|5 things we learned as Bruins drop sloppy effort to Stars||02.10.15 at 9:42 pm ET|
Although they scored three goals for the first time in four games and threw 44 shots at Kari Lehtonen, the Bruins couldn’t find an equalizer in the third period of what ended up being a sloppy 5-3 loss to the Stars at TD Garden on Tuesday (box).
The defeat was Boston’s third regulation loss in four games, marking the first time they’ve had such a stretch in almost two months.
Boston got goals from David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Dougie Hamilton, but shoddy power-play work and an unfruitful third period meant an unfruitful result. The B’s fell to 28-19-17 on the season, and with Florida beating Anaheim Tuesday, the race for the final playoff spot has closed four points with the Panthers holding two games in hand.
Tyler Seguin, who was sent back from Dallas’ morning skate with the flu, played and recorded no points.
The Bruins have a five-game road trip ahead of them that will begin Friday in Vancouver.
Here are four more things we learned Tuesday:
The Bruins got an injury scare early when Adam McQuaid laid a hit on Antione Roussel in the neutral zone. The Stars left wing clearly didn’t like it, as he responded by cross-checking McQuaid in the throat.
McQuaid went down to the ice and was holding his throat area before eventually getting up. Roussel, meanwhile was assessed a five-minute cross-checking major as well as a game misconduct.
McQuaid left the bench and went to the training room but returned to the game following the power play, which, as explained below, was a disaster.
|Daniel Paille getting opportunities, missing opportunities||02.10.15 at 1:51 pm ET|
The Bruins have hit a bit of a snag with losses in two of their last three games, but things have generally been looking up. They’re winners of nine of their last 13 games and have points in 13 of their last 16 games. Lots of players should be encouraged.
In the case of Daniel Paille, however, it’s hard to tell what to feel. On the snakebitten scale, Paille rarely registers below an 8, but recent games have seen him break that scale and then spill glue all over the place trying to rebuild it. He still has just one goal in 53 games this season.
“I know if I had 10 goals by now, I wouldn’t be as mad as I am now,” Paille said Tuesday morning, “but for me it’s just about trying to move on and focus on the next play.”
The fact that multiple Bruins scoring chances have been punctuated by Paille flubs ‘ missing the net, shooting the puck over the net, falling down at center ice with no one but the goaltender in front of him ‘ has undoubtedly been a point of frustration for both Paille and the Bruins, but one shouldn’t overlook the fact that he’s creating chances. Missed opportunities don’t come unless there’s an opportunity.
“It’s encouraging to see him get those chances,” Claude Julien said. “It’s maybe frustrating more for him than it is for us to miss those opportunities because he’s had some really good ones and could have provided us with some important goals.”
The Bruins have moved Paille around in their lineup in recent games. The last two have seen him go from his usual fourth-line role with Gregory Campbell and Craig Cunningham to the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Among other missed opportunities, Saturday saw him send the puck over a practically open net after receiving a pass from Patrice Bergeron on an odd-man rush and Sunday saw him trip up at center ice on what would have been a breakaway against Carey Price.
To make matters worse, Paille, a free agent at season’s end, is playing for a new contract. In 53 games this season, Paille’s lone goal came at the end of a shift on Nov. 21 against the Blue Jackets. Considering he scored 10 goals in the lockout-shortened season and had nine a season ago despite missing 10 games, it will be hard for potential employers to pay him to be anything more than a fourth-liner.
With more chances, that could change. It won’t unless the pucks actually start going in, however.
|Tyler Seguin questionable to play against Bruins after missing Stars skate with flu||02.10.15 at 12:33 pm ET|
Tyler Seguin was sent back to the team hotel and missed Tuesday’s morning skate with a flu bug that is going around Dallas’ team. Coach Lindy Ruff said the team is ‘hopeful’ that Seguin will be able to play Tuesday night against the Bruins.
Should he play, Tuesday will mark the second time that Seguin has played at TD Garden since being traded to Dallas in the summer of 2013. Seguin is flourishing offensively with the Stars, as he is tied for the NHL lead with 59 points and is third with 29 goals.
The Bruins had no absences from morning skate and will ice the same forwards and defensemen that they did Sunday against the Canadiens. Niklas Svedberg, who is back from a four-game conditioning loan in Providence, will make the start for Boston. Tuukka Rask has started the last 11 games for the Bruins, going 7-3-1.
The anticipated lineup for the B’s is as follows:
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|Bruins recall Niklas Svedberg, return Malcolm Subban to Providence||02.09.15 at 11:59 am ET|
The Bruins announced Monday that they have recalled Niklas Svedberg from a conditioning loan in Providence. Malcolm Subban has been returned to Providence.
Svedberg, who was sent to Providence on Jan. 30 to get some playing time while Tuukka Rask received the starts in Boston, played four games for Providence during the stint. He went 3-1-0 with a 9.11 save percentage and 2.76 goals-against average.
The move came as no surprise Monday, as conditioning stints can’t be longer than two weeks and the Bruins begin a five-game road trip later this week. Subban did not play for Boston during what was his first NHL recall.
|5 things we learned as Habs complete season series sweep of Bruins||02.08.15 at 10:20 pm ET|
It seems all of the encouraging play in the world isn’t enough to prepare the Bruins for the Canadiens.
Coming off a stretch of points in five of their last six games (4-1-1), the Bruins promptly gave the puck to always-opportunistic Habs and gave them a sweep of the regular-season series. Montreal’s 3-1 win over the B’s Sunday at TD Garden made the Habs winners in all four of teams’ meetings this season.
