|Brad Marchand on M&M: ‘We definitely built a lot of momentum’ with West Coast trip||03.28.12 at 2:41 pm ET|
Bruins forward Brad Marchand made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni Wednesday afternoon to discuss the team’s recent winning ways, the return of Rich Peverley and the progression of Tim Thomas.
Marchand and the Bruins are riding a three-game win streak and are winners of five of their last six games. Two of those wins came on a three-game West Coast road trip in which the team beat the Kings and Ducks and lost to the Sharks. Marchand said that the swing of games in California helped to galvanize the Bruins.
“Anytime you go on a road trip and play the way we did, it’s good for your team,” Marchand said. “We definitely built a lot of momentum when you can go into other teams’ buildings and win a couple of games on a long road trip like that. It’s great for us and we can definitely build a lot of momentum off of that.”
With the team having rebounded and returned to playing some of its best hockey, Marchand said that the Bruins are now focused on maintaining that form heading into the playoffs.
“We know that this is the time where you want to play your best hockey,” Marchand said. “We just talked about how we, if we even want to make the playoffs, have to buckle down and start playing well. If you don’t play good hockey come playoff time, you usually get out pretty quickly.
“We don’t want to be in that situation. We just have to make sure to put our best effort on the ice every night.”
With Peverley now back from injury, Marchand said that the team’s newest addition has been an immediate help for the Bruins.
“It balances the lines a little more, it fills holes in different parts of the lineup,” Marchand said. “When you get a guy like Peverley back, he’s a very, very strong player and played very well for our team last year. We missed him and we’re very happy to have him back.”
When asked about Thomas and if his improved play has been a factor in the Bruins’ recent success, Marchand said that while Thomas was never actually playing poorly, his play the last several games has been instrumental to the team’s hot streak.
“During the season, you go through ups and downs, every player does,” Marchand said. “Even if you want to call it down, by no means was it his fault. As a team, as a whole, we weren’t playing very well.
“We’ve played great now for the last few games and he’s been on the ball. It definitely makes it a lot easier for us out there when he’s playing the way he is right now.”
|Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas lead Bruins past Kings||03.24.12 at 11:45 pm ET|
The Bruins maintained their two-point lead on the Senators Saturday night thanks to a 4-2 victory over the Kings in Los Angeles.
Patrice Bergeron scored a shorthanded goal 5:18 into the second period to give the B’s a 1-0 lead, but Colin Fraser‘s second goal of the season tied it later in the period. The Bruins would increase their lead to 3-1 thanks to goals from Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly, but a Slava Voynov goal with 5:14 left in regulation made it a one-goal game. The B’s would hang on to win after killing off a Jordan Caron penalty with 4:03 remaining in regulation. Brad Marchand scored an empty-netter in the final second of the game.
The Bruins’ victory broke a six-game winning streak for the Kings, who are fighting for one of the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference.
Tim Thomas played in his 15th consecutive game for the Bruins and made 40 saves on 42 shots in the victory. The win was the Bruins and Thomas’ third in his last four games.
The B’s will finish their three-game west coast road trip when they face the Ducks Sunday night in Anaheim.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Another fine example of why the Bruins are still dangerous when on the penalty kill. Bergeron poked the puck away from Anze Kopitar, sending the puck into the neutral zone. When Drew Doughty tried to bring the puck back through the neutral zone and into the Bruins’ zone, Marchand picked off his pass to create a shorthanded break, the rebound of which was buried by Bergeron to give the Bruins’ the 1-0 lead.
- Bergeron’s goal was his first in 13 games. Because of everything he brings special-teams wise and just as one of the premier two-way forwards in the game, Bergeron can never be considered “slumping,” but his return to the goal column is a sign the Bruins will welcome. Bergeron has now scored 20 goals in back-to-back seasons and four of the six seasons in which he’s played 70 or more games.
