Bruins

Bard, Aceves spring debuts don't tell much

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Bard, Aceves spring debuts don't tell much

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves are attempting to make the transition from the Red Sox bullpen to the starting rotation, but their spring debuts Thursday didn't offer much in the way of a revelation.

For one thing, with both pitchers scheduled, only one (Aceves) could actually start the game. For another, since it was the first outing for both, they were each limited to a single inning -- just as they would be in their former roles.

Aceves allowed a run on three hits in the first, and Bard was touched for a run on two hits in the second.

"It's good to get the first one of the way," said Bard after the Minnesota Twins met the Sox in a spring 'B' game at Hammond Stadium, "get rid of those nerves with hitters in the box. I felt like I made some good pitches, tried some things that I probably wouldn't try in a normal game setting."

"Bard had good pitches, but he was upset with his selection," said manager Bobby Valentine. "He threw a changeup behind in the count 1-and-0, and then he threw the two-seamer after he hung the slider. He wasnt too happy with that.

"But his stuff was all right. He was working on the two-seamer. He didnt get much work on his changeup or his slider, but he pitched out of the windup and got that over with. He pitched out of the stretch and looked okay."

Said catcher Ryan Lavarnway of Bard: "He didn't have good control of his two-seamer today, but his four-seamer was staying true. He had good control of that. He threw a couple of sliders in there.

It's too early for the Sox to evaluate how Bard's stuff is translating as a starter and determine arm strength and stamina. But according to Bard, it won't be too long.

"I haven't gone three innings in a long time," he said, "so that first time going out for the third time is going to be a little different. But I'm not really thinking that far ahead, just taking it one outing at a time."

As an aspiring starter, Bard now finds himself pitching out of the full windup at times, rather than only out of the stretch delivery, as he did in relief. Even that, he said, isn't much of an adjustment.

"I've been doing it so much on my sides since I started working out for the season," Bard said, "so I'm not even thinking about it out there. It just feels like second nature."

Assuming Bard doesn't experience any physical issues, he's virtually assured of making the rotation.

Aceves, though, is likely in more of a spirited battle, with a handful of others vying for the fifth spot: Andrew Miller, Aaron Cook, Ross Ohlendorf, Felix Doubront and Vicenta Padilla are just some of the others.

Still, he said he's not focused on the competition this spring.

"Nothing about that," insisted Aceves. "I'm just do whatever I have to do to do my job. The result is going to come. I'm working more on my health and get back to the level I was. I'm not competing against nobody. I think every single (potential starter) has a chance to be in the rotation. But we're here to contribute as a team, for a purpose."

Aceves gave up a run on three hits, though one was an infield dribbler.

"I thought he threw the ball pretty well," said Lavarnway. "His curveball had good angle on it. His fastball had good life."

"Acves was okay," said Valentine. "He threw a lot of pitches that he wanted to work on. He was okay with his work, so I was okay with his work."

Unlike Bard, who has been strictly a reliever in the big leagues, Aceves has been more of a swing man in his career. Last year, he made 51 appearances out of the bullpen, and four more as a fill-in starter.

"Personal opinion, I like to start more," said Aceves. "I'm someone who can eat innings. But right now, we're working on getting back on track like I was last year."

Talking Points: DeBrusk provides energy in win

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Talking Points: DeBrusk provides energy in win

GOLD STAR: Jake DeBrusk gave the Bruins all kinds of energy out of the starting gate, and made a couple of plays that allowed his team to hold a lead despite getting outplayed in the opening 20 minutes. DeBrusk went hard to the net splitting a couple of San Jose defenders on the first goal, and fired a shot on net that created a rebound for Peter Cehlarik to cash in on. Then DeBrusk scored a little bit later on a rush where he beat Brent Burns in a foot race to a loose puck, then whistled a wrist shot past Aaron Dell for his fourth goal of the season. DeBrusk finished with a goal and two points along with a plus-2 and a team-high four shots on net while falling just short of 16 minutes of ice time in the victory. It was a strong effort from DeBrusk shortly after being a healthy scratch, and showed what he’s capable of when he gets his skating legs going.

