|03.28.15 at 11:11 am ET|
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will return from a seven-week layoff to face the Bruins Saturday.
Lundqvist, who has been out with a blood-vessel injury in his neck, has not played since Feb. 2. The Rangers have still found success without him, as their work with Cam Talbot has taken them to the top of the Eastern Conference. With 101 points through 73 points, New York is the clear front-runner to take the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins enter Saturday’s game desperate for two points, but the Rangers may be equally motivated to decrease Boston’s chances of being their first-round opponent.
“We’re ready for a tough game,” Patrice Bergeron said Saturday morning. “We’re ready for a big game and it’s definitely going to be right from the start. I think it shouldn’t matter who’s in net. We need to make sure we worry about our start and the way that we want to play and establish that right from the get-go.”
|03.27.15 at 12:57 pm ET|
The Bruins prepared for the Rangers Friday, skating at TD Garden in anticipation of a Saturday matinee against the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Boston’s lines and defensive pairings were unchanged from Thursday’s overtime loss to the Ducks, though Friday did mark the first full practice in which Brett Connolly has participated since breaking his finger earlier this month. Connolly, who also took part in Thursday’s morning skate, hopes to be game-ready before the end of the regular season.
The Bruins’ lineup in practice was as follows:
|03.27.15 at 12:36 pm ET|
Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry joined Middays with MFB to discuss the Bruins’ playoff chances going into the final eight games of the regular season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Bruins are tied with the Senators for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 85 points, but Ottawa holds a game in hand.
“That game in hand is a killer,” Cherry said.
On Thursday night the B’s had a chance to jump over Ottawa for the second wild card spot after the Senators got blown out, 5-1, by the NHL-leading Rangers. The Bruins had a 2-1 lead over the Ducks entering the final minute of play, but Anaheim scored with just over 30 seconds left to tie the game, and then notched the game winner on a tip-in in overtime.
“That was a killer last night,” Cherry said, adding: “The winner went in off a stick, so you can’t blame [Tuukka] Rask for that one.”
The B’s goalie has not had his greatest season, but he usually has been good enough to at least give the team a chance to win.
“The problem is not Rask,” Cherry said. “He’s not stealing the games like he did last year, but he’s got a great [goals-against] average, 2.26, and a .924 save percentage. That’s pretty good. Their problem is they can’t score. And of all of the teams playing in the playoffs already, they’re the worst. They’ve got one 20-goal scorer right now, and that’s [Brad] Marchand. You’re not going to win many games if you don’t have any 20-goal scorers.”
Added Cherry: “Now they’ve got [Dougie] Hamilton hurt, he was their second-leading scorer. They’re in deep trouble right now. They’ll have to dig down.”
Cherry, a former coach of the Bruins, does not blame current coach Claude Julien for the B’s underwhelming season.
“Listen, it’s not Julien’s fault, he’s not going out telling them to not score,” Cherry said. “These are the guys, they can’t score. … He puts them on the ice and they don’t score. What, is he supposed to put the puck in?”
If the Bruins are able to rally and make the playoffs, they likely will face either the Rangers, Canadiens or Lightning. While they certainly wouldn’t be favored over any of those teams, Cherry wouldn’t count out the B’s.
“Just make the playoffs,” Cherry said. “Anybody that gets in the playoffs can make it.”
For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
|03.27.15 at 12:19 pm ET|
Former Bruins defenseman Nick Boynton, now a radio analyst for the Coyotes, was placed on leave from his job after being arrested at a Buffalo casino early Thursday morning.
“A police investigation is underway,” the team said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and until the continuing legal process is completed, we will have no further comment. Mr. Boynton has been placed on a leave of absence.”
Boynton, who joined the Coyotes radio broadcast team last July and was in Buffalo to broadcast Thursday night’s Coyotes-Sabres game, was charged with assault, disorderly conduct, harassment, resisting arrest, criminal mischief and obstruction of government administration. Police say he became abusive toward patrons and security personnel at the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, damaged casino property, then bit the hand of an officer who was trying to subdue him.
“When a customer sitting on a chair in one of the game pits asked him to stop yelling and swearing, Boynton went over to the customer and shoved him off the chair onto the floor,” a police source told The Buffalo News. “I didn’t think someone could get so crazy on alcohol. He was cursing and shouting that he knew how to make money and the casino didn’t.”
Boynton, 36, was in police custody at a Buffalo hospital Thursday night, apparently to get treatment for a condition related to his diabetes. He was due to be arraigned Friday in Buffalo City Court.
An Ontario native, Boynton was drafted by the Bruins 21st overall in 1999 and played in Boston from 1999-2000 through 2005-06. He then played for the Coyotes, Panthers, Ducks, Blackhawks and Flyers before retiring in 2011. He won a Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010.
|03.27.15 at 9:44 am ET|
The Bruins sent forward Brian Ferlin to Providence on Friday.
