|12.29.14 at 9:41 pm ET|
The Bruins recovered nicely from Saturday’s embarrassing loss to the Blue Jackets, as they took a 5-2 victory over the Red Wings Monday at TD Garden to give them victories in three of their last four games.
Boston made do with a relatively scarce roster, as both Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron missed the game with undisclosed injuries and Matt Fraser was lost to the Oilers earlier in the day on waivers. Matt Lindblad, recalled after Fraser was claimed by Edmonton, dressed in his second NHL game of the season.
Though Boston relented after a strong push to open the game, the B’s gained much-needed separation with a third-period Seth Griffith goal after Detroit had cut their lead to one late in the second period. Chris Kelly scored an empty netter to seal the victory.
The win showed, at the very least, that the Bruins do have another gear. Though they didn’t sustain it throughout the night, they found it long enough to take two points from a divisional opponent.
Here are four more things we learned:
BRUINS OWN THE FIRST
The Bruins took the ice Monday clearly aware that they were without two of their best forwards. Their push to make up for the absences of Lucic and Bergeron translated into puck possession dominance and overwhelming victories in puck battles throughout the opening period.
Most importantly, the B’s scored three goals in the first period, marking the first time they’ve done so all season.
The only players with a negative even-strength Corsi in the first period were Campbell and linemates Jordan Caron and Daniel Paille. Then again, Campbell scored after being sent out as the extra attacker on a delayed penalty call, so there really wasn’t much not to like about the first period.
SODERBERG LINE DOMINANT
The Soderberg line was simply dominant against Detroit’s third line of Darren Helm between Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist, while also outworking Detroit’s second line on a first-period possession that led to a delayed penalty on which Campbell as an extra attacker scored. Soderberg would add a goal of his own shortly after off a nice feed from Eriksson behind the net.
Soderberg had six shots on goal in the game, which tied a career-high accomplished once last season.
|12.29.14 at 4:12 pm ET|
The Bruins recalled forward Matt Lindblad on an emergency basis Monday after losing forward Matt Fraser to the Oilers via waivers.
Lindblad will be in Boston’s lineup given that, with Fraser gone and both Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron out with undisclosed injuries, the B’s were left with 11 healthy forwards prior to his recall.
The Dartmouth product dressed for the B’s in the team’s Nov. 22 loss to the Canadiens, logging 8:04 of ice time and registering one shot on goal. The center/wing has six goals and six assists for 12 points in 29 games for Providence this season.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|12.29.14 at 12:36 pm ET|
Matt Fraser’s parents flew from Alberta to Boston Sunday to see their son play this week. They won’t get to do it in Boston, but at least they won’t have to travel as far to see him play in the future.
The Oilers claimed Fraser off waivers Monday, ending the left wing’s tenure with the Bruins.
Fraser, acquired in the 2013 trade between the Stars and Bruins that sent Tyler Seguin to Dallas, had five goals and no assists in 38 games over the last two seasons for Boston.
“I’m still kind of in the shock and awe of it,” Fraser said after learning his fate. “This is such a great team to be a part of, such great guys to be a part of. It’s tough leaving, but at the same time, hopefully there’s an opportunity for me in Edmonton. My family’s close.”
His most notable moment as a Bruin came last postseason when he was called up for Game 4 of the second round against the Canadiens and scored the overtime winner in a 1-0 Bruins victory. He played that game and the rest of the series on a broken foot.
Though equipped with a terrific snap shot, Fraser had struggled to nail down a spot in Boston’s lineup this season. He has been much more effective playing left wing, but unfortunately for him, left wing has been one of the only positions that has not been stricken by injuries this season. As such, the 24-year-old was most recently used as a fourth-line right wing. Throughout his time in Boston, Fraser struggled to make any sort of impact as a right wing.
“I’m never going to blame anybody else but myself,” Fraser said. “For me, I would have liked to have produced more, but maybe that opportunity wasn’t there as much. I just had a conversation with Claude [Julien] and he had kind of alluded to that, but at the same time, you’re in the NHL for a reason. You’ve got to find a reason to stay here.”
The Bruins exposed Fraser to waivers Sunday when they recalled Jordan Caron from Providence. Fraser, a prolific scorer at the AHL level (70 goals in the two AHL seasons prior to him being traded to Boston), will head to his home province of Alberta, as he hails from Red Deer.
Fraser has taken a difficult path to the NHL. An undrafted player out of the WHL, Fraser was brought into the Canucks’ training camp in 2010, but was not offered a contract. He then signed with the Stars, where he scored in bunches in the AHL before being traded to the Bruins. Fraser had wanted to become an impact player with the Bruins to show that he was more than just a throw-in, but he leaves Boston having fallen short of that goal.
Now, being given up on by the B’s is just another chip to add to Fraser’s shoulder. He hopes it can be the last.
“It would be nice one of those days if those things would start paying off,” Fraser said, just barely cracking a smile. “The way that this business works, there’s so many interchangeable parts, and that’s the tough part of being a player, a young guy trying to develop in this league and get into this league. It’s not an easy business.
“With my parents flying in yesterday, I think my mom was more upset than I was, just because she knows what I’ve gone through to get to where I am. It’s hard on her nerves to have it happen to her son.
