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Claude Julien doesn’t blame goaltending combo for ugly loss to Wild 10.26.16 at 1:35 am ET
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The Bruins struggled to keep pace in their 5-0 loss to the Wild on Tuesday night. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins struggled to keep pace in their 5-0 loss to the Wild on Tuesday night. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

BOSTON – Bruins head coach Claude Julien did not want to assess the play of his goaltenders following a 5-0 trouncing at the hands of the visiting Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. In fact, he would not.

The near decade-long coach of the Bruins understands the unfortunate hand the team has been dealt.

“I’m just going to deal with the issue internally,” Julien said of their shaky goaltending situation. “We know that we’ve got two young goalies from the American League, so we’ve got to deal with that.”

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5 Things We Learned as Wild beat B’s goalies up in 5-0 blowout 10.25.16 at 9:43 pm ET
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Malcolm Subban received an early hook in a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Malcolm Subban received an early hook in a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

BOSTON – Malcolm Subban’s second NHL game went better than this first. But not by much.

Back in an NHL net for the first time since he allowed three goals on six shots against in a Feb. 20, 2015 loss to the St. Louis Blues, the 22-year-old Subban helped keep the Bruins and visiting Minnesota Wild scoreless through the first period of play. But just like it did on that St. Louis night in 2015, the second period came and the wheels simply fell off for the former first-round draft pick.

It began with a Charlie Coyle goal, his third of the season, that took a bad hop before it bounced through Subban’s legs. The Wild capitalized on poor defensive play behind the B’s net just 12 seconds later to make it a two-goal edge behind Chris Stewart’s second goal of the season. The Wild then extended their lead to 3-0 behind a power-play strike from defenseman Ryan Suter.

With three goals allowed in a 5:29 stretch, an improvement from his aforementioned first NHL game which came with three goals against in a 4:21 stretch in the second (but again, not by much), Subban’s night ended after just 13 saves in 30:36 of time on ice.

“It sucks,” Subban said of his second early pull in as many NHL games. “Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one. Obviously it sucks, but what can you do now, right?

“The third goal was bad. Whether I should have been pulled or not, it’s the coach’s opinion, but obviously we needed something to change, so I was going out.”

With Subban out, backup Zane McIntyre came on in relief for his first NHL appearance.

But it didn’t get better for the B’s organization’s fourth goaltender, as Jason Zucker scored six minutes into McIntyre’s night to put the Wild up by a 4-0 score through two periods of play.

The Wild would add another goal in the third period on a net-front putaway scored on McIntyre by Jason Pominville to make it 5-0 in favor of the visitors.

“There are some goals – I’m not going to lie – there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the loss. “But, I’m not here to talk about a goaltender who’s in one of his first few games because he let in a couple of bad goals. We were terrible in front of him and we weren’t any better and that’s the big picture.

“That’s more important.”

The five-goal edge would hold for Minnesota, too, as they cruised to a 5-0 finish at TD Garden behind a 27-save shutout from goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

It was the first shutout against the Black and Gold this season.

Here are four other things we learned in the loss.

Adam McQuaid returns to lineup

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid returned to the lineup in the loss and made his season debut after missing the first five games of the year with an upper-body injury.

Paired with familiar partner Torey Krug, the 30-year-old McQuaid very much looked like a defenseman doing his best to return to game-speed against one of the quicker teams in the NHL.

In front of the net on Minnesota’s first goal, and in the box for the Suter power-play goal that officially ended Subban’s night, McQuaid was also credited with the giveaway that led to the Wild’s fourth goal of the night. 

Bruins survive injury scare with David Krejci

Just when you thought things could not get any worse for an injury-plagued Bruins club, center David Krejci exited the game after an awkward collision and fall with Wild forward Nino Niederreiter in the second period. In a collision led by McQuaid’s crosscheck of Niederreiter from behind, No. 22 in white appeared to clip Krejci’s upper body with brute force, and Krejci, who had offseason hip surgery just six months ago, fell backwards in an awkward angle and was very slow to get up before he made his way to the Bruins dressing room.

