|Bruins hold optional morning skate in anticipation of Maple Leafs||11.09.13 at 11:38 am ET|
The Bruins held an optional morning skate Saturday in anticipation of their first meeting of the season with the Maple Leafs. Toronto, who played Friday against the Devils, did not have a morning skate.
The B’s find themselves looking up at the Leafs in the standings, as the Leafs, who have played 16 games to Boston’s 15, are tied atop the Atlantic division with the Lightning. They’re also tied with the Penguins for the most points in the Eastern conference. The B’s have 19 points on the season.
James Reimer is expected to be in net for the Leafs. Reimer was the man between the pipes last May when the Bruins came back from a 4-1 deficit in the third period of Game 7 and won in overtime to win their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series.
Following the season, the Leafs went out and traded for Jonathan Bernier, with Bernier having started nine games thus far this season to Reimer’s seven.
While being back in net at the Garden might bring up bad memories for Reimer, Claude Julien was quick to provide a reminder that Reimer, who allowed one goal in both Games 5 and 6 as the Leafs came back in the series, was solid for Toronto.
“He was good,” Julien said. “We could look at one little part of one game of his series or we could look at the whole picture. He was good. He’s a good goaltender. It’s unfortunate that sometimes you have to live with those things. We had to live with collapsing against Philadelphia years ago when we had a 3-0 lead, but at the same time it’s important that you look at the positives and what it did it for our team, and what it’s going to do for him in the future.
“I think they’ve got a real good duo right now as far as goaltending is concerned. They’re able to utilize both of those guys, and that’s always key to a team as well.”
|Jesse Winchester suspended three games for hit on Chris Kelly||11.08.13 at 8:21 pm ET|
The hit occurred in the first period of Thursday’s game. Winchester went into the corner to throw a hit on Kelly, and wound up leaving his feet and catching Kelly with an elbow directly to the head.
Kelly missed a shift, but wound up playing the rest of the game.
Winchester had never been suspended prior to this.
|Brad Marchand finally scores as Bruins cruise past Panthers||11.07.13 at 9:37 pm ET|
The Bruins came to life in the third period Thursday to secure a 4-1 victory over the Panthers at TD Garden.
After a scoreless first period, David Krejci opened the scoring with his third goal of the season on a shot through traffic that beat former Boston College goalie Scott Clemmensen. The teams hit the second intermission with the B’s holding a one-goal lead, but the Bruins were able to expand it in the third when Brad Marchand broke a 12-game goal slump. Torey Krug made it a 3-0 game with his sixth goal of the season.
Jesse Winchester, who had earlier in the game left his feet to elbow Chris Kelly in the head (see below), broke up Tuukka Rask‘s shutout bid with less than six minutes to play with a goal off a rebound in front. Reilly Smith made it 4-1 when he intercepted a puck in the high slot with 1:47 left to play. Carl Soderberg forced the turnover.
Patrice Bergeron left the game in the second period after getting hit in the face with a puck but returned for the start of the third period. Marchand’s goal was the second line’s second in the last eight games.
Former Bruin Tim Thomas did not play, as he is out with a groin injury, but he did receive a standing ovation when a tribute video was played and he was shown on the big screen in the third period.
The Bruins will continue their homestand Saturday when they host the Maple Leafs.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS Read the rest of this entry »
|Claude Julien: Tim Thomas wouldn’t have won Stanley Cup without Bruins||11.07.13 at 12:46 pm ET|
Tim Thomas won’t play Thursday against the Bruins as he rehabs a lower-body injury, but Claude Julien kept the Thomas-Bruins story alive with a very honest take on Thomas’ legacy Thursday.
Responding to a question about the line of thinking that the Bruins wouldn’t have won the Stanley Cup in 2011 without Thomas, Julien corrected the record by noting that it’s important people understand that Thomas had an easier job than most goalies.
“They’re right, but Tim Thomas doesn’t win the Stanley Cup if our team doesn’t play as well it did in front of him,” Julien said. “This is an honest statement. Tim played well, but I think our team played just as well in front of him. You don’t win the Stanley Cup just with a goaltender. He won the Conn Smythe because he was very good, but I would like to hope that the statistics of your goaltenders can also reflect the team in front of you.
