Bruins

Bruins know they need to adjust vs. Canucks

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Bruins know they need to adjust vs. Canucks

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Down 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final, the Bruins know that changes must be made.

After returning to Boston on Sunday for Games 3 and 4, theBs are confident in their physical style. Quite frankly, they arent the leastbit concerned about that part of their game.

But theres no denying that the scoring chances must come ata higher quality, beginning Monday night, if the Bruins want to make this aseries.

Were never pleased with the amount of scoring chances wehave, said Bruins coach Claude Julien on Sunday at the TD Garden. You alwaystry and get more, and I think you have to ask your players to maybe createmore, obviously, in that area.

Thats one of the areas I think that if we can improve on,and make it a little harder for them to defend against our offense, itscertainly going to help our chances, obviously.

I thought we were a little better in Game 2, addedJulien. But not good enough.

In order to get better scoring chances, the Bruins realize theyhave to do a better job of getting bodies in front of Canucks goaltenderRoberto Luongo.

Obviously start with some traffic in front and find away to get to the front of the net, said Patrice Bergeron. They'redoing a good job of boxing us out, but that shouldnt be an excuse. We need tofind a way. Were in the finals.

Yes, Luongos doing a good job on the first shot, if hesees it. But if he has some traffic, going out there for the rebounds,obviously thats going to create some havoc.

To pressure Luongo, the Bruins know they need good breakouts, and take better care of the puck in their ownzone and the neutral zone.

Goaltender Tim Thomas has the B's strugglewith that puck management. But he also sent a subtle message to his teammates onSunday, about making Luongos job moredifficult.

Ive been busy just trying to do my own job, said Thomas.I think Luongos played well, with what hes been tested with. But I dontthink weve tested him enough. Thats part of the reason were down 2-0 in theseries.

But maybe the biggest aspect that's overlooked will be the adjustment that the Bruins won't have to make in Games 3 and 4, with regards to line changes.

As the home team, Julien now has the upper-hand in getting the matchups he wants, thanks to the rule that allows the home team to make the last change before a faceoff.

@font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Its about mixing and matching, and Im going to have abetter opportunity here in these next two games of having more of my say withregards to that," said Julien.

And with that advantage, count on the Canucks to make adjustments of their own.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

Morning Skate: Cheers for Boyle as he returns to practice with Devils

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Morning Skate: Cheers for Boyle as he returns to practice with Devils

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while determined to go see Foo Fighters at Fenway Park this time around. 
 
-- In the great news department, Hingham native Brian Boyle hears cheers at practice as he returns to work for the New Jersey Devils after his cancer diagnosis. Boyle might be wearing a Devils uniform, but he knows he has all of Boston in his corner along with many, many other corners of the hockey world. 

-- There is no panic with the Maple Leafs over the slow start for Mitch Marner, who has been dropped to the fourth line in the early going.
 
-- Wellesley native Chris Wagner is beginning to get recognized for his big hits and physical play with the Anaheim Ducks

-- Senators prospect and Massachusetts native Joey Daccord makes an unbelievable game-saving stop for his college team. 

-- For something completely different: Greg Nicotero talks about the Walking Dead premiere, and a character thought dead that might actually still be alive.
 

Khudobin can't save Bruins' goaltending situation

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Khudobin can't save Bruins' goaltending situation

The entire concept of Tuukka Rask getting pushed by one of his backups is based on the backup consistently performing at a high standard, and that wasn’t the case for Anton Khudobin over the weekend.

Just as it isn’t solely the fault of Rask when the Bruins lose, it wasn’t solely the fault of Khudobin that Boston squandered leads of 3-0 and 4-1 in an overtime loss to Buffalo on Saturday night. But Khudobin couldn’t step up and carry the B's when they clearly started losing their edge in the second half of the game, and that inconsistency will certainly make the Bruins pine for a sooner-rather-than-later return of a concussed Rask.

“Erratic,” said coach Bruce Cassidy when asked to describe Khudobin postgame. “He battles. We love that about him. He battled to the end. He certainly made his share of saves. We need to be better in front of him. But there were times that, there were fires that needed to be put out that shouldn’t have been necessary. But that happens sometimes.”

It was certainly too much to expect Khudobin to be perfect, but they just needed him to be good enough to pull them through while they were getting waylaid in the second half of the game. That proved to be a major challenge, given the players the Bruins are missing and the extremely rough night suffered by Torey Krug (minus-3 on Saturday night, and minus-8 for the season). Khudobin finished with 37 stops as a defense corps without Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller wilted in the third period and the overtime, but he couldn’t make the clean saves for whistles when the team really needed them. Case in point was a Rasmus Ristolainen tester in overtime while the Bruins were in the midst of being outshot by a 6-0 margin in the extra session. Khudobin got a glove on it but couldn’t cleanly catch it for a badly needed stoppage in play at a time when Krug, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand had been caught on the ice for over two minutes.

"The start was great, and the game was great until we scored the fourth goal, and I think after that, we thought it was an easy game,” said Khudobin. “[The high volume of shots] wasn’t that much difficult, I like shots, like probably every other goalie, but they were crashing the net. They were going hard. There were a lot of deflections, a lot of rebounds, a lot of scrums in front of the net, which were . . .that’s the dangerous part, not just the shots.”

Khudobin, 31, has taken five of a possible six points in the games he's played this season and is off to a solid start with a 2-0-1 record, a 2.98 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. He looks like he’s going to be a perfectly fine backup, enabling the Bruins to hold Rask to the 55-60 games they’ve forecasted for his peak performance this season.

But Saturday night was a major blow to any hopes that Rask would be pushed competitively by his backup, and that a Khudobin hot streak could spark a slow-starting, and now injured, Rask when he does return.

Instead the Bruins are left to hope they can survive while missing Rask along with a number of other key players, and that the goalie returns sooner than later to a team that can’t survive too many morale-crushing defeats like the choke job against the lowly Sabres.

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