|Zdeno Chara says ‘my bad’ for running into Dougie Hamilton and giving Montreal game-winning goal||02.09.15 at 9:40 am ET|
For as much as Bruins fans might be frustrated with the unfinished chances that Daniel Paille continues to generate, no play summarizes Boston’s frustration this season with the Canadiens than the one in the opening minute of the third period Sunday night.
Dougie Hamilton had the puck in the high slot and appeared ready to take aim on the impenetrable Carey Price, with the Canadiens leading, 1-0. But Zdeno Chara, reading David Krejci circling around the net, collided with Hamilton. The back-check of his own teammate gave Dale Weise the puck. Weise found a sprinting Max Pacioretty at center ice and Pacioretty beat Tuukka Rask between the pads for a 2-0 Canadiens lead.
“That was my bad,” Chara said. “I saw David going around the net and I moved in and that’s something that I shouldn’t probably – usually you have the crossing defenseman moving in. I may have misread it and it ended up costing us. I’m taking blame for that because that’s something I should be more patient with and maybe take a look. Dougie [Hamilton] was in the right spot, David made the right play and, I don’t know, I just thought that I would have a chance to move in but that’s not the way we play.”
“I saw him last second,” Hamilton said of Chara. “I don’t know, I haven’t really seen it yet. I don’t know, just a bad bounce, miscommunication, and it results in a goal.”
Claude Julien did see it very clearly and left no doubt that he felt badly for Rask. It was his goalie who saved Chara in the first period when he lost a puck at the blue line and turned away a chance from Jacob De La Rose. In total, Rask stopped 31 of 33 shots but fell to 3-13-3 all time in the regular season against Montreal. Read the rest of this entry »
|Carey Price is pretty sure Canadiens will see Bruins ‘again’ in playoffs||02.09.15 at 9:12 am ET|
Sooner or later, the Bruins will have to find a way to solve Carey Price.
On Sunday night, the league’s top goalie stonewalled the Bruins for a fourth time this season, stopping 34 of 35 shots in a 3-1 win over the Bruins that gave Montreal a clean sweep of the four-game season series. What does it mean to Price?
“That’s what they are. They’re a really good team, well-structured,” Price said. “They work hard. They’ve got all the characteristics of a good playoff team, and I don’t doubt that if we want to get to our ultimate goal, we’ll see them again.”
In those four games, Price has allowed just six goals, turning aside 113 of the 119 shots he’s faced. On Sunday, he admitted he was a little bit lucky to go along with being very good. The best example of that was in the second period when Loui Eriksson fired a shot on goal from the left circle after he left his crease. The puck hit his stick and popped straight up in the air and into his glove.
Then came his two saves in the same period on the tough-luck Daniel Paille. One was a kick save on Paille, who was right on the doorstep and took a pass from Torey Krug but could not finish. The other was a stick save on a shot from Paille from the right circle.
“Lucky. I don’t even think it was going in, to be honest,” Price said of the second Paille chance.
In the first period, Craig Cunningham had a chance in the low slot with Price again scrambling in the crease. But there was Michael Bournival there to get a piece of it before Price could get back in position.
“Absolutely, yeah. We had some guys bailing me out,” Price said. “That’s what it’s all about. We’re a committed team to blocking shots, and battling in that blue paint, and tonight it paid off in a close one.”
The flip side of this is alarming to the Bruins, especially coach Claude Julien.
“I don’t think we made Carey Price‘s night real hard,” Julien said. “He didn’t have to move much. He just stood there, stopped the shots, so those are areas that weren’t good enough, and in order to beat this team that really gets up for us our best players have to be our best players and we didn’t have that tonight.”
How do the Bruins go about making things tougher?
“Traffic,” captain Zdeno Chara said. “It’s pretty obvious I think. I don’t think there’s any goalie in the league that likes to have traffic in front of him. We didn’t do that probably consistently for the whole night.”
“Like every goalie you have to get in front,” added fellow blue liner Dennis Seidenberg. “If the goalie doesn’t see the puck he can’t stop them or he can’t make a save. There are going to loose pucks and we just have to get there in front of him and then get those second chance opportunities and that has been missing in the past.”
The Bruins have two months to find what’s been missing against Price.
|5 things we learned as Habs complete season series sweep of Bruins||02.08.15 at 10:20 pm ET|
It seems all of the encouraging play in the world isn’t enough to prepare the Bruins for the Canadiens.
Coming off a stretch of points in five of their last six games (4-1-1), the Bruins promptly gave the puck to always-opportunistic Habs and gave them a sweep of the regular-season series. Montreal’s 3-1 win over the B’s Sunday at TD Garden made the Habs winners in all four of teams’ meetings this season.
David Pastrnak scored Boston’s only goal, sending a puck just barely over the line on a rebound bid with less than five minutes to play. Though the Bruins did not pressure the Vezina favorite early, Price was outstanding when he had to be.
