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Update: Kevan Miller remains out as Bruins, John-Michael Liles not suspended 03.10.16 at 11:53 am ET
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Kevan Miller

Kevan Miller

Kevan Miller participated in Thursday’s morning skate, but he will miss his third straight game when the Bruins host the Hurricanes at TD Garden.

The veteran defenseman has been out with an upper-body injury since leaving last Saturday’s game against the Capitals following a second-period hit from behind from Alexander Ovechkin.

Speaking after the skate, Claude Julien said that Miller remains day-to-day and is “obviously doing well.” He noted that Miller could be a possibility for Saturday’s game against the Islanders.

Miller, who appeared to injure his right shoulder on the hit, went to the hospital after the play. His season was ended by right shoulder surgery last year, so it would have been understandable if he feared a worse outcome than he experienced when he left the game.

“It wasn’t a very pleasant couple of minutes there,” Miller admitted. “It happens.”

With Miller out, Joe Morrow is expected to play his second straight game. Zach Trotman played Monday in Boston’s first game without Miller before the B’s brought Morrow into the lineup.

After a phone hearing with the league, John-Michael Liles was not given supplemental discipline for his hit to the head of Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov. Liles was not penalized on the play, which saw him extend his arm and hit Kucherov at the Bruins’ blueline during Boston’s 1-0 win over the Bolts.

Assuming the Bruins play Morrow, they will have five left-shot defensemen and only one righty (Adam McQuaid) in the lineup. Liles played the right side with Zdeno Chara Tuesday against the Lightning, while Dennis Seidenberg played the right side with Morrow.

“Both those guys can play their off-sides,” Julien said. “We’ve seen it with Seids and John-Michael has been in the same situation before. He’s played both sides, so that’s been helpful, there’s no doubt. I thought they did a great job last game of handling that and giving us that stability here of being able to have certain players in the lineup and playing with different partners.”

Read More: John-Michael Liles, Kevan Miller,
5 things we learned: Jonas Gustavsson shuts out Lightning in huge overtime win for Bruins 03.08.16 at 10:15 pm ET
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Jonas Gustavsson

Jonas Gustavsson

They needed overtime once again, but the Bruins completed a perfect Florida back-to-back with a 1-0 overtime win over the Lightning Tuesday at Amalie Arena.

After the teams played a frenetic 60 minutes of scoreless regulation, Brad Marchand took a feed from Patrice Bergeron off the rush 10 seconds into overtime and beat Ben Bishop to give Boston the win. The goal was Marchand’s 34th of the season.

In assisting the goal, Bergeron continued his recent hot streak, as he now has seven points (five goals, two assists) over his last five games. Furthermore, the Bruins are now 4-0-1 in five games since the trade trade deadline, a stretch that has seen them defeat three of the four playoff teams they faced.

The victory pulled the Bruins even with the Atlantic-leading Lightning with 83 points, though Tampa remains ahead of Boston in the division due to a game in hand. Tampa has 15 games remaining to Boston’s 14.

The Bruins will return to Boston to host the Hurricanes on Thursday. Because Tampa does not play until Friday, the Bruins can overtake first place for the first time all season if they are to secure a victory against Carolina.

Here are four more things we learned Tuesday:

GUSTAVSSON SHINES

Because we haven’t watched every game of Jonas Gustavsson’s career, we can’t say that Tuesday’s performance was the best of the veteran netminder’s NHL tenure. At the very least, it’s safe to say he played his best game as a Bruin.

Gustavsson made a career-high 42 saves, surpassing his previous best of 40. While Tampa pretty much threw the puck on net every time they got it, Gustsavsson also had to rob the likes of Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov at various points to keep the game scoreless.

The move to not start Rask in back-to-backs proved to be the wise one for the Bruins, as Rask had played in seven straight games for Boston. No rust showed for Gustavsson, however, and his shutout performance allowed the Bruins to get two huge points while being able to play Rask against the Hurricanes and Islanders in the coming days before the B’s head out west for a three-game road trip.

PUCKS GALORE

Of course, the Bruins probably shouldn’t get into the habit of giving up shots like they have of late. Tuukka Rask had to face 51 shots Monday against the Panthers before the Lightning put 42 pucks on Gustavsson.  Read the rest of this entry »

5 things we learned: Bruins blow 3-goal lead, Lee Stempniak plays overtime hero as Claude Julien overtakes 1st place on Bruins’ win list 03.07.16 at 10:46 pm ET
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Claude Julien

Claude Julien

Lee Stempniak’s first goal as a Bruin was a biggie, and Claude Julien’s record-breaking was exhausting.

