|Adam McQuaid still not close to return for Bruins||03.26.14 at 12:23 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — All healthy Bruins were on the ice for practice Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena. Unfortunately for the Bruins, that’s a group that still doesn’t include Adam McQuaid.
B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli said earlier this month that the team was shutting McQuaid down for two-to-three weeks to rehab a quad strain that has hampered the defenseman throughout the season. Wednesday marked three weeks since Chiarelli announced the plan, but Claude Julien said Wednesday that McQuaid remains off the ice.
“No, nothing,” Julien said when asked for an update on the player. “He’s still working out off-ice, but he hasn’t been on the ice yet.”
McQuaid’s continued absence increases the likelihood that the team might have to use Kevan Miller in the postseason. Miller has played well and has seen his minutes increase over his 39 games for Boston this season.
McQuaid has been limited to just 30 games this season and has not played since Jan. 19.
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|Bruins show they have learned how to handle Canadiens’ speed||03.25.14 at 12:12 am ET|
The loss is disappointing. The 12-game winning streak coming to an end is disappointing. Not burying more chances is disappointing. And getting goaded into a couple retaliatory penalties is disappointing.
But despite all that, the Bruins actually have a lot to feel good about after Monday night’s 2-1 shootout loss. Most importantly, it has become pretty clear that the Bruins have learned how to neutralize Montreal’s speed.
After a 4-1 loss to Montreal back on Jan. 30 — Boston’s fifth straight against its archrival — the Canadiens’ speed was all the rage. Sure, the Bruins had the deeper, better team. But when they went head-to-head, the Habs could expose the B’s. They could get through the neutral zone quickly. They could attack in transition. They could force uncharacteristic turnovers and take advantage, even when Boston was otherwise controlling play.
The last two times the Bruins and Canadiens have met, none of that has happened. The Bruins have continued to control play — something they showed signs of even in the two losses to Montreal earlier this season — but they’ve cut down on the Habs’ quick-strike ability.
The B’s obviously haven’t been perfect, but the mistakes have clearly gone way down. They’re not panicking under the pressure created by Montreal’s closing speed, and they’re not getting caught up ice and handing the Canadiens odd-man rushes.
“I think we’re playing a little bit more to our system,” Patrice Bergeron said. “I think earlier, we were getting away from our game. It’s obviously something that they want. They want that speedy game, that game where we don’t take care of the puck. They rely on turnovers, and I thought we’ve done a better job of that.”
The result of all that is a measly two goals against in their last two meetings. The Bruins’ dominance in their last matchup (a 4-1 win at the Bell Centre) is easy enough to see on the scoreboard. The dominance Monday night isn’t as evident. They didn’t win, and much of the game was overshadowed by fights, shoving matches, retaliation and all sorts of extracurricular activity.
But let’s take that out of the equation for a minute. At even strength — and believe it or not, there were actually 43 minutes played at even strength Monday night — the Bruins outshot the Canadiens 22-9 and out-attempted them 44-23. That’s dominance. And it’s not a one-game aberration either. The Bruins’ Corsi has been over 50 percent in three of their four meeting with Montreal this season, and it’s been over 60 percent twice.
“Their speed didn’t really get us today,” Johnny Boychuk said. “There have been times when they’ve caught us off guard and there’s a guy going for a breakaway, but it didn’t happen tonight. We just did a good job handling their guys and their speed. We limited their chances, that’s for sure.”
The question was never whether or not the Bruins could possess the puck and control play against Montreal. It was whether or not they could slow down the Habs in transition. The last two times they’ve played, the B’s have done that, and that’s a very encouraging sign for Boston should these two meet in the playoffs.
|Milan Lucic calls Alexei Emelin a ‘chicken,’ denies spearing Canadiens defenseman||03.24.14 at 11:22 pm ET|
One of the biggest challenges the Bruins faced in their 2-1 shootout loss to the Canadiens Monday night was keeping their cool. After the game, Milan Lucic still hadn’t quite cooled down.
Lucic took a first-period hip check from Alexei Emelin in the first period of the game. The hit was clean, but Lucic asserted after the game that Emelin was trying to take out his knees. Zdeno Chara went after Emelin for the play, earning a roughing minor.
“Whether it’s fair, legal or whatever you want to call it, if he wasn’t scared, he would stand up and hit me and not go after my knees,” Lucic said. “It just shows how big of a chicken he is that he needs to go down like that to take me down. It shows what kind of player he is, and on my end, you know you’ve got to keep your guard up at all times.”
That wasn’t the end of Lucic’s interactions with Emelin. In the third period (video here), Lucic skated past Emelin but stuck his stick between the player’s legs and lifted his stick, hitting him in what looked to be the rear end, though initial reactions around the web suggested he may have gotten Emelin in the — let’s say “groin.” Lucic denied the act after the game.
“Just skating by him and that’s all,” he said. “People are trying to say I speared him. I did not spear him, so that’s it.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Canadiens snap Bruins’ winning streak in shootout||03.24.14 at 10:28 pm ET|
The Bruins’ season-best winning streak was snapped in a shootout Monday night, as the Canadiens picked up a 2-1 shootout win over the B’s at TD Garden to end Boston’s win streak at 12 games.
Alexander Galchenyuk beat Tuukka Rask in the fifth round for the only scored in the shootout.