- Thomas was once again big for the Bruins, and it’s starting to look like he’s finally busted out of his midseason malaise. The reigning Vezina winner is 3-1-0 in his last four games with six goals allowed and one shutout. Thomas came up with a big stop on Dustin Brown in the second period with the Bruins caught in the midst of a line change, but his best work came in the final minute of the game, rejecting an onslaught of bids from the Kings.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The Bruins could have really put the game out of reach with six minutes left in the game, but Jonathan Quick robbed David Krejci. Lucic created the play by bursting past multiple Kings players in the neutral zone, and he and Krejci broke into the Kings’ zone with a 2-on-1. Lucic fed Krejci, only to see Quick rob him and keep it a two-goal game. The Kings got within one less than a minute later.
- The Bruins couldn’t have picked a worse time to be killing a penalty, as Caron went off for high sticking with 4:03 remaining in the game. The Kings had momentum thanks to Voynov’s goal less than a minute earlier, but the B’s were able to kill off the man advantage as past of a big night for the team’s penalty kill.
- One game after mustering a season-low 17 shots on goal, the Bruins struggled with consistently getting pucks to the net. The B’s finished the night with 26 shots on goal, but had only eight and six shots on goal in the second and third periods, respectively.
|Marty Turco starting to look the part for Bruins||03.20.12 at 7:01 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Marty Turco took the ice at Ristuccia Arena Tuesday wearing brand new bright gold pads. They certainly match his Bruins’ uniform better than his old shiny gold ones, but why get new pads when you’ve only got a few weeks left with a team?
For starters, as Turco pointed out, “These aren’t your dad’s [pads]” — meaning the technology with equipment these days means they can be broken in with just a few practices. More importantly, he got them because he’s determined to make the most of the rest of the season with the Bruins.
The backup goaltender, who was signed following Tuukka Rask‘s injury and cannot be on the playoff roster, is determined to show that his second appearance and lone start with the B’s — a disaster in Tampa in which he allowed four goals on 12 shots — isn’t indicative of what he brings to the table. With another week practicing with the team and working with goaltending coach Bob Essensa, Turco feels more up to speed with the NHL after playing part of the season in Austria.
“As much as I’d like to make an excuse for the Tampa Bay game, the beginning, I feel probably better conditioned now, but that really had nothing to do with the Tampa game,” Turco said. “Not much has changed — just keeping getting caught up with the speed of the game as quick as guys get on you. I think that’s the main thing. As much as I’d like to change stuff in that game and really produce and play great, I know how good I felt. I just have to tidy up a few things. I believe that goes with every day, and it’s nice to work with Bob a few times here.”
Claude Julien has seen the work that Turco’s put in, and the coach sees a goaltender who’s better positioned to handle NHL competition than he was before.
“There’s no doubt,” Julien said. “When he’s been facing the kind of shots that he’s been facing now for an extra week, he keeps getting better. I think that’s why he’s putting in the extra time. He wants to get his timing on. The timing here vs. the timing where he was is not the same, [as] you’ve got the best shooters in the world playing in this league.”
While the Bruins would like to get Tim Thomas rest wherever they can down the stretch, Turco has been putting in extra work after practices. With back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday against the Kings and Ducks, respectively, the opportunity is likely there for Turco to get a start during the Bruins’ upcoming road trip. While Turco isn’t sure when he’ll next be called upon to play in a game, he’s doing what he can to be prepared to turn in a better result than last time.
“When I’m not playing, that’s part of the gig in order to be sharp,” he said. “We’re going on a California trip where we have three teams a point in, a point out. … You expect some work anyway. To prepare and work to not expect work is probably not a good thing. It wouldn’t be helpful at all, so I’m putting in the work. More than anything, I’m enjoying seeing shots from these guys, just getting back up to speed and continuing to challenge myself and challenge them.
“It’s fun, but at the end of the day I realize my position here is not as long you’d like, but it’s still a good opportunity for me, and I don’t want to disappoint these guys.”
|Tim Thomas on shootout win: ‘We needed that immensely’||03.17.12 at 9:44 pm ET|
All eyes were on Tim Thomas on Saturday.
