|01.22.15 at 12:51 am ET|
The Bruins started the All-Star break early, relinquishing a third-period lead and suffering a 3-2 shootout loss to the Avalanche Wednesday (click here for the boxscore).
The shootout loss gave the Bruins three of a possible four points on their two-game road trip and gave them a 25-16-7 record at the break.
Ryan O’Reilly scored with 1:45 remaining in regulation to tie the game at two, as Patrick Roy pulled Semyon Varlamov early. Nathan MacKinnon scored the only goal of the shootout, with Reilly Smith, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron all failing to score for the B’s.
The Bruins will now break for the All-Star Game, which will be played Sunday. Patrice Bergeron is the Bruins’ only participant. They will return to game action a week from Thursday against the Islanders.
Here are five things we learned Wednesday:
MARCHAND RETURNS AND SCORES
Brad Marchand punctuated his return from a two-game suspension with a big goal to give the B’s the lead in the third period.
Marchand, who sat out Saturday’s game against the Blue Jackets and Tuesday’s contest in Dallas for slew-footing Derick Brassard last week, took a feed from David Krejci during a third-period line change and fired a wrist shot past Semyon Varlamov to break a 1-1 tie. The goal was Marchand’s team-leading 13th of the season.
The veteran left wing also took a roughing penalty early in the third period and logged over two minutes of shorthanded time as the Bruins were carried by strong penalty killing for the second straight night.
HAMILTON FINALLY DROPS THE GLOVES
An early third-period fracas between multiple members of each side brought about something we’ve yet to see –Dougie Hamilton’s bare hands.
Hamilton earned his first career fighting major as he dropped the gloves with fellow 2011 top-10 pick Gabriel Landeskog. Both players landed shots in the bout, which ended when Hamilton lost his balance while swinging for a gigantic right.
Hamilton fought twice during his four OHL seasons. His first NHL fight came in his 154th regular-season game.
|01.20.15 at 11:10 pm ET|
Dougie Hamilton had a two-point night, including his career-high eighth goal of the season in the third period, to give the B’s a 3-1 victory over the Stars in Dallas (box).
The victory was the Bruins’ sixth in their last seven games, giving them points in 11 of the last 12.
It was also the second and final game of Brad Marchand‘s suspension. Marchand will be eligible to return Wednesday against the Avalanche, which is the Bruins’ final game before the All-Star break.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday:
BRUINS TRADE CHANCES AND PENALTIES
Players went three places Tuesday: up the ice for a scoring chance, down the ice to defend one and then to the penalty box.
From the opening shift of the game, when Jamie Benn was sprung on a breakaway and then tripped by Adam McQuaid, the Bruins and Stars swapped both scoring chances and penalties. It’s a frantic style the Bruins would rather not play, but strong penalty killing allowed them to survive it.
The B’s took six penalties on the night and killed off each of them, while Hamilton’s power-play goal came on Dallas’ fourth penalty of the night.
Standing tall for the Bruins throughout it all was Tuukka Rask, who made timely saves and got some help from the post.
|01.19.15 at 1:35 pm ET|
“My West Coast team against my East Coast team,” the Bruins’ left wing said with a smile Monday.
Lucic, a native of Vancouver, grew up rooting for the Seahawks but has become a Patriots fan since coming to Boston. Lucic says his allegiance to the Pats, which grew as he nursed an ankle injury in the 2009-10 season, will win out when he watches Super Bowl XLIX.
“Since ‘09 when I had that high ankle sprain, I’ve kind of converted into a Patriots fan,” he said. “I’ve got to stick with my team now and keep cheering for the Pats.”
Lucic, the Bruins’ resident sportscaster/statistician, watched both the NFC and AFC title games Sunday, the first of which resulted in a comeback/collapse by the Seahawks and Packers, respectively, when the Seahawks, with just one timeout remaining, scored a touchdown to bring them within five points, recovered an onside kick on a botched blocking assignment, took the lead on a touchdown and two-point conversion and, after the Packers forced overtime with a field goal, won on a 35-yard touchdown pass.
