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Passed over in shootout, Brad Marchand says he’s fine with usage 04.05.16 at 10:51 pm ET
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Brad Marchand

Brad Marchand

Claude Julien went with statistics when choosing his participants for an important shootout Tuesday night. It’s easy to argue that he trusted different numbers than he should have.

In what ended up being a five-round shootout, the Bruins did not use Brad Marchand, who leads the team with 36 goals on the season. Marchand is 0-for-3 in shootouts this season and did not score on a second-period breakaway against Cam Ward, but his two penalty shot goals this season and supreme confidence with the puck in what’s been his best offensive campaign would seemingly make him a go-to guy when an important goal is needed.

Of the five shooters the Bruins used — none of whom scored — only Patrice Bergeron entered the game having fared worse than Marchand in shootouts this season. The B’s used used Ryan Spooner (who entered the game with three shootout goals on three attempts this season), David Pastrnak (his first attempt), Bergeron (0-for-4), Loui Eriksson (his first attempt) and Torey Krug (1-for-1).

Asked what factors into his selection of shootout participants, Julien declined to say whether the player’s performance in that individual game to that point played a bigger role than the player’s shootout history.

“We do it in practice. It’s all taken [into consideration]: what the tendencies of the goaltender are. I’ve answered that question before,” Julien said. “It’s all based on that. If people want to use hindsight, that’s all there is, but we make those decisions. I think the guys that went have scored in shootouts, they’ve done a great job. Because they don’t score tonight, we can second-guess all we want.”

The Bruins, who scored 16 goals over a 10-game span prior to finding an offensive rhythm over the weekend, have also spent the season without Marchand on their first power play unit. While it was tough to question that strategy when Boston’s center-heavy first unit was performing at one of the best clips in the league, its recent dropoff led to changes when Loui Eriksson replaced Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey replaced Eriksson, but Marchand remained on the second unit.

Marchand said he does not feel held back by the Bruins’ usage of him.

“No,” Marchand said. “I’m just happy to be on the power play at all. I’m going to do whatever the team asks me to do, regardless of what that is. I’m just going to try to play my role.”

There’s a statistical argument for using or not using Marchand in a shootout. The long and the short of it is that the Bruins’ best scorer was sitting on the bench as a massive point was squandered.

5 things we learned as Bruins put playoffs in doubt with shootout loss to Hurricanes 04.05.16 at 9:54 pm ET
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The Bruins came one point short of their goal on Tuesday. That might ultimately be the story of their season should they miss the playoffs.

In suffering a 2-1 shootout loss to the Hurricanes that saw Noah Hanifin score the only goal of the skills competition, the Bruins ceded the ability to control their own destiny. Even if the Bruins win their next two games, including a regulation or overtime win against the Red Wings, Detroit can still reach the playoffs by winning its other two games in regulation or overtime.

The B’s are now tied with the Red Wings with 91 points on the season, though the Wings have one more game remaining and they hold a one-game advantage in regulation and overtime wins, the first tiebreaker for playoff positioning.

The Red Wings will come to Boston Thursday after playing the Flyers on Wednesday.

Here are four more things we learned Tuesday:

HAYES, MILLERS RETURN

Jimmy Hayes was back in the lineup after sitting Boston’s previous two games as a healthy scratch.

Hayes skated on the Bruins’ fourth line and attempted to get engaged by dropping the gloves in the first period. The bout didn’t go particularly well, as Hayes was taken down by Brad Malone.

As expected, Colin Miller and Kevan Miller were also in Tuesday’s lineup, while the injured Dennis Seidenberg and Brett Connolly remained out. The lineup looked as such:  Read the rest of this entry »

Best defense for Bruins down stretch might be strong offense 04.05.16 at 12:58 pm ET
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Ryan Spooner wants to avoid a run-and-gun game. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Ryan Spooner wants to avoid a run-and-gun game. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Even at less than 100 percent, Kevan Miller’s expected return to the Bruins’ lineup Tuesday will help improve the defense from what it was on Sunday. With Dennis Seidenberg still out, the B’s need whatever they can get to avoid the issues they had when trying to defend the Hawks of the first 40 minutes of their final road game.