After the Bruins blew a three-goal lead, Stempniak scored in overtime to give the Bruins a 5-4 victory over the Panthers. The win was Claude Julien’s 388th with the Bruins, the most for a coach in Bruins history.

After taking a 4-1 lead in the first period and chasing Roberto Luongo in the process, the Bruins allowed a pair of goals in the second period as the Panthers dominated the middle 20. Though the B’s killed off a David Krejci high-sticking double-minor that spanned across the final minute of the second and first three of three of the third period, they eventually surrendered the equalizer when Jiri Hudler scored his second of the game with 4:43 left in regulation.

With the victory, the Bruins now have as many points (81) as Florida, though Boston has played 67 games to Florida’s 66. Because the Atlantic-leading Lightning lost to the Flyers Monday, the Bruins now sit one point behind them and can overtake first place with a win over the Bolts on Tuesday.

Here are four more things we learned Monday:

BERGERON STAYS HOT

Patrice Bergreon scored twice in the first period, including a tally 34 seconds into the game that marked the third time in as many games that Bergeron scored the game’s first goal.

With Bergeron’s goals, his 27th and 28th of the season, Bergeron now has six goals in his last five games.

Read the rest of this entry »

Kevan Miller day-to-day with upper-body injury 03.07.16 at 1:59 pm ET
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Kevan Miller did not travel with the Bruins for the team’s two-game road trip to Florida, with coach Claude Julien telling reporters in Sunrise Monday morning that the defenseman was day-to-day with an uper-body injury.

Miller suffered the injury in the second period of Saturday’s overtime loss to the Capitals on a hit from Alexander Ovechkin. The 28-year-old defenseman did not return to the game after seeming to favor his right shoulder as he left the ice. Following the game, Julien noted that Miller had been taken to the hospital.

With Miller out on Monday, Zach Trotman is expected to re-enter the lineup against the Panthers.

Update: Zac Rinaldo suspended 5 games in AHL 03.07.16 at 1:24 am ET
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If and when Zac Rinaldo makes it back up to the NHL, he will begin by serving his five games due to his hit on Cedric Paquette. In the meantime, he’s still in the AHL.

And also suspended.

Playing in his first game for Providence on Friday, Rinaldo was given a match penalty for intent to injure on a hit on Bridgeport defenseman Kane Lafranchise in a P-Bruins’ 4-3 loss. That carries with it an automatic indefinite suspension pending league review, and the league announced Monday that Rinaldo would be given a five-game ban. Joe McDonald of ESPN was the first to report Rinaldo’s AHL suspension.

It has not been a good week-plus for Rinaldo, who was placed on waivers last Sunday, committed his suspendable hit against the Lightning later that night and was sent to Providence Monday, the same day that his five-game ban was given by the league.

It is unclear whether Rinaldo will regain his spot on Boston’s roster this season. For the time being, it appears the Bruins are set on a fourth line of Noel Acciari between Landon Ferraro and Brett Connolly. Tyler Randell is the team’s extra forward.

The Bruins sent a 2017 third-round pick to Philadelphia this summer in what was considered a head-scratcher of a deal at the time. In 52 games for Boston this season, Rinaldo has one goal and two assists for three points and 83 penalty minutes.

Here is video of the hit on Lafranchise, per Weekend at Bergy’s:

Read More: Zac Rinaldo,
5 things we learned: Kevan Miller hurt on hit from Alexander Ovechkin as Bruins lose to Capitals in overtime 03.05.16 at 9:52 pm ET
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Getting points in both games of a treacherous two-game stretch against the Blackhawks and Capitals was an outcome the Bruins would have gladly taken. That doesn’t mean that the fashion in which they lost Saturday doesn’t sting.

Matt Niskanen beat Tuukka Rask 2:36 into overtime to give the Capitals a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the B’s at TD Garden. The game followed Boston’s impressive victory over the Blackhawks Thursday.

Though the B’s got on the board first Saturday with a first-period Patrice Bergeron tally, the second period suggested it might not be the Bruins’ night. What would have been Torey Krug’s first goal in 40 games was called back when the Capitals challenged that Loui Eriksson was offsides, the Bruins lost Kevan Miller to injury, they failed to score on a prolonged 5-on-3 (among other chances) and a rough period from Dennis Seidenberg eventually resulted in Washington tying the game at a goal apiece.

