|10.25.11 at 7:28 pm ET|
Stick-tap to NESN’s Naoko Funayama for snapping this picture of the Bruins visiting Children’s Hospital on their off-day Tuesday, and kudos to Zdeno Chara for dressing up as an enormous bunny. If there’s a theme to these costumes, I don’t get it.
|10.25.11 at 1:48 pm ET|
With the Bruins having another day off Tuesday, they figure to be well-rested and refreshed when they face the Canadiens at TD Garden on Thursday. The contest, the first game of a home-and-home, will be their first game in five days, with ideal result being wins in Boston and Montreal to mark their first two-game winning streak of the season.
Consistency has been a major issue for the Bruins through eight games (3-5-0). Each win has been followed with a loss or two, and the team will need to win both games against Montreal to even be .500 in the month’s first season.
It’s for that reason that, while the time off is good for the Bruins, they’re hungry to return to game action. While this week can provide rest and an opportunity to correct mistakes, Tim Thomas and the B’s are eager to face the Habs and pick up some points.
“I don’t think a break can help you with [consistency],” Thomas said Monday. “That’s got to come when you’re playing. It can help prepare you to get to that level of consistency when you start to play, but you can’t build consistency when you’re not playing a game.”
Three of the Bruins’ five losses have come against teams that currently do not have winning records, while the B’s have allowed as many goals as they’ve scored (19).
“We’re not too far out,” Thomas said. “We’re not getting completely dominated. We’re just making mistakes and not scoring enough. We’re right there, but with this league, every game is a battle. Every game is a very tight game. We had a whole year of tight games last year and a whole playoffs of tight games, for the most part. It’s the same thing this year.”
|10.25.11 at 11:07 am ET|
The Bruins’ 3-5-0 start to the season has certainly been underwhelming, but their next opponent and biggest rival is in even deeper trouble.
As the B’s await the Canadiens on Thursday, the Habs are still looking for their second win of the season. Montreal has gotten off to a 1-5-2 start to the season, with their latest loss being suffered to the Panthers Monday night at the Bell Centre. Jacob Markstrom made 40 saves for the Panthers, so a solid start from backup goaltender Peter Budaj was wasted by the Habs.
The loss dropped the Habs to 0-3-2 at home. They will host the Flyers on Wednesday as they look to get their first home win of the season.
Though neither team has started the season as well as they’d hoped, the Bruins certainly hope their home-and-home with the Habs on Thursday and Saturday can amp them up enough to start winning again.
“They’re obviously a big rival, and a good team,” Rich Peverley said Monday. “It’s going to be fun to play back-to-back games against them. Playing them in the playoffs, there’s some hostility, but those will be fun games to play in.”
|10.24.11 at 4:12 pm ET|
The Bruins were able to do something last Thursday against the Maple Leafs that they haven’t done much this season: score goals in bulk. Their six-goal effort was one of just two games this season in which they were able to score three goals, so it’s no surprised their satisfactory 19 goals allowed is matched by a subpar 19 goals for.
The offensive struggles have been especially apparent early on, as quality chances haven’t yielded ideal results, which explains why the opponent has scored the first goal in the Bruins’ last six contests. When opportunities turn into squandered opportunities, and squandered opportunities turn into losses, the results aren’t pretty. The Bruins’ 3-5-0 record through eight games is proof of that.
“I think we’ve done a good job of creating chances,” third-line right wing Rich Peverley said Monday after the Bruins’ practice. “It’s not only first and second opportunities, it’s other opportunities. Third opportunities and fourth. At the same time, maybe we’re holding our sticks a little too tight, but we’ve got offensive guys in here that I think can put the puck in the net, so maybe it’s just finding their stride for some guys.”
The Bruins have a good chunk of time to loosen the grip on their sticks, as they will next play Thursday against the Canadiens at TD Garden. Maybe all the time off (they took Sunday off and may take another day off this week) will provide an opportunity to forget about their in-game woes, but the time they have in practice can also help them get back to basics.
“I think sometimes you need practice to help with structure,” Peverley explained. “There are obviously some things that we feel we need to work on. It’s important that we correct those.”
Boston has outshot its opponents in the last four games (2-2-0) after doing so just once in the season’s first four contests (1-3-0). The B’s had their fair share of scoring bids both early and late Saturday against the Sharks, but quality chances and odd-man rushes didn’t end up registering on the scoreboard until the third period and the Bruins lost, 4-2.
