The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram » Boston Bruins Mon, 24 Oct 2016 03:46:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bruins fall to Canadiens Sun, 23 Oct 2016 02:23:11 +0000 BOSTON — The Montreal Canadiens are already off to a strong start. It doesn’t hurt that they have star goaltender Carey Price getting some early- season rust off now, too.

Price stopped 19 shots in his second start of the season, and Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault each scored a second-period goal Saturday night to lift the Canadiens to a 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins.

Price missed most of last season because of a right knee injury and started this year out of the lineup because of the flu. He won his season debut Thursday, stopping 27 shots against Arizona.

“It’s always good to get minutes in, good quality minutes,” Price said. “The guys are playing really well defensively in front of me, and everybody’s rolling right now. It’s fun to watch.”

Torrey Mitchell and Paul Byron also scored for Montreal, which has not lost in regulation through its first five games (4-0-1). Byron’s goal was short-handed.

Dominic Moore and Ryan Spooner scored for Boston, which is winless in its last nine games at home against its longtime rivals. Backup goalie Anton Khudobin made 25 saves.

“I don’t like to lose,” Khudobin said after falling to 0-2 this season. “It’s the worst feeling, I would say. I understand maybe you’re not going to win all games, but I’m trying and it’s just a bad feeling when you’re losing.”

Gallagher had a simple explanation why the Canadiens feel so comfortable in Boston lately.

“It’s a fun place to play,” he said. “I think everyone gets excited when the fans are on you. It makes for a good atmosphere.”

Bruins starting goalie Tuukka Rask was out because of an undisclosed injury. Coach Claude Julien said before the game: “We’re going to shut him off and give him another day’s rest, at least.”

Boston pulled Khudobin with just under three minutes to play and had a power play for the final two minutes. The Canadiens had two players in the box for the last 56 seconds.

The Canadiens jumped ahead midway into the second period on Gallagher’s goal and made it 2-0 on Danault’s goal late in the period.

Moore’s score came on Boston’s first shot of the third period when he worked a give-and-go with Tim Schaller before slipping a wrister past Price from the slot, but Byron scored on a breakaway just less than two minutes later.

With the Bruins still on the power play, Spooner scored moments later to cut the deficit to 3-2, but Mitchell answered with an unassisted goal, stealing the puck near the faceoff circle and slapping it one-handed into the net.

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Late goal gives Bruins win in home opener Fri, 21 Oct 2016 02:04:05 +0000 BOSTON — Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron watched his teammates start the season without him, and he watched his would-be linemates shoot to the top of the NHL’s scoring list.

“I thought, ‘Maybe I’m going to be the anchor tonight,'” he joked after scoring the tie-breaking goal with 75 seconds left in his season debut to give Boston a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. “They were amazing the first three games.”

After sitting out the season-opening trip with an unspecified injury, Bergeron returned to practice on Wednesday and took regular shifts in the home opener against New Jersey. He was on the ice when linemate Brad Marchand tied it 1-all with just under 10 minutes left in regulation, and he was there again to one-time the winner in at the end.

“He scored a clutch goal for us,” Coach Claude Julien said. “That’s what he’s always been: a clutch player.”

Tuukka Rask had 28 saves for the Bruins, who fought off a power play for the last 49 seconds without allowing a shot.

Kyle Palmieri scored for the Devils, and Cory Schneider stopped 34 shots.

The game remained scoreless until Palmieri scored a power-play goal about four minutes into the third period. But Marchand tied it with just under 10 minutes left in regulation – his third goal and eighth point in four games this season.

“(When) you’re lucky enough to have a lead in the third period, it’s a tough pill to swallow, not getting any points out of it,” Palmieri said.

After finishing below .500 at home last season, Julien said he was glad to put on a better show for the Boston fans. “We were all disappointed in our performance here last year,” he said.

Without Bergeron, the Bruins moved David Backes from right wing to center between Marchand and David Pastrnak. They combined for 16 points in the Bruins’ first three games; Marchand ended his night as the NHL’s leading point-scorer, with three goals and six assists for nine points, and Pastrnak had seven.

“You want to start the season, go on the first road trip with the team. It wasn’t easy at all,” Bergeron said. “There was a lot of pulling, on my side, to be back. But we looked at the big picture and this was more reasonable.”

The ceremonial first puck was dropped by 98-year-old former Bruins captain Milt Schmidt, with help from Bobby Orr. It was the 80th and 50th anniversaries, respectively, of their rookie seasons. They each went on to win the Stanley Cup twice, have their numbers retired in Boston and earn induction in the Hall of Fame.

Orr, wearing treads on his shoes, pushed Schmidt out in a wheelchair. He helped his former coach raise his hand to acknowledge the cheering crowd. Several players, including Bergeron and Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, came over to say high to the former stars.

“They’re two Bruins legends and hockey legends,” Marchand said. “Any time you’re around them, it’s exciting. You kind of catch yourself watching them, and admiring them.”

Taylor Hall missed an open net early in the third after drawing a penalty that led to the Devils goal. Palmieri delivered early in the power play, shooting it under the bent knee of defender Brandon Carlo and through the legs of the screened goaltender.

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Bruins notebook: Bergeron expected to return for home opener Thu, 20 Oct 2016 01:59:46 +0000 BOSTON — The Boston Bruins won twice and lost once during their season-opening trip despite missing center Patrice Bergeron because of a lower-body injury.

When they meet the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden in their home opener Thursday night, the Bruins are expected to have their scoring leader back.

Bergeron, an alternate captain and three-time 30-goal scorer, practiced Wednesday with the Bruins for the first time since suffering the injury near the end of practice Oct. 12. There’s a strong possibility he’ll be back in the lineup against the Devils.

“Of course I want to be (back) as fast as possible,” Bergeron said. “That’s the talk I’ve had all week with (the medical staff). But at the same time you have to respect their opinion that they’re the ones that are putting the team and my interest in front, and making sure we’re all taking care of that. So we’ll see what happens. Obviously I’d like to be on the ice but … hopefully I feel good tonight and tomorrow morning, and we can go from there.”

Bergeron said he felt fine after going through the entire practice and not being limited. He wouldn’t get more specific about his injury, only saying, “It was in practice. I just hurt myself.”

Coach Claude Julien expects to have Bergeron in the lineup.

“Unless I’m told otherwise today or tomorrow when he comes in and feels any different, I think we’re hoping he’s going to be in the lineup,” Julien said.

The Bruins made do by moving David Backes from right wing to center between Bergeron’s linemates, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. The line of Backes, Marchand and Pastrnak combined for 16 points in three games.

The Bruins’ home struggles last season contributed to their missing the playoffs for a second straight season.

Coming off a relatively successful trip, Boston knows it needs to exercise home dominance to prove it’s an improved team.

“We all know we’ve still got to improve as a hockey club,” Julien said. “And there’s areas where we need to be better. But the fact that we were able to get through this road trip with a bunch of new players, the first road trip, and come out of there with a winning record is a good thing. So we’ve got to follow it up with this short home stretch here and hopefully we can build on that.”

When you give a 19-year-old defenseman like Brandon Carlo the job of playing against an opponent’s top line, it’s tough to ask for much offense.

But Carlo, who has been paired with Zdeno Chara the first three games of the season, scored his first NHL goal in Monday night’s 4-1 win against Winnipeg, and it came in a clutch situation. With the Bruins nursing a 2-1 lead, Carlo beat Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck.

What was going through his head?

“Not much. I kind of blanked out, I guess you could say,” Carlo said. “I was really excited to get that opportunity in the slot and put it in the back of the net. It definitely kind of sealed the game. I was really excited to get the win.”

Carlo and Chara both had a plus-3 rating Monday night. Carlo is plus-7 through three games.

“It was a really important goal,” Julien said. “He’s played against top lines since the start of the season. For a young player like that, he’s shown a lot of poise.”

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Pastrnak scores again to help Bruins beat Jets 4-1 Tue, 18 Oct 2016 03:37:34 +0000 WINNIPEG, Manitoba — David Pastrnak scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season as the Boston Bruins beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 on Monday night.

The 20-year-old Pastrnak extended his point streak to three games while suiting up in his 100th career game.

Winnipeg (1-2-0) captain Blake Wheeler opened the scoring 10 minutes into the game.

Boston (2-1-0) trailed for all of 19 seconds, however, as Dominic Moore tied things up at 10:19 of the first period.

Rookie Brandon Carlo’s first career goal added insurance for the Bruins with 1:59 remaining in the third period and Zdeno Chara scored an empty-netter in the final minute.

Boston’s Tuukka Rask turned away 34 of 35 shots, while Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck stopped 21 of 24.

Wheeler opened the scoring when he was sprung by Alexander Burmistrov with a breakaway pass as Wheeler stepped out of the penalty box. He deked Rask and slid the puck behind the Bruins goaltender on his forehand for his third goal and fifth point in his third game of the season.

The Bruins responded immediately as Moore scored his first of the season.

Boston took the lead briefly early in the second before the review of a challenge by Jets coach Paul Maurice determined Chara was unable to keep the puck onside before his shot from the blue line deflected off Winnipeg defenseman Ben Chiarot and past a screened Hellebuyck.

The Bruins’ go-ahead goal came inside the final minute of the second as Pastrnak banked a centering pass off Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom and into the net.

Neither team was able to convert on the power play, with the Bruins going 0 for 4 and the Jets 0 for 5. Winnipeg is just 1 for 13 on the season after finishing last season 30th in the NHL in power-play efficiency.

The Bruins will play their home opener Thursday night against New Jersey.

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Rookies help Maple Leafs topple Bruins Sun, 16 Oct 2016 03:06:46 +0000 TORONTO — The last time Mitch Marner remembers attending a Maple Leafs game as a fan, Mats Sundin returned to Air Canada Centre as a Vancouver Canuck.

More than seven years later, Sundin was back to see his No. 13 raised to the rafters, and Marner was there, too, scoring his first NHL goal to help Toronto roll over the Boston Bruins 4-1 on Saturday night for its first win of the season.

Marner got his first goal in only his second game, and was joined on the scoresheet by fellow rookie and Toronto native Connor Brown. Their efforts came on the heels of Auston Matthews’ historic debut, when he became the first player in the modern NHL to score four goals in his first game.

“It’s a lot of excitement and obviously there’s going to be (a) learning curve and growing pains throughout the way, but they’ve been playing great so far,” teammate James van Riemsdyk said.

Brown and Marner opened the scoring about 10 minutes apart, landing the Leafs in the record books once more. Toronto became the first team since expansion in 1967-68 to have rookies combine for the first six goals to start a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Brown had the game’s first goal after barely two minutes. The 19-year-old Marner scored soon after that, and then van Riemsdyk a few minutes later.

The fourth overall pick of the 2015 draft, Marner took a pass from Tyler Bozak just outside the Boston blue line, gained the offensive zone with space and fired a shot past goaltender Anton Khudobin to the far side.

A native of nearby Thornhill, Ontario, Marner followed with an exuberant celebration.

“To finally be playing in front of these fans for real, it’s pretty crazy,” Marner said. “And for the first one to go in in front of them, it’s kind of sweet.”

Anton Khudobin allowed four goals on 20 shots for Boston. David Pastrnak scored his third goal in two games.

“Overall, not a good enough effort on our part,” said Bruins Coach Claude Julien. “And at the end of the night, you don’t deserve the win.”

The worst team in the NHL last season, the Leafs have quickly shown themselves to be a much faster and highly skilled entity, led by Marner, Matthews and 20-year-old William Nylander. Often that youth shows itself in less effective ways, though, including a messy second period in which Toronto’s sloppiness led to chances and sustained offensive zone time for Boston.

Frederik Andersen gave up only one goal on 25 shots following his wobbly five-goal outing in Wednesday’s season opener.

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Bruins battle back to win opener, 6-3 Fri, 14 Oct 2016 02:06:28 +0000 COLUMBUS, Ohio — Brad Marchand made sure the loss of star center Patrice Bergeron to an injury this week wasn’t as painful as it could have been for the Boston Bruins.

Brad Marchand had two goals and three assists to match his career high with five points and the Bruins overcame a 2-0 first-period deficit to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3 on Thursday night in the opener for both teams.

David Pastrnak had two goals and two assists, David Backes also scored twice and had an assist, and Tuukka Rask made 28 saves.

“I think the big thing about tonight we have to take away is the character we showed,” Marchand said. “It’s a lot of fun when you come back from 2-0 deficit and win.”

Backes, shifting to the first-line center position to cover for Bergeron, scored both of his goals in a 3:36 span of in the second period to tie it at 3.

Bergeron is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. He didn’t make the trip to Columbus.

Backes’ steal in the third period led to a breakaway and Marchand’s put-back goal, and Marchand’s shot by goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made it 5-3 with 4:20 left. Pastrnak tapped in an empty-net goal in the last minute to complete the scoring.

“I felt our team played well even in the first period, and it was just a matter of getting ourselves back in the game and cleaning up some of those little issues that we had, and we did that,” Boston Coach Claude Julien said. “I think we showed some resiliency, I think we showed some character and it was nice to see some guys step up here and find a way to win a hockey game.”

Rask didn’t allow another puck past him after Seth Jones’ goal from the slot 6:44 into the second period.

Alexander Wennberg and Cam Atkinson also scored for Columbus.

The Jackets scored with their first shot on goal 2:58 into the game by Wennberg. Atkinson made it 2-0 with a power-play goal with 2:52 left in the first period.

“We had a great start, and I think we just got uncomfortable,” Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said. “They picked up their level of play, and we just kind of started to play into their hands. We didn’t elevate our game.”

Columbus is trying to avoid last season’s disastrous start in which it lost the first eight games. Coach Todd Richards lost his job after the first seven games, and John Tortorella was brought in but couldn’t right the ship. After the first period Thursday, it looked as if last year’s Blue Jackets were back.

“Tentative, sloppy, you can use a lot of different words,” Tortorella said. “I don’t have an answer for you. Obviously we have to find it.”

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Bergeron to miss Bruins’ season opener Thursday Wed, 12 Oct 2016 21:34:47 +0000 BOSTON — The Boston Bruins are going to start the regular season without their captain.

Center Patrice Bergeron is day to day with a lower-body injury and did not make the trip Wednesday for the Bruins’ opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

Bergeron was injured at the end of practice Tuesday, but the Bruins would not elaborate on the nature of the injury or how it occurred.

Coach Claude Julien held out hope Bergeron could join the Bruins later on their opening trip, which continues against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and ends against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.

“It’s not a major injury; it’s minor,” Julien said. “But I’m confident it’s going to be really short term.”

Bergeron has reached the 30-goal mark three times in his career and has won the Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL three times. Last season, he led the Bruins with 68 points and was second on the team with 32 goals.

Bergeron will be difficult to replace, but the Bruins are banking on their depth to overcome the loss.

“I think we spoke a little bit to our depth in camp and the tough decisions that we were forced with and our coaches and management were forced with. There’s so many capable players,” forward David Backes said.

“And we get to test that a little bit earlier than we hoped. … We’ll all have to pick up some of the load that he carries, which is a huge load for this team.”

Initially it appears Backes will carry a lot of that load. In practice Wednesday, Backes filled Bergeron’s spot at center between left wing Brad Marchand and right wing David Pastrnak.

Marchand and Bergeron have been linemates almost exclusively since the 2010-11 season. So the new combination will take some getting used to. Bergeron has missed just 14 games in the past six seasons.

“It’s disappointing having him not start (the season), but hopefully he’ll be back soon and it just means one of these other guys is going to have to step up and pull a little more weight,” Marchand said.

“(Backes is) a great player and it’s nice to have the opportunity to play with him there, practice with him at least. Hopefully it goes well (Thursday).”

The Bruins also announced that defensemen Adam McQuaid is day to day with an upper-body injury and will not play in Columbus. Defenseman Kevan Miller will be out six weeks after surgery for a fracture in his left hand on Tuesday.

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Bruins adding youth to mix Wed, 12 Oct 2016 00:47:51 +0000 BOSTON — The Boston Bruins’ plan for making the playoffs this season involves adding young talent around their veteran core.

