|02.04.16 at 9:52 pm ET|
The Bruins took a break from blowing third-period leads against bad teams by coming back against a bad team Thursday. Either way, two points is two points.
After allowing the game’s first goals, the Bruins came back to force overtime and eventually take a 3-2 shootout victory over the Sabres as they bounced back from Tuesday’s ugly overtime loss to the Maple Leafs.
Ryan Spooner, who scored his 11th goal of the season during regulation, scored the only goal of the shootout as Tuukka Rask stood tall against all three of Buffalo’s shooters. The victory moved the Bruins into sole possession of third place in the Atlantic Division, as they now trail only the Lightning and Panthers in the division.
The Bruins survived a Patrice Bergeron penalty in overtime that saw Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg play the entire two minutes of 4-on-3, with Seidenberg making a diving save on Ryan O’Reilly with Tuukka Rask recovering from a previous save.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday:
MARCHAND DOES IT HIMSELF
Brad Marchand‘s 23rd goal of the season will surely end up on his highlight reel. Marchand got the puck in the Bruins’ zone at the tail end of a Sabres power play and proceeded to wheel around and skate past four Buffalo players before sending a backhander past Chad Johnson.
Marchand now has eight goals in his last eight games, with last Tuesday’s loss to the Ducks the only game in that span in which he hasn’t scored.
FERRARO MOVES UP AGAIN
Pastrnak had a bit of a wonky night, with a mixup between the young forward and Kevan Miller resulting in a goal against. With the Bruins in the offensive zone in the first period, Pastrnak went hard after a loose puck but backed off when a pinching Miller wound up for a slap shot. They both ended up backing off the puck, allowing the Sabres to the take the puck the other way. Shortly after Brian Gionta hit the post, Evander Kane scored to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead. Read the rest of this entry »
|02.04.16 at 11:58 am ET|
The Bruins activated goaltender Jonas Gustavsson from injured reserve and returned Malcolm Subban to Providence on Thursday. Gustavsson is expected to back up Tuukka Rask Thursday night against the Sabres.
Gustavsson had to leave last Tuesday’s game against the Ducks after one period and go to Mass General hospital, where he stayed overnight due to an elevated heart rate. He was released from the hospital the next day but has been on IR since the B’s returned from the All-Star break. Gustavsson skated Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, facing shots on Tuesday and Wednesday. Coach Claude Julien said on Tuesday that he was cleared to practice, but not to play. The team indicated that he would come off IR as soon as he received final clearance.
Subban did not play in any games during his callup, backing up Rask on Tuesday. He will return to the AHL, where he has had a .948 save percentage in his last six starts.
|02.03.16 at 1:30 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins are currently in playoff standing in a bad division. Even with all their flaws, they shouldn’t be particularly scared of anyone in the Eastern Conference outside of Washington. Despite that, they’re not close to being a Stanley Cup contender.
Things get complicated when considering that the Bruins could very well end up trading one of their better players in Loui Eriksson, which could bump them out of being a playoff team altogether. That could trigger a bigger rebuild, which the team would have to hope wouldn’t take up too much of players like 29-year-old David Krejci‘s prime years.
Krejci, who has centered Eriksson and enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career, wants the team to re-sign the veteran wing. He does not want the team to move big pieces and fall out of the playoff picture.
“You don’t want that, especially after last year, but I thought they did a good job of bringing guys. We’re still a playoff team,” Krejci said. “You don’t to be sitting with many games and just going through the motions, out of the playoffs. We still have a playoff team, and in the playoffs, you never know.”
Eriksson has been Krejci’s most common linemate this season, as the two have been together for 465:31 of Krejci’s 589:14 of 5-on-5 time. The versatile winger is in the final year of his contract and the team is willing to trade the player if they feel there isn’t enough common ground to eventually extend him. Krejci, who is in the first year of a six-year contract, doesn’t want that to happen.
“It’s kind of out of my [hands], but I really love playing with him,” Krejci said. “It would be nice, but you kind of have to dig deep with where our management really wants to go in the next few years because Loui obviously isn’t looking for a one-year deal, right? I’m sure Loui would like to stay – I don’t want to speak for him – but I would love for him to stick around.”
Regardless of what the Bruins do, Krejci wants his prime years to be spent with the Bruins contending.
“This NHL right now, there’s so many young guys,” Krejci said. “Even if you get some new guys – if they’re the right guys, we should still be a playoff team.”
There isn’t an easy solution for the Bruins. Trading guys like Eriksson might make it a couple of years before they’re good again, though they would have more candidates to replace key players should they be moved via trade. If they do more of a soft rebuild, as this past offseason indicated, they might not get much better than what they are now.
|02.03.16 at 1:47 am ET|
For a few third-period minutes on Tuesday, TD Garden was rocking.
David Krejci had shoveled in his 12th goal of the season, just 26 seconds after Brad Marchand had buried his 22nd of the year, and the Bruins were leading the Maple Leafs by a score of 3-1 in the team’s first game back after the All-Star break.
