Bruins

Five thoughts: Bruins-Islanders

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Five thoughts: Bruins-Islanders

Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders locked up in a 1-1 tie after the first 20 minutes on the TD Garden ice.

1) Dougie Hamilton really has a knack for finding shooting lanes and ways to get pucks through to the net, doesnt he? It was his big blast from the right point that caused a juicy Rick DiPietro rebound that Shawn Thornton backhanded into the net for the games first goal. A nice little piece of retribution for Thornton after he was unable to clear a puck against the Rangers that led to a goal in the third period against the Bruins. Two points in the last two games for Hamilton, who is making that second PP unit look very good when it gets on the ice.

2) Four registered hits and a plus-1 for Dennis Seidenberg after the first period in 6:03 of ice time, and no worse for the wear in his return from a lower body injury after missing two games. He even absorbed a big Matt Martin hit early in the game as any good pain sponge should and would.

3) Had to feel good for Waltham native Keith Aucoin to get the equalizer for the Islanders as he tries to secure himself a permanent NHL gig on Long Island. It was a rare blown defensive assignment for Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk that freed up Colin McDonald to find Aucoin cutting to the net. Rich Peverley and Chris Bourque also dropped to minus-3 on the season as they were forward group on the ice for the goal against.

4) The Islanders will gladly trade Matt Carkner for Milan Lucic after the two dropped gloves in the first period, but No. 17 showed that area of his game is perfectly healthy after leveling Carkner with a straight right to the jaw. The Isles tough guy popped right up, but Lucic hit him right on the button.

5) More fight club later in the period as Daniel Paille crushed former BU defenseman Brian Strait with a hit in the corner, and then was jumped by Matt Martin looking for a fight. Paille dropped his gloves, but Shawn Thornton stepped in before the fight got started. Thornton was slapped with a 10-minute misconduct for protecting his linemate, but wasnt given a third man in as the sequence wasnt considered an actual altercation with no punches thrown. Otherwise No. 22 might have been ejected as a third man in, but that didnt happen.

SECOND PERIOD

Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders locked up in a 2-2 tie after the first 40 minutes on the TD Garden ice.

1) Bruins are 0-for-3 on the power play again tonight, and had one that was a real dogs breakfast for two minutes in the second period. No urgency snapping the puck around and no movement. That being said the Dougie Hamilton-led second PP unit is doing a much better job of moving around and generating chances right now than the Tyler Seguin-led top unit. Its easy to see why Claude Julien keeps putting that second unit out there despite big names like Seguin, Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and David Krejci on the first unit. At least that unit was able to free Seguin up for a one-timer in their final power play of the period, but theyre now 1-for-17 on the PP for the season.

2) Two Bruins goals from the fourth line with Shawn Thorntons rebound score and a Gregory Campbell strike after a long David Krejci shot bounced off Joe Finleys skate in front of the net.

3) One shot and a minus-3 from the third line of Chris Kelly, Chris Bourque and Rich Peverley so far tonight. They just dont look good as a unit right now, and youve got to wonder when things will get changed up if they continue to be invisible during five-on-five play.

4) Got to feel good for Chelmsford High legend Keith Aucoin, who has both goals on the night for the Islanders and is really entrenching himself as an NHL guy after bouncing between the AHL and the NHL. The second goal was a straight bomb from the high slot that beat Tuukka Rask glove-side high.

5) Six hits and three blocked shots for Dennis Seidenberg tonight. The Bruins definitely miss that willingness to sacrifice and absorb punishment for team gain when hes out of the lineup.

THIRD PERIOD

Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Boston Bruins taking down the New York Islanders by a 4-2 score after 60 minutes on the TD Garden ice.

1) Not a dominant night for them against a weak-ish Islanders defensive corps, but a timely goal from the LucicHortonKrejci line in the third period finished off by Zdeno Chara from the high slot. Theyve come to play in the opening weeks of the season and its making all the difference for the Black and Gold.

2) Dougie Hamilton with a sweet tape-to-tape outlet pass to a streaking Brad Marchand that turns into a Patrice Bergeron breakaway goal. Thats two assists from Hamilton in the first multi-point game of his NHL career. The Bruins have got themselves something special.

3) Posts hit for Andrew Ference and Rich Peverley in the third period as the Bruins really turned it on against a team that was playing the second night of back-to-back games.

4) First goals of the season for both Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron in the third period. The Bruins needed their money players to step up after the fourth line was keeping them in the game.

5) Four games and no goals for Tyler Seguin. Been a really slow start for the 20-year-old after he lit things up in Switzerland. Didnt see that one coming at all now, but its clear hes putting extra effort in now to get things going.

