Talking Points: No Marchand in shootout

Talking Points: No Marchand in shootout

GOLD STAR: Cam Ward was the star of the show on Tuesday night with 35 saves while frustrating the Bruins players that have alternated between bad offense and bad defense over the last few weeks. Ward was solid in the first period, but really pulled it together in the second period making 16 saves while stopping Brad Marchand on a point blank shot right in front of the net. His sparkling glove on a Zdeno Chara backdoor play on the PP was excellent as well, and he seemed to have the swagger of a goaltender that knew had things going his way. That remained the same in the shootout while the Bruins didn’t use two of their best offensive players, Brad Marchand and David Krejci, among the six shooters chosen to win it for Boston.


BLACK EYE: Claude Julien doesn’t usually get the black eye, but how much urgency is he showing behind the bench if he doesn’t use his leading goal-scorer during a shootout that could decide their very playoff lives? Julien left bullets in the gun during the shootout session by never calling Brad Marchand’s number, and instead leaving the 36-goal scorer on the pine for the entire session. Instead Julien went with Torey Krug and a host of others that couldn’t score, and the Bruins predictably lost when Noah Hanifin pulled off a filthy top shelf backhanded snipe as the sixth shooter. Julien has been frantically trying to push buttons to get the good result, so it’s mystifying that he didn’t go there in the moment of shootout truth.


TURNING POINT: The Bruins fired 16 shots on net in the second period, and had a handful of pretty good scoring chances. But they couldn’t get anything past Cam Ward, and couldn’t mount any kind of big offensive push line-to-line as they’d often done in the past with a truly deep lineup. Instead it was a lot of one-and-done chances sprinkled in with some very good saves from the Carolina goaltender. The paddle-down save on Brad Marchand all alone in front, and the glove hand stop on Zdeno Chara’s backdoor power-play bid were among his best from that second period. Sure they got one past Ward in the third period on a play that turned out to be a good break for the Black and Gold, but that turned out to be the exception rather than the rule for the offensively constipated Bruins.


HONORABLE MENTION: Noah Hanifin has been a key figure in handing losses to the Bruins in each of their last two meetings in this building, and this time it came in the form of some pure skill during the shootout session. Hanifin went top shelf with the backhand while beating Tuukka Rask to the glove hand, and giving the Bruins’ playoff chances a massive gut punch. Aside from that little display of elite skill, Hanifin finished with three shots on goal and six shot attempts along with three takeaways and a blocked shot in 18:25 of ice time. He also left Bruins fans with visions of what he might have looked like in Black and Gold had Don Sweeney been able to move up in the first round last summer.


BY THE NUMBERS: 4-2 – the Bruins record in the shootout this season after Tuesday night’s loss while the Hurricanes are 2-5 in the shootout as well.


QUOTE TO NOTE: “Hindsight.” – Claude Julien’s terse one-word reply when asked why 36-goal scorer Brad Marchand wasn’t in his shootout lineup in a must-win game.

The banged up Bruins have two more injured players in Nash, McQuaid

The banged up Bruins have two more injured players in Nash, McQuaid

BOSTON – It’s another day and another injured player, or two, for the Boston Bruins.

Veteran right winger Rick Nash was a late scratch for the Bruins on Monday night against the Blue Jackets after getting banged up in last weekend’s win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid had to exit due to injury in the third period of Monday night’s 5-4 overtime loss at TD Garden.  

“[Nash] got hit in Tampa, so we thought he was fine. He had an upper-body injury,” said Bruce Cassidy. “This morning, pregame skate, we thought he’d be fine, and it turned out after pregame skate, early afternoon, he wasn’t. So, you know, we had to make a call for Anton Blidh.”

The Nash absence forced the Bruins to recall Blidh from Providence on emergency recall and plug him into the lineup not using him in the last couple of road games in Florida, and it also pushed 21-year-old rookie Ryan Donato into a top-6 role alongside David Krejci in his NHL debut. Clearly things worked out for Donato with a 1-goal, 3-point performance in his first NHL game, and that along with some quality organizational depth is helping them withstand some of the injuries.

McQuaid was held to just 10:42 of ice time that was the fewest among all Bruins D-men on Monday night, but it was unclear exactly what befell him on the ice injury-wise.  

It is getting a little ridiculous for a Bruins team that’s missing Patrice Bergeron (fractured right foot), Zdeno Chara (upper body), Jake DeBrusk (upper body), Charlie McAvoy (sprained left MCL), David Backes (right leg laceration) and now may have to go without Nash (upper body) and McQuaid (undisclosed) as well. Clearly it’s something the Bruins will have to play through for the time being while simply hoping that it all conveniently clears up ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

“You know, you call a player up [from the AHL], right? We signed one out of college; that helped. So, that’s it. [The injuries] are uncontrollable to a certain extent. It’s kind of enough, now. I would agree. We’ve had our share, so let’s get these guys healthy and get ready to play,” said Cassidy. “I don’t know. You’ve got to play the game in front of you and you just hope the string of, kind of, tough luck, is over.

“That’s it. It’s a physical game. We’ve said all along, to have successful seasons, both regular and playoffs, you need a certain level of health. That’s what we’re hoping, that these guys come back, and that’s it. Until then, we plug the holes and play the game in front of you.”

Plugging those holes will continue to get more and more challenging if the Bruins keep losing players from their lineup on a nightly basis as they may have on Monday with both Nash and McQuaid now banged up as well.


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Donato impresses in NHL debut

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Donato impresses in NHL debut

1:13 - Joe Haggerty joins from the TD Garden to discuss the non-call on Brad Marchand’s breakaway, Ryan Donato shining in his NHL debut, and when Patrice Bergeron could be returning.

6:16 - Gary Tanguay, Mike Giardi, and Trenni Kusnierek debate if the Patriots are starting to replace the talent they’ve lost this offseason as they have acquired Adrian Clayborn, Jeremy Hill, and Jason McCourty. 

11:01 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Boston Sports Tonight to talk about the Celtics continuing to struggle as the injuries have piled up.