|X-factor? Bruins know Red Wings’ Luke Glendening well||04.22.14 at 1:26 pm ET|
DETROIT — There’s something about Luke Glendening.
At least there is for Mike Babcock, and that’s really all that matters as the Red Wings try to find a way to both quiet Boston’s scorers and create advantageous matchups for their own.
The first two games of the series saw Babcock use Glendening — an undrafted rookie fourth-line center who played three games on a tryout with the Providence Bruins two years ago — in ways that demonstrated significant trust in the player. Glendening, who was a two-year captain for Michigan and wore an ‘A’ as a sophomore, is a key member of Detroit’s penalty kill, but he also saw plenty of shifts against David Krejci‘s line in the first two games. He scored his first career playoff goal and second career NHL goal in Game 1 against the Krejci line and was later on the ice for Milan Lucic‘s goal.
If you’re surprised by how big a role he’s been given thus far, don’t be. Torey Krug, who saw plenty of him in college, isn’t.
“I’m not surprised, and we don’t even view him as [a fourth-liner],” Krug said. “He’s a good player and he shuts down opposing teams’ guys. In Game 1 he’s out there when it’s 1-0 in the last minute. I saw him in that role before and I’m not surprised that he’s in it now.”
As the series shifts to Joe Louis Arena and Babcock gets last change, he wants to see more of Glendening against Boston’s best players. Babcock wants to get his young scorers, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, away from Boston’s power forwards, as Lucic and Jarome Iginla have rendered them invisible through the first two games.
|Torey Krug and Bruins embrace high expectations: ‘I wouldn’t call it pressure’||04.18.14 at 2:00 pm ET|
Pressure is what you make it.
As the Stanley Cup playoffs begin, the Bruins are making it nothing more than chance to fulfill their own expectations.
According to the Vegas line provided by Bodog.com, the Bruins are 7-2 favorites to win their second Stanley Cup in four years by the time late June rolls around, and for good reason. They are relatively healthy heading into the playoffs, though nursing injuries to Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly while battling a flu bug.
“Well, we never get comfortable,” Claude Julien said before Friday’s Game 1 with the Red Wings. “We’ve always talked about that. No matter what we’ve accomplished, we always know that the good things happen from hard work, so the minute we stop working hard and focusing on the areas we need to focus on, things can change. So that’s always been our approach.”
But it’s not the flu or injuries to Paille or Kelly that are of primary concern – it’s the parity in the Stanley Cup playoffs that present the biggest obstacle. Julien reminded everyone Friday that there’s nothing to be taken for granted when a team like the Bruins take on a club like the Red Wings, a difference of 24 points in the season standings.
“Not with parity,” Julien said. “I don’t think that exists anymore. I’ve been mentioning that for the last couple of days, about the percentage of upsets in the first round over the last couple of years. So it just goes to prove to you that anything can happen in the playoffs. We’ve seen it many times before and I don’t expect that to change this year also.”
Bruins defenseman Torey Krug says he learned a lot from his first experience in the playoffs last year. That experience, he says, will help as he and the Bruins open the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden.
“Pressure is whatever you put on yourself,” Krug said. “This team has high expectations of itself. I wouldn’t call it pressure. We’re going to respond well to whatever it is. We’re excited to get things going.”
Krug broke onto the scene in the 2014 playoffs as a power play weapon and an offensive force.
“You have to play like that,” Krug contined. “If you’re scared to make mistakes, the puck is going to end up in the back of your own net. You have to make sure you play with confidence. That’s the same message the coaching staff was preaching today. It’s the same thing as last summer. Just eager to get going. It’s an exciting time.”
|Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins say they ‘have another gear’ to their game||03.19.14 at 1:41 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ 10-game win streak, Brad Marchand, Carl Soderberg and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
The Bruins have been on a tear recently, winning 10 straight games and outscoring opponents 41-15 in that span. Despite all their success, the team still is looking to improve.
“They’ve been able to do a lot of things really during this streak,” Brickley said. “But it’s amazing when you talk to the coaching staff and even to the players to a man, they say, ‘We’re not peaking, we haven’t hit our stride. Yes, we’re winning games because we’re playing team hockey, and we’re getting some good results, but we definitely have another gear.’ ”
Marchand has been quiet during the streak, only recording two goals and three assists. Brickley admits that while the 25-year-old winger has struggled at times, he has had a successful season.
“He’s having a terrific season really, on the whole, when you take a look at it,” Brickley said. “Certainly there were times, maybe, at different points in the season where it wasn’t going his way and he was kind of fighting it or searching for that balance.”