The Bruins, who missed the postseason the past two seasons, open the regular season on Thursday on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Their lineup could feature at least four rookies: Defensemen Brandon Carlo and Rob O’Gara, and forwards Danton Heinen and Austin Czarnik, who is returning from a concussion suffered last weekend, have made the opening night roster.

Having first-year players to support the group of veterans highlighted by captain Zdeno Chara, forwards Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and goaltender Tuukka Rask advances the plan General Manager Don Sweeney put forth when he took over in the summer of 2015.

“That’s kind of been the plan is to try and do a better job with drafting and then do as good a job as we can developing and then seeing where that shakes out,” Bruins President Cam Neely said Tuesday during a news conference at Warrior Ice Arena.

“This training camp we probably had a couple surprises as far as guys stepping up a little earlier than maybe we anticipated. But that’s the thing that Don expressed when we interviewed him for the position about drafting, developing, getting these guys to understand the type of hockey we want them to play.”

The Bruins supplemented their veteran core by signing forward David Backes and backup goaltender Anton Khudobin as unrestricted free agents in the offseason.

But the major story in training camp was the emergence of the inexperienced players. O’Gara, Carlo and Heinen are first-year professionals, while Czarnik is in his second year of pro hockey.

A core that’s five years removed from winning the Stanley Cup could benefit from the rookies’ talent and their energy.

“We don’t give free passes to anybody,” Bruins Coach Claude Julien said. “When they show they can play here, we give them the opportunity. We’re patient with them just like anybody else. When they make mistakes, we understand they have less experience and that’s where you’ve got work with them.

“It’s exciting there’s new blood. I think it’s exciting for the players too, the veterans. They’ve talked about it, they really feel that those guys want to be part of this hockey club and want to blend in.”

Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs also said his goal for this season is to see his team return to the playoffs.

But the Bruins are still trying to strike a balance between becoming winners again and making sure they don’t mortgage their future.

“We certainly don’t want to stray away from what we think is going to build us for some long-term success,” Neely said. “We feel like we’re on the path to do this in a way that’s going to give us some success for a long period of time. You’d like it sooner rather than later and we’ve had some surprises here at this particular camp.

“Who knows where it’ll end up by the end of the year, but I certainly feel like we’ve got some good young players who are knocking on the door or a couple years away from making an impact on our club while the core is still in a position to play at the level they’re currently playing at.”

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Brad Marchand signs 8-year extension with Bruins Mon, 26 Sep 2016 19:07:38 +0000 BOSTON — The Boston Bruins have signed forward Brad Marchand to an eight-year, $49 million contract extension.

The team announced the deal on Monday as Marchand prepares to play for Canada in the finals of the hockey World Cup.

The 28-year-old Marchand, who could have become an unrestricted free agent next summer, had a career-high 37 goals and 60 points last season. In seven NHL seasons – all with the Bruins – he has 153 goals and 136 assists.

“Boston has become my second home,” Marchand said. “I really believe in our team and our group and what we’re working towards.”

His recent play for Canada has opened eyes across the league. Playing mostly on a line with Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby and perennial Boston Bruins linemate Patrice Bergeron, Marchand is second to Crosby in World Cup scoring with five points and is tied for the tournament lead with three goals.

Canada will face Team Europe in the best-of-3 finals starting Tuesday.

“The exposure and to be able to play on a team with these caliber of players, it’s incredible,” Marchand said about playing for Canada in the World Cup. “When you get that confidence to know that you can play at that level, it feels really good, for one. And it pushes you to another level.”

Marchand was a member of Boston’s Stanley Cup-winning team in 2011, with 11 goals in the playoffs, the second-most on the team. Marchand started that season, his rookie year, on the fourth line. By the end he was skating among the Bruins’ top six forwards. He would have been a coveted player had he hit the open market in 2017, especially after his breakout performance on the World Cup stage.

“Right now where is with Team Canada, he’s also very respected by his teammates for the way he prepares, the way he plays and everything else,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien, who is serving as an assistant to Mike Babcock with Canada. “So he’s come a long ways.”

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McQuaid healthy, and still a Bruin Fri, 12 Aug 2016 00:27:48 +0000 Adam McQuaid has found himself to be in a state this summer that, for him, is unusual.

He’s healthy.

That’s right, for the first time in three years, the oft-injured Bruins defenseman is not recovering from some sort of surgery in the offseason. It’s a nice change.

“Yeah, it’s a good start. Not being behind the 8-ball is good,” said McQuaid.

McQuaid discussed some offseason moves the Bruins made and those they didn’t – namely, securing another defenseman. Boston bought out Dennis Seidenberg, and Zach Trotman signed a free agent deal with the Los Angeles Kings, but the Bruins didn’t bring in veteran help.

It’s not what people expected, and McQuaid knows the defense will be under a microscope.

“I guess there’s going to be a lot of talk about the D-corps and uncertainties in different areas, but I’m looking forward to coming in and having a good training camp,” he said. “The guys I’ve talked to, everyone’s excited and look forward to a fresh start. I think even within the guys that we have, we can be better. It’s an important part of our team, not even just as a D-corps but as a team, having that defensive awareness and focus. But obviously there will be a focus on the defensemen themselves, and I guess there’s going to be a good challenge for us and opportunity for guys to step up.”

The re-signing of Kevan Miller was viewed as a surprise by some. Miller brings a lot of the same tools as the rugged McQuaid. And after signing McQuaid to a four-year deal last summer, Boston inked Miller to a similar four-year deal this offseason.

There was speculation that one of the two could be trade bait should any of the young prospect defensemen prove to be ready.

“I’m not really surprised by anything,” McQuaid said. “You’re not sure how things will play out. I wasn’t surprised (by the signing). In my opinion, Millsy’s underrated in a lot of ways and he’s a guy who continues to improve and a guy you appreciate having on your team. I guess those are the questions that everyone asks and people are wondering about. But at the same time, I think there’s a chance for both of us to continue to improve our game and hopefully be more well-rounded and grab the opportunity to play bigger minutes against tougher opposition.”

McQuaid gave a thumbs-up to the free agent signing of forward David Backes.

“I think he’s going to be a great addition to our team,” McQuaid said. “I don’t know him personally but I’ve heard him speak at different times and I like what he has to say. Obviously he’s a big body. We don’t play against St. Louis often, but I remember … him having hit me and I definitely felt it. It’s going to be nice to have a guy like that on our team.”

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Commentary: Forget free agents – how will Rask play? Thu, 07 Jul 2016 00:56:55 +0000 The official drop of the puck may be more than three months away but that doesn’t stop hardcore Bruins followers from contemplating a range of issues involving their troubled team.

Fans can speculate on draft picks and free agents and trade targets and possible rookie surprises. They can ponder line combinations and defense pairs, worry about how much Zdeno Chara has left, contemplate alterations in the game plan, and grow anxious over the improvements made by rivals.

All worthy pastimes, although a cold cocktail on a hot beach, surrounded by lovely sights and sounds, seems a somewhat more sensible way to spend a summer day.

But OK, if you want to talk Bruins … What the Bruins have done in recent weeks, basically, is hover in place. They’ve gone neither up nor down.

They lost key right winger Loui Eriksson, who made the smart business move to Vancouver. They replaced him with another right winger (or center) in David Backes. They likely lose some scoring and gain some grit. Both guys are known as strong and responsible defensive forwards. So all and all, it’s pretty close to an even tradeoff.

Boston re-signed defenseman John-Michael Liles, a good move at a cut-rate $2 million.

 Dennis Seidenberg was bought out. As sad as it is to see him go, one of the nicest men we’ve gotten to know here, he’s clearly lost a lot, and the $2.8 million in salary-cap savings next season could be valuable.

 Riley Nash seems a decent pickup, even if only of the fourth-line variety.

You can talk about all this stuff. But there’s really only one key for the 2016-17 Bruins – Tuukka Rask. The erstwhile Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender has to play better than he did last season – maybe even the last two seasons – or it’s mighty hard to see this team as more than a mediocre also-ran. Last season his goals-against average (2.56) and save percentage (.915) were by far the worst of his five seasons as the No. 1 netminder for the Bruins.

A Bruins team that had been sound defensively began to play sloppy and porous team defense two seasons ago in front of Rask, a positionally strong goalie who craves predictability in his defense and the shots he faces. His teammates gave up way too many wide-open scoring chances.

And then what did he read and hear all last summer? The Bruins were going have a new look. They were to be all about generating more offense – quick transitions, up-tempo, fast-break hockey.

To which Rask probably thought, “How about we worry first about tightening up defensively?”

Rask had to view the first three games of last season, all home-ice losses, as a bad joke. There were plays on which a Bruins defenseman brought the puck out from behind his own net and looked for a breakout pass, and all three forwards were at the far blue line.

At times it seems Rask takes it personally when the Bruins play bad defense in front of him. Many times he cited how crucially important it is that the team, “protects the house,” which means don’t leave people open in front for easy goals.

The guess here is that Rask’s dissatisfaction with his team may have affected his attitude and his play.

Now there’s little reason to expect the Bruins to be a whole lot better defensively next season. Indeed, much talk is still about a more “up-tempo” style.

The point is, though, that Rask has to get over it if he’s upset by the decline in defensive-zone play in front of him.

“He has to step up and be a leader,” said one member of the Bruins’ brass last week. “We need him to make more saves.”

For most of the past decade, the Bruins could count on strong defense and outstanding goaltending. Now that they don’t have the same quality defense, they have to stop pucks better.

Rask has to spend these next three months preparing himself – like it or not – for that challenge.

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NHL notebook: Backes seems like a natural Bruin Sat, 02 Jul 2016 23:52:00 +0000 Just what kind of player David Backes will be at the age of 37 – when his new contract expires – is anyone’s guess.

But after listening to the 32-year-old former St. Louis Blues captain speak on his introductory conference call Friday, it’s hard not to think that the center/right winger – who signed a five-year, $30 million contract – was born to play for the Bruins.

“From my time playing against Boston and my history with the team, it’s a blue-collar, hard-nosed, don’t-take-crap-from-anybody type of team and that’s kind of the way that I feel I’ve built my game in 10 years in the league,” said Backes. “And I think it will be a seamless fit that will fill a few holes or deficiencies that, through the interview process, were identified and are strengths of mine, in all facets of the game.”

If anything, Backes will go to the head of the class when it comes to the media. In a little over 30 minutes on the phone, he was forthcoming, loquacious and humorous. And he did not duck questions concerning his age or just where he fits in the Bruins lineup that already has two quality centers in Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.

Backes himself had wondered where he would fit. The short answer is it’s a fluid situation.

As for his age, Backes said with experience comes better hockey sense and knowing when to use the 6-foot-3, 221-pound body he’s been throwing around for a decade.

“I pick my spots rather than hitting everything that moves like it’s a rugby match,” said the Minnesota native. “I’m 32; I’m not 52. I think there are plenty of legs and plenty of physicality and energy in me.”

PANTHERS: Florida continued overhauling its defensive corps Saturday by signing Jason Demers to a five-year contract worth a reported $22.5 million.

SABRES: Buffalo addressed its backup goalie situation by acquiring the rights to restricted free agent Anders Nilsson from St. Louis for a 2017 fifth-round pick.

]]> 0 Sat, 02 Jul 2016 19:56:35 +0000
NHL notebook: Bruins sign former Blues forward Backes Sat, 02 Jul 2016 02:13:31 +0000 Former St. Louis Blues captain David Backes said he got goosebumps thinking about joining a team that already includes centers like Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.

“These guys get it,” the free agent forward said Friday after signing with the Boston Bruins in the first 30 minutes of NHL free agency. “They know what it’s going to take to win. That’s what sold me on it. … If you have prominent players that are putting team first, the rest of the guys really have no choice.”

A two-time U.S. Olympian, Backes agreed to a five-year, $30 million deal with the Bruins and said he hoped to be a part of the “retooling” that would put the Original Six club back in the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

Backes, 32, is the first major addition this offseason for a team that won the 2011 Stanley Cup and returned to the finals two years later. The team re-signed defenseman Torey Krug and bought out the contract of defenseman Dennis Seidenberg on Thursday. Free agents Loui Eriksson and Lee Stempniak agreed to deals with the Canucks and Carolina, respectively.

Also signing with Boston on the first day of free agency were defensemen Tommy Cross and John-Michael Liles, goalie Anton Khudobin, and forwards Riley Nash, Tyler Randell and Tim Schaller.

“They’re trying to get pieces back that will get them over the hump,” Backes said. “They barely missed the playoffs last year, and if they had (made it) I don’t think anyone would have wanted to play them.”

Backes had 21 goals and 24 assists last season for the Blues. In a 10-year NHL career – all with St. Louis – he has 206 goals and 254 assists in 727 regular-season games.

SABRES: Buffalo signed former Islanders forward Kyle Okposo to a seven-year deal worth a reported $42 million in one of the first deals completed after the signing period opened.

OILERS: Edmonton signed Milan Lucic to a $42 million, seven-year deal, reuniting the left wing with former Boston GM Peter Chiarelli.

LIGHTNING: Two days after Steven Stamkos decided to return, top defenseman Victor Hedman signed a $63 million, eight-year extension to remain with the club.

ISLANDERS: New York signed forward Andrew Ladd to a seven-year, $38.5 million contract and forward Jason Chimera to a two-year, $4.5 million deal.

FLAMES: Calgary signed winger Troy Brouwer to a four-year deal worth a reported $4.5 million annually and gave a one-year deal to goaltender Chad Johnson worth a reported $1.7 million.

WILD: Center Eric Staal agreed to a three-year, $10.5 million contract with the team following one of the worst seasons of his career, split between Carolina and the Rangers.

]]> 0, 01 Jul 2016 22:24:44 +0000
Bruins dump top defenseman Thu, 30 Jun 2016 22:17:06 +0000 A day before free agency begins in the NHL, the Boston Bruins cut ties with one of their top defensemen Thursday.

The Bruins placed Dennis Seidenberg on buyout waivers. Seidenberg had two years left on his contract at a salary-cap hit of $4 million. The buyout saves the Bruins $2.83 million next season.

“It’s a shock,” Seidenberg told the Boston Herald. “(General Manager) Donnie (Sweeney) called me (Thursday morning) and he said it was a tough call to make but he had to buy me out, that they were going with the kids. Told me I was a great guy and that was it.”

Seidenberg, who helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup championship in 2011, said he cherished his time in Boston.

“I loved playing there, I loved living in the city. I’m going to miss it,” he said.

There had been speculation that Seidenberg could be a target of a buyout, but with the buyout period coming to an end at 5 p.m. Thursday, he thought he might be safe.

Sweeney reportedly has been trying to acquire another top-four defenseman on the trade market. If that continues to fail, he’ll go into the unrestricted free-agent market Friday.

But it sounds like Colin Miller and Joe Morrow, and perhaps even first-year pros like Brandon Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk, will get an opportunity to play regardless of what acquisition is made.

On Thursday, Boston signed Torey Krug to a four-year contract worth $21 million, giving the team four NHL defensemen – Krug, Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuaid, and Kevan Miller – under contract, with deals to be worked out for Morrow and Colin Miller.

Seidenberg will be an unrestricted free agent, but with the timing of the buyout he didn’t get to benefit from the open interview period.

“That would have been nice but oh well. I guess I’ll just go into free agency (Friday) and go from there,” said Seidenberg, who will turn 35 on July 18.

In his prime, Seidenberg teamed with Chara as a great lockdown defensive pair, especially during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup in 2011.

But after signing a four-year, $16 million extension prior to the 2013-14 season, he was beset by injuries.

In the middle of that first season of the extension, he suffered two knee ligament tears and was done for the season. He played the entire next season, but his play was not at the same high level it had been before he was hurt.

]]> 0, 30 Jun 2016 20:40:59 +0000
NHL notebook: Bruins among teams interested in Stamkos Mon, 27 Jun 2016 02:07:09 +0000 BUFFALO, N.Y. — As team executives began gathering on the arena floor an hour before the start of the NHL draft’s second round Saturday morning, a video highlighting former No. 1 selections began playing on the big-screen video boards.

