|Offense comes back to life in 6-5 shootout loss||03.28.13 at 12:03 am ET|
Because six Bruins failed to beat Peter Budaj in a shootout, the clearest takeaway from the Bruins’ 6-5 loss to Montreal on Wednesday was another blown third-period lead. However, the reason the Bruins had a lead to blow was that the offense came alive for the first time in a week and half, with five different players scoring.
In their last five games before Wednesday, the Bruins had 10 goals (and one of those came in a shootout). Against Montreal, they knocked Carey Price out of the net with four goals in the second period and finished the game with 41 shots.
‘It was nice to see us score some goals tonight,’ Bruins coach Claude Julien said. ‘We’ve been a little dry lately, and we managed to score five, so that was nice to see.’
Perhaps it was a bad omen when Dougie Hamilton was the first Bruin on the board, as they’re now 0-4 when he scores. Still, Hamilton cut Montreal’s lead in half just 39 seconds after P.K. Subban had made it 2-0, and his goal sparked a momentum shift in the Bruins’ direction.
Patrice Bergeron‘s line reappeared with a vengeance, recording a total of nine points between Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin. Each scored a goal, and Bergeron added three assists. Seguin had two and Marchand one.
That was especially encouraging for Marchand, as the second-chance goal he scored to tie the game at two was only his second in the last 12 games. After a shaky start to the game, Nathan Horton also broke a drought, scoring for the first time in six games and only the second time in the last 15.
The Bruins’ last two goals came on rushes, with perfectly timed passes through the slot, but their first three came from persistence on second and third chances. Despite being pulled after allowing four goals on 26 shots, Price made the Bruins work for their first three. They were equal to the challenge, winning races to rebounds and maintaining possession in the zone until they found clear shooting lanes.
Although Bergeron’s line, the Bruins’ most productive this year, ended up playing together by the middle of the game, they didn’t start the night that way. Julien started Daniel Paille with Bergeron and Seguin instead, and Marchand said the change, however brief, helped him.
‘Maybe just to let me know I’ve got to simplify a little bit,’ Marchand said. ‘At times, when you play with each other for a while, you start only looking for each other, and try to make pretty plays instead of doing things that work, which is keeping it simple and taking pucks to the net. And that’s what worked for us tonight.’
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘Boston, Pittsburgh and Montreal are the three best teams in the Eastern Conference’||03.22.13 at 12:31 pm ET|
NBC commentator Pierre McGuire spoke with Mut & Merloni Friday about where the Bruins stand among the top teams in the East, what problems Dougie Hamilton could be facing, and what might happen with Jarome Iginla before the trade deadline.
“I would say Boston, Pittsburgh and Montreal are the three best teams in the Eastern Conference,” McGuire said, noting that the Penguins‘ fourth-line forwards contribute on offense and that the Bruins have a similar degree of depth.
“You go watch Danny Paille play — he’s having a great year for Boston. He’s a fourth-line player. His skill level is pretty excessive too, for a depth player. Gregory Campbell‘s skill level’s not so bad. Rich Peverley‘s skill level’s not so bad. So the Bruins can match [the Penguins] in terms of depth skill, and that’s one of the things you’re going to have to have if you’re going to win in the East.”
“Early on we were seeing the physical teams be physical,” McGuire said. “I would say right now, we’re starting to see some guys let up a little bit. I was talking to Mario Lemieux about this the other day in Pittsburgh, and he said one of the hard parts about the 48-game schedule is that as you get to the halfway point, it’s more than that, because you haven’t had training camp and you are fatigued and you are breaking down.
“There’s a little less physical play, there’s more speed play, there’s a lot more open ice. ‘¦ I’m not saying that’s the problem with Milan, but I do think fatigue is becoming a very real issue for a lot of players around the league.”
Peverley’s benching has been seen by some as Claude Julien‘s attempt to send a message, but McGuire said he doesn’t think that’s the case.
