|Bruins know Maple Leafs don’t want to be embarrassed again||11.29.11 at 12:48 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The next two games will have a big impact on the standings, as the Bruins enter this week’s home and home with the Maple Leafs trailing Toronto by one point for the Northeast division lead. The B’s have crushed the Maple Leafs twice this season, and they now have an opportunity to grab four points and leapfrog them in the standings.
Yet with so much at stake, the Bruins aren’t thinking about four points any more than they are thinking about getting two points twice. The first challenge will come Wednesday in Toronto.
“That’s all you can really do, is focus on the first game,” Gregory Campbell said after Tuesday’s practice. “We’ve done well against them thus far this season. Whether that’s motivation for them or not, it’s going to be anther hard one for us. We have to go in there and play good hockey. Wins will come if we play well. We’ve been playing well so far, so we have to continue that.”
The last time the Bruins were in Toronto, they gave the Leafs a 7-0 beating, with Tyler Seguin recording his first career hat trick. The Leafs went on to lose four of their next five, but have now won three games in a row and are coming off a 3-1-0 road trip. The Bruins know they’re facing a hot team that doesn’t need any help being motivated against a team that embarrassed them in their own building.
“It’s not something you forget when you’re on the receiving side, so I don’t think it’s going to be a hard game for them to be motivated for,” Claude Julien said. “We’ve just got to be ready for that.”
Air Canada Centre isn’t the only opponent’s building in which the B’s have found success. They’re 5-2-0 on the road this season, and have won their last four road games.
“I think our style of game is such that we’re just kind of a simple north-south team,” Campbell said. “On the road we just kind of go to work and play our game. We’re not out to impress anybody or to do anything that’s uncharacteristic of our team. We’re just trying to get two points, and everybody says this and it’s kind of cliche, but you just want to play a good, solid, smart road game. It’s usually simple hockey, but it’s usually the most effective for us.”
|Claude Julien: Max Pacioretty hit ‘almost identical’ to Matt Cooke hit on Marc Savard||11.29.11 at 12:23 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s practice that Habs forward Max Pacioretty’s hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang resembled Matt Cooke’s hit on Marc Savard in March of 2010.
Pacioretty was suspended for three games Monday for the hit in which he targeted the head of Letang.
“To me, it resembled a little bit the hit that Savard took from Cooke a few years ago,” Julien said when asked about the play. “It was almost identical, but that’s the league’s decision to make.”
Savard is not playing this season due to post-concussion syndrome. He played in only 25 games last season before suffering his most recent concussion.
Pacioretty might be known best for the shove into a stanchion he took last season from Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. While there was a criminal investigation on the play, Chara was not suspended.
“[It] certainly doesn’t have any links to what happened to him last year,” Julien said of Pacioretty. “That’s two totally different things. He was on the receiving end of one and was on the giving end of another. The league chose to make the rule on that, and that’s where it ends.”
|Andrew Ference returns to practice||11.29.11 at 10:48 am ET|
Ference, who missed two games earlier this month with a lower-body injury, was given a maintenance day on Monday. All other players were present Tuesday, with the color-coded lines remaining the same.
The B’s are preparing for the first game of a home-and-home with the Maple Leafs, which begins Wednesday in Toronto.
|Bruins not letting success vs. Maple Leafs distract them||11.28.11 at 1:40 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins should know better than anyone that an opponent can improve from one meeting to the next. Any team that has faced them in both October and November have learned that the hard way.
That’s why when the B’s face the Leafs in a home-and-home Wednesday and Saturday, the Bruins won’t be overconfident just because they’ve picked up two lopsided wins and have outscored the Leads, 13-1, in their two meetings this season.
“It’s like teams that played us earlier in the year,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Monday’s practice. “We’re not the same team anymore, so that’s how you make sure you don’t get too overconfident by understanding there’s some highs and lows during the season with teams. Right now they’re playing extremely well.”
As has been made obvious in the two meetings with Toronto, the way to beat the Leafs is to take advantage of the many scoring opportunities they allow. In addition to the Bruins having scored a combined 13 goals in two games against Toronto this year, the Leafs have allowed 3.1 goals per game this season, which is 24th in the league.
Julien cautions against reading too much into that. More recently, the Leafs have allowed 10 goals over their last five games, a span in which they’ve gone 4-1-0. The goaltending they’ve received from Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens has been stronger, with Gustavsson getting the start in four of those games. The B’s saw both goalies in their 7-0 win over the Leafs on Nov. 5, but since then the team has played better defensively and the goalies have seen better results.