The first player featured just happened to be Steven Stamkos, the top pick in 2008.

At a time when Arizona-born center Auston Matthews was selected first by Toronto, and on the heels of the buzz the league’s expansion into Las Vegas created, the Tampa Bay Lightning captain’s presence during the two-day draft in Buffalo was hard to overlook.

Stamkos is set to be, as Sabres General Manager Tim Murray put it, the potential “big fish” in the league’s free-agency period, which opens Friday.

Buffalo, Boston and Vancouver are among the teams to have already expressed interest in Stamkos.

And others, as in the case of Toronto and Detroit, have freed up more than $10 million in salary cap space with an expectation they will jump into the bidding for the four-time, 40-goal scorer.

Meantime, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said, “I haven’t ruled out anything just yet. The process hasn’t changed.”

Stamkos heads a list of pending free agents that includes St. Louis center David Backes, New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo and Los Angeles forward Milan Lucic. Other players could be available by trade, including Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler

HALL OF FAME: The weakest first-time eligible group in decades has left the doors open to the Hockey Hall of Fame for several players who have been awaiting the call.

Eric Lindros has been waiting six years, Mark Recchi three, Dave Andreychuk eight and Sergei Makarov 16. This could finally be the year, as the Hall of Fame selection committee determines the class of 2016 on Monday.

Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, defenseman Roman Hamrlik and forwards Milan Hejduk and Vinny Prospal headline the first-year eligible players.

]]> 0 Sun, 26 Jun 2016 22:14:07 +0000
NHL draft: Finland heads foreign invasion Sat, 25 Jun 2016 03:23:10 +0000 BUFFALO, N.Y. — Once the “Go Leafs, Go!” chants subsided after Toronto selected Arizona-born center Auston Matthews with the first pick in the NHL draft, the Finns began their march to the podium.

Three players from Finland were selected among the top five picks, the most by the northern European nation.

“They’ve got a good thing going on there,” Canucks President Trevor Linden said after Vancouver rounded out the run of Finns by selecting defenseman Oli Juolevi with the fifth pick. The Winnipeg Jets selected forward Patrik Laine second, and Edmonton took forward Jesse Puljujarvi at No. 4.

The draft had an international flavor to it, starting with Matthews becoming the seventh American-born player to be selected No. 1, and first since the Chicago Blackhawks chose Patrick Kane with the top pick in 2007.

“My heart was beating. It was very nerve-wracking,” Matthews said, noting the Maple Leafs had not tipped their hand on who they were going to select since winning the NHL draft lottery in April. “Once they called my name, it was definitely a sigh of relief and a lot of excitement.”

Matthews, who grew up a Coyotes fan in Scottsdale, Arizona, was expected to be selected first.

NHL Central Scouting ranked the 6-foot-2, 210-pound play-maker as its top draft-eligible project. Matthews already has pro experience after spending last season with Zurich in the Swiss Elite League.

For Toronto, Matthews represents a significant piece in General Manager Lou Lamoriello’s extensive rebuilding plans to restore relevance to one of the league’s most high-profile franchises. The Maple Leafs have missed the playoffs 10 of the last 11 years, and spent last season purging high-priced contracts and veteran talent with a focus on rebuilding through youth.

“He’s an elite player with an elite drive train,” Toronto Coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s going to make us better, and he’ll develop into a top, top center in the National Hockey League.”

The Boston Bruins used the No. 14 overall pick to take Boston University defenseman Charlie McAvoy. McAvoy, a native of Long Beach, New York, who was the youngest player in NCAA Division I last season, scored 25 points (3 goals, 22 assists) in 37 games as a freshman.

“Just speechless,” said the 6-foot, 200-pound defenseman. “Just so happy to be a part of the Bruins. Got in close with them this year. I’m sure my friends at home will be happy, but kinda cutting the ties with New York sports. Boston’s an unbelievable city. I’m happy to be staying there.”

Still, it’ll be an adjustment for someone who has been a diehard New York sports fan.

“You grow up and you’re told not to like (the Boston teams),” he said, “but I got a Red Sox hat now, so that’s the first step, and this Bruins jersey. … I don’t know if I can be a Pats fan, but we’ll see; give it time.”

At BU, McAvoy often played alongside another Bruins draft pick, 2012 third-round Matt Grzelcyk.

“We’re very excited about Charlie,” Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney said in an interview on NBC Sports Network. “Obviously, we’ve seen him play a lot right in our backyard. Very excited to add him into the fold.

“(He’s) a multi-tool player (with) power-play acumen but also plays very hard and can log a lot of minutes. A powerful player, and I think we just realized the hockey sense – he sees the middle of the ice really well, the transitional part of his game. He can also defend with conviction.”

Boston also had the No. 29 overall pick, obtained from San Jose in a trade last year for goalie Martin Jones, and used it to take Trent Frederic, a center who has spent the last two seasons with the U.S. National Development Program.

During a week in which the NHL expanded into Las Vegas, the draft reflected the changing international nature of the sport.

Starting with Columbus selecting Pierre-Luc Dubois at No. 3, only three Canadian-born players were taken among the top 10 picks. That matches last year’s total, which was the fewest for Canada.

Finland’s presence reflected how the nation has begun to dominate on the world stage.

Finland won the 2015 world championship and the 2016 world junior championship, and lost to Canada in the world championship final last month.

“It’s a huge thing for our country, ourselves and the players,” Laine said. “I think it shows to everybody that we have good juniors, and we can be good at those tournaments and we can get drafted high.”

The Calgary Flames addressed several needs by selecting forward Matt Tkachuk – the son of former NHL star Keith Tkachuk – with the No. 6 pick, and acquired goalie Brian Elliott in a trade with St. Louis.

]]> 0, 24 Jun 2016 23:29:38 +0000
NHL notebook: Bruins keep Miller with four-year deal Wed, 25 May 2016 00:00:00 +0000 BOSTON — The Boston Bruins signed defenseman Kevan Miller to a four-year contract extension and added a pair of assistant coaches.

Boston General Manager Don Sweeney announced the moves Tuesday. Miller’s extension will run through the 2019-20 season and have a cap figure of $2.5 million per year. He entered the offseason as an unrestricted free agent.

The Bruins also signed forward Seth Griffith to a one-year, two-way contract carrying a cap figure of $625,000.

The 28-year-old Miller just completed his third season in Boston, appearing in a career-high 71 games. He also set career bests with five goals, 13 assists and 18 points. Griffith appeared in four games for Boston this season, accruing one assist.

Sweeney also announced the hiring of Bruce Cassidy and Jay Pandolfo as assistants, joining Joe Sacco and Bob Essensa on Claude Julien’s staff. In addition, longtime assistant Doug Jarvis will not return for the 2016-17 season.

BLUES: The Blues are going back to goaltender Brian Elliott for Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against the San Jose Sharks.

“It’s his turn,” Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “It’s his turn for Game 6.”

Jake Allen has started the last two games and made 21 saves in a 6-3 Game 5 loss that included two empty-net goals.

The Sharks lead the series 3-2 and on Wednesday night can earn their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals. The Blues are in the conference finals for the first time since 2001.

Elliott started every game of the playoffs before Hitchcock switched to Allen for Game 4, believing a shake-up was in order, and the Blues won 6-3 in San Jose. The two split duties during the season.

Hitchcock thought a couple games off might benefit the 31-year-old Elliott during the longest playoff run of his career.

“Yeah, it’s been a mental drain,” Hitchcock said. “This is the first time he’s gone through this and I think (it) allowed him to reset it. I think he’s going to be great tomorrow.”

Elliott’s 17 starts this playoffs equals his previous career total from the last four years.

SHARKS: Patrick Marleau has played more than 1,500 games with San Jose since joining the NHL as an 18-year-old draft pick but never one quite like the next one.

All those past playoff disappointments that have seemed to define the career of players like Marleau and Joe Thornton could be put to the side temporarily with one more San Jose win.

For the first time in 25 seasons as an NHL franchise, the Sharks are just one win away from making the Stanley Cup final. San Jose takes a 3-2 lead over St. Louis in the Western Conference final into Game 6 on Wednesday night in what should be a frenzied Shark Tank.

For more than a decade, the Sharks have been known as much for their postseason failures as their regular-season success. San Jose has the second-most wins and has played in the second-most playoff series since the start of the 2003-04 season but has fallen short every spring.

The Sharks won just three total games in their first three trips to the conference final, lost an opening series as the top seed in 2009 and most memorably became the fourth NHL team ever to lose a best-of-seven series after winning the first three games against Los Angeles in 2014.

The Sharks then hit what they called rock bottom last year when they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2003 but rebounded this season under first-year coach Peter DeBoer and a core anchored by players like Thornton, Marleau, captain Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic that have spent years trying to bring a title to San Jose.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do here for the fans,” Marleau said.

]]> 0, 24 May 2016 20:37:59 +0000
NHL roundup: Bruins’ Bergeron a Selke finalist Fri, 29 Apr 2016 00:44:55 +0000 NEW YORK — Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler and Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar are the finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association submitted ballots at the end of the regular season, with the top three designated finalists Thursday. The winner will be announced June 22.

Bergeron won the award in 2012, 2014 and 2015 and was second in 2013. He had a plus-12 rating for the Bruins this year, and won 57 percent of his draws with a league-leading 1,130 faceoff wins.

WILD: General Manager Chuck Fletcher says interim coach John Torchetti is “definitely a very serious candidate” to be the team’s permanent head coach.

Torchetti took over for the fired Mike Yeo in February, inheriting a team that had gone 1-11-2 in its previous 14 games. The Wild finished 17-15-1 under Torchetti, including the playoffs.


CAPITALS 4, PENGUINS 3: T.J. Oshie completed a hat trick in overtime to give Washington a victory over visiting Pittsburgh in a classic start to the highly anticipated second-round playoff series between Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.

Oshie’s wraparound goal 9:33 into overtime of Game 1 stood up after video review once it was definitively shown that the puck went over the goal line.

Vezina Trophy finalist Braden Holtby made 42 saves, and Andre Burakovsky also scored for the Capitals.

Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray stopped 43 shots.

Ben Lovejoy, Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bonino scored for the Penguins, who will try to even the series Saturday night in Game 2.

Ovechkin assisted on Oshie’s second goal, while Crosby was on the ice for three goals against.

This is the first playoff meeting between the 2004 and 2005 No. 1 picks since 2009.

]]> 0, 28 Apr 2016 23:51:17 +0000
Bruins Coach Claude Julien to return next season Thu, 14 Apr 2016 15:34:44 +0000 BOSTON — The Bruins are sticking with coach Claude Julien for another season despite missing the playoffs two years in a row.

General Manager Don Sweeney said Thursday that Julien is the right coach to guide the team through a “bumpy transition.”

“We’ve got work to do; I’ve got work to do,” Sweeney said at a news conference at TD Garden. “There’s no question that we have areas we want to address and collectively we’ve already started to assess that.”

The Bruins went 42-31-9 with Julien behind the bench and Sweeney in his first year as general manager this season. They missed out on a playoff spot to the Detroit Red Wings based on the regulation/overtime-win tiebreaker.

Julien has a record of 393-223-88 in 704 games in nine seasons. In that time, the Bruins won two Eastern Conference championships and the Stanley Cup in 2011.

Last season, Julien became the all-time Bruins leader for wins by a coach.

The Bruins missed the postseason by two points in 2015.

Julien said that when this season ended, he entered a self-evaluation process to determine what he wanted to do next. Once he decided he wanted to stay, he met with Sweeney. Both men were on the same page.

“I want to bring this team back to where we once had it,” Julien said. “There’s a lot of people here, including players, that have helped me become the coach that I am. And I don’t want to be that guy that bails just because all of a sudden you hit a bump in the road. I want to be that guy that perseveres.”

While Julien will stay, his staff will change. Assistant coach Doug Houda will not be re-signed and assistants Doug Jarvis and Joe Sacco, who are no longer under contract, will be part of a reassessment of the staff, Sweeney said.

Meanwhile, Sweeney will try to tweak the roster. Boston needs to improve defensively after finishing 20th (2.78 goals allowed per game) in the NHL, their lowest ranking under Julien. The team also needs to decide how to approach re-signing unrestricted free agent forward Loui Eriksson, who scored 30 goals last season, and restricted free agent defenseman Torey Krug. Sweeney will also have to gauge whether younger players throughout the club’s system can contribute in 2016-17.

Sweeney said he doesn’t plan to reconstruct the whole roster.

“I don’t think we need a major overhaul. I believe we need to continue to forge depth in the organization,” Sweeney said. “When you go through these times where you have injuries and you have players that are able to step in, you have to have a plan that allows players to develop at the right time that they’re supposed to rather than force a player.”

]]> 0, 14 Apr 2016 23:45:07 +0000
Out of playoffs again, Bruins left searching for answers Tue, 12 Apr 2016 01:41:00 +0000 BOSTON — For the second straight season, the Boston Bruins missed qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs by the slimmest of margins and face an uncertain offseason.

After making the playoffs seven straight years under Coach Claude Julien, the Bruins came up two points short in 2014-15. They finished tied with the Detroit Red Wings for third place in the Atlantic Division but missed out on the playoffs because of the regulation/overtime-win tiebreaker.

General Manager Don Sweeney will need to make changes and Julien’s job status is unclear. Neither Sweeney nor Julien addressed reporters during the Bruins’ breakup day at TD Garden on Monday. The players did not have their typical exit meetings with the coach and management either.

Players were left to answer for their failings and assess what the Bruins need to do going forward.

“Well I think that we are close, but close is not close enough,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. “Obviously the commitment has got to be on a higher level. The execution has to be on a higher level.”

The Bruins went on a 5-0-2 run in mid-March capped by a 3-1 win against the New York Islanders that put Boston in first place in the division by one point with the second-place Florida Panthers holding two games in hand. But the Bruins then went 0-3-0 on a trip to California and the losing streak extended to five games, all in regulation. The Bruins went 3-8-1 in their final 12 games.

“We were in a really good spot. I think we were really comfortable, maybe a little too comfortable when we looked at the standings and realized we were in first there for a bit,” said forward Brad Marchand, who set a career high with 37 goals. “So it’s tough right now knowing that we were sitting in a pretty good spot and let it slip.”

The Bruins have a large crop of unrestricted free agents, led by forwards Loui Eriksson (30 goals this season), Chris Kelly and Lee Stempniak, and defensemen Kevan Miller and John-Michael Liles. Defenseman Torey Krug and forward Brett Connolly are restricted free agents. Marchand is entering the last year of his four-year contract, which carries a $4.5 million hit against the NHL salary cap, and is due for an extension.

Defense is one area the Bruins will have to address. After trading Dougie Hamilton at the draft last June and attempting to integrate three first-year NHL defensemen into the lineup over the course of the year, the Bruins finished 20th (2.78) in goals allowed per game – their worst ranking by far in nine seasons under Julien.

“I mean that’s for sure one of those things I was talking about,” Chara said. “We were on stretches where we were finding the net really well scoring-wise, and then other stretches we couldn’t score, and then the same was on the other end. We were good defensively at certain games, and then there came a few games where we allowed too many. So everything was kind of up and down, scoring-wise and defending-wise as well.”

Sweeney is entering his second year as GM and he has a large challenge to get the Bruins back into the playoffs. Center Patrice Bergeron is among the veteran players who believe in Sweeney.

]]> 0, 11 Apr 2016 21:41:35 +0000
Bruins collapse with playoffs on line, lose 6-1 to Senators Sat, 09 Apr 2016 19:33:14 +0000 BOSTON — The Boston Bruins lost starting goalie Tuukka Rask 90 minutes before the faceoff, blew their regular-season finale midway through the game and said goodbye to the playoffs before the day was over.

With Rask out sick for the Bruins’ last-gasp run at the postseason, backup Jonas Gustavsson allowed four goals in the first half of the second period and the Ottawa Senators went on to win the regular-season finale 6-1.

Boston was eliminated from playoff contention later Saturday when the Philadelphia Flyers beat Pittsburgh, 3-1.

“I don’t know if we thought it was going to be easy or what,” Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said after the game, but before Philadelphia clinched the final postseason berth in the Eastern Conference. “We came out and just failed in the second period.”

