|Will Malcolm Subban’s first NHL start come against Canadiens?||02.05.15 at 9:20 pm ET|
Malcolm Subban is due for a start somewhere.
When the Bruins recalled their 2012 first-round pick last week, it was a fun story as the second-year pro got his first regular-season taste of the NHL. All these days later, the fact that he lasted past last weekend (the anticipated length of his callup) brings something else to light: The kid is going on two weeks without playing a game.
That’s the longest stretch this season that Subban, who last played on Jan. 24 for Providence, has gone out of game action since a lower-body injury cost him time in mid-November.
The Bruins have a three-game homestand coming up, including a tough back-to-back against the Islanders and Canadiens this weekend. Asked whether Subban would get one of the starts, Claude Julien responded Thursday with his signature “we’ll see, guys” answer.
To give any goaltender their first NHL start in a Bruins-Canadiens game is the definition of throwing someone into the fire. Add in that Malcolm’s older brother P.K. is Montreal’s Norris-winning assistant captain, and a potential start Sunday would be quite the event. Malcolm admitted his parents would be on the next plane to Boston should it be the case, but he isn’t looking that far ahead.
“It would be pretty cool, but I’m not thinking into it too much,” Malcolm said Thursday. “Just trying to stay focused. Whenever my opportunity comes, hopefully I’ll be ready.”
The Bruins have played Tuukka Rask in both games of four different back-to-backs this season, so the fact that a backup (whether Subban or, should they return him to Providence, Niklas Svedberg) plays this weekend is far from a guarantee. The Canadiens angle does make it interesting from a game plan standpoint, however.
Rask has started two games against the Canadiens this season and is 0-2-0 with seven goals allowed. He was pulled from the teams’ first meeting this season after allowing five goals in an eventual 6-4 loss. The Bruins gave Svedberg the start in Montreal on Nov. 13, with Svedberg surrendering five goals on 34 shots.
The small chance that Subban could begin his NHL career in a Battle of the Subbans comes down to the Bruins’ philosophy with Rask and the Canadiens. Rask is one of the best goaltenders in the world and he doesn’t win a lot against Montreal (3-12-3 lifetime in the regular season). The fact that Rask is one of the best goaltenders in the world is not going to change, but the Bruins can take the Rangers/Henrik Lundqvist approach by simply hiding their star goaltender from the Habs. That worked when the Rangers beat the Habs in six games in the Eastern Conference finals last spring.
So it’s possible that the back-to-backs and Rask’s history could combine to make Subban’s dream debut take place, but it’s also worth considering that the Bruins prioritize their game plan over the neat story. Just ask Michigan native Steven Kampfer, who brought his family to his Joe Louis Arena homecoming when the Bruins faced the Red Wings in 2011, only to learn the night before the game that the B’s would be making him a healthy scratch for the game.
Whether or not Subban plays during this callup or at any point in Boston this season, the 21-year-old has enjoyed his brief NHL stint thus far. He’s seen the improved competition in practice and thinks the non-training-camp exposure to working life in the NHL has been a learning experience.
“Those shots that he’s getting here should be a little bit higher grade than what he gets over there, for obvious reasons,” Julien said. “It’s a good experience for him. We’re trying to groom him into being the goaltender that we expect him to be, and you’ve got to take some steps to do that. This is one of the steps that was part of grooming him.”
|Brad Marchand (maintenance) misses practice as Bruins prepare for Islanders and Canadiens||02.05.15 at 1:51 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Brad Marchand missed Thursday’s practice, with Claude Julien saying the B’s gave their second-line left wing a maintenance day.
Marchand, who took a couple of big hits from Dan Girardi in Wednesday’s loss to the Rangers, had his spot filled by Daniel Paille in practice. The lines were as follows:
All seven defensemen and both goaltenders were present, including Malcolm Subban, who is still with the big club.
