|Milan Lucic: ‘Obviously, these are desperate times’||04.01.15 at 10:15 am ET|
The Bruins have been as streaky as Milan Lucic. A five-game win streak was followed by six straight losses.
It’s only appropriate the Bruins ended March with their third straight win, a key victory, spurred on by one of their better players in the month as the left winger provided the game-winning margin with some grit and good fortune.
His rush to the Panthers blue line with just over a minute left in regulation ended with a “why not” shot on goal that found its way through the skates of Roberto Luongo and gave the Bruins a 3-2 win Tuesday at TD Garden. Lucic has become a leader for young stars Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak on his line. On Tuesday, he led by example when it mattered most.
His drop pass to Spooner resulted in a bad-angle shot by Spooner from the left boards that tied the game early in the third period. His late-game rush with Spooner ended up being the difference in winning and losing.
“I was checking to see to see if Spoons was onside,” said Lucic, who finished the game with a goal and an assist and five of each for the month. “It was kind of a one-on-four situation and I just tried to get [the puck] past the two D-men [and] on net and I got a little bit of luck there and was able to find a hole there in the five-hole. It was one of those things where you’re kind of swarmed. You’re just getting the puck on net, and thankfully it went in for myself and ends up being a big goal for a big win.”
|Tuukka Rask knows Bruins still seeking urgency: ‘I don’t think this is a great win for us, but we’ll take it’||at 9:25 am ET|
To Tuukka Rask, the glass Tuesday night was half full. He and his teammates sleepwalked through the second period as they have in many underachieving games this season and fell behind a desperate Panthers team smelling the chance to get back in the hunt for the final wild card spot in the East.
Then the Bruins woke up in the third, getting a fortunate goal from a very bad angle from Ryan Spooner and an admittedly lucky goal from Milan Lucic to escape with a hard-fought 3-2 win at TD Garden.
“Well, kind of frustrating,” said Rask, who allowed a weak five-hole goal of his own in the second period to former Bruin Brad Boyes that put the Panthers up 2-1. “Again, just wondering what’s going on there. There’s no emotion, and we needed to find it. We did, and a 40-minute game today got us the win, but obviously there’s wins that feel great and there’s wins you take and you feel good. I don’t think this is a great win for us, but we’ll take it for sure.”
When Milan Lucic scored with 69 seconds left in regulation, it turned out to be a crucial two points, as the B’s put themselves six points ahead of the Panthers and remained three points clear of the Senators in the race for the eighth and final spot.
From the get-go Tuesday, the Bruins appeared ready to show they were up to the task against a Florida team fighting to stay alive.
“First period was good,” Rask said. “They never really got anything great going there, but we were just so flat that it was kind of one of those games where something bad is about to happen and it did, and thank goodness it didn’t end up costing us. We showed in the third period, when we play like that it looks good and it’s going to benefit us. So just have to figure out and keep that going for 60 minutes.”
|Former Bruin Shawn Thornton on MFB: ‘I really don’t care’ what’s going on in B’s locker room||03.30.15 at 12:36 pm ET|
The Bruins are in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but they are only three points ahead of the Senators (who have a game in hand) and four ahead of Florida.
“I haven’t been following [the Bruins] much at all, to be honest,” Thornton said. “Obviously, the points race, we follow if they win or lose because we’re four behind them and we play them twice. But I haven’t been watching their games or anything. … We’re making it interesting, that’s for sure.”
Added Thornton: “We’re aware of the situation that we can’t lose either of those games [against the Bruins]. … We’re giving ourselves a chance.”
The first of the two games between Florida and the Bruins will be in Boston on Tuesday night. It will be the second time Thornton will play at TD Garden since leaving Boston after last season.
“It’s still a little different,” Thornton said. “Playing in that building for seven years on one side and then playing on the other, it’s a little different.”
Thornton was a leader on and off the ice during his time with Boston. Recently, with Thornton gone, the Bruins’ dedication and effort has been questioned by management, as many players have not lived up to their expectations.