So with Colin Miller also entering the lineup, it’s natural to wonder whether the youngster’s return is a step in the right direction for the Bruins defensively.

It isn’t, but then again they weren’t going to much better off with Joe Morrow or Zach Trotman in the lineup instead of him. If the younger Miller can bring his skating and offensive ability, it will be worth what he lacks in his own end.

This is because the banged-up Bruins aren’t positioned to defend particularly well one through six. The offense, however, can be a strength after recently bouncing back from its most dormant 10-game period of the season. It might need to be if the Bruins want to avoid missing the postseason for a second straight year.

“The offense is there right now again,” Claude Julien said Tuesday morning. “We just have to tighten up a little bit defensively, which we’ve gone through a couple of times this year. We’ve gotten loose a little bit and then we’ve tightened it up and when we’ve tightened it up we’ve been able to have success, so if we can tighten it up tonight and continue to take advantage of our opportunities to score, that should help our chances quite a bit.”

Coming off a road trip that saw the B’s score 10 goals and allow 11, they will look for similar offense in the season’s final three games while crossing their fingers on the health and play of the defense improving. That might mean some high-scoring games, which are not the type Claude Julien teams have been known for playing.

“I think we can. I don’t think that we want to,” Ryan Spooner said of winning potential track meets. “If you look at our team, just this team as a whole in the past 10 years, they’ve taken a lot of pride in being a good defensive team first. I think if you ask all the guys in the room, they would rather win a game 2-1 or 3-2 than they would 6-5. At this time of the year, you don’t want to get into those run-and-gun matches.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Claude Julien, Ryan Spooner,
Colin Miller recalled, Kevan Miller likely in for Bruins vs. Hurricanes 04.05.16 at 10:26 am ET
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Colin Miller

Colin Miller

The Bruins have recalled Colin Miller and sent Seth Griffith to Providence in anticipation of Tuesday night’s game against the Hurricanes.

Miller’s recall comes amidst injury questions on the Bruins’ blue line, as Dennis Seidenberg (lower-body) has missed the last two games and Kevan Miller has not played since suffering a lower-body injury in the first period of last Friday’s game against the Blues.

Colin Miller will definitely play Tuesday night, while Claude Julien said the B’s were hopeful that Kevan Miller would play as well. The elder Miller suggested he’ll play, saying he is “good to go.” Seidenberg did not skate Tuesday and will not play. With both Millers in, Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman are expected to sit.

By bringing Colin Miller up, the Bruins used their fourth and final callup allotted to teams between the trade deadline and the end of the regular season.

After starting the season with the Bruins and playing 39 games in the NHL, the B’s sent Colin Miller to Providence to improve his defensive play. Miller has thee goals and 12 assists for 15 points in the NHL this season; he’s scored four goals with eight helpers for 12 points with the Baby B’s over 19 games.

Griffith played both games of the Bruins’ recent road trip in place of Jimmy Hayes, but his status as an extra forward in Monday’s practice suggested the B’s would play either Hayes or Tyler Randell on Tuesday.

Read More: Colin Miller, Seth Griffith,
Jimmy Hayes trying to overcome healthy scratches 04.04.16 at 4:03 pm ET
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Jimmy Hayes has gone 15 games without a point. (Kim Klement/USA Today)

Jimmy Hayes has gone 15 games without a point. (Kim Klement/USA Today)

Days after the Patriots beat the Colts to improve to 5-0 on the season, Jimmy Hayes could be seen around the Bruins’ dressing room wearing a t-shirt with Tom Brady’s infamous goat photo and the acronym GOAT (greatest of all time).

On Monday, Hayes once again sported a relevant shirt, though it was probably more of an unfortunate accident.

The shirt was made by a New York-based golf-lifestyle brand. It featured a cartoon golfer, the brand’s motto, and, largest of all, the name of the brand.

