|Claude Julien says ‘lack of finish is probably the biggest concern right now’||03.06.15 at 8:50 am ET|
It’s been the one thing that has haunted these Bruins all season.
They can’t find a way to finish scoring opportunities in and around the net and wind up regretting it at the end of the game. Such was the case again Thursday night in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames. There were several chances for the Bruins to put some distance between themselves and Calgary in the early and middle parts of the game and they simply couldn’t find the finishing touch.
There was Daniel Paille with a wrister on Flames goalie Karri Ramo midway through the first period. There was a slap shot from Dougie Hamilton that was deflected away by a stick at the last moment. But there was no better example of Boston’s inability to find the scoring touch than when Loui Eriksson, on a 3-on-1 rush, had the puck on his stick and fired wide of an empty net midway through the third period.
Carl Soderberg, without a goal since Jan. 17 against Columbus, has now gone 17 games without a goal. He had two chances in the opening period and couldn’t find the back of the net.
“Again, the challenge of our lack of finish is probably the biggest concern right now,” coach Claude Julien said. “So I think we had the better of the game, five-on-five. There’s no doubt we played a lot more in their end then they did in ours.
“It’s a little bit of maybe confidence, and you squeeze your stick you’re trying so hard. There’s a lot of guys, use Carl Soderberg as an example. He’s really struggled the last little while scoring goals, and guys are putting pressure on themselves. There’s games where you like your team’s game, but your finish is what ends up killing you at the end.”
Julien realizes that the Bruins had chances leading 1-0 and 2-1 to really do damage and failed to seize on the opportunity because they simply couldn’t finish.
Read the rest of this entry »
|Five things we learned as Tuukka Rask, Dougie Hamilton lead Bruins past Stars||01.20.15 at 11:10 pm ET|
Dougie Hamilton had a two-point night, including his career-high eighth goal of the season in the third period, to give the B’s a 3-1 victory over the Stars in Dallas (box).
The victory was the Bruins’ sixth in their last seven games, giving them points in 11 of the last 12.
It was also the second and final game of Brad Marchand‘s suspension. Marchand will be eligible to return Wednesday against the Avalanche, which is the Bruins’ final game before the All-Star break.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday:
BRUINS TRADE CHANCES AND PENALTIES
Players went three places Tuesday: up the ice for a scoring chance, down the ice to defend one and then to the penalty box.
From the opening shift of the game, when Jamie Benn was sprung on a breakaway and then tripped by Adam McQuaid, the Bruins and Stars swapped both scoring chances and penalties. It’s a frantic style the Bruins would rather not play, but strong penalty killing allowed them to survive it.
The B’s took six penalties on the night and killed off each of them, while Hamilton’s power-play goal came on Dallas’ fourth penalty of the night.
Standing tall for the Bruins throughout it all was Tuukka Rask, who made timely saves and got some help from the post.
|Columbus coach Todd Richards: Carl Soderberg hit on Matt Calvert ‘a shot right to his head’||01.17.15 at 10:38 pm ET|
Another Bruin may be hearing from the NHL‘s Department of Player Safety. In the second period of Saturday night’s game against Columbus, Carl Soderberg caught Matt Calvert with a shoulder to the head as he tried to throw a hit, something Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards was quick to point out after the game.
“I thought the hit [Calvert] took in the second period was a shot right to his head,” Richards said.
Soderberg said he didn’t remember the play when asked about it after the game. Calvert was not made available to the media because he has been battling an illness.
Soderberg has no previous history with supplemental discipline.
GIF: Soderberg hit on Calvert pic.twitter.com/65JAwXog8P
‘ Steph (@myregularface) January 18, 2015
|5 things we learned as Bruins ride fast start to victory over Red Wings||12.29.14 at 9:41 pm ET|
The Bruins recovered nicely from Saturday’s embarrassing loss to the Blue Jackets, as they took a 5-2 victory over the Red Wings Monday at TD Garden to give them victories in three of their last four games.
Boston made do with a relatively scarce roster, as both Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron missed the game with undisclosed injuries and Matt Fraser was lost to the Oilers earlier in the day on waivers. Matt Lindblad, recalled after Fraser was claimed by Edmonton, dressed in his second NHL game of the season.
