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Brad Marchand stays hot with two more goals in Bruins’ win over Kings 01.20.14 at 5:34 pm ET
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Brad Marchand scored two goals to propel the Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Kings Monday afternoon at TD Garden.

Marchand, who had scored just five goals in the first 34 games of the season, picked up his 10th and 11th goals of a 15-game span and took over the team lead with 16 goals on the season.

The 25-year-old winger got the B’s on the board first with a shorthanded goal at 12:07 of the first period. He would later break a 2-2 tie in the third period by beating Jonathan Quick from the top of the left circle. Marchand was slow to get up after colliding with Jake Muzzin in the final minute of the game, but eventually skated off.

Following Marchand’s first goal, Torey Krug made it 2-0 thanks to a massive screen by Zdeno Chara on Quick with the Bruins on the power play. Chara, who had played the point on the other power play in recent games, provided enough of an obstacle on the play for Krug’s slap shot from the half wall to sail past Quick without the netminder having much of a look at it.

The B’s took the 2-0 lead into the second period, but the Kings came back to tie it with a second-period goal from Willie Mitchell and a third-period tally from Jeff Carter.

Chad Johnson earned his second win in the Bruins’ last three games. The B’s will have four days off before returning to action Saturday against the Flyers.


- Marchand has been red-hot of late. He has 11 goals in the last 15 games and is currently on a four-game goal-scoring streak in which he’s picked up six goals. No. 63 has returned to being a scorer ever since his antics against the Canucks and his questionable hit on Calgary’s Sean Monahan last month. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bruins don’t believe in measuring-stick games 01.19.14 at 5:27 pm ET
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The Blackhawks are second in the NHL with 75 points. (AP)

The Blackhawks are second in the NHL with 75 points. (AP)

CHICAGO — Are there still measuring-stick games when a team has been the Stanley Cup finals twice in the last three seasons? If it’s against a team as talented and deep as the Blackhawks, probably.

The Bruins rose to the occasion in their 3-2 shootout loss to the Blackhawks Sunday, coming a Tuukka Rask miscue or one less Gregory Campbell whiff away from wrapping up a two-game road trip with four points. After the game, players agreed that the two teams brought their best in a rematch of the 2013 Stanley Cup finals, but not all of the Bruins felt they needed to learn how they measured up against Chicago.

“No,” David Krejci said. “We know what we can do, so it doesn’t matter who we play against. If we play our best game, then we can beat anybody. We’ve proven that so far in the last few years. As long as all four lines are going and all six D and goalie [play well], then we can beat anybody in the league.”

The Bruins had been treading water of late, as they were 4-5-0 in their previous five games, but their effort at United Center was one that would have likely earned them a win in any of those contests.

Claude Julien said the showing Sunday — which didn’t necessarily look promising early on — was simply a case of the B’s knowing they needed to play better than they had been.

“I think that we just kind of looked at ourselves here and told ourselves that we needed to be better and we knew we could be better,” Julien said. “That’s just about going out there and showing it. We don’t have to prove anything; we just have to show that we’re a good team night-in, night-out. It’s as simple as that.”

The Blackhawks are second in the NHL with 75 points this season, while the B’s lead the Atlantic Division and are second in the Eastern Conference with 62 points. The Bruins will have another game against an elite Western Conference team Monday when they host the Kings at TD Garden.

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Adam McQuaid leaves Sunday’s game vs. Blackhawks with undisclosed injury 01.19.14 at 3:52 pm ET
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Adam McQuaid

Adam McQuaid

CHICAGO — Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid did not play the final 11:26 of the second period and missed the remainder of the team’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Blackhawks Sunday.

Following the game, Claude Julien offered no update on McQuaid, who has missed a combined 17 games due to a lower-body injury that twice kept him out of the lineup for stretches at a time.

“I don’t like saying it the night of because he needs to be looked at by a doctor,” Julien said. “We’ll look at him tomorrow. It just obviously wasn’t good enough to finish the game, but we’ll evaluate him and at least give you a precise diagnosis on him.”

The Bruins only have six defenseman on their roster at the moment, meaning they would need to recall a player from Providence if McQuaid is unable to play Monday against the Kings.

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Blackhawks beat Adam McQuaid-less Bruins in shootout 01.19.14 at 3:14 pm ET
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CHICAGO — As was the case in half the games in last season’s Stanley Cup finals, the Bruins and Blackhawks couldn’t settle Sunday’s rematch in regulation. The Blackhawks beat the Bruins, who were without Adam McQuaid for most of the game, with a 3-2 shootout victory that was sealed by Patrick Kane.

Brad Marchand, who had no points in the finals last season, scored two goals in less than 70 seconds for the B’s, tying the game late in the first and giving the B’s the lead 50 seconds into the second period. He also scored the Bruins’ only shootout goal.

The Blackhawks got on the board first thanks to Marian Hossa, who picked up his 20th goal of the season on a 2-on-1 in which Kevan Miller was the only Bruin back after a pinch from Zdeno Chara. Patrick Sharp beat Miller to the puck and fed Hossa on the doorstep, with Hossa beating Tuukka Rask to make it 1-0.

