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Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘really becoming a well-oiled machine’

03.14.14 at 1:24 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss how the Bruins are playing after the trade deadline. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

After defeating the Coyotes, 2-1, Thursday night, the Bruins are on a seven-game winning streak.

“They’€™re strong,” McGuire said. “They really are tight as a group. They haven’€™t messed with the integrity of their roster. Their defensive-zone posture’€™s getting better and better all the time. I think Andrej Meszaros is going to fill in well with Zdeno Chara. He’€™s going to help the power play as well.

“They’ve done a lot of things well there in Boston for a long period of time now, and when you watch them play you get the sense that this is a group that’s really becoming a well-oiled machine.”

During that span of time, Carl Soderberg has played at center while Chris Kelly has made the move to wing.

“The way Chris Kelly has been able to move over to wing rather than being center so Carl Soderberg, who is much more comfortable playing center, can play center — I think you’ve seen Soderberg really start to rise, and Kelly’€™s been a great trooper handling the assignment moving from center to wing,” McGuire said.

“People always want to talk about the young star, they don’€™t want to talk about the old guy that’€™s moved over to accommodate this, and obviously the extra ice helps Soderberg a lot, and not having to play on the boards helps him a lot, but Chris Kelly deserves a lot of credit for this. He really does. I think he’€™s done valiant work.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more on the Bruins, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

On Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug sitting out: “I think there’s a lot that goes into it. I don’t think it’€™s about one person or two persons. … I think it’€™s about the way the team needs to play. One of the things you try to do too is keep your roster competitive at this time of year and have guys fighting for ice so that everybody stays fresh but everybody stays focused. I like the way the Bruins are handling things. Is it easy to watch Dougie Hamilton sit out back-to-back games? No, because I think Dougie’s starting to make significant progress in his career. Is it easy to see Krug sit out? No, it’s not. But, again, this is part of having a competitive, deep roster, and that’s one of the things I admire so much about the Bruins.”

Read More: Carl Soderberg, Chris Kelly, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug

Bruins beat Coyotes for seventh straight win

03.13.14 at 10:19 pm ET
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The Bruins won their seventh straight game and reclaimed first place in the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 victory over the Coyotes Thursday at TD Garden.

Boston jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Zdeno Chara and Jarome Igina in the first period. The two teams then played a very quiet second period in which the Coyotes had two shots on goal and the Bruins had three.

For the second straight day, Tuukka Rask had a shutout broken up in the third period, as a Lauri Korpikoski tally at 8:14 of of the third got the Coyotes on the board.

Dougie Hamilton returned to the lineup after serving as a healthy scratch for the previous two games. With Hamilton back in, the Bruins made Torey Krug a healthy scratch, marking the first time Krug has missed a game this season. Andrej Meszaros remained in the lineup, playing primarily on the left side for the first time since being acquired by the B’s last Wednesday.

The B’s will next play Saturday, when they host the Hurricanes at the Garden.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Rask didn’t have much trouble handling both games of a back-to-back, as he followed Wednesday’s 35-save performance by blanking Phoenix Thursday.

One of Rask’s saves Thursday came on a breakaway in which Shane Doan got behind Zdeno Chara and Hamilton in the second period, making it the fourth breakaway he has faced and stopped (Tomas Plekanec missed the net Wednesday) in the last two days.

The closest call Rask encountered in the first period was due to some bad luck, as Rask made a blocker save in the first period and pushed the rebound off of Dougie Hamilton, causing the puck to bounce back to the net. Rask was able to reach back and sweep the puck out in time.

He also came up big as the Bruins killed off a third-period penalty to Carl Soderberg. Rask has now allowed just five goals over his last four starts.

- Chara has never had a 20-goal season in his career (he had 19 in 2008-09), but he’s got a pretty good shot at it this season. Thursday’s goal was the 16th of the season for Chara. The Bruins have 16 games remaining.

- Thursday’s win was Claude Julien‘s 300th as Bruins coach. He sits 61 wins away from Art Ross for the most in franchise history.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins had only three shots on goal in the second period, though they allowed only two to the Coyotes. That’s right: There were five total shots on goal in the second period. One of Phoenix’ second-period shots came on a Doan’s breakaway.

- Matt Bartkowski was assessed a boarding minor after an unnecessary shove from behind on Jeff Halpern in the second period. Bartkowski didn’t necessarily push him hard, but it was definitely enough to send Halpern into the boards head-first.