Chris Neil, Zack Smith, Matt Puempel and Mika Zibanejad scored over 8:18 in the second period, and Andrew Hammond stopped 39 shots for the Senators. Ottawa also had a pair of empty-net goals in the third when the Bruins pulled Gustavsson to create a two-man advantage on the power play.

David Pastrnak scored for Boston, and Gustavsson stopped 30 shots. The loss left Boston tied with Detroit with 93 points but trailing the Red Wings, who lost to the New York Rangers on Saturday, in the tiebreaker.

The Bruins could have still made the playoffs if the Flyers earned no more than one point in their last two games. The victory over Pittsburgh gave Philadelphia 94 points and left Boston in ninth place in the East.

“We could have controlled our own fate,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said before Philadelphia’s victory. “Right now, all we can do is cross our fingers and hope for a miracle.”

The Bruins’ chances of avoiding a second consecutive missed postseason were damaged when Rask, the 2014 Vezina Trophy winner, was scratched from the starting lineup with what the team said was an “illness.” Rask was with the team for the pregame warmup, but he spent most of it near the bench while Gustavsson took practice shots in the net.

Gustavsson, who hadn’t started since March 18, stopped all 17 shots he faced in the first period and was spotted a 1-0 lead when Pastrnak received Brad Marchand’s lofted pass over the blue line and beat Hammond just 5 minutes into the game. Pastrnak appeared to be offside, but the referee couldn’t find a replay angle that was conclusive.

In the second, the Senators quickly turned things around.

Neil scored 1:42 into the period, swiping twice at a rebound before it skittered under Gustavsson. Four minutes later Smith deflected Erik Karlsson’s shot into the net; three minutes after that, Phil Varone slid a backhand into the slot and Puempel tapped it between Gustavsson’s legs; at 10 minutes even, Zibanejad deflected another one into the net to make it 4-1.

Fans who had chanted “We want playoffs!” earlier in the game were now booing the hometown team. Julien called a timeout and the Bruins mustered some good chances later in the period but couldn’t close the gap.

Senators coach Dave Cameron said he was less interested in playing spoiler than just seeing his team finish the season well.

“It wasn’t about Boston today,” he said. “We knew what was at stake for Boston and we knew if we had any advantage in the game today, all the pressure was on them.”

Twice in the third period, the Senators picked up penalties and Julien pulled the goalie to create a two-man advantage. Both times, Ottawa scored empty-net goals, the first by Jean-Gabriel Pageau and the second by Smith.

Julien was retained last year after general manager Peter Chiarelli was fired and replaced by Don Sweeney. The Bruins have not retained a coach after missing the playoffs two years in a row in 50 years, since Milt Schmidt was given a third season in 1965-66 before giving way to Harry Sinden.

NOTES: With 85 points, the Senators finished 11th in the Eastern Conference and missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. … The Bruins announced team awards before the game: F Matt Beleskey was given the Eddie Shore Award for exceptional hustle and determination; F Loui Eriksson was given the Elizabeth Dufresne Trophy for outstanding performance during home games; F Jimmy Hayes earned the John P. Bucyk Award for his charitable work.

]]> 0, 09 Apr 2016 22:16:53 +0000
Bruins’ playoffs hopes live on with 5-2 win over Red Wings Fri, 08 Apr 2016 02:03:06 +0000 BOSTON — The Boston Bruins needed to play like a desperate team Thursday night in order to keep breath in their playoff hopes.

They did, and it earned them a chance to do it all over again in their regular-season finale.

Torey Krug had a goal and two assists, Brad Marchand and Loui Eriksson each added a goal and an assist, and the Bruins held on for a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.

Boston (42-30-9) picked up a much-needed two points after entering the night two behind the Red Wings for third in the Atlantic Division. The teams are tied with 93 points, with Boston – for now – moving into the final wild-card slot.

Boston fans chanted, “We Want Playoffs!” during the third period.

“We want to give ourselves a chance,” Bruins Coach Claude Julien said. “Again, we’ve got to rely on some breaks here or there. We have to be focused and kind of bring that same kind of game to give ourselves the best chance possible.”

Philadelphia, which had been clinging to that eighth spot, lost 4-3 in overtime to Toronto. But by gaining a point, the Flyers can still finish with 96 points, with games remaining against the Penguins and the Islanders.

Boston can max out at 95 points with a win in its regular-season finale Saturday against Ottawa. But the Bruins will worry about that later. For now, duplicating what might have been its best performance in nearly two months is the priority.

“All we can really do is worry about us and hopefully it works out,” Marchand said.

Tuukka Rask had 13 saves for the Bruins, who also got goals from David Pastrnak and Lee Stempniak.

Alexey Marchenko and Andreas Athanasiou scored for Detroit, and Jimmy Howard had 21 saves for the Red Wings, who had a three-game win streak snapped.

Red Wings Coach Jeff Blashill is still confident they can earn their 25th consecutive playoff berth with only a trip to the Rangers on Saturday left.

“We put ourselves in a position (with 3-0 victory over the Flyers on Wednesday) by winning a game to control our own destiny,” he said. “So let’s go win a hockey game on Saturday.”

Detroit (41-29-11) was scrambling most of the night, with Boston holding a 34-15 shot advantage.

Boston put the game away in the first minute of the third period, getting a slap-shot goal by Stempniak 20 seconds in, followed by Eriksson’s tip-in 25 seconds later to give it the four-goal cushion.

The Bruins took a 3-0 lead on a slap-shot power-play goal from the top of the circle by Krug early in the second period – his first goal since Dec. 5.

A little over a minute later, Detroit scored when Marchenko muscled in a wrist shot. Athanasiou scored with 1:23 left to cap the scoring.

Boston was energized at the outside and was much quicker on the draw, scoring two goals in the first three minutes of the game.

For the first, Pastrnak took a pass off the board from Colin Miller, and broke ahead of Detroit’s Mike Green. One-on-one with Howard, Pastrnak faked right, crossed in front of him and flipped the puck into the back of the net for his 37th goal of the season.

The play was challenged by Blashill for a possible offside, but it was ruled legal after a brief review.

Boston needed about another minute to get its second goal of the night. This time, Krug used great vision in finding Marchand with a pass across the slot. Marchand gathered it and shot a dart past Howard on his glove side.

Both teams had a pair of power plays in the first, but neither produced a goal.

Each goalie had big stops while their teams were short-handed. Patrice Bergeron got the puck to Marchand on a two-on-one chance, but Howard was able to save it with his pad. Later, Rask came up with a big glove save on a chance by Detroit’s Jonathan Ericsson.

NOTES: Marchand’s 37 goals are the most by a Boston player since Glen Murray scored 44 in 2002-03. … Marchenko’s goal snapped a 12-game scoreless stretch and was his first point since an assist on Feb. 23 vs. Columbus. … Bruins F Max Talbot, recalled from Providence on Wednesday on an emergency basis, played in place of an injured Jimmy Hayes. Hayes is scoreless in his last 16 games played.

]]> 0, 08 Apr 2016 00:04:03 +0000
Shootout loss dents Bruins’ playoff hopes Wed, 06 Apr 2016 03:33:22 +0000 BOSTON — One point was better than none. It still wasn’t enough for the Boston Bruins as they try to move into playoff position.

Noah Hanifin scored the only goal of a shootout in the fifth round to help the Carolina Hurricanes beat Boston 2-1 on Tuesday night and dent the Bruins’ playoff hopes.

Boston earned one point to move into a three-way tie with Detroit and Philadelphia for the last two Eastern Conference playoff spots, but both of those teams have more games remaining.

“This time in the season, when you lose games, it’s always tough,” said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who stopped 27 shots, plus the first four of the shootout. “They’re all do-or-die now.”

Cam Ward made 35 saves for the Hurricanes, who have already been eliminated from the playoff race.

Loui Eriksson’s third-period tying goal helped the Bruins force overtime and earn one point.

The Flyers have four games remaining and Detroit has three, including Thursday night against Boston.

“We have two games left and we still need to look at the next one and be extremely prepared for that,” forward Brad Marchand said. “We have to let this one go and be ready.”

Jaccob Slavin scored Carolina’s goal in regulation.

Bruins fans chanted “We want playoffs!” in the third period and again in the overtime.

But they will have to wait at least a couple games, with Thursday night’s matchup against the Red Wings followed by the season finale on Saturday against the also-ran Senators.

Hurricanes Coach Bill Peters said the game was important – even though his team is already out of the playoff chase.

“Well, I think Detroit thinks it’s very meaningful,” he said. “I think Philadelphia and Boston think it’s meaningful. I think it’s meaningful.”

Slavin scored for Carolina with just under 2 minutes left in the first period, and it was still 1-0 when Eriksson was sent off for tripping with half a minute left in the second.

Eriksson came back early in the third just as a clearing pass was skittering in front of the Carolina bench, with the Hurricanes making a casual line change.

Eriksson crossed the ice, picked up the puck as the departing Hurricanes climbed over the boards and skated in alone on Ward before reaching around him to deposit the puck in the net.

]]> 0, 05 Apr 2016 23:34:02 +0000
Chicago holds off Boston Bruins Mon, 04 Apr 2016 02:42:21 +0000 CHICAGO — Patrick Kane not only did a number on the Boston Bruins, he reached some milestone numbers himself.

So did Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville.

Kane had three goals and an assist as Chicago raced to a six-goal lead in the second period before hanging on for a 6-4 victory over Boston on Sunday.

Kane’s scoring spree gave him 100 points for the first time in his nine-year career. The win was career No. 800 for Quenneville.

“A special day,” Kane said. “My 100th point on a hat-trick goal as well. Pretty cool the way it happened. Just one of those nights where things are going in.

“Our line was creating a lot and had a lot of chances. Just a fun night overall.”

Patrice Bergeron had two goals and an assist for the Bruins. He and David Pastrnak scored 11 seconds apart late in the second period. Bruins starting goalie Tuukka Rask was replaced early in the second after allowing a barrage of goals.

Brad Marchand scored on a deflection midway through the third to cut it to 6-4, but the Bruins couldn’t overcome Chicago’s early outburst.

“It cost us the game if you look at it,” Bergeron said. “We can’t wait for them to score four or five goals to get going, especially at this time.”

Boston, with just two wins in its last nine games, remained one point behind Detroit and Philadelphia for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Flyers lost to Pittsburgh 6-2 later Sunday.

The Bruins have three games remaining, all at home, including one against Detroit on Thursday.

“With what’s at stake, we’ve got to be a lot better,” Bergeron said. “Focus is definitely what cost the game early on by making mistakes and giving them the space that they wanted and the plays that they wanted.”

Kane was clicking with linemates Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov early and often in the club’s fourth win it its last five games. Panarin had a goal and three assists, while Anisimov added a goal and two assists.

“They were great,” Quenneville said. “Individually, collectively, fun to watch, nice plays on the goals.”

Quenneville said his 800th win was nerve-wracking. But he was quick to point out the season-long accomplishments of Kane, a top candidate for the NHL’s Hart Trophy as league MVP.

“Getting 40 goals is a big achievement,” Quenneville said. “Getting 100 points in today’s game, not too many players in the last few years have accomplished that feat. He’s had a special year.”

Jonathan Toews also scored for the Blackhawks, who won’t finish lower than third in the Central Division and will avoid a wild-card playoff seeding.

Kane’s second career regular-season hat trick – both this season – lifted him to 43 goals, the most for a Chicago player since Tony Amonte hit that mark in 1999-2000. He’s the first Blackhawk to reach 100 points since Jeremy Roenick had 107 in 1993-94.

Quenneville is second to Blackhawks senior advisor Scotty Bowman in coaching wins. Bowman has 1,244.

Chicago’s Scott Darling made 42 saves in his ninth straight start.

]]> 0, 03 Apr 2016 23:26:22 +0000
Bruins hold on against Blues for win they had to have, 6-5 Sat, 02 Apr 2016 03:05:06 +0000 ST. LOUIS — David Krejci had two goals and two assists and the Boston Bruins snapped out of a scoring funk to beat the St. Louis Blues 6-5 Friday night and hang onto third place in the Atlantic Division.

Loui Eriksson got his 500th career point with a goal and an assist, and Patrice Bergeron scored his 30th this season for the Bruins, who totaled 10 goals while dropping six of their previous seven games. They’re a point ahead of Detroit, which beat Minnesota, 3-2, with four games remaining.

Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist, and Alexander Steen and David Backes each had two assists for the Blues. St. Louis ended a five-game winning streak, during which it allowed one goal and recorded for consecutive shutouts. The Blues are second overall in the Western Conference with 101 points and have four games to go.

Brian Elliott allowed five goals in two periods and was replaced by Jake Allen to start the third. The Blues cut the deficit to 5-4 before Bergeron’s goal with 3:24 remaining, and Kevin Shattenkirk again cut the gap to one with 20 seconds remaining. Elliott entered with an NHL-leading 1.92 goals-against average and was seeking his 10th consecutive victory.

The Bruins' Frank Vatrano (72) is congratulated by teammates Lee Stempniak (20) and John-Michael Liles after scoring a goal in the second period Friday night in St. Louis.

The Bruins’ Frank Vatrano (72) is congratulated by teammates Lee Stempniak (20) and John-Michael Liles after scoring a goal in the second period Friday night in St. Louis.

Krejci’s four-point game was a season best for the Bruins, who have been much better on the road (25-12-3) than at home (16-17-5). He had a pair of three-point efforts in October.

Stastny leads the NHL with 16 points in 11 games since March 9.

Jaden Schwartz started the scoring on an odd-man rush off a saucer feed from Jori Lehtera, but the lead lasted just 41 seconds. Goals by Eriksson and Krejci in a span of three shots put the Bruins ahead in the first, with John-Michael Liles assisting on both.

Following Stastny’s equalizer in the second, the Bruins got goals from Matt Beleskey, Frank Vatrano and David Krejci.

Robert Bortuzzo also scored for the Blues.

Tuukka Rask made 25 saves for Boston.

]]> 0, 01 Apr 2016 23:47:47 +0000
Devils goalie makes 39 saves to keep Bruins on ice Wed, 30 Mar 2016 01:51:03 +0000 NEWARK, N.J. — The New Jersey Devils are fighting and scratching for a playoff spot with five games left in the regular season. It looks as if the Boston Bruins are trying to give one away.

Reid Boucher scored a tiebreaking power-play goal early in the third period, Keith Kinkaid made 39 saves and the Devils kept their faint playoff hopes alive with a 2-1 victory over the struggling Bruins on Tuesday night.

“I think it was real important for the team,” Kinkaid said after the Devils snapped a two-game losing streak. “We needed a bounceback game from Carolina, just to stay in the race. We can only control our games. We just have to hope there are a few losses from other teams. We just have to win our games.”

The Devils moved within five points of Philadelphia and Detroit in the race for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins remained in third place in the Atlantic Division — a playoff spot — despite losing for the sixth time in seven games.

Detroit’s 4-3 loss to Montreal kept the Red Wings from taking over third, leaving them a point behind Boston.

New Jersey, Detroit and Boston all have five games left in the regular season.

“You can look at it any way you want but you have to look at yourselves, and blame yourselves first for this loss,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “You can say you tried, but at this time of year, it’s not good enough. The situation that we are in, we expect better from ourselves.”

The Bruins did everything but win. They outshot the Devils 40-15, but they were done in by penalties. New Jersey went 2 for 5 with the man advantage, with Boucher and Travis Zajac setting up each other for goals.

Boucher got the game-winner just seven seconds after Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was called for boarding Devante Smith-Pelly. Chara objected on his way to the penalty box and his frustration quickly mounted.

The Devils won the faceoff and the puck eventually rolled to Zajac, who found Boucher alone in the right circle for his eighth goal of the season.

“We were desperate, too,” Boucher said. “We’re not out of it by any means. We’re going to try and keep this going and see what happens.”

Brad Marchand scored for the first time in nine games for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask made 13 stops.

“You want to find ways to win and get at it,” Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. “You don’t want to start banging on your heads and kind of get frustrated. It’s about getting results and putting your chin up and going out there and finding a way.”