On paper, the Bruins should be able to contend with and beat the Canadiens. Of course, paper rarely takes into a consideration that one team is in the other’s head.
Here are four more things we learned Sunday:
BEST PLAYERS GO BUST
For as great a player as Price is, it isn’t like the Canadiens ice a dominant team in front of him. Dale Weise plays on their first line. Sergei Gonchar, who is actually the same person as former NHL star Sergei Gonchar, is on their second pairing.
While Boston’s roster needs improvements, their best players should have matched up well with Montreal’s and Carl Soderberg’s line should have feasted on the bottom of the Habs’ roster.
Instead, the opposite happened. Weise, who was a fourth-liner earlier in the season when he wasn’t a healthy scratch, slipped off of Bergeron in front of the net and took a pass from Max Pacioretty to score the Canadiens’ first goal. That came against Zdeno Chara‘s pairing.
In the third period, Chara knocked Dougie Hamilton over at the blue line in the offensive zone, resulting in Weise jumping on the puck and springing Pacioretty on a breakaway. Pacioretty beat Tuukka Rask to make it seemingly an insurmountable deficit for Boston.
|Brad Marchand has no issue with trip from John Tavares, not sure if it was a slew-foot||02.08.15 at 6:18 pm ET|
With video of an uncalled trip by Islanders captain John Tavares on Brad Marchand circulating from Saturday’s game, Marchand had no complaints when asked if the play was a slew-foot.
From the angle shown above, it’s impossible to tell whether Tavares used his upper-body to pull Marchand back, but it seems he did kick Marchand’s right foot out. Marchand, who was given a two-game suspension for slew-footing Derick Brassard last month, did not accuse Tavares of any wrongdoing.
“I’m not sure. I haven’t seen the replay of it,” Marchand said Sunday. “I thought he got me pretty good, but I don’t know if it was intentional. I don’t really know how the play came together, so to be honest I really don’t know.”
Marchand was then asked whether he pays close attention to potential supplemental discipline given his history of suspensions.
“The league’s going to do what they deem necessary for every play,’ Marchand replied. “It really doesn’t bother me either way. I didn’t get hurt. If I would have gotten hurt, maybe it would have been a little different situation, but it’s a play in a game in the last minute and I can understand why the refs didn’t call a penalty. If it’s worth supplemental discipline then they’ll do that. If not, then they won’t. I’m not going to pay more attention to it.”
|Don Sweeney on Sunday Skate: Bruins not limiting their search at trade deadline, ‘nothing that’s set in stone’ with David Pastrnak||02.08.15 at 12:46 pm ET|
Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney joined Sunday Skate to discuss the Bruins’ roster as the team gets closer to the March 2 trade deadline. To listen to the interview, click here.
The B’s have been looking for a wing nearly all season, though they are among a large number of teams who could stand to improve defensively. Sweeney said the Bruins continue to look for a wing, but that general manager Peter Chiarelli isn’t limiting his search.
“Everybody’s sort of focused on the fact that maybe our depth on the wings or scoring ability would be an area that we would like to address, having the types of players that we’ve lost over the last couple of years,” Sweeney said. “I don’t think it’s any trade secret that that’s probably the area that we’ve primarily been focused on, but I don’t think if any trade situations and discussions come up, that Peter wouldn’t have the opportunity to pursue in any one area that might strengthen our club.”
The search for a forward is part of an ongoing process to find David Krejci a permanent right wing. David Pastrnak’s play with Krejci was enough for the Bruins to burn the first year off his entry-level contract and keep him on the roster, though the B’s moved Pastrnak off Krejci’s line last week to keep the rookie away from other teams’ top lines.
Pastrnak was moved back to Krejci’s line with Milan Lucic in the second period of Saturday’s game, however, as the Bruins had last line change and were matching Patrice Bergeron‘s line against New York’s first line. Sweeney said Pastrnak remains a candidate to play with Krejci, but that the team is still figuring out what his role will ultimately be this season.
“There’s nothing that’s set in stone,” Sweeney said. “We’re just going to continue to evaluate. We’ll go to the trade deadline, and Peter’s trying to improve our hockey club. If we can do that, then David may find his way out of the lineup, may find his way back in Providence. It doesn’t matter. The boy has been a sponge with all things, and we’re so excited about his development trajectory and hopefully he doesn’t hit a wall here as he goes down the stretch.”
Sweeney did say that if either Pastrnak or Reilly Smith forces the Bruins’ hand and fills the spot themselves, it would be “the perfect scenario.”
The Bruins have around $2.2 million in cap space, though they have an undisclosed amount of unused long-term injured reserve space that will allow them to exceed the upper limit. Though they don’t have too much money to spend — something that can be helped by a trade partner retaining a player’s salary — Sweeney did say that the Bruins have the assets to add players to their liking.
