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Jeremy Roenick on MFB: ‘I’m very concerned’ about Bruins’ playoff chances 03.23.15 at 1:18 pm ET
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NBC Sports hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick joined Middays with MFB to discuss the Bruins’ recent struggles and playoff prospects. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Bruins currently sit in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but are just one point ahead of the Senators, who hold two games in hand.

“I don’t like the way Ottawa’s playing so well, and I don’t like the way the Bruins are playing. … I’m very concerned because if you look at the schedule, the Bruins have a very difficult schedule,” Roenick said. “I think Ottawa’s schedule is a little bit more lenient, and they have two games in hand.”

Added Roenick: “Sometimes you have to find things to rally around, and the Bruins have to find something. Because if not, their schedule does not bode well for them in terms of the schedule compared to Ottawa’s schedule.”

The most recent setback for the Bruins came on Sunday, when they lost 5-3 to the Lightning. It was their fifth straight loss when every point matters to keep their playoff hopes alive.

“They’ve had trouble scoring goals and they have to start scoring some goals,” Roenick said. “And to give up as many goals as they did yesterday is just unheard of.”

The Hall of Fame center believes that in order to turn their losing streak around, the Bruins will have to rely on the veterans in the locker room.

“I would get my leaders in the room, you know, they guys that have been there, the guys that are supposed to lead this team,” Roenick said. “And I would get them to inspire the boys, whether it’s verbally, whether it’s lifting their game up. You know, I was always a yeller and screamer, and I always responded to yelling and screaming. And I did respond better to it when it came from my teammates. And desperate times deserve desperate measures. I think a lot of guys would accept getting yelled at, screamed at to work harder if it meant they were going to make the playoffs and they were going to play better.”

If the B’s fail to make the playoffs, Roenick believes there will be consequences for the people in charge of the team.

“Missing playoffs always costs somebody their job,” Roenick said. “I hope that’s not the case, I think [Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli] have been very good. But I would worry about Chiarelli’s job if they miss, because if you look at the trade deadline, not enough was done at the trade deadline to bring in the type of players that are needed for that last push, and that’s going to be brought down on Chiarelli.”

For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Jeremy Roenick,
Bruins lose to Lightning, further damaging playoff hopes 03.22.15 at 7:32 pm ET
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The Bruins made their hole even deeper hole Sunday, suffering a 5-3 loss to the Lightning that extended their losing streak to five games (0-3-2).

The loss leaves the Bruins at 84 points on the season through 73 games, with the Senators (83 points in 71 games) in leap-frog the B’s for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference as soon as Monday.

While Sunday’s game became disastrous for the Bruins midway through the first period, it actually began on a positive note. Patrice Bergeron scored during a delayed penalty call just 33 seconds into the game, but the Lightning would answer back with three unanswered goals in the first, two of which were scored in a 15-second span. Tampa’s mid-period scoring run to break what was then a 1-1 tie came moments after a fight between Steven Stamkos and Brad Marchand.

A Jason Garrison point shot made the game 4-1 and chased Tuukka Rask 7:54 into the second period. Rask, who was playing in his 61st game of the season, stopped only eight of the 12 shots he faced before he was replaced by Niklas Svedberg.

Zdeno Chara cut the lead to 4-2 with a power-play goal at 10:22 of the third, but Tampa increased their lead back to three with an Ondrej Palat tally on the man advantage. Daniel Paille made it 5-3 with 47.7 seconds remaining.

The Bruins played Sunday’s game without both Dougie Hamilton and David Krejci. Hamilton will undergo further testing on an undisclosed injury back in Boston on Monday, while Krejci’s return — initially believed to come as soon as this weekend — will have to wait. Reilly Smith returned to the lineup after being made a healthy scratch Saturday. Smith picked up an assist on Chara’s goal.

For the Lightning, Sunday marked the first time they have defeated the Bruins in their last 11 meetings, as Tampa entered Sunday having not beaten the Bruins since March 15, 2012.

The B’s will return home to Boston after an 0-2-1 road trip, but an extremely difficult two-game homestand awaits. The B’s will first face the Ducks at TD Garden before hosting the Rangers on Saturday.

Dougie Hamilton out vs. Lightning; Bruins recall Zach Trotman 03.22.15 at 11:57 am ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton will not play Sunday against the Lightning due to injury, according to a source. With Hamilton out, the Bruins recalled defenseman Zach Trotman from Providence on an emergency basis Sunday.

