|03.08.15 at 11:45 am ET|
Bruins right wing Brett Connolly met with reporters prior to Sunday’s game, doing so for the first time since breaking the index finger in his right hand in his second practice with the team.
Connolly is expected to miss six weeks, but he hopes he can return before then and get into a regular-season game or two. He underwent surgery Thursday and will have an appointment Monday to see how the finger, which had a plate put over it, is healing.
The trade deadline acquisition said that he knew something was wrong when Dennis Seidenberg‘s wrist shot hit him in Wednesday’s practice. He didn’t react as such, however, as he skated and chatted with the defenseman immediately after.
“Obviously he came to see if I was OK, and you want to lie to him and tell him that you’re OK, but when your finger looks broken, it’s [obvious],” Connolly said. “For me, I felt bad for him because it was just such a harmless shot. It was just a wrister that was just in a spot that I couldn’t get out of the way. It just hit me in a weird spot.”
Connolly had his right hand surgically reconstructed after breaking it in an accident as a five-year-old. He said Sunday that his current injury is unrelated and that he’s happy with his latest surgery.
Julien said that Connolly will not travel with the Bruins for the time being. Connolly hopes to begin skating soon and adding more drills and eventual puck work as his finger heals. For now, Julien said the team wants him to focus on feeling better.
“I think right now it’s more about his recovery for the first few weeks, at least,” Julien said. “We’ve been talking to him. We’ve already shown him a lot of stuff about our team, about our system that he’s very well aware of before the injury actually, so I’m sure that watching us play is going to help him a lot in regards to that. If he’s got some questions, we’re always there to answer those things, but he’ll be fine. He’ll have a good idea of what to do when he’s ready to come back.”
|03.08.15 at 6:43 am ET|
Did the Bruins overpay Torey Krug and Reilly Smith? Did they do enough at the trade deadline? Why hasn’t Brett Connolly scored for the Bruins yet?
Questions like that stand a good chance of being asked in the Sunday Skate live chat with Pete Blackburn, DJ Bean and Joe McDonald. Join in the fun below and listen to the show here from 8-10 a.m.
|03.07.15 at 7:06 pm ET|
The importance of Saturday’s game for the Flyers could not be overstated.
Trailing the Bruins by four points for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia could have moved closer in the standings with a win. Before Saturday’s game started, Bruins coach Claude Julien admitted this would most likely be Philadelphia’s biggest game this season.
With the clock winding down in the third period, the Flyers looked like they would get two valuable points in this critical game. Forward Chris VandeVelde redirected a shot from the point past goaltender Tuukka Rask, which gave Philadelphia a one-goal lead with 4:30 remaining. All seemed ripe for a Flyers win.
Until it didn’t.
Wayne Simmonds was called for tripping at the 17:57 mark. The penalty set the Bruins up with a power play, and essentially a 6-on-4 chance when Rask left for the bench.
Brad Marchand then tied the game up on the ensuing man advantage with 14.1 seconds to go with a deflection goal. And with 1:08 remaining in overtime, Marchand did it again with a backhanded goal that bounced over netminder Steve Mason’s shoulder.
Instead of pulling within two points of the Bruins, the Flyers now are five back of a playoff spot.
“It’s a tough defeat, but there’s still time and I mean there’s more games,” VandeVelde said following the loss. “But it’s getting down there so we’ve got to start winning games and doing the right things and holding on to wins.”
|03.07.15 at 3:42 pm ET|
Brad Marchand had so much fun getting to 20 goals Saturday that added a 21st for good measure. The Bruins certainly needed it, as the second of Marchand’s two goals gave the B’s a 3-2 win over the Flyers at TD Garden.
A Chris VandeVelde goal with 4:30 in regulation left the game in doubt, but Brad Marchand tipped a Dougie Hamilton shot past Steve Mason at 19:45 of the third period with the Bruins on the power play and Tuukka Rask pulled.
Rask bailed out the Bruins twice in overtime. He first rescued Ryan Spooner’s line when a stay in the offensive zone turned into a 3-on-1 for Philadelphia with just Torey Krug back for Boston. Rask made a timely save to negate the bid.
Shortly after, some confusion at the offensive blue line by Chris Kelly and Loui Eriksson led to a Jakub Voracek breakaway chance that Rask kicked aside.
The win prevented the Flyers from making up ground on the Bruins in their push for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia now has 69 points in 66 games. The Bruins are at 74 points through 64 contests.
Here are four more things we learned:
CAMPBELL’S RETURN ENDS POORLY
Gregory Campbell‘s return to the Bruins’ lineup started strong and ended horribly.
After a four-game absence due to an upper-body injury, Campbell went hard to the net to take a pass from Maxime Talbot and got hooked in the process. The penalty led to a Patrice Bergeron goal that gave Boston a 1-0 lead.
