|What went right and wrong as Patrice Bergeron is hurt in Bruins’ win over Senators||04.02.13 at 9:36 pm ET|
The Bruins got both Jaromir Jagr and a win over Ottawa on Tuesday, but it still might end up being a shaky day for them as Patrice Bergeron was knocked out of the game in the second period against the Senators.
The B’s got goals from David Krejci, Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton in a 3-2 victory that put them one point behind the Canadiens in the Northeast Division. The Habs have 51 points to the Bruins’ 50 through 35 games.
Here’s what went right and wrong for the B’s:
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Horton is producing like a man who has no interest in losing his spot on the top line to Jagr. He broke a third-period 2-2 tie by scoring his fourth goal in as many games after scoring just once in the previous 14 contests. The veteran right wing has been inconsistent this season, but he’s really making that top line a tough one to break up.
– Give Matt Bartkowski credit for staying focused and turning in some solid play despite knowing that the Bruins tried to trade him for Jarome Iginla. Bartkowski saved a goal in the second period, when Khudobin made a kicksave on Mika Zibanejad and kicked the rebound out to the bottom for the right circle. A Senators player was inches from knocking it in with plenty of open net, but Bartkowski got a stick on it just in time to break it up.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Bergeron was knocked out of the game on his third shift of the second period with what appeared to at the very least be some sort of upper-body injury. Bergeron lunged at Colin Greening while the Washington center was trying to shoot, and Bergeron’s head awkwardly hit Greening’s elbow/forearm. Bergeron left the game and did not return.
Though the Bruins offered no details on the injury, the play was obviously concerning given his history with concussions. He has had three in his NHL career, the most recent of which came in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers in 2011.
Bergeron leads the Bruins with 31 points (10 goals and a team-high 21 assists) this season.
– The Bergeron injury wasn’t the only one for the Bruins. Dougie Hamilton threw a hit on Erik Condra in the Bruins’ zone, and though the play got a massive cheer as both players went down, Hamilton couldn’t finish his shift. Upon getting up, he slowly tried to get in position before calling for a line change. He went straight down the tunnel and left the ice for about 10 minutes real time before returning to the Bruins’ bench with five and a half minutes to play.
– The Bruins appeared to get the save of the year from Anton Khudobin when he lost his stick diving across the net to stop a bid from Andre Benoit after being out of position. The play was reviewed, however, and the replay showed that Benoit’s slapshot had indeed gone in and bounced back out.
– Benoit’s goal tied the game at two, making for the Bruins’ latest blown lead in the third period this season. Boston has now blown leads in seven games this season and are 4-3-2 when leading after two periods.
|Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins ‘definitely need another defenseman’||03.28.13 at 1:01 pm ET|
NESN’s Andy Brickley talked with Mut & Merloni on Thursday about the Jarome Iginla trade, Wednesday’s shootout loss to the Canadiens, and the tremendous play of Patrice Bergeron.
Brickley said of Iginla’s decision to go to Pittsburgh: “I don’t think it’s the timeline that’s the difference here. What it comes down to, and this is the bothersome part for me certainly, the Calgary Flames, their ownership and their management team and their responsibility to their fan base, they need to make the best deal possible for the future of that franchise. If you just stack up the two deals, the Pittsburgh offer and the Boston offer, there’s no comparison. The Boston offer is better. It leads you to believe that Jarome Iginla shortened his list, shortened it to one team when the deals were on the table.”
With this blockbuster falling apart, Brickley said that a trade may be necessary, but also some key players need to play better and get healthy for the stretch run.
“They’ve got to have [Johnny] Boychuk healthy,” Brickley said. “They’ve got to have [Adam] McQuaid healthy. They’ve got to have [Chris] Kelly healthy. They’ve got to have [Milan] Lucic and [Nathan] Horton playing a far more consistent game than you’re getting right now. … They need their power play to be a little sharper than it’s been. You hope that work in progress finds a good streak when you get into the postseason and then you have to add to that. They definitely need another defenseman, there’s no question about it.”
If the B’s do decide to go the route of acquiring a new player, they will have until Wednesday at 3 p.m. to complete a deal.