New Jersey had lost five in a row against Boston.

Kinkaid stopped 16 shots in the final 20 minutes, but he saw most of them. The most dangerous chance was a rebound attempt by Matt Beleskey with 8:40 left, but he missed the net.

Marchand tied the game early in the second period with a great individual effort on his way to his 35th goal. He took a pass from Chara at the Devils’ blue line, split defensemen Andy Greene and Adam Larsson, faked Kinkaid to the ice and deposited a backhander into an open net.

New Jersey jumped in front at 16:59 of the first. Boucher, who took a high stick from Bergeron to set up a power-play opportunity, found Zajac on the inside of the right circle and the center beat Rask for his 14th goal, and second in as many games.

Kinkaid was playing for the first time in five games because his game slipped taking over the injured Cory Schneider.

Scott Wedgewood had played well after being called up from Albany, with Kinkaid serving as his backup. The rest seemed to do him some good. He stopped all 11 shots in the first period, including a breakaway by Beleskey and 2-on-1 shots by David Pastrnak and Loui Eriksson.

“A great response,” Zajac said of Kinkaid. “He’s a gamer. He had like five 2-on-1s in the first period. He came up big and we got the lead, we did a better job of closing it up and not giving them as many odd-man rushes.”

NOTES: Bruins D John-Michael Liles missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury, while C Ryan Spooner was out with an undisclosed injury. Brett Connolly replaced Spooner and Joe Morrow was in for Liles again. … Schneider hopes to return to action this week. He has not played since hurting a knee against Dallas on March 4.

]]> 1, 29 Mar 2016 23:01:03 +0000
Beleskey is making plays to give Bruins spark Tue, 29 Mar 2016 02:13:00 +0000 The smart analytics folks will tell you that blocked shots is one of the more overrated statistical categories going. And for the most part, they’re right. Like hits, blocks often indicate a player simply doesn’t have the puck enough.

But there comes a time in any given game when a well-timed dive in front of a blazing disc of hard rubber will win you two points. When Matt Beleskey laid out to stop a couple of Maple Leafs slappers late in the third period of the Bruins’ 3-1 victory Saturday in Toronto, it was just what the team needed – in more ways than one.

The blocks contributed to a victory the Bruins desperately needed to create a sliver of space between themselves and the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers, both losers as the teams battle for playoff position. The blocks also represented a level of desire and hunger that seemed to be waning a bit during a five-game losing streak – and was absolutely non-existent in the first period at the Air Canada Centre.

Beleskey’s contributions on the night weren’t limited to the blocks. It was his dogged net-front presence that made Patrice Bergeron’s tying goal possible. And when it was time to put the hammer down on the Maple Leafs, it was Beleskey who did the honors, taking a great feed from Loui Eriksson and scoring his 14th goal of the season into an empty net.

If the Bruins want to secure a playoff spot and maybe do a little something after that, they will need the Bergerons, Brad Marchands, David Krejcis and Zdeno Charas to play to their potential. But they will also need contributions from their role players like Beleskey.

“Those two blocked shots were huge and they really ignited our bench,” Bruins Coach Claude Julien said. “And at the end of it, you’re really happy that he got that empty-netter because he deserved it for the sacrifice he made during those two plays and the commitment to doing what needed to be done to help us win this hockey game.”

Beleskey, who had been without a goal for 13 games and without a point of any kind in eight games, said he was just trying to make himself useful.

“I’ve always said that if you’re not scoring, which I haven’t been doing, you try to do everything you can do to win the game,” Beleskey said. “Any time you see someone laying out – (Krejci) had a big one on that shift, too – it does spark guys. It gets guys going, it shows that you’re committed, and that’s what we need right now.”

Beleskey’s effort did not go unnoticed by his teammates.

“He had two really big blocks there and that’s how he got rewarded at the end of it with the goal. That’s good to see,” said Krejci, who had five blocks of his own in the game. “Guys like that, they’ve been to the playoffs before and they know what it takes to get there.”

The Bruins returned to practice Monday in preparation for Tuesday’s road game against New Jersey. After that, the Bruins continue to play on the road with matchups at St. Louis and Chicago, before finishing the regular season with home games against Carolina, Detroit and Ottawa. A trip to the playoffs hangs in the balance.

]]> 0, 28 Mar 2016 22:13:10 +0000
Bruins hold off Maple Leafs, end five-game losing streak Sun, 27 Mar 2016 02:39:38 +0000 TORONTO — Zdeno Chara snapped a 20-game goal drought and the Boston Bruins ended a season-long five-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

The win created some much-needed space in the Eastern Conference playoff race for Boston, currently third in the Atlantic Division with 88 points and now three points up on Detroit.

Patrice Bergeron and Matt Beleskey also scored for the Bruins. Ben Smith found the back of the net for the Leafs.

Tuukka Rask made 25 saves, topping Jonathan Bernier, who gave up two goals on 32 shots.

Though still last in the NHL, the Leafs entered the night with three straight wins and victories in six of their previous eight.

In the first period, while fighting off Bruins defender Joe Morrow, Colin Greening gained control of the puck from a spot along the wall in the Bruins zone. He fired through traffic with a shot that was tipped by Smith, and the change in direction was enough to fool Rask, who allowed 10 goals over his previous four appearances.

Smith, on an expiring contract Toronto landed in a swap with San Jose, has five points in his last six games.

Both Rask and Bernier were sharp in the early going.

Rask poke-checked a breakaway attempt by Leafs forward Brooks Laich at one point, and Bernier was equally sturdy with a right pad save on David Krecji after he burst past 19-year-old William Nylander in the Toronto zone.

The 27-year-old Bernier has been rolling recently for the Leafs, stopping 115 of 120 shots in his previous four starts (.958 save percentage).

Boston beat him twice in a dominant second period while outshooting Toronto 11-5.

The Bruins broke a five-game power-play goal drought to even the score at one. Torey Krug’s shot from the left faceoff circle was stopped, but the rebound was cleaned up by Bergeron for his team-leading 24th power-play point this season. The goal also snapped an eight-game drought for the 30-year-old, who has 29 goals on the year.

Krejci’s shot from high in the slot spurred an unlikely goal from Chara a few minutes later. Deep in the Toronto zone and zipping across the slot area, Chara pounced on Krejci’s rebound, flinging a near no-look backhand shot through Bernier’s pads.

It was Chara’s first goal since Feb. 13 and ninth this season. Chara has 121 goals since he joined the Bruins in 2006, third-most among NHL defensemen in that span.

Toronto, despite a late push, still has yet to win when trailing after two periods, dropping to 0-27-4 this season.

]]> 0, 26 Mar 2016 22:45:03 +0000
Bruins fall for fifth straight game, 4-1 to Panthers Fri, 25 Mar 2016 02:27:50 +0000 BOSTON — Roberto Luongo made 34 saves, and Jussi Jokinen and Vincent Trocheck each scored a goal and added an assist to lift the Florida Panthers into first place in the Atlantic Division with a 4-1 win over the Boston Bruins 4-1 on Thursday night.

Reilly Smith and Jonathan Huberdeau also scored for Florida, which passed idle Tampa Bay in the standings and won for the first time in 10 visits to Boston.

Earlier this season, the Panthers ended a 10-game skid in Washington, a six-game losing streak in Columbus and a nine-game winless run in Nashville.

Luongo ended a rough stretch of his own, winning for the first time in eight starts in Boston dating to his three Stanley Cup losses for Vancouver in the 2011 finals.

Ryan Spooner scored in the first period for Boston, which lost its fifth straight following a seven-game unbeaten streak.

The Bruins’ lead over fourth place Detroit also shrank to one point after the Red Wings beat Montreal.

Trocheck scored a short-handed goal to put Florida ahead 2-1 after wristing a shot past Tuukka Rask with 1:14 remaining in the second period.

Patrice Bergeron thought he had tied the game just over eight minutes into the third when it appeared the puck went into the corner of the net. But after a lengthy review by the officials, the goal was disallowed.

Jokinen scored an insurance goal moments after the Bruins had killed a penalty for too many men on the ice to put Florida ahead 3-1 with 9:04 remaining. Huberdeau capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with 21 seconds remaining.

Rask made 32 saves for Boston, which has been outscored 18-6 in the last five games.

NOTES: Bruins Coach Claude Julien was honored before the game for being the winningest coach in team history with 390, passing Art Ross. … Bruins D John-Michael Liles left late in the second period with a lower-body injury. … Boston is scoreless in its last 13 power-play opportunities.

]]> 0, 24 Mar 2016 22:54:18 +0000
Rangers send Bruins to fourth straight loss, 5-2 Thu, 24 Mar 2016 03:12:23 +0000 NEW YORK — The New York Rangers had one of those games where almost everything went right: The passes, the goals, the officials’ calls, the video replays and, of course, Henrik Lundqvist in goal.

It was par for the course for the Boston Bruins.

Keith Yandle set up two first-period power-play goals and Lundqvist made 39 saves in a 5-2 win on Wednesday night that sent the Bruins to a season-high fourth straight loss.

“It’s a tight game and for a couple of games it was going against us,” Lundqvist said. “The last two games we’ve been getting a couple of bounces, and you need it.

“When you get them, a lot of times you saw you earned them. When they go against us, you say you have bad luck. But it was a good game for us, a good test and this was exactly the type of response we needed.”

Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, J.T. Miller and Rick Nash scored for New York, which won its second straight and inched a little closer to securing a spot in the playoffs with eight games left in the regular season.

Lee Stempniak, who had a first-period tally disallowed after an offside review and another shot gloved off the line by Lundqvist in the third period, scored for the Bruins along with Frank Vatrano. The Bruins have five goals in their skid.

The Bruins could not catch a break in this one, either with the replays or the officials. They gave the Rangers the first five man-power advantages, and New York converted on two of the first three in a game in which it was outshot 41-24.

“I said this morning we control our own destiny and right now we are giving teams below us some hope,” Bruins Coach Claude Julien said. “We have to turn this around quick.”

Yandle was the key on the first two goals, making pinpoint passes to set up Zuccarello’s 24th at 8:37 and Stepan’s 17th a little more than three minutes later.

“It gets the group going,” Yandle said of the power plays. “It’s something that we know late in the season your specialty teams have to be good. Obviously, the power play got a couple of goals and the PK was huge as well. It’s any way you can find ways to win. It’s big now.”

The turning point for Boston came between the goals. Stempniak seemly tied the game at 9:05, putting a rebound past Lundqvist.

The Rangers asked for a review and it showed Brad Marchand preceding the puck into the zone, nullifying the tally.

Fans entering the game at Madison Square Garden got a “Zucc Gnome” in a Rangers’ giveaway, and the forward didn’t disappointment them. He beat Tuukka Rask from low in the right circle after taking a great pass from Yandle with Jimmy Hayes off for slashing.

“I like him not only on the rush and on the power play but he does a real good job of breaking the puck out for us and helping us come out clean,” Rangers Coach Alain Vigneault said.

“He’s able to beat that first fore checker and make that pass where we can come out with speed. He’s really playing hard and well for us right now.”

Julien felt a deflection by Chris Kreider on the first power play hit the netting, but the officials didn’t see it.

Stepan had an empty net to shoot at for a 2-0 lead after Yandle beat both Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron and found him alone at the right side of the net.

“He understands the importance of passing on the power play, and I think that’s something that he is so good at,” Stepan said of Yandle, who has a team-high 37 assists. “When he makes a pass it is right on the tape, and it’s to a guy in a scoring area, and that’s something that is not easy.”

Brassard scored his 26th of the season at 5:26 of the second period with a slap shot into the top corner of the net against Jonas Gustavsson, who replaced Rask at the start of the second period.

Stempniak got his good goal at 9:34 of the second period on a two-on-none with Marchand, but Miller iced the game early in the third on a nice setup by Stepan.

Vatrano, who was called up from AHL Providence on Tuesday, scored with less than eight minutes to play. Nash added an empty-net goal with 2:53 left, his second in as many games.

]]> 0, 24 Mar 2016 00:31:22 +0000
Kings clinch playoff spot with 2-1 win over Bruins Sun, 20 Mar 2016 13:01:44 +0000 LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings accomplished the first step toward their ultimate goal: a third Stanley Cup title in five years.

Their 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night, coupled with Arizona’s 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay, clinched a playoff berth a year after they became the eighth team in NHL history to miss the postseason after winning the Stanley Cup.

It was the Kings’ earliest clinching since Dean Lombardi became general manager in April 2006.

“The goal is to clinch a playoff spot as early as you can,” said left wing Milan Lucic, who spent his first eight NHL seasons in Boston before joining the Kings in a trade last June. “It’s a great accomplishment. It’s been a fun 71 games so far, and we’ve got to keep the foot on the gas pedal.”

Tanner Pearson and Alec Martinez scored and Jonathan Quick made 27 saves, helping the Kings win for the 11th time in their last 14 games.

“With 11 games left, you expect the best from every team. So hopefully we keep playing that hard-nosed style of hockey, that playoff style of hockey,” Lucic said. “It’s that playoff push right now, and everybody’s trying to get as many points as they can, finish as high up in the standings as possible and sharpen up their game.”

The Kings, vying for just their second division title in franchise history, lead the Pacific by six points over Anaheim and seven over San Jose with 11 games left on the schedule.

“I’ve only got here a couple of months ago, but these guys have been working since October. So it’s definitely nice to clinch a playoff spot,” said forward Vincent Lecavalier, who’s playing his 17th and final NHL season and would like nothing better than to add another Stanley Cup title to the one he won with Tampa Bay in 2004.

Tyler Randell scored for Boston and Tuukka Rask stopped 18 shots. The Bruins remained three points behind Florida in the Atlantic Division race with nine games remaining – including a showdown with the Panthers next Thursday in Boston.

The Bruins lost all three games on their California swing for the second straight season, and are 1-8-0 in the Golden State since the start of the 2013-14 campaign.

“When we came out here, we knew it was going to be a big challenge for us – and it was. You can definitely see that,” forward Patrice Bergeron said. “They are good teams for a reason. Down the road, that’s what we’re going to face, and we have to make sure we’re ready for that kind of hockey.”

The last time these teams met on Feb. 9, the Kings won 9-2 at Boston with nine players scoring goals for them. They had a season-high 57 shots on net and were 3 for 3 on the power play.

“Boston definitely came with their best game tonight and they really pressed to get themselves back in the game,” Lucic said. “But we were able to hold them to only one goal, and you’ve got to credit that to our goaltending and our penalty-killing.”

Pearson opened the scoring at 19:09 of the first period with his 13th goal, redirecting Luke Schenn’s one-timer from the right point over Rask’s right shoulder after Lecavalier intercepted defenseman Torey Krug’s attempted backhanded clearing pass up the boards. The Kings are 12-0-0 when Pearson scores a goal.

Martinez made it 2-0 at 2:40 of the second, getting a return pass from Jake Muzzin and using teammate Anze Kopitar as a screen to beat Rask with a one-timer from 55 feet.

The Bruins, coming off a 4-0 loss at Anaheim on Friday night, were 0 for 4 on the power play.

“We didn’t give them too much the first half of the game, and then they picked it up and got momentum off their power play,” Lecavalier said. “Tonight wasn’t the prettiest game, but Quickie made some unbelievable saves and we got it done on the PK, which was great tonight.”

NOTES: The Kings were 10-3-0 this season against the “Original Six” franchises, winning their last eight. … Sunday is Bobby Orr’s 68th birthday. … Rask was the second goalie selected in the 2005 draft and Quick was the seventh. Rask has 165 wins, 30 shutouts, a Vezina Trophy and a Stanley Cup ring. Quick has 249 wins, 41 shutouts, a Conn Smythe Trophy and two Stanley Cup rings. … Bruins D Kevan Miller, who was born in Los Angeles, had a career plus-minus rating of plus-53 in three NHL seasons. … Los Angeles finished its schedule against Eastern Conference teams with a 20-9-3 record. … The Kings are 37-1-5 when allowing fewer than three goals.

