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Scoring issues starting to finally catch up to Bruins

11.26.16 at 12:14 am ET
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The Bruins have scored just four goals in their last 198 minutes of hockey. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

The Bruins have scored just four times in their last 198 minutes of hockey. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

A year-long struggle to find scoring has finally caught up to the Bruins.

In the team’s third straight loss Friday, a 2-1 final to the Flames at TD Garden, and their fourth loss in their last five games overall, the Bruins managed to score just one goal on 36 shots against Flames netminder Chad Johnson. It was their second straight night in which the Bruins scored just a single goal, and their sixth time scoring one goal or fewer in 21 games to date this year (they’re 1-5-0 in those games).

“We had a lot of shots in front of the net but the biggest thing is we’re not scoring goals,” B’s coach Claude Julien admitted after the loss. “Some of it is, we’ve got to hit the net with prime scoring chances. That’s one of them. The second one is, it’s okay to get scoring opportunities, but how do you create the second one off the original one, and I don’t see us getting those much so far this year.”

The Bruins even had a 12:34 stretch in which they shot 17 consecutive shots on Johnson from the final 5:34 of the second period into the first seven minutes of the third, but had just one goal to show for it, on the 16th shot of that timeframe, no less.

Quantity, not quality, has been the name of the game for the Black and Gold’s offensive game this season.

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Claude Julien, Bruins not happy about Patrice Bergeron’s goal getting called back

11.25.16 at 11:34 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron is a game-time decision for the Bruins.

Patrice Bergeron is a game-time decision for the Bruins.

In real time, it looked like it may have just been a big collision that left Patrice Bergeron with a wide-open net early in the second period Saturday night.

With Flames goalie Chad Johnson out of his crease to play the puck, Brad Marchand and Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano collided, sending Giordano crashing into his goalie. The puck ended up on Bergeron’s stick, and he fired it into the vacant cage to apparently tie the game at 1-1.

The play was ruled a goal on the ice, but then it went to review. Replays made clear the source of the collision — Marchand had knocked Giordano into Johnson with a pretty solid shove to the back.

The call was overturned and the goal was taken off the board. Reading Rule 69.1, it seems like the officials made the right call.

“If a defending player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by an attacking player so as to cause the defending player to come into contact with his own goalkeeper, such contact shall be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, and if necessary a penalty assessed to the attacking player and if a goal is scored it would be disallowed.”

Claude Julien and the Bruins did not agree. Julien had some choice words for the refs at the time, and reiterated his frustration after the game.

“You obviously saw that I wasn’t happy with it,” Julien said. “When you dump the puck in and you forecheck and all night long they kept skating in front of our forecheck, and that’s exactly what they did to Marchy. Marchy gives him a shove, which he’s allowed to do. Just because your goaltender’s out of the net and he happens to be in the way, I don’t think that should’ve been called back. We never know anymore what they think, so we just have to sit back and accept what they decide. It’s a frustrating thing, because it’s never the same thing twice.”

Marchand, who had clearly been briefed before talking to the media, did not comment on the no-goal when asked about it. He was also asked about the idea of the Flames obstructing the forecheck, but said he didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Things We Learned as Chad Johnson stonewalls Bruins for B’s third straight loss

11.25.16 at 10:19 pm ET
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Bruins/Flames (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Bruins/Flames (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

On a night that gave a sellout TD Garden crowd yet another glimpse back at what was in Bruin-turned-Flame Dougie Hamilton, it was the play of another former Bruin, Flames goaltender Chad Johnson, that made the real difference in a 2-1 B’s loss.

In Boston for his fifth career start against the Bruins (Johnson entered play with two wins and a .933 save percentage in four prior head-to-heads with his old club), the Flames stymied many of the Bruins’ early period chances with 11 missed opportunities for the B’s via blocked shots and misses. They then opened the game’s scoring at the 8:36 mark when Sam Bennett capitalized on a weak B’s play at the attacking blue line, as a weak Kevan Miller shot was intercepted the Flames, pushed the other way in another parting of the seas split against the Joe Morrow and Miller pairing (like the Mark Stone goal in Ottawa the night before), and finished off for an easy Bennett strike.

With a lead, Johnson dazzled in his first chances against. His best stop of a five-shot first period came on a great one-two-three sequence of sorts that allowed David Pastrnak to storm in for a great tip chance. He followed that up with a second period robbery up of the Bruins’ Brad Marchand, this one off a great feed from Marchand.

But in the third, the Bruins finally broke through the Walls of Johnson, with a net-front jam from Pastrnak for No. 88’s 12th goal of the season and a 1-1 draw with 14:05 left in the third.