“To be completely honest, guys, I really don’t care,” Thornton said when asked about the B’s struggles. “I have my locker room I have to worry about, I can’t be worried about what’s going on in theirs.”
Whether it’s the Bruins, Ottawa or Florida, Thornton believes that the eighth seed in the East will have a chance to upset the top seed.
“Once you’re in the playoffs, anything can happen,” Thornton said.
For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/boston.
|Don Cherry on MFB: Bruins ‘in deep trouble right now’||03.27.15 at 12:36 pm ET|
Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry joined Middays with MFB to discuss the Bruins’ playoff chances going into the final eight games of the regular season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Bruins are tied with the Senators for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 85 points, but Ottawa holds a game in hand.
“That game in hand is a killer,” Cherry said.
On Thursday night the B’s had a chance to jump over Ottawa for the second wild card spot after the Senators got blown out, 5-1, by the NHL-leading Rangers. The Bruins had a 2-1 lead over the Ducks entering the final minute of play, but Anaheim scored with just over 30 seconds left to tie the game, and then notched the game winner on a tip-in in overtime.
“That was a killer last night,” Cherry said, adding: “The winner went in off a stick, so you can’t blame [Tuukka] Rask for that one.”
The B’s goalie has not had his greatest season, but he usually has been good enough to at least give the team a chance to win.
“The problem is not Rask,” Cherry said. “He’s not stealing the games like he did last year, but he’s got a great [goals-against] average, 2.26, and a .924 save percentage. That’s pretty good. Their problem is they can’t score. And of all of the teams playing in the playoffs already, they’re the worst. They’ve got one 20-goal scorer right now, and that’s [Brad] Marchand. You’re not going to win many games if you don’t have any 20-goal scorers.”
Added Cherry: “Now they’ve got [Dougie] Hamilton hurt, he was their second-leading scorer. They’re in deep trouble right now. They’ll have to dig down.”
Cherry, a former coach of the Bruins, does not blame current coach Claude Julien for the B’s underwhelming season.
“Listen, it’s not Julien’s fault, he’s not going out telling them to not score,” Cherry said. “These are the guys, they can’t score. … He puts them on the ice and they don’t score. What, is he supposed to put the puck in?”
If the Bruins are able to rally and make the playoffs, they likely will face either the Rangers, Canadiens or Lightning. While they certainly wouldn’t be favored over any of those teams, Cherry wouldn’t count out the B’s.
“Just make the playoffs,” Cherry said. “Anybody that gets in the playoffs can make it.”
For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Jeremy Roenick on MFB: ‘I’m very concerned’ about Bruins’ playoff chances||03.23.15 at 1:18 pm ET|
The Bruins currently sit in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but are just one point ahead of the Senators, who hold two games in hand.
“I don’t like the way Ottawa’s playing so well, and I don’t like the way the Bruins are playing. … I’m very concerned because if you look at the schedule, the Bruins have a very difficult schedule,” Roenick said. “I think Ottawa’s schedule is a little bit more lenient, and they have two games in hand.”
Added Roenick: “Sometimes you have to find things to rally around, and the Bruins have to find something. Because if not, their schedule does not bode well for them in terms of the schedule compared to Ottawa’s schedule.”
The most recent setback for the Bruins came on Sunday, when they lost 5-3 to the Lightning. It was their fifth straight loss when every point matters to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“They’ve had trouble scoring goals and they have to start scoring some goals,” Roenick said. “And to give up as many goals as they did yesterday is just unheard of.”
The Hall of Fame center believes that in order to turn their losing streak around, the Bruins will have to rely on the veterans in the locker room.
“I would get my leaders in the room, you know, they guys that have been there, the guys that are supposed to lead this team,” Roenick said. “And I would get them to inspire the boys, whether it’s verbally, whether it’s lifting their game up. You know, I was always a yeller and screamer, and I always responded to yelling and screaming. And I did respond better to it when it came from my teammates. And desperate times deserve desperate measures. I think a lot of guys would accept getting yelled at, screamed at to work harder if it meant they were going to make the playoffs and they were going to play better.”
