|Rich Peverley to return to Bruins lineup||12.31.11 at 2:33 pm ET|
Bruins forward Rich Peverley will return to the lineup Saturday night against the Stars, coach Claude Julien confirmed to reporters following the team’s morning skate. Tim Thomas was first netminder off the ice in the morning skate and is expected to get the start in goal.
Peverley missed the team’s last two games with an undisclosed injury that Julien said was helped by rest. The team kept him out of the lineup last Friday agaisnt the Panthers and this Wednesday against the Coyotes. With Peverley’s return to the lineup, Zach Hamill will be a healthy scratch.
In 30 games this season, Peverley has six goals and 19 assists for 25 points.
|Claude Julien hopes his team is ‘heading in the direction’ of the Red Wings||12.04.11 at 12:36 pm ET|
For all the talk of a Stanley Cup “hangover” following a 3-7-0 start, the Bruins are in the midst of one of the best early-season runs any defending champ has had in recent memory.
The numbers are remarkable.
A 10-game winning streak, points in 14 straight games, and a 13-0-1 mark in those 14 contests.
They dispatched of their division rival Maple Leafs, 4-1, on Saturday at the Garden, sweeping the home-and-home series. They have manhandled the Leafs, 24-6, in winning all four games this season.
What’s next for this powerhouse?
How about doing it year-after-year? That’s what Claude Julien is thinking, just like the Red Wings, the only team to beat the Bruins in this remarkable stretch, the day after Thanksgiving.
“As a coach you are always afraid you’re going to peak to early and then when things start going bad, it will take a while to get yourself back on track But I feel differently about this because of the, I guess the sentiment in the room and the feeling is we’re not taking anything for granted,” Julien said. “We’re staying poised, we’re not getting cocky, we’re not getting complacent, we’re still focused and that’s the part I like. And again, that’s probably from experience and we’ve seen other teams in the past and we talk about the Red Wings and every year they come back strong and maybe we are a team heading in that direction.”
But the Bruins don’t have to wait until possible rematch with the Red Wings in the Cup finals for their next big test. That’ll be Monday night in Pittsburgh against the East-leading Penguins with a now-healthy Sidney Crosby back and powering his team.
|Bruins know Maple Leafs don’t want to be embarrassed again||11.29.11 at 12:48 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The next two games will have a big impact on the standings, as the Bruins enter this week’s home and home with the Maple Leafs trailing Toronto by one point for the Northeast division lead. The B’s have crushed the Maple Leafs twice this season, and they now have an opportunity to grab four points and leapfrog them in the standings.
Yet with so much at stake, the Bruins aren’t thinking about four points any more than they are thinking about getting two points twice. The first challenge will come Wednesday in Toronto.
“That’s all you can really do, is focus on the first game,” Gregory Campbell said after Tuesday’s practice. “We’ve done well against them thus far this season. Whether that’s motivation for them or not, it’s going to be anther hard one for us. We have to go in there and play good hockey. Wins will come if we play well. We’ve been playing well so far, so we have to continue that.”
The last time the Bruins were in Toronto, they gave the Leafs a 7-0 beating, with Tyler Seguin recording his first career hat trick. The Leafs went on to lose four of their next five, but have now won three games in a row and are coming off a 3-1-0 road trip. The Bruins know they’re facing a hot team that doesn’t need any help being motivated against a team that embarrassed them in their own building.
“It’s not something you forget when you’re on the receiving side, so I don’t think it’s going to be a hard game for them to be motivated for,” Claude Julien said. “We’ve just got to be ready for that.”
Air Canada Centre isn’t the only opponent’s building in which the B’s have found success. They’re 5-2-0 on the road this season, and have won their last four road games.
“I think our style of game is such that we’re just kind of a simple north-south team,” Campbell said. “On the road we just kind of go to work and play our game. We’re not out to impress anybody or to do anything that’s uncharacteristic of our team. We’re just trying to get two points, and everybody says this and it’s kind of cliche, but you just want to play a good, solid, smart road game. It’s usually simple hockey, but it’s usually the most effective for us.”
|Bruins not satisfied with win streak as long as they’re out of top-eight||11.16.11 at 4:11 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins’ 3-7-0 start to the season brought many words to mind: surprising, unacceptable, even the overused “hangover.”
Based on history, what should have come to mind would be more along the lines of “screwed.”
The Bruins found themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference when they had just six points through 10 games. If Thursday’s game against the Blue Jackets were to be played two weeks ago, it would have been a matchup of cellar-dwellars. Instead, the B’s have rattled off six straight wins that’s seen balanced scoring from all four lines.
“We’re very confident in the group we have,” Shawn Thornton said Wednesday. “We dug ourselves a bit of a hole, yes, but we knew we were right there. I think the guys did a good job of just sticking with it and working through it to get to where we need to be.”
The win-streak has brought the Bruins all the way up to ninth in the conference, just one point behind the Senators for eighth with three games in hand. Year after year, good teams get off to bad starts and are never able to recover due to the difficulty of climbing the standings with three-point games. After all, over two teams in the last two years who weren’t in the top eight on Nov. 1 ended up making the playoffs.
There are two ways of looking at what the Bruins have done here. One thing to take from it is that it’s proof that moving up in this league isn’t easy. The Bruins have been hotter than any team in the league, and the fact that it hasn’t catapulted them into the top eight shows that there’s still work to be done.
