|10.09.14 at 10:13 pm ET|
The Bruins didn’t have the puck enough to avoid a 2-1 loss to the Red Wings Thursday at Joe Louis Arena.
The Bruins didn’t get their first shot on goal until 12:01 of the first period, but fortunately for them, it went in for Patrice Bergeron‘s first goal of the season. Bergeron intercepted a Jonathan Ericsson pass in the Detroit zone, took a couple of strides towards the net and ripped a shot over the glove of Jimmy Howard to give Boston a 1-0 lead.
The Red Wings would continue to dominate possession until Justin Abdelkader tied it 3:52 into the second period. Gustav Nyquist would make it 2-1 at 14:46 of the second on a power play goal off a pass from Darren Helm after Craig Cunningham struggled to get the puck out of the zone.
The B’s survived an injury scare from Bergeron, who left the ice after his first shift of the second period after hitting the boards oddly. Following the game, Claude Julien told reporters that Bergeron’s absence was a result of the B’s following the league’s concussion testing protocol. Bergeron ended up being OK, returning to the game 13 minutes later but he taking a slashing penalty that led to Nyquist’s goal.
The B’s got a break late in the game when Johan Franzen elbowed Bergeron at 17:26, but Chara was penalized for goaltender interference 48 seconds into the Bruins’ power play. Up until Chara’s penalty, the Bruins went with the aggressive move of pulling Tuukka Rask to give them a 6-on-4 advantage.
Boston mustered only 17 shots on goal in the game.
Here are some observations from the game:
– The Bruins squandered a good opportunity when, 41 seconds into 4-on-4 play that followed Brad Marchand embellishing a Henrik Zetterberg call, Tomas Tatar went off for tripping Kevan Miller to give the Bruins a 1:19 4-on-3. With more space in the offensive zone, the B’s foursome of Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Ryan Spooner and Reilly Smith fell victim to overpassing, most notably from Spooner, who got lots of pucks sent his way low in the zone but dished rather than going to the net.
The B’s wasted another power play when Brendan Smith was sent off for slashing Chris Kelly. Boston had no shots on goal during the ensuing man advantage.
– Jimmy Howard robbed Brad Marchand‘s wrist shot from the right circle just under midway through the third period off a nice pass from Reilly Smith. Marchand also rang iron on Boston’s final power play in the closing minutes. The Bruins’ chances were few and far between Thursday, with Marchand’s bids among their better chances in the third.
– The Bruins’ lineup was as follows:
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Lucic – Spooner – Fraser
Paille – Cunningham – Robins
Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug – Kevan Miller
|10.09.14 at 5:14 pm ET|
The Bruins recalled Jordan Caron on Thursday, with the 23-year-old winger “re-joining” the team in Detroit.
Caron was technically sent to Providence prior to Tuesday’s roster deadline, but general manager Peter Chiarelli had said earlier in the day that the team would be making temporary paper transactions as a means of maximizing potential cap space for the season using the long-term injury exception.
As such, AHLers Malcolm Subban and Brian Ferlin were “sent back” to Providence as part of Thursday’s transactions.
The Bruins placed Caron and Craig Cunningham on waivers Saturday, with both players going unclaimed. That allowed the Bruins flexibility to send them back and forth between Boston and Providence 30 days from them clearing without having to be put on waivers again. If they play 10 games in that span, they would again require waivers to be moved.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|10.09.14 at 1:52 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his first weekly appearance of the season Thursday on Middays with MFB, following Wednesday night’s Bruins opener. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
McGuire said there is reason to believe the Bruins, who opened with a 2-1 victory over the Flyers, will be able to overcome the losses of Jarome Iginla and Johnny Boychuk and put together a season similar to 2013-14, when they had the best record in the NHL before falling in the second round of the playoffs to the Canadiens.
“They have a healthy Chris Kelly, I think that makes a big difference,” McGuire said. “Carl Soderberg is a ton better, you saw that last night. I think Loui Eriksson will be a ton better this year. Dougie Hamilton, even though he had a couple of turnovers, you could see when he really amped his game up he was very good. Having Dennis Seidenberg back makes them better. Tuukka Rask is a year more mature.
