|10.17.15 at 3:14 pm ET|
Per Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald, Julien said that Brett Connolly will be a healthy scratch for the B’s. He’s expected to join Max Talbot and Zach Trotman in the press box.
With Marchand out the last two games, Connolly skated on Patrice Bergeron‘s line. Connolly’s absence means the Bruins will return to a first line of Bergeron between Marchand and Loui Eriksson while keeping Chris Kelly with Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes together after a strong performance Wednesday against the Avalanche.
|10.16.15 at 1:09 pm ET|
The Bruins’ changes this summer meant familiar faces are gone and new ones have arrived. Though the B’s can’t be happy with their start, it’s also been a mixed bag for those to whom they bid adieu.
Jimmy Hayes’ four-point performance on Wednesday aside, Boston’s newcomers have been slow to get adjusted. Here’s a look at how the former Bruins have started with their new teams:
Milan Lucic, Kings: It’s been a very quiet start for both the Kings (0-3-0) and Lucic. Through three games, Lucic has landed just two shots on goal. The bad news there is that he has zero points, but the good news is that he’s one point away from tying for the team lead. He played the first two games on a line with Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik, but the Kings have since pulled the plug on that experiment. Lucic is now skating with Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli.
Dougie Hamilton, Flames: Playing on what should be a stellar top pairing with T.J. Brodie out, Hamilton and Mark Giordano haven’t had the hottest start together. Though Hamilton scored a power-play goal in Calgary‘s second game of the season, he’s been on the ice for just one even-strength goal for and four goals against. All four of those goals came on shifts played with Giordano.
Martin Jones, Sharks: Though only Bruins property for less than five days, it’s worth including Jones here for the sake of justifying what looked like a rather odd trade at the time. After getting Jones in the Lucic trade, the Bruins got the Sharks to surrender a first-round pick and a prospect (Sean Kuraly) for the former Kings backup goaltender. So far, the deal hasn’t looked like as much of a steal for the Bruins as it did back in June. Jones has been absolutely lights-out with two shutouts and a .987 save percentage in three starts for San Jose.
Carl Soderberg, Avalanche: Wednesday night saw Soderberg’s former teammates make his new contract look not-so-good. Soderberg was on the ice for goals by Boston’s second, third and fourth lines. The 30-year-old center had assists in each of Colorado’s first two games.
Reilly Smith, Panthers: Smith’s doing a little bit of everything for the Panthers, including killing penalties after never being used in that role as a Bruin. Smith has a pair of goals (both of which he scored in his Panthers debut) and an assist through four games on a line with Nick Bjugstad and Brandon Pirri.
Gregory Campbell, Blue Jackets: The former Merlot-Liner is averaging a little under 11 minutes a night through four games with Columbus and so far the results haven’t been great. His line is getting outscored (three goals against, none for) and Campbell has managed just one shot on net.
Matt Bartkowski, Canucks: Bartkowski has suited up in all four of the Canucks’ games after being in and out of Boston’s lineup over the years. He’s been used on Vancouver’s second pairing with Dan Hamhuis, which has held up well despite its poor possession numbers. He has an assist on the season, but he’s still looking for his first regular-season goal 135 games into his career.
Daniel Paille, Rockford IceHogs (AHL): After spending training camp with the Blackhawks on a professional tryout, the 31-year-old left wing went to Chicago’s AHL camp before signing with the IceHogs. He’s played one game for them, recording no points.
Niklas Svedberg, Ufa Salavat Yulayev (KHL): Svedberg went to the KHL after a statistically decent showing with the Bruins, but one that saw the B’s lose confidence in him and stop playing him. So far, Claude Julien appears to have been in the right. Svedberg has an .887 save percentage in 19 games in Russia.
Peter Chiarelli, Oilers: It’s going to be a while before the Oilers are competitive. That they had to play the Blues twice in their first four games makes their 0-4-0 start less than surprising.
|10.15.15 at 12:26 am ET|
The Bruins probably envisioned their first win to come sooner, and to come differently. By the time Wednesday night rolled around, they probably didn’t care how it happened.
With Jonas Gustavsson in net and two players making their NHL debuts in Tommy Cross and Tyler Randell, the Bruins flew past the Avalanche for a 6-2 victory. The win brought them to 1-3-0 on the season heading into Saturday’s meeting with the Coyotes.
Gustavsson made 20 saves on the night, the biggest of which came on a Mikko Rantanen breakaway after Colin Miller turned the puck over at the offensive blueline. The game was Gustavsson’s first regular-season contest since March 8 last season. He looked mostly solid, though he was beaten short-side by John Mitchell in the third period for a rather easy goal.