- The lack of power plays continues for the Bruins, as they had just one man advantage Thursday.

Bruins cruise past Canadiens, snapping five-game losing streak vs. rivals

03.12.14 at 10:08 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced in Wednesday's win over Montreal. (AP)

Tuukka Rask stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced in Wednesday’s win over Montreal. (AP)

MONTREAL — The Bruins’ recent strong play trumped their struggles vs. the Canadiens this season as the B’s skated to a 4-1 victory over the Habs Wednesday at the Bell Centre. They have now won six games in a row.

The B’s managed to survive a first period that saw Montreal outshoot them, 14-6, and took a scoreless game into the second period. From there, even-strength goals from Carl Soderberg, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic in a much better second period gave the B’s a 3-0 lead after two.

Zdeno Chara put Boston’s fourth goal past Peter Budaj just 23 seconds into the third period, but David Desharnais broke up Tuukka Rask‘s shutout by burying a loose puck in front at 2:46 of the third. Thomas Vanek picked up an assist on the goal, giving him 30 goals and 32 assists for 62 points against the Bruins in 64 games.

Montreal had won five straight games against the Bruins (including the first two meetings of this season) entering Wednesday night’s game.

The Bruins have a quick turnaround, as they will return to Boston to host the Coyotes Thursday at TD Garden.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- It wasn’t his cleanest night, but Rask kept the Bruins in the game in the first period that saw the B’s allow two breakaways (see below). In addition to his stops on those breaks, he came up with a big stop on Eller following Max Pacioretty‘s first-period break.

Rask did have his shaky moments, as he gave up a decent number of rebounds. His shakiest moment came in the third period, when he came out of the net and wound up passing the puck to Brendan Gallagher, requiring him to make an acrobatic save to cover his tracks. Read the rest of this entry »

Rich Peverley to undergo heart procedure, will not play again this season

03.12.14 at 4:17 pm ET
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In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, the Stars and team-affiliated doctors announced that Rich Peverley‘s season is over. Peverley, who collapsed on the bench Monday night and needed to be defibrillated, will now undergo a heart procedure that was originally scheduled for after the season.

Doctors said the procedure — called atrial fibrillation ablation — is usually effective in permanently preventing incidents like the one Peverley suffered on Monday. They said it is too early to know if he will be able to play hockey again, though.

Peverley gave a brief statement at the press conference, thanking doctors for saving his life and saying he will be “forever grateful.” Doctors said it took only 14 seconds to get Peverley off the bench and down the tunnel to begin treatment.

Doctors said Peverley may have played with an irregular heartbeat during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup finals last season, but that it wasn’t identified until a physical in training camp before this season.

Peverley missed the entire preseason and the start of the regular season after undergoing a procedure that was expected to get him through the season. He then missed a game last Tuesday after the issue flared up again, leading doctors to increase his medicine dosage.

Andy Brickley on M&M: Andrej Meszaros ‘gives you options’

03.12.14 at 2:57 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about Andrej Meszaros, the B’s defense and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

While Brickley still has doubts about the Bruins depth at wing, he sees the Meszaros trade as one that will help the Bruins figure out their best defensive combination.

“I’m not sure I’€™m convinced that if there are injuries to the four lines, as currently constituted, that they have enough in the wings waiting to step in,” Brickley said. “The organization, obviously, believes they probably do, but ”the emphasis was to definitely go get a defenseman, and now bringing in Meszaros, that gives you options.”

Added Brickley: “And it gives you — ’cause he can play left or right — and it gives you competition for ice time and actually be in uniform. You see Dougie Hamilton, the first casualty. They’re trying to figure out guys. Who’s going to play with [Zdeno] Chara in the playoffs? They want that shutdown pair and they’€™re not sure where it’€™s at right now and that was the whole reason to go get a guy like Meszaros.”

While the Bruins like what they see from Meszaros so far, the real test starts Wednesday night against Montreal, according to Brickley.

“I think the competition has started,” Brickley said. “It started the other night in Florida with Meszaros going to the lineup. They really like what he brought on that power play, being a left shot, being able to work the overload on the one side with other left shots on the half wall, whether it’s [Carl] Soderberg or [Loui] Eriksson, whoever it might be. They like that look.”

