|12.06.14 at 10:36 pm ET|
The Bruins concluded their four-game West Coast road trip with 5-2 win over the Coyotes Saturday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
Leading the way offensively for Boston was Brad Marchand, whose two goal effort increased his team-leading goal total to eight. The Bruins also received goals from Kevan Miller, Simon Gagne and Loui Eriksson. The goal from Eriksson was his first since Nov. 6 and Boston’s first power play tally since Nov. 13.
Claude Julien tweaked his lineup for the game, putting Seth Griffith and Joe Morrow back in and scratching David Pastrnak and Matt Bartkowski.
The B’s will next play Thursday, when they host the Blackhawks at TD Garden.
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com.
|12.05.14 at 1:05 am ET|
The Bruins were desperately in search of goals and they found them. So did the Sharks.
Then the Sharks found some more. And some more.
In finally putting up something of an offensive effort, the Bruins got crushed in a mess of a pond hockey game Thursday night. Their four goals were a minor detail in a game marked by hanging Tuukka Rask out to dry in a 7-4 loss (box). Rask had never allowed seven goals in an NHL game before Thursday night.
The Bruins have now gone 0-3-0 in the first three games of their four-game West Coast trip. They’ll wrap it up Saturday against the Coyotes.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday night:
DOMINATED IN THE SECOND
It all began in the second period. After a strong first, the B’s were blown out of the water in the second by the Sharks, who put four pucks past Rask.
They scored after long stays in the offensive zone, scored on the power play (twice) and scored off the rush. San Jose outshot Boston, 24-7, in the second.
The period was a reflection of some pretty shoddy work by the B’s in both the neutral zone and their own zone. While they would gladly take a period in which they scored two goals given their offensive woes of late, the second period showed that pond hockey doesn’t suit the B’s well.
Through the first two periods alone, the Bruins gave up 61 shot attempts, which, as Nick Goss from NESN noted, was more than they’d allowed in a game all season.
REILLY SMITH IS BACK TO SCORING
It wasn’t just that Smith didn’t have any goals in his previous 10 games entering Thursday; he didn’t have any points. That changed 29 seconds into the game, as he finished off a play courtesy of slick passing from Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. He would add a second goal shortly after a Sharks power play goal in the second period.
Speaking of Marchand and Bergeron, Smith was reunited with his longtime linemates Thursday after seeing David Pastrnak skate in his place the previous three games. Smith was put back on the line late in the second period Tuesday against the Kings and stuck there through the game Thursday.
With Smith back with Bergeron, Pastrnak was moved down to play with Chris Kelly and Matt Fraser. Seth Griffith was scratched for the third straight game. The lines were as follows:
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Lucic – Soderberg – Eriksson
Fraser – Kelly – Pastrnak
Paille – Campbell – Gagne
THREE-AND-ONE FAILS BRUINS
Dating back to some early-season shootout woes last season, in four-on-four play — particularly in overtime — Claude Julien has opted against skating two forwards and two defensemen and instead deployed a full forward line and one blueliner. That backfired Thursday night.
With Marchand and Tommy Wingels going off for matching roughing minors and the Bruins trailing by a goal, Julien sent Carl Soderberg’s line and Dougie Hamilton out. Joe Pavelski skated the puck around Hamilton and was going stride-for-stride to the net with Hamilton when Lucic, trying to break up the play, accidentally kicked the puck into the net as he tried to make a hard stop.
Given that there was less than 10 minutes to play in a one-goal game, there’s no issue here with Julien’s strategy as he looked for the equalizer. It just didn’t work.
PAILLE’S FLASHY ASSIST
Daniel Paille is known for being good at a lot of things and not-so-good at finishing. That doesn’t mean he can’t play a major part in a highlight reel goal.
Shortly after Smith had gotten the Bruins on the board early in the first period, Paille skated the puck through the neutral zone. With two men to beat as he went to the net, Paille spun around on his backhand and wheeled back forward to send a pass on his forehand to an oncoming Gregory Campbell, who promptly fired the puck into the net for his third goal of the season. Two of those goals have come against the Sharks.
|12.04.14 at 1:42 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB prior to the Bruins’ game against the Sharks Thursday night, as well as to discuss the recent struggles of the team. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Despite losing four of their last five games, including two straight on the West Coast, McGuire doesn’t feel like it is time to panic for the Bruins, especially with so many of their players out of the lineup with injuries. He was in Minnesota interviewing some Wild players earlier in the day, and they have a different thought of the struggling Bruins than many in Boston.
“It’s amazing how they perceive the Bruins compared to some of the people in Boston,” said McGuire. “They perceive the Bruins as a contender for the Cup. They know they are playing them in about 10 days, on the [17th] of December. That is one of the things they were talking about — one of the sleeping giants in the league right now is Boston. A lot of it is injury driven.”
Goal scoring has been an issue for the Bruins of late — scoring just six goals in their last five games. But, again, this is because of the injuries they are dealing with.
“It’s injury related,” McGuire said. “I did the St. Louis Blues-Chicago Blackhawks game last night. Everyone in the west is talking about those same things, and those are two of the upper-echelon teams in the west. When you have tiny injuries in the west you’re in trouble, when you have massive amounts of injuries you’re in huge trouble. Part of the problem for Boston more than anything else is they are going against real good teams. They are out west and they don’t have 100 percent of their lineup. I wouldn’t panic too much, this is part of the peaks and valleys that happen over the course of the course of an 82-game schedule.”
|12.03.14 at 7:59 pm ET|
Chat all things Bruins and whatever else with DJ Bean at noon. Bring your dancing shoes.
|12.03.14 at 3:05 pm ET|
The Bruins returned forward Craig Cunningham to Providence Wednesday, according to the AHL transactions page.
