|Five things we learned as Bruins beat Senators without David Krejci||11.01.14 at 9:40 pm ET|
On paper, Saturday’s game against the Senators looked to be perhaps the hardest game of a relatively soft part of the Bruins’ schedule. The B’s were able to take care of it with a 4-2 win despite missing one of their best players.
A source told WEEI.com Saturday night that Krejci continues to deal with the hip injury that forced him to miss the first three games of the season. Krejci has been playing through pain and getting great results on the ice, but was finally given a night off on Saturday.
With Krejci out, the Bruins used the following lineup:
Lucic – Kelly – Griffith
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Fraser – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Gagne
Seidenberg – Hamilton
Morrow – McQuaid
Warsofsky – Trotman
Krejci will continue to battle his hip injury, but it’s unknown how many more games, whether sporadically throughout the season or otherwise, it will cost him.
Here are four other things we learned Saturday night:
FRASER GETS TO PLAY HIS POSITION
Matt Fraser will do whatever the Bruins ask of him, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be great at it. He needs to play left wing, preferably with some guys who can play. He did Saturday and scored two goals.
For just the second time this season, the left-shooting Fraser played on the left side. With Kelly moving up to Krejci’s spot, Fraser was able to slot in on the left wing of Carl Soderberg’s line with Loui Eriksson, reuniting a trio that looked good last postseason against the Canadiens.
In Fraser’s other four games this season, he was used as the right wing on a line with a rusty Milan Lucic and struggling Ryan Spooner (three games) and on the fourth line with Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell last month in Buffalo.
Saturday marked the first time this season Fraser got a chance to play his position with a line that could do some offensive damage and got two goals out of it.
The first goal came just as Fraser was getting onto the ice, as he whacked a rebound past Robin Lehner with Eriksson in front. It was his second goal, scored just 1:28 later, that really showed why he’s deserving of NHL minutes. Fraser caught up to a beauty of a pass from Soderberg in the offensive zone and fired a snap shot over Lehner’s glove.
Because of his shot alone, Fraser should be an NHL player. When he doesn’t get to use it, he isn’t of much use out there. In his first four games of the season, Fraser had just two shots on goal. He had five Saturday, two of which went in.
MARCHAND HITS HIS STRIDE
For two straight seasons, Brad Marchand has responded to a slow start by catching fire.
Fortunately for the Bruins, it didn’t take him 26 games like it did last season. Marchand had just one goal over the first 11 games of the season, but after scoring the tying and winning goals Thursday against Buffalo, Marchand picked up his fourth goal of the season in the first period Saturday.
The goal was a positive sign for a Patrice Bergeron line that is coming around after a slow start. Bergeron won an offensive zone faceoff back to Marchand, who fired a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that trickled past Lehner to open the game’s scoring.
Given the way the last two seasons have gone, Marchand is establishing himself as a streaky player. At least he’s streaking the right way at this point.
SEIDENBERG OVERCOMES ROUGH LUCK
Technically, Dennis Seidenberg lost the puck to Mark Stone along the wall in the offensive zone, leading to an Ottawa 2-on-1 on which Stone scored in the first period. Replays showed that Seidenberg had to battle more than Stone, as the linesman got in the way, preventing Seidenberg from retaining the puck.
In the third period, the hockey gods made up for Seidenberg’s bad break when a puck squirted out to the top of the left circle. Seidenberg stepped into it and blasted it past Lehner, whose vision was obstructed by a screening Bergeron. The goal was Seidenberg’s first of the season.
Seidenberg later got beaten by Mika Zibanejad in front on the Senators’ second goal of the night.
BRUINS ARE STICKING WITH JOE MORROW
For the second straight game, the Bruins scratched Matt Bartkowski in favor of the former Penguins‘ first-round pick.
To be fair, the Bruins had healthy scratches in mind for Bartkowski when they signed him to a one-year, $1.25 million contract this offseason, but he without a doubt topped the ‘next guy up’ list. For him to be sitting with three of the team’s regular defensemen out of the lineup is a clear sign that both he and the team know he hasn’t been himself this season and that the Bruins are confident in Morrow.
Just how confident? After playing 17:51 against the Sabres (including an overtime shift), the B’s gave Morrow over 16 minutes for a second straight game. Bartkowski’s season-high is 20:57, which he played on Oct. 23 against the Islanders, but the Bruins have kept Bartkowski under 15 minutes in three of his five games.
|How Bruins overcame uncharacteristically bad nights from Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara||10.21.14 at 11:51 pm ET|
Usually the Patrice Bergeron line and Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton pairing are the Bruins’ constants. They’re the guys who are going to create offensive-zone possessions and not make mistakes.