“I really like [Mark Streit],” Brickley said. “It all comes down to, ‘Do you think he’s a good fit? Can you afford him, and what’s the price to get him?’ It’s always that. That’s always the formula, those are always the variables. He would be definitely a guy that I think Bruins fans would appreciate. I think he’d fit in nicely here and I think he gives the Bruins far more options — versatility, flexibility on their back end.”
|What went right as Bruins beat Maple Leafs in shootout to pull even with Canadiens||03.25.13 at 9:58 pm ET|
The Leafs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second period with goals from Joffrey Lupul and Nikolai Kulemin. The Bruins were able to come back with goals from Milan Lucic and Bergeron, with Lucic scoring his first goal in 16 games. Demoted to the third line for Monday’s contest, Lucic took a pass from Rich Peverley and flew past two defenders to give himself a breakaway on which he beat Leafs netminder James Reimer to make it 2-1 in the second period. Bergeron took advantage of some sloppy defensive play from Toronto in the third to tie the game.
The win improved the Bruins’ record to 21-7-3, pulling them even with the Canadiens with 45 points. Both the B’s and Habs have played 31 games this season, and the Bruins will host the Canadiens Wednesday at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Daniel Paille was undoubtedly a beneficiary of the new lines, as he had scoring chance after scoring chance while skating on Patrice Bergeron’s trio. Paille’s chances weren’t limited to even strength, however, as a spin move he pulled around Dion Phaneuf with the Leafs on the power play in the second period nearly yielded a shorthanded goal for the Bruins. Paille led the Bruins with five shots through two periods.
– Bergeron had all the time in the time in the world with the puck after Dougie Hamilton fed him from behind the net. Dion Phaneuf was front of the net when Bergeron got the puck but didn’t make much of an effort on taking Bergeron out of the play. The drowsy effort from Phanuf allowed Bergeron to handle the puck just long enough before beating Reimer with a backhander.
– More of a general observation, but Julien reverted back to the team’s original lines about five minutes into the third period. Furthermore, when the game went to 4-on-4 play following matching roughing minors to Phaneuf and Andrew Ference, Krejci was paired with Lucic while Bergeron skated with Marchand.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The line of David Krejci between Brad Marchand and Nathan Horton moved the puck well and created chances, but they didn’t get the puck on net. The line combined for three shots on goal through two periods and missed the net on multiple chances. Early on in the first period, Krejci fed Marchand in front, only to have Marchand’s bid sail to the left of Reimer. Horton has just one goal the last 14 games.
– Speaking of Horton, both he and Seguin had zero shots on goal in regulation and in overtime. That’s not fantastic.
– Aaron Johnson had a forgettable second period, as his hit on Lupul gave the Maple Leads the power play on which Lupul scored to make it 1-0. Later in the period, he had a shot blocked that led to the long pass through the neutral zone past he and Andrew Ference to give Kulemin a breakaway.
|Business-like: Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask lead B’s to bounce-back win over Panthers||03.14.13 at 9:26 pm ET|
It was another milestone night at the Garden, this time for the Bruins. With the win, Claude Julien surpassed Milt Schmidt for second on the club’s all-time coaching wins list with victory No. 246. Art Ross (1924-1945) is far ahead in first, with 361 career wins for the Bruins. Now in his sixth season as Boston’s coach, Julien improved his record to 246-136-53 in 435 games.
The win improved the Bruins to 18-4-3 on the season and drew them to within one point of idle Montreal (40 points) for first place in the Eastern Conference standings, with two games in hand on the Canadiens.
Chara put the Bruins on top with a slap shot from the left point after a fluky bounce off the boards. The blast beat former Boston College goalie Scott Clemmensen and gave Boston a 1-0 lead 3:55 into the game.
The Bruins got three big saves from Rask in the first period, including a glove save on Jonathan Huberdeau midway through the period that protected Boston’s one-goal advantage.
Bergeron made it 2-0 when he took a perfect feed from Brad Marchand and one-timed the puck into the net vacated by Clemmensen on the right post. The Bruins appeared ready to take advantage of an injury-depleted Panthers team that has given up an NHL-worst 103 goals this season. But instead, the Bruins could not take advantage of several chances in the final two periods, including open nets for Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton.
The Bruins gave one of the goals back by allowing a rare shorthanded goal by Florida’s Shawn Matthias at 3:10 of the second period. Matthias outworked Dougie Hamilton for the loose puck deep in the Boston zone and the Florida forward beat Rask for the unassisted goal. It was the first short-handed goal allowed by the Bruins this season in 74 power plays.