Cunningham was recalled for the team’s current road trip but did not dress in either of the first two games. He skated on the fourth line for three games to begin the season while Gregory Campbell worked his way back from a core injury.
With Cunningham out, the Bruins still have 13 forwards with them. Both Cunningham and Seth Griffith were scratched against the Ducks and Kings.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|12.03.14 at 1:09 am ET|
The Bruins are good enough to play close games against good teams, but they aren’t good enough to score goals. That’s becoming a bit of a problem for them as they try to navigate through a tough part of their schedule.
If the shutouts were being sprinkled in with potent offensive efforts, things wouldn’t look so grim. That’s not the case, however, as their 2.35 goals per game on the season ranks 23rd in the NHL.
The Bruins have now gone five straight games without a three-goal showing and have failed to score three in nine of their last 10 games (4-5-1).
The Kings outshot the Bruins 35-31. Their second goal came in the form of a Tyler Toffoli empty-netter as the Bruins fell short in their comeback bid in the final minutes.
Here are four other things we learned:
JULIEN MIXING THINGS UP
Boston’s lines began as such:
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Lucic – Soderberg – Eriksson
Fraser – Kelly – Smith
Gagne – Campbell – Paille
By the end of the second, Julien used the following lines:
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Lucic – Soderberg – Pastrnak
Fraser – Kelly – Eriksson
Gagne – Campbell – Paille
In the third, Fraser got shifts with Lucic and Soderberg, while Pastrnak skated with Eriksson and Kelly. Seth Griffith was scratched for a second straight game. It will be interesting to see what Julien does with the lineup Thursday against the Sharks.
FAITH IN CAMPBELL LINE BACKFIRES
Claude Julien successfully used Campbell’s line against Ryan Getzlaf’s line Monday night in Anaheim without getting burned. That apparently gave the B’s confidence to play their fourth line against Anze Kopitar’s line at points Tuesday, and it cost them.
After Gagne blocked a shot late on the Campbell line’s third shift against Kopitar’s, Campbell couldn’t get the puck out of the zone. Kopitar gained possession and sent the puck low to Tanner Pearson, who beat Niklas Svedberg for what would prove to be the game-winning goal.
The Campbell line played six shifts against Kopitar’s line over the first two periods Tuesday.
MILLER RETURNS, MORROW SCRATCHED FOR FIRST TIME
For the first time since he entered the lineup on Oct. 30, Joe Morrow was scratched by the Bruins. The move allowed Kevan Miller to re-enter the lineup.
Morrow, who has by and large been very steady for the B’s in his 14-game NHL career, did not play the final 6:11 of Monday’s loss to the Ducks. Miller was scratched after Julien said he suffered a minor injury against the Jets last Friday.
Zach Trotman stayed in the lineup amidst the switch on defense, logging 16:34 of ice time.
BACK-TO-BACKS EQUAL LOSSES
In losing Tuesday, the Bruins fell to 0-5-0 in the second games of back-to-backs. Two of those games have been started by Svedberg, who deserved a better fate on Tuesday.
The B’s are 3-2-0 in the first games of back-backs. They’ll next have games on consecutive games on Dec. 16 and 17 in Nashville and Minnesota, respectively.
|12.02.14 at 12:33 am ET|
A loss is a loss, but all things considered, Monday night could have gone much worse for the Bruins.
Playing one of the NHL‘s biggest and best teams in the first game of a four-game western swing, the Bruins held their own against the Ducks with an especially strong first period, solid special teams work throughout and even a big night from the embattled Gregory Campbell line.
After falling behind, 3-1, five minutes into the third period the B’s pushed back hard with Simon Gagne’s second goal of the season, but were unable to find the equalizer en route to a 3-2 regulation loss.
The lack of points from the performance should undoubtedly leave the Bruins with a bad taste in their mouths, but Monday’s game showed that, without Zdeno Chara and David Krejci, the B’s can still measure up pretty well against one of the league’s top teams.
The Bruins will play the second leg of perhaps their toughest back-to-back of the season when they face the Kings Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
Tuukka Rask made 25 saves on 28 shots faced. The loss was Boston’s third in the last four games (1-2-1).
Here are four more things we learned Monday:
PASTRNAK GETS HIS FIRST POINT
David Pastrnak stayed on Patrice Bergeron‘s line and got power play time in his third NHL game. With it came his first career point, as his power play unit stayed in the offensive zone at the expiration of an Andrew Cogliano penalty and a Pastrnak threw a puck on net that yielded a rebound that Brad Marchand converted into the first goal of the game.
Zach Trotman got the secondary assist on the goal, as he manned the other point of the power play unit with Torey Krug.
Pastrnak had one shot on goal Monday, a far cry from his team-leading seven on Friday against the Jets.
BARTKOWSKI HELD UP
Matt Bartkowski has had plenty of reason to be frustrated when pucks have gone past him and in this season, but on Monday the frustration wasn’t with himself.
Devante Smith-Pelly held Bartkowski’s stick in front of Rask during a Ducks possession late in the second period. Despite Bartkowski signaling to the official that he couldn’t make a play, the obstruction went uncalled as Cam Fowler fired a shot that would go off Smith-Pelly and in.
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