|01.17.16 at 1:34 am ET|
The Bruins might be developing some killer instinct.
On Saturday night – and for the fifth straight game – Boston entered the final period of play with the scoreboard showing a close contest.
And for the second straight night – after having been sent home the loser in three previous sessions in Ottawa, New York, and Philadelphia – the Bruins emerged victorious in regulation time.
Brad Marchand‘s goal with just 47-seconds remaining snapped a 2-2 deadlock with Toronto, sending the Bruins to a 3-2 win at TD Garden. The night before, in Buffalo, a 1-1 tie entering period three ended up in the B’s favor 4-1 after a final 20-minute surge.
“That’s what we kind of lacked in the last few games that we lost, [where] we got back on our heels and we didn’t make plays,” said Patrice Bergeron, who scored twice Saturday to gave his squad 1-0 and 2-1 leads. “We got scared of making a mistake, and when you do that you’re thinking actually you’re not trusting your instincts. We got back to being on our toes for the whole game and it showed. It was a tough game to win, but still we found a way.”
|01.16.16 at 11:59 pm ET|
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|01.16.16 at 9:58 pm ET|
The Bruins came a little too close to overtime in a game they should have won by several goals, but a late Brad Marchand tally mercifully saved the B’s some embarrassment.
On a night in which the Bruins had only a pair of Patrice Bergeron goals despite having oodles of scoring chances in the first two periods, Marchand made a heads-up play in picking off a Maple Leafs clearing attempt with Jonathan Bernier out of the net and rifling the puck in with 47 seconds remaining to give Boston a 3-2 win.
The goal was Marchand’s first in 12 games, as he hadn’t previously scored since Dec. 14.
Minutes earlier, the game could have taken a much different turn. After Tuukka Rask gave the puck away to Tyler Bozak at the left circle, Torey Krug made the save of the game by taking to the net and stopping a P.A. Parenteau shot.
The Bruins, now winners of two straight after stumbling on the road, will next play Tuesday night in their final regular-season meeting with the Canadiens.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
BERGERON PULLS EVEN WITH NEELY
With a pair of goals, Bergeron brought his career point total to 590, which ties him with Cam Neely for ninth all-time in Bruins history. Of course, Neely got his 590 points over 525 games with the B’s, while Saturday’s game was the 784th of Bergeron’s NHL career and Bruins tenure.
Up next for Bergeron on the all-time list is Terry O’Reilly, who had 606 points in his Bruins career.
MARCHAND GOAL OVERTURNED
What looked to be an earlier Marchand goal in the third period was overturned when a review confirmed that he was offsides when he and Bergeron entered the zone.
Marchand goal overturned by an offside pic.twitter.com/BoQQOQhbGd
‘ Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 17, 2016
MORROW IN FOR COLIN MILLER
Colin Miller handed the Sabres a goal in the first period Friday and was practically benched for the second period of that game as a result. As such, it wasn’t a huge surprise to see him scratched on Saturday.
Miller sitting meant that Joe Morrow re-entered the lineup, but Morrow’s performance on a first-period Maple Leafs goal might get Miller back in the lineup by Tuesday. Morrow couldn’t get the puck out of the zone on a clearing attempt up the wall, and he was then unable to get to a rebound of a Leo Komarov shot before Komarov got to it himself to score Toronto’s first goal.
David Pastrnak remained out for the B’s, making Saturday’s contest the third consecutive game he’s missed with an upper-body injury.
With Colin Miller out and Morrow in, the Bruins’ lineup was as follows:
PENALTY KILL STILL GOING STRONG
The Bruins successfully killed off five penalties on Saturday, making Boston’s PK 82 for its last 87. Landon Ferraro had a couple of shorthanded chances, which provided the B’s with their only offensive zone time on special teams through the first two periods, as the B’s only power play of the game came at 7:19 of the third period.
The Bruins didn’t score on that power play making them 1-for-7 on the man advantage over the last five games.
|01.16.16 at 6:08 pm ET|
The Bruins have not been the same without David Krejci. Fortunately for the B’s, they don’t think they’ll be without him much longer.