Though Boston relented after a strong push to open the game, the B’s gained much-needed separation with a third-period Seth Griffith goal after Detroit had cut their lead to one late in the second period. Chris Kelly scored an empty netter to seal the victory.
The win showed, at the very least, that the Bruins do have another gear. Though they didn’t sustain it throughout the night, they found it long enough to take two points from a divisional opponent.
Here are four more things we learned:
BRUINS OWN THE FIRST
The Bruins took the ice Monday clearly aware that they were without two of their best forwards. Their push to make up for the absences of Lucic and Bergeron translated into puck possession dominance and overwhelming victories in puck battles throughout the opening period.
Most importantly, the B’s scored three goals in the first period, marking the first time they’ve done so all season.
The only players with a negative even-strength Corsi in the first period were Campbell and linemates Jordan Caron and Daniel Paille. Then again, Campbell scored after being sent out as the extra attacker on a delayed penalty call, so there really wasn’t much not to like about the first period.
SODERBERG LINE DOMINANT
The Soderberg line was simply dominant against Detroit’s third line of Darren Helm between Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist, while also outworking Detroit’s second line on a first-period possession that led to a delayed penalty on which Campbell as an extra attacker scored. Soderberg would add a goal of his own shortly after off a nice feed from Eriksson behind the net.
Soderberg had six shots on goal in the game, which tied a career-high accomplished once last season.
|David Krejci thinks Bruins should prioritize first line, too||12.22.14 at 4:05 pm ET|
David Krejci might want to know who his right wing is as much as anyone else.
Claude Julien‘s hands are tied. Partially because of Krejci’s injuries, he waited too long to try Loui Eriksson with Krejci and Milan Lucic. Eriksson has undeniable chemistry with Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly, but the Bruins haven’t given him a chance to develop chemistry with Lucic and Krejci. Given where they currently fall in the standings, the B’s might not think they can afford a games-long getting-to-know-you period if the B’s don’t win games in the process.
So that leaves Krejci, who thought he knew who he’d have for linemates after Jarome Iginla left, with four different right wings (Seth Griffith, Simon Gagne, Craig Cunningham and, ever so briefly, Eriksson) in 14 games this season.
“Everything was – it looked like we were going to play with Loui from the beginning. If not, then someone else, so it was kind of a tough situation,” Krejci told WEEI.com Monday. “I was preparing myself the whole summer [as though] I would be playing with Loui. That was on my mind. Then some injuries and those guys play pretty well together right now with Carl and Kells as a line, so yeah.”
Added Krejci: “I’m happy that we’re winning, but I’d like to be putting some points up as well. That’s why I’m here. That’s why they re-signed me. It gets a little frustrating at times. You always play with somebody else, but I’m sure we’re going to find the right guy. If not, who knows what happens? There’s always trades, you know.”
On Sunday, Julien finally started Eriksson on Krejci’s right wing to open the game. The line had a so-so first period, but allowed a second-period goal and followed it up with a shift that saw Krejci give the puck away and Lucic mishandle the puck at the blue line. Krejci’s misplay led to a Sabres scoring chance; Lucic’s forced Dougie Hamilton to trip Tyler Ennis in the neutral zone and put the Bruins on the penalty kill.
Julien returned Eriksson to Soderberg’s line, with Kelly scoring on the trio’s first shift back together. Eriksson scored the game-winner in overtime on a feed from Lucic, but it was during a line change.
While Eriksson with Kelly and Soderberg has been Boston’s most consistent line this season, it isn’t like any of Boston’s forwards are having particularly good seasons. The Bruins are the only team in the league without a nine-goal scorer. They’re one of three teams (with the Sabres and Coyotes the other two) who haven’t seen a player reach 10 goals.
Part of the Bruins’ offensive problem has been that they’ve only had Krejci for 14 games, leading Julien to mix and match different lines and play Soderberg’s line against other team’s top forwards and defensemen. Krejci’s return allows the Soderberg line to go back to playing against bottom-six players and third-pairing defensemen, which makes their job easier.