“I think they’re a lot better in a lot of areas. I think they’re the best team in the Eastern Conference. I’m not changing on that; I won’t change even when we’re on Game 40, barring injuries, obviously. I think this team is extremely good.
“I like the energy of a young player like Craig Cunningham. I love the energy of Bobby Robins. They obviously got last night done without David Krejci and Gregory Campbell. This is a really good team. They’re really a good team, and they’re going to be a ton of fun to watch.”
McGuire said he saw lots of promising things from the opener.
“I thought Tuukka when he had to be was really good,” he said. “I thought Kevan Miller played a solid, physical game. I like the way Torey Krug started to jump into the rush. And I like the way that the Bruins defensemen really held the offensive blue line. And probably more importantly than anything else they’re much more aggressive offensively. I know it didn’t translate because I thought Steve Mason from Philadelphia played a great job so the scoreboard’s not indicative of that. But by and large they’re a much more aggressive offensive team, and I think that’s really important for them.”
Looking at the Eastern Conference, McGuire said the Bruins’ biggest challenge might come from the Lightning.
“I think Tampa Bay’s a very good team, and I know a lot of people are talking about them, but I would look out for the Tampa Bay Lightning. I would be a little bit nervous about them,” McGuire said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how everything translates in Pittsburgh, because it is a little bit of a different roster, it’s a different coaching philosophy going from Danny Bylsma to Mike Johnston. So we’ll see how that plays out. … I don’t know if there’s a team outside of Tampa and maybe Pittsburgh that’s going to be able to play and have enough depth to play against Boston. Boston’s just that good. Montreal’s really good, I just don’t know if they’re big enough to play against Boston when Boston’s healthy. Boston’s a really, really good team.”
|10.09.14 at 12:23 am ET|
In theory, Wednesday night’s season opener between the Bruins and Flyers should have given us a great back-and-forth battle between two of the NHL‘s best centers. Patrice Bergeron and Claude Giroux both finished in the top five in Hart Trophy voting last season, and their lines were matched against each other for most of the game Wednesday night.
But instead of that great battle, what we got was a total beatdown in favor of the Bruins. Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith dominated Giroux, Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek all game long, rendering one of the best players in the league virtually invisible.
Bergeron won 10 of the 12 faceoffs he took against Giroux and ended up with a plus-16 Corsi (22 shot attempts for, 6 against), according to hockeystats.ca, while Giroux finished the night with a minus-18 Corsi (6 attempts for, 24 against). Bergeron and his linemates combined for seven shots on goal, while Giroux and his managed just two. It seemed like every time the two lines were on the ice, the puck was in the Flyers’ zone, and the numbers reflect that.
“They take pride in being a better line than the line that they’re facing up against,” Claude Julien said. “It’s just a trait that they have. They worked hard. You have to give them credit, too, for how they checked against that line because it had a lot of potential to be dangerous offensively. But those guys did a pretty good job of taking away those opportunities.”
The key was winning battles. Bergeron is one of the best faceoff men in the NHL, but it’s not like he won all 10 of those faceoffs cleanly. Some of them required him outworking Giroux on a second or third attempt to win the puck back, and some of them required Marchand or Smith to jump in and beat the opponent to a loose puck.
Battles in the corner led to longer offensive-zone possessions. One of the best examples of this came with around 9:40 left in the second when Bergeron won a 1-on-1 battle in the corner to the left of the Flyers’ net. He came away with the puck and moved it back to Zdeno Chara at the left point. Chara then moved it over to Adam McQuaid, who sent a shot through a nice Smith screen, one that he was able to set by winning a battle for position. The shot didn’t go in, but it wasn’t an easy save either. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.08.14 at 10:03 pm ET|
After ending last season hurt, Chris Kelly began the Bruins’ 2014-15 season with the game-winning goal in the final minute of the team’s season-opener against the Flyers.
With the game tied at a goal apiece, Kelly banged a bouncing puck past Steve Mason to give the Bruins a 2-1 victory. Kelly had nine goals last season.
In a play seen many times a season ago, Reilly Smith went to the left side of the net and took a pass across the net from Carl Soderberg for a backdoor goal on the power play.
