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Five things we learned as Tuukka Rask shuts out Rangers to improve Bruins’ winning streak to 5 games 01.15.15 at 9:39 pm ET
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The Bruins have started rewarding Tuukka Rask with some offense and, therefore, wins. On Thursday, the reigning Vezina winner returned the favor.

Rask stopped three Rangers breakaways and recorded his second shutout of the season as the Bruins extended their season-best winning streak to five games with a 3-0 victory over the Rangers at TD Garden (box). The veteran netminder made 30 saves on the night.

Boston got a pair of assists from Torey Krug. After Patrice Bergeron got Boston on the board in the first period with his 11th goal of the season, Krug sent a terrific slap pass from the point to the doorstep, where David Krejci tapped it past Cam Talbot for the Bruins’€™ lone goal of the second period. Krug fired a shot through traffic in the third period to create a Loui Eriksson rebound goal.

With the victory, the B’€™s improved to 24-15-6 on the season. Here are four more things we learned Thursday:

MARCHAND GETS AWAY WITH ONE

Brad Marchand was none too happy when he was called for a cross-check on Dan Boyle in the second period, but all things considered, he probably caught a break with officials on Thursday.

The veteran left wing was chasing a puck into the corner with Derick Brassard during a Rangers power play when Marchand appeared to kick Brassard’€™s right leg in an effort to take the player’€™s feet out from under. That’€™s known as a slew-foot to those in the business of suspending players, and it’€™s extremely dangerous.

Marchand has been disciplined for a slew-foot before, as the league docked him $2,500 for a slew-foot on Matt Niskanen in December of the 2011-12 season. His most recent suspension came the following month for a low-bridge hit on then-Canucks defenseman Sami Salo. He’d been suspended the previous season for a hit on R.J. Umberger.

KELLY TO THE RESCUE AND TO THE BOX

Marchand isn’€™t the only player who could hear from the league after Thursday’€™s game. Chris Kreider threw Carl Soderberg head-first into the end boards in the third period, receiving a boarding minor and a non-negotiable invitation from Chris Kelly that earned both players fighting majors.

Kelly got the worse of the deal, however, as he also received an instigating minor and a 10-minute misconduct.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Bruins keep same lineup against banged-up Lightning 01.13.15 at 11:41 am ET
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All players were present for the Bruins’€™ morning skate as they prepared for Tuesday night’€™s contest against the Lightning at TD Garden. Tuukka Rask is expected to start in goal.

The lines and defense pairings are the same as they were in Saturday’€™s win over the Flyers:

Marchand -€“ Krejci – Pastrnak
Lucic – Bergeron -“ Paille
Smith -€“ Soderberg -€“ Eriksson
Kelly – Campbell – Cunningham

Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – McQuaid
Krug – Miller

Rask

The Lightning are coming off a 7-3 loss to the Flyers Monday night in Philadelphia in which they lost star defenseman Victory Hedman and All-Star forward Tyler Johnson to lower-body injuries. Lightning coach John Cooper told reporters after Monday’€™s game that there is a “€œgood chance”€ that neither player will be available for Tampa against the Bruins, with Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reporting Tuesday that both players are out.

Johnson leads the Lightning with 45 points this season.

Read More: Tuukka Rask,
Bruins fall in shootout to Hurricanes 01.04.15 at 3:57 pm ET
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You’€™ll never guess what the Bruins did Sunday.

Looking for their first win in three games, the Bruins, behind two nonexistent periods, lost in a shootout to the second-worst team in the league as the Hurricanes took a 2-1 victory over the struggling B’€™s in Carolina. With the loss, the Bruins fell to 19-15-6 on the season.

Though the Bruins have actually gotten points in four straight (1-0-3), Sunday’€™s loss is the latest low point of the season for Boston. The Bruins are now 0-1-3 this season in games in which they have a healthy lineup.

The Bruins didn’€™t land a shot on goal until 16:55 of the first period and managed to get just two pucks on net in the first period altogether. For the second straight game, Claude Julien changed up his top-six wingers during the game, as he switched right wings Seth Griffith and Reilly Smith a day after switching first-and-second-line left wings Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand.

Patrick Dwyer scored for Carolina in the final minute of the first period, with Patrice Bergeron getting the Bruins on the board with a one-timer off a feed from Marchand at 14:35 of the second period. Bergeron nearly netted the game-winner in overtime, but Nathan Gerbe got a stick on the puck to break up Bergeron’€™s backhand bid.

The B’€™s managed just two shots on goal in the third period, with seven B’€™s forwards going the whole 65-minute contest without a shot on goal (David Krejci, Griffith, Marchand, Loui Eriksson, Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell, Craig Cunningham).