The teams skated to a scoreless third period before Niskanen sealed the victory for the Capitals in OT.

Here are four more things we learned Saturday:

MILLER HURT

Kevan Miller’s struggles this season have been well-documented, but the 28-year-old defenseman had turned a corner of late with perhaps his most encouraging play of the season. In the first period of Saturday’s game, Miller played a major factor in Patrice Bergeron’s goal by gloving the puck as it was about to leave the zone and passing it up to Lee Stempniak as he absorbed a hit from Alexander Ovechkin.

Yet it was a later hit from Ovechkin that changed the game, as the Capitals star forward hit Miller from behind in the Washington zone in the second period. Miller left the ice hunched over with what looked like a possible right shoulder injury, which wouldn’t be great considering his season ended prematurely last year due to surgery on that shoulder.

Ovechkin was given a boarding major but not ejected.

If Miller is to miss time, Zach Trotman will likely enter the lineup in his place.  Read the rest of this entry »

Bruins believe in Capitals hype, but know well that ‘anything can happen’ 03.05.16 at 11:48 am ET
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The Capitals are considered the Eastern Conference's lone Cup contender (Getty Images)

The Capitals are considered the Eastern Conference’s lone Cup contender (Getty Images)

The Eastern Conference picture has been clear pretty much all season: There’s the Capitals and there’s everyone else.

In ranking first in the NHL in goals per game and third in goals against per game, the Capitals are the clear favorite to represent the East in the Stanley Cup Final this season, but at the very least, they will run away with the Presidents’ Trophy. Their 98 points through 64 games puts them on pace for 126 points; since the return from the 2004-05 lockout, only twice has a team had a 120-point season (Detroit with 124 in 2005-06 and Washington with 121 in 2009-10). The Capitals have beaten the B’s in both of the teams’ meetings entering Saturday’s contest at TD Garden.

The Bruins are among the teams trying to establish themselves as a potential “other Eastern Conference powerhouse.” As the last Eastern Conference to win the Cup and a common favorite in seasons leading up to this one, the Bruins know well that being considered the favorite in the East doesn’t always pan out. Boston dominated the 2011-12 regular season before being knocked off by the No. 7 ranked Capitals in seven games.

“Let me put it this way: Every playoffs, there’s been surprises,” Claude Julien said Saturday morning. “I don’t put a ton of stock into who’s in and who’s out. We all know Washington’s one of the favorites in our conference; rightfully so. They have a great team and their record shows it, but in this game anything can happen.

“We go about our business and go day-by-day. To overthink that situation to me is not healthy. To just go out there and do your job and look forward to what you have to do is probably the best way to look at that situation.”

Dennis Seidenberg said that if the Bruins are no longer considered in the class they once were, it alleviates the pressure that their stronger clubs of seasons past had.

“We like being in the underdog role,” Seidenberg said. “It means we can perform without pressure, but that team is really good over there. They’re very, very deep, very balanced scoring, very deep on defense. They’re the favorite for a reason, but with that comes a lot of pressure, a lot of certainty. Once we get into the playoffs, anything can happen. That’s what happened to us when we lost against them in seven games. If there’s a team that plays well at the right time and has a goalie that plays very well, anything can happen. We’ll see.”

The Bruins will try to pull off their second consecutive upset against a Cup favorite Saturday when they host the Capitals. Much like the Blackhawks team that Boston defeated on Thursday, the Capitals will be playing the second night of a back-to-back and will have their backup goaltender in net.

Still, defeating the Blackhawks and Capitals in succession would not only be a feather in this post-deadline Bruins team’s cap, but it would secure much-needed points that many figured would be unattainable this week. The Bruins enter Saturday’s game in third place in the Atlantic Division, though current wild card Detroit sits three points behind them with one game in hand. Including Saturday, the B’s have 17 games remaining in their regular-season schedule.

“Before you know it, the season will be over,” Julien said. “There’s not that many games left, so we need to assert ourselves every game. It’s not so much what it means more than what we need to do here. We need to bring our A game and understand that we have to play a lot like we did the other night, be strong in all areas in order to beat good teams like Washington.”

Read More: Claude Julien, Dennis Seidenberg,
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