Bruins

Bruins mediocrity continues

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Bruins mediocrity continues

WINNIPEG, MB. The Bruins continue to search anywhere they can find it for consistency.

Once again they didnt uncover it in the game following a stirring victory.

The Bs made it 17 games since theyve been able to string together consecutive victories while dropping a 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at the lively MTS Centre. The loss in the second stop of their six-game road odyssey continues a long mediocre stretch of .500 hockey thats lasted more than a month for the Bs.

It was a multitude of errors that cost the Bruins throughout the game, but it appeared they were in a good spot when David Krejci tied things up in the opening minutes of the final stanza.

Krejci gloved a Tyler Seguin pass to the middle to stop the pucks momentum and then dropped it to his stick before beating Ondrej Pavelec up high with a floating shot.

But that was it for the Bruins in a discouraging third period collapse.

A couple of rebounds in front turned into a Bryan Little rebound score to make it a 3-2 lead for the Jets, and then Little followed with another Bs blown defensive coverage in front of a scrambling Rask. The defeat marks a five-game personal losing streak for Rask and gives the Bruins plenty of questions to answer as injuries and frittered-away points begin to pile up.
The four goals allowed on 21 shots for Rask after getting more than a week to work on his game might continue to keep him on the bench over the next few games as well.

Rask had given up a sloppy glove side to Alex Burmistrov and a five-hole special to Blake Wheeler in the second period, but the Bs had fought back with goals from Jordan Caron and Krejci to give them new life in the final period. The new life didnt last long as a desperate Jets group took it to the Black and Gold during their normal winning time in the final period.

GOLD STAR: Jordan Caron contributed a big goal in the second period and kicked in some offense where its badly needed with both Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley out with injuries. This might be the best stretch for the former first round pick to carve out a niche for himself with the Bs, and he made a positive impact in 11:12 of ice time against Winnipeg. Hell need to keep the pedal to the metal and create more sparks for the Bruins in a priceless audition period.
HONORABLE MENTION: Tyler Seguin was one of only two plus players on the Bs roster in the loss and he created David Krejcis third period goal with a quick-thinking pass to the middle of the ice. It was a solid bounce-back effort with a pair of shots on goal after Seguin had spent his last trip to Winnipeg up in the press box as a healthy scratch after missing a morning meeting.

BLACK EYE: Zdeno Chara appears to be laboring out on the ice and hasnt been a consistent defensive stopper through this long stretch of mediocre hockey from his Bruins team. Chara was on ice for Winnipegs first two goals and is an unsightly minus-6 in his last three games. Worst of all it appears that either crushing fatigue or some kind of physical discomfort is really slowing Chara down on the ice and limiting his physicality. Hard to tell whether its fatigue from the lack of rest at All-Star weekend, but thats a possibility. Either way he doesnt look like himself.

TURNING POINT: It appeared that the Bruins had seized the momentum when David Krejci potted a goal during the first minute of the third period to tie up the game, but things just completely fell apart for a Bruins team deviating wildly from their defensively conservative system. After limiting the Jets to 13 shots through the first two periods they allowed 12 shots in the final 20 minutes to Winnipeg and finished with a whimper where they normally close out games with strength and dominance. The Bruins appear to be a weary bunch these days.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 the number of points for Winnipeg winger Blake Wheeler on a night he killed his former Bs with four shots on net and a plus-2 in 20:48 of ice time.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Its always tough when you lose and youre trying to find your game. You try to find your comfort zone. Sometimes you just cant find it. Youve just got to keep fighting. Tuukka Rask, who has lost five in a row and allowed four goals on the first 17 shots he faced in defeat.

DeBrusk providing an offensive spark for Bruins since scratch

DeBrusk providing an offensive spark for Bruins since scratch

BOSTON – Give Bruins rookie Jake DeBrusk credit.

The 21-year-old rookie said that he didn’t want to go through the experience of being a healthy scratch again, and he has played like it ever since.