Speaking prior to Saturday’s game, Bruins coach Claude Julien said that Krejci, who has missed the last eight games with an upper-body injury, is getting close to returning to Boston’s lineup. Krejci last played on Dec. 27 but has been skating recently.
“[He] skated today, so he’s coming along,” Julien said. “That’s a good sign. That’s basically where he’s at. We’ll see; he’s now gone from week-to-week to probably more day-to-day. I wouldn’t say [the next game], but getting closer.”
The Bruins have gone 3-4-1 without Krejci, who has 33 points (11 goals, 22 assists) in 35 games played this season. After Tuesday’s game against the Canadiens, for which Julien has already ruled Krejci out, the B’s have home games on Thursday and Saturday of the coming week.
|01.15.16 at 9:40 pm ET|
Ryan Spooner factored into the Bruins’ first three goals Friday night to both continue his own personal hot streak and stop what was a three-game losing streak for the B’s.
The red-hot Spooner had a goal and a pair of assists as the Bruins picked up a much-needed 4-1 win over the Sabres in Buffalo to end a 2-2-1 road trip. With his three-point night, Spooner now has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) over his last eight games.
Spooner, who has played very well in David Krejci‘s place, is now at 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists) through 43 games, which is as many points as Krejci had in 35 games before going down with an upper-body injury.
Friday’s win was different from recent games, as the B’s took leads into the third period of games against the Rangers and Flyers before giving up multiple third-period goals en route to regulation losses. Instead, the Bruins broke a 1-1 tie in the third on Friday with a Zdeno Chara goal and followed it with a Spooner tally and a Brett Connolly empty-netter. Matt Beleskey scored Boston’s first goal and had the secondary assist and screen on Chara’s goal.
Jonas Gustavsson made 33 saves on 34 shots.
The Bruins will return home to face the Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday.
Here are four more things we learned Friday:
Max Talbot, Landon Ferraro and Zdeno Chara all took minor penalties in a span of 4:42 in the second period, leaving the Bruins to kill three penalties ‘ each of which was without a penalty killer given that all three of those guys serve on the PK ‘ in succession.
Thanks to what’s been a very strong penalty kill of late, the Bruins managed to keep the Sabres from breaking the tie with all of the time afforded to them on the man advantage. In killing off their three penalties and a late-third period minor, the Bruins have killed off 77 of their opponents’ last 82 power plays.
PASTRNAK STAYS OUT, CONNOLLY BACK TO BERGERON LINE
David Pastrnak missed his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury. Jimmy Hayes, who had played on Patrice Bergeron‘s line in Pastrnak’s place on Wednesday, went back down to the third line while Brett Connolly moved to his familiar spot to Bergeron’s right.
The lineup Friday was as follows:
CONNOLLY STREAK MERCIFULLY ENDS WITH EMPTY-NETTER
Connolly’s streak without a goal would not his 20 games, as he picked up an empty-netter for his sixth goal of the season.
COLIN HAS A QUIET SECOND
Part of it had to do with the Bruins killing a lot of penalties in the frame, but Colin Miller had just three shifts in the second period.
While it’s unclear why Miller was used so sparingly, a first-period flub could have factored into it. Late in the first period, Colin Miller turned the puck over behind the Bruins’ net to David Legwand, who scored on a wraparound for the game’s first goal.
Miller was on the Bruins’ top power play unit (where he’s played since David Krejci went down) for a Cody Franson penalty late in the first period, but he was nowhere to be seen during a second-period power play that came on a Mike Weber hooking penalty.
Miller played five shifts in the third period and finished the game with 12:18 of ice time.
|01.13.16 at 10:37 pm ET|
There are plenty of reputations a team can have. No one wants to be known as the team that blows third-period leads without even mustering a point, but the Bruins are building a case.
In surrendering a one-goal lead and suffering a 3-2 loss to the Flyers Wednesday night in Philadelphia, the B’s took no points out of a game they led after two periods for the second straight game. It was the Bruins’ fourth such regulation loss this season, which leads the league despite the fact that the B’s had played fewer games than most NHL teams entering Wednesday’s action.
After suffering a similar fate in Monday’s 2-1 loss to the Ranger, the Bruins held a 2-1 lead over the Flyers entering the third period Wednesday, but goals from Wayne Simmonds and Mark Streit gave Philadelphia a lead just over midway through the third. As was the case against the Rangers, the B’s could not tie the game with Tuukka Rask off the ice for an extra attacker.