BLACK EYE: Brent Burns was a complete mess for the Sharks. He was burnt by Jake DeBrusk in each of the first two Bruins goals in the first period with the B’s rookie going right at him with the attack. He also didn’t make it to the net with 12 of the 16 shots that he attempted and Burns finished with seven giveaways as well. It’s been a rough follow-up season for Burns after last year’s Norris Trophy season where he’s tried to do too much for the Sharks, and his game has suffered as a result. That seemed to be the case for Burns against the Bruins as well where his mistakes played a big role in the Sharks dropping the game.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins won the game when they managed to survive an opening 20 minutes where they were outshot 17-5, and even better they had a 2-1 lead based on some offensive fireworks from Jake DeBrusk. They were also aided by a couple of video reviews where the Bruins took a San Jose goal off the board when it was ruled that a crashing Joonas Donskoi punched a puck into the net with his glove. The Peter Cehlarik goal was also upheld at the other end after a challenge from the San Jose bench. It looked like DeBrusk was tripped before he partially crashed into Aaron Dell that set up the Cehlarik goal, and that’s clearly how the referees saw it after reviewing the play.

HONORABLE MENTION: It’s got to be Anton Khudobin, who stopped 36-of-37 shots and improved to 5-0-2 on the season with another strong win aided by a stalwart defensive effort in front of him. Khudobin now has 12 of the 20 points that the Bruins have amassed on the season, and he absolutely rewarded the B’s for opting to go with the Bruins backup for a second game in a row as they ride the hot goaltender. Khudobin was helped by a number of Bruins blocked shots in the third period when the game was still very tight, but it was also about Khudobin coming up with 16 saves in the first period when the Bruins were getting outplayed by the Sharks.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6 – the number of Bruins rookies that have scored their first NHL goals this season, including Peter Cehlarik finally getting his first NHL score Saturday night in his 14th career game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We need them. They’re in the lineup and they’re playing significant minutes. We need them to produce for us. Tonight we needed some offense early, and they provided it for us.” – Bruce Cassidy, on the role of the rookies in the win where it was all first-year players Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen doing the scoring vs. San Jose. 

Khudobin stops 36 shots to help Bruins beat Sharks, 3-1

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Khudobin stops 36 shots to help Bruins beat Sharks, 3-1

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Anton Khudobin enjoyed getting pestered with shots early. He didn't have time to let his mind wander.

Khudobin stopped 36 shots to lead the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

"I like it busy," Khudobin said. "I don't have to think about anything else. The third-period start was unbelievable . . . I don't think I faced a shot until halfway through the period."

Peter CehlarikJake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen scored to help the Bruins get their second straight win after a four-game skid (0-3-1). Boston had totaled nine goals in its previous five games, scoring more than two for just the second time in nine November games.

"It went our way," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "They were clearly better than us but we come out 2-1 (in the three games on West Coast). If you stick with it, good things happen."

Khudobin remained unbeaten in regulation (5-0-2) and improved to 4-1 with a 0.99 goals-against average in five games against the Sharks.

Timo Meier scored and Aaron Dell finished with 18 saves for the Sharks, one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. San Jose has been held to two of fewer goals in five of their seven games this month.

"Guys in this room can score; we just have to do it," Sharks Logan Couture said. "I thought we had good chances and a lot of them at the end. We've got to create offense. If you don't score goals, you're not going to win."

Meier gave the Sharks, losers of two straight following wins in six of seven, a short-lived 1-0 lead after tapping in a rebound 4:50 into the game. Daniel O'Regan, making his season debut, won the puck behind the net and skated around to take the shot that bounced to Meier. It was O'Regan's first career assist and second career point.

"I just kind of fished it out and wanted to bring it to the net," O'Regan said. "Timo made a nice finish."

Cehlarik, in his 14th game, scored his first career goal about 1 1/2 minutes later to tie it for the Bruins.

Boston took the lead on DeBrusk's goal with 9:14 left in the first. Charlie McAvoy cleared a puck in his zone that DeBrusk, one of three rookies who scored, chased down and easily beat Dell 1-on-1.

"It's massive," DeBrusk said. "We all want it so bad and we all work so hard. These are big games for us."

Heinen made it 3-1 with 5:51 left in the third. Kevan Miller skated down the ice, drawing all the attention on the right side. He passed across the crease, from where Heinen tapped it in.

"He made a heck of a play," Heinen said. "I just put my stick on the ice."

The Sharks had a goal negated for the second straight game, this one two minutes in.

"We got enough looks tonight to score," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "We're doing more good than bad we're just not being rewarded."

NOTES: O'Regan was recalled before the game. He's the leading scorer for the Barracuda of the AHL. ... The Sharks have had three consecutive goals reversed after challenges dating to Thursday's game against the Florida Panthers. ... Sharks F Joel Ward has recorded points in six of his last eight games. ... DeBrusk, who assisted on Cehlarik's goal, recorded his first multi-point game since Oct. 14, a span of 14 games.

UP NEXT

Bruins: At the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.

Sharks: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.

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