And then …
“We let the lead slip away,” said defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. “We didn’t defend well enough in front of our net. Usually we’re pretty good at that.”
The Bruins franchise this decade usually is good at protecting leads, let alone net fronts. In the past four seasons under Claude Julien, a two-goal Bruins lead was almost an automatic victory: the B’s were 158-9-7 over those four campaigns.
However, a season that began with three blown two-goals leads in the first six contests of October has been filled with a-typical B’s behavior.
“You know what, I don’t know,” centerman David Krejci said when asked what the difference has been this year in holding leads compared to previous years. “[Inexperience] shouldn’t be an excuse, because we’ve played 50 games already and everyone knows the game plan. I think we are in good shape in [that] part of the game. We all know what to do. It’s just execution.”
|02.02.16 at 9:50 pm ET|
Scoring in the third period isn’t a huge problem for the Bruins. Allowing goals in the third period is.
The Bruins appeared to be home-free after a pair of goals early in the third period Tuesday gave them a 3-1 lead over the Maple Leafs, but the B’s faltered drown the stretch as Toronto scored twice to pull even in regulation before P.A. Parenteau scored a power play in overtime to give the Leafs a 4-3 victory. In the Bruins’ last six games, they have allowed as many third period goals (eight) as they’ve scored.
Though Tuessday’s result should be considered a huge disappointment, one point was enough to pull the Bruins even points-wise the Red Wings with 58 for third place in the Atlantic Division, though the Bruins have played 50 games to Detroit’s 49.
Here are four more things we learned Tuesday:
KREJCI GIVETH, KREJCI TAKETH AWAY
David Krejci can take over a game, as was evidenced early in the third. It was ultimately his holding penalty in overtime that led to Toronto’s game-winner, however.
In a matter of 26 seconds in the third, Krejci set up Brad Marchand to break the tie and then scored a goal of his own to give the B’s a lead they’d eventually relinquish.
Krejci’s two-point game gave the veteran center a four-game points streak (one goal, four assists) in what has been a very consistent stretch for him. Dating back to Nov. 25, Krejci has points in 15 of 20 games, registering four goals and 12 assists for 16 points in that stretch.
|02.02.16 at 11:39 am ET|
Jonas Gustavsson took a positive step Tuesday by facing shots in the Bruins’ morning skate, but he will remain on injured reserve when the B’s host the Maple Leafs at TD Garden.
“Cleared to practice, not to play,” Claude Julien said of the goaltender, who is recovering from an elevated heart rate.
With Gustavsson remaining out, Malcolm Subban will be Tuukka Rask‘s backup Tuesday night. Based on morning skate, the lineup figures to be as such:
|02.01.16 at 4:03 pm ET|
It’s plausible that some truth serum would get Claude Julien to reveal that Loui Eriksson is one of his favorite players. Eriksson drives possession, scores goals and plays both the power play and penalty kill exceptionally. He’s not a shiny player, but he’s a coach like Julien’s kind of player.
So, with Eriksson unsigned and a possibility to be traded if the sides aren’t close on a contract by late February, how would Julien feel about such a player being traded while the Bruins are trying to make the playoffs?
“That depends,” Julien said. “Do you get something in return? Is that something in return something that would help our team? We don’t know that, so I can’t answer that and I don’t think that question is a good thing for me to answer because who knows if he’s going [and] who knows what we’d get back? I can’t answer it until something happens. Hopefully nothing.”
Eriksson, 30, is second on the Bruins in points this season and is on pace for 25 goals. According to a source, the Bruins and Eriksson’s camp discussed the player’s market a while back but the Bruins have yet to make a contract proposal to Eriksson.
UPDATE: Though recent talks have yielded no contract proposals, it has come to light that the Bruins did indeed make Eriksson an initial offer before Christmas. Eriksson’s camp found both the average annual value and the term of the contract to be too low to negotiate off of, however. According to the source, the offer was made “more to simply get things initiated.”
While the sides did not negotiate off that proposal, the Bruins and agent J.P. Barry later began having general conversations about the player’s market and his comps. It is in these conversations that the Bruins have yet to make an offer. As it currently stands, Eriksson’s camp is waiting for the Bruins to engage in more serious negotiations.
The player has a partial no-trade clause that allows him to submit a list of 14 teams to which he would accept a trade. Eriksson did so prior to the season.
“I’d like to keep Loui, period, just like the guys that have left us, I would have loved to have kept,” Julien said. “As a coach, would I like to have Looch? Would I like to have those other guys? Hamilton? Sure, [but] we couldn’t keep them for different reasons. You get some good players that end up leaving for reasons that we can’t control, so you’ve got to have the confidence in your upper management that they’re going to make the right decision. I can’t do anything about it. I can only coach what I have right now. I enjoy having him. I think he’s a great player and we’ll see where it goes from there.”