Julien thankful for B's video tribute, "happy he can move on"

Julien thankful for B's video tribute, "happy he can move on"

BOSTON – It was the final piece of closure for former Bruins coach Claude Julien when he made his return to TD Garden for the first time as the bench boss for the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. Julien stood on the visiting bench, watched a first period video tribute of appreciation for his 10-years guiding the Bruins and then received the warm, thankful ovation from the B’s fans that still very much appreciate his efforts that resulted in a 2011 Stanley Cup title. 

Unfortunately for him and the Canadiens he also presided over a lifeless, limp effort from his Montreal club in a 4-1 loss to the Bruins where his team simply couldn’t derive any emotion or juice from his return to Boston. Julien said in both French and English that that his Habs simply “laid an egg” on the road, and that was disappointing for him given that Montreal already has their backs against the wall for a possible playoff spot. 

Instead Julien’s biggest bright spot in the game turned out to be the video tribute from the Bruins midway through the first period, for which he was greatly appreciative. 

“It’s always something that you kind of dread a little bit because it’s a little emotional, and at the same time [you’re] trying to keep your emotions intact there so you can coach a game and stuff like that. But, you know, I appreciate what they did for me,” said Julien following his second loss to the Bruins in five days. “As I said, I’ve got nothing but good things to say about this organization that gave me the opportunity to spend 10 years here. At the same time I’m kind of happy it’s over so we can move on now, but that doesn’t mean you forget what’s happened here. It’s always going to be with you. But now I’m in another chapter of my coaching career, and I’ve got to think about that.”

Julien’s counterpart, Bruce Cassidy, called the video tribute a “classy move” by the Bruins organization after the game had been settled, and there’s no doubting it was the right move for a coach that won over 400 games during his 10 years leading the Bruins. It was also the final chapter in his Bruins book as Julien now has completely moved on to his new gig guiding the Canadiens where it seems like his work is most definitely cut out for him. 

Spooner's strong play continues as B's dominate Habs

Spooner's strong play continues as B's dominate Habs

GOLD STAR: It had to feel good for Ryan Spooner. The speedy forward played a great game, finished with the game-winning goal in Claude Julien’s return to Boston and had both four shots on net and four registered hits in 16:07 of ice time. His goal was a level of grit and buy-in that he didn’t always have when Julien was the coach, but it’s one that he’s found more and more since Bruce Cassidy took over behind the B’s bench. Spooner drove the puck straight toward the net, and attempted to throw a pass backdoor to Matt Grzelcyk. But instead the puck bounced off Jonathan Drouin’s skate and ended up in the back of the net to make it a 2-1 game in the second period. For a player that long struggled under the watchful eye of Julien, Spooner’s night continued a stretch of very strong play since coming back from injury. 

BLACK EYE: Jonathan Drouin was supposed to be a game-changing center for the Canadiens after being moved from Tampa Bay, but he hasn’t even been close to that, or actually being a center, for the Habs this year. Drouin really didn’t bring much of anything on Wednesday night with a couple of shots on net, a giveaway and a 1-for-9 on the draw in his 17:04 of ice time. He was like so many of the other players on the Montreal roster that didn’t show up with their best in a rivalry game between the Bruins and the Habs. Even worse than that they didn’t show up in a game they desperately needed to win if they wanted to stay relevant in the playoff race. With the minus game again on Wednesday, Drouin is also now a minus-20 on the season in what’s been a truly disappointing year. 

TURNING POINT: The Bruins bounced back strongly after giving up a goal on the first shift of the game, and really took things over after the fortunate bounce for Jakub Jerabek got the Habs on the board early. The Bruins outshot the Canadiens by a 25-13 margin in the first two periods, dominated play and posted a goal in each of the first two periods to get the B’s on the board. From that point on it was smooth sailing and Boston only needed to collect a couple of insurance goals in the third period to truly seal Montreal’s fate. What was surprising was that the Habs showed little fight or pride while slowly sinking into the mud during the game, and never ever provided any real challenge to the Bruins in a game that was still separated by just a single goal until later in the third period. 

HONORABLE MENTION: David Krejci had one of his better games for the Bruins with a goal, two points and a plus-2 rating in 15:58 of ice time. It was an empty net goal that rounded out the scoring in the third period, and he finished with four shot attempts, a takeaway and 16-of-20 face-off wins in 15:58 of ice time. In general the Bruins frontline centers absolutely and thoroughly dominated Montreal’s poor excuse for players down the middle of their lineup, and Krejci was a big part of that in helping set up Spooner’s game-winner as well. Krejci was also a player that had his differences of opinion with Julien when he was coaching the Bruins, so the big game for him on Wednesday night also must have felt pretty cathartic when it was all said and done.   

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 – the number of games for Tuukka Rask’s current point streak where he’s put together a 13-0-2 record that dates back to his four game benching in the middle of November. He finished with a solid night’s work of 21 saves in the win over the Habs.  

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We laid an egg.” –Claude Julien said that phrase in both French and English to discuss a truly pathetic performance for his Canadiens team in what should have been an intense Bruins/Habs rivalry game on national television. 

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