“I think we have the assets to be able to pursue any type of deal outside of a straight cap add-on,” he said. “Obviously, the wiggle room we have from just adding a player without necessarily moving some money around is going to be more problematic than not, but from an organizational standpoint of having assets to be able to pursue deals and talk deals and potentially explore them, we absolutely are in a position to do that.
“Obviously, the cap dollars are what they are. We’ve been in the station all year long. We’ve managed that and we have to continue to do that down the stretch. Our cap situation doesn’t grow as the season goes along because we’re in LTI, but we do have some wiggle room.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Tuukka Rask: ‘Nobody’s told me otherwise, so I’m sure I’m playing’ vs. Canadiens||02.07.15 at 10:57 pm ET|
After stopping 39 of the 40 shots he faced against the Islanders Saturday, Tuukka Rask said he is ready to go again Sunday against the Canadiens.
“Nobody’s told me otherwise, so I’m sure I’m playing,” Rask said Saturday night. “If I play, hopefully we’ll get a win so I don’t ever have to answer [the] questions again.”
The questions to which Rask refers are those of whether he and the Bruins can beat the Canadiens. Boston has dropped all three of its meetings vs. the Habs this season, with Rask getting yanked in one of his two starts against Montreal.
In his career, Rask is 3-12-3 against the Canadiens in the regular season. While he shut out the Habs in one of his three postseason victories against them last year, Rask acknowledged that the Canadiens have been a problem for the Bruins.
“We try to approach it as any other game, but the fact is that we haven’t been able to beat them that many times in the past,” he said. “We have to change it because another fact is most likely we’re going to face them in the playoffs this year, so we have to learn to play against them.”
Rask has already played in both games of back-to-backs four times this season. The possibilities to start for the Bruins if Rask doesn’t start are Niklas Svedberg and Malcolm Subban, the latter of whom is currently up with the Bruins. Subban hasn’t started a game in over two weeks, however, and playing him against the Canadiens in both his first NHL game and his first game at any level in a while would be a very challenging assignment.
Svedberg did not start Saturday in Providence, leaving open the possibility that he could be available for the B’s. Svedberg played most of the third period in Montreal in relief of Rask on Oct. 16 and allowed five goals to the Habs on Nov. 13 at the Bell Centre.
Claude Julien did not answer when asked who would be in net Sunday. The Bruins will not have a morning skate Sunday, so its likely that Boston’s starter will not be revealed until warmups at 7 p.m.
|5 things we learned as Loui Eriksson’s late goal helps Bruins take season series vs. Islanders||02.07.15 at 9:42 pm ET|
When David Krejci was hurt early in the season, Claude Julien was hesitant to move Carl Soderberg up. When Krejci’s line needed a right wing, Julien was hesitant to move Loui Eriksson up. On Saturday, everyone saw why once again.
With the game tied at one goal apiece, Julien mixed up his lines to reunited the steady trio of Soderberg between Chris Kelly and Eriksson. The result: a late goal from Eriksson to break the tie and give the Bruins a 2-1 win over the Islanders (box) in the first game of a difficult back-to-back that brings the Habs to Boston on Sunday.
The goal, assisted by both Soderberg and Kelly, was Eriksson’s 12th goal of the season after posting just 10 goals over 61 games last season in his first campaign as a Bruin.
Saturday’s game was not the first time that Julien, after breaking up his trusty third line, went back to it and saw quick results. When Julien did it on Dec. 21 against the Sabres, Kelly scored on their first shift back together and Eriksson scored the game-winner in overtime.
Though former Bruins backup Chad Johnson started in goal for New York, it’s still worth noting the victory improved the Bruins to 2-1-0 against the Islanders this season, with their one loss coming in the Oct. 23 game in which Zdeno Chara tore his PCL.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
PASTRNAK WATCH: STOCK UP
David Pastrnak’s play dropped off from its previous level after the Bruins announced in mid-January that they would be keeping him in Boston. Part of that included being dropped off David Krejci‘s line last week against the Islanders.
On Saturday, the 18-year-old rookie turned in perhaps his best performance since his offensive explosion late in his audition last month. Pastrnak’s night looked promising early on when he nearly netted one in the first period on the rebound of a Dougie Hamilton point shot, but it was Pastrnak’s second period that got him promoted back to Krejci’s line.
Playing on Boston’s first power play unit after a Matt Martin holding penalty, Pastrnak dangled around Brian Strait coming into the zone, though his decision to pass to Milan Lucic might not have been as smart as shooting the puck. Later in the shift, Pastrnak, who claims to weigh in the high 170s these days, threw a big hit on Strait.
Julien apparently liked what he saw on that power play, as he moved Pastrnak from Carl Soderberg’s line back to Krejci’s line in the middle of the second period.
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