|5 things we learned: Tuukka Rask stays hot, Matt Beleskey continues to score in win||02.26.16 at 9:41 pm ET|
Back before the go-to goaltending concern was whether Tuukka Rask was going to have to play every game, the biggest one was making sure Boston’s goaltender — whether that happened to be Tim Thomas or Rask — would turn it on down the stretch.
If the last five games are any indication, the B’s are getting good news in that regard. In stopping 39 of the 40 shots he faced in a 4-1 win over the Hurricanes Friday, Tuukka Rask has a .951 save percentage in his last five starts. The Bruins have gone 4-1-0 in that span.
The Bruins have one more game prior to Monday’s trade deadline, as they’ll host the Lightning Sunday at TD Garden. Both the Bruins and the Bolts have 74 points on the season, though Boston has played 62 games to Tampa’s 61.
Here are four more things we learned Friday:
BELESKEY STAYS HOT, MATCHES CAREER-HIGH
With another two-goal game — his second in his last three games — Matt Beleskey tied his career-high in points with 32. Beleskey put up 32 points a season ago in 65 games for the Ducks and has done so in 60 games this season.
The third-line left wing is currently enjoying his best offensive stretch as a Bruin. He has six points (five goals and an assist) over his last four games. The 27-year-old is on pace to finish the season with 43 points.
Until the Hurricanes got some chances against them late in the second period, Patrice Bergeron‘s line dominated play over the opening 40 minutes. The trio was on the ice for 13 shots for and three shots against over the first two periods, with Bergeron leading all players with an 84.21 Corsi For percentage in the opening 40. He and Brad Marchand finished the game tied with a game-best 74.07 mark.
One of those shot attempts went in off Bergeron’s stick, as Brett Connolly’s pressure forced a turnover that made its way to Bergeron, who beat Cam Ward for the game’s first goal. With the goal, Bergeron moved into a tie with Loui Eriksson for second on the team with 23 goals this season. Read the rest of this entry »
|Brad Marchand on Loui Eriksson uncertainty: ‘We all want to contend’||02.22.16 at 1:25 pm ET|
Like a lot of current Bruins, Brad Marchand has never seen his team trade a key player at the trade deadline. It’s no secret that such could be the case this season as the Bruins weigh their options with Loui Eriksson leading up to next Monday’s trade deadline.
If the Bruins are to trade Eriksson, their best winger not named Marchand but one whose contract expires at the end of the season, they will be selling a key piece despite being in playoff position. As David Krejci said earlier this month, Bruins players don’t want to spend the stretch run — which features 23 games, 15 of which are against opponents currently in playoff position — playing meaningless games as a team that moved players and fell out of it.
Speaking Monday, Marchand avoided the subject of the Eriksson situation as much as possible, but said that he was encouraged enough by the team’s recently concluded 4-2-0 road trip that the team shouldn’t feel forced to sell.
“Right now, with the way the standings are, everybody’s very close. If we continue to play good hockey and come together and play well, then we have the opportunity to stay in a playoff spot. We all want to contend,” Marchand said. “We all believe in our team in here, but obviously whatever the management does, that’s their job. We’re not going to worry about that. We’re just going to come prepared to play every night.”
Eriksson is third on the Bruins with 21 goals this season. This is his sixth 20-goal season and second consecutive season reaching that mark with the Bruins. He is one of Claude Julien‘s most trusted players and the Bruins would go from having a chance at making noise against non-Washington teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs to a potential fringe-playoff team if they traded him for futures.
Of course, Eriksson is also in the final year of a contract that carries a cap hit of $4.25 million. He’s due a big raise from that number, with it still unknown whether the Bruins will be the team to give it to him. If Eriksson agrees soon, the team obviously won’t lose one of its best players down the stretch, which would help this season’s odds.
“That’s not up to us,” Marchand said. “Obviously Loui’s a big part of the team and he’s been playing very well lately. Every night he helps our team and that’s what we need him to do.”
|Bruins make it ‘special’ night for Milan Lucic, allow most shots in 51 years||02.10.16 at 1:47 am ET|
The most goals allowed by the Bruins in a game since 2008.
The most shots allowed in a game by the Bruins since 1965.
That’s 1965, 51 years ago, the year civil rights demonstrators in Selma, Alabama, were attacked by state troopers. Lyndon Johnson was president. Johnny Bucyk was in his prime at 29 years of age.
To say that former Bruins winger Milan Lucic and L.A. did a number on Boston Tuesday night at TD Garden in a 9-2 Kings victory would be quite the understatement.
“You’re here win a game, you know?” Lucic said with a chuckle when asked if it felt awkward to beat his former mates so decisively. “You win by one, you win by seven it doesn’t matter, a win’s a win. I guess you can’t feel too bad. You come in here and try to get those bragging rights and have it over your former teammates. It was a full team effort from the net out and I was glad to get that win.”
|Suspended Brad Marchand dealing with extra-long break||01.04.16 at 12:54 pm ET|
Twelve is an interesting number for Brad Marchand.
It’s the number of games he’s been suspended over four different punishments since becoming an NHL regular in 2010-11. It’s also the total number of games he’s missed otherwise.
So Marchand is used to playing, and half the time that he isn’t he’s still healthy. Marchand’s lack of injury history is significant enough to make any stretch out of the lineup uncommon. This is nearly the longest such stretch of his career.
Although Marchand was once suspended for five games back in January of 2012 for low-bridging Sami Salo, the timing of the Winter Classic has made it so his current three-game suspension is only one day shorter than the aforementioned five-gamer. Marchand’s 2012 ban kept him out of action for 11 days, while this one is 10 days long.
