|02.10.15 at 11:07 pm ET|
Give David Krejci credit for this much: He’s not sugar-coating the Bruins’ power-play effort of late.
After not only failing to score Tuesday night, the Bruins allowed their first two shorthanded goals of the season at a horrible time, and fell to the Stars, 5-3, at TD Garden.
The first shorthanded marker by Dallas came directly as a result of a sloppy, lazy pass from Krejci that never got to Torey Krug along the Dallas blue line. It was picked off by Vernon Fiddler, who beat Niklas Svedberg up top for a 1-0 Dallas lead. After the Bruins battled back to tie the game, 3-3, it was another shorthanded goal that was Boston’s undoing, as Trevor Daley skated past a standing Krejci and beat Tuukka Rask. The Bruins entered the game as the only team in the NHL not to allow a goal while on the power play.
The Bruins, who scored a shorthanded goal of their own from Patrice Bergeron, did manage nine shots on the man advantage in four chances but no goals. What gives?
“Just sucks, that’s the only word I’ve got,” Krejci said. “We’ve been working on it in practices but it’s no good, so that’s where we’re at right now.”
Krejci had no disagreement with Claude Julien‘s assessment that the Bruins were plain sloppy on the power play at critical times.
“One hundred percent. I mean, it’s not just a goal against us, there’s more things to it,” Krejci said. “We’re just not playing well on the power play, we have to practice way more. Maybe we have to change something, but that’s up to the coaches. We just have to find a way to be better, and it has to start in practices.”
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|02.10.15 at 9:42 pm ET|
Although they scored three goals for the first time in four games and threw 44 shots at Kari Lehtonen, the Bruins couldn’t find an equalizer in the third period of what ended up being a sloppy 5-3 loss to the Stars at TD Garden on Tuesday (box).
The defeat was Boston’s third regulation loss in four games, marking the first time they’ve had such a stretch in almost two months.
Boston got goals from David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Dougie Hamilton, but shoddy power-play work and an unfruitful third period meant an unfruitful result. The B’s fell to 28-19-17 on the season, and with Florida beating Anaheim Tuesday, the race for the final playoff spot has closed four points with the Panthers holding two games in hand.
Tyler Seguin, who was sent back from Dallas’ morning skate with the flu, played and recorded no points.
The Bruins have a five-game road trip ahead of them that will begin Friday in Vancouver.
Here are four more things we learned Tuesday:
The Bruins got an injury scare early when Adam McQuaid laid a hit on Antione Roussel in the neutral zone. The Stars left wing clearly didn’t like it, as he responded by cross-checking McQuaid in the throat.
McQuaid went down to the ice and was holding his throat area before eventually getting up. Roussel, meanwhile was assessed a five-minute cross-checking major as well as a game misconduct.
McQuaid left the bench and went to the training room but returned to the game following the power play, which, as explained below, was a disaster.
|02.10.15 at 1:51 pm ET|
The Bruins have hit a bit of a snag with losses in two of their last three games, but things have generally been looking up. They’re winners of nine of their last 13 games and have points in 13 of their last 16 games. Lots of players should be encouraged.
In the case of Daniel Paille, however, it’s hard to tell what to feel. On the snakebitten scale, Paille rarely registers below an 8, but recent games have seen him break that scale and then spill glue all over the place trying to rebuild it. He still has just one goal in 53 games this season.
“I know if I had 10 goals by now, I wouldn’t be as mad as I am now,” Paille said Tuesday morning, “but for me it’s just about trying to move on and focus on the next play.”
The fact that multiple Bruins scoring chances have been punctuated by Paille flubs ‘ missing the net, shooting the puck over the net, falling down at center ice with no one but the goaltender in front of him ‘ has undoubtedly been a point of frustration for both Paille and the Bruins, but one shouldn’t overlook the fact that he’s creating chances. Missed opportunities don’t come unless there’s an opportunity.
“It’s encouraging to see him get those chances,” Claude Julien said. “It’s maybe frustrating more for him than it is for us to miss those opportunities because he’s had some really good ones and could have provided us with some important goals.”
The Bruins have moved Paille around in their lineup in recent games. The last two have seen him go from his usual fourth-line role with Gregory Campbell and Craig Cunningham to the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Among other missed opportunities, Saturday saw him send the puck over a practically open net after receiving a pass from Patrice Bergeron on an odd-man rush and Sunday saw him trip up at center ice on what would have been a breakaway against Carey Price.
To make matters worse, Paille, a free agent at season’s end, is playing for a new contract. In 53 games this season, Paille’s lone goal came at the end of a shift on Nov. 21 against the Blue Jackets. Considering he scored 10 goals in the lockout-shortened season and had nine a season ago despite missing 10 games, it will be hard for potential employers to pay him to be anything more than a fourth-liner.
With more chances, that could change. It won’t unless the pucks actually start going in, however.
|02.10.15 at 12:33 pm ET|
Tyler Seguin was sent back to the team hotel and missed Tuesday’s morning skate with a flu bug that is going around Dallas’ team. Coach Lindy Ruff said the team is ‘hopeful’ that Seguin will be able to play Tuesday night against the Bruins.