Added Brickley: “Now keep in mind that’s the Florida Panthers. That’s a pretty easy matchup for your first game as a player. Tonight you’€™ll probably get some different results and I’ll be curious to see how the defensemen in the lineup tonight handle a team like Montreal and the intensity and the speed.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Andrej Meszaros, Boston Bruins, Dougie Hamilton, Jordan Caron

Andrej Meszaros plans to keep shooting for Bruins

03.12.14 at 1:10 pm ET
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Andrej Meszaros will play his second game for the Bruins Wednesday. (AP)

Andrej Meszaros will play his second game for the Bruins Wednesday. (AP)

MONTREAL — Often times, it can be a good thing if a defenseman can go unnoticed for a game, as it means he isn’t making mistakes and isn’t getting beat. It was hard to miss Andrej Meszaros in his first game as a Bruin, but it wasn’t because of miscues, but rather his willingness to shoot the puck.

Meszaros landed a team-high six shots on goal in that game, a 5-2 win over the Panthers Sunday, and one of them sailed past Roberto Luongo to make him the first Bruins defenseman to score his in Bruins debut to score since Sergei Gonchar back in 2004.

“I’d love to shoot as much as I can,” Meszaros said Wednesday. “Obviously when I have the puck, when I have the lane, I shoot it if somebody’s in front of the net. That’s what you want to do. If you shoot and get the rebound or tips, you can score goals. It’s what I’m trying to do in the offensive zone: help scoring goals. That’s what I like. If there’s a passing lane, I’ll pass it. If there’s a shooting lane, I’ll shoot it. It depends on the situation.”

Sunday’s game was the second this season in which Meszaros has landed six shots on goal, and there were a couple of reasons for it. First of all, he played 3:50 on the power play. He had two shots on goal on the man advantage, including his second-period goal.

Another reason is the fact that he was playing on the right side. A lefty, Meszaros has played on the right side for most of his career, but he was used mostly on the left side in Philadelphia this season.

Playing on the right side allows for easier one-timers from Meszaros, who showed in Sunday’s game that he has a heavy shot that’s capable of getting through from the back end.

Bruins fans grew frustrated with 2011 trade acquisition Tomas Kaberle‘s unwillingness to shoot the puck, as didn’t get a puck on net until his fourth game with the team and totaled just one shot on goal in his first five games for Boston.

Coach Claude Julien likes to see his defense willing to fire the puck regardless of who they are. Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara are the only defensemen on the team averaging two or more shots on goal per game, with Krug averaging 2.39 a night and Chara averaging 2.27 per game.

“I think I want to get shots from the point from everybody,” Julien said. “It’s more about just, play your game. If they’re going to collapse, then let’s bring it up top. If you get them spread out, then we can use those plays like any other team does. There’s not a huge secret to this game.”

Meszaros will play again Wednesday night against the Canadiens and will likely be paired with Chara again.

Read More: Andrej Meszaros,

Dougie Hamilton a healthy scratch vs. Canadiens as Andrej Meszaros stays in Bruins lineup; Daniel Paille skates

03.12.14 at 12:20 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

MONTREAL — Dougie Hamilton will be a health scratch for the second straight game Wednesday night, as Claude Julien will use the same six defensemen vs. the Canadiens that he used Sunday against the Panthers.

“Dougie’s going to be out again,” Julien said. “I’m going with the same D core as I had the other night.”

With Hamilton and Corey Potter both sitting, it is likely that Julien will keep Zdeno Chara with newcomer Andrej Meszaros. The Bruins’ deadline day acquisition had a goal and a team-high six shots on goal in his Bruins debut Sunday.

Wednesday will mark Hamilton’s fourth healthy scratch of the season, as he sat out two games in October. He has also missed 13 games due to injury. Julien had said on Tuesday that Meszaros’ presence didn’t mean Hamilton would be a regular healthy scratch.

‘€œDougie’€™€™s not going to sit long,’€ Julien said. ‘€œDougie has played good hockey and he’€™€™s been good for us, so Dougie is not going to be the guy that is going to be singled out here. Dougie is going to be back in our lineup, and it’€™€™s just a matter of me making those tough decisions.

In other lineup news, Jordan Caron will play on the fourth line in place of Daniel Paille, who is out with a concussion. Paille took part in Wednesday’s morning skate, though he is not expected to play until Saturday at the earliest.

“We felt it was a real minor concussion, but protocol is what it is,” Julien said. “You have to respect that, and right now he’s gone through the stages and is doing very well. Today he skated without contact and hopefully we move on to the next level by tomorrow.”

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

Read More: Andrej Meszaros, Dougie Hamilton,
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