Bruins

Bruins notes: B's emotionally drained

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Bruins notes: B's emotionally drained

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Claude Julien believes that he saw a flat team that was perhaps emotionally drained after a couple of big games against the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens recently, and its really impossible to prove hes off the mark.

Perhaps the Bruins had tired legs and weary brows after racking up 187 penalty minutes in an epic butt-kicking of the Habs at TD Garden, and it manifested itself in a listless 6-1 loss to a surgically precise Red Wings team on Friday night.

I think tonight we watched The Wings because I think we were flat. We werent skating tonight. We were second on the puck, and even when they had the puck, I just felt that they had lots of times to make plays, said Julien. We were very slow reacting tonight. So I dont know if the emotional games that weve played lately caught up to us, but we just came out flat.

It just seemed that nothing was going to go our way, even when we had some scoring chances. We hit the posts as well and had a couple of good scoring chances that could have gotten us back in the game, but it just wasnt going in for us. Obviously they were the better team tonight, but were a much better team than what we showed.

Tuukka Rask clearly struggled and was pulled for the second time this season, but the defense in front of him was substandard in every way possible despite limiting the Detroit skaters to less than 20 shots through the first two periods.

Mark Recchi said it was pretty clear to him that the Bs had no legs, and that Detroit was the perfect team to expose them.

I just dont think we had our legs. When you dont have your legs against a team like that, with very good puck control possession players and a team that can really move the puck well, they can make you look flat-footed a lot, said Recchi. If we have our legs, its different. For whatever reason we didnt today and we have to be a lot sharper. We have to go to their building now and try to redeem ourselves.

The Red Wings had lost three of their last four games heading into Friday night and been outscored 12-4 in those contests, so its clear they were highly motivated coming into the Friday night beating. Now its up to the Bruins to turn the tables at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday afternoon before a national audience on NBC.

This is the opportunity that we have, we get another shot at these guys, said Julien. I think its important that we go in there and play our gameplay a lot better. At least that way, you see where you stand with teams like Detroit.

Steve Kampfer donned No. 5 when he played youth and high school hockey in Michigan in honor of Niklas Lidstrom after watching the silky smooth Wings defenseman growing up a Detroit fan, and essentially said that the Joe Louis Arena feels like his own backyard.

Its fun to play your childhood idol, but you want to play him hard and hopefully someday be better than he is, said Kampfer prior to Friday nights defeat. You come to play your game, youre coming to play your teams game and when you do that youre helping the team. Thats what were trying to do tonight, and hopefully we can shut these guys down. Theyre a great team, great players with a lot of Stanley Cups, so its going to be a game where were going to have to try to make them play our style of hockey.

The Michigan University grad played in The Joe countless times over the years as a youth player and as a member of the Wolverines in some pretty epic CCHA battles, and is looking forward to playing in front of more than 50 friends and relatives in Detroit on Sunday afternoon. Kampfer said hes already got 30 confirmed for the game, and hes making arrangements for another 20 on Saturdays off day.

The bottom line is, its a big game for Kampfer after earning favorite son status as a four-year member of the Wolverines hockey team and now as a young NHL player making his way as a puck-moving defenseman.

Its definitely an exciting couple of days. Youve got to look forward to tonight. Its going to be fun, but weve got to play our game and play strong, said Kampfer, who snapped a seven game scoreless stretch with an assist in Bostons 8-6 win over the Canadiens. I grew up with Steve Yzerman, Sergei Federov, Brendan Shanahan... you know. The Russian Five days with Lidstrom, Chelios, Konstantinov. All of those guys. I grew up watching and idolizing them, so this is going to be a lot of fun.

David Krejcis power play goal in the first period was literally the only bright spot of the game for the Bruins, and snapped a 20-game goal-scoring drought for the Czech Republic playmaker. Krejcis last score before Friday night was a two-goal game against the Florida Panthers on Dec. 27 a long, long time ago in a rink pretty far away.

The Bs were outscored 4-0 after Krejcis score, and didnt show many signs of life aside from a couple of near misses in front of Jimmy Howard.

We were just looking at the first half of the first period and they scored two quick goals and I guess from there, we got a little close, but you know, the score didnt matter, said Krejci. They just outplayed us today.

Theres no reason to think it could have been any different when you have the mighty Detroit Red Wings coming to town, and its all but assured that Tyler Seguin wouldnt have been a difference-maker in a 6-1 loss to the Wings at the Garden Friday night.

Tyler Seguin was scratched for the second consecutive game and Mark Stuart was scratched for the eighth straight game in favor of Zach Hamill and Adam McQuaid, respectively.

"He has a ton of talent," coach Claude Julien said of Seguin. "He hasn't had the benefit of other players, such as Taylor Hall in Edmonton, who has played for Memorial Cup teams and so forth. We all know the skill set is high and potential is very high.

"His game may have slipped lately, but he doesn't have the privilege of playing on a rebuilding team where you can keep throwing guys like that out there. He has that time to be patient with that."

Fridays home game at TD Garden against the Detroit Red Wings was the first Friday night Bruins game in Boston since a Nov. 20, 2008 tilt against the Florida Panthers at the Garden.

Tuukka Rask was pulled after the second period, and it marked the third time this season that the Bruins have pulled a goaltender from the game. The Bruins are 0-2-1 in those three games this season.

Bostons 6-1 loss to Detroit tonight was their largest margin of loss since a 6-1 setback to Anaheim on Oct. 8, 2009 and their first of the season by more than three goals.

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

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.

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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