|Chris Bourque feels the comfort is there and the offense will come||01.25.13 at 12:47 pm ET|
Chris Bourque is only three games into his Bruins career, and though neither he nor his line has made a ton of noise on the ice, he’s found Boston — the third NHL stop of his career — to be an ideal fit.
“Every game I feel more and more comfortable,” he said. “Obviously getting the nerves out the first couple of games, playing in the Garden with a full house, there’s definitely a little bit of nerves and obviously in New York the other night, but I’m starting to settle in here and I’m starting to feel pretty good and hopefully just get better every day.”
Bourque said that it still feels “surreal” playing for the Bruins given that he grew up watching his father, Ray Bourque, carve out a Hall of Fame career with the B’s, but that’s to be expected.
“Every day that passes, you get kind of used to it a little bit more,” he said. “Seeing my dad’s picture all over the place, every time I see that it reminds that he was such a legend here, so it’s still a little bit different, but something that I’m going to have to get used to. It’s a lot of fun being around these guys, a great group of guys and a good hockey team.”
As for what he’s done on the ice, Bourque is looking for his first goal as a Bruin (he has one goal in 36 career NHL games), but he’s been trusted with minutes on the third line, power play (he was on the ice for Brad Marchand‘s power-play goal against the Rangers Wednesday) and shootout, as he was Boston’s third shooter against the Jets Monday. The confidence is there on Bourque’s part, and the faith is there on Claude Julien‘s part.
“Chris Bourque is a great player, skilled guy,” Julien said after Friday’s morning skate. “I think he’s been an important part of our power play as far as giving us that left shot that we need right now. He’s been pretty decent there. I think he’s another guy that’s feeling his way through our hockey club. The one thing you want out of players that are coming in for the first time is that they don’t hurt your hockey club, and [he] hasn’t.”
The line of Chris Kelly between Bourque and Rich Peverley hasn’t been the Bruins’ strongest — they’ve produced no goals, while Bourque and Peverley have minus-2 ratings and Kelly is a minus-1 — but Bourque thinks the process of coming together has gone increasingly well.
“I think every game has gotten better,” he said. “Last game there were a lot of power plays and PKs. [Kelly and Peverley] kill penalties and me and Pevs are on the power play, so we didn’t play as much together as a line, but when we’re out there I feel like we’re creating some good energy. That’s part of the job as a third line is creating energy for the team and getting momentum. I think it’s been going pretty well so far.”
|Dennis Seidenberg a game-time decision vs. Islanders, Tuukka Rask expected to start||01.25.13 at 11:55 am ET|
Dennis Seidenberg will participate in warmups prior to Friday night’s game against the Islanders and will be a game-time decision as he looks to return from a lower-body injury that has kept him out for the last two games.
“He’ll be game-time,” Claude Julien said after Friday’s morning skate. “I can tell you I’m more optimistic than pessimistic though, but again, game-time for the right reasons that we want to make sure that he is ready to go.”
Seidenberg took part in the morning skate after staying off the ice (the team did not practice) on Thursday. The 31-year-old participated in line rushes with Dougie Hamilton, his partner in last Saturday’s win over the Rangers (the only game in which he’s played this season and the game in which he suffered the injury). It’s worth noting, however, that Seidenberg practiced on Tuesday and worked with Hamilton before eventually being kept out of Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden. He said Friday that he feels good and that resting on Thursday was beneficial.
“The day off always helps when you have a nagging injury, so it definitely helped,” he said.
The defensive pairings have been shuffled in each of the two games without Seidenberg, but they were as follows Friday morning (the forward lines were unchanged):
Seidenberg – Hamilton
Andrew Ference – Adam McQuaid
Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice Friday, suggesting he will make his fourth straight start to begin the season.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Dennis Seidenberg playing it safe with injury||01.24.13 at 1:18 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins stayed off the ice Thursday at Ristuccia Arena, with Dennis Seidenberg not skating as he works his way back from a lower-body injury. It’s common for dinged-up players to go out on their own even when the team isn’t practicing, but Claude Julien insisted that the veteran defenseman was simply getting the day off with the rest of his teammates.
“Seidenberg didn’t skate today because nobody did. Otherwise, he would have been on the ice with everybody else,” Julien said. “Again, he’s been a day-to-day situation. That hasn’t changed. If he’s practicing, you know he’s that close to it. A lot of it at this time of year is about us making the right decision for the long haul vs. the short term.”
Seidenberg, who has missed the last two games with the unspecified injury, told the Boston Herald’s Steve Harris that it is not a groin injury. Asked specifically what the injury was, Seidenberg simply grinned and said, “I think it’s called lower-body, isn’t it?”
The 31-year-old practiced with the B’s on Tuesday after missing Monday’s game, but was once again held out of the lineup in Wednesday’s overtime loss against the Rangers. He said Thursday that the injury isn’t severe and that the team is just playing it safe.
