|5 things we learned as special teams push Bruins past Red Wings||03.08.15 at 3:01 pm ET|
The Bruins can thank their special teams and an improving fourth line for finishing off a sweep of what figured to be a very difficult back-to-back this weekend.
The Bruins scored a pair of shorthanded goals off Stephen Weiss turnovers, while David Pastrnak and Loui Eriksson netted power-play goals in a 5-3 win over the Red Wings (box). Boston’s only even-strength goal came in the form of a second-period Daniel Paille tally, his second of the day after netting a shorty earlier in the period.
The game marked Paille’s first two-goal game since Dec. 14, 2011 and continued what’s been quite the renaissance for the veteran winger after getting scratched late last month. After netting just one goal over the first 57 games of the season, Paille has now scored four goals in six games since his benching.
Maxime Talbot appears to be a permanent fit on Boston’s fourth line going forward. In assisting Paille’s second goal, he now has helpers in two straight games.
The win improved Boston’s record to 33-22-10 with 76 points. The B’s increased their lead over the Panthers to four points for the second wild card spot with one game in hand. Boston trails Washington (82 points) by six point, though the B’s have two games in hand.
Here are four more things we learned Sunday:
MARCHAND STAYS HOT
A day after scoring the game-tying and game-winning goals against the Flyers, Marchand picked a puck from Weiss’ stick at the blueline and raced to a breakaway on which he got Jonas Gustavsson to bite on a deke. The goal was his third in less than eight minutes of hockey.
Marchand’s first-period goal was his fifth in the last four games to bring him to a team-leading 22 on the season.
SPOONER LINE BECOMING DANGEROUS
After spending much of Saturday’s game in their own zone, Ryan Spooner’s line with Milan Lucic and Pastrnak continued to give Julien reason to worry.
Lucic committed a turnover that led to a Gustav Nyquist goal in the first period, with Detroit following Philadelphia’s lead and enjoying lengthy stays in Boston’s zone Sunday. Detroit also scored against the line in the third period.
With the Bruins having to play just over 19 hours after the conclusion of Saturday’s overtime win, Claude Julien faced a tough decision between starting playing Rask twice in less than 24 hours or going with his backup in what figured to be a tough contest.
Julien’s faith in Niklas Svedberg paid off thanks solely to the fact that the Bruins scored five goals. Svedberg allowed a couple of soft goals, including a horrifying goal against early in the third period in which an easy wrister from Luke Glendening off the rush trickled in five-hole.
Svedberg appeared to have trouble seeing Marek Zidlicky’s power-play goal from the point later in the period.
CAMPBELL STAYS IN
Brian Ferlin took warmups prior to Sunday’s game, but Julien opted to keep Gregory Campbell in the lineup and Ferlin out.
There’s probably something a decision to be made there going forward, but for now it seems Julien wants to see how a fourth line of Campbell centering Daniel Paille and Talbot will work. Campbell drew a penalty Saturday in his first game back from an upper-body injury, but he also took an unnecessary icing that led to a defensive zone faceoff on which Philadelphia took the lead.
Ferlin has struggled of late, most notably failing to get the puck in deep before a line change Thursday that led to a Flames goal, but Julien should embrace a rotation and not be afraid of scratching one of his veterans at times down the stretch.
Given the line’s success Sunday (Campbell did take a second-period holding penalty), the three will probably stay together for the time being.
|Brett Connolly hopes to play for Bruins before playoffs||03.08.15 at 11:45 am ET|
Bruins right wing Brett Connolly met with reporters prior to Sunday’s game, doing so for the first time since breaking the index finger in his right hand in his second practice with the team.
Connolly is expected to miss six weeks, but he hopes he can return before then and get into a regular-season game or two. He underwent surgery Thursday and will have an appointment Monday to see how the finger, which had a plate put over it, is healing.
The trade deadline acquisition said that he knew something was wrong when Dennis Seidenberg‘s wrist shot hit him in Wednesday’s practice. He didn’t react as such, however, as he skated and chatted with the defenseman immediately after.