That wasn’t the case on Tuesday. Bergeron was on the ice for all three of the Sharks’ goals, linemates Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith joined him for two of them (it is worth noting that Marchand had a nice power-play goal), and Chara was on the ice for two of them as well. Those four and Hamilton were the only Bruins who finished with Corsi-for percentages under 50 percent, meaning they were the only Bruins who were on the ice for more 5-on-5 shot attempts against than shot attempts for.
That would seemingly be a recipe for disaster for the Bruins, especially when you consider that outside of the Carl Soderberg line, the rest of the team had been one giant question mark to this point in the season. David Krejci had looked good since his return, but linemate Milan Lucic was off to a slow start and he still didn’t have a set-in-stone right wing. The fourth line had featured several different combinations, and none of them had really done much. And the second and third defense pairings had been inconsistent at best, with Kevan Miller’s injury raising even more questions on the back end.
At least for one night, those questions turned into answers. Lucic, Krejci and rookie right wing Seth Griffith factored into four of the Bruins’ five goals, with Lucic notching three assists and Griffith scoring his first NHL goal. Two of the goals they were on the ice for — Griffith’s and Torey Krug’s — came as the direct result of getting bodies to the net. Krejci set a great screen on Krug’s, and then Lucic created some net-front havoc that freed up Griffith on his goal.
“I think it definitely was the best game that we’ve played so far this season,” Lucic said. “You saw we were hungry in the O-zone and hungry getting pucks to the net. We made some smart decisions in some important areas and it just seems like things are starting to head in the right direction.”
The fourth line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Simon Gagne was a positive possession line that even created some chances against the Sharks’ top two lines. They scored what proved to be the game-winner midway through the third when Paille won the puck along the boards and threw a shot on net that Campbell tipped in for his first goal of the season.
Campbell and Paille were also big on the penalty kill, especially late in the game when Bergeron went to the box for a four-minute double minor. Until Krejci’s empty-netter to seal the win, Campbell had the biggest play on that kill when he blocked a Joe Thornton shot that came off a Chara turnover.
“We’ve got to be a responsible, reliable line, and Claude [Julien] has to trust us to put us in those situations,” Campbell said. “With hard work comes trust, and if we’re playing our game and we’re in on the forecheck and creating chances and bringing energy to the lineup, then he usually has confidence in us.”
As for the bottom two defense pairings, the only glaring error was a bad miscommunication between Krug and Dennis Seidenberg that led to a goal, but as Julien pointed out after the game, Bergeron’s line was just as much at fault, as Smith had failed to clear the zone and Bergeron and Marchand had gotten caught up ice.
Outside of that, the Seidenberg-Krug and Matt Bartkowski-Adam McQuaid pairings played well. Krug’s goal and two assists obviously stand out, but let’s not overlook the fact that Seidenberg had seven shots on goal and 12 shot attempts, and that he and Krug had Corsi-for percentages of 63 and 62 percent, respectively. McQuaid and Bartkowski weren’t far behind at 61 and 57 percent, respectively, and McQuaid was also big on that final penalty kill.
Obviously this is just one game. No one should think that all of the Bruins’ question marks are gone and that everyone’s going to be great from here on. But on a night when the Bruins’ best players were uncharacteristically unreliable, it was encouraging to see everyone else step up and show that they can lead the way, too.
|David Krejci, Reilly Smith provide offense as Bruins beat Red Wings, end losing streak||10.15.14 at 11:02 pm ET|
David Krejci and Reilly Smith each scored in regulation, and then they each scored in the shootout as the Bruins beat the Red Wings, 3-2, Wednesday night to end their three-game losing streak.
Krejci opened the scoring 5:12 into the game with his first goal of the season after Chris Kelly forced a neutral-zone turnover and sprung Krejci up the middle of the ice. The Red Wings answered a few minutes later when Tomas Tatar took advantage of some sloppy defensive play and ripped a shot under the crossbar.
The Bruins regained the lead with 6:29 left in the second. Brad Marchand retrieved a dump-in deep in the offensive zone and calmly moved the puck to Patrice Bergeron, who then tried a wraparound that led to a juicy rebound for Smith to bury.
The Red Wings answered again, though, when Gustav Nyquist fired a laser shot past Tuukka Rask for a power-play goal 2:56 into the third. The Bruins failed to capitalize on two power plays of their own in the third period, and Jimmy Howard made several big saves in the final minute — most notably on a Simon Gagne rebound bid — to force overtime.
