|02.06.10 at 1:22 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien knows a little experience could go a long way to restoring some order his blue line.
On Saturday, Andrew Ference, who’s been out since Jan. 5 with a groin injury, skated with the team in warmups prior to the tilt with Vancouver. He was scratched and missed his 14th straight game.
“He’s coming along and I think he’s getting better and hopefully we’ll see him back soon,” Julien said “There’s no doubt, I think there’s some experience missing back there and when you don’t have that, to me, a defenseman is like a quarterback on a football team. If you get guys moving the puck well, your offense benefits from it as well.”
The Bruins have lost Ference and fellow veteran defenseman Mark Stuart with a broken pinkie finger. That doesn’t include Zdeno Chara, who is playing with a bad pinkie himself that will likely require surgery after the season.
“We’ve got Hunwick, who’s in his second year, and then we’ve got two guys who are in their first year, so we’re lacking a little bit of experience back there, there’s no doubt,” Julien added. “But that’s not to take away anything from the guys who are in their first year. They’ve done a great job for us.”
So what the Bruins didn’t need was another injury to a defenseman – and a scary one at that. A bloodied Boychuk took a shot to the left side of his face from Mikael Samuelsson midway through the first and had to be helped off the ice by Blake Wheeler and Chara.
|02.05.10 at 1:43 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — After Thursday’s disappointing loss to the Canadiens, the Bruins talked a lot of about getting good traffic, screens and rebounds in front of the net. It is the equivalent of “small ball,” but a quintessential way to score in the NHL — get the dirty goals when the goaltender is obstructed or out of position. Mark Recchi has made a good living doing it for years. This is how most of the league scores and how the Bruins are forced to play without a top-notch goal scorer who creates his own offense like Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby or Ilya Kovalchuk.
Concerning Kovalchuk, if the Bruins players are crestfallen that he is now a member of the New Jersey Devils after Thursday’s trade, they are hiding it well.
“He is a great player and it would have been a nice addition but you are not going to lose sleep over it,” center Marc Savard said. “It would have been nice to get him but that is over with so you move on.”
Forward Milan Lucic did not want any part of the conversation.
“Obviously he could not get a deal done in Atlanta, he’s been a part of them for a long time. Good on New Jersey, looks like they got another lead scorer on their team and we will see what happens,” Lucic said. When asked if the players are looking for the front office to make a move, Lucic was noncommittal. “That is the least of my worries, it is nothing that I can control. Management does what they do and whatever they do, as a player, we have to be happy with their decision.”
Away from what has been happening in the rest of the NHL, the Bruins are focused entirely on themselves. Most of the work at Ristuccia Arena was focused on creating opportunities. The Bruins brought out shooting pads to elevate the puck off the ice and contain rebounds in screen drills. There was not a lot of contact but rather there will be some bruises where players took pucks off the body while standing in front of the goaltender as defensemen whipped shots from the blue line. Overall it was a day that the Bruins wanted to maintain a good work ethic and demeanor heading into Saturday’s matinee against Vancouver.
“It is kind of the way it has been going,” Savard said. ” We worked on the power play this morning, get some chop work and gets some shots.”
In terms of the goal drought in Boston, Savard said that he has never been a part of anything like it.
“For the amount of shots we put up and the scoring opportunities, I am not sure how many but I am sure it has been a lot over the past few games,” Savard said.
He was informed by a reporter that the Bruins have had 45 scoring opportunities in the last two games, good for one goal every 15 chances. “So, I don’t know what to say.”
Defenseman Andrew Ference skated with the team again and said that he “is making steps” towards a return from groin injury. He sounded doubtful that he would return next week but said that he was definite for after the Olympic break.
“Just keep taking steps. Stops and starts. Just another baby step,” Ference said. “I don’t know if it is going to get well enough before the break. Everyday I try to push it and see how it feels the next morning. You can only push it so fast so, honestly, I do not know. It has been going well so far so hopefully something before the break but I won’t know until I get to that day where I am taking full contact and full speed starts and stops.”
Here is the practice participation by sweater color:
White — Miroslav Satan, Marc Savard, Milan Lucic.
Red — Shawn Thornton, Steve Begin, Vladimir Sobotka, Byron Bitz.
|02.04.10 at 11:47 pm ET|
Perhaps it was complete frustration of it all that inspired Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask to sum up the current state of affairs for the Bruins after firing 47 shots on net and scoring twice in a 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal, extending their futility streak to nine games.
“I don’t know to cry or laugh here because I think we pretty much dominated the whole game,” Rask said of his teammates who outshot Montreal, 47-25.
“Good chances and their goalie plays an unbelievable game. Going into shootout, I wanted to win so bad, make that save.”
