|Hard-earned break||12.24.09 at 11:11 am ET|
Thanks to the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and its players, the Bruins won’t have to worry about stepping back onto the ice for the next couple of days.
And thanks to their power play on Wednesday night, they can take nice thoughts with them over the Christmas break.
The Bruins broke an 0-for-13 drought on the power play, scoring three times in five chances on Wednesday night in a 6-4 win against the Atlanta Thrashers at TD Garden – a team by the way they will face exactly one week later on the same sheet of ice.
The Bruins, now with 43 points, also finished up the break with two key wins against Ottawa and Atlanta, two teams that coming into the week, were neck-and-neck with the Bruins for 4th and 5th place in the Eastern Conference.
Here are some of the highlights from a happy locker room as the Bruins take a break before lacing them up again on Sunday in Florida against the Panthers and Monday in St. Pete against the Lightning.
|Julien: ‘We collapsed’ in third period meltdown||12.15.09 at 1:39 am ET|
Claude Julien expected more from his team on Monday night.
He thought after his Bruins killed a 5-on-3 Philadelphia power play in the first period, they would come out for the jugular.
He thought after they worked and worked and finally got a late second-period goal from Vladimir Sobokta on a lucky re-direct of a centering pass from Shawn Thornton, they would find a way to put away the Flyers in the third period. They were 9-0-0 before Monday night in similar situations this season.
And he thought, despite a Sobokta goal being disallowed earlier in the game, the Bruins would outwork the dispirited Flyers and come away with two points.
If Monday’s game were a multiple choice game, none of the above would be the correct answer as the Flyers scored three unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes and came away with a much-needed, much deserved 3-1 win at TD Garden.
|Kesselmania over – we can get on with our lives||12.11.09 at 1:37 am ET|
Even Claude Julien had to take notice of the TV-generated hype over Phil Kessel’s return to Boston twice in the last five days.
Yes, he was a terrifically talented player who could score and strike the fear of hockey gods into the opposition if given space on ice to wheel and deal.
But the Bruins knew full well how to contain No. 81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He had two shots in 16 minutes in Saturday’s 7-2 loss to Boston. On Thursday, just five days later, Kessel’s line wasn’ t much prettier.
He had 22 shifts in over 18 minutes with just two shots, no goals and two face-off wins as the Bruins won again, 5-2. Not exactly what Toronto coach Ron Wilson had in mind but just what Claude Julien and the Bruins drew up in practice this week when discussing Kessel.
|Kessel: ‘there was pressure’||12.05.09 at 10:30 pm ET|
Here is Phil Kessel in his postgame chat with reporters following his two-shot, -3 performance against the Bruins in Boston’s 7-2 win.
Some other notable quotes from No. 81:
“There was pressure but that was probably the worst game I’ve played in a while. I’ve got to be better.” Kessel, with two shots, -3 rating and 16:28 of ice time.
“Yeah, you hear it but it doesn’t get to you. I just didn’t have a good game tonight and I have to be better.” Kessel on the boos and the chants of ‘Kessel, Kessel’ all night.
“You figure you come back and that’s what’s going to happen. It’s part of the game. Obviously, I didn’t play very well.” Kessel on the boos.
But maybe it was Toronto head coach Ron Wilson who put the game in perspective: ‘We stunk and we’ll move on. We were horrific defensively in Columbus. Joey [MacDonald] had a great game. And tonight, the same mistakes, the Bruins took advantage. The game was over halfway through the second period, so unfortunately we couldn’t do anything right.’
Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman was injured and is a question mark for the rematch with Toronto on Thursday in Boston.
“Hopefully minor injury. Call it upper body. Hopefully ready for Thursday,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien on Wideman injury.
Julien admitted he was fired up in his pregame speech to the team after a 5-1 debacle in Montreal 24 hours earlier.
“It would have been totally unacceptable for us to come out and not be ready to play.” Julien said. “We had to redeem ourselves and it was fortunate we had back-to-back games to do that.”
‘I guess, fired up, we needed that,” added Patrice Bergeron. “We needed that big effort we all knew before this game that we needed to bounce back. Last night was embarrassing and especially in front of our fans today we needed a big effort and we did it.’
|Bruins Dec. 2 Post Game||12.03.09 at 10:36 am ET|
|Julien has had enough||11.16.09 at 11:12 pm ET|
Claude Julien has had enough.
The Bruins head coach, who won the Jack Adams Award last year as the NHL’s best coach, has had enough of his team not coming out hungry. He’s had enough of his team feeling frustrated for hitting posts and crossbars. He’s had enough of injuries and weak power players. And, of course, he’s had enough of losing games.
But maybe most telling following Monday’s 4-1 lackluster loss to a hungrier, tougher Islanders team on Monday night, Julien had enough of answering for his players.
|Turn up the volume: ‘We deserved two points’||11.13.09 at 12:58 am ET|
Last season, as the Bruins were on their way to 53 regular season wins and first place in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs, things couldn’t have been much better in the month of November. They went 11-1-1, racking up 23 of a possible 26 points in the month.
What a difference a year makes. This year the Bruins are 2-2-2 in six November games. Tim Thomas recorded his second straight shutout on Thursday night but it wasn’t good enough for a win. The Bruins were beaten in a shootout, 1-0, by a Florida Panthers team that was 5-9-1 coming in.
It was their third shutout loss and the eighth time they have scored fewer than two goals in a contest. Amazing they are even approaching .500 with an 8-8-2 mark.
How bad are things right now? They Bruins not only didn’t score in the 60 minutes of regulation, outshooting Florida 19-1 alone in the second period, they were held scoreless in the five-minute overtime. They failed to light the lamp in their first three shootout chances. And when Thomas gave them another chance by stopping the first three shootout attempts himself, he had reason or hope to think the Bruins would break through.
Not quite. After Blake Wheeler, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara missed in the first three rounds, Michael Ryder had his chance in the fourth and extra round. Not even an extended shootout could help the Bruins find the back of the net on this night.
Afterward, the Bruins talked about their hard work and frustration on a night that yielded just one point for the overtime loss.
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Brad Marchand's Hot Streak a Big Reason for the Boston Bruins' Recent...
- Prospect Depth Allows BOS to Not Rush Pastrnak
- Seth Griffith Fitting in on the First Line with the Boston Bruins
- Bruins' Depleted Defense Returns to Reality in Loss to Wild
- Bruins' Patrice Bergeron Records 500th Career Point
- Bruins Players Dress Up as 'Frozen' Characters
- Looking at Bruins Defensive Pairings Without Chara