|12.11.15 at 10:55 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins sported some tweaks to their lineup in Friday’s practice, most notably returning Matt Beleskey to David Krejci‘s line and moving Colin Miller into the top three pairs after the rookie defensemen sat the last three games.
Beleskey was moved to Patrice Bergeron for the third period of the Bruins’ 3-1 win over the Canadiens Wednesday, but Brett Connolly was back on Bergeron’s line on Friday. The lines in practice were as follows:
|12.09.15 at 10:19 pm ET|
The last time the Bruins played the Canadiens, they blew a third-period lead and took a frustrating loss. They found themselves on the other side of that equation Wednesday night in Montreal. Now, perhaps their 3-1 victory can give the B’s a little more confidence when the teams next meet in the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium.
With the Bruins down a goal and shorthanded with just over 12 minutes to play, Zdeno Chara batted a P.K. Subban shot out of mid-air up to Loui Eriksson in the neutral zone. Eriksson outraced Jeff Petry and beat Mike Condon for a breakaway goal to tie the game. Less than a minute later, Ryan Spooner sent a brilliant pass behind his back to Landon Ferraro, who scored in the slot to make it 2-1.
The third period saw Claude Julien shuffle his lines with success. Moving Matt Beleskey up to Patrice Bergeron‘s line with Brad Marchand led to a Bergeron goal with 6:18 to play. That goal put the game out of reach and proved to be an important one given that the Habs wound up on the power play shortly after due to a Kevan Miller interference penalty.
Here are four more things we learned:
RASK CAN BEAT THE HABS
Tuukka Rask‘s head might have exploded if the 1-0 score through two periods held up for the rest of the game. It would have added to the idea that the 2013-14 Vezina Winner simply can’t beat the Habs.
While Rask and the Bruins trailed for much of the game, Rask was excellent. In fact, the only goal he allowed was the result of some terrible luck.
|12.08.15 at 12:24 pm ET|
The Bruins have placed forward Joonas Kemppainen on injured reserve and recalled Max Talbot from Providence. Kemppainen played just five shifts and missed the entire third period of Monday’s loss to the Predators due to an upper-body injury.
Julien noted that without Kemppainen and Chris Kelly, who is out of the regular season, the Bruins will need to avoid penalties against Montreal. Kemppainen is both a regular penalty killer and a capable faceoff man for the B’s when shorthanded. Talbot has experience killing penalties.
Regardless of who they have out there, the B’s would be wise to avoid taking eight minor penalties like they did Monday. The Canadiens boast the NHL‘s fifth-best power play with a 22.2 percent success rate.
“When you lose guys like Kemppainen and you lose guys like Kelly, those are top-notch penalty killers,” Claude Julien said. “There’s no doubt it has an impact on our penalty kill units.”
Dennis Seidenberg and Colin Miller, both of whom have missed the last two games due to undisclosed injuries, will travel and are possibilities to play Wednesday. Miller said he is healthy enough to play.
“Yeah, definitely,” Miller said when asked if he could play. “Just a little banged up or whatever the last couple of days, but I’m definitely ready to go now.”
Miller had just 13:51 of ice time in last Friday’s overtime loss to the Flames, marking his lowest time on ice total since Oct. 30. His pairing with Seidenberg had struggled in recent games, most notably the Bruins’ win over the Rangers on Nov. 27.
Despite a dip in his defensive game, the rookie blueliner was enjoying occasional offensive success. In the Bruins’ 3-2 overtime win over the Red Wings, Miller tied the game late in the third and then assisted Frank Vatrano’s game-winner.
“I felt all right,” Miller said of his game leading up to his time out of the lineup. “I mean, throughout the season there’s going to be ups and downs with the team and with everybody’s game and stuff like that, but I felt fine. It’s been going well. I’ve just got to keep going.”
It is unclear whether Julien will put Miller back in the lineup over Kevan Miller now that he’s healthy. Kevan Miller scored in the first period Monday but whiffed on taking out Viktor Arvidsson on what ended up being the game-deciding goal for the Predators.
|12.07.15 at 9:44 pm ET|
To say the Bruins’ offense fell stagnant in the second half of their 3-2 loss to the Predators Monday would be an understatement.
After getting a power play goal from Loui Eriksson to take a 2-1 lead at 10:53 of the second period, the Bruins went 17:16 without a shot on goal. The Predators scored to tie the game early in that stretch and took control of the game while the B’s remained either shorthanded or dormant. Though the Bruins eventually managed to put some pucks on Carter Hutton in the third period, the Predators finally took the lead with 4:56 to play.
Partially because of how much time they spent shorthanded, the Bruins managed just seven shots on goal in the first period, four in the second and six in the third for a total of 17, a season low. Jonas Gustavsson stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced.
The 14-9-3 Bruins will next head to Montreal, where they will face the Carey Price-less Canadiens Wednesday at Bell Centre.
