|Bruins hope they can get and hold leads this time vs. Capitals, Penguins||03.15.13 at 2:10 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins haven’t been thrilled with their level of play of late, so what two better opponents to face this weekend than two of the clubs against whom the B’s have had their most embarrassing moments?
The Bruins will host the Capitals on Saturday before traveling to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins on Sunday. The B’s have blown third-period leads to both teams recently in what both resulted in unflattering losses.
Boston jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period against Washington on March 5 before the Capitals stormed back to tie it with a pair of goals in the second and the equalizer in the third. They won on an Eric Fehr goal in overtime.
While that was a leading candidate for the Bruins’ ugliest loss of the season at the time, at least they got a point out of it. The B’s squandered a 2-0 lead late against the Penguins Tuesday when Pittsburgh scored three goals in the final 6:18 to beat Boston in regulation.
So as the B’s look to improve their level of play after a mediocre showing against the Penguins Thursday night, this weekend should at least provide them plenty of motivation to keep their intensity up.
“Obviously we all know what happened in Washington, which is basically the same thing that happened in Pittsburgh on Tuesday,” David Krejci said Friday. “We all know what happened, so we definitely want to have a good start and have a great 60-minute effort. We need points just like they do. We need them as bad as they do. Obviously we didn’t forget what happened in those games, but it’s a new game starting 0-0.”
The Bruins were 32-0-0 last season when leading entering the third period. This season, they’ve gone 7-3-1 in such games.
“We’ve addressed [wanting] to put together a complete game, a full 60 minutes,” Milan Lucic said. “Last year we didn’t blow a lead in the third period, and this year we’ve managed to blow three. There’s definitely some cracks in our game that we’re trying to fix. There’s a big learning process going through the season and trying to solidify your game and get it to where you want to be to achieve your goal.”
|David Krejci confident his linemates will start scoring again||03.15.13 at 2:03 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — One of the most glaring issues on a Bruins team that is winning games despite not firing on all cylinders is the lack of production from their two power forwards in Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton.
The pair has struggled mightily to find the back of the net of late, with Lucic having now gone 10 games without a goal and Horton goal-less in his last eight.
They both got more chances Thursday night against the Panthers, and as they struggle to find the back of the net, their focus is on capitalizing on those chances rather than dwelling on the slump.
“You want to do everything you can to get chances, but you want to get results as well,” Lucic said after Friday’s practice. “For myself especially, it’s been a little frustrating lately to not be able to get a goal here, but you’ve just got to stick with it.”
While Lucic and Horton have had difficulty finding the back of the net, their center in David Krejci finds himself in the midst of one of his most consistent seasons in the NHL. Krejci is third on the B’s with 21 points (six goals, 15 assists), and the longest stretch without a point for him is two games, which has only happened once.
Now it’s just a matter of that success and consistency spreading throughout his line, and Krejci is confident his linemates will find their scoring touch sooner rather than later.
“I think they’re getting chances,” Krejci said. “Maybe Horty’s gotten more chances the last couple games than Looch did, but that means Looch is creating those chances. I think if we’re just playing our game and not trying to be too cute out there, it’s going to come. I think we’ve got good chemistry. It doesn’t just go away forever. I think it’s going to come back and we’re going to put the puck in the net consistently. I’m pretty sure of it. We’ve just got to stick with it, believe that we can do it again. I’m pretty sure it’s coming.”
|Chris Kelly: ‘There’s no real time frame’ for return||03.15.13 at 1:38 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Chris Kelly has never missed more than seven games in a regular season, so the next however many weeks is going to be a new experience for him.
“It won’t be the best time,” Kelly said Friday.
Kelly is out “indefinitely” (Peter Chiarelli‘s words) as a result of a broken left tibia he suffered in a knee-on-knee collision with Senators forward Chris Neil. Speaking Friday for the first time since the injury and sporting no crutches, cast, or anything other than his clothes, Kelly said he’s “hoping” to be back by the end of the regular season, but doesn’t know.
