|With scoring down, Milan Lucic admits to feeling the pressure ‘a little bit’||11.25.14 at 9:53 am ET|
For Milan Lucic, it’s the small steps forward that are a sign that things are getting better.
On a line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson, the Bruins forward charged the net and was rewarded with a pass from Eriksson that gave him a chance to put the puck into a vacated net for just his fourth goal of the season. Lucic had all the time in the world to think about how many missed chances he’s had to score this season. Instead, he put it in for arguably the easiest non-empty goal he’s ever scored.
“I saw that he saw me and I knew he’s capable of making the play,” Lucic said of Eriksson. “It was just a great play by Loui, heads up play to see me there all by myself in front of the net and for myself you saw it was a little bit of delayed I just wanted to make sure I put that one in the back of the net.”
Lucic scored just his fourth goal of the season in Boston’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Penguins Monday night at TD Garden.
“I think, all in all, we played a pretty good game,” Lucic said. “We didn’t spend too much time in our own zone and we were able to create a bunch of scoring chances. I think what got a better is we were attacking with a lot more speed off the rush and we were strong on the pucks and driving to the front of the net and trying to create chances that way. For myself just on that goal, just driving the net, stopping in front, and a great play by Carl and Loui to get me the puck there for that first goal.”
He was also in front of the net when Eriksson put a puck on net with he and Soderberg charging the crease. The puck went in off Soderberg, but the goal was disallowed when the referee ruled on replay that Soderberg shoved it in with his glove.
|David Pastrnak ‘happy for every minute’ of experience in NHL debut||11.25.14 at 9:26 am ET|
David Pastrnak wasn’t about to complain about ice time or being mixed and matched with different lines. The 18-year-old was just happy to be making his NHL debut Monday night against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.
The Czech played 10 shifts for a total of seven minutes, 53 seconds, with three missed shots, a hit, a takeaway and a giveaway in Boston’s 3-2 overtime loss to Pittsburgh.
The soft-spoken first-round pick reminded many of David Krejci afterward, speaking softly but admitting that he was indeed a little nervous getting the call up.
“A little bit for sure, but I said I just tried to play for the team and tried to do my best for the win and play my game,” Pastrnak said. “I think we played hard. We battled hard and tried to go to the net but it wasn’t enough. I tried to my best for the team and enjoy the time and enjoy the game.”
Coach Claude Julien mixed and matched Pastrnak on different lines Monday, taking advantage of the very fluid situation caused by the numerous injuries and limiting Brad Marchand, who was playing his first game back since coming off the injured reserve list.
|5 things we learned as Bruins fell to Penguins in overtime||11.24.14 at 9:41 pm ET|
In a perfect world, Milan Lucic would play with a healthy David Krejci and the two would anchor Boston’s top offensive line. With Krejci still battling through lower-body issues that have dogged him all season, that can’t happen and Boston’s best bet is skating Lucic on Carl Soderberg’s line and bumping that up to being the team’s second line.
On Monday, that line was very effective for Boston. Matched up against Evgeni Malkin’s line, the Lucic-Soderberg-Eriksson trio created numerous scoring chances, one of which led to a Lucic goal that started with Soderberg sending a spin-o-rama pass behind his back to Eriksson down low.
Malkin would strike on a second-period power-play goal, however, and would then provide the overtime dagger against Patrice Bergeron‘s line in Pittsburgh’s 3-2 overtime win.
Soderberg appeared to have a goal later in the second period when a rebound of a Lucic tip went off him and into the net, but it was ruled no goal after officials concluded that Soderberg had knocked the puck in with his hand.
Here are four other things we learned Monday:
BRUINS’ AIM FOR NET-FRONT PRESENCE DOESN’T WORK FOR OFFICIALS
The Bruins had trouble getting to the net Saturday against the Canadiens. They had trouble getting away with being in front of the net Monday.
A Patrice Bergeron goal was disallowed in the first period after it was determined that he knocked a rebound from Marc-Andre Fleury into the net with a high stick. The rule on the ice was a goal, but the other three officials ruled it no goal, with the replay confirming that Bergeron’s stick was above the cross bar.
That worst of it came later in the period, when Reilly Smith was the victim of a goaltender interference call. With Dougie Hamilton taking a shot from the point, Smith went to the net and was shoved into Fleury at the top of the crease. It was a tough break for Smith, who couldn’t get out of the way.
|Bruins send Seth Griffith to Providence as Brad Marchand comes off injured reserve||11.24.14 at 4:38 pm ET|
The Bruins assigned forward Seth Griffith to Providence Monday, an indication that Brad Marchand could be nearing a return to the lineup. Marchand was taken off injured reserve prior to Monday’s game against the Penguins.
