|11.13.10 at 1:44 pm ET|
The Bruins are dealing with inconsistency at home, but hold the “what else is new?” comment.
The B’s can’t seem to shake whatever it is that made them 17-17-6 at the Garden a season ago and 2-2-1 this season, but that isn’t to say that they’re willing to accept their fate as a bad home team.
“We knew last year that we struggled at home, but we’ve tried to block it out and get to our mentality that we have on the road,” Michael Ryder said following the Bruins’ morning skate on Saturday. “Maybe when when we’re on the road, we’re a little more focused than we are at home. I think we’re aware of it, but I don’t think we need to panic. It’s still early in the year, and I think if we win tonight it will be a big step forward.”
The Bruins will face an Ottawa team on Saturday that is 3-3-1 on the road this season, though the Senators have won their last three road contests. The key to victory will be getting past goaltender Brian Elliot, and that will require more scoring than the Bruins have been able to turn in at home this season.
Counting both the “home” and “away” game in Prague, the Bruins have scored 3.7 goals per away game, while they’ve averaged just 2.2 goals per game at home. Ryder, who has gotten his points both on the road and at home, doesn’t quite know how to diagnose what the team’s done differently from one place to the next.
“Not really,” Ryder said when asked if he felt the team was doing anything specifically different. “Maybe it’s just that at home, sometimes you try and do things a little different than you do on the road. You keep it more simple when you get on the road, and I think at home we just get away from that and our style of play. I think if we do that tonight, we’ll be fine and we’ll start winning at home a lot more.”
The most recent loss suffered at the Garden came Thursday, when the Bruins lost their legs after coming out flying early in the first period en route to a 3-1 defeat against the Canadiens. It’s after games such as the Habs contest that the veterans stress that the team be encouraged by what they do right.
“We’ve got to just keep plugging along,” Mark Recchi said. “We got off to a great start last time, but the puck didn’t go in. Just keep plugging. We have a good road mentality, to just go out there and play our game. We know what makes us tick as a team and what makes us go. If we play that way, we’re going to be fine at home or wherever we are, really. We just have to get back to that, and make sure we continue it.”
Like Ryder, Recchi knows that it’s easy to look at the struggles at home and think that it’s simply a case of continuing down a road embarked upon a season ago, but he also sees a distinct difference in this Bruins club from that of a season ago.
“We believe in ourselves, and we believe in what we’re doing and we believe that if we do the right things, we’re going to win hockey games,” Recchi said. “We’ve got a strong belief in each other, and that’s very important. We know if we play the right way and play Bruins hockey and lay physical, get pucks deep, and skate, we’re very tough to play against. We’re still trying to grow that identity, and it’s a process, and it’s early, and we’ve still got a long ways to go, but the guys are forging ahead here and want to get better.”
|11.13.10 at 1:09 pm ET|
It was easy to see on Saturday morning that David Krejci and Johnny Boychuk are improving, simply because one could actually see them. Krejci, out with a concussion suffered last Saturday took the ice for the first time prior to the B’s morning skate, while Boychuk, who has been skating, joined his teammates for the first time on Saturday.
“Both are progressing well,” Claude Julien said following the skate. “David started his exertion tests yesterday, got on the bike and felt good enough today so that he moved on to getting on the ice and skating a little bit today. I guess that result, we’ll get later on as the day progresses and how he feels, and whether he still feels good tomorrow. Those are things that he’s going through. So far, everything is going in the right direction with him.
“Johnny is the same thing. He started skating with us today, and got some shots — he’s capable of shooting now a little bit and everything else, so he’s progressing well. I guess these next few days will determine how close he is to starting to play again.”
Krejci still has a bit to go before he’ll be suiting up for games, as the B’s anticipated him missing at least a week. Boychuk, who is still wearing a cast, hopes to be back by next weekend. For now, the Bruins are focused on winning with the guys they have.
“You have to deal with things, and if you don’t deal with them well, you’re not going to be successful,” Mark Recchi said Saturday. “I think we handled things very well last year when we went through a lot of it. This year, we see the light at the end of the tunnel with some of the guys coming back, so it’s good, but at the same time, we have jobs to do. We have to go out there and everybody has to elevate when you looser people, and take on more responsibility.”
|11.13.10 at 12:29 pm ET|
The Bruins are set to take on the Senators on Saturday night at TD Garden. Tim Thomas was first off the ice for the Bruins in their morning skate, with Cory Clouston telling reporters following the Senators’ skate that he will start Brian Elliot, who is 8-4 with a 2.81 goals against average and a .911 save percentage in 12 games this season. Both teams have 17 points on the young season, though the Senators, who are 8-7-1, have played three more contests than the 8-4-1 Bruins.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Bruins are 2-3-1 as the home team this season, and 2-2-1 when playing at the Garden. They’ve gone 0-2-1 in their last three home games, the most recent of which was a 3-1 loss to the Canadiens on Thursday night.
– The Senators are 3-3-1 on the road this season, though they have won their last two contests away from Ottawa and beat the Canadiens in Montreal last Saturday.