The Bruins looked to be headed into the first intermission trailing until Marchand beat Corey Crawford stick-side with 18.9 seconds remaining in the first. Marchand picked up his first career goal against the Blackhawks when he took a nice pass from Patrice Bergeron and fired a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Crawford.

The pesky forward picked up his 14th goal of the season early in the second, taking a feed from Reilly Smith in the neutral zone and beating Crawford five-hole to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead. That lead was erased on a soft goal against Rask, who didn’t seal off the post on a puck Brandon Bollig had thrown on net from the right circle.

The B’s lost McQuaid to an undisclosed injury in the second period. McQuaid did not play the last 11:26 of the second and was announced as done for the game by the team prior to start of the third period.

The Bruins will head back to Boston to face the Kings in a matinee Monday at TD Garden.


- Saturday marked the fifth time this season the Bruins have had to play most of a game with only five defensemen. The loss dropped them to 3-1-1 in such games this season.

- Rask is one of the more technically sound goaltenders in the league, so not sealing off the post on Bollig’s goal wasn’t a great look. Rask also had a flub late in the second period when he poked at and missed a puck off the stick of Jonathan Toews in the final seconds of the second period.

- Speaking of Toews, the Bruins couldn’t capitalize on an opportunity in the second period when Toews was given a 10-minute misconduct for throwing his broken stick over the glass. It wasn’t a power-play situation for the B’s, but 10 minutes with Toews in the box makes the Blackhawks a much easier team to play against in all three zones, but the B’s couldn’t manage to add to their lead.

- Ten of the Bruins’ last 11 penalties have been on defensemen with the exception of a too-many-men bench minor Thursday in Dallas. The latest came in the second period on Matt Bartkowski, which the B’s were able to kill off successfully. Boston has allowed one power-play goal (killing off seven of eight shorthanded situations) in that span.

- Gregory Campbell fanned on two golden opportunities late in the game, including on a 2-on-1 with Bartkowski in overtime following the expiration of Bartkowski’s penalty.

- It was just a bad scene on Chicago’s first goal, as Chara pinched for a scoring opportunity in the slot that went awry, and when the puck went the other way Krejci was flat-footed at the point. Sharp beat Miller to the puck for a 2-on-1 and fed Hossa.


- Marchand has crawled out of the hole he found himself in earlier in the season, as he has followed a lackluster showing of five goals in 34 games with nine goals in his last 14. With 14 goals on the season, he is just one behind linemate Reilly Smith for the team lead.

No. 63 was buzzing for much of the day, generating chances as the Bruins were killing off a second-period Bartkowski holding penalty and drawing a slashing penalty on Brent Seabrook early in the third.

- Interestingly enough, the Bruins were able to beat Crawford by exploiting areas other than the glove hand that was exposed so often in the opening games of the Cup finals. Marchand’s first goal was stick-side, while his second was five-hole.

- Thank Milan Lucic for saving Torey Krug a potential beating in the first period. After Bollig threw a big hit on Miller, Krug went after Bollig. Krug has fought once in the NHL, while Bollig, at 6-foot-2 and 223 pounds, has six inches and 53 pounds on the undersized Boston defenseman. Luckily for Krug, Lucic came in to separate the two.

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Carl Soderberg recalls being thrown into Stanley Cup finals 01.18.14 at 6:42 pm ET
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Carl Soderberg had barely played in the NHL before being thrown into the biggest games of his career. (AP)

Carl Soderberg had barely played in the NHL before being thrown into the biggest games of his career. (AP)

CHICAGO — Perhaps lost among much bigger story lines as the Bruins return to Chicago is that it’s the place where Carl Soderberg received as high-stakes an NHL baptism as one could get.

Soderberg, who had come to the Bruins from Sweden in April and played six regular-season games to get his feet wet, sat throughout the entire playoffs until Patrice Bergeron‘s injuries forced the B’s to call on him to play Games 5 and 6 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Blackhawks.

The Bruins gave Soderberg five shifts in on the fourth line with Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton in Game 5 before he was moved up to center Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr. As such, Soderberg went from just practicing with the team to being a top-6 forward in a new league with no room for error. He logged 14:16 in Game 5 and 10:14 as he skated mostly in the bottom six in Game 6.

Soderberg said Saturday that he didn’t know what the game would be like given that he’d never played a playoff game before in the NHL and that he’d been out of game action for so long.

“A little bit,” Soderberg admitted. “It’s always a little weird when you’re out for a [stretch] and then play a game again, but it’s still hockey and I know that game.”

Now, Soderberg has become a strong third line player for the Bruins, manning the left wing of Chris Kelly‘s line (currently centered by Ryan Spooner as Kelly works his way back from a fibula injury). The 28-year-old has six goals and 17 assists for 23 points in 39 games.

He knows that he may have already played in the two biggest games of his NHL career, but he hopes for another shot at the Cup and says that despite being new to the league, he appreciated what he was playing for last June.

“I was really thankful for that, that the coach gave me the opportunity to play those games,” he said. “That meant a lot to me.”