“At the end of the day, I feel like I have the best job in the world. I really do, and every day I came to the rink I never took it for granted. With that being said, you kind of take the rest of the day and understand that you’re going back home and you’ve got to make the most of it.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|12.29.14 at 12:03 pm ET|
All season, David Krejci has wanted two things: health and a right wing.
On Monday, it would appear that he’ll finally skate with one logical right wing candidate who has been kept away from him to an almost fascinating extent: Reilly Smith.
The Bruins have never really tried Smith, a left-shot right wing who has spent most of his time with the Bruins as a top-six forward, with Krejci. He hasn’t been given time on Krejci’s line and, though both players are used on Boston’s power play, they’ve been played on different units.
Factoring in line changes, Krejci and Smith have been on the ice together this season for just 15:48 in all situations combined (five-on-five, power play, etc.). The only wingers on Boston’s roster with whom Krejci has played less this season have been Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly, Matt Fraser and Jordan Caron. Krejci and Smith have had the occasional shift together, but they’re usually in wonky situations such as a Nov. 6 in which Patrice Bergeron, Smith’s usual center, was killing a penalty and Krejci was deployed to center Smith and Brad Marchand on the next shift.
With Bergeron and Milan Lucic both out for Monday’s game against the Red Wings, it appears Smith and Krejci will finally be linemates. It’s hard to tell what they’d bring given that we haven’t seen them together.
“Neither have I,” Claude Julien said after Monday’s morning skate.
Smith is intrigued by the idea of playing with Krejci after watching his shifts from the bench in his two seasons with the Bruins (“I don’t even think we’ve played a four-on-four shift together,” he admitted).
“I think I’ve played with probably every other forward except Krej,” Smith said with a grin. “He’s a talented player and he creates a lot of space, so it should be fun.”
Since taking over as Boston’s first-line center, Krejci has historically had right-shot right wings on the other side of Milan Lucic. Righties Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley, Tyler Seguin, Jarome Iginla, Seth Griffith and Craig Cunningham have served in that role, with Loui Eriksson (and very briefly Jaromir Jagr) really the only lefty tried there. The Bruins are more comfortable playing Eriksson on their third line with Carl Soderberg and Kelly.
So the Smith experiment, though it may only last a game (or less), is an interesting one to finally see tried.
“We’ll see tonight,” Julien said when asked what to expect from the duo. “I don’t have that answer, to be honest. Those are things we’ll all discover together.”
|12.29.14 at 10:57 am ET|
Claude Julien maintained after the morning skate that he still considers both players day-to-day. Monday will mark the first time either player has missed a game this season.
Julien would not answer when asked whether Lucic suffered his injury in Saturday night’s fight against Dalton Prout, only repeating “day-to-day.”
Matt Fraser, who was placed on waivers Sunday and has until noon Monday to be claimed by other teams, did participate in the skate.
With Lucic and Bergeron absent, the lines and defensive pairings in morning skate were as follows:
Marchand – Krejci – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Caron – Campbell – Paille
Fraser – Cunningham – Griffith
Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Seidenberg
Krug – Miller
|12.28.14 at 8:00 pm ET|
Claude Julien admitted Sunday what a lot of people have been able to tell for a long time: This year’s team is a tough group to motivate.
Dougie Hamilton pretty much said as much a week ago when he said players weren’t following the coach’s game plan, but to hear it from Julien himself is big. It brings to light an issue with the team’s character.
“We’ve been a lot livelier in the past,” Julien said. “Sometimes tough things that you go through kind of take the wind out of you, but that’s not an excuse. You have to have enough character to bring it every night, every day and there’s no doubt I think that if we can get our work ethic and our compete level up and make good decisions, we’re going to start winning games, we’re going to have fun again and the energy level’s going to be where we want it to be.
“That’s our job to create that. We have to create it as a coaching staff, as players and as a team. It’s as simple as that.”
The Bruins lost leaders this season with the departures of Shawn Thornton, Johnny Boychuk and Jarome Iginla. What Thornton lacked in on-ice effectiveness late in his Bruins tenure he more than made up for in character. Boychuk, a bit of a goofball who kept things loose, took great pride in being a Bruin. Iginla’s experience and leadership called for an received the respect of his teammates.
Despite those losses, the Bruins still have players wearing letters on their sweaters in captain Zdeno Chara and alternate captains Patrice Bergeron, Chris Kelly and David Krejci. When Chara and Krejci were hurt, Milan Lucic and Dennis Seidenberg took turns wearing an A.
All of the aforementioned Bruins have seen much better days with the Bruins and know how dominant they can be. It’s their job just as much as it is Julien’s to have themselves and their teammates motivated.
|12.28.14 at 1:49 pm ET|
Bergeron took only tree shifts in the third period Saturday in Columbus before leaving the game with what Julien told reporters was a minor injury. Lucic’s ailment is not known.
Adam McQuaid (thumb) practiced with the team, but Julien said that to his knowledge McQuaid is not ready to return to game action.
The lines in practice were as follows:
Marchand – Griffith – Smith
Fraser – Krejci – Cunningham
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Caron
All right defensemen, including McQuaid, were on the ice.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
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