|David Pastrnak’s first year burned off as his line comes down to earth||01.17.15 at 10:59 pm ET|
Given all of the attention that’s been placed on Pastrnak prior to the Bruins deciding to keep him and the success that the trio has had, the goose-egg from Boston’s trio actually is somewhat notable, really only because it’s the first time the line hasn’t been very good since being united.
Pastrnak, who has now officially accrued one season of service time in the eyes of the NHL and NHLPA (Saturday was 10th NHL game this season, which means this season is officially the first of his three-year entry level contract) and his linemates came down earth against the Blue Jackets, overpassing and losing the possession battle in Boston’s first regulation loss in 10 games.
“A lot of passing, a lot of missed passes,” Lucic said. “Maybe trying to do too much and didn’t play that north-south type of game that gave us success when we were put together originally.
“We have to know night-in, night-out as a line that in order to be successful and get results and contribute to the team, that there’s a certain way that we need to play. That’s a straight-ahead game and using our speed and obviously using our skill, but when we’re moving straight ahead and using all those things, that’s when we’re going to have success.”
The line nearly scored in the first period when David Krejci threw a puck on net from the top of the right circle that bounced off Pastrnak’s skates in front with half the net open. Pastrnak whiffed on his shot attempt as the puck glided to Blue Jackets netminder Curtis McElhinney. That stood as the line’s best chance, though Pastrnak did draw a penalty in the final minute of the period when he was tripped by Scott Hartnell.
But that was the extent of the good for the line offensively. Though Lucic tied for the team lead with five shots on goal, the Czech Davids combined for zero. Saturday was Pastrnak’s first game without a shot on goal since his NHL debut on Nov. 24.
Since coming up, Pastrnak has been a standout player. He’s found instant chemistry with Krejci, whose vision and creativity could make him a 30-goal scorer in future seasons. Yet there will be speed bumps along the way, such as when Pastrnak took a drop pass from Krejci entering the zone in the first period and, rather than shooting or finding Krejci again, forced a n0-look pass across the ice to Lucic that would have earned him an intentional grounding penalty in the NFL.
“That line didn’t do much for us tonight; nobody did as a matter of fact,” Julien said. “We need David to use his speed on the outside; we need Krech to make sure to use his speed on the outside and find him. If you’re going to be cute and try and overpass, you’re not going to get the results. That’s not how we’ve had success in the past. I don’t think that’s how we’re going to get success in the future.”
One telling takeaway that should bode well for this line’s future: In eight periods together, the Lucic-Krejci-Pastrnak trio has yet to get scored on. They have four goals for and none against.
|5 things we learned as Blue Jackets snap Bruins’ win streak||01.17.15 at 9:37 pm ET|
The Bruins’ season-best win streak ended at five games Saturday as the Blue Jackets broke a 1-1 tie with 3:03 and added an empty netter to secure a 3-1 victory at TD Garden.
Entering Saturday, the Bruins had not lost in regulation in nine games, with the Blue Jackets having handed them their most recent regulation loss on Dec. 27.
The B’s will play the Stars in Dallas on Tuesday and the Avalanche in Colorado on Wednesday before breaking for the All-Star Break.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
PAILLE LOOKS GOOD IN MARCHAND’S PLACE
Paille, who skated on Bergeron’s line with Milan Lucic for a few games recently, did not look out of place in his return to the top six. The veteran winger had a game-best plus-15 Corsi over the first two period.
The demotion of Paille to the Bergeron meant that Jordan Caron re-entered the lineup to play in Paille’s usual spot alongside Gregory Campbell and Craig Cunningham. Late in the third period, Claude Julien flipped Paille and Campbell.
Speaking of suspensions, for the first time ever, that could be in question with Carl Soderberg. The Boston center caught Matt Calvert with a shoulder to the head in the second period that, though uncalled on the ice, could be reviewed by the Department of Player Safety.
RASK STAYS SHARP
Coming off his second shutout of the season Thursday, Rask had allowed only a Ryan Johansen power play goal into the third period Saturday. The Bruins caught some bad luck when Milan Lucic‘s attempt to intercept a Brandon Dubninsky pass got to Cam Atkinson, resulting in a shot and rebound that Calvert would bury.
Rask had to deal with quite the scramble in front late in the second period, but the B’s were able to survive thanks in large part to Jared Boll shooting the puck over the net with Rask trying to recover and multiple bodies diving in front.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOT-SO-SPECIAL
In addition to the penalty kill allowing Johansen’s goal in the first period, Boston struggled on the power play.
