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5 things we learned as Bruins close 2014 with shootout loss to Leafs

12.31.14 at 10:00 pm ET
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The Bruins ended an up-and-down calendar year with an up-and-down showing Wednesday and came out of it with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs.

Nazem Kadri scored the game-winner for Toronto in the fifth round of the shootout. Torey Krug scored Boston’€™s only shootout goal.

Boston struggled into the second period but received late goals in the frame from David Krejci and Krug, with the teams playing a scoreless third to set up overtime. The B’€™s outshot Toronto, 4-0, in the extra five-minute period.

The Bruins got both Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron back in the loss. The B’€™s have now dropped two of their last three games (1-1-1).

Here are four more things we learned Wednesday:

NET DRIVE DOES WONDERS

At times in the second period it appeared that the Bruins mistook the NHL for a point-per-reception fantasy football league. When they started going hard to the net and putting pucks on net, they started scoring.

Trailing by a pair of goals, Boston first got on the board when David Krejci sent a puck in front with Milan Lucic crashing the net. The puck never got to Lucic, as it went off Cody Franson and over Jonathan Bernier on its way in.

Just over two minutes later, Loui Eriksson opted against going to the net and passed to Torey Krug, but Krejci went hard to the net and Krug’€™s pass for him went off the skate of Leo Komarov and into the net to tie the game. Two net drives, two passes, two goals.

DOUGIE’€™S BIG NEW YEAR NOT SO FUN IN THE FIRST

Though everyone in the media decided prior to the season that this is Dougie’€™s Big Year, Dougie’€™s Big New Year wasn’€™t as fun for the Bruins.

Hamilton was the victim of a weak cross-checking call on a play in which Nazem Kadri lost an edge and fell to the ice. He was then faced with a tough judgment call as he exited the box.

The Leafs had the puck in the neutral zone as Hamilton’€™s penalty expired, and he opted for a change rather than going into the zone to defend. It’€™s hard to criticize his choice given that Toronto dumped the puck into the zone rather than skating it in, but the Leafs were putting the finishing touches on Leo Komarov’€™s fifth goal of the season by the time Hamilton got to the bench.

Hamilton would make up for it with less than six minutes to play in the first by breaking up a pass from Tyler Bozak to Phil Kessel on the doorstep to save a goal, but a turnover in the offensive zone on his next shift sprung Kessel for a breakaway on which Chara hooked Kessel to give Toronto a penalty shot.

LUCIC RETURNS TO KREJCI, BRINGS GRIFFITH WITH HIM

With Lucic and Patrice Bergeron back in the lineup, the Bruins went back to the usual Marchand-Bergeron-Smith line and played Seth Griffith on the right wing of Krejci and Lucic.

Griffith has been Krejci’€™s most common right wing this season, but Craig Cunningham had been skating on the other side of Krejci in recent games before Lucic’€™s absence Monday forced Julien to play Krejci with Marchand and Smith.

The rookie right wing winning the puck in the defensive zone and getting the puck out led to Krejci’€™s second-period goal.

In the final minute of the game, Claude Julien deployed Eriksson on the right with Lucic and Krejci. The B’€™s have been hesitant to play the trio together. Griffith was back with Lucic and Krejci in overtime and couldn’€™t finish off a play in front off a feed from Lucic.

RASK’€™S RAGE

Tuukka Rask has been known to lose his temper on the ice, and it looked for a moment like he could have had his first career fight Wednesday night.

Rask took issue with David Clarkson in front of the net in the final seconds of the second period. He had words with the veteran forward as Torey Krug defended the goalie, but as the teams skated off the ice, Rask and Bernier had words and had to be separated. Both goalies were nodding at one another, suggesting they were wiling to drop the gloves, but nothing came go it.

Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron return to Bruins lineup

12.31.14 at 6:37 pm ET
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Both Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron will return to the Bruins’ lineup Wednesday after missing Monday’s game with undisclosed injuries.

The Bruins’ lineup is as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Griffith
Marchand Bergeron – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Cunningham – Campbell – Paille

Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Seidenberg
Krug – Miller

Rask

Jordan Caron, Zach Trotman and Matt Linblad are the healthy scratches. Lindblad was the only player missing from warmups.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic practice, still considered day-to-day

12.30.14 at 1:12 pm ET
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Both Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic practiced with the Bruins in Tuesday’€™s practice, participating in line drills and working with their respective power play units.

Claude Julien said after the skate that both players remain day-to-day after missing Monday’€™s win over the Red Wings with undisclosed injuries. The Bruins will not have a morning skate prior to Wednesday’€™s game against the Maple Leafs, so it will be difficult to tell whether the players will be in the lineup against the Maple Leafs.

Lines in practice were as follows:

Marchand – Krejci/Bergeron – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Caron
Lucic/Lindblad – Cunningham – Griffith

All eight defensemen, including Adam McQuaid (still on injured reserve with a thumb injury) were on the ice.

PP1: Krug, Krejci, Griffith/Lucic, Marchand
PP2: Hamilton, Smith, Eriksson, Bergeron, Soderberg

Read More: Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron,

Team meeting spurs David Krejci, Bruins to pick up slack for Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron

12.30.14 at 8:06 am ET
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David Krejci could relate with Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic Monday night. He was on the ice while Bergeron and Lucic watched the game with undisclosed injuries from the ninth floor press box.