With momentum swinging against them, the Bruins’ NHL-leading penalty-killing unit killed off a pair of Florida power plays to hold onto the lead.
The Bruins finally finished a chance, with the help of a lucky bounce midway through the final period. Shawn Thornton centered a pass from a bad angle from the right circle. The puck bounced off the skate of Florida defenseman Colby Robak and back to the slot. Thornton circled behind the net and collected the loose puck and put it in the net for his third goal of the season at 12:43 of the third period.
Bergeron scored his second of the game and eighth of the season on an empty-net tally with 57.2 seconds left for the final score of the night. The Bruins are off Friday before hosting the Capitals at 1 p.m at the Garden in the first of a Bruins-Celtics day-night doubleheader on Causeway Street.
For more from DJ Bean and Mike Petraglia, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Brad Marchand says Tyler Seguin is ‘pressure’ free now, and it shows||03.08.13 at 1:18 pm ET|
Forget the pressure of playing against his hometown Leafs on Thursday. After all, Tyler Seguin has proven that’s not really pressure at all. It’s inspiration.
The true pressure test came early in the season in the form of expectations for the budding superstar of the Bruins.
On Sept. 11, he signed a six-year, $34.5 million contract extension with the Bruins, when he was still 20 years of age. He then lit it up in Switzerland during the four-month NHL lockout, just to stay sharp. Stay sharp he did with 25 goals and 15 assists in 29 games with Biel.
He started relatively slowly with three goals and seven assists in his first 17 games. But since the calendar turned to March he’s been on fire. He has four goals in two assists in four games in March and has turned the Patrice Bergeron–Brad Marchand line into the most productive on the team.
“I think there’s a lot of pressure on him coming into the year with his new contract and with how well he did over in Switzerland,” Marchand said after Thursday’s 4-2 win over the Leafs in which he had two goals and an assist. “I think he was feeling pressure a bit because a lot of people were saying a lot of things about him, and it seems like right now he’s just very calm and confident, and he’s not really worried about anything else. He’s just focused on playing, and when he does that he’s a great player, and you see it night in and night out right now. He’s making a difference.”
Funny, it’s the assist he got that impressed everyone the most. After Marchand fought for a loose puck near the Toronto bench, he picked it up and made like a missile for the Leafs goal in the final minute of the first period. He was stopped but the rebound was left for Bergeron to tap home for a 1-0 lead.
“When Segs is on his game that’s the kind of things he does,” Marchand marveled. “He takes the puck to the net hard, and he uses speed and skill, and you saw that in the first goal, you saw it in the second goal, and I guess again on the third one. His speed, that’s how he has to play.”
In 14 career games against his hometown Leafs (actually, he grew up in nearby Brampton, Ont.), he has 10 goals and six assists. Any extra bounce for the player who is the reason for the “Thank you, Kessel” chants at TD Garden?
“I’d like to say no,” Seguin said with a smile. “I mean I try to prepare for every game but [Thursday] I thought we did a good job, I think all of our goals our line scored so it was a total line effort whether it was winning battles or making nice passes.
Is there is a little more relief now that these pucks are hitting the back of the net?
“Yeah, you could say that,” Seguin said. “I think every guy in here likes to score and I’m no exception so definitely feels good.
“I think the last couple weeks I’ve just been playing good in my D-Zone and competing a lot more than I think I was in the start of the season. Over in Europe I think I was circling a bit more and didn’t really have to battle, I don’t even know if I got hit over there for the few months I was there but I had to find that game again with me, and I think it’s coming around now.”
The fire everyone always wanted to see from Seguin has been lit. How long will it burn?
“I mean I think it just comes with not producing and just getting more determined and getting back to focusing on the little things more than the big picture or the statistics, I’m starting with that and things are rolling from there,” he said. “I mean it feels good. I think again, like I was saying, as a whole, as a line, I think we’re playing really well, we’re moving the puck well and winning battles and I think with our experience with each other over the last two years those two the last three, it’s really clicking right now.”
Seguin couldn’t help but get a little friendly jab in at Marchand when reminded that he’s scoring all the goals that Marchand was getting from his assists early in the season.
“I just gave it to March [early in the season],” Seguin said. “What else are you going to do, look at the stats?
Well, that’s not a bad place now for No. 19.
NBC’s Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about Carl Soderberg, for whom the Bruins traded in 2007 only to see him stay in the Swedish Elite League, the possibility of visors being made mandatory for NHL players, and Patrice Bergeron‘s role on the team.
