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Sabres outlast Bruins in Buffalo

12.19.13 at 9:36 pm ET
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The Bruins were outlasted by Sabres Thursday as they took a 4-2 loss to Buffalo at First Niagara Center.

Drew Stafford broke a 2-2 tie with under six minutes to go in regulation by beating Chad Johnson on a wraparound. Tyler Myers made it 4-2 just 80 seconds later, giving the Sabres a win and Johnson his first loss in his last six starts. Johnson allowed two goals on five third-period shots.

The Sabres jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a shorthanded goal from Brian Flynn, but two goals from Brad Marchand gave the B’s a 2-1 lead in the second period until the Sabres tied it on a puck that bounced off Marcus Foligno and past Chad Johnson.

Ryan Miller denied Marchand on multiple bids for a hat trick and made 30 saves in the victory for the Sabres.

The Bruins have two games left before the holiday break, as they’ll host the Sabres Saturday and face the Predators next Monday in Nashville.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- Johnson’s been beaten a couple times this season on wraparounds, so the B’s will have to hope the book isn’t out on capitalizing on their backup goaltender’s lack of mobility. It certainly cost them Thursday.

- Johnny Boychuk couldn’t keep the puck in the offensive zone during the power play on which the Sabres scored. With Boychuk unable to keep it in, Flynn caught up with the puck in the neutral zone and raced to the net on a breakaway before beating Johnson with a backhander.

- Patrice Bergeron took a pair of hooking penalties, twice leaving the B’s to kill a penalty without one of the top penalty killers in the league. Fortunately for the Bruins, they did just fine on the PK, killing off both Bergeron penalties and scoring a goal with Bergeron on a second-period PK.

- Torey Krug’s dip in production continues, as he now he now has one goal over his last 11 games. Krug took a first-period penalty for holding Stafford.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Marchand had a better game and got results out of it. His second goal of the night was something of an accident, as he didn’t get good wood on his one-timer, but that caused the puck to waffle as it made its way past Miller stick-side high.

That was also Marchand’s second shorthanded goal of the last five games. He still has only four even-strength goals on the season, but scoring twice in a night might be the type of thing that gets more production.

- Not necessarily something that went right, but Matt Fraser reminded the B’s that he can do more than score at the AHL level when he dropped the gloves with Foligno. Fraser fought throughout his days in the WHL and has fought four times in the AHL.

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Peter Chiarelli says he isn’t trading Brad Marchand

12.19.13 at 3:31 pm ET
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Peter Chiarelli

Peter Chiarelli

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Thursday that he doesn’t want anyone to interpret the team’s unhappiness with Brad Marchand‘s recent behavior as a sign that they want to get rid of him.

Chiarelli revealed Wednesday that he wasn’t happy with Marchand taunting the Canucks during Saturday’s loss, saying that he spoke to Marchand about it. That was hardly a suggestion that the team was going to trade him, but Chiarelli clarified anyway to reporters Thursday in Buffalo.

“I’m not trading Marchy. He’s a good player,” Chiarelli said. “I like the way he plays. He’ll figure it out.”

For a number of reasons, trading Marchand wouldn’t be too logical for the Bruins right now. Given that he has just five goals this season, the team likely would not get proper return on a player who scored 28 goals two seasons ago.

This isn’t the first time “Marchand” and “trade” could be used in the same sentence, as Marchand said in training camp that he wondered if he would be next when the team moved on from Tyler Seguin.

‘€œA little bit, yeah. Definitely,’€ he said when asked if he thought the team might also trade him. ‘€œAnything can happen at any time. If you have half a bad year or you’€™re not playing up to par, with the cap system nowadays, they’€™re going to want to improve the team. You don’€™t want to be that guy to get shipped out. The easiest thing to do is play your best and hopefully you can save yourself.’€

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Former Bruins enforcer Chris Nilan on D&C explains friendship with Whitey Bulger: ‘I’m a loyal person. He was a friend of mine’

12.19.13 at 10:49 am ET
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Former NHL enforcer Chris Nilan joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to talk about his hockey career, his post-NHL addiction issues and his friendship with Whitey Bulger that continues to this day.