“I’m not going to lose anything. It’s been a long season and I’ve been playing a lot of minutes this year. I feel like my stamina’s up,” a sweaty Marchand said after putting in extra skating in Monday’s practice. “You work harder when you’re out than when you’re in anyway, so I’m going to work harder the next eight or nine days than I will if I’m playing.
“The main thing that I always find is that when you miss a few games, you come back hungrier and ready to go. Hopefully that’s the case and I come back and play well right away.”
Marchand should hope so. He is currently enjoying the best season of his career (15 goals, on pace for a career-high 34) and the Bruins have been hard-pressed for offense of late.
His suspension, handed out last week after a hit on Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki, has rubbed Marchand the wrong way for a couple reasons. Among them was that he had to sit in the press box during the Winter Classic rather than playing.
“It was definitely tough. Just frustrating,” Marchand said. “There’s nothing I could really do about it.”
Marchand has copped to foul play in the past, but he remains adamant that he wasn’t trying to hit Borowiecki, let alone low-bridge him. The Department of Player Safety factored in Marchand’s tendency for hitting players low when making their ruling.
“There’s a lot of difference between that hit and previous ones,” Marchand said. “I wasn’t even trying to make a hit there. It is what it is. It’s a hockey play and those things happen.”
Marchand will be available to return to the Bruins on Jan. 9 against the Senators. He’ll have to be on his best behavior.
|P.K. Subban talks ‘unfortunate’ Brad Marchand suspension, ‘respect’ for Tom Brady ahead of Winter Classic||12.31.15 at 4:33 pm ET|
The Bruins-Canadiens rivalry may get ratcheted up a notch in Friday’s Winter Classic given the Gillette Stadium setting and national exposure. But it will also be missing one key part of its recent history, as Brad Marchand will miss the game after getting suspended for a low hit on Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki.
No one is more familiar with what Marchand brings to the rivalry than Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, who has had more than a couple run-ins with the pesky Bruins forward during his career.
The two have exchanged hits, punches, slashes, words and more over the years, not to mention plenty of great one-on-one play given the skill level of each player and the fact that they’re usually on the same side of the ice.
The next chapter in the Marchand-Subban rivalry will have to wait, though. On Thursday, Subban was asked if he’s going to miss Marchand.
“Well, I know Brad’s a big part of their team, so I’m sure they’re going to miss him,” Subban said. “As far as I’m concerned, I know there is a rivalry between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins. I don’t ever think of playing a specific player. But obviously with the history of us playing against each other, going back to World Juniors playing with each other and against each other in the playoffs and during the regular season, yeah, there’s been some heated battles.
“But that’s just a part of the game. There are many players I can probably think of in the league that I’ve had heated battles against. But it’s unfortunate he’s not playing tomorrow.”
Subban and the Canadiens enter Friday’s game having lost 11 of their last 13. Subban said he’s hopeful that the big stage and added excitement Friday can help his team pull out of that skid.
“I think for us right now it’s about building confidence from one shift to the next shift,” Subban said. “So we have an opportunity to do that again tomorrow, and I think that this is perfect for us. A stage like this where everybody can get up for and it’s refreshed, right? Your family and friends there and everybody watching. So you want to be at your best. I think when we’re at our best, there are not too many teams in the league that can compete with us.”
Subban’s excitement did take a bit of a hit Thursday, though. He was hoping to meet Tom Brady, but things didn’t work out.
“Tom, just so much respect for him as an athlete,” Subban said. “I was hoping to bump into him today in the hallway. I was probably going to jump on him or something like that. … A player like Tom Brady is special. It would have been nice to meet him today. But we’ll have to save that for another day.”
|Brad Marchand suspension forces Bruins to send Colin Miller down, recall Alexander Khokhlachev||at 10:57 am ET|
FOXBORO — Brad Marchand‘s suspension has created a bad ripple effect for the Bruins.
Without Marchand’s services, the Bruins were down to 12 forwards and eight defensemen for the Winter Classic. As such, they opted to send down a defensemen in order to recall forward Alexander Khokhlachev. Unfortunately for them, the only defenseman they could send down without waivers is Colin Miller, who just so happens to be one of their best defensemen.
Miller has been up with Boston all season, playing in 28 of the Bruins’ 36 games. The rookie has two goals and 10 assists for 12 points this season.
Marchand will not appeal his three-game suspension for clipping Ottawa defenseman Mark Borowiecki. He apologized Thursday for his actions.
“I just want to acknowledge the situation that I’ve put my team in for being undisciplined and affecting the game for them, taking away from the excitement for the fans, being part of this rivalry, taking that away from them and also for affecting this game for myself and putting myself in the situation to not be part of this,” Marchand said. “I want to apologize and I truly am sorry to everyone about the situation. It was not my intent to make a hit or try to injure anyone on that play.”
With Thursday’s roster move, the Bruins’ lineup in practice was as follows:
|Brandon Prust fined for spearing Brad Marchand, calls it ‘best money I ever spent’||12.06.15 at 5:43 pm ET|
Canucks forward Brandon Prust was fined $5,000 for spearing Bruins forward Brad Marchand in the privates late in Saturday’s game between the teams.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Prust said he did not regret his actions.
“Best money I ever spent,” Prust said. “I kind of that’s what would happen. It wasn’t that hard and he sold it pretty good. I saw him laughing on the bench after, so I don’t think he’s too hurt.”
Prust also suggested that Marchand, a player with a reputation for dirty plays and suspensions, is deserving of occasional cheap shots.
“I think he does that every night, so sometimes you want to do it back,” Prust said.
Hear from Brandon Prust following Sunday’s practice at Rogers Arena. https://t.co/gY9MW8H8Wz