With Marchand off IR, the Bruins would have been over their roster limit of 23 players. By sending Griffith down, the team avoided exposing a player to waivers. Griffith is tied for the team lead with five goals, so there’s a chance he won’t be in Providence for long. The Bruins’ next game after Monday is Friday.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|David Pastrnak hopes added weight makes him strong enough for NHL||11.24.14 at 1:03 pm ET|
David Pastrnak obviously isn’t close to being the player he’ll one day be at the NHL level, but the usual shortcomings of a young skilled player are all worth overlooking for the 2014 first-round pick. The only true road block on the ice for Pastrnak playing in Boston this year was going to be his size.
“To throw someone [in] at that age, at that weight…” Peter Chiarelli said, making a face when speaking at the conclusion of July’s development camp. “But there’s been guys that have done it.”
The 5-foot-10 right wing weighed 165 pounds when the Bruins got their hands on him in June’s draft. He was offensively sensational at points during a rookie tournament in Tennessee in September, but he didn’t seem well-suited for board work and was easily pushed away from the net by opposing defensemen. In his second NHL practice, he suffered a shoulder injury on a check from Matt Bartkowski.
Now, after dazzling at the AHL level with five goals and 13 assists for 18 points through 17 games for Providence thus far and being named the AHL’s Rookie of the Month in October, Pastrnak is in Boston and preparing for what could be his NHL debut Monday night against the Penguins.
He’s shown that he has adjusted to the smaller ice in North America after growing up in the Czech Republic and playing the last two years in Sweden, but as he heads to the NHL, the questions of whether he can handle the physicality of hockey’s toughest league aren’t going away.
Pastrnak hopes he can help answer those questions after putting on some weight in Providence. He said he’s bulked up a bit in Providence, guessing that he is currently up to 176 pounds and that the extra weight feels good.
“I feel a lot stronger on the puck and around the boards and in battling,” Pastrnak said. “I think it helps me. I like it. I didn’t lose my speed so much. That’s what I was looking for.”
Pastrnak skated on a line with Jordan Caron and Alexander Khokhlachev in Monday’s morning skate. That has been his line in Providence this season, so the trio at least has familiarity going for it.
When asked about the 18-year-old’s development, Claude Julien spoke about the strides Pastrnak has made as a defensive player. Pastrnak has long looked up to David Krejci, a Czech player who he feels is capable of being dominant offensively while also being responsible in his own zone.
“I think, right now, that’s what David is trying to learn in Providence,” Julien said. “We know how dynamically he makes things happen. He’s a skill player, can score goals but we don’t expect perfection but you have to be at least a little bit reliable defensively.
“That’s what he’s working on over there and he’s gotten better, so that’s where we’re at with him and I guess, like you guys, I’m going to find out a little bit more about him if he plays tonight.”
|Carl Soderberg, Tuukka Rask get into light altercation at Bruins morning skate||11.24.14 at 11:53 am ET|
Soderberg was in Rask’s face when Julien skated over and yelled to separate the two players. Rask is no stranger to losing his temper in practice (he’s stormed off the ice multiple times over the years), but hard feelings have never seemed to linger with the goaltender, who has long been popular among his teammates.
After the morning skate, Rask indicated that he and Soderberg were fine.
“Yeah,” Rask said with a laugh. “Something for you guys to write about.”
Julien was asked about the tussle and, predictably, said all was well.
“It wasn’t even a tussle,” Julien said. “They’ve already kissed and made up, so it’s not an issue.”
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Chris Kelly and David Krejci remain out, Bruins have multiple game-time decisions vs. Penguins||11.24.14 at 11:50 am ET|
David Krejci and Chris Kelly remain out for the Bruins as they face the Penguins Monday night. Both players were absence from morning skate, with Claude Julien saying afterwards that Krejci has taken a step backwards with his injury and that Kelly is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
Brad Marchand is also a game-time decision for the Bruins, with Julien saying there are other forwards who could be in or out due to injury. Both David Pastrnak and Jordan Caron were present for the skate. The lines in morning skate were as follows:
Marchand/Fraser – Bergeron – Smith
Lucic – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Gagne
Caron – Khokhlachev – Pastrnak/Griffith
Krejci has dealt with multiple lower-body issues. He battled a hip injury earlier in the season and is believed to be nursing a different issue in the same area. Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald reported Monday that the current issue is a groin pull. Playing through one issue in that area creates strain on others, so it’s possible the current injury is a result of the previous one.
“Right now what I’ll tell you is we’ve taken a step back again,” Julien said. “It’s something that I can’t even go into. It’s been way more complicated… again as you know, these are not machines, these guys, and there’s certain things you try and fix and then you find out there’s a little bit more and nobody knows and nobody should know until you go from one stage to the next.
“The one thing I can tell you is that when he played he was one hundred percent, but we took him out because after that he wasn’t one hundred percent anymore. That’s where it’s tough. You say he’s one hundred percent, should you hold him back? I don’t believe in holding anybody back because if he’s ok the next day then we wasted a game with him, so we’re working on that. The only thing I would tell you is that everything I’m being told, it’s not something we’re going to have to manage all year and I know that’s a big issue in wondering what’s going on but it’s something that’s going to be fixed is what I’m being told. So don’t shoot the messenger.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
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