The Bruins will practice again on Friday before hosting the Islanders Saturday and Canadiens Sunday.
|5 things we learned as Bruins suffer regulation loss to Rangers||02.04.15 at 10:30 pm ET|
A rough second period cost the Bruins Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, as they relinquished a lead en route to a 3-2 loss to the Rangers.
The defeat was just the Bruins’ second regulation loss in the last 15 games, but there could be more ahead with a difficult back-to-back stretch coming up when the B’s host the Islanders and Canadiens this weekend at TD Garden.
Tuukka Rask started his ninth consecutive game and had to deal with multiple odd-man rushes from the Rangers. The Bruins blew a bit of an opportunity, as Henrik Lundqvist missed the game with an upper-body injury. Cam Talbot only had to face 20 shots, however, and he stopped 18.
The one positive as the Bruins await the Islanders and Habs — both teams are currently riding losing streaks. The Islanders have dropped three straight while the Canadiens are coming off back-to-back losses.
Here are four more things we learned Wednesday:
The last thing a team wants to do against a fast opponent is let players slip past them. That happened all too often as the Bruins tried to slow the speedy Rangers.
After Brad Marchand failed to get the puck in deep and turned it over to Kevin Klein, Rick Nash took a feed from Martin St. Louis and sprinted past Adam McQuaid, walking in on Rask all alone and backhanding his 32nd goal of the season past the Boston netminder.
Later in the period, Chris Kreider got behind Torey Krug and Kevan Miller, but was denied by Rask. The Bruins had to deal with another odd-man rush when Kevin Hayes got the puck out of the defensive zone and over Krug’s stick, racing to the puck in the neutral zone to create a 2-on-1 with Carl Hagelin against Miller. The Bruins survived it, as Hayes’ pass for Hagelin in front was stopped by Rask.
BRUINS HAVE SECOND-PAIR BLUES
Among the Bruins’ needs prior to the trade deadline is a steady top-four defenseman to solidify their second pairing. Assuming the pairs stay the same, Boston’s current second pairing of Seidenberg-McQuaid might not fare as well as the Ference-Boychuk postseason pair of years past.
The Seidenberg-McQuaid pair was split up late in the first period (the duo allowed the Nash goal), with Claude Julien going to Chara-McQuaid and Seidenberg-Hamilton. Julien went back to his normal pairings for the second period, only to see Seidenberg and McQuaid allow their second goal of the game when Derick Brassard scored on a snap shot from the high slot.
Though McQuaid made a nice play to get a stick on a Rangers scoring bid in the third that would have made it a two-goal game, both he and Seidenberg finished the night with rough numbers. McQuaid and Seidenberg finished the game with Corsi’s of minus-14 and minus-13, respectively.
|Loui Eriksson returns, Milan Lucic (flu) questionable vs. Rangers||02.03.15 at 11:24 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Milan Lucic is questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Rangers after missing Tuesday’s practice with the flu.
Claude Julien said following the practice that Lucic will not fly with the team to New York, but that he could potentially join the team Wednesday prior to the game.
Both Chris Kelly and Loui Eriksson were back on the ice after taking maintenance days on Monday. Eriksson left Saturday’s win over the Kings following a hit from Robyn Regehr that left him with a sore neck.
“It’s alright,” Eriksson said of his neck. “I got treatments on it [Monday] and it felt better again today when I woke up. I felt good today on the ice.”
Eriksson missed significant time last season due to a pair of concussions. He said Tuesday that he didn’t fear a head injury at the time of the hit from Regehr. He also said that the play was his fault and he turned into the hit.
“I didn’t feel any headache at all when I got hit,” he said. “I just felt my neck start burning. I was a little scared that something happened with it, but as I went [off the ice] it felt better and it’s been good today, so it’s a good sign.”
All seven defensemen were present, as were both goaltenders. Malcolm Subban remains on the NHL club while Niklas Svedberg remains in Providence on a conditioning loan.
The lineup in practice was as follows:
|Tuukka Rask named NHL’s Third Star of Month for January||02.02.15 at 7:32 pm ET|
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was named the NHL‘s Third Star of the Month for the month of January.
