|5 things we learned as Tuukka Rask, Brad Marchand save Bruins in overtime vs. Flyers||03.07.15 at 3:42 pm ET|
Brad Marchand had so much fun getting to 20 goals Saturday that added a 21st for good measure. The Bruins certainly needed it, as the second of Marchand’s two goals gave the B’s a 3-2 win over the Flyers at TD Garden.
A Chris VandeVelde goal with 4:30 in regulation left the game in doubt, but Brad Marchand tipped a Dougie Hamilton shot past Steve Mason at 19:45 of the third period with the Bruins on the power play and Tuukka Rask pulled.
Rask bailed out the Bruins twice in overtime. He first rescued Ryan Spooner’s line when a stay in the offensive zone turned into a 3-on-1 for Philadelphia with just Torey Krug back for Boston. Rask made a timely save to negate the bid.
Shortly after, some confusion at the offensive blue line by Chris Kelly and Loui Eriksson led to a Jakub Voracek breakaway chance that Rask kicked aside.
The win prevented the Flyers from making up ground on the Bruins in their push for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia now has 69 points in 66 games. The Bruins are at 74 points through 64 contests.
Here are four more things we learned:
CAMPBELL’S RETURN ENDS POORLY
Gregory Campbell‘s return to the Bruins’ lineup started strong and ended horribly.
After a four-game absence due to an upper-body injury, Campbell went hard to the net to take a pass from Maxime Talbot and got hooked in the process. The penalty led to a Patrice Bergeron goal that gave Boston a 1-0 lead.
With less than five minutes to play in regulation of a tie game, however, Campbell failed to gain the red line and iced the puck, leading to an defensive zone faceoff and Flyers possession on which a Nick Schultz shot was tipped by Chris VandeVelde past Tuukka Rask.
Campbell’s return meant that Talbot was pushed off the penalty kill after seeing shorthanded time Thursday against the Flames.
BARTKOWSKI PUTTING BRUINS IN A STICKY SITUATION
Matt Bartkowski has been called for three stick penalties the last two games. All three have resulted in power play goals allowed by the B’s.
The costly infraction Saturday came in the second period, when Ryan White sold a call in the Bruins’ zone, leading to a Jakub Voracek strike on the man advantage.
The Flames scored power play goals following a first-period hook and a third-period trip from Bartkowski Thursday.
Of course, if these penalties are costing the Bruins, it means something else as well…
PENALTY KILL IS REELING
Surrendering a power-play goal was hardly a new development given the way things have fared of late for Boston’s PK.
Voracek’s second-period tally was the third power-play goal the B’s have allowed in the last two games (4-for-7 on the penalty kill) and ninth in nine games. The B’s are just 17-for-26 on the PK in that span.
Prior to the game, Dennis Seidenberg said that Boston’s power play has recently not been as aggressive as it’s been when it has had success.
CHARA AT THE POINT LEADS TO POINTS
As we noted following last week’s win over the Coyotes, Zdeno Chara‘s return to the point on the power play after a year and a half of playing forward on the man advantage is getting results. Saturday was no different.
In taking a pass from Dougie Hamilton along the blueline and throwing a long wrist shot on net that Bergeron redirected past Steve Mason, Chara created a Bruins power play goal from the point for the second time in three games. Chara stepped up and blasted a slap shot from the right circle for a goal last week against Arizona.
|Gregory Campbell returns to Bruins lineup, Brian Ferlin a healthy scratch||03.07.15 at 12:06 pm ET|
Saturday marks Campbell’s return to the lineup after missing the last four contests with an upper-body injury. Brian Ferlin will be the healthy scratch after a rough outing Thursday against the Flames.
Campbell is expected to play on the fourth line Saturday, though it’s unclear whether he or Maxime Talbot will center the group.
|Bruins sign Torey Krug, Reilly Smith to contract extensions||03.06.15 at 9:45 am ET|
The Bruins announced Friday morning that they have signed Torey Krug and Reilly Smith to contract extensions.
Krug’s deal is for one year and $3.4 million, while Smith’s deal is for two years with an annual cap hit of $3.425 million.
Both players were set to become restricted free agents at season’s end. They were both late to training camp this season because the B’s had yet to give them what eventually became matching one-year contracts for $1.4 million.
The Bruins now have $57,597,857 against the salary cap committed to 13 players next season, not counting Marc Savard.
|Claude Julien on shootouts: ‘They suck’||03.05.15 at 11:12 pm ET|
Claude Julien hates shootouts, just like everybody who has anything to do with the Bruins hates shootouts.
The reason the Bruins hate shootouts is because they’re bad at them. After falling in eight rounds to the Flames on Thursday, Boston’s 2-7 record in the shootout this season is better than only the Kings’ 1-7 mark.
So, when asked about shootouts following Thursday’s loss, Julien cut off the question.
“They suck,” he said.
The reporter responded, “Hmm?” before Julien enunciated a little better.
“They suck,” he repeated as clearly as he could. “That’s my [feelings on] the shootout.”
Julien was then asked if he was talking about his players or the shootout, which was a good question, given that Bruins players happen to — to borrow a term — suck at shootouts. He said he meant shootouts, though he was probably just being nice.