After a scoreless second period, the Flyers tied the game on a Sean Couturier goal that might have gone off Carl Soderberg’s stick. A Patrice Bergeron holding penalty minutes later put the Bruins in a right spot, but an effective kill (the B’s held the Flyers’ power play quiet on three power plays), kept the game knotted at one.
Tuukka Rask made 19 saves on the night for the B’s.
Here are some takeaways from the game:
– In a matchup of top-five finishers in 2013-14 Hart voting, Patrice Bergeron dominated Claude Giroux. In addition to Bergeron overwhelming the Flyers’ captain in the face-off circle, Bergeron and his linemates held a strong edge in possession over Philadelphia’s top line.
– The Bruins started the game with Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton as their top pair and Dennis Seidenberg with Adam McQuaid. Claude Julien switched Hamilton and McQuaid halfway though the second period, making the B’s top four Chara-McQuaid and Seidenberg-Hamilton. The pairings were switched back and forth throughout the third period, with the Chara and Hamilton allowing the tying goal.
An offensively overzealous performance from Hamilton probably played a factor in the switch, as an attempt at keeping the puck in the zone in final minute of the first led to a 2-on-1 for the Flyers. Early in the second, Hamilton tried to pressure a puck carrier coming out of the Philadelphia zone and got beat, giving the Flyers number the other way again.
Hamilton was also picked off at the blue line in the offensive zone midway through the period to give the Flyers another odd-man rush.
– Ryan Spooner centered a line with Milan Lucic and Matt Fraser that Julien used as his third line. Spooner held his own in the faceoff circle and made some nice plays, but his biggest offensive issue from a season ago crept up again. Spooner does not go to the net, whether it’s with or without the puck, and that showed up in his play again Wednesday. He peeled off to the right wall after skating the puck into the zone in the first, while a second-period play in which he dished the puck to Lucic at the blue line saw him loiter at the right circle.
– Playing in his first career NHL game, 32-year-old Bobby Robins got in his first NHL fight when, after he and Craig Cunningham hit Zac Rinaldo simultaneously (Robins was given a charging minor for the hit), Robins dropped the gloves in a feverish bout with Luke Schenn.
– The lineup in the game was as follows:
Marchand - Bergeron - Smith
Kelly - Soderberg – Eriksson
Lucic – Spooner - Fraser
Paille – Cunningham – Robins
Chara – Hamilton/McQuaid
Seidenberg - Adam McQuaid/Hamilton
Torey Krug - Kevan Miller
|10.08.14 at 6:57 pm ET|
|10.08.14 at 1:52 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his first weekly appearance of the 2014-15 season Wednesday, hours before the Bruins drop the puck against the Flyers in the opener at TD Garden. To hear the interview, go the MFB audio on demand page.
Prognosticators think highly of the Bruins heading into the campaign, and Brickley explained there’s a good reason for that.
“I don’t know if they’ve gotten better in any one particular area other than a little bit more experience,” Brickley said. “I think they have the strengths that most teams that want to be an elite team have. You try to build teams from the goal line on out. So they have a goaltender that won the Vezina in the last year, obviously, Tuukka [Rask] is tremendously talented and calm and has that demeanor that everybody likes to play in front of.
“They have a real good defensive corps led by Zdeno Chara. They play a defense-first system. They play a backchecking formula that really, really pays off, which is one of the main reasons that they play four lines. The demand by Claude Julien and his coaching staff to have that back pressure to help out the team defense part of the game is almost unmatched across the league. And it really stands out when you break down tape just how committed the Bruins forwards are to get back and play defense and pressure the puck and try to turn defense into offense with turnovers and control the middle of the ice — that’s that straight-down-the-middle phrase that I use.
“And then try to have their offense be a balanced scoring attack along with quality special teams. They were the third-best power play in the league last year, that has a lot to do with the infusion of young talent that they got — like a Dougie Hamilton, like a Torey Krug, they both play power play on different units. Reilly Smith comes in in that deal for [Tyler] Seguin, he gives you a different element, a little bit more speed, a little bit more skill up front. It allows Chara to play the front of the net — whether you thought that was going to be a successful and productive experiment or not, it has paid off for the Bruins.
“So, that’s the formula for success. That’s why the Jeremy Roenicks and the Barry Melroses feel that the Bruins, relative to every other team in the Eastern Conference, that they’re right there at the top.”
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