“Sometimes the games go a lot slower when you’re upstairs and you get a chance to see, maybe you do have more time to make a play, maybe you do have a different outlet and a different decision you can make,” McGuire said. “It’s not really so much about message-sending, I think it’s more getting the player refocused and re-energized.
|Andy Brickley: Bruins ‘should have close-out ability,’ ‘haven’t shown it consistently enough’||03.20.13 at 12:21 pm ET|
NESN’s Andy Brickley spoke with Mut & Merloni Wednesday about why the Bruins have struggled to maintain leads, what general manager Peter Chiarelli might do before the trade deadline, and how the lineup could be shuffled after some recent injuries.
On Tuesday, the Bruins gave up three third-period goals and lost 3-1 to the Jets. Brickley said the way the B’s have played with leads, especially late in games, has been problematic.
“With one-goal leads, even sometimes two-goal leads — for some reason, their inability to make plays when it’s coming out of their own zone, at center ice, when they do have possession, putting pucks into areas in the offensive zone, it requires discipline,” Brickley said. “You don’t want to have to play that way, because you have the lead and you think you can extend the lead by making plays, when the real play is to put pucks in areas to force the other team to have to go and then have to come 200 feet.
“Games are going that way this year because of the 48-game schedule. Things are different this year. Those are not excuses for this Bruins team, because they’re better than they’re showing. They should have close-out ability and they haven’t shown it consistently enough. That said, they’re still in pretty darn good shape.”
There’s been talk of the Bruins pursuing a stay-at-home defenseman to help support Dougie Hamilton before the April 3 trade deadline. However, Brickley said they may make a play for an offense-oriented defenseman instead, despite the potential cost of such a trade.
“As much as we like Dougie Hamilton and what he’s brought to this team, you still see his minutes reduced late in the game, when they’re playing good competition, playoff teams, and goals are hard to come by,” Brickley said. “He’s not the player that you can look at and say, April, May and June, he’s going to be real good for us. That would be a total guess. So maybe you do have to add a puck-moving defenseman, and that’s probably where the premium is at, but there are a lot of puck-moving defensemen ‘¦ that would be available.”
|Blown away: Bruins blow three-goal lead, lose in OT to Capitals||03.05.13 at 9:51 pm ET|
Eric Fehr scored on a phenomenal rush up the slot just 37 seconds into overtime as the Bruins blew a 3-0 lead and lost to the Capitals, 4-3, in overtime Tuesday night at the Verizon Center. Tuukka Rask, who couldn’t protect the 3-0 lead, made 22 saves in the loss.
The Bruins lost their second straight game for the second time this season and fell to 14-3-3 on the season.
With Tyler Seguin in the penalty box serving a two-minute hooking penalty, Brad Marchand was hooked on a short-handed breakaway from behind by Alex Ovechkin and was awarded a penalty shot. Marchand beat Braden Holtby for a 1-0 lead at 6:29 of the first. It was the first short-handed penalty shot goal since Jan. 10, 2012 when Shawn Thornton scored against Winnipeg.
With the Bruins in control, they added a pair of goals 1:23 apart late in the first to make it a 3-0 game after one period. Zdeno Chara pinched down low in the offensive zone and snapped a shot past Holtby at 17:07. Then the Bruins capitalized on what appeared to be a questionable interference call on Ovechkin.
Just 15 seconds into the penalty, Dougie Hamilton fired a shot from the top of the slot through a partial screen. The puck found its way past Holtby and the Bruins had a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The Capitals, who came in winners of six of their last nine games, showed some resolve in the second period. Ovechkin found Mike Ribeiro on the low left circle in front of Rask. Ribeiro redirected the puck into the part of the net vacated by Rask at 5:46 of the second. Six minutes later, the Capitals made it a one-goal game when Tomas Kundratek fired one past Rask.
