|5 things we learned as Bruins dominate Devils for second straight win||01.08.15 at 9:32 pm ET|
If there were such a thing as a two-goal blowout, the Bruins played it for all but 11.7 seconds on Thursday night.
Coming off a key overtime victory against the Penguins Wednesday, the Bruins dominated the Devils for 60 minutes with a 3-0 win that was sealed with a Milan Lucic empty-netter with 11.7 seconds remaining. Aside from a horrid first-period five-on-three and a general lack of finish, it was the most one-sided victory the Bruins have had all season.
Niklas Svedberg picked up an easy shutout as the Bruins outshot New Jersey, 43-14. In putting 43 shots on net, Boston posted its highest shot total of the season.
The win extended Boston’s point streak to six games (3-0-3) and improved the B’s to 21-15-6 on the season.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday:
BRUINS COME OUT STRONGER
The Bruins came out slowly to start all three periods of regulation Wednesday and had just 19 shots on goal through three periods to show for it.
That changed Thursday, as the B’s outshot the Devils, 18-3, in the first period, nearly reaching their three-period total of shots on goal from the night before in just 20 minutes. Not only that, but the Devils didn’t even attempt a shot for the entire second half of the period (10:47).
Carl Soderberg, Jordan Caron, Dougie Hamilton and Kevan Miller were the only Bruins without a shot on goal in the first.
Boston’s fourth line of Gregory Campbell between Caron and Craig Cunningham was the Bruins’ only line that didn’t have a positive Corsi in the period, though they were even and both Campbell and Cunningham had a shot on goal apiece in the first.
…OR MAYBE IT’S JUST THAT THE DEVILS DIDN’T SHOW UP
In the first period, it appeared the Bruins were dominating play. That rang true again in the second period, but it became abundantly clear that the Bruins were dealing with a nonexistent opponent.
The Devils went 13:09 between shots on goal during the second period from 1:34 to 14:43. They actually passed up a couple of opportunities to throw the puck on net during that span, opting instead to try to get the puck in deep, but their lack of chances and the cold goalie they created in Niklas Svedberg made it more sensible for them to put pucks on net however they could.
KREJCI GETS PASTRNAK, BUT LUCIC STICKS WITH BERGERON
David Pastrnak made his long-awaited return to the Bruins’ lineup Thursday, was slotted on David Krejci‘s line as expected. The other side of the line was different, however.
Rather than playing a potential first line of Lucic-Krejci-Pastrnak, Claude Julien kept Lucic with Patrice Bergeron and Daniel Paille after Wednesday’s strong showing. Lucic and Krejci have long been looking for a right wing since Jarome Iginla left, but they’ll have to wait to find chemistry as a trio. Time is running out, however, as Pastrnak has now played six NHL games and the Bruins need to decide whether to keep Pastrnak for the season before he plays his 10th game.
Loui Eriksson missed the game with a suspected hand/wrist injury suffered Wednesday. The lines Thursday were as follows:
Marchand – Krejci – Pastrnak
Lucic ‘ Bergeron – Paille
Kelly ‘ Soderberg – Smith
Caron ‘ Campbell ‘ Cunningham
Chara ‘ Hamilton
Seidenberg – McQuaid
Krug ‘ Miller
Pastrnak did not play the final 6:28 of the second period, missing a shift that Gregory Campbell took in his place. Upon further review of his last shift prior to the missed shift, Pastrnak was battling a bit with Adam Larsson, but didn’t appear injured at any point. He returned to the game for the third period.
The Kelly-Soderberg-Smith line showed promise and generated a second-period goal in which some good work from Chris Kelly in the corner forced a poor clearing attempt from the Devils that Carl Soderberg intercepted and took to the net, taking multiple slashes as he shot and scored.
LUCIC GETS BACK TO SCORING
Milan Lucic probably should have been credited with the overtime winner in Wednesday’s game given that it appeared to go off Penguins defenseman Simon Despres’ glove rather than Patrice Bergeron‘s stick, but Lucic didn’t have to wait long to receive credit for another goal.
Lucic scored his first goal in 10 games during a first-period power play Wednesday when he took a pass from David Krejci, at the top of the right circle, slid across the top of the circle and fired a wrist shot with Zdeno Chara screening.
Lucic’s empty netter gave him eight goals on the season.
|Loui Eriksson out with injury, David Pastrnak returns to lineup for Bruins||01.08.15 at 6:08 pm ET|
Bruins right wing Loui Eriksson will miss Thursday’s game with an apparent right hand/wrist injury suffered on a second-period slash from Robert Bortuzzo Wednesday.
Eriksson returned for a shift and missed the rest of the second period after the play before returning for the start of the third. He did not play the second half of the third period and missed all of overtime. Claude Julien said the injury is not expected to keep Eriksson out for long.