The Habs got on the board in the first period when an Alexei Emelin shot went off Chris Kelly‘s stick and past Tuukka Rask for a power play goal. The game remained 1-0 in Montreal’s favor until the third period, when Dougie Hamilton fired a wrist shot from the point that Patrice Bergeron redirected past Peter Budaj. The goal came on Boston’s fourth power play of the third period.
The Bruins will next play Thursday against the Blackhawks in the defending Stanley Cup champions’ first visit back to Boston since winning the Cup at the Garden in June.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- In a nutshell, too many penalties early on, not all of which needed to happen. Specific dumb ones will be outlined below, but long story short: The Bruins had three power plays in the first two periods to Montreal’s six.
- Johnny Boychuk let P.K. Subban get to him in the second period and it cost the Bruins yet another penalty. After Boychuk hip-checked Subban along the boards, Subban gave Boychuk a little shove to the back of the head, at which Boychuk threw his gloves off and, after Subban started skating away, yanked Subban down to the ice. Boychuk was the only player penalized, as he was given a roughing minor. It was Boston’s sixth minor penalty of the night.
- Standing up for a teammate is nice, but Emelin’s hip-check on Milan Lucic at center ice in the first period was clean. Zdeno Chara didn’t need to go after him, as he did, and it resulted in a Habs power play off a roughing minor for Chara.
- Milan Lucic took a pretty cheap shot at Emelin in the third period, seemingly trying to spear him in the privates from behind.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Kevan Miller basically put himself on the list nobody’s going to want to fight after his first-period bout with Travis Moen. After Dale Weise lost and edge as Miller gave him a very light shove and Weise crashed into the boards, Moen challenged Miller and madness ensued. The fight consisted of three total takedowns, with Miller bringing Moen to the ice twice in an action-packed scrap.
After the fight, Moen had to be helped off the ice by teammates and did not return to the game, while
Miller could be seen icing his knuckles in the penalty box.
- The officiating wasn’t great, but that went both ways. The call on Rene Bourque for hooking Miller was bogus. The third-period holding call on Douglas Murray looked legit, though Murray nearly lost his mind on officials at the blow of the whistle. Later in the third, Brendan Gallagher was giving a so-so holding call after he caught up to a Gregory Campbell breakaway.
All in all, the Bruins had four power plays in the third period, with Bergeron’s tally coming on the final one.
|Jarome Iginla named NHL’s Third Star of the Week||03.24.14 at 1:30 pm ET|
Bruins right wing Jarome Iginla was named the NHL‘s third Star of the Week for the week ending March 23. Red Wings right wing Gustav Nyquist and Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist were named the First and Second Stars, respectively.
In five games during the week, Iginla had five goals, which was one less than Nyquist’s league-leading six for the week.
Iginla has scored 11 goals during the Bruins’ 12-game winning streak. That leads the Bruins by a large margin, as Patrice Bergeron is second on the team with five goals during the streak. On the season, Iginla leads the Bruins with 28 goals.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Dale Weise: Canadiens rooted for Bruins to extend winning streak so they could break it||03.24.14 at 1:04 pm ET|
The Bruins claim to not care about their 12-game-winning streak, but the Canadiens certainly do.
Habs forward Dale Weise shared after Montreal’s morning skate Monday that the Canadiens actually wanted the Bruins to win Saturday night against the Coyotes so the Habs could have the opportunity to snap the streak Monday night at TD Garden.
The Canadiens got their first part of their wish, as Boston came back with three unanswered goals in the third period to beat Phoenix, 4-2.
‘We were checking the score the other night against Phoenix, and Phoenix was up going into the third period and we were kind of hoping Boston would come back and win so we would get the chance to knock them off,’ Weise said.
Weise already has some history with the Bruins, as he was a member of the Canucks the year after the B’s played Vancouver in the Stanley Cup finals. In the team’s first meeting after the finals on Jan. 7, 2012, Weise challenged Adam McQuaid to fight, but when Shawn Thornton accepted the invitation instead and dropped his gloves, Weise kept his gloves on.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Tuukka Rask expected to start vs. Canadiens as Bruins look to extend winning streak||03.24.14 at 11:58 am ET|
Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off the ice in Monday’s morning skate as the Bruins prepared to face the Canadiens at TD Garden. Rask is coming off a 30-save performance in a 4-2 win over the Coyotes Saturday in Phoenix.
In Rask’s last start against the Canadiens, he made 35 saves in a 4-1 victory in Montreal. Rask is 1-2-0 against the Habs this season. Monday will mark Boston’s final meeting with the Habs this regular season.
Peter Budaj will be in net for the Canadiens. Budaj has performed well against the B’s in his career, though he was between the pipes when Boston beat the Habs earlier this month.
If the Bruins are to pick up a victory Monday, they will have extended their winning streak to 13 games. Their longest win streak in franchise history lasted 14 games in the 1929-30 season.
Bruins coach Claude Julien downplayed the significance of the team’s streak, saying that the Bruins are more focused on playing solid hockey leading up to the postseason than doing anything historic in the regular season.
“Those are things that next year, nobody will remember,” Julien said. “We [try to] take care of other things than the streak. Right now it’s about our game. It’s about day-to-day. Right now it’s not an issue.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
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