Hamilton will undergo further testing back in Boston on Monday. He did not play at all in the third period or overtime of Saturday night’€™s shootout loss to the Panthers, seemingly due to a second-period play in which he was hit by both Nick Bjugstad and Scottie Upshall.

The Bruins had only been carrying six defensemen. Trotman was recalled last weekend for Saturday’€™s game against the Penguins, but was returned to Providence without playing any games during the callup.

Trotman has played 17 games for the Bruins this season, registering four assists.

Sunday will mark the first game Hamilton has missed this season. He has played in every game this season, making him one of just three Bruins to play in each of the first 72 games for the Bruins.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Dougie Hamilton, Zach Trotman,
Sunday Skate Live Chat: ‘The Bruins could actually miss the playoffs’ edition 03.21.15 at 10:48 pm ET
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Are the Bruins really going to miss the playoffs? What happens if they do? Is Dougie Hamilton alright? Where is David Krejci going to play?

Discuss these burning issues and whatever else you want in the Sunday Skate Live Chat with Pete Blackburn, DJ Bean and Joe McDonald from 7-9 a.m. Click here to listen to the show online.

Live Blog Sunday Skate Live Chat
 

5 things we learned as Bruins lose Dougie Hamilton and (for now) control of playoff destiny 03.21.15 at 9:56 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

On Saturday night, the Bruins lost Dougie Hamilton to an undisclosed injury, a shootout to the Panthers and, although they still sit eighth in the Eastern Conference, ultimate control of the final playoff spot.

After the B’€™s and Panthers skated to a 1-1 tie through 65 minutes, Brandon Pirri scored the only goal of the shootout as Florida took a 2-1 win and improved to 80 points on the season through 72 games.

The loser point gave the B’€™s 84 points through 72 games, but a Senators victory over the Maple Leafs Saturday improved Ottawa to 83 points through 71 games, as they hold a game in hand on Boston. Should both teams win all their remaining games, the Senators would get in over the Bruins.

Dougie Hamilton left with an undisclosed injury that appeared to be suffered on a second-period play in which he was hit by both Nick Bjugstad and Scottie Upshall.

Hamilton left the game early in the second period, but returned to take four more shifts in the second. He was not on the bench to begin the third period, with the team announcing shortly after that he was done for the night.

The Bruins will play the second game of their current back-to-back Sunday in Tampa.

Here are four more things we learned Saturday:

SMITH SITS

Reilly Smith missed the first game of his Bruins career Saturday night, and it wasn’€™t for a particularly flattering reason.

Smith was made a healthy scratch for the Panthers game after committing a pair of turnovers that led to goals Thursday night against the Senators. Smith had also been benched for all but one shift of the final 28:03 of the Senators game.

With Smith benched, Brian Ferlin was inserted into the lineup on the fourth line and Daniel Paille moved up to play with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

The lines were as follows:

Marchand-Bergeron-Paille
Kelly-Soderberg-Eriksson
Lucic-Spooner-Pastrnak
Ferlin-Campbell-Talbot

Claude Julien moved David Pastrnak up to play with Bergeron and Marchand in the third period, though that could have been due to a possible injury for Paille, who was back on the ice for overtime.

KELLY PUSHES RIGHT BUTTONS

Ryan Spooner and Dougie Hamilton picked up the assists on Bergeron’€™s second-period goal, but Chris Kelly played just as big a part.

Kelly, who is sneaky good at pestering opponents to draw penalties, took a shot at Dave Bolland in the neutral zone, knocking his helmet off and getting Bolland to high-stick him. Only Bolland’€™s infraction was called, and it led to the power play on which Bergeron tied the game.

This wasn’€™t the first time Kelly has irked an opponent to successfully draw a retaliatory penalty. He did it before a faceoff to Jakub Voracek back on Jan. 10, getting Voracek to take an interference penalty off a faceoff to set up a Boston power play on which David Pastrnak scored.

SEIDENBERG HAS ANOTHER ROUGH NIGHT

This obviously hasn’€™t been a good season for Dennis Seidenberg, but you could imagine the veteran defenseman was especially looking to bounce back from a horrid showing in which he and partner Matt Bartkowski for the Senators’€™ first three goals Thursday. It didn’€™t happen.

Seidenberg took a penalty in each of the first two periods Saturday, but it was a lapse in coverage that was particularly costly Saturday. Jimmy Hayes slipped behind the 33-year-old defenseman in front of the net, leaving him space to take a feed that Bolland backhanded toward the net from the corner and jam it past Rask.