The Bruins were the better team in overtime, but couldn’t finish their chances. The best opportunity came on a 3-on-1 a minute and a half in, but Smith tried to force a pass that was easily broken up. The B’s had to kill a 41-second Wings power play to end the overtime after Brendan Smith drew a call on Bergeron with a pretty blatant embellishment.
Here are some other observations from the game:
-For the second time in as many games against Detroit, the Bruins suffered a Patrice Bergeron injury scare. Last week Bergeron missed most of the second period after crashing awkwardly into the boards. On Wednesday he limped off the ice late in the second after blocking a Danny DeKeyser slap shot. Fortunately for the Bruins, Bergeron was back on the ice for the start of the third period. As he so often is, Bergeron was the Bruins’ best forward Wednesday night. He went 17-for-24 on faceoffs and posted a .740 Corsi, and his line registered 12 shots on goal to go along with Smith’s second-period tally.
-This is partially tied into Bergeron since they played with that line a lot, but Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton were great, as they usually are. They had Corsis of 78 percent and 79 percent, respectively, which is very good. Hamilton was also a force in overtime, as he jumped into the offense several times and helped create scoring chances.
-The Bruins absolutely dominated the first period, outshooting the Red Wings 14-4 in the opening 20 minutes. They spent entire shifts in the offensive zone and won the majority of 1-on-1 battles. The scoreboard didn’t reflect that dominance, though, as the two teams entered the intermission tied at 1-1. Even on the Red Wings’ goal, they hadn’t really established any sort of possession in the Bruins’ zone, as it came off a turnover that led to a bouncing puck around the net.
-It was a particularly interesting first period for Chris Kelly. He made a great play to set up Krejci’s goal, as he forced a turnover in the neutral zone and then made a nice pass through the seam to spring Krejci. Just a few minutes later, though, it was a turnover of his own that led to Tatar’s goal, as Kelly failed to handle a pass up the boards from Dennis Seidenberg. On the whole, though, it was another good game for Kelly and linemates Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson. Kelly’s five shots on goal were tied for the team lead.
-The Bruins’ penalty kill had been very good until Nyquist’s power-play goal in the third period. Before that, the B’s had allowed just two shots on goal on the Red Wings’ first three power plays and made it tough for the Wings to get set up. On the fourth, though, they gave the dangerous Nyquist too much room to operate and he made them pay by walking in and snapping a shot past Rask.
-Considering it was his first game since April 2013, Simon Gagne looked pretty good. He played 12:13 and recorded four shot attempts and two shots on goal, one of which nearly won the game in the final minute of regulation. He started the game on the fourth line with Daniel Paille and Ryan Spooner, but wound up seeing some time with Krejci and Milan Lucic as the game went on.
|Jarome Iginla ‘understands’ why Bruins couldn’t bring him back: ‘There are cap issues’||10.13.14 at 7:39 pm ET|
Jarome Iginla holds no grudges against the Bruins. As a matter of fact, he said after Monday’s 2-1 win over his former employer that he’s grateful for the one year he spent in Boston.
“It was definitely a little bit different,” said Iginla, who had no shots or assists in 17 minutes and 20 shifts. “I had one of the best [years] of my career, one of the most exciting years last year, one of favorite years, the whole experience coming to this. I made some good friends that are on their side playing with the team, and we had a very good team. So it was a little different, for sure. It hasn’t been too long, it feels almost like you’ve just been gone for a long vacation, but it’s part of the game.
“Coming from the other side, once the game starts, it’s business. We were looking for our first win, and we knew they were trying to get things going for themselves. But it’s a bit different on the ice. You wouldn’t want to play all the time against that team, but it’s a great place and it’s fun to come back.”
After 30 goals and 31 assists in 78 games on Boston’s top line, Iginla left Boston for Denver and signed a three-year, $16 million deal with the Avalanche. On Monday, he acknowledged the real economics the Bruins were facing.
“Well, I understand it,” Iginla said. “I was hoping at the time, before free agency opened, that it could work out, but you know there are cap issues. With my family, we wanted to be able to make sure, I’m going to play more than one year, and I didn’t want to just play one year then next year [the Bruins] have even less [cap] room. With all the good, young guys they have coming up, they’ve got to keep room for them and keep signing them.