“[I’m] just trying to get it better,” he said. “There’s no real time frame. Just come here, work hard, and let the medical staff and trainers do their job.”
Icing to get the swelling down and maintaining the strength in the leg is the priority for Kelly now in the recovery process. The 32-year-old center actually said he considers himself fortunate that the injury he suffered was worse. He knew when he hit the ice that it was bad, but the fear from watching the play in real time was that he could have injured his knee, which would have meant a much longer recovery time and potentially the end of his season.
“You’ve got to look at the positives in certain situations,” Kelly said. “It could have been much worse.”
As for the collision itself, Kelly found no problem with it.
“I think it was just a hockey play, to be honest,” he said. “Both guys kind of turned there and we didn’t really have any place to go. Things happen quick out there, and that’s all it was really.
“Chris and I are friends, and he sent me a text right after apologizing. I just said, ‘It was a hockey play.’ That’s all it is.”
With Kelly out, the Bruins have gone with Rich Peverley, who has played right wing for the majority of his Bruins career, at center between Jay Pandolfo and Jordan Caron. Though it’s probably hard for Kelly to be a spectator, he’s liked what he’s seen out of the revamped third line over the last two games.
“In the two games, they’ve had a lot of offensive time and they’ve moved the puck well,” he said. “Pevs has looked great at center. ‘¦ It’s a pretty familiar position for Rich, and I thought the line worked well together.”
|Adam McQuaid back at Bruins practice||03.15.13 at 11:31 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid took the ice for Friday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena after missing Thursday’s game against the Panthers with an undisclosed injury.
All other Bruins were accounted for Friday at Ristuccia, with Chris Kelly (out indefinitely with a broken tibia) the only player not on the ice. The color-coded lines were the same as they were the last two games.
The B’s will host the Capitals Saturday and face the Penguins in Pittsburgh Sunday.
|What went right as Bruins beat Panthers||03.14.13 at 9:26 pm ET|
As of Thursday, the Bruins and Panthers will both rivals in Division C next year, so perhaps that’s why both turned in C-grade efforts Thursday night. Either way, the Bruins got out of it with a 4-1 win thanks to goals from Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Shawn Thornton. Bergeron had two goals, one of which was an empty-netter.
With the victory, the B’s improved to 18-4-3 on the season, giving them 39 points. They sit one point behind the idle Canadiens, who lead the Northeast Division and Eastern Conference with 40 points but have played 27 games to the Bruins’ 25.
Here’s what went right and wrong in the win:
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– There was great puck movement throughout the ice for the B’s on Bergeron’s first goal, starting in their own end. Dennis Seidenberg started by getting the puck to Andrew Ference, who sent it up to Seguin in the neutral zone. With the trio of Seguin, Brad Marchand and Bergeron breaking into the zone, Seguin fed Marchand on the left wing, who sent it back down low to Bergeron, who capitalized with his seventh goal of the season.
Bergeron now has six goals and 11 assists for 17 points over his last 13 games.
– The fourth line came through once again on Boston’s third goal, which came as the result of some extra hard work from Shawn Thornton. After taking a feed from Daniel Paille, Shawn Thornton sent the puck across the crease but stuck with the play, going around the net and getting to the puck from the other side after it bounced off a Florida skate and putting it in for his third goal of the season. The fourth line has now scored in three of Boston’s last four games.
– Entering Tuesday’s game against the Penguins, Zdeno Chara was on pace to have his worst offensive season since 2001-02, but he’s changed that with goals in back-to-back games. After a puck bounced to him at the left circle off a David Krejci missed shot, Chara bombed a slap shot past Scott Clemmensen to give him his sixth goal of the season and open the game’s scoring.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins played like a time that was 100 percent positive they were playing the Panthers, and that effort wouldn’t have yielded two points against too many other teams. It was a largely uninspired and careless showing for Boston, with not a strong enough attack and turnovers aplenty. Fortunately for the B’s, the competition didn’t take advantage.
