Bruins

Bruins need to play with a chip on their shoulder

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Bruins need to play with a chip on their shoulder

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

VANCOUVER Milan Lucic cant decide if hes trying to silence the media critics doubting his Bruins, or just ignore them completely.

For the second straight time big No. 17 addressed the media in his home city with the first coming in the postgame locker room after a 1-0 loss to the Canucks in Game One and pulled a page out of Rodney Harrisons book of disrespect with the Patriots.

The Bruins have been labeled underdogs, they havent been given a chance by most in the hockey world including this humble hockey writer and theyve taken on an Us against the World mentality that the New England Patriots used to execute as part of their regular playbook in the playoffs.

Whatever works for the Bs is advisable as long as it helps them create more scoring chances and keeps Tim Thomas locked in just as he was for the first 60 minutes of the Stanley Cup Finals.

The peeved Lucic said the players in the Bs dressing room arent buying into the Canucks as heavy favorites with a slim 1-0 lead in the series, and proving people wrong has become an item on Loochs to do list along with scoring goals, avoiding rabid French-Canadian forwards and handing out knuckle sandwiches when deemed appropriate.

That's not the way we feel. We have confidence in each other, said Lucic. We feel like we deserve to be here and there's a reason why we made it to the Stanley Cup final.

There were times where we were the better team in Game One, and there were times obviously they were the better team last game. It's clear that you guys in the media aren't giving us much of a chance. Weve just got to do whatever we can to prove people wrong.

The Bruins can take solace in a couple of things. First of all, theyre in the same position that they found themselves in eventual seven game victories over both the Canadiens and the Lightning in their current playoff run so its not exactly daunting.

We dont want to lose the first game, you know? But the good thing is that weve been there before. We dont panic or anything, said Krejci. We just go out and play the game. We know weve been there before and maybe thats a good thing. You dont want to lose it, but if it happens then it happens.

The Bruins have overcome adversity and hurdled over troublesome patches all year long, and it became something of a calling card for the Black and Gold during the playoffs. If Zdeno Chara being the prime suspect in a farcical Montreal Police investigation didnt daunt the Bruins players, then theres no reason to believe being down early in a seven game series would suddenly activate the panic button.

I expect our team to respond, you know. When we lose a game, we've always taken the next game as a challenge of getting ourselves back in it, said Lucic. I think that's the maturity in the team that we've been able to create this year from the playoff losses in years past. We were able to deal well with that pressure and make plays under pressure. Were able to step up to play in big games.

Game Two is definitely a big game for us. We want to do what we did in the last couple series.

If the Bruins want to find the perfect mindset for the next series of games, they need only turn back the clock to a couple of years ago when they were the heavily-favored juggernaut against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Boston managed to flex their muscles and win that first game against a dog-tired Canes team, and that young team of Bs began to believe things would come just as easily for the rest of the series.

It was a hard lesson for the Bruins as the underdog Canes stunned the Bruins in three straight games before the overconfident bunch of Bs finally gathered themselves off the mat. The Bruins fought back hard in that series to push it to seven games, but ultimately couldnt overcome their power nap in the middle of the series.

Maybe, just maybe, the Bruins can catch Vancouver buying a little too much into their own hype with a 1-0 lead in the series and another home game on tap. Perhaps the Canucks have bought into the notion theyve seen the best from a Boston team that knows they can play better.

Maybe the Bruins can pull their own little Carolina caper before the powerfully built Canucks know what hit them.

The Canucks are just as new to the Stanley Cup Finals as the Bruins, so just about anything is possible.

Theres nothing wrong with Milan Lucic and the Bruins lugging around a chip on their shoulder gathered all of the non-believers.

But its more important that the Bruins come out playing like teed off hockey players with a chance to knock the Canucks back on their heels. Thats the exact kind of attitude that was missing in the first game of this rapidly escalating series.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

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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