|Bruins-Islanders Live Blog: Bruins hold 6-2 lead in third period||11.07.11 at 6:40 pm ET|
|Bruins ‘tired’ of last place, can leap-frog Islanders with win||11.07.11 at 12:27 pm ET|
The B’s have finally won two games in a row, but to say they’ve polished off a greasy breakfast and finally shaken that nasty Stanley Cup hangover may be a bit of a stretch. After all, they’re still in last place in the Eastern Conference.
That can change Monday night at TD Garden, though. Neither of the Bruins’ last two wins have let them budge in the standings, but that’s just the NHL being the NHL. It’s tough to move in the standings when points are doled out in such plentiful fashion. With the Islanders in town, the Bruins will face the only other team in the Eastern Conference with only 10 points, so a victory Monday would move the B’s out of 15th, all the way up to 14th.
“We can move up the standings. That’s got to be a motivation factor,” Chris Kelly said after Monday’s morning skate. “I think all the guys are tired of seeing our name at the bottom there, so you’ve just got to come out and be consistent like we were the last game. ”
The last game to which Kelly refers saw the B’s score seven goals, and the one before that had them score five. Now it’s a matter of the B’s keeping the pedal to the medal, because it will take a prolonged stretch of winning hockey to get the Bruins back into the playoff picture. Kelly likes the way things have been going of late, but rather than looking at the progress they make in the standings, he’ll look at progress on the ice.
“Obviously you want to move up int he standings, but it’s early days. We just need to focus on playing our best hockey,” Kelly said. “If we don’t play the way we’re capable of playing, then we won’t move up the standings and we’ll be stuck where we’re at. I think if you get too focused on the standings at this point of the year, I think you can maybe get in trouble.”
Not as much trouble as the B’s will be in if they stay in last place for much longer. Monday provides them with an opportunity to get out of a position they never belonged in, and they’d be wise to capitalize.
|Chris Kelly to become grumpier old man with 500th NHL game||11.07.11 at 12:07 pm ET|
In the Bruins’ media guide, Chris Kelly put that the one word he would use to describe himself is “grumpy.”
Now, Kelly has yet to reveal that characteristic in his dealings with the media, but on Monday, he’ll take one step toward being a grumpier old man. Monday’s tilt with the Islanders will be the 500th game of Kelly’s career.
“I didn’t know it was 500. My dad actually reminded me yesterday,” Kelly said Monday. “It’s always nice to hit a milestone like that.”
The soon-to-be 31-year-old is in his first full season with the Bruins. Acquired last February from the Senators in exchange for a second-round pick, Kelly fit in quickly with the Bruins’ tight-knit group, so well, in fact, that when Mark Recchi retired, it was he and Andrew Ference who inherited the ‘A.’
“He’s wearing an ‘A’ because he’s a good leader and also a very well-respected teammate,” Claude Julien said Monday of Kelly. “He’s got a lot of qualities that when we got him, we knew about. All he did was reinforce those.”
In his career, Kelly has 80 goals and 108 assists for 188 points. He will center Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron Monday.
|Rich Peverley out vs. Islanders, Tuukka Rask to start||11.07.11 at 11:44 am ET|
Rich Peverley will miss his first game of the season Monday when the Bruins play the Islanders, B’s coach Claude Julien said after Monday’s mornig skate at TD Garden. Peverley was not on the ice for the morning skate and has missed the team’s last three practices despite playing Saturday against the Maple Leafs.
Julien said that the injury Peverley is dealing with is minor, though he did not disclose any details. With Peverley out, Benoit Pouliot will make his return to the lineup after missing the last three games.
Julien also said that Tuukka Rask will be in net for the B’s against the Islanders. The 24-year-old has lost all three of his starts, with B’s giving him only three goals of support all season.
“For the most part, we’ve failed in front of him,” Julien said. “We’ve failed in front of him.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Are Phil Kessel and the Leafs for real, and who’s in net?||11.04.11 at 7:38 pm ET|
One of the biggest questions early in the NHL season is whether Phil Kessel, who’s always been a fast starter, will sustain his crazy numbers over the course of the entire season. Right now, both Kessel and the Maple Leafs have shown no signs of slowing down.