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Milan Lucic has replayed shocking end to Stanley Cup finals ’100 times’ in his mind 01.18.14 at 5:10 pm ET
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Johnny Boychuk, Tuukka Rask, Dave Bolland

The Bruins and Blackhawks are set to meet for the first time since the Stanley Cup finals. (AP)

CHICAGO — The Bruins are back in Chicago for the first time in Stanley Cup finals, and though the series ended at TD Garden, returning to the Windy City brings back plenty of memories.

“I don’t think it’s weird; it’s nice to be back,” Claude Julien said after the team practiced at Johnny’€™s Ice House. “Last year, although when you don’t win, it’s a bittersweet situation. If anything when you take time to look back it was some really good hockey played, great games, overtime in a lot of them and everything else. I thought it was a well-played battle. Hopefully for the betterment of the game you hope it was appreciated.”

Of course the Bruins wish the results could have been different. The banged-up B’s limped to the finish line as they blew a one-goal lead in allowing the Blackhawks to score two goals in 17 seconds and end the series in shocking fashion.

“The last minute, minute and 15, I’ve replayed in my mind 100 times since that moment,” Lucic said. “Obviously there are a lot of questions. [The game-winner] goes right off the post and right back to [Dave] Bolland‘s stick. You always think ‘What could you have done?’

“And it’s not just Game 6. You look at Game 1, we’re up 3-1 with eight minutes left and they were able to tie it and win it. Then we were up 2-1 in the series and we don’t take care of business in Game 4. Those are the things that haunt you in the summertime and replay it over in your mind. It sucks thinking about it and you want to do everything you can to move past it. Obviously, we’ve done our best to play well this year and move past it.’€

To a man — and along the lines of what they said during the series — Sunday’s meeting between the Bruins and Blackhawks won’t be anything like the two meetings the Bruins and Canucks have had since the 2011 finals. Where the Bruins and Canucks hated — and clearly still hate — each other, the B’s and Blackhawks turned in a great six games of hockey, with perhaps the most disappointing part of the series the fact that it didn’t go to seven.

“€œI would definitely say it’s different [than with the Canucks],” Lucic said. “There was so much more I guess you say chippiness in the Vancouver series where bad blood, still, as you saw in the last game, carried over. There isn’t as much talk heading into this game tomorrow, but we both know what’s on the line.

‘€”I wouldn’t say there was any other series [like last year's] where there was that mutual respect. I’m sure once the puck drops and we get going, that emotional level will be back at it pretty quick.”

Julien agrees, saying he wouldn’t expect to see cheap shots from the players in this rematch like there have been in the rematches with the Canucks. Patrice Bergeron, who wouldn’t have even been able to play in a Game 7 given his injuries suffered in the series, says the respect between the two teams is too great.

“I’€™ve also talked with a couple guys that played on the team as well and that’€™s what we basically said, it was a great series, a hard fought series but still lots of respect on both sides,” Bergeron said. “I thought it was for fans, I thought it was a great series to watch also.”

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Zdeno Chara thanks Bruins for their blessing to leave early for Sochi 01.17.14 at 12:57 am ET
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DALLAS – Zdeno Chara was both humbled and thankful as he discussed his role in the opening ceremonies of next month’s Sochi Olympics.

Chara was chosen to carry the Slovakian flag next month, and though it is a huge honor for the Bruins and Team Slovakia captain, it will force him to miss at least a game for the B’s, and possibly two.

The opening ceremonies are on Feb. 7, with the Bruins having games against the Blues on Feb. 6 and Senators on Feb. 8 leading up to the Olympic break. As such, Chara asked the Bruins about it prior to accepting the honor, with both Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien giving their blessing.

“Peter approved it and [he] certainly [had] my support,” Julien said. “When you look at what he’€™s done with this club, I think it’€™s an easy decision to make. You’€™re carrying your country’€™s flag at the Olympics and, and even if he misses a game, maybe two, I think that’€™s the least we can do for a guy who’€™s given us so much since he’€™s been here.”

Chara thanked the Bruins organization at length in speaking to the media after the Bruins’ 4-2 win over the Stars and said he wouldn’t have even considered leaving early if the Bruins took any issue with it.

“First of all, I would like to thank the Boston Bruins organization for making this happen, especially Mr. Jeremy Jacobs and Charlie Jacobs and obviously all of my teammates and the whole organization because they really made this all possible. I’m for sure thanking the Slovak Hockey Federation for giving me the honor. It’s something that’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and for sure I’m very humble and honored to do that.

“I think I did the right thing first asking the Boston Bruins organization if they would be OK with that. After I got the OK, basically it was kind of an easy process from there. Again, it’s something that I wouldn’t even think about selfishly to decide this without asking for permission. I’m very thankful and it’s a huge, huge honor.”

Chara said he will definitely miss the Senators game, but said he hopes to find a way to play against the Blues. Given that it’s in St. Louis and that a flight from St. Louis to Sochi is an estimated 12 1/2 hours, that might not be doable.

“We don’t know exactly the date [that I'll be leaving],” Chara said. “For sure I’m going to miss one game, but we’re working on possibly just missing one game, the last one. We’ll see how it goes.”

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