“It’s a good problem to have, though, if you’re the Bruins. But I understood why and figured if I was going to move my family, it would be the time now, before they keep getting more entrenched in school and liking it even more, and then trying to move the following year. I’ve got a great opportunity in Colorado. I’m excited to be here, and it’s a good, young, fun team. But like I said, before that with the Bruins, it was one of the best experiences of my career. I understand why, and like I said, their young guys played, [Torey] Krug, Dougie Hamilton, [Reilly] Smith, they played great. You’ve got to have room for them, Looch, the list goes on. So I understand.”
|David Krejci to miss at least 3 games for Bruins||10.08.14 at 11:58 am ET|
David Krejci will miss at least the Bruins’ first three games of the season after being placed on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury retroactive to last Saturday. Krejci is eligible to return to Boston’s lineup after Saturday’s game against the Capitals, with next Monday’s game against the Avalanche the first contest in which he can dress.
Wednesday’s morning skate indicated that Matt Bartkowski will be the team’s healthy scratch on defense. Adam McQuaid was paired with Dennis Seidenberg on the B’s second pairing.
Brian Ferlin and Malcolm Subban, both of whom were on the roster yesterday afternoon purely for the sake of a temporary paper transaction to maximize potential cap space going forward, were not on the ice.
With Krejci out, the team’s lineup in morning skate was as follows:
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Lucic – Spooner – Fraser
Paille – Cunningham – Robins
Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug – Kevan Miller
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|David Pastrnak sent to AHL, Matt Fraser, Ryan Spooner, Bobby Robins make Bruins for now||10.07.14 at 1:09 pm ET|
Though Peter Chiarelli said that there is still some “roster manipulation” to be done on the part of the Bruins between now and the start of the season for the purposes of maximizing cap space, the Bruins’ roster became more clear leading up to Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline.
Right wing David Pastrnak has been sent to Providence of the AHL for the time being. The 2014 first-round pick is there in order to further acclimate himself with the North American game while the Bruins continue to evaluate him. Pastrnak suffered a shoulder injury in his second practice of training camp and missed all but two games of the preseason.
Chiarelli said that the B’s will likely take “two to three weeks” to assess what they have in Pastrnak at the AHL level. The B’s can play him in the NHL for up to nine games before burning a year off his entry level contract. If Pastrnak plays the season in the AHL, his contract will slide to the next season, meaning that his first NHL season will count as the first of three seasons on his entry level deal.
Matt Fraser, Ryan Spooner and Bobby Robins have made the team for now. Fraser seems like a sure thing to earn a full-time spot, while Spooner’s play late in the preseason helped his case to begin the season in Boston.
David Krejci missed Tuesday’s practice and is questionable for Wednesday’s season-opener against the Flyers.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Pastrnak Watch: Rookie mistakes, starting main camp on David Krejci’s line?||09.14.14 at 7:55 pm ET|
ANTIOCH, Tenn. – David Pastrnak was less impressive in Sunday’s overtime loss against the Lightning than he was the day before against the Panthers, but it was still a notable day for him as his general manager’s words added more fuel to the belief that Pastrnak could very well end up making the team as an 18-year-old.
Asked specifically whether the plan was to take the 2014 first-round pick into the season for the first nine games before deciding whether to keep him and begin his entry level contract, Peter Chiarelli said that decision has yet to be made. However, Chiarelli made it clear that the team will give Pastrnak a realistic shot to make the team, perhaps trying him on the first line with David Krejci and, should Reilly Smith remain unsigned, on the second line with Patrice Bergeron.
“Listen, if he’s going to make our team, he’s going to have to play higher up in the lineup,” Chiarelli said. “He’s a skill guy with speed and he needs to play with skill players. Maybe when I say, like he’s not going to start down the lineup in preseason, in camp, it’s just he’ll have to be with skill players because you’re not going to get what you want from him.
“Who knows, he might start with Krejci, I don’t know. It’s about giving him some skill players, measuring the expectation level. Everything’s about him right now. There’s other good players out there too, like Ferlin’s a player. I thought he was outstanding yesterday. He was really good and strong. He’s just not as flashy as David and so there’s other players. But with David, let’s take one step at a time and a smaller body can wear down over time so let’s see how he handles that stuff.”
Pastrnak remained at center between Seth Griffith and Anthony Camara on Sunday. He struggled mightily on faceoffs, but the team is only using him at center for this rookie camp before moving him back to right wing for main camp next week.
The lowlight of the day was the game’s final play, as Pastrnak tried to steal the puck from Jonathan Drouin in the defensive zone rather than taking the man. Drouin went around Pastrnak and set up the game-winning goal. After the game, Pastrnak acknowledged his error, saying that he understood he should have hit Drouin rather than going for the big play.
Despite Pastrnak not being as sensational as he was in the tournament’s opening game, he remained the flashiest player on the ice. His play with the puck on his stick has stood out thus far, while his defensive play has been hit-or-miss.
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