Big Bad Blog AT&T
WEEI.com Blog Network
This is becoming the Erik Karlsson Series, and that’s not good for the Bruins 04.19.17 at 4:42 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on This is becoming the Erik Karlsson Series, and that’s not good for the Bruins
Erik Karlsson has four assists in three games this series. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Erik Karlsson has four assists in three games this series. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

If there’s a big goal scored by the Senators in this series, there’s a good chance that it’s been created by the wizardry of Erik Karlsson.

Karlsson danced through the attacking zone before he fed Derick Brassard for the game-tying goal in what finished an Ottawa overtime win in Game 2. Karlsson helped the Sens jump out to a lead in the first period of Game 3 when he hit Mike Hoffman with a Hail Mary pass. He danced around three B’s forwards to keep the puck in the attacking zone for the second Sens goal of that game, and helped create the overtime winner when Dominic Moore gave chase to him behind the net and created all the space in the world for Karlsson to operate.

A minute-eater that’s led the Sens in time on ice in both of their wins this series and has four helpers in three games thus far, it’s been just as hard for the Bruins to avoid Karlsson as it’s been to contain him.

“He’s an elite player, he plays half the game, so he’s going to do damage,” Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Karlsson. “You gotta limit the damage. He’s a dynamic player. Coming from the backend, everything is front of him and he can beat you up ice. So there’s a lot of ways he can beat you and we need to do a better job neutralizing him.”

Neutralizing him would be a start, but as the Bruins can attest, it’s also much easier said than done.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bruins defenseman Colin Miller expected to play in Game 4 04.19.17 at 1:07 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Bruins defenseman Colin Miller expected to play in Game 4
Colin Miller is expected to play in Game 4. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Colin Miller is expected to play in Game 4. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Down 2-1 in a series for the 31st time in franchise history, the Bruins will hope to find a series-evening boost with the return of one of their injured defensemen for tonight’s Game 4 with the Senators.

In a series that’s become defined by the B’s health woes on the point (the Bruins skated in Game 3 without four of their regular NHL defensemen), it’s expected that Colin Miller will be the one that steps back onto the ice and makes his return to the club’s blue line.

Injured in the second period of Game 1 on a knee-on-knee collision with the Senators’ Mark Borowiecki, Miller has missed both Games 2 and 3, but has found a way to consistently ramp up his on-ice participation over that span. Miller first gave it a go on a Friday practice that ended earlier than expected, and was also a participant in Game 3’s morning skate and pregame warmup before he was ruled out in favor of Tommy Cross.

And after being on the ice for this morning’s optional skate, Miller has declared himself ready to go, and so has his coach.

“That’s the plan — that he’ll go in tonight,” Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Obviously we’ll make that at gametime, but he looks like he’s ready to go, so he’ll go in with John-Michael Liles, and Tommy [Cross] will come out.”

It’s not the major return — the Bruins are still without Brandon Carlo (upper-body), Torey Krug (lower-body), and Adam McQuaid (upper-body) on their point — that the club was hoping for, especially when it comes to helping the club return to their roots of blocking shots and boxing out bodies in front of Tuukka Rask with strong physical play, but it’s one that will certainly help a Boston defense that’s simply running on empty and running out of options.

 

The 24-year-old Miller had one shot and one hit in just 7:08 back in Game 1, and skated in 61 games for the Black and Gold during the regular season, with six goals and 13 points along with 85 shots on goal.

Of those six goals and 13 points, three goals and five points came in 22 games following the switch from Claude Julien to Cassidy.

Including playoff games, the Bruins are 37-22-3 with Miller in the lineup this year, and 8-11-4 without him in action.

Here’s your daily update on the Bruins’ injury woes 04.18.17 at 3:02 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Here’s your daily update on the Bruins’ injury woes
Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid were among three Bruins defensemen that missed Tuesday's practice. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid were among three Bruins defensemen that missed Tuesday’s practice. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins got two of their six injured skaters back in Monday night’s Game 3 against the Senators with the return (and immediate impact) of fourth-liner Noel Acciari and top-six center David Krejci.

Defenseman Colin Miller, who participated in the morning skate and pregame warmup after having missed the second half of Game 1 and all of Game 2 because of a lower-body injury, almost made it three, but was ultimately ruled out in favor of Tommy Cross at puck drop.

But their returns were not enough for the B’s to regain the series lead against the Sens, as they fell by a 4-3 overtime final at TD Garden.

So, with the club in danger of falling behind 3-1 with a loss on Wednesday, how about adding some more healing bodies to the mix? Preferably one of Brandon Carlo (upper-body) and Torey Krug (lower-body), who have yet to play in this series, or Adam McQuaid, who missed Monday’s Game 3 after leaving in the first period of Game 2.

“He’s doing OK, he’s day-to-day, doubtful for tomorrow,” Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Carlo, who did skate on his own prior to the start of B’s practice. “Colin Miller is better. We’ll have an update in the morning, but he’s ahead of Carlo and Krug for sure.”