Lucic thought the game was over when Russell Wilson threw his fourth interception of the game with 5:04 left and the Seahawks trailing by 12.
“I even congratulated some of my cousins from Milwaukee who are huge Green Bay fans for the win,” he said.
But then the Seahawks made their push and the Packers went to the bathroom in their pants. If the way that game ended reminded you of the Leafs blowing a three-goal lead in the final 10:42 of Game 7 of the first round against the B’s back in 2013, you aren’t alone.
“Obviously it brings back memories of the Game 7 against Toronto that we had,” Lucic said. “You kind of know the feeling that [the Seahawks are] feeling today and how excited they are to pull something like that off. I think looking back, the run that we went on having a comeback like that, because you’re so high and it seems like nothing can go wrong when you’re able to come back from something like that. I’m pretty sure that the Seahawks are feeling that right now. I think it’s going to be a real, real fun Super Bowl to watch.”
Between the Patriots’ six Super Bowl appearances since 2002, the Red Sox‘ three World Series titles since 2004, the Celtics‘ two recent NBA Finals appearances, the Revolution’s MLS Cup appearance last season and the Bruins’ Cup Finals appearances in 2011 and 2013, Boston fans are used to seeing title games and Boston athletes are used to playing in them.
Lucic says the Pats going back to the Super Bowl provides motivation for the B’s to follow suit in their league.
“You know the feeling of being there and you know the feeling of winning and winning it all,” Lucic said. “You see the Patriots make it back to the Super Bowl again, it definitely gives you a little bit of a boost, just because you know that feeling and you want to do whatever you can to re-live that feeling.”
|01.19.15 at 12:21 pm ET|
The Bruins will host the Canadiens in the 2016 Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium, WEEI.com has learned from league sources.
The Jan. 1 meeting between the two clubs, which has long been speculated, will be the second Winter Classic the Bruins have hosted. The B’s defeated the Flyers in overtime at the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park.
The Canadiens, meanwhile, have never participated in the Winter Classic and will become just the second Canadian team to compete in the annual outdoor game. The Maple Leafs beat the Red Wings in a shootout in the 2014 game at Michigan Stadium.
The Habs aren’t complete strangers to outdoor games, however, as they did play in the Heritage Classic in 2003 against the Oilers in Edmonton and in 2011 against the Flames in Calgary.
It is unknown how preparations for the event will affect the Patriots, as Jan. 1 typically falls right around Week 17 of the NFL season.
After TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported in December that the Bruins were the favorites to host the game, Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy said that the Red Sox hoped to see the game return to Fenway Park, but acknowledged that Gillette’s seating capacity of 68,756 might make it difficult for the Sox and Fenway (37,400 capacity) to win the bid.
The NHL has yet to make an official announcement, but Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton said Monday that he would love to play in a Winter Classic soon.
“I think it would be awesome,” Hamilton said. “It’s something that you kind of follow every year. In [recent] years I watched the HBO show in juniors and kind of pictured what the NHL was like. Then watching the games, it’s obviously special with the different jerseys and the venue and the crowd and rivalries and everything; it’s something you’d really want to be a part of.
“I think when [speculation] came out last year and we kind of thought it was going to be this year, I think it was kind of disappointing that it wasn’t us. Hopefully we get it and have that chance. It [would be] something to really forward to next year.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|01.19.15 at 10:56 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins had perfect attendance as they practiced Monday in anticipation of a two-game road trip that will send them into the All-Star break.
The B’s will play Tuesday in Dallas and Wednesday in Colorado. By the looks of Monday’s practice, Daniel Paille will remain on Patrice Bergeron‘s line in Tuesday’s game as Brad Marchand serves the final game of his two-game ban for slew-footing Derick Brassard last week.
The lines in practice were as follows:
All defensemen and both goaltenders were present.
|01.17.15 at 11:16 pm ET|
Normally a team wouldn’t be too disappointed with one loss after a five-game winning streak, but considering that the Bruins are still fighting for their playoff lives and the Blue Jackets are out of the playoff picture, Saturday’s 3-1 loss was pretty disappointing.
