|Bruins aim to finally win two in a row||03.08.12 at 12:30 pm ET|
When it comes to the Bruins, the last two months have been the definition of mediocrity. They were shut out five times in February and they’ve gone 11-12-2 over their last 25 games. Their scoring has dropped off and they’ve been allowing goals at a greater rate.
Perhaps the most alarming bit about their sluggish stretch is that they have not managed to win back-to-back games over their lsat 25 contests. It’s been since Jan. 10 and Jan. 12, and on Thursday they will have their latest chance to string together two victories.
The Bruins have obviously been banged up, but even the talent that’s left on the roster is capable of more. They’ve certainly been better over their last few games, but ultimately they can’t put their finger on what’s made it so difficult to win two in a row.
“I don’t know. We’ve been playing better of late,” Shawn Thornton said Thursday morning. “I think New York, we deserved to win [vs. the Rangers, a 4-3 loss]. I think we played well in Toronto. I think our game’s getting back to wear it needs to be. As long as we stay consistent with the way we’re playing, I’m happy.”
Last season, the Bruins were also struggling around this point of the season. On March 8, the B’s dropped what would be the second of four straight games (0-2-2) as part of a 1-3-3 stretch. The B’s found a way to pick up over the last few weeks, going 7-3-1 over their last 11 games.
Obviously, that didn’t solve all of the Bruins’ problems at the time. The B’s dropped the first two games of the Eastern conference quarterfinals to the Canadiens before coming alive and winning the series in seven games. Not letting the losses get you down is a mindset preached in the Bruins’ room, and it’s one that helped them then and eventually helped them win the Stanley Cup.
“We said it a lot last year. We didn’t let the highs get too high and the lows get too low,” Thornton said. “I know it’s cliche, but it’s true. We kind of just go about our business and focus on the next game. I think we’ve been pretty good at that this year, too. I think the experience has helped, but that was a big key in our success last year, just not worrying about what just happened, whether it was a big win or a big loss. [It was about] focusing on what’s coming up.”
On Thursday, the challenge to win two straight will come in the form of the Sabres, a squad that’s beaten the B’s in their last two meetings. Winning two straight hasn’t been easy for the Bruins of late, and it certainly won’t be easy given Buffalo’s situation. The Sabres are two points out of a playoff spot and have picked up their game, picking up points in nine of their last 10 games (7-1-2).
“They might be desperate, but they’re also playing great hockey, so it’s a combination of both,” Claude Julien said of the Sabres.
Two of the Bruins’ losses following wins over their last 25 games have come against the Sabres, so the B’s will be looking to change that trend Thursday night at the Garden. They feel they’ve been playing well enough recently (nine goals over their last two games) to pick up back-to-back wins for the first time in a long time. Frankly, they’re overdue.
“Our attitude in this room has never been a problem, but I think that we’re playing better of late,” Thornton said. “If we continue to be consistent playing that way, then we’re going to be good.”
|Andrew Ference on D&C: David Krejci ‘a completely different player when he’s feeling good’||03.02.12 at 10:56 am ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to discuss Thursday night’s overtime victory over the Devils and his take on the dynamics of the team as the result of moves before the trade deadline.
“It’s pretty tough to break them up after that,” Ference said. “The good thing about that — you’re happy to see anybody score and get some goals going, but especially Dave. He’s a completely different player when he’s feeling good, got that confidence going. It transforms him when he’s got a smile on his face, when he’s not as frustrated when he’s not scoring.”
Ference took only three shifts in the third period Thursday after suffering what Julien referred to as a lower-body injury. Despite his injury, Ference kept a positive attitude, praising the team’s efforts, especially goalie Tim Thomas, for pulling out the win. Asked if credit for the team’s success belongs more to Thomas or the defense, Ference said it’s a combination of the two.
“It’s like when last year, we talked about winning. No one guy could have won without the other; we’re not that kind of team,” Ference said. “Obviously Timmy was unbelievable, but without our system and without the way we play, we don’t win and vice versa. I think we have a great system and all that, but without Timmy playing the way he does, we don’t get it.”
“I like what we did,” Ference said. “Obviously you can see there’s injuries at this time of year and you need those guys that have that experience to step in, instead of just throwing a rookie to the wolves that’s never played before, then expect him to just jump in at this time of year is pretty tough.”
|Johnny Boychuk skates before Bruins practice||02.29.12 at 1:36 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk skated prior to Wednesday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena, marking the first time he has taken the ice since suffering a concussion Saturday night against the Senators.
Coach Claude Julien said after the practice that he had yet to hear any feedback on how well Boychuk handled his return to the ice, but that the team will soon know how he is feeling.