The B’s third line compares favorably to many of the third lines across the NHL. One guy in that line that has improved, according to Brickley, is Soderberg.
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘really becoming a well-oiled machine’||03.14.14 at 1:24 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss how the Bruins are playing after the trade deadline. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
After defeating the Coyotes, 2-1, Thursday night, the Bruins are on a seven-game winning streak.
“They’re strong,” McGuire said. “They really are tight as a group. They haven’t messed with the integrity of their roster. Their defensive-zone posture’s getting better and better all the time. I think Andrej Meszaros is going to fill in well with Zdeno Chara. He’s going to help the power play as well.
“They’ve done a lot of things well there in Boston for a long period of time now, and when you watch them play you get the sense that this is a group that’s really becoming a well-oiled machine.”
During that span of time, Carl Soderberg has played at center while Chris Kelly has made the move to wing.
“The way Chris Kelly has been able to move over to wing rather than being center so Carl Soderberg, who is much more comfortable playing center, can play center — I think you’ve seen Soderberg really start to rise, and Kelly’s been a great trooper handling the assignment moving from center to wing,” McGuire said.
“People always want to talk about the young star, they don’t want to talk about the old guy that’s moved over to accommodate this, and obviously the extra ice helps Soderberg a lot, and not having to play on the boards helps him a lot, but Chris Kelly deserves a lot of credit for this. He really does. I think he’s done valiant work.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more on the Bruins, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
On Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug sitting out: “I think there’s a lot that goes into it. I don’t think it’s about one person or two persons. … I think it’s about the way the team needs to play. One of the things you try to do too is keep your roster competitive at this time of year and have guys fighting for ice so that everybody stays fresh but everybody stays focused. I like the way the Bruins are handling things. Is it easy to watch Dougie Hamilton sit out back-to-back games? No, because I think Dougie’s starting to make significant progress in his career. Is it easy to see Krug sit out? No, it’s not. But, again, this is part of having a competitive, deep roster, and that’s one of the things I admire so much about the Bruins.”
|Torey Krug breaks out of midseason slide with career night against Jets||01.04.14 at 5:46 pm ET|
After bursting onto the scene by scoring four goals in his first five playoff games during the Bruins’ memorable Stanley Cup run last season, the 5-foot-9, 180-pound blueliner picked up right where he left off, recording 15 points over the team’s first 24 games this year.
While the Michigan State product impressed many with his dynamic offensive skill set, he could not keep his great production going, eventually falling into a midseason slump. Prior to Saturday afternoon’s tilt with the Jets, Krug had not scored a goal since Dec. 8 and had just two goals over a 26-game stretch.
Luckily for the Bruins, Krug was able to break out of his recent skid with a three-point effort (two goals, one assist) against Winnipeg on Saturday at the TD Garden. It was the rookie defenseman’s third multi-point game this season and first-career three-point game.
“He played well,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the game. “When he’s on top of his game offensively, he makes things happen. … He got the shots on net, was good and again, just a few times, it’s about him making safe plays at times, and that’s a part of his game that he’s working on right now, but I liked his game a lot tonight.”
Saturday’s contest did not start out well for Krug, as he turned the puck over around halfway through the opening period, creating a Jets rush that eventually resulted in a goal from Dustin Byfuglien, giving Winnipeg a 1-0 lead.
“Yeah, it’s frustrating. … It’s all about forgetting and putting it in the past and making plays moving forward, and that’s what we did tonight,” Krug said.
Krug would make up for his defensive miscue just a little over four minutes later, as he executed a beautiful cross-ice to right wing Daniel Paille, who sent it past Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec to tie the game at 14:06 in the first period.
Said Krug: “I was going to shoot it, but at the last second I saw [Paille] popped back up, and it was nice that it worked out and he put it in the net.”
Krug finally found the back of the net a little over three minutes into the second period. The blueliner fired a shot from the left point that got past Pavelec, who was being screened in front by Bruins left wing Justin Florek, playing in his first NHL game.
“When you’re not contributing it’s tough, but it is a good feeling when you get the first one,”Krug said .”Actually, I was hoping [Florek] got his first NHL goal, I was hoping he tipped it, but it was nice.”
Krug would notch his second goal of the afternoon just four minutes later, as the rookie fired a shot from the top of the left circle that went through the legs of Jets wing Eric Tangradi and was deflected into the net.