“We did a pretty good job in front of him for years, minimizing the goal-scoring chances and the quality of them. Let’s make sure we don’t take credit away from the rest of the team, too. He was a big part of it, and so were a lot of other guys, but at the same time, we won the Stanley Cup because we were a good team. That’s what I like to think, anyways.”
Thomas had a 2.00 goals-against average in the 2010-11 regular season with a then-NHL-record .938 save-percentage. That performance earned him his second Vezina Trophy, while his 1.98 GAA and .940 save-percentage helped the B’s to a Stanley Cup victory in which he was the recipient of the Conn Smythe.
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|Patrice Bergeron’s line too quiet for Bruins||11.06.13 at 7:05 pm ET|
Loui Eriksson is back. Now how about some goals?
No, not just from Eriksson, but from Patrice Bergeron's line as a whole. Regardless of who else has been on Bergeron's line — and there have been three different configurations so far this season — it hasn't been scoring.
In the last seven games, Bergeron's line, whether Reilly Smith-Bergeron-Eriksson, Smith-Bergeron-Brad Marchand or Marchand-Bergeron-Eriksson, has scored a grand total of one goal. Bergeron is one of the best players in the league (arguably the best player on the Bruins), but top-six lines need to produce, and his hasn't.
Bergeron's third-period goal last Wednesday is the second line's only goal since the Bruins' 5-0 win over the Lightning on Oct. 19. It's safe to say that Lightning game was the most complete game the B's have played this season, and a lot of that is due to the fact that Bergeron's line simply hasn't been going.
Consider that Bergeron himself has been a minus player in two of the last three games and three times this season after having a negative rating in just five games total last season. Goals are being scored against the Bergeron line, but just as worrisome is the fact that it hasn't been producing.
Sure, there are some reasons as to why. Bergeron's coming off a few injuries, there's turnover with Eriksson coming aboard, there have been moving parts on the wings and Marchand is in the midst of what will likely go down as one of the worst slumps (12 games without a goal) of his career. That's no excuse for a line centered by Bergeron to be anything less than very good.
'There have been a lot of changes, but the bottom line is that you have to find ways to do your job,' Bergeron said. 'It seems now that hopefully it’s going to stay [the same] and we can do some great things.'
Indeed, it does. Tuesday's game marked the first of this season that the Bruins used the lines they had put in place in the final week of the preseason to be their lineup. Yet injuries to Carl Soderberg and Eriksson messed with that, and on Tuesday the Bruins played their fifth game of the season with the Marchand-Bergeron-Eriksson line. It was the first time the trio had played together since the second period of the fourth game of the season.
While the results were underwhelming with a no-show on the scoring sheet, the line actually did play well, with the trio moving the puck well and creating chances in Eriksson's first game back from a concussion.
Encouraging is good, but it doesn't put points on the table. Marchand, who spent four games and a period on the third line after a demotion against the Blue Jackets last month, has just one goal through 14 games this season. Last season he'd already scored nine times through 14 contests.
Between Marchand's struggles and Eriksson's absence, Claude Julien doesn't sound too surprised by the lack of offensive output.
'You've got a guy that just came back from a concussion, and you've got another guy that hasn't played extremely well,' Julien said. 'There's a mixture there that doesn't really [suggest] success, does it? I think it's just a matter of getting those guys going.'
Tuesday was definitely a step in the right direction, but the B's need their second line's fortune to change if the team wants to have the success of years past. Remember, all three members of the line (Bergeron, Tyler Seguin and Marchand) found themselves top five in the league in plus/minus two seasons ago. Those kind of numbers don't come without putting the puck in the net.
'I’m trying to play my game and do everything right, but production is part of my game also, and I need to find that,' Bergeron said. 'With that being said, it’s about bearing down when we do have some chances.'
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘We’re working our [butts] off, but we’re not working that smart’||11.06.13 at 10:29 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to discuss the team's shootout loss to the Stars on Tuesday, and their recent slump.
Dallas knocked off Boston, 3-2, at TD Garden thanks to the shootout heroics of a pair of former Bruins, Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley. Seguin scored the first shootout goal, and Peverley ensured the victory with the second, as the pair played Boston for the first time since being traded from the Bruins this summer.
'Losing sucks, period, right now, but we didn't put too much stock into the fact that [Peverley] and [Seguin] were on the other sideline, it was just the Dallas Stars,' Thornton said.