Former NHL enforcer Chris Nilan has a few tales to tell in his new book. (AP)

Former NHL enforcer and Boston native Chris Nilan has a few interesting tales to tell in his new book. (AP)

Nilan, a product of West Roxbury and Northeastern University, was selected 231st (of 234 players) in the 1978 NHL draft but managed to have a long career with the Canadiens, Rangers and Bruins. He still holds the Canadiens franchise record for penalty minutes in a career (2,248) and season (358). He had 222 fights in his 13 NHL seasons, including 43 in 1985-86 during the Canadiens’ Stanley Cup-winning season.

Following his retirement after the 1991-92 season, Nilan had issues with alcohol and drugs, he was arrested for shoplifting and his 25-year marriage dissolved. Nilan says he has been clean and sober for three years, living with his girlfriend on the West Island of Montreal. He recently wrote a book: “Fighting Back: The Chris Nilan story.”

Nilan, now 55, grew up in Boston in the 1970s and fell in love with hockey while watching the Big, Bad Bruins. He made the NHL as a tough guy but worked to develop his game and ended up averaging 20 goals over two seasons in the mid-1980s. He said the drive he used to get him to the NHL came in handy when he hit rock bottom after his career.

“I had a dream of playing in the NHL one day,” he said. “I think the story somewhat reverts back to the things that — I had my transgressions and my drugs after hockey. Through alcoholism and drug addiction, I kind of reached back and used some of those things that drove me and got me to the National Hockey League to get me sober.”

Nilan said his turning point in his fight against addiction came after he started shooting heroin, something he promised himself he would never do.

“I was wrapped up in that for about eight months,” Nilan said. “And that night, sitting on the toilet, I basically overdosed. I woke up probably three hours later. I stood up and I fell forward and hit my head on the wall and knocked myself out again. And when I woke up from that I had I guess what you’d call the gift of desperation. I knew I needed to get help. I was in such a bad place. I was so beaten down; I beat myself down. I made a phone call and asked for help. It was the best move I ever made. … Clean since. And sober.”

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Bruins might hold Adam McQuaid out through Christmas break

12.18.13 at 2:21 pm ET
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Adam McQuaid

Adam McQuaid

WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid continues to progress as he works his way back from a reaggravation of a lower-body injury, but the B’s might wait until after Christmas to get him back into their lineup as a means of giving him a few extra days.

The Bruins have three games before Christmas, with their last game before the holiday next Monday in Nashville. They won’t pick up their schedule until next Friday at home against the Senators

McQuaid will not play Thursday against the Sabres, so by holding him out two more games, the Bruins will allow McQuaid to stay out of game action an extra three days during the break without actually missing any games in that span.

“It might end up like that,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Wednesday. “So, we have three games left. We’ll see how it goes, but that might be the decision.”

McQuaid, who has missed the Bruins’ last seven games, has been skating since last Wednesday and skating with his teammates since Monday. He isn’t sure if he needs to wait too much longer before getting back into the lineup, but he knows he isn’t ready now.

“I think it’s just about when I’m ready I’ll be ready kind of thing,” he said. “Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later. ‘€¦ Each day I do a little more and it’s just how I react to it. Hopefully it will continue to be positive and I can get back playing soon.”

McQuaid initially missed eight games after suffering his injury on Nov. 7 against the Maple Leafs. He returned to the lineup on Nov. 27 but saw the same injury pop up in just his third game back. Given that, he has said it might be worth it to be extra careful with coming back again.

The 27-year-old did say that he is noticing progress each day as he skates, noting that he’s noticed a difference from Monday, his first practice with teammates, to Wednesday.

“Yeah, I do,” he said. “Especially today, I felt pretty good. I feel good about that. It’s been tough to be patient with this, but I know that it’s the right thing and that it will help me in the long run.”

With McQuaid still out and Kevan Miller being sent back to Providence Wednesday, David Warsofsky will play Thursday.

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Loui Eriksson still dealing with concussion symptoms

12.18.13 at 1:57 pm ET
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Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

WILMINGTON — Bruins forward Loui Eriksson is still experiencing concussion symptoms, according to general manager Peter Chiarelli. Eriksson was at TD Garden Tuesday morning but doesn’t seem close to a return.

Given that it’s Eriksson’s second concussion of the season, the B’s aren’t in any position to rush him back, either.

“We’re careful with that,” Chiarelli said of Eriksson’s situation. “I talked to Loui a little bit yesterday. He’s coming along, but he’s still experiencing some symptoms. With that type of injury, you see slow improvement, and that’s what Loui’s going through, so I don’t know what the time period would be.”