Other unlikely contributors were Randell, who tipped an Adam McQuaid shot past Semyon Varlamov for his first career goal, and Kevan Miller. The rugged defenseman scored Boston’s first goal of the game, taking a feed from Zdeno Chara and blasting it from the point after Brett Connolly had missed the net on a 2-on-1.
Here are four more things we learned Wednesday night:
JIMMY HAYES LOOKS LIKE JIMMY HAYES
Though the Dorchester native had a very quiet first three games, he snapped out of it with a career-best four-point showing. Best of all, he looked as-advertised.
Boston’s second goal of the game was vintage Hayes. The BC product went to the front of the net and pounced on the rebound of a Zdeno Chara shot to pick up his first goal as a Bruin. On Ryan Spooner’s second-period goal, he picked off a puck and took it into traffic before dishing it off for the primary assist.
Hayes also made a heads-up play to set up a Chris Kelly goal, intercepting a pass in the neutral zone and taking the puck the other way before sending the puck to Spooner, who gave it to Kelly.
SPOONER NO LONGER SNAKEBITTEN
Spooner’s line with Hayes and Kelly was very strong Wednesday. While Spooner hasn’t had a strong start to the season, he would be correct in feeling he should have had at least a couple goals over the first three games. Bad bounces and unsettled pucks altered his luck, however.
To score in addition to having his strongest showing of the season (his line did allow a 5-on-5 goal to Colorado’s fourth line in the third, however) should provide a sigh of a relief for the young center.
After scoring three power play goals on Monday against the Lightning, the Bruins had to wait to the third period to go on the man advantage Wednesday. All three penalties over the first two periods were taken by the Bruins, with Gabriel Landeskog scoring Colorado’s only goal with David Pastrnak sitting in the box for high-sticking in the second period.
Colorado would eventually take penalties laster in the game, but Boston was unsuccessful on both of its power plays. A few minutes after Boston’s first power play, the Avalanche were able to close Boston’s lead to three.
BRUINS FACE LINEUP DILEMMA WHEN MARCHAND RETURNS
Perhaps as soon as Saturday, the Bruins might have Brad Marchand as an option if he is fully recovered from his concussion. Ken Laird raised an interesting question of what that will mean for Boston’s bottom-six.
‘ Ken Laird (@KenLairdWEEI) October 15, 2015
Right now, Brett Connolly is playing on Patrice Bergeron‘s line with Loui Eriksson. When Marchand returns, he will return to his familiar spot to the left of Bergeron. There is virtually no chance that Claude Julien would go back to a Hayes-Spooner-Connolly line, as Kelly-Spooner-Hayes is more active and more responsible. That Spooner line is nothing if it doesn’t have the puck, so Julien would be nuts to take Kelly of it now.
That Randell scored in his first game in the NHL helps his case to stay in the lineup, but the guess is that Boston’s fourth line will continue to be a fluid area, with the likes of Randell, Max Talbot and Joonas Kemppainen going in and out. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Connolly ends up there at some point.
|10.14.15 at 2:37 pm ET|
According to reports out of Denver, Tyler Randell and Tommy Cross are expected to make their NHL debuts Wednesday against the Avalanche, while backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson appears in line to start his first game for the Bruins.
Claude Julien told reporters after Wednesday’s morning skate that Cross, who was recalled on Tuesday after Joe Morrow was placed on IR, will likely be in the lineup. According to the Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy, Zach Trotman, Max Talbot and Brad Marchand all stayed out on the ice following Wednesday’s morning skate, indicating they are headed for press box duty. Marchand is still recovering from a concussion suffered Saturday against the Canadiens.
While Trotman has a higher ceiling and more NHL experience, it seemed a good bet that Cross would be used during his callup because of Boston’s lack of left-side defensemen. Trotman, a righty, has some experience playing the left, but using right-shot D on their off-side is a last resort in the NHL.
Randell, a bruising right wing who had 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points and 120 penalty minutes in Providence last season, would figure to skate on Boston’s fourth line with Zac Rinaldo and Joonas Kemppainen.
The Bruins are still looking for their first victory of the season. They have allowed 16 goals over the first three games.
|10.13.15 at 9:25 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Tuesday that they have placed defenseman Joe Morrow on injured reserve and called up Tommy Cross from Providence.
Morrow did not practice Tuesday, with Claude Julien saying he was sick with the flu. Morrow must now be kept out at least seven days, meaning he will not be able to play in Wednesday or Saturday’s games.
Cross, 26, has battled a lengthy road to the NHL since being drafted by the B’s with the 35th overall pick in the 2007 draft. Though injuries slowed his career dating back to his draft year, Cross has settled in at the AHL level. He was recently named Providence’s captain and will make his NHL debut if he is to get into game action during this callup.
|10.13.15 at 10:30 am ET|
WILMINGTON — In a season that hasn’t had many positives, Tuesday morning provided a bit of surprisingly optimistic news for the Bruins.