Rask started 13 of the Bruins’ 14 games in January, allowing two goals or fewer in all but two of them. He shut out the Rangers on Jan. 15 and and made a season-high 43 saves against the Islanders on Jan. 29. Rask had a .949 save percentage for the month.
The Bruins went 7-1-3 in Rask’s starts last month, improving Rask’s season record to 22-11-7.
Alexander Ovechkin took top honors for the month, while John Tavares was named January’s second-best performer.
|Claude Julien: Loui Eriksson’s status unclear||01.31.15 at 11:20 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien had little update on the status of Loui Eriksson, who left Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury.
Eriksson left Saturday’s win over the Kings after being hit into the boards by Robyn Regehr with less than five minutes to play.
“I don’t know, it just happened at the end and I just came out here,” Julien said. ‘I think from watching the replays that people are saying it seemed like he got an elbow or a stick in the back of the neck, and I know he had a stiff neck coming off. I don’t know how he’s doing yet.”
Eriksson has a recent history with head injuries, as a pair of concussions derailed his 2013-14 season.
This season, Eriksson is third on the Bruins with 29 points (11 goals, 29 assists).
|5 things we learned as Bruins outlast Kings||01.31.15 at 9:32 pm ET|
The Bruins recovered from a late goal to regain the lead outlast the Kings, 3-1, Saturday at TD Garden.
Saturday marked David Pastrnak’s second game on the third line with Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly. The line came through with the game-winning goal, with Soderberg carrying the puck around the offensive zone and firing a shot from the blueline that Kelly tipped past Jonathan Quick.
The Kings had evened the score minutes earlier when a Jordan Nolan shot off the rush took an odd trajectory (potentially going off Dougie Hamilton’s stick) as it sailed past Tuukka Rask.
Brad Marchand scored the Bruins’ first goal, beating Quick with 2:40 remaining in the second period. Marchand thought he had scored late in the first period, but replays confirmed that the puck was shot well after the period had ended. He would add an empty netter to give him 15 goals on the season.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday night:
Loui Eriksson was hit into the boards by Robyn Regehr with less than five minutes to play. He did not return to the game.
We’ll monitor this going forward, as Eriksson suffered two concussions last season.
2 Us, 2 Ks, 2 DEFENSEMEN OWE RASK
In a tightly played physical battle between two of the league’s more defensively sound teams, odd-man rushes were few and far between. The Kings, however, got the best scoring chance of the night in the second period when Nick Shore slipped behind Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid and was fed a pass from Jordan Nolan in the neutral zone for a breakaway.
Shore had ample time and space ‘ there literally was not a defender in the frame of replays as he slowed up and tried to deke Rask ‘ but Rask stopped Shore’s forehand bid and held onto the rebound to keep the game scoreless.
All of Boston’s top-four defensemen finished with minus Corsi’s on the night. Torey Krug and Kevan Miller were the only Boston defenders with positive Corsis.
PENALTY KILL STAYS SHARP
The officials more or less let the teams play Saturday night, as each team was assessed just one penalty on the night. Jeff Carter went off for a cross-check to Adam McQuaid’s head a few minutes into the second period, while Patrice Bergeron was called for an offensive zone trip with 28 seconds left in the second.
With Bergeron, one of the best penalty killers in the league, in the box, Boston’s red-hot penalty kill carried on. The B’s even managed a decent stay in the offensive zone during the penalty kill with Daniel Paille and Dennis Seidenberg getting shorthanded chances.
The Bruins have now killed off 41 of their opponents’ last 43 power plays.
JULIEN STICKS WITH SAME LINEUP
After Jordan Caron took the fourth line’s first line rush in morning skate, it appeared the veteran wing would be in the lineup for Saturday night. That proved to be nothing more than a false alarm, as Craig Cunningham remained in the lineup on Gregory Campell’s line.
Furthermore, Claude Julien kept his same lines after shuffling his right wings against the Islanders. The lineup was as follows:
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