The good news for the Bruins is that Krejci, who appeared to suffer a cut and nothing more on the play, did return for the third period and logged regular shifts without much of an issue.

Down David Backes, and with Ryan Spooner readjusting to life at center after a full training camp and start of the season at left wing, the Bruins undoubtedly need a healthy Krejci in their lineup.

A healthy, productive Krejci would be even better, and he knows it.

“Everything on this team starts with the defensive zone. If you can’t get out of there clean, then it’s hard to do something,” Krejci, who finished the night with a minus-1 and one shot on goal in 15:46 of time on ice, said. “So, it’s up to us, especially forwards, to take care of the D and the slot. Our D’s do the best they can, but they need help from the other three forwards. When we play well, that’s what we do. But, if we don’t like today, then that’s what happens.”

Julien shuffles lines up in third period

Starved for offense, and in the midst of getting their doors blown off, head coach Claude Julien tinkered with the lines in the third period of the game. He moved David Pastrnak to a line with Matt Beleskey and Krejci, while Danton Heinen skated on the right side of the first line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. It’s a move that could come as an effort to spread some of the offensive game around, as Pastrnak and Marchand have been the only two consistent wingers making things happen for the Black and Gold through the first six games of the season.

“Once you start falling behind then guys start cheating and then they start trying to cheat on the offensive side and that only gets worse,” Julien said. “They’re trying to make up for it with scoring goals, but we’ve got to get better without the puck. When we get better without the puck, we turn it over quickly, we’ve got it back on our stick and we’re back on the attack. And every time we’ve played well without the puck and done the job, we’ve scored some goals.”

It doesn’t help that the Bruins have scored just four goals over their last three games.

“Any good team will tell you that – that the game without the puck, recovering the puck quickly, is the key to success and getting some offense,” Julien continued. “We can’t – if we’re going to cheat offensively and not do our job defensively, it ends up in the back of our net and we just lose momentum, we lose confidence, we lose everything that comes with it.”

Offensive zone turnovers become glaring issue in loss

The Bruins were credited with seven giveaways in the first period of this loss. By the end of the second period, they had 10 to their name. By the end of the night, they had 16. Against a team and system that pressures the puck-carrier to lead their charge the other way, the Bruins fumbled and stumbled with the puck on a consistent basis, especially in the attacking zone. It may have been the only consistency in their game. Everyone was a suspect in the turnover game. Even members of Boston’s top six — Krejci finished the night with a team-high three while Marchand was credited with two — were guilty. And it almost always came back to cost the Bruins, too, as the Wild’s fourth goal simply doesn’t happen without an ugly d-zone turnover from the blue line.

“Guys have to stay focused for the whole 60-minute game and really pay attention to what’s going on on the ice,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “Not looking for shortcuts, just honoring the game, honoring the game plan, and really being accountable. We’re out there to do the right thing and, like I said, do the things that we practice every day.”

The Bruins are back in action tomorrow night in a road game against the New York Rangers.

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid to make season debut tonight vs. Wild 10.25.16 at 4:41 pm ET
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Adam McQuaid will make his season debut tonight.

Adam McQuaid will make his season debut tonight.

BOSTON – It’s already all hands on deck for the Boston Bruins.

Just five games into the new year, the Bruins will enter tonight’s game against the Minnesota Wild down top-six forward David Backes, and without both of their NHL goaltenders, Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin. But the Bruins will get an experienced lift on their back-end, as Adam McQuaid will make his season debut after missing the first five games of the season with an upper-body injury.

“He’s ready to go,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of McQuaid.

Cleared to play days ago and a full participant in practice, McQuaid will finally draw back into the B’s defensive mix on their second pairing with puck-mover Torey Krug.

