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Bruins looking for offense with just 6 goals scored during 5-game skid

03.25.16 at 1:21 am ET
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Ryan Spooner

Ryan Spooner

The Bruins have scored a total of six goals during a season-worst five-game losing streak.

And while, yes, the B’s could have had two more markers if the results of NHL video reviews worked out in their favor Wednesday in New York and Thursday at TD Garden, a Boston team that has averaged nearly three goals per game in 2015-16 is shooting blanks at just about the worst possible time.

“Unfortunately in this game there’s times you go through [in] a season where things just seem to be a little harder,” admitted coach Claude Julien. “We’re definitely not scoring at the pace that we were and certainly not a good time for that to happen. At the same time, we’re certainly not getting any breaks that are going to help us, either. It just seems that’s what happens when times are tough. Everything around you seems to go against you, so it’s a matter of staying strong. It’s a matter of staying positive. It’s a matter of being determined to make your own breaks here and turn this around. So, you know, this is not time to hang our heads. It’s the time to show, I guess, the character of our team as individuals and as a group.”

After Boston scored 18 goals during a 5-0-2 surge post-trade deadline, the most recent 15 periods of hockey have produced just one goal apiece from David Krejci, Loui Eriksson, Tyler Randell, Lee Stempniak, Frank Vatrano and Ryan Spooner.

Top goal-scorers Brad Marchand (34) and Patrice Bergeron (28) are suffering through seven- and eight-game droughts, respectively, and the Boston power play has gone bone dry with an 0-for-13 slide dating back to the team’s west coast departure on March 13th.

“Yeah, it’s tough,” said Marchand. “Ultimately we have to score goals and our power play has got come up big for us. And same five-on-five, we have to be able to score goals and create more opportunities. So we’ve got to figure that out.”

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An NHL coach texted Claude Julien ‘WTF’ after bad video review

03.24.16 at 10:22 pm ET
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Claude Julien said he was just as baffled as everybody else when a video review led officials to say there was no conclusive evidence of the puck crossing the goal line on what would have been a Patrice Bergeron goal Thursday night.

Furthermore, Julien said a coach from another team texted him about the play.

Said Julien: “I got another coach that texted me, and [it] was ‘WTF. How can that not be a goal?’ That’s coming from somebody who’s neutral.”

“I think you need to call the league because I can’t explain it either. I’m as baffled as you are right now, and I looked at it many times here before coming out here,” Julien said. “It looks like it’s in. It looks very conclusive.”

The goal would have tied the game at two goals apiece, but the Panthers ended up building on their lead with two more goals in an eventual 4-1 win.

Read More: Claude Julien,

5 things we learned as Bruins fall to Panthers for 5th straight loss

03.24.16 at 10:01 pm ET
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That was a disaster.

Playing in a game they probably needed to win if they wanted to push for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, the Bruins lost a defenseman to injury, struggled on the power play and fell victim to perhaps the worst video review flub yet. The end result was a 4-1 Panthers win at TD Garden, marking the only time in the team’s four meetings this season that Florida was victorious. The game also extended the Bruins’ season-worst losing streak to five games (0-5-0) and could have made Boston’s next seven games more about just making the playoffs than securing desired matchups.

The Bruins dominated the first period Thursday, holding a 15-5 edge in shots on goal, but the teams were scoreless through the first period. After Ryan Spooner scored his 13th goal of the season, the Panthers scored twice in the final seven minutes of the second.

While it seemed that Patrice Bergeron had tied the game at 8:03 of the third period, a lengthy review led to a surprising ruling that conclusive evidence was lacking.

The Panthers added to their shortly after on Jussi Jokinen’s 16th goal of the season, while Jonathan Huberdeau scored an empty-netter to put the game out of reach.

The Bruins did have Tuukka Rask in the lineup, as Boston’s starter returned after being pulled after a period Wednesday night due to illness.