Just 70 seconds later, though, the Flames countered with an Alex Chiasson goal. Caught in perfect spacing between Morrow and Miller — also known as completely uncovered — Chiasson beat Khudobin upstairs for his third goal of the season and another one-goal lead for the Flames. And though the Bruins pressed with a late-game surge, including a strong 6-on-4 run for the final minute of play spent almost entirely in the Calgary zone, Johnson stood tall with 35 stops on 36 shots against.

In his first start since Oct. 22 after 15 games missed due to an upper-body injury, the 30-year-old Khudobin stopped 27-of-29 shots against, and looked to shake off any lingering rust as the game went on.

The loss also extended the B’s losing streak to three games, a tie for their longest of the year, and the Black and Gold have now dropped four out of their last five contests overall.

Here are four other things we learned in the loss.

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Bruins goalie Anton Khudobin gets start vs. Flames

11.25.16 at 7:10 pm ET
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Anton Khudobin will start for the Bruins tonight. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

Anton Khudobin will start for the Bruins tonight. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

Recalled from a conditioning assignment with the Providence Bruins just hours ago, Anton Khudobin will make his first appearance in a Boston crease for the first time since Oct. 22 when the Bruins play host to Dougie Hamilton and the Flames Friday night at TD Garden.

Out with an injury sustained in an Oct. 24 practice at Warrior Ice Arena, Khudobin has missed the last 15 games for the Big Bruins, but has put in some work with the P-Bruins in the last week, with two wins in three games of action for the club.

In 189 minutes of AHL action, Khudobin stopped 76-of-87 shots against, including a 20-of-24 night in his final appearance, a 6-4 win over the Rochester Americans two nights ago.

The 30-year-old Khudobin has appeared in two games for the Black and Gold this season, with zero wins and an .849 save percentage.

Khudobin gets the start opposite the Flames’ Chad Johnson.

Johnson has six wins and a .922 save percentage in 10 games for the Flames this season, and won 17 games and posted a .925 save percentage in 27 games for the Bruins in 2013-14. Johnson has two wins and a .933 save percentage in four career games against the Bruins.

This is the first of two meetings between the Bruins and Flames this season.

Here are the expected lines and pairings for the B’s

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Ryan Spooner – David Krejci – David Backes

Matt Beleskey – Riley Nash – Austin Czarnik

Tim Schaller – Dominic Moore – Jimmy Hayes

Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

John-Michael Liles – Brandon Carlo

Joe Morrow – Kevan Miller

Khudobin

Zdeno Chara (lower-body) to miss second straight game

11.25.16 at 6:52 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara

A night after a disastrous defensive performance in Ottawa in what finished as a 3-1 loss for the Bruins, the Black and Gold have made their quick turnaround and returned to TD Garden tonight against the Flames for their annual Black Friday game. But the Bruins will still be without the services of their No. 1 defenseman and team captain, Zdeno Chara, according to head coach Claude Julien.

Injured in his first shift of the second period Tuesday against the Blues (likely on a corner collision with the Blues’ Jaden Schwartz), the 39-year-old captain missed last night’s game, and still out on a day-to-day basis with his lower-body injury and will be reevaluated tomorrow.

The Bruins are 0-1-0 with Chara out of action this season, and have given up seven goals in five periods without Big Z in action this season. Dating back to last year, the Bruins have allowed 13 goals in three games (all losses) without the 6-foot-9 Chara.

Kevan Miller, a minus-1 with one shot on goal and three hits in 16:50 of time on ice in his season debut Thursday night, will likely continue to skate in Chara’s place in the defensive mix, but on the third pairing with Joe Morrow. John-Michael Liles will take Chara’s exact place in the lineup, however, on a pairing with first-year standout Brandon Carlo.

Chara has one goal and six points and a plus-12 rating in 19 games for the Bruins this season.

Admiral’s Mailbag: What’s the deal with Zdeno Chara, Jimmy Hayes?

11.25.16 at 9:13 am ET
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Zdeno Chara's absence makes things uncomfortable for Bruins (Jen Fuller/Getty Images)

Zdeno Chara’s absence makes things uncomfortable for the Bruins. (Jen Fuller/Getty Images)

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all of our readers. Here’s a mailbag to enjoy in between your naps. Send questions for next week’s mailbag to letitbleedrearad@gmail.com or @RearAdBsBlog on Twitter:

Now that Zdeno Chara is hurt, is it essential that the Bruins go out and get a defenseman? Ricky, Dartmouth, MA

The Bruins will likely start with a wait-and-see approach regarding their injured defenseman, who had been the team’s second best player and a vital cog in their early season success. If it appears to be a short-term lower body injury, the team will just try to weather the storm with current personnel, however bumpy as it may get. But if Big Z is lost for an extended amount of time, I’d expect the Bs to try like hell to bring in a top-four D-man (though they should probably already be doing that regardless). By placing him on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), the Bruins would be allowed to go over the cap if they decided to bring in a major contract. Of course, making a deal is easier said than done and trades this early in the season are rare. It’s definitely a situation we’re all keeping our eyes on.