]]> 0, 20 Mar 2016 18:52:20 +0000
Bruins fall to Ducks, 4-0, for second straight loss Sat, 19 Mar 2016 04:52:26 +0000 ANAHEIM, Calif. — Frederik Andersen made 38 saves to earn his fifth career shutout in the Anaheim Ducks’ 4-0 victory over the Boston Bruins on Friday night.

Jamie McGinn, Ryan Kesler, Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell scored for Anaheim, which has earned a point in 11 of its last 12 home games. After losing four of their previous five games during their first poor stretch of play since Christmas, the Ducks avoided consecutive home losses in regulation for the first time since Oct. 14-16.

Jonas Gustavsson stopped 22 shots for the Bruins, who dropped consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 11-13. With losses in the first two stops of a three-game California road swing, Boston remained three points behind Atlantic Division-leading Florida.

Andersen picked up his 15th win in his last 17 starts to keep the pressure on John Gibson in their friendly goaltending rivalry heading toward the playoffs.

He punctuated a night of big stops with two emphatic saves in the second period. After Patrice Bergeron plowed into Andersen while firing a one-timer into the Dane’s chest and dislodging the net, Andersen made a backhanded glove save while falling forward to deny Loui Eriksson.

McGinn was credited with Anaheim’s opening goal early in the first period, the beneficiary of effective positioning in front of the net and a couple of lucky bounces. Corey Perry’s shot hit Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid in the leg before redirecting off McGinn and Torey Krug as they wrestled at the top of the crease.

McGinn has four goals in nine games since being traded from Buffalo.

Anaheim added to its advantage 76 seconds later when Kesler put in a rebound off Andrew Cogliano’s breakaway shot for his 16th goal of the season.

Lindholm scored 58 seconds into the third, capitalizing on Ryan Getzlaf’s pinpoint pass after the Anaheim captain ripped the puck away from John-Michael Liles behind the goal. Rakell notched his 19th goal of the season in the closing minutes of the emphatic Ducks win.

Before heading out on a five-game Canadian road trip, Anaheim cut its deficit to four points behind the Los Angeles Kings for the Pacific Division lead with 12 games remaining.

Longtime Ducks forward Matt Beleskey returned to Anaheim for the first time since signing with Boston as a free agent last summer, but barely avoided a serious injury. Beleskey was accidentally hit in the face by Simon Despres’ stick late in the first period, dropping him to the ice in pain.

Beleskey, who returned to begin the second period wearing a clear visor, was drafted by Anaheim and played seven seasons with the Ducks before joining Boston.

]]> 0, 19 Mar 2016 20:13:26 +0000
Sharks beat Bruins, 3-2, on third-period goal Wed, 16 Mar 2016 05:41:59 +0000 SAN JOSE, Calif. — Joonas Donskoi scored a tiebreaking power-play goal with 13:23 remaining after an offensive zone penalty by Boston’s Jimmy Hayes and the San Jose Sharks beat the Bruins 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Brent Burns helped set up Donskoi’s goal and scored one of his own, tying Sandis Ozolinsh’s franchise records for goals and points in a season by a defensemen.

Melker Karlsson also scored as San Jose won consecutive home games for the first time in two months to move within one point of Anaheim for second place in the Pacific Division.

James Reimer made 21 saves on his 28th birthday for his first home win with San Jose.

David Krejci, Loui Eriksson scored for the Bruins, who had their streak of seven straight games with a point snapped. Boston fell one point behind Florida in the Atlantic Division. Tuukka Rask made 24 saves.

The Sharks went ahead shortly after Hayes was called for an illegal hit to the head of Sharks defenseman Justin Braun while Boston was on the attack. With the second power-play unit on the ice, Burns slid a cross-ice pass to Joel Ward, who stopped it with his skate and fired a shot toward the net that Donskoi deflected in for his 11th goal.

Krejci nearly tied it late in the period shortly after Boston killed a penalty. But Reimer forced him wide on a breakaway and Krejci’s shot hit the post. Reimer then stopped Torey Krug in close in the final seconds to seal it.

After being outscored 20-8 in losing all three home games to the California teams, the Bruins looked to reverse that trend to start a three-game California road swing.

Boston came into the game with the top road winning percentage in the NHL and responded well in the first period after allowing the first goal on a nifty backhand feed from behind the net by Donskoi to Karlsson.

Krejci tied it when he beat Roman Polak to a big rebound Reimer left on David Pastrnak’s shot and the Bruins took the lead late in the period when Krejci sent Eriksson in on a short-handed breakaway after Burns turned it over in the neutral zone. Eriksson beat Reimer for his 27th goal.

But just as he has done so often this season, Burns responded to a blunder with a goal midway through the second with help from a fortunate bounce. With Boston changing lines, Tomas Hertl recovered the puck in the corner and fed Burns, who was alone on the other side of the ice. Burns’ shot hit Ryan Spooner’s stick and trickled into the net for his 26th goal.

]]> 0, 16 Mar 2016 01:43:01 +0000
Pastrnak scores twice as Bruins top Islanders Sat, 12 Mar 2016 20:56:06 +0000 BOSTON — Coming off a disappointing loss, Boston Coach Claude Julien felt his team would play better Saturday. And Julien got exactly what he was looking for from his Bruins.

David Pastrnak scored two goals and Tuukka Rask made 25 saves, leading Boston to a 3-1 victory against the New York Islanders.

The Bruins were coming off a 3-2 overtime loss Thursday night to Carolina, and Julien said right afterward that he thought his team would play much better against the Islanders, another team jockeying for position in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins, the Atlantic Division leaders, responded with their fifth win in seven games.

“We knew we were going to get a pretty hungry Islanders team and we were going to get the best of them,” Julien said, “so it was important for us to be on top of our game right from the drop of the puck.”

Loui Eriksson added a goal and two assists for the Bruins, who have won their last five games against the Islanders.

Pastrnak’s point-blank wrist shot beat Thomas Greiss for a 2-1 lead with 8.9 seconds left in the second period. He slid his 12th goal of the season under Greiss with 2:34 remaining in the third.

Each of the Bruins’ three goals occurred in the final three minutes of a period.

“(It’s always good) to help our line get a chance in the end (of periods),” Pastrnak said. “I think we had a pretty good game; you know we had a lot of opportunities to score even before.”

John Tavares of New York scored his 200th career goal, becoming the 11th player in franchise history to reach the mark.

“I didn’t really have any idea until maybe a couple days ago, found out I was one away,” Tavares said. “So, you know, it’s 200, and hopefully I can get another couple hundred.”

Greiss stopped 28 shots in his first regulation loss this season after entering with a 7-0-2 record. Greiss filled in for Jaroslav Halak, who is expected to miss at least six weeks with a lower-body injury.

Eriksson dragged a puck around Greiss for a power-play goal late in the first. It was Eriksson’s 26th of the season.

New York pulled even on Tavares’ backhand goal midway through the second period. He also has 26 goals this season.

The Islanders outshot the Bruins 9-6 in the final period.

]]> 0, 12 Mar 2016 20:34:52 +0000
Bruins fall in OT, but move into first place Fri, 11 Mar 2016 03:03:12 +0000 BOSTON — The Carolina Hurricanes didn’t give the Boston Bruins much of a chance in overtime.

Carolina controlled the puck from the beginning of OT and kept it short, beating the Bruins 3-2 on Phillip Di Giuseppe’s goal 1:30 into the OT on Thursday night.

“We believe you’ve got to hang on to the puck in overtime. Once you give it up, you typically don’t get it back,” Carolina Coach Bill Peters said. “We want to be an attacking team.”

The Hurricanes were just that, keeping the Bruins from registering a shot before Di Giuseppe poked in a rebound after Tuukka Rask stopped Jeff Skinner on a breakaway.

Rookie Noah Hanifin had two assists, including the pass to Skinner to set up the winning goal. It was the first NHL game in Boston for Hanifin, who grew up in the area and starred at Boston College before the Hurricanes selected him fifth overall in the 2015 draft.

“It was a really cool experience,” said Hanifin, who regrouped the Hurricanes before the winner with a pass back to goalie Cam Ward.

Ward passed it back to Hanifin, who spotted Skinner up the ice and the game was over moments later.

“I got the puck back and I saw Jeff kind of going for a breakaway there and tried to zip it up to him,” Hanifin said. “Phil crashed the net up there and got a good rebound.”

The officials reviewed the play for a few minutes before ruling there was no interference when Skinner made contact with Rask outside the crease.

It was the fourth OT game in a row for the Bruins, who still pulled ahead of Tampa Bay for sole possession of the Atlantic Division lead with the point.

“I don’t think we’re going to make that big of a deal in being first place,” Boston Coach Claude Julien said. “We lost a game tonight and even if it means that point got us in first, we’re certainly not satisfied with that.”

Elias Lindholm and Nathan Gerbe also scored for Carolina and Ward stopped 30 shots. Riley Nash had two assists for Carolina.

Loui Eriksson and David Pastrnak scored for Boston, which still hasn’t lost in regulation since Feb. 28.

Rask finished with 25 saves for the Bruins, who outshot the Hurricanes 32-28.

Pastrnak’s 10th goal of the season tied it at 2 5:54 into the third. David Krejci sent a long clearing pass that Pastrnak caught up to deep in the Carolina zone with only one defender and Ward to beat.

Pastrnak caught them both off guard with a high shot past Ward to tie it again and revive the Bruins, who outshot the Hurricanes 24-15 in the first two periods yet trailed 2-1 entering the third.

“We were a little too easy to break out against early, then once we got a little more committed and physical we were better,” Peters said.

Carolina regained the lead 8:34 into the second when Gerbe poked in a rebound after Rask stopped Chris Terry’s shot. Nash also assisted on the goal, which developed after Boston’s Ryan Spooner missed on a breakaway and the puck bounced hard off the boards toward the other end.

Eriksson scored a power-play goal 5:13 into the second to tie it at 1 off a cross-ice pass from Patrice Bergeron. Torey Krug also assisted on the goal, which Ward nearly stopped. Ward scrambled across the crease in time to catch the puck with his stick, but it carried into the back of the net.

The goal came 33 seconds into a slashing penalty on Terry, just the second called on Carolina in the game. The Hurricanes had just killed a holding penalty called on Lindholm in the opening minute of the second period.

NOTES: Rask got the start on his 29th birthday. … Boston defenseman Kevan Miller missed his third straight game with an upper body injury. … The Bruins announced owner Jeremy Jacobs will be inducted into the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame.

]]> 0, 10 Mar 2016 23:49:37 +0000
Bruins make lightning-quick work of Tampa Bay Wed, 09 Mar 2016 03:23:49 +0000 TAMPA, Fla. — After 60 scoreless minutes, Brad Marchand needed just seconds to lift Boston to the win.

Marchand scored 10 seconds into overtime, Jonas Gustavsson made 42 saves and the Bruins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 on Tuesday night in a matchup of Atlantic Division leaders.

Patrice Bergeron sent a pass from the right wing through the slot that Marchand redirected past Ben Bishop for his 34th goal.

“It was big,” Marchand said. “We’re battling for position. We’re definitely happy with the outcome. It’s showing we’re learning how to win these games.”

Boston and Tampa Bay both have 83 points but the Bruins have played one more game.

Bishop stopped 32 shots. Gustavsson, subbing for starter Tuukka Rask, improved to 11-5-1 this season with his seventh career shutout.

“That was a good hockey game,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “It was up and down, bodies flying all over the place. Both goalies played extremely well.”

The Lightning had the first nine shots during the opening seven minutes of the third period, including Nikita Kucherov’s that required a nice glove save by Gustavsson.

“He was outstanding,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “That’s a huge boost for our team when you can put a goaltender in a big game like that and play the way he did.”

Bishop stopped Loui Eriksson’s shot from just outside the crease with 3 minutes to go in regulation.

Tampa Bay outshot Boston 27-22 through two periods and 42-32 through 60 minutes.

Marchand had his short-handed breakaway backhander gloved by Bishop with 3 minutes left in the first.

During the same Tampa Bay power play, Kucherov was hit in the head by the elbow of Boston’s John-Michael Liles and went to the locker room. There was no penalty called on the play.

Kucherov returned for the start of the second period.

“I was trying to step into him as he went by me … I didn’t think I came up high with it,” Liles said. “I don’t know if he was falling or if he ducked. I didn’t see a replay on it, so I’m not really sure. I’m not trying to hit him up high.”

Gustavsson extended his left leg to stop an in-close redirection by Alex Killorn midway through the second.

“He was perfect,” Tampa Bay center Brian Boyle said. “It’s tough to beat that.”

Tampa Bay hit the post twice, and Bishop turned aside a point-blank chance from Eriksson late in the second.

The Lightning had all four of the power plays.

NOTES: Marchand (six) and Eriksson (five) combined for 11 shots. … Marchand has six career overtime goals. … The Lightning were without D Anton Stralman, who sat out due to illness. D Braydon Coburn missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. … Gustavsson is 6-0-4 against the Lightning. … Tampa Bay D Luke Witkowski was recalled from Syracuse of the AHL and reassigned back to the minor league team after being scratched. … The Bruins had a streak of scoring a first-period goal end at nine straight games.


]]> 0, 08 Mar 2016 23:35:38 +0000
Bruins lose lead before beating the Panthers in overtime, 5-4 Tue, 08 Mar 2016 04:09:46 +0000 SUNRISE, Fla. — Lee Stempniak scored his first goal as a Bruin in overtime and Boston beat Florida 5-4 on Monday night while Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr moved into third on the NHL career points list.

Jagr assisted on Aleksander Barkov’s goal, passing Gordie Howe with 1,851 points.

Bruins coach Claude Julien moved past Art Ross to become Boston’s career coaching wins leader with 388 regular-season victories.

Stempniak, acquired from New Jersey at the trade deadline, also had two assists and Patrice Bergeron scored twice for the Bruins. Brett Connolly and David Pastrnak also had goals, Brad Marchand had two assists and Tuukka Rask made 47 saves.

Jiri Hudler scored twice for the Panthers. Jussi Jokinen also scored and Jonathan Huberdeau had two assists. Roberto Luongo allowed four goals on 16 shots before being replaced by Al Montoya to start the second period. Montoya stopped 15 shots.

On his winner, Stempniak took a pass from Ryan Spooner high in the right circle and fired the puck over Montoya with 1:00 left in the extra period.

The Panthers 51 shots are a season high.

Behind 4-3, the Panthers tied it 4-all on Hudler’s second goal. Hudler grabbed a rebound in the slot and poked the puck past Rask with 4:43 left in the third.

Florida scored two goals in the second after trailing 4-1.

Hudler shot from the right circle, beating Rask on the glove side for his first goal as a Panther. Hudler was acquired in a trade from the Calgary Flames on Feb. 27.

Jokinen made the score 4-3 just 9 seconds into a power play. Jokinen’s shot from the slot got past Rask at 6:08, extending his point streak to eight games.

The Bruins scored four goals in the first period.

Bergeron’s first goal gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead just 34 seconds in. Bergeron skated in on Luongo and beat him on the glove side for his 27th of the season. Bergeron has scored in four straight games.

The Bruins went ahead 2-0 when Pastrnak backhanded the puck between Luongo’s pads at 7:00.

Connolly stretched the Bruins’ lead to 3-0 after his wrist shot from the right circle bounced off Luongo’s blocker and into the net at 12:22.

The Panthers finally got on the board when Barkov grabbed a rebound in the slot and slid it under Rask’s pads with 3:12 left in the first.

The celebration was short-lived. Bergeron’s shot from the right circle beat Luongo 37 seconds later for his second goal to make it 4-1.

]]> 0, 07 Mar 2016 23:54:40 +0000
Capitals beat Bruins in overtime, 2-1 Sun, 06 Mar 2016 03:14:14 +0000 BOSTON — Washington Capitals Coach Barry Trotz doesn’t want to give Matt Niskanen too much credit for his sudden surge of winning goals.

“He’s on the ice all the time, that’s probably the No. 1 (reason). The odds go up when you’re on the ice,” Trotz said after his defenseman scored 2:36 into overtime to give the Capitals a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.

