|01.17.15 at 11:16 pm ET|
Normally a team wouldn’t be too disappointed with one loss after a five-game winning streak, but considering that the Bruins are still fighting for their playoff lives and the Blue Jackets are out of the playoff picture, Saturday’s 3-1 loss was pretty disappointing.
“I’m disappointed,” Claude Julien said after the game. “I don’t care, six wins in a row, whatever, we just can’t afford to have those kind of outings. Disappointed that we didn’t come to play harder than we did tonight and we wanted to take the easy way out. When we do that, we’re not successful.
“We’re a north-south type of team, we backcheck hard, we forecheck hard, and we make things happen by taking pucks to the net. Tonight we weren’t willing to do that. When we got into the battle you could tell they wanted it more than us. We’ve gotta accept the blame and the responsibility. We weren’t good enough tonight and we shouldn’t accept that.”
The Bruins did have 35 shots on goal in the game, but as multiple players pointed out, they didn’t do enough to make those saves tough ones for Columbus goalie Curtis McElhinney. There was a lot of settling for shots from the outside, not setting screens and not being in position to get rebounds. That lack of getting to the so-called dirty areas seemed to be more frustrating for Julien and the Bruins than the loss itself.
Technically, the Bruins can actually afford the loss. They’re still ahead of the Panthers, who suffered a shootout loss to Edmonton Saturday night, for the eighth and final playoff spot. In terms of points, the B’s have a four-point edge with the Panthers holding three games in hand. In terms of points percentage, it’s .587 for the B’s to .581 for the Panthers. The Bruins also hold a 22-15 edge in regulation and overtime wins, which could matter for tiebreak purposes if it comes to that.
The Bruins weren’t going to keep their winning streak going forever, but suffering a letdown and having it snapped against a non-playoff team doesn’t sit well. The Bruins will look to get back to playing the right way during a mini-road trip to Dallas and Colorado this week before heading into the all-star break.
|01.17.15 at 10:59 pm ET|
Given all of the attention that’s been placed on Pastrnak prior to the Bruins deciding to keep him and the success that the trio has had, the goose-egg from Boston’s trio actually is somewhat notable, really only because it’s the first time the line hasn’t been very good since being united.
Pastrnak, who has now officially accrued one season of service time in the eyes of the NHL and NHLPA (Saturday was 10th NHL game this season, which means this season is officially the first of his three-year entry level contract) and his linemates came down earth against the Blue Jackets, overpassing and losing the possession battle in Boston’s first regulation loss in 10 games.
“A lot of passing, a lot of missed passes,” Lucic said. “Maybe trying to do too much and didn’t play that north-south type of game that gave us success when we were put together originally.
“We have to know night-in, night-out as a line that in order to be successful and get results and contribute to the team, that there’s a certain way that we need to play. That’s a straight-ahead game and using our speed and obviously using our skill, but when we’re moving straight ahead and using all those things, that’s when we’re going to have success.”
The line nearly scored in the first period when David Krejci threw a puck on net from the top of the right circle that bounced off Pastrnak’s skates in front with half the net open. Pastrnak whiffed on his shot attempt as the puck glided to Blue Jackets netminder Curtis McElhinney. That stood as the line’s best chance, though Pastrnak did draw a penalty in the final minute of the period when he was tripped by Scott Hartnell.
But that was the extent of the good for the line offensively. Though Lucic tied for the team lead with five shots on goal, the Czech Davids combined for zero. Saturday was Pastrnak’s first game without a shot on goal since his NHL debut on Nov. 24.
Since coming up, Pastrnak has been a standout player. He’s found instant chemistry with Krejci, whose vision and creativity could make him a 30-goal scorer in future seasons. Yet there will be speed bumps along the way, such as when Pastrnak took a drop pass from Krejci entering the zone in the first period and, rather than shooting or finding Krejci again, forced a n0-look pass across the ice to Lucic that would have earned him an intentional grounding penalty in the NFL.
“That line didn’t do much for us tonight; nobody did as a matter of fact,” Julien said. “We need David to use his speed on the outside; we need Krech to make sure to use his speed on the outside and find him. If you’re going to be cute and try and overpass, you’re not going to get the results. That’s not how we’ve had success in the past. I don’t think that’s how we’re going to get success in the future.”
One telling takeaway that should bode well for this line’s future: In eight periods together, the Lucic-Krejci-Pastrnak trio has yet to get scored on. They have four goals for and none against.
|01.17.15 at 10:38 pm ET|
Another Bruin may be hearing from the NHL‘s Department of Player Safety. In the second period of Saturday night’s game against Columbus, Carl Soderberg caught Matt Calvert with a shoulder to the head as he tried to throw a hit, something Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards was quick to point out after the game.
“I thought the hit [Calvert] took in the second period was a shot right to his head,” Richards said.
Soderberg said he didn’t remember the play when asked about it after the game. Calvert was not made available to the media because he has been battling an illness.
Soderberg has no previous history with supplemental discipline.
GIF: Soderberg hit on Calvert pic.twitter.com/65JAwXog8P
‘ Steph (@myregularface) January 18, 2015
|01.17.15 at 9:37 pm ET|
The Bruins’ season-best win streak ended at five games Saturday as the Blue Jackets broke a 1-1 tie with 3:03 and added an empty netter to secure a 3-1 victory at TD Garden.
Entering Saturday, the Bruins had not lost in regulation in nine games, with the Blue Jackets having handed them their most recent regulation loss on Dec. 27.
