|02.11.15 at 10:41 am ET|
The urgency was clearly marked in the first words Zdeno Chara spoke after the Bruins dropped a 5-3 decision to a Dallas Stars team not currently in the Western Conference playoff field.
“It was just a terrible effort,” the Bruins captain said. “It is something we need to get right and we don’t have much time. We need to turn this thing around really quickly. It is unacceptable to be getting scored on twice in one game [shorthanded] obviously in a crucial part of the game. We need to be better.”
After winning eight of their final 10 games in January to creep up within four points of first place Montreal in the Atlantic Division, the Bruins have suddenly stumbled in February. They have lost three of four to open the month, and the one game they won (against the Islanders) they admittedly were fortunate to come out on top. They now lead the Florida Panthers by just four points (63-59) for the second and final wild card playoff spot in the East.
How does Chara explain bad habits creeping back in?
“It is something that we have sort it out,” Chara said. “We know that we have been better the last little while but again the last two, three games again, we started to have mental breakdowns and started drifting away from the game plan. That is something we can’t go back to again.
“I think it is a combination of maybe a number of things like you said. It is hard to really point at one thing. We know that when we play a certain way we are pretty effective and when we are not we start doing something different and that is how we get into trouble. A lot of times we need better effort, we need better urgency, we need better mental focus. It is just a combination of all of those things.”
Now the Bruins have to find their way through a five-game trip that begins Friday night in Vancouver, and includes trips to Calgary, Edmonton, St. Louis and Chicago.
“It is disappointing. We know that it was our last game for a while at home and now we have a long road trip and for sure we wanted to finish with a way better effort and result than we did. So for sure that is disappointing.”
|02.11.15 at 7:27 am ET|
As bad as the Bruins power play was Tuesday night in a 5-3 loss to the Stars, Claude Julien sees a bigger problem. His team is getting sloppy and careless when it matters most.
One example came when the Bruins had tied the game in the second period, 3-3. They get a power play and a chance to take their first lead. Instead, they allow their second short-handed goal of the night. They couldn’t recover.
“I think carelessness is one [issue],” Julien said. “[Just] poor work ethic on the power play. When you looked at even the second goal, you know, our coming back and our two guys back there are just flat-footed and just kind of lackadaisical and very soft and real disappointing that our power play was like that tonight. We talk about the lack of power plays we get, and tonight we get some and we don’t do anything with it so we only have ourselves to look at and blame ourselves for this, not only the power play but this loss.
“I thought when we tied it 3-3, the start of our second period, even in our second period, I think we had at least seven good scoring chances. But a lot like last game, too, we had some great opportunities right in front of the net and we’re not burying those. Same thing with Montreal, in the first period we could have had the lead 1-0 with Price out of the net and they’ve got guys in the crease and we didn’t bury those, so again it’s a challenge of burying your chances, and what it ends up doing is giving them the opportunity to take a lead.
“And our power play wasn’t good, but at the same time we had lots of opportunities to score goals tonight throughout the whole night. We had lots of shots, lots of loose pucks in front, and because you don’t bury those you end up on the losing side of things, and that’s one of the reasons, besides not having enough guys playing at their capabilities.” Read the rest of this entry »
|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.”
Read the rest of this entry »
|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.