“I’m disappointed,” Claude Julien said after the game. “I don’t care, six wins in a row, whatever, we just can’t afford to have those kind of outings. Disappointed that we didn’t come to play harder than we did tonight and we wanted to take the easy way out. When we do that, we’re not successful.
“We’re a north-south type of team, we backcheck hard, we forecheck hard, and we make things happen by taking pucks to the net. Tonight we weren’t willing to do that. When we got into the battle you could tell they wanted it more than us. We’ve gotta accept the blame and the responsibility. We weren’t good enough tonight and we shouldn’t accept that.”
The Bruins did have 35 shots on goal in the game, but as multiple players pointed out, they didn’t do enough to make those saves tough ones for Columbus goalie Curtis McElhinney. There was a lot of settling for shots from the outside, not setting screens and not being in position to get rebounds. That lack of getting to the so-called dirty areas seemed to be more frustrating for Julien and the Bruins than the loss itself.
Technically, the Bruins can actually afford the loss. They’re still ahead of the Panthers, who suffered a shootout loss to Edmonton Saturday night, for the eighth and final playoff spot. In terms of points, the B’s have a four-point edge with the Panthers holding three games in hand. In terms of points percentage, it’s .587 for the B’s to .581 for the Panthers. The Bruins also hold a 22-15 edge in regulation and overtime wins, which could matter for tiebreak purposes if it comes to that.
The Bruins weren’t going to keep their winning streak going forever, but suffering a letdown and having it snapped against a non-playoff team doesn’t sit well. The Bruins will look to get back to playing the right way during a mini-road trip to Dallas and Colorado this week before heading into the all-star break.
|01.17.15 at 10:59 pm ET|
Given all of the attention that’s been placed on Pastrnak prior to the Bruins deciding to keep him and the success that the trio has had, the goose-egg from Boston’s trio actually is somewhat notable, really only because it’s the first time the line hasn’t been very good since being united.
Pastrnak, who has now officially accrued one season of service time in the eyes of the NHL and NHLPA (Saturday was 10th NHL game this season, which means this season is officially the first of his three-year entry level contract) and his linemates came down earth against the Blue Jackets, overpassing and losing the possession battle in Boston’s first regulation loss in 10 games.
“A lot of passing, a lot of missed passes,” Lucic said. “Maybe trying to do too much and didn’t play that north-south type of game that gave us success when we were put together originally.
“We have to know night-in, night-out as a line that in order to be successful and get results and contribute to the team, that there’s a certain way that we need to play. That’s a straight-ahead game and using our speed and obviously using our skill, but when we’re moving straight ahead and using all those things, that’s when we’re going to have success.”
The line nearly scored in the first period when David Krejci threw a puck on net from the top of the right circle that bounced off Pastrnak’s skates in front with half the net open. Pastrnak whiffed on his shot attempt as the puck glided to Blue Jackets netminder Curtis McElhinney. That stood as the line’s best chance, though Pastrnak did draw a penalty in the final minute of the period when he was tripped by Scott Hartnell.
But that was the extent of the good for the line offensively. Though Lucic tied for the team lead with five shots on goal, the Czech Davids combined for zero. Saturday was Pastrnak’s first game without a shot on goal since his NHL debut on Nov. 24.
Since coming up, Pastrnak has been a standout player. He’s found instant chemistry with Krejci, whose vision and creativity could make him a 30-goal scorer in future seasons. Yet there will be speed bumps along the way, such as when Pastrnak took a drop pass from Krejci entering the zone in the first period and, rather than shooting or finding Krejci again, forced a n0-look pass across the ice to Lucic that would have earned him an intentional grounding penalty in the NFL.
“That line didn’t do much for us tonight; nobody did as a matter of fact,” Julien said. “We need David to use his speed on the outside; we need Krech to make sure to use his speed on the outside and find him. If you’re going to be cute and try and overpass, you’re not going to get the results. That’s not how we’ve had success in the past. I don’t think that’s how we’re going to get success in the future.”
One telling takeaway that should bode well for this line’s future: In eight periods together, the Lucic-Krejci-Pastrnak trio has yet to get scored on. They have four goals for and none against.