|Late Gregory Campbell tiebreaker leads Bruins past Sharks||10.21.14 at 9:46 pm ET|
Milan Lucic (three assists) and Torey Krug (a goal and two assists) each had three points in the victory, which gave the Bruins three wins in their last four games and evened their record at 4-4-0 on the season through eight games.
Campbell wasn’t the only Bruin to find the back of the net for the first time tis season, as Brad Marchand took advantage of power play time given to him on a first-period man advantage and beat Niemi from the right circle to make it 1-0 13:57 into the game. Logan Couture would answer back with a Sharks power play goal minutes later with Marchand in the box for cross-checking.
The B’s tok a 2-1 lead on a power play goal from Krug, but fell behind when the Sharks got goals from Couture and Joe Thornton in a span of 39 seconds against Patrice Bergeron‘s line. Seth Griffith scored his first career NHL goal in the third to tie it.
Tuukka Rask made 31 saves in the victory, coming up big in the final minutes as the Bruins had to kill off four-minute Bergeron minor for high-sticking. With Niemi pulled, David Krejci scored a shorthanded empty-netter to seal the win.
The B’s will next play Thursday, when they host the Islanders for the first time since trading Johnny Boychuk to New York just before the season.
Here are some observations from the game:
– Bergeron was on the ice for all three of San Jose’s goals over the first two periods, one of which was a power-play goal. If that isn’t unusual enough, Thornton’s second-period goal marked the third time in eight games this season that the Bruins have allowed a 5-on-5 goal with both Zdeno Chara and Bergeron on the ice. This season is off to a very un-Bruins start. Remember, the B’s only allowed one 5-on-5 goal with the duo on the ice in the lockout-shortened 2013 season.
Chara doesn’t have bad games, but Tuesday was definitely one of them. The Bruins’ captain had lots of trouble with the puck, even committing a turnover by the net on a late penalty kill that very well could have cost the Bruins. Chara slammed his stick in frustration against the bench after a shift in the third period.
– Bergeron finished the night a minus-2 and took a high-sticking double-minor in the last four and a half minutes to leave the Bruins killing a penalty in a one-goal game without their best penalty-killing forward. An odd night for Bergeron indeed, who now has 10 penalty minutes through eight games.
– David Krejci‘s line had a nice turnaround as the game went on after being turnover city in the first period. Lucic turned two pucks over on one shift in the game’s fifth minute and Krejci had a giveaway on an ensuing shift. Krejci’s line still dominated possession on the night.
– Krejci turned in a nice play on Krug’s power-play goal. After the faceoff, Krejci appeared to take a stick to the facial area, dropping his own stick as he grabbed his face. He quickly recovered and picked up his stick in time to get to the front of the net and provide a screen on Krug’s goal.
– Marchand has been on and off the Bruins’ power play units this season. Tuesday’s goal should help his case to get more consistent minutes on the man advantage. Boston’s top unit worked well on his goal, with Torey Krug averting defenders in the right circle before sending the puck low to Milan Lucic. Marchand, who was back at the point with Krug pinching, took the pass from Lucic, walked up and fired a shot from the circle for his first goal of the season.
|Milan Lucic hopes he’s getting back to normal||10.21.14 at 1:48 pm ET|
Inappropriate gestures aside, it’s been a weird start to the season for Milan Lucic.
The Bruins’ top left wing has had two different centers and three different right wings over seven games. In three of the first seven games, he’s played on a line that was different from the previous game. He’s also returning from offseason wrist surgery, which looks to be limiting him less and less as the games go on.
Still, numbers don’t lie. Lucic, traditionally a fast starter, has gone without a point in all but one game this season. He has no goals, with his two-point performance last week against the Canadiens remaining the only time he’s shown up on the scoresheet.
It appears that Seth Griffith will serve as Lucic and David Krejci‘s right wing Tuesday against the Sharks. The line had some good looks for three games before Griffith was replaced with Simon Gagne Saturday. Lucic feels that he can still find his way and the back of the net despite the revolving door on the right side of his line.
