|10.21.11 at 2:20 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid, who has been out since last Wednesday with a neck injury, returned to practice Friday, with coach Claude Julien telling reporters that he is still considered day-to-day.
McQuaid suffered his injury when he crashed into the boards in last Wednesday’s loss to the Hurricanes, and after being considered a game-time decision Tuesday against the Hurricanes, was held out warmups that night and missed Wednesday’s practice and Thursday’s game.
Julien also told reporters that Milan Lucic was kept off the ice Friday for a maintenance day.
|10.21.11 at 10:47 am ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference joined Dennis & Callahan Friday morning for his weekly appearance. After the Bruins’ dominating 6-2 victory over the Maple Leafs Thursday night, Ference talked about Boston’s line changes and improvement on the power play.
“It’s one of those things, the power play was actually working pretty good, we were getting the puck around, we just weren’t putting it in,” Ference said. “We were working towards larger things on the power play and we felt that it was doing a lot of good things, so it was a matter of time.”
The Bruins scored twice on the power play against Toronto, with Ference assisting on one of those goals. In addition to better play from special teams, the Bruins also benefited from some line changes made by coach Claude Julien in recent days. The top line of Milan Lucic, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin was particularly effective against the Maple Leafs. Ference said that the line changes helped the Bruins get back to focusing on the simple parts of the game.
“I think it helped, it energized guys I think a bit, just to give them a little kick in the pants,” Ference said. “I think when you change linemates, you get out of your comfort zone a bit. You really just concentrate on doing simple things, like skating hard, getting to the net, throwing pucks at the net.
‘ª”It was a good move. We needed a little shakeup. Guys were a little bit stale with the old lines and you can always go back to them, but I think just letting guys concentrate on the simple things really helps.”‘¬
Ference also talked about emotions running high in the Bruins’ loss to the Hurricanes on Tuesday and forward Shawn Thornton‘s value to the team.
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
On Boston’s penalty-filled loss to the Hurricanes: “I think that game, the emotion was a byproduct of the frustration. When our team’s good, the emotion’s just a part of our game. It’s not forced, it’s just there. I think that I mentioned after the game, the game of hockey within its rules allows us to be very physical, allows us to be emotional without hitting the box all night. When our team’s playing well, sure there are fights here and there, but we’re just a physical team all the time. We’re always hitting, always forechecking, always giving teams no room. … In a game where there’s a bunch of fights and a bunch of penalties and it’s just kind of chaotic with the physical stuff, that’s going to happen once in a while but that stuff’s definitely not something that we define ourselves as.”
|10.20.11 at 9:35 pm ET|
While Seguin, the team’s leader in points, was one of the night’s stars with a goal and two assists, the Bruins were able to go from trailing, 1-0, to leading thanks to a strong first period from defenseman Andrew Ference. The Bruins’ alternate captain assisted the Bruins’ three goals in the first period, tying a career high in both assists and points. The Bruins received goals from Nathan Horton, Zdeno Chara, Chris Kelly, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron and Seguin.
Tim Thomas picked up the victory for the Bruins. The reigning Vezina winner has been between the pipes for all three of the Bruins’ victories this season. Jonas Gustavsson allowed all six goals for Tortonto, who suffered their first regulation loss of the season (4-1-1).
With the win, the Bruins improved to 3-4-0 on the season. The B’s will next play Saturday, when they host Joe Thornton and the Sharks at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Shawn Thornton got in his first regular-season fight in a long time, as his bout with Colton Orr marked the first time since February 5 that he dropped the gloves in the regular season. Thornton and Orr’s fight lasted a while and was evenly matched before eventually being broken up.
Thornton’s lack of fighting this season hasn’t been for lack of trying. The Bruins’ fourth-line forward has tried to engage players all season to no avail.
– The Bruins had their best night on the man advantage with a pair of power play goals. Chara took a feed from Ference after a Bruins’ face-off win and put a slapshot on net, yielding an easy rebound for Horton to capitalize on. The Bruins’ captain then sniped one of own from the top of the circle on the power play.
The Bruins’ power play has now scored in consecutive games for the first time this season. It’s the first time they’ve gotten power play goals in two straight games since Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers last May.
– A couple of Bruins who needed to have bounce back nights did. Horton’s goal and assists will help fans forget the fact that his roughing double-minor cost the Bruins the game Tuesday night. Lucic scored, had the primary helper on Kelly’s goal and assisted Seguin’s tally. The two still have a way to go before they’ve returned to their 2010-11 forms, but any production from the Bruins’ power forwards has to be taken as a sign of progress at this point.
– Another big night for Seguin, who skated through a Dion Phaneuf hook to complete his rush with Lucic and set up the Bruins’ left wing for the team’s fourth goal. With two assists on the night, Seguin now has two multi-point games this season. He had three in the regular season as a rookie.
|10.20.11 at 12:44 pm ET|
Bruins alternate captain Chris Kelly has been on some Ottawa teams that have gotten off to slow starts. With all due respect to the Ottawa squad that began last season 1-4-1, there’s probably a different feeling when it’s the defending Stanley Cup champions that is struggling out of the gate.
