|Pierre McGuire on MFB: Bruins being referred to as ‘sleeping giants in the league’||12.04.14 at 1:42 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB prior to the Bruins’ game against the Sharks Thursday night, as well as to discuss the recent struggles of the team. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Despite losing four of their last five games, including two straight on the West Coast, McGuire doesn’t feel like it is time to panic for the Bruins, especially with so many of their players out of the lineup with injuries. He was in Minnesota interviewing some Wild players earlier in the day, and they have a different thought of the struggling Bruins than many in Boston.
“It’s amazing how they perceive the Bruins compared to some of the people in Boston,” said McGuire. “They perceive the Bruins as a contender for the Cup. They know they are playing them in about 10 days, on the [17th] of December. That is one of the things they were talking about — one of the sleeping giants in the league right now is Boston. A lot of it is injury driven.”
Goal scoring has been an issue for the Bruins of late — scoring just six goals in their last five games. But, again, this is because of the injuries they are dealing with.
“It’s injury related,” McGuire said. “I did the St. Louis Blues-Chicago Blackhawks game last night. Everyone in the west is talking about those same things, and those are two of the upper-echelon teams in the west. When you have tiny injuries in the west you’re in trouble, when you have massive amounts of injuries you’re in huge trouble. Part of the problem for Boston more than anything else is they are going against real good teams. They are out west and they don’t have 100 percent of their lineup. I wouldn’t panic too much, this is part of the peaks and valleys that happen over the course of the course of an 82-game schedule.”
|5 things we learned as Dougie Hamilton saves day in overtime||11.28.14 at 9:42 pm ET|
The Bruins will head to the West Coast two points richer.
It took overtime (and killing off a four-minute double-minor late in regulation and into the extra period), but Dougie Hamilton’s game-winner three minutes, 39 seconds into overtime gave the Bruins a 2-1 victory over the Jets Friday to wrap up a three-game home stand.
Brad Marchand was called for a four-minute high stick on Grant Clitsome with 3:30 left in regulation and the game tied, 1-1. The Bruins killed off the penalty in regulation, and the final 30 seconds to open overtime in a 4-on-3. Former Bruins farmhand Michael Hutchinson was spectacular in net for the Jets, saving 36 of the first 37 shots he faced, including a point-blank short-handed chance by Gregory Campbell with 30 seconds left in regulation.
The Bruins will also leave Boston healthier than they were to begin their three-game homestand, as Chris Kelly returned from injury Friday.
Here are four other things we learned Friday night:
SODERBERG LINE A GOOD FIT FOR LUCIC
Claude Julien said earlier this week that once David Krejci is healthy, Chris Kelly will go back to playing with Carl Soderberg and Lucic will go back to playing with Krejci. For now, however, Lucic has shown he’s a good fit with Boston’s Swedish forwards.
The trio of Soderberg between Lucic and Eriksson scored for the second straight game Friday when Lucic dropped a pass off for Soderberg at the blue line, went to the net and tipped Soderberg’s pass between the legs of Michael Hutchinson to tie the game at a goal apiece.
The goal was Lucic’s second in as many games, as he scored Boston’s first goal of Monday’s overtime loss to the Penguins. He now has five goals on the season.
Soderberg and Eriksson assisted Hamilton’s game-winner.
PASTRNAK PUTS PUCKS ON NET
After giving him just 7:53 of ice time in his NHL debut Monday, Claude Julien played David Pastrnak on Patrice Bergeron‘s line and the team’s No. 2 power play unit Friday. The result was both a glimpse of the first-rounder’s skill set and a lot of shots on goal.
With seven shots on goal Friday, Pastrnak landed as many pucks on net as any Bruin has in a game this season. (By my count, seven was the highest individual shot on goal total for a Bruins player entering the night, accomplished by Zdeno Chara on Oct. 18 against the Sabres and Patrice Bergeron on Nov. 6 against the Oilers.)
Pastrnak nearly had his best chance of the night at the end of a long shifts in the third period, but he couldn’t get a handle on the puck after taking a feed from Brad Marchand.
The Bruins began the night with Brad Marchand on the left wing of Bergeron’s line and Reilly Smith skating on a bottom-six line with Chris Kelly and Seth Griffith. Julien moved Smith up to replace Marchand in the third, with Marchand moving to Kelly’s line. Marchand took a high-sticking double-minor at 16:30 of the third period.