“You look at the plus-minus for Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand last year — a big part of it was because of Patrice Bergeron teaching them to play in their own zone. I’m convinced of that,” McGuire said. “There’s a lot of similarities to what Bergeron does to what Jean Ratelle did in his prime, and he’s a Hall of Famer. Bergeron and Ratelle are so similar. The one thing about Jean was the consistency in his game. Just ask Rod Gilbert about the influence Jean Ratelle had on him on the Goal-A-Game-line down in New York, or you can ask Marchand and Seguin, and I’ve done it, what’s the influence of Bergeron on their game. It’s huge.”
McGuire said he considers Bergeron “one of the top 10 players in the league,” and that his consistency and two-way play likely will lead to a long-term contract extension with the Bruins soon.
“I think [the Bruins] understand the value of players like that in a city like Boston,” McGuire said. “They’re so proactive when it comes to signing players they want to keep. You look at the extension to Seguin, you look at the extension to [Zdeno] Chara. They’re aggressive when it comes to identifying players that are really important to their team and keeping them, so I’ve got to believe at some point they’re going to get aggressive with Bergeron.”
News broke Thursday that Soderberg, for whom the Bruins traded Hannu Toivonen in 2007, is in talks with the Bruins about coming to Boston after the Swedish Elite League season ends. McGuire said he sees him as an impact player, likely a third-liner.
“The thing about him that’s so good is he’s rangy — he’s about 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4, 195 to 200,” McGuire said. “Serious skill level ‘¦ he’s got huge offensive skills, a major breakthrough year for him this year, more mature now than he probably ever was, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be able to play right away in the National Hockey League.”
McGuire said Soderberg’s transition to the NHL could be comparable to that of Damien Brunner, who came over from Switzerland to put up 10 goals and eight assists so far in his rookie season with Detroit.
|Patrice Bergeron line stays hot for Bruins||at 1:07 am ET|
David Krejci‘s goal proved to be the game-winner, but it was the exception in Thursday’s 4-2 Bruins victory over Toronto: the only Boston goal that didn’t involve Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin or Brad Marchand.
Seguin picked up two goals and an assist, Bergeron a goal and two assists, and Marchand two assists. If Marchand had touched the puck before Bergeron on the game’s final goal, an empty-netter by Seguin, all three would have had a hand in three different goals on the night.
Success is nothing unusual for that line, which features three of the Bruins’ top four scorers. But with Seguin picking up his scoring pace after a slow start and Marchand beginning to rack up assists as well as goals, they’re proving they can combine to put the puck in the net in any number of ways.
Marchand had one assist through his first 12 games and now has seven in his last eight. He attributed that shift, jokingly, to Seguin’s newly rediscovered goal-scoring ability.
“Well, it’s nice to see [Seguin] start finishing,” Marchand said, sarcastically complaining. “It was getting a little frustrating there early on. It’s nice for him to finally get a couple and get his confidence up with the [empty-netter].
“That stuff happens,” he continued in a serious tone. “Goals come in bunches, assists come in bunches and there will be a bunch of games where you don’t get anything. It’s just how it goes.”
Seguin did find the empty net with 15 seconds left in the game, but he also found a hole on Toronto goalie Ben Scrivens in the second period for his sixth goal of the year. Marchand chipped the puck past Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf to Seguin, and Seguin fired it over Scrivens’ outstretched leg pad to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
‘I saw [Seguin] all alone, and I guess no one is really threatened by him right now because he’s not scoring, so it’s just nice to see him finish,’ Marchand joked.
The Bruins’ first goal made use of all three players’ skills: Marchand dug out the puck along the boards to send Seguin on a breakaway from the blue line, and Bergeron followed through to knock the rebound past Scrivens.
Marchand said that kind of hard work and positioning, as well as his play in the defensive zone, are what set Bergeron apart as an elite player.
‘When I came here, Bergy was a guy that I always found myself watching because he always prides himself on getting better,’ Marchand said. ‘He always wants to learn and improve his game.’
The trio received the game’s three stars — Marchand third, Seguin second and Bergeron first — allowing them to be recognized, fittingly, as a unit.
‘We have a lot of fun out there, and it seems like we’re continuing to build and find each other a little bit more each game,’ Marchand said. ‘We work pretty hard on and off the ice to talk to each other and figure things out, and it’s a lot of fun playing with those guys.’