Of all the Bruins with plenty to prove entering the St. Patrick’s Day matinee against the Flyers, the Bruins goalie was at the top of the list.
So, when he turned away Danny Briere on the shot of the shootout, earning the Bruins a 3-2 win before an electric TD Garden house, he raised his arms out of celebration and relief.
“Yeah, I think it was very important, we needed that immensely,” Thomas said. “We needed to show up and have a good game at home. Things haven’t been going our way. That’s a polite way of saying it lately. To battle out tonight and come up with a good, solid strong game at home and pull out with two points, is hopefully very big for us moving down the road.”
The Bruins stuggles of the last two months have been well documented. They were manhandled in all three losses on the road this week, outscored 17-5 in losses in Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Florida. Overall, they had lost four straight coming in. Thomas started three of those four games and was pulled in the loss in Pittsburgh.
Saturday, he was a different goalie. He stopped Eric Wellwood on a shorthanded blast midway through the first. Moments later he denied superstar Jaromir Jagr with his right pad, as he tried to beat Thomas to the far side. Then, in the final 30 seconds of regulation, with the Flyers sensing a dramatic come-from-behind win in regulation, Thomas battened down the hatches as Philly unloaded cannon shot after cannon shot.
Thomas said his confidence wasn’t shaken this week but the saves early, especially on Jagr, didn’t hurt.
“I wasn’t feeling unconfident going into it, I know there was that first bouncy shot at the beginning of the game, but heck I don’t trust the bounces right now,” Thomas said. “That’s natural I think. But the save on Jagr, it did help to boost my confidence more than it already was.”
Speaking of bounces, that all that beat Thomas on Saturday in regulation as Matt Read and Jakub Voracek redirected shots that Thomas had little-to-no chance of stopping. Then came the last 30 seconds.
“I wasn’t sure of the clock exactly, I knew we were getting down towards the end of the game,” he said. “I just didn’t want bad luck to strike again, and at that point we’re just playing for one point to make it to overtime. You don’t want a real good effort like that to go to waste. So, I was just focused on making it through the end, I didn’t know if there were 30 seconds or a minute left.”
Thomas said his mindset didn’t change in the shootout either.
“I was actually too focused on trying to figure out what my approach was going to be to the shootout,” said Thomas, who allowed goals to Read and Claude Giroux before stopping Briere in the shootout. “I played Jagr a certain way on the breakaway during the game so my plan going into the shootout was to go out and play the other guys like that. But that didn’t work, but it was great to see ours keep going in. After the second one, I kind of changed up what I do and I came way out to [Danny] Briere, I think I went all the way out to the hash marks to try and give him a different look and try to make him think what the heck’s he doing.”
|Bruins lose fourth straight, fall to Panthers||03.15.12 at 10:10 pm ET|
The Bruins set the table for the Senators to knock them into seventh place, falling to the Panthers, 6-2, Thursday in Sunrise, Fla.
The B’s have lost four straight games, which makes for their longest losing streak of the season. Their lead in the Northeast Division is down to one point, and the Senators will have a chance to leapfrog the Bruins when they host the last-place Canadiens Friday.
The Senators jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Mickael Samuelsson and Marcel Goc in the first two periods. Joe Corvo brought the B’s within one with his fourth goal of the year, but second-period tallies from Stephen Weiss and John Madden gave the Panthers a three-goal lead entering the third period. Brian Rolston scored his first goal since coming back to the Bruins when he beat Jose Theodore at 1:44 of the third period with a power-play goal. Later in the period, a Chris Kelly pass that went off Zdeno Chara‘s foot bounced right onto the stick of Tomas Kopecky, with the Panthers forward slamming it home to make it a 5-2 game. Wojtek Wolski made it a half-dozen for Florida.
Tim Thomas played in his 11th straight game, allowing all six Panthers goals and taking the loss. He has allowed at least three goals in five of his last six starts.