Here are four more things we learned Monday:
BUSY PENALTY KILL TAKES STEP BACK
The Bruins had allowed one power play goal in their last seven games leading up to Monday night. They weren’t so successful when shorthanded against the Predators.
Roman Josi scored a pair of power-play goals for the Predators, marking the first time since the Bruins’ Nov. 17 game against the Sharks that Boston’s penalty kill allowed multiple goals.
Then again, the Bruins’ penalty-killers were extremely busy on Monday. The Bruins took eight minor penalties and found themselves shorthanded seven times.
“It definitely takes up some time there, killing it,” Eriksson said of spending much of the game shorthanded. “We took too many penalties today, and it’s tough to be on the ice four against five. You’re skating a lot, you’re wasting a lot of energy.”
There were also a pair of fights in the penalty-filled affair, as Brad Marchand fought Josi at 4:04 of the second period and Tyler Randell absolutely pummeled Eric Nystrom a couple minutes later.
Josi’s second power play goal came after a second-period hooking penalty called on Patrice Bergeron. The penalty gave Bergeron 16 penalty minutes through 26 games this season, which puts him on pace for 50 on the season.
Should Bergeron hit close to that mark, he’ll set a new career-high in penalty minutes for the third consecutive season. The now 30-year-old center had 43 penalty minutes in 2013-14, which he followed up with 44 last season.
|12.07.15 at 12:38 pm ET|
Brad Marchand questioned Brandon Prust’s integrity on Monday. Then he pretty much defended the player who whacked him in the you-know-whats in Saturday’s game between the Bruins and Canucks. What a sport.
Prust was fined $5,000 by the NHL‘s Department of Player Safety for spearing Marchand in the groin in the final minutes of the Bruins’ 4-0 win in Vancouver.
The veteran forward responded to the suspension by calling his fine the “best money I ever spent.” His comments should not have been overly surprising because, as was seen around these parts with Milan Lucic, hockey players are cool with the idea of skating around whacking each other’s privates and then occasionally referencing a make-believe set of standards called The Code.
“I thought that he played with a lot more class in his game,” Marchand said. “I thought he was a hard-worker, but clearly he doesn’t have that integrity that I think a lot of people thought he had.”
There are worse cheap shots that can be taken. Concussions can derail a player’s well-being, but they’ll always exist in the NHL because of the speed of the game and the size of the equipment. It would seem that it would be easy enough for players to decide that the — let’s keep calling it “groin” — is off-limits. It isn’t, for some reason.
“Well it clearly doesn’t feel good and it hurts,” Marchand said when asked why players hit each other in that area. “Whenever you’re upset with someone and you want to take a shot, it’s an easy place to target and you know it’s going to hurt. I think that’s why a lot of guys do it.”
When reminded that players often refer to The Code (which, again, is as real as the Easter Bunny), Marchand essentially defended Prust.
“It happens all the time. If you’re down by a few goals or you’re having a bad game and someone takes a shot at you, someone says the wrong thing, then guys get upset and they take shots at guys,” he said. “It’s just human nature and there’s a lot of good players that take jabs at guys. People can say whatever they want. I’m not overly upset about what happened. It’s part of the game; I’ve done it and I’m sure he’s done it before. I’m sure it won’t be the last. It won’t be the last time I do it. It is what it is and it’s part of hockey.”
What a sport.
|12.07.15 at 12:23 pm ET|
Jonas Gustavsson will start Monday against the Predators in hopes of finishing the game.
The Bruins yanked their backup goaltender from Friday’s eventual overtime loss to the Flames after he allowed three goals on 11 shots over a little more than one period of play. Tuukka Rask played well in relief of him and blanked the Canucks the next night, but Monday will see the B’s turn back to their backup.
In other lineup news, Adam McQuaid took part in Monday’s morning skate after leaving Saturday’s game with what appeared to be a wrist injury. Claude Julien would not say whether McQuaid would be in Monday’s lineup. The lines and pairings were as follows in morning skate:
Prior to the morning skate, injured forward David Pastrnak skated by himself. Pastrnak has not played since Oct. 31 due to a non-displaced fracture in his left foot. Julien would not say whether Monday was Pastrnak’s first day back on the ice.
|12.06.15 at 5:43 pm ET|
Canucks forward Brandon Prust was fined $5,000 for spearing Bruins forward Brad Marchand in the privates late in Saturday’s game between the teams.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Prust said he did not regret his actions.
“Best money I ever spent,” Prust said. “I kind of that’s what would happen. It wasn’t that hard and he sold it pretty good. I saw him laughing on the bench after, so I don’t think he’s too hurt.”
Prust also suggested that Marchand, a player with a reputation for dirty plays and suspensions, is deserving of occasional cheap shots.
“I think he does that every night, so sometimes you want to do it back,” Prust said.
Hear from Brandon Prust following Sunday’s practice at Rogers Arena. https://t.co/gY9MW8H8Wz