With the pairings at practice the same as they were last night — Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy were the top pair, Joe Morrow and Kevan Miller made up the middle pairing, and John-Michael Liles and Cross were the third pairing — Miller skated on a fourth pairing with Matt Grzelcyk, which could stick out as a sign that he is still a little bit away from a return. If Miller does indeed return for tomorrow’s Game 4, however, it’s expected that Cross would take a seat as a healthy scratch after making his season debut last night, with one assist and two blocked shots in 13:08 of ice time.

But the big loss for the Bruins in this series has been Krug.

After a career-high 51 points in 81 games during the regular season, and the quarterback of a Boston power play that simply thrived under Cassidy, Krug’s absence has become glaring by way of the club’s 2-for-10 mark against an Ottawa penalty kill that they just straight-up torched in the regular season, where they went 5-for-8 against Craig Anderson. The moment Krug becomes available is the moment that series could truly shift back towards the Black and Gold’s favor, you’d think.

But it’s one step at a time, and Krug is not there just yet.

“Krug, we’ll list him as day-to-day, but he wasn’t on the ice,” said Cassidy.

The good news, though, is that Krug, who did not travel to Ottawa last week, was seen at TD Garden last night without crutches he reportedly left the arena on when the injury happened two weeks ago, and was once again at Warrior Ice Arena on Tuesday.

Bruins fan tries to steal stick from Ottawa bench, gets slashed by Erik Karlsson 04.18.17 at 1:25 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Bruins fan tries to steal stick from Ottawa bench, gets slashed by Erik Karlsson

A sellout TD Garden crowd felt robbed of a meaningful overtime when referee Tim Peel’s horrendous call against Riley Nash put Bobby Ryan and the Senators on the power play, where they scored the game-winning goal to take a 2-1 series lead.

So, naturally and in the true essence of the eye for an eye mentality of playoff hockey, one Bruins fan tried to return the favor with some larceny of his own as the Senators made their way back to the locker room to celebrate.

As bottles rained down on the ice in disgust of the game’s finish, this fan sitting to the right of the tunnel that leads the Sens back to the cramp visitors’ locker room tried to grab one of Ottawa’s sticks from off their stick rack. But he was thwarted by Sens captain Erik Karlsson, who caught him in the act and delivered a slash right to that fan’s hand.

Ouch.

In line with how this series has gone, Karlsson was not assessed a penalty for the slash.

And strangely enough, this is actually not the first time that this has happened in a playoff game in Boston.

It was back in 2009 that a fan stole then-Canadien sniper Alex Kovalev’s stick right from out of his hands.

(If you’re looking for the original thief, watch the glass-banger in the white shirt as the scrum ensues following the goal.)

“Passionate hockey fans in Boston,” Senators forward Mark Stone said. “It’s just the nature of the game.”

Riley Nash takes fall for overtime penalty: ‘It was pretty selfish of me, you can’t make that play’ 04.18.17 at 4:07 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on Riley Nash takes fall for overtime penalty: ‘It was pretty selfish of me, you can’t make that play’
Riley Nash took the blame for the penalty that led to Ottawa's game-winning goal. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Bruins forward Riley Nash took the blame for the penalty that led to Ottawa’s game-winning goal in Game 3. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Bruins forward Riley Nash would have had every right to step into his media availability and simply rip the piss-poor officiating that put him in the box for Bobby Ryan’s game-winning overtime goal on Monday.

Instead, the 27-year-old Nash took the fall for the B’s Game 3 loss.

“I think it was pretty selfish of me,” a visibly emotional Nash said following Monday’s game. “You can’t make that play, can’t put the refs in that position regardless of what happened before that, you’ve just got to do it, and it’s pretty tough for the boys.”

Knocked down to the ice and then blatantly elbowed in the head by Ryan, Nash got to his knees and responded with a quick jab to Ryan’s face, complete with a hard sell from the theatrical Ottawa winger.

“I felt like I was down on my knee, and he came and hit me, or elbow or fist, whatever it was. I tried to just push him or punch him off me and caught his face,” Nash continued. “He kind of embellished it, but I don’t know. Still, it just can’t happen.

“You’ve got to take that. It’s playoffs, you’ve got to take it.”

The penalty was universally slammed for being a garbage call (not that you expect anything less from Tim Peel, who is among the worst of the worst at his job), especially for an overtime frame that came with almost everything else let go, and Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy called the penalty a “terrible call” on NESN’s postgame show.

“I think [Peel] looked over and just saw my reaction,” said Nash. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. They see what they see, and there’s only two of them out there, and there’s 10 guys, so you just can’t really put them in that position to make that call.”

The Bruins, who finished the year with the league’s best penalty kill, have the second-worst penalty kill in the playoffs through the first three games of action, with three power-play goals against on 10 times shorthanded.

Bruins need Brad Marchand to battle through scoring frustrations 04.18.17 at 3:03 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on Bruins need Brad Marchand to battle through scoring frustrations
Bruins winger Brad Marchand had just one shot in Game 3's loss. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Bruins winger Brad Marchand had just one shot in Game 3’s loss. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Bruins winger Brad Marchand’s emergence in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs took just about everybody by surprise. But that was six years and 171 goals ago, and now, Marchand is a marked man.

