|5 things we learned as Bruins fall out of 1st place with loss to Sharks||03.16.16 at 12:46 am ET|
The Bruins did something Tuesday night that they hadn’t done since the trade deadline: lose a game in regulation.
The start to Bruins’ California road trip proved to be a disappointing one, as they fell to the Sharks, 3-2, on a night when the Panthers regained the top spot in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins are 5-1-2 since the trade deadline.
Despite the Sharks dictating much of the game, the teams entered the third period tied at two goals apiece before a Jimmy Hayes penalty for an illegal check to the head of Justin Braun set up what would be the game-deciding power play goal for the Sharks.
The Panthers, who beat the Canadiens on Tuesday night, now sit one point ahead of Boston with 87 points on the season. Florida also still has a game in hand, as the B’s have played 71 games to the Panthers’ 70.
The Bruins will continue their road tip this weekend with a back to back that sees them face the Ducks Friday and Kings Saturday.
Here are four more things we learned Tuesday:
KREJCI HEALTHY ENOUGH
David Krejci played Tuesday after missing Monday’s practice with an undisclosed ailment. He was healthy enough to make some major plays, as he banged in a rebound off a David Pastrnak shot at 11:26 of the first period, but that was the top of the iceberg for the veteran center.
After Loui Eriksson forced a turnover from Brent Burns during a Sharks power play that Krejci intercepted in the neutral zone, Krejci send a quick backhanded pass behind his back to spring Eriksson on a breakaway for a shorthanded goal. With a goal and an assist, Krejci had his first multi-point performance since Feb. 20.
|Bruins recall red-hot Frank Vatrano from Providence on emergency basis||03.14.16 at 4:58 pm ET|
The Bruins recalled left wing Frank Vatrano from Providence on an emergency basis Monday. Vatrano will be available to the team for Tuesday night’s game in San Jose.
The first-year pro has 31 goals in 31 games in Providence this season, including 21 goals in 21 games since being returned to the AHL from Boston in late January.
Vatrano scored six goals and added an assist for seven points in 30 games following his recall in November. The East Longmeadow native scored the game-winning overtime goal on Nov. 25 against the Red Wings had a hat trick on Dec. 18 against the Penguins, but registered just one point over his final 13 games before being returned to Providence.
In addition to his 31 goals, Vatrano has 15 assists for Providence, giving him an impressive 46 points in just 31 games.
Claude Julien told reporters in San Jose Monday that Vatrano’s recall is related to the availability of two forwards, one of whom is David Krejci. All forwards but Krejci reportedly took part in Monday’s practice, including Vatrano.
|5 things we learned as David Pastrnak’s 2 goals help Bruins past Islanders||03.12.16 at 3:36 pm ET|
The Bruins will remain atop the Atlantic Division standings for at least another couple of days.
Playing their final home game before embarking on a difficult four-game road trip, the Bruins picked up a 3-1 win over the Islanders at TD Garden to add distance between them, the Panthers and Lightning in the standings, though their divisional foes still have games in hand.
David Pastrnak scored late in the second period to break a 1-1 tie and scored again in the final minutes for his second two-goal game of the season. Loui Eriksson had a three-point performance, scoring his 26th goal of the season and adding a pair of assists.
Tuukka Rask made 25 saves on 26 shots. With the win, the Bruins are now 5-0-2 since the trade deadline and 4-0-1 against playoff teams in that span.
The Bruins will head out west this week, where they will face the Sharks, Ducks and Kings before facing the Rangers in the finale of the road trip.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
CHARA GIVES IT UP
Zdeno Chara did not have a good game. The lowest point of his performance came in the second period when Matt Martin knocked him off the puck behind the net and stole the puck with ease. The Islanders ended up scoring on that possession, making Chara’s turnover even more costly.
Chara also negated a third-period power play when he went after Travis Hamonic following a Thomas Hickey high stick on Patrice Bergeron. Rather than the Bruins having a third-period power play with a lead, they ended up having to play 4-on-4 without their best defenseman.
|Patrice Bergeron has maintenance day as Bruins prepare for Islanders||03.11.16 at 12:38 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Patrice Bergeron was the only player absent from Friday’s practice as the Bruins prepared to host the Islanders in the upcoming Saturday matinee.
Bergeron, who committed an ill-timed line change in the Bruins’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Hurricanes on Thursday, was given a maintenance day on Friday, according to Claude Julien.
