|03.24.14 at 1:04 pm ET|
The Bruins claim to not care about their 12-game-winning streak, but the Canadiens certainly do.
Habs forward Dale Weise shared after Montreal’s morning skate Monday that the Canadiens actually wanted the Bruins to win Saturday night against the Coyotes so the Habs could have the opportunity to snap the streak Monday night at TD Garden.
The Canadiens got their first part of their wish, as Boston came back with three unanswered goals in the third period to beat Phoenix, 4-2.
‘We were checking the score the other night against Phoenix, and Phoenix was up going into the third period and we were kind of hoping Boston would come back and win so we would get the chance to knock them off,’ Weise said.
Weise already has some history with the Bruins, as he was a member of the Canucks the year after the B’s played Vancouver in the Stanley Cup finals. In the team’s first meeting after the finals on Jan. 7, 2012, Weise challenged Adam McQuaid to fight, but when Shawn Thornton accepted the invitation instead and dropped his gloves, Weise kept his gloves on.
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|03.24.14 at 11:58 am ET|
Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off the ice in Monday’s morning skate as the Bruins prepared to face the Canadiens at TD Garden. Rask is coming off a 30-save performance in a 4-2 win over the Coyotes Saturday in Phoenix.
In Rask’s last start against the Canadiens, he made 35 saves in a 4-1 victory in Montreal. Rask is 1-2-0 against the Habs this season. Monday will mark Boston’s final meeting with the Habs this regular season.
Peter Budaj will be in net for the Canadiens. Budaj has performed well against the B’s in his career, though he was between the pipes when Boston beat the Habs earlier this month.
If the Bruins are to pick up a victory Monday, they will have extended their winning streak to 13 games. Their longest win streak in franchise history lasted 14 games in the 1929-30 season.
Bruins coach Claude Julien downplayed the significance of the team’s streak, saying that the Bruins are more focused on playing solid hockey leading up to the postseason than doing anything historic in the regular season.
“Those are things that next year, nobody will remember,” Julien said. “We [try to] take care of other things than the streak. Right now it’s about our game. It’s about day-to-day. Right now it’s not an issue.”
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|03.23.14 at 12:53 pm ET|
The Bruins have won 12 games in a row, with Saturday’s win perhaps the most impressive. The B’s got outplayed early on but stormed back with three unanswered goals in the third period, two of which were scored by Jarome Iginla.
Seven of the games have been played against teams that were in line for a playoff spot at the conclusion of Saturday’s games.
The Bruins can tie their franchise record if they are able to get the streak to 14 games with wins over the Canadiens and Blackhawks this week at TD Garden. In the meantime, here are some stats to illustrate how impressive the B’s have been over this streak:
THE IGINLA STATS
- With 11 goals, Iginla has more than double anyone else on the team during the win streak. Patrice Bergeron is second with five.
- Iginla has more even-strength goals than Bergeron’s line (six) and Gregory Campbell‘s line (four) combined.
- Iginla has two goals in three of the last five games.
THE NON-IGINLA SCORING STATS
- Carl Soderberg‘s line has more even-strength goals (nine) than Bergeron’s.
- With five goals, Bergeron has the most goals of Bruins centers during this stretch. Soderberg has four.
- The only regulars (three or more games played) to not score in this stretch are Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller. Bartkowski is still looking for his first career regular-season NHL goal.
THE GOALS AGAINST STATS
- The B’s have outscored their opponents, 46-17. That makes for a goals-against-average of 1.41.
- The Bruins went three straight games (vs. Montreal, Phoenix and Carolina) without allowing a goal until the third period.
- Bruins opponents have scored in only 15 of the 36 regulation periods.
THE SPECIAL TEAMS STATS
- The Bruins have only had 20 power plays. As such, they only have one more power play goal (three) than they have shorthanded goals (two). That’s further proof that you can win without a power play, though Claude Julien is certainly itching for the B’s to get more calls.
- The Bruins have allowed two power play-goals over the last three games. Those account for most of the the three power-play goals they’ve given up over this 12-game stretch.
THE GOALIE STATS
- Chad Johnson has a .954 save percentage, as he has stopped 125 of the 131 shots he has seen in five starts. Tuukka Rask has a .945 save percentage in six starts. A bigger takeaway than the fact that the backup’s numbers have been better: The Bruins have started their backup in half of these games.
|03.22.14 at 11:35 pm ET|
The Bruins extended their winning streak to 12 straight games as they came from behind to beat the Coyotes, 4-2, Saturday in Phoenix.
Shawn Thornton tipped a tough-angle Daniel Paille shot past Mike Smith to break a 2-2 tie with 3:18 remaining. Jarome Iginla had tied the game earlier in the period by deflecting a Zdeno Chara slap shot past Smith. He would add an empty netter for his 28th goal of the season.
Patrice Bergeron scored the game’s first goal for the third straight game, as he put his own rebound past Smith at 3:25 of the third. Shane Doan tied it 11:45 of the first, with an Oliver Ekman-Larsson goal maing the Coyotes the first team to lead the Bruins in seven games.
Johnny Boychuk returned to the lineup for the B’s, with Torey Krug serving as the healthy scratch. Tuukka Rask picked up the win for the B’s, who will next play Monday at TD Garden when they host the Canadiens.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Andrej Meszaros played a big role in Boston’s first goal, as he picked off a pass in the neutral zone to get the puck in the offensive zone and then knocked down Smith’s cleaning attempt to keep the puck in. From there, Bergeron buried his own rebound for the second straight game to make it 1-0.
- Iginla ended up getting credit for the Bruins’ second goal, and he was the one who started the whole play. The veteran right wing stole the puck in the defensive zone and gave it to David Krejci, who sent it to Hamilton in the offensive zone. Hamilton dished the puck across to Chara, who unloaded a mammoth shot from the point that went off Iginla and past Smith.
