|Bruins’ late-game heroics push Flyers further back in Eastern Conference||03.07.15 at 7:06 pm ET|
The importance of Saturday’s game for the Flyers could not be overstated.
Trailing the Bruins by four points for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia could have moved closer in the standings with a win. Before Saturday’s game started, Bruins coach Claude Julien admitted this would most likely be Philadelphia’s biggest game this season.
With the clock winding down in the third period, the Flyers looked like they would get two valuable points in this critical game. Forward Chris VandeVelde redirected a shot from the point past goaltender Tuukka Rask, which gave Philadelphia a one-goal lead with 4:30 remaining. All seemed ripe for a Flyers win.
Until it didn’t.
Wayne Simmonds was called for tripping at the 17:57 mark. The penalty set the Bruins up with a power play, and essentially a 6-on-4 chance when Rask left for the bench.
Brad Marchand then tied the game up on the ensuing man advantage with 14.1 seconds to go with a deflection goal. And with 1:08 remaining in overtime, Marchand did it again with a backhanded goal that bounced over netminder Steve Mason’s shoulder.
Instead of pulling within two points of the Bruins, the Flyers now are five back of a playoff spot.
“It’s a tough defeat, but there’s still time and I mean there’s more games,” VandeVelde said following the loss. “But it’s getting down there so we’ve got to start winning games and doing the right things and holding on to wins.”
|Brad Marchand (maintenance) misses practice as Bruins prepare for Islanders and Canadiens||02.05.15 at 1:51 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Brad Marchand missed Thursday’s practice, with Claude Julien saying the B’s gave their second-line left wing a maintenance day.
Marchand, who took a couple of big hits from Dan Girardi in Wednesday’s loss to the Rangers, had his spot filled by Daniel Paille in practice. The lines were as follows:
All seven defensemen and both goaltenders were present, including Malcolm Subban, who is still with the big club.
The Bruins will practice again on Friday before hosting the Islanders Saturday and Canadiens Sunday.
|5 things we learned as Bruins head to All-Star break with shootout loss to Avalanche||01.22.15 at 12:51 am ET|
The Bruins started the All-Star break early, relinquishing a third-period lead and suffering a 3-2 shootout loss to the Avalanche Wednesday (click here for the boxscore).
The shootout loss gave the Bruins three of a possible four points on their two-game road trip and gave them a 25-16-7 record at the break.
Ryan O’Reilly scored with 1:45 remaining in regulation to tie the game at two, as Patrick Roy pulled Semyon Varlamov early. Nathan MacKinnon scored the only goal of the shootout, with Reilly Smith, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron all failing to score for the B’s.
The Bruins will now break for the All-Star Game, which will be played Sunday. Patrice Bergeron is the Bruins’ only participant. They will return to game action a week from Thursday against the Islanders.
Here are five things we learned Wednesday:
MARCHAND RETURNS AND SCORES
Brad Marchand punctuated his return from a two-game suspension with a big goal to give the B’s the lead in the third period.
Marchand, who sat out Saturday’s game against the Blue Jackets and Tuesday’s contest in Dallas for slew-footing Derick Brassard last week, took a feed from David Krejci during a third-period line change and fired a wrist shot past Semyon Varlamov to break a 1-1 tie. The goal was Marchand’s team-leading 13th of the season.
The veteran left wing also took a roughing penalty early in the third period and logged over two minutes of shorthanded time as the Bruins were carried by strong penalty killing for the second straight night.
HAMILTON FINALLY DROPS THE GLOVES
An early third-period fracas between multiple members of each side brought about something we’ve yet to see –Dougie Hamilton’s bare hands.
Hamilton earned his first career fighting major as he dropped the gloves with fellow 2011 top-10 pick Gabriel Landeskog. Both players landed shots in the bout, which ended when Hamilton lost his balance while swinging for a gigantic right.
Hamilton fought twice during his four OHL seasons. His first NHL fight came in his 154th regular-season game.
|Bruins prepare for Stars, Avalanche||01.19.15 at 10:56 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins had perfect attendance as they practiced Monday in anticipation of a two-game road trip that will send them into the All-Star break.
The B’s will play Tuesday in Dallas and Wednesday in Colorado. By the looks of Monday’s practice, Daniel Paille will remain on Patrice Bergeron‘s line in Tuesday’s game as Brad Marchand serves the final game of his two-game ban for slew-footing Derick Brassard last week.