“Obviously he came to see if I was OK, and you want to lie to him and tell him that you’re OK, but when your finger looks broken, it’s [obvious],” Connolly said. “For me, I felt bad for him because it was just such a harmless shot. It was just a wrister that was just in a spot that I couldn’t get out of the way. It just hit me in a weird spot.”
Connolly had his right hand surgically reconstructed after breaking it in an accident as a five-year-old. He said Sunday that his current injury is unrelated and that he’s happy with his latest surgery.
Julien said that Connolly will not travel with the Bruins for the time being. Connolly hopes to begin skating soon and adding more drills and eventual puck work as his finger heals. For now, Julien said the team wants him to focus on feeling better.
“I think right now it’s more about his recovery for the first few weeks, at least,” Julien said. “We’ve been talking to him. We’ve already shown him a lot of stuff about our team, about our system that he’s very well aware of before the injury actually, so I’m sure that watching us play is going to help him a lot in regards to that. If he’s got some questions, we’re always there to answer those things, but he’ll be fine. He’ll have a good idea of what to do when he’s ready to come back.”
|5 things we learned as Tuukka Rask, Brad Marchand save Bruins in overtime vs. Flyers||03.07.15 at 3:42 pm ET|
Brad Marchand had so much fun getting to 20 goals Saturday that added a 21st for good measure. The Bruins certainly needed it, as the second of Marchand’s two goals gave the B’s a 3-2 win over the Flyers at TD Garden.
A Chris VandeVelde goal with 4:30 in regulation left the game in doubt, but Brad Marchand tipped a Dougie Hamilton shot past Steve Mason at 19:45 of the third period with the Bruins on the power play and Tuukka Rask pulled.
Rask bailed out the Bruins twice in overtime. He first rescued Ryan Spooner’s line when a stay in the offensive zone turned into a 3-on-1 for Philadelphia with just Torey Krug back for Boston. Rask made a timely save to negate the bid.
Shortly after, some confusion at the offensive blue line by Chris Kelly and Loui Eriksson led to a Jakub Voracek breakaway chance that Rask kicked aside.
The win prevented the Flyers from making up ground on the Bruins in their push for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia now has 69 points in 66 games. The Bruins are at 74 points through 64 contests.
Here are four more things we learned:
CAMPBELL’S RETURN ENDS POORLY
Gregory Campbell‘s return to the Bruins’ lineup started strong and ended horribly.
After a four-game absence due to an upper-body injury, Campbell went hard to the net to take a pass from Maxime Talbot and got hooked in the process. The penalty led to a Patrice Bergeron goal that gave Boston a 1-0 lead.
With less than five minutes to play in regulation of a tie game, however, Campbell failed to gain the red line and iced the puck, leading to an defensive zone faceoff and Flyers possession on which a Nick Schultz shot was tipped by Chris VandeVelde past Tuukka Rask.
Campbell’s return meant that Talbot was pushed off the penalty kill after seeing shorthanded time Thursday against the Flames.
BARTKOWSKI PUTTING BRUINS IN A STICKY SITUATION
Matt Bartkowski has been called for three stick penalties the last two games. All three have resulted in power play goals allowed by the B’s.
The costly infraction Saturday came in the second period, when Ryan White sold a call in the Bruins’ zone, leading to a Jakub Voracek strike on the man advantage.
The Flames scored power play goals following a first-period hook and a third-period trip from Bartkowski Thursday.
Of course, if these penalties are costing the Bruins, it means something else as well…
PENALTY KILL IS REELING
Surrendering a power-play goal was hardly a new development given the way things have fared of late for Boston’s PK.
Voracek’s second-period tally was the third power-play goal the B’s have allowed in the last two games (4-for-7 on the penalty kill) and ninth in nine games. The B’s are just 17-for-26 on the PK in that span.
Prior to the game, Dennis Seidenberg said that Boston’s power play has recently not been as aggressive as it’s been when it has had success.
CHARA AT THE POINT LEADS TO POINTS
As we noted following last week’s win over the Coyotes, Zdeno Chara‘s return to the point on the power play after a year and a half of playing forward on the man advantage is getting results. Saturday was no different.