The 22-year-old right wing had played in seven games for the Bruins since Feb. 20, but was a healthy scratch for 10 of the team’s last 11 games. With David Krejci returning from a torn MCL Thursday, both Daniel Paille and Ferlin were scratched.
Ferlin had one assist and no goals over his seven games with the B’s. The first-year pro has nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in 46 games with the Providence Bruins.
Returning Ferlin to Providence means the Bruins are now back at carrying 13 forwards and six healthy defensemen.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|03.26.15 at 9:53 pm ET|
Though they came less than a minute away from the second point, the B’s picked up a point with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Ducks to at least gain some ground on the Senators. With the Senators still controlling the Bruins’ destiny, that missed point could prove to be very costly.
With the Senators losing to the Rangers Thursday night, both the B’s and Senators have 85 points, though the Bruins only have eight games remaining to the Senators’ nine.
Boston had a 2-1 lead as a result of a pair of power-play goals from Ryan Spooner and Loui Eriksson on a night that saw the B’s keep Anaheim off the man advantage for most of the night. A Zdeno Chara hooking penalty in overtime changed that, and though the Bruins managed to kill it off, Ryan Getzlaf beat Rask on the next shift to end the game.
The Bruins will next play the surging Rangers Saturday at TD Garden.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday:
David Krejci made his return to the lineup and had a pair of assists after missing the last 15 games with a torn MCL.
Krejci skated at right wing on Patrice Bergeron‘s line with Brad Marchand. The trio was matched up mostly against Anaheim’s top line of Ryan Getzlaf between Jiri Sekac and Corey Perry. He also manned the point on Boston’s first power play unit in place of the injured Dougie Hamilton.
The veteran forward’s return to the lineup came with an early flub, as Krejci mishandled a pass in the neutral zone on a first-period power play, kicking it to Jakob Silfverberg to give the Ducks a shorthanded partial 2-on-0. Silfverberg missed the net, rendering Krejci’s misplay less costly.
Krejci did pick up an assist on Ryan Spooner’s second-period goal and added another on Loui Eriksson’s third-period strike.
|03.26.15 at 3:07 pm ET|
There is no positive to Dougie Hamilton being out of the lineup. He is too good and the Bruins’ situation is too dire. It could be the injury that finally does them in.
Yet with Hamilton out for a number of weeks (and most likely the rest of the regular season unless he’s rushed back from his upper-body injury), the Bruins must make one last push for a playoff spot with their back end depleted.
Injuries to Hamilton and Kevan Miller (out for the season after getting shoulder surgery last month) meant that Adam McQuaid was Boston’s only right-shot defenseman left. As such, the Bruins opted for the right-shooting Zach Trotman over the left-shooting Joe Morrow when they made the call to Providence for a replacement.
The call was familiar for Trotman, who had already played 17 games this season (Sunday’s loss to the Lightning made it 18). In fact, Trotman said that given all of Boston’s injuries this season, the feeling in Providence has been different from years past. To this point, the Bruins’ number of callups has hit the 30s.
“Going into weekends, you never know who’s going to be there when the weekend starts and who’s going to be there when the weekend ends,” Trotman said of the vibe around the Baby B’s.
While the margin for error is extremely slim during this recall, this situation isn’t completely new to Trotman. After all, he was in the Bruins’ lineup for the team’s 1-2-4 stretch in early December, so getting into games when wins are of the utmost importance shouldn’t be a major development.
“It’s a little familiar, but now it’s definitely a lot more into crunch time,” Trotman said Thursday. “It’s a lot more serious now. That’s really all there is to it.”
Trotman has been skating on a third pairing with Matt Bartkowski the last three days after seeing time mostly with Zdeno Chara against the Lightning. The Bartkowski-Trotman pairing means that usual No. 5/6 Torey Krug is being elevated to a second pairing.
Claude Julien hasn’t been afraid to tinker with his lineup this season, however, and with every game a must-win down the stretch, tinker he will. Whatever the number of shifts with whomever, Trotman thinks he’ll be able to handle it.
“I’ve played with Bart many times before,” he said. “I played with Seids quite a bit when I was up last time. Krug a little bit. I played with Zee some last game, and I’ve played with him in training camp before. I’m pretty comfortable with everyone right now.”
Trotman is big, strong and responsible, but he doesn’t bring the skill set that Hamilton brings. The team doesn’t expect him to replace Hamilton, who is easily Boston’s second-best defenseman and the team’s second leader in points in this season.
What they do expect is for him to be a serviceable third-pairing player on a back end that needs to be solid enough to get the Bruins into the playoffs.
“We realize we have to get things done now,” Trotman said. “It’s a backs-in-the-corner kind of deal. It’s a tougher situation than normal maybe to come up in, but I’m just trying to do my part, play my game, be simple, play hard and try to help the team win as many games as possible here.”