Seguin and Peverley were shipped to the Stars in exchange for Loui Eriksson and three Dallas prospects on July 4. Seguin has thrived in the new environment, scoring six goals and assisting on nine in the Stars’ first 15 games, while Peverley has chipped in with two goals and five assists.
'[Seguin] played pretty hard last night. He's at center, so when he was on the wing with us he had to win a lot of those war battles in our zone, and I think he'd probably say the same thing, I think he's more suited to use his speed in their system up the middle,' Thornton said.
The crucial play in Tuesday's game came with Boston leading 2-1 with less than three minutes remaining in the game. Stars forward Vernon Fiddler streaked unabated to the goal on a breakaway, and Bruins defender Dennis Seidenberg opted to hook Fiddler and bring him to the ground. The violation lead to a penalty shot, which Fiddler buried to tie the score at two and send the game into overtime.
'I know [Seidenberg] was coming on the ice and tried his best to get there and do what he could to negate a goal and unfortunately there was a penalty shot called,' Thornton said. 'But that's just one play that ended up in a goal, the whole game doesn't come down to that. '¦ I think there's a lot of stuff that went wrong during that game that we're going to have to work on.'
The Bruins entered Tuesday's bout with Dallas desperate for a win after losing three of their last four games. The overtime loss dropped them to a tie for four place in the Atlantic Division with Montreal.
'Sometimes it's not the effort maybe, but the way we're working, too,' Thornton said. 'I can speak for our line I guess that we're working our [butts] off, but we're not working that smart, we're not reading off of each other properly. It's almost like you get frustrated and you want to do too much, and that's counterproductive sometimes.'
|Bruins waste great start, still can’t get out of funk||11.05.13 at 11:29 pm ET|
It looked like the Bruins had snapped out of their recent malaise. They outshot Dallas 15-1 over the first 10 minutes of Tuesday's game, and out-attempted them 21-1. Sure, the Stars scored on their one chance, but the Bruins answered back just 38 seconds later. Then the dominance continued.
You had to figure the Bruins were on the verge of breaking through with another goal or two. When a game is that lopsided, it's usually only a matter of time before the levee breaks.
But the levee didn't break. The Bruins' pressure slowed throughout the remainder of the first period, and by the second period it was pretty much non-existent. The B's reverted to the bad habits and mental mistakes of the last week and a half — a span in which they are now 1-3-1 — and found themselves on their heels throughout the middle frame.
“First 10 minutes were good, and then we got back to some of our old habits,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “Eventually, when you play that way, you find ways to lose hockey games, and that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re finding ways to lose.”
Despite being outshot 13-4 in the second, the Bruins still found themselves in a tied game entering the third. When Milan Lucic tipped in a Dougie Hamilton shot with 8:21 to go, it looked like the Bruins might even pull out the win after all.
Instead, they had one more costly mistake in them — a bad line change that gave Vernon Fiddler a breakaway. Dennis Seidenberg hauled him down from behind, and Fiddler scored on the ensuing penalty shot. The Stars went on to win in a shootout.
“We’re making costly turnovers in areas which we usually don’t, that’s made us a successful team over the past few years,” Lucic said. “It just seems like everything is out of sync right now, and right now we’ve got to do whatever we can to try to get ourselves out of this jam, out of this funk. Frustration is not going to help us get through it. We’ve got to dig deep and start doing things the right way if we want to start playing better.”
Most of the Bruins have been through stretches like this before. Last year, they lost five of seven toward the end of March, then seven of nine to close out the regular season. In 2011-12, it was a 3-7-0 start to the season, and later a four-game losing streak in March. In the 2010-11 season (that's the one that ended with a Stanley Cup), they lost four of five on SIX different occasions.
It happens. The season is too long not to have these lulls. It doesn't mean the Bruins shouldn't work their tails off to try to get out of it. It doesn't mean Julien shouldn't shake things up if he feels the need to. But it also doesn't mean anyone should be panicking.
“It’s a long season. It’s never going to be perfect from the first game to the last,” Lucic said. “But as a player and as a professional, you have to worry about the things that you can control, and that’s work ethic and your effort and your commitment and focus and all that type of stuff. It seems like those are the things that are costing us right now.
“Fortunately, in the past, we’ve gotten strong by being able to get through funks like this. But just because we’ve gotten through it before doesn’t mean it’s just going to happen again. We have to find a way to find a way to do it.”
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