Teams target him in more ways than one, too.

Not only do they try to keep the 5-foot-9 winger off the scoresheet, but they also attempt to get under his skin, and goad him into the bad penalties he’s wont to take at times. The Senators accomplished both in Monday’s Game 3, as they held No. 63 to just one shot on goal, and frustrated him into a needless penalty

The agitator became the agitated, and that’s something that’s just not going to work for the now-trailing Black and Gold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bobby Ryan and Senators steal overtime, 2-1 series lead over Bruins 04.17.17 at 10:13 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Bobby Ryan and Senators steal overtime, 2-1 series lead over Bruins
The Bruins overcame a three-goal deficit in the second period. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins overcame a three-goal deficit in the second period, but lost in overtime to fall behind in their series 2-1. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

At its best, playoff hockey is every emotion one can experience bottled up into 60 minutes — sometimes, dare I even say often, more — of chaos. Its chaos has been gone from Boston for far too long, and it’s as if the Bruins and Senators realized that in a Game 3 showdown that saw a rabid TD Garden crowd experience the highest of highs and lowest of lows in a 4-3 overtime final for the Senators.

In a Marathon Monday that started with the Bruins honoring Dic Donohue four years after his role in defining Boston Strong, the energy and anticipation reverberated through the building as a sellout crowd sang along with Rene Rancourt, and everybody seemed ready to go.

Except the Bruins, of course, who fell on their face out of the gate on home ice, like they did too many times to even count during their two-year absence from postseason play.

With the Bruins in hot pursuit of the game’s first goal, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson channeled his inner quarterback from behind his own net, and completed a one-on-five Hail Mary pass to Mike Hoffman, who blazed in on Tuukka Rask for one of the prettiest breakaway goals you’ll see all year. It got worse for the Bruins just 25 seconds later, too, as an own-zone turnover from John-Michael Liles kept the B’s hemmed in their own zone, while Ottawa’s forwards danced around the front of Rask’s net before Derick Brassard buried their second goal.

 

The listless first period was not complete for the Bruins with a power play stumble, which of course came late in the first period, as the Bruins failed to put a single shot on goal during their gift of a power play, and skated to an 0-2 deficit through one period of play, and with just three shots on Senators goaltender Craig Anderson in the process.

Ottawa extended their edge to 3-0 on their 17th shot of the game, as Hoffman ripped a slapshot through Rask at 3:42 of the second period, and you could not help but feel as if this game was all but lost for the no-showing Bruins.

A three-year wait, for this? Yuck. Can we all just get a redo and come back tomorrow?

But the Garden crowd was brought to their feet with the deflection of Noel Acciari, one of the B’s most sorely missed during the first two games of this series, as he redirected a Liles shot through Anderson to cut Ottawa’s lead to two. 42 seconds later, it was No. 42, David Backes, that took advantage of a whiffed attempt by Bobby Ryan to break in alone and score the B’s second goal.

Rask followed those goals up with a huge save on Mark Stone, which kept this a one-goal game, and showed that he was not broken by the second Hoffman goal, as Stone’s shot was the first puck fired on him since the second Hoffman tally.

OK, maybe pause that redo thing. We had a game cookin’ up at the Garden.

And following a straight-up stupid penalty from Dion Phaneuf, who failed to move Backes out of the crease with his body, instead resorting to cheap tactics with a brutal slash to the hands, it was David Pastrnak that made him pay with a one-time rocket.

In a matter of 7:46 and six shots, the Bruins erased a three-goal hole, and were back even through 40 minutes of action.

And in a game that got better as it went on, the third period did not disappoint.

The Bruins created numerous chances on Anderson, and with the Boston crowd singing his name on each B’s possession in the Ottawa end, and none were better than two looks from David Krejci, playing in his first game of the series.

Down four of their regular seven defensemen, the Bruins by all means moved to a three-man rotation in the third period, too, with Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy logging big minutes, while Kevan Miller stepped up as the third man on the point. Their efforts were not for naught in the final frame, too, as the Bruins held the Sens to just four shots through 17 minutes.

And after they survived six defensive zone faceoffs in the final minute and a half of hockey, it was off to overtime.

It was there where you found your heart your throat as Acciari came up with a big block on Cody Ceci just a minute into the overtime. It was there that your anger boiled when Dominic Moore was hauled down without a penalty called. That turned to a rage when Riley Nash was whistled for roughing Ryan after Ryan elbowed him on the head on his way down.

And it was on that power play that Ryan scored, and sunk the Bruins just 5:33 into the overtime.

This game simply had it all. The energy with each hit that shook the glass and echoed throughout the boards, the anger of some straight-up dreadful officiating, and the reminder that this atmosphere is unlike anything else in sports.

And to see it end the way it end is just a shame.

But the good news? The Bruins and Senators get to do this all over again for Wednesday night’s Game 4.

Bruins Box Score
Bruins Schedule

Latest from Bleacher Report

Bruins Headlines
NHL Headlines