“The last time we played them, I think they were struggling a little bit defensively, not just against us, but they’d been giving up a lot of goals,” Julien said. “That’s not the case right now.”
What Julien hopes is that the Bruins, much like they have during their current hot streak (11-0-1) is not think about what’s happened, but what is about to happen. With the two teams neck and neck in the standings (the Leafs, who have played two more games than the B’s, lead Boston by one point for the Northeast division lead), the next win is more important than any of the previous ones.
“I don’t think we have much of a choice, because of the fact that right now we’re playing yo-yo with these guys,” Julien said. “One day we’re ahead of them, the next day we’re behind them, and this is an opportunity here in these next two games, if we want to spread that gap a bit, it’s up to us to do the job. They’re a good team. We’ve seen them play some real good hockey.”
|All but Andrew Ference present at Bruins practice||11.28.11 at 11:02 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Everyone with the exception of Andrew Ference was on the ice Monday as the Bruins returned to practice at Ristuccia Arena.
[UPDATE: 12:55 p.m.] Coach Claude Julien said after the team’s practice that it was a maintenance day for Ference and that “he’ll be back on the ice tomorrow.”
The defenseman missed two games this month with a lower body injury, but it’s unknown at the moment whether it’s the same issue that kept Ference out Monday.
All of the Bruins’ lines were unchanged.
|Bruins come back again, win again||11.26.11 at 9:37 pm ET|
The Bruins overcame a two-goal deficit for the second time in three games and defeated the Jets, 4-2, at TD Garden Saturday.
The Jets jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the game’s first 10 minutes when they got goals 39 seconds apart from Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien. Zdeno Chara got the B’s on the board with a slapshot on the power play later in the period, with Kelly scoring two goals to tie the game and give Boston the lead. Brad Marchand picked up an empty-netter with 1:09 remaining in regulation.
Tim Thomas picked up his 11th win of the season, and the Bruins now have points in 12 straight games (10-0-1). The B’s will next play Wednesday in Toronto.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Chara has been a statistical monster of late. He has four goals and 12 assists for 16 points over his last 16 games. He started the season without a point in the Bruins’ first six games, but in addition to remaining one of the toughest defensemen in the league to play against, he’s certainly producing of late.
– The Bruins came back from a two-goal deficit for the second time in three games. The B’s came back from a 3-1 hole against the Sabres on Wednesday and went on to win in a shootout against Buffalo, but they were able to take care of the Jets in regulation after trailing, 2-0.
– Benoit Pouliot keeps doing enough to stay in the Bruins’ lineup. Two games after being the hero in the shootout Wednesday, Pouliot made a nice pass to set up Kelly’s one-time in the second period, which broke the 2-2 tie and gave the B’s the lead. The line of Kelly with Peverley and Pouliot is obviously playing well and producing, so it would appear — barring injury — that Jordan Caron may remain a healthy scratch for the time being.
– Kelly brings a lot to the table, but did anyone expect the veteran center to be this productive? He now has nine goals through 22 games and is on pace for a whopping 34 goals this season. Now, Kelly obviously isn’t going to be a 30-goal scorer this season, but he’s come up with some big goals while centering a very productive third line. The Bruins haven’t lost this season in games in which Kelly’s scored, and he has the Bruins’ only two shorthanded goals this season.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Dustin Byfuglien continues to be a thorn in the Bruins’ side. The 6-foot-5 defenseman had a hand in both of the Jets’ first-period goals, setting up Kane on a 2-on-1 to get the Jets’ first goal and beating Thomas with a slapshot 39 seconds later. Putting up big numbers against the B’s is nothing new for Byfuglien, as he had three goals and four assists for seven points in four games against Boston last season.
While Byfuglien hurt the Bruins on the scoreboard, he also helped them when his interference penalty in the first period gave the Bruins the power play on which Chara scored.
– It’s clearly both a good and bad thing, but the Bruins continue to allow the first goal and not always see it making a difference by the time the game is over. As Michael Berger pointed out Saturday night, the B’s have allowed the first goal in 14 of their 22 games thus far. With the win Saturday, the B’s are now 8-5-1 in such games. The Bruins are 6-2-0 when scoring the first goal.
– He still looks as dangerous as ever, as was evident when he nearly split two defenders at the Jets’ blue line in the first period and hit the post in the third period, but the scoring has slowed a bit from Tyler Seguin. After scoring 11 goals in his 15 games this season, Seguin has one goal over his last sec on contests. He continues to create plays and get chances, so the lack of production should be no more than a statistical observation.
|Bruins-Jets Live Blog: Chris Kelly gives Bruins 3-2 lead||11.26.11 at 6:52 pm ET|