“If it were the playoffs — the games are all big — but if it were the playoffs I probably could play,” he said, “but just looking at the schedule with so many games coming up, you just want to be smart about it and don’t force it.”
Seidenberg said that the injury was suffered in the team’s season-opener against the Rangers, but thathe feels good with another day of rest and that he hopes to play Friday against the Islanders.
Said Seidenberg: “We’ll see tomorrow how it feels in pre-game skate, and after that we’ll make the decision.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Marian Gaborik’s hat trick leads Rangers past Bruins in overtime||01.23.13 at 10:14 pm ET|
Marian Gaborik completed his hat trick in overtime Wednesday night, burying the rebound of his own breakaway bid to give the Rangers a 4-3 win over the Bruins.
Gaborik also scored twice in the first period, giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead before second-period goals from Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic tied the game. Forty seconds later, however, Taylor Pyatt beat Tuukka Rask to give the Rangers the lead until Nathan Horton tied it in the third with his first goal since suffering a season-ending concussion last Jan. 22.
With the overtime loss, the Bruins fell to 2-0-1 on the season. They will return home to face the Islanders Friday at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Claude Julien puts the Merlot Line on the ice on the shifts following goals to keep the intensity up, but they looked like just another fourth line on the shift that followed Lucic’s game-tying goal in the second period. Shawn Thornton failed to get the puck out of the zone when given the opportunity along the boards, allowing the play that resulted in Pyatt’s goal.
– Hamilton gets a spot in both sections here. For as strong as he has played through the first three games of the season, he also could have prevented two of the five goals the team has allowed. In addition to not getting to rebound on the Jets’ first-period goal Monday, Hamilton was also caught out of position on Gaborik’s second goal of the night.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– For the second time in three games, the Bruins had to kill off a lengthy 5-on-3 against the Rangers and did so successfully. With Aaron Johnson already off for tripping, Adam McQuaid took an obvious boarding penalty on a hit on Dan Girardi, giving the Rangers a 1:13 5-on-3. Zdeno Chara, Boychuk, Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly killed it off. The B’s still have not allowed a power-play goal this season.
– It wasn’t his most impressive effort through three games, but Hamilton picked up what should be the first of many points in the NHL by firing the shot that Marchand tipped past Lundqvist. He had an earlier opportunity on the power play when he got off a slapshot from the top of the right circle that Lundqvist glove.
In the latest sign that Claude Julien has a lot of faith in the rookie, Hamilton led the Bruins with 8:01 of ice time in the first period and was also on the 5-on-4 portion of the Rangers’ third-period 5-on-3.
– Hamilton’s first career NHL point wasn’t the only thing that made the Bruins’ first goal on Wednesday significant. It was also the Bruins’ first power-play tally in 12 attempts this season. Boston went 1-for-5 on the man advantage Wednesday.
– If this is an out-of-shape Lucic, then a lot of teams probably wish they had players that were as out-of-shape. The name of the game is hustle when it comes to the 24-year-old power-forward, and thus far he’s turned in the hard work. He was relentless in front of the net on the Bruins’ second goal in the second period, his team-leading second of the season.
|Dennis Seidenberg out vs. Rangers||01.23.13 at 7:14 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg will not play vs. the Rangers Wednesday night, missing his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury.
Seidenberg participated fully in the team’s practice Tuesday, after which Claude Julien said the blueliner was “pretty close” but still day-to-day. Brad Marchand, who missed Tuesday’s practice, was reportedly on the ice for pre-game warmups Wednesday night.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|First line focused on burying chances||01.22.13 at 5:44 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — There were few questions surrounding the Bruins (less than other teams, anyway) entering the season, but one of them surrounded the first line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. So far the answers have been pretty convincing.
The trio hadn’t played together since Horton went down with a concussion last season on a hit from Flyers forward Tom Sestito on Jan. 22, exactly a year ago. With Horton coming off two straight season-ending concussions and Lucic not playing during the lockout, it was easy to question how the Krejci trio would fare.
Nobody would have been surprised if the two power forwards came out sluggish as they got their legs back, but it’s been the opposite. The whole line has been flying, while Horton and Lucic have been their usual physical selves. Claude Julien sang their praises after Monday’s win over the Jets, but Krejci and Lucic said Tuesday that though they’re happy with their start, they haven’t buried their chances.
“It’s been basically a year going back to when Nathan got hurt in Philadelphia, since we played together in a threesome, and it’s obviously great that we’ve been able to click as well as we have, but in saying that, we’ve only been able to produce one goal,” Lucic said. “A big thing in the NHL is you’ve got to push yourself to get results. Right now it’s coming, but I think we definitely need to keep going until we get those results.”