Earlier in the year, it was up to Bergeron and Lucic to pick up the slack for Krejci and Zdeno Chara when they were out with injuries. This time around it was Krejci and Brad Marchand who led an offensive attack that generated five goals on 45 shots against the Red Wings, and the result was a desperately needed 5-2 win at TD Garden Monday night.

From the first puck-drop, the Bruins were skating hard in all three zones, mucking up the area in front of Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard. Krejci’s best move of the night came on the power play in the third period after the Wings had cut the lead to 3-2 after two.

The center skated into the left offensive corner with the puck and gave Seth Griffith enough time to find an open area in a triangle of three penalty-killing Wings. Krejci delivered a short, crisp pass onto Griffith’s stick and Griffith snapped off a perfect shot that beat Howard for a 4-2 lead.

“We just shot everything on the net,” Krejci said. “We tried to crash the net. That’€™s what happened on the first goal. [Marchand] had a good screen. I thought we had more than 15 shots after the first period. We talk about it, just put the puck on net, create some traffic and don’€™t pass on any shooting opportunities. We did a pretty good job at it.”

The big question is why the Bruins, with or without their top players, haven’t played like that more often.

“That’€™s a good question, but obviously we are trying,” Krejci said. “We kind of talked about a bunch of things [Sunday] and it seems like it worked but like I said before, we did it before and followed up with a bad game. We don’€™t need to have talks like we did before this game and just go out there and realize what you’€™re playing for and we got to get back in the hunt. It was a good game today, but we have to follow up with another one.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, David Krejci, Detroit Red Wings,

Zdeno Chara knows win shows how Bruins have to play ‘pretty much for the rest of the season’

12.30.14 at 7:48 am ET
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The Bruins put themselves in this position. Now, they have to get themselves out of it.

But the good news, according to captain Zdeno Chara, is that Monday’s 5-2 win over the Red Wings proves they have it in them.

“Yeah, that was a great example of how we have to play, pretty much for the rest of the season it’€™s pretty simple,” Chara said. “We had the right attitude and right approach right from the first drop of the puck. Even they put some pressure on us, especially in the second [period] when they got some power plays going, but I thought we handled it well.

“Our young guys really stepped up, our veteran guys were obviously leading the way but I think it’€™s a great example of how we need to be. Everybody worked really hard, everybody was doing what they were supposed to do and we got good results.”

The Bruins, who entered the game with 39 points and in 10th place in the East, fired 45 shots on Jimmy Howard and the Red Wings defense that came in allowing the fewest shots on goal of any team in the NHL.

Without top-six forwards Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron, the Bruins finally showed a sense of urgency and self-motivation.

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Zdeno Chara,

5 things we learned as Bruins ride fast start to victory over Red Wings

12.29.14 at 9:41 pm ET
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Carl Soderberg

Carl Soderberg

The Bruins recovered nicely from Saturday’€™s embarrassing loss to the Blue Jackets, as they took a 5-2 victory over the Red Wings Monday at TD Garden to give them victories in three of their last four games.

Boston made do with a relatively scarce roster, as both Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron missed the game with undisclosed injuries and Matt Fraser was lost to the Oilers earlier in the day on waivers. Matt Lindblad, recalled after Fraser was claimed by Edmonton, dressed in his second NHL game of the season.

Though Boston relented after a strong push to open the game, the B’€™s gained much-needed separation with a third-period Seth Griffith goal after Detroit had cut their lead to one late in the second period. Chris Kelly scored an empty netter to seal the victory.

The win showed, at the very least, that the Bruins do have another gear. Though they didn’€™t sustain it throughout the night, they found it long enough to take two points from a divisional opponent.

Here are four more things we learned:

BRUINS OWN THE FIRST

The Bruins took the ice Monday clearly aware that they were without two of their best forwards. Their push to make up for the absences of Lucic and Bergeron translated into puck possession dominance and overwhelming victories in puck battles throughout the opening period.

Most importantly, the B’s scored three goals in the first period, marking the first time they’€™ve done so all season.

The only players with a negative even-strength Corsi in the first period were Campbell and linemates Jordan Caron and Daniel Paille. Then again, Campbell scored after being sent out as the extra attacker on a delayed penalty call, so there really wasn’€™t much not to like about the first period.

SODERBERG LINE DOMINANT

Claude Julien‘€™s biggest fear is the thought of splitting up Carl Soderberg, Loui Eriksson and Chris Kelly. Monday was the latest example as to why.

The Soderberg line was simply dominant against Detroit’€™s third line of Darren Helm between Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist, while also outworking Detroit’€™s second line on a first-period possession that led to a delayed penalty on which Campbell as an extra attacker scored. Soderberg would add a goal of his own shortly after off a nice feed from Eriksson behind the net.

Soderberg had six shots on goal in the game, which tied a career-high accomplished once last season.

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Read More: Carl Soderberg, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron,

Bruins recall Matt Lindblad on emergency basis

12.29.14 at 4:12 pm ET
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The Bruins recalled forward Matt Lindblad on an emergency basis Monday after losing forward Matt Fraser to the Oilers via waivers.

Lindblad will be in Boston’€™s lineup given that, with Fraser gone and both Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron out with undisclosed injuries, the B’€™s were left with 11 healthy forwards prior to his recall.

The Dartmouth product dressed for the B’€™s in the team’€™s Nov. 22 loss to the Canadiens, logging 8:04 of ice time and registering one shot on goal. The center/wing has six goals and six assists for 12 points in 29 games for Providence this season.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

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