The Bruins are now 14-4-1 when leading after two. They had only one such regulation loss last season.
Wednesday’s loss dropped the Bruins to 1-2-1 on their current road trip. The five-game trip will conclude Friday in Buffalo.
Here are four more things we learned Wednesday:
PASTRNAK HURT, VATRANO RETURNS
David Pastrnak was a surprise absence from Wednesday’s game, with the Bruins announcing after warmups that Pastrnak was day-to-day with an upper-body injury. His absence allowed Frank Vatrano to re-enter the lineup after being a healthy scratch Monday.
Pastrnak has played just three games since returning to the lineup this month. It was a foot injury that had kept him out previously, but it’s also worth noting that he played through a finger injury at World Juniors recently.
With Pastrnak out and Vatrano back, the most notable change to the Bruins’ lines was Jimmy Hayes’ promotion to Boston’s first line. The lineup looked as such:
THE OTHER MILLER SCORES
The Bruins have two right-shot defensemen named Miller. One is known for offense and the other is Kevan Miller. After Wednesday, they both have the same number of goals on the season.
Kevan Miller’s third goal of the season was a biggie, as it got the Bruins on the board and tied the game at a goal apiece in the second period. With Boston’s fourth line and third pairing on the ice, Max Talbot got to a puck that Steve Mason had sent up the boards. Seeing Miller on the other side of the ice, Talbot sent the puck to the right circle, where Miller fired a wrister past Mason to make it a 1-1 game.
Miller came an assist away from a Gordie Howe hat trick, as he fought Brayden Schenn after the Philadelphia forward crushed Torey Krug with a clean hit early in the first period.
SPOONFUL OF APPLES
Ryan Spooner fired a shot during a second-period power play that produced a rebound that was easily put back in by Loui Eriksson. The play gave Spooner his seventh assist in his last seven games.
With his recent hot streak (one goal, seven assists over the last seven), Spooner continues to push for what would be a pretty surprising 60-point season. With nine goals and 21 assists and having played in all 42 of the Bruins’ games to this point, Spooner’s currently on pace for 59 points.
OFFENSE STILL QUIET
Though the Bruins scored multiple goals Wednesday (which has been a challenge for them), they’re still not producing at nearly the pace they did earlier in the season. The B’s have a total of four goals over their last three games (0-2-1) and they’ve averaged just 1.83 goals over their last six games (1-4-1).
Needless to say, the Bruins need David Krejci back and for Brett Connolly (19 games without a goal) to get going. Having Pastrnak out for any stretch doesn’t help either.
|01.11.16 at 9:36 pm ET|
The road used to be where the Bruins recouped the points they struggled to get at home. Recently it’s become just another place of frustration for them.
With a 2-1 loss to the Rangers Monday at Madison Square Garden that came as a result of a blown lead in the third period, the Bruins dropped their seventh game in their last nine (2-6-1) and fell to 1-1-1 on their current road trip. It also marked the sixth time in the Bruins’ last 10 games that they have failed to score multiple goals.
The B’s took a 1-0 lead into the third period before Derrick Brassard brought the Rangers even 35 seconds into the final frame. Jesper Fast redirected a Keith Yandle shot past Tuukka Rask with 1:42 remaining to give the Rangers a lead that they would keep despite a furious pushback from the B’s until the end of regulation.
The Bruins have two games left on their current five-game road trip. They’ll face the Flyers on Wednesday and the Sabres Friday.
Here are four more things we learned Monday:
CONNOLLY TO THE LEFT
Brett Connolly re-entered the lineup after serving as a healthy scratch. His return to the lineup came with a wrinkle, however, as the 23-year-old right wing was slotted in as the left wing on Boston’s third line, replacing the scratched Frank Vatrano.
Playing with Joonas Kemppainen and Jimmy Hayes, Connolly saw his goal-less streak hit 18 games. He now has just one goal over his last 30 games.
The slump didn’t continue for lack of trying. Connolly had a beauty of a scoring chance from the left circle in the second period but rang iron.