Tuukka Rask stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced during game action and surrendered the lone goal of the shootout to Eric Staal. The Bruins are now 1-1-3 in the last five games in which Rask has allowed two goals or less.

The Bruins will next play Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask,
Tuukka Rask almost gets in goalie fight, almost makes sense explaining it 01.01.15 at 2:59 am ET
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Tuukka Rask looked like he wanted to fight someone at the end of the second period Wednesday.

Rask was barking at Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson as the period ended, and as he skated off the ice, he stopped at the blue line to have words with fellow goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Both netminders appeared interested in dropping their mitts and blockers, but officials intervened and nothing came of it.

Asked about it after the game, Rask gave an odd answer, downplaying it and basically said he was kidding for the sake of getting fans into the game.

“No, no, no. I felt like I needed to get the crowd going a little bit. That was nothing,” Rask said. “It was just a chirp. Every time I chirp, it’€™s a big deal. It’€™s just good fun. It’€™s part of the game. I gave that guy a little check in the kneepads and he punched me and I said if he wants to eat my blocker… I try to have fun out there too sometimes. It’€™s fun to chirp. Definitely can’€™t go unnoticed with that stuff.”

Rask has never been in a fight in his career. He’s been known to lose his cool, however, highlighted by his Providence milk-crate tossing incident in March of 2009. He and Carl Soderberg had to be separated last month during a morning skate disagreement.

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5 things we learned as Bruins get back to not scoring, losing 12.19.14 at 10:36 pm ET
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The Bruins got back to not scoring goals Friday.

After getting points out of the first two games of their three-game Western Conference road trip, the B’€™s wrapped it up with a 2-1 loss to the Jets in Winnipeg (box).

The loss dropped the B’€™s to 16-14-3 on the season. Boston continues to look up at the Panthers and Maple Leafs in the Wild Card race as they sit on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

The game marked the ninth time in the last 12 games that Boston has scored less than three goals. They are 3-6-3 in that span.

Furthermore, Tuukka Rask has allowed two goals in each of his last three starts, with the Bruins wasting his efforts each time (0-1-2).

Here are four more things we learned Friday:

FIRST IS THE WORST

The Bruins had a whale of a first period, spending most of the frame in their own zone and attempting less than half the shots (12) of what Winnipeg attempted (26).

The B’€™s took a pair of penalties in the period, with Torey Krug sending the puck over the glass in the defensive zone and Dougie Hamilton later hooking Blake Wheeler following a horrid neutral zone giveaway that created a Jets rush into the Boston zone.

All things considered, the Bruins were extremely fortunate to escape the period with just a one-goal deficit to overcome.

JULIEN TRIES ERIKSSON WITH KREJCI LATE

Claude Julien told reporters in Winnipeg Friday morning that he was considering giving Loui Eriksson some looks with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. He didn’€™t end up doing that, as he clearly (he’€™s stated it multiple times now) does not want to break up his third line of Carl Soderberg between Chris Kelly and Eriksson.

For the second straight game since Krejci returned to the lineup, Julien kept Eriksson with the Soderberg line and, for the second straight game since Krejci returned, the Soderberg line scored.

With the B’€™s trailing in the second period, Soderberg skated the puck through the neutral zone and into offensive zone and fed the puck across to Kelly, whose bid yielded a rebound that a trailing Torey Krug tapped in to tie the game. This followed a performance Wednesday in which both Soderberg and Eriksson scored in Minnesota.

It wasn’€™t all good for the trio, however, as they were also on the ice for Dustin Byfuglien’€™s second-period goal.

Julien played Eriksson with Lucic and Krejci late in the game, with Daniel Paille taking Eriksson’€™s place on Soderberg’€™s line.

Speaking of Eriksson…  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tuukka Rask admits Bruins’ true grit ‘has been lacking’ for most of the season so far 12.12.14 at 12:45 pm ET
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For many who have watched the Bruins this season, a common criticism has been that they don’t seem fully engaged or motivated this season.

Tuukka Rask has seen the same thing. But after a 3-2 loss to the red-hot Blackhawks, Rask insisted the Bruins are headed in the right direction.

“We played a pretty good game,” Rask said, trying to find a silver lining after watching his teammates drop their sixth game in eight tries. “Tough couple bounces there, the first two goals. We fall behind 2-0 and we battled back and made it a game. When you’€™re winning games, things go your way and when you’€™re not really in the groove like we aren’€™t really, it’€™s tough to find it. We are just going to keep battling and good things are going to happen.”

Chris Kelly has been engaged and is one of the Bruins trying to provide a spark. His third period bout with Andrew Shaw came after Milan Lucic was shoved to the ice after feeding Torey Krug for a goal to make it 3-2. Rask was asked if he sees feistiness and grit returning to the team.