Moments after Holtby turned aside Seguin, Fehr backhanded a pass from the mid-slot that deflected off the leg of Hamilton and found its way onto the stick of Wojtek Wolski, who beat Rask to tie the game, 3-3, with 6:05 left in regulation. The Bruins had one more great chance when Ovechkin was called for hooking with 2:27 left in regulation. But the Bruins managed just two shots on the power play and couldn’t get the go-ahead marker.
Then, in the opening moments of overtime, Niklas Backstrom took a puck in the neutral zone and backhanded a pass for Fehr, who streaked up the middle and beat Rask as he was falling to the ice for the game-winner. Fehr also finished with two assists on the night for the Capitals, who improved to 9-11-1.
The Bruins return to action Thursday night when they host the Maple Leafs at TD Garden. For more, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Late hit: Canadiens make Zdeno Chara and Bruins pay||03.03.13 at 10:14 pm ET|
Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais scored third period goals under four minutes apart to erase a one-goal deficit after 40 minutes and beat the Bruins, 4-3, Sunday night at TD Garden. The Canadiens overcame a career-high three assists from Brad Marchand to avenge a 2-1 loss to the Bruins on Feb. 6 in Montreal. The win also gives the Canadiens 32 points, two more than the second-place Bruins in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins had their six-game winning streak snapped and lost for just the third time this season in regulation, falling to 14-3-2 on the season.
The game was highlighted by several fights, including one involving Zdeno Chara. The Bruins captain was lost for 17 minutes late in the second period and over half of the third period when he fought Alexei Emelin, who moments earlier hit Tyler Seguin.
The Canadiens jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Tomas Plekanec took a centering pass from former Bruin Michael Ryder and partially fanned on the shot. But Plekanec got just enough of the puck to throw off Rask, who had the puck trickle past him just 21 seconds after Andrew Ference went off for an interference penalty.
The Bruins then turned up the intensity, thanks in large part to a big forecheck from Milan Lucic. Tyler Seguin tied the game when he took a pass from Patrice Bergeron and beat Peter Budaj. But the tie game lasted only 16 seconds as on the next rush up the ice, Dasharnais centered a puck for Pacioretty. The puck never reached Pacioretty and instead went off the stick of Johnny Boychuk and past Rask for a 2-1 Canadiens lead after 20 minutes. The Bruins set the tone, however, out-hitting Montreal, 15-8, in the opening period.
The Bruins dominated the second period from nearly every aspect, including the penalty kill. The Canadiens had a 5-on-3 power play for 70 seconds but thanks to zone clears by Lucic and Hamilton, the Bruins were able to kill off the entire two-man advantage, allowing just one shot on goal in the process.
Just prior to the two-man advantage, the Bruins reclaimed the lead on goals by Patrice Bergeron and Dougie Hamilton. Seguin fed Bergeron at the right post. Bergeron tried to stuff the shot past Budaj and finally got some help when Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov, crashing the net to help, kicked the puck past his own goalie with his left skate to tie the game, 2-2.
The Bruins took their only lead of the night just over five minutes later when Hamilton put himself on the low right of Budaj and turned his upper body just in time to take a pass from Marchand. Hamilton one-timed the shot from the bad angle past Budaj for a 3-2 lead.
The turning point of the game would come with 4:25 left in the second. Seguin was skating through the neutral zone with the puck when Emelin checked him to the ice. Seguin went down immediately, holding his left side and skating off slowing to the dressing room. Seconds later, Chara took revenge with a devastating check on Emelin, sparking a one-sided fight between the two. Chara was assessed a two-minute instigating penalty, five-minute fighting major and a 10-minute misconduct, adding up to 17 minutes of lost ice time for the Bruins top defenseman. Read the rest of this entry »
|Dougie Hamilton might look like Beaker, but he’s no Muppets buff||02.27.13 at 2:47 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Dougie Hamilton is a smart guy. He knows the game of hockey well, and he was a superb student before his NHL career, winning the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year in 2011.
There is one thing he doesn’t know, however, and that’s the Muppets.