Eriksson’s absence leaves the Bruins with just five players who will have played in all 42 games of the season as of Wednesday: Dougie Hamilton, Carl Soderberg, Dennis Seidenberg, Reilly Smith and Daniel Paille.
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|5 things we learned as Bruins get much-needed win over Penguins to re-enter playoff picture||01.07.15 at 10:54 pm ET|
Milan Lucic chose the right time to have one of his better games of the season.
After turning in a heavy performance with new linemates in regulation, Lucic fired a wrist shot from the top of the zone in overtime that Patrice Bergeron tipped on its way past Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Bruins a desperately needed 3-2 victory over the Metropolitan-leading Penguins on Wednesday (click here for boxscore). Lucic finished the game with a pair of assists, both of which came on Bergeron goals.
With the Maple Leafs losing to the Capitals Wednesday night, Boston’s victory put the Bruins into the playoff picture. Now 20-15-6, the B’s are currently in possession of the second wild card spot to sit eighth in the Eastern Conference.
The victory was Boston’s first with a healthy roster this season, as they are now 1-1-3 in games in which they’ve had no players out with injuries.
Tuukka Rask made 37 shots on 39 shots faced. The win technically extended a point-streak to five games for the Bruins, though they’re just 2-0-3 in that span.
Here are four more things we learned Wednesday:
BRUINS MORE NERVOUS THAN DETERMINED
Given how they played Sunday and what Charlie Jacobs said about the team Tuesday, you would think that the Bruins would come out furious each period. Instead, the Bruins came out for the first two periods Wednesday looking just as indifferent as they have all season.
The Penguins carried the pace early in the first period before the B’s found their legs as the frame went on.
Given that the B’s were able to tie the game late in the period on a Zdeno Chara slap shot, you would think they’d come out for the second period riled up. Instead, the Bruins did not attempt a shot until 8:31 into the second.
In the third period, the Bruins landed just one shot on goal in the first 13-plus minutes, though they were at least shooting the puck, which was, horrifyingly, a step in the right direction.
Things like leadership are not quantifiable, but some of the alarmingly poor starts to periods the Bruins have had this season were not regular occurrences in years past.
|Offensively starved Bruins turn to David Pastrnak||01.06.15 at 2:24 pm ET|
The Bruins are ready to continue with the David Pastrnak experiment.
After being recalled from Providence Monday, the Czech 18-year-old rotated with Seth Griffith on the right wing of David Krejci‘s line and worked with Krejci, Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand and Torey Krug on Boston’s first power play unit. Though it’s not known when he will get back into game action, it appears the Bruins are turning to Pastrnak as they desperately seek any sort of offensive presence.
Pastrnak had a goal and six assists for the Czech Republic during the World Juniors. He played Sunday in Providence, and now the Bruins will determine a game plan for when to get him back into Boston’s lineup.
“I definitely have to talk to our group here and see how they want him to be utilized,” Claude Julien said. “I don’t make those decisions by myself. I work with my general manager and we look at the situation. He’s come back from the World Juniors. Is he still tired? What’s the situation? Do they just want to get him into a few practices before we put him in a game? I haven’t had a chance to discuss that with Peter [Chiarelli].”
Pastrnak said he isn’t tired from World Juniors, saying he feels ready to resume his NHL career. He was impressive in his five-game stint with the B’s earlier this season, getting ample playing with Patrice Bergeron and landing seven shots on goal in Boston’s Nov. 28 win over the Jets.
Yet it seems this recall isn’t about Bergeron’s line, but rather Krejci’s. Pastrnak, a right shot right wing, grew up idolizing Krejci, while Krejci has has seen a cast of players — Griffith, Simon Gagne, Loui Eriksson, Craig Cunningham and Reilly Smith — used as his right wing this season.
Though he is young and still very light (he’s listed at 165 pounds and probably weighs somewhere around 170), Pastrnak would give the Krejci line the most talented and dynamic right wing its had all season. The 2014 first-round pick leads Providence with 10 goals and 27 points on the season.
Pastrnak downplayed his excitement to potentially skate with Krejci.
“I don’t know,” Pastrnak said. “I had one practice with David and he’s a great player, but everybody here is good and I’d be happy for any minute I’d be on the ice.”
If Pastrnak plays five more NHL games this season, the first year of his three-year entry level contract will be burned.
|Torey Krug, Brad Marchand get in dustup during Bruins practice||01.06.15 at 1:19 pm ET|
Torey Krug and Brad Marchand got into a tussle during battle drills in Tuesday’s practice. The two had to be separated after some netront battling escalated. Shortly after, the two led the team’s stretch together.
The dustup was the second the Bruins have had during a practice this season, as Claude Julien had to separate Tuukka Rask and Carl Soderberg on Nov. 24 during a morning skate.