Kevan Miller, who has missed the Bruins’ last three games since taking a hit from behind from Alexander Ovechkin last Saturday, practiced with the Bruins for the second straight day.
|5 things we learned as Bruins fall to Hurricanes in overtime but move into 1st place||03.10.16 at 9:45 pm ET|
WEEI.com Bruins postgame podcast
Though the Bruins have gotten points out of opponents like the Blackhawks, Capitals, Panthers and Lightning (3-0-1) of late, it’s been non-playoff opponents that seemingly have given them the most trouble.
Much like the Bruins struggled last Tuesday against the Flames, they were hard-pressed to score against the Hurricanes for much of Thursday’s contest in a game they would eventually lose in overtime.
An ill-timed attempted line change from Patrice Bergeron led to a Jeff Skinner breakaway in overtime. Tuukka Rask made the stopped, but Phillip Di Giuseppe got to the rebound and wheeled around to send it into the net and give Carolina a 2-1 win at TD Garden.
The Bruins now are 4-0-2 since the trade deadline. With Thursday’s point, the B’s are now in first place in the Atlantic Division. With 84 points on the season, the B’s are one ahead of Tampa Bay, though the Lightning have two games in hand and will play Friday.
The B’s will next play Saturday when they host the Islanders at the Garden.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday:
B’S FINALLY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WARD, BUT NOT ENOUGH
Through the first two periods, Cam Ward allowed just one goal on 24 shots faced. Those numbers were not reflective of his performance.
Ward was a mess on Thursday, rarely stopping anything cleanly. The Bruins didn’t get to rebounds, however, so pucks left in front of the net by the Carolina goaltender were swept away by the defenders in front of him.
|Jeremy Jacobs to be inducted into Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame||03.10.16 at 6:30 pm ET|
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs will be inducted into the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame this June. Also inducted will be David A. Jensen, Stephen Palmacci and Jack Parker.
Jacobs has owned the Bruins for 41 years, overseeing the team through highs and lows that included the team’s 2011 Stanley Cup championship.
“My selection reflects the entire Bruins organization as well as the team’s true owners, its dedicated and loyal fans,” Jacobs said in a statement. “Massachusetts is a great hockey state, and we are proud to play a role in the sport’s continued growth and development. I am tremendously honored.”
Parker coached Boston University from 1973 through 2013, winning the NCAA National Championship three times.
|Jonas Gustavsson feels he can help Bruins get key points||03.10.16 at 4:58 pm ET|
The Bruins have 14 games remaining. Nine of them are against teams currently in playoff position.
A season ago, that might have meant 14 games for Tuukka Rask. After all, Rask started 16 of the Bruins’ final 17 games of the season in what, despite a strong performance from the starter, proved to be a fruitless push to reach the playoffs.
Everyone knows why Rask played so much down the stretch last season: The Bruins needed to win the games and they didn’t have any confidence in Niklas Svedberg, their backup goaltender. As such, Rask was a busy man.
This season, the Bruins might not need the points as much to get into the playoffs, but they certainly have something for which to play. Securing the top seed in the Atlantic Division would mean setting up one or two potentially winnable playoff series against teams like Pittsburgh, Detroit or Florida.
So while there’s plenty of motivation to keep going to Rask, the Bruins like this season’s backup goaltender a lot better. Coming off his best game as a Bruin, Jonas Gustavsson is eager to provide the Bruins with big points the way he did in a 42-save shutout against the Lightning Tuesday.
Claude Julien downplayed the number of shots against the Bruins have allowed of late, saying that the 42 that Gustavsson faced Tuesday were not as difficult as the 51 Rask faced Monday. Gustavsson agreed that keeping shots to the outside limited Tampa’s prime chances, but he still needed to come up with critical stops against the likes of Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov.
“There’s always going to be those chances when you need to step up,” Gustavsson said. “I was able to do that, but all in all I think we’ve played a really solid defensive game.”
Gustavsson has good numbers this season (his .916 save percentage is three points behind Rask), but he has not always passed the eye test. Rebound control is his biggest issue, but at the very least he has provided the B’s with a backup they trust. That’s huge when considering that Malcolm Subban is not currently an option due to the larynx surgery he had to receive last month.
The Bruins have two back-to-backs remaining, so there’s a good chance Gustavsson will play again next weekend in California and later this month when the B’s play in New York and then host the Panthers the next night. Those are good teams the Bruins will be playing; they won’t be able to play Rask the rest of the way like they did a season ago.
“I saw that he played a lot, but it’s tough when you’re not part of the team to really know what’s going on,” Gustavsson said. “Maybe they were in a different position points-wise as well. Right now we’re in pretty good position, but the most important thing is we keep getting better as a group and keep getting those points. If that includes me playing more games than the backup goalie played last year, we’ll see. I’ll just take it day-by-day.”