With less than five minutes to play in regulation of a tie game, however, Campbell failed to gain the red line and iced the puck, leading to an defensive zone faceoff and Flyers possession on which a Nick Schultz shot was tipped by Chris VandeVelde past Tuukka Rask.
Campbell’s return meant that Talbot was pushed off the penalty kill after seeing shorthanded time Thursday against the Flames.
BARTKOWSKI PUTTING BRUINS IN A STICKY SITUATION
Matt Bartkowski has been called for three stick penalties the last two games. All three have resulted in power play goals allowed by the B’s.
The costly infraction Saturday came in the second period, when Ryan White sold a call in the Bruins’ zone, leading to a Jakub Voracek strike on the man advantage.
The Flames scored power play goals following a first-period hook and a third-period trip from Bartkowski Thursday.
Of course, if these penalties are costing the Bruins, it means something else as well…
PENALTY KILL IS REELING
Surrendering a power-play goal was hardly a new development given the way things have fared of late for Boston’s PK.
Voracek’s second-period tally was the third power-play goal the B’s have allowed in the last two games (4-for-7 on the penalty kill) and ninth in nine games. The B’s are just 17-for-26 on the PK in that span.
Prior to the game, Dennis Seidenberg said that Boston’s power play has recently not been as aggressive as it’s been when it has had success.
CHARA AT THE POINT LEADS TO POINTS
As we noted following last week’s win over the Coyotes, Zdeno Chara‘s return to the point on the power play after a year and a half of playing forward on the man advantage is getting results. Saturday was no different.
In taking a pass from Dougie Hamilton along the blueline and throwing a long wrist shot on net that Bergeron redirected past Steve Mason, Chara created a Bruins power play goal from the point for the second time in three games. Chara stepped up and blasted a slap shot from the right circle for a goal last week against Arizona.
|03.07.15 at 12:06 pm ET|
Saturday marks Campbell’s return to the lineup after missing the last four contests with an upper-body injury. Brian Ferlin will be the healthy scratch after a rough outing Thursday against the Flames.
Campbell is expected to play on the fourth line Saturday, though it’s unclear whether he or Maxime Talbot will center the group.
|03.07.15 at 1:06 am ET|
For about 10 minutes Friday, after the team practice on TD Garden ice, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli attempted to explain why he committed nearly $11 million of salary and cap space for Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.
“Torey on one year at 3.4 million, Reilly three years at 3.425 [million],” Chiarelli said. “Obviously there’s the contract in the past – beginning of the year. These are players we always liked and have a bright future for us. Term was important. It’s shorter term and gives us more flexibility and it gives them more flexibility as far as performing on a short term platform and becoming more of a fixture of us going forward.
“The one and two year terms were important to us. These were deals that came about, the ideas and the philosophies came out a little bit more after we signed the one year deals. Later in the winter and early spring we started’not spring but January and February we talked more. They worked very hard to bring together and these are two good, young players and two good young people.”
And they’re good people who won’t have to endure the frustration of sitting out of camp this summer because the team didn’t have enough cap space to sign them to contracts. Both Krug and Smith recalled Friday that uncomfortable feeling. Read the rest of this entry »
|03.07.15 at 12:42 am ET|
Milan Lucic has faith that things will turn out fine for the Bruins in the final month of the season.
He made that much clear after the team’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Flames Thursday night. That game opened a stretch of 11 games in 18 days for the Bruins, who are holding on for dear life in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot. Saturday, the Bruins host the Flyers, one of four teams that still has designs on catching Boston. Florida, Ottawa and New Jersey are also hopeful of making a run.
The Bruins enter with 72 points while the Flyers are four points back. Saturday would be a good place for Lucic and the Bruins to start finding their scoring touch. The Bruins had numerous chances to put away the Flames Thursday night, only to allow Calgary to tie the game twice, take the lead early in the third period and win it in the shootout.
“I mean we had two three-on-ones in the third period and we didn’t even end up with a shot on net,” Lucic said. “It seems like that’s been our biggest challenge this season is having that killer instinct and finishing off plays. It cost us again tonight when we had opportunities to’when we had the lead to extend the lead and when we made it three, three we had chances to win the game and we don’t bear down and gave them a chance to win it in the shootout. It’s no secret, we have to do a better job of winning games in the shootout.”
“I don’t know like I said its just having the confidence of scoring especially in the shootout there. Like you said, there’s no shootout in the playoffs and we’ve been a pretty good overtime team this year but we can’t bank on that right now. We still have a ways to go until the playoffs start and we got to make sure we earn our spot. Earn our playoff spot.”
Barring a late-season surge, the Bruins would open the playoffs on the road. Read the rest of this entry »