“I don’t think it’s a big issue,” Julien said of Tuesday’s fracas.
Marchand and Krug both said they were fine with each other after the practice, with Marchand saying it was a result of him telling Krug’s “brother’s fiance’s friend” that he was taller than Krug. So there’s that.
“It shows emotion, and right now that’s one thing we need, is to show a little more emotion,” Marchand said. “That’s what we need. Obviously you don’t want to be going at each other in practice, but sometimes things happen and hopefully that all carries over into the game.”
|Charlie Jacobs fires warning shot across Bruins organization||01.06.15 at 1:04 pm ET|
Charlie Jacobs held a press conference Tuesday to announce that he has been named CEO of Delaware North’s Boston Holdings, which runs the Bruins, TD Garden and NESN. Suspicions of the press conference’s timing were confirmed when Jacobs used the opportunity to fire warning shots across the Bruins organization.
Jacobs said that the entire Bruins organization is under evaluation, something he repeatedly referred to as a “fluid process.” He noted that he had met with both team president Cam Neely and general manager Peter Chiarelli to discuss the team’s status within the last 24 hours.
Asked whether players, coaches or management should be worried about their jobs, Jacobs repeated, “It’s a fluid process.”
At 19-15-6, the Bruins currently sit ninth in the Eastern Conference. Jacobs said missing the playoffs would be an “incredible failure.”
“When you think about what has been put into this team, in terms of … all of the scouting, all of the drafting, all of the money spent on player personnel, for us to be a team that’s out of the playoffs is absolutely unacceptable,” Jacobs said. “Everybody in the executive office is fully aware of how I feel and they feel the same way, which brings us to this evaluation process, and it’s fluid. I can’t say at any moment that we have a final decision other than to say it would be an utter disappointment and a failure.’
Claude Julien batted down a question Monday about whether players should fear for their jobs, but having the Principal of the team come out and say it forced Julien to weigh in.
“To be honest with you, I’ve always felt that we’re under evaluation all the time,” Julien said. “You don’t take this job and go in there and think it’s OK. Every year you’re being evaluated on what’s going on with the team and everything else. I think that’s a fair assessment. We all should be evaluated. Whether because he’s saying it now, is it because of the situation? Maybe. I don’t know, that’s up to Charlie to answer that. I’m OK with that statement.
“We made the playoffs seven years in a row with a lot of this group and this coaching staff, so at the same time, you look at the situation and you say what is the real issue and how do we deal with it, and that’s going to be up to them. So I have no issues. My job is always under evaluation, and I evaluate myself. I evaluate my coaches as well, I evaluate the players as well. I do that also. So I don’t know, maybe for you guys it’s a big statement — for me, it’s not.”
Julien was given a contract extension earlier this season. He compared this year’s Bruins to last season’s Red Wings, a squad that dealt with injuries to key players and made the playoffs. That’s a tough comparison to make, as the Bruins, who have missed Zdeno Chara and David Krejci for stretches, are completely healthy heading into the second half of the season.
“I guess everybody evaluates differently,” Julien said. “I look at our situation right now a lot like the Detroit Red Wings last year. A lot of injuries, a lot of in-and-outs and everything else. I’m not using excuses. We’ve not had the stability that we’d like to have, and it’s made for a rough road. Last year they made the playoffs with two or three games left. I’m not saying we’re going to be there with two or three games left. My evaluation and my job is to turn this thing around as quick as possible. There was no panic there. They understood the situation. I think right here, I don’t know how they evaluate the situation, but I know for a fact our guys, our group, our coaching staff, we’re going to try our best. It’s not good enough right now, but we’re determined to turn this thing around. Once it’s turned around, everyone will have smiles on their faces.
“Nobody likes to lose. The urgency that you’re alluding to, I’d be disappointed if we didn’t have that same urgency before even he said that. That would be a knock on our group. There is some urgency even if not everybody believes it. My job in the last couple days has been to get the guys to relax a little bit and not get so tense. Hopefully these comments don’t make it any worse. This is what we’ve got to deal with. I’ve got enough experience in this league to take this group of players and make them feel comfortable and understand that they’re capable of turning this around. I believe in this group, I really do.”
|Patrice Bergeron returns to practice, David Pastrnak skates with David Krejci||01.06.15 at 10:58 am ET|
Patrice Bergeron returned to practice Tuesday at TD Garden, while David Pastrnak skated alongside David Krejci for the first time since training camp.
Pastrnak, recalled Tuesday morning, served as the fourth forward on Krejci’s line with Milan Lucic and Seth Griffith.
Bergeron took a maintenance day and missed Monday’s practice but was back with his usual linemates Tuesday.
The lines in practice were as follows:
Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – McQuaid
Krug – Miller
The B’s will travel to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins Wednesday.
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