“We need to go out and play well,” Kelly said of the 2-4-0 bruins. “I think people quickly forget that you won the Stanley Cup. They come out and they want to win. I think we’re going to get everyone’s best game, and we have so far. We just need to answer the bell a little better.”
With the changes to the lines made by Claude Julien, Kelly has gone from being the team’s third-line center to becoming a top-six forward, as he has centered Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin the last two days in practice. Kelly has plenty of experience playing with Seguin since coming to Boston, as he played with the youngster last season and began this season on a line with the 19-year-old, but Thursday will mark the first time he’s been on a regular line with Lucic. He likes the rapport he’s developed with Lucic in his limited time working with him in practice.
“Looch plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” Kelly said. “He’s up and down the ice, he plays his position, he works hard on both ends. I don’t see it being much of a problem playing with him.”
Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes has easily been the ugliest showing from the B’s this season, as they lost their composure and saw them play themselves right out of the game with unnecessary penalties.
“I think you always want to bounce back from losses,” Kelly said. “This is a character locker room. I was fortunate to come into this locker room. They showed that [before I was here] and we need to show that. I don’t see that being that different tonight.”
The B’s will have their work cut out for them Thursday. The Maple Leafs have yet to lose a game in regulation (4-0-1), while the B’s are merely trying to turn a corner after a disappointing start to the season. As ugly as Tuesday’s loss is, Kelly looks at the character of the Bruins’ room and the fact that the season is young and feels there’s only reason for optimism.
“I think we’ve also done some things right, but there’s a lot of things that we want to do better,” Kelly said. “‘¦ We’re six games in, and there’s 82 games for a reason. We all know we can play better.”
|10.20.11 at 12:11 pm ET|
David Krejci will be a game-time decision against the Maple Leafs Thursday night, with defenseman Steven Kampfer “likely” to play and Adam McQuaid out, Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the team’s morning skate.
Krejci has been out since injuring his core in last Tuesday’s practice but has returned to skating and practicing with the team this week. If he is to play, he will likely skate on a line with Rich Peverley and either Jordan Caron or Benoit Pouliot. Julien also indicated that lines could be changed if Krejci does not play, but Peverley has centered the third line with Caron and Pouliot at points in practice over the last two days.
Kampfer suffered a left knee sprain in the team’s Sept. 29 preseason game agaisnt the Senators. With the Bruins sending Matt Bartkowski to Providence and McQuaid still out with a neck injury (he did not participate in morning skate), the indication is that Kampfer will play.
“Medically I’m cleared for contact and everything like that,” Kampfer said after the morning skate. “‘¦ Obvioiusly it’s [Julien’s] call what the deal is for today, but I’m going to prepare as if I’m going to play.”
Should something go wrong with Kampfer during the day, Julien said the Bruins would call someone up from Providence.
Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice, meaning he is expected to get the start against Toronto.
|10.20.11 at 10:27 am ET|
The Bruins announced Thursday morning that they have sent defenseman Matt Bartkowski to Providence, indicating that either Steven Kampfer or Adam McQuaid is healthy and ready to return to the lineup against the Maple Leafs.
Bartkowski had a rough go of it in a season in which he likely wouldn’t have made the team if not for Kampfer’s left knee injury. In three games, Bartkowski was a minus-2. He averaged 6:08 of ice time.
Kampfer, who dealt with a right knee injury late last season and into the playoffs, sprained his left knee in a Sept. 29 preseason game against the Senators, but recently returned to practice and on Wednesday took contact for the first time. McQuaid, who injured his neck last Wednesday, was considered a game-time decision for Tuesday’s game against Carolina, but has not been seen on the ice since that day’s morning skate, seemingly due to a setback.
|10.20.11 at 12:49 am ET|
Phil Kessel is returning to Boston once again, and this time he probably has more confidence than ever.
The former Bruin, whose trade to the Maple Leafs is still closely monitored to this day, has been a statistical monster early on this season. While Tyler Seguin, drafted with one of the three picks received in the 2009 trade between the Leafs and B’s, leads Boston with five points, Kessel more than doubles that with a league-leading 12 points. Kessel added to his already league-leading goal total with his seventh tally of the season in Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout win over the Jets. He also had two points Wednesday.
The Bruins used the final pick of the deal in June’s draft, selecting Niagara (OHL) defenseman Dougie Hamilton ninth overall. Here’s a quick look at the players from the trade this season.
Phil Kessel 5 GP 7 G 5 A 12 P
Tyler Seguin 6 GP 1 G 4 A 5 P
Jared Knight 9 GP 7 G 3 A 10 P
Dougie Hamilton 9 GP 5 G 12 A 17 P
Though the Leafs have done poorly enough to get the Bruins top-10 draft picks in each of the last two seasons, they, like Kessel, are off to a great start to the 2011-12 campaign. Toronto has yet to lose a game in regulation this season (4-0-1) and leads the Northeast division with nine points. The Bruins, meanwhile, are 2-4-0.