The B’s will play the Stars in Dallas on Tuesday and the Avalanche in Colorado on Wednesday before breaking for the All-Star Break.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
PAILLE LOOKS GOOD IN MARCHAND’S PLACE
Paille, who skated on Bergeron’s line with Milan Lucic for a few games recently, did not look out of place in his return to the top six. The veteran winger had a game-best plus-15 Corsi over the first two period.
The demotion of Paille to the Bergeron meant that Jordan Caron re-entered the lineup to play in Paille’s usual spot alongside Gregory Campbell and Craig Cunningham. Late in the third period, Claude Julien flipped Paille and Campbell.
Speaking of suspensions, for the first time ever, that could be in question with Carl Soderberg. The Boston center caught Matt Calvert with a shoulder to the head in the second period that, though uncalled on the ice, could be reviewed by the Department of Player Safety.
RASK STAYS SHARP
Coming off his second shutout of the season Thursday, Rask had allowed only a Ryan Johansen power play goal into the third period Saturday. The Bruins caught some bad luck when Milan Lucic‘s attempt to intercept a Brandon Dubninsky pass got to Cam Atkinson, resulting in a shot and rebound that Calvert would bury.
Rask had to deal with quite the scramble in front late in the second period, but the B’s were able to survive thanks in large part to Jared Boll shooting the puck over the net with Rask trying to recover and multiple bodies diving in front.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOT-SO-SPECIAL
In addition to the penalty kill allowing Johansen’s goal in the first period, Boston struggled on the power play.
The B’s went 0-for-2 on the night on the man advantage, with the first unit struggling to enter and stay in the zone following a Nick Foligno penalty for hooking. The Bruins likely spent well less than half that power play in the offensive zone.
On the subject of penalties, the Bruins caught some tough breaks on calls. Dougie Hamilton was called on a ticky-tack hook in the first period, while Chris Kelly was the only player to receive a penalty during a second-period play in which Calvert held his stick and Kelly took a shot at Foligno.
KELLY STAYS PRODUCTIVE
When Chris Kelly sent a pass out front that went off Loui Eriksson’s stick and then to Carl Soderberg on Soderberg’s first-period goal, it stood as Kelly’s first assist in three games, but if you go back a month, you’ll see that Kelly’s been rather productive the whole time.
The assist gave Kelly 12 points in his last 16 games, gibing him .75 points per game since Dec. 16.
|01.17.15 at 11:43 am ET|
Speaking to the media Saturday for the first time since slew-footing Rangers forward Derick Brassard, Brad Marchand fessed up to what he called a “dangerous” infraction and said he considers himself fortunate to have not received a bigger suspension than the two-game ban he received.
“It could be worse,” Marchand said. “It could be three or four, so I’ve got to be happy that it’s not.”
Marchand has been outspoken against slew-footing in the past. Though he was fined during the 2011-12 season for doing it, he had some harsh words for Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner during the 2013 season after Skinner slew-footed Patrice Bergeron.
So why, then, would Marchand then kick a player’s right foot out and pull him down to the ice in textbook slew-foot fashion? In doing so, Marchand contradicted his past words, but said Saturday it wasn’t entirely intentional.
“Going into the play, it wasn’t what I was trying to do,” he said. “I was just trying to make a hard hit. I was trying to throw him backwards, but I didn’t intend to kick his feet out. Things happen. It’s a quick game. Plays in hockey are going to happen that are questionable, and you’ve got to live with it.”
Marchand said he did not feel his reputation or past played a factor in what is now his third career suspension. He called his reputation “a grave I’ve dug for myself,” but said that he had made efforts in recent seasons to eliminate dirty plays from his game.
“Maybe it played into it a little bit, but I have been trying to play within the rules and change my game,” he said. “Again, I play a hard game and I’m going to do things that are questionable at times. I’ve got to live it. The way that they discipline me, I’ve got to live with that.”
Marchand will miss Saturday’s game against the Blue Jackets and Tuesday’s game in Dallas.
|01.16.15 at 5:26 pm ET|
Brad Marchand was suspended two games for slew-footing Derick Brassard during Thursday night’s game against the Rangers.
Marchand will miss Saturday’s game against the Blue Jackets and Tuesday’s game in Dallas before being eligible to return against the Avalanche on Wednesday in Boston’s final game before the All-Star break.
For the video explanation of the suspension, click here.
“Marchand both kicks out Brassard’s skates and drives him backward to the ice with force,” the video explained. “What makes this play even more dangerous is its proximity to the boards.”
In anticipation of the suspension, the Bruins skated left wing Daniel Paille on Patrice Bergeron‘s line with Marchand and Reilly Smith. With Marchand suspended, the Bruins can move Paille up and play Jordan Caron on the fourth line in Paille’s usual spot.
This is the third suspension of Marchand’s career and second punishment for slew-footing. He was fined $2,500 in the 2011-12 season for a slew-foot on then- Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen. Marchand was suspended for elbowing R.J. Umberger during the 2010-11 season and got a five-game ban for a low-bridge hit on Sami Salo the next season.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|01.16.15 at 1:08 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Brad Marchand has a phone hearing with the NHL‘s Department of Player Safety to discuss his slew-foot on Rangers forward Derick Brassard in Thursday’s win over the Rangers.
Claude Julien declined to comment on the play, only sharing that Marchand had a hearing. Perhaps in anticipation of a potential Marchand suspension, Julien skated left wing Daniel Paille on Patrice Bergeron‘s line in practice.
The lines were as follows:
Marchand has been suspended twice in his NHL career, as he was given two games for a hit on R.J. Umberger during the 2010-11 season and five games for a low-bridge hit on Sami Salo in the 2011-12 season. He was fined $2,500 for a slew-foot earlier that season.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
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