“Regardless of who’s on the left side, I’ve played with everybody, so I’m fortunate in that way to have experience with those guys,” McQuaid said after the morning skate. “All solid partners, so I’ll probably lean on them a little bit and have lots of communications and just try to keep it a simple game.”

The 30-year-old McQuaid recorded one goal, nine points, and racked up 142 hits and 121 blocked shots in 64 games in just about every possible defensive pairing option for the Bruins last season.

To make room for McQuaid, defenseman Robbie O’Gara was assigned to the Providence Bruins.

In net, the Bruins will go with Malcolm Subban for just the second time in his NHL career, and first since Feb. 2015. The 22-year-old Subban has an 0-3-1 record and .846 save percentage in four games for the Providence Bruins this season, and allowed three goals on six shots in his only prior NHL start before he received the hook in what was a 31-minute nightmare against the St. Louis Blues.

But the plan doesn’t change with Subban in net instead of a Rask or Khudobin, according to Julien.  

“Our gameplan is about playing good defense, with or without Tuukka,” Julien said following the club’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena. “You put a system together, you believe in it, and you go out and play your game together. Adjusting to injuries is not quite what we’re looking for. What we’re looking for is a solid performance from our team and I think that will trump any injury that we have.”

Minnesota counters with Devan Dubnyk. The 6-foot-6 Dubnyk has two wins and a .912 save percentage in four games this season, and stopped 30-of-32 shots against in a loss on Oct. 22, but is winless with an .865 save percentage in five career head-to-heads with the Bruins.

Defenseman Joe Morrow is the expected healthy scratch for the Bruins.

Here are the projected lines and pairings for the Bruins

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Matt Beleskey – David Krejci – Danton Heinen

Dominic Moore – Ryan Spooner – Jimmy Hayes

Tim Schaller – Riley Nash – Noel Acciari

Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

John-Michael Liles – Colin Miller

Subban

Malcolm Subban gets start for injury-riddled Bruins 10.25.16 at 12:38 pm ET
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Malcolm Subban will get the start for the Bruins against the Wild tonight.

Malcolm Subban will get the start for the Bruins against the Wild tonight.

BRIGHTON – There is a combined 31 minutes of NHL experience between the two goaltenders the Boston Bruins will dress for tonight’s head-to-head with the Minnesota Wild. All of which have been logged by Malcolm Subban, tonight’s starter.

It was a 31-minute night that he’d probably like to forget, too. 

Yanked from the crease on Feb. 20, 2015 after three goals on just six shots against from the St. Louis Blues, the 22-year-old Subban will finally get another NHL chance as he becomes the club’s starter by default with injuries to both B’s ace in net Tuukka Rask (“general soreness”) and his backup, Anton Khudobin. Rask still hasn’t skated since last Thursday’s win over the Devils (five calendar days and four skates overall), while Khudobin suffered an upper-body injury early in Monday’s practice, one that will keep out for approximately three weeks according to Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. 

“A little bit, but not too much,” Subban admitted when asked if that disastrous NHL debut has stayed with him. “A couple of the goals that went in in that game I easily could have had, and it wasn’t an issue of if I was able to play then or not, it was just a matter that was more mental than anything.”

Now in his fourth year in the system, Subban’s start with the Providence Bruins as the organization’s third goaltender this year was far from awe inspiring, with zero wins and an .846 save percentage in four games for the club, but the Bruins are not focused on the past, but rather the present.   

“I can’t control any of that stuff,” B’s coach Claude Julien said of Subban’s struggles with the P-Bruins. “I just want him to go in tonight and play a real solid game because we know he can. He’s a good goaltender. Just because he had a bit of a rough outing doesn’t mean he has to have one tonight.”

Against a Wild offense that’s scored 19 goals through six games this year under new head coach Bruce Boudreau, the Bruins will need Subban to take a step up as a capable option for the shorthanded crease.