Though the Bruins have participated in nine shootouts this season, no Bruins player has multiple goals. Reilly Smith, who leads the Bruins in attempts, is 1-for-10. Patrice Bergeron is 1-for-8.
The Bruins also participated in the NHL‘s worst shootout of the season less than a month ago, as neither the Oilers nor the B’s scored until the 12th round in the teams’ Feb. 18. In case you had to guess, it was the Oilers that scored and won.
To make matters worse, the Bruins had to deal with bad ice as they tried to turn their shootout luck around Thursday. Both Ryan Spooner and Torey Krug lost the puck as they tried to skate in on Karri Ramo, with Spooner losing the puck so badly that he couldn’t attempt a shot. The puck also skipped on Brad Marchand.
The good news for the Bruins is that there aren’t shootouts in the playoffs. The bad news is that you get more points and make the playoffs when you in shootouts.
|5 things we learned as Bruins give Flames game in regulation, lose in shootout||03.05.15 at 9:54 pm ET|
The Bruins needed a third-period comeback to force overtime in what could have very well been an easy victory. That was the highlight of the night, as they then lost to the Flames in the eighth round of a shootout.
The Flames had no business being in the game, but through penalties and mistakes the B’s gave a third-period lead to a team they’d mostly dominated on the night.
Here are five things we learned on a frustrating night for the B’s:
JULIEN GOES BACK TO WHAT WORKS
Claude Julien has pulled a lot of tricks with his lineup this season. He’s got an underachieving group to work with, so not all of the tricks pay off.
The one that seems to time and time again, however, is reuniting Chris Kelly, Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.
Amidst a frustrating third period that saw Eriksson miss a wide open net on a 2-on-1 before the Bruins handed over a 3-2 lead to the Flames, Julien pulled Kelly up from the fourth line and played him on Soderberg’s left wing in place of Daniel Paille. The result was the goal for which Eriksson was overdue in the period.
After Kelly tipped a Soderberg shot in front of the net, Eriksson put in the rebound to tie the game and save the Bruins some embarrassment.
|Torey Krug knows Brett Connolly’s return from broken finger will last longer than missed games||03.05.15 at 11:57 am ET|
The six-week period that the Bruins will be without Brett Connolly is step one of an undesirable two-step process through which the team will have to work. After that comes the other hard part.
No injuries are easy to return from, but it can take a long time for a player returning from a finger injury to feel right. The fact that Connolly will go through the re-acclimation process in the postseason is far from optimal.
“It sucks,” Torey Krug said Thursday, and he would know.
Krug suffered a broken left pinky finger suffered on a slash from Zach Parise Oct. 28.
Though he returned after four games out of the lineup, his time getting comfortable again far eclipsed the length of period he stayed out of game action. A player whose bread and butter is his slap shot, Krug was limited to wrist shots and landed three shots on goal in just one of his first 11 games back. He had only one point — a goal — in that span.
“For me, I was always thinking about my finger and wondering how it was going to feel,” Krug said of his return from the injury. “When I had the puck, I was wondering if somebody was going to try and slash my hand again, so it was just a lot of thinking. It took me a while to get to the point where I didn’t have to think about it anymore.”
How long? About two months, by Krug’s estimation. He’s now playing with a new glove he received that has an extra-thick block of padding around the left pinky, which gives Krug peace of mind more than anything.
The slap shot issue won’t be a major problem for Connolly given that he’s a forward and doesn’t need to take many slappers, but Krug feels bad that Connolly’s first games with the Bruins will be spent trying to forget about an injury.
“He’s looking for a fresh start and was very excited about the opportunity that he had here to have that,” Krug said. “We were equally excited to have him. Being a forward in that position, you’re playing with the puck maybe a little bit more and you’re shooting the puck and you’ve got to handle it quicker. I can definitely feel for him, for sure.”
Connolly, who will undergo surgery on his right index finger, becomes just another name on a lengthy list of Bruins who have missed stretches of time due to injury this season. He joins Krug, David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller and Gregory Campbell.
“I know it’s happened a lot this year, but it’s just of how things have gone,” Krug said with a laugh, almost in disbelief. “We were very excited about what he could bring to the team, but now we can’t sit here and dwell on it. We have guys in this room that are capable of stepping up and filling voids, and they’re going to do that.”
|Gregory Campbell out vs. Flames as Bruins piece together lineup||03.05.15 at 11:19 am ET|
After losing a player they never actually had in their lineup, the Brett Connolly-less Bruins will piece together their forward lines without both the 22-year-old right wing as well as Gregory Campbell, who remains out with an upper-body injury.
Maxime Talbot will make his Bruins debut Thursday against the Flames. He is expected to skate on a fourth line with Brian Ferlin and Chris Kelly, though that could change if Claude Julien opts to play Kelly on the third line.
Daniel Paille figures to skate on the left wing of Carl Soderberg’s line, though Thursday’s optional morning skate made it difficult to tell.
Julien said in his Thursday morning press conference that Connolly will have surgery on his broken right index finger. He is out for six weeks after taking a Dennis Seidenberg shot off the hand in Wednesday’s practice.
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