Now, with the statistical output not matching the team’s bids, the B’s have time to shake off their frustrations. Guys like Brad Marchand (no points the last four games) and even fourth-liners such as Daniel Paille, who has had multiple chances of late, figure to see results in time, however they may come.
“Sometimes it takes a lucky break to get a guy’s confidence back, but it’s just shooting the puck and putting the puck on net,” Peverley said. “Sometimes it will just find its way in.”
|10.24.11 at 1:36 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — One of the bad things about returning so many players from a Stanley Cup champion team is that the next year’s squad will always be compared to, well, itself.
Maybe that’s one reason as to why Bruins fans are puzzled by the B’s 3-5-0 start to the season. Through eight games last year, the B’s were 6-2-0 with a plus-13 goal differential and three shutouts, all of which were registered by Tim Thomas. This season, they’re allowed as many goals (19) as they’ve scored, good for an even differential.
So with so many of the same guys yielding such different results, how do the Bruins explain it, and how do they respond?
“It’s a different year, different challenge,” Thomas said. “We’re in a different spot. It’s how we react to it that’s going to be the key.
“All last year, no matter what type of adversity was thrown our way, we reacted well. That’s part of what made up our identity as a team by the time the playoffs came around.”
It’s hard to imagine the Bruins continuing to play sub-.500 hockey for much longer, but to expect things to turn around is no better than expecting the Bruins to have repeated their start from a season ago. Thomas recalls the Bruins making their own luck right out of the gate last year, so he isn’t counting on things simply coming to the defending champs because of past success.
“We have to try to build that same thing this year. It’s not just there,” Thomas explained. “You don’t get it because you had it last year. You’ve got to build it again.”
|10.24.11 at 1:16 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Jordan Caron‘s goal entering training camp this season was to not only make the team, as he had the year before, but to stay in Boston for good. On Sunday, that goal took a hit, but not at the expense of any time with the big club.
With the Bruins off, Caron was sent to Providence for the day on Sunday in order to get him some game action after being a healthy scratch for the last two games. Caron skated on a line with Zach Hamill and Carter Camper as the Baby B’s fell to Albany in overtime, but the 2009 first-round pick notched an assist on a Hamill goal. He also got more playing time than he’d been having after averaging 9:04 of ice time in four contests for Boston this season, and was recalled and back to Wilmington in time for Monday’s practice.
“It was great. I felt confident out there. I felt fresh,” Caron said Monday after the big club’s practice. “I wasn’t used to getting that much ice time, but I think it went pretty good. My legs were good, so that was a good time.”
Caron didn’t express any disappointment in being sent down, either. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told him after Saturday’s loss to the Sharks, his second straight game of being a healthy scratch, that they’d be sending him down, but only for the day.
“It doesn’t hurt,” Caron said of being sent down. “I didn’t play the last two games, so I think it can’t be bad to go down there and play once in a while. I think it was good for me.”
B’s coach Claude Julien watched Caron’s performance, and like Caron, saw the good in the youngster being able to get more time.
“I think it’s move your feet and go out there and play,” Julien said Monday. “Yesterday when he did play, he got better as the game went on. In the first period, he was trying to get his legs underneath him. The second and third, he just got better and better. It just goes to show that playing sometimes is a good thing for you.”
Caron has no points and a minus-2 rating in four games with the Bruins this season.
|10.24.11 at 12:56 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — One bit of good news for the Bruins as their schedule sees a break in game action until Thursday is that it gives injured defenseman Adam McQuaid more time to recover from his neck injury.
McQuaid has been considered day-to-day for some time since his injury, which was suffered when he crashed into the boards Oct. 12 in Carolina. He was considered a game-time decision last Tuesday against the Hurricanes, but after taking part in the team’s morning skate was not on the ice for warmups that night. He went on to miss Thursday’s game against the Maple Leafs, and after returning to practice on Friday did not play Saturday against the Sharks.
“He’s feeling good, so it’s just a question of time here. I guess I’m optimistic, and that’s what I’m allowed to be as far as him being ready for Thursday,” coach Claude Julien said. “I’ve kind of made some comments in the past, and it’s kind of come back to bite me, but he’s been fine now for a few days, so I’m very confident that things are going to keep going in that direction.”
McQuaid, who missed the last four Bruins’ contests and five total games (he was sick for the season-opener), has two assists and a plus-2 rating in three games this season.