Kessel has scored 30 goals in each of the last three seasons, but with 10 goals through 13 games, he’s on pace for an absurd total of 63. Kessel will eventually come back to earth, but it would appear a safe bet that he should go on to surpass his career-high of 36, which he scored in 2008-09, his final season in Boston.
“Phil’s matured. Just like any other player, he’s getting older,” Claude Julien said of Kessel on Thursday. “When I say he’s matured, [I mean] as a person. As a player, you can see it. He’s a lot stronger hanging on to the puck than he ever was. He shoots the puck and he’s finding ways to get shots off. Every game he has a lot of opportunities, so he’s becoming a better player with age.”
While the world is seeing a better Kessel this season, they’re also seeing a better Toronto team. Though the Bruins handed them a 6-2 beating last month in Boston, it was one of only three regulation losses for the 9-3-1 Leafs this season. Their 19 points are tied with the Penguins (who have played one more game), for best in the East.
One thing worth noting for Saturday is that starting goaltender James Reimer will once again miss a Leafs’ meeting with the Bruins. Coach Ron Wilson said Friday that the former first-round pick “hit a plateau in his recovery” from his upper-body injury. Jonas Gustavsson allowed six goals on Oct. 20 against the Bruins, and in his most recent start allowed three goals in a 3-2 loss against the Senators on Sunday.
Ben Scrivens made his NHL debut Thursday, allowing one goal in a 4-1 victory over the Blue Jackets.
|Andrew Ference on D&C: ‘Turn the page’ from miserable October||11.04.11 at 12:13 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning for his weekly appearance. Ference talked about Boston’s win over Ottawa Tuesday night and how the Bruins are looking to rebound from a poor start to the season.
“We definitely wanted to turn the page from the last month,” Ference said. “November, it’s symbolic of a new page for us. We wanted to make it a good month. It was frustrating in October. We didn’t play as good as we want to, and then some of the games where we had multiple posts and games it was frustrating that way. It was good to get out of that month.”
After starting the season 2-7, the Bruins have won their last two games. They will face the Northeast division-leading Maple Leafs on Saturday in Toronto. Ference also talked about the importance of momentum, something Boston certainly didn’t have early in the season.
“A very powerful tool,” Ference said of momentum. “It can be really powerful. It can. Sometimes you don’t really want to believe it, especially when you’re losing. But it can work both ways. Momentum and confidence, when you say those words, you’re talking about the same thing. It’s just a matter of feeling good.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
On players trying to make plays when the team is struggling: “That can almost be a trap as well. When you start to get in that kind of mindset where it’s up to you to do something special to open up the game or change things around. There’s a difference between playing really good, solid hockey and doing your job well, and trying to do too much. Usually when guys try to do too much, it’s a bad thing.
“We’re the type of team that doesn’t really on complete individual talent or one guy doing something really special. We really do rely on a strong system.”
On his most important quality for a coach: “I think first and foremost is honesty. Just being up front. That covers a lot of things, but just being up front with his assessment of the games. Being honest in fact where he treats players, whether it’s the star or whether it’s the fourth-line guy or whether it’s the rookie or whether it’s the veteran, if he holds them to the same standard. I think those things are so important. When you start having different rules for different players and different expectations, it breaks the room down.”
|Dougie Hamilton named OHL defenseman of the month||11.03.11 at 4:11 pm ET|
To the surprise of nobody, Dougie Hamilton, the Bruins’ first-round pick from June’s draft, has been named OHL defenseman of the month for October. The 18-year-old got off to an absolutely ridiculous start to his third season with the Niagara IceDogs, racking up 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 12 games in the first month of the season.
Now 14 games into the season, Hamilton has 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists) on the season. Hamilton caught up with WEEI.com a couple of weeks ago to discuss the blueliner’s impressive start to the season (click here for that piece).
“I’m getting good opportunities,’ Hamilton said. ‘Our power play is doing really well. I think just coming back from camp with extra confidence and playing with those guys makes you better. I think I came back with confidence, and I think I got better over the summer as well. The opportunity, confidence and my development has helped a lot.’
Sarnia winger Nail Yakupov, the top prospect in the coming draft, was named player of the month after compiling 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 13 games. Sorry, Bruins’ fans — the B’s are only on pace for the second-worst record.