The B’s went 0-for-2 on the night on the man advantage, with the first unit struggling to enter and stay in the zone following a Nick Foligno penalty for hooking. The Bruins likely spent well less than half that power play in the offensive zone.
On the subject of penalties, the Bruins caught some tough breaks on calls. Dougie Hamilton was called on a ticky-tack hook in the first period, while Chris Kelly was the only player to receive a penalty during a second-period play in which Calvert held his stick and Kelly took a shot at Foligno.
KELLY STAYS PRODUCTIVE
When Chris Kelly sent a pass out front that went off Loui Eriksson’s stick and then to Carl Soderberg on Soderberg’s first-period goal, it stood as Kelly’s first assist in three games, but if you go back a month, you’ll see that Kelly’s been rather productive the whole time.
The assist gave Kelly 12 points in his last 16 games, gibing him .75 points per game since Dec. 16.
|Brad Marchand fesses up to slew-foot, says suspension could have been longer||01.17.15 at 11:43 am ET|
Speaking to the media Saturday for the first time since slew-footing Rangers forward Derick Brassard, Brad Marchand fessed up to what he called a “dangerous” infraction and said he considers himself fortunate to have not received a bigger suspension than the two-game ban he received.
“It could be worse,” Marchand said. “It could be three or four, so I’ve got to be happy that it’s not.”
Marchand has been outspoken against slew-footing in the past. Though he was fined during the 2011-12 season for doing it, he had some harsh words for Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner during the 2013 season after Skinner slew-footed Patrice Bergeron.
So why, then, would Marchand then kick a player’s right foot out and pull him down to the ice in textbook slew-foot fashion? In doing so, Marchand contradicted his past words, but said Saturday it wasn’t entirely intentional.
“Going into the play, it wasn’t what I was trying to do,” he said. “I was just trying to make a hard hit. I was trying to throw him backwards, but I didn’t intend to kick his feet out. Things happen. It’s a quick game. Plays in hockey are going to happen that are questionable, and you’ve got to live with it.”
Marchand said he did not feel his reputation or past played a factor in what is now his third career suspension. He called his reputation “a grave I’ve dug for myself,” but said that he had made efforts in recent seasons to eliminate dirty plays from his game.
“Maybe it played into it a little bit, but I have been trying to play within the rules and change my game,” he said. “Again, I play a hard game and I’m going to do things that are questionable at times. I’ve got to live it. The way that they discipline me, I’ve got to live with that.”
Marchand will miss Saturday’s game against the Blue Jackets and Tuesday’s game in Dallas.
|Brad Marchand suspended two games for slew-footing Derick Brassard||01.16.15 at 5:26 pm ET|
Brad Marchand was suspended two games for slew-footing Derick Brassard during Thursday night’s game against the Rangers.
Marchand will miss Saturday’s game against the Blue Jackets and Tuesday’s game in Dallas before being eligible to return against the Avalanche on Wednesday in Boston’s final game before the All-Star break.
For the video explanation of the suspension, click here.
“Marchand both kicks out Brassard’s skates and drives him backward to the ice with force,” the video explained. “What makes this play even more dangerous is its proximity to the boards.”
In anticipation of the suspension, the Bruins skated left wing Daniel Paille on Patrice Bergeron‘s line with Marchand and Reilly Smith. With Marchand suspended, the Bruins can move Paille up and play Jordan Caron on the fourth line in Paille’s usual spot.
This is the third suspension of Marchand’s career and second punishment for slew-footing. He was fined $2,500 in the 2011-12 season for a slew-foot on then- Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen. Marchand was suspended for elbowing R.J. Umberger during the 2010-11 season and got a five-game ban for a low-bridge hit on Sami Salo the next season.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Brad Marchand has phone hearing for slew-foot on Derick Brassard||01.16.15 at 1:08 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Brad Marchand has a phone hearing with the NHL‘s Department of Player Safety to discuss his slew-foot on Rangers forward Derick Brassard in Thursday’s win over the Rangers.
Claude Julien declined to comment on the play, only sharing that Marchand had a hearing. Perhaps in anticipation of a potential Marchand suspension, Julien skated left wing Daniel Paille on Patrice Bergeron‘s line in practice.