Brad Marchand, who suffered a concussion Saturday and sat out Monday’s game, took part in Tuesday’s practice. Prior to the skate, he was on the ice working with healthy scratches Zach Trotman and Tyler Randell. The three took the ice with goaltending coach Bob Essensa and goalies Tuukka Rask and Jonas Gustavsson.
Marchand will travel with the team to Colorado and Arizona as the B’s look for their first win of the season.
Marchand suffered his concussion in the third period of Saturday’s loss to the Canadiens, crashing into Dale Weise and taking an inadvertent elbow to the head. Tuesday’s practice saw him don a green jersey, signifying that he would not be taking contact.
Adam McQuaid, who blocked a Steven Stamkos shot and missed time in the second period of Monday’s game, was present for practice. The only player missing Tuesday was Joe Morrow, who is currently battling the flu. It is not known whether the team will recall a defenseman, but Matt Irwin would be an obvious choice after being assigned to Providence on Monday.
The lineup in practice was as follows:
|10.12.15 at 3:38 pm ET|
Even with Zdeno Chara back, the Bruins are not strong on defense. They will need Tuukka Rask to be himself in order to be a good team. In Boston’s first real good chance to steal a win, he wasn’t himself.
With the Bruins capitalizing on a poor start from the Lightning Monday at TD Garden, Boston’s chances of upsetting last season’s Eastern Conference champions were hurt by a pair of goals the former Vezina winner routinely stopped in games and seasons prior. The end result was a 6-3 loss and an 0-3-0 start for the first time since the 1999-00 season.
The biggest damage was done in the opening minutes of the third with Tampa clinging to a one-goal lead. Patrice Bergeron got a stick on a shot from Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin off the rush. The result was a sputtering puck that Rask was in position to stop but saw lightly kick off the inside of his right skate and through his legs.
That led to a Bronx cheer from the Garden crowd on his next save, as Rask had also given up a softy on a slow-moving puck in front during a first-period Tampa power play.
Fortunately for the B’s, they aren’t yet as bad as that 1999-00 team, as that group didn’t pick up a win until its 10th game of the season.
Here are four more things we learned Monday:
TOP UNIT IS TOPS; PASTRNAK FALTERS ON SECOND UNIT
Say what you will about Claude Julien‘s personnel choices for the second power play unit (see below), but the top group of David Krejci and Torey Krug on the point with Ryan Spooner on the half wall, Patrice Bergeron in the slot and Loui Eriksson in front was terrific Monday.
Krejci gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead 18 seconds into Boston’s first power play, while Eriksson picked up his first of the season 23 seconds into a Vladislav Namestnikov holding penalty. Eriksson added his second of the day during a second-period power play, using the shaft of his stick to redirect a shot from Krejci.
With Brad Marchand out with a concussion, David Pastrnak figured to see time on Boston’s second power play unit. He didn’t do much with his chance Monday, as he made a bad pass that was easily intercepted by Brian Boyle at the end of a second-period power play for Boston. Boyle kicked the puck to himself, fended off the slender Pastrnak with ease and scored a breakaway goal to make it 3-2 in Tampa’s favor.
BERGERON PENALTIES COSTLY
After setting career highs in penalty minutes in each of the last two seasons, Patrice Bergeron is now up to six penalty minutes through three games this season. His pair of penalties cost the Bruins more than another player’s might have.
Given that Brad Marchand is out with a concussion, the B’s aren’t exactly in a position to lose another one of their aces on the penalty kill. Tampa got power play goals off of each of Bergeron’s penalties Monday, a goaltender interference infraction in the first period and a hooking call in the second.
JULIEN MAKES RIGHT CALL WITH KELLY
By putting Brett Connolly on Patrice Bergeron‘s line, Claude Julien broke up a third line that was borderline terrible defensively. To fix it, he moved Jimmy Hayes to the right of Ryan Spooner and promoted Chris Kelly to play left wing/babysitter has he did successfully in previous years for Carl Soderberg.
The move paid immediate dividends for the Bruins. Kelly stole a puck in the neutral zone in the line’s first shift of the game, leading to a lengthy offensive zone stay in which the snakebitten Spooner nearly scored. Kelly was then hooked by Matthew Carle to give Boston a power play on which Krejci scored the game’s opening goal. Spooner would draw another penalty midway through the period to set up Eriksson’s first goal of the day.
KREJCI GETS THE POINTS
New linemates haven’t gotten in the way of David Krejci getting off to a strong start. With a goal and two assists Monday, Krejci now has five points (two goals, three assists) in three games this season. It’s the first time since 2010-11 that Krejci has had points in the first three games of a campaign.