“I think it has been lacking for the most part this season,” Rask said. “The last game in Phoenix, we put emphasis on that, really battling for every puck and really being hard to play against. We did that and then [Thursday] we did the same thing and when two teams are doing that, emotions flare and sometimes there are fights. It’€™s a good sign that we do that.”

“It all comes from hard work and never quitting and that’€™s what we have been doing in practices and in the past couple games and as long as we keep doing that I think good things are going to happen for us and we are going to start winning hockey games and everybody can be smiling.”

All of the talk about true grit and character won’t mean much if the Bruins don’t start soon translating that into wins, especially against the best teams in the league, like Chicago.

“We have been able to play against the best for sure. [We’re] not necessarily getting all the results we wanted but at the end of the day it’€™s all about winning and we have to find a way to win these games,” Rask added.

“I mean if you look at the effort and you look at the plays we made, for the most part it was our style of hockey. I thought a lot of times we were the better team out there. So I guess you can take the positive but from a goalie standpoint, two deflections off of your own sticks and it obviously sucks. We just have to keep working and find ways to get those bounces our way, not against us.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Tuukka Rask,
5 things we learned as Bruins got blown out by Sharks for third straight loss 12.05.14 at 1:05 am ET
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The Bruins were desperately in search of goals and they found them. So did the Sharks.

Then the Sharks found some more. And some more.

In finally putting up something of an offensive effort, the Bruins got crushed in a mess of a pond hockey game Thursday night. Their four goals were a minor detail in a game marked by hanging Tuukka Rask out to dry in a 7-4 loss (box). Rask had never allowed seven goals in an NHL game before Thursday night.

The Bruins have now gone 0-3-0 in the first three games of their four-game West Coast trip. They’ll wrap it up Saturday against the Coyotes.

Here are four more things we learned Thursday night:

DOMINATED IN THE SECOND

It all began in the second period. After a strong first, the B’€™s were blown out of the water in the second by the Sharks, who put four pucks past Rask.

They scored after long stays in the offensive zone, scored on the power play (twice) and scored off the rush. San Jose outshot Boston, 24-7, in the second.

The period was a reflection of some pretty shoddy work by the B’€™s in both the neutral zone and their own zone. While they would gladly take a period in which they scored two goals given their offensive woes of late, the second period showed that pond hockey doesn’€™t suit the B’€™s well.

Through the first two periods alone, the Bruins gave up 61 shot attempts, which, as Nick Goss from NESN noted, was more than they’€™d allowed in a game all season.

REILLY SMITH IS BACK TO SCORING

It wasn’€™t just that Smith didn’€™t have any goals in his previous 10 games entering Thursday; he didn’€™t have any points. That changed 29 seconds into the game, as he finished off a play courtesy of slick passing from Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. He would add a second goal shortly after a Sharks power play goal in the second period.

Speaking of Marchand and Bergeron, Smith was reunited with his longtime linemates Thursday after seeing David Pastrnak skate in his place the previous three games. Smith was put back on the line late in the second period Tuesday against the Kings and stuck there through the game Thursday.

With Smith back with Bergeron, Pastrnak was moved down to play with Chris Kelly and Matt Fraser. Seth Griffith was scratched for the third straight game. The lines were as follows:

Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Lucic – Soderberg – Eriksson
Fraser – Kelly – Pastrnak
Paille – Campbell – Gagne

THREE-AND-ONE FAILS BRUINS

Dating back to some early-season shootout woes last season, in four-on-four play — particularly in overtime — Claude Julien has opted against skating two forwards and two defensemen and instead deployed a full forward line and one blueliner. That backfired Thursday night.

With Marchand and Tommy Wingels going off for matching roughing minors and the Bruins trailing by a goal, Julien sent Carl Soderberg’€™s line and Dougie Hamilton out. Joe Pavelski skated the puck around Hamilton and was going stride-for-stride to the net with Hamilton when Lucic, trying to break up the play, accidentally kicked the puck into the net as he tried to make a hard stop.

Given that there was less than 10 minutes to play in a one-goal game, there’s no issue here with Julien’€™s strategy as he looked for the equalizer. It just didn’€™t work.

PAILLE’€™S FLASHY ASSIST

Daniel Paille is known for being good at a lot of things and not-so-good at finishing. That doesn’€™t mean he can’€™t play a major part in a highlight reel goal.

Shortly after Smith had gotten the Bruins on the board early in the first period, Paille skated the puck through the neutral zone. With two men to beat as he went to the net, Paille spun around on his backhand and wheeled back forward to send a pass on his forehand to an oncoming Gregory Campbell, who promptly fired the puck into the net for his third goal of the season. Two of those goals have come against the Sharks.

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