“He doesn’t get credit for what he’s done,” Trotz said. “But he’s one of the most popular guys in our room.”

Niksanen scored on a slap shot from the blue line for his second winner in three games and his third of the season. Philipp Grubauer stopped 33 shots and Karl Alzner also scored for Washington, which has won three of its last four games.

“I had just enough room to get a slapper off from up top,” said Niksanen, who was on the ice a game-high 26 minutes, 48 seconds. “Somehow it found its way in.”

Niksanen’s last goal gave the Capitals a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. After that, they lost to the New York Rangers on Friday night, then got to bed in Boston on Saturday morning at about 3 a.m. for their fourth game in five days.

The Capitals have lost back-to-back games just twice this season. They will now have to see if NHL-leading goal-scorer Alex Ovechkin is suspended after a 5-minute boarding major that dropped Boston’s Kevan Miller to the ice and sent him to the hospital.

“It’s just a hockey play,” Ovechkin said. “You don’t want to be in position to take a penalty, but the referee said I get 5 minutes because I was heavier than him.”

Patrice Bergeron scored Boston’s only goal and Rask made 28 saves for the Bruins, who had won two straight and four of five. Despite the loss, the Bruins picked up three of a possible four points in back-to-back games against the Western Conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks and the East-leading Capitals.

“I think we’re playing better, but there’s always room to improve,” defenseman Zdeno Chara said. “It’s not getting any easier, and we have some tough games ahead of us.”

The Bruins made it 1-0 with 7:11 gone in the game when Brad Marchand swung it to Bergeron in front for the goal. A second potential Boston goal was taken off the board in the second period after Washington challenged and the linesman agreed that Loui Eriksson was offside on the play.

Washington tied it 1-all with 7 minutes left in the second when Ovechkin passed across the ice to Nicklas Backstrom, who sent it back the other way to Alzner in front. Later in the second, Ovechkin picked up his first major penalty of the season when he hit Miller from behind against the boards.

Boston’s power play was cut from 5 minutes to 3 because Marchand picked up a roughing penalty. The Bruins got a 5-on-3 for the last 1:49 after Tom Wilson was called for interference, but they were unable to convert.

“That was a huge kill,” Washington forward Jay Beagle said. “A kill like that, it’s a huge momentum swing.”

]]> 0, 05 Mar 2016 23:27:01 +0000
Bergeron, Marchand lift Bruins over Blackhawks, 4-2 Fri, 04 Mar 2016 03:18:50 +0000 BOSTON — Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each had a goal and an assist to help lead the Boston Bruins over the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 on Thursday night.

Boston won for the fifth time in seven games and kicked off their toughest stretch of the season with a victory. The Bruins now prepare to face the Washington Capitals, the NHL’s points leader, on Saturday, before heading out on the road for six of the next eight games.

Ryan Spooner and Loui Eriksson also had goals for Boston. Tuukka Rask made 25 saves and newcomer Lee Stempniak – acquired from New Jersey on Monday – notched two assists.

Jonathan Toews and Tomas Fleischmann scored for Chicago, which has dropped three of its last five and 6 of 10, but the Western Conference leaders remained two points ahead of Dallas and St. Louis, who were idle.

Bergeron got the Bruins started just 1:18 into the game when he roofed a shot over the shoulder of Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling for his 25th of the season.

Toews scored a power-play goal to tie it at 1 with 5:46 remaining in the first, but Marchand scored the first of three unanswered goals for Boston when he slapped one past Darling for his team-leading 33rd goal with 22 seconds remaining in the period.

Spooner and Eriksson capped the scoring for Boston, who won consecutive home games for the first time since Dec. 20.

Fleischmann cut the Bruins’ lead to 4-2 with 50 seconds remaining in the second when he beat Rask over the left shoulder.

Darling made 21 saves for Chicago, which has a tough stretch of its own as the Blackhawks face Detroit, St. Louis and Dallas in their next three games.

]]> 0, 03 Mar 2016 23:51:45 +0000
Late Bergeron goal lifts Bruins over the Flames Wed, 02 Mar 2016 02:56:07 +0000 BOSTON — On a homestand loaded with Stanley Cup contenders, the Boston Bruins held tight to their tenuous playoff position by edging the Calgary Flames.

Patrice Bergeron scored a tiebreaking goal with 3:24 left in the third period and the Bruins hung on to beat the Flames 2-1 on Tuesday night.

“We had to make a play at some point. It was late in the game and it was an important goal obviously,” Bergeron said. “We know how hard the schedule is coming up and how important and how tight the standings are.”

The Bruins are in the midst of a four-game homestand, their longest of the season and quite possibly the most difficult stretch they’ll have.

It started with a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday and resumes Thursday against the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, followed by the Washington Capitals, who have the best record in the league.

The Bruins couldn’t afford to fall to the road-weary Flames, who were coming off a loss at Philadelphia the night before and have lost six in a row.

“I don’t think we were as sharp as we needed to be, but it was big for us that we came through on the power play at the end,” said Landon Ferraro, who scored Boston’s other goal. “It was big to get those two points and not have to try and work for the other one in overtime.”

There were few chances at either end of the ice. The Flames were the only team to reach double figures in shots during a period, getting 11 on net in the third. The only one to go in was by Jakub Nakladal, whose first career goal tied it at 1-all 5:35 into the period.

The Flames picked up the pressure from there, but a costly penalty for too many men on the ice with 4:07 left in the third gave Boston its fifth power-play opportunity and the Bruins took advantage.

“We had too many men. It was the right call,” Calgary coach Bob Hartley said.

Joni Ortio had 23 saves for Calgary, but had little chance on either of Boston’s goals, one-timers by Ferraro and Bergeron.

“Joni was very solid,” Hartley said. “He got beat by two great shots, so nothing to fault. You know what? I can’t fault the effort all night. A bad break at the end and that cost us the game.”

Ferraro gave Boston the lead on a one-timer from the slot off passes from Brett Connolly and Torey Krug 7:05 into the game.

Rask had a shutout going until Nakladal scored 5:35 into the third on a slap shot from the top of the left circle. Jyrki Jokipakka and Michael Frolik assisted.

The Flames, who lost in Philadelphia 5-3 on Monday night, kept it close early with defense. Calgary held Boston to five shots in the first and nine in the second as the Flames regained their strength.

Nakladal’s goal gave Calgary a lift and the Flames nearly took a lead a few minutes later, but Rask stopped Michael Ferland three times as he attempted to swipe in a rebound from in front of the crease.

“A lot of times when we create scoring chances then we give up a lot,” Rask said. “Today we didn’t create a lot, we didn’t give up a lot and we ended up winning, which is a great sign.”

Notes: Boston RW Lee Stempniak, acquired Monday in a deal with New Jersey, played for his ninth team. … Boston was without LW Zac Rinaldo, who was suspended Tuesday for five games for a hit on Lightning F Cedric Paquette on Sunday. … C Noel Acciari, recalled from AHL Providence, made his NHL debut. … Calgary D Jyrki Jokipakka, acquired from Dallas on Monday, played his first game with the Flames. … Boston coach Claude Julien entered the game two wins away from tying Art Ross for the most regular-season victories in Bruins history (387).


]]> 0, 01 Mar 2016 23:47:52 +0000
Bruins hold on to Loui Eriksson as NHL playoffs loom Tue, 01 Mar 2016 09:00:00 +0000 BOSTON — Heading into his first trade deadline as general manager of the Boston Bruins, Don Sweeney’s biggest task was to resolve the situation with pending free agent Loui Eriksson.

When the deadline passed at 3 p.m. on Monday, Eriksson was still with the Bruins and he did not have a contract extension. Eriksson is in the final year of a six-year contract with an annual salary cap charge of $4.25 million, and at the end of the season, he can become an unrestricted free agent.

The 30-year-old Eriksson is tied for second on the Bruins in points (48) and goals (23) and is third among Bruins forwards in average ice time (19:38) while playing a major role on the power play and penalty kill. The Bruins are currently in a playoff position as the third-place team in the Atlantic Division, one season after failing to make the postseason for the first time in eight years. With that in mind, Sweeney said he was willing to hang on to Eriksson.

Instead of trading Eriksson, Sweeney made two trades to acquire supplemental players. The Bruins acquired forward Lee Stempniak, 33, from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick in 2016 and a second-round draft pick in 2017. They also acquired defenseman John-Michael Liles, 35, for a third-round draft pick in 2016, a fifth-round pick in 2017 and Anthony Camara.

In 63 games, Stempniak has 16 goals and 41 points. Liles has six goals and 15 points in 64 games.

The Bruins have two first-round picks this year, and may end up with two second-round picks as well because Edmonton must send Boston its second-rounder in either 2016 or 2017 as compensation for hiring former Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli as president and general manager last year. Because of that stockpile and a nice stable of prospects, Sweeney said it was easier to part with draft picks to add to this season’s team.

The league said there were 19 trades involving 37 players completed. That’s lower than last year’s numbers of 24 trades and 43 players, but it marked the 15th straight deadline day in which at least 30 players were dealt.

There were a few splashes made, mostly in the Western Conference by teams including Anaheim and Colorado as the afternoon deadline arrived.

Avalanche GM Joe Sakic delivered on his intent to provide Colorado’s playoff run one more push. And Dallas added defensive depth by landing nine-year veteran Kris Russell in a trade with Calgary in exchange for defensemen Jyrki Jokipakka and Brett Pollock and a conditional second-round draft pick. Russell has 174 shot blocks in just 51 games this season.

But the day was largely notable for the names who didn’t move.

Most notable – Jonathan Drouin’s future with the Lightning remains uncertain after his agent went public with his client’s trade demands in December. Drouin was unhappy over being demoted to the minors and has since left the AHL Syracuse Crunch to work out on his own in Montreal.

]]> 0, 29 Feb 2016 23:37:01 +0000
Bruins add two veterans, keep Eriksson, at trade deadline Mon, 29 Feb 2016 20:59:01 +0000 BOSTON — Heading into his first trade deadline as general manager of the Boston Bruins, Don Sweeney’s biggest task was to resolve the situation with pending free agent Loui Eriksson.

When the deadline passed at 3 p.m. on Monday, Eriksson was still with the Bruins and he did not have a contract extension. Eriksson is in the final year of a six-year contract with an annual salary cap charge of $4.25 million, and at the end of the season, he can become an unrestricted free agent.

The 30-year-old Eriksson is tied for second on the Bruins in points (48) and goals (23) and is third among Bruins forwards in average ice time (19:38) while playing a major role on the power play and penalty kill. The Bruins are currently in a playoff position as the third-place team in the Atlantic Division, one season after failing to make the postseason for the first time in eight years. With that in mind, Sweeney said he was willing to hang on to Eriksson.

Instead of trading Eriksson, Sweeney made two trades to acquire supplemental players. The Bruins acquired forward Lee Stempniak, 33, from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick in 2016 and a second-round draft pick in 2017. They also acquired defenseman John-Michael Liles, 35, for a third-round draft pick in 2016, a fifth-round pick in 2017 and Anthony Camara.

In 63 games, Stempniak has 16 goals and 41 points. Liles has six goals and 15 points in 64 games.

The Bruins have two first-round picks this year, and may end up with two second-round picks as well because Edmonton must send Boston its second-rounder in either 2016 or 2017 as compensation for hiring former Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli as president and general manager last year. Because of that stockpile and a nice stable of prospects, Sweeney said it was easier to part with draft picks to add to this season’s team.

The league said there were 19 trades involving 37 players completed. That’s lower than last year’s numbers of 24 trades and 43 players, but it marked the 15th straight deadline day in which at least 30 players were dealt.

There were a few splashes made, mostly in the Western Conference by teams including Anaheim and Colorado as the afternoon deadline arrived.

Avalanche GM Joe Sakic delivered on his intent to provide Colorado’s playoff run one more push. And Dallas added defensive depth by landing nine-year veteran Kris Russell in a trade with Calgary in exchange for defensemen Jyrki Jokipakka and Brett Pollock and a conditional second-round draft pick. Russell has 174 shot blocks in just 51 games this season.

But the day was largely notable for the names who didn’t move.

Most notable – Jonathan Drouin’s future with the Lightning remains uncertain after his agent went public with his client’s trade demands in December. Drouin was unhappy over being demoted to the minors and has since left the AHL Syracuse Crunch to work out on his own in Montreal.

]]> 1, 29 Feb 2016 22:26:30 +0000
Bruins streak snapped at 2 games Mon, 29 Feb 2016 02:42:46 +0000 BOSTON — Nothing strikes faster than the Lightning.

Tampa Bay scored one goal on a penalty shot, another on a 2-on-0 break and two others before Bruins transgressors could get comfortable in the penalty box while beating the Boston Bruins 4-1 on Sunday night to win its sixth straight game.

Ryan Callahan had two goals and an assist, and Steven Stamkos scored for the sixth game in a row to help the Lightning pull ahead of the Bruins in the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay scored on its first two power plays – needing just 31 seconds the first time and 6 the next.

“Our power play’s been struggling. There’s no doubt about that,” said Callahan, whose team had scored just twice in 36 man-advantages over the previous 10 games.

Stamkos scored his 28th of the season and added an assist, and Alex Killorn also had a goal and an assist.

Former University of Maine goalie Ben Bishop made 32 saves for the Lightning.

Kevan Miller scored Boston’s only goal and Tuukka Rask stopped 26 shots for the Bruins, who ended a two-game winning streak. Boston was 0 for 6 on the power play.

Miller gave Boston a 1-0 lead 6 minutes in before Zac Rinaldo was sent off for hitting Cedric Paquette in the head against the boards. Thirty-one seconds into the power play, Killorn made it 1-1.

About 3 minutes later, the Lightning made it 2-1 when Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid fell at the blue line, sending Callahan and Killorn free on a 2-on-0.

“You don’t practice those too often,” Callahan said. “But it’s good to bury it.”

Tampa Bay’s next power play came with 8:11 gone in the second, when Patrice Bergeron was penalized for interfering with the goalie. The Lightning won the faceoff and slid the puck back to the blue line for Stamkos, whose shot was tipped in by Callahan.

Two minutes later, Stamkos broke free before he cut in front of Brad Marchand and was taken down in front of the crease. On the penalty shot, he faked left, moved to the right and left Rask on the ice before putting the puck into the open net to make it 4-1.

“That’s part of the story tonight: The self-inflicted mistakes that we made, the amount of breakaways and those kind of things,” Bruins Coach Claude Julien said. “The penalty kill wasn’t good enough for us, and then the power play … we didn’t produce.”

Stamkos’ 28 goals are seventh-most in the league. He had scored just twice in the previous 13 games before his current streak.

]]> 0, 28 Feb 2016 23:01:07 +0000
Bruins blow past Hurricanes, 4-1 Sat, 27 Feb 2016 02:51:37 +0000 RALEIGH, N.C. — Matt Beleskey has been as good a goal scorer as anyone in the National Hockey League over the past few days, and he continued his scoring spree Friday night.

Beleskey had goals in the first and third periods, leading Boston to a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes – with several thousand Bruins fans in the crowd.

Beleskey has 13 goals on the season, five coming in his last four games.

“Beleskey has been good lately,” Coach Claude Julien said. “Obviously pucks are starting to go in for him. He’s working hard, finishing his checks and playing gritty. We won a big game against a team that was desperate to try and climb back and get themselves closer to a playoff spot. But I still need our team to be better without the puck.”

It was the 388th regular-season victory for Julien, who needs two wins to tie Art Ross as the Bruins’ career leader.

The Hurricanes lost in regulation for just the third time in their last 16 home games (10-3-3). But, Carolina has lost in regulation on back-to-back nights.

“We skated tonight, so that was a good sign,” Carolina Coach Bill Peters said. “We haven’t skated in our two games prior to tonight. I just don’t think we got going, and there wasn’t any pace to our game tonight.”

Patrice Bergeron scored for Boston in the first period, and Brad Marchand added an empty-net goal in the closing seconds. Tuukka Rask stopped 39 shots.

“They got some momentum and we were able to regain it with another (the Beleskey goal that made it 3-1),” Rask said. “They pushed hard, but we knew they would. I saw a lot of shots. That’s what I get paid for, I guess.”

