|03.13.15 at 2:10 pm ET|
Bruins forward Max Talbot joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss the team’s recent strong play. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Talbot joined the Bruins at the trade deadline. Since he arrived, the team is 4-1-0 after struggling in the month leading up to the deadline.
“[The Bruins are] a team that’s won before and that’s still very hungry to win,” Talbot said, adding: “We know what it takes to win and to be a good team, and that it’s crunch time. That’s the feeling you like to have. It’s not just, ‘OK, we win, let’s move on.’ It’s, ‘We can do better, let’s be better,’ and that’s obviously the sign of a great team.”
The Bruins are the fourth team that Talbot has played for in his 10-year NHL career.
“I didn’t really expect to be traded, it was kind of a surprise,” Talbot said, adding, “When I learned it was to Boston, I got pretty excited because of the team. I’ve competed for eight, nine years against the Bruins, and I don’t think there was one easy game.”
Talbot is not known as someone who shies away from confrontation on the ice. In the past, he has had several run-ins with current Bruins.
“I had a couple fights against [Gregory] Campbell before, I remember Chris Kelly as well, and you know, obviously a couple chirping matches against [Brad Marchand],” Talbot said, adding: “Usually the guys you get in battles with on the ice are usually the guys that are more welcoming.”
For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
|03.13.15 at 10:11 am ET|
The Bruins have finally hit their stride. And they couldn’t have picked a better time.
They’re even winning shootouts. After winning their first two shootouts of the season, they lost their next seven such contests, prompting their head coach to say shootouts “suck” and giving thanks they end with the regular season. Thursday’s 3-2 shootout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning ended the skid and gave many inside the dressing room and organization reason to hope.
Their critics will point to the up and down play of key players like Dougie Hamilton, who, by his own admission, had an off night Thursday. The critics will say the Bruins, even during the four-game winning streak, haven’t displayed the consistent 60-minute-plus effort it takes to win in the playoffs.
But what the Bruins showed Thursday night was character and grit. No one showed it more than Gregory Campbell, who took a puck to his right eyebrow early in the first period, necessitating no fewer than eight stitches. It was nothing compared to Game 3 of the 2013 Eastern finals against Pittsburgh, when he gave up his lower right leg on an Evgeni Malkin slapshot. Later in the period, when he returned to the game, he was mashed into the corner boards but got up only a little worse for the wear.
“When you win, things look a lot better,” Campbell said. “There have been times when we’ve played some pretty good hockey and for whatever reason haven’t gotten points. Winning hockey games makes everything look better. We’ve gone the right direction and I think it’s been a process this year. Sometimes there’s not answers for everything. You have expectations coming into the year and for whatever reason, we had a slow start and it’s been well documented that we’ve stumbled a little bit along the way.
“But we’ve continued to try and improve our game, find solutions and stick together as a team. The important thing to us is not what’s happened but the way things are going. This is the important time of the year and we need wins and that’s reason to be optimistic for our team because when you play important games and get wins, that’s playoff-like hockey. That’s a positive we can build on with our team.”
Wins are wins and Thursday was the seventh straight time the Bruins took the ice and gained points. Boston has won four straight, 6-of-7 and 7-of-9 since their six-game skid that put their playoff position in serious peril. Now, the Bruins have 80 points, six points better than ninth-place Florida with 15 games left. Read the rest of this entry »
|03.13.15 at 1:04 am ET|
For Claude Julien, his opinion of shootouts hasn’t changed, but he likes to win, so Thursday night’s victory over the Lightning will do just fine.
Earning just their third shootout victory in 10 tries this season, the Bruins extended their win streak to four games, edging Tampa Bay out in the skills competition with goals from Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Tuukka Rask posted 35 saves in the win and stoned both members of the Lightning he faced in the shootout.
And while getting that second point was big for a Bruins team that’s gaining ground in terms of playoff seeding, a couple of penalties in overtime displayed the probable future alternative to the shootout. With Chris Kelly off for holding and Lightning center Alex Killorn to the box for embellishment, the teams were left with three skaters apiece.
This situation isn’t unfamiliar to those playing at the AHL level. Teams needing more than regulation have a seven-minute overtime period where the first four minutes are played four-on-four, and the final three are played three-on-three. If all that doesn’t decide it, then the shootout is used.
Guys like David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner, who spent time in Providence this season, have experienced three-on-three play more so than their NHL counterparts. In fact, some of the most memorable chances for the Bruins in that stretch of play were created by the duo.
With Spooner by his side, Pastrnak was able to turn two chances on netminder Ben Bishop within the span of eight seconds, the first of which was flicked wide and the second was a backhand that required the Lightning goalie to make a stop.
But for guys who haven’t necessarily had that chance, it was definitely different.
“I was a little nervous out there actually,” Marchand said. “There was so much room you almost don’t know what to do with it, but it was fun for sure.”
|03.12.15 at 9:49 pm ET|
Claude Julien doesn’t like to see a game end in a shootout, but at least he saw a 3-2 win for his team.
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand both beat Ben Bishop after a wild overtime as the Bruins improved to 35-22-10 on the season. They now sit just two points behind the Capitals for the first wild card spot with one game in hand.
That wasn’t the extent of the post-regulation excitement. After saying Thursday morning that he wanted to see three-on-three overtime next season, Julien got his wish there as well.