Lucic was a wrecking ball on Monday (10 hits), while Horton and Krejci sniffed around several scoring opportunities, one of which came on their first shift when Krejci’s backhand bid was denied by Ondrej Pavelec.
“We had one right away the first shift,” Krejci said. “Those are the worst, on the first shift and you don’t score when you have a great chance. It’s not really a good feeling, but I think our game’s getting back to where we’d like it to be. The main thing for us is to keep our feet moving, with the puck or without the puck.”
Though Krejci has probably been the line’s best player through three games, the first line has undoubtedly been boosted by the return of Horton. The 27-year-old was cleared for contact over the summer and would have been ready for the start of the season had it began in October, and despite choosing not to play anywhere during the lockout, he clearly spent the time well. He looks bigger and stronger, while showing the skill that made him the third overall pick back in 2003.
His absence was felt when he went down last season. With Horton in the lineup, Lucic scored 17 goals in 45 games, while Krejci had 27 assists in 43 games. Without Horton, Lucic had just nine goals and Krejci had 14 assists in 43 games (including the playoffs).
With Horton back, the duo of he and Lucic has skated hard and used their big bodies (they stand at 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-3, respectively, and both weigh over 225 pounds) to wear down opposing top lines and create scoring opportunity.
“That’s how they get in the game, those two, with their physical play,” Krejci said. “I think they’ve done a pretty good job at it, and as a line I think we’ve created so many chances.
Said Lucic: “I think if you look at when I’ve been most successful in my career, it’s been when it’s been straight-line hockey. I’ve been able to do that the last two games, and I need to continue doing that. It’s no secret it makes me more successful than any other way of playing.
“If I’m trying to stick-handle and make moves and all that type of stuff, it doesn’t work as well. Keeping it simple works the best for my game and it has since my junior days, so why change now?”
The line has not been on the ice for a goal against this season. That’s a positive, but at the end of the day, its members know they should be on the ice for quite a few Bruins’ goals.
“I think the chemistry’s getting back there,” Krejci said of the line’s work. “Too bad we didn’t score [Monday]. We had so many chances, but the good thing is that we’re getting chances, we keep our feet moving and that’s a good sign. We’re the top line, so everyone expects for us to produce. We’re going to have to do that.”
|Bruins face big challenge vs. desperate Rangers||01.22.13 at 2:25 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When the 48-game schedule came out following the lockout, one of the most interesting aspects of it throughout the league was that the Bruins and Rangers would play each other twice in the first three games. That meant that in a season that placed even greater emphasis than usual on strong starts, one of the best teams in the NHL could easily end up in an early season hole.
As it turns out, the Rangers face that prospect. The schedule-makers weren’t kind to John Tortorella‘s club early on, as the Rangers had to face the high-powered Penguins the day after opening the season in Boston. The results haven’t been good, as the Eastern Conference favorites followed Saturday’s loss to the B’s by dropping a 6-3 contest to the Penguins in their home-opener. Now, the team will need to beat the 2-0-0 Bruins to avoid starting the season winless through three games.
“You know that they’re going to be ready for that game,” Patrice Bergeron said after Tuesday’s practice. “Also, we beat them the first game, so you know they’re going to look for some revenge probably, so it’s going to be a tough one. We’re expecting the best out of them, and we need to make sure we bring our best game as well.”
It’s hard to call the third game of the season a must-win, but the value of two points is inflated in a 48-game season, and the Rangers have some stiff competition in their division (Penguins, Flyers) for one of the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference. The desperation should be there at Madison Square Garden, so the Bruins will need to be ready for it.
“I don’t think [they’ll come out harder]; I know they will,” Claude Julien said. “Certainly, when you’re put in that position and you’re the type of team that they are, we expect nothing but their best game out of them tomorrow.”
The Bruins welcome the test that will come with playing a desperate team. David Krejci even likened Wednesday’s game to a postseason contest in which a team trailing in the series makes a push to narrow the gap.
“I know there’s been lots of talk. They made some moves, they want to go deep in the playoffs so I’m pretty sure that’s not the start they wanted to have,” Krejci said. “It’s going to be a good challenge for us. We might be in the situation during the season or in the playoffs, that the team wants to come back and we have to show how to handle the situation. It’s a good challenge for us tomorrow and we’ll so how we can respond, but I’m sure we’re going to be ready for it.”
The Rangers went 3-1-0 against the Bruins last season, so the B’s have already matched their 2011-12 win total against Tortorella’s club. The games between the two teams were tight (three of their four matches were one-goal games, including one decided in overtime), so the Bruins aren’t expecting anything to come easy against them.
“I’m sure Nash will buy into their system and has,” Chris Kelly said. “They’re a hard-working team and that’s the way they’re coached. They play hard, they play everyone and everyone contributes. They had our number last year, and we came out and played hard in the opener.”