The lines in practice were as follows:
All defensemen and both goaltenders were present.
|Brad Marchand fesses up to slew-foot, says suspension could have been longer||01.17.15 at 11:43 am ET|
Speaking to the media Saturday for the first time since slew-footing Rangers forward Derick Brassard, Brad Marchand fessed up to what he called a “dangerous” infraction and said he considers himself fortunate to have not received a bigger suspension than the two-game ban he received.
“It could be worse,” Marchand said. “It could be three or four, so I’ve got to be happy that it’s not.”
Marchand has been outspoken against slew-footing in the past. Though he was fined during the 2011-12 season for doing it, he had some harsh words for Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner during the 2013 season after Skinner slew-footed Patrice Bergeron.
So why, then, would Marchand then kick a player’s right foot out and pull him down to the ice in textbook slew-foot fashion? In doing so, Marchand contradicted his past words, but said Saturday it wasn’t entirely intentional.
“Going into the play, it wasn’t what I was trying to do,” he said. “I was just trying to make a hard hit. I was trying to throw him backwards, but I didn’t intend to kick his feet out. Things happen. It’s a quick game. Plays in hockey are going to happen that are questionable, and you’ve got to live with it.”
Marchand said he did not feel his reputation or past played a factor in what is now his third career suspension. He called his reputation “a grave I’ve dug for myself,” but said that he had made efforts in recent seasons to eliminate dirty plays from his game.
“Maybe it played into it a little bit, but I have been trying to play within the rules and change my game,” he said. “Again, I play a hard game and I’m going to do things that are questionable at times. I’ve got to live it. The way that they discipline me, I’ve got to live with that.”
Marchand will miss Saturday’s game against the Blue Jackets and Tuesday’s game in Dallas.
|Brad Marchand has phone hearing for slew-foot on Derick Brassard||01.16.15 at 1:08 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Brad Marchand has a phone hearing with the NHL‘s Department of Player Safety to discuss his slew-foot on Rangers forward Derick Brassard in Thursday’s win over the Rangers.
Claude Julien declined to comment on the play, only sharing that Marchand had a hearing. Perhaps in anticipation of a potential Marchand suspension, Julien skated left wing Daniel Paille on Patrice Bergeron‘s line in practice.
The lines were as follows:
Marchand has been suspended twice in his NHL career, as he was given two games for a hit on R.J. Umberger during the 2010-11 season and five games for a low-bridge hit on Sami Salo in the 2011-12 season. He was fined $2,500 for a slew-foot earlier that season.
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|Derick Brassard says Brad Marchand could have ended his season with slew-foot||01.15.15 at 10:49 pm ET|
Rangers center Derick Brassard said after Thursday’s game against the Bruins that Brad Marchand slew-footed him during a Rangers power play in the second period.
Marchand and Brassard were chasing a puck into the corner when it appeared that Marchand kicked Brassard in the right leg. No penalty was called on the play.
GIF: another angle of Marchand/Brassard pic.twitter.com/dVwhq7o65w
‘ Steph (@myregularface) January 16, 2015
“Well yeah [I felt it was dirty],” Brassard said. “You go in the corner with him and you go shoulder-to-shoulder, but he brings his leg in the back. I felt I got a slew-foot there. Like I said, I don’t want to find any excuses about it or I don’t want to be a crybaby or anything, but it could be dangerous and it could have been a game-changer. It could have been a 5-on-3 and we probably could have been back in the game, but the referee said it was a clean hit, I guess.”
Brassard stayed in the game, but he said he considered himself fortunate to do so given how dangerous slew-footing can be.
“The way I fell on the ice, maybe I could have missed the rest of the season if I’d have hurt my knee there,’ he said. “I’m lucky enough there. Marchand’s a pretty good player. He’s feisty, he competes hard, but those kind of things we don’t want in our game.”
Marchand was fined $2,500 for a slew-foot on Matt Niskanen back in December of 2011. He’s also been outspoken against such plays, as he called out Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner back during the lockout-shortened 2013 season.
“Skinner slew-foots all the time,” Marchand said back on Jan. 29, 2013, a day after Patrice Bergeron went after Skinner. “He’s always doing that to guys and I think Bergy just had enough of it. We even spoke about it before the game in the room. The guys were talking about how much he slew foots and you’ve got to watch out for him. You can see it’s very blatant. He kicks his legs out and throws him back.
“I remember I got a fine for that last year. It’s not a good play, it’s frowned upon and if you continue to do that to guys, you’re going to get it. Bergy just had enough, and it was good for Bergy to stand up for himself like that.”
Marchand was not made available for comment after Thursday’s game.