If the B’s fail to make the playoffs, Roenick believes there will be consequences for the people in charge of the team.
“Missing playoffs always costs somebody their job,” Roenick said. “I hope that’s not the case, I think [Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli] have been very good. But I would worry about Chiarelli’s job if they miss, because if you look at the trade deadline, not enough was done at the trade deadline to bring in the type of players that are needed for that last push, and that’s going to be brought down on Chiarelli.”
For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Max Talbot on MFB: Bruins ‘very hungry to win’||03.13.15 at 2:10 pm ET|
Bruins forward Max Talbot joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss the team’s recent strong play. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Talbot joined the Bruins at the trade deadline. Since he arrived, the team is 4-1-0 after struggling in the month leading up to the deadline.
“[The Bruins are] a team that’s won before and that’s still very hungry to win,” Talbot said, adding: “We know what it takes to win and to be a good team, and that it’s crunch time. That’s the feeling you like to have. It’s not just, ‘OK, we win, let’s move on.’ It’s, ‘We can do better, let’s be better,’ and that’s obviously the sign of a great team.”
The Bruins are the fourth team that Talbot has played for in his 10-year NHL career.
“I didn’t really expect to be traded, it was kind of a surprise,” Talbot said, adding, “When I learned it was to Boston, I got pretty excited because of the team. I’ve competed for eight, nine years against the Bruins, and I don’t think there was one easy game.”
Talbot is not known as someone who shies away from confrontation on the ice. In the past, he has had several run-ins with current Bruins.
“I had a couple fights against [Gregory] Campbell before, I remember Chris Kelly as well, and you know, obviously a couple chirping matches against [Brad Marchand],” Talbot said, adding: “Usually the guys you get in battles with on the ice are usually the guys that are more welcoming.”
For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins finally showing winning ‘character’ at right time||at 10:11 am ET|
The Bruins have finally hit their stride. And they couldn’t have picked a better time.
They’re even winning shootouts. After winning their first two shootouts of the season, they lost their next seven such contests, prompting their head coach to say shootouts “suck” and giving thanks they end with the regular season. Thursday’s 3-2 shootout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning ended the skid and gave many inside the dressing room and organization reason to hope.
Their critics will point to the up and down play of key players like Dougie Hamilton, who, by his own admission, had an off night Thursday. The critics will say the Bruins, even during the four-game winning streak, haven’t displayed the consistent 60-minute-plus effort it takes to win in the playoffs.
But what the Bruins showed Thursday night was character and grit. No one showed it more than Gregory Campbell, who took a puck to his right eyebrow early in the first period, necessitating no fewer than eight stitches. It was nothing compared to Game 3 of the 2013 Eastern finals against Pittsburgh, when he gave up his lower right leg on an Evgeni Malkin slapshot. Later in the period, when he returned to the game, he was mashed into the corner boards but got up only a little worse for the wear.
“When you win, things look a lot better,” Campbell said. “There have been times when we’ve played some pretty good hockey and for whatever reason haven’t gotten points. Winning hockey games makes everything look better. We’ve gone the right direction and I think it’s been a process this year. Sometimes there’s not answers for everything. You have expectations coming into the year and for whatever reason, we had a slow start and it’s been well documented that we’ve stumbled a little bit along the way.
“But we’ve continued to try and improve our game, find solutions and stick together as a team. The important thing to us is not what’s happened but the way things are going. This is the important time of the year and we need wins and that’s reason to be optimistic for our team because when you play important games and get wins, that’s playoff-like hockey. That’s a positive we can build on with our team.”
Wins are wins and Thursday was the seventh straight time the Bruins took the ice and gained points. Boston has won four straight, 6-of-7 and 7-of-9 since their six-game skid that put their playoff position in serious peril. Now, the Bruins have 80 points, six points better than ninth-place Florida with 15 games left. Read the rest of this entry »