Rask bailed out Seidenberg and every other Bruin on the ice late in the game when he reached back to rob Bolland with a brilliant stick save on what looked like a sure goal for the Panthers with about seven minutes left in regulation.

THORNTON HITS 600

Former Bruin Shawn Thornton skated in his 600th NHL game. The vast majority came with the Bruins, as Thornton played in 450 regular-season contests for the B’€™s.

An interesting note from the great Jack Edwards: Thornton became the first player to play 600 AHL games before playing 600 NHL games.

5 things we learned as Senators close in on Bruins’ playoff spot 03.19.15 at 10:09 pm ET
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The Bruins couldn’t come back for a fourth time Thursday night, and as a result they saw the Senators gain two massive points on them.

With a 6-4 win over the B’s, the Senators now have 81 points on the season, trailing the Bruins (83) by two points for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, though the Senators have a game in hand.

The game was frantic from the first shift on, as both Kyle Turris and Carl Soderberg scored in the opening minute. Back-and-forth scoring and shaky play on both sides led Claude Julien to bench Reilly Smith and shake up his lines. Smith was given just one shift over the final 28:03, while Matt Bartkowski had five third-period shifts.

Dennis Seidenberg hurt Boston’s chance at a comeback bid late, as he was knocked off the puck in the defensive zone and put his hand over the puck for a delay of game penalty with 4:02 remaining.

The Bruins have now lost three straight (0-2-1) heading into a back-to-back Saturday and Sunday against the Panthers and Lightning, respectively.

BURGER KINGS

The Bruins did something that no NHL had ever done before Thursday night: They scored three goals against Andrew Hammond, better known as The Hamburglar. Then, with the B’s trailing in the second, Torey Krug added a much-needed fourth to tie the game.

Hammond had entered the game 11-0-1 in 12 career NHL starts. With the win he remains undefeated in regulation.

SPOONER REPEATS HISTORY

Ryan Spooner had a pair of goals (one power-play, one even-strength) when the teams played earlier this month. He did the same Thursday in a performance that showed the Kanata, Ontario native clearly likes playing near his hometown.

Spooner redirected a Milan Lucic shot that sailed past Hammond just over four minutes into the game, giving Boston a 2-1 lead. Furthermore, it kept up his line’€™s pace as his trio with Lucic and David Pastrnak continue to score at a decent pace while not allowing many goals.

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Pierre McGuire on MFB: Milan Lucic has ‘elevated his game’ playing with Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak 03.19.15 at 1:40 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to discuss the Bruins and their push for the playoffs, as well as other NHL matters. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

With David Krejci being out, the Bruins have shuffled their lines up front and currently have Milan Lucic playing with Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak. McGuire feels this has improved Lucic’s game, as he’s been playing more like a leader being paired with two of the youngest players on the team. He does feel once Krecji returns, Lucic will be reunited with him, but doesn’t know when that will happen.

“The thing that really stood out to me is he’s really relishing this role as a leader with those two young players in Spooner and Pastrnak,” said McGuire. “I think he’s elevated his game because of the leadership potion that has been put on his plate. I don’t know what Claude [Julien] is going to do, it’s a real debatable issue. I have to think at some point Krejci will be back with Lucic, I really do. I don’t know when or for how long, but I have to think at some point they will put them back together.”

The Bruins are in Ottawa Thursday night to take on the Senators. As it stands now the Senators are four points behind the Bruins for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. McGuire feels the Bruins are in a good spot to make the playoffs.

“I think Boston has a very good chance to be a playoff team,” he said. “In fact, I would be shocked if they didn’t make it. They deserved a better fate the other night (in a shootout loss to Buffalo). The biggest thing to be was Anders Lindback, he never played a game that good in his life. I give Buffalo a lot of credit. They showed a lot of heart and a lot of desire, but the Boston Bruins were [playing hard], they just couldn’t beat Lindback. I don’t expect goaltending like that every night against Boston.”

It seems the NHL getting rid of the shootout and going to 4-on-4, and 3-on-3 overtime is getting some steam to be put in place next season. McGuire thinks this change is needed, and will be a welcomed change with members of the league — both with the coaches and players.

“I think most people that really care about the sport want to see the best players play in the game and having the game decided by the players playing the sport rather than just having a skills competition,” said McGuire. “I am all for it and I think most of the players are for it. I can tell you 99 percent of the coaches are for it in terms of the people that I have spoken with, so I would be absolutely shocked if it was not put into place for next season.”

Read More: David Pastrnak, Milan Lucic, Pierre McGuire, Ryan Spooner
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