DeBrusk finished with a pair of assists in the Bruins 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, and is now riding a four-game point streak with two goals and five points in his last four games. He came up with the primary assist on Boston’s first goal when he fed David Krejci all alone cutting to the net, and then again fed Krejci in the slot on the play where the puck found Matt Grzelcyk for his first career NHL goal in the second period.

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In all DeBrusk finished with the two points in 18:46 of ice time, and had good skating legs while collecting four shots on net and a couple of hits in stringing together another solid game as a first-year player.

“It goes back to the mentality of playing fast. I think that was one of the focuses. And ever since I got scratched, I think that I’ve had some jump in all the games or at moments. I think that level of confidence and I’m also playing with great players,” said DeBrusk. “They open up a lot of space for me. And on that example, [David] Krejci’s goal, I’ve seen him do that 100 times. It’s nice to get a reward and it’s nice to get on the board, especially twice, in a game like this. I thought that we were coming along and we’re just looking to build on it.”

DeBrusk is currently on a pace for 20 goals and 48 points while battling through the natural highs and lows of being a rookie at the NHL level. The first-year winger hasn’t yet mastered the consistency component quite yet as a young player making his way through the league, but there’s little doubt DeBrusk will keep getting the chance to find that level while producing offense with his passing, skating and shooting in a key top-6 spot.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Bruins 'feeling pretty good' riding a four-game win streak

Bruins 'feeling pretty good' riding a four-game win streak

BOSTON – It was hard to imagine this could have been possible a couple of weeks ago when injuries were ripping through the roster amid a very challenging stretch of hockey, but the Bruins have managed to survive and thrive within the adversity. With several regulars still missing from the fold including leading scorer Brad Marchand, the Bruins won their fourth game in a row taking a strong 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The win allowed the Bruins to push into the third spot in the Atlantic Division and lay claim to one of the playoff spots on the day after Thanksgiving, a milestone that usually portends good things for hockey clubs sitting in that position.

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Given the winning streak and Boston’s ability to get busy living rather than getting busy dying amid the trying stretch, confidence is at the high mark just a couple of months into the regular season.

“I still think that collectively as a group, there are still things that we need to build on. But obviously, we can’t complain with four straight wins,” said Jake DeBrusk, who has two goals, five points and a plus-4 in the four-game winning streak. “It’s our first win streak of the season and everyone’s feeling pretty good right now. We’re doing everything we can to keep things going.”

There have been different components to the four-game streak that have made it possible. Young players like Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen and Charlie McAvoy have stepped up and brandished their offensive skills while making things happen for a team missing some of their offensive playmakers, and the energy has been contagious. The Bruins have learned how to become closers in the third period where they’re squeezing the life out of opponents rather than giving them hope for stealing the game.

Anton Khudobin has ripped off win after win after win after win, and has made all the important stops to ensure that the Bruins take points out of each and every game. His .944 save percentage over the winning streak is exactly the level of goaltending needed for the Bruins to execute their game plan, and it’s why they have played with a lead for all but a couple of minutes in those wins over Los Angeles, San Jose, New Jersey and Pittsburgh.

The quick starts have allowed the Bruins to play with the kind of controlled aggression that brings out their best and quit chasing the game while closing things down in the final 20 minutes. It’s much closer to the way things were drawn up by the coaching staff prior to the start of the season before their personnel group was ripped apart by injuries. Friday’s performance was what Bruce Cassidy is looking for from his young, excitable Bruins team on a big stage against a high quality Eastern Conference opponent.

“I mentioned [the magnitude of Friday] before the game, because I think it’s exciting. You’re on NBC, you’re playing against the Stanley Cup Champions, and everyone is watching. . . let’s put our best foot forward. I know it’s one of 82, but it’s a bigger one of 82 the way I look at it,” said Cassidy. “I think they felt the same way coming out [of the starting gate]. Now, I also think with a young group you’re always a little more juiced up at home; they’re still in that stage of their career. So, I think that explained a lot of their start, and why we were better early on.”

So now the beat goes on for the Bruins amid their best stretch of hockey this season at a very opportune time. Perhaps now the B’s start wondering just how good they can be once they finally get their full lineup together for the first time during this entire hockey season. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE