|11.25.15 at 10:07 pm ET|
The Bruins got two more points than they deserved Wednesday.
After being positively dominated for the second and third periods and only trailing by a 2-1 score thanks to the play of Jonas Gustavsson, the B’s managed to score a late goal in regulation and cap the overtime period with Frank Vatrano’s second goal of the game.
With Gustavsson trying to rescue the B’s by himself in the third period, Loui Eriksson and Colin Miller gave him some much-needed help. Eriksson fed Miller off the rush during a Red Wings line change, with Miller blasting his famed slap shot past Petr Mrazek to tie the game with 1:44 remaining in regulation. Miller also fed Vatrano in front from the point on the game-winning goal to give the B’s the 3-2 win.
Despite giving up his usual rebounds, Gustavsson was terrific against his former club, stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced.
Here are four more things we learned Wednesday:
BRUINS FALL OFF IN SECOND PERIOD
For the second straight game, the Bruins suffered a letdown in the second period. That’s probably where the comparisons to Monday’s second period, however. The Bruins’ second period against the Leafs on Monday saw the B’s allow three goals and score one, but the Bruins didn’t get enough shots on goal in Wednesday’s second period to expect a goal.
|11.24.15 at 5:26 pm ET|
The rosters for the Winter Classic alumni game were announced on Tuesday, with Ray Bourque and current Bruins executives Cam Neely and Don Sweeney among those set to take the ice for the Bruins on Dec. 31 against former Habs at Gillette Stadium.
The rosters and coaches are as follows:
Bruins: PJ Axelsson, Bob Beers, Ray Bourque, Rob DiMaio, Tom Fergus, Hal Gill, Steve Heinze, Al Iafrate, Brian Leetch, Reggie Lemelin, Ken Linseman, Rick Middleton, Jay Miller, Cam Neely, Terry O’Reilly, Andrew Raycroft, Mat Recchi, Sergei Samsonov, Marco Sturm, Bob Sweeney, Don Sweeney, Tim Sweeney, Glen Wesley
Bruins coaches: Lyndon Byers, Don Cherry, Stan Jonathan, Don Marcotte, Tom McVie, Mike Milbury, Derek Sanderson
Bruins honorary coaches: John Bucyk, Eddie Sandford
Canadiens: Donald Audette, Christian Bordeleau, Francis Bouillon, Benoit Brunet, Patrice Brisebois, Guy Carbonneau, Lucien Deblois, Eric Desjardins, Normand Dupont, Gaston Gingras, Rick Green, Mike Keane, Alex Kovalev, Sergio Momesso, Mats Naslund, Chris Nilan, Lyle Odelein, Oleg Petrov, Stephane Quintal, Stephane Richer, Larry Robinson, Richard Sevigny, Steve Shutt, Jose Theodore
Canadiens coaches: Simon Arsenault, Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers, Stephane Gauthier, Rejean Houle, Guy Lafleur
|11.23.15 at 10:38 pm ET|
The B’s never trailed in the game, but they blew a pair of leads and failed on multiple occasions to put the game out of reach. David Krejci came through in the end, beating James Reimer for the shootout’s only goal. That came after Tuukka Rask robbed James van Riemsdyk in the final seconds of overtime during a Toronto power play.
The Bruins were let down tremendously by their NHL-best power play, first registering just one shot while Toronto took two minor penalties in less than three minutes in the second period. Then, with the game tied at three late in the third period, the Bruins went on the man advantage with 2:01 remaining in regulation thanks to a Matt Hunwick hook on Matt Beleskey. The B’s failed to get anything past James Reimer on the man advantage and finished the night 0-for-3 on the power play.
With the win, the B’s have now won three straight games and stand at 11-8-1 on the season.
SECOND PERIOD NIGHTMARE
The second period could have been when Bruins pulled away from the Leafs, but it proved to be a nightmarish 20 minutes in which they blew a two-goal lead and, later, a one-goal lead.
After picking up the only two goals of the first period, the Bruins had the chance to put the game out of reach in the second period thanks to a pair of Maple Leafs penalties. When those power plays yielded no scoring, Toronto scored two goals in 1:02 to tie the game.
Shortly after the B’s regained the lead on Marchand’s second goal of the game, Tuukka Rask failed to glove a Shawn Matthias shot and was beaten by Tyler Bozak on the rebound. Then came the penalties for the Bruins, with McQuaid taking a pair of minor penalties and Marchand going the box on a holding penalty that was matched by a P.A. Pareneau. The Bruins managed to kill off McQuaid’s four minutes late in the second and into the third.
PENALTY KILL STRINGING TOGETHER SUCCESS
Not only did the Bruins all of their penalties for a third straight game — including a 4-on-3 in overtime on a Patrice Bergeron penalty — they picked up a shorthanded goal during their first kill. Read the rest of this entry »
|11.22.15 at 1:23 pm ET|
The Bruins have claimed forward Landon Ferraro off waivers from the Red Wings.
Ferraro, who is the son of longtime NHL forward and current TSN analyst Ray Ferraro, was the 32nd pick of the 2009 draft. He scored 27 goals in 70 games for Grand Rapids of the AHL last season while dressing in three NHL games. He played in 10 games for the Red Wings this season, registering zero points, before being put on waivers.
With the claim of Ferraro, the Bruins’ roster would be at the maximum of 23 players if Ferraro is healthy and 22 if he remains on injured reserve with knee injury. That figure includes Max Talbot, who was recalled on an emergency basis Saturday. Kevan Miller has been moved to injured reserve, meaning he will definitely miss Monday’s game (he last played on Tuesday and players must be on IR for at least seven days). David Pastrnak, who is still on crutches, remains on IR, as does Chris Kelly, who is out for at least the regular season.
|11.21.15 at 11:50 pm ET|
A quick look at Saturday night’s box score wouldn’t reveal anything notable about the Bruins’ third line. Ryan Spooner, Joonas Kemppainen and Brett Connolly didn’t score. None of them played more than Spooner’s 14:40. They combined for four shots on goal, which is fine but certainly not something that jumps out at you.
But Saturday night was a notable game for that trio. They played really well together, even if it didn’t show up in the box score. They had a lot of puck possession and created some of the Bruins’ best scoring chances in a game that didn’t have many of them.
And to be honest, that was a little surprising. Spooner, Kemppainen and Connolly had spent hardly any time together before Saturday, yet they appeared to have pretty good chemistry. Spooner had played the wing only in spurts before Saturday, yet he looked comfortable there and made things happen from the left side. Kemppainen hadn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire on the fourth line, yet he didn’t look out of place at all in a top-nine role.
“I think most of the game we played pretty well together,” Spooner said. “We talked a lot before the game and just said, ‘If we don’t have much, just try to get the puck in deep.’ We did that. And I think off the rush, we had a couple chances too. I thought it went well for sure.”
Spooner, Kemppainen and Connolly all entered Saturday as negative possession players in terms of both regular Corsi and relative Corsi. You wouldn’t have been able to guess that watching Saturday night’s game against Toronto, though. They were the Bruins’ top three players in terms of Corsi-for percentage, with all three finishing the night at 69 percent or better.
They combined for one fewer shot attempt than Patrice Bergeron‘s line and three more than David Krejci‘s line, despite getting significantly less ice time. They also created a couple good chances that didn’t even count as shot attempts — a Kemppainen centering pass just missed a charging Spooner early in the first period, and a Spooner feed for a charging Connolly did the same midway through the third.
On the latter chance, Spooner’s speed down the wing was clearly a factor, something Claude Julien was happy to point out after the game.
“I think Spoons has really done a good job on the left wing there, adapting to it and using his speed,” Julien said. “A lot more involved in the last two games, and that’s what we need out of Ryan. And that’s a sign of a young player really who’s getting it. He wants to be better, so kudos to him.”
Spooner said after the game that he’s still not completely comfortable on the wing — he said he’s probably played wing fewer than 20 times in his life — but he also noted that having fewer defensive responsibilities helped, as he admitted that his defense as a center hasn’t always been great. Kemppainen helps in that respect, as he is pretty responsible defensively. And Kemppainen clearly benefited from playing with faster, more skilled players.
Whether Spooner, Kemppainen and Connolly stay together remains to be seen. Frank Vatrano is expected back soon, perhaps as early as Monday, so expect more line-juggling to make room for him. But even if they don’t stay together for now, it’s nice for Julien to know that he has this as a bottom-six option that can be effective in the future.
|11.21.15 at 9:47 pm ET|
Though the stakes weren’t quite as high as when they most notably did it, the Bruins scored late to defeat the Maple Leafs at TD Garden.
With the game scoreless with under four minutes to play, Zdeno Chara took a pass from Zach Trotman, glided up to the left circle, and fired a slap shot past a screening David Krejci and Leafs goaltender James Reimer. Brad Marchand then added an empty-netter with 6.5 seconds remaining to give the B’s a 2-0 victory.
With the win and Thursday’s victory over the Wild, the Bruins now have back-to-back home wins for the first time this season. They’ll next head out on a two-game road trip that will begin with a contest against the very Leafs team they defeated Saturday.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
RASK STANDS TALL
Tuukka Rask hasn’t stolen many games this season, but he made enough key saves to do it Saturday night in what proved to be a goaltending duel with James Reimer.
Most notable Rask, stopped Shawn Matthias on three of breakaways, first stoning the former Canucks forward on a break that came when Colin Miller fell down at the blue line in the first period. Matthias had another breakaway in the second against the Krug-McQuaid pairing but was again stopped by the Boston goaltender. Rask made it 3-for-3 by stopping Matthias on a partial break during a Bruins power play in the third.
The shutout was Rask’s second of the season.
MARCHAND DETERMINES SPECIAL TEAMS
The Bruins had only one penalty and one power play Saturday. Brad Marchand figured into both.
Marchand put the Leafs on the power play in the first period with a roughing penalty that came with a takedown of James van Riemsdyk. The UNH product went after Marchand due to a leg check that the B’s winger put on Leo Komarov, with Marchand then throwing the 6-foot-3 van Riemsdyk to the ice.
Marchand end up making up for it, as he was the victim of a Nazim Kadri high stick that put the B’s on the power play early in the third. Given how bad the B’s fared on that power play (the Leafs’ penalty kill had better scoring chances), it probably wasn’t worth it.
Speaking of Marchand…
MARCHAND HAS GOAL OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE, BUT SINCE HE DIDN’T SCORE IT PROBABLY WON’T QUALIFY
That we can safely say the Garden crowd was the most impressed it’s been in a home game this season on a play in which the Bruins didn’t score says a lot about how the Bruins have played at home. That sentence was wordy, but the long and short of it is that Marchand nearly scored the goal of his life on a first-period rush in which absolutely embarrassed Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly.
After winning the puck along the boards in the neutral zone, Marchand first cut in and then back out, fooling Rielly with each move. His attempt to finish on the play was stopped by Riemer.
‘ Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) November 22, 2015
And speaking of close calls with goals…
REVIEW DOESN’T HELP B’S
With the game still scoreless with under eight minutes remaining, Matt Hunwick appeared to lay out in a successful attempt to stop Jimmy Hayes from jamming the puck past Reimer. The play was reviewed, and though replays showed the play to be much closer than it seemed live, there were likely too many bodies there to actually see the puck and whether it crossed the line.
|11.21.15 at 1:01 pm ET|
Max Talbot has found the AHL different this season from when he’d last seen it.
Ten years after being promoted to the NHL, Talbot is back to minor-league life as he goes up and down between Boston in Providence. Currently with the NHL club, Talbot said Saturday that his experience with Providence has opened his eyes to what players are in these days.
“Not only the league changed, but hockey in general changed from 10 years ago,” he said. “Guys are a little bit more professional. They come more mature when they’re younger. They come prepared, they’ve been working out for a certain number of years.
“The game is faster, the game is bigger. The younger guys, they have their legs and they forecheck. The game is similar in a way, but super different. I think it’s a better game than 10 years ago, like the NHL‘s better now than it was before.”
Talbot was 21 when he went from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He recalls there being more of a split between prospects and veteran players back then than there is now, where teams might be more inclined to carry as many prospects as they can get.
“It was more of a veteran type of game,” he said. “Now it’s a little more younger and a development-type atmosphere.”
Talbot can only hope that his AHL days are over (again), but that’s not likely. Frank Vatrano is expected to begin practicing on Sunday, meaning the Bruins will again have 12 healthy forwards. The B’s could opt to bring Talbot on their upcoming road trip, but if Vatrano’s health doesn’t signal his return to Providence, David Pastrnak’s eventual health figures to.
That said, Talbot said he is not resigned to having to go up and down this season. His goal is to force his way back into the lineup for good.
“There’s always things you can do,” he said. “If I play the best hockey I can play and show them that they can’t take me out of the lineup, that’s what I’m hoping I can do. If I play like I can play, the top of my [game], you can force some hands and stay here. That’s the goal of any pro athlete, to give the best you can give and hope for the best.”
Talbot may not be up for long, but Claude Julien feels fortunate to still have the 31-year-old forward as an option. The fact that he’s both a veteran and someone with whom the team is familiar means that the team generally knows what they’ll get from him.
“He’s an experienced guy,” Julien said. “‘¦ He comes, he competes hard. He understands what we’re trying to do here so it’s not like we’re trying to teach somebody. That’s the luxury that we have with Max being in Providence. When you bring him up you’re bringing a veteran player that’s played the game. But he’s not nervous about playing in this league and understands. He’s been with us since last year, so he understands exactly what we’re all about here.”