Neither team seemed destined to score after two scoreless rounds to open the shootout. But then Brian Gionta beat Rask up top with a backhander. And when Marc Savard failed on his attempt, the ninth straight ‘L’ was in the books.
“Their guy happened to beat me there and we took the loss,” Rask said. “At least we get a point so it’s something.”
|02.04.10 at 11:27 pm ET|
It is raining shots in Boston.
This is not a weekend bender at The Fours but rather a deluge from the Boston Bruins of pucks on opposing goaltenders. Yet, like a large man with a penchant for good whiskey, the shots are having little effect.
In Thursday’s loss to the Canadiens the Bruins dumped 47 shots on Jaroslav Halak and came away with two goals in the 3-2 shootout loss. Add to that the 42 shots Boston had against Washington on Tuesday and the totals comes to 89 shots in two games with only three goals to show for it. The stat is hard to believe, especially if you are the Bruins who know they have significantly outplayed their opponents in the last two contests.
|02.04.10 at 11:26 pm ET|
Even in good times, Mark Recchi has been around long enough to know that no hockey coach has security – let alone when you’ve lost nine straight and are falling out of the playoff picture.
Still, the veteran Bruins forward doesn’t think Claude Julien is going anywhere and he made that clear following Thursday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal at TD Garden.
Recchi pointed to the Carolina Hurricanes that got hot at the end of last season, a team that eliminated the Bruins in the second round of the playoffs in seven games.
“Claude ain’t going anywhere,” Recchi said. “He’s a great coach. But it’s there and we’re right there and if we keep playing like this, then that could happen. We could get on a big run.”
|02.04.10 at 10:55 pm ET|
Claude Julien just watched his team take 47 shots on net and score twice in 65 minutes, including a 4-on-3 power play in overtime and a scoreless shootout. All of this on top of 42 shots on Tuesday night that resulted in just one goal in a 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.
The Bruins coach was had seen enough. And when he was asked whether three goals in 89 shots and nine straight losses means his team was no better than average, Julien responded.
“We believe we have a better-than-average hockey team,” Julien said. “I think our team was pretty good tonight. I’m not going to stand here and say we’re a bad team. Absolutely not.”
Click here to hear Julien’s response in Thursday’s postgame presser following a 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal.
|02.04.10 at 9:45 pm ET|
Summary — The Bruins had a solid overall defensive game against Montreal on Thursday but relinquished a two goal lead to the Canadiens in the second period en route to a shootout loss in front of a sold out crowd at TD Garden. Brian Gionta scored the game-winner in the shootout to give Canadiens the two points. Tuukka Rask took the loss for the Bruins with 23 saves and Jaroslav Halak was decent in stopping a barrage of 45 Boston shots in the win. The nine-game losing streak is the longest since the Bruins lost 11 straight from Dec. 8, 1924 to Feb. 17 1925.
Former Bruin Glen Metropolit got the Habs on the board at 17:06 when he crashed the net off his own shot and stuffed the puck past Rask. 39-seconds later Roman Hamrlik beat Rask again with a shot from the left point to erase the Boston advantage and send the game into the third tied at two.
The Bruins got on the board in the first period at 15:48 when Derek Morris set up a nice lead pass for Dennis Wideman to wind up and slap a shot from the point on Halak. Mark Recchi, as he has been known to do in his career, was camped in front of the net and deflected the puck just enough to get it into the net and give Boston a 1-0 lead heading into the second period.
Blake Wheeler scored his 13th goal of the year in the second period when he put a rebound off a David Krejci shot of Halak’s shoulder and in at 5:25. Krejci’s assist gives him a goal and two assists in the last three games.
Through three periods and overtime the Bruins outshot the Canadiens 47 to 25.
Jaroslav Halak – The Canadien’s goaltender stood up to the barrage and stared it down to the tune of 45 saves.
Mark Recchi — The Bruins veteran forward does what he has done so many times in his career — camp in front of the net and deflect pucks past goaltenders. Recchi scored his 11th of the season in the first period for the first goal of the game.
Scott Gomez — The Canadiens center was credited with assists on Montreal’s two goals late in the second period to give him 30 helpers on the season.
Boston defenseman Matt Hunwick took an interference penalty at 16:08 in the second period that helped Montreal back into the game. The Canadiens scored their first goal 58-seconds later and would tie it less than a minute later to erase the Bruins two goal advantage and sully what had been a solid defensive effort to that point. It was the Bruins first penalty of the game and their tied-second penalty kill could not keep Montreal off the board.
Gionta went to the backhand against Rask in the third round of the shootout to nail down the victory for the Canadiens. Gionta was the only player to score in the shootout as Tomas Plekanec and Gomez were stuffed by Rask while Krejci, Michael Ryder and Marc Savard missed for the Bruins.
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