In a perfect world, the Bruins shouldn’t need Eriksson to win those shifts, as Soderberg is probably a little better than a third-line player, while Kelly has been a solid third-liner for years.
The Bruins value secondary scoring, but having a good first line is more important. The Bruins are better off when Krejci is at his best, and Krejci’s at his best when he’s comfortable with his linemates rather than taking turns training potential candidates.
So maybe it’s Eriksson and maybe it’s somebody else, but teams don’t miss the playoffs because they don’t have great third lines; they do because they don’t have first lines. Krejci is eager for Boston’s to take shape.
|A closer look at whether Carl Soderberg’s line scores too much to be broken up||12.21.14 at 2:51 pm ET|
Claude Julien does not want to separate Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg. That much we definitely, definitely know.
On Sunday, Julien reiterated that stance with a quote that got us thinking.
“Right now, the Soderberg line is the only one that’s scoring for us,” Julien said, “so do you guys want me to break that up and we get no more scoring? So you pick your poison.”
Krejci has been in the lineup for 13 games and has had Seth Griffith as his right wing for 12 of them, with Simon Gagne also getting some shifts and Eriksson getting a small taste late in Friday’s game. The Bruins might not be 100 percent on Griffith being their first-line right wing, but they won’t try Eriksson to see if they have any other internal fits for the job before potentially trading for one.
So, given Julien’s quote, we looked at every goal the Bruins have scored when Krejci has been in the lineup. In each game, Soderberg and Eriksson have been together, so it’s actually rather easy to tell whether Julien has a point. Keeping in mind that different lines (Krejci’s and Patrice Bergeron‘s) have tougher matchups, here were our findings:
Total goals (13 games): 35
Soderberg line: 9
Krejci line: 8
Bergeron line: 7
Campbell line: 1
Krejci during change with Kelly, Eriksson: 1
The findings aren’t overwhelming, but they do illustrate that when the Bruins have their full offensive lineup, the Soderberg line does pretty much all of Boston’s secondary scoring (nine of 10 goals). That might be reason enough for Julien to not want to tinker with Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson.
That said, the Bruins are 22nd in the league with 2.42 goals per game (2.69 with Krejci in the lineup). They need goals, and Eriksson had a four-point game against the Flyers last season when skating with Krejci and Lucic.
Following is a goal-by-goal breakdown, which also takes into consideration that Julien changed half of his lines on Oct. 30 against the Sabres but kept Griffith with Krejci while also keeping Eriksson with Soderberg. Read the rest of this entry »
|5 things we learned as Bruins get David Krejci back and win||12.17.14 at 10:47 pm ET|
On Wednesday, the Bruins got three things Bruins fans thought they might never see again: three goals, a win and David Krejci.
After an up-and-down showing from the B’s in Minnesota, Loui Eriksson took a feed from Carl Soderberg and tucked it behind Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom to give the Bruins a 3-2 overtime win over the Wild (click here for the boxscore). The win was Boston’s first in four games.
Krejci returned to the lineup after missing the last 11 games. He had one shot on goal and had a minus-13, even-strength Corsi, which was worst among Bruins forwards.
Krejci played a part in Minnesota’s game-tying goal in the third period. A turnover from Krejci in the defensive zone led to a Ryan Suter point shot that Niklas Svedberg stopped with his blocker. Zach Trotman picked up the rebound, but Jason Pominville whacked it away from Trotman and into the net to tie the game at two goals apiece.
That said, Krejci’s return is mammoth for the Bruins, who have had their first-line center for just 12 games this season and fell out of a playoff spot without him.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday:
BRUINS STILL LIKE GRIFFITH WITH KREJCI
With Krejci returning to the top line, so too did Seth Griffith. The Bruins have played Griffith as their first-line right wing in every game Krejci has played this season, but they have generally used Griffith as a bottom-six player without Krejci.
It’s an odd choice on the Bruins’ part to not try other players with Krejci and Milan Lucic to determine how many potential in-house candidates the B’s have to fill their seemingly up-for-grabs first-line right wing job. The Bruins have still not tried Loui Eriksson with Krejci and Lucic this season.
The lines were as follows:
Lucic – Krejci – Griffith
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Cunningham
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