Saturday also marked Iginla’s 100th career multi-goal game.
- No goal came of it, but the Bruins kept the puck in the offensive zone for nearly two minutes straight in the second period. David Krejci‘s line started the possession and eventually gave way to Chris Kelly‘s line, with Zdeno Chara‘s pairing holding down the point.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- At long last, the Bruins allowed a first-period goal. Doan’s goal broke a streak of 10 straight first periods in which the B’s kept their opponent off the board. That stretch was a franchise-best.
|03.21.14 at 11:30 pm ET|
The Bruins became the first team in the NHL to clinch a playoff spot, as Chad Johnson picked up a hard-earned shutout with a 2-0 victory over the Avalanche. The win was Boston’s 11th straight, while it was the team’s seventh straight playoff berth.
The win streak is Boston’s third-longest, as the B’s are three away from the 14 in a row they won in 1929-30. Tying that will be tough, as the B’s next three games are against the Coyotes, Canadiens and Blackhawks.
Patrice Bergeron scored the only goal of the first period as the Bruins kept their opponent scoreless in the first period for the 10th straight game. The B’s have not trailed since March 9 in Florida.
The Bruins made it 2-0 in the second period on a Carl Soderberg power play goal. The B’s held on from there, despite Colorado coach Patrick Roy pulling Semyon Varlomov with five minutes remaining in the game. To Roy’s credit, the Bruins did not score an empty net goal.
Johnson made 30 saves in the game, improving his record to 16-3-1 on the season and getting his second shutout of the season.
The Bruins will face the Coyotes Saturday in Phoenix before returning to Boston to face the Canadiens Monday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Johnson was superb for the B’s as he got the start in two straight games for the second time all year. He had to make 24 saves over the first two periods, the biggest of which was on a Maxime Talbot partial breakaway off of a Chris Kelly neutral zone turnover. Johnson stopped Talbot’s backhand bid, among several other strong opportunities for Colorado.
- Dougie Hamilton played a pretty big role in both Boston goals. The 20-year-old took a pass from Bergeron on his backhand, moved across the blue line as he put it back on his forehand and slid the pass down low to Bergeron, who put the puck on net and buried the rebound.
In the second period, Hamilton did a good job of keeping Talbot’s clearing bid in the zone and fed Eriksson, who gave the puck to Soderberg before bolting to the net. From there, Eriksson, who is exceptional at screening the goalie without having to tip pucks, got in Varlamov’s way as Soderberg fired a wrester that beat the Avalanche netminder.
- Here’s something you don’t see every day: Kevan Miller all Bruins in time on ice in the first two periods with 15:13. Zdeno Chara played 13:23 over the first two, though he took a high-sticking penalty late in the first period.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The Bruins had more defensive breakdowns than usual, meaning Johnson had to be good in order for them to hold the lead. The most notable one was on Talbot’s partial break in the second period off Kelly’s giveaway.
Johnson was also kept busy on a first-period shift from David Krejci‘s line in which both Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic were unable to get the puck out, leading to a couple of chances for Paul Stastnsy.
- The Bruins were outshot, 14-6, in the first period, though they came out of the period unscathed.
- This isn’t something that went wrong for the Bruins, but once again: Patrick Roy pulled his goalie with five minutes left. If that isn’t a different brand of fantastic I don’t know what is.
|03.21.14 at 4:30 pm ET|
The last couple of days have seen speculation regarding a possible early return from a torn ACL/MCL from Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, with Pierre McGuire hinting Friday that a possibility exists that Seidenberg could return late in the playoffs if the B’s are still playing.
“I was talking with some of their people around the team who are really tight with Seidenberg, and he was actually telling them that there’s a chance that he might be back for the playoffs,” McGuire said on Mut & Merloni.
Seidenberg was projected to have a six-to-eight month recovery time from surgery he got in early January. At the time, the team considered Seidenberg out for the season, but Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told the Boston Globe Friday that the team doesn’t expect Seidenberg to play again before next season, though he wouldn’t definitely say he won’t.
“I’m not counting on this,” Chiarelli told Amalie Benjamin. “He’s ahead of schedule. I don’t like to say, ‘Hey, if we’re in the Finals and we’re in Game 4,’ but that’s the type of scenario. He’s ahead of schedule and you can’t rule anything out, but I’m not counting on it.”
Chiarelli told the Globe that he isn’t surprised that Seidenberg is ahead of schedule given how well-conditioned the 32-year-old is. Seidenberg could be seen working out Monday before the team’s morning skate.
“My guess is, if we go deep, he’ll start skating at some point and we’ll just see how he is,” Chiarelli told the Globe. “We’ve been very cautious in the past with the injuries and coming back.”
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|03.21.14 at 12:39 pm ET|
NBC sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ winning streak and the potential for league expansion. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“I was talking with some of their people around the team who are really tight with Seidenberg, and he was actually telling them that there’s a chance that he might be back for the playoffs,” McGuire said.
Seidenberg suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee in late December and had surgery for the injury in January. He was expected to miss the rest of the season.
“With him I don’t think there’d be a lot of issues,” McGuire said of Seidenberg returning for the playoffs. “He’s a tremendous athlete — extremely fit. He’s very strong — everybody knows that. I don’t think there’d be that big of an adjustment for him.”
The news comes as the Bruins look to extend their winning streak to 11 games Friday night against the Avalanche.
“You see the level of consistency and when they need to defend a lead, they know how,” McGuire said of the B’s recent success. “When they need to generate some enthusiasm in the building, they know how by being physical. Their cycle game is excellent. They’re four lines deep.”
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