The B’s mustered just seven shots on goal in the second period.
– If both Dougie Hamilton and Tuukka Rask stuck with the play as much as Shawn Matthias did on his goal, perhaps the unassisted shorthanded goal — the first shorthanded goal the B’s have allowed this season — would not have been scored. Hamilton and Matthias were both chasing the puck in the Bruins’ zone and went down upon reaching it. Matthias sprung back up with the puck and beat a seemingly surprised Rask, while Hamilton was slower to get up and tried to swing a stick to break up the play. His efforts were too late, as Matthias put it past Rask far side.
– David Krejci’s line got its chances, but the scoring slumps for Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton continued. Lucic has now gone 10 games without a goal, while Horton’s goal-less stretch reached eight games. Both players had plenty of opportunities Thursday night, with Lucic just missing an opportunity to make it 3-1 in the third. With Horton and Lucic driving to the net, Horton sent it to Lucic in front. With plenty of space, the puck bounced off Lucic’s skate and the puck was wide and past the net by the time he gained control.
|Rich Peverley becomes center of attention with Chris Kelly out||03.14.13 at 12:51 pm ET|
The Bruins needed more offensive consistency out of their third line, and instead they got even more uncertainty as center Chris Kelly was lost for the time being with a broken left tibia Monday against the Senators.
Things were looking up for Kelly’s line when the addition of Jordan Caron yielded a Kelly goal in Caron’s season debut Saturday, giving the Caron-Kelly-Rich Peverley line as many goals in one game as the Chris Bourque-Kelly-Peverley line had in 16 games. Yet the trio of Kelly with Caron and Peverley won’t be seen again for a while, and for the time being the B’s will be working with Peverley between Jay Pandolfo and Caron, as they did Tuesday against the Penguins.
The revamped third line obviously features some shuffling, as Peverley, who has played mostly right wing in his time with the B’s, slides to center. Caron, a left wing, is now playing his off-wing on the right to allow Pandolfo to play left. It shows off the versatility that some of the Bruins have to offer, but the line doesn’t need versatility, it needs production after a start that has seen uncharacteristically low offensive output from Boston’s third line.
The move to center is nothing new for Peverley, who played center in Nashville and Atlanta and has taken plenty of draws in his time with the B’s.
“We’re lucky to have guys like Pev, and even guys like Seguin that have played center most of their career and can step in there and be comfortable in that petition,” Claude Julien said Thursday morning. “Pev is going to have to fill some big shoes there, with Kells being a real versatile centerman that can do a lot of different things for our team. The other thing about Rich is he’s extremely good on faceoffs. That’s an area where we don’t lose a lot.”
The third line wasn’t on the ice for any of the Penguins‘ three goals in the final 6:18 to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the B’s, but the trio of Pandolfo, Peverley and Caron also combined for a total of zero shots on goal Tuesday, making it a generally underwhelming debut for the new line.
With “indefinitely” the term used by Peter Chiarelli to describe how Kelly will be out, the line will obviously have time to hit its stride, unless a trade is made or a player is recalled from Providence. Pandolfo is optimistic that he, Peverley and Caron will be able to find the chemistry needed to be a reliable line.
“If we can get some chances and get some chances, it might give us some confidence,” Pandolfo said Thursday morning. “That’s the biggest thing, is just trying to create some scoring chances and do the job defensively. That’s all guys can really worry about.”
|Board of Governors approves realignment||03.14.13 at 12:36 pm ET|
The NHL’s Board of Governors approved the league’s realignment plan Thursday, making the plans for a new two-conference, four-division system official.
The league will consist of 16 teams in the East and 14 teams in the West, with each conference containing two divisions. The divisions have yet to be named.
The Bruins will play in one of the East’s divisions with the Red Wings, Sabres, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Panthers, Lightning and Senators. The other division in the East will consist of Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, the Rangers, the Islanders, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington.
Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose and Vancouver will play in one of the West’s divisions, with the other being made up of Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg.
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