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|Claude Julien is tired of trying to ‘score 2 goals every night to get 1′||11.25.14 at 10:31 am ET|
When you’re struggling to score as a team and half of your weapons are either sitting up on the ninth floor watching the game or playing elsewhere, it’s understandable to see why Bruins head coach Claude Julien is frustrated.
But, when you have the sense that you have to score twice for every goal that counts, that’s something altogether different. That’s what Julien felt after Monday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Penguins, when goals in regulation by Patrice Bergeron and Carl Soderberg were disallowed.
If either goal counts, the Bruins skate away with a regulation win and two points.
“Again, you gotta score two goals every night to get one, it’s tough to win hockey games,” Julien lamented afterward. “We got some tough calls against us and our guys played hard right ‘til the end. Unfortunately, we didn’t get that second point that I thought we deserved.”
In the first period, it appeared Bergeron tapped a puck out of midair and put it behind Marc-Andre Fleury to tie the game, at one. But, referee Kyle Rehman — closest to the play — called it a good goal but after review, he was overruled by the three other officials on the ice, who said the puck was above the crossbar when Bergeron tapped it into the goal.
“On that first goal, the closest referee calls it a goal,” said Julien. “And then it’s no goal because the three furthest ones think it’s a high stick, so I guess that’s what’s frustrating in my mind. I don’t know what the league looked at. When I looked at the replay myself it looked more inconclusive. Now, they may contradict me and say they had a better angle from where they were, but that’s how it looked to me.
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 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.
|Tuukka Rask: ‘When we play Bruins hockey, we can beat anybody’||11.19.14 at 1:38 am ET|
For one of the few times this season, Tuukka Rask felt like the Bruins showed their true potential.
Maybe it was his 33 saves in a 2-0 shutout over the Blues. Maybe it was the better play he saw in front of him in the defensive zone. Or maybe it was just beating a team that could wind up in the Stanley Cup finals. Whatever it was, Rask had a lot to like about the way he and his teammates played Tuesday night at TD Garden.
“Well, it’s always a good team we beat, but then again we know when we play the Bruins hockey, we can beat anybody and we’re a tough team to beat ourselves,” Rask said. “It just goes to show again, when we play that style of hockey it works. Hopefully we realize it one of these days and keep it consistent too.”
The Bruins were consistent for 60 minutes Tuesday in an effort that handed the Blues just their second loss in 12 games. Rask was asked if it were the best 60-minute effort of the year.
“It was, yeah absolutely,” Rask said. “We started off really hard. Right off the bat we took the puck in their end and played there. The first period was probably the best one, you know, twenty minutes’you’re always going to get a little ups and downs through the games but for the most part we kept things tight and played a good game.
“I think pretty much everybody was going today, you know, full 60. We’re a good team when we have everybody going. As far as the team effort goes, in a 60 minute effort, that was our best game I think.”
Ever since scoring the overtime goal against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of the second round last spring, every Bruins fan knew the kid could score.
But on Tuesday night, they saw a different side of Fraser, the tough, gritty side, giving the Bruins exactly what they needed with Brad Marchand out with an unspecified injury.
Fraser played all 20 shifts with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith as the Bruins beat the Blues, 2-0, at TD Garden.
“Obviously, I like scoring goals,” Fraser said. “I like to be an offensive threat. But you’re not going to be that kind of guy every night. There’s going to be times when you have to be relied upon to be a defensive, sound player. I think on this team, that’s more my ‘ it’s not my job, but I have to broaden my game a little bit because every guy in this room is good defensively. That’s how this franchise has built their system: you got to be good defensively. You got to make sure you’re good in all three zones.”
The irony is that Fraser did score a goal – with nine seconds left in the second period – but it was disallowed when referee Chris Lee ruled Fraser slammed into Blues goalie Brian Elliot before Elliot could play the puck.
“To me it should have been a goal,” coach Claude Julien said. “In my mind the puck’s in, it hits him, and it goes in before he even touches the goaltender. But those are unfortunately not reviewable, so he gets deprived from a goal. But the other part ‘ he deserves a lot of credit for his, he was on the line that played against their top-scoring line and defensively I thought he was very reliable. He played big, he played strong with Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] and [Reilly] Smith. I think that line did a great job against the [Vladimir] Tarasenko line.”