A photoshopped picture of Hamilton, done by the website bostonbruinsfan.com, made the rounds on Tuesday night. The image had a frowning Hamilton next to a picture of Beaker in a Bruins uniform. The Bruins saw it on the bus after their 4-1 win over the Islanders last night and had a good laugh over it.
The picture was hilarious to teammates, but though Hamilton said he found it funny, he didn’t get the joke as well as the rest of the team.
“I don’t know who Beaker is,” he admitted Thursday.
That didn’t sit well with Milan Lucic.
“Looch was really upset about that,” Brad Marchand said. “Looch asked every person on the plane last night if they knew who the Muppets were after Dougie said he didn’t know. We had some fun about that one. I hope Looch has settled down a little bit about that one.”
Often the target of jokes from teammates and opponents himself, Marchand is glad to see the Hamilton — a very business-like player for a rookie — get involved with the good-natured ribbing.
“Everyone gets it from day to day,” Marchand. “It’s funny to see Dougie react to things like that. He’s new and young and guys like to have fun with it. He’s good about it, he takes it in stride.”
|Phil Kessel trade comes full circle as Dougie Hamilton faces hometown Maple Leafs||02.01.13 at 3:31 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins rookie Dougie Hamilton will experience a couple of firsts Saturday night against the Maple Leafs. Not only will it be his first time facing the team he grew up for rooting in their building, but it will be the first time he faces Phil Kessel.
Were it not for Kessel, Hamilton probably wouldn’t be a Bruin — instead, he’d likely be a Maple Leaf. The ninth overall pick in 2011, Hamilton was the second of two first-round picks traded from the Leafs to the B’s in 2009 in exchange for Kessel. The other one was 2010 second overall pick Tyler Seguin, and Saturday will mark the first time that all three players take the same ice at the same time.
Though their careers have yet to fully play out, the trade has been viewed as lopsided in the Bruins’ favor, based on the elite talent they were able to net in Seguin and Hamilton. Both players are Ontario natives who grew up Leafs fans (Seguin hails from Brampton, while Hamilton is a Toronto native), so watching a pair of local stars play big roles for the rival Bruins is a tough thing for fans of the Maple Leafs to do.
“It’s cool,” Hamilton said his connection to the Leafs. “It doesn’t really mean anything to me. I wasn’t really part of the trade. I was just the pick I guess. I don’t really think about it, I don’t really care about it, so it doesn’t really matter.”
So far this season, Kessel, Seguin and Hamilton each have four points, with Seguin’s empty-netter against the Hurricanes Monday the only goal scored between them. Last season, Seguin was a Leafs-killer with seven goals with four assists in six games against Toronto, so perhaps Seguin can pick up his first real goal of the season and then some on Saturday. If Bruins fans want to get greedy, perhaps Hamilton could score the first goal of his NHL career against Kessel and the Leafs.
While Hamilton understands that he will always be connected to the Kessel trade, he is more excited to take the ice at Air Canada Centre, especially as a visitor.
“I guess I always dreamt of playing for the Leafs, but I think as I’ve gotten older, I think it will be cooler to be on the other side,” he said.
While one would think the 19-year-old would have plenty of friends and family hounding him for tickets to his homecoming, Hamilton insisted that while he’ll have a few family members in the stands, his friends will have to find their own way in.
“They’re getting their own tickets,” he said. “It makes it easier on me.”
As for things in Boston, they’ve been pretty good for Hamilton. The 19-year-old has fit in quite nicely for the B’s, as his four assists are tied for second on the team, as are his 21 shots on goal.
It’s only been seven games, but Hamilton has been through the hype machine that comes with being a top-10 pick coming into a big market, and when asked about the “Dougie mania” that’s been going on — the chants, the playing of Cali Swag District’s “Teach Me How To Dougie,” etc. — he said he’s quite all right with it.
“I think for me,” he said, “I’m just going day by day and just trying to enjoy myself and have fun.
“I don’t mind the Dougie mania,” he added with a grin. “It’s OK with me.”
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