With Chris Kelly getting called for a hook on Alex Killorn and the Tampa forward getting an embellishment call, the B’s and Lightning got some shortened three-on-three play before a Matt Bartkowski holding penalty sent the play to four-on-three.
David Pastrnak, who scored earlier in the game, had a couple of chances during three-on-three play, missing the net on one and getting robbed by Ben Bishop on the other.
Steven Stamkos was then given a 10-minute game misconduct when his stick went flying into the stands/bench area. That disqualified him from participating in the shootout.
The teams will next play March 22 in Tampa.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday:
Gregory Campbell has had his fair share of painful performances this season, but Thursday was literally painful for the veteran center.
Campbell had to leave the ice after a pass from Torey Krug went off a stick and up into Campbell’s face. He was bleeding significantly on the ice and missed most of the period. Though he returned 15 minutes later, he went into the boards head-first off a hit from Nikita Kucherov and was very slow to leave the ice.
Campbell finished the period with just three shifts and was injured in two of them. He was on the bench for the start of the second period and stayed in the game.
|03.12.15 at 3:02 pm ET|
The Islanders have reportedly signed former Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk to a seven-year, $42 million extension. Boychuk tweeted that he re-signed, with Newsday’s Arthur Staple providing the financial details.
Yes! Yes! Yes! For seven more years!!
— Johnny B (@joboych) March 12, 2015
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) March 12, 2015
Boychuk, 31, will carry a $6 million cap hit until he is 38.
The Bruins traded Boychuk to New York prior to the season due to cap constraints, receiving Philadelphia’s second-round pick in 2015 and the Islanders’ 2016 second-round as compensation. B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli said following the trade that the Bruins had not tried to negotiate a new contract with Boychuk before trading him.
In 59 games with the Islanders, Boychuk has established career highs in goals (seven), assists (25) and points (32).
|03.12.15 at 1:48 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to discuss the Bruins’ recent hot stretch and to look ahead to possible playoff opponents. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Bruins have rattled off wins in five of their last six games, and it now seems more likely they will make the playoffs, as they currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, six points ahead of the Panthers. When it comes to possible playoff opponents, McGuire thinks the Bruins should actually want the Montreal Canadiens.
“I watched what happened with Henrik Lundqvist last year and there are a lot of similarities,” McGuire said. “I can’t believe nobody in the Boston media has brought this up. I watched Henrik Lundqvist go into Montreal and exorcised so many demons for him. The Rangers couldn’t win forever in Montreal, but Henrik Lundqvist found a way and they eventually won against the Canadiens in the Eastern Confercence Final last year.
“Yes, they didn’t have Carey Price on the Montreal side because of an injury after a collision with Chris Kreider, but Montreal because they are offensively challenged right now and they didn’t really address that at the trade deadline. I know they tried to, but they didn’t want to dismantle good portions of their roster to do that because they still think they are a team that is building for the future, which I agree with them on.
“I would prefer Montreal if I were Boston just because I saw what Lundqvist did last year. I think [Tuukka] Rask could do the same thing. I think quite frankly because they are offensively challenged Montreal would be a better matchup than the Rangers or Tampa.”
McGuire feels the most important player on the roster is goaltender Tuukka Rask.
“I think the most important thing is if Tuukka can hold it up,” he said. “If he can play like he did in Ottawa the other night, Boston will be a very, very difficult out as an eight seed. I would not want to be the No. 1 seed and play them in the first round.”
Overall, McGuire feels good about the Bruins because he feels they now have four lines, especially with the addition of Max Talbot at the trade deadline.
“I feel really good about the Bruins,” McGuire said. “I spent the weekend in Boston last weekend watching them come from behind and beat Philadelphia and then do a really good job, especially with their special teams, against Detroit on Sunday. The biggest thing to me is the coaching staff is sound. The leadership of the team is sound. Tuukka Rask played a tremendous game against Ottawa the other night. He was a big difference for why the team won. Sometimes you don’t have your best game. What I am impressed with is this team now has four lines. With the addition of Max Talbot this is a four line team again. Really important to their well-being moving forward.”
|03.12.15 at 1:39 pm ET|
In the shocker of all shockers, Bruins coach Claude Julien said Tuesday that he hopes three-on-three overtime play replaces the shootout.
Julien, who last week said shootouts “suck” expressed hope that next week’s general managers meetings in Toronto will further the move away from the shootout. It’s expected that the league will explore playing three-on-three in the event that the game isn’t settled in four-on-four overtime play.
“Personally I’m more of a team-oriented coach I guess, which I always believe that this is a team sport and should be decided by a team,” Julien said. “I never, never have been [in favor of the shootout] and I’m just being honest about it. I know it’s a great show and I know that we’re here for our fans. If the fans like it that much and they keep it in then I have no issues, I’ll move along with it. But if you ask me my personal opinion, I’d like to see it decided in a way that its more than just one player against a goaltender.
“Whether its four-on-four or three-on-three, it’s still a group. I think that’s the way games should be decided. I’m still one of those people that still believes that if you can’t decide it with four-on-four or three-on-three then a tie should still be good. For some reason we’ve decided that there needs to be a winner every game. Sometimes a lot of people can go home really happy having seen a game that was well played, that was tight at the end of it, was exciting to watch vs people going home feeling like they didn’t do a great job because they lost in the shootout. It really tarnishes the outcome of the whole game. That’s my personal opinion on it.”
Four-on-four followed by three-on-three and then a shootout is currently being used to settle overtime games in the AHL.