|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.
|Turn up the volume: Breaking points||11.11.09 at 10:18 am ET|
Just a few weeks earlier, Matt Hunwick’s backhander hits the crossbar instead of finding the space between the goalie’s shoulder and the top of the net.
A few weeks earlier Alex Goligoski’s third period weird angle shot off the end boards careens off the right post and angles itself into a net vacated by Tim Thomas.
And a few weeks earlier, instead of an empty net goal, Patrice Bergeron misfires on an oddly bouncing puck and Pittsburgh collects it and scores in the last 30 seconds on an empty net power play.
But all three of those breaks went for the Bruins and not against them on Tuesday night as they beat the defending Stanley Cup champs, 3-0, at TD Garden, giving the Bruins consecutive wins for the first time this season.
Here’s an audio sample from a happy/relieved Bruins dressing room.
|Quick hits: B’s-Pens||11.10.09 at 9:31 pm ET|
Matt Hunwick gathered a rebound of his own shot after sharply cutting to the net from the right point to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead early in the second period.
The goal was Hunwick’s fourth of the season, but just his first point in seven games. Fellow defender Dennis Wideman picked up his first point in over a month, assisting on the goal.
Mark Recchi earned his 900th career assist, sending Daniel Paille in on a breakaway 3:34 into the third period. Paille gave Boston a 2-0 advantage, beating Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stick side for his first goal and first point of the season.
The defending Stanley Cup champs look like they are ready to get home. After opening the season with seven straight road wins, Pittsburgh suffered a 5-2 loss in LA last Thursday and a 5-0 drubbing by San Jose Saturday. The Pens, who are skating without Evgeni Malkin, Maxime Talbot, and Sergei Gonchar, finished the first period with two shots, a season low for a Bruins opponent.
Penguins forward Chris Bourque, the 23-year-old son of Bruins legend Ray Bourque, is skating at the TD Garden for first time in a regular season NHL game. The third-year NHL forward has generated just one assist in nine games in his first season with Pittsburgh. He has played NHL preseason contests in Boston before.
Star of the Game ‘ Still looking for players to step up offensively, Matt Hunwick launched an impromptu offensive attack in the second period. Bolting from the right point with little hesitation, Hunwick got the Bruins offense in gear.
Turning Point ‘ The Penguins has started to gather momentum and appeared poised to tie contest when Marc Recci hit Daniel Paille with a breakaway pass setting up an insurance goal for Boston in the third period.
|Krejci set to return for B’s||at 6:41 pm ET|
Center David Krejci is taking part in warmups and is expected to make his return after missing the last two games with H1N1 virus.
After missing practice on Monday, Michael Ryder is available tonight for the B’s.
|Turn up the volume: A special win for the B’s||11.08.09 at 12:35 am ET|
The Bruins finally broke through on the power play on Saturday and not coincidentally, so did Zdeno Chara.
Then, later in the same period, Zdeno Chara got off the snide. After scoring 17 goals in his first season in Boston and another 19 last year with the Bruins, Chara entered Saturday night still having yet to find the back of the net.
But that ended 13 minutes later when Chara’s blast from the high slot got past 21-year-old rookie Jhonas Enroth.
Between killing all seven Buffalo power plays and scoring on 2-of-3 man-advantage chances, the Bruins special teams shone on this night.
Afterward, the Bruins talked about getting the monkey off their backs.
|B’s face 21-year-old rookie in net||11.07.09 at 6:46 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask gets his fifth start of the season between the pipes tonight for the Bruins as they host the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden. Rask is 2-1-1 this season in his four previous games with a 2.41 goals against.
The Sabres, who lost on Friday night at home to Philadelphia, counter with 21-year-old rookie Jhonas Enroth, who is making his NHL debut in net for the first-place Sabres.
The Bruins, with 14 points, trail the Sabres by five points in the Northeast Division.