In taking a pass from Dougie Hamilton along the blueline and throwing a long wrist shot on net that Bergeron redirected past Steve Mason, Chara created a Bruins power play goal from the point for the second time in three games. Chara stepped up and blasted a slap shot from the right circle for a goal last week against Arizona.
|Gregory Campbell returns to Bruins lineup, Brian Ferlin a healthy scratch||03.07.15 at 12:06 pm ET|
Saturday marks Campbell’s return to the lineup after missing the last four contests with an upper-body injury. Brian Ferlin will be the healthy scratch after a rough outing Thursday against the Flames.
Campbell is expected to play on the fourth line Saturday, though it’s unclear whether he or Maxime Talbot will center the group.
|Bruins sign Torey Krug, Reilly Smith to contract extensions||03.06.15 at 9:45 am ET|
The Bruins announced Friday morning that they have signed Torey Krug and Reilly Smith to contract extensions.
Krug’s deal is for one year and $3.4 million, while Smith’s deal is for two years with an annual cap hit of $3.425 million.
Both players were set to become restricted free agents at season’s end. They were both late to training camp this season because the B’s had yet to give them what eventually became matching one-year contracts for $1.4 million.
The Bruins now have $57,597,857 against the salary cap committed to 13 players next season, not counting Marc Savard.
|Claude Julien on shootouts: ‘They suck’||03.05.15 at 11:12 pm ET|
Claude Julien hates shootouts, just like everybody who has anything to do with the Bruins hates shootouts.
The reason the Bruins hate shootouts is because they’re bad at them. After falling in eight rounds to the Flames on Thursday, Boston’s 2-7 record in the shootout this season is better than only the Kings’ 1-7 mark.
So, when asked about shootouts following Thursday’s loss, Julien cut off the question.
“They suck,” he said.
The reporter responded, “Hmm?” before Julien enunciated a little better.
“They suck,” he repeated as clearly as he could. “That’s my [feelings on] the shootout.”
Julien was then asked if he was talking about his players or the shootout, which was a good question, given that Bruins players happen to — to borrow a term — suck at shootouts. He said he meant shootouts, though he was probably just being nice.
Though the Bruins have participated in nine shootouts this season, no Bruins player has multiple goals. Reilly Smith, who leads the Bruins in attempts, is 1-for-10. Patrice Bergeron is 1-for-8.
The Bruins also participated in the NHL‘s worst shootout of the season less than a month ago, as neither the Oilers nor the B’s scored until the 12th round in the teams’ Feb. 18. In case you had to guess, it was the Oilers that scored and won.
To make matters worse, the Bruins had to deal with bad ice as they tried to turn their shootout luck around Thursday. Both Ryan Spooner and Torey Krug lost the puck as they tried to skate in on Karri Ramo, with Spooner losing the puck so badly that he couldn’t attempt a shot. The puck also skipped on Brad Marchand.
The good news for the Bruins is that there aren’t shootouts in the playoffs. The bad news is that you get more points and make the playoffs when you in shootouts.
|5 things we learned as Bruins give Flames game in regulation, lose in shootout||03.05.15 at 9:54 pm ET|
The Bruins needed a third-period comeback to force overtime in what could have very well been an easy victory. That was the highlight of the night, as they then lost to the Flames in the eighth round of a shootout.
The Flames had no business being in the game, but through penalties and mistakes the B’s gave a third-period lead to a team they’d mostly dominated on the night.
Here are five things we learned on a frustrating night for the B’s:
JULIEN GOES BACK TO WHAT WORKS
Claude Julien has pulled a lot of tricks with his lineup this season. He’s got an underachieving group to work with, so not all of the tricks pay off.
The one that seems to time and time again, however, is reuniting Chris Kelly, Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.
Amidst a frustrating third period that saw Eriksson miss a wide open net on a 2-on-1 before the Bruins handed over a 3-2 lead to the Flames, Julien pulled Kelly up from the fourth line and played him on Soderberg’s left wing in place of Daniel Paille. The result was the goal for which Eriksson was overdue in the period.
After Kelly tipped a Soderberg shot in front of the net, Eriksson put in the rebound to tie the game and save the Bruins some embarrassment.
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