|Bruins’ late-game heroics push Flyers further back in Eastern Conference||03.07.15 at 7:06 pm ET|
The importance of Saturday’s game for the Flyers could not be overstated.
Trailing the Bruins by four points for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia could have moved closer in the standings with a win. Before Saturday’s game started, Bruins coach Claude Julien admitted this would most likely be Philadelphia’s biggest game this season.
With the clock winding down in the third period, the Flyers looked like they would get two valuable points in this critical game. Forward Chris VandeVelde redirected a shot from the point past goaltender Tuukka Rask, which gave Philadelphia a one-goal lead with 4:30 remaining. All seemed ripe for a Flyers win.
Until it didn’t.
Wayne Simmonds was called for tripping at the 17:57 mark. The penalty set the Bruins up with a power play, and essentially a 6-on-4 chance when Rask left for the bench.
Brad Marchand then tied the game up on the ensuing man advantage with 14.1 seconds to go with a deflection goal. And with 1:08 remaining in overtime, Marchand did it again with a backhanded goal that bounced over netminder Steve Mason’s shoulder.
Instead of pulling within two points of the Bruins, the Flyers now are five back of a playoff spot.
“It’s a tough defeat, but there’s still time and I mean there’s more games,” VandeVelde said following the loss. “But it’s getting down there so we’ve got to start winning games and doing the right things and holding on to wins.”
|Bruins recall goaltender Jeremy Smith on emergency basis||02.27.15 at 1:33 pm ET|
The Bruins recalled goaltender Jeremy Smith from Providence on an emergency basis Friday.
Rask has not had a night off since Jan. 8. With Smith up, the Bruins have the options of sitting Rask and dressing Svedberg and Smith.
|Pierre McGuire on MFB: ‘Pressure is just amped up unbelievable’ with Bruins right now||02.19.15 at 2:11 pm ET|
The Bruins lost in a shootout to the Oilers on Wednesday night, which was their fifth straight loss overall, and sixth in their last seven games. McGuire noted the loss to the struggling Oilers was a bad loss, and the pressure has been raised a great deal with the team as the trade deadline approaches.
“I am not going to change because I really like this team. I like major components of this team, but there were a few things last night,” McGuire said. “No. 1, they did all the changes they needed to change in order to try and be competitive in that game. Secondly, they had a terrible start, which doesn’t speak well to some of the commitment of some of the players on that team. And the third thing is they did go with their perceived best goalie and probably is their best goalie in Tuukka Rask and weren’t able to get the job done.
“That is a huge point in the standings. It’s a huge, huge point. If you look at the rest of the road trip — they are in St. Louis and they are in Chicago — two very difficult places to play. This has a chance to be 0-5 on the trip. That is not where you wanted to be, especially with their run through Alberta. This is going to be really interesting to watch the Bruins because I got to believe the pressure is just amped up unbelievable.”
With the way things are in the standings, currently sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, there is no wiggle room for the Bruins.
“They are up against it, no question,” said McGuire. “I think this is going to be, especially when you consider Cam Neely’s words to Kevin Paul DuPont. Those were strong words. Those were coming from ownership. Those were coming from a man that is fully vested in the team and helped put the team together. You have to think this is a real difficult situation for Peter Chiarelli and for the Bruins hierarchy to figure out because the cap wise they are in trouble. That is the reason why they traded Johnny Boychuk this year. Now some people could say revision is history.
“‘Hey, they should have kept Boychuk and just played it out at the end of the year, and why didn’t they keep Jarome Iginla and his 30 goals?’ There are going to be a lot of second guessers here. I still think the team is good enough to make the playoffs and have a run, but I do think they need to do something before they get to the trade deadline on March 2. What that is, I don’t know. I don’t know how they are going to pull it off.”
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|5 things we learned as Bruins play Tuukka Rask over Malcolm Subban, still lose to Oilers in shootout||at 1:09 am ET|
The Bruins opted against starting Malcolm Subban Wednesday night, further underscoring the importance placed on getting two points against the second-worst team in the NHL.
They still lost.
After coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the second period, the Bruins held even with the Oilers through the third period and overtime before losing in a 12-round shootout that saw Boston fail to score once. Tuukka Rask finally surrendered the shootout’s only goal to Martin Marincin on the 24th overall attempt.
The loss was Boston’s fifth straight (0-3-2) and sixth in the last seven games (1-4-2). The Bruins have two more games on their current road trip, as they’ll play the Blues Friday and the Blackhawks Sunday. Rask has now played in 24 of the Bruins’ last 25 games, so the Bruins, entering must-win mode each night, may face more tough decisions regarding whether to risk burning out their best player.
Here are four more things we learned Wednesday night:
REVAMPED POWER PLAY SCORES
Claude Julien hasn’t been afraid to tinker with his forward lines, and on Wednesday that extended to the power play.
When Andrew Ference went off for tripping Brad Marchand late in the first period, Julien sent out a unit that featured Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug at the points, with David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron up front and Loui Eriksson in front of the net. The group stayed out there for all 91 seconds of the power play until Eriksson tipped a Hamilton shot past Ben Scrivens. The goal was the group’s sixth shot on goal of the power play.
|Elliotte Friedman on MFB: Expecting Malcolm Subban to start vs. Oilers Wednesday||02.17.15 at 12:02 pm ET|
Hockey Night in Canada NHL insider Elliotte Friedman joined Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Bruins recent struggles, the recall of goaltender Malcolm Subban, and if he could start as soon as Wednesday against Edmonton. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Subban, a second-year pro whom the B’s drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft, is coming off a stint in which he spent four games with the B’s as Tuukka Rask‘s backup while Niklas Svedberg was in Providence on a conditioning loan. Subban did not play during the stretch, but was officially recalled again Monday night.