What’s the problem with Jimmy Hayes? Janice, Malden, MA

This is one of the biggest questions surrounding the team this year. In simple terms, I’d say Hayes is suffering from a total lack of confidence out there. He looks lost at times out there and isn’t doing much of anything. It almost feels like picking on him at this point but his futility has to be noted. He has yet to tally a point in 18 games this season and has gone 34 straight games over two seasons without one. You could have literally added a child to your family since the last time he tallied a point (Feb. 24). Reilly Smith, the guy the Bruins unwisely dumped for Hayes, has 10-11–21 totals since the last goal from Hayes. He’s been on the ice for the most 5-on-5 goals against while only out for one Bs goal. Claude keeps giving him ample opportunity to get off the schnide, including time on the power play, but there’s absolutely nothing to show for it. You have to think it’s only a matter of time before the Bs try to stash him down Providence. Like when Frank Vatrano is ready to re-join the team. Hayes’s homecoming has been nothing short of a disaster so far.

Who has been the best off-season Bruins addition? Billy, Providence, RI

Dominic Moore. The bottom-six journeyman has been a great signing, putting up 5-3–8 totals in 20 games (including two short-handed goals). He’s also chipped in with great penalty killing and Claude knows he can put him on the ice late in a game to secure a one-goal lead. His possession numbers aren’t great but that’s really the only knock on him. The speedy 36-year-old showed he still has plenty to offer at the NHL level.

Are the Edmonton Oilers back? Tommy, Auburn, MA

Yes, they sure are. Connor McDavid certainly appears to be the next Sidney Crosby-level superstar and even the Oil can’t screw that up. (I don’t think even Peter Chiarelli would trade the former No. 1 overall pick). It’ll be a big surprise if Edmonton doesn’t make its return to the playoffs this year. Either way, it’s great for the NHL to have one of its former marquee franchises become a must-watch team once again.

Which team has been the biggest disappointment so far? Bryan, Dorchester, MA

The New York Islanders. They have way too many underachievers right now and they’re not getting consistent #1 goaltending from either Jaroslav Halak or Thomas Greiss. Head Coach Jack Capuano is definitely on the hot seat and the new ownership isn’t happy with the results so far. The Isles are currently in the basement in the East, seven points behind the No. 8 seed. If they don’t put together even a modest streak soon, the season could get away from them quickly so they may very well have a new voice in the room. For every coach in the NHL, that is the constant reality—sometimes, it’s him that has to pay the price.

5 Things We Learned in a Thanksgiving night of turnovers for Bruins

11.24.16 at 10:25 pm ET
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The Bruins allowed three unanswered goals in a 3-1 loss to the Senators. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)

The Bruins allowed three unanswered goals in a 3-1 loss to the Senators. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)

Instead of pumpkin pie or apple crisp, the Bruins ended their Thanksgiving with turnovers — and lots of ’em — in a 3-1 road loss to the Senators at Ottawa, Ont.’s Canadian Tire Center.

In a night in which the Bruins first capitalized with the help of a second chance opportunity on the power play for David Pastrnak, in his first game back from a three-game absence due to an upper-body injury, too.

After the 20-year-old miffed on his first chance, Pastrnak countered with a brilliant backhand that beat the Sens’ Craig Anderson for his 11th goal of the season (in just 15 games played, too) to put the Bruins up 1-0 after one period of play.

Scored with just 10 seconds left in the first period, too, it was the perfect escape to a rather listless, six-shot period from the Bruins.

But in a game that undoubtedly favored their style, the Sens would respond in the second.

On a great play from Mike Hoffman that parted the seas for sniper Mark Stone, Stone split through both Kevan Miller and Joe Morrow, and successfully finished the job on B’s netminder Tuukka Rask for his fifth goal of the season, scored 13:23 into the period.

Deadlocked through two periods of play, the Sens grabbed the lead off a terrible own-zone Torey Krug turnover — Krug attempted to simply blindly throw the puck out of play but was intercepted by the Sens’ Chris Wideman — and subsequent tip off a stick and through Rask for Ottawa’s second goal of the night.

Fortunately for the B’s the goal was scored with more than enough time for the Bruins to answer back.

Instead, the Bruins made yet another lackadaisical turnover, this one from David Krejci on a dropback pass intercepted by Kyle Turris midway through the period, and Turris charged the other way, and with the help of a sweet pass from Bobby Ryan, dumped into the B’s net for their third goal of the night.

It was the all the Senators needed on a night in which the Black and Gold put a season-low 20 shots on goal.

Rask, meanwhile, stopped 23-of-26 shots in defeat, and is now officially on his first losing streak of the season.

Here are four other things we learned in the loss.

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