Hayes was wearing a shirt with “SCRATCH” written across it.

In an ideal world, there would be no irony to notice there, but the shirt was something of a scarlet letter for the Dorchester native. Mired in a 15-game pointless slump, Hayes was a healthy scratch in both games of the Bruins’ St. Louis-Chicago road trip. He’s been in and out of the lineup of late, as he was also given press box duty on March 18 against the Ducks.

“It’s obviously a message when you get scratched,” Hayes said Monday. “You feel like you can help the team and contribute, so you’ve got to continue to work hard. If you get a chance to get back in the lineup, you’ve got to make the best of your opportunity and keep staying in positive and going in the right direction.”

Seth Griffith has played the last two games in place of Hayes. At least right now, Griffith is not a good NHL player. For as invisible as Hayes has been at points this season, he’s a better option in key games like the three the B’s will play this week as they try to secure a playoff spot.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jimmy Hayes,
Bruins not thinking about repercussions of missing playoffs 04.04.16 at 1:55 pm ET
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Claude Julien

Claude Julien

The Bruins might not even need to win all three of their games this week. The Red Wings are mediocre enough that it would be a surprise if they came into Boston Thursday having not lost to the Flyers the night earlier.

Yet whether it means winning two games or winning three, the Bruins need to do whatever is required of them to make the playoffs this week. If not, an organization that already needed changes might make more drastic ones. Even if he isn’t a primary reason for the Bruins’ situation, Claude Julien could be an obvious fall guy.

“We’re not even there,” Julien said of the idea of missing the postseason. “We don’t even talk about that.”

Julien is in his ninth season with the Bruins. Players like Zdeno Chara (10 years) and Dennis Seidenberg (seven years) have been around to see much better days in their time with the B’s. The Bruins’ recent era of dominance essentially ended when Johnny Boychuk was traded ahead of last season, but the longer-tenured Bruins who have won before feel they can win again in Boston.

“We look at the next game tomorrow, that we’ve got to win that. All the other [expletive], there’s no reason to look any further than that,” Seidenberg said. “I’m confident we’re going to win all these three games and make it to the playoffs.”

The Bruins will play their final three games of their regular-season schedule at TD Garden, starting with Tuesday’s contest against the Hurricanes.

Read More: Claude Julien, Dennis Seidenberg,
Dennis Seidenberg practices, Kevan Miller and Brett Connolly don’t 04.04.16 at 1:19 pm ET
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Dennis Seidenberg

Dennis Seidenberg

Dennis Seidenberg returned to practice on Monday, but it doesn’t look to be a good bet that he’ll return to games just yet.

Seidenberg, who has missed the Bruins’ last two games due to injury, took part in Monday’s skate and took some contact, though he left practice early after attempting battle drills. Claude Julien said Seidenberg’s status was “unknown,” but Seidenberg didn’t sound optimistic about a potential return for Tuesday’s game against the Hurricanes.

“I felt OK,” Seidenberg said. “I mean, I was moving my legs, doing what I had to do and then got off. It was OK.”

Added Seidenberg: “There’s no timeline set [as to] when I’m going to come back, so it’s really tough to say.”

Adam McQuaid practiced after an injury scare in Saturday’s game, though Kevan Miller and Brett Connolly did not. Miller suffered a lower-body injury in Friday’s win over the Blues, while Connolly sustained a lower-body injury in the first-period of last Tuesday’s loss to the Devils.

Julien said that Miller remains day-to-day. Miller could be seen walking without crutches Monday morning as the Bruins took their team picture.

With Miller and Seidenberg’s status looking doubtful for Tuesday, Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman could be good bets to remain in the lineup.

The Bruins’ forward lines looked as follows Monday:

Marchand-Bergeron-Eriksson
Beleskey-Krejci/Kelly-Pastrnak
Vatrano-Spooner-Stempniak/Griffith
Ferraro-Acciari-Hayes/Randell

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