The Panthers now lead the Bruins by five points and have eight games remaining to the Bruins’ seven. The Bruins will next play Saturday in Toronto. Boston sits third in the Atlantic Divison, but the Red Wings’ win over the Canadiens Thursday brought Detroit within one point of the B’s with a game in hand.

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Bill Belichick, David Ortiz, other Boston and national sports figures pay tribute to Claude Julien in video

03.24.16 at 7:30 pm ET
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Prior to Thursday’s game against the Panthers, the Bruins held a ceremony honoring Claude Julien for becoming the all-time winningest coach in franchise history.

In addition to being given a watch and a trip to Disney World, Julien received a video tribute featuring several local and national sports figures, including Bill Belichick, Doc Rivers, Brad Stevens, Terry Francona, Mike Babcock and David Ortiz.

Here is the video, courtesy of the Bruins:

Bruins are early losers of Reilly Smith trade

03.24.16 at 12:58 pm ET
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Smith_Reilly_Jean-Yves Ahern_USAToday

Reilly Smith has 23 goals this season. (Jean-Yves Ahern/USA Today Sports)

When the Bruins traded Reilly Smith (along with Marc Savard’s contract) for the rights to Jimmy Hayes this summer, fans locally were probably happier to see Smith go than they were to see Hayes arrive.

A whipping boy for his lack of offensive consistency in his first two seasons with the Bruins, a potentially bad contract and, let’s face it, just being part of the Tyler Seguin trade, Smith’s time in Boston turned ugly before it mercifully ended on the opening day of free agency.

Well, Smith — who is still just 24 — is better than Hayes, and the move has worked out just fine for him.

“It’s a business. I didn’t really feel hurt when I got traded,” Smith said Thursday. “I think it’s just part of what happens in this league. You want to have a good season every year. I’ve been given a lot of opportunity here and it’s nice that I’ve been able to produce and help the team.”

Statistically, there really isn’t even a debate. In a nutshell: Smith does a lot more than Hayes despite having a much harder job.

The quick numbers: Smith has a career-best 23 goals, marking his second time in the last three seasons that he’s hit the 20-goal mark, while Hayes has 13. Much like Smith endured horrid slumps in Boston, Hayes has gone 12 games without a point and has just one goal in his last 19 games. Given that many of his goals are scored in front of the net, where more is left up to bounces, it should have been expected that Hayes’ goal output could have been in the low teens just as easily as it could have been in the low-20s.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Brandon Carlo to join Providence Bruins

03.24.16 at 11:34 am ET
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Defenseman Brandon Carlo will begin practicing with the Providence Bruins on Thursday, as the 2016 second-round pick’s season with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League has concluded.

The Bruins drafted the 6-foot-5 defenseman with the 37th overall pick of last June’s draft and signed him to his entry level contract in September. Carlo, a stay at home defenseman, had five goals and 22 assists for 27 points in 52 games with Tri-City this season, his third in the WHL.

Because the 19-year-0ld Carlo has a November birthday, he will be eligible to play next season in the AHL because he will turn 20 before Dec. 31.

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5 things we learned as Bruins lose 4th straight with loss to Rangers

03.23.16 at 10:56 pm ET
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Frank Vatrano

Frank Vatrano

For the first time this season the Bruins have lost four consecutive games, as they lost to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden by a final of 5-2 on Wednesday night.

All four losses during the B’s skid have occurred on the road, where Boston once had the league’s best record. After Wednesday night’s defeat the Bruins’ road record fell to 23-11-3, now third best in the NHL in standings points per game generated away from home.

The Bruins will return to the friendly confines Thursday night, hosting the Panthers at TD Garden.

With the loss, however, Florida now has a game in hand on Boston while maintaining a three-point lead for third place in the Atlantic Division standings.

In addition, the Bruins are just three points ahead of Detroit — currently in a non-playoff position — with the Red Wings also now having a game in hand on the B’s.

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