Noah Hanifin had Carolina’s goal.

Hurricanes center Brad Malone, who is currently on waivers, played in his first game since Jan. 24.

The Bruins led 2-0 after a first period in which the Hurricanes had 12 shots on goal to Boston’s 11.

Bergeron put the Bruins ahead at 10:26 of the first, taking Brett Connolly’s pass low in the right circle and roofing the puck over Cam Ward’s right shoulder.

Beleskey doubled the lead on the power play at 12:38, scoring on a rush by lining the puck over Ward’s glove from the left circle with Torey Krug on the helper.

“I thought we played pretty good,” Beleskey said. “We had a couple of lapses and gave up too many shots, but overall I thought we managed the puck in the offensive zone. It’s always nice when hard work pays off. I’m just going to keep working hard and doing the right things. Eventually it goes in.”

Carolina outshot the Bruins 10-6 during a second period played without a penalty.

Hanifin halved the lead at the 3-minute mark of the third, scoring by ricocheting the puck off Rask’s skate.

But Beleskey got his second goal of the night at 6:24, beating Ward from the low slot on an assist from Ryan Spooner.

]]> 0, 26 Feb 2016 23:18:10 +0000
Bruins blow by Penguins, 5-1 Thu, 25 Feb 2016 03:28:46 +0000 BOSTON — The Bruins have been looking for a way to break out of a recent funk at home over the past month.

They found that spark in one of their youngest players.

David Pastrnak had two goals, including his first career made penalty shot, and Boston blew past the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 on Wednesday night.

Boston entered the night in a 1-3-1 skid at home, in which it had given up 26 goals. The Bruins avoided their first three-game home losing streak since they went 0-3-1 to open the season.

Pastrnak, a 19-year-old Czech, was all over the ice in the first two periods, and said he thinks he is starting to find his game in his second year after scoring 10 goals in 46 games last season. The Bruins’ 2014 first-round pick now has eight goals in 29 appearances.

“I think it’s getting there,” Pastrnak said. “Today, it went my way and gave me some confidence.”

Boston Coach Claude Julien said he likes what he is seeing from Pastrnak after he lost 25 games with a foot injury earlier this season.

“At the beginning, it really looked like he was having a tough time. But now it looks like he’s getting better,” Julien said. “And he was the guy who was really skating well all three periods.”

Boston outscored Pittsburgh 14-3 while sweeping the three-game season series.

Tuukka Rask made 41 saves for the Bruins. Jimmy Hayes, Landon Ferraro and Brad Marchand also scored.

Bruins forward Ryan Spooner, who had an assist, said the team’s issues at home have been a talking point in the locker room.

“Yeah, we talked about it. We’ve been talking about for about a month now. We seem to have some problems here. I think it’s just a mental thing for us,” Spooner said. “It was kind of hard to kind of pinpoint what it was, but I think it’s just focus.”

Tom Kuhnhackl scored to bring Pittsburgh to 2-1 late in the second period. The puck went in off Kuhnhackl’s skate, and the goal survived a video review.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 24 shots, and Pittsburgh got its first regulation loss in its last five road games. The Penguins entered the night two points behind Boston and one point ahead of New Jersey for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Pastrnak was hacked by Derrick Pouliot as he split the faceoff circles late in the first, and then got his seventh goal on the ensuing penalty shot. The Bruins are 3 for 3 on penalty shots this season, and that’s the most they’ve taken since getting four attempts in 2009-10. It was also Pastrnak’s first regulation penalty shot attempt in his young career. He missed all four of his shootout tiebreaker attempts last season.

Pastrnak added his second goal 3 minutes into the second when he curled from behind the net – and while falling down – was able to slip it into the right corner of the net past Fleury.

After Kuhnhackl’s goal, Hayes gave the Bruins a two-goal cushion in the third. He took a last-second pass from Spooner on a breakaway and flipped it by Fleury with 9:26 left.

Ferraro made it 4-1 with 5:34 left after Olli Maatta whiffed trying to knock down Dennis Seidenberg’s zone clearance.

About a minute later, Marchand was in the slot when the puck made its way to his feet. He gathered it and put it into the net to make it 5-1.

The Penguins stayed close early despite playing without a pair of key players. Center and second-leading scorer Evgeni Malkin was out for the 10th straight game with a lower-body injury, and Nick Bonino missed his 17th straight game with a hand injury. Both players practiced on Tuesday for the first time since their injuries.

Spooner said he hopes Wednesday’s performance at home will become the new normal.

“As a whole I thought it was one of the best games we’ve played in a long time, and that was good to see for sure,” he said.

]]> 0, 25 Feb 2016 19:43:17 +0000
Bruins lose another home game, 6-4 to Blue Jackets Tue, 23 Feb 2016 03:01:13 +0000 BOSTON — Boone Jenner scored two goals, Scott Hartnell had a goal and an assist, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Boston Bruins 6-4 on Monday night.

William Karlsson, Brandon Saad and Dalton Prout also scored for the Blue Jackets, who avoided a sweep in the three-game season series by picking up a point for 10th time in their last 12 games (7-2-3).

Columbus goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made 26 saves.

Matt Beleskey and Loui Eriksson each had two goals for Boston, which continued its inexplicable home woes. Backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson made 29 saves.

The Bruins were coming off an impressive 4-2 road trip, but they were unable to build on that momentum back at home. Boston is 20-7-3 away from TD Garden, and just 12-15-3 at home.

After Columbus squandered the lead twice, Karlsson’s eighth of the season put the Blue Jackets ahead to stay. He skated to a loose puck at the left circle, turned and whacked a shot that sailed past Gustavsson at 10:17 of the second period.

The Blue Jackets then made it 4-2 just more than 7 minutes later when Hartnell redirected a shot from the slot.

Beleskey redirected Kevan Miller’s shot between Korpisalo’s pads 2:52 into the third, but Saad scored with 5:31 to play.

Eriksson’s second cut it to 5-4 with 2:57 left, but Prout tacked on an empty-netter. Eriksson’s goal was his seventh in seven games.

The Blue Jackets jumped ahead 1-0 when Jenner tipped Cam Atkinson’s shot past Gustavsson for a power-play goal 10:52 into the opening period.

Boston tied it less than 7 minutes later on Eriksson’s goal that withstood a coach’s challenge. Torey Krug fired a shot from the point and Eriksson’s right skate hit the left pad of Korpisalo before the puck went in to the net. Eriksson was credited with his 22nd goal.

Columbus regained the lead just 21 seconds into the second when Jenner unloaded a rising wrist shot from the slot, but the Bruins tied it on Beleskey’s goal at 2:57.

]]> 0, 22 Feb 2016 22:13:28 +0000
Marchand scores twice in Bruins’ win Sun, 21 Feb 2016 03:17:00 +0000 DALLAS — Brad Marchand scored twice to help the Boston Bruins rally for a 7-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.

David Krejci, Matt Beleskey, Loui Eriksson, Kevan Miller and Brett Connolly also scored for the Bruins, and Tuukka Rask had 26 saves. Marchand, Krejci and Beleskey scored on the power play after the Bruins had failed on their previous 21 man-advantage chances.

Antoine Roussel had a goal and an assist, Ales Hemsky and Patrick Sharp also scored and Jason Demers had two assists for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen finished with 35 saves.

Dallas led 3-1 before Marchand scored his second goal with 6:36 left in the second period, giving him a career-high 30 goals – including 15 in the last 16 games. Miller tied it 35 seconds later, and Eriksson put the Bruins ahead for good with 52 seconds left in the second with his 21st of the season.

This story will be updated.

]]> 0, 20 Feb 2016 23:35:44 +0000
Predators shut down Bruins, 2-0 Fri, 19 Feb 2016 03:55:56 +0000 NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Maybe all Pekka Rinne needed was a little rest.

Rinne made 29 saves, Filip Forsberg had a goal and an assist and the Nashville Predators beat the Boston Bruins 2-0 on Thursday night.

Craig Smith also scored, and Mike Ribeiro had two assists to help Nashville win for the second time in three games.

“They didn’t get much, but at the same time, I didn’t think we battled or we worked hard enough to get on the inside and for the longest of time there, we just seemed to be playing on the outside and making it easy for their goaltender to make those saves,” Boston Coach Claude Julien said.

Seeing his first action in nearly a week, Rinne was sharp throughout. He made his best save 8:39 into the second when he denied Brad Marchand’s deflection from just outside of the crease. The shutout was Rinne’s third of the season and 39th of his career.

“That was a big game and it feels really good,” Rinne said. “It’s been a while since last shutout and it’s always a big win against Boston. We’ve struggled at home a little bit and thinking about that, that’s a big win too.”

Rinne is 4-0-1 in his career against Boston.

The Bruins have lost 2 of 3. Tuukka Rask made 22 saves.

Carter Hutton started Nashville’s previous two games and got a win and an overtime loss.

Smith scored the game’s first goal at 2:51 of the opening period.

From the right side, Forsberg slid a pass to Smith in the low slot, where he lifted a wrist shot high to Rask’s stick side.

“We weren’t ready to play tonight, that was pretty evident,” Marchand said. “Unfortunately, that cost us the game. They came out a lot harder than we did and got a couple of early ones while we were sleeping. Ultimately, that cost us the game.”

Forsberg doubled the Nashville lead at 14:37 of the first.

Rask stopped defenseman Mattias Ekholm’s backhand attempt from the low slot, but he kicked the rebound onto Forsberg’s stick in the lower part of the right circle. From there, Forsberg had an easy put-back for his 20th goal of the season.

Forsberg was a little surprised to see his fellow Swede shooting from that spot.

“A little bit (surprised) actually,” Forsberg said. “I wanted it with a pass, but he shot it on net and I found the rebound, so it was a good goal.”

Forsberg has six goals in his last six games.

Nashville killed Ekholm’s cross-checking penalty late in the third. Rask was pulled for an extra attacker for nearly the full 2 minutes of the power play.

Nashville blocked 20 shots in the game, 10 in the third period.

“Our guys have never shied away from blocking shots,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “They’re good at it and they’re willing to sacrifice their body. It’s big down the stretch. Six-on-4s are tough.”

]]> 0, 19 Feb 2016 00:21:02 +0000
Bruins score 33 seconds into overtime to top Blue Jackets Wed, 17 Feb 2016 03:28:40 +0000 COLUMBUS, Ohio — Loui Eriksson’s quick overtime goal kept the Boston Bruins surging on the road.

Eriksson scored 33 seconds into the extra period and the Bruins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 on Tuesday night.

The Bruins had to get through a rough third period before Eriksson’s winner.

“I felt like it wasn’t the best game … we made so many mistakes, even on the power play,” Eriksson said. “We made some mistakes. They got some breakaways.

“At the end of the day we got the win, so it was nice.”

Eriksson has scored in the first four games of the Bruins’ six-game road trip, which continues Thursday at the Nashville Predators.

“He is going to the mat,” said defenseman Tory Krug, who assisted on the goal. “When you do that you have a chance to score goals.

“It’s nice he’s on a little bit of a roll here.”

David Krejci also assisted on the goal, which helped the Bruins earn their seventh win in eight road games. The Bruins moved into second place in the Atlantic Division, four points behind Florida.

The Jackets opened the scoring when Alexander Wennberg scored on a first-period penalty shot for the Blue Jackets, also the first of his career.

Despite the loss, Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella saw some positives from his team.

“I’m really happy the way we played, but just as upset as far as giving up a free one to lose the game,” he said.

Bruins coach Claude Julien noted his team went 0 for 4 on the power play, despite being fourth in the league in power-play goals.

“We need to look at that,” he said. “There were a lot of good passes, but we need a better nose for taking pucks to the net and creating shots. We seem to be looking to pass first.”

The Bruins tied the score at 14:28 of the first period when Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones backhanded a puck in the Columbus zone, right onto the stick of Bergeron, who rejoined the Bruins after missing two games because of an injury.

Bergeron gloved the puck down and fired from the circle past Korpisalo for his 22nd goal of the season.

The game was a defensive turnaround for the Bruins from their previous game, when they lost 6-5 to Detroit Red Wings.

Despite being shaken up near the end of the first period in a collision with Matt Beleskey, Rask was solid against the Blue Jackets.

“I saw the puck, and the guys were taking care of the rebounds,” he said. “I thought defensively, it was pretty good.”

In his first game back after missing 18 games because of an injury, Adam McQuaid had a tripping penalty at 11:56 of the second period.

But it quickly became 4-on-4 when Scott Hartnell was called for high sticking at 12:06, but both goalies kept the game tied.

]]> 0, 16 Feb 2016 23:42:34 +0000
Bruins’ road streak snapped Mon, 15 Feb 2016 02:00:16 +0000 DETROIT — The way both teams were scoring, Pavel Datsyuk couldn’t help reaching this milestone.

Needing one point to make it to 900 in his NHL career, Datsyuk had two goals and an assist Sunday to lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 6-5 victory over the Boston Bruins. Henrik Zetterberg and Darren Helm also scored twice each for the Red Wings in a game that felt like a throwback to a more high-scoring era.

“It looked like 1986,” Detroit Coach Jeff Blashill said.

Both teams blew two-goal leads before Danny DeKeyser’s shot from the point deflected past goalie Jonas Gustavsson at 7:37 of the third period. Zetterberg was credited with the goal, and the Red Wings held on to their 6-5 lead the rest of the way.

Boston’s Brad Marchand set a franchise record for fastest goal by scoring 8 seconds into the game, and Zach Trotman, Loui Eriksson, Dennis Seidenberg and Joonas Kemppainen also scored for the Bruins.

Boston’s Tuukka Rask was pulled after allowing five goals on 24 shots. It was the second time in three games he allowed five goals.

“We had to wake ourselves up and we did after the goaltender change,” Bruins Coach Claude Julien said. “A little light came on after that and that’s the reason I did it.”

Marchand opened the scoring with a wrist shot after the Bruins won a faceoff in the Detroit zone. Boston’s previous team record for fastest goal at the beginning of a game was 9 seconds, by Fleming Mackell in 1953.

Marchand’s goal was the fastest in the NHL since Alexandre Burrows scored 6 seconds in for Vancouver on March 16, 2013, against Detroit.

Zetterberg tied the game less than three minutes later, and his goal stood after a review to see if the Red Wings were offside. The Bruins needed only 14 seconds to take the lead again when Trotman’s shot from the blue line beat Petr Mrazek.

Eriksson scored to make it 3-1, but Datsyuk reached the 900-point milestone when he scored during a scramble in front with 5:14 left in the period. The Bruins argued that Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader had played the puck with a high stick, but the power-play goal counted.

Datsyuk credited the teammates he’s played with for enabling him to reach the milestone.

“Lots of helping and supporting, and lots of teaching me, too,” he said. “Lots of giving me advice. I appreciate for all of them.”

Helm tied it early in the second, and Datsyuk scored again with the man advantage. Helm’s second goal made it 5-3 with 8:59 left in the second, and Rask was pulled in favor of Gustavsson.

The Red Wings couldn’t hold the lead. Mrazek, who came into the day leading the league with a .933 save percentage, had a rough game on his 24th birthday, making only 17 saves and taking a careless penalty in the first period for playing the puck outside the trapezoid.

Seidenberg made it 5-4 with a long shot just 22 seconds after Helm had put the Red Wings ahead by two. Then Kemppainen scored a short-handed goal 38 seconds into the third, beating Mrazek from the left circle.

Datsyuk was given an assist on the game-winning goal, bringing his point total to 902.

“I feel pretty fortunate to be on the bench when he gets his 900th. He’s a special, special athlete,” Blashill said. “He’s an absolute winner.”

NOTES: Bruins star Patrice Bergeron missed his second consecutive game because of an undisclosed injury. Bergeron, the team’s leader in points with 21 goals and 26 assists, also sat out Saturday at Minnesota. Before that he had missed only three games since the start of the 2013-14 season. … Boston’s six-game road winning streak came to an end. … Detroit took over second place in the Atlantic Division and moved one point ahead of Boston.

]]> 0, 14 Feb 2016 21:11:19 +0000