“This is an opportunity for him to play well and to demonstrate that he’s ready to play in the NHL,” Julien said of Subban’s start.

Drafted in the first round (24th overall) in 2012, Subban has won 45 of his 99 appearances in the AHL overall, and has had more than enough time to wait for his next NHL shot. 

One that comes tonight.

“Ready to go,” Subban said of the newest chance with the Black and Gold. “Over the past couple of the years I’ve been eager to get back in that [Boston] net, and this is my chance.”

Down Rask and Khudobin, and with Subban in net, Zane McIntyre will dress as the B’s backup tonight.

Bruins forward David Backes out vs. Minnesota Wild 10.25.16 at 12:03 pm ET
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David Backes will miss Tuesday's game against the Minnesota Wild. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

David Backes will miss Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

BRIGHTON – The injury bug has hit the Bruins and hit ‘em hard less than two weeks into the year. Its newest victim: top-six forward David Backes.

Absent from the morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena ahead of tonight’s game against the Minnesota Wild, the Bruins will be down Backes for at least tonight’s tilt, according to head coach Claude Julien.

“Minor issue, day to day,” Julien confirmed after the skate. “[He] will not play tonight.”

But the Bruins, already down their top two goaltenders, are a busy bunch and could certainly use Backes, especially with a back-to-back set for tonight and tomorrow night.

“I don’t have that answer,” Julien said of Backes’ availability for the second leg of the back-to-back that concludes at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers tomorrow night. “When I say [day to day], it’s because I don’t have that answer. Nobody does.”

Backes’ absence will move first-year pro Danton Heinen to the right wing on David Krejci’s line while Matt Beleskey will move up to the second line left-wing spot next to Krejci. Neither Beleskey nor Heinen have registered a point this season, while Krejci has tallied two assists through five games.

“[Backes] is such a big part of the team and you hate to see him go down,” Heinen, who has played with Backes and Krejci for almost all of his four games with the team, admitted. “But everybody’s just got to step up, it’s an opportunity for other guys to jump in and try to make an impact.”

Signed by the Bruins to a five-year, $30 million contract this past summer, Backes has recorded two goals and four points with 12 shots on goal in five games for the team this season.

Backes has missed just 15 games to injury since the start of the 2009-10 season.

Malcolm Subban becomes next man up for Bruins after Anton Khudobin leaves practice with injury 10.24.16 at 2:11 pm ET
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Anton Khudobin left Monday's practice with an undisclosed injury.  (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

Anton Khudobin left Monday’s practice with an undisclosed injury. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

BRIGHTON – Less than two weeks into the season, the Bruins may be down to their third goaltender.

The Bruins took to the ice for a Monday practice at Warrior Ice Arena already down starting netminder Tuukka Rask (“general soreness”). Out for the third straight skate, Rask’s absence put Anton Khudobin in the starter’s crease and forced the Bruins to summon Malcolm Subban up from the Providence Bruins. But when practice finished, it was Subban that was the only goalie left standing.

Injured as the rest of the team hit the ice, Khudobin dropped his blocker and went to the B’s bench for further examination by the training staff. In what appeared to be a hand/wrist issue, the 30-year-old looked to be in great discomfort before he exited back to the locker room and did not return.

“I have no update on him yet,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Khudobin after practice. “I have not heard, obviously. He got injured and couldn’t practice. I haven’t heard anything back yet.”

With the 22-year-old Subban at the other end by himself, and the loss of Khudobin, who has two losses and an .849 save percentage on the year, the Bruins are undoubtedly short on goaltenders.

“This is hockey. We deal with it on a day to day basis,” Julien said of the mounting goaltending injuries ahead of tomorrow’s game against the Wild. “If we have to make some adjustments and we have to have different personnel, we’ll deal with it when we have more of an update.”

The club is still without an update on Rask, too, according to their coach.