“He skated this morning, and those are more [situations in which] we find out the next day if everything’s good, then we move forward here,” Julien said. “Again, it’s a day-by-day situation, and we saw what happened with [Nathan Horton, who skated and suffered a setback earlier in the month], so we’ve just got to keep our fingers crossed.”
With Boyhcuk still out, the Bruins had seven defenseman at practice, as Greg Zanon joined the team for the first time since being acquired at Monday’s trade deadline.
|Greg Zanon won’t play for Bruins Tuesday night||02.28.12 at 12:17 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s morning skate that he expects additions Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau to be in the lineup when the B’s take on the Senators Tuesday night. Greg Zanon just arrived in Boston and did not take part in the morning skate and will not play Tuesday.
Julien added that forward Shawn Thornton, who has been sick recently, is expected to be in the lineup. Thornton was present for Tuesday’s morning skate.
Rolston, who was acquired with Mottau from the Islanders Monday, centered Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron in the morning skate.
Julien said he was “really happy with the moves, which provide the B’s with depth for the stretch run.
“Depth doesn’t mean they don’t belong in our lineup,” Julien said, “it means we have a lot more options now.”
|Andy Brickley on D&C: Bruins ‘gripping the sticks too tight’||02.22.12 at 11:24 am ET|
Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ recent scoring troubles and their game against the Blues Wednesday night.
The Bruins, who have lost three of their last four games and have had injury problems with their forwards, face off against a stingy Blues team that has the third-most points in the Western Conference.
“This could be a huge game for Boston in terms of just winning the game and getting a couple of goals and knowing you beat one of the best defensive teams,” Brickley said. “Keep in mind they’ve played Montreal, they’ve played Winnipeg, they’ve played Minnesota; these are teams they should handle even if they aren’t 100 percent and they don’t have their full lineup. These are teams they should handle. The Bruins are superior teams to these teams. Maybe they go into this game as an underdog and maybe that’s the psyche that they have to have.”
Added Brickley: “Claude [Julien] has left that [Patrice] Bergeron line together ‘ [Brad] Marchand, Bergeron, [Tyler] Seguin. He’s starved for goals, he being Claude. The team, as you pointed out, they need some goals and he’s left that line together thinking that he can at least rely on them to get some offensive production. I need that line to be real good tonight, I need Zdeno Chara to be really good tonight. You’re going to get some contributions from your role players, and when you’re injured the way they are with two top-six forwards out, those are the guys that have to deliver.”
Brickley said that a win over the Blues would come at the perfect time for the B’s.
“Even if they win this game 2-1, 3-2, low scoring, fight for every inch of the ice, I think this could be a really good victory if they can pull one out against a real good defensive team,” Brickley said. “And it will put them in a better frame of mind, because right now they are gripping the sticks too tight.”
|Claude Julien says Nathan Horton ‘back to square one’ in recovery from concussion||02.10.12 at 12:21 pm ET|
When Bruins coach Claude Julien frustratingly declared Tuesday that he was “done talking about” Nathan Horton‘s progress after he was supposed to have skated Sunday, something seemed fishy. As it turns out, Horton has indeed had a setback.
Julien said after Friday’s practice that Horton did not react well to skating earlier this week, and is “back to square one” in his recovery from his latest concussion.
“He’s been pulled back,” Julien said. “He’s got some symptoms, so we pulled him back. That’s why I said as far as for me to come out every and [say there’s a] step forward, a step backward. He’s back to square one and we’re giving him some time here. Those symptoms, once he got back on the ice, came back.”
Horton rode the stationary bike late last week and took to the ice on Sunday, but when symptoms returned, the team pulled the first-line winger back.
Horton suffered his second concussion since June on a hit from Philadelphia’s Tom Sestito on Jan. 22. His concussion has kept him out of the last six games.
|Injured Lindy Ruff won’t coach Sabres Wednesday||02.08.12 at 12:48 pm ET|
BUFFALO — The Sabres’ will be without an important piece Wednesday night against the Bruins, and it isn’t anyone who shows up on the stat sheet.
Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff, who broke three ribs earlier this week in a collision with defenseman Jordan Leopold, will not be behind the bench when the teams meet Wednesday at First Niagara center. In place of Ruff, assistant coach James Patrick will call the shots from behind the Buffalo bench.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said the hit shows the potential danger that coaches face in practices, and said that coaches wearing helmets would be logical, though he wouldn’t want to wear one.
“I guess it just goes to show there is a risk in our job as well as those players have, especially in practice,” Julien said. “I’ve had a few collisions with players. It happens. That’s why you’ve got to be ready all the time. When you see it, you can brace yourself, but when you don’t, it can be a tough fall. We don’t have that much protection underneath that sweat suit, except for the extra weight we carry.”
The Sabres will also be without forward Thomas Vanek, who is dealing with an upper-body injury. Vanek participated in Wednesday’s morning skate, but Patrick said after the skate that Vanek would not play.
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