Eriksson was concussed on a hit from Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7 and has been out for the last five contests. He was previously concussed on a hit from Sabres forward John Scott on Oct. 23 and missed five games.

In 25 games this season, Eriksson has five goals and nine assists for 14 points.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Peter Chiarelli spoke to Brad Marchand following Stanley Cup taunts vs. Canucks

12.18.13 at 1:39 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Brad Marchand was spoken to by Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli after taunting the Canucks in Saturday’s game in Vancouver.

Marchand took his glove off and kissed his ring finger in the second period and also raised an imaginary Stanley Cup during warmups and after a third-period scrum. B’s coach Claude Julien called the actions unacceptable after the game, while Chiarelli addressed it with the player.

“I talked to Brad and that’s all I’ll say,” Chiarelli said. “I wasn’t happy with it, but he understands.”

Marchand has struggled this season, scoring only five goals through the first 34 games of the season. He’s well off his pace of seasons past, as he scored 28 goals in the 2011-12 season.

“He’s a young player still and sometimes you have those seasons,” Chiarelli said. “He’s fought the puck a little bit, he’s been kind of at wit’s end. You can see the level of frustration. I go back over his last six or seven games and I’ve liked his play. He’s getting his legs back and his hands back. It’s just about looking at it in an 82-game schedule and figuring it out over the course of the schedule and being patient. Maybe he showed little signs of impatience along the way, but I think his game’s coming around.”

Marchand threw a bad hit on Flames rookie forward Sean Monahan in Tuesday’s game, with Flames forward Curtis Glencross saying after the game that “he’s a dirty player.” Chiarelli didn’t take particular exception with the hit but did allow that the Bruins, in wake of Shawn Thornton‘s attack of Brooks Orpik, are more prone to criticism these days.

“I saw that hit, and it was a penalty,” Chiarelli said. “I don’t anticipate any disciplinary stuff. That stuff happens. We’re a physical team and that results in body contact maybe more so than a lot of other teams, so we’re under the microscope a little bit that way. Certainly you don’t like anything like what Shawn did, but you’re going to have altercations and [those are] going to happen.”

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Bruins forced to send Kevan Miller down; David Warsofsky recalled

12.18.13 at 1:22 pm ET
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Kevan Miller

Kevan Miller

WILMINGTON — The Bruins had to make a tough move Wednesday, sending defenseman Kevan Miller back to Providence for the sake of making sure he remains in the organization.

Miller, who has been recalled twice for the B’s and has done well with the opportunity given to him, was about to play his 10th game, which would have meant the team would need to put him through waivers if they B’s tried sending him down later.

“We felt that Kevan would probably be a waiver pickup by somebody,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “We didn’t want to risk it, so I spoke to Kevan beforehand and he understood. I told him I felt good about his play up here, and probably the next time we bring him up will be for good.

“It’s kind of a cold business decision, but I first asked him, ‘Have you been counting games?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Do you know what game it is tomorrow night?’ He goes, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Well what do you think?’ He understood.”

With Miller back in Providence, the Bruins have recalled defenseman David Warsofksy. That will make for a rather different look for the B’s blueline, as Miller is a bigger, more physical defenseman while Warsofsky is an undersized offensive-minded blue liner.

“Kevan Miller was up, and he’s kind of cut in the mold of Adam McQuaid,” Chiarelli said. “A size/strength guy, right shot. Now you have a guy [in Warsofsky] who’s cut a little in the mold of Torey Krug, so we’ve maybe gone from one extreme to the other, but they all play the same defensive zone coverage in Providence, so you see a pretty seamless transition with these guys and I would expect the same for Warsofsky.”

Warsofsky, who is a Marshfield native and a product of Boston University, has two goals and 14 assists for 16 points in 26 games for Providence this season. The 5-foot-8, 170-pounder suffered an upper-body injury in Providence’s game Friday, but he was skating with the P-Bruins Wednesday and will be ready to go for the Bruins.

“He’s played very well,” Chiarelli said. “He’s a little undersized, but a very good skater, moves the puck well, and he’s had a real good year. He got dinged up a little on Friday, but he’s good to go.”

The Bruins also returned Craig Cunningham to Providence after he was recalled for Tuesday’s game on an emergency basis.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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