“I think the guys who have come in have played well,” Lucic said. “You look at the last three games, we were able to create a bunch of chances, but it seems like they’re just not going in for us right now. I don’t think overthinking anything or getting frustrated is going to get us anywhere. I think we’ve just got to keep playing in the O zone and creating chances and eventually they’ll start going in.”
As for the wrist, Lucic says it’s become less of a mental obstacle than it was earlier in the season, when he was a borderline invisible player on a borderline invisible line with Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser.
Now, with more games under his belt, Lucic doesn’t see the wrist as being an issue. All that’s left for him is to start finding the back of the net.
“[The wrist is] definitely getting a lot better, thinking about it a lot less, as far as re-injuring it again,” he said. “From a mental standpoint, it’s definitely becoming more positive.”
When asked Tuesday morning if Lucic was close to being the player he is when he’s at the top of his game, Claude Julien hinted at the obvious by saying people have seen him play long enough to know “how good he can be.” He doesn’t seem ready to use the roster uncertainty as an excuse for Lucic’s start.
“It’s up to each individual to play to their level. I’ve always said that,” Julien said. “It doesn’t matter who you play with, we rate players on their play — their sole play – and it doesn’t matter who you’re with; we still expect certain things.
“He’s come off an injury, he’s missed a little bit of the conditioning before camp started. He wasn’t able to play for a little while. What I like right now is he’s starting to come around and that’s the most important thing. I’m not going to dwell on the past more than’I like what I see he’s getting better all the time so he’s got to continue to improve.”
|Seth Griffith, Matt Bartkowski appear set to return to Bruins lineup vs. Sharks||10.21.14 at 12:20 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask was first goaltender off the ice at Tuesday’s morning skate, suggesting he’ll be between the pipes against the Sharks.
With Kevan Miller out, Matt Bartkowski is set to enter the lineup. The Bruins will play Torey Krug on the right side of the second pairing with Dennis Seidenberg.
Krug is a left shot, but he has experience playing the right side dating back to college. Seidenberg is also a lefty who can play both sides.
Matt Fraser appears to be the team’s healthy scratch on offense, as he rotated in on the fourth line but stayed on the ice later than his teammates.
The lines and pairings in morning skate were as follows:
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Lucic – Krejci – Griffith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Gagne
Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – Krug
Bartkowski – McQuaid
|Bruins’ self-proclaimed defensive depth being put to test||10.20.14 at 10:56 pm ET|
In the offseason, Peter Chiarelli said he felt the Bruins had nine NHL-caliber defensemen. A 10th, he would later say, was close in Zach Trotman. It was hard to disagree.
Then the B’s traded Johnny Boychuk. Then Kevan Miller dislocated his right shoulder in a fight Saturday night, leaving him out indefinitely.
You can bet that all the defensive depth you’ve heard about now will be put to the test.
The obvious replacement with Miller out of the lineup is Matt Bartkowski. The Bruins would take turns sitting guys to find ways to get him in the lineup last season before Dennis Seidenberg‘s knee injury gave him a full-time job. With a healthier group this season, Bartkowski has been limited to just one game.
After that, David Warsofsky is the only remaining blueliner from the summer’s advertised group not on the roster. The B’s had to put him on waivers in order to send him to Providence at the end of training camp, but nobody claimed him. In five AHL games this season, the 24-year-old Warsofsky has no points and a minus-5 rating.
The thing with both Bartkowski and Warsofsky is that they are both left shots, while Miller is a righty. The Bruins, as you’ve probably noticed by now, like to play with a lefty on the left and a righty on the right unless it’s a Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg (both lefties) type of pairing.