With his three-point effort, Krug now has 23 points on the year, including 10 goals, which tie him with Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson and Nashville’s Shea Weber for the league lead in goals amongst defensemen.
The Bruins will now head back out on the road, as they will face off against the Ducks, Kings and Sharks over the next week. While Boston faces a tough task in playing against some of the top talent in the Western Conference, Krug made note of the fact that finishing strong on their three-game homestand at the TD Garden was of the utmost importance for the Black and Gold.
“Yeah, it was important. There’s three teams, I think Claude mentioned they lost collectively six games at home between three teams,” Krug said. “So for us, we know it’s going to be tough getting points in there, and we wanted to finish our little homestand on a high note.”
|Torey Krug nets two in win over Jets||at 3:33 pm ET|
Torey Krug got back to scoring with a pair of goals in a 4-1 Bruins victory over the Jets Saturday.
Krug, who had just two goals over the previous 26 games, raised his season total to 10. He was a game-time decision with an undisclosed ailment, but remains the only defenseman from the team’s opening night lineup to have played in every game this season.
Dustin Byfuglien scored the game’s first goal by beating Tuukka Rask with a shot from the top of the left circle, but it would prove to be the Jets’ only goal of the game. Daniel Paille, who had earlier missed a golden opportunity and taken a goaltender interference penalty in the process, tied the game at 14:06 of the first period.
Krug scored his first goal in 12 games as he fired a slapshot past Justin Florek and Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec. He picked up his second of the day on a puck that went off Jacob Trouba’s stick on its way in. Reilly Smith scored his team-leading 15th goal of the season off a feed from Brad Marchand halfway through the third.
The Bruins will embark upon a three-game west coast road trip, with the first of three games in California coming Tuesday against the Ducks.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Krug had seen his scoring come to a screeching halt, so a two-goal performance has to be encouraging for the rookie defenseman. Though his decision-making and defensive play still aren’t outstanding, a return to scoring would be a good start to a second-half turnaround for Krug.
– Paille now has three goals in his last four games. He had three in his previous 31, so perhaps the time off he had while recovering from a mild concussion helped reenergize the fourth-line winger.
– Florek had a strong showing playing on the fourth line in place of Jordan Caron Saturday. The 6-foot-4 winger’s best work came in front of the net as he provided the screen on Krug’s first goal of the game.
– Smith now has six goals in his last seven games to increase his team leading mark to 15 goals.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins had to spend seven of the game’s first nine minutes without Zdeno Chara on the ice, as he took a roughing penalty on the first shift of the game and fought Chris Thornburn shortly after getting out of the box. Thorburn had slashed Chara, which is perhaps the easiest way to rile up the Bruins’ captain.
Chara’s fight was one of three on the day, as Matt Fraser dropped the gloves with James Wright and Adam McQuaid fought Mark Stuart.
– With a goaltender interference penalty in the first period (and a bad one considering he whiffed on a puck with the net open), Paille now has penalties in back-to-back games after not taking a single penalty up until Thursday night.
– For a guy who only allowed one goal, Rask was rather unspectacular in giving up quite a few rebounds. He was also bailed out by Krug, who batted a going-in puck away after it had gone over Rask’s shoulder.
|Maintenance day for Torey Krug; questionable for Saturday’s game||01.03.14 at 1:35 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Torey Krug was missing from Friday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena on what Claude Julien called a maintenance day for the defenseman.
Krug did not play the last five minutes of Thursday’s overtime win over the Predators, as his last shift ended at 15:47 of the third period and he was not used in overtime. Julien said that was due to some sort of ailment and was the reason he was given Friday off. The defenseman appeared to be walking without a limp following the game.
Krug, who has struggled in recent weeks and has just two goals in the last 26 games, is the only defenseman from the team’s opening night lineup to not miss a game this season. That could be jeopardy if he is kept out of the lineup Saturday against the Jets.
“We’ll see how he is tomorrow,” Julien said. “If he’s good to go, he’ll go.”
Loui Eriksson took a small step forward in the skate, as he took part in 3-on-3 drills, which included some light contact in front of the net. Julien clarified following the practice that Eriksson is still not cleared for contact. The coach said Wednesday that Eriksson is still “a ways away” from returning to the lineup.
Eriksson has missed the Bruins’ last 11 games due to a concussion sustained in the Bruins’ Dec. 7 win over the Penguins. In total, Eriksson has missed a total of 17 games this season due to concussions. He had not suffered a concussion in his NHL career prior to
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.