The lines were as follows:
Marchand has been suspended twice in his NHL career, as he was given two games for a hit on R.J. Umberger during the 2010-11 season and five games for a low-bridge hit on Sami Salo in the 2011-12 season. He was fined $2,500 for a slew-foot earlier that season.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Derick Brassard says Brad Marchand could have ended his season with slew-foot||01.15.15 at 10:49 pm ET|
Rangers center Derick Brassard said after Thursday’s game against the Bruins that Brad Marchand slew-footed him during a Rangers power play in the second period.
Marchand and Brassard were chasing a puck into the corner when it appeared that Marchand kicked Brassard in the right leg. No penalty was called on the play.
GIF: another angle of Marchand/Brassard pic.twitter.com/dVwhq7o65w
‘ Steph (@myregularface) January 16, 2015
“Well yeah [I felt it was dirty],” Brassard said. “You go in the corner with him and you go shoulder-to-shoulder, but he brings his leg in the back. I felt I got a slew-foot there. Like I said, I don’t want to find any excuses about it or I don’t want to be a crybaby or anything, but it could be dangerous and it could have been a game-changer. It could have been a 5-on-3 and we probably could have been back in the game, but the referee said it was a clean hit, I guess.”
Brassard stayed in the game, but he said he considered himself fortunate to do so given how dangerous slew-footing can be.
“The way I fell on the ice, maybe I could have missed the rest of the season if I’d have hurt my knee there,’ he said. “I’m lucky enough there. Marchand’s a pretty good player. He’s feisty, he competes hard, but those kind of things we don’t want in our game.”
Marchand was fined $2,500 for a slew-foot on Matt Niskanen back in December of 2011. He’s also been outspoken against such plays, as he called out Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner back during the lockout-shortened 2013 season.
“Skinner slew-foots all the time,” Marchand said back on Jan. 29, 2013, a day after Patrice Bergeron went after Skinner. “He’s always doing that to guys and I think Bergy just had enough of it. We even spoke about it before the game in the room. The guys were talking about how much he slew foots and you’ve got to watch out for him. You can see it’s very blatant. He kicks his legs out and throws him back.
“I remember I got a fine for that last year. It’s not a good play, it’s frowned upon and if you continue to do that to guys, you’re going to get it. Bergy just had enough, and it was good for Bergy to stand up for himself like that.”
Marchand was not made available for comment after Thursday’s game.
|Five things we learned as Tuukka Rask shuts out Rangers to improve Bruins’ winning streak to 5 games||01.15.15 at 9:39 pm ET|
The Bruins have started rewarding Tuukka Rask with some offense and, therefore, wins. On Thursday, the reigning Vezina winner returned the favor.
Rask stopped three Rangers breakaways and recorded his second shutout of the season as the Bruins extended their season-best winning streak to five games with a 3-0 victory over the Rangers at TD Garden (box). The veteran netminder made 30 saves on the night.
Boston got a pair of assists from Torey Krug. After Patrice Bergeron got Boston on the board in the first period with his 11th goal of the season, Krug sent a terrific slap pass from the point to the doorstep, where David Krejci tapped it past Cam Talbot for the Bruins’ lone goal of the second period. Krug fired a shot through traffic in the third period to create a Loui Eriksson rebound goal.
With the victory, the B’s improved to 24-15-6 on the season. Here are four more things we learned Thursday:
MARCHAND GETS AWAY WITH ONE
Brad Marchand was none too happy when he was called for a cross-check on Dan Boyle in the second period, but all things considered, he probably caught a break with officials on Thursday.
The veteran left wing was chasing a puck into the corner with Derick Brassard during a Rangers power play when Marchand appeared to kick Brassard’s right leg in an effort to take the player’s feet out from under. That’s known as a slew-foot to those in the business of suspending players, and it’s extremely dangerous.
Marchand has been disciplined for a slew-foot before, as the league docked him $2,500 for a slew-foot on Matt Niskanen in December of the 2011-12 season. His most recent suspension came the following month for a low-bridge hit on then-Canucks defenseman Sami Salo. He’d been suspended the previous season for a hit on R.J. Umberger.
KELLY TO THE RESCUE AND TO THE BOX
Marchand isn’t the only player who could hear from the league after Thursday’s game. Chris Kreider threw Carl Soderberg head-first into the end boards in the third period, receiving a boarding minor and a non-negotiable invitation from Chris Kelly that earned both players fighting majors.
Kelly got the worse of the deal, however, as he also received an instigating minor and a 10-minute misconduct.
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