Should he play, Tuesday will mark the second time that Seguin has played at TD Garden since being traded to Dallas in the summer of 2013. Seguin is flourishing offensively with the Stars, as he is tied for the NHL lead with 59 points and is third with 29 goals.
The Bruins had no absences from morning skate and will ice the same forwards and defensemen that they did Sunday against the Canadiens. Niklas Svedberg, who is back from a four-game conditioning loan in Providence, will make the start for Boston. Tuukka Rask has started the last 11 games for the Bruins, going 7-3-1.
The anticipated lineup for the B’s is as follows:
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|02.09.15 at 11:59 am ET|
The Bruins announced Monday that they have recalled Niklas Svedberg from a conditioning loan in Providence. Malcolm Subban has been returned to Providence.
Svedberg, who was sent to Providence on Jan. 30 to get some playing time while Tuukka Rask received the starts in Boston, played four games for Providence during the stint. He went 3-1-0 with a 9.11 save percentage and 2.76 goals-against average.
The move came as no surprise Monday, as conditioning stints can’t be longer than two weeks and the Bruins begin a five-game road trip later this week. Subban did not play for Boston during what was his first NHL recall.
|02.09.15 at 9:40 am ET|
For as much as Bruins fans might be frustrated with the unfinished chances that Daniel Paille continues to generate, no play summarizes Boston’s frustration this season with the Canadiens than the one in the opening minute of the third period Sunday night.
Dougie Hamilton had the puck in the high slot and appeared ready to take aim on the impenetrable Carey Price, with the Canadiens leading, 1-0. But Zdeno Chara, reading David Krejci circling around the net, collided with Hamilton. The back-check of his own teammate gave Dale Weise the puck. Weise found a sprinting Max Pacioretty at center ice and Pacioretty beat Tuukka Rask between the pads for a 2-0 Canadiens lead.
“That was my bad,” Chara said. “I saw David going around the net and I moved in and that’s something that I shouldn’t probably – usually you have the crossing defenseman moving in. I may have misread it and it ended up costing us. I’m taking blame for that because that’s something I should be more patient with and maybe take a look. Dougie [Hamilton] was in the right spot, David made the right play and, I don’t know, I just thought that I would have a chance to move in but that’s not the way we play.”
“I saw him last second,” Hamilton said of Chara. “I don’t know, I haven’t really seen it yet. I don’t know, just a bad bounce, miscommunication, and it results in a goal.”
Claude Julien did see it very clearly and left no doubt that he felt badly for Rask. It was his goalie who saved Chara in the first period when he lost a puck at the blue line and turned away a chance from Jacob De La Rose. In total, Rask stopped 31 of 33 shots but fell to 3-13-3 all time in the regular season against Montreal. Read the rest of this entry »
|02.09.15 at 9:12 am ET|
Sooner or later, the Bruins will have to find a way to solve Carey Price.
On Sunday night, the league’s top goalie stonewalled the Bruins for a fourth time this season, stopping 34 of 35 shots in a 3-1 win over the Bruins that gave Montreal a clean sweep of the four-game season series. What does it mean to Price?
“That’s what they are. They’re a really good team, well-structured,” Price said. “They work hard. They’ve got all the characteristics of a good playoff team, and I don’t doubt that if we want to get to our ultimate goal, we’ll see them again.”
In those four games, Price has allowed just six goals, turning aside 113 of the 119 shots he’s faced. On Sunday, he admitted he was a little bit lucky to go along with being very good. The best example of that was in the second period when Loui Eriksson fired a shot on goal from the left circle after he left his crease. The puck hit his stick and popped straight up in the air and into his glove.
Then came his two saves in the same period on the tough-luck Daniel Paille. One was a kick save on Paille, who was right on the doorstep and took a pass from Torey Krug but could not finish. The other was a stick save on a shot from Paille from the right circle.
“Lucky. I don’t even think it was going in, to be honest,” Price said of the second Paille chance.
In the first period, Craig Cunningham had a chance in the low slot with Price again scrambling in the crease. But there was Michael Bournival there to get a piece of it before Price could get back in position.
“Absolutely, yeah. We had some guys bailing me out,” Price said. “That’s what it’s all about. We’re a committed team to blocking shots, and battling in that blue paint, and tonight it paid off in a close one.”
The flip side of this is alarming to the Bruins, especially coach Claude Julien.
“I don’t think we made Carey Price‘s night real hard,” Julien said. “He didn’t have to move much. He just stood there, stopped the shots, so those are areas that weren’t good enough, and in order to beat this team that really gets up for us our best players have to be our best players and we didn’t have that tonight.”
How do the Bruins go about making things tougher?
“Traffic,” captain Zdeno Chara said. “It’s pretty obvious I think. I don’t think there’s any goalie in the league that likes to have traffic in front of him. We didn’t do that probably consistently for the whole night.”
“Like every goalie you have to get in front,” added fellow blue liner Dennis Seidenberg. “If the goalie doesn’t see the puck he can’t stop them or he can’t make a save. There are going to loose pucks and we just have to get there in front of him and then get those second chance opportunities and that has been missing in the past.”
The Bruins have two months to find what’s been missing against Price.