David Pastrnak scored Boston’s only goal, sending a puck just barely over the line on a rebound bid with less than five minutes to play. Though the Bruins did not pressure the Vezina favorite early, Price was outstanding when he had to be.
On paper, the Bruins should be able to contend with and beat the Canadiens. Of course, paper rarely takes into a consideration that one team is in the other’s head.
Here are four more things we learned Sunday:
BEST PLAYERS GO BUST
For as great a player as Price is, it isn’t like the Canadiens ice a dominant team in front of him. Dale Weise plays on their first line. Sergei Gonchar, who is actually the same person as former NHL star Sergei Gonchar, is on their second pairing.
While Boston’s roster needs improvements, their best players should have matched up well with Montreal’s and Carl Soderberg’s line should have feasted on the bottom of the Habs’ roster.
Instead, the opposite happened. Weise, who was a fourth-liner earlier in the season when he wasn’t a healthy scratch, slipped off of Bergeron in front of the net and took a pass from Max Pacioretty to score the Canadiens’ first goal. That came against Zdeno Chara‘s pairing.
In the third period, Chara knocked Dougie Hamilton over at the blue line in the offensive zone, resulting in Weise jumping on the puck and springing Pacioretty on a breakaway. Pacioretty beat Tuukka Rask to make it seemingly an insurmountable deficit for Boston.
|Brad Marchand has no issue with trip from John Tavares, not sure if it was a slew-foot||02.08.15 at 6:18 pm ET|
With video of an uncalled trip by Islanders captain John Tavares on Brad Marchand circulating from Saturday’s game, Marchand had no complaints when asked if the play was a slew-foot.
From the angle shown above, it’s impossible to tell whether Tavares used his upper-body to pull Marchand back, but it seems he did kick Marchand’s right foot out. Marchand, who was given a two-game suspension for slew-footing Derick Brassard last month, did not accuse Tavares of any wrongdoing.
“I’m not sure. I haven’t seen the replay of it,” Marchand said Sunday. “I thought he got me pretty good, but I don’t know if it was intentional. I don’t really know how the play came together, so to be honest I really don’t know.”
Marchand was then asked whether he pays close attention to potential supplemental discipline given his history of suspensions.
“The league’s going to do what they deem necessary for every play,’ Marchand replied. “It really doesn’t bother me either way. I didn’t get hurt. If I would have gotten hurt, maybe it would have been a little different situation, but it’s a play in a game in the last minute and I can understand why the refs didn’t call a penalty. If it’s worth supplemental discipline then they’ll do that. If not, then they won’t. I’m not going to pay more attention to it.”
|Don Sweeney on Sunday Skate: Bruins not limiting their search at trade deadline, ‘nothing that’s set in stone’ with David Pastrnak||02.08.15 at 12:46 pm ET|
Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney joined Sunday Skate to discuss the Bruins’ roster as the team gets closer to the March 2 trade deadline. To listen to the interview, click here.
The B’s have been looking for a wing nearly all season, though they are among a large number of teams who could stand to improve defensively. Sweeney said the Bruins continue to look for a wing, but that general manager Peter Chiarelli isn’t limiting his search.
“Everybody’s sort of focused on the fact that maybe our depth on the wings or scoring ability would be an area that we would like to address, having the types of players that we’ve lost over the last couple of years,” Sweeney said. “I don’t think it’s any trade secret that that’s probably the area that we’ve primarily been focused on, but I don’t think if any trade situations and discussions come up, that Peter wouldn’t have the opportunity to pursue in any one area that might strengthen our club.”
The search for a forward is part of an ongoing process to find David Krejci a permanent right wing. David Pastrnak’s play with Krejci was enough for the Bruins to burn the first year off his entry-level contract and keep him on the roster, though the B’s moved Pastrnak off Krejci’s line last week to keep the rookie away from other teams’ top lines.
Pastrnak was moved back to Krejci’s line with Milan Lucic in the second period of Saturday’s game, however, as the Bruins had last line change and were matching Patrice Bergeron‘s line against New York’s first line. Sweeney said Pastrnak remains a candidate to play with Krejci, but that the team is still figuring out what his role will ultimately be this season.
“There’s nothing that’s set in stone,” Sweeney said. “We’re just going to continue to evaluate. We’ll go to the trade deadline, and Peter’s trying to improve our hockey club. If we can do that, then David may find his way out of the lineup, may find his way back in Providence. It doesn’t matter. The boy has been a sponge with all things, and we’re so excited about his development trajectory and hopefully he doesn’t hit a wall here as he goes down the stretch.”
Sweeney did say that if either Pastrnak or Reilly Smith forces the Bruins’ hand and fills the spot themselves, it would be “the perfect scenario.”
The Bruins have around $2.2 million in cap space, though they have an undisclosed amount of unused long-term injured reserve space that will allow them to exceed the upper limit. Though they don’t have too much money to spend — something that can be helped by a trade partner retaining a player’s salary — Sweeney did say that the Bruins have the assets to add players to their liking.
“I think we have the assets to be able to pursue any type of deal outside of a straight cap add-on,” he said. “Obviously, the wiggle room we have from just adding a player without necessarily moving some money around is going to be more problematic than not, but from an organizational standpoint of having assets to be able to pursue deals and talk deals and potentially explore them, we absolutely are in a position to do that.
“Obviously, the cap dollars are what they are. We’ve been in the station all year long. We’ve managed that and we have to continue to do that down the stretch. Our cap situation doesn’t grow as the season goes along because we’re in LTI, but we do have some wiggle room.” Read the rest of this entry »
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