There have been other exceptions to the lefty-righty rule, as Torey Krug played a bit on the right side down the stretch last season and Seidenberg has played on the left when paired with Bartkowski. It’s worth noting that the Bartkowski-Seidenberg pairing has struggled when used in games dating back to last season before Seidenberg’s injury.
|Bruins recall Seth Griffith from Providence||10.20.14 at 9:46 am ET|
The Bruins recalled right wing Seth Griffith from Providence Monday, a day after sending him down.
Griffith was first recalled by the B’s three games into the season, at which point he was put on David Krejci‘s line with Milan Lucic for two games. After Simon Gagne finished both games in Griffith’s place, the B’s made Griffith a healthy scratch Saturday and sent him to Providence Sunday. He played for Providence Sunday, scoring an empty-net goal.
In three games for Providence this season, Griffith has two goals and an assist for three points.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins send Ryan Spooner, Seth Griffith to Providence||10.19.14 at 11:45 am ET|
The Bruins announced Sunday that they have sent forwards Seth Griffith and Ryan Spooner to AHL Providence.
Spooner played in the Bruins’ first five games of the season, centering Milan Lucic and Matt Fraser for three games before centering the fourth line with Daniel Paille and Simon Gagne until Gregory Campbell returned from injury. He struggled as a third-liner, while Julien was hesitant to play him while he centered the fourth line. Spooner played just 4:22 on Wednesday against the Red Wings.
Fluto Shinzawa of The Boston Globe reported prior to Thursday’s game that the Bruins would play Spooner at left wing once he was sent to Providence. The team had been hesitant to play Spooner anywhere but center since drafting him in 2010, but Spooner’s struggles in the defensive zone might make him better-served to play wing.
Griffith was recalled last Sunday to serve as the right wing on David Krejci‘s line with Lucic. He played two games in that role, but was replaced late in both games by Gagne.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Kevan Miller leaves with upper-body injury as Bruins shut out Sabres||10.18.14 at 9:38 pm ET|
The Bruins had to play with only five defensemen Saturday night, but three of them scored as the B’s took an easy 4-0 win over the Sabres.
After Kevan Miller had left the game following a fight, Dougie Hamilton scored his first goal of the season on a wrist shot from the point and picked up a secondary assist on a Zdeno Chara blast to make it 2-0 in the first period.
Torey Krug netted his first of the season as well, taking a puck off the boards and beating Jhonas Enroth with a wrist shot at 11:40 of the second. Just over three minutes later, Carl Soderberg roofed a backhander in front to make it 4-0.
The Bruins will next play Tuesday in Boston against the Sharks.
Here are some observations from the game:
– Miller left after fighting Nicolas Deslauriers on his fifth shift of the game, leaving the B’s to manage with five defensemen for the vast majority of the game. After the game, Claude Julien told reporters that Miller sustained an upper-body injury in the fight.
The task for Bruins blueliners became tougher in the second period, when an early penalty from Adam McQuaid and a late penalty from Dennis Seidenberg meant more responsibility and minutes on the penalty kill for the rest of Boston’s defense.
– Speaking of penalties, the Sabres are so bad this season. The Bruins took seven penalties, giving Buffalo nearly 13 and a half minutes of time on the man advantage, and the Sabres still failed to beat Svedberg.
– Saturday marked Simon Gagne’s first full game playing with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. He didn’t land a shot on goal, but Gagne’s plus-10 Corsi was tied for second among all players, with only Krug fairing better with a plus-14 Corsi.
– The Bruins were terrific in front of the net in offensive zone, with Reilly Smith putting in the work on the goals scored by Hamilton and Chara, while Krejci getting in front of Enroth off the faceoff facilitated Krug’s goal.
In their own end, the B’s were just as tough. They blocked a ton of shots against the Sabres, getting in front of 22 of them.
– Another game, another great showing from Carl Soderberg’s line. He and Chris Kelly lead the team with five points apiece.
– Patrice Bergeron had the assist on Hamilton’s goal, giving the Bruins center 499 career points. That ties him with Adam Oates for 13th all-time in Bruins history. Just a hunch, but the guess here is that he gets to 500 at some point.
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