skate and a shot to skate, but he tried to force a pass to Milan Lucic that was easily picked off and taken the other way by the Habs, resulting in an odd-man rush and a Tomas Plekanec goal.
|11.22.14 at 6:00 pm ET|
Marchand is listed as being on injured reserve by the Bruins. He has not played since last Saturday, which means he cannot play Saturday against the Canadiens but would be eligible to play again as soon as Monday’s meeting against the Penguins.
Krejci, meanwhile, will miss his 11th game of the season. He has been in and out of Boston’s lineup due to lower-body injuries.
To accommodate for the absences in their lineup, the Bruins recalled forwards Matt Lindblad and Jordan Caron Saturday and returned defenseman Zach Trotman to Providence.
Lindblad said Saturday afternoon that he was recalled because the Bruins had multiple game-time decisions at forward.
Capable of playing center or left wing, Lindblad could be an injury replacement for either Krejci, Milan Lucic or Marchand. Lucic was bloodied pretty badly after taking a punch to the face from Columbus defenseman Dalton Prout.
Caron has played one game for Boston, logging 8:05 in the team’s Oct. 13 loss to the Avalanche.
Trotman being returned to Providence leaves the Bruins with just six healthy defenseman, indicating that Dougie Hamilton will be able to play Saturday.
Hamilton did not play the last 9:24 of regulation Friday and missed all of overtime. Claude Julien had said Wednesday that the defenseman was under the weather. Julien said Saturday that Hamilton was healthy on Friday when he was benched.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|11.22.14 at 3:49 pm ET|
When the Bruins and Habs met for the first time this season last month, Dale Weise was a healthy scratch. After his performance against the B’s last week, the Canadiens probably won’t make that mistake again.
Weise is very much an important part of the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry, and the pesky winger proved it again last Thursday with a Gordie Howe hat trick in a 5-1 victory over the Bruins.
As the Canadiens return to Boston for the first time since Milan Lucic reportedly threatened him in the post-Game 7 handshake line, Weise is eager to provide more reminders as to why he’s joined P.K. Subban and Max Pacioretty as Canadiens players the Bruins and their fans love to hate.
“That’s fine with me,” Weise said after Saturday’s morning skate. “I think any time I can take guys off their game, I’m doing my job. I don’t mind being the enemy.”
Weise, who first popped up on the Bruins’ radar with the Canucks back in 2012 and was traded to the Habs last season before notching three points in Montreal’s series win over Boston, was scratched three times early on this season.
Those days could be over thanks to a point-producing run that began against the B’s. Weise’s second-period goal against the Bruins last week, scored on a penalty shot vs. Niklas Svedberg, was his first goal of the season, but he scored two more the next game against the Flyers and has added another since.
Weise now has five points (four goals, one assist) dating back to last Thursday’s game against the Bruins. The 26-year-old is well on his way to surpassing his career-high of six goals set last regular season.
“I think he’s a guy who competes hard and wants to do well, and at the end of the day he’s great teammate and a great guy,” P.K. Subban said. “You always want to see guys like that do well.
“For him, he’s worked very hard for his opportunity to play. He’s been an integral part of our run last year in terms of where we went, and he’s definitely been a big part of our success this year. For a guy like him, he’s helped our team since he’s been here.”
Weise, who scored the first goal of Montreal’s series-clinching Game 7 last spring, said he still considers the Garden to be a very difficult building in which to play. He is, however, confident when he does play in Boston given his past success against the B’s. The Canadiens feel they’re better off for it.
“That’s the way to make a name for yourself,” Subban said. “For him, I don’t think it’s so much for him wanting to be in the lineup. I think he cares about his teammates and he wants to see the team do well and he wants to be a part of things. That being said, if you have the right attitude and the right drive, I’m not surprised at the success he’s had.”
|11.22.14 at 1:44 pm ET|
Maria Subban is one of a small number of people in the world who can claim to be a loyal fan of both the Bruins and the Canadiens. As long as her sons wear their respective team’s jerseys, she will not pick a side.
In town with the Canadiens as part of a mothers’ trip, the matriarch of one of hockey’s most talented families said Saturday that she’s proud of what sons P.K. and Malcolm are doing with the Habs and Bruins, respectively.
“I think it’s great,” Maria said. “I think both organizations are wonderful organizations.”
The Bruins made Malcolm something of a surprise pick in 2012 when they chose the Belleville Bulls goaltender 25th overall. The pick turned heads not only because the Bruins appeared to be set at goalie long-term with Tuukka Rask, but because of his relation to the Montreal defenseman.
P.K. is probably the Derek Jeter or Bernie Williams of the Bruins-Habs rivalry in that the boos he receives at TD Garden only thinly cover up Boston fans’ longing to see him in a Bruins sweater. With P.K. in the first year of an eight-year contract with the Habs, it’s safe to say Boston fans won’t be getting their wish, even if they’ll never admit to having it.
Malcolm, on the other hand, could very well play in Boston one day. He’s currently in his second season in Providence, though he’s currently battling a lower-body injury.
“I think he was really surprised, because of P.K. and Boston, but he’s happy and he loves it there,” Maria said. “He’s doing really well.”
Through nine games, Malcolm is 4-3-1 with a .923 save percentage and 2.59 goals-against average. P.K. admitted that in addition to keeping in touch with Malcolm and Jordan (a 19-year-old fourth-round pick of the Canucks still playing in Belleville of the OHL), he’s eager to see how they’re performing as well.
“I always know a little bit about each of them, what’s going on,” P.K. said. “Obviously to me, they’re my brothers. I don’t know how much I pay attention to the hockey side of thing [vs.] them actually being my brothers. They’re family, so obviously I always talk to them. My parents should be proud of not just all three boys, but all five kids, and my sisters as well.”
The Bruins appear set at backup goaltender with Niklas Svedberg, but Malcolm could begin to knock on the NHL‘s door in the coming years. That means that one day Maria will have her hands full when she makes her trips to the Garden.
“I’ll root for both of them. You’ve got two kids; you’ve got to root for both of them,” she said. “You can’t pick or choose, otherwise I’m going to be a hated mom.”
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