“Ninth still doesn’t put us in a playoff position. Our goal is to keep climbing, and you see how tough it is. We’ve won six games in a row and we’re still not in a playoff position,” Gregory Campbell said. “It’s a feather in our cap to have done what we’ve done, but for us to have so many losses early on, we can ill afford to get comfortable and rest on our streak so far.”
After the Bruins play the Blue Jackets and Islanders on Thursday and Saturday, respectively, they will have one of their biggest two-game stretches of the young season. Monday will see them square off with the Habs in Montreal and Wednesday will take them to Buffalo. The B’s currently trail the Sabres by four points in the Northeast division. If the B’s can grab four easy points against the struggling Blue Jackets and Islanders, they could be sitting pretty to move up even further and not only vie for a top-eight spot, but for the division lead.
“We’re just trying to maintain our intensity, our solid play structurally, and continue climbing,” Campbell said. “We have two huge division games coming up next week, so in order to set ourselves up to make another jump [in the standings], we have to win these next two games.”
For the streaking Bruins, there doesn’t seem to be a hint of satisfaction. They’ve made it hard on their opponents over the last six contests, but anybody in their dressing room will tell you the goal isn’t to win six in a row. The goal to correct the bizarro standings of two weeks ago, and get their names right around the top.
“For us, we’ve been down below too long,” Claude Julien said. “It’s been a month and a half. The season’s been going, and we’re still in ninth of today, not in a playoff spot. We feel we’re a much better team than that. I think that there’s an opportunity here in this next week and a half to really, I guess, move up in the standings as long as we can continue to win games and play as well as we have.
“It’s one of those things where we don’t want to be relying on other teams to do our job. It’s up to us to continue to play well and win hockey games. I think if we can keep playing the way we have lately, this next week and a half is going to really be telling for our hockey club.”
Added Campbell: “No matter who you are or what team you are, how good you are, this league is full of good teams,” Campbell said. “Things change quickly, as you’ve seen. We have to stay focused on the task here and set ourselves up. We’re in a good spot now, but teams ahead of us keep winning. It’s up to us to do the same.”
|Claude Julien: Andrew Ference not yet a game-time decision, Tuukka Rask ‘has a temper’||at 1:33 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — After practicing for the first time since his lower-body injury, Bruins defenseman said that he is “still day-to-day,” but the Bruins doubt he will play Thursday against the Blue Jackets.
“I don’t think we’re even at that stage yet for Andrew where it’s a game-time decision,” Claude Julien said. “I don’t even know if he’s been assessed well enough to make that comment, but maybe that will change tomorrow morning.”
Perhaps the most interesting moment of Wednesday’s practice came when an enraged Tuukka Rask banged his stick on the cross-bar four times and threw his stick through the door and off the ice following a goal from Patrice Bergeron‘s line.
“Tuukka has a temper,” Julien said. “It’s not the first time he’s exhibited that. He gets mad and he’s competitive. It’s never a bad thing as long as it’s for the right reasons.”
|Brad Marchand knows he did wrong and makes up for it||at 8:16 am ET|
No one had to tell Brad Marchand why he was benched in the second period of the Bruins’ 4-3 win over the Devils Tuesday night at TD Garden.
He knew that coach Claude Julien wasn’t pleased with him taking a roughing penalty midway through the period, throwing a punch at New Jersey’s Adam Henrique when the two squared tussled in the Devils zone.
The penalty was the first of two straight called on Boston, which led to a 5-on-3 power play and a New Jersey goal, after the Devils had gone scoreless in 22 straight power plays.
“I didn’t have to say anything. I think we’re kind of at the stage where we’ve been together long enough, he knows what I wasn’t happy with and why he sat,” Julien said. “But at the same time, he’s a good player for us, and he certainly deserves a chance to get back into it, and it was nice to see him respond quickly. He was a much smarter player in the third period.”
He took a pass from Zdeno Chara on the opening faceoff of the third period – as Julien put him back on the top line – and raced down the ice and beat Johan Hedberg six seconds into the period to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
“I took a bad penalty there and they scored on it and it’s a learning process when things like that happen,” Marchand admitted. “You’re going to pay for it sometimes. And I had to pay by sitting on the bench tonight.
“You just want to bounce back. I didn’t want to hang my head I wanted to go and show I can be better. And I think he was kind of giving me a pat on the butt. I had to be better in the game. I didn’t have a good first couple periods I want to come in the third and play stronger and help the team win.”
He was given encouragement on the bench from teammates like Patrice Bergeron.
“Bergy a couple of times before the third and right before when we’re on the ice and just said, ‘keep your head up and let’s go for it, bounce back,’ that kind of thing and kind of get me motivated. It just shows his leadership and just another little thing.
“You don’t ever want that to be the scenario when you miss a couple of opportunities at the end of the game when your down a bit. But a couple penalties were…I have to avoid. It’s kind of a wake up call. It is needed sometimes and tonight was one of those times.”
|Claude Julien: If Milan Lucic wanted to hit Ryan Miller, ‘he would have never got up’||11.15.11 at 11:59 am ET|
Call this a case of keeping the book on the Milan Lucic/Ryan Miller hit open just a little longer.
Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s morning skate that the team was “convinced” Lucic’s hit on Miller “wasn’t deliberate” and were therefore pleased with Brendan Shanahan‘s decision to not suspend the forward.
Julien said that he doesn’t believe goalies should be hit, but noted the difference between a hit and a collision. He believed Saturday’s incident was a collision.
“I know for a fact that if Milan had intended on hitting [Miller], he would have never got up,” Julien said of Lucic. “We all know how hard he hits. It speaks for itself.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
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