“He’s still day to day, so nothing’s changed there,” Julien confirmed of Rask. “I don’t know what his situation is for tomorrow. I can’t give it to you because no decision has been made on him.”

If both Rask and Khudobin are unable to go tomorrow, Subban, despite the slow start of an 0-3-1 record and .878 save percentage in four AHL games this year, including a 30-of-34 performance in an overtime loss against the Albany Devils on Sunday, would be the next man up for the club.

“Not the way you want to start the season,” Subban admitted of his start with a new-look, more inexperienced P-Bruins team this year. “But to be honest, last game I felt a lot better. That game didn’t go to the way I wanted to, but we were playing a hot team and I thought I played pretty well.”

Subban, whose 2015-16 season was cut short by a fractured larynx, finished this past preseason with two wins and a .904 save percentage in three games for the Big B’s, and feels his effort is there.

“I feel pretty good. I feel like I’m battling,” Subban said of his mindset throughout the slow start. “I feel like the biggest thing right now is just to battle. It’s not the first time I’ve faced adversity, and it’s not gonna be the last time, so I don’t feel to down on myself right now, to be honest.”

And in their final home game before a four-game road trip with stops in New York, Detroit, Florida, and Tampa, the Bruins are not going to look for style points from their third goaltender if called upon.

“We’re in a situation here where we’ll see what happens here,” Julien said of Subban’s recall and availability for tomorrow. “If he’s going in goal, he’ll go in goal. It’s as simple as that.

“As a coach, there’s one thing that worries me: stop the puck, I don’t care how you do it, just stop it,” Julien continued. “I’m not a goalie coach, so as a coach I’m demanding on [the goalie] making the saves, and the goalie coach can work on the techniques.”

Subban has posted a 45-31-15 record, with a 2.46 goals against average and .916 save percentage in 99 career games in the American Hockey League.

A first-round draft pick (24th overall) in 2012, Subban has skated in one NHL game to date, a Feb. 20, 2015 loss to the St. Louis Blues, a game in which he received an early hook after he allowed three goals on just six shots against in 31 minutes of action.

Ryan Spooner skates at center, Malcolm Subban recalled from AHL as Bruins return to practice 10.24.16 at 11:36 am ET
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Malcolm Subban was recalled from Providence for Monday's practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

Malcolm Subban

BRIGHTON — Two days after Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien said he needed time to “digest” the group’s 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden before he considered any line changes, Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena brought about just that for a slumping forward group.

Forward Ryan Spooner, a healthy scratch against the Devils last week and one of two scorers last game (a power-play goal scored with No. 51 back on the first unit), found himself back in a gray sweater in the middle of the team’s third line for the first time since last season. The 24-year-old Spooner tallied 13 goals and 49 points as the team’s third line center a year ago, 32 of which came at even strength, and has recorded one goal and one assist with 11 shots on goal in four games played on the wing this season. Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes, both of whom are pointless with a minus-5 and a combined 15 shots on net, remained on the wings.

Riley Nash, who has manned the third-line center spot for the last three games, was also on the ice and in a gray jersey as well, though it was Spooner that took the first line rushes with the group.

Spooner’s move back to his natural position for practice plugged first-year pro Danton Heinen, a scratch on Saturday, back to David Krejci’s left as the winger opposite David Backes on the right.

Heinen has yet to record a point and has two shots on goal in four NHL games played.

Patrice Bergeron’s line with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak remained intact, as did the fourth line with Dominic Moore between Noel Acciari and Tim Schaller.

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was not on the ice for the Bruins for the third straight skate.

With Rask out and Zane McIntyre returned to the Providence Bruins late last night, Bruins prospect Malcolm Subban was recalled this morning and was on the ice with the big club. Subban has posted an 0-3-1 record and .846 save percentage in four games with the P-Bruins this year.

Subban would last as the only goaltender as Bruins practice, too, as Anton Khudobin left the ice and did not return after he appeared to injure his right hand/wrist. 

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