– Thomas has started just two games at home this season, and the only goal he allowed in the six periods was one he gave away to Jason Chimera of the Capitals. Overall, the 36-year-old is 8-0-0 with a 1.39 goals against average and an NHL-best .959 save percentage in nine starts. He shut out the Senators on Oct. 30th, one of three shutouts he’s picked up this season.
– Old friend Sergei Gonchar is a minus-nine for the Senators in his first season with the club. Yeesh.
– Even Nathan Horton has seen a dip in production at the Garden as of late. Since picking up a goal and an assist in the B’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers on Oct. 23, he’s been held off the scoring sheet in three contests in Boston. Such a statistic should be taken with a grain of salt, however, as the Bruins have been able to score just four goals over their last three games at the Garden.
Horton still leads the Bruins with four goals in home games this season, though two of them came in Prague.
– Only three Bruins have positive plus/minus ratings in home games this season: Gregory Campbell, Milan Lucic, and Brad Marchand, all of whom are a plus-one. Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler are at the opposite end of the spectrum, as each are a minus-four in home games.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– There are two things the Bruins are dealing with: injuries and struggles at home. One is beyond their control, and the other remains a growing problem. They’ve faced good teams at the Garden this season, but they’ve had no trouble beating top teams on the road. Stay tuned as more develops.
– Filip Kuba will make his season debut for the Senators, with Clouston indicating he will be paired with Erik Karlsson. The 33-year-old has been out with a fractured fibula. In 61 games last season, the Czech-born defenseman had three goals and 25 assists.
– When the Bruins last faced the Senators, Ottawa was sitting at 4-5-1, but they’ve picked it up since. The Senators are 4-1-0 since that Oct. 30th contest, though the loss came in their most recent game, an ugly showing in which the Canucks handled them in 6-2 fashion.
|11.13.10 at 10:18 am ET|
Bruins center David Krejci, out since suffering a moderate concussion last Saturday against the Blues, skated with recovering teammate Marco Sturm on Saturday morning, according to the Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa.
Claude Julien said on Friday that Krejci had ridden the stationary bike, which at the time was the most energy-intensive activity he had done following the concussion.
‘He’s progressing nicely, I would say,’ Julien said Friday. ‘Right now he’s at the stage where he’s on the bike. If things go well then he continues to move forward if things don’t go well, then we pull him back.’
After the diagnosis, the Bruins anticipated being without Krejci, who had been centering the first line with Marc Savard out, for at least a week. In 11 games this season, Krejci has two goals and eight assists.
|11.12.10 at 5:48 pm ET|
Boston fans have taken a liking to Nathan Horton since he came to Boston, and he’s returned the favor by leading the Bruins in both goals (seven) and points (13) through 13 games.
Yet if Horton wants to be in Carolina for the All-Star game this season, he can’t count on the fans to get him there. The NHL announced the 100 players that will be on the fan ballot for this year’s All-Star games, and though the Bruins had four representatives, Horton was not among them. Instead, Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci will have a chance to be selected by the public. The fans, who could technically write Horton in, begin their balloting on Monday and can choose six players to send to Carolina.
Horton could obviously still be selected to represent the Eastern Conference, as the rest of the roster will be made up in a fantasy draft between team captains. The captains will choose to fill the remaining 36 roster spots from a group of players determined by a combination of the the fans’ voting and the NHL hockey operations department.
|11.12.10 at 5:17 pm ET|
Hopefully everyone has either seen or read about the zonked-out Bruins fan who took it upon herself to kick a hole in a pillar at the Garden during Thursday night’s game. In doing so, of course, she upset someone…
[Video courtesy of the Bruins]
|11.12.10 at 5:08 pm ET|
The Bruins have gotten used to playing without their top center, but having their top two pivots has been a challenge. With Marc Savard continuing to work his way back from post-concussion syndrome and David Krejci out with a concussion, the Bruins have had to move Patrice Bergeron up to the top line and Blake Wheeler back to center for the first time since his college days.
TSN reported during Thursday night’s game that Savard could be back by the end of the month, but Claude Julien and the B’s aren’t crossing their fingers for a set date.
“I don’t think anybody knows exactly the date,” Julien said on Friday. “I think we know that he’s doing well, and right know he’s progressing to the pot where he’s at least close to joining us for practice. He hasn’t been cleared to do that yet, and even less for contact. There’s a lot of speculation right now, and as far we’re concerned we’re still taking it day by day and seeing a guy progress in a positive way, which is encouraging. That’s basically all we can do right now, like everybody else, is speculate.”
Krejci, meanwhile, has been out since last Saturday’s game against the Blues, when he went headfirst into the boards after a collision with T.J. Oshie. He was diagnosed with a moderate concussion because he suffered amnesia, and the Bruins expected to be without his services for at least a week.
An encouraging sign came for Krejci on Friday, as he rode a stationary bike, the most physically demanding exercise he’s been put through following the concussion.
“He’s progressing nicely, I would say,” Julien said. “Right now he’s at the stage where he’s on the bike. If things go well then he continues to move forward if things don’t go well, then we pull him back.”
After falling to the Canadiens at home on Thursday, the Bruins will return to action with a tilt against the Senators at TD Garden on Saturday.