The B’s return to action Saturday at TD Garden, hosting the Flyers.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Brad Marchand has remained whisper quiet for the B’s, as the second-line winger has just a goal and an assist over his last 10 games. The Bruins need to get a lot of their guys going, and Marchand’s right at the top of that list. Between the injuries and the fact that the B’s are in a race for the division, now isn’t the time for Marchand to cool off.
– Thursday marked the seventh consecutive game in which the Bruins allowed the first goal, and 10th time in their last 12 games. They have also allowed the first two goals in four straight games. If the Bruins want to start winning games, playing from behind isn’t exactly the key.
– Along those same lines, the first period has been rough for the Bruins of late. The second period seemed to be the team’s Achilles’ heel for a stretch, but the B’s have been outscored 14-3 in the first period over their last seven games.
– While Jordan Caron played well skating on the first line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, the other two did not. Krejci and Lucic failed to register a shot on goal on the night, while Caron put two pucks on net and saw his hard work along the boards result in Rolston’s goal. Caron certainly has been strong for the Bruins of late, but the problem is that few have joined him.
– This losing streak has been bad enough for the B’s, but you’d have to go back over two years to January of 2010 to find the last time the Bruins went four straight games without a single point.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– The months of November and December.
Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters in Florida Thursday that forward Rich Peverley, who has been out since Feb. 15 with an MCL sprain, returned to the ice Wednesday in Boston for the first time since suffering his injury.
Peverley was expected to miss 4-6 weeks at the time of the injury. In 49 games this season, he has nine goals and 29 assists for 38 points.
Julien also said that Tim Thomas will be the starting goaltender Thursday vs. the Panthers. Thomas has played in 10 consecutive games, but has played 20 minutes or less in each of the last two Bruins contests.
|Bruins taking ‘baby steps’ in right direction toward playoffs||03.09.12 at 11:49 am ET|
The mere suggestion by the toughest Bruin evokes laughter.
But when Shawn Thornton said the Bruins are starting to take “baby steps” in the right direction following the team’s 3-1 win over the Sabres Thursday night, he was making no joke.
“I’m more concerned about how we are playing,” Thornton said. “I think that Rangers game we could have very easily won. I think the way we have been playing for the last week or so is the style of play you’re used to seeing from us. As long as we keep putting up efforts and everyone is showing up every night, the wins will come with those performances.”
The inability to win back-to-back games had become a sort of unintentional comedic relief for the Bruins as they grind toward the playoffs, wondering how they’re going to cope without Tuukka Rask for at least a month and how they’re going to position themselves as they get ready for a title defense.
“It seems to be for a lot of people, and I think it’s the same for us,” Claude Julien said after the 3-1 win over the Sabres, giving the Bruins consecutive wins for the first time since early January. “We’ve been obviously battling with our consistency, and even though this is our first back-to-back win in a long time, I think the fact I was encouraged by our play in New York and it’s just kept coming along in the next game.
“Obviously winning, and then again tonight a pretty decent effort. I think that’s what we’re looking for now as more a consistent effort and hopefully they turn into wins. When you got the amount of injuries you have, you take every win for what they are and [Thursday] was a good win for us.”
Now, with the playoff race in the East tightening, the Bruins realize they need to stop messing around and get in playoff mode.
“Well, we have to, right? We’ve been forced into it by apparently not winning back-to-back games since January 10th through 12th, or whatever it was, and also, just the standings are getting tighter so we’re getting forced into a playoff mode, which is probably a good thing for us,” Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said.
The Bruins have 83 points, which is good for first in the Northeast. But, consider that point total would tie them for third in the Atlantic with No. 5 seed Philadelphia and you see Thomas’ point. Ottawa, which has played three more games, is only three points behind. Win the division and the Bruins almost certainly will be the No. 2 seed behind the Rangers. Finish second and the B’s could wind up anywhere from fifth through seventh.
“It is a baby step, for sure,” David Krejci said of Thursday’s win. “We finally won two in a row. It’s been a while. It feels good. I feel like, especially the last three games, it started in New York, we played really good hockey. We keep playing the way we have, the wins will come.”
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