It seems likely Subban will be in net Wednesday night when the Bruins take on the Oilers, as Edmonton has shown interest in the second-year goaltender.
“I don’t believe in coincidences, I don’t,” Friedman said. “When he gets called up and it is for this particular game, and you know [Claude] Julien, he doesn’t like to tell the media which goaltender is playing, this one is kind of odd. I have been told to expect him to play. I mean you never know until he actually shows up at the rink and skates out there as the starting goaltender, but there certainly is — and there was report last night that he was going to play and I believe that is true. Things can change, but I don’t believe in coincidences.
“We have been hearing all year that teams have been asking a bit about Malcolm Subban and I 100 percent believe that Buffalo, which is an organization that is really on goaltending, asked about him when they were talking about Chris Stewart and/or Drew Stafford, which was another player the Sabres kind of looked at and they were flat out rejected. Edmonton is another team that is going to be trying to change their goaltending mix this offseason.
“I think there is some degree of showcase here and I am sure Edmonton wants to see him against NHL shooters. I think it is very dangerous though to make a determination on a player based on one NHL start. There is no question that the Oilers want to see what they could be potentially trading for here.”
|5 things we learned as Bruins blow 3-goal lead, lose in last second of overtime vs. Flames||at 12:00 am ET|
The example of Murphy’s Law that is the 2014-15 Boston Bruins season really outdid itself Monday night.
After bouncing back from Friday night’s embarrassing loss to the Canucks with an inspired effort through two periods, the Bruins saw Calgary march back to tie the game in the third period, after falling behind 3-0, and beat the B’s, 4-3, on a fluky goal with 2.4 seconds to play in overtime.
With the final seconds ticking down, T.J. Brodie tossed a lazy backhand shot towards the net from a bad angle that went off Brad Marchand‘s stick and up towards the net, then hit the top of the net and Tuukka Rask‘s back before finally going in to give Calgary the 4-3 overtime win (click here for the box score).
The loss was Boston’s fourth straight (0-3-1) and fifth in the last six games (1-4-1).
After pulling Karri Ramo following Boston’s third goal, the Flames and Jonas Hiller did not allow another goal as Calgary scored three unanswered goals in regulation to tie the game and force overtime.
The Flames finished their comeback on a power play goal after David Pastrnak took a high-sticking penalty with 14:42. Norris favorite Mark Giordano fired a snap shot from the top of the zone that went off Jiri Hudler in front and past Tuukka Rask to make it 3-3.
The Bruins next play Wednesday in Edmonton.
Here are four more things we learned Monday.
Kevan Miller left the game late in the second period and did not return. The second-year NHLer took a hit midway through the second that could have led to his exit, though he took two shifts after that.
Miller missed 12 games earlier this season with a dislocated right shoulder suffered in a fight on Oct. 18. He admitted recently that he will need offseason surgery on the shoulder and that he has been advised to not fight the rest of the season.
|Pierre McGuire on MFB: Bruins might need trade to shake things up||02.12.15 at 1:54 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to preview the Bruins’ upcoming West Coast trip, and also to look at what might happen at the trade deadline. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
With the Bruins losers of three of their last four games, and in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, McGuire feels the team might need to shake things up at the trade deadline.
“The Bruins are a team that might need to shake the tree,” said McGuire. “Not really hard so they lose a lot of the leaves on the tree, but shake it so the tree gets everybody’s attention. I do think there might be a tune out factor, or there could be a burnout factor — maybe some guys just need to be traded to get them a new leaf on life.”
“I wouldn’t mess with the depth of guys — I really wouldn’t,” he added. “I don’t think the depth guys are a problem. I think what they really need to do is add more offense. If you at it, this is a team that doesn’t have a 20-goal scorer on their roster. That is a little bit scary when you look at the depth they have down the middle. … When you have that kind of depth down the middle and you’re not getting scoring from the wingers in particular, that is problematic.”
The Bruins are set to begin a five-game road trip, beginning Friday night in Vancouver. McGuire feels this is a big stretch for the black and gold.
“They definitely have to go on a run here,” said McGuire. “I am telling you, this is the first time I can honestly tell you guys this … this is the first time the Bruins have to scoreboard watch.”
Over the last four games, the Bruins have scored just a total of eight goals. McGuire noted goal scoring has been one of the biggest issues this season.
“They are not scoring goals easily enough,” said McGuire. “There is some haphazard defensive play. There isn’t enough consistency for 60 minutes in their game. Tuukka Rask has this huge problem playing against the Montreal Canadiens — they are going to have to sort that out. There’s been a little bit of a lack of discipline. That was troubling the other night in that loss to Dallas — two short-handed goals against, that speaks to the lack of intensity and speaks to guys not paying attention to little details.
“This is the first time I will say this, because I am bullish on this team, I still like this team a lot, but this is the first time this year that they have to scoreboard watch and that is not a real comfortable thing for a team that is probably underachieving right now.”